Hello everyone! Thanks for stopping by.

I’ve finally come up with my #makenine2017!

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I know a lot of the #makenine2017’s out there have chosen nine sewing patterns, but  I decided to broaden my focus a little bit and include fabrics and projects as well.

Let’s unpack this, shall we? In no particular order:

vintage-pattern

I’ve got all these gorgeous vintage and retro patterns and pattern magazines, but I’ve only made maybe two or three items. So one of my goals for this year is to actually get in there and make at least one. I have even ‘projectised’ a couple of patterns with the fabric I want to use, so I’ve got no excuses!! To see more of the patterns in my library, check out my flikr album.

ufos

The story of sewists everywhere, right? Lately I have been pretty committed and have managed to finish 90% of the projects I’ve started in the last couple of months. (I am a slow sewist, so it’s not a UFO until at least 6 months after commencement, heh heh.) But, seriously, there are a couple of projects hiding out that were started years (or possibly decades) ago. So my aim is to either finish them, recycle the fabric or CHUCK THEM OUT!!

 

maxi-skirt


As I was trawling through my stash the other day, I came across this incredible piece of fabric. So big I had to photograph it hanging on a clothesline! You know the stash is out of control when you find fabric you had forgotten about. Anyway, after racking my brain, I remembered I bought this fabric in  Thailand, on a trip about 3 years ago. It’s a dreamy lightweight silk that feels like, well, really lightweight silk. It’s doubled over in this photo and you can see the print on the other side, so you get the idea. Anyway, there’s quite a bit of it and it’s obvious it needs to be either a maxi skirt or dress. I definitely want to maximise the print, so I’m going to be looking for a pattern with the fewest amount of pieces. I was thinking of the Gabriola Skirt by Sewaholic, but it does have a lot of seamlines in the skirt, so I might have to shop around. If you have any ideas for a pattern that might work, do let me know!

activewear

Okay, if you’ve read any of my blog posts before you will know that I have a deep and abiding passion bit of a thing for sewing activewear. I’m not particularly good at it, but the aim is to improve! I want to try a couple of new patterns and hack some old ones. I have tried making FehrTrade’s PBJam leggings previously, but they were an unmitigated disaster so I definitely need to have another go. If you buy Burdastyle Magazine you’ll know the January 2017 edition had a focus on activewear, so I’m looking forward to getting my hands on that. (It can take a while for Burdastyle to hit Australia, unfortunately!) The Kwik Sew pattern is already on the table – pieces cut for the shorts and top so I can test for fit! And of course the Greenstyle Creations Endurance Bra: while I’m not a fan of zipup bras I want to give this a try, as it looks amazingly supportive.

Which is a nice segue to….

bras

As you know I’ve already had success making bras, so I really want to get into more of it this year. I’ve made the Watson and the BOO3 (from Booby Traps), as well as the Gail which is not pictured here. I also have the Booby Traps Dart Bra and Seamwork’s Florence Bra which haven’t had an outing yet. I’m keen to replace most of my bras with me-made.

moto-jacket

The Evergreen Jacket from Hey June is one I’ve actually had my eye on for quite some time. When I brought that black camo fabric back from my Japan trip last year, I knew exactly what I wanted to make with it! It’s a heavy stretch fabric, somewhere between scuba and ponte. (I’ve no idea what I want to make with the blue camo, though!)

sweater

A patternmaker I’ve been following for a while is the gorgeous Sally from Capital Chic. I started following her blog years ago when she was doing a lot of refashioning, although I don’t think her old blog is available anymore 😦

Her patterns are glamorous, classy and impeccably drafted.  I’ve always had a hankering for the White Russian Sweatshirt. It comes with a cute fox or lion design to quilt onto the front of the sweater. I got this sweet pony fleece on sale sometime last year, and it’s been languishing in my stash ever since. Match made in heaven? I think so!

refashion

OMG you guys. This is my refashion wardrobe. It is literally busting at the seams. I went through a phase a few years ago where 90% of my sewing was refashioning. Some of them were pretty good, too! I bought a lot of garments that I thought had ‘potential’, but sadly I did not have the potential myself to see it through on a lot of them! Of course, there are a couple that I’ve just never been able to bring myself to cut into (did you see the flocked-polka-dot-taffeta dress on my instagram??)

Again we have a neat segue…

blanket-project

See that blanket? I made that. It’s made from recycled suits and skirts, all made of wool. It’s backed with a preloved flannelette sheet (green and white striped, forsooth) and the quilt filler is another flannelette sheet. So it’s not super-thick, but it is totally warm and cosy!

 

That blanket I made for a friend, and let me tell you it turned out so well it was pretty hard to give up. Ever since then I’ve been intending to make one for myself, and have collected a bunch of wool-fabric trousers and skirts from various op shops. On top of that, I have a collection of woolly half-felted jumpers to make into a rug of some kind, plus yet another quilt I want to make for another friend (this one from preloved band t-shirts).  I don’t know that I’ll get all three of them done this year, but I’d like to try for one!!

And, because I want to stay focused, I did this on my sewing room wall:

Yes, my sewing workbench is always this tidy.*

Yes, my sewing room workbench is always this tidy. *

 

And that’s it, folks! My #makenine2017. Have you come up with a makenine list  for 2017? Do you have a different way of planning your sewing for the year? I’d love to hear from you!

 

*Disclaimer: No it’s not, that’s a total lie.

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I haven’t been posting much lately as I’ve been handicapped with knee surgery and the rehab which inevitably follows, which kind of curtailed my sewing a bit, but I’ve also been having fun making videos for my new sewing vlog! I’ve only got like 3 subscribers so far so feel free to pop over for a visit 🙂

I managed to meet the Monthly Stitch Challenge for December which was party dresses, and I’ve got two December-made party dresses to talk about in this post (in addition to the #littlereddressproject dress described in my last post). I was invited to a birthday party and the invite said ‘semi-formal’. So of course I took that as a sewing challenge!! I had a couple of ideas and as I couldn’t choose, I decided to do both, just in case one didn’t work!

My choices were Lisette 2209 and Burdastyle Magazine 1/2012 Dress #118B.

Dress One: Lisette 2209

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Why this pattern? I’ve made this dress before, in a light cotton floral, as a sundress, so no muslin required.

What about the fabric? The bodice is made from a remnant of silver-gray silk I picked up on a trip to Thailand about two years ago (can you say stashbust?). The skirt is made from a recycled silk skirt. I also used the original skirt lining for the skirt, and some lining fabric from my stash for the bodice. Invisible zip also from the stash, reclaimed from a refashion.

And the pattern? As I’d made it once already (albeit a couple of years ago) it was pretty straightforward. The bodice darting is actually quite simple although it does create a little bulk at the front waist seam.

Any added extras? Yes, I added pockets using the last few scraps of the bodice material – I think it looks cute. I also had to make the skirt less full as I had to work within the fabric I had, so it is more an A-line than the fuller skirt in the pattern. Invisible zip at the side rather than the back, and eliminated the centre back seam. I used the ‘burrito method’ to line the bodice.

Did I love it? YES! In photos I notice the bodice pleats come to a rather unflattering point on the bust, I think this is to do with the stiffness of the fabric. Don’t care though 🙂

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I talked about this dress on my vlog!

Dress Two: Burdastyle Magazine 1/2012 Dress #118B

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Why this pattern? Basically I was just flipping through my pattern magazines and I thought this one looked simple, and I knew I had some fabric that would work.

What about the fabric? The printed satin has been in my stash for about two years, I think I got it on sale at Spotlight. The lining fabric is slightly stretchy and was bought at my ‘local’, Jack Textiles in Marrickville.

And the pattern? This dress has no shaping and I was initially worried it would just look like a shiny floral tent on me, but au contraire, it’s totally flattering!

Any added extras? I deviated quite significantly from the pattern instructions (although as we all know with Burdastyle, the instructions can be next to useless!) So the pattern used the same fabric, a crepe-backed satin, with the crepe side as the feature of the dropped lining. My floral satin wasn’t really going to work so I used the coral satin as a contrast instead. I lined the front flappy bit on one side with the coral as well to provide some interest. This made the neckline join more than a bit complicated but a few clips and some understitching got it sitting flat. It also made the centre front seam a little different; I wanted a nice finish though so I did a faux-felled seam (folded under the raw edge) and topstitched with some metallic thread.

To make the lining show shiny-side-out at the hem meant I had to install it ‘inside-out’ which did my head in a little bit!! I also skipped the inseam pockets – I was doing french seams all the way and that just seemed too hard. No sleeves either – I tried it on prior to adding the sleeves, pinned one sleeve on and went ‘nope!’ The armholes were finished using bias strips from the floral satin offcuts.

Did I love it?  I certainly love the look of it. I haven’t worn it to any occasions yet though!

I talked about this dress on my vlog, too!

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I did end up wearing the silver-grey dress to the party, even though I had finished both in time.

silver party dress cropped

I hope everyone had a lovely New Year and I look forward to sharing lots more cool stuff with you all through 2017!!

 

Sewing From The Stash

What do you mean, you haven’t heard of The Little Red Dress Project??

This was a fantastic challenge masterminded by the lovely Renata over at Runningnstyle.  The challenge was to create a red dress for the holiday season (as opposed to the ubiquitous Little Black Dress) with a few guidelines to make the challenge interested.

It was a challenge that took the online sewing community by storm! I made a playlist of all the ‘reveal’ vlogs I could find – go and have a look!

Meanwhile on Instagram the hashtag #littlereddressproject will find you  a bunch of awesome frocks to be envious of too!

Now, back in late September when the tag was announced, I immediately started mentally searching the stash for something red I could whip up. I remembered I had a piece of red stretch fabric, that had been in my stash for over five years. Yes, you…

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Although I finished this in time for TMS’s June ‘Spots & Stripes’ challenge, I was planning on wearing it for Jeans for Genes Day which fell on the 5th August, so I didn’t actually take any photos before then!

I used a couple of 1970’s Simplicity patterns:

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I loved the cute, curved underbust seam on #5803, but I wasn’t loving the pouffy sleeves; also I wanted a collared shirt. Enter #7078, with a basic sleeve and a nifty one-piece notched collar. I also used the curved hem from #7078.

On the other hand, #7078 had a weird, ugly cuff placket on the sleeve, which I replaced with a standard placket, researched from this handy book (thanks, Kylie, who picked it up at Vinnie’s only a few weeks ago and gave it to me!)

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As you can see, I didn’t have quite enough fabric to line the cuffs, and I didn’t have enough blue buttons to do the cuffs as well as the blouse front. The sleeves were pretty puffy, and I decided to pleat them at the cuffs rather than gather, just for a neater look. If I remake this top – and I think I might – I would narrow the sleeves slightly.

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You can also see in the above pic, my Jeans For Genes Day badge. I even have a pair of denim sneakers, but didn’t manage to take a decent picture of them.

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Drafting the frankenpattern involved a little bit of faffing around, and as usual I couldn’t be bothered to make a muslin, just cut straight into the printed tencel. I’m so pleased with the result! I ended up taking the waist darts out of the blouse back; they were in the wrong position for my short-waisted self, but in any case I prefer a looser-fit shirt. I kept the back neck darts, though.

I nearly blew it when redrafting the faux yoke, forgetting to add the extra ease for the gathers at the front, but I managed to shimmy it around when sewing the pieces together.

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I love this shirt!! I took me about two weeks to make, from pattern-drafting to finished product. Although I don’t mind handsewing, I really don’t like sewing buttons on, so the shirt was ‘finished’ for several days before I got around to adding the buttons. The fabric is lovely and soft, even if it does need ironing every two minutes.

 

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June, as most sewing bloggers are aware, is Indie Pattern Month, hosted by the lovely ladies over at The Monthly Stitch. With the best of intentions, I purchased a new indie pattern – the Jenna Cardi by Muse Patterns – and some lovely dark grey knit.

Unfortunately, June also turned out to be a ridiculously busy month for me, with karate training, karate tournaments, actual social engagements, more karate training, and a handful of street cats! Leaving me with zero time for sewing. I managed to get the cardigan pattern laid out & cut, and it has been sitting in a neat little pile ever since.

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Another thing that happened this month is that I temporarily vacated my sewing room and turned it into a cat hotel. My flatmate rescued a street cat and three adorable kittens earlier this month. We’ve since found homes for the kittens but Lady Cassandra is currently residing in Le Hotel du Chat, formerly known as My Sewing Space. We’re hoping to rehabilitate her, as she has no tail and is missing a front paw, so she’s had a tough life on the street.

Le Hotel du Chat

Don’t you love the little staircase I built for her so she could sit in the window?

As it happened, one of my work collegues offered me a huge pile of giant ziplock bags left over from some work project. They’re about 40cm square (like the one in the photo above). As soon as I saw them I had visions of the most organized sewing project pile in the universe. Tidying up my sewing room for the Cat Hotel had me matching fabrics to patterns and neatly packaging them up in ziplock bags, some even with thread & notions to suit!

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The red suitcase also is full of Packaged Projects. It was a very satisfying process, actually. Now I just have to do some sewing…

Mind you, by the end of June I was having withdrawal from not having done any sewing for what seemed like ages. So I quickly hacked out yet another Zoe Raglan, and raced it up on the overlocker.

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I used a textured knit I picked up from a local cheap fabric store. It’s a nice heavy knit with an interesting textured design. Being the middle of winter here in Sydney I’ve been after some warmer tops to wear to work.

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I did try to pattern match but I’m not sure how successful I was. To make the pattern a bit different I changed the lower edge from curved to  straight, and finished that and the sleeves with bands.

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The result is, in my opinion, quite striking, and I think I will wear it quite a bit. This raglan pattern has become my go-to when I need a quick fix – does anyone else have a pattern like that?

 

 

Hello all!

Yes, I know it’s June, which means Indie Pattern Month, but I thought I’d just have a quick look at the past month and how I progressed with Me-Made-May.

Considering I kinda forgot about it until about 3rd May, I did pretty well from then on. I believe my pledge was one me-made item a day for the month. I admit that sometimes that one item was my knickers, or a sports bra, and I was definitely counting refashions towards the end of the month, but I pulled it off!

Now, I don’t do daily outfit photos. It’s just not how I roll. So here’s a collage of some of the items I did wear during May 2016.

MeMadeMay16 Collage

Obviously that’s not all of them! I don’t have photos of some of the things I have made, and others I never blogged because I couldn’t get a decent photo or didn’t like it enough to blog (or just haven’t blogged it yet, but intend to, like the pink pyjamas you don’t see here.)

My homemade activewear got a workout (ha, ha) as did a two pairs of skinnified jeans (which actually got re-skinnified during May when I decided I didn’t like the initial result anymore), and a few other refashions:

MeMadeMay16 Collage2

All in all, I’m pretty pleased that I was able to complete my pledge. Next year’s pledge might include finishing an item or two during the month of May – I’ve been agonizingly slow to finish projects lately.

Did you take part in the Me-Made-May Challenge? How did you go?

 

 

 

Hi everyone!

So it’s been, ahem, a while since my last post. I do apologise – there’s been a lot going on! Not least of which was preparation for a trip to Japan for a karate training seminar! So of course I had to make time for some crafty excursions while I was there.

As luck would have it, I found a Yuzawaya on my first day in Tokyo, not ten minutes walk from my hotel. Yuzawaya, as I discovered, are sort of like Lincraft (or possibly Joanns).

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Not wanting to go too crazy on my first day, I only bought a fat quarter with a cute retro dance print, and a Japanese pattern book – Machiko Kayaki’s “home couture selection book”. It has some really cute, simple patterns that I can’t wait to try out. The instructions are of course in Japanese, which I can’t read, but the illustrations are very straightforward so I don’t think I’ll have too much trouble.

After my 3-day karate seminar, I headed off down to Nagoya, where I had enrolled in a shibori workshop. Arimatsu is known as ‘the home of shibori’ – it was a popular stopping place on the Tokkaido road, where many shibori artists plied their trade.

I took a billion photos of the Arimatsu Shibori museum, which I am going to upload to flikr as there is too many to share here. Here’s a little snippet:

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Just before you go into the museum, there are two little old ladies sitting on a platform doing shibori. You can sit and watch them, and they will demonstrate the techniques they are using, and show you samples of how it would look after dying. Of course all of this is in Japanese, of which my understanding is extremely limited, but a needle is a needle and a stitch is a stitch.

The workshop consisted of me and one of those ladies, with a pre-designed t-shirt and ‘noren’ (Japanese curtain). I’m going to do a post in further detail on this later. Basically they show you how to do the shibori stitches, then they send it off to their dyers and mail it to you. Mine arrived in Australia about two weeks after the workshop, which I thought was pretty impressive.

Here’s some souvenirs I brought home from Arimatsu:

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After some more sightseeing in Nagoya I headed back to Tokyo. Thanks to tips from some awesome ladies in Those Darn Sew & Sews Facebook Group, I knew that Nippori was the place to go. It is actually called ‘Textile Town’.

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It’s a whole street of fabric, craft and sewing supplies!!! Heaven!

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It was sensory overload after a while, though. So many great fabrics, so little room in the suitcase…

I took an organised approach and did a lap of the main drag, stepping into nearly every shop, taking pictures of fabrics I liked so I wouldn’t forget. Then I wrote a little wish list, and then I pared that back to how much I could actually afford to buy/fit in the suitcase. That turned out to be quite a lot, as I’d packed an empty duffel for exactly that purpose!

First purchase was a blouse pattern and some sweet cat-print lawn to make it from. On the way to the register I picked up a remnant of cotton in a groovy retro floral print.

DSCF9643The pattern was 1,000 yen, the lawn was 900Y per metre and the remnant was 850Y (it’s 110x110cm – about a square yard). The Aussie dollar is not that strong against the Yen at the moment, but the lawn cost aout AUD$11/metre, and the cotton about AUD$10. These were from one of the Tomato shops – there were at least three. It’s the same shop, but with different departments in different locations along the street. One of them I didn’t go into at all, because there was a queue out onto the street!!

Next stop was some black cotton print. The cotton prints are quite heavy, like a quilting fabric, but with an uneven weave which gives them a lovely texture. I bought a pre-cut 2m piece for 1290Y (about AUD$15).

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These next two pieces were purely for colour & print! Unfortunately despite my best efforts I lost the reciept, but I don’t think I paid more than AUD$20 for the lot.

The circle print on the left is a soft, drapey woven, possibly viscose or rayon. The floral/plaid on the right is a crisp polycotton woven.

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Precut pieces were everywhere, and I couldn’t resist these little bits of animal print, and a piece of laminated print – panda bento!! The laminate was 650Y (50cm x 112cm) and the fat quarters were 108Y each.

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These two little bits are both 50cm x 110cm and were 400Y each; heavy cotton woven.

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Of course I couldn’t resist some stretch fabric too! These two pieces were 900Y/m. They are a heavy jersey, sort of like ponte. I’m thinking sportswear, of course!

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You can’t spend much time on Fabric Street without wandering into a second-hand kimono shop. I found three, but I have a feeling there were a few more on some of the side streets. 20160402_144813

Racks and racks and racks of pre-loved kimono! Both mens’ and womens’. I thought I was dreaming when I saw the price on this one – 1000Y!! That’s about AUD$12, folks!!

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This one is hip-length and is fully lined.

At those prices, though, I couldn’t go all the way to Japan and only buy one.

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Isn’t she beautiful?? She is definitely pre-loved – there are a couple of tiny stains and the lining has seen better days. But for 1000Y I can find a home for that gorgeous print. There’s so much fabric to use in a full-length kimono!

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Also in those stores they sell parts of kimono – I guess in an effort to recycle as much of the garments as possible. I snagged a shibori scarf and a old sleeve for a couple of hundred yen. (I’ll be using that shibori scarf in a future blog to show you more about shibori!)

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(I did actually buy a few other pieces, but I’m not going to share them here yet as they are destined to be gifts.)

I’d love to hear from anyone who has shopped in Nippori, or anywhere else in Japan that rocks the fabric world!