Friday, 10 July 2015

Kwik Sew 3026 or How Not To Sew Plaid.

Pattern used - Kwik Sew 3026. I love this pattern having now made it 5 times. It is a great basic pattern for either a button up or placket shirt. It has separate pattern pieces for the under and outer collar pieces and a gently curved hem.
Fabric used - pink and blue textured plaid cotton. This has been in my stash for 20 years ! It feels  sturdy and soft  and I had trouble working out which were the wrong and right sides . Overall a great quality fabric which is hard to find these days.

 From memory I have  not sewn a plaid shirt before. I did make a plaid dress  20+ years ago and I am certain there were no thoughts about pattern placing going on then  This time there were plenty of thoughts but I still managed to muck up!

1. The front placket is not cut on the true bias - I thought it was but I must have been wearing my foggy glasses .
2. The front main plaid is cut slightly off centre .
3. I cut the pocket pieces on the bias and the pocket flaps on the straight grain. I carefully matched  the pocket flaps to the shirt front and then sewed them on the wrong sides so the pockets are lower and closer to the placket than intended. Annoying but the end result is fine .
4. The back of the collar plaid pattern is meant to align with the main back piece. Mine doesn't because I didn`t know .

No back view of the shirt because. 

Much loved and much used Kwik Sew 3026. 

However I did manage to cut the cuffs and yokes on the true bias and matched my side seams really well. I used larger buttons than originally intended on the placket to cover up my mistake :).

The Verdict - I love my new shirt !

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Vogue 8793 Tilton Top - Scrapbusting Extravanganza.

So happy  to be able to be back sewing again after a three month momentous hiatus.

I finally finished the fourth pair of New Look shorts and then contemplated sewing up a` new` piece of fabric. However I have had my little basket full of scraps sitting in my sewing room for over 6 months so thought I should just  sew them up and then have a fresh start. I am  glad about that decision because I am very pleased with my completed top .
I bought Vogue 8793 after seeing Sham`s and Jilly`s versions .
I have used 5 different scrap  fabrics in this top and only one was new !
Front made from black /white eye crossing poly - from New Look T 6405 - October 2013
Other front from black, red , grey rayon lycra - from Butterick dress 5523 - July 2014
Back from a garish floral `vintage ` spotlight poly  knit - from New Look  dress 6429 - March 2006
Inner collars pieces from Cleggs Bamboo knit - from Kwik Sew 2694 - May 2013 .
Outer collars and cuffs used small scraps of the above prints .
Sleeves from the only new fabric - black cotton lycra remnant from Darn Cheap - bought April 2014.
I didn`t have enough fabric to cut the front in one but this turned out to be a great design feature .

I did also have to buy two  new zips but basically it is almost made from scraps  which is very satisfying  .
I was concerned that the zip feature around the neck might be scratchy but it is not at all and I just used the stock standard cheap zips from my local store because that is all I can access anyway. I could not get a zip long enough so had to piece together the zips but this is only noticeable to me .
The T shirt itself has a relaxed but not too baggy fit with slimmer fitting arms so will be a good basic top even without the neckline zip focus. I really like the artsy funky feel to this top - it is my new favourite.
Well it just goes to show that it is definitely worth saving those scraps and I am not just a bit crazy to do so.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Knipmode May 2012 -Amazing Technicoloured Dream Skirt .

 Hello , I have finished sewing a new outfit in February .

Pattern Used - Knipmode May 2012 - Skirt ( Rok 16 ) . Out of my 4 Knipmode magazines this is my favourite. There are heaps of patterns I want to sew and this particular one was not even on my radar.
I was inspired by a photo of Princess Mary wear a gently pleated colourful skirt with a cowl necked satin top . I finally chose this pattern - a semi-circle skirt with deep box pleats in the front  and in-seam pockets .
The pattern is well drafted and the markings on the pieces are all the directions you need if you have sewn heaps of skirts before.

Fabric - Liberty Tana Lawn - This was a special gift from an English friend posted to me 4 years ago . The print is called Ian Rhodes and was from the Spring/Summer 2011 collection. She suggested I sew a dress and I even bought a couple of dress patterns for this but finally decided I would get more wear by making a skirt and fabric like this deserves to be worn. It is an unusual  liberty print made up of rectangles of   muted  colours of aqua, rose, terracotta , indigo, chartreuse , ecru etc. The colours are so crazily varied but somehow it works ! This is the first time I have ever made myself a garment from Liberty and hopefully not the last. I lined the skirt with some blue whatever stuff that was in my stash as the lawn is too fine as is for a skirt.

 I was so hyped up from sewing this Liberty ( finally ) that I went and bought some - for  another  friend- paying it forward so to speak . She is turning 50 this year and is a seriously good seamstress ( like drafting her own designs, only using natural fibres, proficient at fitting  etc ) . There are hundreds of designs to chose from but the decision was really easy because I chose the one that has her  professional name - how seriously cool and weird  is that -having a liberty fabric name the same as your own .

Now I have so many tops that  match this skirt already but a project like this deserves a new one . So I also sewed a new top .                                                                        

Pattern Used - Simplicity 2418.
Fabric  - Navy charmeuse from the Clegs remnant sale in 2012 . If ever there was a way to slow down your sewing then charmeuse is it.
Slippery and difficult but beautiful. A real prima
donna of fabrics .

And then because I was procrastinating making yet another pair of New Look shorts for my eldest daughter I went and sewed yet another top to match.

Pattern - Simplicity Threads wardrobe  Pattern - 4368 . It includes patterns for a jacket , pants, skirt and top . I love the square neckline with three little pintucks . It only took one metre of fabric and it includes sleeves !
Fabric - lemon light weight silk look dupioni .

OK so now I really don`t have any excuses to not sew that fourth pair of shorts - sigh.
Hope everyone is having a great weekend . Janine.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Pattern Review Sew Stylish Sew Along - New Cardigans.

Hello ,  these are the initial results of my attempts at following along with the Pattern Review Stylish Sew Along .
Note I am interpreting this as becoming more stylish not being stylish . So believe me these two cardigans are a whole lot better than what they replaced because even I realise that these cardigans are not what you would see on the best dressed lists!

The first cardigan is made from Butterick 3461 ,  a Kathy Ireland Lifestyle Wardrobe pattern from 2002. It is a long line slim fitting cardigan with a V neckline and gentle side seam shaping.It is such a basic pattern that I can't see any reason to but a newer pattern.  The fabric is a white stable  knit with a herringbone pattern. The recommended fabric is a knit with moderate stretch but this worked out fine.
I actually bought and made this pattern when it was first released from a caramel coloured fake suede which was the worst fabric I have ever sewed with even though it looked really good. I'm glad that I have revisited this pattern despite my bad memories . I was so pleased with the end result that I  actually hand stitched all the hems rather than my usual machine hem job  . I think it  looks much better and  I should just consider doing this all the time.

The cream cardigan on the left uses Kwik Sew 2875 which I have made several times but using  the hoodie version and also the great little camisole that comes with it.
I used my paisley embossed fleecy which is really lovely fabric but impossible to photograph . I only had one metre so I was really limited in what I could sew and in the end  this was the only pattern I could use . I actually wanted to make a raglan sleeve windcheater . There are pros and cons to op shop fabric and this is one of them. Finding great material but just not enough of it. From now on I will just have to leave these pieces behind .

Anyway end result is that I got rid of a couple of old cardigans and used some old stash to make replacements- a win-win situation .

The Stylish Sew Along has also inspired my next sewing projects. I am finally going to use some Liberty lawn given to me by a friend 4 years ago and am making up a couple of new tops which will match as well.
I highly recommend reading this sew-along/ discussion  . There are all different sewers , from different parts of the world , with different sewing needs but with the same common goal - trying to lift style game and get out of a rut. Happy Sewing Janine.

Straw Bale and Rammed Earth homes.

Hello Vancouver Barbara and anyone else who is interested !
Well spotted about the rammed earth wall!
This wall features heavily in my pictures now because I have no garden yet to speak of.
We just moved in a little over a year ago into what is mainly a straw bale house but it features two rammed earth walls. All the windows and glass doors are double glazed with a very tight airlock. They were worth every cent.
The temperatures here range from a rare 0 degrees but we have had temps up to 44 degrees Celsius. The thick walls are really insulating and even after 4 days of the mid 40s it was still pleasant inside - we recorded 28 inside max.
We don't have an air conditioner just overhead fans and our only heating is a single wood fire heater. The other noticeable difference between this house and others is that it is so quiet.
Apart from this it is orientated towards the north so we get the sun coming in during winter but the eaves stop the summer sun.
We didn't build this house ( we built the home we moved from and knew what hard work it was ) so paid a builder this time. He had never built a straw bale or rammed earth home but he has an excellent reputation and we trusted him and he enjoyed the challenge.
It's an incredibly comfortable home to live in and it is part of my husbands passion to reduce our carbon footprint. Anyway we love our home. All I need now is a garden .
If you can think of any questions let me know !
By the way I love Vancouver . I've been lucky enough to visit twice and my husband's  aunt married a Canadian and has lived in Vancouver for almost 50 years.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Another Round of Spots - New Look 6100

First of all thank you  SarahLiz for confirming I am a light Spring because it is easy to second guess yourself
even after going through the steps on the site a couple of times .
Barbara  here is the link - .  This will take you to the main site .Then click on fashion 101 at the top and then on colors . I tried to link directly but it didn`t work for some reason.  Also  I hope the site doesn`t have any issues with it but for what it is worth it doesn`t seem to ( this coming from a virtual computer illiterate ) .
BeaJay - Exactly !!  your thoughts about the colour analysis what if you don`t really like them or you love ones that aren`t in your group - life is too short to be conscripted to certain rules . However I realise that  I tend towards the colours that suit me   - I prefer cream over white , navy over black , softer muted colours over  really bright ones anyway.

OK , onto the shorts. I have made three pairs of New Look 6100 this year with one pair yet to come !
Two pairs were muslins - black and white spots and navy and white spots plain cotton before moving onto the `real ` fabric - a stretch cotton sateen with a circle pattern  from Spotlight last year . In the end I went down two sizes from my daughter `s measurements because the ease added was a lot and I was using a stretch fabric and she did not want baggy shorts.

The I have to maintain my status as favourite child pose. Just a family joke really and honestly .  

The I can`t  believe I am posting this on the internet shot. 

The shorts has a curved waist band/ yoke, front angled pockets and a side zip . They were fairly simple and came together well but trying to pattern  match circles in the front, sides, yokes, pockets  etc sent me loopy and in the end didn`t work out  the way  I wanted ( but I don`t think DD cares ) . I should say I made the straight leg pair but there is a flared leg version which would  look good in a drapey patterned rayon .

The real pair of shorts with my annoying pathetic attempt at pattern matching . 
Now my eldest DD wants a pair just like above and because I bought a ridiculous amount of fabric there is enough left over ( but I am sneaking in some selfish sewing for me beforehand )
PS I should clarify I don`t have a favourite child and because very rarely my family looks at this blog I love you all !

Colour Analysis and The Stylish Sew-along.

I have been loosely following along with the Pattern Review Stylish Sew-Along.
The purpose is to basically up our style.
The discussions have covered culling wardrobes,  style sites, hints to feeling more stylish and working out our colours amongst others.
I think this site was linked  in the thread - The Chic Fashionista - but it has an excellent article on doing a colour analysis . I  tried to do my colours many years ago but the choices seemed so limited. You could chose from red , blonde , black or brunette hair. Eye colouring was limited to blue, brown, green and black . So my mother with red hair and brown eyes is an Autumn. My father with black hair and blue eyes is a Winter. But what about their mousy haired daughter with tri-coloured blue/green/hazel eyes . Mousy coloured hair is so common but none of the colour analyses included such a mundane hue .
This site does and finally I have worked out I am a Light Spring.
I had to write this down so I don't forget.

I have done  some sewing - three pairs of shorts for my daughters using New Look 6100 .
I have also sewed a couple of new cardigans as part of the Stylish Sew-along to replace outdated, stained ones in my wardrobe. I have just finished sewing a navy charmeuse top using Simplicity 2418 and tonight cut out my precious Liberty lawn given to me by an English friend using a KnipMode skirt pattern. I hope to post some pictures soon.

Happy sewing Janine.