Monday 26 August 2019

Secret Valentine Exchange Part VII - make it a macaron!

Quite how I didn't already know @mrskylliearcher is a mystery. But I've just spent a lovely morning having coffee with her and handed over the August instalment in my year of the Secret Valentine Exchange. (what a coincidence is the first image in that link!)

Amongst many talents, she makes the most incredible looking macarons, and she suggested I make a macaron shaped pincushion when I put out my original callout for project ideas. I tried :)

The kids thought my macaron pincushion looked more like a hamburger. I was aiming for a sort of strawberry shell with chocolate ganache. But I'm not sure what my decorative bits would be. Coffee? Probably not a good flavour mix. I have said before that I can't bake, right?

I used a Straight Stitch Society pattern which is for a sewing pouch and pin cushion in the shape of an apple or orange (Apples to Oranges Sewing Kit Sewing Pattern). In order to have the less circular shell I simply sewed the panels together with a shallower curve.

The macaron opens out to reveal the ganache is in fact a needle pad (surprise!) and the bottom half is a cute little pouch. Just to really mix my flavours it's lined in a deep raspberry red. It took a bit of rummaging through the scraps bucket to find bits of fabric suitable, but I wonder if it wouldn't have been better to have not aimed for realism and to have used floral quilting cotton leftovers. It certainly would have been less hamburger-y.

I picked up some nice sewing notions at Fibresmith and stuffed as much as I could into the bottom pouch.

Since we live in the same city and are both bicycle fans, we picked a café halfway between us and cycled to our rendezvous. It turned out to be a glorious spring morning and a brief coffee catch up turned into and hour and a half of chatting.

An absolute delight!

Now, if you want to see some really impressive macarons, go check out Kyllie's Instagram feed!

Wednesday 14 August 2019

Double Trouble - Jalie 2213

While I'm on vacation (oops, study leave) at the beach, A has gone off to school camp. I hope her new anorak is keeping her warm.

Remember I declared the Jalie 2213 Anorak to be an absolute favourite last year? Well I scooped up some softshell on sale at Spotlight and made two more.

While I don't have my Jalie Anorak with me, she does and I'm happy to think it's keeping her warm. Ready for some weird mummy-daughter twinning photos? :)

 We're working it. Watch us pop the collars!....

Demonstrate some high low hems....

You get a glimpse of the mesh back there (hers is pink, mine's grey) but we can show you those back vent openings better than that!....

And the big front zippered pocket under those side flaps....

Elastic toggle drawcords... (don't ask me why I put them on different sides)

And we're done!

It's quite a big, boxy cut on the top and is very much a unisex pattern. While it's not particularly flattering it's exactly what I needed for throwing on over multiple woollen jumpers to be fieldside for winter sports on a Saturday morning.

The softshell is a bit of a beast to pin and sew where there's lots of layers and then this pattern with the neck zipper and two pocket welt zippers, and the back vents... Well there's a lot going on and I needed to take a break between making mine and then hers.

I made both of ours by our measurements with no modifications and the sleeve length is wonderful - perfect for biking and all those bent arm activities where a short sleeve leaves you cold.  I might have preferred mine in a dark solid colour as this floral doesn't feel very me, but since every other coat I've made is a dark solid colour maybe this one can be a bit different.

The pattern is out of print and doesn't seem to be available digitally either. Be quick and hit up Underwired for possibly the last paper version in existence.

Pattern: Jalie 2213
Size: Me: "T", Her: "L"
Fabric: Softshell from Spotlight, Mesh sport knit from Sew Active Fabrics
Notions: zippers from Le Nguyen, elastic cord and toggles from Jimmy's Buttons

Sunday 11 August 2019

Mid winter break - Jalie 2678

We've had the most incredibly cold weekend here in Melbourne, so it must be time to post some beachwear to the blog, right?

Back in June, the kids went up North for some sunshine and beach fun during the school holidays (thanks granny!) while Flipper and I stayed home and worked, and enjoyed the serenity. I'd only just sewn A her swimmers for the That Sewing Blab podcast and decided P needed some boardshorts. Enter Jalie 2678

I already had the grey and gold fabrics in the stash and I've genuinely forgotten where they came from. Then, as part of the Sewing Blab thing I won a voucher for The Remnant Warehouse and I added the very dark brown fabric to the stash. They didn't describe their fabric as boardshort fabric but it feels the same as the other two.

Boardshort fabric is lightweight, brushed, microfleece polyester. It seems to be widely available every where BUT Australia. There are lots of prints, but trying to find any locally, or any solid colours, or any from anywhere other than the US (bad Aussie dollar and huge shipping costs) proved to be really hard. I'm holding out hope that Joelle's might have some but I always seem to be free on weekdays when her shop decides not to open.

The sewing was all great and fun until I came to the instructions for the coin pocket on the inside. They simply didn't make sense. I eventually figured out what had to happen and decided there was an error in the pattern.

I emailed Jalie, and I'm happy to say they have issued an errata notice and updated their instructions. The cool thing about Jalie patterns is that even if you have an older printed version of the pattern, you can still download and print the instructions. Go help yourself to the new, corrected instructions.

There's a picture of the shorts inside out showing the successful coin pocket.

Here's an extract of my email about the error in case you've come here by searching for help with Jalie 2678 coin pocket (I love the idea that anyone ever finds my blog by typing "what the $#%^& is up with pattern number *** step ***")

{introduction and pleasantries}...
The 12th bullet pointed instruction says: 
- Fold pocket flap wrong side together (fig. 17). Pin flap to wrong side of pocket piece with eyelet (fig. 18)
And the illustrations show exactly this, with the pocket piece WRONG side up.
The very next step has you place the other pocket piece face down on top of the pinned eyelet pocket and flap:
- Pin hemmed piece over flap (fig. 19) and stitch (fig. 20). turn right side out.
Yet the illustration for this step now shows the eyelet pocket piece RIGHT side up. Contradicting the step before it.

In order to create the pocket with the flap outside the pocket and protecting the open edge it is necessary to follow the second, correct instruction not the first.

That is, the first instruction should read as follows:
- Fold pocket flap wrong side together (fig. 17). Pin flap to right side of pocket piece with eyelet (fig. 18)
And fig.18 needs to be corrected to show the eyelet pocket piece RIGHT side up.
{closing flattery and sign off}

And then moments after sending that message I went to attach my pocket to the shorts and almost sewed it closed. The top hem of the pocket needed to have been folded down twice. That resulted in another email and another correction to the instructions:

{awkward further pleasantries}
In the 11th bullet point instruction we are instructed to hem the top edge of the non-eyeleted pocket piece by 1cm. It is unclear whether that is a 1cm single fold hem, or a narrow double fold hem, but it would imply that only 1cm of the pocket edge is folded.

When one goes to attach the pocket a few steps later (fig. 21), the hemmed pocket opening would be stitched closed.

In order to not catch the pocket opening in the waist seam the hemmed edge of the pocket needs to be at least a 1.5cm seam, but would be safer as a 2cm hem. This would still be well covered by the pocket flap. Is the original hem instruction intending a double fold of 1cm, ie using a 2cm hem allowance?
{apologies for nitpickiness and sign off}

I had a look on sewing pattern review dot com and found quite a few people who had reviewed the pattern had commented on the pocket not working, or they had left it off altogether. The same on the Jalie website and the reviews there. I was happy to be the bolshie one who was convinced it wasn't me getting it wrong, or at least convinced enough to stick my neck out. You're welcome! :)

Thanks to my mother in law for sending me these snaps of the shorts being worn. What do you do when your little sister photobombs you like that?

Bury her of course!

I'm off to that very same beach myself tomorrow.

I'm going for a conference of course so I'm sure I'll have no fun at all. ;)

Friday 9 August 2019

Sailboat Top and Pants

I was reminded recently of the Oliver + S Sailboat Pattern and when I remembered it topped out at size 8 I had a sudden compulsion to sew it up one last time.

I traced off the top and pants in the largest size 8, adding some length to the hem of the top and the sleeves. The pants are straight size 8. Then I rummaged through the stash for fabrics that would work well.

The top is the last of my See You At Six French terry combined with a double sided knit that I bought years ago at Phillips Shirts.

The grey side of the double knit matched the background of the french terry panel so well it was amazing and the burgundy face made a great contrast for the sleeves. I topstitched the facings with burgundy thread and then it's closed with some brass snaps.

Can you see what I thought I'd get away with on the pants? Yep I've cut them from a cord with the nap going in different directions on the front and back. The photo above makes it super obvious, but to be honest it's not that stark in real life and it's kids clothes anyway. Who cares. They move so much it's barely noticeable!

The pants are the last of some stretch cord from Fabric Deluxe that I'd used for this skirt when I didn't have enough of the other fabric. There was just enough leftover for these pants so long as cutting rules were discarded.

I might take the elastic at the back in a bit as these were falling down a little, but at least she doesn't need to bother undoing the front snaps to get them on or off.

I'm way out of order in bring what I've made to the blog, but this one deserves to jump the queue as it was one of those idea on a Thursday, cut Friday and sewn over the weekend kind of outfits.

Satisfyingly made entirely out of stash fabrics in a much loved pattern. Want to see last time I made the pants?.... :)

A simple, useful outfit that was a delight to sew and revisit. She's all about pants and separates at the moment so I'm hoping they get some wear. Still cute kid!

Size: 8
Modifications: 1" extra torso length and 1& 1/2" sleeve length. pants no mods
Fabrics; Stashed double knit and french terry and stretch corduroy
Notions: Size 20 metal snaps.

Friday 2 August 2019

Melburn Roobaix - Aladdin Sane style

Where to start? If you know what the Melburn Roobaix is and remember those awesome knitted bodysuits that Kensai Yamamoto designed for David Bowie, then this blog post will make perfect sense to you. Enjoy the pictures!

For everyone else I'll try to explain ;)

I have always, always, wanted to make a David Bowie costume of some description. He was the ultimate genius of costume and character. Seeing the David Bowie Is exhibition at ACMI in 2015 just made me more determined. 

Would it be an Ashes to Ashes clown suit? a Ziggy Stardust quilted Liberty jumpsuit? a powder blue suit? that black and white vinyl jumpsuit? The opportunities seemed endless as did the brilliance of Bowie himself.

And then he died in January 2016.

I became more determined. I just needed an excuse. Enter Melburn Roobaix

A bicycle ride might not seem the logical place for silly dress ups but the Roobaix is no ordinary bike ride. It started out a bit like an Alley Cat race - the couriers who knew the backstreets of Melbourne like nobody's business, scooted around town collecting waypoint information along the route (which there wasn't one) and finished at the pub.

By 2006 it had grown into an "official event" and took it's inspiration from the famous one day race Paris-Roubaix. In the real Paris-Roubaix, serious, elite cyclists race hard across northern France and into Belgium and go terrifyingly fast across the rough, cobbled forest roads. As one of the spring classic races, the weather is often horrendous and the mud and dirt on the cobbles can lead to absolute carnage. The race finishes on the velodrome at Roubaix, sometimes for a solo rider, sometimes in a final, exciting sprint.

In Melbourne we ride in winter to try and simulate the Belgian spring and the course takes in as many of the historic bluestone cobbles back lanes as can be found. It's a hilarious day out. At the end (on a velodrome of course) we drink beer and eats our frites with mayonnaise just like the Belgies do.

My first Roobaix was way back in 2008, and I was seven months pregnant with P!

Getting a push up the notorious Col d'Ugly
Deciding which bike to ride is half the fun and there are some incredible feats of engineering that have no right to be called bicyles that come out for the day, alongside some high end machines, absolute classics and some old hardwaste junkers like my shopper bike seen above. It's every sort of person, on every sort of bike and lots of people dress up.

Last year was the tenth anniversary of my first and only Roobaix and I thought my pedalling partner from that year should join me. He did, and we had a blast. Even though he vetoed any costumes. :(

So this year we were all set to ride together again, and this year he said I could make costumes and we both agreed it had to be Bowie!

Then we realised the date clashed with the kids being on holiday with their granny and it would have to be Flipper who would ride with me and so he would HAVE TO WEAR THE COSTUME! (to say the kids found this funny is a huge understatement)

Which Bowie outfits would lend themselves well to a long winter's day in the saddle?  Those awesome knitted Yamamoto jumpsuits of course, with a few changes as concession to our age and shape and in order to keep warm!

I downloaded Adobe Illustrator and with a bit of help from a clever friend I worked out how to design my "knitwear" fabric. 

To avoid having seams anywhere we didn't want them when riding I tried to get the fabric printed such that the nude sections would be in the right places and the skinsuit panels could be cut as one.

I've used the Jalie 3135 skinsuit that I've sewn so many times as swimmers for the kids. I made some errors in adding too much torso length and so we both ended up with much baggier, wrinklier skinsuits than I'd imagined. But perhaps I'd imagined less wrinkles overall and it wasn't just the skinsuits that made me feel less fabulous in reality! :)

To try and reduce the torso length I left off the crotch gusset section, otherwise the pattern is unaltered.

Designing the fabric was quite a brain teaser, especially my own which wasn't symmetrical. I had to be sure that the left front would match the left back and meet across the front and back with the right side. Flippers was easier for being symmetrical but I wish I'd given him a higher cut leg! After all, David almost had his bits coming out the sides of his leotard!

Since these were cycling skinsuits I purchased a pair of chamois inserts from Aerotech in the states and sewed them in. If that isn't the worst sewing job ever! Imagine sewing a three dimensional curved padded insert into a  4 way intersection of crotch seam. It needs to have a concave curve from front to back and a convex curve from side to side. 

I sewed my one in and did an abysmal job. I sewed Flipper's in and did a bit better, then I ripped mine out and tackled (pun intended) it again and finally got it right. I'm afraid I couldn't be bothered redoing Flipper's. It would be comfortable even if it looked a bit puckered and wrinkly. Sorry old fella :)

Sadly my flesh colour was a lot pinker and baby flesh than either of us in reality and so the semi-nude effect wasn't realised. I was feeling a bit glum about the skinsuits not being as cool as I'd imagined but then we put them on for a funny photoshoot and cracked ourselves up.

So where and how did I get the fabric? I thought about the international fabric printing companies, but then found Next State Print here in Melbourne. Their prices were super reasonable, I would have no shipping delays and the quality of the lycra is excellent. We were nice and warm, and once we got over the feeling of looking a bit ridiculous, we were actually very comfortable!

I used some extra printed sections of my fabric to make these stuffed ankle and wrist bangles and then Flipper scored a feather boa from Jimmy's Buttons. It delighted me to see him riding around with it flowing along. There's a fun video on my Instagram account here

We had a fabulous day out on the bikes and believe it or not, our costumes were definitely on the tame and ordinary side. I don't know how the KISS glam rockers rode with their studded codpieces! There were too many great costumes to have favourites but the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with their pepperoni pizza disc wheels and the pair of jockeys with their bikes complete with manes and tails were standouts for me. You simply must check the Instagram hashtag #melburnroobaix

Next year I think A will be able to keep up and we may have to make it a family event. I'm already thinking up outfit ideas!

There will always be bicycles and sewing and silly ideas. You can imagine I was in my element!

Pattern: Jalie 3135
Fabric: Active from Next State Print with custom printing
Notions: invisible zippers and chamois pads from Aerotech Designs
and the inspiration of course: Fyxo and Mr David Bowie / Kensai Yamamoto