Sunday, July 31, 2016

Winter Warmth

So this is a very much at home look.  A long handknit jumper over old cords and of course, for warm feet and total comfort, black fluffy slippers.  What the best dressed always wear at home.  And of course, to complete the picture of elegance, a supremely bad hair day.  This is a pretty seedy looking me, because I took the pictures while I was still recovering from the nasty virus that did the rounds a few weeks ago.  My hair was overdue for a cut, and has now been tidied up, I am pleased to say.

Anyway, enough about my sub standard appearance in this post.  Time to talk about the jumper.

I have stashed wool for some years now and have quite a few balls in various colours that are too much for oddments knitting and not enough for a whole garment.  I mean why did I have 8 balls of 8 ply navy and 6 balls of black 8 ply navy? 50 gm balls, in case you were wondering.  It needs a minimum of 10 to 11 to make an 8 ply cardigan or jumper.

So I decided I wanted to rid myself of these nuisance balls of wool and decided to make a tunic length striped jumper.

I used a TNT Patons pattern from the following book I have had for years and years:

I've never had a failure using the patterns in this book, even when I use a non Paton's yarn.

I chose a cowl neck 8 ply pattern.  I knitted the bands and cowl neckband in blue because I had more blue.  The body was striped - 4 rows black, 4 rows blue.

And the stripes went on and on and on and on and on and on and it took ages and ages to complete this jumper.  And then there was the sewing up and all the ends to deal with.

But I finished in the end!   I did run out of wool when I was knitting the cowl, so made it shorter than it was in the pattern. But it is still quite enough, and I think any more in this wool - which was sort of quite weighty, if you know what I mean - would have been too heavy to wear.

So here we are, a further look at my at home, no visitors please look:

Warm, at home, snuggly and cosy - what more could you want on a cold winter's day!

All for now, see you next week with a garment that I did not want to make and having made have worn all the time!

Sarah Liz

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Top That Nearly Never Happened...Simplicity 2599

The trials and tribulations of a sewing blogger have continued this week in that I found another piece of fabric with flaws in it.  So, although we are nowhere near summer down in Oz, I decided that this piece of stash annoyed me and I wanted to use it straight away because otherwise it was going to niggle at me, you know, what are you going to do with me, I'm flawed, sort of niggle.  The sort of niggle that distracts you and keeps you awake at night.  No, that niggle had to be dealt with...

The fabric is rayon, and the first thing I noticed when I pre washed it was a strange streakiness in the dye.  I decided that if this was going to be the case and I was going to get a sort of washed dye look, that I would prefer the streaks to go up and down, so I decided it was best to cut  the fabric on the crossgrain. This also helped me avoid obvious flaws running about two inches in from each selvedge.
 with these limitations, I chose a simple top - which also happened to be one I have long wanted to make. It's been in my stash now for quite a while.  Enter Simplicity 2599:

This is a simple top with bust darts at the front, and just a plain back seam, no darts.  The CB of the neckline closes with a button.  Very simple.  I wanted a plain, simple, loose fitting shell, and this was it.

I didn't want cap sleeves though so I altered the sleeve to a short one.  I kept it quite full so that the sleeves are cool to wear on a hot, humid day.  Not that we will have those for some months yet...

I cut size 12 through the bodice and 8 shoulders and armhole, grading the armhole curve out to 12 closer to the bodice. I raised the neckline about a cm and used a 1 cm seam allowance - meaning that in total, the neckline is now about 1.5 cms higher than the pattern neckline.  I took off about 3 cms at the hem as the top was just a little long for me.  The darts were too low for my bust apex, and too far from the apex, so I raised the apex and also added some length to the dart.

It was a straightforward sew I suppose, except I was in the early part of a rheumatoid flare, so sewing was really difficult to do.  But so is anything  and you have got to do something with the day.  I just decided to not go for perfection and some of my seams are a little bit wobblier than normal.  But I persevered and won.

I did find that the button loop was a bit long and had to use a much larger button than that suggested on the pattern.  No matter, a quick raid of the stash found a suitable one:

I quite like the larger button, sort of makes a nice feature.  But if I want a smaller button I would shorten the loop.

After I finished the top, I rinsed it out and ironed it. And then I found it.  Another flaw.  I thought maybe I had abraded the fabric accidentally, but it had been nowhere near the feed dog.  So I think, as it was only obvious after washing again, that it was in the fabric all along - I must have got the dud piece, I think.

My first reaction was to toss the thing, but after a bit of calm reflection, decided that was a daft thing to do, as I had spent a lot of sore joint sewing time on this top.  So I rummaged through the stash and found a bit of nylon lace:

And stitched it over the flaw.  The flaw itself was sealed with some clear nail polish:

And that solved that problem!  DH said he thought it suited the top.  He knows the right things to say! He's probably learnt from saying the wrong things...

Of course, photo day was a bad hair day - it was pouring with rain outside, so all my hair wanted to do was misbehave :)

Well, it's cool, unstructured, roomy, and hides the tummy - what more could you want - oh yes, pockets in the pants:

And you get those, too, when you sew your own clothes.  Pants are cotton lawn, made by me, Vogue 9067.  These are the wide leg pants in this pattern - Posts featuring Vogue 9067 pants can be found here.

So, slowly I am building a cool, functional, comfortable and slightly chic summer wardrobe.  It's taken years!

Bye til later,

Sarah Liz

Friday, July 15, 2016

New Look Shirt and New Look Roof

It's been quite a fortnight since I last blogged - and it is also unlike me to miss doing a weekly post. In a nutshell, I had one of the worst colds that I ever had.  I was so woozy I managed to lock myself out of my car, with the engine still running and the keys to the car and house in the ignition.  My handbag with mobile phone was safely locked inside the car.  I got out of that dilemma by quickly running up to my chemist, who was close to closing, and asked if I could use their phone to ring my husband.  He was doing his ward round, so it was quite embarrassing asking switch to find him for me!   He quickly came to the rescue though.  I have never done anything quite like that before, and still have no idea how I managed to do it!

Then I decided that I would try to make my garment.  It was going to be my July garment for the Make a Garment a Month group - our theme for this month is opposite.  So, as we are in the middle of winter, I decided to make a dress for the middle of summer.  I thought I would do something that is also a little opposite my normal style, because sometimes we get stuck in a bit of a style and sewing rut.  I put the skirt together and held it up, and quickly decided it was not me and that I would not wear it:

I should have learnt by now that frills, fullness and flouncing do not work for me. But sometimes I rebel against my boy shape and want to wear things like this dress. Only to learn my lesson again, that really, I look better in plain, simple, unfussy lines.  And I feel better - I was just going to feel daft in this frilly thing.  It looks good on other sewers that have reviewed the dress on Pattern Review, but not Sarah Liz

So I then set to work cutting the thing to bits and salvaging what I could of the fabric.  I thought long and hard and decided that I could nearly cut out, with some compromises, a New Look shirt (6266) that I wanted to make up as a wearable muslin.  I had just purchased a little more of the fabric to make a tie belt (an afterthought) and had not cut it out, so had enough for sleeves in that piece.  Not enough to match the pattern in the sleeve/bodice area but I decided not to let that worry me.

Let's look at the shirt again:

I altered the sleeves to a short sleeve length.  I only had limited fabric so I shortened both front and back and omitted the curved hemlines - I did not think they would look good with this busy fabric.  One major problem with cutting was that the pattern was printed off grain.  So I had a real fight getting the lines to look straight across my body.  I managed to get one side seam to match, but the other doesn't, but really, there was little I could do about that with the faulty printing.  I ran the button band - cut from the frill - downwards, which looks good, but also, if the stripes did not quite match, the fault would not be so obvious.  As you can see, though, the stripes do match down the front - quit an achievement given the squiffy printing.

I had to juggle lengths, with the back being a bit longer than the front.  That works though, and is also quite a thing at the moment.

I had already made a calico toile in January, but had fit issues.  The armholes were just not right, and in the end I worked out that I had to add a bit to the front curve of the armhole - and no more pulling - as can be seen in the picture above.

Sizing - I cut size 8 shoulders and neck, and 12 for the body of the garment.  The armhole was size 8 at the back and at the front, I drew a new curve from 8 at the top of the arm to 12 at the curve of the arm.  I found that the sleeve head fitted perfectly into the armhole.

The shirt has a front and back yoke, and these are unlined.  I decided to add a cotton voile lining to the yoke area.  It just helps the neck area sit a little better, and looks more finished.

The front band is in one piece and just folds along the foldline.  And the collar is on a collar stand, which I like.  Otherwise, just bust darts, and a pleat in the back.  Simple to sew, simple to wear.

The shirt went together very easily, and will become a TNT for me.

As for costing, I am not even going there with this garment - I was just lucky enough to be able to salvage enough of my original mistake to make a garment.

Oh, the fabric is a poly cotton, quite lightweight, that came from Spotlight.

I'll quickly show you some pictures - and please forgive me wearing my track suit pants and slippers.  It's winter here, and it was bad enough wearing a summer shirt, let alone wearing cotton pants and sandals.  I'll never make a model, not that anyone has asked me or is likely to ask me to be one!

That's it for my first edition of New Look 6266.

The exciting news for the last fortnight, except I was feeling crook, so it did not feel exciting at all, was that FINALLY, our roof had been replaced.  The old slate cyclone damaged roof is gone, and new concrete Wunderlich tiles are now in place.   

They took longer than expected as the first week we had rain. They managed one day, how, I do not know as we had wind gust of 80 kms an hour.  Slate went into rubbish truck, and tiles went up on some sort of winch. 

This week they were back with zeal, and managed to complete the job.  Look at our poor lawn (well, this was were the lawn was prior to the plumbing fiascoes.

So, we have gone from this:

To this: 

The finials are still to come, and safety rails were removed today.  Next job is getting the awnings sorted out - new shingles.  Then the house needs painting.  And I have to sort out a solution to the falling to piece tacked on afterthought at the back of the house - I'll show you a picture of that another day.  Something nice and light that goes onto a deck I think.

I'll start thinking about that next week, along with thinking  about what to sew next...

For now, I want to wish you all a happy and healthy weekend.  

See you soon, 

Sarah Liz

Friday, July 1, 2016

New Polar Fleece Jacket - Vogue 9133.

Winter has finally arrived in our part of the world with some quite icy mornings and some very chilly winds.

Now, while I have smart coats, they are more appropriate for more formal wear, or for city use.  Newcastle is a regional town, and tends to dress fairly casually.  My  life is also fairly casual at the moment and in any case, it is impossible to fight the elements here - including the many spider webs that appear at night and end up all over your clothes.

So I decided to make a coat that fitted the current conditions.

I rummaged through the stash and found this polar fleece.  For some reason I did not like it in the stash, and wanted it out.  It was ideal for a coat/jacket though, because it is a thicker and firmer fleece.

Then I went through my patterns.  Despite having quite a few (well, lots) I could not find one that I wanted to make.

So I went to Spotlight, and looked though the Vogue patterns, which were being sold at $7.00 instead of the usual approximately $29.00.  I looked for a simple pattern that would work with the fleece, and was just about to give up  when I saw this:

This coat/jacket has very simple lines and is unlined - perfect for fleece.  Unfortunately, I
can't put the line drawing in, as Blogger now doesn't like the coding when I cut and paste from Sewing Pattern Review.

I decided against making a muslin for this garment - it was a case of low enthusiasm couple with need for a casual coat.

I chose View C.

I always find Vogue patterns are huge on my shoulders, so cut out XS (4-6) for shoulders and arms, and S for the body (8-10).  I figured that with the small amount of stretch in this fleece I could get away with not so much ease.  I did find though that the underarm was a little higher than I am used to, and while fitting nicely, I would drop that down to the S size if I made this again - especially if I used a woven.  I took out 1/2 inch along the L.S lines above the shoulder dart, and 1/2 inch below. The sleeves turned out almost a bit too short, so if I make this again, I will only the above the dart shortening.  Strange, because most sleeves seem to reach almost to my fingertips.
The coat jacket was designed to have shoulder pads.  I did not have enough room for those, plus I have square shoulders, so don't always need them.

I did find that the facing wanted to flap out, so I tacked that along the pockets.

And, I used a snap instead of a buttonhole - I usually close polar fleece with a snap.

And a note to self - if I ever make this in a woven, I may need to go up a size - make a muslin first.

Just an aside - I will not be posting reviews on Pattern Review anymore - for some reason, the site will not accept my pictures now - I have spent ages trying to work out what to do and still can't upload.  Reviews without pictures are not looked at -  a waste of time and energy. I guess I could email them, but really, I find blogging is more to my liking, and I really like communicating with my regular followers and friends.  I just don't have that sort of connection with Pattern Review.   So I will review on my blog - and as I always include the pattern number, anyone searching for info on the web will be able to find my reviews on my blog. 


Now, I have already told you that I did not really like this piece of stash.  It must have been listening, because it took it's revenge and punished me by prtesenting a hole in the back piece of the garment aftern is had been cut out.

Of course, I had the usual emotional reaction, and after that put my thinking cap on.  The hole was in the upper third of the back about a third of the way in.  I decided that I could put a little tab band across the back.  I measured and marked my positions:

Then made a band.  Well, two actually, because after stitching the first, it had pulled in so much that the hole was not going to be covered:

Then I stitched down, and then added buttons:

And strategically covered that pesky little hole on the inside with little daisies - these also hid the stitching from the buttons:

I added a second row of topstitching to the pockets:

Instead of using polar fleece for the back neck facing I used a light weight knit - that is finished with lace at the bottom so it looks neat. It's just visible in the picture.  I also did a chunky topstitching along the collar and front edges:

Side seams were done in a false flat fell finish, and the hem was just overlocked and turned up:

I do find my small domestic overlocker struggles with thick fabrics, and skips stitches and does not do a nice, neat job.  So I bound the armholes with stretch lace - my ancient heavy duty machine doesn't mind doing this at all:

And the front button just covers a large snap closure.  I forgot to take a picture of that!

Now a few pictures of the garment - and I'm being very authentically casual in these photos, even down to the wind swept hair!  I'm sure quite a few of you will relate to ordinary clothes worn in a very ordinary way, instead of glamour shots of a garment made up - many of us have, after all, far from glamourous lives!

Well, that is it for Vogue 9133. It's a simple, easy to make jacket/coat that looks nice, even in Polar Fleece casualness!

For those of you following the building saga, the drains are done now down the side of the house. The roof is due to start next week - the roofers are putting the scaffolding up right now.   I will be so pleased to see the new roof go on - and hopefully are house will start feeling a little dryer and warmer.

Bye for now,

Sarah Liz

P.S.: Costings.

Polar Fleece : $31.18 (Spotlight).  Pattern $7.00.  Buttons and Press Stud, $10.00, Thread and Needle Allowance, $7.00., Lace and daisies, $4.00.

$59.18.   Not one of my cheaper makes, but still cheaper than the local shops and Exibuy.