Monday, December 16, 2013

The conversation that started with, "You know how you are a good sewer..."

About a month ago a friend contacted me and the conversation started with her words, " You know how you are a good sewer," and ended with me bombarding her lots with of links to pattern ideas and fabric suggestions.

The brief was to make matching dresses for her two girls for Christmas. The selection was a simple peasant dress design with applique embroidery. The choice came down to two options, and her daughter selected the one with the reindeer face. 

It has been a while since I had used my machine for embroidery. I think we both enjoyed the workout. K has already put in his own order for a reindeer embroidery but with trees, presents and candy canes!

I added my own fabric flower which I think adds a lovely touch to the top. Here are the details:
Dress 1 - Libby Lu Peasant dress pattern (comes with a number of variations), size 5
Machine applique embroidery from Planet Applique.
Fabric from Spotlight including the Christmas fabric used in the flower.
Button from stash. 

Dress 2 - Miss Madeline peasant dress pattern, size 00
Machine applique embroidery from Planet Applique.
Fabric from Spotlight including the Christmas chevron fabric. Button from stash.
Machine applique embroidery from Planet Applique. 

Sorry the photos were a bit rushed. I had a four year-old trying to photo-bomb the pics and a lunch date to get to so I could hand these over.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Back from retreat

I'm just back from my first craft retreat in five years.....I had forgotten how relaxing it is to immerse oneself in a hobby WITHOUT a single interruption except for food and chat. Being with a bunch of women there was also no toilet roll running out and the toilet seat was always down.  When I woke up I felt like I had been in a deep sleep for hours, thinking it was mid-morning when it was 7am, and delighted in being able to eat without a child on my lap and the bed totally and absolutely all to myself. All meals were cooked for me and there was no washing up.  Ahhhhh bliss. 

The good thing about the retreat was that it was open to any form of crafter. There was a mixture of scrapbookers, knitters, a sewist, crocheters and card makers. A friend of mine from school invited me when she found out I was a scrapbooker of the past so I dug out my supplies and made a few special purchases (like ink and washi tape).  I have found that I love ink and I love washi tape even more. Scrapbookers will notice that my layouts feature alot of the older Basic Grey and Kaiser Craft. Like I said, five years since my last retreat and about four years since I last scrapbooked.

Being that I hadn't scrapped in such a long time, I enjoyed playing around again with paper and glue. It  has been a long time. Here are the end efforts of my weekend.  Apologies for the poor photos but this is just a quick show and tell. 










PS: I do feel like I have somehow betrayed my sewing machine but I'm sure all will be quickly forgiven.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Time for trees

The line-up for Spring by the design Maiocchi is just gorgeous. When I saw this top and skirt combination it reminded me of the latest release of fabrics by Cloud 9. A simple a-line skirt and stretch top with bow detail  is simple, yet stand-out, in the execution. This is a look that would be so simple to recreate. 

Time for trees

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Merino knit is not my friend - StyleArc Laura Cardigan

Now I absolutely understand why merino knit long cardigans are priced at $100+! There is a far bit of fabric!

The fabric is lovely, soft and gorgeous, and easy to sew but for a perfectionist like me it is awful to unpick.
I just hope that this cardigan doesn't develop a few holes around the stitching lines over time where I have unpicked and resewed.

I love the drape and feel of this cardigan and it was quite easy to sew. But for some reason I found a few parts tricky but I'm sure it will be better next time!

Here's the review, which can also be found on Sewing Pattern Review

Pattern Description: Laura Knit Shawl Collar Cardi

Pattern Sizing: I made the size 1. I am normally a size 12 but have narrow shoulders and this was the perfect sizing for me. The sleeves are long in length though and I wore them folded back.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, although at first I didn't realise that the wrong side of the hood and shawl would be showing and that there was a seam down the hood as this is not depicted in  the line drawing.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, although I did email Style Arc to check my assumptions about the hood and shawl collar. 

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? It is an easy sew with only three pieces. I did find sewing the collar to the back neck a bit tricky whereas it shouldn't be. Not sure why and it didn't end up being the neatest of sewing (but no-one should ever see!). When I was cutting I was a tad worried that I wouldn't have enough fabric but I've found with Style Arc they are pretty spot on with their fabric estimates. I could afford to take a couple of cms off the sleeve length but I prefer to wear it folded back so kept the sleeves long. I love the drape of the cardigan and it is light yet warm and easy to take travelling or to throw on at work. 

Fabric Used: Merino knit from the Fabric Store. Cost AUS $32.00 total.  I have sewn knit fabrics before but not merino knit so I found this to be a new experience. I'm a picky sewing so unpicked in a few places and had trouble with the fabric being so sensitive to unpicking. It is gorgeously soft fabric though. 

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I used a cross between a french seam and a felt felled seam for the hood back seam so I didn't have raw edges/overlocking showing on the outside of the hood.  I also used a three-thread rolled overlocked hem for the edges, including the sleeve hems. The sleeves are quite long and I could afford to trim them back a bit but I'm going to wear it as is and see how it goes.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes I will sew again. At first I had my doubts but my co-worker loved it and I wore it alot on the weekend so I am now in love with it. It would look better though in a bright colour to splash up an outfit. 

Conclusion: A nice casual cardigan also great to throw on for a different look at work rather than a jacket or to carry in a bag 'in case'.  I feel like I need to add a nice soft knitted cowl though! I don't think I'm wearing the cardi as well as I can in the photos and I look a bit angry. I blame being late for work already and rushing to get a few photos so I could blog it....

PS I love my Elk bracelet.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Make this look Carla Zampatti

Carla Zampatti Make this look

Short Dresses - Seafoam Bamboo Sheath
$605 -

I have been constantly tempted by this pattern and found the perfect, stylish designer 'look alike'.  The pattern version has more of a 'cowl' neckline though which I think could be a good thing. I think this pattern really had me at 'make in one hour'!

Note: Pattern not yet purchased despite temptation....

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Make this look - Verily Cowl Neck Dress

I just may have picked up this pattern on the weekend. Vogue patterns were on sale and I couldn't resist!  This pattern was awarded one of the best patterns of 2011 by and has a long list of great reviews. Some versions included added sleeves and a tunic or blouse version.  I think this will be an easy to sew, easy to wear dress and I love the Verily ready-to-wear version in a black and white print. Some style with a belt and a jacket. Another DKNY basic I look forward to adding to my wardrobe.

Make this look - Verily Cowl Neck Dress

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Emaline skirt - sewing for self Part 2

Simplicity 2211 & Emaline skirt
This skirt is one of those where the fabric can really make it "sing". A simple design and construction it is a great classic design that can be dressed up or down. I learnt a lesson though about how to store fabric as this gorgeous linen was washed and then folded for storage (where it sat for about two years *gulp*) and when I unfolded it to cut I found fold lines down either side. I tried vinegar, soaking, ironing with brown paper. While the lines faded a bit, they didn't go away completely. A little line down the back of the skirt I could live with but a line down the front I found 'distracting'. My workaround was to fussy-cut the animals and create a small panel to run down the front.  Nobody ever questions why it is there and I usually get a comment or two about this skirt - it certainly is an original! I purchased the fabric from a local quilting/sewing store at their annual sale. I'd love to pick up more one day (and use it more quickly)!

The blouse is from a Lisette pattern and you can find the details are couple of posts back.


Pattern Description: An innovative redesign of the  popular Emily skirt by Serendipity Studio. A-line easy to sew with three different skirt options with easy to read pattern markings and hand illustrated instructions. This skirt is designed with a small amount of ease that fits just below the waist to be extra comfortable as well as complimentary to every figure. The pattern includes instructions for all variations along with alteration and fitting tips to produce a flattering fit for all sizes and body types. Embellishment options offerred .

Pattern Sizing:XXS - XXL. I made a medium.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes and there are also instructions with photos on Serendipity's website for sewing an invisible zipper. 

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Easy to sew and lots of options

Fabric Used:  Echnio fabric purchased on sale

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: None

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?  Yes I would love to sew it again, perhaps with a better fit (add in a little ease around the hips) as I think it could do with a little extra there.  A great A-line skirt pattern. I will be really using my block from my Voodoo Rabbit skirt drafting class as a guide for future versions to get the fit better to suit my body.


Monday, January 28, 2013

Make this look Monday - French Connection Jacket

Make this look Monday - French Connection Jacket

French connection

Cynthia rowley

Cynthia rowley

Voted one of the Best Patterns in 2011 by, the jacket in this Cynthia Rowley could easily be mistaken for a current season jacket by French Connection (USA).  The jacket is unlined and I love the multi-pocket look although it would require a little patience to sew to get nice smooth and even corners on the pockets. Reviews say it is, "worth the effort". A nice look over a dress.  

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Simplicity 2211 Lisette blouse - welcome back to sewing for self

This is one of those projects that you make a while ago but finally get around to photograph and share. I think I even made this before the Vogue dress blogged earlier last year.

My husband said I was posing like a model when he took the photos LOL! Although I don't think models come with double chins....

A couple of lessons learnt though with the sewing so I'll write them up in the pattern reviews. I'll start with the blouse.

Simplicity 2211 & Emaline SkirtBlouse - Simplicity 2211

Pattern Description: Misses blouse pattern, Simplicity 2211
Lisette Sew your style pattern with short sleeves and fake front placket.

Pattern Sizing: I cut a size 12

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes I think so although my choice of fabric could have been better.

Were the instructions easy to follow? I had no problem at all with the instructions.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I think it is a cute pattern on other people but I don't think it is the right pattern style for me. 

Fabric Used: Quilter's cotton. I wanted a colour to match the skirt and this was the only fabric I could find in Spotlight.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I made quite few. Firstly, a full bust adjustment. I had trouble fitting the neckline and shoulders/back so maybe I should have gone down another size and made a larger FBA. It seemed to fit ok when I made up a muslin, perhaps it was the difference in the drape of the fabric between the muslin and final version. As I had to go with the size 12 I had cut, I put darts in the back neckline to reduce the neck gap. I adjusted for sloping shoulders. The shoulder/sleeve line was also in the wrong position for me so I sewed in little pleats which are hardly noticeable to bring it up further onto the shoulder line (thanks to an online sewing friend Margo for the tip). Please ignore the dodgy sewing....

To show you that sewing for yourself is sometimes a journey, here is the blouse before I adjusted the neckline and shoulders.

I originally extended the length but someone that was lost in translation so after I had worn it a few times I decided to go back and sew on a bottom band as I like that extra length to tuck in. I think adding extra length is a must for this pattern. I also added to the armband (the pattern was a bit tight) like others who have sewn before me.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? No, I won't be sewing this again. It is a cute pattern but I think looks better on a different body shape. A few others like this pattern so have a look through the other pattern reviews before making up your own mind.

Conclusion: Cute style, but not for me.  This was my first attempt at sewing for me after a long break so I think I did ok.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Tie Die Diva Cargo Shorts

Another pair of shorts done and dusted. The Tie Dye Diva cargo shorts pattern is a much slimmer and longer fit than the Burda shorts. Nothing much really that I can say about them except I left off the top tab of the pocket to make it a bit quicker to sew. For the pockets I used some left-over Ben 10 fabric (which is so last year but still loved).  The base fabric is a simple drill from my stash. Being holidays, this pair of shorts is getting regular wear and holding strong!



Thursday, January 10, 2013

Burda boy shorts 9793


I've made Burda shorts 9793 a couple of times so far in my lifetime. It is a great boy short and easy to sew up. I highly recommend it. Some of the pattern reviews say the front pocket is too small but I think it is more for looks than for purpose.

This version uses fabric gifted to me by friends. The red fabric has been my stash for ages, just waiting for the right opportunity.