Thursday, 27 August 2015

Something crafty

Here is my first attempt at a stuffed toy.  And what do you know I chose a cat. I was thinking of a baby gift idea for one of my friends and thought I'd give this a try.  The material is quilting fabric from Lincraft. I found a decent looking template on the interweb and based my kitty shape on that.  I have buttons-o-plenty so just had to decide on which colour/type to use.  The whiskers were just done with a regular cotton thread with a double hand stitch.  Surprisingly stuffing the wadding into the toy took a longer time than I expected. I figured if the kiddy doesn't like it it should look nice from a decorative perspective. 

This is one of those occasions where it was hard to capture the colour of the fabric in the photo.
I know what you're thinking the resemblance is uncanny
I seem to be, in my middle age, surrounded by chums having babies, or simply breeders as I usually refer to them.  And this does actually impact on my sewing as I am making lots of clothes, that aren't getting as much wear as my social life is a little on the spare side with all these friends in the throws of parenthood. Now I always like a new sewing challenge and a few years ago with the baby births imminent it got me thinking of gift ideas.  It started with putting a felt cat face on a onesey for one of my friends and then I moved on to mobiles.  Steeling the idea from Etsy I found some terrific felt mobiles.  My first was for my friend Steph who lives on a property just north of Brisbane. Inspired by her chickens and cow Bessie I made this farm themed mobile.  
Mobile no. 2 was for a good friend who is a dog lover.   

The mobiles certainly aren't on par with the ones people do make and sell on Etsy but I think friends do appreciate the effort. And thanks to my dad for whipping up the centre pieces for me.
Now I am shortly to become an actual aunty for the first time this year so I guess I'll have to come up with another idea.  Taking inspiration from my stuffed toy, I might try something smaller with a rattle inside. Not sure if I feel like tackling a mobile again. It is certainly very time consuming work hand sewing all the details onto the felt.  But always glad to give it a crack.


Friday, 21 August 2015

New Look 6091

I started a version of this pattern last year, in a black and white fabric, but then put it to one side. I think I ran out material to use for the bias for the neckline. I was after a top to wear with my chocolate brown A-line skirt.  I have some terrific taupe coloured boots that I hadn't worn all winter and thought if I had the right top for the skirt then the boots would make an outing. Unfortunately by the time I finished the top wouldn't you know it the weather has heated up again.  

I used the basic top template but decided not to make the sleeves a full length version. This three quarter sleeve is much more versatile for me.  I also decided against the elastic waist as I didn't think I needed it if I was using a belt.   

I got to try out a new technique with the neckline, which is gathered and then a bias band is used for the facing. Another very easy pattern to put together in a day  The fabric is a 100% quilting cotton from Lincraft. I was very taken with the colours of the oriental floral print.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Alice in OliveLand

A little while back I found myself in the soft furnishing fabric section of Spotlight when I happened upon a couple of terrific cotton fabrics.  One was navy blue with white houses on it and the other was olives.  Obviously perfect for say kitchen curtains or a tablecloth, but honestly I thought it was just fabulous fabric.  I think it would have looked great in a vintage frock but I wanted to try the Tessuti Alice dress/top pattern out.  Plus they were both a bargain at $5 a metre.  You don't get that in the dress fabric section. 

This was a lovely easy pattern to make. Probably the most time consuming part was putting the PDF pattern together, which is always a bit of a bore.  I did read bloggers who said it tended to run to the large sizes and my friend has made a few of the tops which seem a bit low cut at the sides, which I don't really like given what happens to your skin of your underarm area as you age, not pretty. So I made it to a small and it fits perfectly.  

I did one silly thing during the construction and put one of the arm bands on the wrong way around.  I didn't even notice until the next day when I tried it on.  There was the understitching mocking me on the outside.  I had thought about just leaving it and pretending it was a topstitch and then just do a row of stitching on the other side. Then I decided to do the right thing and it didn't take that long to unpick and put around the right way.  Very happy with my kitchen curtain inspired fabric.  

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Sit on it Emery

I like this pattern not.  After buying this pattern I realized that essentially I already have similar patterns. I think it's easy to see a really nice looking dress on someone's blog and not realise the main reason it caught my eye was because of the lovely fabric used.  In Brisbane we aren't exactly spoilt for choice when it comes to fabric unlike when I started sewing a few decades ago.  Anyways, so I see some lovely dresses on the blogs and it doesn't occurs to me that maybe I'm buying a similar pattern to ones I already own. 

So to begin at the begin.  One evening I was inspired to cut out the Emery. I had some paisley cotton material I had been intending for a summer frock, but decided in our moderate Qld winter the weight would be perfect with the longer sleeve.  So I cut it out and, at that point realised how familiar the basic pattern pieces looked.  I decided to get going and put the bodice together, darts done - check, side seams and shoulder seams - check.  Then I'm looking at the bodice which looks extra extra large for some reason. I got out my New Look 6223 pattern and placed the back bodice pattern pieces over the Emery piece. 

OMG as the kids say.  I mean seriously. I cut out the pattern according to my sizing on the pattern instructions, and whatdoyaknow it was way out.  Now I've heard girls criticise the "big 4" pattern companies as not being as good as the independent ones.  My experience thus far with the independents is that everything I've made has been too big.  They do appear to suffer the same problem as the old school pattern companies and the sizing, in my experience, is completely off. Since I started sewing, the pattern sizing chart puts me at a size 16 and yet I've sewn to a 12 all my long sewing life.  So when I hear the phrase "fits like a glove" in reference to the Emery I am quite surprised. From which "glove" emporium do you buy your gloves I wonder? And these days people talk about making muslins.  I've been sewing for far too long and am too impatient to be making up a dress once for practice. But I can understand for the novices it is very useful. 

Meanwhile back at my Emery bodice, out came my friend the quick unpick and I set to unpicking my bodice.  Super p o'd.  I then had to recut the bodice pieces and the sleeve.  I then put the darned thing away for a few weeks as it was making me very cross. 

On returning to the pattern afresh I was ready to make it up - take dos.  It is a nice basic pattern to put together especially.  I had thought about lining the bodice, but boy was a glad I didn't.  So I finished the Emery pretty quickly. I was going to put binding around the neck so I thought I'd just try it on before I did that. And flipping heck the bodice still looked way too big.  It was poofing out above the bust line closer to the neck edge.  I was ready to tear it up quite literally.  But no what a waist of material and time.  I ended up adding a dart to the centre front and had to run the 2 vertical darts nearly up to the neckline to make the front bodice more fitted.

I also had to re-do the sleeves take them up a few centimetres and take them in to make then look a tad less boxy.  So here it is finished.  It is just ok and thanks to the fabric pattern you can hardly notice the darts. Was actually glad it only garnered a few nice comments from work people, because it really didn't deserve any praise.  And frankly I couldn't be bothered posing for photos in it. It does look a smidge better on, but only a smidge.

Also the pattern picture isn't really accurate to the dress. I'm being a pedant on this one but the skirt looks more A-line on the pattern cover with a little gather than the full skirt you finish up with. All in all a real disappointment.

So I shall stick to my New Look 6223 and just add a bow if I wish or a collar. 

Not that the Emery is out on its own with my vitriol.  I've also got a very loose fitting Cambi in my cupboard which took a few alterations because of the lining showing in the sleeve. And then there was the annoyance of the Jasmine blouse. So much fiddling around and the finished product still looked huge.  I finally made a black full skirt to wear with that and it makes it passable. Then there is a Ginger skirt that has some serious waistband issues. The best independent pattern I've purchased so far is from Tilly and her Mathilde blouse.  Great pattern, great instructions, terrific fit.  Thanks Tilly. 

I do hope this ends my season of the sewing horribilis. It has been an annoying few months of fails and near fails. 

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Last time on Dynasty....

When I tried on the finished frock for the New Look 6145 a little voice in my head started up with the opening credits for the tv show Dynasty.  Oh what a fabulous trashy soap it was too. I spent way too much time in my teen years enjoying that guilty pleasure. 

Now there were a number of different pattern options to choose from with this. I decided since it was winter to just go with the sleeve.  Given the fabric pattern I'm not exactly sure why I chose the pleated sleeve. Perhaps it was something different to do, and why not. I like to try new things.  And I must say they do look fab. However, when I put the dress on they looked kind of bonkers.  The fabric is a cotton drill so it is a little stiff anyways and there they are the bio-dome sleeves. They do have a life of their own.  I shall be removing them when I'm next in the mood to unpick. 

 Alas the dress is also a bit of a bum hugger.  I should have allowed a little extra around the tum and bum, but with a run of oversized patterns recently I thought I was making a sensible decision sticking to a straight size 12. It's wearable just a little snug where you don't want it to be. 

It's a good little pattern with some good options. Easy and straightforward to make.  

Perfect dress if I'm going to one of those Supernova sci-fi conventions I would think.