Sunday, August 13, 2017

It's been a while - lots of sewing done

Wow, it's been a while and I've been sewing up a storm. Don't even know how to start. I've done sewing for me, my son and for some gifts. Sorry about the chopping all over the place in this post. I've so much to say and made so much but not many photos of being worn and so the rotten photos I have here or else it would never get done. There will be a 2nd catch up post because this one would be too long if I did everything.

Firstly the patterns I asked my friend to bring me back from the States. I know there are some very similar but I guess I was giving the list like I take to Spotlight expecting I won't get them. I did try to get these at the sale before this one but I didn't get one of these. I've got half the pattern paper cut out already and to tell the truth with 30 degrees in winter next week I'm going to use them earlier than I thought! I'm excited to have the sports bra pattern. I'm going to make a first one in lycra and the rashie for my aqua as it's getting warmer and it's hard to reach the top of my back for sunscreen and that's a must here.  I like the short rashie too as I'm so short waisted and big hipped that normal ones ride up so I'm hoping to get a three piece made for aqua soon.

This red merino cardi is from Simplicity 2560 which is a beaut pattern. This red merino was a piece from the merino bouquet my niece made for me for my birthday this year. It was just 1 metre and the length of the skirt and the length of the sleeves were determined by the cut of fabric. It is perfect. I LOVE it and I've had a lot of positive comments about it. It's one of my favourite things I've made. I did actually go to find some more fabric from The Fabric Store as I wanted to make one of the Kwik Sew 3977 (below) but there wasn't enough and I needed 1 metre to have enough but it must have been a different roll (there was only 1/2 roll left) and the colour was just ..just off but enough for me to notice. We all know no-one else would notice but that's all that I'd see. Anyway I was pleased to get this out of 1 metre and it's just what I wanted.

I have  a Brother 3240CV coverstitch that my niece picked up for me 2nd hand in Sydney a few years ago. I've used it once. With this limited use, I still wanted to use it, but I was afraid of it... but that didn't stop me thinking seriously that I needed the Janome one. Then I thought that was an idiotic idea... if I have one I just need to buckle down and use it and if I could use it and still didn't like it, then fair enough, but I hadn't given it a chance.  So I've made a tonne of knit things the last few months and the coverstitch has made it so quick and easy to hem and finish it's not funny. Now I'm not afraid of it and I don't feel the need to immediately get another brand. Maybe I will later when I am more experienced but right now, it hems perfectly and I really appreciate it. (Just for reference it was only $250 and I was getting my niece who doesn't sew to pick it up .. she asked them to run it bless her. It was pretty well used and a few little thread guide bits missing but it works). Incidentally when I was hemming the sleeve of the little red cardi, I didn't notice the 2nd needle thread had pulled out and it sewed a single line of stitching with a chain stitch underneath. I forgot you could do that so a practice without full knowledge of doing it. So in fact you could use just 2 threads for a great finish that is so quick. I'm really glad I've 'mastered' (hardly) the coverstitch as I have used it so much the last few months and it makes a great finish and is super easy and much easier to use and thread than the overlocker. If you do a lot of sewing, it's a great machine to have and really makes hemming knits a breeze and fast!

This is the first thing I finished with the coverstitch. A lovely raglan t-shirt, perfect for work made from a remnant from the fabric sale I go to.. it was .50 cents. I have another cut of this slightly more red colour and the bodysuit featured before (still not finished) is in an oily green colour. All .50 cents. Bargain!

And pattern for the top above. I know I cut an 8 to the underarms and 10-12 going down. Fits perfectly. Quick and easy to wear.

Last year I went to the Kitty d' Amour fabric sale and bought a few things, two of which were marked "wool". I pulled it out to sew up a few things as I like the colours. One is the aqua with a green lace overlay (the colours on my monitor are pretty accurate) and the other is a bit fleecy on the back and I wanted to make an unlined jacket or coat.  They aren't long cuts, 1.5 metres each and as you can see the labels, they weren't cheap but they were interesting colours and reasonably priced if it was wool and I thought I'd just do the burn test.

This is the one with the lace overlay with the overlay taken off. See how the fabric has melted and the 'fibres' have stretched like when you melt plastic. NOT WOOL! but synthetic. I was (am) really angry.

This burn test above is the raspberry boiled wool that I bought for $4 per metre at the fabric sale (already cut out ages ago for a Butterick Lisette waterfall coat but put to the back burner for more urgent things - maybe this week), the next one is another wool scrap from the black Kwik Sew I recently made for my niece and knew it was wool and the last two are the blue two above marked as "wool". It is really disappointing and I am so angry and so put off this brand.. although lets face it, I won't be buying clothes but I wouldn't go to their sale again and really feel like I want to return it.

Two bad photos of the Hollyburn skirt (well the skirt from the Lonsdale dress that is the Hollyburn skirt) that I made in an hour to wear to see The Ladies in Black. I used a purple synthetic silk lining (which isn't really apparent in these poor quality photos) and a net lace overlay fabric which was also a remnant from the fabric sale and $5 for a couple of metres. It was 4 seams each for skirt and lining, unhemmed and with an elastic waist. I made the top from an Ottobre pattern with beautiful heavy black satin from the same sale (remnant again about $1) and this is also what I wore to my Dad's funeral after Mum told me he loved black and purple together. That's the Burda coat I made about 9 years ago still going strong, and still getting compliments and looks of disbelief when I say I made it. It is a gorgeous satin fabric that has either the warp or weft threads (can't remember which) that are metal, about the gauge of steel wool.

This Kwik Sew 3977 on the left, I bought because my friend who brought the patterns for me, had a cardi like this on last year and it looked so good, so when I saw this pattern it was snatched up quickly. I've made three!, but none for me.

This is the third one I made for my sister who turned 50 today. Her favourite colour is purple and I picked this merino at The Fabric Store. It has a little square pattern in it. It's a beautiful colour and my sister loves it which made me very happy. I also made her a great hazelnut cake with chocolate icing.

This is the first one I made. Black merino for Mum as she's in mourning and wearing black. I also picked this up at The Fabric Store on sale for only $10 a metre - what a bargain! It's hard to see the waterfall of the fabric in the black but it's there and just like the pattern envelope. I also made one for same friend previously mentioned as she was 50 earlier in the year and I wanted to make her something too. She tried it on and loved it and I was so happy. She told me she loved her other one but she'd tossed it because it had pilled. Hers is in a gorgeous light royal blue colour with a light pale stripe through it at about a 5cm interval. It's a gorgeous weight and it's perfect for her. I did want to get some orange that I saw there a few months ago but when I went back they had sold out, but in actual fact this one is a heavier weight and better for where they live - plus bonus.. it will never pill. It will come out of the washing machine looking like new. Merino is expensive and I'm a tight ass  thrift person, but merino is worth every cent and SO easy to sew and look after.

Incidentally, I tried them on and it's so long on me I think I have to shorten it a bit. Plus I need some merino for me. This is a fantastic pattern. It takes one hour max to make and it looks terrific. If you see this and like that waterfall look it's perfect. Another plus for merino, it cuts so cleanly the raw edge is gorgeous.

Finally for tonight, this is the current Ottobre pattern sheet. I love that funnel neck jacket and have some emerald green wool I'd like to make this from as my old red jacket has definitely seen better days. Two things with this is that you only need one wool coat for years in Brisbane, and as it's been so warm here there's a question whether I need it or not. Well, I guess you need one good wool lined coat don't you... just don't hold your breath to see it. Next up I'll show you bad photos of about another 8-10 things I've made. Thanks for reading this far if you have 😀.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Making all the things... and a city surprise!

Well after working out I had nothing to wear and making stuff for my niece, I've found a real sewing mojo I haven't had for a while. This is just a teaser post really, as I haven't any photos of most of the stuff I've made. 

So first up is this Vogue basic design pattern I made last Saturday (as well as a skirt). It's a boxy, 2 piece pattern... I made D - in the cow pattern and headless red one. I made it out of a remnant piece of wool knit stuff that is in a mushroom colour. I have been trying to use this piece of fabric for about 5 years but it was not enough for anything. I'd played tetris with this pattern before but this time I made it work. If you can see, the pattern starts at a 14... I have the tiniest shoulders and this looks like I have my big sister's top on. It's comfy and warm though... I've worn it twice already. Goes so well with the skirt I made. No photo of the skirt yet though. 

The other thing I've nearly finished is a bodysuit! I can't believe I found this pattern at a sewing shop for $1. Three styles too... I used to wear a bodysuit in the 90's. I remember travelling on a motorcycle in the UK in 1992 wearing beautiful dark grey one. No tucking in and it kept your back warm. This was the trip where I started saying "the coldest winter I ever spent was summer in Scotland"! I've got style 3 together. I just need to put the snaps on, elastic around the legs and some binding. That's made out of a scrap of fabric bought for .50c from the fabric sale I go to.

These are the snaps. They are from the '80s when I did a short course on sewing lingerie. I'll find the unfinished (see snaps above) teddy thing to show you.... funny that's all I need to do on it... why didn't I ever finish it?? They need a wash but they've they've been kicking around for years :)

I also made another merino scarf for my niece. I got this gorgeous teal merino remnant from aforementioned fabric sale for $1 people!! It is really lovely but just not my colour. Nothing too complex here - cut it the width she wanted and then french seam the ends for an infinity scarf.  I think there is enough to make her another singlet top when I find the pattern I've made for it. I've also finished the dress I was finishing for her - just needs hemming but I dropped the pin that marked where she wanted it so I have to wait for her to come over. I'll finish that when she's here.

 I made an ivory coloured top from this pattern. Round neck version as the V neck isn't in the pattern envelope. It's a great simple pattern that fits me really well around the shoulders. This will go with a lot of things but I wore it with the polka dot (see previous post) New Look  6459 culottes. They fit perfectly after finally getting the waistband on, and I really love them but they have a sad story that I'll tell you next time. I've also made two Style Arc Halle Skirts and a skirt from some really special ruffle fabric (fabric sale again) that was a very quick make but no photos yet. It's rained all week and I've been home 4 days... most of that time not well enough to sew, but some was snuck in.

I've not only making fabric things, but food things too!

These are my corn fritters on a bed of rocket. I make these for breakfast and then we have them for lunch boxes.. if they last. I use corn meal instead of any flour (we aren't gluten intolerant, I just like it).

Then made some fantastic cinnamon buns. We love cinnamon buns. The recipe is from Minimalist Baker. I've used a few of her recipes and they are good. I haven't made these vegan as she has but everything she makes that I've tried is really good.

I also made gnocchi for the first time. It took about 10 minutes and was divine. Soft little pillows of ricotta, eggs and flour.

I made my standard tomato salsa (I use this for tomato soup base, Neapolitan sauce for pasta and added a bit of cream for this gnocchi. This is just fresh tomatoes, garlic and lots of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. If I don't have all fresh tomatoes (rare), I'll use canned, or if I only have a few fresh tomatoes I'll add a big dollop of tomato paste. To make it soup, I just add stock. This is our favourite soup.. takes 20 minutes and tastes sensational.

Tossed in some fresh basil leaves and a grating of Romano cheese and delicious. So the last couple of weeks have been very productive. I'll get photos of my finished sewing soon.  Oh, I nearly forgot the city surprise....

At my bus stop in town, I have seen this plaque for years but never looked at it closely. It's hard to read but it's called "Still Life with Reclining Bus Ticket". Have a closer look... there's the bus ticket reclining on the vase. The vase is resting on a Singer treadle sewing machine! It's a real reflection of Brisbane life... the Hills Hoist  (clothes line) through the window, with the Story Bridge in the background. A real city surprise!

(Thanks for reading this long, long post.)

Sunday, May 21, 2017

So sew, sew, sew... and nothing to wear.

Yes, that's not me wearing a new Kwik Sew K3952 jacket out of black wool crepe stuff I bought in Melbourne last year as a remnant. That's my niece who popped in for a visit yesterday. I was telling her about the little jacket I made and it was just not right on me.  Too swingy, too black? I couldn't put my finger on it. She is about twice as broad in the shoulders as me (hello weights) but about the same height. (Proportion is everything when you are short). I got her to try it on and .. well it fits her beautifully, sits where it should and she also loves the 3/4 sleeves. She was wearing a dress yesterday that this really didn't go with but we agreed with jeans or pants it would be great. And it is. Yeah, it's black and hard to photograph, so here's the pattern.

That's not all.... The McCall's vintage wrap dress I was making is waaayyyy too big in the front bodice. I was debating putting the bodice down but hadn't done it yet. I showed my niece and of course it fits her perfectly... like it was made for her I tell you... so I'll finish it off and pass it onto her too.... so, sew, sew, sew and still nothing to wear!

It's a great pattern. So quick and it takes a smell of fabric. This was a remnant piece of a few scraps and I was go pleased to get this little jacket out of it. I think for me now I will try it in a merino as that's a bit lighter and drapey which will be better for me I think. It's supposed to have exposed seams but I didn't do this and there is an exposed seam at the back of the neck on the collar, but it's so quick. It's a wool, crepe like knit that is quite thick. It's warm but not overly hot so perfect for our Brisbane autumn days of sunny and 25 degrees celsius like it was today. It's really worth a try.

And speaking of today, I wore my Simplicity 1796 made from polka dot royal blue fabric to the  Brisbane Spoolettes picnic in the park today, which was very relaxed, delicious and so fun. I bought the fabric from Janies Fabrics, an online fabric shop in Australia. It's a lovely heavy rayon so it was lovely to sew. It was also pretty cheap at $6 per metre.. it had a few little holes in it near the selvage, but nothing that caused a problem and it was a very generous cut. I paid for 3 metres but I made this dress and a pair of the New Look culottes NL 6459. They have been waiting for a waistband for about a month. But that's pretty good getting both out of that cut.

What a sour puss face! Wonder what I was thinking?
I made view C and while the dress is a good size for me I didn't do a FBA and I could have gotten away with it if I thought to just add about 3 cm to the length of the front only to accomodate bewbs. I had a huge problem with the facings on this dress. They just did not fit and I tore my hair out trying to work out if I did something or if it was the pattern. I'll try another one soon to see. Maybe add those open sleeves. Anyone made this and had a problem with the facings? I ended up making bias and it's on but not the best. I forgot to take into account of the seam allowance and cut it away so the armscye could have used a bit trimmed off for a more comfortable fit. It's not uncomfortable I'm just aware of it.

So next, I've downloaded, glued up and cut out a Lekala pattern. I need something quick that just fits. Lets see how I go.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

New Togs

I made new togs. These were a bit overdue as  pair I made in January disintegrated. Well the red did that stretch out thing and the aqua (which was at least 20 years old) was still fine, such was the quality of that remnant. I knew they wouldn't last long as the red was very thin and not good quality plus the heat and chlorine from the night aqua classes really eats into the fabric.  So onto the new pair. It is still using the same pattern cut out from a pair of Arena togs that fit well that the last pair was to test if my tracing off was ok. These are made from a remnant piece of lycra from The Fabric Store a few years ago. Really I don't know why I bought it, it's not really my colours but it has a beautiful feel. It was about a metre long and $17 so that's probably why.. it is really lovely quality. I don't know how long they'll last; when you swim in chlorine a few times a week togs don't last long.

The original togs had the bottom piece cut on the fold, but I put a seam in to round out the bottom for a better fit for my round bottom. I fully lined the togs and I used some green power net I cut out from the lining of togs I bought a while ago. I always have to thing about how to do the lining so the seams at the crotch are fully enclosed. I kind of walk my way through it to make sure... I don't want to unpick lycra.  I used some clear swimwear elastic because I couldn't (and still can't) find the new rubber elastic I bought a few weeks ago. I used my teflon foot and a microtex needle which was really good (and expensive).

Until I had most of the elastic put on .. then my machine kept jumping stitches. I thought it was the machine and pulled out the Brother I found on the street but same thing. I changed needles, broke one (damn because they are expensive) and changed thread... nope same thing. Left it for a day (I know when the universe tells me to step away from the machine) and tried again the next day. Same frustration. The only thing left was to turn the togs over and sew on the other side and no problem. Why this happened I have no idea. One minute it's going great and literally the next second it's not working and simply turning the fabric over makes it work fine?? When you sew long enough you realise it's better to not waste time trying to work it out, just go with it.

The is the dress I've been working on using a polka dot fabric from East Coast Fabrics I bought when I was up at Maroochydore at New Year. I was procrastinating doing the facings for a week and then I had the Destash to Restash market and it's still waiting. Hopefully this weekend.

Happy Easter everybody.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

There's a Bouquet and Then There's a Sewer's Bouquet and I Got Both.

The little girl next door had a birthday and a little while ago I noticed she was wearing a mint coloured t-shirt with a pineapple on the front.  I had a scrap of the pineapple rayon I made my niece pj shorts and kimono last year which was a perfect match so I whipped her up a little skirt with pom poms on. It fit perfectly and just as well as that was the last of it. I had to make a kind of tier as it wasn't quite wide enough but a bit of elastic sewn on with the overlocker and then folded and topstitched and there it was.  She loved it and put it on straight away... I love it when kids do that! 

 It was also my birthday recently and my above said niece brought me this lovely bouquet of flowers which I may add are still in good shape and it has been a couple of weeks. Lovely... but the sewer's bouquet... well that's just perfection and lasts much longer.

Ta Da! I present the sewer's bouquet...a bunch of merino pieces!!!!
Goodness what a niece.. knows the way to her Aunty's heart (and making sure she's in the good books for more merino winter goodness.. if winter ever comes).

Pretty much self explanatory isn't it.

Next up I'll show my new togs (swimmers), hopefully a wrap dress and I'll let you know how the destash went today.