Friday, March 30, 2012

Sallieoh and our March giveaway!

Meet another of my all time favourite sewing bloggers... sallieoh. I've been following (lurking about) her blog for a while, in awe of her creations and totally inspired to make a similar jacket , fitted pants or top just like hers!

 I was thrilled to find out that Sallie is one of our online customers as well all the way from Texas, USA!!!!

Here's Sallie wearing a fabulous dress made up in 100% Silk Pick A Bloom for a recent wedding! The pattern used was Rachel Comey dress Vogue 1209, a stunning result despite discovering that the pattern muslin needed some major tweeking here and there and some lining issues. A little perseverance goes a long way!

So since we haven't had our March giveaway yet, I suggest a 2 metre piece of Pick A Bloom to be the giveaway for this month, simply leave a comment below, letting us know what you'd make with this pretty silk.

Comments close this Sunday 1st April at 11.59pm AEST. The winner will be selected randomly.

Thank you Sallie for allowing me to post your pictures!


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sewing Tip: Tear-Away Vilene Shields

Want to know what Vilene shields are? If you end up with necklines, armholes and waistbands stretching whilst you're handling/sewing your garment, a very unsightly mess, read on!

In sewing classes, sewing reference books etc we've all been told to stay-stitch these areas to secure them from stretching, works well some of the time. Here is a fabulous rag-trade tip that works much better for this problem.

Tear-Away Vilene is a non-fusible (soft paper like) interfacing, available in Black and White. In the fashion industry patterns usually come with vilene shield instructions for necklines, armholes and waistbands to be cut as well.

Instructions: After cutting your pattern out in your chosen fabric, you lay the neckline, armholes and waistbands onto the vilene, pinning it in place and cutting around your outer neck, waistline or armhole (only if it's sleeveless) edges and approx out 1" past this point, then you mark approx 1" down from this, these are your vilene shields. You end up with something like this.

In a dress I made recently in this very lovely, but soft and floppy rayon, having the vilene shields attached to the neckline, made it so much easier to handle when sewing on my neck bias binding

Pin in place and sew it (within the seam allowance) onto the wrong side of the neckline front and back, you can sew the shoulder seams together and after sewing on your neck facing/binding and just before you turn this over to the correct side you rip into the tear away to the seam line and tear it all away, what ever remains inside the seam can stay there and will be covered up by the binding or facing. It will also tear-away from the shoulder seams.

Vilene shields were also added around the waistline of some linen pants I've been making. 

After attaching the waistband facings and before turning the facings over, I tore off the vilene shields.

Simple and easy as that, you sew the vilene shields onto the wrong side the edges you want secured, after attaching your neck/armhole/waistband facings or bindings, the vilene then gets torn off. You will find you will have a neater edge with no stretching occurring around these edges, far more effective than stay stitching, don't you think?!!

NOTE: Ensure that you get the correct weight soft vilene, some thicker weights do not tear-away easily.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Bella's Designer Shorts

Meet Bella. She's a gorgeous 15 year old and long time buddy of Gabby's, recently the two girls have started sewing together after school at Bernadette's sewing classes.

Like most young girls, Bella loves fashion and is up to date with the latest designer looks and labels! And like the rest of us admires a great design but not the price tag. So the girls are on a mission to create their own designer inspired garments for a fraction of the price, along with a lot of help from Bernadette on learning how to choose a suitable pattern and fabric to match as well as refining their sewing skills!

These fabulous Sass and Bide shorts caught Bella's eye and were her inspiration for her latest project in class. Finding a similar embroidered/beaded geometric patterned fabric was going to be tricky but Bella fell in love with our funky Japanese cotton print - Lazy AfternoonThe pattern used was Burdastyle Shorts #112 - 12/2011, a perfect match. Bella only needed to add more flare and bit of interfacing to the hem to get the desired look. Pretty darn cool!

Stay tuned for Bella's dress (made up in this cotton) later in the week, maybe a giveaway as well!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Otga Hasbold

Remember Otga? When it comes to sewing, she definitely falls into the category that is 'fast learner'. How striking is this outfit? The top is made up in our viscose jersey and the pants (her first pair - check that fit) are a McCalls pattern (sorry, no details and not our fabric).

If you love her style as much as we do, you can now follow her blog.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Pattern Review - Vogue 8723 (aka The Forty Frock)

I turned 40 in that birthday no man's land that sits in the week between Christmas and New Year's Eve. Sucky time to have a birthday and you'd think that by 40 I'd have gotten over used to it but, no, it's still a sucky time to have a birthday. So two and a half months later, I made a fairly spontaneous decision to mark the occasion with a small gathering of nearest and dearest because, as one mate likes to say, "you may not be around when you're fifty". Fair and true enough. But really, I find myself feeling pretty damn bliss-ed out about this time in my life and the people that are a part of it. That may or may not be related to my age and stage, and my 30s were not without their challenges (to be sure), but 40 so far is so far so good.

Now, let's push aside that uncharacteristic sentimentality and move on to the dress. For this occasion I decided on Vogue 8723.

Do you pick the pattern or the fabric first? For me, this was totally and completely a fabric-first choice. Toffee Drops is a cotton/poly/metal with a beautiful velvet-y flocked, square-ish spot that is unlike any fabric I've seen before.

This dress was such a pleasure to sew. I took my time and made a muslin of the bodice to check for a perfect fit, mandatory with this type of design. The pattern caters for A-D bra cup sizes which gives the final garment a lovely shape. Like most Vogue patterns, I found the sizing ran large and I ended up cutting an 8 despite the fact that I generally measure between a 10-12. As with this top, I used a Mokuba grosgrain for the straps.

I added an invisible zip and the dress is fully lined with a black rayon. The metal content of the fabric (7%) gives the skirt a nice fullness which I really wanted. I've never before sewn with a metal fabric but I'm in love with the body and hold it gives to a garment. I even love the type of crush it gives.

And, lastly, are the pockets. Lovely pockets hidden in amongst all those lovely gathers.

If you'd like to see another version of this dress, check out Nasrin's over here.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Pattern Review - Vintage Simplicity 7454

I'm still here folks! Just been busy with new stock arrivals, enjoying some fine weather (finally!) and sewing up a new dress as well as starting on a quilt project (more on that later).

As much as I would like to get into some Autumn sewing,  I'm grasping on to and enjoying the lovely sunny, hot days Sydney has been having lately. It was the perfect timing to whip up a sundress from a classic 70's Vintage Simplicity 7454 pattern I picked up at the Fabric Cave

I used this pattern to make up Flax in our Vintage Washed Linen, a beautiful heavy weight washed linen. These photos were taken after wearing the dress all day at work (and in and out of the car) in 27 degree heat, so the creasing isn't too bad. Any changes to the original 70's pattern? I shortened it of course and made the patch pockets a little smaller. The other alteration was to the pattern front and back dress pieces, these are cut on the straight, but here instead I cut them on the bias, to give the linen more fall and drape. However I really don't think it needed it at all, so the next (few!) sundress I make up in this pattern will be made up on the straight as per pattern.

My new edge stitch foot (Bernina Foot No:10) was perfect to help me with a neater topstitching on the patch pockets, cross-over straps and facing edges. That foot is my new love!

Lastly I added self loops to the back facing instead of the back ties as suggested in the pattern. Am I happy with the end result?  I'm thrilled with my new dress and see many different versions to come! 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

rain, rain GO away!

Will this rain ever stop???

Thinking of our friends in Central and Northern NSW.

Image (top above) - Lisa

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Anthea's Honey Blouse

Here's Anthea, from Mudgee wearing this lovely top she made up in The Honey Blouse pattern. The teal/pink print is a soft and drapey Japanese cotton/rayon (also in these other colourways). The fabric was a gift from her lovely sister-in-law Leith, a fellow sewer and blogger (Sew Brunswick) as well!

Anthea says she did find the sewing instructions to be a bit 'fluffy' (Thornberry thought so too), so had to use her better judgement and sewing common sense to construct it.

Lovely to meet you Anthea, I'm sure Leith will be thrilled to see your top!
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