Thursday, 25 May 2017

Button Front Shirt with a Tie Front Twist - Burdastyle 11/2011 .

My  sewing has been very slow in the last month and in fact it feels like I am not achieving much of anything .
But I have finished  another project .
After finally completing my Knipmode challenge by sewing up at least one pattern from each magazine  I have turned towards my Burda magazines now.
I had about 6 unused Burda magazines and the idea was to get through those as well but something happened. Last month I went to a Melbourne op shop and I spotted a basket on the ground full of Burda magazines . I almost fell over myself in trying to get there before the man and child in front of me could steal them . Luckily they were not interested  in sewing magazines so I plonked myself down on the ground  , emptied the basket and started trying to work out which ones to get . After a little while I realised that was useless so I just lugged the magazines to the front counter and bought them ALL. Ahem , 31 of them .
Now they were old - ranging from the years 2000- 2006 but for 75 cents each I don`t think I would be the only crazy sewing female to get them ( would I ?? tell me I`m not nuts ) and there are some really good patterns in there that don`t look out of place for now and besides I am not exactly the most fashionable person around in case you hadn`t noticed.
So there goes my Burda Challenge because sewing a pattern each from 37 magazines might take a long time.

So back to the really important stuff - the shirt I just sewed.

I used  pattern 107  from November 2011 which has side pieces which tie at the front . I am seeing quite a few patterns around with this feature even now but I figured if I get sick of them I can unpick the side seams and remove those bits and just have a plain shirt . They really remind me of how we used to tie our jumpers around our waists at school . I went to two secondary high schools and at the government school no-one cared that we did that but at the private school we used to get told off by teachers and prefects so wearing this shirt makes me feel a little bit naughty . I am tempted to call this post Naughty School Girl Fashion or the Tie Me Up shirt but can imagine the creeps that might look that up !

I used some very old stash to use the shirt - a seersuckery striped cotton in beige with blues and greens and plums . The fabric looks much nicer in real life . The last couple of shirts I have sewn , I have made the sleeves first because I think these are the trickiest parts trying to sew the sleeve slit / bands well. It then feels like the rest goes quicker and easier. The shoulders on this shirt are wider than I would like but not an easy fix . After sewing the shirt I noticed that  it  looks wide on the models as well . It is also very long which is fair enough since Burda calls this a dress not actually a shirt . I did make the shortest version of all three variations ( but I have included a photo of the midi one not the short one ) .

Overall I like the pattern but I won`t be making it again ( hello  37 unused  Burdas and many more  unused envelope patterns  ) I wore the shirt today for Me Made May which I am participating in for the first time . So off to post this on instagram and also the facebook stashbusting group I am in ! 

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

My Knipmode Challenge.

Around mid 2012 I discovered knipmode magazines via a friend who was born in Holland . Over the next couple of years I bought several issues via CraftyMamas website , an Australian stockist of fabrics and patterns but sadly they no longer sell Knipmode . Since then I have been slowly trying to sew at least one pattern from each issue and last month I finally completed my knipmode challenge. 

It ended with a wadder and the photo above does not even come close to showing how bad it was. I must at this point emphasize that it was not the pattern that was the problem but the fabric. 
I used a pull on skirt pattern from the supplement magazine to the May 2013 issue. In total I bought 9 knipmode magazines and 5 of these came with supplementary mini magazines with several bonus patterns. Overall I have loved the knipmode magazines and supplements but I struggled to find a pattern out this particular mini magazine. 

Most of the patterns were for very simple and over sized garments . The fabrics used were quite drab and the clothes were photographed with bleak scenery . I finally chose the pull one skirt because it would be very handy to have a well fitting comfy basic skirt pattern. I think this could still be a winner but the fabric I bought especially to complete my knipmode challenge with ( and to add to the insult broke my fabric fasting pledge for !! ) was terrible to sew with . I used a textured navy ? scuba knit from Darn Cheap which looked great but stretched out so easily despite handling it carefully . Overlocking seams caused waviness and applying the waist band was just a plain disaster . I know when to quit and quit I did . I didn`t bother trying to hem the thing - I took a photo for posterity , removed the elastic and binned it . 

Despite this wadder , I have mainly had winners from my Knipmode magazines . Here are all the ones I have made and most are still in my wardrobe being worn regularly. 
 My first Knipmode project was a Michael Kors knockoff pattern. I wear this skirt for special occasions. 
Unfortunately despite being an interesting pattern in a lovely knit the cross over bands kept on shifting and revealing bits underneath which I don`t have :) . I blame myself not the pattern  because I could not work out where to attach the bands and stitch them down so this T shirt is no more :(.

A simple top pattern , slightly oversized but I wear this regularly because it is comfy and cool and my oldest daughter bought me the fabric from Japan so it is sentimental to wear as well. 
Another sentimental make because a friend from England gave me this Liberty fabric . I have never had Liberty fabric before so I took a long time to decide what to make . I am still very happy with my choice of  pattern. 
 A cowl neck top and I still like this although the neckline is low . This top made me get out the rust coloured skirt I am wearing it with above which I made when my middle daughter was a baby but had never worn !! 

I love love love this skirt . I will make this pattern again for sure. The skirt got worn heaps over summer . 
Another winner and I don`t think I will get sick of the pretty fabric. I ended up buying this bird / blossom rayon fabric three times ! Two of my daughters loved the material too so I have made one some PJs and the other a top. We don`t all wear them together . 
I love this dress and the fabric was a gift from another friend so yet another sentimental wear. I wore this dress to Townsville and the cool batik and dress design made life slightly easier in a place where it is so humid my glasses fog up - it`s true I swear. 
Same pattern as above but the cotton knit had no recovery so that neckline was really wiiiide. But you know what, it makes a great nightie !
A hi-lo hem pullover. I got a bit lazy sewing this and the hems were wavy so just recently I chopped the hem off and stabilized the bottom with fusible hem tape and restitched the hems . Much better now . 
A long line vest from another fabric gift . I really like wearing these longer vests - they cover so much which is especially useful for when you like chocolate just a bit too much. 
Another total wadder . When I look at the magazine  photo I can see the top looks huge on the model and she is doing a jumpy pose which I think conceals some of this ( fun fact - Knipmode models jump a lot ) 
I am really happy with my scrappy tunic shortened from a knipmode dress pattern. 
A knipmode mini cargo skirt - another great pattern which I think I will use again. 
Another long line vest and another happy camper . 

I admit it does feel wrong to be blogging about such stuff when the world has experienced yet another sad terrible evil event . I can not even imagine the pain so many must be going through now but I have also read about many brave and kind acts which gives hope that good will prevail. 

Friday, 5 May 2017

Sewing SOS - Kwik Sew 2943 to the Rescue.

Usually I am OK at matching patterns to fabrics and vice versa but lately my brain has been in a funk and nothing was working . I washed up several fabrics . I traced out a couple of Burda Style patterns complete with lots of hassles which I don`t usually encounter . But I could not get the fabrics and patterns to work - not enough fabric , not wide enough fabric or way too much fabric with useless sized leftovers . I couldn't  face tracing out another pattern so I turned to my trusty Kwik Sew Patterns . I had a couple of small   remnants from  projects from a few months ago  littering my dresser with the idea to make some tanks trialling a new to me pattern . Well higher up forces were obviously telling me now was the time to make  them.                                                                                                                                                        
This is a really old Kwik Sew of the white pattern paper variety . Like my other Kwik Sews it proved to be reliable but not totally without more hassles . This was all down to the fabric choices though.
I used the leftovers of the burnout velvet that I made a kimono with - the fabric is so pretty I could not waste it . What I did not think about was the  nap of the velvet  so the tank fabric is cut different to the kimono - my astute sewing friend noticed this when we went out for tea ( Hello Kelly ) . Also I used the leftover silk from the kimono bands to make my own bias binding instead of using the facings supplied with the pattern. My bias bindings were wibbly wobbly and at one point I did not sew them properly onto the fabric so I had to cut them off and start again ( no way I was unpicking this fabric which frays easily where the burnout part is ) .But overall the tank top  was a success and has made up a nice `twin set ` .

The other fabric was some crinkly georgette I made using another Kwik Sew pattern for an interesting tunic. This time I did use the facing patterns but boy were they out with this shifty fabric . So I used bought bias binding which is really a bit too stiff for the georgette but since I intend to mainly wear this camisole under the see through tunic it doesn`t matter and I know when to quit and not worry about perfectionism . The bust darts  are  a little low with this pattern . I tried to correct this with the georgette but they are still too low perhaps because of the shifty fabric factor ?? Anyway overall this pattern turned out a winner , great at using up small scraps and for ( mainly ) restoring my sewing confidence.

Since sewing the tanks   I have managed to match up the couple of burda patterns I traced with different fabrics and the paired the fabrics I washed with other patterns so I think I just had to step away for a little bit to sort it all out . Here`s to tanks of the peaceful kind .

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Patrones Especial - The Skirt of Many Angles .

 Better late than never perfectly describes finally getting around to using my one and only Patrones magazine. I was so excited to find it for sale in a Melbourne newsagent  that I snatched it up but alas I only ever saw one other issue for sale and did not buy it !  Ah regrets . I think this must have been around 2010 .

The issue is number 292 and there are lots of great patterns in it  ranging from quite basic to artistic to extremely fashion forward unique designs that I have not even seen in Burda . Likewise the sewing complexity  ranges from advanced beginner to couture level .  The magazine is Spanish and I have assumed like all European sewing magazines that there are no seam/hem allowances included.

I made the skirt on the right . A straight skirt but with lots of  interesting angled pieces involving the pockets , the front waist band and the upper back. 

The pattern came together so well with all the side seams matching perfectly . My only gripe which I should  have realised and altered are that the pockets bags are not that big .                                                            
Also the skirt was not long enough for my tastes . I added some wide ribbon to the bottom to give me a bit more hemming room . 

The big difference that I noted between Patrones and Burda and Knipmode etc is the sizing. The patterns do not come in all size ranges and are limited to just three . With Knipmode and Burda I make a size 40 but my equivalent sizing with Patrones is 44 ! I am glad I checked this before making any assumptions here .
I used a dark silver grey polyester dupioni - another op shop buy . I bought it rolled up and tied and until I came to make this pattern had never unrolled the fabric so I was delighted to find it had a soft smooth black satin lining . A black lining in a silver cloud ! This saved me lining the skirt as the outer fabric is a bit rough . The pattern recommends a stretch woven but my fabric does not have any stretch . Luckily it still worked and the skirt is comfortable even after road testing it last night and having a four course meal !   In real life the fabric is not as shiny as it is showing up in the photos but at the end of the evening out it was quite crinkled. 
Overall I would highly recommend Patrones magazine and if I ever get the chance to purchase more I will have no hesitations . 

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Sabrina Slouchy Top.

I have been on a personal mission to use all my sewing magazines. This top pattern came from one called Sabrina that I bought in 2013 in Germany. I was totally amazed at the  vast number of sewing pattern magazines available at the train station we stopped at .

In the case of this pattern I think it is best shown by a floor shot !
It consists of a really over sized body with tiny armholes with attached narrow long bands . Hard to believe it is the same top when looked at like this.The only alteration I made to the pattern was to add 8 cms in length .It is hard to tell from the modeled photos but I hazarded a guess that the top was short.  I used up a remnant knit from my Issey Miyake maxi skirt I sewed in 2014 . To make this top work you need a drapey and very stretchy knit .I love the look of this knit - navy with fine silver threads but unfortunately it is cheap quality so already it is pilling and snagging.

Sabrina magazine was a relatively cheap magazine compared to others I have bought - 5.5 euros so about AUS$7.50 . The magazine looks cheap too but lots of patterns are included. Get a look at the line drawings though ! I can only imagine whoever draws these are fulfilling their freestyle artistic fantasies. I did not find them completely helpful . I changed my mind on what pattern to sew from this magazine on the basis that I could not work out what was going on with both the line drawing and photo.   I rely heavily on the line drawings in making up clothes from foreign sewing mags. This one is in German and although I actually studied this language in high school and also relearning German using the duo lingo app ( according to my last assessment I was 7% proficient in German - how optimistic !) this didn`t help  much . I could find little about this magazine on the internet.

Sabrina magazine at the far right.  
The top was very easy to sew and  is comfortable enough to wear and for me a sure sign that something I have sewn is a success is when my youngest daughter said she wouldn`t mind having a top like this too. Overall I am happy with the result and I actually feel a bit trendy too .

Saturday, 18 March 2017

In-Vest-ment Sewing.

It feels like I have been sewing this vest for ages for although it is plain it is actually quite a complicated pattern. The pattern is from Knipmode Mei 2013 .

This issue features patterns based on various style icons - Brigitte Bardot , Jackie Kennedy , Coco Chanel and Kate Moss . There are also patterns for garments  worn by Queen Maxima of the Netherlands.
I chose the vest because I identify with Kate Moss. Not really. If I had any style icon it would be Princess Mary of Denmark , an Aussie who just happened to meet her prince in a pub !!
No, I chose the vest because I have sewn a couple of others and they are very useful outer garments to add some light weight warmth and  for carrying stuff - mainly hankies, bits of paper , the phone and doggy bags.
The vest has lots of features.

1. Notched collar which was the tricky bit . The knipmode instructions were great though so I had no troubles. Kidding - for all I know they might be fantastic and there are no diagrams to help with construction . So I used my Singer Photo Guide to Sewing book to help and played around with the pieces basting them in until it looked right. Kudos to Knipmode because the patterns really do come together well.
2. Epaulettes.
3. Lot of buttons even where you don`t normally need them. The pattern calls for snaps but I don`t have the snap equipment . My Mum does but when I have used them the snaps pull away from the fabric. I found some dark buttons ( ? black or dark blue - I can`t tell ) with little gold centres which breaks up the expanse of plain dark blue .
4. Pleated pockets and flaps .
5. Waist casing to add some extra shape but not really necessary because the vest was not over sized at all. I had to buy some dark navy cotton tape for this but had already squirrelled away the cord stoppers. Yay for sewing squirreling.
6. Separating zip . One side of the zip is sewn in between the front of the vest and the facing but the other half is just sewn freestyle on the other front. I haven`t seen this before. The pattern calls for a shorter zip but I thought that looked a bit odd so bought a separating zip that reached the garment hem.

I really like this vest although I was starting to tire of sewing all the fiddly bits . I have to be careful at the end not to rush to finish sewing because that is when I make mistakes. I have learnt the hard way many times .
The fabric is just a very plain dark navy suiting that Mum gave me 5 years ago  that was given to her by her SIL that was given to her by some-one else. Yes , I adopt the fabric no-one else wants but it eventually finds a caring place in my wardrobe. Now the weather is turning ( glorious Autumn days but could use some rain but not like what NSW is getting ) this vest will gets lots of use and truly be an investment in sewing . ( sorry so corny )

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 .