Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Dress - Part B

In January this year, as morning sickness subsided and I began to feel slightly human again, we Emma, her sister Michelle and I hit Melbourne on a wedding shopping spree. First stop Clegs in Elizabeth Street. The ladies at Clegs know their stuff when it comes to bridal fabric. We presented our list of fabric and notions to a lovely staff member and she brought everything to us to paw and play with. Emma picked out her gorgeous lace and satin, and we left with a bag bulging with bridal white! We skipped over to Australia on Collins and picked out my matron of honour dress at Ripe Maternity and cruised about to get the navy fabric for the groom's frock coat (made by Michelle). We finished up with tasty yum cha for lunch. It was a super successful shopping trip with possibly the most easy going bride in the history of weddings!

The time came to actually get to work on the dress, I set aside times to work on it when Coen was at kinder so I could work without distraction during daylight hours. The bodice was quickly done and fitted. It was white! Super white! I was so worried about leaving grubby marks on the pristine fabric that I developed a routine of scrubbing in before doing any work on the dress. Scrubbing my hands (up to my elbows some days) and making sure my nails were super clean and snag free.

After fitting the bodice the time came to sew the skirt. I took my time, did everything slowly and carefully, very different from my usual slap dash rush jobs when making my own clothes!

I found myself thinking about my grandma, who was an amazing seamstress. When discussing her handiwork the family line is that her garments were so beautifully finished that you could wear them inside out. With this at the forefront of my mind I made every effort to make the inside of this dress something that I would be proud to show Grandma. I desperately wish that she were still with us so that I could show her my work and tell her how much she inspires me.

I couldn't believe it when I attached the skirt to the bodice. It was a dress. At that point I decided that the dress was at lock up stage. If both my arms fell off, someone would just have to put a zip in the back and Em would have had a wearable dress.

It took a little while to gather the courage to make the first cut in the beautiful lace. The lace over bodice was the most time consuming part of the dress. It has tiny button loops (I used trim with elastic loops to ensure they would be uniform in size and evenly spaced) down the front as well as on the sleeves and many of the seams are bound. While I understand and agree with the theory of binding the seams to reinforce a delicate fabric, the practice, especially hand sewing organza is fiddly! Luckily I get into a bit of a meditative state when hand sewing!

After another fitting to get the bodices matched up, there was more hand sewing to attach the lace to the dress. After a final fitting to place the zip, I took the whole dress to my mum's house to make use of her larger sewing table, invisible zipper foot and superior sewing skills! Mum put the zip in for me and I sewed the final panel into the back of the skirt. It was at this point that I started to grin like a bit of an idiot. It looked like a wedding dress. A really nice wedding dress!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Stretchy Legs

I'm going to make a spreadsheet to keep track of all the babies being born in the next 6 months! There is no other way I'm going to be able to keep track of when everyone is due and what I have planned to make for their babies! Seriously, it's breeding season amongst our general acquaintance.

In the mean time I have been working on a couple of basics for our babe, like stretchy legs. Soft interlock leggings with feet, perfect for keeping tiny socks on! The green pair are soft cotton interlock, the red are cotton interlock with a brushed back, so they're super soft and warm. Half a metre of fabric will easily yield 2 pairs with a bit left over. (super christmassy colour combo is completely unintentional, but decidedly festive!)

The pattern is one that my mum has been using for years. See below for the leggings I used to wear nearly thirty years ago that have survived being worn by my dolls and stored in the toy box for umpteen years to be brought out, washed and used once again for a real baby!

Decent well made basic baby clothes will never go out of fashion!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Dress - Part One

Last year my best friend Emma told me she was getting married. I was excited. Not just because my best friend of 15 (yikes!) and her wonderful partner were celebrating their love or each other, but I knew their wedding would be fun! When she also suggested that we could make her wedding dress I knew it would be super fun! Emma's wedding dress is the most important garment I have made. It was an adventure and a challenge and I learned a fair bit in the process. We started looking at styles and patterns straight away, focusing on narrow waists and full skirts. We browsed vintage patterns, vintage repro patterns and my personal pattern stash for something with a 1950s-60s feel. Emma chose a pattern I already had on my shelf! Every year Burda Magazine features a range of wedding dresses and in edition 3/2008 the dresses were all inspired by celebrity wedding dresses from the last several decades. The one that caught our eye is fashioned after Grace Kelly's wedding gown from 1956. In September we traced out the pattern and I made a muslin for both the lace and satin bodices. Usually when I'm doing these things the only other person at home is Coen, who has not quite mastered photography, so it is quite a novelty to see myself at work in the pics Em took to commemorate the occasion. I don't usually bother with muslins for my own garments. To be honest, I rush things and adjust as I go with varying degrees of success. As this was a Very Important Dress, I did it properly! I knew that the pattern would have to be altered to fit as Em's measurements covered a couple of sizes. The main alteration needed was to shorten the bodice by a couple of inches as Em has a reasonably high waistline. A demonstration of poor posture as I sew! One day I'll get around to getting a decent chair for my machine. After making the alterations to the muslin and the pattern we waited until January to get the dress fabric.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

An SnB is Better Than a Kitchen Tea

Particularly for a crafty bride with equally crafty friends, family and future in laws!
My best friend Emma is getting married this month! As well as making her dress we are also working on knitted bouquets. The bride came up with the fabulous idea to have a stitch & bitch instead of the traditional kitchen tea so all the crafty ladies could contribute to her bouquet. On Sunday I took Emma, her sister and my mum out to Em's future grandmother in law's house for the party!

The bride sitting & knitting between her sister and grandmother.

It was a lovely afternoon spent with like minded folk of all ages working on a very special project!

Some of the fruits (technically flowers not fruits) of our labours!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Girly Kniting

It's a Girl! Which means I'm two for two at guessing the gender of my children! I suppose there's always a chance the sonographer was mistaken and we'll end up with a boy dressed in frilly lacey stuff!

I bought some gorgeous sock yarn from the lovely Charly of Ixchel fame and had been itching to cast on something pretty. The pattern is Garter Yoke Baby Cardi (Rav link), the Ixchel sock yarn is a colourway called Fantasy and the grey yarn is Patonyle.
I have plans for some tights to match in the lovely colourful yarn, but they will have to wait as all projects are now on hold until I finish Em's wedding dress!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Instant Gratification Knitting

My current definition of instant gratification knitting is newborn knits in 10 ply! Seriously, these things fly off the needles. Before we found out what flavour human I'm incubating I had a sudden inexplicable urge to cast on a Cascade. While the leaf lace pattern is not particularly girly, the end result in Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury 10 ply looks pretty feminine to me.

For the next I went for something a little more unisex, a Pebble vest in Ceckheaton Country Naturals. It's a sweet tweedy vest, and was a very quick knit but there were approximately 5 billion ends to sew in at the end which took nearly as long as the actual knitting! I have enough leftover yarn for a matching hat so I am thinking of making an Aviatrix as well. Yay! First knits for a new family member!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Poor Little Neglected Blog

I'll be back shortly, I promise! For the last couple of months I've been sick, exhausted and barely able to string two sentences together. Now that that's all behind me it's time for the fun stuff. Baby knitting and hacking up my wardrobe for maternity clothes! This month we also get cracking on Em's wedding dress! Lots to do, and now that my motivation has returned it might actually get done!