Kimono top with pom-pom trim tutorial

So lucky or unlucky depending on how you look at it, I managed to score my 5 weeks of annual leave for this year all in one go and first up, directly following 3 weeks of end of internship leave. That's 8 weeks of leave. And despite some ongoing guilt about abandoning Russell to the boarding kennel again after a stint whilst we were on a country rotation, we bit the bullet and decided to go overseas. And what better than eight weeks off and a holiday to motivate me to sew. 

With plans to travel to Bangkok and both North and South of Thailand, from beach to mountains, this chiffon cover up seemed light enough for my carry on bag and versatile enough for all occasions, especially given that visits to temples and royal places require modest dress; covered shoulders and knees.

Starting with one meter of fabric, and two meters of pom pom trim (which as it turns out is stretchy) is all you'll need. 

Fold the fabric in half length wise and cut about a two inch long strip of the folded long end, this will make the 'collar'. 

Using an oversized t-shirt as my template; stolen from the man, I eyeballed the sleeves and sides, cutting two rectangles. 

I then split the centre front in half to the fold mark. 

Folding the long strip of collar fabric in half width wise, I proceeded to french seam it to the opening made in the centre front of the top by sewing the wrong sides together and then encasing the seam and sewing the right sides together. 

Followed by flipping the whole thing right side out to basically topstitch it down. 

Next to sew up the sides I also did a french seam, because all those fine chiffon threads are not being amenable to a zigzag stitch or pinking shears. 

Match the front and back parts and sew along the big right angles that make it t-shirt shaped to make sleeves as below. 

To finish the bottom edge and the sleeve openings I sewed a teeny tiny hem line by folding the fabric over once and stitching it in place. 

And then folded it in on itself again to encase the seam. That's the picture of the double seam inside, but only one should show on the outside.

Next using lots of pins to attach the pom pom trim and sew it around both the bottom edge and the sleeves. 

And you have the perfect cover up for all seasons. 

Action shots. 

Now for some shots of Chiang Rai which is north of Thailand. 

We visited some of the beautiful areas, including a tea plantation. 

There are also quite a few hill tribes in the area, known for their handicrafts, and I couldn't help myself.

A cross-stitch pouch. 

This woman was weaving scarves at a the Chiang Rai night market.

And I bought this piece off her to make into a clutch, it's actually a traditional skirt. 

This piece I got at one of those tourist markets opposite one of the temples with a view of the Golden Triangle. This is also a skirt and is actually six times as wide and has a really beautiful black and white woven pattern, I paid about 5 AUD. 

And a shot of one of my many favourite Thai foods, freshly made roti with banana and condensed milk - which costs a 5th of what the person in the photos is holding (so 20 baht = 60 cents)

Happy Crafting

Not so city gym shorts

As a kid I never understood the concept of dressing down at home. I was always dressed and ready to go out somewhere. But now as an adult who spends most days with a belt cinched around their waist to hold the dreaded pager, I long for comfort at home, and have amassed quite the collection of trackpants. A recent gutting and reorganisation of my closet has reveal a fond liking for the comfortable clothes I walk the dog in. Mostly the elastic in them all I think. 

I've mostly erred away from making shorts and pants because, you know, camel toe. I have resized the odd pair of pants, and to my horror it has made an appearance on occasion. But these shorts called to me, they had the same appeal as my black gym shorts. I hoped by adding pockets that they'd be wearable outside the house for walking the dog and for lounging on the couch, in bed, in the kitchen, you get the idea, but I think I set my expectations a tad high, because when Pruet noticed them I got a "you're still in pajamas?"

The pattern is City Gym Shorts by Purl Bee and it was quick to put together even with my detour into pocket land. I picked up the eyelet fabric at a 50% Lincraft sale many years ago, but it is a tad transparent so I cut a second front piece for lining, and it also meant I didn't have to cut an additional pocket piece.

The Chambray-esk fabric was from a new local fabric find, Kim Anh Fabric in Oakleigh. It's a veritable maze of wonders. There's a massive collection of notions and fabric; from suiting to sateen to lining. Reasonably priced and definitely a better range than the Lincraft/Spotlight apparel fabrics. 

I limited myself to these three with set projects in mind; well semi-set, the chambray was meant to be a circle skirt.

I've had boxer shorts as a project on my to do list as a stash buster forever, but can never be bothered due to the sewing in of elastic; this was a cinch and a motivator.

I swear I did iron these, but I also spent much time lounging in them. 

Now I hate hate hate bias tape making. I picked up a 3 piece pattern and realised it required bias tape to finish the arm holes, I even brought it back unfinished from Mildura for 10 weeks, such is my hate of bias tape. But using this amazingly clear pictorial from aptly named So Sew Easy 

and the life saving printable bias tape maker from The Scientifc Seamstress I got through the ordeal okay, and even motivated myself to finish the top.  

In fact I was so motivated, I made two in a row. When I first started sewing I picked a lot of small print floral fabrics, which is really hard to use in most things, but after wilting away in my stash this floral print has found itself a project; sans pockets this time. But I shall be on the hunt for outdoor city gym shorts appropriate fabric. 

I cannot recommend this project enough, it was a free at home printable pattern, with good stash busting possibilities. It is available in a multitude of sizes by hip measurement, and was spot on.

Happy Crafting! 

DIY Leather Bucket Bag

So I mentioned during my last post that I had managed to make my very first leather bag. It took some serious tetris skills to try and piece together the parts to make a strap after squaring off two pieces to make the body of the bag.

Leather as most of you would know is super expensive, and not something I really felt the need to spurge on in the past. But lo-and-behold I couldn't help myself when I stumbled across a leather hide. Redcliffs is a country town in Victoria not far from Mildura, and they hold some pretty amazing Sunday markets, which is marked by the fact that without fail every time I visited it had two jumping castles! 

The Sunraysia Farmer's market is another local country market which featured fresh produce and a stall which made hot breakfast from the ingredients available at the market. These guys at the back are from the local Lion's club (I think) and were cooking bacon off the back of a ute!

I didn't think they were allowed to sell golliwogs anymore, well in any case I haven't seen them IRL, only on the cover of an old Enid Blyton book I have. 

So this leather hide was $10 from a local vintage shop at the Redcliffs markets and I bought it 'just in case'; which is why I have so many boxes of fabric, and am kind of wishing I bought more.

The leather was pretty easy to cut with a box cutter. The bag ended up a bit more rectangular than I would like, but I cut the maximum amount that I could out of what was available.This isn't as detailed as most of my tutorials, but the mood struck me, and my camera was being unhelpful, but this bag uses many techniques that I have shown on my blog before.

The bag I made was a lazy bucket bag, rather than the traditional one with the circular base as I wasn't sure my machine could handle it. The best part of using leather is that you don't need to finish the edges or line the bag necessarily, and given my laziness, I didn't find it necessary. 

In brief: 

1, 2. Cut your leather pieces. I had 2 x 15.5" x 12" rectangles. I used the remaining leather to make a 40" long by 2" wide bag strap and a 36" x 0.75" long drawstring 

3. Sew the two rectangles along both long sides and along one of the short sides. Box the corners by pinching a triangle 3" long. As per this wet bag tutorial.

 4. Using a leather hole punch you will need to punch 12 holes. The holes need to be punched at the following intervals from the side seam, about 1.5" from the top of the bag: 2", 3", 4.5", 7.5", 9", 10" and the same on the back of the bag. 

5. For the straps you need to fold the leather in half lengthwise and sew alongthe two raw edges. If similar to me you do not have enough leather you can join two opposing diagonal cuts of leather with a zigzag stitch, as shown in the top left corner on the shoulder strap. 

 6. The drawstring should be threaded through in the following way to ensure that the front centre drawstring can be tied. 

7. To finish the bag off you need to attach the straps. Same as the drawstring you need to fold the fabric in half lengthwise however this time I sewed both sides. I used rivets to attach the straps. I used two rivets at the front of the bag, and used two rivets at the back of the bag to balance the bag. I wasn't sure my rivets were long enough to go directly through the side seam. If you need help use this tutorial.

This is my attempt at setting up an impromptu photo shoot and Russell dutifully guarding my bag.I'm surprised he didn't try to chew the leather.

Happy Crafting! 

Salme Sonja Dress - the one meter dress

One of the first dresses I made was the Salme sleeveless pleat front dress and I was keen to try another salme dress pattern when I came across this very in style Salme Sonja Dress, which is free on burdastyle.The high neckline with halter-esk style generally shows a little too much off that unfortunate part of the body that showcase the junction of upper side boob/underarm flab, but I was able to alter the style to avoid too much lunch lady action.

The fabric is a cutain weight cotton sateen from Spotlight which I had bought in the hopes of turning it into an apron due to it's large print, but once home I realised the sheen of it was much better suited to a dress, alas with only one meter it makes for a very short, and somewhat tight dress.  

As with many other bloggers who made the Sonja dress I had to alter the bodice to fit. I cut a size 6 and next time I might have to grade at the waist. Due to only having a meter of fabric, I made a circle skirt of the remaining fabric. I also bagged and lined the dress as per this tutorial over at Sew Me Love (my go to tutorial for such things); which was a bit more difficult given the narrow straps of the bodice and the thin lining fabric but this is why I have a lone chopstick hanging around in my sewing tools. 

The only well fitting part of the sonja dress is the waist, which is more tight than well fitting.

The top and sides of the Sonja dress were quite loose and I had to take up the straps by an inch. 

The directional print of the fabric means I should've cut seperate pieces for the circle skirt but I couldn't squeeze it in - at least the front worked out well. 

All in all, this is a great summer staple dress pattern and I definitely would recommend it to others. 

Sneak peek of my next post, my very first leather bucket bag, which nearly killed my sewing machine.

Happy Crafting!