Thursday, September 25, 2014

Liberty Skinnies

This is one of those projects that I really wanted to make, but wasn't sure they would work. I think they work though. What do you think?
I purchased this Liberty canvas from Shaukat earlier this year. It is just like a stable denim/twill weave fabric with quite a bit of mechanical stretch. Perfect for skinny jeans.

It's always a gamble buying Liberty from Shaukat. It's really hard to gauge the scale of the print in those tiny boxes. The Liberty site isn't much better. I find the best way to visualise how a print will work is to find a garment made from it. For this print, called Childhood Treasures, I found this maternity dress. Which is kinda cute for those who need that type of garment.

This print has the inkiest navy back ground and very vivid orange, purple, yellow and pink flowers. It even has tiny dragon flies, butterflies and elephants. I'm quite smitten with the colours on this fabric, but quite surprised to find it is printed on a very stark white canvas. It will be interesting to see how it wears over time. I have pre washed the fabric twice and it still looks great. I'll make sure I update you if the colour fades dramatically with wear.

Like my last pair of skinnies, I used Burda 127/2009. As I still haven't found the yoke pattern piece, I substituted it with the yoke from my Grainline skirt and fudged it together to fit. Again I basted the jeans together to check they fit before finishing and top stitching. I'm really quite amazed at how well these fit. I didn't make any changes from my last pair.

To balance the rows of flowers on the print, I tried to cut the legs with as much navy running down the front and back as possible. Rather than pattern match, which would have been impossible, I staggered the flower patches so they weren't sitting next to each other, kinda diagonal. Does that make sense?

I think these pants are totally wild, but the 7/8 length helps balance the look a little. They will be perfect for Spring and perfect for wearing to school with sandals. I've even looked through my wardrobe for tops that will work with them and so far have this linen tank,  my recent Valerie top and I have a piece of purple linen that will shortly become another top.

In other funny news, when making these pants I quite possibly made the biggest sewing mistake I have ever made! My pant/jeans making process is a little relaxed these days. I've made numerous well fitted pairs of pants and am quite confident in my ability. So much so, that I often only cut the front/back leg and waist band from a pattern. The rest I often cut by eye, guesstimating as I go. Yep, I live on the edge!

Anyway, I needed pocket facings, so picked up the nearest scrap and cut them. Only to find that I had accidentally cut into the leg of my jeans!!! Doh!
Naturally I didn't have enough fabric to recut the leg, so I now have a slightly visible 'design feature' on the leg just below my knee. At least I've learnt a lesson about keeping my work space tidier so I can see the fabric I'm cutting in to!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

My husband said I couldn't have a new lounge...

But I got one anyway!
Well my old one, but better!

The funny thing about renovating is that there is a knock on effect from every change you make. You ever so slightly change the colour of your walls, just a shade lighter, and your curtains don't go. You pick darker curtains, and then your rug looks shabby. You update your rug, and your couch looks trashed. You ask for a new lounge, but then your husband says 'No!'. But I am a sewer and for the cost of a few meters of fabric and a short day of sewing, I got what I wanted anyway!!

I must say that I do agree with my husband about not getting a new lounge. This is a King Furniture lounge, which many Australians would know about, and it really has held up well after 10 years of sitting, spilling, jumping, sleeping and playing around on. The kids have certainly not treated this piece of furniture kindly, but the bones have held up remarkably well.

I last recovered this lounge about 4 and a half years ago, back here. As my lounge was already brown, I just picked a similar coloured fabric, but have pretty much regretted that choice since. I hate brown! Even more than I hate green!!

As I had covered my lounge before, it was very easy to do it again. I had the templates and the design sorted. It was just a matter of connecting all the sides, then attaching to the lounge.

Needless to say, I am very pleased with myself and how my house is shaping up. Hopefully soon I'll be able to share photos of our new kitchen. I'm just waiting for the shutters to be delivered.

Just incase you are interested. My next house project will be fixing up these dining chairs, which we inherited from my husband's grandmother.

She purchased them in the early sixties I think. I love their atomic style. They are so simple and cool! As we love them so much, and because there is family history, we are going to do fix them properly. Some chairs need welding on the back spindles, which my husband can take care of. Then I'm going to get them sandblasted to remove the old brown and grey paint. I'll probably paint the metal matt black and then refit the cushions with the citrus-like fabric below.
Given my track record though, this will probably be completed by this time next year. Till then!

Monday, September 22, 2014

White Summer Tank

I'm on holidays! Yippeee!! I have so much sewing planned. If I only get through half of it, I'll be happy.

I've been dreaming of pure white tanks for a few weeks. In particular, one with textured fabric, a high neck line and cut away arms. This pattern is self drafted, based initially on the Tiny Pocket Tank and Valerie, and has been modified to achieve this superb fit. I'm feelin rather smug about the fit :)

I adore this style and foresee this will become my new 'go-to' tank pattern this summer.

The white colour choice is an interesting change for me. Normally I'm all about black, but for some reason I've been dreaming in crisp whites for Summer. Naturally given my family and work life, I envisage I'll need a few more white tanks as they will in all likelihood, end up trashed.
While I searched high and low (on the internet) to find white textured knit or woven fabric, I didn't come up with much (please do tell if you find any!). One of the teachers at my school recently purchased a white tee from a discount fashion outlet with the most lovely geometric, embossed design on it. I'm tempted to drive quite far away to see if I can buy the same top to hack into another tank, but I really don't want to drive so far away and waste a holiday day without a guarantee. I know I'm not the only crazy that would contemplate this! So, being sensible, I ended up at Spotty and purchased some simple white, cotton seersucker.
As the fabric was a little sheer, I lined the front and the back yoke pieces with lawn. To perfect the finish, there are no visible seam lines or top stitching on this tank. I even hand stitched the hem, which is a rare occurrence
As I like to play with fabric, there is a subtle change in direction of the fabric. The texture runs horizontally on the front and back yoke and vertically on the back. I also angled the back yoke, for a little interest.
I adore this tank and will be back with more versions soon. I hope you are enjoying the Spring weather change, or Fall if you are in the Northern Hemisphere. I envisage more gardening in my future!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Before it's too late... Book Week Costumes

Book Week was weeks ago and I still haven't shared the results of my late night sewing. Both boys decided to go as Star Wars characters. There is a Star Wars book right??

I think James is Luke Skywalker and Oliver is Anakin Skywalker.


I actually make James' costume last year for Halloween and he was happy to wear it again. Oliver however, needed a new costume.



To create a pattern for Oliver's gown, I traced around his house coat and then traced around the hood of his rain coat. I added length to the hood to get the right drape and sewed it all together.

Needless to say, he loves it. I made the vest the morning of the parade. It is simply a deep v shaped piece of knit fabric, tied like a vest with an old dress tie of mine.


Oliver's costume was made with a mish mash of bad fabric (stretch poplin!! ewww!) from deep in the stash. James' from an old bed sheet.

I'm really proud of these costumes and the boys love them. In fact Adele also loves them and can often be found in the backyard swinging a light sabre with a gown on.

I'm looking forward to Friday - School Holidays!! Yay!!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Valerie and Gorman?

I'm feeling well and truly inspired with my sewing at the moment, which is a huge change from where I was just over a week ago. I even feel a planning blog post soon, as I need to address my Spring and school holidays sewing plans. This weekend I have spent a little time in my sewing cave, knocking up a couple of new tops.

First to show today is a Valerie Top. 
I first made this pattern early last year and I love the finished top. Unfortunately it doesn't get too much wear due to the delicate fabric and the fact that one of the colours ran a little after the first wash.

Like last time, I took this tank in a little under the arms. I really love the style of this top, with the higher neckline and cut away arms. It's just a simple, basic wardrobe staple. The fabric, a vibrant rayon, is also from Tessuti. I picked it up in Melbourne when I was there with my hubby last year.


My second top is an impulse make. I headed to Spotty on the weekend to buy sheer curtains and couldn't help but stop to browse at the dress making fabric. One of the benefits of avoiding fabric shopping for a while is that when you finally do, there are plenty of new fabrics to tempt you. Even though I am supposed to be on a fabric diet, a decision that came about when I was folding my stash, I couldn't help but slip a couple of pieces in with the curtains.
This stretch sateen was on sale. The photos don't do it justice. It is a deep inky navy, peach and neon yellow. It reminds me of the style of print fabric you'd see at Gorman right??
The pattern is a self drafted Valerie and Tiny Pocket tank mash up. I love the higher neckline and swingyness of the Valerie, but wanted the dart and hemline from the Tiny Pocket Tank. I'm really pleased with the end results. I love the simple shape and the fit. I envisage more of these for Spring.

Tis all for now. I have an incredibly busy week this week. I hope I survive!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Starting small

Isn't it funny. You take a few weeks off sewing and feel completely lost when you finally get a chance to do it again. This is what happened last weekend after I got my machines back from a service. I found myself paralysed with indecision, fear and a lack of my usual crazy, frantic inspiration. What if I fudged my first project back? What if I ruined fabric? What if I wasted my time? What if I didn't enjoy myself as much as I used to?

In this state, I did what most of us do at times of concern and phoned a friend. A sympathetic friend. A friend that sews. She said she understood, but I'm pretty sure I sounded far crazier than she let on. In the end I picked up a remnant and cut out swingey tank using the tiny pocket tank as my base, but raising the neckline to accommodate the stretchy fabric.

I didn't have enough fabric for any binding, so cut into another remnant to make binding and finished it by folding it under. I wasn't feeling terribly confident, but I am really happy with the end result.
Not bad for a first project back. I'm sure more complex and interesting items will flow out in the coming weeks...
Till then... :)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Hello!

Hello there! It has been a while hasn't it??  I'm not going to apologise for my absence from the blogging world. I think 5 weeks is my longest ever break from this space. Needless to say, it has been busy here, but now I'm ready to come back.

Our renovation has made staggering progress and we are almost finished our kitchen, back room and laundry space. Hopefully I'll be able to share some photos soon. While in the fixing up mood, and with my sewjo well an truly MIA, I have channeled my spare energy into organising and tidying my sewing cave. A job which has been well over due for months and exacerbated by the renovation as we've been storing tiles and other building materials in there.

I've never purchased any furniture for my sewing space. I've been lucky enough to receive everything from family, friends or from the side of the road. So while in the 'spendy' renovation mode, I headed to Ikea to purchase some new bookcases to hold all of my sewing junk and my ever increasing stash of teaching resources.

I wish I could show you pretty, styled and colour matched photos of my sewing space, but unfortunately, it is a rather practical space organised by me, and I'm not really like that :)
Here are my new, organised bookshelves. I still have more space to squeeze in books and school resources. I just need to sort them first.
I've also moved a small desk into my room, so that if my husband and kids are hogging the study and dining table, I can still work.
My fabric is now folded and in one space. No more clear boxes. I wish I were organised enough to coordinate the fabric into colours or types, but at least it's all away neatly now.

So with my newly organised space, my freshly serviced over locker and sewing machine, and summer fast approaching, I am ready to head back into the sewing cave to make something awesome!

I'll be back soon.