A Riot of Colour

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We’re averaging a high of 27* in Auckland this week and I am loving it! Best of all, my new dress is perfect for the warm weather – a By Hand London Georgia dress. I was gifted this crazy multicoloured print by a friend. I think it is linen and it’s so loud that it is perfect for summer!

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I have made this dress before (including two muslins) so I knew how the sizing would work on me. I mean, this is a very fitted dress. I used the amended bodice pieces that I had created for my previous Georgia but decided to cut a bigger size than my usual for the skirt because this fabric has absolutely no stretch. In the end I did take the skirt sides in a bit but after my vanity sizing disaster with my Alder I wasn’t willing to risk it.

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My previous Georgia is the wide strap v-neck version. It’s a great little evening dress with a twist. But this version, I feel, is more versatile. The sweetheart neckline is traditional, pretty flattering on a lot of body types and certainly easier to pull off. It’s also a lot cooler in summer.

Because this dress is super fitted I made several adjustments so the pattern. I had intended to make the longer version that finishes below the knees but being the five foot two gal that I am this looked really frumpy. I lobbed off 10cm and voilĂ . I also shortened the straps by 6cm, and used my amended bodice pieces. I’m not sure if this is an accepted bodice adjustment but it has worked well for my body shape. That’s all that matters right?

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Have you made the Georgia dress?

A Laurel, a Sale and a Chocolate Fish

Hello lovely sewists! I have been watching in awe as all the entries for the Monthly Stitch‘s competitions have rolled in. In case you’ve been living under a rock the Monthly Stitch have been hosting a month of competitions for Indie Pattern Month. Although this is the last week you still have four days to enter the last round – Indie Fan Girl – by submitting a post of of you wearing two patterns by the same designer. Also there are tonnes of prizes!

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So… I made a dress! This is the Laurel by Colette. This pattern has been phenomenally popular despite it’s simplicity so I had to try it out. I was not disappointed. It only took me one night to put together (whilst binge watching Underage and Pregnant) and it required minimal adjustments.

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I made this dress out of a thick double knit, synthetic/ wool blend by Kate Sylvester. The fabric is what ‘makes’ this dress for me. Because it’s a knit there’s enough stretch to avoid putting the zipper in the back as I can easily pull it over my head without it. But it’s pretty firm and essentially one-way stretch so it still has a bit of shape.

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As you can see there are a few things that are not quite right about this dress. Namely the darts. They are too high on me. I had the same issue when I made the Bridgette dress (free pattern!) by Simple Sews. I need to get in the habit on doing FBAs and making muslins, however this dress is still an absolute staple. It’s such a simple style that I wore it with a blazer to work one day, and then with a leather jacket to a party that night.

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In case you were wondering, I bought the brooch from the Salvation Army on Dominion Road and the hipster hat beongs to my sister. She is much cooler than me. So can anyone guess where I am? If you can comment below and I will send you a chocolate fish (for real!) Here’s a clue:

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Also – as part of the Monthly Stitch‘s Indie Pattern Month I am offering 15% off all patterns in my store. This includes Sewaholic, Colette, Cake, Victory and By Hand London. Sale ends Monday 🙂

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Kristiann’s Superb Sewing Tips

Last week on the blog Kristiann told us a bit about Victory Patterns – the indie sewing pattern company that she owns and designs for. I asked Kristiann for some tips on working with delicate fabrics and I thought they were so great, and detailed, that they deserved their own space in the limelight…

A couple of your patterns such as the Hazel dress and the Roxanne blouse call for lightweight fabrics, which can be difficult to work with. What are some tips for beginners working with these slippery fabrics?

There’s lots of tip for working with this kind of fabric, from cutting, handling, to the kind of tools you use. The small stuff counts! Be patient and you’ll find that it will all feel better in time! Here’s a few things you can do…

Cutting:

When cutting out your fabric, lay the fabric onto a sheet or onto tissue paper. This helps to keep the fabric from slipping around while you cut. Use fine pins or weights such as soup cans. Use very sharp scissors or a rotary cutter.

When cutting, handle the fabric as little as possible. Work around your pieces and avoid moving the fabric to work around you. Also, don’t lift the fabric off the cutting surface. Moving the fabric after it has been carefully laid cause it to shift and could result in a wonky cutting job.

Always test with two layers of scrap fabric prior to starting the project so you can get used to the hand of the fabric. Make sure that your stitch settings and tension is adjusted for your fabric.

Sewing tips:

Thread and needle: Sew with good quality thread and a thin gauge needle. A needle size of 60/8, 65/9 or 70/10 is suitable. The lower the number the finer the gauge of the needle. Also, If you’ve been sewing with the same needle for a while, it might be a good idea to start with a fresh one so that the tip is sharp. This will help to eliminate puckering and snagging caused by and dull needle.

Backstitching: Hold the threads as you backstitch at the beginning of a stitch. This helps to avoid a messy backstitch and prevents the fabric from getting sucked into the feed, which can easily happen with lighter weights.

Handling:

-I find that the way to handle lightweight fabric is to hold the fabric taut so that one hand is holding the fabric just behind the needle, and the other is in font guiding the fabric into the machine. By pulling the fabric taut, you are creating rigidity along the fabric surface, which prevents it from slipping.

Pull just enough to create a rigid tension on the fabric, but not so match that you’re going to affect the way it feeds through the machine. Doing so will affect your stitch, and make them inconsistent.

-Make sure fabric edges are aligned. Because the fabric is more slippery, this is something you have to pay attention to. If you want to take extra measure, hand-baste prior to sewing the seam together. This can be don in place of pins to prevent the fabric from stretching and distorting as you sew.

-To prevent slippage, you can sew with a strip of tissue paper along the seam, tissue facing the feed dog side. Once the seam is sewn, tear off the tissue. You can also use a stabilizer along the seam edge, such as a spray on starch. This will help you to manage the fabric during construction.

-You can use a straight stitch throat plate which has small needle entry hole. This prevents the fabric from getting sucked into the needle hole.