Thursday, 19 June 2014

Simplicity 2923 - In the Red .

Obstinence rather than common sense resulted in me sewing a summer dress in winter.
Fabric makes it way from my main stash to a little basket in my sewing room to the machine and then the wardrobe.
This fabric had been in the basket since October last year and I was determined there would be no retrograde flow with this one.
I used Simplicity 2923 , part of the Pattern Runway collection from 2008 and previously made into a much used yellow print dress .

The fabric is a splotchy aqua/ teal  drapey rayon with floral outlines from deep stash and another lucky find at an op shop .
The pattern is a button front dress and I used the notched collar bodice and flared skirt options.
I had 2.9 metres of fabric and only just had enough. I had to piece the fabric to get the pockets and two of the bodice fronts. In the end I eliminated the pockets because they looked terrible - bagging out and making my hips look huge AND cut over 20cm away from the skirt because it looked a bit frumpy. I had some trouble getting the notched collar right but apart from this sewing the dress went smoothly and the fabric was a dream to sew with . However I suspect that this fabric will not be sturdy because I have sewn with similar pieces in the past  and little holes seem to appear quickly .  With the cut off fabric I might in the future made a matching belt with one of my hoarded belt kits that I keep on buying  .
I` m happy with the dress now - I think the fabric shows off the blouson effect of the bodice nicely and looks a bit vintage styled as well.

With this project more fabric has now officially left the stash than has come in   I am in the red .
Echoing Lynley Dodds*  bossy little warthog character  " Eee " squealed the fabric hog  "Snip, Pin , Sew " and slowly the fabric stash went down and down .

Lynley Dodds is a NZ childrens author  famous for Hairy McClary but our favourite book of hers was Sniff, Snuff , Snap about a bossy little warthog.

Friday, 30 May 2014

New Look 6345 - Denim Skirt with a Twist.

Yippee - I finished something for me. And I am very happy with it.

New Look 6345 ( OOP ) is a shaped yoked skirt with  A line mini, straight or flared  gored options.
I sewed the version on the model photo seven years ago and it is still regularly worn to work .
Mum gave me some really lovely embroidered mid weight denim - the pattern  is in teals and bronzes with that special sheen you get with embroidery thread but I am not sure how hardy it is going to be.
There was just under 90cm of fabric but it was 150cm wide which narrowed down my choices of pattern and also with the large repeating embroidered pattern I needed something simple.

Along one long edge of the fabric was a largish area with no embroidery. This was actually an advantage because I was able to cut the yokes out of this avoiding the hassle of pattern matching and making the skirt look a bit RTW . I sewed the straight version and was a bit concerned with no walking flap I might have to do the penguin walk but no you can take normal long strides ( phew ) .

The dreaded back view - I was pleased that I could kind of match up the pattern at the back and one of the sides even with my fabric limitations . I also thought having the flowery things on the sides might avoid some unfortunate flower placement at the front and back. I admit this is something I would not have considered prior to finding so much sewing info on the net but is something I can not unlearn now !

I added an inch in length to the pattern whilst cutting out but after trying on the skirt thought that was not quite long enough so I used for the first time that nifty trick of adding a bias binding to the skirt edge to make the most of my material. I found a scrap of kind of matching cotton to make my own ( I made the bias binding 3cm in width ) and also used this to line the yokes. ( for the record I am 5foot 7 or 170cm )
The flappy things at the yoke are totally useless but I love them .

 My best friend patiently waiting for a play with his  totally disgusting fluffy pillow . I received positive unprompted comments from my family with this make and I also love the fabric and the pattern so this one is a success. 

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Shirts for Everyone ( Except Me ) New Look 6647 and Kwik Sew 3422.

My sewing groove is back and  the bad news is that I have been sewing shirts . For everyone except me.
First up  a blouse for  middle DD . I used New Look 6647.
This is a really sweet pattern with a bib inset front - either pintucked or plain with a variety of sleeves. There are waist darts front and back and the blouse flares out at the waist to hips.
My daughter chose the plain bib front and the short sleeves. The sleeves are slightly gathered at the bottom only and finished with a bias band . This makes a lovely sleeve which is not overly pouffy .
We used a soft navy with pink floral charmeuse which she chose out on holidays last year .
This blouse came together really well - it was one of those projects where everything turns out right.
I have made the blouse once before for myself so I knew there were no unexpected surprises . The only changes we made to the pattern were to take the sides in near her bust a few centrimetresI( to make up for a lack of bust darts I suppose ) . I would highly recommend this pattern .
New Look 6647,  floral fabric and lovely vintage mother of pearl buttons . 
Yay a modelled shot ! 

Closer picture of the bib front. 

Next up is a shirt for my husband. I have been a good wife and this is now the third shirt I have sewn him in the last couple of years ( as well as one T-shirt this summer ) . It is Kwik Sew 3422 again ( really I can see no need for another shirt pattern for him - shirt patterns for myself is an entirely different matter !)
I used some gray and white cotton shirting from Clear It in Melbourne that I purchased only a couple of months ago. I could not tell the difference between the right and wrong sides ( admittedly my eyes are getting fuzzy but I don`t think there was a difference ) and it felt very smooth  . I only paid $10.50 for the material - a great bargain for such quality. I am going to keep my eyes peeled for more shirting fabrics like this.
This is a great pattern . I love that they have separate collar pieces for the under and top collar pieces. The front button band is simple and just turned under twice . They have the great yoke instructions where the seams are all enclosed . This   is what I appreciate about Kwik Sew Patterns - I hope the new ownership keeps that up . Again I would highly recommend this pattern. I am so proud of this shirt I would have a gender  transplant to wear it !

Well the good news is now I have sewn the Paris Lace, the Tokyo charmeuse and the Melbourne Cotton I can now get on with some serious selfish stashbusting sewing ( SSSS) for me. Cheers Janine.

Spot the camouflaged pocket  .

Dang I am proud of that collar .

Monday, 14 April 2014

Hallelujah ! New Look 6356 Parisian Ombre Lace Top .

Finally ! I finished something .
This `simple ` top only took 6 months - that is three different patterns, four toiles , goodness knows how many trial sleeves and lots ( and lots ) of adjustments to get the final finished product.
I feel almost embarrassed to say all of the above.
The problem ( well two problems) was that the top was for my daughter and we bought the lace in Paris so I have never felt so nervous before in sewing anything - ever .

My daughter is quite petite - the top she wanted me to base this lace on was only size 4 ! None of my patterns get close so I looked at every pattern company and could not find anything suitable. I traced off an old Burda magazine pattern from 2004 and even a Top Kids pattern but for some reason they did not suit .
I settled on New Look 6356- a very basic top pattern  and started the long , seemingly never ending fitting process.
In the end I had to take out several cms from the back, fix a gaping neckline, raise the bust darts several cms and work out how to stop the `sleeves that bind` .
Do you know how hard it is to coordinate getting a teenager to try on toiles with a mother who can be bothered to then analyze the fitting problems ? In the meantime while you are doing this my youngest DD has the affrontery to keep on growing so your toiles are then getting too small .

However in the end I did it. I don`t think this top is perfect but we are both pretty happy ( and relieved ) with it.

Cutting and sewing the  actual lace was easier than I thought after all the toiles.
I sewed the sides and shoulders with french seams  but just sewed the back seam and sleeves the` usual` way.  I pondered how to finish the back/armscye  seams and in the end thought it was just all getting crazy so just overlocked the edges.We had decided to not line the lace because she has a few matching camisoles.
The final act of madness was to make my own bias binding out of some satin charmeuse which I finished both the neckline and sleeve hems with  .

And now guess what. I have to do it all over again for my middle daughter with fabric we bought in Tokyo !
( I know I know - I can`t complain )
Cheers Janine.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Liebster Award !

Thankyou so much Paola for your Liebster Award. I am always seriously surprised when this happens because my blog is so small and haphazard and I seriously do not sew cool or trendy stuff .
So as part of this I answer 5 questions posted by Paola and then 5 random facts.

1. What is your greatest achievement ? Being a mother to three daughters the first question is easy - they are!
2. What motivates you ?  Currently my main motivation is to help my children get through their schooling and hopefully develop into happy and confident adults. We are also trying to live our lives in a way that has the least impact on our current environmental concerns.
3. What is number one on your bucket list ? Hmm to be honest it is just to get through the current year ! I currently have three jobs, my middle daughter is doing her final year of secondary school and my husband intends to run for parliament again !
4.You find $100 on the pavement .What do you spend it on ?  OK assuming that I don`t take it to the police station I think I would take my family out to dinner . Or possibly there might be a cheap one way fare to New Zealand and then because there was no money left I would have to stay there - now that`s an idea . If I took my family to McDonalds for dinner I might be able to do both !
5. Summer or Winter ? Which do you prefer ? That`s another  easy one - Winter ! I am such a downer but to me summer means bush fires, snakes, intolerable hot weather and too many flies . Winter never gets too cold where I live , you can snuggle up in front of the fire and once it snowed where I live and it was such a pretty site -but it only lasted a few hours.

OK 5 Random facts
 1. I am a general practitioner so I can never ever talk about work on my blog. My husband is also a doctor.
Our eldest daughter is now studying medicine at the same university we went to which really makes me proud and weird to think she will be sitting in the same lecture theatres  that we did .
2. I live in a straw bale, rammed earth home - our last house was mudbrick. The house is so well insulated it is like living in the cone of silence - very quiet . We live on 2 acres and currently have 5 sheep, 12 chooks and one dog. This is a down grade from 57 acres, 12 sheep , and a horse( and chooks and dog ). Sadly we sold our horse last year.
3. I have only sewn one item for myself this year ( the T shirt project was completed last year ) but made curtains for my eldest DD and  a T shirt for my husband and  multiple toiles for my youngest DD . I am missing selfish sewing .
4. When we got our dog from the dog shelter I wanted a female dog with short hair. We came home with a male dog with long ( shedding ) hair. He was going to be an outside dog but now spends most of the time on the end of our bed !!
5. We just bought an all electric car which is really cool but we can only use it for local trips ( which is most of our driving anyway ) because it only has a 150km range before the battery runs out.

OK That was more more than 5 random facts but I should add in that I am hopeless at computers and passing on this award is beyond my skills. Also I love all the blogs I read so it is hard to choose .
Again many thanks Paola and I am so sorry it took so long to reply !

Cheers Janine.
PS I have just finished sewing a top for my daughter and I am very excited about this .

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

My Stash.

What is the saying - If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
My eldest daughter left home last week to start university after a gap year mostly spent overseas - in Japan and Peru.
I am very happy for her - It is a wonderful thing for a parent to see their children mature into adults . My daughter is happy and confident and has a very bright future ahead of her. I could say a lot more about her but she would not like it so I will respect her wishes here.
However it does leave a gap at home and I am missing her .
So I took over the central part of her wardrobe and for the first time ever I have all my fabrics together placed on shelves.

I have sorted my stash according to fabric types . It is far from being a SABLE but with my current snail paced sewing this will keep  me out of trouble for a few years.
On the top shelf  I have a few pieces of flannelette , sweater type knits and garment toiles.
The second shelf has bottom or jacket weight fabrics on the left and various types of knits ( including another sweater knit proving I am not as organised as I think I am ) on the right. In the middle are some polys ( with one rolled up piece of cashmere wool on top !)
The third shelf has various cottons on the left, silks in the middle ( with some Japanese cottons on top ) and again proving my organisational skills are lacking pale fabrics of all sorts on the right .
The second bottom shelf has bags of remnants divided into small pieces and large pieces. There is a plastic tub and another bag of patchwork /crafty type material.
The bottom shelf holds my old sewing machine and over locker and the embroidery attachments for my Pfaff.

The rest of the wardrobe still has some of her clothes and bits and bobs she does not need so I have not been entirely awful in taking over the wardrobe :)

Work and helping my daughter move has taken up more time than I expected. SO far this year I have only sewn two garments ( my T shirt project was actually all completed in 2013). I have also made toile after toile for my youngest daughter to sew up some gorgeous ombre lace bought in Paris last year . I am so nervous to cut into this but we almost have the toile right - I am waiting for her to try on the latest version . I tell you trying to fit her simple top has almost made me want to give up sewing - except then I look at the above photo ! I have also made some home dec projects for my eldest DD and have just started on curtains as well - ugh.  I have four more projects to blog about - I would like this blog to be fairly complete sewing diary for me but I have just spent ages trying to get that above photo upright ! I think I may have learnt how to rotate photos so they stay rotated in blogger - fingers crossed.
Anyway Cheers Janine.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

The T-Shirt Project -Part 3 . The Cross Your Heart KnipMode T .

KnipMode Feb 2012 - pattern  27.

This is by far the best of a bad bunch of photos . My photographer charges by the nanosecond so you have to be quick. But it is clear and does show off the style lines of the T shirt ( and my double chin ).
When I set out to replace my sad Tshirts  I wanted to try sew something different to what you can buy and to what I already have (  which are basically large and boxy and shapeless ) .
I also wanted to actually use some of my knipmode magazines rather than just look at them  so I found this pattern in the  February 2012 issue. It was actually a dress (jurk) pattern but certainly different to anything I have and a bit of a challenge as well .
In my stash I have some remainder of a mid blue soft , fine , drapey knit which is what this design needs . Anything too firm or beefy and the pleats and gathered cross over pieces would not work.

 This T shirt was a challenge though . I started this in late November and finished on about the last day of December last year . I procrastinated at different points and went and did some xmas pressie sewing ( aprons ) and then later the easiest thing in the world to sew , new short PJs , for my newly arrived back at home from 9 months OS eldest DD ) . I have previously used google translate with my first Knipmode make but it is sooo slooow and the translations do not always make sense anyway and this  make  seemed to have a lot of instructions. So I just sewed intuitively and it worked out . I have to say Knipmode has very clear fabric  layouts which was incredibly helpful and the patterns are much easier to  trace out than  Burda because they have fewer patterns per sheet and nice thick differently coloured lines  .

So I started  by making the pleats along the square neckline which are clearly  marked so you don`t need to read Dutch to work this out. Then I added the square facing as seen as above ( but I later overlocked over the wider horizontal part to even out the facing width. There was a rather um interesting discussion on Stitches and Seams about knit facings and also what stitches to use on knits . I have never used a facing on a knit top before but could not see what the alternative was with this unusual neckline. Anyway this all turned out well.

The next step was to gather the shaped cross over pieces , turn under the wide facings along the long edges ( after overlocking them )and attach them to the sides and armscyes . This was the point that confused me because I actually thought they might attach along the neck line but in the end I worked it out ( and actually got my xmas sewing done - so all`s well that ends well ). After this the sewing was easy. I attached the narrow binding strip to finish off the back neckline , sewed the back and front together , attached the sleeves and then sewed the sleeve and side seams in one go. However the neckline facing kept on flipping out as it is in their job description to do so I tempted fate and stitched them down using a lightning stitch. I used a slight zigzag for the  rest of the seams and overlocked  the edges because I find with time that straight stitches tend to break.

Despite my expression on the photo I am happy with the finished top . What can I say but this top is great for us ladies who get high marks in the bust department ( if you know what I mean ) and the gentle pleats in the front make it quite comfy.  Once I adjust the cross over pieces after putting on the T they generally stay put( they are only attached at the sides , not on the neckline) . They do not feel binding like the photo suggests. The sleeves are firm fitting but not uncomfortable because the knit is soft and stretchy. I did elevate the neckline by an inch but apart from shortening the pattern from a dress to a top I did not alter the pattern.

And thus concludes my T shirt Project for now. Ciao !