Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Merry Christmas gifts.

Merry Christmas readers! I hope the day was full of fun, family, friends and peace. This was my most organised and relaxed Christmas ever. (if we ignore the trouble with the machine for the togs - see last post). I had all the house cleaning, food prep done, gifts made, gifts wrapped and even finished a gift on Christmas morning waiting for my son to come home from his Dad's where he spends Christmas Eve and morning.

This is from a dinner I had with an aqua aerobics friend. She was skipping her husband's work Christmas party which is in the heavy machinery industry so she thought a girly catch up was fitting instead.  I wore my Simplicity off shoulder dress in Southbank with the lovely lights and fantastic weather. I've since washed this dress and it's shortened up a bit (natural fibres usually shrink up not across - of the the not so many things I remember from fabric studies in the '90's). I knew this so didn't make it any shorter. I'm hoping the green Christmas dress (unseen finished here) will also shrink a little too. It's great dress to wear - just so easy but you look so smart.

Next is the gifts I made for my sisters and niece and past step-daughter. Here's a little tassel. So fun to make. I bought all the findings (?) at Spotlight. Isn't the leather gorgeous... more on that later.

The lining was a recent remnant from Spotlight on the same trip... $2 and perfectly gorgeous for this project... a cotton slightly lighter than quilting fabric. I bought metal zips from Spotlight too.. they just did not have many in shorter sizes... I think I bought 4 and that was all they had.

Here's the work table out on the back deck. Great light and it's a huge 2 metres wide octagonal table I got from my sister. (It's so old and it's two-pac so I don't even use a big cutting mat... I just do it on the table. No table was harmed in the making of anything so far!) In the background you see the leather hide. It's garment lamb's skin... it's size small and cost about $48. I bought it from East Coast Leather (easy to remember). They had so much leather and I think it was very, very well priced. I also went to Mac's Leather but after just because it was nearby and wanted to have a look, but this is where I would go for any leather in the future.

This is the making of the tassels. A bit tedious and hurt my wrists with the cutting, but also fidgety but it got done and I was happy with the outcomes.  I used the scissors not the rotary cutter.

Finished tassels. The rotary cutter I bought years ago when Big W was getting out of all sewing supplies. I got a huge bag of elastic too with only about half gone now. The little cutting mat was from a $2 shop years ago too and just the right size to cut small bits accurately. I have a 60cm metal ruler I bought when Gardam's closed up in Adelaide Street when they were next door us when I worked at STA Travel. I bought a pile of scissors too which I still have and use.

This was the first go. This is upholstery leather. I bought this at Trad's ages ago... just a small 50x30cm piece for $3 to practice but I only got to it the last few days.
Edit: I did want to say, I used a leather needle and just ordinary polyester thread in a very light grey which was the best match I had. I didn't even think of thread when I bought the leather.

I used a zip harvested from an old zip wallet and like the orange with the cream colour and put a vintage tiny gingham lining to match.

Then I made the rose gold ones, branded one just for size reference. They aren't all photographed, as I made another two after I finished these. I made them in different sizes. Some are with 7" zips and two were with 10" zips, plus I used 2 zips I had on hand one being a plastic one.

All up I made 6 and I have another 2 I need to make but I can't find the interfacing and I have run out of zips of suitable colour.  I used mostly cream coloured zips and the plastic one is a bone colour.  I am so pleased with how they worked out. I read through this tutorial but modified it as I went on. I would cut the zip and tab about .5cm shorter each end so that when turning there wasn't so many layers to turn.

I also interfaced the lamb's skin or it would stretch. Initially I also interfaced the lining but decided it would be slightly too stiff. By interfacing you lose the super soft butteriness (to just soft butteriness)  but it will keep it more sturdy to really be used.

I was a bit hesitant but bit the bullet and dived in and I am so incredibly happy with the way they turned out. EDIT: II also wanted to say I've never made a pouch or anything like this before... straight to the leather. My step-daughter said she loved it but when I said I made it she said she loved it even more and was incredibly surprised.

Oh and my sister called and said was just talking to Mum and saying she thought I'd lost it with the size I made, but when she tried them on they togs fit perfectly. I tried to explain negative ease... in the end they fit and she loves them. I had so much joy making beautiful things for my family.

I hope to finish my gingham skirt next and make a top to wear with it. Any ideas what style of top I should make. The skirt will have a long tie to close it. I'm a bit lost. I feel like a sleeveless top but not sure. Any ideas welcome.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Togs and a struggle (Noelle bralette)

These are togs I've made for my sister for Christmas. This is the McCall's 7417 pants. I cut the panels not to match on purpose so that you can see the panelling. I like it. I wish I had some green or black lycra to make some 'piping' so the panels were more pronounced but I'm not too worried.

I made the front and the back and then cut the lining pieces off the made up front and back and fully lined them. Isn't the lycra pretty. It's from Pitt Trading and it was only $5 per metre. It feels pretty old but it still is fine and I couldn't resist it. It's slightly goldish and I really like it.  I've got more and another nice black one that for a bit of a laugh... show you that when I get time to make it.

This is the top and it's the Noelle bra pattern from Madalynne. It's FREE too. I cut a large and made the band half the width and put some elastic in as well.  Note the green hardware... harvested from an old pair of togs in the same green. This allowed me to make the tie adjustable as I can't get my sister to try them on and she is taller and more broad than me.

Of course I have tried them on. They look great. The back fits so nicely. It's such a great pattern and so very quick. I didn't use the instructions as it's pretty easy. I cut lining too, just the same as the pattern, this is also from Pitt Trading and it's nice quality. Over all this was such a quick sew.. well till the last 30 cm.

I was attaching the step to the top and then the finishing fold over of the last side .. this is 3 layers of elastic, and 8 of lycra. My thread would not stop nesting underneath. I spent more time trying to do this last 30 cm than I did making the whole set. I looked online... rethread - tick, new needle - tick, larger needle - tick, different thread and woolly thread - tick, tick, I even got out my old computer Janome (such a nice machine.. just purrs along), but still it would not sew without nesting. It was going through those layers like butter, I hand cranked it, nope still nesting... I made contact with the Brisbane Spoolette's on the FB page (the only thing I use FB for) and got some great tips, but mostly I'd tried it. I gave it a rest for a couple of hours, mostly to stop me from giving up sewing for ever.. but I would not be beaten. I talked to my machine, and told it clearly that I would win so it should give up this power play but it still wouldn't work. I had to go out and when I got home, I rethreaded it again, changed another needle to a jersey needle (I used microtex needles before - 2 different sizes and stretch needles - 2 different sizes also) and the only other thing I did was just adjust the stitch length and width a smidge.. like a hairs breath... and it worked. Finally. It took about 5 minutes and it was finished. I was so pleased but just so tired. I think I spent hours doing this today. Thanks Spoolette's for the tips and the will to go on.  Arrggh.

I have some other sewing I want to do for Christmas. I bought a beautiful hide of leather to make some zip purses and hopefully I'll be able to show you those next. I haven't made any zip purses/pouches before but I've made a wedding dress, how hard could a zip purse be? Will I even get them done in time? Are you making things for Christmas gifts?

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Gingham Skirt - New Look 6390, and Burda 3490 alias Lois.

I don't often get obsessed by clothes but I saw this skirt and I really love the simplicity.

Then I remembered some purple gingham I bought at the op shop a few years ago. It's a beautiful polished cotton with such a nice hand and drape almost like a rayon. I have cut view D which is on the bias and have cut long (will be pieced together) ties. I was playing pattern tetras with this because the fabric was a 1.5 mt square but the pattern suggests 2.1 metres so I have cut the front overlay and the back piece whole, and the under wrap part will be pieced.

The other problem with this fabric was it was stretched on one side... so I lay it flat on the floor for a week and kept pulling and stretching it back. I wasn't perfect but not as bad as it was. Did you notice how much for that simple skirt... US$301 and sold out! I'll need a top and I have a cut of beautiful cream crepe (remnant from the designer fabric sale $1) that I will make something up - not sure what though.

This is what is nearly finished at the moment ... Burda 3490. It took ages to cut out but a quick sew now just waiting for the neck facing, arm holes and hem to be finished. I omitted the zip.. it doesn't need it.

Here's a close up of the line drawing ... Lois anyone? Great op shop find a few years ago for $1.

This is the fabric I've used.. rayon from East Coast Fabrics earlier in the year or last year. I should finish that today if I can... I'm so tired and just don't trust myself sewing when I haven't sleep well for 2 weeks. There is some tricky overlocking to be done at that front point under the bust too and I won't chance it... been there done that, hole by overlocker.

I have next week off and want to do some Christmas sewing for some sisters. A dress for one, swimwear for another and maybe some active wear tights for another... lets see what gets finished.
Are you making anything for Christmas gifts?

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Simplicity 8296 again in a dress

So I've made another Simplicity 8296 but in a dress. I made view E sleeves with length of B probably but I just used the length of 2 remnants from Spotlight.  I think this is the first time in simply eons that I have made something in the current fashion, in current fashion fabric!

Here's the back... bad iPhone photo. I made a size 10 at the shoulders and armholes and then graded it out to the 18 at the hips. I could probably go to the 12 or 14 really... it's a bit swishy. I could also use a sway back adjustment too.

Bit of a daggy length though. I may take it up a smidge. I also like that this pattern has a bust dart but I make it a little shorter. I have the McCall's that's pretty much the same but no bust dart and no flat panel on the front. Plus it's a much narrower fit so this one is better for my shape. I probably wouldn't have bought this fabric if I'd seen it on a roll for $16 per metre, but as a cheap remnant I'm happier to test patterns. I don't mind this at all now it's made up. I was going to make this in a cut of rayon I did buy at Spotlight with a voucher my son gave me for Christmas last year, but then I loved it so much I wanted to test this dress first. I may make it up for Christmas day.

I wore this to our work Christmas celebration last night. My colleague neighbour kept stopping people telling them I made my dress! How embarrassment! Start to finish is probably 3 hours. Pretty quick dress. I also made the straps and instead of sewing them on,  I'm going to make button holes on each end and then put buttons on the dress and voila, straps when I want them. The beauty with this dress also is I just wear my ordinary bra and pull the straps down. It was quite comfortable which surprised me but when you have larger breasts it's quite heavy on the shoulders so that is probably why. Also near impossible to get a strapless bra that gives you some support and comfort so I don't mind this.

I noticed this morning that the fabric is the same as the one on the back cover of the family Ottobre design magazine just out. Theirs is much more saturated colours and much more colourful (more colours) but it's the same print and their fabric is listed as viscose satin. That sounds nice.
If I can bear to part with some fabric, I'm going to make my sister one for Christmas and I just remembered I bought her some fabric years ago for a dress. (I have 4 sisters but I can't make tham all a dress... or maybe I can?)

Not sure what's next. Thanks for all the great comments too.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Jalie 3242 camo togs.

Last Sunday my sister called at 8am and said come over for lunch and the boys can have a swim. Perfect, except I just remembered, I bought lycra from Pitt Trading for swimming togs for Alex but I hadn't made them yet. I go to aqua aerobics every Sunday at 9am so I dragged out my Jalie 3242 pattern, measured Alex and traced a size T. I was going to use Katherine's (Sew Blooms) tips to change a Jalie into togs for boys but I have a different pattern so with my limited time, I just went with what I had. 

I got them to here before having to go to aqua. I came back at 10.20 and then I finished them off and left the house by 12 noon. I used the coverstitch to do the hems and around the ...middle, but I think this makes them look like undies but I also figured it would keep the seams flat and less aggravating. 

I get this great elastic from Trad's ... it's elastic that's about 2.5 cm wide and it has nylon tie through it, which is perfect for boy's togs. I cut a waistband about 7 cm wide, made an interfaced buttonhole and zigzagged the elastic on through the middle, jutting the edges together. Then I folded it over and zigzagged it on and then flipped it and topstitched with the coverstitch but the straight stitches on the outside.

This is what the waistband looks like on the inside edge with the buttonhole and the tie threaded out of it. I think this was about $3 per metre so pretty good.

The lycra I got from Pitt Trading. It was $20 per metre, very nice quality and something my son liked... he's not too fussed on prints, action heroes or novelty prints, so I snapped it up (along with some other stuff I'll use soon too, show you then) before he could forget that he liked it.  I was also lucky that the overlocker had some blue thread in it and the coverstitch had the grey so that was easy.

Modelled shots. His thoughts: "they fit perfectly!" He was vey happy with them and he said they were very comfortable.

The only thing I changed was to make a centre back seam to make them look more like togs and not undies. I still see undies though and I may pull out the middle coverstitching.

And I couldn't resist taking a photo of this fabric... someone on the bus wearing a knit dress made out of this... this is my kind of animal print (which I don't do). I love pink and grey.

Speaking of grey, I made a dress of Simplicity 8296 today for our work Christmas party tomorrow, so I'll post photos when I have some.  Tiger, tiger burning bright...pink! 😉

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Sewing all the tops...

So I've been sewing some tops. This Simplicity 8296 was one of the ones my friend brought back for me from the States. I also got the McCall's one but I like this flat front band and the McCalls is a different cut and not as wide around the hips where I need it.  This has a dart too and that's useful for me too.

The top is made from a remnant my friend gave me a few years ago. It's a lovely soft beautiful, good quality cotton. It was easy to sew and a it's lovely to wear. I've got my ordinary bra on with the straps on my arms. I couldn't be bothered to wear the strapless. I was just off to vote.  All I can think is I am wearing something that is actually in fashion... I always seem to be out of kilter.

This is the back view. I've always loved peasant tops/dresses. I think they are a snap to sew and easy to wear and flattering for a larger bust.  I think the bra is really letting me down. My only daily bra died after being washed and worn for a year... yes I know, disgusting however you don't know how many hours I have spent looking to buy another/more. Something that fits my very small under bust measurement for my large cup size. I'm into making up some at the moment but haven't got too far yet, but I will conquer it.

This lovely little top pattern I have made before in View A. View C is what I've made here below and I saw some in Gorman in a very similar front. I really like the back view. It's very easy.

I had my son take some photos and when he was taking this one he stopped and made sure the bottom of the top was sitting straight... isn't he sweet!  I thought I was really clever and cut a little curved wedge of the top corner of the top at the armscye to narrow it which did work a treat except that the front was so wide it puckers and is just too wide. That's ok as I was testing it in this really lovely rayon that come from my Mum's old stash, but unfortunately it has some stain marks (very few) and some holes so no harm done. Good enough for doing jobs in the garden and staying cool (ha ha..no jobs get done in the garden... but maybe in the holidays, it really needs it!).

You can see here how the front doesn't fit. I did use the bodice part of McCalls 7542 as it has the cup sizes so maybe that's why it's too big.. but I used that at the side seams to get a quick FBA of sorts. 

This next one was cut out of some material I got from an op shop which was a table cloth I think or something like that.. could have been a dress or skirt too. I liked the colours and seersucker is cool. Still too wide but this is more stable fabric and I don't mind it so much. If you notice there was two really large pockets so I used them on the front but it's not like I'm going to use them... like I need more bulk there. What was I thinking! Maybe I'll take them off?

The back has a little frill. This is more because I didn't have enough length. I thought it may look silly but I don't mind it. The pants I'm wearing are some RTW rayon twill that were reasonably priced at $20 and I've worn them a lot the last year.

This was a nice surprise in the mail this week too. The Family Ottobre. I am pleased with this as it has all the basics.. undies, singlet top, shirt, t-shirt, 2 styles of pants (chino and jeans), a sweatshirt, zip up hoodie and a dressing gown. My Burda patterns won't fit my son after this year so this will be my go to and I can add and remove different design elements for a range of size 46-60 European sizes (whatever that translates to).

I need to use my Ottobre magazines more.. I think I've only made 3 things and two I made ages ago and didn't blog. Next is the Simplicity off shoulder pattern in a dress to wear to my work Christmas party next Friday. Last Christmas my son gave me a Spotlight voucher and I bought some rayon that I loved and it will be made out of that. After that who knows. And of course there is Christmas coming too. What's on everyone's sewing table (or messy room as it is for me..LOL!).

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Burda 9965 boy's shorts

Firstly, thanks for all the nice comments in recent posts. I know it takes some effort when we are all so busy. I really appreciate the thoughts.

I finished the shorts I was making for my son. Sorry he's at his Dad's so there are not photos of him wearing them. The pattern is the Burda 9965 which as you can see is for jeans type pants. I couldn't find the other Burda pattern I used to make his cloud shorts so I just used this one. It's got some weird details like the fold over flap at the hem and the maple leaf look pockets.. yes they are maple leaves as I just checked the pattern and it says "Imported for Canada". Anyone know if the flaps are for some purpose or just a design feature?

Oops, should have cropped out my foot!  This is some gabardine that I bought on our recent trip to Toowoomba. $3 for the piece at the op shop. He's hard to please with patterns and colours so I was pleased he liked this.

Best fly I have ever done and the best instructions ever (yes, even though it's a Burda pattern!).

When putting the zip the instructions tell you to fold a cm past the seam line. This makes the top part of the fly sit cleanly over and no seeing the zip under it. I'm sure I haven't had that instruction before (or if I have I don't remember it). Just makes such a neat finish. I put op shop purchased bias binding on the inside waistband and decided to use a snap as I didn't have a button in the right colour. Yes, and no grey zip in my zip stash but it doesn't matter as you can't see it at all! It was also a bit long so I moved the metal stop and made it fit.

Back view... it's not too noticeable but the pockets are not exactly even. It annoys me but I balanced time with annoyance factor and the time factor won out. Lets face it my son (nor anyone else most likely) will notice and the time to unpick it all and do it again just wasn't an option. My sewing time is limited and I need so many things.  I didn't put any elastic in the back waistband although it is a little loose however the way my son is growing, give it a number of weeks and they'll fit well. He loves them so I'm happy. A great basic. I need to make him some togs (swimmers) next but right now back to me!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Vena Cava Vogue 1228

I made this Vena Cava Vogue 1228 (sorry I don't have a photo of the pattern) out of some fabric I got at The Spoolette High Tea - maybe the second one.... anyone recognise it? I'm not often drawn to but but I like the pattern and it's mostly navy. It's a polyester chiffon but it's quite nice and it was easy to work with.

I cut it out last year and had it in a bag... it's such an easy pattern I'm not really sure why it took me so long but probably by the time I got to it, it was out of season and then forgotten and shuffled around in the sewing room. After the coat I really wanted something quick and I really didn't want to cut anything out. I had a Lekala cut and half done too, but couldn't bring myself to finish it (it's done now.. that'll be the next post).

I do remember Up Sew Late had made a couple and so I read up and garnered that the top was very low. I am about 15cm shorter than Gabrielle (I think she is about 175cm and I'm 160ish) so if she needed to pull up the neckline I would for sure... basically it's the pleat at the front made a little deeper. I made French seams which really was quicker than threading the overlocker. If I had the overlocker threaded in a dark colour I would have been lazy, no doubt about it, but it was threaded in the fuchsia of the coat so I didn't dare as the fabric is a bit transparent. In actual fact French seams are really quick and this had no tricky bits to slow me down. I didn't add the sleeve cuffs although I had cut them out. As you can see I don't need them... my T-Rex arms are barely there as is.  The fringing on the bottom is from some fringing my sister found in her op shop finds. It is excellent quality cotton   fringing (? well it's natural fibre if not cotton - burn test result). I did a burn test first, then a wash test and it didn't shrink and it was good as new. I have a lovely red and a twisted fringe in an off white so there may be more fringing around. I really like it. It dances as I walk. I feel it really elevates this dress and I really love wearing it.

I was not sure this would suit me but I feel good in it and it fits really well. I think I made a 10 in the shoulders and graded out for my hips. It really fits at the back too with no sway back adjustment so WIN.  There is no photo of the back - my photographer isn't interested in back and side views - he feels one is enough.... sheesh! I hope to make more soon. Thanks to the Spoolette who donated the fabric. The pattern was an op shop find from my considerable stash (that is so big now I am getting mentally prepared to put them up for sale on Etsy as I won't sew with them all and some I don't like for me but loved the artwork and/or style). I'll let you know though as I have some great patterns and they will be priced to find a new loving home.... just don't hold your breath - it's on the bottom of the to-do list).

Also as this fabric is transparent, I needed a slip. I had a remnant of the softest navy rayon about a metre long. I used Burda 2711. It's just 2 pieces and the front has a dart. That's it poking out at the top of the dress... I don't like that but it's probably good for work. I do love this pattern and I shall use it to make a linen dress from it too. My own 'Ogden' if you will, it's so similar (I mean really it's so basic I couldn't bear to spend USD$14 or whatever for such a basic pattern). I didn't have enough fabric to  do anything more fancy. I had to straighten the sides a little to fit the fabric I had. I ran some pre-made bias binding and then added some straps. It's perfect and so comfy. I did wear a slip I made from a Style Arc pattern, but it was made with a synthetic fabric and it was SO hot.. wearing two plastic bags.

I am also making some more shorts for my son using Burda 9965 (no photo). The fabric I bought for a few dollars in Toowoomba in September when we went to the Carnival of Flowers. I was really please with my sewing of the back pocket.. finished and snipped the threads... then I saw this....

Do you see what's happened? I had both pieces of the back together and so I had to unpick the pocket and do it all again. Rats! They are waiting for zip/fly and waistband and they'll be done. Burda shorts are a really great fit for boys.

Next I'll talk about my first Lekala experience.  Oh and thanks everyone for the very lovely comments on my coat. I'm really chuffed 😊.