New makes: Simplicity, Papercut Patterns and Wendy Ward – guest blog!

We’ve moved into our new house and are right in the midst of unpacking, so no sewing for a little bit yet. Instead, here’s a rapid roundup of some garments my lovely Mum made when she came to stay in May. We both share a love of arts and crafts, although she is certainly more “artistic” than I, and it was great to share some excitement about making clothes with her. We had fun choosing some fabric and figuring out what we’d each make, and enjoyed the somewhat collaborative process as we chatted about the process as we were sewing.

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New makes: Grainline Scout tee – a first fitting attempt

Hello there! So after the success of the Alder shirtdress and Linden sweaters I had a rummage through Grainline Studio’s other patterns. I have the Morris blazer pattern already and fully intend to make it, but this time round the Scout tee caught my eye. Let me be honest: a boxy woven tee with no shaping would not be my natural ally. In fact, I’m really not the shape for Grainline patterns (or they’re not the right shape for me; take your pick), despite some successes. The resulting garments tend to be fairly rectangular with plenty of ease and are probably best suited to those with similar body shapes. It’s been a very popular silhouette in the indie pattern world.

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New test: Jennifer Lauren Laneway dress

I signed up as a tester for Jennifer Lauren a few months back and was more than delighted when the second garment to come up after the Juniper cardigan  (which I have since worn a LOT) was the Laneway dress. I was excited to get my teeth stuck into something that was a little different, with a few new skills and also –  a dress! – since it seems like I’ve been sewing mostly separates for a while.

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The Laneway Dress

And the Laneway was just the dress to get me excited! It’s described thus: “a sleek yet easy to wear 1940s A-line silhouette, Laneway will be your go-to dress for everyday adventures and beyond.” and I would say this is fair. The dress has open ended waist darts in the front and full back darts for shaping, a gorgeous asymmetric collar that is built into the facing (there’s a no-collar option too), plus it’s the first time Jennifer Lauren has produced a pattern that accommodates A to D cups. Yeehoo! No prizes for guessing what I was testing – I made a 16D cup and it was… great! Continue reading “New test: Jennifer Lauren Laneway dress”

New make: Grainline Alder shirtdress for #sewsomethingforsummer

I love the shirtdress. It’s the type of garment that looks flattering on so many different people and nicely straddles the divide between casual and smart-casual. I probably notice them a little more than the average person since they’re one of those garments that I’ve never really been able to buy from shops. I’m one of the many women whose experience with anything buttoned has been to either settle for a giant sack shirt just so it fits over the bust or to put up with a gaping top and either unbutton the shirt low and wear a cami, or just grin and bear it. This has been the case at my thinnest and my heaviest.

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Me Made May 2017 Round Up: a few key points

My first Me Made May or #mmmay2017 challenge is over! Organised by Zoe of the So, Zo, What Do You Know blog, it’s been a pleasure to take part in such a community-driven and enthusiastic endeavour. There are many reasons to take part and many things to take away from the experience, but I’ll restrict my waffling to a few key points that slapped me in the face like a wet mackerel.

Back in April I said that:

“I hope it will help me take a good, long look at my makes and wardrobe and come up with some great outfit ideas, as well as streamline and consolidate my style.”

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Results

  1. It wasn’t as hard to wear one me-made garment a day as I thought it would be. I guess that was partly as a result of my effort to make some neutrals/wardrobe staples over autumn/winter. It also reflects the fact that I do actually reach for at least one me-made item on most days anyway. I hadn’t realised how natural that had become until now.
  2. My wearable me-made wardrobe is largely monochromatic. Or at least, monochromatic + blue. This was actually something of a surprise to me since I think of myself as someone who wears a lot of colour. There are a couple of reasons for this: the aforementioned focus on A/W basics, which were intentionally neutral, but also:
  3. I must finish me-made clothes completely. A few items of clothing I went to put on ended up having some small job to finish I’d forgotten about – a button here, a loosened hem there. They didn’t get fixed even though I intended to attend to them.
  4. I have a lack of summery clothes. It got fairly warm early in May and has continued like that here in Seattle. Most of my recent clothes have been warmer weather items: sweaters and cardigans and so on. I must rectify this; my pineapple t-shirt and just-finished Alder are a good start. Yes, okay, okay, the other two t-shirts in the Pineapple post are black and white prints, which brings me to:
  5. I am very, very bad at making solids/plain clothes. I don’t think this is an uncommon issue, but I keep intending to make a totally plain black top or grey skirt, and then end up adding something or using a slight pattern or plumping for the cool graphic print or whatever. It means that my co-ordinating item doesn’t quite co-ordinate and even though I’ve been making neutrals that match with each other, they don’t all quite match with anything else. I love a bit of clashing, but everyone needs solids. Must make some.
  6. Surprise hits: Black Moji trousers. I wore them a lot more than I was expecting and I rather like the resulting silhouette. Truthfully, they don’t actually fit me all that well, so I plan to make another couple of pairs of similar trousers and/or smaller Mojis. The Plantain t-shirt was also a goodie. I think I may try and run up a t-shirt dress based on that pattern.
  7. Consolidating my style will take a while longer. I don’t really recognise “my style” in many of the pictures, although I do in some. More musing and more experiments needed.
  8. Accessorise more: Such a simple thing, but something I don’t take the necessary time to do. I’m more of a run-out-of-the-door kind of gal, but it makes a huge difference to outfits. I need to make more effort to get back to this – I have tons of cool accessories.

Overall, I was rather pleased with my results from the month. And more importantly, I so enjoyed interacting with other sewers on IG, meeting a few new folks and cheering others on. I’m also really enjoying the round-ups. There are a few experienced sewers whose wardrobes are very inspiring in the breadth and cohesiveness of what they make. More than anything though, it’s been a lot of fun! And that’s exactly as it should be. Later!

 

New makes: Seamwork/Colette Gretta and Mabel – some minor failures

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Hi all! A little post today to document a couple of not-so-successful makes I had in recent months. Neither of them are terrible, but they are also definitely not top of my makes list.

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The first one was the Seamwork Gretta top, which I was excited about. I have a lovely piece of silk I’ve been hoarding which is about enough for a simple tank/cami style top and when the Gretta came out I thought it would be perfect. The Gretta is a standard tank with a scooped neck, bust darts and a rounded patch pocket. The really cute part is the fact that the shoulders are tied together rather than sewn. I think it gives that little bit of extra interest to an otherwise basic top. I’d looked at other very popular tank options too, but many of them have either spaghetti straps (Ogden) or racerbacks – and they just don’t jive with my upholstery requirements. Ahem. Continue reading “New makes: Seamwork/Colette Gretta and Mabel – some minor failures”

New make: Cali Faye Pocket Skirt #sewmystyle May

This month the #sewmystyle pattern is a bit of a wardrobe builder and I was really looking forward to it. I used a gorgeous Alison Glass cotton lawn with some jewel-like batik colours and actually really like the final result. The only problem with it is that it doesn’t fit me. Bummer. I’ve taken some not-very-accurate photos (below) to give you some idea of how it might look on, but it should be a lot looser and lower.

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New makes: Three t-shirt comparison – Plantain, Metro and Elise

I’ve had a bunch of t-shirt patterns sitting around in my patterns folder for ages and now that I’ve managed to (hopefully) crack the twin needle hemming issue once and for all, I thought I’d go ahead and try some of them out. All three tees are slightly different in style and since none of them took terribly long to put together, it was a fun experiment. Here are my findings!

The t-shirts

Your Honour, I present to you the three t-shirt patterns in question:

Tee shirt collage

Continue reading “New makes: Three t-shirt comparison – Plantain, Metro and Elise”

Discoveries of a novice: finishing knits with a twin needle

Here’s a little technical post today. I don’t write these often because I’m a beginner and almost everything can be found fairly easily on the Internet these days. Now and again though, I come across something that took me a while to find or didn’t quite answer all my issues and hopefully what I’ve done will be useful for others. Today it’s the turn of… hemming knits with a twin needle! Woah! Grab your Moscow Mule and take a seat!

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The Issue aka Hemming Hell

Alright, so, in a nutshell, here was my problem. I had been using the twin needle to hem t-shirts and other knits, using many hints and tips I’d read in articles or books. The stitch seemed to work pretty well and looked okay, but, then, after just a few wears, the threads would snap. The first time I thought perhaps I was using the wrong type of thread on one of the spools or the incorrect width of needle, but it slowly happened to everything I had sewn. In addition, sometimes when I was sewing I could feel that one of the threads was a bit “tight” and was pulling a little, but couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Gah! Continue reading “Discoveries of a novice: finishing knits with a twin needle”

New make: Liesl & Co. Bento Tee

FINALLY, I’ve made something from my #makenine list. Yeehoo!! I hadn’t really thought about it and then suddenly realised it was May! Oh well – I’m going to try and knock off a couple this month if possible and see how we go.

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I’ve been wanting to make the Liesl & Co. Bento Tee, and have had the pattern, for quite some time. I’ve made a few Liesl & Co/Oliver + S/Lisette patterns now and they’ve always been satisfying. I find Liesl Gibson’s patterns suit my shape pretty well and have a really nice level of ease built in. Her instructions are always great too, and the garments seem to go together nicely. I’m happy to say that the Bento top is no exception! Continue reading “New make: Liesl & Co. Bento Tee”