Saturday, 18 November 2017

Vogue 1250 DKNY Teal Burnout Velvet Dress

Yes its another Donna Karan Vogue 1250 dress - number four.  In my defence I bought the fabric to be something else entirely but it really wanted to be this dress.  The drape of the fabric just so suited the cowl neck and overall look of V1250.  I do have a bit of the fabric left over so maybe it can become the top it was meant to be, albeit a slightly different incarnation paired with a black rayon knit.

The sad thing is that one of my colleagues has started to recognise this dress pattern, so perhaps four in my life is enough.  Or maybe I should think about altering the pattern for long sleeves or side seams and a more A-line skirt or.....  Definitely something to think about as I do really love V1250.

The finished garment

Fabulous, as expected. I made and wore this when the weather was cooler with my knee high boots but it works really well for the milder spring weather too. This dress looks pretty good photographed in front of the azalea bush on a lovely spring day.

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 1250 DKNY Teal Burnout Velvet DressCreates Sew Slow: Vogue 1250 DKNY Teal Burnout Velvet Dress

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 1250 DKNY Teal Burnout Velvet Dress

The fabric

This is a "soft stretchy burnout velvet in teal, 60% polyester, 30% nylon, 10% spandex. 60" wide, 4.4oz per square yard" from Stonemountain and Daughter which is still available on their website.  They also have it in a burgundy colour.

Creates Sew Slow: Teal stretchy burnout velvet

The fabric cut edge rolls quite a bit and being a polyester isn't that keen to maintain a sharp crease (or any kind of crease) which made hemming fun.  It also leaves tiny fibres behind when you cut it so you get sparkly jewels on your dining table (aka the cutting table). Other than that the fabric was a pleasure to sew.

The pattern

A very brief and to to point description - a close fitting dress which doesn't detract from its marvelousness.  Even if it is recognised as "that" dress I won't stop making it. If the right fabric comes along there will be more versions of V1250 in my wardrobe.

Creates Sew Slow: DKNY Vogue 1250Creates Sew Slow: DKNY Vogue 1250

The pattern alterations

This pattern is a true TNT for me.  The alterations are incorporated into my tracing of the pattern (forward shoulder, sway back, raised armhole, deeper cowl).  My original post for this dress contains more detail about how I altered the pattern.  I also altered my pattern this time to have 3/8 inch seam allowances as I prefer it to the more traditional 5/8 inch seam allowance, especially when using the overlocker.  I think this version sewed together the best of all due to these 3/8" seam allowances.

The sewing

Swiftly sewn up on the overlocker.  I do get a nicer hip dart if I mark my seam allowance using the French curve. I just find that I guide the overlocker in a more graceful curve and the end of the dart doesn't bubble.  The post for the third version of this dress shows how I do the armhole hem.

Outfit of the day

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 1250 DKNY Teal Burnout Velvet Dress

So here it is as worn in the cooler weather with my Sable and Minx 70% wool and 30% cashmere bright pink cardigan with Mi Piaci Jordan over the knee boots

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 1250 DKNY Teal Burnout Velvet Dress

For the warmer spring weather it is paired with my self made Donna Karan V2494 waist length brown jacket and the often worn Mi Piaci Martha ankle boots.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Creative Construction Quilt Symposium 2017 Sheena Norquay Shining Circles Class

In early October it was the NZ national quilting symposium "Creative Construction" here in Christchurch. So as I can make the effort to travel to the Houston International Quilt Festival every two years I felt I needed to make the effort to attend the event in my own back yard.

These days I am interested in classes that teach me techniques that can be translated into other creative adventures rather than a straight forward patchwork and quilting class.

For Creative Construction I chose a class with Scottish tutor Sheena Norquay.  This was an excellent class with a wonderful giving tutor. Sheena made sure that we all received as much attention as we needed and that we had enough information to finish our piece at home.  For me the intention was to play in the moment. I have no intention of finishing this piece although I may play around with some more free machine quilting on the painted circles so my samples demonstrate the techniques a bit more thoroughly.


The tutor

According to Sheena's profile on The Quilters' Guild of the British Isles members page she became interested in patchwork in the 1970's and started to quilt by hand and machine in the early 1980's. After being a Primary School teacher for 30 years I gave it up in 2006 and am now a freelance quilting teacher. I also make work for exhibitions and have won numerous awards since the mid 1980's.  My work is varied in subject, style and technique ranging from decorative, symmetrical pieces to landscapes and seascapes. I am inspired mainly by nature and love playing with pattern and free motion quilting.

Creates Sew Slow: Pearls are not always White Sheena Norquay 2009
Pearls are not always White 2009
62 x 103 cm
© Sheena Norquay
Creates Sew Slow: Out of the Blue Sheena Norquay 2008
Out of the Blue 2008
62 x 103 cm
© Sheena Norquay

The class

Shining Circles is a one-day surface design class for intermediate to advanced quilters. This workshop is described as exploring stencilling circles and printing with circles and rings using one or more colours of metallic fabric paint and then free machine quilting using metallic threads.  Different layouts of designs will be shown and discussed.  Students can decide to do a square cushion cover / side of a bag or a long, skinny wall hanging.  Circles, rings and sticky backed Fablon will be provided for printing and stencilling, but you can bring anything circular if you wish.  Free machine stitch techniques taught will include embroidered trapunto, outlined trapunto, incised rings and circles using straight stitched and satin stitching.

My samples

I chose to paint on a black background using two Jacquard Lumiere paints metallic silver and super sparkle, which on the fabric I find difficult to tell apart.


Creates Sew Slow: Shining Circles
I also took some circular rubber stamps and a metallic silver Fabrico stamp pad.

The stamp pads made much less of an impression on the black fabric than the Lumiere. The photos had to be lightened considerably to show the stamp within the Lumiere circle.  On the whole sample piece at the bottom of this post you can hardly see the stamps.
Creates Sew Slow: Shining Circles
Creates Sew Slow: Shining Circles
Cutting circles of assorted sizes out of fablon (sticky backed plastic) then sticking the positive or negative onto your fabric to paint is an inspired idea.  The fablon was much easier to use than freezer paper.
Creates Sew Slow: Shining CirclesThe outer circle for this one was made using a wine bottle cap which had a pretty embossed pattern.  Unfortunately I didn't get my shapes positioned properly to touch edge to edge so I stamped some more to get overlapping wine bottle caps, which ended up just looking messy. Or maybe it is just the imbalance in intensity between the outer bottle tops and the inner rubber stamp.
Creates Sew Slow: Shining CirclesThis is the only one of my shapes that I free machine quilted with pebble quilting in the circle and a haphazard feather around the outer edge.





The masterpiece in its entirety.  Luckily I only went to play not to produce a work of art.

And in the best use of play we learnt a lot including some useful tips and tricks. For example, did you know you get better control of fabric paint for a delicate line by applying it with a tooth pick rather than a paint brush.

It also gave me lots of ideas and you might see fabric painting on a garment soon.

If I sort my pictures out from the exhibitions I might do another post of my favourites some time soon.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Vogue 1454 DKNY Gorgeous Butterflies Top

It is quite amazing how easy it is to blog or not depending on the priority placed on it.  Over the last few weeks blogging has seemed like just too much effort and it would be very easy for my 10 September blog post to be my last as there are so many other things to do.

Like all of my sewing done over the past few weeks it took longer than normal - two weekends to get from start to finish of what is a simple pullover top.  Tidying up to try and limit how far the builders dirt travels through the house takes up valuable sewing time.  (Progress on the renovation is being made and I am sure it won't be too long now before our bedroom and ensuite are finished).

The making may be slow but it is the photography that is the rate limiting step. I even enjoy the writing although I am a bit compulsive about the proof reading. However onwards and upwards with a new post.

The finished garment

We took the photos in the dappled evening light by the ornamental cherry tree (which looks fabulous when in flower).  But the photos are perhaps a bit too dappled so I took some more the following day to try and get the pictures of the top a bit clearer.

This is a great top that feels luxurious to wear especially if you ignore the envelope sizing and make it according to the amount of ease you like in your tops.

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 1454 DKNY Gorgeous Butterflies Top

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 1454 DKNY Gorgeous Butterflies TopCreates Sew Slow: Vogue 1454 DKNY Gorgeous Butterflies Top

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 1454 DKNY Gorgeous Butterflies TopCreates Sew Slow: Vogue 1454 DKNY Gorgeous Butterflies Top

The fabric

Whilst the fabric has been in my stash for three years I don't think I can class it as old given the age of some of my fabric. It is a silk crepe de chine purchased from Gorgeous Fabrics in 2014 to be made into a top for my trip to the Houston Quilt Festival. Like many sewing plans before a holiday the list to be sewn exceeded the available time so this fabric was consigned to a plastic box waiting for its moment.

Creates Sew Slow: Gorgeous Butterflies silk crepe de chine

I haven't bought lots from Gorgeous Fabrics but it will be sad to see them go as their fabrics have always been high quality with excellent customer service.

The pattern

Described as very loose fitting, pullover top has back flounce (wrong side shows) longer than front, side slits, and stitched hem on sleeves.  And very loose fitting it certainly is.

This pattern is copyrighted 2015 hence it wasn't the garment I was intending to sew when I bought the fabric. So it is just as well the fabric matured a while as it worked really well for this pattern.

Creates Sew Slow: DKNY V1454Creates Sew Slow: DKNY V1454

The pattern alterations

This first thing to mention is that I started off with the size 6 not the size 16 which in theory is the size appropriate to my bust measurement.  The size 6 according to the finished garment measurements on the pattern tissue is 43" at both the bust and waist. Ideal.

The size 14 (the largest size in my pattern envelope) is 48.5" at the bust so I estimate that the size 16 would be at least 50". This would give me 12" of ease and the finished top would probably resemble a sack.

After I chose the pattern size most appropriate for the amount of ease I like in my garments the following alterations were made to the front pattern piece:
  • lowered the bust point 1" (slightly less than my normal alteration of 1.5")
  • created a bust dart to give the garment some shape
  • lengthened the top in total by 1.75"
  • 0.5" forward shoulder adjustment
  • narrowed the shoulder by 2.75" (this top was meant to have a dropped shoulder which I changed to a normal set in sleeve which I prefer)
  • raised the armhole 2" by using my favourite armhole template to re-draw the armhole shape

Creates Sew Slow: DKNY V1454 front pattern piece

For the back pattern piece I made the corresponding changes for the overall length, forward shoulder, shoulder width and armhole shape.

Creates Sew Slow: DKNY V1454 back pattern piece

For the sleeve I used my favourite sleeve pattern from Silhouette Patterns Traditional Blouse for the cap height and sleeve width but kept the same length as the original DKNY top.

Creates Sew Slow: DKNY V1454 sleeve pattern piece

The sewing

As this was such a nice silk crepe-de-chine I felt it needed to be nicely finished so used french seams for the shoulder, sleeve and back flounce.

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 1454 DKNY Gorgeous Butterflies Top

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 1454 DKNY Gorgeous Butterflies Top

For the side seams I used the standard 5/8" seam allowance, pressed the seam open, turned the seam allowance under and top-stitched.  This gave me a neatly finished side seam and a narrow hem on the side slits.

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 1454 DKNY Gorgeous Butterflies Top

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 1454 DKNY Gorgeous Butterflies Top

For the neck finishing I cut a 1.25" wide bias strip rather than using the facings provided.  The bias strip was folded in half, stitched to the top right sides together (with the cut edge of the bias strip at the neck edge) then folded over the seam and catch-stitched in place on the wrong side. This gave me a nice 3/8" narrow binding around the neck edge.

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 1454 DKNY Gorgeous Butterflies Top

Outfit of the day

Nothing very exciting just thrown on with my Andrea Moore trousers and One Trick Pony pink loafers. Even my hair looks flat (the end of a hard day).

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 1454 DKNY Gorgeous Butterflies Top

I found this outfit rather underwhelming so here is a second outfit of the day.

Still Andrea Moore trousers but in navy blue this time with my navy Vic Matie Theo shoes. Just love the way the back flounce flutters in the breeze.

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 1454 DKNY Gorgeous Butterflies TopCreates Sew Slow: Vogue 1454 DKNY Gorgeous Butterflies Top

Or thirdly worn with my United Nude Fold shoes in colour Horizon and my Untouched World wrap (for when the air conditioning gets a bit much). Please excuse the squinting I was facing into the sun which makes for good picture lighting but a screwed up face.

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 1454 DKNY Gorgeous Butterflies Top

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Butterick 6232 Morse Dot Sun Top

The renovations to the master bedroom and ensuite are impacting on my sewing or maybe it is the trauma from having to confront the spare bedroom fabric stash and tidy it away.  Whatever the reason it has taken me two weekends to sew this simple top.  I don't have a huge back log of projects like some bloggers do, in fact I barely keep up with one project a week so my ability to maintain the weekly post maybe in serious jeopardy.

Unless of course I get myself organised and take a sewing project to work.  I do have a sewing machine in my work city and it hasn't been out of the luggage cupboard at the hotel in months. Something to aim for, maybe.

The finished garment

The daffodils are out, the lambs are gambolling in the fields and the sun is shining.  To welcome spring here is my new yellow top.

Creates Sew Slow: Butterick 6232 Morse Dot Sun Top

Creates Sew Slow: Butterick 6232 Morse Dot Sun Top

Creates Sew Slow: Butterick 6232 Morse Dot Sun Top

It is another hi lo top and extra long in the back (ends just below my bottom) but for some reason I really like this top.  Unlike my previous few makes where I felt the tops were too long.

The fabric

I managed to buy another Art Gallery Fabrics knit without realising it. This Morse Dot Sun knit came from The Sewing Workshop within the last twelve months - before I had consciously developed my penchant for AGF knits. It wasn't until I looked at the selvedge as I was cutting out that I realised it was from AGF. So I must love their designs as much as the quality of their cotton/spandex knits.


This print is part of the Imprint collection by Katarina Roccella. The Imprint collection is described as a harmonious arrangement of neutral shades and delicately selected colors inspired by Katarina’s printmaking background and linocuts. The essences of Suprematism; square, cross, circle, and defined silhouettes compliment this versatile collection.

The pattern

I don't know where I saw it, but a make by a now unknown sewing blogger immediately made me want  a copy of Butterick See and Sew B6232 which was unfortunately out-of-print. A quick eBay search discovered one for sale - no sooner found than mine! It took a while for the pattern to arrive in New Zealand and a little longer sitting on the kitchen bench giving me the sew me or tidy me away stare before the sew me stare won.


B6232 is described as a fitted top with raised waist, hemline variations and narrow hem. A: Back zipper. B: pullover, wrong side shows (back hemline), back neck slit with hook and eye closing. Stitched hems on sleeves. Purchased bias tape to finish necklines.

This pattern is for woven fabrics (its main point of attraction - well that and the peplum) so I immediately started thinking about making it in a beefy knit after my lack of success using my TNT knit pattern.  I am also going through a yellow phase at the moment possibly because of my Go Taxi flats (or maybe it is the hint of Spring in the air) which clearly identified the fabric to use.

I chose to sew View B in a size 14 based on the finished garment measurements and my TNT woven top (Silhouette Patters #400 Traditional Blouse view 2).  Only the finished bust measurement (printed on the pattern) was relevant to the chosen size as the waist is much larger due to the flare of the peplum. 

The pattern alterations

When I compared B6232 to my TNT pattern a basic problem with the pattern markings was highlighted.  Whilst a lower bust point can be attributed to my aging, I defy anyone to have a bust point to bust point measurement of 4 inches.  On this pattern the bust point is 2 inches in from centre front.  The placement of the waist dart is closer to where the bust point should be.

Creates Sew Slow: Butterick 6232

This leads me to the second problem with the pattern.  The waist dart ends far too close to the bust point.  Any slight error with the sewing would have the end of the dart stopping right on the bust point.

The third problem with this pattern is the proportions of the waist dart, wide and short, which makes it harder to get a smooth point. In my experience it would be better to have a narrower waist dart and remove some of the width from the side seam.  In the interests of authenticity I did not narrow the waist dart but did sew it shorter as my bust is prominent enough without highlighting it with a dart point.  I have now made changes to the pattern for both the dart width and end point just in case I sew it again.

Creates Sew Slow: Butterick 6232

As these patterns are touted as Very Easy and likely to attract beginner sewers I think more care should be taken in their development. It would be very easy for a beginner sewer to get extremely average results from this pattern through no fault of their own.

The other changes I made to the pattern are:
  • lowered the bust point to counteract my aforementioned aging
  • narrowed the shoulder to the same width as my TNT pattern
  • omitted the shoulder dart in the back
  • made a 0.5 inch forward shoulder adjustment
  • used my TNT woven blouse armhole and sleeve (I couldn't be bothered making the forward shoulder alteration to the B6232 sleeve)
  • made a full bust adjustment. Basically just copied the bust dart from my TNT pattern and made the newbie error of not lengthening the top front piece to compensate for the bust dart. 
  • put fish eye waist darts in the back for shaping
  • removed 1.25 inches from the length of the back to match the (accidentally shorter) front. I didn't remove the length until after I had tried it on and this slightly shorter length looks better than the original so I have made this alteration to the pattern piece

Creates Sew Slow: Butterick 6232

Creates Sew Slow: Butterick 6232

Creates Sew Slow: Butterick 6232

The sewing

The fabric was cut with the greatest amount of stretch going up and down the body.  As I was using a woven pattern I decided I could go with my preference for the dots and dashes to be vertical and ignore the direction of greatest stretch.

As with all of my recent makes a very simple project sewn mainly on the overlocker.  I did sew the darts with my Singer Featherweight just in case I needed to make any alterations rather than sewing them on the overlocker.

This top was made even simpler by the knit fabric because I could omit the hook and eye closure at the back and just overlock the centre back seam from top to bottom.

I used The Sewing Workshop 1/2 inch fusible hem tape before sewing the hem to prevent it stretching out.  The neckline was stay-stitched at 3/8 inch then folded over and stitched.  I cut a neck binding but decided not to use it.

I did have 5/8 inch seam allowances on this garment because I would normally sew it in a woven fabric with French seams.  Still prefer a 3/8 inch seam allowance for knits and think if I sew this pattern again in a knit I will chop off the extra seam allowance before I sew it.  It was really interesting how difficult I found sewing with 5/8 inch seam allowances on the overlocker.  There are a couple of seams that are a bit wonky.  Definitely inserting sleeves, even in the flat, is so much easier with the smaller seam allowance.

As predicted in the pattern alteration section getting a smooth end to the waist darts is almost impossible as can be seen here.  I didn't think they looked too bad until I saw the photographic evidence, and they are sufficiently bad for me to unpick and re-sew.

Creates Sew Slow: Butterick 6232 Morse Dot Sun Top

Outfit of the day

I wore this top to go shopping for lights and flooring.  As a treat we had lunch in our favourite cafe at the Mediterranean Food Company and my photographer captured desert time. This time eating passion fruit tart with raspberry mascarpone.

Creates Sew Slow: Butterick 6232 Morse Dot Sun Top

Here is a photo from a previous visit in June of my apple frangipani tart - an absolute work of art.

Creates Sew Slow: Apple Frangipani tart

Anyway back to the outfit, here is my top with yet another pair of Andrea Moore skinny pants and my Trippen navy Klee shoes, posing in front of the blossoming Almond tree.

Creates Sew Slow: Butterick 6232 Morse Dot Sun Top