Monday, June 27, 2016

Sewing when there is no time for sewing...



Last week was very trying with all sorts of disruptions and things needing attention.  Mostly to do with the house.  Our drains are very old, and during summer the back half of the drains collapsed, and replaced - with most of our lawn dug up.  The lawn came back, but now we are back to this:




No lawn  again.  And as you can see, it is damp and gloomy - I've just taken the last two pictures at 4.45 pm in NSW - and this is how dark it is already.  And the plumbers keep stopping work when it rains - the drains going up the side of the house are being relined so that we don't have to dig down there as well - you can see we have had to at the corner, the pavers are up.

So I am about over drains this year.  And the lawn is now going to have to be turf laid I think.  I'm not weeding the mud patch over winter.

We are also having our roof replaced next week after the cyclone of April 2015 left us with holes in the roof and lots of other damage.  As it is a slate roof it is quite expensive to repair.  Now I won't go into all the ins and outs, of what is a very  convoluted story and ended up with us going into a formal dispute with the insurance company.  We had gathered evidence that the builder was acting rather dishonestly in dealing with us, they agreed, and we had our claim paid out.

All very draining and tiring, and also no fun living in a dank house in winter with holes in the roof.

Anyway, the scaffolding goes up Friday.  I dare say most of the existing roof will end up where the lawn was, and that would not have done it much good either.  So, I shall just be philosophical about this.

And I chipped a tooth, and had to get that sorted out.

And my car needs a service which gets delayed, and it also needs replacing...only I don't like the new cars on the market.

And it is the end of the financial year and I have lots of things to sort out, and I do not like paperwork at all!

Finally, at the end of the week I managed a bit of sewing time - and made two infinity cowl scarves. Satisfying bliss:).

They are both made from remnants found at Spotlight- so the total cost was about $1.00 each.

The first is a cotton jersey, very dark navy with paler blue roses:


And I am sorry about the lighting - I often take pictures at night, and think the lighting is okay, but when I see the photographs, often find out it isn't!

The second is a lovely soft polyester/viscose mix:



I really like this one, it has a wonderful drape and cowl feel to it.  It looks lovely over my better jumpers.

And a couple of weeks ago I made these two infinity cowls:




This is a red cotton rib jersey - really soft, and sits so nicely around the neck.

And the last is a bit of fun:



My snow white pretend fur scarf - it's actually a piece of polyester nursery fleece - but it feels and looks lovely as a scarf.

So that's the neck looking smart for this winter - and warm too, and currently we are having icy sorts of weather.  Which may surprise those of you who do not live in Australia, but we do get cold weather here - and our houses are not designed well for the cold.


And currently I am working on a jacket, which is my June, Make a Garment a Month official garment:


And wouldn't you know, I have cut the garment and now found a hole on the back.  I'm working out a solution tonight when I have had a little think.  I hope to actually spend some time sewing this garment tomorrow!

Before I go and  have my little think about how to deal with this nuisance of a hole, I'd like to thank you all for your comments about DH's birthday gift.  Unfortunately I didn't reply to everyone's lovely comments given that life was too busy, but they have all been read and appreciated.  And DH loves his new gown, and finds it lovely and warm.  Another planned for next birthday, now I have worked out the pattern.

I have made sure to visit your blogs and comment on your makes though.  I do think blogging is about friendships and relationships.

I do hope everyone has a good week,

Sarah Liz



Sunday, June 19, 2016

Something Different on SLSS


A few weeks ago my husband celebrated another birthday.   I didn't want to buy something that was not needed, so I thought about what my husband might like.

(And just in case you were wondering, I have de-identified DH for many reasons - so all photos will be sans head).

My husband  tends to don a long, ethnic robe when he gets home  after a day and long evening of wearing suits.    In the evening he just wants to read the paper and wear something comfortable.  Understandable.   He does have a corduroy robe, but I thought a soft, snuggly, fleecy one would be even nicer to wear.

So I set about making one.  I had already stashed the Poly Cotton sweatshirt fleecy when Spotlight had a sale.  I figured I needed quite a bit, so stashed 3.7 metres at $6.99 per metre.  They charge $16.99 full price at the moment, and sale about $9.99, so stashing on this occasion paid off!

The middle eastern gowns have a slit in the front neckline, and I wanted an opening so DH could easily get the gown on and off without struggling - because there is a lot to put on with this garment!

I found this pattern which gave me the idea of putting a closure at the neckline:


I only wanted a small yoke, so I took the neckline from the KwikSew pattern, and measured the yoke depth from this pattern:


As I wanted a long gown, I used this pattern as the base for the first toile:


I traced the top, added my neckline, yoke and facing modifications. Unfortunately, this pattern  did not fit well at all when I made up the first muslin (unphotographed).  DH was twitching and pulling under the arms.  There was also a twist to the sleeve which he also fiddled with. Now, he would not say he was uncomfortable, but I knew he was, so that was that.

Back to the drawing board and draw up pattern 2.  I based this on the Kwik Sew pattern, but added a yoke and drew an A-line shape to equal the width of the cotton gowns DH wears in summer.  Then I made a small muslin to test the basic concept:


This worked, but the neckline was too high - you can see this on the left side of the photo.  I have pinned a new position on the right side of the photo.  The concept was working, but I needed to redraw a new neckline and a new collar piece to take into account the length of the new neck.  Of course, I tested this before going ahead with the main garment, but I don't have a photo of that step.

Then it was sewing. There was a lot of sewing and in fact quite heavy sewing, because of the weight and volume of all the fabric.  I also had to think about how to make and finish this garment as I was not using or following a pattern with directions.

  I decided to flip and stitch my seams, because the overlocker would not like a lot of the bulk.  I did this for all seams including the yoke. And I flipped the side seams to the front, because this also turns the pockets towards the front and holds them there.



 I also had to work out how to attach the collar so that it looked neat and tidy.  In the end, I decided to finish the neckband like a collar stand, so that it was neat on the inside as well - so the collar is turned under on the inside and looks much the same as the outside.




  The opening also needed a closure, and I did not like the idea of a buttonhole on sweatshirt fleece.  I settled on a snap, but first I reinforced the facing area with a cotton header tape, so that the snap doesn't pull out.






And of course, I added pockets.  I used cotton drill for these.  DH has been instructed to be careful with the pockets so he doesn't pull them out from the seams.  In any case, they have been bar tacked in order to prevent this as far as possible :)



I finally finished this long labour of love today and here is the result:








This garment was certainly hard work, but my husband likes it, and is looking forward to wearing it tonight.  High fashion it isn't, but the beauty of sewing is that you can make anything you want to suit your own idiosyncratic needs.  And who wouldn't enjoy wearing something like this after a hard, long working day.

And, now I have a pattern, and have done all the thinking, I am sure the next will be easier...

Well, now I am into sewing warm, thick knits, I might tackle some polar fleece next.  Not my favourite fabric to work with.  But, I have a piece in the stash that I want out of the stash so I think I will just get on with it.

Now it's fun time for me - I'll make some coffee and then look at your blogs :)

Sarah Liz

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Blue Hue - Simplicity 1317 Top.


 Currently I am in the middle of making a few knit garments.  As many of you know, I only started sewing with these last year, and I am still getting the hang of how these fabrics behave.  I figure it is worth learning how to sew knits because the finished garments are quick and easy to sew and also don't need much ironing.   This makes them great for quick wardrobe building - well, it will when I have learnt to sew knits quickly...

This little top is a Simplicity Pattern (1317):



 I purchased this on a $5.00 sale at Spotlight.  I love these pattern sales as it means I can try patterns out with not much lost if I don't like the pattern at muslin stage.  I guess this means I like the experimentation that a cheaper pattern offers.  When they are full price you pretty much have to buy something that works well for you, which means getting a bit stuck in a rut sometimes.

The fabric was a polyester/elastane 4 way stretch knit I purchased at Spotlight for $9.99 per metre.  I don't normally go for polyester but liked the colour and pattern on this fabric.  I have since found that this fabric is quite nice to wear, especially as I wear a t-shirt underneath for warmth.

The finished result is really quite nice - although this is a sort of casual sweatshirt sort of top, in a nice pattern it looks like a very pretty top.


As for the details: I cut Size S, view A. I took 2 inches out of the sleeve along the L/s lines, but as I seamed the cuffs at 3/8 inch instead of 5/8 inch, the resulting sleeves are only 1.75  inches shorter.   I did not alter the length but again, seamed the band at 3/8 inch instead of 5/8 inch, so the top is 1/2 inch longer than it is supposed to be.

This was a straightforward make but I still have problems running off the overlocker neatly on these very stretchy knits when I do the neckband:



I guess one day I will get the feel of how to manipulate knits better under the overlocker. What I tend to do is distract the eye away from the problem area by adding a feature - in this case the guipure daisy.

The bottom band looks good though, so I am slowly learning:



Well, I have a corker of a headache today, so I will just say goodbye today, and leave you with the pictures:









Oh, and before I go, I just need to mention that the neckline on this top, while pretty, is a little wider than those I normally wear.  While this looks nice, it is also a bit chilly, so with a leftover strip of fabric I made a cowl scarf.  Which looks almost as though it is part of the top and certainly works nicely with it.  




That's it, off for a lie down now...

Bye for now,

Sarah Liz

P.S. : Costings - Simplicity 1317 - Fabric $19.98, Pattern $5.00. Needle and Thread allowance $6.00.   $30.98.  (More expensive than most of my me makes this year - but then, I did not purchase this fabric on sale.  The scarf adds a more expensive look though, so that's okay!)

Sunday, June 5, 2016

New In Blue, Simplicity Top 1255.



I started sewing with knits last year. I have to admit I don't really like sewing with knits yet, but every so often I think that I should practice a bit more, so that one day sewing with knits is second nature, like sewing with woven fabric is.  I mean, learning to sew with wovens didn't happen overnight, and I am still learning, so I can expect it to take time to gain some sort of proficiency with sewing knits.

Meanwhile, I stash patterns for knits when I find them on sale.  This was one of my recent purchases and I thought I would play around with some remnants I found at Spotlight and make this top up.  It has a back zip feature, and I decided that it would be worth learning to do this.  Why, I don't know, but that's a sewer for you.

I broke with my usual tradition here and did not make a muslin.  That's because I found two pieces of blue knit in Spotlight's remnant bin.  A grand total of $2.50 was outlayed.  I figured that I may as well just go ahead and make this top up as a wearable muslin.  I had to make shorter sleeves with a cuff extension, and even then they are only 3/4 (plus)  length  , but I can live with that.  I wan't sure what the fabric was so did a burn text.  The fabric burnt slowly and left a soft black ash.  So not polyester, acrylic or nylon.  Probably a cellulose.

And although a feature zip is suggested, you can't get them in good old basic Spotlight, so I used an ordinary zip instead. Which is a perfectly good sort of zip for a feature zip as well, in a more sort of understated way, in my humble opinion.

Simplicity Misses' and Miss Plus Knit Tops, Pants and Skirts 1255


Line Drawing

I cut size 10 shoulders, neck and armhole, and size 10 back and 12 front.  I altered the neckline seam allowance from 5/8 inch to 3/8 inch.   I shortened the top by 1 inch on the L/S line.  And I cut the sleeves to the length of my fabric and then added a cuff from the leftovers of the fabric remnant used for the bodice.

The construction was fairly simple, but I did not like the way the collar was attached, folded back at the CB, with the zipper laid over the top of these layers.  It was going to look messy inside, so I finished the collar first, turned it inside out, and then laid the zip over the top and stitched it down.  As I was working with a two way stretch knit I thought it was a good idea to interface the zip area before sewing the zip down.  Of course, I also interfaced the back shoulder seam to add stability, with a false flat fell seam to add stability, and also because I like that look.  I also topstitched the sleeve/armhole seam.  And because this is a knit fabric, of course my topstitching was done with a small zig zag stitch.  I'll show you, because that is so much easier than describing in words"

Shoulder and armhole seams:



The zipper from the outside:


And the inside of the zipper insert and the collar finish:


And my cuff extension:



My sewing is not perfect in this garment.  But I think it is a good idea to show you that some of my garments are not perfect, especially when I am trying to master something new, or when I am working with knit fabrics - because I am still a relative newcomer to knits.  And this knit was a two way stretch, with a little bit of a mind of it's own.  

But, I succeeded in making a garment that is quite a presentable wearable muslin.  And I like the top, and I think I might make another before the dropped shoulder line falls out of fashion again.  And next time, I might take in the hip area - which looks fitted on the model, but I suspect is pinned at the back.  Models tend to have zero hips, much like moi.  

Anyway, that's enough about this top, some quick views and then I'm off to catch up with your blogs.








Don't you just love self timer shots?  Had no idea I was looking heavenwards until I saw the pictures enlarged on the computer.  Oh well...

And it looks like the lens needs cleaning. Which I will forget to do...

And my let's stand like a model and try and get a few curves happening in this very straight top:



Well, that's it for now, until next week,

Take care everyone,

Sarah Liz

Costings:  2 Remnant Pieces, $2.50 total.  Pattern $5.00.  Zip $1.50.  Needle and Thread allowance, $6.00.  Total $15.00

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

And Sew to June


I always like the start of a new month and new plans - especially after my fizzling attempt at Me Made May - last week I posted a couple of pictures on Instagram, but have absolutely no motivation to write any sort of post documenting the last week.  Partly this is because I had to go away again, and had little time, and partly because of what needed to be done when I was away.  So I decided to call it quits for this year and try again next year.

No matter what else is going on, I do manage to do a little bit of sewing each day.  I would prefer larger chunks of time, but really, if all you do is a little job each day, after a period of time you have a nice new garment.  And sewing is also a form of focused distraction for me, necessary for relaxation in my case, as is blogging.

So, what will June bring? As far as the blog is concerned, I have a few garments that need to be posted.  The first is the top shown  above. a Simplicity pattern.  The second is this top, also a Simplicity pattern.




I have also made two tops using Burda patterns. The first is Burda 6696:


Burda Misses' Tops 6696

I have actually made the top, and it looks gorgeous, but I haven't taken photographs yet.  It's a little hard to see in the pattern picture, but the front of the top is pleated.  If you look at the teeny line drawings you may just be able to make these out.

The second  top made but not photographed is Burda 6694:

Burda Misses' Tops 6694


I have made the middle top, View A. in a soft knit I had lying around. Again, no photo's, so I am keeping you in suspense.  I am toying with the idea of making the dress as well as View B one day.  The dress would also make a nice top.

So, that is four tops to be blogged during the next few weeks.  I hope to post the first on Sunday.

Otherwise, here at Sarah Liz Sew Style, I am not sure what to do next.  Toying with the idea of wide leg pants.

While I am pondering, I have a job to do though.  My husband's birthday present.  I have decided to make him a nice, warm, something to wear in the evening when he gets home from work.  His birthday has passed now, but he knew I could not start until June.  He's quite enjoying the process though - he knows the fabric has been washed, the pattern was drawn today.  He thinks it makes his birthday last so much longer!

All for now.  Before I go, I just want to let you know that I have been so pre-occupied recently, that i have not really been attending much to either my or your blogs.  Life sometimes gets in the way, but I think we all know that - and we all have periods like that.  So I hope to do better next week.  For those of you a bit more in the know, thanks for your support over the last few months.  It's much appreciated.

Sarah Liz

Monday, May 23, 2016

Me Made May Week Three.

I was finding it quite difficult to take daily pictures this week, and thought that maybe I would not continue with this challenge.  Then I suddenly remembered that I do this challenge in the way that suits me - I don't have to post a picture with me wearing the clothes. and I don't have to post on every social media site.  So this week I am taking picture boards along with some pictures of me in clothes.

Monday 16th May.  

Mildish, about 23.  Activities: Work, Chores.

Me Made Skirt and RTW shirt and tights:



Sewing :  Find fabric and iron, and iron traced pattern pieces for next top.

Tuesday 17th May:

Warm and Sunny, 27 .

Activities, Chores, Work from home.

Me Made Skirt and RTW t-shirt. It was warm enough for summer clothes and sandals.  Leggings at night.


Sewing - thread overlocker for next top.

Wednesday 18th May: 

Milder, 23-24.

Actitivities - Doctor's appointment, Chores, Pack for trip to Sydney in PM - mostly black basics so I don't have to think too much. It might be drab and boring, but it works. then The Problem contacted us.

I'm looking quite fatigued and careworn, - it's been a busy week, and I am getting a cold.

Wearing for the drive:  Me Made Trousers - Stretch cotton sateen tailored pants:


We were late leaving after dealing with The Problem by phone for 1.5 hours, so instead of going out to a casual place around Circular Quay, we had to eat in at the Royal Automobile Club. This is a conservative and formal place where dress codes apply, so I quickly put on tights and a ponte skirt.  I also combed my hair :).  This is a refashion from a dress I never wore.


I'm a master of the two minute change, which is why I take interchangeable black basics!

Thursday 19th May:


Day in Sydney shopping - my husband needed new shoes, and I paid a visit to Lincraft and stocked up on black buttons.

The we had dinner booked at the Fish Cafe at the Rocks. This is a fairly casual place, and we walk there from the Club.  It was cool, so I put on a little Me Made Scarf and a Me Made Polar Fleece Jacket.  Pants are RTW:




Friday 20th May:

Drive back home, with a quick visit to The Remnant Warehouse first :)

I wore the same Me Made Pants for the drive back home.  Plus my cardigan and necklaces. Different, as in clean,  t-shirt of course.


Saturday 21st May:

Quiet day today, I am quite tired, because both of us caught a cold a few days ago.  Just catching up with washing and grocery shopping and things like that.

It's still quite mild during the day, and I tend to peel layers off.  Wearing my new Me Made Top over a t-shirt and RTW ponte pants:


Yes, the top is new - I will give you the details in a future  blog post...And it did get peeled off late morning when it was warmer :).

Sewing - start sewing new top.

Sunday 22nd May:

Same again....it's usually a short day after a quiet start to the day.  I did put on a clean t-shirt under the blue top though...  A

Sewing: Finish new top.


Phew, another week done. As you can see, I revert to black basics when I have to pack quickly for a day or so away.  But I am trying to make some more colourful tops as they do look more interesting and certainly the right colours flatter nicely.  And, I do get a lot of things made, but by the frustrating route of little and often - I would rather nice solid blocks of time.

Downhill run now - more picture boards next week - I'll be away for a few days, so I think it will be more of my black basics...

Take care everyone,

Sarah Liz