Monday, 18 October 2010

A Quick Cocktail Dress

Blogger Friends
As mentioned in my previous post I had a party at a fabulous venue to go to and needed a dressy dress without spending much money. This is a classic 'thank God I can sew' moment. I did have a RTW floaty silk dress that is more suited to summer parties - even if summer never arrives here the parties will - but it wasn't quite formal enough. I'd had a few ideas, a pattern and material or two in the stash. (Hundreds of each - one day I might post embarrasing photos of all my plastic tubs of stuff). I had this pattern

which is still in print but may be edging its way out of the catalogue.  I had some blue crinkle 'snakeskin' print georgette and some dark blue lining and made this. I had to convert the pleats of the bodice to gathers and take out the bunching of the crinkle until everything hung straight.

Do you remember the green shimmery trench that is really blue/yellow warp and weft threads? It went well with the dress and had a matching lining.
Just as well as it was a cool, cool night in Sydney.

Silver accessories added a bit of an edge. I'll write a review on PR and post more pictures. I'm having a terrible time getting photos up today.
Happy sewing.

Night at The Crystal Palace

I live in a beautiful city, dear reader. It was only when I started travelling to other stunning cities - London, Paris, Rome - that I came home and saw my own city with new eyes. People come from over the other side of the world to see what's here and it's world class. Every weekend it is a common sight to see Japanese bridal parties having photographs in front of any number of Sydney attractions and slowly it is starting to happen again. One sight I didn't expect bridal couples to be photographed at is Sydney's Luna Park, until I went to a function there last Saturday night.
Luna Park is a 75 year old carnival with all the old fashioned rides that has been kept up in it's ornate original style. It is on the edge of the harbour with views past the harbour bridge looking back toward the city. It is just magic at dusk when all the lights come on and very picturesque. I was lucky enough to go to a party at the Crystal Palace. I did not take my camera and I regret it. I am trying to get hold of some of my colleague's photos but in the meantime there is this: photo is from website

It is also worth roaming around Luna Park during the day, and you can get there by ferry or train like the locals do and go in. Entry is free. I'm giving my city a shameless plug while I revisit a place I had not been to for many years:
Luna Park website shot

my shot
The dress code was cocktail. I did not want to spend much money on an outfit as I am saving to travel again. What's a sewer to do but raid the stash? I knew the venue would be decorated in silver, blue and white so I dug out some blue crinkle georgette from the stash and a pattern I wanted to try and made a very speedy ( for me) cocktail dress that would go with silver accessories and a shimmery trench that I already had. I'll put all the details in my next post but I want to pose the question. Do you live in a tourist destination that you take for granted? Do you want to share where it is? Do you need to see it with new eyes?

Saturday, 9 October 2010

A Tiger Dress and a Leftover Top

Dear Fellow Bloggers
Immediately after completing my too-much-work red velour muslin that didn't become a velvet jacket, I happened upon some irresistable brown jungle print on the bargain table of my local Spotlight. A Very Easy Vogue dress pattern from my stash came to mind, so I bought 1.5m of the material, thinking it would be more than enough. I lashed out and spent $9. This probably sound like too much to Americans used to $2 bargains but trust me this was good quality knit for half price. Any way I could visualise it as a nice little dress with a pleated neckline similar to the drawing.


I had sewn this dress twice before and neither was a success. The first time I did it out of a slinky satin and although it looked good I had not allowed for enough ease across the shoulders and armpits and therefore the dress didn't get worn much which was a pity. The general rule for using a woven on a pattern that is designed for knits is to go up a size, but to have the pleats fall properly and to have enough ease for movement I should have added  one inch all around and taken it down from there. Ah live and learn.The second time I did a winter version in a plain Manhattan knit with sleeves and the material was just that little bit too heavy. Is this starting to sound like Goldilocks and the three bears?
Anyway this time I got it right - a soft fluid slinky knit.
The other thing I had learnt from sewing this dress before is that using facings as recommended by the pattern just doesn't work and causes roll out at the front where there are up to six layers of material. I decided to use self bindings instead. This made me think aha maybe I can get a little cowl top out of the piece as well. I had gone back to the shop for more but the roll had sold out.
It is amazing what self bindings, back seams and a bit of determination can do.

I made a cowl top from New Look 6470 as well.

It is this pattern here.

I will do a review of both patterns on Pattern Review later.
I'm really happy how both items turned out but especially the dress.
Closeup of bindings and pleats.
Another shot

Cute dress, nevermind the pale winter legs and the last century TV

Bye now!

Monday, 4 October 2010

Every Dress Has a Story

Dear Blog Readers
The first ever sewing related blog that I became a fan of was Dress a Day (see my blog roll). Erin at Dress a Day writes charming imaginary lives of dresses entries on her blog. I was checking her blog and found someone had posted a link to a story I had read last weekend in one of Sydney's weekend papers. I found it quite touching at the time so when I found the link I thought I would share it with you too:
Every Dress Has a Story