Monday, 31 October 2011

October 2011 - The Good and The Bad and a Retrospective - Simplicity 2724.

Unfortunately most of October involved work and little play - meaning not much sewing. I finished my Simplicity `Fabric from Hell` Dress and one other simple top which I will blog about later. I am not complaining though because the tragic and terrible health circumstances of my co-workers loved ones meant they could not work and I had to fill in whenever possible.

On a bright note though at the end of October my husband and I had a long weekend in Hobart , Tasmania. This was our first weekend away without children in 18 years ( and previously we have only had 2 other single nights away ) made even better because the trip was free - I was very lucky and won a competition.

The trip included 2 nights accomodation at the Islington Hotel - a small boutique hotel in Hobart and by far the most beautiful , luxurious place we have stayed at , meals and a boat  trip to Bruny Island. We also went to Mona , an amazing art gallery and took a self -guided trip around Battery Point and the city looking at the historical buildings . To make you feel better the weather on the day of the boat trip was appalling and I was very sea-sick although managed not to be sick. At one stage we were surrounded by a ` superpod` of 100 dolphins and I didn`t even care - the view of the horizon was absolutely enchanting !

Anyway the relevance to sewing is that I finally had a chance to wear a dress I sewed last December - Simplicity 2724.
The top part is made of some scrap cream fabric and skirt from a chartreuse silk/linen blend - the latter is absolutely luscious.

My only regret with this dress is that I did not line the skirt portion . I am not completely sure about the pleated  sleeves and  may  remove them later ( however looking at this photo, the sleeves look OK ) . I love this pattern because the various top / skirt variations that can create entirely different looking garments.The top takes very little material so is a good way to use up scraps that are too small for anything else and too good to discard. I would highly recommend this pattern and definitely want to sew it again .   Unfortunately it is OOP. I am now off to see what horse won the Melbourne Cup this year. Cheers until next time, Janine .

Friday, 14 October 2011

Simplicity 2369 - The Fabric from Hell into the Dress from Heaven.

Siimplicity pattern 2369 with fabric .
Simplicity 2369 showing sleeve, pleat and buckles details.

I finally completed this dress last week and I am VERY happy with the result. It almost ended up a wadder and in the rubbish because initially the fabric was from hell and trying to sew the seams and pleats etc ended up with LOTS of skipped stitches. However, persistence and internet help prevailed and the finished dress is  a SUCCESS.
Last school holidays I bought a British magazine called Sew which came with this `free` pattern.  . Simplicity 2369 is a wardrobe pattern for tops, pants and dresses -there are three sleeve options included . Obviously I sewed the dress, using View C sleeves and cut the dress length in the middle between Views A and B . Apart from fabric and thread, the only other notion was a belt buckle and I found a black buckle that was exactly the right size for only 50cents from the op shop ! A very lucky find.
The instructions were really good - so I think even a fairly new sewist could tackle this. I love the front pleated wrap along with the attached band which pulls the front inwards and provides coverage and prevents  gaping. I think the front wrap is also flattering and help to conceal less than flat tummies
Overall I would highly recommend this pattern .
Cheers until next time Janine.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Difficult to Sew Knit Fabric - and how I tamed the wild beast.

I am currently sewing Simplicity 2369 - a knit dress with a wrap front with tie and buckle details. I bought the fabric from Ebay using a store I have previously purchased from. I have been generally happy with these buys and hence why I have gone back for more. The fabric is a wild and loud royal blue, grey, black and white abstract knit and I really like the design .
However when I went to sew with this , it was the fabric from hell- stitch repellant material. I was trying to sew using a slight zig-zag stitch as I have done previously and has been recommended innumerable times. But the stitches would not take. I changed the ( new ) ballpoint needle to a ( new ) stretch needle and still no luck.I also used some tear away stabilizer but not all the stitches worked and when I tore away the stabilizer it really pulled at the stitches ( besides you really can not use this on all those seams ) . I ended up sewing the initial seams with 2-3 rows until enough stitches were staying. I then came to sew the pleats in the front wrap detail and it was just a mess and looked horrible. I had ( evil ) thoughts of chucking this project away but I was determined to succeed.
The internet really can be wonderful and I came across a simple tip from Threads and gave this a try. It worked and the previously stitch repellant fabric from hell became putty in my hands.

Set the sewing machine stitch length to 3 and stitch width to zero. As you sew the seams,  gently stretch the fabric and it worked - ALL the stitches took , no skipped stitches.

The above photo shows what the stitching looks like - zig-zaggy and springy. On the other side the stitches look more `normal`. When you stretch the fabric, the stitches  straighten up . Having stitches that can stretch and move with knit fabric is of course important to prevent broken stitches. So thankyou to  the sewist who wrote this article and thankyou to Threads for publishing this on the internet. You have saved this dress from the rubbish. Cheers Janine .

P.S - We saw the Australian movie Red Dog and we highly recommend it- lovely and quirky but gosh at the end I had to use all my willpower not to sob out loud. ( I am a sook though - I cried at Walt Disney`s A Little Mermaid when she married her handsome Prince Eric ! ) . I was surprised to see at the end credits it was based on a book written by Louis deBernieres  who also wrote Captain Corelli`s Mandolin and Birds Without Wings.