Friday, 3 June 2016

A hiatus

I feel I have gone a little missing on this blog and I must say that it is not from a lack of sewing and therefore things to post but from a crazy, hectic April/May. I wonder if there was some wacky moon cycle or that the world in the Southern hemisphere went cray cray in the lead up to Winter (quick, do stuff before it gets cold) but we just had a few months jammed full of travel, parties, birthdays, house guests and more house guests. Not that I am complaining and to be honest it didn't stop me sewing but, it did stop me blogging! So apologies all but we do have a lot to catch up on, namely: 40th dress; second 40th dress; dress for another 40th party; jacket for dress for 40th party; dress made with new overlocker; a new top; rope baskets (don't ask); and, finally, a skirt...
Hmmmmm, that is a lot of dresses....

Monday, 21 March 2016

More dresses with Boundless Style

I realise I made a declaration right at the start of this year that I focussed too much on making dresses and I was right. I have diverted my attention to practical skirts and 'wear all the time' yoga pants but when I spotted this pattern book I could not resist.

 boundless style

It is a choose your own adventure for dress designing with 5 bodices, 5 sleeve and 5 skirt patterns that you can mix and match to create your own dress pattern. Neat, hey. The instructions on each pattern are excellent and there is a whole section at the back on putting the skirt, bodice and sleeve together. If you visit Victory Patterns website there is an awesome Lookbook where you can play around with what the skirt, bodices and sleeves might look like together. I was quite taken with this dress from the book...

and after playing around with the Lookbook I decided on this combination:

I have my birthday coming up and we are having a bit of a celebration so I picked some fabrics for an all black version - a black and sparkly large print houndstooth and a mesh and PVC flower contrast (very Mardi Gras I know but I think it will work)

Do you know the best thing about making your own party dress? I will feel no guilt about spending a little more than I usually would on a belt to wear with it!

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

A respectable pair of leggings

One of the things I have learnt so far in this year of no clothes buying is how excited you can get by a simple and fairly basic item of clothing - in this case leggings. I know - not so exciting and super practical but imagine finding that perfectly fitted pair of yoga pants - no sagging at the butt, too tight across the hips, low crotch or camel toe - eeeek, stop, please stop! I have spent many hours pulling on yoga pants in techno blasting, gym junkie shops as well as hipster, yoga loving establishments who don't blink an eyelid at charging well over $100 for a pair of their leggings. Well no more I say, no more! I think I have found the perfect pattern!

I know, it doesn't look much and to be honest there is no pretty way to photograph such a basic item of clothing (side note: I tried photographing on my blue and white bed spread but I am not convinced with the result). So what do I like about the pattern - most of all, the fit. Snug but not too tight in all the right places and a perfect 3/4 length.

I love the concealed back pocket, the perfect size for a phone.

And, I love the top stitching in stitch #8 on my new Bernina. 

So, what's not to like? Well, the fabric choice! I chose a heavy weight 4 way stretch but to honest there is not enough recovery - in other words, great when you first put them on but after an hour (OK half an hour) with the personal trainer (another new year's resolution) they sag a little and require lots of very inelegent hitching up. I am looking forward to repeating this pattern but this time with the correct fabric. I think this one will do and maybe a third pair in Tickle me pink or Electric Lime..... maybe... 

Monday, 7 March 2016

Pacific leggings yoga pants - Sewaholic patterns

When I had initially (stupidly?) decided to make my clothes for a whole year I was bent on the idea too of drafting all of my own patterns. I very quickly realised that this adds a whole extra bunch of steps to the clothes making process - drafting the pattern, trialling the pattern, adjusting the fit, re-drafting the pattern and then, finally sewing the pattern! And while I have built up a sizeable collection of patterns I don't think I would survive a year on the patterns I already have, especially when it comes to more complex patterns like yoga pants! So, instead of drafting all of my own patterns I will use this year to try some different independent pattern designers I have admired but have never tried. First pattern to trial was one from Sewaholic patterns. I have loved Tasia's patterns for a long while and being a pear shaped gal myself I was interested in the her patterns and designs! I have also admired the determination of one girl from Canada, tired of her everyday job, to set up her own pattern making business and turn it into the success it is!

I actually purchased this pattern a while back but hadn't used it yet. It is pair of leggings from her active wear collection called Pacific leggings and perfect for wearing to yoga class (or more likely school drop offs!)

 Sewaholic Pacific leggings

I liked the contoured shape and the simple yet elegant fit. My next task is finding fabric. In my trawling of the internet I stumbled upon Fehr trade and her list of fabrics for sewing Active wear. Looks like I need to keep my eyes open for Supplex on my next fabric store visit!

Monday, 29 February 2016

A faded denim skirt

It has been a few weeks since my last post - weeks of a lot sewing and not a lot of blogging so I have a few projects to bring you up to speed on. Firstly, of course the denim skirt and my adventures in distressing. The first step was to rough it up a little. My tools of torture were a cheese grater (a bit too chunky for what I wanted), a nail file and some sand paper. It actually felt counter intuitive to attack a piece of clothing I had only just created but I dived in and this was the result:

A good start but not exactly the vision I had in mind. The next step - bleach!

I filled the laundry sink, added a slug of bleach and then promptly forgot about in the rush of getting to school. It was therefore left a little longer than expected but I am pleased with the result:

I like that the two denims are now more of an even match:

And by pure fluke I even managed to achieve that creased faded look of old denim:

All in all I am impressed with what a little sandpaper and a sink of bleach can do - a much, much better result than sticking it in the microwave or wearing it without washing!

Monday, 8 February 2016

The ins and outs of fading denim

Boy did I open a can of worms when I googled "how to fade denim". There are some serious purists out there with some quite strong opinions on the "right" way to fade raw denim. Here are some of the ways to create the perfect fade for your denim (some of them, in my opinion, completely outrageous!)

1. Microwave them -the opinion is that the microwaves break down the chemical compounds that make up the indigo dye

2. Take bath in them - yes, while wearing them. Well, all that hot water and bubbles are meant to make the denim shrink to fit your body

3. Rub them with coffee grinds - I guess the abrasion of the coffee beans helps to wear away the denim

4. Take them to the beach for a swim - the water and sand combo allows them to shrink and age at the same time

5. Wear them for a YEAR without washing - this one is definitely for the purists

6. Bleach them - makes sense

7. Use sandpaper to scuff away the edges

9. Cut holes with scissors

10. Get dirty - one website even suggested repairing motorbikes in your jeans!

So, there are a few options that are out straight away. I will not be microwaving them - it sounds like a strange concept based on dodgy science besides, there is a metal zip and haven't we always been told not to mix microwaving and metal? I will not be taking a bath in them (we don't have a bath) nor will I be taking them for a swim at the beach. I will definitely not be repairing motorbikes in my skirt and neither will I be WEARING IT FOR A YEAR WITHOUT WASHING!! What! Yep, just no. There is even a forum where people post pictures of their faded denim including information about how many washes it has had - this wearing them for a year without washing is a real thing. I found it weirdly addictive to scroll through pages of faded denim - check it out!

So, I guess I will start with a little abrasion - maybe some sandpaper and even some coffee and take it from them

Friday, 5 February 2016

Two is better than one!

I always think when I try out a new pattern that making it a second time gives me a chance to improve the fit and make the changes that I wished I had made on the first one. So, after the completion of practical skirt number one I backed it up with skirt two - a denim skirt. I made a few changes to the pattern this time - I made it a touch shorter and added some western pockets to the back.

The use of two denims what totally by chance when I forgot to buy enough of the dark denim - whoops. I think I like it though but, to be honest, I am not in love with the newly minted, fresh denim look. I was hoping for something a little more aged with a little more character to it.... Off to search for some tips of ageing denim... Will keep you posted