Friday, May 6, 2016

I Made A Skirt

I am quickly becoming a fan of Style Arc patterns. I buy printed patterns from their website (because I hate joining seven million pieces of print your own A4 together) and they arrive in about five days from Australia. Style Arc is pretty generous because you always get a free pattern with your order. I received the Allison Skirt pattern as a freebie at some stage and I filed it away as it is for stretch fabric and "I can't sew stretch fabric." But after my success with the sweatshirts, I thought the time was right to give it a go.

I had been to The Fabric Shop in Otara for sweatshirt material and they had a whole table of Ponte de Roma which google tells me is a Polyester and Rayon mix. It is a nice weight. I was going to be lazy and whip up a simple A-line but found the Allison Skirt pattern on the shelf.

It has two inverted pleats inn the front and the back. I had not ever made pleats their way before - I guess it takes the excess fabric from around the stomach area. I followed the pictures/diagrams and it worked out. I used masking tape to make the top stitching lines.





I will probably make another one. My fave black and white 'school' skirt I made a couple of winters ago has faded and The Fabric Shop has some cool black and white ponte prints.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

I Made a [Pineapple] Quilt

I am going to call it Hala Kahiki because that's Hawaiian for pineapple.

Last March I made a small pineapple quilt - can you call it a quilt if it only measures 23 x 30cm? Anyway, it hangs on the wall in the lounge. Since then I have been wanting to make a big one. Our Monday Modern Ugly Brown challenge provided the opportunity. Poor old brown has a bad rep. When quilts with brown in them get shared, often the comment 'that's a nice brown' is made - like all browns are ugly. So someone came up with the idea of Monday Modern Ugly Brown challenge. Liz and her daughter went Spotlight shopping for some ugly brown and we were challenged with using our eighth in something quilted.


I used a 100% wool batting and hand quilted it. I used diagonal 3" crosshatch for the pineapple and tied where the lines intersected because you know how pineapples aren't smooth skinned. I did lines 1.5" apart on the leaves. And 3" regular crosshatching on the brown.
 





I found this island-style backing at The Fabric Store in Otara. It is a nice deep brown and appropriately island-ish for a pineapple quilt.


Being wool and hand quilted, this quilt is super snuggly.

Original quilt - Sassafras Lane Designs.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

I Made Another Sweatshirt

Well, I made two.

My cousin Kelly said nice things about my grey and pink one so I made her one. Too bad if she was just being polite. I had enough fabric left over from my first, so it didn't cost me anything really. I made the sleeves shorter and cut the neck a bit scoopier at the front. In this pic it is still waiting its twin stitching which I think will make it sit a bit better especially around the bands.


Then I made myself second. This time from black merino and some flowery chiffon-like fabric both from The Fabric Shop in Otara. I went for a medium weight merino since I am not expert in sewing stretch fabrics. It was pretty easy to handle. The chiffon-like fabric was super shifty and frayey - just made up that word.


I am quite pleased with my efforts. I can see how an overlocker would speed up construction. I do have one of the school ones at home - because it doesn't get used at school. I might have to teach myself via youtube how to use it. Just the threading up puts me off - it looks very complicated.

(Pattern - McCall's 6992)

Friday, April 29, 2016

I Made a Sweatshirt

Way back at Easter, I found a really nice sweatshirt with a chiffon-like front panel that didn't come in my size so I visited Pattern Postie to find a pattern. McCall's 6992 looked about right. This morning I visited The Fabric Shop in Otara for some fabric for my first go.

I bought a merino/poly mix for a big $8 per metre and some chiffon-like flowers for the front panel. I didn't want to spend a lot of money in case it all turned to custard.



Attaching the cuff. Easy.


The neck band was a little bit more challenging because it required a bit more stretching of the band and I was worried about the 'gathers' in the flowery fabric.


At this point I tried it on and discovered the sleeves were waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too long!


Everything else about the fit is ok. Just those sleeves.


I have never made a sweatshirt before and have only ever used stretch fabric in very basic slightly A-line skirts that just pull up! I consulted the internet for some advice on how sewing stretch fabric on a sewing machine. I bought ball point needles and used the triple straight stitch for the seams. I also zigzagged the seams to 'finish' them. I could tidy it up even further by using a twin needle - I need to learn more about how to do that first. I am quite pleased with this first effort. It will be worn.

Since I was feeling a bit confident about my new found ability to sew stretch fabrics, I decided to cut out half of Style Arc's Allison Skirt from some navy blue ponti I got this morning ($12 per metre). The pattern had been a freebie in a previous Style Arc order. Just half the skirt because when I bought the fabric I was going to do my usual budget A-line skirt. So tomorrow morning I will be heading back to Otara for another .7 of ponti to finish my skirt. They have a great selection at the moment - all between $12 - $18 per metre.


I did finish a quilt last night too. Story to come.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

My Favourite (so far) Mary Shift Dress

I love shopping at Magazine Clothing, and saw a nice dress online recently which featured a panel of contrasting fabric on the front while the sleeves, hem and back were in another fabric. It was priced around $300. I thought, I can make that so pulled out the Mary Shift Dress pattern one more time this summer.


I have had the flower fabric for a couple of years and took it back to The Fabric Shop in Otara to find some green fabric. The flower fabric feels like a super soft cotton - maybe it's a rayon? And the green is a bit heavier and is lovely. It has a bit of a sheen to it. No idea what type of fabric it is - I will check that out when I next visit. I do remember it was only $8 per metre and it came in about 10 colours.

I think it's my best choice of fabric so far because it hangs nicely.


Originally the back was going to be green - I had it all cut out when I noticed a couple of marks that I must have got on it after cutting it out. I washed it and they didn't move. I didn't have any green fabric left but enought of the flowers, so the back ended up in flowers too.


Sadly, the dress did not bring me any or this pretty little horse any luck at the races. Next time.


Sunday, March 6, 2016

Nameless Quilt with Curves

I was inspired to make start this quilt after seeing a picture on instagram which lead me right to Kathy York's tutorials on how she made it - scroll down to 'The Making of One Earth'. I was very keen to use teal and mustard for some reason.



My first block above turned out ultra-wonky. I think I flipped some of the curves. This one ended up in the bin.


The solids are all from Spotlight. The yellow/gold isn't as mustard as I was really looking for but sometimes when you want to sew you want to sew and don't want to wait days or weeks for an online order. I bought just half a metre of the gold and maroon, and a metre of the teal. Because I rejected my first block, I didn't have any gold left for the re-make block, so it's perhaps a bit darker than I would like. Originally, I pulled a white with black spot for the fourth fabric but had a sudden brainwave to test the leftovers from a dress I had just finished and really, really liked the look of that. Not sure how practical it is to have silk in a quilt ... guess I will find out.

I have since added a 30cm-ish border of the black yarn dyed linen. (I bought 3 metres of it and I don't have a lot left.) Since then it's sat folded up on the footstool in the lounge waiting to be basted. I plan to hand quilt it using a perle-type thread following - kind of - the circles.

I am yet to settle on a name for this one - I quite like aamio (v. to orbit, go round) or whetuu maarama (n. planet). Think I am leaning towards the first idea.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Sewing with Stylearc Patterns

I am enjoying clothes sewing lately. I think it's an example of success making me feel more confident with what I am doing.

I have made a blue cotton Courtney Top which I wore to school one day last week. I did some top stitching on this one.



After enjoying that process and the outcome, I sent away for the Mary Shift Dress pattern and visited The Fabric Shop outlet in Otara. I haven't ever used a border print fabric before. Not sure what the rules are, but I cut this dark grey dress across the width of the fabric.



That version went well, so I made a second version out of some silk I bought at The Fabric Store in Newton Rd. They were having a sale last weekend. This is the fabric I referred to in an earlier post - I wondered if I would look a bit like a tablecloth wearing this big of a check! Anyway, this time I made the sleeves in a contrasting black fabric as per the pattern. I quite like that effect. I also added one pocket - not sure I love that look.



I am feeling quite pleased with both these efforts. I have one more dress length of fabric and one more top length. I will probably make another Courtney Top and maybe try out a Toni Designer Dress - a pattern I bought a year or so ago and haven't ever used!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Making a Top

This long weekend I whipped up a Courtney Top by Style Arc, an Australian pattern company.

The upside from buying just across the Tasman is the exchange rate and reasonable postage. The downside from buying not local is having to wait a week for the pattern to arrive. In anticipation of its arrival, I visited The Fabric Store and purchased some black and 'beige' gingham style silk. It was on sale. It comes in a bigger check, but I thought I might look like a tablecloth wearing that big of a check. I sometimes wonder about that when I wear my navy checked top already!


Silk was maybe a little bit ambitious for a mere medium skilled sewer. It  frays like mad and I found it challenging to do the tiny bottom hem.


However, in saying that it was a pretty straightforward sew. I handsewed down the inside of the neck binding because I dislike fiddly machine sewing.
 

My favourite part, after the bias neck binding, is the little bit of gathering under the back yoke.


When I make my next one, I am going to lengthen it. I like the length of the back, but the front is maybe 5 cm shorter which I feel is too short for me.

I have spent too much of today doing school work, so I am now returning to sewing the flowers onto my Garden Party WIP.