Sewing for St Patrick

I had plans for Saturday. It looks like the wet season is as good as over, so I was going to scrub some more mould off the walls and then start on my Easter cooking....but, with a green top next on my list and a St Patrick's function to go to, the lure of the sewing machine was too strong. So I made up Vogue 2970 (Donna Karan). It is a bias-cut camisole with front pleats and a weird collar thing that folds over the top and arm-hole edges. The front was made in a cotton-silk blend woven and the back in a rayon? blend knit, both purchased from Oh Sew! Noosa. It was too windy to take photographs on my verandah, so today you get to see this very artistic corrugated fence in my back yard.

The camisole has widely spaced straps and is quite loose-fitting, so it gaped quite a bit when I wore it. Today, I made a decollete stay, to hold it in place, which worked a treat. The photo below shows the stay on the inside. It is basically a length of boning inside a casing, which is attached to the garment at the top end. The stay tucks inside your bra, so that the camisole doesn't gape when you do all that Irish dancing!

Here are some instructions for making a decollete stay, taken from a special edition of Australian Stitches called "Couture Sewing Secrets", printed in 2000.

You need 7 cm boning, lightweight silk lining and matching thread.

1. Cut a piece of boning 7cm long. Cut the silk 8.5 cm long and twice the width of the boning + 1.5 cm.

2. Begin with the silk wrong side up. At one end, fold 5mm to the wrong side and press.

3. With the right sides together, fold the silk lengthwise. Shorten the stitch length, then machine stitch a 5mm seam at the side and remaining end.

4. Trim the seams to 3mm and turn the tube right side out.

5. Insert the stay and slip-stitch the open end closed.

6. Sew the stay to the facing, just below the finished neckline, with fell stitches to create a hinge effect. (For this project, I attached the stay to the point where the folded-over collar was tacked down.)


A patched skirt

I had a bit of fun combining fabrics for Vogue 7880. I have used 7 different fabrics...some bought on holidays, some bought from mail order, leftovers from one of my mother's quilts and a remnant from my mother-in-law's cupboard...all brought together in my stash. The stripey bit down the bottom is not actually a remnant...I just "borrowed" a corner from fabric to make a blouse. Fingers crossed that I haven't left myself short.


Safari by Burda

I would like to make a tag for this shirt that says "Please admire". It seems that I have less time than ever to sew, and I learnt a few new techniques for this shirt, so all up, it took me almost a month to sew. It was a lot of effort. I'm pleased it's over.

The pattern was from Burda World of Fashion, 4/2006. I made it in beautiful shirting cotton from Fine Wools Direct. I used wooden buttons from Spotlight.

I read David Coffin's book on Shirtmaking, from cover to cover, then I started sewing. My favourite new technique was the method to do the side seams. I'm not sure if it is a felled seam, a flat-felled seam, a mock felled seam or something else again, but it looks quite neat. The photo below, if you can see it on your screen, shows both the inside and outside of this seam. I sewed the sides right sides together, with one seam allowance 1/8" and the other 1/4", and then used my narrow hemming foot to turn under and stitch down the wider seam allowance on top of the other one. David's book was written in inches, and I am used to metric, but after examining my sewing machine's feet, I decided that it was really built to be used in inches, so to help out with accuracy (not my strength) I worked in inches.

I used David's instructions to sew the collar and band. They don't look as good as the Burda photo, but I hope they look a lot better than if I just sat down and sewed without all that stretching and pressing. I guess I'll never find out.