Pages

Monday, 19 June 2017

Shorty short Brooklyn Coat

Let me tell you a sad sad story, that does have a happy ending. Of sorts. 

I bought THIS BEAUTIFUL fabric for the Berlin Coat (and also for the Kyoto Vest which is why it looks familiar).  I had attempted the Berlin Coat the same weekend as this but it didn't go well for me (fabric s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d out terribly) so there was NO WAY I was risking this remaining 1.5m on that pattern. 



After much pattern tetris (and going down a size from the L-XL I previously made) I fit the Brooklyn Coat on to the fabric...except for I forgot you need TWO SLEEVES...so one is cut from a short scrap piece and against the grain. Thus the sleeves are quite short to ensure that the "spare" would fit on the scrap...I think designers call that "wristlet length".  But wait there's more! I didn't realise that the back pattern piece was folded up more than I intended (needed to shorten the coat to fit in my fabric) so the back was 14cm SHORTER THAN THE front which I discovered when sewing! 




So that is how I've ended up with a hip length, wristlet sleeved Brooklyn Coat!

I have to admit that it doesn't look too bad - but it's not what I set out to make (another 2" on the length would've been nice...or perhaps another 4cm) and I'm SO mad at myself as I feel like I have wasted this fabric despite all endeavors not to.


Apart form the unintentionally short coat and short sleeves, I cut the size S-M but added 1" to the fold of the back piece (so 2" in total) and thus added they same to the collar piece that joints on to the back. I felt the S-M would be too small and it would've been - the extra 2" across the back makes it wearable.

-----

PatternBrooklyn Coat by Tessuti
Size: S-M
Modifications:  as per the above blog post
Fabric: boiled wool from LOOM
Changes for next time: sigh...I don't even know where to start! 

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Crochet scarf

After my GIANT granny square blanket (still not finished, but almost....) got too big to commute to work with me I decided I need a smaller project that could come with me on the train each day, and also with me on my trip to Vietnam. It was great to have this on the plane with me - the flight went so fast, and it also kept me occupied in my hotel room at night.

Enter my first EVER crocheted scarf! It's a bit wonky as my tension is TIGHT then LOOSE then somewhere in the middle, but when it's around my neck you cannot tell! Plus it feels so nice to wear - so nice and soft!


The wool is from the Granny Square in Newtown and is an 8ply 100% Australian Merino. This colour is called Beluga Twist and whilst I really needed a plain black scarf I got distracted by this. I used five balls for this scarf (from memory) and at $10.90/ball it's not a cheap scarf; but for the entertainment value of making it I think it's a bargain.  In hindsight though I probably needed a wool that "split" less as I was using it -- something more beginner friendly. 


The pattern came from here (it's called the Straight Up Scarf) and was a very simple beginners pattern. The whole scarf is made using a double crochet - which is "the" stitch used for making granny squares...simple!


----

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Kyoto Vest by Tessuti (and me!)

This is a new pattern from Tessuti - a vest that can be made out of either boiled or non-boiled wool. I saw a sample of this in their Chatswood store last year and was really excited when it was released last month. I love the simple style of it and it is something I would definitely wear.


I had initially cut out some of my very precious non-boiled wool, bought in Kyoto, for this vest. Despite TWO attempts I could NOT get the yoke and neckpiece to fit together at the corner pivot point - the pieces just do not fit for me. At first I thought it was me - and that my printing/cutting out of the A4 PDF was off. Thus I went to Officeworks, had the pattern printed in A0, cut out a new lot of fabric and tried again -- only to have the exact same problem (I was super accurate in all of my cutting just FYI). Both of those pieces of fabric are now balled up in a box -- I'm so angry that I've ruined/wasted good fabric that I can't bring myself to look at it all again.

Anyway - always a sucker for punishment I wanted to try one last time in a boiled wool as the way it is put together is different that for non-boiled wool. I did get the pieces together, but it wasn't as easy as the Sydney Jacket (where the same sort of collar/yoke/pivot point thing is happening) - but I got there in the end. My stitching was pretty wonky from torturing the fabric, and there were a few rows of it and it looked BAD. I decided to try a fancy stitch on my sewing machine to try and hide it...and below is what we have. I actually quite like it - more than the a simple straight stitch.




The pattern is just one piece, and once you've got the collar attached to the shoulders all that is left to do is add 5m of wool binding to it. You could leave the boiled wool unbound and I think, for the cost of wool binding, this is what I might do if I ever make this again (I'm tempted by the short version, to wear with dresses). The in-store samples at Tessuti show some pretty neat, close to the edge stitching of their binding. Mine isn't quite as neat or tidy, but it's doing the job and looks OK (from afar). 


I made no changes to the pattern other than make the armholes a bit bigger - I could tell from my two x bodged versions that I needed more room - so I guess something good came out of it.

Now the fabric...isn't it great. It's from LOOM in Bowral and I ordered it over the phone when I saw them post it on their Instagram account. It's quite...scratchy, but the sort of thing I can wear in cooler weather without too much bother. It's totally reversible too - and the way the jacket is constructed means you can wear it either way.


The photos of me in the vest is how I wore it to work today...it's held closed with a kilt pin to stop it flapping about.

Will I make this pattern again? Maybe. I quite fancy a shorter version and as that only takes 90cm of fabric it's not a big cost investment. Mentally though...am I up for it? 
------
Pattern: Kyoto Vest by Tessuti
Size: XL, longer version
Modifications:  made the arm holes bigger
Fabric: boiled wool from LOOM
Changes for next time: none...except for the armhole modification

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Amigurumi critters - a workshop at Sew Make Create

Whilst I was at my beginner's crochet class at Sew Make Create earlier in the year I spied these uber kawaii little Amigurumi critters in the workshop. Of course I HAD to learn how to make them - despite having no need for them, no children in my life to give them to and no cats for them to play with. The heart wants what the heart wants!


Amigurumi (for those not "in the know") is a Japanese craft of crocheting (or knitting) little, stuffed creatures.  The good thing about this craft is it's cute, it's portable, it doesn't take up much room, it's fun, and you can pretty much make anything you want - there are no rules. I like that I can take this on the train with me and crochet on my way to and from work...


The class is taught over two Sunday's by the very patient and bubbly Amanda, and by the end of the second class you should walk away with a completed Amigurumi (unless something goes terribly wrong along the way).

It was a little difficult at first as the stitches need to be TIGHT so it's hard getting your hook into them to make the next rows. Getting started with the "magic circle" takes a bit of wrangling, and counting the (tiny) stitches did my head in (concentration abilities are LOW here). I did have to rip rows back as I wasn't concentrating and couldn't remember how many stiches I was up to - but I've bought myself a few stitch makers which is making things much easier.


I did a bit of home(crochet)work so I ended up with one finished Amigurumi in class (this green little birdie) and one "almost" finished orange monster that I finished up that night at home! I've already started on my next Amigurumi monster in slightly thicker yarn than the orange one (as I want him to be a bit bigger). I'm also going along to the next Amigurumi crochet social at Sew Make Create and will get some tips from our teacher, Amanda, on how to embroider faces and stitch on the monster eyes properly.



And of course, the best thing about a class at Sew Make Create is Pepper the shop dog -- so cute and fluffy. Actually, she'd make a VERY kawaii Amigurumi wouldn't she?


I'm now busy thinking about other Amigurumi I can make, and looking for free and easy patterns on line.
----

Me May May 2017 wrap up

Today is the 1st June (Captain Obvious here) and Me Made May is over. I enjoyed participating, but I was well and truly over it by the middle of the month. Not quite sure why though - perhaps selfie fatigue has set it (big thanks to Dave for so many of these photos as I rushed out of the house each morning)? Or perhaps outfit fatigue had set in?

My challenge to myself was two-fold, and I knocked the first part of the challenge (to wear/use me-made each time I leave the house) out of the park. Last year I padded out my me-made efforts with lots of me-made accessories to cover me when I didn't have a garment to wear. This year I didn't need to do that at all and easily wore at least one me-made garment every day, sometimes two (or more). I also had my trusty me-made Genoa Tote with me at all times -- so that was a bit of a cheat.


Many of my items were worn more than once (though not all) - and many of my me-made items didn't get worn at all as the weather was just not right for them. There were also a few tops that I could've worn, but just was not feeling the love for (aka my Ebony Tees have basically killed me love for the Our Fave Top who's fit is not quite right on me). May is a tricky time of month in Sydney. Is it hot, is it cold, is it somewhere in between? Who knows.

Funnily enough, this Ebony Tee (which is a save from an epic dress fail) was my most worn piece - and possibly one of my favourite makes this month!


The second part of my self-challenge was to finally make that darn Berlin Coat that is in my pile...meh. I did cut it out and it's ready to sew but I really am just not feeling it. There are too many other things that keep jumping in front of it. I will get to it...one day!

A lot of people are using Me Made May this year to identify gaps in their wardrobe (for me it was just to wear what I've been making). As I still buy a lot of ready to wear garments I feel like I have a pretty comprehensive wardrobe already. I don't buy tops and dresses like I used to - and I am lacking in winter dresses so perhaps a new Ebony Tee Dress will happen soon. I don't really "need" anything - but I do enjoy sewing, ergo the conundrum.

How about you? Did you participate in Me Made May this year? How did you go?

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Crochet baskets

I'm really getting my craft on lately.

I do love classes and I've decided that crochet is something I'm keen to learn more about. I saw some Instagram photos of cool bowls made from "t-shirt" yarn and thought it would be a fun skill to learn. Sure enough, there was a class out there waiting for me and at only $50 it seems like very good value!

This class is run by Classie and is held in a cafe near Town Hall - so very convenient. The class comes with a hot drink which basically allows us to sit at our table until the class is over!


The yarn is THICK and the hook is BIG so it's quite a lot of awkward holding and moving to get used to. I got there in the end though and made this soft bowl that I'm very happy with. I used ALL the colours on offer and love the way it turned out. It now sits on the back of the couch and holds some balls of wool for the various projects I have on the go at home.



My bowl could also be worn as a hat if need be!



Or I can just use it as a bowl!


I have bought some more of this t-shirt yarn from Lincraft and I quite fancy using it to make a mat -- perhaps for the bathroom. So many crafty ideas, and so little time!

542 Ebony Tee's

I eluded in my other post from today that I've been on a bit of an Ebony Tee bender...I haven't made 542, but it sure feels like it!

This first top was meant to be a dress, but based on the length of the tee I thought it too would be really short. I went about adding 2" to the length which also entailed adding width. Short version - WAY too big and sack like and WAY too long. I decided to just turn it into a tee rather than faff about taking in the sides. It's a different shape to my other Ebony Tee's as I just cut along one of the stripes and then rolled the hem...it's dipped at the sides and shorter at the front/back. The fabric is from the Hoi An Central Market - I was very sad when I thought I'd ruined the garment, but I actually wear it a lot despite wondering if it was too short at the front/back. Who knew?


The next three follow the pattern, with my usual modification of adding 6.5" to the length. As we're heading into winter I also added 1" to the sleeve length as "bracelet length" = cold wrists and we don't want that. This fabric is from Tessuti -- a viscose elastane jersey. It's actually quite thin fabric so perhaps not really right for warmer weather - but it's pretty and I like it. Again with the rolled hem (because I LOVE it)!


More fabric from Tessuti - that you'll recognize from this Marianne Dress. I liked the print so much I bought more of it with the intention of making a Mandy Boat Tee but that pattern isn't really working for me at the moment due to tight sleeves and too high neckline. I wore this out to dinner on Saturday night and it felt sufficiently fancy whilst still being very comfy. 

And, lucky last (for now)! I bought this fabric from Darn Cheap Fabrics -- either the last trip or the trip before? No idea what it is other than it's stretchy, and cozy. I bought it with the intent of making an Our Fave Top -- but the sleeves on that are also too tight and the neckline too high, ergo this top was born. The fabric is quite thick and I almost feel like I'm wearing a PJ top. I'm not quite sure how I feel about this top yet...


And that's all for now. I really like this pattern (oh, really?) so I'm sure there will be more in my future...

------
Pattern: Closet Case Files "Ebony Tee"
Size: 16
Modifications:  added 6.5" to the length. Rolled hem. These all have 1" added to the length of the sleeve.
Fabric: as above
Changes for next time: none for View B? 

Ebony Tee - Dress

I've made about 500 Ebony Tee's since my last post, and now a dress!

This is actually my second attempt at the dress pattern. I thought that the dress would be S-H-O-R-T like the Tee so added 2" to it...which also entailed adding width. Turns out I did not need the extra length at all, nor the width, and I made myself a bonafide tent! It's since become a top, but more on that another time.

This attempt is made as per the pattern - no changes at all. I've sewed the size 16 and it's a very swingy style with a subtle high-low hem happening. The fabric is from the Fabric Store - it's a viscose 7.7.& /lycra 6% /polyester 17%...not great for hot weather but good as the weather is now quite chilly (finally). The fabric was 160cm wide and only $20/pm. Seems too good to be true!


Not sure how "flattering" the dress is from the back as it's VERY wide...but I can't see it so "whatever".

I really like this dress and have spied some fabric at My Hung in Parramatta for a possible second version.
-------

Pattern: Closet Case Files "Ebony Tee"
Size: 16
Modifications:  none.
Fabric
Fabric Store - viscose 7.7.& /lycra 6% /polyester 17%...not great for hot weather but good as the weather is now quite chilly (finally).
Changes for next time: none  

Monday, 15 May 2017

Vietnam, and did I actually wear what I made?

So, it's two weeks since I've returned to reality from what turned out to be a FANTASTIC holiday in Vietnam!  After reading a not-so-positive travel biography before I visited I have to admit I was expecting Vietnam to be terrible, really hard going and not enjoyable. I had the lowest of low expectations and I'm glad they were not met. What an incredible country. Beautiful, hectic, friendly, funny, delicious and joyful. I cannot wait to go back!

I went a bit bonkers sewing for my trip and, along with some items I'd made earlier (just for everyday life), I ended up packing 2 x Mabel Skirts; 3 x Gabby Dresses; and 5 x Marianne Dresses.

Did I wear it all? Yes. And, no!

I only ended up wearing one of my Mabel Skirts - on two separate days with clean t-shirts each day. Vietnam was SO hot so I guess I was saving the second one for another day but just never got around to wearing it. Luckily it was not too hot in Hanoi (relevantly speaking to the rest of the country) so I used some anti-chaffing cream to keep my inner-thighs in good shape (just in case anyone is wondering about skirts, thighs that touch in the middle and hot hot weather).


All of my Gabby Dresses were worn - multiple times actually. All three of them were in quite cool, thin viscose jersey (bar the striped one which was a bit thicker) so did the trick. I wore them with pairs of Dave's long undies underneath to avoid the dreaded chub rub due to the hot hot weather. These dresses were good as they could be worn on the back of a moped or in a cyclo without flashing everyone.


I only wore three of out the five Marianne Dresses I packed. Two were just in a fabric that was too thick and thus too hot for Vietnam. Did I mention it was HOT! Again, Dave's long undies saved the day.


I think I over-packed. I could've left out those two Marianne Dresses that were never worn. Plus I rinsed out clothes as I needed to and we also had an opportunity to to do laundry along the way.  I probably could've left the Mabel Skirts at home -- they weren't very practical in terms of motorbike riding or sitting on low low stools at various eateries.

I would definitely pack a variety of what I've made for another hot-weather holiday. I'm really keen to visit Cambodia and Vietnam (again) in 2017 so I have my wardrobe needs all sorted!


Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Learning to crochet at Sew Make Create

I have a HUGE granny square blanket at home that my mother crocheted and I've always wanted to make one of my own. "Back in the day" I'm sure I knew how to make a granny square but those skills are long gone...so it was time to take a class and remember how.

I took a beginners class at Sew Make Create in Chippendale. I've done so many classes here but until now they have all been sewing related.

We started off learning how to make a slip knot, to crochet chains and then practiced a variety of stitches -- none of which I can remember now (but all of which can be found on YouTube for refresher purposes).



Next it was on to the granny square and I'm pleased to report it wasn't too hard to pick up. I think the hardest part was actually coming to grips with how to hold the hook and the wool in the other hand. The class was 2.5 hours so enough to learn the basics and go home and keep crocheting. We didn't get to learn how to join multiple squares but I am making one ENORMOUS square so I'm good for now.



Of course, the best part of a class at Sew Make Create is getting to hang out with Pepper the adorable shop dog!


I'm well into my big blanket - I think I have about 30 more rounds to go and then I'm done. In the meantime I'm keen to learn some other types of crochet so I can have some "portable" projects to take with me when I travel and when I'm commuting to work. Watch this space as I've enrolled in a two day Amigurumi (Ah-mee-goo-roo-me) class. That translates to cute knitted toys!


Me Made May 2017

I've decided to take plunge and join Me Made May again this year. I think this will be my third year, or is it my fourth?

I, Melanie from made-by-melanie.blogspot.com and @whatpiggydeos, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '17. I endeavour to wear a me-made item each day that I leave the house (no me-made lounge-wear I'm afraid) - be it clothing, bag, clutch, jewelry or scarf. May will also be the mouth I sew my Berlin Jacket -- just in time for the Aussie winter.

------


Midi Mabel Skirt

I think I've made about 30 Mabel Skirts since the pattern was released (no exaggeration). Some successful. Some destined for the bin.

About a week ago I started obsessing about NEEDING a black calf length pencil skirt. No idea where the desire came from but I thought I'd better make it happen!

The fabric is a ribbed jersey from The Remnant Warehouse...bought online when I was searching for ribbed knits.  I'd originally set out to make a Simplicity 1366 dress from it but the neckline stretched out and the whole thing looks frumpy. I couldn't rescue the fabric despite trying so ordered more specifically for this skirt.


I'd already lengthened View A of the pattern to make it knee length on me, plus 10cm added to accommodate for the wide elastic waistband I use. I then lengthened all of this by 20cm and added a 2" hem to get a length that hits just below my calf. I pegged the skirt in a bit at the bottom and think it would be better a bit more fitted still - but then I might not be able to walk, which could be an issue?


I'm wearing this skirt at work today...very comfy. I think I made the waistband a bit too loose though (despite unpicking the whole thing and bringing it in by an inch). Good thing is if it does feel way too big I can take the waistband in even more...


The weather is cooling down in Sydney now (thank goodness) and I am keen to find some ribbed wool-knit to make a snuggly winter-version of this skirt. Any ideas where one could find such a fabric in Oz?
-----

Pattern: "Mabel Skirt" by Colette Patterns
Modifications: 5cm elastic waistband (added 10cm to the pattern to accommodate for this), 35cm added to length, pegged in the bottom by. 1cm added to the CF and CB to accommodate for middle-aged spread.
Fabric:  Superior Rib Jersey- Black from The Remnant Warehouse (Cotton / Polyester / Elastane)
Size: XL, sewn with 3/8" seam allowance

Sunday, 9 April 2017

...just another stripey Mandy Boat Tee

My stripey Spotlight fabric makes a second appearance - this time as a Tessuti Mandy Boat Tee, a pattern I've now made about 30 times!

As with my Marianne Dress the fabric was very nice to sew with, and is nice and comfy to wear given the amount of stretch it has.


I've decided that I'm not keen on the drafted neckline treatment of the Mandy Boat Tee as I can never get the shoulder darts quite right and it looks a bit messy (though it is super easy to sew)! I'm not sure who I am anymore as I voluntarily sewed a neckband on to my top!


-----

PatternMandy Boat Tee by Tessuti
Size: One size fits...most
Modifications: lengthened by 9cm (but hemmed at about 2"), the sleeves/arms made bigger for me a sewing class I did at Tessuti.
Fabric: Viscose knit from Spotlight
Changes for next time: might lop off a few cms at the hem, but probably not.

Monday, 3 April 2017

More holiday sewing....

Sewing SIX Gabby Dresses for my holiday and only coming out with two wearable ones means I needed to change tact and pick a new pattern to ensure I have enough clothes for Vietnam in April.

Enter the Marianne Dress, a pattern I've sewn before and like wearing (and that has my shoulders covered which is what I'm going for in my Vietnam wardrobe).

This FANTASTIC fabric is from Spotlight - honestly, they are killing my wallet at the moment. It's a cotton blended with something stretchy (the label didn't say what) and it feels very soft to wear.


The fabric is not overly stretchy so I added a bit to the back fold but probably could've done with a bit more width over the derrière but it will do for the trip. It was pretty easy to sew with -- though a bit curly at times!


I've also whipped up two more Marianne Dresses - no modelled photos as I've not worn them since making them and didn't feel like dressing up for blog photos. Hashtag lazy!

More fabric from Spotlight. This was the end of the role so I think I bought about 2.5m and also got a Mandy Boat Tee from the same fabric. The blue ran a bit into the pink on the first wash, but a second wash seems to have fixed that problem. Things went pear-shaped with my stripe matching which is a mystery as I thought I'd cut everything out perfectly. Oh well! Very comfy to wear and very easy to sew.


And last but not least!  This fabric is from Tessuti and is on sale for $11/pm. It's a lovely quality and was very lovely to sew with -- though the black bands on the neckline/sleeves did get a bit curly. I fought through it though and the result is two thumbs up! The fabric is nice and stretchy and will be comfortable for travelling around in.


So there we have it...my Vietnam holiday wardrobe is complete! I have three Gabby Dresses that I am going to pack and five Marianne Dresses. Other stuff will be coming along with me but this will make up the bulk of what I'll be wearing.



-----
PatternMarianne Dress by Christine Haynes
Size: 18
Modifications: as per other makes I added 2" to the neckband length, added 1" to the length, lowered the neckline all the way around by about 1cm
Fabric: as above
Changes for next time: none for the short sleeved version; but when I made the long sleeved version I need to added some width to the lower sleeve piece.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Ebony Tee(s) - Closet Case Files

The Ebony Tee is a new pattern from Closet Case Files that I bought because I had a 20% off voucher thanks to my Frocktails goody-bag. The pattern is for a dress, raglan sleeved tunic, and cropped-top. The dress is similar to the Gabby Dress I make often (except for it's designed for knits) so at first it didn't interest me, but then I started to think about the cropped tee...and had to have it.


The cropped tee is VERY cropped and not a style I wear unless I've had an accident with the dryer. I lengthened my first version by 5.5" and sewed the 3/4 sleeves. The length is good for pencil skirts but I'm not yet sure if I'd wear it with skinny pants as I tend to favour longer tops for those type of pants. I finished the the hem using the rolled hem function of my overlocker - mainly to preserve the length but also as I like the way it looks.

This fabic came from the first Sydney Spoolettes fabric swap we held in Balmain last year. It's from Spotlight (as I've seen it there before) and is a sort of polyester/crepe type situation. Not breathable and NOT for wearing in hot or humid weather. But...I LOVE the print as it reminds me of a Japanese print. It was also very easy to sew and held a crease well when it came to neckband shenanigans. 


The top will definitely make those of us who are boob-a-licous not look flat chested!


Hot off the heels of my first Ebony Tee (made on Friday) I whipped this one up this morning.

The fabric is from The Fabric Muse in Chippendale that I've used once before for an Our Fave Top and messed up a bit so it's not very neat. I wanted to use this fabric again and take better care when sewing. I'm again surprised at how well a polyester took the iron (on the proper setting course). I had always balked at sewing with slinky poly as I thought the fabric + neckband = nightmare, but with these two I had no issues.


The only difference to Version 2 is one extra inch added to the length...don't think it makes much of a difference though, so again still deciding if these tops will get worn with pants.


I'm really happy with these two tops and once the weather cools down to polyester wearing temps these will get a good workout in my wardrobe. This won't be the last time I sew this pattern either.

** I should also mention that I didn't even glance at the instructions so have no idea if they are any good or not, but this company has a good reputation in that regards. I also sewed the size 16 based on the finished garment measurements being just smaller than my bust measurement.
-----

Pattern: Closet Case Files "Ebony Tee"
Size: 16
Modifications:  Version 1: added 5:5" to the length, Version: added 6.5" to the length. Rolled hem.
Fabric: as above

Changes for next time: none for View B?