Saturday, December 24, 2011

End of year post 2011

My main goals for this year were to keep sewing plenty of things for myself and to use more fabric than I bought.

In 2011, I made 73 items, including 41 pieces of clothing for me and 23 for the kids. I made the same amount of things for myself last year. Considering I am working an additional day each fortnight and am volunteering slightly more, this result is pleasing.

Woven tops/blouse: 7
Knit tops: 9
Jumpers: 3
Jackets; 2
Shorts: 3
Pants: 4
Dresses: 2
Skirts: 3
Other: 8

Favourite item: Chantilly dress – maybe because it is fresh on my mind. I spent a lot of time on it, and was pleased to take it from something I was too scared to start to an elegant, swishy delight.

Most unexpected enjoyment: pink Swiss-dot Taffy top. I actually made it as a muslin but love to wear it.

Biggest flop – a tee that stretched out of shape straightaway. Honourable mention goes to a lovely sheath dress with the shrinking lining – twice i have washed it and twice the lining has pulled at the hem funny.

Most time consuming: I was going to say my fuchsia wool jacket, but I actually think the Chantilly dress took longer.

Most frustrating project: jeans. They launched a real desire to acquire a vintage beauty to do the tough stuff.

Okay, so how much fabric did I buy, and how much did I use? In the end, I bought 81.55 metres. Wow, and that was trying to be careful. My biggest downfalls was a 40% off sale and some fabrics on ebay that came in 5m lots.
Of that 81.55m, I used 60.2m of it this year. That is a conversion rate of more than 73%. It makes it seem less bad that only 21.35m was added to the stash from the fabric I bought this year.
I sewed up 94 metres in 2011.that includes fabric for 5 muslins. I worked out that 63% of the fabric I used came from the fabric I had bought this year and 37% came from the stash. There is one UFO of 90cm plus I donated 7.3 metres to my daughter's class for costumes, so that brings the total up to 102.2m.

Keeping tabs of how much I bought and used was a useful motivation tool,so I plan to keep it up but it will not be my main goal for next year. I will have to think about what I want to achieve next year. I have a few ideas of what to enter into competitions, and need to start earlier than normal to meet the deadline.

Friday, December 23, 2011

My favourite project of the year, and the last one

We are off on our annual beach holiday following Christmas celebrations, so this is the last sewn thing I will make for 2011. The husband and I are invited to a NYE wedding and I wanted to make something really special to wear that could be worn to a variety of events. I already had the Colette Chantilly pattern sitting around for ever and a day,  and I bought some silk rayon chiffon to use for the shell.
The dress is underlined in black cotton batiste and lined in a purple rayon lining. The lining is left over from the bridesmaid outfits from my wedding 8 years ago. Speaking of my wedding, these shoes are the ones I wore for my wedding and I will probably wear them to this wedding. My only other heels are the shoes I wore to my formal in 1998!

 I plan to write up a review and pop it onto pattern review because I did experience some "glitches" with the pattern. Let's just say I wasn't as impressed with the pattern as other people have been. I felt like there were options for working with sheer fabrics that were not included in the pattern, and that I would have appreciated someone doing all the work sourcing the correct techniques for me.
 Still, I am happy with the final result. The dress is swishy, feminine and oh so lovely. It feels delightful to the touch and brings a smile to my face. It took a huge amount of hours, not that I was counting, and I took the easy option in many instances!
 As it is a lot shorter than I am used to, I used a narrow turned hem to keep as much length as possible.
As I was dealing with a very sheer fabric, I elected to underline all parts of the dress so that none of the seams would show through. The underlining technique I used for the skirt created a faux Hong Kong finish at the seams which is particularly pleasing. I remembered the technique was used by the Slapdash sewist but I first read about the technique in Sandra Betzina's Power Sewing. It is a method I am keep to try again, not just for sheer fabric, as it makes a great lined garment.

 The lining finished were the skirt starts, so all gathers are neatly contained and there is no show through. I like my linings to be fully attached, so this change satisfied that as well.
 Here is the inside shot. It could almost be worn inside out.
 It even looks great on a hanger.
Thanks for looking!

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Jalie 2908 - shorts length in cream

There was a gap in my wardrobe for a pair of cream/stone coloured shorts. I decided to make the Jalie jeans pattern again when I found a stretch brushed cotton twill fabric at a local fabric store.

This is the third time I have made this pattern. However, I still learn things each time I make it. I guess it really depends on the thickness and stretchiness of individual fabrics. This cream fabric was super stretchy and really thick. Even princess struggled through topstitching the corner of the waistband. Thankfully I have found a tutorial for a different waistband method, so I will try to remember to use it (it is from page 31 of the Jeans sew along on Pattern review)
As I was sewing these up, I thought they might end up in the bin. Everything was going wrong. I had topstitching problems (turns out I had the needle in wrong, whoops). I had cut out part of the Jalie 2909 pattern and I had to re-cut. The thick layers of fabric wouldn't fit under princess's presser feet (I found that if I dropped the feed dogs, I had a enough room to manipulate the seam into place before raising the feed dogs again). And the dramas of topstitching on a machine who's straight stitch is left of centre. I ended up using a rolled hem foot that I bought from eBay for topstitching, because it gave me a good reference.

I wasn't particularly happy with the topstitching on the pockets, but I think I got better as I went along. Being super stretchy, I had to reduce the width of the pants - they were a little too baggy with too many wrinkles at the back. The good news was I just took the side seams in another 5mm. The shorts are really comfortable, easy to move in and will be perfect for work (check out my method for whipping children into shape)
Hmm, the only thing wrong with the super stretchy fabric combine with Jalie's instruction of sewing the leg seams is there is a mighty big camel toe happening down there. Oh dear!
Yes, I just put a photo of myself with a camel toe on the web.

Friday, December 02, 2011

My croquis

Inspired by Joanne from Stitch and Witter, I too have made myself a croquis. The Colette sewing handbook has you trace a photo of yourself, but I decided to play around with with some programs I have on my computer to get a similar result. Here is me in all my pear shaped goodness.

To do it on the computer with no fancy software, I did the following:
  1. Take photo against plain background in tight fitting clothing
  2. Open photo in Picasso 3
  3. Crop photo (Basic fixes)
  4. Chose B&W in Effects
  5. Save
  6. Open in
  7. Select pencil sketch in Artistic (in Effects tab)
  8. Play around with the pencil width - I chose 2
  9. Select the Paint bucket and colour black
  10. Invert colours under Adjustments tab
  11. Save

Or instead of steps 9 and 10, open in Paint and clean up with the eraser.

I could have cleaned it up some more, but I am pretty happy with the results.

Now I think I will ponder my wonky body. No more denial.