Wednesday 28 January 2015

left overs from the knit marathon

this is a bit of a collection of bit and pieces that were never big enough to warrant their own post thus got left behind a little.

It was my only UFO of the year 2014: a little night dress for my daughter, already cut out in March, but never got anywhere afterwards. It only took 2 hours and it was done. It is very similar to her birthday dress, except the front is a bit gathered.

It is lovely, especially with the gathered front. Maybe I should make some t-shirts from this pattern once she's outgrown her current size.

Now, for the past 2 years I have been trying to create my own perfect T pattern. It was based on an old worn out t-shirt and the muslin was great, but I never got around to making more. That was 2 years ago ... then ... this last year ... I got this idea 'WHAT IF ... I made it even better and make it cap sleeve and thus eliminate the need to set in sleeves ... wouldn't that be just AWESOME'. Hmm okay, except by then I couldn't remember whether I had added seam allowances to the pattern or not and the next muslin was made with a 'not as stretchy' jersey, so the result was quite tight.

Totally wearable under a jumper and a cardi, but not perfect. We are going to do more testing with this in March (after the next round of birthdays), but this is where we are now.

Finally, I thought I needed a knit mini skirt to wear with some of the more looser tops I own, so this bit of organic bamboo ribbing that feels a bit like ponte worked well. It's self-drafted, which is really a fancy way of saying I drew up a rough shape and because it stretches, it hides any imperfections that might be there.

It could be longer, looking at it critically, but it works for it's purpose and what I am really going to try this year is being less critical of myself :-)

Sunday 18 January 2015

Goodness me - it's already 2015

Where has the time gone ... I still have lots of things to post that I did in December, but never got around to posting ... sigh

I think I am giving myself an amnesty and just post them as I get the pictures done and uploaded :-)

I think I'll pass on the New Year's Resolutions, because I am still working on the ones from last year and this year I have even less time. I have purchased less fabric this past year then before, BUT when I did, I bought more of it. However, according to my motivator, I have sewn 31 items and used 39.5 meters of fabric, so all in all not bad. I have no UFO's this year, another improvement to previous years. I have mended 11 things from the never ending pile and done 8 refashions. There is plenty more where this came from :-)

Although I don't really want to do a hits 'n misses post, I have to point out a surprise hit New Look 6803. It has been worn countless times, it wears well, washes and dries within a couple of hours, it feels like you are not wearing anything and it is not see through ... perfect for Queensland summer ... yes, it is another 35 degree day with some 60% humidity. I wish now that I had marked down all the changes that I made to the pattern so I could easily make another one, but alas since I didn't like the dress when I was making it, there is no record ... live and learn.

I hope you all had a lovely start to the new year.

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.