Monday, July 21, 2014

Mandy Boat Tee

Before I get to the Mandy Boat tee, this is how much thread was left when I finished my Burda top hemming with the twin needle (which I just realised I haven't photographed... tomorrow).

I put all my used thread spools in this little basket and it builds up very quickly surprisingly. I have another one with spools that have maybe 30 - 60 cm each which I keep for any hand sewing I might do - you know buttons etc.

 I decided to make the Mandy Boat tee from Tessuti. I must be the last person on the sewing planet to make this. It is also my first PDF pattern... not my first download as I have downloaded many free patterns but never felt the need to actually make one till now. Laziness is the main factor but now that I have done it I think, if there aren't too many tiles it is now an option for me.

This is a remnant from the designer fabric sale last year. When I was sewing the neckline with the twin needle and I was too lazy too lazy to use the steam a seam so I put some tissue paper underneath to stop the fabric stretching. This is very stretchy and the first run was a bit stretched out. This helped but wasn't perfect.

I just tore it off the back gently so not to stretch the thread. 

It worked out well. On the hem (which I haven't got a photo of.. sorry) I did use the steam a seam but the hem curled up still and I'm hoping it will calm down after a wash. I did steam it with the iron and that helped but it isn't perfect. All in all, it's a very easy pattern to make up and wear. I love the sleeves but I think it is too wide for me. If I make it again I will take out a couple of cms from the centre of front and back to bring it in a bit. I think it's worth another go.

Lastly, remember this fleece jumper I made and the oil splashed on it and melted dots into it? Well I fixed it. I found a rhinestone press in the 2nd hand shop for $3 a few months ago and while there were some rhinestones left, I used these steel studs that are quite plain and pressed over the burn dots. I love it. It really lifts the jumper and I love the randomness and asymmetry of it. I also love the collar  (and the colour) of this jumper. I've worn this a lot. What do you think?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Medieval Festival

Last weekend we went to the Medieval Festival at The Abbey on the Bribie Island Road just 40 minutes out of Brisbane. This is the first year I have had my son on the weekend that it was on so we went on the Saturday. (it is on for two days for the public). It is such a great day/weekend. There are set ups from different eras by devotees - I think these devotees stay a few days or a week there and set up a living arrangement like it would be in their particular era. There are living quarters, cooking quarters for the re-enactment people and display tents for the public - this is for selling items and also for highlighting their skills and artefacts.

A few things I really, really appreciated was that this was a very inclusive festival. When my son was young I took him to the many mini train displays, and like many youngsters he wanted to touch and play with them. Now I know there is a lot of time and cost involved with these displays, and it is mostly older men who put the time in, but there wasn't any touch and play displays it was just a look  at day, and the men often got cranky about the kids touching no matter how many times you said "don't touch" or " touch with your eyes" (as if that isn't confusing for a 4 year old!).

Here the purpose of the display is for festival goers to touch, try on, play with the helmets etc, watch people making things (wooden swords, copper beating, silver jewellery moulding etc). People are friendly and inclusive and inviting.

There are loads of displays all day of knights fighting....

Testing out one of those displays....

Here, this guy was making a leather pouch, he made his leather shoes (and made more later) and the wooded swords (3) I had to buy for my son and nephews (perfect for the cloaks I made for them a couple of weeks ago). (see the swords to his right).

This is a fire with a stew/soup cooking for the participants lunch... smelled great... and some of the living quarters for those staying longer.

The costumes are amazing and of course they make them all themselves. It's a real lifestyle for some.

I loved this... this display had a lot of jewellery and this display of how they made the silver cross. They were very encouraging to touch and inspect closer.

There was also a Punch and Judy show which was well supported and LOTS of fun.

One of the very ornate costumes...

More costumes (and me with my recent New Look knit top).... see there is sewing in this post. Just behind us here, there was a stall selling lots of bits and bobs for costumes. You know buttons, clasps, cording, braiding etc.

Everyone gets into the action... when these guys came past, I felt like I was in a movie production!

The festival is so established that they have their own castle there permanently for their knight battles - there was even cannons going off, nearly giving me some nervous types heart attacks!

Lots of treats... we had non alcoholic mead and cool teas. There was plenty of food and it wasn't "ha, we've got you over a barrel" prices. It was well priced.

Entry was well priced too and for $4 extra (per session) you could watch jousting!!! I forgot to book it online before we went, and just got the last of the tickets for the last session on Saturday. It was great fun and there were people jousting from New Zealand, Canada and the US as well as interstate.

If you live in/around Brisbane, or you are visiting next year, try to get to this festival. There was a relaxed, friendly, inclusive and inviting atmosphere. The grounds are very forest like, (the weather was magnificent) there are purpose built stands for the jousting and displays of action things are going on all day. Oh, due to the very short pocket bags in my jeans, I lost my phone and a short stop at the security tent and there it was. A great day. Have you ever been?

More t-shirt sewing has been done.. that'll be the next post.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Question - re jeans waistbands

No I haven't made jeans yet but am planning some. I have some new CK ones I bought at the second hand shop and they are a pretty good fit, and perfect fit for the budget which was $10! They are the only 'nice' pair that I have i.e. decent to wear out so I need more pants/jeans for sure.

I know that many people mix patterns and put the curved waistbands from other patterns to straight waistband pants patterns. My question is, do you do anything else to the pants to make the curved waistband fit the straight edge pants?

I hope to make Simplicity 1918. It has a curved waistband but I was thinking if I made some jeans (I have a Vogue jeans pattern I want to use) but I'm not sure if it has a curved or straight waistband, so I'd like to use this one as it was a good fit.

I'm planning to use some red cotton drill fabric I got from the designer fabric sale about 20 years ago. It is lovely and soft, no stretch and was $4 for the piece.  Below is the curved waistband from the print muslin pants I made a while ago.

I made the size 14 and they were a pretty good fit but possibly a little loose - this was a stretch cotton which is lighter than the drill I'm planning to use, but again the red one does not have any stretch. I also have some stretch denim I bought at Lincraft a year or so ago (not sure what weight but it isn't a very heavy one).

So if anyone has any hints and tips when frankenpatterning pants patterns please pass it on. Any help gratefully received!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Lots of stuff.

Get yourself a cup of tea, this is a long post. Lots of stuff to show and talk about. Firstly, here's a picture of my shower cap... my niece's flew to Toyko this morning (well in her bag anyway). Mine has been tested and it works a treat... it could go a bit larger as I have what's commonly known as a pin head so it probably won't be big enough for anyone else.

Rosi mentioned the proliferation of selfless sewing here and I'm going to show you some more. This tunic below I started for my Mum about 18 months ago and for some reason the overlocker wanted to eat the very light and slippery fabric in the first 5 cm so I got the *$&% and put it away. Then worked out (eventually) it was the needles that needed replacing and did that but never finished the top as it had scared me. This was a remnant from Spotlight and I bought it for Mum as I don't wear animal or browns. I made the small from memory and I tried it on and it looks nice on. It will be nice with some black tights (does Mum wear tights?) You know like skinny pants tights.

This is the pattern and it's a really easy one. Funny it wasn't until I finished that I noticed it isn't for knits! It is super easy and took me about 1 hour to sew it up. I have plans for this pattern (that have been in my head for about a year. The front has some gathering but the back does not. I made it tunic length but I'm not sure if Mum wants it this long. That's ok as I only hemmed the sleeves and i can cut the hem to length. I got some small wooden beads and put two on each  tie end and knotted it (but after this photo was taken).

Notice something else? Yes, I have a mannequin. A friend's friend didn't want it anymore as the stand was broken and the dials work but not well. I tried to work out how to fix that stand but, nope nothing worked.. not until I remembered a cheap swivel chair I bought at Ikea years ago that broke but I kept the base (why???) I had to jiggle and manipulate and add bits and pieces but it works. That justifies that hoarding! It is so good for me as I don't have anyone to take photos for me and then I don't put off taking photos.

Here's a close up of the neck binding... I added this as I didn't want to turn it over and sew it. I just roughly measured the neckline and subtracted about 3cm hoping that wasn't too much but it worked out perfectly.

This New Look pattern I've had for a number of years. I've made skirt D out of lycra (without the frill) for a skirt cover for the beach but I've been wanting to make View A. I made a size 10 till the side seam where I graded it out to a 14.  This was a remnant piece from the big fabric sale last year. Marie at Quirky Threads made a skirt out of this fabric. There was a coordinating fabric with the dark background and about 1.5cm polka dots of the same colours on the top so I'd like to make skirt view D using the two fabrics. Too matchy, matchy?

I've also nearly finished (hem and elastic waist needed to be done) the pants at View E in a size 14. I slipped them on and they are ok.. let's face it my legs aren't going to look great in knit pants anytime soon. I made this from a polyester ponte weight (but nowhere near as nice) knit just for a wearable muslin for some other fabric I'll make them out of if they are workable. 

I also made a pair of the Style Arc Kerry cargo pants in a remnant I bought from the Fabric Store a few months ago - they have side pockets and need to be hemmed and waist finished but they don't fit properly. I remembered (after!) when I made the muslin I added a bit to the side seams just in case and turned out I needed it (they are a size 12) but didn't remember when I cut these out. I couldn't have added anything even if I had remembered as I used all the width of the fabric so will just have to start up my (pathetic) running (ha) again.

 This top fits really well and is 3/4 sleeve length. I wore it today and it is really comfortable.

Putting my label on too... this photo isn't very sharp (oops, sorry). Also put a label on Mum's top.

This is McCall's 9080 (same a the one I adapted for the cloaks I made last week) which I made in a fleece from East Coast Fabrics a few weeks ago. I just needed a fleece for around the house. I love the colour (nearly the same as the wall!) I made it a high/low hem just for interest (when I get sick of it, I'll just cut it off). The collar is huge - in fact the whole pattern is huge .. I cut a small and it is huge on me but I love it.  See the little dots on the front there? That's not dirt but last night when I made a chicken stir fry for dinner, the oil splashed out and was so hot it actually melted the spots on! I'm working on something creative to cover that up with. Typical, finally I make something I need and then ruin it in a week!

This raglan t-shirt I made about 6 weeks ago. It's out of the Ottobre Autumn/Winter 2013 it's no 4. The green fabric was a remnant from Darn Cheap Fabrics and it's a lovely soft cotton but it is getting little holes along the seam lines. Anyway it was just a quicky to test the pattern size but it is huge. Looking at the photo in the magazine, it is big, with a wide neck it's just I don't like it like that for me.  Still it's good to wear just to pick up Alex from school. I put a double sleeve to copy a RTW shirt I bought years ago. I'll probably make this again but in a smaller size.

Lastly (finally) I have this Burda 7742 cut out in a cotton lycra (?) that I bought in Auckland last year.  I bought 4 metres to make a dress (a DKNY - not made yet) but I think it pills so I don't want to put in that time until I find a better fabric. I'm making view B - the stripy one. I made another one a few years ago and the fit is good, I also have a nice merino wool I want to make it up in too. I thought I'd get them done today but I went shopping for shoes. Nothing too exciting though. I have no winter shoes. I've been living in a pair of Merrels I bought at the 2nd hand shop about 2 years ago (nearly new) and I have none for 'good'. I was lucky as I found two pairs - 1 'good' and 1 casual so I'm done for shoe shopping. I was so good and resisted many shoes as I just don't need them (never stops me if I'm working... I love shoes).

I have plans for more sewing but we have the last weekend before school starts on Monday and we have a busy weekend going to the Medieval Festival at the Abby near Bribie Island tomorrow and the RACQ Motofest on Sunday. Monday and Tuesday I have a course I'm going to so it will probably be next weekend before I get any more done. I'm happy with my production the last few weeks and as bonus the sewing room got half cleared up too.

Boy if you've made it here, well done. Hope your tea didn't go cold. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Justifying the stash - sew happy!

My niece is back from travelling in the U.S. She's still working for Empire (show my niece stage manages - go to the end of the post for the video) and their show finished in Melbourne in May and starts in Tokyo in a few days. She had time for a long trip through the U.S. and so she did. She had to come back to get her Japanese visa so I had the offer of her bringing me sewing stuff (as baggage allowance is 2 x 32kg - ex travel agent knowledge) and she wasn't going to fill it. I looked for some polartec and bra making stuff (should have got that but delayed too long) and then just decided it wasn't worth it as I don't have room and don't desperately need anything. Anyway, she asked me to make her a yoga mat carry bag and she popped round today. With stash fabric I whipped up a yoga bag just measuring the length and circumference of the rolled up mat. I put elastic on the top as I find drawstrings annoying and it wasn't going to fall out. She was very specific about the strap to be long enough (she's tall than me, maybe 168cm, 170cm?) and also wide enough. I also put a label on with a background using some nice laminated fabric (as there was a little nick in the fabric).

I can't remember who mentioned the shower cap first now but turns out we both hate those flimsy caps found in hotels and both wanted one... I had been thinking of making one for weeks as the last flimsy shower cap I had (with holes and tears) was just hanging on (just) so we measured out and cut a bit bigger (as the others don't fit if you have long hair with a clip) and I made a casing and put the elastic in... perfect. (The first one I just stretched out the elastic and triple zig zag stitched it but that didn't work so well and the second I had to gather slightly to turn the casing over to fit). Unfortunately not photo of the cap...

I love having my stash so I can just whip things up when necessary. I was planning on making more undies and some Burda 7742 tops but I guess that can be tomorrow. Can you fill these impromptu requests with your stash too?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Quick double satisfaction

I made a quick project on Saturday night for my visiting friend's daughter. She is three but VERY tall (nearly as tall as her 61/2 year old brother). She's a beautiful girl in nature and appearance. I had bought this remnant piece from Spotlight a few weeks ago thinking it would come in handy. It was also conveniently on the floor as per the last post (I was trying to see how I could incorporate it into my fleece as a pocket or feature but rightly decided it would be too twee so didn't).

I didn't have enough width for  a real fleece shape so went with this bolero jacket on this thrift shop score. I lengthened the front and back pieces by about 3 cm (all that I could with the width) and made the size 8 - remember I said she was tall.. I wasn't kidding. I lengthened the sleeves straight down following the lines from the sleeve seams but I should have widened them a little - they are a bit snug at the ends and a little long but with a smidge extra width and length it may just fit her next year too. I used a ribbon to tie the front together. I turned over the neckline and zigzagged it just for neatness but didn't finish the edges on the sleeves or hem. I've covered it up in the photos but I folded my label in half and put it in the seam line too. Annika loves it and her Mum was thrilled. Sewing kids things are so gratifying, quick, cheap and fun aren't they.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

"A cape with drape" - and I quote!

It is school holidays here till the end of this week. Last week on Wednesday, my son woke up and asked me to make a very specific piece. 
Son - "Mum, can you make me a cape. no not a cape, a cloak? Today?"  
Me - "Of course. Like with a  hood?"
Son - "Yes, it needs a hood, but no buttons or things to close it in the front - just whole. Oh, it needs to be red and it needs to have a lot of drape."

What???? Drape? Did I hear my son correctly? Now, I just want to point out, my son is like any other boy/man when it comes to fabric and fabric shops - boring, do I have to go etc, etc, etc. I have never said drape to my son.. maybe he heard me but I don't get to talk sewing in front of him very often but I was very pleased and impressed that he knew what he wanted and how he wanted it to behave. Off to Trad's to pick up some cheap fabric hopefully in his vision colour! Yay for Trad's perfect fabric at $4.95 per metre - we took 3. (went back later that day to get fabric at $3.95 pm for the cousins).

So, turns out it was fortuitous and convenient (as opposed to untidy and lazy) that I had left McCall's 9080 on the floor after cutting myself out a new fleece. It has a hood that overlaps at the front (I didn't use this on my fleece though - that'll be the next post) and is quite oversized (I have the S, M, L size pattern) so I cut out the hood in large and then placed the front and back pieces on the fabric and drew the sleeves off the shoulder seam and measured out 10 cm from the bottom put the ruler angled there and drew to the length and curved under the seam to make a sort of dolman top/dress/cloak. This was a quick, quick project. Made in under an hour. 

This grey colour is his cousin's. I made another in a brown for his other cousin.  He is THRILLED with it - "Exactly what I wanted, perfect." Can't get much better than that can it! He wore it to his friend's house that afternoon and all his friends were thrilled with it too - if I had time I guess I could make loads of friends happy - but I guess that's the (another) benefit of a Mum that sews!