Sunday, September 30, 2012

Social Sewing: recap and more dates

Yesterday I got together with some other local sewers for some Social Sewing. Twelve of us turned up at GJs, projects in hand, for a fun day of sewing and chatting (in approximately equal measure). 


The large tables were perfect for tracing patterns and cutting out fabric, so quite a bit of that was done. Sewing up or modifying muslins was also a popular activity, since there were many other sewers on hand to assist with pinning and offering opinions. Correct me if I'm wrong girls, but I believe the only finished item of the day was Mel's beautiful Franke vest?

The afternoon also turned into a little bit of a Cambie-fest, with at least one being cut out, one being sewn, and I think 5 different people trying on Helen's's beautiful cambie (please correct me if that number is wrong) - one of the the bonuses of catching up with sewers is that you don't always have to make something blindly without trying it on first!

Kat very generously brought along a whole stack of fabric, patterns and thread for us to have for FREE! (see above pic, and that's mid raid by us) I know, so generous!!! I came home with some absolutely gorgeous striped shirting and some spools of thread.

Above is nearly all of our group - sadly Heather had to leave early and this pic was snapped just as we were being kicked (protesting) out of GJs at 4 o'clock when they closed. From left to right: Helen, Kristy, Alison, Oanh, Mel, Claire, Belle, Sarah, Kat, Me, Danika.

People were enthusing about doing it again by lunchtime, so we've organised two more dates to get together for social sewing, so if you're in the area we'd love for you to join us! We will be catching up on the Saturdays the 27th October and 17th November. All the other details are still the same, but just a recap:

  • LocationGJs Discount Fabrics, in Brunswick- they have a big workroom with big tables and lots of floor space, power points and light. You would need to bring your own machine.
  • Time: 9-4 (their opening hours, but you can come for as much or as little of that as you like)
  • Cost: $10 per person (paid to GJs when you arrive)

  • And as last time, if you're planning on coming please let me know either by comment or email so I can keep GJs in the loop as to how many of us to expect. I look forward to seeing you there!

    Friday, September 28, 2012

    Balcony Garden - Week 3 - Picture Based Update

    My last week or so has been completely hectic, and although I've been wanting to post an update about my balcony garden since last weekend I haven't had a chance to sit down and put one together until now. Having said that though, I'm half asleep as I type this, so I will limit this post to mostly pictures of the highlights of the garden over the last few weeks, a more wordy post may follow another time.


    Beans grow FAST!

    Tiny Lettuce Seedlings:

    Strawberry plants!

    Growing Strawberries!

    Some new shoots and buds appearing on the lime tree:

    And more new leaves:

    Looking to the left... starting to get more pots (need to buy some more though)

    And looking to the right, everything's growing really well:

    I've been really enjoying popping out onto the balcony and tending my plants whenever I can, and now I have the table and chairs out there am looking forward to the weather getting nicer so that I can spend even more time out there.

    Thursday, September 27, 2012

    Inspiration: Hand Knit Sweaters

    Since I'm coming closer and closer to completing my Miette Cardigan I've started thinking about what my next knitting project could be. Maybe one of the cardigans I posted about before, or maybe a sweater. Here are some sweater patterns I particularly like that I found at the same time as the cardigan patterns, maybe I could make one of these next. What do you think?

    (Click on the photos for links to the patterns on ravelry)

    Bevin | Arm Candy | Sea of Jeans

    Briar Rose
    Julissa | Chantalle | Larissa

    Waiting for Spring | 3 Hour Sweater | Ayana

    PS: You can find me on Ravelry here

    Monday, September 24, 2012

    Miette - Speedy Progress

    I thought I'd post a quick update on my progress with knitting the Miette pattern; in brief, I've been going great guns!

    The Saturday after I bought the yarn I cast on... and due to other circumstances my plans for the day fell through so I ended up knitting pretty much all day in front of some DVDs, and got to where you separate off the sleeves by the end of the day.

    I've been knitting away here and there ever since, often in front of a tv-show, sometimes in my lunchbreak, and have progressed super far!

    These pics are me trying it on after I'd reached the bottom of the lace in the body - I had to stop as I didn't have the smaller needle size for the ribbing, so I moved onto the sleeve

    Don't worry, It won't really gape at the front like in the pic - it's still going to have a button band in the middle there!

    Since I took these pictures I've actually finished one sleeve, gone back and done the ribbing around the waist, and started the second sleeve.

    Hopefully it won't take too much longer to finish! But yeah, loving knitting this cardigan!!

    Thursday, September 20, 2012

    Portrait Blouse

    You may have noticed that it's been a bit quieter around here this week than the last few, and that's because I started a new job on Tuesday - hooray! It does mean that I have been very tired and had less time for sewing and blogging.

    I have however managed to get a little sewing in each night, and last night I finished a portrait blouse, the first pattern that I've tried from my copy of Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing.

    It it also the first garment I've made where I've done a FBA. I traced the pattern in a size 6 (rather than a size 8 as suggested by my full bust) and then did a 1" FBA to add back the ease lost by going down a size (since there is 2" between each size).

    I also traced the longest length, as she mentions that it's a short blouse and I figured it would be easier to shorten than lengthen at the muslin stage. I ended up keeping it at that length as I liked it. So if you plan to make the blouse bear that in mind, especially since I'm 5"4 with a relatively short body.

    After the FBA I made a muslin, from which I made the following alterations:
    • I added 5/8" onto both the front and back side seams
    • I removed some length from the shoulder seams - about 1/2" at the front and about 1 1/2" from the back
    • I then redrew the armholes so they were approximately the original size
    • I lengthened the back by about 1" at the centre back, tapering to nothing at the side seams
    • I lengthened the bust dart slightly
    Having now worn the finished thing, the only changes I'd make to any future versions would be to scoop out the back of the armhole slightly, and maybe make the neckline very slightly higher. But that's just me being super picky really.

    The fabric is a Silk Crepe de Chine that I bought waaaay back at the beginning of 2010 from Tessuti. I was intending to make a Sencha blouse from it, but that never happened, so when I was hunting in the stash for fabric that might be suitable for a pattern from Gertie's book it was an obvious choice.


    Now, please bear the date of purchase in mind when you compare it to the example blouse in the book - it is a complete coincidence and I did not intentionally copy Gertie's version! Besides, her spots are bigger and if you read the text hers is a silk charmeuse, not crepe de chine (although my fabric knowledge isn't great enough to know if there's any real difference there!)

    The silk was super slippery and slidey, so I used my rotary cutter (brand new blade!) and awesome super large cutting mat to cut out the pieces.


    With regards to the contruction of the blouse I made three changes from the suggested construction in the book.

    The first was omiting the facings and instead finishing the neckline and arm holes with self-bias tape. I used the method Tasia uses for the Pendrell blouse to make and attach the bias binding (cutting strips 2" wide) as I really liked the method when I used it on my Chiffon Pendrell and thought it'd be good for this fabric, as the crepe de chine was fiddly to sew. I initially did this because I find facings annoying, both to sew and to wear, but I have since realised that it was a good call as the fabric is slightly sheer, so the facings would have been super obvious.


    The second was not sewing the vertical darts all the way down to the hem (see below). At the front I stopped around about where the hem line would have been for the size 6 (I think), and at the back about 1 1/4" higher than that point. I preferred the way it looked this way, and also meant that I didn't need to add any extra width for my hips!

    The last change was omitting the zip in the side seam suggested in the book.

    I wore this blouse (tucked into my grey jenny skirt, as in the top photos) all day at work today and it was really comfy! (which also explains it being slightly crumpled). However, after changing into jeans to take some untucked photos I think it would also be great worn like that more casually. A big success I'd say! If this is an indication of what the rest of the patterns in the book will be like then I'm even more excited about it!

    Monday, September 17, 2012

    Social Sewing Update

    Just a quick update on the Social Sewing - so far 10 people have let me know they're coming, so it's definitely going. However, it's a more the merrier type thing, so if you're interested please do consider coming by. As a reminder the details are:
    • Location: GJs Discount Fabrics, in Brunswick- they have a big workroom with big tables and lots of floor space, power points and light. You will need to bring your own machine.
    • Date: Saturday 29th September
    • Time: 9-4 (their opening hours, but you can come for as much or as little of that as you like)
    • Cost: $10 per person
    If you haven't already, please let me know if you want to come by commenting on this post (making sure that your email address is listed, if it's not please include it), or by emailing me so that I can make sure GJs know approximately how many people to expect.

    Friday, September 14, 2012

    Quilt Top - Ants and Woodpeckers

    I bought this little stack of fabrics at GJs a little while back and put it together into a quilt top the other week. The design is inspired by a quilt that I remember seeing a blog post about, I think in a blog hop for a book, but I can't for the life of me remember which blog, book or quilt design! So if it looks familiar to you, please let me know what to so if it is what inspired me I can give credit where it's due.

    Anyway, using the inspiration from my memory and trying to make best use of the fabric I came up with this design - the quilt is just under the width of the quilting fabric, and used  almost exactly all of the 30cm cuts that I bought. It's a bit bigger than I originally planned, but I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing, Although does mean the piece I bought for the back isn't quite big enough, I'm going to have to find some fabrics to piece in with it.

    I'm at a loss of how to quilt it though - how would you quilt this quilt?

    Thursday, September 13, 2012

    Great Stuff... #2

    This is my second "great stuff" post, where I am sharing links to things around the internet that I've found inspiring recently.

    Wednesday, September 12, 2012

    Help! Sizing dilemma...

    This wasn't what I was planning on posting about today, but I'm hoping for some help. You see, last night I was trying to start a new project, however as all my options were (essentially) brand spanking new projects they required tracing off patterns, and I just became completely overwhelmed. I started with re-measuring myself (like a good little sewist) and comparing my measurements to the size charts. I also measured my high-bust as well as my bust, as suggested by many, including Gertie's new book.

    I have since, with the benefit of a clearer head after a nights sleep worked out what to do with regards to one of the patterns, the Rooibos pattern as I've I've found a great resource for a FBA to the rooibos pattern on the Colette patterns blog. However, I'm still confused about two patterns - the Jasmine Blouse from Colette Patterns, and the Portrait Blouse from Gertie's book.

    If I look at my measurements on the first sizing chart for the Colette Patterns I span a massive range of sizes! My high bust gives a size 4, bust an 8, waist a 10 and hips a 12 (above pic). I know from my previous attempt at a jasmine that I can't just make a size 8 in the bust, as it's way too big in the arms and shoulders, so I definitely need to start with a size 4 there and do a FBA (Full Bust Adjustment).

    Looking at the second sizing chart, the one in Gertie's book, I'm almost exactly a straight size 8 if I use my 'standard' measurements (below pic), but if I use my high bust (a measurement Gertie suggests using in the book) I should make a size 4 and do a FBA.

    Now, obviously I need to do similar things with both of these patterns - a FBA. However, I have a confession - I've never done a FBA before and I'm a bit daunted. (I know, I know, I should probably have done one by now, but somehow I've gotten away without having to).

    There's quite a lot of FBA resources around, this one and this one both look quite good and clear, so how to actually do a FBA isn't the issue. The issue is with the waist and hip measurements - obviously a FBA adds to the waist (and hips in these patterns as there's no waist seam), so do I need to grade out to a bigger size at the waist and hips or will the FBA add enough size in?

    The portrait blouse has pleats below the bust (a bit like the Sencha blouse by Colette patterns), whereas the jasmine has no under-bust shaping so the answer is possibly different for the two.

    So I guess the conclusion to this slightly confused post is help! Do you have experience doing a FBA? Any advice or suggestions? Please?
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