Sunday 24 July 2016

Twice as Nice Reversible Jacket

I know I've been a bit quiet here on Betty Stitchup lately. Unfortunately life at the moment hasn't left me with very much time for sewing but I did manage to stick to my Vintage Pattern Pledge and make myself a reversible jacket as well as guest blogging about it over at Kestrel Makes.

A big shout out to Kerry and Marie for keeping the Vintage Pattern Pledge alive. You can read my guest post here and be sure to check out all of the other wonderful Vintage Pattern Pledgers who have been guest blogging throughout July at Kestrel Makes and A Stitching Odyssey .

Saturday 26 March 2016

One Pattern, Many Dresses (II)

It's nice to have a Tried & True (TNT) pattern that you just know is going to work without too much fiddling about. My last "One Pattern, Many Dresses" post which was quite some time ago featured New Look 6699. Today I'm going to share my Vogue 8184 makes.

It's been a while since I used this pattern and my latest version uses fabric that I bought on my trip to Hawaii last year. There are 6 different views to choose from and I used View C with the halterneck and full skirt though I did shorten it quite a bit as I normally would.

This pattern has a nice retro 50's look to it that I really like. I used my own halterneck piece which ties at the back as I find this makes it so much easier to get the strap to fit just right.

You'll also notice that I think this pattern works particularly well with Hawaiian prints! I reckon it would look really cute with a polka dot fabric too - hmm, I may have to try that some time.

Here's one of the same View C with halterneck that I made earlier:

For this one below I used View E with the straight skirt and added some gathered stitches at the front to create a sweetheart neckline:

And finally, my very first version which was View F with the straight skirt. This was the dress that taught me never to sew without pre-washing my fabric. Yes, it shrunk in the wash! Luckily it was pretty stretchy fabric so I could still wear it but I've now gained a few pounds since then and sadly can no longer fit into it.


So there you have it, another Tried & True pattern that I'm pretty sure will resurface again some time.

Sunday 21 February 2016

The Jazz Diva Dress

It's not often that I get the chance to wear a long evening gown so when the opportunity arose, I simply had to take it. We were playing for the first time at the Ellington Jazz Club and it was our CD launch for the gypsy jazz band I sing with, Voudou Zazou. It was a pretty special event for us so I decided to go all jazz diva and sew up a long sparkly gown for the occasion

The fabric I used was a black sparkly velvet which looks particularly good under lights (I had some leftover from another stage outfit that I made some years ago). I wanted the dress to be fairly understated but let the fabric and the side split be the feature and Vogue 8357 seemed like the perfect pattern choice.

Silver Frog Bling
It was dead easy to lengthen the dress and insert a split at the front side panel seam. Overall it's a pretty straight forward pattern to sew but the shoulder straps are a bit fiddly and seemed to take longer than it should have. Also velvet is not really the most sensible fabric to be sewing with in the middle of summer.

I was a bit concerned that I'd be sweltering on stage in this dress, but figured I'd be in an air conditioned venue and it would be fine. Well, we just happened to have a heat wave that week-end, it was near 40 degrees and the venue's air con packed it in. It turned out to be one of the hottest gigs I've ever done, but the dress looked fabulous and the show sold out so it was all worth it in the end!

And here's the dress in action - not the best shot but you get the idea:

Tuesday 5 January 2016

Stitching Reflections of 2015

Another year has flown by and here we are, it's 2016 - Happy New Year everyone!

It's that time for looking back at the past year and looking forward to the next so here are my Stitching Reflections using Gillian from Crafting a Rainbow's "Top 5 of 2015" categories.

My garments for the Vintage Pattern Pledge. I made 3 this year (which was 2 up from last year) and they were all a pleasure to make. The two 60's Cat dresses were so much fun to create and I'm really pleased with how my Strawberry Girl dress turned out too. This was the only sewalong I participated in this year, compared with 6 in 2014 but I really enjoyed it and I'm looking forward to more vintage sewing ahead.

Strawberry Girl, Kitty-A-Go-Go, Feline Groovy
Luckily I didn't really have any major stitching disasters, I usually encounter one or two hiccups along the way in most of my projects but I'm happy with everything I've made this year - even the ones with mistakes such as my Chuck sweater with the missed cable.

My biggest highlight this year was our trip to the US which I blogged about here. Besides being one of the best holidays ever, I shopped the New York Garment District, went crazy with Hawaiian prints in Waikiki and I also got to meet up with Sonja from Ginger Makes which was pretty great. I also included a lot of me-made items in my holiday wardrobe which was really satisfying and fun.

I'm pleased to say I've been steadily working through my fabric stash this year. Pretty much the only time I bought new fabric was when I was overseas and I love that because I'm reminded of my travels whenever I wear something I've made from it.

Stash Fabric from Japan and Hawaii

One of my 2014 goals was to get comfortable with using my overlocker/serger and in particular, threading it. I've got to admit I will do my utmost to avoid having to thread my serger from scratch! For anyone out there who was lucky enough to get one for Christmas (and I know that some of you did), this blog post from Sew For Life saved my sanity. The "tie-off" method is really the only way to go, but despite following many a tutorial on how to do this, I couldn't figure out why my thread kept breaking and why I couldn't easily pull the threads through. That was until, I found this post which included the crucial step about lifting the lower looper thread off the upper looper. Easy when you know how!

Looking ahead to 2016:
My biggest sewing goal this year is to take my time and enjoy the process (no matter how frustrating it can be sometimes!) It's so easy to get carried away with millions of sewing plans and that's part of the fun too but it's important to realise that you just can't do it all.

The other thing I'm going to do this year is master the art of centred zips - I still can't sew a neat centred zip! One thing I did do in 2014 was get an invisible zipper foot and for me, they are the easiest zips to sew neatly. But not all garments or fabric work with an invisible zip so it's about time I got to grips with this, instead of breaking into a panic every time I have to sew one!

So there you have it. Thanks everyone for reading my blog this year, it's been heaps of fun sharing my sewing journey with you and I wish you all a happy, creative and successful 2016! XX