Thursday, 29 January 2015

Tea for two

When I first started this blog I thought I’d never post any pictures of me in anything other than clothes I would wear out of the house; there would be no underwear pics, no unflattering photos showing ill-fitting issues and maybe I would stick to being headless. Headless and unrecognisable. I’m sure that every blogger out there has toyed with the idea of being headless on their blog. Do we sewists really want hundreds of pictures out there in the ether standing in front of backdrops and walls, looking like something interesting on said wall has captivated our attention? Showing off each and every angle of our latest make? The front, the side, the back, the detail…..

It starts with posting head pics, and then suddenly you find yourself adding an obligatory arse pic in each post. All in the name of sewing! The belfie. Here’s a question: does a picture taken of my arse with a remote and tripod classify as a belfie? Or is a belfie only those bad ones where you take a pic over your shoulder of your arse in the mirror? Did you know some smart arse (haha) has recently produced a belfie stick?  Anyway, I recently reached a level of insouciance when my arse pic was my opening blog post shot. Classy Myra.


So I guess it is time to say goodbye to the line in the sand of pictures I thought I would never post. The tide must have washed away that line, because alas, here is a post full of pictures of me in outrageous pyjamas. What’s more I convinced my sister to pose and feature in this post, all in the name of sewing. And when you put two sisters in pyjamas in front of a camera, things get cray cray.

Trying not to show too much skin while showing off the top of the shorts...


While talking all things cray cray, I admit that on the day these pics were taken, my sister and I decided to try and balance a champagne glass on our derriere's. Kardashian  style. In public! Luckily those pictures will remain in the vault. And before you ask, no, we weren’t successful. Obviously our derriere’s are not as full and perky as Kim’s.

Books are for practicing good posture, aren't they?


So what to tell you about these makes? I decided to make the Grainline Lakeside pyjamas after Amanda sewed up a pair at our recent social sewing afternoon. I picked up enough of this Japanese cotton lawn in Bali with these pyjamas in mind and thought I would surprise my sister with matching pyjamas on an upcoming holiday we had planned. We are both tea crazy so it seemed apt.




I started with my pair of pyjamas and sewed up the pattern unaltered. I measured a 2 in the top and 4 in the shorts, but opted to go for a size 6 in the shorts so that they were a little roomier to sleep in. However, I think I could have gone up another size in the shorts. I did read on various blogs that these shorts run small! What else? I do like the design of the top with its cross over winged back but it has absolutely no shape through the waist and appears a little… umm… maternity?


Winged crossed over back
For my sisters pair I took a good inch or so off the bottom of each side seam of the top and blended this to the current size under the arms. I decided that even with my sisters expanding belly (yep she’s preggers), some of the excess fabric needed to be shaved off. I also went up another size in the shorts and loosened the elastic in the waist band as I wanted to make sure she could wear these under her belly, as well as after the bub was born. & the fabric very aptly has milk jugs on them. I wonder if my sister noticed them?


I’m pretty happy with both pairs. The fabric is a tad cray cray, but hey, they are good for home pyjamas. They’re definitely not sexy lingerie, and I definitely won’t be wearing them around the new bf, but they are perfect for lounging around… and they do make me smile and think of my sis.


Maybe I might make another pair that are more… umm…. adult? Perhaps some without teacups or milk jugs?

Monday, 1 December 2014

A stripey No-Co

With the onset on warmer weather, I decided on a whim that I needed some lightweight summer dresses. I thought about the patterns I had and decided finally on a mish mash of the Nettie and the Coco. The Nettie is sexy, but it is made with negative ease and is tighty tight… and that’s not what I want on a hot summers day. The Coco on the other hand is a little roomier, but I wanted it a tad more fitted, and with less of a drastic A lined skirt. My No-Co (as in not a coco, but a little bit a N-ettie), is a completely altered Coco with Nettie tendencies.


I started by altering the side seams to be more fitted, coming in an additional 1 ½ inches on each side. I also curved the seam in beneath the hip, making the A line a little less wide. Hmm, what else? I scooped out the neck, and chopped the sleeves to make them short. To be honest, most of the modifications were done because the parsimonious part of me didn’t want to part with more than $30 on this make. The fabric wasn’t too expensive ($25 a metre), but I thought I could get a simple summer dress out of a metre despite the Coco requirements saying I needed 2 metres. I’m a bit stubborn like that – I always think I can make it work with the smallest meterage! I do admit I have had to abort sewing projects due to my frugal fabric purchases, but I never learn.

 
Stripe matching like a boss.

There are a few things that irk me about this dress: Firstly I didn’t have enough fabric to match the stripes as well as I would have liked at the armscyes. Secondly the sleeves, while I have now come to like the length were as long as they possibly could be, as is the length of the dress. I had to compromise between the length of the dress and the length of the sleeves…. I think I did ok but I’m not entirely sure. I also didn’t have any fabric left over to make a neck binding… and I really did want to finish the neck line off with one (like the Nettie). Instead I was forced to turn over the neck line, sleeves and skirt hem and finish them off with a simple straight stitch.

 

I’m still not the greatest at finishing these edges (hence probably why I like the Nettie’s overlocked neck binding) – I did attempt a twin stitch, and also a zig zag as I was worried I might pop these straight stitches (you should see the hem of my two ponte mini’s).  I ended up unpicking these other attempts and went back to my original option of a slightly longer straight stitch.

 
Hello Dalmatian - whatcha looking at?

I have worn this dress out multiple times now. It is such a summery classic. Guess what though? - I did pop the hem stitches the other night while pulling this dress over my head. Bugger! I guess I really should perfect finishing hems (or take a little more care undressing?)
 
'Til next time lovely sewing friends. x

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Back on the horse

This post doesn’t really have anything to do with horses, but I started the post on Melbourne Cup day, and I did get back on the DD2#4 horse as soon as I fell off, so the title seems apt. You’ll be glad to hear that my second DD2#4 top sewed up like a dream. There were no mistakes and no horsing around (oh I crack myself up sometimes). This make actually came together from cut, construction to wearable garment in less than a few hours. Giddy up.


I made this version using a white jersey knit that I bought from Addicted to Fabric - it’s nothing special - just good quality jersey. I really wanted a staple white top in my wardrobe to be paired with my numerous patterned shorts and skirts that seem to be monopolising my sewing. I did own an awesome bamboo blend white knit top but it didn’t survive the sweat and filth from Bali. I needed a replacement: something relaxed, with a little drape and a nice shape without making me depict a sack of potatoes. DD2#4 - you fit the brief.

Lily-pup wanted in on the photo action.
 
I wondered how a solid colour would look given that the pattern is cleverly designed and really suits stripes, but I am pleased with the result. It is understated but fascinating (unlike Gabi Grecko’s Melbourne Cup outfit – seen that?? Gabi Grecko definitely does not do understated, and although I find her fascinating, I also find her deplorable and shocking). But back to my understated top.

 

Yes, this top is perfectly casual with an air of sophistication. It’s the top that I will choose when I want a little bit of interest, a little bit of pizazz, a little bit of oomph in my outfit. But not too much. You see, I have finally worked out my style: for the most part I like to blend into the crowd, but up close I like my garments to be a tad different, whether it be the pattern of the fabric, or the design lines in the pattern. Understated but fascinating.

This side profile shows the drape down the left side.

 
But sometimes I like to shock your socks off. I like to be the dark horse who wins the race even though I’m the last out of the starting gates. I like to mix it up.
 
 
The fashion on the field has made me think that maybe my next make needs to completely take me out of my comfort zone and shock the socks off you all. In fact, I’m thinking I may need to create a dress and attend next year’s Melbourne Cup: kind of like a Frocktail event with horses?? Who’s with me? But then again, given the tragedy of two horses dying during this year Melbourne Cup, maybe we just frocktail it up in Canberra instead?

Saturday, 1 November 2014

These things take time

These shorts have been on my sewing table for a good three months, but they are finally finished, and what a marathon effort they were. They might even get the award for the longest project this year! I had one very good friend comment week after week that these shorts did not seem to be progressing. Ha. Thanks for that!
 
Starting off with an arse pic. Ha. But check out the welt pockets!
 
Anyway, I think the reason they took so long wasn’t in fact that the sewing of them was particularly tricky, but that there were sooo many pattern pieces – over 20 if I remember rightly – and there were a lot of techniques I hadn’t attempted before. So I took the project slow and steady… like a tortoise. So slow that they were on my before holiday sewing list, but weren’t quite finished by the time I boarded the plane. Oh well – we’re heading into summer now so they can get plenty of wear soon.

 


Where shall I start with these? Firstly the fabric is a beautiful soft French linen that my sister bought me when she was over in France earlier in the year. When I first saw the fabric I had no idea what I was going to make with it. I’m not an overly floral girl but the fabric was beautiful. I was a bit stumped, but finally decided a pair of cuffed summer shorts. I had the sewaholic thurlow pattern in my stash (thanks to the stitcher and the gatherer) and thought this pattern would do the fabric justice.
 

The instructions were a tad brief for my liking. Some of the steps came together really well, but other parts had me stumped. There were many a time when I looked at the pattern pieces and just couldn’t quite work out how it would all fit together, but then it would come together in a ta-da moment: like when the pocket bag folded on itself and produced the most beautiful front pockets. Or when the back welt pockets folded up on themselves to create the back pocket bag. Genius! This pattern was so cleverly drafted, but I definitely could have done with a few more steps and pictures.
 


One thing that I didn’t like was that there was sooo much excess fabric at the back seam of the shorts which was intentionally drafted to easily adjust the waist size. I had thought that this would be a really clever design, but in reality, there was just way too much fabric back there and getting the stitching line right was a little tricky. I ended up taking the shorts in even further then the stitching line on the pattern, but that may be because I have a sway back. Either way, I hacked off a good inch of excess fabric off each back panel at this point, and even then I was still left with an inch seam allowance for future adjustments (in case my waist measurements increase but my hips and thighs stay the same??)

I also made a slight mistake on the inside trouser flap and ended up having to over lock the excess fabric off as my waist band piece didn’t line up with the front trouser piece. I must have somehow misread one of the instructions for the seam allowance when attaching the trouser flap. Oh well. Luckily this bit can’t be seen.

 
I just think this pic is funny - so unladylike Myra!

All in all I am super happy with the construction and fit of these. I love the welt pockets (they’re square and straight!) and I am pretty impressed with myself that I pulled off welt pockets, front pockets and a trouser zip in one garment. I also think I’m a floral convert – these shorts are pretty yet not overly girly. I did wear these for the day today and I would say that the only negative is that the linen relaxes a bit too much over the course of the day, resulting in a slight sag of the welt pockets and a sag across the front zip section. That is completely my fault for choosing a soft linen, but on the positive, they are uber comfy. I think I’ll make these shorts again in a stiffer material – maybe a solid linen blend? And I may even attempt the trouser version in a light wool suit blend for work? I think I may have found a shorts pattern that rival my love: move over Iris, the Thurlow is here.

I am definitely channelling tortoises in my sewing life at the moment. Every sewing project seems to be taking much longer than anticipated. I really need to start a baby quilt for my friends' first child - she's about to pop and I haven't even cut out the fabric, and I want to sew another DD#2 top and a Kielo dress. Argh. These things definitely take time.

Friday, 31 October 2014

DD2#4

DD2#4. I haven’t come up with a clever title for this post - usually I would delight in coming up with something witty: a play on words, or all of the title starting with the same letter. Yes, I am fond of sliding in a tad of alliteration and repetition. But alas my brain is fried and I cannot come up with anything but the initials of the top sewn. So I will just run with that. DD2#4. It’s the one piece scoop neck asymmetrical top (no. 4) out of the Drape Drape 2 Japanese sewing book.
 

 
I fell in love with this pattern during a brunch date the morning after Frocktails. I ogled Nic’s version and I loved how clever the design was - I wanted to whip up a stack of these as soon as I got home. I even swung past the Fabric Store after brunch in an attempt to purchase some stripey jersey fabric to hit the ground running when I got home. But then life got in the way – uni. uni. uni. and a holiday to boot. Oh and then more uni. uni. uni. and work. When I finally traced this pattern out and attempted to sew it, my brain was well and truly scrambled with exam preparations and other unrelated life crap. And I screwed it up….. well and truly…. almost past the point of salvage….. I totally ballsed it up.
 
Do you know what I did? I assumed that the hem pattern piece was a separate piece, folded over and sewn on to create a hem band. But no, this pattern piece was supposed to be butted up with the other two pattern pieces to create ONE pattern piece. Hence why the pattern is called ONE PIECE scoop neck asymmetrical top. Dumb arse. And yes, the picture in the book clearly illustrates this.

 

So I cut out the hem piece and sewed it onto my already cut ‘midriff’ piece. Problem #2: the stripes on this jersey knit weren’t straight! Attempting to pattern match these wonky stripes was NOT going to happen. To trash or not to trash? This top was to be a present and I was way past the birthday date. Crap. No time to start again. I had no choice but to I ran with it, mistakes and all.
 
 
Until I got to problem #3: the neck binding. OMG the neck binding. My first attempt I made a bias binding strip 1/3rd shorter than the circumference of the neck, and attempted to stretch the binding in place…. But I didn’t account for the fact that this fabric only had about a 10% stretch. Dumb arse moment #2. To trash or not to trash. I had had enough of this top but cut out another binding strip and decided to over lock it in place on the fly, stretching as I went. It worked ok, but I almost over locked the last inch of the binding completely off, resulting in a very thin width of binding over one shoulder. Oops.

With scissors in hand, I was tempted to cut this top into smithereens, or poke myself in the eye with my handy dandy seam ripper. But I soldiered on, and after one, two, three attempts at the asymmetrical arm hole (problem #4), I was finally ready to hem the bottom and the other one arm hole and determine whether said garment was too dodgy to gift.

 


It’s not my best piece of work. In fact, it would go in the ranks as one of my worst, but I think the asymmetrical design kind of hides my hem mistake, and I’m hoping my sister doesn’t look too closely at that neck binding. Surely just the fact that I made a garment is a pretty huge gift in itself?

On good news, uni is now finished for the year and my brain has a little more room for processing and following instructions. Hopefully my next DD2#4 will sew up like a dream. And I may even replace my sister’s gift with one that I would be happy to see her wear. I’m sure I will cringe when I see this one on her.

Has anyone else ballsed up a make as bad as me?

Monday, 13 October 2014

A holiday Iris

I don't know about anyone else, but whenever I have a holiday planned, I immediately start stressing about planning my outfits for the trip. Do I have enough pairs of shorts? Handmade versus RTW? Tops? Dresses? I somehow forget that I did in fact have enough clothes the previous summer and think that I need a whole new wardrobe (or suitcase full) and compile a list of all of the sewing I need to do before I fly out. This inevitably increases my stress as the holiday date looms over me and the closer I get to the date I realise there's no way I'll make it through my sewing list of new makes.
 
 
Apart from simply wanting a new holiday wardrobe, part of my problem is that my weight fluctuates each and every year, so when I recently tried on my last year's iris's, it was obvious my booty just wasn't going to fit in them – no amount of breathing out or sucking in was going to help the zip to do up. My solution: a new pair of Iris's (& perhaps upping the exercise on my return?)


So these are my new Iris's (made a size bigger than the last couple of pairs). Do I need to say anything about them? I do love Colette’s Iris shorts – they seem to fit me well – the perfect crotch rise and enough room in the thighs so that they are roomy and not skin tight (I do find that a lot of shorter shorts seem to be tighty tight around the thigh region which just aint comfy). Although I must admit that the Iris's give me a tad of a wedgy after a while – maybe I need to alter the crotch curve a tad? Advice peeps? But generally, the fit is pretty good – much better than a lot of my RTW shorts.


The fabric is a thick (definitely bottom weight) cotton blend that I bought from addicted to fabric earlier in the year. I actually made a dress out of the fabric previously but failed to finish the seams properly resulting in the fabric pulling and fraying under the arms. The frayed dress is still sitting in my “to fix” pile in my sewing room, but I think it will be cut apart and made into something else. For this reason, I was particularly nervous about the amount of pull across my booty and the stress that the pulling might put on the seams. I imagined the shorts busting apart on holiday at the most inconvenient time, showing a flash of girlish fluro underpants – maybe as I was cycling through Ubud, or climbing the stairs to a temple – but alas these remained in one piece and my fluro underpants remained unseen. To ensure fluro concealment, I didn’t trim or clip my seam allowance, I finished my seams with my overlocker and then also reinforced the centre crotch seam with some top-stitching a couple of mm either side of the seam. Fluro concealment = definite tick.

 
I made a beige short sleeved Nettie to go with these shorts, but when I tried them on together, it just didn’t work. I definitely need a loose fitting tee to balance the shorts. I have worn my Nettie tee multiple times and I will get around to blogging that make too, but on me, I find it looks better teamed with jeans or pants.

 
I am wondering if I should make yet another pair of Iris’s in a plain linen for summer, but I have almost finished my French linen pair of Thurlow shorts, so will reassess the shorts situation after that. I’m also not entirely convinced I like these Iris’s – Aidan commented each time I wore them on holiday that they’re not his favourite of my makes (he’s such a polite boy but I can read between the lines).

 
Anyway, I'd best be off. 'Til next time my lovely sewing friends….

Friday, 19 September 2014

It's my turn to hop

Why hello. I'm a little early in posting my blog hop post as I am leaving this afternoon to fly over the Indian Sea in Bali. Hopefully I will soon be soaking up the rays on a banana lounge sipping cocktails by the pool.

Kirsty from Top Notch blog hopped to me last week and I have no idea how or who started the blog hop, but I am ecstatic to be part of it. I did do a goggle search to try and find its origins but to no avail.

Sincere thanks to Kirsty for inviting me on the blog hop tour, especially considering her blog was my impetus to starting my own sewing blog. I must admit my friendship with Kirsty has developed from blogger celebrity to dear friend. Here’s a brief rundown: one day while at work I was chatting to a friend in our bookshop and recognised Kirsty’s Matilde Liberty blouse (yep, I recognised the blouse before I recognised her). What followed was an awkward, embarrassing moment equivalent to building up the courage to talk to one’s high school crush: I approached Kirsty and exclaimed that I followed her blog and I just loved her Matilde blouse. I giggled like a school kid and chatted to her in awe. As awkward as it was, it was the beginning of a great friendship, and a friendship that introduced me to my Canberra sewing clan. And let me say that the sewing community has truly enriched my life.

Now that I have finished being sentimental, here’s my blog hop answers:

Why do you write?

I just re-read my first ever blog post to gauge whether my motivation for blogging has changed over the past year, and surprisingly it is still pretty much the same. Like so many other sewing bloggers, I write to document my sewing projects. I have no false belief that I have any more to offer than any other sewing enthusiast that blogs, but I treat my blog as a bit of a memory jogger: it is somewhere to document the changes to each outfit I sew (what alterations I made and what worked), and somewhere to look back and remind myself of my sewing successes (and failures – we all have them). And I hope that along the way, someone might be able to get something out of something that I wrote, even if it’s just not to make the same sewing mistake that I made.

Writing my blog also provides a connection with the sewing community, and allows me to share my love of sewing with other like-minded people. I get such a buzz when someone comments on my blog - it’s like a little motivational push to keep on sewing as people out there actually read what I write.

What are you currently working on?

Hopefully I will be working on my tan and not even thinking about sewing, but I did leave a few sewing projects half completed on my sewing table. There’s a pair of Sewaholic Thurlow shorts in a French floral linen that my sister bought me from France, in a few pieces, waiting for the trouser zip insertion. I am hoping that the shorts fit perfectly as I have had limited luck with the crotch rise in trousers and shorts patterns. It’s also the first time I have tackled welt pockets, so I am pretty nervous to see the end result.

 
 
I have also a cut out pair of Ooh La Leggings in performance fabric from Stretchtex, and a racer back tank for some awesome running attire. Amanda and I are going to tackle sewing active-wear, and look forward to busting out our own running outfits at the next Colour Run.
 
 
I'd also like to attempt a drape dress (pictured below) from the book Drape Drape although I'm a little concerned about the amount of gathering around my backside as I'm pear shaped. But I am really curious about how this dress comes together from one pattern piece.
 

How does it differ from other sites of its genre?

I actually don't think that my blog really differs or stands out from any other sewing blogs out there. I guess the only difference is that I try and tackle everyday garments as well as unique pieces and sometimes evening wear. I try for the most part to live by a philosophy that if I can make it then I should (instead of buying it ready made in the shops). This runs completely through my life from cooking (you won't find any processed food in my pantry) to my clothes.

How does your writing process work?
 
Pretty much I blog when I can (and when I have something made worth blogging about). I am a single parent, work full time and study part time so my sewing and blogging hours are relatively minute. That said, I try and find time to sew, whether it be 10 minutes here and there to break up the drudgery of study, or for sanity when I need a moment to lose myself in a garment and forget life's stresses.
 
I am blog hopping to Nic from Dreaming dashie and Jillian from Sew unravelled, both of whom I met last weekend at the Sydney Frocktails event.
 
Ok, I must sign off and go and board my plane.