Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Summing up sewing in 2012

This year, I managed to sew 61 items – 27 for the kids and 34 for me. Compared to last year, I made more items for the kids but less for me.
For myself:


Favourite item: The trench coat – pretty colour, great for coolish weather.
Most unexpected enjoyment: pencil skirt – I have avoided the shape thinking it was unflattering but it actually a rather flattering silhouette. And the Sorbettos that I made are worn a lot.

Most worn items: I pretty much wear the blue and red shorts I made weekly and the yellow tee and black and white striped tee as well. What can I say – I love my basics and have been experimenting with colour more this year.


Biggest flop: my first project of the year, which was a little too tight, the straps a little too short and the fabric a tad too sheer. Ooops.

Most time consuming: Trench coat

Most frustrating project: getting some decent fitting pants. Thankfully, thanks to StephC, it is now a breeze and I have lots of plans for pants and shorts in the new year.
This year, I acquired 96.7m of fabric. This includes nearly 17 metres of lining plus fabric that I won and fabric that was given to me. I managed to convert 45.5m(47%) of that fabric to clothing.

56.1m of fabric was from online vs. 40.6m from bricks and mortar stores (58% vs. 42%). 4m of dud fabric was purchased, 100% online from ebay!

I used a total of 85.7 metres of fabric this year, including lining and 1 UFO of a pair of leggings I am too lazy to sew. 45.5m (53%)came from the new fabrics I bought and the other 40.2m (47%) came from old stash.

As you can see, I acquired much more fabric than I used (11m). However, in my mind it is a lot more even because of all the lining fabric I bought.

I haven’t thought a great deal about sewing goals for next year. I am reluctantly returning to work full-time (I say reluctantly because it was the school that preferred me full-time). The last time I worked 5 days a week was before I had children and back then I only sewed on the holidays as my weekends were busy socialising.

I guess my main goal will be to sew a little bit each day, maybe working on easier projects during the week and keeping challenging ones to the weekend or holidays. I am going to be pushing myself to hit the machines rather than the couch at night.

The other goal will be to wear more colour. Someone made a comment on my blog last year when I made a black Colette Chantilly dress about why I had not chosen a colour and I guess on some level that stuck with me. I have trying to dress with less black and more colour lately.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sparkling new dress

I wanted to sew a new dress to wear out to dinner while we are on holidays. Every year DH’s family and my parents, who are mostly all down the coast holidaying, go out to dinner the night before New Year’s Eve.


I had bought this gorgeous blue fabric online intending to make Burda 05-2008-115, which is a flared sheath dress with a twist front. When the fabric arrived, the width was a lot narrower that I had thought (107cm wide) and I did not think I had enough for that particular pattern. Well, I sure did not feel like tracing a pattern to check out whether there was enough. Cue getting out the patterns and searching for something different.
In my mind, I wanted something fitted through the bodice and flared in the skirt. The fabric was thin and drapey but I only had 2.5m of it. I remembered about a pattern I had already used, the bodice of 107 with the skirt of 116 from the 05/2009 Burda. Being lazy, it was lovely being able to see that I had enough fabric without tracing a new pattern. The only other change I wanted was to ditch the sleeves. After trying on the dress that I had previously made, I saw that it would be easy to change the sleeve pattern.

The fabric is a linen/cotton/lurex blend. It is quite silky and likes to misbehaves. You know, you look at it and it crushes...or stretches out of shape. Even with stabilising interfacing tape, the fabric near the zipper looks puckered. And I am not talking about the hem (which seems much longer in the back but fine when I look in the mirror.) But is it such a delightful colour and the perfect fabric for high summer.

In hindsight, I would have bound the entire armhole rather than lining the “sleeve” and sewing the rest of the armhole seam with bias. It would have created a cleaner finish. And if I would do it again, I would have chosen a slightly thicker fabric without a mind of its own.

Here is how I did the sleeve alteration. First I pinned the pattern together.

Then I eyeballed where I thought the armcyce should go, using the rest of the armcyce as a basis.

 Trace a new pattern and see how it looks.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Tiramisu

This pattern made me realise I am a bit stuck in my ways, sewing wise. I was put out of my comfort zone a couple times and it wasn't in regards to the sewing portion at all.
#1: I am not a huge fan of paper tissue patterns. I always trace my patterns now and I hate am used to tracing on thick paper. Okay, so I got over that. It is not too hard, especially as the pattern pieces do not overlap. The tissue has also compacted back down to normal size.
#2: Cutting layout. I have been sewing knits for oodles of years. Have always folded along the grain - find the rib and fold along it. Easy. I found it hard to trust that the knit was okay folding it a different way, especially as the cutter had made a mess of the cut edge and it was way crooked.
#3: I had to cut it on the floor, as that is the only space I had wide enough. I hate intensely dislike cutting on the floor. the only other place wide enough would have been my dining table but I don't cut there in case of scratches.
My bindings were way off grain so I ended up recutting by first folding along the grain to make sure both sides of the fold were on grain.
According to the measurements, I was a 35A. When I test fitted, it was very loose, so I took the side seams in around 2cm on each side. Without the skirt, the top portion seemed to fit fine. It was still a little loose but according to the instructions, the dress ease was designed with a relaxed fit.
When I attached the skirt, I was underwhelmed with the result. The weight of the skirt drastically pulled down the bodice but at the same time there was bagginess to the side of the bust and in the armpit area.  This was mainly because of the very stretchy rayon elastane fabric I had used. It was a far from flattering look.

 I compared the 35A pattern I had used to the 30, and worked out the 30A was closest to the adjustments I had made/needed (narrower, less length). Luckily I had extra fabric to recut a new bodice.

The fit is now spot of and much more flattering and comfortable. The bustline is where it should be, there is no puffiness in the armpit area and the arm bindings are fitted how I like them.
 My favourite part would have to be the skirt. I love the drape the bias creates.
  I hardly ever buy patterns, let alone new and current ones but I had been super impressed with Steph's dedication and work ethic and of course the design and couldn't wait to try this pattern. Steph has done an awesome job with her first printed pattern. I love that she experimented and broke a lot of the traditional "rules" for sewing with knits. It challenged my mindset and I am excited about her future patterns.

Monday, December 03, 2012

A typical day at school

A typical day at work during the summer is me wearing a pair of Jalie 2909 with a light cotton top or tee. I like the pants cut to knee level. This is my latest pair, in a navy bengaline. I can't think of anything navy that I have sewn, probably because I had a navy uniform at school. I am not so troubled by navy at the moment, and these might actually go with the new staff polo shirt as well. 
We were playing hangman as a lead in to the book I was about to read. I think I have played hangman twice this year, I record for me! And yes, that is a blackboard. The school has invested in interactive whiteboards (and I have an interactive screen in this spare room) but sadly, I pretty much get chalk dust on me everytime I work. There are only so many things you can show on the interactive screen.