Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Simplicity 9915- A Trip Down Memory lane.

Standing in front of our new rammed earth wall in our straw bale/ rammed earth home !

My favourite project of the year has been this little white top.
I was given this white/ off white seersucker . I had 1.5 metres ( 1.6 yards )  but is was only 90 cm ( 35 inches ) wide . I initially wanted to make a top along the lines of Louise Cutting`s Ebb design. In my dreams ! I was really short of fabric . Then I tried Simplicity 5683 because I have made it twice before and it doesn`t take much fabric. Again I was way off the mark. I was getting a bit desperate now because I had also set my heart on using  these 4 vintage buttons which in my mind matched my vintage fabric perfectly  .
So it was quite fitting that I found this vintage pattern which matched my fabric allowance .

 Simplicity 9915 - It is dated 1981 and dusting off my memories this is the third pattern I ever sewed . And it is also the most made pattern I own ( apart from PJs ) . I love this pattern but it has been well and truly over a decade since I visited it. I think I have made it at least 8 times using all views in fabrics from pink butterflies, black and white gingham , coloured dotted swiss cotton , terracotta silk and taupe dots.
Once I made the little bow tie version in fabric that Princess Diana had a shirt from ( hers was black and white and mine was red but it was the exact same pattern ! )

photo courtesy  from Diana`s jewels website  - photo taken in 1983.

This is also my best sewn version of this particular view. According to the pattern description it has a funnel neck line and shoulder tucks and getting those right was tricky- the shoulder tucks are adjacent to the neck line . Apart from that the top is simple . The big difference this time ( apart from 20-30 years literally ! ) was thread tracing the shoulder tuck marks . This then allowed absolute sewing accuracy and everything came together really nicely . Because there has been a fair bit of chocolate , cakes and three children since my teenage years I also  did not add the waist darts ! The top has simple dropped shoulders and has just the right amount of ease.

A close up of the neckline, shoulder tucks  , fantastic textured seersucker and my vintage buttons. 
 This top will go with just about everything and since my favourite handsewn  white tunic has bitten the dust this is a much needed replacement . I have worn it several times already and my friend`s daughter commented that it was just like a burda style pattern she had recently downloaded .
Have a good day , Janine.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Butterick 4299 - More Remnant Stash Busting.

I told you that I really ran with the itty bitty remnant stash busting this year .
With only one ( holey ) windcheater and another ( even holier ) rugby top I really did need ( rather than my usual want ) a new windcheater.
I had a small piece of  french terry type fabric - only 80cm but very wide  - and a smaller  scrap of pale blue fleece fabric . Just enough to eek out my new windcheater. I used some piping type trim to cover the arm seams and make look like a ` design feature ` .

I used Butterick 4299 - a very OOP `Lifestyle Wardrobe ` pattern . As with all raglan sleeved garments this was a very easy sew. However I am not happy with the upper sleeves - they are quite voluminous . I have saved one of my daughter`s discarded raglan sleeved windcheater and one day ( those famous well intentioned words ) I will unpick this and compare the pattern pieces.
This is a very unexciting garment but I sew for  my real life and not my imagined life - so no pretty garden party dresses ( at least for now ) . This top has been worn heaps already.

I did sew some more itty bitty remnant stash busting projects but if you  get my drift I will not be posting photos. However I will say they are more comfortable than RTW and stay up ( a bonus !) . I will also say sewing un-die grun-dies are harder than they look .

This just about covers my remnant sewing for now . Cheers Janine.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Kwik Sew 2694 -Happy Families.

Continuing on from my small remnants stash buster I sewed another Kwik Sew 2694.

I love the grey and black print knit left over from making a totoro hat .What you don`t know what a totoro hat is ? Let me explain . On my eldest DD`s last day of school in 2012 she wanted to dress up as totoro - a Japanese anime comic  character . We needed dark grey fabric and the reverse side of this fabric was the closest we could find in the one and only fabric shop in town ( well I did have some dark grey/silver/ black shot dupioni look silk in my stash but I am not that nice a mother ) . So I only had 50cm of this minus all the hat pieces already cut out - that is not much fabric at all !
Hence Kwik Sew 2694 was about my best option . I combined the print with black bamboo knit ( I love this fabric too! ) remnant from Cleggs famous Boxing Day Remnants Sale . That event is a whole nother story as well - imagine scores of women three deep rumaging through a long table covered in 100s of remnants.  I lived to tell the tale and scored this beautiful knit - it is so soft . Once I pawed this I did not let go !
Truth be told I have probably overdone this pattern. This is now my fourth rendition .

Nuclear Happy Family of Kwik Sew 2694 
This pattern is still available and it is easy and a little more interesting than a plain Tee and it has certainly allowed me to make the most of remnants stash.
Here`s to happy healthy families.
PS I would love to show a photo of totoro daughter but she would probably kill me.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Tee for Two or Three ?

I have been informally sewing along with a group of ` Stashbusters `this year  . Each month was a different theme and February`s was using small pieces of fabric . I embraced this idea and ran with throughout February and then just kept on going .

I started with sewing two T shirts using four pieces of fabric that has been festering in my stash for years .

Using Simplicity 7692 - a very old basic T shirt pattern I slashed, cut and re- taped the pattern to recreate the above tops. 
Top one has an asymmetrical neckline with a matching asymmetrical two pieced front. I used three pieces of material to complete it - a small remnant of maple leaf print poly knit in the colours of navy, black, teal, violet  and  gray and matching teal mesh and navy cotton lycra . There was not much of the maple leaf print left and I absolutely loved it . I was determined to use it but it did take some thought on what to do . This project was certainly stretching my creative side and in the flush of success - yes I can do something a little different ! - I went and melted the top of the front while ironing it -duh . ( Oh well it was just going to be a wear around the house top anyway ) 

 Top two is a shameless knockoff of a vogue pattern released last year I think. Well it is just a variation of a simple T and for $25 plus for a vogue pattern  why not? I used a remnant knit of a blue/black/ gray/ white stripey soft knit  given to me from Mum and the remainder of the navy cotton lycra from Top one. Again there was not much of the stripey knit so some care was required.  I also took more care with the ironing !

This was a fun project. Using an old pattern and remnants ( the exception being the navy cotton lycra ) I had nothing to lose so I just kind of went for it . I ended up with two wearable tops from fabric too small to do anything else with. I would recommend others to have a go at this as well. 

And then as mentioned I kept on going with the remnant stashbusting . I sewed more short PJ bottoms for my middle daughter using material left over from her Kwiksew circle skirt. And then I made another Kwik Sew top from more remnants but that can be another blogpost for another day. 

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Happy 80th Birthday Mum! -- New Look 6009 Top.

After doing a suck-up - I mean some sewing for  my MIL I needed to be fair and do the same for  my own Mum. She has just turned 80 years young and still sews most days - most of her own clothes and  patchwork and machine embroidered quilts. She can also do that thing with knitting where she knits really fast without even looking and doesn`t make a mistake - totally jealous and hate that but then again I am not a knitter so there.

Just when I was wondering what am I going to make Mum this year  I found 3.6 metres of Thai hand woven  silk in the op shop for $8.00!  In a background colour of mauvey, browny I don`t know what with blue and brown diamonds it was perfect . Talk about lucky - I just wish I could find that winning tattslotto ticket .

So I nicked - well borrowed - a pattern from my Mum`s stash - which is only fair really since it was for her ( and I promise I gave it back too - except I might nick it again to sew up for me ) -New Look 6009.
It is a simple drop shouldered top . The cute part of this pattern is the keyhole in the front with a loop of fabric above which gathers the  material into a sort of a bow look. The back is done up with one button / loop  .

It is a REALLY easy pattern - with only the front , back and facing pieces and a small rectangle for the loop.
The only tricky bit was because I used fabric with such an obvious pattern it just took a bit of  care to match the diamonds . I found some matching bias binding to finish the facings and a cool vintage button for the back from  my stash ( bummer that I only had one ) .

End result - one happy Mum who loves receiving ( and giving ) home made gifts. ( And the other best bit is that there is heaps of material left over for me .)

As Jen S said in her blog - yesterday was sewing group. One lady was doing a toile for a red lace dress for a wedding, someone else was sewing a self drafted dress , another was completing a chanel style jacket  impeccably  fitted mind you, another perfecting a toile for a shirt which already looked  well  perfect , another was making a lined coat , Jen cut out her houndstooth jacket and what was I sewing - a plastic fold up shopping bag - I am all class I tell you. Our new group is called From Tshirts to Couture - but perhaps it could be changed from plastic bags to couture :)  .

Cheers . Janine.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

The Ultimate 61 Year Old Stash Bust.

Hello there . I have been debating do I , do I not ?  Not sewing of course but blogging. Without sewing I would probably be locked or hidden away in a small dark place( Ha Ha this probably describes my sewing room anyway ) . But then I read another blog about blogging for herself  , a kind of sewing diary and I thought exactly so.

I have been informally sewing along with other stash busters and this I believe must be the ultimate in stash busting. This fabric has been in a cupboard for 61 years ! Not mine , I`m not that  old  thanks ! I will make a long story short , my mother -in-law has a friend who apparently has a lot of fabric and was thinking about giving it away . Well in a nutshell she is not quite ready to let go ( yet - I still have hope ) but this led to my MIL telling me about the time she pleaded with her mother to buy her some fabric to sew when she was 17. Her mother did so with the promise she must actually sew it -hmm fast forward 61 years .

After a good and gentle ( and a lot of trepidation ) hand wash the fabric came up pretty well. There was one small stain and a few moth holes but pretty good for being a senior( heck I hope I am that good at 61 myself ) . My MIL wanted a kimono style  robe so I used New Look 6928 - a unisex pattern for sleepwear . I have made the robe once before - size Small and it is huge but very simple to construct  . I had just enough fabric - 3 1/2 metres at 90 cm wide. I managed to avoid the worst patch of moth holes but could not avoid the stain . There wasn`t even enough fabric left to make even one pocket. The fabric was lovely to sew with and ironed beautifully ( it wrinkled beautifully too ) . It was marked in one spot on the selvage  -Anglosheen -British fabrics- and I wish I knew more about it  .

Well my MIL is very pleased and says her mother will be looking down at her from Heaven happy as well. I should have offered to sew this up 20 years ago when I first started going out with her son ( not that I knew about the material until this year )because I think my approval rating has gone up a couple of notches  .

Cheers Janine.

PS I am soooo enjoying The Great British Sewing Bee. I don`t think the smile left my face the whole time watching it.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Knipmode - The $2.50 Op Shop Michael Kors Skirt

Michael Kors would be rolling around in his  NY penthouse suite or Monaco Yacht or where-ever he hangs out to think us sewists could make up one of his skirts for only $2.50 but isn`t that one of the reasons we sew ? 

Sewing this skirt ticks lots of boxes for me .
1.  I finally got to use of of my Knipmode magazines. This skirt pattern comes from the supplement to May 2012 `s edition. The supplement was only for skirt designs. 
2. I used an old stash fabric - this has been maturing for at least 6 years . It is a turquoise light weight linen . It was so easy to sew with and the colour alone made me feel good . And it was only $2.50 .  Luckily I still have a remnant leftover  .
3.I finally got to try out bound buttonholes and mitred hem corners . 

The skirt is unusual but simple in design - It has a slanted side on the left to  which is attached a long rectangle . Then buttons are added to this same side to create the unstructed pleats. 


My first bound buttonholes . The buttons are sewn on the inside of the skirt.
Knipmodes are dutch sewing magazines . For any Australian readers who are interested I bought mine from Crafty Mamas and as a bonus there is free postage .  I  started to use google translate but it is quite a slow process. I did a little research to find that like other pattern magazines there are no seam or hem allowances. 
After that I sewed the skirt by instinct because it really is a simple skirt. 
The steps I followed are -
1. stitch darts in the front and back. 
2. sewed up the back skirt pieces . 
3. added the zip. 
4. sewed the front and back skirt pieces together. 
5. sewed the front and back waist facing pieces together ( after interfacing them ) 
5. sewed this to the skirt then trimmed , snipped and understitched  the facing. 
6. added a bias binding trim to the waist facing and handstitched this to the zip area. 
7. measured out my rectangle piece needed and attached this to the skirt front and back. 
8. sewed the hems (  by hand except the mitred corners ) 
8. made bound buttonholes and attached the buttons.
Now why was this skirt only $2.50 ? 
Well the fabric was only $2.50 from the opshop and I only used about three quarters of it so say $1.70. 
The buttons were also from the op-shop - $0.50 and finally the zip  came from the op-shop as well  - they were three for one dollar so about $0.30 . ( I did try to buy a zip new but there were no zips that even came close to the colour of my skirt . I walked a few doors down to the oppie  and found a really close match and it was Australian made !) 

Finally channelling my inner Angelina Jolie ( and by inner I  mean really really inner. ) 

Cheers Janine. 
PS Jane I tried to find another photo of this skirt but all I have is  the photo from the magazine.