Sunday, December 2, 2012

Stash busting ...

I have a sewing queue about 500 garments long, so instead of sewing anything I already have planned I made this top.  It's BWOF 03-07-120 lengthened by 5cm as I wanted to wear this over leggings.  The blue broderie anglaise is leftover from one of the first Burda dresses I ever sewed way back in 2002.  The dress is long gone (poorly made and bad fit) but this good size chunk of fabric has been in my stash ever since. 

If you follow the link to the line drawing, you will see that the hemline is curved but I wanted to use the edge of the fabric as the hem so the sides dip down when worn, which I like and have tops that were made that way.  The broderie is very sheer and I lined the original dress with a matching blue poplin.  For this top I lined to top half only and left the bottom unlined, which will be perfect for a sub-tropical summer.  The top in the magazine had two lengths of ribbon stitched under the bust for decoration and as I had a small piece of the border left I decided to sew that into the seam.  All things considered I am very pleased with this top, which is essentially a free garment (the thread was leftover, too).

If you look closely at the picture you might be able to see that the right side is actually pinned together.  The reason for this is that I have no zip and I don't mean I have no zip in my stash.  Spotlight (the only fabric store in Tasmania) has no 16inch blue invisible zips.  I am going to Melbourne next week for work, so I will try to get to Clegs.  If not, it will have to wait until I go home at christmas and can get to a real fabric store.  Have I mentioned how much I hate Spotlight?

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Ambivalence ...

This is M8787 and I'm not sure about it.  It's made from a cheap velour I got somewhere that I can't recall.  It looks quite luxe at night but doesn't stand up to scrutiny in daylight, so that may be the problem.  Perhaps in a nice print or a plain sateen I may feel differently.  I just don't think this angled neck is very flattering on me  The cowl version I know I will love as the rest of the pattern fits me really well.

I had originally made this with long sleeves but it wasn't very comfortable, so I took them out and finished the armholes with satin bias binding.  It looks better sleeveless and actually works really well with the silver shoes in my last post.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

SWAP Inspiration ...

Well, I had to start somewhere ...

I'm thinking my SWAP might end up with the title 'Black and Bling'.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Pattern numbers added

I've had a few requests for pattern numbers so I've added them for anyone who might be interested.  Mostly they are Burda, but I've added the vintage patterns also.
The spotted halter blouse is Vogue 2269 from 1989 and includes the halter I have shown, a cutaway sleeveless version, a cut on extended sleeve, a 3/4 sleeve and long sleeve version.  I bought this pattern for 20c (if you follow the link you will see it is selling for $24) at the op shop and I already have plans for a cutaway version.  I'll need to adjust the pattern to remove the height for the shoulder pad, but that's simple enough.

The blue dress is Vogue 1675 from 1986 and has a straight skirt and a full circle skirt version.  There are a few neckline variations, too.  I love the cutaway armholes as they are very flattering on me.  This pattern was another 20c op shop purchase and the link will take you to an ebay site where it is selling for $9.

The blouse pattern is Style 4070 and I can't find a link on the internet anywhere, but it dates from 1984 and has two necklines, one is a notched collar and the other buttons all the way up (don't know what you call that).  There are two sleeve variations; one is cut on sleeve and the other is a regular sleeve.  I love the 50's look of this blouse and once I get this pattern muslined, I know it will become a regular.  Once again, this was a 20c purchase.  I have so many wonderful patterns from this one particular op shop in Mullumbimby and it's one of the many things I miss about home!
I find it interesting that many of the Burda patterns I've considered for my SWAP are patterns I skipped over completely when I first got the magazines.  It's a great example of how SWAP actually makes me think about what I sew, rather than sewing something because I've had an emotional response to a pretty picture.  If only I could harness that for the rest of my sewing year ...

Saturday, November 17, 2012

SWAP 2013

I've put my hand up again for SWAP this year and I've changed my method of planning.  I usually start with the fabric or at least a colour scheme then struggle to find patterns.  This time I have started with the patterns. 

These may not be the final patterns, but they at least represent the direction I want to go in. The rules this year require us to make two mini collections connected by a bridging garment.  I have decided to make a plainer or day collection and a dressier or night collection, the idea being that by adding say a top from the dressy side to a bottom from the plain side, an outfit can go from work to dinner etc.  My bridging garment will most likely be a dressy trench.  The picture in the middle is an inspiration  (I think it was Cue) that I have wanted to knock off for at least 3 years (and I have the fabric).

The left side is the plain side and I intend to make
2 x tops
2 x bottoms
1 x dress
These will all be a plain colour and will have a slight late 50's/early 60's feel to it.  This picture of Stockard Channing is inspiration and I've wanted to replicate this look for years.  I love the slim skirt and the fitted blouse with it's cute turned up collar. I'm on the hunt for a good pattern for side zip pedal pushers, if you happen to see one around.
The dressy side will be more simple patterns and this is where I will have more fun.  I have a hankering for some mini sequins, perhaps in a tunic top but I don't know if that will work.  The sorts of patterns I have in mind on this side also lean more towards the early 60's.
I have time to toss this around and get it right, so there will be other incarnations of this plan but at least I've started.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Boring bloke sewing ...

I've been stressed and busy with a lot of things, including a trip home at short notice last weekend, so my sewing has suffered a little.  I've had no mind for anything too difficult, so I churned out three TNT garments in 24 hours.

I actually remembered to photograph these shirts before I sent them off.  Grant needed some lightweight long sleeve loose cotton  tops because he works outdoors in the sun.  They are all from KS3250 which I've made more times than I can count over the years. 

This is a well used TNT pattern long ago adjusted to fit Grant's big chest and shoulders and shorter torso.  The camo version is quilting cotton that I bought for $10 a metre about 4 years ago, the striped version is from an old sheet (I even cut it so the hem of the sheet is the hem of the shirt) and the blue poplin has been in my stash for about a century and the thread was all leftover from other projects, making all three essentially free shirts.  They're even already packed and ready to post in the morning.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Cake sewing ...

Now that StephC over at 3 Hours Past has put the idea of cake sewing into my head, I think about it every time I sew.  I've been guilty of what I call 'folly sewing' in recent times.  This little jacket is BWOF 03-10-102 (I can't link to it for some reason).  I've made it before and I really like it.  The pattern calls for three buttons but I only put one button at the neck and tucked it under the collar.  The fabric is a cotton blend from Gorgeous Fabrics.  It is an orangey red, probably what people call jaffa.  It's hard to tell from this picture, but it has a dark purple, aqua and white stripe with a crinkly gold thread.  It pairs well with the purple skirt I made a few weeks ago as well as my purple jeans.

 I understitched the collar to ensure it would sit properly.  I love the shape of this collar and the sweet little curved stand that makes it sit so perfectly.
 Here are some gratuitous inside shots for StephC.  I've lined it with a dark purple, also from Gorgeous Fabrics
 Here's the label I used this time.


This is a shot of the cute litte button I've used.  It's another vintage button from the op shop, made from some kind of shell.  You can see the colours quite well in this shot.

While I was threaded up in orange I made some shorts as well. These are BWOF 07-09-113 which were cuffed, but I've left the cuff off.  The waistband facing is leftover purple denim from my recent skirt and jeans (it's almost all gone now) and the pocket bags are from the same purple lining as the jacket.  The zipper was from stash (op shop purchase more than ten years ago) and the button was from a $10 for a kilo bag I bought at the button shop in Newtown a few years ago.  I plan to wear this with a white t shirt and an aqua cardigan I saw at the op shop.  I like the tacky golf-shorts feel of this garment.

Something screwy is going on with formatting so I apologise for this being all over the place!
Last up is a long forgotten refashion that I discovered in a plastic tub, while doing a bit of a cleanup after being inspired by Peter at Male Pattern Boldness and his stash organisation.  I discovered quite a few unfinished things and bits of fabric I had completely forgotten about, so you may see more tomorrow.  This is a black, orange, mustard and chartreuse boucle cut down from an oversized 50c skirt op shop skirt.  Ironically, it goes perfectly with the chartreuse version of the checked jacket I made last year.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

More free garments

I've been a little remiss in posting in recent weeks.  I've actually sewn quite a few garments, but some of them were gifts and bloke sewing that I forgot to photograph before I mailed, so you just have to take my word for it.

I'm keen to rid my stash of remnants, so I'm concentrating on TNTs for the sake of expedience.  When I sewed my SWAP earlier in the year I bought 3metres of purple stretch denim for about $3 a metre.  I made jeans for my SWAP but had loads left and it was on my hit list this week.

First up is a skirt from my Burda TNT pattern.  Although I've washed the fabric, it's still a little stiff so it doesn't hang very well on Vera.  I've washed it again since I finished it, but I think it will take a while to soften.  I've lined it with some poly charmeuse, also bought cheap at Spotlight.  I've used this fabric for two other garments already and still have loads left, so you'll see it again.

The second garment is BWOF 07-09-113 shorts.  The original pattern has a cuff, but I decided not to cuff mine as I have a lot of shorts with this detail already. 

The pockets and waistband are from remnants leftover from another SWAP garment and I show the inside here for StephC, as she said she wants to see the inside of bloggers' garments :).  The overlocking thread looks quite pale, but in real life it is a similar lavender to the fabric.  The button is also a better match than it appears here and is one of those odd buttons I got in a jar from the op shop many years ago.  I really get a kick out of using odd old buttons in this way.  I think they have a life of their own, a bit like the violin in the film Red Violin.

 I'm always pleased to make free garments and I already have a few outfits planned with these two.  I'm not sure what is up next, but for now I'm going to make a batch of green curry paste and then some chocolate chip cookies.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Stash busting continues ...

I've had a length of doubleknit sitting on my sofa since I started planning for my SWAP last year.  I bought it last winter for a jacket and when I had it in my hand I changed my mind.  It's black on one side and charcoal grey on the other and it looks a little like denim.  I toyed with the idea of making a pair of skinny jeans, but at the last minute today decided to make this skirt.

It's BWOF 05-12-113 and I made version A, the shortest of the three.  It's one pattern piece, the same for front and back.  Two of the views use a sew on facing, but one version has a cut-on foldover facing and that's what I used.  I really is a simple skirt, but with six pleats folding onto each other, it got a little bulky in the doubleknit so keep that in mind if you go to make this skirt.  I've graded the seams so it sits neatly now, but it was a struggle to get it under the presser foot.  Even in a jersey, it's still a lot of layers. 

It doesn't look that good on Vera as it's shaped to fit my curves, not Vera's angles, but I really like the way it looks and feels.  I've made this for the sole purpose of sitting in an all day meeting.  Once a month I go to Melbourne for a managers' meeting and six hours sitting in one chair can get really uncomfortable.  Last month I wore the wide-legged pants I made for my SWAP thinking they'd be loose and comfortable, but they weren't.  This skirt should do the trick.

To go with it I made yet another version of my TNT long sleeve tshirt from KS3338.  This fabric is leftover from a UFO/wadder that has been in my sewing room for abut 6 years now.  It represents my first foray into sewing from vintage patterns so the fit isn't good.  I probably need to throw it away, but I love the fabric so I tell myself that one day I will fix it and finish it.  In the meantime, I was delighted to realise I had plenty left to make a tshirt.  I bought the fabric from Fashionista Fabrics many years ago now and it makes me think of Beardsley prints, although it's nothing like one.  It feels a little art nouveau anyway.

Judi asked me about how I finished the neckline on the red and white striped top and I never got around to answering her.  I know a lot of people sew knits on the overlocker but I don't like to.  I use the stretch stitch on my machine.   I sew the binding on to the neckline with the edge of the presser foot lined up with the edge of the fabric (I think it's 4 or 5mm).  I then fold the fabric over to the inside using the seam allowance to determine the width.  With a twin needle I stitch from the outside with one needle in the ditch and the other needle on the neckline.  This gives a clean and simple finish. Sometimes on  fabric that has a more casual, sporty feel I stitch with both needles on the binding about 2mm from the seam so both lines of stitching remain visible.  I hope this makes sense.  I really should have taken pictures - sorry!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

This time a practical skirt ...

This is V8426 and I've made this at least five times now in various views.  When I bought this pattern many years ago I never expected it to become a much loved TNT, but it has.  It's purely a work pattern; I don't wear skirts this long outside of work.

The great thing about this skirt for work is that it allows me to be covered and professional, but is still form fitting and feminine enough to still have a slightly flirty feel that stops me feeling frumpy.

Unfortunately this hasn't photographed well, so it looks lumpy and wrinkled, but I promise it looks better on me.  In keeping with my stash busting, this is made from a scrap of mustard doubleknit that I bought at the op shop for $3 about 5 years ago.  I'm loving mustard and black at the moment, so this will be worn to work tomorrow with a black long sleeve t and black boots.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Not very practical sewing ...

This is BWOF 05-12-125 skirt which is a bit of a folly for me.  It's impossible to tell from this shot, but the hem is raised in front and lowered in the back in a gentle curve.  The hem is faced, which is a lovely touch.

The fabric is a stretch twill I bought from Gorgeous Fabrics some time ago and for some reason I only bought one yard.  My standard purchase is 2 metres (or yards) of anything so I have no idea what I had in mind when I bought this.

I call this a folly because this there aren't too many ways I can wear this.  I have a white top that goes with it, but I think I need a nice little black singlet to go with it for summer.  I'll try a few other colours when summer comes.  It's such a statement skirt and that means it's not very versatile but the high waist and dip down in front is very flattering and it makes me happy.  Plus, it clears yet another piece from my stash and that means less I have to pack when I go home!

I feel a little like I'm marking time at the moment.  I have some applications on the go and I feel positive.  All things being equal, I will be home by christmas.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Stash busting

In an attempt to give my non-existent mojo a good shove I've resorted to stash busting.  Not only does this get creative juices flowing, this is also a good way to clear bulky fabric out of the cupboard and maybe even get a usable garment or two.

First up is a pair of track pants from KS 3678 which I've made a few times before.  I like this pattern because there are no side seams, the front and back are cut in one piece.  They are close fitting and not baggy so they don't feel too scummy to wear around the house.  The black fleece was leftover from a project I made about 4 years ago so these are free.

Second up is a dress made from another frankenpattern of my TNT long sleeve tshirt KS 3338 combined with KS3633 dress pattern, which is also now a TNT.  Both of these are altered to fit my shape.  I've also added the self-drafted cowl from an Australian Stitches magazine from a few years ago.  The Stevie Nicks inspired red panne was an offcut I bought at the op shop for $1 so this is an almost free garment.

It has worked to some extent as I managed to trace a pattern from  BWOF 05/12 and even managed to cut it out.  I don't have any white thread I (how did I run out of that??) or the right length zipper, so it's stalled until I have 5 or 6 hours free to wait in line at Spotlight. 

Thank you to everyone for the good wishes.  I feel better this week, but I really want to go home.  I have a few job irons in the fire so I hope it will happen soon.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Desperation sewing

I'm in the pits of black depression and desperately homesick.  It's been a crappy week and this is all I have to show.  It's not that I don't have things I want to sew, it's just that I can't get out of my own way to pick a pattern, pick a fabric and sew.  In an attempt to kick start something, I went for instant gratification.  This stripe fabric was leftover from a top I made for a red, black and white travel wardrobe in late 2010.  I had just enough to eke out this top from my TNT KS3338, although I had to cut the sleeves the wrong way.  Fortunately there is plenty of stretch.   I may sit down and write a sewing plan tonight and given that I'm barely sleeping at the moment, it will give me something to do.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A simple addition to the wardrobe

I made another wrap top from BWOF 02-08-116 with the same variations as last time.  I lengthened the bodice by 2 inches and frankenpatterned the ties from M5974.  I've permanently altered my pattern now because it makes a ho-hum pattern into something that works really well for me.

The fabric is Wild Woman Jersey that I bought from Gorgeous Fabrics a couple of years ago and have been searching for the right thing to do with it.  This is a good, basic addition that goes with a lot of things already in wardrobe.

Not much to show for the past couple of weeks.  I'm feeling very low and having trouble put one foot in front of the other.  I hope to be back on top of things soon.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

From frump to ... something else ...

Sunday night I went to sleep with my frumpy dress locked firmly in my mind.  When I awoke on Monday I had some ideas, so that evening I unpicked the skirt.  If you've ever unpicked stretch stitch, you know how annoying and time consuming it can be.  From the skirt panels I had plenty of fabric to cut the straight skirt that actually matches the bodice.  I stitched it together and tried it on, but something still wasn't right so I put it back on Vera and walked away.

Tonight I came home from work and knew that I had to change the collar.  I cut the neckline from my TNT t-shirt pattern KS 3338 and put it back on Vera while I had my dinner.   I had planned to add a cowl but after eating my first proper meal of the day (it was a rough day) I decided to keep it as a scoop, so I bound the neckline as per the original pattern.  As I was trying it with various colour belts ( I like animal print with red for some reason), inspiration struck.  I'm going to make a separate cowl with the remaining fabric.  That way I can get two looks.   Here is the fabric draped around to give you an idea but I'm too tired to finish it tonight.
It's not perfect, but I love the fabric and it's wearable now.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

When Frankenpatterning goes wrong ...

I started this with good intentions, inspired by this dress from an old Burda from 10-2003. 

I traced the pattern with intention of cutting the front and back as one, but what I hadn't anticipated was that the seams are curved to create shape and so don't sit together flat.  I didn't want this pieced look with my fabric, a luscious stretch velvet from Gorgeous Fabrics that has been in my stash for a couple of years.  I decided to Franken Pattern using three patterns from my stash, two of which are previously unused.  I used the bodice from View D of M5975 with neckline and collar from a very old Kwik Sew 2900 polo neck t shirt pattern I bought at the op shop in Mullumbimby.  The pattern is dated 2000 and appears to be OOP.  I then added on the skirt from V8663 .  As it stands, this is a wadder.  I got it all wrong.

I think I need to take the skirt off and recut it into something slimmer.  I may also change the neckline.  For the moment, it's sitting on Vera in case inspiration strikes.  I'm feeling frustrated after spending much of my weekend tracing, cutting and sewing with nothing to show.

As for the original inspiration pattern, I plan to make one as drafted and I have fabric standing by ready for cutting.  Hopefully, that will work!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The last of the red wool ...

I couldn't get the jacket I had originally planned from the remains of this wool, so I went with M5244 View B this time.  I made View A in lavender for my SWAP but this is the view that prompted me to buy this pattern in the first place.  The pattern envelope has a version in faux fur and I still want to make one of those.

For once I made no alterations to the pattern and I even put the buttons where the pattern said to put them.  I lined it in the same poly charmeuse I used for the matching red skirt.  It's taken me three weeks to finish this jacket because of the lack of button availability in Tasmania, but I ended up using three buttons from my stash that have been there for a VERY long time. 

I still had some bits leftover, not big enough for a garment but plenty for this little hat.  It's V8440 which I've made at least four times before.  I bought this pattern for a SWAP some years ago that required an accessory and I've continued that inspiration.  It's modelled here by Molly, who doesn't care.

I'm not sure what I want to make next.  I may tackle that purple faux fur jacket ...

Monday, June 11, 2012

Pulling things together ...

The purple skirt and jeans from my SWAP have so far seen limited wear as I don't have a lot that goes with them.  I realise that my colour ability is limited, so unless I see fabrics together I find it hard to imagine what goes with what and this makes for a lot of orphans in my wardrobe. 

A trip to Spotlight to see if I was fortunate enough for them to have stocked the zipper rack proved very fruitful.  Not only did they have a black invisible zipper in the length I wanted, they had a length of fabric I wanted and there weren't 193 people in a queue with only one cashier.  I found this fabric on the sale table for $5 a metre and was delighted to find that there was an additional 40% off, so it cost me $3 per metre.

The print is not one I necessarily like, but the colours in it makes it very versatile.  It goes with my purple SWAP bottoms, the red skirt from last week, black and even brown.  I decided to make BWOF 01-08-116 wrap top that was very popular a few years ago.  As I have become enamoured of Frankenpatterning, I did a bit on this top.  First of all, I lengthened it by 5cm, then I frankenpatterned the sleeve head onto my TNT t-shirt KS3338 and finally frankenpatterned the fronts with the ties onto the wrap ties from M5974.  The original ties are just hemmed and show the wrong side of the fabric.  I know from previous versions of this top that it drove me crazy.

These ties are wedge shaped rather than square and seamed together to create a neat, easy to use and attractive tie.  I never really loved this pattern before, but now I've made these changes I really like it.

I think I have become the queen of squeezing many garments from small amounts of fabric because I was able to get another very useful garment out of it.  This is BWOF 08-08-118, which I have now made three times and I know will go into heavy rotation immediately.

I'm rather pleased with my sewing; two garments for $9!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

It's a wrap ...

I suspect I'm probably the last person in the world to make V8379.  In keeping with the FrankenPattern Pledge I decided it was time.  I cut a size 10 and made a few alterations.  I could tell that the bodice would be too short, so I've lengthened it by about 2.5cm (which with this fabric I could have forgone) and I shortened the skirt by about 5cm.  I also took quite a lot of fullness from the skirt as I don't like it too swishy.  You may recall from last week that I dislike 3/4 sleeves, so I frankenpatterned the sleeve head from V8379 with the arm from my beloved KS3338 t-shirt.  I didn't use the collar because I don't like it and I didn't use the facings, instead I twin needled a hem over clear elastic.  I haven't hemmed the sleeves or skirt because this fabric stretches way too much and I didn't want a wavy hem.

The fabric is a heavy slinky knit I bought from about 4 years ago for $1.99 a yard, so it also sits nicely with the Franken Pattern Pledge and creates room in the fabric cupboard.  I had thought of including this in my SWAP, but I didn't know what to use it for.  The weight of this knit has meant it wasn't suitable for most things I had thought I could use it for, so it's sat in my stash waiting for the right thing.

I'm not sure if it's a result of the very stretchy fabric, but this dress is a little large.  It may be just because the weight pulls it down.  I sewed ribbon into the shoulder and waist seams to help keep the shape.  I normally keep a large quantity of cotton twill tape on hand  for this purpose, but I ran out.  Of course, Spotlight doesn't have any.  I wandered around in there cursing under my breath looking for something I could use and came across the craft section.  I ended up buying these two rolls of craft ribbon for 99c each.  There is 4m in a roll and you can get all sorts of colours and a few different widths (I used 6mm wide), so I think I'll go back and buy every colour.  The ribbon looks a whole lot nicer than the twill tape I've been using and if I can colour co-ordinate, then so much the better.

I've spent the majority of my day cutting out a jacket and lining, so I hope to start work on that during the week.  Then the search for buttons will begin.