Sunday, March 30, 2014

A New Addition, Same 'Ole Weather and Wardrobe Planning

Well, after much planning, thinking, shall I/shan't I . . . . . I bought home a lovely new toy this weekend . . . . . a Janome Coverstitch machine.  And I am in love!!

I make an awful lot of garments out of knitted/jersey fabric, and it makes sense to have a machine that will give me a professional finish to my hems.  I also bought a foot that would allow me stitch a row of stitching either side of a seam - a sort of 'stitch in the ditch' with a needle sewing either side.  Let's just say that there will be a few more cardigans in my near future, and I aim to redo a few hems of some of my current cardis.  I bought my machine from Beatrice at Sewing World - great service, lovely saleperson - thank-you Beatrice!

I am also in the planning stages of making a winter coat.  Yes, I know.  I live in the Northern hemisphere and it is nearly April, but here in central Alberta we are in our 6th month of winter and I need some more outdoor clothing.  Global warming - my a%$e!!

Having just complained about the weather, it did give me some good information to work with regarding wardrobe planning.  Essentially I live in a country that is 50% winter/50% summer (ish!!) and it makes sense that my wardrobe contents should echo that . . . and then I read a post on the Vivienne files.  I have been following this blog for quite some time as I love the author's wardrobe planning - quite inspirational.  This most recent post talks about how many clothes one really needs in a wardrobe - and working towards that goal.  By splitting your clothing into seasons, establishing usage of garments (work, stay at home, professional etc) and how often you would like to wear them in a given period, gives you some numbers to work with.  Now, I have read about this before, and it never really resonated because it did not give me an actual number - and I love numbers!  But this time it did, and now I am planning a wardrobe that will work for me during these two distinct seasons, and with minimal repetition - wearing each item no more than twice on one month.  So watch this space for more updates!!

How about you - any new toys recently?  What about your weather - much better than mine, I'll bet!  And your wardrobe - any magic numbers work for you?!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Ladybird, Ladybird (don't) Fly Away Home

Last Christmas, Mr. SDSC surprised me with a totally unexpected present - a spinning wheel.

It is a Schacht Ladybird and is very cute.  The only problem was - I had no idea how to spin.  So my poor little 'bug sat all alone awaiting the day that I could find someone to teach me how to spin.  And woohoo -  at last I have found some tuition with the Heritage Weavers and Spinners.  Now, before you get thinking that I will be spinning and weaving the fabric for my dressmaking - let me show you my first skein:

I should have put something next to it for scale, suffice to say that I was not aiming for a thick/thin novelty yarn, but come the apocolypse I will have warm toes and fingers!!  Here is some of my spun yarn waiting to be plied like the skein above:

Yes.  It is a little 'twisty' - I have a long way to go :)

But that leads me onto some knitting that I finished off at the weekend.  A couple of years ago - before the dressmaking bug came and bit my behind, I was churning out a pair of socks every one to two weeks.  I now have more than 100 pairs and have knitted some for Mr. SDSC, my father and a few special people.  Somehow, I lost my 'knit' and have had a few pairs on the needles for a while.  Including these which I have now finished.

Sorry for the pasty legs - but there is still no sight of Spring in this part of the Northern hemisphere . . . . .

For these socks I have used a self striping yarn - the yarn is dyed in such a manner that you knit round and round and the yarn knits up in stripes.  I love blues and yellows - very seasidey!

So, I have my 'knit' back again, and I am thrilled.  I find that during the week I like to plan my sewing, but do not have the enthusiasm to actually do anything about it.  Most likely because once I start, I don't want to stop and go to bed!  So this means that I can now knit in the evenings whilst planning my sewing.  Perfect!

How about you - what post apocalypse skills do you have?!  Talking of which, have you seen the BBC2 series Tudor Monastery Farm?  It is a UK documentary about life in the Tudor period in the UK and includes shepherding, sheep shearing, spinning, etc.,  It is fascinating - the kind of show that makes you wonder why you are not milking your own sheep to make cheese, or spinning yarn to make your own fabric.  Here are some You Tube links.  It is currently being shown on the Knowledge Channel here in Canada.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Hit and a Miss . . . . .

Wow, a bit of a roller coaster weekend this week.  I spent quite a bit of time this weekend playing around with a couple of patterns that have been popular with others, to make my own versions.  First of all, I have to admit to being a bit of a stalker as far as Miss Carolyn is concerned, and a number of items that I have made have been inspired by her fabulous blog.  One of her favourite TNT patterns is Burda 8869, a twinset pattern.

After many months scouring Ebay, I finally snagged a copy from a seller in France.  Delivery was super quick and I was ready to go.  I used a lovely rayon blend jersey knit from in a deep, deep purple.  And I love it:

I probably should have checked to make sure that my fronts were level . . .

It looks a bit 'blocky' on some of these photos, but as the fabric is so fluid and light, it actually hangs and moves very well.

This collar band is one of main reasons that I wanted this pattern.  I love a well fitting collar band, and this one is just perfect.  I also top-stitch like crazy on my knit cardigans - it keeps the seams in check and I think it elevates the finish of the garment.  The button band has a 1" finished width - I mistakenly added seam allowances to the band . . . . I couldn't find any English instructions, and didn't read the writing on the front of the pattern envelope that stated that seam allowances were added . . . .so my band is a little wider than the pattern design.

That is the centre back - honest!!  To help reduce bulk, I machine stitched the centre back collar band seam, press the seam open and then top-stitch the seam allowances down either side of the seam.  And I am not sure where that grey wig came from . . . . . !!

And do you like my fancy smancy earrings?  Would you believe that they were bought with Air Miles.  Love them!  Very sparkly, and although not what I would usually go out and buy, I am very pleased with them.

So, Burda 8869 - a definate hit.  I plan on making a lot of these - and I may well add buttons/buttonholes to this one.  We will see.  I should mention that I used the shoulder, armhole and sleeves from my favorite pattern ever - McCalls 6168.  I narrowed the shoulder seam by 1" and the fit is great.

Next up was McCalls 6844 - a gorgeous casual jacket that has been made up by many fashionistas and is almost too cute for words.  I love frills and peplums, and got to work on this jacket.  I used some super soft cotton lycra fabric - a little bit pricey but great quality.  I chose black - a great workhorse colour for my wardrobe.  And it all went downhill from there.  To be fair, the jacket made up a dream - I compared the pieces to some of my other cardis and knew that I would not have an issue with the sleeves as other sewists had commented on.  Only 2m of fabric - which I thought was pretty good as the peplum was likely to take up quite a bit of fabric.

The front view was ok

I know, it is a little hard to see due to the colour of the fabric.

Maybe a little bulky around the hip area - and I am NOT bulky in that area.  I bypassed the traditional English pear shape quite skillfully. (And I totally lifted that phrase from Philippa.  She put it so eloquently!)  I am more of a apple, 

But whoa!  Look at all that extra fabric in the back, and it is not just peplum.

Sheesh - a very unflattering side silhouette if ever I saw one.  Straight off to wadderville for this garment.  I was particularly disappointed as I had a great idea for taming the front lapels - maybe I will try one of the other views that does not have the peplum  . . . . . we will see.  McCalls 6844 - not for me.

I have to say that I was rather underwhelmed by this, and sat down to knit some socks instead - more on that during the week.

How about you?  Did you have a good weekend sewing?  And how have you fared with patterns that others have had a lot of success with?

Sunday, March 9, 2014

More Cross Pollination!

Phew - what a busy weekend! I dropped my father off at the airport as he is spending the next two weeks visiting his siblings in the UK, got a bit of fabric shopping in on the way back from the airport, then cranked out 2 cardis and three Sorbetto's.  So, let me tell you more!

Last Sunday, I had a huge cutting out session, and cut out the fabric for the above garments.  I find that I am a slow 'cutter outerer' and prefer to cut quite a few garments at one time.  Following on from my previous thread, I cut out two more cardigans and as I work my current Sorbettos really hard, especially the plain colored linen ones, I thought I would cut out some more of them in white cotton and linen.

So here we go!  New lilac cardigan, new white linen Sorbetto and black linen trousers (I'm not sure if I have blogged about these already).

I love lilac, such a pretty Spring colour.  This cardi is the same as the one in my previous post - McPlicity 68!  The fabric is a lovely cotton jersey with a touch of lycra.  A nice light/medium weight, very soft!  You can also see the plain white linen Sorbetto.

It is a little sheer (for my liking) to be worn on it's own, but will be a great workhorse under cardi's and jackets.

Next up is one in blue.  I narrowed the collar on this one to make it more of a band . . .

My serger thread was not as perfect a match as I would have like, so I added the lace again,  The chances are that unless there is a gust of wind in the office, no-one will see this, but it makes me feel good!  The fabric for this Sorbetto is the leftover from one of Sharon's dresses, and is even more sheer.  Sigh!  I love this colour blue as well - a kind of Wedgewood blue.  Another super-soft cotton with a touch of lycra.  I really like how you can see the curved front hem that transitions into the collar band.

For my final Sorbetto I used some more of the white linen and added a 'flounce'.  I finished off the edges of the flounce with a rolled hem on my serger - I am really please with that finish.

I am not sure how much I like this - I love the idea of a flounce and should have had sewn into a princess seam at the front . . . . but my pattern did not have a princess seam!  Oh, and I wore different underpinnings, and it looks as though they hoist the ladies right up as the darts are rather low.  Ho hum!!!

Next up is McCalls 6844 - I know that pretty much everyone else has made it up so it is time for me to see what it is all about!!.  I will be making a couple of changes, but have that planned for next weekend.

What did you get up to this weekend?  Any new goodies for your wardrobe?

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Cross Pollination - even at minus 30c

It has been really cold here the last few days - minus 30c and then a windchill taking it down another 10-15c. Seriously, there is absolutely no need for this it all. In fact, with some of our buddies vacationing in Belize right now, we are considering that as a retirement location - just think, long, hot, sunny days, photo shoots on the beach. It certainly is tempting.

So, what to do when the weather is so cold?  Well, try a bit of cross pollination of course! To start with I have a pattern that I have made up once or twice (McCalls 6168):

And a newcomer to the fold (Simplicty 1668) that I have made up once:

I love the longer length, drape and sleeves of McCalls 6168, and the lapels and shorter length of Simplicity 1668,  Ladies and gentlemen . . . . . I give you McPlicity 68:

Shorter length and with sleeves:

Fancy a close up?

And look at this scarf that I found . .

You can see the sleeves better here:

Annnd, to finish off the insides (although I used matching serger thread) I added some lace to hide the serged seam that could show through when the jacket swings open:

I am really pleased with this - I do like a collar at the back of my neck as I am developing quite the dowager hump, and a collar helps to disguise it somewhat.  I also prefer the fitted sleeves . . . even though I am fan of the '80's (bite me!!) and I love dolman sleeves and dropped shoulders.  I also think that this length is more suited to summer cardis, and this is a great cotton knit - I think it is a double knit (looks like a knitted stitch on both front and back), and it is a great medium type of weight.  I do have some lighter tissue weight cottons and wool mixes, but I will wait until I get a coverstitch machine (planning later this month!) to make those up.

In fact, I am so pleased with this . . . . . I have cut out two more, one in lilac and one in a pale blue.  Hey, you knew I would!!

So, how about you?  What are your favorite hybrids?