Monday, December 10, 2012

Project #29: Style Arc Creative Cate

For the longest time, I've danced around this pattern. I'd received it as the free pattern with my first Style Arc order. I LOVE cowl neck tops and dresses, but after the disaster that was Vogue 1250 for me, I lost confidence in them. I thought, perhaps they just didn't look that good on bigger girls. So, I kept dragging out this pattern, putting it on my "to-sew" list and then putting it away again when the garment didn't eventuate.

This time, I bit the bullet, made the necessary alterations (which involved adding a significant amount at the side seams to accomodate my apple shaped body) and cut it out. I used some eggplant coloured Dry Knit that I bought in a January sale at Spotlight a couple of years ago for $2 a metre. It's perfect for a muslin. As it turns out, it's perfect for this top. The weight and drape is just right. The 'muslin' turned out so well, I wore it to work on Monday with a winter white ponte skirt that I had made earlier this year. Granted, I do work in air-conditioning so the polyester content of the fabric wasn't as bad as it could have been.

Please excuse the ridiculous look on my face. I don't even know what was going on there!

  • Added 1 1/2" to the side seams
  • Lengthened top by 2"
  • Lengthened sleeves by 2"
Changes for next time:
  • Widen sleeves 1"

I am keen to make up some more of this top now in some of the other knits I have hiding in my stash. It's perfect for using up smaller cuts, too. I also thought I might lengthen it to a dress to make up for my disappointment over the Vogue 1250 failure.

Not Another New Hobby?

I totally blame this on Sue. I specifically asked her to stop me from picking up a new hobby when we went to the Stitches and Craft Show! So what did she do? Dragged me along to the Jenny King Designs stall where they were displaying the most gorgeous crocheted garments I'd seen. Ever.

Technically, I guess I'm not BRAND new to crochet, so I guess purchasing the yarn and crochet hook to create a Collette Poncho wasn't REALLY taking up a new hobby. But it sure feels like it. I've taken to it with the fervour of the newly-converted. In no time flat, I'd finished my first Collette, made from Handspun Recycled Sari Silk. Of course, it's completely the wrong time to year to finish something like this (which is why I'm not wearing any make-up and my hair is having a shocker in the photos). But I can't wait to bust it out next year when the weather turns good again. ;-)

Then, because if I like something, then obviously everyone else will too, I made one for my work Secret Santa gift. This one, because I was operating within a strict budget is made from a cotton/viscose blend yarn I bought at Spotlight. I think I actually prefer this one, but that's more about the colour than anything else.

I've already bought yarn to make another one, but I think I might attempt something else first. I don't want to wear out this pattern's welcome.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Another Jalie Scarf Top

This one doesn't count in the Stash Garment tally, as I only bought the fabric a few weeks ago from Spotlight. Initially, I thought I might use it for my mum's Christmas top, but thought a plain one was more versatile for her. I didn't want to add this fabric to the stash, so I sewed it up at the same time as the other one. It's a thin, poly knit with a slight sheen to it. It makes a nice work top for me (only because I work in air conditioning, otherwise the polyester content would make me cook!)

I've sewn this top for me before and, other than shortening the sleeves, have made no other adjustments or changes.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Project #28: Sewing for my Mum

When my mum commented on my Jalie scarf collar top, a plan starting hatching in my mind. "Aha!" I thought, "There's an excellent idea for a Christmas present!" You see, my mum is a fabulous handmade-gift-recipient. She appreciates the thought, time, effort and expense because she's crafty herself.
I was a bit nervous with this top, though, as we are quite different in size and I didn't want to ask for measurements as that would give the game away. In the end, I just went down a few sizes from the one I normally make for myself and crossed my fingers.
I bought this fabric from The Fabric Store ages ago. It's a gorgeous colour and weight, but it gave me fits to sew. The curling at the edges was like nothing I'd ever experienced before. I conquered it with lots of pins, breaks, swearing and wine! LOL. It's much like childbirth, though, because as soon as the final stitch was in, I didn't care anymore. :-)
Fortunately, we celebrated Christmas early with my family so I got to see the top on. This is further proof that my mum is handmade-gift-worthy - she didn't bat an eyelid when I asked her to try it on straight away so I could take photos. LOL. She decided it 'couldn't be more perfect'. I LOVE getting gifts right! :-)

Here Mum is pretending to be a supermodel. I swear we hadn't had more than 2 wines by this point! LOL.
 The other benefit is that now I know her 'Jalie Size', I'll be able to make her a few other garments. All secret, of course! ;-)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Projects #25, 26 and 27: Pants and Sunshine!

I wanted to make a couple of 'real' pants from my Sure Fit Designs blueprint before it got too hot. I'm not sure I got that happening in time, but at least they'll be ready for next year.

After getting a great fit on my last muslin, I followed the instructions that come with the kit and drew up a pattern for an elastic waist pair of pants. What was interesting about this exercise is comparing the fit achieved when sewing with different fabrics.

For the first pair, the chocolate brown ones, the fabric was a good weight and drape for pants, but contained some lycra. I ended up having to take these in at the sides a fair bit. I also got some wrinkles on the back which indicated to me that the back crotch length wasn't perfect. They felt comfortable, but needed a little scooping. The photos I've included here are 'pre-scoop'. They look much better now.

For the second pair, I used a linen/cotton blend (with NO stretch) which I purchased earlier this year from The Fabric Store. I LOVE this fabric and have been waiting until I got a pants pattern sorted out before cutting into it. I didn't want to waste it on yet another pants disaster. I'm happy to say, I think I managed to avoid the disaster. Interestingly with these, I didn't have to take them in at the sides, nor do I think I need to scoop the back crotch at all. I've just pinned the hem in these photos, because I just couldn't wait any longer to take photos. Rest assured, the pants are now hemmed and hanging in the guest room cupboard along with all my other clothes that are too hot to wear!

Coming up next with the pants pattern is adapting it to reflect some current designs. I need some new shorts and capris, so I'm endeavouring to use my SFD blueprint to get a good fit with those. I've been looking around at other patterns and RTW garments to gain some inspiration. I think I want to tackle adding some pockets, slanted ones at the front and welt ones at the back and slimming the legs down a bit. I've not sewn a welt pocket before so that will be a new skill to work on.

Project #27: Yet another Hot Patterns Sunshine Top (worn above with the linen pants)

I think this is officially my 10th rendition of this top. Even my husband recognises the pattern now, but I'm not letting that slow me down. I have some serious love for this pattern. It's the most comfortable and easy top pattern I own.

Most of the previous Sunshine tops (and dresses) I've made have been in a printed knit, with the exception of one. That plain one got flogged to death and got retired last year. I've been meaning to add a few other plain ones for ages. This chocolate brown one is the first out of the blocks. I've got another couple cut out, just need to find the time to sew them up!

And, just like that, I'm over halfway in my Stash Project misson. ! Yay!

Projects #23 and 24: Glittery and Shiny Things

The next 2 projects are going to set the world on fire with my excellent sewing skills, BUT they did the trick which was to make DD happy. I fully embraced the 'costume sewing' standard of viewing the end product in the dark while its wearer is bolting from house to house with a bucket full of lollies! Nevertheless, the fabric is gone from my stash, so it counts, right?

Project #23: The black sequin circle skirt.

Back in a former rendition of my life, I sewed quite a few circle skirts from sequin fabric for my DD's dancing school. They are super easy to make and fun to wear. Now, DD doesn't do dancing any more, but apparently, she felt the need for a black sequin circle skirt recently. It just so happened that there was a piece just large enough in the scraps bag, so the skirt was cut out.

It sat on top of the pile for a few days when, just this morning, as I was looking over the sewing list and wondering when I was ever going to find time to sew up all these planned garments, it occured to me that I had an hour before anyone else would be getting up. Perfect! I shut the doors to my sewing room so I didn't wake anyone, and stitched up the skirt in 20 minutes. Boom! One thing off my sewing list, and onto the 'Sew a Garment from Stash or Marg will Rouse' list. ;-)

Project #24: Halloween Costume - AKA The Sparkly Vampire!

For this project, I received a brief in the form of a highly detailed and labeled drawing. Items were very specific, so I didn't have much room to move. LOL. Luckily, I've trained my girl in the art of simplicity so nothing was very difficult. All fabrics came from the leftover dance fabrics I've been storing (for no particular reason).

The costume consisted of a silver sequin tunic (I used Ottobre 03-2009-32), a black tulle tutu (major usage of the ruffler foot went on with this piece, but not a lot of planning) and a sparkly red cape (essentially a giant rectangle gathered onto a piece of ribbon - easy peasy!). She wore tights with this ensemble as the skirt is scandalously short - and a bit see-through. I didn't get a picture on the night (it was dark and raining) but I promise to do better next year!

I'm counting this one as one project as there was nowhere near enough to call it three!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

{Backtracking} Project #18: A View to a TNT

My holy grail is to develop a stable of TNT patterns for all the basic garments I like to wear. Ideally, I like to have patterns for a pair of pants, a basic t-shirt, a woven shirt or blouse, a shift dress and a straight skirt.

I chose this pattern from Burda WOF (xxxx). I liked the casual feel and thought it could be a pretty versatile skirt for me. I don't really have need for a formal skirt in my line of work, and I definitely don't need one when I have my SAHM hat on, so this one was perfect.

I made it up in a super-simple-to-sew cotton with a tiny floral print that didn't require any matching at all. I was looking for the easiest project in the world. I took my time with the details, knowing that I would be coming back to this skirt over and over.

I don't know why I feel compelled to include all these photos other than they exist! LOL.
It's really hot here ATM, so you're getting no make up and frizzy hair.

For this first version, I omitted the cargo pocket. It just wouldn't have looked right in my fabric anyway. I took care to stabilise the pocket edges with fusible seam tape so they wouldn't gape. I changed the order of construction with the waistband to allow for easy alterations in the future. I used Debbie Cook's Fly Front Tutorial (which I use for every single fly front that I sew). Finally, I used a technique I learned from the Threads Insider CD to mitre the uneven corners inside the walking vents.

I'm fairly sure I would have added some extra width to the front and omitted the darts, but it was a little while ago now and I can't remember. I'll have to check the pattern when I sew up another one, because I have no doubt that there will be more.

Next time, I'll need to be sure that the waistband is snug, as this one is a little loose. It's pretty easy to take in, but it's not dire yet. I'll wait until after Christmas, I think, before adjusting any waistbands! LOL.

It sat in the wardrobe for a while because I didn't have a top to wear with it, but I bought a couple of plain t-shirts last week that work with it. So now I can at least wear it for shopping and school pick-ups. I think I need to make a better blouse to wear with it if I'm going to wear it to work.