That green dress with a fever

This year I have fallen ill with tonsillitis twice, the second time I took some time off to rest and relax, working from home and sleeping a lot. My mind could only handle so much structural engineering jargon, so I decided to make a dress, a dress to wear to a wedding at the end of the week, I don’t tend to do things in halves.

So generally when I make a garment the process is

– Purchase fabric (and pre wash), pattern and notions
– Trace the pattern
– Make a muslin (this can be a calico bodice plus a wearable muslin for dresses)
– Take time and care and sew garment making any required adjustments

Well, the pattern was sitting in the “find amazing fabric to go with me pile”.

Side note – the pattern is the Elisalex Dress by By Hand London, and is a very simple pattern to whip up in an afternoon, I am very much looking forward to making a short sleeved version with a heavier fabric and maybe some embroidery on the skirt. I am very excited to see what else these girls come up with, their patterns a super easy to understand and are extremely fashionable and versatile (the best kind of pattern).

The fabric (a soft cotton) was purchased at the last Global Fabrics VIP sale, on the recommendation by a dear friend and fellow sewer (it was out of my comfort zone, but that is the beauty of making your own clothes, and a challenge I am taking up more often).

I however forgot to purchase the notions and jumped straight tracing the pattern. My large roll of paper is sitting up in Auckland, so I used the next best thing I could find in my room, baking paper – not my wisest choice, but I made it work, then went into making a calico muslin for the bodice, and the size 2 fitted like a glove.
Due to time I didn’t embark on a wearable muslin (it did cross my mind substantially throughout the sewing process).
So I began to sew the dress, and then realised I needed lining, due to my lack of knowledge of good fabric stores in Christchurch, other than quilting, I resorted to popping down the road to lincraft and brought some pretty cheap fabric (big mistake) and didn’t like the right side, so actually used the wrong side for the lining.

After putting the dress together I realised it needed a zip – a very large one – back to lincraft, and ended up being cornered into buying a chunky black zip due to the lack of range for the required length (this actually wasn’t a bad thing, and really has made the dress, shock horror).
Zip in, time to hem – ahem, it needed quite a bit taken off, being a curved hem, ironing it up didn’t work (yeh I know I tried it, it was really late at night and I did have a fever), out came the overlocker, what a beaut.

– this was totally by accident but actually worked out wonderfully, I took and extra 0.5mm off the armholes.

So the downsides to making a dress while sick
– it really needed a lining on the skirt portion (didn’t notice till a wee bit too late), its a tad see through and I resorted to wearing a pedicoat underneath to the wedding.
– it is still a tad long, I would like to take it up a few inches to finish at the bottom of the zip.
– the whole back is a zip, it looks awesome as (girls love it, boys ask me why the heck it’s like that), but I did wear a thin black belt just in case someone got an idea to pull it down (this broke up the pattern on the fabric nicely).
– I didn’t conceal the zip in the lining and also didn’t fold the top portion over at the top of the dress, so there is an inch gap at the top of the dress (and a eye and hook would have just looked weird).

– AND….. to top it off the lining split during the night!

– BUT….. I got a ton of compliments on the night, so it mustn’t have looked that bad.

So the plan… to unpick the dress, yep all of it (well at least remove the zip, skirt – bodice and lining), re-line the dress, bodice and skirt and by doing so fully enclose the zip in the lining and tidy up the zip placement on the back and finally hem it a little shorter.

This will have to wait a while as I am in the process of making a friends wedding dress (and yes I will take more care with that) and also a dress for a friends birthday present, not to mention some more practical winter clothing.



My first curtains!

I made new curtains for my room!! I have been dreaming of this day for over a year. My lovely curtains (if you call them that, a piece of thin yellow material covered in a decorative voile, yip I thought it was cool at the time) had passed there used by date. In winter my room was a ice box, the breeze outside would lift them up, even with the windows closed. Our lovely fat cat Misty, as a kitten used to swing on them so the rips mixed with age have been getting progressively worse. My mum made the originals for me when we re-painted me room over 13 years ago, my mum, super women, could make any curtain, and would be asked regularly to make curtains for our friends (my old church, St Georges actually has some Pam Jones curtains hanging in their vicars house), so naturally, with anything sewing, if mum could do it, so can I (so far I have not been proven wrong).

So after many months of convincing dad to let me buy some new material (“if you want new curtains you need to pay for them yourself”), the left hand side pull snapped, the morning I had to leave for the Christmas regatta (my second weekend back home), good bye light. As dad is getting ready to sell the house, he was a little more willing to buy some material (well he was happy for me to live the next two months at home with broken curtains, but had some flip 180 one morning and got excited about buying me material). So I sent dad on the hunt.

The first thing he did… open two trunks full of material, dad seriously, you have been holding out on me. Yes two full trunks of glorious (and hideous) material of my mothers, and going through the sort, did anything get ditched, nope, nothing (I had to inform dad that you cannot ditch material  even if its ugly as anything, someone will love it), did we find a curtain replacement, close but sadly not enough material (and I am also a little picky).

Dad spent the week taking measurements and popping down to our local furnishing store (I sent him to the less expensive one), and he found a beautiful double sided material of cream and gold with a reversible floral print (and for $20/m dad was sold). This same material if you look closely around our house is actually on the lounge cushions, mum made, seems my mum and dad both have similar taste. The fabric was purchased, yet to find time to sit at my machine didn’t happen until after Christmas (and this was my first sit down since coming home, nearly a month with no sewing, two if you count Nepal).

I cheated and copied what mum did (don’t fix it if it works), the material was narrower but I managed…

Say hello to my new curtains (excuse the terrible iPhone photos, my camera is failing to live up to expectation)

Getting my sew on

All wound up

Hanging down (and yes it is sunny outside)