Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Tessuti Cut Out Lace Competition. And the winners are...

Congratulations to our three prize winners in the Tessuti Cut Out Lace Competition.
First Place goes to Megan with a simple sheath dress that's been cleverly paired with those dramatic bell sleeves. We loved the classic feminine silhouette and her careful design placement of all the lace elements.
When Megan submitted her entry, she told us the following about her sewing background and the inspiration behind the dress:

I have only started sewing consistently in the last year after I had my daughter, making lots of cute rompers for her. This is only the third item I have made for myself (the other two being a Mandy Boat Tee and the Sydney Jacket) so it was a big step up in technique for me. 

I have made a dress using the Ivory lace and was inspired by this dress by Alice McCall. I fell in love with the tassels but due to the rules of the competition felt using the circle section of the lace would make a great substitute.

For the pattern I started with Burda 6833 for the bodice and drafted my own sleeves and skirt using tutorials off the internet.

The front of the bodice and the skirt are lined in an ivory satin, and I inserted my first ever invisible zip to close the centre back! 

Overall I am so impressed with what I achieved and I am planning to wear the dress to a local Melbourne Cup function.

Thank you for running the competition, I have really enjoyed the challenge of doing some selfish sewing and producing a dress that I love and feel amazing wearing.

Well done and well-deserved Megan!



Second Place winner is Clare with this gorgeous D&G/Zimmermann/Tory Burch-inspired dress. There's SO much we love about this design, in particular the clever addition of the flounce and the way she used the dot element of the lace in the raglan and waist seams. You can read all the details over on her blog.




Third Place went to Kari with this simple, classic and summery silhouette. She achieved such a beautiful fit in the bodice and the shoulder straps extend and finish in a back tie. Such a clever detail.

 




You can see all the entered garments over on our Cut Out Lace Competition Pinterest board. HUGE thanks to everyone who entered. We're always thoroughly blown away by the sewing magic and creativity that happens when we run these of competitions and we hope you get lots of joy from your makes.

PS If you've been inspired to make something now that you've seen all these gorgeous entries, we still have some of this lace left in both black and ivory.
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Monday, September 26, 2016

The Sophie Swimsuit from Closet Case Files

When I started 2016 with the idea of not buying any clothing (more in this post here), I knew a swimsuit would feature somewhere in my immediate sewing future. In the lead up to a mid-winter holiday back in June, I figured that the time had finally come to finally make a pair of bathers. I purchased a bikini pattern that is very true to the style I usually wear, chose and cut my fabric, opened the instructions and promptly freaked out. Detail was scant and with all the finicky materials and pieces, it just felt too hard. By this stage, I'd given myself two days to sew my first ever bikini before I left on a family holiday and let's just say NOBODY needs that kind of last minute stress in their life. So I hit pause.
At around the same time, Heather released her Sophie Swimsuit pattern. After reading her pattern introduction blog post it was immediately obvious that an INSANE amount of her blood, love, sweat and possibly tears had gone into creating this pattern. The Sophie design itself is not my usual swimwear style but I figured if I wanted to make a swimsuit I should learn to make it right, y'know? I'd also been thinking about lingerie sewing and this pattern lends itself perfectly to learning bra-making skills. You've also got the option to purchase a video workshop series (this also includes a free copy of the PDF pattern) which walks you through all - and I mean ALL - the pre-sewing (fabrics, materials, adjustments, cutting, taking measurements etc) and sewing steps. This was my first sewing experience of being accompanied by a video tutorial and let me tell you, it is highly recommended and oh so comforting. SO comforting in fact, that not once did I refer to the written instructions.
The key with this project is to be both prepared and organised. I watched the first workshop video (Swimsuit Materials and Supplies) and learnt exactly what I needed. Then, over the course of a week, I chose my fabrics and purchased all the necessary supplies, ticking everything off the list as it came in. I brought my cup foam, elastic, underwire casing and G-hooks (see, I've got the swimwear lingo down now) from Booby Traps and my underwires came from an ol' faithful bra that should've been thrown out three...ok, five years ago. You know you've got one too. The fabrics I chose are two recent additions to our swimwear range - Flower Festival Stretch and Rainy Stretch - and it was hands-up 100% inspired by Emilie's glorious version.
In Lesson Two, Heather guides you through the measuring process which helps you get the right cup and swimsuit size. Like everything about this project, it's not nearly as intimidating or tricky as you think it's going to be. She recommends you make a test cup and guess what!? I do too! Here's a little tip...make your test cup BEFORE you cut any of your outer or lining fabrics. If you're making the swimsuit and get the cup size wrong, you've got to re-cut all the body pieces. After I'd made my cups, I wondered if they would be too small (or maybe just needed a minor pattern adjustment?) but by that stage I'd cut all the swimsuit fabric and lining so I couldn't go back. I wasn't prepared to go down that re-cutting road so I just plugged ahead with blind faith and, thanks to the uber supportive-ness and coverage of the Sophie style, it totally works.
In the video lesson on 'Personalising and Modifying' your Sophie, Heather explains that the design is based on an average torso length of someone who's 5'7" in height. Being 5'3" (160cm), I took a blind punt and removed an inch out of the length. Good call methinks.
Construction is super straightforward and Heather even guides you through the necessary stitch width and lengths. All these details leave little room for sewing error. Things can get a little fiddly (that's fiddly...not hard!) at the point where the cups are inserted and the underwire casing is topstitched in but, man, that finish is incredibly satisfying on both inside and out.
While the bust coverage and support of Sophie is a thing of beauty, equal credit must go to the butt coverage. Here's my butt as proof. See? No cheeky business going on here.
It's a beautifully drafted pattern and the design is incredibly feminine. As Heather rightly says, "it's both va-va-voom flattering and reassuringly supportive" and that's an impressive enough combination in a store-bought swimsuit, let alone ONE YOU CAN SEW YOURSELF!
With this pattern, there are skill satisfaction levels that are on a whole other level. My family are always incredibly supportive and (mostly) complimentary of my makes but with this swimsuit,  general reactions were along the line of "What?! You made that?!" Mum even put in an order. Go on, check out the #sophieswimsuit hashtag and be completely inspired by all these bathing beauties.
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Monday, September 5, 2016

Vintage Style 1944 & A Sundress in September

Back in March, I went and got all deep(ish) and reflective about my pattern collection and the amount of sundress patterns within it. And then winter came and I just went and bought a few more because OF COURSE it makes perfect sense to buy sundress patterns in the middle of winter. Style 1944 was one of those. She drew me in like a mysterious magnet but it was really that cute front tie that got me.

Published in 1977, the envelope describes it as a 'high-waisted dress, fastened at the back with zipper, has softly gathered skirt and deep "V" shaped neckline with bodice tied in front.' I went with View 2, cut with an extended shoulder line, and included the hem ruffle that features on Views 1 and 3 because...well rrrrruffffffle.
The fabric is our 100% rayon Navy Alkire and, like this dress, is pure dreamy in the 'feels' department. Floaty, feathery and light, it feels pretty damn close to being naked whilst still being fully clothed. No, seriously. This stuff is PERFECT summer frock fabric.


I've banged on (and on and on) about my love for Style patterns before and this one's absolutely no different. Size wise, the fit was spot on though there is a little pulling across the front of my shoulders. The bodice is fully lined and I went with an invisible zip through the back.
I'd originally thought I'd wear this without a bra but *insert perky and wishful thinking*. For me, Style 1944 is most definitely a 'wear with the right bra' kinda dress and, like Goldilocks trying out all them bear things, I eventually found one that was juuuuuust right. There's also a little open peek-a-boo panel that sits just beneath the front tie. That gives a bit more allowance for tightening which definitely helps for extra support and the design hits just the right spot in my personal comfort zone pour la d├ęcolletage. Ooh la la.
I'm really, really happy with this dress. It feels like a different style for me and it's always a nice change to move a little (or a lot) outside your wardrobe comfort zone. It's crazy comfortable and I know it'll be a hot day winner.
And so, after the dress success that was this little number I got to thinking about spring sewing and ALL my sundress patterns and decided to put forward a little challenge for the month of September. If you want to join in, all you need to do is sew a sundress and document your project along the way. There are no conditions, no prizes and certainly no pressure. 
We're just doing this to drum up some group support and motivation to kick our summer sewing into first gear! You can share your images via Instagram or Facebook by using the hashtag #TFasundressinseptember. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Axel Skirt and Inari Top - Pattern Besties

First up, a quick but HUGE thank you to everyone for the incredible response to our latest Frankie pattern release! Man, we were blown away and can't wait to see your versions xx

Today I'm posting two recent makes that are pattern soul sisters. First up, Megan Nielsen's Axel Skirt. The pattern comes with three skirt options and mine's version 3. It's high-waisted, midi length and features an inverted 'V' slit.
Construction? Two words - Dead. Easy. With the exception of the twin needling around hem and split (just missed, dammit), the entire skirt was done on the overlocker. There's no elastic in that waist band and it's a slim fit, so I'd definitely recommend a firmer, mid-weight ponti for this style. I used our (now sold out) Blu Navy Punto but this new Black Razor Ponti would be perfect (coming soon in navy, ivory and silk grey colourways).
 
Four panels make up the skirt - two at the front and two the back. The beauty of this style is that you can wear the slit at the front or back and even to the side. Hello options! 
So yes, go right ahead and call me an Axel fan. I love this pencil style, it's comfortable, easy-to-sew and will happily dress me well across the seasons. It's also a style that can easily swing from casual to dressier modes and I'm fully planning on revisiting the pattern soon to give Version 1 a run.
After eyeing an INSANE number of spectacular versions of the Named Inari Tee/Dress (no, really...go take a look for yourself) I finally got around to making one in our linen/cotton Small Town Stripe.
Serendipitously, it turned out to be the perfect top to wear with the Axel Skirt and also got an excellent workout on a recent holiday with my much-loved Esther Shorts. As the pattern name suggests, the top is most definitely 'crop' and is therefore pattern perfection for any high-waisted style. And before you ask, there's most definitely a dress version in the works now too...

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Our NEW pattern - the Frankie Dress/Top

Hey readers! We're so happy to introduce you to our latest pattern - the Frankie Top/Dress. In addition to being a cruisy sew, she's also pretty versatile and we love her because she's suitable for ALL the seasons. 
I made this striped version in our 100% cotton Japanese jersey Mimasu Red Line (also available in these navy and black/white options) and I love it in all its simplicity and comfort. Dress, sandals/sneakers and you're done.
 
The pattern features a flared hemline, set in sleeves and comes with numerous style options - a top, two dress lengths and four sleeve lengths (short, elbow, three quarter and full). Oh the possibilities!
The bateau neckline features a simple turned back front and, for extra strength, we've included a stitched-down back facing that creates a neat and secure neckline.
Frankie's also fantastic as a trans-seasonal layering piece too. The full length works perfectly in the cooler months and can be worn with shirts. She's a total match made in wardrobe heaven with our  Sydney Jacket.
I made up this version in our Hashtag Black which is - hands down - my favourite jersey composition (viscose/spandex). It's weighty and drapey and holds both colour and memory in a way that so many knits just don't. It also washes like a dream and is all over perfect for Frankie. You can see our full range here.
Anita from our Surry Hills store made her glam version (below) in our Sparkling Romance, an Italian
74% acetate, 19% polyamide, 7% elastane metallic jersey. It also comes in Graphite and Skies colourways.
My top length version (below) is again a viscose/spandex  - Black Truffle Splice - and is also available in this wider stripe, Wide Black Truffle.
With this pattern, you can shorten both top and dress lengths at the hem.
The Frankie Top/Dress Pattern is now available in both hardcopy and PDF print-at-home/actual size copy shop versions with (Australian) sizes XXS, XS, S, M, L, XL all included. Suitable fabrics include light to mid weight jerseys and light weight ponti knits.
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