Tuesday, June 30, 2015

End Of June Wrap Up

Doesn't my month look productive?  Looks can be a little deceptive however!  Young J's jacket was made by his sister and the navy skirt and my leather jacket were both made in May.  I have been a little behind with my blogging.  It has been an extremely busy month.  Amongst other things that I won't bore you with, my husband spent two weeks working in USA.  While I ended up being everything to everybody for two weeks, it did mean that I could lose myself in a few projects during that time, namely my Sydney jacket and Tulip skirt!  I do have a couple more projects to write about and a couple of winter projects I still want to complete but then it will be on to summer items.  No, I am not being terribly organised, I just have a holiday in a warmer climate booked in for August.

End Of June Wrap Up

Black Ginger Jeans
Dye $9.00
Fabric $28.03
Pattern $16.00
Zip $0.00
Button $0.00
Total $53.03

Sydney Jacket
Pattern $11.38
Fabric $16.00
Total $27.38

Pinstripe Ponti Skirt
Pattern (free) $0.00
Fabric (remnant) $0.00
Elastic (from stash) $0.00
Total $0.00

Grey Ponti Skirt
Pattern (free) $0.00
Fabric $2.60
Black fabric (remnant) $0.00
Elastic (from stash) $0.00
Total $2.60

Navy McCall's Skirt
Pattern $9.42
Fabric $2.00
Zip $0.00
Lining $2.00
Total $13.42

My Leather Jacket
Leather $75.00
Pattern $30.00
Lining $15.54
Zips $29.50
Total $150.04

Total Me Made $246.47

Monday, June 29, 2015

Tennis Anyone?

I made a new skirt using M'Calls 6842.  Actually I made this skirt early in May.  You may have seen it appear in my Me Made May photos.  I am a little behind in some areas of my blogging.

My original plan was to make Sewaholic Hollyburn which had been sitting in my stash for a while.  After partially completing it, I realised it was the most unflattering of styles on me, so I did something I haven't done in a very long time and scrapped the entire thing. It was a little sad given the cost of Sewaholic patterns and my aversion to waste but the only saving grace was using op shop fabric.  It was one of those, thank goodness for wearable, or in this case, unwearable muslin, moments!  I whipped out the zip and started again with this pattern, which I have been keen to try for quite some time.  Both the fabric and the lining were op shop acquisitions and the zip was rescued from an old clothing item.

The skirt is quite the fabric hog given it is basically a circle skirt.
I cut the skirt to a size 10, grading to a size 12 at the hips and added length to the mini version to end up with a just above the knee hem. My daughter has labelled this skirt a tennis skirt but I am unfazed, so much so, that I will be making another.

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Skirt That $2.60 Bought

Before I made my midi skirt, I trialed the Lyndy Petal Skirt on a remnant off the sale table at Fabric Vision.  I had around 40cm of ponti and envisioned a black panel running around the bottom of the skirt.  I knew that lurking in my own remnant stash, I was bound to find a piece of suitable trim.  The skirt as drafted was just about the perfect length for a knee skimming little black/grey skirt.

The resulting black mini has been in regular rotation during the recent cold snap, worn with tights and boots as shown.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

My Itch To Stitch

With the weather being so bitterly cold at the moment, think single digit daytime temperatures, I find myself being drawn to easy projects.  My overlocker is in my garage which for obvious reasons isn't heated.  I haven't quite resorted to wearing my puffer jacket out there but I do avoid it if at all possible.  A knit skirt was the perfect project for such inclement weather and as an extra bonus is so warm to wear as well.

I stumbled across Itch To Stitch Lyndy Petal Skirt which was quite timely because I had been seriously considering buying the Colette Mabel pattern.  What had been holding me back was past experience had me convinced that  Colette patterns are not designed for my shape. Given this pattern is free, trying it out was really a no brainer.  I also had the perfect remnant of ponti sitting in my stash.  

Although the pattern was designed with a wrap style front, my vision was for a midi length pencil skirt.  To create this effect, I simply made two backs instead of a front and a back and lengthened the entire pattern by 10cm.  I ran the entire thing up in under an hour.  It was so easy and this skirt is so warm and practical I can see more in my future.  A little side note though, please excuse the static cling in these photos.  I really need to find a slip.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Tessuti Sydney

The Tessuti Sydney Jacket seams to be doing the rounds of the Southern Hemisphere bloggers at the moment.  While I loved the look of it on everyone I had seen, I wasn't sure whether I could actually pull it off.  I did however, want to make something blanket like.  I had seen a lot of blanket like wraps and ponchos popping up in rtw stores and Fabric Vision are even selling a pattern for one. The last time ponchos were fashionable I bought a lovely pink one but found it to be really impractical.  Lifting my arms for driving etc. was near impossible   Tessuti's pattern, however, had sleeves and is a jacket with a cape type vibe so I was drawn to it straight away.  

The Fabric I wanted to make it out of was not a knit like the recommended fabric so I wasn't sure how I would go about the construction.  I bought it at Lincraft a couple of weeks ago when they had their 40% off fabric sale.  It was labeled as a wool blend and was discounted to only $8 per metre.  When I went back later in the day it had been removed from the stand altogether so I suspect it had been incorrectly labelled.  My suspisions were further aroused when a couple of days later I found what looked like identical fabric at Fabric Vision for $60 per metre.  It is a lovely weight and drapey and has a cut pile with a velvety feel on the outside.  It had a very nice fringe on the selvedge so I decided this could become my front edge and sleeve finish.  The sleeves themselves, I added 10cm in length to, making them 3/4 length which is warmer for these frigid days we have been having since I made it (today we reached a lofty 4 degrees celcius).  Today I wore it as a cardigan but on warmer days it will be worn as a jacket.

To make the pockets, I cut four of the larger pocket pieces, two in self fabric and two in satin.  I then laid the satin piece and front right sides together and stitched round the pocket opening before turning through and topstitching.  I then top stitched the self fabric and satin pocket pieces to my front....simple!  The seams themselves I stitched and overlocked and pressed flat, remembering that my collar seam needed stitching wrong sides together.  To keep my collar seam further from showing, I topstitched it as well. The shoulder darts, I chose to expose for interest but only folded them instead of cutting them.

Lastly I had to find a way of neatening the hem and collar.  I did consider leaving them to fray, but the neat freak side of me wouldn't allow it, so I did a three thread narrow overlock finish.

As I mentioned before, this jacket was quite timely with an unseasonal cold snap hitting the region over the last week.  We have been forecase snow twice in the past week but as yet there has been none.  It is as they say 'cold enough to freeze the b---s off a brass monkey!'

Saturday, June 20, 2015

More Unselfish Sewing

After finishing my leather jacket, I had a huge piece of leather left over.  My original plan was to make a pair of ponti/leather pants, but really, as much as I like them in theory, I couldn't see myself wearing them.  I asked Courteney, in a moment of weakness whether she would like a leather jacket.  Well dah!  Of course she did!  She didn't however like the assymetric zip on my jacket so set me a challenge of finding a pattern without one.  Burda Style 03/2013 135 came to mind.  I have post it notes all through my pattern magazines marking the styles I would like to make and this was one of them.  I do find the sizing on Burda Style patterns a little hit and miss so it was a little definitely going to be a leap of faith making this up in leather without making a muslin.

My only complaint with this pattern is a lack of pockets and I did contemplate adding one, but the seam lines actually mean't doing so would in my opinion, interrupt the lines of the jacket.  

I added extra width to the jacket at the side seams just in case my selected size 38 was too small.  Courteney is slightly  broader than me in the shoulders but basically we are the same size.  In the end, the extra width was not needed so I ran it in.  I also asked Courteney if she wanted zips in the sleeves, but she felt, that at Uni they would get in the way when she was writing.

Like my version, I interlined the entire jacket with cotton flannel and stitched the entire jacket with my walking foot.  I lined the jacket with royal blue satin that I picked up in one of my op shop trips for only $2.

 As happy as I am with the end result, and for the record, Courteney is as as well, I was really pleased to see the back of this project.  My lack of interest towards the end meant it did drag on and I was a little over trying to sew black at night.  It is not that I was not interested in making a jacket for my first born, but two leather jackets in one month is rather a mammoth task.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Da Bomb

Jalie 2795 has come out to play again.  I have lost count of the number of times this pattern has been used.  This time it has been made into a bomber style jacket for young 'J'.    The creator and designer behind this whole creation was Courteney.  Her vision for this gorgeous piece of orange wool coating was originally a duffle coat similar to Grainlines Cascade but this style was quickly vetoed by young 'J' who is somewhat fussy when it comes to clothing.  A bomber jacket was his compromise.  Even then, I think he was reluctant.  A visit to Fabric Vision unearthed some matching grey wool blend suiting and the lining which I think is the perfect accompliment for an eleven year old boy is a piece of cotton from Spotlight, in charcoal grey with orange spider webs printed on it. I even had a matching grey wool ribbing in my stash.

The sizing was then the difficult part.  Because he is growing rapidly as eleven year olds are prone to doing, I wanted this jacket to last for a couple of winters if possible, so Courteney and I decided to cut the jacket out to the same size as I would wear and just run it in to account for his rather slender frame.

This jacket pattern has a lot of panels and most of these Courteney chose to remove.  The sleeve is cut in one piece as is the back and the hood was just cut to match one of his existing hoodies.

Rather than have the ribbing attached to the zip, Courteney added a piece of the orange fabric each side of the zip.  In my opinion this is a much neater finish and I do this on all of my versions as well.

For extra warmth the whole jacket is interlined with cotton flannelette.

Courteney is really pleased with the end result and young 'J' in taking these photos, pretty quickly realised how warm this jacket is, and didn't take it off for the rest of the day.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Moments Of Clarity

The biggest advantage of sewing for myself, I have found, is finding out what suits my particular shape.  Reading sewing blogs has helped me tremendously in this department.  I could have saved myself squillions had I had this knowledge in my teens and twenties.  I can't think how many times I have made something or bought something only to have buyers remorse.  I still have these moments from time to time and most recently two pairs of rtw ponti pants that I bought in haste in early autumn, which now gather dust due to poor fit, come to mind.  Not only is it a waste of money but resources as well.  So when I find a pattern that fits like a glove and I feel good wearing that item of clothing, I tend to make multiples.  My latest offering is one of those.  Oh Ginger, you have me under your spell!  I resisted your charms for so long, but in the end you won me over with your modern vibe, shaped waistband and slender fit.  I am sorry to say Jalie, that you have been retired to the box of redundant patterns buried in the garage.  We have been well acquainted over the last few years but nothing lasts forever!  You were designed for someone more svelte than me and my New Zealand women's hips.  Before you ask, yes there is a thing.  European women are more narrow hipped apparently than Kiwis.

Now, no pattern is perfect I have to say, but all Ginger took was to blend the two patterns.  I thought stove pipe meant skinny but the cut of these jeans is what we call straight leg and I wanted skinnys.  I wore high waisted jeans in the 1980's and wasn't prepared to go there again and low rise, well as much as I love muffins, muffin top is certainly something to be avoided.

I ended up using the stove pipe pattern and narrowed it to the dimensions of the skinny.  I then cut the lengthen/shorten lines and added 1.5cm off each back piece at the waist, tapering downwards to accommodate my sway back.  For future pairs I need to remove more because there is a slight gape.

Sizing on this pattern was the most difficult thing to work out.  My measurements put me at a size 10 but my rtw jeans measured a 6.  Usually in an American pattern size I would be a 4-6.  In the end I went with the size 6 and I a glad I did.  The fit is spot on without being tight.

As others have said, the fly instructions are outstanding and this is the first pair of pants the fly doesn't pull.  I don't know whether this is because of better fit or a better fly.

The big thing I learnt making these pants is I need a smaller front 

and a larger back.  Duh!  Why had I not worked this out before! Simply letting pants out made the front loose.  I would now like to adapt this pattern to a more chino shape using the stove pipe pattern.  Oh and I have ordered more denim from Fabric.com so this pattern will come out to play again.

I wrote this post a couple of weeks ago before I had worn the jeans and am happy to report, I still love these jeans.  The only slight disappointment is the quality of the fabric.  Despite being 2% Lycra, they do tend to stretch out over the course of the day.  It has become apparent that all denim is not created equal and this is one of the perils of ordering online.  I am however learning to identify what does work well and what to avoid in terms of denim.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Biker Jacket Extroidinaire

I have the jacket but admit to being more of a moped girl than a Harley girl so there is no danger of any mid life crisis going on here!  There may however, be just a touch of nostalgia.  You see this is not the first leather jacket I have made and it won't be the last either.  You will have to watch this space for more details on my next one.

My first leather jacket was made when I was about 19 or 20.  Back in those days when I was indestructible and no challenge was too big.  I bought my hides back then from the tanners and they were really expensive.  From memory I paid around $100.  I bought a Burda pattern with kind of bat wing type arms and a tight band at the bottom.  It was a challenge to sew at the time but my vintage 1950's Bernina rose to the challenge and I was left with a jacket I loved and wore out just about every Friday and Saturday night.  Eventually though when leather jackets went out of fashion, it was mothballed in the spare wardrobe until eventually it was sent to the op shop.  This was probably about the time that the spare room became a child's room and no longer a spare room.  I now have major regrets at getting rid of it.  I am hoping my 2015 version will not meet the same fate.

My 2015 version is made from Perfection Fused Leather from Fabric.com.  Oh the marvels of modern technology!  No thick awkward shaped hides, this time!  Sadly though, no lovely leather smell either but you can't win them all!  This stuff is buttery soft and just slightly stretchy.  It is a dream to work with.  To up the challenge just slightly though and to give the jacket more body, I opted to interline my pieces with cotton flannel, the shirting kind.  It beefs the whole jacket up to regular leather weight.

I opted to make my jacket using the very popular Style Arc Ziggi pattern.  This did present me with a few concerns.  The first being size.  I was investing $30 in this pattern and considerably more in the leather.  I really didn't have the time or inclination to make a practice jacket so I took a punt and ordered a size 8 pattern, despite mostly buying a size 10 in rtw.  The pattern appeared to have quite a bit of ease so I hoped it would work out okay.  Reading reviews of the leather, I thought I may have to stitch it using tissue paper which I was not looking forward to but I found that my walking foot worked beautifully and handled the leather with ease.  There was no stretching or catching and my feed teeth did not leave drag marks.  I think the flannel interlining may have helped with the stretching issue as well.   I was so confident in my sewing ability on this leather that I even included the quilted sleeve tops.

If you read my post last month, you will know that my only real snag was putting those darn sleeve zippers in the wrong seam.  I did consider re cutting them but you, my wonderful readers convinced me otherwise, and for that, thank you!

Anyone who has made a Style Arc pattern will know that the instructions are next to useless so I am eternally grateful for the detailed instructions in Sewmaris's  sew along.  These proved invaluable and to anyone making this jacket, I do recommend you study them.

I had hoped to have some suitable lining in my stash for this project because of my luck at the op shop but somehow black lining must have proven elusive.  I visited Fabric Vision and came home with a piece of satin with Pierre Cardin woven into it, another reason to up my game with my finishing.

The verdict....I love this jacket!  The fabric is a dream to work with, the pattern, superbly drafted and the fit is spot on.  My only minor irritation is those sleeve zips but that is diminishing with time.

In case you were wondering, above is my original leather jacket. At the time, it was a thing of beauty but actually I could probably get away with wearing this style again now although I probably wouldn't get those buttons done up!

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