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'.

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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.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Anorak adventures

This little anorak is this month’s Minerva Crafts project with lots of Prym products. It's been perfect for all sorts of reasons.
I decided to try the Kelly Anorak by Closet Case.
Would you believe I based this project on the Prym products?

Prym products
I’m enjoying testing Prym products and am learning new skills. This project has given me new insights about of how Prym understands what makes a useful and long lasting product.

Firstly their products are well designed and engineered to reduce fatigue.
There was no reason for me to panic when the zipper didn’t open easily.

The zipper packaging has a handy diagram that indicates it is an open ended zipper.
The zipper also 'clicks' when you've closed the zipper properly when you're zipping it up!

Finally the snap packaging lists the codes of the snap tools you need and the closures are so sturdy. They look fun but they stay in place and feel secure.
Prym has YouTube videos that guide you on using their snap tools successfully. I did a test snap and the rest of the snaps were inserted so easily. I've been roughly handed these on the jacket and they're securely in place.
See the rhinestone gecko on my sleeve?
This is Prym iron on transfer or sleeve tattoo.
The ironing process and sleeve placement was a breeze.

Anorak adventures
This mild-mannered anorak has been worn a lot this month: to work; out shopping and to Parkrun. It’s been folded up and still springs back to life with no creases.

This jacket is the right length to 'waltz' into the gym and still look properly dressed.

With all the tailoring I do, I love the details the Kelly jacket provides.
I even added reflective tape as it blends into the jacket design.

The way the instructions are set up, you can effectively sew this jacket up in unique stages. That’s important when you’re time poor. Once you start making this jacket, you can work on different parts for an hour at a time. Having said that the instructions are not easy to follow and I still don't understand why. 
Cutting this jacket out took a bit of time. The front zipper tabs are cut separately so I had to make sure I cut these out last and I cut them at the longest length because the reviews indicated these pattern pieces didn't match up.
The only pattern adjustments I did was the forward shoulder adjustment.

The first stage I sewed up where the sleeves. I did this because I wasn’t sure if the sleeve length would work with the fabric I chose. The sleeves are long but they give me room to wear at three layers underneath.
Then I sewed up the hood. I’ve seen a few anoraks with contrasting fabric to line the hood so I took my time to experiment with this feature of the anorak.

I decided to apply the elephant trim to the seams and especially along the hood and zipper seams. This is my first go at using elephants on my clothes. The clothes hook is something I added and is not in the pattern.
The idea of using snaps on this jacket was a bit hair-raising so I did a practice run. The results were good so by the time I applied these snaps to the jacket, my only challenge was making sure they were placed in the best spots. I did not follow the pattern instructions or snap placement.
There are many reviews of this jacket that warn others about the zipper instructions and their facings.
I kept these in minds and I ended up having a facing piece leftover. I'm not sure how that happened. The way the illustrations are placed in the instructions make it awkward to follow. 

I tried working through the online blog post but again, the instruction layout didn't flow so I used a rtw jacket as my guide. 

The sleeve placket doesn’t sit well either. They only sit flat once you sew the sleeve placket down. I expected the sleeve vents to lay flat but they don't. 
The pocket size is really good. The flaps on the pockets are not a closure so that was a bit disappointing too. I'll change that next time I make this jacket.

I was able to make the sleeves sit on my shoulder point by reducing the shoulder seam by 1.5cm.
To be honest, with all the challenges this pattern had, I wear this jacket a lot but the instructions will do your head in.
You can see how it's too easy to wear this jacket when there's so much to do each weekend.

This is the most glam sleeve tattoo I've ever had.

Thanks Minerva Crafts and Prym! I'm glad I based this jacket on Prym's products.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Hot spots

I made this cute blouse using a Pitt Trading remnant. I’ll use this pattern for some silk fabrics sitting in my stash.

The long story:
It’s no secret that I love remnants and the challenge they bring.
It’s also no secret that Pitt Trading has lots of remnants from local designers throughout the year and my stash has a few of their remnants waiting to jump into my sewing queue.

Enter Winter and Vogue 8906. When I first started sewing tops for work, the easiest thing to whip up is a knit top that is cosy for Winter. They become wardrobe staples as they’re quick to make and need minimal fit.
While knit tops are fast to make, I wear them like crazy and these tops constantly need replacing.
This year I’ve been working with silk fabrics and I’m becoming more confident with silks. I adore how silks feel in any weather. They’re also easy fabrics to manipulate.
Silks also come in lots of styles but they come in an array of gorgeous colours that suit me. I recently bought some yummy silks fromSelective Fine Fabrics in Brisbane that I desperately want to use.
Vogue 8906 seems like a great pattern for blouse-weight silks. Drapey fabrics work best for this blouse. I read a few reviews and I realised it would be very sensible to test out View A in a remnant.

This ‘white on blue’ spotty poly remnant looked me square in the eye and said, ‘Go on. Make my day.’ So I did.

I cut out the 12 and did a forward shoulder adjustment but I kept the top length as is. Packed up the pieces and moved on to other projects.
Two months down the track I made time to sew this blouse up. The seam allowances and hems are overlocked and there’s no pattern matching.
The pattern neckline too high for me so I recut the neckline down by 3cm and it just sits nicely without it choking me. That’s what a test version is for - tweaking the pattern before you work on the ‘good’ fabric.

Now I can confidently use this adjusted pattern again.
But my mind has now wandered to thinking how this top would look as a dress.

Stay tuned for an update on how the dress version turns out. 

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Puffer jacket

My puffer jacket fabric is from Elliot Berman Textiles, bought at least 2 years since my last NYC visit. I was freezing this week so I decided I needed to make this jacket pronto.

Eugenia and her staff at Elliott Berman Textiles were really accommodating when I visited their store. I visited their store twice that week as I had to think about their fabrics and choose pieces I can't buy locally. This is one of a few of their fabrics in my stash.
The key notion I needed was the zipper and thankfully Pitt Trading had a range of metal zippers for coats available last year. Pitt Trading has an amazing range of notions off loaded from local designers. 
I did a bit of research while I made this jacket this week and realised very few puffer jackets have a defined waist hence I had to choose a jacket pattern that I could slightly shape. 
I used Butterick 6062 as the basic jacket shape. The darts weren't sewn. I have a habit of using this pattern for longline coats to keep me warm.

The pocket is the same as the pocket in Butterick 6062 but it's 2.5cm wider along the seams.
I used the scissor magnet to cut the pocket to size.
The collar is 12cm wide shaped from folded piece of the quilted fabric. No collar pattern was used.
A few months ago I ducked into EM Greenfields and bought a reel of navy bias binding 25mm wide for the jacket edging. I've got plenty left although I did used plenty on this jacket.
While I love the metal zipper, I felt it needed a zipper shield so I made one 'on the go'.

The fabric wasn't going through my sewing machine properly so I lowered the zipper foot to 'level 3' and it then sewed through the machine perfectly.

The initial WIP jacket showed me the pockets were too high for a coat. Uhm, the front was too short as well.
You can see on the finished jacket a new 'design feature 'at the base of the coat.

I had a similar gold bias trim in my stash so I used this for the coat hook and also to finish the front panel seams.

And that's it really. Bias bound seams and bias bound edges and this puffer jacket is done!
Now to rug up and get rid of my head cold before it turns nasty.


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