Wednesday, 3 December 2014

the 5 shades of Lekala 4146

You know, every now and then, you come across a pattern that is perfect and you resolve to make at least 5 more right away, but for some reason or another it ends up not happening and a couple of years later you find it again and wonder why you didn't ... well, NOT THIS TIME ...

I bought this Lekala T-Shirt pattern a couple of years ago and never made it ... that's the life of most of my patterns actually. I really liked the detail in the front, but somehow I just never got there.

It is a really quick make. It took me about 2h which is, realistically, the quickest I'll ever be. The technical drawing makes it look as if it has a centre back seam, but mine don't. It's a little difficult to tell sometimes with Lekala patterns as the instructions are variable and it is a straight edge, so I just assumed it was to be cut on fold :-) It is really basic with Kimono sleeves and just the little detail on the neck line. I lowered the neckline on the majority of the shirt by about an inch to highlight the detail, because I felt that it got a bit lost on the black version from Wednesday.

Monday: it's a dark grey slinky jersey, either cotton or rayon, with lowered neck line. I was going on a fieldtrip with my son that required long pants, in 38 degree heat, traipsing around the bush and looking at bark. One girl fainted and when I tried half-heartedly to persuade my group to look at the final tree, they plain out refused since they had planted themselves down in a shady spot and weren't going to move.

Tuesday: royal blue plain cotton jersey ordered from years ago with lowered neck line and moved the detail to the other side, cause, you know, variety is the spice of life.

Bonus Me-Made refashioned skirt from a man's t-shirt

Wednesday: black cotton jersey with original neckline and the skirt is my most successful me made item of all times: the not so mummy skirt. It's been worn every week at least once for the last 2 years and the fabric has held up fabulously.

Thursday: also from the black cotton jersey (left-overs from Wednesday) with lower neck line and the detail in the other side. The skirt started it's life as a man's t-shirt as well :-)

Friday: grey cotton jersey, a little bit more substantial than the other's thus holds it's shape better.

I think it might be my favourite summer t-shirt pattern yet. Also my next years resolution will be to take better pictures, because I think I committed about all the deadly sins of posting blog pictures in this post alone, but hey on the bright side I used 5 meters of fabric and done 2 refashions :-)

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

the Julia Cardi

Hmmm, it's 35 degrees in Brisbane and what do I sew? A cardigan. It's not a flimsy one either, oh no, it's made from a black double layered Jersey, so the shawl bit it not only double layered, it has in fact 4 layers.

The fabric was always destined to become a cardi and I love the Julia Cardigans that I have seen around, so there we are ... a black thick cardigan just as Brisbane starts to sweat :-)

I realise now as I am posting these pictures that wearing a black top under the black cardi really really didn't help 'showcase' the cardi ... sigh.

I chose the 3/4 length sleeve option with band and the double layered shawl and I just squeezed it out of 2m of fabric.

I made size M so that I have the option later to add a concealed button to the front to close it in winter. I followed the instructions mostly except for the shawl bit where I top stitched the seams down both at the edge and where the shawl gets attached to the main cardigan. It was necessary I think, because it is a double layered jersey and the seam where the shawl is attached to the main body is very thick (think 6 layers of jersey).

It's a lovely (relatively quick) make and the cardigan will come in handy ... when it cools down a little :-)

Friday, 14 November 2014

Oliver & S Sunny Day Shorts and BONUS (belated) Halloween post :-)

I have been trying to think of a witty post title, but ... nothing. Anyway, my son required new sleep shorts and when Oliver & S released their new(ish) free Sunny Day Shorts pattern I was keen to try it out RIGHT AWAY. I printed and taped it the very same day it was released, picked the fabric, all set to go ... hmmm, now several months later, I have finally finished them. There are 2 of them, but they look almost identical really.

Since they are sleep pants I eliminated the side seams, by simply taping both pattern pieces together. Luckily I didn't bother cutting off the seam allowance, because, although according to the size chart he would be a size 10, I thought I make the 12 to give it a longer life and despite essentially adding an extra inch to each leg by not cutting off the seam allowance, it is far less roomy and in my opinion fits just right. Maybe I have truly acclimatised to Australia and now everything has to be baggy :-) I changed the second pair slightly in that I straightened out the inside leg seam so the I could do flat-felled seams without issue.

I think overall they fit wonderfully and I have the desire to make him a couple of 'daywear' ones with pockets, maybe for Christmas :-)

Bonus Blog Post :

I intended to post this refashion the day after Halloween, but it didn't happen, so I thought I might just tag it on here. Halloween is a big thing in our house. Next to Christmas and Birthdays, it is a definite countdown-worthy favourite.

4 weeks prior to H: 'Mummy, I am going to be a witch this Halloween' ... 'Alright dear'
2 weeks prior to H: 'I am going to be the awesomest witch ever' ... 'The awesomest, of course'
1 week prior to H: 'I'll be all in black, with a long dress and my hat and broom stick' ... 'Sure'

Sadly, although I remember every bit of these conversations, it didn't really penetrate until the day before Halloween that my pink and butterfly loving 5 year old needed a long black dress that wouldn't just materialise in her wardrobe. I was still debating whether to dash into Spotlight at 8pm when I suddenly remembered an old maternity dress that was a lovely black Jersey, but had stretched out in bust area and I couldn't wear it anymore.

In the morning of Halloween I cut out 2 simple bodice pieces from the back (the front wasn't really usable) and I just hoped that the stretch factor would hide any and all fitting issues. I used clear swimwear elastic to stabilise the shoulder seams as I have seen this done in RTW clothes and as that was readily available at my local spotlight, I have used it ever since I sewed with Jersey and so far the shoulder seams have stayed put ... Instead of finished the neckline and arms off with a band, I took a page out of Tilly and the Button's book and simply turned the edge over and finished it with a zigzag stitch ... my word, black is hard to photograph.

I then took what was left of the dress, gathered it to fit the bodice and attached it again with using the clear swimwear elastic as stabiliser.

The end result is pretty awesome actually. She loves it. She has worn it almost every day since I made it.

Anyway, speaking of Tilly, I am very tempted by her new Francoise Dress pattern, not sure whether it is actually the dress or whether it is simply that the dress on the front of the envelope is yellow and I SOOOOOOO want a yellow dress ...

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Blueberry Crepe

well, I went with the Crepe from Colette Patterns and it actually didn't turn out too bad. I have altered every dart and seam by now and that alone has prevented me from purchasing more Colette patterns. See I don't mind doing muslins and getting some fit issues, but I just seem to struggle with this pattern and this is classed an easy one ... sigh

I originally thought of making the sash white, but I actually wanted to have a fun little dress that I can wear daily, not too fancy, and I thought that this would be better achieved in the sash blended in. Otherwise it would look too much like a bridesmaid dress.

It took a little longer then planned and I have come away for a distinct loathing of facings (last time I lined it), in fact I would prefer to never have to do facings again in my life, because they NEVER SEEM TO STAY where they are supposed to, despite interfacing and understitching ...

The fabric is a cotton poplin from Spotlight's Spots and Stripes range. I really like that range, it wears and washes well, the colours don't run (not sure why colours of the picture above came out wrong, but it's the only one I have for the back), it keeps both it crispness and size. I did quite a few things for the children from that range and they put it through the wringer and it came out on top.

I wonder how well this dress would work with a jersey fabric ... hmmm :-)

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

lots of sewing and nothing to show for

SIGH ...

the stash is overflowing thanks to some well meaning people giving me stuff that they don't need anymore and me buying some more. I really have to go through it all and THROW STUFF OUT, because instead of inspiring it is making me want to run away from it as fast as possible. Some of it was purchased before I started sewing, before I had any idea about what fabric composition and what I like to sew with and wear. Other fabric was given to me and I really don't need to keep everything people give me, doubly so if it's actually stuff that was given to them by somebody else ... sigh again.

I do have some big projects lined up actually.

Firstly, I am going to make some work trousers for my husband. I picked the Jochen pants from Burda for no other reason then price. I had no great expectation regarding the instructions and there was little surprise. For example I thought that basting was temporary, but the instructions tell you to baste the sides and if you think that that is to check the fit or whatever ... well, you'd be wrong ... it just uses term basting instead of sewing it seems :-)

The front pocket piece looks weird, but I ended up drafting my own using the exiting workpants as a guide and my husband is really happy with the new pocket ... yeay. Thanks to Grainline's Studio's fly front tutorial the fly worked out okay ... double yeay.

I am still debating what to do with the single welt pockets on the back, because the fabric is a double layered twill thus quite substantial, so in addition to my inexperience with these type of pockets I wonder whether it wouldn't be too bulky. When checking with Mr Giggles, he pointed out that he's never used those back pockets before and that he's never noticed the back pockets on other guys work pants before, cause he apparently 'doesn't spend his time at work checking out other guy's backsides ... who knew, right ???

Anyway, I am mentally preparing myself for muslin #2 to give myself another chance to practice on a cheaper fabric.

Secondly my daughter requested a 'Frozen' costume for Christmas, so once more I have considerable amounts of tulle and other costume fabric laying about. I went looking for the fabric now just in case it would need to be ordered from the US, but my local Spotlight had everything right down to the snowflake sheer costume overlay.

The cutting lady was saying that it was flying off the shelves and she wondered why, but it all made sense when I mentioned Frozen and Queen Elsa.

Also my son needs new shorts. He's gained some weight and feels bad about it and I think some new clothes that are not too tight would go some way to alleviating his fears. He's at the age where boys seem to grow outwards and then upwards. The boys in his year are all still boys and a bit chubby, but the boys a couple of years ahead of them are starting to become men and are all significantly taller and thus slimmer. It seems like yesterday when I was afraid I might break him just putting on his clothes after he was born and now he is approaching my size ... awwww

Before starting all this though I wanted to have a quick satisfying project for myself. I was tempted by another Colette Crepe dress, but I am still struggling to get the bodice to fit right. I think one issue is that it clearly has wearing ease, but when I wrap something, I don't tend to leave an inch or 2, cause then I think it'll fall off. Since making the dress the last time I have lost some weight around my bust, so despite all the previous alterations it is still too big. I have now started anew with a US size 2 bodice, but I am starting to have doubts about this project, because it is clearly not quick or easy. Add to that the fact that I always think wrap dress are nice, but in the end don't actually wear them. The original Crepe dress I have worn twice, maybe. On the other hand I bought the fabric specifically for this dress a couple of years ago and I think it would look really nice.

So in short ... lots of sewing muslins and not much to show anybody :-)

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Jaywalk Plantain

when Tessuti announced it's Jaywalk competition I was quite excited. Not because I wanted to enter the competition, but because the jersey was half price and it was my chance to get some good quality jersey for 10 dollars a meter. It was my Easter gift to myself :-)

I really wanted to try the Plantain pattern from Deer & Doe, so I thought it would be a great match ...
well ... the match between pattern and fabric and giggles was not made in heaven.

The pattern itself is good - great even, the fabric itself is good as well, but my perfectionism and the stripes and the sleeves did not match at all. As a last resort I used a band so it is now more of a tank top ... something I never wear in Queensland. I tried with the sleeves, several times in fact, but it's a 4-way stretch and it really bothered me that I couldn't match it at all. In fact it was driving me absolutely mad. Actually, it is quite ridiculous that it does that to me as I have plenty RTW shirts that don't match at all and I still love the clothes.

I have plenty more of the fabric so I will make a cap sleeve dress at some point where I will use fusible web or some special glue that I recently bought to stabilise the seams, but for now I am putting it aside.

UPDATE: on the wearability side it is actually a great layering piece for winter -  something I hadn't considered before. So I am now much more positive about the whole thing :-)

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

back from the wedding - the PINK reveal

The dress was done and I was very tempted to post it here when I finished it, but, on the off chance that my sister remembers this blog, I couldn't post the final pictures as it was meant as a surprise for her. Although the dress is not perfect by any means, I do consider it my masterpiece in sewing so far.

I was all set to chose the turquoise sash, had it cut and everything and then my husband said 'You know my Giggles, if you can't wear a pink sash with pink ribbons and rhinestones when you are 5, when can you wear it' ... and he was right ... she loves pink and everything that glitters and sparkles ... she chose the fabric and the embellishments ... her face lit up when she saw the sash being worked on ... needless to say we used the pink sash and it was her 'favouritest dress ever'.

I ended up taking 3 inches of the length of the bodice and love the end result. Yes, the sides seems don't really line up anymore, but they are covered by the sash so no one will know.

I finished it off with a layered hem that shows the lining as well giving it a bit of contrast. The petticoat goes well with it I though, but it is not necessary. On the day there was some comparison with the other flower girl and although butterflies (on the dress of the other flower girl) are a favourite in our house as well, the pink dress won hands down.

I wore the Dragonfly Dress and I was glad I made it larger, because I spend the 3 weeks before the wedding in Germany eating my weight in cake and ice cream without having to worry whether the dress will fit :-)

As we come to the end of the pink journey and can't help feeling a little sad. The fabric was a joy to sew with. I think all this pink just made me happy. Perhaps I should be looking into making something pink for myself. Whilst it is not my colour (much like yellow perhaps) it would cheer me up every time I wear it and I think every woman needs a few clothes like that :-)

Monday, 30 June 2014

the pink odyssey continues

I finished the bodice and the skirt section ... decided to line both instead of the facings ... chose to gather the skirt section rather then pleating it ... had the girl try it on ... and ... found a problem ... sigh

The bodice is too long, substantially too long, like 2 or 2.5 inches too long, too long to ignore too long. It looks too much like a dirndl and since the wedding is in Germany, I really want to avoid that comparison. I can't unpick it, because I have already trimmed the seam and with the gathering I would have to redo the lot, so I think I will just it in and sew it to the skirt section. It does look that long on the pattern envelope actually, but somehow it didn't look that long in the muslin, but that was without the skirt section weighing it down. Never mind, once the lining is sewn in place nobody will know :-)

Also I did the sash. My daughter picked the trims and I am now having second thoughts about the sash. It's over the top, she loves it, but I am thinking that aside from the 'overthetopness' it is not wide enough. I think it should be double the width. I could add a couple of layers of the pink lawn behind it and widen it that way, but that might be too much bulk.

Also I am questioning the colour choice. Maybe instead of the pale pink I should go for more contrast, like this turquoise linen remnant in my stash.

Maybe instead of attaching a sash permanently I should just hand stitch it on at the very end ... hmm, lots of food for thought.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

pink, glorious pink - Part 1

In order to placate my daughter for god-only-knows-what about 3 weeks ago I took her to Spotlight and said she could pick out some fabrics for a dress to wear to my sisters wedding. She went straight to the costume section and brought back some fairy-tale princess dress in white polyester with the words 'Look Mummy, isn't this pretty? And you don't have to sew a thing'  .... hmm, not the idea that I was going for, but we eventually had a look at patterns for princess dresses and some fabric. She 'settled' for this Lisette sateen.

We hadn't found a pattern yet, so I bought 1.5 meters in the hope that it would be enough. A week later we finally agreed on Burda 9696.

Now, having never worked with actual paper Burda patterns, I didn't know what to expect. I was frustrated to no end at the store that the envelope back did not have a clarification for the sizes, neither did the instruction sheet inside. It said sizes 2-7 on the envelope, but no measurements. Later I found the sizes printed on the onion paper - by the time you unfold the onion paper you should already know which size you are going for.. Since my daughter is 5, but small for her age, I thought it would be safe to go with it. Well, turns out she is actually a 7-8 for Burda patterns. Also this pattern has very little in terms of ease. It was doubly annoying, because the pattern she really liked started from a size 8 and I thought it would be miles to big. It also meant that my fabric was going to stretched to the max, because a size 7 requires more then a size 5, not a lot, but some.

I also picked up some plain pink cotton lawn as contrast and for the petticoat some tulle. All in all I had 4.5 meters of fabric, it seemed plenty. However, once I started cutting things, I had to go back and get a further 2 meters of the pink lawn and I used some half a meter of cotton broadcloth I had in my stash. So all together this dress consumed 7 meters of fabric and only half a meter came from my stash ... sigh ... and it's not finished yet.

On the plus side I have 'graduated' from 'really easy' and 'easy' patterns to 'middle/average'. Yeay me ...

I started with the petticoat  and she loves it ...

There are French seams and the tulle gathering is completely enclosed by fabric as to not irritate her sensitive little legs ... please take note that she can put up with all sort of itches and scratches from the aforementioned polyester costumes (even though we didn't buy that one, we do own a great many of them), but other clothes irritate her to no end. I blame her father, he never liked wearing clothes - or shoes, in fact, he didn't wear shoes really until he went to high school (can only happen in North Queensland, everywhere else in the world you'd suffer from frostbite) - and we only just managed to get her to the point that she will wear at least undies when interacting with other people :-)

Onwards with the dress now ...

Sunday, 8 June 2014

The Hollyburn Intermission Skirt

I actually drafted this blog post in February, which is when the skirt was finished to the point that it only needed to be hemmed ... I finally hemmed it a week ago. I loath hemming, it is my least favourite bit of sewing, mostly because I feel like it I mess it up I have ruined all this work. I am being unrealistic there though, because looking at my RTW clothes, they are not hemmed perfectly either and NOBODY notices. Sigh ... my perfectionism ruins it all a bit.

I sewed this skirt mostly in January during my 'down with the UFO's' time whenever I got fed up with my UFOs. It's a heavy linen in raspberry that was part of my remnant haul from the fabric store for Christmas. I hadn't actually realised when I bought it that it was quite as heavy as it was. Originally it was supposed to be a dress for my daughter. I am not very good at judging fabrics and fabric weights and just what it'll look like after washing, but I guess that'll come with time. The fabric was only 70cms long, but about 140cms wide so I managed to squeeze a Hollyburn skirt minus the pockets out of it. The pockets are from a Kaffe Fassett fat quarter -  and I had all I intentions of having a close-up picture, but alas the camera problem persists.

We have this beautiful quilting store Peppermint Stitches just down the road from me and it is a lovely store that never ceases to make me feel good. I like to just browse, but occasionally I will pick up a fat quarter on an impulse. The problems is that those fat quarters are just languishing in my stash with little hope of usage really. They just get totally lost amongst everything else really, but when I run out of fabric for the pockets I rummaged through the stash in the hope of finding something to go with the linen and I think this fits perfectly :-)

Overall I am still not quite sure about the Hollyburn skirt. I have been following the Wardrobe architect series over at Coletterie and realistically I think I prefer wearing the type of slimish fitting A-lines skirts like the Butterfly Burda one. It is hard to find the right length for me in this skirt, because I am short and wear flats most of the time. I have 4 Hollyburn skirts overall and I do wear them frequently, but when someone compliments me on one of them I am always a bit taken aback, because I feel like they don't suit me as well as some other skirts. Maybe I am just Hollyburned out and with a bit of time I will gain perspective and fall in love with the pattern again :-)

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

the girl with the dragonfly dress

Not the most original blog title, but it was either that or 'how I made this dress yet again'

This started out as a potential Easter dress and an experiment. I wanted to see whether I could make a dress in a week. Well ... as I am posting it now when I believe we are in fact fast approaching Pentecost ... it can safely be said that whilst I might be able to make a dress in a week, I was unable to make this dress in a week.

I hadn't set myself up to fail as I made this dress twice before in exactly this kind of fabric (cotton poplin), yet somehow I had little stumbling blocks with the bodice and then there was a fabric fault in one of the skirt panels, which I obviously only found after I sewed the skirt section, so that needed to be recut and refrenchseamed. Also, what was I thinking of trying this the week before Easter with both children on school holidays, not really, not exactly sewjo inducing atmosphere.

As this is the third version of this dress, I should probably look and expand my horizon, but I think I have 1 more version of this dress in me. Perhaps I should go a size down next time as I fitted this one when I was 8 kilos heavier and it is a tad roomy now. I actually thought about this before I made this one, but as I intend to wear it to my sisters wedding (unless she tells me it is not fancy enough) I thought having a bit of room to eat an extra piece of cake might not be a bad thing ... not that I am greedy ... just sayin' :-)

PS.: the more that I look at the pictures (especially the ones I didn't post), the more I am becoming convinced I should try and take it in a little after the wedding, but we will see. Reality is that I am not a fan of a lot of ease, but some people have complimented me on the other 2 versions of this dress and said how well the fitted me, so I was left wondering whether I always fitted things too tightly and that a little extra ease would actually look better on me. However, looking at the pictures for the back, there are now fabric folds indicating extra fabric whereas previously it fitted just right. It could also be that these pictures were taking with my phone in a hurry (because my camera has no batteries and I finished this dress 2 weeks ago) and that they are simply not the best pictures and there is nothing wrong with the dress as it is fitted ... sigh

Monday, 2 June 2014

why I fail at MMM

Me-Made-May ... sigh ... I actually signed up this year ...

I pledged to wear 5 me made things each week ... I wore on average 6. So 'what is the problem' I hear you ask ...

Well, it's the pictures, I think. I took pictures for about 10 days, intending to post them every week, but as the first 'deadline' came and went without a smidgen of a post, my enthusiasm for taking the pictures waned considerably. Then the camera ran out of batteries, then I realised I really only wore the same clothes over and over again, then the second deadline came and went and my sewjo took a nose dive and the machine was starting to gather dust ... eventually I just gave myself permission to quit and carry on as normal and I felt so very relieved.

It is funny, because I do actually wear Me Made items most day, yet I was stressing about it to no end. The lesson that I take away from this particular experiment: If you don't enjoy something that is not necessary for your life, well-being or family, then for goodness sake just stop doing it.

So MMM is joining the ranks of fast-paced sew-alongs and perhaps self-imposed tight deadlines, something to avoid next time around :-)

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Good Karma: Finishing off somebody else's UFO

Every now and then I look at my stash and wonder what would happen if I'd get injured or sick and couldn't do any sewing or knitting or crocheting anymore ... anyways my friend's granny is a lovely 85 year old lady who always has a smile and some jelly beans in her kitchen for any kids that might drop by. She won awards for her quilts, knitted and crocheted beautiful pieces for all her grand and great-grand children, but it all got harder in the last few years. One little granny square knee rug never got finished, so I grabbed some yarn that she had given me a couple of years ago and here it is:

I blocked it with steam as it is acrylic and I was petrified the whole time that I would ruin it, but I didn't accidentally drop the iron and melt the whole thing, so yeay me. It's not truly square, but much better then before, so I call this a win.

Hopefully she'll like it :-)

Thursday, 3 April 2014

skirting around

I feel I have been rather productive in the last months, yet the stash is looking big as always. I read on someone's blog that the size of the stash is always relative to its storage. If you have a lot of space then a well organised stash like below is perfect, whereas if you only have a little space (like me) you have to get creative with storage. I am still working on the ideal storage solution, because at the moment it is all crammed away somewhere and over time I forget what I have.

Anyway, after the maxi skirts I thought I work on some short skirts for myself. I started out drafting a basic A-line skirt, but the result was a little tight to be honest ... and the hem looks a little funny in the pictures for some reason. It is wearable around the house and to the school, but the next one would be bigger.

The next skirt is actually a jersey version of Sewaholic's Hollyburn Skirt. I omitted the pockets although I certainly could have done inseam pockets without problems ... hmm, maybe next time. The jersey itself was a surprise find in my stash. I have no idea how it got there. I realised after washing it that it was probably a polyester blend and judging by the smell it came from a charity shop, so really it was the perfect jersey to use as a muslin.

It is comfortable to wear with a yoga style waistband and took about a hour and a half to make incl cutting .... so super fast for me.

I don't think I have any fabric at the moment to make a 'proper' version right now, but who knows what I'll still discover.