Thursday, 5 January 2017

2016 Sewing Overview.

My favourite garment of the year. 


For some reason I really love ❤️ reading 📖 about everyone's annual reviews of their sewing and their plans for the coming year. I actually find these musings fascinating and  inspiring. We all have the common denominator of loving sewing but have different perspectives in how we fulfill that love.
My take on sewing is to sew slower so my output is not high. I am not a perfectionist but hate it when things don't go right. However once a garment is completed ✅,  no matter what mistakes , it goes in the wardrobe and I don't seem to care anymore . A few years ago I went through a phase of churning out  more clothes and was a bit slapdash so I have had quite a turn around in attitude. I prefer how I sew now because I have fewer failures .

So in 2016 I sewed 42 items which sounds like heaps. 24 were for me and the remainder of 18 for my daughters mainly but also a friend and Mum.

The 24 items for me included one ☝️ total wadder , 3 underthings, 1 camisole , 1 nightie and 1 pair of long PJ pants. I didn't blog about these but I will have a post about my wadder in the future.
The 18 items for others included 9 short PJ pants , 5 tops and a couple of scarves.
A major goal for me was to use what I had and move a bit more fabric out than what came in. FINALLY after so many years of trying I succeeded with only 9 pieces of fabric in and quite a bit more sewn up. It was also my intention to sew the fabric acquired in 2016 in 2016 ! I almost managed to do this so I found myself have a little cutting out frenzy on the second day of January !


Apart from my one wadder I wore everything I made quite regularly apart from my vintage burda dress which was a special occasion garment anyway ( and my middle daughter likes it so is going to use for a function later this year ) .
 This year I basically just want to continue on with the same theme -  just plodding along really doing my imperfect best and making the most of what I have.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Knipmode White Patchwork Tunic .

  

Happy New Year ! I`m off to a flying start finishing off this white tunic and I have cut out two further projects as well.  All of which satisfy my own little resolutions / challenges which I set myself last year.
First off the tunic came about as a combination of using an old but unused knipmode magazine I have been mulling over for ages and my personal competition  to use up smaller scrappy pieces . I had a bingo moment when I realised this dress  pattern from October 2010  would be perfect for my remnant challenge as it is made up of several small pattern pieces. Win/win !


The dress has a front yoke , cuffed two piece sleeves and the lower front is divided into central and side front pieces with pockets . There is even a separate lower front . In other words the front of this dress has 8  pieces ! The back too has 6 pattern pieces so perfect for using small fabric scraps . There are no zips or other closures in this dress.
I used a total of 4 different white fabrics . The front yoke and front side pieces are made of dotted swiss cotton. The back and lower centre front is made of a pintucked , lacey cotton and the sleeves are constructed from  a self patterned white paisley design. The facings uses a self checked cotton. All fabrics were remnants from long ago projects but  just too good or sentimental to throw away.





I made a few  alterations to the pattern , the main one being that I did not make the dress  but left off the lower front/ back pieces and made a tunic length garment . The front slit was quite low so I stitched this up another inch but the tunic is still quite easy to put on .  I also deleted the pockets concealed between the side and central fronts but this is a nice little detail in the original design.  Finally I elongated  the front yoke facing piece to be same length as the front yoke because the dotted swiss is quite see through and a shorter facing shadow would have annoyed me. Otherwise as per usual the knipmode pattern is well drafted and all the pieces went together well. I used a kwik sew pattern to help me with the sleeve vents and this was the hardest part of the whole project. 
Overall I am very happy with my new tunic - a great way to start the sewing year. I extend my wishes for everyone to have another safe and healthy and happy 2017 . 
Happy Sewing Janine. 

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Blue Tops ( and Lots of Them ) .

Dear Blog Diary , I have been very busy but I have been thinking of you . I have been working and travelling lots . I flew to Townsville and then drove 3500kms back home . Then we drove to Merimbula for a short but sweet holiday. On the way back  I stopped at Bairnsdale and then cycled to Paynesville . A short ferry trip across to Raymond Island to see the koalas and then a train trip back home and to real life ( ie work ) . However real life includes sewing and even the occasional blogging so all is good. Before I went away I sewed blue tops and lots of them for literally every female in the family .

 DD 1 Blue Top.
My eldest DD just happens to live only about 10 minutes ( if the traffic is good ) away from Darn Cheap Fabrics  in Heidelberg . We went there for a bit of a cheer me up session and she really liked this stripey , diamondy fabric . She has a very favourite oversized top which is also very stained and pilled and wanted it recreated .
No problem at all ! A very easy sew as I was able to unpick the original top to copy. I have previously tried rubbing off an intact garment to make pattern pieces but found it quite tricky .

DD3 Blue Top

Well I overestimated the amount of fabric needed for DD1 top and DD3 loved the fabric too . There was just enough to cut out a top from the Burda April 2016 issue . This is a easy fitting top with dropped shoulders . All the vavoom is in the back with a V back and a little strap going across . Also a very simple sew but I ignored Burda`s instruction to add a snap to the strap at the back . I can see no purpose for it as the top easily fits over her head . DD1 and DD3 are very similar in appearance and in many other ways ( they both dislike bananas for example - weird !) so now they can be real twinsy wearing their stripey tops.

DD2 Blue top.
I have been unable to pin down DD2 for a pic. I made the same pattern as for DD3 using the silk I used to make my kimono jacket bands. So a plain blue top basically. But lovely nonetheless .

Me !

I bought this exotic peacock chiffon from the op shop . There was something like almost 4 metres of the stuff. I started sewing up a Kwik Sew tunic pattern but I hated it . Not the pattern , nor the fabric just the combination. The chiffon is a see through and slippery customer indeed . I hated the see through seams  and the crooked hems and the fraying sleeves . I was ready to chuck this big time but then thought NO . It is just fabric and I will not let it defeat me. So I soaked the chiffon in a gelatine mixture  ( I originally just used starch ) and since the Burda April issue was lying around traced and cut out a really simple little shell top. The only features of the top which are totally obscured are some darts at the neckline. I lined the top with self fabric but as you can see it is still quite transparent. However I have ended up with something quite wearable - a little shell top and it only took 4 metres ! I have sworn off chiffon for a bit now but expect it will be like childbirth .
I usually like to add pictures of the patterns I have sewn because personally I find this very helpful when reading blogs . But I lent the magazine to a friend who wants to make a tunic and a dress for her sister . It really is a terrific issue.
So Blog Diary I am glad to caught up with my sewy news . Hope to report back again soon.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Battle of the Kimono Patterns.


This beautiful burnout velvet was offered up at the sewing group I attend and as no-one else wanted it I snaffled it up as I had bought a kimono pattern earlier in the year and then realised I had no suitable fabric .
But then I had a closer look at the pattern and became unsure because I really love the fabric and did not want to muck up.
I do not sew muslins unless for very good fabrics or a special occasion outfit . If I was expected to sew a muslin for everything then I would just quit sewing . So it really is a testimony to how much I liked the fabric that I ended up making three muslins of different patterns.


From left to right is a Knipmode jacket from March 2014 ,  jacket pattern  110 from Burdastyle April 2016 and finally Simplicity 1588.
The Knipmode kimono jacket was too large  and tending to look like a potential  dressing gown , not the look I was going for . I sewed up the the size small kimono from the Simplicity pattern which corresponds to size 10-12 . I am usually a size 12 in Simplicity but the kimono was too small . Also it takes 3.00 metres ( 3 1/4 yards ) of material which I did not have .
The Burdastyle pattern was just right ( perhaps I should call this blog post Goldilocks and the Three Kimonos ) !  However I did make changes . The jacket comes with an extra flap in front and welt pockets which I eliminated . I added 10 cms in length as well but otherwise the slightly loose fit and dropped shoulder and wide sleeves were what I was imaging. The sleeves in the burda pattern are separate and not incorporated with the body pieces like the other patterns but I again I preferred this as there was no puckering under the arms .


I finished the front bands with some slightly contrasting silk and added the same width bands to the end of the sleeves ( another change ! ) . The jacket was very easy to sew .



Well I am very happy with final product and would highly recommend this pattern . In fact this particular issue of Burdastyle is really good . I have already cut out two patterns . Thank you so much  Bruna for your gift. Now I just need somewhere to wear it !
PS Bruna , your husbands xmas present is done. I will bring the goods next visit 😜

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Kwik Sew 3658 - A Miracle In Pattern Drafting .





My sewing output is much greater than my sewing blogging as I made this top early this month .
I was so impressed by this pattern I wanted to include a few pictures showing how it was made .




This is the two front pieces placed right sides together and stitched at the top and along the middle .


The fronts are ` opened up ` .


This creates a self front facing which is basted down .


The back is then stitched to the front . After this all that has to be done is sew the sleeves in the flat and then sew up the side seams and do the hems. So quick and easy and just amazing  ! Mind you I have no drafting skills so I might be easily impressed .


The close ups of the front and back neck line also show up my fabric well - a white waffly knit . It was only $1.00 from the op shop but it was covered with lots of little black dots which I did not realise until I had taken the fabric home. Luckily they washed out with a bit of that wonder pink napisan .
I am overall happy with the top but the neck line is a bit floppy and the shoulders too wide. Otherwise it really is a little miracle in pattern drafting.  I know Kwik Sew is not so popular or trendy so I do appreciate that they have reliable drafting and excellent instructions which is what really counts in the end.
Happy Sewing Janine.




Thursday, 22 September 2016

Simplicity 1280 - A Surprise Winner.


This is my favourite sewing out of my recent projects. It is the cross over top from Simplicity 1280 which is a very popular pattern for good reasons as I have discovered.
I was hesitant about this style because I carry most of my extra fluff around my lower tummy and thought this cross over elasticized top might emphasize it. But I really liked the versions I have seen so gave it a shot anyway.
I used a piece of chiffon which has been hanging around close to a decade 😳 . The pattern says you need 1.4 metres  of 1.5 metre wide fabric but I only had 1.25 so I was really happy when I managed to not only squeeze out the  top with this but also lengthened the sleeves to reach my wrists.
The  other change I made was instead of adding elastic to the sleeve hems I made bias binding strips the same width as the neck band to finish off the sleeves. Personally I find this more comfortable than elasticized sleeves but that could be because I cut the elastic too short.

As others have noted it really is a modest top with the deep cross over pieces. It is very easy to sew but you do  need a soft drapey fabric for it to work. The chiffon was perfect for this. I did not sew any extra stitches to secure the fronts because I think that kind of changes the way they fall and I did not find it necessary.  I highly recommend this pattern and also want to try out the other style top included in the pattern.I have included what is a totally useless hanger shot where all details are obscured by the print !






Happy Sewing Janine.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Burda Style Vs Ottobre Design.


Burda skirt , Ottobre top . In real life I will not tuck in the tops .  

I have just recently finished sewing a skirt from Burda Style and a top from Ottobre Design and it was interesting for me to note some differences between the two European sewing magazines .

First up the skirt is from Burda Style September 2012 ( the same one I made my pinafore from ) .
It is a slightly A line skirt with a single inverted front pleat . It does not  have a waist band, is fully lined and has a side zip . There are only two pattern pieces !
The back story to sewing this skirt is a family trip to see our daughter in Queensland. We were standing waiting to board the plane and my eldest and youngest daughter were discussing my clothes - I was wearing an old denim skirt and even older knit top . A lady just in front must have been listening as she turned around looked me  up and down and smiled but in a nice way as she caught my eye . That is when I realised I was being talked about and heard what they were saying . I admit I was feeling pretty frumpy in that skirt so I pledged to make a new denim skirt . I have had the material for yonks - it looks like denim but is not .

 It is so easy to make but I made a change by not lining the skirt and finishing off the waist band with grosgrain - after all who wears a lined denim skirt ! I also added a button tab to top . In the end though my pretend denim skirt is a little scratchy so I may need to wear a petticoat with it ! The upside is that this fabric ironed like a dream - that pleat came up really nice and sharp and sewed easily.





Now the Ottobre top. This the the ` Kimono ` top from the Spring/Summer 2016 Issue. The magazine was for sale at a local newsagent and as I have never seen one before I couldn`t resist buying it. It is another simple garment to make just  having two main pieces and bias binding strips to finish the neck and armholes. It has slightly dropped shoulders , flared sides and front darts. 





I cut the fabric for the top out on a Friday night and sewed it up the next day . It has been a long time since I sewed anything in one day but again the top was so easy to make. The fabric was given to me by my eldest daughter after her travels to Japan 4 years ago. 

Now the comparison between the magazines . The burda patterns are easier to trace as the different sizes have different dots/ dashes to distinguish them. The ottobre patterns are all the same coloured solid lines . There were places where it took me a while to work out where to trace the top . Ottobre does include hem allowances but not side seam allowances . The bias binding pieces including all seam allowances were also printed out. Burda does not include any hem or seam allowances and you have to make your own pattern pieces for simple rectangles etc. 
The instructions for the ottobre top were very clear and easy whereas sometimes Burda instructions can be a bit goobledygook. 
The Ottobre magazine cost me $22.50 compared to Burda Style ( I bought one of those too on the same day ) which was $17.50 . There are more designs in the Burda and the patterns in Ottobre seemed quite basic . Lots of basic shift dresses which I already have patterns for .I did like another peplum type top in the Ottobre , a pleated dress/jumpsuit and some pants . There was also a useful T shirt which I will make up some day. 
Overall I prefer the Burda and  will need a bit convincing to buy another Ottobre magazine . 

Lastly I would like to thank my photography assistants for today - the supervisor and the photographer`s socks.