Shorts for the man

Every now and then I plan to make a garment for Mark and seeing I had already made him two Strathcona Henely t-shirts and had purchased the Jutland Pants from Thread Theory, I thought a new pair of shorts was in order.

Mark does own a pair of red shorts so I didn’t feel that purchasing this burnt orange would be too much except my sewing buddies keep telling me it is my colour.

I then had some fun finding some manly cotton fabric for the pocket bags, waistband lining and bias binding.

My madness is based on the fact that Mark has a 30″ waist and last year I found it extremely difficult to find pants/trousers in this size and as he prefers not to wear a belt it looks like I could have a new job.

So I cut out a size 30″ and then couldn’t make up my mind if I was going to do patch pockets or welt pockets.

Welt pockets won, but it has been a long time since I have done these and I’m glad his RTW shorts have the bar tacks at the end of the pockets as this has helped cover my overcutting.

Even though I wasn’t completely happy with the welt pockets I decided to still make these as I wasn’t sure that the pattern 30″ waist would be equal to Mark’s real waist.

All seams are flat felled and I have used bias strips for around the edge of the fly.

Again my sewing machine didn’t like the buttonhole so I have again used the tutorial I used for my Jeans.

I found this button in my button jar and think it works perfectly for these shorts.

Mark found the waist to be very comfortable but did comment that these are a slim fit in the legs.  So next time I will add a some extra width in the front leg and see how that goes.

This is at the end of the day.

Now the fabric for these shorts were counted in the 2015 totals, but I attended the Sydney Spoolettes Fabric Destash event last Sunday and donated the green/black mesh knit that you can see at the top left hand of the picture below.  This was purchased during our trip to the USA back in 2011 and now I can only see the black in it so I am very happy it has found a new home.

2016 Stash Out: 2.9 m
2016 Stash In: 15 m

Skiing Henley

The planets have finally aligned and I have been home when Mark has put on his Anniversary gift from September last year.

The modern gift guide for our 14th anniversary suggested Ivory or gold jewellery and seeing he doesn’t wear any jewellery I put my thinking cap on regarding Ivory.  Luckily I remembered that I had some Ivory Bamboo Interlock purchased in 2009 from The Bamboo Fabric Store in my stash which would work perfectly for another Strathcona Henley, maybe the t-shirt with short sleeves this time.

My next quandary was how to make it not so plain and then remembered Mark had a purchased t-shirt from Japan back in 2005 which was looking very sad, but had a tone-on-tone embroidered skier on it.

Now how to do this as I don’t have an embroidery machine, but this is where talking to your sewing buddies is great, Alison volunteered to do this for me.

So I headed over to Great Designs and purchased a skier design for Alison to use on her machine.  It took Alison a few test runs with different threads to get the skier to look like I had imagined, and we ended up using Mettler No 703.

The only adjustment I made to the pattern was to lower the front neckline by 2cm.

And to make the t-shirt look more RTW I dug out some white twill tape and stitched it around the back neckline like Mark’s RTW t-shirts.

Mark is very pleased with this t-shirt, it has had a lot of wears already.

2015 Stash Out: 25.55 m
2015 Stash In: 32.8 m

Tessuti Kate Top

Over at Pattern Review there has been a contest for New to Me Patterns for the month of December.

New to Me Pattern Company Contest

Around the same time Tessuti launched their new pattern – The Kate Top.

I’ve never used a Tessuti pattern before and this one appealed to me as a suitable top for both work and casual tops for my wardrobe.

I decided to make an XS and View A but first up in a toile only doing the following adjustments to the pattern:

–  Front neckline gaposis of 1cm
–  Back neckline gaposis of 1cm
–  Sway back adjustment of 1.5cm

I took this to my ASG meeting to see if the girls could help me get a better fit as I found it unflattering on my figure.

I don’t like the pregnant look.

So I added the following adjustments:

–  raised the shoulder by 1cm at the neck edge to 0.5cm at the shoulder.
–  high round back of 1cm
–  took out a dead dart vertically below the bust apex 1cm at the hem line to noting at the bust which removed some of the fullness.

Here are what the pattern pieces now look like:

Front pattern

Back pattern

I then found this fabric in my stash and had no idea where it came from or what it was. So I did a burn test and it appears to be a loosely woven polyester. One thing I do know is that it frayed like mad and I had to overlock the hems so that I would have something to turn under.

One thing I did notice was that the pattern is very well drafted all the pieces fit perfectly together and the way Tessuti has drafted the mitre corners on this top is very clever and the finished result is perfect.

and now for the finished top

I like the front better now but will wear it a few more times before I decide to make it up again in the gorgeous cotton voile I found in my stash.

I haven’t mentioned SWAP 2016 yet, and will soon, but this is my first top.

2015 Stash Out: 20.45 m
2015 Stash In: 18 m

The Tiny Essentials Tote Bag

In November the Australian Sewing Guild posted that they were going to host their first Sew Along, The Tiny Essentials Tote Bag and I decided to sew along.

Back in 2012 when I did this workshop I purchased the fabric from Ikea, I also purchased the fabric below designed by Cilla Ramnek* 2008 designed for Ikea intending to make another Tote Bag.

However this, some black duck cloth and some green/yellow circles that were in my bag stash just wanted to play along.  

The interfacing was on hand but the 24″ Long Pull Zip that I wanted in green or black wasn’t and this isn’t something that I was going to find locally.   Luckily Alison pointed me in the direction of Zippit and I placed an order for the zips.

Whilst waiting for my zips to arrive I did manage to complete up to Day 2 of the Sew Along

Quilted, handles made and pinned on.

and then when my zippers arrived, it was decision time – green or black?

I ended up choosing the green as the gusset for the bag is black.

Then life got in the way and it has taken me until now to finish this bag.

and here you can see the gusset and zip

I decided to use a lingerie bag for part of the inside of the tote keeping the zip to keep the contents secure and then put covered elastic on the other side to hold chargers etc.

and loaded up to go on holidays, although I’m certain I take more cables than this away!

I learnt quite a few techniques with this sew-along and I also know that my piping needs more work.

Every time I look at this bag it makes me smile, I just love those trees!

* Here is some more information about Cilla Ramnek here.

2015 Stash Out: 16.85 m
2015 Stash In: 18 m

Twas 5 nights before Christmas …..

and I decided to make an extra gift for Mark’s nieces and nephew.

This is where sewing with your friends on 19 December  at our ASG Group at The Remnant Warehouse is dangerous.  Deborah was making the Bendy Bag by Lazy Girl Designs and I was keeping a close eye on how this went together as I had the pattern in my stash and do have intentions of making one for myself.

Well Deborah made 2 in the one day of sewing so that got me thinking and when I showed Mark what I was thinking of, he said yes and he would have one as well*.

So again the bag stash was raided and so was my zipper stash as I needed  a 14″ zipper for each bag.

The only thing that Deborah and I weren’t that thrilled about was that the lining seams are visible and I did try and work out how to hide them but really don’t think it is possible.  So I took some of the offcuts over to my Juki and tried a few finishes.

This is what I found worked best for those seams.

Stitch length of 1, Blade at 3.5 and foot pressure H.

I did manage to get two sewn during the working week and I was very thankful that our office closed on 23 December so that left me Christmas Eve to finish off the other two.

These were well received by Mark’s nieces and nephew and there were quite a few hints from other members of the family, so I might have next years gifts for some already worked out!

* Mark is still waiting for his!

2015 Stash Out: 15.85 m
2015 Stash In: 18 m

Watermelon frill

When I first received this Spy polyester rayon fabric from Kerryn’s Fabric World, I had planned and had nearly finished another version of Vogue 8572 (OOP).  It was a disaster!

Now I had purchased 1.5 metres of both a salmon and watermelon colour so I had just wasted .8 of the salmon and was at a loss of what to do with the rest of the fabric.

I emailed Kerryn Swan with my query and this is her reply:

“Hi Sharon,
Because you are a fine build and the fabric is soft you need a garment that adds some soft bulk. If the garment is simple, plain it will be too flat on you.
A peasant style for example would be perfect.
Look at New Look 6179, 6599, 6891, View D, 6895 View D 6781 and 6104.
Kerryn Swan”

From Kerryn’s suggestions I really liked New Look 6895, View D and was very fortunate that my sister had it in her stash as it was discontinued and she kindly gifted it to me.

I cut out a size 8 and then did the following adjustments:

  • 1cm front neckline gaposis

  • Round shoulder (both front and back)
  • 1.5cm round back adjustment
  • 1.5cm sway back adjustment

  • Moved the sleeve cap for the round shoulder adjustment

  • Raised the back opening by 2cm as it was showing my bra strap.

Once this was all cut out, I started to try to figure out how I was going to finish the ruffle.  My trusty Singer Overlocker does do a rolled hem, but I have to pretty much rebuild it do achieve it.

So this is where going to the Quilting and Craft Fair with your sewing buddies is quite dangerous.  At my ASG Group the day before, Renata told me that Juki was at the fair and she had a couple of brochures on overlockers with her.

Now I didn’t go with the intention to purchase but after sitting with my sewing buddies and giving the pros/cons of a new overlocker, I took home with me

I took this to my next ASG meeting and much to the amazement of my sewing buddies they couldn’t believe I hadn’t touched it until then and they couldn’t wait to see what it could do.

It did take me some time work out the tension and this is where Alison, the Overlocker Whisperer was so generous.

Once Alison sorted out the tension for me, it was so lovely to push one control and you are all set up for a rolled hem.

It was also at this meeting that I was having issues with the neckline gathers and keeping them in place and again Alison suggested to use Solvy to keep them in place.

There are lots of advantages of sewing with your friends.

Now I did manage to get this top finished for our holiday to Hamilton Island back in July, but we had very unseasonal weather with low cloud and flights cancelled and this top stayed in my suitcase.

It wasn’t until last week that we had a warm enough day (41c) to wear it.

This top is another item completed from my “To Sew, Knit or Purchase” list.

2015 Stash Out: 15.15 m
2015 Stash In: 18 m

Japanese Knot Bag and November Stashbusting

I follow Sue from Fadanista and this month she hosted a sewalong for her Japanese Knot Bag.

This bag has appealed to me from the start and I was very happy to sign up for the sewalong.

For my bag I used some home dec fabric which I had purchased from Spotlight back in 2009 for a jacket in my SWAP plans but it never happened and now the fabric stood out for the perfect evening bag.

I reduced the bag pattern by removing 2.5cm (1″) around the bag as I wanted a small bag for date nights.

For the main fabric I used some black SheerWeft to stabilise it.  The lining is a fat quarter of quilting cotton that was in my stash and I reduced the lining pattern by a scant 3mm (1/8″) so that the seams would roll to the inside.

One of the things that I am quite obsessed with is pressing, so even with this bag the pressing happened.  This is where my silicone mitt comes in very handy.  It looks like the one below.

This lets me put my hand inside the bag and use the edges of the mitt to press the seams open.

This is version 1.

Here is the finished bag and the goodies that I carried it in.  Hubby even managed to get his wallet in there as well.

The lining

Oops no pattern alignment!

and finally how it went out last night.

and I can’t believe I have managed to complete a piece in time for the Stashbusting Sewalong 🙂

2015 Stash Out: 13.95 m
 2015 Stash In: 18 m

Diane Von Frustenberg Vogue 1548

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I last visited my Mum and found this in her pattern stash, how had I not found this before, and she can’t tell me when she acquired it.

This pattern comes in one size only and this is a size 8, with measurements of:
Bust:  80
Waist: 61
Hip: 85

and the only finished length was the finished back length from the base of the neck to the hem.

Seeing my measurements are larger than those above for the bust and waist, I wasn’t quite sure how to tackle this.

I first went to Pattern Review to see if there were any reviews and there are two but only 1 with working photos from Twinset back in 2007 which unfortunately if you are not a member of Pattern Review you can’t see that far back.  What I did notice with the photo was how wide and low the neckline was.

So I dug out Butterick 3344 which I have made previously and compared the bodice pattern pieces.

I also did a FBA of 1cm and realised quite a bit later that I had put the horizontal line in the wrong place together with my adjustment to the make the neckline less revealing made the tie square very large.  This meant I had to do some creative adjustments when sewing the facing on.

The other changes I made to the pattern were to:

  • add 1cm to the back waist seam as I did to the front with the FBA
  • straightened the side seams at the waist on the bodice by 2cm.
  • cut off 17cm at the short dress length as it was extremely long on me and this also let the front pattern piece fit across the width of the folded 150cm fabric.
  • I didn’t add the pockets
  • I only made the tie opening on the left hand side as I don’t intend to try and wear this dress back-to-front

Now this fabric has been maturing in the stash since 2012 and I have already used some to make a version of Kwik.Sew 3740.

I used a knit interfacing for the facings.

I also didn’t finish the raw edge of the facing, as the bulk of that seam would have annoyed me.

The instructions are very detailed and easy to use and it is made completely on my sewing machine as it has travelled with me to various sewing groups.

The ties for the dress are very long, so I was very thankful to have my Fasturn tubes with me which made turning the ties out so much easier.

I really like how you use twill tape to stabilise the waist when attaching the bodice.

The back neck facing kept rolling out even with clipping and under stitching and it wasn’t until I read Vi”s blog Finished Seams where she showed quite a few details of a real DFV dress reminded me that that I could also used my label to keep the facing in place. 

I did use my Coverstitch for the hems.

Dress hem with facing slip stitched in place.
Sleeve hem.

and this is how the dress looks on.

and the twirl factor

For future versions, I need to do the following adjustments:

  1. Neckline gaposis
  2. Round shoulder adjustment
  3. The 1cm I added to the waist seam needs to be removed

It is a very comfortable dress to wear and the cross-over is very generous, so no exposure was apparent during the twirling session.

2015 Stash Out: 10.55 m
2015 Stash In: 16.5 m

Cord Jean Jacket

My next post was supposed to be me wearing my new summer tops on our holiday!  Unfortunately the island was covered in cloud and the temperatures were in the low 20’s much too cold for me to be wearing short sleeves.

So instead you are seeing my new Jean Jacket.

I made this before blogging days and it has been seen during Me Made May.

Me Made May 2012

The pattern is Jalie 2320 which is now available as a PDF pattern.  I purchased this pattern for a workshop for a Casual Jacket with Alison Wheeler at the ASG Convention in Brisbane in 2008.

I cut a size R (32cm bust or XS) and my notes say that there were a “lot of tweaks” so without taking my pattern pieces back to the original pattern, I just know that some of the seams have been taken in but to what extent I’m not sure.

Now the fabric is part of my purchases from the US trip I did with my sewing buddies in 2011 and was spied by Alison as the perfect fabric for me!

I had also purchased the Craftsy class Sew Better, Sew Faster by Janet Pray which included the Jacket Express #218 pattern.  This jacket has similar lines to the Jalie pattern so I used Janet’s instructions to see how I liked the industry way that Janet teachers in her class.

The jacket was cut out to take to a sewing weekend at The Tops Conference Centre back in May.

Then to be all prepared for the weekend I had done quite a few samples for the edgestitching and topstitching on this jacket and decided on using two different threads Gutterman 689 and 23. My stitch length was 3.5 on my Janome MemoryCraft 5200 and then I positioned the needle for edgestitching at 1.9 using the S Foot and for the topstitching at 3.5 using the A foot and lining this up with the edge of the seam.

I really enjoyed using the industry methods, but then it came to the front facing and waistband which was the real difference between the two jackets.  It was at this point that the construction stopped.

It wasn’t until another sewing weekend in July, again at The Tops that this jacket was touched again getting the collar, cuffs and waistband on so that I could take it to Mick at Quick Buttonhole Service who supplied the studs and installed them for me at a cost of $30 (10 studs) which I felt was very good value and a lot less headache for me.

Now to make some plain tops to go with this!

2015 Stash Out:7.25 m
2015 Stash In: 16.5 m

Oh some tights!

I love my tights in winter and have been inspired by Carolyns’ many version, but so far had not got around to making my own.

Then I started to see the Rose Hips Tights by Seamster Patterns and just had to give them a go, especially after seeing Elaine’s Rose Hip Tights

I purchased the PDF pattern and had it printed at Kwik.Kopy at Bondi Junction on their big printer, just 1 x A0 page!

Here is the first pair I made to test the fit.

Fabric is my brown Mercury Jersey

Size XS which was my hip measurement.

I wasn’t sure how the foot piece would go as my foot is 9 /12 ” which is 1/2″ longer than that for the XS size, but after wearing them a few times they feel fine.

For the gusset I used a piece of the leftover Stella Cotton Elastomeric from my active wear wardrobe.

For this pair and future versions I will reduce the body length, by the amount of the waistband, as the ones pictured above are very “harry high pants” but I have now cut off the waistband, removed 3cm and sewn the waistband back on, much more comfortable to wear.

This is the pair that I have been busting to sew, I even went back to Cabramatta to get some more of the fabric especially for the tights!

As I pointed out here, this fabric has a lot less stretch than the brown Mercury Jersey I used for the pair above and when I tried them on, oh my there was no way I could wear them as the length was too short in the legs.

So of course back to the cutting table where I added a 10cm band of fabric.

I chose the position of the band based on my skirt lengths, so it is only if I lift up my skirt that you can see the band.

The other thing that I really like about making my own tights is that you can add a control top.  This was achieved by making the tights low rise and then use the waistband pattern to cut out the width of the power mesh and sew it on.

These are quite quick to sew, just make sure you have all your notches and dots marked, it makes the going a lot easier!

Now this for the ladies from my Sewing Guild group as they had seen both pieces at our last meeting and strongly suggested this photo.

I will not be wearing this out of the yard ever!

2015 Stash Out: 5.05m
2015 Stash In: 16.5m