Sunday, 26 February 2017

Overthinking Sewing.

Sewing is my main form of relaxation and my only form of creativity ( unless you include 100+ different ways to use zucchini in Summer and pumpkin in Winter ) . Now thinking is of course very important but overthinking or rumination  is a whole different matter . I bought this small remnant piece of knit from the Clegs Remnant Xmas sale a few years ago thinking I could combine with another piece in my stash for a top  but the colours were way out . Then I tried to combine it with some other fabrics to make a pullover but the pattern was a wadder . Earlier this year after making my Burda pullover I thought I had the answer but there was not enough material . Garrghh! Enough ! There is only 70cm of this knit which is a light weight jumper ( sweater ) knit so I pulled out my trusty TNT Kwik Sew 2965 and just sewed it up before I overthought  any more .

And in another case of overthinking sewing I present my new skirt .

This red polka dot fabric is deep deep stash being left over from making a pinafore dress for my then 10 year old daughter ( 20 and a 2nd year medical student now ! ) . It must have been already quite old by the time I acquired it because it was only 90cms wide . It is a really good quality cotton with a smooth tight weave but it just positively screams Minnie Mouse so it has sat in stash all those years . I have thought and thought what to do with it from getting rid of it , to making a Minnie Mouse costume and to making something as unMinnie Mouse as possible. In the end I have made a `wearable` muslin of a knipmode skirt from May 2013.                                                                                                                                                              

A plain straight skirt with the front divided with a centre piece and narrower sides . I made the shorter version with cargo pockets .

One thing I don`t overthink with my blog are the pictures .I brush my hair , put on lippy and then convince someone to take pictures . The whole photo bit takes a few minutes . This time though took longer and I used several props to get photos .

Above my camera is resting on a bookshelf and magazines.
Camera propped on the back of a car with a turtle emerging from the ground .
Camera propped on the back of another car with an attractive compost bin in the background.
Up a ladder with the camera on a nappy bucket on the washing machine .
The best photos were the camera resting on the upside down old nappy bucket on the dining room table - must remember that one for future.
I have promised myself that I will wear this skirt for the remaining warm weather and if I still feel like a middle aged Minnie then the skirt will go.
Sometimes I feel a little bit crazy with how much time I think about these things but somehow if you are reading this blog then I know I am not alone .

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Burdastyle 04/2014 - Love of ( Modified ) Detail Dress .

My sewing and stash busting mojo is on a roll .  I spent a leisurely few hours choosing patterns from my unused sewing magazines and matching them to fabrics from my collection . Burdastyle April 2014 is a fantastic issue - there are heaps of things I would love to make from it . When I first bought the magazine ( 2 1/2 years ago ) I was really keen to make up a very stylish slim fitting dress 117 but all the reviews were that it was quite difficult to fit and the instructions were baffling - this coming from very experienced seamstresses so the magazine languished in my pattern piles.
I also liked the extremely popular top with a front overlay but none of my fabrics were right so I went with dress 123 described as Love of Detail - Smart Peter Pan collar and a tie band for a shapely waist - all the ingredients you need for an uncomplicated summer dress. Further pretty details are the puff sleeves and a wraparound effect yoke.

Before I sew up a pattern I usually check the internet for reviews . I like to see what the patterns look like in ` real life ` . I love to check out the Russian Burda site - boy can those Russian women sew . I am gradually learning to search and navigate the site with no knowledge of Russian. I also look at the Burda Addicts webpage as well as Pattern Review. There were plenty of dresses ( and tops ) made from this pattern and I generally liked what I saw so I went ahead with cutting out some of my ` precious` Japanese fabric ( I think it is rayon ) which my eldest daughter gave me in 2013 after her 5 month visit there. I really liked how Burda used a contrasting fabric for the collar so I blatantly copied their idea and used some left over dotted cotton voile here.
I followed the pattern pretty much as is except I did not add any elastic / ties to the sleeves ( and I forgot to add hem allowances there too )The neckline is very wide so I  added extra buttons on the top yoke instead of the two little ones they had. I made buttonholes but I could have just sewn the buttons straight on as it is very easy to get the dress over your head.

  The collar pulls the front yoke down a little but the neckline is finished nicely with self made bias binding so  it still  looks OK . However I will be very wary of bending over in this dress. The dress has an inner casing and fabric ties attached to elastic are threaded through to give the dress shape. Otherwise it would be quite shapeless as you can see below.

The blue rose / spotty fabric is very soft which is important to create the blouson effect .

My daughters were not overly enthusiastic about the dress but I like the end result.
Now I have about 15 projects lined up to do , the theory is that will keep me out of fabric shops .
Happy Sewing Janine.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Boho Tunic - Kwik Sew 3670

Late last year I fell in love with some navy chiffon printed with peacocks and attempted to sew a Kwik Sew tunic I have made once before. It was an utter dismal failure and I was ready to chuck in the towel . I have faced a few life challenges behind my smiley face photos and darn it if I am going to let a mere fabric and sewing pattern defeat me . In a previous blogpost I wrote about my win over the fabric.

So that was the chiffon fabric under control but I was unhappy that I had failed at making up the pattern which I successfully made before and loved ! Kwik Sew 3670.

So back to the stash cupboard . Mum gave me this boho print crinkled georgette ( there must have been about 5 metres ! ) and learning from my chiffon nightmare I gelatinised the georgette until it was almost crisp . I then very carefully pinned  the sides of the fabric together to match the wide patterned stripes . The pattern pieces were placed , pinned and cut like I performing some delicate surgery . I really was determined to  make this work. Well all that preparation was the hardest part because with the treated fabric it was relatively easy to sew up the tunic. This really is an interesting pattern with a rectangular extension of the front pattern piece gathered and then folded over the front yoke / sleeve part.

The only thing I am not quite happy with is the somewhat wobbly hem but if I try to level this out the black patterned stripe  at the bottom will look off so I would rather the wobbly hem. Obviously I did not quite have the fabric straight  when I was cutting it but I did manage to match the stripey pattern at the side really well but forgot to take a photo so you will just have to take my word for it.
Overall I  love the tunic - the patterns and colours and  the fact that I conquered the pattern as well . No more frustration at being bettered by fabric and pattern. I think this version will be as successful as my last one which came to  nasty end after a run in with a velcro vest .
Well January is obviously an energising sewing month for me because I have also completed a dress .
So until next time Happy Sewing everyone. Janine.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Burda Style 11/2012 . A Warm Snuggy Pullover in Summer !

Last year I made a pledge to myself that I would sew my 2016 fabric acquisitions in 2016 . A friend joked that I would be crazily sewing at 11.59 New Years Eve . Well , not quite because I like having flexi-solutions not resolute- lutions . But this pledge does explain why I have sewed a ` woolly jumper ` in Summer . I bought this knit late last year - another op-shop find so of course I couldn`t resist at $3.00 plus I have never seen fabric like this before. It has a fuzzy print on the outside with a smooth plain wrong side with only a small degree of stretch. I liked the abstract print in neutral colours too .
To fulfill another pledge to use my un-used patterns I found a pullover from Burda Style November 2012 which has been very popular. It is a very simple pullover , the main style aspect being the uneven width front and back hem bands which are sewn on separately.

This is a very popular patterns and checked out lots of reviews and took my fellow sewist`s advice. I made size 38 instead of my usual 40 , I did not add any seam allowances to the bottom thereby shortening the pullover slightly and raised the neckline by an inch . The neck line is still a little too low and I feel like the shoulders are a bit too wide but not too annoyingly so. The sleeves are longish but the narrow bands help to keep them off my hands. I didn`t use the bias binding for the neckline but  ironed on  fusible tape , turned this inside and stitched it down.

It was very easy and satisfying to sew and when the cooler weather arrives I will be able to warm my body and my soul with my home made jumper.
Happy Sewing Janine.

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.