FINISHED! The Tokyo Flower Show Jacket

This is a big call, but this is one of my favourite makes ever.   I bought the fabric Friday, made it up on Saturday and am now blogging about it on Sunday!  Obviously I'm in love and just a little bit obsessesd.
Tessuti Tokyo Flower Show Jacket
The fabric, from Addicted to Fabric is a heavy weight cotton with a small percentage of stretch Apparently it was also available at Tessuti as Rachel made an amzing Belladone out of it and Gabrielle also bought some, so I wait with baited breath to see what amazing garment Gabrielle makes from it.  I love this fabric.  It is so nice to sew with.  I have a metre and a half left and I'm keen to buy more... but I suppose that would be excessive... or weird to have a whole wardrobe made out of this fabric. Stay tuned for a skirt though - probably tomorrow at this rate:)
Tessuti Tokyo Flower Show Jacket
So now to the pattern.  I've been thinking lately how much I've loved having my New York Cape during winter and how much I wanted a loose fitting jacket for Spring/Summer.  I have a beautiful Claudie Pierlot blazer that I love but I wanted a more relaxed jacket with a bit of a swingy back.
Tessuti Tokyo Flower Show Jacket
Enter the Tessuit Tokyo jacket.  Amy made a beautiful colour blocked version a couple of months ago which I stored in the back of my mind and recently Sallie showed an amazing shibori version. I hadn't made it up before as I hadn't found the right fabric and I didn't really want to make it up in the recommended fabric as I wasn't sure it would be me, but rather thought I might make it up in a slightly less drapey fabric.

And so the marriage was made.  As soon as I bought the fabric on Friday I knew what I would make... but I wasn't sure that it would work, either for the fabric or the style on me.

But it did! (If I do say so myself). Yesterday afternoon the wind really picked up here so we all bunkered down inside and I got right onto the making.

There are so many things that I love about this make:

Tessuti Tokyo Flower Show Jacket
  • the slightly stiffer fabric kicks the jacket out perfectly at the back
  • the professional looking pockets and cuffs (which hide my usual lo fi sewing)
  • that you can turn the collar over - in full or a portion - I'm wearing it slightly turned 
  • you can snuggle up in the jacket - crossing it over the front - something I do a lot and is something I love with the NY cape.
  • The length...I was worried that it would be too long but the length is spot on
  • The pattern - it's quick and straight forward and gave me a great sewing buzz (from taping to finish was about 4 hours)
  • It's not lined but is really neat on the inside
  • Oh and it's a little bit Erdem
Tessuti Tokyo Flower Show Jacket
I made up the xs and cut the back on the fold rather than having a seam down the back.  The instructions are really clear and because it's not lined and the sleeves are magyar it is a dream to make.
Tessuti Tokyo Flower Show Jacket
I took most of these photos in the Ladies Garden at Old Paliament House.  I walk through here most mornings on my way to work.  It's the week before day light savings starts so the mornings are light and you can see how stunning the morning was so I thought I'd go 'on location' nice and early.
Tessuti Tokyo Flower Show Jacket


It's spring and you can really feel it here. The sun is out, the days are longer, the garden is exploding with colour, it's the start of school holidays, Floriade is on and it's a long weekend!!!
So I 'accidentally' bought a whole lot of flowery material from Addicted to Fabric when I was supposed to be buying elastic for my sewing dare and zippers for fete craft.
Would it be weird to have both a skirt & a jacket out of this fabric..
I have in mind another O'keefe skirt  and a Tessuti tokyo jacket to be worn casually with jeans. Ok the fabric isn't exactly the drape required for the jacket but I have a vision of this as my go to Spring jacket on weekends.  Sadly they won't be worn together... as the silhouettes won't really match - though you never know!

First things first... off to the hairdressers.

Oh and I am keeping up with the Cami sewalong and on my sewing dare is progressing - the orphan sequins lying around the house are testament to this.

What's on my sewing table

I have a few things that I have in the pile to work on.  Time just hasn't worked in my favour for the last few weeks and the fact that I managed a few handmade gifts was truly a miracle. Hopefully I will find a bit of time to progress some of these this week... fingers crossed.

First up, my sewing dare!

I have had incredible support from Colette at Tessuti over the last couple of weeks where she helped me with the fabric planning around my sewing dare dress, sending me 3 lovely sequins fabrics to choose from and two jersey. I really couldn't have asked for better service.  All this over the email too!
This afternoon I snuck in an hour of 'sew time' so cut out the 'top' part of the dress, using the Briar as my basis. I was very tempted to cut the curve out at the bottom but decided not to as it wouldn't work for the dress ... But I'm worried.  I think the sequins will be too heavy for the material and might pull the whole thingt down. I plan to stabilise the shoulder seams but I don't think it will be enough.  The easy way out will be to make separates.  A sequins skirt and a jersey top.  This of course will increase the wearability of both pieces.. proabably something I should seriously consider.  I have also noticed that there are a number of 'easy sequins skirt' tutorials out there so this could definitely be a solution.

sew-along button
Second up is the Cami dress. I learnt a lot from sewing my muslin last week....about the brain space that we need to be in to sew well. My mum thinks that this dress doesn't look good and that I shouldn't make it, but I'm taking the advice from so many of you that commented and also from a part of my stubborn nature and will forge on with this.  Pauline is doing a sewalong at a nice easy pace so, today I also cut out the Liberty for this dress and am on track again for the sewalong.  
Are any of you doing Inna's the Little French Jacket sewalong? I'm so keen but just need to find some time.  Anyone know where I can buy some? Inna is taking a nice slow pace, so I might even be able to catch up. There was a great post on colour theory the other day so even though I'm not yet sewing along, I'm loving the posts.
Oh and don't forget Red October - but that's a little way away! First things first.

So, what are you working on?

Handmade gifts - a catchup post

Here are a couple of handmade gifts I've made lately.  I'll be back soon with updates on clothing makes, including my sewing dare and the Cami dress, a whole lot of patterns I won from Claire and a few other things, but first up some handmade gifts

Liberty tissue holder with pocket!
So, here we have a tissue cover with a cute little side pocket for a pen or some lipstick! This one is for another work mate.  It is made with Liberty Tresco A. I was only able to purchase a little bit of this fabric so I'm glad it worked out.  It is lined in another Liberty Virtual Light A. The fit is a bit snug because  I made up the pattern myself after the only ones I could find on the internet involved sewing the top onto the side pieces, which I find too bulky and my head was spinning after a few hard days at work so my maths struggled.  The piece at the bottom is because I cut it too short. But I'm calling it a design feature!

ooshkak babushka doll in LIberty
Next up is an ooshka babushka doll I made using Liberty scraps for a little girl turning one tomorrow.  I have spoken before of my love for the patterns of Lisa from the Red Thread.  I made a 'superman' for this house many years ago and is a great comfort to me as I lie in the kid's bed reading stories.
Lastly, to show I'm making good progress on my battle with the zipper purse, two little purses I made today. Elliot is off next week to a birtday party for twin girls, so they will get these with some little things in them.  Not sure what yet.. but something!


I made a quick and dirty Cami muslin...and a zipper purse

This morning, I set my clock for an hours worth of muslin making of the Cami dress. I extended the timer (a few times) and after some very quick and dodgy sewing ended up with enough of a muslin to get an idea of how the dress might look on me.  I had originally only intended to sew a quick and dirty to see size but as the muslin making progressed I started to think that this dress doesn't quite work for me.

Now before looking at these photos remember that it is a quick and dirty muslin. So it's barely hanging together.  I also couldn't get the under collar to fit (no idea why - but if I do end up making this I will wait for the tutorial/sewalong) so I ended up changing the button fold to get the neck to fit and as a consequence the front of the bodice isn't quite right (I didn't properly iron it either).  The skirt isn't attached perfectly as by this time I just wanted to get it on to see. Of course it would probably look better if it was sewn up well and the bust darts were right.  But how much better?  I asked Ben and he said what I was thinking.. that it wasn't flattering and that it made me look chunky around the waist.  I think that it might be the placement of the waist maybe it's too low (?) or maybe I just feel/am proportionately thick around the waist.  It's annoying because I do like this style of dress and Nadinoo who has always been a bit of a style icon for me has some lovely similar styles.
There has been a bit of talk on the blogs lately about style and sewing to it, both Tily and then Adrienne spoke about it and it got me thinking in relation to this dress.  Despite thinking that the Cami and the Colette Hawthorne (for example) are great dresses and look really beautiful on heaps of people. I'm just not sure that I can pull it off, it's not quite me. I think I prefer a leaner line around my stomach and hips, with less blousing out from the waist over the hips.  Mmmm, I'm probably over thinking it, but I'm just going to sit on this make for a while.

So, it hasn't been the best sewing weekend for me.. I think I so desperately wanted to sew something that it all went bad.  I did make a zipper purse yesterday but the zipper was too short.  I tried again today using some fabric in the stash. I think it turned out super cute (100% due to the fabric) although I  have a perfection tendency when it comes to zipper purses as I can always find something wrong and the zipper ends still feel lumpy to me.  Does anyone have a fail safe method for zipper purses?  Surely I should be able to make a simple zipper purse!

Is it worth making sewing plans for the weekend?

I am hopeful of getting in a lot of good sewing this weekend, not confident, but hopeful.  October is school fete(s) month so I always find my selfish sewing falls by the way side as I open the sweat shop so I need to get cracking in September.

Yes there was supposed to be snow on those hills!
We were away last weekend 'skiing' - partly to ski and partly to get away from the new floor boards that were being layed in our house, so no sewing was done. The snow wasn't great after an unseasonably warm spell in the mountains but we did get two days in, but had to go up high, balancing ski's in our arms whild holding tightly onto the kids to do it.  I admire parents who seem to have it all together and who aren't stressed out on ski holidays.  It just seems to require such an enormous amount of organisation and energy and patience.  Especially as the 4 year old started skiing off piste down an embankment shouting out at me - "I just want to have fun Mummy... I just want to see what's down here". Fun?  Not so muc for me as I carried him back up an embankment. Sadly, I still need to do some organisation and putting away this weekend as much of our stuff is still in boxes squashed into the bedrooms and it also seems like a good time to sort throug some other boxes... or not.
But here's one thing I'd really like to start on. Did you see the release of the Cami dress last week by Pauline Alice!?  It was fate as I had been searching out patterns for that exact same style of dress the night before  I bought some Liberty from Shaukat the other day so I'm just hoping that I will have enough of it. The pattern on the fabric turned out much smaller than I had anticipated so a dress like this might work well. There are so many cute versions from the pattern testers of this dress and Pauline Alice as been showcasing them. Otherwise I plan to head to my local haunt Addicted to Fabric to do a bit of stash creation.  I received an email the other day to say that until consumer confidence increases post the election they will be closed Sundays and Mondays.  Urgh.  Not Sundays!  I am determined to go in and spend tomorrow and single handedly (well not exactly but I hope to help) get them back on track. Anyway, I'm still tossing up whether to do a muslin or just launch right in to this dress.

In other news, Colette from Tessuti has been super helpful with my fabric for my sewing dare. I hope to have the fabric finalised next week (I was hoping to buy it today but got horribly caught up at work).  I still need to work out a pattern to use...
Oh and of course I still need to get on with those zipper purses from a couple of weeks ago... mmmm I wonder how much I'll actually get done.  Ok, off to see if I can squeeze the Cami onto my Liberty. What are you working on?

FINISHED! A present for a generous cook

It was the birthday of a work friend this week.  To celebrate: a morning tea, a lunch and a present. Oh, but what to get, what to get?
Well, the birthday girl is a generous cook who is well known for her care packages and her love of food.  So after a lot of deliberation, we thought what better present than a food carrier. Ok, so she usually carries her large bowls and containers in a big bag and she rarely arrives with just one, but let's just say that she just wanted to take one cake or pie or salad, well then what could be better than a food carrier. So instead of buying a present from the team I whipped one up.When searching out styles and tutorials on the internet, I found that they were mainly referred to as 'pie carriers' or 'casserole carriers' but I envision that this will be used for cakes or salads or just about anything.  There is a layer of 'insul bright' so it could keep food hot or cold. Or as someone said at work today, she could use it to carry and keep cold a 6 pack (of beer).  Well yes. She could.
The pattern is based off the tutorial from Crafty Gemini. The pattern calls to quilt batting on both sides and then sew together.  I only had enough insul brite for one layer, so I just sandwiched it between layers and stitched around then turned out the correct way.  I didn't quilt or topstitch around the side. Probably a bit of laziness and not really knowing how my walking foot works.. or maybe it was just that I prefer the look of this fabric without either! If I do this again, I might bind the edges.
I used some Nani Iro linen fabric and a heavy Japanese cotton/linen which had checks on one side and dots on the other. For this project I just used the dots. I've got a thing when I use Nani Iro fabric that I like to see the selvedge.  Its just one of those things. I also stamped a label on the front.
So the way it works is so easy. You put the bowl under the long strap and then thread through the straps through the holes et voila! A very snazzy and unusual food carrier. I love this!  It turned out better than I expected and really sturdy. It is a bit lo fi and wobbly in parts or rustic was the word used at work today. But I still love it.  It was reasonably quick and easy so it might also make the list of items for the preschool fete.
Oh I also made a little bit of birthday bunting to go with the most delicious cake from Flute.

FINISHED! Gerties L'Estrange Sailor's blouse

When I visited Tessuti* a couple of months ago I knew immediately that this fabric would become a Gertie Sailor's blouse. I have been enamoured with this blouse ever since seeing the post on Paunnet of her version of this blouse and Gertie's Creative Bug workshop and was just looking for the right fabric. I think this fabric has the right amount of a nautical feel without being too obvious. The fabric, is Liberty of London L'Estrange and is from the Autumn Winter 2012 Printing and Dyeing Story. 

The Fabric Story from Liberty of London:  A unique floral check design representing straightness of fit. The Printing and Dyeing story was created to promote to customers the amazing printing skills and techniques that go into a rotary or screen printed Liberty Art Fabric and each design portrays a different printing hurdle. The Liberty Design Studio visited ‘Standfast and Barracks’ a British furnishing and apparel printer with a heritage stretching back 80 years which offers a wide range of specialist printing techniques and dye shades. The Liberty Art Fabrics team worked with the studio at Standfast to develop new looks and techniques when printing.

Gertie's Sailor Blouse
Now onto the blouse and the workshop.  I've spoken before about my frustration with the pdf that comes with this course.  I suppose it is possible to paste the pattern together but it is not straight forward and I definitely expect a bit more from a print at home pattern.  I couldn't find the sizing chart either.  I hope that Creative Bug take on the comments I sent as they have some really great courses. (Update 11 September - the PDF has now been fixed - thanks Creative Bug!!) For those of you who have done Craftsy courses, you might miss, as I did, the interaction that you can have with the teacher and the ability to ask questions and provide feedback. 
Gertie's Sailor Blouse
In the end, because I really wanted to make the blouse,I just bought Gertie's book as the pattern is a variation of her Portrait Blouse.  I will definitely be making the non variation version in the future!  The fit is so flattering! In the end, it wasn't such a bad thing to finally buy her book.  I'm sure I'll make something else out of it and there is a lot of good information in it. 
Gertie's Sailor Blouse
In terms of making it, I really enjoyed watching and listening to Gertie. She has a lovely lovely manner and voice.   I did miss having instructions to follow, as I found I kept missing points because I was doing and watching.  Note to self - watch the episode through once without doing anything first!

Drafting the collar seemed so straightforward, but in the end, I think I botched mine up.  It doesn't sit flat and yesterday I was really worried that it looked ridiculous.  I'm less worried today but it isn't exactly right.  The other thing is that I didn't make a muslin (I know I know) so the back of the collar is just a bit big which I would have picked up if I'd done a muslin.  I used the measurements of Gertie's but given I made up a size 4 and I'm pretty short, I could have trimmed it in a centimetre or so on each side.  C'est la vie. 
Gertie's Sailor Blouse
The v at the front also isn't superb and I don't think I finised my binding off there properly. Fortunately the  bow adds a lovely bit of visual interest to that area and disguises the dodgey bit.
Gertie's Sailor Blouse

I don't normally wear such short blouses with jeans, but it works ok, but I can really see myself wearing this in summer with some short and already it's lined up for work tomorrow with my pencil skirt!  It really feels like Spring at the moment and wearing a short sleeve shirt like this was absolutely weather appropriate today. (Need a cold snap desperately though as we are going skiing next weekend - I'm hoping the snow holds!)
Gertie's Sailor Blouse
So despite some issues, I do recommend this workshop, particularly if you already have Gertie's book for the pattern.. I loved learning the triple stitch hem and doing my first lapped zipper.  

Finally, after a hilarious post on taking photos of her lovely Miss Chalmers skirt and then a follow up, thought provoking post by Thewallina on taking selfies and being a bit creative with our photo taking (and smiling!), I left my driveway for an 'on location' shoot today down at the Canberra Yacht Club.  It's not perfect as I was super self conscious as I was surrounded by families celebrating Father's day but I did it.  It was my first time using a remote and I can thoroughly recommend it... what a difference it makes to taking a selfie!

* I have now made up outfits using all 4 pieces bought from Tessuti - might be time for another visit :)