Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Burdastyle asymmetric jacket

Hi! I've been completely immersed in organising a fundraising event at my kids' school for the past few weeks and though I thought of this little space often, it's been totally neglected... along with the just about everything else! I'm glad to be back :-)

OK, Burdastyle Asymmetric Jacket. Now firstly I should apologise for the extremely ahh lived in look of this jacket. All those wrinkles and creases are from all the wear it's had since I made it a couple of months ago (and have been meaning to blog ever since), which shows that I'm getting a lot of use from this garment, which has got to be a measure of success!

I like the challenge of sewing something reasonably complicated now and then, and this one had a few challenges for me, but I've got to say that I don't think Burdastyle patterns (or least this one) are the patterns to learn from as the instructions are so brief. A certain amount of knowledge is presumed, and this one's difficulty rating is 'Intermediate', which I'd consider myself to be, but when you come across a technique you haven't tried before, like the sleeve openings, you get no help at all to explain it - no drawings or detailed explanantions. I know lengthy descriptions of each step annoy some sewers, but for me I'd rather have that and be able to skip it rather than not have it at all. Anyway, it all turned out OK but I just fudged my way through those sleeves in the end.

The other thing I'm not fond of with Burdastyle is the lack of seam allowance on the patterns. I'm just not used to it and find it hard work. But I did get through it, needless to say I was pretty happy when the pattern printing/cutting/sticking/tracing stage was over! The base calls for a magnetic snap, which my kids laugh at each time it sticks to the car ;-). This makes the front hem sit well. I didn't add the button to the top inside flap as called for in the pattern but it seems to sit OK without it. I also haven't added buttons to the sleeves as I couldn't find what I wanted... hopefully one day! Another thing I clearly didn't understand properly was the lining pleat in the back seam, which seemed hopelessly small, as it's split! So some maintenence is required!

Having had my whinge I now want to say though how much I love this jacket :-) The style is lovely with all its little darts and shaping. I love the asymmetric opening, and like wearing it open, closed and half open. It's extremely versatile, warm but lightweight and just very wearable (hence all those wrinkles ;-)

I used a mid weight deep blue linen bought at The Fabric Store which I'd stashed away waiting for the perfect project, and lined it with an ordinary lining fabric (also from the stash - yay, stash busting!). And I found a heavy weight metal zip, which I think adds weight and a nice touch to the softness of the linen. I'm almost wishing I'd interfaced the lapels/front sections as the linen is sluming a bit as it relaxes and softens, but I think that's part of the beauty of linen.

Also I deviated from the pattern by adding pockets to the front seams. I had almost finished the outer jacket when the niggle in my mind got too loud "you'll want pockets!!" and I had to listen to it! I wanted them to be reasonably hidden and flush with the front so as not to add bulk, and they work pretty well, and are certainly used well.

So, apart from a few things that annoyed me with the pattern, a great jacket! And a great addition to my wardrobe. Have you tried Burdastyle patterns? Love the style but don't love the pattern details? Or is it just me!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

MMM findings: trousers needed!

Well, I had good intentions for posting here weekly on my Me Made May progress, but in the end it all seemed too hard and too time consuming (I blame Instagram for making me blog-lazy ;-) So if you're interested please have a look over to the right there at my instagram feed to see what I've been wearing.

The month is almost over now, and as with last year it's been fun (mostly!) and revealing too. My findings:

1. As the weather has been so pleasently warm aside from the first week, I've had plenty of wear from my light short sleeved tops. Next summer I must make some more, they're so easy and wearable.

2. May is a bad month for dress wearing for me. I guess it's just because the weather is too cool for summery dresses but not cold enough for thick tights (which I love). And I've also lost my enthusiasm for my knee high boots, though my Fly London ankle boots are getting loved to death at the moment ;-) On day 16 I loved wearing my Moss Mini with opaques, and my denim Simplicity 2226 got a look in on day 20, but apart from that the only other dress that got a look in was a self drafted dress worn for a night out on day 24. So...

3. More pants needed! I basically live in jeans most of the time. My lifestyle at this time in my life requires very casual clothes. I did wear my Tamanegi-kobo Black Spinel trousers several times (unblogged), but apart from that it was all RTW on the jeans front. I've resisted trying to sew jeans in the past but I'm coming around to the idea, especially after seeing other lovely versions around the blogs.

Top contenders on the pattern front are:

Named Jamie Jeans. They seem to have a cult following... must be a good pattern!

Burdastyle Floral skinny jeans (but not in floral), I've also seen some lovely versions of these around (though can't say I'd be thrilled to tackle another pattern without seam allowances again in the near future. Grrr)

Burdastyle Anita jeans. Nice. And look, seam allowances INCLUDED!

and I also like the Named Alpi Chinos for their classic styling

Any recommendations welcome!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Tova with modifications

I've had a design for a blouse in mind for ages... loose but flattering, with gathers, cap sleeves, a gently curved hem and some interesting details. When I couldn't find a pattern like it I decided to give it a go myself.

The closest design I could think of was the Wiksten Tova so I started with that and modified it.

Firstly I modified the sleeves, as I did on this one to be capped, then did a circular cut-out, binding around it and tieing a bow.

Then for the back I seperated the pattern horizontally along the shoulders so that it made a yoke, added width to the lower piece and gathered it in the centre.

I also modified the collar to be smaller, cropped a few inches off the hem of the pattern and the curved the sides, making the back slightly lower than the front.

The fabric is one of the lovely Japanese lawns from Spotlight that I've been enjoying using lately. It's really soft to wear and washes well too. I love the cute design, and the dusty pink with the little splashes of blue on the birds is really sweet.

In hindsight I don't think I needed the gathers at the back, they make it a bit pouffy. But overall I'm pretty happy with this top. It's easy to wear and a nice change from t-shirts. And the loose fit and drape go well with skinny jeans.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Melly Sews Hi Lo Top and MMM'14

On the last day of April I decided I'd sign up for Me Made May again this year. Last year was my first year and I really enjoyed it, much more than I thought I would. I found that I hardly had to think about reaching for me-made as it's automatic and also it identified the gaps in my wardrobe. Plus, there's of course the great big bonus that I get to connect with lots and lots of lovely like-minded sewing fanatics all over the world, yay!

So here's my pledge:

 'I, Jo of Bubala sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '14. I endeavour to wear at least one item made by me each day and once a week a whole outfit (excluding underwear, shoes and socks) for the duration of May 2014'

I will posting a pic each day on my Instagram feed then hopefully do a round-up here after each week has passed. Anyone who's done MMM before will know that the photo taking is the hardest part!

I wore this top on day 2 and thought it was time I blogged about it before it falls apart through over-wear :-) I made this a couple of months ago and it's been in regular rotation ever since.

The pattern is the lovely free 'Hi Lo top' by Melly Sews. From the moment I saw this pattern I thought I'd love it, so I downloaded and printed it and waited for the right fabric to jump out at me :-) The pattern comes in only one size, but I think it would be reasonably easy to change a bit. I'm about a size 10/12 Australian (bust 34") and it fits well.

I love the overall shape of this top and it's been perfect for our autumn weather when you need a little extra coverage. One change I made to the pattern was to add a casing to the sleeves and thread elastic through. I have done this with other tops and it's worked well. I don't particularly like sleeves just hanging and find the elastic comfortable.

The other change I made was to add some pin tucks to the front. I love the look of pin tucks and hadn't tried them before so thought this would be a good pattern to try them on.

I used this tutorial, applying the pintucks to my flat (uncut) piece of fabric. I then placed the bodice pattern piece on the fabric so that the pintucks are in the upper centre of the piece. I then cut out the other pattern pieces and sewed them together as usual, applying the binding to the neckline as usual, which covers the raw ends of the pintucks. I choose to do 7 pintucks (my lucky number ;-) and just eyeballed how long I wanted them. As I'd done the pintucks before cutting out the pattern I didn't add any width to compensate for the width they take up, but if you were to cut them out first I'd consider adding a bit (about 1.5 cm in this case as each pintuck is about 2mm). Though, having said that, these pintucks are so tiny that if you had a loose fitting top you wouldn't necessarily need to bother. It looks like mine are straining a bit in the pic above but it's just that I'm stretching my arm out to take the selfie :-) I had so much fun doing the pintucks and will definitely be adding them to other garments in future!

The fabric I used was a Japanese lawn from Spotlight that I bought on sale and stashed away for the perfect project. I have used several of their lawns now and find them really comfortable to wear, quite strong but with a lovely drape. They also wash really well. I find it so annoying when fabrics suffer greatly from laundering. I do seem to find that Japanese made fabrics are superior to others. Gross generalisation but that's my finding so far. Do you agree?

Monday, April 28, 2014

Cali Faye Collection Racer Back Flare dress

Hi all! I hope you had a good Easter/holiday.

Looking around the blogs lately I've realised I'm not alone in being on a Cali Faye Collection fad :-) So far I have 3 of their patterns and am trying to hold myself back from buying the Voila blouse and Cadette Coat. One thing I like about them is that they work for both my 6 year old and 9 year old - they're simple and stylish without being fussy, and the size goes up to age 10 (though my girls are on the smaller side so I think I'll get even longer out of them).

I fell in love with this little dress pattern, the Racer Back Flare, late last year and thought it would be perfect for my little girl's 6th birthday.

I made it up from a piece of a doona (duvet) cover that I found in my favourite charity shop. I really like reusing old sheets, covers, pillowcases etc, often the fabric is still in great condition and offers something a bit different. It's also often made of 100% cotton or linen and is comfortable to wear.

There's so much to love about this dress. Chiefly it's just a really great shape, with a perfect amount of flare and really well shaped neckline and armholes. The bodice is lined and the opening closes with a button, so no tricky zips or fastenings.

It's the perfect dress for twirling...

And even though she wasn't feeling well on the day of these pics she loves her dress and has worn it many times since her birthday last December. As the weather's cooler now she's can layer it with tshirts and leggings so it's really quite versatile. I also made her sister one in a totally different fabric. Now if I could just get around to photographing it!

I'd thoroughly recommend this pattern to anyone looking for a cute girls dress which is quick to sew and fun to wear.

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!
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