Salme Sonja Upcycle

So this is my last Salme Sonja version for a while, mostly because of the cold weather, coldest April in Melbourne and all that, not because I love the pattern any less after three versions.

This is not exactly how the Salme Sonja free pattern project picture looks like on Burdastyle, but the halter-esk bodice looks great with the looser fit top. 

The fabric that I used for this top was rescued from one of those dresses you get overseas on holidays, because you know, you're tourist. I think I wore this dress all of once. 

I managed to get a fair bit of fabric once all of it was unpicked, and the best part was that it was already hemmed, and the sides were overlocked.

I drafted the facings for this top off the front and back bodice pieces. This top is actually quite similar to one of Salme's patterns so I won't post a tutorial.

Even though I never wore the dress much I've worn the top multiple times.

It's great tucked and out and the best part about the fabric is the directionality of it. 

I finished the back of this top with a button loop closure but I didn't really need to as I never open the button loop to get the top over my head. 

If you haven't already check out Salme, or the pattern, or need some inspiration check out my previous curtain fabric version, or my 2 piece peplum version.

Happy Crafting!

Salme sonja two piece peplum and skirt

So given the success but the borderline indecency of my previous Salme Sonja due to its rather risqué length I was pretty keen to give the pattern another go in the form of a day to day wearable counterpart. When the time came however I just couldn't stick to the original pattern, mostly because of my indecisiveness. In the end I settled on a skirt plus a top which equals a dress. If you haven't already tried this free pattern you should, I used the bodice alterations from my first version.

The dress is actually a peplum top tucked into a circle skirt. The top is a looser fit peplum as the cupro fabric I used doesn't have any stretch and as you may have already gathered from my previous blog posts, I design my clothes for comfort and for eating, the stuff of life. 

The top is great paired with shorts (in these last vestiges of Summer) or with jeans.

Hemming both a circle peplum and a circle skirt made me want to sob a little inside but I got it done. I live in a block of units, and share a wall with the neighbours, our living room where my sewing machine resides attached to their unknown room, so when sewing late at night (which is often) I have to pop my machine on my slowest speed (aptly designate by a turtle shape), thus the entire hemming endeavour was in fact crawling.

So my last post and the next few features a few photos of me with my phone. My old inherited canon ixus 60 is probably a decade old at this point, and whilst the camera still works the quality is meh. My phone does a better job. After remembering this post on Very Purple Person, I downloaded the Cheez app on my iphone and ipad, and lo and behold not so bad photos. I'm not quite sold on investing in a dslr and learning real photography, despite the fact that my blog is obviously photo heavy. 

Anyway I digress. Back to the clothes. I love the flattering shape of a circle skirt despite the amount of time it takes to hem.

 And despite the Marilyn Monroe-esk moments.

They are super twirly.

Even the dog likes them.

Happy Crafting! 

Lace Kick Pleat Tutorial

If nothing else I am very practical about my clothes, as evidenced by the number of posts I've made commenting on my need to just add pockets. My skirt block is traced onto some firm calender paper that isn't quite long enough for knee length work skirts, so scrawled on the sides are notes to add 3 inches in length and a vent, which in the case of this skirt I forgot. 

I wear this skirt all the time, but in case of emergency I'm unable to move all that quickly in this skirt. To be honest getting in and out of the soccer mum car is a bit of an issue, as would performing CPR. Hence the practical need for a solution and the birth of the lace kick pleat.

I should've done some more exaggerated lunging to show the benefit of the lace kick pleat, but there are more than a few awkward bum/in action shots further down anyways.

For the kick pleat I used a bit of stretch scalloped eyelash lace instead of the actual skirt fabric for a bit of interest, and also because I think this would work well in RTW items. 

I cut between the scallops, which was about 3.5 inches width. I cut two to make up the height of the vent.

Sew the two bits of lace together. Tuck the bottom end under to create a straight edge. Don't trim the lace as it will likely fray.

Trim the lace into a triangle-ish shape, with the top of the vent being 1.25" wide. 

Unpick the back seam of your skirt to the height of your lace piece/as high as you want your kick pleat to be. Also unpick the hem a little as well.

Get a hot iron to press the seam edges that have just been unpicked, keeping the original seam creases to use as a sewing guide.

Attach the lace to each edge seperately using a zigzag stitch to attach the lace to the skirt fabric. The bottom edge of the lace should line up with the top edge of the hem crease.

Folding the skirt along the back seam you will notice  the top part of the lace sticking out, sew a straight line across the top of it to finish it, but you won't need to tuck it anywhere. (If you cut a normal pointy triangle, the very pointy end will be difficult to attach to the seam and fray, this way you can reduce the risk and you get a cute pleat at the top as well).

Re-sew the hem following the creases that you ironed before and give the vent a good press.

And there you have it a surprise kick pleat. 

In full stretch. 

Now excuse the many bum shots, but the camera angle has to be weird to capture the kick pleat in action. The end.

Excuse me walking into a closed door also. 

Enjoy a shot of the dog instead. 

Happy Crafting!

Contour Bust Dress 2.0

So three years ago I conquered my first dress; the contour bust dress by miasu
which is available for free on burdastyle. With a family friend's wedding coming up I decided to make my own dress which would see me through both a daytime ceremony and an evening reception. I ended up choosing one of the voile fabrics I got in Thailand earlier in the year which has been rejected for numerous other projects as it is a) too busy and b) on a white background. For this dress though the fabric turned out perfect and the style makes for a good day to night transition.

With my second version of this pattern I stayed true to the original, keeping the somewhat awkward seam that goes straight through the bust instead of curving the top part as I did the first time. 

I figured the busy print would distract from the 'nipple line'.  I did make some alterations though. The pattern comes in a one size only which means most people will need to alter the pieces as per their size. 

There are four pieces for the bodice, and I paired it with a tried and true circle skirt. I ended up widening the top bust part about 2.5" (extending the actual pattern piece 1.25" as it is cut on the fold), lengthening the middle bodice piece 3" and lengthening the side bodice piece 3" and widening it 1.25" to match the top bust part. 

For the back bodice part I lengthed it 3" at the base and 2" from the top as I'm not a fan of the low back style. Due to the lengthening of the bodice there wasn't as much waist definition so I made a waist tie from the left over fabric. 


This up-close, in-focus but un-ironed picture that gives a better idea of the busy print.

I was initially going to make my strapless dress using the simplicity 4070 pattern, but didn't realise it needed boning. This dress holds up well enough as long as the fit is tight, but to ensure shape and hold, I used cotton sateen for the bodice for added weight, and iron-on interfacing over both the lining and outer top bodice pieces.

It sort of looks like I'm wearing an apron; but a cute one for a lining of a dress

I used the outer fabric for the top bodice piece and also cut 1.5" diagonal strips for the top of the back bodice pieces to avoid peek through. 

I would highly recommend this pattern for those who like me are not quite ready to step up to the challenge of boning, however I would caution the need for a muslin to perfect the fit to avoid any embarrassment when wearing the dress. 

In the three years since I made the dress I've learnt a few things, and the ease to which I made the 2.0 version is a testament to that. I would recommend for a beginner trying the dress to uses a cotton sateen the first time around as it has a better weight than a voile and some stretch which makes it more forgiving. 

Contour Bust Dress 1.0

Contour Bust Dress 2.0
Unfortunately the dress looks a bit washed out as it was an overcast photo day, but in action t'was hawt and held up with no oops moments.
Happy Crafting! 

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