Wednesday, 14 September 2011

A New Pincushion and SSS Day 10.

Here is a little pincushion that I just whipped up - no  , of course it is an echidna. This little fellow ( or girl - who would know) hangs around our house about once a year for a few days before snuffling off somewhere else. This is such perfect timing because at the moment we have a Japanese exchange student staying with us for a few days.

Now SSS stands for Silly Sheep Saga. Last week we bought two whizz bang self shearing sheep ( SSS! ) - dorpers. A certain someone reassured me the paddock was sheep proof. The next day my youngest DD tell me the new sheep are in the next door neighbours  paddock. I checked this out and found a 10 metre gap in the barbed wire fence big enough for well sheep !The next day we spent 3 hours chasing sheep trying to get them back.Have I  mentioned I live on the side of a mountain , that the next door neighbours paddock is about 50acres with NO fences. We finally got them back to our property only to discover that a certain someone had fixed the fence and the sheep although they tried could not get back in !!Oh the irony .  They then ran off into some bush and haven`t been seen since. ( Don`t worry there are lots of waterholes and lots of green grass - they will be very happy ) . The only relevance to sewing here it that after 3 hours of running up and down hills etc I declared the next day to be a sewing day and neglected my motherly and housewifely duties . I made very good progress on my pintucked simplicity tunic and hopefully will have another finished garment to blog and wear. Cheers until then Janine.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Simplicity 2418 - Again !

 I actually finished sewing this last week but honestly getting someone to take a photo of this took longer than the sewing ! I think perhaps learning to use the self timer will be on my list of things to do.
I recently reviewed Simplicity 2418 view A and now I have sewn View B . The majority of my patterns are repeat performers  .Sewing the same pattern in close succession usually makes the construction easier and quicker.
I used a vintage cotton - pale grey with small white 3 leaved clovers . I only had 1.3 metres of this 90cm wide fabric so I was very pleased to be able to cut out this top. Fabric constraints meant one yoke was cut on the cross grain and I could not cut out the belt but this did not matter in the end. My small metreage also meant that I made  absolutely no attempt to pattern match but everything in the end did align up , even the fronts and yokes ! I suppose the closely placed print had alot to do with this but honestly had I tried I am sure I would have mucked this up. 
I really like this top - I like the yokes and the way they are constructed , I like the little pleats at the shoulders and the V neck is not too low but makes putting on the top easy. The top is nicely shaped and not boxy and too baggy. Also sewing with cotton is always a pleasure and this another op shop find was a treasure ( oh I am writing poetry now !)Overall  I would highly recommend this pattern.
I have made good progress with my next top today on account of a nasty sheep incident yesterday - I will explain all with my next post .Cheers Janine .


Monday, 5 September 2011

A Retrospective - Burda dress 103 02/08.

While I actually do have a new top completed to blog about I do not have a photo with the garment worn so I decided to blog about a previously made dress which I do have a photo of .Last Friday my middle teenage DD and I attended a book signing with her most favourite author Maggie Stiefvater in Melbourne City - this photo is on a tram on the way there.  This dress is out of the box for me - I am a conservative person in a conservative job BUT I am extremely pleased with the result and this shows that I should challenge my style sometimes. I reserve this dress for wearing at more fancy occasions not  for work as this dress is close fitting and sometimes there is a propensity for the front wrap to open up revealing a bit of leg.
I made this dress some 18 months ago and it was very popular on Pattern review. I have made a comment on the envelope housing my pattern that I have referred to Pattern Review and the blog Couture et Tricot in the makings as there was some mild confusion about markings on the dress patterns. I do recall though that once this issue was sorted out that the directions from Burda did make sense ( if you read them long and hard enough ) and the dress was not incredibly hard.
I have used a very fine stretch jersey as recommended and this is good for the drapey parts - however I am not sure how long wearing this dress will be . The material was a great find in an op shop - 4 1/2 metres for only $5.00 ( sometimes I think I should rename this blog the Super cheapo sewing blog ! )
Anyway I would highly recommend this dress pattern to anyone.
By the way the book signing was alot of fun - Maggie was a very funny young woman and my daughter was in heaven and all starry eyed - so much so she managed to leave my handbag lying around unattended in a shop for a few minutes until I said where is my handbag ( middle DD had asked for my handbag to get her camera out and look at all the photos of the book signing ) !
Cheers until I can bribe my 12 year old photographer to take some shots of my new top.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Kwik Sew 3474 - The Spring has Sprung Top

I finally finished my Kwik Sew blouse - I have learnt how to add a Pattern Review Widget so I have done a fairly complete review if anyone is interested. This top was super thrifty to sew - I found the pattern for only 20cents and the fabric was only a couple of dollars - the most expensive part of this project was the thread which I had to buy new  . So really there was nothing to lose with this top - especially as I broke the Kwik Sew rules and cut different sizes at different lines - small at the shoulders and sleeves and side seams and large at the front .
I love the wrap front of this and the side shaping and front ties and cuffs with slits . I dislike that there is nothing keeping the upper part of the blouse together so I added press studs This is completely necessary as any movements will cause major gaping at the top and a significant case of `Hello boys` or being charged by the police with exposure. I  also understitched the facings which Kwik Sew surprisingly didn`t include in their instructions - having said that, this pattern confirms that I do love Kwik Sew patterns .
I wasn`t completely happy with my upper press stud - it is tending to show so I will wear this with a brooch. Next time I make this I think I will add a button .
I have some lovely soft gold paisley embossed silk look fabric and I am debating making an evening version of this above pattern but I am just not sure yet.
Anyway spring has definitely sprung here - we have a new born lamb with hopefully a couple more to come and our chooks are laying 10 eggs a day and the wattles and native jasmine are blooming ( and I am sneezing !) . It is lovely here at the moment. Until next time ( another top on the way!) cheers Janine.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

A Nifty Dart Trick ( PHoto Heavy )

Just this week I learnt a really good little dart trick - I haven`t seen it elsewhere so I decided to show it here . Probably everyone else knows about this but you know the saying ` If it just helps one other person then it will be worthwhile. `.
I have always just left the threads at the narrow end part of the dart loose or before I knew better just  backstitched -gasp horror! I have seen a technique where you get a needle and insert the loose threads into the dart or just cut the threads really short. The technique I found is quicker than this . I wish I could lay claim to inventing this technique but I am strictly a follower not a leader. The below technique is from Singers The Complete Photo Guide to Sewing if my instructions and photos are as clear as mud. You can click on the photos to make them larger if this helps.

Photo 1 above shows the dart marked and starting to sew.

Photo 2 above shows the dart sewn - Continue until you just stitch off the edge of the fabric

PHoto 3 above  - Lift up the presser foot and pull the fabric towards you about one inch or 2 cms. This creates the length of thread above.

PHoto 4 - Set your stitch length at zero. Insert your material under the foot , lower your presser foot , insert your needle in the fabric inside the dart and stitch several times to secure the thread.

PHoto 5 above . Remove from your sewing machine and clip the threads close. As you can see the threads at the end are neat .

PHoto 6 - the outside of my ( unironed ) dart - see no puckers !

This is so quick. saves having loose threads inside and saves threading up your needle. I hope this is of some use.
Cheers Janine.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

A Name Change

IMG_0880[1] by JanineMcK
IMG_0880[1], a photo by JanineMcK on Flickr.
I have wanted to have a sewing blog for a long time but lack of computer skills and a touch of shyness stopped  me. Then my younger daughters showed me how to transfer images from the camera to the computer - I thought this was going to be hard !- and off I went. However I could only come up with the rather boring name Sew Janine. Today I created a new name which I think is rather appropriate.
Sutures is the medical term for stitches and interrupted sutures is a style of medical stitching.
I also wanted to add a photo of my next project. I had wished to sew the above Kwik Sew top with some light weight black silver brocade but did not have enough fabric to match the pattern which would have wrecked the whole thing so I am using some left over fabric from a skirt/top combination I made my Mum some time ago. I am now procastinating on marking the 6 darts involved ( my least favourite part of sewing after cutting out possibly ) . I hope this post works as I have had a heck of a time trying to get photo inserted and now I see after each m there is a funny gap. Cheers Janine.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Simplicity 2418 and my sewing mate.

This is my little dog Toby and he loves being with me all the time including sewing. I wanted to show this photo as he has FINALLY learnt not to just plonk himself down on my fabric and pattern pieces  -hooray . Ask him how he learnt this ! He still needs to learn though to give me space while enjoying my cups of tea and chocolate. He comes and sits right next to you and just stares the whole time .
I completed Simplicity 2418 - a pattern that is still in the current pattern catalogues ! It is the cowl neck version. Although rated easy I had to think carefully about the yoke attachment which has you sew the wrong side of the back and front pieces to the right side of the yoke - also there wasn`t much difference between the wrong and right sides of my fabric so I had to be careful.
I took the advice of pattern reviews of this and sewed size 10 instead of my usual size 12 and also took the side seams in by 2 cms instead of  1.5. In the end I didn`t really need the self fabric belt as doing these adjustments meant the top was not too baggy. I also used some `satin` bias binding around the `sleeves` which I did enlarge to accomodate my size 12 arms . I will definitely be making view B - sooner rather than later. I am going to do a more complete review over at Pattern Review ( love that site - I always check it out before sewing any patterns these days ) Cheers Janine.