Monday, April 14, 2014

Cali Faye Collection Perri Pullover

This post comes to you tonight courtesy of my procrastination on the task I'd mentally assigned myself earlier in the day: making cushions (or 'pillows')...

You see we have friends coming for lunch over Easter and I really wanted to get my act together and fix the woeful cushion issue in our living room. I know that my friend probably won't even notice them, but I will feel better if there's something new and fresh, know what I mean? And it will get them off the blasted 'to do' list!!

But I've procrastinated to the point where I now know what I haven't admitted to myself before... I loathe making cushions. I suspect this is down to the boring nature of the project. Plus I resent the fact that I could be working on my Asymmetric jacket or fulfilling one of the many sewing requests from the kids ;-)

Oh dear, I think I'll have to bribe myself tomorrow night with a big block of chocolate or something!But for now I'll continue to procrastinate and show you the Cali Faye Perri Pullover I made for my big girl's recent 9th birthday...

I wanted a casual top for her that wasn't too young, something stretchy and comfy, and I think this pattern fits the bill.

It came together well, using a medium weight interlock I found at Spotlight. I was going to make her some leggings to go with it but couldn't find any 2 way stretch fabric I liked, so picked up these RTW tights for her, they have a cute metallic thread running through them, but they're a bit tight and I also think either the pullover needs to be a little longer on her or worn with leggings of jeans/trousers.

I enjoyed adding the little touches of the pocket lining and matching tag at the neck (idea pinched from Kelly, thanks Kelly!).

(Apologies for the wrinkly shot above) I really like this top and am now struggling not to go and buy the grown-up version for me ;-)

So how about you - do you have anything you really don't like sewing?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

In lieu of KCW

Hello! Long time no post... I have certainly been making and doing and all that goes with it, just not getting around to photographing and writing about all of my makes. But I have plenty to show you over the coming weeks, including a recipe or two as well (it's been a while!).

I had intended to take part in KCW this time. The kids do need some clothes and heading towards winter as we are I really should do an audit of what they need. However last week I spent any and all available down time sewing for my elder daughter who was turning 9 (what?!). I made her two lovely Cali Faye patterns which I'll hopefully show soon. By the end of the week I had the sudden and very strong urge to finally start my Burdastyle Asymmetric jacket, and I figure it's best to 'strike while the iron's hot', considering I've been avoiding it for a very long time! So that's what I'm doing this week. Sorry kids! I will get back to them but not in time for KCW, this jacket needs a slow and steady pace to do it and the lovely fabric justice (you may have seen a snippet of it if you follow me on Instagram ;-)

Anyhow in the meantime, and in lieu of participating, I thought I'd show you some things I've made for the kids in the past months.

My girls declared before Christmas that they liked nighties, and as I was looking for a quick sewing project to add to their Christmas present stash I dreamt up these and whipped them up over an evening or two.

I used a cute border embroidered voile from the stash and drafted a simple pattern, just two pieces, back and front, and finished with bound edges that become the tie straps. I love the soft purple colour of the voile and happened to have some lovely matching ribbon to add pretty little bows to the fronts.

My girls squeeled with delight when they opened their parcels and found matching nighties, which is about as good as it gets for a sewing obsessed crafty mama, don't you think?!

I really love seeing them in these nighites, they've had a ton of wear since Christmas and hopefully will fit for a couple of years, given the simple style. Win win!

Monday, March 17, 2014

(another) New bag

Last week I made myself another new bag. I seem to go through them at quite a quick rate (maybe 1 every 6 months or so), but I guess that's what happens when you A. make them out of fabric and B. use them constantly and throw them around from floor to playground to chair to everywhere and anywhere. I guess one upside of the high turnover is I get to try out different designs and patterns and I never really get tired of one bag.

This time around I had in mind a slouchy style with mixed materials: a lovely heavy grey linen I've been hoarding for ages along with a recycled leather strap in maybe teal or red (the same scraps I make my cuffs from), or perhaps even one of my thrift shop belts, cut strategically to make use of the buckle etc. But somehow I just could not get started on this project (maybe it was fear of rivets?!) and the need was getting dire! So I pulled up this free tutorial and pattern from Very Purple Person that I've been wanting to try. I chose some stash fabric and quickly made this interim bag.

This is such a lovely straightforward pattern. I really enjoyed sewing it. The only changes I made were to make the handles a bit longer and, rather than pulling the whole bag through the handle opening as instructed, I left a gap at the bottom of the lining and turned it out through there and sewed it up later - as both my fabrics are quite heavy it was never going to go through the handles.

I also added a zip pocket to each side, using a heavy ticking from my scrap stash for the lining, adding to the rigidity of the structure. I used a heavy denim for the outer and a piece of this lovely "Hibernian House" print from a great local printer Publisher Textiles. If you follow them on Instagram you'll know what lovely work they do.

Even though this is a reversible bag, and I do love the print I used on the inside, I think I'll hardly ever use it with the red side showing as the denim is just so much more versatile and won't clash with anything else I'm wearing, unless you count 'double denim syndrome', which I just try not to think about :-) But it's a great splash of colour and visual texture. And I finally found a use for the cute little dear keyring I've had laying around - a fun zipper pull :-)

So there you go, a quick and easy pattern when the need for a new bag is dire, but also just a nice bag all round.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

April Rhodes Riding Peplum

Have you tried April Rhodes' Riding Peplum pattern? I bought it just after Christmas (and just before my pledge to not buy any new patterns in the near future :-), I've made 2 now and I love it.

I knew I liked the peplum style (after initially resisting it) after trying and loving Victory patterns' Ava. And as I was looking for another good versatile summer top pattern I thought I'd give the Riding peplum a try. Plus I saw the versions that the girls at Fancy Tiger Crafts made and loved them - it's always nice to see other people's versions of a pattern, don't you think?

I love the proportions of this top and the 'flippiness' - I am declaring that a new word ;-) It's simple and easy to wear but a nice alternative to my beloved Wiksten Tanks when I feel like something a little different.

The design is a simple 4 piece construction which pulls on over your head - no zipper or extra openings. I made a size small which fit nicely around the shoulders but then I went and took the side seams in as much as I could from just below the bust to the waist so that I could still slip it over my head. This was because I wanted a slightly more fitted look. April does mention in the instructions that if you wanted it really fitted you'd need to put a zipper in the side. But of course this would make it a more complicated project. I think if you use fairly drapey fabric and take it in the side seams if necessary you can still get a reasonably fitted look, while still having enough ease for movement and comfort. 

I also lengthened the bodice pieces as I do with all waisted garments, as I have a long torso. The neckline and armholes are bound with bias binding, which is a little time consuming but produces a nice finish. And considering that the main construction of the garment is so quick, it's still a quick project. I used a piece of printed voile from my stash (leftover from this Wiksten tank).

I made a silk Riding Peplum to wear on a girls night out for International Womens Day recently. If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen a pic of me snipping threads from it whilst waiting for my train, hee hee :-) Blog post to come.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Sun cover-up kimono jacket

Here in Australia we see a lot of sun. I don't say that to make you northern hemisphere dwellers jealous, honestly :-) The light here is really harsh, and sees many of us suffer under it. My heritage is English and so my skin does not cope so well, I've had a skin cancer cut from my face and would be surprised if I don't have more. Not that I sit out in the sun, it's just that it gets you even when you have sunscreen on, are trying to stay in the shade and just going about your business.

So... particularly in summer I try to wear my hat (and sunglasses) everywhere, and I also find that covering up works the best, if I can. Those dessert dwellers with their loose floaty tops and trousers seem to have worked it out. Taking inspiration from that I'd been thinking of making an open shirt (like a light cotton cardigan) when I saw a lovely kimono jacket on Renee's blog. I thought it might be the answer when I'm heading outdoors to go get the kids from school and need to cover my shoulders to stop them getting burnt.

I grabbed this tutorial that Renee had used and drafted a pattern based on the instructions. I added a thick strip of double fold binding to the front and neck edge, to give it a bit of weight and structure and also a bit more coverage around the back of the neck area.

You can see the shape of the jacket in the pic above. It's very simple but really comfy and drapes well, though I think a rayon would drape better. I looked for some but couldn't find anything I liked, so with that nagging little voice in the back of my mind I used a Japanese cotton lawn fabric from my stash, bought from Spotlight on a whim (isn't it all?!). I had fallen for the blue background and dandelion print. The drape could be better but it won't stop me from wearing it.

And even though I made this as a sun cover-up it's really nice to wear for a little extra warmth when the sun isn't out and the temperature drops.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Make do and alter

I'd been wanting a short sleeved shirt to wear recently and thought I'd like to make a couple (plans are afoot), but of course that would take time. How many times have I wished I had some sort of sewing time machine and could conjure up the garment then and there! But then I guess I'd miss out on the fun of actually making it, which is meant to be the point, right?!! Arghh!. Anyway... I opened my wardrobe and there staring at me was my ikat print cap sleeved Tova.

When I made it I loved it, and still do, but for some reason it never gets chosen to wear, even when I'm craving that style! I always thought what put me off must be the bright colour and crazy pattern, that I'd need to be in the mood to wear it, and I guess that mood didn't take me often. I tried it on and was pondering this when it suddenly hit me that the length is all wrong. I'd originally extended the length from the pattern so that I could wear it with my Japanese Black Spinel trousers - the short top over leggings is not a look for me. But the truth is that it never really went with the black spinels anyway.

So out came the scissors, I chopped a few inches off the hem and re-sewed it... 15 minutes later I had a much more wearable garment. It's a subtle adjustment but one that I think makes a lot of difference to the feel of the shirt. Time will tell but I think this might even have turned into a favourite, when I'd almost given up on it.

I think the lesson this has taught me is that if something isn't working, especially when I've put lots of time and effort into making it, I need to try to work out what the problem is and fix it before starting something new (while dreaming of those new tops to come ;-)

Monday, February 3, 2014

Jacket love

I've been dreaming of jacket patterns lately... which may be due to thoughts of autumn, even though the weather is still pretty hot here. But more likely just that I love jackets and am almost dress and skirted out!! Here are some of the top contenders:

Love the shape and detailing of Burdastyle's Desert Moto Jacket 02/2014 #128

Next, a classic jacket, exactly the sort of basic I need, Burdastyle cropped jacket 01/2011


And now a pattern that I already own and is all cut out and ready to sew, if I could only get over my fear of the scant instructions, Burdastyle Assymetric Jacket 03/2012  Please disregard the bizarre pose/expression - why do they do that?!!

And possibly this one, Burdastyle Crossover Blazer 06/2012... though not with this styling! Again, why?!! Best to go look at a real one like this.


And, last but not least (the only non-Burdastyle, for some reason) Vogue V8601 riding jacket. I saw and tried on a beautiful version of this pattern at a lovely little sewing shop in my very own suburb (unusual!) that unfortunately didn't survive :-( The owner wouldn't sell me the pattern or the jacket unfortunately, and when I search for this pattern online it has the dreaded OOP (out of print) after it... I have looked high and low for a good while now for this lovely classic pattern with a twist, but alas have yet to find a copy... It looks a bit weird in this drawing (don't they always) but you can see one of the lovely versions here. If anyone knows where I can get a copy please put me out of my misery and let me know.

Do you have any jacket patterns on your 'to do' list? Of course I could always try another Minoru, it's still my all-time favourite make, but the opportunity for something different is urging me along :-)
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