Tuesday, January 31, 2017

End of January Wrap Up

January was all about holidays.  I spent two weeks camping at Kaiteriteri beach, the gateway to Abel Tasman National Park.  I have been back at work now for two weeks and I must say the transition has not been very easy.  I have managed to do a bit of sewing to ease my way into the new year but blogging, well has really taken a back seat.  I still have a few of last year's makes to write about so hopefully I will find the time in the next week or so.

End of January Wrap Up

Candy Lola Tee
Pattern (used before)  $0.00
Fabric $1.80
Total $1.80

Ponti Trimmed Anima Pants
Pattern $0.00
Elastic $1.85
Fabric $2.00
Total $3.85

Lace Tessuti Lola
Fabric $4.50
Pattern (used before) $4.50
Total $4.50

Stylearc Ellie-Mae
Pattern $10.00
Fabric $2.00
Total $12.00

Total January $22.15

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Tessuti Lola in Lace

While I was in coverstitch testing mode, I whipped up another top.  I must admit I do have a lot to learn with my coverstitch but practice certainly makes perfect.  One thing I have learnt since making this tee and I am sure it will help greatly, is that the metal stitch guide thingy and correct me if I am wrong but I think it is designed for quilting, that fits on my Juki sewing machine, also fits on my coverstitch.  Thank you, whoever you are on Instagram, that pointed that out!  I have up to this point tried to use a piece of tape stuck to the bed of the machine.  It isn't at all easy to see at night, even in the summer!

My latest tee is made using some lace that is a very long time stash resident, that I picked up at the Op shop in Dunedin on one of my sons swimming trips. I wasn't sure what I wanted to make with it but in the end figured a tee is a far more practical item to add to my wardrobe than yet another dress.

Once again I chose Tessuti Lola and because this lace doesn't have a lot of stretch, it was a great choice.  The top came together really quickly and will make a great work top.  It is a little more dressy than a regular tee but offers the same level of comfort.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Papercut Anima

It may be mid summer but one thing is always certain in summer, there will be a need for long pants, especially when camping.  I usually drag out long pants when I am away in the caravan on wet days.  Despite keeping everything crossed for perfect weather, sometimes things don't go my way and for days just like this, I always make sure I take at least one pair of pants with me.  Other times they come in handy are late in the evening when it gets cooler, to cover the sunburned legs I had no intention of ever getting but crept up on me anyway and of course when those pesky bitey insects come out at dusk.  I knew though, whatever pants I needed to take, they really just needed to provide an extra layer and not really provide any great warmth.  My previous pairs were beginning to look a little tired so rather than pop down to the fabric shop, this time I decided to shop my stash.

I really didn't think twice before choosing Papercut Anima as my pattern because this has very much become a tnt.  You will always find a pair or two in my wardrobe somewhere.  To date I think I may have made 7 pairs.

The fabric I chose had been residing in my stash for way too long.  It was an op shop find and one I would not normally use for pants.  It is a cotton that would probably normally be used for polo shirts.  It has a fine texture on the outside.  To add a bit of interest, I decided to trim it in the smallest remnant of ponti in black and white stripes from Tessuti which was leftover from my tee dress.  

Normally I would just make the waistband in the coordinating trim but this time I decided to trim the pockets as well.  I cut them back slightly before adding what could best be described as a band of the striped fabric which I sandwiched between the front piece and the pocket facing.  This time I decided to leave off the cord.  I usually include one but rarely use them.

Having made these so many times before, they were super quick to run up.  They even got worn on my recent Kaiteriteri beach holiday, although not to cover up sunburn because I was very vigilant this time round, but did wear them as an extra layer to protect against sandflies in the evening.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Stylearc Ellie-Mae

Ever since Stylearc put out their cold shoulder patterns I have been torn.  On the one hand I loved the idea of a cold shoulder top.  On the other hand I had reservations about whether these are appropriate for middle age and more importantly what would these be like to wear!  I lead a fairly active life so keeping my arms safely at my side at all times is never going to happen.  In fact the most inactive activity that I do outside of work is to sew and even then, arm action is certainly required.  Eventually though I caved.  The only way I was going to get this little worm of an idea out of my head was to actually make one up.  So I popped onto Etsy and snapped up Ellie- Mae.  Why Ellie-Mae and not Cara?  Well this is what Stylearc have to say about Ellie-Mae:

This on-trend top/tunic dress is a gorgeous look with its flattering, elastic off the shoulder neckline. The raglan sleeve allows this style to flow beautifully. Soft ruffles fall from the hemline and the sleeves. Design your own look, why not use a wide lace for the ruffles? We made the top with a hem ruffle and the tunic dress without a ruffle. The choice is yours. The elastic neckline allows you to wear it off the shoulder or alternatively up on the shoulder for a more stayed look.  Wear the top with jeans or use the longer length as a tunic over your favourite pants, or as a dress.

Because Stylearc say this top can be worn on the shoulders, I chose this pattern over Cara.  I still wasn't 100% convinced though so for my first version I chose some op shop cotton shirting as a trial.

I did  change the pattern and  added shoulder straps to enable me to wear a bra.  Not being a strapless bra fan, this was non negotiable.  I also added length to the entire top.

I must admit, that although the top looks rather good on, I still feel rather meh about the resulting top.  Fussing with the elastic on a regular basis would drive me absolutely nuts and that is exactly what happens with this top.  As for wearing it on my shoulders as Stylearc suggest, well, that would only be possible if I didn't mind cutting off the circulation to my armpits.    Would I make it again?  Nope!  I should have trusted my initial judgement and left this style for everyone else.  For me, function really does trump looks and while this is a great looking top this style simply isn't me.  Time to move on!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Road Testing My New Machine

 This year, Father Christmas bought me a Janome Coverpro which is something I have been wanting for a while.  I chose it myself and was able to test it in store before purchase. Having owned a cheaper model previously, I was keen to do this.  My previous coverstitch was a Merrylock.  It was probably the most frustrating piece of equipment to ever grace my sewing room.  I wasn't sure whether this was due to my lack of skills and patience or just an exercise in buying something a little too budget.  Anyway, I did loose patience with said machine and eventually it got evicted from my sewing room.  I didn't want a repeat, hence the test driving.

Since I was going camping for two weeks after Christmas I asked the gift giver (in this case my husband) if I could open the box and have a play prior to Christmas.  The tee you see above is the result of this testing.

The fabric I chose is a lovely weight cotton lycra from Fabric Vision's sale table.  This fabric was a bargain at $3.00 per metre. Despite my husband telling me it reminded him of some bed sheets he had as a kid, I really wish I had bought more.  It really is lovely to work with.

My two favourite tee patterns are both Tessuti patterns.  I really wasn't sure whether to choose Lola or Alexa but eventually settled on Lola because I really like the sleeves and neckline.

I am pleased to report that my Janome Coverpro performed beautifully without any of the skipped stitches that plagued my earlier coverstitch machine attempts.  It will take a while to get used to getting my stitches in the right spot to cover the cut edge and I think a piece of tape may go a long way to doing this.  I do wonder though, why isn't there a marked measured edge on the machine.

The above beach photos were taken on beautiful Awaroa beach which was partly bought by the New Zealand public in 2016 by crowd funding for the purpose of adding to the Abel Tasman National Park.  It is a beautiful pristine part of the world that is becoming as popular with Kiwis as it is with tourists.  Our day started on this beach after a 1 hour boat ride and finished at Midlands beach at the end of the day with another boat ride.  During the day we walked  9km through native bush, over hills and across stunning beaches.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

End of 2016 Wrap Up

I am a little late to the party with my 2016 wrap up post.  I have been in beautiful Golden Bay camping in my caravan with my family since 27th December with limited internet and dwindling mobile data.  The time unplugged though has bought me some time to reflect on what worked and what didn't in 2016.  

If you have been following me for the year you would have noticed that a lot of what I have made has erred on the side of practicality and there have also been a lot of easy projects.  I work 5 days a week so my sewing time is limited to the evenings and sometimes weekends although increasingly this time is taken up with catching up on household chores I don't get time to do during the week.  How inconvenient that work should get in the way of life!  But it is what it is and I try to work around it the best I can.

Working 5 days a week also mean's that my needs predominantly are work related.  The industry I work in requires me to wear business casual, hence a lot of knits.  I also vowed in 2016 to rein in my desire for pretty dresses and make what I really wear.  I also plan to continue this for 2017.

So what would I rate my biggest successes of 2016?  You can usually count my successes by the number of times I repeat a pattern and there have been a few repeats this year.  I made Stylearc Harper Jacket a total of 4 times this year and it will probably be made again in 2017.  This cardigan/jacket I find works equally well in the weekend and for work.

My favourite blouse of the year would have to be McCall's 7284.  I made this blouse a total of 3 times and my silk cotton version is my favourite.  I wouldn't rule out more of these blouses either.

McCall's 6886 has been really popular and I can see why.  I love all 3 of my versions but who can go past stripes!

Swimwear can be a tricky thing to like but I think Closet Case Files Sophie was made for me!  I have been admiring all of the lovely underwired suits and bikinis on the beach for a while now so buying this pattern when it was released was a no brainer.  I made my trial bikini before my Australian holiday and have recently made and am yet to blog my second.

As far as pants go, Stylearc Elle Pants have been my most made trousers of the year.  In total including pairs made for myself, my daughter and my mother, I have made 8 pairs.  Only 3 of these have made it into my wardrobe but because they are so easy to wear, they are on regular rotation.

Honorable mention would also have to go to Papercut Undercover Hoodie.  In total I have made 3 of these and know there will be more in 2017.  These hoodies are the real workhorses in my wardrobe and are among the first things I grab when I get home from work.

My favourite make of the year would have to be the waistcoat for my youngest son for his primary school graduation.  Joel really got enthusiastic about what he wanted to wear so together we had fun creating this outfit.

On a personal note, I lost my father mid way through the year and found sewing very theraputic during this time.  I have also had ongoing hip and knee injuries which are agravated by too much sitting which is quite unfortunate due to the need to do exactly that when sewing.  I will need to find more time for exercise in 2017.  Who knows, now I have a coverstitch machine I may get enthusiastic and start making active wear.  This is not exactly part of my plan for this year but never say never! 

As for the stats for the year, I made a grand total of $1296.88 of me made items for the year.  I don't know how this compares to rtw because well quite frankly I don't care!  One of the things I have realised this year is that just because I can make my own clothes, it doesn't mean I have to.  There have been times especially when time poor that I have bought clothing that actually fits but these times are few and far between.

One thing I do hope to achieve for 2017 is to sew more consciously.  By that, I mean to analyse what I actually do wear and not to make frivolously.  To help me analyse my wardrobe I have downloaded the Stylebook app for my phone and hope to log what I wear and the cost of making/buying it.  It will be interesting to see how this works out for me.

So for 2017 the plan is onwards and upwards.  I have no idea where my sewing journey will take me and am not going to get too carried away making plans.  I make what takes my fancy but this year with a level of consciousness added.  If I can make a serious dent in my exploding stash then that will be a real bonus.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

End of December Wrap Up

There has been a lot of catching up involved in my blogging this month.  I had quite a backlog and I am pleased to have this finally dealt with.  I tend to stack all of my unblogged items on the spare desk in my sewing room until photos have been taken and I have written it up.   Since Christmas this space has been taken up with my new Janome Coverstitch machine which I have enjoyed learning to use. 

End of Month Wrap Up

Olive Culottes
Pattern (used before) $0.00
Fabric $18.34
Zip $3.00
Total $21.34

Navy Culottes
Pattern $20.00
Fabric (remnant) $0.00
Zip $3.00
Total $23.00

Leopard Top
Pattern (used before) $0.00
Fabric $12.23
Beads (used before) 0.00
Total  $12.23

Floral Scuba Dress
Fabric $12.50
Pattern (used before) $0.00
Total $12.50

New Look 6225
Pattern $7.50
Fabric 16.95
Total $24.45

Burdastyle Dress
Pattern $16.00
Fabric 12.00
Zip $5.50
Total $33.50

Total Me Made $127.02