Saturday, July 26, 2014

We all have these weeks...

We all have those weeks where nothing quite goes right, and not much sewing gets done either.  I've just had one of those. And another one of those days.  Capped off with now the internet is as slow as paint drying.  Frustrating!

Enough grumbles.  On the plus side this week, I got the dreaded BAS out of the way ( a quarterly impost from the Tax Office, AND,  I actually got a slab of my first assignment done.  I find it very tedious - the subject matter was as boring as.  So I fidgeted and fidgeted but still I persevered, and now I can see it will happen.

So, I didn't do much sewing.  I did run up a calico, then decided I didn't like it:

It's a Katherine Tilton Jacket, Butterick  5891.  Here is the line drawing.

Line Drawing 
I thought the long sleeve jacket looked quite interesting, but the calico makes me think twice.  I hated it when I first tried it on, but the more I look at it, the more I wonder if it does have some sort of potential.  I'll keep looking... The short sleeve blouse is certainly not me though. 

After chunks of essay, I allowed myself a walk - well, wouldn't you know, Spotlight has a pattern sale at the moment, all $5.00.  Who could resist dreaming of what could be after a few days of reading and writing about how to choose good evidence from treatment trials and what levels of evidence are the best levels of evidence.

And some of my fidgets were quite useful - I pre-shrunk pieces of fabric:

Only to find that the striped pieces didn't take kindly to the treatment.   Although the colour seemed fast in the water, as not much colour came out, the fabric today told a different story.  The colours have run.  I'm very disappointed.  The spots performed beautifully though.  You win some and you lose some.

Today seemed to be the lose some.  I decided to cut out a simple top out of material already washed in hot water.  After I cut the top out, I had one of those strange flashes - what if this will shrink. Strange thought, seeing I had already treated it. So I cut a square out, measured it, dunked it in very hot water for ten minutes, and measure again.  It had shrunk considerably. Another disappointment.  You win some and you lose some.
 Still looking on the bright side, if I had made it and it shrunk, I would have been even more disappointed.

 I decided to quit while I was ahead, and console myself with cataloging uncatalogued stash:

Which made me feel a little better.  The false illusion of control, but so what :)

During the week as one of my occupational health and safety computer breaks (a.k.a. as the fidgets, mentioned above) I also started assessing my wardrobe and it is time for some RTW to go:

Trousers that never did fit me huge on the hips, tight in the middle and cut right through the crotch.  I'd rather be comfortable in my still not quite perfectly fitted me mades. They  look better and fit better. Also  a shirt worthy of the office junior in horrid cheap fabric, and a black shirt bought in haste in my usual size from Rivers that didn't fit.  Time to go.  There will be more...

I also found a few garments that I don't wear because they need alterations.  They are now out on my sewing rack, and they won't go back into the wardrobe until they are fixed:

All simple things, like shirts I like but instead of long sleeves they need short sleeves, a good wool  skirt that is too short but would be worn if it was a tiny bit longer.  For those formal occasions.

On the plus side, I have managed to do some knitting.  The back of my cotton/acrylic cardigan is now complete. 
So that was my sewing week!  Next week I hope to post a garment - I have found a something in the wardrobe I haven''t worn on the blog, so I can do that.  What sewing I will manage I am not sure - but I think this was just one of those off weeks we all have from time to time.

Do you have off sewing weeks too?

Bye for now,

Sarah Liz

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Test Garment, Marcy Tilton Jacket V8982.

Here it is - my first version of Marcy Tilton's unlined jacket - Vogue pattern 8982.  I say first, because I love this little jacket and there will be more...

This is the one of the variations of the jacket shown on the pattern envelope,  for those of you unfamiliar with this pattern:

And the line drawings:

As you can see from the picture on the model, this jacket is extremely wide over the shoulders. While the jacket looks fitted, when I read the measurements on the pattern pieces, I knew it was not this fitted - size 8 had a finished bust of 39.5 inches.    Now, if I make a size 12 jacket, that usually finishes around 39 inches, which gives quite a few inches ease for wearing garments underneath.  So, I decided that size 8 would probably be about the right size for a loose jacket.  I wanted a combination of View B jacket  and View D sleeves

First I made a quick muslin to check the size:

I decided that this was about right - it is a loose, unlined jacket, after all.  The shoulders fell off me, so I removed half an inch.  I had already removed two inches from the sleeve length prior to cutting this muslin - the hem allowance is still on - that is one inch.  I decided the garment looked good at this length, so I added a hem allowance in addition to the one on the pattern.

Then I made the jacket up out of a poly-viscose fabric I have had in the stash for 20 years or more.  I'm not sure where it came from, because I don't like it, and doubt I ever did.  I think I inherited it from somewhere.  Anyway, I thought this would be a great use of the fabric to further test this pattern.  Sometimes it is a good idea to fully test how the garment in made before investing in a "good" version.

The pattern was easy enough to make up.  I did find it strange that the front band facing was not interfaced, as I thought it would flop around without interfacing - and how can you make satisfactory buttonholes without interfacing behind them?  So I fused an interfacing onto the front facings for the bands and front.

Without more ado, here are the pictures, front, back and nearly sideways:

Looking like a little toy soldier here!

Given this is unfitted, the back fits quite well!

Again, given this is unfitted, quite a nice fit.
Overall, I am very happy with this jacket, and plan to make it again.  The shoulders are still a little large, and I will move them in a bit more on another version.  Luckily, I have some wool in my stash that is about the same weight as the fabric in this jacket which would look lovely made up. 

I also think this would look lovely as a blouse - in fact, I think I will make another and move those shoulders in a bit before making the wool jacket.  That way it can be a second test garment before the good one.

One or two more shots, just for fun:

I love these little flared corners!

And the overall hang of this little jacket.
I'm glad I made this jacket as my July challenge "sew your wish" for the Make a Garment a Month Challenge.  It is a long time since I have made a jacket of any sort, and I have always wanted a little Marcy Tilton garment.

Bye for now,

Sarah Liz

P.S.  I've also made a pledge to cost all my garments.  So here goes

Pattern - I usually buy Vogue at half price, occasionally less.  So I will allow AU $15.00.  Fabric was from stash, if I had to replace say AU $12.00 per metre - I used 1.75.  Thread was purchased, AU $2.99.  Plus serger thread, allow AU $1.00.  Interfacing, I use a good interfacing - say AU $2.50.  And buttons from stash, to replace, AU $2.99.  Plus needle and calico allowance, $2.00, and tracing paper/pen allowance $1.00

TOTAL:  $48.48 - which is not bad for a very wearable designer jacket.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Back and Sewing

Hello everyone

I've been back from Residential School for a few days.  It was quite a long session - 7 full days of lectures, plus 2 days to travel to the University.   Very intense, as there was a lot of new material to learn.  I was so tired that I couldn't do much for a few days - except of course the chores.  And we were told by our lecturer to enjoy the weekend as we had been so busy.  so I started making my Marcy Tilton jacket, which is also my garment of the month for the make a garment a month challenge.

I am making the long sleeve version.  Progress was slow over the weekend due to my tiredness, but it is slowly coming together.  I was at work yesterday, and studying today - so I am now sewing  a bit each day - yesterday I made up the sleeves, tonight I will set them in, then the next stage buttonholes, and buttons and finishing.  I hope to be able to show you the completed garment on the weekend.  It does look good...

I've already enjoyed catching up with your blogs, so now I am off to set in those sleeves...

Bye for now

Sarah Liz

Saturday, July 5, 2014

My News and New Sewing Plans...

Hello everyone,

I'm away at the moment, and have scheduled this post.  I've taken my tablet (gift from DH so I could keep in touch with you all), so hope to be able to keep up with your blogs in the evening.

I need to tell you my news - you might remember a few months ago my husband had to move his practice - I keep things in order there now.  It was a rather tedious and busy time.  I had also been accepted into an Honours course (Psychology) but quickly found I could not make the deadlines with all the stresses and time issues with the practice, so I had to remove myself from the course. As you know, I did not enjoy that decision. That, I thought, was that.


I've got things more under control now - and the big scanning project is going to be broken down into small chunks and tackled over the next two summers.  It can't run my life.



Prior to accepting this place, I had also been offered a place in a fourth year graduate program in Psychology at another institution.  I had enrolled, so I withdrew my courses after acceptance into the Honours program.  As you have to at least do a semester in a new course, and can't defer, or take leave of absence, I thought to myself, well, that is that.  I did not cancel my enrolment, because I thought the withdrawal before starting would take care of that.

Imagine my surprise, when I got a phone call a few weeks ago from this institution - asking me what was going on, as they had noted my withdrawal.   I told them that I had enrolled, but that I was busy with what was happening with the practice, so I withdrew. The lady said, "you couldn't have done anything then, so we will put you on leave of absence"".   I said "but you can't do that, I haven't done a unit with you yet".  She said, " under the circumstances, we will"!!  Of course, the conversation had more ins and outs than that, but that was the gist of it.

How's that for Good Karma??

Mind you with the topsy turvy year I have had, I'm wondering if I am slightly mad to consider this at all !!

So, I am starting in Semester 2.  Residential School is on at the moment, so I am on the campus for a few days - in a NSW regional centre,  where it is 1 degree C at night and about 10-12 degrees C during the day.  Not my favourite temperature - I don't like the cold.  We have 7 full days of lectures which should be quite intense and tiring, so maybe that will take my mind off the cold :)

 Then fly back home, and catch up with the bookkeeping for the next BAS.

Then start studying in earnest.

So, sewing will be for stress relief, half an hour daily when I get back.  It's amazing what you can do in that time. Study first, then stress relief sewing reward. I think that should work. 

I'll give study my best shot, but if I really can't manage it nowadays, I can then graciously decide what to do for myself, instead of allowing circumstances to dictate.

And with the practice, so long as I keep up, and only have a small backlog in summer, then I will manage that - and during summer break, can start that horrible scanning project.  A good student job!

I do like sewing plans though - I find it is better to have things to look forward to sewing, even if you don't get around to them.  Otherwise I find that if I am busy, I tend to not be able to make anything, because I don't know what to make next!  And I have made all the basics I need to make now.

So, on the list:

A Marcy Tilton Jacket.  I have cut the muslin out so I have something to work on when I get back.

A simple little t-shirt using this polka dot knit - I have traced the pattern and will make a muslin first - it's straight up and down, and it may be better slightly shaped.  I love the knit, so I want to make sure the pattern is a flattering shape.

All supposing the pattern is flattering, I also want to make it in this wide stripe knit.  I have two pieces, on black and white stripe, one navy and white stripe.  I want to make it up this season, while wide stripes are in fashion.

I also want to make a woven t shirt type top.  This one by Burda might work.  It's rather roomy, but again, that look is in at the moment.  I happen to have a bit of black calico in the stash that I want out of the stash, so I will use that.

So, that is the sewing organised so that I have something enjoyable to do everyday.

Take care everyone, wherever you are.

Sarah Liz

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Reviewing the Pledges

Today is July 1st, the start of a new financial year in Australia.  I thought this was a good time to do a mid year appraisal of my sewing goals as I seem to have failed miserably on my new year pledges - especially with regards to stash busting.

I  have continued to stash gloriously.  And recently, I have built up a new stash in colours that suit me more - my old stash was very ho hum navy, black and white. Very classic, and will never date, but I'm a summer (or cool, muted, soft and lighter for those of you more familiar with that terminology)and need softer colours, especially now I am older.

Stash in new palette of summer colours

I will of course use my old stash - a sewer never ever ever gets rid of stash!  Some fabrics I don't like at all anymore, and I'll use these for muslins and test garments.

Suddenly I am finding that I no longer have a desire to stash.  I have a great selection of fabrics now, and a great collection of patterns, and now I want to sew it all up!  With my large stash, that should take at least twenty years.

So now I pledge to use this stash all up, because I WANT TO, not because I think I should.

And I will of course use my Tessuti gift voucher to stash - my Xmas gift last year from DH.

As it is the new financial year, it's time to take stock of my spending habits - especially with regard to sewing.  I'm now going to keep track of what a garment costs me to make - I'm curious about whether sewing really does save money.  I'm also curious about how much money I have tied up in my stash!

I've also reviewed my sewing progress.  Over the life of this blog I have made a number of garments - all basics, all casual, all very wearable.  I really don't need any more of these sorts of clothes.  I do need some smarter clothes, and I would love to sew some more interesting garments.  So now I am going to change the focus of my sewing.  I will use fabrics when they are in fashion, I will only add clothes that are needed (tops excepted, you can never have too many of them).  I will also make garments that have been on my wish list.  The first I plan to make is a Marcy Tilton jacket:

Marcy Tilton's clothes look a little oversized to me, but I do like this jacket, so I shall trial it.  I will use a fabric I have never really liked (don't ask me how it got into the stash, I can't remember buying it, so maybe it was given to me) - a drapey polyester viscose linen look in navy.  I think this will work for this jacket.  The jacket is unlined, so I think it will make a good summer cover up. 

It will also go with absolutely heaps in my wardrobe.

Which now links me back to my original goals for 2014, before I wandered off on a stashing detour, which were:

*   Do not buy any ready to wear clothes except shoes, socks and  undergarments.
*   Make a garment a month for the Make a Garment a Month Challenge
*   Each garment made to go with garments already owned.
*   If the garment does not go with anything, make garments to match.
*   Use up stash for making garments if I like it, muslins, or test garments if I don't or it is the wrong colour.
*   Only  buy more  stash if it is for an immediate garment.

The additional goal here is to start documenting the cost of stash in the garment.


The only other plan I had was to play a game when I didn't know what to sew.  I haven't started this yet, because I have been making things that I need.  When I do run out of needs, or haven't got a clue what to make next, I will start this game:

*   Assess pattern collection and start actually using it. I am going to play a game to encourage me to use it - when I don't know what to do, I will do a lucky dip from my hoard.

Do you review your sewing goals from time to time as well?

That's all for now, 'til next time,

Sarah Liz