Saturday, October 29, 2016

Giving "Barb" another go.

After a lengthy break from sewing I am back. I rested on my laurels for a bit after my successful jacket and then couldn't quite make up my mind what to do next. While I was still deciding I had cataract surgery for my left eye in September. After a week or two getting used to being able to see more clearly I started going through my patterns and fabric trying to settle on something. So much stash, so many decisions. Dither, dither.

First off I tried Style Arc Skye woven top as a muslin. I used a piece of white Damask tablecloth material I bought cheaply from Spotlight eons ago as it had a small flaw. It was 1 metre by 240cm wide which was ample for this pattern. Because I find it very difficult to just throw something together it was finished with the overlocker and all the facings understitched etc. etc. (I was hoping it would be a wearable muslin).
Excuse the wrinkles

When I tried it on I was not impressed so I tossed it aside in disgust. However a few days later I had another look at it and decided it wasn't as bad as I had originally thought. If I make it again in future it will need a forward shoulder adjustment, softer fabric and the neckline lowered a little in front. Well it was only a muslin after all and it might soften up after washing. Meanwhile it is loose and should be cool on a hot day at home.

The MAGAM theme for October is "ONE" so next I dragged out the Aubergine Bengaline I purchased from Style Arc as a pattern and fabric bundle. The pattern is for their Margaret Pants, but I mainly bought it to get the Bengaline and chose to make another pair of  Style Arc Barb pants instead. I first made these in 2014 in some stretch gabardine which didn't stretch very much and didn't get much wear. In fact they were most uncomfortable to wear and finished up in the charity bag.

This time, I extended the back crotch seam to match the seam on the Linda pants which I have made twice and love. That plus the fact that the Bengaline has more stretch was the perfect answer. I added a little more to the waistband length to accommodate my lack of waist but that turned out not to be necessary as the Bengaline is quite stretchy so I took the extra out again.

The final result is quite acceptable.  I need to tighten the elastic in the waist perhaps, but I wore them to lunch on my birthday and they were very comfortable. The colour was called Aubergine but it looks more like a very dark burgundy in real life.
 While I'm using Style Arc Patterns I thought my next item might be a pair of Amanda shorts in Stone Bengaline. I bought this from Style Arc last months and got 2 metres and after I have made the shorts there should be enough left for another pair of pants. That's the plan anyhow. I downloaded the pattern from Style Arc's etsy site and I have taped it together and cut it out. That is as far as I have got.
I had my right eye cataract done last week so I'm hoping things will be a lot clearer from now on. It's amazing how different colours are now.

Friday, August 5, 2016

July MAGAM finished Burda 8390 Jacket

It seems like months since my last post but it's really only just over one month. After I damaged my overlocker (see previous post) thus putting it out of action for two weeks, I couldn't overlock the edges of the boucle fabric which was unravelling at a great pace. I tried zig-zagging the edges but this was too hit and miss and likely to take too long so I pressed on hoping the lining would contain the fall-out. The interfacing helped to hold the fabric together in places but it's not interfaced everywhere so I swept up threads and lint and hoped for the best.

I tried the unfinished shell on a couple of times and wasn't too sure about the shoulder width but chose to ignore it. After the jacket was finished and moments before I started to slip stitch the lining to the hem I decided the neckline was too low at the back and the shoulders were definitely too wide.

I turned the whole thing inside out, unpicked the centre back seam, the facing and the lining at the neck edge and pinched out a 1 inch dart 4 inches long and stitched it. Then I cut through the centre of the facing and sewed a 1 inch seam. I folded the lining into a bigger ease pleat resewed the neck seam. Turned the whole lot back to the right side, steam pressed it to death and it worked!!
Invisible dart

Now the jacket sits nicely nearer the base of my neck, the shoulders are where they should be and the darted section curves over my rounded back making the whole fit much better.  The only other thing I could have done was make the jacket a little longer, but it will do.
Fuzzy picture of the lining

To insert the lining I followed the instructions for Vogue 7975 which were a little more comprehensive than Burda's. To insert the separating zip I used the same instructions as for my husband's jacket and am happy to say this one went in perfectly too.

The zip isn't really bumpy

This is the real colour

Myrtle modelling front

and back
Finally a mirror shot of me wearing my new jacket. I wore it out shopping today and was very happy with it.

I might sew something simple next but haven't decided what yet. I could use a new pair of black pants as my Linda's are getting a bit old and I have some black Bengaline in the stash and some aubergine Bengaline also. We'll see.
I can smile

Cheers for now.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Whatever you do don't touch that screw.

On Sunday after cutting out the pieces for my Burda jacket I prepared to overlock all the edges as the boucle was shredding madly all over the place.

The needle on my Janome overlocker needed changing since I had used it to make my husband's fleece jacket so I started to undo the screw to release the right needle. In a lack of concentration I absentmindedly undid the screw on the right side of the needle bar instead of the one on the front. Thinking all the while "I don't remember it being so hard to change a needle before". As soon as I had undone it I realised my error. Then I had a terrible time trying to get it back in place.

That was just the start of my problems! For three days I threaded and re-threaded my overlocker, but no matter what I did my machine skipped stitches or refused to make a chain at all. I changed the needle again in the right place this time and loosened the wrong screw and re-tightened it. I googled, but no one seemed to have my problem. I did everything I could think of, to no avail.

Finally I gave up and this morning I took it to my local Janome dealer for a repair and service. When I explained the problem the lady said knowingly "Oh you've put the timing out."

I can't show a photo of the screw concerned as my overlocker is in hospital, but it is on the right hand side of the little metal square that the needle screws are in and holds the square onto the needle bar.

 So be warned!

 Don't ever touch it!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Catching up.

I can't believe it is so long since I last posted. Instead of writing my posts I have been reading other people's. I have been sewing though. In May,  I made a McCalls knit jacket but I took a while to get photos then in June I sewed another jacket this time for my husband  and now in readiness for July I have prepped a pattern and cut out something for myself. Another jacket. I sense a theme here.

The first item was a lightweight drape front jacket for myself, McCalls 5830. It was a bit of a disappointment. It looks lovely on Myrtle but she has a much straighter back and shoulders than I do.

On me, from the front, it looks OK but from the side it swings out at the hem and emphasises my rounded shoulders. It may get worn, but it is a lightweight interlock and not suitable for the current cold weather.  In retrospect it would have been better made as a top but I wanted to test the pattern and the colour is not one I normally wear so a muslin it became.

Next I sewed a winner. My husband is feeling the cold badly this year and I decided to make him a fleecy jacket to wear in the house.
 Instead of buying new fabric he suggested I use some remnants I had from a previous top and track pants I had made for myself. I was a bit afraid it might be too girly but he said he didn't mind so I went ahead. I had just enough.

 The body is a patterned purplish grey and the sleeves a plain grey with black rib hem and neck bands and a black separating zip front. The black rib came from my stash so the entire jacket cost $5 for the zip. Bargain!

The pattern is a very old Just Knits pattern dating from the 70s I think. I picked it up at an op shop (thrift shop) some years ago. It is a multi sized pattern that needed to be traced so I chose  medium which was a perfect fit. I stitched it with .5mm seams and then finished them with the overlocker. The pieces went together easily and the zip went in without a hitch. I wish I could show you a picture of the zip but I'll be lucky to peel the jacket off my husband long enough to wash it.

July's project is Burda 8390, a jacket with a zip front. I'm making the collarless version on the left. It's all cut out ready to go, so more next time.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Kwik Sew 3740 for the 5th time

Hello! I'm still here. March sort of got away from me but I'm back sewing again.

I found some fabric in my stash for April's MAGM theme. It's not the oldest piece in my collection but I have had it for several years.

Kwik Sew 3740 is a favourite of mine. I have made it with long sleeves and cowl for the winter and short sleeves without the cowl for the summer and have made two of each previously. I have never made the sleeveless version yet but may do so one day.

The first time I made it I cut size medium. It was very loose and required taking in along the sleeve and side seams. I have tweaked it several times since then and this time I cut the front small size to the underarm then medium to the hem and small size for the back. I raised the neckline to X-small and cut the X-small cowl to match. This makes the neckline neither too high nor too low. The sleeves were cut at size small. I also did a forward shoulder adjustment of 1.5cm at the shoulder point tapering to 0 at the neck edge. 

It fits Myrtle beautifully
The flash has changed the colour making it more red than it is. It's more like the first picture. Unfortunately with the busy print the cowl doesn't show up very well in photos.

 I'm really happy with this version. It fits in all the right places and I will probably make many more with and without the cowl in future.

Cheers for now. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Facing one's fears Part 2

My snakeskin slippery fabric has been successfully made into a nice little top.It was cut out in January and sewn in February. All the anxiety caused by the thought of the tricky fabric proved to be premature and I had no real problem.

 I used french seams throughout as the cut edges were prone to whiskers, a few of which I had to trim from the french seams, but otherwise it was no trouble at all. I used a 75/11 universal needle and changed the pressure of the presser foot to 1 which was recommended by my manual for lightweight fabrics like chiffon and georgette.

The Elegant Escape dress  has had the side seams taken in a little and I lowered the front of the neckline. I scooped it bit too much and lost the boat shape which is unfortunate but it doesn't strangle me any more and I will wear it now. 

I am off on a cruise in two weeks so will not be sewing for a little while. I will use the time to consider what I would like to make next.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Facing one's fears

Christmas has been and gone, the New Year has been and gone and here it is almost February. I eventually finished my Elegant Escape dress but I fear it looks better on Myrtle than it does on me. I may salvage the fabric for something else one day but in the meantime it goes into the magic wardrobe.

I foolishly promised myself I would join Jungle January this year and had a piece of snakeskin georgette and New Look 6035 ready to make a little sleeveless top. Well every time I picked up that soft, silky, slithery georgette I backed away in terror. I swear the longer I sew the less confident I get.

To take my mind off it, I resorted to sewing a very make it up as I go along quilt top from some strips I originally intended for a border for my grandson's quilt. It is now sandwiched and waiting to be quilted. It's likely to wait a long while. I love piecing and don't like quilting.

This brings me up to last week when I faced my fears and put scissors to fabric. The sky didn't fall in, the fabric didn't slither off the cutting table and in fact it wasn't difficult at all. At present I have a centre back french seam, staystitched neckline and gathering in the front. I expect to get it finished in no time at all.

Stay tuned.