Sunday, 10 April 2016

Simplicity 2153 - Lemon-Lime Linen Anorak.


Two posts in one day !  I love this casual anorak pattern from Simplicity and then found this lovely hefty soft citrusy coloured linen in the op shop for only $5 - bargain. I thought it would be perfect match for my pattern and it was with caveats.


First of all finding an open ended zip to match was really hard - in the end I found a kind of matching one in a small packed to the rafters haberdashery shop near my Mum's house. However it was 10cm shorter than what was specified for the pattern. I thought about using buttons or adding a placket to conceal a non- matching zip. Then when I came to cut out the fabric I did not have enough ! The tag said there was 2 1/2 metres which is exactly what is needed for the anorak. On closer inspection the tag had 2.1 metres with the 1 crossed off and 2 written down so it looked like 2 1/2 metres. So I had  to shorten the body pieces by 10cm which meant the zip was perfect .
Once all that palaver was through, making the jacket was easy. It is an unlined zip front jacket with 3 collar choices and either sleeveless or with sleeves. There are optional draw strings at the waist and hem and a couple of different pocket designs.
I had to use the smallest collar option and added a drawstring at the waist , the diagonal pockets and tabs at the sleeves and shoulders .



The jacket has enough room to wear over a jumper and is nicely shaped through the middle helped by the adjustable drawstrings .


I really enjoyed making this jacket as much as I like wearing it . The linen package also came with some coordinating plaid which is used extensively inside the jacket- the bias binding along the front facings, the drawstring channel , yoke lining ,  the hem facing ( to get the most of my jacket length ) and pocket linings.
Apart from having to shorten the jacket by 10 cms  I added a yoke lining and added the totally non-functional lining / buttons to the functional pockets. I also shorted the sleeves by 2-3 cm but I think I might need to take off even more -they are quite long .


I found this cool idea on Pinterest to add a lining to the pocket and button up the top part of the pocket


My only complaint about this pattern are that the front facings seem to end in no-man`s land on the yoke so I would change that next time ( oh and the sleeves are quite long ) .

Overall I highly recommend this pattern - It is a great design that you can personalise in so many ways. There are definitely going to be more of these in my wardrobe  - hopefully a winter version if I can find some appropriate fabric.



Happy Sewing Janine.

National PJ Sewing Month.








I couldn`t resist adding in the tag Handmade for a Sweet Little Girl to my teenage DD`s PJs - she did at least appreciate the humour. 
 
Well it is anyway at my house.
I have sewn more PJs than the number of full nights sleep I had in the first 5 years of my children`s lives. No exaggeration - they were terrible sleepers - hopefully nothing to do with their nightwear !
So I am very tired of sewing that same style easy but plain pattern . Therefore I took an opportunity to make something different - Grainline`s Lakeside PJs .
I only made the bottom part . They hardly took any fabric at all so I was able to squeeze these out of a small remnant less than 50cm I think . I used ready made bias binding because I did not have enough fabric to make my own and the pants took just under 2 metres .
Despite being a bit more challenging than my usual PJ fare they were still relatively easy, the only really tricky bit being the side seams where the bias binding is .
I made size 8 and my youngest daughter loves them. They are comfortable but do not have that excessive ease that the Big 4 patterns can have.  I can see more orders coming in for these from the other DDs .

The longer pair of PJs are a UFO . Now I don`t do UFOS - my projects either get finished or chucked out . This is my youngest daughter`s UFO - so short into her sewing career and already accumulating UFOs ! I have been gently reminding her we could finish these pants up ( OK probably nagging is a better term ) so when she wanted to buy more nightwear I just went and sewed these up myself - only took an hour. The fabric is a Japanese double gauze we bought in Tokyo in 2013 and much too cute to waste - Japanese do cute really really well. In amongst those pink flowers are little panda bears . We used a very old Burda pattern 8785 for the pants - the usual PJ pattern but with added bands at the leg hems and a matching contrast waist band. Again I like Burda for the fact that their patterns fit well .

So 2 new pairs of PJs and now I can get on with the real important business of sewing for myself .

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Vintage BurdaStyle Dress - Indulgent Sewing Frivolity.

It is not very often that I get to sew something a bit more special. Most of my clothes are utilitarian because that is what I need both at work and home. So when my youngest daughter decided to do the school deb I grabbed the chance to indulge in some sewing frivolity . I love my Kwik Sews, Simplicities and Knipmodes for good sewing basics but when it comes to designs with a bit more I turn to my collection of Burda magazines. A couple of years ago I found 10 recent release Burda magazines in an opshop for $20. I raced to the counter heart beating fast and greedily purchased all 10 but it is only now that I have finally made something. ( I also own about another 1/2 dozen Burdas I have picked up over the years at newsagents ) I finally chose a vintage dress reprint in the May 2012 issue .

The dress has a bias cut top with a slim fitting pencil skirt. From the front it is a quite conservative high cut blouson top . The back tells a whole different story !

The back is low cut with the most elegant draping folds. I just love it . I used some pale blue striped georgette with swirls of leaves and small mauve roses . I have had this fabric for about 10 years and it survived a couple of past culls . I only kept it because I have few pieces of material over 3 metres and thought at least it would be useful for making a toile of some unknown dress pattern. However when I saw this burda pattern I knew this fabric would be perfect for it . It is very drapey , the stripes quietly enhance the bias cut top and the soft subtle colouring contrasts with dramatic styling . I mean I don`t want to take attention away from the young slim 16 year old debutantes -ha ha.

I lined the upper bodice with a stretch knit lining as suggested but unfortunately did not have enough for the skirt so I am just going to use a slip . ALso instead of using ribbons at the shoulder seams which did not appeal to me I managed to use another long term resident craft item . Mum gave the beaded , sequinned appliques to me over 25 years ago and I was never quite sure what to do with them but realised they would be perfect for this project . In truth the shoulder seams do not need covering at all - with Burda`s drafting the pleats at the front and back match perfectly and look really lovely left alone .

Burda and I did part ways in the construction of the dress when they started describing lining the bodice. I think Burda was trying to tell me how to line the bodice so all the seams would be neatly concealed but head scratching and peering closely at the instructions did not enlighten me further so I did my own thing and it all worked out . It did mean that to finish the arm holes I used some home made satin bias binding . Also I left small slits at the bottom of the skirt side seams instead of sewing them completely up because I want to be able to walk and parents do also dance at the deb. Overall the dress was not really hard to make at all.

  I am ridiculously happy with how my dress turned out . I might make a matching belt and use a small diamante belt buckle I have but I am on the fence about that as it is not really necessary . I hope I can get some pictures of the deb night too as any proud mother I think my daughter looks stunning in her chosen gown. Happy Sewing Janine.

 Costings - Material - so old I can not remember , Pattern- Dress 133 from BurdaStyle May 2012 - $20 . Knit lining , appliques , thread , invisible zip and satin bias binding from stash . Total - $20 + .

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Simplicity 1467 - Copycat From Ballarat Pants .




 Oh thy cruel camera why do you lie so ? I am sure these pants looked better in real life but now I have seen the photos I am not so sure ! I made Simplicity 1467 a Sew Stylish wardrobe pattern. I love all the individual pieces and can see myself making up everyone eventually. I chose the pants first because I rarely make them and wanted to do something different. However pants fabric is thin on the ground in my part of the woods and I only really had two choices - this pale grey or a black and white pinstripe. Since the only other pants that I have sewn that I wear outside the house are black and white pinstripe the grey won and it just so happens that the fabric looks virtually the same as the pattern sample ! I sewed the pants pattern as is , no alterations. They are comfortable and do not look too terrible I suppose but I can see there are some wrinkles which if I get time and can be bothered could do with some pants fitting interpretations . The pants are very easy to sew and include a couple of great features . They have an elasticated waist but with the small pleats and bias cut waist band do not have the gathering and bunching which makes the usual elasticated waist garments bulky - very clever ! Also the inner pocket piece is all in one and folded over on itself which I have not seen before. I have included side and back views too . I once saw that one of the search terms on my blog was back view of older women ! Whatever - one of down and weird sides of having a public blog. I do recommend this pattern - it was far easier than writing this blog post . I am not sure if my difficulties with blogger are to do with me and my poor computer skills or my old computer or blogger . Anyway Happy Sewing . Costings - Material pale grey polyester $3.75 , Simplicity 1467 $3.00 , thread $3.00 , elastic - stash. Total $9.75

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Hello Hi-Lo Jumper - Knipmode December 2013.


I am really giving my Knipmode magazines a workout now .  I have been slow to jump on the uneven hem  bandwagon ( which is nothing different from usual ) but I like how the front gently curves out to meet the side seams and a lower back hem hides a lot . 


I used a thin slubby jumper ( sweater ) knit from Darn Cheap bought at the end of 2014 from the $2 table  .  I love the colour but the fabric is a bit delicate so I will have to be careful about snagging . It was also a bit stretchy so I was as careful as possible while sewing it . I was worried the neckline would end up near my navel. 

Knipmode December 2013 . 
The pattern is very simple V neck , slightly dropped shoulder , front centre seam , hi- lo top with pockets . It looked a bit loose fitting on the models so I did NOT add seam allowances to any of the pattern pieces . In retrospect I should have added seam allowances to the neckline but as I will always wear another top underneath I got away with that . I also did not add any hem allowances because I am discovering that Knipmode patterns are quite long . The only other changes I made were to use some navy satin bias binding on the neckline as the pattern uses a facing here  and for the curved hemline. 
I lined  the pockets  with matching scrap satin and finished the pocket tops with more navy binding . Using lining and the bias binding on the pockets actually made it easier to sew the pockets because of the fine stretchy nature of the knit. 


I used steam-a-seam on the sleeve hems , clear elastic at the shoulders but just overlocked and stitched the body hem . I was very careful applying the bias binding to neck line which I think also adds some stability to the stretchy knit as well as a nice contrast. I used a ballpoint needle and the inbuilt walking foot on my sewing maching so making the jumper was not as hard as I worried it would be.
Despite the knit being a bit see through I am happy over all with my new jumper and if the world or I gets tired of hi-lo hems then I can just chop off the back portion. 


So I have now sewn just over 1/2 of all my knipmodes. Just over a year ago I made a resolution to 
sew up garmets from my unused new pattern envelopes and pattern magazines . Unfortunately those pattern piles have increased . 



 Recently Spotlight had a great sale  - all patterns except Vogue were 3 for $9 if you were a member so I bought 6 new patterns . Also the majority of my burdas pictured here were a lucky find -10 for $20 so how could I not be greedy and scoop them up !So lots here to keep me busy for a long long time.  Happy Sewing Janine. 
Costings- Fabric from Darn Cheap $2.60 , Pattern - Knipmode $15, Notions - new ballpoint needles $4.30, thread $2.00, other notions - clear elastic, steam-a-seam, bias binding , pocket lining from stash. Total cost - $23.90

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Fresh New Start and Dresses for 2016.



Last year while I was just sitting at my sewing table, my dress form spontaneously fell over - no-one knocked her , there was no wind , she just fell over.  It might have had something to do with the mending and altering I have been piling on top so I took this as The Sign and vowed I would do something about this. I made a list of what needed doing and  for the last couple of months I have been gradually working my way through the pile and crossing off that list - so satisfying !

Fixing up a wonky hem on my dress ( has been waiting for  three years !) with the help of my best friend .
Moving buttons on two of my jackets.
Shortening a silk crepe dress for my middle daughter ( absolutely gorgeous fabric )
Shortening one of my old dresses for my older daughter.
Making a cushion cover for my eldest daughter .
Sewing up some underp@nts  that I had cut out months ago .
Fixing a torn chiffon top for my eldest daughter .
Changing the buttons on some pants for my middle daughter .
Shortening the sleeves on an liberty shirt from the op shop .
Making dishcloths out of old hand towels .
Mending a silk dress for my eldest daughter .
Adding ribbing cuffs to a top I made in 2015 .
Making another pair of underp@nts from a knit dress that would otherwise have been thrown out .
Finally cleaned out my little sewing basket and threw out some rubbishy bits and bobs.

I can now move forward in 2016 without my dress form and my sewing basket making me feel guilty.
Well I do have one cardigan left to alter but I need assistance from a sewing buddy for that as well.
The only thing is that my mending did conceal my very sad looking Daffy duct tape dress form . ( Perhaps I can get a new fancy one in the future ? )

So with all that terribly boring mostly for other people stuff out of the way I have sewn a couple of new very easy dresses.


I used a pattern from Knipmode supplement from March 2014 - Dress 103 .
A really easy pullover scoop neck dress with dropped shoulder sleeves with sleeve bands.
The first dress is made from a present of  Indonesian Batik bought in Singapore by a friend ( who helped me with the hemming ) . It is 100% cotton  . I made the pattern up exactly as shown. I did not hem the dress to make full use of the border print. I also used the darker borders for the sleeve bands and tried to centre the pattern at the front and back .  I wore it during out recent heat waves and the dress was so comfy and cool.

I sewed the dress on the far left . 


The second dress is made from that  single knit where the edges curl up all the time. It was given to me from my Mum . The knit does not have much stretch or good recovery so I may have stretched out the neck a bit. Instead of using a facing I added navy ribbing to the neckline . I added an elastic waist with attached navy grosgrain ribbon by cutting the dress pattern at the waist level , sewing the skirt and bodice together to make a casing and sewing two button holes in the front for the ribbon to tie .
I made size 38 and it is quite roomy . I think the pattern would be good shortened to just a top as well.
These dresses will be getting a good workout soon as  I head up to Townsville with my daughter who is moving there to study - bittersweet times .

Costings. Pattern $15 averaged out including postage costs. Fabric - Batik a gift - Stripe knit free Notions- thread- stash - interfacing -stash - grosgrain ribbon -stash - 2cm wide elastic - 50c ( op shop ) - steam-a-seam - $3.00 ( for the whole new role from the op shop ) Total - $18.50 for the two dresses.

Friday, 1 January 2016

Welcome to 2016 And My Corner of Contentedness.

Welcome 2016 - I have been looking forward to you for a long time.
We are hosting a Japanese student for a few months and so I had to clean out my daughter`s old bedroom where my fabric treasures live. Thus my sewing corner has had a transformation .

We moved out an old desk where my youngest daughter used to sew as she has moved the machine I gave her to her own room and prefers it there. We then shifted an old wardrobe that used to belong to my dear husband`s grandmother into that space where I now store my fabrics . 


I managed to get it all in there but the wardrobe is packed pretty full now - the fabric in the shelves is stacked two deep so there is more there than what it looks like . Looks like my New Years resolution this year really should be to sew more fabric than what comes in . I mean I have been saying this for years but all I manage is a sort of status quo . Resolutions never work for me .


The wardrobe is next to the sewing machine table and next to the wardrobe is a cupboard where I keep my patterns . I rearranged my patterns this year and bought two new pretty boxes to supplement my baskets . There are various bits and bobs like bias binding , zips , unused sewing magazines and beading stuff in the glass fronted cupboard and drawers . 


In the opposite corner is Daffy the duct tape model who is really my storage area for clothes to be mended and altered and my Dalek embroidery thread holder . My husband also recently bought a large book shelf  which you can see so I have been able to put my various magazines and books in there . The two dolls in the shelves  were bought for me by my parents when I was a young teenager from San Franscisco . The costumes are handmade and are exquisite although the blue dress includes a real mink muff which I do not feel comfortable about . 

So there is my little corner of contentedness . 

Now I love reading about everyone`s 2015 sewing achievements so I am going to add my 5 cents worth.  I sewed 34 items this year which includes six  for other people / places . I sewed 4 pairs of shorts for two of my daughters and a top for myself was stolen by the oldest DD ( I really don`t mind ). I also made some fitted sheets and pillowcases for work . Not included in my total though is a dozen hat fly nets ( and still counting ) . I have been  making these to sell as a fundraiser for our local sustainability group using all scraps and what is in my collection . 

My favourite garment of the year was my Katherine Tilton top using all scraps. I would also say that my favourite sewing of the year were my scrap projects -my navy flippy skirt and my colour blocked twill skirt . I really did have to think about how to use the restricted amounts of fabric in the best way. 

I was pleased that I used up some fabric that I had had for over 20 years -that was starting to bug me . I have worn my faded denim top lots and the red skirt is lovely to wear , matches with so much and looks good if I might say so. 
The top here is what my daughter took . 
I made up 16 new patterns . I made patterns from all the major companies but the most came from Kwik Sew and Simplicity ( six each ) and then Knipmode ( five ) . I only made the one Vogue but it ended up being my favourite so perhaps I should make more Vogues . 

The most made garments were tops - no surprises there for me - as they are what I love to make the most ! I made 13 . I also sewed 6 cardigan/ jumpers , 4 skirts , 2 dresses  and  3 garments in the nightwear/undergarment type category . I didn`t blog about these . 

I did buy new clothes for myself - a lovely jacket , three  pairs of pants and a jumper .An unexpected event  meant I also bought new pajamas and underclothing .  I also bought a few things from op shops - three shirts and a skirt  made out of silk cotton or bamboo cotton , a woollen short tweed jacket , a twin set, a pair of jeans and a leather handbag . I had a big wardrobe clean out this year and only regret throwing away my Winnie the Pooh windcheater but it meant less came in than out . Almost everything I got rid of was disgusting and not even fit for donating so it was time for that to happen.  
Anyway again I wish everyone a Happy New Year . I really love reading people`s blogs from all kinds of sewers with all different styles  from all over the world .