Friday, April 11, 2014

Slow Burn

This is the last week of term in NSW and I'm tired. I've been spending a lot of time sitting on the lounge at night and not achieving an awful lot. I've also picked up two slow burn projects which will impact my output.

The first is my crochet blanket from many moons ago. When Rachel came over last week and we did the usual sewing room round up and fabric stash inspection, she asked what was happening with my crochet blanket. I was kinda ashamed to admit that I hadn't touched it for well over 12 months. Initially I thought this blanket would take me two years to make this, but looking back at Ravelry, I started in December 2010.
After a push these last two weeks, this blanket is now crocheted together. It is heavy and very warm. It is not queen sized, but rather a very generous couch size. Now I need to crochet the edges and weave in all those bloody ends! Such a crappy way to finish a project - there are thousands!!!

My other slow burn project is another winter jacket, this time using Lekala 4302 and some positively divine peacock blue wool/angora Tory Burch coating from The Fabric Store.
I have muslined this jacket and have shortened it as I don't look good in longer styles. I think it will work, but I anticipate it will be a longer project as I'm planning on hand stitching the feature lines around the jacket edges and I'm not particularly fast with my hand stitching.

It is the end of term today and I will be celebrating!

More sewing should follow shortly. Happy Friday friends!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Skinny Trouser Jeans!

After my Thurlow binge last year, I've not needed to add to my trouser collection. Unfortunately, I'm kinda sick of wearing my Thurlows now. I'm still wearing my denim ones, but I'm not feeling the love for the others.
While I love wearing skinny jeans, I don't want to become a teacher that wears jeans all the time. Step in these awesome, new look work trousers - skinny trouser jeans! Just like jeans, only more trousery! Confused? Yeah, they are just skinny jeans that are not made out of denim.
I'm super pleased with these new trouser skinny jeans. I love the fabric and the fit is surprisingly spot on.
While I was really interested in trying the Jalie jeans pattern, I struggled to find it locally, so went back to the Burda jeans pattern that I had used before Burda No.127 8/2009.
Clearly I skinny-fied the legs from my original makes from this pattern. This was done in a very technical manner whereby I laid an existing pair of skinnies over the top and hacked at my pattern. And as I had lost the back yoke piece, I just substituted it for the Grainline moss skirt yoke. Gosh I'm a hack!
To check the fit of the jeans, I basted the side seams and curve, tried them on and modified where needed before resewing and top stitching. It was a bit of a backwards sew project and certainly a hack make, but they have turned out so well.
The fabric is a stretch bottom weight fabric that I picked up from Pitt Trading. I think it may be a Cue remnant. It is very firm and I'm pretty sure the stretch is only mechanical, but still it's a fabulous fabric. The colour is just awesome too. If you hold it to black it looks deep inky navy, but if you hold it to true navy, it looks deep purple. I don't know what this colour is called but I love it!

More of these trouser skinnies shall follow for sure!

Pattern: Burda No.127 8/2009, traced from library and used before = Free
Fabric: 1m Cue remnant from Pitt Trading $5
Thread: $3.15
Zipper $1
Button: $1??
Total:  10.15 - BARGAIN!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Crazy pants, crazy kid

I didn't feel like sewing this weekend, which is a rare occurrence. Instead I cleaned. Now my house is trashed again and it doesn't feel worth it.

I did manage to make a few new pairs of tights for Adele.

First, Tessuti viscose knit.

 Spotlight remnant from a friend.

 Re purposed fabric from failed sew here.

Clearly she loves them and I just accepted this photo shoot because at least she let me take photos.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Milly Silk Twill Camber

I don't really need more dresses, but of course that didn't stop me making another!
We enjoyed a BIG night out this weekend - no kids all night, dancing, a few wines. We don't get out much these days, so it felt like a good excuse to make a new dress. 
I purchased this silk twill from Emma One Sock with money that I was allocated for Christmas. You know, not a gift, as no one in my house really buys me gifts, but money I gave myself for Christmas. I know I'm not the only one that enjoys this deal for birthdays and Christmas...

The silk is lovely, lovely, lovely and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't super stressed cutting in to it.
As my first Camber is so awesome, I knew it would be a good pattern to avoid breaking up the print on this silk. The French darts fit so well and I made sure I didn't stuff up the shoulders this time. 

Unfortunately it wasn't an easy make. I don't often sew with silk, let alone slippery silk twill, so this did prove a challenge. I sewed French seams, very carefully set the sleeves and tried my best with the hem, but the dress isn't perfect. 
My only change from the pattern was to shorten the frock and to fully line the dress, so that I can wear it without worrying about it sticking to tights in Winter. To line the dress, I cut a dress outer and lining exactly the same. Separately sewed darts and shoulder seams, interfaced the neck, then sewed the lining and outer together at the neck and turned it right side out, flipping the lining to the inside. From then I sewed the side seams separately, then set the sleeves, treating the outer and lining as one. Does that make sense?? I hope so.

Despite the lack of perfection, I do love this dress. I felt quite appropriately dressed for the party and very comfortable. I can certainly see myself wearing this out to dinner with the hubby as I won't have to worry about eating too much!

Pattern: Merchant & Mills Camber, Used before/traced from friend = Free
Fabric: 1.5 yards Milly silk twill from Emma One Sock inc part shipping = $60! Yikes! I still have a big remnant and at least it's cheaper than a real Milly dress.
Lining: Rayon Lining from The Remnant Warehouse = $6.95
Thread and interfacing from stash
Total: $66.95. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

On sharing, fast sewing and boy sewing

Well, I didn't expect my last post to pique as much discussion as it did. It's funny, I had been writing that post for a few weeks, worrying that I would sound like a tosser, but it appears most of us feel funny sharing our blogs with real life friends.

From the many comments, it appears most of us sewing bloggers keep our blogs private, only sharing with close family and friends, and that isn't likely to change. Some people even had separate Facebook and Instagram accounts to ensure there wasn't a link between real life and blog life.

Of those that have shared their blogs, I think all of them felt it was a positive experience. They were able to connect with old friends and felt good about inspiring others to sew. Most also noted that even if a blog is shared, it is unlikely that all those privy to the URL will actually read it. Apparently not everyone is interested in reading detailed sewing construction and alteration jibber jabber. Who would think that there is something more interesting to read online??

For now, I have decided to continue to keep my blog private. However, I think I may relax the rules when it comes to those who seem really interested in my sewing. Those people who always ask about my makes and want to discuss the detail. I mean really, how bad can the outcome be?

After posting the week before last about sewing fast, my sewing appears to have taken a much slower pace - typical! I'm finding work and family a bit tiring at the moment and am trying to take it easy to allow a shoulder injury to heal. However, some comments from that post also pointed out a few more tips for speeding up sewing, so I thought I'd share them too.

Group Sewing. A tip that Lena added and something that I also do but forgot to add to my list, is sew everything possibly in a garment at one time, then press it all, then sew again. By minimizing my movement up to the ironing board and back, you can progress through a garment faster. The order of construction will clearly change, but you will finish faster.

Sew a collection of garments with the same over locker or cover stitch thread colour. This is a no brainer, less time changing threads = more time sewing. Some people never change over locker thread, some people change it all the time, like Carolyn. Me, I have 4 main colours of over locking thread - black, off white, grey and red. I can also make mid pink with a couple of bobbins if I need. I think most of these adequately blend into the garments that I make and I'm happy with the look. Have you noticed that I never or very, very rarely sew any blue or green fabric, so I don't need thread to accommodate that.

Pay a cleaner or relax your house cleaning standards to allow more sewing time. I wish I could have a cleaner!! At least I can leave the house a bomb site on occasion.

Add wine! Spied by Ernest, I mean Emma in the photo of my last post, I often enjoy a drop of white while sewing on weekends. It makes the whole experience a little more relaxing and fun!! Just don't add too much wine or you'll sew a disaster!!

I think that's about all the extra fast sewing tips I have for now. Please feel free to add more and maybe I'll make page for them.

Lastly for today, I have some simple boy sewing to share. The boys are rarely sewn for these days and they do notice it. They do love the easy jersey shorts I made for them here and here, so when I hit The Remnant Warehouse with all three kids a few weeks ago looking for lining, I let the boys pick this cool fabric.
I had grey on my over locker and cover stitch machine, so it only took and hour or so to knock up three pairs of shorts from 1 meter of this print.

For the record, I make the boys one size only with their clothes. They share everything, so Ollie wears his smaller and James wears his bigger.

I now have happy boys who now think that I actually make clothes for them too, not just Adele and I.

Happy Weekend friends!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

How private is your blog?

I realize this question is a little silly given that blogs are clearly not private, but for my readers who are also sewing bloggers, I'm interested to know how many of your real life friends, know that you blog?

For me, only my immediate family, very close friends and sewing friends know that I have a blog. Most people that I know will eventually find out that I sew a more than most of the population because really, that is incredibly hard to hide. But there is a still a large majority of people in my life that have no idea that I blog: school mums (from my kids school), work colleagues, most friends and friends of friends, some that I've known for years and see regularly.

Clearly sewing and blogging is a big part of my life. I almost feel that I hide a secret alter ego (Betty - lol!) here on this blog and sometimes I feel like talking about it with new people, but always hesitate, worrying about the consequences of sharing this space with others.

I've become more worried about these real life friends finding my blog after a few slips with Instagram and Pinterest finding their way on to Facebook, which for me is exclusively real life friends, most that don't know that I blog.

So why do I worry about these people that I know, knowing that I blog?? Why don't I tell them? How bad can it be?

I guess as much as I hate to admit it, I do worry about what others will think of this obsession  hobby of mine. I realize it's not normal to sew as much as I do. I also realize that photographing myself and putting those photos on a blog can appear rather self absorbed, even narcissistic. I've even had one very good friend mention to me that she thinks the photos I blog are funny, as in odd - not 'ha ha'. It's hard to explain that my blog needs to be understood in the context of a sewing blog where this type of thing - the photos - are normal. I also realize that once the cats out of the bag, there's no way to go back. Tell one person and ten more will know.

So I guess I'm interested to find out whether other sewing bloggers tell their real life friends and colleagues about their blog or do you keep it on the down low like me? If they do know about your blog, what do they think? What do they say? Am I worried about nothing here or should I just keep my secret life secret?

Please tell me, how private is your blog?

And because every post needs a photo. Here's my latest attempt at getting a family photo.
Why can't they all just look at the camera and smile?? I may have to pay to get a good one this year.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Polka Dot Arrows Camber Dress

I try to stay away from quilty-ish fabric, but after my sister showed me this linen cotton blend fabric by Melody Miller, I just couldn't not buy it.
I adore the colour of this fabric. The arrows are pretty cool and those dots between the arrows are gold! I thought the best way to show them off was with a simple shift dress without the red scalloped border, as it was just a little too much for me.

I was really pleasantly surprised with the quality and feel of this fabric. I haven't sewn with a Japanese quilt brand linen cotton blend before. It presses beautifully and doesn't crease as much as 100% linen.

In a break from my standard Vogue 1349, I used a new dress pattern- the Merchant and Mills Camber dress. During the holidays, I enjoyed one nice, quiet sewing day with  my blogless friend Rachel. She had just made up the Camber dress and thankfully had tracing paper on hand for me to trace off my size-Yay! free pattern!
I'm really pleased with this pattern and the fitting is almost spot on. The front, back and darts fit beautifully, but the shoulders were a little tight so I sewed scant seams when setting the sleeves.

As you can see, I couldn't help myself and played with the direction of the arrows on the back yoke. I also added a few small darts to the back to bring the dress in a little, but it really wasn't necessary.

I really like this dress and think it will look cute with gold sandals. It does look a little short in these photos though, so I may drop the hem or just wait until winter and wear it with coloured tights.

Pattern: Merchant and Mills Camber dress, traced from friend's copy = Free
Fabric: 1.5 yards Melody Miller Polka Dot Arrows inc shipping = $46.50
Thread from stash
Total: $46.50. Worth it!