Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Tessuti Alexa Redrafted

After my marathon knitting session resulting in this cardigan, it would be very easy to pick up the needles and prepare to invest another year in the pursuit of a new cardigan.  Because I wanted a cardigan now though, I opted to cheat instead. This lovely grey marl sweater knit, that I picked up on the sale table at Fabric Vision last winter was just begging to be made into my next project.  I had two metres and it was rather bulky in my cupboard so I was also keen to move it on to make room for some summer fabrics.  Initially, I thought I would make a jersey out of it but I tend to find cardigans better for layering.  I had often admired the Megan Neilsen Briar but couldn't justify the cost of a pattern that I could probably redraft myself.

My starting point for my new cardigan was once again my Tessuti Alexa Top.  I cut the front down the middle, adding 5cm for a self facing and added a little width and length at the hips.  I then re-cut the hem to a high/low hem, or duck tail as my kids would call it.  I think this adds a little interest to an otherwise plain cardigan.  The neckband I cut exactly to the pattern but curved the ends and these finished behind the front facing.  I had planned on adding buttons to the front but discovered that the fabric was too thick for my button holer which was a little frustrating.   I overcame this though by adding snaps with my snap press. 

Now you may be wondering what happened to the rest of the fabric!  Well, you know how some days when you are cutting, nothing goes right?  The day I cut this cardigan was one of those.  Despite having 2 metres to play with, I actually ended up with very little left over.  It is a shame because I love this fabric, but in the end it was probably a blessing in disguise.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Little Black Staple

My latest make was brought on by the demise of my favourite Vogue 1247 skirt.  This poor skirt has been loved to death.  There is not a lot wrong with it, but it has got quite washed out through use.
Vogue 1247 was once again my go to pattern for the replacement but this time I used my redrafted pencil version.  The fabric I chose was a black wool with a floral rope detail that I picked up at Lincraft.  Because the fabric is wool, I chose to fully line it to reduce the incidence of stretching and also to mitigate any itch factor.

 Strangely in the above picture, the skirt looks A line but I can assure you it is quite straight at the sides.  For this reason, I added a slit at the back.

Really there isn't much more to be said about this skirt except, it is my new favourite and has been worn every second day since it's completion.  It may not have been my most exciting project to date but we all have to attempt bread and butter projects from time to time.

My motivation for winter projects is waning.  It is not surprising really when the birds are starting to sing in the mornings, daffodils are making there presence known and the sun is actually showing signs of warmth on the skin.  On the one hand, it seems a little early for spring but it has been known to arrive in August in the's hoping!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Take Two

There is a train of thought that says, if it ain't broke don't fix it but I also subscribe to the idea that if you have an itch, it ain't going away until you itch it.  The Tessuti Alexa tee was one such itch.  It has been in my shopping cart for about a month now, on and off.   Not that I thought there is anything to object to with my Sewaholic Renfrew pattern, but I felt it was time for a change.  I wanted a bandless tee, more like rtw and could have drafted my own but time is money peeps and I really didn't have the inclination to waste valuable sewing time drafting my own pattern.....enter the Alexa tee.  What I like about this tee, is the bigger arm openings.  Yes, in this picture, there are smile lines under one arm but ususally when worn, these don't happen.  It is just my luck that after a full day's wear that they appeared when this photo was taken.

The fabric I chose was some beautiful merino lycra that I picked up at a Lane Walker Rudkin receivership sale.  My only regret is that I only bought one metre but even at $15 per metre, I just couldn't justify adding any more to my stash.

What did I change about this pattern....well absolutely nothing!  In my opinion, it is about perfect as it is.

While we are on the subject of indie patterns, I had to add a little part to this post on my new running leggings.  Because it was getting cold, I decided that my short running leggings weren't cutting it.  I had some lovely brushed wool lycra in my stash which was just begging to become leggings.  I used Style Arc Laura Leggings.  I changed nothing about this pattern and ended up with a very wearable, warm and comfortable pair of leggings for running.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Winter Means Knitting

Let me just start by saying, I am never going to win any prizes for speed knitting.  This project was started close to a year ago when winter projects were still on my mind.  With the beginning of the warm weather though, it lay around gathering dust until I picked up my needles again when autumn started creeping up on me.

The pattern I used was from a Sabrina magazine that I picked up at my local bookshop in Autumn 2012.  I did have a small issue with the sizing though as the yarn that they suggest I use was not the actual way we measure yarn in New Zealand.  After a little bit of pattern comparison, I decided on a size that I thought would fit with my chosen wool.  It is a 5 ply 100% European wool that I picked up at Lincraft in a sale last year.  It was of lovely quality despite it's economical price of a mere $27 for the entire cardigan, including a sizeable amount of leftovers.

I did find with the pattern that the sleeves were abnormally tight which would have meant not wearing anything underneath.  I prefer to wear an extra layer under a wool cardigan to avoid any possible itch.  I had nearly completed the first sleeve when I found this little gem out, so was forced to undo my good work, putting this project back further.

 I was lucky enough to find two perfectly sized buttons in my stash that matched the cardigan perfectly.

I completed this cardigan a week ago and already it has had two outings.  I had forgotten how cozy a hand knitted wool cardigan is for the winter.  I used to knit for myself all of the time pre children, but hand knitting fell out of favour for quite a few years, so my knitting efforts were reserved for keeping the kids warm as opposed to myself.  

I am pleased I have chosen to pick up the needles again and it has certainly come in handy over the weekend when I was stuck on the couch,  after an emergency route canal on Saturday morning in response to the worse tooth ache and infection I have ever experienced.  My knitting proved to be a great companion to the tv and antibiotics that have been my life since then.  

Monday, July 8, 2013


Over the summer months and into the autumn, I have been running.  I did have myself pegged as a fair weather runner and fancied the idea of indoor exercise over the winter months.  It came as a complete surprise to discover that I actually like running on crisp winter days and even don't mind the rain....who knew!  This did though throw up a problem....what to wear!  My summer leggings were leaving me a little pink around the calves and I was forced to borrow my daughters jacket on several occasions.  My other raincoat is too long and restricts my movement, so I needed something a little more fitted.  I love Courteney's raincoat and the way it is longer in the back than the front or duck tailed as my kids would describe it.  A permanent solution needed to be found.  I started to draft myself a pattern based on Courteney's jacket when I had a stroke of genius.  My Jalie jacket pattern would be perfect with some modification.

I cut out my usual sweatshirt size in some Goretex from my stash, but added 3cm to each side panel and the arms for some movement and lengthened the entire jacket which mean't no need for a bottom band.  I also removed all of the panels in the back and the sleeves which reduced the risk of water soaking through at the seams.  I then lengthened the sleeves so I could put in an elastic casing.

While I am running, I like to listen to my Ipod so, I put a button hole in one of the pockets so I could thread my headphones through.

To make sure my Ipod and house keys actually stay in my pocket, I added zips beneath the pocket placket which proved to be quite a simple procedure and was worth the little bit of extra effort for the security it provides.

To stop the rain soaking through my zip, I added a zip placket down the entire length of the jacket once my jacket was complete.  A snap at each end of the placket ensures it stays closed, even on the most blustery of days.  The finishing touch involved spraying all of the seams with some silicone spray to avoid watering wicking through the seams.  I then tested the waterproofing by running in a torrential downpour for the best part of an hour.  There was some minor dampness on the inside of the jacket at the end but my underclothes were completely dry.....score!

It happens that this jacket performs equally as well as a wind breaker for a bit of recreational weekend cycling.

For the record, this is the 12th version of this jacket that this pattern has been used for.  You really can't get better value for money than that.

Friday, July 5, 2013

End of June Round Up

June was in large part dedicated to evening wear which made a pleasant change.  I thoroughly enjoyed the frivolous nature of the dresses I made for Courteney and myself and relished the challenge of working with more delicate fabrics.  All of this frivolity of course meant that my winter wardrobe needs were very much neglected and some atrocious snowy weather left me scratching my head as to what to wear.  July will therefore be dedicated t more practical sewing persuits.

Totals For The End Of June

Minoru Coat

Fabric $30.50
Lining $6.00
Interfacing $12.00
Pattern $25.00
Total $59.99

Pin Striped Pants
Pattern (Used Before) $0.00
Elastic $0.00
Fabric $8.00
Total $8.00

Crocodile Trim Blouse
Pattern $13.50
Fabric $8.00
Trim $4.20
Thread $3.00
Buttons $2.70
Total $31.40

Shot Cocktail Dress
Fabric $30.00
Lining $14.00
Zip $3.99
Interfacing $12.00
Total $59.99

Like previous months, I haven't included the total for my daughters dress.

Total $158.39

RTW Purchases $176.00