Monday, 28 January 2013

Border line border print Cate

Well here is another Creative Cate top. This time in a border print.

I purchased this fabric and have been troubled by it ever since. Being 5'8 or 177 cm tall I was having problems with the space between the "borders". It wasn't a border on the selvedge but a repeating pattern and if I wanted the pattern at the bottom of a top, I had to cut into a bit of the pattern at the top and every pattern I had chosen for it was not practical. It would have been better had I purchased more of the fabric - I could have simply incorporated the pattern in both the top and bottom of the pattern - but alas - I had only purchased what I would normally for a top and therefore I only had 2 purple pattern bits in my fabric. This gave me pause. Until I came up with this:

I put the pattern at the top and I cut a "band" and put it on the bottom. Now I am entering this into One Pattern Many Looks on Pattern Review and I don't think it breaks the rules of drafting as no drafting was done. Instead of adding the 4 3/4 inches to the bottom of the pattern I need for my height and stomach, I added twice that much in a folded band.

I don't like it as much as my animal print one - maybe it is the band - not sure - I will have to live with it for a while - but am happy with it if for no other reason than it gets my purple pants out of the wardrobe they had been sitting in for 2 years as they were an orphan. I don't know what possessed me to buy them in the first place as I had nothing to go with them - I guess they looked good on the TV. Now they have a friend to play with.

Now to other news:

I have almost completed 2 items for Jungle January - Vogue 8815 peplum top and a skirt in an animal print that matches my first version of Cate..... however ..... my newly purchased second hand Elna 744 is skipping stitches BADLY in the coverhem....... I don't know if it is the needles or it needs a service.... *sigh*. Sad news is ... I don't know if they will be done in time to make an appearance on the "cat"walk. Luckily the sleeves on the above was done just as it started playing up and the bottom was taken care of with the "band".

I don't have any more of the "special" Schmetz ELx705 needles that came with the machine.... There is a drought of them is Sydney.... I don't even know if you can purchase them here. I will change the needles and see if that helps.... otherwise... I am going to have to take it in for a service. :-(

Any fellow Sydney sewists - especially in Inner West area - how much does an overlocker service normally cost and do you know any good service people?


Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Taking care of business - Pyramid Giveaway and Liebster Award

I have been flat chat of late (getting back into working after holidays - isn't it hard!!!!!) and catching up on marking assignments - hmmmm - not fun. So sewing and blogging has had to take a bit of a back seat :-(

I have a few minutes now to draw and give away some great patterns as part of the:

Click on the image to find the rules

First some mentions:

Kathryn T from the ACT (Australia) very kindly sent some patterns to me to include in the pyramid. She doesn't have a blog so can't be part of the fun. How generous was that!!!!!

I also had offers of patterns from Funnygrrl and Heather through Did You Make That site of Karen who launched the original pyramid. I didn't take them up on it as I thought they could save the postage for the pyramid go around.

And the lucky winners are:

Lisa H from Sew On and Sew On

KC from The Sewcratic Method

Funnygrrl from Falling Through your Clothes (must have been your determination coming through)

I hope you enjoy the pattern / s you choose from the selection you receive and don't forget to host your own giveaway as soon as possible.

Please go onto Pattern Review and Private Message me (BeaJay) with your postal address.

Now to some exciting (for me) news!

The very talented Valerie at Valerie's Own Sewing Blog has awarded me the Leibster Award.

Now I take awards very seriously. Probably due the the dirth of awards I have amassed over my lifetime (this one make 2.5). 

My brother was Dux of the school - not so much me. My sister was good at athletics - definitely not so much me. Kids these days get awards for everything - even turning up - but back in my day you had to do something exceptional to get an award. *sigh*. 

I did - back in the early noughties - win a Vodafone Legends award (which I am claiming as number one of facts about me as there isn't that much that is newsworthy). This was a great award as it entailed a free overseas trip (always good), but that is it. I was always an also ran (or walked for that matter).

I did get the lovely Premio award from the extraordinary Carolyn - and not to take anything away from that award as I did so enjoy it - but it really is only the "luck of the draw" so to speak - the order in which people comment. (so this is the .5)

Soo - it gives me much pleasure to get this award. It means that my blog is enjoyed which brings me delight so thank you very much Valerie for thinking of me.

Now the rules for the Leibster are: (these were hard to find as when I googled to find out what the Leibster was for and it's rules I found lots of different sets of rules so I went through the ancestry of the one that was passed to me and found this on I Heart Fabric and amalgamated it with others

The Rules:

The award is for bloggers with less than 200 followers/readers to bring them into the limelight and hopefully increase their readership
  • Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to their blog
  • Post 11 facts about yourself
  • Answer the 11 questions posed by your nominator
  • Nominate up to 5 other blogs (let them know you have nominated them) and ask them 11 questions of your own

Jeeze - I would love to pass it on to 11 people and list 5 facts about myself (luckily Valerie didn't ask the 11 questions!!!) - but - I went to the trouble of looking up the rules so I may as well use them!

Here are the 11 things:

  • See above post for number 1
  • I have an artificial hip and am on the waiting list for another one 
  • Number 2 is because I have a condition called acetabulum protrusio (don't you just love Latin!). It is an uncommon defect of the acetabulum (the socket that the femur bone goes into) where it protrudes too far into the pelvis (ouch). Too much information????? (don't you love how I have split the fact to make 2 facts!!! Who said I don't do math!)
  • Ooh - there goes number 4. I am not good at math! Coming from a mathematical family I have to hang my head in shame!  
  • I used to breed fish. I didn't start out with an ambition to breed fish - but what can I say - I don't do things in halves (there's the math again!) When I was in my teens my mother bought me a 2 foot fish tank and some tropical fish as a present. Now - me being me - I had to research the very best ways of looking after the fish (and that was prior to the internet - the younger people amongst us wouldn't understand old fashioned research). So - I had to feed them the very best of food - which made me buy a 1 foot tank to breed live food and feed it into the other tank - which made my fish very happy and very fertile. Before long the live bearers were popping out fish like an assembly line - but even more - the egg layers started laying eggs. Which entailed another tank ( a five foot one now) to transfer all my fish into as - if you know anything about fish - you will know that fish eat their young or other young fish. Couldn't have that! So I moved my fish into the 5 foot tank, used the 2 foot tank for the baby live fish and purchased a 3 foot tank to put the leaves with eggs in - which numbered in the hundreds - which necessitated another tank and so on and so forth. So......... long story a little bit shorter ..... I ended up with a house full of tanks and exhaustion and not so much fun but cleaning and cleaning and cleaning. Hence - I sold the tanks and fish and now have none.. WAY too much info..... 
  • In a related fact - I don't eat fish - or any seafood for that matter. Tastes like the bottom the tanks smelt (and I kept them clean)
  • I am self employed - I have and run 2 businesses. One is as a sub contractor, training business and management subjects mainly for traineeships and qualifications - the other is for corporate training and writing of learning materials and resources.
  • I'm not into chick flicks - If there is not a lot of action going on it probably isn't worth seeing IMO
  • My all time favourite TV show is the West Wing (followed by 24 and Criminal Minds)
  • I am not a gambler - I once went on holidays to the Gold Coast, went to the casino with a designated amount of cash to have fun with and walked out with exactly the same amount of money - couldn't "throw it away" - contrarily - I play the stock market and manage my own super fund - if that isn't gambling I don't know what is!!!!
  • When I am in the mood I am a quite a pot stirrer
Phew! - there's a couple of minutes of your life you'll never get back again!!

Now - Valerie was kind enough not to ask questions.

I am not so kind.

Mainly because I am a nosey Parker and like to know things.... So.... Here are the questions I am asking for you to share with your blog readers and me.... 

  1. Tea or coffee
  2. Cats or dogs
  3. If you had $50 and could only buy patterns or fabric - what would you buy?
  4. Comedy / Drama / Horror / Musical or Action
  5. Do you feel younger than your age or older - or just right?
  6. If you could do or be anything in the world (human that is - profession etc) - what would you be?
  7. Why are you not the above (if you said anything other than what you are)?
  8. Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things - and no sitting on the fence on this one - if you had to choose - what would it be?
  9. If you could offer a child only one piece of advice - what would it be?
  10. Do you have life goals - and if so - do you write them down and revisit them?
This last one is a favourite of mine:

11. Is there any such thing as the truth and if so, is it possible to know the truth without challenging it first?

Now I am not a tough taskmaster - if you want to skip the facts and questions - please just accept this award in the spirit it was intended - with thanks for taking the time to share your journey with others - and then pass it on. ....... But I really am a nosey parker. Hey if I didn't for some strange, unknown, stupid reason, send an award to you (how very remiss of me - you know I love you  - but the rules said 5), you can still answer the questions if you like (see how nosey I am!!!)

I would love to pass this award onto the below blogs. The award is for blogs with under 200 followers (I added subscribers too - some blogs have 100 odd followers but over 100 subscribers and I really want to acknowledge the great blogs I have stumbled onto that don't have a great deal of readers as yet).

I also have not awarded it to bloggers who have already received it (that I could see anyway).

And in no particular order ....To the below - I salute you. 

Chris Lucas at Chris Lucas

So glad I found this site. I found Chris through a Craftsy course - Plus Sized pattern fitting and design. She uploaded a picture of a finished project of Vogue 8815 and I found her blog. She is making some lovely clothes and I really love her happy smile.

Edited to add - Tigergirl has since nominated Chris and my thoughts were - not people who had already received the award - HOWEVER - I picked Chris first (picture thumb on nose and poking out of tongue) just hadn't gotten to publishing this post as I still hadn't printed off the entries into to pyramid and picked winners.

Moonthirty at Moonthirty

Moonthirty has been making some great tops and I am enjoying seeing her creations.

Westmoon shares her sewing and knitting journey, her life, her reviews of magazines and her great bags.

Louise at From No 23

Louise has not only made some lovely clothes but also some great crafts that she is selling.

Alison from Sewing with Cats

Alison has sewn up a storm last year - looking forward to seeing what she comes up with this year. Check out her purses!

Monday, 7 January 2013

Proportionately problematic pants and Cate makes another creative appearance

I need pants / trousers / slacks - whatever you want to call them.

So I thought that I would try Patternmaker where you put your measurements into the computer and it spits out a pattern tailored to your own measurements. Easy peasy lemon squeezy - only minimal adjustments needed - if at all......????!!!!

Here is my problem... *sigh*

This is me...

So Patternmaker - along with 95% of pant manufacturers - thinks that I have large legs to fit my large stomach.

Here is what it came up with. I have sacrificed my favourite RTW black slacks to use to compare. They were starting to get threadbare so I desperately need new ones.

Notice that the waist measurements are good - there is only seam allowance and elastic casing allowance showing.

Pretty good for a computer program ... Now it all goes pear shaped --- hmmmm literally pear shaped.

Now this is just the back - the front is the same which means that the legs would be way to big - not to mention the crotch - what is with that?? Hate to think the impact of that!! I think I would end up looking like a homie (male gang member).

Anyway - I have spent my short sewing history making patterns bigger - now I thought about making this smaller but then read Sham's account of her Linda Pants.

Now Shams doesn't have near as much difference between her waist and thighs as I do - but the thought is the same. Why try to grade down the whole pattern based on my waist measurement - why not just add room for the tum?

Hence it began.

First I ordered a StyleArc Linda in size 24 (which believe me - is way smaller than the size recommended for my waist - I won't tell you what size that is because it isn't even on their list!!!!!  (note to self - stop snacking on the cheese and biscuits).

Then I did a full tummy adjustment (sounds like you have pulled down your fly zip after a yummy meal - and who hasn't done that - common fess up!!) - not actually according to my body measurements but according to the measurements of aforementioned favourite pull on black pants as the first pair I wanted to make was in similar fabric.

I used the techniques shown in the book - Dressmaking to flatter your shape - Lorna Knight

I was going to type out the instructions for the adjustment but you really need the corresponding pictures.

This is how mine ended up.

This is the amount that I ended up adding to the waist area - this is times 2  - but keeping in mind that this is a light jersey knit fabric that will be used

I added the amount that I added to the front to the waistband

Supervisory special cat Elle - ensuring all is above board

This resulted in the caramel coloured jersey pants shown here. I am very happy with these pants and have worn them many times.

Now I wanted a pair in a lovely bottom weight RPL acquired through the amazing EmmaOneSock - got to love her fabrics - though the shipping to AUS is a killer.

Now - this RPL has a slight stretch (the good friend of the big tummy) but no where near the stretch of the jersey (BFF) .... and remembering my horror of not taking into consideration the different stretches in fabric - I thought body measurements were called for.

This resulted in me adding 6 cms to each pattern piece (a total of 24 cm - and this is in addition to my first adjustments - yikes!!) I just added it using my curve ruler. This way - if I make any more jersey versions (and I will) I will just fold it out.

The below technique was something I just tacked on and is not as good as the snip and spread method in the  book as that method actually puts room at the stomach where I needed it. Adding to the side also doesn't add to the crotch line and you may end up in a bit of pain!!

The downward slant of the added piece caused a bit of a problem - to be rectified for next pair
I also then needed to add this amount to the waistband - although I ended up reducing it a bit as the waistband ended up a little large.

The results (as shown with another version of StyleArc's Creative Cate top. I LOVE this pattern - although the seemingly diagonal animal print of my last version is a bit more flattering than the below "stripes").

Note - both legs looked the correct length in the mirror - I think that a shoe may have sunk a little in the ground making one leg seem too long - but I will check it out on solid ground later.

The top is made with fabric from Gorgeous Fabrics (yikes - also painful in the shipping costs) - I am quite happy about how I lined up the "stripes" from front to back (although in the interests of public health I refuse to show a side shot). I also debated on where to put the colours. I strategically put the darkest stripe across my biggest part - hoping that it would camouflage somewhat - and lo and behold - it seemed to work.

In the spirit of helping my larger sewing sisters decide whether to choose this pattern - here is the front of the pants (quelle horreur - save yourself - look away now)

Now there is no way a body like mine will produce a smooth line in pants - get over it Beverley - it ain't gonna happen - so I am actually very pleased with the result. The pants are very comfy.

The back...

Now plead for mercy all you want - I'm going to show it anyway - here is the pants bot bot.. I do however refuse to put it in "extra large" format - it is large enough as it is.

The little downward slant on the waistband is caused by the aforementioned downward slant on my pattern alteration.

All in all I am extremely happy with this whole outfit and it will definitely go into rotation (another 2 for the sewloutions jar). And it will be a part of my Artisans Square SWAP. I will end up with lots of mix and match separates.

Next on the radar is another animal print top for Jungle January - this time a peplum - Vogue 8815 already cut and basted for trial - yes I am going to give Cate a short rest but I am sure she will make another appearance before the end of Jan for one pattern many looks competition (and because I lurve her - she is such a nice pattern).

Then the draw for Plus Sized Pattern Pyramid.- don't forget to tell your friends and put it on your blog - spread the word,

Friday, 4 January 2013

Pattern Pyramid (Plus Sized)

It was conceived in the mind of Karen from "Did You Make That"......

It traveled the world and grew bigger and bigger......

It has visited the homes of many a sewist.......

It has then been passed on to yet more sewists......

It has evolved..

It is now so big that is can not be contained

It's next incarnation is here...

Some of the patterns on offer - still have to dig out the rest

THE RULES (As copied - and slightly amended - from Did You Make That)
  • Anyone, anywhere can enter the giveaway by posting a comment below by midnight Sydney Australia Time Friday 18th January BUT you must have an active blog. (Reasons to become obvious.)
  • I will randomly select 3 winners.
  • I will post a selection of approximately 5 - 6 patterns to each winner.Each winner will pick one pattern to keep for themselves, then host their own giveaway. They will randomly select a winner, post the remaining patterns to that Person C. Person C will pick a pattern for themselves, host their own giveaway and post the remaining patterns to the winner, Person D. Person D will…
  • All patterns are in the plus size category - ie - if the pattern comes in 2 sizing groups, then it will be the larger category. Patterns to go up to at least go up to a size 20 (most go higher). Patterns listed as "all sizes" will include plus sizes.
  • If you wish to take more than one pattern you can replenish the stock with a pattern you no longer want - but please make sure it is in plus size range
You get the idea!

  • We are taking it on trust that all pattern pieces are there
  • Your selection of patterns will be picked at random - please don’t contact me asking for specific patterns.
  • If you’re a winner, I would love it if you could make a small contribution to The Brooke. This is a charity close to the heart of Catherine, who so generously provided the original patterns. These plus sized patterns have been contributed by me in the spirit of the generosity of the sewing community
  • Please engage in a timely fashion, launching your own giveaways soon after receiving a parcel
  • You must be be happy to post patterns worldwide.
Spread the word - let it be known to all.

Let the fun begin

P.S. - To the winners from my blog anniversary give away - your prizes have now been posted and are winging their way to you.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

StyleArc Creative Cate Top - Jungle January

Jungle January has jumped onto the calendar and here is my first item to parade:

The Creative Cate Top from StyleArc patterns.

Many people have reviewed this top on PR however I was a little concerned that it would suit me. My main concern was the sleeve length. I need sleeves to hide the tuck shop arms but was concerned over how a lengthened sleeve would look on a style like this. When I saw Kelly's version I was happy to give it a go.

The purrfect fabric for this is my animal mishmash that just goes purrfectly with Prttynpnk's Jungle January - in praise of textile beasties. I love the colours of this fabric and the feel is divine too.

In addition to lengthening the sleeves by 2 3/4 inches I lengthened the body by 4 3/4 inches. I also changed the hem to a "shirt tail" hemline as I like the look. I am very happy with the outcome.

I also added some stay tape to the shoulders.

Only 3 pattern pieces and one is a small neck band for the back!!

This top is so easy it practically sews itself. I can prove this - look how good it is - certainly not my sewing!!!! Sews up quick too. Just put the neckband on, sew up the sides and then attach the front cowl piece to the shoulders and sew. The hemming is what takes the longest.
Pictured with StyleArc Linda Pants

The top took 2 1/2 hours to sew. Very easy and highly recommended.

This will now be the first item for my Artisans Square SWAP 2013

I see many many more of these in my near future ...... hmm .... do I hear one pattern many looks contest???

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Prize Draw - Pamela's Patterns Perfect T - and a lot of firsts

Happy New Year!!

First job of the year - give away from my Blog Anniversary.

Many people go high tech and do some sort of random counter.... That was too much for me - especially on the first of the year. So I resorted to low tech - drawing paper out of a bowl.....

Draw for pattern


Draw for Sketch book


And the winners are:

Hot Patterns Sabine Dress
Sue from Quilt Sew Sew Sue

Fashionary Sketch Book
Suzy from Suzy Bee Sews

It must be the year for Sue's

I also bought some fashionary pads which are smaller one image pads for sketching and have decided to give them away too.

They go to:

Congratulations. I will be in contact soon via PR.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of the people who read my blog and special hugs to those who take the time to leave a comment.. Sure do love those comments.

Here's to a productive and fun 2013.

And now on to Sewing News....

Well - I have finished my first item for the year - and it was going to be my first item for my Artisans Square SWAP.

It is my first finished t-shirt, the first time I have sewn an item on my new coverstitch machine and I did my first successful neck band........ Now I know these are such easy things for most sewists but I have really struggled - especially with neck bands. Neck bands have caused me to throw out items in disgust. Finally I have one I am happy with - neck band that is.

Am I happy with the actual top? No.

It is funny that I was perfectly happy with it until I saw the pictures. A picture tells a thousand words ... and most of them I don't want to hear!!!!!

The top needs to be a tad longer in the front - the neckline a fair bit lower - even though I lowered the scoop neckline the girls need more room - if I wear anything with a neckline that is too high I look like I am walking around with a helipad on my chest and have to duck at low flying objects!!

Also - the darts need to be lowered even more - damn gravity :-(  and when looking at the pictures it appears that not only is it too short at the front - but the front actually goes up a little - wouldn't have anything to do with my large stomach!! Actually looking at the pattern I can see why - my fault - not the pattern's. Too much alteration and I ended up cutting it a little on a slope up.

However - I am thrilled with the neck band.

Although you can see some of the stitching just after the end of the curve - for my first attempt at stitch in the ditch - I think I did okay! I attached the neckband using the method of : sew right sides together, turn binding over tucking in seam allowance, stitch in the ditch and the cut off the remaining neckband on the inside. This of course after quartering both the band and the neckline.

I used my blind hemming foot (G foot) for my Janome to guide me when stitching in the ditch. (Got to love those machine feet). This method was shown on the Pamela's Patterns DVD for sewing the perfect T and it worked beautifully. (Thanks Pamela). Pamela used a special foot for hers but I had heard that you can use the blind hem foot and adjust it as needed - which is what I did.

I am loving the coverstitch for hemming too.

The pants are made by me too but not blogged about. They are the StyleArc Linda pant. The reason I haven't blogged about them is not because I am not happy with them, but when I made them they were too long - I still wore them though.. but was not happy with the twin needle hemming I did. I knew I was going to  get a coverstitch machine so waited until I had learnt how to use it and then cut off the old hem and did a new one on the CS machine. Now they are a tad short but at least I am not tripping over them.

They are also made with a light weight jersey and I am going to make another pair with a lovely bottom-weight RPL from EmmaOneSock. I am happy with them though.

Twin needle hem - the part between the stitching puckered

New coverstitch hem - no puckering

I am not going to review the PP top on PR until I have my problems sorted. I love the pattern itself - user error is the problem.

Things I have learnt:

- Love my new overlocker (serger) / coverstitch machine. When I purchased it the idea was to have my original overlocker set up and then set the new one up as a coverstitch and move between the 2 - just use the new overlocker function as a backup machine. However - this one is so easy to covert between overlocker and covertitch that I have now resigned my original overlocker to the role of back up machine (so sorry Elna 664 Pro - I do still love you - honestly - there's plenty of love to go around)

- How to do a coverstitch hem. OH Yeah - so easy and so pleased with the results.

- How to attach a neck bind - YEAH!!!!!!
This was a biggie for me. I now know what I was doing wrong when trying to attach neckbands. I quartered the neckband and put pins in indicating the quarters and then attached the quarters to the centre front, centre back and shoulder seams instead of quartering the garment as well - DOH!

- How to use the G Foot (blind hemming foot) for the Janome to stitch in the ditch.

- How to "block press" to remove wrinkles in hems etc.

- That there are so many more techniques and stitches to learn and practice.

- The importance of pattern placing when cutting fabric..Yikes - posies on the peaks!

What a great sewing day - even though the top isn't a keeper but a around the houser.

Ciao for now

Happy sewing