Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Hack-tastic Flora - BHL.

So.. I made another BHL flora dress. For another wedding.. Yes, tragic! I have done it before, but I do love this dress!

I made a few alterations this time, which took a bit of mucking about. The first was to lengthen the skirt. The skirt is a fabric eater and huge! It's 150cm wide minimum. The fabric I chose was a faux silk I picked up from spotlight. I saw it and the print seemed very Gorman-esque to me, so purhcase! To lengthen the skirt, I added a side panel when cutting. I used a french seam to widen the fabric. You can tell I have done this on the back skirt panels, but as it is a full swishy skirt, it doesn't show to much unless I am pointing it out to you. As I often do! Does anyone else find the need to point out their sewing flaws before someone else see's them? I constantly find myself doing it. When really I am sure nobody else cares!

The second alteration was making it backless. I love the contrast of a high neck with a low back, and when I made my first Flora I found myself dreaming about a backless number. Having no drafting experience, and not being sure how I wanted it to look, I just traced my back bodice piece, hacked away at where I wanted it to sit and then folded out the back dart length. I then made the straps super long (about 35cm) and got a friend to fit them for me (13.5cm from the centre zip on each side to be exact). I made the whole thing up in the fashion fabric first, and then just played around with the fit. It was a bit tricky fitting on the sides (I always have trouble fitting BHL patterns to me here, turns out I don't have enough side boob), let alone without the back pieces to absorb any fit changes... so I kind of just played around with the darts until I was happy with them (it was VERY untechnical, more just sewing and trying on and pining and doing it all again).

But I was quite happy with the back of the dress in the end. I probably could have pinched a little more out of the centre front which would have assisted with the lack of side boob issue, and made the whole fitting process a tonne easier.. So next time I will probably try that first!

I then just made a full lining (using bemsilk from spotlight) which matched the purple ferns on my main fabric! I just used a gathered skirt instead of the flora skirt for the lining as the bemsilk wasn't wide enough. The lining was attached by machine and then handstitched down at the waist. Because I was then all enamoured by pretty purple matchy matchy-ness, I used a large purple satin bias tape to finish the circular hem. PRETTY! It made it feel a bit more special, and gave the hem a nice swishy-ness.
Excuse these wrinkly shots: taken post wedding just for the classic 'guts' shots.

I popped in an invisible zipper and she was done! Pro's are that I am getting more confident with pattern hacking as I go, even if my methods are more cowboy than traditional. Con's are the fabric was a poly (faux silk as per the label - you can't fool me spotlight, I know that means poly!!) and a bit shit to work with, not holding a press, scared I was going to melt it etc. I did melt a test peice when trying to determine how much heat it would handle under the iron, so I was very gentle when pressing it in the end. Things I have learnt: Poly is shit.

Anyway.. THE RUN DOWN:
Pattern: BHL - Flora (backless hack!) - free: used before!
Fabric: 2.5m Faux silk satin (Spotlight), 2m lining (bemsilk). ($50, $14)
Notions: invisible zip, satin bias binding. ($3, $4)
Total Cost: $71-
Other bits: Heels - Wittner.

Some less bloggy photo's from the wedding: read 'post several champagne/s'.

  Congratulations to the beautiful Annie & Ciaran! A wonderful evening for a wonderful couple.. Xx

Monday, 7 December 2015


Happy summertime fellow Australians! And those in the northern hemisphere - I hope your white Christmas preparations are coming along nicely!

Last week I presented a winter cape, so this week I have done a full 360 and made a summer frock! The Alder by Grainline Studio's to be precise. Another cult pattern release from Jen about 18 months ago. I purchased it at the time of release, but never got a chance to sew it up last summer. I did however, feel it was definitely a summer dress so waited until this summer to sew it up!

This dress has been tried and tested very well over the blogosphere, and for a very good reason! What a brilliant pattern! It came together easily and reasonably quickly for a pattern with so many little details. I began the project using French seams, which would have been fine. However, I chose to make view B. Which includes the glorious aforementioned bum ruffle. Now, this means a right angled seam... which even with the help of Jen's lovely tutorial, I couldn't figure out how to master. I did end up inserting it quite well, with a fairly sharp right angle turn but I just couldn't get that same effect when I was trying to use French seams. So the right angle French seam was abandoned (as was my seam ripper), and I whipped this one seam through the overlocker. It still looks very neatly finished on the inside. And I figured sharp professional outside vs. sharp professional inside should win, when I could only muster one or the other.

The fabric is a lovely cotton, lawn like texture I picked up in Vietnam in May. I found it at the Ben Thanh Market (where I picked up quite a bit of fabric), which came to about $5- per meter. On returning home, I saw it pop up a few other places, and it appears to be a rip off liberty print! Whoops - I'm not sure if this would have impacted my buying, but I still love the print, and it is such a perfect pattern for summery clothes! The quality definitely informs me it is not a real liberty, it had some scratchy pulls when I laid it out to cut, but I was able to cut around those.

It was such a busy print, I didn't attempt to pattern match on the pockets. A feature of the Alder pattern that I love, is all the precision sewing - think top stitching! Very similar to making some menswear. I followed the sew-along directions, including all the extra steps to add a line of top stitching to keep the bum ruffle in place.

I initially added 2 inches to the dress, thinking it would be too short. (I added two inches to my scout tee's as I found them a bit short). However, on hemming, that was lopped off - and the original paper pattern amended to not include this for next time! I also sized out on the bum ruffle, cutting a 14 for the ruffle section. Again, I will probably just cut the straight ten all over, as with the extra fullness in the ruffle it can catch fairly easily in the wind!

I finished my arm holes and hem with bias binding. White for the bottom, which enabled me to keep the lovely curved shape as drafted. I knew I would find it difficult to do a turned hem, so utilised bias tape instead. I had a small amount of my yellow vintage liberty bias binding (scored from etsy several months ago) left which went really nicely with the fabric print, so I decided to use this on the arm holes instead of the bindings drafted my Jen - I figured I had better use some genuine liberty in this make somewhere!

I also used a contrast inner yoke piece, choosing to use chambray instead of self fabric. I love little contrasts like this on my me mades. It took me a little bit of time to work out the button placket and the collar, but I am glad I took the time to do this step properly, as this is what makes the Adler a bit special!

I definitely see more Alders in my future! Woo - team bum ruffle!

The deets:
Fabric: 2m of cotton from Vietnam.
Notions: 9 buttons (10c each from Eliza's), bias tape - vintage liberty and plain white.
Total cost: Pattern (19) + buttons and fabric and notions (25)
= $44-

Other bits: shoes - wittner.

Alder in the wild... amidst my garden..