Friday, January 31, 2014

Fabric Friday - Happy Chinese New Year 2014

It is currently Chinese New Year so what better way to celebrate than with fabric :D

Wagara Chinese Zodiac Panel Black
2014 is the year of the Wooden Horse. Wood Horses are strong and stable and have a better ability to make decisions. Excellent at interacting with others, they are successful personally and professionally.

Left: Candy Party Handsome Pony Black by Kokka
Right: Horsey Horse/Unicorn Soft Toy Pattern by Funky Friends Factory
People born in the Year of the Horse are clever, kind, animated and energetic. Although they sometimes talk too much, they are cheerful, perceptive, talented and love to be in the centre of a crowd. They are popular among friends, active at work and have a deft sense of humour.

The lucky colour for Horse is green

Top Row

Middle Row

Bottom Row

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

How To Add Pockets To Almost Any Outfit

I sew and draft a lot of clothes for myself and my family and everyone is always asking "Can you add pockets?" Today I thought I would share my go to pocket pattern and instructions. I have used this pattern piece and method to add simple in-seam pockets to dresses (eg The Marilyn Dress), boxer shorts and skirts. 

The pattern piece is just a bit larger than A4 so I have broken it into two parts to be printed on a home computer. Save the two jpg images below to your computer. Print out at full size (no scaling), the scaling ref box should be approx. 2.5cm (1") wide on your print out. Cut out the pattern pieces and join together at the "Join Here" line.

Pattern part 1:
Right click on image and select "save link as" from the drop down menu

Pattern part 2:
Right click on image and select "save link as" from the drop down menu

Step 1

Step1: Cut out pocket pieces out of fabric, you will have 2 for each pocket (usually 4 per garment).

Step 2

Step 2: Finish the edge of each pocket piece so it doesn't fray. I use a 3 thread overlock. If you don't have an overlocker you can use a zigzag stitch or similar on your sewing machine or trim with pinking shears.

Step 3

Step 3: With right sides together sew a pocket piece to the side seam of each front and back piece, lining up the top of the pocket with the waistband seam of the garment as shown in the diagram.

If your garment has an elastic waistband casing, the top of the pocket should sit just a bit higher than the bottom of the casing.

You don't need to sew across the top of your pocket - it will be sewn when you attach your waistband. If you sew across the top, you won't be able to open your pocket out for the next step.

Step 4

Step 4: Finish the side seam, press the pocket open along the stitch line. It will look a bit like puppy dog ears at this point :)

Step 5

Step 5: Place the front onto the back piece with right sides together.

Step 6

Step 6: Pin the side seams and pockets together. I also like to pin the pocket opening together along the seam line so that the pockets will be aligned correctly (as per diagram above). Sew around the pocket until you reach the side seam, pivot and finish sewing the side seam together.

Don't sew straight down the side seam from the waistband! Cloud did this on Saturday & felt like a right numpty. Good thing she knows how to use an unpicker :P

Step 7

Step 7: Press the pocket towards the front of the garment. Leave the pin at the top side seam in to hold the top of the pocket closed. Pin the top of pocket to the front waist seam, baste in place if desired. You want the pocket to be anchored to the waistband in some way so that it sits forward and doesn't move around inside your clothes in an unsightly fabric bunch.

Above: Circle skirt with in-seam pockets, the top of the pocket is sewn into the waistband to anchor it in place.

Left: Pocket added to a Marilyn Dress. The skirt on this dress is gathered but I didn't want the added bulk of the pocket included. The top of the pocket was kept free until the skirt was gathered and then laid down flat over the gathering to be sewn into the waist seam.

Right: Pocket in boxer shorts. Please excuse the crumples, the shorts had just come out of the washing machine :) The top of the pocket sits 0.5 - 1cm into the pocket casing so that it can be anchored in place when the casing is sewn down.

I'm not claiming that this is the only and best way add pockets, it is just the way that I do it and I hope that this helps everyone with making their clothes more practical.

Pretty Pinterest image for those that like to pin :)

- Ky 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

New in Store - January 26

We received a delivery of Riley Blake fabric this week, for some reason it is all red, white and blue with a bit of orange thrown in for good measure. There are bunting flags, union jack flag and spiderwebs as well as some spotty cotton jersey knits. I'm eying up that red spot for a new dress :)

Top Row
Middle Row
Bottom Row

Did you know that we are the official Australian distributer for Shoben Fashion Media tools, books and pattern blocks. Dr Martin Shoben has designed an innovative and practical range of equipment and work aides for the fashion industry.
His uniquely designed equipment is used through out the world and his books and patterns are very influential and sought after by students, professional designers and lecturers.

Last but not least we have our first weekend Learn to Sew class listed, it starts on February 16 and is filling fast. Sign up and more information can be found here: Learn to Sew - from Zilch to Zips (3 weeks from February 16)

Have a great long weekend Australian bunnies and we'll be back again next week.
- Ky and Cloud

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Travelling Bunny: 3-day Bag Masterclass with Nicole Mallalieu

Last week I flew down to Melbourne to attended a 3-day bag making masterclass with Nicole Mallalieu (You Sew Girl). The class was hosted by Kimono House which is a lovely little fabric shop in Melbourne's CBD which specialises in Japanese fabrics, kimonos/ yukatas and crafts.

Kimono House workshop space
Machines were supplied for all of the out of town students which was a great help.
I was lucky enough to score Nikki's Bernina for the 3 days :) 
On Friday afternoon Leanne, the owner of Kimono House, took us for walk around Melbourne CBD with a focus on craft. The walk ended at Spring Street Grocer, with what is reputed to be the best gelati in Melbourne. I tried three flavours (dairy free chocolate, salted caramel and pistachio) and approved of them all :)

A few of the locations we went to on the tour.
Top: Clementine's (all stock is made and crafted in Victoria) and Corky Saint Clair
Middle: Subject To Change, Gewurzhaus Herb and Spice MerchantsThe Cats Meow
Bottom: Morris and Sons, Spring Street Grocer
Nicole demonstrating the finer points of bag making.
Over the 3 days we learnt heaps of tips and tricks from Nikki including techniques for hard bag bases, zipper applications, customising handle straps, and interfacing options. Everyone had a great time and finished sewing up either a Day BagLarge Tote Bag or Beach Bag.

Hurrying to finish off our bags on Saturday afternoon

All of the finished bags
I made up a Cartas Marcadas Large Satchel and a very Nautical Beach Bag (Beach Bag still requires lining)
I'm quite taken with the bright striped interior of the Large Satchel, especially teamed with the hot pink zipper.
I had a great time away and picked up heaps of tips for professional bag making which I look forward to imparting to our customers and students. We are hoping to run a few bag making workshops at Voodoo Rabbit this year so make sure to sign up to our newsletter (top left on the side menu) for notification of upcoming classes.

- Ky

Friday, January 17, 2014

Fabric Friday - Turning Japanese

Lots of new Japanese style prints have been arriving at the showroom lately. It's making Cloud feel very nostalgic about her trips to Japan so she put together today's Fabric Friday while reminiscing.

Harajuku, Tokyo. It pretty much does look like this! Bright lights, whacky hair, elaborate cosplay and fabulous food stalls. The vampire punk carrying off his girlfriend is pretty cool in this print from Transpacific Textiles :) Loud fabric like this would be great for the flap of a travel Satchel with a matching passport holder. Great fun to whip out at Customs!

Harajuku Anime Grey by Transpacific Textiles
Premium Solid Fuchia by Northcott

Aoi Has 2 Sisters is an ultra kawaii print from Alexander Henry. The Neko (cats) and Koi (goldfish) are adorable! The main print reminded Cloud of the hot springs she visited just outside Sapporo. She also flounced around the showroom with the A-Chan Border Print wrapped around her waist begging me to help her sew it into a pleated A-Line Skirt. I'll help her draft it but she's sewing it herself!


Kiku blossoms (Chrysanthemums) were on show in Osaka the first time Cloud went to Japan. They really are classical looking flower and this print is beautiful. Fans and dragonfly also feature quite a bit on traditional Japanese prints. It would be beautiful made up as a Torii Tunic.

Wagara Japanese Chrysanthemum Floral Olive

It's amazing how fabric can remind you of places you've visited and bring back memories. Does fabric ever inspire you this way? It certainly seems to 'talk' to Cloud!
- Ky

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Making Pattern Adjustments to the Marilyn Dress by Sew Serendipity

Last week I showed you my Marilyn Dress, while the fit was pretty good it still required a few tweaks to straighten the waistline. 

After trying on the finished garment I felt that the side seam was in the correct position but the front needed to come down approx 2cm (1") and the back needed to go up 2cm (1"). As I mentioned last week, you should make a rough toile out of a cheap fabric to sort out these issues before moving onto the final fabric.

We need to change 4 pattern pieces for this adjustment, the bodice pieces and the waistband pieces.

Original Bodice Pattern Pieces (Size XS down to S waist)
Adjusted bodice pieces, the original pattern pieces are in black and all adjustments are in red. 

Bodice Back
Raise the back of the bodice (left) by measuring up 2cm along the centre back seam. Draw a line from this point to the bottom of the side seam to create the new under bust seam. 

Bodice Front
Lower the front of the bodice (right) by measuring down from the centre front 2cm. Draw a line from the bottom of the side seam through this point. Extend the centre front down to meet this line to create the new under bust seam on this piece.

Original Waistband Pattern Pieces (size S)
Adjusted waistband pieces, the original pattern pieces are in black and all adjustments are in red.

The adjustments for the waistband pieces are much the same as the bodice, except you have to move the under bust seam (top) and waist (bottom) seams.

Waistband Back
To raise the waist at the back of the waistband (top), measure up 2cm from the bottom of the centre back seam to find point A. Draw a line from this point to the bottom of the side seam (point B) to create the new waist seam. Measure up 2cm from the top of the centre back seam (point C), draw a line from this point to the top of the side seam (point D) to create the new under bust seam. Join points A and C to create the new centre back seam.

Waistband Front
To lower the waist at the front of the waistband (bottom), measure down 2cm from the top of the centre front seam to find point E. Draw a line from this point to the top of the side seam (point F) to create the new under bust seam. Measure down from the bottom of the centre front seam to find point G. Draw a line from point G to the bottom of the side seam (point H) to create the new waist seam. Join points E and F to create the new centre front seam.

My final marilyn dress made using the adjusted pattern pieces, the waistline is now straight :D I still wear the cherry version of the dress but this one is a much better fit. I have a made a few other marilyn Dresses for other members of my family and I will be blogging the pattern adjustments made to these garments over the next few weeks.
- Ky

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Sew Serendipity The Marilyn Dress Pattern Test Drive

Today I will be giving an overview of The Marilyn Dress designed by Kay Whitt of Sew Serendipity Patterns. This pattern features a full gathered knee length skirt, close fitting V-neck bodice with subtle gathering at the bust-line, and a wide pointed waistband that fits just above the natural waist. The back features a V-neckline and centre zipper.

As a rule I would never recommend making any clothing pattern without first sewing a toile, even if it is only just the bodice section. I decided to live on the edge and made this dress directly from the pattern with no alterations or adjustments while sewing. The pattern is multi-sized from XXS - XXL and my measurements are a XS bust to a S waist so I did grade between the two sizes when I traced off the pattern. As the skirt is so full I didn't really look at the hip measurement though I took a couple of inches off the bottom of the skirt as I'm only 5'2"ish and wanted the skirt to finish just above my knee.

The fit is actually pretty good, perhaps one of the most accurate I've ever gotten straight off a paper pattern going by the measurements on the pack of the packet.

The only problem I have is that the front waist is higher than the back waist, this issue also affected the hemline which had to be straightened as it was higher at the front than it was at the back. So saying I am quite happy to wear this dress as it is and the majority of people won't even notice the waist isn't straight. It is a fun dress to wear, cool enough for Australian summer and has a nice twirl factor.

Difficulty Level
This pattern is rated as Basic to Intermediate due to the invisible zipper and gathering required. The written instructions are good but might not be explicit enough for a beginner sewer. After the first couple of seams, edge finishes are no longer specified so you need enough sewing knowledge to know when to finish the edges. The sewing techniques used are sound and result in a professional looking garment. The illustrations in the pattern are hand drawn which may be difficult for some people to understand.

More variations of the Marilyn Dress from the pattern cover. 
I have since made a second Marilyn Dress and next week I will go over the adjustments I made to straighten the waistline.

- Ky