Friday, November 21, 2014

Chambray Bluegingerdoll Betsy Skirt

I recently (ish) won a blog giveaway (on Sew Mama Sew) for the Bluegingerdoll Betsy skirt.

Here is the lovely picture from the site itself:

http://bluegingerdoll.com/collections/all-products/products/the-betsy-pencil-skirt-paper-pattern

I won the paper pattern which was exciting for me as I have been mainly buying PDFs recently (instant gratification...).  The patterns are in a lovely envelope with the little string closure and there is a good amount of room in the envelope for my traced pattern pieces (important details!).

I made View A, as those button belt-loops look great.



I love it!  I think the shape is flattering and I (mostly) love how it looks in the chambray.  Being able to add a belt really helps with a smarter look and feel.  My one issue is how little recovery this fabric has - the creases you can see here are just from me sitting down in the skirt to put on my shoes to go outside and take these pictures.  I had literally just put this on and it's already pretty creased!  I haven't done a whole day in it yet but I suspect it won't be a super smart effect.  I guess I should make another in something less creasey! :)

All up this was pretty simple to make.  I had one stumble where the cutting instructions specified two waistband pieces and interfacing when in fact they meant one.  I spent a while puzzling how I missed the step to put them together!  Luckily Abby from Bluegingerdoll is amazingly responsive - I sent a message asking where I was going wrong and she set me straight!  Awesome service :)

Not so keen on my posture in this one!
Definitely looks better with a belt...

I wanted this to sit a little below my natural waist (which is insanely high, not that you can see it in these pictures) as I am playing around with which silhouette is most flattering.  I think this is actually quite flattering for me, though the above picture doesn't really do it justice!  Look at the top one instead!  If you look at where it sits on the pattern picture at the top, this is a fair bit lower.  That meant I had to adjust things a bit to make the waist area come in less sharply (it's a pattern designed to highlight the curves).  I then of course cocked up the waistband and had to add a bit on each side to make it fit (argh!).  Totally my bad in redrafting rather anything to do with the pattern.



Speaking of the pattern, I felt the instructions were spot on - the right level of detail without being too verbose.  I liked that she links off to a web tutorial on the invisible zip instead of reproducing it in place also.  My only annoyance (aside from the incorrect cutting instruction) is the "finish the seam however you prefer".  It's a small thing but I feel like pattern makers should always say how they prefer to do it, or link to a discussion of why to use particular finishes in particular places.  I have a feeling this annoys me more than most people, who know they want to always serge or french particular seams anyway.  I just think there is always a good reason to use seam A rather than B (reducing bulk, additional strength in a high wear area etc) and I want them to guide me on achieving the best finish.


I used a turned and stitched (also called a clean finish) seam on the side seams of this skirt.  I like how the finish looks, and while the chambray is lightweight enough to deal with the additional bulk of the seam, it was also quite prone to fraying (I was surprised) so this worked well.  It also gave two lines of stitching on either side of the seam which adds a kind of jeans-y look which goes nicely with the chambray.

All up this is a great pattern and I plan to make several more - so glad I won it!



Thursday, October 23, 2014

Sleeveless Archer (sort of!)

Some time ago (like yonks!), Grainline released the Archer shirt.  Like many others, I enthusiastically bought the pattern, traced it out and set about making one.

Not very long into the process I realised that I didn't have enough of my chosen fabric for sleeves :( Given I was living in the middle of a Tasmanian winter, I put it away and got on with other (warmer) things.

Now I live in Sydney, with a personal mission to finish some shit off (smaller house, more visible WIPs pile, slightly sarcastic husband...). So I got on with sewing a sleeveless version - here it is:


I like it.  I would make it again in a slightly more drapey fabric though to be honest, it's now what I would classify as a "sort-of" Archer.  I had to seriously modify this to get a fit I liked (more on that below) which I should say is less to do with the pattern and more to do with me, my body and my approach and my preferred fit.


I like it less tucked in:

The look on my face here says it all...

I don't think the fabric is drapey enough and the fit isn't yet perfect enough to be flattering (the shape and cut of the skirt probably isn't that helpful here either).


Here it is in on Jesse, mostly to prove I am using her :)  I had to do some serious bra-stuffing to get something like my measurements, and she is actually slightly fuller than I am at a couple of places, but I thought that was better than slightly less full, which was the alternative.  I didn't seem to quite get it in between.


I put the pocket on the cross grain, to avoid having to do any stripey matching


So I think it looks quite good, but the journey to that point was somewhat of a marathon.  As I cut this out a long time ago, it was back in the day where I thought cutting the size matching the ample bossom then adjusting everything else was the right plan of attack.  This is how I started after sewing the first seams:



The pictures aren't terribly clear, but the thing was enoooooormous.  The pattern is intended to be loose fitting, so combined with me cutting for my largest measurement rather than perhaps the most common size with an FBA, it was mucho grande.


Even after adding some bust darts (which aren't in the pattern), there were still inches of spare space at the armhole.


I added significant bust darts, took inches from both the front and back at the sides.  I also shaped the sides to come in towards my natural waist and then back out over the hips.  I bound the armholes and the hem, instead of turning it up and stitching.  It felt like it would be too short if I turned and stitched as the instructions suggest, plus this matches the armhole treatment which felt appropriate.

Overall I like the result, but I question whether to make it again following this method.  I *should* cut a smaller size and then do an FBA for the ladies, plus perhaps some additional shoulder room. However, this shirt is supposed to be loose fitting, and I am not sure that's actually what I want and is flattering. I might want to try something with princess seams instead. 

I guess I will think on it while I carry on with the pile!



Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Guest posting at Sew Sweetness for Purse Palooza!

Am super super super excited to be guest posting today over at Sew Sweetness as part of the third annual Purse Palooza!

Go see what I made :) and don't forget to check out all the other great bag reviews in the series too!


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Mermaid Costume for Book Week

Yes I know, Book Week was a while ago.  I am not really keeping up with things so much at the moment, but then I did move state, house and job in July...I think I get to be a bit slack!

Someone at my old work in Tassie gave me this amazing dress.  It was a strapless (with boning), shiny turquoise number, with a ruffly frill thing down the side of the skirt.  Apparently, she used to wear it back in the day :)

I have had it in the dress up box for ages (that's why she gave it to me...!) but it falls off Issy still, so we decided to make it into a book week costume instead.

Another crappy phone picture is below:



I loved making this.  As I unpicked the dress I realised it was handmade (because why wouldn't you pour your hard earned time into such a shiny, itchy and ravelly fabric?).  It was really interesting seeing the boning and how it was constructed.

I hacked it in half, left the skirt fairly unchanged (except to make it fit) and then made the top a lot smaller and put shirring on the back to ensure it would stay up via the magic of negative ease...All that was left was to franken-graft the tail from another dress up thing onto it and we had a mermaid!

Fun times :)

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Y Do I Do It quilt (or my favourite quilt EVER!)

This one was actually finished quite a while ago, but then we moved and I forgot to blog for about 6 weeks or more, and I forgot I never shared this.

This is my new most favouritest quilt EVER:




Excuse the terrible phone photos, I was feeling very very lazy...

It's called Y Do I Do It (because it is sewn with Y seams) and it was a class at Patchworks in Hobart.  The quilt is the brainchild of my sewing "mom", Jill Griffin who runs Patchworks and it's super awesome.  The blocks are actually sewn as the Y shape, which was at first fiddly but super super satisfying once you got the hang of it!

The pattern for the class was on a slightly smaller scale than mine is, and was designed to be made out of print fabric, but grouped into three sets (light, medium and dark) to achieve the 3-D effect.  Some class participants used different colours, some used prints which were the same colour but split into the three shades, and I used only three, solid fabrics (mostly Kona and in greyish mushroomy shades)  What was amazing was how different they all turned out!  Sadly I only have pictures of mine...but that's OK because I LOOOOOVE it.

Despite starting to make quilts in 2003, this is only the second quilt for our bed.  I guess between making them for other people, the kids, sewing clothes, knitting and crochet, there just hasn't been time!  Having moved somewhere warmer I think we really need them - so we can have a flat sheet and just a quilt to pull up if it's a bit chilly, rather than the full on duvet and so forth.  Maybe I will make us another before 10 more years passes :)

The only other quilt I made for us is shown below.  I still love that also :)


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Rockstar Bag Pattern Test! (and I'm BACK!)

It's been a while!  In between this post and the last I have moved house to another state, enrolled the kids in school and childcare, found and started a new job and (mostly) sorted out the new house!

I have also been sneakily sewing...


This is the Rockstar Bag - the new pattern from the lovely Sara Lawson at Sew Sweetness.  I was super lucky to get picked as a pattern tester for this one, and it's frankly my most favouritest bag ever!

I used fabrics from my stash - mostly this super funky Echino large scale polka dot.  The colour looks pretty true here, perhaps a little bit more mustardy in real life?

This bag pattern is (as ever...) awesome!  There are tons of details and the result is super professional.  As ever, I totally cocked one bit of it up (the sizing of the main panels) but not so significantly that the end result isn't great.  I think if you make this according to instructions at appropriate scale, it would be about 1 inch wider.  C'est la vie...


Another thing I stupidly did was picked up the incorrect set of D-Rings for the third strap attachments on the side.  As you can see, the front has nicely sized D-rings attaching the straps, but here I used a rivet instead of the ridiculously large set I managed to buy in place of the smaller ones when I was vagueing out in Spotlight.  I think it looks pretty cool anyway, and if I had done the rivets on the slanted flap on the front of the bag it would have tied in nicely.



I used this bag today at work and it was a great size.  I found the shoulder strap good, the other handles a good length and I just love how it looks.

Happy days :)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Moving house...

And job and state and kids schools and childcare and LIFE!

We are packing up and heading to Sydney - which is, if nothing else, a whole lot warmer than Tassie!


While this looks very organised, the disturbing back story is how many other tubs there are...

I would like to say this is a surprise, but to be very honest the first thing I thought of when we realised we would be moving house, likely to somewhere rather smaller, was what on earth I might do with The Stash of Doom!  Time to be a bit more disciplined about sewing up my stash only (mostly) I think!!!

Anyway - this blog might be quiet for a good few weeks while I move everything and everyone, get settled and get some internet action cranking in the new digs.  Happily for me, yarn club will still be sending me projects of awesomeness (poas, as they will now be known...), so hopefully I can at least keep up with some rather more portable knitting.

See you on the sunny side!