Sunday, 11 March 2018

Style Arc Blakley Stretch Jeans.

 This is the first pair of jeans I have sewn and they  might not even be the last. When I read an email from Style Arc in November selling the pattern / fabric bundle for the Blakley Stretch Jeans I pounced quickly and bought it.

 It came with the Winnie Top which I hope to make very soon. The jeans have a skinny leg style ,wide waist band with elastic , faux front pockets and a faux fly.

On the back though are fair dinkum , dinky di functioning pockets !

It is that time of year where we all complain about how dry it is and we wish it would rain. One advantage is that you don`t have to mow lawns and even the weeds have trouble growing. This year though we have enough feed for our sheep. 
I have already blogged about those pockets which were the hardest part of this project.
The jeans were relatively easy to sew. I did not follow the order of instructions which say to sew the pockets on first before constructing the jeans. I sewed them on last to get the best looking placement I could - I attached them just under the angled back yoke rather than the 2 or so cms gap recommended as that looked too low. I also sewed the front and back waist bands to the front and back pants separately so I could sew up the side seams last.

It did take me three goes to put in  the elastic - the first time I attached it  to the wrong part of the inner waist seam and the second time I got the insertion correct but the elastic was too long so the waist band gaped.
I also had to look up  a tutorial on how to do the faux fly as I could not quite understand the directions although the rest of the instructions were easily to follow.

The only changes I made to the pattern were to lengthen the legs by about an inch . I could find no reference to what height the jeans are drafted and I did indeed need every little bit of that extra length ( I am 169 cm tall).
I have never sewn jeans before because I have not had the need to . I don`t really wear them so much these days and bought ones fit fine. However the main advantages to me of making my own were the fun of decorating those back pockets . If I am not careful I might starting embroidering everything that doesn`t move ! I also liked having the choice of double stitching my seams with plain navy blue rather than the usual gold threat and there is always that satisfaction of making your own clothes.
I  might make these again but using some of the Style Arc Bengaline or other stretch woven. I would highly recommend this pattern as a great easy way to sew jeans.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

New Comey Vogue 1503 and Old McCalls 2094 and How Long Do You Keep Your Clothes For ?

I love the colour red and in particular red tops . This is the fourth summer red top / shirt I own !
I finished sewing this red  rendition  a few weeks ago and was initially disappointed in the outcome but I have come to realise that the bottom piece I wear with it is essential to its success.
The pattern is Vogue 1503 and I made view A . There are lots of lovely details . The back pieces extend over the front shoulders and the front has a gathered peplum but the back piece is plain so avoiding extra width in this area. The sleeves are finished with bands creating a  neat look. The front and back necklines are finished with self made bias binding.  The instructions include french seams and  bias binding covering exposed seams so the inside looks very professional.
I used a very fine red dobby polyester with small white and green dots and black dashes which Mum gave me over three years ago. A fine drapey fabric is needed to make that gathered peplum work.
Image result for vogue 1503

These photos were taken with me wearing a loosish pair of linen pants and the combination did not look good . However later on I tried a pair of skinny navy pants  and I liked my peplum top much better.So for now it is a keeper and it will match up with newly completed embroidered skinny jeans ( have to get photos taken of those yet ) . As an aside I really love the long sleeved version too and will make that one day !
I should say there was one small mistake in the instructions. They forget to tell you the finish the back  neckline with a bias strip after staystitching. The pictures show the bias binding though. Apart from this the instructions are fine and the pattern is easy to follow.

I have been reading  a few  blog posts about how many times we wear our clothes and the number 30 seems to have been chosen as representing environmental value. It seems a quite random number and I am not sure if there are any studies which proves its worth.

The above red and white floral broderie anglaise shirt would fulfil the 30 wearings number ( as would my other red tops) .
I made it using McCalls 2094 in 2007 which makes the shirt 11 1/2 years old. It is probably one of the best fitting shirts I own and I still love it. In all honesty the upper back is starting to get a bit yellowed as is under the arms but nothing that can not be covered with  a cardigan or jumper .  This is not the oldest shirt I own though. 
 Also using McCalls 2094 is this sleeveless shirt made using some cotton lawn . I sewed this in 2001 so it is now 17 years old ! The cotton is so soft and wonderful to wear on hot days. It is not stained or holey.I simply can not bear to get rid of it and I can see no reason to . 
So am I weird to have clothes for so long ? Does anyone else have clothes this old which are worn over and over ( past the magic 30 number !) 

Thursday, 22 February 2018

On Sewing Mistakes ,Sewing Doldrums And Sewing Successes.

  I have been trying to make my first ever pair of jeans. When Style Arc sent an email advertising a pattern/ stretch denim package  for jeans I immediately bought it which is another first and I don`t know why . The mysteries of advertising which tap into the human psyche .
One advantage of making my own jeans was to be able to customise the back pockets .
My sewing machine has an embroidery function which I rarely utilise so a couple of weekends ago I set about relearning how to use this , looked through some folders of designs available to me ( which my late father created for my mother - what a man to spend hours doing this for her ! ) and practised some designs which I liked. I finally settled on one from a Pfaff Creative Card 300, design 27 .I even really liked their chosen colours.

I practiced on some old serviettes and then went to work on the denim of which there was not much to spare. It all went really well.
Now I have discovered that I mainly make mistakes in two situations . One is when I am tired and it is later in the day and I just want to finish up a project. I relearnt this several times and now I just do not go there. Once I am tired or a  bit sick of sewing I just stop even if I am really close to completing something.
The other time  is when I am really excited about a project so I just tend to leap in . I don`t think there is much I can do about this.
So I was in the process of sewing up the pockets and noticed that one pocket was slightly larger than the other . Then I realised what I had done. I cut the pocket out the wrong way so the stretch is going vertically , the pocket size is out and the design is going the opposite way. And here I thought I was so clever by making a see through plastic pocket template so I could centre the design properly !

I was seriously thinking about just making this a design feature but even though I am a bit of a slapdash sewist - a wrinkle here or there  doesn`t bother me- I knew the magic closet would not work with this one .
So last weekend I set up the embroidery function again and redid another embroidery.

Well everything was going really well until I got to the orange colour . Is it my imagination but does that look a bit different to the original ? Sob, no my glasses did not need cleaning , I had picked out the wrong colour. Sigh. So I worked out the correct orange embroidery thread and off we went again. ( very hard to tell in the above photo but the orange colours are different - one is more a bronze ) .

Success ! Finally . ( This saga does not even include the one where the embroidery thread broke and I realised too late ) . Now initially I told myself I was a sewing eejit but does that make me feel better about myself ? No. Does it get the embroidery done ? No . Now I am telling myself that it was all good practice and the wrong colour confirmed I liked my initial choice and I am much quicker at setting up the embroidery part of my Pfaff now . I am still frustrated at the waste of time but I am not putting myself down.
This leads me to sewing successes and how we perceive them. I recently read an excellent post by Diary of a  Sewing Fanatic asking whether we compare ourselves to others in term of how much sewing we get done. A lot of people admitted they did. I have  not  been a joiner inner on sew alongs etc. I joined in MMM and a fabric fast last year . I have always been on the fringe of things all my life and being part of the sewing internet community is one of them. But this is also why I think I am successful. My blog is so small but I have not given up. If I judged my success by the number of followers and comments then I would have quit years ago. I have read people complain about this but IMO this is not a reason to blog. I blog and sew for myself. I have never sewn the trendy indie patterns or the latest fabrics or sewn couture or been artistic  but I wear my home sewn clothes almost every day and keep them for years and years so this is a success. It does seem so obvious to say this but comparing yourself to others does not lead to contentment . Besides we only ever show the best / happiest side of ourselves on the internet.

One last photo - an outtake for my latest sewing project yet  to be blogged . A sewing mistake and success all rolled into one ! .I was using the self timer and my daughter was trying to get past .
Well hopefully anyone in the sewing doldrums can read this post and feel better about themselves.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Big Collar , Little Band Raglans .

Blogging activity in no way reflects my sewing activities. I have made a couple of beige camisoles and acacias . I can see one of the advantages of sewing indie patterns is being able to write I made some acacias rather than I sewed some Kwik Sew 2100s but it boils down to  that I made some beige  underthingies and they are extremely basic and necessary and much better than shop bought especially in terms of comfort but totally boring and private so no way I will blog those.

Much more blog worthy are the raglan pullovers I sewed. I completed these last month but only just convinced my youngest to model for me ( it has been disgustingly humid and hot ) on the proviso they were headless photos ( morning , just got up , getting ready for work etc ) .

The pattern is from August 2017 , a raglan sleeve pullover with a ginormous collar . The fabric is a cosy , soft chevron thick knit from Darn Cheap`s $2/metre table.  I know this is seasonally inappropriate but I really wanted to get my daughter`s sewing out of the way so I could then be totally selfish and just sew for me. Also she is about to leave home for uni ! Happy and sad at the same time . This was a very easy project except for the pattern matching. Does anyone know is it even possible to match the raglan sleeves and the chevrons ? I think the answer should be don`t worry, who cares , life is too short but pattern matching is the holy grail for home sewers - one of the things that we do better than bought. Well  all I can say is that I tried my best.

I know this last shot is not headless as promised so please don`t look at her head but focus on the fluffy thing on the floor that is about to approach  her foot for a good tickly licking session.
Well now I have my selfless sewing out of the way ( three tops , one dress , one pullover in the last couple of months for my DDs ) the natural progession was to sew a raglan pullover for moi !

I used McCalls 6992 which was an entirely unnecessary pattern purchase  since  I already have an old Kwik Sew Raglan pattern and a saddle shoulder version in a Knipmode magazine but influenced by seeing so many fabulous versions out in sewing blog world . I used a navy and grey argyle knit from Clear It bought late last year.

This was another easy project BUT my neckline looks so much wider than others I`ve seen  and that annoys me because I used new , bought in a proper shop fabric rather than my usual op shop or gifted stuff . Perhaps I accidently stretched out the neckline applying my ( very old ) stashed ribbing ? Last time I sewed myself something with proper shop bought fabric that was also a dud so I am starting to get paranoid here. Well this pullover is not a complete dud  and I have worn it a few times .I will give  the pattern another try but will find some cheap opshop windcheater material next time.

Well so seriously sewing gurus could I have matched my stripey chevrons at the raglan Sleeves ?
And did you know that raglan sleeves were named after Lord Raglan (1788- 1855 ) a British commander in the Crimean War? No neither did I until just now. 

Friday, 12 January 2018

It`s A Wrap - BurdaStyle 09/2017 Wrap Dress 113.


Finally finished my first project of the year -yay.  My youngest daughter picked out this very pretty fabric from Darn Cheap last year when we were going material shopping for her big sister. Fair enough - no favouritism in our house - all three daughters are equally my favourites.
She then showed me some pictures of what she had in mind and they were all wrap dresses. Would you believe I  basically had  no patterns for a wrap dress!  Well, there was an old Burda magazine pattern  for knit fabrics and a 70s one for a large shawl collar version but that was it. I went to Spotlight and checked out the Big 4  patterns but nothing was quite right.

So when I went down to my local very small newsagent to get a new myki  travel card I could not believe my eyes to see they had the latest ( for Australia ) Burda and that there was a wrap dress just like she wanted ! If anything was ever meant to be this was it . I am so happy to see Burda magazines becoming so readily available now - hopefully this is a sign of a sewing resurgence.

                                                   Image result for burda 09/2017 dress 113

The pattern is for petite sizes and my daughter is taller than  the 160 cm it is designed for . I did not lengthen the bodice and she is happy with where the waist sits . There is a waist band  with ties . The left tie inserts through a gap left in the waist band and wraps around the back.  The skirt and sleeve pieces are cut on the bias creating that lovely fluid fall of cloth . My daughter actually wanted short sleeves but she also wanted the wear the dress tonight for a date so to save time I just hemmed them as is . We can revisit the sleeve length another time. She also wanted the dress quite a bit shorter . She requested about 15 cm off the skirt length. That didn`t quite get Mum approval so I only removed 10 cm but shh don`t tell her.
We are both very happy with the end result . A slow but great sewing start to the year.

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 ?