Saturday, 3 October 2015

Scrap Skirt One - The ( Faux ) Luxe Version .

I`m continuing on with clearing out scraps . I don`t like waste and  also find it a creative challenge to make the most with what I have.   I have had a small piece of ( faux silk )  satin in my cupboard for a looong time that was just not big enough to do anything with .It was starting to bug me what I could use it for .  For some reason I thought it might make a nice skirt flounce . I pulled out my navy blue fabrics and found the best match was with the ( faux ) suede a leftover from making my Mum a pair of pants and matching sleeveless jacket 13 years ago !
I then found three flounce skirt patterns but chose one from Burda April 2005 - this is the same issue that has the twist top that was really popular 10 years ago .
I changed the skirt a bit - it had a zip on the side and the skirt front had a centre seam with a split at the bottom. I changed the skirt so the back had a centre seam allowing the zip and split to be in the back.

I finished the skirt last week and was able to wear it out a couple of nights later to Hamlet at the local Arts Centre . I wore it with the navy charmeuse top I sewed earlier in the year and felt quite appropriately dressy and swishy . Unfortunately though it did not help me understand Shakespeare any easier although by the second half I worked out the plot . ( I didn`t study Hamlet at school - we did Macbeth and The Merchant of Venice ) .

I am in the midst of making another scrap skirt - this will be more a day / casual version but it is taking a bit longer because I am going to embellish it  . And there is  still some suede/ satin fabric leftover which I am hoping will be enough for a bag !
Happy Sewing Janine.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

The Essential LRS - New Look 6896.

LRS being The Little Red Skirt.
Earlier this year I sewed up a really old stash inhabitant , the pink and blue plaid , and I love the end result. This got me thinking about other similarly elderly pieces of fabric. I do not subscribe to the theory that she who dies with the most fabric wins . I think about the lost opportunities , unfulfilled sewing dreams and not to mention the plain waste of resources . So I feel a bit ashamed to admit that I have  more 20 + year old fabric  languishing in my cupboard.
 This red crepe was actually a two metre  remnant ! I originally bought 5 metres to make a 3/4 length dress with multiple gores - very much a look at me dress - so not me ! I ditched that plan and  sewed another dress up but it was what I now know to be a wadder . I did wear it but  my sewing was less than stellar so I  turfed it after just a few uses.

I was skimming through pattern review a few weeks ago and saw a really lovely looking skirt . I then googled more images of the same pattern made up and the cogs started slowly turning until bingo I realised this would be a great way to use my red crepe . However after accumulating sewing treasures for 30 years I  knew I would have a similar pattern in my collection.

I found New Look 6896 in my French pattern magazine which was very much what I wanted . I really like this magazine because although I do not know the french language all the patterns have clear construction diagrams which are helpful in trickier areas.
The skirt is a simple wide yoked semi-circle style with belt carriers and pockets . The zip is on the side which was the only real difficulty because I added pockets from another view to my skirt .
I used some tips I found in a Vogue magazine to hem the skirt - first sewing a long gathering stitch to gently bring in some of the fullness of the hem before hand sewing the hem in place . I then removed the gathering stitches , gave the hem a press and it looks pretty invisible to me ! I added some cotton tape to the top of the yoke to stabilise this area and I think this does help a lot .

I have so many tops that coordinate with this skirt that it is a wonder that I never thought before  this was an essential garment to have !

I have worn my new skirt with a new top as well using  a long narrow remnant that Mum gave me . I used Kwik Sew 2695 which has become a favourite pattern to use up small pieces of fabric . It is so quick and easy but I managed to make more than one mistake in sewing this up . And now I have just realised looking at these photos that I have achieved the dreaded bulls eye effect so I don`t know if I will keep it or not now.
As I was sewing up my red crepe I felt quite pleased to be using up all my really old fabric until I realised that no there are still a couple of pieces left that are 20+ years ! So I predict a denim tunic coming into my life in the near future but the other piece is only good for night wear so that will probably reach its silver anniversary.

Happy sewing , Janine.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

A Bloggy Catch Up and Ramblings about Fabric .

It is a lovely Sunday morning here - the rain has stopped ( our sheep at one stage had their own personal olympic sized swimming pool with a Murray River run off in their paddock  - I put a stop to their backstroke lessons when I unclogged the roadside drain ) and it is sunny.
I have had my breakfast carefully supervised by my food taster . If he does not drop dead one millisecond after eating my toast ( multigrain BTW )  prepared for me by my husband then I proceed to enjoy. My fitness instructor has taken me for a walk. The fitness involved depends entirely on how many fitness instructors have preceded us. Sometimes we need to inspect every single blade of grass and other times a quick sniff of some select trees and fence posts will suffice. Now my bodyguard will allow me to sew whilst he pretends to curl up and sleep . However I see him opening a single eye now and again to check for any potential assassins .

This year I was making a concerted effort to really sew down my fabric stash/ collection / hoard or whatever you want to call it. I made a policy that if I bought fabric then I would HAVE to sew it up straight away.

This policy works really well. I bought the mesh knit for my knipmode scarf top  from my previous post .
I bought this cream cable rib knit above  for my practice run for my black lace bonded knit . The bust darts are too low and the sleeves are too short but I was happy otherwise.

I bought this border print from an op shop - a bare one metre and sewed up Simplicity 4368 again . This is such a nifty little pattern - to be able to get a top with sleeves from such little fabric ( I use size 12 )  . However it seems the fabric buying policy expired in late July.
My excuse is my daughter had an exam in a regional town a couple of hours away. I rarely go there and I had 3  1/2 hours to spare . So I went and looked at an op shop . And found a mother lode of fabric . In the end I limited it to just under 20 metres - taupe  tropical wool, cream rayon, floral dotted swiss , cream rib stretch, cotton-silk ( I think ) floral , lemon and rust coloured crepe de chines and a pale grey mystery . Yes so in one swell swoop I bought the amount of fabric it has taken me to sew for the year . Sigh - there is always next year yes ?

I will finish with a word about my  food taster / fitness instructor / bodyguard. Just in case you are jealous or think he is perfect , well he is not . I have given him several dissertations on how to make the perfect cup of tea. He knows the theory well but has yet to put it to practice.

Happy Sewing Janine.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Knipmode Scarf Top -October 2010.

This top really matches our rammed earth wall !

 I have been gradually getting through my unused magazine patterns . This is the scarf top from the supplementary magazine included with Knipmode October 2010. One of the delightful surprises I received when I first bought my Knipmodes was that sometimes they came with an extra small magazine with lots more patterns . I can imagine myself making every pattern in this booklet .
I was attracted to this pattern because I really liked the scarf neckline , the blouson shape and hip hem bands.

I used a mesh knit in purples and browns - the pattern states you need 1.7 metres but I only had 1.5 metres. I was just able to cut this pattern out but the scarf is slightly narrower than designed. The top was very easy to make except I was not exactly sure where to start the scarf attachment at the neckline . Initially I attached it at the right  shoulder but this meant the loose hanging end was too short so I had to unpick all my overlocking and stitching and  start again at the left shoulder. This was much better but I think I may have stretched the neckline because mine looks much lower than what is shown on the models. Ah well I am still overall happy with the top but it means I will always have to wear a camisole with it  and it  reveals more of  my bony chest than I would like  .

I have tried to capture a closer photo of the scarf . It is kept in place by a little loop of fabric sewn to the left side of the front. I discovered this top matches quite well with my faux suede skirt that I sewed over 10 years ago and have not worn !  The skirt was cut from leftovers of a suit I made that I did wear heaps and wore out but for some reason I have never worn this but also never took it to the opshop . So this is a double sewing win .
Happy sewing Janine.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

McCalls 2401 - Ponte - A Whole New World.

Bleary eyed photos -I have to grab a photographer when I can and in this case it was quite early in the morning . 

I love experimenting with different fabrics and patterns . I have seen so many ponte dresses and skirts which looked fabulous so I wanted to try sew with this new to me fabric too. I also have read that ponte can pill with only a few wearings/ washings . When I sew I want my clothes to last many many years not just one or two seasons . I have had good luck with fabrics bought from Knitwit in Western Australia so when I received an email about their pontes and saw a patterned one that really appealed to me I bought it ( late last year with my footy tips competition money !) It is the Daniela print and is a rayon blend ponte ( which I read tends to be better quality ) . It is plain black on the inside and a purple /bronze abstract print on the right side ( and still available last time I checked ).

I have never sewed with ponte before so I did some research on what I should be doing . I find Emma one Sock ( link here - ) has excellent advice on sewing with fabrics .  Ponte is like double knit but with stretch so apart from using a pattern designed for wovens in all other respects I treated the fabric as a stretch fabric.
I used a ballpoint needle and sewed with a slight zigzag stitch .The website also suggested stabilising the neckline with some light weight stay tape  and the shoulder seams with bias knit interfacing . I used  the  selvedge edge  from  silk for the stay tape as suggested .

The pattern I used  is McCalls 2401- a slim fitting sheath dress  . This is a very popular pattern which has been around for a long time and still also currently available in the pattern catalogues . I eliminated the back zip and used a button/ loop closure . I also made 3/4 sleeves which was easy to adapt from the provided long sleeve pattern . I hand sewed all the hems.

Normally I steer away from form fitting clothes but with the ponte I think it was easier to get a good fit . There is some excess fabric above the bust near the armscye and it feels / looks a little thick with the neckline facing but overall I am pretty happy with the result and will be willing to try more slim fitting clothes if I find more ponte that I like.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Not A Knitter, So A Sewer .

I  don`t really like to knit all that much although I am very tempted when I see my friend knitting beautiful socks and knitting jumpers from wool she has spun and dyed herself- incredible !
My last knitting effort was abysmal .I spent one year knitting the front , the next winter knitting the back and then one winter each for the sleeves. I left my project under the bed for the next winter and took it out and gave to my Mum who kindly sewed up the pieces . The next year I knitted the neck band and the end result was absolutely awful , incredibly daggy and baggy and ugly jumper . Seven years to produce such fugliness.
So whenever I see woolly knitted fabric that I like I buy it.

This fabric was from ClearIt late last year -black floral lace bonded onto off white ribbed knit . I`ve never seen fabric like this before so I scooped up 1.5 metres .

Such beautiful l fabric just needs a simple pattern and I had to go all the way back to a Burda Magazine from 1998 to find what I wanted. I have bought a few old issues of Burda magazines at op shops ( they are a rare find ) but this is the first time I have used one . Just a simple pullover which was very easy. I am very happy with the fit although perhaps not as loose as I wanted but I can easily wear a shirt underneath and that is all I needed.

This jumper only took about three sewing sessions -perhaps three hours and I can honestly say I am pleased with the result. So seven years knitting fugly , three hours sewing satisfaction - is it any wonder I don`t knit !
( PS I am though seriously considering finishing knitting the socks I started in 2010 )


Just updating my personal sewing diary.
One of the things I really enjoy about having a blog is being able to document my sewing endeavours.  Most of my sewing has long disappeared and exists only in my mind. Not that it was spectacular or special just that I sewed it and and can see that I am getting better even if I still know just about zilch on fitting and totally nothing about drafting.
Another thing about having a blog is actually having a photo of myself wearing the clothes which sometimes even includes a back view. There are very few photos of me except on this blog. That doesn't  matter to me at all but it has been interesting to me to see what  clothes , colours  and styles might suit or not. Because that is another thing I am relatively clueless on -style etc.  And until this blog I didn't actually know what my back view looked like ( and perhaps that is information that was better that way ) .

Last month I finished sewing another burda style henley T.
This was a sewing project that I needed ,  not just wanted. A basic cream T .
The fabric is a fine ribbed knit bought on a lovely fabric buying day in November 2013 with the lovely girls from the monthly sewing group ( sadly this year it has been an annual sewing group for me ) . The month before had been a stashbusting sewing month - pure genius ! The fabric was from Rathdowne Remnants and the first piece I have made up from that day ! I thought it would be difficult fabric to handle because it is so fine  but it sewed up quite easily and I was delighted there was just enough to make  another kwik sew singlet as well - hence the two for one blog title .