Thursday, 28 June 2012

Cityscape Skirt

Planned in February, cut in March, sewn in May, worn in June... another (the absolute last I think) V1174 Cynthia Steffe skirt:

This time around (as opposed to the three V1174 skirts you saw in March's OWOP, or in Me Made May'12) it's made from silk, it's lined, and I made it with no waist band - I'm guessing that's best when you're very short-waisted like me.

The invisible zip is pretty hard to see - which is of course a good thing. [Can you see it? It's in the centre back seam.]

To stabilise the waist seam between silk and lining I sewed in a waist stay - you can't see it here, but it's doing a fine, functional job. And there's a reasonably successful (for lightweight silk) blind hem.

What else can I say....

I think I've said anything I had to say in earlier V1174 posts here and here and in the OWOP posts here.

The fabric is interesting... this was a remnant piece of silk I got from Tessuti Fabrics probably a couple of years ago, when I used to frequent their Sydney CBD shop. It does have a direction to the print - although I don't know that there's a right way up - and the print reminds me of the sharp edges of city buildings, maybe as seen through a rained-on windscreen.

Finally - well, just that I really like this wall, which we* stumbled on at lunch when we were "location scouting".  I just can't decide if I want it more as a t-shirt or a necklace :-)

* that's my fabulous photography colleague Marylene and I

More sewing posts to come when I can get myself organised for photos - a dress and a top are done, and there's a jacket and coat not too far off too.

See you!

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Sewing for the Kids

There was a long blurrr of sewing in this house last weekend, then another shorter mid-week late night blur. And there are some wearable winter clothes for the kids to show for it:

Birthday dress - 

This dress still needs hemming but it was getting late when I was finishing it off, and I wasn't feeling confident of my little girl's height. It's mostly around a size 6, but a mix of patterns and tweaks. I will explain, promise - but the mixing makes me wonder... at what point of mixing and tweaking patterns does a sewn garment stop being of those patterns and become something else?  I definitely see this dress as the sum of two patterns, and I'm not planning to start omitting pattern accreditations - which seems rude and sort of dishonest to me - but I think it's a theoretically interesting question... I guess I could be swayed by a strong argument.

I used Burda pattern 9979 (OOP I think), a top and pants pattern, for the top part of this dress. I extended sleeves from elbow to wrist length and swapped the turned over sleeve hem for separate little bands (LOVE sleeve bands - so classy!); sleeve shape was tweaked for more of a straight & narrow style. The bodice was lengthened, as the pattern is for a cropped top, but generally I was aiming for a size 6 length and a size 5 width. I also added a neck band - not sure if this was already in the pattern as by this point I wasn't paying it much attention. I used Simplicity 7211 (well and truly OOP) for the skirt part of this dress, graded out to about a size 4 in width and what I hoped was about a size 5 in length from my pattern's size 3. The skirt waist width was only a little bigger than the bodice waist so they just got eased together.

Final touch - a rosebud hand sewn onto centre front neckline. Of course this is the best part of the dress :-) (that's the recipient's perspective).
The birthday girl has been sick all week - not even able to contemplate birthday cake - and got herself thinner than usual, but I expect when she's back to normal she'll fill her dress out a bit better.

Leggings - 

Leggings - such easy peasy sewing and they always get worn to death, starting at the knees - what did girls wear before these become so popular? I have a friend who will not allow her daughters to wear them. She thinks they look....ahh...I guess rude? They are definitely not banned in this house, but if they're too thin and clingy they get a skirt or dress on top. Problem solved.

No pattern required, just traced around a slightly too long pair onto butcher's paper, then had the joy of tipping stretch fabric scraps all over the living room to be selected from.  The stripey pair have joins at about knee length, and the stripe mismatch is intentional.


Interestingly for the same "pattern", cut out at the same time, the purple leggings look loose and the striped ones look tight. Obviously I forgot to think about stretch fabric type, stretch recovery and that sort of thing, but it's not affecting their popularity.  I should be making more of having a mini sewing fan in the family! :-)

Long sleeve T -

For most of the year my son seems to need few casual clothes - he seems to live in his school uniform, various sport clothes and PJs. Every now and then of course a lack of something or other becomes apparent. This winter his jumpers / warm long sleeve Ts looked to be lacking in length. He cautiously joined his sister in picking through the fabric scraps, and came up with some tentative choices including the blue merino I used for my own long sleeve T.

This top is made from Burda pattern 9614, style A, in a size 8, pretty much as is + with sleeve and neck bands. The fabric is left over from my own long sleeve T from the same fabric and there wasn't quite enough, so there's a join half way down one sleeve. 

Reluctant to try it on - "no, I'm sure it fits mummy" - then reluctant to take it off :-). 

I've now been asked if I can make a top with geometrical patterns on it; I've got some ideas (who amongst us doesn't???? Ideas isn't the problem!) and if I get to it I'll share it - of course.

See you!

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Merino Knits

When the cool weather started to hit Sydney, and with Me Made May '12 in mind, I had a bit of a merino splurge at The Fabric Shop in Surry Hills. I did really well - if that's what you call buying heaps - and no regrets for any of my purchases!

My favourite merino make so far is this hoodie, which I am absolutely loving:

 the above photos from day 18 of MMM

This is not getting worn that much because I'm sort of cherishing it! That probably seems crazy for a knit top, but it does have some nice details like
flat felled seams (the first that I've ever knowingly sewn - and I'm very proud of myself to have managed them on such a stretchy fabric),
flat felled merino knit seam from the outside
flat felled merino knit seam from the inside
and interesting neckline details intended for a woven fabric, to which I decided to add some parallel lines of top stitching (boy did I sew those slowly!)

On top of that I count this as a Frankenstein pattern mixing success - it even bridges a few decades :-).

Betsey Jackson pattern for oversized, dropped shoulder, woven tops from the 80s, sitting on top of the pattern pieces I used to make the final hoodie. I based my final draft on the basic shape from an old Burda Style long sleeve t-shirt pattern, adjusted for improved fit using old RTW tops, and then revised to fit the Betsey Jackson hood pattern pieces - which I left pretty much as is excepting the shape on the shoulder seams. 

I wore this top on days 18 and 31 of MMM - it's mentioned in my last MMM post, but it seems I forgot to post anything about days 17-21. Oops.  I doubt I'll get around to a belated post for these 5 days, but you could always go look at my Flickr stream here, or indeed at the entire MMM group Flickr stream here.
Thanking Zoe on the last MMM day


Before that I made a useful but very plain long sleeved blue top using pattern #108 from issue 2/2009-108 of Burda Style Magazine: 

I described this top in the relevant MMM post - some simple fitting changes, but it's still recognisable as pattern 108.

Although this is not glamorous sewing, this top has proved itself a wardrobe staple already, and I can't remember what I was living in before it! 


My third merino make so far is this cardigan, which although very toasty warm represents a bit of a disappointment. I like the fabric but the pattern, V8819 - well, it could have been me, but could also have been the pattern... 

I made view B of the pattern in a size Medium, which apparently means size 12-14. I normally sew a size 12 for Vogue tops, and this sizing is usually pretty good for me, so I expected the cardigan to have some room. 

I think I used the wrong fabric here though - I used a two sided knit (blue on the outside seen here, black on the inside not shown), which I guess is a lot heavier than the summery knits the cardigan was intended for. Be that as it may - and I guess that's a good explanation for the tight arms - it's a lot shorter on that I expected.

Maybe I need to go back and check whether I sewed the wrong length. It could have been me!

Unfortunately even though I like the fabric piecing details on the back, this cardi is not going to get a lot of wear - it's a winter weight but I can only wear it on top of sleeveless tops!

There are still two fabrics to go - a rich green lightweight merino knit and a heavier olive merino knit. I have plans for both, and have already made a summer "test" version for one of these plans :-).  As soon as the weather is decent again (it's bucketing rain lately) I'll show you the summer dress and a new skirt too.

See you! 

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

MMM Days 26 - 31

And it's all over - it went so fast!

Let me do a pictorial recap of my last 6 days of May for you, and then get into the me made review.

Day 26 (Saturday)

No photo because I wore exactly what I wore on Day 6 (ie pale blue merino top, scarf and jeans), and it wasn't very interesting, and the sun was not cooperating. 

Day 27 (Sunday)

Wearing voluminous orange pants, made from a fave old (80s) Vogue pattern originally blogged here. Although I originally showed them to you with a bright red linen jacket I don't really have the guts to dress like that out and about - not even in the inner city where the dress code is more varied :-). And it's cold.

Having now worn them a few times - and seen the photos - they need to be taken in quite a bit at the hips and a little at the waist (STILL not very good at getting my size right!) Anyway, a few women have commented to me on how comfortable they look - and they are. Next time around I'm definitely putting the pockets in too.

Day 28 (Monday)


I woke up on Monday morning feeling really uninspired. And Mondays always seem the coldest day of the late autumn / winter working week - I think the city cools down over the weekend when the office workers retreat to suburbia.

My unimpressive me made offering is a new cardi - made in May and not blogged (there will have to be a catch up post on May makes), but it's made from a warm double faced (blue on one side, black on the other) wool knit using a new Vogue pattern, V8819.  I like the seaming in the back, but overall I was disappointed with the pattern. I made the cardigan in the size 12-14 whereas I usually sew a size 12 in Vogue tops - but the sizing seems on the small, (ie too short, too tight) side even accounting for this being intended more as a summer cardigan.  If you make it, I suggest you measure your pattern pieces first.

Day 29 (Tuesday)

Wearing my blocked silk and jersey top - which I want to make into a dress (I have a ton more of that blue jersey...) but you know, that kind of sewing is in the "fixing" pile which always takes a lower priority than the "new thing!! NEW!!" pile.  Top originally blogged here. Also wearing my fitted Donna Karan V1282 skirt, first blogged here.  And carrying a heavy overcoat - it's colder than it looks!

By this stage of the game the photos are definitely getting easier - I know passers by are looking and wondering what we're up to, but I don't mind looking foolish.

Day 30 (Wednesday)

My V8718 linen suit, which I love to bits even though it's very crumply (being linen). I wore this jacket right at the start of the month with a red dress but had been putting off wearing the skirt because it needed to be taken in A LOT.  The photographic evidence of me made May proved to me (via another too-loose skirt) that when a skirt doesn't fit it looks dreadful, not unnoticeable :-)/. So  finally I invested a couple of minutes or however short a time period it was and voila, the suit is back in action :-). Suit originally blogged a year ago back here, presumeably before the stretch in the linen really came into its own. 

Day 31 (Thursday)

The last day! What a ditz, somehow I had convinced myself the last day of May would be on Friday - but what do you know, turns out this year there are only 31 days in the month. Ha. So my "Thank you Zoe" sign is an on-the-day scribble on the back of my work pad at an offsite.

Wearing the merino hoodie already worn on Day 18, plus jeans acquired last weekend from my mum. (I don't know how she manages to accidentally buy clothes that fit me... lucky me!) 

My Me Made May in Review

To be honest, I tarried in signing up this year. I thought it would sound like I was taking the easy road if I said "1 me made a day" but I honestly expected it to get hard. Not that I don't have plenty of me mades in the wardrobe, but that I didn't think I'd have enough cold weather stuff that I liked. And my other worry was the daily photos.

As it happened we had mostly fine, sunny weather, which meant plenty of me made options (with a coat to and from work). And my colleague Marylene turns out to enjoy taking photos and to have quite an eye for locations and angles and that sort of thing.

The hardest part of me made May for me was finding the time to really participate.  Due to computer challenges at home, in the first half of the month I was spending ridiculous amounts of time trying to upload photos from camera to computer - hours (yes, seriously) would pass and my handful of photos would still be in transit. On the upside, at least this gave me the opportunity to look through the Flickr pool and leave some comments, but I was staying up way too late on the computer. The computer problems were resolved by about the middle of the month, but by this stage I was very tired and champing at the bit to spend part of my precious late evenings sewing (or sleeping). I got a lot out of me made May, but I think to get the most out of this challenge, ideally you need to have the time to comment widely, reply to comments, and befriend fellow participants.

So what did I get out of it, you may be wondering, apart from a couple of merino tops? Well, first of all I saw so much terrific sewing and creating around the world - it was totally inspiring, and made me want to lift my game! In the last week of the challenge I realised that my me mades are no worse fitting than the clothes I've bought and wear regularly - so no need to feel self-conscious about everything. I realised that my skirts that are too big look terrible, so I need to knuckle down and fix them. I realised that I have some favourite clothes, and that by and large these are clothes that I've taken care in making and fitting because I really wanted them - so I should be more mindful in my sewing.   And I learnt that getting a couple of photos taken by a friend in public is much, much less embarrassing than taking 20 photos of yourself in public - and generally ends up with a much better photo.

Thank you Zoe for organising this terrific event again, thank you to all my fellow participants for inspiring me (I now have way too many ideas, which typically means indecision), and thank you Marylene for taking my photos!

I've probably left something important out here ... so please consider yourself thanked too.

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