Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Pattern Review: Vogue 8766 aka The Sparkly Christmas Dress

My favourite dark pink colour? Check. Lots of sparkle? Check. Crooked hair do? Check. Supercute, glam yet oddly comfortable? Check checkity check! Folks, we've got a winning Christmas dress here!

Christmas Dress #5

Christmas Dress #3

Christmas Dress #1

I quite enjoyed making this dress, in a nerdy oh-look-how-I'm-sewing-this-part kind of way. I mean, underlining! That was awesome fun, yet so easy. I can't believe how easy it was - you just pop the pieces of fabric on top of each other, sew around the edges to create one single piece, then continue sewing the dress together as per usual. Looks so impressive, but was easy as pie. I'm an underlining fan now, guys!

The dress was made with a sheer sparkly Marc Jacobs lurex blend fabric, which I placed on top of a dark fuchsia medium weight silk. The dress is then fully lined, with boning in the bodice. I'm LOVING the Marc Jacobs sparkle - I feel like I have designer threads at a home made price. Yippee!

The only thing I would change is how the lining is constructed. Instead of doing the bodice lining separately, then attaching the lining and skirt together (which made putting in the zip a bit messy) I would have sewn the lining fully together, then attached it, doing a sly hand tack along the bodice/skirt seam to attach the lining to the dress. But that's just me.

I also put in an invisible zipper, rather than a dress zipper, as I think they look only about one billion times better. The hem was also lengthened, as the original dress came in pretty darn short. Surely the good folk over at Vogue Patterns know it's either bosoms or legs, not both? I've already had one pink slut sack disaster this year. I sure didn't need another!

One thing to keep in mind is that this dress does require a LOT of hand stitching. The hem is hand stitched, as is the bodice and skirt lining along the zip line, and then the bodice lining is hand stitched to the skirt. So even thought this dress was easy to put together, it was also quite time consuming. Not a dress to make in a hurry.

All in all, very pleased how this one turned out. I think I might need to restitch my hem lining, as it sits a bit funny when on (looks perfect on the hanger, though - always the way!), but apart from that it's ready to roll on Christmas Day. It was a fun dress to make - so fun that I might have treated myself to some green lace to make another one. Hey, gotta make sure there's one fabric-based present under the tree!

Speaking of all things yuletide, I'd like to wish all my readers a brilliant, happy and safe holiday/Christmas season. Thanks for reading and for not groaning too loudly at all my daft jokes, and I'll catch you all in 2014!

Project Details
Pattern: Vogue 8766, view A
Fabric: 1.2m sheer Marc Jacobs lurex blend fabric, 1.2m medium weight silk for underlining, 1.3m rayon for lining
Notions: 35cm invisible zipper, covered boning for bodice, hook and eye

Friday, December 20, 2013

Sabrina and The Sparkle Dress vs The Christmas Tree

"Aha!", cried Sabrina the formidable dressmaker's dummy as she stood before the Christmas tree in the Great Sparkle-Off of 2013. "Suck it, O Tannenbaum! The dress wins! It doesn't even need my brilliant personality to win hands down!"

Sparkly Dress

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Sparkly Christmas dress sneak peek

Jorth stood before the Christmas tree and made a momentous decision. Why, after all, should all things glittery and tinselly be confined to a mere plastic flora replica? Christmas shimmer and shine should be available for one and all, she thought. And since she had a certain, sparkly Marc Jacobs fabric on hand, and also was in possession of Vogue 8766, she could see no good reason why she, too, shouldn't be adorned with a bit of Christmas splendour.

Decision made, Jorth armed herself with a pair of sunglasses and got cutting. And underlining. Underlining - how fancy pants!

Sparkly Fabric

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Rum Balls

Christmas just ain't Christmas without some chocolaty, coconutty rum ball goodness! I am not ashamed to admit that I love eating these little fellas. I loved eating my Nanna's version as a kid, I love eating my sister's version as a teenager, and I love seeing the Tyger happily scoff the ones I make.

Although they are called rum balls, they contain no rum at all, making them fine for both kids and bigger kids who like to keep their livers intact. They are also a cinch to make, which is brilliant for this time of year when you need to make lots of food for teacher gifts/Christmas stalls at school/work colleagues etc.


Rum Balls

1 packet Arnott's Marie biscuits, crushed
395g tin of condensed milk
1/4 cup Dutch cocoa
1 cup desiccated coconut, plus extra to roll in

Mix all ingredient well in a large mixing bowl. Wet your hands, then roll into small balls. Toss in the coconut, the refrigerate until ready to serve.

See? Told you they were easy. And at this time of the year, I am all about the easy! If it involves piping intricate icing designs onto perfectly baked biscuits, you can look elsewhere. I get so hot and flustered trying to do stuff like that, which means I get crabby, which means that my Christmas spirit flies out the window quicker than you can say "Grinch!"  But rum balls? Now those I can do!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Surprise Christmas Dress

Shhh! Don't tell Tyger, but I've been busy beavering away all week, making her a surprise dress for Christmas!

Christmas Dress

I actually had no intention of making her a dress, but then I found myself in the fabric store, needing to buy some thread and a zip. One thing lead to another, and before you knew it I was on the footpath outside the store, clutching my thread, the zip... and fabric and pattern for this project, plus a dream of Christmas spent in home made dresses. You go in for a zip, and come out with a big hole in your bank balance. Tell me I'm not the only one these things happen to!

Anyway, to the dress. It's pretty cute, eh? It's Simplicity 2265. I still need to make a rose to attach to the mid bodice section, but apart from that it's pretty much done.

Once the rose is attached, I'll wrap it up and pop it under the tree, and Tyger can unwrap it on Christmas Eve. Fingers crossed I get my own dress done, so we can both look stylish at Christmas Eve mass!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Annamaria Tunic from Ottobre Design

I like to be organised. I'm a list kinda girl. If I have a 'to do' list, then I'm happy. So every summer I sit down with Tyger and make a list of things we need to sew for her. We then happily trot off to the fabric store, make our purchases, dutifully wash our fabric and then get sewing.

Except for when we don't. (Sew, that is. We always manage to get to the fabric store!) And the poor old fabric sits there, project pushed aside in lieu of life in general. Often the poor thing will sit on top of the sewing bureau, as a guilty reminder that I really need to sew it up soon, but before long the guilt inevitably gets to me, and I shove it in the actual bureau itself. Out of sight, out of mind and one less thing to feel behind on.

Thankfully fabric doesn't go off. And the Tyger didn't grow too tall, so I was able to rescue this fabric from the stash, where it had languished for a whole year, and make this tunic up for her. Phew. Better late than never, eh?

(Although note to self, Jorthy: maybe stop being so darn ambitious with your sewing goals, hmm?)

So here we have the finally finished Annamaria Tunic. You know things are a hit when they refuse to take them off after the photo session, and then try and wear them to school the next day, even when the forecast is for rain with possible hail. Jeepers - if I had have known it was going to be this well loved, I would have made it up sooner!

Tunic #1

Tunic #3

Tunic #2

Hee hee - like mother, like daughter. She sure likes those pockets!

Project Details
Pattern - Annamaria Tunic from Ottobre Design Magazine 3/2009
Fabric - Assorted quilting cottons
Notions - Interfacing and 30cm invisible zipper

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Pink Knitting Disaster Mark II

Thanks folks for all the love on my Roses dress. I am so happy with how it turned out. Unlike my Principesa dress. I had knitted all the way up to the neckline shaping, and had completed the right straps when I decided to try it on.

Disaster! It was too short, too tight, and so wrong on so many levels. ARRRRGGGGHHHH! All those hours of knitting, and I had something I wouldn't even leave my house dressed in, for fear that some sleazebag would sidle up to me and enquire as to my hourly rate. It was meant to be elegant and sassy like everybody else's are, but instead I had knitted myself a slut sack. Gah!

So what was an 80% finished dress is now this:


Yup, I frogged the whole darn thing. I am not having luck with this yarn at all, and have lost all love for the project. Thankfully there are always new projects to cheer myself up with:


A sweet baby ballerina style wrap from the Noro Collection by Debbie Bliss, which I've had on my bookshelf since I started knitting, and a 90s Vogue dress in a mustardy yellow. Tempting as the jacket is, I might leave that part of the pattern well enough alone.

As for the pink yarn, I think a summer cardigan for Tyger could be the thing. Seriously, pink yarn - I've got a three-strikes-and-you're-out policy around these parts, so this is your final chance to behave!

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Pattern Review: Retro Butterick 6582 (The Roses Dress)

I have had the most astoundingly good time of late, and every time I take out the memories of it all, I feel so lucky and blessed to have such amazing people in my life.

It all started two weeks ago, when I had the best coffee date ever with the fabulous Julia Bobbin and a very special lady who we both have since admitted we have major crushes on, the brilliantly clever and talented Kristiann from Victory Patterns. The time flew as we sat and nattered with Kris and her partner Simon - as we left there were multiple hugs and cuddles all around, and many promises to meet up again as soon as geography allows us. Seriously, it was AWESOME!

But then lightning struck twice, in a totally good way when last weekend I got to have another coffee date with the inspiring and wonderful Carolyn, who was in town. It was such a pleasure to meet somebody whose blog I have admired and loved for a long time, and she is even more lovely in person than you can imagine. Now I have two girl crushes!

And just to make things a trifecta of fabulousness, I attended the very special and heart-warming wedding of Lara from Ink & Spindle to her husband Dave. I have been to a few weddings in my time, but this one will forever stand out for it's true and pure love. I got a wee bit teary during the ceremony because it was such an honour to watch the blossoming of love between two pretty brilliant people.

Well! When you are lucky enough to be invited to such a brilliant wedding, you've gotta make sure you have a good frock to wear! I had planned to wear my pink knitted dress, but time was against me, so I decided to go with Butterick 6582, aka the Roses Dress. And I am glad I did - with a petticoat borrowed from Miss Bobbin and my hair done nice, I felt perfectly glamorously attired!

Roses Dress #2

Roses Dress #4

Roses Dress #7

Roses Dress #6

This was a fun and easy dress to make. The bodice has facings, rather than bodice lining, but it wasn't too hard at all to put in. With 8 darts around the bodice, you are guaranteed a pretty nice fit, and I love the super full skirt!

The only change I made was to use an invisible zipper, rather than a dress one, which wasn't exactly a monumental alteration. I quite like the crossed over bodice - good for us girls with not much going on in the bust department! And this dress is so comfortable to wear than I am seriously thinking of making another, with the straight skirt.

Yup, very happy with this one. I think I can chalk it up on the winner's board!

Project Details
Pattern - Butterick 6582 (Retro Butterick)
Fabric - 2.2m stretch cotton sateen from Rathdowne Fabrics and Remnants
Notions - 45cm invisible zipper, interfacing for bodice facings