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 fabric.com – 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!