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Saturday, October 28, 2017

October Slow Sewing - and What I Found Out.



October  has been a strange sort of month - both on the personal front and the sewing front.   The personal front is not that interesting to write about - just that our transition from a secure contract to full self employment has been a little tedious.  So I settled on a simple hand sewn skirt for the month of October, thinking that slow sewing Alabama Chanin style would sooth my soul.

I found a picture that rather appealed to me as it is geometric.  I happen to like geometric patterns.

NEW SIGNATURE | EVENINGWEAR

The randomness of the shapes I thought would work well with cotton jersey, because it is not easy to cut straight.  Some easy hand stitching, nice and relaxing, and voila, a nice me made Alabama Chanin  inspired skirt.

I notice that my inspiration design had stencilled stripes applied to the background fabric.  So I decided to draw on some stripes with a wax dye crayon. I then ironed them to fix the dye (with of course paper on top of the wax to protect the iron and sop up residue).

Then I set to work stitching on shapes.  A nice cuppa, some hand sewing, should be bliss.

Only it wasn't.  I soon got very, very, bored.  I have always like hand sewing and embroidery, but this was just too basic for me.  However, I thought this was just a mood due to life stresses. So I thought that I should proceed and a stitched  quite a few patches on the front of the skirt:



At this stage I thought I should hold it up and admire my handiwork and think how great this will look as a casual skirt.

So I held it up (in front of a mirror of course, so I could see what it looked like) and tried to like it, I really did.  I tried hard.

Only I did not like it.  I did not like the rustic, first time I have ever attempted hand sewing look.  I know this look works for some people, but I just did not like it.   I think it just looked too handhewn and casual for me.

I thought about this for a while, and decided that yes, I do like the Alabama Chanin  look, but really, I prefer a much more polished look.  I think I would like to revisit a hand worked technique on cotton jersey, but in a much more complex and refined way. I am quite capable of that - beading and lots of work. And to only attempt to do a small amount every day to relax, and not as an activity in itself.    This sort of slow but quick handhewn sewing is just not me.   I like my needlework and embroidery to be detailed and exquisite.  Even if it takes ages to finish.  So I shall revisit the Alabama Chanin techniques outlined  in her book "Studio Sewing and Design" at some future point in time and aim for something a little more detailed.  I also like her takes on  classic garments - things like jackets for instance, that are hand sewn and sometimes embroidered.

I also had to think about my personal style.  I think with sewing, we can get swayed by all the wonderful ideas floating around the sewing community.  And it is good to try a few of them, because you can get stuck in a bit of a sewing and style rut.  But sometimes, we just stray away from our core likes, and forget what really suits us.

And really, what suits me?  I think  at heart I am a classic style type.  And I really should make sure that I stick to a classic base for all my sewing.   I can push the edges, so long as I don't go over the sides in the future!

That's it for now, back with my next mishap story (yes, there is another!) soon...

Sarah Liz


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Back Blogging: The Saved Top, Artwear August.



Hello Everyone,

Yes, I am looking pretty pleased with myself. That's because this little knit top was a save from a garment that I made that I did not really like, and that at the last moment I cut a hole in while trimming back the neckband seam.  Yes, quite accidentally, but deep down I was quite pleased because I would not have to wear a top I did not really like.

The original plan was to make a Marcy Tilton knit top, Butterick 6218:

Image result for butterick 6218


Image result for butterick 6218

This was also my challenge top for " Make a Garment a Month Artwear August ".

(For those of you that don't know, Make a Garment a Month is a monthly sew-a-long that I facilitate both on Facebook and Instagram. ).

I planned to use a leftover piece of black combed cotton jersey, a small piece of purple combed cotton jersey living in the stash, and I purchased a small piece of midnight blue combed cotton jersey ( all combed cotton from Spotlight).

I made the colour block version of the top.  I cut size 8  - and the finished measurements for that were 40 inches bust - in a knit!!!  The neck shape was really strange - a semi circle front and back.  I always make sure the neck fits over my head - and test the band before I sew it on as well.  Let's say it was a firm fit, unlike the look in the photo.  Maybe this was because I cut a small size, but I have never had a problem like this before.  As it was, I found the top way too voluminous and didn't really like the tail at the back.  I was relieved to finish it, and was trimming away the excess fabric after finishing the neckband the pattern's way - and I hate this method - when, snip, I accidentally cut the fabric of the garment.  

Secretly relieved that the top was now ruined, so I would not have to wear it, I pondered what to do next.  You see, I hate wasting fabric.  I looked at the pieces, and thought I could recut the front and keep the asymetrical look and button band. I recut the back out of the rest of the black leftover fabric, along with the sleeves. I used my favourite T-shirt pattern, Kwik Sew 3766.



 I added blue sleeve bands, recut from the top  to tie the garment together and make a three quarter sleeve for spring and autumn wearing.  

I also became very familiar with my coverstitch with this garment, using it wherever I could.  Except the new neckband, cut from polycotton ribbing.  I overlocked this on, and then zig zagged the seam down.  I am not yet confident about doing neckbands with the coverstitch, I will need to do some practice runs first.


Close up of mock opening :


Inside the hem - narrow two stitch coverstitch - and I managed to even cover the hem!


Sleeve band - I used the coverstitch for the seamline double top-stitching effect and for the hem:

The buttons - five happy buttons, I always re-use the buttons from my husband's shirts.


And now, pictures of me wearing it, as usual, a Front, Side and Back view:








I think this is a smart looking knit top, much better for me because it is much more my style.  Only, I would not wear a longer sleeve top like this with thongs - I took all my back blogging picture on the same day, and it was quite warm.  I just wanted to get the photos done, and as you all probably realise, I only show the garment, not how it would be worn, or "styled" as they say now, in my everyday life.  I really should start taking some real life pictures of me made garments being worn.

That's it for now, next week I will be back to show you what I did with the rest of the fabric along with leftover pieces.  

See you then...

Sarah Liz

Sunday, October 8, 2017

My New Floral Trousers - New Look 6216 again.


Hello everyone,

I know I said I was going to back blog a selection of knit tops I have made, but I changed my mind because I have made another pair of trousers this week.  I wanted to blog them straight away and not put them on the back blog list as well.

I have wanted to make a pair of floral pants for about three years now, and had long ago stashed the fabric.  I decided it was time to actually make the things.  I had originally been inspired by a New Look Pattern:



This is an elastic waist pant with tapered leg, with or without ties.  I liked the ties, but it is really tedious trying to iron into gathers.  The side pockets are neither here nor there style wise, so I decided that I would use my TNT New Look elastic waist trouser pattern, New Look 6216:



I dare say it is exactly the same pattern with pocket and ankle modifications.  And I like the pockets in New Look 6216. 

The fabric is cotton sheeting, 240 wide.  It was purchased from Spotlight, for the grand sum of $9.99 per metre.  I got about 1.2 metres, so I have plenty left over for a skirt one day. 

Now, you would think that cotton sheeting would be easy to sew.  This piece wasn't.  I think it has some sort of finish on it because it rustles a bit.  Of course I had washed the fabric, but I think the finish is sort of designed to stay for a while.  I also think it was a very dense weave.  There was zero give in it - I could tell, when I did the pockets.  So, whether dense weave or a special finish, the end result was a piece of fabric that my needle (I used a sharp) did not want to penetrate easily. Sometimes it did, but often the fabric was resistant to piercing, and just pushed down into the feeddog.   And occasionally of course, this led to skipped stitches.  I just stitched back and forth to fix this problem.  Okay, not stellar sewing, but we home sewers have to solve these little problems. I am dead against perfectionism in sewing.  Problems arise and they have to be solved.  For a home garment, it really does not matter if the seam inside had problems - no one is going to know.  In any case, I did a false flat fell seam on the outer leg, so all looks good.  My overlocker also did not like this fabric. 

All that being said, and the pants now completed, I am really happy with them.

Before I show you the photos, just a note on fit.  Some of you commented that my trousers always fit nicely, and that my elastic waist pants do not look baggy. Well, when I use a dark fabric, they do not look baggy, because dark colours minimize any baggy oversized look. This pair are a lighter colour, and stiffer fabric, and as you can see, they are quite baggy.  Now, I am very thin through the legs, so I don't mind a bit of baggy volume - it gives the illusion of a shape.  Plus I can move in them.  And, being a straight figure type, I can wear almost any sort of trouser shape.  I am lucky that way. 

Anyway, the following photos will show lots of roominess!  But these will be my relaxing trousers, sort of a dressed up PJ pant!






I think it is floral trouser love - I just have to put up a few more photos!






That's it for now.  Next week I really will start showing you the knit tops. I am also playing around with my first attempts at patternmaking a bodice block.  This takes a lot of time and has to be fitted in around more pressing demands. But i n time I will share that with you too.