Sunday, 18 December 2016

Another Liberty KwikSew 3880

I'm on a roll with KwikSew 3880. It's nice to find a well-fitting, easy to sew pattern. I'm actually thinking of lengthening this into a dress - maybe for Sydney Frocktails which is coming up in February. What do you think?

This fabric is my second piece of Liberty jersey bought during The Fabric Store's recent sale. It's a lovely print, but like my last piece of Liberty jersey a total nightmare to work with (super curly). Never again!

This top is exactly the same has my last Liberty KwikSew 3880 - no changes at all.

Neckband...again a total nightmare to attach as the fabric was SO curly. It could possibly be a tad tighter but life's to short to bother unpicking it and trying again.

So, I've had my foray into Liberty jersey. Very pretty and lovely to wear but I'm not sure the stress of sewing it is worth it.

PatternKwikSew 3880
Size: Size XL, Size M for height at neckline
Modifications: I doubled the width of their skinny skinny neckband and added 6" to the length of it as this fabric doesn't have a lot of stretch. 
Fabric: 100% Liberty cotton knit from The Fabric Store
Changes for next time: none

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Top 5 misses of 2016

It's quite hard to narrow down my top misses for 2016. Not because I have so few but because it's hard to define exactly what constitutes a sewing fail.

When I started compiling this list I had 10 items on it...which is a lot. Many of them are an "okay pattern" that suffered from a bad fabric choice by me. I've decided to remove those from my list of 2016 and focus on those makes where the pattern really went wrong for me.

So here we go...

1. Seamwork Wembley Cardigan

There's nothing good to say about this cardigan. It's ill-fitting and gapes weirdly at the neckline. The sleeves are neither long nor short - just an odd length. I actually made THREE toiles of this (as I'm clearly insane and a sucker for punishment) trying to get it to work. Waste. Of. Fabric. Into the bin you go!

2. Seamwork Mesa Dress

Another Seamwork pattern that was a massive fail on me. WHY can I not find a dress pattern that works for me! This fitted me so badly that there's no photographic evidence of it on my body. Time to move away from Seamwork patterns I think (though my first Oslo Cardigan did turn out okay just FYI).

3.  Moneta/Lady Skater mash-up

Still on the hunt for a dress pattern I moved away from Seamwork and back to Colette's Moneta Dress with a Lady Skater Skirt as I cannot face gathering a skirt using elastic. The first time I made a toile of this pattern I sewed the XL bodice and nearly had to be cut out of it. This version is the size 2XL and it fits on my body...but badly. When I look at the pattern pieces the front and back bodice are the same...what? The fat rolls on my back are definitely not size DD! The neck is too high, the armholes too small/high and it feels weird. 

4. Marianne Dresses #1 and #2

I'm about to give up on dresses! The fabric on this dress is great but it looks awful on me in real life. Really! The neckline is WAY to high/small for my liking and the sleeves are too small for the sleeve head so it's tight and uncomfortable. 

For my second attempt at this dress I left off the sleeves -- good in theory but the fabric is too stiff and really hot and sweaty. Get. Off. My. Body. I lowered the neckline a bit but it's still too high *chokes*. I'm willing to give this pattern one more try - in better fabric with an adjusted neckline so I can breath.

5. Rae Skirt

I actually thought I liked the Sewaholic Rae Skirt but now that I'm trying to finish up a second in chambray I've decided it's not for me. The length is a bit dowdy and I am not having fun trying to install the waist elastic (couldn't get that part right in this not wearable toile either). I think the chambray Rae might =  UFO.

That's all folks...


Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Top 5 hits (plus 2) of 2016

I'm joining in again on Crafting a Rainbow's Top 5 for 2016.

Looking through my blog of makes for 2016 it's actually good to see so many successful garments (thought I'm still yet to nail making a decent, comfortable dress - maybe next year). I found it hard to pick just five as I'm basing my "top 5" on most worn/most you're getting a bonus two (Merry Xmas)!

1.   Brooklyn Coat

I'm pretty chuffed with this Brooklyn Coat and wore it most of winter, including a trip to Melbourne where it kept me snugly warm. It was easy to sew (once I finally put the pockets on the right way) and is super comfortable to wear. It will see me through next winter for sure! A definite win!

2. Kimono Tee

I made about a billion Kristen Kimono Tee's during 2016 and this isn't necessarily my favourite but it's pretty close. It gets worn a lot, event to work which is saying something (mostly that it's comfortable and I like it)!

3. Linden Sweater as a dress

I think this is one of the first times I modified a pattern (go me). On top of that it actually worked! This is the third version of this dress that I've made (the first a too-big muslin, the second a grey version like this blue one) but this is my favourite. I didn't top stitch the neckline down on this one which makes it just a bit more stretchy and comfortable.

4. Mandy Boat Tees

I made both of these Mandy Boat Tees at the same time and they have both gone in to high rotation - both for work and play. I've sewn both of them with a deepish hem and I love the way that looks. I've also stopped using wondertape to turn under the neckline so it's much more stretchy with good recovery.

5. Megan Longline Cardigan

I was convinced this cardi would not fit me until I tried on a sized M sample in store at Tessuti. It was snug but fit (happy dance) the XL I've made here is perfect. This got a lot of wear last autumn as things cooled down.

6. Mabel Skirt

I was having a lot of hits and misses with the drafted waistband of the Mabel Skirt so I decided to try and extend the waistband to allow for some wide 5cm elastic. Perfect! This was my toile of the modification to see if it would work out and this skirt has gone in to high rotation...I only wish the fabric was less "man-made" as it's way to hot to wear for the majority of summer.

7. Kwiksew 3880

This top is the very first "non-Indie" pattern that I've sewn since starting to sew about 3 years ago. Because I've made quite a few tops by now I didn't follow the instructions so I have no idea if they are any good. And for the fit I just overlaid this pattern onto the Kristen Kimono Tee to assess the size - all good! I'm thinking of lengthening this top into a dress -- seeing as I've had such bad luck with dress patterns from Indie designers. Desperate times.

And there you have it -- a rather successful year, especially considering the spate of duds I had when I first started sewing.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Liberty KwikSew 3880

Very excitingly I bought my very first Liberty of London fabric last jersey of course! I nabbed this little beauty in The Fabric Store's 30% off VIP sale last week.  I also bought a second piece but it's not on their website anymore.

The fabric is quite narrow (140cm wide) so I bought 160cms with a view to making my 2nd KwikSew 3880 - this was pretty much just enough as you need to allow for the fabric shrinking a bit in the wash. I also had to cut the neckband twice as the first one was WAY too short.

Can I just say right up front that this fabric was a total freaking pain to work with - which surprised me as people gush about Liberty (guess they're not sewing with the pesky jersey)! The edges curled so badly and would not stay flat no matter how much hot hot steam ironing I took to it.

Anyway...I stuck with it and ended a with a brilliant top that I LOVE. The fabric is fairly cool to wear and actually ironed up OK after a spin in the wash - phew! I love the big, floaty sleeves as they are so breezy to wear and I really like how its snug at the waist to balance out all that sleeviness.

I finished the sleeve hems before sewing up the side seams...lazy, but easier! The sleeves and neckband and stitched down with a longer straight stitch but the hem is with a zigzag as I think straight stitches would've been pushing it for this make.

This time I raised the front and back necklines to a size M (last time I cut them at the size XL). I also kept the length at the XL as I wanted this one to be a bit longer. The fabric is MUCH less stretchy than my last version so I probably shouldn't have sewn such a big seam at the lower hip region...but the fabric is somewhat stretchy, so that's good. I didn't have a skirt to wear with this so picked up this black number at Target - but want to find a pattern to make my own elastic-waisted jersey skirt ASAP (this one is a little bit but I was desperate)!

Neckline...what a DRAMA! The first one was too short - despite cutting it 4" longer than the pattern piece. I cute a new one adding an extra 6"!!! and it went on OK - though it was so curly it took me forEVER to pin it and sew it top stitching it down with a long straight stitch. I was convinced I would've stretched the neckline out whilst sewing - but nope, it's perfect.


PatternKwikSew 3880
Size: Size XL, Size M for height at neckline
Modifications: I doubled the width of their skinny skinny neckband and added 6" to the length of it as this fabric doesn't have a lot of stretch. 
Fabric: 100% Liberty cotton knit from The Fabric Store
Changes for next time: none

Saturday, 12 November 2016

KwikSew 3880 - me likie!

My first time sewing with a non-Indie pattern since I started sewing about three years ago (year 10 sewing class not included) and it all went really well! I first became aware of KwikSew 3880 after seeing it on Blogless Anna's blog and really liked the shape - fitted at the waist but blousy at the sleeves and bust...perfect for wearing with floaty skirts.  I'll definitely be making this again!

I went with my usual strategy and sewed the biggest size (an XL) but laid my Maria Denmark Kristen Kimono Tee pattern over it to see if the sizes were similar (they were). I didn't want the top to be overly long so sewed the M for the length. Next time I'm going to raise the neck though as it does feel a bit big and low cut.

The neckband topstitching, hem and sleeves are all sewn with a straight stitch (using a longer length for the neck and hem to avoid popped stitches). I'm really liking this technique - much more tidy looking than a zig zag.

I really like this top - the fabric is super cool and breezy (from Pitt Trading - need to get my hands on MORE) and this is a great top for wearing to work before the weather really heats up!

So, yay, for finding another "go to" pattern that's simple to sew and totally my style.


Pattern: KwikSew 3880
Size: Size XL, Size M for length
Modifications: I doubled the width of their skinny skinny neckband. I didn't read the instructions at all so perhaps it was meant to be a binding or something?
Fabric: Viscose knit from Pitt Trading
Changes for next time: raise the neckline

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Black Mandy Boat Tee

Not a very exciting make, or a new to me pattern - but I've (finally) made myself a Mandy Boat Tee in black jersey. Of course it probably would've been wiser to do this when the weather was cooler as it's a bit hot to wear this now. This fabric, from The Remnant Warehouse, also doesn't have a light breezy feel to it.

I've taken a different approach with stitching this top - using a straight stitch for the neckband (and hem) as I think it looks much neater than my wobbly zigzagging and I saw someone on Instagram doing this and she said she had no issues with popped stitches. I increased the stitch length a bit to ensure the neckline does have a bit of give and won't pop when I'm putting it on, but the hem is sewn at the regular length as no stretch is needed there. Arms are still sewn with a zigzag as the sleeves are tight and they do need the stretch a zigzag stitch gives.

...and the back...good bum coverage!

Like my other recent Mandy's the hems are sewn at 1.5" - 2" - I really like the look of this "deeper hem".


PatternMandy Boat Tee by Tessuti
Size: One size fits...most
Modifications: lengthened by 9cm (I think it's a bit long but I never seem to make it shorter as I'm lazy and also indecisive), the sleeves/arms made bigger for me a sewing class I did at Tessuti.
Fabric: Viscose knit from The Remnant Warehouse
Changes for next time: might lop off a few cms at the hem, but probably not.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Tessuti Isla Top

When I popped into Tessuti last week to indulge in some new jersey Colette showed me their soon to be released top pattern -- a lovely simple top with an interesting yoke detail at the back. She said it would be right up my alley - am I that transparent? Obviously as I bought the Isla Top within the first hour it was released, taped it together during a slow day at work on Thursday and sewed up my toile on my Friday off (yesterday). The sewing is pretty sloppy as I was just so desperate to know if it would fit me or not.

I sewed up the XXL and made no changes other than to lower the front neckline a bit as it felt too high for me and subsequently add 2" to the neckband (and about 5mm to the neckband width to make sewing it easier).

The top also felt a bit long at the XXL size so I sewed it with a 2" hem (same with the sleeves). Next time I'll make it a bit shorter and also shorten the sleeves - the 2" hem is a bit too chunky. For summer the sleeve length will be too hot for me, so I'm thinking above the elbow would be good (so I'll probably hack 8" off the pattern). In summer I'll wear the Isla with skirts but in winter it would be worn with pants so I'd probably stitch to the original length. I'm thinking I might also make it a little more snug at the hips...

worn with my newest Mabel Skirt - they look good together I think!
 Back view - I've pulled it up a bit so it sits properly on my hips, hence the bunching.

Here you can see the detail of the back yoke - I like that it adds a little bit of interest and looks different to all the other top patterns I have. The lower back piece is meant to be cut on the fold, but I wanted to preserve fabric (I use this stuff for toiles) and had plenty of room to fit the pattern piece on the fabric and allow for a CB seam. 

Other than my sloppy sewing I had no issues with sewing this up. Even the neckband went on first go no problems *gasp*. I'm keen to make another but am just going to think first about what I'm going to wear it with -- as that will determine the modifications I make to the pattern.


Pattern: Isla Top by Tessuti
Size: XXL
Modifications: dropped the front neckline by about 1.5cm and added 2" to the neckband. Sewed the hems at 2".
Fabric: Viscose/spandex knit from Remnant Warehouse
Changes for next time: Shorten sleeves by about 6" - 8" so it sits above elbow, bring hem up by about 2" and narrow at the hips a little.

When dresses become mediocre Mabels

I've made two Marianne Dresses lately -- neither of which were quite right due to the high neckline and funkiness going on with the sleeves. Rather than just pop the dresses into the charity bag like I usually do I thought I should try and rescue them and upcycle them in to Mabel Skirts.

Like the dress, this fabric looks great in photos; and the garments look great on the hanger. As soon as the fabric hits my body though - blergh! The colours look awful on me...and the skirt is WAY too small so it's not a keeper.

This dress would probably be wearable if the fabric wasn't pure sweatiness - ugh, get off my body. I did drop the neckline a bit, but the stiffness of the fabric made the sleeves look like I was in some 80s band...hello shoulders! As the skirt above was WAY too small I added 1.5cm to the centre fold of the back and front pieces -- 6cm overall. This fabric has hardly any stretch so it's still a bit snug...but wearable if I suck my gut in and think skinny. It's a keeper. For now.

And here's my attempt at rescuing a RTW dress that must've shrunk in the wash (that's my story and I'm sticking to it). It's not bad as a skirt, but the shape is not as pegged as I would like. It's comfy though and I'm still deciding if it will get worn.

So, some success and some fails - my typical sewing story. My overlocker and sewing machine really fought me on these makes...skipped stiches and the like. Sigh.

I'm glad I have these three projects out of the way though as they've been my roadblock to embarking on any new projects...

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Experimental Marianne Dress #2

For my second Marianne Dress I've left off the sleeves in an attempt to make a more summery dress...only problem is that this thick, polyester-esque fabric from Spotlight is not very summery at all. I was busy chatting at the time of purchase so didn't spend enough time concentrating on the feel/drape of the fabric nor the fabric content. This stuff feels like it's made from garbage bags. Oooff.

Fabric choices aside, whilst I think this version is "ok" it's not particulary comfortable. Despite dropping the front neckline a little I still find it too high -- and it's too high up on my shoulders -- so I feel claustrophobic in it. A bit more fiddling needs to be done before it's wearable for me (I'm thinking of copying the neckline of the Casual Lady Dress as that's a better fit on me at the neckline).

I've added an inch to the length which is a good decision as now it hits right on the knees - a good length for me. I finished the arms with a band, but the fabric is too stiff so they stick up. I cannot decide if I need to make the armholes smaller or just find a more floppy fabric (I'm thinking the later).

I really love the stripey fabric and am desperate to find something more drapey...I think I'm going to buy the bullet and buy some from as the ponti from them seems to be more...soft. Let's hope the exchange rate is being kind!

Pattern: Marianne Dress by Christine Haynes
Size: 18
Modifications: added 2" to the neckband
Fabric: ponti-like fabric from Spotlight
Changes for next time: have a bit of a play with the neckline -- make it less...suffocating!

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Ooh look, another Maria Denmark kimono tee

I'll keep this short as you've seen a thousand of these on me lately - it's another Maria Denmark "Kristen Kimono Tee".

The fabric is an 85cm remnant picked up from Tessuti for the bargain price of $9.35. The fabric is the same as that used for this Mandy Boat Tee - just a different colourway with narrower stripes. It feels nice to wear and was pretty easy to sew with.

Even though I thought my last kimono tee was a bit...small, I decided not to go up a size and this one fits okay. Not sure what that's about...but I'll take it. I shortened the length by about 1" as I've felt my others were a big long. I could probably go a bit shorter. Again, much pooling on the back but, whatever, I can't see it!

...and I also sewed this one with a neckband and I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out (though next time I'll make it a tad wider). I thought I'd try top-stitching the neckband with a triple stitch rather than a small zigzag and I HATE the way it looks - so heavy and messy. Won't be doing that again. I have seen someone on Instagram just use a long straight stitch for neckband top-stitching so I'll give that a go next time. I did zigzag the arm hems and my machine decided to skip a few stitches so this top is not as "neat" as I'd like, but it's very wearable so wear it I shall. Once the weather warms up!


Pattern: "Kristen Kimono Tee" by Maria Denmark
Size: size 3XL (no seam allowance added); with size 4XL at the shoulders
Modifications: none
Fabric: Remnant from Tessuti (Viscose + Elastaine)
Changes for next time: none

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Moneta/Lady Skater mash-up

I started this toile back in February and finally finished it today - talk about a slow make!  I bought the Moneta Dress pattern when it was first released and sat on it for about two years - mostly put off by the "gathered elastic waistband" which seemed tricky and destined for failure.

In February I decided to give the Moneta bodice a try with the circle skirt from the Lady Skater Dress (that I've made a few times but the bodice is just too small for me). I cut the Moneta bodice in an XL and it was, really really small. Ugh. I had enough fabric to recut the bodice in a 2XL (despite my measurements firmly putting me in the XL camp) so I cut it out last night and sewed up a rough toile today. The dress is unfinished but I have a good idea of how it fits.

Well, it fits so that's great! BUT...the neckline on the front bodice is higher than the back which is fine, but I feel like I'm choking, so I'll lower the front. The armholes are also really high - like right up in my armpit which is kinda uncomfortable so I'm going to lose 1cm from the bottom of the front and back armhole and subsequently will add 1cm to the front and back of the sleeve piece. There some excess fabric under the arms (on the bodice) but I think I'll leave that alone as I don't know how to fix it. I don't like the shape at the hem of the sleeve piece either as it's tricky to overlock so I'm going to copy the shape of the sleeve sides/hem from the Lady Skater as well as the length of the Lady Skater sleeve as I think this will be a little too short when hemmed.

I think it looks "okay" from the back and I don't need to loose any length from the bodice even though it does catch on my bum a bit (big bum problems = don't care). The skirt length is good - it has 1" added to the length of the hem from when I tried to make a Lady Skater.

I've not finished the dress because as it is I won't wear it and it's not 100% comfortable. When I make the real thing I will add a neckband to the neck rather than turning under and stitching as that finish never works for me. I also didn't add elastic to the waist to stop it stretching out as this was a toile, but will do so for the "real deal".

From all the changes I've listed it sounds like this is a total dud, but it's a good experiment and "if" I can implement the changes mentioned above it might become a good TNT pattern.


Pattern: Moneta Dress by Colette Patterns (bodice) + Lady Skater Dress by Kitschy Koo (skirt)
Size: Moneta Bodice = 2XL + Lady Skater Skirt = 8
Modifications: so many (see above)
Fabric: thin ponti-like fabric from Girl Charlee USA
Changes for next time: so many (see above)

Sunday, 21 August 2016

A test run of the Marianne Dress

I have had this pattern in my stash for AGES...bought when Christine Haynes was having a sale. I snapped it up and it sat unused for about a year. I guess I was having my love affair with the Gaby Dress (sewn in a knit) so this got pushed to the back.

Initially I was going to sew the Maria Denmark Kimono Tee as a dress, but them remembered this pattern is similar in shape, just slightly more flared, and with a sleeve option. The fabric is a thin ponti-like fabric, bought for $7/m from a store in Cabramatta. I decided to add the sleeves this time around, even though for summer it'll be sans sleeves.

Overall this dress is not bad although it is going to get cut up and made into a Mabel Skirt.

The dress fits which is always my number 1 criteria for success. I did find the sleeve piece required a little bit of stretching to attach to the cap sleeve which I think has created some pulling/stretching on the sleeve piece making it not very comfortable. Next time I would add a bit to the sleeve piece so I don't have to stretch it to make it fit. I might also add 1" to the length...cover those knees up. The neckline is WAY to high for my liking and have already made an alteration to the pattern piece to drop it down I bit. I actually added 2" to the neckband and if I hadn't the neck would've been even smaller *chokes*.

I'm sure this dress looks OK in the photos (minus my standard fabirc-pooling-above-the-butt-thing) but in real life the colouring of the fabric does not suit me at all....I think it's all that beige up near my face. It will make a nice skirt though worn with a grey marle tee for summer.


Pattern: Marianne Dress by Christine Haynes
Size: 18
Modifications: added 2" to the neckband
Fabric: thin ponti-like fabric from Cabramatta
Changes for next time: add 1" to the hem line; add about 1cm to the sleeve piece (at the highest point); lower neckline, add at least 2" to the neckband.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Two more Mandy Boat Tees

I had a VERY productive sewing weekend, turning out two (very wearable) Mandy Boat Tees. The fabric for both was initially bought to experiment with lengthening the Maria Denmark Kimono Tee into a dress - but then I got lazy and thought I'd go with the Christine Haynes Marianne Dress (which is A-line) and thus I didn't have enough fabric from my change of plans.

Sadly, after I washed this fabric I found that it had a hole right in the middle of it. Could be the fault of the manufacturer (or someone else along the way) or perhaps my washing machine got hungry? Either way this fabric is LOVELY and I stitched up the hole and it's now tucked away in the it doesn't exist. The hem and sleeve hems are quite wide (2" and 1" respectively) which I really like so I copied that across to my second weekend make. Like always, the pattern has been lengthened (by 9cm) and the arm hole lowered and about 1cm added to each side of the sleeve piece. The pattern is one size fits all - but if you have bigger upper arms you might need to adjust to accommodate.

Also, please let's take a moment to admire my AWESOME stripe matching. It's fiddly trying to lay out the fabric so that the stripes are cut properly and then to match them when pinning. I had to do a bit of lopping bits off the end of the front piece to get things lined up...but whatever, it looks good. Now.

...and, Mandy Boat Tee #2. The print on this fabric is really colourful though it's not quite as sturdy as the stripes (I've hung it up for a few days on a wooden hanger and think the neck has stretched out a bit...oops). I think it'll be a good piece as the weather warms up now that the end of winter is here.


Pattern: Mandy Boat Tee by Tessuti
Size: One size fits...most
Modifications: lengthened by 9cm (I think it's a bit long), the sleeves/arms made bigger for me a sewing class I did at Tessuti.
Fabric: Viscose knit from Tessuti (here and here)
Changes for next time: might lop off a few cms at the hem

Monday, 15 August 2016

Wintry Mable Skirt

When I bought the fabric for my second Linden Sweaterdress I received a bit of extra fabric for free *happy dance* as it was the end of the roll. There was *just* enough for a Mabel Skirt so that's what I made.

Not much to report on this as I've made so many (though I made the waist elastic too big TWICE so unpicking that was fun...not...and to be honest the third attempt is still not snug enough). Again I cannot be bothered to get all dressed up for blog photos so here it is...on the floor. I've not worn this skirt yet, but it might get a whirl when it's bare legs weather. I actually don't love it for some reason...

Pattern: "Mabel Skirt" by Colette Patterns
Size: XL, sewn with 3/8" seam allowance
Modifications: 5cm elastic waistband (added 10cm to the pattern to accommodate for this), 16.5cm added to length, pegged in the bottom by 0.5cm at each seam (so 2cm in total).
Fabric:  Diamonds On Navy from Tessuti - a Grey/Black Italian Stretch Embossed Jacquard Knit Poly/Wool/Elastane
Changes for next time: note to self: 37 1/2" inch of the soft elastic, hem edges on overlocker using the white marker and then 1" overlap.