Tuesday, June 30, 2015

April-May-June Review and New Pants

Three months have passed since I last posted a monthly review.  There have been lots of things going on and some changes happening in my life.  But that is not going to be the subject of this blog post - it might be in another one though.

Just quickly, I have made these trousers over the weekend.  I have an old pair of saggy, baggy RTW corduroy pants, but they are threadbare and not very warm.  So I quickly made a pair of pull on, elastic waist pants from my favourite pattern for this style of trouser, Kwik Sew 2960. 

I have made this pattern up six times before, and unfortunately today I don't have time to do a full set of photos.  Nothing really shows up in black in any case.  If  you want to find out more about this pattern or want to see other versions that have been photographed front, back and side, please check all my posts which you can find here.   I'm also not sure if this is still in print or an OOP pattern. 

The fabric I used is a stretch cotton corduroy from Spotlight.   It's a nice weight, nice feel and I purchased it on sale, so these pants cost a maximum of $10.50 for fabric, plus threads, elastic and needle.  Of course, the savings just seem to be spent on adding to the stash...

So, during April - May- June I have made:

Trousers - Stretch Corduroy, Kwik Sew 2960.

 Top - Vogue 9026

 Top - Vogue 8536

 Top- Modified V9027

Top - Sandra Betzina, Vogue 1363.

 Kwik Sew 3264.

 Top -McCalls 6796

 Top - Vogue 8793.

Vogue 8793 Katherine Tilton Tee Shirt (since altered and a band added to the bottom)
Knit Shirt -McCalls 7018.

A total of ten garments.  That seems an awful lot - but most of these were knit tops, which don't take long to make.  The dressing gown is also a simple make, as were the TNT pants.  No fitting was involved, and all patterns contained only a few pieces, and were quick and easy to sew.

I'm not sure of the exact metre-age that I used, but probably between 13-14 metres.  Nor am I sure how much stash I added during this time - but it was quite a bit. Well, a lot more than 13-14 metres, if I am quite honest.  Because I have sewing plans, and for that you need adequate stash, don't you?  And a bit more, just in case...

BUT, even I am concluding, that I have a bit too much stash at the moment, so, the time has come when that stash must be downsized.  Or at the very least, stay the same size.  Maybe my stash whittling goal should be simply to not buy any more stash than I have used, so replacement only of 1:1.  That doesn't seem as daunting as a total stash bust.  But still daunting enough.

I am not sure what the next sewing month will bring.  I'm having a bit of a sew slow at the moment, not sure what to make next.  No doubt in a few days I will come up with the next set of ideas.

And that is the quarter to date.  It also marks the end of the first half of the year. Was this a good sewing half of the year for you, or are you planning to make the second half of the year a good sewing year?

Bye for now

Sarah Liz

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Two T Challenge- No. 2 - a remake of Vogue 9026

 Black is such a useful colour to wear (even if it doesn't suit you - it's easy to deal with that) but a  terrible colour to photograph and blog about.   Some of my later pictures show the top a little better.

Anyway, my challenge was to make two tops out of 2 metres of 112 cotton knit (purchased from Spotlight) with wide selvidges. I made one last week, and yes, I did manage to squeeze this out - with a bit of help from a piece of poly/cotton rib knitting that was in my stash.  And using a strip down the middle to cut the sleeves - I marked the grainlines on this strip prior to cutting.  A bit tedious having to do this, but I won my little challenge :)

The pattern I used was Vogue 9026, version B(so the rib band was perfect for this):

I made version C, slightly modified, in a fleecy knit. That was a  nice snug fit - I used the same size, even though I knew this lighter material would not take up so much ease in the seams,  because I wanted the softer look shown in the picture.

I cut size Small, and the only alteration I made was to take out an inch in the sleeve length along the L/S line.  Otherwise, everything was made as per the pattern.

A very simple and straightforward make - most versions I have seen of this look good.

Here is a close up of the neck - there is a slight colour difference between the rib and the knit, which in real life is not that obvious, but it does show up in the photos - which is a plus, because you can see the neckband - which is quite wide.

Shoulders are finished in my usual fashion:

And here are the cuffs and lower band:

The pattern suggests turning the front panel seams to the centre and pressing.  I like to top stitch seams like this to give definition and also to hold them in place.  But I decided to put the seams towards the side - not pressed, but just finger held while top stitching - that way, I did not get shiny iron marks:

Now for pictures of me wearing the top - with little to be seen except the silhouette:

But the silhouette looks okay.  And if you are wondering why the strange and eerie light in the last photo - I am trying to work out how to get more light for my photographs. I live in an old house, and old houses are often dark.  And sometimes it is just as dark and gloomy outside.  Light meters are often used by photographers here even on a sunny morning - unlike other parts of Australia, Newcastle seems to be quite dark.  I don't like that at all, but there is not much I can do about it.

So this was my bright thought the other day - I use a daylight lamp for reading, handwork and so on.  I thought that this might work as a photography light as well:

So, meet my light and my screen - I use that to block out the background views so that I can show the garment.

If I stand in the right place, the light works well.  If not, shadows are cast - or I look a sort of grey colour.  But some of the photo's are a lot better.

That's it for now, I'm off to quickly sew a much needed pair of pull on corduroy pants.

Have a great weekend everyone, wherever you are.

Sarah Liz

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Two T Challenge - No. 1, Vogue 8536.

 I had two metres of black combed cotton jersey in my stash, already washed.  Now most knits are 150 cm wide, and I  can easily make two t-shirts or tops from 2 metres.  This knit though is only 112 wide, with large selvedges - each is about 10 cm wide.  This amount is not really enough for two t- shirts without a bit of juggling. (For my U.S friends, I have about 2.1 yards of 45 inch knit, and lose about 2 inches width in the selvedge).

I purchased the knit from Spotlight - while I do not like Spotlight, occasionally they do have nice fabrics.  This retails for about $13.99 per metre. but I think I bought it in a sale. 

For the first t-shirt I chose Vogue  8536. 

As you can see from the line drawing, it has little gathers or easing at the bust.  I have never had this sort of ease in a t-shirt before and wanted to try it.  In my photos, I am wearing one of my padded bras that I hate, because I don't like the round shape - I'm not round in the bust, so it just looks daft, and as I have a short torso, I really don't need to add to it.  Still, it's comfy, and I wear it in winter around the house.  One day I am going to learn to make bras so I can get something I like.  But not now, I'm digressing....

Okay, so I made a long sleeve, round neck version.  I chose size 12 - that was about the same size as my Kwik Sew T Shirt, which is a bit firm in the same knit. The Vogue pattern had 5/8 inch seams, the Kwik Sew 1/4 seams, so I thought if I seamed the Vogue pattern at 3/8 inch the size would be about right. 

The first thing I did was to cut off some of the hem - this is a deep hem, and has side splits.  I wanted an ordinary hem, and also wanted to get two tops out of my fabric.   I also removed an inch from the sleeves along the L/S lines.  I also put in a seam down the CB as I wanted to save as much knit for top 2 as possible.

I did cut the neckband out of a piece of black poly-cotton ribbing I had in my stash.  Many people say that ribbed neckbands should be a certain ratio smaller than the neck - but I decided to just go with the pattern and see what happens.  Sometimes I find otherwise the ribbed band can pull up a bit tight. 

The sleeves are eased and set in like a conventional sleeve.  I did this, although next time I think I will ease the sleeves and then set in flat.  I am still not sure if the shoulders are just a weeny bit large on me, but overall I am pleased with this t-shirt.  It's a nice shape, even over my ugly but comfortable winter house bra :).

The hem is slightly curved, which I find more flattering than the cut straight across hems found in some patterns.  After all, we are slightly curved, certainly around the tummy area.

Now some details, first the neckband: 

 The shoulders - I always stabilize these inside with a scrap of interfacing, and then do a welt seam and top stitch it going towards the back.  It's my t-shirt signature thing:

The gathers at the side of the front seam at bust height really bothered me at first, but then I realised I was making a fuss over nothing.  The wearing shape is really nice, and you don't see this gathering as the arm hides it:

And my hems and top stitching along the CB seam - again this was a welt seam, all  hem edges overlocked and then I use a slightly zig zagged stitch and go around twice so it looks twin needled. A bit dark, but you will get the idea:

And now views of moi:



 Black is just the worst photo for blog photos, but this gives you the idea of this top.  It's a really nice top - a t-shirt but a little smarter and with a nice skimming shape and  fit.  The neckline is also nice, and the rib worked well without being made smaller than the neckline.   I think this will become a TNT top for me.

 That's it for this week - next week I hope to show you the second top :)

Have a happy and healthy weekend, wherever you are...

Sarah Liz

Friday, June 12, 2015

85 cms of fleece, a scrap, V9026 = a New Cosy Top :)

A few months ago I found a piece of fleece in a lovely blue colour at an Op Shop.  So I bought it, even though it was only an 85 cm length (150 width).  Silly purchase of course, because what can you make out of 85 cm?  So I was a bit cross with myself, and decided I had to make something nice out of this fabric.

I played around with some ideas and decided that with some modification of V 9026  and the help of a small pieces of leftover fleece from my fleece blazer, I could eek out a top.  Vogue 9026 is pictured below:


I chose Style c, the version with the cowl collar.  Ambitious, given my limited fabric.   But as you can see from above, I made it work. 

The first thing I did was lay out the pattern pieces on my blue 85 cm piece.  I chose size Small which looked about right. I did not make a muslin for this top, not my usual practice I know, but I thought the fit would be near enough to being about right.

 I could get out the back/SF piece (it is in one piece, no side seam) and the sleeves.  I had a small strip left over.  By making a small cowl (well, more a roll collar - I just made it the width of the fabric strip left over) and by putting a seam along the foldline I could make a collar:

That left the front panel.  I had two small pieces leftover from my my blazer project, and by putting a seam in the centre of the front panel, I could get a front piece. 

 As I do not have a coverstitch machine, I sewed the seams with a slight zig-zag to give stretch.  I anchored the seam allowance by making what I call a false flat fell seam - a welt seam, for those of you who know the proper word for this seam.

Edges were serged inside to give a finished look.  The hems were anchored with a tape first and then zig-zagged. I do two rows - all free hand, my machine won't take a twin needle:

 I knew my serger would balk at three layers at the collar/neck edge, and I also knew it would be a very bulky seam.  So I trimmed back the underlayers of the seam, overlocked the remaining collar edge and topstitched this down to cover the trimmed layers:


And the finished collar looks  good, given the extra seam at the foldline, if I place it correctly:

Now my usual three views, front, sides and back:

That's it for this weeks fabric challenge.  Over the next two weeks I plan to make two black long sleeved t-shirts as part of the MAGAM challenge.   I have 2.1 metres of 112 cm cotton jersey - and the selvedges are very deep.  One of them is going to be Version B of V9027:

The other will be V8536, a pattern I want to try:

It's going to be a tight fit , but I'll see what I can do.  I hope to post the first top next week.

Bye for now, Sarah Liz :)

Friday, June 5, 2015

Sometimes it's the Little Things that make a Big Difference.

I didn't have much enthusiasm for starting new projects this week - sometimes the first blast of winter winds and chills tends to but a damper on my sewing spirits for a few days.  So I decided to tackle those little things that annoyed me  with some of my garments.

Firstly, I revisited the Tilton Tee that I made earlier this year.  The ribbed knit I was using was ex--tre--me--ly stretch (like about 100%) and I used a  tape that was just a glue thing when stuck on and the paper removed.  But it made the knit very heavy at the hem, and it also rippled.  I decided that the ripple was sort of quite okay, a bit like a peplum. Trouble is, I'm a more classic sort of  dresser. and don't really like peplums or ruffles: 

So I found a piece of leftover knit in a ivory colour - it's a slightly different colour from the knit I used for the cuffs and collar, but it really doesn't show.  I removed the offending rippled hem, and added a band.  Problem solved and I am happy with the result :)

Next, I altered a  ponte pinafore dress that has been in my wardrobe for a few years now, unworn.   I tried to convince myself that I really would try to wear it this year, until I realised I was kidding myself.  So, out it came, off with the top, then I raided the knit scraps for something thick enough and suitable, and then on with a band, and in with some elastic:

And now I have a wearable skirt - and also a skirt that I will wear:

And last, but not least, recently I made knit shirt with a collar stand:


 I did not like the top stitching and inner hand stitching  I had done - it was wonky and not my best.  I know the only person who would know this would be me, but then I decided that was important - I need to be happy in the shirt.  So I undid the top stitching and the hand stitching and redid it:

Now it looks neat inside, and also outside.  I did two rows of top stitching very close together. The effect is quite textural, giving a slightly braided look - very like the soutache braid used on this type of collar years ago when the Russian inspired ideas where around.  It now makes the collar more of a feature.

Next I am going to try and use up a piece of fleece that I purchased in an op shop.  About 85 cms - what was I thinking? Other than I loved the colour.  I am going to try and make something interesting out of the fleece - and make that 85 cms work!

That's the challenge for next week:)

I hope your sewing challenges are going well too.

Sarah Liz