Saturday, June 4, 2016

Kwik Sew 2419 and news!

Well finally it's cooled off a little bit.. I say a little bit because next week, apparently it will be up to 30 degrees on the Queensland (state) coast.  Just a reminder for those not in Australia, this is the start of winter. Currently it's pouring rain on the east coast which is also quite out of season but there you have it.... according to some, there is no climate change; nothing to see here. 

But, I digress. I made a sweatshirt from two sweatshirt fabric remnants from Spotlight. They were both the same size about 70cm long and immediately I earmarked them for Alex. He likes a plain grey sweatshirt and this year he requested one pullover style and a hood. I used Kwik Sew 2419 which is actually described for girls but really, is a hoodie like this just suitable for girls? Unisex me thinks.

It was a made up quickly. I used some scrap Star Wars fabric to interface the pocket openings, purely because I couldn't be bothered to iron on any real interfacing. You don't see it so it didn't matter. I also put some twill tape on the shoulders and some wide edge tape, cut in half lengthwise, to stabilise the hood opening. This allowed the stitching to not bunch up and the fabric not to stretch. I didn't use it on the hem because I was lazy. I stitched twice around the pocket with straight stitch and on the hemming of the bottom and the sleeves, pocket and hood openings I used a coverstitch like stitch on my sewing machine. I really like this stitch, last used on my niece's merino tops. It is a slightly utilitarian but fancy stitch without having to rethread the coverstitch. I'm still a bit afraid of that thing! All made up on the overlocker otherwise.

Here's a close up of the bottom hem with side splits, fancy utilitarian (such a contradiction :)) stitch and discreet label. It's a lovely soft fleece and Alex loves it. Of course he isn't here for a photo so floor photos have to suffice.

Remember the pants I made with the metal threads? Well they are terrifically comfortable and I love the style etc, but ... and this is a big but, I cannot wear them too long as the metal threads abrade my legs  - it's just as if you'd used steel wool to rub over your legs. At first wearing, I didn't get it, but wondered why my legs were rough a few days later. On second wearing, which was for a number of hours, the abrasiveness became really uncomfortable. The welts also came a bit undone and I had to topstitch them on the sides. No loss .. that pair was only .50c worth of fabric and a wearable muslin. I still wonder if they'd set the alarm off if I walked through airport security!

In my other news, I got a job! I start Monday and so I am sewing up a few things that are work appropriate. It's a 4 month contract but it's a foot in the door and I'm very excited. Hopefully I'll be able to post a few things that I've made before then but if not, wish me luck! My sewing (and everything else) may slow down for a while as we adjust.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Hybrid dress - copying and reusing.

When I was leaving aqua aerobics one morning about 8 weeks ago, I saw someone wearing a dress with a simple elastic gathered A-line, dirndl skirt shape, I think a scoop neck and an action back in woven fabric. It looked so nice and summery and McCall's 6359 came to mind immediately and decided I could and would easily copy it.

What's with the putting views C, A and B in that order? Anyway, I digress. I made View A cut at about 6 cm past the waist measurement on the pattern. At first I made it wider at the side seams to do a sort of lazy simplified FBA, but that didn't work, really changing the shape of the front too much so I cut it back to the right size and due to my small back, there is enough ease in the top.

Let me preface this by saying the top looks better than it does in this photo... I was wearing my swimming sports bra ready to go swimming and it is not a great shape for dresses! (I wear an old but still supportive sports bra under my togs for aqua as I need the support and although this one doesn't give great shape, it's fills a hole for jumping around at aqua letting me be more active). I wore the dress with a convertible bra yesterday and it does sit nicely and the bra gives a much better shape. Why didn't I get someone to take a photo at the glistening pool after aqua yesterday... don't know!

I love the back. It gathers at the  middle part which isn't easy to see in these photos. The instructions get you to put the back straps in between the facing and the right side, so nice and neat, but then it instructs to just sew the straps to the front after finishing the facing. I didn't do this. I like the neat finish with the straps hidden in between the facing and the dress so I sewed them in. I think they do this to make it easier getting the straps the right length but I don't like hand sewing this stuff and really don't see any need. I put the facing on and left the tops of the points open then I pulled the straps through with some safety pins and then adjusted in the mirror and then finished sewing the facing. Much neater. I attached the skirt with a 2cm seam allowance so that I could turn it up to make a casing and thread the elastic through it.

So that's the copying but the reusing is that I made the skirt out of a long pillow case dress I made for myself maybe in January. I usually do this by cutting out a raglan peasant blouse pattern front and back and just turn over the top and back and thread through a tie. This one was from a pattern that was very full and it really just didn't work. I wore it once and my sister was not very complimentary so I chopped at the underarms and fit the skirt to the top here. That's why it may look a little short to some, but I like a maxi right at my ankles so I don't trip!  The tie I used for the straps on the old dress is the waist tie on the new dress. The fabric was part of my only online fabric purchase. I've mentioned this before that it was listed as a rayon but it is definitely a mix as the paisley "print" is heat embossed on and this can only be done with synthetic fibres... it kind of melts the print on... kind of like the iron does to your fabric when you don't want it to! I love the colour and have had a number of nice comments about the dress and colour and although I'm disappointed it isn't rayon, it was only $2 a metre.

It's not perfect as I should have made the back bodice a bit shorter as it blouses much more than the front. I'm pretty short at the back, well probably the same as the front length but the bust pulls the front up and I should have taken this into account, other than that, I'm pretty happy with my hybrid dress. I have started another maxi dress for my sister using View B with the scoop neck - but I made a boo boo and then a save. That'll be next plus some fleecy jumpers (i.e. sweatshirt and jacket) for Alex. Oh and just a quick note about the pineapple kimono and shorts - my niece LOVES, LOVES, LOVES them so I'm super happy that she's happy despite the trials in sewing them.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

The pineapples will not beat me... although they did try.

So that's the finished product. Kimono and sleep shorts (or maybe they'll be beach shorts? Who knows? When I made my pineapple skirt, my niece loved the print and asked if she got some would I make her something. Of course I would.. I love making things for my niece as she appreciates the time and effort involved. Although, this wasn't to be much effort - ha a kimono style, light dressing gown - how hard is that! What could go wrong?

This is just a cotton bias tape hanging tab. I hate not being able to hang things and the cotton bias tape is soft and cotton and I have it in three useful colours. I didn't have a kimono pattern so just used the McCall's dressing gown pattern I used a few weeks ago and adjusted the pattern to cut some kimono sleeves on. Easy. Hope it fits well. I have put some belt tabs on - three as I hate when the belt falls out of them. I think it will need an extra tie in the inside but I'll get my niece to tell me where she wants it when she tries it on. She's back from her work tour tomorrow evening.

Boy this was a never ending story though. It really tried my patience. After putting on the band around the front and neck, I overlocked it and I managed to snip a bit mid top back. Drats! What a pain. There was so much soft, floaty fabric and not much room around the overlocker but I was really trying to keep it all out of the way. (I've done this one before on a red satin ball gown that I was to wear to a "party like it's 1999" ball because it was NYE 1999 but it's still sitting unfinished because I caught a snip and it was the day before NYE so I gave in and went and bought a dress - which was a lovely, long, black beaded dress that I got for a steal and I still have. I'll eventually finish that dress but no hurry as it wouldn't fit me at the moment anyway ;) ) So that's the 'repair' I did. I put some fusible interfacing on the inside and sewed over the 1 cm V snip. It was pretty invisible but I still wanted to disguise it.

I found this large cotton bias tape harvested from some pants that died so I put two tabs on and great, you can't see the snip. Then I went to trim the final thread from putting the bias on and then 'snip' I cut a tiny snip in the fabric again. ARRRGGGGHHHH!!!! I was ready to toss it in and go and buy some more fabric and just start again but Trad's, where we bought the fabric has moved about 45 minutes away so I decided I would persevere.

And persevere I had to because that wasn't the end of the woes. I decided I would use some elastic that has the cord threaded through it on the waistband. I positioned where I wanted the button hole to go for the cord to thread through, I reinforced it with some iron on fusible and made my button hole. I made a test one - perfect. Set it up, made the button hole and it stopped half way. So I pulled that one out, no mean feat in soft rayon they made another one. It went crooked. Argh! I pulled out the threads gently which took forever and then put the shorts away in the naughty corner. Then I went back to the kimono to finish hemming and the sleeves and got it back from the naughty corner a few days later. Thank goodness the button hole went smoothly. I overlocked the elastic on the waist and flipped over to sew it down. Wow, I'll be so glad when this is done I thought to myself - ha. Would you believe that I had to change the top thread twice and the bobbin thread 3 times for about 90 cm of sewing. I was so glad it was done. Some things just do not want to be made or are just resistant for some reason but I am tenacious if nothing else and I would not be beaten by pineapples. Anything beaten you lately - or tried to?

This isn't the end of the pineapples either. I have some my niece bought in a black colour way for elastic casual pants for my Mum. In the meantime I have finished a dress that's a bit of a mash up and save. That'll be next.

Finally, Happy Mother's Day for tomorrow for all the Mum's out there. This is the pink tinged pavlova that's in the oven as we 'speak' getting cooked for lunch at my sister's place tomorrow. 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Weft Metal

When I took the photo of the label on my newly made pants, I was nearly 100 percent that this fabric had metal threads... see the shiny bits from the flash? So to confirm my suspicions 100 percent I did a burn test.

Pretty conclusive really! The weft threads are wires and are like steel wool. They are very fine as you can probably see in the photo. The warp is cotton - a quick burning and then fine ash left.

I could actually feel the wires when I walk in that way that is a little annoying. I wonder what that did to my overlocker blades now I think of it?? The reason I was sure is because I also have some white shirting type fabric that I bought a number of years ago from the industry fabric sale I go to and remember this Burda jacket I made in 2009?  When I bought that fabric (and some more in a silver/grey) the woman there told me that it had metal threads also and again you can feel the little pinch every now and again when you move.

I also made this little Ottobre shirt with a scrap of the white I bought at the fabric sale last year. Same thing - I made some bias out of it for the armholes and neckline and the little thread kept scratching me.

So just raced off and did the burn test for the white fabric.... yep, definitely metal threads. I pondered with my son about what would happen if I wore the pants through the airport security arch?? I will check with my friend at aqua aerobics tomorrow - she works for airport biosecurity, but maybe she'll know. Anyone out there have an idea? You'd have to think it would register as it would be quite an amount of metal in a pair of trousers... don't want to forget and have to find out the hard way. I can just see it..."yes I know I buzzed, but you see my trousers are made with cotton fibres and metal threads." "Sure they are lady, sure they are. Step into this booth please ma'am."

Incidentally that top has been binned because it got stained with sunscreen... anyone know how to get sunscreen out of clothes?

 So have you sewn anything with metal threads through it?  So many questions today!

Moving on (if only I could), that pineapple dressing gown is really trying my patience! It'll be finished in the next few days (all going well, and well, it hasn't been so we'll see!) or else it'll end up as scrap!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Top and bottom.

Finally I finished the Burda trousers I started way back at the beginning of December (link for for the original post), probably started late November even. I only had to overlock the seams, take in the back seam about 2 cm for my sway back and put the waistband on. As I said it was way too hot to even put these trousers on till now to fit that back seam. Even today was 27 degrees but in that cool, overcast way but I'm still wearing a sleeveless top (the one I made yesterday... up next).  Sorry about the dark, terrible photos. I went to the park with my son after school then promptly forgot to get him to take some photos... that's ok, if your son can't stop talking to you, photos come last!

This photo actually really shocked me as I know my right shoulder drops but I didn't realise just by how much! You can see my hips are relatively level - my hands are in my (terrific deep) pockets though and it's a funny angle but I am crooked! Those wrinkles in the pants aren't there when I don't have my hands in my pockets and when I haven't run around in them all day.

This is the front of the pants. You can just see the little pleats in the front there. I extended the waistband because I wanted this offset the closure because I didn't want to put the belt tabs on. I used some silver jeans snaps - just Birch ones from Spotlight a few years ago. I love these pants. Other than taking in the top 4 cm of the back middle seam a couple of cm I didn't change these at all. The legs are a perfect width and as "skinny" as I like. They are the perfect width all the way down for me. 
The fabric was a piece of fabric I got at the fabric sale I go to.

This is the fabric ... yep, .50cents! It's a great olive green and it goes with so much! It is crinkled but is a cotton.. it feels like it has metal threads through it. When I washed it, it crinkled even more than this but seems to straighten a bit when warmed up with wearing.

 When I was cutting the pants, I just couldn't get them out without that chunk you see in the photo above getting in the way. So I just cut a piece and stitched it together and made it a 'feature'.


There was also one little tiny chunk just out of the hemline, so a little label there and Bob's my pants!

This is my new top too. I got the fabric as a small piece from the Brisbane Spoolettes... a beautiful, buttery rayon and the pattern was a score from there too. 

I made the size 8 to the high bust and then out to a 14 from there. It's a Simplicity "Learn to Sew" pattern. It's a great pattern even if you already know how to sew.

I took 3 cm from the strap part of the front and I meant to take a little dart in the arm hole but from my bedroom to the sewing room I completely forgot, so the armhole gapes a tiny bit.  In this photo you see the gape but also the hemline which is lovely and a little bit longer at the back. THere's a lot going on in the fabric.

In this photo you see that the welt pockets gape and look like little spy eyes  - this happened because I tried being clever and I used the pattern instructions and then I tried to use some other tutorial but they did different things in different order and I think I missed a bit of inside under-stitching. I think I'll put a buttonhole and button to keep them closed. Ha.. as if... I'll move onto the next thing of course! (but I will learn my lesson and stick to one method). It's amazing that when you use fabric that is .50 cents you just do the steps and make welts... no stress. I have to say these are the 2nd set of welt pockets I've done.. the last ones about 30 years ago. Not avoiding them, they just never came up again.

So, my new outfit. I love it. It will be very useful in this mid season that should last about 2 days!

Pants pattern reminder. I think I made the straight 14. Easy

 This is the top pattern  - two different looks with really good sizing.

These are the great instructions for beginners. They give lots of tips for newbies and even very useful tips for sewing with sheer fabrics.

SO... I love my new top and pants and I will be making more soon. What do you think?

Next up...onto finishing my niece's kimono dressing gown... from pineapple fabric.