Tuesday, December 17, 2013

I finished my December Make a Garment Challenge on Friday and wore it all day yesterday. The temperature was over 37c degrees and I am happy to announce it was very cool and comfortable.

Vogue 1236

Because I made it from a 1.6m remnant my challenge was to fit the pattern pieces onto the fabric. I checked the finished measurements on the pattern and realised that a size 10 would fit me and by folding the fabric sides to middle I was able to cut out the front, back and both facings. I folded one half slightly wider than the other to fit the front shoulder on. Even so I had to fold out one pleat and sort of sqwoosh it flat to make the shoulder fit. Fortunately the extra pleat was not needed to make the dress fit over my bust.

This left me with scraps to make two pockets. After pondering for a while I joined several scraps together, keeping the grain lines straight. That gave me enough for two pocket pieces.
The other two pieces were cut from a worn sheet, pieced with two strips of fabric.

I used one pieced pocket and one calico pocket each side. Finally I used a very narrow hem, only 1.5cm (5/8")

Needless to say there was no fabric left for the tie, just scraps of scraps, so I wore it with a plaited belt, which actually looked quite nice.

I apologize for the mirror shots but my photographer is usually outside digging something up or chopping something down.

I love this dress. The fabric was a very cheap remnant, about $3 for the 1.6m and I had a bit of fun making it fit, but all in all I love the finished dress and will probably make another one with the right yardage and a self fabric belt next time.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Plan for December

My Make a Garment Plan for December is another Vogue pattern.

This time it is #1236 a DKNY dress which I thought would be nice for Perth's hot summer months. Of course, not having an original thought in my head, I really wanted to make it in striped seersucker like the cover picture. Naturally I couldn't find any and as I am trying to use only stash material I finished up with a remnant of seersuckery type cotton I picked up at Spotlight a few months ago.

Only problem is pattern calls for 2.2 metres and I have 1.5 metres.

This will require some forward planning.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

My November top.

I finished my November top for Make a Garment a Month more than a week ago but have had to wait to get a picture.

I thought the stripes might give me some trouble especially as the fabric is a very stretchy jersey, but a walking foot and lots of pins kept everything on track and I am very pleased with the finished result.

Back seam
Side seam

The pattern originally had long sleeves but I shortened them for summer and altered the neckline so it was more a scoop than a boat. The pattern also called for facings which I didn't want and this created a new problem as I had forgotten how to calculate the necessary length for the neckband. I wanted a neckband to fill in a bit more of the neckline as it was still a bit too wide and low. I checked out my Knitwit and Kwik Sew books but the length was still too long to sit nice and snug. Eventually I came across  http://www.craftstylish.com/item/8413/how-to-sew-a-classic-t-shirt-neckband a tutorial by Cal Patch. This was nearer to the sizing I was looking for but due to the stretchiness of my fabric I had to remove a bit more length. Eventually I got it almost right. There are a few puckers in the neckband but it sits ok so I'm happy.

While I was waiting to take the photos I drafted an A-line shirt from my straight skirt draft thanks to instructions from Kat of Couture Academic blog. http://coutureacademic.wordpress.com/2013/10/02/ss-collection-20132014/ 

The fabric I used as a test was some weird spotty stuff I have had for ages. It has been washed three times and is still stiff. This turned out to be just what was needed for an A-line skirt. I didn't have enough for a waistband so I just bound the waist with black bias binding.  It turned out remarkably well as a wearable muslin if a tad short..

Now, what to make in December? Hmmmm!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Plan for November Make a Garment a Month

My November project for the Make a Garment a Month Challenge is New Look 6779, a long sleeved knit I first made in 2004 as a short sleeved tee. I like the back seam and the side seam shaping of this pattern but the neckline has always been a bit wide.  I usually make View D which is bottom left

so I have modified View C which is at bottom right. It is a boat shaped neckline which doesn't suit me so it won't be missed and I have added tissue and redrawn the neckline as round. I'm hoping it works. Since our summer is on its way this top will have short sleeves.

I plan to use my walking foot to keep the stripes under control. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Make a Garment a Month - The finished skirt (Vogue 1247)

I put the last stitches in my Rachel Comey skirt on Tuesday. I have never spent so much actual sewing time making a garment before. But I did all the things required of this pattern. I bound the seams and used an invisible zip, my first ever and without an invisible zip foot. That is something I am very proud of. You are never too old to learn something new.

The seam binding is fabric left over from my Sorbetto top. I also used it for the pocket lining.

I had a few problems of my own making along the way. Added a little extra to the side seams then had to take it out again. Because of my high round tummy I also put a couple of tiny darts extra in the front. Then I kept looking at that little bulge in the back seam mentioned in my previous post,  so I unpicked it yet again and made it a bit less obvious.

Finally when it came to hemming the skirt, it was very short, even though I had added 15cm to the length when I cut it out. If I did the recommended 5cm (2") hem it would have been above my knees by a bit too much. So I did the only thing I could and added a false hem. I was down to working with scraps by this time so the pieces have a few joins but it seems to hang ok and hits about mid-knee level..

 The fabric isn't purple as it appears in the top photos. The last photo is the true colour. It is Panama mechanical stretch, whatever that is and was purchased from Spotlight eons ago. An 80cm remnant it frayed like the devil and I'm lucky the binding stayed put. It was a close call in a few places.

All in all I am quite happy with this skirt. I haven't had much luck with A-line skirts before but I seem to have solved my usual fitting problems by using my straight skirt block to check the waist and hip sizing. I have no waist and very flat hips so finding an anchor isn't easy. The slightly high waistband sits above my tummy and is very comfortable for me.  It's a nice pattern and I will probably make it again but with a few shortcuts. Overlocking instead of binding  and making it a bit longer. The pattern is very short!!

This skirt also qualifies for my October Style the Stash.

For next month I will be making a simple short sleeved t-shirt from New Look 6779 which is probably OOP now. The lilac & white stripe knit I am using is only one or two  years old. Just a baby really.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Make a Garment a Month

Stitching is well under way for my October garment. I have made the front and the back of the Vogue 1247 Rachel Comey skirt and managed to find enough fabric leftover from the Sorbetto top to do the pocket lining and the yoke and pocket binding.

As the pattern calls for an invisible zip and I have never done one before my challenge was to install it successfully without an invisible zip foot. I followed the instructions in Threads Magazine #119 June/July 2005 and it worked. I'm so pleased. The seam below the zip has a very tiny bulge which I tried to remove multiple times, unpicking and restitching to no avail. Then I realized I will be sitting on it so I am ignoring it!

Only the side seams, waistband and hem left to do. I'm hoping there is enough yellow fabric left to do the waistband binding. The sides and hem will be bound in plain black bias binding

Monday, September 30, 2013

I made it!

I finished my September stashbuster with moments to spare.  Although it wouldn't matter if I hadn't made something for September it's a nice feeling to know that I haven't let myself down.

This time I made another Colette Sorbetto top. This is the fourth time I have made this top, it is so easy and so comfortable for the hot weather. I used a metre of quilting cotton I had bought for the Craftsy Block of the Month quilt I made last year but I only used one small piece so there was enough left to make the top and the bias binding as well. I had to put a seam in the back to fit the pattern on the fabric but a back seam suits my shape better anyway.

The buttons came from my collection but where they came from originally I have no idea. The colour is a good match for the tiny flowers and that is all I was looking for.

I am quite happy with this top.  The fabric is pretty and even though I don't usually wear yellow I will make an exception this time.

October will be the Rachel Comey skirt from Vogue 1247. I have been promising myself to make this ever since I bought it. Now is the time!!! There, I have put it in writing.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Procrastination is a terrible thing.

Why is it I find it so hard to put scissors to fabric and actually cut something out!

With September galloping towards its end I still haven't done anything for this month's stash garment. Instead, with piles of stash and stacks of patterns glaring at me, this afternoon I found myself unpicking the waistband of a skirt that has been altered three times already and still doesn't fit properly.

Why don't I bin it?  Because that would be giving in and I refuse to be beaten by the wretched thing.

Meanwhile I have chosen fabric and pattern for my September goal, but that is as far as it has got. I don't even have the house moving excuse now as my sewing room has been set up and waiting for the last two weeks.

Oh well, there is always tomorrow. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The House Dress

Way back when I was a young girl, stay-at-home mums were called housewives and while they did their household chores they frequently wore a house dress. This was a simple cotton washable garment worn to preserve their "good dresses" for shopping or visiting.

With Perth's hot summer just around the corner I decided that I could do with a few  dresses myself instead of  the shorts and t-shirts which have been my usual everyday wear in recent years. Also it was a good opportunity to use up some of my ancient stash.

I started with a McCall's pattern also from my stash, but as all my sewing gear is packed up in readiness for the big move next week the number escapes me.  The hem is only pinned up at the moment but I wanted to get it photographed for the Style the Stash Sew a long.

The fabric is some stretch woven something or other I bought several years ago from Spotlight. It's quite colourful and I was surprised to see how the blue blobs formed such a pleasing diagonal pattern. It was quite accidental.

I don't have any firm ideas for September, but hope to get something made when my new sewing room is set up. Even if it is only another dress.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Upcycle, refashion, call it what you will.

This top started life as a dress I bought about 2 years ago. A sundress with shoulder straps that kept falling off my shoulders. I wore it twice then thought it was a little too young for my mature years so chucked it in the charity bag. I really liked the fabric though so I cut the bodice off and used the skirt material for this Sorbetto Top.
The band and trim were already part of the skirt so I just cut the pattern to include them and stitched up the side seams. I didn't have enough leftover fabric to make the bias binding but managed to buy some ready made that was almost the right colour. It will make a nice cool top for the summer.

While I was in the refashioning mood I lopped the long sleeves off this McCalls 5433 Shirt and made them short sleeves. I think I will get more wear out of it this way.

I still haven't started to sew the dress I cut out for my August Stash project. I have one week before I have to pack up my sewing room for the big move to our new (to us) house. I guess I'd better get a move on.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

July Project

 My July project was a pair of Style Arc Linda Pants in black Bengaline. I did get them finished in July but didn't get them hemmed until Friday, however I am claiming them as a July stashbuster and I used 1.5metres. This bengaline has been in my stash for at least 2 years, maybe longer and was way overdue to be used.
This is the second time I have made these pants but I had a little trouble with the fit this time. Mainly because I stitched 1/4inch seams instead of 1 cm. (Note to self: Read instructions next time instead of relying on memory) After correcting this they fit fine. I also adjusted for a bigger waist and a flat bottom.
I hemmed them with my Janome blind hem foot. First time I've used it and it was wonderful. Why haven't I used it before. :-)
I have a summer dress cut out for August but as we will be moving house in 4 weeks time I'm not too sure if it will get finished. Here's hoping.

Monday, August 5, 2013


Well I've started a blog but I'm not sure where I go to from here. I sew sometimes, when I'm not reading or sitting at the computer devouring other people's blogs. A lot of my sewing time is taken up daydreaming about what I would like to make and planning wonderful creations, but in truth I'm lucky if I can crank out one garment a month.

I joined Sarah Liz's 2013 Style The Stash Sew A Long www.stylethestashsewalong.blogspot.com.au/ in an effort to encourage me to be more productive and to use some of the fabric I have been buying for years because I kept telling myself  "I can make that" when I saw something in the shops that I liked. Of course I never made it. Also a lot of the fabric has lost its charm over the years so will do nicely for muslins in the never-ending search for fitting perfection.

Anyway thanks to the sewalong I have made a skirt and a jacket in June

StyleArc Abby Cardi
    Self-drafted Pencil Skirt

and a pair of black pants in July. Now I have to come up with something for August.

When I work out how to insert pictures this blog will be illustrated with my endeavours. I hope.