Saturday, June 29, 2013

Victory patterns Ava in silk

Victory patterns Ava

Finally it stopped raining long enough for me to take some pics of my Ava top. Yikes - our back yard looks like a swimming pool!

As I mentioned in my last post about the muslin for this, I love the Victory Patterns Ava pattern. And even though it had its trials I was pleased with this version, which I wore to a friend's birthday party recently.

Victory patterns Ava detail

It was my first time working with such fine and slippery fabrics and I found them pretty difficult to work with, so it was quite a frustrating sew. The main part of the top I made by cutting up a silk sarong gifted to me from a lovely friend. She had found it in a charity shop, and the tag said 'Akira' - what a find! It moved around and seemed to stretch in a weird way - the side panels of this pattern are cut on the bias, and they dropped a lot. Maybe this is typical of silk but when I went to hem it the hem was extremely wonky and I ended up adjusting it by eye.

Victory patterns Ava

I'd wanted to use a sheer fabric for the top part, and grabbed a piece of what I think might be organza from a local shop, not having time to go looking elsewhere. This was a real pain to work with! all those little seams that need to be perfect as they were all on display drove me mad! Not only could the fabric not be pressed but also it just didn't roll well. I ended up with sore fingers from overworking the synthetic fabric and very grab that it would be night time when I wore it so all the imperfections wouldn't be seen!!


I swore that next time I had something special to sew I'd take the time to find a natural fibre fabric, especially when my main fabric was so lovely. Then on the afternoon of the party I was looking for a scarf to wear with it and found not one but 2 garments in silk that I'd reserved for repurposing - and either would have been perfect!! So that's a lesson to me to always check my stash first. I'm hoping to one day unpick the awful organza and replace it with the cream silk. I made the this little scarf from the 2 fabrics, just joining them with a seam and then hemming it.


And just as an aside, something I love about going out somewhere special is being able to get out some of my old favourites - I never get tired of my origami earrings, my ankle strap heals got an outing and wearing my old black satin trousers is always fun :-) How about you, do you like dressing up now and then? And does working with sheer fabrics make you crazy?!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Upcycled Victory Patterns Ava wearable muslin AKA the 'never say never' top

Victory patterns Ava

What a convoluted title!!

I recently had a special event on the horizon - a birthday party for a lovely friend - and couldn't let the opportunity for a bit more sewing slip by ;-) I was planning on fixing up my botched Belladone dress, but when I tried it on again I just wasn't feeling the love... then I stumbled upon Victory Patterns Satsuki, hmm, could work in the lovely silk gifted to me by a friend, BUT then I thought about using the silk on the Ava pattern and was smitten. I asked the opinion of the Mr and big girl between the two patterns and they both voted for Ava. Done!

The gifted silk was so precious that I knew I had to make a muslin. I'm usually not patient enough to do this but I really didn't want to stuff up the silk (I'll show you in the next post) and thought I could repurpose the skirt I bought recently into a nice wearable muslin.

Victory patterns Ava

The skirt turned out to be just enough fabric for the top, which takes quite a lot of fabric even though it looks quite simple - the side panels are cut on the bias which adds to the quantity required. You can't see from the pic, but the skirt is lined in a solid green voile, which I used for the bodice, sleeves and also the side panels - I would have liked to use the poppies print for this but ran out of it.

The Ava pattern comes as a downloadable pdf. I like these for the instant gratification of getting it straight away and being able to start immediately rather than going to the shop. I really loved using this pattern, and found the instructions all very good, though I did get stuck on how to get the V of the sweetheart neckline to sit flat. The instructions said to snip the V and pivot the needle to change direction but I still couldn't get it flat so I'm just going to live with it. I'm sure some extra practice and patience would do the trick.

Victory patterns Ava

I am glad afterall that I made a muslin, because I did adjust a couple of things: I'd made the right size according to the pattern but it was gaping a bit under the arms so I just took the side seams of the bodice in about a centimetre. Also in the silk version I extended the bodice by about 10cm as firstly I have a long body, but also I don't think a 'baby doll' style is particularly flattering on me and with the high waistline that's what its ended up looking like. I think the pattern is intended to sit just above the natural waistline but this was way too high for me. Having said that, it will not stop me wearing this as I love it overall :-)

And the reason it's a 'never say never' top is that I always thought a sweetheart neckline and peplum were definitely not me, but somehow in this pattern I love them. I love the swishiness and it just sits beautifully, which I think is down to it being a really well designed pattern.

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In other sewing news: I saw for the first time last night the Amelia dress pattern from Green Bee. Do you know of it? I am seriously considering buying it after seeing this lovely version. Oh, the temptation!!!
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Next post I'll show you the silk Ava. Have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Spending $8 on clothes

Where do your clothes tend to come from? Large department stores? Smaller local boutiques? Thrift shops? Or do you make them yourself? I'm guessing that many crafty types would have a mix of all of these, as I do.

Lately I've been thinking a bit about the clothing industry and 'disposable fashion'. This was prompted by the recent tragic Bangladesh factory collapse. Prior to hearing about it I had been patting myself on the back for finding a pair of jeans that I loved in a large store for just $8 (they're the purple ones in my Me Made May pics). But then I heard the story and had to look on the tag to see where they were made... Bangladesh. And those cheap kids leggings? Bangladesh. Kids skivvies for school? Bangladesh. I know this is a complex topic, exploitation happens in many countries, and those countries need the source of income, it would just be a lot better if conditions were safe and fair. I'm no expert... but it did make me think that I'd like to be more mindful of where and how I acquire my clothing. Then I read this post that made me think, loved the ideas & pledge behind the Handmakers Factory and participated in Me Made May. All food for thought.

Jeans Flares from Sass & Bide. Fix broken back belt loop and wear as they are.
Skirt Gorgeous double layer voile in green and pink poppy print. Repurpose into top.
Dress Silk overlay and cotton voile under-dress. Repurpose into Wiksten tank.
T-shirt Monster print Mambo t-shirt. Repurpose into a Skinny Tee for my son.

The purple jeans were a bit of a rarity, I almost always buy my jeans second hand at my favourite thrift shop, which I've written about several times. They charge by weight, 1 kg is $8. So the other day, after I'd had to throw out a pair of threadbare jeans I dropped in to see if I could find a 'new' pair. And not only did I find a pair but also 3 other gems, and it came in at 1 kg. So again I spent $8 but this time I got 4 things! That's not always the case - sometimes I go and find nothing. But when I do I leave feeling good... now that feels like money well spent.

I'm not saying that I'll only buy second-hand or make my own clothes from now on but I think a mix of those with just the basics from stores (underwear, socks & shoes) should be achievable for me. I have already re-purposed that green skirt above. Show you later this week ;-)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Me Made May 2013 week 4+

Me Made May 2013 week 4+

Here's my final week (and a half) of Me Made May 2013. My apologies for not referencing each outfit, most are the same as previous weeks.  I've been struggling to get the time and patience to blog lately... technical issues, kid issues, family issues... you know, just normal stuff but stuff that keeps me from hobbies like this blog. Anyway, I digress. Back to MMM2013:

What I noticed in week 4+:

- Day 26  I forgot to take a pic so this shows the little wristlet that I take with me on my walks with my boy to drop off & pick up my girls from school - very useful.
- I had one more fully me-made day - Day 27. Made a mental note to make another pair of these trousers.
- Having a loose colour palette going seems to help me get dressed quickly and stress-free in the mornings. Mine seems to be cool toned neutrals with splashes of bright colour.

And what I noticed overall from MMM2013:

- I'm pleased that my wardrobe is generally hanging together (largely through colour but also Briars :-), and I now know where the gaps are: casual trousers & skirts and a few nicer pieces - I am working on one at the moment and hope to show you next week

- Taking a photo each day wasn't so hard in the end... I kept my camera in my study/sewing room, which is next to the laundry, and once each day when I passed I grabbed the camera (settings left permanently on self timer), propped it up in the same position on the BBQ, pushed the button and jumped in front of the fence... then each few days I plugged the camera in to the computer while sending emails.

- I feel inspired to keep going with my sewing. As my skills improve and the quality of my garments improve I get more enjoyment from it and love the fact that to a certain extent I can make what I dream of wearing rather than trudging the streets looking through shops for something that may suit me and may fit and may be affordable. Yay sewing!

- and as always I've loved being part of a community here online :-) Thank you so much to all those lovely people who have commented here and on Flickr - you give me confidence in my sewing and my style.
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