Friday, January 25, 2013

Dresses and things from the last few months

Sadly I have neglected my blog for the last few months. It's a great record of my sewing achievements and also an excuse to take photos of Alyssa, so after a motivational boost from my Mum hopefully I'll be right onto it for the New Year.

I started a Facebook page called Liese & Alyssa. I have given a couple of dresses to my friends children and also sold a few dresses to a boutique! The lovely lady at the boutique thoroughly inspected the dresses and decided that they were up to her impeccably high standard and that she "had to have them". (A proud moment!) I also bought myself a new Bernina 530QE sewing machine, a step up from my secondhand Brother machine.

Summertime Dreaming Dress
Fabric: Children at Play by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller
Pattern: Elsie Dress by Sew Sweet Patterns

I love this dress probably because of the fabric. Alyssa has had so much wear out of it too. The pattern is so easy to make. The only tricky thing is getting the shoulder frill the same on each side. The instructions on stitching up the back seam were kinda confusing so in the end I braved it and installed a (not so) invisible zipper. 

Lucy's Parade Dress

I wrote a post on this dress when I made it for Alyssa. I got a few compliments so decided to make some to sell.

I launched my Facebook page with three of these dresses for sale. Possibly I priced them too high and coupled with a tiny audience (about 30 likes) I sold none. haha. Then after admiring the dresses for a month or so and almost deciding to just keep them all my Mum made me take them into the boutique. Is is weird that I get totally sentimental and don't want to give them up?!?

The Fawn Dress
Fabric: Vine in Pink for Woodland Tails by Sheri Berry Designs
Pattern: An adaptation of the Raven Dress by Sew Sweet Patterns

I really wanted to try printing onto fabric. After some research into printing directly onto fabric and wondering how I'd fit all the fabric of a bodice through my printer without it ending in tears, I decided to try Lesley Riley's Transfer Artist Paper.

Basically you print your design onto a sheet of this paper, cut very carefully around the design and then iron it onto your fabric. I am a web designer/developer so it was easy for me to scan part of the fabric and trace around one of the animals using Photoshop.

Lesley Riley's Transfer Artist Paper is expensive so you can't really afford to have any trial and error. For a basic design with one solid colour it worked well. I wasted four sheets on a subsequent project because I wanted to attempt a much more detailed design which failed miserably. There were cracks all through it.

I like the idea of creating my own unique fabric and then using it for a little dress or onesie. I have some fabric paint to try and now just have to decide on a cool pattern.

Just Stay Little Dress
Fabric: Just Stay Little in Turquoise by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller
Pattern: burda 4082 (pretty sure this one is not available anymore)

Last year I raided my mums pattern collection. She used to sew for me so had a loads of little girls patterns.

This was my second time following a commercial pattern. For a beginner sewer they are so intimidating especially one this old (my mum would have purchased it about 25 years ago).

I made a size two so its a bit big on my model. The pattern had no seam allowances but it did provide info on what they were. However I did find that very annoying/frustrating. I had to trace over the pattern with tissue paper and then draw on the seam allowances to make sure I didn't accidentally forget while cutting it out. It seemed like there was too much fabric for the frill for the armholes (they stick out a bit) and then not enough fabric for the frill around the bodice. The frill for the bottom of the bodice was also two separate pieces and to begin with I couldn't decide if it was supposed to go right the way around, or just along the front of each side. There is also a seam down the front skirt which was supposed to be a kick-pleat, or something. My Mother in law who sews professionally was confused by the instructions for it, so together we had to improvise.

Overall I was happy I finished it. It looks terribly big on my model but will fit her eventually.

Santa sack
Pattern: The characters are from:

I wanted to make a Santa sack for Alyssa. Something that she could use year after year.
I had no pattern but wanted to make something interesting with lots characters and layers but eventually got sick of all the 'free-motion embroidery' that really wasn't so free (without the correct foot it was a nightmare!).

There is a penguin, a bird and mistletoe on the other side. It's packed away now so no more pics till next year.

My new sewing machine has a special BSR foot which is designed to regulate the stitch when free motion quilting. I wonder if it would have been useful for this project. It's still in its box. It looks very intimidating, as does the walking foot and all the buttons etc on my 'fancy' computerised sewing machine. eeek I am not allowed to say I preferred my manual machine, am I?!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Lucy's Parade

I'm really pleased with how this little dress turned out. Alyssa loves the elephant and the kids playing. She was eager to get it on (she usually HATES getting dressed) which totally translates to a 'mummy/sewing win' right?! Oh and the collar I LOVE. I think I'm going to put collars on everything from now on. This was another Sew Sweet Pattern. I'm calling it Lucy's Parade.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sew Sweet Patterns Saffron Romper

I have quite a few of the Sew Sweet Patterns to try out. The Saffron Romper was next on my list.

I'm not going to write much about this one as I was disappointed with the pattern. The bottom fits well but the top was way to wide. It pokes out at the front and the straps slide off her shoulders. I have since taken in the back with a little pleat but because of the frill at the front have just left it as is.

I wanted a romper that could become a wardrobe staple for Alyssa over summer and especially for her to wear at daycare. This ones not it. I am however going to experiment with my own pattern (based on her measurements) that hopefully will 'work'.

Sew Sweet Patterns Harper Reversible Dress

I purchased the Harper Reversible Dress pattern mainly because I loved the fabric they used. It's Bukhara by Dear Stella House Designer, with the main side using Suzani in Multi and reverse using Fez in Multi (I think I like the reverse better, will post some photos soon). You can see the original here. The fabric was purchased from Hawthorn Threads. It's bright, bold and is something I'd usually steer clear of. I think smaller prints suit babies and toddlers better.

The whole dress is sewn inside out, apart from the hem. This way all seams are nicely hidden - perfect if you don't have a serger or overlocker. It was a little tricky to sew the curves but going slowly helps. I didn't get one curve perfect so I just stitched over the top of the original to correct it.

I accidentally cut the front hem the smaller size 9-12 months so had to shorten the dress. I still think its too long. I love dresses that are mid thigh. They are just that bit cuter.

Her Dad said she looked like a table cloth and Uncle, "like a 70's child"...besides that nonsense we had a fun morning in the sun at Coolangatta on the Gold Coast.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Sew Sweet Patterns Summer Romper variation

I loved how totally super silly easy the Sew Sweet Patterns Summer Romper was to make. See my first version here.

However, I wanted to make another one as although the pattern fits well it was not totally functional. The original pattern has a tie that is threaded through the top. It kept coming undone and I could tell it was annoying Alyssa.

I had some old fabric that needed using up and since it was totally cheap - I'm a bargain hunter when it comes to fabric (it's EXPENSIVE!) - I thought a romper would be good for daycare. Alyssa is attending three days a week so a lot of her wardrobe needs to be practical: 'I-can-get-filthy-in-this-and-mum-won't-freak' sort of thing :)

I think it turned out too cute for daycare. So the next day I made another one exactly the same.

I attached some trim to the top sides, front and back, and then turned it inside and inserted elastic. No annoying tie. It comes off quickly and is easy to put back on. I think this would be a good solution for girls who can dress themselves. How hard would it be to tie a tie on your shoulder? The only other change I made was to use an extra 2 inches of elastic for the ankle casing which meant that they still gathered in at the ankles but where not too tight.

High Tea at Alyssa's

This fabric was on special for $3 a metre at Spotlight. I thought that was cheap enough to practice making my first skirt (without a pattern - I figured I hardly needed a pattern to make a skirt right?). It actually turned out wearable!

The skirt is lined with a plain pink tana lawn. I used store bought bias tape for the trim and added a fun tie for the back. In the next photo you can see my first attempt at a pocket. It ended up making the skirt a bit stiff though. I contemplated removing it but couldn't be bothered in the end. She might use it?!?

Getting grubby:

I don't know why peoples reaction is always slightly negative 'oh-poor-you-now-its-all-on' when they find out your bubba is walking. It's totally fun! Alyssa really enjoyed helping herself to the reels of cotton in the shop today, taking them off the shelf and then putting them back on. Plus her summer wardrobe is going to be filled with skirts and dresses.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The 'Raven Dress' from Sew Sweet Patterns

Possibly my favourite thing I have made for Alyssa so far - the Raven Dress from Sew Sweet Patterns is really simple to make if you are over your fear of buttonholes. I am, thankfully. I chose this pattern because of the back straps - they are seriously cute.

I was dying to make a little dress for Alyssa and to use the heart fabric again. I love this fabric! I used the cream version in a sunsuit here.

I included a couple of pics of the dress on the hanger. My little model has been sick for what seems like months and is in no mood for photos, also its a teeny bit big but will be perfect for her to wear in a couple of months.