Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Silk sensation

On the weekend I did a silk top workshop at Rhodes ASG and we had Angie Zimmerman as our tutor. She's just great with the theory, sample finishes and individual assistance. Nothing is a hassle for Angie and we love having her run classes for us, when she can squeeze us in.

Here are the two tops I started. The first one Vogue 8118, I've sewn before without the front tie piece but I found that my waist and hips are smaller so I've cut it to fit. I also played with the tie piece and reduced the width by a third. The fabric is a soft silk, but I felt that the tie still needed to suit my frame.
The fabric print was a bit tricky so I had to be careful to place the white flowers around my bust and not on top of my bust, like headlights. I'm thinking of adding white piping on the tie piece, so that's going to be something to consider, just to bring out the line of the tie piece. I'll do a fine fold over hem on the sleeves and the bodice hemline.


The second tunic top McCalls 5556, has been in my pattern stash for a while. Here's the thing. I checked my sizing on the pattern envelope and I came out to a 14. When I checked the pattern pieces and ease, I cut out a 10.
From Angie's notes, I'll need to do a straight stitch seam with a closely sewn and small zigzag finish (1 width, 2 length zigzag). I've also got to cut out the collar and trim pieces in another fabric. The pink I've used is a toile, that I hope to wear. I doubt that I'll do a contrast hem finish but I will attempt this in the same pink fabric. It's worth practicing on.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Altering jacket 4

Last year I made five jackets after a workshop with Angie Zimmerman at Rhodes. I've now shrunk a bit so I decided to do some alterations to the first of these jackets - jacket 4. I also altered some work pants that I had made, because they have a piece in the centre back that makes waist adjustments a breeze. More about that later.
I made this jacket because I bought the skirt from Laura Ashley 6 years ago and found the fabric at The Fabric Store last year. Yesterday afternoon I shortened the skirt by 7 cms because it looked a bit tired. The jacket is miltary style but was too wide and the sleeves weren't sitting on the shoulders properly. So last night I unpicked the sleeves and reset them to the right position. I also took out 1.5 cm from the side seams but this morning I took out another 1cm from each side and added the waist line pink trim.
I haven't removed the excess seams just in case my shape changes again.

Did I mention that I didn't take the bulk out of the centre back, because of the placket detail? I couldn't face that much rework in one night.

Start/stop sewing

Two weeks ago, I got together with my real sewing buddies and I managed to finish off a top I started before we flew to the states.


This top Butterick 5562 view B, would not have worked well in the cold because it's a poly dry knit and holds no warmth at all. The great thing about this pattern is the sleeve detailing. I forgot to bring some swimwear elastic on the day, so I used Seams great tape instead.


When I wore it, there was a lot of fabric around my waist so I've tapered it in. I think the front piece is still a bit wide so on the next version I'll place the centre front and centre back seams 1cm over the fold. I'll also add 2.5cm on the hem, if it's a work top.










Then I moved on to hemming the jeans I bought in the states. The pair above uses matching thead colour for the hem. I've used a denim needle and the edge stitch foot. These are two things that I learnt about at Sew Expo. I'm determined to use the tutorial learnings as I go.

Then I decided to raise the hem of this FCUK skirt, because it was a bit long. The pictures above show how I was trying to decide the final length.
As I was playing with the hem length in the mirror I realised that I could sew a horizontal tuck, so now, here's how I've decided to wear this skirt for a while.

Again, I used the edge stitch foot on the hem and the tuck piece has been sewn with a longer stitch length (3), so I can pull the stitching out when I decide to change the skirt look. The fabric is just great.

The print skirt is one of my purchases that I've shortened and I'm testing to see if the hemline works.

The fabric is a stretch woven and it's interlined as well as lined, so hemming it by hand was a breeze.

So I think I'm back to my usual sewing self. I just had to regroup, do some follow up work with my GP and then just get back into sewing. I'm still off food with fat/oil for a few more weeks. I have no cravings for sweets or coffee and I get excited when I have an appetite.

I've started making Easter baked goods for the family so I'll post some food pics, as we head into the weekend.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

US wrap up

After all the planning and research that Alison and Sharon did to prepare for our trip, going to Portland and Puyallup for Sew Expo was so worth the effort. I discovered so much about the states and I loved to visit again. Everyone we met in that week were so welcoming. Thank you Janis for taking us fabric shopping in Portland. Ann and Barbara from Washington State Uni, the organisers went out of their way to deliver our tickets to us. Laura from the Yahoo group hosted a lovely dinner as did the local ASG.

Below is my fabric haul during the one week I had with Sharon and Alison. DH arrived at the end of day 3 of Sew Expo, so I skipped classes on the last day. As you can see I focused on strong cool colours.

The notions, patterns, threads and buckles (oh the buckles) now have separate set of draws in my sewing room, thanks to Officeworks. I did get the big red book - yippee.

I've been back home for just over a week, because DH and I travelled on for another 3 weeks, visiting Seattle a bit more, flew to San Fran, drove to LA and Las Vegas. I visited Disney for the first time ever and loved the whole experience. We missed a few days because I was waylaid in hospital for three days in San Fran and I've been doing follow up work since we made it home - no sewing yet. Travel insurance is worth it no matter where you travel.

From a sewing point of view, my shape has changed but I'm not sure if it's permanent, so my sewing is going to be 'for the moment'. My wrap knit dresses that I made in February look big on me at the moment but on Sunday my godmother did comment - 'your shape looks better now'. She's very honest. Anyway, I'll be doing a bit more research and practice on pattern alterations. I'm so glad I went to plenty of workshops at Sew Expo:) 

Did I mention that I bought 8 pairs of boots? Four knee-high boots and four ankle boots.

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