Friday, March 25, 2016

Dressing down with a dressing gown!

I have wanted an autumn dressing gown for a while. Not a summer one because it's just too hot to wear a dressing gown in summer here. It's still too hot at the moment but for once I'm ahead of the game!


I used some cotton I have had for a number of years from when I used to make kindy sheet sets for sale. I've always love the colours green and pink together and I just couldn't see this as anything other than a dressing gown. The contrast trim is what was sold as rayon from an online vendor for only $2 per metre but it's not a rayon as it melts with the burn test. I thought maybe it was a rayon/synthetic blend as the 'print' is kind of heat stamped on, but it's not, it is definitely synthetic. It has a nice drape though so you may see it again. (A note about the fabrics and online vendors: I also bought a slightly more purple with a different 'print' for the same money, but it too was sold as a rayon and it's not.... it's an Australian vendor so if you see it beware.. however I noticed it's not marked rayon any longer... I also bought a vivid voile with it marked as cotton and it's not... I've done the burn test and then later I saw it at Spotlight marked polyester. All these were $2 per metre so it's not a great investment but it is disappointing and has put me off buying online).



I don't think the pattern has pockets included and so I made some from scraps otherwise where would I put my tissues.. sniffle... sniffle? I pieced two bits together so put a little ruffle in the middle and bound the top edge. I like them.


I also put silver piping on the sleeves... they are long for me and bell shaped which is quite lovely if I'm going to swan about drinking my coffee but I normally have to do the dishes shortly after so  I can see the dishwashing stains already. I did mean to put it around the contrast but from one day to the next I completely forgot.. doh! Never mind, it made it a quick make. My niece came over and tried it on and went to Trad's for some lilac rayon pineapple print for hers so there will be more in the future.


The bottom of the gown is quite wide and wouldn't fit on the width of the fabric I had and I had no extra length so I just pieced a long triangle piece on the side seams to make it up. No one will ever notice and I really wanted to use up this fabric. However it doesn't look so good on me being so short so I'll either make it narrower or I'll give it to Mum for Mother's day. I'll see. I could also have put the sleeves in the wrong armhole. It could just be that it's a size too big as I bought the 16+ size accidentally. Doesn't matter it's just a dressing gown. I think it would have been better with a rayon or something softer with more drape.


This is the pattern, McCalls 6659. I'm not sure I'd have that busy print with the pj pants as well .. it's a bit much. I may use the pj pattern one day for my niece. I don't like shirt styles for me, but the pants pattern will be useful.

I have also nearly finished the cloud shorts for my son, but had to make an emergency Star Wars shorts yesterday with elastic waist as no shorts fit him anymore... in the space of two weeks not one pair wasn't tight! He's wearing them today and he's off to go fossicking with his Dad for a week.
I'm going to try to finish all my unfinished things this week and make a dress or something for Brisbane Spoolette's High Tea next weekend. 

Saturday, March 12, 2016

FREE X 2 = Happy!



Yes, that's right... free! One day when driving my son to school I saw the unmistakable shape of the sewing machine cover on the footpath. It was an old one....I dropped him off and hastily made my way back to the main road I saw it on. Phew... still there... I waited for the traffic and crossed and picked up this Singer 201P.  

It looks in excellent condition but the electrical foot pedal needs to be rewired ... it's not going because of this so technically, I'm not sure it works but I'm confident!

Interestingly, I looked it up on a a Singer info site in the UK interestingly called Singer Sewing Info, and this is what it said about the 201P's....

201P models were the same as 201K23’s but they were assembled in Penrith, Australia from parts made in the Kilbowie factory in the UK. The bases and cases for 201P models were made locally in Australia and are different to those for UK built machines.


A few weeks before that, I was driving up a street I regularly pass and saw this machine, the Brother NS10 on the street too. There was a tin with really poor quality threads in it of every colour and a tomato pin cushion. There was the foot pedal but not the power cord. Bonus, I had a spare one from some appliance no longer living. The only thing that was wrong with it was the shank that the feet connect to was broken, and the bobbin plastic cover was missing.

This morning I went to Elna Mt Gravatt Sewing Centre and got the two pieces for $20 and some orange lycra for $2 per metre. It's not a neat shop in any sense of the word, but there is a terrific number of old sewing machines on display (haphazardly on shelves around the shop) that were distracting me from speaking with the sales person! I have gone there before when I needed a foot for an Elna I also found, now since sold. If you need any feet, they have heaps and a lot are 2nd hand and usually about $5 each. The technician knew exactly which shank and  bobbin cover I needed immediately.. the bobbin cover was new and the shank was 2nd hand. Bargain. I said I didn't know anything about Brother machines as I had mostly Janomes and interestingly the woman who was there too, said this Brother model was a terrific machine and she thought Brother was a better machine than Janome.



This is a stitch sample... not bad. See the bottom two rows of zig zag, they are slightly angled and the top zig zag's are the normal ones. I haven't seen that before. Pretty good considering I haven't even taken the bobbin plate off to clean it yet. I can tell it had not been used much and that it was probably causing thread issues with that cheap thread and so it was discarded. So glad I picked this up as my 8 year old newest machine's pedal is playing up. I can see the contacts are getting a bit worn so at least I have a back up machine. I did use my old, very first machine to sew up the aqua and white togs the other day. Boy I still love using that machine... it still runs beautifully.


This is the amazing number of feet that came with the machine... all there too. Notice also the needles, including a twin needle!!! I have yet to check what they all do apart from the obvious ones like zip and buttonhole.  I downloaded the manual and will read up on it tonight hopefully.

So have you ever found machines on the street (other than Peter from Male Pattern Boldness - we all know he has found many).  I think these two make it 5 that I've picked up. Normally I get them serviced and then sell them for a smidge more than the service to cover running around. It gets them off the street and landfill and back into service. I just can't leave them.....

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Three's the charm

Kwik Sew 1607, McCall's 7653 and Jalie 3134


I've made three pairs of togs in as many weeks. I am so pleased with all of them despite the Kwik Sew and the McCall's being too small for me.  I love the back of the McCall's one.. it's really comfortable (I mean I can get them on but it isn't something I'd let anyone see!) and very flattering with a nice open back. The shelf bra I put in is really supportive and adds another layer for lining in an area that calls for modesty. They are all fully lined and all good shapes. I'm really happy to have this monkey off my back.

What I've learned is sewing swimwear is not hard particularly if you sew a lot already. Once your hands get the 'feel' of the elastic insertion then you are just about there. You don't need to be particularly pedantic with it even. I've also learned that sewing these two or three piece suits is so much quicker than the many pieced ones like the Jalie. It is just so quick. I think making a few pairs quickly is that you do get very quick. Making for children is also good because they certainly don't notice small mistakes or crooked stitches and heck, they grow out of them so fast!

These have been so confidence boosting for me as I have had SO MANY people say how much they liked my togs and then get so surprised when I say that I made them. I will see if anyone at aqua aerobics will buy these togs as I don't know anyone they will fit. They are size 10 and excellent quality lycra so I'll ask for $40 each to cover materials (and maybe get some funding for more lycra!!). This is definitely addictive.. I can see how bra making gets people hooked! I think I need to try that as a next challenge of skills and learning. I think I need to focus on a dress for the Brisbane Spoolettes High Tea on 2 April. Are you going?

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Pineapples and togs are great in the Sunshine State


I have been sewing. I seem to have a sewing mojo of sorts. I've needed a white top for a long while. I used the  Ottobre top pattern I traced and changed late last year. I cut the arm holes out a little bit more too. I pinched out a dart size wedge out of the back neckline too. I used some fabric from the fabric sale last year... this piece was .50 cents so it was a very small investment. This is with a floor length tiered skirt I bought in Cyprus in 2009. It's made of beautiful soft cotton voile... I say it's floor length but that's when it's sitting under my armpits... I used to wear it as a strapless dress... you can see how high it its high on my body. Sorry about the bra... it is a terrible bra in quality and shape or lack thereof. Lucky I bought two (not)... they deteriorated in just a number of weeks but I realised when I was wearing the white shirt, I had no other white bra.


I also traced the Ottobre skirt pattern from the current issue. I know I said I saw a maxi dress in that pineapple fabric, but no it really wanted to be a maxi skirt. The white top comes in handy with this skirt too.


It's a really simple pattern and you only trace one piece with the back slightly smaller than the front just at the waist tapering down to nothing about half way down. I cut the waistband but as I was sewing it, and the waist had stretched a bit and was just a bit big, I decided to make a casing and elastic. It doesn't gather much which is perfect but it's easy to get on and off and its a cool outfit that I've liked wearing.  I cut it against the grain to make it fit... it's quite wide at the bottom and it would only fit on my length like this. It's not great quality.. it's already pilling a bit, but I'm not concerned. This is a perfect quick easy outfit to put on with my togs to get to the pool.

I don't have a freckly neck :) but I do have fraying exposed bias facing
 Jump back to the top... the photos jumped into any random order... I cut bias bands for the neck and turned it to the outside and left the edge raw so it would fray. It won't fray however, because the fabric has metallic threads running through it. I bought a length of this from the fabric sale a few years ago, still unused, and I remember the woman telling me this. Leaving the bias raw was not the best move .. I love the look, but with this fabric, it's a bit scratchy.



Oh the house paint...and my missing foot. Sorry such bad iPhone photos. I like a maxi to be maxi, but not sweep the floor... I like it to my ankle bones. I actually lengthened the skirt by about 8 cm from the original length. I'm not usually a fan of novelty prints, but I love the pineapples.



I'm a bit hooked on assembling all the togs I had cut out and not started or finished. This is the last pair for now. The McCalls pattern also did not have a back lining in their suit so I made one up  in some power net. I basted the lining to the front and back. I'm not normally a baster, but I found when I didn't on the Jalie one, the lining slipped a tiny bit and it's a bit quicker to baste and then zoom through.


I sewed the shelf bra for extra support, but alas, the pattern is a size 10 and they don't fit i.e. the togs don't fit not the girls in the bra. (I've sewed the side seams up already). It's a really easy pattern and it actually has the shelf bra included in the pattern. I used elastic that was slightly wider than recommended but heck, no one will know the difference. The lycra is textured .. the aqua is a raised narrow stripe and the white is also a slightly narrower stripe but it's a sort of open weave.

I used Katherine from Strawberry Milk Run's strap tutorial. Katherine blogs at Bloom's Endless Summer and started Strawberry Milk Run blog for swimwear tips and even has a terrific FREE colour blocked bikini pattern. I wish that would fit me..ha.. but the tips and tutorials there are terrific and you can see my very professional looking straps above. I made mine with Katherine's method 2.
Started sewing your own swimwear yet? What are you waiting for...it's so easy. (I'm not looking at you Collette!) I hope to finish these tomorrow.