Monday, May 25, 2015

Pants, trousers, longs.... whatever you call them, I'm finally finished.

I finally finished my black trousers/pants. I made a muslin of this pattern made way back here in January 2014. The fit was pretty good and so I cut out another pair from some aqua and white tiny houndstooth fabric about 6 months ago(non stretch) and modified it by narrowed the legs as I found the bottom of the leg at a shorter length flapped about and annoyed me. Alas, they didn't even come close to fitting and I can't work out why as I cut the 14 like I did with the other pair and this one. They aren't finished and waiting for me to whittle down my bum to fit (ha long will I wait?).

Sorry I just realised I didn't take a photo of the pants on, or a full length photo either but will do that when my photographer comes home. Hopefully I'll have a blouse to go with them!  When I was just about finished, I made the button hole. Firstly I put it vertical.... unpick, then I made another test button hole and went to make on the pants. Doh, what did my machine do, but the automatic button hole made the first run the right size and the next run was short??? I don't know why... more unpicking and then a good button hole. I haven't hemmed them as I wanted to wash them again in case they shrank up. The fabric is a cotton sateen stretch that is a bit heavy; great for pants. I think I bought this at the fabric sale I go to. I made them plain, no pockets and I think I miss them. I will probably make these again but I bought a Burda pattern recently and I want to try them for fit.

Here's my fly front... pretty good even if I do say so myself. The instructions are good and easy to follow in my opinion and the waistband does meet properly but I wasn't focused on that .. oops.

This it the inside of the waistband and fly. I used some fabric from a dress that's half made (see bum too big above) with rose fabric from Singapore, and some hot pink bought bias binding. I love the inside pop of colour.

Here's the back waistband, which I haven't mentioned is a curved one and gives a great fit. I 'm thinking to make the back waistband piece in 1 piece instead of 2 piece - any thoughts on this? Overall, I love the pants. They fit really well, not perfectly but much better than ready to wear. If you are nervous about making pants, this is a great one to try. They are not narrow at the bottom though, 'cause they kind of look like that on the pattern envelope, but they are pretty straight down which works for ankle length but not cropped for my taste. Next... yawn... school trousers.

I made 4 pairs of school trousers, but boy it really hasn't been cold enough (yet) to wear them ... well you know not me, my son to wear them. After school holidays in June/July I think we'll be using them for sure.  I made two pairs for here and two for Dad's house. The fabric is from East Coast Fabrics and was $3.65 per metre and at nearly 2 metres wide was a bargain. I still have some left and may try my hand at a school polo shirt. I've harvested (I love that term!) the school name collar so it will look pretty good. At about $36 a t-shirt it's worth a go and we only have 7 months left at this school so I don't want to buy any.  I've got a couple of patterns so will put that on the list.

This is the pattern I have used over the years. It has a great fit in all the sizes I have used (7yrs to 11years so far) and worth the $1 I paid for it :)! I have a Burda boys jeans pattern too but while my son is happy to wear the pull on elastic pants, I'm saving up my time and making those.When he wants fly front pants, then I'll use the other one or adapt this one.

In other great news (for me but not the stash) is my gift of patterns from my friend in the U.S. She picked these for me and I love them all. The Connie Crawford pattern is just pants and the vest/jacket with "purchased top".... what?? The drawing shows the top in the same colour as the pants so I think it's a bit misleading and I don't really like a long vest or duster coat pattern, but maybe the pants are good. The rest I love. The See & Sew B5909 is kind of like a cape but not so structured from what I've seen and it recommends boiled wool and I have some red from memory so I may try this out soon. The top B5203 may be made super soon too... I'm not normally a fan of the handkerchief hemline but maybe it'll be nice with some heavy tights. I'm not sure when I'll have time to make a bag but I do want to try and I like the one handle bag in this photo that I have taken badly and you can't see it. I don't like fabric bags as they scream home made to me but I did use one my friend made for a while and liked it.. so maybe it was just fabric choice... these look like ugly table runners to me.

Next up is finishing a lime green jacket that I started last year (or the year before?) with fabric that was bought in the '70's - from Mum's stash. I've got lost of things I want to make NOW, so lets see how I go. Anyone seen or made any of these patterns? 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Do you know Glitter and Dance?

Glitter and Dance are a Brisbane dance supply retailer at Mansfield, not too far from me. They supply dance fabrics, dance patterns, costumes and all the extras that go with this. Some of their customers
include:  The Australian Ballet Company, The Queensland Ballet & Theatre and Warner Bros. Movie World Production. They are also a Telstra Business Awards winner (for 2014). I haven't bought much from them - some SPF50 swimwear lycra and some remnants. They are a very friendly family run company and were a pleasure to deal with. They have a VIP club that gives you early access to specials via email and some discounts.

The neck is too wide on this pattern so I'll adjust it next time, but overall it was a good fit.
Just so there is a photo, I'm showing the rashie I made for Alex late last year with the SPF50 swimwear lycra bought from Glitter and Dance. Of course now it is too small (as are the swim shorts) but there is no outdoor swimming till after the September school holidays so I have time to go in and get some for next summers rashie and swimmers.

Now there are two reasons I am writing about them... no, I haven't taken up dancing and I'm not making costumes for any dancers. They recently ran a Mother's Day competition for VIP members - write about why you'd like to take your Mother to the Dirty Dancing live show starting in the next couple of weeks in Brisbane. I wrote in about my Mum, who has had some huge challenges and has looked after two family members for decades, and who has not been to a live show like this ever.... there were two winners... and I was one of them!!! I'm so pleased.. it's for opening night even! I must get organised and make a new dress suitable for winter wear to the theatre.. any suggestions?

The second reason I am writing about them is because they are asking for people to blog for them. This is what they say:

Blogger Alert … Want to write for us?

Tell us about your sport or amazing experience.

Are you attending dance events or performances, or ice skating and gymnastics or are you a sewing expert, or maybe a dance mum?  We are sure that you have something worth sharing that our readers would love to read about!

Well we are on the hunt for bloggers to share their passion for our performance industry and keep fans updated on what’s news, or what’s “in” or what is making you smile at the moment.  We can even organise tickets to get you to events that you would like to write about.  We only ask for one small article a month (300 words).  We want to hear all!
If you think that this has your name written all over it, use the link below to send us an email!
You can contact them via email HERE if you would like to blog for them. I know some blogs I read use Glitter and Dance and would be well placed to write for them. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Before I move on...

I thought before I move on to making some stuff for the cooler temps (that have just started here),
 I should finish some of the stuff I had lying around I hadn't finished. Along with this dress, I have a pair of the Amazing Fit trousers in black nearly done and a Style Arc Dotty Blouse (sans sleeves) cut and ready to sew.  I really need a lot of things at the moment. Everything is worn out or just old and mostly just getting to and from school, doesn't worry me, but it's a bit embarrassing to wear the same old stuff when I sew and have a stash that could cover the Andes.

So this dress is a rehash. If you remember I made this way back (l looked for the post but I can't find it) and it was a Burda pattern with a cross over bodice with some ties. It just never fit properly - the bodice needed a FBA and where the ties met with the bodice and skirt and side seams it was so bulky it just didn't sit well. I really love the fabric (bought in Auckland from a favourite fabric shop) and I remember it was $4 per metre and it is just lovely.

So, probably 12 months ago I unpicked the dress - separated the skirt and recut the top front. I used a modern Kwik Sew cowl dress pattern and just cut the top front from it. I took out about 3 cm from the centre back, and I had to piece about a 3cm wide band on the back bodice to make it fit the front. The armholes are really big on the Kwik Sew pattern and I noticed this when I made a quick mock up ages ago. I also took about 1cm off the edge of the shoulders for my sloping shoulders. I attached the skirt to the top and it's wearable.

After I took these photos (and decided I really did need to lose the 20 kg I've put on over the years) I also took the side seam in about 3cm each side tapering from just under the bust to the hip line and the dress sits more fitted there and looks much better. Think I'll take about 5cm off the hem too.

Ha, ha.. .I even made an effort and put shoes on (heels even) and some lipstick. All I can see are my "fat capsules" (as my son calls the excess).

I've got a pair of swimmers that I made (bar elastic) about 18 months ago and never finished next with those aforementioned pants and top. Oh I also made a Mandy Boat Tee two weeks ago - I'll try to get a photo of it.

Happy Mother's Day for tomorrow to all the Mum's out there. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Remember when I said the dog raincoat wasn't the next thing I'd make.....

..... well I was wrong!

This is made from leftover aqua fleece (lining) and fluro red ripstop (only 6 metres left). I adapted a costume pattern and I'd say I'm about 95% right. I measured the dog and he did a fitting (I can't believe I said that) and I just needed to put the velcro on. So in the last two weeks either the coat shrunk (no) or the dog has put on weight. In all fairness, the dog had his food changed a couple of weeks ago and has suffered ever since. He's been having epileptic fits and my Mum and sister (who's dog it is) have been very distressed about it. They changed the food back after a bit of Google veterinarian advice (and the real vet at a cost of nearly $500) and he's doing well now. Forecast is heavy rain on Thursday and Friday so I thought I'd better get it finished. I have to put an extension on the front strap to fit around his belly and then he'll be all ready. Overall, I'm pretty happy with it.

What a drag the final stitches were literally. The velcro had sticky backing which I thought was great to fix it to the fabric and it wouldn't slide around or need pins. It was fine for until the last 10 cm I'd need to sew. The needle gummed up from the sticky backing and the thread would stick on it and then break. Eventually I left it and went to do it by hand... I'm glad I didn't push it as I have that extension to do no.  So frustrating... it took over 15 minutes to try and sew that last 10 cm. 

Onto other things... remember when I made this tunic for my Mum? (It was ages ago)

Well Mum finally wore it today and I got a photo! She was quite pleased with it. I want to make some of those tops for me this autumn/winter. That's a great pattern and very quick and easy.

Also I found this new to me blog and it had this tip for sewing thick fabrics or many layered fabrics.
A new to me tip which I tried this afternoon and although it didn't work spectacularly, I would try it again. Let me know if you knew this or if you try it and how it worked for you.

**Note to Alice ... it was me that donated that pink embroidered fabric.  (I don't have instagram) I could not work out what to do with it, but love your use of it as a feature fabric. I also donated the bedazzler thing......

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Endless summer....stash busting with Burda 7231.

It was last day of school holidays today and my son and I went to see Shaun the Sheep, have some sushi and gelato down our suburb (we live 10 minutes walk in opposite directions to two independent cinemas so it's cheap and close!). I wore my new dress ... I've been struggling to feel it is finished so I hadn't worn it till today.

I made Burda 7231 about 4 weeks ago for our seemingly endless summer. Looks perfect for a long hot summer but it is deceiving. Maybe I should have taken more notice of  "young" on the envelope. I made it from some rayon I bought late last year at East Coast Fabrics. I really love the purple/grey with the flowers... one of my 4 sisters (or was it my niece?) said it looked like curtains! Hmph! No hand made things for them. 

The dress is a very loose fitting, blousy halter top with elastic in the back. Seemed so easy - and it is to sew it up - but the top part does not fit well at all, and I cannot see how to make it fit better. The bodice crosses over and it gapes at the neckline. If I pull it a bit tighter it just pulls under my arms and feels tight. Ive put the elastic in twice. Once looser and this time tighter, but neither way has made the top fit better.

I've tried pinning the bodice closed (how it is now), with the ties tied up at the front, pinned it with cross straps at the back but it just doesn't want to sit nicely.  Due to the looseness of the dress didn't need an FBA but what it needs I do not know.

I didn't have enough fabric to make the skirt as per the pattern so I just made a gathered rectangle of the width of the fabric and then I put the leftover length as a frill on the bottom. This frill makes the dress fun to wear... swishing very nicely when I walk.  So really other than the bodice I guess it isn't really this pattern.

My son took the photos and directed me to get the "swishing" of my dress. I'm really happy with his photo taking skills and if I can convince him, I'll get him to do more of my photography as it is better than my attempts at the piano or back deck. These look like I feel I look... instead of the stiff unnatural ones I take.

It was 30 degrees today (as I sit here at 10.16pm it is 27 degrees!) so it is indeed an endless summer but one that will cool down tomorrow if the forecast is correct.

See the gape and tightness at the arms. I've pinned the front together to see if I should just sew it down or maybe I'll just make it a strapless and be done with it.

 The dress swishing at my feet!