Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Me Made May Round-up: the end

A snapshot of my me-mades that got worn throughout Me Made May...a total of 20 items worn over 27 days. This is pretty impressive considering I'd only challenged myself to wearing me-made twice a week. Next year I need to up the ante.
2 necklaces
3 scarves
2 cardigans
3 skirts
2 "jackets"
1 dress
7 tops
I would REALLY like to find a dress pattern that works for me as this a massive hole in my me-made arsenal...and I love dresses so this makes me sad. I also like wearing pants (jeans and jeggings) but have no me-made pants but that doesn't worry me too much.
Overall I found it easy to wear the me-mades in my wardrobe though some are more comfortable than others.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Me Made May Round-up: week 4

Wrapping up week 4 of Me Made May...we're on the downhill slide now.

I wore something me-made again every day last week...and it actually wasn't that hard (though I do wonder if I could wear something me-made everyday for an entire month)? It helped that the weather in Sydney is getting cooler so I was able to pull out one of my Linden Sweatshirts plus my Seamwork Oslo Cardigan (that I didn't really like when I made it but now I'm pretty keen on it).

After last weekends sewing I also had a new "Our Fave Top" and two new scarves to add into the mix.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Brooklyn Coat by Tessuti

The Brooklyn Coat pattern was released by Tessuti a few weeks ago. Like the Sydney Coat it's intended to be sewn with a boiled wool, leaving the seams exposed. I saw a sample of the coat in-store before it was released and got to try it in. I really REALLY liked it so as soon as the pattern was released I sewed up my version.

Stupid me disobeyed the fabric guidelines and made this from a wool that does fray - I thought it wouldn't matter (you know, sew it with a triple stitch so it doesn't fray into the seams) but I really think the coat does not look good in this fabric. It needs that "bobliness" of a boiled wool so the stitches sink in to the fabric and the seams sit well but I just couldn't afford to buy the fabric from Tessuti. It's lovely but just way beyond my budget .  I bought this lovely, soft wool from Nomura Tailor in Kyoto so it's a "bit special" but to be honest I wasn't quite sure what I was going to do with it (I had cape plans, but meh...) so I'm not too sad it's turned into something I probably won't wear. I'm just glad it's out of the stash.

Looking at the photos of this coat on me it does look too big, but it's actually not (the fit is intended to be "oversized"). If anything I could do with a smidgen more room across the butt area and perhaps even a bit more at the front so I can overlap it more and really snuggle into it when the weather gets cold. I wonder if I can make the collar larger too?

The pattern has side, patch pockets that I initially sewed on the wrong way as the photo in the pattern instructions booklet is too zoomed in for me to make out what is the top of the pocket (I also found this a problem with some of the photos in the Sydney Jacket). Derp. I'll know better for next time. I also need to move the pockets forward at least 1.5" as they sit too far back for me to comfortably put my hands in. That's an very easy fix. The pattern also has back patch pockets but I've let those off as it's just a bit too "cool" for this old lady.

Close up of the pockets - after I'd spent 90 minutes unpicking the triple stitching and stitched them on the right way. I used the fabric selvedge for the pocket edge (where my hands go in)...but you can see in this photo how the woven wool does not really work for exposed seams of this pattern. I also have no bothered to totally finish the sleeves on the jacket - they are meant to have a cuff on them, but I just couldn't be bothered to be honest as I'm not going to wear this.

...and back view.  Also deciding if the length is too long.

Initially I wasn't going to make this pattern again as I'm not sure of the fit on me but the more I think about it the more I want to try it in a boiled wool before discounting it entirely (I found a nice wool for $30p/m at Pitt Trading).


Pattern: "Brooklyn Coat" by Tessuti
Size: XL, sewn with 3/8" seam allowance
Modifications: None
Fabric: Wool from Nomura Tailor in Kyoto
Changes for next time: Sew an XL, but perhaps make it shorter! Move the pockets forward, perhaps make the collar bigger and add a bit more width to the front panels and also to the back if I can figure out how to do that

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Our Fave Top #4

Here we go again! Another "Our Fave Top" by Tessuti patterns made in the same fabric as my most recent make, but bought whilst in Melbourne last year. I *think* the fabric is from Rathdowne Fabrics but I cannot quite remember now?

My rolled hem didn't produce the nice "fluted hem" this time around...not sure why. Overlockers are very temperamental things. I do like the hem, but I would've LOVED for it to be nice and wavy.

I did change the side seams a little bit this time around.  The pattern is drafted in such a way that you can easily turn the slopped hem under to stitch but I don't need this as I don't hem my top. Instead I just brought the side seams down to a might be able to see what I'm talking about in this photo. Also, I'm aware I look 20 month pregnant in the photo on the left, but that's just the effect of having big boobs!

So I wore this top to work today have so far gotten FOUR unsolicited compliments on it. FOUR! Three of the people actually had no idea I sew so I was quite chuffed to say "oh this? I made it myself"! I'm sure that there will be more "Our Fave Tops" in my future...but I think I have enough for now (though I would like to make one with full length sleeves for winter...if winter ever arrives in Sydney that is).


Pattern: "Our Fave Top" by Tessuti
Size: One size fits...most
Modifications: added an extra 0.5cm (so a total now of 1.5cm) to the width each sleeve piece which continued under the arm and tapered off to zero at the bust. Lengthened sleeve by 5cm and added a cuff.
Fabric: from Rathdowne Fabric in Melbourne (maybe?)
Changes for next time: none

Simple scarf making

I recently picked up two smallish pieces of silk at various sewists meet ups.  Both were too small for a garment (also I don't really wear woven garments so not great loss), but perfectly sized for scarves. I wear scarves every day when the weather is cooler so the fate of these two pieces of silk was determined the day I took them home.

In order to get the length I wanted I cut both pieces of fabric in half width ways and then joined them together using a (I think) flat-felled type seam. It's not ideal to have a great big seam running down the center back of any scarf but needs must.

I finished the edges with a rolled-hem on the overlocker. It's not THAT hard to change thread on the overlocker and I already had the rolled hem set up from an earlier project so took the opportunity to get these two small projects out of the way.

And the end we go:

I wore the blue scarf out for a supermarket dash on Sunday and I love it! The print is definitely my style and as the fabric is quite soft the back seam isn't noticeably felt when I'm wearing it. The creamy scarf was worn to work yesterday. I find the fabric quite "twee" and not really my style but it was lovely to wear and garnered an unsolicited compliment so that's always nice.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Me Made May Round-up: week 3

Impressively (at least to me) I wore something me-made each day last week, and apart from my shibori scarf (that I want to wear EVERYDAY) nothing was repeated.

Once again I'm killing my lame challenge of two me-mades each week so next year I'll up the ante. Gloating aside, I also said that I was going to finish my toile of the Moneta Dress but confession: it's not going to happen as I have so many other things that I want to make first.

The weather in Sydney continues to be totally schizophrenic, with outfits going from bare legs and Mabel Skirts to rugged up in Sydney Jackets. Some items are easy to reach for as I love them (black Mabel Skirt, khaki Sydney Jacket, black and white "Our Fave Top" and obviously the Shibori scarf) and others like the grey Sydney Jacket, red "Our Fave Top" and the butterfly ponti skirt are forced as I don't love them as they are flawed.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Adventures in crafting: Tapestry Weaving

A few weeks ago I attended a Tapestry Weaving workshop run by Textile Artist, Natalie Miller. Natalie is based in the Southern Highlands but was in Sydney running a series of workshops at the Thread + Colour exhibition that took place in April. The workshops were fairly cheap at $125 and you came home with your own loom and some wool so I jumped right on in.

Thread + Colour exhibition
I'm not sure why I wanted to embark on this/another craft, but I like dabbling in the hopes that a few, easy to do at home, crafty pursuits will stick. Unlike sewing, where precision is necessary - and then there's always fitting issues, weaving feels! There are obviously right and wrong ways to do things but it also feels wildly creative -- I embarked on my weaving in the class with no real plan, other than an idea of what colours I'd like to use.

We learnt the basic techniques in class which was enough to make a good start on a project and finish it off at home alone. I love how you can create different textures with the yarn and I especially love the thick wool called "roving" - it creates such a nice texture (and smells of lanolin which is lovely).

As with any hobby part of the fun is shopping so after I finished my first project I ordered some wool online from Natalie Miller and shortly after a "neutrals" pack turned up that allowed me to dive into my second project. There is A LOT of un-spun roving in this pack which is different to the roving we used in class (that was spun somewhat I guess) but I figured out you just pull it apart and go from there.

For my second project I used wool from the new pack and wool left over from class. Pretty happy with the result.I tried a new stitch called "Soumak stitch"...didn't work out quite right, but I'm not sure it matters too much.

Both weavings now have pride-of-place in the bedroom - I'm planning to pad all the vacant wall space in our flat with weavings! My office-buddy has suggested I make a hanging for our office...challenge accepted!

I'm really happy with the finished result of both of my projects -- but there is one stitch I couldn't quite get (damn you Soumak stitch) so I'm off to do another class with Natalie in Moss Vale in June. Cannot wait!

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Me Made May Round-up: week 2

Week 2 of Me Made May is all over Red Rover.

I wore a total of eight me-mades, though some - like my Shibori scarf - were worn more than once. 

The weather is still totally schizophrenic in Sydney...bare  legged in a Mabel Skirt one day and rugged up in a Sydney Jacket less than 24 hours later. This week featured two "Our Fave Top" one of which was fresh off the sewing machine and the other sporting two holes in it from trying to finish the neckline properly. Luckily I have more of the nice reddish fabric so I can remake the ruined "Our Fave Top". 

I've quite enjoyed  wearing my me-mades this week but it would be easier if the weather would pick a season. 

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Our Fave Top #3

This is my third version of Tessuti's "Our Fave Top" and I don't think it will be my last. I love the way I can be VERY lazy with this top and finish the it with a rolled-hem on the overlocker. The top looks great with textured or wrinkly fabric - like this fabric brought from The Remnant Warehouse.

I sewed this top up yesterday morning -- it look about 3 hours including cutting time -- and then wore it into the city for lunch. For this version I added 2.5cm to the sleeve length on top of the 2.5cm I'd added to the pattern previously. I also finished the sleeve with the cuff. I'm still finding the lower sleeve a bit tight so for my next version I'll add a bit more width to the sleeves.

I love the shape of the top from the's very voluminous, not sure if it's the best silhouette for me but life is too short to worry about stuff like that. I would like to add a bit of length to the top but not quite sure how to do that given the shape of the pattern. 


Pattern: "Our Fave Top" by Tessuti
Size: One size fits...most
Modifications: added 1cm to the width each sleeve piece which continued under the arm and tapered off to zero at the bust. Lengthened sleeve by 5cm and added a cuff.
Fabric: from The Remnant Warehouse
Changes for next time: add some more width to the sleeve

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Little leather clutch

About this time last year I bought this little leather remnant from The Fabric Store with the hopes of making a bag to take along to Melbourne Frocktails. If I couldn't make a dress successfully at least the bag would be made by me. Nope...things didn't quite work out.

I had initially wanted to install a closure for the bag that required punching and hammering...but it just didn't work out. I managed to un-pry the bent and dented closure without damaging the leather, but as I didn't know how to next proceed the bag was left in a dark drawer, mainly forgotten about.

Fast forward to our trip in Japan where I found these nifty little leather closures at my beloved Nomura Tailor. The closures screw in and just require a hole punched through both parts of the leather (bag and flap) in order to work. If you are looking for something similar this is the sort of thing and is available via etsy.

After I had the fundamentals of closing the bag sorted the rest was pretty simple. I had traced the shape of the bag I wanted onto some paper and then traced that onto the leather before cutting it out. I stuck each of the side seams down with Wondertape (don't pin leather as it will leave holes) and then stitched with my machine. I used a leather needle and I had bought special thread, but it wouldn't fit through my needle without shredding, so I just used it in the bobbin.  I also increased my stitch length a little bit. Things sewed OK but the machine was a bit clunky. Apparently if you increase the stitch length substantially things will be less clunky!

I'm pretty chuffed with this little bag and I'm going to take it to the upcoming High Tea I'm organising for the Sydney Spoolettes....under the same assumption that I won't be wearing a me-made dress, but at least something will be made by me!

Now that I have a small taste of sewing with letter I'm quite keen to make a simple tote with a pouch for my travel card and phone. Watch this space...

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Me Made May Round-up: week 1

Initially I was super keen to participate in Me Made May...and then the 1st May rolled around and it felt more like Me Made Meh.

Sydney weather is bizarrely warm for this time of year making it hard to get dressed each day as I'm never sure how hot I'm going to be. I've also put on a bit of weight so my me-mades from last year don't all fit and I feel like I don't have many options for this weird in between weather.

My challenge this year is to wear two me-mades per week, and despite feeling meh I accomplished that. I ended up wearing a "Our Fave Top", a Megan Longline Cardigan, my Shibori scarf and two me-made necklaces. I'm not sure if the necklaces really count, but I made them so I'm going to count them.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Black Megan Longline Cardigan

My wearable muslin of Tessuti's Megan Longline Cardigan has turned out to be one of my most worn me-mades. The fit is great, it's comfortable, the fabric, whilst super cheap, is a great colour and washes and wears so well. Needless to say I was super keen to make another one. In black.

I'm on a bit of budget at the moment so I was super frugal when shopping for fabric. I found this black merino wool/polypropylene fabric at The Fabric Store in Surry Hills for just $8/pm. Bargain. I think it's meant be for "active wear"...but, whatever! You can see from the photo below that one side is more "merino" looking and one looks like...recycled plastic bags.

I sewed the cardi with the merino looking side facing it has a nicer look than the other side. The fabric isn't as nice draping as my first version of this cardigan and it wasn't as easy to press (ie hot iron = melt your fabric). I was also sewing in a bit of a rush as I wanted to finish this all in one go so I could take my overlocker into to be serviced that same day. So I have a black cardigan, just not a lovely black cardigan.

I'm not sure there's much else to say about this make. It's an easy sew and takes a few hours. I didn't slim the sleeves down as I thought I might in my last post. Not sure why, but it means it fits comfortably over longer sleeve tops and dresses. 

Pattern: "Megan Longline Cardigan" by Tessuti
Size: XL, sewn with 3/8" seam allowance.
Modifications: 1cm added to the width of the neckband piece.
Fabric: Merino wool/polypropylene blend from The Fabric Store in Surry Hills.
Changes for next time: none