Monday, 14 August 2017

Knipmode Black Spotty Winter Cardigan.




Back to sensible sewing again and you can't get more sensible than this . A black wool mix cardigan in winter to replace another black cardigan that is just about as old as my youngest daughter who can now legally drive and vote and drink. I was getting thoroughly sick of it apart from some emerging holes , runs and droopiness.
I was going to sew another Style Arc Abbey cardigan but after seeing the pictures of my current one from MeMadeMay I decided I was tired of the waterfall front as well . I have a couple of other well used cardigan patterns from Kwik Sew and Butterick but they didn't feel right . I considered buying a McCalls pattern as there are a couple of cardigan patterns which are really popular and look good but this would involve a couple of hours driving there and back to buy what could be a $20 pattern . I revisited my sewing magazines and found a Knipmode one .


This is `vest ` 21 from October 2010 Knipmode , a long sleeved cardigan with slightly gathered  below bust lower fronts and backs with a wide foldover front facing .  I had never considered this pattern before because in the magazine it is very long , just above the knees and to be honest looked like a dressing gown . Then while I was helping my daughter shop for her Year 12 formal dress ( forgive me all ye sewing zealots for not sewing one ) I saw a woman wearing a shorter version and then later at lunch with my niece and her adorable twin baby boys she was wearing a similar style . So that was it !
I shorted the pattern by about 30 cms at least ( I only traced the pattern out 3 weeks ago but I can't remember what I did- getting old ? ! ) and eliminated the pockets and the front tie . I only had 2 metres of this fabric so it was necessary to shorten the cardigan anyway. Ahhh , the fabric is lovely . It is an Alannah Hill wool mix with tiny small dots from Clear It . It was really easy to sew with except the small gathers at the waist are more like pleats.



I was very careful sewing this - using iron-on interfacing at  the back and front neckline and some silk selvage at the shoulders to prevent stretching . I pressed the garment with low heat using a silk organza pressing cloth . The cardgan came together so well and easily , I sewed the sleeves in the round and they fitted perfectly.


For some reason I always get a lot of pleasure from  making a bonus pattern from my sewing magazines that I hadn't considered before and I really love this one . Also this is the last of my Clear It purchases apart from a few buttons so thinking it is time to go back ( no Janine you must keep on stashing busting , keep strong ) .

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Simplicity 2501 -Silly Unseasonal Sewing .


I have a good excuse this time to be sewing a summer top in winter .
I have used this fabric previously to sew this skirt


and then last month the  bottom of this skirt .


I had a largish piece left over with a wide short piece,a longer narrower section and a couple of small scraps.

Rather than put it away in the cupboard where it had already lived for probably over 10 years I was determine to make a top which made sense anyway to match my new skirt . I pulled out a few patterns but it wasn't until the third one that I managed to fit all the pattern pieces on . The secret being that this has lots of smaller pieces rather than fewer larger ones.

This is the third time I have made this now and I realise that each time I have used fabrics where there is not much yardage. So I highly recommend this pattern in general but especially if you have limited fabric . Of course this pattern is OOP and I was shocked to realise that it was released back in 2009. It has a vintage vibe but I really like the gentle peplum . I never got onto the peplum bandwagon a few years back because I don't think they suit me but with this pattern the peplum does not stick out too much .






The front has small pleats in the bodice while the back has darts . The peplum is finished with a narrow hem but I did not follow Simplicity's instructions for this . I use a technique described in threads where you turn up the fabric and sew  a very narrow hem , trim the excess fabric and then fold this up and sew again which encloses the raw edge . Easier and accurate if you sew slowly. I used bias binding to finish the back neck and front facings but ironically I had to buy more thread to do the last couple of buttonholes as result . Should have just overlocked the facings ! I did not use the supplied facings for the armholes ( not enough fabric ) but more bias binding . I love this fabric , linen being a material I have rarely had the pleasure of using but it is all gone now . I think I will ` retire ` this Simplicity pattern now too as even though all three versions are different , they all still reside in the wardrobe and I don't want to get bored of them. 
Happy Sewing Janine. 

Sunday, 16 July 2017

The Wave Skirt - Burdastyle 12/2012 .

skirt front 


I`m still choosing my next projects to sew by trying to get through my recent unused Burdastyle magazines hence making a summer skirt in the slap bang middle of winter. And yes a five year old Burdastyle is recent for me !
I bought this piece of batik in 2010 from the op shop but it was only small - just over one metre in length and only 115cm wide . I also  had this piece of aqua linen bought  from another  op shop but from  years before and amazingly they match really well .(  I have  already previously made a skirt from the aqua linen and after cutting out the contrast waves there was just enough to cut out a top yet to be sewn . )

skirt back 

I saw this skirt in the December 2012 issue and thought it might be an interesting and different way to use my batik . It is a slight A line skirt with 4 darts in the front and back, a centre back zip  and a narrow waist band. The lower bands are gently curved.
I lengthened the main body of the skirt by a few centimetres but did not make any other changes.

right skirt side 

 When I was tracing out the skirt patterns I was lazy and only traced out one back and one front. This made  cutting out the fabric harder because the curves are different on both sides. It meant I was cutting away curves on the tissue paper and then having to add them again when cutting out the contrast bands. It got a bit confusing and I made one mistake luckily rectified. So if anyone reading this wants to make this skirt I would trace out a complete front skirt and two separate backs and follow the layout diagram Burda provides. This would have been much  quicker in the end !
Wave skirt tech drawing
Considering I only had a small piece of batik I was pretty happy in the end with the pattern matching on the back and it is OK on the sides - good enough for me anyway . I will not make this wave skirt again but might make the basic A line skirt pattern . Overall I am happy with the result and only have to wait a few months to wear it now.

left skirt side 

Monday, 3 July 2017

Stay Calm and Sew Ruffles - Burdastyle 08/2012 Blouse 130


Actually that is not really correct - about the ruffles I mean. The description in Burda is as follows - The casual jersey blouse narrows over the hips and has soft appeal. An angled ruffle , lovely bateau neckline and raglan sleeves are all flattering details. Quite a contentious statement in more ways than one  :)  So I know I have really sewn a flouncy top but I liked my post heading :)


Burda lists this pattern as easy to sew and initially I was skeptical about that but it really was. It is  essentially a raglan sleeve top with two extra flounces. 


Above shows the front piece which consists of a lower and upper front .The lower large flounce is laid on top of the lower front piece and basted together and then sewn to the upper front. 


The flounce is then folded so the wrong side shows and the edge basted to the side seam. 


The smaller upper flounce is laid over the lower flounce and basted to the neckline and armscye . The rest of the construction is just like a normal raglan sleeved top so pretty easy. The back is totally plain.  The raglan sleeves consist of two pieces . The neckline is finished with a facing and the flounce edges and hems are left unfinished. The instructions also have the sleeve hems left raw but I couldn`t help but hem at least those ones. 




I had trouble finding reviews for this top. Sharonsews made one and found it to be oversized . This made me a little bit nervous but as I was using a non-sentimental piece of cheap jersey from the op shop I just went for it. I do like to sew using different fabrics and to experiment with different styles . I cut out my usual size 40 but did not add seam allowances to the sides. I found the top to be comfortable but not oversized. However I was surprised by how long the top was. Burda drafts for heights of 168cm and I am just slightly taller than that. My top seems longer than what the modelled shot shows. 
Overall this is a very nicely drafted top with clever details that came together really well. 



Sunday, 18 June 2017

A Sentimental Story about Super Power Fabric !



Most of my fabric stories read as ` See fabric I like , buy it , put it in my cupboard , several years later think gosh that fabric has been there a while , pull it out , cut out and sew `. The story behind this piece of fabric is very similar except for how I came to buy it.
In April 2009 my then 12 year old  middle daughter had to have back surgery . I was allowed to come into the operating theatre and sat with her while the anaesthetist administered a relaxant . He asked her what the name of her boyfriend was and as she opened her mouth to reply she ` fell asleep` . I was  bundled out of the room and then had to fill in 8 hours while she had her surgery ! I was very anxious and did not want to go far just in case . I could have gone to my family`s houses but it would take about 20 minutes to drive back to the hospital ( In Melbourne terms that is just around the corner the traffic is so bad there ).
Only a couple of minutes walk away there is a main street with lots of good shops. After filling in a couple of hours I found a Vinnies shop. Now at the time I really wanted to sew a pussy bow blouse but there were no current patterns available ( there seems to be heaps now ) . To my delight I found a vintage Simplicity pattern for a pussy bow blouse in my size( the op shop only had about 6 patterns ) . And also two really nice pieces of fabric , the silk of my top and some olive linen . I thought the sewing gods were looking after me and that this was a sign everything would be OK with my daughter. Now my anxiety free state lasted about 30 minutes before I started to think what a ridiculous thought that this was a positive sign.
In the end everything was OK . This was the first of two 6-7 hour surgeries she had to have and we somehow got through it .
Now the sewing gods may have been on my side when I purchased this lovely  fabric but they were against me when sewing it !


I used an Ottobre pattern I have used before , a simple little kimono top . This pattern does not need much fabric but I didn`t have much either - 1.2 metres  , 95cms wide . Add to that , in the middle of one end of the piece was a honking big gold painted advertisement Three Golden Somethings ( I can`t remember what crowns ? rings ? bananas ? )However I did a rough check and it seemed OK , so I cut out a piece , chop, chop , chop and then put the other main piece on but it didn`t fit. Oh that`s alright I just have the fabric the wrong way . Um no ! I didn`t have enough . Luckily I had cut the front piece out first ( just luck not forethought ) so I managed to piece the back and bias binding strips  together with scraps  ( with three golden written on my shoulder ) .


I don`t think it is too noticeable and I can`t see it so that`s all that counts !
Then when I was snipping the curves I cut into  the main fabric of the top . I never do that ! I ironed on some mending patch stuff and embroidered a little leaf over the cut to make it stronger .


I just wanted to include a close up of the fabric too . I really love this material and it has been in the very precious to use category . It has taken a while to work what pattern to use because I thought I would have to buy something else to make up a complete garment. Also  I find that after fabric has sat in the  cupboard for a while it  seems easier to sew it up.


Despite all my sewing mistakes I really love this top which is a good follow up to my last ` blah` project .
It matches lots of skirts , pants and cardigans I own . The top itself is comfy with a little bit of ease for growing room and of course it has a sentimental background  . Does anyone else have sentimental feelings  towards their fabrics or think they have super powers ?
Happy Sewing Janine.

Plenty of Pleats -Burdastyle 10-2012 Dress 108. .




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I finished sewing this dress earlier this month and unfortunately I am a bit disappointed.
It is a knee length dress with several inverted pleats starting at the boat  neckline  and which end at the waist line creating a gentle fullness .


I`m not sure if it is the fabric or the actual pattern that is a bit meh for me . The dress takes quite a bit of fabric  so I used some op shop fabric that was in my cupboard . It is a soft rayon fabric and feels lovely but I think the print is quite 90s . In fact I had a dress made out of similar fabric in the early 90s.
The dress also took a while to make because of the multitude of pleats which are in the back as well as the front . I thread traced the pleat markings , then carefully pinned and basted the pleats. After trying on the dress to determine they were a good length etc I did the final stitching.






I have tried to include close ups to show the pleat construction but of course my photography skills are pretty dodgy.
Once the pleats were made the dress was quite simple to construct  . I sewed a lapped zipper and then the side seams. I inserted the sleeves in the round and then there was just the facings and hems to do . It did come together really well as per Burda`s great drafting skills.
However the dress was much larger than I expected . It looks quite fitted ( and beautiful !)  in the magazine pictures. Perhaps the rayon fabric stretched but I took in the side seams by several centimetres and there is still quite a bit of ease.



I have tried to style the dress up by adding a belt and my knee length boots which usually make my outfits look better but I still feel meh about it . However there has been too much time investment in this dress for me to just get rid of it so I`ll give it a go ( and I don`t have that many everyday winter dresses ) and perhaps I will get to like it better.
After sewing this dress I still had over 2 metres  of fabric left but  luckily my friend loved it  so win win for both of us ( and she has darker colouring so I think it will suit her better ) .
I think this is my first real meh sewing for the year . It is one of the difficulties of sewing that we can`t just try on things like in shops and say that works or not so every time we sew something new we are taking a risk time and fabric wise . However even though the dress is not a complete success I still really enjoyed sewing it and that is always a winner in my books.

Friday, 2 June 2017

My Maiden Me-Made-May.

I like blog posts with photos. So here is an outfit I sewed for a friend`s 80s themed  party a couple of years ago that I did not blog about. I also did not wear this  for  MMM17 . The suit is made out of taffeta and sounds as loud as it looks !! 

I just finished my first ever MeMadeMay made possible by joining Instagram. Prior to that trying to actively participate was too hard because loading up photos to Flickr takes a long time but Instagram is so easy. Take a photo on your phone or iPad and then load up on the app.
I have unofficially joined in past years by wearing my home made clothes and checking out the flickr or instagram or whatever social media MeMadeMay was on so I was very happy to be a part of this huge , incredible movement celebrating and encouraging home sewing.

Another unrelated MMM17 photo . This is my ( incomplete) collection of button front shirt patterns. I have made most of the patterns. Can you tell I like sewing shirts ?

So here are my deep and meaningful thoughts on MMM17 and wearing home made clothes in general.
It is rare that I don't wear something home made on a daily basis.
It is rare that I wear all home made clothes though.
I feel strange when I don't wear something home made ( incomplete perhaps ?) but that sounds a bit odd.
I managed to wear something different everyday and only repeated my orange cardigan ( I did wear RTW jeans and trackies on multiple days ) twice.
I still had a couple of jackets , a skirt and several shirts/ tops that were seasonally appropriate that I did not wear but  could have worn for MMM17 .
A combination of loving sewing, sewing for a loooong time , keeping my home mades and a stable weight over my lifetime means I have a lot of home sewn clothes.
Perhaps this means I have too many clothes but apart from the blue dress on day one and the suit on day 31 and my brand new Burda tie front shirt all of the clothes have been worn many times so perhaps I don't have too many ?
Lots of my clothes I wore are very old ,like even over 10 years old but I still enjoy wearing them.
I did a little clothes cull though as a result of MMM17. The blue dress on day one went as well as a matching jacket and a scarf.
MMM17 made me get out of bed earlier so I could get a family member to take a photo.
I am terrible at taking selfies !
I again enjoyed looking at everything else people had made.
I don`t know if I will officially join in with MeMadeMay again but I sure had fun completing the challenge.
Happy Sewing everyone.

The little photo I have next to my blogger name is actually this photo of a Kookaburra sitting in ( an old ) gum tree next to my old home. I thought there might be one person in the universe to wonder  what the strange blogger photo is all about. 
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Thursday, 25 May 2017

Button Front Shirt with a Tie Front Twist - Burdastyle 11/2011 .



My  sewing has been very slow in the last month and in fact it feels like I am not achieving much of anything .
But I have finished  another project .
After finally completing my Knipmode challenge by sewing up at least one pattern from each magazine  I have turned towards my Burda magazines now.
I had about 6 unused Burda magazines and the idea was to get through those as well but something happened. Last month I went to a Melbourne op shop and I spotted a basket on the ground full of Burda magazines . I almost fell over myself in trying to get there before the man and child in front of me could steal them . Luckily they were not interested  in sewing magazines so I plonked myself down on the ground  , emptied the basket and started trying to work out which ones to get . After a little while I realised that was useless so I just lugged the magazines to the front counter and bought them ALL. Ahem , 31 of them .
Now they were old - ranging from the years 2000- 2006 but for 75 cents each I don`t think I would be the only crazy sewing female to get them ( would I ?? tell me I`m not nuts ) and there are some really good patterns in there that don`t look out of place for now and besides I am not exactly the most fashionable person around in case you hadn`t noticed.
So there goes my Burda Challenge because sewing a pattern each from 37 magazines might take a long time.

So back to the really important stuff - the shirt I just sewed.

I used  pattern 107  from November 2011 which has side pieces which tie at the front . I am seeing quite a few patterns around with this feature even now but I figured if I get sick of them I can unpick the side seams and remove those bits and just have a plain shirt . They really remind me of how we used to tie our jumpers around our waists at school . I went to two secondary high schools and at the government school no-one cared that we did that but at the private school we used to get told off by teachers and prefects so wearing this shirt makes me feel a little bit naughty . I am tempted to call this post Naughty School Girl Fashion or the Tie Me Up shirt but can imagine the creeps that might look that up !


I used some very old stash to use the shirt - a seersuckery striped cotton in beige with blues and greens and plums . The fabric looks much nicer in real life . The last couple of shirts I have sewn , I have made the sleeves first because I think these are the trickiest parts trying to sew the sleeve slit / bands well. It then feels like the rest goes quicker and easier. The shoulders on this shirt are wider than I would like but not an easy fix . After sewing the shirt I noticed that  it  looks wide on the models as well . It is also very long which is fair enough since Burda calls this a dress not actually a shirt . I did make the shortest version of all three variations ( but I have included a photo of the midi one not the short one ) .


Overall I like the pattern but I won`t be making it again ( hello  37 unused  Burdas and many more  unused envelope patterns  ) I wore the shirt today for Me Made May which I am participating in for the first time . So off to post this on instagram and also the facebook stashbusting group I am in ! 

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

My Knipmode Challenge.




Around mid 2012 I discovered knipmode magazines via a friend who was born in Holland . Over the next couple of years I bought several issues via CraftyMamas website , an Australian stockist of fabrics and patterns but sadly they no longer sell Knipmode . Since then I have been slowly trying to sew at least one pattern from each issue and last month I finally completed my knipmode challenge. 


It ended with a wadder and the photo above does not even come close to showing how bad it was. I must at this point emphasize that it was not the pattern that was the problem but the fabric. 
I used a pull on skirt pattern from the supplement magazine to the May 2013 issue. In total I bought 9 knipmode magazines and 5 of these came with supplementary mini magazines with several bonus patterns. Overall I have loved the knipmode magazines and supplements but I struggled to find a pattern out this particular mini magazine. 



Most of the patterns were for very simple and over sized garments . The fabrics used were quite drab and the clothes were photographed with bleak scenery . I finally chose the pull one skirt because it would be very handy to have a well fitting comfy basic skirt pattern. I think this could still be a winner but the fabric I bought especially to complete my knipmode challenge with ( and to add to the insult broke my fabric fasting pledge for !! ) was terrible to sew with . I used a textured navy ? scuba knit from Darn Cheap which looked great but stretched out so easily despite handling it carefully . Overlocking seams caused waviness and applying the waist band was just a plain disaster . I know when to quit and quit I did . I didn`t bother trying to hem the thing - I took a photo for posterity , removed the elastic and binned it . 

Despite this wadder , I have mainly had winners from my Knipmode magazines . Here are all the ones I have made and most are still in my wardrobe being worn regularly. 
 My first Knipmode project was a Michael Kors knockoff pattern. I wear this skirt for special occasions. 
Unfortunately despite being an interesting pattern in a lovely knit the cross over bands kept on shifting and revealing bits underneath which I don`t have :) . I blame myself not the pattern  because I could not work out where to attach the bands and stitch them down so this T shirt is no more :(.

A simple top pattern , slightly oversized but I wear this regularly because it is comfy and cool and my oldest daughter bought me the fabric from Japan so it is sentimental to wear as well. 
Another sentimental make because a friend from England gave me this Liberty fabric . I have never had Liberty fabric before so I took a long time to decide what to make . I am still very happy with my choice of  pattern. 
 A cowl neck top and I still like this although the neckline is low . This top made me get out the rust coloured skirt I am wearing it with above which I made when my middle daughter was a baby but had never worn !! 

I love love love this skirt . I will make this pattern again for sure. The skirt got worn heaps over summer . 
Another winner and I don`t think I will get sick of the pretty fabric. I ended up buying this bird / blossom rayon fabric three times ! Two of my daughters loved the material too so I have made one some PJs and the other a top. We don`t all wear them together . 
I love this dress and the fabric was a gift from another friend so yet another sentimental wear. I wore this dress to Townsville and the cool batik and dress design made life slightly easier in a place where it is so humid my glasses fog up - it`s true I swear. 
Same pattern as above but the cotton knit had no recovery so that neckline was really wiiiide. But you know what, it makes a great nightie !
A hi-lo hem pullover. I got a bit lazy sewing this and the hems were wavy so just recently I chopped the hem off and stabilized the bottom with fusible hem tape and restitched the hems . Much better now . 
A long line vest from another fabric gift . I really like wearing these longer vests - they cover so much which is especially useful for when you like chocolate just a bit too much. 
Another total wadder . When I look at the magazine  photo I can see the top looks huge on the model and she is doing a jumpy pose which I think conceals some of this ( fun fact - Knipmode models jump a lot ) 
I am really happy with my scrappy tunic shortened from a knipmode dress pattern. 
A knipmode mini cargo skirt - another great pattern which I think I will use again. 
Another long line vest and another happy camper . 

I admit it does feel wrong to be blogging about such stuff when the world has experienced yet another sad terrible evil event . I can not even imagine the pain so many must be going through now but I have also read about many brave and kind acts which gives hope that good will prevail.