Monday, December 28, 2009

More bloke sewing ...

These shorts are made from a Kwik Sew jeans pattern KS3504. I've made this pattern before so I know it fits. This time I've made shorts, so I just cut the pattern off. When DH gets home I'll get him to try them on so I can where to hem them. This is lovely chocolate brown denim from Gorgeous Fabrics and you will see full length jeans in the same fabric later on in the SWAP.I topstitched in the gold I used to make yesterdays shirt because it seemed to match. What I forgot to photograph is the pockets and fly shield which are in the same fabric as yesterdays shirt also. There was no design on the pockets so I made one up. I'm sure he'll find something about these pants he doesn't like ... he always does.
I'm rather pleased, though. I even used my second machine today. I had one loaded with the twin needle and topstitch thread and the other with the sewing up thread. It worked well, but I think I'll have to leave a pin holder and clippers at each machine in future to avoid looking around for them all the time. More soon.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

SWAP begins ...

I started on DH's SWAP yesterday and was off to a rollicking start with a wadder. This is KS3250 in some crappy fabric that has been lurking in my stash for many years. I'm not even going to hem it. The sack like shape of the shirt makes him look fat and short. I refuse to make this style again. This shirt is awful.I had better luck today with this shirt. It's the TNT shirt pattern which started its life as BWOF 03-2009-132. I chopped the sleeves down and made them short as well as leaving off the collar and just using the stand. It's a quilting cotton that sewed up wonderfully. Buttons and thread from stash. A men's shirt somehow doesn't sit right on a female dress form.Last up today I made this shirt for a colleague who leaves this week. She has admired a dress I made in the same fabric. I didn't have enough to make a dress so I made the fabric into a pattern that she has also admired. It's my favourite KS blouse at the moment and of course I can't remember the number. So far I've cut out about a third of DH's SWAP. He needs the clothes. More tomorrow ...





Friday, December 25, 2009

Seasons Greetings

Wishing everyone a safe and happy christmas and a wonderful 2010











Wednesday, December 23, 2009

But wait, there's more ...

Here's some more of my christmas gift sewing. This is a small clutch from a free pattern I downloaded from the Kwik Sew website this afternoon. It's so easy and quick to make.It goes with this bag which I made up in a hurry to fit these handles and hoped it would work out. It's not great, but it's OK. This is very hard to press curtain fabric. This is a halter top made from a Kwik Sew pattern I've had for a long time. Can't remember the number. This is all made from leftovers.

This is a slightly larger version of the same Kwik Sew clutch. I should've photographed the inside as it's lined with a really nice red satin.


This vintage pattern just happens to perfectly fit my brother-in-law, he of the unfortunate crotch placement fame.
So I made this vest for him. This is the only gift that is actually a request. He wanted a yellow vest, so he got a yellow vest. The piece of fantastic wool cost me 50c at the op shop about 5 years ago, the dark grey lining is from stash and I don't even remember buying it. I have a lot left. The buttons were purchased for a jacket earlier in the year and then I changed my mind. I would have to say that this goes close to being my favourite garment this year. The checks match, my understitching is even and the wool sits perfectly on the body. You can't tell from this picture but I cut the welt pocket on the bias.
The one thing I forgot to photograph is a pale blue shirt I made for DH's dad. I'll try and get a snap on christmas day as it has some really nice buttons I bought at the op shop for 20c and they make what is an otherwise plain blue shirt look something else.
Safe and happy christmas season to you all. I'm off to start the cooking now, I've been nominated to make dessert for 25 people!!!







Monday, December 21, 2009

In No Particular Order ...

The completed dress.A pair of pants I made for DH - I'm very pleased with the pockets. It's his TNT pants pattern developed from a Kwik Sew front with slant pockets, a morphed BWOF back and BWOF slim legs.This is the inside of the waistband using a technique shown by Martyn Smith in Australian Stitches. It is a RTW method made easy for home sewing and makes a really wonderfully firm and neat waistband. I also made the pocket bags from the same fabric.
This is the first of many christmas gifts. A bag from a McCalls pattern which I don't have to hand to tell you the number. The pattern is for quilted fabric but I used canvas interfaced with a very stiff fusible. I'm still trying to get the wretched chalk marks off!This is the interior with a cute, loud lining I had leftover from a dress from many years ago. Another christmas bag, one again made from the free Hot Patterns Sumatra bag. I will never make this again - trying to jam those *&%^# handles into my sewing machine nearly did my head in. This is a curtain fabric I bought at a remnants sale the other day. It's quite thick. These are the recipients favourite colours.
This is the interior lined with a marble printed fabric remnant I found the other day. I love this fabric and wish there was a lot more. The third bag is made from a heavy knit with a sueded finish. I underlined with canvas for body. It is the Hot Patterns Slouchy Hobo bag and I love it! I have fabric to make one of these for myself from faux suede. The picture does not do it justice, it has a lovely shape to it.


The interior is lined with a quilting cotton that I don't love, but it matches. You can see my green nail polish here that I wore to match my pink and green dress.Here's the first bathrobe in the smallest size. It's a Kwik Sew pattern and I don't have the number with me. This was very easy sewing. I have already given this one and I am told that the recipient wore it to feed the chooks this morning!Here's a blue bathrobe in a larger size. I knocked two of these and a handbag out in one day, so they are pretty quick and easy.
Here's a t shirt I made in about five minutes. I was trawling through my stash looking for something to line the black bag in and I found this remnant (the remains of something from a thousand years ago). I don't like blue - I don't wear blue, but I know a lady who loves it. I stopped my searching and went straight to my TNT KwikSew t shirt pattern. This was cut and sewn up in under 40 minutes. The quickest, cheapest gift of all!

There are loads more, but it was taking forever to load the pictures so I stopped. More soon.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

On the Magic Bus ...

I have been sewing and I did make my dress - only just. I am so frantically busy and quite close to a nervous breakdown. Until I get it together to photograph what I've made (and there's a lot) I will show you the pictures of my staff Christmas party last weekend. As I mentioned last post, we took the Magic Bus to the Gold Coast races.

Here is the first picture of the day, when everyone still looked tidy.
Here is me in the middle with all the girls. This is the only shot I have of my dress at present and at this distance you can barely see the pink in it. In fact, it looks like a rather insipid brown.Here is all the boy staff. There were nine people who couldn't make it, so we were only a small group this day. Yes, we do have more female dentists than male. We've got a great team here and since this picture was taken I've employed another three staff this week.
Here's a shot enroute. Just below the people in this picture is a large esky full of champagne that was empty by the time we arrived at the races. I might add that I wasn't drinking it - I was one of three sober people on the day. You can also see that the incredible art work is inside the bus as well as out. We stayed upstairs for the whole trip. Here's the last shot of the night, taken on the way into Byron Bay. I ask you, would you trust any of these dentists to work on your teeth?
A couple of our colleagues who couldn't come to the races were playing in a band at the Great Northern in Byron, so Tim the Magic Bus driver took us in and dropped us off in time to see the last two songs. A good time was had by all, but I'm sure you've figured that out by now.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Can you see the difference ...

This is version one

This is version two

Can you see the difference? If you can, which do you prefer? It's going to become this dress.


I know it's hard to tell from a photo and your monitor may show a very different colour. The fabric is silk chiffon that I bought about 7 years ago purely because I love the colours. At that time I never actually thought I would sew in chiffon, so I never expected to actually use this fabric. Faced with my staff christmas function, which is a visit to the races at the Gold Coast, travelling on this bus from Mullumbimby (yes I live in the hippy capital of Australia), I knew I needed a bright new dress to wear. The pink is a dark crimson and the green a deep olive.
Here is the lining used in the first shot

This is the lining used in the second shot.I'm unsure which I prefer and I'm unsure about accessories. I have found a good match for the pink, but I think maybe I'm a little old to dress like a lolly. I've seen a few olive shoes and I have a pair that will work in a pinch. I also have a ridiculous pair of silver shoes that will work if I don't find anything else. I have an olive bag and I actually have a large pink and green straw bag that matches. I even have the perfect olive sun hat.

Any thoughts would be welcome.



Sunday, November 29, 2009

A quick fix

It's nine squillion degrees here today and I officially TOO FAT to fit into any summer dresses, so I decided to make a new one. This is Vogue 8386 and the fabric is a lovely rayon jersey I bought at Fabric Fantazia in Nerang last year. I love the print, but never really knew what to make with it, but I like the way this has turned out.

I cut a straight 10, but should have cut an 8. I left out the zip and cut the back on the fold so I thought I might need the extra room. Consequently it's a little loose, but it's OK with the sash.

I can't say I love the dress, but it's a good addition to my wardrobe and it will be comfortable to wear tonight to the final evening on the Mullum Music Festival. It's only the second year this has been running and it's a great success. It's a bit like the Blues Festival used to be fifteen years ago before they started booking acts like REM and attracting a different audience and turning me off. (Having said that, I just noticed today that next year Lyle Lovett is playing, so I may revise my opinion come next Easter!) Last night I saw two incredible young Australian artists: Sal Kimber and the Rolling Wheel, a very interesting folk rock/indie/country ish artist with an amazing voice and an incredible girl drummer (which meant I liked them before they even starting playing). The second was Jordie Lane who I'd put in a similar category to Luka Bloom (he's the son of commedienne Denise Scott for you Aussies). I also saw Vulgargrad, purely because the name of the band and their description of themselves as vodka fuelled swinging ska punk gulag style amused me. If you've seen Moulin Rouge, you will recall the guy who performed a very guttural rendition of Roxanne - he's the lead singer of Vulgargrad.

Tonight I will be wearing my new dress to see M Jack Bee, who is young and handsome and I'm told can even sing, The Stetson Family, about whom I know nothing but I like their name. I'll be finishing off the night with Huckleberry Swedes, whose name is great but I think I like the idea of their electrified country rhythm and soul, whatever that might be!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

No tops today ...

I got it into my head this weekend that I wanted to make a bag from a free pattern I downloaded and fix the fit on a Vogue pattern. I shoved aside the tops I had cut out to sew this weekend and made this.


It's the Hot Patterns Sumatra Shopper. I downloaded the pattern free from fabric.com ages ago with a view to making these for christmas presents. This fabric is a gorgeous cherry red canvas from Gorgeous Fabrics. The pattern calls for the pleated bit to be mounted onto canvas or the like, which I did. As my canvas was very sturdy I did not interface it, although I bought a roll of very stiff fusible interfacing for the purpose. The end result is a little softer than I would have liked. The bag is very easy to make, although wrestling the bamboo rings into place was a nightmare. Saturday afternoon I walked away while I was still sane and during the night came up with an alternative method to sew it all together. Today I've had this sucker jammed into both of my sewing machines so there was a lot of cursing, but I got there in the end. The topstitching is embarrassing and tomorrow I will buy some beads to sew around the bit where the handle is stitched on to cover my crappy sewing. My conclusion is this; the bags I make for gifts will be made from pretty quilting cottons. I will use the same canvas mount, but I will interface it for a stiffer bag, but only to the stitching line. I steamed and pressed the life out of these seams and they still won't sit flat, so I hope my new method will solve that. This bag goes into service tomorrow as my new gym bag. Oh, here's a bad shot of the interior which I lined with leftovers from a shirt I made about 7 years ago.

I've made Vogue 9668 several times before and while all versions are wearable, the fit has never been quite right During the week I tried on all the old versions and made some notes about why they didn't look right or felt uncomfortable. I dragged out the original pattern and put my traced version over it and found I had made a major cock up by making the front bodice piece about 3cm wider than it needed to be! No wonder I'd had trouble fitting it all together before! I retraced the bits I needed and altered them accordingly. As I was hoping to make a white version of this dress for SWAP and embellish the waistband, I was keen to get this right. I dragged out some old poly seersuckerish stuff that came from the op shop for 50c (no idea what it is, but its kinda stiff and totally see through as you can see).


The short version is this: I made this dress fit perfectly. Here is it without the lining in the skirt. Since this was taken I have inserted a black charmeuse lining and hemmed it with some wide lace I bought at the op in a mixed bag for $1. The dress is finished perfectly, fits perfectly and looks lovely. Except, of course, when I put it on. I have finally realised that the problem was not with the dress, it was with me. This is simply not my style. The nipped in waist points very blatanly to the fact that my waist is way smaller than my hips. And not in a good way. Even in slimming black this dress makes me look HUGE. I think it's the way the v neck and the shaped waistband all point to a narrow bit and them my hips blossom out from under there. I am very disappointed because I love this dress. I have to let it go and work on something else. I'm thinking it might be Vogue 8594. Or I might just make the tops I had planned.










Sunday, November 15, 2009

I liked it so much I made another one ...

The same Kwik Sew from last weekend. I made this from a scrap of fabric I bought at the op shop for $2. The bias binding I bought at the op shop for 35c and the buttons came from my stash, probably once purchased from the op shop although I can't remember for sure.

I didn't do much else this weekend, although I have cut out two dresses, traced two patterns and drafted another Enid Gilchrist pattern for my SWAP. I'm back to the drawing board now ...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Tops of November ...

With Saturday spent making a family lunch, I've only had one day of sewing this weekend. I had planned three tops, but I've only managed two as my indecisiveness stopped me from cutting out. The first on is KS3668 made from a cotton with spots of orange, tan and chocolate brown, although it's hard to tell from the picture. I bought this fabric to go with my choc vanilla orange wardrobe earlier in the year. When I had the fabric laid out I very nearly made the version with the sleeves, but this is definitely a cool summer cotton and needs to be sleeveless. I haven't sewn the buttons on or pressed it properly, but I quite like this so far. I lengthened it a little, but next time I will take it back to the pattern length.


Next up is a blouse I made from a vintage McCalls pattern I bought at the op shop a while ago. I bought this fabric to co-orodinate with my June Capsule but never got around to actually making it.I've always wanted a floaty tie neck blouse and I made this straight out of the envelope. The pattern says size 12 with a 34" bust, which has worked out perfectly. It's dated 1980, but it's pretty timeless and I'm sure I will use it again. The only thing wrong with this pattern was the instructions. It's a Palmer and Pletsch with instructions for making sewing quicker and easier (apparently). Instead of sewing in the order I normally would sew a blouse, it has you do a bunch of things at the same time so you press them all at once, therefore minimising the amount of time you are up and down to the ironing board. Jumping from one section to another was confusing. When it started talking about sewing the cuff on the sleeve at the same time as sewing the collar, I put the instructions aside and made it up, which resulted in my tie being left off rather than stitched on with the collar. Ah well, a separate scarf/tie might come in useful. I haven't decided buttons for this yet, so the buttonholes aren't done, but it fits well and I like the way this looks on.I've got a few other tops planned for the rest of the week, so I'm back to the cutting table.

Friday, November 6, 2009

SWAP 2010 & November Tops

I've joined Faye's November Month of Tops Sewalong. As coincidence would have it, I read Faye's post about sewing tops the very day I had just removed at least 15 unwanted blouses and tops from my wardrobe, leaving a plethora of empty hangers and a dearth of things to wear.

I've been shuffling fabrics and patterns around, trying to sort out things to make for SWAP this year. I came across a lovely piece of black linen that I have no recollection of buying, although I think I know where I got it from. It's a beautiful weight and absolutely perfect for the subtropics. I did have a different pattern in mind, but then I discovered this one, which really appeals to me. Considering that I don't actually like ruffles, that's a bit of a surprise to me. I've decided to make the sleeveless version, but add the ruffle. I've decided to put the black linen aside for SWAP and make this out of a light cotton with orange and brown spots. I think this will be revisited a few times this summer.

I'm putting the black linen on hold until SWAP time.
There are several options for SWAP this year and I have chosen Option 3
5 dresses
4 tops
1 bottom
1 garment of your choice and I choose a coat
Of these 11 garments, one must be a matched print or stripe, one must feature embroidery or beads etc and one must have buttons as the feature or unusual/alternative closure.
My black linen blouse will feature some bold red and black buttons and perhaps red piping. I haven't finalised many of the patterns for SWAP, although my coat will be made from an Enid Gilchrist pattern drafted from the book I mentioned last post.
I aim to knock out three tops this weekend. I'll let you know how that goes ...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pattern tracing

During the August Wardrobe in a Week competition I made this dress.

It was from a pattern drafted from this book, which I bought at an op shop for 20c last year. For more information about who Enid Gilchrist is and the range of books she wrote, take a look at Tracy's blog, Inspired by Enid.

Although I found it interesting at the time, I didn't actually ever think I would draft a pattern from these instructions.

But I did and it was easy! From this shot you can see the dress that inspired mine.


Rather than sewing, this weekend I have drafted four patterns from this book from scratch. I've even muslined one of them. I won't bore you with pictures of my patterns or the ugly muslin, but I am rather proud of my achievements.

One pattern will be my Chanel inspired jacket. I am dedicating the next week to that project in a vague attempt to make the November 15 deadline. I will also use a lengthened version of the jacket for my SWAP. I also traced two dresses. For the basic dress there is a choice of sleeve lengths, a choice of necklines and two different dart placement styles. In coming weeks, I will show you more pictures from the book to give you an idea of how useful this 20c book is. In fact,I may never have to buy another pattern again!

The rest of my weekend has been taken up in altering a few patterns to make them TNTs. I've even frankenpatterned two pairs of pants into one for DH, so he now has a TNT pants and shirt pattern.

To round off my non sewing weekend, I placed a fabric order and will now spend the rest of my evening thinking about SWAP 2010.