Thursday, 28 August 2014

Goodbye Mum

Dear sewing bloggers,

When we blog we end up sharing layers of our lives, bit by bit, even if that is not our intention to start with. We get to know each other and get a sense of who we all are, through our shared interest - the creation of garments.

I was lucky enough to grow up in a sewing household. I heard the sewing machine in utero, was taught to hand sew doll clothes by my grandmother, then allowed free reign on the sewing machine by my mother. It was all fluid and easy, like breathing. My grandmother was a professional seamstress. She had a no nonsense mix of practicality and talent. Her clients would come to our house with material and describe what style they wanted. Grandmother would take measurements and sketch the pattern straight onto the material in chalk. Everything worked and everything fitted. I never saw her use a paper pattern in my life.

My mother, who did not consider herself talented because she did use paper patterns, would also whip up amazing things with a minimum of fuss.

I was the best dressed little girl on the block, but not in a showy way. I and my brothers miraculously had whatever we needed on a very modest budget and needless to say my mother was always stylishly dressed. It was a simpler time. We never did without but nothing was wasted. We valued what we had.

My mother passed away last night. She had been increasingly frail and ill for a long time and sixteen difficult days after surgery for a broken hip, her heart failed and and she passed away, like a wisp of smoke from a candle.

It was hard to believe that someone with such life force was really gone, but she is.

Goodbye Mum.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Butterick 5958 Jacket

Hi Everyone,

I finally got around to making B5958 

I liked the look of this pattern ever since it came out and have always liked this style. The pattern is for a overlapped and lined jacket with either a zip or button closure, collarless or with a straight collar.

I went for View C with collar and cuffs and a zipper. I had some dark brown corduroy in the stash but it wasn't enough to try the jacket out so I cut the fronts and collar out of some tie dyed velvet that I bought from the bargain table at Spotlight earlier in the season on impulse. I had the zip. I had the lining and interfacing. All I ended up buying was dark brown topstitching thread. Sewing velvet on velvet or velvet against corduroy was a slow business even with a walking foot and what with all the hand stitching I did along the edges of the garment, the jacket took a fair bit of time.

The pattern has no pockets. They were my addition.

I like the collar, done or undone.

The back works too. I had cuffs cut out from the tie died velvet but liked the sleeves better without them.

My almost headless and footless shots are because I forgot the tripod plate wasn't on my camera so the camera was precariously rested on the tripod with the strap wound around it. Also I took these between rain showers so they'll have to do!

I like the pattern and used it with minimal tweaking so I am off to write a Pattern Review.

Happy Sewing,


Friday, 15 August 2014

Winner August give Away

Beat the drums and shake the maracas. Get out the silk shirt with the biggest sleeves ever!

Thornberry, You have won the August give away. Email me!


Friday, 8 August 2014

Jalie 3132

I made my first Jalie!

I resisted this Canadian Company because of postage and exchange rates, but you know what, they are no more expensive than ordering from some of the independent pattern companies right here in Oz, so it was time I gave them a go.

Here is 3132 Nursing Tees. I made the regular variation *cough*
I traced off the size that corresponds to my Burdastyle size and it was spot on. The pieces are nicely drafted and fit together so well. The instructions come in written and diagram form. I love diagrams, being a visualizer I don't need much else.

I used some grey knit from my stash and a long shoe lace for the hoodie tie. I kept the tunic length but future garments will be a bit shorter. I like the hoodie on a V neck and the just right sleeves.

I haven't moved to acreage. I wish. I took the photos in the Plough and Harrow East Regional Park, which is ten minutes drive away and used to be a horse riding ranch when I was a kid.

I have ordered some lovely bamboo knit fabric to do this hoodie top again, but more on that later. For now I may just do another make over, an outdated coat to jacket.

Happy weekend and happy sewing,


Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Dress to tunic Merino Make over

Hi everyone,

Have you ever made a garment that sits in the closet? There's nothing wrong with it. You invested all that time and care but something makes you bypass it for other things. It's a pity, especially if the material is something special like this navy and teal striped merino knit gifted to me ages ago by Mary Nanna, who doesn't blog anymore.

I'll go about things backwards by showing you the 'After'..

A practical, simple top. I am sitting here typing wearing it. I already know it will get high rotation for the rest of winter.

The 'Before' is to post The dress was made using New Look 6071

I unpicked the side bodices and tried to bring the ties up along the neck but that just accentuated the boobiness of this pattern. My main mistake was using a winter fabric for a summer pattern.

I unpicked the sleeves and used them unchanged and re cut the lower back skirt for the back and the lower front of the dress for the front. I incorporated the hems and used the front pattern piece as a guide to doing the boat neck top, straightening and folding and redrawing the front neck curve to be 2" deep.

You know, at this stage in my sewing career I am  sewing less and less with the cheaper fabrics, except for wearable muslins. The nice stuff takes a bit more courage but works so well for straightforward patterns, the tried and true that become mainstays in the wardrobe because they work both as patterns and as garments.

Simple is good especially when done in quality material.

I am sure I will do experiments in the future and have what-was-I-thinking disasters hehe.. They are fun too.

On my sewing table right now is Jalie 3122 Nursing tees  link  and no! there are no reproductive miracles happening in my neck of the woods. It is a fitted T that has a nursing variation. I am making it full length version with the hood to try it out. I really like the cute sailor top version.

What are you sewing?


Tuesday, 5 August 2014

August Give away - Calvin Klein

It's August Dear Reader!

To those that don't know I'm on a mission to give away a pattern every month this year.
Digging through my pattern archives I come up with another designer pattern that has been lying about in my stash for decades. It is a very very simple dress with three neckline variations from Calvin Klein 1988. The fabric recommendations are for sumptuous fabric because it is basically a sack - side seams, shoulder seams, dropped shoulder sleeves and a neck facing. That's it. The envelope contains three sizes 6,  8-10 and 12-14. In other words Petite, Small and Medium. It is unfolded and uncut and it has been neglected too long. Set it free in a lurid print and perm your hair!

If you like it and would like to win it and give it a go tell me in the comments by Friday 15th August.

Alas my stash is not really depleting as I've been buying patterns..

A surprisingly warm day last week and pattern sales have conspired to make me go on a bit of a pattern buying spree. I've got two Vogues, two maxi skirt patterns and then two Jalies are coming in the mail - my first Jalies ever!

The Vogues are V9004, the Armani blouse knock off 

Then there'sV1349 which doesn't look like anything much on the model but look at the line drawings..

I look at this and see a pieced exercise top in lycra with slimming black side panels and matching leggings.That's what I have planned for it. 

But I am getting ahead of myself. I have a bit more winter sewing to go first and I'll be jumping on those Jalies as soon as they arrive. I will probably sew those first and I'll blog about them then. There's also a jacket in the pipline. Too many plans, too little time!

Happy Sewing,