Sunday, 31 December 2017

2017 Sewtistics .

The only Xmas gift I sewed this year . A mug rug for my work Secret Santa recipient. 
This was the year that I finally managed to actually sew down my fabric stash a bit . I have only been making promises to myself to do so since 2008 when I first sorted and documented my material and was shocked by what I had. But it never worked . Some years the stash numbers went down a little but mostly they went up or stagnated.
My stash busting this year  was achieved by trying very hard to avoid going into fabric shops and checking out the crafty section of op shops. If I did purchase something then I tried to sew it up as soon as I could . I also went through my unused knipmodes and burdas and other magazines and attempted to match up what fabrics I had to patterns I wanted to make . I joined a stashbusting facebook group and tried every month to document my fabric figures.
I discovered though that although I really loved the facebook group and its camaraderie, the whole pledging to reduce your stash by a certain percentage ( wholly voluntary I might add ) put on a  pressure which I did not enjoy . However I did find this year that having a goal really helped me achieve a purposeful outcome . I wanted to sew from my unused sewing magazines and finally used all my knipmodes and other European magazines that had been languishing on my bookshelf and made something from almost all of my recently purchased  Burdas.
So this year I will not be joining any pledges but I will make more goals and this year I will try to sew up my unused pattern envelopes as much as is possible and continue the stash reduction .

My favourite and most useful and used sewn item of the year . 

In 2017 I sewed 41 items.
9 were for others - my daughters and  friends.
2 were muslins and I had one wadder ( a skirt )  .
3 were under things I did not blog  as well as hankies and 1 infinity scarf also not blogged.
There is 1 UFO - a table runner which I hope to finish this year .
That leaves 23 main items for myself - 10 tops/shirts  , 5 skirts , 3 dresses, 1 cardy  , 1 jumper , 1 vest  , 1 PJ set and 1 handbag.
I did purchase 7 items of clothing as well which is why I could never do the RTW fast either .

I have enjoyed reading sewing blogs again this year although blogging really does seem to be on the way out. I have also enjoyed looking at instagram and can see how much easier it is . However overall I will continue to try limit my time on devices and just get out and do and live and enjoy !
Happy New Year everyone everywhere !

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Selfless Sewing Series - Linen Knit and Are You A Sewing Hoarder ?

This is the next top I have made my daughter using the linen knit we bought during our Melbourne Shopping trip. Oh my goodness this is wonderful stuff. It is soft and has a slight stretch with good recovery. It has the subtle texture and variation in colour like its woven counterpart . It is easy to sew and iron . And I am told that it is very comfortable to wear. 

My daughter was very easy to please when it came to choosing patterns to match up with the fabric . She really liked the top part of my recent swallow print dress- Butterick 5975 . She didn`t want to go through my other almost countless patterns or magazines . 

I just lengthened the top by about 9 cms and she was happy with this length . 

I ordered 1.3 metres and after washing measured the length ( I didn`t measure prewashing ) and had about 1.37  metres . I was told to prewash the linen knit as it shrinks. So either it didn`t shrink or I was given a generous 1.3 metres or it stretched. Either way I had enough to make up another top when I had finished with this one. 

I used my Kwik Sew 2695 pattern - this is now the fifth time I have made this. I really really like it as do my girls who stole one of my versions. This top has gone to my youngest  daughter . I will definitely be going back to  The Cloth Shop to buy more linen knit for my middle daughter who lives in tropical Queensland . It will be perfect for her. I want to add the colour does not come up true here - it is like a eucalyptus green , a bit richer in colour that the khaki showing up here . The shop had quite a few other colours available. 

Now I have lots of patterns - just over 250 envelopes and many many pattern magazines. I also have a bit under 170 metres of fabric now . Lots of lace and ribbons some of which I can not even recall where it came from and more buttons than I will ever use . But the one thing I really have not accumulated much of is threads and especially overlocking threads.

This is the sum total of my overlocker threads bar two pale blue  ones where the plastic has distintegrated badly . The medium gray ones at the bottom left hand corner are only new purchases too. I manage to make do with what I have by combining the colours so for my dark green tops above I have used my single medium brown with dark grey. It seems to work for me. 

Ever hopeful for a play with his fluffy ball pillow .
I store it all in a medium plastic bag which fits in well under my sewing desk .  Do you hoard sewing stuff or get creative with what you have ? 

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Selfless Sewing Series -Pattern First or Fabric First ?

Not much sewing has been going on around this part of the world even though I am just at the end of two weeks holiday. I have been making some slow progess on a coffee table runner but put that aside when my eldest daughter asked  that I make her a couple of tops for her travels next year. So last week my eldest and youngest DDs and myself  drove to Melbourne to hit the fabric shops. 

First up was Darn Cheap where my youngest found a couple of pieces she liked ( I didn`t know this was a part of the deal - oh well ! ) . She really liked some floral poly crepe which she wants made into a wrap around dress and found some zigzag cozy knit for a jumper . Luckily the latest Burdas here ( August and September ) have patterns for what she wants. 

Next up was The Cloth Shop in Ivanhoe where it  was commented on  that we looked like a pack of hunters. I suppose we were stealthily stalking the aisles. Here my eldest daughter fell in love with some green linen knit pictured above . She also found a small remnant -60cm - of Japanese cotton which is absolutely gorgeous . I had to use every last mm of the length to eke out a top for her . We used plain navy crepe to make up the shortfall. The pattern is based on one of her old tops in a boxy loose fitting style. I copied an idea from a German blog and made a tag out of the cute selvage. 

So this year I have been trying very hard to use what I have to make up my unused Knipmodes and Burdas. However as the year progressed I hit some hurdles. For some of the patterns I chose I just did not have the right fabric. More recently I bought some patterns I wanted to make up now but had absolutely nothing so that meant  a shopping trip for me. 

I went to ClearIt in Fitzroy and found some navy/ grey argyle double knit to make a raglan sleeve windcheater . I also picked up some beige cotton lycra to make some camisoles but simply could not leave the spotty / stripey cozy knit behind. I hope to make the patterns below .

And then I received an email from Style Arc about some stretch denim and jeans pattern and did not hesitate to push the buy button. They came with another free top pattern which I really like. 

So this year I have been choosing patterns first and fabric second. Now I have stocked up on fabric  for now I can continue with the patterns first trend but I think next year I will have to have a new approach to sewing. But for now I have a bit of selfless sewing to get through. So how do you approach sewing ? Fabric first or pattern first ?? 

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

The Choosing Prints Dilemma . How Do You Decide ?

Some people have a real skill at choosing prints and making them into something incredible. I dont`t have that knack of seeing the bigger picture so I almost didn`t buy this fabric . But now it is sewn up I really like it . I often favour smaller prints in more muted colours but this can translate into a bland , faded even frumpy   look from a distance even if the print itself is beautiful .
The fabric is a rayon type with birds in solids and outlines on a black background. I`m not sure if they are swallows or swifts.
I really wanted to make the Rebecca Taylor Vogue Pattern 1395 but it wasn`t available but my brain slowly ticked over and I realised I could get the look combining a couple of patterns I already owned.

Image result for kwik sew 3620
I combined a Butterick See and Sew  dress pattern 5975  with the front ties from  Kwik Sew 3620 . Not exactly the same but  similar look to the Rebecca Taylor Vogue 1395 as below. I got a bit over confident and didn`t follow the pattern instructions for the dress as I was trying to do the burrito method for the yoke construction . I realised too late it would not work for the dress so I had to fudge things and add bias binding strips for the arm holes and then applied them the wrong way so they show on the outer side . I applied them neatly so it looks OK and since I sewed the dress a couple of weeks ago my mistakes already do not bother me. Apart from my own self induced errors  the construction was straight forward but I am not quite sure that the pattern is as simple as See and Sew implies.
Image result for rebecca taylor vogue 1395
I have included this photo as proof of the ties existence and a closer shot of the print ( BTW I just learnt today that vogel is the German word for birds - just trying to reinforce my learning ! ) The dress is very comfy with an elastic waist but the ties conceal this at the front so I won`t need to add a belt . The top is a blouson style and the skirt is gently gathered. I was worried that the dress would be huge going by the finished measurements so I cut a size 10 instead of my usual 12 .
This dress has got me rethinking my print choices and also that I should probably have a bit of a dress clean out.The dress started as a UFO from several months ago and now it is finished my sewing corner is all sorted. I can hardly believe it but my dress form is clear , my dresser top is empty and my little sewing basket has only one project in it which is a WIP purse which is being slowly made at a sporadic sewing group I attend so no hurries there. I am now considering finally making a patchwork table runner for the coffee table and perhaps even an entire patchwork quilt with garments in between. 
Does anyone have any hints on how they successfully chose prints ? 
Happy Sewing and here`s to completed UFOs and fresh starts. 

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Japanese Inspired Modern Crazy Patchwork Handbag.

I finally sewed my bag ! I only started this at the end of 2014 ( or was it 2013 ? ) when my old handbag was breaking . But then I purchased a new bag a few months later  and this got shoved aside. But then the ` new `  handbag was starting to perish AND I was in a cleaning up the sewing corner mood so I finally buckled down and tackled the project. The sticking point was the how to make the bag flap.

I was inspired by this project in a very old Handmade magazine from the 90s. I have never sewed crazy patchwork before - the actual sewing is very easy but trying to get the right fabrics in the right positions is sooo hard. I picked out my fabric scraps and after lots of mucking around I realised I  just had to start sewing  but it was all looking a bit bland until I added a small scrap from my Mum that had a bright flower and gold highlights .

The actual bag pattern I used was Butterick 4247( long OOP )  , a really good basic bag pattern if you can overlook the quilted examples on the envelope cover.

I used plain navy suedette left over from sewing my Mum an outfit in 2000. I interlined this with left over fleecy so the bag is more substantial. I added an extra  pocket to the back but had to piece together scraps to make  it  large enough  so I covered the seam with narrow velvet ribbon. I added a magnetic clasp which I had removed from an even older handbag. 

 To the inner lining I added one zippered pocket which was not included in the pattern. I followed the book The Bag Making  Bible to create this but it is very easy to do . I wish now that I had added a zippered pocket on the other side of the bag . Next time !

I love the tassel decoration on the my original inspiration and perhaps I might even make one one day but instead I added a large etched shell button that I pilfered off the back of one of my cardigans .

There is plenty of room for my wallet, keys, phone , glasses , reusable shopping bag and bits and pieces that are absolutely necessary to carry around. Honestly how do men get away with just a wallet ! 
I am insanely pleased with my new handbag . It definitely won`t be the last one I make. I have a couple of Marcy Tilton patterns that I will try  next. 
This is what I have to contend with while I am taking photos !! 

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Acute Angles Black Skirt ( Burda WOF 02/2006 )

At the beginning of the year I gave away my good summer black skirt to my middle daughter which of course gave  me an excellent reason to sew another one just in case anyone should have  asked  "What are you sewing another skirt ?" " Yes ,but I gave my black skirt away and everyone knows that having a black skirt for summer is essential like brains and  baby goat yoga  ."
I have had this embroidered black cotton in my cupboard for only about 10 years . It counts as one my special fabrics because it came  from another closed down fabric store and it  is  lovely quality.

                                                            Image result for i have come to the conclusion that buying craft supplies and using them are two different hobbies

I pulled out lots of skirt patterns that I would like to sew but eventually chose an old BurdaWOF pattern from the large pile I bought from the op shop earlier this year .

This is from Burda WOF February 2006 which is probably about how old my fabric  is so this choice is quite appropriate really. I  liked the deep cross over front pleat and shaped yoke which I find quite flattering and comfortable for me. The pattern was rated as easy . I could not see how the pleated pieces were joined but I went ahead and cut out my pattern believing all would be revealed as I sewed up the skirt.

Turns out that the two front pieces are not joined together !  The skirt was at least  easy to sew up as promised .
First a deep self facing is turned to the wrong side .

Then the right front is lapped over the left at some markings.

Finally the left front is folded over the right side  at the pleat marks ( I marked the pleat lines with  yellow stitching  to make this visible  and easier - obviously I pulled this stitching out later ) .

I have not yet worn the skirt out in the wild .However it was a positive sign  when these photos were being taken that  I got the seal of approval from my eldest daughter who said she would wear an outfit like this . I am hoping that the deep pleats will prevent flashing at the first breeze I encounter otherwise well it is going to be a very cool summer skirt indeed  but just not for the kind of  work I do ! (  Or I might add in some hand stitching but time will time .  )

Until next time may every day be a Sewday for you .

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Three By Two Piece Dress.

I have been gradually stash busting during 2017 and turned my attention to a piece of knit purchased from Frou Frous in 2011 .It was a terrific little garment fabric shop which shut down. By the time I managed to get to the closing down sale the shop was quite bare and I may have made a few impulsive buys which I would not normally have done including the knit above. I ordered 2 metres but received a very generous 2.5 metres. Now this fabric is very loud and bright, something I am a bit shy about wearing and thought it might be a bit too much as a dress. So then I had the brilliant idea ( tongue in cheek ) to make a two piece dress and to be able to mix and match and water down the loudness. By being very careful I was able to make a skirt and two tops from my 2.5 metres.

I used three patterns to make up this outfit. The skirt has 6 gores using 2 pattern pieces with an  elastic waist .I used Simplicity 4074 . I have made the dress from this pattern which I made in 2008 and still wear heaps and have always wanted to make all  the other views . Now I just have the top left to make .  I lengthened the skirt as the dress I made was on the slightly too short side. I am much happier with this length which hits just below my knee. ( I am 169cm tall - used to be 170cm !!)

The  gathered raglan sleeved T-Shirt was made from Burda 02/2013.  I have made this before but not successfully and have always wished to retry it again with modifications. I added width to just below the waist line and also cut the neck band a lot shorter . The finished neckline measures at 75 cm and this is the length that Burda says to cut the neck band hence why mine appeared floppy. The longest piece of fabric I had left was 66 cm and this was lengthwise so not as much stretch as the crossgrain but it turned out much better. I will not make this T-shirt again but there are lots of other patterns I want to try from the magazine.

The cowl neck top was made from New Look 6470  . I have never made this pattern before and wish I had made it earlier now. I had to cut the back from two pieces because of my limited fabric but this was just as well because I had serious gaping issues at the back neck. Instead of just overlocking the neck edge and turning in and stitching down as instructed I made some narrow strips cut on the cross grain to apply. I did the same for the armholes. I was  very careful about applying this but in the end with the gaping I had to unpick it all so the back of my neck from being neat and tidy is a bit messy but at least it is not gaping anymore. I would like to make this pattern again and will be aware of making alterations to the top of the centre back or again cutting the back from two pieces.

So there is my two piece dress which will be able to be worn multiple ways.  I do love the handful of  dresses I have but I tend to wear more separates and with some hot weather coming up this week I will be able to start wearing this one straight away.