Friday, August 26, 2016

New Trousers and the Last of my Old Style.




Hello everyone, my mojo is not quite restored yet, but I have managed to finish these pants and do a whole lot of essential tasks that have been sitting ignored for ages, you know, the sort of jobs no-one wants to do.  Things like paperwork and decluttering stuff.  Lots more to go, but sometimes it is the starting on tedium that is the hardest part.

Well, the new trousers are the last of my old Sarah Liz Sew Style.  Over the three years since I have been blogging, I have gradually re-learnt forgotten skills in making ordinary clothes.  I deliberately started on making a very casual wardrobe for two reasons.  The first was because I needed it, and the second was that it did not matter much if there were problems with the sewing or fit. And I learnt the basics of sewing with knits.  Along the way I learnt, of course, and now feel ready to take my sewing to a new level - which will of course mean more learning.

In order to start to develop a less casual for around the house type of wardrobe, I decided that I needed to update my style knowledge. So I have just undertaken another style course, which I hope will equip me to choose garments that work well for me.  I haven't really worried too much with my casual house wear, because I was at that stage worrying more about just covering my body reasonably adequately.

I followed this tradition when I made my August Make a Garment a Month garment.  I really needed some hardy casual pants for doing things around the house, running chores, shopping and so on.  And I wanted pockets in them.  I used a combination of three patterns, all by Kwik Sew in order to make a pair of straight leg elastic waist trousers with pockets in them.


Kwik Sew 2960 on the left has been used before - I use the straight leg version and eliminate the zip, add a little to the sides and then use elastic in a casing.  For the pockets, I used the curved shape of 3315, and then the pocket pouch shape from 3540.  I shaped the side front insert to match the side of the front trouser pattern (2960).  And then I went ahead and cut and stitched these trousers.
I used a 1.45 of 130 wide stretch cotton twill purchased from Spotlight.

(Kwik Sew 2960 has been made up a number of times - if you are interested, click here. )

The front has worked nicely, and you can see the pockets. Now, normally I do not wear a white t-shirt worn over a vest, tucked into pants. I have a non existent waist, and am short waisted, so this is certainly a very non flattering look.  We non waisted rectangles with tums know that we have to wear a garment that skims our mid section outside our pants.  Still, we sewing bloggers know what we must do for our art:

Here goes:


Yes, pockets!! Now, the side view:



I have lightened the side view photo so that I can show you the diagonal wrinkles that are occurring from my high hip area to under my bottom.  I am very flat here, and always get these wrinkles, even with RTW pants.  Most fit alterations seem to remove under the bottom fullness that is horizontal, not diagonal. I have done those alterations and mostly eliminated under the bottom wrinkles, but I still have this problem that I have not yet solved.  Mostly because I think I was just glad to get pants that fitted me better than RTW, which were always voluminous on my very slim hips and thighs.


I have lightened the back view as well.  This clearly shows the diagonal formation of wrinkles.  In fact, looking at my very neat derriere, it is almost a neat triangle - no cheek curves going south and filling out the trousers.  That is why the wrinkling.  Also, with no thighs to speak of, and very straight, slim, legs, I need to adjust and shorten the side leg of this type of pants. RTW look worse - I have about 5 inches of fabric flopping around my thighs, so my pants are a marked improvement.  But I could improve them more, I think.

But not now.  I urgently needed these, and in those situations, I will settle for my better than RTW fit but needs improvement when I have time.

And after all, when they are being worn, no-one except a dedicated sewer, notices these things.  And a lot of the time, when you are moving and sitting in them, none of these fitting issues will be obvious at all.

Well, that's it for the show and tell.  I still have about three winter garments unblogged, but for now, it is time to think about my new style requirements, which just happens to coincide with a new season to sew for.  I think I am feeling my mojo slowly return, even though it is still really cold here.

Bye for now,

Sarah Liz


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Misplaced Mojo - So a Remake and a Muslin.



I have been struggling with motivation in most areas of life for the last few weeks - mid winter blues, post cold or whatever the nasty thing was that went on and on for ever, followed by another that went on and on etc - or maybe it was the same one, followed by yet another cold.  So I am not surprised that I have been feeling flat.  I have not been interested in much at all, even sewing.  Of course, I do what is needed everyday, but without any sparkle.  You know, a bit like that sad glass of flat bubbly water.

When I am in the doldrums, I still sew.  I can be very slow, but honestly, it is better to do something than to sit around feeling sorry for yourself.  Mind you, I found that I made quite a lot of silly mistakes although I had made this pattern up before and and should have known what I was doing.

I used Simplicity 2599 as my base:


The neckline is raised of course, and the sleeves have been altered to a short sleeve. On this variation I shortened the sleeves again. This was because I was using a scrap of fabric I found in an Op Shop.
Just 85cms (112 wide) of poly/cotton gingham.  Lovely and soft and lightweight.  I could just squeeze the top out.  I had to cut the sleeves on the crossgrain, but you can't tell.  And I ran out of fabric for the facings, so I just used a scrap of leftovers from the last little top for the facing.

I made the button loop too big - don't ask me how, just a vagary of not feeling up to par.  I turned this into an advantage by fastening with a larger silver button - so now I have a feature button.



I managed to sew it in the wrong place the first time around (it was not a good week) and when I unpicked the stitches, managed to make a tiny hole in the facing.  I was not going to let this defeat me, so I sealed it with a bit of clear nail polish and then put a daisy on the top.  I think this is a real fun touch and it brings a smile to my face when I see it:


So much so that I had to put a little daisy on the facing of the tiny gingham check top (also Simplicity 2599):


Well, enough of the cute problem solving :).  I do like to share my mishaps with you, because I know all sewers have problems sometimes, and it is sort of nice knowing you have company.

Here are some quick views - again, photos did not co-operate again.  Oh, and reading your comments from last week, I see I am not alone in the dread of the blog photo sessions.






Now I have two wash and wear gingham tops.  Which is fine by me, because I tend to be a bit of a uniform type of dresser sometimes.  If you want to see the earlier versions of this top, you can find them by clicking here.

*****
My motivation was a little better today so I decided to make a muslin.  I usually do, although I don't always post them here.  But I thought maybe it is a good idea to actually show you what I do.  And why I do it.

I rather liked the look of   Simplicity 8053:


I rather liked the shorter looking top shown on the bottom right hand side.  This looks as though it sits at high hip level.  I saw myself in a nice, bright, cheerful little top.  I thought the v neck made a change, as does the jacket look of this blouse.  Now, I like to test any pattern quickly before I waste fabric.  So I used bits and pieces of unwanted fabric and quickly tried the pattern out.  I cut of the hem allowance, and also added the front facing to get an accurate view of what this top would look like.

Results:



I think this is not the most flattering look for me - and I haven't shown you this side view, for very good reason. Even Sarah Liz has her limits.  Some of you may think it looks okay, but to me it just sort of looks as though this is a cut off bodice, especially the front view.  Not a nice, snazzy, crop top.  It just looks wrong.

So this lot will go in the bin, where it belongs.  On the plus side, I have had the fun of making up this pattern and I know what it looks like.  I am also not about to waste a piece of fabric.  I don't even like wasting my less stellar fabric, because I find that this still makes okay house clothes and first runs of a pattern.

I will keep the pattern though, because I like the collared, long line version. Which will look better on me, and the dipped front will work better, because I have a pouter pigeon chest which lifts the fronts of all my garments.  But with the dipped hem you can't tell. Much easier having a dipped hem than fiddling with altering a pattern so the hemline is straight.

All for now, hope you all have a good week, and for those of you whose sewjo is waning, I hope it returns soon.

Sarah Liz

Saturday, August 13, 2016

A Little Work Top - Simplicity 2599 again.



 I really find it difficult to motivate myself to sew when it is close to the end of a season.  It hardly seems worthwhile sewing a garment for winter when winter is coming to an end, and the garment may not be worn until next winter (all supposing it fits).  It's hard to get motivated to sew for the next season, because again, you may not wear the garment for a few months.

So I was stuck in a demotivated sewing rut.  So I decided I better make myself sew something I might need in summer, but really didn't want to make - a fairly boring little shell top I can wear to work on very hot days.  

So I made another version of Simplicity 2599:


This little top is very simple little top, very generous over the tummy region.  I made this version in a poly-cotton gingham, purchased from Spotlight.   The gingham has very tiny checks and I can't get a good photo as the flash just washed the pattern out.  

The poly-cotton was lightweight 80 poly/20 cotton.  Not my favourite mix - I prefer at least 35% cotton.  Te higher polyester content meant that my sleeve heads did not want to ease well.  But with such a lot of polyester, the top is drip dry, no iron, so perfect for work and also travel.  Especially as it dries so quickly.

I have previously adjusted the pattern so that I have longer short sleeves, if that makes sense.  You can see that post by clicking here.

I'll quickly post my photos, which have to be some of the more poorly lit ones I have taken.  And these were the best.  I have to admit I hate taking blog photos, especially as I do not have a good light space.  The overhead lights are on, and the photos are still dark.  And this is with another bright light shining on them.  And self timing is never fun - most photos turn out to be unusable.  I took about 40 today, and these are the best handful.  And if I look fed up, it was because I was :)







Well, that's  a wardrobe need ticked off the list!  A good feeling, because I won't have to make this in the future!  It's nice to get the needed but I don't want to sew it garments ticked off the list.

Over the next few weeks I will be posting garments that have been made but not yet blogged.  And also, I will be taking part in Star Thread's  Sew for 30 2016.  The concept is simple - sew for 30 minutes a day during the month of September.  Visit Star's blog for more information, if you are interested.


Now, I attempt to sew for a few minutes every day.  Sometimes I can only manage to do something like iron on interfacing - today I cut something out.  But it is the small steps that lead to a finished garment.  I might even document my process during September, to show you how it is possible to sew a little every day, and come up with a finished garment quite quickly.

That's it for now, 

Have a happy and healthy week, wherever you are,

Sarah Liz

Saturday, August 6, 2016

A Handy Throw On Jacket - New Look 6249.



Sometimes the most unprepossessing garments turn out to be your most useful ever.  And so it was with New Look 6249.



 I really was not motivated to make an easy throw on jacket.  Boring, I said to myself.  And in polar fleece, a fabric that does not inspire me at the best of times.  And I had seen this pattern and passed it up, because I thought it was really shapeless. But then, I had a second look, and thought to myself it is sort of what I am needing for throwing on over things to pop out.  The sort of jacket you can ignore and it doesn't get upset, and is patiently  there for you when you want it. The sort that lives close by for quick outings.  That sort of jacket, not the one you  have to button carefully, arrange neatly, and take about 20 minutes organizing to make sure it looks good before you go out.

In short, the old faithful throw on utilitarian sort of garment.  The one you always wear.

Well, that is how this jacket has turned out!  From not liking it, it has been the most useful garment of the season!

Of course, when you sew polar fleece you can't press the seams open - so I tend to trim one back and fold the other over in a false flat fell seam.  This holds the seam in place and looks great on the outside, if you like the topstitched look:






With kimono sleeves, it is a little hard to open the seam across the right angle,  trim back and fold, without a snip.  I did not like the look of this, and thought it was a bit of a weak point, so I just reinforced and covered with a bit of bias binding:


The jacket does not have a closure, and I often wear it loosely and open, but I also wanted the option of closing it, so I added a snap fastener just about 3 cms above the pocket line on the front facing:


And on the outside added a decorative button which also covers the stitching holding the snap fastener:



The photographs are a little on the natural, windswept side, but that's totally what you look like on wet, windy days when you wear polar fleece jackets.  In fact, I took them last week when I was having my bad hair day...but still, it does give a very realistic impression of how I would look on a windy day!

Unfortunately, details are hard to see in black, so you will only get an impression of the jacket.

I have to admit, I do love the big roomy pockets :









 I have to admit to really liking this jacket now, so sometimes it is good to expand one's sewing horizons just a teeny bit, so long as you keep in mind what you need the garment to do. I thought the fold back cuffs would really annoy me, but so far we have remained on friendly terms.

As for cost, I paid $10.00 for the pattern, $11.86 for the polar fleece at one of Spotlight's sales, $4.95 for the button, and allow $7.00 for snap, thread and needle allowance.   $33.81.  I cut size S, and did not do a muslin - there was really nothing to fit.

Wishing you all a good weekend and of course week to follow,

Sarah Liz


Sunday, July 31, 2016

Winter Warmth



So this is a very much at home look.  A long handknit jumper over old cords and of course, for warm feet and total comfort, black fluffy slippers.  What the best dressed always wear at home.  And of course, to complete the picture of elegance, a supremely bad hair day.  This is a pretty seedy looking me, because I took the pictures while I was still recovering from the nasty virus that did the rounds a few weeks ago.  My hair was overdue for a cut, and has now been tidied up, I am pleased to say.

Anyway, enough about my sub standard appearance in this post.  Time to talk about the jumper.

I have stashed wool for some years now and have quite a few balls in various colours that are too much for oddments knitting and not enough for a whole garment.  I mean why did I have 8 balls of 8 ply navy and 6 balls of black 8 ply navy? 50 gm balls, in case you were wondering.  It needs a minimum of 10 to 11 to make an 8 ply cardigan or jumper.

So I decided I wanted to rid myself of these nuisance balls of wool and decided to make a tunic length striped jumper.

I used a TNT Patons pattern from the following book I have had for years and years:


I've never had a failure using the patterns in this book, even when I use a non Paton's yarn.

I chose a cowl neck 8 ply pattern.  I knitted the bands and cowl neckband in blue because I had more blue.  The body was striped - 4 rows black, 4 rows blue.

And the stripes went on and on and on and on and on and on and it took ages and ages to complete this jumper.  And then there was the sewing up and all the ends to deal with.

But I finished in the end!   I did run out of wool when I was knitting the cowl, so made it shorter than it was in the pattern. But it is still quite enough, and I think any more in this wool - which was sort of quite weighty, if you know what I mean - would have been too heavy to wear.



So here we are, a further look at my at home, no visitors please look:







Warm, at home, snuggly and cosy - what more could you want on a cold winter's day!

All for now, see you next week with a garment that I did not want to make and having made have worn all the time!

Sarah Liz

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Top That Nearly Never Happened...Simplicity 2599




The trials and tribulations of a sewing blogger have continued this week in that I found another piece of fabric with flaws in it.  So, although we are nowhere near summer down in Oz, I decided that this piece of stash annoyed me and I wanted to use it straight away because otherwise it was going to niggle at me, you know, what are you going to do with me, I'm flawed, sort of niggle.  The sort of niggle that distracts you and keeps you awake at night.  No, that niggle had to be dealt with...

The fabric is rayon, and the first thing I noticed when I pre washed it was a strange streakiness in the dye.  I decided that if this was going to be the case and I was going to get a sort of washed dye look, that I would prefer the streaks to go up and down, so I decided it was best to cut  the fabric on the crossgrain. This also helped me avoid obvious flaws running about two inches in from each selvedge.
 with these limitations, I chose a simple top - which also happened to be one I have long wanted to make. It's been in my stash now for quite a while.  Enter Simplicity 2599:


This is a simple top with bust darts at the front, and just a plain back seam, no darts.  The CB of the neckline closes with a button.  Very simple.  I wanted a plain, simple, loose fitting shell, and this was it.

I didn't want cap sleeves though so I altered the sleeve to a short one.  I kept it quite full so that the sleeves are cool to wear on a hot, humid day.  Not that we will have those for some months yet...

I cut size 12 through the bodice and 8 shoulders and armhole, grading the armhole curve out to 12 closer to the bodice. I raised the neckline about a cm and used a 1 cm seam allowance - meaning that in total, the neckline is now about 1.5 cms higher than the pattern neckline.  I took off about 3 cms at the hem as the top was just a little long for me.  The darts were too low for my bust apex, and too far from the apex, so I raised the apex and also added some length to the dart.

It was a straightforward sew I suppose, except I was in the early part of a rheumatoid flare, so sewing was really difficult to do.  But so is anything  and you have got to do something with the day.  I just decided to not go for perfection and some of my seams are a little bit wobblier than normal.  But I persevered and won.

I did find that the button loop was a bit long and had to use a much larger button than that suggested on the pattern.  No matter, a quick raid of the stash found a suitable one:


I quite like the larger button, sort of makes a nice feature.  But if I want a smaller button I would shorten the loop.

After I finished the top, I rinsed it out and ironed it. And then I found it.  Another flaw.  I thought maybe I had abraded the fabric accidentally, but it had been nowhere near the feed dog.  So I think, as it was only obvious after washing again, that it was in the fabric all along - I must have got the dud piece, I think.

My first reaction was to toss the thing, but after a bit of calm reflection, decided that was a daft thing to do, as I had spent a lot of sore joint sewing time on this top.  So I rummaged through the stash and found a bit of nylon lace:


And stitched it over the flaw.  The flaw itself was sealed with some clear nail polish:


And that solved that problem!  DH said he thought it suited the top.  He knows the right things to say! He's probably learnt from saying the wrong things...

Of course, photo day was a bad hair day - it was pouring with rain outside, so all my hair wanted to do was misbehave :)







Well, it's cool, unstructured, roomy, and hides the tummy - what more could you want - oh yes, pockets in the pants:


And you get those, too, when you sew your own clothes.  Pants are cotton lawn, made by me, Vogue 9067.  These are the wide leg pants in this pattern - Posts featuring Vogue 9067 pants can be found here.

So, slowly I am building a cool, functional, comfortable and slightly chic summer wardrobe.  It's taken years!

Bye til later,

Sarah Liz