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Hello everyone! Thanks for stopping by.

I’ve finally come up with my #makenine2017!

makenine2017

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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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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My apologies, dear friends, I have been remiss in updating the blog. Here’s the yeild of some recent adventures in the sewing room.

Tee One:

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Using the Zoe Raglan from Liola Patterns (which has become one of my favourite patterns EVER!) I created this contrast tee. The Zoe pattern has a groovy multi-pleated long sleeve, so I redrafted the sleeve pattern to get a plain short sleeve.

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The main body of the tee is a viscose jersey (or rayon jersey, however you want to call it) that I picked up in a remnant bin for about $6. I love rayon, in a woven or a jersey. It just feels soooo nice. The sleeve pieces are cotton sateen, left over from another project (that one was a total fail, unfortunately, which was a shame because I really dug that print). Because the cotton sateen had less stretch than the jersey, I added a little more ease – about a dress size’s worth – into the sleeve. Sometimes winging it works, because I love this tee!

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The neckline I bound with a bias strip of the sateen – I know, as a stretch fabric I could have used it on the straight grain but intuition told me bias would be better – and I was right, it sits nice and flat. I think the contrast neckline really adds some drama! I also gave it a slightly dropped hem at the back – not obvious in this picture.

Tee Two:

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Another remnant, this is a fairly rigid cotton interlock – half price remnants rule! I managed to squeeze out blouse #122 from Burdastyle June 2011. You can see their version here. The pattern is designed for cotton sateen, but as this interlock wasn’t too stretchy I thought it would work okay (having just played with some sateen recently!) I wanted to make the top a bit longer than the pattern but didn’t have quite enough fabric.

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I think the boat neckline is rather sweet, but I haven’t worn this top yet so not sure how it will go. It’s still a bit warm here for anything with long sleeves!

And finally, Tee Three:

ombre top refashion

This was a last-minute refashion (because I love a deadline – NOT) brought on by The Monthly Stitch’s Challenge for January – “Cheers for New Years”, a beverage-inspired theme.

I originally bought this tunic ($3, I think, it’s been in the refashion pile for some time) because it reminded me vaguely of the Macchu Picchu cocktail I’d seen years ago, holidaying in Peru. I realised later the colours were all wrong, but I still really liked the ombre effect of the fabric.

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Last week when I finally caught up on some blog reading, I saw the January Challenge and immeadiately thought of this tunic. A quick search of the interwebs led me to believe the colours were in fact more along the lines of a Black Velvet – but I was still in the realm of layered cocktails! (Not that I’m a big drinker, mind, but they are pretty!)

Back I went to my trusty retro Butterick 6572, which has been a bit of a workhorse pattern for me. For this version I skipped the front placket and drafted a facing instead.

DSCF9381There was a slight shortage of fabric across the bust – the tunic was a small size – but a little gusset under the arms and a cap at the top of each sleeve took care of that. I used the original hemline, to save both time (no unpicking, no hemming!) and fabric. I took the time to understitch the neck facing – a process I highly recommend as it achieves such a great result. This fabric was a slippery polyester which did give me some greif. (And unpicking all the beading on the original sleeves was a bit of a nightmare, too!)

 

Seems like a while since I did a ‘refashion’ that didn’t involve using a paper pattern and recycled materials. This is one that stalled a while back for want of orange thread for my overlocker. Today I decided that my regular machine could handle it just fine.

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It all began with this knit top and chiffon shirt. I liked the double button effect on the shirt….. but not enough to wear it as is.

Orange top collage

So what I did was slice the sides off of the knit top. Then out of the shirt I cut two pairs of dolman-shaped sleeve-side pieces. I french-seamed them together at the shoulders. Because the chiffon shirt wasn’t long enough, I needed to add some length at the bottom of the side panels. Originally I was going to use the sleeves of the chiffon top to get this length, but in between starting this refashion, stalling it, and starting it again, I lost some of the fabric and didn’t have enough. Instead I used the knit top sleeves, cleverly using the sleeve hems at the bottom on the garment.

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Once the side/sleeve pieces were altogether, I sewed them onto the sides of the knit top using a shallow zigzag stitch. I then used my serger (with plain old white thread) to finish those two long seams.

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There’s plenty of tutorials on the internet concerning how to hem very light fabrics like chiffon. Basically they seem to come down to this: fold under once and stitch (using a small stitch length). Trim raw edge close to stitching line. Fold under again and stitch. Press. Done. Actually it was pretty easy.

And that was it! Done!

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My hems are out by like 2mm there at the back. Please ignore. (Also please ignore my weekend hairstyle. On lazy Sundays in the sewing room, I really could care less about the hairdo!)

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Knickers were the name of the game today!

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I used the free pattern from So Zo What Do You Know? and some various bits of jersey leftover from a few projects (you might remember this, this and this).

 

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The blue picot-edge knicker elastic and the red stretch lace are both op shop scores; the maroon picot elastic I bought ages ago from Lincraft. It matched the maroon jersey perfectly!

I made the shiny purple ones first to test the pattern out. They fit so well I immediately production-lined another three pairs. To be honest I’d been meaning to make some undies for ages, but it kept slipping down the priority list.

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Made any underthings lately, or found a good underwear pattern? I’d love to hear about it!

How much sewing can I do in one month? Well, I guess that depends on how many episodes of Stargate Atlantis I can watch in my sewing room.

Here’s some hilarious Czech ‘Zalenka-isms’, for fun.

Okay so back to the sewing. About a month ago I got a couple of StyleArc patterns when they were having a sale. One of the patterns I purchased was the Tamara Top, a fairly simple-shaped top with some interesting design lines.

I’m on a self-imposed spending freeze, which means no new fabrics at the moment, so it’s stash or bust in the sewing room. And let’s be honest, I have plenty. That top drawer is new fabrics, mostly stretch, and the second drawer is ‘refashionables’. And let’s not talk about the plastic tubs in the garage.

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To trial the pattern I used some blue double jersey salvaged from a (mostly unsuccessful) attempt to make leggings (ironically, from another StyleArc pattern). The black & white tweed was refashioned from a skirt I picked up at the op shop. (Look, that’s it in the drawer! See?)

Version 1

See that seamline down the front? Not part of the pattern. That’s the side seam from the leggings that failed.

Version 1 - blue double jersey & recycled tweed skirt

I’m actually really happy with the result! The top fits well and is a nice shape on me. I quite like my extra seam. I’m gonna call it a feature.

So I went ahead and made another one! Again I used some rescued fabrics. The taupe knit is a viscose lycra, which I bought only recently and made into a long-sleeved drapey top, but that looked like a monk’s robe when I put it on. Sooooo taupe, sooooooo blaaah.

Version 2

The printed stretch satin was originally from Spotlight, a few years ago, that I used to make up a commercial pattern but I decided to alter the pattern on the fly… bad idea. I loved the fabric, though, so the unfinished garment and the leftover fabric have been languishing in my stash ever since.

Version 2 - viscose lycra & printed stretch satin

As I’ve found with StyleArc, the instructions are pretty basic. That said, the top wasn’t hard to put together. The trickiest bit was the corner seam at the upper front, but I basted it first and I think that made all the difference. Trying to manipulate that corner under the presser foot, clipping and dealing with pins at the same time – no thanks.

I used my regular sewing machine for the seams, but finished the edges with the overlocker. I know knits don’t fray but it just looks nicer on the inside if the edges are finished. And when I say ‘regular machine’, I’m referring to the Janome SuperAutomatic which has become my favourite workhorse sewing machine:

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The patterns says you can use stretch or woven for the insert panels. The tweed is a woven – it had a tiny bit of give due to the weave, but not enough to call it a stretch. It worked fine for the panels in the bodice, but in the sleeve I could have done with a little more ease. You know, for my bulging biceps. Ha ha ha.

In the second version, as both fabrics were stretch, it was completely fine. Both versions pull a little across the bust, somehow more noticeably in the taupe than the blue, so possibly I needed a little extra for the bust. Neither neckline sits very flat, I think the binding is just a little too bulky. The blue is quite thick, and I only used a single layer of binding, but in the taupe I followed the pattern and used a doubled piece, thinking the lighter fabric would work better. I think possibly the interfacing I used is too heavy, resulting in that sticky-out neckline.

All in all though I’m pretty happy!

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Anyone else had experiences with StyleArc patterns? How about those 6mm seam allowances, huh? (I have to admit to adding extra seam allowance when I traced out the pattern. 6mm is just scary to me!)

 

Happy Birthday Kylie!

About 3 years ago, I picked up a big pile of patchwork/craft fabric at an Op Shop. Part of the haul was these two gorgeous pieces of tie-dye flannelette. (I won’t say how much they cost me, cos they ended up as a birthday present, but it was not much!) At the time I thought I would end up using it to back a cot quilt or something similar. But there comes a time in every sewist’s life that you just say to yourself, MAKE PYJAMAS.

And Kylie’s birthday was coming up.

The hardest part was deciding which colour she would like…. so I made two pairs and let Kylie  choose for herself! 20150809_182046[1] Which means I got a pair as well! Hurrah! Kylie picked the bluey-green ones so I got the orange ones –  orange being my favourite colour, I was pretty happy. 20150809_182224[1] They are the softest, fuzziest flannelette I have ever laid my hands on. Soooo warm and cosy (it’s still winter here in the southern hemisphere, by the way 🙂 I did have to use my knowledge of dye techniques, though. While sewing the blue ones, I noticed these tiny white flecks of stuff sort of stuck all over the fabric. I couldn’t pick it off. What was it??? Then I realised – they were batik-dyed. It was wax!! So out came a warm iron and some baking paper, it came off no worries at all.

So I snuck over to her house while she was out running the City 2 Surf and put dinner in the slow cooker 😛 Then I went home and made a coconut cheesecake with a macadamia-nut crust. 20150809_191021_Richtone(HDR)[1] I used this recipe, although I have a bit of a mental block when it comes to artificial sweeteners so I subbed in golden castor sugar and coconut sugar. That’s toasted coconut flakes on top there – yum!

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Yeah, I used a filter.

It was a fantastic cheesecake. I think I overcooked it a smidge, cos it sunk in the middle, and the outside was a bit dark, but the crust did this amazing caramelized thing which I could have eaten all night.  And the whole chicken in the slow cooker – messy, but delicious!

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