Monday, July 30, 2012

'Sharing the love' GIVEAWAY!

It's been a while between giveaways on this here blog. So to say thanks for all the great feedback on my new dress, I thought I'd host a simple giveaway.
On offer today a rather large remnant from my  new dress - just over 1.3m of this drapey and easy-to-sew viscose knit. It's 54" wide, so large enough for a simple dress, just not a maxi dress... unless you are really short :)
To win, just leave a comment and follow this blog. I'll draw a winner on Friday, August 3.
I'm happy to post worldwide. Please make sure you leave your email address if you don't have one connected to your blogger profile. I'll need to contact you to send you the goods. :)
Happy Monday!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Miz Mozelle

After seeing Sophie's adorable Miz Mozelle, I quick marched to my own pattern to have a crack.
I walked past this fabric at least 5 times before I purchased it. It's a viscose (or similar) knit from The Remnant Warehouse. I can't say I'm into faux lace fabric, but from far, I think the fabric design looks cool.
I didn't quite match the sleeves, but at least they are both the same.
I made my bias trim with simple black voile - just a scrap from the stash. A tiny black love heart button closes the key hole. The peter pan collar is nice and trim. Subtle even. I sometimes feel odd wearing peter pan collars, like the one on the Violet blouse, but I think this might be a more wearable collar. Less costumey and less juvenile.

Ever-so-slightly off with the key hole, but I won't be fixing it :)
While the dress came together very easily, it took well almost two weeks to finish. Such short sewing moments! The changes I made to the pattern:
  • Raised the base of the key hole about 1.5cms. I really want to wear this to work and it is too low in its drafted state.
  • Added flat fold piping to the collar. Might have also copied this from Sophie. I slightly mis-calculated my piping depth though, so it's a very scant 1-2mm finished piping size.
  • Cut the bodice and skirt in one, to prevent having to match the scallop print.
  • Added elastic to the waist by just zig zagging it onto the inside. The fabric pattern hides all stitching, so I didn't see the point in breaking up the designs.
It was positively freezing while taking these photos today. My legs look more grey than white! Tomorrow, I'll wear this to work with thick black tights and black cardigan, and obviously a coat!

Pattern: Miz Mozelle by Jamie Christina. $18 from Kelani purchased at The Sydney Quilt Show
Fabric: 1.2m viscose knit from The Remnant Warehouse $9.50
Button and bias fabric: Say $3??
Thread from stash
Total: $30.50

In other news, Rachel and I are heading on girls weekend down to Melbourne and it just so happens to be the weekend of a sewer meet-up! We've been talking about a get away for a while. I'm so excited! I might have to make a few things before we go to justify any new fabric purchases. This will be my first trip away from both kids and husband. I wonder what time I'll wake in the morning without three kids jumping on me?

Hope you have a great week!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Working full-time: Things I've learnt.

I have now finished my 7th week of working full time and I've noticed a lot of changes in our life.  Some were obviously going to happen, others less so...

When you work full-time you sew less. Yes really. Didn't you know? At the end of a day of work, even an easy day plus the kid/home stuff, it is near impossible to sit at my sewing machine. It's just too hard. I can't even manage to crochet, knit or cut. I just play on the computer, reading about other people's sewing adventures and watch TV.

When you work full-time (for me) your house is cleaner. You and the kids aren't there to trash the joint, but also, your free moments are too short to start a sewing activity, so you just set about with a small tidy-task. '10 minutes till the kiddo's bus arrives. Clean the breakfast dishes.' '8 minutes till you have to collect the young ones. Pick up Lego.' I'm also finding that to prevent Saturday from being a massive clean up day, I'm doing a small chore each day. Just one load of laundry or something similar, helps make Saturday a little more fun.

When you work full-time, you have more money, but you don't have time to spend it. Shopping online is fine, but when your passion is sewing clothes, not buying clothes and your sewing time is next to nil, there comes a  point when you can't justify buying fabric and patterns.... Thankfully, my holiday sewing binge is still fresh in my mind...
When you work full-time, you eat a little healthier. I make the kids relatively simple lunches - sandwich, fruit, yogurt and a bikkie or two. When I have the day at home, I  sometimes substitute breakfast for coffee, and mostly skip lunch for a few afternoon handfuls of Doritos or sweet bikkies. When you work, especially in a role with set eating times, you need breakfast. You also need to eat lunch. For me it's the same simple lunch as the kids.

Working full time is good. Well, right now it is and I'm enjoying it, but I'm looking forward to having a little more weekday time with the kids.
Tell me, how do you manage work and hobbies? Are there any hidden benefits that you find to working?
The obligatory blog pic.
This is my two week old nephew William. Did I give him anything handmade to celebrate his arrival??? Nope. I was too busy. I bought him something.

Please excuse the rambling post. I have two almost finished items that I will hopefully knock over this week for 'Show and Tell' with you next week.

Happy Sewing!

Note: Working full-time is still hard. I'm not just cruising through. I don't want you to think this is a 'how good am I?' post. My kids still have tantrums and meltdowns. In fact we only have nuclear meltdowns in this house now. Wine and coffee are still essential food groups in my diet. Got it? Good.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Liberty Lantana Tova

This is the last project finished during my school holiday break. I've had the photos ready to use for over a week, but they are kinda crappy, which has been delaying my posting them. Unfortunately, I just won't have the time to re-shoot them for a while, so here they are.

These skinnies clearly don't 'go' with this top, but I took a few photos on this day.

This Tova was made with some Liberty Lantana that my mum bought for me last year for my birthday. I made a simple frock with it originally, but it was just slightly too tight around the back and I felt that the gold print made it just a little too dressy to wear during the day.
I managed to cut the front and back from the dress. I salvaged the sleeves and used a small remnant for the front yoke and neck. I used bias binding for the neck, rather than the collar. There are slightly less gathers under the yoke, due to fabric shortage, but I think it looks OK. I also double face the yoke. If you've ever worn a Tova, you probably know that the front yoke tends to hang open. This fabric isn't double sided, so this makes the underside look less yucky.

I still have two half finished projects waiting for attention in my sewing room. Fingers crossed they get some love this weekend.


Friday, July 20, 2012

New York Cape

For someone who bragged about having sewn so much over the holidays, I'm certainly not showing y'all much on this here blog. Truth is, I'm just not feelin' the blog love these days and with school now back, well... it's just hard to push through some times.

Anywho, here is my new favourite sewing project, my Tessuti New York Cape.
When this pattern was first released, I didn't see the look. It wasn't feeling the style. But something has changed this past year and now I'm definitely feeling the love for this look. Maybe Tessuti were a little ahead of their time....
I made my cape with a wool/polymide fabric from The Fabric Store. I originally went there to find the same fabric Leith used for her NY Cape, but thought this black and plum combination would fit my wardrobe a little better.
The fabric is more of a tweed - you know a woven fabric - than a Melton wool or flannel, so I am a little concerned about it stretching out a little. For this reason, I lined my cape hoping that this would help with any stretching, but I guess time will tell if it will help.
This pattern came together super quickly. The wool binding cost almost as much as the fabric, so I was quite concerned about stuffing it up, especially as Rachel had a few troubles with hers. Thankfully, despite these concerns, I found it quite easy to use and only had to unpick and fix a small section.
I did make a few minor changes to the pattern, but nothing major . First I folded a long tuck in the pattern from shoulder to hem, just after the shoulder darts. I don't have large shoulders, so didn't want the cape to swamp my frame. I took about an inch off each side, front and back. I also shortened the cape. I think my about 3-4 inches.
The buttons were from Lincraft and they took ages to pick. You know there just never seems to be the right buttons available for any particular project when you need them.

I really adore this cape. It works pefectly with skinnies and with a cardigan underneath provides pretty much the right anount of warmth I need, exept these last two days - brrr!

Pattern: NY Cape from Tessuti = $10
Fabric: 2 meters wool/polymide from The Fabric Store $64
Wool binding: 5.5m @ $55
Lining: 1.5 m black poly cotton bastiste $8???
Buttons: from Lincraft 7 @ $3.40
Total: $140.40!!! Yikes - this is the most expensive project for a while!

In school news, I've just signed up for another 5 week full time teaching block. I'm still loving this new teaching gig, but the full time bit is hard. Hopefully I'll still be able to steal moments at the machine over the weekends, as I'm sure you understand that my week day sewing will be limited. TGIF!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Vogue 1306

I think my run of knit t-shirts may be over for a while, I have quite a few now, but I dare say this is my absolute favourite.
The pattern is Vogue 1306, which is a Rebecca Taylor pattern. I made view B with a front placket, shaped hem, short sleeves and gathered waist or under bust. This t-shirt is extremely flattering and I'm still pinching myself over how well it is finished.
I followed the instructions to a tee, making a straight size XS as the finished bust size for this 'fitted' tee was 34 inches, which I'm lucky to measure at with very generous undergarments :) The only change I made to the pattern was to fold the sleeves over once more than specified, so that the outer dots appeared on the fold over, not the underside of the fabric. Does that make sense?
The fabric is a cotton knit with black flocked dots. I picked this up on a recent trip to the Remnant Warehouse. I had enough of a remnant to make Adele two pairs of very much needed tights, but since I've made so many of these for her, I find them terribly unblogworthy on their own, even if she does look rather stunning in them.

I think I'll definitely make this pattern up again. Next time I might even extend the gathers around the back too or perhaps make a sleeveless version for summer.

Pattern: Vogue 1306 $9 inc part shipping
Fabric: Cotton knit with flocked dots. I think I purchased 1.1m @ $10.40, but they over measured slightly which made it possible to make Adele's tights too.
Thread from stash
Total: &19.40

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Simplicty 2599 in Liberty

Another simple shell top made with Liberty.
I live in these shell tops winter and summer. They work well with my skinnies, Emerson's and work pants. This time I've trialled a new trim detail, which I borrowed from New Look 6754.
I like this look, different to my previous pleated neck shell tops. The buttons are vintage shell buttons which I picked up from the Op Shop many, many months ago. The fabric is an older Liberty design called Snug. It has a different feel to my other Liberty fabric. Slightly less smooth.
The neckline is a little clunky on this tank. I accidentally lowered it too much, not remembering that I'd already modified my pattern last time. I wish it were a tad higher, but it will do.
The neck detail is a little tricky to photograph.

Pattern: Simplicity 2599. Used many times = free
Fabric: 1m Liberty Snug from Shaukat inc part shipping $23
Buttons: 20c from Op Shop
Thread: from stash
Total: $23.20

I'm not sure if you've noticed, but I have slacked off a little recently with my documenting of the costs for each item I sew. I've been a little dis-interested in maintaining a few things in the web world lately. No more pattern review, Burda, Ravelry, my own monthly sewing page.... I think I'll try to update some of these and will probably go back and add the costs. I'll let you know when it is done, just in case you are particularly interested.

Also note: I photographed 5 more finished items today, so will have lots more sewing news to show this week.

Update: All previous posts without costings have now  been updated, so too has my Sewing 2012 log. It didn't take long at all, don't know why I became so lazy...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Super Caddy

I wish I could take credit for this handy little pin-cushion-sewing-caddy, but it is my mum's genius that I am copying.
Simply take one massive pin cushion, my mum made mine from pattern in the Anna Maria Horner 'Seams to Me' book (please note there is an errata on her site for this pin cushion. We didn't know about this so my base is just glued on), add a bobbin saver (if you don't have one of these, you really must dash out now and buy one. I'm amazed at how well it holds the thread on my bobbins), a tin can (mine was cut with the Tupperware can opener  so there are no sharp edges) and the basic sewing gadgets (seam ripper, scissors, rotary cutter and seam gauge) you have all you need together in one handy sewing hold-all. Seriously handy.

I am sewing up a storm these holidays and have many items to show. Problem is, in order to sew more, I've not been taking the time to photograph my finished items. I have a few kid free hours this morning, so am heading back to the machine. Photos later, sew now.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Vogue 1247 - Fail

This pattern has now failed twice. Time to stop trying.
I don't think the style is right for me. It is extremely generously proportioned and hangs very low. The centre darts, which I assume are bust darts sit well over an inch from where they should. I could try to fix this, but I can't be bothered. Hopefully I'll have more success with the skirt pattern.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Back in black

With the over locker thread now on black, I've taken the opportunity to whip up some simple black tees. I'm really beginning to feel more confident sewing knit fabrics with three of these drafted by moi!
This tee was drafted by simply tracing over a cheap old t-shirt in my wardrobe. I love this style of easy tee with cap sleeves. I used a remnant of double knit from this dress, binding the sleeves and neck with the reverse stripe of this fabric. I'm wearing this today and am happy :)

Another self drafted tee, this one part based on Dixie DIYs loose knit tee. I tried to only add volume to the back of this top hoping it would fold nicely, but it just sat funny, so I whipped it in on the sides. I raised the neck and little and tried not adding the bound sleeves. I like it. This is also a remnant, this time of lightweight ponte from this dress.

Again self drafted, based on the same tracing as the first tee, but this time with smaller sleeve cuffs. I really like this one. It is made with a viscose stripe knit from Tessuti, which I got with my birthday money in May. (Can't seem to find it on their site, but I think this is similar).
This is a Renfrew, made with the same Tessuti knit fabric as above. I squeezed both tees our of just 1.3 meters of fabric. Pattern placing was tight and I haven't matched stripes, but it isn't too noticeable.

So there is some more necessary sewing dictated by the colour of thread on my over locker. I have two more knit items in black to finish off before I start sewing some fun clothes.

Can you tell I'm binging on sewing at the moment?? I'm so happy that my sew-ho is in full force at a time when I actually have time to sit at the machine. This phenomenon doesn't seem to happen often to me - well it feels like that anyway. You know, when you want to sew you have no time, when you have time you don't want to sew. Same as shopping with money means you find nothing to buy, but with no money and you find a zillion things you want. I know you know what I mean. I will stop now. Peace out friends.

T-shirt 1 & 2 both remnants made with self drafted patterns= free

T-shirt 3 & 4
Pattern: self drafted and renfrew used before = free
Fabric: 1.1m (over measured slightly- yay!) Tessuti viscose knit @ $22pm = $24.20
Total $24.20 together

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Red thread

Just knocking over some 'like' sewing with red thread on my overlocker. First, Butterick 5495 which I made with some bright red merino knit fabric that I picked up from The Remnant Warehouse. Have I mentioned that I LOVE the Remnant Warehouse. I think this may be my new favourite fabric store.
This knit was only $14.95 per meter with a smaller than usual selvage width, maybe 120cms or so. This is compares to $28+ per meter for merino knit at The Fabric Store, or a little more at Tessuti.
I made a toile of this pattern as I was unsure about the kimono sleeves on the long sleeve version. I'm really glad I did, as they were not pretty on me with a very generous amount of fabric under the arm which gathered in an unpleasant manner. I debated whether it was wise to make a sleeveless merino knit top, but I don't feel the cold like others, so think it will still get  a lot of wear.
I cut a straight size 8, grading up to a 12 where that gathered bit is. This still probably isn't enough to fit my torso. I haven't pulled the tie as tight at the pattern stipulates and this is as much as I will for comfort. I found the arms gaped a little, so sewed a small tuck under each arm, which you can see in the pictures now attracts some of the gathered fabric. I also slightly raised the neckline, sewing it up about an inch to prevent a wardrobe malfunction in the classroom. I'm quite happy with this top and despite a few minor hiccups with fit, I think it still this looks.

Keeping with the red theme, I used the remnant of red merino to make Adele another cowl neck toddler dress.
As before the pattern comes together in minutes - all on the over locker except the sleeve and skirt hem.
Isn't she adorable??

Lastly, a simple loose knit top for me, made with a remnant of orange merino from this Renfrew.
This was based on the loose knit top I made in this post, the pattern is from Dixie DIY. I added a few inches to the length and removed a little excess from the width of the top. I quite like how simple and easy this knit top is to make and wear.

Tis all for red, tomorrow I'll be back in the black and given my colour preferences in my wardrobe, there will be a stack to sew.

Hope you are enjoying some holiday sewing fun!

Pattern: Butterick 5495 = $7 inc part shipping
Fabric: 2m merino from The Remnant Warehouse $29.90
Thread from stash
Total: $36.90

Pattern: loose knit top by Dixie DIE = free
Fabric: Remnant from Renfrew
Total: free

Monday, July 2, 2012

Holiday Sewing!

Two weeks of school holidays!! Two weeks of holidays!! Sooooo excited!

After working full time for the past five weeks, my sewing output has definitely suffered - my stash has continued to grow, but I've certainly spent less time creating. Right now though, I'm at the beginning of a full two week break from school and I have so many plans.
To kick off the holidays, I started and completed a long overdue project for the kiddies - a floor cushion for watching TV.
It has a handle too.
Just a simple round cushion made with two 28 inch diameter circles of home dec fabric, a 7 inch high strip of fabric to wrap around the circles and a metal op shop zipper. As this baby takes a lot of stuffing, I've filled it with some hobby fill and some cushion inserts that haven't been used for a while.
Don't you love our new rug?
One of the perks of working full time is a little extra spending money :)
It's a little lumpy, but still good. Ollie stayed like this most of today, catching up on TV watching and computer playing. I'll take him out another day.

Now, what to make next??

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Pintuck Blouse

Another finished item and a much needed addition to my work wardrobe. I love this blouse so much that I've struggled to photograph it since I finished it over a week ago, as I've worn it so much.

As you can see from these crappy indoor photos, taken on a dark, rainy, wintery day (boo!), I'd already been wearing it for the day before finally managing to photograph it, so please excuse the wrinkles.
The pattern is the Pintuck Blouse pattern from Salme Patterns. The pattern was very straightforward with no real issues. You do need to add seam allowance, which is a bit of a pain, but not hard to do. The only changes I made to the pattern was to remove over an inch from the sleeve cap to reduce the gathers. I'm not really 'in' to big sleeves on my frame and this fabric isn't drapey like the chiffon on the pattern picture. I also added elastic to the sleeve cuffs - just because.
The fabric is a lovely Liberty tana lawn called Melanie Atai. I think my love of Liberty is well documented on this blog and this design is definitely one of my favourites. I love that Liberty is so easy to sew with, it is cool in summer (which is most of our year) and I find that the more you wash and wear it, the easier it is to iron. Do you find that too?

So the question now - I have white thread on my overlocker, what can I find to sew with white before I change it again?..... I'm not afraid to change it, I know how, I just hate doing it. Is your sewing dictated by the thread colour on your overlocker or is it just me?

Fabric: 1m Melanie Atai Liberty inc part shipping $23
Pattern: Salme Pintuck Blouse $6
Thread, button and elastic from stash
Total $29