28 February, 2010

Summery stuff

Spent a lovely lovely morning out at Muriwai with Hazel's friend Suzie and her family (also Canadians). I'm beginning to appreciate that beaches are best enjoyed with friends, especially other kids. It adds an extra sparkle to everything - the water is more fun, the rock pools are more fun, the sand is more fun. Spot the surfer out there in the waves, they were like seals, bobbing about in the surf, dozens and dozens of them.

Hazel at Muriwai

I took the chance to snap off a (slightly late) addition to my growing portfolio of 52 Fridays self-portraits. Sure I look slightly feral squinting into the sun (where were my sunglasses?) but you can't beat that backdrop. Tamer beaches might be a bit better for the kiddies, but the wildness of the West Coast black sand beaches are glorious.

52 Fridays: Week 8

I finally got around to photographing my first foray into serious knit sewing. It's a dress from McCall's 5423. It's not perfect but it's definitely wearable and I'm really enjoying it. Sorry for the appalling first photograph, I didn't realise how dark and grainy it was until I came to run it through Photoshop.

Orange knit dress

It's a very light knit, a bolt end from Marc Jacobs according to the tag, and it's quite lovely. I don't think it was stretchy enough for the pattern though, which is why the gathering rides up a bit in the middle there - it's less obvious when I don't wear the sash. Can anyone tell me what 'cross-wise stretch' is for knits? I swear, I've googled the term and no-one explains it in a way that makes sense to me! I think this is where I went wrong estimating whether the fabric was stretchy enough. The pattern itself was very easy to follow and came together nicely which was such a relief! I love the sleeves, they're really effective and very simple - just a band sewn on but they look like set-in sleeves.

Orange knit dress

Can you see my Amy Butler 'French Wallpaper' dressing gown on the bed behind me? It's so garish and full-on but I love it! I feel all louche as I trail around the house in it martini in hand. I made a nightie from this orange fabric awhile ago that is fairly marginal in wearability (needs to be reworked asap!) but the orange looks fabulous with the dressing gown.

I decided that the next project would be from Twinkle Sews so I got the CD out and had a look (after removing the small slip of paper that Hazel had posted into the slot that was resulting in awful noises when I put in CDs. Thank goodness it wasn't broken! Anyways, I discovered that if you're in a country that uses A4 standard size paper rather than the US letter size you need to be able to open them in Illustrator and change the paper size. Big minus for it right there, because if you don't have that option then you are stuck with trying to print a pattern sized for Letter on paper that is about a cm narrower - screw up your pattern sizing much? On top of that it'll take 64 - yes 64 - pages to print it out. At this point I'm somewhat undecided whether to fell a small forest to even get a pattern to look at...


  1. OMG Your dress looks AMAZING! I love the colour & the style and... and... everything! Well done you!!

  2. Oh, I didn't notice that about Twinkle. I can only open the smaller files in Corel. I had to print out the Chameleon dress from the pdf file. I didn't know that about the paper size. I thought my errors just came about from putting the bust cups in side ways but maybe not??

  3. This is my favorite quick and easy dress pattern. I absolutely love your interpretation.

  4. Oh I love Muriwai! I grew up on that beach :D SO many memories. Your dress looks amazing, I wish I could make my own clothes. That's fantastic.

  5. Ugh, I agree on the paper waste for printing out patterns. 30+ paged for a little blouse over on burda... but I guess it's worth it since we can toss any unused paper into the recycle bins here in the US. Do you guys get recycling trashcans at your residences? It's a big thing here.

  6. Yeah, it's all recyclable but still... Obviously there's no real way around it but I find it irks me on several levels, not the least is having to tape all those pages together! I'm coming to the conclusion that it's not a very user-friendly book. Nice to look at etc. but not designed to actually make anything out of. I remember reading about a study they'd done on the useability of celebrity chef cookbooks and most of them scored very low in terms of regular people being able to make things from them successfully.

  7. Well considering you could lose up to a centimetre per piece of paper I'd say it could have quite a drastic effect unless your printer does borderless printing and that might make a difference. I think what I'll do is print off a couple pages each way and see what happens.

  8. What a great place to grow up! We have friends living there and I envy them hugely - though not the daily commute into Auckland.

  9. OOooohhhh - this dress is really great, a very flattering shape and fantastic colour. Who can go wrong with a red dress. I do think that style of dress often pulls up at the front (if you have assets there!). The sleeves are so pretty, I love that flowing shape. {I'm really scared to do knit sewing.... Need to overcome that obstacle}.
    And I think I now have to make myself a dressing gown - very glamorous. I generally use nothing, but sometimes a kimono; which while being beautiful is often too big and not so practical.
    Curious to hear how you go with the Twinkle pattern - I haven't looked into mine with too much depth. But 64 pages does sound crazy crazy and unnecessary. I'm super keen to get stuck into my Cal Patch book, as the drafting of patterns sounds really easy and accurate.

  10. That dress is amazing, especially for your first try! I have never been brave enough to sew anything knit for someone to actually wear. I have several patterns *and* the fabric to sew them with, but I just can't work up the nerve. You're so brave!

    I'm not sure if this is what you mean by "cross-wise stretch" but the knit patterns I've looked at usually have a line on the back that says something like "4 inches of your chosen fabric should stretch from here (and a little arrow) to here (another arrow farther away)" so that as long as your fabric can stretch that far, it will fit properly when the garment is sewn up. I don't know if that is the same thing, or if I've even explained it properly!

  11. I was very nervous of stretch fabrics too, though they've proved to be less
    scary than I'd imagined. Seriously - give a simple pattern a go and you
    might be surprised! I highly recommend 'Sew U Home Stretch' by Wendy Mullin,
    it has heaps of good tips for beginners about how stretch fabrics behave and
    how to sew them successfully.

    Yes I found that guide on the back but nowhere can I find a good explanation
    of what the crosswise folding that you are supposed to do before you stretch
    it to see if it will reach is - I assume it's on the bias in some way but am
    not even sure about that! Perhaps I should refer to Sew U...

  12. I used to wear a kimono type thing as a dressing gown, I think the kind they
    traditionally use in bathhouses? I can't remember the name but I loved it. I
    bought it in Brisbane during Expo 88 and wore it for years and years. So sad
    when it finally gave up the ghost.

    I think the Cal Patch book will prove to be more useful than the Twinkle
    one, I just need to set aside the time to do the measuring and drafting.

  13. Ginger Snaps LewisMarch 5, 2015 at 10:57 AM

    Crosswise stretch is stretch from selvedge to selvedge... across the width of the fabric.



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