Monday, November 28, 2011

Simplicity 2596 Green Satin Watercolour Top, All Done

I used Simplicity 2596 view C, but without the waist elastic. The gathers look off centre in this photo, but it is not like that in real life. I should have arranged it better on my dress form for the photo.


And here is a bit of wardrobe planning going on in the next photo. The top goes with a deep brown skirt that I already have:

Now I am up to doing my pants next, and as I said yesterday, yikes! I just bought a pair today for $8.00 at Coles supermarket, and they are a pretty good cut across the hips, but the length and width of the legs make them look like they were made for a professional stilt walker. I hope I can do a bit better with my attempt. Watch this space.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Wardrobe Planning & a New Use for My Fabric/Pattern Stash

Here is my cat Ragamuffin who has thought up a clever use for my fabric and pattern stash. She is sitting on top of some pants patterns that I pulled out to look at and some recent fabric purchases; you can just make out the word sale on one of the bags. I was ironing up the sleeve hems on my green watercolour fabric top, and when I turned around to go over to the sewing machine, there she was. It will not be a permanent sleeping spot for her, I can assure you (and her) of that.

At my sewing club recently, one of the members said that she is sewing in just the colour mauve for the next 12 months. What a clever idea! Even if she sewed mauve clothes for six months and then did a matching colour for the next 6 months, she could not fail to have things that went with each other. She brought in a brightly coloured tshirt dress in predominantly mauve print with several complementary colours. She had also made a dress in a solid mauve colour. What a great idea, and something to ponder for my wardrobe sewing.

I have finished the watercolour fabric top, and might have pictures for you tomorrow. How satisfying it is to finish something that works out well. Next up is my attempt at pants making. Yikes! I would prefer to be making the Liberty fabric up, but I need some summer pants in natural cool fibres.

Monday, November 21, 2011

How Did You Learn to Sew Clothes?

When I went back to my sewing club recently, one of the club members asked me this question. It got me thinking about the whole issue of how the busy modern woman learns to sew these days. Lots of my work colleagues would like to learn as they have somehow missed out on learning when they were kids. Careers seem to have taken precedence over learning to sew these days. I am glad when I see school aged kids in Spotlight buying fabric and notions for a garment that they have to make for their sewing class at school. When I was at school, women's liberation had truly taken hold, and it was not an important subject. Nevertheless, I grew up in the country, and lots of country women sewed, and passed this skill down to their daughters.

I started sewing on a sewing machine when I was about 8 or 10 years old. I cannot remember my Mum teaching me how to sew, rather it was read the guide sheet, and work it out from there. Ah, the guide sheet! What have they done to the instructions that come with the modern patterns? The illustrations are so generic, not every step is illustrated, and the instructions ask you to jump back and forwards depending on what view you are making up. Below is a snippet from an instruction sheet going back to 1989 (yes, I am a hoarder!). Look how they illustrate each view, and even show you that you should iron down the flap on the pocket. These days, this kind of instruction is only available on the learn to sew patterns targeted towards the beginner. But what if the beginner doesn't want to sew that particular design? Then they are faced with the confusion of the modern day cryptic instructions. I have been sewing for a long time, and I scratch my head in confusion sometimes when reading these instructions. One positive is that these cryptic instructions and the lack of sewing instruction at home have created a lot of business opportunities for people wishing to teach others how to sew.

Pattern instructions circa 1989
These days, I have tried to go a step further with my garment making, and have purchased some how to books over the last couple of years. I am trying to improve my sewing techniques and the fit of my garments, and I realise that while I know a lot, there is still a lot more to learn. I like the challenge of learning more, and for me, sewing some tops in satin recently has proved a challenge.

Talking of satin, my green watercolour fabric top is nearly done. I am just mulling over the sleeve length, and will most likely finish it next weekend. I need a new top for a work function in a couple of weeks time, so it should do the job.

Oooh, I feel much better after getting on my soap box!

Monday, November 14, 2011

New Project : Simplicity 2596 Top

Look! I am actually making something for myself, not the dolls! This is Simplicity 2596, aka the Top for Lisa's Wedding. This time I am making it in a kind of satin fabric that has a divine watercolour pattern on it. I am a sucker for these watercolour fabrics because that is my medium when I go to paint a picture.

The lighting was not too good in these photos, but it gives you an idea. All I need to do is sew up the side seams, insert the neckline facing and do the hems. I think I will just hem the sleeves rather than do the elastic finish.

Here is the version that I made for Lisa's wedding without the hems done, and then on me finished. I don't like myself in photos much, so you have copped the back view.

The weather is really starting to warm up here, so rather than make a jacket next, I think I will make a few more summer tops using mostly my tried and true patterns.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Watercolour Flowers Chiffon Fabric

I have been looking at this fabric every time I went to Spotlight over the last 3 or so months, and finally gave in and bought some. It is polyester chiffon and is made in Australia. Here are some close ups of some of the flowers:

I am thinking of making this peasant style top without the centre front seam as I can easily get it over my head without this closure. I have made this top before in views B and A, but I will go with B I think so I can get the maximum effect from the fabric.

And here is view B made up in a light weight cotton:

I checked my copy of More Fabric Savvy by Sandra Betzina on tips for sewing chiffon, and I don't think it is going to be easy. I will just have to test it out on a scrap and hope it sews up okay with the right needle. I think I will start work on a black jacket that I want to make in cotton sateen first, so I will hopefully have pics of that to show you soon. I am planning on doing a toile to get the fit right. I am actually cleaning up my sewing room at the moment, which had got into a terrible mess with all of my paper work for the course I did at the start of the year. It had become a dumping ground for everything, and I was using my small sewing machine in the lounge room to do all my sewing.
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