Saturday, 11 January 2014

Are we ready for the Jungle: AKA I have been sewing

We exercised vigorously to make sure we were fit for the trek into the Jungle.

We have made sure everything is packed for the trip.

We looked closely and checked that all paperwork, visas and passports are in order.

And now it is off to Anne from Pretty Grievances' Jungle trek.

Of course we had to dress to blend in..

This is the StyleArc Frankie dress.

Although looking at the photo it is way too short for me so I will be cutting it down to a top.

When I made the Creative Cate top the first time I mentioned that I would like to make it into a dress. Rather than mess with the pattern I purchased the Franki dress which is similar in shape but a whole dress. I think I will try the Creative Cate as a dress as I think I would prefer it to the Franki.

The cowl keeps wanting to turn to the outside but a little tip from the Gorgeous Ann from Gorgeous fabrics has fixed that. Thanks Ann.

The armholes were too big and the band for them too small. I ended up cutting bigger bands which helped fill in the armhole.

I also wasn't sure about the length and it ended up being a bit too short so I have hemmed it with a narrow hem.

I have already added sleeves to the Cate and I think the cowl is a little different too.

I do like it - but I don't love it. It will do it's time in wardrobe probation until I decide if it is a bad Franki or a good Franki.

Here it is with a cardi (RTW) which is how I will wear it - even as a top.

Next two items are the StyleArc Barb pants (sewn in StyleArc's Bengaline) and the Island Ali Top from StyleArc.

Alright alright - the top isn't exactly animal print but surely a trekker gets extra cruise bar credits for wearing the actual jungle itself!!!

The Barb pants are my December item for Make a Garment a Month and the top is my January item.

Simple review (I will do a detailed review on PR)

Barb - Love them. They are more slim lined than Linda and perfect for the Bengaline that I have been amassing. I also made the waist band double the width and slightly smaller than the body of the pant and therefore - no elastic needed.

Island Ali - hmmm - love the style but maybe a little tight (all that Christmas pud and cake - what - who said and wine????). This was a little more of a complicated sew than I am used to. Lots of concentration. Thanks to JillyBe for the guidance on her blog.

The neckline is too high and will have to come down a couple of inches (even though I had already taken some off)

I haven't added the elastic - a bit too tight for that.

One thing that confused me greatly was the side panels.. They were not symmetrical and no indication of whether the higher bit went at the front or back - so I just guessed. It looks like this.

I thought what better fabric to create an Island Ali in than this gorgeous fabric from Knitwit.

New things

- Using my rolled hem foot for knits (thanks JillyBe)
- Using FOE (Fold over elastic) - liking this but not liking the fact that it is not readily available - I still have envy of the wall of FOE that Alison came across in NZ. I did buy some on ebay but having the right colour available at the right time isn't easy.


There have been a lot of reflections and top 5s around the blogisphere which I have enjoyed immensely. When you read someone's blog on a regular basis you loose track of all the wonderful items they have made and a snap shot of the year is like a smorgasbord.

I am not going to do a top five - simply because my sewing isn't at the stage where I can pick 5 I am totally happy with, nor will I do a five misses. Just some reflections on the year and on a few different items.

One of the things that I am heartily sick of is pilling.

Killed by the pill - these have gone into weekend wear as my gentle front loading washing machine has pilled the fabric already. Both the dress and the top didn't hold up. All my other garments are doing fine but these were 2 of my favourites and were quickly killed by the pill.

Most worn outfit for 2013.

Last year was the year of the dress and I enjoyed making and wearing them - and will make more - however this year (the beginning anyway) will be mainly separates to try to build up my wardrobe with the exception of today's Franki dress and the dress for my SWAP.

I also enjoyed initiating the Plus Sized Pattern Pyramid and Scary September.

Ahead in 2014

I have joined Sarah in the RTW fast. I have only purchased 2 items since I started sewing 2 years ago (with exception of undergarments ;-) and want to keep that up. This is one of the reasons that my wardrobe needs to be built up (my sewing has been slow and sporadic in successes LOL). I may have to break this fast to purchase an interview outfit as I will be hitting the sidewalk looking for a job soon and my sewing isn't up to job interviews just yet.

I shall also continue on with SarahLiz's Make a Garment A Month Challenge.

One of the things I am committing to in 2014 is purchasing quality fabric. Now you will still see some cheap and nasty fabric appearing in my sewing and that is because I have already purchased it. I want quality now.

I actually need to do a fabric purchase fast too but I have tried them in the past and failed dismally.

In just the short span of days of this year I have purchased the following:

*sigh* that doesn't even count what I purchased at the end of 2013.

I make this pledge - I will TRY not to purchase any more fabric..... I will TRY to only use fabric from the stash.... I didn't really stretch my skills last year. I will TRY to do better this year and try to incorporate new skills.


  1. I think that the dress looks great the length that it is, actually! You've got some nice makes there - but do you know what, you did EXACTLY the same thing that I did with the Island Ali top! You've only cut one pair of those side panels, and inserted one in each side. There are meant to be TWO pairs - (it is on the cutting instructions), then you seam each pair down the centre (the shorter side) and they will have a complete armhole curve. Mine was too tight as well until I realised that was what I had done. I had basically cheated myself out of inches and inches of room! I unpicked mine, but another pair and fixed it, then I loved the top.
    I like your thoughts on the last year and your plans for the year ahead as well. I look forward to following your SWAP progress. And as for fabric bans? Ha!

  2. Some beautiful garments there! I also like the dress as is, but I'm not the one wearing it!

    I have some similar goals to yours, except, the fabric buying thing. I have a small stash which I want to utilise. It is. All of it is for tops and I need bottoms. I like the idea of only buying fabric for an immediate need not 'just because'. And most certainly buying quality fabrics.

    Looking forward to your posts for 2014, I really enjoyed finding you in 2013.

  3. Oh dear, your fabric fasting didn't last too long given your purchase today at Tessuti! I quite like the length of your Frankie dress, it reveals your slim legs but you have to be happy with it otherwise you won't wear it. Lara's comment above about the Island Ali top is interesting, maybe that will fix it for you?

  4. I couldnt agree more about quality fabric, there's nothing worse than spending hours making an item then it getting ruined with from wear or washing, but I do like a bargain. Like those slim leg trousers they suit you.

  5. No no no. Leave Frankie as she is. That length looks best without the cardi.
    All the best with whatever you do in 2014!!!

  6. I like the dress at the shorter length too BeaJay, you have great legs so you should show 'em off! Some lovely things you made this year, I like your colours and fabric choices too.
    Thanks to thornberry for the heads up on the Island Ali side panels, it is going to be one of my next makes, I ordered it this week. Just hope it arrives in time for me to sew it for my holidays.

  7. You had some great makes last year and pilling is the pits. Looking forward to seeing this years garments. Love your helper!

  8. I've enjoyed seeing what you made last year because we have a similar shape. Looking forward to your 2014 projects.

  9. I think your Frankie dress is lovely and the length looks great. Sorry to hear about your pilling issues. So disappointing for this to happen when you have put a lot of time and effort in to sewing a garment.

  10. Oh boy I am all over a tip to stop my cowls from flipping- thanks!
    Love the cat picks and if you ever get them out of the box- just mail me all your new purchases so you won't feel so stash laden. I'm here for you!

  11. What a great post, and having seen you in the Island Ali top today I thought it looked lovely on you.

  12. Another vote to keep the snakeskin dress at that length. You've got the calves for it! I do so admire your commitment to animal prints! I'm lagging behind with my Jungle January plans- January is going rather too quickly for my liking!

    What a shame you've had to let go of that gorgeous geometric print dress :-(

  13. both prints are nice but I know what you mean about feeling like something's too short for comfort, I've got a dress that I'm still thinking of turning into a blouse just think of them as Refashion projects lol

  14. You have made so many nice things! And from this vantage point your shorter dress looks great. I thought about joining the RTW fast, it sounds like a fun challenge, but I think I want another year of sewing garments for myself first.

  15. BeaJay... I too think the dress looks great at that length as you have legs to envy! Love your garments, and think you're doing such a great job getting a bespoke wardrobe put together~ Sorry about the "melted hot fudge sundae" fabric piling. I just cut mine out yesterday and will finish up today. Maybe if I hand wash? Your new fabric finds look wonderful, and I have looked at a couple of them with extreme interest myself. A fabric diet only works if you don't find things that will suit you and your color scheme. And then we have to be a little flexible so we don't break! LOL Keep at it and before long, you'll find you have a closet full of gorgeous clothing you love in colors that suit.

  16. Another vote for leaving the Franki as-is. It looks great! You have great legs--this dress shows them off without being too short/inappropriate. FWIW, whenever I feel like a dress that I've made has turned out slightly too short, I wear it with leggings or tights underneath. Somehow, that bridges the gap to bring the length back into my comfort zone.

  17. Beajay. Thank you for all your kind comments. You have brought a smile to my day. Now I actually think your new dress is a good length. You have fab legs. Show them off! Could you give this dress a little time to adjust to something new? That's a pill about the pilling it is so hard to tell with material what will and won't

  18. I love the animal prints - such fun! And I agree with the others about the Franki dress - the length is great and shows your legs off perfectly. I also agree with Miss Anne from Petty Grievances - your black shoes with the strap across are gorgeous!

  19. With the other votes, I too like the Frankie dress at it's current length. Looking forward to seeing your 2014 sewn creations.

  20. i love all your clothes. I think the Franki dress looks really good. I made the same dress but cut down the dress to a top, i just prefer the shape on me. I also had trouble with the cowl. You look great the animal prints are great

  21. I like the length. I wonder if you are judging it short from how you feel in it or the picture you took. I've noticed that since I started taking pictures of my items as a whole that I am much more comfortable in shorter lengths than I used to be.

  22. Beajay you have inspired me to make something for Jungle January. And yo have some wonderful makes in your collection.

  23. Beajay you have inspired me to make something for Jungle January. And yo have some wonderful makes in your collection.

  24. Hi Beajay! Such gorgeous additions to your wardrobe! I really like your Franki Style Arc dress in the snake print, s-s-s-so s-s-s-s-superb. :-)

  25. Love the kitty pics...and geez, you've been very productive!! Excellent creations! Looking forward to catching you more this year!


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