Friday, November 20, 2015

A Preview of my next few posts...

I am taking a mini blog break at the moment, because I need to recharge my blogging batteries.  I have done that by doing quite a bit of sewing, and will be back next week with the first of my makes.  Over the next few weeks I will show and tell about all of them.  In the meantime, a sneak peak at what I have made: 

 A Big White Shirt:


Casual White Pants (McCalls 6568):

M6568, Misses'/Miss Petite Shorts and Pants

A Shirtdress, pattern now OOP:

B5897, Misses'/Women's Top, Dress, Belt, Shorts, Pants and Slip

Another Shirtdress, and this pattern also OOP:

 V8797, Misses' Top, Dress and Pants

A Little Top for Hot Days (we've just had a 40 degree day today):

 New Look Misses' Tops in Two Lengths 6344

 And a little lightweight skirt for hot days, View B:

Burda Skirts 6937

All have turned out quite nicely, and I'm off to start something else now.  I'll show you the first of these garments next week.

Have a great sewing weekend everyone,

Sarah Liz

Sunday, November 8, 2015

No Bubbles but Bubbly Pants at least...

 After a week of  making various pants muslins that told me all I needed to know, not know, and often did not wish to know, resulted in my sparkle defizzing.   The inner champagne is flat, devoid of bubbles.  So I made myself some pants with bubbles in them to buoy me up.

(In  a nutshell, the pants muslins told me that all the ways suggested to fit do not really work for me.  Choose your hip size - well, that is 4 sizes smaller than my waist, which leads to a lot of distortion in style lines - and the legs are still really baggy. Take in the legs, narrow into a small crotch, and then up over a tummy curve and you do not have a good look.  Disheartening, and opens up my old teenage figure wounds, of wanting curves - you know, defined waist, bust and hips, nice shaped thighs etc.   Never happened.    Still have my straight shape with tum and narrow hips and thin limbs. And, to rub salt into the wound, recently I have lost a kilo.  Been trying to put it back on, but it is stubbornly staying away at the moment).

So, to cheer myself up, I raided the stash and made some baggy pants yesterday.  Thoroughly fed up, I decided not to make a muslin - I mean, these looked like roomy pants,with an attached elastic casing.  So really, I thought, nothing much to fit.  And there wasn't, except these are the first pants I have come across with a very low slung crotch.  Just like trousers used to be years ago, with crotches down to the knees, big and baggy.  So in future I shall check the crotch depth.  The pocket bags are huge as well.  But at least they are comfortable, and they are hardly anything more than happy pants for weekend relaxing.

The pattern is Butterick 6137:

Yes, big, baggy, unfitted pants.  As you can see, the waistband is quite high, or the crotch length deep, whichever way you want to put it.  I made View D.

I cut size 8 with extra at the waist (size 10).  I made sure that the pants would slide over my hips, which they do easily.  I used slightly narrower elastic of 1/1/4 inch instead of 1/1/2 inch as the pattern suggests, as that is all I had.  And I think that is quite wide enough for me.  I made the waistband a little narrower to fit this elastic.

The fabric is a cheap craft cotton from Spotlight, purchased at the beginning of the year on sale.  It sort of had a bounce to it, and my overlocker didn't like it at all.  My big machine didn't like it much either, but we all managed.

I finished the casing by sewing the casing so I could topstitch on the front of the garment.  The pattern suggests a line of stitching at the top of the band, which I did.  Again, I remember doing these sorts of bands years ago:

I also turned in the hem by 1/4inch on the trouser hem, instead of overlocking.  It looks neat, and in a cotton, does not add bulk:

So, lets have a look at the finished garment (photographed in the evening again, and I am rather tired and grumpy ... and I think I should have combed my hair first...definitely debubbled...)

Front - see what I mean about the low crotch?  Baggy pants are supposed to have lower crotches, but it does feel a bit low on me.  I'll raise it next time, or shorten the rise, if I make these again.

Back view - I pulled these up for this photo.  Things always slide down on me.  Again, you can see a bit of bagginess from the deep crotch.

And side view.  And a half side view, with pockets:

I have to admit, the finished pants look remarkably like the picture published by Butterick, that I showed you at the beginning of this post.

The trousers are finished at the length suggested by the pattern.  Quite short, and I am not tall.  So if you want longer trousers than this, or are taller than me (I'm 160 cm approx - about 5'4" if I try and stretch myself tall.

I actually am getting around to quite liking these pants, for weekend wear.  I am wearing them with a top I made, Burda 7079. You can find my posts about this top here.

Well, I am going off now to re-carbonate by making a shirt.  I haven't made one for a while, so I am out of practice.  So I'll raid the stash for a fabric that can be sacrificed because my technique is going to be a little rusty.

And I need a break from pants...

Take care everyone, wherever you are..

Sarah Liz :)

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Summer Sewing is About to Start...

There is something about a new sewing season that is always exciting - so many things to make, so many ideas, so many choices.  Sometimes I get overwhelmed by the sheer number of possibilities.

As  you know, I often sew  useful wardrobe workhorses- very serviceable basics.  Because that suits my current lifestyle, even though I sometimes wish it were otherwise, and also because I live in a very casual sort of town - which sort of intersects with my current lifestyle and why it is not quite what I would wish here.  One day though, I will move back to Adelaide.

I also want to sew some more interesting garments,  a few things to pep up the basics.

And then I think about sewing it all - and think about tracing all the patterns, which I always do - it means you have the master pattern if things go wrong, or you traced the wrong size and need the next one up - if you did this straight from the pattern, you would not be able to recut.  So I trace my patterns.  This is also a good time to think about how you would sew the garment.  A bit of thought at the beginning can save a few unpickings further down the sewing track

Now that is the step I hate. That and pre-washing fabric.  The bit I like is the sewing and watching the garment evolve.  But tracing patterns also helps the sewing process because it is a good time to look closely at the pattern and think about  how you would sew the garment.  A bit of thought at the beginning can save a few unpickings further down the sewing track

And over the next few weeks I have quite a busy time with work and things that need doing around the house.  And will  have limited time for sewing but will want maximum results.

So as DH was working yesterday and this morning, I decided to get a bunch of patterns traced.  A marathon session, and here they all are, each pattern and it's tracing in a separate bag:

A box pleated skirt, should be fun to make and wear.

Below knee culottes/shorts - can't wait to make these.

I need a throw on simple jacket.  Not sure what colour.

A happy mid summer dress.

A big white shirt. Just because I want to make one.

A Lisette princess line top.

Maybe these pants will look okay.

I like this jacket too - in something soft and drapey?

A classic shirt - love the black and white

This will keep me busy for the next few months.  I also want to make some casual pants, and a couple of skirts and tops.  So I guess I will trace these this afternoon:

 Then I can settle down and sew while doing the other  things in life that really are demanding my

Do you make plans as well, or do you just sew whatever you want to make as the idea arises? And how do you fit in sewing with other life demands?

Sarah Liz

Saturday, October 24, 2015

A Quick ReFashion - His to Hers

Over the last couple of weeks I have been wishing I had a pair of knit trousers to wear in the evenings - just warm enough to keep the cool of the evening manageable, but not too hot, as the humidity levels are already rising on the mid-east coast of N.S.W.

(Before I continue the post, I just want to mention the lighting problem for photographs as the moment - I am not sure why, but our latest bulbs seem to cast a death like grey  pallor on the skin (or maybe I look like as bad as this and never noticed!)  and also creates shadows.  I'm taking these in the evening,as I often have to do,  so they have to be on.  I don't have a nice light room to take photographs in during the day, and outside is often not viable here as the weather is often wet at this time of year.  Sigh, a problem to work on... ).

Back to the post...

I had absolutely no inclination to make them, as the ideal fabric was currently in the form of PJ pants in the softest, nicest, lighter weight cotton knit I have ever felt.  They had been worn once, so I snaffled them and put them in my stash.  But the problem was I hate doing refashions of any sort.  Too many constraints and often unpicking to do before you can even cut out:


Now, the constraints - if you look closely at the photograph above, you will see that the inside leg is twisting to the front - so this means these pants have not been cut on the grain.

The other constraint was that these were one seam pants - no side seams.  So I could only make a one seam pant.  I chose McCalls 6173:

I have made this pattern up a number of times as a slim leg pant, and not a legging.  I have never really bothered fitting it properly, as the garments made were always urgently needed.  And they were always PJ pants or track pants.  (For those of you who are interested in my earlier versions, all posts can be found here:Leggings as slim pants.  )

And I did the same thing this time.  These are urgent need pants, so I just got on and made them.    I have already traced and modified the pattern piece.  I used size M and added more to the rise.  Not sure how much, because that is not noted on my tracing.

I took the pants apart and also removed the elastic in the waistband for re-using - it was a nice width and not easy to buy.  Tedious as there was a lot of unpicking involved in that.  I located the grainline down the cut open legs of the trousers and marked that with chalk.  With knits, you can find the grainline by following a line of rib.  Not easy with a fine knit like this - I  had magnifying glasses on to do this job.

Then I laid my pattern pieces out - and found I had to undo the hems of the original legs.  Have you ever undone cover stitching???  Even more tedious than removing the elastic.

Then I made the pants.  That was the easy part.   And this is the result:

(I'm wearing the pants with a t-shirt I made a couple of years ago - a modified version of New Look 6216. Original post here.  It's become old enough to be a cosy lounge wear partner for these pants).

As we all like to see how things fit, I'll do the only between sewers photographs next.

 I seem to have the rise about right on these pants now - the 1 1/4 inch elastic is perfect.  I did not do an under bottom adjustment but I can see that I should do this.  Also, I could take out some fullness in the inner, upper leg.  Otherwise I like these - for what they are.

I  can see these  being modified into a pair of jogger look pants...on the list of ever growing plans.

But for now, back on with my cover-up top, which I am afraid is a RTW.  I found it recently for a few dollars.  Not entirely my style, but fun for warmer evenings.  And when I get tired of it, plenty of fabric to make a new style of top.

Bye for now,

Sarah Liz :)

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Some weeks it's more about the Stashing than the Sewing.

I had every intention of having a productive sewing Sunday last week, but my plans changed when I nipped into Spotlight to get a pair of knitting needles and found they had a AU$2.00 per metre sale.  I'm not sure if this was just in my local store, because sometimes they seem to do their own thing, or whether this was across all Spotlight stores.  So I stashed up - nice Japanese lawns that are normally $16.99 per metre - and therefore not really my price range for house clothes, and all sorts of other yummy bits and pieces.  And you will notice I bought patterns - and patterned fabrics are a bit missing in my stash, because again, by the time I get around to making a garment, I tend to have gone off the pattern, or the pattern has dated or something. But at $2.00 per metre it really doesn't matter - they can even become test garments without the need for exhaustive muslin making before hand.

Spotlight also had a Spot Sale this weekend, so after I did the quarterly tax paperwork for the practice, I decided that I could reward myself again :) especially as I hate doing tax paperwork, or any paperwork for that matter - and I seem to have quite  a bit to do nowadays with managing things.  So off to Spotlight again
where I found some PolyCotton Sweatshirt Fleece marked down to $4.50 per metre along with a nice piece of cotton/linen indigo tie dye sort of print $8.99 down from $19.99 - to be made up soon as it will go with my boring basics nicely and give them a bit of a lift, some lighter weight cotton stretch denim for $6.10 per metre ( I snaffled quite a bit of this because it is about 4 years since Spotlight last had this in my store), and a bit of lawn, and a nice floral Japanese-ey looking  cotton print which again was about $8.00 per metre down from $19.99 per metre.  I've been eyeing that for ages because I have a dress that I wanted a sort of Japanese-ey fabric for - but most are not in colours that suit me.  Blues and pinks do.

So I was happy with that haul...on to the next...

But, that's not all - last weekend The Remnant Warehouse was having a 25% off sale to mark their 10th year of business. So I purchased a few classics:

Because classics never date and go with everything.  Shirting, jacket fabric, knits - all sorts of useful basics.

And to finish my classic collection, again, from Spotlight, a piece of  denim look Tencel (a cellulose fibre, for those of you who are wondering), which is normally out of my price range at $24.99 per metre, but today $14.99.  I have a perfect pattern for this, but needed the fabric to be the right price.  And some nice soft Prima homespun quilting cotton, which I use for tops and shirts as it is nice and soft but is quite expensive normally, at $19.99 per metre (240 wide).  40% off brings it to the right price for me -so I've been waiting to stock up on this.  And it is also ivory, which suits me more than white:

 While I stash a lot of fabric, I always attempt to get it on sale.  I find stashing is important nowadays, because in Australia it is not always easy to find what you want when you want it.  I prefer to  have a large stash, and I keep it topped up.  I prefer not to shop online overseas, because postage - especially from the U.S - is very expensive.  And our dollar is dropping, and is likely to continue doing so. And so a stash properly purchased, with the right timing, can be quite a hedge against currency moves.  Don't you love my economic rationalism :).  Anything to justify the stashing...

And I do use it, continuing my rationalisation...this year I have made up about 41 metres, and wadded about 5.  I don't buy clothes as nothing fits, and if often in styles and fabrics I do not like.  So a stash is essential.  As are patterns, so that eventually you  have the right fabrics for the right patterns.  Simple...

Ah well, I better get back to some sewing this week and make inroads into the various piles.  I actually prefer the activity of sewing to that of stashing - shopping for stash is exhausting as you have to think about what you use, what patterns you have, what plans you have, what clothes you need, and actually navigate through Spotlight (not easy in the Newcastle store).  And shopping is always exhausting.  Sewing, on the other hand, is relaxing and helps me to feel grounded and happy.

What about you - do you like to have a decent stash on hand to shop from?  And is it also because you find it difficult to find fabrics when you want them?  I think this is probably the case globally now, for most sewers.

Sarah Liz.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

I finally got something made :)

I am not quite sure how I did it, but I managed to sit down and sew again this week.  I chose a simple pattern that has been on my list for some time.  Butterick 5044.

Line Drawing

You can't really see clearly from the image, but these pants have no side seams.  Front and back leg are cut in one piece.  And the waistband is cut on - you just fold it over and insert the elastic.   Which makes for quick and easy sewing for when you are a bit out of practice - and it doesn't take me long to get out of practice.

I was highly sceptical that these pants would actually work and look good, although it has had good reviews.  But look - they do work....

These are fantastic, fun, casual pants.  I cut size small, length D (cropped)  and did not make any alterations to the main pattern piece-everything was fine, including the rise and shape of the crotch.  The pants sit at the waist as my following picture shows:

I used a cheap calico from Spotlight, as these pants are just for getting back into sewing and intended to be worn as house pants.    I like them though, and can see variations in nice fabric for wearing out and about.    And I don't mind calico for white garments that are trials - poor man's linen, is what I happily say to myself :)

I did use the patch part of the pocket on view C - but moved the patch up to hip level instead of lower down the leg - which I would find irritating, because you would have to bend to the side every time you wanted to put or pull out a tissue from the pocket - which for me, is hundreds of times a day as I have hay fever/allergic rhinitis.  And, they are situated over the side of the pants, half to the front and half to the back, which I love.

I finished the casing by turning it under - I am a bit fussy with how I finish seams with white garments, as everything shows.  

(I use a bit of ribbon to mark the back - this is a nice bit salvaged from a Tessuti fabric parcel.  Just right for jobs like this :).  My overlocking is a bit woeful though - the eye/hand/machine co-ordination is not quite back yet.  Still, that's inside and no worse than some RTW.  And I got practice, which I need at the moment.

And the hems were just overlocked and turned up:

Now of course I am not going to wear these with a  black t-shirt tucked in - I always wear shirts outside, as I don't have one of those nipped in waists, and I am short-waisted to boot.  So, this is more what they will look like on me:

Aren't they nice?  I can see many more of these in my future, whenever I want a quick, easy, casual pant.

That's it for now, off to get some more practice....

Sarah Liz