Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Make a Garment a Month Challenge - March Plans!!!

Sarah Liz has posted the March theme for Make a Garment a Month (MAGAM) challenge. I had to laugh out loud when I read it. It is me all over. Could have been written just for little old me.

"So as sewers, maybe we should steal a march and declare our own spring sewing war - you know, the one we all have every year, and never quite win - garments planned and not quite sewn."
Guilty guilty guilty. Go directly to jail and do not pick up $200 for more fabric.

I have made plan after plan after plan - all beautifully laid out in PowerPoint with few completions (although I am doing well with my current SWAP plan for Artisans Square).

As a matter of fact, my failure to complete plans made me say that I won't post any plans for MAGAM but do what my sewjo mojo tells me to at the time. In honour of this month's theme, I am actually going to post plans!!!! But I am going to post a few and then decide in March (I will probably end up doing something completely different and therefore defeat the theme!!!!!!!)

My  MAGAM has been hit and miss. I missed October, got in November and December. I did make something for January (the StyleArc Island Ali top but it had issues that are now fixed but didn't get fixed by end of Jan), and of course I have done February.

Now do I tie in my March plans with my Artisan's Square SWAP? Jalie top with a lovely ruffled knit. It is planned and not yet sewn.

Or do I tie it in with Pattern Review New Pattern to Me competition? Hot Patterns Manta Ray Skirt and top in an aubergine (image doesn't show correct colour) stretch crepe. This has been planed to be sewn for some time now - however not written down

Do I do another top on my SWAP plan that first appeared in a Plan in 2012

Or do I do something non competition related and as yet unplanned - although I have been thinking about it for some time? Fill my wardrobe gaps with neutral non patterned tops?

Or do I do something completely different? Decisions decisions!

What should I do?

And what about you? Are you planning for March?

Monday, 24 February 2014

Butterick 5855 and StyleArc Shelly Top

I have finished another 2 tops. I had them all packed up to go to my ASG meeting at Rhodes to sew on Saturday however arthritis got the better of me and I ended up sewing them yesterday (Sunday AUS time).

They were both already cut and in plastic project bags and therefore they didn't take much time to sew up at all.

The first is the Butterick 5855 Caftan. I made View D. Not a very good pic from their website. I know that there are many people who can easily whip up their own caftan pattern - after all - it really is just a couple of rectangles - but I recall a teacher's comments on one of my projects at school. "Beverley needs to learn to draw straight lines". Well I never did and even the use of the technically advanced piece of equipment called a ruler doesn't help me much. So I figured if I want to cut straight lines I better get someone else to draw them!

I made it in the border print poly chiffon as blogged about in last post. This fabric looks so much better in life. It is absolutely gorgeous. I didn't make it as specified in their pattern as I had borders that I really wanted to incorporate so it is wider than the pattern. I also added an inch on the fold when I cut it, thinking it would give me more neck room - but I didn't end up needing it as it was wide enough as is. I also scooped a bit from the neck - I also really didn't need that. I was going to do a bias ribbon finish on the inside as I did with my tunics - but I had scooped so much that I thought a added neckband would fill it a bit. I do think the added neckband gives it a bit more interest too.

This pattern calls for darts from the bottom of the caftan to under the arms (or half way up) I didn't do this either but just added a line of stitching from under the arm to about the hips - giving a "split" that the pattern doesn't call for. Makes it easier for sitting I think. My tush needs room to spread you know. I added 2 inches to the length and then ended up cutting it off again. The length was perfect as is for my height.

I also did my first French seam across the shoulders. Note to self - in future make sure you trim all the frayed bits off otherwise you get "hairs" sticking out of your seams! I used my narrow hem foot to do the hems (as in my tunics) all the way around. Not much else to tell about the construction. It really is an easy cut and sew.

French seam

Right side of French Seam without trimming the fuzz first - where's those scissors!!!!

Overall, I am very pleased with this caftan. This fabric was one of my first fabric purchases and I don't know if your firsts are extra special or if it is true love with this fabric - but I was too scared to use it until now. Even on what would be considered easy by others - a caftan! It's not the cost - this fabric was a whopping $4.95 per yard from Denver Fabrics. It is more that it is so nice. A shame it is not silk. I would have paid the extra for silk but alas it only came in polyester.

This brings me to a question. I have another gorgeous border print poly purchased at the same time. What do I do? A caftan with the borders on the side like this one or a Michelle Tunic with the border on the bottom?

Now to my next sew. The StyleArc Shelly top.

No need to see the back - moving right along - nothing to see here. No need to see all the lumps and bumps the fabric shows!

Not so happy with this one and you know I am a lover of SA. It is not the way the pattern came together - easy peasy. It is more the look on me.  I haven't hemmed the bottom or cuffs of this. I also haven't ironed the seams. Supervisory Special Cat Elle is not impressed. This was sewn up as a muslin using a fabric I purchased on the internet and didn't read the description which talked about metallic and glitter. Hmmmm - didn't show up on the picture on the web. Teach me to read it properly.

I love me a cross over but I think this cross over it too high for me. The girls are very fussy you know. They like a low neckline and a cross that doesn't go across them but under. Emphasises them too much when the hem crosses them I think. I also don't like the gathering across the tum. I don't know if it is my sewing, the fabric or the size of my tum - but it just looks like wrinkles. That is an easy fix though. As for the cross over, I am thinking of going back to my original thought of using Jalie - although that will muck with my "Making my mARC with styleARC" SWAP for Artisans Square. *Sigh*

I do want make the cross over in this lovely ruffled fabric. Yes yes yes - I hear the yells and screams. Ruffles on big bosoms and tums just adds more bulk - but what can I say - I love the fabric. I am thinking of running the ruffles diagonally on the front following the cross over.

A big thank you to Rhonda  for the compliments on the up do. Here it is in all it's glory.

Courtesy of Jessica Simpson - although I really don't think it is her hair LOL!!!

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Second StyleArc Michelle Tunic

This is the second Michelle Tunic I made. I really like this fabric and I did make a change in the neckline.

BTW I am wearing an apricot cami on underneath!!

I love the "flowing" feel of the sleeves.

My first tunic (in the last post) had a v-neck - but I found it difficult to do the bias strip "facing" - don't know what else to call it.

This one I changed to a kind of key hole - I think - I don't know what else to call it.
You can't see it too well in the photos but it is shaped like this. Much easier for me to do than a V.

Back view

Next up is a non StyleArc pattern (I can hear the screams from here!!!)

I will be using a poly chiffon with a border.

Then after that - back to my StyleArc addiction.

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 Fabric.com. 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.

Monday, 17 February 2014

MIA and Plus Sized Pattern Pyramid

Well I have been MIA for quite a bit of time. Ongoing family issues. I totally lost all of my mojo. From late December until now I haven't done much but pathetically moped. I only sewed at Tessuti in January as that was a set date and forced me out of the house and I completed the Jungle January thing as nothing was going to stop me getting on that cruise. Apart from that - nada, zilch, zero.

I haven't even been reading many blogs (just random ones here and there) and that was one of my favourite rituals. Having breakfast with my sewing friends around the world. Waking up to find a plethora of loveliness in dresses, slacks, tops and fabrics.

Anyway - Last week I picked myself up, gave myself a stern talking to and a slap or two across the face and thought patheticness (my word - not dictionary's) only feeds itself when you stop doing the things you enjoy - told myself that I was pitiful and then got into it. I opened my reader - only to find over 300 posts to read -

I did scroll through and may have missed one or two or twenty or thirty. So if I normally comment on your blog and haven't for a while - humblest of apologies - I still love you and all is back to normal now..

So I didn't get a lot of the things done that I wanted to but the last few days I have been sewing up a storm. I have completed 1 pair of SA Barb Pants in a lovely cocoa coloured Bengaline, 2 SA Michelle Tunics - one in chiffon and one in Georgette - first time sewing with these fabrics and this pattern, 1 SA Creative Cate top that was supposed to be for Jungle January, fixed up my SA Island Ali top (amazing what another 8 inches does!!!!) and have cut out a kaftan top non Style Arc!!!!!  Photos to come when the weather here improves enough for me to wash the gelatine out of my tunics.


Humblest of apologies again. Here is something that I should have done weeks ago - no excuses here.

As there wasn't a huge amount of entries I was going to print out and cut up and draw - and I guess that is what stopped me - just didn't have the wherewithal to get it done until now. Anyhow - I decided to use the random number generator. I had 18 comments and another 2 comments on other posts that I included as number 19 and 20. I included comments that didn't want to be in the draw plus my response to comments - thinking this was easier than counting around and if one of these comments "spun up" then I would just generate again.

First "spin" came up as number 6

Which in my system is the wonderful and lovely Debbie Cook. Debbie, there were many votes on what to do with the pyramid and it came down as equal - draw as normal and send all patterns or split into two.

As you voted for draw as normal I will be sending all to you. From here on out let us say whomever gets the pyramid can decide what to do with it. Keep as many and send on without replenishing (as it does get very expensive to post), split in two, send the whole lot - whatever the recipient wants. Debbie, can you please private message me on PR with a postal address and I will happily send on to you. Very interested to see what you keep and make up (LOVE your work!!!!!!!!).

Happy sewing everyone - and remember - whatever life throws at you - your sewing machines won't judge you or get angry at you or call you names (the reverse may well be true however!!!!).

Smile and hugs to all.