Alabama Chanin top

Trying to keep myself motivated to sew, I visited Pattern Review and found that that were just about to start a Reverse Appliqué and Quilted Garment Contest.

Back in December 2020 the Australian Sewing Guild held a Zoom workshop on Alabama Chanin and eventhough I had admired multiple garments from Handmade by Carolyn and Maria at Finished Seams this was the first time that I had attempted anything like it.

Sample from the ASG Workshop

My friend Nieves let me borrow her Alabama Chanin books and the only cotton knit I had in the stash was the Cotton Elastine that I purchased with Sandra back in 2014 from Standrad Knits.

Fabric, pattern and book

For the stencil I really like Anna’s Garden and purchased it directly from Alabama Chanin. Off to Officeworks to get it printed, larger than A3 but smaller than A0. The next challenge was what medium I would use for the stencil, and here my sewing friends pointed me in the right direction to Material Obsession where I was able to purchase 4 x 20cm square sheets, that I taped together with clear packing tape and was ready to start.

I often wondered why I had a can of quilt basting spray in my cupboard and now it came in handy as I could spray the paper stencil and then place this on top of the Mylar film and then with a scapel I took my time cutting out all the shapes. This was achieved with 12 x 20 minute sessions so I wouldn’t upset my hand again.

Stencil cut out.

As I only planned to stitch the front of my top, I decided that it wasn’t that large and used an Artline Supereme Permanent Marker – Metallic Colour, 1.0 mm to trace the stencil onto the pumpkin fabric.

Again the basting spray was used for the pumpkin fabric to stick to the stone fabric and then I used some safety pins to keep it all together.

I had already worked out that I was going to use Gutermann Upholstery Thread 169 which I used doubled. I couldn’t help myself and cut out some shapes as soon as I thought it was safe to do so.

This again took about a week to completely stitch out the stencil and cut out the shapes. Then it was sewing the t-shirt together with the overlocker.

The neckline is bound with a 3mm self-fabric binding which is then hand stitched in place, and here is where I found Natalia Chanin’s creative embellishments Craftsy course invaluable as it explained clearly and also provided the templates for the Cretan stitch that I had fallen in love with.

Neckline Cretan stitch

Not much more to show, but here are the final photos.

Front view

At this stage I can’t comment on how the knots on the inside feel as it was only on for photos for the Pattern Review contest and will have to wait for much warmer weather before I get to wear this for any length of time.

I thoroughly enjoyed the making of this garment and will be interested to check out the cotton jersey’s at The Remnant Warehouse when we can visit again.

The Boatneck Top

I am finally wearing my new silk boatneck top that I started in 2018 with Susan Khalje.

Back in 2017 when a group of us were discussing what we would make if Susan made it back to Australia again, I always said it would be the Ann Klein Womens Peacoat V1467.

When we heard that Susan was coming to Australia again in 2018 I realised that my wrist was still not 100% and I didn’t think all the tailoring involved in this project would be a good idea.

Talking to my sewing friends about a suitable project, Wendy mentioned Susan’s new Boatneck top that CissieW had mentioned on a Pattern Review that she had worn when she reviewed Susan’s Skirt.  Once I read the description of the top I emailed Susan and she organised for the pattern to be sent to me to prepare my toile for the class.

Susan made some adjustments to the neck and shoulder and felt that this was the best starting point.

For the class I had purchased some gorgeous burgundy silk from Tessuti Fabrics.

One of the design challenges we had was that I wanted long sleeves but not a zipper down the centre back, but on the left hand side of my top.  This is not an issue if you have short sleeves, but as I wanted long sleeves Susan came up with the use of a placket.

When sewing the left sleeve, I stopped 2″ from the top.  At this stage I basted a strip of silk organza selvedge along the stitching line on one side only.  This then gets folded back so the press studs can be sewn to it.

For the 2nd side a placket is sewn to the seam allowance. 

Then the the clear press studs are sewn in place along both edges.

The sleeve has a large dart at the sleeve head which gives it a beautiful shape.

The neck facing had been sewn, trimmed and pressed and then it was time to trim the neck facing and armhole excess fabric.  I trimmed this on my tailors ham and then basted the neck facing edge and armsyce edges together. When I tried it on there was something not quite right so I undid the basting and got out my shoulder stand and realised that I had trimmed off too much of the neck facing, so the edges weren’t meeting up evenly.  I was only able to stitch 3cm together along that edge, whereas the other side I could stitched 5cm on each side of the shoulder seam together.

I also left the armhole on the shoulder stand to baste the seams together so it was all sitting correctly.

Then it was the small bias binding on the sleeve hems.

Another feature Susan and I had decided on was to put a 7.6 cm (3″) French Bias on the hem of my blouse to give it some weight.  The challenge was that when I measured one of my tops that I have finished, I am 29.5cm on the left hand side and 31 cm on the right hand side.  So I marked these spots on the top’s hem and drew a chalk a line from each spot and then basted this line so I could try it on and get my friends to fine tune it for me during one of our weekends away.

The photo below shows the re-basted (adjusted line) and cutting off the excess fabric.  Now the basted line is the finished edge of the top.  I will need to mark up another 7.6 cm (3″) and baste another line as this is where the French bias will have it’s first stitching.

So to prepare for this next step I have made the bias binding and have it rolled on a toilet roll to stop it from being creased.

During another sewing weekend away the 2nd basting line was sewn in place,

and the bias was machine stitched along the blue basting thread, pressed, the excess fabric was cut away and the bias was folded to the inside to be slip stitched in place.

Thank you Jenny for the sparkles!

A press and I have a new top to wear for winter.

oops forget to pull it down

The photo below shows the picked zip and the underarm gusset when worn.

Now to find time to finish the 2 x Little French Jackets and Couture Skirt.

******************
2019 Stash Out: 3.3 m
2019 Stash In: 3 m

Advent Knitting

Back in 2017 I was seeing Advent Knitting packs being shown all over the internet/instagram and I was intrigued.

So in 2018 I found Dingo Dyeworks, an Australian wool dyer in Perth and Sweet Georgia Yarns in the USA who are only a two of the many of producers of Advent Kits around the world.

I also realised that Ambah O’Brien, (knitwear designer) designed a wrap for the Advent Kits in 2018, so I signed up for Ambah’s Newsletter and fell into the rabbit hole of the Advent boards in her group on Ravelry.

In July Ambah O’Brien opened up a board in her group “ADVENTurer KAL 2018” which shared links to all the Advents Kits that were available and I ended up purchasing two kits –

Dingo Dyeworks

which I emptied out of the box it came in into a nice cane basket I had at home.

Sweet Georgia Yarns

Ambah had also designed the ADVENTurer Scarf & Wrap pattern so I purchased this and decided to use the Dingo Dyeworks kit first.

It was fun to open a box each day, but my knitting wasn’t as quick, but I did manage to cast-on on 1 December and do a few rows.

by 4 December I had only started my Day 2’s colour.

It was interesting to see the new colours each day and I finally finished knitting it on 4 January 2019.

but I didn’t get a chance to block it until 13 January where Katniss decided to help.

Here it is draped along the front fence.

I haven’t had a chance to wear it yet and I am not 100% certain about the colours, only time will tell if it will get worn when the weather cools down.

The Sweet Georgia Advent kit is still waiting for me but first I have a couple of the knitting projects I need to finish.

The 2019 pre-orders for this years kits is up already on Ambah’s page.  I am trying not to look!!

Shorts!

As any reader of this blog will know I have been on the quest for pants that I am happy with the fit for a long, long time.

Well at last I think I am on the right track and made this pair of shorts to see how the fit was so far.

I will share more of the pattern adjustments when I make pants, which I hope will be sometime soon but life is getting in the way of sewing at the moment.

These shorts did start out as the Ellen Woven Shorts by Style Arc but I soon realised that the fabric that I had found in my stash was not going to be drapey enough, so I then changed them to my adjusted pants draft that I made at the Australian Sewing Guild Convention in Melbourne last year.

During this process I also realised these would be for dog walking/working around the yard so the Ellen Woven Shorts pockets were then added.  It looks like I have misaligned one of the pockets as it is pulling/visible at the front leg,

but I’m certain Tomba won’t mind at all.

Here are some very washed out photos of the shorts so you can see the fit better.

I’m pretty sure it is the pocket that is causing the pulling.

My first fabric purchase for the year is 3 metres of brown polyester suiting, as I have decided to take part in the Australian Sewing Guild Pleated Garment Sew-Along I just hope my idea works out!

******************
2019 Stash Out: 3.3 m
2019 Stash In: 3 m

Delicate Nothings

One of the classes I attended at the Australian Sewing Guild Convention in Melbourne last year was a class with Tatyana Anderson, called Silk Camisoles that was a 1/2 day course.

Thankfully Tatyana and her staff had cut out our silk and stablised it so we could get started on the placement of our lace straight away.

At the end of the 1/2 day I did have my lace sewn in place, the side seams french seamed and the elastic pinned in place along one edge of the front armhole.

During a couple of ASG group meetings I worked on this to finish the elastic and also to hand roll the hem,

as I couldn’t get a nice finish by machine and then finished the straps.

This is where it was up to when I found out that Tatyana was holding a 2 day workshop in Sydney.  I jumped at the chance to do this, as we hadn’t really dealt with the initial preparation and cutting out of the silk and this is skill I want to work more on.

During the workshop Tatyana pinned my cream straps in place and I was able to sew these in place during the class as well.

Surprisingly to my fellow attendees I had chosen a black silk with a black and gold lace kit.

We set about laying out our pattern pieces on the silk and cutting it out before we started playing with the lace placement.

Seeing I had made a “v” neck for the cream camisole, Tatyana suggested I make this one a round neck which worked perfectly with my lace.

French seams are used and this time I was successful in getting a lovely machine rolled hem.

I was very pleased to get this finished within the 2 days of the workshop.

******************

Lemon slub knit top with shirt tail hem

This is another version of KS 3740 in a lemon slub knit that was in the stash.

I would also like to introduce you to Katniss our new family member.  This is why Tomba is in nearly every photo as he is busy trying to find out where she is in the hedge.

Now to change up a plain t-shirt I decided to use the downloaded shirt-tail hem extension from Christine Jonson Patterns that I had downloaded sometime last year that has been sitting in my KS3740 pattern folder waiting for me to remember to use it.

So finally I got to play with it.

My t-shirt length is long meaning I usually cut off around 7cm depending on the fabric drape, so I already had some length built into my pattern to play with.

You make your t-shirt as normal until the side seams, so I used the binder on my Coverstitch for the neckband,

and then used the chain stitch on my Coverstitch to baste the side seams together so I could work out the length of my top and the point I wanted the split to occur.

I then machine stitched my side seams, stopping 6cm from the hem, where I pressed open the seam allowances and then had Mark level the front and back hems.

Once this was done, I pressed the hems and then used the shirt-tail hem extension to draw in the shaped hem with a FriXion pen.

Then with some 6mm Steam A Seam I finger pressed this around right at the outside edge the hem allowance,

and then trimmed the fabric back so I only had a 6mm hem allowance.

which I then carefully removed the backing tape from the Steam A Seam and finger pressed the hem in place

so it was ready to be taken over to the Coverstitch to finish the body and sleeve hems.

Front view minus Katniss

Side view

Back view

This is my 2nd piece for SWAP 2019.

******************
2019 Stash Out: 2.3 m
2019 Stash In: 0 m

Multi muted V8572

I thought this blouse was finished a while ago but it was one of those that wasn’t quite right.

The fabric was in my stash and I can’t remember where I purchased it from but the colours in it means I can wear it with navy, brown and olive skirts.

I ended up doing a burn test to work out what it might be and it is pure polyester although I find it quite comfortable to wear in the heat we have been having recently and it drapes well.

I have:

–  put an invisible zip in the left hand side seam

–  a tiny bias neckband, stitched on by machine and then handstitched in place



I wore it a couple of times and it just didn’t look right and finally realised it was too long, only by 1cm but that perfect length was not there. 

So I took the hem up and I thought I had a new top to wear.  Not so!

On my pattern I had noted to shorten the back darts after seeing the pictures of this top, however I also did the same to the front darts (my blog post did say back only) which was a mistake as the top was falling away from my body, not a look that I like.

The top sat around for a few more weeks before I lengthened the front darts into the hem.  I am glad I persisted in getting this right as it has been a great addition to my wardrobe.

*****************
2019 Stash Out: 1.5 m
2019 Stash In: 0 m

2018 in review

was a year of sewing for me, but unfortunately not garment sewing.
As I highlighted last year the renovations we did, meant that the curtains were not going to work with the new colour scheme so I decided to make them for the whole house, 5 windows and 2 very large french doors.
Don’t get me wrong I did manage to do a bit of garment sewing and that is probably why the curtains took 9 months to complete. 

Knitting and jewellery making ended up being my sanity savers.

Hits
  • changing the sleeve length on V8648 made this dress very wearable.
  • another DVF Wrap Dress, has been worn a number of times and I can see it being worn a lot more.
Highlights
  • another 3 classes with Susan Khalje in Sydney
  • winning viewers choice at the Australian Sewing Guild Convention Dinner held in Melbourne in August for my V8648 dress.
Liz Haywood presenting me with her book, “The Dressmakers Companion”.
  • In November I toured Tasmania with 12 other yarn crazy ladies and had a fabulous time.
  • completed the curtains and I’m very happy with them.
Lounge room curtains
Reflections

I’ve realised that I get caught up in too many shiny things and in 2019 I need to be a lot more aware of this and take stock before I jump in.
That is why I still have 2 Little French Jackets, 1 Couture Skirt and 1 Couture Silk Blouse to complete, time is something I struggle with.

I didn’t manage to be effective with my  #MakeNine plans with only 1 garment completed even though I did sew 3 garments (one of them was was V1247 for “#MakeNine), knitted 2 scarfs and made 3 pieces of jewelry.

My stash in and out this year is 6.4 metres out and 18.6 metres added and this includes fabric for the classes with Susan Khalje as well as lycra for the swimwear course I attended earlier this month which are close to being finished and some Dintex for a jacket for Mark and I which if you follow me on IG you would have already seen.

Goals
As mad as it sounds after reading my comments above, I plan on doing SWAP again in 2019 as it will fill my wardrobe with necessary garments in a quick time frame which have either worn out or been stained beyond recovery.

*************************

I’m not sure if blogging is alive or dead these days, but I do like to blog simply for the added information that you can’t share via IG.

I would like to thank everyone who visits and those that comment, I know life is hectic and I myself have been remiss in commenting but plan to get back into reading and commenting on the blogs that I enjoy.

Here is the collage of my makes for 2018.

I do have a few pieces to blog about, so hope to see you soon.

Turbulent Sea DVF Wrap Dress

You know when you purchase your ticket for Frocktails and then it dawns on you, “what am I going to wear”.

Of course I left it to the last minute but with a sewing weekend coming up I decided to make another DVF Wrap Dress with this dry knit that was in the stash.

Thank you James Broadway

Just before all this happened the ladies over at Artisan Square had a Pre-2019 SWAP Dress Challenge that had to include a new fabric or new technique.

As this knit is heavier than my previous DVF dress, I decided to add a waist-stay which is a technique I have never used and I found this very detailed post over at Stitch N Smile.

The next thing I did was to do a gaposis adjustment in the front neckline of 1cm, this has made the front neckline sit much better.

So armed with all my sewing goodies I headed off for a weekend of sewing.

To make the waist-stay I used some navy petersham ribbon I had purchased from Torb and Reiner and a trouser hook and bar.

Then I realised I had to add a buttonhole to the waist-stay as one of the ties for dress has to pass through the side seam,

where I attached the waist-stay to the dress and I had positioned the hook and bar to be offset to be on the other side away from the tie on the outside. 

By the end of the 2nd day of sewing the dress just needed hemming and thankfully Mark was on hand that evening to level off the hem so I could use my coverstich to finish the hems that night.

This dress is getting a lot of wear besides Frocktails and I can see it getting a lot more with summer finally arriving.

This will also be  my first garment for SWAP 2019 as “One garment may be completed by today (28 October 2018) US Time Zone.  

******************
2018 Stash Out: 6.3 m
2018 Stash In: 5.0 m

Copilot cowl

Last year I went to the Bendigo Wool and Sheep Festival and purchased a skein of Dyed By Hand Yarns wool in a colour called  Gorgon’s Head Coral and then found a pattern in Ravelry by Dominique Trad called Copilot.

I started this soon after and not long after I realised I had twisted the stitches when I joined it in the round.  I decided to leave it this way and so far it hasn’t bothered me at all.

It was a good travelling project.

I enjoy wearing it and it is a great pop of colour in this dull winter weather,

and I find it quite comfortable worn doubled-up for extra warmth, particularly when I have my coat on.

One of the things I was hoping to improve with this pattern was my speed with YO, K2TOG in Continental Knitting (there is quite a lot of it) but so far I am still not quite there so will keep working on it.

The best thing about this pattern is that you can keep knitting until you no longer want to play “yarn chicken“, and this is the small amount of yarn I had left, very happy.