Showing posts with label miscellaneous musings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label miscellaneous musings. Show all posts

Sunday, 31 December 2017

2017 Sewtistics .

The only Xmas gift I sewed this year . A mug rug for my work Secret Santa recipient. 
This was the year that I finally managed to actually sew down my fabric stash a bit . I have only been making promises to myself to do so since 2008 when I first sorted and documented my material and was shocked by what I had. But it never worked . Some years the stash numbers went down a little but mostly they went up or stagnated.
My stash busting this year  was achieved by trying very hard to avoid going into fabric shops and checking out the crafty section of op shops. If I did purchase something then I tried to sew it up as soon as I could . I also went through my unused knipmodes and burdas and other magazines and attempted to match up what fabrics I had to patterns I wanted to make . I joined a stashbusting facebook group and tried every month to document my fabric figures.
I discovered though that although I really loved the facebook group and its camaraderie, the whole pledging to reduce your stash by a certain percentage ( wholly voluntary I might add ) put on a  pressure which I did not enjoy . However I did find this year that having a goal really helped me achieve a purposeful outcome . I wanted to sew from my unused sewing magazines and finally used all my knipmodes and other European magazines that had been languishing on my bookshelf and made something from almost all of my recently purchased  Burdas.
So this year I will not be joining any pledges but I will make more goals and this year I will try to sew up my unused pattern envelopes as much as is possible and continue the stash reduction .

My favourite and most useful and used sewn item of the year . 

In 2017 I sewed 41 items.
9 were for others - my daughters and  friends.
2 were muslins and I had one wadder ( a skirt )  .
3 were under things I did not blog  as well as hankies and 1 infinity scarf also not blogged.
There is 1 UFO - a table runner which I hope to finish this year .
That leaves 23 main items for myself - 10 tops/shirts  , 5 skirts , 3 dresses, 1 cardy  , 1 jumper , 1 vest  , 1 PJ set and 1 handbag.
I did purchase 7 items of clothing as well which is why I could never do the RTW fast either .

I have enjoyed reading sewing blogs again this year although blogging really does seem to be on the way out. I have also enjoyed looking at instagram and can see how much easier it is . However overall I will continue to try limit my time on devices and just get out and do and live and enjoy !
Happy New Year everyone everywhere !

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Selfless Sewing Series - Linen Knit and Are You A Sewing Hoarder ?

MERRY XMAS .
This is the next top I have made my daughter using the linen knit we bought during our Melbourne Shopping trip. Oh my goodness this is wonderful stuff. It is soft and has a slight stretch with good recovery. It has the subtle texture and variation in colour like its woven counterpart . It is easy to sew and iron . And I am told that it is very comfortable to wear. 


My daughter was very easy to please when it came to choosing patterns to match up with the fabric . She really liked the top part of my recent swallow print dress- Butterick 5975 . She didn`t want to go through my other almost countless patterns or magazines . 


I just lengthened the top by about 9 cms and she was happy with this length . 


I ordered 1.3 metres and after washing measured the length ( I didn`t measure prewashing ) and had about 1.37  metres . I was told to prewash the linen knit as it shrinks. So either it didn`t shrink or I was given a generous 1.3 metres or it stretched. Either way I had enough to make up another top when I had finished with this one. 


I used my Kwik Sew 2695 pattern - this is now the fifth time I have made this. I really really like it as do my girls who stole one of my versions. This top has gone to my youngest  daughter . I will definitely be going back to  The Cloth Shop to buy more linen knit for my middle daughter who lives in tropical Queensland . It will be perfect for her. I want to add the colour does not come up true here - it is like a eucalyptus green , a bit richer in colour that the khaki showing up here . The shop had quite a few other colours available. 


Now I have lots of patterns - just over 250 envelopes and many many pattern magazines. I also have a bit under 170 metres of fabric now . Lots of lace and ribbons some of which I can not even recall where it came from and more buttons than I will ever use . But the one thing I really have not accumulated much of is threads and especially overlocking threads.


This is the sum total of my overlocker threads bar two pale blue  ones where the plastic has distintegrated badly . The medium gray ones at the bottom left hand corner are only new purchases too. I manage to make do with what I have by combining the colours so for my dark green tops above I have used my single medium brown with dark grey. It seems to work for me. 

Ever hopeful for a play with his fluffy ball pillow .
I store it all in a medium plastic bag which fits in well under my sewing desk .  Do you hoard sewing stuff or get creative with what you have ? 
 Janine. 

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Selfless Sewing Series -Pattern First or Fabric First ?



Not much sewing has been going on around this part of the world even though I am just at the end of two weeks holiday. I have been making some slow progess on a coffee table runner but put that aside when my eldest daughter asked  that I make her a couple of tops for her travels next year. So last week my eldest and youngest DDs and myself  drove to Melbourne to hit the fabric shops. 

First up was Darn Cheap where my youngest found a couple of pieces she liked ( I didn`t know this was a part of the deal - oh well ! ) . She really liked some floral poly crepe which she wants made into a wrap around dress and found some zigzag cozy knit for a jumper . Luckily the latest Burdas here ( August and September ) have patterns for what she wants. 

Next up was The Cloth Shop in Ivanhoe where it  was commented on  that we looked like a pack of hunters. I suppose we were stealthily stalking the aisles. Here my eldest daughter fell in love with some green linen knit pictured above . She also found a small remnant -60cm - of Japanese cotton which is absolutely gorgeous . I had to use every last mm of the length to eke out a top for her . We used plain navy crepe to make up the shortfall. The pattern is based on one of her old tops in a boxy loose fitting style. I copied an idea from a German blog and made a tag out of the cute selvage. 

So this year I have been trying very hard to use what I have to make up my unused Knipmodes and Burdas. However as the year progressed I hit some hurdles. For some of the patterns I chose I just did not have the right fabric. More recently I bought some patterns I wanted to make up now but had absolutely nothing so that meant  a shopping trip for me. 


I went to ClearIt in Fitzroy and found some navy/ grey argyle double knit to make a raglan sleeve windcheater . I also picked up some beige cotton lycra to make some camisoles but simply could not leave the spotty / stripey cozy knit behind. I hope to make the patterns below .


And then I received an email from Style Arc about some stretch denim and jeans pattern and did not hesitate to push the buy button. They came with another free top pattern which I really like. 


So this year I have been choosing patterns first and fabric second. Now I have stocked up on fabric  for now I can continue with the patterns first trend but I think next year I will have to have a new approach to sewing. But for now I have a bit of selfless sewing to get through. So how do you approach sewing ? Fabric first or pattern first ?? 

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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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. 

Thursday, 5 January 2017

2016 Sewing Overview.

My favourite garment of the year. 


For some reason I really love ❤️ reading 📖 about everyone's annual reviews of their sewing and their plans for the coming year. I actually find these musings fascinating and  inspiring. We all have the common denominator of loving sewing but have different perspectives in how we fulfill that love.
My take on sewing is to sew slower so my output is not high. I am not a perfectionist but hate it when things don't go right. However once a garment is completed ✅,  no matter what mistakes , it goes in the wardrobe and I don't seem to care anymore . A few years ago I went through a phase of churning out  more clothes and was a bit slapdash so I have had quite a turn around in attitude. I prefer how I sew now because I have fewer failures .

So in 2016 I sewed 42 items which sounds like heaps. 24 were for me and the remainder of 18 for my daughters mainly but also a friend and Mum.

The 24 items for me included one ☝️ total wadder , 3 underthings, 1 camisole , 1 nightie and 1 pair of long PJ pants. I didn't blog about these but I will have a post about my wadder in the future.
The 18 items for others included 9 short PJ pants , 5 tops and a couple of scarves.
A major goal for me was to use what I had and move a bit more fabric out than what came in. FINALLY after so many years of trying I succeeded with only 9 pieces of fabric in and quite a bit more sewn up. It was also my intention to sew the fabric acquired in 2016 in 2016 ! I almost managed to do this so I found myself have a little cutting out frenzy on the second day of January !


Apart from my one wadder I wore everything I made quite regularly apart from my vintage burda dress which was a special occasion garment anyway ( and my middle daughter likes it so is going to use for a function later this year ) .
 This year I basically just want to continue on with the same theme -  just plodding along really doing my imperfect best and making the most of what I have.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Fast Fasts , Fabric Stash Busting and a WIP .

I am participating in two groups this year - Pattern Review`s  Fabric Fasting  Forum  and a Facebook Fabric Stash busting Group.  I have been telling myself I have to get some kind of control over my fabrics for years but have been unsuccessful so far . So how am I doing this year ?
Well the fabric fast is a bit of a snort but only a little one . I have bought four pieces of fabric and been given a few as well from Mum and sewing friends . As per usual all my purchased fabrics were from various op shops and included  a Liberty of London print in some kind of soft twill !

The photo above shows from left to right burnout fabric from my friend ( for a Kimono ) , striped patterned georgette from my Mum ( for Simplicity 1280 ?) , peach-apricot silk for a skirt lining , Liberty of London paisley print ( for an infinity scarf ) , red floral cotton voile and a citrus watercolour cotton voile ( both for youngest DD PJs  ) . I will be using the silk for my next project and I intend to make up that infinity scarf quick smart as well so all in all not too bad . ( I have also been informed that gifted fabric does not count towards stashing  )
In terms of fabric stash busting I have used just over 20 metres,  so more out than in !  A success there .
Now I have been sewing too but not as much because my current project is taking sooo long  . I started at the end of May but the end is in sight . It is a vintage styled coat from Burda Style and has a very interesting different looking flounce at the front . I want to show you the evolution of the flounce .

 The above picture shows the flounce pieces cut out and tacked together with the pleats marked out . I have started making the pleats on the right side. Weird looking pattern piece huh ?

 Next up all of the pleats have been formed .

 Now you bring the two sides together , stitching down the middle and  voila !  It really is a little piece of magic . I do not think I have ever seen another pattern piece like it . I have inserted the lining into the outer coat and just need to sew up the hems and attach some large press studs . Hopefully I can get this done before the end of July and the winter weather ( hey it has snowed near where I live a couple of times which hasn`t happened in about 19 years )

Sewing as also been delayed by my new hobby of bike riding - I don`t think I will ever go down the path of sewing fitness wear though  and  hosting a Japanese student . She will be with us until the end of November . Just as one daughter leaves home we fill up the empty spots . Our exchange daughter gave us some KitKats - sake flavoured !  We have also tried green tea flavoured KitKats   ( yum ) and there is sweet potato as well !!


Vive la France .

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 .