Saturday, 23 December 2017

A New Era in Sewing

2018 is going to be an exciting new era in my sewing adventure and I am SO excited!

I have partnered with Husqvarna Viking® and will be creating with the amazing Husqvarna Viking Designer Jade 35® sewing machine (check it out here).  As someone who has always used a vintage sewing machine, this is a whole new and exciting world of sewing! There is so much to learn with this machine, and I've only had it for a day, but it is SO easy to use.  Seriously, the buttons just make sense!   

I could rave endlessly about the features of this machine, but you can read about them for yourself on the Husqvarna Viking website 

Image from Husqvarna Viking
We all know my sewing space isn't this cool!

Naturally, the first thing I did with the machine (after a couple of straight lines of sewing...it does the most perfect "fix" stitch at the start and end AND cuts the threads with the touch of a button!!!) was stitch out my name.  I cannot stress how easy it was to program in my name and then just press the start button!   Done!

I'm not the only one who would do this, right?!

The Designer Jade 35 also does embroidery.  I've not yet explored that feature, but if the ease of the sewing machine is anything to go by it will be a breeze to use.  My mind is racing with all the dressmaking projects I can add embroidery to...the possibilities are endless.  And clothing with embroidery is so on trend right now that I'm feeling very cool!

So stay tuned for lots of exciting new projects and sewing inspiration!

Check out Husqvarna Viking Sewing Australia's Facebook page for the announcement and a giveaway (closing early Jan 2018).

Happy Sewing!

xox Allison

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Knit Fabric Wrap Dress

I was lucky enough to be asked to be a guest blogger for Brave Fabrics.  I selected a gorgeous knit from Art Gallery Fabrics Woodland collection from Brave Fabrics awesome range to make my own take on the CharliAnne Wrap Dress by Sew To Grow
Head over to Brave Fabrics to see my guest post and you can also purchase the fabric and pattern to make your own!

First, lets talk fabric.  This fabric is amazing!! It is SO soft and stretchy with the perfect amount of thickness and drape.  It is such high quality.  It washes beautifully and was a dream to sew with.  Honestly, I'm more of a woven fabrics girl but these knits by AGF could convert me!  It didn't stretch out of shape whilst sewing like some knits do, it was even easy to hem!  I use a vintage (1976) Bernina sewing machine, so I don't have a fancy walking foot or a lot of fancy stitch options.  However I didn't need them, this fabric was a dream to sew!

The pattern I used was the CharliAnne Wrap Dress which is a new pattern by Sew To Grow.  Full disclosure: I now have 3 of these dresses and have hacked 2 tops from the pattern.  I'm a bit obsessed!  I was originally going to make a different dress, but once I got the fabric I knew it had to be a wrap dress.
The CharliAnne Wrap Dress is a pattern for woven fabric.  I cut out my usual size, however made it knee length rather than the full length.  I used the darts in the skirt and bodice front as I didn't want my dress to be too clingy.  I did omit the darts from the back bodice.  To stop the dress stretching too much, I used a woven bias to finish the edges as per the instructions in the pattern.  This worked beautifully and as you can see, it lays really nicely. 
For reference (and to make it easy for you to order your fabric & pattern from Brave Fabrics) I made a size XS and used 2.25m of fabric.  If you are making a larger size you will need 2.5 - 3m of knit fabric.  For the bias just use some of your favourite woven fabric from your stash and make it per the instructions in the pattern.
I am SO happy with this dress and in love with the fabric.  I know it will be on high rotation for all seasons!

Happy Sewing!
xox Allison

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Bespoke Blazer Review / Pattern Test

Okay, so if you follow me on insta you know that my review of the Bespoke Blazer by Sew To Grow (released 25th Aug.  2017) can be summed up in two words...


I really do.  It's an easy make & such an amazing result for something that comes together so quickly. 

For those of us on team tall it was simple to make alterations.  I added 7cm to the sleeves and 5cm to all body pieces.  For reference, I made a size xs.

I love the burrito method for enclosing the side seam, it's an amazing sewing slight of hand trick!

I have already made 2 Bespoke Blazers and am about to make my 3rd!  I'll be starting a support/enabling group on insta using #bespokeblazer

As a Mama, jeans & a tee are my standard uniform for all seasons.  Adding a blazer elevates that look and makes me feel a little more put together.  It also gives me a chance to play with colour & pattern over my standard black on black or white on denim look.

I have tested most of the patterns by Lindsey at Sew To Grow and am going to go out on a limb and say it's her best pattern to date.  Can I say that without detracting from her other patterns?!  I hope so!

This is not a paid endorsement, I just really love this pattern!  It's beautiful and works for all of our diverse body types.

Hurry to buy your copy now, you can get a discount this weekend only!

Happy Sewing!

LOVE the curved hem!

Meeting the fab Lindsey from Sew To Grow,
both of us in our Bespoke Blazers!

Monday, 22 May 2017

How To Make a Reversible Dress

I have had lots of questions about the reversible dress I made for the #sewtallandcreative2017 challenge.

To make a dress reversible it needs to have no zippers or buttons.  For this dress I used the Sweet Summertime dress by Sew To Grow as it is a straight forward design with no closures.  I did make some modifications which you can read about here.

In fact, many of the Sew To Grow patterns would work as reversible garments as they are simple designs with no zippers or buttons etc.  I am now thinking that I need to make a Bondi Top or Noosa Shift Dress reversible!

Basically, to make a reversible dress (I'm using a dress as my example, but the same steps would apply to a top or skirt or loose pants)  you make 2 dresses in different fabrics. 

Here, you can see that I've got one dress made in a sheer silk, the other in a satin.  Using a sheer fabric is more challenging, particularly because you need to have really neat seam finishes.  In this dress I used French Seams so everything would be tidy.

To show off the underneath layer I put a split in the front of the silk layer.

Place the 2 dresses with wrong sides together. 

Finish the neckline and sleeves with bias.  If making a skirt or pants, you would use the waistband to sandwich the 2 layers together.
As you can see here, I made bias binding out the same fabric as the satin side of my dress.  Use the bias to sandwich the 2 pieces together. 

In this dress the 2 sides are only attached at the sleeves and neckline. 

When hemming the dress, make sure the hems are the same length for a tidy finish. 

It's just that simple to make a reversible dress (or any other garment!).  If you make yourself a reversible piece please send me a pic or tag me on Instagram (@the_tall_mama) because I'd love to see it!

Happy Sewing! xox

Saturday, 20 May 2017

The Big Reveal! #SewTallandCreative2017

Here it is!  My dress entry for the #SewTallandCreative2017 competition hosted by MARGE Clothing and Tall Guides.

Before we talk about the dress, I'd just like to say that I truly feel honoured to be selected to take part.  Yes, that sounds a bit like an Academy Awards speech, except that I really mean it.  Being part of this challenge tested my design and sewing skills.  It encouraged me to work with fabrics I wasn't as comfortable sewing and to make and design a dress which made the most of the quantity of fabric provided.  Although I had periods of indecision, worry and second guessing myself on the whole I loved the entire experience.  More importantly I LOVE my dress!  I love the weight of the fabrics, I love the way it swishes when I walk (you can't help but add a little swagger!!) and I love how I feel wearing it.  And isn't that what Tall Guides and MARGE is all about?  Feeling confident and beautiful in our tall bodies?!

So without further ado, here is my dress!  The challenge required we use 2 fabrics generously gifted by MARGE.  All MARGE fabrics are ethically made in Europe & USA.  To make the most of the divine fabrics I made my dress reversible.  Two dresses in one!  The dress pulls on over my head and doesn't have a zip or buttons.  I based my design on the Sweet Summertime Dress by Sew To Grow.  I've made this dress before, so knew the bodice fit.  I did modify the skirt of the dress by making it fuller and longer and making the front pleats bigger.  I added pleats to the back of the skirt for extra fullness & swish.  I made the hem of the skirt longer in the back so you could see the underneath fabric better, this also gives more swish when you walk.  With the gorgeous drape of these fabrics, I was all about the swish factor!   

I love the how you can see the silk layer underneath as the dress moves!
Please ignore the patch on my arm; it's for pain medication.

As I move the silk shows at the hem which adds such a pretty detail.

The weight of these fabrics make the dress SO swishy!
Just look at the movement in that skirt & the way the satin shines!


Due to fabric restrictions I had to put a seam in the back of the silk layer,
but the movement wasn't effected.

Just look at that movement!
I'm so pleased I opened the front of the silk layer to show the gorgeous satin underneath.

I added a little tie belt to tie in (pun only a little bit intended)
the satin trim around the neck & sleeves.

I love the way this dress hangs and feels!


So there it is!  My entry for #SewTallandCreative2017 
I'm very proud of it!

Please check out the other fabulous ladies: 
Beth at www.sewdiy.com
Janet at www.diywardrobe.co.uk
Tiffany at www.prettytallsewnsew.com

Thank you for following my progress in this challenge!  xox Allison

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

#SewTallAndCreative2017 Sewing Process

This challenge is really speeding along!

I am about half way into making my dress for #SewTallAndCreative2017 hosted by MARGE and Tall Guides. 

I am making my dress out of the gorgeous dotty silk over the peach satin.  In my last post I was still tossing around design ideas but I really love the 2 fabrics together.  My design is still changing and evolving as I sew, which is such a fun part of the creative process. 

Typically I would advise someone to make a muslin of their design (a mock up in cheap fabric), which I haven't done in this case.  We don't always follow our own good advice, do we?!  However, by working with the fabrics as I go I feel a little more free to make changes based on how they hang on my body.

Thus far, I have used French Seams in the satin to give a beautiful finish.  For those who don't sew (yet!) they are essentially seams which double over on themselves. They're twice as much work but well worth it! I am finding sewing the silk (dotty fabric) a massive challenge. Working with this fabric is far out of my comfort zone and really testing my sewing skills. It's great that this competition is really stretching both my creativity and skill, I just hope it doesn't turn out to be a hot mess!

The bodice of my dress is very simple.  It's based on a pattern I've used a couple of times before (see here) so I know I don't need to make major changes as I don't have a large bust or very long torso...all my extra length is from the waist down!

For the skirt of my dress I've gone with as much fullness as the fabric I had on hand would allow.  I'm still tossing around ideas of how I'll really show off the beautiful satin underneath the silk layer.  I am not usually an indecisive person AT ALL but there are just so many options I'm not sure which is the best to go with!

The final reveal of my dress will be 20th May, so stay tuned!

Check out the progress of the other fabulous ladies who are participating:

Beth at www.sewdiy.com
Janet at www.diywardrobe.co.uk
Tiffany at www.prettytallsewnsew.com

Happy sewing & wish me luck!
The silk is just gorgeous over the peach satin. 
I'm being careful & using lots of pins, something I rarely do!
These strips will be ironed into bias binding, which may be used around the neckline.
Talk about cutting it close!!  I had only a tiny handful of scraps left after cutting the silk. 
There is NO room for error here people!!

Sunday, 30 April 2017

#SewTallAndCreative2017 Concept/Initial Design Process

After so much back and forth it was getting ridiculous, I have selected 2 fabrics.  The peach satin & the sheer pink silk. 

My design process changes as I sew, as things do or do not work out as I see them in my head.  My design is a work in progress!  On IG I said I would spare you anymore of my stick figures...but as that is the extent of my design drawing ability, here's another on! (Forgive me!!!). 

I will post updates on IG as the construction gets underway and I either continue with this style or modify it.  Or worst case, have to go with plan B which uses the divine printed lace with the peach fabric (which I'll no doubt end up making anyway, because the fabric is too beautiful to sit on the shelf!).

Happy Sewing! 

I hope there's a prize for design drawings, because this is clearly a winner!!! 

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

#SewTallAndCreative2017 Inspiration & Intention

I find inspiration in many places; from RTW (ready to wear) clothing I see online & in stores, from the fabulous & fashionable I follow on IG (I'm sure that includes you!) to the gorgeous vintage patterns that I hoard collect, my favourites being the 1950's & 60's.

Inspiration can also come from gorgeous fabrics.  You can look at and fondle (I know that sounds a bit creepy but anyone who sews gets it!) fabric and envisage the garment it could become.

When I received the box of gorgeous fabrics from MARGE my mind went into overdrive.  My original thoughts for a design went out the window as they didn't lend themselves to the soft drapey goodness of these fabrics.  Also, part of the challenge is to use 2 different fabrics which adds another creative element to my typically basic style. 

Although I've not yet settled on a design, I know I will stick to elements that are consistent with my personal style and flatter my shape, such as a full or A line skirt at or below the knee, defined waist and fitted bodice.  That leaves things pretty wide open, doesn't it?!  Yep...hence my challenge! 

Here are a few style ideas I have been bouncing around (images from Google Images):

Love the lace sleeves here!

Love the sleeves & skirt fullness!

Love the sheer top and defined waist!

This dress just looks like it would
swish when you walk!
Love, love, love! Just need to
figure out how to make it!

Hmmm...there is a pretty common theme there!! 

I will update you with my design ideas when I figure out how to best incorporate 2 gorgeous fabrics. 

Please feel free to make any suggestions, all helpful ideas welcome!

Monday, 20 March 2017

MARGE / Tall Guides Design Challenge #SewTallAndCreative2017

I am equal parts excited and terrified to be participating in the MARGE and Tall Guides design challenge.

The challenge is to make a Spring / Summer dress using 2 fabrics generously gifted by MARGE clothing.  Having been the lucky beneficiary of MARGE fabrics before, I knew I couldn't resist the opportunity to sew with their stunning ethically made fabrics.  Who could?! 

I thought I'd try something a little different and introduce myself and my super high tech & glam sewing space (otherwise known as my kitchen table & 40 year old sewing machine!) with a little video:

Please check out the other fabulous participants in this challenge.  All of whom I'm trying to put out of my mind because I'm intimidated by their awesomeness!

Beth at www.sewdiy.com
Janet at www.diywardrobe.co.uk
Tiffany at www.prettytallsewnsew.com

I will update you on the challenge as it unfolds, so be sure to check back!  The winner will be announced 20th of May (*big gulp* that's sooner than you think my lovelies!!).

Wish me luck!

Thursday, 19 January 2017

First Make of 2017! B6333

Happy New Year!

Despite the busy past couple of months (turning 40, best friend visiting from New York, Christmas, school holidays etc) I did manage to squeeze in some sewing.

My first make of the year is Butterick 6333, a classic shirt dress.

Overall experience:

The pattern says that it's easy, and it is.  Maybe not for a beginner, but an easy sew for those with some experience and a good way to learn new skills (collar and buttons) for newbies.

My adjustments:

I added 23 cm (9 inches) to the skirt length as I wanted it to hit below the knee.  Based on my measurements I added 1.5cm to the bodice length, however had to remove it.  Then I entered a sizing parallel universe...I cut out the size which corresponded with my measurements but it was huge!  I ended up taking out about 5cm (2 inches) on either side and bringing in the shoulders 2cm (almost an inch) as they hung off my reasonably average shoulders. 

Does this happen to anyone else?  You cut out your size based on the pattern measurements, but then it's huge?  Oh well, better too big than too small I guess!

Fabric used:

I used a gifted cotton lawn.  The fabric is very lightweight so I lined the front of the bodice (not in the instructions).  I possibly would have lined the skirt, but ran out of lining fabric!  After having worn it, I think it's fine without lining.

Would I make it again?:

Yes.  I love the timeless classic style and it has pockets (which, as you know, I add to just about everything but it was nice they were part of the design!).  Despite all the adjustments I had to make it was worth it and will be much smoother sewing next time. 

Happy Sewing!!