Monday, December 30, 2013

Top 5 of 2013: Hits

I actually really like these top 5 posts (started by Gillian at Crafting a rainbow)that have been popping up lately, its a nice way to reassess what we sew and actually wear.

So the Top 5;

1.Vogue 8774: Jeans

I wear these so much!

2. StyleArc: Palazzo pants

I've actually made 2 more pairs of these in a black ponte (unblogged about) and they are my go-to work pants, comfy and smart and so easy to wash and wear!

3. Colette 1020: The seaside dress

I wore this as my Christmas dress to both my Dad's and the in-laws.

4. Cake 0144: Tiramisu Dress

The fabric has worn/pilled/stretched out a  bit now but its still such a comfortable dress, I really have to remake it once I find the right fabric!

5. The copycat dress: Newlook 6048 vs Cake 0169

I love this dress, it just all came together perfectly.

 I've sewn less this year, but made more wearable garments (still had a few wadders or garments that I just don't wear though, but I think we all get that even when you buy all your clothes). I made my first Men's coat and made a lot of quilts but most importantly I'm still really enjoying sewing!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Newlook 6243: The Sailaway dress

Another copy cat dress!

This fabric was the closest I could find (from Lincraft) and I'm still using up all the red piping I got for my copycat Hellbunny dress!
Adjustment wise: I cut a sz 20, and adjusted the princess seams using the Colette Éclair bodice (basically a 1" FBA). The bodice has about 1" taken out in length. I added seam allowances to the skirt on centre front and back so I could cut it on the chevron.
The fabric wasn't really the best choice, its a bit too thin and stiff at the same time and the piping was a bit too stiff so I redid the bodice about 4 or 5 times I reckon trying to get it to not stick out and sit the end I had to leave it a week before I could look at it again!

The back is shirred, I ran out of fabric so had to piece the side back pieces. The original pattern pieces are quite curved at the sides and I wanted them straighter.

I added pockets using my trusty Simplicity 2588 pattern piece and lined the bodice with cotton poplin.

Its a tad loose, especially on the waistband but should make a nice cool summer dress. I'm hoping a couple of washes will make it softer too.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Seaside Dress: Collette 1020

One of my favourite sites is to go virtual window shopping which is where I saw this dress and fell in love with it!

 I couldn't find any fabric close to it online but managed to stumble across this cotton voile in Spotlight. Its a lot darker and the pattern isn't quite as random but its close enough!

Pattern modifications - I started with the bodice from Colette 1020 Lily dress and shaped the centre front to give a sweetheart neckline. I added to the side back piece (about 2") and then shirred the centre back pieces. I had to shape the bodice band to match the new sweetheart neckline. The straps are adjustable one, which I really like and are surprisingly easy to make. The bodice is lined with a stretch cotton poplin.

Skirt wise, its a straight dirndl gathered skirt, I cut 2 rectangles the width of the material (which was roughly  double and a bit the size of my waist), cutting the back one up the centre so I could add the zip. The pockets are drafted on, though I should have made them a lot deeper, they are a bit shallow!

I wasn't sure if it was flat piping or binding around the pockets and bodice bands but went with white bias binding (because that's what I had!)

I wasn't sure what the gathered skirt would look like but I think because the voile is so thin and I ironed down the gathers, it sits really nicely. I have a couple of pull marks at the bodice band but I think that's just because I fitted it wearing a different bra. Bring on summer!

Monday, November 11, 2013

McCalls 6844: Peplum cardigan

After having such a frustrating run of wadders I finally made something wearable! I'm still not completely over peplums yet so even though I like the basic cardigan version of this pattern I had a go at View C first.

I found the sizing quite generous, according to the finished measurements I should have been in between XL and XXL but this is a L with some adjustments. I narrowed the shoulders by about 1/2", widened the upper sleeve by 2", shortened the bodice by 1.5" and lengthened the peplum by about 2" and took in the back  waist seam by a couple of inches (more about that further down). I got a few metres of this plaid ponte from Spotlight awhile ago on clearance so I made a quick muslin to check sizes and I'm glad I did with how much I had to take the original one in and shorten/lengthen it.

I changed the front band, originally it was about double the width of this one and is meant to create a bit of a folded over collar effect but I didn't like how it sat so I replaced it with a straight band (no curve at the neckline like the original) and made it half as narrow, very much like the band that's on McCalls 6408.

Lastly, I added some elastic to the back waist seam.  When I'd finished it, it was still a bit big around the waist and I found it wasn't very flattering when it was meeting in the middle (could have been because I used plaid instead of a plain fabric). I'd already hemmed it and didn't want to add a centre back seam so I sewed elastic about 3" shorter than the seam and stretched it to fit, zigzagging it to the seam (I pinned it all first to get the right length for the look I wanted). No sure if I'd bother taking in the back if I made it again or just use elastic again, it makes that back waist seam nice and stable and I don't mind the extra gathering it does.

I sewed it all on the serger and twin needled the hems. First time I've sewn something just on the serger without sewing it first on my sewing machine first, makes it so much faster!

All in all I'm really happy with it, I wasn't sure if I'd like the peplum look on me especially in the plaid. I think its quite flattering and doesn't need a belt or anything to stop it looking shapeless.

I wore it today and its very comfortable to wear, the pin on the lapel is a red poppy for Remembrance Day (which is today in Australia) , Lest we forget.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Christmas sewing: Circle pouches

I made a start on my Christmas sewing this week - namely these great little earbud pouches. I followed the tutorial here and used a lot of scrap material up!

I should mention they aren't just for earbud headphones, my daughter uses one in her schoolbag to hold panadol and lipbalms, plus they can be used to hold anything like Nintendo DS games or guitar picks.

Ninja's and Gnomes

Cat's in converse
Lots of chevrons

Hedgehogs and Dots

Great for a stocking stuffer and as little gifts for friends!

Monday, October 28, 2013

McCalls 6828 : Raccoon Jacket

I love these little animal themed jackets and tried (rather disastrously) to draft one my self last year so when I saw this pattern out I downloaded it. My little birthday baby turns one next week so this is getting sent off to him for his birthday.

This is a sz 2 and its quite generous, I think it would fit easily a 3 or maybe even a 4 year old over a light shirt or work really well as a winter jacket over heavier clothing.

Its all out of polar fleece, lining as well as the outer fabric. I found the fabric amounts on the envelope pretty accurate, I had some left over but not much.


Buttons are from my stash

I had a few issues with the instructions
  • The hood is appliqued. I haven't done any applique before and I found the instructions pretty lacking to be honest. This is the second hood I made, the first rippled badly. So my tips if you haven't done applique before on polar fleece is to interface under where you'll be doing it (it made a huge difference), reduce your foot pressure slightly (I went to 2 from 3) and to not do too tight of a satin stitch. I first did it with a .5 width and it was too tight so I backed it off to a .7 (this is on a Janome 6030 if that helps). Practice on a scrap first to get some idea of what your machine needs.
  • Also because the polar fleece is so fluffy I found after I cut out the appliques if you pull off any loose fluff and trim the fluff at the edges it doesn't stick out from the satin stitch and look all messy.
  • Applique so the stitch wraps over the edge of the fabric, if you go too far into the fabric there is a lip of fleece that sticks out and looks all messy.
  • Before fusing the webbing on the appliques it helps to mark on the webbing paper what colour they are for (just makes it faster when you are at the ironing board)
  • The inner black dot is a button. I didn't realise that until after I had tried to sew a black circle in satin stitch......a good thing about the polar fleece is you can unpick a lot and not see stitch marks, lol. Its written into the instructions after you have appliqued the hood and sewn it onto the main body.
  • I would recommend you interface the back of the ears too, I didn't and found them a bit floppy now.
  • The ear instruction just tells you to 'sew them onto the hood'. I decided to hand sew them on so they would sit up nice and straight and found it best to slip stitch around the back and the front of both ears.
  • Because of the thickness of the polar fleece I had to cut the hood lining down to get it to sit smooth. I actually sewed it all up but it looked too baggy and terrible so I unpicked it and pinned in inside and trimmed what hung out and then when I resewed it, it fit in beautifully.
  • I found the button markings to be off centre and not high enough (the pattern actually recommend to sew snaps inside the button band at the top and bottom but I didn't want to do that on a kids jacket) so I respaced the buttons and made them in the centre of the band.
  • The instructions have you hand sew a lot (all the hems and at the front where the button band goes) so instead I bagged out the lining, leaving at gap at the bottom back hem to turn it out with and the top stitched that shut. So if you do that it helps to know that the hem on the jacket is 2" (for the life of me I couldn't find it marked anywhere on the pattern).
After all that whinging notes I will say I am very happy with it, its just so damn cute! I keep looking at it and smiling!
The eyes are a little wonky, I went over the green inner eye twice to try and even them up but I don't think its too noticeable?
I'll be making these as a standard birthday present for little kids from now on (the jacket only uses 1m fleece for the lining and 1 for the outer so if you pick it up on sale its quite a reasonable/cheap sewn gift). I have visions of purple or pink owl jackets for girls and maybe a blue version of this raccoon one.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Collete 1020: Lily dress

Everytime I sew a Colette dress I wonder why on earth I use any other brand of pattern! This is a straight sz 18 with only taking it in at the sides on the bodice and shortening the bodice by 1". I didn't even muslin it, I feel so naughty saying that!

Fabric is a sateen from Spotlight same with the contrast fabric. I found the skirt a bit short so added the band to the hem.

The skirt has a kick pleat but I don't think its needed and wouldn't bother sewing it on other versions. The bodice is finished with facings but I used bias tape instead. I really don't like facings, they seem bulky and never seem to sit as smoothly as bias binding.