Thursday, October 29, 2015

Frocktober: the Sylvie Dress by Christine Haynes

Well this may be our last official Frocktober frock post for 2015 but rest assured, the frocks don't stop here! Frocktober has had us thinking all the frocks, all the time and we will do our best to keep the inspiration flowing.
We've been very pleased with the support of our Frocktober fundraising and awareness for the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. Thanks to all who have got behind this important cause!

The Sylvie Dress pattern was released by Christine Haynes early this year, just as we were heading into the cooler months. So this sleeveless style is really just starting to make sense about now for us southern hemisphere types!

I made this in a lightweight denim that we recently began stocking at The Drapery, and neither of us had tried yet. I am pleased to report that it was lovely to work with, and is soft and relatively non-wrinkling to wear. A lot of blue dye came out in the pre-wash so that is something to be aware of - although generally to be expected with denims.

I used this tutorial specific to the Sylvie pattern to make a full bust adjustment, which worked perfectly, distributing the extra fullness between the three under-bust darts. Before that, I moved the whole set of darts over a bit towards the centre for better positioning in line with my bust apex.

 For reasons too long and uninteresting to go into, I cut the waistband on the bias, and did not use interfacing. This has caused a bit of wrinking around that area and if I make this dress again (which is highly likely), I will actually obey the instructions!
The skirt is a dirndl-style gathered rectangle, but after making a muslin I decided pleats would be more flattering on me. I also cut down the volume by using the smallest size skirt pieces. Then I made a 1 inch pleat every 1.5 inches, back and front. I also used a regular zip rather than invisible.

Sounds like a lot of alterations but really this is quite true to the original pattern! I love it and have already worn it a lot. A denim dress with capacious pockets is just about my ideal everyday frock. Seriously, check out those pockets!
Frocktober ends at midnight tomorrow October 31, so come on into the store 12 - 4 for your 10% off frock pattern+fabric purchases or claim your online discount on frock pattern+fabric purchases by entering the code FROCKTOBER at checkout. $2 of every Frocktober special purchase will be donated to the OCRF.

- Jane & Fiona xx

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Frocktober - Amanda's gorgeous Deer + Doe Belladone Dress

Our final Frocktober Guest Post is our lovely customer and friend Amanda. We've seen Amanda's sewing skills blossom over the last couple of years. She's been able to create some really beautiful clothes custom-fitted to her tall, slender frame. She really is one of the nicest human beings you could possibly hope to meet and is always generously thinking of others, so we were pleased to encourage her to do some selfish sewing for Frocktober. Amanda doesn't have her own blog so we welcome her to ours, with her stunning new frock!
The Drapery kindly invited me to be one of their Frocktober friends. Ovarian cancer is difficult to diagnose and is rarely caught early. Its impact can be widespread and devastating. By supporting Frocktober we're raising awareness and much needed funds for research and support.
The pattern I chose was the Deer & Doe Belladone which I've made once before. I really love the feature back and of course the pockets! 

The only alteration I made was to add 2cm across the centre front. I'm sure it would have fit fine without this change but I do like some wine and cheese wiggle room! Despite having made the dress before I had a lapse in concentration (read: went rogue from the instructions) and accidentally laid the upper back pieces underneath instead of over top. Of course I didn't notice until after I'd completely finished the bodice! After some choice cursing, dedicated unpicking and a mercy dash to The Drapery for more fabric, I was on my way again.
When it came to picking my fabric, it really was a no-brainer. I only discovered Nani Iro in the last few years but it has become my firm favourite. The designs are stunning, the quality excellent and the fabric feels lovely. I quickly made a bee-line to this brush strokes linen/cotton (soon to be back in stock at The Drapery!). In order to make best use of the beautiful pattern placement, I broke a sewing rule and cut the entire dress across the grain. Despite the rule breaking causing high anxiety, it turned out fine! I made sure to give the fabric a really good pre-wash and it didn't have too much give in it anyway.
 Is that an under-stitched, handsewn bound hem I (don't) hear you ask? Yes, yes it is. I'm a bit of an incurable perfectionist and can't help myself with the details. I didn't know Birch made 100% cotton ready-made bias tape and I'm definitely a convert (it's also the perfect weight for double gauze).

I'm really happy with how this dress turned out - I absolutely love it. Big thanks to the lovely Jane and Fiona at The Drapery for inviting me to be involved in this project. Life hasn't exactly gone to plan of late and it was really nice to take some time out and make something just for me. I appreciate you guys more than you know. Also thanks to my husband who took these photos. I'm uncomfortable with posed photos and he had the patience of a saint.


Thank you so much Amanda for being a part of Frocktober at The Drapery! 

Deer and Doe patterns including the beautiful Belladone are sold only through brick & mortar retail stores so you can buy them from us in person, or by calling us on 08 7324 5883 (Wed - Fri 10 - 4, Sat 12 - 4), or email us on .

Don't forget the 10% Frocktober discount applies to frock pattern + fabric purchases all this month, in store or online using the code FROCKTOBER. $2 from every Frocktober special purchase is donated to the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation.

- Fiona & Jane xx

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Fabric Friday: Hello Sailor!

In this Friday's Fortnightly installment of fabric goodness, we have a simple classic: navy and white striped cotton jersey that we call 'Hello Sailor'. (It may look black on your screen but it's really a very dark inky navy.)
This is a 100% cotton jersey, made in New Zealand, and a lovely quality. We've had the red & white stripe 'Where's Wally' (just a metre left at time of writing!) from this manufacturer and also 'North Sea/Kalamata' and been very happy with the fabric. So although we had to wait several months for this deep navy stripe colourway to have its turn at the knitting mill, it was worth the wait.

Jersey fabric has a right and a wrong side, like a tiny version of traditional plain hand-knit, as you can probably just make out below.
The edges can be a bit curly so you may want to do a fair bit of pinning as you use this, especially to accurately match the stripes. You'll find that this 100% cotton jersey doesn't roll up quite as much as cotton/spandex blends though. You can even leave the edges raw on some garments if you don't mind a slightly rolled look: it won't fray.
 It's quite a fine stripe of about 5mm.
What to make from Hello Sailor? Well you can't go wrong with a classic striped tee like the Liesl & Co Maritime Top or Sewaholic Renfrew. It would also make a lovely light summer dress; perhaps the Christine Haynes Marianne or Colette Myrtle?

Find Hello Sailor in store or online here.

- Jane & Fiona xx

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Frocktober Guest Post: Pips of Girl in a Teacup

Today we have the delightful Pips (also on Instagram as magdalenesmuse), sharing her Frocktober frock over at her blog Girl in a Teacup! Not only did Pips sew up a dreamy version of the Christine Haynes Emery Dress in Nani Iro double gauze, she also held a morning tea to raise funds for the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation's Frocktober.
We just love Pips' style and if you don't already follow her, you'll have a great time combing through her blog archives for sewing inspiration!

Thanks Pips, for the Frocktober loveliness (see more here) and dedication to a wonderful cause.

Don't forget to claim your Frocktober 10% discount on frock pattern + fabric purchases all this month, in store or online with the discount code FROCKTOBER.

- Fiona & Jane xx

Monday, October 19, 2015

Frocktober: another Deer and Doe Arum Dress, in linen

We're keeping the Frocktober inspiration happening for you! Don't miss your chance to receive 10% off all Frock pattern + fabric purchases during the month of October, and for each combo we'll donate $2 to the frockin' great cause that is the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation.
Deer and Doe + linen + Liberty = a recipe for Frocktober happiness, in my opinion! Since I've been wearing my first Arum Dress on high rotation, and since it's Frocktober, and we had a large new delivery of beautiful Lithuanian linens, and a new delivery of Arum patterns, well... how could I resist?
I was keen to try adding a functional pocket to the frock, rather than the decorative chest-height one as per the pattern. The pocket I ended up with was the result of a Pinterest 'patch pocket' hunt.
The original was for a child's size pocket so I made a couple of samples before I was happy with the shape and size. Below shows the shape untied. The lining is Liberty Tana Lawn 'Heidi', which I also used for the neck and hem bindings.
This amazing multi-coloured yarn-dyed linen is not listed in the online store since we only have a small amount, but if you can't live without it, give us a ring and we may have some left! Most of our washed or loomstate linens would make beautiful Arum dresses.

There are many styles of pockets you could consider adding to the Arum. The one-piece dress front is a wonderful blank canvas. I originally intended to add a pair of these pockets but after the first was in place, it seemed enough.
 I just love the simple lines of this design and the way the back seams are flattering to curves.
 And there you have it: another comfortable, simple and practical dress for summer.

We are freshly re-stocked with the Deer and Doe Arum pattern, after the first batch sold out in a flash! To purchase, visit us in store, call us on 08 7324 5883 Mon - Fri 10am - 4pm or Sat 12 - 4 (ACST) or email . We are very happy to take orders over the phone, discuss your fabric choices and help you with any extras like matching thread, so don't hesitate to give us a call during opening hours.

- Jane & Fiona xx

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Frocktober: Deer & Doe Cardamome Dress

We are still frocking it up for Frocktober, dutifully sewing our way through some of our favourite dress patterns.

My first Frocktober make is the Deer + Doe Cardamome dress. I made the sleevleless version, view B, so it could be easily cardied-up and also to accommodate the long, hot summer that is almost upon us. This dress is made in one of our soft light denim fabrics from Japan. I cut this one out only to realise that Attack of the Seam Ripper had already made an identical one - and it's beautiful. Ack! Um, great minds? 

 This came together so easily, like other Deer + Doe patterns the Cardamome is beautifully drafted and the instructions are clear. This was the first time I'd sewn a full collar with collar stand and the D+D instructions were delightfully unintimidating. (It's sitting a bit funny here, but this is straight off the machine - it needs another wash and press). The fabric I used is probably slightly on the heavy side for this pattern. Because of the weight of the denim, I was careful to both clip and & grade my collar seams, but the bulk of the fabric makes the ends of the collar stand a little chunkier than they would be with a nice light lawn, for example.

I did make a couple of minor modifications to the pattern. After spending a fair bit of time deliberating over button choice, I decided to omit them since I'll be wearing this undone anyway. 

The pattern calls for shirring around the waist, but in the interests of sturdiness, I decided to make an elastic casing instead (any excuse to pair a pretty Liberty print with chambray!) Eleanor from Deer & Doe mentioned in a recent blog post that she would be doing a tutorial for this plus also a zippered waist soon (scroll down, there's also a link to an interesting elastic that mimics the look of shirring). To do this I ignored where the pattern instructions suggest sewing both side seams, followed by the shirring. Instead, I sewed one side seam, added the casing, then elastic, then sewed up the final side seam. Here's a fairly uninteresting action shot of when I installed the casing:

To cover the elastic waist I added a belt, made from a 5cm wide strip of the same fabric. 

 Other than that, no modifications. I used the same Liberty (Sarah) to bind the armholes and line the pockets. I was pretty happy with the length on me, so just sewed a 10mm double fold hem (I'm 167cm tall if that helps).
 Here's the side view. Excuse the creases - this had seen a school drop off and a morning in the shop by the time we took photos:

And the back:

If I make another Cardamome, I'll probably size down. This one is a little wide under the arms and across my shoulders (best seen in the back view above). It won't stop me from wearing it, though - no major breaches in undergarment visibility here, thankfully.

The Cardamome Dress pattern is available in store only (or please give us a call if you're interested in any of the Deer + Doe patterns). Don't forget that during Frocktober we're offering a 10% discount off dress fabric + pattern combo purchases in store and online (just enter FROCKTOBER at checkout), plus we'll donate $2 from each of those purchases to the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation. So: get frocking!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Frocktober: Happy Homemade Pinafore Dress

Frocktober has begun with a number of decently warm - even hot - days. Suddenly we're putting away the boots and leggings and layers and reaching for a single summery frock!

I felt the call of the Japanese pattern books, and chose the Pinafore Dress, Pattern P from Happy Homemade Vol. 1 Treasured Collection. I made it up in a beautiful lightweight cotton from Alison Glass's Handcrafted collection, which is hand-printed in Indonesia using the traditional wax resist technique. (There are even wax remnants on the fabric to prove this, but they wash out really easily!)

  Neither Fiona nor I had made anything from this book before so I whipped up a quick muslin of the size according to my measurements. Lucky I did because it was vast and I went down two sizes!
Now, when we talk about 'whipping up a quick muslin out of an old bedsheet or something', we really do mean quick & rough much of the time. (Although it depends of course upon the requirements of the particular pattern.) So let me show you just how rough mine was.
Ew. But it did the job for such a simple style: confirmed that I liked the style, and that the size was way too large. (FYI for my 38"-ish bust I muslined a size 14 then went down to a 10, which makes the sizing very similar to the first Stylish Dress Book i.e. 'graded up for western sizing'... quite generously!) I did not make the dress as long as the pattern suggests (you are supposed to add length after tracing the pieces but I just went with the length as per the pattern sheet).

The only fitting adjustment I made was to the gathering at the front yoke. Here you see the gathering as marked, across about the centre third of the yoke. This does not, er, match the 'gathering' on my body!
 So I unpicked and redistributed the gathers right across the yoke, which sits much better.
 The final fit is not perfect on me, which may be to do with my sloping shoulders and the angle of the straps, or perhaps the front yoke should be a tad wider.
I forgot to add seam allowances to my pocket pieces so they're smaller than they should be, but still quite functional.
The back yoke is a better fit.
To be completely honest I'll probably just ignore the less-than-perfect fit and wear this a whole lot anyway. It's cool, it's light, it's easy to wash and iron and I think I'll be reaching for it a lot during a hot Adelaide summer! The fabric was delightful to work with and is a beautiful weight for a loose summer dress.

Happy Homemade is available here and we have Alison Glass Handcrafted prints here, here and here.

Frocktober discount applies to Japanese pattern book + fabric purchases in store or online. Enter code 'FROCKTOBER' at online checkout and receive 10% off, and we'll donate $2 to the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation.

- Jane & Fiona xx

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Fabric Friday: Linen

Perhaps our absolute favourite fabric fibre here at The Drapery is linen. Since we opened our store in April 2013 we have had beautiful linens from Lithuania as a large proportion of our stock. We're so pleased with how our customers have taken to them and it seems every time we order, we are able to bring in larger quantities and greater variety.

 As a garment fabric, linen is ideally suited to the Australian climate. It's cool and breathable, and absorbs perspiration. It's easy to wash and line-dry. Iron with plenty of heat and steam, but don't be too fussy because once you've thrown it on any residual creases will just become part of the rumpled linen elegance that we love.
For fact-lovers, here's a bunch of information from the report 'Barometer of European Flax 2015' by the CELC - Confédération Europeénne Du Lin Et Du Chanvre (The European Confederation of Linen and Hemp):

Flax was the very first textile developed by people, with the oldest known examples 36,000 years old. It originates in Europe, where 80% of the world's linen is still grown today. Rainfall is the only water it requires to grow, and little to no pesticides and fertilisers are used. Every year, the growing of flax in Europe captures 250,000 of carbon dioxide.

Water requirements for flax are in the order of 600mm for 100 days of growth, covered by rainfall [400mm], a good reserve of ground water, and the moisture provided by dew [200mm]. Therefore, zero irrigation and zero defoliant for this ecologically important crop which ticks the boxes of social, economic and ecological criteria - the three pillars of Sustainable Development.
A rotation crop renewed every 7 years, consuming very little nitrogen, the growing of flax boosts the structure and biological activity of the soil thanks to its taproots which sink to a depth of 1m. Very sensitive to its immediate environment, flax has a naturally positive effect on soil, and improves the quality of the following crop by 20 to 30%.
Totally biodegradable, European flax is all waste-free, with a diversity of destinations beginning from the very first stage of processing.
Long fibres for fabric, short fibres for paper or felt; seeds and oils for livestock feed, varnish, linoleum; shives for gardening, animal bedding, compost, etc. Every part of the plant is useful and utilized. Flax is now playing a part in the development of bio-composites, innovative new applications and real opportunities for the whole of the European flax industry."

At The Drapery we sell 'washed' and 'loomstate' linens. Loomstate is exactly that - the woven fabric, untreated, straight from the loom. Unless we state that a linen in washed, it will be loomstate.

'Washed' linens like the one below are put through an enzyme washing process which softens the fibres and produces a very drapey, gently rumpled finish. It is important to note that after some washing and wearing, garments made from any of our linens will achieve this softness. The threads will fluff up and plump out a bit, so fabrics become a bit more opaque with washing as the fibres fill in the tiny gaps in the weave. If you want that look and feel straight away, choose a 'washed' linen.

Each time you wash your linen it will regain some of its stiffness. Don't be concerned when you bring your pre-washed fabric or washed garment in off the line and it feels quite cardboardy - like the dress below.
Ironing helps soften it up again...
 ...but the best remedy is the process of wearing and handling the fabric.
The softly creased look is not for everyone but personally, we love it!

In store we have a sample of our lightweight natural linen that has been washed and handled quite a bit, so you can compare it to the loomstate fabric and see (and feel) what you can expect over time. 

Many of our current linens are available in our online store (and more will be added), but there's an even bigger selection if you can visit us in person. Get into linen this spring and summer!

- Jane & Fiona xx

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Frocktober guest blogger: Blogless Anna with the Merchant & Mills Fielder Dress

Happy Frocktober lovely sewing people!
This year we've asked a few friends to join us in celebrating fabulous frock patterns and fabrics, and supporting the incredibly valuable work of the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation (OCRF).

Today we have the delightful and always stylish 'Blogless Anna' from Melbourne. Anna made comments on others' sewing blogs in the early days under that name. Then she started her own sewing blog and kept the already-familiar screen-name! She's on Instagram too.
Anna blogs a lovely variety of handmade clothing, especially our favourite independent designer patterns. She always includes lots of useful information about the patterns, processes, fitting and so forth so if you haven't seen her blog before, you can have fun trawling her archives. She has a great sense of fun and finds some awesome locations for her photo shoots!
Visit Anna's blog to find out more about her fabulous Merchant & Mills Fielder Dress, made in our Hemp/Organic Cotton/Wool 'Tweedy Bird' and Grey Merino Rib.

Thanks so much Anna for helping out with Frocktober 2015!

Don't forget all Frocktober we're offering 10% off frock pattern + fabric purchases, in store or online using the code 'FROCKTOBER' at checkout. With every combo purchase The Drapery will donate $2 to the OCRF.

- Jane & Fiona xx