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.

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.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Make a Garment a Month Challenge

Joining the MAGAM challenge, created and curated by SarahLiz, is with the hope of doing more sewing for myself.  The aim of the challenge is to create a garment for you each month within a theme.  The theme is broad enough that it can be adapted to personal needs, ideas or desires.  January’s theme was “Just Try Something New” very easy isn’t it?

Image from McCalls website.

I decided that I need shirts, or is it blouses? So using a pattern long in the stash but new to me that I love the look of, I made a blouse.  McCalls 6286 has always attracted me – the raglan sleeves and the wider collar framing the face would perhaps flatter my short neck.  I paired it with a mystery fabric from the huge Trademe fabric haul a few years back. 
Image from http://sewing.patternreview.com/Patterns/44600

Burn tests (thanks Chris for the help and link) show that it is probably cotton with maybe some rayon.  It burns to a dark powder that smells faintly of burning paper but also has a finish that leaves a slightly oily residue.  It feels and looks more like silk shantung with a shine and texture running through it. It is very nice to the touch and against the skin. 

I like that the pattern has the Finished Garment Measurements on the envelope back and I decided to make a size 20 with a finished bust of 46 1/2” grading out to 22 at the hips with a finished width at the lower edge of 50 1/2”.  This ultimately proved to be a little close fitting at the bust and measurement of a blouse in the cupboard shows that I am more comfortable with a bust measurement of 50”. This I should have done before making DUH!

Making up the blouse was straight forward until the collar; reviews of the blouse mentioned the difficulty with iron on interfacing so I cut out these in silk organza.  This was a great decision and worked a treat until I tried topstitching the collar.  I found the way the collar is assembled and the front facing attachment a little perplexing and made a bit of a botch which was fixed by hand sewing the exposed seam down.  One side of the collar and lapel lies flat against the body and looks good; sadly I cannot say the same about the other.  It wants to flip over and stands proud, I think it is a grain issue forced when I decided to top stitch (pattern does not topstitch) any suggestions on how to fix this for next time would be gratefully received.

Trying on the blouse shows that it fits well across the back with the darts in place, the side seams are straight but the CF pulls which indicates not enough fabric to cover the girls.  My question is, should I go up a size for the bust (22) or do a FBA?  I am little intimidated by the double darts regarding a FBA and would love to have some feedback about what I should do. 

I will definitely be making this pattern up again and in the same fabric. 

Friday, January 30, 2015

Blink and miss it.

Six months or more gone in a heart beat!

The poppy display was more awe inspiring in the real - it brought tears to my eyes
and wish that that modern leaders would realise the sheer waste of war.

Birmingham Bullring markets - fabric!

So what happened?  Lots of sewing, a trip to England to see my father, a new contract teaching English to Japanese children on holiday to NZ.  2014 has passed in an blink and now we are almost into the second month of 2015.
I spent lots of time in museums looking at
costumes - Lyme Regis Fossil Museum.

So far 2015 is not looking to great and if only I could be a bear and sleep it away.  Real life is intruding and it is not pretty.  While everyone else is celebrating the lower energy prices, we are anxiously watching for it to stop dropping and starting rising.  Mr DK has joined the ranks of the laid off, of which there are thousands in the oil industry.  Always a volatile industry, the oil business for the contract worker is precarious with long periods of layoff.  We have gone through this before and I guess will again in the future.

To help alleviate the depression I have joined the MAGAM sew along and have launched a campaign to tame the wilderness that was the garden.

On the topic of sewing I have become a fan of the Ottobre Magazine, as a former Burda aficionado I am disappointed in the direction it continues to go.  For the trip I made clothes that could be layered over each other for the fickle English weather as advised,  but England turned on a really hot autumn so did not wear much that I made.

The most successful item was a Merino Hoodie from the Autumn/Winter 2014 issue of Ottobre.  The fabric from Morlands Fabric in Hamilton was a pricy merino rib knit originally intended for DD#1.  I cut a size 50 with no alterations and it was just right to go over jeans etc and under jackets in Birmingham.  When I got back I passed it to DS#1 as he is off to Palmerston North to varsity and it snows there occasionally.

The rib knit means that this does 'grow' but does
go back after the wash.

DD#1 loves the relaxed fit.