Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Artisan's square 3PAC and more

First a heart felt thanks for all the support on my last post. The sewing community is such a fantastic group of people. It is also another "wake up" to me that many others are going through their own issues and problems

As mentioned in my last post, I have been sewing a lot the last few days (for me anyway!!) Here are the results.

StyleArc Barb Pants and Creative Cate top. These along with my newly fixed Island Ali top will form the first 3PAC of my Artisan Square SWAP

I have made both before and love the style on me. So - why mess with a good thing? I did change the Barb pants by slimming down the leg a little from my last pair. I shaved about an inch off the thighs. The fabric is a lovely bengaline from the Remnants Warehouse.I have thought about stretching my skills and doing a pattern with a fly front - but then I think there is no way I would wear anything tucked in so I don't need the details. I do think I shall try pockets soon though. The fabric is bengaline purchased from the Remnants Warehouse.

The Cate top is cool and comfy to wear and I love that pattern. With all of the tops I have made - I like the Creative Cate the best! The fabric is a really silky ITY knit of some sort of animal print from I have been trying to work out what type of animal - there looks like some fish scales, some sort of big cats but in the end I decided the animal was a sloth as it was supposed to be finished for Anne of Pretty Grievances' Jungle January.

Next on the deck(my version of catwalk) is the lovely Michelle Tunic again from StyleArc. The Michelle Tunic is from their plus sized range however is similar to their Sandy top. I don't know why StyleArc have a plus sized section as they will do ANY of their patterns up to a AUS size 30. The Michelle was made up in a gorgeous poly chiffon also from the Remnants Warehouse. I decided to do the "stripes" running vertical instead of horizontal - more slimming I believe. The fabric has a tiny amount of glitter on it. I am not normally a glitter girl but it is so minimal it is just  a very pretty accent. You wouldn't even see it unless you looked up close.

This will also be my entry into the February Make a Garment a Month Challenge

The sideways tilt is because of my hip and only apparent from the back

This was a bit of a learning curve for me. I hadn't sewn with chiffon before but I used Lena Merrin's gelatine method and it worked a treat. Didn't even worry the glitter. The fabric goes in a nice thin flowing chiffon and when it dries it is like organza - stiff but malleable and more controllable. I actually love the look and feel of it like this but of course you buy chiffon for it's soft and floating qualities and you also can't get the fabric wet when you have gelatined it. It irons and everything with the gelatine in it. Once you have finished sewing you wash as normal and wow - back to flowing chiffon. Brilliant. BTW I was rushed for time so instead of leaving it soaking for an hour as per instructions I only soaked for about 20 mins. It still worked well.

With this top I added two inches in length - used a one size larger pattern than I do for the knit at StyleArc and made the mistake of extending the slit at the bust thinking that I do like low cut - the girls do need their space you know - but I cut it way too low. I will need to take a couple of stitches to close about an inch. I also don't have much luck with v's. the top stitching to hold down the bias doesn't look great and I always have difficulty with the "turning over" the end of the V.

I was going to try another skill - French seams - but I couldn't work out how that would work with the vents at the bottom of the side seams - so I used the overcast stitch on the Elna to tidy the edges and did a normal seam at the sides. I did find it puckered a bit so on the advice from More Fabric Savvy from Sandra Betzina - I used a tiny zigzag stitch. Very slow going but did not pucker the fabric.

Overcast stitch on overlocker / seger - haven't used this before - it is good for light fabrics

Using narrow hem foot
Outcome of narrow hem

Looking at the photos I think I might have some fit issues. Everything feels good on - I will have to wear to my ASG meeting on Saturday and get some fit feedback from the experts there.

And finally here is the Island Ali top fixed - see before and after. This was because I misread the instructions and only cut two side panels instead of 2 PAIR of side panels. I also scooped the neckline lower. The girls were happy. Also the first pair of Barb pants and the modified slimmer ones.

I am keeping my second Michelle tunic until my next post. This one was picture heavy enough.

What I have learnt:

  • The Gelatine Method works great - thanks Lena!
  • How to make a bias strip (well - not great outcome but it did work)
  • How to sew a bias strip instead of using facings
  • That it really does work better for me when I buy the bias strips instead of making them. Especially from chiffon!!
  • How to use the overcast stitch on my serger / overlocker.
I will leave you with a pic of Supervisory Special Cat Elle inspecting the quality of my fabrics.

Until next time may your sewjo mojo flowso.


  1. Your 3-pac looks fabulous! Great job! thanks for the gelatin tip referral. I've used starch before, but think I'll try the gelatin next time.

  2. What great outfits and I like that you can mix and match. I absolutely love your smile in the 1st pic!!!

  3. You make a great model for your new wardrobe. Each piece is great and they work well together.
    So glad you're back too!!!

  4. All I can say is "WOW" to this whole post! You have been learning some great skills -- I have yet to learn to use the narrow hem foot or make a pair of pants or try the gelatine method (although my daughter is making a chiffon tank -- so I'll be trying that this week). As for your before/after shots: you looked good before, but I love the afters. And I love those shoes, too:)

  5. So happy to see you back :) Love the new wardrobe pieces. And BTW, I'm loving the up do!!

  6. Wow! You have gotten a lot done. THanks so much for sharing techniques/ tips you learned. This helps the rest of us. Also the pants look so nice with the slimmer leg.

  7. WOw... you have been busy.What cute clothes.. I lvoe, love the tunic top.. all of it..just adorable.. Happy sewing.

  8. You're doing fabulous! Love the new outfits and they go together so nicely. I'm impressed with your progress in your skills and in your wardrobe. Congrats!

  9. Brilliant looking 3 PAC and all the pieces work so well together. Bias strips in chiffon, gelatine first LOL, that's what I did!

  10. Beajay, your tops look great , interesting fabrics.

  11. Very nice, especially the Michelle tunic. Thanks for sharing the link to that gelatin tip. I'll be using it the next time I sew a fine hard to handle material.

  12. Hilarious post - love the catwalk show! The gelatin tip is interesting, I have some chiffony/floaty fabric and am thinking of making an unstructured jacket to wear as a cover-up. The prints are lovely (especially the animal one!) and stripes do look good vertically!

  13. The sloth print top is fabulous! Really flattering and a lot of fun. I always admire people who have the confidence to wear jungle prints. I baulk at liberty....

    The chiffon creation is almost as beautiful as your Elle puss.

  14. Your tops look lovely. The pants look great as well. Really like the fabrics. Great your enjoying your sewing.

  15. I love it all, especially the first top. I'm excited to see your SWAP finished. I've never participated in one, but I do always love seeing what others put together.

  16. I think we need to pack a lunch and go on a fabric shopping spree together! You fins the coolest cats....and sloths!

  17. Wow, you've sewn yourself a new wardrobe! Re: The Michelle tunic/StyleArc's plus sizes: The plus size line is a holdover from the early StyleArc days when most of their patterns only went up to a size 18 or so. A couple of years ago, they decided to grade up most of their patterns up to size 30 to offer a wider range of sizes. (If you search through their older patterns, you can still find a few that aren't graded up to cover the plus sizes.)

  18. What a fantastic new wardrobe - those tops just look so good on you, style and colour. Being back in nice clothes will help the mojo no end, BeaJay, especially after a low period :)

  19. Great sewing! Love it all ~ those colours and styles work so well on you ... J

  20. Lovin the animal print! That is such a chic top, perfect pattern placement.
    what a great new wardrobe!

  21. Great wardrobe coming together... that cat's coat is gorgeous!

  22. The tunics look fabulous! I can understand your obsession with them. Thanks also for the pics in the sunshine and green grass, it gives me hope that spring and summer will once again return to the Northern hemisphere.


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