Giraffe dress! (Show your working.)

Here’s the progress update I promised, complete with pictures and a sort-of explanation of how I did things. I copied the bodice pattern from the red dress I’m wearing in the post from a couple of days ago, and altered the front a little so it looked more like this.

As you can see my drafting methods are exhaustive and highly technical.

I cut out all the bodice pieces first and sewed together the outer fabric, then did an initial fitting. I tried to take photos but apparently I failed Bathroom Mirror Photography 101, so no blank expressions from me as I awkwardly fit the front pieces.

Fun fact: I’m too lazy to wear a bra at home, but I couldn’t do a fitting without one. Enter me, sauntering around my house with a bra on over my shirt because I couldn’t be arsed getting changed. Pfft. Expending effort, what?

Anyway. Then I started attaching the lining:

To be honest, I sort of winged the skirt. What else is new? I also lost my tape measure (and by
‘lost’ I mean ‘carefully put away somewhere so safe I can’t find it’.) Bummer as. It turned out pretty ok though. Lots of hand finishing: the cross over front is handsewn, and I ended up turning and handsewing the lining at the waist seam:

To be honest, sewing chunky gathers like that in a heavy fabric without a walking foot was a bit of a task. I might see if I can commandeer the walking foot which Mum claimed a few years back when I head home next month. Sewing in an invisible zip without an invisible zipper foot (I had one, but I can’t see where it went! Hurr hurr) went quite well though, so you know, go team me.

Here’s the almost finished product:

It’s wrinkling a bit funny under the bust on the right hand side of the photo, so I’ll probably tweak that tomorrow, and the ribbon still needs to be sewn on, but otherwise I’m quite pleased with it. I’m still vaguely thinking of making a self-covered belt for it, but I might be too lazy for that. We’ll see. Now I’m off to find pictures of HIGH FASHUN capes, because I have fabric left over and this bad boy is just crying out for a wee little caplet.

Put on your Red Dress and Dance the Blues

I haven’t posted in a while. A long while. About six months ago I got very enthused about quilting. I decided to (with apologies to Hyperbole and a Half) quilt all the things! I bought fabric! I made plans! Then I jammed it all in a cupboard and spent six months focusing on my photography instead. Oops.

However, I made a vague New Years resolution to dress in a way that doesn’t look like a rolled out of bed with 5 minutes to get ready and put on something that passed the sniff test from my floor (current method of FASH-UN). Among the things I went and bought while on my quilting buzz was 4m of giraffe print short pile fabric. WHO DOES THAT? Me, apparently. Here it is:

Anyway. It’s been staring at me from under my stairs for six months and two days ago I asked Twitter what the hell I should do with it. Make a dress! said one of my lovely followers. Suddenly my head filled with visions of a Dior New Look style dress, but you know, in giraffe faux fur. I went on a shopping mission for supplies: I’d need a petticoat to fulfil my vision. Luckily my local fabric store was having a sale, so I managed to snag 6m of tulle, fabric for a waistband, thread and elastic all of $22.

Then last night I set about constructing a three tiered petticoat.

In the true spirit of sewing projects started at 11pm, I took my measurements, cut the tulle, squinted and went ‘that doesn’t look quite right’. Turns out I was right with the measurements and the finished product hung a tiny smidge too low. I fixed it with some hand sewing this morning, but that’s why there are no pictures of the petticoat by itself. I tried to take more progress pictures, but George insisted on helping:

My hands are covered in scratches from where he got all bitey when I asked him to move off his tulle so I could sew it. Bad kitteh.

However! I finished it in about two hours, and tried it on under a red dress I’ve never really worn because it doesn’t work without a petticoat. It’s made from this odd red fabric that it looks like I skinned a muppet for. I didn’t though, promise. No muppets were harmed in the making of the dress.

I look very stern, but that’s just my ‘it’s 2am’ face. Anyway. More pictures to come of the petticoat and the dress-to-be. I’m all enthused all over again though: I always forget how much I like sewing, and how relaxing it is. I fell asleep easily last night for the first time in months. I’m already mulling over more projects, but I won’t be counting my chickens before they’re hatched this time though.

Knit what?

Not much sewing going on this week – I’m planning and staking out auctions on Trade Me (New Zealand’s answer to eBay – with better web design, it must be said.) Instead I’m doing a bit of knitting – picked up some loooovely felted lambswool in a nice bright red at the local store and I’m knitting a surprise while tucked up in bed. You get to see the finished product after it’s been sent off to the new owner, but until she’s got her surprise gift you get a grainy webcam picture of me knitting in front of my laptop. Aren’t you lucky?

No, but really I’ll put up real photos once I have something to show for my labours. In the mean time I’m collecting black and white fabrics for a herringbone idea I have and I’ve just bought a copy of a book called The Quilt Room on abebook.com.

Finished quilt!

I spent this afternoon looking for somewhere which was still open and selling thread at 4pm on a Sunday. More difficult than anticipated. I also curled up in a secondhand bookstore and flicked through a quilting book, then found instructions on how to make a single-patch cathederal window variation (they called it ‘secret garden’).

I had a go at it this evening, and this is the result:

It’s got batting inside too, and so it’ll be a pretty functional potholder as well as being pretty. I put it up on Etsy too, the first thing I’ve listed. Woo!

I also finished off the baby quilt.



I’m happy with it, actually. So much so that I almost don’t want to surrender it to the intended recipient, haha. I’ve also go big plans for my next couple of projects. It’s a toss up between a cathederal window quilt for my brother, a quilt with some curved seams which I’d like to try my hand at and a block which almost certainly has a name that I’m too lazy to try and chase down. We’ll see which one wins out.

(Unrelated but does anyone else find that Blogger’s photo upload tool is outrageously finicky and unhelpful?)

Baby Quilt Part II

I worked a bit more on the baby quilt tonight. It’s almost finished, in fact. I finished off the quilting and started the binding then ran out of thread. Best laid plans and that, you know how it is. I also managed to pre-wash a bunch more fabric, which I’m stoked about because it means I can start more projects tomorrow.

I’m awfully good at beginning new endeavours with a burst of energy and then totally failing to follow through though, so we’ll see how this progresses. I admit it was a bit of a thrill seeing the whole quilt come together with the binding though, so hopefully I’ll keep this up. I’ve got plans for at least four more quilts already, so obviously I’ve got the bug.

I figured I’d give a bit of a pictorial update too, but none of the whole quilt till it’s finished.

Here’s how my machine is set up in the middle of my lounge:

Yep, that’s a side table and a drum stool. Drum kit not pictured.

After my grandma died I inherited two necklaces, her collection of stuffed animal patterns and her pin tin. She died of lung cancer and her pin tin is a cigerette tin (The Cigarette for Connoisseurs: the Boardroom Cigarette, in case you’re curious.) Joan was an amazing lady and I’m pretty sure she’d appreciate the irony of the tin.

While I was sewing the binding by hand I was listening to this:

It’s by a local band called Entrails. I’ve been enjoying it since it landed in my mailbox about a week ago, but your mileage may vary depending on how you feel about bands with song titles like ‘Pustulating Lesions’.

But yeah, in the interest of adding some bullet points to this meandering post, here are some things I’ve learned while sewing this quilt:

-I am in fact most productive between the hours of midnight and 2am.
-Hand sewing is more relaxing than I recalled.
-It fucks up my back and neck something wicked though.
-This is ok because I made a wheat heat bag out of some of the leftover green cotton in the quilt.

First post, second quilt

First a quick intro. I’m Megan, I’m 21 and I’ve been sewing since I was small. I fell out of the habit of it after my 7th form year culminated with me sewing three ball dresses and a wedding dress pro bono. I like sewing and making people happy, but things got a little out of hand.

Recently though I’ve been getting back into the swing of things, and enjoying creating a bit more. I’m working on my second ever quilt right now which is incredibly enjoyable. My first quilt is best forgotten – a bit untidy and made when I was 14 and was muddling along with much idea what I was doing. Not that this attempt is markedly better, though my technical skills with a sewing machine and my patience have increased a bit. It’s for a work collegue whose wife is pregnant with their first kid. Some in progress shots for you here:

This is George, who has been helping by playing with my thread and keeping all my fabric warm. Thanks George.

As you can see the quilting still needs to be finished and I need to complete the binding. I’m not sure yet if I want to add more lines of quilting in between those I’ve already done, to make it a bit denser. We’ll see. I’m looking forward to starting on new projects already though: I found lots of beautiful saturated-colour fabrics which I love, but that are probably the wrong colour for a baby quilt.