Thursday 28 July 2011

Procrastination Pays!

Warning - pictureless post ahead!

Having been excited about the latest release of Vogue Patterns, when it came to actually picking those I really wanted to buy that couldn't easily be replicated from my mountain of existing patterns I just couldn't decide.  I narrowed it down to 4, but that just gets me into the $25 shipping range for 4-7 patterns so I either needed to add 3 or lose 1 and, well time went by and the sale expired.

Today I received an email that all Vogue, McCall and Butterick are on sale and Vogues are $1 cheaper than the sale of a few days ago.  I am happy about this but I can imagine there will be a lot of cross people out there.  Are you one of them?  I remember they did this a couple of years ago too just after an exclusive Club BMV sale - I was a cross person then and at that point I let my membership of that club lapse (what a revolutionary I am!).

Of course I still have to decide what to get, but at least I can consider all 3 pattern lines this time around.

I also picked up my August Burda yesterday and made a list of about 8 things I would like to make which is a vast improvement on the last couple of years.  Unfortunately next month is folklore time (again) so it might be business as usual.....

Monday 25 July 2011

Upgrading Blogger

Ok, for Gail and anyone else who needs to know, here is how to upgrade to the latest version of blogger.  I only discovered this was even a possibility when my husband set up a new blog and found it super easy to use.  Fortunately it is also super easy to change so here goes;

Click on the settings tab in your blog (accessible from both the dashboard or the new/edit posts page)
Scroll down till you get to "Select post editor"
Change to the top option "Updated editor"
Click the orange "Save settings" button

Here is the full list of all the stuff the new version can do - List of new features, but most importantly for me is that photos will post where your curser is, you can drag or cut and paste them and move them left or right without having to muck about with the html.  So now we can all post more often???  Hope this helps!

Sunday 24 July 2011

Snoop Shopping From the Comfort of Your Sofa and Vogue 1250 remixed.

(Longest blog title ever).

I know everyone probably has their favourite websites for ideas and inspiration, I have quite a few bookmarked, but my current obsession is the Net-a-Porter website for designer clothing.  It is well organised and easy to search.  Do a little search on, say, t shirts in descending price order if you ever feel a need to justify how much you spend on fabric, it will make you feel much better.

In addition to all the eye candy, they also issue an online weekly magazine .  Of course it is essentially a marketing tool for their products, but is just as good as the printed fashion magazines that I used to waste a ton of money and trees on.  There is a tab at the top of their home page, but you can check out the latest issue here - magazine.

I am currently working on something other than a dress - I know, amazing hey?!  My other staple outfit is jeans with a tshirt or blouse, and a jacket in the cooler weather so I thought it was about time to work on a few pieces.  (Hence the looking around at expensive t shirts!).

I am still in love with my Vogue 1250 cowl neck dresses so I decided to draft a top pattern from it.  This was very straightforward, the neckline is identical but I have added a side seam all the way to the bottom and lengthened the back piece to eliminate the waist seam there.  I tried it out in a leftover piece of black jersey and think it makes a great basic for my wardrobe.

I am going to have to be careful I don't end up with a closet full of these dresses and tops, I know we always say non sewers don't notice when you re-use a pattern, but I think there is a limit!  I'm thinking I could add sleeves for fall and am wondering if there is enough ease to make it in a woven, like the Michael Kors version above which also has a collar.

Two more tops in the pipeline, hopefully on their way soon!

Finally I discovered that I could upgrade this blog to use the latest Blogger software which you probably all did years ago, oh my goodness what an improvement, so much easier to move photos around.

Saturday 16 July 2011

Vogue 1120 DKNY Dress, version 2

The dress is finished, it should have been done days ago but it was left hanging on my dressform waiting to be hemmed. I always seem to run out of steam at the end of projects and the hem in this slippery silk was fiddly so I kept putting it off. Of course it actually only took about 20 minutes to do once I got around to it, I will learn one day....

I only had 2.5 yards of 45" fabric and the pattern called for 3.25, but I was determined that I wanted to make this dress in this fabric so I had to do a bit of jiggery pokery (technical term) to do to make this work as follows;
  • left off the pockets
  • made the ties narrower and pieced them
  • left off the hem facings
  • left sleeves unlined
I don't recommend always buying less fabric but it is interesting how much you can save with a few changes that don't compromise the overall design.

One annoying thing about this design is that the front facing wants to flip out so I handstitched it to the front with invisible stitches underneath the pleats. If you are confident of doing a perfectly neat job, narrow binding might be a better option. That said, the pattern is now out of print, but there are plenty of patterns with similar necklines around and the rest is just a basic shift.

This dress is so comfortable to wear, here I have dressed it up with gold tone heels and clutch bag, but I will wear this a bit more simply for everyday wear (yes I do wear silk dresses quite often, they are perfect for our hot summers).

In sewing room news, I did do the promised tidy up and all I managed to find was that in addition to losing the Cynthia Steffe dress pattern I wanted to make next, I have also misplaced my February Burda and 2 yards of orange cotton fabric. They must all be together somewhere weird, I will probably find them in a kitchen cupboard or something in a few years time.

Tuesday 12 July 2011

More stuff for my poor tiny sewing room

Oh my gosh, thanks to Rachel I've just seen the new Vogue patterns (LOVE!!) and am going to have to find another source of knit fabrics in advance of the next sale or I will bankrupt myself. I think a trip to the Sham Shui Po fabric market first and then I will look online, shipping prices to Hong Kong are crazy but I still think it will be cheaper than going to Western Market again when all I need are basics.

That said I picked up some gorgeous fabrics in addition to the much needed plain knit. I mainly bought good quality solids which aren't very exciting to share photos of, but while there I couldn't resist picking up a couple of prints......

This is a printed silk, for a dress (of course!). I have the pattern in mind, this V1207 Cynthia Steffe which I know I own but cannot for the life of me find anywhere right now. My sewing room is in a mess so it will be a good excuse to tidy it up.

I also picked up the last of this large butterfly print silk chiffon. I've looked at this fabric every time I've shopped there in the last couple of years and always loved it but not known when I would wear it. Since there were only 3 metres left I bought it and will figure something out. If I didn't think I'd come home one day and find my cats hanging off it by their claws I would just leave it draped like this to look at and feel happy!

In sewing news, I am in the middle of making another version of V1120 DKNY, that should be ready soon, in a plain teal blue silk - I love this colour. I'm feeling in the mood to crack on with more sewing before the next Vogue Patterns sale. And tidying that sewing room to make some space!

Thursday 7 July 2011

Vogue 1250 DKNY dress (times two)

I may be almost the last person in the universe to make this pattern and it seemed like the perfect project to get me back in the sewing room.

My knit stash is a bit limited and this is one fabric it seems hard to get out here for some reason, so I only had prints to choose from. After much procrastination, I picked a risky print, quite a large scale geometric border print, took a deep breath and ploughed in.

While I was making the dress I still had reservations but figured I could always turn it into a top, besides the dress is so quick to make I didn't have time to talk myself out of it. It's a very easy pattern but similar to other DKNY patterns has unusual shaped pieces that make it difficult to alter. I just used a straight size 12 which luckily worked out fine.

I took time to centre the print on the centre front of the pattern, completely forgetting about the centre back seam so I had to fudge it a bit there but it's OK. As soon as I tried the dress on I loved it and knew I had to have another one (at least!). I think the cowl drape has the perfect amount of drapiness and depth and the cut on sleeves are just right too.

Of course I had to then try and track down some solid jersey and went to Western Market in Hong Kong, a reliable but expensive place to shop. While there were plenty of lovely printed silk jerseys, cotton jerseys and very lightweight silk/cotton blends they weren't quite what I was looking for and in the end the best I found was a plain black blend. (Needless to say I couldn't stop at just one piece of fabric but thats a story for another day). Still, I am always saying "this would make a great LBD.." and never get around to it so for once I did. I know this will be a staple in my wardrobe and will probably get worn till it falls apart. As always it is difficult to take good photos of black dresses so I have tried lightening these.

If you haven't tried this pattern yet then I really recommend giving it a try. It only takes a few hours and 1.25- 2 yards of wide knit fabric. Are 2 versions of this enough for me, we will see........

For those of you interested in my trip, I'm working on putting some of the photos up online (I have hundreds as you might imagine) so in the meantime I'll just stick a few random ones on my sewing posts! Galapagos wildlife today!