Saturday, 28 February 2015

Knipmode May 2012 -Amazing Technicoloured Dream Skirt .

 Hello , I have finished sewing a new outfit in February .

Pattern Used - Knipmode May 2012 - Skirt ( Rok 16 ) . Out of my 4 Knipmode magazines this is my favourite. There are heaps of patterns I want to sew and this particular one was not even on my radar.
I was inspired by a photo of Princess Mary wear a gently pleated colourful skirt with a cowl necked satin top . I finally chose this pattern - a semi-circle skirt with deep box pleats in the front  and in-seam pockets .
The pattern is well drafted and the markings on the pieces are all the directions you need if you have sewn heaps of skirts before.

Fabric - Liberty Tana Lawn - This was a special gift from an English friend posted to me 4 years ago . The print is called Ian Rhodes and was from the Spring/Summer 2011 collection. She suggested I sew a dress and I even bought a couple of dress patterns for this but finally decided I would get more wear by making a skirt and fabric like this deserves to be worn. It is an unusual  liberty print made up of rectangles of   muted  colours of aqua, rose, terracotta , indigo, chartreuse , ecru etc. The colours are so crazily varied but somehow it works ! This is the first time I have ever made myself a garment from Liberty and hopefully not the last. I lined the skirt with some blue whatever stuff that was in my stash as the lawn is too fine as is for a skirt.

 I was so hyped up from sewing this Liberty ( finally ) that I went and bought some - for  another  friend- paying it forward so to speak . She is turning 50 this year and is a seriously good seamstress ( like drafting her own designs, only using natural fibres, proficient at fitting  etc ) . There are hundreds of designs to chose from but the decision was really easy because I chose the one that has her  professional name - how seriously cool and weird  is that -having a liberty fabric name the same as your own .

Now I have so many tops that  match this skirt already but a project like this deserves a new one . So I also sewed a new top .                                                                        

Pattern Used - Simplicity 2418.
Fabric  - Navy charmeuse from the Clegs remnant sale in 2012 . If ever there was a way to slow down your sewing then charmeuse is it.
Slippery and difficult but beautiful. A real prima
donna of fabrics .

And then because I was procrastinating making yet another pair of New Look shorts for my eldest daughter I went and sewed yet another top to match.

Pattern - Simplicity Threads wardrobe  Pattern - 4368 . It includes patterns for a jacket , pants, skirt and top . I love the square neckline with three little pintucks . It only took one metre of fabric and it includes sleeves !
Fabric - lemon light weight silk look dupioni .

OK so now I really don`t have any excuses to not sew that fourth pair of shorts - sigh.
Hope everyone is having a great weekend . Janine.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Pattern Review Sew Stylish Sew Along - New Cardigans.

Hello ,  these are the initial results of my attempts at following along with the Pattern Review Stylish Sew Along .
Note I am interpreting this as becoming more stylish not being stylish . So believe me these two cardigans are a whole lot better than what they replaced because even I realise that these cardigans are not what you would see on the best dressed lists!

The first cardigan is made from Butterick 3461 ,  a Kathy Ireland Lifestyle Wardrobe pattern from 2002. It is a long line slim fitting cardigan with a V neckline and gentle side seam shaping.It is such a basic pattern that I can't see any reason to but a newer pattern.  The fabric is a white stable  knit with a herringbone pattern. The recommended fabric is a knit with moderate stretch but this worked out fine.
I actually bought and made this pattern when it was first released from a caramel coloured fake suede which was the worst fabric I have ever sewed with even though it looked really good. I'm glad that I have revisited this pattern despite my bad memories . I was so pleased with the end result that I  actually hand stitched all the hems rather than my usual machine hem job  . I think it  looks much better and  I should just consider doing this all the time.

The cream cardigan on the left uses Kwik Sew 2875 which I have made several times but using  the hoodie version and also the great little camisole that comes with it.
I used my paisley embossed fleecy which is really lovely fabric but impossible to photograph . I only had one metre so I was really limited in what I could sew and in the end  this was the only pattern I could use . I actually wanted to make a raglan sleeve windcheater . There are pros and cons to op shop fabric and this is one of them. Finding great material but just not enough of it. From now on I will just have to leave these pieces behind .

Anyway end result is that I got rid of a couple of old cardigans and used some old stash to make replacements- a win-win situation .

The Stylish Sew Along has also inspired my next sewing projects. I am finally going to use some Liberty lawn given to me by a friend 4 years ago and am making up a couple of new tops which will match as well.
I highly recommend reading this sew-along/ discussion  . There are all different sewers , from different parts of the world , with different sewing needs but with the same common goal - trying to lift style game and get out of a rut. Happy Sewing Janine.

Straw Bale and Rammed Earth homes.

Hello Vancouver Barbara and anyone else who is interested !
Well spotted about the rammed earth wall!
This wall features heavily in my pictures now because I have no garden yet to speak of.
We just moved in a little over a year ago into what is mainly a straw bale house but it features two rammed earth walls. All the windows and glass doors are double glazed with a very tight airlock. They were worth every cent.
The temperatures here range from a rare 0 degrees but we have had temps up to 44 degrees Celsius. The thick walls are really insulating and even after 4 days of the mid 40s it was still pleasant inside - we recorded 28 inside max.
We don't have an air conditioner just overhead fans and our only heating is a single wood fire heater. The other noticeable difference between this house and others is that it is so quiet.
Apart from this it is orientated towards the north so we get the sun coming in during winter but the eaves stop the summer sun.
We didn't build this house ( we built the home we moved from and knew what hard work it was ) so paid a builder this time. He had never built a straw bale or rammed earth home but he has an excellent reputation and we trusted him and he enjoyed the challenge.
It's an incredibly comfortable home to live in and it is part of my husbands passion to reduce our carbon footprint. Anyway we love our home. All I need now is a garden .
If you can think of any questions let me know !
By the way I love Vancouver . I've been lucky enough to visit twice and my husband's  aunt married a Canadian and has lived in Vancouver for almost 50 years.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Another Round of Spots - New Look 6100

First of all thank you  SarahLiz for confirming I am a light Spring because it is easy to second guess yourself
even after going through the steps on the site a couple of times .
Barbara  here is the link - .  This will take you to the main site .Then click on fashion 101 at the top and then on colors . I tried to link directly but it didn`t work for some reason.  Also  I hope the site doesn`t have any issues with it but for what it is worth it doesn`t seem to ( this coming from a virtual computer illiterate ) .
BeaJay - Exactly !!  your thoughts about the colour analysis what if you don`t really like them or you love ones that aren`t in your group - life is too short to be conscripted to certain rules . However I realise that  I tend towards the colours that suit me   - I prefer cream over white , navy over black , softer muted colours over  really bright ones anyway.

OK , onto the shorts. I have made three pairs of New Look 6100 this year with one pair yet to come !
Two pairs were muslins - black and white spots and navy and white spots plain cotton before moving onto the `real ` fabric - a stretch cotton sateen with a circle pattern  from Spotlight last year . In the end I went down two sizes from my daughter `s measurements because the ease added was a lot and I was using a stretch fabric and she did not want baggy shorts.

The I have to maintain my status as favourite child pose. Just a family joke really and honestly .  

The I can`t  believe I am posting this on the internet shot. 

The shorts has a curved waist band/ yoke, front angled pockets and a side zip . They were fairly simple and came together well but trying to pattern  match circles in the front, sides, yokes, pockets  etc sent me loopy and in the end didn`t work out  the way  I wanted ( but I don`t think DD cares ) . I should say I made the straight leg pair but there is a flared leg version which would  look good in a drapey patterned rayon .

The real pair of shorts with my annoying pathetic attempt at pattern matching . 
Now my eldest DD wants a pair just like above and because I bought a ridiculous amount of fabric there is enough left over ( but I am sneaking in some selfish sewing for me beforehand )
PS I should clarify I don`t have a favourite child and because very rarely my family looks at this blog I love you all !

Colour Analysis and The Stylish Sew-along.

I have been loosely following along with the Pattern Review Stylish Sew-Along.
The purpose is to basically up our style.
The discussions have covered culling wardrobes,  style sites, hints to feeling more stylish and working out our colours amongst others.
I think this site was linked  in the thread - The Chic Fashionista - but it has an excellent article on doing a colour analysis . I  tried to do my colours many years ago but the choices seemed so limited. You could chose from red , blonde , black or brunette hair. Eye colouring was limited to blue, brown, green and black . So my mother with red hair and brown eyes is an Autumn. My father with black hair and blue eyes is a Winter. But what about their mousy haired daughter with tri-coloured blue/green/hazel eyes . Mousy coloured hair is so common but none of the colour analyses included such a mundane hue .
This site does and finally I have worked out I am a Light Spring.
I had to write this down so I don't forget.

I have done  some sewing - three pairs of shorts for my daughters using New Look 6100 .
I have also sewed a couple of new cardigans as part of the Stylish Sew-along to replace outdated, stained ones in my wardrobe. I have just finished sewing a navy charmeuse top using Simplicity 2418 and tonight cut out my precious Liberty lawn given to me by an English friend using a KnipMode skirt pattern. I hope to post some pictures soon.

Happy sewing Janine.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Japanese Stylish Dress Book - Tunic G .

getting used to this self timer/ self shots thing. 

 My last sew of the year - This is tunic G from the Stylish Dress Book .
I was gifted this book from my  friend  this year. She loves sewing for her grandchildren and she thought her teenage granddaughter might like the styles but she apparently totally rejected the idea  . So there is one positive to be said for difficult teenagers ! I ended up with a great book .
Now after I cut this tunic out another friend told me how roomy the patterns are and she made a different top in quite a small size - umm too late !

 Here is a totally unadulterated shot of how large it was to start with. There are no finished garment  measurements that I can see anywhere so  I used size 12 which pretty much accorded with  my personal measurements. I thought that this would be OK because yes the tunic did look very large in the pictures but the models are petite waifs . So I took out a total of 24 cms from the bottom edge  6 cms from the front and back both sides tapering to nothing at the armhole. That was an improvement but still not quite right so I also took about 10cm from the length.
The tunic is still very very roomy but it is comfy and I like the style so it is a keeper. I used a pale ice blue textured ? poly blend and also my favourite buttons - ying and yang mother of  pearl beauties recycled from a top I sewed in the 90s. Wish I hadn't waited so long to re-use them.

I love lots of the patterns in this book so I definitely will  be making up more items but I will be totally more aware of the sizing. The tunic was relatively easy to make and the instructions and diagrams were adequate for someone with experience.

I`m glad 2014 is coming to an end - its been a mixed bag this year - good and bad - and I am just happy our family survived it.
In terms of sewing I managed to sew 25 garments for myself and my family.  16 were for myself and 9 for my husband and daughters. I also sewed curtains , pillowcases and kitchen hand towels for my eldest daughter who moved to Melbourne to go to uni. I was happy with what I made -both in quantity and quality and it all gets worn .
I hope everyone has a happy and healthy and safe 2015. Cheers to a New Year - Hip Hip Hooray.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Vintage Simplicity 9497 - White and Navy Spotty Dress.

Simplicity 9497 80 a

I sewed this pattern a few years ago  but at the time of cutting out my fabric I wasn't  quite sure if it was home dec or dress fabric. Well after a few wears and washes I realized it was definitely home dec stuff. I mean if the large roses and flowers which looked like my great aunt's couch weren't a giveaway the scratchy feel which did not improve with washing made it a certainty . But the fabric was so pretty - lemon background with large various pink roses and I got lots of positive comments too! But they didn't have to  wear it so out the dress  went . But I loved the pattern so out it came out  again with fabric that was definitely of the dress variety this time. 

 This is one of the few patterns where I think the dress made up looks better than the pattern cover photo . 
On hanging this up in my wardrobe when finished I realized that out of my five summer work dresses three are basically the same variation - 1/2 shirt waister dresses with notched collars . This one has dropped shoulders , the sleeves are cuffed and the bodice is slightly gathered and attached to a yoke but otherwise very similar to Simplicity 2923.My other 2 summer work dresses are wrap styles made of knit . So there I am in a style rut . I'm not making any resolutions sewing or otherwise for 2015 but I think I will at least try another dress style next year.
I have one other completed make to blog about and am currently sewing some shorts for my daughter as well . Then I will tackle my ` coffee` twin set I recently posted about  and see what I can do with that. After that I have no  projects planned so can start  afresh .
Hope everyone had a great Christmas and is well.
Cheers Janine.