Saturday, October 24, 2015

A Quick ReFashion - His to Hers

Over the last couple of weeks I have been wishing I had a pair of knit trousers to wear in the evenings - just warm enough to keep the cool of the evening manageable, but not too hot, as the humidity levels are already rising on the mid-east coast of N.S.W.

(Before I continue the post, I just want to mention the lighting problem for photographs as the moment - I am not sure why, but our latest bulbs seem to cast a death like grey  pallor on the skin (or maybe I look like as bad as this and never noticed!)  and also creates shadows.  I'm taking these in the evening,as I often have to do,  so they have to be on.  I don't have a nice light room to take photographs in during the day, and outside is often not viable here as the weather is often wet at this time of year.  Sigh, a problem to work on... ).

Back to the post...

I had absolutely no inclination to make them, as the ideal fabric was currently in the form of PJ pants in the softest, nicest, lighter weight cotton knit I have ever felt.  They had been worn once, so I snaffled them and put them in my stash.  But the problem was I hate doing refashions of any sort.  Too many constraints and often unpicking to do before you can even cut out:


Now, the constraints - if you look closely at the photograph above, you will see that the inside leg is twisting to the front - so this means these pants have not been cut on the grain.

The other constraint was that these were one seam pants - no side seams.  So I could only make a one seam pant.  I chose McCalls 6173:

I have made this pattern up a number of times as a slim leg pant, and not a legging.  I have never really bothered fitting it properly, as the garments made were always urgently needed.  And they were always PJ pants or track pants.  (For those of you who are interested in my earlier versions, all posts can be found here:Leggings as slim pants.  )

And I did the same thing this time.  These are urgent need pants, so I just got on and made them.    I have already traced and modified the pattern piece.  I used size M and added more to the rise.  Not sure how much, because that is not noted on my tracing.

I took the pants apart and also removed the elastic in the waistband for re-using - it was a nice width and not easy to buy.  Tedious as there was a lot of unpicking involved in that.  I located the grainline down the cut open legs of the trousers and marked that with chalk.  With knits, you can find the grainline by following a line of rib.  Not easy with a fine knit like this - I  had magnifying glasses on to do this job.

Then I laid my pattern pieces out - and found I had to undo the hems of the original legs.  Have you ever undone cover stitching???  Even more tedious than removing the elastic.

Then I made the pants.  That was the easy part.   And this is the result:

(I'm wearing the pants with a t-shirt I made a couple of years ago - a modified version of New Look 6216. Original post here.  It's become old enough to be a cosy lounge wear partner for these pants).

As we all like to see how things fit, I'll do the only between sewers photographs next.

 I seem to have the rise about right on these pants now - the 1 1/4 inch elastic is perfect.  I did not do an under bottom adjustment but I can see that I should do this.  Also, I could take out some fullness in the inner, upper leg.  Otherwise I like these - for what they are.

I  can see these  being modified into a pair of jogger look pants...on the list of ever growing plans.

But for now, back on with my cover-up top, which I am afraid is a RTW.  I found it recently for a few dollars.  Not entirely my style, but fun for warmer evenings.  And when I get tired of it, plenty of fabric to make a new style of top.

Bye for now,

Sarah Liz :)

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Some weeks it's more about the Stashing than the Sewing.

I had every intention of having a productive sewing Sunday last week, but my plans changed when I nipped into Spotlight to get a pair of knitting needles and found they had a AU$2.00 per metre sale.  I'm not sure if this was just in my local store, because sometimes they seem to do their own thing, or whether this was across all Spotlight stores.  So I stashed up - nice Japanese lawns that are normally $16.99 per metre - and therefore not really my price range for house clothes, and all sorts of other yummy bits and pieces.  And you will notice I bought patterns - and patterned fabrics are a bit missing in my stash, because again, by the time I get around to making a garment, I tend to have gone off the pattern, or the pattern has dated or something. But at $2.00 per metre it really doesn't matter - they can even become test garments without the need for exhaustive muslin making before hand.

Spotlight also had a Spot Sale this weekend, so after I did the quarterly tax paperwork for the practice, I decided that I could reward myself again :) especially as I hate doing tax paperwork, or any paperwork for that matter - and I seem to have quite  a bit to do nowadays with managing things.  So off to Spotlight again
where I found some PolyCotton Sweatshirt Fleece marked down to $4.50 per metre along with a nice piece of cotton/linen indigo tie dye sort of print $8.99 down from $19.99 - to be made up soon as it will go with my boring basics nicely and give them a bit of a lift, some lighter weight cotton stretch denim for $6.10 per metre ( I snaffled quite a bit of this because it is about 4 years since Spotlight last had this in my store), and a bit of lawn, and a nice floral Japanese-ey looking  cotton print which again was about $8.00 per metre down from $19.99 per metre.  I've been eyeing that for ages because I have a dress that I wanted a sort of Japanese-ey fabric for - but most are not in colours that suit me.  Blues and pinks do.

So I was happy with that haul...on to the next...

But, that's not all - last weekend The Remnant Warehouse was having a 25% off sale to mark their 10th year of business. So I purchased a few classics:

Because classics never date and go with everything.  Shirting, jacket fabric, knits - all sorts of useful basics.

And to finish my classic collection, again, from Spotlight, a piece of  denim look Tencel (a cellulose fibre, for those of you who are wondering), which is normally out of my price range at $24.99 per metre, but today $14.99.  I have a perfect pattern for this, but needed the fabric to be the right price.  And some nice soft Prima homespun quilting cotton, which I use for tops and shirts as it is nice and soft but is quite expensive normally, at $19.99 per metre (240 wide).  40% off brings it to the right price for me -so I've been waiting to stock up on this.  And it is also ivory, which suits me more than white:

 While I stash a lot of fabric, I always attempt to get it on sale.  I find stashing is important nowadays, because in Australia it is not always easy to find what you want when you want it.  I prefer to  have a large stash, and I keep it topped up.  I prefer not to shop online overseas, because postage - especially from the U.S - is very expensive.  And our dollar is dropping, and is likely to continue doing so. And so a stash properly purchased, with the right timing, can be quite a hedge against currency moves.  Don't you love my economic rationalism :).  Anything to justify the stashing...

And I do use it, continuing my rationalisation...this year I have made up about 41 metres, and wadded about 5.  I don't buy clothes as nothing fits, and if often in styles and fabrics I do not like.  So a stash is essential.  As are patterns, so that eventually you  have the right fabrics for the right patterns.  Simple...

Ah well, I better get back to some sewing this week and make inroads into the various piles.  I actually prefer the activity of sewing to that of stashing - shopping for stash is exhausting as you have to think about what you use, what patterns you have, what plans you have, what clothes you need, and actually navigate through Spotlight (not easy in the Newcastle store).  And shopping is always exhausting.  Sewing, on the other hand, is relaxing and helps me to feel grounded and happy.

What about you - do you like to have a decent stash on hand to shop from?  And is it also because you find it difficult to find fabrics when you want them?  I think this is probably the case globally now, for most sewers.

Sarah Liz.

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.