Saturday, 30 June 2012

StyleARC Abby Cardy Meets Animal.

I whipped this little number up over four weeks which is pretty sad really  !  This is by no means anything to do with the pattern . I really thought I had been sewing more than what reality indicates but life has been very busy . I really am missing sewing and reading all the sewing blogs  . Anyway I would highly recommend this pattern. I will definitely sew this one again in a plain fabric.


I used a remnant knit  left over from my Butterick dress I sewed last year for my muslin  . I only had enough to sew the short sleeves unfortunately .

As with all Style Arc patterns there are no detailed instructions.There is the list of steps involved and one small diagram showing the centre back neck/ shoulder  and where the facing attaches. The pattern pieces are quite well marked though.

It is a very simple cardigan to sew however  so the lack of detailed instructions does not matter  but if you were completely new to sewing it would be a challenge.  

 I really like the end results - unlike some other drapey cardigans it does not have masses of fabric at the front , the fit is great and it can be styled in several different ways. Also I was very impressed by the service I received from this company - the pattern arrived the week after I ordered it and the costs were quite reasonable.I also really like the small swatch of fabric they include - this really helped with my material selection .  I will definitely buy more patterns. ( I also have the Peta Pants patterns and have sewed a muslin - another happy success !)

I hope to get more sewing done in the next month - I have been on a prolonged break from work and go back to the real world in a month. Also I have lost my nocturnal foot warmer for the next 4 weeks - my husband and middle daughter have gone to France while I stay home with the oldest and youngest daughters - sigh .We are expecting some extra special souvenirs - well they better or else !  I don`t know what the or else is yet - hopefully we won`t have to think of something ;)

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Kwik Sew 2694/2900 -Remnant of a Remnant Top.

It feels good to be back on the bandwagon so to speak- selfishly sewing for me !
I have been doing some boring sewing - sheets, pillowcases and a swing seat roof cover.
This was very good for stashbusting but not so good for my sewing psyche.
However I did manage to use the OLDEST piece of fabric from my stash in doing so  - 2 and 1/2 metres of garbadine in exactly the same grey that primary school boys have their pants made of - see why it was in the stash for so long . When I got married I inherited this fabric from my new husband - see my husband came with a dowry - free fabric - how could I have not married him. Pity the fabric was ugly but beggars can not be choosers -lol. ( If you want to know I have been married 22 years and the fabric was at least 6 years old when I received it . )

So I have eventually gotten around to sewing the remnant knit from my daughters knit top( from my last post )  that in itself was a remnant from my eldest DD`s knit skirt !
My tatty Kwik Sew Pattern - 2694.
I used Kwik Sew 2694 but added in the long sleeves from Kwik Sew 2900 and also added a band around the front/back pieces . I choose KS 2694 because the front upper and lower bodice pieces are only small - perfectly  suited for my scraps. I only had enough fabric to cut one sleeve and the lower front  bodice and one upper front and the band . I really liked this fabric and was determined that I should get a garment out of it somehow ! A few weeks ago my Mum took me to Darn Cheap Fabrics in Heidelberg , Melbourne. I didn`t have my remnant material with me so I had to make a guess as to what would match  relying on my memory ( that can be dodgy sometimes ). I bought some dark teal mesh and although it doesn`t match perfectly I think it blends in quite well.

This pattern is very simple to sew - I made this top over the course of a week in about 6 easy sewing sessions including cutting out. I doubled the mesh where used for the back, one sleeve and one upper front - this eliminates the see -through factor and makes the top a bit more snuggly warm. Before sewing the garment I stitched the mesh together at the tops and bottoms of the pattern pieces and then just treated them as one piece of material.
I have previously sewn Kwik Sew 2694 twice before - the upper front is a bit revealing - I have to wear those tops with a camisole underneath . Adding the front band has eliminated this need. I simply cut out two long rectangles 5cm wide and sewed them together. Then this long rectangular piece is folded together - wrong sides together - and attached to the garment ( after you have sewn the upper fronts to the back ) right sides together. I then zigzagged the raw edge , ironed this and top stitched the band on the main garment pieces. Also as I was attaching the band I stretched this fabric slightly to snug up the front bodices.
I would highly recommend this pattern although it is getting pretty old now.

Now here is my ` happy` problem` - I used up all my remnant knit but in buying the  teal mesh I asked for 1 1/2 metres but the sales assistant was very generous and gave me what was left on the roll - over 3 metres ! So now I have a remnant of the teal mesh and now I will have to buy more fabric to use up this remnant ! I know - lucky these are the `problems` I face.

Hope everyone is happy and healthy. Cheers Janine.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Simplicity 4076 - Wild Horses ......and Mushrooms.

Wild Horses will not drag my daughter into modelling this top for my blog. Nor will love nor money. I have tried threats, bribes, cajoling and even down right begging.  I have ( eventually ) learnt not to bother asking anymore. Daffy is so much more obliging so she will be modelling again.

Last year my eldest DD came home from a day in the city saying she wanted to sew a maxi skirt. After I picked myself up off the floor and I showed her my only pattern for such a skirt - a lovely Issey Miyake design. We toddled off to Spotlight and my daughter found this lovely Sorrento dry knit . Usually when I visit Spotlight I only find kacky prints in garish colours . The maxi skirt was a fabric hog so there were large remnants which I wanted to sew into a top for myself. 
However in a fit of motherly madness I offered to make the remaining fabric into a top for my daughter and she said yes !

This is Simplicity 4076 , arguably the most reviewed pattern on Pattern Review. I have made this four times now but this is the first time making this view. I had been put off by reviewers saying the ease was excessive for the draped front but I did not find this at all. I changed the sleeves from the long bell shaped ones to tapered sleeves and also added little loops and buttons to the gathered side.

In the end there were remnants of the remnants - enough to make into partial top using some co-ordinating mesh to fill in the missing bits - I will try to sew this next . So I get to have my cake and eat it too. Talking about food  ....... I discovered the above ah , um unusual mushrooms on my daily doggy walk . I wonder if they are edible - perhaps I could make cream of mushroom soup ! I just thought I would add in that last photo for a laugh. Cheers Janine.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

McCalls 6110 - Feminine Feathered Frock Finally.

This dress has been in the making for a LONG time . I normally get a bit tired of projects that go on too long and  I mainly enjoyed the process but I am glad it is over .

This is McCalls 6110 - gathered bodice, racer style back, upper front band and gathered skirts  with a tie . I did not add the apron thingy.
Made of a sheer feather print georgette from Ebay  , bodice interlined with a  very fine cotton bastiste and the skirt portion is lined with sunsilky from Lincraft.
I used a few tips and tricks researched from the internet, Threads and Australian Stitches to make life easier in sewing this slippery fabric.
I pretreated the fabric using unflavoured gelantine - this definitely helped alot in the cutting and sewing . ( you can read my previous post for details about this ).
I used paper underneath the fabric whilst cutting out as well.
I used sharps needles instead of the universal type.
My sewing machine I am currently using has a built in walking foot which I think helped .
I interlined the bodice with bastiste which reduced the slipperiness .

I like this pattern overall although it is very loose fitting - If I make it again I will make the  front narrower . The front is not too low and revealing and the straps and racer back style hide bras. It is a good balance between not being too frumpy or too tarty I suppose( I am a bit old fashioned I admit ). I hope I don`t get in trouble for this but the back also covers up my middle DD`s scars from spinal surgery.
I really like the construction process - the inner seams are completely enclosed so it looks pretty on the inside as well. There is a bit of hand stitching involved but I don`t mind this.
This is the front inside portion.
Inside the back of the dress.
Overall I think this is the nicest garment I have ever sewn. About 98% of this dress could withstand a thorough stickybeak  from other sewists ( my machine rolled hems are a little wonky in one area ) and sewing this gave me great confidence in my skills. If I take the time to do the extra little steps it makes a difference and these extra steps are not hard in themselves - only time consuming.
Normally I like to see clothes on a real person so Daffy the Duck(t) tape model will have to do for now ( She is new by the way - very exciting for me .)

Now I am very sorry to be moribund but I can`t help but write this. It is my nature and my job to reach out and try to  help people. Just over two weeks ago our bestest and dearest friend took his own life. I will never really be able to make sense of this .He had financial problems but they were short term only and not bad enough that he would be bankrupted . We knew he was unhappy and he was receiving help from professionals and his many  family and friends who loved him and supported him  but we did not realise how deeply distressed he was - he did conceal it well. There were some subtle signs but only in retrospect did they become significant and no one person had access to all the  signs to put them together . BTW he was married with three children aged 15 to 20.
So if you are having trouble then reach out and get help and tell someone how you REALLY  feel.
If you know someone having trouble then reach out to them and let them know there is help .
Suicide only makes things worse , not better . Family and friends never recover fully from this and sometimes go on to develop their own problems. Sorry about that.
Take care and cheers . Janine.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Interlining - Baby Steps for the Feathered Frock.

I am hoping by posting some progress this will  me keep on track so this project doesn`t turn into a prolonged saga . I am making some little progress after a bit of procrastination . I didn`t really know what the next step was after cutting out the fabric and I think I have built this dress  up in my mind that it has to be perfect and I didn`t want to make any mistakes. It is now obvious to me but the next step after cutting was to interline the fabric. The sewing gods were on my side and I found some very very fine cotton bastiste in my large scrap bag which was perfect.
The interlining is performing several jobs at once - 1. the fabric is no longer see through, 2. it is making the sewing of this fabric easier and 3. it is providing a little more structure and support without really changing the characteristics of my fabric.
Interlining was not hard but did  add a bit of extra time with all the hand basting - I have only interlined the front bodice and back bodice and midriff band pieces. I will not add interlining to the skirt portions but will line this . I actually enjoyed the hand sewing -very relaxing and pleasant - made me feel like I was in  a Jane Austen novel except I was websurfing at the same time  instead of discussing marriage prospects  .
I recently bought the Threads DVD Archive and read a very thorough indepth article on interlining.
I have only gone through briefly a few issues so far -there is so much information  there . A very worthwhile purchase and the DVD was delivered to Australia so quickly - I was expecting to wait a month or so.
Hope everyone had a safe and happy Easter . Cheers Janine.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Not Better , Just DIfferent .

I have been stewing quite a bit in the last few weeks over a comment I read in response to a blogpost on anothers sewing blog. The comment quite dismayed me and I felt discouraged and disparaged ( enough dis`s for now ) .I should point out the comment was not  directed at me personally at all  it was just a generalized comment. I don`t want to say at all what the comment was or the blogspot etc just that the comment was well, not nice. I wish I could say that I totally misinterpreted the comment but there was no mistaking the disdainful/superior  tone .

So everyone is different. We all have different style aesthetics, different budgets, different blogging ethos , different opportunites to sew, different clothing needs, different opinions on the importance of fashion,   etc etc. That doesn`t mean one is better , just different.

That`s all I wanted to say now. I think I feel better for getting that off my chest.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Cheesecake and Slippery Fabrics. - a sewing experiment.

How are cheesecakes and slippery fabric related ? I suppose you might want to eat some cheesecake after the nightmare of cutting and sewing that contortionist fabric . The real answer though is gelantine. My next project is for a semi-formal dress for my middle DD using the fabric above.
It is a very sheer and quite slippery georgette - off white with very large black feather motifs. It is the last of my ebay purchases from September 2010 - positively an infantile piece of fabric in my stash!
It was not quite what I was expecting - I don`t remember the site saying it was sheer and the size of the feathers was not mentioned but I was happy with this fabric as I have nothing else like it in my stash. Last year ( but it only feels like a couple of months ago ) I read in Belinda`s Sew-4-Fun a link for a tip to control slippery fabric. This tip was discussed in Patternreview`s forum and also is found in Lena Merrin`s blog who is the originator of this idea  ( and she said she was happy for this tip to be shared ) .

The tip is to make up a gelantine mixture and soak your fabric in this. THe end result is fabric that is easier to cut and sew. Use three teaspoons of gelantine and put this in a glass of cold water and leave for 30minutes. Then bring this mixture to the boil and then take off the stove ( do not boil the mixture ) . Add this gelantine mixture to three litres of cool water and then add your fabric. Leave for one hour and then drip dry your fabric. Iron and then you are ready to go.
It takes a bit of faith to put your precious fabric in gelantinous water so using a small scrap of chiffon I experimented. I used the above technique and soaked some fabric but cut off some chiffon and left this untreated. The resulting fabric still felt soft but pliable . It only smelt very faintly of gelantine - not at all unpleasant or overpowering.  I cut out three bias cut strips of chiffon  . The top strip is the gelantine treated chiffon and cut out with paper underneath ( another tip for cutting out slippery fabrics ). The middle strip is gelantine treated but cut out with no underlying paper and the last chiffon strip is untreated and cut out using paper. The top strip is definitely the best and the others are a bit wonky ( but the untreated fabric was definitely the hardest to deal with ).
I then practised some gathering, straight stitching and zigzags on the treated fabric and it sewed up nicely. Lastly I washed the gelantinous chiffon and it came up to its previously soft and silky condition. I can now march forth into my sewing room and tackle this fabric without trepidation ( until I get to the next step of ? underlining or ? lining it - lol ).
 Many thanks to the talented seamstresses who share their expert knowledge .