Hello Moneta …

I got so excited about making the Moneta dress that I couldn’t wait for the Moneta sew-a-long, I just had to finish it in one night! Here is my lovely short sleeved version (View B) in a Valori Wells printed knit from Hawthorne Threads.

Trying out some of Tilly's photo tips!

Laughing at my toddler trying to ‘make’ coffee on the nespresso machine

In preparation for my first time sewing with a knit fabric, I walked all over town last Thursday (literally, all over town, lucky it was a babysitter day…) to find a Twin needle and / or walking foot. I saved pictures of both on my phone as I’ve found it hard enough to find and ask for quality machine needles, and I had no faith that my hand gestures would get me there for twin needle.  I did find a twin needle in a little sewing shop, unfortunately not ballpoint/jersey twin needles though, and no walking foot (Note to self- put on the spotlight list for trip to Australia – that list is loonnnnnngg!)

I decided to make the short sleeved dress first up – predominately because it’s summer here and over 30C most days, and I only had 2m of the Valori Wells knit fabric that I wanted to use for this dress. It noted that for a size S, I would need around 2.5m (can’t remember exactly)… but with a little juggling, I easily got it all out of 2m with quite a bit of fabric left over. I just cut the skirts out first on the fold, then re-folded the fabric with selvages touching in the middle so that I could get the bodice pieces out of the leftover amount. Unfortunately, I should have turned one of the bodice pattern pieces over, as the way I cut it out, the print is in the wrong direction on the back bodice piece, but it’s not that obvious!

This was a really simple dress to construct, even for a novice-knit-fabric-sewer like myself! I got into a little trouble with the neckline gaping out – I think I just stretched the fabric a bit too much while sewing it (pulling it through the machine), so I unpicked the neckline double needle stitching, ironed on some hemming tape, and resewed it with a larger turnover & just with one line of stitching. It’s not very pretty inside, but it’s a big enough neck-hole that it doesn’t need to stretch over my head so I think one line of stitch should be fine.

 

 

 

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The only other hurdle was not being able to find swimwear elastic, so I just used a piece of regular elastic…. Then sewed the bodice to the skirt together with a basting stitch to check how it all fitted. I didn’t really like the way it sat with the elastic, so I unpicked the elastic, and just overlocked the skirt to the bodice. I figured its quite a firm knit and I’ll always wear a belt with it, as I think the fabric choice needs it!

I hemmed it a little shorter  than my knees. Ahhhh I’m in loveeee.

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Trying to get a good shot & the best one has the toddler in it. Fail!

The fabric is not that lightweight so will be a little too warm for the weather here at the moment (but PERFECT for my Brisbane visit next month!!)

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As you would know if you have read previous posts, something I need to work on is my photography skills! Unfortunately our apartment is ALL white walls (& renting so staying that way!). Also there aren’t many places to set up a camera for timer pics, and the only long mirror is in our walk in robe. So I got creative after reading Tilly’s post on her blog (Tillyandthebuttons) and set up my version of a tripod (see below….). Toddler could not understand for the life of him why his little chair was on his highchair. Did not like it one bit.

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So thats my run-down of my first Moneta. I say ‘first’ as I’ve already got a second sleeveless one cut out, and have grand plans for a Maxi Moneta inspired by Cashmerette… Oooh the love….

 

Colette Sorbetto Tank

Proud braggy moment… I made my first ever top for myself on Saturday! Since I got my sewing machine almost 2 years ago now (and it’s been in storage or travelling for about 9 months of that time!!) I have only made items for my bub or gifts for other friends’ babies… with the exception of a long dress for a black tie wedding in October last year! (Simplicity 6223 with modifications!!).

I am getting ahead of myself though – the whole reason I’m able to make tops for myself is because I bought a printer last Thursday! Super exciting people! The (sewing) world is my oyster!!

Anyway, so I was up late reading some blogs Friday night and saw the various Colette Sorbetto tops made by Navybluethreads and thought it was a super cute and simple top – what a great one to start with. Even more ahhhh-mazing was discovering the pattern was a FREE – yes – FREE download on Colette Patterns website! Thank you Colette Patterns!

So while my husband worked on Saturday, I plopped the toddler in front of the Baby TV channel (great parenting there…), made myself a coffee and spent the next couple of hours creating the first ever top for myself! He also had a super long nap that day. Awesome.

The pattern was so simple to put together. After reading comments from others that had already made this top (yeh I’m a little late to the game..), I lengthened it about an inch, and after sewing front & back together, I also took the seams in at the bottom of the top as they flicked out a little too much for my taste.

I used a Valori Wells Cotton Voile that I ordered through Hawthorne Threads – the weight of this fabric is perfect & light for the hot weather here in Tbilisi at the moment.

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This was a really easy top to construct, the part that took the longest for me was making the bias binding to use for the arm and neck holes. As I don’t have a bias tape maker, I got a few steam burns on my thumb while ironing the strip of bias into binding. Ow. It would definately save a massive amount of time to use pre- bought bias binding (but I haven’t found any here…).
For my next one if I can’t find a bias tape maker (which I haven’t got a lot of hope for here..) I think I would just fold over the bias strip once and use it as a facing instead of bias binding.

top without bias binding

top without bias binding

urghhh making bias binding...

urghhh making bias binding… but love my pretty ironing board cover 🙂

I will have to make a couple of modifications to my next Sorbetto as the neck hole gapes out a little bit, it may also be because I didn’t do a stay stitch along the neckline ….

Such a cute top with so many possibilities though!

Apologies for the awful pictures (yes I’m sure I’ll say this everytime) as my husband has taken our camera to work so trying to take photos of myself in our walk in robe on an iphone. eek. You can tell I don’t do it much.

 

 

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Last night I purchased, downloaded and printed out the Colette Moneta dress pattern, so this morning I have assembled the pattern and cut out all of my pieces – Stay tuned for a super duper exciting blog post about it – please wish me luck that my teether cranky toddler will go to sleep at his actual bedtime tonight, not like last night.. and I really want to sew something more exciting than mending a hole in my hubbys work coveralls. (yep. Thats how I spent my morning. Fun.)

Why hello new printer! Hello Moneta dress!

Why hello new printer! Hello Moneta dress!

 

Wrap Skirt

First order of business – I received my fabric.com and Hawthorne threads orders yesterday and today… so I have a mound of oh-soooo-pretty-I’m-drooling fabric and no patterns to sew it with!

So last night, I got my tape measure, and some of Bubbas paper and crayons out, sat in front of some Grey’s Anatomy re-runs and drafted a wrap around skirt pattern, using some of my cheaper fabric I found here in Tbilisi, a lightweight cotton floral print. I used 1 back piece and 2 front pieces as I am having the skirt wrap at the front. When I put together the three pieces and tried it on, it was much too ‘flowy’ as I cut each piece to be almost double the width at the bottom as the top. So I took the seams in to be a little more “tulip” shape, and cut the front piece to be also what I call “tulip” – oh just look at the picture and decide for yourself – doesn’t flare out at the bottom. It is hard to see how the front overlaps in this picture, I’ve done some unintentional print matching……!!

Floral Wrap skirt

Floral Wrap skirt

In any case, because the front piece was curved now from the waistband down along the hemline, I was wondering how on earth I was going to do the edging without it puckering and a LOT of effort (and then hem the remaining part of the skirt the same!?)…. so I used a strip of fabric cut on the bias folded over once, and sewed it raw edges together all along the edge and hem, then ironed it away from the fabric, and folded over and sewed it down (see this MUCH more thorough explanation of the same for a neckline here). I had just done this method for a neckline the other day so thought it would be a neat finish taking into account the curve.

Before I did it, I just made sure that the skirt was at a good length!!

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Hemmed with bias and overlocked seam lines

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Skirt laid out (on my bed!) Can see how the the inner front (closest to bottom) and back piece (middle) both have straight lines yet the front piece (at top of pic) curves from waistband down along the hemline.

 

For the waistband and ties, I used the same process as Tilly uses for the Miette skirt, you can find it on her awesome website here!

Wrap skirt, Finished!

Wrap skirt, Finished!

I’m so happy with how it came out for a self-drafted pattern, and although it’s just a tad too big, I’m definately going to be wearing this around Tbilisi this summer!!

Now I need to also work on my photography skills…. that was the best picture of me in the skirt out of around 20 – I’m definately not in the ‘selfie’ generation!

 

Pdf vs Printed

I’ve been reading a lot of sewing blogs lately, and have absolutely fallen in lust with some of the patterns that are popular at the moment… think Cambie Dress, gabriola skirt (ok EVERYTHING by Sewaholic… ) Scout Tee & Tiny Pocket Tanks (Grainline Studio), Miette Skirt (Tilly & the Buttons), Anna & Elisalex dresses (By Hand London), Bombshell Swimsuit (Closet Case Patterns)…

Oh but there are more… this is a short list and I’m sure it will keep me busy for a while!

I did head out today to try and find a printer here in Tbilisi….easier said than done… going to multiple places in a taxi and dragging along a 20 month old squirmy toddler…on a side note, I really miss ‘seatbelt straps’ in the supermarket trolley, my little monster cherub *cough cough* decides he’s had enough halfway through a weekly shop and tries to kamikaze out of the trolley, then I have to carry him while pushing around a full trolley.

I digress…

Realistically, if I wanted to pay the equivalent of $300 I could have easily gotten a basic scanner/printer at either of the 2 shops I visited, but since I paid under $100 in Australia for our last basic printer/scanner, I just felt like I was being robbed! And I don’t see the point in getting the printer without a scanner function these days, as especially living overseas, there is ALWAYS something to print, sign & scan…

Anyhow, so I got a ream of paper at the market, but came home empty handed on the printer. Boo. I had such grand plans for this evening…

I am also considering whether to order a few of the patterns in hard copies, as I actually don’t own any proper paper patterns and these Indie / Boutique designers patterns look really fancy as a printed pattern — Seriously, go onto the By Hand London website, and have a little drool at their patterns on their front page! TO. DIE. FOR.

On other TRES exciting news, my first Tbilisi bound fabric.com order should be ringing my metaphorical doorbell (as we are yet to get a doorbell…) in the next 2 hours….. EEEEEKKKKKK! I have some fabric intended for placemats and cushions (as funky homewares is a serious hole in the market in Tbilisi), some gorgeous Amy Butler lined up for a Miette Skirt (if I can just get the pattern….boooo). Pretty impressed with the cost of shipping as well – we use a freight forwarder service from USA so as long as its over $35 (uhhh of course!) I get free shipping to our USA mailbox then it was $15ish for the courier from USA – Georgia! WINNING!!

It may have to be a cushion/placemat/table runner/storage basket couple of days until I can get out of the house without the Bub and not have to worry about chasing a toddler around an electrical store while trying to talk in broken Georgian/English about printer attributes.

Ok BORING non-sewing type post today, but I was itching to post something – I will at least share some picture of some gorgeous cotton dress print that I found at the market yesterday (Think Cambie Dress!!) and a lining fabric that is going to go with one of the voiles that I bought last week – for a maxi skirt – I’m not sure how the print will go with a Gabriola Skirt, else I think I may just wing it with an elastic waist…

A printed voile and a lining fabric - possibly for a maxi skirt....!

A printed voile and a lining fabric – possibly for a maxi skirt….!

 

 

 

Pretty! I'm thinking a Cambie Dress for Summer?

Pretty! I’m thinking a Cambie Dress for Summer?

 

Spotty Dress

Since my sewing machine arrived a couple of months ago, I’ve only sewn ‘easy’ things like a flannel/minky blanket, pair of shorts for bubba and some new strap covers for his pram – this has been due to a lack of material in my stash & not knowing where to buy material here in Tbilisi. So it has really been since November last year (when we moved from Melbourne) that I have sewn anything finicky, you know, those type of projects you actually need to really concentrate for… and my toddler was only just 12 months old then and was a lot less mobile and inquisitive than he is now!

It was sooooo much easier sewing when I could strap him in a little bouncer chair and give him a toy, or pop him in his gated playroom right next to the kitchen table and sew!  I am finding that managing sewing time with looking-after-a-toddler time is a lot more difficult! Especially since I’ve gotten my sew-jo back, have some cool materials, and have so many awesome ideas in my head…. but my little man has other ideas. He thinks its hilarious to sit on my fabric when I’m trying to cut a pattern. Or run up and slide on it just as I’m trying to line it all up properly. He also thinks its hilarious to sit under the desk and try and run off with the foot pedal…. or when I’m not looking, gets up on my chair and tries to grab the thread off my overlocker — And after having to rethread it about 5 times last month when it was playing up, that almost gave me a heart attack… Picture a slow motion “nooooooooo” while lunging at him from across the room!

Anyway, as we haven’t yet bought a printer, I haven’t find any shops here with paper patterns, and really don’t want to ask my husband to print out a few 40 page patterns at work, I picked out a simple style dress in my cupboard (that I bought in 2008!!) that is a nice fit and thought I’d use as a template – as I’ve been DYING to sew something for me!!

I used some blue & white spot dress material that I bought at the market on Monday, honestly I have no idea what kind of fabric this is, as the selvedge doesn’t have anything printed on it and I don’t know fabric types well enough to say….  (Now I’ll be on a mission to find out the name of this fabric!)

I unfortunately cut the neckline a little too wide and lets call the sleeves “fitted” to put it nicely… but this was a great project to learn a few new techniques, like using facings on the neckline and sleeve openings, and shirring the waist instead of using elastic (like in the dress I was using as a template). I have never shirred before, but thanks to an awesome tutorial that I found by Pretty Ditty (here) I got it FIRST GO!

Very impressed with myself. Unfortunately I didn’t have any thread to match the material and was sewing this late at night so made do with the best I could find!! I have now got some dark blue thread so can use that to hem the dress tonight!

Actually after I made the dress and looked at it hanging up, it is a little similar in style to the April Rhodes Staple Dress that I talked about in my last post & want to make (properly, with a pattern – I’m sure it would turn out better!)

Ok, off to hem this dress and have a think about what next to sew… any ideas for sheer printed fabrics until my fabric.com order arrives?!!

 

 

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Fabric love

I’ve had to make a few tough choices in the last couple of days…. ie.. I put in an order each with Fabric.com and Hawthorne Threads, and had to choose fabric!! As we are in Tbilisi, Georgia, I had to limit the amount of fabric I chose as otherwise the cost of postage would have been more than the fabric itself!!

As I’m trying to challenge myself to some different sewing projects, I ordered some cotton voile, as well as a couple of knit fabrics, and the usual cottons for making a few baby items. I haven’t seen any of the gorgeous designer fabrics for sale over here in Georgia, I think they may get a lot of fabrics from Turkey, and honestly I don’t think that people here would pay the prices that fabrics are sold for in the USA/ Australia!

So after ordering some fabrics online and praying it arrives intact and in a very very fast manner, I sewed up some new strap covers for Bubba’s pram (as I only have fire engine or john deere fabric left in my stash at the moment!!)… then decided to head out to Lilo Market today. Lilo Market is the main / biggest marketplace here in Tbilisi, it is around 20-30 minutes drive, and has EVERYTHING you need. By everything, I mean it has a massive textiles section, clothing, kitchen/household goods, furniture, kids & baby goods, and hardware… Many of the textiles / fabric stalls have sheeting and curtain materials, but there are just as many, if not more stalls with every kind of cotton, lace, knit, voile, lawn & lining fabrics, plus more. And the best part about the market is that you can BARGAIN the price on the fabric. WHATTTT????? Bargain for fabric!? They also jack up the prices a bit when the shopowners realise you can’t speak Georgian, so I try and just speak in Georgian – so the conversation is basically:

Me: “Hello, how much?”

Shop owner: “7 Lari”

Me: “No, 5 Lari per metre”

Shop owner: “6 Lari”

Me: “Ok,ok ”

Thats all I have so was pretty impressed with myself for managing to bargain in Georgian!! 🙂

So I ‘only’ got 10m of fabric and paid around $3-4/m each. I got a few lovely fabrics which I think are a voile/lawn as they are a little sheer, a solid blue & white dot fabric which I am planning on making into the April Rhodes Staple Dress.

Fabric Stalls at Lilo Market in Tbilisi, Georgia

Fabric Stalls at Lilo Market in Tbilisi, Georgia

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Fabric stalls at Lilo Market, Tbilisi

There are about 6 times as many stalls as you see in these pictures above…

Fabrics from Lilo Market

Fabrics from Lilo Market

My next project is to find a printer to buy as we don’t have one yet, and therefore can’t download/print any patterns!! I have so many that I can’t wait to try, especially with these gorgeous prints I bought today – I think I’ll start a blouse top tonight by using one of mine as an outline, so stay posted!

Jac x

 

Another sewaholic starts a blog…

I’m very well aware from the amount of blogs, Facebook pages & groups, Pinterest pages, etsy shops and online fabric stores that I am not alone in my love of all things fabric, sewing and crocheting.

There are now so many fantastic sewing and crafting blogs, giving tutorials on everything from sewing a button on to a shirt, how to cut fabric properly, how to insert an invisible zipper, to how to construct a fully lined dress! I know because I have used all of the above and much much more over the past 2 years.

While I was waiting anxiously for my sewing machines to arrive 5 months ago, I even learned how to crochet from watching some video tutorials via some awesome crocheting blogs.

The purpose of my blog is to give myself motivation to finish projects (yes, self confessed UFO hoarder here…) and to keep myself from going crazy while living in a non-English speaking country with a 18 month old toddler! I currently have a babysitter come in 2 days a week to get some much needed sanity time …. And I have grand plans of that time now being used to tuck myself into a booth at the local coffee shop, download my pics and write about my sewing projects for that week!

I hope to bring some fun & interesting projects to this page to inspire others & will share all my favourite tutorials that have helped me so far through my sewing journey!

Jacki x