Saturday, October 10, 2015

I finally got something made :)

I am not quite sure how I did it, but I managed to sit down and sew again this week.  I chose a simple pattern that has been on my list for some time.  Butterick 5044.

Line Drawing

You can't really see clearly from the image, but these pants have no side seams.  Front and back leg are cut in one piece.  And the waistband is cut on - you just fold it over and insert the elastic.   Which makes for quick and easy sewing for when you are a bit out of practice - and it doesn't take me long to get out of practice.

I was highly sceptical that these pants would actually work and look good, although it has had good reviews.  But look - they do work....

These are fantastic, fun, casual pants.  I cut size small, length D (cropped)  and did not make any alterations to the main pattern piece-everything was fine, including the rise and shape of the crotch.  The pants sit at the waist as my following picture shows:

I used a cheap calico from Spotlight, as these pants are just for getting back into sewing and intended to be worn as house pants.    I like them though, and can see variations in nice fabric for wearing out and about.    And I don't mind calico for white garments that are trials - poor man's linen, is what I happily say to myself :)

I did use the patch part of the pocket on view C - but moved the patch up to hip level instead of lower down the leg - which I would find irritating, because you would have to bend to the side every time you wanted to put or pull out a tissue from the pocket - which for me, is hundreds of times a day as I have hay fever/allergic rhinitis.  And, they are situated over the side of the pants, half to the front and half to the back, which I love.

I finished the casing by turning it under - I am a bit fussy with how I finish seams with white garments, as everything shows.  

(I use a bit of ribbon to mark the back - this is a nice bit salvaged from a Tessuti fabric parcel.  Just right for jobs like this :).  My overlocking is a bit woeful though - the eye/hand/machine co-ordination is not quite back yet.  Still, that's inside and no worse than some RTW.  And I got practice, which I need at the moment.

And the hems were just overlocked and turned up:

Now of course I am not going to wear these with a  black t-shirt tucked in - I always wear shirts outside, as I don't have one of those nipped in waists, and I am short-waisted to boot.  So, this is more what they will look like on me:

Aren't they nice?  I can see many more of these in my future, whenever I want a quick, easy, casual pant.

That's it for now, off to get some more practice....

Sarah Liz

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Reviewing the Stash...

Having discarded a few clothes last week that did not work for me, it was time to review the stash.  Mostly the fabrics work for me, but the aqua piece above certainly does not - very much the wrong colour and the wrong sort of rounded pattern for my shape.  I have a mid contrast soft, cool, muted colouring, and this is very bright and clear.

I even attempted to make something of it.  I thought it might do for a hot weather throw on dress, but it just looked seriously awful - which is what happens when you attempt to use fabric that is just not right for you.

Of course, I fell into the trap of buying it because it was very cheap.  How many of us do that I wonder?

But because it was also cheap, it was also easy to get rid of it and move on.

Mind you, buying fabrics because they are cheap, if you do purchase the wrong colour and/or pattern often enough is going to get very expensive...

Because you are not going to like the results.

Whatever you do.

Better to use it for making a muslin to test the fit of a garment or to give it a way ...

I think I can use most of the rest of my stash - much is not in the right colour, but mostly still in the cool range, so I will manage, I think.  I will just have to spend time thinking through how best to make it work.

Some of you probably have similar problems, and may even make up your stash and not like the result.  I always try and get some idea of what a garment might look like by holding up the fabric and seeing what it looks like - sometimes I think I will make a blouse out of something, and the fabric just says no, it wants to be pants.

I've also been tidying up my threads - they are now in large 400gm Moccona Coffee Jars on a mantlepiece:

And now have dedicated containers for things like interfacings, elastics, and things of that sort:

Which now means there is more room elsewhere to store other bits and pieces like lace, binding, tapes and so on:

Sorry about the poor light - I took the last two photos last night and probably should have turned on more lights.  Still, like you, I'm just an ordinary sewer and that is what I am interested in...

Well, I'm starting to perk up again, and may even get a simple garment sewn tomorrow - I have caught up on all the main post holiday things that pile up, so am looking forward to a nice sewing day.

And The Remnant Warehouse has a sale tomorrow for online orders only - so you know what I am also going to do.  Tossing out one piece of cheap fabric that did not work for me  means it needs replacing...probably by much more that one piece :) pieces that do work for me.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

July-September Review, and a Wardrobe Tidy Up

Today I am not going to write in my usual blog style at all - I have had one of those weeks were I have been tired and lacklustre, and not feeling like sewing at all.  This is rare for me, I can usually force myself to sew even if I am tired.  

So, what I will do today is just quickly recap my makes from July to September.  And tell you about my wardrobe toss out and tidy up.  This may be boring to most of you who have already seen these garments, or are not interested in what I toss and keep, but it sort of provides some sort of continuity for me, as one of my behind the scenes goals was to record what I had made every month, what works and what doesnt.  That has not happened as well as I would like on the blog, but perhaps in October...!

And for once, I will not be posting lots of pictures in my July to September recap.   Most of you have seen them anyway, and for those new to my blog, I will be linking back to my gallery so you can have a look see there, if you want.


You will find these in the Gallery, if you want to see them:  click here.

I schedule posted most of the August-September  makes during this period as I was away.  I also managed to make some  Infinity scarves (worn nearly every day while I was travelling)  and knitted a few neck warmers as well.

I have had a request for a tutorial for how to make an infinity scarf.  When I have a little less to do, I will try  do this - probably over the Xmas period, when I have some time off.

So, this week I went through my wardrobe.  I haven't done this for a few years, because life went in a different direction and I was quite pre-occupied.  But I really could not fit any more into the my wardrobes or drawers, and I want to make a few more things yet. So something had to give.

And Give I did.  I found some RTW clothes that have never been worn, never will be worn, and won't be worn ( guess who learnt to conjugate Latin verbs as a child - that was quite good fun).  

So off the the Op Shop they went....

And into the bin or into the duster or muslin making pile went old lingerie and t-shirts. 

Then I had to consider my Me Made garments - not so easy, because you are more emotionally attached to them.  But out went:

Skirt, made in 2013, and which I loved, but I had worn to death, and it was really very tatty...

 My slim leg pants, also made in 2013. made from a larger size of a leggings pattern (gosh, I'm glad I got my hair cut).   I wore these to death too, until I got really tired of them.  Patterns like this are not me, but I did enjoy these and needed the fun aspect in my life then: 

And my stretch twill pants, which I also made in 2013.  While I loved these, they just did not really go with anything.  They also wore me, and I felt quite uncomfortable.  So, after a lot of soul searching, they went.  Not to the Op Shop, I would have been quite upset seeing them on someone else, because I was more attached to these - I learnt a lot, and found the pattern that worked for me for basic elastic waist stretch pants.  And they were too cool to wear in winter, and too warm in the warmer season: 

I also got rid of my white damask pants, made in 2014.  I enjoyed making them, but again, the fabric is too thick for warmer spring days, so I just wasn't wearing them.  I have learnt a little more what fabrics are comfortable to wear in the seasons here.  Still, this is how one learns:

And some hard thinking here - these pants are a great weight for summer, but I just felt frumpy and awful in them.  I think they are just too reminiscent of the first time chambray denim was in, and they just weren't working for me.   I would force myself to wear them, because, you know, I had made them, waste not, want not, and all those other phrases those of us who grew up back then are familiar with.  They look nice in the picture, but the reality was I wasn't happy in them.  Both the damask and the chambray did go to the Op Shop.

While I do like the pants, I think a white pair in linen would be better - and a navy pair, or at the very least, a darker denim.  I am learning my style is very classic, and the white damask are a little less classic, and the chambray a little bit too casual. Mind you, I do like some casual clothes, it just depends... 

That was the end of the Me Made toss out - there is more to go, but that can wait.  Winter things - and I know what happens if you toss before you have made the replacement - the cupboard is bare.  I have made a list though, so I know what to make.

And I also tossed bits and pieces of make up that didn't get used, or I didn't like.

So now I am ready for some spring and summer sewing - and I have some space in my wardrobe for my new garments.

What about you? Do you have trouble throwing out your Me Made Garments?  Or can you say, this does not suit me, extract the lesson, and move on?

Looking forward to your thoughts...

Sarah Liz.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Feeling Blue X 2, Butterick 3383.

It's time to start sewing again after my protracted absence (I traveled abroad for 6 weeks).  I find that whenever I have had a break from sewing, my first few attempts when I restart are a little woeful.  But you just have to start and get back past this stage and get the brain rewired and thinking about sewing again. 

I made sure that I had a couple of simple tops cut out before I went away, because I am even worse at cutting than sewing when restarting.

I wanted a couple of really loose cotton tee tops for summer.  We have a really hot and humid climate, and you just don't want anything to cling.   And boxy tops are really in at the moment - and with Butterick 3383 in my stash, now was a good time to pull it out.

I used a  fine blue cotton jersey  which was in my stash,  purchased from The Remnant Warehouse's online store.

The top does not have bust darts, so I would not make this in a woven - unless it had some sort of give in it, like cheesecloth. I don't like woven tops that have no darts.  But I have no problem using this pattern with a knit fabric.

I cut view C, the shorter length with sleeves,  in size XS.  This gives a finished bust measurement of 38 inches, which is much larger than my bust.  But I wanted loose and boxy, so I decided this was the right size for me to use to achieve my goal. 

I knew the neckline would just slide over to and down my shoulders, so I altered the neckline and faced it - I think the Butterick pattern used a binding,  which I did not want.    I knew what I wanted to do, the pattern was just the base for the idea. I also shortened by half an inch along the L/S line as I am petite. 

As I am short on time today (and just like the tops, feeling a bit blue with  having done a squillion and one jobs since I have returned, with quite a few more still waiting) -  I shall just post pictures of the garment:

Front - and I told you it was loose and boxy.... Design objective achieved: 

Side view - which I quite like :

Back (and I really must learn to straighten things before I take a photo:

A very quick and easy sew, loose and cool and boxy and comfortable to wear when summer comes:

And, I had just enough fabric to make two:

These are not the most perfect tops I have made, but I don't let perfection get in the way of the start up practice I need again.  They are wearable and do just the job I want them to do and I got some sewing practice.  So I call that a really great outcome.

Now to go and tackle something else and keep the practice flowing.

Until later, please take care and good luck with your sewing,

Sarah Liz

Friday, September 18, 2015

Back from Six Weeks (Yes, 6!) Abroad.

Before I begin to tell you my news, I would like to thank you all for your lovely comments on my blog posts of the last six or seven weeks.

All these posts were scheduled and the sewing down by the end of July - because I was going away during August and the early-ish part of September  A long way away, the other side of the world.  And I really did not want to advertise that this was the case, because not everyone on the internet is one of my sewing friends and some people are a little on the creepy side.  Enough said, that is not us.  I did let a few of you know, in case you wondered why I was not commenting on your blogs.

Regarding commenting on your blogs - I think I  have caught up with most of you this week. I was wanting to while away, but a combination of poor wi-fi in places and a tablet that refused to comment on blogs was not helpful! 

Back to my news, DH and I visited England, Paris, Poland and Prague.  And this week I have been tackled by the lurgy (which I caught last week in Prague, but I think it is everywhere), and the paperwork and washing and shopping.  Which in turn, I have tackled.  Maybe tomorrow I can start sewing again :).

In the meantime, many of you are probably already familiar with the image at the start of this blog post.  If not, let me introduce you - this is the famous Liberty store in London.  Home to all the fabulous Liberty lawns, and other fabrics, and all sorts of delightful things.  I'll tell you more about this store later.

In the meantime, I shall just share pictures of my purchases of the lovely Liberty cotton lawn. And only one is for me - the other two are for my sister and mother respectively.

For my mother

For my sister

And for me :)
Next week I plan to have a simple top sewn - it was cut out before I went away, because I know that it is hard to get back into the swing of things post jet lag.  So I always ease back in with simple sewing.

And some of you are wanting to know more about my travels, so I shall post every few days to show you a little about  my time away.

It's good to be back and communicating with you all again :)

Bye for now, Sarah Liz

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Looking frazzled in my new work pants - Kwik Sew 2960 again.

These trousers took me a total of five hours, and that was not pushing myself, to make - cutting, sewing and hand sewing the hems.  And then I wore them straight away :).  They are made out of stretch bengaline - a mix of 72% viscose, 24% nylon, and 6% elastane.   I purchased it at Spotlight, on a half price sale, so the total fabric cost for these trousers was $11-03.  Plus elastic, thread, serger thread - say $16- $17 dollars.  And they fit and are very comfortable to wear.  Better than RTW - and the cheapest I can purchase is $49.95 plus postage of $9.95.  And the RTW version  does not fit well, and always needs the hem to be taken up. Give me five hours of leisurely sewing from cut to finish in preference any day:).

I used Kwik Sew 2960 again- you will find all my previous posts here. Now up to 9 pairs of pants from this pattern.

This is the pattern envelope - I used version C, but eliminated the zip and added elastic at the waist - so the waistband became my elastic casing.  I also raised both the front and back rise.  I used size XS from hips down and S at high hips/waist.  There are back darts.


There isn't really much to say except I think these look better than my RTW work pants.  I'll show you these first and then post my RTW work pants for comparison.

( I think my me-made t-shirts look better than this old RTW one as well - certainly not as much riding up into the middle of the back).

RTW Bengaline Pants

Me Made Bengaline Pants.

My home sewn trousers looks as good as the RTW ones, in fact, slightly better fitted around the hips and bottom.  

I'm looking rather frazzled in these pictures - I literally had just finished the pants, and then dashed to the office to do some paperwork, then home to do some housework, and then some packing for going away. So my hair is all over the place, and I quickly decided to take these pictures and post them for today - the day that I am due back from a holiday. In fact, the last few posts were scheduled :).  So in a few days, when the jet lag is past it's worst, and unpacking done, the washing attended and the mail sorted, I'll tell you about it.  And get back to some sewing, which I can't wait to do :).

And I can't wait to catch up with all you have been doing as well.

Bye for now,

Sarah Liz :)

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Refashioned Top....

I made a little black and white t-shirt two years ago. It was one of my early forays into sewing with knits, and I really did not like the stitching inside the neckband - it was a little untidy.  I never felt happy every time I looked at the inside of that band.   And so the top languished.  The other problem was that it looked too much like the RTW styles that have been popular over the last few years.  And this is not a RTW top, but a Sarah Liz Sew Style top.  And, it was a very nice Japanese knit fabric, so it is a shame not to wear it.  So, I decided to refashion the top into a more stylish (I hope) and original looking garment.

This was the original top, also blogged here.

I had a small piece left over, which I had made into a twist scarf, and very rarely ever wore:


I carefully unpicked the neckband on the top and took the scarf to pieces.  I cut a collar from the scarf piece.  I thought about making a cowl collar, but you need crosswise stretch for these, and my small leftover piece was cut along the grainline and had very little stretch.  So I played with the piece, and decided that a loose collar shape would sit well, go over my head (essential) and generally work. It did:

And the sewing along the neckline looks nice and neat.  Blissful sewing happiness regarding both style and finish :).

(Actually, I'm rather taken with this lovely, soft, collar...)

And, best of all, I like wearing this top now:

I think the collar gives a smart touch to this othewise very relaxed top.  And an hour or so of sewing has changed this top from unloved and unworn to a smart, casual top for all sorts of wearing occasions.

That's what I like about sewing :) - the opportunity to create garments you love to wear.

Sending you my thoughts and best wishes,

Sarah Liz :)