The Ladies Tux

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I made this black lace jumpsuit, which is my version of a ladies tux for the Tessuti Cut Out Lace Competition late last year. Unfortunately I didn’t win any of the prizes with it, but taking part in the competition was a lot of fun and I got a nice evening style jumpsuit out of it.

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The lace fabric is from Tessuti in Melbourne. It’s a cotton/polyester blend and despite the pattern going through it, easy to sew. The fabric came in panels. I bought 3 panels for this jumpsuit just to be sure I would have enough to match and mirror the pattern where needed.

 

My inspiration for the sleeves of the jumpsuit was a jacket I saw by Carolina Herrera in black lace. The sleeves were just the thing I was looking for! Although the sleeves on her jacket are quite a lot more voluminous and longer than mine. I wanted mine be somewhere between three quarters and seven eighths long.

  

I used Vogue V1471 by Nicola Finetti for the top of the jumpsuit. I had no idea whether the plunge in the front was too deep or not because I didn’t bother making a muslin to try it out before cutting into the limited amount of lace I had.

  

I used Simplicity 1665 for the pants and extended them by about 5cm to make sure they went down to my ankles. I measured  the length I thought the pants should be but was still risking it a bit because I wanted the edge to be on point in length, as I was using the selvage with the dotted pattern as my hem. I measured and remeasured and remeasured again until I was 100% sure it was the right length before cutting. There was no room for error! It just wouldn’t have looked nice if the edging had been sewn on. It had to be in one piece.

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Cutting the pattern out was pretty scary because I could not afford for any mistakes to happen. I only had the three panels to use very cautiously and didn’t want to end up buying more.

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I was tossing up between lining the whole thing in skin coloured dance fabric or just lining the bodice in skin coloured fabric and the legs in black. I opted for black legs because I thought it would look too risqué if it looked like it was skin coloured everywhere. I think I made the right decision in hindsight, especially if I really plan to wear it anywhere!

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So for the legs, I used black taffeta as lining and beautifully soft skin coloured dance fabric for the bodice as lining. I didn’t line the sleeves to save time and felt it wasn’t necessary.

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To make the bell sleeves, I sewed the bottom part of the bell sleeve with the dotted pattern to the top gathered part and then attached them to the main sleeve. To give the sleeves a rounded shape and make them stand out a bit, I used black boning that I encased into the seam of the top and bottom of the ruffled sleeve by hand stitching it in place.

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The decollete did end up being somewhat more revealing than I would have liked it to be, so I used the dotted pattern in the lace to cover up a bit of exposed flesh (!) by sewing it into the seam in the front and around the back. Even though it is quite narrow, I do find it helps to cover up at least a little and adds more to the overall look by repeating the dotted pattern on the sleeve and pant edges.

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The most challenging thing about making this jumpsuit, was to make sure the pattern matched up perfectly where it should and having enough of the fabric to do so. I was always playing around with the pattern pieces before cutting to make sure I was getting the best part of the pattern on each piece.

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I pretty much used up most of the fabric and only have bits and pieces left that I still hope to utilise in some way for a small something.

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When I was sewing this jumpsuit, I was very unsure of whether I would like it or not. Every time I tried it on to check for fit and adjustments, I thought: I am either going to love it or hate it when it’s finished. Well, I have to say I do love it, which surprised me because I really thought it would be the opposite. I just have to have an event to wear it to now!

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I am happy with the matching up of the lace pattern in the front and back. I put in a very long invisible zip to make sure I could get in and out of the jumpsuit comfortably and also to keep the pattern in the lace as undisturbed as possible when zipped up.

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To neaten up the inside, I used a skin coloured dance fabric to line the bodice. It’s very soft, stretchy and comfortable to wear. The inside of the arm holes are finished off with black bias binding.

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I have to admit, I am in a kind of jumpsuit phase at the moment! I am loving all kinds of jumpsuits: long legged, short, strapless, casual, formal. Anything jumpsuit style! I do hope the fashion sticks around for a while. Do you like jumpsuits too?

 

LOCATION: the backyard!

STYLING: necklace and bracelet: Zara, sunglasses: Margot by Tom Ford, shoes: Zara.

Monstera Print Playsuit

Hello fellow sewcialists! It’s been a too long break from my dear sewing blog once again. I was hoping that this year would start off in a more relaxed way and I would have things planned out perfectly to execute all my sewing dreams and fantasies in a most organised fashion… But I couldn’t be more busy than I am now with work, kids, household… So my therapeutic hobby and passion has to take a back seat a lot of the time. There are no big new year’s resolutions for sewing this year, as last year’s went out the window almost a month or two after I had written them down. The most impossible one being not to buy any new fabrics and sew from my stash….ahem… A bit like a child going into a lolly shop and being told they can only look and not have anything. Not going to happen. Ever.

Despite being busier as time goes by, I am constantly making or fixing something. I just don’t always have the time to get everything photographed and blogged. Still, I managed to squeeze in this little monstera print playsuit before autumn turns into a real autumn with it’s underlying chill.

I found this very trendy fabric while cruising past the furnishing fabric section of Spotlight on my way to get some notions and couldn’t resist the beautiful green of the monstera leaf print. Even though it’s not categorised as a dress fabric, it is quite soft and looks just like a linen. But I am guessing it has some polyester in it or is completely polyester. It’s hard to tell these days with some of the high tech fabrics. Whatever! It has a good feel to it and is very easy to sew. I was naughty and didn’t wash the fabric before sewing, so time will tell if I am going to pay the price for it…

I think Tommy Bahama started this whole leaf craze with upholstery and furnishing fabric in banana leaf prints. It took some time, but eventually all kinds of leaf prints filtered down to the fashion industry and now they are everywhere!

When I bought the fabric, I wasn’t sure if I should make a high waisted, strapless maxi dress with a pleated skirt or something different altogether. Being a definite dress person, I decided I should dare to try something different. Somewhere in my wardrobe, I have this cute Zara playsuit that is white cotton jacquard in a slight A-line form. I love the shape of it and pondered making a similar one in this leaf print.

  

The jacquard of the Zara playsuit is quite a lot thicker than my leafy fabric and is also lined, giving it a good A-line shape when worn. So I was sure that I would definitely line my playsuit to give it a good shape. Making the pattern wasn’t very easy because the Zara playsuit has lining that is attached to the top and bottom. So lying it flat was a bit difficult to make a pattern, but as always, with a bit of fiddling around, it worked out ok in the end. To be on the safe side, I cut it out a little wider than the Zara playsuit. I wasn’t sure if I wanted the hassle of matching the pattern of the leaf or not. I decided to match it in the front as best I could and not on the rest of the playsuit because it was eating up all the fabric I still had. And in the most unpractical parts of the fabric too! Plus, I still wanted to make something else out of the remnants.

Then I had to decide whether to put two pleats in the front or take in the sides a bit to take out some of the fullness.  I ended up putting in a pleat on either side to keep the leg wide enough to move in comfortably. For now I am happy with it as it is. But I may play around with it somewhere down the track and see what it looks like if I take the sides in a bit instead.

The top inside of the bodice has a strip of clear elastic sewn onto the edge so that it has contact with the skin and doesn’t stick out due to the roundish shape of it.

I lined it in an off white crepe that I had lying around in my stash and covered the seams in a bright green bias binding to add a bit of a punch to the inside. The back has an invisible zip.

I think it has turned out well. At at least better than I was expecting for something without a real pattern and lots of trial and error involved. I have enjoyed wearing it a few times already.

A playsuit can be a casual or more going-out thing, as always, depending on how you style it with accessories. Wear flats and a cross body bag for a more casual look and heels and a clutch for a bit of class.

I wore my playsuit with my shoes of the moment: perspex heels. Not being the tallest person, I like to wear nude or perspex heels to elongate my stature. Due to the large print on the fabric, I felt that too many accessories would be an overkill and take away from the garment. So I left off anything more than a chunky silver ring, my watch and sunglasses.

Happy sewing until next time!

      

 

LOCATION: Portsea Village Resort, Victoria

STYLING: sunglasses – Carlina Square by Chloe, heels – Windsor Smith from Hello Molly, watch – Gucci, ring – Apart Fashion.

Australia Day Outfit 2017 – Simplicity 8124

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Happy belated new year everyone! I hope you have all had a great start to the year. I have had a much too long break from sewing and blogging over the last two months (at least). So it was high time to get the ball rolling again. I realised that I had missed sewing so much when I started to sew this Cynthia Rowley jumpsuit, playsuit or romper – whatever you want to call it! Sewing is always so therapeutic for me, except for when I have to unpick bits and redo them. That ends up having the opposite effect! But yes, I really missed my sewing and blogging.

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I bought this pattern late last year at a Spotlight pattern sale and want to make all the garments that the pattern contains this summer. Soon after, I bought this beautiful 100% cotton also from Spotlight with a wattle print on it and immediately thought I would make a dress out of it.

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So I started to make a maxi dress and it was almost finished. I tried it on and suddenly decided it was too boring and that I probably wouldn’t wear it much or at all. Since my wardrobe space is extremely limited, I had to make a wise decision. The decision was to deviate to the playsuit by Cynthia Rowley. Luckily, the maxi dress had a straight cut and gathered skirt which was big enough for me to be able to cut out the whole playsuit pattern from. I just wasn’t sure whether I should use the XS or the S size after reading numerous reviews on this pattern. Most of them said that the sizing was very generous and voluminous. So I cut out size S, also leaving the XS markings as an option if I needed them.

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Because the wattle print cotton is white and could be see-through in light, I used an eggshell coloured silk/cotton to underline it with. The only adjustment I made to the cut, was to lengthen the hem of the shorts by about 4cm.

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The playsuit was very easy to make. It would have been a lot quicker if I had had the correct width of elastic in my stash. I didn’t, and had to cut some down to the right width and couldn’t get it into the tunnel even then! So frustrating trying to pull it through with a safety pin multiple times and it not fitting through. In the end, the pin broke in the tunnel and I had to pull it out and cut it down by another 1mm to make it fit! But that was the biggest drama of the pattern! The rest was a piece of cake.

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I like the end product but do find that when the top is worn off the shoulder it causes a not too nice looking bulge around the waistline. I don’t know what the solution to this is, because if you only wear it off the shoulder, that’s fine, but if you also want to wear it on the shoulder, there would not be enough length in the bodice…sometimes you can’t win. Still, I do like the pattern and if I do make it again, I will shorten the bodice just a little to allow for a nicer looking waistline if worn off the shoulder, which I prefer.dsc_1724aAustralia Day has come and gone and I was too busy on the day to blog this little playsuit, but here it is – my 2017 Australia Day outfit. This can easily be casual or dressed up depending on your fabric and accessory choice.dsc_1293a

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STYLING: sunglasses – Chloe, flat sandals – bought in Amalfi, Italy, heels – Steve Madden, belt – Witchery, wreath – synthetic wattle from Spotlight

LOCATION: Bayside walking trail, Mentone

Canary Yellow Playsuit

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I used to really dislike yellow when I was growing up, but somehow it grew on me over the last few decades and now it is one of my favourite colours! This post is not on a garment I have recently made, but one from last year sometime when I discovered Collette Dinnigan’s resort collection, in which she had a gorgeous yellow playsuit. It was so beautiful that it inspired me to make my own version. Playsuits are still very much in this season and so I thought it was worth a blog post this spring.

Coincidently my stash of fabrics was hiding a gorgeous yellow sateen cotton that was perfect for this playsuit. So I fished it out, found exactly the right colour organza in my stash to match it and also had some yellow lining in there somewhere too – which tells you a lot about the size of my fabric collection!

The playsuit needed underlining and lining, as the yellow cotton was too thin to hold its shape otherwise. For the underlining, I used a matching yellow organza and for the lining, a yellow polyester. I would have preferred to use a nice yellow silk for the lining, but I thought it would be wise to use what I already have instead of buying more…

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I didn’t have a playsuit pattern for this style, so I used two patterns to make it up. One was a dress pattern, that had the sleeves I was after, and the other was a playsuit pattern for the lower half. I was not sure how to go about connecting them both without wasting the fabric and ruining the whole thing, but thought it would join best at the place marked ‘waist’ on both patterns and so that is what I did.  Luckily both patterns had a front seam in the middle of the garment, which made it easier to combine the two. I am usually too lazy to make a muslin, as I just want to get on with what I am doing and not have to sew it twice. By that time, I am starting to get bored and my thoughts are already on the next project…

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The construction took some time, as the playsuit has three layers of fabric and playing around with the two patterns cost some time too. I also had to adjust the bell shaped sleeves to the width I wanted and the length and width of the bottom half, as the pattern I was using was a size too big for me. As always, it was a lot of trying on and fixing up.

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I didn’t really know how to make the belt look interesting and then I remembered that I had a metal “buckle” (I guess you could call it that) from a shoulder bag I once had. The bag was all tattered after many years of use and I ended up disposing of it but cut off the metal piece that was sewn to the handle and knew I would use it for something. So this was just the right “something”! I think it looks very individual and I was happy to be able to recycle something and make good use of it. It closes with a hook and eye on the inside of the belt so that it is not visible on the outside.

The back has the longest invisible zip I could find to make stepping in and out of the playsuit easy.

I have worn this playsuit on a number of occasions and due to the soft feel of the fabric, it is very comfortable to wear and I love the canary yellow colour. It’s perfect for spring/summer.  I am planning on making another one soon with a long pant leg in – you guessed it – navy blue! I just can’t help myself when it comes to navy at the moment!

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I didn’t think that the outfit needed more jewellery than the chunky silver ring due to the buckle being a statement in itself. So in this case I think less is more. If a garment has any embellishment on it, I think it looks better without or minimal accessories, otherwise it can look overloaded. The playsuit can be dressed down with flat sandals and a straw hat or a head scarf to give it a vintage look, as the original playsuit patterns came from the sixties to my knowledge.

Styling:  Shoes: Steve Madden ‘Stecy’ in blush, Ring: Apart Fashion (German label), Watch: Gucci, Sunglasses: Tom Ford ‘Margot’