Saturday, October 31, 2015

Pilot House Take Two

For the last several winters Courteney has asked me to make her a jersey.  I was reluctant due to concerns that she would tire of it rather quickly as teenagers are prone to do and my efforts would go to waste.  By this winter though, I gave in to the pressure.

 I had rather a large collection of leftover greys and blacks in my stash and decided to put them to good use.  Stripes make a great stash busting solution so this became the basis of my plan.  After checking with the wearer, I was given the thumbs up and put my plan into action.  All of these greys and blacks are 100% wool and left over from my own jerseys and cardigans.  The wool is double knit so my Amy Herzog custom pattern was adapted to suit.  It is a good job Courteney and I are similar sizes.  

Because of limitations with wool quantities, I opted to reverse the stripe colours in the sleeves.  This is not the first time I have used a combination like this.  In 2011 I made this hoody for young J when he was seven.  Wow, it is hard to believe he was that small!

The jersey knitted up beautifully and it was quite simple to leave off the centre panel in my custom fit pattern and lengthen the pattern slightly to suit Courteney's wishes and I did lower the neckline slightly as well.  

The jersey has been finished for four or five months now but I haven't had the chance to photograph it.  Rather than wait any longer I decided to photograph it today on me.  It will, no doubt, now be put away until next winter.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

All In A Weekend

I have had a small stack of fabric sitting under my sewing table giving me the hairy eyeball for quite a few weeks now.  All of this fabric was destined to be made up into things for my kids.


On Friday afternoon, I warmed myself up with a tee shirt for myself using a pattern I cut off a favourite rtw tee.  This was followed up over the next couple of days with three tee shirts for Courteney, which she was going to make for herself but ran out of time. The pattern I used was once again Tessuti Alexa .  I have lost count how many of these I have made up.  The fabric for all four tees came off  Fabric Visions sale table.

Following on from my marathon tee making spree, I made up the most uninspiring make of all, a satin sleeping bag liner for Callum who is off to India on a school trip after his year 12 exams next month.

Last but not least, I made Callum a pair of merino/polypropolene long johns using Style Arc Laura leggings pattern and fabric from The Fabric Store because we were struggling to find a pair that fit his slender frame.

So, why did I choose a long weekend for basic projects?  Well, for the last few weeks I have been working an extra 10 hours per week which unfortunately for my sewing mojo is a permanent thing.  Not only has this restricted my sewing time severely but it is also knocking my energy levels, so come Friday, tee shirts and sleeping bag liners are all my brain is capable of concentrating on.  I know this phase will pass and I will get used to said working week but I do wish it would hurry up so I can focus on more important things like summer dresses! 

It wasn't all sewing this weekend of course!  I did take the time to get out and mix with some of the other residents of the city!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Modified Grainline Cascade

I have never really owned a trans-seasonal jacket before and with spring firmly in residence, it is time to pack up the woolly coats in favour of lighter garments.  

I had in mind an army green anorak type of garment and wanted to use a piece of moleskin from the darkest recesses of my stash.  The only problem was I didn't have enough!  While I was pondering the issue, I stumbled upon a $2 sale at K-mart and in it was a plus sized pleather skirt complete with lining.  This became the perfect solution to my problem.

Using Grainline Cascade as my pattern.  I cut my jacket as long as the fabric would allow, which was somewhere between view A & B.

The sleeves and sleeve lining were made using the pleather skirt and it's lining and the jacket lining was made of a gorgeous piece of rayon marked down to $3 per metre from $30 per metre at Fabric Vision.  I ran out of my jacket fabric so needed to use a piece of black cotton drill for the front facing. I had just the right sized zip in my stash.

The only real alteration I made was to modify the collar and placket which I actually just winged using the existing collar piece and altering it to suit.  The placket was sized and placed to enable plastic snaps to be added on completion.

I am really happy with how the jacket turned out.  I have to hide it from my daughter now because she has threatened to steal it!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

A Long Time Coming

Vogue 1395 has been gathering dust in my pattern collection since it's release.   Most of the patterns that sit too long get passed on but this one for some reason just sat waiting for the right time and right piece of fabric.  That fabric presented itself in July in the form of a piece of crepe of some sort off the Fabric Vision $3 table.  Why such bargain fabric?  I wasn't quite convinced this dress was going to be a success.  I had read mixed reviews of this pattern and knew it would take a bit of altering to get the fit right.

My bargain fabric did present me with a few issues.  It was a border print so working out which way the print was to run and then lining up the two different prints did prove problematic.  I think I managed to make it work.

I did have to raise the shoulders a bit but now can't remember how much which made the neckline and armholes a bit more modest.  One issue I couldn't work around though, was the weight of the double layer at the back.  The bodice kept slipping down at the back.  To solve this problem I stitched in a couple of strap stays into the shoulder seams.

The dress was worn on my holiday as seen above for an evening show but ended up only making it out of the suitcase only once.   I do like it but this one I think will be relegated to a work dress.

This brings to an end my holiday series of makes, unless you count the knitting project I started to take with me.  I admit I didn't get much knitting done while I was away but have managed to complete it on my return.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Swimwear Mash Up

There is something about blogging about your swimwear makes that is extremely confronting.  I don't know why, because I will happily wear them at the pool or the beach with no concerns, but putting pictures up on the internet just doesn't sit well with me.   This is why this suit has been waiting to be blogged since August.  I did take photographs on my holiday, snapped quickly at the pool with onlookers, but on returning home rejected them.   Anyway, yesterday was a beautiful spring day with temperatures in the late twenties, so it was time to bite the bullet.

The fabric that I used for these was bought from Lincraft probably around 4 years ago now so it was time it was used.  I really liked the weight of it as it was quite thick for nylon lycra and didn't have huge amounts of stretch.

I had seen lots of versions of Kiwk Sew 3609 on the internet and all of them I have liked.  I wanted a one piece suit so my plan was to blend two patterns together.  Jalie 3350, was the second pattern that came to mind for the lower half of the suit because I have used some of it before, and I can usually rely on Jalie for fit.

I lined the entire front of the suit using swimwear lining and also butchered an old bra for the cups and stitched these between the two layers in the bodice.  I added elastic under the bust to ensure a snug fit.

Despite my reservations about photographing these, I am really happy with the results and hope to get a lot of use out of them over the summer.  Would I make this pattern up again?    I have to say definitely!  It did take a little bit of figuring out how to fold the fabric to get the bodice knot working properly and deciding how long the body needed to be also was a bit of a puzzle but on the whole the suit was pretty easy to construct.  Roll on summer!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

All A Flutter

I made a new top.  This one is in response to my overwhelming need/want of a Papercut Patterns flutter top and my lack of need of another pattern and the $25 price tag to go with it.  I have a favourite shift dress so couldn't see why I couldn't just draft a suitable sleeve to go with it.  

After examining the shape of the drop shoulder on the dress I laid
my front and back of New Look 6145 on my drafting mat and set about drawing a new shoulder line 3 centimetres lower than the existing. I then narrowed the neckline by a further 1.5cm because I just find the neckline in this dress too wide. Because I was worried about the depth of the armhole with the new armhole shape, I lowered the armhole 1 cm.  I then lowered the sleeve cap to match and added 1cm to the width of the sleeve as well.  Once this was complete, I proceeded to cut the sleeve into 3cm splits, splaying my slits a further 1.5cm until I had a sleeve I was happy with.  I hope all of that make sense?  I have provided visuals because words at 6.30am are not my strong point but more on that in another post!

Now that I had my pattern, it was time to assemble the top.  For the fabric I once again rummaged through my remnants and came across a piece of polyester of some sort, with good drape, that had originally been bought for lining for a coat but ended up becoming  this top, so it was really time it was finally used up. 

I omitted the zip in the back but should have allowed a little extra width because I forgot that this being a top needed to be worn over a skirt or pants so needed a little extra ease.  The problem was easily fixed by adding a vent to the centre back seam which the Flutter top pattern had anyway.  I finished both the neck and sleeves with matching bias binding.

Despite it being a little tight in the hips, although this is now remedied, I really like the fit on this top.  For the next version though, I will lengthen the sleeves by 5cm to just hit the elbow.

Friday, October 9, 2015

One Good Top Deserves Another

Isn't that pretty?  I am not referring to my top either.  More the garden bed full of orange tulips in front of me!

One good top deserves another so for my second Courtney top, I used a piece of something or other left over from my Grainline Archer.  Actually I do know what this fabric is now that I look back on my last make from it.  It is rayon, but you wouldn't know it from the way it behaves.  It is not nearly as drapey as you would expect from a rayon and doesn't have the weight either which probably made it not the best choice for my new top.  I do like it but it is a bit of a pain to press.

The only change I made to this version was, as promised, to reduce the neck width somewhat, from memory about 1cm.  This is a lot more comfortable to wear and still allows plenty of room to pull it over my head.  Will there be more?  Hmm, probably, but not in this exact form.  I am not so keen on the fold back cuffs and I would like a slightly more fitted version so I am toying with the idea of blending it with Sewaholic's Belcarra to make the ultimate version. Watch this space!


You may be wondering about the location of my backdrop at the top!  Those of you that are aware of the earthquakes that struck here in 2010 and 2011 wiped most of the city's history out and pretty much every other building in the CBD as well along with tens of thousands of houses and entire suburbs.  Those that didn't fall down have since been  knocked down and in some cases blown up.  I kid you not!  The building at the top is our Art Centre or what was originally University of Canterbury way back.  It was one of the few stone buildings that survived because it had already had some earthquake strengthening done to it prior to the earthquakes.  Most of it is still closed off, pending further repairs but it is standing, yay!

There are some nice buildings and art installations beginning to spring up but these are largely interspersed with what still looks like a bomb site.  The artwork above is the latest installation in the city and was kindly donated by a local businessman and installed last week.  

Yup, I think everything is going to be alright but I will be more than happy to see the back of dug up roads, and temporary fencing.  Oh, and if the powers that be are reading this, if you could stop changing the layouts of our roads that render Google maps useless that would be helpful too!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

It Would Be Rude Not To!

My favourite summer top of 2014 was Sewaholic Belcarra.  I still love this pattern but this time round I was after something with a little more ease.  I could have reworked the Sewaholic pattern and probably should have, but a couple of days before my trip to the US, I decided I simply had to have Stylearc Courtney because well, it has the same name as my daughter, even if the spelling is slightly different.  This became my first project on my return. Unusually for me, my motivation to sew, oh, and just about everything else disappeared on my return so this project did drag quite a bit, a bit like my efforts at blogging lately.

I ordered the pattern in size 8 which should have fitted but in hindsight I could have gone down a size.  Despite that, the finished top does have the relaxed look I was after.

To test the pattern for size, my first project was made using a piece of op shop rayon, in navy and white.  I had just enough to make the top, cutting around the hole that I found after purchasing it.  

The top went together quite easily but for some reason the hem was a nightmare.  The resulting hem was tamed into submission but really wanted to be a lettuce edge finish for some reason.  

For my next version I have narrowed the neck because I do find this one wants to slip off my shoulders. 

I am pretty happy with the resulting top and although I probably won't get carried away making them, I will be making more.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Old Favourites

 I tend to make a new pair of shorts each summer and always using Sewaholic Thurlow as my pattern.  I know, I am a creature of habit!  These are though, the most flattering and comfortable style I have ever worn.  Being vertically challeged shorts are a particlarly difficult thing to get proportionally right.  My latest shorts make four pairs using this pattern and I don't see me retiring it any time soon.

I had a small piece of lovely denim left over from my Ginger jeans and knew it would be both soft and stable enough in equal measures for this pattern to work.

I knew there would be quite a bit of jiggling required to get the shorts out of the fabric I had.  I managed just, with nothing left over.

I rescued a shirt of my husbands to use as the pocket bags etc and quite like how the purpley blue matches the indigo denim.

These shorts are super comfy to wear and despite the extreme heat in Las Vegas, I wore these a lot.  Never underestimate the value of dark colours in your travel wardrobe, especially when laundry facilities are few and far between!

I have been wanting to add a pair of denim shorts to my wardrobe for some time now but not the sort my daughter would wear so these definitely tick a box for me.  What is it about remnants and the resulting garments.  They always wind up being my favourites!

Although it is not really shorts and sandals weather just yet where I live, I do have a new pair lined up to wear with my new shorts 
when the time comes.