Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Japanese Stylish Dress Book - Tunic G .

getting used to this self timer/ self shots thing. 

 My last sew of the year - This is tunic G from the Stylish Dress Book .
I was gifted this book from my  friend  this year. She loves sewing for her grandchildren and she thought her teenage granddaughter might like the styles but she apparently totally rejected the idea  . So there is one positive to be said for difficult teenagers ! I ended up with a great book .
Now after I cut this tunic out another friend told me how roomy the patterns are and she made a different top in quite a small size - umm too late !

 Here is a totally unadulterated shot of how large it was to start with. There are no finished garment  measurements that I can see anywhere so  I used size 12 which pretty much accorded with  my personal measurements. I thought that this would be OK because yes the tunic did look very large in the pictures but the models are petite waifs . So I took out a total of 24 cms from the bottom edge  6 cms from the front and back both sides tapering to nothing at the armhole. That was an improvement but still not quite right so I also took about 10cm from the length.
The tunic is still very very roomy but it is comfy and I like the style so it is a keeper. I used a pale ice blue textured ? poly blend and also my favourite buttons - ying and yang mother of  pearl beauties recycled from a top I sewed in the 90s. Wish I hadn't waited so long to re-use them.

I love lots of the patterns in this book so I definitely will  be making up more items but I will be totally more aware of the sizing. The tunic was relatively easy to make and the instructions and diagrams were adequate for someone with experience.

I`m glad 2014 is coming to an end - its been a mixed bag this year - good and bad - and I am just happy our family survived it.
In terms of sewing I managed to sew 25 garments for myself and my family.  16 were for myself and 9 for my husband and daughters. I also sewed curtains , pillowcases and kitchen hand towels for my eldest daughter who moved to Melbourne to go to uni. I was happy with what I made -both in quantity and quality and it all gets worn .
I hope everyone has a happy and healthy and safe 2015. Cheers to a New Year - Hip Hip Hooray.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Vintage Simplicity 9497 - White and Navy Spotty Dress.

Simplicity 9497 80 a

I sewed this pattern a few years ago  but at the time of cutting out my fabric I wasn't  quite sure if it was home dec or dress fabric. Well after a few wears and washes I realized it was definitely home dec stuff. I mean if the large roses and flowers which looked like my great aunt's couch weren't a giveaway the scratchy feel which did not improve with washing made it a certainty . But the fabric was so pretty - lemon background with large various pink roses and I got lots of positive comments too! But they didn't have to  wear it so out the dress  went . But I loved the pattern so out it came out  again with fabric that was definitely of the dress variety this time. 

 This is one of the few patterns where I think the dress made up looks better than the pattern cover photo . 
On hanging this up in my wardrobe when finished I realized that out of my five summer work dresses three are basically the same variation - 1/2 shirt waister dresses with notched collars . This one has dropped shoulders , the sleeves are cuffed and the bodice is slightly gathered and attached to a yoke but otherwise very similar to Simplicity 2923.My other 2 summer work dresses are wrap styles made of knit . So there I am in a style rut . I'm not making any resolutions sewing or otherwise for 2015 but I think I will at least try another dress style next year.
I have one other completed make to blog about and am currently sewing some shorts for my daughter as well . Then I will tackle my ` coffee` twin set I recently posted about  and see what I can do with that. After that I have no  projects planned so can start  afresh .
Hope everyone had a great Christmas and is well.
Cheers Janine.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Issey Miyake Maxi Skirt -Vogue 2796

 I bought this pattern on the strength of the many glowing reports on Pattern Review many many years ago and only now finally making it up for me. The main issue was really finding a suitable fabric so when I saw this denim look knit at Darn Cheap I knew it was the one ( bonus it was on the $2.00 table as well )
I have a uniform of sorts . I prefer separates and mainly wear plain bottoms with a patterned top , less commonly a patterned bottom with a plain top and even less frequently dresses or completely plain separates worn together. So I was basically looking for a plain knit but with some  interest to it. This knit is in denim blue with silver grey threads in it.
The pattern itself is rather conservative for this designer but despite its simplicity it has some lovely style lines with a curved side front and back. It is hard to see but I top stitched along this curved seam with some silvery grey embroidery thread .This pattern is very easy to make especially if you ignore some of the instructions ! I did not add the waist band or zip. Sewing is meant to be a stress buster not a stress creator and I can imagine adding a zip in knit fabric would  be crazy . It's just not necessary anyway - the skirt stretches over my hips easily enough .
With its maxi length and swishy curved sides I feel just a bit trendy wearing this one and think I  will pull it out for Xmas Day - the stretchy waist band will be rather handy as well ;) .
Happy Sewing Janine

Saturday, 13 December 2014

A Tale of Two Twinsets .


Using a combination of the Style Arc Abby Cardy and Kwik Sew 2965 and a cream lace knit .
I`ve made the Abby Cardy before but the top was a new sew. I was wearing this set to work a little while ago and someone commented that they hadn`t seen a twin set for years !  Well I suppose they haven`t been in fashion what since the 50s ? Another great reason to sew - you can wear what you want and not be dictated to by a higher fashion authority .


This twinset was made using Vogue 8559 a Marcy Tilton pattern. I used a lovely slubby capuccino coloured knit but as there was not enough to make both pieces I had to use a remnant of a spotty knit. I have only worn this twice since making this a year ago ! Once when I had finished sewing it and for the photos.

The cream twin set works I think because both garments are made from the same fabric , the cream suits me and both garments are a flattering length.
The brown twinset fails on so many levels. I only had one metre of the  brown knit ( but the fabric was extra wide - at 200cm !) and was just trying to do too much with  too little  . The colour is not so complimentary and the cardigan is just too short and finishes where the widest part of me starts . I could not find a suitable trim so I used a dark brown lace ( which again is lovely ) which was too stiff . Also the spotty contrast tank  is just too much . It`s a pity because the brown knit is actually quite good and every image I have seen of this pattern made up looks great .

I love twinsets as part of my wardrobe because they really do reduce dressing thinking time in the mornings. Each time I wear them it saves precious seconds ( and as you get older those seconds get more precious !)

Happy Sewing Janine.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

A Neighbourhood of Hoodies - Kwik Sew 2848 and 2875.

Kwik Sew 2848

Kwik Sew 2875

Kwik Sew 2875

I was never one of those girls who could keep an up to date diary and blogging is the same although perhaps with age some things have improved because I have at least been more persistent although still not very up to date.  I sewed these hoodies a few months ago but I am trying to get all up to date for a fresh new start next year.
Both patterns are Kwik Sew . I sew a lot with these although I don`t actually own a great number  because I just keep on reusing them . I was reading Paolo`s blog post about her disappointment in sewing a McCalls Jacket and I was nodding along because I had the same experience in sewing a McCalls twinset using some really lovely ( read expensive ) boucle knit and it ended up being so boxy and large and shapeless . I was so disappointed but wore it anyway because I adored the fabric. And then I discovered Pattern Review and the site highly recommended a few Kwik Sew patterns so I bought a couple on the strength of that and what a discovery. I was so happy with the fit and the shaping and hence I am always keeping a lookout for patterns I like.

The striped hoodie uses Kwik Sew 2848 on the left above and some sturdy rugby type knit( love the colours ) .  I modified the pattern by adding welt pockets and a contrast  trim along the front of the hoodie extending down the front bodice slit. This is only the second time I have made welt pockets so I practiced a few times with scraps and they looked very nice thank you very much . So I proceeded with my real fabric and managed to insert them upside down ! Luckily the pocket bag fabric is very soft and flexible so it doesn`t really  matter but I it means I have to continue on my journey on making that mythical perfect garment . 

The navy blue and  `sea foam ` cardy hoodies use Kwik Sew 2875 and both are sweater ( jumper ) type knits . I  added some bias binding along the front edges but otherwise sewed them up as is. Very simple pattern and very easy. I don`t really knit so I love sewing `knitted` garments. I used to be a bit scared of using sweater type knits but I have practiced several times using opshop and in the case of the sea foam cardy very cheap ( read nasty ) spotlight stuff . Kwik Sew 2875 came with a bonus camisole/singlet pattern which is excellent +++. I wear these all the time so am glad to have a great pattern which will be useful in using up scraps. 
Kwik Sew 2875

I`m not normally a hoodie type person but you know they are great for covering up bad hair days ( basically everyday for me ) and adding a little extra warmth or even sun protection when needed so really are very useful garments. 
Ok now I only have four more completed garments to catch up on. 
Cheers Janine. 

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Stash Building and Australian Rules Football.

You see when you sew all roads lead back to sewing ( at least in my narrow sewing mind ) .
This year I co-won the Footy Tipping Competition at work ( I suggested to the other winner that he could take all the glory of winning if I take all the money :) - he tactfully replied that he wanted to share the glory of winning with me ) . My family thinks it`s a scream that I won because frankly I know nothing about football and just got lucky although towards the end when I thought I was in with a chance I did use some tactics .
I would like to point out I would have won but put my tips in late a couple of times  for those Friday night games and the person running the competition wouldn`t  let me have those points ( nothing to do with the fact she was coming third ! ) Anyway hopefully you can judge by this that the Footy Tipping Competition at work is fun and we enjoy some good natured banter  about it.

I wanted to spend my lucky winnings on fabric especially some printed cotton lawn to make a tunic . I have been inspired by Camp Runamuck`s happy bright tunics she makes ( not to mention I adore her  pack  of dogs ) . Of course Murphy`s Law means I have bought everything but cotton . So here are my acquisitions.

On the left is some royal blue sweater type knit and denim look knit. Both from the Darn Cheap $2 table. I don`t often get to go to Darn Cheap and usually don`t have much luck with the famed $2 table but I was lucky when these turned up.
Then there is some patterned blue knit and not showing up very well some cream paisley embossed fleecy - both from different op shops. The cream has a couple of brown spots on it but hopefully these will come out or I can cut around them to make a simple windcheater .
On the right is some Daniela  ponte knit from Knitwit. I have read so much about ponte and seen so many great makes out of it but also read that it can pill easily . I have bought a few pieces from Knitwit in the past and generally found their fabrics to be good quality so I now have my first piece of ponte in a pattern and colours I love ( and hopefully won`t pill ).
In front is an interesting piece of fabric - a thick cream  sweater knit with black lace somehow embedded on one side . It was from Clear It . I took my mother to have her cataracts operated on and was able to walk to Clear It from the opthalmologist`s rooms . For the next surgery I took Mum to Clear It prior to her procedure and noted that that fabric was already gone so I am glad I bought it then and there.
So there I was going so well with my stash busting this year . Oh well there is always  next year .

Happy Sewing , Janine.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Stash Busting and Self Care .

Recently I attended a Girls Night Out and included were  talks from a McGrath breast care nurse and a lifeline counsellor. The take home message from the counsellor was the importance of self care.
I absolutely agree . Some women equate self care with being selfish. Self care is important at all stages of our lives whether we are students , new mothers , working women etc.
My husband and children sometimes encourage me  to buy new clothes. Like other sewers my interest in shopping has waned although I appreciate the eye candy and potential inspiration. For me though self care involves not buying new clothes but not feeling guilty in getting rid of old ones. I often keep clothes way past their best.  So with this sage self -care  advice fresh in my mind I did some stash busting and sewed up a pair of  new pajama  pants and a  singlet and promptly got rid of  the  old ones before I could change my mind.
I think as sewers we have a fair idea about self care ( unless we are constantly sewing  for others) and it is just another one of the multitude of reasons why sewing is such a lovely hobby .

 Anyway a brief note about the actual sewing. Here is a bad shot of the PJ pants a one seam pant from Vogue 7645 dated 2002 . I used a green /blue cotton plaid from my mother  stashed for several years . I added a ribbon on the front to make it easier to work out which is the front and back but this was entirely unnecessary since I mucked up matching the plaid at the front but it matched perfectly at the back ( another aspect of self-care - not berating yourself about trivia like matching plaids ) .

For the singlet or tank top I used Kwik Sew 2845 dated 1999  which uses only two pattern pieces. The fabric is a thin soft blush coloured cotton interlock also from my mother and also stashed for a long time. My sewing machine did not like this fabric whilst I was making the original  button hole ( to thread the ribbon through ) but I found by adding tear away stabilizer in both the front and the back of the fabric everything went smoothly the second time. Apart from that hiccup the rest of the sewing was easy and enjoyable.  I have never made this pattern before but it certainly will not be the last.

So here`s to daily self -care . Cheers Janine.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Burda Style Henley T - Much Ado About Nothing.

I just sewed a T -Shirt.
The pattern is from December 2009 Burda Style and why oh why does it take me so long to finally make something from my patterns .Probably because I am catching up sewing from all the other old patterns.

This should have been just  a quick simple make but it took several days and used  several different products. Lots of people would think why bother and I sometimes ponder this as well .
Well there are several reasons why I bother.
1. I have the fabric in stash anyway -  a decent quality  mid- blue cotton pique knit - an op shop find from years and years ago.
2. I  enjoy the sewing process as much as the finished garment .
3. I don't think I could buy a T shirt so well constructed and I want my clothes to last - none of this one season, throw away fashion for me.

Burda Style instructions are notorious for their brevity and this was no different. Thank goodness for my Kwik Sew patterns which I referred to for the front placket. In fact when you know what you are doing the burda instructions do  kind of make sense ( the trick is knowing what you are doing ) .

Apart from the front placket there is stabilising the shoulder seams with cotton tape, interfacing the placket bands, under stitching and stitching and top stitching the neck band and adding hem fusible tape to the sleeve and body hems which I think helps prevents those wavy stretched out hems .Also the buttons I retrieved from an old shirt so I then had to resew on different buttons on that shirt .

Yep , so lots of effort for just a Tee.  ( not to mention tracing out the pattern and adding seam allowances ) .
I made mistakes as well .The twill tape I used was really too thick for the purpose , I added a 1.5 cm allowance to the neck line but only sewed the neck binding on using a 6 mm seam and mis-spaced the buttons despite carefully measuring them. Sigh.
I do like finished  top and will likely remake this. Hopefully without the mistakes .Hopefully I'll remember to read this post .
So all these words to say I sewed a T-Shirt.
Looks like even the dog is giving me an eye roll. 

Saturday, 25 October 2014

New Look 6143 - A Vision of Lace and Silk.

The most special and important part of my life as it is for most people is watching my children grow up into their own individual selves.
My middle daughter has just finished secondary school and is now preparing for the next stage of her life.
Part of the final school activities include a whole school assembly where they celebrate their academic , sporting and community achievements , a Valedictory dinner and the final celebratory day of school ( renamed because too many pupils muck up on Muck Up Day - one year it was quick set cement in the toilets causing over $30,000 worth of damage ! )

So with only three weeks until her Valedictory dinner my daughter asked if I would sew her dress and showed me a photo. This was quite a scary challenge because I think my daughter overestimates my sewing ability and I did not want to disappoint her on a very special day and did I happen to mention I only had three weeks . So the easy part was finding a pattern and New Look 6143 was virtually exactly the same as her choice of dress - a sweetheart neckline  satin lined lace dress with three quarter sleeves.

The next part was finding fabric and the time to squeeze this in amongst study and work. So one day we travelled to Melbourne and went to Spotlight . We bought the pattern and looked at their evening fabric selections. They had a  wide selection  but I suggested we keep looking and went to Darn Cheap Fabrics. 
Now Darn Cheap fabrics sounds well tacky but they actually have lots of beautiful fabrics and we found some lace and then real silk satin - in so many colours.  Once you have felt silk satin there  is  no going back to the Spotty Poly . There happened to be a full length mirror near the satins so she held up nearly every colour with the lace to her face and finally chose a muted rose colour . 

After making a quick toile and some fitting changes the sewing started. It really is a bit intimidating 
 cutting into silk but with such limited time you just have hold your breath, cross your fingers, hope for the best and do it. 

The pattern and instructions are fine. We made some minor changes to the pattern(  apart from her personal fitting alterations ). I narrowed the sleeves so they were more slim fitting . I also finished the neckline with concealed bias binding rather than it showing and using another sewing pattern added a wide sash. 

Also because we were using the sweetheart neck line bodice I had  to make some construction changes  - the bodice was fully self lined and then hand tacked to the lace. We were both mainly happy with the finished result but I should have also shortened the bodice for her and if I make this again I would consider sewing the lace and satin skirts separately .

We had a lovely night and I will have everlasting memories of my daughter running around the room  laughing and giggling  collecting about 30 helium filled balloons at the end of the night.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

I Have Piles - aka New Look 6022

pattern piles !

 At the beginning of the year I had a few sewing goals.
1. to continue to take my time when sewing and do the best possible job I can.
2. attempt some new sewing techniques.
3. reduce my pattern piles.
4. reduce my fabric stash.
Unfortunately I failed in the last two months with the final goal ( I was doing so well until September - oh well there is always 2015. )
I was about to tackle my pattern pile but my middle daughter threw a spanner in the works and announced only three weeks ago she wanted me to make her valedictory dinner dress !
So in between toiles and fittings etc I snuck in a quick top and finally started to rectify those painful piles ( sorry a little bit of doctor humour - sick I know - I will  stop now trust me ).

I chose to use my Tendances Couture magazine . This is a french magazine I bought last year in Paris for the princely price of  6.5 euros or about $10 AUD. It contains 13 different New Look and Simplicity patterns so is  an absolute bargain. It seemed to be available from just about every train station and little newsagents that frequently lined the city  streets.
It is of course all in French but unlike other pattern magazines every pattern has diagrams of all the steps .
Also after getting two different opinions from french speakers ( including a genuine Frenchman - ooh la la ! ) we worked out the patterns do include seam allowances.

 I choose New Look 6022 using a loud large printed cotton voile remnant  Mum gifted me. I don`t usually use such prints but after a very wet dreary winter this material was very cheery .It depicts tropical beaches with palm trees and flowers. How summery is that !
This pattern is for tunics and dresses with a pleated scoop neck and sleeve variations. I used the shoulder pleated sleeves with a central lower gathering ( created by sewing stretched elastic to the fabric ).
I was worried the sleeves would be too puffy which reminds me of little girl dresses but perhaps because the fabric is so thin they worked out fine. However the scoop neck is quite low and shoulders narrow so if I ever sew this again I would raise the neckline and make the shoulder wider. Also I can get the top on easily without needing the back opening so I would just cut the back on the fold .

pleated scoop neckline finished with bias binding 
gathered edge of the sleeve topped with a shell button 
Despite this I am happy with the top and it will be perfect for our hot summer days.

PS I have also finished sewing my daughters valedictory dress and just have to convince her try it on so I can get a pic.
Have a happy weekend. Janine.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Burda 10/2004 - Flappy Love Jacket .

Apparently DH the photographer doesn`t think I need the top of my head. 

Finally finished my jacket and just in time to catch the last of the cold weather .
This plush soft red fine cord came from Clear It  in February this year . I was lucky and got the last end bit. However this limited what pattern I could use. I debated a few patterns but finally chose Jacket 110 from Burda WOF dated October 2004 ! Almost up to date for me .
I loved all the flappy bits on this jacket - some useless - the R front flap , pocket flaps and some useful - the hidden zip placket and lower button  tab  . It also has pockets in the front princess seams.

I was lucky because this pattern was the pattern in pink sewing course but there were still a few  brow furrowing , head scratching moments . Many of the instructions were illustrated and there were more written  details BUT I discovered a mistake in the separating  zip application - luckily  I had only tacked half of it in before I realised the error.
I have never sewn a hidden zip placket before but once that was complete the rest of the construction was basic. I did not sew the cuffs ( I just lengthened the sleeves )  or add the shoulder tabs because I only had four of my lovely buttons recycled from a jacket I sewed in the 90s. Also I sewed this a size larger than usual because the jacket looked very slim fitting on the model and I want to wear this over cardigans and jumpers . The jacket feels about right for this but the shoulders were too long so I had to shorten them . The jacket , pockets  and right front flap are lined in just a plain black lining .

Flappy love. 

I love these buttons .

I am right pleased with this jacket  but  glad its over . ( I tend to get a bit bored if projects go on too long )
Also I have almost finished reading a kindle book so I am in that exciting place where I get to choose all new projects- yay -  Now I just need to  ignore that large pile of mending glaring at me .
Happy Sewing Janine.

PS - I`ve been told by Bruna from sewing group  that the front flap is actually to stick the end of a gun there so it doesn`t get wet or whatever . So still useless to me : )

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Butterick 5523 - Black and White and Red All Over.

I am getting to the last of my  winter sewing now. I bought this soft viscose lycra knit earlier this year and had a hard choice with what to do with it - there were a few patterns I wanted to resew  but I finally chose Butterick 5523 . I sewed this a few years ago  using an animal print and loved the result but the fabric was not really my thing . 
This dress is really comfy . I wore it to work today and it felt like I was wearing nothing ! 
It is also very easy  to  sew - in fact the hardest thing about this dress was taking the photos using the self timer .  I had returned home from work and wanted to take photos before I ate lunch - a sure fire recipe for disaster with me - eating and wearing my work clothes - guaranteed stains and slops . I took heaps of photos and this is the best one and only because I have the top 1/2 of my cute  little dog in it  ( Don`t be fooled by his appearance  though - he`s a little ratbag but I love him ) . 

tried to show a closer up shot of the pleats and fabric. 

Back to the sewing - as I said it is a very easy pattern - a draped collar , fitted above waist bodice with pleats in the front and back skirt and small pleats in the sleeves where they meet the shoulder seams. 
I did make a few changes with this pattern - I raised the neckline by 3cm , lengthened the sleeves by several cms so they would be full length and also lengthened the skirt ( but I could probably shorten it again ) .
The end result is the my kind of clothing - comfortable and relaxed but I think smart enough for my  work. Anyway I am now in the home stretch for sewing my winter jacket and then I am dreaming about sewing an easy bright cheerful summer tunic . 

Cheers Janine
PS - I saw this same fabric available on the knitwit website .