Sunday, April 24, 2016

Named Astrid Wrap Shorts - Pattern Test

I absolutely love the new collection from Named called Royals.  I was lucky to have the opportunity to test the Astrid Wrap Shorts, which is a two in one pattern of either shorts or full length wide legged pants.

Here are the versions on the Named site:

The pattern was clear and easy to follow.  The only tricky part was ensuring the place where the wrap starts is nice and neat.

I made my version out of some cream herringbone linen I bought in Tessuti Melbourne several years ago:

Not sure what my face is doing here...
And here is the front:


and side, where the tie is:

I love these shorts.  I am not sure the plain linen is the best fabric to use for visual impact, but they are super comfortable and a good weight for Sydney.

I did have a sizing issue in that they turned out quite a bit larger than expected, which means I need to pull the tie tighter and makes it look messy.  As this was a pattern test I would not take this as necessarily true of the released pattern, and I will confess that I haven't checked the final release to see if the sizing is different.

I would like to make these again in a lighter weight fabric in the pants version - again I think they will be great for Sydney winter.  I will definitely also be getting some of the other patterns from this collection - lots of lovely designs!

Ciao for now!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Zircon Sweater / Dress - Paprika Patterns (pattern test)

I was very happy to pattern test the Zircon Sweater/Dress a while back (I never got around to blogging it after the release).  This pattern is super cool!  The distinctive yoke and side cut outs are pretty unique and a great excuse to experiment with colour blocking or different fabrics or textures.

(image from Paprika Patterns website)
I decided to make the sweater version in a weird synthetic mock fair isle fabric I got from years ago and had never used. It's hard to see in the pictures but it has kind of little hearts on it.  I think it wasn't quite the right knit for this - the yoke lends itself to more stability than this fabric has.

I initially made the version with sleeves.

Sorry for the terrible quality picture
I should note up front that the sleeves have been redrafted to be slimmer since the tester version, which is a much cleaner look I think. I also hadn't hemmed this yet and one of the sleeves is shorter than the other (as I was going to make into a sleeveless version after testing).

I took the odd heart fabric and used the wrong side, rotated by 90 degrees, for the yoke.  It looks much cooler in person - I promise :)

Then I took the sleeves off:

Aaand I like it a lot more.  There seems to be less pulling from the chest (I should have done an FBA) and I still love the yoke even when it's chopped off before the epaulette part.

This photo probably shows the fabric in most detail (it tends to mess with the camera a bit...)

There are lots of lovely tester versions out there also - many people used solid ponte type knit fabrics and colour blocked the yoke, which looks great!  The versions that Lisa from Paprika Patterns has made (here) are also all stupidly lovely.

It's a great summer top - casual, but with some interest from the yoke.  I could see myself making the dress version if I still lived in Tassie or the UK for winter too.

Ciao for now...

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Ultimate Art Organiser Case - Sew Sweetness Patterns (Pattern Test)

Following up from the absolutely awesome Creative Maker Supply Case, Sara at Sew Sweetness released the Ultimate Art Organiser.  It's a similar case to the Creative Maker, but with multiple zipped sections.

This one only comes in the two smaller sizes, as the large one would hold so much stuff it would be ridiculous (and it might just collapse under it's own weight!!).

This testing call was perfectly timed for me to make a special present for a lady who was retiring from my work.  I knew she had always wanted a set of the gorgeous wooden Symfonie circular knitting needles, and this was the perfect case to store them in.

I knew she liked batiks from a trip we made to the Sydney Quilt and Craft show a while back, so I used the leftovers from my mum's quilt and pieced the outside.

There are lots of zip parts and pockets

As well as even more pockets - to hold the cables, stitch markers etc.

I would definitely say this is one of Sara's most tricky patterns.  The triple zip factor is pretty hard to sew, and I did end up hand stitching in a few places as I just couldn't get it neat.  I would also recommend NOT using metal zips - it just makes your life harder!  I had no choice because Spotlight is a truly terrible shop and never has a consistent stock that you can rely on...

However, despite my supply tribulations, I loved the end result on this one and the recipient was so very happy with her gift that it made it very worthwhile!

Ciao for now...

Friday, February 26, 2016

Shorter version of Birkin Flares

I was a second round tester for the Birkin Flares from Baste and Gather and loved them.  Being in Oz, I wanted a pair which I could wear now without expiring from heat stroke.  This is where I ended up:

They look horribly creased here, but they actually don't look that way as much in person.  They are made from a dark grey/black coated denim from Tessuti, of which there was only just enough left to eek out these shorts-cum-culottes.

I made my first Birkins slightly too lose in the waist / hip (due to fear of them being too tight...) and was determined not to made that mistake again and seriously pulled these in across the hips etc.  Not sure if it was too much or whether they are slightly too tight - though they are very comfortable.

The pulling just under the seat here might mean they are a bit tight?  I don't know...I fiddled with the a lot to reduce that and am pretty happy anyway.

I did want to make these wider legged but it really really didn't suit the fabric.  I think perhaps in a thicker denim (this is quite thin, but coated, so it creases annoying...) that might work?  All I really did in the end was reduce some of the adjustments to make them larger in the waist area, then cut them off under the knee and try and straighten out the more curvy line of the original Birkin leg.

I like them, wear them a fair bit and don't think I am done with this pattern yet!

Ciao for now...

I really must work out how to get some better pictures of these!!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Sewaholic Oakridge Blouse (Craftsy kit)

I will confess to having bought a fair few kits from places like Craftsy and Style Arc, where you get the pattern as well as sufficient fabric to make the item.  I like this approach in theory, as I always tend to overbuy fabric and end up with just enough leftover to make me reluctant to throw it away, but not enough to make anything out of it.  In practice, I haven't actually made a lot of these kits into clothes, so it's often just more in the stash.  Oops :)

This one is a the Sewaholic Oakridge with some Cotton and Steel rayon fabric (here - for as long as it's available I guess).  I modified the pattern to be sleeveless - because I live in Sydney and sleeves aren't needed for most of the year.

I did an FBA and also lengthened the blouse by a fair bit.  I think it's actually too long now, as I can only wear it with certain skirts / trousers without it looking odd.  I do wear it tucked in a lot for work, but haven't got a picture of that.

I made this while I was back in Tassie for Christmas.  My parents are moving back to the UK and my mother pulled out the antique button stash and gave me whatever I wanted to take - which was awesome!  She had these gorgeous buttons, which is what I ended up using on the blouse and which look great!

I love this blouse.  It's cool (both literally and figuratively), easy to wear and dress up or down and I feel very comfortable in it.

I plan to make another of these very soon - so might try and get better pictures of that one, as well as making it slightly shorter to increase the wearability!

Ciao for now...

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Creative Maker Supply Case - Sew Sweetness patterns (Pattern Test)

I could have sworn I blogged this already - but apparently not!

I was lucky enough to be a pattern tester for the Creative Maker Supply Case from Sew Sweetness patterns.  It's probably no secret that I love Sara's patterns, and this one was no exception.

I would say this would be advanced-beginner and up, in skill terms.  There are a few fiddly bits with the zip and you need to go carefully and slowly to make it work nicely.

The pattern is intended to hold some art-y type supplies and comes in three sizes, as shown on the pattern cover:

We were just gearing up to head overseas when the pattern came out, so I decided to go off piste and make these into lego travel kits for the kids.  I used super cool echino fabrics for the outside:

and inside, there was a mixture of things to do:

The mesh pouch was great for holding the instructions and plastic bags which come inside the box of lego.  I was able to put two of the smaller kits into these, along with a colouring book and their tablets - amazing amount of activity stuff for one case!

Instead of going all the pencil slots, I designed a place for a lego matt and some people to be stored on the right, so they could open this up on the plane tray table and build the lego onto the mat.  Worked a treat!

For Isabelle's lego, I experimented with a see-through vinyl pouch to hold the lego pieces while you work.  She likes the Lego Friends range, which comes with a variety of extremely small pieces, like hair bows or carrots...

I am not sure how successful the pouch was.  It looks a bit messy, and could probably have done with a zip or something to close it.  Having said that, none of the lego escaped, so perhaps it was a success!

I really enjoyed making these and the kids were blown away.  I kept them as a surprise and they were a very welcome distraction on the second loooong flight between Australia and the UK :)

Ciao for now...

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Birkin Flares! Pattern test :)

I was recently very lucky to be chosen to be one of the testers for Baste and Gather’s Birkin Flares!  I was very excited to be chosen, as I have been waiting (as many have) for the reign of the skinny jean to end, so I could re-embrace the boot cut and the flare J

The Birkin Flares were released this week, and I can safely say that so far, I haven’t seen an unflattering version.  The tester group had all sorts of body types accounted for and everyone looks smoking in these!  Here are my version:

I made these in a fairly firm denim from Lincraft, with some stretch.  I used orange top stitching thread and went the whole hog with rivets, proper jeans hardware, and leather tag (these are all part of the pattern detailing).

For my version I lengthened them considerably – both for additional leg length (I am 6 foot tall), but also to create a deeper hem at the bottom, which feels more retro.  I actually wish I had made it even deeper.  I also did a large waist adjustment (there isn’t a nice way to say that one…) following the tutorial on Colette Patterns blog.

The instructions were clear and there are plenty of helpful diagrams to assist.  I know a lot of feedback went into these, so the pattern has had a lot of refinement and the few issues I encountered have been addressed, so I won’t go into that here.  I do have an issue with the fit – mostly because I didn’t trust my first try on (they felt very tight and stiff) and made them slightly looser than they should be.  Stretch jeans needs to be pretty damn firm when you first put them on, as they will relax over time.  These pictures are mostly after 2-3 wearings, so they have relaxed significantly, but I still think the fit is pretty good.

I really love these all up.  I already wore them to a dinner out, my husband’s Christmas party and a BBQ, some dressed up and others much more relaxed.  I feel like flares with heels and a slinky top is totally the epitome of chic, while with sandals and a t-shirt they are the essence of relaxed.   Awesome.

Plus – this fulfils my resolution to make jeans!  I did have some ginger aspirations, but have put them on to the wait list until my cone mills denim order arrives (yay, yay and thrice yay!).  Meanwhile I have some grey coated denim from Tessuti which might need to become a wide legged cropped culottes version of the Birkin – all in favour say aye!

All up – great pattern, very helpfully written with additional tutorials and options.  A much quicker sew than I expected and also easier to achieve what I think is a fully RTW output!  There are also tips on distressing if you want to step it up to designer – I am still considering whether I do that to this pair or seek out some lighter denim…

Ciao for now!