Thursday, June 28, 2018

Tried and Trues - Winter Resort

I decided I would like some separates in the wardrobe, so turned to some TNT patterns to make them.


The first of the three I made was the Nina Stylearc Cardigan.  I have made this before but not blogged about it.  This one was made in needle knit stripe from The Fabric Store, which I had in the stash.  Pretty similar to this one I think, but a pretty blue.  I had to study up on how to do a rolled hem around a corner as that is how I chose to hem the cardigan.  I didn't hem the last one as it was a heavier weight merino and I felt I didn't need it.  I referred to the technique in Easy Guide to Serging Fine Fabrics  and practised it a few times, then took a deep breath and went in.  I was pretty happy with the result.  This cardigan has worked really well and will be a great travel cardi as it is very lightweight but provides a nice amount of warmth for it's weight.

The second item was the Stylearc Evie top.  I have made this twice before but not blogged them.  This is the first one I made in an Art Gallery knit from Wattle Hill Fabrics.





This is a great basic tee perfect for layering.  

The fabric I used for this third one was stash fabric again.  A remnant piece of pretty ugly brown jersey.  I think I have used the rest of it for lining a dress.  This remnant has been hanging about for a while and even though it is never going to be a favourite it will help fill my wardrobe while I am catching up with sewing new clothes.  The of-interest part of this make is that I didn't bother with binding, but used FOE (fold over elastic) instead.  I used the shiny side as it matched the colour of the fabric the best.


And piece three was another TNT, the Mabel skirt, made twice before here and here.  It is, in fact, replacing the brown version I made earlier.  This time a larger size and followed the pattern as is, no changes made.  Again another remnant in the stash.  It is a brown double knit, unknown origin.  Love the kick pleat...



All these three items will mix and match with other pieces in the wardrobe.  I see the cardigan and the skirt becoming favourites but the brown top will probably stay until I make more tops I really like so I can move it on.

Ciao kittens, plenty more to come...

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Stylearc Cleo base + New Look 4220 topper - Winter Resort

My blogging of this new wardrobe will not be in the same order as the sewing, but I will try and show as many of the pieces I make in different combinations.  I am back today to show again the first piece I made, which was the Stylearc Cleo dress in combination with a more wintery top.


I spotted Kwik Sew 4220 pattern while I was browsing the Knitwit on-line store and really liked all the pieces in it.  One of the main pieces I liked in it was the ponte pants.  I have been trying to buy some but either the colour was not what I was after or the style was too narrow legged for me.  Most at the moment in the shops seem to be more like leggings in styling and when you have wide, short legs I don't think it is the best look and not what I am after right now.  So I figured the pattern would be a good one to have.

This was my first iteration of the pants in a Spotties ponte.  The top is a Burdastyle pattern - blogged here.  



While I was at Spotlight buying the pattern, I came across some fabrics that I decided would be good to try the pattern out.  The stone coloured ponte above and an eggplant coloured rayon knit.  It is a lovely colour, but the knit is very loose so needs something under it for modesty and warmth.  This light weight fabric is actually quite warm when layered.  I can imagine wearing it over a long sleeve when it is really cold.

I adored the feathery fringe on the selvage and decided to use it in the top so I added it to the edge of the cowl collar.  This is the fun part of making your own clothes. 


I wanted to show you the Cleo dress without a topper, so actually remembered to get a photo this time!  I really like this pattern and can see myself making many more iterations.  I think a sleeved one and maybe make the front v-neckline more of a curve may be the next one I want to make.


 A see a bit of my Grandma in me in that photo and that does make me smile.  A Finn truly in build I think!

I love my new purple top and have plans for a second one which in a different fabric will look quite different I think.

Well Ciao for now kittens, heaps more pieces to come yet!

Monday, June 4, 2018

Winter Resort

Well my blogging has been non-existent but part of that is because I really haven't been sewing clothes much at all.  I have been sewing for my little Etsy shop but not sure that is of interest to most people so my posting has died.

The reason I wasn't sewing much was I have put on a stack of weight (hello menopause and giving up trying!)  I couldn't really work out what to wear and everything I made looked, well, pretty ordinary.  I bought a few RTW items to plug in the gaps but was still not happy with how I looked.

I realised I needed some help and I will discuss that in a later post, but basically it came to light that I was really missing the boat in what I was making and buying.  Swathing myself in volumes of fabric was not making me look smaller!  In fact quite the opposite.

So a new tack has been taken.  I have gone back to basics and have started building my new wardrobe, at this stage titled "Winter Resort".   I have also come to realise that I was getting a long way from my best colour palette.  I was incorporating a lot of black and I did it because it was easy.  It was only making me look worse and it is interesting that I did it, as now when I try to put black near my face I can see what bad things it was doing for my complexion and in turn it was also making me feel very meh! about myself.

The first instalment in my wardrobe was a new basic dress in a "good" colour and a shirt that I just felt I had to make.

I chose to make Stylearc Cleo for the frock, which is a straight through style with optional darts for a bit of fitting.   I basted the darts, thinking they would not work for my overblown figure, but I had to give it to Stylearc, they know what they are doing.  The darts stayed and I am amazed at how much slimmer I look.  The tummy and all the bits are still there but it looks so much better in this frock!  I used a dark brown soft double knit that I had in the stash and to simplify the sew, I finished the armholes and neckline with fold over elastic (FOE).  

Anne Whalley has a great video tip on using FOE and you can find many more about too, to help you with this really RTW look sewing short cut.

While I was planning this dress, I visited East Coast Fabrics and picked up a piece of Georgette which I feel in love with and happened to be reduced in price.  I also noticed a New Look pattern while I was waiting to to be served and picked that up too, thinking it was perfect for the fabric.  I enjoyed making the top, but it wasn't a quick sew and put me back a bit in my plans to get my wardrobe started, but I am still happy I spent the time on it.  Sometimes you just need a certain piece and this was it this time.

So enough of the chatter, this is my first outfit in the new wardrobe...


and another shot,


I wore this outfit at the start of autumn and even though it was sleeveless, it was warm enough for the office considering the top is layered over the dress,

On the week-end I paired the shirt with a RTW top and some ugly as sin pants I made (that filled a need, but I don't like)  and wore this outfit to a local food and wine fair.  


Not the most flattering photo, but it was taken at the end of the day and I think on the whole it worked. (I could go on about how I should have fixed my look for this photo, but I do like the mustard top and sand coloured pants with this top.)

So many more instalments to come in this wardrobe... I will be back soon,  ciao kittens!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Holiday sewing

Just before Christmas I was offered an opportunity I could not turn down.  A chance to buy a great second hand Cover Stitch machine.  It was from a good sewing friend who has upgraded for various reasons so I was happy to take it off her hands.  It arrived just before Christmas but I had to wait until after Christmas to give it a try.  BTW it is a Brother 2340CV, before you ask. 

I have decided I will concentrate on getting the hemming reasonable before moving onto any attachments.  I played with wovens until I managed to get it stitching and then moved onto a jersey.  I know I should probably practice more before moving onto garments but I am too keen to sew all the things, so I made Vogue 1179 for the third time.  The first time here and the second time here.  I love this style of dress and it is so easy to wear.  The only difference in my third effort is that I had to make the collar less full as I did not have quite enough fabric.


...and to show the fabric in more detail...


 At this stage I won't show the CS hem but it is reasonable enough.

No more cover stitch again for a little while but I did do a make-over on a dress I sewed back in 2015 - this one.  I have worn this dress a lot as it is so cool and easy to wear.  However, being silk it didn't take to the heavy wearing and the fabric gave way at the backside.  I must sit too much!  I decide it was too good to throw away so I hope I will get a few more wears out if it as a top.  I marked and cut a new hemline (hi-lo) and sewed a narrow hem.




And as I am a bit of a messy sewist I decided I needed a little caddy to sit near my sewing machine to put all the bits and pieces I use often.  That way hopefully it will be easier to tidy up and dust than having it spread all over the place,

I did read some tutorials on-line and you can find many.  I just based this on those that I had read and made it to the size I needed.




A good way to use up some quilting fabric remnants.

Well I may be back soon with more cover stitch trials.

Ciao kittens... Happy 2018!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Women with thighs...

What do women do in summer if you have the opposite of thigh gap... politely maybe referred to as muscular thighs or pears?  I don't think there is a good name for women with thighs, but I do know that we suffer in summer.  I adore wearing frocks in Summer.  They are cool and floaty and make for an easy choice when getting dressed in the morning.  However with this current humid warm summer days we are having, I find wearing frocks not so appealing due to the dreaded rub.  I have looked for a number of solutions, but the one I have been most happy with is with "slip shorts".  Shorts made from soft, comfortable, breathable natural fibres to wear under your frock.


I have started making these for myself after finding they are difficult to source in Australia.  I base them on a pattern for compression shorts, sizing up a bit to take away the compression aspect.  I want these pants to be comfortable, no compression or sucking in.  These are not meant to act like spanx.


I made one trial pair with a fabric remnant and since then I have been so taken with these pants that I am making them for my Etsy shop.  So far I have had excellent feedback from my customers who have tried them.

Now I know you sewists can make your own, but if you would rather buy them please feel free to stop by my shop susysewandsew.etsy.com and check them out.  You can find them all here - slip shorts.

These shorts are also lovely to sleep in and if you are an active person or chasing kids around a playground they provide an element of modesty.  As I use pretty lace on the hems, I think they look very pretty and feminine if your skirt does fly up, like a pretty slip would.  I am planning to make some soon without the lace to see how they go, as not every one is a lace fan like me.

I have at the moment listed classic black, a fun terracotta and a few in ivory.  Soon I will be adding a really pretty soft pink and a nude, so keep an eye out for those.


I have lots of names for these... slip shorts, pettipants, petticoat pants... what would you call them?  Would you wear them?

Friday, May 19, 2017

Sewing pattern weights

I have been wanting to make some sewing pattern weights for myself for ages and have just got around to it.  They are used instead of pins to hold your pattern in place on your fabric so that you can trace or cut around your pattern.  

The advantage of using pattern weights over pins are :

  • there is less distortion of the fabric and
  • they are quicker and easier to use than pins.



I used this tutorial to get started but did tweak it a little.  I made some sets at the size suggested in the tutorial, but decided to make some slightly larger and prefer the larger size. However a mix of sizes and weights could be very useful.

You can use rice or dried beans, kitty litter, sand or aquarium gravel to fill them, but I wanted a clean fill with no dust.  I ended up using doll stuffing pellets and lead weights (sinkers, lead pellets, etc).  You can then adjust the weight to whatever you prefer.

If you are not keen on making your own pattern weights or are looking for a gift for a sewing friend, you can find sets of pattern weights in my shop.



Do you use pattern weights?  What do you like about them?  Ciao for now kittens!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Summer top ... Vogue 9109

I made this top about two months ago but getting the photos is always the hard part.  Finally snapped some while at work the other day.  Still not great, but better than no blog post.

Very Easy Vogue 9109 made in a rayon from Spotlight.  I bought this pattern from Spotlight when they had a buy 3 patterns for $x sale.  I liked the Tessuti Ruby and had planned to buy it, but I needed one more pattern to get the discount.

The pattern is an easy make.  The only alteration I made was to drop the bust dart about an inch.  I like these patterns made for different bust sizes, not much alteration is required if you choose the right size.  


Excuse the crumples.  These photos were taken at the office.  In a perfect blog world I would get the photos taken when I first put it on.  The odd thing is that in real life the crumples aren't that bad, but the camera seems to emphasize them.




The back neck slit was supposed to have a hook and eye but I prefer the look of a button and loop.  I made a sewn thread loop.  

In summary, a sweet top that isn't hard to make.  I don't think it has as much "swing" as the Ruby, but still a lovely style.  I like that I can wear it on the week-ends or to the office.  

Autumn is settling in now so it won't get worn a lot so it is probably good that I got my photos when I did.

I also have made some more zipper bags for my Etsy shop.  Mainly made from remnant fabrics, the black is a lovely cotton I made a shirt for my son.  I have attached a charm as a zipper pull.  This one says "Me vs Me".  It would be great for a gym bag.


The blue print linen is a remnant from a second Ottobre pieced linen dress which I don't seem to have blogged about (like this one).


I plan to blog again soon with a Stylearc Mariln dress I made to attend the Brisbane Spoolettes High Tea... Ciao kittens.