A diary of all my mad projects.

I am glad that you stopped by - welcome to my world. Its a little mad and hectic as I sew, knit, embroider and generally craft my way through life. My newest resolution is to spend more time sewing - less time dreaming about it. I love to read comments so I am looking forward to hearing from you all.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Winter Mash up – feeling the love for Ottobre

Winter is not far away here but we are enjoying a wonderful warm autumn so far.  DD the younger needs some T-shirts so out came Ottobre Summer 2/2007 Design 3 Short-sleeved T-shirt in size 44.  So successful was this pattern I have not been able to get them off her to photo.  The neckline was raised slightly to DD specifications.

Autumn/winter 5/2015 on the right, Spring/summer 2/2007 on the left.

While trolling the net we found this striped top from Salasei on Superette website. 
DD loves stripes and her last navy T has fallen to bits it was worn so much.   We found Ottobre Winter 5/2015 Design 17 Colourful Concrete is a close match to the top.

 Fabric was found at the wonderful Bernina Shop in Tauranga, an interesting combination of cotton knit stripe and lace insert.  In our search for stripes, which are meant to be big this winter, I also purchased a khaki and pink viscose and spandex knit from the Dreamstress viaTtrademe.

At first I traced the lines of Design 17 onto the shoulders and armhole of Design 3, but DD really wanted the dropped shoulder so made a muslin in Design 17 to test how this would look.  I also had a go with adding an accent using the red bobbin which is needed for Bobbin Work on the Bernina 780. That was fun but DD nixed the look as a bit “blingy”.

The muslin to test out the pattern - what you cannot see is the dark brown glitter lines running down the front and back and around the neckband.

The inspiration top is raw edged sewn on the outside of the garment but in the interests of a lasting garment I overlocked the raw edges, sewed the seam as normal and then chained stitched a pintuck at the seam.  I liked the final look and so did DD.  The neck line was raised and rounded similar to DD’s Tshirts and she loves the final result.  

Look at that stripe matching! Great care was taken but I was very thrilled to see how it paid off. Win!

The striped viscose was made up in the mash up t-shirt as I felt the fabric needed a more structured shoulder.  Both versions shoulder seams were sewn with tape to help stabilise the seam and it has worked a treat.  The Tshirt was shortened about 2.5cm (about 1”) in the body and about the same in the sleeves.

  DD was a little over the photos but was very tolerant of my attempts at a “photoshoot”.  I am off to make myself some T’s for winter but will avoid duplicating these for myself as the mother/daughter look is banned in our house (by DD’s orders!!).

Friday, September 25, 2015

Style Arc Trio

Image from www.stylearc.com.au

The Style Arc Anne Tshirt has become the most used of all my patterns, a TNT.  A basic ingredient in most wardrobe, a well fitting Tshirt is a pleasure to wear.  I have adapted it and removed the gathering as I never was able to successfully sew them, and I much prefer it without the accent on the lack of waist definition. I am not a fast sewer but can cut and sew this within a few hours. My latest rendition was started at the NISM2015 but finally finished this week.

A few years ago I bought some sequined mesh to make a top that were all the rage but it entered the stash and I did not have any suitable knit to match with it.  Fast forward to a trip to the local Hospice Shop and this knit with a lace pattern across it was $1.00 for 3metres.

The band was folded over leaving a few millimeters of fabric to stop the sequins scratching along the neckline.
 The sequins are a bronze plastic on polyester mesh and sewn in a cluster pattern. I cut a front only out and laid it over the knit front, treating the two as one.  The sequins were not difficult to sew over as they were only plastic but the Baby Lock cover stitch did not like it and it was a beast skipping and cutting the thread but it worked eventually it all worked.


Next up was another Anne in a beautiful rayon/lycra knit that has been in the stash a few years.  I have teamed it up with Style Arc Margo skirt and an embroidered mesh that has aged for 20 years in the stash - about time it got used don't you think? I have some reservations about the age appropriateness of this outfit but I do like it on the model.

The Margo is an easy make and I have made it before for the eldest in a leather look poly which looked great.  This time I used the mesh and doubled it - entirely by chance the motifs matched up in all pieces.  I couldn't have planned it better if I tried.  The lining is a beautiful stretch silk piece from The Fabric Store bargain bin and is a delicate blush colour,

 Still in the works is a short cardigan similar to Muse Jenna style but I have adapted a Style Arc pattern to give a similar look.  Pattern buying is off the list at present but necessity is the mother of invention so they say. One of the best things about this is that they were sewn 20 minutes a day, as it has been the busiest time of the year for relief teaching.  Pictures of me wearing these to follow when I can get the photographer to take them.  She is on holiday next week so soon.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

A new pattern makes all the difference or Ottobre to the rescue.

Following on from the previous post my desire for a quick project mushroomed into a 3 pattern monster but with a great ending.  After trying the Style Arc Billie top and finding it unsuitable for my figure (plus sized apple) I remembered an Ottobre top that I had previously made for DD#1 which featured the drape effect that I liked but in a more fitted style.

The pattern is Lemon Juice No 13 in the Ottobre Spring/Summer 2/2013.  I traced a 50/52 then laid it over the previously cut fabric and cut it out.  Luckily I had another metre for the sleeves.

Lemon Juice laid over the Size 20 Billie top - the back piece is only half and needs to be folded over and the other side cut out.
Making this up is quick and easy, with the only  departures from the pattern were gathering the neckline back and front rather than using the clear elastic to gather.  I do not seem to have mastered this technique and it always ends in tears, fabric and liquid.  So I did not even attempt it and I am pleased with the result. I lengthened the sleeves slightly for a more flattering look.  As you can see I am very happy with the new top!

The left side showing the short seam and then the pleat effect.

Right side which is plain with no drape.
A much better amount of fabric but still with the desired drape effect.

 To conclude this is a great top which has sleeves! A very important addition in my mind.  Although not shown in the photos this top has a high low hem but from side to side.  It is snug about the hips which allows it to gather and blouson a little, but can be pulled down for a longer tunic look.

I'm off to teach art this week so now have the perfect outfit to wear in the artroom!  Art Teacher chic indeed.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Style Arc Billie Top

I was looking for something simple and quick to make and it seemed that this top ticked all the boxes. One pattern piece quickly sewn together and Voila! a chic top to bridge the change of seasons.  A teacher friend at a school I work in wears lots of this sort of thing and looks sensational and I forgot for a moment that sometimes this does not translate well.

I have a few pieces of statement fabric that would look better if the pattern was not broken up by seams and so I made up a trial in a heavy but nice feeling rayon knit from Bernina Tauranga's remnant bin.  

First I checked around the net to see what the verdict was on this pattern and other than the facings which seemed to get the thumbs down there was not much else said.  I wanted my top to be more a tunic and the ones on the net looked shorter than I wanted so I began by going down a size (to a 20) and adding 220mm to the length. The result was at first a disaster!  The neckline dragged down to my belly button - the armholes gaped and I looked a little like a young girl trying on her mothers dresses.  Not the look I was going for!

So firstly I stabilised the neckline and put a Tshirt Neckband on it which has solved that problem, however to pull it in has resulted in a slight gathered look which IMHO does not look tooo bad? The same treatment was applied to the left armhole which has made it a little better on the matter of gaping. Now it looks more like a lagenlook dress perhaps or maybe art teacher chic?

Anyone for a toga party??
 My next thought was to download and printout the Size 18 to see if that would look better in this knit.  And a night was spent assembling with the cat helping by anchoring the next piece each time!

The thought was to pull it apart and recut to the smaller size but now I am not so sure, time to sew is in short supply at present and when I folded it up to a tunic hem length suddenly it did not look so bad ... well may not so bad. It still looks larger than the pattern drawing but I do like the look of the fabric pattern at this length.

It is still too long off the shoulders and perhaps stablising the shoulder seams for this weight knit would have been a good idea.  In addition the pleat does not fall accross the body as it looks like it does on the pattern - rather it slips off the bust and disappears under the armhole.

I am still reconsidering recutting it a size smaller what do you think?

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


 Penny, Carolyne, Sandra, Sara, Trish, Toni, JacquiJulietRobyn, Helen,KateKateSandraKirsty, Nikki and Mel   Photo courtesy of Mel.

NISM2015 finally arrived and I packed the car up with far too many projects, machines and cake.  So eager was I to get there I arrived far too early!!!  The Arts Village, in Rotorua, was new to me so I enjoyed the time to check it all out and met the volunteers who run it.

Mel and Sandra turned up and it was all go. Lots of sewing, shopping, gossiping and eating ensured.  I was fortunate to room with the lovely Robyn who had a neat dress and skirt that I need so more pattern buying!  In fact a feature of this weekend was seeing close up many of the independent patterns that I had been wondering about.  I love the Muse Gillian Dress and can see myself making that up soon.

Next time I will be more organised and cut out a few more earlier than the night before!!! I cut out two Style Arc Anne long sleeve T-shirts. I also brought my bomber jacket, Pamela's Patterns Magic Pencil Skirt both of which were unfinished.  I completed the Anne T-shirt in a beautiful french viscose knit from Emmaonesock and the Pencil skirt.

Style Arc Anne T-shirt without the gathers and The magic pencil skirt.

Styled for work 

I have worn both items and love them both so win.  I have my sewmojo back and am now thinking about a spring wardrobe.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Excitement Alert

The wonderful Sandra and Mel from the Wellington Sewing Network have organised a Sewing Meetup and wonders of wonders it is just around the corner from where I live!  Already registered and saved on the calendar I now have to decide what I want to sew and get it all ready!

With a pattern and fabric swap optional I think I will raid the stash and take some goodies along - which will help reduce if we have to move!

Looking forward to a weekend of sewing fun!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Sorry Temporarily Out of Service

Winter's Frost in the Waikato

Blogging has become very difficult to fit into my life at present; along with sewing, sleeping and gardening.  Personal circumstances which I have mentioned previously i.e. job loss, have not improved.  Luckily I was able to obtain a job working in the weekends which meant that I could continue to be available for Relief Teaching during the week.

Unfortunately the weekend job has now been been redundant as the company re- centralises its operation and moves back to Auckland.  It was a fun job working as a QC Supervisor for My Food Bag.  Great people to work with and the left overs were distributed to the staff so that helped the budget! I am now back in the hunt for a job, along with the man in the house who still has not been able to secure work.

All this makes thinking of spending any time in the sewing room a daunting proposition.  Thank goodness for Bernina Club which has become my one extravagance each month.  Many times I have thought to just pack the machines away but the few hours I have managed to spend at the machine over the last few months have been very revitalising.

As always there is a silver lining in all this disaster and I now weigh considerably less due to a combination of better portion control, more vegetables and less carbohydrate and sheer stress.  I really need to organise myself to the 20 minute a day sewing plan to get a new wardrobe that fits the new figure.  It is hard to know what to plan as depending on the job sucess will dictate the wardrobe required.

I need to send a shout out to all the wonderful sewing bloggers out there who have kept me sane.  I have spent some of my precious time reading all the wonderful posts and dreaming of a time in the future when I will be able to have more time to think of sewing and sewing.