Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas Gifts

While browsing the Italian cotton shirting section on The Remnant Warehouse website, I had the bright idea to make shirts for the males of the household for Christmas.  I have seen the quality of the shirts my 15 year old buys, and although the patterns are eye catching, that is about the only redeeming feature about most of them.  

On a recent visit to Fabric Vision, I picked up Burda 7045.  I don't sew Burda usually, except from the magazine and even then not as frequently as I should, but they do seem to have the best variety of menswear patterns and certainly the largest size range in each pattern.

I ordered 3 different pieces of shirting from The Remnant Warehouse and upon their arrival, Courteney liked them all and Callum liked none of them.  I am not sure whether that is because he lacks vision or because they were perhaps not flamboyant enough.  One of my purchases had been inspired by one of his mates shirts so I thought I had it sorted!  Oh well, you can't win them all.  

I proceeded to trace off the smallest size in the pattern undeterred, knowing that there is another young man who has become like part of our family who wears the same sized shirt.  Sorry "M" if you are reading this, you were my guinea pig!  Callum also wasn't off the hook.  He became my model!  Both boys as I said, wear the same sized shirt but there is about 10cm difference in height.  For "M's" shirt I needed to add length to both the sleeves and body.  Because the pattern lists the height it is drafted to, I simply picked a size with the corresponding height and made both the sleeves and body to this length.  Just to be on the safe side I covertly measured a shirt sleeve in said shop in a corresponding size just to be on the safe side.  I did find the hem a little square cut for my liking so I altered the hem to mimic that of the Grainline Archer.

When sewing menswear, I feel that with the simplicity of design it is even more important not to have imperfections and this was my biggest fear.  This gorgeous stretch cotton shirting deserved the best finish I was capable of.  I trimmed the shirt with more Italian cotton shirting.  This time in stark white.  I used this on the collar as well as the cuffs.  Instead of flat felled seams on the shirt I did cheat a little and just stitched and overlocked my seams before double top stitching them flat.  I now have the look of rtw without the frustration.

I managed to cobble together enough buttons to complete the project from my rescued buttons collection.

To say I am pleased with the resulting shirt is very much an understatement.  I just hope "M" is too!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

I hope everyone has had or is having a fantastic and relaxing day today wherever you may be.  

Courteney's latest creation has nothing to do with sewing.  I don't know where I would have been in the last week or so without her baking skills!  

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

My Image Take Two

For my second My Image project, I chose M1458 from Autumn/Winter 2014/2015.  I bought this fabric from to make jeans. It was described as denim but resembles cotton sateen more.  The colour is in my favourite shade of the season, coral which is fortuitous as it goes with everything.  It may not have been suitable for jeans but with a little help from Pinterest, made a lovely jacket.

After  my sizing experience with my My Image dress, I traced the jacket in size 38, but upon trying the jacket on, felt it was a little large.  I took the shoulders and underarms in a little but after lining actually realised I could have left well alone. 

The jacket was not designed to be lined but I do like a lined jacket and the fabric I chose lacked weight.  I line the jacket with white party satin from Lincraft and also added a small shoulder pad by drawing around a saucer on compressed Dacron and cutting the circle in half.

The instructions with this jacket were very much lacking and required significant head scratching during the collar construction.  After careful scrutinizing of the drawings in the pattern I finally worked it out.  A small criticism of the pattern is apart from the lack of instructions, the photographs would be clearer if the clothing was not made in such busy prints.

I have worn my new jacket on several occasions in the last couple of weeks.  It is the perfect weight for throwing over a summer top or dress for air conditioned offices and also for an extra layer for evening Christmas festivities.  I took it to Auckland with me last weekend for my husbands work Christmas function and I don't think it came off my back all weekend.  It was so unseasonably cold and wet, it was worth its weight in gold!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

My Image Dress

I really like knit dresses, both for work and casual but good
patterns I find, are hard to come by.  I stumbled across My Image Patterns which are similar in nature to Burda Style but I think more suited to the casual style which we tend to prefer here in New Zealand.  I did a little Google research which I am prone to do, and for some reason they are not popular.  Undeterred I ordered four magazines at $10 each which works out more economical than buying Burda at the bookshop.  This dress, M1409 from issue Spring/Summer 2014 is my first 

The fabric I chose was a lovely stable textured cotton lycra in a black and white stripe.  I love this fabric so was a little nervous about wasting it.

According to my measurements I should be a size 36, so initially this is the pattern I drew up.  After measuring my pieces though I realised I actually needed to make a size 38.

The instructions have a self faced drape cowl but from experience these always inevitably flip out so this feature was quickly changed to a fully lined front bodice.  I did this with a piece of white cotton interlock from my stash.  I also made binding for both the neck and armholes which was not part of the instructions but I felt gave a neater finish.

The bigger size in the end only needed running in at the armpits to create a perfect fit.  I love my new dress and I would happily make up this style again in the future.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Bird Belcarra

Left over from some unselfish Christmas sewing I have been doing, was the tiniest piece of bird print chiffon.  I had my heart set on another Sewaholic Belcarra for it's use.  The only problem was there wasn't enough.  I had enough for both the front and back in both length and width but not enough for sleeves.
After pondering briefly, I pinned the front sleeve to the front and the back sleeve to the back and cut the top out in two pieces...well four pieces if you count the sleeve bands.

Just like my lace Belcarra, I narrowed the neckline by 1.5cm.  I used french seams for both the shoulder and side seams for duribility and made neck binding out of ivory voile curtaining from my stash.  The whole project came together within an hour.

I think this is perhaps my favourite version to date and is already on regular rotation.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Jalie Jeans

With all of the fuss being generated over the release of the Ginger Jeans pattern at the moment, I thought it was time to make up another pair myself.    The fabric of choice was a nice weight stretch denim I purchased way back, maybe even a couple of years ago, and promptly shoved to the back of my fabric cupboard.  One of my weakenesses is buying fabric with great intentions that are never realised.  I don't do New Year's resolutions but if I did, this could be something I could work on....matching sewing aspirations realistically to the time I have available.  Anyway, there is nothing like a little peer pressure to kick start ones mojo for a project.  

After debating for quite some time the merits of buying the Ginger Jeans pattern, and boy was it tempting, I eventually decided to err on the side of frugality and use what was already in my collection, the Jalie Jeans pattern.  

For past versions of the Jalie Jeans, I have used the bootleg pattern and simply folded in the sides to get my desired leg width but this time I decided to take a less lazy approach and redraw the entire pattern.  I also wanted to add some width to the back leg pieces at the hip because the side seam was not straight on me when worn.  Pattern pieces now altered, I preceded to make them up.  

I actually bought top stitching thread to ensure a professional finish but couldn't decide between two colours.  My solution was to use both!  For the pocket bags, I cut up a too small white school shirt of my son's.  The zip was rescued from an old ready to wear pair of jeans.  I decided against using a twin needle to topstitch these jeans, instead stitching two rows of top stitching.  It was time consuming changing between two rows of thread but I really did enjoy the jeans making process.

The only real difference between these jeans and rtw, is I didn't flat fell the seams.  I really don't think even a seamstress would notice this when worn.

Do I love the result?  Oh yes!  These have to be the most comfortable jeans I have ever owned!   Please excuse the close up butt shot but I had to share the dual coloured stitching. Yes, the fabric is a little stiffer than my rtw counterparts.  The only slightly annoying thing about them is I have yet to work out how to permanently secure the button.  Despite adding extra denim behind the nail, it tends to want to fall off.  I am not sure whether it is the design of the thing or execution.  If anyone knows the answer please share.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Of Course...It Is Only Summer!

I did this last year, although probably not in quite such an extreme manner.  Yes, the weather by and large has not been really summer like, but a chunky wool jersey in summer is ridiculous even in our temperate climate.  I did however play the game, despite itching my neck the whole time I took these photographs and promptly removing the jersey after these photos were taken.  Under normal circumstances wool does not bother me but as soon as the mercury rises I really can't handle wool.  I really can't see how it can be cool in summer.

The pattern I used is Owls by Kate Davies and is knitted in a lovely quality handspun wool which I repurposed from a jersey I made quite some time ago.  This is only the second time I have knitted in the round.  I can't say I am a huge fan of knitting on circular needles.  I prefer to knit my garments in individual pieces on regular needles.  The obvious benefit though is no sewing up which is my least favourite part of the
knitting process.

What I do love about this jersey is the back shaping.  Because of my sway back, I find unshaped jerseys just don't sit nicely on me.  This shaping is something I am keen to incorporate into all of my jerseys in future. 

I did find that my bands were a little loose and risked stretching out, so before trying on I threaded through two rows of shirring elastic through each of the bands.

My new jersey has now been packed away for the duration of the warm weather.  I do look forward to wearing it though next winter.  For quite a few years, I didn't make or wear hand knitted jerseys but really, you can't beat them on a frosty morning.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

End Of November Wrap Up

End Of November Wrap Up

Spot Archer
Pattern $0.00
Fabric $2.00
Buttons $5.00
Total $7.00

Citrus Belcarra
Fabric $2.00
Pattern $0.00
Total $2.00

Black Woven Papercut Anima
Fabric $2.00
Pattern $0.00
Elastic $2.10
Total $4.10

Melon Archer
Fabric $12.00
Pattern $0.00
Buttons $4.00
Interfacing $0.00
Total $16.00

Lace Belcarra
Fabric $12.00
Pattern $0.00
Thread $4.00
Lining $14.69
Total $30.69

Lace Pencil Skirt
Stin Party Lining $5.77
Fabric $0.00
Pattern $0.00
Zip (from stash) $0.00
Total $5.77

Fabric $2.00
Pattern $0.00
Elastic $2.10
Total $4.10

Total Me Made $69.66

Total RTW $63.50