Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Tic Tac Toe

Welcome to my little part of the Tic Tac Toe blog tour.

It's such a privilege to be able to share more the details of this gorgeous pattern.

I'm such a sucker for piping, so it was impossible to pass up the opportunity to test this pattern.

And what keeps me coming back is all the options.  Within the bodice alone, there are 3 versions for the front, and 2 for the back.

Couple that with the choice of two types of collar or epaulettes, and then 5 sleeve options.

Mathematically, by simply mixing up bodices, collars and sleeves, you have 120 potential dresses (I tallied it up on a spreadsheet, cause it's been a long time since I've had to do those kind of calcuations using formulae).  That's without the option of omitting the pockets, mixing up the piping, and colour blocking or adding the optional tie/sash!

For my latest version I took inspiration from the origami cranes in my new favourite fabric.

I used Bodice Version C to echo the fold lines of the cranes.

With a diagonal back like the diagonals in the wings.

And straight rectangular sleeves, like crisp fold lines.

Is that reading too much into pattern selection? Possibly, but I've been working through a ladybird version (I have some supercute ladybird fabric begging to be used). Just imagine red epaulettes with black buttons and puffed sleeves and bodice version B (like the one below) to mimic the split of the two wings across the back. I promise to share when I pull it off.

Like all good dresses, this one has pockets!

See how happy pockets can make you.

I promise I pressed this dress just before the photos. As gorgeous as this fabric is, looks like it's going to be a bit painful to maintain. That's always the way.

The back closure is an invisible zipper. I've been putting in a few of these lately, and they are my favourite bodice closure. 

When they work, it's like a dream - total fluke accidental pattern matching. I have an invisible zipper foot that makes it a little easier to stitch nice and close to the teeth. But they were still doable before I had the zip, I just made sure to move the needle over so it's nice and close.  The trickiest bit is lining up the zip so that it's stitched to the bodice the right way round. I'm getting better at that, but it still involves a fair amount of flipping over and zipping up and down to check.

As a blog tour bonus, use the code TICTACTOE10 at the checkout for a 10% discount on the Tic Tac Toe Dress.

Make sure you check out all the other blogs on the tour to see how this dress can shine, it's just amazing!

14 Nov: Metoezie//Bravefabrics//Amore

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Long Sleeves for Bubblegum

There's nothing like a dress with lots of options.

Candy Castle Pattern's Bubblegum Dress is a great base with lots of options.  There have been a number of options to add-on to the original, and the latest is long sleeves.

I'm always a fan of dresses with long sleeves, it opens up a lot more possibilities with when to wear the dress.

These are the basic hemmed sleeves.  The pattern add-on includes a number of versions of the sleeves: hemmed, ruffle, bias tape finish. And there's also the option of some elastic pulling in the upper arm (casing or shirred).

Being a wrap dress, there's a lot of 'wiggle' room in the fit. This is a size 5/6 for my girl who normally has a size 5 chest and 6 length - spot on! The sleeve length has been lengthened slightly in the finished pattern.

I picked up the ribbon for the ties on special for 20c a metre. She was fascinated with the bumps along the edge. I like the vintage feel that it gives.

The fabric is a twill weave. Not sure what fibre, but really soft and drapey (maybe a cotton or rayon)
. It's a mystery fabric that I found at the op shop (heaps of it).

 The bodice is lined.  For a bit of extra warmth, there's enough room in there to throw on a long sleeved tee and leggings underneath should finish it off.

The lined bodice gives the opportunity to break out some of the decorative stitches in my machine. This heart motif was a good combination of pretty, but not painfully slow.

And can we just spend a moment looking at the matching of those stripes.

Candy Castle Patterns are having a Black Friday Sale. You can grab 25% of any of the Bubble Gum Collection (dress and add-ons) until November 26, 11:59pm MST. Use the code BLACKBUBBLEGUM to grab your bargain. I've been eyeing off the Parade Maxi Dress, and the Lollipop Pi Circle Skirt.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Raglan Party Dress

I'm a big fan of One Thimble *. And so excited for Issue 13.

Partly because of this wonderful dress! Ajaire of Designs by Call Ajaire has come up with another stunning sew (check out my posts on the  Crossover Flounce Dress, Classic Maillot and Mackinaw Coat).

The features in this dress make it something special. Raglan colour-blocked shoulders, inverted pleats (with option pops of contrasting colour), invisible zipper (and another feature on the way).  For the whales version I added piping at the bodice and shoulder seams.

Speaking of those inverted pleats??

I'm in love with the contrast of the red with the black and white. (this is an earlier version of the dress, so is oh so very slightly different to the final pattern).

There are three views of the skirt - these two show you the two 'extremes' contrast material in every pleat, and no contrast at all.  There's a third version that has the contrast pleats at the front and back only.

Let's just pause for a moment, and check out that invisible zipper. I do not recommend stripy fabric for the bodice. It's not spot on, but she rarely keeps still long enough to notice.

This is the third time I've been able to test a pattern that's appeared in One Thimble, and it's been a real privilege every time.

Confession time - this zipper isn't really that spot on - There was a bit of a pay-off between a nice tight seam, and leaving room for the piping. Considering that this girl cannot stand still while I'm trying to help her get dressed, I went for the ease of zip over flawless zipper.

And while we're at it, I feel like I need to point out  and apologise for the glowstick earrings, rainbow plaits and temporary tattoos (the latter are the reason for some interesting arm angles). There's only so much of a fight I was willing to take on the day after school fete.

One last confession - I hadn't really paid much attention to One Thimble before testing the Crossover Flounce Dress.  I guess I didn't see why I would want to pay for an e-zine.

Well, after grabbing that first copy, I asked for a subscription for my birthday. I'm well and truly converted! It's so much more than a few sewing patterns.  It really is just like a magazine, but better, cause it can sit nicely in my phone. Great to have a read while waiting for school pick-ups, during ballet, while stirring a risotto.  The articles are interesting and well written, just like a 'proper' magazine. And most importantly, the patterns have always been stunning, and there's something for boys, girls, and myself!

Added to the content is the great support and encouragement from the Facebook group. It's one of my favourite groups for inspiration.

Issue 13 of One Thimble releases  November 11 (unless you have a subscription like me, and have already been checking it out).  I highly recommend you grab yourself a copy.

post contains affiliate links. If you purchase a copy of the magazine having followed one of the links, I receive a small commission at no cost to you.  The opinions, sewing and fights with my daughter of what is a suitable hair style are all my own.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Keeping toasty warm with some Sweet Cinnamon

There's nothing  like a bit of sibling 'love' to inspire some sewing. The So Sweet Cinnamon Sweater by Candy Castle Patterns.

Summer is definitely on the way, but we'll be travelling over Summer, and jumper (that's Aussie for sweatshirts - trust me) were on "need to sew as soon as I finish this" list over winter.

So when Rebecca put out a call to test a sweatshirt pattern in a fantastic range of sizes, I was keen to sign up, and start working on the holiday wardrobe.

Both versions are sewn up in sweatshirt fleece, and are super cosy.

The pattern has three options for a neckline finish - cowl, hood and cowl-hood (the two combined).  Both of these have used the cowl-hood.  My kids haven't really had any thing quite so cosy around the neck and face as these.  Despite the warm weather when we took these photos, they spent a lot of time burrowing their face into the warmth of the cowl.

The hood option has extension pieces at the front, so that the hood will cross over to keep you super cosy.

To add to the warmth there is a kangaroo pocket, and thumbholes in the sleeves.  I really like the construction of the pocket. It extends all the way to the side seams and bottom hem. So it's nice and big, and doesn't need a lot of extra fuss to put it in.

The thumbholes were a big hit with the kids. They haven't had tops with this feature before, and were quite taken with them.

Of course, the sleeves were pushed up for some serious shell collecting and comparing. No one likes sandy sleeves.

The pattern is a pretty simple sew. Everything lines up neatly and no fiddly bits to worry about. The biggest difficulty I had was getting all the layers at the neckline to fit under my overlocker foot - and there was one needle that didn't survive the process. But as with most things, if you take it carefully and slowly it's all good.

For my lean, long offspring, I added a bit of length to the body and the arms.  So we have a size 5 with size 6 length and size 8 with size 9 length (someone stop that boy growing!).  Adding length was really simple, and the pattern walks you through the process.

It's one of the things I love about sewing clothes for my kids, they can have things that actually fit!

There's a huge range of sizes in the pattern, from 18m to 14y. I'm tempted to see if I can fit into the largest size.

The pattern is on sale until Sunday 6th November, 11:59pm MST (mountain standard time - thanks Google!) with the code CINNAMON. So head on over the the pattern listing, and grab a copy now!

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Gypsy Dress

The Gypsy Dress * by Designer Stitch has all my favourite summer dress features.

 With a flattering fit, easy to get on and off and not too figure hugging it's perfect to throw on after a day at work, or over a pair of swimmers, down at the beach.

The pattern has two neckline options, round or cross-over. I'm such a fan of a nice scooped neck, that I couldn't go past the round neckline.

To be honest, I've never really looked at a high-low (mullet) hemline in off-the-rack garments. But the drawings and sample of the pattern looked so gorgeous, I figured I had to give it a go.

And I'm happy that I did.

The pattern has four length options: top; tunic, high-low; and maxi (with side splits).  When you combine this with the necklines, you have 8 potential garments! And that's without taking into account the difference a change in fabric can make.

This version is sewn up in a cotton voile. I has a little bit of drape, but still has a bit of stiffness. It's light and breezy. Perfect for summer. I also have plans for versions in rayon and maybe even a (relatively firm) knit.

Make sure you check out all the tester versions on the pattern page.

And as a bonus the placement of the pattern pieces meant that I had a nice long strip of fabric left over - perfect for making this super quick headband (it took literally 5 minutes as I rushed out the door).

*This post contains some affiliate links - meaning if you purchase a copy of the pattern I receive a small commission. However, the sewing, opinions and sandy feet are all my own.