Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What is Green and Skinny?

And no, I am not referring to a wonder diet but my latest version of Jalie Jeans.  I bought this green acid wash fabric online a while ago when my search for coloured denim in the fabric shops turned up nothing.  The trouble is, by the time the fabric arrived my daughter had talked me into a rtw pair which is why this fabric has taken me so long to make up.  I now wished I had waited because I am thrilled with this latest and very colourful addition to my wardrobe.

Like my previous pairs of non stretch denim, I added 1.5cm to each side seam when I cut them out and just fitted them when they were nearly complete.  I actually ended up running them in quite a bit in places but using this technique I have ended up with ease where I need it the most.

For the topstitching and the decoration on the pockets, I used regular sewing thread which I picked up at Lincraft.  To make the stitching more visible on the pockets, I used a decorative bar tack stitch.
Because I have made so many of these jeans now, I whipped these up pretty quickly and without incident but using my new sewing machine did present me with the odd problem.  It could have been the needle I was using, because it wasn't new, but my machine did not like the denim even though I would class it as a mid weight denim.  I had to drag out my 50 year old Bernina Record for the thick areas. 
I can report though, that my new machine makes fantastic button holes.  The instructions in the book were less than adequate so it took me quite a few attempts to get them right.  I finally worked out that the fabric is supposed to be sandwiched between the two metal layers on the button hole foot.  Buttonholes in the past have been somewhat of a nemesis so long may it continue.

Friday, August 24, 2012


One of the projects that has been on my to do list for some time, is to make some new bikini bottoms.  My current ones on the left are disintegrating along the back seam which isn't a good look.  Before the summer, I simply had to replace them.  I have my fabric for a new suit, bought at Lincraft earlier in the year, but what better way to try out a new pattern than some replacement pants for my old suit using some leftovers from my shopping bag of lycra.  I like the rolled band on my old pair so replicated it on my new pair.  I have had McCalls 5400 in my collection since finding it on the sale table at the end of last summer so this was my start point.  I made view F pants in size 12 because I usually cut a size 12 for my lower half and simply stitched the band to the waist before adding the elastic.

I can't believe how quick and easy this project was.  I am really happy with the results and it is hard to tell the two pairs apart.  The sizing is spot on.  I will have to eat a lot more lettuce and run a long way further before I model them on here though!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Stripey Little Number

I first saw this dress on Shannon and more recently on Lara.  After seeing Lara's version I rushed out and bought New Look 6071.  I paid full price no less, something I don't usually do.  I had this lovely black and grey cotton lycra that had been previously ear marked as a tee and I envisioned it made into this dress although was a little unsure about how the stripes and the draping across the bust would turn out. 

My initial plan was to have the sleeves short but once I had finished I decided that I liked the idea of a 3/4 sleeve, hence the band at the bottom.  It made my job of hemming the sleeves easier and I think the band with the stripes running in the opposite direction gives at dress some interest.  The only other change I made to the dress was to grade the skirt from a size 10 to a size 12.  I needn't have bothered though because the skirt had quite a bit of fullness in it anyway but a little extra movement in a casual skirt can't be a bad thing. 

I had read that this dress had quite a deep and revealing neckline but I was pleasantly surprised to find that this one, although low, certainly wasn't revealing on me.  Because the weather is less than tropical still though, I decided today to wear it over a lace edged tank for extra warmth.

I really like this dress.  It is both comfortable and stylish and would look equally good with boots and tights or sandals so it will make a practical transitional dress.  Today I am wearing it with tights and leather boots by Isabella Anselmi.

Would I make this dress again?  Yes, definitely!  I would like to have a go at making it into a tee shirt to wear with jeans.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Mission Accomplished

If I am looking rather pleased with myself in the picture above, well, that is because I am.  Very rarely do I make something that feels like it fits like a glove but this dress truly does.  I had been coveting it ever since I saw Robyn's lovely version earlier this year.  Since I had the perfect piece of ponti in my collection from my very first op shop fabric haul, and I was running out of cooler weather to wear it, I had to act now. 

The pattern I used is Butterick 5672.  Because ponti is a rather heavy and quite stable knit, I cut the dress out to one size larger than I would normally. This caused me a little concern because the pattern calls for an invisible zip and I was worried that it would cause some fitting issues, but I needn't have worried because the sizing was bang on and other than let the skirt out a little to make it a looser fit, this was the only change I needed to make.  I did however leave out the skirt lining.  I felt that due to the thickness of my fabric choice, skirt lining was unnecessary.  I did line the bodice with a turquoise blue remnant of nylon tricot that was in my stash and simply hand stitched it at the waist seam once my dress was complete.  I felt also that the dress being of quite a heavy knit, that short sleeves were a little impractical for the type of weather I would be wearing it in so I added 10cm to the length to create a 3/4 sleeve version.  I finished the dress off by hemming the sleeves and the bottom with a machine stitched invisible hem.

Wouldn't you know it, I have waited days for the sun to shine long enough to take a photo of me wearing this dress and just after I give up and take the photo, the sun comes out!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Sharing The Love....

My fabric addiction does not just extend to dress fabrics...oh, no, I have taken this addiction to a whole new level with home decor fabrics as well.  These little beauties are the reason my posts have become less regular, that and the incessant rain which has been preventing me taking a photograph of this weeks major project.

These lovely little numbers are for sale, but, I am also on the hunt for some lovely colourful fabrics to make some cheerful new covers for my own living spaces.  I love them all but am particularly drawn to all things French at the moment so perhaps some French cushion covers could be gracing my own couches very soon.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

What Can I Say...

My youngest was once again in need of new swimming shorts.  He swims once a week in a 30 degree pool and this destroys his Lycra shorts in super quick time.  This is the third version of these shorts the first here and the second here.  This time however, to make future shorts easier, I made a paper pattern instead of cutting straight off the original pair...such organizational skills are scaring me!  The navy fabric here is a leftover and the orange I bought from Spotlight.  I lined the front of the shorts with some grey nylon Lycra from this  op shop fabric haul.  I have an entire supermarket bag of Lycra in varying sizes so my son should never get bored with his shorts.  I over locked the elastic to the Lycra before turning and top stitching.   Finally, I hemmed them with my cover stitch machine which unlike a over locked and stitched finish that I used to use on Lycra, actually doesn't break.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Tardis Cardigan

I know it is getting a little late in the season to be thinking about more winter woollies but due to my exploding fabric collection, I thought I would address my left over situation.

I had been admiring this...

It is from Kimberley's and called the 'big pocket cardi' for obvious reasons.  I liked the different textures and the over sized removable pockets.  My leftover collection, I knew, would be perfect for such a cardigan, now where to find my pattern!  The pattern search proved unfortunately fruitless.  My filing system must have the odd kink, me thinks.  I was going to draft a new one, when I had an epiphany.  Why not use my much loved Renfrew pattern.  This proved to be the perfect solution.  I used view B, with view A sleeves and added some length to both the sleeves and body so as to omit the cuff and body bands.  I then split it down the front and extended the neck band to reach right to the hem.

To achieve the double sleeve look, I cut the 3/4 sleeve version in the black, left over from this hoodie, and cut extensions in grey, left over from this jumper to give me the  full length sleeve in version A.  I felt that my cardigan was lacking in a little colour so with the tomato red merino left over from this dress and cut some piping type trim.  It is quite lightweight so proved the perfect choice so as not to add too much bulk.  As it was, my over locker struggled with the thicker areas when sewing on the band so I am pleased I chose not to add the collar as in the original cardi.

 My problem now though was, how to stitch buttonholes into the front band because I knew I would only get one shot at it and unpicking would not be an option.  To get this far and fall at the last hurdle would be devastating.  Also given that this cardigan had so far cost me nothing except time, I did not want to invest large amounts of money putting buttons on the cardigan.  This is where my second epiphany came in.  I remembered that I had thousands of colourful snaps in my stash from my nappy making days and in the perfect shade of tomato buttonholes required.

The pockets on this cardigan are also a stroke of genius as well, if I do say so myself (since I didn't invent the concept, I feel comfortable in stating this).  They are essentially just a pair of large bags which are snapped on and off at will.  I don't know if I would bother taking them off, because I prefer the on effect, but the option is always there.

I have to say, I am thrilled with the result.  I think this cardigan, is my new favourite and I will be using the Renfrew as a cardigan again.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Most Practical Garment

If you thought you had seen this one before, that is because this is version no.7 of Jalie 2795.  In all fairness though, it is only the second version I have made for myself.  This time however, I have deviated from the usual cotton and polyester fleece to boiled wool.  I say boiled wool because this fabric was bought on the sale table and resembles boiled wool but seems to lack some of the quality of authentic boiled wool, so I suggest this is a polyester wool mix.  It is the same fabric as I made my Sewaholic Minoru recently but I bought this piece off the remnant table for $7 and for that price I couldn't leave it there.  I know winter is on it's way out, evidenced by longer daylight hours and the fact my lawn is starting to grow, but my fabric collection is starting to push it's way through the doors to my fabric cupboard and the easiest way to fix the problem is to make up the bulky fabrics...aka winter fabrics.

I didn't change anything about the pattern for this one and made the version with the hood because I feel it has a more youthful look.  I made this jacket to wear when I walk the dog in the park and to take camping for those cool evenings outdoors. 

What I particularly like about this pattern, is the looseness of it without being over sized.  It can double up as a jacket over layers when necessary.  I also like the interesting pattern piecing which is why this is my go to pattern for hoodies and casual knit jackets.  I also really like the welted pockets, perfect for cell phones and house keys or hands when it gets a little chilly.

This jacket has already become my go to jacket this week in the wet and cold and I know already, it will become a firm favourite.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Jade Jacket

It all started with a couple of pieces of op shop wool suiting that I bought in this fabric haul.  It was always destined to become a blazer from the moment I set eyes on it.  The problem was, to find a suitable pattern.  I know this type of jacket are all through the shops at the moment and in all sorts of jewel like colours so I knew I was right on trend with this one.  Unfortunately, the pattern companies had not seemed to have caught on and finding a pattern in the right cut was proving elusive.  I knew I didn't want a contrived cut that would be more at home in a board room and as such lacked the comfort factor but also knew that my early 1990's pattern with it's over sized shoulder pads, which would have the comfort factor,  was not going to cut the mustard either.

I had high hopes for New Look 6035 because although there doesn't seem to be a great deal of reviews on this pattern, the photo on the front of the envelope looked good.  They say, don't judge a book by it's cover, but in this instance the contents do live up to the picture.  I also liked the look of the skirt, pants and top in the pattern, so figured this pattern to be good value for money.

The one change, I made to the pattern, was to add lining.  In the process, my jacket ended up being a little shorter than the original pattern but being short, I quite like it this way.  The lining I chose was some white and blue spot taffeta that I found in the bargain bin at Lincraft.  I ended up buying 4m of it which pushed the cost of my op shop jacket up quite a bit but I knew that this fabric would come in handy for future projects.

The spotty lining, I feel, adds a fun element to the jacket which is exactly what I was hoping to achieve.  The fact that it doesn't have any shoulder pads at all, I found a little surprising and was dubious about, but now the jacket is finished, I realise that actually they are unnecessary and I am pleased I left them out.

I am really pleased with the final results and know that this jacket will be a very practical addition to my spring wardrobe for those cooler days to pop over a shirt or dress for those occasions when I need something a little tidier than a cardigan or just to glam up a pair of jeans.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

All In A Mornings Work

Given that it is nearing the end of yet another week (I know where did that one go), and my weekend is again going to be packed solid with sport, if this blessed rain stops that is, I thought I would go through my remnants and preloved fabric stashes.  I found 3 tee shirts and 2 small pieces of cotton Lycra and in front of the television last night I cut out 5 pairs of underwear.  It has been a year since I made these last, but last time I didn't blog about them.  The dalmatian spot fabric you may remember from this top.  Don't worry, I didn't cut it up.  I had a small piece left over.  This really is a great way to use up odds and sods. 

The pattern was self drafted using a rtw pair as a guide.  I have a lot of lovely soft thick fold over elastic which I got through the U.S. fabric co-ops when I was making nappies for sale.  So this project also was a means of using up some notions that I would otherwise not have a use for and provided some much needed practice on my new sewing machine.  

After over locking my pieces together and stay stitching my lining, I attached the fold over elastic using a large 3 step zig zag, stretching the elastic as I stitched and overlapping the elastic at the end.  After making these before, I new by experience how much I had to stretch the elastic as I stitched it on.  You get a feel for these things after a while.  I then used a small zig zag to neaten the raw edge of the fold over elastic.  Because of the bulk of this particular elastic, I was unable to catch it in a seam as it would not sit right and would be uncomfortable to wear.  From past experience, my method of finishing this particular fold over elastic is both comfortable and durable.

By the way, the dalmatian spot are my favourite pair followed by the pink and burgundy pair.  For the record, the tee shirt already had the pink and burgundy stripes stitched on it, it wasn't me trying to get fancy!