Sunday, 18 May 2014

A matter of matching

Without further ado, let me show you my pattern matched striped Ensis.

This was my first attempt at trying to match stripes, and I am stoked with the outcome. I matched the side seams, I tried to match the armscyes (my matching failed over the sleeve head and across the back), but I did match the hem band and cuffs. Pattern matching success? Tick (for the most part).
Check out that pattern matching. Like. A. Boss

The top is my version of Papercut’s ensis tee. I made this up previously as a colour-blocked tee, and I remembered the fit to be slightly loose through the body – perfect for a lightweight jumper. I overlapped the pattern pieces by 1cm to remove the colour blocked section, and cut this in the whole. I did have a few issues with the placement of the pieces as the edges of the fabric were warped, stretched on the selvage and made the stripes distort. I hate how some fabric warps and distorts on the selvage edges. It sucks balls (as my son would say). It annoyed me to the state of expletives!  -  I lost about 20cm off each edge due to the unruly stripes – no amount of coaxing was going to straighten them. Bugger.
Pattern matching not so great back here...

Anyway, I managed (just) to get all the pieces out of a metre of this loose knit fabric that I bought from A2F. I bought it with the intention of sewing a dress for my sister, but the knit was too loose (and thus see-through) to make it into dress. Win for me. Loss for her.  Sorry sis.

There’s not really a lot to say about this make – I think in hindsight I would have preferred just to turn the edges over to create a simple hem rather than cuffs and a hem-band. I think the cuffs make it look a little more casual then I was going for. Oh, and I did stabilise the shoulder seams with stay tape, but that’s just a normal step that I usually take with any knits. And I did it completely on my overlocker (except the stay-tape of course).

That’s it really. It’s a simple, casual knit jumper – probably a little too casual to pair with any of my minis, but a staple nonetheless.
What next? Next week’s my birthday week so I’m hoping to sneak to the fabric store to buy some fabric and maybe make something outrageous to party in!

Thursday, 15 May 2014

A mini obsession

I have noticed a mini obsession lately – my obsession with mini’s. I think that its commencement may have coincided with my (recent) single status, but no matter the reason, I can confidently say that the hem lines on my skirts are definitely getting shorter. Move aside A-lines, these mini’s need pole position in my wardrobe!

Haha. The mini's too tight to fit my hands -
check out the whites of my knuckles being squished.

I have made not 1, not 2, but 3 self-drafted ponte minis in different colours, and although I love each and every one of them, I don’t think they require individual blog posts. They do get high rotation for my work outfits paired with my black milk leggings.

Side note: black milk leggings have truly brought out my eccentric side. And if you’re going to wear outlandish Alice in Wonderland leggings (my tights might make an appearance next post), why cover them up with a longish skirt? Hell, that Cheshire cat on my thigh needs to be glimpsed every now and then, especially since lately I’m channelling him: everyone’s mad here...

Anyway, back to the sewing. With mini’s in mind, I finally jumped on the Grainline moss skirt bandwagon. I wasn’t overly convinced with this skirt at the start, but I am glad that I was swayed to make it by my fellow sewing peeps. I ended up making this out of my left over herringbone denim (the scrap left over from my copycat sigma) in a size 2. I should have gone up a size as I think I’d rather this sit a little lower on my hips. I also wouldn’t mind taking in the waist band a tad as it is a bit gapey at the back. I’m just being fussy.

Check out that front fly zipper (not the best alignment of the waistband)

I was a little intimidated by the front fly zipper, but it came together relatively well. Ok, that was a complete lie stretching the truth – I botched this the first time, sewed the zipper on wrong, unpicked it and tried again. I also sewed the fly facing, facing the wrong way?! Don’t ask me how. I told you, I’m going mad. In the end the left side of the front skirt piece next to the zipper bunched a tad, but I gave up trying to flatten it, and hoped like hell that it wouldn’t show when worn.

Back panel with top stitching

I used my Liberty Guerrilla Gardening scraps for my pocket facings – I like that there’s a little bit of lush liberty that only I know is there. I did ponder whether the denim was thick enough to warrant omitting the interfacing - I compromised with a lightweight woven interfacing just to give the waistband a tad of stiffness. In hindsight, it probably didn’t need it.

All in all, I’m stoked with this make. In fact, I can’t believe it took me so long to make my own denim mini. I love this skirt so much that I bought some winter blue cord to make another (I just need to alter the fit a smidge). How many mini’s are too many?
Oh, and with a little twisting of my arm, I’ve been convinced to join Instagram. So follow me on myzeemoo.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

A gym incentive – my merino hoodie

I decided the other week that I needed to take a leap from my coco-sigma loop, and dive on into sewing something new. I started off with my self-drafted mini, but that didn’t really count as it was just a tube with a waistband. I knew I needed a new sewing project, but I couldn’t really decide what… but then I remembered my Papercut Undercover Hood pattern sitting on my shelf. I’d been convincing myself that I needed to get back to the gym, and what better incentive then a new hoodie to wear? I had a few meters of grey merino fabric sitting in my stash (I can’t even remember what I bought this for), so had everything on hand to sew this baby up while recovering from tonsillitis. No notions needed. No need to leave the house. It was as simple as ready, set, go.

I didn’t bother with a muslin as I knew it was a loose-fitting hoodie with a decent amount of positive ease, so I went straight ahead and cut the smallest size, the XXS (side note – I do find papercut patterns run on the large size). I had read a few blog posts where people had noted considerable length in the sleeves and also in the body, so I didn’t cut the cuffs or hem band until I tried on the (almost) completed hoodie. As it was, the length was perfect so I made no alterations at all.

The only thing I did do was stabilise the pocket openings with cotton tape as the merino weight is fairly light and I thought the pocket might gape. I don’t think the pocket would be suitable for actually holding anything, but it’s nice to warm my hands in. I also didn’t have the right colour thread, but decided I could sew the top-stitching in black as a design feature. Ha. Only problem is I didn’t use my twin needle and instead attempted to sew parallel lines around the pocket. I made a dog’s breakfast of the top-stitching, but luckily the black blends in (kind of).

So far my hoodie hasn’t reached the gym, although it’s had a fair amount of wear on the couch. I did wear it out to my sewing sess on Saturday, and paired it with jeans (not actually the look I was after but I needed pics for here and thought wearing gym gear to my sewing sess was a little too weird – sewists are supposed to be fashionistas, are we not?). Anyway, maybe I need to pair my hoodie with some Ooh La Leggings?? I did just order some merino/lycra fabric from NZ. No. No more procrastination. Sewing must wait.  It’s to the gym tomorrow for me in my stylish hoodie!

Monday, 5 May 2014

My self-drafted knit mini

I’ve been after a tight knit mini for a while now, but it was only after Colette released their new Mabel pattern that I decided that I’d try drafting one myself. Now I haven’t looked at the pattern pieces for the Mabel, so I have no idea exactly what their pattern entails, but I thought I could create a similar look just by sewing a few rectangles together. So I gave it a go, and the result was… well, successful.
Check out that front panel with off-side seams

Here’s what I did it: I took a few measurements – my hips, waist (kinda drop waist) and the potential length of the mini. I then took 2 inches off both the hip and waist measurement as I wanted this mini to be snug and to stretch over my booty and hips. I also decided that I wanted a centre back seam, and a panel at the front – I wanted the side seams to fall a few inches towards the front of the skirt rather than a direct side seam. I’ve seen several ‘panel’ mini’s in a few mags now, so I knew it was the look I was after. It was just a matter deciding on the width of the front panel, dividing my skirt into sections, adding the seam allowance and cutting this baby out.
Ha. A picture of my booty.

For the waist band I took my waist measurement minus 2 inches for the width, doubled the height I wanted for the waistband and added seam allowance to both the width and height. I wanted a 1 7/8 inch waistband, so I doubled it (3 ½”) and added half an inch for the seam allowance (x 2 for the height as it is doubled over). Voila. I had my pattern pieces – all rectangular.

The skirt itself came together really fast…. Super-duper fast. Like, we’re talking, less than an hour fast! Woohoo. That’s my type of sewing! I sewed the 3 skirt pieces together first – and ended up with a tube. I did try this on at this point to make sure it fitted over my booty with just the right amount of stretch. I then folded the skirt in half so I could notch the centre front and the sides. Essentially, I wanted to notch the skirt in quarters.

The waist band I sewed the short ends together, right sides facing to create a band, then doubled the fabric over to enclose the waist band seam. I then notched the waist band in quarters. I placed the waistband over the skirt, right sides facing, matched the notches and pinned it in place like crazy, stretching the waistband (there’s a 7” difference between the waist band and skirt circumference) during pinning.

I sewed the whole thing on the overlocker, except for the hem, which I finished off on the overlocker then turned over half an inch and used a straight stitch with a slightly longer stitch length. I was worried that the straight stitch would stretch the hell out of the hem and distort it, but it seemed to work fine.

That’s it really. I made it sounds more complicated in writing, but really it was a cinch. I’m super happy with this make. It was fast, easy and turned out exactly how I wanted it. And it’s a perfect length to wear with tights and boots without it being inappropriate for work. I’m going to make a few more of these – maybe a straight black one, a grey striped panel one with black back… and anything else that tickles my fancy. Oh, and I got it out of about 50cm of scrap ponte. Win win.