Friday, November 20, 2009

I hate dial up

Once again the teenager (with probably some help from the rest of us) has exceeded our monthly broadband allowance, dropping us to dial up speed for a few days. How did we ever survive on dial up speed all the time?!

Anyway, that combined with not managing to get a pic of Georgia in her new skinny jeans meant I've been putting off posting. Oh, and the tummy bug working it's way through our family making various members throw up or have diarrhoea. Or both. With five kids it can take a while to work it's way out of the house, making me very grateful for the nice weather making washing easy to dry.

Today I figured I'd grit my teeth and brave slow internet to post.

First up is this skirt which I made for Georgia when she had her 10th birthday recently. Her grandmother took her to the Royal New Zealand Ballet performing Peter Pan, which she loved. About five minutes after Mum called to ask me if she'd like to go I realised that Georgia's wardrobe is very appropriate for climbing trees and rollerblading, but she had nothing suitable to wear to the ballet. So I made her this skirt. It's #16 from Ottobre 06/08. It only goes up to a size 128, but since Georgia is pretty slender I just added a little more to the length and it was perfect. Fabric from stash + pattern from a magazine I already owned = free skirt.

While I was getting the fabric for the skirt I found a piece of red stretch suiting perfect for skinny jeans for her (her favourite colour) and she found a left over piece of red and white knit perfect for a T shirt. She figured that since she was turning double digits, that meant double new outfits! Since I had time, I was happy to oblige so that she could have the jeans and t for her gingerbread man decorating morning tea with the neighbours (instant party) and a good outfit for the ballet in the afternoon. Left over fabrics + patterns I already owned = also free outfit! I also made her a tankini because I got the fabric very cheap at Spotlight. I don't like making swimwear, but I do like getting her a pair for less than $10. I did swear quite a lot (as Keely will attest, since I was on the phone to her at the time) at various times as my thread kept breaking and the hem just didn't want to get sewn. However, I realise that Georgia will neither notice nor care, so I just left the stops and starts where they occurred.

She still needs clothes for the summer, so I guess I'm not done with her yet. She is also very keen to have proper sewing lessons, like I give to my student. (She comes to my house for an hour every Saturday and we work through her project.) I figure I'll just do the same for Georgia. If she stays keen and gets good I could make her make her own togs!

I've also made a prototype of my own design for Isabella. Very much inspired by some beautiful tops I've seen on the net, starting with this one from the very lovely MADE blog. It and various other tutorials I've read include instructions that say things like: "I don't use patterns, just lay down a shirt that fits your child well and draw around it, leaving seam allowances". I am in awe of anyone who can work this way! I'm very much a pattern user. I play fast and loose with them and alter them and generally make them unrecognizable, but I Don't Cut Patternless. I like the precision of a pattern which I have calculated will produce the design in my head, and I have just enough scientific geekiness to like the concept of repeatability - if it works I can make it again, exactly as I did before. Having said that, I know the principles of draping, and have done it. (One side-ruched wedding dress for a friend of my sister comes to mind. Must find a photo of that)

Getting back to the point, I was tickled pink when Jess used my comment on Samster Mommy's pant refashion tute regarding my method for drawstrings. So I thought I'd take a couple of pics of how it works.

I like the idea of a ribbon tie on Isabella's top, but I wanted elastic in it so I could pull it on and off without undoing it. So I cut a piece of elastic roughly half the size of the finished neck measurement and sewed ribbon to the ends of it, like this:

When that's threaded through the neckline casing I stitch through all layers at centre front to hold it in place. That way the ends are always even and the drawstring never falls out. If the stitching is obvious you can sew a button or flower or anything you fancy over it, but when the neckline gathers up I couldn't even see it, so I didn't bother. Yet.

Have I ever mentioned how hard it is to get a modelled shot of anything on either of the twins? Yes? Well every time I try I'm reminded of that! I ended up getting her big brother to hold her while I snapped.

I'm very pleased with the basic workings of this top, but I think the armhole ends up too low. I used the raglan draft from my Aldrich book, and I think for this design the proportions are a bit off. No fault with her draft, just my use of it. I'll rework it so the armhole is higher, then slash and spread to add the gathering. The joy of patternmaking - I know exactly what I did last time, so I can use that as a starting point for the next one. This one was always intended to be a prototype for my own design, but wearable for Isabella because I hate making prototypes - really feels like a waste of my sewing time to produce something that won't get worn.

Repeatability folks, gotta love it. (Well, I'm pretty anal, so I love it!)


  1. Dial up is a bloggers worst friend. We had dial up for years at home, meaning I could only visit blogs who posted low resolution photos and only 7 posts per page. Out of sympathy for those still in the dial up zone, that's how I set my blog up.

    Some lovely sewing as usual. Sewing for a little girl must be so fun - all those frills and gathers and they looks so good too.

    How exciting that you daughter wants to learn to sew. I started at age 7 and the thrill of producing stuff has stuck with me ever since (although of course it's abannoned me at several times after real wadders - but never for too long)

  2. I love creating paper patterns (either my own or altering existing ones). I'm with you, it definitely satisfies the designer/engineer part of the brain. I wouldn't enjoy Cutting Patternless the least bit enjoyable!

    I am so thankful I don't have dial-up. We're thinking about moving into the countryside and sad-to-say, dial-up vs. broadband is actually a consideration we have to debate before deciding! We think we couldn't live without our connection. (Which is very sad!)

  3. You daughter is the image of you! My area was not able to get ADSL for about a year while some technical stuff was resolved. It was soooooo sllloooowwww. For the dinasaur era.

  4. LOL, I'm constantly amazed at how we managed on dial-up speeds - especially when I'm complaining about the slow broadband. Luckily we rarely seem to blow through our allowance although with the teen on holiday from next week that may change.

    G looks very happy with her new outfit for the ballet. I looks even happier! Cute top.

  5. We have the same problem of a teenager (DSS) visiting on weekends who eats through the allowance :) *Sigh* Good on you for braving the storms of dial-up to post such a cool blog posting! Thanks for the picture of the elastic:ribbon ratio, I thought it had to be practically all elastic to work. Belinda/Sew-4-Fun might like trying this out on her new fave, the KS peasant knit top. G is one lucky double-digiter to get a windfall of lovingly made new clothes.