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SeaSprite


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Member Since: 04/26/2011


recent comments

Re: Tangerine Tango

This tangerine/orange colour looks fantastic on the spreading tropical Flame tree and on another flowering vine from the tropics.

I'd have to carefully examine and photograph the Flame tree flowers, bark and leaves and colour combinations and go with the tangerine colour as an accent rather than the dominant feature.

Examples: green of leaves dominant colour, brown of bark as accent, oranges as accent, any reds or yellows in dominant red and accent yellow.

I have found nature supplies fantastic colour combinations that fashion would at times dispute.

My next question is... do I really want to look like a Flame tree??


Re: "Baby, it's cold outside"

In the Southern Hemisphere my new winter coat is tucked away as the summer heat is turning up the temperatures.
In May this year I completed making a new coat for the June visit from the cool subtropics to NZ's winter chill.

The coat pattern was McCall's unlined scarf coat M5987. It is an easy pattern to work with and I was delighted with the chosen fabric. I made a few changes along the way and then had to nut out the construction for the changes!

The fabric was dark chocolate brown Melton Wool. I chose to add a lining to the coat as I do not like prickly fabric near skin. I chose a contrasting cerise (cherry) lining to lift the darkness of the chocolate.
A full bust adjustment had to be done and for warmth sake, another 30cm length was added to the coat, making it ankle length.
The seam edges for the scarf and coat front were all top stitched (my change).

The coat fitted beautifully and I had a number of comments on how nice it was. It was like being wrapped in a warm blanket. The coat is quite heavy.
The lining on the under-side of the scarves made the scarf ties slip and they would not stay in place! Shall have to do something to keep in position.

Best thing? The price! Melton fabric was on clearance sale at $4 per metre because of its colour.
What I missed most? the overlocker to finish the seams!

Happy sewing for your winter coats!


Re: Victorian costume

Elegantly beautiful...
Would love to see the rest of the outfit together with the hat, gloves, etc!

Re: New Fall 2010 Patterns By Butterick

Of all the new patterns I have seen lately, Butterick has come up with the winner! Pattern... B5696.

It has all the grace and style of a Lady that is missing in so many modern styles.
But then I am biased! I love the mid to late Victorian and early Edwardian styles of dress.

If I was 2,000km closer to the nearest pattern shop, this one would be in my hands Right Now!! Oh, I forgot... the new patterns don't reach the southern hemisphere for another 3-6 months... I still have a chance!

Re: Chic Designer Patterns

Love the detail in v1230 by Badgley Mischka.
This is classy the way the bodice is detailed and the rest is simplicity understated.
I think it is the nicest of the whole group here.

Re: What's in Vogue

Donna Karan's coat: Love the wide collar effect... extra warmth around the shoulders. Be great as a double breasted coat.

Rebecca Taylor: This one has some WOW factor to it! Wow... what a lot of fiddly work in those pleats and frills!! I do like the top and its soft, light fabric. It could be lengthened and make quite a nice casual dress. Or in its designed length and teamed with a soft flowing skirt of the same fabric. Hmmm I think I have the perfect piece of fabric for it as a skirt and top!

Sandra Betzina: This could be quite some fun to play with in colour, plaid and texture mixing, because of the available detail in it. A good princess line base to work with. I'd probably not make the shirts with shirring in the seams... would add extra bulk.

Katherine Tilton: This has great practical and stylish potential as "un grand sac". It would be perfect made into a heavy duty, weather proof long coat with large, fleece lined, heated pockets; for a winter lambing coat to carry cold miss-mothered lambs out of the paddock!

Anne Klein: Has great potential but needs a bit of imagination added for colour and trim.
Marcy Tilton: DKNY: have potential, but it dont speak to me.

The pictures all look better when viewed from the Vogue online catalogue that also shows the design lines!

Re: My Wedding dress!

Isn't it a great feeling wearing a wedding gown you made yourself! And knowing it is what you really wanted and there is not another like it...
Creating the dress yourself gives it more sentimental value as it has precious memories attached that otherwise would not be there.

Congratulations on a beautiful gown and for your wedding. May your marriage be a long and happy one!

Re: Coffe and tea dye for a second chance.....

I love the soft flowing lines of the garment and how the colour is subtly darker towards the hem.
Te dress is beautiful either colour, but the coffee has given it a soft warmth that really sets it apart from white.
Congratulations on such a beautiful creation.

My attempts at dying with coffee and tea were not so successful!!

Re: Awards Dinner Dress

Very lovely dress variation! It is a real credit to you.
I love the shades of colour you used. Very subtle blend.

Re: Making a wedding dress

To BJameson: Congratulations of a beautiful gown and your recent marriage!

To Geeze:
I made my own wedding dress in heavy bridal satin under the guidance of a wonderful dressmaking teacher.

The muslin is a MUST! If you get that right, the dress will be right.
If the muslin goes wrong... well, just start again with no tears! I had 20m of cotton for the muslin but only 10m of satin for the dress with no more available as it was the end of the roll.

All the pattern fit and design alterations were made at the muslin stage. We cut the muslin out using the pattern as it was. The fit alterations were made in the muslin then the pattern was altered to make the same changes as we went.

I used thread 'tailor tacking' for any markings. Later for stud positioning, I used a pale blue washaway marker specially made for sewing. Try not to get the fabric wet as it will show as water marks.

One REALLY IMPORTANT thing with satin is making sure the fabric "nap" all runs the same direction.
If not... you will get darker and lighter shades of colour showing as the light hits the fabric threads lying at different angles.

On my teacher's advice, I used a 90 needle. She told me to use a large needle for sewing satin to avoid the puckering frequently seen with satin and fine fabrics.
Her tip was that the large needle makes a larger hole which allows the tread to slip through effortlessly, instead of being pulled through under friction in a smaller hole.
The seams were beautiful. There was nothing to show a large needle had been used.

"Wriggle room" or ease that was required for my dress was 6cm at the bust and 8cm at the waist. My dress bodice was princess line, close fitting to the waist. I would not have wanted it any tighter. The pattern design will have a lot of influence on how much ease there is.

With pinning... I used new glass head pins and had to have the pins in place along the seam line. None came in from the side.
Pinning along the seamline actually made it much easier when sewing, particularly on curves. You just have to have the pins in the right way round... sharp end to the machine needle!!

Length of time to make the wedding dress: 11 weeks. Started 2 weeks before our engagement and completed the day before the wedding!


All the best and hope this helps you with sewing satin. I loved the fabric I used, and no, it did not try slipping away. It was a real delight to work with.

Bonne Chance!

Re: Color Coordination

I dont consider colours as being "in" or "out", provided they suit me. If the colour doesnt suit, (ie: yellow based colours), then it is definately "out" regardless of fashion trends.
I tend to stick to the clear blue-based Winter colours that suit me best. The darker colours are very stunning: royal blue, cobalt, teal, blue based reds, emerald and blue based greens, black, greys, ivory, white, an occasional pastel, darker purples and bright fushia pink.

It is nice to know Deep Teal is "in" again this season... as there is 6m of deep teal Shantung in the stash!

Generally my reasoning is... Unless the current colours and fabrics grab me as a wow! MUST HAVE NOW!...
Why pay full price for perfectly good fabric just because it is "in", if you can get the same fabric for so much less when it goes "out"??
It is still perfectly good fabric.
Like the dark chocolate brown Melton wool... when "in fashion" it was nearly $40 a metre. "Out" of colour fashion it dropped to $4 p/m on clearance; the Shantungs dropped to 50c a metre!
This may be "out" of step with colour fashion, but it is very exciting shopping! You can still look stunning in your colours.

Regrets? None. It is so much fun finding "my colour" specials!

Re: Summer Sewing

To Horse4Hmom... regarding the Vogue 1241 and full bust...
looking at the sketch that comes up if you click on the pattern number under the picture, and scroll down... the dress is basically a princess seamed front. The alterations would be those for the princess seam.

Im no expert, still wearing the "Learner" plates! But I have successfully done a full bust alteration to a loose fit winter coat, have altered three other patterns and done a "D cup" alteration for a shoulder princess line, and would be game to tackle V1241 as well.

The principle is the same.
Basically: You would need to put extra depth into the side panels and extra length into the front panels over the bust; which just happen to cross over... The fancy bit at the top isnt touched. Unless... you wish to deepen the pleats for extra room in the high bust area.
Also with it being close fitting I'd probably choose to go one size larger than normal, but I could be wrong there. I just dont like clothes skin tight and cant move!

Threads Fit DVDs are excellent tutors and the Palmer and Pletsch "Fit for Real People" book is excllent help as well. The hardest part is getting your mind around the techniques!

I'd make a tracing of the original pattern pieces and use the tracing to chop up and alter and if I get it wrong... do another tracing and try again! Keep using tissue paper rather than fabric till you get the "tissue fit" close to right!
It is only in the "doing" that you get the hang of the alterations!
Im looking forward to wearing the "P" plate for Proficient!

I'd encourage you to... give it a go!!

This is one of those pattern that would be fantastic to have in multi sized cups! It is rather sweet.

Re: What Makes a Sewing Space Great?

I'd like to see some very compact space ideas as well as some "what dreams are made of" huge sewing work rooms.

I'd really like to know how to make successful "sewing room" in impossibly small shared places like:
A tiny 24 foot caravan (trailer home): -0 space available
A 45 foot ocean going yacht: 0 space allocated
A 20ft shipping container: I have 1/4 available for my sewing and computer work.

Im looking forward to the day I finally
A. Get all my sewing equipment together in one country and one place!
B. Have my own sewing space with not a Ham radio or model aeroplane in sight!
C. Have the storage space for fabric, patterns, taylor's hams, sewing bits and pieces, laces, fabric cutting boards, heirloom sewing lace-shaping boards, rotary blade cutting mats etc.
D. Have room for a cutting table, a full sized ironing board, the overlocker and sewing machine permanently set up.
E. Have the required mirrors set where they are most useful.
F. Have all the power points necessary without having to unplug (or change international converter plugs) part way through, just to press or sew what Im working on.
G. Where the kitchen gear is in the kitchen and not taking all the shelf space for my sewing stuff!!
H. Space enough for a bookcase for the many sewing books.
I. When my sewing equipment no longer vanishes on husband's boat building expeditions... french curves, pencils, newspaper roll, small seam clipping scissors...

Re: Creating Perfect Bias Fabric Loops

Thank you very much for sharing this well presented tutorial.
I enjoy your articles and appreciate the beautiful workmanship that you are showing us how to achieve in our own sewing.

The end product is very beautiful and the fancy buttons just finish it off nicely.I love the choice of ivory, sheen and sparkly buttons.

Re: New Sewing Machines by Husqvarna Viking

Mmmm... the sewing machines dreams are made of!!

I have the Husqvarna Lilly 550 that is over 11 years old. It may have been superseded a while ago, but I love it and the way it still performs.

I can only dream of owning a new Husqvarna Viking at the moment, but I would not change the Husqvarna for any other brand sewing machine on the market!

Re: How I Became "Copperwoman"

Very clever and congratulations on getting first prize on your creation!
It is wonderful hearing how you recycled and gave new life to discardable objects in such a unique way!

keep up the creative work...

Re: What's your worst sewing disaster? How did you resolve it?

It seems Murphy's Law targets projects according to their cost and importance!

I had a near disaster when making my Victorian inspired wedding gown.
I had 10m of heavy bridal satin fabric that was the end of the roll in a champagne ivory. The gown took 8.5m and could not be recut or replaced. The front was princess line reaching from shoulder to floor. The bodice had narrow off the shoulder straps with the low cut bodice front filled in with sheer organza and lace motifs that ended in a lace collar at the neck.

While overlocking the edges along the bodice towards the shoulder... the narrow shoulder section turned back and went under the knife before I realized what happened. I could have cried!
The cut was the depth of the seam allowance and I had to carefully hand stitch the fabric together again. Luckily the seam and lining took care of the mistake and you had to look carefully to find the end of the cut peeping out of the seam. If it had been more noticeable, lace and beading would have been arranged to cover the spot.

Lesson learned??
Don't become relaxed or complacent when overlocking! Keep track of all the garment edges so you only run through the overlocker the egdes you want overlocked and trimmed!

Re: What's your dream sewing project?

Current project is more practical to make a wardrobe of clothing that fits nicely, so I have something decent to wear.

The "Dream" sewing expedition entails gathering together my scattered stash of collected illustrations and pictures and pattern sketches, photocopies from old books and magazines and history fashion books and history bridal books, on making clothing, especially bridal gowns that were worn back in 1860s to 1910. The fashions were so feminine back then.

Knowing how to draft the patterns to full size is part of the challenge!
With all the resources and time in the world to immerse myself in all the fine pintucking, pleating, bustles, lace, the fine French Heirloom sewing, organzas and silks...
I can only dream of it becoming a reality!

But dreams are free!!

Re: Book Giveaway: "Threads Sewing Guide"

Several ladies in the far north of New Caledonia, who have not had the opportunity of learning, have asked me to teach them how to sew. One had never seen a garment under construction or a pattern instruction sheet before and had so many questions.

The book would be a great reference resource to use when teaching the ladies the beginning steps of sewing and developing their ability from there. The book would make teaching easier... as I still have much to learn!

Re: YOUR Sewing Machine Buying Advice

Advice I'd give to a new comer on buying a sewing machine, from my own experience with purchasing 4 machines.

Do your homework first and dont buy the first machine you see.
Try the demo machines if you are able to at the dealer's. This will give you a feel for the machine and how it sounds. If you dont like the sound of the machine, dont get it! You will be spending hours with that sound.

Keep the price range within it being bought debt free. This can be either cash or maybe even Lay By (lay away) over several months.

Purchase a machine that you can grow into.
Preferably a mid range machine, but the best you can afford in that range.
A straight / zigzag with a couple fancy stitches is fine for an absolute beginner, but if you start to get serious about your sewing, it will be quickly out grown.
But, at the same time dont buy a machine that is so far advanced that it will intimidate you... ie. the top of the range embroidery with all the bells and whistles and computer jazz.
Save up for that one at a later date!

Don't hesitate to purchase the "Demo" model of the machine you like that is in your budget range. Being a demo and having been used, you may find the price reduced.

Dont be afraid of purchasing second hand.
The machine still has a lot of life left in it if it is not a computerised one.
Be a bit more cautious with the computerised machines second hand. They can still be great machines, but are the computer boards still replaceable? Are the parts available? How much will it cost to replace the board if it breaks down? Find out the history of the machine, its age, was it top of its range in its day?

Where was the machine manufactured?
Does the machine still have its manuals?

My first sewing machine was a little Husqvarna Optima 120, second hand for $200. Straight and zigzag and a couple fancy stitches. I still have it and all its bits 36 yrs later. It still works well. It was made in Sweden. Great workmanship!

My second machine was a second hand Husky lock, probably mid range but not the top of its class. I dont know how old it is, but it has been a fantastic machine and I still have it, 14yrs later, not willing to part with it. Purchased for $350. Made in Sweden and great workmanship.

My third machine was also second hand. At $400, about 10years old, the top of its range in its day. A Husqvarna Prisma; my introduction to computerised machines. Its feet and the Optima's were inter changeable which was really great.
My sewing advanced quickly at this stage to the point I quickly out grew it and the machine's computer board broke down at the same time! It was going to cost about the same to replace the board as what I paid for the machine...

I was taking creative sewing classes and in the process of making a French Heirloom Christening gown which was technically beyond the Optima. I had to find a machine that I could keep growing into.
In class there were mostly Pffaf embroidery machines as well as Bernina and a couple Elna. Some purred others sounded like noisy old chaff cutters! I loved my quiet Husvarna machines and went looking for another Husqvarna.

I was shown the top of the quilting range and the beginning of the embroidery range machines. I'd have loved to have had the embroidery machine but it was out of my budget.

I tried the top of the quilting range computerised Lily 550 demo machine that was for sale and loved it. It handled well, purred, had more menus, stitches, buttonholes and letters than I'd use immediately which would allow me to grow into it. It had the stitches I needed for Heirloom sewing. Its $1,800 price tag was reduced from over $2,000 and I could put it on layby and pay it off over three months. It was made in Sweden. It came with a free lesson.

I loved using the machine from the day I took it home.
Eleven years later, I have not out grown the machine and it is still purring along as happily as when I first bought it.
The Lilly 550 has sewn the heirloom Christening gown, embroidered blankets, quillos, quilt covers, heavy velvet upholstery fabrics and piping, fine organza, laces and bridal satin in the wedding gown, curtain materials, wool, silks, you name it. It has also travelled extensively within Australia, to New Zealand and accompanied me this year to New Caledonia.

If I had to replace the Lilly... you guessed it... it would be another Husqvarna/ Viking, possibly from the embroidery range, but I'd have to save up for that!!




Re: 3 Maternity Dresses for Daughter

Lucky daughter to have a creative mother!
Congratulations and have great fun sewing for the little mum and new baby. All the best!

Re: Summer Dress Patterns

How important is cup sized patterns to sewing for me?

They have been the difference between totally giving up on making my own clothing and gaining the confidence to start again! Im glad to hear Butterick is also making the multi cup size patterns. They are fantastic!

I have a growing collection of the cup sized patterns in different styles of bodices so I can have size references when it comes to adjusting the design (dart and princess variations)as needed for other patterns not available outside the B cup.
I just wish that more patterns would give adjustment markings on the patterns like the McCalls M6076 Palmer and Pletsch classic fit shirt pattern in 3 styles of princess line. It also includes step by step adjustment instructions. I will be keeping this pattern uncut as a Master reference for working on other patterns and tracing off for garment construction.

In my 20s I used to be the 12B figure, but then with the 30s and 40s, the bra expanded to a D and figure changed to where I was neither one size or the other but 3! But my dressmaking knowlege on how to make the changes didnt expand to fit! Very discouraging.
The cheapest poplin trials just didnt work... they either fell of the shoulders to fit the bust or were too tight around the bust or plain just didnt fit anywhere. Ten years passed before making another garment.

In 2008 I made my wedding dress under the expert tuition of a dressmaking tutor and it fit perfectly, but I didnt learn the all important full bust adjustment.
Later I had to rely on the two princess line patterns adjusted to fit in class to try and work out if another pattern would fit. Fear still ruled the scissors when it came to cutting good fabric.

The Simplicity 2648 Amazing fit pattern with A to D cups was the first successful sewing I did on my own. I used the 16D size and the dress was cut out in poplin and fit nicely across the back, though still a little tight across the bust. The real dress will be cut out of cotton sateen with a bit of stretch and using the 18D front. Im pretty sure it will fit properly.

The coat Im finishing was slow to get started as it also had to be adjusted. Even though it is a very loose fit pattern and the muslin was cut larger than measurements indicate(18), it was still over an inch short of the centre front and needed full bust adjustment.
The Threads bust fit DVD and the Palmer and Pletsch fit book were watched and read many times before hesitantly I made the adjustments to the front only. Im pleased to say the coat fits nicely front and back!

This is a real encouragement to go on to another pattern and construct another garment. The D cup size patterns are a real boost towards confident sewing.


Re: What will you be sewing this summer?

Since the southern hemisphere is heading into winter...
McCalls M5987 loose scarf coat: adjusted for full bust, lengthened and fully lined. It has to be ready to wear to NZ in a week's time. Shall post pictures later.

Cut out and waiting to sew are: New Look 6601 dress and Simplicity 3880 pants in striped linen.
Waiting for cut out is Vogue V1132 in trial fabric after full bust adjustment, and A-D cup Simplicity dress and blouse patterns.
Awating full bust adjustment: M5006, V8353, and a dozen other beautiful patterns. Let's just say a whole new wardrobe!

Also waiting for attention is a double bed sheet needing an extra 40cm width to be sewn into the centre so it will fit the bed and curtains that are held off the floor by pins that need hemming...

Re: A New Improved Seam Roll

Great idea... and the covered railing is narrow enough and short enough to work on an ironing board too!

I have had to make do and struggle with a tailor's ham and a rolled pair of thick wool socks on the ironing board to press the latest seams. The fully lined wool coat is almost completed.
The covered rail would have been wonderful for the long straight seams. The taylor's ham and socks took care of pressing the curved sleeve seams.
Hmmm... I wonder how we can make a curved seam roll for sleeves??

A pressing table sounds ideal! The hanging rings are a great storage idea too.
I hope you get a lot of enjoyment out of using them...

Re: Fashionably royal patterns

It is so nice to see the "full" wedding gown coming back again.
So much is lost with the strapless wedding dress styles: all the detail and variations that can be played with in neckline and sleeves.

Kate's dress gave the illusion of a plunging neckline, but remained demurely modest and I love the lace effect of the bodice and sleeves. It really suited her.

Congratulations on her marriage and choice of gown.

Re: Ladybugs...

I'm impressed!
I love the way the red is an accent to black and white, and the ladybug is just too cute!!

Re: What fabric do you love to sew with most?

Only ONE fabric??

It would have to be silk fabric.
I love the feel of silk and how it can be very light and fine or quite heavy depending on the way it was woven. I love silk's sheen, the way the fabric's brilliant clear colours dance with the light and how silk is cool in summer and warm in winter. I love the feel of my Thai silk skirts and the different weights the fabrics were woven into. They always look smart and are easy to care for... a delicate wash and spin and hang out to dry. Little ironing required. I do have to be careful the patterned weave doesn't get caught on rough surfaces though.

I have worked with Dupion silk fabric doing silk ribbon embroidery and the finished projects are so beautiful. Friends asked me to make them Dupion silk ring cushions with silk ribbon embroidery and beading for their weddings when they saw the "hope chest" wedding cushion I'd made. The fabric's crispness made pleating very easy. It was easy to handle and did not slip or run away. Dupion Silk worked well with the embroidery hoop and also pressed nicely.

Silk's down side would be the way it can crush or go limp with handling, how it shows watermarks and spots and not all silk is non-drycleanable.
It is still a fantastic fabric though.

Re: Australian Woolgrowers Dress Prince William

No need to worry about Merino sheep being treated humanely in Australia... inspite of bad press certain unfair activists unfortunately enjoy creating.

From what I have seen from several farmstays on working sheep and cattle stations in outback Australia, and knowing some sheep running farmers, the animals are well cared for. The farmer's livelihood depends on that.

The outback is a tough place to survive with its droughts, floods, fires, hungry crows, blowflies, dingoes, wild pigs, high temperatures during the day and chilly nights. It is a harsh environment, sometimes demanding 10 acres or more be allocated per sheep. I have done the daily rounds of the water troughs and dams, wading thigh deep into mud to rescue bogged sheep before the crows got to them.
As harsh as it seems to someone who grew up with timber, sheep farmers would sooner put an animal down than see it suffer.
The Merino is an amazingly hardy sheep breed with a beautiful fine crimped wool and their toughest environmental conditions produce an even finer fibre wool. The finest wool is highly prized, so that means you do what you can to protect your sheep for as long as possible.
Both the Merino and their farmers hold my admiration and sympathy.
Another Australian in the group.

Re: Silk 1882 ballgown

Fantastic and such a priceless gown!! Congratulations on making such a beautiful period gown.
I love the style of dresses from the 1800s to 1900s and your creation is what I long dreamed of wearing as a wedding gown...
I shall have to look up your previous posts!
Keep up the fantastic work!!