Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Christmas spent

I wish I had listened to this little guy....... (even though his spelling is atrocious and the look in his little eyes is saying get me out of this get up)

Sydney weather can be unpredictable and Christmas day is usually hot hot hot (one Christmas was so hot we abandoned the outside setting for the cooler indoors - all the roses died and we spent the day trying to keep cool).

Not so much this Christmas. 

Aussie Christmases usually entail lots of prawns and other seafood, cold cuts of meat, trifles and pavlovas. I don't eat seafood (being a Piscean it is like eating your own - although I guess fish do that anyway!!), I am also not a great lover of cold cuts. So we usually have a traditional Christmas - gotta love plum pud with Brandy Custard!

This year I thought I would do a rolled loin of Pork with sausage stuffing. Yum - all that crackling goodness. To keep the kitchen cool I thought I would use the wonderful Weber Baby Q BBQ out on our deck.

So I loaded it up with pork and veges and went inside..... 

Not long after the rain came. Had I acted then - all would have been okay - but I thought it would drizzle a little and then blow over.

Not to be - here in Sydney we had a huge electrical storm and it poured and poured rain.

What to do??? The Weber is a good little BBQ - but is influenced by ambient temperature - and mother nature unleashing all it's glory on the poor lid of the BBQ was just too much for it and the temperature wouldn't rise. Using good old Aussie ingenuity I rigged up a kind of lean to using a ladder, a nearby tree, the window surrounds of the house itself, some bubble/foam like packaging material, a towel and some pegs.

Managed to get the pork done but took an extra hour - not good.

Anyway - despite the challenges a good day was had and presents exchanged.

My favourite present was a couple of hand knitted scarves from my DSIL. Absolutely love them. Not only the thought but the time and effort.

Like a true sewist - my mind was going through my stash thinking of fabric that would go with them - and I have quite a bit

What about you? How was your Christmas. Looking forward to reading all about it.

Off to sew now. 

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Blog anniversary and give away

Well - I have turned one and what a year it has been.

Sewing wise - not great. When I started sewing a year ago I had envisaged a wardrobe bulging at the seams with newly stitched garments .......

and friends / family and strangers ooing and aahing over my outfits and fabrics.....

I have planned various capsules and spent so much time fantasizing over these luscious plans.

Hmmm....  who would have thought that this sewing gig is so hard!

I was naive at the beginning (knowing nothing about sewing) and thought that you bought magic patterns that came in their little envelopes - delivered straight to your door - you unpack them, throw them gracefully onto a  cutting table, slice through your lovely fabric - take it to the machine where, within mere minutes, it is magically transformed into couture works of fabric art.

I purchased fabulous machines that work hard (not their fault), glorious fabric by the ton; patterns; more fabric; notions; DVDs etc etc etc

Not only was this naive of me - but doesn't acknowledge the years and years of experience it takes to produce the beautiful outfits I have seen on blogs that I follow.

Who knew that patterns rarely fit straight out of the packet - add to that the challenges an apple shape puts on a dress, top or even worse - pants. Who would have thought that an outfit that looks smashing on the twigs on the envelope would have you wanting to smash the mirror when worn on your bod!

How do RTW get it right? Can you imagine going into a shop and looking for the rack that has a sign - clothes for full busted, short waisted, round stomached, deep crotched, flat bottomed, round shouldered, sway backed, hump backed, large biceped, thick necked people. And that would be just the one rack! I would be happy with labels for pear, apple column etc but no luck.

I even tried the Pattern Master software where you put in your own measurements and it spits out a pattern especially done to your measurement - nuh! - I will post about it after I see if I can save the dress.

This is what I ended up with instead of the bulging wardrobe:


Now this is not a whinge fest - I have had so much fun - even with the wadders (some shown on the blog - some didn't even make the photo shoot) and am happily celebrating one year of not only blogging - but sewing.

One of the reasons that I am celebrating is the wonderful sewing people I have met and virtually met during the year. You know I reached out to the sewing world with my recent purchase of my overlock / coverstitch 744 machine looking for a video and I had pictures sent to me; links sent to me for You-tube videos of a similar machine and 2 lovely ladies sent me copies of their DVD. One lovely lady (Barbara) included tips and photos of threading she had taken of the machine and a couple of darning needles to help me with releasing the thread and the other lovely lady (Sandra) sent me a list of tips too. These are people I have never met or spoken with before. I have met some lovely people at my local sewing group - some of whom have blogs I have been following (like meeting rock stars!!), I have learnt from the many tutorials and the people who are so giving of their time and knowledge. The generosity of this global sewing community is amazing.

Most of all I have appreciated the encouragement, wisdom and advice I have been given by fellow sewists.

So - I would like to give back.

I have 2 things on offer.

For the artistic amongst us (not me!!!) I have a fashionary sketch book. Let your inner artist / designer loose. Follow the link to have a better look (and you can also download a sample to try from their site) NB! I purchased this a little while ago so it might be an older version.


For those non artistic amongst us (or those just not interested in design) - I have a pattern from Hot Patterns - Deco Vibe Sarine knit dress and top (sizes 6 - 26 in one envelope) Advanced Beginner level.

I am happy to post anywhere.

Simply leave a comment on this post by the end of the year - indicating which of the 2 give-aways you want and I will draw out a name for each on Jan 1st.

As this blog was started for me to journal my sewing progress I am going to finish with just a few (well maybe several) of the new things I have learnt this year.

  1. How to do a full bust adjustment and other pattern alterations - I actually enjoy the process now. There is something so satisfying about cutting into the paper and sticking more paper on - ending up hopefully - with a much better fitting garment.
  2. In line with the above - sewing is like house painting - 80% of the effort and time should go into preparation. (I made up the 80% in line with Pareto's Principles - I don't really know what percentage!!!!!)
  3. Your foot control isn't a surrogate for a car accelerator - slow down - beautiful garments won't magically appear the faster you go! Sometimes I think I need a sewing cop in the vicinity to give me a ticket - you can tell by my seams - straight - no!
  4. I love machine feet - the more the merrier. 
  5. Starting to learn to look at pattern lines on the packet instead of the pretty pictures. This goes hand in hand with starting to learn what suits me - still a way to go with this.
  6. How to use the gelatin method to make sewing with sheer easier (thanks Lena)
  7. Be careful to test the fabric you are using for stretch - different stretch capacity will really affect your outfit
  8. What my colours are
  9. That the sewing community is fantastic

Slow down and take it easy

Some of my fave bloggers are posting on their most worn self sewn items of 2012. Let's hope that next year I will have enough to do that!!

What will 2013 bring? Some plans:

  • Artisans Square SWAP
  • Jungle January courtesy of Prttynpnk at Pretty Grievances
  • Maybe one pattern many looks competition on Sewing Pattern Review - depends on the rules as it will need to fit my plans with my SWAP
  • Doing zips, buttons and trying the corded buttonholes Sharon from Petite and Sewing was kind enough to demonstrate for me
  • Collars
  • Craftsy courses - tailored shirt and pants fitting
I think that is ambitious enough for now.

Finally - I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

An addition to my plans... Jungle January courtesy of Prttynpnk

The totally hilarious Anne (Prttynpnk) from Pretty Grievances has launched a festival parade of animal print for January (and maybe the following months??). This fits in my current plans for SWAP with Artisan Square as one item is already in my SWAP and the other was planned to sew anyway as a hopefully "wearable toile".

These are the plans:

Wearable toile for Vogue 8815 in a wine coloured cheetah print.

This is a stretch rayon which I think will lend itself well to the pattern.

The last couple of weekends I have been watching "Plus size pattern alterations" craftsy class which uses this exact pattern. I have been altering the pattern along with Barbara (teacher) and am about 3/4 done. I have had to add quite a bit as this pattern doesn't come in my size. I traced the pattern off and have altered the size and am up to changing the dart positions and bust.

I am happy with my progress and should be ready to start on some sewing soon.

Next up is StyleArc Creative Cate top in a earthy toned mish mash of animal.

This top and fabric is already in my SWAP - however I am thinking of adding a matching skirt - the StyleArc Susan skirt.. The fabric is a medium weight ITY knit from

What do you think - matching animal print outfit - too much????

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Welcome to the family Elna 744

I have a new baby..... The Elna 744 combined Overlocker and Coverstitch machine.

I have been thinking about getting a coverstitch machine and started to look into it when lo and behold a "still in the box - never been used" Elna 744 came my way through Gumtree. It was local to me - pick up only about 20 mins from my house - so I moseyed  (read sped with my foot on the accelerator) on over yesterday before the sewing group I attend started. Phew - what a rush - both physically and emotionally.

I had read that it's better to have a separate overlocker and coverstitch machine as it can be tricky and time consuming to switch them over. I already had an overlocker - the Elna 654 Pro so I primarily wanted a coverstitch machine to do all those lovely hems (hopefully) and when this dual machine came up on Gumtree I thought a "spare" overlocker would be good so I can keep it set up as a coverstitch and only change it over if need be. It is an early Xmas pressie to myself.

Isn't she pretty. And she actually was still in the box never used as claimed. Still had the manufactures threading and sample attached and everything was still originally wrapped in plastic and sealed. I think I got a good deal.

Well - I am happy anyway. Off to have a play - I was too tired after sewing at the sewing group yesterday and have been vacuuming etc this morning. 

Friday, 23 November 2012

Craftsy online classes - SALE

These sales..... makes it hard for a girl to resist.

Craftsy online sewing courses are on sale - most for under $20.

Mind you - I had already purchased some at full price but that didn't stop me from going and purchasing some more. I am now enrolled in the following.

Now there are many of my sewing sisters out there that need no additional help in the sewing arena - but I definitely need help.

I have looked through 2 already - not sewing but looking - and am happy with these.

Plus sized pattern fitting and design. This one comes with pattern V8815 supplied in the price - a lovely peplum top. What I liked about this class is not only is it for plus sizes - but I wanted to know how to turn this


Barbara (craftsy teacher) talks you through it but unfortunately doesn't "walk" you through it. She gives you the info on how to do it so I shall certainly try after I make the original top. Most of the lessons are concentrating on fitting the top. Some of my fellow sewing bloggers are making wonderful trench coats - check out Velosewer's finished trench on How Good Is That and Sharon progress at Petite and Sewing.

Now I am years away from making a trench like those - I am going to start with a "rain coat" made out of V8815. The look of the "coat" Barbara made appeals to me. There are no pockets, buttons, flaps, belts etc.... sew I am hoping I can get through it. The original pattern is rated easy - so fingers crossed. It is not first on my sewing list but I do want to sew it after I make some of the original versions of the top.

The other class I looked at was the Tailored Shirt. Now this class looks fantastic. I have looked through it and it seems that Pam (teacher) actually "walks" you through everything so you can sew along. This is very exciting for me and what I truly need in a class. Teacher does the step - I do the step. Again - this is not the first one on my list to do as I want to sew some easier things first.

I purchased the couture dress for the future. I think this will help me to learn some great techniques - a little further down the line.... but couldn't resist the SALE..

The art of cloth dying and jewelry making are both things I am interested in - but way down the line.

During my upcoming holidays I am going to do the Sewing with Knits, Plus Sized Pattern Fitting and hopefully get onto the pants fitting and construction.. I am hoping...

Thursday, 8 November 2012

SWAP (Again)

Yes - I am going to try to SWAP again.... this time with Artisan Square sewing forum. It is 2 capsules with one item bridging the 2 capsules - a total of 11 items.

The rules are a lot more flexible than the one I tried previously and although there are a lot of items, the first stitch can be sewn on boxing day and it finishes end of April.

This is great as I have signed up for a couple of Craftsy courses and I plan to do this over the holidays so have incorporated the items into my plan.

Sew far I have sewn a toile for the Pamela's Pattern T-shirt (no pictures as it was very fine knit and needed adjustments - not a good look).

I have now made adjustment to the pattern and will sew up another toile.

With this contest you can actually cut the material before hand which is good too.

The purpose of this contest for me is to challenge myself and not to get discouraged with the wadders that will appear. The longer time frame will help with this.

Here is my plan.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, 13 October 2012

A "thank you"

I received my first blog award today from the enviable (for her fantastic sewing skills and mean looking  limoncello and now aranciello ) Carolyn from Handmade by Carolyn.

This award is to thank the people who take the time to leave a comment on your posts. It is always great to receive comments from fellow sewists.

I first started my blog last December as a way to journal my learning process and outcomes but it quickly became a way to connect with other sewists, get inspiration, learn new ways of doing things and importantly get feedback and advice during my learning journey. And I must say that I LOVE to receive these comments.

I know that there are a lot of lurkers out there in the blogesphere. If you pass by my blog - read it but don't leave a comment - that's cool too. I hope you enjoy it. I lurk on some blogs but I do try to leave comments - sometimes to support my new community - but mostly because I am floored by what I see and learn.

So -- firstly I would like to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who reads my blog - a MASSIVE thank you to everyone who takes the time to leave a thoughtful comment.

And now for the "official" thank yous.

The rules are (copied and pasted from Carolyn's blog)..

"  There is no requirement to do anything like list stuff about yourself, just to pass it on to the last nine bloggers to comment on your blog...So I'm interpreting that, rightly or wrongly, as the first nine on my previous post, not counting the ladies who passed it on to me.  "

I would love to award this thank you to the following sewists by way of a small introduction to what they are up to:

Velosewer - from How Good is That - whom I have had the pleasure of meeting. Velosewer is now going to tackle a beautiful looking purple trench coat with red lining - woo hoo (if I could wolf whistle in writing I would).

Judith (Made by J) - who has been rocking out great tops and is the master (mistress??) of the Sorbetto IMHO

Suzy (Suzy Bee Sews) - check out her fantastic slacks on her blog. She has the fit down pat and has been rocking them out. She is now moving on to bras - wow - I am in awe.

MrsC - The Hectic Eclectic herself who has been taking us on a tour of her town and showing us what goes on in her craft shop (read envy).

Susan (Moonthirty) - who also has been producing lovely tops - loving the look of them - and about to tackle the Renfrew.

Mary (Mary Sews) - Mary has been showing us how she marks notches, is in the process of doing a Kwiksew dress and makes her own sheets!! Mary also does her own version of "thanks yous" by a periodic introduction to her blog role and introduces other bloggers to her following on her blog.

Tigergirl (Adventures with Tigergirl) - as her blog title indicates - Tigergirl mixes her sewing with her travel adventures (great pics).. If you are a lover of animals pop on over and have a look at her recent visit to the Adelaide zoo. She is also an accomplished sewist and amuses you with her tales of her life and her hubby tigerboy.

Janine (Interrupted Sutures) - Janine has also been sewing tops recently with some beautiful results. Through her blog you can also see lovely pictures of her garden and views.

Stephanie Newman - A quiltmakers quarters - Stephanie has been travelling of late too (Jeeze - I am starting to get jealous) and has spent some time in a SEWING RETREAT!!! in Tasmania and passed through Floriade in Canberra on the way home (check out her stunning pics) - when not travelling Stephanie is a great sewist - and as her blog title suggests - you have to check out her quilts.

So - those are my nine most recent commenters - however - I am going to S-T-R-E-T-C-H  the rules and add a couple of  "honourable mentions". Bloggists who often take the time to comment, give some advice, or just lift my spirits when I need it.

Carolyn (of course) from Handmade by Carolyn (link in first line). Her blog amazes me. Not only is her sewing skills incredible - but the stylish way she photographs her items - well - it could be published in a magazine - I would buy it).. 

The other amazing Carolyn from Diary of a Sewing Fanatic. Her blog is full of great tutorials and I love what she does with her TNT dress. I am certainly going to copy some of her ideas when my sewing skills improve.. (It is NOT stealing - honestly!!!!)

Sue from Quilt Sew Sew Sue - who has just produced a lovely snakeskin patterned dress. Sue is always there to give a pat on the back or word of encouragement. She actually offered to send me a pattern that I was looking at recently. How cool is that - and how generous is this sewing community.

Prttynpnk - Pretty Grievances - this is a blog that I can't go past - this is such an amusing read that I often go and get a cuppa to settle in to enjoy. As well as sewing Anne shares her thoughts on lots of different things.

There are many other great bloggers that comment on my blog. I would love to list them all. The rules say the last 9 - I hope you don't mind my adding the additional 4. 

I really do thank you all though!

Another lesson learnt

When is a TNT not a TNT? When you change the fabric!

As I said - another lesson learnt - the hard way.

I considered this pattern a TNT as I used my old favourite crossover top as a guide to adjusting the pattern. I made a successful top which I love wearing.


I confidently cut out my next top and sewed it.

Very happy with the sewing. The top turned out very nice indeed - BUT TOO SMALL!!!

Cross over neckline actually sits correctly on person

Why the issue this time - I asked myself. I had already sewn one and it fit. Not only is this one TIGHT but the bust too high and the top itself too short for me and my stomach.

Then I realised that both my old trusty top and my newly sewn first version have a open type knit with lots of stretch both ways. In my first sewn version I used the biggest stretch going down the body in the bust as I liked the way the "stripes" went.

The above knit is a tighter t-shirt type knit with no stretch in length and a lot less stretch than the other knits I used in width..

*Sigh* .. so lesson learnt. A knit by any other name may not stretch as sweet.

I shall keep my chin up - take it as a lesson well learnt - and move on to my next item. After all .........

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Anonymous posts

I have had to change my settings on my blog as I have started to get a lot of annoying anonymous comments that are spam. They leave a comment as if they have read my blog (although it is a generic comment) and then there is a link to their website. I don't know if they are advertising or if they have a more nefarious purpose.... But it is very annoying.

So I have chosen only registered users to be able to leave comments. I am hoping that this will stop this horrible practice but still let "real" people comment.

Has anyone else had this problem. I am interested to know if there is another way to fix this or if indeed it will fix it. And will it stop legitimate commenters.... I do so love to get comments.. :-)


Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Thanks for the feedack

Thank you all for your comments on my Anita peasant blouse. I have read all the suggestions and mulled it over. All comments were great and there are a few comments that really gel with me.

I think it really is the raglan sleeves that are not for me... The idea of shoulder pads is good and I may well use this in the future - but not for raglan sleeves. I think while a round neck is okay (but low round neck - MrsC - I think more skin is better for me too) a wide round neck is not for me.

Love the idea of dying fabric but will probably start out playing with dying plain uncut fabric.

The comments that really sealed the fate for this top were:

"I suspect you won't pull it out of the wardrobe" - Sue you are so right! And after just doing a wardrobe overhaul I don't want to put anything in it that I won't wear.

"I know that you're more interested in making clothes that really nail your look" - MrsC - absolutely. This is a real journey to find "my look - my colours - my style" and this top ain't it.

"There is always the option of re cutting and using parts of it incorporated into a skirt" - Valerie - this is a brilliant idea and exactly where this top will end up.

Thanks everyone for your input. This is a real mission for me - after year of  grabbing anything out of the wardrobe (black of course) and not caring how I looked, it is all an adventure and feedback is critical.

BTW - love the idea of bootleg trousers.. Does anyone know a plus sized pattern????

Sunday, 23 September 2012

StyleArc Anita Peasant Blouse

Verdict - not for me.

This top went together well and looks great on others... but I don't think it is for me.

The style makes my already round shoulders look even rounder and it is a bit "shapeless" on me.. This could be my fault as I pivoted the pattern a little to give me more room and maybe I pivoted it bit too much. It is not hemmed because the jury is still out on whether I would wear it.

I was thinking about putting a bit of shape in the waist and turning the hem up at the sides - not quite sure what this is called - sort of like a mans shirt tails?? But I really don't know if it is worth it. I don't know whether I would wear it.

It's funny - I purchased this material on line and when it arrived (quite some months ago) I thought it was a bit bright and would probably make a nice skirt. Then I decided that I should be sewing in wardrobes - instead of just by item - which doesn't match anything - and so thought it would go with pants I am going to make... hence it became a top.

Now that I have had my colours done I can see why I thought it a bit bright - being a dusky it really needs to be toned down to suit me (listen to me - the instant colour expert - LOL).

The black pants don't help the colour either - but black is what I have at the moment. (or white jeans which I don't think would look good either).

What do you think? Do you think that having a more fitted waist and turn up at the sides would help it? Or should I just say - doesn't suit me - and not waste time on it?

Next projects are interesting.... I am going to print off a sheath dress and slacks from Patternmaker software that I downloaded. I spent some time taking numerous amounts of measurements (sob sob - quite scary) and hopefully this will give me patterns in my measurements - well that is the theory anyway. OR I might do another Kwik Sew cross over top because I was soo happy with that one. Decisions decisions!

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Colour me happy

Today I attended a colour workshop arranged by Sharon from Petite and Sewing at the local sewing guild meeting (thanks Sharon). It was a great workshop facilitated by Wendy Walters from Mirror Mirror and I found out that I am a Dusky Warm Deep colour. After spending so many years in black it was great to look at what colours would suit me best. I purchased a colour swatch similar to the one below - but there are many more shades of colour on my swatch (over 50 colours).

Dusky Warm Dark colours

I found the process fascinating - we first found out if we were warm or cool - if we look better with gold or silver, then it was a process of checking out colour combinations in warm with a scarf with swirls of colour. Once one or two options were chosen the block colours were then held up near your face and the most flattering colours for you were chosen.

The 3 biggest things I learnt were:

  1. Colours are different! - Sounds obvious but my question was - how can you tell when there may be a slight colour difference between 2 different blues - how can you tell which one is yours. Wendy said that if you put a colour that you are looking at next to your swatch with your group of colours in it you can tell if it "fits", so even if it isn't in your swatch you can tell if it will live comfortably in with the other colours. This works! I checked with my colour swatch and I checked a blue that is a slightly different colour but it didn't fit with my group as it is too bright. Other blues may be too dull - or too much of a different under colour.
  2. Black is yuk - for me anyway. My swatch has a very deep charcoal which looked black to me but when put against actual black the black looked very stark and harsh.
  3. The best thing I learnt is matching colours. I am so used to wearing black with maybe a pattern or another colour - and can also match shades of the same colour. But telling which different colours go together was a big problem. Wendy put some great colour combinations together that I would never have thought of. I also wouldn't necessarily put different block colours together yet this looks very classy when done properly. The swatch is great for this. All the colours in your swatch will go together and you can separate out different ones to see how they look together. You can also tell how to choose colours with low contrast as they are close together in  your swatch and ones with high contrast as they are further away from each other in the swatch but still look great together.
Happy days!!

Of course the first thing I did when I got home was to drag out my current sewing project and check the colours. No luck - a bit too much on the bright side. I will still sew and wear (if it turns out) but will keep in mind what looks best for future fabric purchases.

My current project is the StyleArc Anita Peasant Blouse in the below faille fabric.

My last purchase was a beautiful Missoni like knit from Emma One Sock - again - not my colours - a little bit too cool I think - but I am not too worried as it is not a block colour and does have brown in it which is a close brown to one on my swatch.

On the plus side I purchased some absolutely stunning hybrid crepe from EOS. This fabric is fantastic. Feels great and washes well. I chose it from the colour showing on my monitor and it looked like it would match the above faille perfectly. When I received it the colour was much darker with a touch more green in it and - YEAH - it is one of my colours. I also purchased the same fabric in chocolate and navy - both on my swatch!

The colours were fun and I now feel very comfortable purchasing and am actually dying to try out some colour blocking. The workshop is very worthwhile if you have the chance - go to one I say. And to think that I almost missed it. For some strange reason I thought it was on Sunday. Logically I knew it was on Saturday - this is when the sewing meetings happen - it was Saturday in my diary but my mind said Sunday. At least I made it. I would have kicked myself black and blue if I missed it.

Even better than playing with colour was meeting some great sewers and bloggers, many of whose work I have admired. A great group and fantastic sewers.

BTW - has anyone else had problems uploading photos to Blogger? I have to try several times for each photo as I keep getting the below message. This has only been happening the last couple of weeks.

Until next time. 

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Call me butter - I'm on a roll - Kwik Sew 2694

Well I have sped through my first item for my Mini Spring Wardrobe and I must say that I am very pleased

Second happy dance: 

I wanted a cross over top to replace my old favourite RTW top (in black natch) so hunted for a pattern. Finally found one that was way too small and I added quite a few cms to it to make it fit. I cut up my old top to compare and ended up adding quite a bit (see review below for details) and I am quite happy with it although it could still do with improvements.

I thought it would be interesting to have the crush stripe running down for the upper front and sleeves and across for the back and stomach as this is where the stretch is - but maybe it would have been better with the stripe running the same way (down). I purchased a nice teal / turquoisey bag to go with my new Spring palette but realised that it was showing around the wrong way - DOH.

Please excuse the crushed pants - I rushed through getting the top finished so I could wear it out to lunch and have been sitting for some hours. I actually wore the top out to lunch un-hemmed - I was so eager to give it a run - but hemmed it in time for the photos. The sleeves aren't hemmed as I used the selvage for the ends of the sleeves.

I think the fabric is a little light for the tightness of the top. It is not actually tight - but the fabric clings to the lumps and bumps - check out the back!! I will give the next one I make a couple more cms.

And here is a picture with the handbag around the right way!

I used vilene tape on the front neckline and clear elastic on the shoulders. I used a twin needle for the hem and neckline and the raw salvage for the hem of arms.

Close up of neckline stitching and fabric.

Kwik Sew uses thick paper for their patterns so I was able to adjust the pattern straight onto the pattern and then trace the new pattern onto new paper. Much better than tracing the pattern and then making adjustments.

You can see the lines I have drawn on the paper. I had to add quite a few cms so didn't know how the pattern would turn out - but it all matched up so I was happy.


I won't be progressing as quickly for my other items as I was only able to get this pattern altered and traced (along with the key item) before the contest started so all my other items will be fresh out of the packet so to speak,

My review

Pattern Description:  

Close fitting pullover top with deep V neckline and overlapped front.

Pattern Sizing:

 XS to XL. I am an XXXL so had to grade up considerably.

 Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? 


Were the instructions easy to follow?

Yes – easy to follow – it all went together easily.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

This pattern is the same type as a favoured (now cut up) RTW top that I have had for many years. I have tried to find this pattern in my size and came close with a Simplicity Khaliha Ali pattern (3699 – OOP) but after purchasing realised that it had Dolman?? type sleeves which I didn’t want. So I purchased this smaller sized pattern, cut up my old top and used it as a guide to re-sizing.

I love the fact that it is dawn on thick paper so I made my adjustments right onto the pattern and then traced a complete new size onto new paper.

Fabric Used:

 Mignon crushed knit from – 100% polyester. Now I love this knit – it is light weight and lush looking …It has a kind of a sheen to it, however I wore it today with a polyester cami and almost set the room alight with sparks when I took it off. … I’m talking about static electricity!! I guess the word polyester along with the sheen should have been a hint.

 Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

 As stated before I had to make this much larger. I added 4cms to the sides and sleeves and 4 cms to the length of the cross over tops part and 6 cms to the length of the bottom part (total of 10cms to the back’s length). After doing this and tracing out the pattern, I tried on the paper and found that I would still need more to cover the girls so I added about another 4cms to the edge where it crosses over.

I really wasn’t sure how all of these changes would work out. Whether things would match up etc – as I am still new to sewing – but I am really happy with the outcome. Next time I make it I will add a bit more as it is – well not exactly tight – but clingy – or maybe this is just the “fine” knit??

 Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I already have plans for at least another 2 or 3. Especially after cutting up my RTW version for sizing purposes. I absolutely recommend it. It is not exactly trendy – but a lovely look that flatters larger bust lines (IMO).


A favoured style of mine – can be casual or dressy. A great top.
Until next time.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Body photos added - Pamela's Patterns Cool Banded Cardigan - Oh Yeah!

How happy am I? 

I have finished my key item for my mini Spring wardrobe - and in time to meet the PR contest rules no less!!  And I like it.. It could be improved but it is the first item I have made where I am happy with the overall fit.

Here is a picture on Babs. I wanted to get one quickly so that I don't run out of time for the contest.  I will post a picture on me later. I will take one during the day out in the sun so the flash won't shine off the material. I think it fits a bit better on me than on Babs - I think it is the way it hangs with no arms and neck. I will better be able to tell when I take a picture wearing it. At first I was worried as there is a gap - the front doesn't meet but when I looked at the picture on the Pamela Pattern website it looks like this is what it should do.

On Babs:

On body photos added

Still have to hem the sleeves but had to get the pics taken before my photographer left. Will sit and sew now.


Pattern Description:

Jacket style cardigan with banded front.

Pattern Sizing:

This pattern is sized for a high bust measurement of 31" - 45". The full bust measurement can be slightly larger.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Yes - for once!!

Were the instructions easy to follow?

Not only very easy to follow but there are also video clips online for the tricky parts.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

Love the fact that it was quick and easy (I still had to concentrate and follow every step so it took me longer than the average bear but I was very pleased with the ease of this). Also the way the band attaches starts off the hem.

Love love the fact that there was a separate pattern piece for a full bust (but I still had to make adjustments because of my size - smaller ladies wouldn't have to do this). Also options for a shaped waist or straight and options for shaped or straight sleeves.

Love love love the look of it and the fit.

Love love love love the fact that you can go online for the tricky bits and see a tutorial. Oh Yeah!!

Fabric Used:

A lovely knit from Remnants Warehouse in Sydney. I don't know what type of knit it is but it has very nice geometric shapes with some of the shapes having a sheen to them and some are matt. Very unusual. It is nice and light to cover the arms during our spring. Not the easiest to sew - it did curl on the cut edges - so I took the precaution of sewing it on my Janome first before taking it over to the Elna overlocker.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

As stated above, I did an additional full bust adjustment to add a few inches to the front so that it would fit me as the pattern didn't go up to my size... had a bit of an issue with this - my fault - not the pattern's. I mistakenly did the full bust adjustment on the back of the pattern - not the front. Doh! Wasted a good portion of my day having to re-trace the pattern and do another adjustment to the front. It was either that or wear it back to front... ;-).

I found that using the largest size but adding an FBA gave me a good fit on the shoulders and sleeves.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Absolutely - I see this pattern as a staple in my wardrobe to cover the tuckshop arms.. As the website says "for winter wear, make it from a cozy sweater or double knit. For summer, choose a lightweight drapey knit". I intend to make it in several different types of knits - now that I have a correct FBA!


Classier than a regular cardigan and less structured than a jacket. A great style and an easy pattern.

Things I learnt.

How to put on a band - Yeah
To check which pattern peice you are adjusting - Doh
I love Pamela's Patterns tutorials - Yeah
I have found sleeves,  armholes and backs that fit - Yeah
I can sew easy things to a level that I am happy with - Yeah
Can't wait to get away from BLACK - Doh and Yeah
That I deperately need a hair cut and colour!

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Mini Wardrobe Contest - Key Item troubles.

Sometimes I think that I'm not cut out (ha ha) for sewing...

I am busily trying to get my key item done before the contest starts (as per the rules - or maybe not - who can decipher the rules????)  but my lack of experience seems to be getting in the way - again...

I am doing the Pamela's Patterns Cool Banded Cardigan as my key piece in a lovely knit that I purchased from the Remnants Warehouse. It is really a lovely fabric and I was hoping to get at least a muslin done today or even further today..

But alas... it was not to be.

I looked carefully at the pattern and measured it against myself and my sloper and decided that although Pamela was considerate enough to include a separate piece for full bust - I still needed to do an additional FBA as the largest size of the pattern was just still a tad smaller than I need.

So - I got out my trusty tracing paper, cardboard pinning board, scissors, sticky tape, rulers etc and checked the Palmer Pletsch DVD - Full Busted - again and spent considerable time doing an FBA and adjusting the back piece of the pattern to match the added length an FBA gives the front..

 All was looking good and I was happy with progress.

I put away my tracing paper, cardboard pinning board, sticky tape, rulers etc, got out my cutting board, rotary cutters, weights, aligned the fabric perfectly ready to cut and then luckily checked the pattern.

Do you notice the word BACK written on the pattern?? That's right - I gave myself a full bust adjustment on my back!!!

You know - after tracing the pattern pieces and then adjusting the back like it was the front and the front like it was the back - I seriously considered cutting it this way and wearing it back the front!! Start a new trend. But luckily sanity prevailed.

So - I then had to retrace and remark and redo the pattern adjustments...

Now I am too tired to cut fabric and sew. I don't want to make more mistakes.

My big question is - do I try to finish it by the end of the month or do I wait until next month to cut the material and try to do the five items in the one month. I can't sew at night as I am way too tired after training all day and I have limited day time hours to cut and sew.

Seriously - those rules have done my head in.

Until next time.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Where did I go wrong?

I'll tell you .... sizing. (Well - that is one of the areas anyway). It gets the better of me. I remember blogging my first finished garment (after all - it wasn't that long ago :-). Sherril commented "You are using a much too large pattern. Do a search for full-bust adjustment. Then get a few fitting books like Fit for Real People". So I learnt about choosing smaller patterns and doing FBAs. 

My first finished garment was a size 32 (according to my full bust measurement)...... The Abby cardigan a size 28 (according to my high bust measurement) and I am still having trouble with fit. You can see the back is still too big in the Abby cardi (prior post). So what I did was cut up one of my RTW tops and put it over the pattern and this is the result..

Now the pattern below does has a seam allowance - however the seam allowance is minimal (less than a centimetre). I have traced out the RTW top and that will become my sloper to put onto any knit pattern to see sizing. This will certainly help me to choose which size to cut and any grading. I am sure that there are more professional ways of doing this - tape measures and measurements etc, but measuring is not my strong suite. Now I feel a bit more confident making tops.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Pattern Review Mini Wardrobe Contest

Change of plans... I am not going to start sewing my cross over top as I am going to enter the PR mini wardrobe contest. As I have been madly creating wardrobe plans for the next year, I have decided to go ahead and use my plans for the contest.

So for the next 3 weeks I will be preparing... adjusting patterns, washing fabric and making muslins ready to kick off in September.... I have decided to start on the turquoise pallet and hopefully get through the 4 items required.

I haven't yet decided if I will sew my key item or buy it (already purchased a couple of options, just waiting for delivery - see below). However I do also want to make the Pamela's Patterns banded cardigan and I have some lovely cream material to do so.. I guess it will depend on how much pattern and material prep I can get through in the next 3 weeks (sounds like a long time but with work commitments etc - who knows!!!). Of course if I go with the purchased options I may have to sew up a quick tank top for my first wardrobe option.
Purchase option 1

Purchase option 2

The below is my board for the contest. I figure I can get 11 outfits out of the 5 items. I am not going to enter until I am sure I can complete because I have entered contests before and then life interrupted. So - fingers crossed.

Until next time...