Monday, February 23, 2015

Active wear... Rashie - Fehrtrade Surf to Summit top

We have bought kayaks recently and the few times using them so far, I decided we needed better sun protection.  


I decided I would like to have a rashie with a zipper and a swim short (Jalie) as a set (with an existing bikini top) and then I could swim after a kayak session or use it at the beach.  However I decided to make the rashie for DH first to try the pattern out.    DH also wanted the top with a zipper, as it makes it easier to pull on and off and if it is really hot you can get a bit of relief half opening the zipper.  Thankfully the Fehrtrade Surf to Summit top was released about the time I started looking for a pattern for the rashie.


I love that there is so many options to personalise this pattern. I made this top with blue for the main body and sleeves and black for the side panels, neck facing and zipper shield.


The zipper I bought was a chunky plastic zipper slightly longer than what the pattern called for, so I had to lengthen the zipper placket about an inch and also make the opening a little wider to accommodate the chunky zipper.  This was not the easiest thing I have sewn but I think it was lack of experience on my part and nothing to do with the pattern.  I did a lot of basting and quite a bit of unpicking too.


I was concerned about getting the fit right as DH is broad in the shoulders, slimmer at the waist, but with a gut (tummy). This is the fit on the back.  


I suppose it could be more fitted at waist level, but this fit is comfortable and does not accentuate the tummy.

The only change I made to the pattern was to shorten the sleeve by about an inch.  The muslin ended up with only one long sleeve due to lack of fabric but I assumed his arms were the same length. :)

I offered to cut the sleeve to the same length and he could use the muslin too, but he declined... don't know why...


The swimwear fabric is quite expensive, but I have looked at prices for RTW rashies with zips and this top would have cost me half the price, so worth doing I think.  Plus then we are not limited to the colours and patterns in the RTW ones.

Ciao kittens... moving away from active wear for a little while now...  back with some pretty floral fabric next...

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Gym wear... Lekala top and Anima shorts

Seriously I think I need an intervention... cant. stop. making. gym. clothes.... 

I decided this week I needed another gym top and shorts... I can't keep up with having clean gym clothes in this hot weather.  I also thought it might be good to have a gym shirt more covered in the shoulders as the weather starts cooling off.  So I decided to try a pattern a few have recommended on Pattern Review - Lekala 4273 - Sports Vest .  I put in my measurements and received my pattern and I have to say I am impressed with the fit.


I used supplex for the purple panel, sports mesh for the shoulder yokes and side panels and tactel nylon lycra for the back.  I got the mesh and the tactel from Joelles ebay store.  I saw mesh used like this on a friend's top at the gym through the week and thought it would work well and (hopefully) look RTW. 

Shown large so you can you see the mesh in the shoulder yoke panels.
The only alteration was to lengthen the top by 1cm.  I would lengthen it a bit more next time I make it and perhaps curve the hem to  make it look a bit more current like Blooms has done on some of her gym tops. 


I thought about making the armhole deeper as I am used to them that way on my gym tops but tried it as it was and found it wasn't uncomfortable.


I was very impressed with the fit, particularly around my shoulders and upper back.  Giving the bust and under bust measurement must make this a better fit I think.



I also made another pair of shorts.  My gym of choice is a crossfit box and I have been going for half a year now.  The pics above show my new top paired with my Jalie shorts which I love, but they are made of supplex and I find they are pilling on the bottom as the floor is quite rough on them.  So I decided to try a fabric with a harder finish and found this black fabric which is a nylon lycra blend but called Tactel.  It seems tougher... it was hard to get a pin through the fabric and I think it blunted my sewing machine needle going by the skipped stitches in my next garment.  So I shall see how it wears.  I decided to use the opportunity to trial a new pattern - the Papercut Anima Pants.  



I was pretty happy with how the pattern went together.  I made them as per the pattern.  The only changes I might make next time is leave off the faux fly (to make the front crotch easier to adjust) and to maybe add some width to the inner thigh area.  Overall I like this pattern and want to make the long version for comfy pants.  The photo is the shorts flat.  I don't think this fabric photographs well so probably won't be bothering to get a photo on me, but I will be using these a lot for gym and am interested to see how they wear. 

So, do I need an intervention?  Ciao kittens...

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

January Frock - Ottobre 2/2013 Fancy Flowers Dress

One of my goals for the year is a frock a month and so far I have one out of one as I present to you my January Frock.  It is from Ottobre 2/2013 pattern no. 7 Fancy flowers.  


They recommend lightweight viscose but I used a silk crepe de chine called New Orleans I had bought from Tessuti Fabrics a while back.  I had planned to make pants but since starting on this quest for a frock a month, this fabric started suggesting cool summer dress more and more.

I made my size according to bust size and the only alterations I made was to lengthen it by about 1cm  and trim a little excess fabric from the front of the armhole.

I was very happy with my front placket.  I had tried to place the pattern on the fabric so light colours were at the top and dark toward the bottom, but the placement of the pattern around the placket was pure serendipity.  It looks a bit like lace around the placket, don't you think?


This pattern has nice pattern details apart from the front placket.  A yoke, gathering falling from the yoke, shaped hemline, collar with stand and elastic gathering at the back waistband. 
Back view
I made the inner yoke piece from some white cotton-silk I had bought from The Fabric Collection a while back.  (A good thing to have in the stash.)  I did that so there would be no shadow of the print showing through the fabric.



I did the same for the armhole binding.


The trial wearing of the dress went well. 


A road trip to Brisbane with a sewing pal to see Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion at GOMA.   It coped beautifully with a warm Brisbane day and I really enjoyed the day out...



and the shopping on the way home...

Floral cotton for a blouse / stretch cotton for a shift dress / Rayon jersey for a wrap dress.
Ciao  kittens...

Monday, January 19, 2015

First of the year... Ottobre 02-2010-15 Linen skirt

My first sew for the year was a slow one.  A lovely white linen skirt with top stitching detail and cargo pockets.  I don't know why but I do love top stitching... soothing...mmm.


I used a mash-up of pattern 15 with pattern 4.  I took all the main details of the 15 Debra Linen skirt..


but used the darts from 4 Zaffiro silk skirt, instead of the gathers.  I also added a lining (pattern 4)  but used the walking vent from view 15.  




I loved sewing the cargo pockets.  First time I have tried them and they were interesting to make.  It took a little while as I was following the written Ottobre instructions, but I checked some tutorials on the web and it fell into place.  I did use buttons to hold the flap down rather than velcro as per the pattern.  I saw natural coloured buttons used on a similar detail on a RTW white linen skirt and thought it looked smart but still casual.


The fabric is from Spotlight and was called linen suiting.  Being white I felt it needed lining so used a rayon/poly blend with a nice weight also from Spotties.

The pattern has a narrow waistband, invisible zip and a walking vent at the back.  They used a button for the closure of the waistband so I did too, finding a smaller button that closely matched the buttons I bought for the pockets.  I think I should have set the zipper a little higher so that I didn't get the little gap between the top of the zip and the waistband... more practice needed... :)


I am pretty happy with this skirt.  I wanted a cool, casual style skirt and that is what I have achieved.  Even with the lining the skirt coped well on a visit to Brisbane in the middle of a heat wave.  The top for those interested is also from Ottobre (02-2013-3) and is detailed here.  I really like the white skirt with the blue skirt... cool and pretty I think.  The review for the skirt is here but doesn't detail much more than I have said in this post. 


Well from me and my favorite photo bomber... Ciao kittens! 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Themes of 2014 and themes for 2015

Yup, this is that end of year blog post.  Not a hits and misses as I find I have more hits nowadays than when I first started sewing.  However when I looked back at my posts for 2014 I could see there was a number of themes I seemed to follow.

The main one for the year was active wear.  I made plenty of it and I use it too.



A strong theme for my sewing (in general) is that when I find a pattern I like I make it more than once.  That is certainly the case for the gym tops - 3 Fehr trade XYT tops.

From the pants I made I will definitely be making the Jalie swimshort again - as swim shorts and probably as gym pants too.  

Another theme for the year was dresses.  I made more than I had realised. 


In this lot the centre bottom picture is a repeat of a pattern made before New Look 6097.

There is one more dress not blogged about but it is a house dress made for the hottest days.

My favorite out of these would be the Named Kielo Wrap dress. (first photo in top row) 

The most worn is the Burdastyle (06/2013-117) linen dress (last photo in bottom row).  It still wrinkles terribly but has proven to be an invaluable dress to have in the wardrobe while we keep having such unusually hot summer days.

This is one theme I plan to continue next year. Kelley (the Simple Sewist) has suggested a theme of a frock a month and I plan to join in.

My other theme was basics..


... once again making the Colette Mabel skirt and the Jalie 2681 skirt twice each.  

I made the two merino cardigans as well.  The teal was one a big favorite this year - Jalie 3248.

On a crafting note, I found my favorite kind of knitting was anything that doesn't require fitting...


And once again the same pattern twice - the willow cowl.

The other theme I noticed is that I don't sew from the Big 4 companies much anymore.  The only ones this year is the New Look dress (I assume it is counted as Big 4 as they seem to be part of the Simplicity group?) and Kwik Sew (Big 4 now??)

Other than that it was all Ottobre, Burdastyle, Jalie and indy patterns.  That is a theme that will continue too.  

Now to keep the theme of repeating patterns going I have made a second top from the Dolores Batwing pattern.  My last make of 2014.


Kittens, I wish all the best for your 2015 sewing and crafting.  Ciao!

Monday, December 29, 2014

So Zo Dolores Batwing Top

I was very lucky to have won a pattern - the Dolores Batwing top/tunic/dress - to try out and review.  It has taken me longer to get to it than I expected with holidays and Xmas interruptions but I have got it done this year (just!)

I made the tunic length with short sleeves in a gorgeous royal blue jersey with a nice texture bought from Sckaffs in Brisbane on my last visit.

Worn with my Jalie skirt!
The only change I made was to make the sleeve cuff a lot bigger.  I don't like tight sleeves and I have large upper arms so I made it 8cm (3") larger than the pattern.  It made it easy to apply and is more comfortable to wear.  If I ever make the long sleeve version I will need to look at the sleeve width I think. 


I chose my size according to my bust and hip size.  My waist is larger than the listed waist size but I didn't alter the pattern and it fits fine I think.

The humidity we are having is not doing my hair any favours!
The directions are easy to follow and have good photos to show the processes.  The one odd thing I noticed is that the sleeve cuff and neck binding are shown on the layout not following the grain line, but I don't think that is an issue when you have a fabric with good stretch.

I am not sure I am a big fan of the neck binding and sleeve cuffs but that is a personal preference rather than an issue with the pattern.  I plan to make another one of these with a linen jersey I bought recently but may leave off the sleeve bands and change the way the neckline is finished.  I saw a pile of tops made in linen jersey in this style when I did a bit of snoop shopping recently.

Linen jersey - The Fabric Store Brisbane
I think this is a great little pattern for a quick satisfying sew that could be made in many different fabrics or hem/sleeve lengths to give a great variety of clothes that are cute and comfortable to wear.  Zoe has set up a pinterest board which shows all the different makes of this pattern around the interwebs - here. 

Ciao kittens - thinking I may do a quick recap of 2014 next up..

Monday, December 15, 2014

Burdastyle 06/2013 #118 Japanese lawn blouse

I have been wanting to make this blouse for ages - I have liked it since it came out - Burdastyle 06/2013-118.


I like the simple casual style of this blouse and with our current hot weather thought it would be a great addition to the wardrobe in a cool fabric.  I  *ahem* happened to have a suitable piece of Japanese lawn bought at Spotlight awhile back when on sale.


This is how I styled it for a day visiting the big smoke recently.  It was a warm day and I found it very comfortable.  The skirt is RTW - a cotton/linen blend that is silky to touch and cool to wear - I wish I could find that fabric to make another skirt like this one.

The top is pretty basic to make but I seemed to have a lot of problems.  The fabric is lovely but has no give whatsoever!  So lots of unpicking and re-sewing happened.  I really need to work with wovens more and knits less I think to keep my skills up!  Mostly I ended up with good results but I am not very happy with how the sleeves are set-in so need to work on this skill.  However I did get to the point of finished is better than perfect.


The facing seemed to be done an odd way to me but I followed their instructions.  I did however deviate and put a light iron on interfacing onto the facings.  I wasn't sure how buttons and buttonholes may have gone otherwise.  

The only other deviation from the pattern was the cuffs.  I sized  them as per the pattern but thought they would be really tight on my forearms and I hate that so after a night of sleeping on what to do, I decided I would use the whole length of fabric for the cuff length (ie no underlap).  However that meant I could not do the buttonhole as described.  So came up with the idea of using a loop for the buttonhole.


I did this using a piece of hat elastic.  (Do you shudder when anyone mentions hat elastic?  I still have bad memories of it as a kid, sitting under my chin or twanging me in the face somehow!)  I read a few tips on the web and some advised using hair elastics but we have none of those in the house but their was hat elastic and I think it is the right weight for this top.

Getting the elastic to behave nicely while I sewed it seemed to be a bit of a trick.  I ended up using a washable glue to encourage it to stay in place while I stitched.


After that I folded the cuff and sewed the end, but found that one line of stitching did not hold the elastic in place, so I unpicked it again and did a few rows of zigzag to help anchor it before re-sewing the cuff end.


This is the end result...


As I was having so many difficulties, I ended up hand sewing the cuff band down as well as the collar stand.  Burda instructs you to do it with the sewing machine and I would normally try it but luck was not going my way so I took the safe option.

The back for completeness...


and the big smoke I was visiting  was...


Well take me to be the "B"!  This word art was erected for the G20 which was held in Brisbane recently and it is hugely popular for photos, so I believe they are making it a permanent addition. 

Ciao kittens, some gift sewing next...