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...