Monday, 31 March 2014

It's still Summer

It's still quite hot and I'm sure summer ended at the end of February. Yet it's still stiflingly humid. Training in the morning outside before the sun comes up (yes I know that's crazy anyway), the humidity is so heavy even the mozzies are weighed down.

Here's my version of the Summer Street dress by Pattern Review. Dress designed by Deepika and Maria Denmark digitised and drafted this pattern. Pattern courtesy of Deepika. Pose - somewhat like a pageant contestant :) 

Fabric purchased from Pitt Trading at an end of season sale.

Yes, I cut the hem is a bit high on this test version than I'm comfortable wearing but this is a summer street dress after all. 
More leg that I bargained for :)
And no, I won't be putting my hands on my hips - point taken.
Overnight my skirt grew by 5cm. Isn't that a neat trick.

The skirt join has gathers and I've used pleats to flatten the look. 
This dress is a cinch to cut and finish in an afternoon.
I've kept back hem is slightly lower than the front. It's just a 'thing' I do. Not fashion.
I spliced the centre front of the bodice to practice using the print to form a v-shape. 
And that's how simple this dress is to work with.

Beth of SunnyGal Studio Sewing made a Vogue knit dress last week (great work as always) and she links to a Threads video on applying neck binding. I'll be using this technique next time.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Minerva make - Black is back baby!

I've been wanting a 'dressy' pair of black jeans for a while. Minerva Crafts have the fabric and hardware so you can get everything you need in one place. The black denim from Minerva paired well with Vogue 8774.

Winnie made her fab Jamie jeans last month and they look great. Kate also made wonderful boyfriend jeans too.

It's the jeans hardware that is difficult to get in one place. How and where you apply the hardware is where you make your jeans your own. 
 I've made jeans before and they were casual so I could wear sneakers with them. These are the dressy pair because the hem is lower and I can wear these with heels. These shoes needed an outfit :)
I've put the rivets at the top of the back pockets and on the front pockets.

Here's a close up of the rivets and the pin placed there the centre back belt loop will be positioned.
One of the interesting features of this pattern is the back belt loops are sewn into the base of the back yolk.
And I've used the pocket stitching template for the back pocket stitching.
Again, here's where you can put your own stitching design on the back pockets. I've seen back pocket stitching that's gone onto the jeans fabric too.

I did a fair bit of jeans back pocket research at the local second hand clothes markets and the creative options are endless. Fabric painting or adding other rivets anywhere are all options you can use. Amy used the skull fabric in her Preppy skull dress.
Did you notice the additional pocket I've placed on the side seam above the knee? It's a cargo pants feature pocket without the bulk.
The Minerva kit has everything you need for these jeans - Vogue 8874, Top stitching thread, great black non-stretch denim, woven interfacing, the inside skull print fabric, a very secure metal zipper and the ideal metal jeans button and rivets. 
A metal button with ridges is less likely to pop when you sneeze while wearing these jeans #embarrassingexperiencetalking. 
The key thing with these jeans is the pattern is designed for non-stretch denim. Non-stretch denim is cheap to buy and it holds you in. It truly does. 

See how I've taken the pocket from the side seam to the zipper? This is what 'holds' you in at the front. This 'stay' keeps you in place. Nifty huh? No need to wear spanks.

Below is how I adjusted the pocket to form the waist stay.

Above is my usual sway back adjustment and increased thigh room #cyclistthighs.

Now you can see why I wanted a dressy pair of black jeans to get me from summer to autumn in one make!
These tops are New Look 6940 and New Look 6149. 

If you haven't been to the Minerva Crafts blog, you'll be amazed and how much easier it is to use and find out what everyone's been doing. There are over 30 of us who do the crafts we love with the support of Minerva Crafts UK.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Bomber jacket - cut, sew, blog

Big, puffy jackets don't suit me. But if I really want to wear one for fun what's the right length and width that I can live with? These jackets are all made using the Lekala jacket pattern that I made for the PR New to me contest.
This first version is 'bolero' length. My waist isn't anything to sing about so I'll wear this jacket with dark colours to look taller (ok, you can laugh here). 
This denim version has the rib knit on the pocket welt.
This second version is a smidge longer and skinnier. Longer by 5cm. Skinner by 4cm.
I've used a remnant furnishing fabric and candy striped lining from the stash.
Shoulder pads were used on this version.


This time I've used blue contrast zippers for the pockets.
On this final version, the pockets are closer to the waistband and the side seams and they're angled straighter. Iron on interfacing was used along the front neckline and zipper areas.

I only had 1m x 1m furnishing fabric provided by Hillary's UK to work with. That's why I made a couple of test bomber jackets to make sure this final version would work with the Lekala jacket #5036 pattern I bought last week online for $2.50.

The lovely people at Hillary's UK is hosting a Hillary's Blinds Country Crafts Competition and this is my entry.
This time the zippers blend in with the base colour but I've kept the red rib knit for the neckline, cuffs and waistband.


Sewing the rib knit to the fabric was fun to do.
The cuff is pinned to the sleeve hem.

Here's how the finished cuff looks.

The lining basically keeps the seams enclosed and provides a neat finish.
 Sunsilky is used for the lining. No shoulder pads were used on this final version.
The tulip print is large but the tulip placement is easy to work with. 
Below is the jacket back laid on the lining and I've placed it so there some ease along the centre back fold.
Here's how I've marked the pockets on the wrong side of the jacket and checked the length of the zipper teeth to the pocket opening.



With a bit of print placement, I've used a couple of scrap pieces to keep the tulip stem continuous.

Both versions use different rib knits. To get the waistband knit length correct I held the rib knit across my body to see how it sat. I'm sorry that I have not scientific way to pass on.
The blue knit was 80cm long at the waistband. The blue version is lots of recovery and more defined rib texture. 
I have no idea how to slow this woman down!
The red knit was shorter at 70cm for the waistband. The red is much softer and has good recovery.
And that's my bomber jacket story.
I hope my older niece wants a bomber jacket...

Bring on autumn:)

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Jeans bits and pieces

Finding your jeans hardware is fun but can be a an exhausting search if you can't find what you want locally. Online and chatting to sewers through social media helps you uncover what's available when you're starting to make jeans. That's why I started my shorts journey - to lead me to making jeans for my next Minerva Crafts project.

Grommets or rivets are usually placed on the front zipper pockets, coin pocket and on the back pockets but be creative and put them anywhere you want. After all, these are your jeans and you get to make them look unique.

If you can't get your hardware locally here are some online places to get jeans bits and pieces include:
Grommet mart
Cast Bullet
Stans sewing supplies
Minerva Crafts
Ebay suppliers using jeans rivets in crafts gets you this

DK Fabrics in Adelaide had some good quality jeans hardware when I visited them last year.
A tailors awl to help insert rivets.


A good jeans button has a nail with ridges. This button nail is hammered through the fabric. 

I've used a jean button that had a smooth nail and the button popped off the first time I sneezed. It was a lady sneeze too.
Modified centre back seam to adjust for sway back.
Finished centre back ready to add the back belt loop.
Top-stitching thread
If you can't find a local supplier or have an unusual denim, try combining thread colours to achieve the top-stitching colour you want to achieve.

Preparing the belt loops for top stitching.
These Maritime shorts were top stitched.
This mustard version were my first attempt with jeans top stitching.

The black shorts are my second attempt using a jeans button and rivets. 
They're a bit better.


The coverstitch machine made topstitching easy but using a twin needle on your sewing machine will help you achieve the same effect.


You'll see the finished jeans next week. 

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Lekala love

What's not to love about a sewing pattern website that offers tonnes of patterns for $2.50 at worst? And 50c to add seam allowances?
Sandra introduced me to Lekala patterns in December. 
I was like 'Are you sure about these patterns?
And Sandra said 'Yes. Try on this exercise top for size.' 
and I was like "Mmmm?" Sandra's right. Sandra has the knack for pattern/fabric brilliance. 
Sandra's a sewing technical wizard. I mean, she won last year's Tessutis gridlock contest.
So I was thinking, "mmm. I'd love a new, cool jacket for the weekend'. 
Not that I need a jacket. And  I wanted a pdf  pattern 'toot sweet'. 
So off I go, Lekala looking and spotted something close to what I wanted and 'bazinga' out of the ether it came.
You'll notice I've changed this to a v-neckline and added welt pockets. This bomber jacket works nicely with my purple pins. DH advised me to add shoulder pads and I did.
I'll tighten the waistband ribbing by 1/3 on the next version. There is another version in the pipeline.

"How'z that" for a sixer. A workable pattern for $2.50 from Lekala patterns.
Talk about a sewing diversion...
PS. This jacket is my wearable muslin so it'll be thrown around a lot.

Technical stuff:
  • Remnant denim with woven lines of roses in the fabric.
  • Poly rib knit used on the cuffs, welt pockets, waistband and neckline.
  • Polka dot poly chiffon used for the lining and pockets (John Kaldor)
  • Open ended zipper used as the closure.
  • Shortened the sleeve length.
  • Round neck adjusted to V-neckline.
Feet to sew with
Making this jacket takes a bit of experience. What I mean by this is you'll need to plan to use more than your standard sewing foot.
You'll need to use your zipper foot and a foot to 'stitch in the ditch' with.
Topstitching is one of the cool features on a bomber jacket.

Choosing a rib knit
If the rib knit you use has no elasticity, add soft, wide elastic inside the rib knit.
Check the rib knit you use feels soft on your skin. This knit sits on your skin so if it's scratchy, don't buy it.

Zippers
Also, don't worry about buying an open ended zipper to size. I had to buy a 50cm zipper but I made sure the bottom end was sewn onto the jacket and I trimmed the top of the zipper to fit this jacket. I only needed a 25cm open ended zipper for this jacket once I made the neckline a v-shape. There's no way I would have found 'the right zipper' in time. I bought my zipper from MyHung for $2.50.

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