Sunday, 30 December 2018

2018 -The Final Analysis.

Another year done and dusted.
In 2018 I sewed ( and blogged ) a bit less than previous years but I am finishing on a high . Over the Christmas and New Years period I managed to wangle 10 days off altogether which meant I finished two projects ( and a book too ) - a slippery , frustrating silk satin blouse and a coffee table runner ( my one and only  UFO from 12 months ago - yay ) .

I made a total of 38 items for myself ( and three for my daughters) . These consist of
Tops / Shirts - 10
Cardigans/ vests etc - 5
Pants - 2
Dresses - 4
Skirts - 2
Nightwear - 4
 Camisoles - 3
 Underpants - 7
Handbags - 1

My most successful item was my navy Burda pants . Navy work pants are a staple for me as I tend to wear mainly separates and they match with most of my tops . The pants were comfortable to wear and easy to care for and I am happy to report the fabric is holding up well so far.

My favourite piece I made though was my silk top . The fabric is so pretty and feels lovely to wear . Honestly the photos do not do justice to the colours and as well does not show up the floral jacquard weave.

But I also loved my liberty shirt , ditsy navy shirt and comfy dresses I sewed up.

I made four things which were failures for various reasons.

My Burda jumper - fabric looks great but was terrible to sew . The pattern  from Burda WOF August 1993 is good though and when I find more appropriate knit I will try it again.

My Burda Jacket  ( from June 2012 ) - this is too short for my liking . The fabric was just scraps but I did  buy the zip especially for this project which meant a trip to Spotlight 50 minutes away so more of a time loss than fabric and money .

My Vogue handbag - too small to be useful and I did not like the way the lining and top of the bag were constructed. I love the fabric I used in this and  luckily I still have some more to have another  go at making another handbag. A disappointment for sure and I admit I expect better from Vogue and especially a designer pattern . The pattern is Vogue 8407 , a Marcy Tilton design. I have just realised I did not blog this project.
This pattern could work if I enlarged the pattern and changed how it is made - perhaps something for the future ??

My Anne Klein Vogue Blouse  ( vogue 1294 )  . I loved the sewing process of making my blouse but did not like the end result. The fabric is a wrinkly rayon so ironing the flounce was a PITA . Also I just prefer simpler clothes so this blouse was donated to the op shop.

Overall I spent only just over $222 on my sewing projects. My most expensive piece was  the Style Arc Blakeley jeans at $39.95. Since I am given fabric and use scraps and re-use patterns and salvage zips and buttons often my clothes cost nothing to very little  but my time to make. I find that incredibly satisfying and it also means if I accidently wreck my clothes it doesn`t really matter .
Apart from sewing I purchased 8 items of clothing ( all from the op shop ) which were mainly cardigans and pants . I don`t buy many clothes  but enough that I can never participate in the RTW fast .

Over the years I have been trying to slowly decrease the size of my wardrobe and this year 11 less items came in than went out which is a consistent pattern over the last few years . I can not throw away clothing purely to satisfy a decluttering bug - they need to be stained or holey or not right to go out.
Another goal has been to use my fabric stash and try not to buy much and I succeeded in having 10 metres less than the beginning of the year . Reducing my wardrobe and my stash are slow , longer term projects and this and continuing to use my unused patterns will continue on into 2019.

Happy New Year to all .

Saturday, 15 December 2018

Voir la Vie en Rose ( To See the Life in Pink ) *


 My eldest daughter travelled all around the world in 2018 and brought me home several sewing magazines from Europe . This is my first project from them - specifically Patrones No. 386.

I made the dress on the left which has a  round neck , sleeveless bodice gathered at the waist , waist band and gathered maxi skirt . The main difference is my dress is knee length ( not enough fabric ) but my version turned out with a much higher neckline . Also there was too much fabric at the front armscye  but this was easy to cut away.

I used an embroidered pale pink linen which is not my favourite but  was good to test out a new pattern from a relatively new pattern company ( I have made one previous Patrones pattern , a skirt , which I adore -just wore it last night for a Christmas party ) . I love the embellished look of the original dress and I was lucky enough to find some matching pink lace in my stash  which I applied to the waistband.

This photo shows exactly why it was good to do a ` wearable ` muslin . The back is tightish ( but wearable ) but look at all that fabric pooling in my lumbar region . This has not happened with my other sewing ever !
With the back adjusted I  think this will  make a terrific dress , I do really love the magazines version but mine is a bit meh. I will wear it  and  give a go though .  I just also wanted to include a photo of  the Patrones pattern sheet - much clearer than Burda`s and Ottobre`s as well.

For my next project I can truly say I am tickled pink .

I used the very very popular blouse pattern 115  from Burda April 2014 . Heaps of people have made this one and I can now see why. It was easy to make, very comfortable to wear  and is just a bit different to your usual top. The only  change I made was to lengthen the blouse by 5cms . I used another pale pink embroidered fabric - cotton voile this time - which is a bit sheer . I realised this pattern with the double crossed  over front would be a perfect match for the sheer fabric.

I highly recommend this pattern . I hope everyone has a good Christmas. I am certainly looking forward to getting 6 days off , eating some good food and spending time with my precious family.

* means to look on the bright side of life.

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Scrap Sewing - Summer PJ edition.

I have documented my fondness of scrap sewing here plenty of times and I was  due another good scrap sew up , this time spurred on by the need for new summer PJs . It also allowed me to try out another new ( to me ) pattern from my collection.

First up the tops .
Kwik Sew 3232 is a sporting / golfing pattern for a skort ( shorts with a front skirt overlay , zip cardigan and tank top . ) I have never made a plain tank top like this before thus the need to break out a new pattern for such a simple and easy  garment. However Kwik Sew often have little details that belie  the simplicity of the pattern . In this case they have a built in dart at the sides created by the front being slightly longer than the back around the bust area . I made size Medium and this had a comfortable amount of ease without being overly huge . I used a plain blue pique knit given to me in 2010 and  from which I have previously made a Burdastyle Henley T shirt . Now despite the fact you could not get an easier pattern I mucked up . I only had enough fabric to cut the front on the fold and the back had to be cut out of two pieces . Yes , I cut the back on the fold and the front in two ! I rummaged around my trims bag and the best I could do was some lace with a central mauve strip which I sewed down over the front seam line .

Kwik Sew 2779 is a pattern for PJs . I used the V neck tank pattern which I thought would be an interesting variation on a plain tank . As per usual Kwik Sew instructions explain how to sew the V neck very well . I used scrap stripe knit again given to me in 2010 and from which I made a Knipmode dress  and ribbing dating from who knows when . The pattern like above includes a built dart . I  even managed to match the stripes ( except where the ` dart ` is  of course ) Like the plain blue tank it has just the right amount of ease.
I will definitely be using these patterns again especially since they take so little fabric.

Finally the PJ shorts I made using an ancient Simplicity pattern for a nightie set which includes a pattern for bloomers . I left out the elastic at the legs though . I used some Japanese cotton that my daughter brought home from Japan when she visited in 2010 ( there is a theme here ! ) . It was given to her by her host family and there was 12.5 metres of only 40cm wide fabric( There is still about 3 metres left ) . I have no idea what the kanji or hiragana symbols on the shorts mean ( or even if they are a genuine symbol ) . I ironed on a panda bear motif on the front so I could tell it was the front ! The cotton is very stiff but after washing softens up nicely . The shorts are very short and I think I need to adjust the elastic to be a bit smaller but they have been comfortable for the couple of hot nights we have had.

So all in all more scrap sewing done but ahem there are plenty more where they came from.

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Vogue 1294 - The Anne Klein Blouse with the Interesting Collar .

Finito finally .
I have being slowly sewing this blouse for a month . I just love the feeling when I have finished something whether it is a book or sewing (  I especially love the feeling of a completed bike ride and a work day ) .
This blouse is Vogue 1294 , an Anne Klein pattern dated 2012 .

I love sewing shirts and the collar on this one is particularly intriguing , a double flounce .
I used an off white rayon which feels very soft but is very wrinkly ( bought from an op shop in 2015 , 4 metres in total , so plenty left over for a long sleeve shirt ) .
I made some changes to the pattern - I did not line it and  I did not add the chiffon trim to the princess seams . Instead I added some lace to the upper flounce piece and the edge of the sleeves but just so it peaks out .I used buttons for the narrow front bands instead of snaps ( which I can not get to keep closed )
The instructions for the blouse are excellent so even though it looks complicated it all comes together really well.  Well , I don`t follow the instructions for making the narrow hems on the flounces - I use the method that involves three lots of stitching which ends up with a good result and worth the extra effort .
( 1 . stitch along the edge of the fabric , 2. turn this up and stitch again , 3. trim the excess fabric and then turn up again enclosing the raw edge and stitch close the edge creating the narrow hem )

 It was a windy day but I like how this photo shows how fluid the flounces are - you definitely need a drapey fabric for this pattern. Now this is finished I have traced out a pattern from the Patrones magazine my daughter bought me from Spain - have to enourage this kind of  behaviour from my children . 

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Tackling my Sewing Mindsets ( or My Burda Challenge )

I have this `thing ` about using stuff . According to Clear The Decks decluttering sewing spaces podcast this could be due to many different mindset issues like sense of duty or sentimentality or money ( these are great podcasts by the way - I have found them very helpful ) .
Backtrack a few years and one of the best sewing op shop finds I have ever had were  10 unused recent Burda magazines . I have been determined to make at least one project from each one - see `thing` above . But I have struggled with the last two magazines left .

Burdastyle June 2012 had a few items I could have made - a stretch lace dress ,  a pleated skirt ,  a loose fitting pleated neckline dress but I had no suitable fabric . I have really thought about this a lot and I mean a lot . I finally figured  the above jacket could work with scrap knit left over from a winter dress I made earlier this year and a piece of black knit given to me .
The jacket was easy to sew and looks really cute in the above photo .
However it is very short  , too short for me and the elasticated waist band creeps upwards .It is comfortable to wear but just not a good look for me .  I did  wear the jacket several times because I like to give something a thorough go before I make a decision on whether it is a winner or wadder and this is a wadder .
However the length is not the main issue here . The main problem is my mindset about using stuff and not letting it go to waste . I could have used my fabric better for another pattern or bought new material to make a different pattern . I am trying to tackle my mindsets and not get caught in this obsession.

Burdastyle February 2012 was the other issue I struggled to find a pattern to sew and I almost gave up .
This issue seemed to have either very loose , baggy clothing like the paper bag skirt below and the super puffy sleeved wrap top or very slim fitting dresses . There were also some maternity styles.

I finally took a punt on the pants above .I haven`t sewn many pants before but I have somehow accumulated quite a bit of navy blue fabric so there was nothing to lose and I got to satisfy my ` thing ` ( and replace my old navy blue pants which have a shiny bum and knees ) .
The pants have small waist pleats with slim fitting legs .  I used an old Kwik Sew pattern to construct the fly front ( I wasn`t even going to bother looking at Burda for this ) but overall pants are not hard to sew , it is just the fitting that is difficult .

Now this is a case where my using stuff mindset triumphed . I can see from the photos that my pants are too long and I should go back and rehem them but apart from this I love my new navy pants . They are comfy and I am pretty happy with how they fit and look.

I have now completed at least one project from each of my most recent Burdas I own and am tackling my unused envelope patterns but with more mindfulness and hopefully more success.

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Sewing Stash from the Abyss .

My latest sewing ticks a few boxes -replacing old garments, using ancient stash and trialling new patterns.
The  above top uses a Vogue pattern 8982  by Katherine Tilton . I made view E .I  thought this was a pattern for a shirt but it is for a vest / jacket so I had to make a couple of modifications to  make this work. Many reviews stated that it runs large so  I cut out size 10 instead of my usual 12 . Looking at the photos on the front cover I could see the arm hole is very low so I raised the  bottom by about an inch. The result is a top that still has plenty of room but won`t flash my camisole.

I used two pieces of navy and white ditsy floral cotton that Mum gave me 10 years ago . Turns out the fabric was really skirt pieces . I had no idea. I managed to just squeeze the main pattern pieces onto the fabric. I did not  have enough  fabric  for the armhole facings but I like the bias binding better anyway and not enough for  the bottom hem facing which wasn`t necessary as well. The small print covers up all the interesting seams of the shirt but it looks lovely on the inside. The shirt was quite easy to sew  and all the pieces came together really well. 

I am really happy with the fit and the style. Despite the interesting seams being lost in my fabric it still has the shaped and lovely hem line . I will have to make this again and try emphasise those curved seams (  my list of to do one day projects is getting  impossibly long ) . 

My next project was to make a much needed long sleeved winter PJ top  ( I only have one other ! ).It was a perfect opportunity to trial an unused pattern with another piece of 10 year old stash . Nothing to lose. The pink fabric is that old fashioned polycotton interlock with not much stretch or recovery . 

I used this T shirt pattern from Ottobre Spring /Summer 2016 . It appears to be fitted around the shoulders and bust and flares  out at the waist and hip . I obviously lengthened the sleeves and had a bit of fun practising some machine embroidery. 
The top is easy to make but I have the same criticism that it is hard to trace Ottobre patterns because there is no distinction between the different sized pattern lines. My top did not seem to flare as much at the bottom as I was expecting but it still makes a very comfy PJ top which I  have worn heaps with our cold weather. I am not sure if I will make it again though . 
Now for some reason I always get a bit worried about sewing with really old fabric. Sometimes I have thought so much about what it will become that I think I will be sick of the garment before I have even worn it. But so far I always get double the pleasure from wearing them and satisfaction of using the fabric . Silly and a bit weird I know. 

Now with these garments finished my sewing room is actually looking a bit tidy . Using the Katherine Tilton pattern fulfills my personal sewing challenge to use my unused patterns. A couple of years ago I blogged about my pattern piles and looking back at that post my piles have definitely shrunk. The patterns below are what I have left to make but that will keep my busy for a long time . I have cut out the paper pattern pieces for the Marcy Tilton Vogue  bag pattern 8407 ( all rectangles ! ) and will have a play around with some fabric scraps I have . 

The magazines in the picture above are a lucky gift from my eldest daughter travelling around the world in her gap year. These are magazines I could not get in Australia . My favourite is the Patrones but I have picked out something from each magazine to make . So what is the oldest fabric anyone else has used and do you have reservations about sewing it ? 

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Burda Style 2/2018 Pencil Skirt.

I tried to get more interesting photos outside today if you count a capeweed lawn as interesting.  

 I have made a brown skirt to replace my previous  brown skirt but this version is just about as opposite to my old one as can be . My old brown skirt was plain , this is a print . My old brown skirt was a gored trumpet style , this is a pegged pencil skirt . My old skirt had a wide yoke , this one is high waisted with darts and no waist band.   My old skirt was made from an indestructible non stretch woven  polyester so that it still looked new , this one is made of a stretch  cotton sateen ( that I hope will also be a bit indestructible ) . The latter was one of the problems - I was just so sick of my old skirt .

The pattern is from the  most recent Burda Style that I own  , 2/2018  , pencil skirt 119 , part of this beautiful suit . The most interesting ( and trickiest ) part of the skirt are the rectangular insets which also incorporate one of the pair of front darts. The rectangle extends across both the front and backs of the skirt. Because I usually do not tuck my tops into my skirts this feature will never be seen . Now Burda Style have a gazillion pencil skirt patterns and I really only chose this one over the others so I could at least have the satisfaction of having used the magazine. ( I bought this magazine for jacket 105 -a kimono inspired jacket with interesting front bands ) .

I did quite a good job of matching the print at the sides but a not so good job at the back.centre seam .  However I am gratified that this does not show up too badly in these photos. But what I can not really get past in my other photos is that the hem looks uneven in the front because of the skewiff print . I hate going back fixing up finished projects but I might just be forced to do something about that hem . 
Till next time , happy sewing. 
( PS- I had enough of this fabric left over to make my middle daughter a  skirt as well. I used another Burda Style pencil skirt pattern but did not get photos. )