Finished Object: SpinalAce Tee

Lace inserted, wash, dried, and worn most of the weekend- SpinalAce Top.  I’ve been working with cut-on flutter sleeves this month, playing with both the shape of the drape and “volume.”  The Lacewing Tee is this month’s hack of the BCT and has longer, fuller sleeves.

Despite the dozens of fancy lace insertion ideas swimming around my brain, I couldn’t forget this image and gave in to it.  That meant I had to let go of the steep v-shape I used on Lacewing.  I’m sure it would work just fine to do it on the V, but I wanted a top very close to this shape.

I was pleased to wear one of my big ol' Texas belt buckles when we took photos... Haven't worn it for a while, but it's a favorite. I might try wearing it more..

I had to mark the lines for the lace insertion very carefully, but I think it was worth it because I’m pleased with the end result.  I can wear a top like this with most of my other clothes.  On the blouse illustration, the lace appears to wrap all the way around the top, but I had another idea-

My spine!  It’s made of lace…!  In order to incorporate the wide insertion lace in my top, I ran a line of it down the back.

Side note: A commentator asked if I would need a camisole beneath this top.  I don’t think so, because the insertions are so narrow I’m not showing off my underwear.  I hate seeing others’ underwear in pubic, so I keep an eye out for showing my own.  It would depend on the fabric and the lace and the individual wearer’s preferences.

Once I finished the insertions, the rest of the top went together very quickly- almost instant gratification.

I’m wearing a velcro hair bump thing like Lilli at Frocks and Frou Frou.  I love her hair!  It’s shocking how easily these slip in and stay put.  I like big hair but I don’t like to tease it, so it’s perfect to add a little shape to my hair.  I used a few hairpins to secure some loose ends, tied a grosgrain ribbon around it and I was ready to go.  I’m experimenting with other styles…

Trying to be "tough" but achieving "goofy."

I wanted to leave the edges of the sleeves raw so it would ripple and roll with age, but again the fabric had other ideas.  It looked sad and neglected, so I overlocked the edge and pressed it under for a narrow hem.  The fabric is thin, but substantial enough that it appreciates a tiny hem.  I’m hoping this top will soften deliciously as it ages, as linen wovens do.

Lace insertion is loooovely- not just for christening gowns, tea towels and lingerie.   This is a utility garment, mommy clothes, casual wear but soft and lacy rather than severe or schlubby.   At least, that’s where I’m aiming.

From the BCT I made from scraps...

If you’d like to play with some of this same cotton-linen (1.5m fabric, 1.5m each wide and narrow insertion) or the lace fabric I used for Lacewing, take a look at the “40’s Charm or Cheongsam” Giveaway.  I’m entering names in a spreadsheet for each “point,” then two names will be chosen at random.  The name with the most points gets first dibs.

Here’s a shot of a muslin of something I’m working on but isn’t ready to blog yet but I’m super excited so I can’t resist showing you all:

What’s that you say, Sybil? But Edith told me I could borrow it

Next post: A little neckline drafting…

Finished Object: Lacewing Top + Hack + Lace Fabric Giveaway (Closed)

Here she is- the top I named Lacewing.  The sleeves on this draft have a certain “swoop” that reminds me of a Lacewing, and the fabric itself reminds me of delicate insect wings, or butterfly scales, or some kind of gentle animal.

We spent the afternoon at the Botanic Gardens by the river the other day and I managed to sneak in a photo shoot.  I can’t believe we never took photos there before!

On the riverbank near the mangrove boardwalk.  According to a plaque we found, Brisbane is Australia’s only capital city to boast a mangrove boardwalk.  There’s 6 capital cities in Australia, and as far as I know several of them are land-locked… At any rate, it’s cool and green and smells like clean river, so I’m a fan.

Remember how I had to piece the back when I cut it out?  I thought I took care to cut it so the pattern would match after sewing, but the fabric had other ideas.  Naturally, when I sewed a sample 3-thread French seam yesterday, the pattern matched by chance.  Why doesn’t it want to when *I* want it to?

Once out of the mangroves, we climbed trees.  I paired the Lacewing Top with my Hemp Hurricane skirt- lovely and breezy for a lazy summer afternoon.  Hemp tends to repel rather than attract dirt, it’s a tough fiber, and I can bleach it in the sun so I didn’t worry too much about climbing trees.

Then we rested on the Platypus bench by the marina.  It’s funny how my red and aqua pieces pick up the colors of the boats- it must be subconscious color-matching on my part.

You can find the hack for this tee here and on the Blank Canvas Tee page.  The hack is for this top only- though I edited out the “swoop” you can see on my top.  The hack’s sleeves are nice and level.  It also explains how to make less full sleeves.  Unlike the other hacks, this one features color photos.  Better or no?

Can you see me?

I started working on the insertion version today and the fabric wasn’t just talking to me, it SHOUTED.  What could I do but obey?  I took a few photos of progress, one is in the header but I messed around with it even after that.  I can’t wait to finish it and show you!  The pattern will be out on Craftsy next week.

Now, speaking of fabric and hacks- I have a game!  I’ve been thinking about it for a little while, I do hope you want to play.

Like so, so many of us creative types, I use pinterest to collect inspiration images.  A week or so ago, I noticed I was *really* attracted to both Cheongsam/Qipao cuts as well as ruched-with-yokes 40’s designs.  I am equally happy to do either for April’s Hack.

The Cheongsam offers a range of possibilities for both embellishment and layering while 40’s ruching is ten kinds of pretty.  I like ruching; it creates curves where none exist for those who would like to have them, and for others the ruching smooths out bumps and flatters the figure.  Everyone wins.  I will use the most popular pins as the springboard for next month’s pattern and hack.  The Cheongsam is simpler to execute than the 40’s ruching, but either will suit.

Some of you have already found the Cheongsam or 40’s Charm? board I made.  For a chance to enter the fabric giveaway you can do several things:

  1. Like a pin on the Cheongsam or 40’s Charm board.  You can earn up to 5 points doing this, and double points for leaving a comment about what you like about it.  I am counting all likes and comments from when I first made the board.
  2. Re-pin the badge for this giveaway.  3 points.
  3. Link to this post on facebook or twitter, and tell me in the comments below.  This is 2 points each.
  4. Make a post about this giveaway on your blog for 5 points.
  5. Tell me in the comments below that you’ve never won one of my giveaways and you WANT this one- 3 points.
  6. Tell me you live outside the United States- 3 points.  Sorry, Americans!  Take it up with the US Postal Service for charging ridiculous rates so they can delay and open all packages entering the country.

I add your name to a spreadsheet then do the random number generator thing.  I will choose two names at random and then the name with the most points gets first dibs.  Giveaway/voting closes on April 7 at 6pm my local time.  Sound good?

The prize is 1.5m of looooooovely textured linen-cotton jersey and 1.5m each of wide and narrow cotton insertion lace *or* 2.0m of the cotton-nylon lace I used for Lacewing.  Anyone may enter (even if you’ve won before), but I must warn you that parcels to the United States have been very slow or just plain old disappeared lately.  I don’t know what to do about it except hope for the best and buy insurance next time.

If you don’t have pinterest and you want to play, email me and I’ll hook you up.

Giveaway Winner and Going to the Beach!

Drumroll, please!  The winner of 1.7m of blue New Zealand merino fabric and a copy of the Kimono Wrap Top pattern is—- Cation Designs!  I’m pleased to think of her sewing with the merino… I really enjoy reading her blog and checking out her work.  She had me at “Qipao” with this Chinese New Year dress:

Many, many thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway.  I enjoyed reading all your responses and you’ve given me quite a few things to think about!  It’s important to me to share the things I love, so I’m sure I’ll do more merino giveaways in the future.

In related new, Kirsty at RocketSews did a lovely aqua blue version of the Kimono Wrap Top.  Check it out! The tiling and sizing issues have been corrected on the Craftsy pattern, never fear!  I think I need to make one more version of this for myself with a strong, bold stripe….

I haven’t been posting as much this past week because my best friend from highschool and college is visiting me from the United States.  I haven’t seen her for two years and she’s never been to Australia. We’re really enjoying our time together, so much so that we decided to take a few days and go to Byron Bay.  Just us girls!   I love going snorkeling in the waters of the Bay, just off those rocks you can see in the photo.

Image Courtesy of the good people at Dive Byron Bay

The waters are teeming with wobbegongs, turtles, manta rays and brightly colored fish.  Or we may go out kayaking on the bay.  Or we may just lie around and breathe the salty air off the Pacific.

Either way, I’ll be offline for three days.  We’ll take heaps of pictures to share and I’ll return to my old writing schedule when I come back to Brisbane.  (And I’ll settle into developing a couple of new patterns- J has been collaborating with me and I’m way inspired!)

Kimono Wrap Top Pattern Now Available and Merino Fabric Giveaway!

The Kimono Wrap Top and Draped Cardigan pattern is now for sale on Craftsy!  I learned a LOT about making a pattern for sale with this project, and I hope to make more patterns available in the future.

Not for a while, though.

The Kimono Wrap top uses 1.7m (1 3/4 yd) of medium weight knit fabric and modern sewing techniques.  It’s a heavily adapted version of Advance 7701 from the 50’s.   I like how quickly the pieces go together, and the fact that it’s easy to wear without but feminine and pretty.  Check out the details on the pattern page.

To celebrate, I went shopping at The Fabric Store.  Not for me, for you!  I picked up this delicious piece of blue New Zealand merino to give away.  I’ve been going on about this fabric so much lately, I’d like to share the merino joy.  This piece is not exactly sweater weight, more like a winter blouse / spring cardigan.

Can you believe the way it ripples when I drop it?

When the fabric is laid out flat and the light hits it just so, I see shadowy stripes.  I love subtle details!

When I hold it up to the light, I see the gently slubbed yarn.  It’s fine, but strong and soft.

To win 1.7m of New Zealand merino fabric and a copy of the Kimono Wrap pattern, leave a comment below telling me what kind of pattern you’d like to see next. (Not immediately.  I’m knackered.)  If you would like to enter more than once, post a link to this page on your blog or Facebook and let me know in a separate comment.  MT @3hourspast and a link to this post on twitter to enter, as well.

I’ll choose a winner at random next Saturday evening at 6pm (my time)!  I’ll ship anywhere.

Thanks for all your encouragement and support while I worked on this, I probably wouldn’t have tried making a “nice” pattern otherwise.  It’s not perfect (what is?)- if you have any difficulties or find any errors please let me know and I’ll correct them.

I’m going to take it easy the next week or so- I have a friend visiting from the United States!  I’ll still write posts and email, but at a slower pace.

Edited to Add: If you win the pattern and you’ve already bought it, I will refund you.

136th Follower Give Away

To celebrate this blogging milestone, I’ll give away 1 36″ bust 1968 Simplicity pattern.  I don’t usually sew from the period, but this pattern is a souvenir of this particular week of my life and I’d like to share it with a reader.  The envelope shows wear, but all pieces and instructions are in good used condition.

Husband and I have spent the past week or so watching season 4 of Mad Men when we should have already been in bed.  The writing sucked him in, and while I enjoy that I marvel at how well the costumer transitions through full skirts to wiggles, appropriately visits la dolche vita style, and now through Megan ventures into slightly-more-Mod-in-a-mainstream-way territory.

This suit reminds me of the dresses above, for silhouette and collar.  I’m generally disappointed by pattern finds while op-shopping in this area.  After mother’s group today, I walked by a hand-lettered sign which read “Op-Shop” outside a church.  Ever the optimist, I pushed my pram around the grounds and eventually discovered a tiny Aladdin’s Cave in the church basement.  Wow.  Talk about treasure trove- the patterns were not terrifically inspiring, but I picked up some items which will feature in later posts.  I promise.  I picked up this pattern precisely because it reminded me of Megan on Mad Men.

It’s not my era and I don’t do slavish knock-offs, but expect a slavish knock-off in the near future.  Ring-a-ding-ding.

While we’re on Mad Men, I have to mention Trudy’s maternity negligie:

This sweet, fluffy bit of nonsense lent some much needed visual levity to the scene, and inspiration to be filed away. 

Give-away is open to all followers and closes on the 13th at 7 pm local.  Remember that I live in the future if you’re in most of Asia, Europe, or the Northern Hemisphere.  Just leave a comment and I’ll have the little girl pick a number at random.  If you make a post about it on your blog and leave me a link, that’s an extra entry.  If you offer an amusing theory as to why I almost lit my over-engineered cotton crepe 1940’s sarong on fire, you get an additional 3 entries.  Don’t let truth get in the way of a good story.

I finished Mirabilis today, photos and construction notes after I take some photos.  We’ll say I’m tickled pink.

Sharp and Pointy Winner!

I’m pleased to announce Tanit-Isis as the winner of the Sharp and Pointies Giveaway.  She’s been sewing up kid’s coats and her own version of Lady Grey with a flair and drive that truly inspires.   And she wrote for Nanowrimo.   I’m sure the pricklies will be put to the very best of use.  (Send me your address.)

In other news, I’m still pretty busy at work and with sewing.  The heat of summer doesn’t help me feel jolly or energetic, but I’m slowly finishing projects and laying plans.  My little Christmas hat does help me feel jolly, I’m becoming rather fond of wearing her out and about.  The more I wear hats, the more I want to wear hats.

I want a white one.

White with feathers.

Is that called a Sampan hat?  I know I’ve seen drawings of chic 1950’s ladies wearing hats like that which teeter dangerously on their piled-up hair.  I’d probably wear this perched in front of a beehive.  Do tell me, is maribou tacky?  Could I get away with a few of the sleeker feathers on this one?  I think I’ll cover the frame using an extra-large circle of white/ivory dupioni or silky, figure out a way to secure it to the edges, and gather it underneath for an enchanting pleated effect.  The comb/headpiece should cover the hole left.

I intend it to be worn with my happy birthday dress, sewn during my birthday stay-cation. I concentrated so much time and effort into the dress, she and I had to have a break from each other.  All she needs is the zipper, lining, and hem.  I’ll make myself a new fluffer to go underneath, too.   The graduation is next week.

Sharp and Pointy Objects, A Giveaway

I had a problem recently.  When I snipped corners, my scissors chewed the fabric.  Ripping seams became an odious chore.  My good pins evaporated overnight, I fought to force my old dull pins through fabric.  I thought it must be me.

Sharp and pointy objects lose their edge.  I have a well-stocked sewing room, it’s easy to forget these things.   Just like needles, pins and seam rippers and scissors need replacing.  I shouldn’t have to fight my tools.

My favorite pricklies:

Pins-  I like fine glass-head pins for silk and fine work as well as ordinary dress-making.  These are the best.  Flower head pins for length and stability work especially well for heavy fabrics, bag-making, and quilting.

Hand needles- When I ventured into fabric-flower making, I had to turn my house upside down to find hand needles.  Shame.   Best to have a variety of nice sharp ones close at hand.

Seam Rippers–  I adore the brown-handled Clover seam ripper.  Stitches practically jump out of the fabric when they see this bad boy.  I like the mini-scalpel for buttonholes and those icky nests of bobbin thread that happen sometimes.  Just shave the back, and pull out the top threads.  Easy.  No crying.

Stout, short, sharp scissors-  I don’t think its possible to have too many pairs.  Keep them by the machine for snipping corners, grading, clipping curves and threads, and poking out corners.

Tailor’s Awl– Not only can I poke little holes neatly through eyelets on my belts, I use it as an extra finger when performing tricky sewing.  Ever top-stitch around a collar only to find the corner of the collar wants to stick under the presser foot?  I use my awl to help the bulk along.  Brandish it while flashing the “crazy eyes” to ward off unwanted interruptions to your sewing.

Buttonhole Chisel- I put this down to gimmickry until I used one.  Wow- gorgeously cut buttonholes with no threads hanging around, no warping, just a few taps with the hammer and viola!  I like using a hammer in my sewing.

Also included are a pretty voodoo mouse to hold pins, and a coordinating roll-up case for all your sharp and pointies.  I made the case myself.  Tools are brand-new and razor sharp, I divested them of their packaging.

Giveaway is open to all on my Followers list (join), just leave me a message telling me your sewing skill level.  If you’d like another entry, make a post about my giveaway on your blog or website and leave a link.  Open to citizens everywhere.

I’ll choose the winner on December 7 at 5pm Brisbane time.

(Marlowe, the dress is in the mail!  I have a post-office dissociative problem.  I bought a pre-paid international envelope to ship this next one, much better strategy. )

My First Giveaway- A Dress!

 Since Friday was my birthday, I want to give away a dress.

 I made her last February during another stay-cation.  Never worn.  She deserves better than hanging in the back of my wardrobe.

She’s a guilt piece.   You know-  good fit, great sewing, but you put it on and feel you’re wearing someone else’s frock.  I never wear her though she’s a great dress- hence the guilt.   A great dress should be worn.  Or re-fashioned.

I can’t cut up this dress.  I called her Katherine while I was making her. 100% cotton, seams serged, invisible side zip.

She’s a (c. 1951) size 16: 34″ bust, 28″ waist, 37″ hips.  I made a small 1″ FBA.  A larger waist might fit fine, there’s about 1.5″ of ease.   The bodice darts could be let out.  Smaller ladies could take them in.  

“Pointed stand-up collar and raglan type sleeves are cut in one.  The circular skirt is cut in two sections.”  Pretty colors, just not my colors. 

I left her unhemmed, but can make a narrow double-fold hem before shipping by request.  Shipping anywhere.

Take her, wear her, cut her up if you want.

Rules of the giveaway:  (Open to my followers list)

Four ways to enter:

1) Tell me you want the dress.

2) Tell us about your guilt piece. 

3) Leave me a link to a post on your blog/website about the giveaway.

4) Leave a comment letting me know what content you enjoy, and what you’d like to see in the future.

I’ll use a random number generator to decide the winner.  The giveaway closes next Sunday at 5pm, the 14th of November (my time).