Polyester Delight

December 22, 2012 § 1 Comment

Who else loves real, cold, hard patterns? You know those ones you don’t have to try to decipher from a Burda magazine or just draw them from scratch. As much as I love the challenge of drawing my own patterns, when it comes to making a dress for your boyfriend’s mother, it is a lot less risky just to hand over the cash and get the wisdom of someone else who has been trained and has probably been doing it for years (technically I didn’t hand over the cash, my mother did, but that is a mere detail!).

As mentioned here, I decided to sew a dress for my boyfriend’s mother for Christmas, specifically one New Look 6000, which has had a lot of good reviews over on Pattern Review. I accosted a younger sister and we rifled through her mum’s closet, racking our brains to remember which dresses fitted the best so I could take measurements. I ended up with a 6 at the bust, graded to a 10 at the waist and an 8 at the hips. This is the first time I have ever needed to grade anything, I’m a straight size through my upper bust, waist and hips and I just do a FBA for the chest situation, so naturally, the pattern was separated in to 4,6,8 and 10,12,14 for some of the pieces and other pieces only had one size per line drawing. It was definitely a learning curve!

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I made the version with the pleats at the waist and the longer sleeves just without the collar and cuffs. I haven’t hemmed the dress yet. I’m planning on getting that done once she had tried it on and I have made any fitting alterations. Grading through the pleats stumped me for a while and they still don’t look perfect but I know no one else will ever be able to see it. I lined the dress by just using the plain darted bodice. The fabrics are a polyester crepe from my mum and a polyester lining . Polyester! Polyester everywhere!

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Instead of using both a lining and a facing, which many people vote both for and against, I just cut the facings from interfacing and ironed the interfacing straight on to the lining. All the stiffness with none of the extra bulk. By accident, I swear it was and not just laziness, I ended up sewing the lining with the side seams of the fashion fabric. Whoops! Late night sewing never seems to do me any good. But I figure it will still work and she wears a petticoat. I’m safe, right?

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This was also the first time I had to sew sleeves all on my lonesome. I haven’t sewn sleeves since high school sewing class when we had to sew a sweatshirt. They were a pain in the ass then and I just assumed they would be now too. As luck would have it, following the instructions included in the pattern (benefits already, people!) and careful use of ease stitching, I managed pretty easily and I think they look rather great, especially since we have been playing a very long game of Hide and Seek. Guess who was the hide-ee.

On an unrelated note, how sweet is this card that my little sister made for me?

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Two more posts to come before Christmas; one sewing related and the other is more edible. Santa Claus is comin’ to town!

Til next time.

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year

December 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

blurry candles

Christmas is coming! And I am getting quite excited! Being the second Christmas that I am spending in Denmark, I now know what to expect and I’m feeling rather like a child in a candy store. Christmasses here are like the big ones we southern hemisphere kids see in the films, where the snow is falling, everything is dark outside and lit by candles inside, there is far too much comfort food and everyone gains around 5 kg in just one day and, to borrow an overly used Danish expression, everything is just so cosy. There are a few extra traditions they have here that just make you think “What!?” until you actually participate in them. These include, but are not limited to, holding hands and dancing around the christmas tree whilst singing Danish christmas songs, and making far too much rice pudding with almonds broken in to it, or Risalamande, and forcing everyone to eat it all until it is all gone and the one whole almond has been found by a lucky someone who gets a gift to go with their incredible feeling of stomach ache. Strangely, especially for a serial 1st of December-er, the Christmas tree doesn’t get put up and decorated until the 24th. This also happens to be the day that this is all celebrated, though for quite a number of lucky families, a lot of these things need to be redone on the 25th with the other half of the family. I know this is how things are done in a lot of northern European countries, but I had just never thought of it. The 25th has always just been Christmas for me.

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This year, I decided to make a few more things than I did last year in the way of gifts. I’m getting up quite a stash of fabric after being sent a whole bunch from my Mum and getting a bit from Bif’s grandmother, who used to do a bit of home sewing. As well as the skirt I made for one of the sisters, I finished two cute little backpacks for the other sister and a small cousin.

This first one is for the small cousin. I can take none of the creative talent since I found a tutorial here and just adjusted it a little.

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The fabric is just a plain cotton. I used three layers just to make it a bit more stable on the outside and used the same fabric on the inside. The straps are the blue cotton canvas left over from this skirt. I still have to add a dome/snap or a button, I just haven’t decided which one yet. I did buy some little trains from Ikea to add in to the bag. I had no idea they sold toys and they are made from wood so it was definitely a win!

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The second rucksack came from a mixture of two tutorials. This one over at Heart of Mary, is so great! She did a really good job with the instructions and I found it really easy to follow. The second one is from a magazine, I think, and I used this one mostly to simplify the other one.

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I bought some wool and used that as a tie for the top of the bag and attached some pompoms at the end. It’s been years since I made pompoms and I don’t remember them taking so long to make or why on earth I made so many of them as a kid. My bedroom was like puff land and it would have used quite a bit of mum’s wool stash, which for reference, is just as big as her enormous fabric stash. Have I mentioned that my siblings and I never had wardrobes? Sure, they were in our rooms, but they were strictly used for storage of wool and fabric. We used to hide in it and not be found for hours during our many games of hide and seek with the neighbourhood children. Perfect place to bury yourself.

Anyway, the outside of the bag is a fabric I bought for a lining when I first started sewing here and I had just enough left to squeeze a bag out of it. It is quite thick and should hopefully stand up to the job. The inside is a viscose rayon which I had left over from this top and the flap is the very popular polka dot matte satin fabric that I have now used to make two skirts.

I have two more gifts to make before Monday, as well as baking around 60/80 shortbread biscuits to put in to biscuit jars as a small add-on gift to other presents. I should be kept busy! Will add posts on these items before I give them to their recipients.

Are you making any homemade gifts this year? Do you prefer to receive something homemade to something store-bought?

Til next time!

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