Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Stashbusting Sewalong and Stuff


Stashbusting Sewalong

I've made the following pledge over at Cation Designs:

"I, Janelle of Sew Hopeful, commit to using at least 12 pieces of stash fabric in 2013. I also commit to no new pattern purchases except anything released by Sewingcake.com and no new fabric purchases except for my couture dress class until I have used up said 12 pieces of stash fabric."

 Gulp.

Here is a picture of some of the fabrics I plan on using this year:

From left to right, top row: Vintage gingham in green and white, enough for a dress, a purple ponte knit, a cream cotton lace, a navy cotton lace, a cream silk cotton, aqua knit.  Bottom row: A green stripe knit, a border print, a blue vintage poly cotton, a blue and white stripe knit, a pink cotton with a floral print, a cotton voile in a bright watermelon with a small print, a cream cotton with the small purple and green flower, and a cream wool knit.
There are 6 dress lengths and the rest are only enough for a top or a skirt.

On other news, I was the featured member yesterday on Pattern Review, which was a nice surprise.  I love that site.  It helps so much when evaluating whether a pattern will work for me or not.

Oohhh, look, over there on the right....

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Tiramisu Dress

I have had a great time this week sewing along with the 30 Minutes a Day Tiramisu Knit Dress Sewalong.  Steph has been looking after us all like a loving mother hen.  In fact there are two reasons why this pattern should be on just about everyone's list if its your style...

1) The pattern is beautifully drafted, easy to customise and flattering for just about everyone.
2) Steph.  She will look after you.  Her "after sales service" is second to none.  Steph REALLY CARES that you have a great experience sewing her patterns and will go out of her way to assist with any fitting issue. 

Anyhow, here is the finished result

Tiramisu.  The face of satisfaction.
I had no end of problems making this dress, and I am going to have a bit of a vent, most of this can be skipped if you have been following the Flickr Group, as I vented a bit there as well...

Problem 1: The fabric was a Spotlight fabric disaster.  The dye ran so much the water was dark blue.  Not surprisingly I now have a variety of shades of "white" polka dots.  I am getting familiar with my Dylon Colour Run Remover from my last run-in with poor quality Spotlight fabric.  It is also poor quality generally, not that I expected great for the price I paid. 

I asked for (and paid for) 2m and only received not quite 1.5m.  I mean sheesh Spotlight.  This is getting ridiculous.  I have had past problems with fabric cut containing huge aka obvious imperfections, and/or cut really crooked (eg: 1.5m in length along one selvedge, 1.3m along the other selvedge.  Big fat frowny face) and other issues.  When fabric shopping with a 2 year old,  my vigilance is expended on toddler wrangling, not much attention span left for ensuring the Spotlight employee does their job competently. 
Solution: I pressed ahead with making the dress as I had nothing else on hand and decided if all else fails it would be a good practice dress.  It also only cost $3/m so I am only out of pocket $6 + my time if it doesn't hold up to wear.

Problem 2: My overlocker decided to go crazy and the tension was so bad I couldn't use it for the first half of this dress.  Broken threads, needles misteriously getting unthreaded, huge loopy stitches.  I had it all happening.
Solution: When my usual fix of new needles and rethreading and a good clean failed I threaded each spool with a different colour so I could really see where the problem was coming from.  Yep.  Lower Looper.  It took turning the tension up to 9(!!!) to get a good stitch.  Enough to press ahead for the rest of the dress and I think a service is in order.  The inside of this dress is now very colourful with green, red, yellow and blue serger threads.  I'm calling it pretty and sailing on.

Problem 3:  I had a few "what the" moments getting the fit right on the bodice.  It took quite a few *pin/machine basting, try on, take off, repin, try on, take off (repeat from * ad infinitum) before I found the solution for my shape.  (33 high bust, 34 bust, 30 under bust, 27 waist).  The problem was exacerbated by the poor stretch recovery of the fabric which I think led to a bit more distortion than usual.

Tiramisu bodice adjust attempt 2 (this one worked)
You can read more about what I did over on the Flickr page, click on the pic to go there.
Solution: Don't give up.   Stay calm.   And go to bed when things start looking nasty. 

Problem 3:  A crazy insane week.  Sick kids,  school holidays, lots on in the real life land. 
Solution: The 30 minutes a day really helped with this.  I just took it one day at a time and somehow managed to make a dress in a week that usually I would not have got any sewing done.  I am going to continue the 30 minutes a day routine.  It really works and makes me feel like I can indulge my "hobby" and have precious precious "me time" without neglecting my family or other parts of my life. 

Anyhow, here are some other shots of the dress. 

Obligatory "look no gaping" shot.
Sitting in my Tiramisu
A back view (what are my kids doing over there?)
Side view
Reality intrudes with a nice shot of the back door gumboots.
There are few more pics on my Tiramisu set over on Flickr


And it all ends well...I got a parcel in the mail today with some beautiful striped jersey of lovely quality that will be Tiramisu #2. 

Monday, 7 January 2013

Sewing Plans and Goals for 2013

I thought it would be helpful for myself to write a list of sewing "hope to do's" for 2013.  It will help me gather my thoughts, plan my sewing time and give me something to review against, for better or worse, at the end of the year.

{Updated 17 September 2013, notes in brackets and italics}

So here they are.  I will revisit this page throughout the year and mark off each item as I am done.
  • Sew something from The Colette Sewing Handbook. Most likely a Meringue Skirt. {UPDATE: dont think so, its not appealing to me like it did earlier this year}
  • Sew something from Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing. In fact, I plan to sew a number of things from this book this year.  These include (in no particular order).
    • Pencil skirt with flounce.  I really like the flounce, page 132
    • The Portrait blouse.  Page 137.  A sweet simple blouse.
    • The Sultry Sheath with a half circle skirt.  Page 143.  I'm already ahead on this one as I have a muslin that fits from when I made this for Lesley.
    • Peter Pan Blouse.  Page 160.  Love the back buttons and collar. 
    • Wiggle Dress or Brocade Dress.  Page 175.  Which version I make depends on the season when I get to it.  The Wiggle Dress would be great for winter. 
    • 1940's zip front dress.  Page 186.  I want to duplicate this dress, right down to the lace on the hem.  I just love it.  Whether I do depends solely on getting my hands on suitable fabric.
    • {UPDATE: All of this stuff is still on the list, although I haven't done any of this yet}
  • Another Burda Jenny Pencil Skirt. {UPDATE: Yep, I made this in May as part of a refashion}
  • A couple of versions of  McCalls 5523, a pencil skirt with cute back details. {UPDATE: Yes, I made one version of this in May using some vintage fabric and have another planned.}
  • Something using the Tessuti Lace I won (yayyy) from Poppykettle.  I'm busting to use it but want to make a worthy project.  {UPDATE: Not yet.  Still waiting on inspiration, but this will probably get made up this Spring}
And a lovely bundle it is too.  Its a gorgeous cotton lace of beautiful quality.
  • Something using this cotton navy lace.  I feel that 2013 will be a lace year for me.   I'm actually thinking of making a peplum top and pencil skirt outfit in this. {UPDATE: Not yet. This will probably get made up this Spring.  I've decided on and purchased my underlining and lining though and will use it to make the Vogue dress from the Craftsy Couture dress class}
    I just can't decide on the underlining.  Here it is with cream silk.  Thinking a navy or black would be better?
    • Something from my unexpected win at BurdaStyle. The book includes a couple of cute bags/totes and a little girl dress as well as a panel of Spoonflower fabric, perfect to use to make one of the totes. Considering that I've always been a "never win anything" person, following sewing blogs has had a totally unexpected side benefit of winning free stuff. Who would have thought!!?? {UPDATE: Not yet, nothing planned}
    My prize from BurdaStyle.  Thank you BurdaStyle.
    Pattern Review has released the contests for 2013.  If one of my planned sews fits in with one of the contents, I may actually enter a couple just for the fun of it.{UPDATE: Changed my mind about this, I decided I currently couldn't be bothered}

    That's roughly 22 things on my wish list for this year, which is roughly something every two weeks.  I think it is a tad ambitious considering my life but it is possible and my sad little wardrobe will be amazing by the end of it if I manage to get all this done (currently my 6 year old has more clothes than me.  Its a sad state of affairs).   Everything I also already have the patterns in my stash (yayy) so note to self: STOP BUYING PATTERNS.  YOU HAVE ENOUGH!!!! To which I reply to self, mockingly: "Darling, you can NEVER have enough fabric or patterns".  True.  True.  I'll try to restrain myself though.

    OK, reading that back I am surprised at how much I would like to do.  Its more than I expected when I first sat down to write a list.  Lets see what the year brings.  I am looking forward to the possibilities. 

    Sunday, 6 January 2013

    Sleeveless Jasmine and Half Circle Skirt

    This is the last thing I made in 2012.  Two things in fact, a skirt and a blouse.

    I saw a version of the Jasmine on Lynne's blog that used a bias strip for the collar instead so I decided to use that for my second Jasmine (my first Jasmine is here).

    Here is the result, which I made sleeveless as we are in the middle of summer and the temperatures in my neck of the woods at the moment are in the 38 - 40+ range (100+ fahrenheit in the shade).

    I used a very cheap remnant of cotton voile from (wait for it....) Spotlight amusingly named "Summer Chill".

    I also forgot to transfer my changes from my last Jasmine to the pattern, so had to redo all my original changes which was a HUGE pain.  Note to self: make sure you transfer your muslin work onto the flat pattern immediately, and when you do make sure you note which dart is the right one and cross out or somehow remove the wrong one.

    I also used a bias strip to finish the inside instead of facings (like Lynne's) just for something different, and also to finish the armholes.


    Wrinkled back to show my added neck darts.

    The armholes may be a bit snug but will do for now

    I am very happy with the collar, it does sit beautifully.  I made the ties much longer so I have a large drapey bow.

    The armholes I think I could have made a bit larger, they feel a little snug but I am going to wear it a few times to see how it feels before I consider changing them.  It's because I bound them with a 1/4" seam allowance instead of 5/8" (and didn't trim off the difference first).

    Along with this top I used a lovely linen look but 100% synthetic navy that I found in the suiting section at Spotlight ages ago,  I only had a metre to work with but as it was 150cm wide I was able to squeeze out a self drafted half circle skirt that I had been wanting to try for ages.  I used the Burda Jenny pattern waistband pieces for the waistband, halving the width in the same way I did for my  Jenny skirt as it resulted in a really well fitting waisting and also meant I could cut the waistband from scraps rather than needing a long strip.  I also love how the Jenny Skirt zipper closes the waistband as well, it is such a neat finish and I will use this method from now on I think I much prefer it to an overlapped tab on a waistband.

    My first half circle skirt.
    The skirt fabric has a lovely heavy drape that works perfectly with this skirt.  It frayed horribly so I serged all edges before I sewed anything.  It is going to be an absolute wardrobe staple for me in 2013.

    I used this tutorial by By Hand London to do the skirt.   I found it really helpful and easy to follow.  Patty the Snug Bug also has a handy calculator you can download on her old blog which is also great.  The post also includes lots of helpful tips and schematics that help explain the maths.

    And here is an action shot of the chaos going on while trying to take photo's of myself.

    So the firsts for me for are:
    • First self drafted half circle skirt
    • First sleeveless garment (I don't normally do sleeveless, but the heat has driven me to it)
    • First bias collar
    Also, you may notice I've installed Disqus as my commenting system.  I'm still working out a couple of kinks (including some lost comments, oops, that was my bad) but I'm hoping it enables a better flow of conversation. 
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