Sunday, October 13, 2013

A few projects to share

I have packed this post with all the projects I have sewn lately. I have really lost the sewing and blogging mojo. Can you believe I had two weeks holiday and only sewed 2 projects (4 if you could the things the kids sewed). Am I the only person who doesn't sew when they are stressed. I tend to vege out and sleep instead.
First up is a maxi skirt in the peacock knit I purchased back in August. My goal was to sew everything before next year's sale. So far - 1m! The pattern is based on Kwik Sew 3032 - I just lengthened it and added slits to each side. These are super comfy and perfect for work. Not sure why this is only my third make using this pattern.

Next up is some PJs from a Burda magazine. The pattern number is 128 from 12/2008. I intended to make the nightie but did not quite purchase enough fabric. I love the colours in these PJs - reminds me of a holiday or something. I had to redo the elastic in the back so that it sits snug against my back. As you can see, the top is loose compared to the shorts - I am actually a size smaller on the top. I used the Burda boxer shorts pattern but had to make it a little bigger than my normal size. It is pretty tight as it is so next time I will probably go back to my regular pattern from Kwik Sew. The fabric is actually a seersucker. I normally wear knit top PJs in Summer, so will see how I go.
 The next pattern is Burda magazine 111 from 09/2007 again, but this time with a slightly altered neck. This dress was intended to be a weekend at home type dress because I did not have enough fabric to match the pattern, but I actually don't mind wearing it out. I think I was drawn to the lovely blues in this fabric, as I actually dislike the print.
 When I made this, I was slightly disappointed because it was sitting around the waist. I had put on a little weight around my thighs and butt and it was pushing the dress upwards. It is hard to tell but it is not really following the curve of my back either, something I will need to address in the future.

 My next dress is a Frankenpattern of 2 new to me patterns. The bodice is from dress 101 02/2011 Burdastyle magazine and the skirt is from dress 107 11/2007 Burda magazine. I loved the neckline and the cut on sleeves of the first dress but did not want a gathered skirt.
When I made a muslin of the bodice, I deemed that it was not too low cut for work and kept the neckline as it was. However, with the addition of the weight of the skirt, I feel it is a tad too low. I did staystitch the neckline, but it gapes at the front.
 The fabric is a stretch sateen print that I picked up at Spotlight on the sales table. I bought the end of the roll (2.25m) but found was enough to work with. I found the bodice was too wide when sewn up, unlike my muslin which was tight. Must be the stretch of the fabric. I took in 2cm from each side s a quick fix.
 I edgestitched the tops of the pleats down. I wanted soft pleats but thought it needed a little more structure at the top where it meets the seam.

 I am going to make this dress or a form of the dress again. This is really my style of dress. Although I realised that I would never wear this style to work  like I intended. I just feel too dressed up! I think I will stick to knit dresses - just waiting for my Red Velvet to arrive.
 Jalisa needs some new shorts and skirts so I made  her a pair of skorts. I have drafted these myself before so I was pleased that I remembered what I did last time. I made just one pair to see that they looked right. I intend to make a few more now that I know it fits right.
 Skorts are great for my girl. She is active but likes skirts and prefers knits. Her last lot have been in constant rotation and have lasted for years but it was time for new ones. (Goodness, I made the last lot in around 2009/2010)
 Finally, my kids have been wanting to sew more and I thought shorts would be a good project. We were going to sew cushions but they painted the fabric and it became really hard, so it was scraped for these. I think they turned out really well. Both shorts are based on the Bert pattern from Ottobre pattern 03/2009. I extended at the top to have a cut on elastic casing, and morphed the two back pieces and just left off the pockets. They both wore them yesterday, which was cute.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Kwik Sew 3472 - another green knit dress

There are some really cute Lady Skater dresses out there in the blog world. I was going to give the pattern a go when I saw the line drawing and recalled a Kwik Sew pattern that has been in my pattern stash for years. I can't even recall when I bought this it was that long ago.
Kwik Sew 3472 has two views. View A is a turtleneck, long sleeved, longer skirt version. I made view B, the half sleeved, shorter skirt with the jewel neck. Obviously you can mix up the views as you like.

I used a rayon elastane knit which my coverstitch hated. I actually had to sew strips of fabric to beef up the sleeve hemlines, so that it would not skip the stitches. I actually left the hem raw because I did not want to have the same problem with the hem.


Below is how the pattern sewed up. What a let down. the pattern is described as having a drop waist, but it was not was I was envisioning.
I sought feedback from the ladies over at the Crafty Mamas Forum who suggested taking in the side seams as well raising the waist seam and taking up the hem. Well, first I chopped 10cm off the bottom hem before deciding to bite the bullet and cut the waist seam out, shorten the bodice, reduce the width and reattach the skirt. Hardly rocket science, I just prefer to unpick and keep the integrity of the pattern as much as possible. The side seams of the skirt had to be fudged to match up with the smaller bodice piece.

I will be transferring the changes to the pattern for next time though, it ended up being a great little dress for work althought it was a little windy today. This is how I wore it to work.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Vogue 1194 in emerald knit

In a quest to try new things, I bought a couple of $5 patterns in a certain Australian chain craft store. I think I bought 3 of the Vogue designer ones, since they are so exxy. I have admired many knit dresses across many blogs, so I picked up a couple with some interesting details.
This is Vogue 1194, which has gathers and pleats on the bodice, pleats at the front skirt, gathering at the back skir and a twisted front band. Hmm, I am just studying the desription on the back of the pattern and the pattern describes the bodice as being loose fitting. That makes me feel better. When I tried it on, the wedding dress fitting scene from The Proposal movie came into my head. It is a little looser that I would normally go for, but it is not too bad (I don't think).

 I roughly compared my basic tee pattern to the bodice patterns and I decided to trace a size smaller than indicated on the pattern. If I made it again, I would have to do something about the bodice front, as it fits great everywhere else. I am actually thinking about adding a plain top and using the pleated/gathered skirt for next time.

I really love the twisted front band - the pattern says to match notches but unless I traced the wrong ones, I could not match the notches without it being in the wrong place. I just made sure that the front and back bands met at the side seam.
Green is my favourite colour and apart from this in a very similar fabric, I don't have many other green garments. I do have some other green fabrics, including a very recent fabric purchase, so maybe I should change that soon.

It has been very spring-like weather here the last few days. It has made me think of spring sewing, which I hope to include some more dresses.  As long as the skirt is fairly full and has some type of shoulder coverage, I plan to wear more dresses to work. I have been in a real pants/shorts for work rut and I just need to have more fun with my clothes.

Having said that, I do have plans to make some shorts from the yellow linen I bought recently, inspired by Carolyn and Bernice. And a white blouse.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Simplicity 1802

I rarely buy patterns from the larger companies. I actually find the pattern books overwhelming and just have to walk away. I bought this pattern after seeing Sew Brusnwick's wonderful version. This dress was actually completed in May, but I was only finished it the night before I had to hand it into the local show so never had time to do get decent photos. For some years now, I have been entering a competition held through the local show, with the finals held at the Ekka (Brisbane Show). The judging at the Ekka was held on Saturday, and I am pleased to have placed Second in the Adult Daywear.
 I actually hadn't planned to enter this year. However, the steward phoned me and asked me whether I was planning to put something in this year, so at the last minute (with less than a fortnight to go), I started planning my entry. I was drawn to the piping and the rounded godets in this pattern. I was really hoping to find a black, white and one other colour cotton print to use for the dress, and I found this print at the local fabric shop.

At the time when I bought it, I did not realise how sheer it was and I had to go back to the shop to buy some fabric to underline it. By this stage, I had 5 days until the dress had to be in, and all I had was fabric. I cleared my weekend (and DH cleared the house of children). I was hoping for a smooth ride but ended up with a lot more challenges.
I muslined the bodice and decided I would make it in a size 10, a size or two less than the size my measurements should have been. I had read there was plenty of ease but I ahd my fingers crossed that the skirt had enough ease for my pear shape. I made a trip to the fabric store to buy rat's tail and piping cord for the piping. I bought I few different widths to experiement with. To be honest, I can't even remember what I went with. It was black and with the ribbons if that helps. It was not piping cord though. I had to make another trip to the fabric store to buy more since I had not bought nearly enough (I was not piping the godets, so had to estimate what I needed - I was off my a lot!). This is the first time making piping, so I am glad the seams were straight. I can't remember but I think it was from the Cherub's Kiss blog or maybe a tip L from Cherub's Kiss put on a sewing forum, but it was useful. You sew the piping to one side of the fabric right next to the piping cord, then stitch along the stitch line when sewing the other side of the fabric. Perfect piping. Well, it is a little lumpy at the neckline since I found I did not remove enough of the ends of the cord. Lesson learnt for next time. That was just amatuer hour from me.

The dress has a small zipper inserted into the side seam. I found the was not adequate and just could not get the dress on. I had no idea what to do, since the side seam finishes at the waist. I seriously considered binning the dress at this point. I could not wear it. After some frustrated crying and discussion with my husband, I went to see if I had enough fabric and underlining to cut a half godet plus seam allowance. I cut the other half godet from the original godet. I had to buy another zipper but I could choose a long one that would make it easy for me to fit into without too much trouble. I actually did not have enough underlining, I had to use the original underlining cut int half and not have a seam allowance. I finished the edge with the overlocker and you couldn't really tell when the side seam was folded back.

the zipper was probably the most shoddy I have put in, ever. It is not invisible but at least I can do the dress up past the piping/thick seams. The hem is finished with purchased bias binding. I  had just enough from the 5m packet. The hem is invisible as the slip stithes are attached to the underlining. I sewed the dress across a weekend and hemmed it over three nights. A lot of work went into this sucker and time does heal my pride, which was hurt over this dress. Not my greatest work but the competition is about the impact of the design as well the the workmanship. I promised the competition coordinator that I would be entering next year, I just need to start a little earlier I think.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

I feel like a fabric hog

Summer Flies from her Sew Darn Tired blog recently posted about a fabric sale being held in Brisbane. I managed to sneak down after work on the first day of the sale and here is my loot.
 Black and grey knit - ponte I think. I wanted 2m but there was only 1.2m left on the roll. I will have to think of how best to use this. 
 Yellow linen. This has been on my list for ages, I haven't found any all year until now. I got a little over 1m - I want to make shorts.

1m of a black and grey wool blend. Again, this was the last on the roll. It was an end of roll kind of sale, the business actually making clothing. I will make a skirt out of this.
 A little of 2m of this green crushed knit. This will be a dress.
2m of green sweater knit. I wanted sweater knits and I got heaps. Obviously this will be some type of jumper.

Birdcage print knit - 2m. Oh look, there are peacocks on there too. The print is quite large scale. I am thinking a dress or maybe a skirt.
 Now, the remnent table. It was choc a block full of yummy fabrics. I picked up 1.4m+ of a lovely blue sweater knit. Enough for a jumper. That was $10.
 There was about 1.4m of this black textured sweater knit. Will be some type of jumper, maybe a cardigan. $5 for this piece.

 1.3m+ of this purple marle sweater knit. $10 for this piece too.
 I picked up this gorgeous purple sweater knit for $3, but it is only 50cm at its narrowest, and 85cm at the widest. I think I might make a little cropped vest.
The last remnent was 60cm for this yellow textured fabric. I have no idea whether it is a knit or a woven, but I am making it into a scarf. So bright and cheery.

So that is my haul. I had a lovely chat with the lady working there. I only sewed 1 piece that I bought last year, but my goal is to sew all pieces before the next sale. All up 14.55m.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Snuggly blue jumper

I am still waiting for Winter to hit my city - I am such a wimp with the cold and require at least a coat by this time of year. I thought something new to wear to work would lift me out of my -the-holidays-are-too-short-I-don't-want-to-go-back-to-work mood I was in. Not sure if it was the new jumper or not, but I was actually happy and maybe a little bit excited about returning to work. I do actually enjoy teaching (love kids learning), just not the rush around in the morning and afternoon, preparing meals etc. And the commute.
My new jumper is a repeat of Jalie 2449, which I made last year. I used all of the same modications with the neckband as last time, as it really sits nicely at the back.

The fabric is a blue marle knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics online store (which has very exxy postage). And like my Jalie 2449 outfit from last year, this is a completely Jalie outfit again. Love those patterns

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

A dress without an occasion

At the start of each school holidays, I write a list of things I want to do, what I want to clean and what I want to sew. I had found this black embroidered fabric just before the holidays started and thought it would make a good sheath dress so I added it to my list. Now normally, I wouldn't make a dress like this without a reason, but this time I just felt like making it. I am sure I am not alone with doing this, am I?
The fabric is a rayon polyester blend, probably with a touch of elastane. It is lightly embroidered and has a few sequins here and there (which my camera picks up as white). I used a pattern which I have used before - Burda magazine # 112 from 5/05 with the neckline from #110 from 12/01. Basically a princess lined sheath dress with a boat neck. I actually bought the fabric for both dresses at the same time. I did not imagine they would be made into the same pattern.
The dress is fully lined with a polyester lining fabric. I pinked all the shears after my last experience working with lining fabric.
I have a few projects to blog about, and seeing as this is only a knit top, I am tacking it on to the end of my dress post. This is  the gathered raglan sleeve from Burdastyle 2/13 (# 127). I vaguely remembered I had to shorten the hem based on the review by Fehr Trade but only did 5cm when it could have been triple that. I actually did not have enough fabric for full length sleeves though, so attempted a clumpsy 3/4 sleeve.
I  used the binding pattern provided by BS, but in my really stretchy fabric, it ended up being a touch too long and so my neckline is wider than intended or it doesn't sit flat. I love the colour though, it is a nice deep blue green cotton elastane fabric from The Fabric Store in Brisbane. I dithered and only got 1.5m but it would have been perfect for a dress had I have purchased more.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Lessons from the sewing room

I like sewing because I am constantly learning. Even if I think I have solved a problem, I usually create another problem in the meantime. I do try to do my research, but somehow I can never predict my results. Recently I washed a pencil skirt that I made last year. The lining is fully enclosed so I assumed I would be okay with not finishing the seams. It came out of the machine all weird and would not lay flat. I discovered a hole at the seam where the seam had shredded and when I felt inside the lining, it seemed the frayed lining seams had tangled and  were distorting the skirt. Obviously I need to wash my lined clothes more gently but I vowed to finish all the seams of my clothes, lined or not and try using other materials to line with.
My next project was my blue pinafore, so I used a cotton sateen for lining and overlocked all the seams. I am sure it will hold up well with the wash, but the sateen catches on my tights and lifts my dress over so slightly (still annoying). So with my next lined project, I thought I would go back to using lining fabric for Winter garments but I will overlock the seams. What I did not anticipate with my overlocker would gather the fabric ever so slightly and make it a little shorter that it was supposed to be. Next time, I will pink the seams and hope for the best (oh, and use a gentle wash too).
Anyway, on to the sewing. I used my go-to pencil skirt pattern (Burda magazinne 1/08 #127 without the waistband and with added vent) and the leftover dark blue wool crepe. I  really pushed myself to fit as I go but have trouble trying on garments full of pins. I constantly get the sharp ends of pins scraping down my leg and they leave sores.
I am a huge list maker already, but I have started writing comprehensive lists for construction order, when to baste, adding in all the tips from tutorials and so on to get the best possible outcomes. For this skirt, I used a fashionable stitch's drafting and sewing a vent lining , Eugenia's tips for achieving a nice finish at the top of invisible zippers and creating ease in the skirt lining , Sherry's tute for mitring hems on vents (Sherry's is for jacket sleeve vents, but it is the same principle)

My overlocker dilemma chewed the ease above the vent but I am confident that my seams are not going to shred. And the skirt does not catch on my tights. You can't tell that I used read lining from the outside, can you.

I have many projects to document from this term, including some grey wool pants, a petrol coloured knit top and a tiered skirt for my daughter.