Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Themes of 2014 and themes for 2015

Yup, this is that end of year blog post.  Not a hits and misses as I find I have more hits nowadays than when I first started sewing.  However when I looked back at my posts for 2014 I could see there was a number of themes I seemed to follow.

The main one for the year was active wear.  I made plenty of it and I use it too.

A strong theme for my sewing (in general) is that when I find a pattern I like I make it more than once.  That is certainly the case for the gym tops - 3 Fehr trade XYT tops.

From the pants I made I will definitely be making the Jalie swimshort again - as swim shorts and probably as gym pants too.  

Another theme for the year was dresses.  I made more than I had realised. 

In this lot the centre bottom picture is a repeat of a pattern made before New Look 6097.

There is one more dress not blogged about but it is a house dress made for the hottest days.

My favorite out of these would be the Named Kielo Wrap dress. (first photo in top row) 

The most worn is the Burdastyle (06/2013-117) linen dress (last photo in bottom row).  It still wrinkles terribly but has proven to be an invaluable dress to have in the wardrobe while we keep having such unusually hot summer days.

This is one theme I plan to continue next year. Kelley (the Simple Sewist) has suggested a theme of a frock a month and I plan to join in.

My other theme was basics..

... once again making the Colette Mabel skirt and the Jalie 2681 skirt twice each.  

I made the two merino cardigans as well.  The teal was one a big favorite this year - Jalie 3248.

On a crafting note, I found my favorite kind of knitting was anything that doesn't require fitting...

And once again the same pattern twice - the willow cowl.

The other theme I noticed is that I don't sew from the Big 4 companies much anymore.  The only ones this year is the New Look dress (I assume it is counted as Big 4 as they seem to be part of the Simplicity group?) and Kwik Sew (Big 4 now??)

Other than that it was all Ottobre, Burdastyle, Jalie and indy patterns.  That is a theme that will continue too.  

Now to keep the theme of repeating patterns going I have made a second top from the Dolores Batwing pattern.  My last make of 2014.

Kittens, I wish all the best for your 2015 sewing and crafting.  Ciao!

Monday, December 29, 2014

So Zo Dolores Batwing Top

I was very lucky to have won a pattern - the Dolores Batwing top/tunic/dress - to try out and review.  It has taken me longer to get to it than I expected with holidays and Xmas interruptions but I have got it done this year (just!)

I made the tunic length with short sleeves in a gorgeous royal blue jersey with a nice texture bought from Sckaffs in Brisbane on my last visit.

Worn with my Jalie skirt!
The only change I made was to make the sleeve cuff a lot bigger.  I don't like tight sleeves and I have large upper arms so I made it 8cm (3") larger than the pattern.  It made it easy to apply and is more comfortable to wear.  If I ever make the long sleeve version I will need to look at the sleeve width I think. 

I chose my size according to my bust and hip size.  My waist is larger than the listed waist size but I didn't alter the pattern and it fits fine I think.

The humidity we are having is not doing my hair any favours!
The directions are easy to follow and have good photos to show the processes.  The one odd thing I noticed is that the sleeve cuff and neck binding are shown on the layout not following the grain line, but I don't think that is an issue when you have a fabric with good stretch.

I am not sure I am a big fan of the neck binding and sleeve cuffs but that is a personal preference rather than an issue with the pattern.  I plan to make another one of these with a linen jersey I bought recently but may leave off the sleeve bands and change the way the neckline is finished.  I saw a pile of tops made in linen jersey in this style when I did a bit of snoop shopping recently.

Linen jersey - The Fabric Store Brisbane
I think this is a great little pattern for a quick satisfying sew that could be made in many different fabrics or hem/sleeve lengths to give a great variety of clothes that are cute and comfortable to wear.  Zoe has set up a pinterest board which shows all the different makes of this pattern around the interwebs - here. 

Ciao kittens - thinking I may do a quick recap of 2014 next up..

Monday, December 15, 2014

Burdastyle 06/2013 #118 Japanese lawn blouse

I have been wanting to make this blouse for ages - I have liked it since it came out - Burdastyle 06/2013-118.

I like the simple casual style of this blouse and with our current hot weather thought it would be a great addition to the wardrobe in a cool fabric.  I  *ahem* happened to have a suitable piece of Japanese lawn bought at Spotlight awhile back when on sale.

This is how I styled it for a day visiting the big smoke recently.  It was a warm day and I found it very comfortable.  The skirt is RTW - a cotton/linen blend that is silky to touch and cool to wear - I wish I could find that fabric to make another skirt like this one.

The top is pretty basic to make but I seemed to have a lot of problems.  The fabric is lovely but has no give whatsoever!  So lots of unpicking and re-sewing happened.  I really need to work with wovens more and knits less I think to keep my skills up!  Mostly I ended up with good results but I am not very happy with how the sleeves are set-in so need to work on this skill.  However I did get to the point of finished is better than perfect.

The facing seemed to be done an odd way to me but I followed their instructions.  I did however deviate and put a light iron on interfacing onto the facings.  I wasn't sure how buttons and buttonholes may have gone otherwise.  

The only other deviation from the pattern was the cuffs.  I sized  them as per the pattern but thought they would be really tight on my forearms and I hate that so after a night of sleeping on what to do, I decided I would use the whole length of fabric for the cuff length (ie no underlap).  However that meant I could not do the buttonhole as described.  So came up with the idea of using a loop for the buttonhole.

I did this using a piece of hat elastic.  (Do you shudder when anyone mentions hat elastic?  I still have bad memories of it as a kid, sitting under my chin or twanging me in the face somehow!)  I read a few tips on the web and some advised using hair elastics but we have none of those in the house but their was hat elastic and I think it is the right weight for this top.

Getting the elastic to behave nicely while I sewed it seemed to be a bit of a trick.  I ended up using a washable glue to encourage it to stay in place while I stitched.

After that I folded the cuff and sewed the end, but found that one line of stitching did not hold the elastic in place, so I unpicked it again and did a few rows of zigzag to help anchor it before re-sewing the cuff end.

This is the end result...

As I was having so many difficulties, I ended up hand sewing the cuff band down as well as the collar stand.  Burda instructs you to do it with the sewing machine and I would normally try it but luck was not going my way so I took the safe option.

The back for completeness...

and the big smoke I was visiting  was...

Well take me to be the "B"!  This word art was erected for the G20 which was held in Brisbane recently and it is hugely popular for photos, so I believe they are making it a permanent addition. 

Ciao kittens, some gift sewing next...

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Jalie 3351 Swim shorts... or gym shorts...

As noted in my last post on my active wear collection I have used the swim short pattern Jalie 3351 to make another pair of gym shorts.  

These have been made specifically to wear to gym (I have taken up CrossFit) so must be comfortable for all sorts of activities.

Worn with Fehrtrade XYT top 
The main body of the shorts was made from a thick supplex bought from Strechtex.  I made the attached pants and used a stretch sports mesh bought off ebay.  For the liner I used a scrap of black bamboo interlock.

As I use the Jalie knickers pattern for a TNT undies pattern, I figured this pattern would be comfortable with the attached pants ...and I was right.  Nice and comfy, good coverage, ticks all the boxes.  They would make nice shorts without the attached pants too, but figured it would make for no adjustment knickers when they are attached. :)

These have been worn to CrossFit and in the session we did a billion squats (ok, 150 squats..), skipping, weights, and some gymnastics type moves involving going upside on the rings - called a candle.  Now I can't do a candle, but was coached onto how to get upside down on the rings with assistance from the coach.  Now I am sure you are not interested in the details but what was important is that I was very comfortable during the workout and felt like I had good coverage from the shorts.

The pants have pockets on the sides - great for a runner, even got used even in my crossfit session - nice touch.

....where did that green thread come from??

so you can see the pocket detail...

Anyway - the upshot is I love these shorts and would happily make more for gym and plan to make a pair to use at the beach and for water activities.

Shorts love... Ciao!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

My me-made gym collection

I have been showing most of the pieces of my active wear wardrobe as I have made them, but thought it would be nice to show you my "collection".

These are my tops.  3 Fehrtrade  XYT tops (X in blue/purple, T in green, Y in purple) and my Kwiksew 3453 vest for the cooler mornings.  Don't need the vest at the moment as we have been having heatwave conditions.

And the bottoms.  The 3/4 Kwiksew 3988 pants (not blogged I just realised but the pattern link is here) and now (thanks to the heatwave) I have two new pair of shorts.  The Jalie 2796 compression shorts and my new Jalie 3351 Swim shorts (but gym shorts for me).  I finished these today and will try them out tomorrow and put a post up after so I can tell you how they perform. :)

... and for those time I need to practice yoga or relax or (most recently) for pj's when camping, my Kwiksew 3988 pants this time in View B and the Kwiksew 3115 top.

I am really pleased with my "collection".  I will post about the new Jalie swim shorts (as gym shorts) soon.  I realised I haven't blogged about KS 3988 pants.  If you are interested to know more please let me know and I will try and get a post prepared.  Ciao kittens...

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Work set - Jalie 2910 & 2681

Another set of clothes - this time for the office.  

Both made from left-overs from other projects too so a real bonus!  The top is Jalie 2910 and this is the first time I have made it.  The skirt is Jalie 2681 another first time pattern for me.

The fabrics I have used for the skirt and trim on the top is a Swiss 4 way stretch bought from Gorgeous fabrics ages ago.  I think this fabric is very similar to what they call a scuba knit now.  Soft and spongy texture but drapes beautifully and behaves well.  Previously I had made the Jalie skort from this fabric.  So now it is pretty much all used up - only a small piece left that I think I will keep for use as a contrast trim.

The fabric for the top is a leftover from making Vogue 1250 in another from Gorgeous fabrics.  This is now all used up.  

The top is made pretty much as per the pattern using my bust size to choose the pattern size.  I will be doing the optional step in the instructions of stitching the band in the ditch to hold the crossover in place.  When I wore it to work it moved too much for my comfort and I ended up pinning it shut.

The skirt is View E but I shortened it when I cut it out.  I used the hem line for size "O" and the skirt is cut to a size V - chosen by my hip measurement.  The top was also made at size V.  I consider myself a bit of a pear shape and often make a size bigger for my bottom half compared to my top half.  Interesting?

The only other thing of note is that Jalie gives you a few options for hemming, including leaving the hem raw, which is what I did - makes this a very quick sew and I think it looks fine.

So fine in fact that I did the same with my second skirt.  Same pattern view but this time in a left-over piece of jersey.  I used this previously in a wrap dress - Vogue 8646, my Kate Middleton engagement dress.  Lovely fabric and now all used up... 

BTW the top is an Ottobre one.

Very happy with my stash busting efforts and the speed of getting a few basic pieces to wear at the office.  Ciao - more Jalie next up!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Gym set - Jalie 2796 + Fehr trade XYT top

Well, the next logical step after a cruise (and eating so much good food) is to get back into gym.  However I have come back to heatwave conditions and I am not sure what happened but my old gym shorts don't fit all that well... fancy that?  So I needed a pair of shorts that fit and are quick to make.  I chose to make the compression shorts from Jalie 2796.  I have in the past not been the biggest fan of this type of short but they fit the bill and I must say they are very comfy to wear.  However shorts of this style are pretty dull to make so to get excited about it all I made another Fehrtrade XYT top to wear with them.

I have made this top a number of times so did not have to think too hard about it.  I made the X back this time and used a contrast fabric.

The top is made pretty much the same as my last tops, no built in bra, lengthened a little and cut one size larger at the hip level.

Now I am lumpy and bumpy but in the interests of full disclosure here are the photos of the set on me...

The pants are extremely comfy to wear.  My only comment would be is that they are quite high waisted but with the extra weight I am carrying at them moment, it is not such a bad thing.  I must admit I took a spare pair of shorts with me to the gym as the "compression" means the pants are quite stretched when wearing them and I was concerned about a potential blowout!  However nothing bad happened through my workout and it was a decent Crossfit workout so covered many bases.

The fabric used in the pants and top was Supplex - the black a heavier weight from Stretchtex and the colours both from Runners Fabrics (sadly no longer in existence).  Great quality fabric - I sweat a lot in this extreme weather and the fabric feels wet when you touch it after working out but is comfortable on the skin still (with no sweat marks too).  Worth the investment I think.

Now I am excited to make another pair of shorts so I have just ordered Jalie 3351 and look forward to making these up as a gym short.  This is a style of short I think I am more comfortable to wear.  Ciao kittens... time to get cutting and tracing!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Cruised out - Kielo wrap dress again

I am back from the cruise and really enjoyed it.  A great holiday away from it all... I expected to have more clothes shots from the cruise but it didn't really happen and I only have some iphone shots of the Kielo dress in action.  (Not sure why I look so serious here... it was a good night!)

Overall the dress was perfect for the cruise.  I wore it twice - once for a formal night with black high heeled pumps and my blue-green wrap and the other night was our wedding anniversary and I took my black wrap and wore flat gold sandals.  The stretch crepe makes it a perfect travel dress - it can be rolled in a ball and put on with no ironing.  I actually prefer not to put this dress on a hanger as I am concerned the weight of the dress may stretch it out. 

I was asked by AllisonC - I'd love to see how this looks on you and whether you think it would work on someone a lot more hippy than you or your dressform as I love the style. 
I think it would work for more curves than I have - the sizing is easy as there is plenty of room in the wrap over the hips and I think the fact the dress tapers in toward the feet combined with the width of the shoulder line, will balance the hips... my thoughts anyway. 

This shot is from the formal night with my husband and my parents.  I love the saucer champagne glasses. 

 I particularly love the shape of the dress and the neckline.

I apologise for the fuzzy iphone photos, but I wanted to show the dress in action on the cruise.  I am slowly getting back to real life... finishing a WIP quilt at the moment... Ciao!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Continuing Frocktober - the Kielo Wrap Dress

Continuing the frock theme I have made my last item for my cruise... well I still have tomorrow to pack before sailing on Monday, so made in plenty of time!

I chose to make the Named Clothing Kielo Wrap Dress.  Like a few others I first saw this dress at the Sewist's High Tea.  I think Donna sold a few of us on the pattern that day.  I was concerned how it would work on me as I have not got Donna's height and the pattern is drafted for 5'8".  Well... I needed a dress to take on the cruise for one of the formal nights so with some lovely green stretch crepe in the stash, this pattern will be perfect to pack and (hopefully) to wear.

I shortened the dress for my height at two places - approximately knee height and thigh/hip height.  Apart from that the only change I made to the pattern was to sew the armholes a little higher (about an inch) as this fabric is quite heavy and pulls the dress down and I didn't want my bra strap to show.

The dress is a simple one to make (great last minute make).  Saying that though I seemed to have some difficulty - I cut and sewed the ties (laces on the pattern) three times, as I sewed them the wrong way twice before working out what I was doing wrong - folding the piece the wrong way - rookie mistake!  The only other difficulty was sewing the armhole and neckline hem,  It is folded twice and sewn with a very narrow hem.  I followed the instruction and turned and sewed twice to make it easy.  I used my walking foot and moved my needle across so it naturally sewed the fold edge while keeping the folded fabric easily under the foot.  

This is how I ma thinking of accessorising the dress.  My blue-green wrap if the evening is cool and my new tan shoes... or maybe black shoes to look more formal?  I shall let you know how it wears...

Ciao kittens, sailing on Monday so not sure when I will blog next. :)

Monday, October 6, 2014

Ottobrefest... Frocktober???

I have been sewing some dresses to take on a cruise I am going on next week.  I am planning to wear them in the evenings to dinner.  So I am naming this month Frocktober... it could have been Ottobrefest, but the next dress I plan to make is not from Ottobre...

The two Ottobre dresses made so far...

First up is 05/2013- 4 Friday Evening Dress.  This is the same pattern as the last tee shirt I made.  

The fabric is from Crafty Mamas as well and was marked as a denim jersey.  It is quite thick and has a soft fuzziness on the wrong side.  I think it is a good weight for this dress.  The only pattern alterations was to shorten the sleeves and take the hips out one size (size 40 top and 42 hip).

Back view (taking note that my bottom is not as bodacious as Diana's)...

And here with a scarf I bought recently.  I tried to buy a scarf that had all my colours in it and it does seem to coordinate well with most of my wardrobe.

The next Ottobre is from 2/2013-19 Twist Knot tunic and dress.  

I made the dress length.  The only alteration I made to this pattern was to shorten the length by about 7cm.  I am not as tall as Ottobre woman and I thought the length was more flattering hitting under the knee.

The fabric is from Skaffs and is lovely quality.  I also adore the print and colour.  I like how I managed to cut the fronts so that the shoulders have the same large print on them.  Totally accidental!

So back to the sewing machine... one more frock planned to add to the cruise wardrobe... Ciao!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Ottobre 5/2013 #4 ... Monday Basic Raglan T-shirt

I am still sewing some long sleeved clothes as I am going on a cruise soon and expect the temperatures to be cool most of the time.  After winter a lot of my tees (and dresses) are looking tired so I figured I needed a few new ones for the cruise.

I had previously bought this divine striped fabric from Crafty Mamas and after sewing stripes recently where the fabric was skewed, this fabric was like gold.  So lovely to handle, straight grain and beautiful recovery.  These fabrics are not inexpensive but the quality is soooo worth it! 

This time I wanted to make the Ottobre raglan tee (5/2013 #4 - Monday basic).  I made a size 40 and love this style.

I did not really follow the instructions for the neckline.  Ribbing is recommended but I used the same fabric as the tee cut the other way to make the stripes a feature.  I used the piece recommended for the facing for View B (the dress version) and did a pretty standard tee shirt binding.

Other than that I made the tee shirt pretty much to the instructions.  I like the dart on the top of the raglan sleeve that gives the shoulder a nice shape.

I matched the side seams really well but the raglan only matched so-so but the one pictured in the magazine is the same, so I figure that is the nature of the raglan shape.  

I have paired it this day with my dory crocheted scarf.  It was a really cool spring day and the cotton scarf was a perfect weight to keep the cool breeze off my neck.  I love the way the green scarf works with this top.  I don't know why I don't look too happy in these photos.  I had a great day and loved what I was wearing.  I think I may have been a bit cold as I took my cardigan off for these photos.

Oh and if you are wondering about the flowers in the hair, I was at the Food and Wine festival which is part of our town's flower festival.  They had a stall where you could make your own flower crown... so much fun and everyone looked lovely walking around with flowers in their hair!  I wish I could wear flowers in my hair everyday!

Ciao for now - I have also made the dress version of this pattern so back with photos (as soon as I get them)!