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?

 

 

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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!)