McCall's 6992 - out of season

Sunday, 21 December 2014

At the start of winter I bought this great quilted knit fabric from Spotlight - it's light, warm and so soft.  The problem was I couldn't work out what I wanted to make with it and it has been hanging round the sewing room for months.  Once fabric gets put into the appropriate stash cupboard it can be quite a while before it comes out again and the cupboards might be pretty full :)

I finally decided McCall's 6992 would be a good option just as the weather started warming up for summer!  Oh well, there has still been plenty of cooler days and this great little top is getting plenty of wear.

This is sewn up straight out of the packet with 1.5 inches added to the hem - surprisingly I didn't need to add any length to the sleeves.  I used black ponte for the contrast neckband and cuffs.  That worked well on the neckband but not quite as well on the cuffs.  I tend to push my sleeves up and it doesn't have quite enough stretch to do that comfortably.  Love the shoulder dart, it makes the top sit really nicely.

This make has been a great addition to the wardrobe and it pairs well with both jeans and shorts so will likely get a few wears on cool nights over summer too.

Stash additions - Joy's Fabric Warehouse

Friday, 19 December 2014

We are done!!  No more work, school or sport for 2014.  We're all completely exhausted and really looking forward to the holiday break :)

Last month Wade and I celebrated our wedding anniversary in one of my favourite places in the world - Torquay.  On the way home we stopped in at Joy's Fabric Warehouse in Geelong.

It's a nice sized shop with a good range of fabrics - I visited in the middle of a thunderstorm which seems to have influenced the fabrics I chose!

From left to right I bought a coated cotton drill, a soft knit blend (it's so soft I thought it was poly, but it definitely has a good amount of wool in it), moleskin, a beautiful woven bamboo/silk blend and a fine stretch mesh.

I'm planning on the coated drill becoming a pair of Ginger jeans and hopefully a Moss mini, the knit has already been sewn up, the moleskin is for another pair of Ginger's, no idea what I'm doing with the bamboo/silk but it felt so amazing I couldn't leave it, and the mesh was bought for lingerie - I'm thinking the Watson bra might be a good option.

I've managed only the most minimal of sewing lately so I'm looking forward to spending some quality time in my sewing room over the next few weeks.

White for summer - Simplicity 2250

Thursday, 23 October 2014

As I put this jacket on again this morning I realised that I still hadn't blogged it.

As I was making this up I didn't think I was going to like it.  The sleeves are wider than I was expecting and a lot shorter (despite adding additional length) and I was worried that it wouldn't work very well with either my figure or my existing wardrobe.  It was miserable on the day we took these photos hence the dark, slightly blurry indoor shots taken by my totally disinterested 11 year old.

Turns out I shouldn't have worried - it's incredibly versatile and very comfy and I'm surprised how often i'm wearing it!

This is Simplicity 2250 in a size 14.  I added 1.5 inches in extra length to the sleeves and through the body.
I couldn't find an exact match for the bias binding, and I didn't want a contrast so I finished the edges with a narrow band (below).

This was made using leftovers from another project so I had to piece the band, but I think it has worked pretty well.  I've also left off the shoulder pads and front self lining.  This is possibly the most basic jacket anyone could make - it would be a great beginner project.

At the end of September I drew myself up a sewing plan for October - I was more than a little ambitious and have barely had time to get to my machines.  I'm considering taking patterns and fabric in to work and using the boardroom table on my lunch break - does anyone else do this? 

Easy peasy - StyleArc Elle

Friday, 3 October 2014

The majority of the pants and jeans in my wardrobe are either wide leg or have a bootcut and I am thoroughly sick of the silhouette.  Enter the Elle pants from StyleArc.

These are basically instant gratification sewing, three patterns pieces and an elastic waist which sits flat when worn.  These are a straight size 14, I added extra length but ended up removing it.

I ordered bengaline from StyleArc to make these up but had to throw it in the bin.  I didn't check the fabric properly and I cut them with the stretch going the wrong way - in my defense the stretch on bengaline is parallel to the selvedge which is the opposite to almost every other stretch fabric.

  When I first put these on I wasn't sure I liked them, but they're actually getting a lot of wear.  Another project off my sewing table and into my wardrobe.

So my plan to clear the decks in September has worked really well.  I've finished all the projects I had in various stages of constructions - the link seems to be that they're all really basic and I think I just lost interest in them.  I have a couple more to show you and then it's on to my plans for October.  I also got a bit click happy on the StyleArc website last night and I can't wait for my new patterns to arrive.

Classic - New Look 6230

Thursday, 25 September 2014

I'm still finishing up WIPs.  I have no idea why it took me so long to finish this top, all I needed to do was add the neckband and hem it.

This is New Look 6230 in a white ponte knit and black textured poly jacquard.

I cut a size 14, added an extra 1.5 inches inches length through the waist and an extra inch to the sleeve length and at the hem.  I also ended up letting out the side seams slightly from just below the bust to the hem, I seem to have accumulated an extra layer of winter padding!

I had to put dart at the top of the shoulders so that the neckline would sit flush against my skin.  I think that is a result of the bulky fabric I used, not necessarily the pattern.  I also had issues with the raglan sleeves not matching up properly at the neckline, the back sleeve was about half an inch longer.  

For me the neckline is also too wide, which is not something I usually need to adjust for and certainly not something that is reflected in the photo on the pattern envelope.  The fit would also have benefited from a sway back adjustment, maybe next time!

Overall it's a nice top and I may use the pattern again in a more fluid fabric.

The Matrix Dress - Simplicity 1873

Friday, 19 September 2014

Operation 'Clear the decks in September' is off to a great start.  I had a bit of sewing time last weekend and managed to complete three items and I'm feeling pretty good about them too!  Excuse the wrinkles in the photos - I'd just finished work.

This dress is Simplicity 1873, previously made here.  I loved this dress and knew that I'd be making it again.  I fixed the back issues I had last time but looking at these photos, particularly the one below, I think that the back also needs a little bit of length taken out.  It's probably also a smidgen tight, but how good is that invisible zipper!

I know I'm often pretty down on Spotlight fabrics but I really like their printed cotton sateens. This one was labelled Matrix green and it kind of stuck in my head, hence the Matrix dress.

When I went to cut this out I realised that it had light and dark stripes running through the pattern.  So while I didn't worry about pattern matching, I did make sure that I kept the light and dark stripes consistent.

When I purchased the fabric I forgot what a fabric hog this skirt is.  Like last time I ended up folding out several of the pleats just so that I could fit all the pattern pieces on.  I've still got a lovely full skirt, but I've removed the pleats which would have sat on my hips.  I should have added a couple inches to the skirt length, but completely forgot.  It's a little shorter than I usually prefer to wear to work, but I think I can get away with it.  

I love my Matrix dress and I received several compliments from people who don't usually comment on my clothes, which just made my day.  I had planned to wear this with a Nettie bodysuit underneath - I have the pattern and the fabric but decided against starting another new project :)  I'm really glad this dress is finished and in my wardrobe.

Dance leotard...just because.

Monday, 8 September 2014

No plans for September sewing - I really need to clear off the WIPs first.  Too many things on the go has me feeling really unsettled.  So, I'm hoping that I can clear the sewing decks in September.

I made these leotards a few weeks ago.  Just because Paige asked.  And asked.  And asked.  You get the picture.  Paige tells me she has been asking for over three years so I guess it was time I came to the party.

Paige doesn't take dance lessons, or calisthenics, or gymnastics.  But she loves to do hand stands and cart wheels and walk overs with the best of them.  She'll spend hours flipping on the carpet in the lounge room.

In the last 40% off sale at Spotlight I picked up this beautiful blue, four way stretch velour.   I went through my Ottobre magazines and picked out design #30 from spring 2007 (1/2007).  Paige wanted long sleeves and no ruffles or frills.

I ended up making a size 122 and adding an extra 1 1/4 inches of length through the body and I think I added about 3 inches extra length to the sleeves which I ended up leaving unfinished or they would have been too short.

This was so much fun to make.  Super quick - all done on the sewing machine and it fits pretty well.

Then I made another one in some loud orange and silver lycra I picked up on the Spotlight discount table.  I added another inch to the length through the body this time as the blue one tends to creep up when she's flipping.  You can see the difference the extra length makes in the photos below.

These are so much fun to make - really quick and easy!

I managed to do a little sewing Sunday afternoon so one of my WIPs is almost finished - hopefully I can show you later this week.

Tropical birds or silk scout number #2

Friday, 29 August 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, 9 August 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, 4 August 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, 10 July 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, 16 June 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, 8 June 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, 4 June 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.