Thursday, 22 September 2016

Simplicity 1280 - A Surprise Winner.

This is my favourite sewing out of my recent projects. It is the cross over top from Simplicity 1280 which is a very popular pattern for good reasons as I have discovered.
I was hesitant about this style because I carry most of my extra fluff around my lower tummy and thought this cross over elasticized top might emphasize it. But I really liked the versions I have seen so gave it a shot anyway.
I used a piece of chiffon which has been hanging around close to a decade ­čś│ . The pattern says you need 1.4 metres  of 1.5 metre wide fabric but I only had 1.25 so I was really happy when I managed to not only squeeze out the  top with this but also lengthened the sleeves to reach my wrists.
The  other change I made was instead of adding elastic to the sleeve hems I made bias binding strips the same width as the neck band to finish off the sleeves. Personally I find this more comfortable than elasticized sleeves but that could be because I cut the elastic too short.

As others have noted it really is a modest top with the deep cross over pieces. It is very easy to sew but you do  need a soft drapey fabric for it to work. The chiffon was perfect for this. I did not sew any extra stitches to secure the fronts because I think that kind of changes the way they fall and I did not find it necessary.  I highly recommend this pattern and also want to try out the other style top included in the pattern.I have included what is a totally useless hanger shot where all details are obscured by the print !

Happy Sewing Janine.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Burda Style Vs Ottobre Design.

Burda skirt , Ottobre top . In real life I will not tuck in the tops .  

I have just recently finished sewing a skirt from Burda Style and a top from Ottobre Design and it was interesting for me to note some differences between the two European sewing magazines .

First up the skirt is from Burda Style September 2012 ( the same one I made my pinafore from ) .
It is a slightly A line skirt with a single inverted front pleat . It does not  have a waist band, is fully lined and has a side zip . There are only two pattern pieces !
The back story to sewing this skirt is a family trip to see our daughter in Queensland. We were standing waiting to board the plane and my eldest and youngest daughter were discussing my clothes - I was wearing an old denim skirt and even older knit top . A lady just in front must have been listening as she turned around looked me  up and down and smiled but in a nice way as she caught my eye . That is when I realised I was being talked about and heard what they were saying . I admit I was feeling pretty frumpy in that skirt so I pledged to make a new denim skirt . I have had the material for yonks - it looks like denim but is not .

 It is so easy to make but I made a change by not lining the skirt and finishing off the waist band with grosgrain - after all who wears a lined denim skirt ! I also added a button tab to top . In the end though my pretend denim skirt is a little scratchy so I may need to wear a petticoat with it ! The upside is that this fabric ironed like a dream - that pleat came up really nice and sharp and sewed easily.

Now the Ottobre top. This the the ` Kimono ` top from the Spring/Summer 2016 Issue. The magazine was for sale at a local newsagent and as I have never seen one before I couldn`t resist buying it. It is another simple garment to make just  having two main pieces and bias binding strips to finish the neck and armholes. It has slightly dropped shoulders , flared sides and front darts. 

I cut the fabric for the top out on a Friday night and sewed it up the next day . It has been a long time since I sewed anything in one day but again the top was so easy to make. The fabric was given to me by my eldest daughter after her travels to Japan 4 years ago. 

Now the comparison between the magazines . The burda patterns are easier to trace as the different sizes have different dots/ dashes to distinguish them. The ottobre patterns are all the same coloured solid lines . There were places where it took me a while to work out where to trace the top . Ottobre does include hem allowances but not side seam allowances . The bias binding pieces including all seam allowances were also printed out. Burda does not include any hem or seam allowances and you have to make your own pattern pieces for simple rectangles etc. 
The instructions for the ottobre top were very clear and easy whereas sometimes Burda instructions can be a bit goobledygook. 
The Ottobre magazine cost me $22.50 compared to Burda Style ( I bought one of those too on the same day ) which was $17.50 . There are more designs in the Burda and the patterns in Ottobre seemed quite basic . Lots of basic shift dresses which I already have patterns for .I did like another peplum type top in the Ottobre , a pleated dress/jumpsuit and some pants . There was also a useful T shirt which I will make up some day. 
Overall I prefer the Burda and  will need a bit convincing to buy another Ottobre magazine . 

Lastly I would like to thank my photography assistants for today - the supervisor and the photographer`s socks. 

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

How to Use Your Precious Fabric - Just Do It !

My latest project was totally inspired by the board on Pattern Review  discussing using our precious fabric. My coral / red / cream tweedy boucle is with no doubt my best fabric .I love the colours and  the texture and to top it off , it was my souvenir from my one and only trip to France in 2013 . 
I always thought to make a skirt using a TNT pattern but when I laid out the pattern pieces there was so much more fabric than I thought . The fabric was 150 cm wide ( I thought it was 120cm ) and the shopkeeper had been generous with the cut giving me extra ! This was good and bad news because it meant I had to rethink the whole project and make a muslin . 
I already have a handmade winter work  version of a pinafore which I wear heaps and this gave me the idea to make a warm weather one . 

 I chose this pinafore from September 2012 Burda Style ,a ripper of an  issue . So many patterns I want to make from it .  It has a deep V neck with front bust darts and inset pockets . The top part is lined .
I made only two changes . I lengthened the skirt pieces and opted to fully line the garment . 

I was very lucky and found some matching lining fabric at the opshop . It had pura seta printed on the selvedge and when I googled this found it meant silk in Italian - bonus ! 
The pinafore was very easy to sew and as the V neck is deep there is no need for a zip to get it on and off . I love the little bonus front pockets but if I make this again I would make the pockets deeper although I can  store a hanky in them. 

 This was a great project to follow up my coat which took ages to sew . I really do not know why I put off sewing my precious Parisian  fabric for so long because once I cut into it , it was really easy . So if you have any fabrics which you are saving because it is so special then I encourage you to just do it - go cut it out and sew it up.  

I will  finish with another picture of my babies - they are getting bigger .The lamb in the background with the brown head and white body ( I call her ChocTop ) is only 2 1/2 weeks older than the twins ( but twice as big ) . 
Happy Sewing Janine. 

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Vintage Style Burda Boule Coat - Finally !

My first hand sewn  coat .  I started this in May so I am more than relieved to be finished .
I seem to be on a bit of vintage kick this year and I fell heavily for the coat on the cover of Burdastyle 12/2011 .  I convinced myself that if I only make one coat why not do something totally different.
The coat is described as having a boule silhouette with 3/4 sleeves . The eye catching insert hides the snap fasteners. The sleeves are in two pieces being extensions of the upper fronts/ back . Inseam pockets are included.

I constructed the coat using all materials sourced from the op shop - from the magazine to the outer fabric , lining , interfacing , satin contrast and snaps !  Who says sewing has to be expensive ?  Admittedly I collected the stuff over many years - the outer wool blend has been waiting for 8 years and initially I was going to make a suit but this coat is far more interesting .

Surprisingly for Burda the instructions were understandable but as this was my first coat I also did some research especially about what pieces to interface , attaching the lining and the hand sewing of hems  . . Once the flouncey insert  was constructed and inserted into the front, the coat was relatively easy to sew . Last post I showed photos of how the flounce was constructed. Inserting the flounce required some care . I thread trace the corners of the coat front to allow accurate sewing and make it easier to see where you are sewing . I sew the along one edge then stop . Snip to the corner of the seam allowance but not too close and then sew along the other edge. This means you can get a really nice looking sharp corner.

I did change the edge finishing of the flounce . Burda said to top stitch along the seam allowance and then trim close to here. However I am never comfortable with unfinished seams ( even on knits that do not ravel ! ) so I did a rolled edge on my overlocker .I  left off the snap at the top of the flounce so this upper corner just flops down and  I also did not cover the snaps because you can not see them and it was the last step and I was getting impatient to finish and wear the coat . I added extra interfacing to the coat - to the front , hems , front facings and upper back and upper sleeves but apart from these changes made the coat as described.

Obligatory flashing the lining with mouth open wide shot. 

To make the coat something that is more me I used a dark navy blue  wool blend . The front insert is left over fake silk dupioni from my suede flounce skirt and not as shiny as it looks in the photos. I am ridiculously pleased with using the dupioni. It was only one metre and 112 cm wide - not enough a single garment - so really required some creative thought on how to use it . To think I was going to send it back to the op shop a few times in the past. I do not have very many lining fabrics and there was only one other choice - a navy floral silk - but I thought that might get made into an outer garment so the bright red garish silk it was ( this is actually genuine silk - a lucky find ) .

I am certainly glad to be finished - I tend to get impatient when things take longer than a few weeks to sew but I am determined to not have UFOs so just keep on .
I will leave you with some photos of  what else has been taking up my free time - my new babies .

This post is already long but I delivered the white one !  With only 20 minutes until I was meant to be at work I had my arm up the sheep trying to  bring down the second front leg so she could deliver normally . I did it ( and got to work on time ! ) . However my daughter ended up calling the vet to deliver the second black lamb who was also presenting incorrectly .  I used to deliver human babies and what I did to the mother ewe was nothing like I had done to a human - poor thing !

Our entire motley flock.

Happy Sewing Janine. 

Costings - Outer fabric $3.00, flounce fabric $0.25 , lining and interfacing $4.50 , notions - snaps and thread $0.50 and burda pattern- nothing ( costs accounted for previously. Total $8.75.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Fast Fasts , Fabric Stash Busting and a WIP .

I am participating in two groups this year - Pattern Review`s  Fabric Fasting  Forum  and a Facebook Fabric Stash busting Group.  I have been telling myself I have to get some kind of control over my fabrics for years but have been unsuccessful so far . So how am I doing this year ?
Well the fabric fast is a bit of a snort but only a little one . I have bought four pieces of fabric and been given a few as well from Mum and sewing friends . As per usual all my purchased fabrics were from various op shops and included  a Liberty of London print in some kind of soft twill !

The photo above shows from left to right burnout fabric from my friend ( for a Kimono ) , striped patterned georgette from my Mum ( for Simplicity 1280 ?) , peach-apricot silk for a skirt lining , Liberty of London paisley print ( for an infinity scarf ) , red floral cotton voile and a citrus watercolour cotton voile ( both for youngest DD PJs  ) . I will be using the silk for my next project and I intend to make up that infinity scarf quick smart as well so all in all not too bad . ( I have also been informed that gifted fabric does not count towards stashing  )
In terms of fabric stash busting I have used just over 20 metres,  so more out than in !  A success there .
Now I have been sewing too but not as much because my current project is taking sooo long  . I started at the end of May but the end is in sight . It is a vintage styled coat from Burda Style and has a very interesting different looking flounce at the front . I want to show you the evolution of the flounce .

 The above picture shows the flounce pieces cut out and tacked together with the pleats marked out . I have started making the pleats on the right side. Weird looking pattern piece huh ?

 Next up all of the pleats have been formed .

 Now you bring the two sides together , stitching down the middle and  voila !  It really is a little piece of magic . I do not think I have ever seen another pattern piece like it . I have inserted the lining into the outer coat and just need to sew up the hems and attach some large press studs . Hopefully I can get this done before the end of July and the winter weather ( hey it has snowed near where I live a couple of times which hasn`t happened in about 19 years )

Sewing as also been delayed by my new hobby of bike riding - I don`t think I will ever go down the path of sewing fitness wear though  and  hosting a Japanese student . She will be with us until the end of November . Just as one daughter leaves home we fill up the empty spots . Our exchange daughter gave us some KitKats - sake flavoured !  We have also tried green tea flavoured KitKats   ( yum ) and there is sweet potato as well !!

Vive la France .

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Knipmode December 2013 Vest - A Wadder Saved.

I almost forgot about sewing this long line vest last month . It was almost a wadder and  I felt a bit blah about it so put it aside . However I have a policy of trying not to have UFOs . This stems from my childhood and seeing my elder sister with all her UFOs . My sister is 12 years older than me and started on several magnificent projects which as far as I know are still not finished - a huge zebra cross stitch just in black and white ,  an embroidered table cloth with dancing partners in European traditional costumes and a long length burda wool coat just to name a few . So I try to finish up what I am sewing or out it goes  ( having said that I have a handbag cut out from October last year ! )

I used the vest pattern from Knipmode December 2013 . It has dropped kimono type sleeves finished with bands at the sleeves, front and bottom hem.

I really like long line vests - this is now the third one I have - because they are easy to throw on as a top layer , give a little more warmth in winter and are great for covering up bits you want covered up . I used some fabric given to me by a sewing group pal - she had brought in a few pieces to give away from her mother`s stash . This piece was quite long and I liked the gentle blue-grey wavy pattern with a hint of maroon. It is a knit fabric but with no recovery but I thought it would be good for muslins. 
Initially when I sewed up the vest one front side was much longer than the other -wah ! How did that happen ?  I had tried to be careful sewing on the front bands and not stretching anything out of place . I was ready to toss it because it followed on from my other knipmode wadder . However I put the vest aside and a bit later just chopped off the hem band and evened up the bottom . I applied some iron-on stabilizer to the hem and sewed it up.  Ah much better ! So I continued to finish adding on the lined pockets , button holes and buttons. I have since worn it a few times and like it now !

I am now currently working on a Burda vintage Style Coat which has an interesting and quite different flounce at the front . I have sewn the flounce and hoping once this is set into front coat piece that all will go smoothly . Happy Sewing Janine. 

Costings - Fabric - free ! Pattern - Knipmode December 2013 -free ( used before ) . Notions - buttons , thread , iron on hem stabilizer in stash . Total  - Free ! 

Friday, 13 May 2016

Scrap Sewing - Winners and Wadders .

  I might have mentioned I do not like waste and might be a bit of a hoarder when it comes to fabric scraps . Sometimes Mum also gives me little pieces like the blue patterned  cotton voile  fabric above. There was only 80 cms and I accidentally found an even smaller  piece of blue in my scrap bag which matched really well when I was searching for something else  . It was left over stretch cotton from making my husband a shirt for Christmas 2 or 3 years ago .

I really wanted to make New Look 6187 after seeing some versions on the internet and was able to squeeze this  top out using the two scraps . I used the plain blue for the yoke and tunic back and the pattern for the front yoke and sleeves.

I altered the pattern slightly - 3/4 sleeves because I did not have enough material for the full length and I extended the yoke pattern so I could make a button placket instead of a button/ loop closure. Also instead of using a facing for the yoke and tunic back I managed to eke out some bias binding to finish off the neckline.

Always times for pats in our house.

OK onto the next scrap busting project.  One late insomnia filled night I was perusing Pinterest ( not very good for actually helping one to get back to sleep BTW ) and saw a picture of a sewing machine pocket pad . Brilliant ! If I had a dollar for every time I have knocked my tape measure behind my sewing table then I would  have lots of dollars . I was seriously considering making another scrap top with this checked / little Japanese girl fabric but again only had 80 cms . Well for this project I had plenty of material and I also managed to save myself from making a dubiously appropriate shirt and I have a place for my errant tape measure ( and quick unpick /  little scissors/ glasses /secret chocolate stash ) . I was pretty happy with the result so I sewed two more for my Mum and a friend using all stash fabric, wool wadding and bias binding .

Well they are the winners :)
Now for the wadder :(
I had lots of black based scraps ranging in age from just last year to 10 years old . I wanted to use my Knipmode magazines and found a windcheater where the fronts and backs  consist of  3 pieces each  . I had enough of the various scraps but did not have a good feeling from the start of the sewing . I got the point of the hems and adding a neck band but OH in capitals . Gosh seriously ugly.  Too many fabrics  ,  too many differing textures and thicknesses  , too big , sleeves too dropped .  Most of the failure is my fault but the sweater is seriously oversized and the sleeves very low .

This photo does not do justice to how ugly the top is . Oh well  , I gave it a try and no big loss. However Bruna I do think you are right and these scraps should have been in the bin long ago.
I am off to lick my wounds now and have cut out a Kwik Sew camisole pattern - quick , easy, needed  and made before so I know it will be a success .
Happy Sewing Janine. Costings : Fabric remnants free in stash. Pattern - $3.00 . Buttons and thread in stash. Total - $ 3.00