Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Jalie Tania Coatigan

This was one of those super quick ideas... I have lots of big coats, but since I can't go anywhere they're not getting worn much this winter. What my wardrobe was missing was an easy to throw on car coat. Something for the supermarket run, which is my one outing of the week.

Enter the Jalie Tania coatigan:

I decided on Saturday that I would make this. I traced the pattern off and rummaged around for wool coating remnants. I knew I didn't have enough for a whole coat, but I had this green/black coating, and thought I had enough of a blue to mix the two. 

Not nearly enough of the blue and barely enough of the green/black. The collar needed to be pieced with a centre seam and the inner collar is actually another black wool melton, but it's not really noticeable.

What I did have a little leftover of, was this check wool (flannel weight) that I'd used for P's Jean Paul Gaultier culottes all of six years ago!

I cut it on the bias, fused it to some heavyweight interfacing (the only thing I had to purchase - thank Fabric Deluxe!) and then found another wool flannel leftover (from these shorts), fused that to more interfacing, then basted the two together and treated them as one. Together they were so close to wool melton coating weight it worked perfectly.

I did all the cutting on Saturday afternoon as the kids watched a movie. By Sunday morning I'd decided that i just can't abide unlined jackets, and my mismatched wool flannels would have made for very odd insides anyway.. So I rummaged through the linings stash and found this lovely emerald green lining that was part of my friend's mum's bequeathed stash.

The Tania coatigan does come with a digital add-on for a lining but I really couldn't be bothered printing that off and retracing everything. So I did my "usual" way: I overlapped the front and back pattern pieces so they were single top/bottom pieces. I cut the back piece on the fold which gave me the 2cm of seam allowance (normally the centre back seam) as a pleat  to add a bit of wearing ease.

I've finished the bottom with a kind of mostly bagged and then eventually stitched with the hemming which is indescribable and possibly unrepeatable. ;) but it saved me from any handstitching at all. The lining has an extra 3/8" or so of length at both sleeves and hem so it slightly overhangs the stitching line, also giving that bit of vertical wearing ease.

by this time I was really enjoying myself and so I decided to finish the facing with some bias binding from the very last of the wool flannel. I also threw in a hanging loop and a label. I've stitched the facing down which is visible on the back of the coat - a bit unorthodox, but it's a fairly utilitarian looking coat anyway, and that allows the hanging loop to be functional without lifting the facing up.

I finished sewing it late Sunday night (OK, technically it was Monday morning) and I pretty much haven't taken it off since then.

I chose size V with equates to a european 42, and was the lower of the two sizes my measurements fell between. Given I was using a coating and adding a lining I might have been wiser to size up. It's a tiny bit tight across the back shoulders if I have a heavy jumper underneath and the sleeves are relatively narrow for a coat. This size would be perfect in an unlined linen summer version.

As it is, it works perfectly over a t-shirt, and is exactly the kind of thing I needed to throw on for short outings. Not as big as a full coat, and not as shabby as a Polartec camping jacket.

And all made from leftovers!

Monday, 27 July 2020

Crayon dressing

Being stuck at home (read: crappy, cold rental) made me realise I needed another pair of pull on ponti pants and more long sleeved wool tops.

I didn't have any solid colour ponti and I'm not quite ready for bright, printed pull on pants - give me another month of lockdown and I may yet eat those words - so I set off to Fabric Deluxe who have a great selection of solid ponti fabrics (1.5m needed - note to self). Chocolate brown is my jam!

The elastic waist pants are Vogue 9284 which I'd sewn once before and wondered about their legitimacy. Well, I wear them all the time, and that was before workwear, athlesiurewear and loungewear all got thrown into the Covid blender and became the same thing!

I could certainly do with another pair.

The sizing on this pattern is odd. I measure between the 14 and 16, yet I've made the size 12, even taken them in a little, and you can see they're still not tight.

The side seams are sewn last and that allows for a bit of fit adjusting. The pattern has a 5/8" seam allowance, so if you'd underestimated your thigh size there'd be room to adjust. I ended up sewing my 5/8" seam, and then, instead of a second row of stitching 1/4" into the seam allowance, I did it 1/4" into the pants. I've also added 1&1/2" length at the lengthen/shorten line and I'm happy to say they're the perfect length (the navy ones are a tad short). I can wear these with flats or boots where they have a bit of a jodhphur vibe.

In a nice, heavy ponti I like the slight looseness and it gives them more of a nana trouser look and less like leggings that I'm meant to be running around in.

In rummaging around in my stash I found this heavy wool knit that came from my friend's mum's stash (many thanks to the late Barb xx)

There was just enough for a long sleeved tee, so I made a Liesl + Co Metro T, size medium, no mods. Perfect!

Because too much brown is never enough, and we weren't quite at lockdown and face mask stage when I took these photos I dragged a kid off to a nice brown bird mural and snapped some pictures.

Of course, most of the time I'm wearing this outfit it's under a coat (even indoors, curse this crappy rental), of which I have quite a few brown ones! (this one is Gerard Darel and I bought it in London in 2001)

I handed the coat to my son to wear while he photographed me and he looked so gangsta and cool in it, I wish I'd taken a photo of him! :)

The shirt is my Liesl + Co Recital shirt in fabric from Phillips Shirts. For a very comfy outfit it almost looks "put together" - at least by my standards.

Sunday, 12 July 2020

City Stroll revisit

I made the City Stroll skirt for myself (twice) years ago but I under-grew it (is that the opposite of outgrew?)

Time for another!

I recalled that it could be made with a 1m cut of fabric, so I picked up just that much of this great mustard yellow denim from Fibresmith

It took a fair bit of puzzling to work out how to layout the pattern pieces and I was just about to go and hunt through my photos as I'd definitely snapped a pic of the final layout, when I figured it out anyway.

And then, what do you know, the very next day my phone did that "on this day" thing and showed me a photo from five years ago of the skirt pattern pieces laid out on a 1m cut of fabric!

My previous makes of this skirt had been a size 14 and a size 12. The 14 was always a bit big because I'd actually made it incorrectly and bound the raw edge rather than using the binding as a facing, but it worked back then. Here are the first ones and a link to an Oliver + S guest post showing what can, and can't, be done in a wrap skirt :)

The 12 was the one I'd kept and had under-grown. Thankfully I had traced off the size 10 when I was trying to find some way to make a skirt out of another remant piece of fabric (which turned out not to be possible!)

It's a really nicely shaped skirt with darts at the back, and it truly does behave better than any other wrap skirt I own.

It even works for cute kids: When 4 year old A wanted a "skirt that goes flat like yours" I made her one too by altering another pattern. I should revisit that idea!

I've added 1 inch of length to the size 10 here and the fit is perfect.

And it has pockets!

The pattern intends for you to close the wrap skirt invisibly. Buttons facing inwards are sewn to the outer wrap and buttonholes on the inner wrap.

As I had done on my first one I chose to use some of my snaps. These are a brass snap and looked perfect with fabric. Easy on, easy off I figured...

Only the snaps are so stiff i can't just pull on the fabric to undo them for fear of ripping the snaps right out of the (interfaced and reinforced) denim. So I can only get undressed with the aid of a butter knife! :)

Size: 10, with 1" extra length

Sunday, 5 July 2020

warm woolly Bento

I've hit that depth of winter will-I-ever-be-warm-again feeling.

So, I sewed a warm, woolly jumper. I'd bought the fabric ages ago from Rathdowne Fabrics, probably intended it for one of the kids.... I was feeling colder than they looked so I had a play with seeing if there was enough for a jumper for me.

The fabric is a really thick, loop back wool knit. Kind of like a super thick french terry that smells of sheep when you iron it.

Along each selvedge was a section of thinner stripes with a raw, fringed black edge.

A cooler person than I would have used that selvedge with the raw edge somehow. But I just couldn't get my head around it...

I kept it simple and reached for a pattern that i already had traced off. The Liesl & Co Bento tee. This is the size L which is what I made when I first used the pattern and I knew that would be plenty loose enough for outerwear.

The only modification I made was to add the bottom hem band. Perhaps I made that a bit more gathered than it should have been, maybe I should have added a side split to the hem. Either way, I lost the square, boxy pullover idea that had been in my head all along.

But I gained a really warm, cosy jumper and I've hardly taken it off since I made it.

And I've since been back to Rathdowne and stocked up on more super thick wool knits. Easier than learning to knit!

Saturday, 27 June 2020

Birthday t-shirt time

You might have noticed that I'm pretty fond of sewing t-shirts and if I can get the chance to cut a stencil and stick something on the front I'm even happier.

And it's June, which means it's the big kid's birthday t-shirt time.

This year he wanted a flying soccer ball. Actually, he wanted a flaming soccer ball but I kind of interpreted that  in my own way which was more monochromatic. And easier to reconcile with my stash of iron on vinyl. I chose iron-on vinyl over fabric paint as the ball had to be white

I really wanted it to be reflective silver, but he vetoed that :( 

After a bit of dabbling with my friend's Cricut machine last year, I was now going back to my roots and wielding a scalpel.

I downloaded an image, traced it in grey lead pencil, transferred the tracing to the vinyl by rubbing the back, went over the lines to make them clearer, then hand cut it. Once it was cut. it was just a matter of getting all the bits to line up as exactly as possible and then be ironed in place.

The t-shirt is the Oliver + S School Bus t-shirt. I'm pretty sure it's size 12 as per the recent pyjamas, but I've no idea where I put that tracing, and now I'm wondering if I pulled out the size 10 tracing instead. I need to blog faster or make better contemporaneous sewing notes!

What I do know is that I added about 3" to the length and a whopping 5" to the sleeves!

He knew I was going to make him this t-shirt for his birthday although he didn't know which fabric I was going to use. When I found this lovely, soft, cotton lycra in the stash I also found a 1m cut of fabric I'd bought at Spotlight with the intention of making a t-shirt for him.

So I made another.

Given how much length I need to add to a sleeve pattern to get long sleeves, I didn't have enough of this fabric. Which is a pity as it's nice and soft too, and would make a lovely winter t-shirt. I have added about 2" to the short sleeve cut line for this version.

I have been pleasantly surprised by some of Spotlight's printed cotton knits. The quality and designs have really improved over the last few years. Sadly, they're always fairly narrow fabrics compared to the more "usual" 150cm wide European knits.

I couldn't pass up skateboarding cacti in sunglasses!

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Covid critters

With our dining table, which I normally claim as my sewing table, having to also be a homeschool table, my sewing time has been seriously restricted.

Yet I seem to have had endless hours to crochet pointless critters. Here's our underwater Covid19 critter collection:

It all started with Hermie the Hermit Crab.

He became our Covid19 Shelter-In-Place mascot. Hermit crabs being very good at that. :)

Hermie was made entirely with oddments of yarn that I had lying around. Ages ago my husband's aunt made a crochet blanket for our daughter and she included the yarn leftovers when she posted it (as if, at that time, I might have possessed the skills to make any running repairs! Ha!)

That's why his legs are a little more "sun tanned" than his body

Working with what was to hand, I made his shell out of variegated hemp twine. It was hellish on my hands to crochet but I love the effect as a shell texture/colour.

The shell is then "lined" with a cashmere/cotton blend (leftover from the mice). First time around it came out much too small, so i just changed hook size and made it again. That's what you do when you're stuck at hone and your sewing table has been turned into a school desk and you're overseeing spelling and algebra.

It's incredibly snuggly inside and I think any hermit crab would be delighted to call it home.

Back in May when we were under stricter lockdown conditions than now, and the only reason we could find to go outdoors was exercise, we took Hermie on a bike ride to the beach.

We snuck him into a musette and took him to the beach for a photoshoot.

He was a very good model and luckily no seagulls thought him realistic enough to be worth investigating!

Just before homeschool was ending and the kids were looking to go back to "proper" school, P had the assignment of creating a comic strip or stop motion animation. This was Hermie's chance to shine, so P made a series of "Hermie's Adventures" videos.

Here's Hermie checking his CrabSafe app on his mobile device...

And testing the waters as to whether it's time to come out of his shell...

Then Hermie sat on a window ledge and oversaw homeschool/home office for a while.

I crocheted some budgerigars whom you've already met, sewed a couple of shirts and various other things (yet to be blogged)....

Then the pull of the couch and crochet-in-front-of-the-TV drew me back. What's more; now I had all these leftover yarns from the budgerigars to use up, right?!

The jellyfish came next. It was a lot of fun to make, but mostly fun to try and photograph in action with his tentacles swirling dangerously...

After the jellyfish came an aborted attempt at a seahorse. I think I was misreading the pattern and assuming every round should start with a chain and finish with a slip stitch. Whereas it was, simply, a growing spiral of never ending rounds as per the pattern instructions.

But while I was ripping out the seahorse, I posted Hermie's videos to Instagram and discovered a 4 year old fan of sea creatures and admirer of my crochet.

Since I'm all about the making, and never about the having, I new I had a recipient for even more sea creatures. Licence to crochet!!

Next up was Mr Starfish:

I began with the same mistake I'd been making on the seahorse, but it quickly became apparent that his legs and spots weren't going to line up, so that error was picked up much earlier.

He's made from a mostly swan bill orange (swan reveal pending), with a bit of budgie breast for his underneath and some budgie beak for the highlights. A very satisfying use of remnants.

So I posted the starfish and the jellyfish off to my new 4 year old bestie on Monday and they arrived already by Tuesday and it seems he was delighted. Awesome!

I wish I could say, truthfully, that this was the end of the sea creatures...

But I can't. Just in the last few nights I've used a bit of budgie purple and the last of that budgie breast to make a sea anemone. Here's his Instagram photo feature as he probably won't warrant a blog photoshoot of his own:

As addictive as this has been. The kids are back at school and I've got plenty of ideas of things I want to sew. I might be returning to the "normality" that is crazy amounts of sewing instead of crocheting sea creatures*.

All the patterns used in this blogpost come from the book Crochet Sea Creatures by Vanessa Mooncie (Booktopia link) and the yarns are mostly 4ply cotton from Scheepjes via Bellemae Yarns

* Who am I kidding? I mean, have you seen that Octopus? How cool is that?!

Monday, 15 June 2020

A tale of two shirts

With a blog post title like that you could be forgiven for expecting some great piece of literature might follow. I apologise now, in advance of your disappointment.

It continues to be the best of times for some and the worst of times for others. I'm not going to discuss the situation of racism in our country and the recent manifestations against it, other than to say this: Since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody concluded in 1991 we have had 29 years, over 10,000 days, in which to make it clear that the situation is unbearable and must change.
It's not a question of whether protests should go ahead, on a certain day, with Coronavirus restrictions. It's a question of what the hell have we been doing every other day that has allowed the current situation to prevail.

While the real woman behind the sewing alter ego seethes with anger and roils with shame, Lightning McStitch is now going to blather on about sewing some shirts...


............and let's let her start with a drink in hand

When Coronavirus lockdowns first started happening there were plenty of Frocktails events that had to be cancelled.

Our compatriots up in Sydney joined forces with a few of the US Frocktails events and hosted a virtual frocktails event in lieu of their planned parties.

I'd suddenly been consumed with the urge to sew myself some button up shirts and thought I'd try out both the Liesl + Co Camp Shirt and the Classic Shirt. I've already sewn the Recital Shirt (both ways) and love it. I was curious to see how these two would compare.

For my virtual Frocktails outfit I sewed the Camp Shirt in this metallic coated cotton that I'd picked up in ClearIt some time earlier. I'd had it earmarked for a different pattern (V1414), but that one would have the reverse side show, and the fabric is a very dull beige on the back.

I thought the lux pyjama vibe of the Camp shirt in this fabric would be fun. An old friend described this look as "pissy rich 70's housewife" which cracked me up. But having always wanted to dress up as Margo Leadbetter from The Good Life I was also delighted (for the record I wanted to be Barbara with all the chickens and goats but I wanted to dress up like Margo)

She was on the money with the 70's comment as the skirt pattern is a 70's original. I still need to hand sew a hook and eye at the back and close the belt properly, and it deserves a blog post of it's own come summer time.

The Camp Shirt turned out to be perfect for this fabric with its relaxed, one piece collar. It's much more a blouse than a shirt and I've been wearing it with jeans and it works just fine like that too.

It's a straight size 10 as per my measurements with no alterations. Amazingly I had he perfect buttons in my stash, even with slightly smaller ones for the sleeve plackets.

The Classic Shirt lay cut out for quite some time, and then for some time afterwards was sewn, but was waiting for buttons...

This was a cotton/poplin that I'd bought at Rathdowne Fabrics ages ago with probably the intention for it to one day become a shirt. I'm not sure if I'd thought that would be for me, as I never usually wear purple, but suddenly there it was, also cut out, and ready to be my Classic Shirt.

Again I made a straight size 10, but something possessed me to lower the bust dart by half an inch on this shirt (but not the other?!). I think I must have been wearing my Gelato Blouse which does seem to have an oddly high bust dart compared to other Liesl + Co patterns. Either that or I was just feeling a bit old and saggy and figured I might need to start making some kind of sewing concessions for my boobs... I don't know. But I needn't have done it. The bust dart is under the chest pockets so it doesn't matter that it's too low, but it is. It should be 1/2" higher, or exactly where it was before I moved it.

I'm keen to track down a nice, textured white cotton and make the perfect white shirt. I think it would be the front and collar of this shirt with the more fitted back of the Recital Shirt. It's cool that the pattern pieces are interchangeable in that way.

Doing business through the postal service during lockdown, I bought the perfect buttons from Buttonmania. Square purple buttons (not something I had in my stash!), with smaller round ones for the sleeve plackets.