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.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Spring Days and UFO's

Rhododedron - Bumblebee 
Spring has finally arrived here with a wonderful warm sunny weekend.  Outside my kitchen window is this Rhodo and the bumble bees and bees have swarmed over it. I have been packing up the winter fabrics and sorting out some for summer.  I have a few special occasions to go to in the next few months, a wedding and a leaver's dinner.  The dinner is a happy and sad event, with Son 1 finishing school.  I am very proud of his achievements and the man he is growing into, he won an internship at NIWA for the summer and he is impatient to start his next stage of life.  He begins University next year with plans for Biomed Engineering.

While cleaning up the sewing area I found a UFO from Burda Plus Autumn/Winter 2011.  I used a wool knit from Global that has been in the stash for many a year.  The pattern (Size 22) was very simple to make and looks exactly like the photo.  The only thing I did not like was the darts - they are very straight and look odd on my body.  The next time I make this up I am thinking of eliminating the darts all together.
I have not packed it away with all the other winter woolies but will be on the hunt for some more knits to make this up again for next winter.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Dresses and sewcations

This week past has been typical New Zealand spring weather - four seasons in one day (Yes a Crowded House song as well!!)  As a result I decided to have a sewcation a la Carolyn.  I have long admired the wonderful dresses she creates and decided to spend some time creating a few for me.

First up was Sandra Betzina's V1210.

I found this wonderful fabric at the Fabric Warehouse in Hamiton, and I have named the dress "The Alphabet" and plan to wear it to school.

Although it is hard to see the fabric is a fine lace with a black and white stripe printed on it interspersed with the alphabet.

This pattern was a quick and easy sew. The directions for the neck band were very good and would be very encouraging if you were a beginner sewer.  At first I was unsure wether to use the red and white stripe (a pure cotton crinkle knit) as the band but now that it is completed I like the contrast.  Unfortunately the photographer (DD2) is not keen on this dress, she thought it was an old ladies dress and questioned my sanity in leaving the house in it.  I am not sure how much notice to take of the 12 year old's fashion sense, I might see what DD1 has to say.

The next dress I tackled was Vogue 1250 - this dress was the sensation of 2011 ( I learnt this when I googled) and I must be the last person to make it!!!

I found this to be as easy as everyone who has posted about it.  I had to grade the pattern up one size as I am a 22 - 24 in Vogue. I used the 20 for the shoulders and graded up one size as per Burda instuctions for the bodice and skirt.  The first dress was made in a heavy rust viscose knit.  I am amazed how much difference the fabric can make to a pattern.  I had to shorten the rust dress and took a 4cm hem but it still is much longer that the 2nd dress made out of a wonderful polyester print.

Both fabric's were recently purchased from the Fabric Warehouse in Hamilton.  The polyester fabric was impossible to sew on the overlocker so I used the Pfaff and a stretch stitch.  It does not unravel so I have left the edges unfinished which is hard to do as I love that finished look of overlocking.

DS1 has his senior leaver's dinner next Friday and I am planning to wear the second dress with the wonderful Minx slingbacks.  All in all it was a fun two days and who really cares if the house looks a bombsite???

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

6PAC and Diversions

I have finally completed a garment for the 6PAC, the silk knit cowl neck using the Style Arc Creative Cate. I am not sure if I will get anymore done on the plan this month, I might just have to continue in the summer plan.

I love the fabric which was a dream to sew - it is a silk knit which came from the wonderful Global Fabrics in Auckland.  I also have the same knit in a dreamy turquoise that years ago was part of a DKNY collection I think.  I am trying to use more from my stash as it has expanded beyond the cupboards.  I keep stuffing more into odd corners and containers. It has become easier to buy something I need to complete a project rather than try and find what I need in the stash!!

Talking about buying fabric... after taking the husband off to the airport I cruised by Designer Textiles in Lovegrove Cres, Otara.  This shop has an amazing range of knits in all colourways and types of fabrics. I found a very yummy silk, cotton and metal blend from Charles Parson which just spoke to me for a pattern that I have wanted to make - Vogue 1309 by Issey Miyake.

This fabric was a bargain at $8.00/metre and I bought 4 metres as I can see it as a shirt jacket as well. It feels very smooth and soft yet with the metal can be folded and crushed to a shape.  It is slightly crinkled and this did cause some problems when cutting the rectangles for this garment out.

I love Issey Miyake patterns and have most of them beginning back in the '80's.  I have made a few of them up and loved the architecture of design.  This pattern intrigued me when I read the instructions and DS1 called it origami with fabric!

Sewtawdry made this up and I wish I had read her post before I embarked on this journey!!  I measured as best as I could as I am slightly bigger than the biggest size and it looked like it would fit.  So I cut out and off I went. 

I ended up marking the sewing line for the slit and the cutting lines for the bias as well as all the dots.  The fabric photo shows lots of little white squares, they are my labels for each of the dots.  Unfortunately they promptly fell off when I went to sew!! Grrrrr!! It is very important to mark which is A and B - this becomes more apparent the further you go in constructing this garment.  Ask me how I know.

The other complaint I have is about the seams - (this is in common with others who made this), some pattern pieces have 1/4" seam indicated but others do not.  The pattern instructions state that all seams are 5/8" unless otherwise stated. Not true and I ended up ripping seams a few times. Finishing the seams on the garment is not included in the instructions - I decided to just sew not worrying about the raw edges.  This fabric does not unravel much but I have decided to go through and hand finish the edges as I am rather compulsive about the inner as well as outer garment.  Next time I will overlock all edges before beginning.

I love the zip and sourced a beautiful silver grey and black one from Tauranga Bernina Shop, it wasn't cheap but completes the top nicely (and I decided that I could always rip it out and use it again).  Actual construction did not take long but ripping out and redoing certainly added a few hours.

At first try on I was unimpressed and left it on Gertie for some timeout.  This morning I took it for show and tell at Bernina Club where it met with approval - but with some modifications at the back.  The shoulders do not fit and need tucks  at the back and the underarms gap so I now have some alterations.

It is a bit hard to see the details with this material in the photo but it doesn't look too bad.  I am not sure that I will ever make this up again but the next time would be more fun now that I know what to do.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Machines and Style Arc

It has been a frustrating morning and taking a break before I go postal on my Babylock cover seam machine.  All I wanted it to do was the hem on my Creative Cate Top for the 6PAC.  It has been awhile since I have had it out of the box but it always has been a reliable machine.  I have changed the thread, needles and rethreaded it so hopefully the problem has now been rectified.

I have finished the Style Arc Ann T, the freebie on offer when I placed my last order.

Pattern Description. This fashionable t-shirt hides a multitude of sins with side rouching, make it with long or short sleeves. (from Style Arc website)
Pattern Sizing. Size 20 - I traced this and then added a larger seam allowance for insurance which I did not need.

Did it look like the pattern photo /drawing envelope once you were done sewing with it? The illustration is a little misleading, as the gathering is not as full as in the picture.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes.

What do you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I loved the two toned look as suggested by the pattern picture.  The neckline is very flattering as well for my figure.

Fabric Used.  Main body - a beefy rayon that I had in the stash from SIL.  Contrast - a linen knit from many years ago aging in the stash.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made? I tried using the elastic for the gathering at the sides and did not like the result so I unpicked and gathered it with 2 lines of gathering.

Would you sew it again or recommend it to others? I was not so fussed on the gathering but everybody who has seen it on me thinks it is very flattering.  I love the fit of the T and had planned making it without the gathering next time.

I can see this pattern becoming a standard for sewing.  The T shirt block fits my body very nicely and I plan to make more.  I loved the way the band fits so nicely in the neckline.

I am happy to report that the Coverseam machine behaved beautifully the second time around and finished the top hem without a missed stitch.  The top is now awaiting a press before facing the camera's.

WOW - 2012 and Style Arc

This weekend we set off to visit DD in Wellington.  Booking a hotel was a mission as the final of the Wearable arts awards - WOW was on in Sunday.  We finally were able to get a cancellation at the Capital View Motor Inn in Central Wellington.  It is a great location and has secure off street parking.  As it is so close to the inner city we park our car and walk every where.

It was wonderful to see DD and meet other members of her group and the pavilion project they have been busy working on.  Using coffee cup lids they have created a pavilion for coffee sales.  It goes up along with all the others next week in the Atrium at Wellington University.

We decided to walk down to the ticket office on the chance of tickets to the wearable arts show that night and we were in luck!  We were able to get 2 sets of 2 seats in prime viewing.  Not cheap but an opportunity not to be missed.  DH and I had often planned to go but with his work schedule it is very difficult to plan too far ahead.

While we waited for the show I checked out a few fabric shops - the wonderful Global Fabrics which had a dazzling array of silks and very soft and supple leathers, and Fabric Direct which always has some great bargains.  I was hoping to find something to make a skirt a la Goodbye Valentino's wonderful skirt out of upholstery fabric but nothing appealed.  I did come home with a Japanese handbag book from Minerva Books (luckily both DS read and speak Japanese so if I cannot follow the wonderful photos I can appeal for help from them).

Wellington turned on all four seasons while we were there and we resorted to taking a taxi to the Arena due to the almost sleet like rain which began as we walked back to the hotel to change.

The show was everything and more that I had dreamed of, the garments were spectacular and I would love to see some of them up close.  Each category was set to amazing music and dancing, the evening rushed by and was over far too soon.  All the designs were great but it was interesting to see what won each award - the supreme winner was not one that I picked but the judges do get the opportunity to examine each entry closely.