Friday, March 9, 2018

Gingham skirt

Well I have finally got a chance to take a photo of the gingham skirt that I first talked of making 10 December  2017. I did make it but since, life has been a whirlwind! We had Christmas and all that it entails, my son's Dad went to the UK for 7 weeks where he had to help his elderly parents and just got back on Tuesday. This has curtailed any of everything other than the rat wheel of work, wash, iron, cook, make lunch, some exercise and then wake up and do it all again. I'm tired.

Anyway, this isn't a pity party blog, onto the sewing.


This is the pattern and the fabric again. Cotton 1.5cm check gingham bought at the second hand shop a few years ago for a few bucks. It's a polished cotton and it has a lovely hand... like a rayon but without that slipperiness or that swishyness but does have good drape. 


This is my inspiration skirt. Pretty simple and it cost originally about US$500 and I think when I saw it it was US$300 reduced. What a bargain!




Here's my skirt. I love the colour and size of the gingham so much more. It's not as long looking on me because: short and dumpy but it is what it is. Mine is all cut on the bias. It nearly ruined me getting it on that 1.5m square piece of wonky fabric. New Look recommend 2.2 mt so I did well but it took some piecing - the back piece is full and the front piece has a tiny piece up near the waistband and side seam but the front piece under the top layer is pieced with 2 pieces but no one can see it because I did a great job piecing! Great little top my sister gave me from the op shop... cute little flowers on the front.

Yes great work bathroom photos. If I go into the shower room it has a full length mirror with good lighting. Plus it's private... I've tried getting photos in the lift but that is so difficult with so many people in and out, plus I'm on a lower floor so even if I'm in the lift alone, I can't get a good photo quickly enough.

I've also made new togs because I thought I'd lost my speedos and of course I found them the day I finished my new togs. I've also made another really easy swing dress, a Burda dress that I love and I haven't got photos of the Burda dress I made for Christmas. Maybe other things?? I can't remember. Plus all this no time for anything I will spend this first free weekend in 8 weeks clearing up the house and finding the floorboards again. I have two leather purses I have to make for birthday gifts too. Fun!

Oh I also just want to note, I cannot write comments on a lot of blogs ... seems like it's a google thing, but I can make comments on some but not other blogs so I'm trying but I can't work it out and it was low on the list of things to fix. But know I'm thinking about what you are sewing and doing too.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Lekala S4006

I saw Thornberry's S4006 ages ago and really liked it. A simple shift dress but with enough little features to make it interesting, plus it was free and I thought a great test of the Lekala. Lara has the details about Lekala in her post if you are not familiar with them.

I used a fabric that is a ramie or cotton or linen mix. It is years old and was just green and white but a pretty ordinary green so I dyed it with an aqua that isn't very visible here due to such bad photos but it didn't turn out as vibrant as I thought so it was a good fabric to test the pattern as I could still wear it as a house dress. You can't see it here but the hem is a faced curved hem and I lined it with a tiny orange gingham and I used the orange theme to topstitch around the sleeve hems and around the neckline.


What I like: it was perfectly drafted and the pieces fit really well together. The sleeve is a great shape and the bust darts were in the right position.

What I don't like: it is way too big. I ordered it with seam allowances and maybe I'll try again eliminating the seam allowances and see for fit. It is too long. This below the knee length is matronly. I don't like it on anyone... it throws the proportions off and makes you look dumpy and short. It's too wide in the hips - I was hoping I could use this draft as a kind of block but no, won't work as is.
Obviously my measuring is out. Lara got a really great fit so it's got to be me... it's hard measuring yourself for some parts. I have very small shoulders and back (probably a size 6) so it's hard to accurately measure my shoulders at the back.


The sleeve went in perfectly and pretty easily for a set in sleeve. The fabric has some mechanical stretch due to the semi loose weave. Darts are probably a bit low now I look, but that could be the the overall dress is too big. Hate to say it but the colours are pretty accurate if not a little lighter here. Still not what I was going for.


 I made the yoke burrito style and cut the outside one on the bias for visual interest. It should have a little dart in the back centre but I forgot and I think the bias helped me stretch it to fit... oops. I still like this style but I will need a measuring partner to get my measurements accurate for future use. I really would like to try Lekala again as I hate making so many fitting changes to patterns. So a fail - but good experience and a pretty quick sew too. You keen for Lekala?

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Merry Christmas gifts.


Merry Christmas readers! I hope the day was full of fun, family, friends and peace. This was my most organised and relaxed Christmas ever. (if we ignore the trouble with the machine for the togs - see last post). I had all the house cleaning, food prep done, gifts made, gifts wrapped and even finished a gift on Christmas morning waiting for my son to come home from his Dad's where he spends Christmas Eve and morning.

This is from a dinner I had with an aqua aerobics friend. She was skipping her husband's work Christmas party which is in the heavy machinery industry so she thought a girly catch up was fitting instead.  I wore my Simplicity off shoulder dress in Southbank with the lovely lights and fantastic weather. I've since washed this dress and it's shortened up a bit (natural fibres usually shrink up not across - of the the not so many things I remember from fabric studies in the '90's). I knew this so didn't make it any shorter. I'm hoping the green Christmas dress (unseen finished here) will also shrink a little too. It's great dress to wear - just so easy but you look so smart.


Next is the gifts I made for my sisters and niece and past step-daughter. Here's a little tassel. So fun to make. I bought all the findings (?) at Spotlight. Isn't the leather gorgeous... more on that later.


The lining was a recent remnant from Spotlight on the same trip... $2 and perfectly gorgeous for this project... a cotton slightly lighter than quilting fabric. I bought metal zips from Spotlight too.. they just did not have many in shorter sizes... I think I bought 4 and that was all they had.


Here's the work table out on the back deck. Great light and it's a huge 2 metres wide octagonal table I got from my sister. (It's so old and it's two-pac so I don't even use a big cutting mat... I just do it on the table. No table was harmed in the making of anything so far!) In the background you see the leather hide. It's garment lamb's skin... it's size small and cost about $48. I bought it from East Coast Leather (easy to remember). They had so much leather and I think it was very, very well priced. I also went to Mac's Leather but after just because it was nearby and wanted to have a look, but this is where I would go for any leather in the future.


This is the making of the tassels. A bit tedious and hurt my wrists with the cutting, but also fidgety but it got done and I was happy with the outcomes.  I used the scissors not the rotary cutter.


Finished tassels. The rotary cutter I bought years ago when Big W was getting out of all sewing supplies. I got a huge bag of elastic too with only about half gone now. The little cutting mat was from a $2 shop years ago too and just the right size to cut small bits accurately. I have a 60cm metal ruler I bought when Gardam's closed up in Adelaide Street when they were next door us when I worked at STA Travel. I bought a pile of scissors too which I still have and use.


This was the first go. This is upholstery leather. I bought this at Trad's ages ago... just a small 50x30cm piece for $3 to practice but I only got to it the last few days.
Edit: I did want to say, I used a leather needle and just ordinary polyester thread in a very light grey which was the best match I had. I didn't even think of thread when I bought the leather.


I used a zip harvested from an old zip wallet and like the orange with the cream colour and put a vintage tiny gingham lining to match.


Then I made the rose gold ones, branded one just for size reference. They aren't all photographed, as I made another two after I finished these. I made them in different sizes. Some are with 7" zips and two were with 10" zips, plus I used 2 zips I had on hand one being a plastic one.


All up I made 6 and I have another 2 I need to make but I can't find the interfacing and I have run out of zips of suitable colour.  I used mostly cream coloured zips and the plastic one is a bone colour.  I am so pleased with how they worked out. I read through this tutorial but modified it as I went on. I would cut the zip and tab about .5cm shorter each end so that when turning there wasn't so many layers to turn.

I also interfaced the lamb's skin or it would stretch. Initially I also interfaced the lining but decided it would be slightly too stiff. By interfacing you lose the super soft butteriness (to just soft butteriness)  but it will keep it more sturdy to really be used.


I was a bit hesitant but bit the bullet and dived in and I am so incredibly happy with the way they turned out. EDIT: II also wanted to say I've never made a pouch or anything like this before... straight to the leather. My step-daughter said she loved it but when I said I made it she said she loved it even more and was incredibly surprised.

Oh and my sister called and said was just talking to Mum and saying she thought I'd lost it with the size I made, but when she tried them on they togs fit perfectly. I tried to explain negative ease... in the end they fit and she loves them. I had so much joy making beautiful things for my family.

I hope to finish my gingham skirt next and make a top to wear with it. Any ideas what style of top I should make. The skirt will have a long tie to close it. I'm a bit lost. I feel like a sleeveless top but not sure. Any ideas welcome.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Togs and a struggle (Noelle bralette)


These are togs I've made for my sister for Christmas. This is the McCall's 7417 pants. I cut the panels not to match on purpose so that you can see the panelling. I like it. I wish I had some green or black lycra to make some 'piping' so the panels were more pronounced but I'm not too worried.

I made the front and the back and then cut the lining pieces off the made up front and back and fully lined them. Isn't the lycra pretty. It's from Pitt Trading and it was only $5 per metre. It feels pretty old but it still is fine and I couldn't resist it. It's slightly goldish and I really like it.  I've got more and another nice black one that for a bit of a laugh... show you that when I get time to make it.


This is the top and it's the Noelle bra pattern from Madalynne. It's FREE too. I cut a large and made the band half the width and put some elastic in as well.  Note the green hardware... harvested from an old pair of togs in the same green. This allowed me to make the tie adjustable as I can't get my sister to try them on and she is taller and more broad than me.


Of course I have tried them on. They look great. The back fits so nicely. It's such a great pattern and so very quick. I didn't use the instructions as it's pretty easy. I cut lining too, just the same as the pattern, this is also from Pitt Trading and it's nice quality. Over all this was such a quick sew.. well till the last 30 cm.


I was attaching the step to the top and then the finishing fold over of the last side .. this is 3 layers of elastic, and 8 of lycra. My thread would not stop nesting underneath. I spent more time trying to do this last 30 cm than I did making the whole set. I looked online... rethread - tick, new needle - tick, larger needle - tick, different thread and woolly thread - tick, tick, I even got out my old computer Janome (such a nice machine.. just purrs along), but still it would not sew without nesting. It was going through those layers like butter, I hand cranked it, nope still nesting... I made contact with the Brisbane Spoolette's on the FB page (the only thing I use FB for) and got some great tips, but mostly I'd tried it. I gave it a rest for a couple of hours, mostly to stop me from giving up sewing for ever.. but I would not be beaten. I talked to my machine, and told it clearly that I would win so it should give up this power play but it still wouldn't work. I had to go out and when I got home, I rethreaded it again, changed another needle to a jersey needle (I used microtex needles before - 2 different sizes and stretch needles - 2 different sizes also) and the only other thing I did was just adjust the stitch length and width a smidge.. like a hairs breath... and it worked. Finally. It took about 5 minutes and it was finished. I was so pleased but just so tired. I think I spent hours doing this today. Thanks Spoolette's for the tips and the will to go on.  Arrggh.

I have some other sewing I want to do for Christmas. I bought a beautiful hide of leather to make some zip purses and hopefully I'll be able to show you those next. I haven't made any zip purses/pouches before but I've made a wedding dress, how hard could a zip purse be? Will I even get them done in time? Are you making things for Christmas gifts?

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Gingham Skirt - New Look 6390, and Burda 3490 alias Lois.

I don't often get obsessed by clothes but I saw this skirt and I really love the simplicity.


Then I remembered some purple gingham I bought at the op shop a few years ago. It's a beautiful polished cotton with such a nice hand and drape almost like a rayon. I have cut view D which is on the bias and have cut long (will be pieced together) ties. I was playing pattern tetras with this because the fabric was a 1.5 mt square but the pattern suggests 2.1 metres so I have cut the front overlay and the back piece whole, and the under wrap part will be pieced.

The other problem with this fabric was it was stretched on one side... so I lay it flat on the floor for a week and kept pulling and stretching it back. I wasn't perfect but not as bad as it was. Did you notice how much for that simple skirt... US$301 and sold out! I'll need a top and I have a cut of beautiful cream crepe (remnant from the designer fabric sale $1) that I will make something up - not sure what though.


This is what is nearly finished at the moment ... Burda 3490. It took ages to cut out but a quick sew now just waiting for the neck facing, arm holes and hem to be finished. I omitted the zip.. it doesn't need it.


Here's a close up of the line drawing ... Lois anyone? Great op shop find a few years ago for $1.



This is the fabric I've used.. rayon from East Coast Fabrics earlier in the year or last year. I should finish that today if I can... I'm so tired and just don't trust myself sewing when I haven't sleep well for 2 weeks. There is some tricky overlocking to be done at that front point under the bust too and I won't chance it... been there done that, hole by overlocker.

I have next week off and want to do some Christmas sewing for some sisters. A dress for one, swimwear for another and maybe some active wear tights for another... lets see what gets finished.
Are you making anything for Christmas gifts?