Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Little Washed Out

I haven't been very productive on the sewing front this month, probably something to do with all of the preserving I have been doing.  I thought I would just squeeze in one more project before months end.

One of the things very lacking in my autumn wardrobe is long sleeve tees.  I really like these puffed sleeve versions and when I saw Butterick 5562 and this beautiful cotton Lycra fabric, I knew they were made to go together. 

Before cutting out my top, I studied pattern review to see what the feedback was like on this pattern, and learnt that the sizing runs large.  After checking the pattern against a rtw top that I like the fit of, I cut the tee out to a size extra small instead of my usual small.  The first alteration I made was to cut out a neck band.  The fold and top stitch method just doesn't do it for me and I really like the finish of a neck band.  After cutting out the sleeves in view B, I decided I didn't really like the elasticated  ruched hem, so re cut into a regular fit sleeve.

I used my cover stitch machine to hem the sleeves and the bottom of the tee.  I really like this finish because the stitching does not seem to break like it does on my sewing machine, especially on Lycra.

Would I make this tee again.....yes, definitely.  I am really liking the look of view C for my next version.

Friday, March 30, 2012

One Pattern One Week....Day 7

Bring on the fireworks, it is day 7 and the final day of the One Pattern, One Week challenge.  How have I found the challenge you ask?  It really has been quite easy, given that this pattern is so versatile.  The only down side really is, having to take my photograph daily.  I will be relieved not to have to do this tomorrow!  The only other thing I found challenging is having to plan ahead as to what I was going to wear each day.  I really am a fly by the seat of my pants kind of girl where dressing is concerned.  Could I do a me made month....hmm, we will see!

For my final version of New Look 6648, I have chosen the fine black and white stripe version that I wrote about here  The stripes in this top are so fine that they were extremely difficult to photograph.  Again I have used the top version in the picture above but narrowed the neck slightly.  I have teamed the top with my white Jalie jeans that I wrote about here  and black ballet flats by Mam!zelle. 

I have been asked which is my favourite version and I have to say the leopard print one.  I am not sure why because usually animal prints aren't my thing but maybe that is the attraction.  Perhaps because the animal print is such a departure from my regular style that it challenges me.  I also especially like the drape of the leopard print fabric, it is rather lovely to wear.

Friday morning is my "in the classroom" morning and I followed this by a couple of errands and some sewing.  Not a bad way to finish the week, if I do say so myself.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

One Pattern One Week Day....6

Yesterday, my kids were inadvertently caught in the middle of an armed defenders call out at school.  It was an extremely stressful day.  Today, I am aiming for a much quieter day.  After that, I would even settle for boring, thank you.  Today's plan is bill paying.  It really doesn't get more unexciting than that, I  think.

Today's version of New Look 6648, is the top version in the above picture.  Again I have made the sleeves both narrower and shorter and made the neck slightly smaller.  I originally posted about it here  It is made out of a dalmatian spot cotton Lycra.  Today's outfit is quite monochromatic, being black and white so I am wearing my new Mi Piaci ballet flats to inject a little colour. I have also teamed the top with black three quarter jeans that I ran in from wide leg pants to skinny pants.  These are yet another pair of pants that have gained new life with a small alteration and have been worn just about constantly since.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

One Week One Pattern....Day 5

I have to say....the novelty of wearing the same pattern all week is starting to wear thin.  There is only so many combinations of a top and skirt/pants that you can wear in any week.  It is enough to drive any self respecting woman around the pole.  Even the cat thinks I am nuts! 

This particular version of New Look 6648, really hasn't been worn much.  This is probably due to it being made in spring and is actually made of a medium weight knit so more suitable to cooler weather.  I am quite partial to stripes and it is beautiful fabric so hopefully it will be worn more as the weather cools down.  Speaking of cools is grey and cool, quite a contrast to yesterday so I chose the third version from the top in the above picture for today's photo.  To mix this top up a bit, I made it with a round neck but narrowed the neck slightly from the versions I have shown earlier in the week.  My original post about this top is here  Today I am wearing it with black light weight jeans by Staxs that I recently ran in from bootleg jeans to skinny jeans as they were not getting a lot of use as bootleg.  I am also wearing ballet flats by Diesel.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

One Week One Pattern....Day 4

The weather this week has certainly made my combinations easy.  It is another beautiful day, a day to celebrate wearing shorts because the days of wearing them this summer are numbered.  Today I am wearing a "Barbie" coloured ensemble although that is where my similarity to Barbie ends other than the fact we are both middle aged women.  I have to say though Barbie is a good deal older than me and unlike Barbie , I haven't had any "PLASTIC"!  My older kids would be rolling their eyes and shaking their heads about now, but my youngest still thinks I am funny....long may it last!

I had a few errands to run today, and the dog always likes to tag along, although she is not too keen on being left outside the supermarket. 

Today, I am wearing the same version of New Look 6648 as yesterday, the top one but in pink, this time I have swapped the round neck for the v neck.  I wrote about this version here  I do find however that this v neck although looks nice, could do with being a little narrower across the shoulders.  You might also notice with this one that the sleeves are both narrower and shorter.

Today, I have teamed the pink top with white duck shorts which I made as a wearable muslin using New Look 6873 earlier in the season, and sandals by Clarks.  The bag in the top photo I wrote about here I am also wearing a pink shell necklace and matching toes.


Monday, March 26, 2012

One Week One Pattern....Day 3

Three days down, and this challenge seems all too easy.  Today, I am wearing my favourite version of this top.  I love the colourful one and the lace one as well, but this one seems to be the most versatile version to date.  I originally wrote about it here  I have worn this top with yoga pants, jeans, shorts and skirts, as I am wearing here.

This particular version is the top one, pictured above.  It is made out of a animal print light weight cotton jersey knit.  The thing I like the most about this top is the way it drapes and hugs my arms as I move.  Because it is loose it is cool enough for a summer top while at the same time protects me from the fierce sun that we have in New Zealand.   This morning was really cool before the sun came up, so today I have teamed it with footless tights, and the Vogue Rachel Comey skirt I wrote about here and of course my new favourite autumn shoes, my brogues by World for Number One Shoes.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

One Week One Pattern....Day 2

After yesterdays large piece of cheese cake, I felt a little guilty this morning, only a little guilty mind you, and took the dog for a walk in the park.  It is another beautiful day so I did bare my legs in a pair of shorts.  Our summer has been so shocking this year though, and my legs are so prematurely white that short shorts are out of the question, hence the long shorts. 

The version I have chosen of New Look 6648 today, is again the cowl neck version at the bottom of the above picture that I wrote about here.  Today I have teamed my nylon mesh Desigual inspired version with shorts by Kathmandu and jandals by Roxy. 

I hope you have a great Sunday.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

One Week One Pattern....Day 1

I have to confess that this is the first time I have participated in one of these challenges, instead putting them in the too hard basket.  I now have a nice little collection of me made clothing so the challenges are now do-able.

The challenge is to use one pattern for all of your outfits for one week.  The pattern I have chosen is a no brainer.  I have used this pattern over and over this summer. It is New Look 6648.  The version I have chosen for today's outfit is the cowl neck version at the bottom of the pattern in lace that I wrote about here  It is a lovely hot summers day today, but given that it is autumn, the mornings are cool, hence the three quarter pants and ballet flats...perfect for a mornings shopping and to finish the day by stopping by a local cafe bar for a nice cool glass of vino and a slab of cheese cake....yum!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Take Two Tea Towels

I bought my son a new quilt for his bed but unfortunately the shop had sold out of matching pillow cases.  No matter though, I kind of like the eclectic look.  The problem was though, where to find a pillow case that blended in.  I was at Lincraft the other day, when I spied these linen tea towels.  I am quite a fan of the whole French interiors theme going on at the moment and also the Hamptons.  Now these tea towels, although themed on these styles are uniquely South Pacific...perfect for a boy who actually lives in the South Pacific!

I carefully unpicked one end from each of the tea towels to create more length for my pillow case and trimmed both sides before stitching and over locking my pieces together.  I didn't have enough fabric for an envelope closure though, so I whipped out the trusty snap press and added some coordinating snaps to keep the pillow case closed.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Autumnal Cheer

photo courtesy
of Kimberleys
This dress sat as a ufo on my sewing table for more than a week.  Over the weekend, ironically, as the kids splashed around in the pool in Indian summer temperatures, I got motivated to whip it up.  The fabric is a beautiful cotton jersey with the softest cuddliest feel to it and guess what, it didn't come from the op shop!  It must have some polyester to it as well because as I discovered, it could not be hot ironed.  I was inspired to make a dress out of the fabric, by the dress at right, which is by Marilyn Seyb.  I love the large floral design. 

I chose Simplicity 3503 as the pattern.  This is a pattern I had used before to make a maxi dress and really liked the fit.  I hoped the sleeved version would look just as good.  The dress ended up going together super quickly but I did end up unpicking and making some changes.

Whether it was the fabric I chose, I am not sure, but I had to take the yoke in by 2cm on each side to avoid the dress looking sack like.  This completed, I still wasn't happy and realised that the width in the sleeves did not look right on me plus I wanted to be able to wear a cardigan over the top in the winter months.   I narrowed the sleeves at the wrist by 10cm on the front and 10cm on the back, taking a full 20cm out of the width of the sleeve at the hem.

To make sure the neck yoke looked neat, I carefully hand stitched it down and then top stitched it with grey thread.  The wrists, I folded over double and top stitched to ensure a neat finish.   This may be a little knit dress, but one thing I learnt as a child learning to embroider, was that the back of your project should be as tidy as the front and I endeavour to make sure that all of my projects are as neat on the inside as possible. 

All in all, I am really pleased with the finished product.  It certainly fits the 'more colour in my wardrobe' criteria and given the colour would be equally at home with bare legs and sandals as it would with a cardigan, tights and boots....the perfect transeasonal garment, I think.

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Pressing Matter

While not sewing much over the past week, I have been productive.  My daughter asked me over the summer holidays for a new desk.  While hers was functional for a laptop, a textbook was out of the question and with NCEA (major high school) exams looming later in the year, a decent sized desk was a necessity.  I trawled the remaining furniture shops around the city and came up with nothing.  Well actually, I would have had tons of choice if garish painted mdf was my bag.  I was determined to have solid timber but not something that looked more comfortable in a lawyers office.  When these unpainted pine ones came up, I was sold. The only problem was the one month delay while the thing was manufactured and shipped. 

It arrived eventually and sat in my lounge room for an entire fortnight before I had time to do anything with it.  Last week, I bit the bullet and after a coat of whitewash and some dark stain for the top I then covered it in a generous outer layer of polyurethane. My daughter now has a desk that is not only practical it is darn stylish if I do say so myself! 

Because I had poured so much effort into the finish of the desk, I didn't want it getting ruined with pen marks etc so I made a trip to Lincraft and bought some heavy weight clear plastic to cut into a desk pad.  She can go crazy with the whiteboard pens on the surface and it will wipe off with a cloth...perfect! 

My daughter likes her new desk so much  that even the TV was evicted!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Couch Candy

With the mornings getting decidedly cooler and darker, my thoughts are to ways of making my home cosy for the coming winter.  One thing that has escaped my attention of late is the cushions in my lounge.  They are regularly used by the kids for sitting on sleeping on and are often found on the floor.  As such they lose their niceness pretty quickly.  It was clearly time for a change.  I had several remnants of upholstery fabric in tones of beige plus a couple of zips in the same colour in my stash so I set about creating.  This is what I came up with along with a couple more for my Mum.  The fronts are in the leaf design and the backs  the texture stripe with the piping in a wide stripe.  With the addition of a couple of new inserts from Lincraft my couch now looks a whole lot more loved.  All I need now is a couple more in something a little more colourful...hmmmm!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I Must Stop Just For A While

I have popped into my favourite op shop for fabric hauls, once more.  My stash is now starting to get out of control to the point, I am running out of places to store it.  Soooo....I need to stay away until I have actually made up some or most of it.  I say need because this probably won't happen, but I will try, I promise!

This weeks haul includes two pieces of linen in chocolate and aqua plus two cotton prints that will be reserved for something next summer, along with a very thick piece of polar fleece that will be made into something for my boys and my favourite piece is a very large piece of heavy wool rib knit in a lovely soft grey.  I think I am most excited about the wool in this haul and am busy dreaming up possible designs for it.

My Mum has been thinning out her fabric stash as well, it is interesting how Mum's do that....clean out there cupboards into yours....or is it just my Mum.  Any ho, in this instance it is gratefully accepted.  This haul contains two very large pieces of cotton seersucker in rose pink and burgundy which I have seen around a lot this season.

I am looking forward to seeing what I can create out of this all I need is a little more time!

On a side note, I don't know whether you noticed the button to the side?  I am participating in a challenge over at Tilly and the Buttons called One Week One Pattern.  I wonder if you can figure out which pattern I will be choosing!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Thing Of Beauty

After a year and a half of ugly surroundings, having the return of the Ellerslie Flower Show was a breath of fresh air and something I was determined not to miss.  On Saturday morning, I roped in my husband who was less than convinced about a flower show, and we joined the queues of aspiring gardeners.

The starlight marquee never fails to impress.  This year it was depicting not surprisingly disasters.  The top image is of a tornado created out of fabric and planted with flowers.  The bottom image was created out of the remnants of the Catholic Cathedral complex which is currently in a very sad state indeed.  It is a beautiful unique building of architectural significance unlike anything else in the southern hemisphere and sadly it looks like it will face demolition.  The above garden uses some of the blocks that have fallen, not off the church but surrounding buildings and depicts the damage of the site and the unkempt surroundings that are all too common in abandoned areas in the city.

This garden was my sons favourite, for obvious reasons.  It fortunately had nothing to do with disasters, but more a fantasy tropical lost garden complete with waterfall.

There was a very strong recycling theme happening this year, not surprisingly, given the amount of rubble around.  I rather like these pink gab ion retaining walls packed with recycled bricks.

This sculpture was quite incredible.  It had naturally formed itself in a heart shape during the fire that engulfed one of the fallen buildings in the earthquake....spooky or what!  I really like this garden, not too fanciful, but very practical.

These costumes were incredible.  They were created by fabric artist Jenny Gillies.  They weren't at the flower show two years ago but I hope they are included next year.  Only a sewer would appreciate the work in each of these beautiful flower dresses.  Note...the orange dress contains a real girl!

All in all it was a lovely inspiring day.  I will be back again next year but this time I will be more organised and get my tickets early.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Back To Production

Photo Courtesy of Kimberley's

I was inspired.  Well, as inspired as I can be about cool weather clothing at the moment.  I have had the odd rtw clothing catalogue arriving in my letter box of late and this top from Kimberley's caught my eye.  It is a little hard to see but the print is green and black hounds tooth. I am not sure of the label of the top because it doesn't say either on their website or in the catalogue.   Any ho, I had just the piece of fabric in my stash.  I bought it for $2m on a sale table earlier in the summer.  It isn't great quality which made it perfect for a wearable muslin.  This time using Vogue 8771. 

I didn't have a lot of faith in this pattern based on the reviews I had read which were very much mixed.  I also had made so many of New Look 6648 which I absolutely love and I knew it would be a hard act to follow.  Initially I cut out the longer scooped hem version but after making it up realised I really didn't like it and it hung somewhat like a sack.  So, I whipped out the scissors and cut the bottom off....ahh much better.  The other change I made to the pattern was the addition of a neck band.  One of the criticisms I had read was the size of the neck and I really wasn't fond of the over lock and turn method in the pattern so added a small neck band which proved to be both neater and more stable on my very thin knit.

I really didn't enjoy making this top up.  I am not sure if that was because of the cheap fabric I was using or because I wasn't hopeful of a positive outcome, but once it was completed I came to realise that actually I do quite like it.  The dolman is sufficiently small, that I can wear a layer over the top when the weather cools down and the sleeves are a practical width at the cuffs.  I was trying to decide whether I would make it up again at a later date when I visited Fabric Vision and the lady behind the counter admired it.  That was it....there will be a repeat version after all!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

February Wrap Up

Liberty Inspired Top
Fabric $2.00
Pattern (Used Before)
Total $2.00

Linen Skirt
Fabric $6.00
Lining/Zip $6.00
Pattern $4.00
Total $16.00

Vogue Top
Pattern  $8.00
Fabric $2.00
Total $10.00

Vogue Skirt
Fabric $12.00
Pattern (Used Before)
Lining $2.00
Zip $3.00
Total $17.00

February Total $45.00

I really can't pick a favourite for February because I love each item for different reasons.  I love both of the skirts because the fit is spot on and I really like the way linen falls.  I like the liberty inspired blouse because the fabric also drapes beautifully and I really like the colours in it.   As for the green top, well, it is just different and because it is simple it just goes with most things so has also been worn quite a bit. 

At the end of March, I will be a bit more proactive in my wrap ups, I promise.  February and March to date have just been a bit crazy!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

January Wrap Up

Denim Skirt
Denim (Op Shop)                   $ 2.00
Pattern (Used Before)               0.00     
                                                    $ 2.00

Courteney's Dress
Fabric/zip                                $30.00
Pattern (Used Before)                0.00

Racer Back Dress
Pattern                                      $10.00
Fabric                                             2.00
Zip                                                   7.00

Lace Cowl Top
Fabric                                         $ 2.00
Pattern (Used Before)                0.00
                                                     $ 2.00

Teal Tee
Pattern                                       $ 4.00
Fabric                                         $ 2.00
                                                     $ 6.00

January Grand Total      $29.00

(Please excuse the formatting above.  It looked perfect in my draft but do you think I can get it to look right published!)

For the record, my favourite out of all of the above would have to be the racer back dress.  This dress has been worn as much as our non existent summer would allow and I know it will be my go to casual dress next summer.