Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Sewing Ups and Downs.

A sewing ` up ` was this T shirt using my favourite pattern Kwik Sew 2965 . I think this is my 6th version now.  I only had a mere scrap of stretch panne velvet so I had to cut the back with a centre seam. The pattern is quick , easy and only uses small pieces of fabric. Win.

Another sewing `up ` was my first ever refashion ! I wish I had a before photo but years ago I made a jacket from some blue polar fleece . I paid full price for the Butterick  6835 pattern and full price for the polar fleece which wasn`t particularly cheap.  I wanted to make the shorter version and bought fabric according to requirements listed on the back of the pattern envelope. This turned out to be way too  much so I had enough for the longer version. The end result was a humongous ugly short coat / long jacket . But because I had actually invested some money in this I wore it - in public ! ( Amazing my daughters let me do this ) After a couple of years I came to my senses but put the jacket away in my cupboard to do something with.  Several years later I finally got around to it. 

Image result for butterick 6835

I unpicked the jacket and because it was so huge it was easy to get new fronts , sleeves and a back on the existing pieces. I used another old pattern, this time  Burda 8881.  This pattern is much better sized but the instructions are  weird. It says to hand sew in the front zip !! What the heck !! No way. Apart from that little bit of Burda madness the pattern was very easy. I left on the pockets from the original jacket but they were massive too in keeping with the whole over sized thing  . I unpicked them but you can just see the impressions where they were. Still this is much better than the original garment and I have worn it many times . Win. 

But what goes up must come down . 
Sewing down . 
Down . 

 OK I think I have found a worse fabric to sew than silk chiffon . Really. Loosely woven sweater knit . Ravelly . Poor stretch recovery . Curly. It looks so pretty with its raspberry ripple appeal and so soft . It lured me in but what a devil to sew. I did try really.

I cut strips of bias cut interfacing and stabilised all the seams as directed. I treated the fabric like a new born baby , handling it so gently. I mean look how nice my collar looks . It was the hemming that led to my down fall. I measured where I wanted the hem but ahem,  cut a great bit honking hole in the main body of the pullover. I cut this off and overlocked the edge and it was all downhill after that . I tried to rescue my pullover by adding a wide band to the bottom but the seam line hits right on the fluffiest bit of my stomach and looked just terrible. I took a photo and chucked in the bin.
I am wondering if this failure is just not sewing karma because I used an old Burda magazine (August  1993 ! ) and cut out the pattern . Yes , I didn`t trace the pattern , I cut it out . After looking at the magazine several times I realised that I would never make anything else . Despite all this I really like the pattern and will try again . In a more cooperative fabric . And I won`t cut a hole in the front .
Hope your sewing is all up , up , up !

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Sew Your Own Affordable Luxury - Silk and Liberty Lawn Shirts.

 More shirts ! No exaggeration , I love sewing them.
First up a cream silk shirt using Vogue 2634 , an OOP pattern .
I just wanted a very simple pattern to showcase the beautiful cream silk that has a self small chequered pattern . I bought the silk from the op shop last year  for only $2.00 for 4 metres but it is very narrow ( only 72cm wide ) . At the time I was trying to fabric fast so I kidded myself that the silk would be for my daughter who wanted tops made out of natural fibres for her travel overseas in 2018 . Ha ! cream silk must be the most impractical thing in the world for a student travelling on a strict budget.
Just in case she changed her mind though I have quickly made it up while she is still away.
The only variation I made to this pattern was to add vented cuffs from a Kwik Sew pattern. I did not do any top stitching , did not add the pockets and hand stitched the hems to keep the shirt details to a minimum.


I used the collar tutorial from Four Square Walls which she took from an old sewing pattern. I remember using this method to sew up a collar / stand when I was in my teens so I went through my old patterns and sure enough I found a Simplicity pattern from the 80s that uses this order of collar construction. It really does make a very nice collar . I can not recommend it enough. 

Next up a liberty lawn shirt . I seem to be the giftee of atypical liberty lawn. This is my second liberty lawn project ,both generous gifts and not a floral in sight !  This particular liberty was a Xmas gift from my husband. It`s funny because he bought this after a Xmas work party in Melbourne . He told his colleagues he was off to The Fabric Store after lunch to buy me a chrissie present. They were apparently horrified that he was making work for me ! On the other hand my sewing group friends were very impressed that he did this off his own bat and said he is a keeper ! 

The pattern is called Matt Madison and consists of diamonds with little scenes of bare branched trees and lakes etc . Very wintery fabric with its grey and olive based tones . Unlike my first Liberty Lawn project I didn`t take years to decide what pattern to make and sew it up. 

I knew I wanted to make a shirt ( well that is all the fabric I had anyway ) and since it is an unusual Liberty I wanted to make a variation of a standard shirt pattern. I used Kwik Sew 3620 another OOP pattern. I love the collar and like the addition of the front ties. Another poorly kept  secret is how much I love the old Kwik Sew patterns and the way the collar is constructed is so neat . I used my rolled hem foot to mainly successfully finish off the front ties ( use your different sewing machine feet - really ! ) 
So there you have it .Two very different but luxury shirts that feel sooo nice to wear but cost a fraction of bought ones .  ( PS I actually really like floral Liberty lawn - I would love to get the  classic Wiltshire pattern with the berries on it . )

Sunday, 17 June 2018

SImplicity 9659 - A Feminine Tunic .

   I was reading a new to me blog and realised just how much I enjoy reading chatty sewing blogs and how much I like having a little prattle too. It is an entirely wet and cold day and since I have caught up with the house work I want to do ( dusting and washing floors and cobwebs be damned ) it is time to catch up here too.
I sewed this tunic top 1-2 months ago. It is based on the Simplicity pattern 9659 below and I can not find any reviews of it on the internet . The pattern looks very dated and was bought for a song from the op shop but I liked the collar details , the empire waist and thought it would make a nice tunic top much like the Ebb and Flow pattern from Louise Cutting ( a pattern I don`t think I can buy in Australia ) .

I was also intrigued by the FITRules! on the pattern cover. I wonder if this is an early prototype of the Simplicity`s Amazing Fit patterns. The pattern had different cup sizes and some basic fitting advice .
I used some vintage fabric also picked up from the opshop . It was narrow but there was plenty of it . It has a white etched floral print on baby blue with pretty ditsy roses.

The interestingly shaped collar . I added bias binding to the facings as well. 

The sleeve vents. Several of my recent projects have them. I am obsessed !

Back ties which were popular in the 90s. These ties are not actually needed for shaping but I included them anyway. 
 I am happy with the tunic although the fabric creases like crazy. I won`t make the pattern again . Too many unused Burdas and pattern envelopes with the promise of some European sewing mags to be posted by my daughter having a fantastic overseas  adventure  this year.

I still have a few things to document here - a cream silk blouse  , a panne velvet T shirt , a grey tweed look long vest , a refashioned polar fleece top and a blouse made from my Christmas pressie Liberty lawn and I am just about to finish a pair of Burdastyle pants.
It doesn`t feel like I sew a lot but my sewing corner is my safe happy place and sewing a little bit every so often gets stuff done. My sewing is uncurated ! I pull out patterns and magazines I haven`t made before and match up with fabrics in my cupboard . I will see something someone has made and think that looks great and try sew something similar . I will put out a piece of fabric taking up lots of room and make it up . It all seems to work though . I make what I sew work for me so there are few unloved or disastrous makes even if I just end up wearing them around the house.
I have pulled out a few more wintery  fabrics and have washed and ironed them all ready to cut out and sew
hopefully before the end of Winter.