Christmas Saltspring

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

My final finished item for 2013 is a Sewaholic Saltspring dress.

I had grand plans to do a fancy Vogue dress for Christmas Day, but time was against me.  When I called into Spotlight on the 21st and saw this spotty printed rayon I knew it would be perfect for a Christmas Saltspring dress.  I did overhear one of the attendants at the cutting table remark that everyone would have finished their Christmas sewing so she couldn't understand why the shop was so busy.  Clearly everyone else was doing a last minute dash like me!

I cut a straight size 10 and cut the back on the fold, omitting the back zip.  I haven't sewn many Sewaholic patterns and couldn't decide whether I'd need to add extra length through the body.  I spent way too much time dithering over this, I checked pattern review and there were no mentions of extra length needed and in the end I decided that I add additional length to pretty much every pattern so I would for this one too.

For the record, if you're tall you might want to add length through the body.  I added an extra inch and would probably increase that to 1.5 inches next time I make this.  I also added 3 inches to the length of the skirt.  Overall a really simple enjoyable project.  I love the pockets and the clever blousing, I even love the ties although they need trimming.  This was the best photo I could find of the two of us together!

Goodbye 2013, bring on 2014!  Thank you so much for all your comments and encouragement this year, it means a lot.  I hope 2014 is a happy, healthy and successful one for you all.  Happy sewing :)

Christmas Shirt - Negroni 1014

Monday, 30 December 2013

I've been thinking about making Wade a shirt for a while, but have always put it off.  My sewing time has been too precious to sew for others!!

Then I found this check/plaid fabric and the colours just seemed like a good match for Wade.  I decided I'd start with the Colette Patterns Negroni shirt.  This is a nice pattern with good instructions and Wade loves the fit.

I used the size large and the only change I made to the pattern was to remove two inches of length from the sleeve.  I also left off the pockets and used a different method to hem the shirt.  This is my first time check/plaid matching and I used this tip from Jen at Grainline Studio and I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out.  I got the picture below when I asked him to raise his arms to show you the matching at the sides!

The drafting for this is wonderful.  There is very little ease in the sleeve cap and it just makes it so easy to put together.  I was running really short on time (I might have sewn the buttons and button holes on Christmas morning) so I didn't use flat felled seams for the sleeves and side seams, but I will try it next time.

I did change the way the top was hemmed.  The instructions have you fold the hem up once, fold again and then stitch.  This shirt has a front facing and I just thought that it would be bulky and messy trying to do it the way the instructions suggest.  I turned the facing to the outside (front shirt and facing are right sides together) and stitched where I wanted my finished length to be.  I then trimmed the facing to reduce bulk as shown below.

Then I turned the facing back to the inside and pressed, which gives a really neat finish to the front.  Then you finish the rest of the hem as you prefer, either overlock/serge and stitch or double fold and stitch. Hopefully this makes sense.

I'm classing this as a winner.  The fabric didn't sit in the stash for long, I really enjoyed the sewing and Wade loves the finished shirt.  Hopefully I can post my Christmas outfit tomorrow to finish the year on a sewing high.  I'm really enjoying everyone's end of year posts, but I'm not joining in because I can't seem to find the energy :)

Merry Christmas

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Just wanted to drop in and wish you all a Merry Christmas.  I still need to put the finishing touches on a couple of Christmas outfits, wrap a few presents and make up some beds!

I hope you and your families have a great day and that there is something special under the tree for all of you.

Almost instant gratification - StyleArc Ursula

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

I may have a new love.  The Ursula knit pencil skirt from StyleArc is pretty awesome.

It's the perfect shape, and because it's made from ponte, it's so comfortable!  I wore this all day at work, came home changed my shoes and went out and did all the Christmas shopping.

This is almost instant gratification, with only 5 pieces it goes together really quickly. This is a size 14 with absolutely no changes - not even additional length!  Fabric bought on a Saturday, sewn on the Sunday and worn on the Monday. Can't ask for better than that.  Now I just need some tops to wear with it.

I'm on a bit of a white kick at the moment.  I have three items in various states of completion which I hope to be able to show you soon.  All these simple garments are so good for the sewing mojo.

Splattered Scout - Grainline 31002

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Thanks everyone for your well wishes on my last post - I found out yesterday that I have passed all modules!

I feel so much more relaxed and I'm really enjoying time in my sewing room.  I've even managed to sew three (basic) items, the first one being the Scout tee from Grainline Studios.

I think everyone else has said everything there is to say about this top - mine's a size 12 with an extra inch in length through the body.  I even cut into my much loved and patted Liberty fabric.

I've always admired Liberty fabric on others, but the floral prints just don't feel like me, so when I saw this splatter print tana lawn (Melly) I snapped it up. It was such a pleasure to sew.  The fabric was beautiful and the pattern went together perfectly - even the bias strips behaved themselves.  Because it was Liberty I felt like I should use french seams instead of the over locker, and I was incredibly proud of myself for using them on the set-in sleeves too.  Not something I've ever done before, but it was actually pretty easy and now my top looks beautiful on the inside too.

I'm getting my sewing mojo back and I love it.

Happy Days

Monday, 2 December 2013

Today I handed in my last assignment!!  I'm having a glass of my favourite pink bubbly to celebrate and can't wait to get into my sewing room.  The only problem now? I can't decide what to sew :)

Happy sewing.

Flippy - McCalls 6842

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

This skirt is so much fun.  It's quick to make, twirls beautifully and swishes around your legs while you're walking.

I used McCalls 6842 view D and a beautiful ponte fino knit from  I ended up cutting out a size 12, removed 3 inches from the length and omitted the back zipper and waistband facing.

The photo below is what I get when I ask my 10 year old to take pictures - but it gives you a better idea of the skirt shape.  I wouldn't normally pair this top with this skirt, but I have a real lack of summer tops, both for work and causal.

One of the best parts about making this skirt is knowing how much money I have saved!  I saw this Witchery skirt and loved it, but not the $100 price tag.  I even went in store to try it on thinking I could justify the purchase somehow (I was thinking along the lines of no time to sew and I need some new clothes).  I really liked it, but it was far too short for me to wear it to work.  I'm so glad I checked the McCalls patterns because this is an exact match, in a better fabric at a more work appropriate length.

Obligatory twirling shot - slightly more revealing than I expected but so. much. fun.

Apologies for the slightly out of focus photos, but I decided it was better to post with dodgy photos than not post at all.  My last assignment is due this week, so hopefully I can spend a little more time in my sewing room after that.  I'm sure Wade does too because at the moment I'm buying plenty of fabric and patterns to get my sewing fix :)

A little bit of summer - Simplicity 6107

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Mum rang this afternoon and said that she was going to stop checking my blog because it never changes - so Mum, this one's for you :)

Despite my love for pencil skirts I have exactly none in my wardrobe and every time I try to make one the results are less than flattering.  Every other sewing blogger talks about how simple pencil skirts are so I feel like a bit of a failure for having so much trouble getting one to fit me properly.

I can't say I'm overwhelmingly in love with this skirt either, but the photos are convincing me it looks better than I thought it did.  This is Simplicity 6107 , view d made up in a stretch cotton sateen I picked up at Spotlight.

Like every other pencil skirt I've made I ended up with a very 'poofy' front - the fabric just folds in on itself in a very unattractive way.  I tend to look like I'm wearing a skirt designed for the male anatomy.  I blame my 'mummy tummy' and have tried all sorts of combinations of darts and nothing seems to work particularly well.

I've since read that someone else just folded that excess fabric out of their pattern (sorry can't remember where).  A simple solution and one my study addled brain didn't think of!  Instead I extended the front darts by 2.5 inches which has helped, but not completely eliminated the problem.

I'm not a huge fan of people being able to see the outline of my pelvis so  I was incredibly conscious of not making the skirt too tight.  After wearing the skirt all day I could probably have taken the waist in a little more as it didn't feel particularly secure.

Well I now have one pencil skirt in my wardrobe and next time I'm going to try folding the excess out of the pattern.  I made my first order recently and received my fabrics on Monday.  I've been madly studying all day so that I can finish my assignment and spend a totally guilt free, self indulgent day in my sewing room tomorrow.

Time to get back to the books.

More for the man - Jalie 2918

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

It has been over a year since I made anything for Wade and he asked me recently to make him another couple of t-shirts.  Apparently he really likes the fit of the tops I made him last year, he wasn't just wearing them to keep me happy!

So I searched the fabric cupboard and found a couple of pieces that he was happy with.  So far only this one has been sewn up, but the others will hopefully follow soon.  I'm can't exactly remember what type of fabric this is, I bought it from gorgeous fabrics several years ago.  It's beautiful quality, has a 'terry cloth' look on the wrong side and is a grey marle with a really fine orange stripe.  All wrong for my colouring, but looks great on him.

I made this up exactly the same as last time using a straight size 42 with no alterations.  Men can be so easy to sew for.

I used orange thread in the overlocker and liked it so much that I also used it for the twin needle finish.  It took me three sessions to make this top, but it was so lovely to be able to duck into my sewing room for ten minutes at a time and just sew a couple of seams.  Very therapeutic.  I have actually made a couple of other things recently but...well, they're not failures, but they're not winners either if that makes sense.

Anyway, Wade loves his new top.  He wore it as soon as I finished it and told everyone he saw that I'd made it for him.  It's nice to feel appreciated!

This Lola's no show girl

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

After seeing this fabulous version of Victory Patterns Lola dress I had to get myself a copy.  It looked like the perfect casual winter dress, great with a pair of boots and tights.

I downloaded the pattern, taped it all together, cut into my beautiful new ponti from Tessuti, top stitched all my seams and then tried it on.

That's not a happy face is it?

This dress is absolutely enormous.  I look six months pregnant.  Seeing Lara's version only rubbed salt into my wounds.  No one else mentioned the sizing being funky.  My measurements almost exactly matched the measurements on the pattern size chart - in fact they were slightly larger than those on the pattern but I figured I'd get away with it.  Looks like I could have gone down a couple of sizes.

What an awful waste of beautiful fabric, I hope I can salvage it.  I'm planning to order this skirt in the very near future and hopefully I can squeeze it out of the panels on this failure.  I might try this pattern again sometime next winter.

On a happier note I've found a Lola that I love.  Ohhh Lulu's Lola undies.  They're fabulous.  I made two test pairs in random cotton lycra scraps and I can't wait to make some pretty ones in nicer fabrics.  The suggested leg finish is to turn under and twin needle - which I tried on my other pair.  On this pair I used fold over elastic.  I prefer the finish of the FOE, but I think it all depends on the fabrics you use.

I treated myself to another couple of pieces of fabric from Tessuti and managed to finish cutting out a pair of pants tonight.  Hopefully I can blog them next week.

Golden shoulders - Burda 09/2012 #123A

Monday, 12 August 2013

Yep, still here.  Thanks for all your kind words and well wishes.  I shout my good news from the roof tops and then disappear for a month.  I'm not too proud to say that there have been days lately where I have been so tired that I've wanted to cry.  But, hey it's character building, right?!

Sewing.  You came here for the sewing.  Well I have managed to squeeze in tiny little bits of sewing and during one of those sessions I made Burda 09/2012 #123A.  I loved Christy's version but I don't go anywhere to wear actual sparkles - so I used matte sequins instead.

I love the way this top turned out.  I cut my usual Burda 42 and added an extra two inches in length to the body and one inch to the sleeves.  I didn't need to.  I'll leave the sleeves but when I get the chance I'll go back and take two inches off the hem.  Sorry about the dodgy photos - it's never easy to take pictures of yourself in winter.

I've never sewn with sequins before and it was pretty fun.  Messy, but fun.  I really love the matte sequins and I can see it pared with more white fabric in some sort of summer dress...but not just yet because it's cold and it's wet and I want some more warm clothes to wear.

I haven't had much of a chance to comment on other blogs, but when I get the chance I love to check in on you all and get my sewing fix.  The online sewing community is such a great place.  Hopefully it won't be another month before my next post.

A winter winner - Vogue 8742

Monday, 8 July 2013

Wow - over a month with no post.  I've only managed the smallest bits of sewing in the last month, life has been so busy and overwhelming that blogging just had to be put aside.

I had my three babies while I was studying for my university degree and since I graduated I've worked part time hours.  Earlier this year I was seconded into a new role (which I love) and I have just been permanently appointed to the position - full time!  To celebrate this significant milestone I treated myself to some lovely new fabric from Tessuti.

One of those pieces of fabric was a fantastic blue ponte that I've used to make Vogue 8742.  I've made this dress before, without the gathers, and I'm not sure which one I like best.

This fabric molds to your body more than the fabric I used last time, so I didn't adjust the back at all, although looking at the photo below maybe I should have!  All I had to do was add an extra inch to the body above the waistline and an extra inch to the sleeve length.  Simple.

This dress feels incredibly sexy, yet it's quite modest. It's also comfortable and warm.  It's a winter winner.

Sunday afternoon family fun

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

We have a rule in our house that on Sundays the girls aren't allowed to use their electronic devices - no iPods, no laptops etc.  This often leads to cries of 'I'm bored', but it does force them to think of other ways to amuse themselves.

Paige and Georgia have been hanging out in my sewing room with me (and often without me!).  They've been cutting up scraps and making cushions as well as pillows and sleeping bags for their toys.

Paige has been so keen to do some 'proper' sewing that I thought we'd give PJ pants a go.

I pulled out my trusty copy of Butterick 5853 and cut out an XL (10) with the width of a L (7-8).

Paige did all the sewing herself and was so incredibly proud of herself.  Check out the posing!

Because pj pants are the sewing equivalent of comfort food I whipped up a pair for Georgia and Caitlyn too.

I used the same Butterick pattern for Georgia in the same sizes with an extra 1.5 inches added to the length.  I ran out of standard waistband elastic so I used some cotton lycra and made a yoga pant style waistband.  Georgia loves them and I love that I've used up all the scraps from my koi pj pants.

For Caitlyn I used some cool printed cotton poplin (I think) that I picked up at Spotlight in Ballina. I used Simplicity 3577 in the child/teen large and added 2 inches to the length.  Due to a fabric shortage I didn't have enough for the waistband casing (and no elastic) so I cut the waist at the height of the medium size.  I hope this makes sense :)

I ended up using a soft spotty elastic for the waistband.  Due to Cait's long legs I couldn't even hem these properly, they're just overlocked!  That child is nearly as tall as I am.

I've been doing quite a lot of simple batch sewing lately but I have plans for a couple of winter white garments and I need to finish my nephew's quilt, we'll see what pushes to the front of the queue :D

Leggings bonanza - the annual re-stock

Saturday, 1 June 2013

It's that time of year where the weather has turned cold and the kids want to wear leggings with everything.  Only last year's leggings are now a good couple of inches too short and the store bought ones don't fit.

Good thing Mum can sew.

Really - they're leggings so there's not a lot to say.  I used Ottobre 1/2009 #32  for Paige and Georgia and Ottobre Women's pattern (2/2008 #16) for Caitlyn and I.  I added little ribbon tags at the back to make life a little bit easier.

This time I also made a shorts version (with a 2 inch inseam) to wear when I play netball.  I can't believe I've purchased two pairs similar to these in the past.  I can get three pairs out of a meter of fabric which only set me back $18.

It has taken me over a week to write this post!  Being the master procrastinator that I am, I'm writing this post now instead of working on an assignment.  OK, I'm off to hit the books. I'll write a quick wrap up post for Me Made May soon and then hopefully there will be some new clothes to show you.

Now it feels challenging

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

I love the first week of Me Made May.  It's all excitement, inspiration and good vibes.

Things usually start to get a bit tricky around week 2.  That's when I ask myself why I pledged to wear two me made items every day.  I've worn a lot of me made undies to fulfill my daily quota :)

My me made wardrobe is not yet at a point where I can put together a full months worth of outfits that I feel good about.  At the moment work is hectic, my personal life is hectic and studying is taking up much more time than I thought it would.  I need my clothes to help me feel good and well put together and I don't feel like it's happening at the moment, but I'm not going to give up.  Alright, enough navel gazing, lets take a look at what I wore.

Day 8
Wearing Simplicity 3686 slim fit pants, self draft top and Simplicity 2443 jacket.  Crazy dogs are optional!

 Day 9
 Wearing Simplicity 2451 skirt and Butterick 5627 top. This outfit looks much better with the black cardigan and shoes that I took off!

Day 10
Wearing another version of Simplicity 3686 pants and Simplicity 2443 jacket.

Day 11
Wearing Simplicity 3538 jacket (pre-blog) and BWOF 2/2007 105b t-shirt (un-blogged). 

Day 12
Wearing my japanese balloon top and me made undies. 

Day 13
Only wearing one me made item today and it's my stripey Kwik Sew 3740 top. 

Day 14
Had to borrow a Flickr photo from last year, but it's the exact same outfit.  Simplicity 3631 jacket (pre-blog) and Vogue 8685 dress 

MMM - Day 7b

Favourite outfit of the week goes to day 11, I do love that jacket and the t-shirt fabric is soft and beautiful to wear.  My least favourite is probably day 10, it needs a different top and day 9 looked better when I had my black cardigan on - the proportions look wrong when I take it off.

I think week three is going to be even tougher!