Tropical birds or silk scout number #2

Friday, August 29, 2014

I actually made this top several weeks ago and haven't had a chance to blog it.  I completed a silk scout top not that long ago and wasn't planning another, but somehow this got pushed to the front of the queue.

It's a silk crepe de chine from the depths of my stash and it was popular blogger choice a couple of years ago.  I'm a little behind the times so I'm just making it up now.  There are no changes from last time I sewed the scout - french seams through out and lined body.

Spring is definitely in the air in Melbourne, but it's not quite warm enough to wear a silk t-shirt, so this top is getting layered with a cardi and tank top for work.  It's actually had quite a bit of wear, the colours in the birds give you lots of options for coordinating.  I, of course, chose to wear black :)

I thought I'd write a list of a few things that I wanted to sew in September - I was thinking maybe three or four items to help overcome my exceptional procrastination skills.  I ended up with a massive list, so it's back to the drawing board.  Time to prioritise and be logical (boring but necessary).

Repeat offender: Vogue 8742

Saturday, August 9, 2014

I needed a dose of colour to chase off the winter blues and a project that would free up some room in the cupboard.  Enter Vogue 8742 and a ponte in a colour that falls somewhere between grape and fuchsia.

Having made this before here and here I don't have a lot to add.

I did my first ever sway back adjustment following this tutorial and I chopped an inch off the neckline. Looking at these photos I think I'll probably go back and chop a couple of inches off the length (if it doesn't shrink in the wash!).  I bought this fabric about 18 months ago at Spotlight.  I was so excited to see some bright colours that I bought three lots but unfortunately I'm regretting that decision now.  The ponte pills really quickly and it doesn't play nicely with a twin needle.  I tried ball point, jersey, universal and sharp, I adjusted the stitch length, tension and changed the thread but nothing worked.  It kept skipping stitches and stripping the thread.  I've never had this happen on any other fabric so I can only assume that something in this ponte really disagrees with my machine.

It's a fun dress and if it only lasts for one winter, I'm OK with that.

Re-igniting the mojo

Monday, August 4, 2014

All I have to show you today is my new infinity scarf - a glorified loop and the most basic of beginner projects - but it feels so good to be sewing again.  There has been a constant drip of nastiness at work, just enough to take the enjoyment out of the day and steal away any energy I had for sewing once I got home from work.

With Thursday and Friday out of the office I was able to get my head in a more positive place and spent some quality time in my sewing room.

This scarf is made from some lovely 100% wool jersey from Tessuti and it had been playing on my mind.  I had a specific project in mind when I bought it, but when it arrived I felt like it was too light weight.  It's quite sheer.  Now, it's entirely my fault, but Tessuti isn't cheap and the cost of adding two meters to the stash when I couldn't envisage a project was adding to the negativity I had going on.

When I hit on the idea of the infinity scarf it was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders.  I whipped up the scarf (perfect for the extra chill in Melbourne at the moment), cut and sewed a dress and traced off two new patterns.  Mojo restored and I felt so much better heading back to work today.

Such a long post for such a small project, but sometimes sewing really is the best therapy :)

Winter warmer - Jalie 3355

Thursday, July 10, 2014

I really need some new work tops, but sometimes family sewing takes priority.

With the winter chill that has hit Melbourne we were all in need of some new tracky dacks (sweatpants to anyone outside of Australia!).

In size order we have me in the Y with 2 inches extra length, Caitlyn in the S with 1.5 inches extra length, Paige in the K with 8 inches extra length and Georgia in the Q straight out of the envelope.

I'm becoming a big fan of Jalie patterns - one pattern has sizes to fit the whole family and the cut and drafting are always excellent.  Jalie 3355 is one of their new releases and includes a hoodie, sweatpants and a sweatshirt.

They're track pants so there's not a lot to say - On mine I went for a contrast pocket and left off the ankle elastic.

I'm sure the hoodie will get made up at some point too.  As Wade was taking these photos he did make the comment that he was feeling a bit left out - all this family sewing and nothing for him.  I highly recommend this pattern if you're in need of a solid basic pattern and the pockets are the easiest thing ever - perfect for a beginner.

Skirt bonanza - StyleArc and Simplicity

Monday, June 16, 2014

Getting dressed for work each day has become something of a challenge.  In previous years my go to winter outfit was a ponte dress; they're comfy, it's quick to get dressed in the morning and they sew up quickly too.  But I think I've had too much of a good thing because this year I'm only reaching for my ponte dresses as a last resort.  Time for a few separates.

These latest makes are all pattern repeats.  First up is StyleArc's Ursula knit pencil skirt.  This time around I left off the side panels - they don't add any additional shaping and I didn't want to break up the awesome fabric from Tessuti.  I've included a close up of the fabric to show you the texture - it's amazing and as soon as I saw it I had visions of the Ursula pattern running through my head.  I'd love to make a raglan sleeve top to use up the leftover fabric.

I've also reused Simplicity 6107, this time to make a basic black pencil skirt in a wool blend and an animal print brocade.  Excuse the wrinkles - photos were taken after a long day of work.  No changes from last time, but I've found a great tutorial on Maria Denmark which addresses the tummy issue so I'll try that in the future.

Very utilitarian sewing, but much needed and I've already worn all three skirts several times.  Now I just need to sew myself some interesting new tops because my good old RTW merino ones look and feel a bit boring!

The Fabric Odyssey

Sunday, June 8, 2014

I'm a bit slow writing this up - the fabric odyssey happened on Mother's Day weekend in May.

Pam and I decided that for my birthday this year we would check out all the fabric shops that we've heard so much about - but have never (or rarely) visited.  We based our day around Lara's list in her FAQs - it's a great guide.

Our first stop was Darn Cheap Fabrics.  I had no idea what to expect - the shop is a bit old school, but the fabrics were great, as were the staff.  Wishing I had grabbed a few other items but as it was our first stop I didn't want to spend all my budget at once.  The pieces below came home with me - the hearts are an acrylic knit, the next is a wool blend suiting and the last is a lovely rayon.  I also bought some stretch lace and wish I'd bought some of their elastics.

From there we headed to GJs Discount Fabric.  I had no luck upstairs, but loved the amazing selection of quilting fabrics.  I bought a few fat quarters for a quilt I'm making Wade, but didn't photograph them because I was going to write this post before his birthday in May.  Turns out neither the post, nor the quilt were done on time :)

Our next stop was Rathdowne Fabrics.  On first look I wasn't overly impressed, but once you looked a little closer there were some good buys.  My only purchase here was a couple of lovely knits which I'm planning to use for slips.  They were labelled as lining fabric but feel absolutely lovely.  I thought I saw Christy of Little Betty fame - but it's been a long time since I've seen her is person and my introvert personality didn't let me go over and say hi.

Then it was on to the Allanah Hill Outlet (head upstairs for the fabric).  I came away with some very cheery lining fabric, a heart print silk satin and a black with self dots, can't recall the fiber content but I'm pretty sure it's a nice quality poly.  

The Fabric Store is just up the street so we went in there too.  My hunger must have affected my thinking because I left empty handed.

We finished the day with a stop at Tessuti where I bought a great piece of stretch cotton and the most beautiful silk.  At $65 a meter I wasn't going to buy the map print silk, but I kept coming back to it so I gave myself a birthday treat (and Pam contributed some birthday money too).  Now I just have to make sure it doesn't become to good to sew!  We also saw the lovely Anna of Blogless Anna fame doing an in-store class.  It was great to see her again and she confirmed that it was Christy that I saw earlier in the day.

Our final stop was at Clegs where I bought some beautiful bamboo lycra knit.

It was a great day, made even better by the fact that I could share it with my sister.  Big thanks go to her wonderful partner for playing chauffeur all day.  I'm sure it's a long time before he wants to see another fabric shop!  The only downside was that Mum couldn't be there too.  Next time you're down Mum, we'll do an abbreviated version.

One of these fabrics is already a finished garment and several more are cut out ready to sew.  Back to the sewing machine to make the most of the long weekend.

Assembly line sewing - Ottobre 6/2007

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Yep - still here.  I must admit I'm relieved to read that so many others felt like May went past in a blur.

Leggings are a winter staple for Paige and due to her long, but very skinny legs RTW don't even come close to fitting.  We checked out Girl Charlee, Paige picked her fabrics and away we went.

This really was an exercise in the properties of different fabrics.  I made the (modeled) black pair first and was really happy with the fit.  They're the Lily leggings from Ottobre 6/2007 made up in a 'performance' cotton/lycra from Spotlight, which has great stretch and recovery.  I used size 104 with 1 inch added to the waistband height and 8.5 inches added to the length.  Happy with the fit, I went ahead and sewed up the others using the Girl Charlee fabrics.

The pair in the middle and on the left are a light weight ponte, the pair on the right are a light weight cotton/lycra.  The ponte fabric had reasonable stretch and recovery while the cotton/lycra was quite limited (it also faded badly when pre-washed, not particularly happy with the quality of this one).

The different amounts of stretch greatly affected the fit, they needed an extra couple of inches at the back rise and about 2 inches added to the length.  Overall though - Paige loves them and they get worn constantly.

Around the same time I also had to find school pants for Paige and she requested slim fit track pants.  It proved impossible to find a RTW pair that met my cost/quality criteria so I pulled out the (already modified) Lily leggings pattern and added 2 inches to the back rise, 3 inches to the width and 1.5 inches to the length.

I have one very satisfied customer and it was really enjoyable sewing these up.  I've actually sewn quite a lot of basics lately and I'm keen to sink my teeth into something a little more challenging over the long weekend.