Sunday, January 26, 2014

Mission maxi

The weather around the world has been particularly crazy lately, don't you think? Some days we are sweating it out here in Australia in 40c + (while you guys in the northern hemisphere are freezing your a's off in ice and snow). But then we get a cool snap and boom, the temperature is half of what it was just days before! So this year I haven't done my usual packing away of cardigans etc, because you just don't know what's around the corner.

One gap in my wradrobe that I'd identified at the start of summer was definitely very hot weather appropriate clothing, and particularly dresses, and if sometimes they could hide my not so summer ready legs then that would be good too :-) Hence I thought I'd give the famous and much-loved Jamie Christina Mission Maxi a go.

I used a cheap ($3 per metre) fine striped jersey as a trial. It sewed up well but when I'd finished I thought the shape was extremely bluuurgh on me. It looked like a nightie and went straight into the UFO pile :-( After all the examples I'd seen around I knew there'd be a danger of it feeling like a nightie, but I thought if I chose a fabric with the right drape and also belted it with my wide belt it would be OK. No. The belt just looked disjoinetd and cut me into 2 weird shapes. Hard to explain but not a great look.

So I promised myself to get it out one day and chop it into a singlet top. But then we hit one of those 40c+ days a couple of weeks later and I was desperate and thought I'd give it a try. With a few little adjustments I found it sat much better - I took the seam at the waist in carefully: too much and it was too squishy, not too little or it was too baggy and nightie-ish. And the addition of a big neclace, rather than a belt, helped to break it up.

I do like it now, and it doesn't feel so much like a nightie, but I've got to be in the mood to wear it... in all the reviews I read about this pattern I don't think anyone mentioned how careful you have to be with your underwear when you wear this one. Firstly I needed a racer back bra, which I don't own, so I bought one of these little gadgets and twisted myself up like a contortionist trying to get it on to the one bra that it fits onto. Then for the bottom half I only have one pair of undies that are sleek enough to not be seen under this. I have enough lumps and bumps around the hip area to not want to be adding more. And then I always feel I have to stand up straight, and suck my tummy in to feel I look OK in this... not the most relaxing dress to wear, though it looks like it should be!!

Maybe a darker/more drapey fabric would work better for this pattern. And I really like the godet and halter neck versions (though what bra could I wear for that!!). I'd like to try them one day, but at the moment I'm not inspired. Phew, it all feels a bit hard at the moment when I was hoping it would be easy. Oh well!

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Pattern Mission Maxi
Size 6 bust graded to 8 hips, with adjustments as above
Fabric Striped cotton mix jersey

Necklace self-made felt balls strung onto hemp thread

Hat Amy Butler Blue Sky Hat

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Workhorse Maritime shorts

Firstly, apologies for these boring boring pics. I view these shorts a bit like a functional car that gets me from A to B - it's useful and practical but doesn't set my world on fire. I don't mean to insult the designer in the slightest, it's just that I am not a shorts girl. I'm not exactly sure why, maybe it's that my legs are not my favourite feature (though I love my Moss Mini). Or maybe they just make me feel a bit too tomboy-ish: short hair + shapeless legs + shorts = boy? (but then there are some lovely feminine versions out there). I guess what I'm saying is that I didn't pretty these up as they are a practical item for me - for sitting on the beach building sandcastles, sclepping around the house on a hot summers day, digging around in the garden etc. But that's not a bad thing... I may not love shorts* but there's no denying how practical they are.

Anyway... as with the Moss Mini, I loved this pattern - it was a joy to sew. I made these for a weekend at a beach house with friends late last year and they were super useful and practical, just what I needed!

In situ on holiday with Polly top and Blue sky hat

I used a stash remnant of lighweight denim with a little stretch (first seen in this Belladone). As with the Moss Mini I took in the back seam quite a bit (is this like a 'sway back adjustment' I wonder?) and also the side seams slightly.

I enjoyed sewing the back pockets and thought next time I sew back pockets I may try a fun decorative stitching design (thinking of Mary Nanna here :-)

And here's something I feel a little nervous showing, the inside of the shorts. I am not the sort of sewer who prides herself on getting the inside finished beautifully I'm afraid, I'm more of the 'just get it done, I want to wear these!' sewer. But, as looking at others' inside pics of Maritime shorts & Moss Minis have been so useful I thought I should return the favour. And also I can show you that I did put something pretty in - the pocket lining is a sweet green quilting cotton and I also used coordinating green overlocking thread.

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Pattern Grainline Studio Maritime Shorts
Size 6
Fabric Stretch light weight denim from The Remnant Warehouse

T-shirt Mesop

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* Disclaimer: I do have to admit that my anti shorts stance is waivering when I look at all the lovely winter versions of Deer & Doe's Chataigne shorts styled cosily (like this)... I'm thinking of a pair in a lovely woolen fabric, teamed with thick tights, boots, merino wool top, scarf...

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Horsey Moss Mini

Sometimes it takes me ages to think of a good pairing of fabric and pattern (I'm looking at you, Anna dress!) but other times they just seem to find each other almost by themselves, without any help or thought from me :-) That's what happened with this horse print fabric and the Grainline Studio Moss Mini recently.

I'm a recent convert to Grainline Studios patterns. I wasn't that interested in the Moss Mini when it first came out but then I started to see all the great versions around (as you do) and started thinking about how I could use some basics in my wardrobe. I had a rather sedate dark toned drill cotton in mind when suddenly this horse print duck cotton from Spotlight jumped out at me.

The Moss mini was a joy to sew, such a well drafted pattern with such well written instructions. I made just a couple of alterations. I had to take in the back centre seam a little to make the waist sit better but this was easy to do. I tried the skirt on after inserting the zip and before I put the waistband on. The waist was gaping a bit and I knew from past experience that if I didn't fix this the skirt would never sit right and keep twisting around as I walked. There's nothing more annoying! I fixed it by just taking the back yoke seam in a little, tapering down to the centre back, and also taking the side seams in slightly too.

I didn't bother to try to match the horse print as I thought it wouldn't really matter and I thought I may run out of fabric (and I'm lazy). Consequently I have ended up with a two-headed horse and also a bottomless horse at the front seam - oh well :-)

 I really love the details of this skirt:
: : the pockets are a generous size, and they are anchored to the centre seam so they don't move around annoyingly
: : The pockets are desinged to sit out a little to give your hands space (as pictured above)
: : The back yoke allows for a really nice fit. With a simple shape like this fit is so important
: : The fly and waistband are constructed really nicely. This was only my second time inserting a fly and it turned out well despite my slight case of nerves (and yes, the instructions for this are as straightforward as everyone says they are)

I'm really happy with my horsey mini, I've already worn it several times since making it in the new year. And I like occassionally making something a bit quirky and fun! My kids remark on my 'horsey skirt' each time I wear it :-) Having said that, I also have another Moss Mini in the works, this time the original plain drill fabric I had in mind when I bought the pattern. It will be good to have a basic too.

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Pattern Grainline Studio Moss Mini
Size 6
Fabric Cotton duck (mid weight) from Spotlight

Top Self-made Papercut Patterns Sloppy Josephine
Cuff Self-made

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Next up I want to show you another Grainline project. Can you guess which? Are you a Grainline fan too?

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Sewing plans for 2014

OK, it's confession time... Last year I bought a lot of patterns. So many in fact that I don't want to count them for fear of the total! (closes eyes tightly). I do feel good about supporting indie designers (all but 1 are from them). I bought patterns from Sewaholic, Victory, Deer & Doe, Grainline Studio, Figgy's, Papercut Patterns, Green Bee, Jamie Christina and Leisel & Co. Some of them reasonably expensive, others very reasonable... BUT, I don't want to keep buying in 2014, or at least only in special circumstances*.

So my goal for this year is to reuse my patterns. Most of them I would definitely like to make again - I think I'm getting better at choosing for my style, shape and lifestyle rather than what looks good on others. And I like the thought that each time a pattern is used you get more value from it ;-)

A couple of the patterns I bought last year I haven't made up yet, so these are on the top of my summer sewing list:

A Sewaholic Saltspring:

Grainline Studio Lakeside Pajamas:

Image of Lakeside Pajamas

And By Hand London Anna Dress:

And at the moment I'm also thinking:

: : I need some summer arm covering tops, maybe using my Make it Perfect Shearwater Kaftan pattern

: : Another Simplicity 2226 skirt, these are such great staples

: : And for cooler weather a couple of Moss Minis in velveteen or Corduroy ( I have my first Moss Mini to show you next up that I made just after new year).

* Now if I am good and reuse patterns and use stash fabric where possible, I may grant myself this lovely shorts pattern by Deer & Doe for winter as it is sooo lovely and I have some grey wool that they'd look fantastic in, so really it would just be the cost of the pattern :-) (sounding like a true addict).
Chataigne shorts

Now please tell me you bought a lot of patterns too in 2013 (or not!)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Top 5 of 2013

I thought about doing a full review of what i made last year (as in previous years) but the thought of all that Photoshop work compiling everything was giving me a headache! So I'm following others' lead and doing a Top 5 of 2013' post. Much more sensible, methinks - there's sewing to be done tonight!!

OK, in no particular order, my favourite sews of 2013...

Deer & Doe Belladone dress
I made 3.5 of these dresses (the .5 was a fail), this one is my favourite.

Megan Neilsen Briar tops
Such a simple design but such a lovely fit. Good in plain old jersey or merino wool. I also adapted the pattern to a cardigan (unblogged) and made a bright magenta version (seen here during Me Made May).

Victory Patterns Ava tops
I looove my silk version (on the left), though haven't had much opportunity to wear it. The muslin, though (on the right), has had plenty of wear, even though it's not perfect. I just love the shape and feel of it.

Wiksten tanks
I have several of these now and all get worn to death.

'A Day in the park' bag
Such a satisfying project and such a useful bag.

Next up I'm hoping to outline my ideas and challenges for 2014. After I finish my latest sewing project of course :-)

Friday, January 3, 2014

Ruffle top - Happy Homemade Kids Vol 2

Hello and happy new year! I'm hoping to do a bit of a review of the past years craft, but in the meantime I wanted to try to get through the backlog of things that I have made but haven't blogged...

This sweet little top, made for my little girl (middle child) is another pattern from my copy of the Japanese pattern book Happy Homemade Kids Vol 2. It's the third pattern I've made from this book (others here and here) and I do like the style of the book, though I think you need a reasonable amount of sewing experience to use it as the descriptions are brief and assume a certain amount of knowledge.

My girl chose the fabric herself on a trip to Spotlight with me and her sister. I had to have a little laugh to myself at how reflective of their personalities both my girls choices of fabric were :-) This little firecracker of a kid chose this unusual bright teal coloured fabric shot with silver metallic threads, while her sister chose a sedate floral cotton :-).

It was a strange fabric to sew with as when it was ironed the metallic threads sort of kink with the heat then need to be straightened out again. It behaved unpredictably but ended up quite sweet and full of personality... hmm!

I'm considering adding another tier to the top though as it's a bit short, but she loves it. And I'm strangely looking forward to seeing what her next choice of fabric will be...
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