Tuesday, August 20, 2013

M I A - kind of ....

Despite what the lack of posts would suggest, I've actually been getting stuck into a lot of sewing.

I entered the 2 month Stash Challenge at Patternreview sewed just over 54metres of stash. You can catch up here if you're interested. This gave me a chance to get some home dec out of the way, some much needed pet gear sewn and a headstart with a travel wardrobe.

I was on a sewing roll!!
This past two weeks, Patternreview had a Menswear Challenge which gave me the chance to sew a couple of shirts for DH.
They are both from the same KwikSew pattern 3422. I had 2 pieces of chambray in the stash - one pale blue, the other a darker blue.   The light blue is topstitched in white, while the darker blue is topstitched in navy. Both shirts have flat-felled seams throughout.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Silk Purse ....

This is the pattern I chose for the wool gabardine (from the previous post).

They are from Ottobre Woman Magazine (5-2010) - the design is called Caron. The pants are described as Career Pants. Basically, they are a classic design, trouser style straight leg pant, featuring slant pockets, front/back waist darts with fly front closing.

While I would love the pants to look exactly as above, unfortunately, my height/weight dictates otherwise, and this is how they look in reality!

Not too bad, but definitely not model material :-)

I did make a couple of design changes.

Snoop shopping has revealed that better quality pants set themselves apart by their little features, such as topstitching, lining, pocket treatments or embellishments - not necessarily all in the one garment.

With this in mind, I wanted to set these pants apart from the cheaper equivalents I can readily purchase. My first thoughts focussed on lining the pants, partly to achieve a higher end look, but essentially to compensate for the itchiness of the wool fabric I was using. I managed to find some suitable lining in the stash - a heavy weight rayon gifted from a friend last year.

I'm happy for my garments to have a bit of a surprise, so the contrasting lining is not an issue.

I have actually made this pattern twice before, so wanted a bit of a different look for these pants. Most of the high end pants I saw had welt rear pockets. As I hadn't made this style of pocket in some time, thought, why not and proceeded to add this feature.

Remember those moth holes? Well, here they are ..... practically invisible. In fact, they show up more in this photo than in real life.

Even if I just get one season's wear, I'll be happy. The fabric cost very little. After all, I've already made another pair, they didn't take long to make, plus (and more importantly) that's 4+ metres of fabric out of the stash. Woo! Hoo!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Holey Moley!!

Sources for woollen fabrics are scarce in my part of the world, so we often look to alternatives, such as the various charity shops that have popped up. While I don't really frequent these stores on a regular basis, I'll occasionally pop in to check out any fabrics/haberdashery that may have been donated. One such excursion, at least 6 years ago, unearthed this lovely piece of wool gabardine - 5 metres in all and 150cm wide.

When I bought the fabric, I knew there were some moth holes, but at $6 for the bundle, there was plenty to work with. The fabric was washed and dried, and I set about marking all the moth holes with safety pins.

That winter season, I made a pair of trousers. Fast forward to now, and being part of the 2013 Style the Stash Sew a Long I rediscovered the remaining piece of this fabric. It was time to free myself of this stash fabric, by way of another pair of winter pants.

A pattern was found, found some lining in the stash too, and so the cutting began, avoiding all the holes marked with the safety pins .... all except 3 tiny, tiny almost holes in one of the back pattern pieces, that weren't discovered until after making the rear jetted pockets. YIKES!! And no more fabric to cut another back section.

Two and half hours spent weaving the holes closed with threads from the leftover scraps, I could finally start assembling the pants the next day.

I just need to hem, press and photograph them.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Jeans Style Cord Pants

Finished and ready to wear are these 2 pairs of jeans style cord pants.

Fortunately, this is a pattern I've been working with for some time - it's from 2/2007 Ottobre Woman - so it's quick to sew and thankfully, with the tweeking each time it's made, I'm getting closer to a professional look. There are still some drag lines in the back, but they are getting better - a bit tricking when you're trying to fit yourself in the mirror :-)
Look away now if you don't want to be shocked .....

(I can't believe I'm actually putting this rear view up for all to see!!)

I'm quite please with the side view - the s/s falls in just the right spot.

These were the first pants made. The rear pocket design was copied from a RTW pair. (Don't know why this photo always views upside down as the original is the correct way)

I didn't want 2 pairs exactly the same, so with this second pair I substituted 'hidden' zip pockets in the rear. I had wanted to use metal zips from the stash, but they were a little long, hence the ordinary zips.

Closeup of zip pocket.

I really enjoyed sewing these pants, and enjoyed even more the fact that 4 metres of stash fabric has been used.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Last Bit of Sewing for May

The challenge to complete a variety of tops based on a basic T-Shirt pattern has brought me to this final top (for now, anyway).

With cooler days and a lack of warm clothing, the logical choice was another zip front top out of polarfleece. Since I've been on a Stash purging stint, I dragged out the bin holding the track suiting and polar fleece lengths, only to find a couple of lengths of grey and blue tracksuiting (designated as DH's)a 90cm length of bottle green polarfleece, a 1m length of bright blue polarfleece and a scrap (maybe 1/2m) of black polarfleece ... a zip front jacket was out of the question none of lengths were big enough for the pattern.

After much struggling with the original T-Shirt pattern I was able to come up with a solution. By cutting the front with a yoke, adding a contrasting colour chunky zip to the yoke CF, then continuing as for the zip front top, I was able to eek out a toasty warm casual top just in time for cool weather that has suddenly descended on Sydney this weekend. The seam joining the yoke with the front was top stitched for added interest.

I am thinking of combining the bottle green polarfleece with the black, but for now I r-e-a-l-l-y must get on with making some much needed cord pants.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Little Organising

Magazines can be so troublesome .... they don't stand up well on a bookshelf, become dogeared easily and tend to multiple when left to their own devices.

I've been receiving Australian Stitches since it's first issue (10+ years) and now subscribe to Ottobre Woman so some desperate organising was needed. I needed to come up with a better system of storage than this one below ...

Magazines stacked one on top of the other, just doesn't cut it!!

By luck, on a trip to Costco these folders and inserts were discovered.

The inserts are just perfect for holding the magazines and any traced patterns, and then store nicely in the folder.

Nicely organised, easy to find and all the traced patterns in one place. A simple task completed.

Now, back to some sewing.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

More T Variations

Following on from the last post, here's some more variations on a T.

and a couple more...

A first for me ... a wardrobe for the new season, before the season gets underway, WOO!HOO!

Thanks Rhonda for the inspiration.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Pattern Play

Why is it, that the simplest of ideas are overlooked?

Last year I attended a NSW Australian Sewing Guild (ASG) Industry Day. One of the speakers was a very talented (and funny)lady by the name of Rhonda Braybrook - what this lady can't do with fabric and a sewing machine, just can't be done!

The theme of Rhonda's talk and trunk show was to take a basic T-shirt pattern and by using simple patternmaking skills, mix it up to create a host of different outfits. Now, I've known about this "source" of "free" patterns for some time, but haven't really taken advantage ...... until now.

Here's the result of my pattern play ... you may recognize some of the fabric from a post or two back.

Basic long sleeved T - with self fabric neck binding.

Basic short sleeved T - with foldover elastic neck finish

Sleevless top.

V-necked cardigan, matches sleeveless top to equal a twinset.

A draped front cardigan.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Thank Goodness It's Done!

Kwik Sew 3889

I'm a bit OCD when it comes to finishing one project before beginning another. I can stash fabric, hoard patterns (without a second thought of sewing them) and collect any number of notions, but cut a new garment before finishing the current piece of clothing? ... Never!

The jacket has been cut since February. The sewing was pretty easy, given the KS great instructions, even the addition of lining didn't add that much to the sewing time, but I didn't like the fit of the sleeves one little bit. After tacking, unpicking, rearranging, pushing and pulling, it was obvious that with a one piece sleeve what I had was as good as it was going to get.

All the fabric had been used (it was fabric leftover from another project) cutting a 2-piece sleeve was out of the question - truth be told, if I'd gone with a toile to test the pattern, I probably wouldn't have made the jacket. At least it's one piece fabric gone, and it is a cute little jacket with jeans, and I dooo love the back detailing.

Now onto some new sewing, YEAH!!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Food for Thought

In no particular order, I've pulled 5 fabrics to include in my winter 2013 wardrobe. All have been languishing in the stash for a bit - some more than others.

First up is this lovely sweater knit, purchase July 2012 (one of the newer additions). While you probably can't see from the photo, there is a fine gold thread running through the beige knit. The knit itself resembles a lacy hand knit. The plan is to sew a draped front cardigan which will be really useful on those more casual outings, and will complement nicely my grey/black/cream flecked skirt.

Another sweater knit, this time in a cotton blend. The colour in the photo is a little inaccurate, as it is closer to a jade colour than the blue it appears here. A little undecided as to the style as yet, so this will sewn at a later date. The fabric was gifted by a friend last year, when she was cleaning out her sewing fabrics (she no longer sews garments, just quilts).

Hmmm. I bought this fabric (along with a similar piece in black)a few years ago now, thinking it would be great for after five. After making the black, this turquoise/silver shot piece was set aside. I'm thinking some kind of wrap top.

This is a lovely red linen piece. Or pants, with a bit of imagination. I'm hoping there will be enough to make another skirt from the vogue pattern.

This is to be my first piece sewn. Ihave several patterns in mind (a couple of Ottobre and a KS)for this knit, but basically a long sleeved T, in fact, there's probably enough fabric for 2 tops. With all the skirts I've been making, tops are now a bit of a priority.

Anyway, these fabrics are my jump off point.

Monday, April 1, 2013

A Jacket to Start the "Sew Your Own Wardrobe For a Year" Challenge

Today is the start of the Sew Your Own Wardrobe For a Year challenge (Well actually, it started here, Downunder, yesterday!) - Check out the sidebar for the link. So, it's time to get cracking and get that wardrobe underway.

I've started to make this jacket to co-ordinate with the skirts from the previous post, plus a couple of other items already in the wardrobe.

This KS jacket is unlined, however, I'm going to line mine.

I've chosen a cool wool fabric (perfectly suited to our milder winters here in Sydney), lined with some black satin I already had in the stash. I've fused interfacing to the entire jacket to give it extra stability and a bit of body. So far, I've constructed the main jacket and lining and am about to set in the sleeves.

Being narrow in the upper chest, there is still a bit of excess fabric in that area that needs to be removed before the sleeves can be set properly.

I'm really liking the design, especially the panelling detail on the back which extends around to the front.

With autumn well and trully here, the jacket will come in very handy.

Bye for now

Monday, March 25, 2013

Making some progress

Despite the lack of sewing posts, I have been making some progress with my 2013 goals ... I've made several skirts and (wait for it) a dress WOO!HOO! And all from stash too, you gotta love that! The skirt at the top of the photo is a grey wool blend, with a 1cm black dot. This fabric has been in my stash since 1988/89. it was originally purchased to make a double breasted shirt style dress with the massive 80's shoulders (yikes!!). I'm soooo glad I didn't get around to that, and now I have a wonderful new skirt for winter. Next in the photo is a peacock blue thai silk. This was purchsed on a trip to Bangkok in 2010 - a very recent addition to the stash. I've always been reluctant to sew some of my "good stuff" for fear I'd mess up, but took the plunge this time and I'm so glad I did. Too often, I think we sew-ers think our sewing is not up to scratch, when in actual fact we produce items of a much better quality than anything available RTW. The third skirt is a jade green (sorry the colour is not true in the photo, but trust me,it is jade in colour :-) ) crepe. This was a piece leftover from a pant suit I made sometime in the '90's, and was just enough to make this pattern. A free skirt, yippee. Finally, the last skirt (and the one I'm modelling ) was a remnant given me by a friend last year - like I need more fabric!!! But it is a lovely piece of flecked wool blend, and will be quite versatile. All the skirts are made using the same adapted vogue pattern 8672. I originally made the skirt as per the pattern with the high waist, but on me, it looked shocking, so, I reworked the pattern to a skirt that sits on my normal waist. i'm really pleased with this look. All the skirts are lined (also using stash fabrics) I'll show my dress later. Bye

Saturday, January 26, 2013


For one reason or another, blogging for the past year and a bit just didn't happen. This year, I'm hoping to turn things around, get back into sewing on a more regular basis and record my sewing successes (or at least my stash busting) here.

So, here we go with a few goals for 2013.

1. Make a dress/skirt ... a biggy here since I can't remember the last time I actually wore a dress! Who knows, maybe this will happen while dresses are still in favour.

2. Sew a mini wardrobe for an upcoming cruise ... I'll  be over the moon if I manage 2 x pants + 3 x tops.

3. Use at least one piece of the good stuff before June 30th.

I'll stick with just these three goals for now - nothing like over achieving or anything   wink!wink!