Behind the Seams, October

Hello lovely readers! I am so happy to be back and blogging on a regular basis. October has been so jammed packed for me that I thought a round up of my Instagram would be an accurate showcase of my month. First things first, I finished my degree! I’ve just completed my postgraduate diploma in communication studies (public relations), meaning this is my first weekend off this month! Woohoo! I’m now on the job hunt and I’m keeping my ear close to the ground for exec PR roles. Ron Swanson’s tough looks motivated me to get though.
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This month I was totally obsessed with my ranunculus. I took a rid-unculus amount of photos of them and unashamedly posted them all to Instagram. My obsession was so great that one night there was a storm and I was like “whoa better bring the ranunculus inside so it doesn’t get hurt”.
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Recently I celebrated my 25th birthday with a 25-25-25 sale – 25% off all sales for the first 25 customers for my 25th birthday. This was the first sale I’ve had of this kind and I was overwhelmed by the response! I love all you fangirls! Like I say, I don’t do these sales very often at all and it was a tad spontaneous so the best way to find out about these in the future is to follow me on Facebook or Instagram. Next sale time: Unknown.
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And… what else? OH YEAH! I managed to get my hands on some of this! If you’re not from NZ skip this one because it will have no bearing on you but if you ARE then ‘nuf said. Still have a hankering for some of this stuff? Lewis Road announces their delivery locations every morning on their Facebook page.
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We’re heading into summer here in NZ so I squeezed in as many wears of my mauve merino Myrtle dress as I could. I also took selfies in the bathrooms!

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#highonahillwasalonelygoatherd – yup I went to see The Sound of Music! I got a selfie outside the theatre at Giapo, which, in case you were wondering makes the best ice cream ever. If you aren’t following their Instagram I would *totes* recommend it. It is beautiful. This is my sister by the way.
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In Dresses & Me news – I am now stocking Grainline Studio’s Scout Tee, Archer Shirt and I have the Alder Shirtdress back in stock (but it’s selling out SO quick!) Grainline is blowin’ me away with their popularity! I’m always interested to know which patterns you’d like to see at Dresses & Me. So if there’s something you have a hankering for just let me know here.

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Lastly, I’m starting to think about my summer wardrobe. I have a gaping hole for light summer jackets (that aren’t blazers) and simple summer dresses. At the moment I’m thinking of making this combination below. I’m a tad skeptical as I bought the fabric from Martha’s Fabrics, which of course sells fabric for furnishings… Hmmmm will have to ponder on this one a bit longer before I cut into it.

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That’s my October in a nutshell! What were your highlights?

Brand Spanking New

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I’m super excited to announce that Dresses & Me Shop has a brand spanking new site AND we have some lovely new patterns in store! The store is still at the same address – http://www.dressesandme.com – but I’ve changed hosts so that the site looks more slick and professional – would you agree? In case you were wondering, I was with BigCartel before and now I’m with Weebly.

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These new patterns are by British Designer Simple Sews, and Claire is her real name if you were curious! Dresses & Me has all four of her printed patterns – The Peter Pan Collar Blouse (check out A Stitching Odysseys’ version), the Classic Trouser, the Pleated Back Pencil Skirt and – MY FAVOURITE – the Batwing Dress. The rest of her designs are in PDF download format, and will be in printed format in a few months. Go to her site and check them out 🙂

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On the new site you can view patterns by type, such as dresses and tops, as well as by their designers, such as Sewaholic and Victory Patterns.

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But perhaps the best new feature of the site is the free patterns page! Everybody loves freebies and my number one goal is to get people excited about sewing – so let’s make it easy for new people to get into sewing and get excited about it! Do you know of any more free patterns out there that I should add to this page?

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So…. What do you think of the new site? Would you like any additions? Modifications? Just let me know…

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.