Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Liberty love

This Strawberry thief print was a remnant from my previous White Tree Fabrics dress. It's too lovely to let languish in the fabric stash so it's now a shirt (McCalls 5433).
Work look
The original plan was to make a short-sleeved shirt, but there was enough for a basic long-sleeved shirt. I can always roll up the sleeves when I wear this shirt to work.

I had a couple of hours one morning with no power at home, so in desperation to do something, I cut out two shirts. I don't like wasting time but I wasn't going to do the housework as a substitute to sewing.



When I work with prints, there's always the issue of print placement and do I add piping or not. Thankfully this pattern has a folded button band at the front so I can play with print placement and button placement.


Heading out to drinks look
This year one of our local retailers sold Liberty print shirts and when I saw the retail price I decided to make my own shirt from the remnant fabric.

The fun part of using such a dominant print like this was to line up the birds across the shirt body and sleeves. Originally I thought I might only have fabric left for cap sleeves but there was enough for long sleeves using a mock cuff.

I love the darkness of this colourway of this print and I wear plenty of blue to work and on weekends so it made sense to apply blue piping on the collar and button band and use blue buttons between the bird print.

I know we’re in the middle of a blisteringly hot Australian Summer but the cotton in this fabric breathes well and is a lovely weight for this shirt. With the prospect of wearing this shirt a lot, I applied French seams and folded over the armhole seams so this shirt will survive many, many washes because it’s going to be worn a lot.

Piping and machine feet:
I started with store bought piping so I used the cording foot on my machine to prep the piping.
Then I used the zipper foot to sew the piping on the collar and front seam.
When I sewed up the collar, I used the piping stitching to guide my sewing. Yes, there were some instances where I had to resew part of these seams just to get the piping to sit neatly.
back view
Work or weekend?
Clothes for work and weekends sit separately in my closet. I do this to keep these too aspects of my life separate. But this shirt might just throw me off kilter.
Best news of is I now have my very own Liberty shirt!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Geometric Cynthia Rowley shirt

When I tested out the fit of the bodice for S2215 liberty print dress, I made the shirt version using a Pitt Trading remnant I bought a while ago.
This shirt was made in September and I can pair this shirt with my Sinbad and Sailor Raven shorts I made last Summer. BTW, Sinbad and Sailor patterns is closing down.
I used the petite sizing and simply overlocked the seams because this was a wearable test to check the bodice fit.
Can't complain when the test result becomes a new shirt to wear. 

Summer has hit and I've been able to wear this shirt a few times now. I only need to shorten the bust darts when I make it again.

Stay cool everyone.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Fluoro fun

Here's a mild-mannered cyclist who sews and has created a fluoro/reflective jacket using McCalls 7026.
Here's how this jacket looks with my normal Sunday morning cycling kit.
This jacket looks quite tame.
Nothing too amazing yet.
But here's how it looks when you use flash photography.
And the back looks amazing too.
The back view covers my RTW cycling jersey so I won't be adjusting the jacket length.
What I will be adjusting is the front panel so I can include zippered pockets for future jackets. The pattern has the pockets in the side seam but on a form fitting jacket, side seam pockets makes the side seams gape.

I prefer the pockets at the front and with a zipper, to keep my keys and id intact. I always carry id in case of an accident and I'm the one they need to put in an ambulance to send to hospital. It's happened in the past and fortunately I regained consciousness fast enough to get off the road.
The yellow fabric is two-way stretch and is a factory off-cut I was given. The print is a Spotlight special I bought. Kirsty of Top Notch used this same print for her Frocktails 14 dress and I loved the texture and flouro-ness of it when I saw her dress in real life. When it was on sale, I bought a few metres to experiment with.

I didn't use the cuff on sleeve for this version. I was checking the fit of size 12 and I'll use this size for my Minerva Crafts version next month. The print fabric has no stretch but my Minerva Crafts ponte does so this size will work. I'd certainly go up a size for non-stretch fabrics. 

I do love the effect of the reflective tape.

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Princess line bathers

The prospect of celebrating Christmas by the water made me realise I needed something festive so I've used the last piece of my red marakesh fabric from Pitt Trading for a new pair of bathers.



Kwik Sew's Swim and Action Wear book has a classic princess line swimsuit that I tested using a possible Christmas colour - green.The green test version is wearable and this version gave me the tweaks I needed to make the marakesh bathers work.
This test version is not lined and uses three lycra remnants of varying weights.The green wave print is a lighter-weight knit to the solid colour fabrics so it should have had a second layer underlining it to balance its weight against the other fabrics. Live and learn.
On swimwear, I also exaggerate the derriere curve as you can see on the test pair above. I added the bust cups to the soft bust shelf.
I joined the crotch piece to the front to eliminate this seam.
On this test version 
- I realised that cutting the medium size was a tad too big, so I sewed in the centre back and side seams. 
- the princess line seam at the armhole was loose so I sewed this seam in closer
- I shortened the straps but then had to lower the armhole curve.

These changes were added to the pattern pieces.
The things I couldn't fix on the green test version:
- angle in the straps so they don't slip off my shoulders
- fully line this next version. I don't like unpicking lots of overlocking so the test version remained unlined but is usable.

Testing swimwear:
Before adding the elastic finishing, I try on my bathers.
The derriere curve is lower on this pair too. It's now a standard adjustment I do on the paper pattern at the start of the project. 
Here are the finished pattern pieces with all the elastic lengths noted and the stitch lengths for future reference.

I love the lycra print fabrics Pitt Trading bought this year. They brought in a stack a medium weight lycra prints and they're perfect for supportive bathers.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Summer - learn to sew

Simplicity 1589 is a handy 'learn to sew' pattern that I've chosen this Summer to use leftover fabric one more time.
The square back detailing on View A 'had me at hello'.
This is a 'Learn to Sew' pattern so I followed each step to the letter to learn some new techniques - binding and curved hem finish.
I couldn't leave these remnants any longer.
Here's a WIP binding photo showing the square back finish. 
WIP photo of version no1 using store bought bias tape.
This is a very forgiving sleeveless top with scoop neckline and a-line fit. Great for hot humid weather. This style is drape just enough for my height.
The instructions show you to sew 1.5cm from the hem before you start turning it under for a smooth finish.
I made the 8 size and after wearing it, I removed the pre-made bias binding.
The neckline sits much better using self-made bias. The store bought bias had less give and the neckline looked 'strained'.

After following the instructions, I quickly grabbed this black fluoro yellow print and paired it with a black satin fabric. I'd wear both versions out for any Summer party.

Using this pattern was a stressless way to unlearn some well-entrenched sewing habits. 

The instructions were easy to follow and there were helpful diagrams with the instructions.

Pattern changes
Initially I did a forward shoulder adjustment.

I measured the bust width and left it as is. I also left the length as is. 

Frankly a long flowy top is better than a shorter flowy top that flashes my tummy when the wind picks up.

I'm now thinking this pattern would make a great nightie - if I extend the body length by 10cm. I do like the curved hem, now that I've learnt how to sew this properly.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Floral malliot bathers

It's hard to resist a fabulous lycra print that is a heavy weight and supportive, hence my newest malliot. Pitt Trading still has more great prints, including this print 'wild rose' in store.
Finished: fully lined, double straps and includes bust support with cups.
I've used the basic Spaghetti strap swimsuit pattern from Kwik Sew's Swim & Action Wear book by Kerstin Martensson published in 1995 (ISBN 0-913212-18-0 if you want to get this from a library). This is the first time I've used this book.
The information is still accurate so if you don't have an overlocker, you can sew swimwear on your sewing machine.
This is my 4th bathers I've made this week and love this pair the best because I made this as close to RTW as I could.
The back has a centre back seam, perfect for shaping to your curves. 

Below you can see the sewn in cups to the bust shelf lining layer. 

Using double straps was an idea I had because my shoulders slope downwards.
I've also moved the straps closer to the centre back seam, again for more shoulder safety.
This test version shows how I've set up the lining so you can remove the lining. In reality I'll probably use this feature to change the cups, as required. This shelf area is also where you'll have to remove the sand if you actually wear these at the beach.
I count this as my 3rd pair of bathers.
Above is my test pair using stash fabric. The powermesh lining from Pitt Trading used on this pair was sewn in at the side seams but I found this pulls a bit so on the floral pair, I've only sewn the lining at the elastic edges.

On the pattern I exaggerated the curve on the rear to cover my rear better. After wear the test pair, I raised the back neckline by 1.5cm. This was personal preference. The book is filled with lots of designer touches to help you be creative. I like the idea of lowering the back and adding lacing!

I do love this pair the best, paired with sun-kissed skin.


Thanks Pitt Trading for getting in great lycra prints. Love your power mesh too #supportive.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Blood moon jacket

This jacket took 4 days to make under the blood moon in September, hence the name Blood moon jacket. 

Using Vogue 7764 and some 'wine' corduroy from Minerva Crafts with a few neatly placed metal buttons, this jacket was a warm layer when we traveled in October.

She's lovely to wear and this is the third time I've made this pattern with some final tweaks.


This cord from Minerva Crafts is quite thick and firm but easy to manage especially when sewing in the sleeves. If fitted sleeves make you lose your cool, this cord will keep you humming.

If you've yet to make a lined jacket, the fun is finding a great lining to go with the look you want. I bought this lining from 'Clear It' in Melbourne.
I uuhmed and aahed about adding shoulder pad where the epaulets were but I added them in for a firmer fit and a more military look. 

The jacket detailing above were made on day 1.



I so enjoyed correctly putting these pocket on the front. I really did - true 'sewing geek' material.

This is my work in progress on the second day/night before I left my sewing room to sleep off this detailed work.

Day 3 took a bit more guts as I had to sew in the lining.

Below is the finished jacket with the sleeves sewn in.

Here's the finished jacket first worn at Port Macquarie in October. I was fortunate enough to go to SewBusyLizzie Sewport weekend in October. 
The timing to make this jacket was also perfect as I'd entered this jacket in Pattern Review's Sewing Bee challenge. I made it through Rounds 1, 2 and 3 but didn't get through to the final Round. 

On our first morning in New York, it was just cool enough to wear this jacket in Central Park.

Below is the reworked back lining pieces as I got some good sewing advice at McCalls HQ

The back lining was bothering me so I asked the experts for their advice about making the lining 'sit properly' as this pattern doesn't have lining pieces. I ended up following their advice and sewed the back centre waist seam of the lining to the jacket centre waist seam.
 The other thing I changed was my belt buckle.
I forgot to order a belt buckle from Minerva so I picked one up from New York's textiles area. The original buckle was a 'stash' buckle'.

Thanks Minerva Crafts for this corduroy fabric and buttons. I love adding metal notions you stock.

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