FO : The saltspring maxi skirt (or three!)

This current love of mine, was an accident. The first maternity saltspring I made, by the time it was almost finished I’d grown too round to fit it. It hung unfinished in my sewing room for over a year.

And then I decided to salvage the skirt, and make it into a maxi.
cotton maxi skirt saltspring

The saltspring skirt is BRILLIANT for an easy maxi. Yes, I probably could have drafted it up, but I knew it would fit. Perfectly. So why wouldn’t I make MORE? The next two versions are from beautiful fabric from the Cloth Shop in Ivanhoe. I went in there for one thing…and came out with so much beautiful fabric, that didn’t deserve to be chopped up too small.

saltspring skirt elastic waistband skirt

In the last shot, I’ve tucked my singlet in to show the waistband.  It was a very good photo lesson as to how not to wear my maxi.  UGGGGH.  It doesn’t help that the last one is lined (as the white of the print can be a little see through) which makes it even bulkier.
lined cotton maxi dress

Pattern

Sewaholic Saltspring Dress

Fit/Alterations

Surprisingly little. I used the skirt piece for Saltspring dress, using the front piece twice as there was no need for a zip. BAM. Simple skirt. With perfect swishiness.

Fabric

The cloth shop in Ivanhoe, and also fabric.com.

Techniques

I tend to use this tutorial by Fehr Trade for my elastic waistbands, as they turn out nicer and don’t roll.  This was a very straightforward “alteration” and really, aside from the waistband it’s two straight seams and a hem.   In hindsight I could have possibly just used the Rae skirt sewing pattern by Sewaholic Patterns and lengthened it.

Overall rating?

Simple to make, satisfying and I’ve worn all of them in fairly constant rotation, with the middle one one being put on as soon as it’s dry off the line.  It may have never seen the inside of my wardrobe.

That may speak volumes for how much I love it, or how much I hate folding washing.  That mystery is up to you dear readers.
sewing maxi skirt cotton elastic waistband

 

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The maternity saltspring frocktails dress

So it’s the Tuesday before social sewing, my fabric.com order hasn’t shipped, and I don’t know if I’ll have enough time to make my frocktails dress without social sewing. What’s a girl to do?

Buy more fabric of course!

On the Thursday I invested in 3 metres of the beautiful drapey polyester (crazy hot in summer I’m sure, but sooo slinky). On Friday my fabric.com order showed up. Of course.

Maternity saltspring

Fate had a beautiful hand in that I actually prefer my last minute back up fabric!
Back maternity saltspring

I wore this to the amazing Frocktails event hosted by Kat at Longrain in Melbourne, and it was such an fun night. Melbournians are renowned for tending to dress in black, so it was hilarious to see most the restaurant in muted colours, and then three tables of fantastic prints and bold colours and striking designs! You rock ladies!

I was very slack and forgot to take photos, and was a little tired and shy for the night. In the morning I woke up and was full of regret, there were so many questions and conversations not had! Anyway, if you want to see some photos, Melanie (poppykettle) took heaps and other bloggers have lots popping up around the place.

Due to the epic tired, I didn’t get any dress photos on the night (it got hemmed at 5.25, when I had to leave by 6pm!), so I’ve recreated the outfit I wore (less makeup and hair).

Out on the town saltspring maternity classy

Also due to the epic tired, the washing is still a little out of control, so this dress came out for playgroup on Wednesday as well with a cardigan and flip flow. I think it works perfectly well for both, but feel free to disagree with me on this point.

Maternity saltspring

playgroup PLaygroup
I’ll do another construction post later, where I’ll detail the alterations I made to make a maternity version, but simple summary is as follows
-The lining of the dress is using a knit fabric with plenty of stretch, to allow for bust changes
-The straps were cut as one piece and made much wider to cover bra straps
-the waistline of the front and back was lifted just over 2″, although in the future I would probably lift the back even further as it dips down a little
Back detail maternity saltspring
– the skirt front was cut with an additional wedge of fabric at centrefold, narrowing down to nothing at the hem
-The skirt front was also cut with a longer hem at the centre front, reducing as it got closer to the side seams.
-with the additional width of the skirt front, I gathered that piece slightly when attaching it to the bodice
-eliminated the back zip

The waistline was the really crucial adjustment for this to work as a maternity dress, and to illustrate the point, please note the altered waistline, and where my waistline once upon a time existed.
Maternity saltspring waistline

This is going to be a TNT maternity pattern for the hot Australian summer, especially (spoiler for people who haven’t procreated yet) when I can’t reach my legs to shave them!

Pjs for everyone!

It’s been pretty quiet around here as the we’ve been hibernating over this cold winter, but the days are getting longer and hopefully warmer, so it’s time to get sewing.

Admittedly, this post is not going to be written as I had imagined it. A few mild disasters have thrown this tidy tale astray, but onwards we shall go.

Basically, I’ve been making pajamas. Thrilling? No, but stay with me here. I was going to make whole family matching pajamas.

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See? I ordered 9 yards of flannel, in three different colour ways. Blue for daddy, purple for mummy and spots for the little squirrels. Little squirrels? Damn straight, this was going to be the picture.

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Look! Cute matching pajamas AND a new baby pending announcement in one!

But due to mama squirrel having stupid pregnant brain, daddy squirrel couldn’t wear his pjs as they were super tiny. See? My pj’s look super wide in comparison, as the men’s pj’s also were not hemmed. Seriously, those are a size ten tofinos!

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We’re also missing the fourth pair of tiny pajamas, as due to being pregnant washing has been de prioritised- and they had to be worn by the toddler before being photographed as she had run out of pj’s.

These pajamas took two and a half months to finish, as I have been sick, tired, and also catching every bug under the wintery sun. That’s ok though, we’re back to normal and even the washing is up to date. The family kind of insisted this was a priority before getting blogging up to date.

Anyway, onto the lovely patterns!

The little trousers are unsurprisingly my TNT pattern of the bedtime story pjs. These fit the little squirrel very well, and have a lovely finish.  These are probably pairs number 9 and 10.

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My lovely pjs will have a post unto themselves soon, as the Sewaholic Tofino pjs. They’re very comfortable even with big piping and are getting a pretty solid workout this winter. They were easy to sew, but took nearly a full three yards of fabric which I found surprising. I think the flannel wasn’t very wide, but lets be honest here- it was all a crazy tired blur for awhile there.

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1721 simplicity pattern
The final tiny pjs are a simplicity pattern 1721, which I isn’t anything special. I don’t even know what happened, maybe my husband lied about his waist measurement, maybe I just cut the wrong size. I don’t know. My suspicion is as I also made him a shirt in the extra small, I assumed the pjs would also fit perfectly as an extra small. However, it did not occur to me that perhaps the extra small For a men’s shirt, and an extra small for unisex pajamas may be different. Let’s be honest, what was the risk of a simplicity pattern being TOO SMALL?
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I am yet to get off the sofa to confirm this suspicion, so a wild Internet rumour it shall remain for now. (I may remain here until next Feb when it is assumed new squirrel will choose to make its arrival).

So what to do with the tiny pajamas? (The tiny husband pajamas that is) Luckily I’ve got some super lovely sewing buddies, one of which is lovely AND tiny! Funkbunny fit these pjs perfectly, and so they have found a new crafty home:) Funkbunny also then bought me a chocolate and raspberry muffin for the pjs and a most fair trade it was to a preggo.

So there we are, a tale of woe, joy, flannel and muffins.

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MMM ’13 week one

It’s not even been a full week, and there is a desperate need for warm clothes in my sewing plans!

Day one (Wednesday 1 May)
The first cab of the rank is this blue striped Renfrew, which has seen better days, which makes it a perfect playgroup outfit.

Renfrew day 1

Jumper – Renfrew
Top- Maria Denmark kimono blouse
Jeans – old rtw hand me downs
Expression – mmmm.  Tea.

Day two (Thursday 2 May)
This dress is just SO warm, it’s perfect even without tights around the office.

Cambie - day 2

Dress- winter cambie
Expression – why did I agree to take a photo every day?

Day three (Friday 3 May)
This is a blatant copy of the most amazing Kristy from lower your presserfoot. After seeing her lovely dress I went and bought the same ponte, and the same burda pattern. I haven’t blogged it for the slight embarrassment I felt.

Burda day 3

Dress – burda
Boots – duo boots
Expression – Unable to remember where my tights are (found them later!)

Day four (Saturday 4 May)

Today I was pretty tired after an epic sewing session Friday night, and this is as fancy as I got all day. I didn’t really venture into public all day, and was in bed by 9.15 that night!

Maria Denmark - day 4

Top – Maria Denmark kimono blouse
Pants – very old rtw esprit trousers
Expression – this is going to be a loooong month

Day five (Sunday 5 May)
Time to get gussied up for a day visiting family!

Cambie day 5

Dress- Funky cambie
Expression – dear god it’s to early to be up showered and out the door without a coffee on a Sunday

Day Six (Monday 6 May)
Back to work! I’m starting to see a pretty strong tendency towards sewaholic patterns now- but also that I need more warm basics! So much that I’ve sewn has been fun summer dresses.

Hollyburn day 6

Top – esprit rtw jumper with a country road knit basic
Skirt- Sewaholic Hollyburn
Expression – watching the dogs chase a possum in the backyard

Yikes! Time for some emergency sewing!  Also – my construction post is coming…it’s just getting very length and has given me sizeable bloggers block.

FO: Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt

Hooray for a sewalong!  Rachel at Mymessings is hosting a fabulous hollyburn sewalong, and as I need more work skirts, why not join in?
beginner sewing pattern sewaholic
Some fabulous pale blue eyelet was sitting at the op shop for a mere $4, and was just crying out to be a pretty new skirt. And then the ghosts of poor seamstresses threw all my plans into disarray. While untangling the eyelet to pre-wash it, it turns out someone had already cut this eyelet into strips, with the cuts going across the grain and each piece only 25″ narrow.  So narrow.  Too narrow for a hollyburn.  WHO WOULD DO THIS?

Woefully I dried it and packed it away into the stash.  There was no other hollyburn fabric in my stash (at least for a work skirt), so most tragically, I had to go fabric shopping.

Nipping into GJ’s fabrics in Brunswick yielded fantastic results, with two “wool blends” on the remnant table seeking a good home.  With kindness in my heart I adopted these blends for $27 for 4.5 metres.  Someone had to do it.

You know the really awesome thing?  Out of the 2.5m drapey soft wool blend fabric, I’ve managed to cut one hollyburn and two jenny skirts.  Ace right?
Hollyburn skirt front close up view

Fit

This skirt is easy to fit due to the style, and only the waistband is fitted.  It’s firm around the waist, and then skims over the hips.  I should have followed Rachel’s advice and maybe measured after a big meal, this is going to be a little tight if a pasta comes my way!

The pockets are the same style as the Cambie dress, so if you liked those, the hollyburn is a great skirt.  For this version I’ve gone for a unlined option, but I would consider next time make a fully lined hollyburn.

I cut view B, which was the mid-length option, which was a little long.  I realise there is a shorter length, but that had to much ‘flounce’ for my work (and gust of wind risk) for my purposes.  I’m close to the height sewaholic patterns are designed for, but I have a long torso and short legs.  Don’t be too jealous now.  All the skirts I’ve had to knock about 2″ off the hem, so this is going to become my standard sewaholic pattern adjustment.

hollyburn skirt back view

Fabric

I have no idea what is blended with this wool, but it’s lovely and soft and likes to disintegrate when you sew it.  I finished the seams with a line of stitching and then pinked the seam allowances, but you already can’t tell that I used pinking shears.  This skirt may fall apart while I wear it, but we’ll worry about that later right?  Perhaps some fraycheck might solve this problem.

As one hollyburn and two jenny skirts were cut from 2.5m, a few concessions had to be made.  Like the lining of the pocket.

Hollyburn skirt pocket details

I did commit to making my clothes with whimsy!  The pocket linings are from a fat quarter of fabric, which was $2 also from GJ’s discount fabrics.  The pale pink spots that no-one can see, are my way of resistance  like this skirt isn’t totally corporate and the man can’t keep me down.  Yeah, I’ll look professional, but BAM.  I HAVE CRAZY POCKETS.

Techniques

This is the perfect beginners skirt.  Four panels and a waistband, and between Tasia’s very straightforward instructions and Rachel’s comprehensive sewalong posts you really couldn’t go wrong.  If you’re considering learning to sew, although this has a zip in it, you can totally nail it.

Future lessons

This skirt really reinforced something for me, it’s faster to hand baste than sew and then rip out a seam.  I hand basted the waistband and then stitched in the ditch along the waist band, as this skirt is to be thrown in the washing machine in a rough fashion.

I don’t love this skirt just because it’s a tad boring, however boring is the go-to for work clothes,  After wearing this skirt all day, it drapes and moves in a very flattering way, and there really isn’t much to be done for that.   The details make it more fun for me, but I’d like to have another go at the hollyburn and use colour blocking.
Hollyburn skirt hanging

Does anyone have suggestions of how to make boring clothes more interesting?  I’m thinking solid colours but crazy design details.  Or will I be veering away from ‘classic’ pieces and into the territory of disposable fashion?