Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Fashion Fads

Living in a house with two teenagers, I have realised that teenage fashion sense can be somewhat of an acquired taste.  Fortunately neither of my teens has a too outrageous taste in fashion but there are one or two fads that definitely stump me sometimes.    The latest being the onesie craze.  My daughter made one for year 10 sewing class which surprised me a little but she loves it.    You can imagine my surprise when Callum put a onesie at the top of his birthday list for his fourteenth birthday.  My own mother was not good at indulging my teenage whims and I do remember one particular request for a Starsky and Hutch jacket when I was about 9, going right over  her head. 

Despite my reservations, I went ahead and ordered McCall's 6251  in an online sale.  Courteney and I went shopping for some polar fleece at Lincraft and settled on a blue and yellow combination.  I cut the pattern to an extra small as he is not very tall but is growing rapidly, as 14 year old boys are prone to do.  He requested a hood so this was the major change to the pattern.  I drafted one based on Courteney's onesie and shortened both the body, length and sleeves as well as running in both the arms and legs slightly so I could easily stretch the cuffs to fit.  

After Callum had tried the onesie on for size he requested a cell phone pocket which I thought was a little odd.....a giant baby suit with a cell phone pocket....hmmmm, but I dutifully obliged.

He wore his new suit as pyjamas last night....in the middle of summer!  I enquired this morning as to whether he found it  too warm for such a thick suit.  Nope, he had that covered....he just removed all of the bedding! 

Despite all of the action photos, I am hoping that this is going to be an inside onesie.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Moving On

There has been some debate around the city over the last few days, about how best to commemorate the second anniversary of our February earthquake.  Initially I thought I would pick flowers and walk over to the memorial in the cemetery and leave them there but as the morning wore on, I realised that actually, I am ready to move on.  My house is still damaged so there are still reminders but I no longer think of earthquakes on a daily basis and that is a good thing.  I can now enter a large building and not look for the closest escape route and that is also a good thing.  So, today, I made pickles, took the dog for a walk and while I did look at the clock and reflect briefly at 12.51pm, today was like any other day and if anyone had told me that two years ago, as much as I wanted to, I wouldn't have believed them.

After yesterdays, pants effort, I set too and made another Kirsten Kimono tee by Maria Denmark.  I had some white cotton interlock from the op shop that I knew would be perfect for a staple white tee, so while I was in the mood for such an uninspiring project as a plain white tee, I set to work.   Now, you would think I could whip this little number up quick smart wouldn't you?  But the reality was far from that.  I actually ended up cutting out three tees.  The first was massive and resembled a marquee more than a tee shirt.  The second, I forgot to add seam allowances and didn't make it past the cutting stage and the third is what you see above.  Despite being quite tight, the original version of this tee, is in regular rotation.  This time I added an extra 1cm to the side seams so it would hang rather loosely but still give the illusion of some shape, unlike the marquee version.  

Phew that was a marathon, I am pleased the fabric came from the op shop and I had plenty of it!

Today I am wearing the Kirsten tee with the black linen Clover pants minus the 4cm I ran in yesterday afternoon,  and suede ballet flats by Clarks.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Not Quite A Lucky Four Leaf Clover

I made Clovers!  After all of the hype, I just couldn't resist.  

I bought some lovely stretch linen from Lincraft in their half off sale especially for these and drafted the pattern to a size 6 as my measurements indicated. 

Before cutting I lay my Sewaholic Thurlow pants on top of the pattern and realised that the rise on these was too high in the front and too low at the back.  I lowered the front by 2cm and increased the back by 2cm as well.  Because these were to be a trial pair, I left off the pockets and just made them as simple as possible.

At the try on stage, I quickly realised that these pants were way to wide in the legs, so I shaved 1cm off the inner leg, tapering away at the crotch.

If I could give these pants a Facebook style "like" I would but really they just don't float my boat.  To give them credit, they are really comfortable and the front and back rise sits really nicely as does the shaped waist band.  I am not convinced with the side zipper.  I find it difficult to get on and off and it made fitting the pants less accurate.  After two hours of wear, these pants had grown soo much they were no longer wearable, so late in the day, I deconstructed them and took 1cm off  the side of each of the 4 panels which mean't removing the zip.  They now fit a lot better but are still a long way from perfect.

And for the verdict....these pants have been altered within an inch of their lives and actually don't much resemble the original at all.  Although they have potential, I really don't think they are designed for my shape and I have patterns that require less work to get to fit nicely, so for future pants, I think I will stick to those.  All is not lost however, because I do have a very wearable pair of black pants for the autumn.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Elastic Fantastic

Today I am participating in Kelly's inaugural wardrobe Wednesday at Kiwi Women's Style.  Today's challenge is fragrance and what can be more fragrant than roses.  These particular ones are Iceberg.  I have these in standard form enmasse softening the brickwork at the front and side of my house.  I love to pick them and bring them inside.  They smell gorgeous.  Today is supposed to be around 26 degrees Celsius so I have chosen my favourite maxi as my dress of choice.  I am wearing it with black leather flat sandals by Clark's, a paua pendant and large green ring I picked up at the local junk shop, you know those $1-$10 shops they have popped up everywhere!  Oh and you might have noticed, my lack of hair.  I was feeling a little rash last week when visiting my hairdressers and had it all cut off.  It is not the first time I have done this.  I change my hairstyle quite regularly!  I must admit short hair has advantages in the heat but, I did manage to get my neck burnt on the weekend.

In case you were wondering what this has to do with elastic, well absolutely nothing, but I can report an update on the elastic situation.  I have samples!!!!  Cordall, who manufacture the stuff in New Zealand sent me a sample chart.  The stuff from what I can tell seems to be of reasonable quality and it is cheap $0.35 per metre.  I have put up contact details above for anyone who is interested.

Now while I was on my elastic bender, I bought this stuff on Trademe.  Someone was cleaning out their stash and I scored over 400m for $35.00.  I don't think I will be needing more of these colours ever!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Been There, Done That!

I have a bit of an unspoken fashion rule; if I remember it from the first time around, I don't wear it the second time around.  In the last year or so, though, I have been breaking all of those rules.  There has been a distinctive 1980's vibe going on in women's clothing.  I was a devout leggings wearer in the 1980's, in solid colours as well as wild patterns, with over sized tops and ballet flats or lace up booties.  Oh yes, it seems everything that is old is now new again.  While the wild leggings haven't returned to my wardrobe, leggings in general have.  I wear them in perhaps a more subdued fashion.  They are once again a staple item in my wardrobe in the cooler months, but are no longer the show stoppers they once were, I will leave that to my daughter.  The same can also be said of the peplum trend.  My first peplum was once again in the 1980's, it was on a beautiful figure hugging baby pink dress that I wore with matching stiletto pumps, and was me made of course.  I loved this dress which is probably why I remember it so vividly.  My latest version is a little less Kim Kardashian and once again more subdued.  I wasn't even sure if I wanted to buy into this particular trend but after all of the lovely Vogue 8815's I had seen in blogesphere and the shops overflowing with rtw versions, I gave it a go and I am soo pleased I did.  I discussed my reservations with my younger sister the other day, who also was not buying into the whole peplum trend but I think even she would be swayed by this particular pattern!

You might recognise the fabric I have chosen from this dress.  I had just enough left over for the top.  Initially I thought it an unusual choice for such a top but I had read that it does make up beautifully into this style and it will also make a nice weight for autumn.  I cut the top to a straight size 10, in view b and made no changes except to make my own bias tape to finish the neck. It came together really quickly.  If I could find one teeny, tiny, criticism it would be that possibly I could have gone down to a size 8, but I like the comfort of this top just the way it is.   Today, I am wearing my new top with black capri pants (which really need replacing), and my new electric blue suede ballet flats by Clarks from Iconic. 

Now I did think there would be room for only one of these tops in my wardrobe but I have just spied this rather lovely long sleeved version that I just might have to replicate (despite the fact it is being worn by Kim):


Monday, February 11, 2013

Patience Young Grasshopper!

At the beginning of 2012, yes, I know a whole year ago, young J asked me to make him some new school shorts.   At that point he had a whole drawer full of shorts inherited from his brother who was beginning high school, so I artfully avoided the topic with all sorts of mumblings about hand me downs.  The trouble was that these shorts were starting to look a little washed out by the start of 2013.  I put off the whole school shorts issue as long as I could before guilt really set in.  These were supposed to be made before school went back and I did briefly consider buying a pair but my stash was beckoning and I just couldn't justify it knowing I had the fabric and elastic just waiting at home.

On Friday afternoon, I bit the bullet and whipped these up.  I used Topkids 57 again, the same pattern as the pair I made for him in the spring.  This pair however did not have the bells and whistles.  They are made of cotton drill.  They have no waistband.  Instead, I found a piece of blue chambray and made a facing and a full elastic waist.  I inserted only one pocket, into the side seam.  J's school has a rubbish free lunch policy, so any Gladwrap or packaging inevitably comes home in his pockets, so, with only one pocket, I only have to check one before washing the shorts!  Genius!  Because these shorts have to be hard wearing, I top stitched all of the seams for durability.  A 9 year old boy does not treat his clothing kindly, so they had to be able to withstand the rigours of lunchtime football.

This photo was taken at 8.10am this morning.  He was keen to leave, as the Crusaders rugby team were doing community work at the local playcentre this morning, and he wanted to get in their way  see what they were up to.   Plus he is in the robotics class all day today, so he simply could not be late!  

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Nights In White Satin

This set was supposed to be part of Cloth Habit's bra making sewalong but life conspired against me and I just didn't get time to participate.  It wasn't the sewing that took the time, although I did have to dedicate an entire day to the project, but the collecting of the supplies is where most of my time was used.

I made the set out of some white nylon lycra (note exactly white satin, I know) that I did buy specifically for a set late last year.  I made my trial pair of undies out of this fabric here.  I bought half a metre of this lovely fabric and this was enough for 3 pairs of undies and 1 bra, so at $8 per metre it was very cost effective.  The lace content was leftover from Courteney's dress and has been used for  a few projects since.  This time I bought a set of wires from Lincraft which actually worked out at $3 per set which I thought was very reasonable.  Their elastic on the other hand was not.  I bought a lovely heavy lingerie elastic for the bra which was the same elastic I used on my last set but I ran out of the lighter undie elastic and ended up also paying $5 per metre for some more at Lincraft and when each pair uses 1.6 metres, it actually works out quite expensive, although it is nice quality.

The pattern I used for the undies was once again McCall's 5400.  I actually cut the elastic smaller than is called for with swimwear elastic, like I did with the last set, using 60cm around the waist and 50cm around each leg.  I added a small lace detail at each side but instead of cutting away the back of the lace, I left the lycra there for durability.

For the bra, I once again used Kwik Sew 3300.  I made this bra, slightly differently to the last one.  I found that the lycra combination I used last time is a little stretchy and is therefore not as supportive as it could be.   This isn't really a big problem when you are a B cup but this time I was aiming for more support.   I pondered the lining for quite a while before I delved into my scrap box and came out with some white cotton fleece knit with no stretch.  This proved to be the perfect solution because I prefer natural fabrics next to my skin.

The straps were made using matching lycra and stitching and turning before threading through some poly braid elastic.  I then used my 3 step zig zag to secure the elastic in place.  It has provided the perfect amount of stretch.  I have anchored it at both elastic points on the back and permanently attached it to a ring at the front.

I have temporarily retired these patterns now, while I search for elastics in colours.  I think I have it sorted.  Some red and blue elastic would be nice!  I already have a bag of small pieces of suitable fabric to make more sets but finding the elastic is the biggest challenge.  I am always up for a sewing challenge!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Tēnā koutou

For those of you reading this that aren't from New Zealand,  my title reads; hello to three or more people, in Maori.  For those of you from New Zealand reading this, I hope you have a lovely Waitangi Day.  

What is Waitangi Day?  Wikipedia describes it like this:

The Treaty of Waitangi (MāoriTiriti o Waitangi) is a treaty first signed on 6 February 1840 by representatives of the British Crown and various Māori chiefs from the North Island of New Zealand.
The Treaty established a British Governor of New Zealand, recognised Māori ownership of their lands and other properties, and gave the Māori the rights of British subjects.

What has all of this got to do with my photo?  Actually, absolutely nothing!  I have been at the op shop again.  I made the mistake of going in the holidays and my trusty side kicks, the younger male members of the household, came with me.  It was somewhat of a whirlwind trip as boredom quickly set in and I made a hasty retreat when trolley racing and hide and seek among the racks was in the planning stage.  I did manage to pick up a few delicious pieces that will fit in nicely to my autumn wardrobe.  Best get sewing then!

Yesterday it rained.  Boy did it rain!  It came down in sheets and overshot my gutters completely.  We needed it though as it is only the second time it has rained this year.  It did provide the perfect opportunity for a decent nights sleep, because heat is not conducive to sleep, but also re-energized my sewing mojo.  I was within minutes of completing my latest project when wouldn't you know it, I ran out of elastic.  I now have to make a dash down to Lincraft and buy some of their very expensive elastic to finish it, darn!  

Ka kite anō! (See you again)

Monday, February 4, 2013

January In Pictures

January is a busy month in most southern hemisphere Mum's annual calendar because it means summer school holidays, six weeks of no lunches, no timetables and niggly bored kids  picnics and holidays in the summer sun.  This January we managed to squeeze in a camping trip, sold our beloved caravan, bought a new one. Sadly we also had to farewell my childrens grandfather, my father in law who passed away mid month.  It has certainly been a rollercoaster month and my attention span and available time was such that sewing didn't get much of a look in.  When I look back at what I have achieved though, I am a little surprised at the number of items I have completed.

This year, while still tracking my sewing purchases for myself, I have also decided to add the rtw purchases I make to my tally as well.  Now, I know I don't buy much rtw any more but it will be interesting to see what actually does creep into my wardrobe.

End of January Wrap Up

Floral Thurlow Shorts
Pattern Used Before $0.00
Fabric leftovers/Stash  $1.99

Zip $1.99
Button from stash $0.00
Total $3.98

Pink Jalie Hoody
Pattern Used Before $0.00
Fabric $2.99

Zip Rescued $0.00

Thread $0.00

Total $2.99

Striped Knit Dress
Pattern Used Before $0.00
Fabric $2.99

Embroidery Thread Used Before $0.00
Total $2.99

Bra and Undies Set
Pattern $6.00
Fabric recycled $0.00
Bra Elastic $5.59

Hook & Eye Tape $5.20

Undies Elastic 2m $2.20
Total $18.99

Maria Denmark Top
Pattern $0.00
Fabric leftovers $0.00

Total $0.00

Stash Busting Top
Pattern Used Before $0.00
Fabric leftovers $0.00

Total $0.00

January Me Made Total $28.95

RTW Purchases $11.00