Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Shorts making - some wins, some losses.

Meh. I'm over shorts at the moment. I've spend the last 6 weeks or so making 3 different styles and patterns, and for the most part they've been duds. I can't say it's been a complete waste of time, but its been a moderate waste of time, fabric, and general sewjo.

We'll start with the positives. In an effort to be a bit more frugal I decided, rather than buying the Grainline Maritime shorts, to try some shorts out of one of my Ottobre mags. I thought they looked fairly similar, and was keen to try this pattern in particular, as it was essentially the same as a pair of fitted trousers in the same issue, so essentially they'd be a wearable muslin for 2 garments.

Ottobre Spring/Summer 2013 - 'Sleek and modern'
The photo is terrible, but they are a slim fitting short, with sort of welt zip pockets designed for a woven fabric with 3-5% stretch. I didn't like the zip pockets at all, so redrafted them to look more like the Maritime shorts, with reasonable success.

I also lengthened them by about 3cm, as they were pretty much hot pants, and switched the straight rectangular waistband piece for a curved waistband from a Burda pattern (one of my failures, coming up). Because of my sway back and not-insignificant backside I find that a curved waistband suits me a lot more - I tend to get less gapage with a curved waistband. They fit quite well straight off the pattern, particular the rise, which is the biggest win for me - there's no shortage of other trouser patterns in the mags I have. They are very fitting, and short, which is why I'm not modelling them - I just didn't feel up for expanses of white leg today. But I have worn them quite a bit (the crazy print looks good with navy), and whilst I doubt I'll make the pattern up again as shorts (I just don't like shorts that are that tight around my legs) I'll definitely consider the longer length for trousers. I think maybe next time I'd just do inseam pockets though, as the curve is a little gapey (undoubtedly my drafting 'skills').

In decreasing order of failure-ness was an attempt at Burda Lace Shorts 04/2013.

Fail fail fail. These reached a rare spot in my sewing room - the bin. I was pretty cranky with myself too, as I'd used some nice stretch denim (I was short on time, and took the risk). The fly was diabolical - I tried to draft a fly shield, with some success, but the whole thing was just nasty. The pleats sucked. The rise sucked. The only decent thing about them was I was able to scavenge the waistband pattern and use it on the Ottobre shorts. 

And finally, my mediocre tale of shorts woe ends with todays project, the likely-to-be-unredeemable Kwik Sew K3854 Sailor shorts. 

I had such high hopes for these. I've decided to share with you the vision of my almost finished shorts (oh how it shits me to essentially finish a garment except for the hem and only find out at that point that it sucks). I still love the idea and the look of them on the hanger, but on me they are truly awful.

Linen. French seamed. PIPED. I've only pinned the buttons on, hence the wobbliness. I had visions of gorgeous cornflower blue linen (from an op shop, so let's be thankful for small mercies) with black piping, black buttons. At least I got to practice my piping skills (major lesson learned - try avoid a bulky fabric). I cut a size medium, based on the measurements, but because I fell in between a small and medium I decided to do 6/8 inch side and crotch seams, rather than 5/8 inch. I ended up taking in the waistband and upper leg side seams an extra probably half inch, so the small probably would have been fine. These shorts are proper sailor shorts, in that the closure is the front bib, with buttons. That bib section on me - ghastly.

They may have resembled this:

But bad.

What's a girl to do. Make a stripy dolman tee I think. Sigh.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Wardrobe Architect - silhouettes, colour and getting hooked on Polyvore

Thanks so much for the feedback on my last post. I did wonder whether it was going to be a bit of a droning boring post, so I'm pleased some of you enjoyed it!

I'll freely admit it was the lovely collages on this Wardrobe Architect post that drew me into playing with Polyvore while I was on holiday. It was just so much fun, visualising the shapes and silhouettes that I love to make and wear, or should be wearing! So pretty and so easy! And great fun to do some fantasy shoe shopping.... I went a bit crazy but it was heartening to know a lot of these things I already have acquired or made, or plan to do so.... And subconsciously I seemed to choose a lot of the colours or prints that I love....

Trousers 1 - Slim pants/jeans, short jumpers, boatneck or scoop tee, flats
This is pretty much my casual uniform unless it's hot or I want to feel dressier. I'm not sure about making jeans - seeing Gail's fab Jamie jeans tempt me, but my machine doesn't like thick layers and just the idea of all that top stitching makes me want to stab my eyes with a fork.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

In which I discover I could use the Wardrobe Architect after all

This rather long post really is mostly for me - do tune out now if you find wardrobe planning tedious and narcissistic! I've really enjoyed the Wardrobe Architect series thus far over at Coletterie, but I've not taken part in it because I just didn't think I really needed it. After all, I pretty much know what suits me, and I'm starting to get more sensible with my fabric purchase and pattern choices. I'm no longer dazzled by pretty prints quite as easily, and I have consciously chosen not to get overexcited by the latest new patterns sweeping the (mostly northern hemisphere and therefore not my season) blogosphere. Instead I'm focussing on what I will get a lot of wear out of and then waiting to see what new patterns will suit me (and it allows time for other sewists to test them and iron out any glitches ;)!). I am a planner by nature though - I love lists, and planning what I will sew, knit, take on holiday, do in the garden etc etc. And right now I'm in a bit of a planning funk - an end of season funk I think. I'm hoping by doing the Wardrobe Architect I'll get out of my funk.

The Wardrobe Architect

Monday, 17 February 2014

Finished - Alohawear for my beloved, and a giveaway!

We've just spent the weekend at the fabulous Riverboat Festival in Echuca. This weekend has a very special meaning for my beloved and I, as it was this time last year that we got engaged! Anyway, I decided in the lead up to our holidays, and this weekend in particular, that I wanted to make Matt something special, especially as he had been working so very hard to get Sunny running well and sorted for our travels. He'd asked for a Hawaiian shirt ages ago, and I'd found a vintage pattern on ebay pretty quickly but struggled for a decent print. It uses nearly 3 metres of fabric and for a first attempt I was fairly pragmatic and wasn't keen to spend a heap on something he might not wear much. Anyway, long story short - Spotlight had nothing that was stylish (or polyester free - I freely admit to being a synthetic snob) but Darn Cheap came through with the goods in its quilting cotton section with a lovely muted palm tree beach print for $7.50/m.

I've got to be honest here - this is one of the best things I've made - definitely the best thing I've made for him, that's for certain! How cool is it?

Friday, 14 February 2014

A new skill conquered.... I hope..... and a kind of cute tutorial!

I'm right in the middle of my summer holiday. Sunny has behaved well for his first week (we've done nearly 1000km in him in the last week!) and I've been able to get a heap of knitting done. The lead up to our holidays was pretty busy, and I've a few finished sewing projects to photograph and post, but this little knitting project will have to do for now!

I'm making surprisingly fast progress on my Featherweight cardigan, considering I'm using lace weight yarn and 3.75mm needles. I'm so pleased with it. It's just beautiful. Anyway I'm almost at the point where I have to pick up the stitches for the sleeves and that means one thing - double point needles!!!! I considered delaying the inevitable by starting another project but realised I needed to HTFU and just learn. Of course there's a heap of info out there but the most useful tips I found were on the fabulous Techknitters blog. This woman is gold. 

So I ordered myself a bargain set of bamboo needles off eBay (about $13 for 20 different sizes of 5 needles!) and decided the impending birth of a good friends first baby was the perfect opportunity to teach myself the dreaded DPN's. Don't be mislead. This is most certainly not unselfish knitting. This is selfish knitting at its best - as if I'm going to go and drop stitches and experiment on my precious cardi!

The result - one slightly wonky but passable (don't zoom in) pixie beanie!

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Finished - Jedediah shorts

Full disclosure. These were finished months and months ago. September I think. It's taken this long for me to get the man to stand still enough to get some decent pics of these shorts - hence the slightly blurry iPhone shots. There's not much for me to say about the Thread Theory Jedediah pattern that hasn't already been said - it's fantastically drafted, and the instructions are excellent. The sewalong that Morgan ran back in August was great, in particular the video for inserting the fly closure. It was my first fly closure, and I reckon it's still my best (I've done a few since then) and I actually returned back to the instructions for a recent pair of shorts for me for clarification.

The fabric is a cotton twill with a little bit of stretch that I purchased from Mood in NYC on our honeymoon. I can't remember the size I made - I think it was a 36, which ended up being a bit big around the waist. My love is a RTW 34, but when I did the measurements he came in a size up - I think the 34 would actually have been perfect as I did take them in at the centre back about an inch. So that gives you a bit of an idea of how good the Thread Theory sizing is. They are a nice slim fit and very comfortable to wear. Apparently!

Here's an unironed shot of the shorts innards. The side seams are finished with self made bias, which is a nice touch if you don't have an overlocker or serger. It adds time of course, but it means if you want to roll the shorts up there's no manky edges visible. I also used it to finish the waistband and the zipper shield. These shorts also include my first flat-felled seams - I did the back yoke really nicely bit the inner legs are pretty crappy so no close ups!

The verdict - a very happy husband who loves them, but not as much as his bus!