Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A bit of a Sewaholic Day

Saturday morning I finished my second version of the Crescent SkirtMy first one gets worn a LOT, it's become one of the 'go to' items in my wardrobe, so I thought it was about time that I got around to making the second version I planned way back when I got the pattern. The fabric I've used is some more of the spotty sateen that I used for my "seeing spots" quilt.

Firstly I need to show you this photo so that some of the below ones make sense - I don't usually pair a green skirt with blue and pink wellies, but you see it was pouring down with rain here on Saturday when I first wore the skirt so I was also wearing my Minoru:

(do you see the awesome street art lion in the background?)

And onto the skirt...

As I know from working with it before that this sateen is very fine and frays quite easily I decided to follow the suggestion in the sewalong and sew french seams wherever I could, which makes it look lovely inside:

I also used Tasia's fantastic zip method, which looks so smart, and no hand sewing!


Because the seam lines in the waistband cut up the spots somewhat I decided to emphasise those lines by topstitching either side of the seams with brown thread, using the triple stretch stitch on my machine:

And some pics of the skirt on me:


And a couple where the waistband isn't covered:


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Grey Dress and better Minoru Pics

I have a few pics to share today, the first is a dress that I made yonks ago but hadn't photographed until yesterday, and also is some better pictures of my Minoru jacket, as the previous ones didn't show the colour very faithfully.

This dress is New Look pattern 6726. I've made it up before, but this time went for the normal straps rather than the buttoned ones (as the buttons are painful when carrying a bag!). For this dress I used some fabric that I got from Tessuti called "Peppercorn" (unfortunately I can't find it on their site). The fabric was some kind of blend, and is lusciously soft, I wish there was a way for you to stroke it through the computer screen, it's so lovely.

As I'd spent ages fitting the dress last time and had marked those changes onto the pattern pieces I didn't bother fitting at all along the way when making this dress. I figured the brown version fits me great still so I'll be ok. Turns out there's a bit of a fitting issue along the princess seams in the bust which aren't obvious in the dark brown fabric but are glaringly obvious in the grey.

Nevermind, the dress is still more than wearable, and most of all has the super awesome pockets that I love so much from the first version. (I do like this dress, despite my expression in the above picture suggesting otherwise!)

And the second thing I wanted to show you today, the better photos of my Minoru Jacket. Nothing against Laura, who took the first photos, and did a great job under the terrible conditions (after dark, inside with average light and using my crappy camera). Now I have some daylight photos where you can see the jacket a little better.

Front and Hood (less comically large when my hair is tied back):


Ready for the rain:

Don't you love the oversized collar:

And more importantly, I can't believe I forgot to show a picture of the lining last time!!

If you want to make a Minoru yourself, make sure you head over to the sewaholic shop, as the pattern is now in stock!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Seeing spots

Mindy has assisted me in naming this quilt - "seeing spots". Which is now basted and ready to quilt. I have decided to go with the basic quilting of outlining the L shapes with the matching thread, which I think will look awesome on the back. Time will tell.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Shorts time...

This evening I spent a few pleasant hours working on a pair of shorts (since the weather is starting to warm up now) and watching the west wing. A pretty enjoyable way to spend an evening if you ask me.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Quilting Opinions Please

Yesterday I went to GJs in my lunch break. GJs is about 5km from where I work, and I rode like the wind to get there and back in my lunch break, and I managed it, hurrah! While I was there I got the backing, quilting thread and batting for my spotty quilt (which still needs a name, so suggestions gratefully taken).

I had intended to get the grey version of the spotty backing fabric that I used on my genome quilt, however they were all out of it so I had to change my plans. I stuck with the grey scheme though and got two grey homespuns. I am planning on hand quilting it with perle 8 threads, and Georgia was kind enough to order me in some colours to match my fabrics, 5 of the 6 colours have come in so far, I'm just waiting on some teal as my last colour. I also got some bamboo batting for the middle. I've not used bamboo before, but I want to try some new things to see what I like the most, so I shall report back on how it turns out.

Last night, however, I fell over in the garden and sprained my ankle, which is now pretty sore and very swollen. Nevertheless, one to look for silver linings, I realised that I my "sewing machine foot" was still perfectly fine (I sprained the left), so after resting most of the day I spent a couple of hours this afternoon sewing the quilt top together, so the day wasn't a complete bust.

Now, the reason for posting this now - I'd like suggestions/opinions for quilting this please. I want to hand quilt it, and I (will) have perle 8 thread to match the 6 main colours of the fabrics. How would you quilt it??

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Rain = passed

Despite having finished my Minoru over a month ago, today was the first time I'd been able to test it in proper rain. I'd been out in some light showers, but this evening we had some serious rain, in which I had to walk home. I am pleased to report that the jacket held up very well. 10 minutes of walking in heavy rain and the top 2/3 of me (ie the jacket covered bits) were still completely dry.

A photo snapped earlier this evening showing the storm clouds rolling in. The colours of the sky/clouds are pretty accurate.

However I did discover one slight flaw in the jacket - the bit of the collar where the hood comes out leaves a little lip on the outside, which tended to catch water and fill up a little, which allowed it to seep inside the jacket around the neck seam. Not enough got in that my clothes underneath got wet at all, I just need to remember to fold that bit down when it's raining hard to stop any water accumulating there. The hood kept my hair and face absolutely dry though, so hurrah! a great success!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Retreat 2.0

This past weekend I headed up to hepburn springs again for another retreat. We had such fun on the last retreat back in May that we booked in for another, even longer, one while we were still there. This time we stayed 3 nights, and it was lots of fun and incredibly productive.

I got lots of sewing done, including assembling the blocks for two quilt tops. Above are the base blocks for the quilt I am making with the spotty sateen fabric I bought earlier in the year. The blocks have since been cut into quarters bento box style, and the quarters trimmed to 8" square ready to be assembled into a quilt top.

Below are the rest of the hexagons that I started on the other weekend, and I love how they look, piecing them together has definitely transformed the fabric. I just need to get some solid cream fabric and I will begin assembling the quilt top of this one too.

This means that soon I'll have some quilting projects on the go again, which i'm excited about. I'm planning on hand quilting the spotty one, although don't exactly know what design yet, so suggestions gratefully received.  In contrast I'm considering machine free motion quilting the hexagon one, probably just with a stippling pattern, however as i'm hoping the quilt will be about queen sized I may regret that decision and change my mind with either the quilting method or design.

I did get some other stuff done over the weekend, about which I shall blog in due course.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Minoru Jacket

If you're a follower of the sewaholic blog you will have seen Tasia's new pattern, the Minoru jacket by now. This means that I can now share with you my secret project from a while back. I was lucky enough to be a pattern tester for this pattern, so I have been gallivanting around Melbourne in my version for about a month now.

The Minoru Jacket is the 4th pattern that Tasia has released, and is just as great as her first three patterns. The jacket is a raglan sleeved jacket, cinched in at the waist with elastic, with a big collar and optional hood that folds away into the collar.

I made my version in a hot pin cotton canvas type material that I got from The Fabric Store. I wanted to be able to use my jacket as a "shower proof" jacket, therefore I wanted it to be water resistant, so I tested a swatch of the fabric (and the other contenders) by spraying some water on them and seeing what happened - some of the fabrics absorbed the water instantly, but the water formed droplets on the surface of this pink fabric, and didn't seem to sink in very fast at all.

For the lining I chose a printed cotton fabric for the bulk of the lining, but I used a standard lining fabric for the sleeve lining pieces so that my arms would slide into the sleeves ok and if I was wearing a jumper or anything I wouldn't get stuck trying to get the jacket on or off. I chose grey for these which cooordinates with the grey zippers that I used.

I was under a time constraint making this jacket, so I had set aside 3 full days and then some evenings to make it, and to my great surprise it came together MUCH quicker than I'd anticipated - I stared mid-afternoon on day 1, took my time cutting out the fabric and then started sewing until early evening. By that point I'd sewn together the jacket shell. I then resumed sewing the following afternoon and by the time I went to bed that evening I had a finished jacket!

I deliberatly worked through the instructions slowly and steadily, following them to the letter, and the jacket came together with no issues at all. Sewing the cuff on the bottom of the sleeve was a bit fiddly, but everything else was very straight foward.

I made two alterations to the jacket - I moved the elastic in the waist up by 1 inch, and I extended the size of the hood by 1 in - as I can't be doing with a hood that's too small. The hood is now comically big when I have my hair down, but it's still plenty big enough when my hair is up, which is what i was after. Having said that though, the hood is already a really good size, so I probably didn't actually need to extend it at all.

I absolutely LOVE this jacket! I have worn it a LOT since finishing it, the inconsistent spring weather has allowed me to wear it a fair bit, and it's comfy to wear, and very practical. The raglan sleeves means that there's not any seams directly on your shoulders, so helps with the water resistance of the jacket. I've been caught in a couple of showers in it and it's kept me thoroughly dry so far.

After thinking about it quite a lot there are only two things that I would change about the jacket. Number 1 is that I would have put a hanging hook in it (which I didn't think of until too late when constructing it), and Number 2 is that I still find not having external pockets a bit weird and inconvenient - if I were to make another one I think I would possibly add some kind of patch pocket to the front.

If you're interested in the pattern Tasia is running a pre-sale for subscribers of her newsletter, otherwise it'll be available in her shop soon.

A note for people in Melbourne interested in making this pattern - I found finding a long enough separating zipper trickier than I anticipated. Basic colours are available at Clegs in the City and at GJs, but the Fabric store have a slightly wider range of chunky plastic jacket zippers, which is where I ended up getting mine.

EDIT: For better photos of the jacket please see this post: 
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