Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Jalie jeans 2908

This is the coolest pattern. I'm bias. After unpicking the previous woven pair V1204, this pair was much quicker to finish. And they really are low rise.
The fabric is a stretch woven from the Remnant Warehouse ($3 for 3 metres) and the metal zip was 20c from a sale. So really, this pair were definitely low cost and low stress.
By the time I made this pair, I knew that the centre back seam was going to be trimmed back by 3cm because of my sway back. Next pair, I'll raise the centre back yolk by 3cm so the back jeans don't drop when I bend over.
I didn't use the topstitching thread on the zipper opening or down the centre back. Sylvia at work said this made these jeans look more dressy. I did add two coin pockets. Again, I had a machine with top stitching thread, a second machine with sewing thread and the overlocker set up for these jeans.

Next pair will have smaller back pockets and smaller coin pockets. I'll petite them.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

V1204 - jeans/pants

This has been the 'pants' year as I've worked on a couple of pants patterns so I had better skills to make jeans.
Mushy made this pattern and I loved it because of the straight leg design and the pattern is designed for woven fabrics and not stretch woven fabrics.  These pants are described as "fitted, below waistline pants has front side slant pockets, back patch pockets, fly zipper closing, back yoke, waistband, carriers and topstitch trim". Here's knottygnomeknit's version in denim.

The front pants have been shortened so the jeans finish closer to my hips than right on my waist. I've also raised the pockets because not only were they long, but they were deep.

The inner back seam has been increased by 2 cm and the curve is also deeper. The waist has also been lowered for the next pair of jeans. Below is my version of making the leg width less full. I was going for a more straighter leg version.

Now that I've finished these pants, I think I've effectively sewn this pair, at least twice. At least the amount of unpicked thread on my floor indicated these needed lots of tweaking. I'm not normally this particular but I really wanted these pants to look good and not home made.
When I wore these for a day, I realised that I needed to resew the belt loops onto the waist band. They were way too long at 9.5cm long. I cut them back to 7.5 cm.
I also saw how long the pocket bag showed under the pants so they are now 6cm deep as opposed to 15 cm deep.
I had lots of fun adding the rivets and jeans button. Using a hammer is definitely my thing.

I've also added more room for my thighs so hopefully the bagging around my butt will disappear (he he). The next pair will be green and should sit closer to my hips. I do prefer low rise jeans.

The top is Kwik Sew 3378. This top has recently been adjusted. I've taken 4cm out from the centre back seam.

Sharon suggested using one machine for top stitching, a second machine for normal sewing and the overlocker. So that's what I did and I was able to progress through the pattern instructions much easier, without needing to thread and rethread the sewing machine with each step.

While writing up this review I found an blog about how RTW jeans either emphasis the butt as either a one mound or two mounds. I definitely have a two mound butt.

Friday, 2 December 2011

More summer 'fits'

 This RTW green dress was too big at the armhole and the bodice was too wide. The armhole is now 2 cm lower at the shoulder seams. I've also taken out width from the two back seams (2.5cm each) to bring in the bodice. This took 2 1/2 hours to do. There was no unpicking involved. 
 This RTW dress has been taken in at the centre back seam by 5cm. The hem has come up by 4 inches. I've also tucked in the front neckline so that it doesn't gap. This took 2 1/2 hours to do.

This pink number is one that I made as a wearable toile. The fabric was a gift and I've got stacks of it. This dress is not lined.

I've taken 3cm from the side seams and the tricky part was resewing the armhole edging.  This took 2 1/2 hours to do.

This burnt orange dress took 2 hours to fix. Mostly because I took the back zipper out, then took out an inch from the centre back seam, overlocked the seams and reinserted the back zipper. I've taken out 2 inches.
I made this dress at least 5 years ago and I have a jacket made out of the same fabric. This dress is not lined but the jacket is.

In total, this alteration took 2 hours to do.
This dress took 2 hours to fix. I cut off the sleeves, dropped the shoulder seams by 2cm, turned in the sleeve edges and took the side seams in by 1 inch. 
Yesterday I didn't like the look of this dress around the waist so I took off the front waist band. So in total this dress has taken 2 1/2 hours to fix. This weekend I'll take out some of the fullness out of the blue cherry dress too.

This is the quilt fabric that I've used a lot. I made this dress a couple of years ago and it's not lined but has bias binding on the neckline and armholes. I've taken this in at the side seams. The seams are overlocked.

This alteration took 1 1/2 hours to do.

I won't bore you with any further alterations. What I have learnt by altering my summer dresses is the hardest part was deciding if the dress was worth keeping and then what area needs to be adjusted. Once I'd done this planning part, the rest was doable. I'm not saying it wasn't stressful, but it was worth the work.

I'm working on Vogue 1204 pants so I'll really ready to make these pants from scratch now.

And one day, I'll learn how to layout these pages better...

Thursday, 1 December 2011


These two dresses have been favourites however they did need some rework. Unpicking is not a favourite task of any sewer but I needed to restyle these dresses because I still love the fabric but the fit was really really bad.

This black and white number did have sleeves and a mock from belt.  The problem was the size because overwhelming. The fabric is a heavy raw silk and it's lined with cotton fabric. I had worn it to work for two summers and our summer is here and I still consider it a staple. I've pinned the original sleeves and mock belt to the dress so you can see the style. Without the sleeves and belt, it looks more streamlined.
Bulky before
Less bulk
This blue print sun-dress was also a favourite with it's long hem so I could wear flat sandals with it. Again it's too heavy looking ie too long and too wide. I keep forgetting I'm short. But I love the shirt style and fabric print. My parents come from a cherry growing area so any cherry print is special to me.

I unpicked the skirt from the top but I left the front pleats and front button tab attached to the blouse. The front still had three pleats at the front, which I'm reconsidering. Do I leave them in or take them out? I've also cut 5" off the hem so that it's about knee length. So these are still dresses, just better balanced for my frame.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Work alterations

Last week I took out my summer clothes and they all needed altering. Isn't that always the way. So this was the perfect weekend to decide on whether I should invest my time on altering or giving my clothes to charity. What I had to decide was: Is this style still suitable for work? Does this style still work on me? Is this one of my colours? I originally made this dress in December 2009.
This dress needed the sleeves to be brought closer onto my shoulder by 2.5cm. I also brought in the side seams by 2cm on each side. The great thing was this dress isn't lined and the seams are overlocked. I had already taken off the trim that I had originally put on this dress two years ago. Overall, I invested about 2 hours on this alteration.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Colours - PR Sydney weekend

This weekend was PR's anniversary and there were a few celebrations around the states. As you know we had a Sydney PR weekend in October with fabric shopping and a bunch of great workshops.

In one of the workshops, I wore a neat burgundy cuff watch that I bought in the states in March. I found a STAMPS watch seller in Australia. We also played with a style app on my phone - 'Clinton Kelly's Style Rx' app. It's not a comprehensive style file, but it's a just reminder when you can't decide on a style.

Our style and colour person Wendy did my colours - Deep warm. Now I keep this picture on my phone so that if I don't take these colours shopping with me, they're still on my phone.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Dark blue buttons

Thank you for the comments. The dark blue buttons won, so 9 button holes and 9 buttons sewn on later, the shirtmaker dress is finished. Even though this has taken a while (three months) in between study, rugby and family commitments, I will make this again. I never thought rugby would ever impact my sewing.
 Here's a list of what I did to this toile.
- normal seams and turned over edges, like I was first taught at school,
- lining front and back using a combination of chiffon and poplin. I ran out of the chiffon because this was a last minute decision to go from toile to wearable toile
- blue and white ribbon tape with white border on collar stay and sleeve hem
- 9 x 13mm shank buttons. I did buy a spare button.
- hand stitched front tab, inside collar and buttons.

- roll shoulder adjustment
- sway back adjustment
- dropped bust point by 3cm (age/gravity)
The back bodice looks messy because this fabric is as stiff as tissue paper. When I make this dress again, I'll use fabric with some drape to it. Then I will also taper the hem so that it sits closer to my body.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

UFO - Shirtmaker dress

This is a classic shirt style (McCalls 5433) that I thought would be worthwhile making. It has tab front and enough detailing to wrestle with a few finishing options to make the same dress look a bit different. You would remember this dress from Sharon's blog. And I made the shirt version in December last year.
The toile fabric is from Rathdowne (Melbourne fabric shopping visit in 2009). It's a chambray blue colour and light weight but stiff and very sheer. The fabric irons really well and the weave makes it unravel easily. So with that in mind, halfway through testing out this style I decided this version could be wearable, so I've lined it with a 3/4 chiffon and 1/4 poplin. I didn't have enough chiffon in my stash, so I've made do with some poplin.

The original toile was going to have long sleeves with a cuff, but because the fabric is lightweight, I've decided on a short sleeve with cuff. I saw a someone on the street wear the same dress and it had short sleeve with cuff, so that helped me make up my mind.

As you can see, the sleeve has the same ribbon detail as the inside collar stand. The lining is the same dark blue colour  as the ribbon detail, so I think it might be worthwhile getting dark blue coloured buttons. What do you think?
With the left over fabric, I'll make a belt.
I don't love the sleeves at the moment so at some point I'll have to either take them out or change the length of the sleeves. I can add another horizontal pleat if need be.

By the way, yesterday we visited Sydney's first fabricabrac to see what fabric was on offer from other like-minded sewers who were selling from their stashes. The venue was probably large enough but it was packed with curious sewers. They also had a coffee bar so I think the organisers should have had a successful event.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Cardi - winter is over

While trying to make a shirtmaker dress work, I've finished a new cardi. Why? Because the dress toile is taking up a lot of thinking time and I needed a quick win to boost my confidence. Back to the cardi.
I've made this before and I know how the collar sits. The facing always seems too wide and I have now decided to take out a tuck out of the neckline to overcome it falling out all the time. The last time I made up this cardi, I used a contrasting facing and took advantage of it gaping.
At the PR weekend I learnt that I could wear brown (Deep warm), and I had a couple of pieces in my stash but I wasn't quiet sure if I should invest the time to make up these pieces. So I now know I can do some bold and muted colours and this dark chocolate brown is one of my colour options so this is what I've come up with.

The ruffle pieces are 2inch strips cut on grain but roll hemmed on the overlocker with red thread. I didn't have brown thread so I used a bold red, because I do have red pieces that I can co-ordinate this cardi with.

I've also used two black snaps to close the cardi if I need to. This is my last warm garment that I'll be making for the next 5 months. The humidity has started in Sydney but I'm thrilled to be in the warmth again.

Back from travel

My sewing fingers are now ready to begin again.
You saw the top below in September while I was trying finish off my study. The study is finished. In the mean time we've been to New Zealand 3 times. Yep. Two visits were all about rugby and last weekend it was a family birthday to celebrate DMIL's 70th in the sleepy seaside town of Raglan.

The basic top pattern I used for this was Kwik Sew 1997 and I've insert an invisible zip because I wanted the zip feature. It's not a feature on the pattern.
So I took this top with me to NZ on the weekend. While we had 32C weather in Sydney, I was still wearing thermal layers in NZ. I know you can't take photos while in Customs, but I think taking pics at this area with tikkis is allowed.

I'm not into Rugby but here are some pics I took at the matches.
These were some Argentina supporters - the "party pumas".
The real Argentina fans were loud, fun and kept singing throughout the match.

We got to see the All Black perform the Haka twice.
These supporters looked like something from 'Where's Wally"...

Here's a beach at Raglan. They have good coffee.
And I did get to buy fabric when we were in New Zealand.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Quick topper

The mags and books that I bought from Taunton's arrived yesterday. The box they came in was a bit worse for wear and the Postie shook the box when he handed it to me and asked me what was in it. Funny guy. He then asked me if I was a teacher.
I bought Sew Stylish Spring 2007 #1, Fall 2007 #2, Winter 2007 #3, Summer 2007 #1, Winter 2009, Winter 2010, Little Green dresses and Betzina's Power Sewing on sale.
Ok, so this morning  just after 5am I had to check that our work website was updated. And it was. It was a major update. Yippee. With my excitment, there was no way I was going to get more sleep so I decided to trial a topper (bolero style) from Sew Stylish (Spring 2007) that I'd read yesterday. Below is the fabric folded in half 50 inches by 30 inches. Then it's folded in half. The side cut is my attempt at the sleeve curve - freehand. 
The instructions suggest you then fold it into 'quarters' and then cut the sleeve curve. Below is how it's folded in quarters. Then you only need to cut the sleeve underarm curve. The style I chose was the dancer's sweater.
I love the colour of this fabric but it's not a favourite fabric, so I've used this fabric to see if the instructions and my adjustments worked. The finishings of such a small and quick piece still confounded me so after rummaging through my notion stash, I decided to go with no trim at all. Just a simple single fold and straight stitch.
Instead of 50 inches long, mine version is 45 inches long. The width is 30 inches but the side view pic shows that the back has some bulk, so I could make this about 28 inches next time.
This shot is supposed to show you the arm shape, but I feel like I'm about to start dancing the Zorba. WOopha!

Thursday, 29 September 2011

UFO Grey pants

Last night I had a go an adjusting these pants. The fabric is a slight stretch woven. I have similar grey work jackets and I needed a grey pair of pants that fit. Unfortunately the side pockets again gaped too much for my liking. So I took them out. You can see the pocket shape I used on the front in the picture below. The lighter grey fabric is the pocket lining. I ran out of the grey wool fabric.
I think I am addicted to sewing because I woke up at 5am and finished these pants. What was bugging me was the amount of slack or billowing that was happening down both sides of the leg. Last night I eased our 2cm from the outer leg and 1cm from the inner leg. There's still a bit of bulk so I'll ease this out another time.
I think the next step is going to be to try a new pattern with a slim fit leg. So after making x number of pants this year, I've learnt lots about pocket placement, a bit more about fit and I think I can now attempt jeans. The back view still looks wedgie through. I'll have to add a bigger butt curve. Now that'll be fun.

Tip: When I took the waistaband off and cut the waist down to size, I put two safety pins mid way along the zipper, so I wouldn't accidentally pull the zipper handle off the zipper. I've done that heaps of times before.


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