Sunday, 22 June 2014

Coco...the first

I'm slowly slowly getting my sewjo back, despite the best effort of both my machine and overlocker to thwart me at every turn.

Tilly and the Button's "Coco dress" is the next item on my hit list. I bought this pattern as soon as it was released and then sat on it for ages. I'm not exactly sure why. I kept seeing great versions on the Internet...along with some not so great (to my eye) versions every now and then.  So, of course I thought I was going to make a wadder, and not a great version, so I just never made it at all.

Now that the weather has turned cold, and I've sort of run out of things I feel like sewing I thought it was high time to turn my attention to Coco. For this stunt dress I've used a fabric bought from The Remnant Warehouse back in March. I was specifically on the hunt for some printed ponti for Coco (which is impossible to find in Sydney) but at the time this "mystery fabric" was all I could find.  It looks and feels a bit like the material a man's polo shirt is made out of it. The colour is so described as Baby Poo Brown...but it was easy to sew with (though my scissors didn't like cutting through two layers of ponti).

Overall I like this pattern (though I hate my fabric). It's a simple make and good silhouette.

Next time I'll forgo the funnel neck however as I think my bust works better with a more scooped out neckline which makes me look a bit smaller "up top". For this version I cut a straight size 7 and next time I'm going to go for the size 8 as it's a little snug across my chest and caboose.  I'll keep the sleeves at the size 7 however as I think any bigger and they'll just be too baggy.

Excuse the dodgy photos...with the onset of winter it's hard to get home in time for "daylight" photos

I used a zigzag stitch to sew the majority of the seams on this dress, though I think my stitch was too big as it's not holding very firm...I can see the stitches pulling even as it's hanging on the coat hanger so I'm worried the dress is just going to fall apart if I wear it. The seam edges are finished with my old overlocker which only had three spazz-outs during this sewing session. 

I had a few issues trying to attach the funnel neck as for some reason I thought I should add interfacing to the funnel to make it nice and stiff. Good in theory (actually, dumb in theory as it felt like scuba wear) but the addition of the interfacing meant it was impossible to stretch the funnel onto the neck. But we got there in the end. It's not pretty, and the funnel is half the height it should be as I had to recut it and ran out of fabric.

Please excuse the dodgy top-stitching! I was totally sober whilst sewing this. Honest.
I'm pretty chuffed with my sleeve cuffs. I didn't follow Tilly's instructions for the cuffs as I was feeling lazy and I just wanted to get to bed.  I totally winged it, but they worked out and look good. I feel quite proud of these cuffs...chuffed with my cuffs.

I already have my next lot of fabric washed and it's hanging up to dry. Once I stick the new PDF together and cut it in my new size we'll be onto Coco...the second!

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

High-Vis Pia Dress Toile

I've really been struggling with my sewing lately...for a number of reasons. I guess my main "issues" are that I'm having trouble finding patterns to fit my body, that suit my lifestyle and are what I like to wear. Whilst I love the look of a fit + flare woven dress I just don't wear them. Same goes with woven tees and woven pants. I need ROOM in my clothes to flap my arms about and eat big meals. Couple that with my "year of sewing failures" and various machine meltdowns I'm not a happy sewist lately.

Given that I've invested so much time and money in this hobby (I shudder to think how much I've spent on classes and fabric) I'm NOT ready to throw in the overlocker just yet. So when I saw the lovely Bodhana wearing the relaxed-fit Tessuti Pia Dress at a recent Spoolettes meet up I thought it might be the perfect dress for me.

I decided to use this crazy bright orange fabric that I picked up for $10 for 3 meters at the recent fabric-a-brac market. I'm not really sure why I bought this fabric as it's pretty full's a whole lot of orange! But good news is that it's prefect to make a stunt dress...

Good news is the dress fits...and it has some pretty great pockets. So double YAY!  I've not bothered to finish the dress (so it's not hemmed, nor have I bound the arms or neck) as I'm not going to wear it...that colour is TOO much.

I am definitely going to make this dress again once the weather warms up...but there are few changes I want to make:
  • Take the dress up about 100m as it's REALLY long (I'm almost 5ft 8" and it's nearly on my ankles)
  • Modify the sleeves to be more tank-like as I'm finding this style is restricting my arm movement a bit and it makes me feel like I'm "surrounded by fabric"
  • Make in a more soft, drapey fabric
  • Scoop out the neck a little bit
  • Sew a smaller seam allowance as it's a smidgen snug on my bust and caboose

I really LOVE the pockets on this dress and the way the "bag out". I did have a major spatial meltdown though trying to fit them together as the pocket and pocket facing are two different sizes...which I totally did not realise until I came to put them together.

So watch this space...this dress will be making a comeback once summer rolls around.

Friday, 13 June 2014

A Liebster Award...for me?

Firstly a BIG thanks to everyone who commented and emailed me after my last, rather melodramatic post, where I threatened to give up sewing and throw my overlocker off the balcony (and possibly myself with it). Sewing for me has been a tough road so far, paved mostly with failure but it seems that I'm not the only one who has times where they find sewing a right pain in the butt. Even the most experienced sewist has trouble! The sewing community really is full of lovely, supportive thank you for your kind words of encouragement.

And also thanks to Nissa, from UK sewing blog Sew Short Nissa, for nominating me for a Liebster Award. I don't win any fabric or patterns...but instead I get to tell you a little bit about my-sewing-self. it's a prize for you dear reader!

I think the intention of the award is to introduce us to some new blogs.  It's a bit like a chain letter where I get to nominate some fellow bloggers at the end of my Q&A to participate.

So let's get down to business...

1. Why did you start blogging? I already write a food blog (which I have had going for about 4 years now) so I’m obviously the sort of person who has a pathological need to over-share on the internet. Really though, I like the community around blogging and the potential to meet some really nice people and make new social connections and friendships. For me blogging is about friendship.

2. How do you get yourself out of a sewing funk? Whinge (no, really I do!)…on the blog, on twitter, on Instagram and to anyone who will listen. I have some serious "woe is me" moments. A problem shared is a problem halved right? I also try to find a super simple project (like my recent door snake project) that will guarantee a successful result. And I find taking myself off to a sewing class does wonders in getting my sewjo back.

3. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? Do I have to choose just one place? It’s a toss up between Manhattan, Tokyo and perhaps Paris - all big cities with a lot going on and a lot to keep me entertained. I have a British passport so the last one is a remote possibility…logistically speaking. Wherever this dream lifestyle is it MUST have good food and good fabric shopping.

4. Sewing for other people: love it or loathe it? I have enough trouble sewing for myself and finding patterns to fit me…so I’m nowhere near venturing towards sewing for anyone else. My husband has hinted a few times that he's keen to sew himself a few I think we're about to have "sharing the sewing machine" issue in my house.

5. What is your best feature? I’ve been told I have a nice smile…and a good sense of humour. I also have skinny ankles...I think they are pretty awesome!

6. What is your favourite fabric shop? I really like Tessuti here in Sydney. They have some lovely fabrics and I've bought myself a few pieces in the last year (one is in the process of becoming a Tokyo Jacket). A lot of fabrics on offer at Tessuti are a bit beyond my (current) skill level but the staff are always SO friendly to me when I go in for a fondle without actually purchasing anything (which is more often than I like to admit). Once I improve at sewing I'm going to waltz into Tessuti and buy something pretty to make myself...something pretty. I’ve attended quite a few of the sewing classes at Tessuti and also sewn a few of their patterns. I love that they “have it all”…fabric, classes and patterns.

7. What is your biggest sewing sin? I’m lazy, get easily stressed and have poor attention to detail (but I’m a nice person…honest)! I cannot be bothered to take the time to do things “properly” so you’ll often see threads not snipped off the garment properly. I rarely iron things when I’m told too…especially on knit fabrics. I’m also probably a bit haphazard when I’m cutting out fabrics too so things aren’t always…even. Not a problem yet as I’m not sewing fitted garments.

8. If you could make any sewing process disappear, what would it be? Having to cut out my fabric on our tiled floor (oh my knees and back) as well as having to make a toile/muslin of everything before I hack into the “nice fabric”. I just want the patterns to fit me straight out the packet (don’t we all, right)?

9. Which other crafts, if any, do you do? I write my food blog and take photos for that…but that is pretty much as crafty as I get. I used to be able to crochet and this is a skill I'd like to relearn...I have plans for an enormous granny-square blanket in my future.

10. Cats or dogs? I love all animals (though Indian Minor Birds really test my patience) but as far as a pet goes for me it would have to be a cat (we live in an apartment in a non-dog-friendly building). We foster kittens for Sydney’s Cat Protection Society and it’s a ton of fun. It's also a lot of hard work so it’s not as hard to give them back as you’d think. I’m also quite partial to a miniature Sausage Dog…too much cuteness!

I'm going to select some local bloggers, and fellow Sydney Spoolettes, for my "pass it on" Liebster Award nominations:

Susan from Measure Twice, Cut Once
Alex from When All You Need Is...
Catherine from Sewing the 60s
Kath from Bernie and I 
Emma from Ernest Flagg

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Making a doorsnake at Newtown's Green Living Centre

After the MASSIVE heartbreaking debacle of my last sewing foray to say I'm feeling rather disenchanted with sewing would be the understatement of the millennium. I'm seriously considering throwing in the towel as I'm just not having much fun.

Not only have my machines betrayed me, I'm still having fitting issues nearly a year into sewing along with still having trouble finding patterns to fit my measurements (that are "my style"). As I lack the skills need to understand how to fix aforementioned sewing issues I often just make a toile of something and chuck it in the bin due to poor fit. I did try to adjust the Anita Ponti Pant pattern to fix my "plumbers crack issue" but it became pretty obvious pretty quickly that I had NFI what I was doing and if I cut into the new Ponti it would be another $30 of fabric down the drain. I also don't want to be sewing things just for the sake of it...that would lead to a closet full of stuff I'd never wear as well as being a bit fat waste of time and money. Woe is me, huh?

It's pretty clear what I need is some simple sewing...preferable not of clothes so we can avoid any fitting issues and accusing looks at my curvy thighs. Lucky for me I'd enrolled myself (and my sister) into a free "door snake" sewing class being held at Newtown's Green Living Centre.

During the class we would whip up a doorsnake to help keep the winter drafts at bay.  We were to bring along some old fabric from home and then stuff the snakes with old fabric scraps that would otherwise go into a landfill.

Juliet from Bobbin and Ink was running the class and provided all of the machines, thread, tools, stuffing fabrics and templates for our snakes. We could either make an actual snake shaped draft-stopper, or stick to tradition and go for the plain old snake.  Because I wanted NO f**kups during the class I chose to eliminate any potential issues that sewing a curved object might cause. It's the plain old snake for me.

I'm pleased to say that things went pretty smoothly with this project and I'm super happy with my door snake. I used a scrap of fabric left over from my ill-fitting Gabby Dress as well as a piece of fabric from my successful (yay) Ginger Skirt! I think this is a pretty groovy looking doorsnake!

And here it is insitu in our flat...dust bunnies and all!

I took in a bunch of my fabric scraps to the class and I'm chuffed that someone used my fabric from my (again, ill fitting) Suzy Pants project. How great does this snake look?

Now I'm on the lookout for my next "simple project". Any ideas? What do you do when you totally misplace your Sewjo?

Monday, 2 June 2014

Everyone Deserves Pretty Knickers – knicker making class

Yesterday saw the beginning of #EveryoneDeservesPrettyKnickers week which is being run by Susan from Measure Twice Cut Once patterns.

Photo borrowed from Measure Twice Cut Once blog

I've met Susan a few times at Sydney Spoolettes meet ups and we also chat a bit on social media. She's always been SO helpful to me with my sewing woes so when she announced she was collaborating with Sew Make Create to run knicker making workshops I signed up ASAP! Susan is a professionally trained fashion designer and has years of experience in the industry. She really knows her stuff...and what's even better (for me that is) is that she's SO willing to share her knowledge.

Susan in action - adjusting my knickers into a pair of "bigger gal undies"
For the class we were working on the Charlotte Knickers - a pattern released by Susan earlier in the year (she's designed and released a range of six knickers -- so hop over to the shop and see if there's a style that takes your fancy). I decided to use some cotton voile fabric for my pair that I bought guessed it, The Fabric Cave.

Yes, these knickers are made from a woven fabric rather than the stretch fabric so common in store bought lingerie. The knickers are cut on the bias which makes gives them the necessary stretch needed across your caboose. We all had a bit of a giggle at the difference between the un-elasticated pair and elasticated pair of knickers.

I've not yet finished my knickers...too much talking and not enough sewing (though the photo below does prove we all sat the machines...even me)! I just need to stitch the elastic to the legs and then top stitch all the elastic down to encase it in the fabric. Before that I just need to get over my fear of sewing elastic using my overlocker at home!

Oh, and it's not a sewing class at Sew Make Create without the ever watchful Pepper supervising the class!

Susan has a knicker sew-a-long starting on her blog tomorrow - so there's still time to whip up your own pair of knickers during #EveryoneDeservesPrettyKnickers week using one of her patterns. There is also another class coming up at Sew Make Create very soon - I highly recommend it!