Friday, January 31, 2014

I did it!

Thanks for the size help for Style Arc patterns. I purchased my patterns today and I expect I'll get them next week.

I have one for the special occasion of my friends wedding in May and I think it will be a lace dress (hint for one of the patterns) made from either a vintage guipure lace that my Mum bought many years ago, or some more modern lace with sequins I brought at last years fabric sale.

I shall reveal all when I get the patterns.

Thanks again for the help.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Help with Style Arc Pattern Sizing

Source unknown - but it's cute isn't it!

I want to order some Style Arc patterns (they have a great deal for this month - basically 4 patterns for the price of 2 and I wanted one or two anyway...). Anyway, if I want a sheath dress pattern and I am a 10 up top and a 14 on the bottom, do I order the 10 and just grade it out at the hips? That's what I was taught at fashion school years ago but at the patterns don't have any other sizes how do others fix this problem?

Any help would be appreciated - special ends at the end of the month!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Same; same, but different!

See what I mean? Same; same but different. I knew of the Simplicity 8498 - Carmen at Carmencitab sent me a while ago and the Simplicity Retro 3833 has been out for a while, but I didn't know about the Vogue Couturier Design pattern. The different is the open back... is that how Simplicity can get away with a near exact copy? I saw the Vogue on an ebay site but it doesn't say when it was issued.

Lauren of Rosie Wednesday (a new to me blog) is doing a sew-along with either of the Simplicity patterns and I will make one up (probably not with the sew-along as I am making some other things at the moment but I will use the fitting posts to help fit mine. There is even a post on the comparison of the old and new issue of the Simplicity (I don't remember which Blogger did this but Lauren links to it).

Oh and the price of the Vogue? Just over $51 US dollars! I also found some patterns that I have picked up recently that are priced from $60 to nearly $100 each... Have you got any patterns that are "valuable"? (I mean they're all valuable, but maybe I mean priced highly).

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

My little dumplings

Pork mince mix

Wrappers brushed with water with press

Dumplings pressed and ready for boiling

Boiling those little suckers

Served with snow peas and broccoli in garlic and oyster sauce and sesame seeds

One of our favourite meals is dumplings. I first had these  was in Auckland; we'd buy 20 for about $7 and they were yummy! When I came back to Australia I noticed the dumpling wrappers in the supermarket (were they there before? I don't know but I never noticed). I then started making my own and they are so easy. I made them once with prawn mince (keep it quite chunky, and chicken - not such great flavour but still nice). Have a go!

Pork Dumplings

1 pack dumpling wrappers 
water and pastry brush
dumpling press (get this from Asian shops)
large pot of boiling water
chilli oil (dried chilli flakes in jar topped with rice bran oil)

Mince mix
200g heart smart pork mince
1 can bamboo shoots or water chestnuts, chopped finely
(water chestnuts offer more crunch)
1/2 to 1 bunch well washed and finely chopped coriander (cilantro)
grated fresh ginger to taste (approx 1 cm chunk)
2-3 cloves of fresh garlic, crushed 
(ginger and garlic to taste - more or less as you like it but try to avoid bottled stuff)
a few shakes of sesame oil

Mix all the ingredients for the mince until well mixed. I peel off  6-8 wrappers and run the wet pasty brush around the wrappers. Place wrapper in press and put one teaspoon mix in middle and press. Keep going till done (there are 30 wrappers in each pack).  

Put between 6 and 8 in the pot of boiling water for approximately 6 minutes or until translucent. Serve hot with good quality Japanese soy sauce mixed 50/50 with fresh lime juice. (Chinese soy is too salty and overpowering and the lime juice really adds to the flavour).  I always serve stir fried greens (broccoli, snow peas, green beans, asian Kailan - whatever I have) with loads of fresh crushed garlic and oyster sauce (or whatever you prefer).

I have frozen them at times (raw - remember not to refreeze the mince), but I find I have to lay them on a tray to keep them separate and they aren't ever as good. Fresh is best! Let me know if you try them.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Dresses and Tops

I have been sewing. I finished off the Simplicity Amazing Fit Pants and they are very comfortable and fit well. So comfy they feel like pj pants! I think I may go down to the 12 around the waist and side seams when I use stretch fabric. I have another pair planned in  a heavier black cotton stretch. 

I then started making a dress for a funeral I had to go to on Thursday. I am using Vogue 1100 (which is quite old if you check reviews but I only got a couple of years ago)because I thought it would be nice and quick as it is just a shift dress with some nice pleating in the neckline and simple darts front and back. However, I didn't notice it was a fully lined dress and I didn't have lining to suit here and I couldn't work out how the neck band/facing was going to fit - I lined them up and it was short about 2cm either side. I didn't rush ahead as I am prone to do sometimes and thought about it when I went to bed - of course I had tried to put the facings on as facings and not as neck band so it sat in the wrong place. (if that makes sense)

As it happens when I put the half made dress on it wouldn't fit across the hip (read bum) area, even though I had added to the skirt portion (the pattern is up to a 12 only, I made a size 10 in the top which is the right size for me there). Sorry, I just realised I don't have photo of the dress here - next post. I wore another dress I had made (also for a funeral as it happens) and now I can finish this one off with a lining. 

This is the fabric I am using. It is a Japanese cotton, mid weight, that has a beautiful hand (as I find most Japanese fabrics do)and washes up beautifully. I think I am going to really love this dress and better start swimming and walking more to fit into it - ha ha! I got this fabric from Singapore when I gave my friend some money a couple of years ago when she was going and left it to her to buy me some fabrics - cotton or silk was the brief. I do love it.

Next in line and cut out is this McCall's  top pattern. I am making view c first. I am using a Missoni type knit scrap and a remnant I got from the fabric store in Auckland in September last year. 

 The cotton knit below is more a royal blue colour rather than the purpley colour it looks here. It is a really lovely fabric and matches pretty much with the royal on the missoni like fabric. Hmmm.. just noticed my cutting line on the armhole is a bit skewif there - will fix that!

I've also got a view a in mind too for a white fabric if there is enough and if not I have some nice pink knit there somewhere.

I have also made a dress (that I am wearing and haven't photographed yet) with one of the rayons I bought the week before. I'm pretty pleased with it and it is so cool and comfy. We're off to Bribie Island now for a swim and bike ride wearing my new floaty dress.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Progress Report... Simplicity 1918 Amazing Fit Pants

Well I have block fused the facings... Yes, I know I should have fused the front pieces but as these are a test run, I didn't worry. I have always done it this way...put the interfacing on the ironing board, place the facings on the interfacing, put a piece of newspaper over the whole lot and iron it on. I just make sure it's grabbed, then I peel the newspaper off and cut around the facings. This works best for me and gives a really accurate fit. Earlier in my sewing life when I cut the interfacing separately, I found it didn't always fit right (not that it makes much difference due to seam allowances, but it's messy). This is much quicker and easy.

This is my fly zip. It's been a while since I've done one and I just used their instructions. They were ok but I haven't checked any of the tutorials that others rave about. Personally I don't find them that challenging... but getting clear instructions is the key. These were not perfectly clear but passable. I have to say the pants have been drafted very well. Everything fits very accurately which is nice.

This is the flaw I mentioned. It's a printing flaw and looks like the fabric was creased when it was printed. I showed someone last night who doesn't sew and she didn't notice. At a distance it is less noticeable. 

This is the fit of the straight 14 curvy fit. Not bad really. I know there are some folds under the bum but they fit better than RTW pants so I'm not bothered for this pair. However, I will try to read up how to eliminate these or make them less noticeable. The side seams are pinned at 1cm seam allowance in these photos. 

I was a bit worried that they would sit high on the waist but they fit exactly where I would like them. They also fit around my waist at the back with no gape, which is a first. This is my first curved waistband and I see why people seek them out. Overall, so far, a great fit and I'm happy with them. (Funny what you notice when you take photos of your bum.. I notice that my right side is a smudge bigger!)That's not to say I won't try to fix them a bit better (but I bet I won't! not for casual pants anyway). Any thoughts or advice?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

What's next?

This Vogue Basic Design is in the line up. I bought it from an Op Shop years ago for $1. I think it's View B with the little funnel neckline. It is supposed to be cut in two pieces (you can see the seam in the cow print top on the envelope). I didn't want to do that - I was just making a test garment to see if this simple pattern was a good basic for me. I cut it on the fold out of a dress my sister found at the Op Shop but it is very synthetic (kind of lycra like) so it is definitely just for winter (unless I use it as a swim rashie!)

This was in the winter and despite it being just 2 pieces, it is still not done! Why? My overlocker was threaded in white. I fear the black overlocking thread - it always plays up (funnily the overlocker tune up guy told me black always poses a problem - anyone else been told that or have the same problem?)Actually today it chewed up a piece of the fly of the trousers I'm working on. 
The black is the skirt part and the green was a 'boob tube' type top/bodice

 Which brings me to Simplicity 1918 Amazing Fit . I cut these out a few months ago too and they've been shoved around on the ironing board and the lounge suite since then. Deluding myself I'd get to them sooner. 

I'm making them out of this fabric which is a remnant piece from the fabric sale of 2013. I saw after it has a print flaw but because it is a random blob pattern maybe people who don't know won't notice it. (You would notice!)It's a stretch cotton sateen; not a very heavy weight though so I thought it would be good to try out these pants. Anyway the overlocker chewed up the fly add on piece a bit but I salvaged it (but only after I stabbed myself in my palm with the thread cutter!) Hopefully I'll have these finished in a couple of days. I have some clearing out to do and it has been WAAAAYYYY too hot to be doing anything inside but stay hydrated here in Brisbane these last couple of days.