Thursday, December 31, 2015

Top Five Sewing Hits and Misses 2015

I've seen a few people writing blog posts around their top five sewing hits and misses of the past year. Although I've not sewn as much this year as previous years I thought I'd do the same, it might even encourage me to do more sewing as I have a lot of fabric and patterns that I need to use - like a cupboard full (I need to stop saving the "good"  fabric).


In no particular order, here are my top five sewing wins for 2015:

Although its not an everyday item and I may never wear it again, I was pretty happy with the way my Kawaii jacket turned out. It's a bit bigger than it should be, but it looked pretty cute and it was a good way to used up some fabrics I had been stashing for a while.

This dress is the exact opposite to the kawaii jacket in terms of how often I wear it, I wear this dress ALL THE TIME. I layer it up in the cooler months and recently someone told me it fits me "so well" pretty good considering I bought the fabric for a few dollars at a market. I really need to make more of these dresses, perhaps even a maxi version.

 Let's get real, any dress featuring monsters I was going to wear constantly. I chose an old tried and true pattern for this dress (I didn't want to mess up the fabric) and it came out pretty great. I wear this one a lot, simple and comfortable and full of monsters!

This is the first wearable thing I've made for Rich and I think it came out great, I love seeing him wear this snuggly robe.

The dress I had a love, hate and back to love relationship with - I wear it a bunch though and will make more (although I will size down next time).


Here are my top five sewing misses, some are misses because they just didn't work for me, others because I never wear them and others just went wrong.

This dress was just wrong for me, I don't like these kinds of collars generally so I don't know what I was thinking. I guess at least I learned some new construction techniques, but I can't see myself ever making  another Myrtle.

I dunno went on with this dress, even cute ghost fabric couldn't save it. I guess some projects end up as UFOs for a reason.

I was actually really happy with this dress in terms of construction and thought the sleeves looked really cute with the frill, but the fabric choice was just all wrong for this style of dress - I felt like I was wearing a hospital gown.

The Hamilton top was one of those things that looked better in my imagination - also I don't wear separates much so it quickly became a wardrobe orphan and I should have made it at least one size (possibly two) smaller. It was never really "right".

 There's nothing really "wrong" with this dress, but I just don't think I will ever wear it again and the fact I cut my heroes out upside down didn't help!

So there we go - my top five hits and misses, I am really hoping next year I do get to sew more. Do you have any sewing "wins" or general "wins" in life over the past 12 months?

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Handmade Christmas Present

I always have a million ideas floating  around my mind of what I could make my family near Christmas time - t-shirts for my brothers? shorts for my nephew? a shirt for Rich? an apron for my mum? But in the chaos that is Christmas I usually end up making nothing. So when I actually managed to make one Christmas present this year I was pretty impressed with myself.

I ended up making a dress for Sophiia, its another fancy party type dress and I used the same pattern as I did for the Princess Sophiia Dress. This dress is pretty much identical to the Princess Sophiia dress except for two things. First of all the fabric choice.
I don't really like making pink things for girls as whenever I'm in a store that sells clothes for kids all the little girl clothes seem to be pink and I don't like it - little girls should have variety too!

I totally opted out of pink and chose this fabric with a bunting print. I bought it from a New Zealand Fabric Destash Group on Facebook, if you're interested you can find the group here.

I also decided  this time around I wanted to add some trim to the dress, I'm trying to not always take the shortest possible route when it comes to my sewing projects and take time to add things like pockets and trim if I think it will actually make my projects better.

Your eyes do not deceive you, this is glitter ric rac - just when you thought ric rac couldn't get any better. I bought this ric rac at fabric-a-brac in its original packaging for a couple of dollars.
I should have perhaps given the dress a bit of a better iron before taking the photo - rookie error! I was pretty happy with how it turned out though. 

Also unlike the Princess Sophiia Dress I can actually share an action shot of this dress with a photo my brother added to Facebook on Christmas day.
The dress is a little too big for Sophiia right now, but hopefully she will grow into it soon and my Mum said she might be able to add a couple of darts to help the fit. Even if neither of those things work out its a great little dress up frock still.

Also you might notice Lukah is wearing a suit, he asked my brother to buy him a suit for Christmas so he can "dress up nice" when they go out to dinner. When I spoke to him on Christmas I told him next time he comes to visit he should bring his suit and we can have a fancy dinner, his response? "Do you think I should bring the tie or the bow tie when I come, because Dad bought me both to wear with my suit" - I love that kid, he's so cute.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas Decoration Swap 2015

If you've been following my blog for a while you may remember the Christmas decoration swap  I did with some of my friends last year, we decided to do the same swap again this year but kept it low key - rather than making decorations for everyone we each made one decoration for one person.

My friend Joy was kind enough to arrange swap partners and my partner was Shell. As you guys all know I love to cross-stitch and decided to make Shell a cross-stitch decoration. I was only meant to make a small decoration, but when I found this design  by Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery I knew I was making a hoopla.

The pattern is called "Here comes Santa Claus" and it basically killed me with cute - I think Shell was pretty into it too.
Next up is Joy's decoration, made by Shell. It's pretty amazing - a measuring tape, turned into a festive bow, to hang on the tree. For bonus recycling points Shell told us she got the measuring tape in a Christmas cracker the previous year.

Ria's decoration is up next and it was made by Joy who has this amazing paper cutting computer thing that I don't understand at all, but she makes so amazing stuff with it!

The flower is the Pohutukawa which is also called New Zealand's Christmas tree and they are in full bloom at the moment as it is summer time. Joy also gave us all some of he off cuts from her creative process - we all got a mini Pohutukawa.

Finally, my decoration! I was lucky enough to have Ria as my partner and she gave me something perfect.
Last year Ria made me a Jack Skellington as my favourite Christmas movie is The Nightmare Before Christmas (I know you're all really surprised by that). This year she totally hit the nail on the head with my decoration again.

In Nightmare, Christmas and Halloween merge and all of the Christmas icons end up being creepy (basically my dream for Christmas) including the humble Christmas wreath. I don't think the wreath actually has a name in the movie, so we decided "Keith the Wreath" was appropriate. I love it so much.
So that was this years swap - I hope this can be an annual event with this bunch of friends. Here are a few more photos we took on the day just for fun.

I hope you've all been having a wonderful Christmas whatever you have been up to, ours has been very quiet but we have been enjoying lots of sunshine.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Lovely Club Christmas Lunch

A few weeks back now I got together with my lovely club friends for a Christmas lunch, we originally wanted to go to Arthurs but learnt at the last minute they had shut up shop! Fortunately I found another restaurant, The Arborist  which was delicious!

As it was a Christmas get together I thought I'd make some kind of effort to sort out a Christmas outfit even though I'm not really a Christmas person.
I'm not really loving this dress to be honest - it's OK, but I don't know if I will wear it again. The pattern is from the Sew Serendipity book, the book includes a basic skirt, dress/tunic and jacket pattern and gives you multiple versions of the same pattern showing how you can change them with a few tweaks. I've made another one of these dresses before, my Alicia Dress which I made at the start of 2014 - there must be some kind of link in my brain between sickly sweet prints and this pattern.

Speaking of sickly sweet prints, lets have a better look at the fabric I chose to make the dress. First up those gingerbread houses. This fabric was just a cheap and cheerful quilting cotton from Spotlight. I have to admit I didn't think I'd get any fun Christmas fabric from there, I thought it was just going to be very traditional and dull. So even though I may not be in LOVE with this dress I'm glad I did have the chance to wear gingerbread houses.
The contrast fabric is some extremely cute quilting cotton I've had for a LONG time which I got at a fabric-a-brac. I have been wondering about what I should do with it for the longest time, it was the only fabric that really worked with the gingerbread houses so I finally used it. However I think I originally bought three metres of the stuff, so I still have plenty left over.
I'm not sure there's too much more to say about the dress, I do think I will make another one of these with a better choice of fabric and the fit was a bit off so I think I need to work on that as well.
The lovely club lunch was of course amazing because all of the people in lovely club are amazing - also we had photo booth props so that made everything better. Thanks to my lovely friend Jo for adding the super kawaii stickers to the photos!

Do we have TOO MUCH  fun when we catch up? I don't think so, there's no such thing as too much fun.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Nautical Arum Dress

This is a dress I originally made for one of our Lovely Club meet ups that took place at Wellington Museum of City and Sea - the theme was nautical so obviously I made it from nautical themed fabric. I bought the fabric from The Fabric Store and although it has the standard nautical motif of an anchor I think its a little different to the standard nautical fabric you can buy (you can see a better photo of the fabric in the last picture of this post).

The pattern I chose to use was the Arum dress from French pattern company Deer & Doe,  I'm not going to lie guys this dress caused me ALL kinds of drama. The main problem was the GAPE! SO MUCH GAPE! I had to take the dress in a bunch to make it fit right and to be honest next time I make this dress I think I'm just going to go down a size.

I guess that's the problem with the shift type dresses, they are meant to be worn looser, but how loose is a matter of personal choice and perhaps I prefer my dresses to me a little more close fitting than most. However, the gape around the neckline was an almost disaster which resulted in nearly tears and much support required from Rich and my sewing friends (Ria, Emma, Jo, Joy and Shell) but I managed to come through the other side.
I have to admit when I first finished up this dress I was still not a fan, but I wore it to our Lovely Club meet up and I've worn it a few times since and its really grown on me.
It also may have helped that I wore this dress to work and a bunch of people told me how great this dress was. Including a lady in one of the lifts who I don't know as she works in a totally different building (I work for a large government department and National Office is spread over three buildings) who told me how great it was and when I told her I made it myself she asked if I could make her something. I obviously don't make stuff for random people because I  feel like I  have zero time to sew for myself and friends/family as it is. Still its nice to be asked right?
This skirt is a little crinkled in these photos as they were taken after Rich and I had been having a picnic at Atrim House and I'd been sitting down for a while. As nice as our courtyard is it was good to take some outfit photos somewhere a bit fancier!
Atrim House is currently the offices of Heritage New Zealand, but it was originally the home of Robert Hannah and his wife Hannah (I guess she must have been Hannah Hannah which seems pretty unfortunate). If you live in New Zealand you've probably bought something from the company that Mr Hannah founded at least once, I think I got all of my school shoes from Hannahs and many other pairs shoes as well including my first pair of knee high boots.

This building has also been used as a hotel and a public servant hostel - I think its pretty great that even though its used as offices the public is welcome to spend time in the grounds and apparently you can visit the front rooms on weekdays. I'm normally working at the time its open to the public, but I hope at some point I will be free to look at the inside. Until then I will just enjoy the exterior and the pretty gardens.

It was a lot of fun taking these photos at a more "exotic" location, I think I will try and do it more in the future (as long as my photographer aka Rich) is willing.

As for the Lovely Club meet up? It was a smaller crowd than usual - but we had a blast at the museum and here's some suitably ridiculous photos, because that's how we roll (ok they aren't ALL ridiculous).

In this last one Joy and I are having a "Titanic" moment - just in case you were confused.
Finally, to finish off a selfie from Antrim House. I have been up to a couple of fun Christmas type things with my friends, so hopefully I can share these with you all before Christmas day but time is ticking by rather quickly!