A new silhouette (aka does my bum look big in this?)

It seems like an age since my last blog post, how did that happen?

I haven’t sewn much lately, work is crazy busy and fun sewing projects seem to get put on the back burner.  So I decided to take a stand.  I put the hoovering, cooking and taxi driving to one side and thought about myself for once.

I have been wanting to make a skirt for ages but could never find the right pattern. We are also hitting autumn here and even though the humidity is unbelievable, I can feel a change a coming.  I need a transeasonal skirt and I found one in the form of a free sewing pattern from a Peppermint Magazine and In the Folds collaboration.

 

How cute is this?  It’s a pleated skirt with lovely big pockets.  I love it, but does it love me?

I am often unsure about this shape on me.  I am a pear with a tum, was this going to just exaggerate the bits I’m not keen on?  I took a gamble and gave it a go.

I usually make a toile but in this instance I didn’t.  It’s a forgiving pattern so I followed the pattern sizing and opted for a C, which is a size 10.  Normally I would grade out one size for my hips but with the pleating and volume in the skirt I just went for it and cut the straight C.  I am thrilled to say, it’s a really great fit.  I can’t remember the last time I made something without some serious alterations.  The only tweek I made was, unsurprisingly, to the length.  I reduced the length by 6cm and it sits perfectly on the knee.

I didn’t buy new fabric for this pattern, I raided my stash.  I love the patterned fabric in the magazine but I wanted something plain.  I KNOW… plain!  Sometimes you just have to put the patterned fabric aside.

This stash fabric was found at my local charity shop. I think it cost me the princely sum of $3.  Always hard to know exactly what it is, but I would say it’s some kind of brushed cotton mix with a very subtle herringbone texture running through it.  And it’s purple. Yes, that surprised me too. I am generally not a lover of purple.

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The fabric was a bugger to work with.  It was quite drapey and moved around a lot.  It also kept collecting ironing marks, so pressing was an issue throughout the whole process. I think the pleats could do with sharpening up with the iron but I was too eager to wear it to be bothered with that!

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The pattern itself was pretty awesome.  I haven’t done much pleating before, I have never really fancied them.  The pleating was a bit fiddly but with some proper chalking up it was easy to follow.  The top stitching down was a great idea as it flattens the pleats and takes out the volume round your tum. Top marks for instructions and design as always!

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But the big question is, does my bum look big in this?

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note: crazy kids making me laugh here!

Answer: Yes, probably, maybe, not sure… but really who cares?

I like it. I like the colour and I like the fact that I swish around in it. I love the fact that it has giant pockets. Time to embrace a new silhouette I think!

 

 

Get your dots on… join the ‘Sew Dots Challenge’

I recently decided to take part in the ‘Sew Dots Challenge’ created by Rosie Martin of DIY Couture. It’s a simple challenge, to sew something dotty in October, share a picture of it and donate some money to RNIB.

The RNIB (the Royal National Institute of Blind People) is a UK charity that supports people with sight loss with a huge range of services. These services include emotional support and campaigning for public environments that respect the needs of blind and partially sighted people. RNIB run a campaign every October called Wear Dots Raise Lots to highlight the impact of Braille and to raise money for their services.

Rosie works on a project called Online Today, which helps people with sight loss to use digital technology.  All of these services mean that blind and partially sighted people are not excluded from everyday communication.

A worthy cause and a fun challenge, so I signed up.  To find out more, I watched this little vBlog made by Rosie.  It’s cool, take the time to watch.

Onto my project;  For us sewing peeps, Rosie has been filling her Instagram feed with dot sewing inspiration which has been thrilling to see.  Everything from oversized dot mini skirts to mini dotted dungarees to monochrome dotty raincoats.

My thoughts when starting this project was to use fabric and a pattern that I already owned and donate any money I would have spent.  Dots are pretty thin on the ground in my stash and I can’t say I have sewn all that many pieces in ‘straight-up’ polka dots.  These are the only projects I could find that are close to the brief. I think 2 out of the 3 aren’t standard polka dot patterns. The first was made from a polka dot tablecloth, the second was a random raindrop spot and the third more mesh than dotty.

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So time for some experiments. I decided to produce my own dotty fabric.

I found the perfect base fabric, a piece of white linen that was gifted to my by Margie (the gift that keeps on giving!)  I always feel that linen is a ‘grown up’ fabric and that I was never mature enough to pull it off.  Well today is the day I am doing linen, but of course with my own special touch. I started by hand painting some small dots and then cutting into some freezer paper to produce some larger dots.

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I really liked the smaller random black dots so I abandoned the grey.  I liked the grey but they were quite patchy and I thought together they would be too much for me.

Now to choose a pattern. I settled on a Peplum top from Peppermint Magazine, designed by In the Folds.  A new pattern to me, but a free pattern.  Yes you heard me, a free pattern, just downloaded from the Peppermint Magazine website.  The top had been made in a light grey linen so I knew my white linen would work a treat.

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Image: Peppermint Magazine

My biggest issue was the peplum.  Lets just say, I am not a fan of a peplum.  Anything that cuts me right at my ‘problem area’ is just not for me.  So I just extended the top and eliminated the peplum.

The pattern has a lovely design feature on the shoulders which isn’t easy to see in this photo, but the diagram shows it in more detail.

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Image: Peppermint Magazine

I decided to paint the shoulder panels and then create a pocket to further achieve some dot loveliness.  It turned out pretty well.  What do you think?

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The touch of yellow just gave it some extra zing which I really liked.
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A slightly wobbly pocket, don’t look too closely.
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I like that you can still see the dots from the back

It was an easy sew.  The instructions are very detailed.  I was dreading adding the binding to the ‘V’ but the ingenious pattern piece really helped to make my ‘V’ sharp.  I am also pleased with the pocket.  It was my second attempt at sewing it in place but I finally managed to make it as symmetrical as I could.   It’s a bit wobbly so don’t look too closely!

It’s just the right amount of dottiness for me.  I much prefer a random dot so this mini dalmation pattern worked a treat.  Now all we need is a warm sunny day.

Come on people… get your dots on! x

The ultimate winter warmer!

Is it a raglan sleeve sweater in dress form? YES!  Hooray to that.

For a Sydney winter, it’s the right kind of cosiness and I am never taking it off!

When Emily of In the Folds told me she has designed a sweater dress pattern for Peppermint Magazine I was on it.  I don’t need convincing to make a sweatshirt, especially when I know she has had her hand in designing it.  Are there pockets involved? Why, yes!

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Image: Peppermint Magazine Sewing School

Have you ever seen the Peppermint Magazine Sewing School?  If not, you must check it out.  There are some beautiful patterns available and they are FREE!!

I have had a lovely navy blue sweatshirt fabric for a while (a charity store find, of course) and it was the perfect fabric for this pattern.  You can see a softer stretch is used above but I had a heavier version with more structure.  But I gave it a whirl all the same.

I had to do a little hack though, so I reverted to my final scraps of gold knit.  You may be familiar with my gold knit.  I made use of it once before on this sweater and as they say, ‘if it ain’t broke…’.  The gold is perfect with the navy blue and I had just enough for the shoulder hack.

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It’s super easy to add this shoulder detail.  All you have to do is measure from the base of your neck to the tip of your shoulder.  For me it’s 12cm.  Fold the sleeve pattern piece in half and match the arm hole points, then draw a line at this centre point to 12cm. Now graduate a curve, making it as deep or shallow as you like. Add seam allowance to both of your new pattern pieces. As I am no pattern maker, this isn’t an exact science, but it worked for me!

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un-ironed gold loveliness!

I was quite intrigued by the pockets.  I wasn’t convinced that pockets would sit well.  I have never sewn an inseam pocket in sweatshirt fabric before.  I thought they wouldn’t sit flat but they do!  It’s this little tip that makes them sit down.  The devil is in the detail as they say.

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Image: In the Folds/Peppermint Magazine

I didn’t have quite enough fabric on one pocket so I had a do a little patch up job.  It’s well inside the pocket so not visible from the outside.

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This pattern is incredibly easy.  Definitely a good place to start for those beginners who fancy their hand at stretch.  You can sew this on a standard machine. I didn’t though, I used the overlocker for my seams.

I made one final change, I decided against the hem band.  I think it was the right choice with this thicker fabric.  Instead, I just overlocked the hem and turned it up once.  I even used a standard needle and straight stitch (eek) on my sewing machine.  I know, I am such a rebel.  But it worked a treat.

So here it is in it’s full glory

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A blurred portrait shot is so much more flattering when you are over 40 me thinks!!

Sometimes it’s nice to be able to smash out a dress in an hour or two.  This is my new winter wardrobe.  Lets see how many I can cobble together with my remaining scraps….