Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Simplicity 8573 and Vintage Pledge

Well it's been a busy summer holiday season what with ageing parents and young children. It's been that 'busy but relaxed' sort of time - many activities, like the day at the big rambling park with lots of friends and cousins and the kids with their bikes and scooters and long picnic table with food. It made for a really fun day and the bonus was that it was so cool at the park despite the 34 deg celsius. 

I actually made this a couple of months ago and have worn this to death. I have spoken of it but had no pictures with me wearing it. It's a Simplicity Jiffy Plus pattern - what's the plus mean? I don't know... maybe a bit more complex? Anyway it was quick and easy.  A couple of things to note about the pattern. See the ties? They are just threaded through channels on the right side of the dress and the back is one piece but the front is made of the top bodice and the skirt part. I omitted the pockets so the pattern would be seen. I also didn't use buttons, but made the button holes and put the straps through and tied them in a knot and then sewed it down... this slips easily over my head with no loosening of the ties even.

 Some bad photos ... I was just going to the pool for aqua aerobics (you can see my tog straps) and thought it is probably my only opportunity for a snap. I love the diagonal on the front.

The back lines are straight as mentioned before, it's one piece with the channel for the ties sewn on the right side. I used a sarong I bought in Singapore in 2009 (I love shopping and eating in Singapore) and if you notice, I used the 'fancy' panel that is normally on the front when wearing a sarong for the front, and the balance of the fabric I used on the back. Surprisingly, a sarong was the perfect size for this dress.
The pattern was actually a bit wider down the bottom but I straightened it a bit to fit the sarong width. With a drapier fabric I think it would be fine but as a sarong is made of lovely cotton, it was actually better this width for me. 

The colours are exactly right here.

I knew the top wouldn't be big enough and the two piece front - bodice and skirt pattern pieces - made it easy to do a full bust adjustment. I tried two methods but felt the usual one seen was the more accurate. I did forget to add extra on the back piece for the added length on the front piece, but I just gathered it lightly on the front piece to fit the back, which was fine. I also gathered the extra length of the under bust seam with gathers and as the ties gather the dress, it is worked out well. The only thing I didn't think to do is to lower the neckline... I think when you have a large bust it looks better with a lower neckline.. I'll cut it down by about 5 or 6 cm. If I had enough scrap I'd do it for this as it kind of bothers me a bit being so high.

Other than the neckline, I am pretty happy with this dress. It's perfect for a hot day and it's a good style for me. I like a shorter length but I think it would look terrible with the sarong print cut off so I've left it. I still have to finish those Burda trousers by just putting on the waistband but my sewing room is so messy I have to tidy it before I will do that. I can work in a little mess for a while, but I prefer everything in it's place. I'm just trying to make the best use of my 3.5 x 1.7 metre space so may do some rearranging.

Oh the vintage pledge... I'm not a pledger and I rarely join in sewalongs and such like, but I worked out I made many (not sure about 'many') more vintage patterns than I did modern patterns so maybe I should pledge to make 5 vintage patterns this year. Who do I pledge this to?? Can anyone lead me in the right direction? Thanks for reading.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

A kind of review and basic stats- 2015

I'm not that much into stats, but reading others reviews made me wonder again about how many items I made and of what. It's actually really pleasing to see how much I do get done in a year.

So, to the details....
Total number of items made = 49 - most were clothes (5 of 'other')
Total patterns used   = 37
 of those... vintage = 8 (!!)

Review of the 'other'.
Costumes - can you forget the pies....?
Here's a reminder ... I had such fun making these. I really enjoyed working out the process of how to construct the costume so that anyone could use it, being inventive with materials to fit a budget and not to forget my sister's surprise at P1 and P2. (Bananas in Pyjamas reference).

I also made a dog coat... unfortunately my sister's dog died this year also :( RIP Hercules!

Also I made a Finn jumper/hoodie for my boy.

I am so pleased with this with the bonus that Alex still loves it and I will add a band along the bottom so he can wear it again next winter (should Finn still be in for him).

Also a 'quilt'... a cheaters quilt anyway. It's still used and loved so I'm happy with that.

And a chair bag for a friend's son. I am so glad Alex is in high school this year so I can see the back of these stupid things. Anyone feel the same? For those not in the know, some (all?) primary schools in Queensland (other places?) use these chair bags to hold the kids books not in use on the back of the chair. I'ts not a very organised system in my opinion. They use stupid desks with a single plastic drawer about 8 cm deep... so there is nowhere to put most of their stuff. Don't get me started....

Lastly, my favourite piece ...  my Burda magazine top. I love this top. It is lovely to wear, it is well made (if I do say so myself), I love the bias casings and the tie. Before it gets cool enough to wear again, I will take it in at the side seams as it's a bit too wide. I will use this pattern again... I do love a peasant style top.

I also sold 3 machines this year too... basic ones given to me that I serviced and moved out. Yay, more people sewing.

Lastly I want to say thanks to all the people who read and comment on my blog. I enjoy writing my blog and I am still amazed that others read it. I'd also like to thank the Brisbane Spoolettes for their camaraderie and the meet ups. Connecting in person with sewing minded people is such fun and still a novelty. I welcome 2016...

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Last makes of 2015

These are the last (unless I get some spare time this arvo) of the sewn things of 2015. I used Kwik Sew 3674, a pattern I got at the 2nd hand shop a while ago. Quite a useful little pattern if you have a young girl around, with two different looks and the puff sleeve dress without sleeves (like I've made below) makes it three looks.

The dress above is made from remnants, both I got at Spotlight in separate purchases for minimal money. The owls are so cute I couldn't resist and my friend's daughter just loves getting me made dresses! She's only 5 but very tall (think 7 or 8 year old) so it's nice to make her something her age that fits. She has seen the fabric on their last trip down from Yeppoon and I promised a dress from it. They are moving back in a number of weeks and so she will open it with her other presents.

When I made the dress below, I just leave the sleeves off, overlock and turn over the armholes and then make a casing for the straps... this is basically what a pillow case dress is.  I used a piece of vintage rayon that was in Mum's stash. It was half made into a dirndl skirt but I separated the two panels and just made a rectangle skirt to attach to the bodice pieces. The colour is a bit more deep and muted than it appears here.

How's that matching at the back. Too bad I didn't notice the face didn't meet perfectly... makes it a little creepy... aren't harlequins a bit creepy anyway??

Close up of creepy matching. I think annoys me enough to go and fix it in a sec.

To get all my sewing documented for this year, I also made this Jiffy pattern from some batik I bought in Singapore in 2009.

It's a terrifically vibrant and beautiful cotton although I think a tencel or rayon would drape better but as a house/shops dress I really like it (and am wearing it now).

I made a FBA on the bodice and when I make this again I will cut the neckline about 5cm lower.
I actually tried two methods of full bust adjustments, the one below being the more complex but I found using the same increase measurement, this one gave the best result. Sorry but I haven't got a photo of me wearing it and I don't have time right now to get one. I will show it later to show how I used the differing patterns of the sarong.

Remember I made this pattern below out of an old dress a few months ago? Well I really liked the top and the neckline and shoulders fits perfectly but it needs a FBA to fit well in the bust. It was a bit tight in the wearing but looks ok, and when I made it for some reason I thought it was a 12. Comparison of the two below.

I decided I would try a similar pattern, Simplicity 7517 and compare the View A. I made this one a size small in the shoulders and a medium from the armholes down. Incidentally this is a nice pattern as it has some nice basic looks for wovens. I find wearing woven fabrics in our humidity is better than any knit fabric. View C has straps at the back so I'd like to try this one too.

I made this top out of the scraps from an unclogged rayon pillow case dress I made for myself a couple of years ago that gets good use. I bought this rayon at East Coast Fabrics and I have seen it made up by a few people but in a knit (including Gorgeous Fabrics)!

As this was all the pink I had, I used a scrap of the same print but blue colour way for the facings. Waste not, want not!

A very bad photo of the top on. The top is lovely to wear and cool but I like the shape of the other one better so looks like I'll make a FBA for that one, test it and then cut some silk I have earmarked for it. Once I get that pattern sorted I think it will make a great basic pattern I'll use again and again and the fabric will make each different. Also a perfect work top, should I get a job - which I'm sure I will in 2016!

This is the comparison of the two. The one on the left has much more flattering shaping and sits on the shoulders much better. You can't see it in the photos or when wearing it really, but it is a smidge tight  across the bust but I think thats the one I'll work on for sure. The one on the right is much more boxy and maybe ok to use as a dress pattern if I lengthen it. What do you think?

This last item is a McCall's jumpsuit pattern 7653 (or 6083) , I started about two years ago too. I bought this fabric the same time as the one above and where I had the bottom and the top made since then, I procrastinated as the pants were tight :( but I narrowed all the seam allowances and now it's ok, but not perfect so I'll hang onto it for a bit to see if the  good intentions bear fruit in a couple of months. It's a great pattern but the back gapes and it is a contortion exercise getting it on and off. I might try to take the neck in at the back and put a zip in it at the side to get it on and off... we'll see. I know Maria at How Good Is That made one - how do you find getting in and out of it Maria?

So that's it for 2015. Happy New Year to one and all. Have fun and be safe!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Fab Four.

These are the fab four... a charcoal one, a purple (one of her colours) with coral/orangey back (not her colour), the rust red one and the taupe one.

I thought I'd show the four singlet tops I made for my niece in more detail. They were made from scraps of merino knit that was from the fabric sale I went to a few weeks ago. It is a lovely slubby merino and behaved very well. I traced the pattern - pretty easy for a singlet - front and back. The original has bindings on the armholes and neckline but I didn't have enough fabric for binding for the armholes. In the photo above I cut two fronts or backs at a time. You can also see the leftovers were not much - I had to cut the neck bindings out of those tiny scraps. The fabric was also about 5 cm shorter than the original top (and serendipitously just wide enough). The original tip was very long on Zoe's body (she's a stage manager and does a lot of bending and stretching so for work wear it needs the length). At the shorter length however, it sat perfectly right on her hip bone (which I was always taught was the exact length for a top... if it wasn't a crop top etc.).  She tried the rust red one when it was done and it fit perfectly; I didn't want to make 4 that didn't fit. I took out the extra length from the middle to keep the shape of the hip in the pattern. Of course on the original, it must sit way too low.

Very original naming of my pattern as I am sure she will want others at some time.

The taupe one I made with a wide binding and didn't top stitch it as I though it looked much smarter like this. I could do this also because there was an extra piece of taupe and originally I though I would make contrast bindings for all of them, but realised my niece wouldn't like that really and then probably wouldn't wear them.

The purple/coral one was a 'colour block' one to use the one piece of purple and the one piece of coral. The coral and the red I just couldn't photograph to show the true colours. The others are pretty accurate.

Like the original, I put my label on the hemline. I used a fancy stitch on my sewing machine that is like a "L" all joined up. I really liked it on the samples and it makes a simple feature.

The coverstitch was still threaded with red so I coverstitched the red one and if you can see the stitching lines I made a little feature of the start and finish. Small things.. I really like this!

The purple thread was a near enough situation as I didn't want to go out to Trad's for thread and I liked the slightly different look of the purple on the purple and the coral. I kept the front quite plain for the purple one, it being her colour, and leaving the coral on the back so she couldn't see it.. as it happens she really likes it.

Of course I didn't have thread to match this taupe colour so to Trad's I went anyway! I really like this colour, lovely hand  and the slubby texture of the merino. These tops were Zoe's Christmas present and a huge hit. It made me happy. I love sewing things that my family love and appreciate. It is way more satisfying than sewing for myself.

It's been nice reading about all the lovely things people have made for Christmas. I hope you all had a great celebration if you celebrate and if you don't I hope you enjoyed your time with loved ones.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Using the scraps.

My niece loves very basic but quality "adventure" type clothing. She has a basic merino singlet in black fine merino that she loves but it has been discontinued by the adventure clothing company. My mind went 'ding' and I remembered the scraps of merino I bought at the fabric sale for $2 for the lot. I  got the singlet from her yesterday and cut out a pattern this afternoon and sewed one up in three hours.

The colours above are not very representative, but they are her colours. There is enough for three more singlets. I made the pattern a bit shorter in between the armhole as she is short bodied like me. I think for $2 I can take a chance. She said she wouldn't like the red one but it's more a rust than the red it appears here and I think she'll like it. If not it will be a good trial of the pattern and if she still doesn't want it, I can use it.

The black one is the bought one. I literally had enough to cut the front and back out and piece a binding strip for the neckline only. The armholes are bound on the bought one too, but no chance to even piece together enough for two armholes so as the coverstitch had red thread, I just turned the armholes over and coverstitched them  and the hem. The neckline I bound by putting a binding strip on the neckline with the overlocker and then turned it over and coverstitched it too. I had the neck open at one shoulder seam for binding and then closed the second shoulder seam after sewed up the side seams on the overlocker and then did the armholes and hemmed it last.

I put a label on like it is on the bought one. I think with these kind of labels, they could say anything but as long as it gives the impression of a "label" then that's enough for some people to think it's  something better.

A very bad photo of the neckline. I didn't stretch it enough at the front neck so it pokes out a bit. It's not as bad as it looks here though. I think because I don't do this so much I forget the 'feel' of how much to stretch it or even to stretch it at all some places. I'm going to see if anyone notices it. I should try and steam it tomorrow. I also haven't used the coverstitch since I finished the Ottobre merino hoodless hoodie. I so need more practice.

The tops side by side again. The black one is longer but this is all the length in the scrap  and I think it will still be ok... my niece is short waisted like me but taller so I'm confident it will be fine. Lets face it ... the price is right so even if she uses it as a layering piece and saves $60 (or more) I'm sure she'll be happy.

*UPDATE: My niece tried the top on this morning. It's a win! I have to scoop out the front bottom part of the armhole a little and it is perfect. She loved the rust colour as predicted and loves the other colours too.  I was so pleased... of course she didn't notice the neckline and in truth it was much less noticeable on her as she is a little taller and broader than me. It sits at the perfect length. That will be one gift for Christmas that will be well received. Off to get matching threads so I can make the rest.

We have had a busy three weeks with my son finishing primary school and all the activities (school and friends) that entails. I was exhausted so there hasn't been much time for anything else. I wanted to make my son a shirt and some nice trendy trousers/chino pants but I couldn't find a suitable pattern so we bought an outfit and my son looked very smart. 

My son went to the same school as my Goddaughter and they have held their graduations at Queensland Parliament House. After the formalities inside a pretty boring room, there was a BBQ dinner on the outside terrace overlooking the river and Southbank Parklands. It was a beautiful night and my beautiful boy had a great time and looked so smart. 

Finally ..... Merry Christmas to you all. I hope your day is filled with fun and happiness, good food and most importantly, time with your loved ones.