Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Good Karma: Finishing off somebody else's UFO

Every now and then I look at my stash and wonder what would happen if I'd get injured or sick and couldn't do any sewing or knitting or crocheting anymore ... anyways my friend's granny is a lovely 85 year old lady who always has a smile and some jelly beans in her kitchen for any kids that might drop by. She won awards for her quilts, knitted and crocheted beautiful pieces for all her grand and great-grand children, but it all got harder in the last few years. One little granny square knee rug never got finished, so I grabbed some yarn that she had given me a couple of years ago and here it is:

I blocked it with steam as it is acrylic and I was petrified the whole time that I would ruin it, but I didn't accidentally drop the iron and melt the whole thing, so yeay me. It's not truly square, but much better then before, so I call this a win.

Hopefully she'll like it :-)

Thursday, 3 April 2014

skirting around

I feel I have been rather productive in the last months, yet the stash is looking big as always. I read on someone's blog that the size of the stash is always relative to its storage. If you have a lot of space then a well organised stash like below is perfect, whereas if you only have a little space (like me) you have to get creative with storage. I am still working on the ideal storage solution, because at the moment it is all crammed away somewhere and over time I forget what I have.

Anyway, after the maxi skirts I thought I work on some short skirts for myself. I started out drafting a basic A-line skirt, but the result was a little tight to be honest ... and the hem looks a little funny in the pictures for some reason. It is wearable around the house and to the school, but the next one would be bigger.

The next skirt is actually a jersey version of Sewaholic's Hollyburn Skirt. I omitted the pockets although I certainly could have done inseam pockets without problems ... hmm, maybe next time. The jersey itself was a surprise find in my stash. I have no idea how it got there. I realised after washing it that it was probably a polyester blend and judging by the smell it came from a charity shop, so really it was the perfect jersey to use as a muslin.

It is comfortable to wear with a yoga style waistband and took about a hour and a half to make incl cutting .... so super fast for me.

I don't think I have any fabric at the moment to make a 'proper' version right now, but who knows what I'll still discover.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

sewing for children ??? yes please :-)

Every now and then I come across boggers who speak vehemently against sewing for children. It is usually from people without children, who occasionally or once have been asked or suggested or decided to sew for children of family and friends.

One of the frequent complaints seems to be 'ungratefulness' of the recipient (either child or parent thereof ), but I have to say both my children are over the moon when I sew something for them. They usually want to wear it RIGHT AWAY and tell everyone they meet that  'my mummy made it' with this wide smile. The joy I get from seeing the happiness in their little (or not so little in the case of my son) face is unmeasurable. True happiness :-)

Usually their items are simple and don't require much thought at all .... and their gratefulness is lasting. They are very reluctant to stop wearing something that I made for them. In fact, my son still wears his pyjamas I made 2 years ago, despite having seriously outgrown them. He even wanted to bring them to camp this year. In that spirit I used some of the jersey mountain to make him 2 pairs of jersey sleep shorts and one long pair.

The shorts only take about 50cms of fabric, so those 2 pieces of fabric were remnants from Spotlight at a dollar each.

The pattern itself is my self drafted shorts pattern for my son, very loose and roomy. Hopefully they'll last another 2 years :-)

The air plane jersey he picked out 2 years ago and I thought if I don't sew with it soon he'll be a teenager and just arch his eyebrow at the thought of air plane shorts/pants. Though I am only assuming this, having had no teenagers myself yet, it might well be that my kids will surprise me again.

Don't get me wrong if you spend hours upon hours creating an appliqued, multi-layered princess dress or similar, a piece of art you have poured your heart into ... I actually found an Alabama Chanin Style dress for a toddler in the Oliver &S flickr stream once ... anyway, chances are you are going to be disappointed with the thanks that you get. It is very hard for kids (and adults who don't sew) to put in the appropriate gratitude for something like this since they don't know the effort involved, but these shorts/pants are nowhere near this level :-)

Monday, 17 March 2014

to the Max(i skirts)

I keep writing posts in my head, but never actually get around to posting them, instead I post rushed pictures of things I sewed with some waffling accompanying it :-)

Well, as part of managing the stash monster I thought I do an inventory, but realistically I am a little frightened of it, because it means facing the whole extend of my hoarding. Some self-help book that I browsed through years ago suggested breaking daunting tasks down into smaller tasks so I thought just inventory my knit fabrics ... well, I have a lot.

The inventory didn't go so well, as in I didn't actually do it (I realised I have over 20 meters of fabric there and nearly cried), but looking at the fabric was inspiring, so I whipped up - hah ... I never get to say that ... even super easy projects take me hours - 2 maxi skirts. All the Gabriola skirts around made me want to have a Maxi skirt too, but I am saving money to go to my sisters wedding in Germany, soooooooooooo ... instead of spending 16 dollars on a skirt pattern, I investigated free patterns around the interwebs.

Even though I started with blogs in the world of crafting I soon moved to sewing blogs once I started sewing simply in order to learn it better. As I entered the colourful and joyful world of the crafting blogs again, things like seam allowances, grain lines and seam finishes were a thing of the past. It is good for me to occasionally sew by the seat of my pants though, all too often I overthink each seam through to the max thus losing all joy, because my own perfectionism stops me from just getting on with it, dragging each project out for days or weeks.

Eventually I settled on the Mismatched Maxi as a starting point from iCandy. I took it in over the knee to be a bit more fitting, because I am rather short and I can easily be swamped under a lot of fabric. I absolutely love the result, not seriously, they are fabulous.

Each fabric was originally bought for something else, but as it always is, once it is in the stash I lost interest. The seagreen jersey above was actually bought as a muslin fabric really recently. The stripey fabric below has been in my stash for maybe 2 years and it was meant to be a top, but I was always worried about stripe matching, so I never made the top.

It has a yoga pants top / waistband bit, so it is really comfortable and nice to wear. The 1 meter I had just covered the skirt and recycled the waistband bit from a pair of pants that I haven't work in a long time.

Onwards and upwards ... Happy St Patrick's Day :-)

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

more Lorax presents

It's Lorax time again. We love the Lorax in our house, adults and children. I made my husband some Lorax boxers last year for his birthday and this year he wanted more (how is that for a ringing endorsement) ... he even ordered the fabric (it's some organic quilting cotton available on fabric.com) when it was on special.

So ... we have a bright green version with little Loraxes all over it.

It's the same pattern from the Sew Everything Workshop book with the same modifications as before, namely lengthened the legs by 2 inches and added 1/2 inch to the waist band.

Next we have a bright orange version with the thneed factory on it.

The pocket blends in perfectly :-)

The boxers are actually really lovely and easy to sew, so it really is the perfect beginners pattern - it's the pattern Peter Lappin first sewed and look where he is now :-)

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

UFO #4 - the check mate skirt

FINALLY ... my last UFO, my very last, whoooohoooo.

I had been thinking about this skirt for a long time. It's is what would happen if Tilly's Picnic Blanket skirt would have a baby with Julia's elastic fantastic skirt :-) I would have done Tilly's skirt just as is, but it is a gathered skirt and I don't think this particularly suits me. Gathered skirts make my bottom look HUGE and cause disproportionate envy at Tilly's lithe body. I do love the idea of using belt elastic as a waist band, just to have that extra stretch, and it was very easy to do.

The fabric was a birthday present from my sister and it's a loosely woven cotton with quite a bit of drape. So when Sewaholic's Hollyburn skirt came out I thought I would be able to make something. That something turned out to be slightly more involved then I had originally thought.

This skirt put me into check a couple of time, in fact, at some point I thought I was in check mate and put it to the side for maybe 9 months (invisible zipper into the bias cut back with the matching of the chevrons). It was started for the Hollyburn Sew-along in Jan/Feb last year ... sigh.

I cut the skirt in a size 10 rather then a size 6-8 for me and then stretched the shorter elastic slightly as I attached it. It just gives it that extra bit of space as the elastic stretches to adjust to my waist. Time will tell whether it is as good as I imagine, but so far I have been quite happy. It does give the skirt a distinctly vintage look :-)

It's cut on the bias for the chevron effect with plenty of hand-basting to make sure it all lines up correctly ... all seams where basted at least twice, because I kept stretching it accidentally.

I even matched the sides ... mostly

The back was the hardest to get to match up with the zipper and everything, and it is where I stopped back in February last year out of fear for doing it wrong. In the end I just told myself that having it slightly mismatched is better then no skirt at all and you know, it is not too bad actually. I interfaced the area where the zipper is to stop it from stretching, but the insertion was still nerve wrecking.

I can tell that it is not perfect where the zipper is, but overall it is not that noticeable.

I left it to hang for 4 weeks and it relaxed quite a bit (2 inches in some places). I evened it all out and  finished it off by hand-stitching the hem with a little bit of purple lace I had laying around.

I am a little scared to wash it now, what if the relaxed hem shrinks back and leaves the hem really uneven ... ahhhhh :-)

Sunday, 2 March 2014

a birthday dress for the birthday girl

Happy Birthday little one :-)

We love you lots, my little one, in fact, your mummy loves you so much that she stayed up half the night to draft a quick little jersey dress for this piece of cotton interlock with owls that has been sitting in my stash for a while.

The fabric had a big 12in stripe running along one side, so I used that as the binding for the arms and neck. It's got kimono sleeves and a simple A-line shape, just right for dancing in it.

Hope you keep that joy, ickle one :-)

Saturday, 1 February 2014

UFO #5 - New Look 6803

I am ambivalent about this dress, no really, all the way through ... I tried new techniques and thought 'if this doesn't work, I'll just toss it'.

I know, I know ... I can hear you ask the question why - or maybe that's my daughter nagging me for something, who knows.

I bought the pattern (New Look 6803) in February in time for the European summer, because my sister likes that sort of thing, but within 3 weeks of buying it she announced she was pregnant. Hmmm, then I thought - whilst feeling grumpy that I just spent 10 dollars on a pattern that I didn't really like - maybe I'll just make myself a dress that I could just wear around the house on days when it is so hot that you don't want to wear anything, but it wouldn't be polite to do so i.e. at Christmas when my mother-in-law is here and it is hot and sweaty and no rain in sight.

I cut it all out in a size 14 and then realised that our summer had come to an end, so I packed it away for this year. The thing is ... I have the attention of a 2 year old. I get distracted by something shiny ever so easily. The pattern just didn't hold my attention. The fabric said it's a cotton voile, but it is feels kinda funny and I now wonder whether it has any polyester in it, but I don't want to do a burn test otherwise I'll never wear it.

Anyway, I have finished it now. I machine basted the entire dress (never done that before), then adjusted for my small back and took in the sides. I probably took it in too much, because it's a little hard to take off, but I am still losing weight, so it might be easier soon :-)

I lowered the neckline, but added 2 small pleats. I french-seamed the whole dress and I flat felled the sleeve seams, which I had never done before.

The dress had facings - never done those either, but obviously after all the changes the facings I had were too large were too large. I drafted new facings and finished those with a little rolled hem (just how are you supposed to finish them when you haven't got a overlooker/serger ???). It looks quite pretty inside actually.

Overall I am still underwhelmed. It makes me look pregnant, because the fabric hasn't got enough drape. It would suit people with a different body shape I think. Actually when I am wearing it, it's not too bad, but in the pictures I think I look huge. I could add a belt, but that would defeat the purpose of it being light and airy.

However, I am giving it a year. If I haven't worn it in a year it gets given away, maybe, if I can part with me-made things by then.

Monday, 13 January 2014

UFO #6 the butterfly skirt

I decided to skip ahead a few UFOs and do the skirt that I actually needed. It's a plain A-line skirt with pockets from the Burda Magazine 02/2010. It's brilliant, no really, it's exactly what I needed. It fits great, it's simple and can be done in a variety of fabrics. I chose a Japanese cotton with a very interesting texture, one of the first pieces of fabric that I ever bought, even before I started sewing.

The texture is more visible on the back of the fabric.

I traced and muslined (is this even a word???) this skirt in a size 40 in October 2012 and then packed it in a little plastic baggy and there it stayed and stayed ... and stayed. When I got it out now it was a bit large, so made a 38 instead, but I could have perhaps gone down to a 36. It is still a little baggy around the hips - wow, being pear-shaped I never had to say that before - but it's a summer skirt, so it should probably be a little loose actually :-)

It's one of those patterns where I want to make at least another 5 right away ... hmm, maybe one with spots, and one plain one, and maybe a flowery summery one, and and and ... the possibilities are endless.

I think I might have my sewing mojo back :-)

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

the 'I am bored with UFOs' Scarf

this past week the temperatures in Brisbane climbed to 42 degrees Celsius (107 F), so what better way to commemorate this all time high, but with a scarf :-)

For Christmas, I got a seven remnants of all different fabrics that I had never tried before from The Fabric Store, a store that is a little out of my price range normally, but I got a discount voucher and it was for Christmas ... so yeay. Amongst the loot was a piece of linen gauze in cornflower blue (this picture was taken indoors in the evening and it does not do it justice).

It's very loosely woven so I did a rolled hem on either side before washing it and just look what it looks like after washing it ... all crinkly and nice. It has some residual stiffness from the linen, so it'll be interesting to see how it behaves through the washes.

This is my absolute favourite colour and if I can think of a way to make a dress from this fabric I will. It's probably nice for cardigans and cover-ups for the beach, not Australia of course, the sun is far too strong here, but not really sure a dress would work.

I had to wait till yesterday when the temperatures dropped a little to take the pictures, but once winter comes it'll be a wonderful addition to my wardrobe.