Monday, 13 August 2018

Winter collection

While it's been cold, I've sewn more than reviewed. I'm constantly thinking about what fabric goes with the fabrics in my stash.
Today I was able to bring 3 pieces together and they worked for me.

I made this jacket last Winter when I had a really bad cold using Elliott Berman fabric.



I love wearing this jacket while it's a wee bit chilly. I have the pink colourway to use for a different puffer jacket.
Now the skirt is a test version on Susan Khalje's pencil skirt using a cupro remnant from Pitt Trading.

Over the weekend I decided to try a relaxed style blouse with long sleeves so I used Burda Style 6436 using another Pitt Trading remnant. It's a medium weight stretch crepe.
Yes the sleeves are long and so it the body. The front neckline pleats are cute and not too heavy.
As you can see, you only need to sew a hook and eye closure and you're done with this blouse.
All the seams are French seam finished and that's it really.

Relaxed and rugged up for the rest of Winter and that's that really...
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Thursday, 2 August 2018

Jalie works

While we have a mild Winter in Australia I still love rugging up.
This month it was an easy choice to make up a couple of activewear layers using Jalie pattern and Minerva fabric to keep me training during our 'cold' weather.

A key part of using Jalie patterns is they offer multiple sizes from children to adult sizes in one pattern. That's a lot of sizes so it pays to also order a packet of tracing paper, which Minerva stocks. 

Get some Prym tracing carbon or any of Prym's tracing tools to keep your patterns accurate. They are always good to have in your sewing basket.

Back to this month's patterns:
Leggings (Jalie Isabelle) and a raglan (Jalie Marie-Claude pullover) top.


This year I used Jalie's Isabelle leggings and skating pants. I don't skate so I made the long leggings - view B -  for running. I have new shoes and insoles to support my feet after surgery in February.

The plan for the leggings combined black and white. I used plain stretch swimwear dress fabric in black and paired this with the zebra animal print stretch lycra swimwear fabric in black and white. These were simple choices as most people choose to wear basic black leggings, including myself.
The Isabelle leggings pattern needs 60% stretch fabric so these two fabric choices had what I needed in stretch and support. The zebra print is a poly spandex so it keeps it's shape over time. The black fabric is polyamide and lycra, so again it has good stretch and strength.

The Jalie pocket in the waistband at the front is a good size and I keep my keys in this pocket. All my other essentials are usually strapped to my arm when I run.
Isabelle's line drawing provides you with the opportunity to play with colour and pattern combinations.
Using amazing prints like this zebra print was lots of fun. I took the conservative option and kept the zebra print on the waistline on these leggings.

Modifications:
I chose the pocket on the waistband and used 2.5cm wide non-roll elastic on the waistband. The pattern states 1cm wide elastic but I prefer a firmer fit waistband when I run.
I increased the centre back seam by 3cm and then had to take out 2cm at the waistband width to make these fit me. The back waistband height adjustment would have been plenty without the width adjustment as the waistband has the elastic so don't fret too much when you're making these leggings.
The other adjustment I'm used to doing is lowering the centre front seam, again because of my shape. I kept the waistband pieces as it and only adjusted the main centre front panels.

The obvious change is shortening the leg length.

Raglan top
I had planned to make the raglan top out of a different knit but Jalie Marie-Claude pattern requires fabrics with 40% stretch. Again I had fun with this raglan top finding the best print/plain combination for me.
The zebra print is amazing and I'm so glad the main zebra swoosh (not a technical term) runs across my chest and then turns south. Neat print right!

Modifications:
I used size V and used the black fabric for the sleeves and neckline.
I sewed this pattern up so quickly that I forgot to sew up the sleeve cuff with a thumbhole. There's always next time.

I would normally reduce the length of this pattern but because it's a layer for the gym, I keep the top long so I can stretch,

and stretch,
and stretch with confidence.
Jalie patterns use 6mm seam allowances so they are great for sewing on an overlocker. They take no time to make and I made these two pieces on a Saturday.

The only thing I would love is for these patterns to have their instructions on a separate piece of paper. The pattern pieces and instructions are on the main pattern paper so this makes it hard to have the whole pattern open while sewing. The instructions are great it's just cumbersome.
Jalie patterns have worked for me in the past and they continue to work for me now.

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Thursday, 5 July 2018

A bit of glam

Every week there's a red carpet event somewhere in the world so there's always lots of dress inspiration out there. Hence this month's little black dress using Minerva Crafts fabrics with a touch of Prym's notions.
When I began planning this dress I had grand ideas of creating another Vivienne Westwood couture dress worn by Helena Bonham-Carter but I held back this month.
My pattern choice is New Look 6531 as it has lots of variations. The neckline variations and skirt styling made this choice ideal for my dream red carpet dress.
I chose this Prada Self Lined Stretch Crepe Suiting  from Minerva Crafts. It's amazing to sew and wear. There's plenty of weight to this fabric but it still has drape and movement.

I ordered the covered boning but didn't use it this time around. I like structure to my evening dresses but this fabric didn't need any more help.
I tried a test version and found the neckline straps where too heavy for me to wear.

The test version had a lot of gathering at my sway back so I pinched out some of the excess fabric out of the pattern.
The back of the dress still has some drag lines but these might lay flatter if I release the back darts.
The straps are angled toward the centre back so they don't slide off my shoulders.

Prym have some gorgeous bra straps that are too pretty to hide so I used these on the dress.
It took me a while to test out the best way of adding these straps.

I added the front band across the back neckline. This allowed me to sew ribbon onto the necklines and secure the bra straps in place. I can remove them but I like these for now.

This is as accurate as my cutting was while I tried to balance the dress side seams. It's not couture sewing but I gave myself 5cm seams so I had plenty of room to play with.

I also didn't fuss with the hem and kept it at midi length.
So with the test dress complete, this final dress took a day to make. 
Once I have an event to go to, I may fuss over this dress a bit more, but at this stage, I'm happy with this result.

Thank you Minerva Crafts and Prym!

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Romero by Pauline Alice

There are so many amazing clothes I see many sewists create using African wax prints. I bought a few pieces when I visited the LA fabric district a few years ago. Since then I’ve dabbled on a few projects to see how I can incorporate these prints into clothes for my size and shape. I did buy one piece in NY during the same visit.
So far I’ve used these fabrics for a top, a dress or two and more recently a skirt.
This time I’ve used this fabric for the latest pants pattern by Pauline Alice patterns.
When I’ve bought African wax prints they come in 6 yard lengths. 6 yards is just under 5.5 metres. That’s a lot of fabric for me to use as I tend to make fitted clothes.
With this print, I made a top using New Look 6000.
I’ve worn this top quite a bit because it's so striking.
Without getting too caught up in the print, this fabric works really well using the Romero pants pattern.
The pattern requires lots of big buttons and again I’ve used buttons from my stash.
The pant leg width is fairly wide for my size but they’re not overly wide.

That’s the beauty of Pauline’s designs. She understands what works for her size and that’s fairly similar to what works for me too. Everyone’s pattern base is different and that’s something I’ve very thankful for.

While I thought this outfit would be very loud, I love how it’s cohesive and doesn’t quite swallow me.
The fun part about this pattern is that when my waist increases or decreases, I’ll simply resew the buttons to fit.
Technically, I’ve done a sway back adjustment and lowered the centre back seam so that it follows my curves. I’ve also lowered the centre front seam because that works for me.
I’ve left the pockets as they were designed. They work just fine.
PS: I only need to undo 3 buttons on these trouser when I dress myself.

I have pattern tested for Pauline Alice patterns from time to time and I've enjoyed her designs and the effort she puts into her instructions.

You have to see what Pauline has just launched on her Instagram and website.

Cheers for now.
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Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Teeny lingerie

Susan recently released her new Emma racer back bralette and slip.

Did you see the dark moody floral version she made?

She’s developed this style because traditional straps on nightwear and slips just don’t work for her shoulder shape. Racer back tops are really supportive for gymwear so I wanted to road test this pattern out.
The slip I made was such a game changer for me. The straps are so supportive. The upper bust holds to me firmly. The skirt on the slip lends itself to applying all sorts of gorgeous knit lace.

I was able to use up bra elastic, bra notions and black tricot that I had in my stash.
There are also lace remnants used to on the bra cups.
The lace on the hem was bought last week.

Susan's a friend and she gave me this pattern to test. Yes I admire her work and ability to develop patterns that are different and useful.

It’s Winter here and I tend to wear slips to stop knit dresses from ‘sticking’ to me.
Now for the bralette. 
This is the first version I made and I had a ball making it.

I’m not the ideal candidate for a bralette but my amazing, youngest niece (all the nieces and nephews are amazing) was thrilled to have a bralette made by her aunty. Yay me!
It’s not often I sew for others so I did a bit of research and asked her Mum what colours to use. I had thoughts of florals, gorgeous lace, all sorts of ideas. 

Thankfully she’s an urban kid at heart so black and grey were what she wanted. This set kept me using my lingerie stash.
Ok, I bought the grey fabric but the rest is all from my stash.

The instructions for both the slip and the bralette are helpful and complete. 
That meant I could follow them easily in between bouts of housework over the weekend.
The bottoms are made using View B from McCalls 5651. 

The bottoms took a bit of time to work out because the McCalls pattern doesn't use elastic on the legs, so I had to work out the elastic lengths I needed. 
Above is View A and View B in lace remnants for me and not young Miss. The lining in these views is too short and also not as wide as the front pants.

So I think I’ll give Susan's Emma racerback pattern lots of thumbs up.

Those Prym sewing notions need to be used so I have plenty of lingerie projects ahead.

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Monday, 18 June 2018

That shirtdress

It’s no secret that I’ve made this shirtdress before New Look 6214.


Quite a few times.

Last year I wanted to make an evening version of this shirtdress but I ran out of time to sew it with all the sparkling notions I could find.

This month I decided to use the Pattern Review shirtdress contest to finally make this dress so I’m clearly deadline driven...most of the time. 
Voting has started so have a look at the gallery and see how many versions there are.
The beauty of this pattern is that I had prepped it with a full bust adjustment in 2014. 
Since then I’ve used the original bust size. Now I need the full bust adjustment and I opened up the bust ease.
I think it's the 2-part collar that has me at 'hello'.

This fabric has a satin finish and a marble print so depending on how you look at it, it can look like leather.
I enjoy slow sewing and not sewing too late at night.
I had to use bias tape on the hem because this fabric is so thick that handsewing the collar cut into my fingers badly.
I love the fact that I’ve used stash notions like these buttons.
Making a Winter version meant using the full sleeve and retro cuff.
You can just make out the belt buckle, also from the stash.
The back bodice has a pleat so in this fabric it looks awful but I have plenty of room to reach the wheel of my car to drive it. The last thing I need is to hear my dress split when I'm about to drive to work.
Or in the case of this dress, head out to a night out with friends.

So this shirt dress isn’t a pretty floral number but it’s certainly the evening shirtdress I wanted and will be wearing this Winter.
Happy voting
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