Thursday, 23 November 2017

Seamwork Sadie jumper

Is there anything more magical than when a toile (aka stunt garment) turns into something that you can actually wear. In public. I think not!

Behold my very wearable toile of the Seamwork Saide jumper that I whipped last Sunday. I wanted to make this jumper as I thought it might be a good item to take with me to Japan when we go for Christmas/NYE. The fabric is from the Remnant Warehouse - definitely 100% synthetic and only wearable in the depths of winter when breathability isn't really an issue. I do like the colour though - you certainly won't miss me in a crowd (coupled with my red beanie I'll look like a Christmas tree...hmmm).

This was a very easy sew - so much so that I left the printed booklet at work and didn't suffer from not having the instructions. I did read them online however and decided to stabilise the shoulder seams with some clear elastic which is not a step included in the instructions. I think this would be a good introduction into sewing knits.

Turtlenecks aren't really my thing - I don't feel the are all that compatible with big boobs, but I'm willing to go with it for a big, drapey cowl.

The pattern does come with patch pockets but I left those off as I think that if not done properly/neatly the really make a garment look "home sewn" in the worst possible way.

My only quibble with the pattern is the fact that the front piece (on the bottom in this photo) is longer than the back piece (the top layer of paper in the photo below). Surely that can't be right, can it? Either way...I'll level them up for next time.


PatternSeamwork Sadie jumper
Size: XL (from their Curvy Block)
Modifications:  none other than stablising the shoulder seams
Fabric: mystery knit from the Remnant Warehouse - don't stand near any open flames in this garment as it might melt!
Changes for next time: Fix up the length of the back piece so it's not shorter than the front. 

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Something fishy - Simplicity 1366 top

How amazing is the print on this fabric? Rhetorical question, so no need to answer! It's from Clear It in Melbourne and I've been seeing it pop up on sewists blogs and Instagram's for the last two years or so. Sadly it had well and truly sold out by the time I got myself to Clear It so I'm very lucky that Anna had some in her stash which she sent up to me. Thank you Anna!!!

I had just over a meter of fabric to play with; and the fabric is quite thin and floaty (so different to the fabric content Anna speaks about on her blog - I think there were two bolts of this print floating around Clear It). It seems perfect for a little summer tee and I'm happy that I could fit the Simplicity 1366 onto the fabric.

There's not much to say about the sewing of this top - as it's pretty much the same as the other two I've made. I stuck with lengthening the pattern by 7.5cm. I don't think I've mentioned it before but I don't use the neckband piece supplied with the pattern - instead I grab the piece from either my Ebony Tee or Marianne Dress as they are wider and thus easier to worth with (especially where the fabric is a little fiddly as this was with the neckband).

I think this looks good with pants, and I'm yet to see how it'll work with a more floaty skirt (it might be a smidge too long). I think it will work well with my many Mabel Skirts too! This is how I wore it out to lunch yesterday - very comfortable!


PatternSimplicity 1366
Size: 18
added 7.5cm to the length, added 1cm to both the side of the front and back neckline and dropped the front neckline a bit. Shortened the sleeves by 5cm.
Fabric: Fishy knit fabric from Clear It in Melbourne thanks to Anna

Changes for next time: none

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Sewaholic's Rae Skirt

Instagram tells me that I started this Sewaholic Rae Skirt on the 19th August 2016 and I just finished it this weekend - so that's oh, 15 months? Talk about slow sewing!

I have no idea why I gave up before last summer but it seems like a dumb move on my part as I think it would have been a useful addition to the wardrobe, and I could've also taken it to Vietnam with me.  

I think I decided making the waistband casing for the elastic was a pain, and then I always stumble with elastic (finding the right kind that's soft and comfy, making sure it's *just* the right length. I thought the Chambray (bought from Tessuti Fabrics) would be too poufy but I think it's ok now that I see it on myself (with my #simplicity1366 top in a knit). Also, please note this is NOT A KNIT. 

This is a fairly simple sew, aimed at beginners as it's sans nasty zippers and button holes. The skirt has quite a few panels that reduce the poufiness of an elastic waisted skirt and I think I slowed things down by top-stitching down each seam but it does mean that things will sit nice and flat when I wear it. 

And a note to say that my waist measurement is MUCH bigger than the biggest size shown here so if you're curvy this could work for you. 


PatternSewaholic Rae Skirt
Size: 16
Chambray (bought from Tessuti Fabrics)
Changes for next time: none, though perhaps a bit longer would be good

Monday, 16 October 2017

A new lease on life - Simplicity 1366

This fabric was made into a Maria Denmark Kristen Kimono Tee at the beginning of 2016 (post here). It got a lot of wear back then but not so much these days. I had bought a bit extra (like 90 cm) of the fabric as I wanted to remake the tee with a neckband this time (I have a BAD habit of re-buying fabric so I can have a do-over, so silly) but a few weeks ago I decided to re-purpose the fabric from the original tee and combine it with my 90cms to make another Simplicity 1366.

I added about 3cm to the hem of the top to make it just a fraction longer so I can wear it comfortably with pants or pencil skirts. I wore it out today (after finishing it today) with my culottes and think the length worked really well. That said I do really like the length of the first Simplicity 1366 tee I made as it's good with fuller skirts.

The neckband is top stitched with a longer straight stitch as are the sleeves (the stitching on those is a big...messed up, I think the thread was playing up in the bobbin). The hem is done with a zigzag to ensure it has some stretch.

Just look at that neckband - they still make me as nervous as anything so I'm always pleased/shocked when they work out well!


PatternSimplicity 1366
Size: 18
added 7.5cm to the length, added 1cm to both the side of the front and back neckline and dropped the front neckline a bit. Shortened the sleeves by 5cm.
Fantasia (Italian printed - 97% Viscose + 3% Spandex jersey knit)
Changes for next time: none

Giant (?) crocheted t-shirt yarn bathmat

I have to say that I'm just a big fond the Spaghetti Yarn section at Lincraft! And my local store seems to have a GREAT variety of colours and patterns on offer. It does make deciding what to buy for projects somewhat difficult (a nice problem to have).

After I had taken the Crochet Basket class at Workshop I had my mind set on making a bathmat out of the same type of yarn. Never mind that a circle shape mat wouldn't really fit the floor space in our bathroom.

I decided that I needed a pattern for the rug (even though I really did - I could've used the basket pattern) so I found one online at Chompa Handmade. I really only used it to get started however as I adjusted things as I went to try and avoid some of the buckling that you can see happening below (I think that means I've increased things too fast)? The rug is as big as all the yarn I had -- I didn't want any scraps left over.

Ta da - bathmat in situ!

This thing has been in constant use since I finished it and the rippling has smoothed from us standing on it every day. I would definitely like to make another one at some point in the not-to-distant future.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Megan Nielsen's Veronika Skirt

I've been wanting to make a knit Megan Nielsen's Veronika Skirt since I tried on @_busylizzie's about 18 months ago...and this week it finally happened. Going by their measurements the Megan Nielsen patterns are WAY too small for me (by about 12cm in the waist for this pattern) but the knit version of this skirt fits so I'm glad to try Liz's before I went through the effort of sewing my own....or more to the point, ignoring the pattern completely!

I wasn't sure what to pair this skirt with so have tried it on with a tucked-in Maria Denmark Kimono Tee and (in an unusual sartorial move for me) a tucked in tee. I think it looks good with both tops but I do find the untucked top more comfortable and more..."me".

This was an incredibly easy sew - just two pattern pieces: the waistband and the skirt piece (which is the same piece for the front and the back). It's a full circle skirt so there is a lot of fabric here and my fabric (a "supplex lycra" from My Hung) is not quite a drapey as I feel it should be for the volume of fabric in this skirt. That said, the fabric was very easy to sew with and although the fabric tag said "no ironing" I gave it a light press when sewing to get rid of bumpy overlocked seams. 

Because the fabric is a knit and doesn't fray I could have left it totally unhemmed but I had not cut it out particularly neatly (think drunk Edward Scisscorhands type cutting) so it was looking a tad...ragged. I've overlocked the hem but hveot turned it up and stitched as I think that would affect the nice drape I have going on here. Because it's black stitching on black fabric I think I can get away with this...

The waistband casing is sewn on first and the elastic threaded through a gap and the sewn into a loop. As always I dithered about with how tight to make the elastic as I find there's a VERY fine line between too tight and too loose. I think I got it pretty much "just right'...though I have to confess this anxiety about the waistband is one of the reasons I put off sewing this skirt for SO LONG!

The skirt is good for twirling!


PatternMegan Nielsen's Veronika Skirt 
Size: size XL
Modifications: none 
"supplex lycra" from My Hung
Changes for next time: none

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Put a bird on it - Simplicity 1336

Firstly, are you as gobsmacked as I am that I found this beautiful fabric at Lincraft? I mean, they do have some nice fabrics from time to time but it's a bit hit and miss. This coupled with how messy they fabric section of their stores can get means I don't go in as often as I used to. I popped into my local store a few weeks ago when I was having my car fixed next door and...jackpot! This fabric is SO pretty and reminds of a Leona Edmiston print.

At first I thought I might make this fabric into another Ebony Tee or even a McCall's 6886 dress but in the end I went with my trusty Simplicity 1366 top lengthened into a dress. The fabric is fairly draprey so I think this is most successful top to dress hack so far. The sleeve heads sit nicely - up until now they've been a bit lumpy bumpy and I guess that is due to fabric choice. 

I'm just not *quite* sure about the length of the dress - it feels like it should be an inch shorter as I think it looks a bit dowdy in this length. I'm thinking about unpicking the hem and lopping of an inch and re-hemming but I just know it won't be as nice and straight as it is nice. Whilst I say I'd like to do this I'm pretty lazy so I really doubt I'll go through with it.

And, the back view! There's less pooling above my butt than normal but again I'm guessing this is down to the fabrics drape.

Attaching the neckline is still the moment in sewing where I hold my breath and hope like hell it all turns out OK. This time it did - phew! I've been using the "jewel neckband" from the Closet Casefiles Ebony Tee (size 20 neckband) as I like that it's wide, ergo, somewhat less fiddly to fold over and attach.


PatternSimplicity 1366
Size: 18
Modifications Dress:  added 17.5" to the length of the top, added 1cm to both the side of the front and back neckline and dropped the front neckline a bit. Shortened the sleeves by 5cm. Took 1cm off the CB fold. 

Printed Mercury Jersey Fabric from Lincraft (95% Polyester, 5% Spandex)
Changes for next time: nada 

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Ceramic Jewellery Class - Sew Make Create

Another weekend means another class! This time I'm learning how to make ceramic jewellery at Sew Make Create in Chippendale. I won a $50 voucher with them via an Instagram competition so that helped fund this class.

I did have an idea of what I wanted to make in the class but I'm not quite sure I got there in the end. I think I tried to make too many pieces in the class to try and safeguard against pieces potentially breaking in the kiln and this didn't give me enough time to really finish any of the pieces nicely. I also think a bit more time spent pre-planning exactly what I wanted to do would've served me well.

I thought I might make my ceramic balls for studs but they didn't fare well when I got to the pre-glazing stage so were written off. The beads I made broke in the kiln but I'm OK with that. All of the pendants I made survived and some of them are good - some are too big and heavy for me to wear (I have a bad neck so can only wear light pendants). The smaller round pieces were intended for earrings but I think they are a bit too thick and heavy so I need to think about what I would do with them. I also put the holes too far down in all of my pieces so using jump rings isn't working. There's a reason they say hindsight is 20:20...

I picked up my fired pieces from Sew Make Create yesterday...and here they are!

I have to confess - this piece of ceramic was an example by the teacher. I snaffled it, sanded it and then pre-glazed it. I quite like it - but I'm trying to think of how I can incorporate one of the smaller, similarly decorated pieces in to it.

I had really wanted to make a semi-circular pendant and have ended up with three. It's funny that the blue one is, aesthetically speaking (to me), the best looking piece as I actually ran out time to pre-glaze it hence the sightly washed out look.

I have a lot more pieces to play around with at home - I suspect I'll string up a few more and then cut my losses with the others.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

#ebonyTee - just two more (for now)

Yes, I know! MORE Ebony Tee's...haven't I got anything better to do? Well yes (actually no - so if you have any pattern suggestions please let me know)...but these are different as I've added one inch to the length so I can wear them with my tighter pants...more butt coverage! It's funny how just one inch has made all of the difference to how I perceive my outfits.

The first top is in a polyester elastaine from My Hung in Parramatta and I just LOVE the print! It was quite slinky to sew with but nothing too bad. My overlocker behaved perfectly until it got to the neckdband and then it skipped stitches like a $%$#@$!!! My sewing machine was also skipping stitches all over the place. Honestly.

I've sewn the sleeve as drafted for the "wristlet" length.

NOTE how I'm wearing my new me-made silver clay earrings and necklace!
View of the back - butt area sufficiently covered. I LOVE THIS TOP!

Top number two is sewn in a super slippery polyester elastaine bought from Spotlight ages ago. If you've been with this blog for awhile you'll remember this dress made in the same fabric.

This very "twee" heart fabric is somewhat thinner than the first fabric here and my God - it was slipping and sliding all over the place - very frustrating, especially when putting on the neckband *deep breathes*. My overlocker was still playing up (the fabric isn't really being cut by the knife and just curls up inside the stitches and makes a massive, lumpy mess). I threaded the whole thing, dusted it out, changed the needles and re-threaded it and it seems to be...okay!

Again...acceptable levels of butt coverage.

I'm not sure how long this top will last - the fabric is very delicate and I've already snagged it a few times on a rough fingernail. Sigh.


Pattern: Closet Case Files "Ebony Tee"
Size: 16, wristlet sleeves, jewel neckline
Modifications:  added 7.5" to the length. Rolled hem.
Fabric: as above
Changes for next time: none for View B

Monday, 24 July 2017

A class in Precious Metal Clay

I attended a really great workshop on the weekend at the Sydney Jewellery School (which recently moved from Rosebery to Parramatta - how lucky for me)! The class was all about making silver jewellery with Precious Metal Clay (PMC). I first became aware of PMC through Marialla Walker's Instagram (here and here). There is seriously no craft this lady has not tried - inspirational!

Wikipedia tells us that "Metal clay is a crafting medium consisting of very small particles of metal such as silver...mixed with an organic binder and water for use in making jewelrybeads and small sculptures. Originating in Japan in 1990, metal clay can be shaped just like any soft clay, by hand or using molds. After drying, the clay can be fired in a variety of ways such as in a kiln, with a handheld gas torch, or on a gas stove, depending on the type of clay and the metal in it. The binder burns away, leaving the pure sintered metal."

I was attracted to this class as it is actually something you can do at home if you want -- no need for a kiln, just a creme brulee torch and you're off! I'm already dabbling in polymer clay at home so this seemed like a good "next step".

These are so of the examples our teacher brought to class - all made by her (I'm coveting the ring in the very bottom right)
Our teacher Donna was great - very very patient! And I think she brought with her every gadget and tool in her workshop which we were free to use. The first hour of the class was spent being shown various techniques in working with the clay (PMC3) and then we were encouraged to plan out what we wanted to do before opening up the clay and letting it go hard (this stuff is not cheap at ~$50 for 16g so it was very good advice).

Sixteen grams of clay is not a lot and in way I'm glad as I kept my wishlist small and simple and went for two pendants and two sets of earrings. I also had enough for a little heart (made from a mould) that I have given to Dave...he has no idea what to do with, but I can't wear it so I don't want it! I do wish I had made the shapes of the earrings different from each other as they look a bit "same same" but you live and learn!
This is the clay, once it has been rolled out and had a textured surface applied by pushing it into a rubber or metal mat. Shapes are cut out using a pin from a shaped stencil - easy!

The school has a kiln so most of our pieces went into the kiln for firing (took 30 minutes to do this). As you can also fire PMC3 using a kitchen blow touch Donna showed us how to do this too. I wasn't going to embark on this as a hobby at home but I'm kind of running out of space to put all my crafting stuff...but I feel like the seed has been sewn and it might just happen. I didn't have a go at using the blow torch but I kind of wish I had now. 

Once the clay comes out of the kiln it has become 99.9% pure silver though it still looks like white clay. Once you've gone at it with a wire brush the silver surface is revealed. In order to get a good shine on your piece you need to go at it with a bevel (?)...which I kind of did, but to be honest it all looked shiny enough to me. 

Here I am wearing one pair of my new earrings at work - LOVE them!

The Sydney Jewellery School has loads of great classes - I can see myself enrolling in more classes here. 

Flower Power McCall's 6886 - a toile (x 2)

Ever on the quest to find the "perfect dress pattern" for myself I was quite taken by Kirsten's striped version of McCalls 6886. I wasn't quite sure if the pattern (found here) would work for me as it was a bit more snug at the waist than I'd normally wear - but once I had the idea in my head I couldn't get past it.

The dress I'm wearing isn't my original toile (which I had made in the exact same fabric from My Hung in Parramatta) as my overlocker ate the sleeves when I was trying to take them in a bit. The sleeves are VERY wide (I made the size 24 based on my measurements) so I wanted them to be more slim as they made the dress look too big and frumpy as they were drafted - my overlocker had other ideas. The blade refused to cut the material and the whole thing ended up a great big mess. Luckily My Hung still has this fabric in-store so I bought a bit more and tried again.

I've sewn View C with the long sleeves and higher neckline (though I did drop the front a little bit as choking on my necklines isn't my thing at all).  The shoulders are not quite sitting where I think they should and they look a bit like "dropped sleeves" - I could fix this but I don't think it's too bad (and to be honest I'm not sure how to fix it without stuffing things up on future makes so I'll let dropped shoulders drop).

I did make a few other changes to the pattern - namely I added a neckband as the "turn over and stitch down" method never works for me...I just cannot get things to sit nicely. I also removed 1.5cm from the shoulder height and sewed the shoulder seams with my overlocker (using clear elastic to stabilize the seams) rather than using my sewing machine with a 1.5cm seam allowance (that just seems wrong on knits to me). I took the sleeves up by 1.5" and in at the wrists by 1cm on each side (tapering up to nothing under the arms). The sleeves are still a bit too wide at the wrists so I might slim them down a smidge more on my next make.

I really like the finished dress - in fact I'm wearing it to work today. My only niggle is that the neckband is not sitting as flat against the back of my neck as I would like. I did have to attach the neckband twice as the first time it was just too big (why! the neckband on my botched toile was so so perfect)!

I really like this dress and would like to find some nice fabric to make another one for winter - and of course I have ideas for summer versions of this too. I did start to sew another one at home but the fabric is not stretchy enough so it's not very comfy. Sigh.


Pattern: McCall's 6886
Size: 24, View C with the long sleeves and higher neckline
Modifications: (see above)
Fabric: 20% Polyester/78% Rayon/2% Spandex from My Hung in Parramatta
Changes for next time: none. 

Thursday, 20 July 2017

A beanie for Dave

I decided on the way to work one morning that I was going to make Dave a beanie...lucky Dave! I was just looking for a small project to take on that I could do on the commute to/from work each day and a beanie is something that I think can be relatively easy. Sadly he said a firm NO to me adding a pom pom to it.

I found the pattern on Ravelry after searching for super-dooper easy crochet beanies for beginners (it also has a youTube video which helped a LOT). The wool is from The Granny Square in Newtown - of course! I like going there as I can bring along the pattern and they'll help me pick the correct wool and hook. I find wool so confusing (DK, worsted, WTF) so getting help is wondeful!

I had SO much trouble getting this beanie started -- I thought I'd be off to a good start and then lose count of the stitches somewhere along the way. I must have started about six times but I finally go there in the end and made good progress over a few weeks.

The pattern comes with instructions on fitting for a male or female head (aka big head vs smaller head) and I did end quite a few more rows than the suggested fourteen rows as that was WAY too small for Dave's head. I had initially finished it with a single stitch but pulled that out as it wasn't stretchy and felt uncomfortable to wear. Since he's started to wear it it has stretched a bit in length so could do with being one row shorter but he's happy to leave it as is...

And here is the finished product on Dave...I think he likes it. I mean, he's worn it without me forcing him to wear it which is nice. I don't think it looks homemade in a bad would just look better with a pom pom on top!

I have a bit of wool left over from this project - enough to make a pom pom infact! And I've bought myself another ball of this wool so will make a beanie for myself.