Thursday, March 26, 2015

Back to school (for me)!

Hi Everyone!

 You may have wondered what has happened to this blog as the posts have dropped off in the last few months.
Well its all for a good reason- I've gone back to uni!
Say hello to a newly minted part-time online Primary Education student (in quite a few years I will hopefully graduate to be a Primary Teacher) :)

 With all the paperwork and orientation session's involved with going back to study sewing has been put on the backburner but as I've been told by friends every student needs a hobby to give them a break from study.
 And I can't think of a better hobby than sewing :D

 So stay tuned there will be more posts on the way!

 In fact I managed a little study related sewing the other weekend, cant wait to show you :D
Til then...
Happy Sewing (and for me studying)!
Kate x

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Angie

There appears to have been quite a buzz on the sewing interwebs regarding the Sis Boom Angie dress pattern
Sewists new and old have been touting the quick and easy construction and flattering design. 
Having had this pattern in my stash for quite some while -and feeling a need for some summery dresses- I thought I'd give it a go.
I give you the end result:
A lot of breeze in this pic and holding the phone (with my Samsung camera remote app) in my pocket, kinda obvious eh?
Back view- elasticized back waist, a bit hard to tell from this pic. And pockets!!!
Square on shot (in a kids room as no full length mirror elsewhere *sigh*). This is how I like to think it would look. Reasonably flattering me thinks!
This dress was the "mock up" using some (quite bright) on sale craft fabric after making a calico fitting toile.

Going off my measurements and the pattern size guide I made a 1X (16-18W). As my bust point was significantly lower (about an inch) than that of the pattern I lengthened in that area (between shoulder and bust point). 
I took about 3/8" off at the bodice hemline to make sure the waist sat in the right spot (thanks Alison for pointing that out in the initial pics!). 

The only other significant change I made was to increase the seam allowance on the bottom of the bodice/top of the skirt from 1/4" to 3/8". (Mainly because the fabric was quite loosely woven for a quilting cotton and frayed like all heck, making it very hard to gather accurately on a 1/4" seam allowance). 
My normal preference for sewing is at least 3/8" to 5/8" seam allowance so this was a bit of adjustment for me generally pattern wise.
 I can see why 1/4" is a good idea for bias bound areas (neckline and armholes) but am not so sure about using it for side and waist seams.

In addition I ended up sewing the bodice side seams at the 5/8" mark as  the original 1/4" seam allowance appeared too "blousey" on me (personal fit preference). 

I also made the back elastic significantly shorter than suggested and brought it past the side seams further towards the front (about an inch) on each side, to give a more fitted look.

There was one part of the pattern that gave me a bit of consternation; the bust darts. No matter what I did I could not get the bottom of the bodice to make a clean line when matching up the dart lines.

 It was only when looking at the paper pattern - and folding the dart in- that I realised that one dart leg was longer than the other, resulting in an uneven bodice hem once the darts were sewn. 

Folding down from the bust point (crap photo I know) the bottom dots and bodice edge do not match.

I did email the pattern designer, who suggested that I trim the bodice bottom to make it even. I made a toile up of the next size down (XL) and this did not occur, so am guessing that maybe it might only be an issue with this size (1X) or the plus sizes? Have not heard back as to whether this might be something that will be fixed at some stage.

In the end- for a "tester/mock up" garment -this dress has already gotten a lot of wear in my wardrobe on a everyday basis (once I got over the bright print)
As a bonus I have got quite a lot of compliments on it too ! 

In all earnest I can see why this has been such a popular pattern (even with dart issue and my dislike of overall 1/4" seam allowance). The style is flattering and - thanks to the lack of zips/closures- easy to sew. The instructions are in depth and generous making them very helpful to the newbie sewer (though a bit redundant if you are confident with pattern sewing/garment construction). 
Plus you do end up with a finished wearable garment in a seriously short amount of time (would be even shorter if you use a overlocker/serger).

I've already sewn up another Angie, stay tuned for pics!

**Update: you can read my review for the Angie dress on here**

Til next time...

Happy Sewing!

Kate xx

Sunday, January 18, 2015

2014 Christmas ornament swap

(I meant to post this much earlier but life etc... so here it is now! ;)

Each year my sewing group has a ornament swap as part of it's December meet up. This is what I made to go into the lucky dip draw :
No proper pattern as such, just a mash of Pinterest ideas (hello cinnamon stick trunk!) and a chance to try out the stitches on my "new" Bernina Record 830.

A bit of felt and some ribbon scraps  came in handy (great for those bits of ribbon I cant bear to throw out but aren't really big enough for most sewing projects).
This is what I made for the last ornament swap  I took part in, back then (like this time) I really enjoyed the process of picking out materials and creating as much as the actual swap itself :)

Hopefully the recipients of my handmade ornaments were happy enough with my efforts!

Til next time...

Happy [ornament] Sewing!

Kate x

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Singer Press project 
Picked a Singer ironing press up off a local buy/sell page for $25 the other week, not a bad price considering what new ironing presses go for (at least $400).

It doesn't have a steam option (some of the fancier models do) but that's OK, it will work well for what I want it for- bonding interfacing to fabric and pressing large fabric pieces.
Plus I can always squirt something with water from a spray bottle if I really need steam.

Obviously for "cheap as chips" pricing a little bit of work is required...

Firstly a good clean. The press had been sitting in someones shed for who-knows-how-long and it was pretty grimy. 

The pressing board cover itself looks like it has seen better days, with a couple of scorch marks and burn holes:

While the ironing plate is pretty gunked up with what looks like fabric ink residue:

I'm guessing this one got used for setting screenprints on fabric rather than domestic ironing.

(The fun part is trying to work out what the words originally said - something "Ace"?).

Looks like I have a new sewing tool to tinker with ;)

 Till next time...
Happy Sewing!

Kate :)

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Owl print summer shorts

Last post I wrote about making (and having made for me) shorts for Cooper.
The pattern used was the Rohan Skater shorts (by The Crafty Kitty), a freebie a friend found for me via the Birch Fabrics blog .  
Loooove it when the pattern research is done for me !!! :D
 Well as it turns out this pattern works just as well for girls shorts too- here is a pair I made for DD:
Skater shorts front
Skater shorts back (with contrast yoke and wasitband)
And on :
She loves them! They are great for all the running/jumping/climbing activities she loves to do (not hideously skimpy like some of the RTW ones out there) and the back yoke gives an option for contrasting fabrics.
 The fabrics used here were both quilting fabrics bought from Spotlight. The pink Eiffel tower print yoke/waistband fabric scraps left over from this apron project (finished project pics here).
Millie's shorts were made from the exact same pattern that Elle made Cooper's camo print shorts from, I just shortened the legs a fair bit. If I went down a size or two they would look more like the original Crafty Kitty Rohan Skater shorts.
Have already received a few compliments when out with the kids in their shorts (kudos to the pattern design and styling)!
Am sure to be sewing up a least a couple more pairs of these in the near future.

Til next time

Happy sewing!

Kate x

Monday, December 22, 2014

Some summer shorts

So very recently a friend- after hearing me bang on about how I need to sew my kids some summer shorts but there's not enough hours in the day-made my son a very trendy pair of skater shorts:

Totally unbeknowst to me...she just rocked up with the completed shorts randomly one afternoon (as sewing friends are apt to do)!
How stoked was I and Cooper?
I addition to the shorts was a little folder containing a cut out pattern (in my son's size) and a good length of the camo fabric that the original shorts were made from. How.Totally.Awesome! Honestly now that I am a mum I soo appreciate these kinda things! No pattern cutting? Yippeee....
 In other words I pretty much had all I needed to make up plenty more:) 
No excuses!
Ok OK hint taken (but thanks for the kick up the bum hun !), I am ONTO this! 

Soo with pattern in hand -and a few of hubbies old button up shirts lying around (I wasn't too sure how I would go and was keen to "upcycle")- I crossed my fingers, got out "ye olde overlocker" and whipped up these shorts:
Two business shirt made these shorts- can you tell? #sodidnotpatternmatch
 I did add a little to length and the seam allowance all over (as insurance against my son's growth spurts), so these have a more "surfie board shorts" vibe than the original skater shorts pattern, but I am happy with that. Actually I LOVE both of the different looks this pattern has given! :)

This WAS a $50+ shirt (bought from a big name surf wear store). Very nice fabric, gorgeous hand, much prefer it as shorts for my little man :)

Why I LOVE reusing mens shirts; chest pockets easily become back pockets! Not quite convinced of the tension on that bottom hem though :(
 And on:
He picked this pose (I swear)!

Sorry Elle I don't (as yet, I will remedy this!) have any of your original [camo skater] pair being modelled.
In my defense: they ARE getting worn so much (often in the process of being washed or on the line) that usually the photo op is missed by the time I think of it! 
Will try and get a pic so everyone can see the difference in fit an extra 5/8" in seam allowance gives.
As to the pattern? It's a FREEBIE!!! You can find it here. Be aware that I ended up with the side seams of my legs not matching up exactly at the side seams- given that I did not really refer to the instructions this could be an "operator error". 
If this happens to you? No probs, just do what I do and cut a nice new (straight) bottom leg hem-equidistant from the crotch seam- on each leg.
A rotary cutter and quilting ruler makes this easy peasy :) 
If you only have shears I would pin the legs together after marking to make sure there's no distortion from lifting up the fabric to cut.

Until next time...

Happy [boys skater/boardie shorts] Sewing!

Kate xx

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Blue dress mending

 Do you ever have a project that you know you should just walk away from...but you keep carrying on anyway? I wrote a while back about my most recent Staple Dress and how the fabric just failed and shredded after only one wear:
Yeah I admit that is was over a stress point and that realistically I needed to add a bit more ease to the pattern in the bust/shoulders area (due to a gradual recent weight gain)...still...most fabrics will only shred like this after several wears and washes. Unless the fabric itself is quite weak to begin with. Rayon does have this stigma associated with it and up until now I had never really encountered it. 
I don't know if its really typical itself of rayon or a sign of shoddy workmanship in fabric construction or mishandling on my part but I was still pretty devastated when this happened. This dress fabric pretty much felt like heaven to wear, cool and soft and BREATHABLE on a really hot Western Australian summers day. A lovely print featuring my favourite shade of blue and with just the right amount of drape. I was in love.
So I decided to give machine mending a bit of a go. Basically you do a straight stitch back and forth, trying to blend in with the direction of the weave and changing thread colour (if needed) to suit the pattern.
A bit uneven along the leaf edges, but otherwise I was pretty happy with my efforts:
I reinforced the fabric with some light iron-on interfacing, which you can see on the reverse side:
After doing this I thought I had saved the dress from the bin but no sooner had I worn the item again that the fabric shredded in a different spot :(
In the end I hacked the top off above the shirring and turned the dress into a skirt. As the skirt is a lot looser I'm thinking the fabric should hold together OK. 
All the leftover bits of this fabric (quite a bit) went to my kids school for kindy kids to cut up and use in craft- I wasn't going to risk getting sucked into making something with this again, only to have it fall apart.
Learning, learning, still learning..... ;)

Have a good one!

Kate x