Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Back In Black

I put this off as long as I could but it became imperative that I made myself a new skirt when wearing my old ones started to look like I was wearing someone else's clothes.  Vogue 1247 was my starting point.  I cut my usual size in my pencil adaption and ran in the side seams considerably to get it to fit.  The fabric I chose was from my stash in faux leather which is actually some type of synthetic fabric and not pleather at all.  This is actually a good thing because I could imagine pleather being quite unpleasant to wear in summer weather.  There really isn't a lot to add about this skirt having made this version and the original pattern more times than I care to count. 

What can I say....this skirt was about as boring to make as it is to write about.  I would much rather make pretty dresses and challenging jackets than pencil skirts any day but my new resolve to make the type of clothing that I wear constantly, means that a black skirt was compulsory sewing.  It has also mean't that since completion a week ago that this skirt has now actually been worn 3-4 times already.   I may not actually like sewing pencil skirts but I do love this skirt!  The black faux leather lifts an otherwise unexciting skirt up a notch while still being work appropriate.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Nailed It!

Let me start by saying, I had great plans for this photograph.  How could I fail....a stunning location, a catamaran and a top I actually love.  What could possibly go wrong?  What foiled my plan was actually the stunning location itself.  This photo was taken aboard a tourist boat in Milford Sound.   Milford Sound is one of the wettest places in the world and the wettest place in New Zealand.  By the time I had posed for this photograph and my husband had dodged nearly an entire boat load of non English speaking tourists who were also eager to take photographs, I was soaked, oh and cold and very much ready to return my seat with the picture window in the warm cabin.  I am not complaining though!  I have wanted to visit this area for a very long time, having never been before.  The stunning scenery did not disappoint and I am keen to go back to explore some more.   I just won't be taking any blog photos in the rain!

The top in question is another Tessuti Alexa.  This version is made from some lovely black quilted knit that I picked up at Cotura Fashions at the end of winter sale a couple of months back.  I love this fabric but resisted making it up until I could decide what I really wanted to do with it.  I briefly considered some kind of jacket but given my current practical sewing streak I decided to make a top which I knew would get much more wear.  I paired the fabric with a piece of ponti that I had picked up at the op shop a couple of years ago now.  I didn't change anything about the pattern and whipped the entire top up within an hour. I was modelling it when Courteney arrived home and she declared she would wear it (ultimate praise indeed from my daughter), so I set about making version two, this time with long sleeves.  We now have just about identical matching tops and no, we won't be wearing them out together!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Style Arc Steffi Jacket and Papercut Anima Pants

The Style Arc Steffi Jacket has been in my pattern stash since it was released more than a year ago.  I bought it with this wool lycra fabric in mind but was never quite sure about either the combination or the pattern.  I should really learn to trust my instincts because although in the photos it looks lovely, I am not 100% happy about the results.   I love the seam details, even though they took a ridiculous amount of time to stitch and twin needle finish, and the duck tail hem.  I don't love the lack of facing on the zip and the way the collar sits.  I also don't love the way the pockets are created and how they don't look perfect on the inside.  Yes, I know, I am fussy, but when I was a kid and being taught to embroider by nuns, I was always taught to make my work as neat on the inside as the outside and this is exactly the result I strive for.

I really like the zip guard at the top of the neck and the fabric is lovely to wear.  It does make the perfect camping top but even though I have the same fabric in blue, I probably will not be repeating this pattern.  I like my Jalie pattern so much better.  It really is an impossible act to follow.

The Anima pants are once again the full length version and made using the same black unbrushed fleece as the previous pair.  I haven't changed anything since version one.  I think I like the full length version better than the shorter ones and also prefer the more stable fabric of my first navy rugby knit version although the stretch in these does give good recovery and make for extremely comfortable pants.  I am keen now to see how these would work in a woven fabric.

Oh, I almost forgot,  these photos are taken at Lake Te Anau, the largest fresh water lake in Australasia by volume.  This is an area of New Zealand that I have never before visited.  I didn't know what I was missing and I will be back to explore further.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

"Remarkable" Trackies

Ok I am stretching to truth a little bit here  because really there is nothing remarkable about this version of Papercut Anima but the photo above is taken in front of the Remarkables mountain range and ski field in Queenstown.  I actually wasn't sure about the length of these pants but they are practical for spring attire.

I made these pants out of a lovely soft piece of light weight black cotton lycra unbrushed sweat shirting that I had put aside to make something special.  I had this stored for a couple of years before coming to my senses and making into something I would actually get a lot of wear out of.  I didn't change anything form my previous pair except the length.  

These pants were perfect for the warmer days on my trip and will also come in handy as walking and cycling pants.

While I was in my frenzied pre holiday sewing mode, I also whipped up another Tessuti Alexa Tee made from the remnants of this tee.  This version has short sleeves but because it was a little cool in Queenstown  in the mornings and evenings, I layered it over a thermal.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Blog Hopping

Wearing one of many Jalie Hoody Jackets and as yet unblogged pants at Shotover Jet Queenstown

I have been nominated by Gail of My Fabrication to participate in the Blog Hop.  What is a blog hop?  While I am sure most of you already know because if you haven't participated in any as yet, with the number popping up, you must have read a few.  For the uninitiated, the purpose of this blog hop is to answer questions about your writing process.

1)  What are you working on at the moment?

My daughter is graduating from High School in 4 weeks time...how did this happen!  Aside from the normal, my baby is all grown up, thoughts, what does one wear to a graduation, is also at the back of my mind.  I have floral dresses but feel this may be a little too flamboyant for a graduation but also didn't want to overdress either.  I have decided to hedge my bets and make a skirt and matching top in lace backed with co-ordinating satin.

2)  How does my work differ from others in the genre?

I am pretty sure it doesn't but one thing I am sure of is, as far as New Zealand is concerned I am one of only a handful of sewing bloggers from my neck of the woods and maybe  the only one from my city.  Please correct me if I am wrong!

3)  Why do I write what I do?

My writing is not really designed to entertain but if it does, it is very much an unexpected bonus.  I have a terrible memory and often look back on my posts to see how I actually created a garment.  

I started this blog after our February 22nd 2011 earthquake and sewed and wrote as a coping mechanism both with the stress and to fill the gaps that subsequent unemployment left.  I had been following a few blogs at this time but my interest in blogs and blogging blossomed at this time.  The one surprising spin off has been the number of like minded people I have met through blogging during this time.  I hope to meet up with some of these people in real life one day.

4)  What is your writing process and how does it work?

I am a pretty methodical person.  You will only ever find one project on my sewing table at any one time.  I usually buy my fabric and list the fabric and cost in my trusty notebook along with notions and patterns.  When I eventually get round to making the fabric up, which can be a couple of years later, I have everything noted.  My memory is useless.  I don't know whether I have an actual problem or I am just so crazily busy that I have a memory like a goldfish.  Whatever the reason, I write everything down!  After said project is complete, I leave it out of my wardrobe and usually on my mannequin until I photograph it and write up my notes.  When I say write up, I mean write up!  I scrawl a rough outline of my post on notepaper in a quiet moment during my day.  I list the pattern and any alterations I have made and any thoughts I have about the results.  It then gets slotted into the notebook until I finally get around to blogging about it.  This can be a few weeks after completion.  I currently have 9 items of clothing that have not been blogged about.  Yes, I know, I must get on to that!

The last part of this blog hopping business requires me to nominate someone to pass the baton to.  There are a number of blogs that I get excited about when their posts pop up in my feed and  Meggipeg is one of these.  I love everything that Megan makes and all of her makes would slot nicely into my wardrobe.  So Megan, if you don't mind, I would like to pass the blog hop baton to you.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Blingy Tessuti Alexa


As part of my stash busting pre holiday marathon sewing bee, I made another version of Tessuti Alexa.  This time I made a 3/4 sleeved version.  I had been given a gold cardigan that was made of gorgeous lace fabric but looked terrible on me.  I kept it because I loved the fabric but it had remained in my stash for the last couple of years waiting for inspiration.  

More recently I was also given an unworn black rugby knit men's long sleeve top.  The fabric was great quality but was not any use to anyone in my household.    My initial plan was to line the gold fabric with the black knit but fearing the black was too thick, I decided to leave the original hem on the gold cardigan and cut the front in two tiers.  The gold lace is not attached at the hem and gives the effect of a cropped top.

I had just enough fabric to construct the top.  I had to add a couple of strategically placed seams in the front under layer but it is not noticeable when worn.  I made a neckband in a leftover piece of black ribbing.  I am really pleased with how the top turned out.  It was completely free and best of all I now have a couple of gaps in my fabric cupboard.

These photos were taken at Lake Pukaki with Mount Cook in the background.  Mount Cook is the tallest mountain in New Zealand at 3724 metres.  All in all not a back place to stop for lunch.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Papercut Anima Pants

Trousers scare the heck out of me!  I have made a few in my time but the fitting is tricky so the results can sometimes be mixed.  Throw weight loss into the mix and my need for trousers has out weighed any reservations over making them.  To combat my weight issue, and to cater to my impending camping trip, or should I say caravan trip, I opted to jump o the sport luxe bandwagon.  I couldn't however decide between the Papercut Anima trousers or the True Bias Hudson Pants.  In the end though, despit eing more expensive, I opted to use Papercut Anima, firstly because they have been in the market longer and secondly, I like to support New Zealand businesses where possible.  I was not disappointed.

Because I am impatient and to save money, I opted for the print at home option.  I cut my pattern to XS based on my measurements and shortened the legs 4cm.  I made the pants out of a piece of very thick rugby knit that was bought for school shorts when my eldest boy started school ten yeas ago but due to a uniform change, never got used.  A wearable muslin was a good choice for this quality, but not much use for anything else, piece of fabric.

To break up the navy, I trimmed the waist with a piece of contrasting beige rugby knit.

My only complaint with this pattern is the depth of the ankle band.  It is much too long for my liking but this may well prove a blessing in disguise because due to the passage of time, I am unsure whether this fabric was pre washed.  For now, I have opted just to fold them up.

I love these pants!  Okay, they probably aren't the most stylish addition to my wardrobe, but they are cozy.  

There is nothing like striking while the iron is hot!  I have since made two more pairs and have plans for a third!

If you are eagle eyed you may have also noticed a new Tessuti Alexa tee.  The day before I left for my camping trip, I decided I needed a matching tee.  I have had this piece of cotton lycra in my stash for a couple of years now and it was intitally ear marked for a Sewaholic Renfrew so this is not really such a big departure from the plan.

These photos were all taken at Lake Tekapo first thing on a crisp clear morning after an afternoon of snow.  I was wearing a thermal  underneath but by the time the boys and I had taken these photos and stopped to skim a few stones my hands were aching with the cold.  The things we do for a few outfit shots!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

End Of September Round Up

I am a little late posting my end of September round up because of school holidays.  I have spent the last week on a road trip and with little internet access but more on that later.  I have a few makes to reveal in October that I did have time to photograph while I was away, so September looks a little lacking.

End Of September Round Up

Red/Navy Vogue Dress
Pattern $30.00
Fabric $12.00
Total $42.00

Red Cocoon Cardigan
Fabric Poly/Spandex $8.00
Pattern (used before) $0.00
Total $8.00

Black/Blue Batwing
Viscose Poly Spandex fabric $12.00
Pattern (used before) $0.00
Total $12.00

Neutral Belcarra
Fabric $2.00
Pattern (used before) $0.00
Total $2.00

Total Me Made $64.00

Total RTW $125.00