Saturday, April 25, 2015

Into the Eye of the Storm

This week I returned from Residential School and was greeted by a fierce storm.  Power went out about 0200 on Monday night.    I awoke on Tuesday to the fury of very fierce winds and rain.  Our intrepid receptionist had gone to work as her power was out and she knew the hospital where the rooms are situated would have emergency generator power - she wanted her coffee!  That was wonderful, because she cancelled all the patients.  I asked her to go home early while it was still daylight. Luckily I have a gas cook top, so I could cook and boil water.

Then  I noticed the drip and hastily put a container under it:

The drip seemed quite large:

 So, as DH was at home, all patients cancelled, we went into the roof space to see what the problem was:

As you can see from the light, two slate tiles have come out.

We put a large container under the hole.  Later that night we bucketed it out - no fun for DH who had to bend double in that part of the rood.  I had to stand on the roof ladder and take the bucket and empty it, and then hand it back.

There was also a small leak over my cutting table:

I was sure that things would settle down the next day. DH had to go and see some hospital patients, even though the roads were awful.  To take my mind off things (and to distract myself from worrying about John) I decided to cut out a garment by torchlight:

  I felt sure the power would go on that night, because it had been out for so long by then.   I wanted to start sewing it after study the next 

The next day the power was still off.   I thought it had to go on in a few hours, but no.  It was still raining, so we needed to drain the tub sitting in the roof space.  DH had a stroke of genius and syphoned the water out of the tub - an awful job, as he crawled on the roof timbers, and as you would know, close to the eaves, there is no room to even kneel.  He poked the tube through the eaves:

And drained the tub.  Amazing what a Consultant Physician can do - I said you put in a chest drain.  He said  yes, an underwater seal drain ( I remember making them years ago).   The idea was that we could syphon the water out if need be, because we had not yet had a tarpaulin placed on the roof.  We had reported the damage to the insurance company, but it was going to be a couple of days before the tarpaulin arrived.

Which it did (after me reminding the insurance company that there would be more damage as we could not keep going into the roof space twenty four hours a day to drain water), the tarpaulin arrived on Friday morning:

So now we have a bright blue cover on the roof!  

Apparently we had a Category 2 Cyclone (not the Tropical sort).  So no wonder we were a bit blown around.

In the park opposite my house.
Unfortunately, this has interfered with study plans - I could not do any this week, and there will be a lot of work in dealing with insurance and so on next week and for some time after - plus the repairs - plus the added stress.  So I will withdraw from one subject - it is important to do this, because I need to keep my GPA up.  The University sent out emails last night saying they would support these decisions, which is good to know. 

I am just grateful that we are fine here in Newcastle- towns inland in Hunter Valley fared badly with floods and houses washed away, and I think 7 deaths.  I feel for them.

After the tarpaulin went on, I decided a little stress stashing was in order.  Spotlight is selling Vogue patterns for $10.00 at the moment - normally about $28.00 here, so I added to the collection:

So, that was the week that was - hopefully we won't have a repeat next week and I can get on with some sewing.

Hoping you all had better sewing weeks :)

Sarah Liz

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Vogue 8793. A Trial Run T-Shirt.

Somehow this week I managed to put together this little t-shirt top thing-ey.  I had a piece of very, very, very stretchy knit that I was not sure what to do with. And I wanted to see what this top made up like. I like it and think it can have many uses.  But first I wanted to trial it before getting to excited about it :)

The pattern I used is Vogue8793, a Katherine Tilton design.

As you can see, it is quite loose around the middle in the top photographs.  When I looked at the pattern shapes this was confirmed. I cut size S,  but reduced the tummy area by 3 cms on both  front and back pieces, especially as I was using a very stretch knit.  I also did not want zips in the collars, or a double collar, so I settled on just the main collar, which is cut on grain.  This means it doesn't stretch much, so stabilizing the rather large neck hole. I also decided to use a piece of leftover stable knit as one of the layers of the collar as the knit I was using was very stretchy in both directions and therefor not stabilize the neckline.

And when I say the knit was stretch, I  mean stretchy:

Across the stretch (width) un-stretched

Across the stretch (width)  stretched

Down the length, the grain, un-stretched

Down the length, the grain, stretched.

This was nice to sew but I knew it would be dreadful to hem.  Which it was.  I sampled a variety of hems - plain with no fusible interfacing.  Another tape which just distorted the hem too much.  In the end I settled for a glue type - iron on, peel off the paper, fold fabric over type. Supposedly light weight and suitable for chiffon.   Called Heat'n Bond, Lite - I got it from Spotlight.

I don't think I would use it with chiffon - it added a lot of weight and thickness to the hem of my garment:

And it ripples.  I think with ironing the tape on, some of the rib was flattened.  Anyway, I decided to live with the end result.

The cuffs of the sleeves were made in the stable knit - I trialed the main fabric, but it just did not co-operate and stretched all through the seam - it was more distorted and rippled than the hem!

The neckline I like:

Here you can see the two layers - the contrast inner layer was the stable knit.  I also top-stitched the seam line around the neck.  The layers show anyway, so I thought I would make a feature of them.   I also made a slight mess of the overlocking at the back of the neck, so I covered that with a lace strip.

Now for the main frieze of photos, the usual front, side and back:

I'm coming to terms with the rippled hem, sort of peplum-ey.

Just as well hi-low hems are in!

Small back wrinkles.

I have not yet altered knits for my shape.  I need to lengthen the front and shorten the back above the waist.  I have only recently seen this alteration described in an old McCall's sewing book I saw in a second hand shop.  It was the alteration for the ideal figure, which I have never considered I have! 

I also wouldn't have attempted alterations and a good fit with this knit.

But look at the picture of the model again:

Loose around the hip line.  Rises up at the front and if you look at the bottom right picture, longer at the back and she is trying to make it look fitted.  Look at her hand placement.

So I have decided to do a model pose:

There, looking better already.  I should have put my hands around my middle and then the t-shirt would look perfect!

Wishing you all the best,

Sarah Liz

P.S.  I am at Residential School this week (flying out later this morning!) so I may not be able to answer your comments or comment so easily on your blogs.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

A Shirt in Haste

Somehow this week I have nearly completed two assignments (one to rework, one to just edit and send upline and made this shirt  this week- rather in haste at night, so my technique is not the best.  And my technique is never up to best with knits in any case - I'm still getting the hang of them.

 Image result for mccalls 7018

Line Drawing
I decided to use a stable knit for this shirt as it had details that are shirt-like, if that makes sense, and knits and I are not friends at the best of time, so I thought it would be a good idea to make this in something that wasn't going to give me too hard a time.

The fabric used is a combed cotton, from Spotlight.  It's warm and cosy.

The first thing I did was to make a muslin:

The shirt was far too long, so I removed 1 and 3/4 inches. The sleeves were too long as well, so I shortened them 1 1/4 inches over two L/S lines on the sleeve pattern piece.

The shoulders were too wide:

So I altered this area of the pattern and removed half an inch.

I didn't like the feel of the yoke across my back, so I joined the yoke piece to the back of the shirt - in short, I removed it.  The shirt was too long, so I removed 1 and 3/4 inches and then thought the curve was both too long and too extreme, so I shortened and reshaped that as well.

Then I cut the shirt.  I thought it would be an easy sew, but the first thing it did was misbehave.  My two front pieces, carefully cut on the grain, and I checked that the knit really was straight, decided to curve in a 30 degree bend.  Lots of pulling and tugging later, and I had them straight.  Then I recut the neck area.  Strangely, it seems to  sit nicely now I have finished it, but at first I thought I had an instant wadder.

The only other alteration I made was to raise the top buttonhole, and to use 5 buttons instead of 4.  It looks better.  I thought I would have a real problem making the buttonholes, but they turned out perfectly - and I didn't even need a stabilizer.  I can't easily show you because the flash washes out any detail on white.

Okay, now the views:

You can clearly see my more gently curved shirt tail in the photo above - which is a more classic length, or so I like to think, in any case.  And I can cover it with a longer cardigan.

Okay, so this is my shirt made in haste -far from perfect - but, made in haste, won't go to waste.  I know I will wear this a lot this winter, imperfections and all.

I'll take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy and Blessed Easter.

Take Care, wherever you are,

Sarah Liz

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

March review.


No, I have not disappeared into the dark nether regions of the blogosphere, never to be heard or seen again.  It's just that I haven't posted for the last two weeks because I have been so busy  sewing   studying hard.    There is a lot of writing we have to submit early next week.  I have made two things, and of course, my usual sewing substitute when studying, stashing on the side.


A piece of knit, and a lovely wool/polyester blend tweed.
Poplin, for when I next need to make DH a nightshirt.
Polyester ponte and ?acrylic rib knit from Op Shop.
Stashed: 1 metre of cotton, nylon/ Spandex knit
2 metres of black and white tweed
2.5 metres of polyester knit from op shop
2 metres  of polyester ponte weight knit, op ship

8 metres of nightshirt fabric for replacements, DH. This doesn't really count as it is not for me!

Purchased and used - 2 meters of fleecy
Used from stash - 2.1 of poly/nylon rib (jacket) 

So, the stash has increased again! by 3.5 metres approximately.
I only purchased one pattern, and that is to replace one that has been cut and not able to be easily re-used.  No Burda Magazines, no PDF's. I have been quite restrained  virtuously studying.

I've converted this pattern

to this jacket, first made as a wearable muslin in a polyester-nylon rib knit fabric. 

And a second version in a tracksuit fleece, polyester and cotton.  Warm and snuggly.

And I have also started work on this shirt.  I hope to have a post about this in a few days time:

A very hasty post, a very quick review of the month, now back to study.  Groan.  Still, the semester will be over in a few months, and then I will be having a holiday in the second half of the year.  Well deserved,   after all the hassle of sorting out  problems with  DH's practice in the last two years.  Who would have thought my early training would have come back to help and haunt me at this stage in life!    More later :)

I hope you are all happy and sewing,

Sarah Liz

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Butterick 5926 Jacket - The Fleecy Version

It's done - I have finally made the planned fleece jacket.  It was a little hard going as I have not sewn sweatshirt fleece before (tracksuit fleece) and I did not know it's little ways.  Plus I came down with the most awful head cold.  That's why I have cut my face out of the picture - I have a red nose, and then underneath that, a large cold sore that erupted.  Normally I am quite relaxed about photos, but even I have limits!.

Anyway, back to the jacket.  The pattern is Butterick 5926, designed for knit fabrics:


I made the test version immediately prior to this one and have blogged about the process and any pattern alterations here, if you are interested in finding out about this.

I made this version out of polycotton sweatshirt (tracksuit) fleece, purchased from Spotlight.

I cut just a smidge more on the jacket side and sleeve seams as I thought the turn of cloth may take up a bit of room.  I did not want a tight jacket as I may wear it over cardigans and sweaters.

The fabric  seemed to have about the same amount of stretch as the fabric in my test version, but did in fact have just a bit more give.  I also found it very bouncy to sew.  I was a little worried about how the collar would sit, but with top stitching all the layers were forced into place quite well:

(Hmm, I didn't hang the jacket on the coat hanger straight!  In fact, things do line up properly.  I always check lapel lengths and collar lengths and turns each step of the way, so that there are no hidden surprises like a the front edges being vastly different lengths).

I also stitched the top edge of the pocket down.  The pattern just has this folded over, which worked with last weeks version, but was not going to stay put in fleece.  I stabilised the edge with a strip of interfacing first:

The hem cause me some grief - I overlocked it and then stitched it in place, but it was terribly stretched and distorted.  Out with the stitch unpicker...

I undid it and resorted to cheating.  Yes, Sarah Liz used a product.  I find this almost tantamount to taking an easy shortcut, given that I have had to learn how to do things without such things and believe that to be the hallmark of good sewing!

I used a lightweight fusible something that is quite cobwebby and sticks edges together.   It still seems to have a bit of give, but the fabric is stable when it is sewn.  I am not sure what the equivalent is overseas (I'm in Australia) but this is what I used:

And the finished hem lies flat:

I also used a bit of stretch lace on the edge, just to make things look a little nicer along the hem edge.

My overlocker seems to balk at thick layers, and it did not want to co-operate with overlocking the sleeve/armscye edges, so I bound them with lace, so that they looked finished:

And button, again, the button and snap trick:

(On the jacket that was not lined up properly on the hanger and so looks uneven at the hem.  Not so in real life when adjusted correctly).

(That's the sort of inattention to detail that happens when recovering from a head cold!).

I did find that the jacket stretched a little across the back/neck, so the shoulders are just a little over the edge of my shoulders.  Next time I will work out a way to stabilise the neck in this jacket - which is unfaced at the back. Maybe I'll cut the undercollar on the non stretchy direction.  I'll figure out a way...

But as my DH says, this is an unstructured jacket, and just what I want for a smart casual throw on thing that can take some punishment.

Okay, pictures now - I've taken care to not quite show my face in most of these, due to the huge red thing that is not very photogenic :).  I'm probably exaggerating, but you probably all know how I feel...

 And, finally just to show you that the jacket does line up - I'm standing at a slight angle in this headless shot:

So that's it for this week.  I'm not sure what next weeks sewing plans are - I got a bit behind with study this week due to the under the weather effect, so I will have to catch up.  I'll see what happens.

For now, all the best to you all, wherever you are in the world.

Sarah Liz