Thursday, 5 October 2017

Camo booty shorts

Shorts and tees are my go-to gear for getaways to hot climates.
These new camo Maritime shorts were my pick for this month's Minerva Crafts project.
Grainline Maritime shorts work for me and this blue print has just the right mix of colours that I can pair with other clothes that I've made.
Can you tell?
I've used pale pink poplin for the pocket lining because I wanted to have something girlie about them.
I felt the back pockets needed to clash as much as the fabric print does so you can see the work on these pockets. 

No pattern matching was required.
I know these shorts work well because the grey shorts from my Minerva Crafts Summer travel set get worn a lot.

The details about these shorts are in the previous blog post here.
I have included a sway back adjustment and short centre front seam adjustment to the pattern so a size 6 with these adjustments works every time.
My convertible backpack bag using Sacotin patterns from last year's project has been a workhorse travel piece too.
The Art Gallery fabrics wash so well as does this camo fabric.
Throw in the zip front jacket I made in a previous Minerva Crafts project and a couple of tops and I'm ready to hit the road for another travel adventure.
Now to plan my next travel adventure, once I earn enough leave.

Thanks again Minerva Crafts.
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Thursday, 7 September 2017

Fine tuned

There's nothing more satisfying that a dress that works. Testing it helps and I did that with this month's Minerva Crafts project using Deer and Doe Belladone dress.
Ok, here's the elegant photo of the dress.
After I took this photo I realised the red flowers follow their way to my red shoes.
Oh, and I added red piping to bring out this colour in the fabric.
I had a choice of flower colours to choose from when selecting the piping. Of course I chose red.
A better fitting back dress
As you can see, I used the red flowers on the back shoulders and matched a red flower at the centre back. 
Here's a closer look at the red flower placement at the back.
Here are the bodice pieces I tweaked to get the fit right.

The armholes gaped at the back and the back bodice base also gaped so I've wedged out this fullness. The armholes felt high so I lowered these too and the pulling from the test dress has been eliminated.
If neat finishings are your thing, here's a peek at the inside of this dress.
The bodice is lined with non-stretch poplin.
Sewing on the piping is always much more accurate with good Prym measuring tools.

When all is said and done, this dress made me happy.
 Happy it fits well and happy to know Spring is around the corner in my little neck of the woods.


This little number is now ready to tour around Japan this month. Thanks Minerva Crafts.
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Thursday, 31 August 2017

Summer motivation

Classic styles used with modern prints are what made me create this two-piece swimsuit.
Kwik Sew 3300 is a classic bra pattern that I've used and Kwik Sew 2689 is the bottoms pattern.
Most of the fabrics and elastics were bought from Pitt Trading.
While I chose to make this swimsuit on a whim this week, I could do this because I had everything.
What you see above is my placing the fabric patter so I've stuck with the dark parts of this pattern.
Pitt Trading has lots of swimwear fabrics and notions.

The bra piece has a bra cup in it. I'm looking to acquire proper bra cups for swim suits soon.
The bra bridge has the lighter colour print.
You can see that the bra has proper underwires and powermesh on the bra bands.

You'll also notice I've used a bikini closure and the bra cups are fully lined with the lighter colour parts of the fabric.
By the time I finished making the bra, I was revved up to complete this whole set.
Making this two-piece swimsuit so fast was also facilitated because I had tested and used these patterns before.

Now my goal is to have a beach-ready body. 
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Monday, 28 August 2017

Checking belladone

Belladone is a classic dress from Deer and Doe patterns. I've been admiring it for some time and this month I've tested it out for next month's Minerva Crafts project.
No tanning spray was used - winter is here.
The design of this dress is retro and I love how you can add piping to it.
When I went through my plaid/check fabric stage, I bought this green check fabric so I used this to text out Belladone.
I found the perfect pre-made bias binding that I've used to pipe this dress as practice for next month's dress.
Having a big stash does have its advantages. I tend to buy notions and fabrics in similar colours so when I eventually get to a project, I have everything I need. Having to shop for a specific project can be tiring and disappointing so this way I'm constantly happy.
On this test dress I made these adjustments
  • forward shoulder adjustment
  • shortened the bust points on the front bodice
  • shortened the skirt length to 19".
When I tried on the test dress I wasn't happy with where the waistband sat. However I wore the dress the next day and decided the waistband placement works well on me.
If I lengthen the bodice, it might throw off the waistband position too much.
Prym zipperI added a gorgeous external lace zipper from Prym on the test dress. It blended into the dress and it looks really pretty to me. The pattern suggests an invisible zipper but I really love this girlie lace zipper.
The benefit of added an exposed zipper on this check fabric is you don't have to match them across the seams.

The skirt pattern has a hem facing. I didn't use this facing as a 2.5cm hem was easy enough to machine stitch.

I wore this over the weekend before the Arctic blast hit Sydney.
Yes there are still some fine tuning to do based on the pull marks on this dress. This fabric has no ease so in the next version, the fabric has more ease so I'll include a FBA when I make this again out of non-stretch fabric.

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Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Ergonomic tracing wheel and toiles

Tracing wheels are a must in couture sewing or when you're simply tracing a pattern onto fabric. Prepping patterns gives you better accuracy but tracing can be tiring.

I tested a 27-pattern piece dress so the thought of tracing stitching lines and notches was demotivating. Truly.
Here's the prep stage: pattern, calico, Prym ergonomic tracing wheel, Prym Love magnetic pin cushion and Prym glass-head pins (48 x 0.8mm) 
What was a pleasant surprise was how easy it was to trace each stitching line and not have fatiguing wrists using the Prym ergonomic tracing wheel.
Prym ergonomic tracing wheel, arm pin cushion with hook and loop fastening and Prym Love magnetic pin cushion 
The tracing wheel I have always used is wobbly and I never realised the strain it caused on my wrists.

Prym ergonomic tracing wheel is designed to keep your wrists fatigue free.

Now I've been using Prym tools for all my sewing this year and the accuracy of my sewing has really improved. My previous tracing wheels are now retired and I'll be attached to this ergonomic tracing wheel by Prym from now on.

I'm currently experimenting with Prym's parallel tracing wheel and I'm enjoying using this new tailoring too now.

Minerva Crafts is offering a 10% discount for all Prym purchases with discount code 'maria'.
Enjoy!

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Monday, 21 August 2017

Minoru 1: Kelly 0

Anorak jackets are here to stay in my wardrobe. 

I’ve made 2 Minoru and 2 Kelly anoraks because I wanted a shower proof version of both jackets.

In the Minoru corner...
I made the Minorus 5 years ago and I wear these two jackets a lot throughout the year. 

Both Minorus are lined and so comfy. The showerproof one is a fav.
These do take a while to cut out and construct.
They do take time to collect the notions and fabrics
The minoru has no external pocket so I’ve added a zipper welt pocket to both versions.

In the Kelly corner...
This month I’ve made an interlined Kelly and a shower proof version.
Kelly takes time to cut out and construct.
Collecting the notions and fabrics takes time.
Kelly needs snaps, a zipper, drawstring, tape, 'pulley-thingies'.
Kelly has pockets but that pocket flap details isn’t functional so I made it functions on the second Kelly.
The instructions for the Kelly are not easy to follow and I had to mark the pattern pieces so they fit my size.

The Minoru instructions are clear. 
The Kelly instructions need more work.

Where these anoraks worth the effort?
Any anorak works for me but I'd happily make the Minoru again.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

khaki in the rain

I always intended to use this showerproof fabric (diaper fabric) that I bought from GreenbeansAU many moons ago, for a rain jacket. 
You can see the inside of the fabric is woven and the outer layer is showerproof.  The fabric is: very drapy; soft; pliable; and that's where the additional challenges kicks in with this showerproof anorak.
Seeing as though the basic shapes in the Kelly jacket lend themselves to a rain jacket, I jumped back into this pattern to made it again. 

What were you thinking?
I know you're saying - 'why use this pattern again?'

Well, I'd made my adjustments and I had my hopes up to use this fabric for this anorak. The zipper, fabric, lining and hardware were all sitting in my stash so I made it again.

I also hate wasting a project even when the pattern tested my patience and sewing skills to a whole new level.
For the record, the black version is my fav. The raincoat is for rainy days only.
Drawstring or not.
For this jacket I went to the trouble to buy drawstring in green.
I wasn't 100% convinced that I should add the drawstring feature because the outer fabric constantly moves and stretches.

By the time I was ready to hem the jacket, my husband said to leave it as is. The next morning I had a second look at this jacket and realised he was right.
If I added the drawstring, I would have looked like a mess in khaki, so the green drawstring now sits in my stash. It looks fairly messy as is and ironing the fabric is not advisable.
Work in progress
Functional pockets
The pocket flaps on this version can be closed and certainly add more weight to this jacket.
The pocket flaps tuck neatly into the pockets.
One of the snaps popped out of place on the pocket. The rainproof fabric is very soft so I used a layer of calico inside the pocket when I replaced the snap.

This time I used the right centre front facing piece that I didn't seem to need in my first anorak is used on this jacket. Looking at both version I think the reason I didn't use it on the first jacket is because I used the Prym trim for a nicer finish.

That stash zipper The zipper on this version is metal and I left the jacket length as long as the zipper. I don't have the skills to shorten a metal zipper without ruining the zipper tape.
Now I do look like a 'khaki oompa loompa' wearing the jacket this long however, I remember what it's like when we experience torrential weather so this jacket will be perfect for those occasions. I am certainly very well covered.
Couture techniques
Going back to the metal zipper, it kept getting caught into the fabric so I did a row of hand stitching to keep it away from the zipper. That hand stitching is a couture technique.
I also hand stitched the zipper facing to the interlining.
The hem is hand stitched to the interlining.
Matching trims
Both the internal grey stripe trim and outer reflective trims were in my stash I had just enough to make them look 'planned' into this jacket.
I had enough 'handmade' Prym trim for the jacket hood.
Neat huh?
I love my stash.

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