Sunday, January 31, 2016

Stashbuster Top and January Roundup

This week I was not sure what to make, so I decided to stashbust a piece of patterned voile, originally from Spotlight.   It has been stashed away for years because I only bought a tiny amount - from memory it was $24.95 and could not work out what to make from it.  I had just under 70 cms of 112 wide fabric with a nap.

Enter Butterick 6214:

Butterick 6214 Fast & Easy Top Shirt Blouse XS - Plus Size Sewing Pattern B6214

I recently made this top in a nice drapey fabric (post here), which I think is really needed for this sort of top.  As you can see in the picture of the model, even a softer top tends to box out.  

I knew a voile top would not drape well, but this did not really bother me - in hot humid weather you just want something nice and light and cool.  I could use my pretty piece and then something else for sleeves and contrast bottom.  

I rummaged in my pieces and found some lawn that was left over from something, and it went perfectly with the patterned piece.  Voila...the top will be made :)

I have modified the pattern a bit (post here), and of course added a contrast panel.  I just started this at the point at which my patterned fabric ran out. 

I even had enough with the leftover bits to make the facing - although I did have to put a seam in on the CF fold line:

As I make the neckline smaller on my tops - they tend to be far too large - I need to put a back seam in and a button fastening:

I did find the sleeve a little on the short side - next time I will add a bit, or make a short sleeve.  It is also quite an open and on the large side for skinny armed me - which is great for hot weather but unfortunately you could see the overlocking - which is fine, but at the bottom of the armscye I tend to have two layers where I run the machine on and off, and it just was not the greatest finish.  So I bound the bottom only of the armhole with some lace, also found in the stash:

Which is a pretty finish now when I lift my arm.  You can see how tiny the sleeve is.  

I also found that the curve on the sleeve hem was quite sharp - so being much narrower than where you fold the hem too.  So there are a few puckers.  This may not be such a problem on a looser weave fabric. Still, it is barely noticeable.

The contrast was just attached by a flat fell seam, and not folded as the pattern instructed.  

Quick views (and the pants have to go - they are my weekend house pants, RTW rayon and I hate them - they are quite a not nice cut.  I will have to make some lightweight weekend house ignore the pants please :) )...

The front is as baggy as that on the pattern envelope:

From the side I have a triangular profile - which doesn't bother me - this is after all a loose skimmer for the heat. And it sort of looks cute...

And the back - as I have a narrow back, it works well as a swing back top:

So now I have a nice little hot weather top for when I want something just like this.  All I need now are a flattering pant to go with it.  On the list....although that may take until next summer to happen...

Costings - Voile, $17.15, Lawn, $2.00, Thread and Needle allowance, $4.00, Interfacing, 0.50c, Button$1.00. Pattern used before.

TOTAL: $24.65.  



Due to the drain adventure, I did not make quite as much as I planned.  In all, 6 simple garments, which all things considered, was quite an achievement.

Top - Butterick 6214.

Top - Butterick 6214.

Dress - Kwik Sew 3956.

Pants, Simplicity 1592.

Top , New Look6273
Jungle January Cowl. 
I used three new patterns and kept track of my stashing - but unfortunately the stash ratio does not match the planned goal, so I am not going to tell you about the stash this month.  Yes, the year has just started and I have already fallen at the temple of the stash.  You know how it is - a stressful month.  Still, by the end of the year, no doubt the ratio pendulum will swing to the goal point.  I'm always optimistic...

Sarah Liz

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Just into Jungle January by a Few Spots.

I have been meaning to take part in Jungle January for three years now and never quite get there. So this year I was determined to make something.

I  had already stashed a piece of polyester panne velvet (from Spotlight) last year, and it kept growling at me everytime I passed, so this was picked up and turned into an infinity cowl scarf.

Quick and simple to make.  In fact, it is so quick and simple to make, I thought I would tell you how I made it. It only took about half and hour, including stopping and taking photos to show you what I did.

Firstly, I settled on the length and width needed.  I had purchased about 37cm of 150 wide fabric.  I cut the fabric in half, so I had two pieces of fabric 37 cm by 77 cm (approximately).  The scarf can be any width and length that you like - play around with the fabric and put it around your neck to see what works with the fabric and for you.  You can also make a scarf with a wider width of fabric so that you only have one seam down one side, and the fold of the fabric down the other.

Then I made sewed the two pieces together down the length of the fabric, right sides together so making a tube :

(you can also just fold the fabric in half if you don't want a seam on one side - it all depends on the length of the scarf and the width of the fabric how you cut the cowl scarf)

Then turn the tube so that the right sides are out:

Mark one seam (or if you have folded the strip inside) with a pin, or a bit of chalk.

Now the tricky bit - you need to make the infinity bit happen here by twisting the scarf :

And then placing one seam across to the other seam or the centre of the fold of fabric if you have used a wider width and folded the fabric.

Then you need to close the open edges, right side together - a bit tricky but pin first and check that you have the idea.  Here I have placed the opposite seams - right sides together

Then I have pinned the seam:

Sew the seam and leave an opening - I have marked the opening with two pins.  You will need the opening so that you can pull the scarf out.  Sew the seam:

 Then pull the cowl scarf out through the opening:

And then sew the opening closed - by hand or machine.  I hand stitched mine on this occasion.

And then you have a nice new infinity cowl to wear:

Unfortunately it is a little warm to wear this during January in Australia, but I will enjoy wearing it later this winter :).

I'm not sure that leopard quite goes with the antique nightgown that covers my dummy though...

Well, that's ticked off the list - my first Jungle January completed.

Bye for now,

Sarah Liz

Saturday, January 23, 2016

A New Top to go with the New Drains...

This week two things happened (well, more than that, but I am only going to blog about two things here) - I made this little top, and our drains were relaid, Hooray.  The drains were laid on Thursday,

Last week the plumbers could not find the drains, so on Monday they realised that they would have to call someone in from Hunter Water to find them. The Drain Diviner finally came with some high tech gadget and located them.   This still has me a little bemused - there is absolutely no rhyme or reason to the placement of drains here - it just seemed to be up to the whim of the person who built at the time. Talk about lack of planning.  So, after a comedy of errors, all is well that ends well, and we have sanity and sanitation back at the SLSS household.

Back to sewing, I decide to use the second piece of houndstooth rayon that I had stashed.  It just kept saying use me, because I think it is a rather dramatic piece of fabric and wants to be worn.  So I used it.  I settled on a simple top because of both the type of fabric and the distraction of the drain problems. Butterick 6214, which I purchased recently at a 3 for $10 sale at Spotlight.

Butterick 6214 Fast & Easy Top Shirt Blouse XS - Plus Size Sewing Pattern B6214

It's a shapeless, oversized, large sort of top, which I thought was perfect for a hot weather top.  And perfect for the striking fabric.

I decided to make the longer short sleeve, and used style D as my base pattern.  I cut size Small. The armholes are exactly where they should be, a first with Butterick.  I also added a tiny bit to the side of the neck and a back seam with opening.  I faced the garment - the pattern suggested binding, but I like facings, as you know. I also  added length to the top.

 I made a quick muslin (which I can't photograph on me as it has been chopped up to put into another muslin). This showed that the top was going to ride up at the front - always a risk with no darts.  I also have this problem because I have a prominent front ribcage and sternum,  and narrow back.  I decided that this problem was actually quite useful on this occasion, because tops are shaped up at the front and down at the back at the moment - I saw one in Sussan's recently.  So I decided to add the dip hem - no bands, I just lengthened my top and then traced the hem shape on the back.

Here is the top laid out:

Even in this picture, the top wants to ride higher at the front and lower at the sides - this might have something to do with the floppy fabric.  

Back opening and button.

Facings and the inside story - the facings meet :)

I did slightly wider than 5/8inch rolled hems on sleeves and bodice.
And the finished garment....

So, that's the top. And the cost:  1.2 of rayon, $12.00.  Pattern $3.34. Thread and needle allowance, $4.00. Button, lawn and interfacing for facing, Approx $1.00.  Total:  $20.34.

Try finding something as nice as this in the shops for $20.00 :).

Well that's it for now, it's time for me to look at your blogs and then get some dinner...

Have a lovely weekend and I hope the weather is not too bad where you sew.

Sarah Liz

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Dress and the Drains...

Sometimes sewing is a form of therapeutic distraction and so it was with this dress, Kwik Sew 3956.  I really needed something quick and simple to sew, because outside was the big mess:

Yes, that is the entire half of the garden dug up and they still can't find the drain connection. It's also been raining  again...And we haven't even started looking for the drain connection that runs the other side of the house...

So tomorrow I will run away and do some work at the Rooms - normally I hate paperwork, but it is the lesser of two evils. And I will leave DH to deal with this in the a.m.  I have to take over on Tuesday again.  Not happy.  We have to use buckets and toss water out at the moment, which is very tedious.  And I am handwashing lots of clothes, but this week I am going to call the laundry service for the big stuff and his business shirts.

So, when this mess was being dug up, I had to do something.  I also wanted to hear what was going on, and report to DH - builders are really good at upping costs, even if it is due to  their incompetence , and one is never too sure.  And every so often there is a hello at the back door because they want to discuss something.  I can't hear this hello  in the main section of the house.  So I had a stressful day listening to and watching the mess. I had planned a simple sewing distraction though.

Enter Kwik Sew 3956.  A simple dolman-kimono sleeve dress.  Very simple sewing therapy for the soul.  And a focused distraction away from the anxiety provoking events.

Kwik Sew Ladies Easy Sewing Pattern 3956 Loose Fitting Dresses with Belt (Kwi...

I chose version A, the round neck dress.  I made a very quick muslin shell at the beginning of the week to see if the style would work for me, using size Small.  Then I altered the pattern to make the neckline a lot smaller - the pattern was for a pull over the head round neckline, and I always find them far too wide for my skinny shoulders.  That meant I needed to put in a back seam, redraw the neckline to a smaller shape, and close the top of the dress with a button.  I also wanted a slightly longer length. I then knew I would need a walking split in the back of the dress.  As I thought a slit would not look good with the overall flow of the dress, I decided to insert a godet at the back.  The dress had in seam side pockets, but the pocket bags were huge, so I made them a good deal smaller and neater, with a less sharp angle at the side seam, making the pocket/side seam intersection easier to overlock.  I also removed about 2cm/1 inch from the underarm seam, as I am shorter than average and have a short waist.

 I used a piece of rayon from my stash - I purchased it late last year in a Spotlight clearance - I think specific to my local shop.  It was $2.00 per metre, and I used 2 metres of 150 wide.  I thought this was the right sort of price for a mainly sewing therapy dress.  When you have distractions, you can muck things up and create a wadder.  So I factored that into the equation.

Back Closure:

As rayon was thin and the dress is quite weighty, I braced the button closure by supporting it with a smaller button on the underside:

Inside seams were finished with overlocking.  Hems were turned up an inch, with a quarter inch also turned under, and stitched: 

I used a piece of ivory lawn for the front pocket pieces - this lies against the front of the dress, and if I used a piece of the patterned fabric, it would show through. The ivory does not show much at all:

And the back godet insert:

Okay, that's the detail, now the dress:

Well, I think this is a pretty nice dress.  I am not sure where I will wear it, because life in Newcastle is fairly basic.  But there are occasions when I need a very hot weather dress that looks dressy.   So I feel happy having this in the wardrobe for a just in case event.  I hate last minute makes - far too stressful.

As for cost for this just in case dress - Pattern was on a 3 for $10.00 sale - $3.34.  Rayon cost $4.00. Lawn and interfacing, $1.00.  Buttons $1.20.  Thread and needle allowance, $4.00.  $13.54.

Oh, and the bit of old sheet for the muslin, I will allow $2.00, as I do buy these from the Op Shop, so they are a cost of making this dress.

So, Total, $15.54.  Plus therapeutic benefits.  And the relief factor of having a just in case dress in the wardrobe.

Well, I am ready, are you....

That's it for this week,  next week will bring more drain drama, I am sure.  I hope they get fixed soon.

And I hope life is simpler in your part of the woods at the moment...

All for now,

Sarah Liz

Saturday, January 9, 2016

2016 Garment #1and #2 along with an Altogether Torrid and Tedious Week

2016 has certainly got itself off to a tedious start with problems on multiple fronts.  Amazing, I have managed to sew inbetween events of  this week.  

The first event was that our drains blocked up on New Years Eve.  The emergency plumbers arrived and we got the drains partially running, with the situation to be looked at in the New Year - there seemed to be a blockage further down the line, but no-one could find the boundary trap to the main sewer.  Apparently this part of Newcastle is notorious for lack of records, and also people just tend to bury the sewer area.  A vent was found, but the pipe there did not seem to affect the drainage situation at all.  Over the next few days of digging, we established that it was better to lay a new drain and redo a proper connection to the sewer.  The old plans were well and truly outdated, and I gather from DH, who owned the house before I came onto the scene, that no-one had ever managed to find the sewer connection to the main sewer.  This of course astounded me, being the neat Adelaide girl that I am - everything is neat and orderly in Adelaide and you can locate boundary traps just by pacing - from memory about 1 metre out from the house and then the trap is the other side of the boundary.  Not so here.  I even found out that the house behind me has the main sewer line underneath it.  I think I am more astounded by that than I am about the cost of our problem. Which is not inconsiderable, by the time the garden is dug up, concrete cut, drains laid and a new connection established.  I will believe we have success when we finally do.  In the meantime, life is a bit tedious with limited use of water and lots of use of buckets being emptied in the garden.  I hand wash what we need. So really, I am camping at home

At the beginning of the week, I knew little of the story outlined above that was unfolding. What I did know was that it was very wet. managed to have over 3 days of solid downpours - and I mean, downpours - with flooding on most roads.  Areas nearby were flooded and evacuated.

I planned to go to work on Monday but decided it was far too wet - I know what happens now, and roads can be cut.  So I stayed home and decided to sew my first garment for 2016, a pair of black rayon pants, totally in blissful ignorance of the extent of the drain problem.

Now, don't the trousers look great?  The RTW shirt looks awful - I didn't realise it was such a poor fit until I saw this photo.  Still, it proves what I often say - my worst fitting me-mades are a better fit than RTW garments on me.  

I used a Simplicity pattern :

Misses' Separates

 These are simple elastic waist trousers. I have never made a pair of Simplicity pants before so was curious about how they would fit me.

I used size 10 in the Simplicity pant- the pattern claimed the finished hip measurements were 37 inches.  I thought this was about right for my 33/1/2 inch hips. The  pants were straight leg/slightly bootcut so I knew they would be flattering with nothing to fit on my slim legs.

I usually do a muslin, but after studying the pattern  pieces, decided to use the crotch to waist part of Vogue 9067 , a pant I recently made that fits me nicely in the crotch and through the rise to the waist.   In effect, this redrew the crotch curve two inches below the original crotch and added extra to the waist and for a wider casing. I used 1 inch elastic instead of the 1/2 inch specified in the pattern.   Effectively, by lowering the crotch I raised the hip line 2 inches - which works perfectly as I am petite and my hip line is 7 inches from the waist, not 9 inches which is what the pattern companies use as the hip line.

I also shortened the pants by about 1/1/4 inches over and above the alteration outlined above.  The pants were quite long, but are designed to be worn with heels.  I wanted mine to be quite a bit shorter to wear with flat sandals - and in our wet climate, I prefer slightly shorter in summer.

And, I added in seam side pockets.

And the results are perfect:

Hip curve in the right place for once

Flattering from the side

And look at the back:)
Looks like I have found another pant that works. And the best part is that the fit feels as good as it looks. I have not used many Simplicity patterns but have found that when I do I am also happy with the fit.


Now, you may be wondering why I opened this post with a picture of a black top over white pants.

The pants some of you already know as they are a McCall's pant, blogged here.   The top is new and is another version of New Look 6273, blogged here.

It was made from the leftovers of the Black Rayon Simplicity pants.  I had a 2.5 metre piece, and although it is sold as 112 wide, I measured it and it was 120 wide.  A bit of judicious placing of the pants pattern on the fabric saw me with nice pieces to do something else with - I mean, I worked this out before I cut the pants out, and as soon as I saw the possibility of another garment, decided to use lawn in the pockets of the above pants.   I did have to put a seam in the front of the top (flat-felled for a nice finish)  and cut the lower strip on the crossgrain which does impact on the perception of the colour for this piece:

I used lawn for my facings, as I think it helps to stabilise the neckline. The pattern uses binding.  I meant to cut extra on the sleeve as the pattern uses binding and I prefer a narrow hem.  But with plumbers coming and going all the time, I forgot and had to use binding.  Now, the binding I can get is not very nice - hard and stiff, so the sleeve does wing out a bit:

And, instead of a thread loop at the back of the neck, I made a nice little bias  loop:

And the finished top:

And the costings as per my 2016 goals:

PANTS:   Black Rayon, 2.5 metres Spotlight Sale $7.99 per metre : Au $19.98
                 Simplicity Pattern, RRP $19.99 *
                 Elastic, $1.75, Cotton Lawn, $1.00, Thread/Needles $4.00 allowed.

* I usually do not pay full retail price for patterns, but wait for sales.  I am going to cost at full retail price though because I can't remember what I paid, and anyway, that is the supposed value of the pattern.

PANTS TOTAL:   AU $46.72.

TOP:    Black Rayon Leftovers and Pattern already used therefor "free" this time around.
             Lawn and Interfacing, $1.50 allowed, Binding $1.00, Thread/Needles $4.00 allowed,
             Button, $1.00 to replace (it was from my stash).

TOP TOTAL:  AU $7.50.

That's it for this week - next week has quite a few challenges - the Practice opens again on Tuesday with no telecommunications.  We have been out since December 20th, and were promised lines back on the 8th January.  They were not.  The battle continues.   Not good enough, Telstra.  So what with that and the drains, the start of 2016 has not been good :)

All for now, luckily I have a couple of 2015 garments still to post, because I think sewing is going to be a little slow for the next couple of weeks!

I hope life is more settled in your part of the world:)

Sarah Liz