Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pantaloons? Yes please!

Pinned waistband on the pants

Less pants, more chinos.  But not.  Inadvertently, I took a pattern for chinos, bought suiting material and ended up with pants for wearing out to dinner.  Only.  But that's ok, they're for the husband!  Perfect excuse to take me out for dinner more!

I previously was a subscriber to a UK magazine called sewhip, thanks to my parents for a lovely birthday present.  And I loved it....for 10/12 mags.  You see, they changed editors.  They were more based on things and clothing patterns....and somehow more random crafty shite slipped in.  Let's be honest people.  There are only so many weird oddly specific craft items you ever need.  I.e. sewn banners, or felted headbands, or finger puppets.

But, back before the editor changed, there was a pattern for mens pants....and I thought...why not?  I completely ignored the sewing skills required, and began to plan....

Pants prior to zip
There were a number of times when I should have realised this project was possibly above my skill level.
1.  When I had to ask what to use as lining.
2.  After I bought lining, it just looked way to hard and I ignored it.
3.  When tracing the pattern was really difficult. Extending the legs?  Bah.
4.  Right now when it's time to put the zip in. be honest, aside from little hiccups, they are actually coming together quite well.  While it probably made sense to not make a difficult project, I've learnt a lot more than  I've mangled.

Pant pocket topstitching

Now they are almost finished...but it would be unlike me to finish a project in a timely fashion.  Therefore, onwards with a new project, I'll be back to you in a few months pants! 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Lady grey sewalong

I'm doing the lady grey sewalong!  Using the lovely pattern from Colette Patterns for the lady grey coat,

I probably went the wrong way about buying my fabric.  1.  Heavy duty calico for my muslin.  2.  Red lining from alannah hill.  3.  Blue wool crepe from the oddest fabric store I've ever been too.

As a result the muslin will be too heavy, the wool might not go with the lining, and I have no idea what it will look like when it's finished.  Why did I get blue crepe?  I wanted purple.  Fabric regret?  A little.  4m at $20 a metre?  Definitely. Have. Fabric. Regret.  

So, the question is, continue in with an almost Navy coat with red lining, or sell the wool crepe on ebay and start again?  OR, do I make the lady grey with the Navy lining, maybe put some red and white trim on there and make it a shipshape with a naval theme?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Ballet skirt for a little ballerina

 Making a basic ballet wrap for  little girl, I used a silk crepe from an old dress..making everything do double duty!

1.     Measure your ballerina around the hips in inches.   This measurement will be known as X. 
2.     Draft two copies of the template piece on paper.

3.     Fold silk in half in line with the selvedge.  The two pattern pieces will be places apart, with the measurement of Y between the top and bottom pattern edge.  To calculate, perform the following calculation.  Y = X – 15”. 
4.     Mark pattern pieces on the silk and cut out.  You should have two silk pieces.

5.     On the long edges fold over the edge by ½ inch, and use small pieces of sticky tape to hold them in place.  You will be stitching through the tape while this holds in the edges in place.
6.     Sew a narrow zig zag stitch along the long edge on both pieces
7.     Trim along close to the zig zag stitch.
8.     Place the short edges together, with toilet paper inbetween to stabilise the seam, pin and sew with a short straight stitch together.  Ensure the hems are facing outwards as per the diagram.  This ensures when you complete the French seam they are both facing the same way.
Ballet wrap seam stabilised using toilet paper
9.     Trim ¼ inch from seam
10. Turn over one edge over and straight stitch ½ inch to enclose the seam
11. Hand sew on the snap fasteners 4 inches apart
Ballet wrap finished detail

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Opportunity shopping (indeed!)

Since have moved out to the burbs (see lazy blogging excuse number one) I have notice a high number of op shops.  Rather pristine un-hipster raided op shops.

I wasn't much fussed...until one day walking home from work was this dresser in the window.  After some husband wrangling (i.e. but even if we don't like it in a year we can sell it on ebay) I arranged to buy, and pick up this lovely dresser.  It needs some work, some of the drawers are damaged from so much use...but can you believe it actually came with the key for the door?  This is a one owner only dresser.

In addition, in waiting for someone to talk to about buying it...I found this awesome dress pattern (uncut) for the extortionate price of 50 cents.

So, 67.49 later..I'm very very pleased.  With two new projects.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Puppy coat

This weekend I had planned on finishing some pants and starting a dress and so forth...when somehow after taking our dog Misty for a walk, we ended up at the RSPCA.   Not leaving Misty there of course, but getting suckered into a new family member.  This is Hamish.  Hamish is a 4 month old german shorthaired pointer.  He's a smooch and remarkably (for the first 24 hours) not much trouble except for the upset tummy, which has meant we've gone through 2 rolls of kitchen paper today.

However this Melbourne winter is still a little cold for a pup, so I set about making a dog coat for Hamish out of an old cat polarfleece blanket.  If you're looking to make one of these, go to here for a fantastic pattern.  I didn't use the pattern directly, but as a guide to what shape the pieces needed to be, and then literally threw the blanket over the top of Hamish and started marking it for cutting.  

Being a whipped together sunday night project I'm pretty happy with the result (and the model), but I had to leave part of the neck unbound as to have some stretch when getting it on him.  I only had a polycotton to use as bias binding, which didn't have enough give.   Seeing as he will grow out of it pretty fast, it's not the end of the world.  

Thursday, July 29, 2010

My current excuse for being lazy

Ok, I haven't blogged in a very long time.  And I've prepared a very long list of excuses...but will only share the top 3.

1.  Husband and I bought our first home, and moved in.  Which is very time consuming between signing and reading documents, cleaning things and carrying furniture.  I'd easily allocate two months to this kerfuffle.
2.  I've spent all of my time since moving reading design magazines, and blogs...and thinking of plans for our home with no correlation to reality.  Load bearing walls, budgets, time blah blah blah.  The second story devoted to the library is my favourite dream feature (it is complete with bookshelves with ladders).  In addition this library would have conceptual art from LOTR, Tim Burton and the Dark Crystal.
3.  I haven't done much sewing and in guilt, therefore no blogging.

As the weather warms up (I hope) I'm venturing into my sewing room more, and will have more projects complete.

And the last dirty secret....Katies quilt still isn't complete.  And Katie's been married for a couple of months now.  3 actually.

But, just to help understand why I might spend so much time on point number two, here is a picture of what I'm working with.  Oh, i mean the curtains, not the evil looking cats.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Not getting much done

And that's for two reasons.

The first being that Kate's wedding is next week, therefore I'm sewing like mad trying to finish the binding.

The second being we're moving houses this week, and the I'm surrounded by boxes and the sewing machine is all packed up:(  The real challenge will be this binding, when I'm about to run out of thread to boot!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Alannah Hill silk (AKA the one that got away)

18 months ago, I tried on a silk Maxi dress for $80.  It looked fantastic, and for some STUPID reason, I didn't buy it.  Even after the shop girl said I would regret this.  Damn her foresight.

But we'll get back to that in a moment.  Being a poor Alannah Hill addict, I have often frequented the Clear It store in Brunswick Street, where all of her excess/seconds/samples are sent.  And only recently did a dim memory reappear, of the rolls and rolls of excess fabric also sold there.  Within 3 hours, a lunchtime expedition was launched to Brunswick Street.

And oh the delight.  Printed silk, $9 a metre.  Lightweight pinstripe suiting, $4 a metre.  THAT IS CHEAPER THAN MY COFFEE!!!!  So naturally I came home with 6 metres.  Gosh was the husband surprised.

Thus, the plan is to recreate the dress that got away, in better material and the perfect fit.  Now to just find a pattern.  It can't be that hard right?

The pinstripe?  That has already been set aside for one of the following 1950's dresses.  The only question is, which one?  I'm leaning towards the one with the little underbust belt.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

one yard wonder shorts

Recently I added One Yard Wonders to the growing sewing library, and have given a few small projects a try.  The first was the sleeping shorts.   I'll start with saying I love the final result, but it took some tweaking.

Where to start...I suppose the first problem was that having seen the picture of the very young slim woman wearing the shorts, I anticipated the outcome would be for my posterior to look the same.  That was never going to happen.  The pattern calculations were based on a slim build, so *hint* by taking the measurements at the widest point, I was able to get the width.  The other problem is the inner seams don't allow for any "booty".  So add on a inch there.  

If a pattern asks for your hip measurement, but you're wider a few inches below - use that measurement otherwise it won't fit as well.  It's better to have some ease around the hips than too tight around - well, where ever that place may be.

Aside from that, the only other issue was insufficient instruction around the final waistband.  I ended up putting in a tie, for two reasons.  One being that my old pyjamas had a tie, and the other being I dislike elastic.  Neither reason being very good, in hindsight some elastic along the back would be very comfortable, but this isn't built into the dimensions of the pattern.

I used french seams for comfort, however the next pair of shorts will have flat felled seams.  Definitely give this a go, very quick to make and overall good instructions.

Like the cherry fabric?  I just couldn't resist.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Spring Top week - game on

I'm not sure where I'm going to find the time, but I've decided to join spring top week with Made by Rae!  

The last top I made (first and most recent) was her design for last years Spring top week - and I think I've got a few ideas of my own......

Challenge accepted!

It doesn't kick off until the first week of May, but with moving house in-between it could be challenging.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Summer Ruffle top

February was busy.  Very very busy.  But - we have persevered, and we are one hem away from completing Made by Rae's summer ruffle top.  While the bloggers in the Northern hemisphere are heading back there - I attempted one last ditch attempt at holding onto summer with this light top.

Overall Rae has made a fairly easy to follow pattern, which I only made one change to - being the chest band, next time I will cut as two separate pieces (as opposed to folding it over) so the straps can be sewn inside the band.

I would recommend this pattern and style to anyone quite slim - or for the girls with larger assets, if you don't have a waist belt, this would be easily modified to make an excellent maternity top.  In Australia, this most definitely is a "Bec Cartwright" style.

I've already cut the pieces out to make this in a pale purple without the frills - a quick easy to make work top!

(please ignore the washing machine, kitty litter et al)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Turtle power

Teenage mutant ninja turtles were rad.  So was the use of the word rad.  As kids, my older brother and I were desperately keen to be ninja turtles.  So much so older bro even dressed up as a TMNT on library day.

The moment the new sewhip magazine was delivered, the fate of a turtle was set.

Tragically for older bro, he is too old for stuffed toys, so the gift is for little bro (age 11).  He's still unawares of the turtle winging it's little way.

In practical terms, the pattern was easy to follow, the piece clear on where to join and how to piece it together.  Even how to stuff him to make sure his neck sits upright.  I diligently followed all of these steps, and have a slightly lumpy, top heavy turtle!  Even after fashioning a small tube to insert rice into the body, the weight of the head consistently tips him forward.

Tragically, our unnamed turtle is now referred to as the depressed turtle.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Why I learnt to sew

Male pattern boldness inspired me to think about why it was I learnt to sew...after a very unpromising start.....

Back in ancient history, when puffy vest were fashionable and walkmans the "must-have", I first encounted high school textiles.  My initial projects were not interesting, not creative, not well made.  One denim pencilcase, a tie-dyed apron and half made polyester skirt later.....I lead the discussion on how bloody sexist it was that we had to do textiles, and why wasn't wood-working on the compulsory course list at a girls school?

Not for another 5 years did I even think about fabric.  I'd moved to Melbourne for University, and was a very poor student.  During the cold winter, a pamplet arrived advertising a local community class on quilt-making.  Seizing the opportunity on saving money by not buying a new doona...I signed up for the classes.

After the first class I was hooked.  I made the ugliest patchwork square, but the community house lent me the sewing machine, and away I went frantically sewing.

I still have the first quilt I ever made, and it gets used everyday during winter.  While it certainly did not end up being cheaper than a doona - I've never needed to buy it!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Oh lincraft - why do you disappoint me so?

An impressive and most specific shopping list, with $60 in hand, it should have been easy.

1. Presser foot for my sewing machine. Do not stock. Any presser feet? Nooooo...
2. Sewing box for all my bits and bobs. Do not stock.
3. Size 9 quilting needles? Do not stock.

Sorry lincraft, easier question. What do you stock? Grey quilting cotton? Surely too easy - but no.

Oh to live near a spotlight again. Cheaper and better stocked.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Swing skirt project

At the moment my new challenge is to start making clothes for this year.  Being that I adore skirts, I thought this would be the perfect start.  Surprisingly it has gone very well!

I ended up having to shorten it significantly, as it ended up being middle on my shins.  Making one in bright red now.  Once that is finished I'll post pictures of both.  It's only a couple of hours to knock this up.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Dress for Princess

Recently SewHip magazine had a fantastic pattern by a designer Oliver +S, the free pattern link is here.
There was plenty of leftover fabric from the cupcake aprons, and I was just dying to use it again.  Although all our friends are having baby boys, my gorgeous cousin Corrine is a little princess.

I took the basic pattern, but due to the nature of the cupcake fabric, it was clearly going to be see-through, so added a lining.  Using just a white cotton, I took the same pattern piece for the dress and reversed.  Interestingly, this dress pattern would work perfectly for a fully reversible dress if you hemmed it perfectly.

It was easy to sew, the instructions were very straight forward.  I wish they had a pattern in my size!

I posted it off to Corrine yesterday, so hopefully I might get a photo back in return:)
I wish more friends had baby girls!  It's just so hard to see all this gorgeous girly fabric that I have no uses for.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Chuck rug complete!

Finally Aston's rug has been completed!  The binding took longer than expected, as the edging on the hand towel was quite bulky, and needed to be cut off.  I ended up folding the now trimmed edge to puff up the binding.

Overall it was a simple project, and should take 3 hours if completely machine sewn.  It used 1/3 of a moda layer cake fabric pack.

We gave this to our lovely neighbours for their son, and it's going to be pretty handy, as apparently smushing food on one's face and surrounds, is the best fame when you're under one :)

Today we also found out our friends are expecting their second child, so best getting cracking on another!  Although all my remaining fabric from this layer cake is I hope it's a girl!

Many cupcake aprons.....

After starting the cupcake apron, the half finished project came for a visit to my friends at work, and they all loved the fabric.  Quietly resolving to make another 4 (eeek) aprons by christmas, it significantly cut into  my blogging time!  That and I couldn't blog about the top secret project....

Each apron had a hand sewn project, with the initials for my friends all stitched in to personalise them.

I will post a picture of the final apron with's just too cute.