Saturday, 30 December 2017

2017 is a wrap!

What do you know ... here we are at the end of 2017! Believe it or not I have done some sewing despite the ol' blog being a bit bare. Although I do think Instagram has played a big part as well - I can share in progress photos pretty quickly without having to worry about getting good photos, which is the part I really struggle with, and it's not so much capturing the photos it's more the time to take photos then edit them. Anyway, more about what I have had on my sewing table this year ...

This has been the year that I've pretty much sewn two of everything!
  • two Jamie Christina Hi Lo Raglan hoodies
  • sewed my second Muse Patterns Gillian wrap dress
  • two Sapporo coats by Papercut patterns
  • two Style Arc Livia jackets
  • two skirts using my skirt block
  • sewed my second Olivia oversized tee by Maria Denmark
  • three Sewaholic Belcarra tops
  • three Julia Women's cardigans by MHC
  • sewed my third Saiph by Papercut Patterns
Rather than chat further let's looks at some photos of this year's entries into the wardrobe.

And that's a wrap for 2017. The aim for the new year ... get better on the blog!

Wishing you all the best for 2018 

Friday, 26 May 2017

Moleskin Duffle for Winter 2017

Kia ora! This is kinda exciting ... well I'm excited anyway. I was flattered when I was contacted by Hawes and Freer to see if I was interested in participating in the launch of their new website. Now, little did they know that I often stalked their website drooling over the beautiful wool coating and while I wanted to say yes, I really had to think carefully about whether I could commit the time.

As you can see I said yes!

Photo moleskin2

I was planning to make another Albion Duffle coat this winter, so this was the perfect opportunity when I was shown the beautiful range of lightweight moleskin available from Hawes and Freer. What colour to choose???? After changing my mind over and over I settle on the olive green, with a army gingham for the lining. It all arrived beautifully packed and labeled.

Photo moleskin17

I had previous made the Albion Duffle for my son, who only wore it a handful of times before he grew out of it! I couldn't bare the thought of all that work just sitting on the hanger, so for the last couple of years I've been wearing it as my main winter coat and have loved it, despite the shoulders being too big.

This time I traced off a size small with a couple of slight alterations
  • I inserted a centre back seam and created a slit in the back to create a bit more freedom when I sat in the car. I also shaped it slightly so it curved in at the waist - ever so subtle.
  • Same with the side seams I created a slight curve in at the waist, nothing dramatic so you probably don't even notice it.
  • I added another pocket over top of the patch pocket which is more for putting my hands in than putting stuff in!
  • I played with the hood a little as well, but I tell you about that soon.
Photo moleskin8

Other than the hood I constructed the coat according to the instructions.

I knew I wanted to have a zipper in this version, but my brain couldn't work out how I insert the zip with the machine during the construction, ahhhhh! So I opted to just sew the zipper in by hand. Actually I sewed it in twice ... initially I bought and inserted a bottle green zipper but after I had put it in I decided it didn't look right so ripped it out and bought a black zipper instead.

Photo moleskin3

Now the hood ... I really like it when I have something that comes up and covers my neck, it makes me feel warmer and protected from the wind. This was all a bit of trial and error, but I drafted the hood to extend to the edge of each front piece and extended up, best just look at this photo rather than me explain any more.

Photo moleskin13

It's not perfect but I'm pretty happy with how it turned out and gives me just the little bit more protection from the wind that I wanted. Talking about wind, this moleskin is amazing, it's perfect for keeping the wind out! Believe me that is a must when you live in Wellington.

Photo moleskin1

To finish the coat and give it a bit of decoration I created three button thingys across the chest. I bought some cord (the proper name escapes me right now) and created loops by hand sewing them to the right front.  The buttons on the right are just decoration but the buttons on the left are functional. I'm pretty happy with how they balance out the pockets.

Oh and one last thing - I created a slight high-low hem, again ever so subtle.

Photo moleskin9

I've worn this every week since I finished it at the end of April. Winter has set in here and going outside without a coat is no longer an option. I think its going to be a long cold winter this year.

Photo moleskin10

To conclude, the moleskin was an absolutely dream to sew and the gingham lining was the perfect match. Hawes and Freer provided me with the moleskin the gingham lining and the two cuff buttons in return for a blog post to coincide with the launch of their new website. I have the freedom to express my own thoughts and opinions, but honestly I can't talk highly enough about the quality of the fabric I received.

Initially I was a little disappointed that there wasn't more of a fabric selection on their new website but Hawes and Freer have assured me that there will be more fabric being loaded to the website, so people like me that can't get to their bricks and mortar shop will have more of a selection. I'm looking forward to that.

More photos on my Flickr -->

Sunday, 23 April 2017

When one bomber is just not enough!

Kia ora! I know it's April but I want to take you back six months to October last year. The weather was beginning to get warmer, daylight savings was about to start and I felt that I needed more casual clothes in my wardrobe.  Or was it I was just looking for a quick fix, instant gratification kinda project?!? This is when I decided that I needed another bomber jacket in my life.

Aztec Rigel Bomber

I had previously made the Rigel Bomber by Papercut Patterns but at that time I forgot to check the sleeve length, and every time I wear it, it annoys the sh*t out of me. This time I made exactly the same size as my previous jacket, adding 3" to the sleeve length. I made just one other adjustment this time, removing 1/2" from the centre back of the collar piece.

I also wanted to try this pattern using the insets at the top of the raglan sleeve, for that extra effect.  I had purchased this aztec cotton lycra online a little while ago and when it arrived I was really surprised at how bright it was - I probably would never have bought it if I had been shopping in a bricks and mortar shop. At the time I had no idea what on earth I would ever use it for, but it turned out perfect for this jacket. I also some faux leather in the stash that I'd bought for something else and used that for the sleeve insets.

Aztec Rigel Bomber

This version is fully lined with silk crepe de chine.

Aztec Rigel Bomber

When my daughter found out what I was making, she also decided she wanted one - a cream one of all colours!  I was in the zone, it was her birthday, so I didn't put up any objections to making another. Although I was getting rather jealous while making her one, that it was so much better than mine. I selected this honey comb cotton fabric with a gold foil, both from The Fabric Store.

Rigel bomber jacket 2016

The gold foil was very light weight so I had to interface all of the pieces to get it to a similar weight as the main fabric, well stable enough to hold its own.

Rigel bomber jacket 2016

For the ribbing, I settled for a merino knit to get the colour match as close as possible. I just have one regret - that I didn't double the layers in the collar. For the sleeve cuffs and the hem band, I cut two so when it's folded on itself it is four layers thick. It works perfectly with really good recovery. The collar on the other hand feels a bit flimsy.

Rigel bomber jacket 2016

I fully liked this version as well, this time with a cream satin - it feels amazing to wear. Unfortunately this is one size too big for me and the sleeves are short, so wearing it isn't that great. Darn!!!

Rigel bomber jacket 2016

It is so luxurious! It was definitely not cheap - I added up all the fabric and lining and it came out at $110.00!  So you can image my reaction when I see it lying on the floor of her room....

Anyway, I had total fun making both these jackets. I wouldn't hesitate to put more of them in my wardrobe. Although next time I might try raising the collar and go for the traditional round neck rather than this V-neck version.

More photos on my Flickr --->

Friday, 17 March 2017

Pink Floral Sweetheart

Pink Floral Dress

This dress was fun but challenging at the same time. First the fun ... I found this fabric by accident while on holiday in Rarotonga earlier this year, and immediately knew it would make a lovely summer dress while still keeping within my wardrobe comfort zone ... because it was black? probably!

The challenge ... to mash together two separate patterns into one dress that looked like it was meant to be. The top is the Sewaholic Cambie pattern and the bottom is the Billy Jean pattern by Bluegingerdoll.  Both dresses I've made before quite a while ago, and well, the body has changed a little since then.

Then came the cheating ... in theory, the side seams and dart legs of the top are meant to be in the same vertical line as the skirt, right?! Hmm, did I really need to fluff with getting that right if the skirt and top are separated by a waist band and the floral print would act as a camouflage ... NO! Can you tell? NO!  #winning

Pink Floral Dress

Pink Floral Dress

With this dress I experimented a bit with the underlining. I took my silk organsa and underlined all the front pieces and the top half of all the skirt pieces.

A couple of reasons really.  I didn't want the dress to be too heavy but I did want the front to have some structure. The top half of the skirt needed to fall over my hips without showing every curve but the bottom half really didn't need it. Unfortunately I can't find any of my 'work in progress' photos to share with you :(

The dress is also fully lined, but with separate fabrics for the top and bottom.  The top half is lined with some silk crepe de chine from The Fabric Store. Something I bought a wee while ago at a good price because of colour inconsistency. No one gets to see the lining, so not a problem. The skirt is lined with some 'new to me' lining from Hawes and Freer Ltd, from their Superwash range. It is heavier than the crepe de chine which helps give another layer of fabric over the hips and butt and helps the skirt fall really nicely. It skims over the body and moves so nicely, but doesn't look bulky, and so far no static! I think I'm sold on this as a lining for skirts!

To finish the look I picked up some baby pink merino from Levana and whiped up this cute little bolero.

Pink Floral Dress

More photos in my Flickr album -->

Monday, 30 January 2017

Shirt Dress with Butterick Retro

Shirt Dress B5920

B5920 was calling my name again ... it appears that I hadn't finished with it, despite having made it twice before.

Shirt Dress B5920

My first make was exactly to pattern version A. I never wore this dress! The second involved a few alterations to convert it to a maxi with a full length placket, which I wear regularly.

For this latest make I kept the skirt back alteration I made for the maxi version - I much prefer how this falls and is in keeping with the front gathers.

Shirt Dress B5920 Shirt Dress B5920

I changed up the pockets this time, and made them square at the bottom rather than rounded, for a more modern shirt look.  I am so in love with the neckline and notches I had to keep the notches on the pocket.

Shirt Dress B5920

This skirt pattern length I cut at 25" and turned up a hem of 1.5". It sits perfectly just above my knee.

The fabric is 100% cotton, 'flocked' is what was on the label, from The Fabric Store during their recent VIP 40% sale. And yes, I bought and sewed this fabric all in the same month!  The dress is unlined and will require a slip to be worn underneath.

Not a lot more to say so will just leave you with some photos.

Shirt Dress B5920 Shirt Dress B5920
Shirt Dress B5920 Shirt Dress B5920

Go on, you know you wanna make one now .... :-)

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Floral, Beach, Summer, Holiday ...

Happy New Year!  Hope you all ate yummy food 'til your heart was content. I know I did.

I'm looking forward to what 2017 brings, which must be much better than 2016.  I started last year sick and missed the wedding of my very good friend and I ended the year sick, for three weeks if you please!  In between that it was just a big pile of life stuff that I didn't enjoy at all.  By default the blog went into hibernation.

Life is settled again and I begun this year in Rarotonga celebrating my eldest 21st birthday on new year's eve.  Being on holiday called for drink lots of tropical cocktails


I had hoped to get a full holiday wardrobe sewn, but work demands and being sick meant that those plans fell apart.  I did get to finish two pieces, so all wasn't lost.  If you follow me on Instagram you would have already seen these plans.  You will also know that both these fabrics a quite different, really bold, compared to my usual choice of fabric.  But hey, it's a tropical holiday!
Holiday sewing

Holiday sewing

The Holly Jumpsuit I had made before with a short leg. I really wasn't sure about the wide leg pants in this floral, but Sewbusylizzy said that I should image that it's the same as a maxi dress, which instantly removed any doubts I had.

I really wanted to have pockets, so I drafted some pockets using the Moss Mini pattern as a guideline for the angle and where they should sit in relation to the waist and side seams.   They are perfect!

Holiday sewing

Although I've worn this jumpsuit a few times (including Christmas Day), I haven't taken the opportunity to get some good photos:-(  For now it's this mirror selfie, but you get the picture - great fit, pockets and I love the full length pants.

My feelings about the holiday dress are a little different.  This is the Mid Summer Nights Dream wrap dress by Papercut Patterns.  I am a Papercut fangirl, and I've had this pattern in the stash for a few years now.  When I finished the dress and hung it on the dress form I was in love.

Holiday sewing

But then when I tried it on, the side fronts forward of the armpit were gaping, like really gaping! You can get a glimpse of this in the above picture.  This meant I had to unpick the binding and insert a downward dart. Luck the fabric is so busy and the gathers whether the bodice meets the ties disguises everything. I also find that the shoulder straps are too close of the neck.  Otherwise it fits and is really comfy to wear.  I am totally in love with the fabric now it is wearable.

How was your Christmas/New Year holiday?