Saturday, December 26, 2009

Red Shirr-ley

I made another version of Shirr-ley, because I wear the first version a lot.

The fabric for this one is a cottony knit (I though it might be a poly cotton due to the weight, but having worn the frock a few times, I think the extra weight is maybe elastane not poly. I can tell because it's been stinking hot on a few occasions when I've worn this, and I haven't expired from the heat like I would with even the smallest bit of poly. Why this doesn't happen with elastane or lycra, I don't know.)

The knit is from Pitt Trading. I bought it with making another Shirr-ley in mind. I like the retro print.

I didn't bind the neckline or armholes this time, because I didn't have anything in quite the right colour. I would like to make a neckline flounce for this one, maybe a turquoise little something? Or a big brooch? The neckline feels quite plain. But maybe that's just because I'm used to fancy!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Olive surplus

Despite having a giant stash under my cutting table (12 x 55l boxes! eek!) I can't resist buying more when I see it. I went past Cleg's in the city last night and found some sludgy green poly-lycra crepish knit... it's one of my favourite colours at the moment so I couldn't resist. $5.95/m was also a bit irresistible.

I pondered what to make last night. I decided something wrappy-drapey would be good, so I thought of the very popular New Look 6429 (which I am wearing today for inspiration). Such a comfy dress and one that takes longer to cut out than sew...

However I decided to make a few changes. I put 5 cm through the torso since the other one sits a bit high.
I used clear elastic inside the turned-over neck so it wouldn't gape. I may have gone a bit overboard, but the gathers are in keeping with the side gathers and the back so I think that works OK (if I don't like it after a few wears I should be able to take some of the elastic out)
I also decided to square off the back bodice point and put on a straighter skirt with gathers:
It sits a bit lower than I planned, but I think the effect is rather 1940s which is just fine by me!

The colour doesn't come up too well in the pics - it's more like this text (note to self: learn some more html)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

And I'm back

My stash of patterns and fabric has been in storage for nearly two months, boo! Mr M and I have moved house, so there has been a lot going on. It was worth it to get a sewing room. Well, hopefully I will have a sewing room once we get all of the junk sorted out.

I'm back on the sewing machine wagon now.

First up was my friend S coming up to stay at our new place for a weekend, so I could make her a frock for an awards night she's attending. It's difficult to see because it's black, but it's a v-neck, with tie gathered shoulders, and a shirred high waist. Made in a satiny polyester. It's what she wanted. No pattern, I just traced one of her dresses for size, then shirred away. Still loving the shirring obviously. Magic. The pic is the frock on me, it looks better on S. Darn. Well, it was made for her.

Today I made a shirred sunfrock for a friend's daughter's second birthday. I have used this fabric before for a little frock. No pattern necessary; I cut out a rectangle 50cm long and about 60cm wide, hemmed all around, shirred 10 rows, sewed the one seam (reinforcing the shirred bit of the seam a few times to catch all the shirring elastic. We don't want any pinging) and added straps. Easy. Just as well, because today was the last chance I had to make something before the big day. I hope it fits. Surely the magic shirring won't let me down!

By the way, the photo is taken on the huge rock face we have in our new back yard. Naturey!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Wiggle, robots, wiggle!

Is it really two months since our last posting? What a shocking state of affairs!

I've bought a fair chunk of fabric online in the last few weeks (woohoo for the strength of the Australian dollar!).
I heartily endorse buying quilting cottons online and getting them shipped from the USA. I usually search via, and most of the places seem to ship to Australia. A global priority envelope fits 7-9 yards (if they are really skilled envelope squeezers!) and costs $12.95 USD postage. I find they get here in about two weeks and I have never been disappointed with the fabric. NAYY, just a satisfied repeat customer.

So it seemed time to sew a couple of them up:

New Look 6789 from this irresistable "First Village" from Michael Miller:
This went together very easily - or it least it would have if I hadn't chucked in some extra seam allowance willynilly, which I then had to take out again... but anyway, a quick sew and a very comfortable frock:
Then we have the "Robots" from Michael Miller (what can I say, I love their work) which is a frankenstein of the Butterick 8149 bodice and the straight skirt from New Look 6699. I should've trawled our archives first and realised I used a different skirt with more hip room last time... this time resulted in a Robot Wiggle frock:
I am off to a party this evening, so I made a robot reversible pursible to go with
it (lined with green toy soldier fabric):

The other fabrics that I bought recently are:

Happy Camper (this and the two above are from Fabric Shack). This is destined for a shirtdress of some sort for the USA trip next year:

More robots (a shirt for the chap) plus a couple of halloween prints (frocks for me), from Beaver Creek quilts:

I've been most conscientious and prewashed all of these (note to self: don't forget to overlock the ends before chucking in the machine, saves a whole world of tangle).

Tomorrow I plan to either frockify one of the lengths, or maybe start the Great Bolero Experiment of Summer '09. This girl needs some cover ups for sunny days!

Oops, I forgot I made this skirt a few weeks ago too. It's from an old Style pattern, and I think I'll make another in wool jersey for the trip:

Saturday, September 05, 2009

All the fun of the fair

Sorry about the break in transmission there. Life kind of got in the way. I was doodling along in my comfortable rut, which is where I do my best work, and then something happened and dragged me out of my lovely rut and left me in a huge paddock, running free! It's all good though, but not much sewing, knitting or blogging got done.

Darn paddocks.

Anyway, I'm back, and especially for Livebird, here is the fifties fair update!

Um, we didn't take any photos at the fair. I admit it. I wanted to take my vintage handbag and my camera didn't fit in it, so no photos.

I didn't buy much at the fair either. I had put in an absentee bid at an auction the day before (not eBay, an actual physical auction house) on four boxes of vintage patterns, most in my size and mostly gorgeous! My natural optimism meant I was sure I would get them. Erm, I didn't, but the auction wasn't until the next day, and on fifties fair day it meant I wasn't motivated to pay $8+ for patterns. I was going to get over a hundred just the next day at a bargain price of course! Erm, no.

Back to the fair.

I wore this frock:
I didn't make this one, it's gen-yoo-wine vintage. I may have even bought it at the fifties fair one year, the memory's a little hazy.
I did buy a few little things, such as this hat:

and a half slip (no photo, have already mislaid said slip)

and three budgie pins, also mislaid, but maybe Moggy will post a photo of hers.

Of course, with Miss Moggy here for a weekend, we had to do some fabric shops.

This is my haul:

(Left to right: pink stretch silk seersuckery stuff from Just Remnants; navy cotton voile floral; and a floral mystery knit, probably cotton/poly by the feel...I bought it to make another Shirr-ley, the two fabrics on the right were from the website-less Pitt Trading)
I also bought some 100% wool jersey and some wool interlock from The Remnant Warehouse, but they are black so they photograph pretty much as a black blob. Be assured when I make them up into frocks you will see them. We also went to the Fabric Store in Surry Hills, where Moggy bought something but I didn't. I'll let Moggy fill you in on that if she so desires.

I was on a bit of a quest that weekend to find fold-over elastic, and success! Here (from the top); red and navy FOE, some black lingerie elastic (not fold over) and a divine black fold-over elastic with a little picot edge surprise.
Elastics from Pitt Trading (their address is: 274 Rocky Point Rd, Ramsgate, NSW) and Just Remnants, which is fab by the way and if you're in Sydney you should go there.

Monday, August 17, 2009


Just in time for a steamy Sydney summer, Owly is finished! (I lie. Almost finished. Like 99% done) The knitting is complete, all that is left is to sew on their little button eyes.
I will do that after I block it; those stitches look a bit rough in the bulky yarn.

This was a very quick and fun knit. I would have finished earlier had it not been for the sock interlude, and two friends announcing they're having babies, necessitating a dash for wool to start baby blankets. I only have 6 months! Eeeee!

Fifties Fair this weekend. What am I going to wear?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Hearty sweetheart sweetness

I realised this week that I hadn't made a frock for the fifties fair (next weekend) and I don't have any in reserve. So I spent today making this:
It's a Butterick Retro '50 - Butterick 6522 which I made before in lace (and in something else, but I can't remember what). It must have been some time ago, because the pattern was a size or two too small, but I just placed the centre back and centre front 2cm in from the fold and voila - fits perfectly.

I made it from a crepe-y black knit - turned out to be a good choice as it is nice and drapey and also I didn't need to put a zip in (yay!). I'm letting it hang for a while before I hem it. I may need to put in thread chain belt loops, or maybe stabilise the waist with some elastic.

The extra heart-ness is thanks to my trusty embroidery machine. I got the heart from Urban Threads (this one, minus the wings).

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Noro socks

I interrupted my owly knitting to knit some socks for a friend having surgery this week. I used Noro Kureyon sock yarn, in colourway number S184. I knit using both ends of the ball of wool alternately every 4 rows to get the small stripes. The second sock should have gone more quickly, but there were snarls the size of golf balls in the middle of the ball which took me ages each time to untangle. I ended up just cutting the snarls free and carrying on, which I thought was clever until I started running out of yarn and had to untangle them anyway.

Look like they fit, huh?

They do! Until I stand up. Here's what socks knit for size 11 feet look like (with gravity) on size 6.5 feet:

All wrapped up in ribbon, ready for giving:

Thursday, August 06, 2009

I haz bizzy

I've been trying to make more productive use of my time off, to whit:
Shirring! (inspired by Kitty) - for some reason this took me a few goes to get right (hint- don't wind your elastic on your bobbin too tight). This is from a Simplicity pattern (I think it is an 80s one) for a peasant-blouse style dress. I used fold over elastic for the neckline and underwear elastic (!) for the sleeves. Here is before shirring and after shirring:
I made this a week or so ago out of some lovely sludgy green seersucker.
The pattern is a 1951 top half and the standard ol' a-line skirt (the original had a panelled one which didn't fit on my yardage). I've mislaid the pattern for the moment. Vintage buttons from Buttonmania sale earlier in the year.
I got out the embroidery machine and calavera'd a cardigan (embroidery design from Urban Threads).
I also did a bit of mending, but that doesn't merit a picture.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


I have already started tripfit planning for an as yet unbooked trip (March 2010) but these things can't be done too early!I decided that I wanted a polar fleece jacket that didn't look too much like one.I have McCall 5245 (now OOP) and some leopard print polar fleece in the stash (in the special leopard fabric section, don't you know). I think I bought it at the same time as the pattern.

So, here is my slightly dressy polar fleece jacket. It is very comfy and warm. All it needs is a button or two and it is done.

Monday, July 27, 2009

I was made for lining you baby (not!) and Owls

I have cut out and sewn together the lining for the jacket, but when it came to cutting away for the vent in the back it said to cut away on the left side, and I assumed that meant the left side of the 'right' side (as opposed to 'wrong' side). Not thinking lining was I? The right side of lining sits against the body of course. D'oh. So I've flounced away for a while. Harrumph!

This trauma has sent me a-knitting. I started 'Owls' by Kate Davies. (ravelry link). It's a free pattern, and so cute! I always get the urge to knit wooly jumpers when the weather starts to warm up. This is a quick knit so far though, so I might sneak in a few wears before the end of the socks and cardigan season.
This is how much I knit on the weekend, I love bulky yarn! As you can see, I was terribly original with my choice of colour, ie I'm using exactly the same shade of grey (although it looks a little different in this pic):
The yarn is Moda Vera 'Mousse', which is 70% wool and 30% soya. It's very nice to knit, and thankfully doesn't seem like it will be itchy to wear.

I went to the designer's website and saw this paper dolls jumper. Another cutie!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Score: one meh, one yay

Since Kittty went to the trouble of getting the Ashley-ish Simplicity 2614 before it is released in Australia. This weekend, I muslined it in the same skull print knit that Kitty used for a blouse before. Sadly I can't say I am that excited about the result - I think it might look better in a woven (i t is meant to be made from bias cut woven)

So I decided to make a skirt. I've had the pattern for McCall 5523 for a while, and bought the material at Darn Cheap last week. It's got that librarian vibe I was after so I am happy with the result.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Knit jacket

I have been threatening to make a doubleknit jacket for a while. I started to make this jacket again a week or two ago. I have a short attention span for jacket making though, so I have been doing it in short bursts. For instance, a week ago I traced out the lining pattern pieces, and today I cut out the lining. I have no intention of sewing it in yet. I am in a mid-winter sewing slowdown.

I added 5cm of length to the jacket this time to match the length of my favourite blazer. I remembered to add the extra length to the lining pieces too, although it was a close thing. I'm glad I remembered before I cut into the stretch silk I'm using for the lining. Eek!

I'm not putting the pocket flaps on it this time, but I have thought about small patch pockets. I won't have to make that decision too soon at the rate I'm going.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Trashy Diva

Moggy and I love Trashy Diva, and we have bought frocks/blouses/skirts/jackets from their online store on more than one occasion. They are great to deal with. Their silks are lovely.

Their sale section is a dangerous place to browse late at night with credit card at the ready and Ms Moggy egging me on via instant messaging. Lovely, silky danger.
I've just seen their latest dresses...mmm. Some beauties there.

Two copies of Simplicity 2614 arrived in the mail today, one for me, one for the Mog . (I will send it soon M! Along with cardigans for embroidering)

View D, the reddish blouse in the middle, would make a nice 40s inspired frock if lengthened, no? A bit like Trashy Diva's Ashley...

*Edited later to add* - after re-reading this post, I thought I should add that we at Frock and Roll aren't affiliated with Trashy Diva in any way, we just like em!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Knockoff in waiting

I tried on this frock in a shop a while ago while shopping with Moggy...
(Sneaky phone pic.) Cute, but too short for me (and a I prefer a bit of waist shaping. Still, I liked it enough to keep thinking about it. I think it's the collar)
Browsing around Pattern Review recently, I came across this pattern:
Pretty close, huh?
But it isn't out here yet.
eBay to the rescue. It's on its way!

Now I will be able to make a longer, shaped-for-me version.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Shirr-ley (Update: now with photo of frock on me)

(See update at end of this post)
In a recent post I mentioned that my friend had sneakily taken photos of some frocks in London she thought I'd like. Here is the one that I decided to try and copy:
...and here's my version, made from stash cotton jersey. I bound the neckline and armholes in white stretch bengaline left over from making white collars:
Here she is with a temporary flounce I whipped up quickly. I want to make one in a wider stripe, in a knit fabric (this is just a scrap of leftover woven rayon). I like the flounce on it, it makes it all fancy like:
This was the first time I've ever done shirring. Can I just say - addictive? Oh yeah. There's a danger that I will be shirring everything from now on.
I used Simplicity 2995 for the basic frock and just marked where I wanted the waist to be and shirred away. 4 rounds did it. It transformed what was basically a sack into a saucy little frock.
I read this tutorial to learn how to do the shirring. It really is just sewing with shirring elastic in the bobbin. The longer the stitch, the tighter the shirr. And I like my shirring tight!
Betty dressform is modelling the frock, because this is a summer frock and we are in the midst of a sunny but very cold week of winter here.
Although I could wear this with a slip and warm tights of course. It doesn't get too cold in Sydney compared to the rest of the world. But, I am a wuss, so this is what you get.

Update: It was warm enough today to do a photo shoot, so by popular demand (well, Moggy asked) here's Shirrley on me:

Monday, June 08, 2009

tart in dress

Yet another pinafore - but they are so handy!

Not having sewn with tartan / plaid for yonks, while I think I did an OK job at matching the up 'n' down, I see I didn't place the centre front in quite the right place. Ah well, I'm sure it won't be so obvious in the wild.

I did my usual sloper-adapted pinny, with a scoop neck rather than a square one, and the addition of extending the back shoulders to the front to make tabs (inspired by Kitty's pinny from last year). I got to use a whole TWO buttons from my buttonmania stash, 'ray!

Note to self: I usually make this out of stretch-woven. If I don't, then add some breathing space...