Showing posts with label Twinkle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Twinkle. Show all posts


Cold Snap

My sister and I laughed and laughed when I brought out this fabric.  I had been doing a show-and-tell of internet purchases that hadn't been quite as I expected.  This one was the last to come out, because it is all very well to admit a mistake, but who wants to admit to an expensive mistake...yes, the tell-tale zig-zags and divine colour combinations give this away as Missoni fabric.   The fabric is gorgeous and covetable, yes, but standing in the hot climate of Townsville, I felt like I was holding a horse blanket. 

A few weeks ago I was preparing to visit Brisbane for the christening of my nephew.    Two days before we left I decided that I needed to make up the fabric if I was ever going to wear it before the silverfish got to it.  I climbed out of my bed, where I had been languishing since having my wisdom teeth removed, and sewed the main peices together of a Twinkle pattern for a dropped shoulder minidress.  I looked in the mirror and was devastated at the result.  The weight of the wool and zig-zags across the shoulder made me look like a front-row forward.  The dress fell to the floor and I fell back in bed.

The next day I attended "nursery-rhyme day" at school, visited the dentist, ran around on errands and then found myself with half an hour to spare before school pick-up.  Could I salvage the dress in half an hour?  Well, in for a penny, in for a pound, and I pulled out my Ottobre t-shirt pattern and starting snipping away and stitching up.  The result was promising.

Late that night, halfway through packing, I added the cowl.  The Twinkle pattern had pleats around the neckline as well as the cowl, but I found I had only cut one length for the pleats instead of two, and short of time, I decided to do away with pleats.  I guess I could go back and add them in now?  I finished all the little handstitching bits when I got to Brisbane.

I got to wear this dress a-plenty during my holiday because it was so cold.  I was freezing whilst Peter snapped this photo, and went out and bought a singlet and thicker leggings to wear underneath.  Back here in Townsville, cold weather is so difficult to comprehend!  However, we do usually get one or two more cold days, so I just may get to wear this dress again before I pack it away for the summer.

I did have a little bit of fabric shopping success whilst in Brisbane.  I stumbled into a dress shop in Paddington to find a table of remnants left from seasons past.  Beautiful linens and silks at great prices.  I bought up most of the remnants for less than the price of a single garment in this shop!


On the Sidelines by Twinkle

Today I am posting my new jumper.  I'm aware that "jumper" is not a universally understood term.  What would other people call it?  A sloppy joe?  A sweater?  A pullover?  Please excuse the headless shots. 
I do find headless shots disconcerting, but I have just had my wisdom teeth removed and the bruising does not fit with my colour scheme.  This 30 second photoshoot was taken by my son between activities this afternoon.

The fabric is a rayon blend double knit from EmmaOneSock.  The pattern is "On the Sidelines" from Twinkle Sews.  As usual, there are a lot of lovely details in the pattern;  oversized buttons along the boat neckline, kangaroo pouch with top-stitching details and rivets, topstitched details along the raglan seams and neckbands, raw-edged bands on the sleeves.  I'm sorry I forgot to get a closeup of the front neckline.  That back neckband looks a little odd...I wonder if it is that odd in real life or if it is just the camera angle??  I think it might be the camera angle.

I didn't like the construction techniques suggested in the book, so I did things differently.  This involved a lot of changes at the cutting stage, so if you are thinking about making this pattern, you may want to read my pattern review (I'll put a link here when the pattern review is complete).

When I was last making jeans, I had a lot of trouble with rivets.  Well, I found a new supply of rivets which are much easier to set.  They are not as flashy as the ones used by Wenlan Chia, but I'm just pleased that I found rivets that I can install.  There is a little shop in town, Bluebell Trading, which is mostly a gift shop, but also has a sign saying Singer Sewing Store.  It stocks a few quilting fabrics, a haberdashery line, and a lovely selection of buttons and ribbons.  The haberdashery line is called "Hemline".  I found a few goodies there, as well as the rivets.  I think I'll go back for more rivets.

I've had a few questions about how I print the patterns from Twinkle Sews.  Well, the answer is, "not very well"!  The patterns are provided in both pdf and adobe illustrator files.  I open the smaller adobe illustrator patterns in my version of Corel Draw.  Sometimes this works well and I can delete pieces I don't want, move pieces around, make changes etc.  Other times, the pattern labels end up all over the place and I have trouble getting them on the right pieces.  Corel Draw is new to me so I am willing to accept that this is a user error.  When I print them, the tile marks end up in funny places because they have been put in place for letter paper and I use A4, but I can usually work out what goes where.

The larger files have been zipped and I can't unzip them in Corel.  Then I have to use the pdf version.  I just let my computer do what it does and I did not realise for my first few projects that it was shrinking the patterns to fit on A4 paper.  This meant that the patterns were shrunk to 93% of their size.  I didn't notice, but that may be because a lot of the patterns are for loose fitting clothing?  Anyway, when I realised this, I started unclicking the "shrink to fit" box and printing full size, which means that a little bit is lost off the vertical edges.  I just stick all the bits of paper together with no overlap on the vertical edges.

I get a lot of error with all that sticking bits of paper together.  Seamlines often don't quite match.  Things end up a bit skewiff.  I just go with it and do what I can.  I usually compare the pattern to the most similar Vogue pattern I have to assess the fit and make any fitting changes before I cut into fabric.  I also read the instructions through a number of times to understand the construction before I start cutting, to know where it is important for bits to match up.

Each file only contains 1 size, so you pretty much want to determine your size before printing, otherwise that is a lot of trees being wasted.

That's all not very helpful for somebody who wants help printing, is it?  Sometimes I think it is easier to study the details in the Twinkle patterns and then adapt another pattern with these details.  I think Kwiksew 3045 would be a good start for this one.  Just add some external facings along the neckline, sew on the buttons, shorten the sleeves and add topstitched sleevebands.  I guess you just need to decide where you prefer your sewing pain to be??  And on that note, I need to top up my painkillers, so the pattern review will have to wait.  Good night.


Twinkle Smock

I do love a smock.  I recently borrowed the Woody Allen film "Annie Hall" from my library, partly because it is a supposedly iconic film that I have not seen, but mostly because somebody cited Diane Keaton's wide legged pants as one of their favourite movie fashion moments in a Vogue forum.  So I watched the movie to see the wide legged pants, but actually, I much preferred her outfit in an earlier scene where she is in a cinema queue wearing a purple smock dress over a black turtleneck and jeans.  So perfectly seventies.

This is my latest version of the smock dress.

The pattern:  "White Magic" from Twinkle Sews. This pattern has lots of little details which made for an interesting sewing project.  The centre front panel has knife pleats.  The neckline has a series of narrow pleats.  There are ginormous, slouchy pockets.  There are exposed seams on the sleeves.  The back has a shirred panel, extension thingys and ties across the upper back.  Instead of shirring, I did what my sewing machine manual calls "smocking".  I'm sure anybody who really smocks would be appalled, but I sewed rows of gathering stitches, pulled up the threads and then sewed over the top with a straight stitch.  I did this because shirring elastic does not last very long in my climate.

The fabric:  This is a Cornwall linen from Tessuti in the most gogeous shade of red.  I don't know much about how fabric is made, but some of the threads seem almost iridescent, which show up the dress details beautifully.  I have noticed that the on-line store is out of red but they still have this fabric in other shades.  The pocket lining and bias binding were made from remnants of liberty print.  They show a little, but I don't mind this.  It coordinates well with the selvedge that I left exposed on the front side panels. I did have some red bias binding but it seemed a shame to use a polycotton binding on such a lovely linen (btw have you seen Gwen's bias maker?  I hope I never come across this maker as I would not be able to resist buying it.  I do find making bias tape to be one of those strangely satisfying sewing tasks).

Today I am wearing this dress over leggings.  I ducked into a funky little dress shop with a friend and the store owner asked me where I got the dress, which is most flattering, but I do find it embarrassing to admit that I made something when I am in a shop...sort of exposes me as not being a real customer.

Yesterday I wore the dress over jeans to go and eat fish and chips down on the Strand.  The weather here is just glorious here at the moment and we just sat and watched all the people out boating.

I have tried wearing the dress without leggings or jeans but it is probably a smidge short at the back for such a wide dress.  I was wearing wedges and felt a passing resemblance to Big Bird. I think it is the pockets.  I wouldn't make this pattern up in yellow!


Denim + Lace

I have never before been inclined to wear a pencil skirt, not really being pencil-shaped, but I loved the Masculin et Feminin skirt in Twinkle Sews

I didn't use the actual Twinkle Sews pattern...why print off all those pages and sticky-tape them together when I can finally get some use from my personal skirt sloper?  It wasn't too much trouble to adapt my skirt sloper to make a skirt pattern with yoke.

The fabrics were all from stash.  The base is a lightweight black denim.  The shiny yoke is a synthetic something-or-other.  And the lace...oh, the almost broke my heart to cut the lace off a dress.  I bought the dress when I was 21, in my first job after graduating and unaccustomed to all the disposable cash I was earning after years as a skint student.  I was working in Perth and my Mum came to visit, so we went shopping.  I bought this blue, lace sheath dress with matching slip.  It is possibly the most expensive item of clothing that I have ever bought.  I loved it.  The shop had it made up into their postcards and I sent one of the postcards to my boyfriend with the message "Do you like my new dress?  It looks better on me!"  I wore it on New Years Eve and someone told me to be careful stepping out into the rain because my dress looked as if it would dissolve, bringing to mind images of spun sugar. 

But I am not 21 anymore and I am a wee bit bigger than I was then and somehow the dress seems indecently short these days!  The last few years I have only worn it as a tunic over pants and the lace is starting to rip in places, so I thought recycling it into this skirt was not such a bad outcome.

I think the Twinkle Sews pattern had a side zipper, but I used a CB zip.  I didn't want the lace to get caught in the zip, so I did not have the lace going all the way to the edges.  I cut around the motifs and then sewed some extra motifs in to fill in the gaps. (BTW  I have had a run of invisible zips break after not much wear lately.  Is anyone else having this problem?  I can only assume that the quality of zips at Spotlight has deteriorated??)

The skirt still needs a hook and eye but if I waited for hooks and eyes to sew my skirts, there would be an awful lot in my mending basket and a lot less hanging in the cupboard! 

Thank-you to eveyone who offered advice on fixing up the hem of the skirt in the previous post.  I haven't gone back to it yet, but I will make the hem not-so-deep and either re-blind-hem it or hand sew it.


My uniform


There was not much time for sewing this weekend, as we were building the kids a skate ramp, but I did manage to whip this skirt up in 10 minute intervals.  I'm a pretty conservative dresser, and although I have entended myself in recent years, I like having my fallback "uniform" of printed, cotton, a-line skirts and a t-shirt.  It gets me through most kid-orientated activities without flashing my knickers or exposing my bra.
The pattern is the "Skyline Skirt" from Twinkle Sews, which is a cute variation on an A-line, gored skirt.  The front and the back of the skirt are identical, to keep all the jagged lines even.  The pattern is for a lined skirt, but I didn't line mine and I added a narrow waistband.

The upper fabric is a tablecloth that I picked up at Vinnies.  The lower fabric is a Japanese cotton from Tessuti.  The 2 came together in a serendipitous moment when I was re-sorting my stash (a.k.a. a therapy session).  I love this spotty fabric, and although I bought it for a skirt, I didn't want a huge expanse of dots across my expansive rear.  I think the jagged lines in the skirt design were the perfect solution for this problem.  In order to get the tablecloth edges lining up with the jagged edges, I had to cut it off-grain, which has resulted in the top sections twisting as I wear it, but I don't think that matters too much.

I'm having trouble deciding what tops to wear it with.  I have green t-shirts which exactly match the leaves, but still seem to contrast too much with the peachy base.  I have tried yellow, mustard, peach and grey, which are all okay but need some accessories that I just don't have.  I have a hot pink / peachy striped top, which is good for bright days!  My favourite is a blue/ brown striped top, which is not a co-ordinating colour at all but seems to be the right colour intensity...and perfectly matches a blue / grey pair of heels that I bought last week.  Ahh, the dilemnas of not wearing neutral basics. 


Chameleon dress

I promised myself that I would conquer my fear and sew blouses this summer...but why sew blouses when dresses are easier??  What I most love about dresses is that they don't have to match up with anything else, nor do they have to by tucked in and yanked into place throughout the day.  This is my latest dress, in maxi length.

The pattern is the "Chameleon Dress" from Twinkle Sews.  I'll pop the pattern details in my pattern review.

The fabric is just gorgeous.  It is Nouveau Bloom from Tessuti; a silk/cotton voile border print..  It has a beautiful wood nymph-ish feel about it.  I'm always a sucker for a wood nymph fantasia theme.  One of my first fashion influences was a huge glossy book, possibly published in the eighties, showcasing Australian designers (hazy memories, but I'm thinking Morrissey, Trent Nathan, Adele Palmer, Carla Zampatti).  There was a double page spread of a dark forest, with all these girls wandering through the trees in flowy white dresses.  It was a library book and I'm pretty sure I kept it way overdue.  I would love to stumble across it again.

I lined the dress in cotton voile and the bust cups and neckline trim were from my remnant drawer.


If you have this pattern, you might be thinking that my dress does not look quite like the original.  Well, you would be right.  The bust cups are in sideways.  I'm sure many of you are familiar with the process.  Layout the pattern pieces, check once,  check twice, sew, sew, sew, sit back and congratulate self on quality of edgestitching (or topstitching, or understitching), then almost immediately realise that it is upside-down.  Or back-to-front.  Or you have sewn 2 left legs because the fabric is reversible.  Etc.  I discovered this mistake when I had sewn the neckline trim to the cups and before they were attached to the not too late to fix it up...but I confess, I left it as it was.  I have been unwell lately, and the only reason I was sewing at all was because I was too ache-y to sleep.  So the dress gathers onto the bust, instead of the other way around, but, as you can see, I don't exactly need a lot of gathers over the bust.

I sewed a beautiful invisible zipper.  I applied whisperweft to the seam allowances, overlocked the edges and then basted the zipper tape in place before sewing it in.  Which was all superfluous, because then I forgot to leave an opening in the lining and in a moment of extreme laziness, overlocked the lining edges together.  Did I mention that I was feeling poorly?  I left that too. 

In spite of all that, the dress worked out fine, it just slips on over my head.  It has been so hot here that I have worn it 3 days already this week.


This is why I sew

Well, there are lots of reasons why I sew, but ending up with gorgeous clothes has got to be one of them!

The following photos are from for the Calvin Klein Fashion show S2006RTW.

The fabric:  I had saved the above pictures in my look book of absolute favourites, so I was very excited when Colette showed a sneak peek of this fabric on her blog.  I was even more excited when a panel of this fabric made its way to me.  It is a floaty chiffon, and I was a little worried that I would lose it in my stash, so I have been keeping it in my underwear drawer.  As much as I loved the above pictures, I wasn't sure how much I would wear a silk, floaty dress (life with kids is a little rough and tumble).  One panel was the perfect amount to make a camisole, so I went with that instead.

The pattern:  "Age of Innocence" from Twinkle Sews.  The pattern was designed for 2 contrasting knits, but apart from that little detail, it was remarkably similar to what I was wanting.  Read my pattern review for details on sewing up this pattern.

 I printed out the pattern and sticky-taped all the bits together.  I lay the fabric on top of the pattern and then cut out the pattern and the fabric at the same time, to prevent the chiffon from shifting around whilst I was cutting it.  In the next photo, you can see that the fabric is sheer enough that I could see the pattern through it when cutting. 

You can also see that I centred the dots...resulting in a lovely big, green dot right on my belly button!

The bubble hem silhouette may take some getting used to.


Queue Jumper

This week I was compelled to sew this top.  Not sure why..moon phase, hormones, tropical heat stroke?  I have plenty of must-sew (Christmas presents), a UFO, a special project for me, but this is the top that demanded to be sewn.

The pattern:  "Read Between the Lines" from "Twinkle Sews".  I liked this pattern on the model, but didn't think I would ever sew it up because it has several features that I usually avoid.  It is not very bra-friendly.  The designer recommends wearing it over a plain coloured tank, but it is way too hot hear to wear breezy, summery tops over tanks here.  The humidity is on the rise and shortly I won't be able to bear any knit fabrics against my skin.  I have modified the pattern to make it more bra-friendly.  It also has that "surely, she's not pregnant again" empire line.  It is longer than I usually wear my tops.  In spite of all this, I like the final version and think I will get plenty of wear from it this summer.  The main problem is that because it is such a deviation in silhouette from the rest of my wardrobe, I don't have the right shorts or pants to wear with it (I am sorely disappointed that this book doesn't provide the pattern for the gorgeous pants featured on p99, for anyone who has this book).  See my pattern review for details.

The fabric:  If you thought that seersucker was best left to children or tablecloths, check out the Imazu range at Tessuti.  I made this top from Imazu Night.  Seriously grown-up seersucker.  I ordered a fabric for the contrast panel, but the fabric turned out to be so popular that it sold out before my order was filled.  So I ordered a back-up fabric, which was too heavy, and a second back-up, which was not quite the right colour.  Then I combed my stash for something suitable and came up short.  Finally, I emptied out the remnant drawer and made a patchwork of different scraps.  Sometimes creativity is forced upon us!  I love the final result...the textures and colours all harmonise beautifully with the Imazu.

The ochre scraps are from one of my all-time favourite fabrics.  It is a Roberto Calvalli fabric purchased from Apple Annie Fabrics.  It began life as this jacket.  The fabric was a very generous width, so I had plenty left to make this skirt.  Then I used a strip of it on the handle of this bag.  It is a beautiful texture and so perfect for the outer of this pencil roll.  It complemented some other scraps to make-up my ballet shoes bag.  And now it features in this Twinkle top.  And still, I have some left...I reckon it will pop up one or two more times yet!


Twinkle Sews Flapper Camisole

A couple of weeks ago I came across the book "Twinkle Sews" when I was buying presents from the Book Depository.  Tell you what, I'm in looooove!  I can't stop looking at the pictures. I have not been this excited about patterns in a long time.  The patterns are designed by Wenlan Chia, who sends her collections down the runway at New York Fashion Week.  You can see some of the designs in the book over at Hazelnut's blog.

When the big pattern companies put out their collections, I always head for the tops and blouses, hoping for something special and mostly leaving disappointed.  I don't know what it is, but I just don't look good in T-shirts or in collared blouses, which eliminates a lot out there.  My favourite shirts are raglan sleeved, and Wenlan has a whole section devoted to these.  There is another section on dropped shoulder blouses.  I sewed up one of the patterns in the spaghetti strap section, because I had recently fitted and made a Vogue camisole, which I used as a comparison so that I would not get held up with fit issues (I was excited...had to dive straight in and even interrupted the sewing of 15 purple princess dresses for my daughter's dance concert).

Mine looks rather different to the one in the book because of the fabrics I chose.  I'll put all the details in a pattern review, so head on over there  if you want to find out more about it.

oops...I forgot to mention the beads.  At first I tried sewing on beads that I just collected up from around the house (surprising how many there were), but then a non-sewing friend suggested that after going to all the effort of making the shirt, surely I could go to the bead shop and select matching beads...and whilst I was at it, perhaps I could learn to sew them on straight!  Well, I did go and choose beads, which is not my special talent, but I never got them straight.  Oh well.  The beads are needed to hold the inner strips along the neckline and over the straps.

The top is gorgeous to wear and feels all floaty because it is made of silk...and I love that it is a truly one-of-a kind top.  A big thanks to Wenlan Chia and her team for making these patterns available to us.