Sewing and Style

A blog for anyone interested in sewing their own clothes and creating a sense of personal style...

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Very Wearable Muslin Top - Burda 7079.


 Yesterday I had a sewing afternoon after a week of not feeling well - the usual winter sinus/ear syndrome arrived.  This top was a quick and easy sew and did not need fitting at all, so it was just an easy sewing job - just what I needed :).

I used Burda 7079 and adapted the pattern - I used the bodice hemline from view and the sleeves from view B. View B is a dress, but I preferred the adaptability of a top that can be worn with a variety of other clothes (increasingly me-mades).

I used a piece of black calico that was hiding in my stash.  I like black calico for trial run garments - black always looks smart, and no-one can really tell what the fabric is.  This was a nice soft calico, perfect for this sort of top.

This top has no fasteners of any kind - just the front and back pieces with facings for the neck area. The slit is easy to sew - I use embroidery scissors for clipping into the corners. The front is shaped by bust darts, and the back has a centre seam that is shaped. The sleeves are sewn in flat, and the side seams and sleeved seams sewn in one.    Finish seams and hem edges, hem sleeves and bottom edge, and you are done!  New top in a very short space of time.  The only alteration I made was in shortening the front slit about half an inch.

The top is a very generous size - I made size 38, and the finished bust measurements are 41 3/4 inches (108 cms). The only alteration I made was to shorten the bodice about half an inch (1 cm) along the L/S line.   I like the generous ease  - this will be cool to wear in summer.  And in black, it doesn't look too voluminous - if I made it in white, I would go down a size.

Enough sewing chit-chat, now for the pictures:

As you can see in the photo above,  the top, although generous, is still quite flattering, especially on my shape.

A view of the sleeves - although long, I find the length quite attractive in this top.  I think in some shirts, it would be a downright dowdy length.

The top is nice and generous around the mid section - nothing to cling to the tummy area at all :)

 And the back looks nice as well!

I'm wearing the top with another me made garment, a stretch cotton twill straight skirt.  It really needs a petticoat underneath for wearing out of the house, and I usually put one on then - I have neat little petticoats that sit nicely with back splits. But today, for the photo, I forgot!

Tomorrow it is back to writing my assignment again - this one is not bad.  I might even manage to make another one of these tops next week, a little bit each day.  It's so easy to make, and will be the sort of thing you can do a little bit of sewing on when you want a few minutes break.  That's the right sort of sewing to have on hand when you have more pressing demands.

Sarah Liz

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Skirt and an Essay Completed.

 I finally managed to do an hour or so of sewing - a quick and simple elastic waist skirt for wearing when I study.  I like to have something on hand that I don't  have to think about, so I can concentrate on what needs doing.  Doing assignments can be tedious, and I find the best way to tackle them is to just get up and get on with it, and I don't need any excuse to procrastinate.

This is what the last few weeks have been like:

Fun.  By Thursday last week, I was really tired and fed up, so decided a break would do me good.  so I ran up this little skirt.  Just as well, because on Thursday night I think we all found out we had not quite done what we should in the essay, and I spent the weekend working on it.  Anyway, it's finished now :) :) :)

Tomorrow I start the next one!

Anyway, back to the skirt. I used Kwik Sew 3765:

I've made this skirt before in stretch fabrics:


The slightly under-dressed look ( I wouldn't normally wear a singlet top)  is just to show you the skirt and how it fits :)

Because the skirt was a stretch woven I cut an XS.

This skirt though, is made in a woven fabric so needs a bit more ease . So I cut S. 

A very unglamorous shot, but I   wanted to show you the top of the skirt.

Most elastic waist skirts are rectangles sewn together at the sides, and then elastic put in at the top.  This skirt is tapered in a bit going into the waist.  When cutting measure, and if it fits your hips, then it will work.  If you have large hips, you might need to add more at the waist.

With less fabric at the waist than most elastic waist skirts, the look is not quite so bulky.

I used to be a real sewing snob, and would never sew elastic waist anything. But elastic waist garments do have a place - sewing basics like this becomes quick and simple.  And very easy to put on, as well .

Now the usual front, back and side views:

I also want to show you the little split at the back.  I always finish the split so it can't split more through the stitching or fabric. Sometimes I put a hook and eye on the back, but often I use buttons - one to anchor the split, and sometimes some decorative ones as well.  That's what I did with this skirt:

As you can see, that split is not going to tear - always the weak point in garments like this, especially if you tend to stride, like I do:)

That's it for today, not sure when I will be able to catch up with you all again - after I have done the next assignment, I think, not before :)

Sarah Liz

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Sunday Sewing News

Hello everyone,

Thank you for your wonderful comments about my frustrations with recent sewing endeavours.  I put it down to energy  being used for challenges elsewhere.  Demanding life changes always catch you out for a while.  However, I am slowly easing back into a routine where both study and sewing can co-exist.  Maybe not always peacefully, but none-the-less.

So, energy this week went into more of doing the essay and working out my summer sewing direction.  I have done a wardrobe audit, and need tops to go with all the casual bottoms I made last year.

So, it was into the stash (and I also added to the stash during the Spotlight sale - but with a purpose and plan, not just stashing because something appealed to me):

I need a pair of trousers for work - I have some fabric in the stash that will do.  I have two shirts that need the sleeves shortened and that will get me out of the crisis for summer necessaries at the office.  It won't be a perfect solution, but a start.

And I need a house skirt to go with lots of black t-shirts that are past their best prime and are now house prime. Something to quickly throw on and then to the computer and study.  Simple and straightforward little study uniform.  I thought this fabric would do.

I also think a little fashion outfit won't go astray - it's a bit of a thing to mix prints, so I thought a gingham skirt and a floral top:

Both of these garments will go with lots of other garments as well - I do try to make multi use garments.

I also am considering this high fashion dress, which is again, really a nice summer basic - loose and comfortable.   With Vogue Patterns at $5.00 this week at Spotlight (sale ends today), and some cotton in the stash, I think a nice little summer dress will be made.  And, no fitting needed :)

Vogue 1400 by Guy Larouche

Sewing activities have started again.  I did trace off the patterns I will be making up over the next few weeks (more likely months):

I always trace patterns - it's tedious and hard work, but I can cut and alter tracings and still have the master pattern should I make a mistake or need a different size.

And, I altered a skirt.  I made a little cotton drill skirt out of a piece of leftover fabric last year - it had a small kick pleat, but it was too skimpy and did not sit well.  Now, I hate alterations, but I knew that I would never wear a skirt that had a skimpy kick pleat that did not sit well. Some sewing imperfections I can live with, and some I can't.  And this was in the can't live with category.

So, I undid the kick pleat and made a split instead. The split was going to end up far too high up the back of my leg, and I prefer a modest look!!!  So I stitched the seam down a little further. This left me with the remains of the kick pleat.  I could trim that, but then there was a messy over-locking job to be done - sort of half way down the seam and over the last bit of over-locking. That is also a sewing imperfection I don't like.  So I stitched the split facing up to the original opening point. Which then had to be made to look as though it was meant to be.  I added buttons:


I now have a nice casual skirt for the house. And the hem is even, I just laid the back a bit lower so you could see the edge of the split.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

We all have these weeks...

We all have those weeks where nothing quite goes right, and not much sewing gets done either.  I've just had one of those. And another one of those days.  Capped off with now the internet is as slow as paint drying.  Frustrating!

Enough grumbles.  On the plus side this week, I got the dreaded BAS out of the way ( a quarterly impost from the Tax Office, AND,  I actually got a slab of my first assignment done.  I find it very tedious - the subject matter was as boring as.  So I fidgeted and fidgeted but still I persevered, and now I can see it will happen.

So, I didn't do much sewing.  I did run up a calico, then decided I didn't like it:

It's a Katherine Tilton Jacket, Butterick  5891.  Here is the line drawing.

Line Drawing 
I thought the long sleeve jacket looked quite interesting, but the calico makes me think twice.  I hated it when I first tried it on, but the more I look at it, the more I wonder if it does have some sort of potential.  I'll keep looking... The short sleeve blouse is certainly not me though. 

After chunks of essay, I allowed myself a walk - well, wouldn't you know, Spotlight has a pattern sale at the moment, all $5.00.  Who could resist dreaming of what could be after a few days of reading and writing about how to choose good evidence from treatment trials and what levels of evidence are the best levels of evidence.

And some of my fidgets were quite useful - I pre-shrunk pieces of fabric:

Only to find that the striped pieces didn't take kindly to the treatment.   Although the colour seemed fast in the water, as not much colour came out, the fabric today told a different story.  The colours have run.  I'm very disappointed.  The spots performed beautifully though.  You win some and you lose some.

Today seemed to be the lose some.  I decided to cut out a simple top out of material already washed in hot water.  After I cut the top out, I had one of those strange flashes - what if this will shrink. Strange thought, seeing I had already treated it. So I cut a square out, measured it, dunked it in very hot water for ten minutes, and measure again.  It had shrunk considerably. Another disappointment.  You win some and you lose some.
 Still looking on the bright side, if I had made it and it shrunk, I would have been even more disappointed.

 I decided to quit while I was ahead, and console myself with cataloging uncatalogued stash:

Which made me feel a little better.  The false illusion of control, but so what :)

During the week as one of my occupational health and safety computer breaks (a.k.a. as the fidgets, mentioned above) I also started assessing my wardrobe and it is time for some RTW to go:

Trousers that never did fit me huge on the hips, tight in the middle and cut right through the crotch.  I'd rather be comfortable in my still not quite perfectly fitted me mades. They  look better and fit better. Also  a shirt worthy of the office junior in horrid cheap fabric, and a black shirt bought in haste in my usual size from Rivers that didn't fit.  Time to go.  There will be more...

I also found a few garments that I don't wear because they need alterations.  They are now out on my sewing rack, and they won't go back into the wardrobe until they are fixed:

All simple things, like shirts I like but instead of long sleeves they need short sleeves, a good wool  skirt that is too short but would be worn if it was a tiny bit longer.  For those formal occasions.

On the plus side, I have managed to do some knitting.  The back of my cotton/acrylic cardigan is now complete. 
So that was my sewing week!  Next week I hope to post a garment - I have found a something in the wardrobe I haven''t worn on the blog, so I can do that.  What sewing I will manage I am not sure - but I think this was just one of those off weeks we all have from time to time.

Do you have off sewing weeks too?

Bye for now,

Sarah Liz

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Test Garment, Marcy Tilton Jacket V8982.

Here it is - my first version of Marcy Tilton's unlined jacket - Vogue pattern 8982.  I say first, because I love this little jacket and there will be more...

This is the one of the variations of the jacket shown on the pattern envelope,  for those of you unfamiliar with this pattern:

And the line drawings:

As you can see from the picture on the model, this jacket is extremely wide over the shoulders. While the jacket looks fitted, when I read the measurements on the pattern pieces, I knew it was not this fitted - size 8 had a finished bust of 39.5 inches.    Now, if I make a size 12 jacket, that usually finishes around 39 inches, which gives quite a few inches ease for wearing garments underneath.  So, I decided that size 8 would probably be about the right size for a loose jacket.  I wanted a combination of View B jacket  and View D sleeves

First I made a quick muslin to check the size:

I decided that this was about right - it is a loose, unlined jacket, after all.  The shoulders fell off me, so I removed half an inch.  I had already removed two inches from the sleeve length prior to cutting this muslin - the hem allowance is still on - that is one inch.  I decided the garment looked good at this length, so I added a hem allowance in addition to the one on the pattern.

Then I made the jacket up out of a poly-viscose fabric I have had in the stash for 20 years or more.  I'm not sure where it came from, because I don't like it, and doubt I ever did.  I think I inherited it from somewhere.  Anyway, I thought this would be a great use of the fabric to further test this pattern.  Sometimes it is a good idea to fully test how the garment in made before investing in a "good" version.

The pattern was easy enough to make up.  I did find it strange that the front band facing was not interfaced, as I thought it would flop around without interfacing - and how can you make satisfactory buttonholes without interfacing behind them?  So I fused an interfacing onto the front facings for the bands and front.

Without more ado, here are the pictures, front, back and nearly sideways:

Looking like a little toy soldier here!

Given this is unfitted, the back fits quite well!

Again, given this is unfitted, quite a nice fit.
Overall, I am very happy with this jacket, and plan to make it again.  The shoulders are still a little large, and I will move them in a bit more on another version.  Luckily, I have some wool in my stash that is about the same weight as the fabric in this jacket which would look lovely made up. 

I also think this would look lovely as a blouse - in fact, I think I will make another and move those shoulders in a bit before making the wool jacket.  That way it can be a second test garment before the good one.

One or two more shots, just for fun:

I love these little flared corners!

And the overall hang of this little jacket.
I'm glad I made this jacket as my July challenge "sew your wish" for the Make a Garment a Month Challenge.  It is a long time since I have made a jacket of any sort, and I have always wanted a little Marcy Tilton garment.

Bye for now,

Sarah Liz

P.S.  I've also made a pledge to cost all my garments.  So here goes

Pattern - I usually buy Vogue at half price, occasionally less.  So I will allow AU $15.00.  Fabric was from stash, if I had to replace say AU $12.00 per metre - I used 1.75.  Thread was purchased, AU $2.99.  Plus serger thread, allow AU $1.00.  Interfacing, I use a good interfacing - say AU $2.50.  And buttons from stash, to replace, AU $2.99.  Plus needle and calico allowance, $2.00, and tracing paper/pen allowance $1.00

TOTAL:  $48.48 - which is not bad for a very wearable designer jacket.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Back and Sewing

Hello everyone

I've been back from Residential School for a few days.  It was quite a long session - 7 full days of lectures, plus 2 days to travel to the University.   Very intense, as there was a lot of new material to learn.  I was so tired that I couldn't do much for a few days - except of course the chores.  And we were told by our lecturer to enjoy the weekend as we had been so busy.  so I started making my Marcy Tilton jacket, which is also my garment of the month for the make a garment a month challenge.

I am making the long sleeve version.  Progress was slow over the weekend due to my tiredness, but it is slowly coming together.  I was at work yesterday, and studying today - so I am now sewing  a bit each day - yesterday I made up the sleeves, tonight I will set them in, then the next stage buttonholes, and buttons and finishing.  I hope to be able to show you the completed garment on the weekend.  It does look good...

I've already enjoyed catching up with your blogs, so now I am off to set in those sleeves...

Bye for now

Sarah Liz

Saturday, July 5, 2014

My News and New Sewing Plans...

Hello everyone,

I'm away at the moment, and have scheduled this post.  I've taken my tablet (gift from DH so I could keep in touch with you all), so hope to be able to keep up with your blogs in the evening.

I need to tell you my news - you might remember a few months ago my husband had to move his practice - I keep things in order there now.  It was a rather tedious and busy time.  I had also been accepted into an Honours course (Psychology) but quickly found I could not make the deadlines with all the stresses and time issues with the practice, so I had to remove myself from the course. As you know, I did not enjoy that decision. That, I thought, was that.


I've got things more under control now - and the big scanning project is going to be broken down into small chunks and tackled over the next two summers.  It can't run my life.



Prior to accepting this place, I had also been offered a place in a fourth year graduate program in Psychology at another institution.  I had enrolled, so I withdrew my courses after acceptance into the Honours program.  As you have to at least do a semester in a new course, and can't defer, or take leave of absence, I thought to myself, well, that is that.  I did not cancel my enrolment, because I thought the withdrawal before starting would take care of that.

Imagine my surprise, when I got a phone call a few weeks ago from this institution - asking me what was going on, as they had noted my withdrawal.   I told them that I had enrolled, but that I was busy with what was happening with the practice, so I withdrew. The lady said, "you couldn't have done anything then, so we will put you on leave of absence"".   I said "but you can't do that, I haven't done a unit with you yet".  She said, " under the circumstances, we will"!!  Of course, the conversation had more ins and outs than that, but that was the gist of it.

How's that for Good Karma??

Mind you with the topsy turvy year I have had, I'm wondering if I am slightly mad to consider this at all !!

So, I am starting in Semester 2.  Residential School is on at the moment, so I am on the campus for a few days - in a NSW regional centre,  where it is 1 degree C at night and about 10-12 degrees C during the day.  Not my favourite temperature - I don't like the cold.  We have 7 full days of lectures which should be quite intense and tiring, so maybe that will take my mind off the cold :)

 Then fly back home, and catch up with the bookkeeping for the next BAS.

Then start studying in earnest.

So, sewing will be for stress relief, half an hour daily when I get back.  It's amazing what you can do in that time. Study first, then stress relief sewing reward. I think that should work. 

I'll give study my best shot, but if I really can't manage it nowadays, I can then graciously decide what to do for myself, instead of allowing circumstances to dictate.

And with the practice, so long as I keep up, and only have a small backlog in summer, then I will manage that - and during summer break, can start that horrible scanning project.  A good student job!

I do like sewing plans though - I find it is better to have things to look forward to sewing, even if you don't get around to them.  Otherwise I find that if I am busy, I tend to not be able to make anything, because I don't know what to make next!  And I have made all the basics I need to make now.

So, on the list:

A Marcy Tilton Jacket.  I have cut the muslin out so I have something to work on when I get back.

A simple little t-shirt using this polka dot knit - I have traced the pattern and will make a muslin first - it's straight up and down, and it may be better slightly shaped.  I love the knit, so I want to make sure the pattern is a flattering shape.

All supposing the pattern is flattering, I also want to make it in this wide stripe knit.  I have two pieces, on black and white stripe, one navy and white stripe.  I want to make it up this season, while wide stripes are in fashion.

I also want to make a woven t shirt type top.  This one by Burda might work.  It's rather roomy, but again, that look is in at the moment.  I happen to have a bit of black calico in the stash that I want out of the stash, so I will use that.

So, that is the sewing organised so that I have something enjoyable to do everyday.

Take care everyone, wherever you are.

Sarah Liz