Friday, December 4, 2015

Best Laid Plans...

Sometimes the plans we make don't work out and we end up doing something completely different.

My original November MAGAM was the Elegant Escape Dress and I got as far as cutting it out. However when I prepared to sew it up I realized I had completely overlooked the need to pattern match the rather large leaves on the fabric. With a seam centre front and centre back this was hideously noticeable. Myrtle was not impressed and lurked in her corner muttering things like "What did you think you were doing?", "You should have known better" and "It's not as if you didn't have enough fabric."

At about that time Fadanista started a Japanese Knot Bag sew-a-long in conjunction with Facebook group "Sew-A-Longs & Sewing Contests". Just what I needed to take my mind off that badly pattern-matched dress.

I had a remnant of border fabric left over from a quilted back-pack I made in 2008.The pattern and the fabric came from the Perth Quilt and Craft Fair that year.



I downloaded Fadanista's pattern and joined the sew-a-long.

 The result is a cute little bag which could be quite useful and a nice way to use up a remnant I had been saving for something special.

 No sooner had I finished it than I injured my back helping to shift some furniture  - very bad idea - I have been out of action more or less since. After two weeks I am gradually improving and managed to make a quilted case for my 7" tablet using a tutorial I found on the internet and that is the extent of my sewing for November. 

I may tackle the dress for December MAGAM but I've rather lost interest in it. I know the mismatched pattern centre front and back will mean it never leaves the house. Will have to see what happens.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Myrtle's first modelling gig.

The theme for the October MAGAM was UFO (Unfinished object.) I had this length of Mule Sandwashed Linen I bought at Lincraft five years ago. I had intended it for a pair of light pants but it stayed in the stash and didn't see the light of day. When the October theme was announced I thought I would use it for a skirt, which would get more wear here in summer than long pants, however lightweight.

Having made the Rachel Comey skirt Vogue 1247 three times with the waistband and zip I decided to simplify things with an elastic waist.
There is a little too much fabric at the waist as my waist and hip measurement don't vary by much so I have skimmed a tiny bit from the side seam on both sides since I took the photo. I will trim my pattern back by the same amount for next time. The rest of the pattern was made as instructed but of course I overlocked the seams instead of binding them.

A couple of mirror shots to show it does fit me as well as Myrtle.

The top is a free pattern which has been made by just about everyone in the sewing blogosphere. Colette's Sorbetto Tank Top. I myself have made it four times. It is a lovely top for the hot weather.

My next project is the Elegant Escape Dress by Savage Coco which is available here.
I am currently trimming the pages and sticking them together and have the fabric picked out ready to go.  

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

My new best friend

I have a new best friend and her name is Myrtle.

She came to stay yesterday and today I adjusted her measurements and checked the fit. The top was made in September 2004 and it is still one of the nicest fitting tops I have ever made.

I am very happy as I have wanted a dressmaker's model for a long time. It's only a budget model and I bought it on ebay, but I am delighted with it. An added bonus is that it comes with an adjustable stand so you can put trousers on it which might be very useful next time I tackle pants.

Now I have to sew something so I can use Myrtle.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Moving on to New Look 6407....

This proved to be quite a lengthy project and not without it's difficulties. The first problem I struck was the pattern itself. It is a multi-sized pattern but the sizes are grouped onto two separate pattern sheets. Thus, 10/14/18 on one pattern sheet and 12/16/20 on the other. I need 12/14 which involved grading between the 10/14 lines or the 12/16 lines. I did both and kept one as a spare. Using the 10/14 with the 12 drawn in I gaily cut my usual size 12 neck and shoulders angling out to 14 for the bust and waist. First mistake, this is a New Look pattern not ButMcV.

After I stitched the seams and darts I tried it on for a fitting. I couldn't get the fronts to meet in the centre. Take it off and restitch the seams at 1/4 inch and sew the vertical darts smaller front and back finishing the back ones 5cm from the hem. Try it on again, it fits now but there is a lot of gaposis at the back armhole. Unpick the shoulder seams and take a small dart in the back shoulder. Restitch from the neck leaving a small wedge of fabric dangling at the armhole where the front is wider than the back, barely 1/2 inch. Don't worry about it now, just trim it to match .

The sleeve view I chose has an upside down U shaped cut out which is bound with bias and a sleeve band with ties. Didn't fancy bows on my arms so planned to shorten the band/tie piece and stitch the band across the gap. Second mistake, the bias didn't like being forced around the U shape and by this time I was totally fed up so I closed the gap with a dart, which effectively made the bottom of the sleeve the right size and I finished it with the previously shortened band. Who needs a U-shaped cutout anyway.

Meanwhile I had been struggling with the collar. I have never had a problem with a collar before but I did with this one. No fault of the pattern. Just me. It is a separate collar stand and collar and I couldn't get everything to line up nicely but perseverance is my middle name (actually it is Cecilia, but it should be perseverance) and I got there in the end.

After all that I was really worried about the sleeves and the buttonholes but mercifully they went in without a hitch. I hemmed the bottom, sewed on the buttons and it was finished. Heave a big sigh. As a final tweak I removed the front vertical darts for slightly more ease at the front.

Why did I have so much trouble with this pattern? I don't know! I seemed to do everything wrong right from the start and I can't really blame the pattern. If I made it again  I would make a 14 to 16 as New Look doesn't seem to have the excess ease that the others have. It's a sweet little blouse but I think it needs a spell in the magic wardrobe until I have forgotten the trauma.

I didn't fall overboard

Two months ago we returned from our nice long holiday overseas. Six weeks on a ship from Fremantle to Southampton via the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean and then two weeks in England visiting my husband's family. We had a wonderful time and it took quite a while to settle down to ordinary pursuits after we got back home.

I got myself organised eventually and have made a Kirsten Kimono Tee and finished a print cotton fitted blouse - New Look 6407.

I am semi happy with the Kirsten Tee. Both Lisa and Sew Jean Margaret have made it with lovely results so I was hoping for the same. I cut size M (94 cm) and remembered to add 1 cm seam allowances. I added a centre back seam which fits my shape better and overlocked all the seams. It went together very smoothly and the neck band behaved itself. It's a little more fitted than I expected from looking at the photo, especially at the hip which should be 100 cm whilst I am 94 cm, but it looks OK so I will wear it and maybe try the pattern again with different fabric and see how it goes. Perhaps go up a size.

My sewing machine decided to behave badly just as I got to the sleeve insertion. I took my foot off the pedal to readjust the fabric on a curve and the machine kept going. What!!??? Had to switch the power off to make it stop. This happened twice so I ran screaming to my resident handyman, Mr Schu. He has fixed this problem once before so I had every confidence he would do so again. It proved a little more tricky this time. It seems the little gizmo in the foot pedal that controls the stop start thingy wasn't going right back to the stop point so the machine kept going. Clear? Hmmm, yeah! but he fixed it and that's all that counts. Bless him.

Next up is the print cotton blouse which is a whole other story......

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Me Made May

I have worn something me made every day so far this month, from old track pants made years ago (it's been very cold in the house) to cardis, tops and pants made in recent times, but I have no pics so you'll need to take my word for it. :)

For my May MAGAM I have sewn a pair of tapered pants made in the blue broadcloth which was supposed to be a lining for my last skirt. They are quite lightweight but they are intended for wear on board ship for our upcoming cruise and will be heading towards the northern summer.

I used the McCall's 6843 again, view F with a tapered leg. I cut size small and they fit OK but if I make them again I will use View C with the pockets and taper the leg. They are much shorter in the crotch than view C so I added a separate casing at the waist for the elastic  But they are reasonable and I will wear them.

When I finished the pants I decided to make another  Style Arc Abby cardi.  I made the first one in June 2013 for the Sarah Liz Style the Stash Sewalong and noted at the time that I needed to narrow the shoulders. Guess what - I forgot to read my notes. That cardi kept shrinking each time I washed it but because I liked it I kept wearing it until it got too small.

This version is made from the same cotton interlock purchased from Spotlight at the same time so I prewashed it before cutting it out and making it up. I lengthened it by 10cm (4 inches) at the back tapering to original length at the front points. Because I didn't narrow the shoulders the whole cardigan looks and feels bigger than the original. Hoping it might shrink a bit I have washed it twice and it hasn't shrunk at all!! Work that out!

Anyhow to cut a long story short it is suitable for the colder weather as it layers easily over long sleeved tops. The other change I made this time was to leave the facings loose at the front hem to prevent getting hooked up on cupboard handles etc. and I twin needled the hem and cuffs.

The uneven dangly bits are due to my poor posture not bad sewing.

This will be my last post for a couple of months as we are off on a lengthy trip to Europe and the UK. Hope to catch up with everything when I get back. 

Bye for now. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

A dress for March.

It has been ages since my last post and not all that time has been spent making my dress. I finished it a week ago but it takes me forever to get the photos done.

The dress is another old Style pattern. Number 1134 from 1975 again. I seem to have bought a lot of patterns around that time when I was looking at dresses in the shops and saying to myself  "I can make that!". I actually did make this dress a couple of times before and had wanted to make another one. The fabric has been in the stash for some years and was always ear-marked for this particular pattern. Now they have finally been united, but it was a long-winded affair.

First I dithered over whether I would be sorry after I'd cut the thing out. What if I didn't like it or it didn't fit, the pattern is 30 years old and my middle is 30 years older also. I spent hours measuring and re-measuring the pattern and myself. Then I allowed extra at the side seams just in case. This proved to be unnecessary so the finished dress is as the pattern size.

The only alterations I made were a forward shoulder adjustment, took the centre front seam in a little at the neckline to fix some gaposis and made an all in one facing instead of the separate neckline and armhole facings.

 Not too sure how flattering this dress is. I am lucky to be still slim at my age but I am rather shapeless having next to no waist or hips, a true column or rectangle. I love the colour, it's one of my favourite shades of  blue and I am currently building a holiday wardrobe around blue so it fits in with the general theme. Whether I will wear it is another story.

Next project is a pull-on  A-line skirt in stretch crepe with blue scribble. I only have 1 metre so a couple of the patterns I considered won't fit.

  I really fancied Style Arc's Gorgeous Gore skirt, but that needs 1.3m and will require major manipulation of the pattern and fabric. I enjoy that sort of challenge. Failing that there is always Vogue's 1247 leaving out the darts and zip and inserting elastic at the waist. I can do that, or finally an old A-line pattern with the side seam straightened and an elastic casing added which would be simplest. The options are endless as is the decision making.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The quest for the perfect pants

Several years ago I made a gingham check muslin from McCalls 2953 Palmer/Pletsch 3 hour Perfect Trousers fitting shell which included their flat bottom tuck down the back leg. What I learned from the exercise was that my hips are completely flat at the sides and my waist is 3 sizes larger than the pattern for my hip size. But I still suffered from droopy bottom in every pair of pants I made thereafter.

After I finished my January top I decided to have another go at the muslin which, when I put it on, wasn't too bad and seemed to hang fairly smoothly at the back so I made a few more alterations.

Raised front waist 5cm tapering back down to the side seam.
Added width to front waist (size 18) tapering to size 14 at hip and size 10 at leg. I later removed the extra and brought the waist back to size 16.
Added to back waist height but took it out again later as not needed.
Cut back size 14 tapering to size 12 at hip then size 8 at leg.
Took in 2 cm tuck through back and leg as per Palmer/Pletsch instructions.
Left out back darts - not needed. I'm very flat across lower back.
Lowered back crotch a bit (this was a guess, it wavered between size 12 and 18 and didn't follow any particular measurement)

I made another muslin this time using some grey check fabric that has been hanging around for a long time. I wanted to use the check so I could see the horizontal and vertical lines easily.


I used a New Look pattern from 2000 that had been a dismal failure the first time I made it.  At that time I made View B  with pleats - shudder - my tummy and I don't do pleats. Lesson learned. However the pattern included a pair of flat front pants with darts and straight legs, which looked possible . I cut the pattern using the alterations and measurements from my fitting shell and made them up without any further adjustments except for length.

New Look 6736

To say I was surprised is an understatement. Before I put the waistband on I stitched the side seam at the waist a little closer and added my usual tiny dart either side of the centre front to bring the waistband in over my high round tummy.

See the straight side seams and the horizontal lines

I have a slightly crooked spine and twisting to take the photos didn't help, but just look at how smoothly the back of the legs fall. I'm ecstatic.

These pants aren't perfect but they are the closest I have ever been. I have learned so much about my weird shape, especially how to cope with a little basketball for a tummy and a flat as a board bottom. They still need one or two minor tweaks. They are a bit roomy and the waist is actually a little loose but that is easily fixed and I might increase the flat bottom tuck by a further half centimetre, but all in all I can't think of many more improvements I could make. If I fiddle too much I take the risk of over-fitting. I'm so pleased with these I may tackle the tapered leg pants on the right some time.

One more look at the back

I'm hoping those those curving lines at the back of my right leg are because I'm twisting sideways.

Thanks for reading through my babble. It is mainly so that I can remember what I did right so I can do it again next time. I'm very bad at taking notes and usually rely on my memory which good as it is, isn't always infallible. 

For February I think I'm making a dress, that is unless I change my mind. ;)

Cheers everyone.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Vintage Style

The top I have made for January MAGAM is an old Style Pattern from 1975. I have quite a few Style patterns in my stash all dating from the mid 70s to 1991. Some I bought new myself and some used ones I got from the op shop.
This was a very quick project. The fabric is cotton jersey from Spotlight  and the pattern is just four pieces. It is suitable for woven and jersey fabrics. Because of the loose fit I straight stitched the seams then finished them with the overlocker.
 The neckline is more boat-shaped than the illustration would suggest, but it isn't too wide. It was supposed to be finished with bias binding but I made a skinny facing, understitched it, topstitched it and trimmed it back with the overlocker. 

My husband took a few photos for me as a nice change from mirror shots.
This is a very comfortable top, easy to get into and get out of and is just right for part of a cruise wardrobe.

Not quite the pattern illustration.

I am very pleased with this simple little top. So easy to make and so easy to wear. It is a pity it is no longer available, although I did see one copy on etsy.  It will definitely go on the make again pile.

Bye for now ;)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

November MAGAM skirt ..then nothing

I finished my third Rachel Comey skirt Vogue 1247 towards the end of November, then ground to a halt. My mojo packed her bags, said "hooroo" (that's aussie for goodbye) and vanished out the door. I had made the skirt for Christmas so felt no urgency to chase after her, instead choosing to mess around in my sewing room doing precious little.

I kept postponing my photo session and when I finally put the skirt on I discovered to my horror that I had added a little fluff around my high hip/waist and the skirt was now a bit tight. I sucked everything in and took the pics then hoping to shed the fluff between the beginning of December and Christmas I put it aside and on Christmas morning put it on. Nope, no better. 11.30 am found me sitting in my undies at the sewing machine letting the side seams out from the waist to the hip seam, turning what had been 1.5cm seams into 6mm seams. It took only a matter of minutes and I could breathe again, literally as well as figuratively speaking.

I wore the skirt on Christmas Day with a black top. The green one is tucked up around my waist for photography purposes.
The fabric was another remnant from Spotlight. As I had only 1 metre and the print is directional I had a lot of fun fitting the pattern onto the fabric. I did a lot of clever folding and made it fit with only a few scraps left over.

 It is a quite firm cotton with bunches of cherries or similar and looks quite festive, I think. It fits comfortably now and coped with Roast Turkey, Plum Pudding etc.

 The New Year sees me with a navy and white wide striped top cut out and waiting to be sewn, but after that I'm not sure where to go.

An old pattern from 1975 I'm making the blue top on the right.
I have made a garment every month since mid 2013 when I joined Sarah Liz's Style the Stash Sew-a-long followed by the Make A Garment A Month Challenge in 2014 and my wardrobe is bulging at the seams. :) Apart from shopping trips and a fortnightly visit to the library my clothing needs are more of the retired lady of the house variety and I have an abundance of those. I have whittled down my stash to a few cold weather pieces and a dress or top length or two but I don't need anything more at the moment and I would be sewing them just for the sake of using up the fabric.

Now that MAGAM has moved across to Facebook I think I may take a break from a firm commitment and just make something when I really want to. I have a lot of quilting stash so perhaps I'll piece another quilt top. Or maybe I'll buy some real fabric and make something special for our next cruise in April. Meanwhile the navy and white top is calling me so I will finish it and see where we go from there.

Happy New Year to all and may your sewing always be a joy.