Sunday, 15 October 2017

Love Bear

A very dear friend is recovering from surgery on both her feet.  I wanted to make her something special to give her cuddles.  Sweet Pea's Love Bear seemed perfect.


The bear is made from fur, the ear, heart on chest and face are from suede left over from my suede jacket, the black nose is leather from the leather jacket that I got at an op shop.

I added a handmade label and on the back added " I attached the label to the ribbon and when I had added the label it reminded be of Paddington Bear, so on the back of the label I wrote "Please look after this bear".

I gave it to my friend today and she loves it.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Simplicity 1716 and Love Notions Laundry Day T

I made a couple of tops using Simplicity 1716 when I first started sewing.  I love the cowl neck and I've wanted to make another top since.  When I saw this ITY in Morelands fabrics I thought it would be perfect.
 I quite like it hiked up at one side to give an asymmetrical shape.
 The back is cut in 2 pieces rather than on the fold and is shaped in slightly at the waist so gives a more fitted shape.

The pattern comes in various lengths and different sleeve options.  I used view E for the body, and view F for the sleeves.  I made size 16.

I had bought 1.5m x 148cm and I needed the full amount of fabric, though there is a bit left over I could colour block with some other fabric for a top.

This top didn't take long.  About 4 1/2 hours from start to finish so was completed in 1 day.

As I had time left this weekend, I made my 3rd Laundry Day T, the free pattern from Love Notions.  This just took 2 1/2 hours to sew.  Fabric was from the remnant table at Spotlight and cost me just $3 for 1.5m x 148cm.  Again I have some left over.  I need to check, there may be enough to make a Lago Tank, the free pattern from Itch to stitch.  If there is I'll pair it with a pair of sleep shorts to make a sleep top for summer.




Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Style Arc Stacie Jean jacket

I've never owned a denim jacket.  They are all over the place at the moment, so decided it was time I made one.




Naturally it had to have embroidery on it.  The designs are from Urban Threads.  The roses on the front yokes are the same as on the back pocket of my jeans, just different colours.
Close up of the rose on front yoke.
And I couldn't resist putting this cat on the back.

The pattern is Style Arc's Stacie jean jacket.

A lot of the jackets in at the moment are cropped length, but I think the longer length of this suits me better.  I already have a long enough torso without emphasising it with a cropped jacket.

I made a size 14.  There are a few things worth noting.
  • The pattern says 1.2m x 148cm for sizes 6 to 18.  However I had 2 metres x 148cm and I needed that full 2 metres.  
  • The pattern says 8 buttons required.  However it takes 8 buttons down the front of the jacket, plus 2 for the packet flaps.  10 buttons in total.
  • The instructions don't state what size seam allowance - they are marked on the pattern pieces.  However you need to be aware that they differ.  Most are 3/8", however the collar, attaching collar to neck, facing and pockets are all 1/4".  As the collar meets exactly at the facing, if the collar or facing aren't sewn correctly then they won't match.
  • For a jacket there is very little ease.  My measurements sit between size 12 and size 14 according to the size chart on the Style Arc website.  I made a size 14 and it is pretty snug.  Fortunately I made it out of stretch denim, if I hadn't used a stretch it would have been too tight.  I don't think I'll be able to wear a jumper under this which I sometimes would want to do. To be fair Style Arc describe it as fitted, and the Stevie jeans jacket for a looser fit.
  • There are no 'real' pockets.  The flaps are faux pockets.  I like real pockets for carrying a tissue.
I enjoyed making the jacket and I do like it.  However I'm not sure I'll make it again.  Unfortunately I bought sizes 10-14.  If I made it again I would prefer size 16 so can wear jumpers under it.  As this means I'll have to buy another pattern I may look for another one with pockets.  A possibility is the Style Arc Stevie jean jacket which they describe as an oversized jacket, and it has welt pockets.

Anyway I have a denim jacket, in the same dark denim as my 2 pairs of jeans.  Next year I'd like to try light coloured denim for both jeans and jacket.  But right now it is time to start sewing for spring/summer.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Bonn shirt - Itch to stitch

I made a flannel shirt last year and it is so useful, nice and warm for the in-between weather we are experiencing in spring.  They are also handy for wearing as a light weight jacket over a t-shirt. One day when I was out recently I noticed a lot of people wearing plaid flannel shirts.  For this version I decided to make my first Bonn shirt.





It has a mandarin collar, rather than the usual collar.  I like it!  I did make a boo-boo when cutting out the pattern.  I looked at the pattern and made size 8, grading to a size 12 at hips.   I was getting over a bout of flu - my second this year! and not paying enough attention to my actual size.  Consequently the size 8 is a fraction too small, as I should have gone with a size 10.  To get around it, I shortened the bust darts, and now it fits fine.  The apex sits a bit high though, so next time I will need to shorten the bust dart and lower around 1 -  1 1/2 inches.

The only other change I made was to add 1" to the length above the waist.

I am pretty pleased with my pattern matching.  I spent a loooong time working on getting this right - it took me 2 hours to cut out 8 pattern pieces, but it was worth it.  Also the flannel was horrid for transferring markings.  In the end I used painters tape, added it to where the marks were and put the marks on top.  The tape can be easily removed without leaving any residue.  From cutting out, to finishing it took me about 12 hours.  I reckon without pattern matching and with a fabric that can easily be marked I could do it in about 10 hours.  A short sleeve version, without sleeve plackets and sleeve pleats would be even less time.

I am happy with this and will be making more using the other sleeve variations that come with the pattern.  I may also make the dress shirt version.  I've bought some lovely patterned tencel that I will use for either this or the Beausoleil dress- another Itch to stitch pattern.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Jalie Jeans 2908 - second pair.

I've been busy making Christmas presents, but I did manage to make another pair of jeans.  This time I changed the leg to straight leg instead of bootcut and I added a 1/4" extra at both inner and outer thighs.  These are soo comfortable.

They are exactly the same as the others, apart from the cut.  Same colour denim, same embroidery on the back pockets.  I want to do a denim jacket and want embroidery to match when wearing jeans and jacket.



These took me around 18 hours over 8 days.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

My first Vogue pattern - 9227

I ordered some Vogue patterns a few weeks ago when they were on sale.  When on sale they are cheaper to buy from the US than from NZ, even with the cost of posting. 2 are summer patterns, but one is a long sleeve knit, perfect for spring when it can still be a bit cool.

I was keen to try my first one - Vogue 9227.




The fabric was a jersey from Morelands Fabrics.  When I saw the fabric I knew it was perfect for this top as the stripes would really show up well.  The collar and button band were a black ponte remnant left over from a previous project.

The button band took me forever to correctly place the buttons.  At the neck, instead of a button I used a press stud and sewed a button on the outside.  I knew my machine would not be able to cope with making a buttonhole through all the fabric that sits inside the neckband there.   I also wasn't satisified with the tiny bit of gaping that remained at the buttonband, so I slipstitched from the armscye to the third button.  As it is  a jersey I don't need all that space to get it on and off.  After all the effort I am pleased with the way it looks.



This certainly wasn't a quick sew, it took me 12 hours from cutting to finishing, compared to the last Lisbon cardigan that took me 4 hours.  However it is a smart t-shirt type top.

Alterations I made to construction were:

  • Added buttonholes to buttonband before attaching to bodice
  • Press stud at neck edge and sewed button on top
  • slip stitched button band from armscye to 3rd button
  • 3" sleeve hems!
  • 1/2" back hem - had to taper side fronts to line up at back hem


There are a few changes I would make next time:

  • Add 1 - 2" to length
  • Shorten sleeves 1" ( had to do a whopping 3" hem)
  • Narrow shoulder adjustment - 1/2"


There are a few other variations of this pattern that I might try.


The other Vogue patterns I bought were:
There are a couple of variations, including this one with short sleeves.  I've bought a couple of different shades of pink linen for this.

This dress, also with variations, with or without roll collar, short sleeves or sleeveless.

I particularly like the pleated skirt on this, so may attempt to make a skirt on it's own.  As suggested in the pattern you can use a different colour for the top to create a skirt/top separate look.  I've bought 3 (!) pieces of cotton sateen for this.  2 of the fabrics I'm not sure of, while one is a black and red very fine check.  I may use one of them to make a skirt and different colour top, I'm thinking an embroidered eyelet or something similar for the top part.

Anyway summer sewing is still a while off, as spring has just sprung so a few more spring items are needed including more jeans, denim jacket and a flannel shirt.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

merino lisbon cardigan

I was lucky enough to find some lovely merino wool on sale.  Perfect for my next Lisbon.

I once again struck problems with my overlocker and buttonhole foot on sewing machine.  This time my overlocker refused to move over the fabric creating a huge nest which had to be cut out of the throat plate leaving a big hole in the button band.   I didn't have enough fabric to cut another band on the grain so had to cut another band against the grain.   Unfortunately this really stretched when cut this way resulting  in the right side being about an inch longer than the left.  I had to do a tuck under the right side to bring it even with the left.  Not ideal as the bottom bands don't match up now, but it's not really noticeable in this fabric.  Also I tried sewing the top and bottom buttonholes before attaching them to the fronts, but this still didn't work and I ended up making buttonholes on the machine.

Here is how I made my buttonholes.  Straight stich up both sides of button holes.  Zig zag up both side of button holes. Go back and forward a few times with a straight stitch at the top and bottom.  It needs very accurate sewing but is better than the foot sticking and creating a nest.   Next time I might try the embroidery machine.

The merino is lovely and warm and I've worn it almost constantly since making it.   I love the cardigan, shame about my machines messing it up.  I will definitely be making more of these.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Itch to stitch Lisbon and Style Arc Barb pants

I've been doing some Xmas sewing for gifts.  I won't be showing these until they are given to the reciptients though.

Also I've done a couple of quick to sew items.



First up was yet another pair of Style Arc Barb pants.  See top photo, photo bombed by Sandy.  I love how quickly these sew up, about 2 1/2 hours from cutting to wearing.  I hear of people that can whip things up in an hour, not me.  Believe me 2 1/2 hours is fast for me.

Fabric was from the Hospice shop.  I had about 1.5 metres and they cost just $5.

Next was my first Itch to Stitch pattern - the Lisbon cardigan.  I made this out of a blue ponte from Spotlight.  I had a 3 metre by 150cm length and the cardigan used about 1.2 metres.  I made a size 8, however the ponte probably didn't have enough stretch as required by the pattern, so it is just a wee bit tight across the bust.  Next time I should go for a size 10 if using ponte, size 8 will be fine for anything with more stretch.

This one also came together really quickly - about 6 hours from cutting to wearing.  However I must have spent an hour of that time fiddling with the darn overlocker.  I was really happy with how it was turning out, but then I had machine malfunctions - both the overlocker and sewing machine.  The first problem was attaching the bands to the jacket fronts.  I tried to do it with just the overlocker and on both bands it decided to chew the beginning of the bands and refused to move over the seams resulting in the sewing repeatedly over the same part of the band.  At the same time it moved the bands out of alignment with the front of the garment.  They had matched perfectly when pinning.  I ended up having to do a weird tuck at the tops of the bands to get them to align (sort of) with the neck band.

The second problem was the sewing machine.  It just refused to sew the buttonholes at top and bottom, the buttonhole foot would not move over the seams, resulting in an absolute mess.   When doing the top buttonhole it stitched the first side of the buttonhole and stuck at the top.  I had to start again moving the buttonhole to the right and dragging it instead of letting it feed, resulting in an unsightly row of half a buttonhole.  At the bottom the same thing started happening but it just created a big knot.  I ended up moving the buttonhole higher than it should be.  As they are so densely sewn and the needle kept repeating in the same spot they are impossible to rip out without damaging the fabric.   Sadly, what could have been a lovely cardigan is now relegated to being worn around the house.

However if won't put me off, the pattern itself is lovely and my machine issues weren't the patterns fault.  I've already got 3 pieces of fabric earmarked for more Lisbons.

Next time I will sew the top and bottom buttonholes to the bands first.  Then sew the bands to the jacket with the sewing machine, and then overlock the seams.



top buttonhole with weird tuck and that extra line of half a buttonhole

Bottom buttonhole, too high and ugly knot beneath it.


Saturday, 5 August 2017

Biker Jacket Burda 1/17 113B, hand sanitiser

I've wanted to make a moto or biker jacket for a while.  I'd intended to use leather from jackets from op-shops, but 3 jackets wasn't enough fabric as lapels, pockets, seams got in the way.  So I decided on a suede version and used buttersuede from Spotlight.

Here is my jacket.




It is lined with blue satin.  I made a size 42, grading to 44 at waist.  I'm very happy with how it turned out - except it is a bit tight across the back shoulders.  If I do it again I should go with a size 44.

The pattern is rated for advanced sewers but the magazine has step by step sewing lesson.  However I found these instructions to be a waste of time.  There are 24 steps and from step 17 onwards it felt like they'd run out of patience in writing the instructions.   The instructions for the lining were vague at best, misleading at worst.   I feel you should to be familiar with making a fully lined jacket before tackling this.

On the embroidery machine has been a hand sanitiser holder.  Made with leather from one of those leather op-shop jackets.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Laundry Day T and leather handbag

Despite having a flu injection   I managed to fall victim to the flu.  There is a particularly nasty strain doing the rounds that wasn't covered by the vaccine.  This had me down and out for 10 days.  I basically used all this time searching on the internet for more sewing patterns.

Once I started feeling capable of doing something I wanted some quick fixes.  So using up fabric stash and remnants I downloaded Love Notions free Laundry Day T shirt.  If you join their Facebook group you get a code to download the design for free.






This pattern is so versatile. It has various sleeve lengths - sleeveless tank, short sleeves, above elbow, long.  Necklines are choice of round, V or cowl and length can be regular T, tunic or even dress.

The first one used up some fabric from my stash.  I thought this was a t-shirt fabric but when I washed it realised it is a very fine wool.  I embroidered some strawberries to brighten up the grey a bit.  The second one I decided to convert to a cold shoulder T.  This fabric was a remnant left over from a previous make.  I basically just chopped the top 1 1/2" off the top of the sleeve pattern and rounded it out by trimming another 1/2" at the centre sleeve.  To finish I just turned the edges under and top-stitched.

These were both super quick makes, just 2 - 2 1/2 hours.

I'd bought some leather coats at the Salvation Army stores and a friend bought me another leather coat from another Salvation Army as she knew I wanted the leather to make bags.  So this is my first leather bag.  The design is from Kreative Kiwi.  I love how this has turned out.  The leather was easier to work with than I thought and is so soft.  It is fully lined with pockets on the inside.  The only change I made was to add a magnetic snap closure.


Sunday, 9 July 2017

Block and sloper

I've spent the last 10 days drafting a block and making a sloper. Here is the final sloper.  This is the bodice sloper joined to the skirt sloper, for a dress.

 I'm hoping to use this to

  1. check the fit of commercial patterns
  2. Draft my own patterns
I bought a king size duvet cover from a thrift store for just $5 so I had plenty of fabric to make lots and lots of slopers until I got my fit correct.  Manipulating the darts to be pointing to the correct place was the hardest.  When I've used commercial patterns I've just accepted where they put the darts, but I thought it was about time I learned how to do these correctly.

The longest to do was the bodice sloper.  From there I did a sleeve sloper.  Next I drafted the skirt sloper which was the easiest, then copies the top of the sleeve sloper to the bodice sloper to create a  torso sloper.

Once I had created the bodice sloper I looked at videos on how to pivot darts so they are in different places for different looks and how to create princess seams, and had a play at doing these.   It doesn't seem too difficult.

I've also ordered a pattern making book that was recommended on Pattern Review and I'm waiting for that to arrive.

More photos: