Not a 2016 Sewing Round-Up or a 2017 Resolutions Post

I’m not doing a round-up this year of what I have made or worn most or least but I’m just checking in with you all.

It’s been a busy year for a number of reasons for me and sewing productivity has been lower than other years but more to the point, blogging has been sparse to say the least. I think I have about 20 posts that are half written, here’s hoping the new year will get that number down.

I’m not making sewing, or any life resolutions for that matter for 2017 either. I am simply making some broad statements about things that I hope to have completed by the end of 2017 but may well be carried over into the following few years …. it’s really a work in progress.

Firstly, I plan on working through my 2017 Summer SWAP, which by the time I finish, it may be winter anyway. Having seen Pantones spring fashion colour for 2017 – Greenery, and the other top 9 colours, I’m glad I’ve hit the money with my plan and seem to be on track for a “fashionable” wardrobe.

pantone-color-swatches-fashion-color-report-fall-2017

Source: PANTONE Fashion Color Report Spring 2017

Secondly, I’m working on creating a wardrobe that I can look into and would be happy to wear any item. At the moment I wear things just because that’s what is there and I often wear things I don’t like. I’d like to change that so that I love everything I wear and I have lots of options.

Lastly, I have made a recent discovery about myself and my wardrobe however. Although I love me some prints, I have finally established that solid colours are my preferred item of clothing to wear. Probably due to the simplicity of dressing and the fact you can co-ordinate a number of items together. So moving forward I hope to fill more of those gaps and to add some patterned flair whenever I feel like it.

Happy sewing for 2017 everyone 🙂

Sew by Pattern Pieces Ladies Fun Tee Blog Tour

I have bought many paper patterns for t shirts in the past and have yet to sew one up. I usually just buy tees because they are so cheap but then after a few wears I am reminded why I sew. The option of quality fabric, the fit, the style, the uniqueness, ….. the lists goes on.

So when Lauren from Sew by Pattern Pieces asked if I would like to join the blog tour for the Ladies Fun Tee. It finally gave me an excuse to sew up some tees using the ideas I had brewing in my head. Given that it is the festive season, it was perfect timing to introduce a couple of new tops into my wardrobe that would be practical for this time of year and beyond.

The great thing about this pattern is the endless design options. It really is great value. You can make a Fitted or Relaxed Body Shape with either Short, Long, Gathered Short or Gathered Long Sleeve combined with a Round, Scoop or V Neck… take a breath…. Not to mention it also comes in Australian sizes 6 to 26 but also has separate pattern pieces for Size A B C D DD E cups. This pattern really is perfect.

white-front-close            white-back-close

The instructions are really thorough with details on choosing the right size, right through to tips on sewing with knits with excellent step-wise instructions with matching pictorials throughout. There is also the option of AO copy shop file or print at home with the layers option, something I really love about PDF patterns.

white-front white-back

Back to sewing, which is probably why you are here. My first version is a white lace tee using white combed cotton jersey (100% cotton) and stretch corded lace in chalk colour (98% nylon/2% spandex). The front is double layered with the jersey underneath and the lace on top which I treated as a single layer throughout construction. I sewed up my tee as instructed using the scoop neck with short sleeves and the fitted body, and didn’t have any issues whatsoever with understanding them or with the fit for that matter and used a narrow zig zag stitch on my sewing machine and then neatened by seams with the serger. I am most pleased however with the perfect neckband I ended up with 🙂

neckline-close

My white tee was perfect when paired with a dressy skirt and heels to attend my work christmas dinner. Not too formal but still classy. This tee will also be a work horse when worn with jeans and sandals throughout the summer. I think it will be a really valuable wardrobe staple for me.

silver-side-close silver-back-clost

Version two of my Ladies Fun tee was to inject a bit of fun into those christmas picnics. I used some knit collection # 3 metallic in grey/silver (96% poly/4% spandex), not a very forgiving fabric but I love the bling. It can instantly elevate a casual outfit but I think will look great when paired with a dressy skirt and heels.

                                               silver-front silver-side

I deviated from the pattern for this one a bit and used both the scoop and v-neck to create a more open neckline and consequently had to alter the neck band pattern piece to accommodate for this. This was again the short sleeve with the fitted bodice, only because christmas in Australia is in summer so short sleeves are more practical this time of year. Although I have worn it with the v-neck at the front here, I have actually worn it back to front for a different look. I’m hoping to make another version sometime and make the v-neck lower to have a statement back. Stay tuned for that!

Today we have seen amazing gift giving patterns on the market,  

which one will you grab hold of and sew for a friend or family member?
 
Don’t miss any of the posts on the 
 
(Note: the links below will not work until their scheduled day, but feel free to click through and check out the rest of their blogs anytime!)
 
Tour runs from Tuesday 13th- Friday 16th December 2016
Day 1 Tuesday 13th _ Lauren Wernli and Tibeca Yao
Day 2 Wednesday 14th _ Thao Luxa and Sarah Hoggett

 Day 3 Thursday 15th _ Anne-Mari Orgla and Angie Kyp

 Day 4 Friday 16th _ Nelleke van der Haar (Rounding up the Tour)

Lauren has worked in collaboration with the following pattern designers to give away some awesome patterns and you just need to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win:

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OMG!!! I am Wearing Shorts …. Intoducing the Harper Shorts by Megan Nielsen

I haven’t worn shorts since way before I was married, actually probably not since high school, and that was for sport or swimming. Well, that is a teensy lie, do culottes count?

Harper shorts front 1

                                                              Harper shorts front 2

This was probably a really inappropriate seasonal pattern test* that I did during winter, but I signed up because the two pairs of Tania culottes by Megan Nielsen, which I love, are the only pairs of shorts I have worn since my younger years. Is it cheating a tiny bit though since they look like a skirt?

I love Megan’s patterns and have accumulated a fair few that I am yet to sew up. The Harper shorts and skort are lined, so they feel a bit dressier than the run of the mill sports shorts and I guess for that fact could be worn during winter with tights. I love pockets in anything so these are an extra great feature and the skort option is fantastic as it’s a 2 looks in one pattern. It was a bit difficult to get my head around sewing shorts during autumn now but I’m considering it good planning since the warmer weather is very,very slowly starting to creep into the southern hemisphere.

Harper shorts back 2

Harper shorts side

My tester version was made using some long time stash olive broadcloth (100% cotton) and black pongee lining (100% polyester). I found the fit spot on and love the invisible back zip closure. These aren’t my normal choice of attire but think they are extremely appropriate for taking kids to the park or beach. I was hoping to get the skorts sewn up before this blog post, which mind you is already months overdue, but life has kept me busy. The skorts are a longer cut and probably most suited to my current lifestyle. Stay tuned for those some time in the probably not so near future!!

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing but all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.

Georgia Tops by DesignerStitch Patterns

Amongst unselfish sewing for my girls I have been doing some sewing of my own, namely pattern testing* for DesignerStitch Patterns, again.

The Georgia top/dress is a comfy yet classy wardrobe staple. It has a boxy look, no darts so is easy to fit, with wide sleeves and optional back pleat. It gives you a good opportunity to mix fabrics and of course has the option of making a top or dress. There is also the layer feature so you only need to print the size(s) you need in addition to a copy shop printable version.

DSC_0086                            DSC_0085 DSC_0080

For both of my versions I opted for the pleat-free back.

My first version was made during testing, using some not very friendly fabrics, navy premium faille (100% polyester) for the body, and navy 100% dance poly chiffon (100% polyester) for the yoke. I may have slightly used too much heat when pressing because I’m not sure if this sits quite right and there may have been some shrinkage of the fabrics. Pattern pieces are provided to make the neck binding.

It is a really quick sew, and like always, everything lines up perfectly and instructions are easy to understand.

My second version was planned as a dressier summer top, using would you believe, a bed sheet from IKEA (52% poly/ 48% cotton). I liked the stiffness of the fabric and the lightness, almost like a linen, not to mention for $6 I have heaps of fabric left for other projects. For the yoke I used some white rayon remnants (100% rayon) from a yet to finish top from 6 months ago and still counting, and the sleeve bands are faux ivory leatherette (50% PU/ 40% poly) from my Salamanca jacket.

Georgia topo front Georgia top side               Georgia top back

It’s a great top, and the dress is too, but it’s just not my particular style. Not sure if it would flatter me or make me look frumpy. Perhaps when summer rolls around I may try it more as a beach cover up dress or add a belt or tie.

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing but all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.

Glamour Swirl Skirt by Sew By Pattern Pieces and Blog Tour with Giveaway

Firstly let me tell you this is a free pattern available for girls and women if you join the Sew by Pattern Pieces Facebook group as a freebie celebration for reaching 2000 members and I’m on the blog tour, having been one of the testers* for this pattern. Lauren is a lovely person and great designer, excellent at what she does!

Glamour swirl twirl

What’s not to love about the Glamour Swirl Skirt? It’s designed with a knit, full circle skirt with a yoga waistband and optional side seam pockets and waist ties. It’s available in ladies sizes (24″-48″) and girl sizes (1-14). It’s super quick and super simple and a must have for any girls or womens’ all -year-round wardrobe.

Glamour swirl spin

I made my oldest “a twirly, swirly, fun skirt” during the testing phase with leaf multicoloured spandex/lycra (contents unknown). The fabric recommendation is a 4 way knit with 50% stretch. I went with the pockets and ties.  Printing and assembly is really easy and especially with the layered option for printing the pattern, it’s an ink saver.

                                    Glamour swirl front          Glamour swirl pockets  

We love, love, love this skirt and miss 3 has also put in her requests by pulling out fabric from my stash that she likes for her skirts. Sew by Pattern Pieces also has a number of other patterns that are worth investing in if you want to check out the Etsy page.

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing but all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.

So I’m on the last day of the Blog Tour and there is one last giveaway, so don’t forget to enter. Todays entry will get you a chance to win:

 So enter here for your chance to win.

Kerry Capelet by DesignerStitch Patterns

It’s been a while since I contemplated making something from my Cold Weather SWAP 2016, and realistically I think by the time I’m even half way through sewing the remainder of the items, winter will be over. I am motivated to sew but I have been living in jeans and a sweater with a jacket and haven’t had anywhere exciting to go really.

I did however make my cape. My inspiration was something flowy, less structured. I’ve had this fabric since January of this year and bought it on a whim when it was on sale, although it was the heart of summer. Stars aligned and the testing* call went out for the Kerry Capelet by DesignerStitch Patterns.

Kerry cape back 2                            Kerry cape side 3 Kerry cape side 4

The fabric is black Mexican Inca poncho (polyester/cotton), and although I have prewashed the fabric, it’s a tad stiff perhaps for this project, not to mention it’s a smelly fabric, even after laundering. It has that hessian bag kind of smell. Hopefully with more wear it will soften up, and smell better. The cape is completely lined with black pongee lining (100% polyester). The Kerry Capelet and has the option of two lengths. I made the short version and it’s a great length.

There are lots of pattern pieces and the instructions are really thorough, with both images and photos to walk you through construction. It helps if you have done a bagged lining before but by no means necessary. It just helps to visualise things a little better. There is a bit of hand sewing at the end to close up the lining and armholes and to keep the hem from peeking out.  Kind of cathartic at the end of this project!

I had a hard time finding a closure I liked. I didn’t feel any buttons were appropriate, and after some surfing on the net, decided a leather buckle would be cool, but not so cool to purchase, it was hard to find and finally came up with a D-ring leather buckle. I think I may like it better with a second buckle sewn on,  I can’t really decide though, but considering that one buckle cost $12.00, the buckles would probably end up costing more than the fabric itself relative to size.

buckle

I’m really happy with this cape, it’s classy and cozy. Now I just need more outings to wear it too.

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing but all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.

Jolie Skirts for My Girls by Filles a Maman (FAM)

This is the first pattern I tested* for 2016, called the Jolie skirt by Filles a Maman (FAM). I can’t believe I am only just writing about it considering it was designed to be Issue 10 of the One Thimble e-zine. At the time I had to be secretive about it until the official release but that has long gone now. If you haven’t seen One Thimble yet and sew for children I think it’s a must have, it’s great value and Issue 10 alone has 11 patterns and 25 articles.

I was drawn to this pattern as it is a basic a-line skirt with two design options, either with or without a centre pleat. It can be made in either woven or knit fabric and there is an elasticised waistband which is secured with three rows of top stitching plus it caters for 12 month to 14 years, a lifetime of wardrobe staples!

My oldest daughter is growing at a rapid rate at the moment and desperately needed new skirts. Thanks to this pattern I was able to add 2 new ones for her and also for miss 2.

There aren’t very many pages to print and assemble as far as PDF pattern goes, so it is a very fast process. There are pictorial instructions, accompanied by clear written instructions. I found the measurements to be pretty spot on for my kids. Some testers added a contrast fabric to their pleat which is a really nice effect. The tie at the centre is for aesthetic purposes and doesn’t have any function. There is a nice 1 inch hem and the waistband is top stitched which subsequently avoids the elastic twisting.

The first version for miss 4 was using a duck canvas navy/white stripe (100% cotton) I’ve had in the stash for ages. I only just had enough for this skirt but if I had more I would have made the stripes go horizontal instead. I used some cord for the tie as it felt like a bit of a nautical vibe.

Blue white stripes

Version 2 was made from some lightweight rustic print floral denim (cotton/polyester). I wanted to personalise this skirt a bit so added lipstick broadcloth (100% cotton) self-drafted pockets with a pleat design to match the skirt.

                              Denim floral with pockets

Version 3 was made from wool blend mixed boucle in black and white (8% wool/92% polyester). By this stage sewing them takes no more than 30mins from cutting the pattern to snipping that last thread. Such a satisfying sew which the girls love.

This boucle fabric comes from my Big Little classic ladies cape and I knew at the time exactly what I was going to sew with the scraps and that is why I kept them. I barely had enough to cut this skirt out though and had to cut the back in two pieces, added a 1cm seam allowance. It worked perfectly!!

                                                      Black boucle

I did have to serge all the pattern pieces before starting construction as this fabric frays like crazy, which is why I chose this pattern. There are minimal pattern pieces and it is such a fast sew that the fabric doesn’t require a lot of handling.

For miss 2, my version 4 I used some light weight summer vintage flower african wax print denim (polyester/cotton) and sewed on a ribbon for the tie.

                                                    Printed flower denim

Last but not least, version 5 was made from some black and gray flannel check E44 (unknown composition). Nothing Black plaidnew to say other than I had to serge all the pattern pieces prior to assembly because my fabric frayed so much.

This is really a no nonsense skirt, quick and simple to make with lovely results.

Don’t forget to check out One Thimble and subscribe to their Newsletter to get updates.

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing but all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.