Skater dress hybrid

It is a rare moment in deed that I find myself with the ideal fabric and sewing pattern at the same time. I have a stash of both, but I'm horrendous at matching the two items together. This was one of those rare moments. 




I've had this medium weight suiting fabric for a while now and had wanted to redo one of my earlier dresses, and given that the skater dress is in fashion now, I've found the right time to make it too.



The original was made with a interlock type fabric, but clings horribly as seen above, and is also too lightweight to have pockets added. I used amazing fit 2648, which has 1 inch ease and gets you to baste the seams together to alter the fit, a bit advanced for my skills at the time. But the style was complimentary to my body shape. 




I picked up this sewing pattern earlier this year at an op shop for $0.20, and the previous owner had already copied the pattern onto thicker paper, which was amazing.  



It's a pretty classic princess seam dress pattern for a great price. 




I used the bodice and cut it off about 2 inches below the waist line and teamed it up with self drafted cap sleeves and a circle skirt with pockets.




I had help with the fit from my new handy sewing model, it's nice to be able to stick pins and fit the shape without stabbing myself.



I'm loving the style and can't wait to make another one. 



PS. Hope you guys like the new layout. I'm missing a few posts between the first and second pages, and every time I update a new post it pushes them to a mysterious page I can't access. I'm trying to figure out how to change this, I've even messed with the dates a little to see if it helps, but can't figure it out, if you have suggestions feel free to add to the comments section. In the mean time I've tided up my pages section and labels to help you find projects easier. 

Happy Crafting! 
Mel



Self Drafted Peg Skirt

I'm a big fan of the peg skirt, even before I knew what it was called. It has pockets included and makes me look like I have a waist as the skirt flares out and tapers down. 


I can't remember how I stumbled upon this tutorial but it was sitting on my pinterest 'To Craft - clothes' board for a while before I decided it was time to start using my self drafted skirt block as a base for bigger and better things. That and I wanted to make a dress like this. 


The bodice looks pretty similar to new look 6144. Which I picked up in a 3 patterns for $15 sale a while back also.



Sometimes inspiration pieces have a way of motivating me to actually get off my butt to sew instead of just pinterest-ing things I would like to sew. I used Rhonda's peg skirt tutorial which comes in two parts here and here and it was easy enough to follow. 



This is what the skirt looks like without a belt, ignore the face, it's the best one I have of the skirt. Next time I'll move the pleat closest to the centre towards the centre front a bit more. 





It looks better belted to seperate the blob of my top and to cinch my waist to give the illusion of a nice silhouette, as does my awkwardly lean-y pose.


I just used the back of my skirt block pattern to complete the back of the peg skirt. 


Hop on over to Rhonda's Creative Life and check out her peg skirt tutorial.


Happy Crafting
Mel

Bangkok 2014

Finally managed to photograph my backlog of handmade clothes and I'm itching to post them all in one go, but given my track record I'm going to hoard them and show you some photos of sunny Thailand instead. I'm definitely having holiday withdrawals, especially as we only get two weeks of annual leave rationed out during the year, but I'm very happy with my decision to make the most of it and go overseas (and restock my wardrobe and sewing stash). 


I always book flights to Thailand so I can squeeze in two weekends over the course of my stay, because chatuchak market or better known as JJ market to the locals is only open on weekends. It is a massive wholesale market selling clothes to food to crockery over 27 acres which is 15,000 stalls. This is the place that other shops come to get their wholesale goods. So if you're looking to get souvenirs this is the place to go, they have all your elephant shaped goods and silk scarves as well as a bunch of more unique crafts. You'll need lots of cash. Start early, shops tend to open at 10am, so you can beat as much of the heat as possible, and if you, like me are lugging around a reluctant shopper, there are massage places pretty much everywhere.
Also don't eat, there's a wealth of street food to sample. Must tries include the coconut ice-cream that comes in a half coconut shell topped with you're choice of sticky rice, shaved coconut, peanuts and other stuff I never pick; Thai iced tea and arguably the best fried chicken shop. The papaya salad was a bit disappointing but the fried chicken is better than KFC. 

 Nothing like Bangkok like the food, Thai people love Japanese food (as do I) and they have some of the freshest seafood around, so it makes for great sushi trains. Also the pastry in the top left is a croclair - a donut/croissant/eclair hybrid, it was amazing. Food courts in Thailand are a must visit. The Central Embassy shopping centre, one of those fancy high end shopping malls has a basement food court that's set up like a street food centre but cleaner, and is definitely worth a visit. They had amazing pad Thai, and my favourite roti with banana and condensed milk. Also bottom photos are of the food at Coffee Bean by Dao, they have amazing cakes and a mix of Western and Thai food, there's one in Siam Paragon.




Also worth a visit is the Erawan Tea Rooms, it had a special when we went, a mix of traditional Thai snacks and a western afternoon tea stuffs. 


The best thing about shopping centres in Thailand is that they are all linked along the train line, but I reckon you'd be hard pushed to visit more than one in a day. My favourite (because I'm a cheapskate) is Platinum Mall, it's a wholesale women's fashion mall. Most items have prices written up, but the more you buy the better the discount. I was too busy shopping to take photos. 



So fabric shopping in Thailand is centralised to China Town, and Little India which are both connected. Little India tends to be more sari type stuff, whereas China Town has good basics and quilting fabric and haberdashery, all focused along Sampeng Lane. Jill over at bkkquilt has put together a good map of the area, and even managed to get some sneaky photos in (as most all the fabric stalls have a no photography rules). The fabric stalls are squished between a lot of handbag, Disney product, soft toy and jewellery stores. Also mostly wholesale. If you want a hair tie, you'll end up with a pack of twenty instead, but basically for the same price.





I managed to get a pretty good haul in Sampeng. I got a bunch of quilting cottons/voiles for 89 baht/meter (~$3AUD/meter) and some polyblend suiting fabric. The haberdashery cost me around $11 AUD for a dozen 22 inch invisible zippers and a half dozen different spools of thread.

Happy Crafting!
Mel

Papavero dress pattern review

So I finally did get that tripod I was talking about, the one I thought would enable me to blog more. So here's to hoping. It's an old tripod of my father's from the 90's - it has a spirit level and everything. Even though I couldn't figure out how to get my new fangled digital camera to sit in it, it did sit on the top precariously balanced which means I was still able to get some pretty decent shots, especially considering that Russell was cautiously sniffing at it and potentially going to charge at this new strange contraption invading his garden.

Flap Front Double Zip Pouch Shoulder Bag Tutorial

Wheww. I couldn't think of a good name for this bag so it is a mouthful, but I've been pinterest stalking all those terms together and figured it would help some other person with a specific bag in mind. 


 


When I was bag stalking for ideas, I came across the Celine trio bag which seemed perfect because it would allow me to carry all my essential but force me to seperate my important essentials from my less than necessary essentials, read junk. I also thought I'd forgot the extra pouch for the kitchen sink and just go with two instead to keep it orderly.



Geneva from A Pair & a Spare whipped up a Celine trio bag inspired tutorial as well using store bought zip pouches and some snap buttons. I was worried the amount of stuff I'd be lugging around would be too heavy for the snap buttons so I opted for a rivet stud instead. I could've sewn through six layers of canvas but I value my eyes and didn't want my sewing machine to spit half a broken needle back into it. 


  
I added a pouch to the front for my phone so I'd be able to sneak my hand under the flap to retrieve it one handed without having to use said second hand to unzip the pouch. 


 
This is basically a tutorial for two zip pouches with a flap secured together with a rivet that makes a very cute and functional bag. 


What you'll need




  • Exterior fabric 
    • 4 x rectangles for pouches [7" (width) x 6" (height)]
      • I used a different exterior fabric for each pouch because I couldn't decide which I liked best but I'm sure most people are less indecisive than I am
    • 1 x rectangle for front pocket [7" (width) x 4.5" (height)]
    • 1 x rectangle for bag strap [52" (length) x 4" (height)]
    • 4 x zip ends [1.5" x 1.5"]
  • Interior fabric
    • 4 x rectangles for lining pouches [7" (width) x 6" (height)]
    • 1 x rectangle for front pocket lining [7" (width) x 4.5" (height)] 
  • Notions + other things
    • Iron on interfacing for flap - cut flap template 0.5" smaller around the edges
    • 2 rivets 
    • 2 x 7" zip 
    • 1 x magnetic snap

What to do
* please excuse the poor quality iphone photos, was testing it out but my old point and shoot digital is definitely better 

Grab the fabric for you bag strap and pop it on the ironing board. You'll need to iron the whole thing in half length ways. Then fold in both sides towards the ironed creased.



Then fold in half lengthwise again and give it all another good iron . 


Grab the fabric for you flap. Iron it in half and iron the interfacing for the flap onto one of the sides.



Sew around the flap leaving an gap along the side to turn it through. Sew with an 0.25" seam allowance. 
Grab a scrap bit of interfacing and iron on at the midway point at the base of the flap to reinforce the fabric. 
Using the washer for the magnetic snap, mark the two vertical slits. 


Using a seam ripper open up both the vertical slits. Make sure you have not accidently caught the other side of the flap.



I prefer to sew the flap before adding in the magnetic snap as the sewing machine foot is metal and the magnetic snap can make it difficult to sew a narrow seam allowance. 


Squeeze your hand through the side opening to get the magnetic snap down and in through the slits. 


Use a pair of pliers to fold the prongs inwards (I have tried folding them outwards once but found that the ends of the prongs wore down on the fabric and eventually poked through).



Turn the flap inside out through the gap. Grab a needle and thread to slip stitch the opening closed. 



Give it a good iron and set it aside. 



Trim both zippers down to 6.5". Use pliers to pull out the zip stop. If you cut too close to the zip stop you often end up trying to sew through it and end up with a broken needle, this I have learnt through very violent needle spits from the sewing machine. 


Grab the zip end fabric and iron it down on both sides by 0.25". Iron in half and wrap it around the zip end. 



Sew across the zip end. Repeat for other side and zipper. 



This is what the zipper should look like once the zip tabs are attached. 



Place the zipper on the lining and pop the exterior fabric on top. Centre the zipper about 0.25" from the edge. Make sure when you sew up the zip pouch that you do not catch the edge of the zipper tab or you won't get nice square edges. 


Sew the zip in place using lots of pins. I find it easier to 3/4 unzip the zipper and sew until I hit the tab and then lift the foot and zip the zipper back up before continuing.


With your zipper secured in place it should look like this flipped over. Fold the lining under the exterior fabric as it will be when it is finished and pop a pin in the middle somewhere to hold it together.


Flip the zip pouch around and again sandwich the lining, zip, exterior. 


This is what the near complete zip pouch will look like. 


Match the exterior and lining fabrics to each other and sew them together with a 0.25" seam, remember to leave a gap to turn the whole pouch through at the base of the lining. Remember not to catch the zip tabs when sewing the pouch, leave the zip half unzipped and push the zipper teeth towards the lining.


Pull the pouch through the gap. Iron, fold and sew the gap shut. 


The pouch ends are nicely formed with this zip tab method.


Grab the exterior and lining fabrics for the pocket. Face them right sides together and sew along the top with a 0.25" seam allowance.

Attach the pocket to the exterior pouch fabric, leave a gap along the middle bottom to sneak the magnetic snap into. 



Baste the top of the flap to the top of the exterior pouch/pocket fabric. Now the magnetic snap for the flap should line up with where it's partner needs to go. X marks the spot. 


I prefer this method of sneaking the snap in so I know it will line up exactly. Use the washer to mark where the two slits need to be and as above use a seam ripper to open them up.


Use a spare bit of interfacing to protect the fabric inside along with the washer when securing the magnetic snap. Then proceed with making the zip pouch exactly as before. I would recommend using more pins when attaching the zipper because of the added thickness of the flap.
 

You should have two zip pouches - one with a flap and one without. If you wanted you could make both with a flap and make it double sided in that way. You'll need to grab your strap and some rivets to attach it all together. A leather hole punch is also a good idea to get through all the layers. Just need a hard surface and a hammer to attach them all. You could deinitely attempt to sew through the layers, very very slowly or alternatively hand sew them together. If you need help with rivet insert I have a tutorial here. Or you could attach eyelets to each bag seperately and thread the straps through and rivet them together or even knot them.


A quick and easy sling bag from two zip pouches with endless variation and possibilities. 



Happy Crafting! 
Mel