The fast is over…

Wow, I looked at the calendar last week and noticed that my anniversary date had been and gone and I’m now free to go out and buy some clothes!  I bought myself a new pair of jeans but that’s all I really feel like buying at this stage coz at the end of the day, I’d rather sew my clothes to get a better fit and to be able to wear unique clothing.

Am I happy with my year of fasting from ready-to-wear clothing?  Yes, I am but I’m disappointed that I didn’t have more time to sew and therefore made fewer items than I planned.  There are so many unmade garments in my sewing room that I’m dying to dive into and just because the fast is over doesn’t mean that I’m giving up on sewing.  On the contrary. I have learnt to be a better sewist and am neater and more accurate now and I get so much pleasure out of creating the clothes that I wear.

A couple of items that I’m in the middle of (ok, not in the “middle” but I’ve bought my fabric and added length to my patterns) are:

  • a full length formal skirt (to hide my moon boot that I’m sadly having to wear again!) with a matching formal top for a wedding at the end of November (almost summer by then)
  • a slinky nighty/slip which will be trimmed with lace!
  • some stretch fabric dresses (and the fabric I’ve chosen is AMAZING!!)  
  • t-shirts and tops for summer

OK, so this was just a short update to let you know where I’m at at the moment. Enjoy your week and I hope to show you some more sewing photos soon.

Carola x

Oh, PS: The full length skirt I’m making is a self drafted skirt from my own skirt block – maybe, if I get time, I’ll show you how I drafted the pattern. :)

Simplicity 1716

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This dress was very spur of the moment as I had a girl’s night out to attend on Friday night and wasn’t really sure what I wanted to wear… I don’t go out much but felt that I’d really like to go out and enjoy a few drinks and listen to loud music.  What was I thinking?  Oh, but the making of the dress was so much fun and putting more effort into my appearance also made me feel good.  It’s the fabric that made this dress so wonderful and being in between seasons at the moment you can never tell if it’s going to be warm and dry or wet and cold. It turned out to be cold and wet and so the 3/4 sleeve was perfect. The fabric was a thin stretch velvet with an awesome print and the stripes are sheer fabric so the dress had to be lined, which I didn’t have time to do, and I bought a slip to go underneath it instead.

Many of you will remember that I had to wear a moon-boot (due to a torn ligament in my toe) for about 3.5 months and even though I’m out of the moon-boot now, I still can’t wear normal shoes so if I was to go out I had to wear my black flat boots – there was no other option!  With this in mind, i found a pattern at Spotlight that made me think of 60s mini dresses and when I think of those, I also imagine boots underneath.  Teamed with my fabric choice, I absolutely loved the overall effect and it was probably one of the most comfortable and practical dresses I’ve made.  I still felt feminine and appropriately dressed and in my mind I looked unique but very me!

The Simplicity 1716 pattern certainly wasn’t difficult but I chose my size according to the chart and found the chart to be incorrect by about one size… I ended up having to take everything in by about 1.3cm (1/2″) and I find this to be annoying.  It’s the first time I’ve ever made a Simplicity pattern so I don’t know if this is normal or not.

It has the two standard pleats on the shoulders that give the rouched finish across the bust but it also has an extra pleat towards the bottom of the arm hole creating more rouching underneath the bust and I’m not really sure that I like that effect.  Either way it was too late to do anything about it by the time I realised that it was there and the fabric was too expensive to just throw out and start again ($30/metre)

Here are the rest of the photos:

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IMG_9148I had a fun evening and even got home before midnight and I can’t wait for my next night out!!  Oh, and did any of you notice that I didn’t hem the bottom of the skirt?  No, I didn’t think so!  I ummmmed and aaaahed over it for a while before deciding that the fabric wasn’t fraying and by hemming it, I would more than likely create a horrible wavy hemline.  I thought it all looked fine and went with it.  Pretty neat, eh?  An extremely easy and satisfying dress to sew up.  So what will I sew up next…. I’m certainly on a roll at the moment, aren’t i?

Have a fantastic weekend!

Carola x

McCall’s M6512

See?  I have been busy!!  OK, this shirt makes up for the green one that I made and had to throw into a corner (for now) – I love everything about it.  The pattern is M6512 and the only thing I didn’t enjoy about constructing this one is altering the pattern, but then that seems to be an issue with ALL my patterns because I don’t have a “standard” body. Realistically though, it’s also the reason why i LOVE sewing so much because I can alter patterns to fit me right!

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When I look at the photo I think I should have added even more length to the body but that’s something I’ll do on the next one coz I am sure I’m going to make more of these.  The pattern was easy to follow and had some amazing instructions on how to alter the bust (doing a full bust adjustment) and having the correct markings on the pattern itself to tell you where you need to cut the pattern, should you want to do an FBA.  I think for people who would like to trial a few FBAs then this would be a great pattern to practice on coz it’s easy to put together and the instructions are very clear.

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The fabric I chose is actually a lot darker than I had intended but the feel of the fabric was perfect – a light weight 100% cotton with a self embossed stripe.  I picked it up in a half price fabric sale and the buttons actually cost more than the fabric! haha!  Another thing I found really nice about the pattern is that the shoulder tabs are actually positioned to the front of the blouse… novel, in my books! :-)

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And the sewing hasn’t stopped with the shirt!  I have a girls night out tonight and am almost finished with a dress that I am making.  I need to stop typing though so that I can finish it – I only have about 2 hours left to do this and I will blog about it soon!  I hope you’re all well. I follow many of your blogs on my mobile phone but unfortunately I can’t seem to make comments from there so I wait until I am at a computer but by then I can’t remember what I wanted to say anymore!!  LOL  Either way, I love reading about what you’re doing and I get inspired by seeing pictures of what you’re all making!

Have a lovely Friday!!

Carola xx

I’m not dead!

Phew, definitely not dead… just been in a different zone.  I’m working my business harder and I’m finding this incredibly rewarding although I must admit it’s taking away my pleasure time in my sewing room! In saying that, just because I haven’t been blogging, doesn’t mean that I haven’t been sewing.  When I finished my last white shirt (which I wear all the time with so much pleasure!) I bought some green fabric and decided to alter the pattern slightly with different features and I put my heart and soul into it, made self-covered buttons (with the shiny side of the same fabric) and sewed 4 buttons on, tried the shirt on and felt like crying… it was too tight across my bust!  What a freakin’ waste of time that was!!!  OMG I couldn’t believe it!  The shirt hung on my dressmaker’s dummy for nearly 2.5 months before I decided that getting a breast reduction was NOT the answer!! haha, only joking there… certainly wouldn’t be thinking along those lines!   Well the shirt has been put aside but I’ve photographed it so I’ll show you what it looks like.

Self drafted shirt

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I just can’t bring myself to finish the shirt anymore but who knows, maybe I’ll finish it and wear it over a singlet with the upper buttons left open!  But for now I don’t want to look at it for a while! :(

I’ve also done a stint in Melbourne when my 20yo daughter (who moved there back in March) had a non-alcohol related fall and broke her jaw in 3 places.  Spending 2.5 weeks with her was lovely (and draining) and the accident wasn’t enough to break her spirits and have her come back home with me.  She has since found herself a flat to share with another 2 people and has a full-time job and she’s loving it all (and almost fully healed). I’m really proud of her!

My sewing has also seen me sew up a couple of Sewaholic Renfrew tops but I haven’t taken very good photos of these at all but none the less, I’ll share what I have with you.

Renfrew T-shirt (Sewaholic)

Renfrew T-shirt (Sewaholic)

Long sleeved RENFREW with a cowl neck (Sewaholic)

Long sleeved RENFREW with a cowl neck (Sewaholic)

They were both very quick and easy to sew up and I really just want to finetune the fit and run off a whole heap more.  Spring has finally sprung here Down Under so warmer weather is heading our way and I welcome the cooler and brighter clothes!

That’s all I have time to share with you at the moment but I did sew more than just that (and am also busy sewing as I type!).  I love sewing and just wish that the rest of my life understood that too!!  More VERY soon! xx

Basic Pencil Skirt Pattern instructions are up

Just wanted to let you know that the instructions are up for a basic pencil skirt pattern.  Go here to view them, or alternatively go to the TUTORIALS section at the top of my blog and you’ll find it that way too.  This skirt has no separate waistband but is faced and explanations on how to draft the pattern using your own skirt block are there.  Note you will have had to download one of the spreadsheets so you can create your own skirt block (or sloper, as they’re called in the USA) first.

Enjoy…

PS:  I will work on other skirt styles soon but might need to scratch my itch and make myself another shirt first!  Can’t wait!!  xx

McCall’s M6649

Wow, it’s been a fun fortnight with sewing and drafting and working and babysitting and cooking.  My life is just full of wonderful things and here’s the latest addition to my wardrobe:  McCall’s M6649 which I made with the aid of Craftsy.com’s Classic Tailored Shirt course:

IMG_8802As you can see, it’s quite different to any of the pictures on the pattern cover as I chose to not add a pocket, I merged the centre band onto the centre front so I didn’t need to make them separate aaaaaannnnddd, I added length to the cuff so that I could sew three buttons on instead of one.  Yeah, ok, sometimes I get a little carried away with length and maybe, just maybe a tad, I added slightly too much to the sleeve but I’m not worried about it and love the shirt to bits!

You may also notice the ugly contraption on my left foot (called a moon-boot) for my supposed stress fracture in my foot. I’ve been wearing it for 5 weeks so far and last week I had an MRI to see exactly what’s going on.  I find out the results of that MRI in a couple of hours when I see my podiatrist again.  Thank goodness it’s not my sewing foot! :)

IMG_8804If you look carefully, you might be able to see the three cuff buttons… ?? LOL

IMG_8807IMG_8809IMG_8810I won’t make this a long post as I’m very busy but will let you know that I’ve already bought (and washed) my next shirt fabric…. it’s so very addictive and I’m looking forward to starting it soon but as promised I’m going to give some skirt drafting instructions first.  Stay tuned for those!

Happy sewing everyone!

Carola x

PS:  Just got back from the podiatrist and he tells me that I don’t have a stress fracture as suspected, and I also don’t have a tumour (which was something that he was worried about, even though he hadn’t relayed that worry on to me, thank goodness!!)… what I have is a snapped ligament on my second toe and he is still trying to decide whether surgery is the way to go or not!  The way I’m feeling right now, I don’t care… I just want to be able to wear normal shoes again and get back to my normal level of activity!  Either way, now that we know what’s wrong, we can work on fixing it! The only way is up!

Back on track

I can’t believe how wonderful it feels to have spent time in my new sewing room. I was so thoroughly enjoying it and it was a shame that I had to come out and live my other life too (not that I don’t enjoy my other life, but the world of sewing is so therapeutic and I can’t get enough of it).  I’m happy to say that I think I’m back to stay, although my daughter has mentioned that she would like to come home for 3 weeks at the end of June… does this mean that I have to pack all my sewing away during that time to make room for her bed?  Surely she’ll be OK with sleeping under the ironing board!! LOL

Yesterday I whipped up another skirt using my skirt block as a basis and you’ll notice that this skirt isn’t a pencil skirt… it’s an A-line skirt and it’s made with 7 gores. In hind sight, I should have made it an 8 gore skirt but chose to place the centre front panel on a fold.

RTW skirt block 041I don’t really have time today to explain how I used my skirt block to create this simple pattern but for those that are interested, I will sit down during the next week and show the workings so you can also start creating various skirt patterns. Please let me know if it interests you to see the workings for this pattern.  For now I will just show you a few photos so you know that I’m definitely back into the swing of my sewing and I’m loving it so much.

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The fabric I used is a wool blend and it was so easy to work with – I think I really like sewing winter clothes because they have more bulk and are not as slippery or flimsy to work with.

RTW skirt block 001And believe it or not I actually enjoyed sewing in the lapped zipper and OMG, isn’t Steam-a-Seam such a wonderful product??!!  How did I survive all these years of sewing without that incredible tool in my kit?  It worked so well in holding the zipper in the correct place without the use of pins that tend to distort the accuracy. Absolutely loved it and am so pleased with the end result.

RTW skirt block 025Oh, and did I mention that the skirt is fully lined in red Bemsilk lining???  I LOVE that touch too!  So racy in an otherwise boring skirt.  Boring or not, I love the skirt and know that I will get plenty of use out of it during the cooler months to come. It’s warm and the fit is perfect, although I would probably make it slightly shorter next time.

So who has had an attempt at creating their own skirt block using my spreadsheets?  Seriously, it only takes about 20 minutes to do and then once you’re happy with the block’s fit, you can start designing other skirts.  I’d love to hear any feedback on the spreadsheets and if you’re confused or have any questions, please don’t be shy.  There’s no such thing as a silly question! (remember learning that at school??) LOL

Happy sewing everyone!  I’m off to clean my house!