Saturday, April 2, 2011

High waist pencil skirt

My latest creation is Vogue 8697. I am not usually drawn to high waisted garments, but I keep reading they are a good look for petites and I liked the detail on this one so I gave it a go.


The fabric is a black Italian stretch wool (I think by Ralph Lauren) purchased from Gorgeous Fabrics. A slight stretch works really well for this skirt as it is quite fitted by design.

For once I actually lined something! I used a beautiful silk cotton from Sckafs in Brisbane. It is very soft and light like voile and beautiful to wear. I think it's my new favourite fabric! I've already bought more to line the wool dress I am currently making.


Design changes I made include using an invisble zipper and adding a vent instead of a slit. I used the Cupcake Goddess' tutorial for creating a vent. This went well until I forgot to cut the vent in the lining. Whoops. So the inside isn't as fancy as it could be, but it's fine.


I cut a size 8 and took the skirt up 7cm at the petite line, but for some reason the vent only ended up being 7cm long. This is fine since the fabric stretches, but it's not as long as they usually are. I should have measured this better before cutting. Oh well... This obviously would not be an issue if you used a slit.

I really liked all the top stitching on this skirt. To get all the seams to line up I recommend tacking the skirt, otherwise they may not line up perfectly. This is a pet peeve of mine and I just end up redoing them. For me, tacking saves time in the end.



This is a nice skirt to sew and wear. In fact, it's probably my favourite one so far.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Another day, another Cynthia Steffe dress!

Ok, I’ve realised that I seem to be really drawn to the Cynthia Steffe dresses. They are gorgeous though so why not? Here is the latest one I’ve made: Vogue 1207.



I was drawn to the sleeves and the V back on this design. The only thing I don’t really like is the middle section. Without a belt, it looks kinda frumpy. This could be a result of my fabric though, which is very stretchy so it pulls the dress down. It is a poly/lycra 4 way stretch thing from Gardams Fabrics in Brisbane. It is not the easiest fabric to work with (slippery) but it feels really slinky and nice.


I love the fabric pattern and the red is a pinky red which is a better colour for me. I also think it’s quite similar to this Giles Resort 2011 design, which I also love!

Source: style.com
This dress wasn't difficult to make, but I spent quite a bit of time tacking pieces together and the pleats etc. as a result of the fabric. As usual I omitted the lining and I used Amanda S’ tutorial for finishing the neckline with bias tape. I also used this Fashion Incubator tutorial as a guide for finishing the V at the point.


Originally I used bias tape to finish the sleeves but they looked odd, so I unpicked them and finished them normally with my sewing machine/overlocker.

The pattern instructions do not specify the number of tacks or how far apart they should be. I have 5 in each sleeve, 1 inch apart.



Given the stretchiness of the fabric I left out the back zip and cut the back bodice and skirt pieces on the fold, omitting the 1.5cm seam allowance. As a result, my V is not as deep as the original design. However, this has worked in my favour because I can easily wear a strapless bra underneath now without it showing. Note: a strapless bra is better as the shoulders do slip as you wear it. This doesn’t bother me, but is worth noting if it would annoy you.


Overall, I'm pleased with how this dress turned out even though I started it last year and it was at risk of becoming a UFO!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Cynthia Steffe Vogue 1174

I made this dress for a work Christmas party last year. I really wanted to wear something pretty and summery and Vogue's 1174 by Cynthia Steffe fit the bill perfectly. Plus you can’t over eat in this dress with all the boning – in fact breathing is difficult – so I looked skinny the whole time. Hooray.






I found this 100% cotton fabric at Fabric Frenzy on the Gold Coast and fell in love with it and knew it would be perfect for this dress. I love the floral pattern on the original but this is in pink. Yay! The piping is made from a pink cotton bought from Spotlight.



I really like the short version of this dress (although I suspect it just looks short because the model is a giant) and made mine shorter. Plus I think short dresses look better on me anyway.




I changed the design a bit by piping around the top of the dress. I think this makes the bodice look more complete. I also used piping cord which is not part of the original design as it gives the piping more structure. The piping along the top meant I changed the inside. I didn’t do the foundation and just did a lining for the bodice. I didn't bother lining the skirt.

I made the casings for the boning in the seam allowance of the lining which differs from the original. I don't think you can even buy covered boning in Brisbane so I had to change this bit of the pattern anyway. I also removed the boning from the sides as it made the dress sit funny when I moved.




Other design changes I made include taking a good 10cm off the length. I took about 3cm off the bodice around the boobs as the original was too big for mine. I also removed about 2cm from the bodice at the waist. I am a fan of fitting as I go and this is what it needed for me.

I am so pleased with this dress. It's gorgeous and I love it even though it is very tight.


Work skirts

Right, so it’s been ages since I was last here. Sorry about that. It was not due to a lack of sewing, more a lack of blogging. Plus Christmas and New Year was a busy time – I was away a lot. Then I went backpacking around Asia (which was amazing). Anyway, I'm back now.

To demonstrate how rubbish I’ve been at blogging, I made 4 skirts a good 6 months ago when I needed some new work skirts.

These first 2 are both McCalls 5523 views A and C. I love the ruffle on C. I did not make any design changes to these skirts but I did make petite adjustments, removing 8cm at the petite line, and then a few cms at the hem to get it to a length I like.

View A



View C


The grey fabric in view A is a cotton with lycra suiting fabric from Gardams Fabrics in Brisbane. The stripey fabric is a polyester/rayon/spandex suiting fabric from Vogue Fabrics in the US.

The fabric in view C is black with white and pink stripes. It's really pretty for the office. I used the rolled hem feature on my overlocker to finish the edges of the ruffle.


The third skirt is from Vogue 1021. I changed the design quite a bit. My inspiration was Chanel RTW Spring 2010 collection (which I love!) Obviously, the Chanel version is a bit short for work.

Source: Style.com



To make it Chanel-like, I removed the back seam and added a side zip. I removed a good 15cm from the length. I also added slits to the sides and used the selvage as the hem. I started making a jacket but then it got warm again and I lost interest in it. I will come back to sometime this year.


The fabric a gorgeous Chanel inspired rayon/poly/cotton blend by Rebecca Taylor. I got it from Manhattan Fabrics in the US. I created a lining using a pink cotton voile and attached it to the facing. It comes to the top of the slits so you can't see it.


The forth skirt I made was on whim, also using Vogue 1021. I found an 80cm navy cotton sateen remnant in Gardams Fabrics and decided it would be enough to make a skirt. I really wanted a ruffle on the bottom so I used the back ruffle piece (folded in half) from view C of Butterick 5249. It turns out, 80cm was just enough but I did have to get creative with the pattern placement.




Here is a close up of the skirt details. I used the rolled hem feature on my overlocker to finish the edge of the ruffle.