Thursday, November 29, 2012

Blog Birthday giveaway - we're 5!

Happy 5th blog birthday to us! It's hard to believe but we're almost 1000 posts in now. Back in November 2007, I was so bamboozled my the concept of blogging that I didn't even know how to upload a photo to accompany my first post.

To celebrate, we're giving away our last available length of Fiorentina (1.2m - see it made up here), a hard copy pattern of your choice (choose from either the Lily Linen Dress, Chloe Pants or Mia Tunic), and a beautiful pair of 210mm Japanese dressmaking scissors.

The giveaway is open to readers near and far. To enter, just leave a comment with your sewing wishes for 2013. If you're commenting anonymously, PLEASE don't forget to include your email address. Facebook followers can also be eligible by leaving a comment over here. Comments close on Mon 3rd Dec 11:59pm AEST and we'll announce the randomly chosen winner shortly after.

Thanks for reading us over the last five years and we hope you stick around for the next five. Now go forth, comment and good luck!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Chloe and Lily and friends

Over the last couple of months, we've had two very interesting and passionate ladies visit the Melbourne store on a regular basis. Annie and Pauline are friends who share a background in patternmaking and they've both fallen madly in love with our Chloe pants and Lily dress patterns. Pauline has made two versions of Lily, one of which is pictured here above and below. The fabric is our Como Mauve Stripe - a light, soft, gauzey washed linen (there's a very small amount left in Melbourne only). It's the first time I've seen the Lily made up in a print and we love it. Pauline made some small alterations that included a centre back seam and a pocket modification.

Annie (below) did some minor grading and adjustments to the pant pattern and to say that she LOVES the fit is an understatement. She's paired them here with a top modified from the Lily dress pattern, adding a clever sleeve slit and tie detail.

Both ladies are now eagerly anticipating the arrival of our next pattern. Stay tuned for the Mia. Not long now (no, really)...

Monday, November 26, 2012

Erdem Margot Red Lace inspired formal dress

Here she is. Looking lovely and oh so grown up!

For Gabby's formal dress our style and colour inspiration came after seeing the beautiful Erdem Margot red lace dress on Pinterest. Soon after, we received a delivery of this stunning red chantilly French lace and that was it - Gabby's mind was definitely made up.

Making the whole dress in chantilly lace was going to be costly so fortunately we had the perfect colour match for the lace in our 100% silk faille 'Cromwell Red' (available at Tessuti Surry Hills and Melbourne only), which I used to bind the neckline, line the lace bodice and for the circular skirt.

We searched high and low for a suitable pattern to recreate the dress, settling on Butterick 5520 for the bodice and sleeves (view A). The raglan sleeves were tapered down at the shoulder seam edge (the pattern has an allowance for shoulder pads) and the bodice was altered for better fit as well as changing the waist dart to a princess seam. For the bottom part of the dress, a 3/4 circle skirt was drafted using the circle skirt calculator. This was so flattering as there were no side seams - just the one seam at centre back. 

She looked beautiful and was happy and I'm one proud Mamma! 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Pattern Review - Figgy's Banyan Trousers

This kid, my little step boy, is all about comfort when it comes to wearing stuff. So if I make him something it's always with a sense of trepidation because so help me, if there's the slightest scratch to a seam, there's no chance it'll see the light of day. Ever. On the flip side, if he loves it you know it and the ensuing gratitude is enough to make your heart soar.

This Banyan Trouser pattern comes from Figgy's and I must've been living under a rock because until I stole found this pattern at a friend's house, I'd never heard of them (oh my god, this one).

He chose the fabric - Cherry Paracadute - a cotton print that comes in a few different colours, and they made up perfectly. I'm not very experienced when it comes to pants but the instructions were clear and easy to follow. They're a fitted style with pockets and a pleated flat front, including an adjustable back that allows for growing children, always a bonus when it comes to kid patterns. Extra bonus: he loves 'em.

Friday, November 23, 2012

My Xmas frock (a.k.a the raglan rocks again)


My best laid plan to be super-organised for staff Christmas party frock-sewing was unsurprisingly thwarted by a combo of (in no particular order) work, Pinterest, kids, another sewing project, catching up with mates, Downton Abbey, fatigue and the sporadic necessity that is domesticity. So cue a quick, simple and effective pattern and after the success and ease that was this one, I couldn't go past the raglan sleeve again.


As with the top, I eliminated the centre front seam and just followed the line of the pattern to create a shift dress. I decided to combine blue and black because I am a longtime sucker for that colour combo. I rest my fashion case here and here.

The sleeves are made up in a French lace - Ardoise/Noir - which features a fine black cording. The main part of the dress is When Night Rings, a polyamide/polyester chosen for it's body and hold. The fabric is quite thick, so I decided to add some topstitching to minimise bulk along the seam allowances.

As a design feature, I created a slit facing at the neckline. I did find that slicing into an almost-finished garment requires a fairly enormous leap of faith, so I strongly recommend you do a trial on a scrap piece of fabric beforehand because there is absolutely NO room for error here. If you're interested in a how-to, there's a nice little Burdastyle tutorial here.


Thanks to Vikki's clever suggestion, I used some block-fused lace for the neckline facing. Across the shoulder where the sheer lace sits, I faced with a flesh coloured nylon tulle.

Simple and relatively quick. Just the way I like my patterns these days....

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

School Formal Dress Toile #2

Here's the next stage of Gabby's formal dress in the making!

After sewing this first toile in calico and fitting it onto the body, I then made the style and fit changes to the original pattern. I eliminated the deep dart at the waist and instead created a princess seam through the bodice, this way I eliminated the excess fabric at the raglan sleeve edge and through the bust and waist area to get a better fit and importantly avoided any pointy darts. As usual the centre back had to be altered at the waistline to allow for G's sway back

The base fabric of the final dress will be in a stunning 100% silk faille which is a heavier and drapier silk and very different to calico, so to recheck the fit again and before I cut into the final fabric (yikes!) I needed to test out the new altered pattern in a silk faille as well, unfortunately I had no other fabric I could find with the same drape and weight for this. This black faille dress won't be wasted, I plan to alter and finish this second toile off for another simpler version of the final dress. Lucky girl will end up with two dresses!

For the raglan sleeves I used silk georgette. In hindsight I should have used organza like I did in the first toile, silk georgette didn't work as well in the raglan sleeve due to it stretching in parts but I know that the final fabric has more stability and hold than a georgette so I'll ignore any fitting issue there. For the skirt part of the dress I drafted a 3/4 circle skirt using the circle skirt calculator on The Snugbug (very clever!).

It definitely was worth all the effort to recut the dress in the silk faille, as you can see the dress needs yet more fitting and adjustments as this weight of silk gives quite a bit, but I'm very excited and ready for the final dress, I hope she is!

In the final post I'll include the dress pattern used as well as the inspiration dresses we found on Pinterest.

Monday, November 19, 2012

2012 Tessuti Melbourne Christmas Dinner @ Maha Restaurant

On the weekend I dined out with our fabulous Tessuti Melbourne crew at Maha Restaurant in Melbourne's CBD for our annual Christmas dinner.  A top suggestion for this year's venue, thank you Trish and Suzie!

Maha Restaurant
21 Bond Street  Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9629 5900

It's been a really busy time of year, so for my party dress I had to go for a favourite tried and true dress pattern Vintage Butterick 4873 to make up this lovely chocolate brown/cream printed silk crepe de chine "Batik Tock' (sold out). I'm thrilled with the dress as I had to eliminate the centre front and back seam as not to distort the print. 

What a fabulous night it was! I have to add that I feel truly blessed to work alongside these wonderful and inspiring women. Thank you ladies x

PS. Lisa's party dress post to come.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Starry Cosmic Night Top

What I'm wearing today - this latest top made (our pattern, Valerie Top ) in our 100% silk crepe de chine Starry Cosmic Night (still available at Tessuti Chatswood and Melbourne only).

Note: The Mia Tunic pattern is still coming! Sorry for the delay folks - after having the pattern tested by some helpful sewers there are some minor pattern adjustments being made as we speak.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A (Shorter) Lily Linen Dress

Here is yet another version of our Lily Linen Dress pattern. Shirley, who loves colour made up the pattern in our lovely bright Como Celery (only available at Tessuti Surry Hills) and opted for a shorter length in both the dress and sleeves to suit her style. This Lily Linen Dress pattern is proving to be very versatile!

Shirley's finished dress length is approx 100cm and for this shorter length, the dress hem tucks were omitted. The sleeves were shortened to 22cm with an inverted pleat added to the bottom of the sleeve to taper them in a little, this detail complimented the feature twist top pockets nicely.

In true Shirley fashion, the lime dress was styled up with a splash of turquoise for a great summer look!

Fred and Wilma Flintstone Costumes

I love it when my kids get invited to a fancy dress party. If you have the time and ability, it's a whole lot more satisfying to create your own.

These two great kids had a post Halloween/birthday party to go to recently and they fancied Flintstone costumes. For Fred's outfit, I thought that my chances of finding an orange tee was going to be near impossible but luckily I found a table at Kmart filled with men's t-shirts including the perfect orange shade for only $5.50! To create Fred's look,  I vliesoflix-ed the tie onto the t-shirt using our aqua cotton voile and the triangular spots from some scraps of Como Black Out linen (left over from these pants) and of course zig-zag cut the hem. Easy!

For Wilma's one-shouldered dress, I was lucky to find a copy of OOP Vogue 8387 (a great pattern, thank you Bernadette!). I cut the bodice pieces, making sure to finish at waist length, and adding a seam allowance to add a gathered dirndl skirt instead and zig-zag cut the hem as well. I used a cheap white poly/cotton for the dress. Not forgetting to style Wilma in her customary necklace and bracelet, I made made up her accessories using styrofoam balls bought at Spotlight.

Yabba dabba dooooo!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Shadowed Sapphire Bow Dress

I spotted (couldn't help myself) this fantastic dress over on Burdastyle recently.  This fun and feminine dress made up from Vogue 1192 is a perfect style for our Shadowed Sapphire ponti knit and looks absolutely gorgeous on Annie.
Check out Annie's blog, Nine Stitches to see more photos and for more details about this dress.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Pattern Review - Vogue 8805 (again)

We've reviewed Vogue 8805 a couple of times now (see here and here) and this dress is surely doing the web-world rounds, so that's always a good sign. According to Amanda, pictured here, this pattern's a quick and easy one which in sewing terms translates to 'freakin' awesome.'

For the body of the dress, Amanda used Carnivally Blur. She joined the middle and lower pattern pieces, eliminating the tri colour contrast. The black top section is made from one of our black mid-weight linens.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Step by Step - Lily Linen Dress Pocket Tutorial

I have had a few emails and enquiries from sewers who have bought the Lily Linen Dress pattern, asking for more details on the construction of the feature pockets. They're certainly not your conventional patch pockets, but a twist top angled pocket that really enhance the simplicity of the dress. So for all those that emailed me and for future Lily Linen Dress wearers here is a step-by-step tutorial to help you out. 

Note: For the purpose of instruction, calico and contrast stitching have been used. Of course, it looks even better in linen and matching thread!

Above shows the pocket piece - they must be cut in a pair due to the peaked top on one side of the pocket. NOTE: follow the grainline marked on the pocket piece, DO NOT line up the pocket sides with the grainline of the fabric and nick (make sure they are noticable but not too long!) all notch markings when cutting. If done correctly your pockets will sit and twist as they should.


Overlock side and bottom edges of pocket.

Double turn top of pocket at notch markings towards wrong side and press gently.

Edge stitch hem.

Turn side seams of pocket in 1/2" towards right side of pocket (at bottom corners only).

Stitch down this turn back 1/2"  up from bottom edge.

Bag out corner to right side (do not trim back seams).

Press side and bottom seams towards the back of pocket or wrong side.

This is what the pocket should look like on the right side.

PREPARING THE TWIST TOP POCKET DETAIL: NOTE - the peaked top corner of the pocket is the section that has the twist fold at top and this side of pocket goes towards centre front of the dress.
Open up the pressed back seam at peaked corner of pocket (approx. 8cm down from top).

Turn peaked hemmed corner over 1/2" towards front of pocket (the right side) and press gently. NOTE: for more twist you can fold over more than suggested 1/2" - but make sure you don't fold back past finished top pocket notch.

Then turn down rest of this side of the pocket towards front (right) side. Pin in place, making sure that the side seam is open.

Stitch this all down 1/2" in from raw (overlocked) side edge or at crease mark where you ironed back earlier.

Bag out this corner to right side and finger press this top edge of pocket. 

This is your twist top pocket!

ATTACHING POCKETS TO DRESS: pin pocket bag to pocket markings on the dress. Note: finished pocket should sit 1/4" past these markings.

Pin pockets securely and evenly into place on dress. Note: Make sure that the top of the pockets are not pulled too tight, the twist top of the pocket should sit out a little when placed onto dress markings.

Pin stitch (or edge stitch) around pocket edge.

Secure/reinforce the top corners.

Happy sewing everyone, I hope you've found this tutorial helpful.

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