Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Unicorn Stripes!

For my birthday earlier this year, I was lucky to receive quite a few Madelintosh mini skeins of yarn called Unicorn Tails. Well, I actually bought them for myself, because that's the way we roll in this house with gifts. No surprise little blue boxes. No gift vouchers. No sewing machines. No nothing! I know many people are really good at giving gifts in their family or relationships, but we're almost 20 years into this one and we've just never gotten there.
For me, birthdays are about getting something for myself that I would not normally buy. Something a little over the top. Something a little more than I would normally spend. For this year's birthday, it was these little skeins of wonderfully coloured, soft, squishy Madelintosh.

My inspiration for this scarf came from the Fancy Tiger Crafts blog. As soon as I saw their Unicorn Stripes cowl, I just couldn't stop thinking about it. The only way to justify this expense on yarn was through my birthday gift.

I think it was also the expense that drove me to complete this project - which for the record took just 8 weeks!! Unlike the many versions of this scarf on Ravelry, I only purchased 19 Unicorn Tails skeins. I just didn't see the need to have a scarf as long as the 30 skeins produced.
As it turned out this scarf is perfect! As you can see, I loop it around to make a double cowl which sits just perfectly around my neck. Not too high, not too low.
This scarf is so soft and squishy and not at all scratchy, which I normally find with wool garments.


Now because it's pictured in these photos, I'll point out that I also made this basic top over the weekend.

I purchased this navy ponte from The Remnant Warehouse on Saturday with plans to make another basic New Look 6145. In these photos it looks quite blue, but in real life it's so deep that it appears dark purple.

I've made this pattern many times over the past couple of years, but my most worn variations are my ponte tops which you can see here and here. I wear these tops each at least once a week - at school and at play. As a side note: I've been on the hunt for basic black ponte and have found nothing really nice in Sydney. My black top version of New Look 6145 is starting to look a little shabby and now I've looked it up and know that it's over 2 years old, so it's no wonder why! Handmade = better quality for sure. Please also let me know where I can get some lovely thick black ponte. thanks :)
Each time I make this pattern, I play around with the hemline a little, depending on the styles that I see online just prior to completing the top. This just makes me feel like they are all different and on trend. 

I adore this top and I love this pattern. I already have another ponte version made, ready to photograph and I might even share the modifications I have made to this pattern to make it so successful in a knit.

Happy sewing - only three more sleeps till holidays!!

Monday, June 15, 2015

McCalls 7083

Over our recent Queen's birthday long weekend (Happy Birthday Queenie! Thanks for the day off!), I became somewhat obsessed with McCalls 7083 and made not one, but three versions! All of which are much needed additions to my wardrobe, though no entirely seasonally appropriate, they are still being worn under layers.

I don't have too much to say about the pattern, except that it is really cute. The cut is flattering and it fits well. Shame my photography doesn't really show these tops very well.

First, with pockets in black rayon.
This is just a Spotlight rayon that I've had maturing in my stash for a while. This fabric is well suited to this top with just the right amount of drape.

I don't think you can ever have enough black tops. They are easy to wear during the day and just as easy to dress up at night with the right accessories.


Next with no pockets in a Nani Iro rayon/cotton lawn called Shirube.

This is clearly a mega photo fail, but a nice top. The lawn appears painted. It has an off white base with blush, cream and glittery mountain designs. The printed sections of the fabric are quite stiff, but I think they will soften over time. The contrast in the panels of the garment are really nice in real life, but completely invisible in the photos.

You'll have to take my word for it, this is a nice top and I am not radioactive. I tried to dull the photos, but I've just ended up looking a little grey. You can see the fabric here at Miss Matatabi or on the Nani Iro site.

Lastly, I couldn't pack the pattern away without trying this in a knit. This also has no pockets.

As this knit has a lot of stretch and good recovery, I did a dirty modification to the sleeve pattern, overlapping the shoulder dart to omit it and crossing my fingers for a successful fit. I also sewed a generous side seam to accommodate the knit as you don't need anywhere near as much ease in a knit garment vs a woven.
Thankfully my alterations worked. As you can see though, my photos are less successful. I didn't manage to capture the top of my head in any of the photos.

I hope you have a great week! Happy Monday!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Pin Pegs Mini Skirt

Well hello there. It appears after my blog-a-thon that I dropped off the planet. Unfortunately, I got a little caught up in the end of semester crunch, life, stress and exhaustion.

I have managed to keep sewing. However my pace has been more 'slow and steady' than my usual frantic-manic style. I have a few items to blog though and should have a steady flow of items until the school  holiday, which are only three weeks away - yipee!! I'm already planning a bunch of items to make during the holidays and I'm super excited about them, so hopefully they will work. I also have Frocktails coming up, though I'm not sure if I will manage to get a new frock made for that. I might have to make do with an existing dress. We'll see though, I've been  known to make frantic decisions in the week leading up to an event.

Back to finished items though - this is one of my more recent makes, the Pin Pegs Mini Skirt from Sew This Pattern. Annie put a call out recently for pattern testers and she kindly picked me to test her pattern. Unfortunately, life got incredibly hectic and I didn't make the testing deadline - whoops! Turns out I'm not always a reliable deadline person.. Sorry Annie!
Her pattern is pretty cool and very much on trend right now. When I sew the pattern illustration, I immediately thought of a denim version.

I'm pretty stoked with the end result. I made a straight size 10 with no alterations, not even my standard waist shaping changes and it fits perfectly. It is meant to be a trim fit and it sits really nicely on my hips and waist.

As the skirt is short, it uses very little fabric. I managed to use of a denim remnant from my stash and used a slightly different denim remnant for the facings. My zipper is from The Remnant Warehouse and I shortened it to fit. I think it's important in a non-stretch skirt which is well fitted, to use a very strong zipper and this metal one is just that.

I really had no problems pulling this together. I did have trouble conceptualising how the underflap worked, but once I double checked the instructions it all made sense.

It was surprisingly warm in Sydney today, so I headed outside to photograph a bunch of items. Unfortunately it was also very bright, so you can expect a bunch of very bright, glowing photos on my blog over the next week or so. I wish I were better at photography, but I'd rather spend my time sewing than learning how to photograph better. :) Priorities right?

Have a great week!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Another Maxi and Simplicity 1366

The blog-a-thon continues tonight with a couple of items.
First a maxi skirt.

I've only recently become a maxi skirt lover and now have three on rotation in my work wardrobe. They are just so easy to wear. Feminine, but completely practical for school. This one also requires no ironing as it's made with ITY knit.

The fabric is absolutely stunning! I purchased it during the school holidays from Pitt Trading. It was one of those shopping trips with all three kids where I bribe them to sit in the corner for 15 minutes while I race around the shop to gather together anything that catches my eye, then stop at the golden arches on the way home as a reward for being compliant and kind to me! It was one many awesome remnants available on the day and was only $10 for about 1.2m. Bargain!

To make the skirt I guessed the shaping, keeping it narrower at the waist and flaring out through the back seam (the only seam) to the skirt hem, all while trying to keep the print aligned. I'm pretty happy with my pattern matching. When wearing the skirt you can hardly tell that the back motif is much larger than the front one as the fabric folds in on itself making it appear almost identical to the front.

To wear with this skirt, I made another Simplicity 1366 in burnt orange double knit which was also from Pitt Trading. I really like this top, but prefer this skirt with my black version of this pattern.

I think I've now caught up on my blogging of finished items. I still have at least one more for Adele, but it requires further photography which may take time :)

I'm out most of the weekend for girly catch ups and weddings, so probably won't get to my sewing machine. But I hope you all have a cozy weekend in your sewing cave creating a masterpiece!!

Till next week!


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Black slim trousers

One of my work colleagues has the most amazing pair of white, textured, slim 7/8 trousers with a small split hem. I have coveted them for a while. When I stumbled upon this black textured, pant weight poly at Pitt Trading, I knew I could try to replicate my friend's pants.
Well - I tried my hardest, but hers still look must more stylish than mine. Perhaps it's the fact that she is taller and much younger (read: more fashionable) than I am.

Regardless these are good, simple work pants. To achieve this look, I mashed the rise of my Burda jeans with the leg of Jacques and the front of my Thurlows. In my typical gung-ho fashion, I simply laid all three patterns over each other and cut the seam line that I wanted to replicate. For the most part this worked, though I did try on and fit them throughout construction.

To achieve a streamlined fit, like my colleague's trousers, I eliminated all pockets. I also tried to iron a fold into the leg, but this is not holding very well. Any tips for helping this fold line stay would be greatly appreciated!

I am relatively pleased with these. After wearing them today, they have bagged out a little, so I think I'll add belt loops and possibly slim the leg a little.

More sewing should hopefully follow tomorrow. I'm now catching up on my term 1 holiday projects.

Happy hump day!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Julia Cardigan

With cooler weather approaching, I'm sure I'm not the only one who needs to stock up with simple cardigans to wear each day.
I was drawn to the Julia cardigan pattern after receiving one of those marketing emails from Sussan or Witchery or something. It described the 'must have' item for the season as the curved hem cardigan. Naturally, I can no longer find this item as it was a few months ago, but I was drawn to the aesthetic.
As you can see the Julia cardigan has that curved look.  It has simple lines, with no closures (read: fast to make) and fits fantastically. If my memory serves me correctly, I think I only used the overlocker to make this, which makes it even more fun to make.
This Julia cardigan is made up of a silk/merino remnant from The Fabric Store. I think I purchased it a couple of years ago from their Melbourne store. I have also made a black double knit version, but am currently unable to locate it in my heaped laundry pile, so you'll just have to imagine this in black too :)
My only words of advice when sewing this pattern is that this pattern is a fabric eater! The body and sleeves are no problem, but the large rounded band eats fabric. There are two options for the pattern, one to run this band with a single layer of fabric and hem it, the other - which I chose - was to cut the band twice and sew them right sides together before attaching to prevent hemming and create a cleaner finish.

Unfortunately, as I was working with a scant cut - due to this being a remnant, not me being a fabric tightwad - I had to reduce the width of this band by a couple of inches. As I have also made this cardigan in black as drafted, I must add that I prefer the band on this version. It sits nicer around the neck and the cardigan is the perfect length. With my black one it is a smidge too long.
While I'm writing about finished projects - I also made myself another simple knit tank. This pattern was free cut and fits surprisingly well. In contrast to my recent tanks, I actually added bands/binding to the neck and arms with my regular machine on lightning bolt stitch and cover stitched them down. This has got to be one of my best finished knit tanks/tees to date.

More sewing news to follow tomorrow!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Butterflies Away! New Look 6145

As I mentioned in my last post, I have a significant backlog of finished garments to blog. I do feel the pressure to post my finished items here, not to keep anyone in particular happy, but so that I have a record of my sewing. To ensure I sort my backlog, I am now publicly committing to blogging once a day each day this week to catch up. Now I've said it, I will make myself do it :)

Now back to my regular programming. The week before last I headed to Spotty with a friend and purchased two pieces of stretch sateen that were not on sale. Can you imagine?? As you can now guess, I received Spotty's latest catalog today and stretch sateen will be on sale this week and there is a coupon for a further discount.  I'm not too bummed about this as I know that I have what I wanted and I've also sewn up both pieces relatively quickly into things that I love.
My butterflies sateen has been transformed into a simple, short shift dress. Perfect for wearing with tights in winter.

Once again I used New Look 6145, which I have used numerous times before to make ponte tops and knit dresses (with a few modifications). As I was using a woven this time, a first with this pattern, I went back to the original pattern and fitted throughout construction. The key modifications were deepening the back darts, shaping the back along the zipper and taking in the sides a little. I also sewed up a size 8, which is smaller than my usual Big 4 size. This is largely due to reviewing the finished garment measurements and basing my choice on those.

I really like this dress. It's not the most suitable for all teaching days - kindy might be hard - but I do plan to wear it to work tomorrow.

I have so much more to show you. I hope you have a great week!