Friday, January 28, 2011

What a clever husband.

I have been lusting after wooden thread racks for a while now. They seem to be an aesthetically pleasing way to store spools of thread. I also like the idea of having thread on display, it helps you remember what colours you already have, before you go out and buy more for a new project.

I hunted down some nice thread racks on American eBay that I thought were being sold at an affordable price. I showed Jamie. He looked shocked. I pointed out their awesome features to him in a bid to try and convince him to say "yes" to me buying the racks. Instead, he insisted he could make them for me himself and would have them finished before any internet purchases could arrive in the post.

Together, we sat down a drew up plans to make my ultimate thread racks. It looked good on paper.

We then spent a Sunday afternoon working with meters and meters of wood, drill bits, a saw, glue and sandpaper, and after a few hours we had two thread racks each able to hold 50 spools - that 100 spools in total!

I plan on buying some cord and hanging them both above my sewing table.






Thanks Jamie! Now I know your hidden talent I will be aiming much higher next time.

Sam xox

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Casey's 1920's Chemise Top.

I thought it only fair to show you one of the garments that failed during the Sewing Triathlon. I attempted to make a chemise top following Casey's instructions. Everything was going well, the pattern was easy to draw, the fabric was perfect, and the pin tucks looked great. Unfortunately, once I sewed the lace trim along the top the whole thing was ruined. I had chosen the wrong lace for this kind of project. Ideally I should have purchased a stiff lace with a wide zigzag pattern. Instead the lace I bought was elasticised, straight, too large, and it flopped over itself when the garment was vertical. All in all not a good look.

I have heaps of the fabric left over so I will be making this top again, hopefully with the correct kind of lace this time. I do have a zigzag kind of lace but I am hesitant to use it because I think it is too plain.

My drafted pattern pieces.

The pattern.

My pin tucks and the lace in question.

The two laces I have. The top is the one that didn't work. The bottom I worry is too plain for this top.

My French seams - these worked!

Pluses:
- I loved that Casey's instructions were so clear and easy to follow. The pattern drafting was very easy and was a perfect fit.
- I learn how to sew pin tucks and French seams, both of which I had never sewn before.
- The fabric I chose was perfect for this top, and I know it will look great once it has the right lace to match.

Minuses:
- Choosing the correct lace seems key to the success of this garment. My lace failed.
- I had a little trouble with one of the French seams (I didn't clip it close enough to the first lot of stitches).
- This pattern may become addictive to make. It's so easy with beautiful results.

I would recommend this pattern! Click here to print one for yourself.

Sam xox

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Pendrell blouse #2.

My third finished item during our Sewing Triathlon was another Pendrell Blouse. I had already made a Pendrell blouse (View A) in a Liberty cotton so this time I wanted to try a fabric a little trickier! I found this fabric for only $5 per meter at my local fabric store. It is a poly-something and is very lightweight.

Here is my latest Pendrell Blouse - View B.





And the inside...




Sorry there are no photos of the blouse actually on, Jamie is away and I just couldn't manage to get a good one with the camera on 'timer'.

Pluses:
- I was really pleased with how I managed sewing such light weight fabric. I do not usually sew with delicate fabric, so I was pleased with how this turned out.
- I modified the sleeves on this blouse. I only used the larger sleeve for View B and decided not to gather it but sew it on just folded over into the shoulder seam. I think that the ruffle would have been too busy for this fabric.

Minuses:
- I hate man made fibers, so wearing this is super itchy and not good to wear in hot weather.
- As much as I am happy with the end product, I am unsure I will ever actually wear this top. It is too itchy to wear in warm weather, and too sheer for the cold. Shame.

Sam xox

Thursday, January 20, 2011

McCall's 5861 Bikini.

For my second item I made the McCall's bikini pattern I bought in December.

I used the 4-way stretch fabric I purchased from eBay for US$8 per yard. I bought 1 yard of this fabric and have enough left over to make at least another bikini - maybe in a different style.

My review:

Pluses:
- The 4 way stretch fabric was perfect for this project. It was surprisingly easy to sew with and didn't slip at all. It wasn't slippery against the elastic either.
- I used lingerie cups (swimwear approved) for the bikini top which I would recommend to all small chested ladies, as it creates a nice shape for the bandeau top.
- I altered the back of the bandeau top. The instructions told me to sew the back together, the result being a bikini top you had to slip over your head. Not for me. Instead I took inspiration from Seafolly swimwear and cut the back band so it became a narrow point and sewed in some plastic clips so it clips together at the back. This worked brilliantly.
- The bottoms were cut quite well. The back piece definitely has enough coverage (which I was a tad concerned about because I am pear shaped after all) everything stays in place back there!
- The biggest plus - it fits perfectly and when worn, does not look handmade at all! Saved myself $140 making these!

Minuses:
- The elastic was tricky to work with. What I found hard was stretching the elastic evenly as I sewed it on. This resulted in the elastic appearing to bunch at different spots. When worn however, this is not evident at all and the elastic and fabric is stretched evenly across the body and looks really smooth.
- I tried to be clever and sew the bottoms together in a different order than the instructions, and this resulted in side seams that are not quite perfect.

My verdict - A seriously awesome pattern for anyone wanting to make a bikini. I had this made within half a day, and it looks really cute on! Next time I am at the beach I might even take a picture for you all.





Sam xox

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Simplicity skirt 2656.

Here is my first Sewing Triathlon project - Simplicity Skirt (2656).

My review:

Pluses:
- I learnt A LOT making this pattern. The skirt front is in three parts: waistband, pleated panel and yoke front. This was something I hadn't come across before so it was fun trying to work out how it all went together.
- The skirt also had pockets that button up. This was a challenge as I had never sewn pockets or button holes before. Initially I wasn't going to put the button holes in, and just sew on the buttons on top of the pocket fabric, but once the skirt was finished the pockets gaped really badly.
- The back of the skirt has darts and an invisible zipper. These I had done before so had no trouble there.
- I stay stiched the waistband lining and it looks really good.
- I love love love the fabric I used, and how it looks with the wooden buttons. The skirt is made from cotton fabric with grey and white pinstripes. It was sold in the quilting section of the material shop so it is the perfect weight for an autumn skirt.

Minuses:
- To be honest this skirt was a bit tricky to make, as it has a yoke front that a pleated panel is sewn onto. As a result the corners of the pleated panel are not quite square, so you can see tiny little bits of thread. Mill assured me with some more pressing it shouldn't be noticeable.
- As the waistband is only at the front of the skirt, I found it difficult to secure the waistband lining. I decided to overlock the edge of the inside waistband and sew a ribbon over it, this actually turned out to be a really nice touch!

All in all, would recommend this pattern!









* * * * * * *

I am now home again... but alone! Jamie is away on a cycling tour this week, and judging by his Facebook updates, is having a fantastic time. Today he did a 180km/112mile ride!

Doesn't he look cute in his bike kit?

Sam xox

Sewing triathlon.


On Sunday morning Mill and I met to begin our sewing triathlon. I made the trip down the highway to the town where she lives, with two sewing machines, five bags, a camera and my cat Prada in tow.

Once we were together, our combined pile of sewing paraphernalia momentarily overwhelmed us, as we asked each other "Can we really spend three entire days sewing?"...

Oh yes we could!

We sewed, we talked, we ate, we slept (a little) and after all of it, I arrived home this evening with two sewing machines, five bags, a camera, my cat, and a bunch of finished projects!

I will post what I made this week!

Sam xox

Friday, January 14, 2011

Sewing homework - prepping for the triathlon.

For homework this week I have been organising myself for the sewing triathlon Mill and I will be having Sunday to Tuesday. Three days and two nights of sewing! I have 6 projects I am aiming to complete:
2) Another Pendrell Blouse
5) Madeline Mini Bloomers (free pattern)
6) 1920's Chemise Inspired Top (free pattern)

I have now laid out all the items needed for each project, and for sewing in general, on my spare bed...

Bikini ready to be made!

Only missing pocket lining for this skirt.

The very cute buttons I found for the pockets!

Retro quilt top and backing fabric (a sheet).

Sewing Bible!

Love this pattern.

These will be my cute pajamas for summer.

Close-up of the chemise top.

The total so far! So excited!

Looking at all the projects laid out like this gives me butterflies. Sunday just cannot get here fast enough!

I still need to buy a few final things for the day:
- Pocket lining for the skirt (in grey)
- Blouse fabric
- Quilt wadding
- White thread to tie the quilt with
- 1 yard bloomer fabric (in silk, chiffon, or georgette)
- 2 1/2 yard ribbon for bloomers
- 2 1/2 yard elastic for bloomers
- 2 yards of silk for the chemise top
- 1 1/2 yard antique-look lace for chemise top
- 1 1/2 yard ribbon for chemise top
- Sewing thread to match the above

Phew. Wish me luck!

Sam xox

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sewing room.

Sunday night was spent giving my sewing room an overhaul! I had too much furniture in the room, and the shelves on top of my sewing table were becoming very oppressive! A 'quick' re-arrange of a few pieces of furniture around (and out of) the room has left me with a much more functional sewing space.

I now have space for both my machines on my table now, with room to spare.




I will tell you more about this beauty soon...

Sewing patterns.


I am seriously excited about the coming weekend. You see, I have taken some leave from work and Mill and I are getting together for a sewing triathlon. No, not three items of sewing, but three whole days of sewing! We will be spending three whole days and two nights together in a massive sewing marathon. I can't wait! My list of projects I fear may be more than even three days of sewing can handle! Will share my plans later this week.

Sam xox