Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Hiding gift sewing

Santa's workshop was open until Christmas Eve. Well Santa outsourced a couple of projects to my sewing room and while it would have been a challenge sewing with the intended recipient (DH) in the house, DH didn't notice what I was doing. And that's a good thing.
This dressing gown (Butterick 6837) was tested in an old flanellette sheet and DH wore it for me, he ignored the experience and he continued to go back and tinker on the bicycles.

A day earlier, I was using Steam a seam lite 2 to position the pockets of this man apron at the ironing board so you can't really see where the pockets are positioned, DH came over to ask me a question so I casually folded the print on itself so only the white back of the fabric showed. I calmly walked to DH and continued the conversation. Nothing strange to look at here.  
Long story short, DH loves both gifts. The barista now has an official man coffee apron. He loves the print and said it screamed DH. The man functions well after 2 cups of coffee. 

In case you're wondering, the green striped tape on the apron is there to hang a towel from, while DH is making coffee. I traced the apron from an existing apron that DH already owns so there was no need to test it for size :))

Thank you to everyone who sent me holiday wishes. Bring on 2013!

Monday, 24 December 2012

Bamboo shoot Peony

Here's a partnership - Colette Peony and Pattern Magic Bamboo Shoot - in a lined cotton dress for summer.
Shown after working for the day.
Ironed nicely before work

The bodice folds needed a bit of work when I tested it. They're still a WIP. I wasn't 100% sure about the waist so I added the cumberbun with 3 pearl buttons.
The front bodice came to a v point at the waist - unintentionally - based on the Pattern Magic istructions. That's been fixed. The dress is fully lined because the fabric is light weight cotton for a top or blouse.
I've added the bamboo shoot treatment to the sleeve, but I'm not sure this is good idea. This feature need editings. Sleeve or no sleeve?
The pattern change below shows you the sleeve treatment I'll try next. The pleats will fall from the sleeve head and not the sleeve hem.
The zipper was short so I've added a 3 button button closure to the back neckline.

Making totes, bags (no more UFOS left in 2012) and purses is fun but making clothes is more my cup of tea.
Merry Christmas y'all. It's time for a break when there's a fish face pose.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Street cred

I can tell you, without a doubt, every guy I know now notices my sewing skills - since I started sewing with pleather and leather.

Spice of Life bag by Moonshine
This little beauty had 2 features that I love.
1: It was made by Sharon, Gail, Luci and a few Rhodes ASG sewers in 1 session earlier this year. 1 session only!
2: I got to use real leather and snake skin printed silk fabric leftovers as well as leftover bag strap, in the same colour as the leather.
Making up the internal pockets was dead easy using Steam a Seam 2 lite. Yes. There are two pockets for the phone and car keys. The linings has been interfaced with light-weight interfacing.
Sealing the leather seams with double sided tape from Birdsall Leather made the external leather seams firm. The red clips above are Clover wonder clips and I bought a box of them of ebay for a lot less than I can buy them locally.

I bought the tubular handbag frame from Ghees online store and the zippers was from my Zipperstop stash that I bought in 2011. I've found a local bag frame supplier through ebay - Handbag Hardware Australia, making future Spice of Life bags cheaper to make.

My shoe repair guy and I are now BFFs because while he doesn't work on handbags, he sewed up the final seam around the handles for me for $10 and he now has the contact details for NSW Leather.
Lucky for me, he was quiet when I went to see him to finish the final seam on my bag. The photo below shows how he's winding the bobbin. It ran out of thread.
He was really understanding and his sewing machine was hand driven! So he had to hold the bag with all its layers with one hand and operate the machine with the other hand.
This classic bag style is a winner in my books. When I make this again in leather I will use one leather layer only for the bag frame so my machine can sew through it.

I did a bit of online bidding for more leather via Graysonline but stuck to my budget and didn't result in a leather purchase, phew! That's it for bag making for a while and my UFOs in 2012 are done - bar the computer bag that won't get a look at until next year.

Monday, 17 December 2012

The littlies

The nephews had the bag ideas. I just put their ideas into action. Yep, Aunty's sweatshop was open for business again.

iTouch bags:
Step 1: Trace the phone on paper or go to the website and get the dimension.
Step 2: Grab some stash fabric, interfacing, a 8" zip, some Steam a seam lite 2 and take a deep breath. Breath out. Ahhh.
Here's the first attempt.
The flower line is where the real width of the bag should be.

Take 2:
The first nephew suggested an external pocket with Velcro. Then he suggested an internal pocket with velcro. I sewed did a quick road test (purple version) and decided to keep the current design but split the internal bag into 2 sections and skip the velcro. The smaller section would be for the cords and the larger section for the iTouch.
The purple bag had two internal pockets that I've unpicked because I don't know the size of the  iTouch covers so instead of guessing, each bag has wiggle room.

The belt hook idea was from the littlest nephew's and the small light was something I thought they might like. So the littlest nephew will get the soccer print, and the littlest niece will get the cupcake print. Both have a light on their hook and a small box of Jelly Bellys.

The pink and beige coin purses below are made by Goosegreen.
You can see how tiny and well made her coin purses are.

Here's a link to a tute by Flossie Teacakes that Sew hopeful found while stash busting. You'll get a much nicer zipper finish than I've made.

There's a dress in the pipeline that I'm eager to finish for Christmas.

Friday, 14 December 2012

She loves them

Here are SIL's final knit dress collection. The main change I made to this pattern after the first fitting was to bring the front of the sleeve closer to the chest. This made SIL's bust look smaller. It did make a difference when she had the final fitting with the chevron dress.

Below is the darker all-over print that I picked up at Spotlight recently.
Each dress uses an all-over print knit in dark colours but the fit is spot on as is the length. The hems and necklines are have a cover pro finish. The rest was sewn with a straight stitch. Seams great has been used ot reinforce the shoulder seams.
The beige/black print knit is the fabric I saw, and bought and once I got it home I kept thinking 'This would really suit SIL'. This was a year before I decided to sew for the family to keep my sewing interest going.
Her adjustments are roll shoulder adjustment, slimming back upper bodice and style needs to have v-neckline and gentle pleats or gathers at the waist. Next year I'll make her coat, as promised and tested.

The best part was when she said, "It's so nice to be able to wear a dress that fits the first time you wear it." If that isn't motivation to keep sewing, I don't know what is. I hope to see a couple of holiday snaps of her wearing these.

For now, it's onto making some itouch bags for the littlest ones.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

How nice:)

Two local sewers have nominated me for these awards. They are both very talented and inspiring.
Carolyn of Handmade by Carolyn. There's not much Carolyn can't make in her very talented family, and her photographs are always gorgeous and tell another story. Keep an eye out for Fabio too.
Anne from CherryPix: SewingPix. We've seen each other through our Minoru journey and her style is very edgy.

Here are the rules of this lovely award:

1. Thank the person who nominated you.
2. Add The One Lovely Blog Award / The Very Inspiring Blogger Award to your post.

3. Share 7 things about yourself.
4. Pass the award on to 10 nominees.
5. Include this set of rules.
6. Inform your nominees by posting a comment on their blogs.

About moi.
1. It has always been about the bike. 2. The closest I ever got to meeting Lance Armstrong was when I was part of the cycling road crew at the Olympics. 3. I've cycled in France and loved it. 3. I hated red capsicum as a child. Now I love eating it raw in salads. 4. I was promised a bike as a child but never received one.
5. Only recently did we do a couple of non-cycling holidays.
6. I was the on-course bike leader at the local kids try-athlon and the teens gave me a run for my money.
7. Cycling was my best leg for the short course triathlons I've done.

Here are the bloggers who are more than worthy:
Joy of 21 Wale
Juliette of Sewionsita
Renata who is on Pattern Review
Sandra who's on Pattern Review
Anna of Pretty Grievances
ConnieBJ of couturesmith
Kyle of Vacuuming the lawn
Lena of The Sewing Space
Myrna of Myrna Giesbrecht 
JennaM of don't call me cupcake
Trinity of Thimbles, threads and needles 

Monday, 10 December 2012

Tote done

Tote bag
The UFO was started in October. Sharon, Alison and I went to a zipper workshop at Addicted to fabric and I made the lapped zipper pocket on the outside and 1 of the internal zip pockets.

This tote has:
- 2 internal zipper pockets
- an internal side pocket for a phone and keys.
- a zipper gusset at the top of the tote.
- a lapped zipper pocket on the outside for boarding passes.
DH liked this tote. Well DH liked the travel aspect of this tote so we're getting closer to an o/s trip in 2013.
The green fabric is leftover of my festive green skinny jeans.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

UFO - Butterick 5676

This UFO was cut out in our winter and now it's summer.

I like the design lines of this dress and after seeing other bloggers use a similar style with a lighter colour, I chose this dark colour for my first ponte dress.
I love doing jigsaw puzzles and sewing this dress together was just like a working on a jigsaw. It's all straight sewing. If you're not an accurate sewer (and I'm one of them) here are a couple of things that will help you along.
  1. Butterick suggest you sew the neck band onto the dress as a whole piece. I'm not good at sewing sharp corners so I changed the construction step. I suggest you sew on the neckbands the same way you sew together the side front pieces and back piece before you attach front to back at the shoulder seams. I found it easier to face the neckline and get a good v-neckline point. You can tell I have no future as a quilter.
  2. Topstitch using a matching thread colour to the fabric if you're not an accurate sewer. I fall into this category so you can see the topstiching but you won't notice the stitching width unless you look real close.
  3. Ditch the zipper. This is a ponte fabric so take advantage of the spandex in the fabric. Keep the zipper if you want a more fitted look.
  4. Attached the sleeve wrist bands to the sleeve before you attach the sleeve to the dress
  5. Sew the sleeve in flat to the dress before you sew the side seam.
  6. Sew the dress and sleeve side seams up last so you can match the seaming.
  7. Sew a winter dress in winter and not in summer. Or make up the summer version straight away, which I did and it took 3 hours to cut and sew.
I did a roll shoulder adjustment, sway back adjustment, slimmed the sleeve on the winter version by 2 cm, made the 10 size. I ironed this after I finished sewing it so that the fabric didn't stretch or become shinny from over pressing. And it's been hot here this week so that's another reason why I shied away from the iron.
So this pattern now goes into the 'love it' pattern pile.

Kristy of Loweryourpresserfoot has just made a lovely striped ponte Burda dress.
Anne of Cherrypix:Sewing pix has also made her Holy batwings party dress in ponte and a fabulous print.

Pattern Magic:
Thank you for your comments about my Pattern Magic patterns. Doing the patterns has been a fun process with a few sewers around and a tutor (Angie) on hand. I'll be keeping my hand at these patterns and reading what other sewing bloggers are working on.

The material lady has just completed a Pattern Magic workshop at Morley College. I wish we had one in Sydney too!

Monday, 3 December 2012

Pattern magic start

I've been admiring the Pattern Magic work that Melissa and Carolyn have been succeeding with for a while.This year I bought all 3 Pattern Magic books and they're all in English but I have a habit of not reading the drafting instructions too closely. And since I started dabbling with the first book I found the Flickr group and Tracy of 'the material girls' work. Yippee!

What I didn't realise was that once I showed Renata the first Pattern Magic book, she bought a copy too. So was spent a Saturday at The Remnant Warehouse drafting as best we could.

Below are the 3 drafts I attempted so far.

Pattern Magic page 60:
I tried my hand at the collar with two distinct expressions first. It looked simple but a casual observer noticed that the top collar is slimmer than the bottom collar. A head slap moment ensued. I've used Connie Crawford's blouse (Butterick 5538) for this collar because I had used this pattern at a workshop recently.  
Marked cutting points on both sides of the collar.
It was later pointed out to me the top collar is skinnier that the bottom collar.
The collar pieces have been cut and is ready to be spread to size.

This was the first version so you can see what the resulting pattern piece is like.
I was lucky enough to play with a fabric toile version and I made a few more tweaks at the time.

The top collar now has a squared collar point and the top collar is much skinnier than the bottom collar with the help of Angie Zimmerman. Angie was fascinated with Pattern Magic because she has been sewing for others and teaching sewing for a long time and the designs in the book inspired her creativeness too.
Here's a close up of the collar in the finished toile. The front and back yokes are fake. This is where I took out some room below the shoulders on the front and back bodice pieces. I forgot to take the same amount out of the sleeve head, hence the gathers at the top of the sleeve. Voila, design feature:) The buttons were from my stash. After the bust cup adjustment workshop and the inclusion of the Pattern Magic collar my view is the blouse is baggy but comfortable.
The white eyelet blouse below uses the intented fabric. After many years of wearing close fitted knit tops and jackets I think this blouse pattern could be closer fitting using a stretch woven and with a centre front zipper. I think I'll look at Pattern Magic for a new sleeve style too. What do you think? 

When I make this collar again I'll interface all the collar pieces so the top piece stands up. I love this feature so my view is this Pattern Magic collar was worth trying.

PS: When I wore the green shirt to the Sydney sewer meet up, the cuff detailing hadn't been added. I ran out of time to finish this bit of sewing but sewed on the cuffs, buttons, buttonholes the very next day:)

The green blouse and eyelet blouse reviews are on Pattern Review.

Pattern Magic page 13:
Then I tried my hand at the Deppari shirt but I used the princess line shirt and did the Deppari detailing on the Front Side piece only.
I'm a B size on a good day so the detailing is not as pronounced but may turn out to be a good laugh. I've used Connie Crawford's blouse pattern for this feature. I'm ready to test this out in the New Year.

Pattern Magic page 57: Then I had a go at the Bamboo shoot pattern. This was fun. I enjoyed analysing the design lines, when to start cutting and then "what do I do now" set in. I've used the Peony bodice for this trial.
This is the front piece showing the cutting lines. I numbered them to keep tracke of where I was working.

This shows the spread of the cuts.

The piece is now on a paper to draw the final front pattern with the folds marked and numbered.
Now to test this work...
This kinda worked. I did this test piece with Angie Zimmerman.
On closer inspection, the top right  fold was missing.
Here's the inside stitching. This needs a bit more work. So I now have another draft to test in the New Year.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Size matters

We used Connie Crawford's Butterick 5538 pattern at a bust cup adjustment workshop. Our tutor Marea Drayton, had lots of patterns to look at for fitting ideas, and she gave use a sheet to record our measurements and calculate the adjustments we needed for the pattern.

Marea had lots of patience, she was great at keeping up with the less demanding sewers, but most importantly Marea was genuinely interested in helping us achieve a good fit.
She used Fit for real people used because she's Palmer Pletsch trained. Later I was told Marea used Connie Crawford's fitting techniques. I missed out on Connie's visit to Sydney last year but I have her books and I saw her at Sew Expo in 2011. Connie's amazing and a straight forward speaker with industry experience. Talk about a wealth of sewing industry knowledge! Connie is a real sewing treasure.

Anyway the pics below show the steps Marea took to increase the bust width on a princess seam. This pattern below had the width added by adding a vertical line that pivots from the shoulder seam. What you see below is Marea closing the side dart and adding room at the bust point. 
The side dart below is being taped closed.
Below you'll see the the front side is longer that the centre front so the centre front is then dropped to match the side front hem.
I did this workshop because I do need to know how to make this adjustment for anyone who is C cup and above like Mum or SIL or my first dear niece.
Pondering my next sewing project... You can see I need to get out into the sun eventhough summer is here.

Sway back XD
I'm wearing the mustard pants Vogue 1204 I made earlier this year. I also made these in festive green and a red test pair.
The back now fits better.
We were also asked to bring Frixion pens.  I had no idea what these pens were for but I bought a couple anyway. They're erasable pens so I suppose you can scribble out your markings and rewrite over your paper or fabric. I'll buy anything that gives me the best outcome. Have you used these pens before? Mine pens are still in the pack!

Here's what's on the net about these pens...
The ink laid down by the Frixion rollerball disappears under friction! The end of the pen has a hard plastic eraser, which when rubbed over the writing causes the colour to disappear from the ink. You can then write over it again with the same pen. How does it work? It's a type of thermo-reactive ink. The heat generated by the friction causes the ink to become translucent (at 65°C fact-hounds!). Stick it in the freezer (-20°C) and your scribblings will re-appear - albeit slightly faded.


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