Thursday, 7 September 2017

Fine tuned

There's nothing more satisfying that a dress that works. Testing it helps and I did that with this month's Minerva Crafts project using Deer and Doe Belladone dress.
Ok, here's the elegant photo of the dress.
After I took this photo I realised the red flowers follow their way to my red shoes.
Oh, and I added red piping to bring out this colour in the fabric.
I had a choice of flower colours to choose from when selecting the piping. Of course I chose red.
A better fitting back dress
As you can see, I used the red flowers on the back shoulders and matched a red flower at the centre back. 
Here's a closer look at the red flower placement at the back.
Here are the bodice pieces I tweaked to get the fit right.

The armholes gaped at the back and the back bodice base also gaped so I've wedged out this fullness. The armholes felt high so I lowered these too and the pulling from the test dress has been eliminated.
If neat finishings are your thing, here's a peek at the inside of this dress.
The bodice is lined with non-stretch poplin.
Sewing on the piping is always much more accurate with good Prym measuring tools.

When all is said and done, this dress made me happy.
 Happy it fits well and happy to know Spring is around the corner in my little neck of the woods.


This little number is now ready to tour around Japan this month. Thanks Minerva Crafts.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Summer motivation

Classic styles used with modern prints are what made me create this two-piece swimsuit.
Kwik Sew 3300 is a classic bra pattern that I've used and Kwik Sew 2689 is the bottoms pattern.
Most of the fabrics and elastics were bought from Pitt Trading.
While I chose to make this swimsuit on a whim this week, I could do this because I had everything.
What you see above is my placing the fabric patter so I've stuck with the dark parts of this pattern.
Pitt Trading has lots of swimwear fabrics and notions.

The bra piece has a bra cup in it. I'm looking to acquire proper bra cups for swim suits soon.
The bra bridge has the lighter colour print.
You can see that the bra has proper underwires and powermesh on the bra bands.

You'll also notice I've used a bikini closure and the bra cups are fully lined with the lighter colour parts of the fabric.
By the time I finished making the bra, I was revved up to complete this whole set.
Making this two-piece swimsuit so fast was also facilitated because I had tested and used these patterns before.

Now my goal is to have a beach-ready body. 
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Monday, 28 August 2017

Checking belladone

Belladone is a classic dress from Deer and Doe patterns. I've been admiring it for some time and this month I've tested it out for next month's Minerva Crafts project.
No tanning spray was used - winter is here.
The design of this dress is retro and I love how you can add piping to it.
When I went through my plaid/check fabric stage, I bought this green check fabric so I used this to text out Belladone.
I found the perfect pre-made bias binding that I've used to pipe this dress as practice for next month's dress.
Having a big stash does have its advantages. I tend to buy notions and fabrics in similar colours so when I eventually get to a project, I have everything I need. Having to shop for a specific project can be tiring and disappointing so this way I'm constantly happy.
On this test dress I made these adjustments
  • forward shoulder adjustment
  • shortened the bust points on the front bodice
  • shortened the skirt length to 19".
When I tried on the test dress I wasn't happy with where the waistband sat. However I wore the dress the next day and decided the waistband placement works well on me.
If I lengthen the bodice, it might throw off the waistband position too much.
Prym zipperI added a gorgeous external lace zipper from Prym on the test dress. It blended into the dress and it looks really pretty to me. The pattern suggests an invisible zipper but I really love this girlie lace zipper.
The benefit of added an exposed zipper on this check fabric is you don't have to match them across the seams.

The skirt pattern has a hem facing. I didn't use this facing as a 2.5cm hem was easy enough to machine stitch.

I wore this over the weekend before the Arctic blast hit Sydney.
Yes there are still some fine tuning to do based on the pull marks on this dress. This fabric has no ease so in the next version, the fabric has more ease so I'll include a FBA when I make this again out of non-stretch fabric.

More soon. Follow

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Ergonomic tracing wheel and toiles

Tracing wheels are a must in couture sewing or when you're simply tracing a pattern onto fabric. Prepping patterns gives you better accuracy but tracing can be tiring.

I tested a 27-pattern piece dress so the thought of tracing stitching lines and notches was demotivating. Truly.
Here's the prep stage: pattern, calico, Prym ergonomic tracing wheel, Prym Love magnetic pin cushion and Prym glass-head pins (48 x 0.8mm) 
What was a pleasant surprise was how easy it was to trace each stitching line and not have fatiguing wrists using the Prym ergonomic tracing wheel.
Prym ergonomic tracing wheel, arm pin cushion with hook and loop fastening and Prym Love magnetic pin cushion 
The tracing wheel I have always used is wobbly and I never realised the strain it caused on my wrists.

Prym ergonomic tracing wheel is designed to keep your wrists fatigue free.

Now I've been using Prym tools for all my sewing this year and the accuracy of my sewing has really improved. My previous tracing wheels are now retired and I'll be attached to this ergonomic tracing wheel by Prym from now on.

I'm currently experimenting with Prym's parallel tracing wheel and I'm enjoying using this new tailoring too now.

Minerva Crafts is offering a 10% discount for all Prym purchases with discount code 'maria'.
Enjoy!

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This is to claim my blog on bloglovin Now to figure out how to update rss on blogger to 2.0 '
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Monday, 21 August 2017

Minoru 1: Kelly 0

Anorak jackets are here to stay in my wardrobe. 

I’ve made 2 Minoru and 2 Kelly anoraks because I wanted a shower proof version of both jackets.

In the Minoru corner...
I made the Minorus 5 years ago and I wear these two jackets a lot throughout the year. 

Both Minorus are lined and so comfy. The showerproof one is a fav.
These do take a while to cut out and construct.
They do take time to collect the notions and fabrics
The minoru has no external pocket so I’ve added a zipper welt pocket to both versions.

In the Kelly corner...
This month I’ve made an interlined Kelly and a shower proof version.
Kelly takes time to cut out and construct.
Collecting the notions and fabrics takes time.
Kelly needs snaps, a zipper, drawstring, tape, 'pulley-thingies'.
Kelly has pockets but that pocket flap details isn’t functional so I made it functions on the second Kelly.
The instructions for the Kelly are not easy to follow and I had to mark the pattern pieces so they fit my size.

The Minoru instructions are clear. 
The Kelly instructions need more work.

Where these anoraks worth the effort?
Any anorak works for me but I'd happily make the Minoru again.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

khaki in the rain

I always intended to use this showerproof fabric (diaper fabric) that I bought from GreenbeansAU many moons ago, for a rain jacket. 
You can see the inside of the fabric is woven and the outer layer is showerproof.  The fabric is: very drapy; soft; pliable; and that's where the additional challenges kicks in with this showerproof anorak.
Seeing as though the basic shapes in the Kelly jacket lend themselves to a rain jacket, I jumped back into this pattern to made it again. 

What were you thinking?
I know you're saying - 'why use this pattern again?'

Well, I'd made my adjustments and I had my hopes up to use this fabric for this anorak. The zipper, fabric, lining and hardware were all sitting in my stash so I made it again.

I also hate wasting a project even when the pattern tested my patience and sewing skills to a whole new level.
For the record, the black version is my fav. The raincoat is for rainy days only.
Drawstring or not.
For this jacket I went to the trouble to buy drawstring in green.
I wasn't 100% convinced that I should add the drawstring feature because the outer fabric constantly moves and stretches.

By the time I was ready to hem the jacket, my husband said to leave it as is. The next morning I had a second look at this jacket and realised he was right.
If I added the drawstring, I would have looked like a mess in khaki, so the green drawstring now sits in my stash. It looks fairly messy as is and ironing the fabric is not advisable.
Work in progress
Functional pockets
The pocket flaps on this version can be closed and certainly add more weight to this jacket.
The pocket flaps tuck neatly into the pockets.
One of the snaps popped out of place on the pocket. The rainproof fabric is very soft so I used a layer of calico inside the pocket when I replaced the snap.

This time I used the right centre front facing piece that I didn't seem to need in my first anorak is used on this jacket. Looking at both version I think the reason I didn't use it on the first jacket is because I used the Prym trim for a nicer finish.

That stash zipper The zipper on this version is metal and I left the jacket length as long as the zipper. I don't have the skills to shorten a metal zipper without ruining the zipper tape.
Now I do look like a 'khaki oompa loompa' wearing the jacket this long however, I remember what it's like when we experience torrential weather so this jacket will be perfect for those occasions. I am certainly very well covered.
Couture techniques
Going back to the metal zipper, it kept getting caught into the fabric so I did a row of hand stitching to keep it away from the zipper. That hand stitching is a couture technique.
I also hand stitched the zipper facing to the interlining.
The hem is hand stitched to the interlining.
Matching trims
Both the internal grey stripe trim and outer reflective trims were in my stash I had just enough to make them look 'planned' into this jacket.
I had enough 'handmade' Prym trim for the jacket hood.
Neat huh?
I love my stash.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Anorak adventures

This little anorak is this month’s Minerva Crafts project with lots of Prym products. It's been perfect for all sorts of reasons.
I decided to try the Kelly Anorak by Closet Case.
Would you believe I based this project on the Prym products?

Prym products
I’m enjoying testing Prym products and am learning new skills. This project has given me new insights about of how Prym understands what makes a useful and long lasting product.

Firstly their products are well designed and engineered to reduce fatigue.
There was no reason for me to panic when the zipper didn’t open easily.

The zipper packaging has a handy diagram that indicates it is an open ended zipper.
The zipper also 'clicks' when you've closed the zipper properly when you're zipping it up!

Finally the snap packaging lists the codes of the snap tools you need and the closures are so sturdy. They look fun but they stay in place and feel secure.
Prym has YouTube videos that guide you on using their snap tools successfully. I did a test snap and the rest of the snaps were inserted so easily. I've been roughly handed these on the jacket and they're securely in place.
See the rhinestone gecko on my sleeve?
This is Prym iron on transfer or sleeve tattoo.
The ironing process and sleeve placement was a breeze.

Anorak adventures
This mild-mannered anorak has been worn a lot this month: to work; out shopping and to Parkrun. It’s been folded up and still springs back to life with no creases.

This jacket is the right length to 'waltz' into the gym and still look properly dressed.

With all the tailoring I do, I love the details the Kelly jacket provides.
I even added reflective tape as it blends into the jacket design.

The way the instructions are set up, you can effectively sew this jacket up in unique stages. That’s important when you’re time poor. Once you start making this jacket, you can work on different parts for an hour at a time. Having said that the instructions are not easy to follow and I still don't understand why. 
Cutting this jacket out took a bit of time. The front zipper tabs are cut separately so I had to make sure I cut these out last and I cut them at the longest length because the reviews indicated these pattern pieces didn't match up.
The only pattern adjustments I did was the forward shoulder adjustment.

The first stage I sewed up where the sleeves. I did this because I wasn’t sure if the sleeve length would work with the fabric I chose. The sleeves are long but they give me room to wear at three layers underneath.
Then I sewed up the hood. I’ve seen a few anoraks with contrasting fabric to line the hood so I took my time to experiment with this feature of the anorak.

I decided to apply the elephant trim to the seams and especially along the hood and zipper seams. This is my first go at using elephants on my clothes. The clothes hook is something I added and is not in the pattern.
The idea of using snaps on this jacket was a bit hair-raising so I did a practice run. The results were good so by the time I applied these snaps to the jacket, my only challenge was making sure they were placed in the best spots. I did not follow the pattern instructions or snap placement.
There are many reviews of this jacket that warn others about the zipper instructions and their facings.
I kept these in minds and I ended up having a facing piece leftover. I'm not sure how that happened. The way the illustrations are placed in the instructions make it awkward to follow. 

I tried working through the online blog post but again, the instruction layout didn't flow so I used a rtw jacket as my guide. 

The sleeve placket doesn’t sit well either. They only sit flat once you sew the sleeve placket down. I expected the sleeve vents to lay flat but they don't. 
The pocket size is really good. The flaps on the pockets are not a closure so that was a bit disappointing too. I'll change that next time I make this jacket.

I was able to make the sleeves sit on my shoulder point by reducing the shoulder seam by 1.5cm.
To be honest, with all the challenges this pattern had, I wear this jacket a lot but the instructions will do your head in.
You can see how it's too easy to wear this jacket when there's so much to do each weekend.

This is the most glam sleeve tattoo I've ever had.

Thanks Minerva Crafts and Prym! I'm glad I based this jacket on Prym's products. Follow

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