Saturday, 18 October 2014

Autumnal La Sylphide - in Spring!

I've joined the Papercut fan club...

And this won't be the last Papercut pattern I make either! Papercut are based just across the Cook Strait from us here in Wellington, and it feels great to be supporting something local.

I didn't make up a muslin, which I've taken to doing recently, but I kinda wish I had. The fit isn't awful, but it could be better. The waist measurement was smaller than mine, but only by the smallest amount, so the waist on the bodice has about an extra 3/4 inch applied to it.

The skirt pieces were far too wide for my fabric, so the skirt is not as full as on the pattern. I ended up cutting the skirt pieces less curved so that they didn't look odd. Even so the waist on the side seams has gone a bit baggy somehow - it's not obvious with a belt. I also lengthened the skirt, I certainly don't have the legs for the Papercut length! There's about 8 inches extra on the length.

The pattern was really clear and easy to follow. The instructions are great. They are thorough with clear illustrations. I've seen on some blogs that the sleeves are quite tight and narrow, but I decided to cut the sleeves as per the pattern and they are perfect for me and I certainly don't have tiny arms.

The fabric is a quilting cotton I got from Arthur Toye before they closed. It was originally just going to be a blouse, but somehow the La Sylphide pattern just won over. Cutting out the fabric I noticed that it certainly frayed, it was awful with bits of burnt orange cotton everywhere, so I ended up finishing all seams using French seams.

In some ways the fabric was not the best choice, it's obviously quite thick and stiff and so the neck tie sits a bit proud, but if I tie it well...

The details
Fabric:  Quilting cotton in a burnt orange with star flowers from Arthur Toye closing down sale, Jan 2014.

Notions:   Thread, interfacing for the tie band and button placket, plain matt black buttons from Wellington Sewing Services in Kilbirnie.

Pattern:   Papercut Patterns La Sylphide dress
First worn:  For work just over a week ago. Worn here at Fabric-a-Brac in Newtown today, photos taken by Kat. Where I just happened to be joined by Jo wearing her La Sylphide!

Changes made:  The waist made about 3/4" bigger, the skirt less full and lengthened by about 8 inches.

Recommend?  A great pattern, it feels fab to wear, and I get loads of compliments wearing it. I'm already contemplating number 2 from some viscose fabric I have. So I think that means I recommend it ;-)

Oh and cos it's October, or should I say Frocktober, I'll be joining in the party over at The Monthly Stitch.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

No one puts the Baby (Lock) in the corner...

At the beginning of September I posted all about my sewing room.

We now have a new addition to the family on the sewing table... Something I've wanted for a while.

You mean to say you still have worked out what it is..?
OK, I'll put you out of your misery...

Have you guessed now?

Oh yeah!


And Baby herself...

Yes, I finally have an overlocker!

We'd gone out in the morning of what would have been my Dad's birthday to do our civic duty - it was general election day

Get stuff for the kitties and to get a few things from Spotlight (where Christmas had already started...)

Spotlight had overlockers on offer. I pointed one out to Mr N, he was quite shocked, he honestly though it was a large arm thing which attached to a normal machine, not a machine which is actually separate and quite possibly smaller than my sewing machine! So I said that I'd rather buy one from a local sewing machine shop rather than Spotlight - no offence Spotlight, but with something like this, I rather go where staff have time to spend with me.

Next thing I know, he's offering to drive me down there and so next stop...

A girl doesn't turn down an offer like that!

Wellington Sewing Services are down in Kilbirnie down near the airport and have so much stuff in there, not just an enormous array of sewing machines and overlockers, but a small fabric section, a mass of notions, embroidery threads, knitting wools, etc, etc. You name it, it's a treasure trove. I fully intend going back to have a proper look!

I tried out three machines, one Janome - which would have matched my machine, an Elna - which just didn't feel right and this Baby Lock which is fab! It's a bit noisier than my normal machine, but it is so easy to thread. It came with three white and one beige thread on it. I bought some black reels too and have already threaded it with these and it still works!! I can do a rolled hem and all sorts with it. Not that I've tried all the fancy stuff yet!!

I don't have any examples of the sewing so far, but I'm happy and she sits so happily on my sewing table with the other two machines!

All I need to do now is make some nice new matching covers for them all! Oh and get the Singer serviced and the case fixed...

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Gifts fit for a baby

Some good friends of ours have just had a little girl, who was born two weeks ago. When we knew they were expecting a present from the stork, I just knew I wanted to make something, but what I didn't know.

It was time to break out those knitting needles again, even though I don't really consider myself much of a knitter, the gift just had to be knitted. I eventually found this blanket pattern on Ravelry. It looked easy enough and one which I didn't really have to think much about!

OK well, I'm sure the knitted toy made it look even better! But the moss stitch edging and the ridges with blocks of stocking stitch were just really simple and unfussy.

I found this yellow acrylic wool in Spotlight. They had a sale on and these 100g balls were only $5 - bargain! I didn't really go for cheap, I was looking for a yellow and didn't want wool, which might not be best for sensitive baby skin.

The pattern was so easy to make up, it just took forever, about two months! I decided to go for the largest size, 33" by 31" according to the pattern. This meant I had rows with 173 stitches on them. It took at least 10 minutes to stitch a row. The ridges are made by knitting a purl row instead of knitting. I have to say that before starting this my purl knitting (purling?) was decidedly slow, it got significantly better time I'd finished.

The baby's father is mad on the local football team (their colours are black and yellow) and Mum is mad on Formula 1 racing and originally I thought to edge it with black bias ribbon and stitch racing cars and footballs to the blanket. I couldn't find the latter and in the end found these cute little fellas (do they need an introduction?)

...and remembered both Mum and Dad's love of Despicable Me. Minions it was! So a couple were handstitched to the blanket. I have to say, it was the best choice ever.

I found some ribbon to add just that little homemade touch...

The second part of the gift came from a Facebook discussion. Baby's Dad put an image on FB of this

Baby Girl Dress Upcycled from Men's Shirt - DIY 

...wishing that Mum to be (at the time) could make one. Muggins here said something similar to "I have sewing machine..." And the rest they say is history! Yep, before long I was presented with a shirt to make a baby dress.

I found the original website which had this image to check out what was needed. Now, I know little about baby clothes, so off I went to the local department store to check out baby dress sizes!

I drafted my own pattern more by guess work, although there was a certain amount of measuring taking place. ;-)

I cut the pattern on the fold ensuring the button band on the front was central and the hem was the shirt hem.

I decided to try to sew self-bound seams. They provide strong seams for baby and children's clothes. Mind you, sewing these seams on the arms was a nightmare! There's not a lot of room there!

A spare button has been attached to one seam

As you can just about see in the photo above, the original shirt had purple binding around the inside neck. It gave me an idea to finish the neck and sleeves with purple binding.

I didn't cut the neck and sleeves big enough to require elastic in them, so it's not exactly like the the orginal on the All Day Chic website. The other thing I did was to remove the buttons, stitch up the button holes, attach brand new purple flower buttons and then stitch large snap fasteners on the inside. Fast removal is a good thing with baby clothes :-)

I'm really happy how this turned out. It's a wee bit big for baby at the moment - she's three weeks old! However, the best thing is that she has a dress to go into which isn't pink! I feel brave enough to try make some more of these, perhaps sleeveless so that they can be layered more easily for the cooler weather.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Loud golf III - the houndstooth!

The third iteration of the Loud Golf trews, as a know how much you all love them. Again, I had a request for more and was driven down to Spotlight/Fabric Warehouse on a combined trip ;-)

Please excuse the photos, Mr N really does not like having his photo taken and doesn't like time being spent on composition or anything.

I actually made these, all bar the hemming in time for The Monthly Stitch mono sewn month, which seems like an age ago (July).

There really is little to say about these. I made the same changes as with Mark II, and this time, I actually drafted pattern pieces to make it easier! So I drafted pieces for the front slash pockets. They work so much better than in seam pockets, not that you can see it very well in this photo :-)

I also enlarged the back pockets too.

I was lazy and didn't try to match the pattern anywhere ;-) Just check out that houndstooth! I finished both the inside and outside leg seams using a flat felled seam. It's not easy with trousers sewing flat felled seams! The top stitching was all done using black cotton. I actually used a metal zip for the trousers this time. Hopefully this will be a bit stronger.

And so the details...  
Fabric: Cotton twill from Spotlight, May 2014.
Notions:   Thread, a metal zip, interfacing for the waistband and a button for the waistband too.
Pattern:  Vogue 8719
First worn:  To a trip to Wainuiomata Golf Club with a friend on a very wet day in late August.
Changes made:   Altered the inseam side pockets to be slash pockets and also enlarged the back pockets.
Another one?  There is another pair in the offing - beware!

One last photo... Don't ask!

Monday, 8 September 2014

The Jenna Cardi

This is the new pattern from one of my lovely WSBN friends here in Welly. The amazing Kat launched Muse last week with this first pattern, the Jenna cardi, named after her equally lovely sister.

I was lucky enough to be one of the testers. It's actually the first time I've tested a pattern and I was so flattered when asked, my mind went into overdrive! Crazy English lady that I am!

Straight away I printed it out and stuck it all together, I just couldn't wait to get going! The pattern pieces lined up perfectly. Some patterns I've printed are just slightly out, but this one was perfect (yes I was using a printer I'd used before.) Next was to find something from stash I could use to make it up. The fabric was a wool viscose and very loosely woven, plus it slipped and slid everywhere. Note to self, don't sew with wool viscose unless completely necessary!

I cut out a size 40, simply because I'm halfway between sizes. My fabric choice was poor and in hindsight, the 38 would have been plenty big enough!  Anyway, this pattern has lots of options with sleeve lengths and the optional yoke detail. It's also sized from a 32 to 48, which should cater for a lot of sizes.

I decided the longer hip length cardi with long sleeves would get the most wear, but since I didn't really have the amount of fabric recommended I had to ignore the cutting layout (not ideal, but sometimes needs must.) I also realised there wasn't enough for the sleeves! Help! Then I checked them out, they were too long for me, so I happily cut them a couple of inches shorter.

Please note: I wasn't the only one with short arms and the long sleeve pattern pieces have now been altered in the published pattern, so you should all be AOK.

I did cut the side seams curved as in the pattern, but with my loosely knitted fabric, this didn't work and I actually stitched the side seams straight down from the waist. This works brilliantly with my fabric giving me a loose fit cardi which goes with so many things in my wardrobe...

Gabrianna, Mortmain, Cami, unblogged pencil skirt, Tania culottes and Kay Unger dress to mention but a few ;-)

I think Kat has actually altered this hip length curve slightly since testing to make this fit better.

I think that's enough on the fit, what about the construction? Well if you want an easy cardi pattern, this is the one for you. It goes together so quickly, I'd cut it out and made it up in about four/five hours total. All my seams are finished with a wide zig-zag stitch and so it would be even quicker if you use an overlocker (which I don't have).

The instructions are really well written with clear pictures. I'm a great one for looking at the pictures and ignoring the instructions and Kat's images didn't disappoint. What I really like is that the sleeves are attached before sewing the whole side seam from cuff to waist. I love this type of construction which gives a really clean finish and is so much easier to insert sleeves this way. The cuffs for the sleeve and waist give a really nice finish to this pattern, giving it a great fit.

The button band is interfaced with non-stretch interfacing ensuring the button band keeps it's shape and is really structured. I spent ages cogitating and ruminating over the buttons, in the end I went with these silver pink flowery buttons I got from Fabric-a-Brac.

The details
Fabric:  A ribbed pink wool viscose from Fabric-a-Brac, October 2013
Notions:   Non-sretch interfacing, thread and buttons from Fabric-a-Brac, February 2014.
Pattern:  Jenna cardi - the first pattern from Muse Patterns
First worn:  As soon as I'd finished it, about a week ago!
Worn here with:  A RTW skirt from Zara (old from the UK), purple tights and black boots from Overland. Oh and a hat I've knitted (not blogged about).
Changes made:  Since I was testing, I made as the pattern said. The only change I made was to stitch straight down the side seam.
Another one?  I think I might just have to. This pattern is fabulous. I'd love to find a much more structured knit to create the version with the yoke.

No outtakes this time, but a sad end to the tale :-( I wore this lots, then washed it in exactly the same way as before I cut it. I dried it flat too and the cardi has stretched widthways (the stretch way) and shurnk in the length :'( I'm currently at a loss with what to do, I might try washing it again and being even more careful how I lay it flat.