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April 15, 2014 / Blogless Anna

A stellar make

When Figgy’s Heavenly Collection was released late last year, I brought the lot.  After all, I’m an all or nothing person!

The Stellar Tunic/Dress is my favourite pattern in the collection and I’m thrilled with how my first version turned out.

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This dress was a gift for Miss A’s friend… but we took a few sneaky photos with Miss A (reluctantly) modelling it before it was wrapped and gifted to the birthday girl on the weekend.

Cutting out, joining and top-stitching the kimono sleeves has given me a whole new level of respect and appreciation for the fabulous quilters of the world.

Three of the four liberty fabrics used in the sleeves were leftovers from my recent Gabby Dresses.  I love a scrap busting project, and it was so much fun working out which fabrics to use and in what order.

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The instructions for this project are clear and they include great tips for attaching the woven kimono sleeves to the front and back tunic pieces.  I recommend this pattern without hesitation.  Now I just have to convince my girls that they need a stellar tunic or dress in their lives.

Pattern:  Figgy’s Stellar Tunic
Size: 
6-7 with the length of a 8/9
Fabric: 
Red double knit jersey from The Fabric Store & Liberty Tana Lawn (4 different patterns) from Tessuti
Alterations: 
None

Lara has made five of the seven patterns in the Heavenly Bundled Collection.  Check them out here, here, here, here and here.  I have a little way to go to catch up (not that it’s a competition) but as I’m on a knit sewing binge at the moment I feel that a Seraphic Raglan Tee or two will be sewn soon.

Speaking of my knit sewing binge, check out the size 3 Nessie Top that I made my niece on Friday.  This is my 6th version of this top… Need I say more?

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Pattern:  Nessie Top by Craftiness Is Not Optional
Size: 
3
Fabric:  Red double knit jersey from The Fabric Store & Nani Iro double knit jersey from the stash
Alterations: 
Removed 1 inch from the length of the neckband and 1/8 inch from the neckband width

April 14, 2014 / Blogless Anna

Funny faces dress

We’re just home from a little family holiday and while packing to go away, the girls and I identified some gaps in their wardrobes.  At the top of the list for both Miss A and Miss B were long sleeve dresses.  With this in mind, Miss B selected some fabric and I traced out View B of the Funny Faces Dress (pictured below in the middle) from Ottobre 1/2014.

Unfortunately, the dress was too big for Miss B.  The good news, well good for her big sister, is that the dress fits Miss A!

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The style has a relaxed fit, with a slight drop shoulder…

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but I think it’s fair to say there is still some growing room even for Miss A.

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I used the main fabric, a red double knit from The Fabric Store, to bind the neckline.  I deviated from the pattern and bound the gathered sleeves in the skirt fabric, a stretch cotton remnant from Tessuti.

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Not surprisingly, Miss B has put in an order for exactly the same dress!

Pattern:  Funny Faces Dress (View B) from Ottobre 1/2014
Size: 
122cm
Fabric: 
Double knit jersey from The Fabric Store & hearts fabric from Tessuti
Alterations: 
I eliminated the skirt binding, added a little extra length to the skirt piece and sewed a double fold hem.  The sleeves were bound with the skirt fabric and I left off the bows.

I would have liked to have concluded this post with a photo of Miss A pulling a funny face… but she preferred to run away!

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April 6, 2014 / Blogless Anna

To shrug to not to shrug?

Sometimes readers, the simplest things in life (and sewing) are the best.

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Let’s talk about my new shrug… it’s a very simple pattern (number 4) from May Me.

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The pattern is a large rectangle (the main piece) and two small rectangles (the cuffs).  The instructions were in Japanese, but the diagrams where clear and it was a very quick sew.

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The fabric is a light grey wool which I bought at the  Clear It (Alanah Hill) Outlet last year.  The edges of the fabric don’t fray so there was zilch overlocking involved.  I decided the wool was too thick for a double fold hem, as per the instructions, so I bound the edge with some voile from the stash.

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This project was just what I needed to get back into some selfish sewing.  If you follow me on Instagram (@bloglessanna) then you’ll know that although quiet in these parts, I’ve been madly sewing and crafting for our school fair (all done now!), hosting a cocktail party, buying fabric, attending a knitting machine classes and making more Nessie Tops.

Back to this project… I’m definitely a shrug convert.  There will be more in my life.  I’m evening toying with the idea of converting this sewing pattern into a machine knitting pattern.  Watch this space…

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Pattern:  Pattern No 4 from May Me (Japanese pattern book)
Size: 
One size
Fabric: 
Light grey wool from Clear It (Alanah Hill) Outlet
Alterations: 
The hem was bound with some voile from the stash.
Accessories:  Necklace and dress from Scarlett Jones & shoes from Zomp.

March 1, 2014 / Blogless Anna

On a Nessie roll…

Yesterday afternoon/evening, I was on a Nessie Top roll.  I made not one, not two but three of them in total!

Nessie Top 1:  A present for Miss A’s friend who’s celebrating her 7th birthday this weekend (sorry no pics).

Nessie Top 2:  Miss B selected fabric from my knit remnants tub and I sewed up a the colour-blocked version in a size 5 with 3/4 sleeves.  It’s a good fit with some room for growing.

It’s hard to tell from the photos below, but it’s an a-line top with a high-low hem.  Speaking of photos, I took 156 shots to get the following three.  Miss B is not a cooperative model at the moment!

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Nessie Top 3:  Miss A insisted that I use two striped fabrics for her Nessie Top.  I had my doubts.  Actually, I was fretting about stripe matching the colour-blocked seam.  Then after a short discussion we decided to change the direction of the red and white striped knit.  I have to report, I love the result and Miss A does too.  Miss A’s version is a size 5 with an inch added to the length and 3/4 sleeves.

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The Nessie Top by Craftiness Is Not Optional comes with lots of variations.  There is the basic pattern, a colour-blocked bodice version (like above) and a cute peter pan collar that can be added to any Nessie Top.  In addition, you can choose from three different sleeve lengths – short, 3/4 and full length.  I love a pattern with options!

I made some changes to the neckband after my first version.  Specifically, I reduced the width of the neckband by 1/8 inch and shortened the neckband by 1 inch.  I like my neckbands to sit flat against the body rather than upright like a mini skivvy.  In this case, a shorter neckband that was stretched a little when sewn onto the neckline, helped me achieve my desired result.  By the way, it’s hard to draft neckband lengths on knit patterns as the length required really does depend on the amount of stretch in the fabric being used.

The tops were constructed on the overlocker and I used a twin needle to top-stitch the neckband, along colour-blocking seam and for all the hems.

In a daring move I decided for the first time in my life to use a toning rather than a perfectly matching bobbin.  You know… the old near enough is good enough (which is so not me)… and it was very liberating!  In truth, this move to use a toning bobbin was driven by the fact that I’m all out of space for new bobbins on my thread board!

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Pattern:  Nessie Top by Craftiness Is Not Optional
Size: 
Miss B = size 5 & Miss A = size 5 with 1 inch added to the length
Fabric:  Red & White Stripe – Hilco Knit from Earthgirl Fabrics, Strawberries – 100% cotton from Spotlight, and Red & Pink – Lillestoff Knit from The Drapery
Alterations: 
Removed 1 inch from the length of the neckband and 1/8 inch from the neckband width

February 26, 2014 / Blogless Anna

My matchy matchy girls…

I don’t usually encourage matchy matchy when it comes to my girls, but I couldn’t resist making them these similar dresses.

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The Melanie Knit Dress by Modkid is a pdf pattern which comes in sizes 2T-10.  I made Miss A a size 5 with the length of a 7 and a straight size 5 for Miss B.  The fit is spot on!

The first time I saw this pattern (thanks for the inspiration Lara) I knew it would be a perfect pattern for my girls.  What’s not to love about a knit dress with feature pockets?

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The side panels in this pattern allows for – okay, they actually screams – pattern matching.  For these dresses I specifically brought lovely Lillestoff knits (95% organic cotton & 5% elastane) from The Drapery and I’m super pleased with how they turned out.

In my opinion, the fun designs and quality of European knits are worth the price tag they come with.  It’s also good to remember that these knits come in really wide widths, so you don’t need very much to whip up a kids t-shirt or dress.

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The neckline is drafted to be turned under 1/2 inch and secured with a twin needle.  I much prefer adding a neckband, so I cut down both the front and back neckline by 1/4 inch, added a neckband in the contrasting fabric and top stitched the neckline with a twin needle.  As one needle sews on the neckband and the other on the dress, I used different coloured threads to match each fabric, which made me feel rather fancy!

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Pattern:  Melanie Knit Dress by Modkid
Size: 
Miss A = size 5 with the length of a 7 & Miss B = size 5
Fabric:  Lillestoff Knits from The Drapery
Alterations: 
Removed 1/4 inch from the front and back necklines and added a neckband

Will I make more Melanie Knit Dresses?  Yes, yes and yes!  With our weather getting cooler (Hello Autumn) I expect it won’t be too long until I sew some long sleeved versions.

And if you’re thinking you’d like a dress like this yourself… check out the Lola Dress by Victory Patterns.

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February 16, 2014 / Blogless Anna

More liberty madness with Gabby

One quirky liberty Gabby Dress (and I’m saying that fondly) just wasn’t enough…

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For this version, I used the same liberty tana lawn print (Mitsi in green from Liberty’s classic range) for the front, back and one sleeve, the second sleeve is a contrasting print, and the neck binding another again.  Are you still following me?

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The Gabby Dress pattern instructs you to use bias binding as a facing for the neckline, but as I was after another pop of red to compliment the poppies sleeve, I bound the neckline so the bias was a feature.

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And that yellow bar that I’m draping myself over using as a prop in these photos… it’s one of three in our backyard for our budding gymnasts and their friends to enjoy.  Although, I have been known to have a go myself and the girls also recently coerced their babysitter to show them a few tricks!

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Pattern:  Tessuti’s Gabby Dress
Size: 
S
Fabric: 
Liberty Tana Lawn (3 different patterns) from Tessuti
Alterations: 
The bias neckline has been sewn on as a feature rather than a facing.
Accessories:  Necklaces from Elk , bangle by Sonia Rykel (brought here) & shoes purchased at Siricco.

February 14, 2014 / Blogless Anna

Daily Wardrobe: Dress K

Dresses in these parts seem to be getting shorter and shorter!

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Exhibit A (above) is Dress K…

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from a Japanese pattern book titled Daily Wardrobe.

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And the reason my version is so short, is that I lopped a whopping 5 inches off the hem!  Sometimes I get a little carried away…

I have a growing collection of Japanese pattern books.  Daily Wardrobe (above) and Everyday Pretty Wardrobe recently joined my bookshelves when I spied them in the remnants section of Tessuti’s online store at 50% off.  I was attracted to Dress K, as I have a lovely boarder print that I thought would work wonderfully with this pattern.  Before cutting my precious boarder print, I decided to make a wearable muslin out of some linen and double gauze from the stash.  I’m really glad I did!

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I have to admit, I’m not in love with this make.  I’ve come to the conclusion that gathers on the front neckline aren’t flattering on my generous bust.  Also, the neck facing doesn’t sit flat (which I find super annoying) even after a wash and a good press.

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The neck facing sat perfectly before being attached to the dress (I tried it on to assess the depth of the scoop!) so I must have ‘done something’ when joining the two.

On a positive note, I’m really happy with the position of the bust darts.

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I’ve finally come to the realisation that I’m ‘long’ in the area between the base of my neck and my bust.  For this dress, I decided to try slashing the pattern and adding an inch (my usual bust lowering amount) just below the armholes on both the front and back pieces (see below).  I’m pleased to report I had success.  I think this will become a standard alteration for me.

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Will I make this dress again?  Probably not.  So, my hunt for the perfect boarder print dress continues.  Do you have any suggestions?

Pattern:  Dress K from Daily Wardrobe (Japanese pattern book)
Size: LL (the largest size!)
Fabric:  Linen from Tessuti & snails double gauze (which is part of Heather Ross’ Far Far Away Collection) from deep in my stash!
Alterations:  Slashed the pattern (back and front) just under the armholes and added an inch.  Shortened at the hem by 5 inches.
Accessories:  Bracelet from Christine’s & shoes recently purchased here.

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