Saturday, 30 March 2013

Cageofwords Housekeeping - Free Crochet Patterns


Regular readers can just skip this post, its just a bit of housekeeping relating to an old website I used for my free crochet paterns.

You have hit this page as a result of a redirect from cageofwords.com.


Cageofwords was my old self hosted wordpress blog, but I had to shut it down in March 2013 due to a "catastrophic hacking event".

If you are looking for my free crochet patterns, namely the Olivia Skirt and the 1940's Cloche Hat, you can still get them over on Ravelry as free pdf downloads.  Click on the image below to get taken straight to the Ravelry page for that pattern.



The Olvia Mult-size Crochet Skirt - FREE PATTERN
MMM'12 Day 27
Crochet Cloche Hat - FREE PATTERN

Monday, 25 March 2013

A study in stripes - Tiramisu Peplum Top and some T's



Despite lack of sleep and general feeling of impending middle age (I turned 42 this month, ack), I have been sewing like a mad women this week, doing some "I am a mother of young children and can't live in heels and a perpetual state of glamorous dress, as much as I would like to, so lets make a bunch of practical T-shirts" sewing.

Anyhow, after wetting my jersey-sewing-t-shirt-making feet with the green stripe T last week, I made a few more. Even better, I was stashbusting a heap of jersey fabrics I have had since May last year, I've used three different fabrics from stash, woo hoo.

First up, and this one is much more interesting than "just a T-shirt" is a Tiramisu variation, turning the dress into a peplum top.  I started this during the Tiramisu Sewalong, right after my polka dot version.


The dress I was feeling very meh about, the fabric just didn't work for me as a dress plus the waistband wasn't holding/sitting well due to thinness of fabric: once the skirt was attached I didn't like how the stripes looked.  So after glaring at it hanging in my sewing room for a few weeks out came the scissors and I chopped off  the skirt, leaving me with a 10" peplum graduating down to 11" at the back. Once I did the hem I think it ended up being about 8" - 9" in length.

I removed the waistband and replaced it with a pieced together waistband using the blue stripes.  I love how this looks plus the extra seams add great support and stability to the waist section.

 As a small busted person I also appreciate how the shaping of this top gives me a bit of shape.

This blurry (oops) full length shot shows how I intend to generally wear it: with jeans for a smart casual look.

I like the slightly lower back hem.  It was easy to do.  I just measured one inch lower at the back and used my french curve to do an even curve back to the side seams.

I used my newly discovered fusible hemming tape for the peplum hem and love how smooth the hem sits as a result.


I do plan to make another one of these.  Or more.  I think as a top I will get way more wear than a dress and I love the fancier than a T-shirt look while it still being just as easy and comfortable as one.

Next up  I looked at the cut off skirt section of the Tiramisu and it just felt WRONG to let that fabric go to waste.  The fabric is lovely quality cotton jersey from the ebay store Fabric Warehouse, however I paid almost $30 for it including shipping so making a second top halves my cost per item and makes my stingy scrooge persona happy.

The skirt length was too short to make a full T-shirt so I added a chevron yoke using the scraps of fabric I had left. 


Its just a very ordinary T-shirt but those chevrons and yoke plus working out how to make use of my scraps took some doing.  I got some great help via twitter from sewing buddies Lena and Gabrielle while I was trying to figure out how to make it work.  So awesome to have help and second opinions from experienced sewists mid project. 

I used fusible stay tape for the hems and I used a twin needle to topstitch the yoke and neckline and hems.   The stripe matching at the back of the sleeves to the yoke is a TOTAL accident.  I had barely any fabric and not much choice as to where I could place the pieces so Yayy.

I was toying with idea of adding a lace yoke but decided the lace deserved something more than a pieced together offcut base so I am currently eyeing off some jersey on Fabric.com to bring that idea to fruition.




Finally, I used some more jersey from the Remnant Warehouse I purchased last year to make another basic T.  This one is drafted off one of my RTW T's that I liked the fit of (same pattern as for the chevron T) and my first attempt at copying a RTW garment.



The peplum top and chevron T average at $15 each, the other T-shirt was less than $7. The quality of the fabric is beautiful, much nicer than a purchased T-shirt so I am very happy with this dose of restocking.  I kept them all plain and simple to maximise practicality.  This post is particularly thrilling to me as it represents the transition to being able to make (and actually wear.  In real life.  In front of real people) my entire wardrobe, including basics.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Bloglovin and a Sneak Peak

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Just doing the necessary to claim my blog over on Bloglovin, following the demise of Google Reader.  I've been looking at both Feedly and Bloglovin and at the moment I am leaning towards Bloglovin.

Meanwhile, I've been a busy seamstress this week, sewing up a bunch of basic practical tops to everyday wear.  I've impressed myself with my practicality and lack of florals.  Here is a little sneak peak:













I'll be posting about this stuff once I get some decent photos, hopefully tomorrow. 

Sunday, 17 March 2013

A Scout Woven T, Breaking the Drought, and Being Inspired

I've had a doozy of a few weeks.  Just full on with health issues, and a stressful amount of work, along with a large dose of self flagellation (of the mental kind) as both issues were self created due to neglect and lack of discipline.  Funny how those two issues can affect so many areas of our lives, even those that are apparently unrelated.

Anyway, I'm pleased (relieved) to say I am now on top of both and finally was able to dive back into my sewing room yesterday to get some sewing done.  It was so cathartic.

I decided to tackle a very easy project 1) because I wanted something easy 2) because since I have started sewing I can't bring myself to buy certain things eg: T-shirts.  The cheap ones fall apart after only a few washes and the expensive/better quality ones I just can't bring myself to buy when I can make it for a quarter of the price (never mind that I never do) and 3) because I was mega inspired from this post from Elisalex of By Hand London who made the Grainline Woven Scout T and looked sooooo lovely that I think about 3 minutes after I read her post I had purchased the pattern and 4) I really need more casual clothes.  I have too much frosting and not enough cake.

I decided to try it in a stretch knit because that is what I really needed and I also had a skirt I made that I knew I wasn't going to wear due to thinness of fabric, not very flattering and also I had nothing to match for the top.  Anyhow, here it is:


I used the binding technique for the arms, neckline and sleeve and hem that I learnt when doing the Tiramisu Sewalong but that I have seen applied many times by many bloggers, in particular this extremely helpful post by Handmade by Carolyn so I knew that was the best way to finish things off without hems stretching out.


The neckline looked a bit boring so I added a bow, which I was a bit unsure about but now I love.  The neckline also ended up smaller than the pattern due to the neck binding.


 I love how it looks tucked in to my Jenny Skirt.


The fabric is a nice light weight jersey knit of Italian origin that I purchased last year when I went to the Fabric Remnant Warehouse.


It looks ok untucked, I plan to wear it with jeans etc.  I tapered the sides of the pattern slightly alot, probably 4 inches all up (1 inch off each side front and back) as the baggy shape wasn't so flattering on me. (Note to the small shouldered/small busted: baggy styles look amazing on those with good shoulders and bust lines as it gives the fabric a lovely drape and something to hang from.  I have found for my body type I look like I am wearing a potato sack as the fabric does does not have enough structure to fall from.  One of the many things I have learnt since starting to sew for myself)  I also did a forward shoulder adjustment of about 1 cm/4/8", and I needed a narrow shoulder adjustment of 1/2". Next time I will also do a very slight adjustment for sloping shoulders of 1/8".   The hem binding needs a better press or a row of stitch in the ditch stitching to sit better I think.


I also did my best work yet in stripe matching! The fabric feels lovely to wear and I'm glad I chopped up the maxi skirt.  I do need maxi skirts but I think this fabric works much better as a top.

So yayy to getting back into sewing after a drought of a few weeks.  This top took a couple of hours due to the fiddling with fit etc but I plan to knock out a few more to replenish my t-shirt drawer, all from stash fabric. It really is a fast project.  I also plan to do a lace version like Jen's one from Grainline.  Isn't it beautiful! I even have a very similar lace so a bit of imitation/flattery will be happening this way soon.
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