Showing posts with label miscellaneous musings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label miscellaneous musings. Show all posts

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

New Comey Vogue 1503 and Old McCalls 2094 and How Long Do You Keep Your Clothes For ?

I love the colour red and in particular red tops . This is the fourth summer red top / shirt I own !
I finished sewing this red  rendition  a few weeks ago and was initially disappointed in the outcome but I have come to realise that the bottom piece I wear with it is essential to its success.
The pattern is Vogue 1503 and I made view A . There are lots of lovely details . The back pieces extend over the front shoulders and the front has a gathered peplum but the back piece is plain so avoiding extra width in this area. The sleeves are finished with bands creating a  neat look. The front and back necklines are finished with self made bias binding.  The instructions include french seams and  bias binding covering exposed seams so the inside looks very professional.
I used a very fine red dobby polyester with small white and green dots and black dashes which Mum gave me over three years ago. A fine drapey fabric is needed to make that gathered peplum work.
Image result for vogue 1503

These photos were taken with me wearing a loosish pair of linen pants and the combination did not look good . However later on I tried a pair of skinny navy pants  and I liked my peplum top much better.So for now it is a keeper and it will match up with newly completed embroidered skinny jeans ( have to get photos taken of those yet ) . As an aside I really love the long sleeved version too and will make that one day !
I should say there was one small mistake in the instructions. They forget to tell you the finish the back  neckline with a bias strip after staystitching. The pictures show the bias binding though. Apart from this the instructions are fine and the pattern is easy to follow.



I have been reading  a few  blog posts about how many times we wear our clothes and the number 30 seems to have been chosen as representing environmental value. It seems a quite random number and I am not sure if there are any studies which proves its worth.

The above red and white floral broderie anglaise shirt would fulfil the 30 wearings number ( as would my other red tops) .
I made it using McCalls 2094 in 2007 which makes the shirt 11 1/2 years old. It is probably one of the best fitting shirts I own and I still love it. In all honesty the upper back is starting to get a bit yellowed as is under the arms but nothing that can not be covered with  a cardigan or jumper .  This is not the oldest shirt I own though. 
 Also using McCalls 2094 is this sleeveless shirt made using some cotton lawn . I sewed this in 2001 so it is now 17 years old ! The cotton is so soft and wonderful to wear on hot days. It is not stained or holey.I simply can not bear to get rid of it and I can see no reason to . 
So am I weird to have clothes for so long ? Does anyone else have clothes this old which are worn over and over ( past the magic 30 number !) 

Thursday, 22 February 2018

On Sewing Mistakes ,Sewing Doldrums And Sewing Successes.




  I have been trying to make my first ever pair of jeans. When Style Arc sent an email advertising a pattern/ stretch denim package  for jeans I immediately bought it which is another first and I don`t know why . The mysteries of advertising which tap into the human psyche .
One advantage of making my own jeans was to be able to customise the back pockets .
My sewing machine has an embroidery function which I rarely utilise so a couple of weekends ago I set about relearning how to use this , looked through some folders of designs available to me ( which my late father created for my mother - what a man to spend hours doing this for her ! ) and practised some designs which I liked. I finally settled on one from a Pfaff Creative Card 300, design 27 .I even really liked their chosen colours.


I practiced on some old serviettes and then went to work on the denim of which there was not much to spare. It all went really well.
Now I have discovered that I mainly make mistakes in two situations . One is when I am tired and it is later in the day and I just want to finish up a project. I relearnt this several times and now I just do not go there. Once I am tired or a  bit sick of sewing I just stop even if I am really close to completing something.
The other time  is when I am really excited about a project so I just tend to leap in . I don`t think there is much I can do about this.
So I was in the process of sewing up the pockets and noticed that one pocket was slightly larger than the other . Then I realised what I had done. I cut the pocket out the wrong way so the stretch is going vertically , the pocket size is out and the design is going the opposite way. And here I thought I was so clever by making a see through plastic pocket template so I could centre the design properly !


I was seriously thinking about just making this a design feature but even though I am a bit of a slapdash sewist - a wrinkle here or there  doesn`t bother me- I knew the magic closet would not work with this one .
So last weekend I set up the embroidery function again and redid another embroidery.


Well everything was going really well until I got to the orange colour . Is it my imagination but does that look a bit different to the original ? Sob, no my glasses did not need cleaning , I had picked out the wrong colour. Sigh. So I worked out the correct orange embroidery thread and off we went again. ( very hard to tell in the above photo but the orange colours are different - one is more a bronze ) .

Success ! Finally . ( This saga does not even include the one where the embroidery thread broke and I realised too late ) . Now initially I told myself I was a sewing eejit but does that make me feel better about myself ? No. Does it get the embroidery done ? No . Now I am telling myself that it was all good practice and the wrong colour confirmed I liked my initial choice and I am much quicker at setting up the embroidery part of my Pfaff now . I am still frustrated at the waste of time but I am not putting myself down.
This leads me to sewing successes and how we perceive them. I recently read an excellent post by Diary of a  Sewing Fanatic asking whether we compare ourselves to others in term of how much sewing we get done. A lot of people admitted they did. I have  not  been a joiner inner on sew alongs etc. I joined in MMM and a fabric fast last year . I have always been on the fringe of things all my life and being part of the sewing internet community is one of them. But this is also why I think I am successful. My blog is so small but I have not given up. If I judged my success by the number of followers and comments then I would have quit years ago. I have read people complain about this but IMO this is not a reason to blog. I blog and sew for myself. I have never sewn the trendy indie patterns or the latest fabrics or sewn couture or been artistic  but I wear my home sewn clothes almost every day and keep them for years and years so this is a success. It does seem so obvious to say this but comparing yourself to others does not lead to contentment . Besides we only ever show the best / happiest side of ourselves on the internet.

One last photo - an outtake for my latest sewing project yet  to be blogged . A sewing mistake and success all rolled into one ! .I was using the self timer and my daughter was trying to get past .
Well hopefully anyone in the sewing doldrums can read this post and feel better about themselves.

Sunday, 31 December 2017

2017 Sewtistics .

The only Xmas gift I sewed this year . A mug rug for my work Secret Santa recipient. 
This was the year that I finally managed to actually sew down my fabric stash a bit . I have only been making promises to myself to do so since 2008 when I first sorted and documented my material and was shocked by what I had. But it never worked . Some years the stash numbers went down a little but mostly they went up or stagnated.
My stash busting this year  was achieved by trying very hard to avoid going into fabric shops and checking out the crafty section of op shops. If I did purchase something then I tried to sew it up as soon as I could . I also went through my unused knipmodes and burdas and other magazines and attempted to match up what fabrics I had to patterns I wanted to make . I joined a stashbusting facebook group and tried every month to document my fabric figures.
I discovered though that although I really loved the facebook group and its camaraderie, the whole pledging to reduce your stash by a certain percentage ( wholly voluntary I might add ) put on a  pressure which I did not enjoy . However I did find this year that having a goal really helped me achieve a purposeful outcome . I wanted to sew from my unused sewing magazines and finally used all my knipmodes and other European magazines that had been languishing on my bookshelf and made something from almost all of my recently purchased  Burdas.
So this year I will not be joining any pledges but I will make more goals and this year I will try to sew up my unused pattern envelopes as much as is possible and continue the stash reduction .

My favourite and most useful and used sewn item of the year . 

In 2017 I sewed 41 items.
9 were for others - my daughters and  friends.
2 were muslins and I had one wadder ( a skirt )  .
3 were under things I did not blog  as well as hankies and 1 infinity scarf also not blogged.
There is 1 UFO - a table runner which I hope to finish this year .
That leaves 23 main items for myself - 10 tops/shirts  , 5 skirts , 3 dresses, 1 cardy  , 1 jumper , 1 vest  , 1 PJ set and 1 handbag.
I did purchase 7 items of clothing as well which is why I could never do the RTW fast either .

I have enjoyed reading sewing blogs again this year although blogging really does seem to be on the way out. I have also enjoyed looking at instagram and can see how much easier it is . However overall I will continue to try limit my time on devices and just get out and do and live and enjoy !
Happy New Year everyone everywhere !

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Selfless Sewing Series - Linen Knit and Are You A Sewing Hoarder ?

MERRY XMAS .
This is the next top I have made my daughter using the linen knit we bought during our Melbourne Shopping trip. Oh my goodness this is wonderful stuff. It is soft and has a slight stretch with good recovery. It has the subtle texture and variation in colour like its woven counterpart . It is easy to sew and iron . And I am told that it is very comfortable to wear. 


My daughter was very easy to please when it came to choosing patterns to match up with the fabric . She really liked the top part of my recent swallow print dress- Butterick 5975 . She didn`t want to go through my other almost countless patterns or magazines . 


I just lengthened the top by about 9 cms and she was happy with this length . 


I ordered 1.3 metres and after washing measured the length ( I didn`t measure prewashing ) and had about 1.37  metres . I was told to prewash the linen knit as it shrinks. So either it didn`t shrink or I was given a generous 1.3 metres or it stretched. Either way I had enough to make up another top when I had finished with this one. 


I used my Kwik Sew 2695 pattern - this is now the fifth time I have made this. I really really like it as do my girls who stole one of my versions. This top has gone to my youngest  daughter . I will definitely be going back to  The Cloth Shop to buy more linen knit for my middle daughter who lives in tropical Queensland . It will be perfect for her. I want to add the colour does not come up true here - it is like a eucalyptus green , a bit richer in colour that the khaki showing up here . The shop had quite a few other colours available. 


Now I have lots of patterns - just over 250 envelopes and many many pattern magazines. I also have a bit under 170 metres of fabric now . Lots of lace and ribbons some of which I can not even recall where it came from and more buttons than I will ever use . But the one thing I really have not accumulated much of is threads and especially overlocking threads.


This is the sum total of my overlocker threads bar two pale blue  ones where the plastic has distintegrated badly . The medium gray ones at the bottom left hand corner are only new purchases too. I manage to make do with what I have by combining the colours so for my dark green tops above I have used my single medium brown with dark grey. It seems to work for me. 

Ever hopeful for a play with his fluffy ball pillow .
I store it all in a medium plastic bag which fits in well under my sewing desk .  Do you hoard sewing stuff or get creative with what you have ? 
 Janine. 

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Selfless Sewing Series -Pattern First or Fabric First ?



Not much sewing has been going on around this part of the world even though I am just at the end of two weeks holiday. I have been making some slow progess on a coffee table runner but put that aside when my eldest daughter asked  that I make her a couple of tops for her travels next year. So last week my eldest and youngest DDs and myself  drove to Melbourne to hit the fabric shops. 

First up was Darn Cheap where my youngest found a couple of pieces she liked ( I didn`t know this was a part of the deal - oh well ! ) . She really liked some floral poly crepe which she wants made into a wrap around dress and found some zigzag cozy knit for a jumper . Luckily the latest Burdas here ( August and September ) have patterns for what she wants. 

Next up was The Cloth Shop in Ivanhoe where it  was commented on  that we looked like a pack of hunters. I suppose we were stealthily stalking the aisles. Here my eldest daughter fell in love with some green linen knit pictured above . She also found a small remnant -60cm - of Japanese cotton which is absolutely gorgeous . I had to use every last mm of the length to eke out a top for her . We used plain navy crepe to make up the shortfall. The pattern is based on one of her old tops in a boxy loose fitting style. I copied an idea from a German blog and made a tag out of the cute selvage. 

So this year I have been trying very hard to use what I have to make up my unused Knipmodes and Burdas. However as the year progressed I hit some hurdles. For some of the patterns I chose I just did not have the right fabric. More recently I bought some patterns I wanted to make up now but had absolutely nothing so that meant  a shopping trip for me. 


I went to ClearIt in Fitzroy and found some navy/ grey argyle double knit to make a raglan sleeve windcheater . I also picked up some beige cotton lycra to make some camisoles but simply could not leave the spotty / stripey cozy knit behind. I hope to make the patterns below .


And then I received an email from Style Arc about some stretch denim and jeans pattern and did not hesitate to push the buy button. They came with another free top pattern which I really like. 


So this year I have been choosing patterns first and fabric second. Now I have stocked up on fabric  for now I can continue with the patterns first trend but I think next year I will have to have a new approach to sewing. But for now I have a bit of selfless sewing to get through. So how do you approach sewing ? Fabric first or pattern first ?? 

Friday, 2 June 2017

My Maiden Me-Made-May.

I like blog posts with photos. So here is an outfit I sewed for a friend`s 80s themed  party a couple of years ago that I did not blog about. I also did not wear this  for  MMM17 . The suit is made out of taffeta and sounds as loud as it looks !! 

I just finished my first ever MeMadeMay made possible by joining Instagram. Prior to that trying to actively participate was too hard because loading up photos to Flickr takes a long time but Instagram is so easy. Take a photo on your phone or iPad and then load up on the app.
I have unofficially joined in past years by wearing my home made clothes and checking out the flickr or instagram or whatever social media MeMadeMay was on so I was very happy to be a part of this huge , incredible movement celebrating and encouraging home sewing.

Another unrelated MMM17 photo . This is my ( incomplete) collection of button front shirt patterns. I have made most of the patterns. Can you tell I like sewing shirts ?

So here are my deep and meaningful thoughts on MMM17 and wearing home made clothes in general.
It is rare that I don't wear something home made on a daily basis.
It is rare that I wear all home made clothes though.
I feel strange when I don't wear something home made ( incomplete perhaps ?) but that sounds a bit odd.
I managed to wear something different everyday and only repeated my orange cardigan ( I did wear RTW jeans and trackies on multiple days ) twice.
I still had a couple of jackets , a skirt and several shirts/ tops that were seasonally appropriate that I did not wear but  could have worn for MMM17 .
A combination of loving sewing, sewing for a loooong time , keeping my home mades and a stable weight over my lifetime means I have a lot of home sewn clothes.
Perhaps this means I have too many clothes but apart from the blue dress on day one and the suit on day 31 and my brand new Burda tie front shirt all of the clothes have been worn many times so perhaps I don't have too many ?
Lots of my clothes I wore are very old ,like even over 10 years old but I still enjoy wearing them.
I did a little clothes cull though as a result of MMM17. The blue dress on day one went as well as a matching jacket and a scarf.
MMM17 made me get out of bed earlier so I could get a family member to take a photo.
I am terrible at taking selfies !
I again enjoyed looking at everything else people had made.
I don`t know if I will officially join in with MeMadeMay again but I sure had fun completing the challenge.
Happy Sewing everyone.

The little photo I have next to my blogger name is actually this photo of a Kookaburra sitting in ( an old ) gum tree next to my old home. I thought there might be one person in the universe to wonder  what the strange blogger photo is all about. 
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Tuesday, 23 May 2017

My Knipmode Challenge.




Around mid 2012 I discovered knipmode magazines via a friend who was born in Holland . Over the next couple of years I bought several issues via CraftyMamas website , an Australian stockist of fabrics and patterns but sadly they no longer sell Knipmode . Since then I have been slowly trying to sew at least one pattern from each issue and last month I finally completed my knipmode challenge. 


It ended with a wadder and the photo above does not even come close to showing how bad it was. I must at this point emphasize that it was not the pattern that was the problem but the fabric. 
I used a pull on skirt pattern from the supplement magazine to the May 2013 issue. In total I bought 9 knipmode magazines and 5 of these came with supplementary mini magazines with several bonus patterns. Overall I have loved the knipmode magazines and supplements but I struggled to find a pattern out this particular mini magazine. 



Most of the patterns were for very simple and over sized garments . The fabrics used were quite drab and the clothes were photographed with bleak scenery . I finally chose the pull one skirt because it would be very handy to have a well fitting comfy basic skirt pattern. I think this could still be a winner but the fabric I bought especially to complete my knipmode challenge with ( and to add to the insult broke my fabric fasting pledge for !! ) was terrible to sew with . I used a textured navy ? scuba knit from Darn Cheap which looked great but stretched out so easily despite handling it carefully . Overlocking seams caused waviness and applying the waist band was just a plain disaster . I know when to quit and quit I did . I didn`t bother trying to hem the thing - I took a photo for posterity , removed the elastic and binned it . 

Despite this wadder , I have mainly had winners from my Knipmode magazines . Here are all the ones I have made and most are still in my wardrobe being worn regularly. 
 My first Knipmode project was a Michael Kors knockoff pattern. I wear this skirt for special occasions. 
Unfortunately despite being an interesting pattern in a lovely knit the cross over bands kept on shifting and revealing bits underneath which I don`t have :) . I blame myself not the pattern  because I could not work out where to attach the bands and stitch them down so this T shirt is no more :(.

A simple top pattern , slightly oversized but I wear this regularly because it is comfy and cool and my oldest daughter bought me the fabric from Japan so it is sentimental to wear as well. 
Another sentimental make because a friend from England gave me this Liberty fabric . I have never had Liberty fabric before so I took a long time to decide what to make . I am still very happy with my choice of  pattern. 
 A cowl neck top and I still like this although the neckline is low . This top made me get out the rust coloured skirt I am wearing it with above which I made when my middle daughter was a baby but had never worn !! 

I love love love this skirt . I will make this pattern again for sure. The skirt got worn heaps over summer . 
Another winner and I don`t think I will get sick of the pretty fabric. I ended up buying this bird / blossom rayon fabric three times ! Two of my daughters loved the material too so I have made one some PJs and the other a top. We don`t all wear them together . 
I love this dress and the fabric was a gift from another friend so yet another sentimental wear. I wore this dress to Townsville and the cool batik and dress design made life slightly easier in a place where it is so humid my glasses fog up - it`s true I swear. 
Same pattern as above but the cotton knit had no recovery so that neckline was really wiiiide. But you know what, it makes a great nightie !
A hi-lo hem pullover. I got a bit lazy sewing this and the hems were wavy so just recently I chopped the hem off and stabilized the bottom with fusible hem tape and restitched the hems . Much better now . 
A long line vest from another fabric gift . I really like wearing these longer vests - they cover so much which is especially useful for when you like chocolate just a bit too much. 
Another total wadder . When I look at the magazine  photo I can see the top looks huge on the model and she is doing a jumpy pose which I think conceals some of this ( fun fact - Knipmode models jump a lot ) 
I am really happy with my scrappy tunic shortened from a knipmode dress pattern. 
A knipmode mini cargo skirt - another great pattern which I think I will use again. 
Another long line vest and another happy camper . 

I admit it does feel wrong to be blogging about such stuff when the world has experienced yet another sad terrible evil event . I can not even imagine the pain so many must be going through now but I have also read about many brave and kind acts which gives hope that good will prevail.