Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Competition entries finished!

Above are my six finished items for Pattern Reviews Endless Combinations competition. (...lol - I just noticed that item 1 in the piccie is a photo from the back... too late I am not going to fix it now...)
The last item finished are the Vogue pants 1059. The review is here if you wish to read it. I loved making these pants and am quite pleased with how they turned out. The only two issues were
  • the length - I made them to short so the hem is just barely there and they will need to be worn with flat shoes *sigh*
  • and the fly didn't come out perfectly - the zipper pull does not tuck away as nicely as it should.

I did narrow the width in the bottom of these pants and wonder if I should narrow them some more? Anyway I will make these again as I am very happy with the fit, particularly around the butt! I also entered these pants in the New Techniques contest as I made faux welt pockets in the back - see this review for piccies and details.

Here is the composite I put together of all the items shown worn together...

Review here for endless combinations.

Fame down under...

The Australian Stitches magazine has mentioned some of our blogger buddies in its latest magazine. So these blogs may be receiving more hits from down under for the next while -

So if any of you guys want a copy of the magazine let me know & I will post you one... How exciting!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

What did Santa bring me?

In response to this post at Gorgeous Things Blog, I received for Christmas -
  • A voucher for a body treatment (yay!)
  • some beautiful bath fizzies and chocolate
  • and some money my parents gave me - I intend to invest in a ironing board! ... lol... you have to be a sewist to think that is a good gift! My ironing board is tiny and I want a nice large one and couldn't justify spending the money but now it has been gifted to me I will!

Everyone else in the family received new computers so I have the hand-me-down lap-top and I was going to scan the book cover in but couldn't get it to work so there is the first issue I have found.

Anyway I am very happy and love that my family know what I like... maybe it was all those hints I dropped... clang!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The sewing year in review part 1

These are items I have made mainly in the first part of the year. As I have really only begun this clothes sewing adventure this year, the success rate wasn't so high for this part of the year.

Here are some of the skirts....

The first skirt is the one I made in a class and is Vogue 7937. It was a highly successful project. The finish is great and I really love it. However I have lost weight so now it sits very low on my hips. I need to wear a very long top to hide this fact. It is lined so it is too much work to alter it, but I will keep using it for the moment.
The second skirt is from Vogue 8295. The fabric is gorgeous in this skirt and I love it however it has suffered the same fate as the first and now sits really low on my hips and is uncomfortable to wear. I do plan to take it in but I am not sure when that will happen.
The next two skirts are Simplicity 4138. I have used these skirts a bit but have moved the cream one out of my life as I hate the fabric (lesson - don't buy cheap fabrics, it really is no saving unless you really like the fabric). The other skirt is also from a cheap fabric and I like it more than the cream one but it needs repair as the filmy fabric has given away at the seams. I am not sure it is worth the effort of fixing as the dodgy hem really bothers me with this skirt so it may be leaving my wardrobe also.

T-shirts - Jalie tops (2794 & 2566) - all successes - I will be making more of these tops.

The next lot not quite so successful.

The brown top is McCall's 5105. This pattern has been tossed - the top was too big when I made it so now it really doesn't work. I have never worn it but I am planning to fix it somehow as the fabric is too good to chuck.

The second is a silk top I made from a Burda wof magazine (my first burda wof). I like this top but have never worn it as it is a bit of an orphan but still plan to keep it and try to use it.

The last top is Butterick 4188. I love this fabric and I love this top. Unfortunately it now swims on me but as it is lined it is too hard to alter so will move out of my closet.

Pants - the first is Vogue 8157 - too big even when I first made them so they have been tossed. However I would like to try this pattern again.The second pair is Vogue 8335 and I liked these a lot and wore them on the plane when travelling. However same story - they are too big and it would be easier to make another pair than alter them so they have been passed onto my Mum.

Dresses - the first is a Vogue 8351 and I did wear it a few times but have tossed it as I never really liked the fabric. The dress also had a maternity look if you wore it when you were bloated so not a big favorite.
The other is Butterick 5065. I have tossed it and have never worn it as I hated the fabric - I have learnt some big lessons about fabric choice this year! I actually sewed it really well and was quite proud of its construction but will not make that pattern again as I felt it looked a bit 'Mumsy' on me.

So all in all, not a great success rate but I did improve my skills and learned a lot about pattern and fabric selection. The weight loss impacted also but I am not sorry to have lost the weight. The second half of the year was more successful. I will post on that later.

I hope you have all had a lovely relaxing Christmas. We had our Xmas dinner last night in the Finnish tradition so we have all been taking it easy today and playing with our new toys.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Would you like some cheese with that... (**Warning: cliches abound**)

I have been reading a lot of blogs lately where people have reviewed their year in terms of sewing. I plan to do this also but I have also been thinking about where I stand in terms of health & fitness this year. I think this has been put into my head by a comment one of the instructors made at a class (at the gym) today about the fact that she was considering training to participate in a triathlon next year. It left me wondering what are my goals for next year... and how have I done this year?

I feel I am a bit of a tortoise in terms of tortoises and hares as I have not had made any changes in huge speedy ways. I have been going to gym for a while now (think years) and have been having Personal Training sessions for probably over a year now. However I do believe this year has been a real turning point for me. Even though I have been slowly improving for a while I have been hitting some milestones this year.

From a purely weigh-loss end I probably have lost about 6 kg since the start of the year but I have really dropped size. My wardrobe has had to be totally revamped this year as I don't fit a lot of my of my clothes any more. I never set a goal to loose a certain number of kgs but if I try and think what my goal was this year I would say fitting my clothes better would be one of them and I really feel I have accomplished that - I can't stop shopping or making new clothes as it is so much more fun to shop for clothes when they fit and hang well on the body!

The other goal I had in my head was to get stronger and ...please don't laugh... but I wanted to be able to do a full push-up. Yep, I reached that one and was really proud when I was first able to accomplish my first full push-up (on my toes...yay!)

What are my goals for next year? I am not so sure ... I know that I still want to improve my strength. Maybe increase the number of push-ups and also be able to do a chin-up (not sure If that is the right expression but I m sure you understand what I mean) . A real chin up where you pull your whole body weight up to a bar at the moment I am still doing them reclined on the floor!

My biggest pet peeve this year ... Please don't tell me you want to lose weight when you are not prepared to change...people who tell me that they want to lose weight while they have a mouthful of cheesecake.... "it's just a treat" (sorry not when you eat it all the time!) Yep, just wait a moment while I climb on that soapbox. I read sometime ago in a women's health magazine an article about change. Really it is probably a Dr Phil-ism but if you don't change anything how can you expect change to happen? Yes you will be fit and healthy if you attend gym regularly and eat well but you won't improve unless you push yourself that extra bit. If you continue to work-out to the same level constantly yes you will stay fit but nothing will change - how can it? Go the extra mile... go hard or go home... (yes I read the lorna jane t-shirts!)

Really this year I needed to change my approach to reach my goals. I did it in a couple of ways. There was a big trip planned to visit family OS (and you all know that feeling of wanting to look your best for people you haven't seen in a long time) so to move things along I increased my PT sessions from one a week to two a week for ten weeks - boy did this work for me! I am a big advocate for PT as I don't believe many people are able to push themselves hard enough when they train alone. In those ten weeks I really increased my strength and the weight started to come off! It was a bit weird as it didn't come off until right at the end of the ten weeks and then it just fell off one day!

Then after the trip I did return to my once a week sessions of PT but I added an eating plan. I used the Musashi products and eating plan that the gym suggested. I did not follow it 100% ( I still like the one odd one or three glasses of wine most nights) but did follow it reasonably well and again not a huge kg difference but the body fat seemed to melt away!

Well now it is Christmas time and I am only planning to maintain what I have done this year for now. For next year, I will have to think more about what I should challenge myself with.... I still have a bit of a jiggle around the tummy - I would love to see that go, but maybe I should be setting my sights higher as overall losing weight is not such a big issue for me anymore.... Gwennie's comment about the triathlon has really set me thinking. I am not saying Gwennie needs to become a triathlete next year, but I really like that idea of setting yourself a challenge. I am not really sure what next year's will be... I will have to think on that one a bit longer...

Monday, December 22, 2008

Vogue bag

Recently I have made two bags from Vogue 7354. The first one was given to my good friend Caity before her holiday with her family. The second is made for another friend but I have been organised enough this time to take some photos of it.

The bags have been made with a beautiful (what I believe to be) silk velvet which was given to me in a box of vintage fabrics. It is really soft and shiny - beautiful to touch. The fabric piece has some little holes in it so it is perfect for cutting the small pieces required for this bag. The lining is silk - in this case blue silk leftover from another project and in Caity's bag it was red silk. The red silk was purchased as it was one of Caity's favourite colours until she dyed her hair pink! The bag is interfaced with silk organza I picked up from a remnant table.

Here is a photo of the bag. The nap looks more pronounced in this photo than it looks in real life. You can just see the blue silk lining in the inside of the handle.

Here is a photo of me with the bag to give you an idea of the size - perfect for your essentials - phone, keys, some money and a handkerchief. Best of all, you can hang it on your wrist when you have one hand holding a glass of bubbly and the other with yummy finger food in it...

I love this little bag and plan to make more. The one I want for myself will have a gold-yellow silk lining but I haven't found the fabric yet!
The pattern is simple and reasonably quick to make and makes a lovely bag with these sumptuous fabrics!

I hope the recipients love them as much as I have loved making the bags!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Happy Birthday...s

Hubby & I have our birthdays in December - mine has already happened and hubby's is tomorrow.
We went out last night with our boys for a lovely dinner at Encores restaurant and then a show at the Empire Theatre which is a beautiful renovated theatre in Toowoomba. The show we saw was the Spicks & Speck-tacular (based on an Australian ABC TV show - a hilarious quiz show about music). We had a great time - all four of us - so it was a perfect way to celebrate.
I have just finished making hubby's Birthday pressie. I decided he could have a bit of luxury in the form of a pair of silk boxers. I used McCall's 3019. The pants pattern had to be shortened considerably (about 3 inches) and I also ended up shortening it between the waist & crotch so that it wouldn't sit so high on the waist. The pattern is dead simple. Possibly the only negative is that it doesn't have a fly or imitation fly front, but I know that doesn't bother hubby as they are used for sleeping in. I just think they would look more 'boxer'-like. First up I made a pair in a quilting cotton to check for size. I had to get him to try them on and that's when I decided to shorten them.
Now I have finished the silk version. The silk was beautiful to work with. I got it from our local fabric heaven, Gardams here in Toowoomba.
I put a tag in each of the pants to show the back easily when putting them on. In the cotton pair I simply sewed a piece of ribbon folded over into the seam at the back waist. I forgot to do that for the silk ones so I found a label from the days the boys needed their clothes labelled and just used the surname as a label in the pants. It looks pretty good I think! I am going to investigate having some labels made to put in my clothes as I am seeing the point of it more and more all the time.

Working with silk is getting better. My french seams came out pretty good and I also used a 'simulated french seam' on the crotch seam as I wanted all the seams enclosed. I have found that a walking foot is great to use with these kinds of slippery fabrics. The only negative was that when I inserted the elastic I must have put too much pressure on the back seam near the waistband as it looks a bit pulled around the stitches. I must remember to take more care with things like this next time I work with a delicate fabric like this.

Overall I am very happy with how these boxers have come out and I hope he likes the silk ones when he receives them tomorrow! Anyway now maybe I can start thinking about Christmas more....

Monday, December 15, 2008


I needed a break from sewing coordinating items so I got caught up making this dress ...

It is from this pattern a 1960 Vogue pattern I recently purchased off ebay.

My friend Caity gave me some fabric from her stash (this was purchased in the eighties) and it seemed to all come together to make this dress. I love the fit of this dress it has french darts in the front and darts in the back as well as a centre front and center back seam. This is a piccie of the back of the dress...

I need to put some fake tan on my back to cover all that white skin.

I simplified the making of the dress by not using the facings but instead used purchased bias binding to finish the neckline and armholes. I also used an invisible zipper in the CB seam. I finsihed the hem with bias binding or would have lost too much length.

I really enjoyed making this dress and I really love the fit of it. I wore this to a Xmas BBQ recently and it was lovely to wear in our warm summer weather. I look forward to making another one in a more evening-type fabric as the dress is actually intended as evening wear.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


OK I was in Brisvegas again today to catch up with a girlfriend - which was really great BTW but I also had the chance to shop. I bought more Lorna Jane clothes for the gym (I bought a pile last month but loved the quality of it so much I had to go back for more...) I do go to gym 5 to 6 times per week and really like to wear clothes that cope with sweat - I sweat a lot! ( OK entering the realm of too much information...) so that was the first purchase(s).

Then I found shoes - half price and they fit! They are marked as size 6 1/2 W so they must be for wide for feet like mine and they were so comfy I couldn't walk away... and every girls needs some leopard print shoes don't they?

The other pair are a brown mesh with a bow and look really cute on .... and did I mention, they fit really well!

Then I bought some flavoured tea for my sewing gal-pal days ... then on my way out of the centre I came across a Peter Alexander shop and bought this nightie that I have been really needing.... I really do need a pretty nightie.... don't I?

Then I stopped at dfo on the way (a discount shopping outlet) and bought a Guess handbag to go with shoes I bought last shopping trip to Brisvegas... the ones I am wearing in the last post in my photo shoot... Oh! & I bought one Xmas present....

On the way home I had to drive into a storm at the bottom of the range and that was quite miserable but I was rewarded by a full rainbow at the front door later. Here is my not very good photo of it - you need a wide angle lens to get a whopper like this one in a photo!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Endless combinations - items 2, 3 , 4 & 5 *image heavy*

Hi - I haven't been blogging much lately but I have been sewing. As it is University vacation I have a student covering some of my duties at work so I have been able to get on with sewing. I have made 4 more things for the endless combinations competition and their reviews are here -

Item 1 review - Hot Patterns pencil skirt
Item 2 review - Hot Patterns tie me down top

Item 3 review - McCalls 5431 Purple floral skirt
Item 4 review - Vogue 2925 Khaki top
Item 5 review - same as item 3 review - McCalls 5431Japanese print cotton skirt

Please see the reviews for more info on how I found the patterns. I have not done my Collage of photos yet for the EC entry but I have taken photos of the items in the intended combo's. I am still hoping to add to the EC entry so will do the final collage when I know all the items are made. However for your viewing pleasure today I will show the photos I plan on using in my entry. Hubby was terrific on the week-end helping me set up our 'studio' - a sheet and piece of carpet on the back veranda and then patiently taking the photos for me.

Item 4 (top) + item 5 (skirt):

Item 4 (top) + item 3 (skirt)

Item 4 (top) + item 1 (skirt) - my favourite look...

Item 2 (top) + item 5 (skirt):

Item 2 (top) + item 3 (skirt)
Item 2 (top) + item 1 (skirt)

and for the finale - Hubby told me to make like a model... I don't think so...