Tuesday, July 31, 2012

End Of July Wrap Up

I know it is only 31 July, but despite my best efforts and two days of constant rain, I have run out of time to complete my final project for the month.  Never mind, I will need to wait for the rain to stop to take my usual outside photo anyway and the weather man is promising that this weather is here to stay until Saturday.

Between the jigs and the reels it has been quite a productive month but mostly due to my obsession with Sewaholic Renfrews.  Next month I promise will be a little more varied!

Pattern  $6.00
Fabric $20.00
Lining $14.00
Buttons $12.00
Total $52.00

Pink Renfrew
Fabric $9.20
Pattern $25.00
Total $34.20

Velour Renfrew
Fabric $8.00
Pattern Used Before  $0.00
Total $8.00

Minoru Jacket
Pattern $25.00
Fabric $20.00
Zip Rescued $0.00
Total $45.00

Grey Renfrew
Fabric $10.00
Pattern Used Before $0.00
Total $10.00

Purple Renfrew
Fabric (not accounted for in past) $10.00
Pattern Used Before $0.00
Total $10.00

Meringue Skirt
Fabric $2.00
Pattern Library $0.00
Lining $3.00
Total $5.00

Disaster Cord Jeans
Fabric $8.00
Pattern Used Before $0.00
Total $8.00

Total July $172.20

Saturday, July 28, 2012


While waiting for my new sewing machine to arrive, I thought I would make up another pair of winter pants.  Of course, using the Jalie jeans pattern again and chocolate cord from this op shop haul here.  I was not keen on the muddy brown colour so had already dyed them black when I was refreshing my favourite black jeans a few months back.  The fabric had come out a nice dark chocolaty, black, or even dark olive depending on what light I was in.  Any ho I was pleased with the results and keen to get them made up before the winter disappeared.  Like my other variations, I graded the legs to skinny jeans.  I started cutting them out at 9am and would have had them finished before 3pm when this happened....

I had just attached the waistband when I realised that my fly facing was stitched on the wrong side and I would need to remove the waistband....darn!  While unpicking the waistband the pants ripped clear down the middle.  I was so gobbed smacked by my stupidity, I didn't even swear.  I simply bundled up the offending garment and took it outside and threw it in the wheelie bin, after removing the zip of course.  I didn't even want it in the inside bin to remind me of a day wasted.  The leftovers, of which there was quite a big piece, quickly followed it.  On further inspection, it appears that this fabric may have been weakened by being in storage and actually ripped quite easily....oops...lesson learned! 

The biggest shame of all is that this is the last garment made by me on my old machine because my new one has arrived and it is awesome!!!!  I haven't made anything on it yet, just had a play and lots of reading of the book.  I will keep playing and put up a review soon.

Earlier in the week, I also whipped up another couple of Renfrews.  This time in a gorgeous grey merino Lycra knit.  I think this may be my favourite version simply because the fabric is so gorgeous. 

 The second version is made using a remnant of this dress.  I only had enough for 3/4 sleeves and a crew neck.  It took a little bit of playing to get the neck right because this fabric is cotton jersey and doesn't have any Lycra content.  I had to remove 4-5 cm from the length of the band but I am happy with the finished result.  I am sure it will make a versatile in between top.

I didn't bother modeling either of these versions, because I am sure by now, you get the picture!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Just Like Christmas....

Does anyone else feel like a kid when Santa has been when they open the front door to the courier?  My courier often comes at 7am, so when the doorbell rang this morning and the courier was waiting I could feel the excitement.  My hopes however were crushed when I realised that the parcel was destined not for me but a house in the next street....oh well, next time.  I did not have to wait long however, as by 9am my patience was rewarded with a lovely fat parcel of fabric.

Now, I have been trawling the shops and the net looking for coloured denim because coloured denim jeans are on my spring must have list and celebrities are no different it would seem.  I very nearly hit buy now on a rtw site on the weekend and then had the brainwave to check Trademe....bingo!  I had found what I was looking for, 3 pieces of denim to make 3 pairs of jeans for only $48 including postage.  So this is what arrived this morning.

I think my favourite is the green, but unfortunately this is the only piece that isn't stretch.  The pink piece I am debating over whether to order the Sewaholic Thurlow and make this piece into a pair of capris or to just draft a pair off an existing pair of capris.

My next online purchase was a biggie.  My Janome Memory Craft is bordering on old age at over 20 years old, so I have been thinking about retiring her for a while now. 

There really isn't anything wrong with her but I can just sense that perhaps her time is near.  The second thread holder is broken and sometimes the pressure foot doesn't stay in the upright position but other than that she still runs like a charm.  I have plans to gift her to my daughter, who doesn't sew a lot but does need her own machine.

My replacement is on the courier down from Auckland as we speak.  It is going to be a very long wait.  I have bought a Juki from Swift Quilter.  She does 900 stitches per minute and has a lot of bells and whistles for the money.  The thing I like about the Juki over a lot of domestic machines, is they are made by a top of the line commercial manufacturer so hopefully a little more robust than your average domestic machine.  After sewing with a commercial over locker for the last 8 years, I am a convert to commercial machines.  There is nothing more frustrating than a machine that labours when hemming jeans or other thick fabrics.

This model of Juki has had nothing but good reviews so I have high expectations.  After 20 years of reliable service from my Janome, this machine has a lot to live up to.  I will post a review once she arrives.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Oh Dear...I have renFLU

Unfortunately no amount of bed rest or fluids is going to control this flu and in my experience it is highly contagious.  One does not need direct contact with renFLU to catch it but it can also be caught visually through the internet, much like an online virus.  I have an unusually bad case which is unfortunately going to take some time to shake.  In the meantime, here is my latest version.

For this particular Renfrew, I was inspired by Carolyn's lovely panne velvet dress.  I had my sights set on this lovely blue panne velvet that had been sitting in my stash and came from some unknown source.  Unfortunately, I only had 1 metre which necessitated a bit of creativity.  A quick trip to Spotlight and an investment of $8 and I had some more in a contrasting colour.   I originally envisaged a colour blocked dress and had this in it's final stages of construction, using my Renfrew pattern as my jumping off point.  I showed my daughter and she likened it to something that may be seen in an 80's night club!  Oops, that silver had a bit too much sparkly in the natural light, this is not what I wanted to achieve and at 4pm on a Friday afternoon when I was intending to wear it out that very night, no less!  Luckily, I had a small amount of the grey left and with a quick change of plans, my Renfrew was back as the pattern intended it....phew, crisis averted!

While I was out shopping for fabric on Friday, I popped into Kmart and picked up a pair of jeans on clearance for $5.  They weren't my desired fit but for $5 they followed me home.  The first problem was that they gaped in the back.  I had seen this tutorial on Sew Brunswick on how to fix gaping jeans.  In the past, I had sewn darts in the back of pesky gaping jeans, but this gave me an idea. 

I am not usually a fan of elastic waisted jeans.  They felt a bit mumsy for me but, I reasoned that jeggings are everywhere at the moment and often these were elasticated around the middle.  My new jeans had a side seam in the inside waistband which I carefully unpicked and threaded through some elastic.  I stitched each end and hand sewed the opening closed.  Problem solved....

My second issue with these jeans, was the fact that they were straight legged and I was aiming for a more modern jegging look that I could wear with ballet flats. 

 I laid my favourite jeans on top of my new jeans and pinned the non top stitched seam (there is always one of these on the legs of jeans) to a more satisfactory width, taking care not to deviate too far from the grain of the fabric.   I did not want the legs to look bandy which is why I wouldn't suggest trying this on jeans any wider than straight leg.  I carefully stitched  my new seam, cut off the excess and over locked before stitching a new hem.   Job done!  I am wearing my new jeans with the Renfrew in the top photo and they are super comfortable.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Little Something For In Between

I left it a little late to take this photograph this morning.  The early mornings are still crisp and cold but lately by mid morning, jackets are no longer needed.  Today, at mid day as I walked around the park, I even regretted my decision to wear a sweatshirt at all as the day had warmed up sufficiently to only require a tee shirt.  By 5pm though, when the sun is beginning to set, it is time to put all of those layers back on.  It was with this sort of weather in mind that I have made my latest jacket/cardigan.

I have coveted the Sewaholic Minoru for quite some time, but really couldn't justify adding it to my pattern collection.  In the end, I bought it anyway.  I r-e-a-l-l-y don't need another coat so resisted the temptation to turn this jacket/cardigan into another heavy winter garment, instead leaning a little more towards an in between jacket.  I had this fantastic heavy wool knit, that resembles a boiled wool, in my stash that I bought last winter and hadn't cut into for fear of wasting the fabric.  I washed it before use, because my lifestyle dictates that it would need to be washed regularly.  This is where I came unstuck.  Usually wet wool smells a bit like wet dog, quite unpleasant but this wet wool was quite different.  It had the most unpleasant chemical smell, almost like the smell of a fabric dye mixture.  It was so unpleasant that I nearly didn't make this fabric up.  Fortunately the smell disappeared once the fabric was dry.  Remind me though, not to wear this one in the rain.

What did I change with this pattern?  I cut it to a size 8 which is what my bust measurement corresponded to but it ended up being quite wide under the arms and through the hips so I took it in 1.5cm on each side.  The most obvious change, is I haven't lined it.  This is a stretch fabric, and I wanted it to retain it's cardigan like quality.  The second change I made was to add two rows of elastic at the back.  The reason for this was, I only had narrow elastic so instead of buying wide elastic, I just used two rows of what I had on hand.  The third change was the wrist band which in the pattern was elasticated.  I made mine narrower and to the same dimensions as the Jalie jacket so they are more like sweatshirt cuffs.  The other thing I did was to leave out the hood and the interior pocket.  I was lucky enough to have a zip in my stash the perfect length having rescued it out of an old jacket my husband threw out.

I really like the final product, and know it will get a lot of use over the next couple of months as the day's warm up.  I can see this getting made up again, maybe as a windbreaker of some sort for the summer in a linen or light weight cotton.

By the way, please excuse the sparkly bits on my legs in the top photo.  No it isn't dirt on your screen.  I had just finished cutting out my latest project and it had shed all over my black tights!

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Spring In My Step

With the kids all back to school, the house clean and tidy, baking done and washing folded and put away, thanks to a record breaking 22.4 deg Celsius Sunday and matching Monday, it is time to start back where I left off.    I am under no illusions that despite the appearance of daffodils and the manic gardening and car washing by my neighbours, that this spring like weather will not continue, so I have made another wool skirt.

Since I have already made 3 versions of Vogue 1247, I thought it was time to try something new.  This time, thanks to my visit to the library with the kids, I have made the Colette Meringue.   The fabric I had chosen is a battleship grey wool flannel that I picked up on this op shop trip and some grey satin lining that I picked up on this op shop trip.  I only had a small amount of the wool, so was limited in my pattern choices. 

Now for the most part, I really like this skirt.  I changed the pattern slightly, to include a back zip instead of a side zip because it suits my shape better and added lining, but other than that, this is a simple A line skirt.  The thing that I have discovered in the making of this skirt though, is that I prefer a waist band to a facing because I find the skirt sits better on me.  Oh well, lesson learned, next time and there will be a next time, I will put a waistband on.

I have to say, I am quite impressed with this book and there is at least two more projects I am keen to try, but they will be projects for the summer.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

VP Sewing

Years ago when we first renovated our first home with my fathers help, he would refer to VP days.  At first this confused me, but I quickly realised that he meant visual progress days.  With renovating these can often be few and far between and sewing is  no different.   My coat had very few visual progress days until it's final reveal but my latest project was a little different and came together with very little fitting and lots of visual progress.

I originally became aware of the popularity of this pattern during the "One Week One Pattern" challenge and have coveted it ever since.  Even though this pattern was really basic, and I could probably have adequately drafted my own, I relented and ordered it.  Now the process of getting this in my hot little hand, was not without it's challenges but that is a story for another day, and thankfully with a lot of help from a very helpful supplier, I had my pattern, although not quite as expected, and proceeded in my attempt to draft up my size which happens to be a size 6.  I love that!  With normal commercial patterns I make a size 10, not so with the Sewaholic Renfrew.  Anyho, with a little poetic or drafting licence, I finally had my pattern.  I had found some lovely cotton Lycra on the remnant table at Fabric Vision, just a few days later I  found out about the fuchsia revolution silently happening on the net.  Apparently, KbencoBlooms Fabric Obsession, and I were on the same page colour wise.  Anyway, I dutifully washed and dried my lovely fuchsia fabric, which is not easy in the rain, and post haste had the whole top cut out. 

I have to say, despite it's simplicity or maybe because of it's simplicity, this pattern really does live up to the hype.  It is snug enough to be close fitting without being a reveal all type tee.  I would not normally put bands on a tee, but they really do ensure a snug fit where you need it  and the cowl neck sits beautifully.  Will I be making more....definitely, probably sooner rather than later!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

And You Thought I Had Been Idle These Past Weeks...

Now you might be thinking, how many coats does this girl need?  Well, despite a very cold June and very wet start to July, I really don't need two winter coats but this particular version was made, well, just because!  Just because I had already bought the pattern earlier in the season; just because I already had the wool fabric from last winter with the intention of making this coat for this winter and just because my fabric cupboard is bulging at the seams, but you have already seen that!

That fabric I used is a lovely reversible floral wool with the design woven into the fabric.  It is quite a busy pattern which is why I have made this one shorter, with the intention of wearing it with pants.  The pattern is Butterick 5685 which looked promising with it's bust fitting and swing style lower half.

The coat went together quite simply and like my other coat, I added a fleece interlining.  The bodice is interlined with the leftovers of my sons dressing gown as it is nice and thick, but the skirt portion and the sleeves were interlined with a lighter microfleece.  I only just had enough of the wool fabric and it did require quite a bit of careful pattern manipulation to actually get the pieces out of the two metres of fabric that I had.  Thank goodness this fabric was very wide. 

Because of a lack of fabric, I wasn't quite able to match my flowers up perfectly, but thankfully could match up the lines of my flowers so unless you get very close, you can't tell there is a seam at all.

With the collar and front facing, I reversed the pattern for a little variation and lined the entire coat with black satin lining from Lincraft.  I did come a little unstuck at the last hurdle because my darn sewing machine decided it didn't like the bulk when making the button holes, so don't look too closely at those, lucky for the busy design really, but we got there in the end.

The sad thing about this coat, is the thing I love the most are the lovely floral buttons.  For some reason I feel a little "meh" about this one and can't put my finger on why.  The pockets in the side seam bother me.  They tend to make the seam stick out and don't disappear like they should.  My other gripes are that it is a little snug across my back and the sleeves are cut in one piece without the benefit of darts and these also tug when I bend my arms.  Would I make this style again....no I don't think so.  While I am really happy with my workwomanship, and reasonably happy with the outcome, I do think there are better patterns available.  It is a shame, when so much work went into it, but oh well....you can't win them all!

Monday, July 9, 2012

A Little Light Reading

The sun has come out and everyone is now well so we have been able to leave the house....yay!

One of our regular haunts in the holidays pre earthquake was always the local library.  It is a great place to while away a few quiet hours, oh and the coffee shop isn't bad either!  Post 22 February last year, our lovely local library was commandeered by the council for offices after their existing offices were badly damaged, leaving library goers with, well, a bus!  The bus while serving a valuable service was not conducive to a relaxing visit especially in the depths of winter so we tended not to use it.  It is nice to have at least this service back again and I am enjoying ordering from the extensive craft books online and popping in regularly to collect my latest installments.  This week I have been pouring over these....

I particularly like the beautiful designs in New England knits and am contemplating buying this book.  The Colette Sewing Handbook is an interesting read as well and it is from this that my next project will come.

I have managed to complete a couple of projects in the last couple of weeks but between sickness and rain, I haven't been able to get them photographed.  Today would have been perfect weather wise but I skived off with the boys to the movies.  Oh well, tomorrow is another day!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Come On In....

It is the first week of the school holidays here.  It has rained all week and I have had a sick daughter.  For reasons only known to her, she decided not to have the flu injection this year and she has had the worst bout to hit our house in years.  From stomach upsets, to chest and head colds, to fevers, she has had the lot including fainting spells which has meant that she has been unable to leave the house except briefly since Saturday.  Because of the fainting spells, I have also not been able to leave the house other than briefly either.  My sister has been visiting from Dunedin for the first time post earthquakes as well and my kids haven't been able to interact with her kids much either so all in all, not a very successful week.

All of this indoor activity however, has given me time to trawl the net and I have managed to snag some online fabric bargains.  I am now beginning to focus on spring, aren't we all, but I am also planning my spring/summer wardrobe and these fabrics will do nicely thank you.  They are mostly knit and there are two wool blend pieces which may be made up for the winter, if I get the time or put away for next year which is the most likely scenario.

Since I can't go out, why don't you come in!  I have had a couple of readers, Robyn and Carolyn, comment on my stash and the seemingly endless possibilities that lie within.  To me it is not that exciting but to my husband, I am sure, it takes up a lot of space.  I am trying to rectify this, really I am!

The above cupboard is my main stash cupboard.  It resides in my garage.  Some of my patterns and my drafting gear sit in boxes on the top.  On the top shelf is my expansive snap collection and below this boxes of patterns and threads.  I then have a shelf which is trying to be neatly stacked with fabric but in reality is overflowing and below that yet another shelf of threads.   I have rather a lot of threads having been fortunate enough to score most of them at an online auction from a manufacturer going out of business.   Below the thread shelf is another shelf groaning with fabric.  Believe it or not, this is my most organised cupboard.  Wait.....there is more.....

This is actually my husbands storage shelf and the one, I am trying to clear.  I began using this when I was manufacturing nappies for resale and contains mostly polar fleece, microfleece, some goretex and a bit of upholstery thrown in for good measure.  Lately I have been clearing this out nicely and I could probably condense it a bit more with a tidy up, but oh well, keeping it real here!

Which brings me to my final craft cupboard and this one is in the hallway inside.  This was my original craft cupboard and contains a shopping bag load of zips at the top, some cross stitch stuff, knitting stuff  and a couple of shelves of fabric thrown in.   I aim to have absolutely no fabric in here, but looking at it, this may take awhile.

So there you have it, the warts and all tour.  As you can see, my creative streak does not extend to keeping my stash tidy in an equally creative way.  It is more of a case of stuff it where it fits.  My name is Andrea and I am a fabricaholic!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

End Of June Wrap Up

Batwing Jumper
Pattern (used before) $0.00
Fabric $8.00
Total $8.00

Moleskin Jeans
Pattern (used before) $0.00
Fabric $12.00
Total $12.00

Ski Pants
Pattern (used before) $0.00
Fabric From Stash $0.00
Total $0.00

Black Scarf
Pattern (self drafted) $0.00
Yarn $12.00
Total $12.00

Wool Skirt
Pattern (used before) $0.00
Zip $0.00
Fabric $4.00
Lining $2.00
Total $6.00

Pattern (self drafted) $0.00
Fabric (gifted) $0.00
Total $0.00

Mesh Scarf
Pattern (free) $0.00
Yarn $7.00
Total $7.00

Total June $45.00