Tuesday 25 April 2023

Henri for him

I knocked out two pair of Henri joggers (pattern Jalie 3909) for the big kid and since I just recently "fixed" one of the pair I figured I should finally document them here.

I only photographed the one pair, but I'm sure you can imagine navy trackpants. Possibly even if you hadn't already been shown a pair of grey trackpants :)

I'm failing in documenting things in a timely enough manner to remember what I did. Size was by waist/hip measurements and I'm guessing I added 2" inseam length. 

Both pairs had a waistband different to the pattern construction. I use the Oliver + S method of enclosing the waistband seams, leaving a gap, then insert elastic and stitch it down at centre back to prevent it twisting. 

The drawstrings are cool recycled denim/cotton cording that I got from String Harvest ages ago. Already both drawstrings have been "lost" back through the buttonholes they're meant to come out of and he doesn't care, so there they stay. 

The navy sweater fleece had much less stretch than the grey and since I'd used the main fabric for the cuffs he could barely get his feet (flippers) through them. It was a family tug-o-war effort to undress him! It's those cuffs that I've just recently cut off and reattached with no reduction in hem diameter. Now they're back in regular rotation.

I snuck this hot pink label onto these ones and got away with it. He's so easy to sew for. xx

Monday 24 April 2023

Melbourne Frocktails 2022

I'm already starting into planning mode for this year's Melbourne Frocktails and I realise I still haven't shared what I made for Frocktails 2022. I didn't get great photos so maybe that's why I've stalled.

After missing out on having a Frocktails in 2020 and 2021 we didn't want to wait until spring of '22 so we brought it forward and went with a winter date. It was fun to be thinking of sewing for a different season.

My first thought, and what I stuck with, was a full, brown silk skirt and a simple bodysuit on top. A simple outfit, but buckle up, it could be a long blog post....

Can I even remember what I did?
Let's start with the skirt. That was always meant to be the main feature. The brown silk was bought on sale from Draper's Fabrics long before anything else and I think I guessed at 5m knowing it was going to be a big skirt.

The pattern choices came down to one or two different Vogue patterns that I found (and bought) and I ended up plumping for Vogue 8980 (shown variously with a designer Vogue style pattern cover or the Very easy Very Vogue style line drawings.) I went with the full, hi-lo hemmed skirt (view C) and the pleated waistband of view B. 

I've got no idea what size it ended up being. Since the waistband was the only thing that had to fit it didn't seem all that important. I suspect I started with the size 16 (a smidge smaller than what my waist was measuring) but by the time the skirt was attached to the waistband it was obviously far too small. I must have assumed the "normal" amount of crazy positive ease built into some commercial patterns. Well not this one.

I unpicked everything and let out all the skirt pleats and cut a new waistband but then I was panicked that it was now feeling too loose. I decided to hang it in the closet for a month and work on the bodysuit and maybe eat more cake!

The bodysuit is based on the Jalie leotard 3136. I liked the wide bateau neckline. The challenge was keeping the shaping that is created by the horizontal seams that sperate the yoke/chest sections from the waist sections, while getting rid of the seam itself. I could also raise the back neckline up to a standard eight as I was adding crotch snaps so I didn't need to get into it through the neckhole as one might with a normal leotard. - If I'm going to drink cocktails all night I'm going to need to use the bathroom! (and you do not want to see my try to climb out a neckhole after too many drinks)

The beige/gold sparkly knit came from Fabric deluxe and was exactly what I was after. There was a lot of pattern tweaking and at least one muslin until I eventually got what I wanted. Then I freaked out about nipples. If I had to choose between only two scenarios, one being visible back-fat bra strap lines and the other being visible nipples, I'd go seventies child and free the nips every time. 

However, neither of those scenarios seemed appropriate for a potentially cold, but definitely fancy soiree. My "solution" which I'm still very unconvinced by was to add some foam bra cups into the lining of the bodysuit.

I think they've ended up being far too molded and "booby" looking for my tastes and I've been very tempted to go back and take them out. But now that I look at that picture above I'm reminded that they're sewn in-between two layers of lining at the front, and once I'd attached the sleeves all access was lost. They did solve the no bra lines/no nipples dilemma, but I was aware that during the evening I felt like the bra cups were heading neckwards as if to strangle me, as my boobs tried to leave the party exiting downwards. Sigh.

The happy distraction from all this garment sewing drama was doing a Vogue Knitting Live course to learn tubular bead crochet with Florence Spurling. Due to time zones (and living at the arse end of the world) it was a 2am session for me, but what better time to learn a new craft?!

I bought the recommended bigger, learner beads and made a not too shabby necklace (I think there's a picture of that in yet another unblogged garment photo for another day). I tried them as hoop earrings but the weight was crazy and I felt like my ears would be sliced up in no time.

Never one to shy from a challenge I bought the much tinier, advanced level beads and set to work crocheting some tubular beads to slip over a plain metal earring hoop. I'm really proud of how these turned out. There's a dorky looking but super useful bit of free software called J-Bead which allows you to design the pattern you want and then it calculates the threading order and how many beads of each colour you need. Cool.

There's no denying this was crazy fiddly work, but once the beads are all threaded correctly and the first round is done it's actually not so hard. I think I used five different shades of beads from the deepest brown through to a very light metallic champagne colour.

As I was trying to take selfies of my earrings, Flipper was taking photos of me and ended up with this cute camera film style image

By this time I was ready to go back and face the skirt again. I finished the waistband and it fit just fine - I hadn't changed physically I think I'd just needed to walk away from it mentally. Anyway we were reconciled. I'll admit to being far too lazy to hand hem the skirt, and I was also loathe, without any help, to try and trim it level due to the drop of the bias sections. You can scroll back up to the first pictures and yell at me again to "trim the hem to account for the bias!!". It needed it.

I used the rolled hem foot attachment on the sewing machine and just went at that hem like a lady who'd stopped caring. All EIGHT metres of it. Seriously. ( I measured the hem the day after Frocktails and came up with 8m of hem and no fewer than 5 spilt cocktails stains :) )

So, last minute, I decided I need a short jacket. I traced off as many short jacket patterns as I owned and tried to fit them onto as many small bits of appropriate fabrics as I could find in the stash. The only match, and quite a pleasing one was this:

The main fabric would have been too shifty to use on its own so I underlined it with a beige cotton drill. And then I did want I've always sworn not to do: stayed up past midnight sewing bias binding on seams to finish them.

Of course it was only worn to and from the venue, and apart from trying it on in my bedroom I don't have any good photos of it. The jacket made it, just, into the annual bedtime bathroom mirror selfie

This year, 2023, will be the 10th anniversary for Melbourne Frocktails. Are you coming? 

Thursday 13 April 2023

Liesl + Co Sintra Dress

The other spring pattern I tested for Liesl + Co was the Sintra Halter top and dress. 

This pattern is a kind of revisit of a top within the Butterick Lisette 6464 pattern (which I made back here), but this time it's all about the top, with varying cup sizes and a dress option.

I was pretty sure I was going to like this one, so I went straight for some long stashed Nani Iro double gauze, that came from Janice at UrbanSew 

I was a bit size-shy after my slightly tight pants, so I sewed a straight 12 (measurements were between 10 and 12) to make sure I had enough room over the hips.

We were out in the country at Christmas time and there was certainly some warm enough weather for this dress to come out to play.

The pattern introduction is over on the Oliver + S blog here. I love the faux pantsuit look of combining the Sintra halter top and the Cannes trousers in the same fabric.

Friday 7 April 2023

Liesl + Co Cannes test

I helped out with the pattern test for the new spring patterns from Liesl + Co. 

These are the Cannes Wide Legged Trousers that I made, and tried to photograph, during a period of intense rainy weather. They're pants that really want to be worn out to a fancy restaurant in late summer evening sunshine.... But here's my dining room in the gloom instead.

They're a super wide, swishy trouser that worked really well in this lightweight tencel twill from Fabric Deluxe.

The construction at the front has a great pocket stay that's stabilised in the zipper so the they have the belly control section and then the pleat in the trouser front is free to hang without any tension. I appreciated that as I possibly undermeasured myself and they came out a fraction too small. They are a "close fit" across the backside and very slightly strained at the side pockets.

I haven't really had a chance to wear them yet, as when I went to grab them for a recent lunch date (maybe not wise with the close fit issue anyway) I yanked up the zipper and promptly pulled it right off where I had shorten the zipper to avoid sewing over metal teeth at the waistband. I fear I'll have to pick the zipper out and replace it. 

My top is an as-yet-unblogged bodysuit that I made to wear to Melbourne Frocktails last year, and I still can't decide if I should pull out the foam bra cups. On this miserable, rainy day they were useful to avoid the full headlight glare of a tight fitting top on a cold day!

For the Cannes wide legged trousers in a much more exotic location, check out the introductory post on the Oliver + S blog here

Annual Swimwear Sewathon - Part 3

It's feeling like winter is just around the corner, and I really need to catch up on documenting makes, so let's wrap up the summer swimwear sewing....

It started way back in September when it became clear P needed more swim trunks for our spring holiday (the legendary Mummy Mystery Tour). He assured me his boardshorts were fine.

I knocked out a quick two pairs of the Seamus swim trunks, from Ottobre 03-2209. This time in the largest 170cm size. Of course, when we got to the beach, it was clear his boardshorts didn't fit anymore and he's not the kind to wear trunks without baggies over the top. We had pretty poor weather (the only thing I couldn't organised to perfection!) and so there was only one beach swim at Uncle Franco's house where there were wetsuits for anyone who wanted one.

Exactly as I remembered it.

I'd made Flipper some Jalie boardshorts that have never been photographed. They're a bit too big but he still seems to pack them first. He also declared they should have a proper pocket - i argued that the coin/key pocket is all you want lest you put your phone in a bigger pocket and then forget and go in the water. But I was voted down on that. 

When I went to make P's boardshorts for the annual January river holiday I added a cargo pocket

Not that you can see it in that photo as I cut the pocket and the flap so that the surfboard pattern lined up. The patterned polyester microfibre was from spotlight and the plain blue a remnant from somewhere that was stashed.

The new rashie top is the Jalie Valerie that I'd made for myself. I was lazy and even made the same size as mine with no alterations other than extra sleeve length (maybe about 9cm?). This blue rashie was the first thing I made with my new coverstitch machine and I struggled.

I was convinced I should be able to do it all in one pass with the coverstitch, but to flat fell a seam with the coverstitch without having first basted it is nigh on impossible. My seam allowances were wildly off and it was all looking quite messy. The practised accuracy I have with my twin needle sewing machine was also lost, so even the "easy bits" like stitching down the neckband looked shite.

For the second rashie (which hasn't  been photographed, but is the same camo grey and black as my swimmers) I decided the best thing was to admit defeat, stitch the seam with the correct seam allowance and a narrow zigzag on the sewing machine and then use the coverstitch to secure the seam allowances and give the decorative topstitching effect. All of which is just to say that I still see a place for an industrial flatlocker in my sewing machine arsenal. The only problem being I just don't see an actual space for it :)

The pocket is from the Thread Theory Jutland trouser pattern, which I has out just the other day as I put a new bottom section on his favourite camouflage cargoes, adding an extra 10cm leg length. Of course the added fabric hasn't been washed and worn so it's a bit darker and he looks like he's been dip dyed! :)

In total, between the two fellas, I sewed three pair of Jalie 2678 Boardshorts, two Jalie 3668 Valerie rashies and two pair of Seamus swim trunks (Ottobre 3/2009)

There's lots of other summer sewing to catch up on here while I start on some winter weather making....