Monday, April 30, 2012

Time To Partay!

I wasn't really in the market for a party dress when I bought this fabric, in fact, I wasn't in the market for fabric at all.  I was taking my son to a swimming lesson a couple of weeks ago and I saw a sign in a building window advertising a fabric bonanza.  The only thing I usually admired about this particular building was the huge empty car park that I could have been using instead of traipsing my son and his gear halfway down the street.  I didn't have time that particular day for a perusal, because, as we all know, these things take time and I was on a tight schedule.  The next day however, was a whole different story.  The building in question housed a fashion house which was forced to move after the earthquake.  They aparently sell all of their roll ends at cost plus GST.   I bought two metres of this lovely crushed silk metal and also a metre and a half of printed Japanese linen, all for the princely sum of $17.  Initially the silk was going to become a top of some sort, but by the time it had reached home it was destined to become  Donna Karan Vogue 1175 dress.  I had really admired the variations I had seen on pattern review and especially this one by Up Sew Late

This pattern had really comprehensive instructions and was simple to put together as long as I followed the instructions.  This was not one of those dresses where you make it up as you go along.  I made two changes to the pattern.  The first was to raise the dress slightly at the shoulders because the neckline was too plunging and the second change was to not attach the skirt to the lining at the hem.  I liked the bubble look but, I am not sure whether it was the design or my fabric, but this made the dress both quite short and also very bubbled at the hem.

This could well now become my new favourite dress.  The fabric is quite delicious to wear and it falls beautifully.  I may have a problem wearing it styled as I have  here very often before the spring but this is such a versatile little number, I am sure I can style it for winter.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Jalie.....Yet Again

This project was part of the whole Jalie holiday saga and the "straw that broke the camels back" so far as the commercial overlocker was concerned.  The problem was, that this jacket is made of boiled wool and the poor machine just said "enough is enough" and spat the dummy!

The starting point was this boiled wool jacket that belonged to my husband and he no longer wore.  We bought the burgundy red fleece, ribbing and felt to finish the project.  The pockets were left as is and the front and back were cut from the vest, adding extra for the snaps at the front.   This was the third college inspired jacket that my daughter had made so this one was completed without any help from me, other than the odd bit of advice here and there.  It took longer to complete than planned due to the unfortunate overlocker saga, but the final result, I think,  is outstanding and will be a super warm addition to my daughters winter wardrobe.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Legs 11

I have had Style Arc's Laura Legging pattern sitting in my collection unused since last winter.  With legging weather fast approaching, I was quite keen to try these out.  Now, I have nothing against rtw leggings, I thought it could come in handy to be able to make my own when a gorgeous piece of fabric caught my eye.  This fabric does not quite make it to the gorgeous stakes, but it is a nice quality cotton Lycra.  It is basically grey with a fine blue stripe.  It was only $8 per metre so the perfect fabric to trial my leggings pattern on. 

When I measured the Style Arc pattern on my ready to wear leggings, I had my doubts about this pattern but on completion, I have to say, I am a complete convert.  The only change I made was to shorten the length and I made the elastic a bit tighter around the midriff to match the rtw version but otherwise, what you see is what you get.  These leggings are high waisted which wouldn't have been my first choice and conjures up images of granny pants but in reality is fantastic as it turns out.... there is nothing worse than spending the day hitching up your leggings.   These leggings are extremely comfortable, even more so than rtw versions, and I didn't think that was at all possible, so you could say I am a convert.  I am sure this pattern will get a lot more use when I come across cute knit fabrics.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Devil Shirt

This shirt looks like a simple little shirt that could be whipped up in no time at all.  Well, that is what I thought when I began this project, late one Friday afternoon while my kids were home for the school holidays. 

The fabric is a lovely soft lightly brushed cotton with a small checked print that I bought with this op shop haul that I wrote about here.  When I began cutting the fabric, I realised that the checks on the fabric do not line up and the pattern I have chosen did not help the matter.  I used New Look 6050 which is a semi fitted pattern having darts in both the back and the front.   I made the sleeves a slightly puffed sleeved version, but after sewing the shirt up and fitting it, I decided that I didn't like the look so whipped the sleeves out and re cut them to the original pattern.  I cut a small ruffle on the bias and inserted this under the front facing and also cut a cuff on the bias similar to the Vogue top I made here but after fitting it discovered that the addition of the cuff, made the sleeves too short necessitating the removal and lengthening via a concealed false extension and reattaching of the cuff.  I have to add also, that all of this was happening through the "commercial over locker saga" which necessitated the use of the much maligned domestic over locker that I have a love hate relationship with.

I am really happy with the final result, even if, the production of the said shirt proved trying, B.U.T....and it is a big but....because I had to cut the sleeves out (the over locking of the seam necessitated this), the shirt is now a little snug across my back and I think that the back dart will eventually pull out.  I feel this shirt may well be around for a good time and not a long time, hence the term "devil shirt".

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

We Will Remember Them

To all of the New Zealanders and Australians reading this, whether you are attending dawn parades or simply enjoying the opportunity for a sleep in, I hope you are having a relaxing Anzac day.  Although not attending this year, I did have the opportunity to attend a parade in Melbourne inadvertantly 6 years ago.

Given the relaxing nature of the day, I thought I would share with you a project that has hit just the right note.  Remember this fabric haul when I said that the polar fleece I had bought would be made into something for my boys.......

well, here it is.  This fabric is super soft and snugly, so, perfect for a dressing gown.  Given my son is 13, I wanted plenty of room for growth, so, using his old one as a pattern I slightly enlarged it but added heaps of extra length to both the body and the sleeves.

For this particular project, I decided I wanted a professional looking finish so this involved my coverstitch machine.  I still haven't quite perfected the use of this machine yet so the setting up for such thick fabric involved quite a bit of fiddling round but I ended up coverstitching the heck out of the thing in the end.  I used it up the fronts, around the hood, the tops of the pockets, hem and the belt tabs.  I am really happy with the final product, as is my son who wears it daily.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Channeling Marilyn

My daughter had a murder mystery party to go to over the weekend.  The year was 1949 and her character was supposed to be both a socialite jewel thief and art thief.  She decided to base her character on Marilyn Monroe given the timing was correct, and she wanted "that dress" .  I already had New Look 6557 in my stash, so this was my starting point.

I then set about trying to come up with suitable fabric that wouldn't break the bank, given that this was a costume and therefore a one hit wonder.  I tried every Op shop I could think of and in desperation visited my favourite fabric shop, Fabric Vision.  I must have dropped in on the right day because sitting on the $3 table was the largest roll of duchess satin in white....perfect!  For a total investment of $9 I had a dress, minus the trimmings of course.

I have made this dress up before here  This time however, I needed to add fullness to the skirt, like the original.  The original however was pleated and I wanted to gather.   So, I ended up making a fusion of two skirt patterns,  New Look 6557 and Simplicity 2443.  I liked the fullness in the Simplicity pattern but needed the shaping at the waist of the New Look pattern.  I added the sash/belt as the original also had a small sash/belt of similar proportions.  Unfortunately, all of the curling of hair, makeup and nails took longer than any of us anticipated and she was running fashionably late and forgot to put on the belt.  It was a shame but, oh well, know one else noticed!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Essentials and Updates

Just a quick post this morning before I dash out the door to an action packed morning of kids sport.

My over locker is back in action....yay!  The pieces arrived from Auckland overnight and I found a new mechanic to install them.  With my previous one I had to unscrew the machine and take the motor off and lug the darned heavy thing into the shop in the centre of town.  Well, my first problem this time was the centre of town....we don't have one currently!  The second problem was trying to park at the door was impossible and so was lugging that thing more than a few metres.  So, I found me a new mechanic.  I had seen this sewing machine supplier set up only a few kilometres from home and thought I would give them a try.  Turns out the fellow I rang there lives across the road from me and best of all he does house calls....yay.  So by lunch time on Thursday, I was back up and running....double, yay!  I was, at that point, suffering withdrawal symptoms.

Any ho, I thought I would start with a simple project to test the machine before I tried anything to complicated or on too thicker fabrics.  So, I whipped up some winter pyjamas for my youngest son, who incidentally is on a sleepover this morning so unavailable to be my model.

I started with an old pair of pyjamas that were showing way too much midriff and the sleeves were half mast.  The pants though, fit well even though they were a little worn in the knees.  I pulled these apart and they became my pattern for the new bottoms.  My boys prefer tees to button up tops so I found two identical near new promotional adult tee shirts in the recycled clothing bag and these became the new top. 

Because both tee shirts had large prints on the front, the top needed to be cut out of the backs and short sleeves of both tee shirts.  I simply lay an rtw tee of my sons on top and used it as the pattern and cut around it.  I created a double sleeve on the new top because the length of the fabric I had to work with necessitated this.  I even managed to use the existing cover stitching which meant I didn't need to get out and re thread my own cover stitch machine.  I was lucky with the ribbing as well and found a small amount left over from my daughters sweatshirt that I wrote about here  For the applique, I found just what I needed on the Internet, and printed it out in the appropriate size.  I cut it out and drew around it on my fabric which I then ironed on to some interfacing before cutting out.  I then pinned and stitched it using a small zigzag onto the new tee.

I know kids pyjamas are pretty inexpensive to buy, but this particular project cost me only time.  The tees I used for the top were destined for the recycling bin and the pants were made from a roll of fabric my husband won at an auction for $6 a few years ago and I think this is the third pair of pyjamas I have made from it so essentially this project was free.  My son is really happy with them and actually called them cozy, so I am one happy and popular Mum....can't ask for more than that!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

One I Prepared Earlier

Before the untimely demise of my over locker, before the Jalie jacket saga, in fact before the school holidays, I made another dress.  Dresses seem to be my favourite things to make these days.  Unfortunately, they probably rank as the least worn things in my wardrobe, which has to change.  My inspiration for this dress was, again, a photo in a catalogue.  In fact, this photo.....
It is a little hard to see in the photo but the fabric is hounds tooth knit.  My version of the dress, is made using a stable cotton hounds tooth knit also but I have used Butterick 5523 as my pattern.  I cut the pattern to size 10, as usual and the only real change I made was to omit the elastic under the bust.  I felt that as the fabric was already stable and in fact had next to know stretch plus was quite a heavy fabric, I would not gain anything from having the elastic.  In fact, the addition of the elastic may actually leave unsightly gathers where the pleats were. 

The back has a decorative button tab which I rather like.  It reminds me of a coat.

In this photo, I am wearing it with black tights and my new black suede desert booties from Number One Shoes. 

This dress hasn't had it's first outing yet, it is like my other dress designated for winter, waiting patiently in the wardrobe for just the right occasion.  I am not quite ready to put away my summerish gear just yet!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Curse Of Friday The Thirteenth

Let me start by saying, that I am not a superstitious person so I wasn't overly worried by Friday the thirteenth but my day did end up being fraught by bad luck.

As the kids are still on holiday, my daughter was whipping up her latest version of the Jalie jacket.  This time, for herself while I set about cutting out a new shirt in some lovely brushed cotton plaid.  No problem here, I thought.  It was seemingly a nice simple project.  What I did discover however that the fabric is not quite square and unfortunately the bust darts in the front of the shirt threw out my pattern matching...darn, I like my matching to be perfect.  I was starting to get a little fed up and tempted to put away my project until I was in a better frame of mind but didn't want my shirt to become a UFO victim so persevered with my cutting out.  My daughter then came to tell me that the over locker was making a strange noise while she was sewing the band to the bottom of her boiled wool jacket...oh oh, I thought!  This was my commercial over locker and it sounded expensive.  Sure enough, she had broken my underlooper and I knew from past experience that I would need to source the part from Auckland before trying to find a mechanic in our broken city to install and re time the machine....great!  At ten minutes to five on a Friday afternoon, this was not good!

I sent away an email to the Auckland based supplier whom I originally bought the machine from but don't expect anything to happen before tomorrow.  Hopefully he will have the part and I can get it sent away tomorrow because I really need to get some new items made before MMM12.   Oooh, I forgot to mention I was participating in Me Made May.

'I,  Andrea, of Fabric Epiphanies, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '12. I endeavour to wear at least one me made item each day for the duration of May 2012'

So now I am thinking, what on earth have I done.  I have signed up with MMM12 and I have nothing to wear.  That may be a slight exaggeration, but with the change in temperature we are experiencing at the moment, it isn't too far from the truth.  I may need to be a little creative in my projects for the next couple of weeks or if I get really desperate, I will have to drag out my domestic over locker.  Wish me luck!

Friday, April 13, 2012

The College Jacket Saga Continues....

Here we have version four of the Jalie frankenpattern.  This particular version nearly didn't happen.  My daughter was not sure that her brother would wear anything she had made so was reluctant to make it.  The problem my teenage son has, however, is that he hasn't grown yet which means he is limited for choice in rtw clothing (no self respecting teenager wants to be seen shopping in the childrens department).  I think this may have been the primary motivator behind this particular jacket.  To ensure he r..e..a..l..l..y liked it, we took him shopping to pick his own fabric combinations.....there were no leftovers used in the creation of this particular jacket.  He chose a charcoal grey poly cotton brushed sweat shirting for the body, royal blue brushed poly cotton sweat shirting for the sleeves and red cotton ribbing for the bands and red and blue felt for the lettering.  Incidentally, if you were wondering about the significance of the "B", it is the first letter of his surname.

My daughter drafted a size 13 of Jalie 2795 for this jacket and again added 2cm to the centre front for the overlap, and cut a facing. She also cut a piece of sweat shirting to add to the bands at the front also, in keeping with the college jacket style.

The weather here has cooled off significantly since the weekend, to the point that I had to turn the heating on for the first time this morning, until the sun came up, so the time has come for warmer layers.  My son wore this jacket all day yesterday, even wearing it out with his mates.  He also told his mates that his sister made the jacket.....of course his mates did not believe him.  That in itself is the ultimate compliment!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Evolution Of The Jalie Jacket (part three)

Remember how I said that my daughter thought that the college inspired Jalie jacket I made my youngest wasn't authentic enough and in her words "I can do better" (competition is alive and well in my house)?  Anyho, no sooner had I finished my version than I found my daughter trawling through my fabric stash and she came up with some lovely red cotton fleece that was left over from some sweatshirts I made her as a baby....I know, I do keep fabric for a r..e...a..l..l..y  l..o..n..g time!  The white fleece on the sleeves was left over from my Jalie Hoodie that I wrote about here and the royal blue was rescued from a tee shirt in the recycled clothing bag.  The snaps were from my nappy making days, oh and the felt for the letters were part of her craft collection.

My daughter drafted up Jalie 2795 in size 10, which proved to be a much better size on her size 8 brother.  She added 2cm to the centre front and cut a facing out of the red.  The only part of the project I helped her with was the applique letter on the front.  I did the stitching because she just wasn't confident enough to go it alone and given unpicking was not an option, I can't say I blame her. 

Both my daughter and my son, were very pleased with the final results and the project proved to be a great time filler on an otherwise quiet Easter Sunday, when the shops and everything else was closed.  Now my older, teenage son has his order in.....the ultimate compliment!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Evolution Of The Jalie Jacket (part two)

I did say there would be more stash busting happening, didn't I?  This time I have rescued a nearly new polar fleece vest made with beautiful fleece and a piece of left over velour fleece that was left over from a jacket I made my youngest when he was really little.  I thought I would try out the kid's versions of Jalie 2795.   According to the sizing, my youngest, who the jacket is intended for, was a size 8, which is what I would have expected given his age and size. 

My son is obsessed with the British boy band, One Direction and the way they dress so I thought I would make an American college jacket inspired version of the Jalie jacket, because these are everywhere this autumn.  I bought a very expensive rtw one from a well known children's label a few weeks back only to get it home and realise that one of the seams had not been sewn properly and it had a gaping hole.  I returned it and got my money back.

Because of my lack of fabric, on my version, I decided to make the sleeves black and the front and back blue.  I used a recycled zip so all in all this jacket cost me nothing.

I am pretty happy with the final results but do wish I had chosen to go up a couple of sizes when drafting up the pattern, because it is quite short in the body.  Unfortunately the kids sizing runs quite small in this pattern.

Now my daughter has decided that this version is not quite authentic enough and has vowed to do this space!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Evolution Of The Jalie Jacket

My daughter recently spent the weekend tramping and quickly realised that her wardrobe lacked a suitable sweatshirt, hers being mostly cotton.  On her return she trawled through my fabric stash and found some red and black wind fleece which was left over from a trench coat I made for her about 8 years ago.  She asked me to make her a jacket, but I had my doubts whether there would be enough fabric.  Given that it had sat in my stash for 8 years though, I was understandably keen to see the fabric made up finally. 

Instantly my thoughts turned to Jalie 2795, which I first made up here and I knew that this was the best option for this fabric.  It had no stretch though, being a bonded fleece so cuffs and a waistband would be out of the question.  I ended up cutting both the sleeves and body longer so I could just turn and hem it.  I ran into trouble though when I cut the pocket facings and because I had absolutely no fabric left I had to piece several pieces together.  Fortunately, unless the jacket is turned inside out, know one will ever know.  I rescued a zip out of an unworn jacket in my husbands wardrobe, so in the end this project cost me nothing!

This story doesn't end here however....the success of this jacket got me thinking about all of the other left over pieces of fleece in my stash that have been sitting around for more years than I care to mention...... 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Happy Easter

A very productive weekend here but more about that later.  I hope you are having a lovely relaxing weekend!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

March Wrap Up

March has not been a very productive month on the clothing  front.  For the purpose of this particular exercise however, I am only including clothing so I have left out the cushions that I also made.

Racing Striped Swimming Trunks
Fabric $30.00
Pattern Self Drafted
Elastic Free From Stash
Total $30.00

Green Bat Wing Tee
Fabric $4.00
Pattern $8.00
Total $12.00

Floral Dress
Fabric $16.00
Pattern Used Before
Total $16.00

Puffed Sleeve Tee
Fabric $16.00
Pattern $8.00
Total $24.00

March Total $52.00

It is really hard to pick a favourite from this lot.  I love the dress because of the colours and the feel of the fabric and I also love the puffed sleeve tee for all of the same reasons.  On the other hand, I am pretty pleased with myself for managing to knock off a pretty professional looking pair of swim trunks for my son at a fraction of the retail price as well.  I think though the dress is the winner by a smidge!