Sunday, 24 May 2015

"Our Fave Top" is now my fave top!

"Our Fave Top" is a free t-shirt pattern from my beloved Tessuti. There's not much too it - just two pattern pieces and about an hour of sewing. I love it!

I downloaded this pattern when I VERY first started sewing so it's been sitting there, along with this crinkly knit fabric from Spotlight, for about 18 months. Not sure why I didn't make it up sooner - but now that I have this toile done I already have another cut out and ready to go.

Before I cut out the pattern I added 1cm to each sleeve piece which I continued with under the arm and then tapered off around the bust. I knew I'd need this as the sleeves on the Mandy Boat Tee are too small without this adjustment so I figured it'd be the same situation with this top. The sleeves "just fit" now but would be more comfortable in a fabric that has four-way stretch, which this does not so it's a bit snug "around" the arm, but up and down it's fine. If you have chunky upper arms I suggest that this alteration is probably a necessity...

I love how simple it is to do the neck on this top (and the Mandy Boat Tee). Just turn each piece under, stitch it down and then sew the back to the front. I overlock the neck hem and then turn it under and stick it down using's cheating, but it's SO easy! Things are then neatened up with a little dart along the side of the neck to hide where the front and back join. The sleeves have a cuff as I can't help myself and the hem is finished with the rolled hem function on my overlocker - which was PERFECT for this crinkly fabric.

Pattern: "Our Fave Top" by Tessuti
Size: One size fits...most
Modifications: added 1cm to each sleeve piece which continued under the arm and tapered off to zero at the bust
Fabric: mystery crinkly knit from Spotlight
Changes for next time: none as long as my fabric has four way stretch to make the arms a bit more comfortable

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Me-made May - the half way point

We're halfway through me-May Made and so far so good. My pledge is pretty lame (just one me-made item per week) and I've already exceeded that well and truly. Before I started the month I thought it would be a struggle to wear my hand-sewn I feel that they look crafty and home-made, but a few unsolicited compliments on a few items has boosted my confidence.

So far this is what I've worn:

Week 1:

Knit Gabby Dress worn on my day off work. Partook in a spot of shopping and brunch at a new local cafe. Pretty comfy dress, but I don't particular like the "feel" of this fabric, bit stiff and feels cheap and the hem is not very well sewn (needs to have been a bigger hem). I feel like EVERYONE knew I was wearing a homemade craft public!
Mandy Boat Tee worn to a sewing class at Tessuti 'cos I"m a suck up....LOL. I had to resew all the seams before I could wear this as it was falling apart due to being sewn on 3 spool overlocker....result it's a bit dodgy but I still love this top as the fabric is great.
My first ever Mabel skirt worn to work. I'm not a fan of stockings with skirts as too many layers on my tummy makes my gut hurt BUT this was comfy and my colleague told me she likes me skirt. She is now my favouirte colleague (yes, I'm shallow).
Sick day = Linden Sweatshirt and naps on the couch.
Mandy Boat Tee worn to work with Ponti leggings (from Sussan). I LOVE this top but I wish I'd made it a bit longer as it's too short to be worn with such fitted pants. Still not sure if I should've added elastic to the shoulder seam or not? Fabric is from Tessuti.
Another Mabel skirt worn to work - loving this silhouette as a work outfit and it's pretty comfy but looks put together. The skirt was made during May so hasn't been blogged yet (Tessuti fabric yet again).

Saturday brunch in Surry Hills with my niece followed by a spot of fabric shopping in my new, but already beloved Mandy Boat Tee. I like this top much better with my jeans - not so many butt exposure issues as the jeans are looser than the Ponti Pants.
Week 2

A wearable muslin of Tessuit's "Our favouirte top" worn out to lunch with friends on Sunday. Not blogged yet, but a fairly successful make I think though the fabric is not very breathable so it's a tad hot.
My ponti Casual Lady Dress worn to work...pretty comfortable and the short sleeves means I don't melt now that the "heater wars" at work have started. Still desperate to find more ponti to make another of these as I REALLY like it even though the wonky neck and sleeve bands make it feel a bit....crafty.
One of my two remaining Coco dresses that I made last year. I've put on weight since last year so this one just fits (as I can stretch the fabric) whilst the other one is rather....snug! Not that comfortable at first as the ribbon stabilizing the seam bugs me but as the day worn on I forgot about it.
Thoughts: I found week one much easier than week two for some reason. I think seeing everyone's me-made May efforts as the month got going made me feel like a bit of a sewing underachiever. That said I've pumped out quite a few good garments so far this May so I'm happy that the challenged has motivated me to sew. Having put on a it of weight since this time last year is also generally making getting dressed each day a bit of a challenge. Lite n Easy starts next week! Blergh.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Mandy Boat a jumper

A few weeks ago I toddled off to Tessuti in Chatswood for a class on sewing zips and facings. Great class BUT it was held upstairs and upstairs is home to all of their lovely knits. I kind of lost the plot when it came to installing the facings and ending patting all the gorgeous fabrics for quite some time. In the end I settled on this...a lovely, cozy Viscose Jersey that would be perfect for a top. A Mandy Boat Tee to be precise.

This is a very simple top to make but I umm'd and ahh'd for ages over whether or not to use clear elastic to stabilize the shoulder seams. The pattern doesn't call for it, but I thought as the fabric was quite heavy it might need it. Good idea, if only I had executed it I have some annoying elastic rubbing on my skin. Grr!

I lengthened the hem on this top as it's quite short on me otherwise - 6cm added. I think I could add an extra 1cm or 2cm though as my bum was quite "on show" when I wore this top to work with black ponti pants that were quite fitting. Not such a problem with jeans which are a bit looser...but I think the people are work sore my of my butt than they needed or wanted too. Whoops.

I finished the sleeve on this with a sleeve band as I think they look much neater than turning the sleeve under...which I always do totally wonky as I cannot seem to sew in a straight line. The wrong side of the fabric is also pretty cool and adds a neat little bit of contrast.

Pattern: Mandy Boat Tee by Tessuti
Size: One size fits...most
Modifications: lengthened by 6cm, clear elastic added at the shoulders, and the sleeves/arms made bigger for me a sewing class I did at Tessuti last year.
Fabric: Viscose knit from Tessuti
Changes for next time: might add a few cms to the hem; and possibly not add clear elastic at the shoulders depending on the fabric.

Misuyabari Needle Shop, Kyoto

I had read about the Misuyabari Needle Shop in Kyoto but like most things in Japan I didn't really make a plan to go there as it is often really difficult to track down places as the Japanese address system is tres confusing. Couple that with the fact that many places in Kyoto don't actually have an address...and English signage can be thin on the ground also. Really really!

On our last day in Kyoto we were wandering around the Shinkyogoku shopping arcade in the downtown area looking for a Taiyaki stall (one of Dave's favourite snacks) and stumbled up the needle shop just across the street from it! If I hadn't read about the store online I would've just walked straight past...but thankfully I knew better.

The Taiyaki store on Sanjo-dori
The only clue you'll have that Misuyabari Needle Shop is on Sanjo-dori (aka Sanjo Street) is this little sign out the front that will lead you down a narrow corridor and into a cute, garden courtyard. Above the sign is some signage showing a picture of the pins the store sells so I knew I'd stumbled upon Misuyabari. In Japan shops and restaurants are not only to be found on street levels of buildings - there is so much to discover by going up in to the buildings (they are like "vertical malls" if you will) or by wandering down little alleys that look interesting.

Misuyabari has been owned by the same family for over 360 years (!!!) and back in the day used to supply handcrafted sewing needles to the Imperial Court. Seeing I've not hand-sewn anything in about 1000 years I was here for the super-kawaii (aka super cute) pins...each one is handcrafted and no two are alike. I think when we go back to Kyoto in December I'll go back for some sewing needles though (and I also believe they sell machine needles).

The store is very small. Whilst we were in there two young Japanese also came in and the store was very...cozy. They were enamored by the shop and when the owner pointed out a very cute pincushion to me the two girls gasped loudly, covered the mouths and in a hushed voice whispered "Pincushion! Pincushion! So kawaii! So kawaii!". We all burst out of the most funny moments of the trip.

This is such a special store and such a unique experience. I'm so glad that we stumbled across it, but it's worth hunting for, trust me.

It was hard to narrow down my choice of pins, but in the end I bought just four (as they are about Y300 each, so not cheap, but also not expensive).  I'm not sure what I'll do with these yet, but they are just nice to have!

There are a few blogs/website giving directions on how to find Misuyabari...they are here, here and here.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

A snuggly Linden Sweatshirt

I bought this lovely, soft double sided fabric during my visit to Nomura Tailor whilst in Kyoto this February.  I was REALLY frugal with my fabric buying during this trip as I didn't have a lot of spending money and we also had a really small luggage allowance (boo to you Cathay Pacific).  I'm happy to report that when we fly to Japan with JAL this coming December we have a 52kg luggage allowance (!!!) and are allowed two suitcases. EACH. One will be filled entirely with fabric (and KitKats) I'm sure!

Japanese fabric (well the stuff I bought) seems to be REALLY narrow. This was only 80cm wide so I bought 3 meters of it..just to make sure that I had enough to make whatever it was that I was going to make from it.

When I got home from Japan the fabric went straight into the stash as I didn't want to sew it up "just yet" in case I fluffed it up. After my first Linden however I began to think, this soft and snuggly fabric would make a lovely Linden and the cuffs would be the perfect, yet subtle way to show off the other side of the fabric.

For this Linden I sized down to the size 16 all over and the fit is much better. I do find the sleeves rather long on the Linden, especially once the cuff is added but I think this adds to the coziness of the top. Perhaps the top could be a little smaller all over but I think it might start too lose it's comfy factor if I go too snug.

Everything went fairly straight forward with this sew (mostly). The neckband went on ok, though I think I stretched the neckline out a bit...luckily not too much and the top is still comfortable to wear.  I'm starting to feel quite confident about attaching neckbands but I don't want to become too cocky as pride does come before a fall and all that.  I did fluff up one of the cuffs however and had to unpick it and reattach which was a nightmare as this fabric is quite fine and didn't like the unpicker at all...

Pattern: Linden Sweatshirt by Grainline Studios
Size: 16
Modifications: none, other than going down a size this time around
Fabric: Mystery fabric from Nomura Tailor in Kyoto, Japan
Changes for next time: none, though I might make the sleeve a few centimeters shorter

Friday, 1 May 2015

Mabel Skirt - seeing double

What's better than one Mabel Skirt? Two Mabel Skirts of course!

The first Mabel here is made from an AWESOME leopard print Ponti from Tessuti. I don't know about you, but for me leopard print is totally a neutral in my wardrobe and I may have squealed when I saw this in the store! 

My second Mable is also in a great Ponti from Tessuti - it's called "Silhouetted Narita Ponti". I initially bought 1.4m of this Ponti for a dress but it wasn't wide enough to cut both panels on the fold, so I bought a 0.9m remnant online...which wasn't long enough for the dress I had planned (d'oh)...hence we have this here Mabel skirt. The great thing about this skirt is that it doesn't use a lot of fabric so you can afford to splash out on something that does cost a bit of cash (this is $42/m).

The pattern on the Narita is a bit hard to see so here's a close up...I love the geometric, but subtle pattern. It comes in two other colourways, both of which I quite like...I may (or may not) make up another Mabel in one of those colours. Watch this space.

I don't have much more to say about this pattern that I haven't already said on other posts. I've made about six Mabel's so far (including these two) but have only kept three. I think this skirt sews up best for me in a softer ponti, rather than a spongy neoprene or stretch woven.

The skirt could probably be a bit looser around the tummy and thighs, which would be easy to fix I guess but just moving things out from the fold a little (I've put on a bit of weight since my first make) but it's stretchy, and I wear a long top {ALWAYS with this type of skirt} so...whatever)! As per usual the skirt is lengthened by 15cm and I've sewn clear elastic between the waistband and waistband lining to stop the skirt falling down (it's WAY too loose without it)


Pattern: Mabel Skirt by Colette Patterns
Size: XL
Modifications: lengthened by 15cm and clear elastic sandwiched between waistband and waistband lining
Fabric: Ponti from Tessuti x 2
Changes for next time: nought