Thursday, April 16, 2015

PJs for the boys

Or as we call them in our house - jarmies.
James and I picked out these two flannelette prints from Spotlight during their summer holidays 30% off sale. As these holidays rolled around and Spotlight announced they were having another 30% off sale, I thought it best to sew up my last purchases before buying any more fabric.

I don't sew often for the boys, but they are always grateful for the items I do make for them. The jersey shorts and simple pull on pants that I've made for them in the past are in high rotation and still fit, just.

I had to practically drag them outside to take photos of these jarmies. We started with the standard line up photos, before I suggested the trampoline. Clearly the trampoline is more fun!

As you can see our trampoline is a little more old fashioned than the ones you get these days with nets around them. Ours had a net which disintegrated over time, so we removed it and the kids seem to play on it more now. It's like we have a new toy in the backyard. No accidents yet either *touch wood*.

While I had a bunch of borrowed Ottobre magazines to trace a pattern for these jarmies, I ended up buying one on sale from Spotlight. I purchased Simplicity 5271 so that I could avoid tracing and just cut the pattern size I need. For the few dollars I paid for the pattern, it was worth it.

I cut both boys the Size 6-8 pattern. James' is shortened and Oliver's is at pattern length. As these patterns have a fair amount of ease, it didn't matter that the front and back of the raglan top had no stretch. The sleeves are made from fleece from my stash, which I received at some point from one of my mothers quilting friends, along with a fair amount of binding in various colours. All from their 80's tracksuit sewing career no doubt.

Naturally the boys are really pleased with their pjs. I'm certain they will last a couple of years as I left deep hems on the pants for when they have a growth spurt.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Burda Maxi with Simplicity 1366

The first week of school holidays is almost over and it has been marvelous! A little fabric shopping (or a lot!), a little sewing (or a lot!) and a bit of adventure (with some fabric and pattern book shopping!) - bliss! I feel like I've sewn enough this week to keep my blog active for the next school term and I haven't even made the work trousers I planned to make, or the wedding/frocktails frock, or my boucle jacket/cardigan. I have however, made a bunch of simple, gratifying items that really help build your basic wardrobe and lift your sew-jo. I'll hopefully photograph them for you shortly, but in the meantime, feel free to catch me on Instagram.

This ensemble was made during my two, precious kid free days that I have enjoyed these holidays. I try most holidays to organise two days - short days - without the kids, just so that I can relax and enjoy quiet time without being asked for food every two minutes or being told "I'm bored" or "Can I have something banned/inappropriate/dangerous?", etc. I feel like this kid free time is especially necessary given my day job - teaching other people's kids. This time does come at a cost though, but I feel that it is definitely worth the expense and I know that my kids enjoy the sport camp activities.
Anyway, this week I have made another Burda maxi train skirt 09/2014 #105 (train omitted) and a Simplicity 1366 top. Am I the last blogger to make this top???

Earlier this week I went to Pitt Trading with the kids to see their remnants and was not dissapointed. It's not often that I walk into a fabric store and buy many pieces, but I just couldn't help myself. This stain glass viscose/poly? fabric was destined to become a maxi skirt from the second I saw it and I didn't wait long to cut into it to make this.

I really like the Burda maxi train skirt pattern, which I used previously here. I love the straighter front panel and the super swishy back. This fabric is a little thinner than my last viscose twill and I plan to wear it with tights when the weather cools down, so drafted a semi lining to ensure it didn't grip to my tights.

I wore this into the city with the kids today and got quite a few compliments on my skirt, which naturally was awesome. Even the girl at the Fabric Store asked about it and told me she liked it. Considering all the Surry Hills fabric store workers appear to be aspiring fashion designers, I'm taking this as a significant compliment.

This top is my first real Simplicity 1366, which is a rather popular, drop shoulder, boxy, Cynthia Rowley pattern.

The fabric for this top is a super smooth and drapey viscose weave fabric that I picked up from My Hung in Paramatta late last year. It is so soft and thick, I just had to have it. I purchased a top and pant length in black, as well as white and orange in a top length. It was also priced really well - way less than $10pm - which really enticed me to buy it in all three colours available. Hopefully I'll be able to photograph the other colours for you soon so you can see the thick weave, which isn't visible in these photos.

I really like this outfit and I think it is really well suited to Autumn weather and my work. I can easily sit on the floor without worrying about splitting my pants or showing off my knickers.

I hope you have a fab weekend. I think we are destined for a little rest after today's big adventures.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


And just like that, we are on holidays!

Even though we've been home for a few days, thanks to the Easter weekend, it really doesn't feel like a break until my husband returns to work and the kids and I can have a truly lazy day. Don't tell him I said that.

This skirt I made for Adele was a ridiculously easy way to get rid of a remnant from my stash. Just a simple elastic waist skirt with a frill along the top and ribbon trim on the bottom.
The funny part is all the serious poses she showed off during this photo session. I don't know what happened, but there was no sticking out tongues, just a series of 'beautiful'!

I have two kiddy free days this week and plan to sew like a mad woman!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

More Skinny Work Trousers.

On the eve of school holidays, I thought it wise to post my last over due project that I completed in the summer holidays. Yep, my backlog can be that long at times! You see, when it is super hot and humid, I really struggle - like most sensible people - to don trousers for the sake of taking photos for this little blog. I'm just not that committed. :)

These trousers are similar to many I've made before - feel free to look through my finished projects pages to see the many pairs I've completed for work wear. They originally started as Thurlows, then morphed partially by my Burda jeans pattern and have been modified and refitted so many times I'm not sure they are any pattern any more.
They work, but this pair of trousers isn't perfect. I'm not sure whether I cut the fabric off grain, sewed it wrong or something else, but one leg seam twists around almost 180 degrees. Weird, but thankfully the fabric print hides it.

I purchased this stretch sateen from Spotlight during one of their summer sales. I've had quite good success with their printed sateen and this one is also quite nice.

I'm not sure why, but I have sewn faux welt pockets onto the back of these trousers even though you can not see them at all!! I can be crazy at times.

I played with the colour in this photo so you could see the print and true fabric colour a little better. Those splotches are quite vibrant.

I have another pair of trousers that I'm hoping to make these holidays and possibly another jacket. So many possibilities! How on Earth will I prioritise my holiday sewing plans??

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sewing Grey

Last weekend I didn't get any time in my sewing cave at all! Even on my busy weekends, I always manage to potter around in there for a short while. Picking up fabric or patterns to contemplate my next project. But last weekend, there just wasn't any time and I've felt lost and stressed all week, which I've put down to this lack of peace in my sewing happy place.

The school term is almost finished and I am hanging for holidays. We are all tired and stressed and in need of a few lazy mornings. My sewing time has suffered this term, largely due to my increased workload - working full time, kid in kindy, two busy boys refusing to do homework or hand in notes and husband working crazy hours in his new job. One would think that the additional work that I've undertaken would mean that I'd been crashing in bed each night, but alas this is not the case. My sleep has been worse than ever. :(

Reading has always helped me sleep, but I don't find reading in bed works for us as it hurts my eyes and the light keeps my husband awake, which means he becomes the cranky one. So I coughed up some $$ and bought myself a Kindle Paperwhite - which I LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! I can read in bed with no light and my eyes don't hurt!
Naturally with a new gadget, I needed a new case and that is something simple enough to knock together without hurting my brain too much. I made this Kindle case the weekend before last from an old felt laptop case which I don't use anymore - who even owns a laptop that big anyway?? I cut it apart, attached velcro, sewed up the side and voila! New case.
The original laptop case.
It was so simple that I made another for a friend too.

While sewing grey, it only felt right to knock up a simple grey tank with some fabric left over from the tee in this post. This tank has been on such high rotation since I finished it. I can't believe I've never owned a simple grey knit tank - it's so versatile!
To make this an even quicker project, I simply turned under the edges and cover stitched them. It's not the best finish for all knit fabrics, especially thin ones, but worked a treat here.

I hope you have a great week! only 4 more work days till holidays!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Grainline Cascade

Whenever Jen from Grainline releases a pattern, I buy it. She has fantastic taste and impeccable pattern drafting skills. Her Cascade Duffle Coat pattern was no exception to this.
I really like the simple lines of this coat. Although I didn't really end up making a duffle coat with her pattern, more a casual jacket.

Clearly I don't have much need for a very warm Winter coat living in Sydney. Although some people may disagree with me, I just don't feel the cold like some of my friends.

This jacket was an absolute delight to sew. I've read a few reviews of the pattern where people remark on how easy this is to sew and I have to agree with them. Nothing is terribly hard with this pattern. The collar fits perfectly, the pieces line up and the sleeves set beautifully.

I even fully bagged the lining for this jacket - a first for me - thanks to the help of Jen's great tutorial - yay!!

As you can see though, I did make a few changes to the pattern to achieve my look. For fit, I shaved a little off the top shoulder to accommodate my slightly narrow shoulders. The only other change I made was to omit the toggles (as they weren't the look I was going for) and to narrow the button bands slightly to better fit my buttons. I also omitted the zipper, as it really isn't needed for a lighter casual jacket.

The fabric is a grey and navy wool from The Fabric Store, which I picked up over the Summer holidays on sale. It has a irregular herringbone pattern with tiny specks of fuschia and turquoise. I lined the jacket with a poly satin from my stash, just so I could avoid going out again to buy fabric, which is always a minefield of temptation! I found the buttons at the Remnant Warehouse, which has a good range of buttons that don't cost the Earth. Speaking of buttons, has anyone noticed how atrocious the selection at Spotty is these days? And they got rid of all their tubes. Insane!

Anyway, I am super pleased with this jacket. It is exactly what I was after and fits perfectly. My only word of advice for those sewing this pattern, is I found the shorter length jacket to only just fit me in length, both sleeves and in the body. I am 163cm tall, so if you are taller than that, or have long arms, you may want to test the length prior to cutting your fabric.
I am contemplating making another casual jacket with this pattern this Winter. Perhaps with some cute Orla Kiely coating that I also picked up from The Fabric Store this Summer (you can see it here on Insta). 

Happy hump day!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Floral Burda Maxi Skirt

I've always wanted to make a maxi skirt, but have been worried about looking short.
I don't think I should have been worried! I really, really love this!!!

If you know me in real life, you'll know that I don't walk, I race. I speed walk everywhere. There are running jokes at my school between the teachers and students about my pace. Everyone knows they are expected to keep up with me if they want to talk to me.

This is my ideal maxi skirt with oodles of swish and ease to walk around at my speedy pace without reducing my stride. I saw one of those funny videos recently, which now I can't find, that showed the problems with wearing maxi skirts including walking with a tiny stride, limited by the fabric. I certainly don't have to worry about that in this skirt.

The only change I've had to make to my walking to wear this skirt, is that I have to hold it up at the front when racing up stairs or risk tripping on it and face planting. Not ideal when in public or at home, best just hold the front a little.

This pattern is the Burda Train Maxi skirt pattern 9/2014. As I was feeling frugal when making this skirt, I borrowed this Burda mag from the library and traced it for free. The pattern is interesting and there is more going on than you realize - the drafting and design lines are impressive. The front is relatively straight and wraps around the sides. Then the two back panels create the volume at the back, which is hard to photograph in this fabric, but you can see the folds of fabric right?

As you can see I omitted the back train as clearly it is not a practical design feature. I also didn't sew the large darts on the front panel and instead chose to just tuck the fabric, which I think is a much neater way to add a little shape to the skit.

The fabric is a viscose twill which I ordered online last year, but it never arrived. I whined and carried  on about it so much at my mum's house, as I tend to do when obsessed by something, that she colluded with my sister to re buy it for me. yay!!

I am super pleased with this skirt and have worn it 5 times already. I'm also scheming to make another, once some fabric inspiration hits.

I also made this white tee to wear with it, but I rather like the orange singlet too. The white tee is made with a remnant of super nice white jersey from Tessuti. As with most of my t shirts, I used the Grainline scout pattern and slimmed the sides a little.  I can't remember the last time I owned a plain white t shirt. I wonder how long it will stay that brilliant white shade?

Hope you have a fab week! It's a little cool in Sydney today, so I might try to photograph some of the more Wintery clothes that I've made recently.