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.
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