Sewing and Style

A blog for anyone interested in sewing their own clothes and creating a sense of personal style...


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Two horrible days and then some sewing :)


Hello everyone,

What a funny week I had.  Despite best laid plans, things went a little haywire.  Especially Friday and Saturday.  We had a open book exam that was scheduled on Friday,  -3000 words total over 5 topics.  The questions were available for downloading at 0900 on Friday.

Guess what?  Our phone line went down on Thursday, which meant our internet connection was also down.  I managed to get onto the university website on my mobile phone so I thought I would sort of manage with that.  On Friday, could I use my phone to get onto the website to download the questions?  Of course not - I kept trying, but to no avail.  Would the wireless dongle that my husband installed late Thursday night work on Friday?  Of course not. And apparently the sim card for my tablet was out of date!

Okay, next step - ring the lecturer.  He said he would fax the questions if I had a fax available.  Well, I did, half an hour drive away.  So of I went  to get the questions, and then back to draft the best part of 4.5 questions.

With a sinus headache!

Then yesterday, I edited, added references, in text references, and so on.  Meanwhile, DH organised a wireless modem, and rigged that up. Success, and I could upload the paper at the end of the day and then enjoy some sausages for dinner!  Already planned as they are simple to cook :)

So today I rewarded myself with some sewing - I really needed the therapy :)

And made another cotton top:



Next week I'll wear it for you and take a photo.  I love it, so I think I'll make a second.  White tops are always handy to have.

Now I must go and see what you have all been up to.....

Bye for now,

Sarah Liz :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

You win some, you lose some...



I'm in the middle of the next batch of assignments, and decided to distract myself by shrinking a piece of fabric that has been in the stash for twelve months.  It is the check fabric shown above.  It's cotton so should be pre -shrunk.

So I dutifully dunked it in hot water.  Big mistake.  The red dye is not colourfast.  So I now have a plaid with pink patches on it.   It probably was not meant to be washed in hot water, but I am afraid Spotlight always manages to detach any price or care label from it's fabrics, at least in my local store. So I had no idea of the care needed and just followed general principles.   This year I have ruined 3 Spotlight fabrics this way.  So in future I shall not buy any high contrast fabrics that may bleed in hot water.  I know I can wash in cold, but one day a mistake would happen and shrinkage and dye run occur.

I'm glad I found out now.  Luckily I only bought a metre, so no great loss.  This piece will now go into my pile of stash that gets used for muslins.

*****

My next distraction was a walk to Spotlight - mainly for exercise, and also to purchase a reel of thread.  While I was there I found that they had a new job lot in - and there was a piece of 60 wool/40 poly twill in a lovely cool red colour.  This colour has been on my to buy one day list for ages.  So I bought 2 metres - and at $5.00 a metre, I think this offsets my fabric shrinking mishaps  this year nicely.

In fact, I think I won more than I lost :) 

Sarah Liz :)


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Seeing double ...

This is the dress I made this week - in between reading bits and pieces that have to be read before next week (and I am still going on that task - I will be glad when the semester is over.  Commiserations to those of you who have gone back recently!).

I made version one of this dress, in the same sort of fabric but with a teal stripe instead of blue, last week - you can find it :  here.

My pattern review can be found at sewing pattern review :  here.

The pattern I used, for those of you who prefer the information without clicking on  a link, is Burda 7066.

 

I used a cotton furnishing fabric that I purchased at Spotlight, which was much cheaper than cottons designated for clothes.  And Spotlight has an atrocious range anyway - fine if you want cheap, cheerful, retro or any other look I don't want, so this fabric sort of was the only thing that was closer to being something I liked.  Of course, sometimes Spotlight surprises me and brings in fabrics that are more to my taste.  Spotlight knows how to intermittently reinforce my behaviours in a way that keeps me going back :)

 I wanted the dress to be a simple slip on thing to wear around the house, but I have to admit, with the belt on it works for going out on errands as well.  In fact, I like it a lot :).

The dress is effectively just a big A-Line tent like thing, with the only shaping being bust darts.  I added pockets:


I added a button to the front of the V neckline - as you can see, the stripes are squiffy, and don't quite make a neat statement at the V point of the neck.  A button solves this problem nicely.

I also tend to top-stitch seams for added definition in something as casual as this.  Top-stitching also helps to hold the seam just where I want it.


The sleeves are flat set in and the side seams stitch in one.  I also top-stitch the armhole seams:

The dress has splits at the bottom of the side seams, to allow room for movement.  I always add a button at the top of these sorts of seams (and I reinforce the seam first with a bit of scrap interfacing).   The twin needle look hem is not done by twin needles at all, but by me - I go around twice - my old machine can't take twin needles, and in any case, it is a fast and effective machine.


Now the shots with the belt, front, side and back:




I must have taken my mother's maxim one to wash, and one to wear very seriously:


So that's it, two new dresses ready for summer (if it ever comes - it's been pouring with rain for days and days where I live).

Back to reading now, and then some enjoyment this evening - reading your blogs :)

Take care everyone,

Sarah Liz :) 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Summertime and the Living is Easy


 Here is this weeks garment - a loose dress for wearing around the house on hot summer nights when you just want something big and baggy to throw on after a shower.  I used Burda 7066:


This is a loose A-Line dress that you just pull on over the head - simple and straightforward sewing.  Even though the dress is not much more than a simple bag, I did make a calico to see how the neckline sat as it looked quite wide and deep on the pattern envelope (I made view B).

I used a furnishing cotton from Spotlight, which is not high quality, but works well for these simple garments.  It's not heavy weight, just a nice lightweight cotton with a bit of body (mostly from the screen printed stripes).

Not a pretty sight, but here is is:


Not very inspirational is it?  A piece of old sheet never looks very elegant.  But it does tell me that the sleeve length is fine as I cut them the finished length, the waist position is fine, and the neck is fine as it is.  However, don't forget there is a seam allowance attached, so if it is fine as it is, it needs a seam allowance extra added, if that makes sense!  As for length, this was the length of the leftover piece of sheet, and not the planned length.

I altered the pattern then by adding 5/8 inch (1.5 cm) to the neck edge, and adding length to the hem.  Luckily this was a multi-sized pattern to size 24 - I just drew the size 24 hemline as my hemline.  I don't always measure, preferring often to work by sight.  I also added pockets in the side seams.  I did not add belt loops, as I prefer to sit my belt where I feel like it should sit on the day.

For those of you wanting to make this dress, the arms are quite slim - so if you are larger in the arm than me, do make sure the pattern piece fits you.

Now let's look at the bag- whoops,  I mean smart house dress:


As I said, nice and cool and roomy.  The hemline is even, I am just standing with my right shoulder a little down in this picture.

The next picture  shows you the roomy A-Line shape and the pocket placements:


A side view- there are slits at the sides of the dress for movement (complete with my signature button):


 And the back view:


 The pattern also included a belt, so I made that as well - I thought that would make the dress a bit smarter- it might even get worn to the supermarket:



And the back view with belt:


I think this dress is a great success and has quite a future.  It was an economical make, with the fabric costing $10.99.  The pattern cost $5.00 and was purchased especially for this project.  Add a bit of interfacing, thread and serger thread, so AU $20.00 will well and truly cover this dress.

*****
I did hope to make two of these dresses this week as I am on semester break.  I have, though, neglected lots of things over the last few weeks, so there was some catching up to do, at home and at the practice.  So dress #2 will happen next week.

  I also decided it was time to start the style transition that I talked about some posts back.  So now I have a smart little bob - there is still some growing out of layers to do, especially at the front, but I think this cut suits me nicely.  I feel more like me, so I think that is a good indication that I am on the right track :)
To everyone, I hope you are happy and healthy, take care,

Sarah Liz :)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Holiday Time Top, Burda 7079 #2

I quickly made this top yesterday, after finishing Assignment #2. (Hooray!)  It's another version of Burda 7079.  My first version can be found here.  

This is the pattern envelope - I used the bodice of dress B as a top pattern - I just added the bottom of top A.
 
For this version, I cut a smaller size - size 36 instead of 38.  This is because for this top I used a much firmer fabric, so in the slightly larger size was going to sit like a box.  The first version was a lot more soft and drapey, so the larger size worked well.  I wouldn't go any smaller - this top has no opening, and if any smaller, I wouldn't be able to pull it on!

I used a cheap furnishing cotton that I purchased from Spotlight.  I frequently check furnishing fabrics "just in case".    It was only AU $4.99 a metre. 

It's a simple quick make - sew back seam, sew shoulders, sew facings, attach facings, attach sleeves (flat), stitch side seams together, hem.

I chose to add a button at the front slit (which was also shortened a little - I'm uncomfortable with very deep front openings). 


I added the button because the fabric has squiggly lines, and doesn't finish symmetrically at the opening - so the button sort of hides that and makes things work.

I'll quickly show you the various views:

Front - lining the pattern up was a challenge!

Side view, which looks quite nice :)


Back view - gorgeously squiffy stripes!

 So that's my little holiday top, because I am in the holiday mood.  Yes, I am on Semester Break , the second assignment has gone:

(P.S.  The total fabric cost was $6.98, so add a bit for thread/interfacing/button so about $10-00)



And so I can catch up on some neglected jobs - and start the next batch of study so it doesn't sneak up on me "undone". (some holiday!)  But I am promising myself a sewing day next week.

In other news, another year has gone, which meant another birthday - and I received this lovely gift:


Fabric Sewing Guide, by Claire Shaeffer.  I've heard it is an excellent book, and it really is quite comprehensive - I think every fabric known is in there.  Some nice evening reading coming up!

Take care everyone, I'm off to do the rounds of your blogs next...

Sarah Liz :)





Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Very Wearable Muslin Top - Burda 7079.

 

 Yesterday I had a sewing afternoon after a week of not feeling well - the usual winter sinus/ear syndrome arrived.  This top was a quick and easy sew and did not need fitting at all, so it was just an easy sewing job - just what I needed :).

I used Burda 7079 and adapted the pattern - I used the bodice hemline from view and the sleeves from view B. View B is a dress, but I preferred the adaptability of a top that can be worn with a variety of other clothes (increasingly me-mades).


I used a piece of black calico that was hiding in my stash.  I like black calico for trial run garments - black always looks smart, and no-one can really tell what the fabric is.  This was a nice soft calico, perfect for this sort of top.

This top has no fasteners of any kind - just the front and back pieces with facings for the neck area. The slit is easy to sew - I use embroidery scissors for clipping into the corners. The front is shaped by bust darts, and the back has a centre seam that is shaped. The sleeves are sewn in flat, and the side seams and sleeved seams sewn in one.    Finish seams and hem edges, hem sleeves and bottom edge, and you are done!  New top in a very short space of time.  The only alteration I made was in shortening the front slit about half an inch.

The top is a very generous size - I made size 38, and the finished bust measurements are 41 3/4 inches (108 cms). The only alteration I made was to shorten the bodice about half an inch (1 cm) along the L/S line.   I like the generous ease  - this will be cool to wear in summer.  And in black, it doesn't look too voluminous - if I made it in white, I would go down a size.

Enough sewing chit-chat, now for the pictures:

As you can see in the photo above,  the top, although generous, is still quite flattering, especially on my shape.


A view of the sleeves - although long, I find the length quite attractive in this top.  I think in some shirts, it would be a downright dowdy length.


The top is nice and generous around the mid section - nothing to cling to the tummy area at all :)

  
 And the back looks nice as well!

I'm wearing the top with another me made garment, a stretch cotton twill straight skirt.  It really needs a petticoat underneath for wearing out of the house, and I usually put one on then - I have neat little petticoats that sit nicely with back splits. But today, for the photo, I forgot!

Tomorrow it is back to writing my assignment again - this one is not bad.  I might even manage to make another one of these tops next week, a little bit each day.  It's so easy to make, and will be the sort of thing you can do a little bit of sewing on when you want a few minutes break.  That's the right sort of sewing to have on hand when you have more pressing demands.

Sarah Liz





Monday, August 11, 2014

A Skirt and an Essay Completed.



 I finally managed to do an hour or so of sewing - a quick and simple elastic waist skirt for wearing when I study.  I like to have something on hand that I don't  have to think about, so I can concentrate on what needs doing.  Doing assignments can be tedious, and I find the best way to tackle them is to just get up and get on with it, and I don't need any excuse to procrastinate.

This is what the last few weeks have been like:


Fun.  By Thursday last week, I was really tired and fed up, so decided a break would do me good - so  I ran up this little skirt.  Just as well, because on Thursday night I think we all found out we had not quite done what we should in the essay, and I spent the weekend working on it.  Anyway, it's finished now :) :) :)

Tomorrow I start the next one!

Anyway, back to the skirt. I used Kwik Sew 3765:


I've made this skirt before in stretch fabrics:

 

The slightly under-dressed look ( I wouldn't normally wear a singlet top)  is just to show you the skirt and how it fits :)

Because the skirt was a stretch woven I cut an XS.

This skirt though, is made in a woven fabric so needs a bit more ease . So I cut S. 

A very unglamorous shot, but I   wanted to show you the top of the skirt.

Most elastic waist skirts are rectangles sewn together at the sides, and then elastic put in at the top.  This skirt is tapered in a bit going into the waist.  When cutting measure, and if it fits your hips, then it will work.  If you have large hips, you might need to add more at the waist.

With less fabric at the waist than most elastic waist skirts, the look is not quite so bulky.


I used to be a real sewing snob, and would never sew elastic waist anything. But elastic waist garments do have a place - sewing basics like this becomes quick and simple.  And very easy to put on, as well .

Now the usual front, back and side views:


I also want to show you the little split at the back.  I always finish the split so it can't split more through the stitching or fabric. Sometimes I put a hook and eye on the back, but often I use buttons - one to anchor the split, and sometimes some decorative ones as well.  That's what I did with this skirt:


As you can see, that split is not going to tear - always the weak point in garments like this, especially if you tend to stride, like I do:)

That's it for today, not sure when I will be able to catch up with you all again - after I have done the next assignment, I think, not before :)

Sarah Liz