Sunday, January 27, 2013

Stashbusting Sewalong - January - Covering a chair and a neck pillow

I, tigergirl, commit to using a lot of pieces of stash fabric in 2013. I also commit to not buying any new fabric/patterns/notions except for those that I need immediately to finish current projects until August.

This sewalong is being hosted by Cation Designs & Emily aka EmSewCrazy, for more info. see this post.

I told tigerboy about this - he was puzzled as to why I'd do it (helloooooo, you've seen my sewing room) and then he decided he'd join in (but in his case, it's no more wood).

The theme for this month?
"January: Itty Bits! Sew up those remnants left over from another project, use up some of those tiny scraps that you've been long as it's less than a yard of fabric, it counts!"
So, with that in mind, I used most of the leftovers from the green meanie Burda dress (that I haven't posted) to make a cover for my sewing room chair - something that I've been meaning to do for a couple of years. The piece I actually used is a skirt piece (either front or back - can't remember) that  I cut out and then realised I hadn't added seam allowances - woops.

Yep, I should be able to make it work ......... just.

Round off the corners before overlocking around it.
Turn over, turn over again and stitch down, leaving a a gap to thread elastic through.

Chair seat covered!
The most time consuming part was threading the elastic through the channel. I have to admit that I ran out of motivation by the time I got to the back rest of the chair. There's very little fabric left now and it'll need to be pieced, possibly even augmented with another fabric - I'll let it percolate in my brain and move on to something more interesting to me.

 Recently I bought a neck pillow for when I'm reading in bed - works perfectly but there's one problem, it doesn't have a removable cover. Itty Bitty Stashbusting to the rescue! Initially I thought I'd use some offcuts from tigerboy's pj's but as I was going through the offcuts box I came across the last little piece of a table runner we bought in Ecuador a few years ago that I'd used to make cusion covers (still haven't put the buttons on them).

The cushion covers sans buttons to close.
There's the still intact table runner (we bought two) in action, as it has been for a couple of years.

The neck cushion, all covered.

I did a pillowcase type opening - not a good idea, getting that cushion in was like trying to stuff a sausage through the eye of a needle.
My original thought that this woven fabric would negate the squishyness of the pillow proved correct, so I will make another cover in the knit. I'll also use a zip opening to counteract that sausage through the eye of a needle effect, in fact, I imagine getting this cover off to wash it will peeve me enough that I'll unpick the end and put a zip in this one too. Anyway, it looks better than I expected.

So, this stashbusting sewalong means that my fabric buying for 2013 is done until August when I'll reassess - not such a big deal as I've already acquired a bit this year:
Spotlight had a 30% off sale
I showed this fabric to tigerboy "Oh wow, that's soooo beautiful!"
"If I made you a shirt with it, would you wear it?"
"Yes, it has all my favourite parrots - buy everything they have hone!"
"I'm not buying it all - are you sure you'll wear it?"
bla bla bla
I actually had to write and ask the seller if they had more than they had listed - he was on tenterhooks for a day until we got the answer.

Of course, with the combined shipping and knowing that US postal rates were increasing significantly at the end of January, it seemed only reasonable to make the order up to 10 yards with fabric I wanted, so I got these as well. 

My stashbusting sewalong has even been tested! Last week I happened to walk past a Lincraft - 50% off everything!!! They even had some gorgeous black cotton lace ........ no, tiger, just walk out right now, there will be other sales ...... and that's what I did (ok, I went and bought a coffee and donut instead but that's still progress!)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Wow! I got an award and a petrol discount!

Craftster Best of 2012 Winner

Remember the palin bag?? I posted it on Craftster, way back when and it ended up being chosen in the top five for it's category. Surprise! I don't spend much time at craftster these days, more on pattern review, but every now and then, if I've made something and haven't  used a pattern, I'll post it. If you haven't ever checked out, you should, there's all kinds of nifty things there.

And this dress:

I was wearing it when I filled the car up with petrol - the attendant loved it so much, he gave me a discount on my fuel! Nice one!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Liebster Award

Valerie of Valeries Own Sewing Blog awarded me the Liebster award! (Thanks Valerie) Oooh, it's the month of awards! Maybe I should take a Gold Lotto ticket?

Sooo, 11 things about me:

  1. I ride a motorbike
    That's me.
  2. Until I moved back to Queensland (5-6 years ago?), I didn't wear dresses - now they're my favourite garment.
  3. I've had my nose broken three times.
  4. I cut my own hair between trips back to Sydney where I can get a great cut for less than $15. (I have tried and tried in Brisbane to find a decent hairdresser but in the end I gave up.)
  5. I don't watch TV, so I'm not usually too au fait when it comes to popular culture.
  6. In the 90's I spent six years backpacking around the world.
  7. Since we moved to Queensland I've been trying to inject some colour into my previously all black wardrobe - it's slowly happening but I'm still more comfortable in black.
  8. I don't like shopping ..... at all and I detest shopping malls. That means that when I do shop for something other than food, I want to get it all done in one fell swoop "Ok, I like these shoes, I'll get a pair in every colour of each of these styles - that should tide me over for a while."
  9. I love to try new food and drink, not much phases me when it comes to that (putrified shark meat anyone?)
  10. I don't eat lamb/mutton - far too much growing up.
  11. Tigerboy is less than one year younger than me, so although we're in our mid-forties, he thinks that qualifies him for toy boy status and me as "the older woman" lol - whatever makes him feel special (rolling my eyes).
So, now I need to pass this award on:

Velosewer at How Good Is That? -  A Sydney gal that churns out great clothes quick enough to make my head spin.

Chris at Chris Lucas - I've only just discovered this blog but I like her style.

Rebecca at Bec Stitches - Another new to me blog by a fellow Aussie.

Make it 'til you fake it - There's a fabric giveaway going on there!

Reethi at Weekend Crafting - Another new to me blog - she likes beer and sewing, what's not to like? I like her "Top 5 of 2012" lists, I might have to copy that.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Vogue 1258 Vena Cava Dress - the metallic emerald version

Vogue 1258 - front
This is my second version of this dress, the first was here. I made this before Christmas as my Christmas dress and I was under the gun because I was making it to wear out that night - no time for too much mucking around.

Vogue 1258 back - STILL some swayback wrinkling and a cami needed.

Vogue 1258 - side
This time I didn't bother with the sleeve extensions or the pockets (which both had to be removed last time). I was happy with the shorter length tie I used last time, so went with that again.

I did however alter the back hemline so that it didn't raise up in the middle, I think it might still go up a bit but it isn't as bad as last time.

I also removed the extra from the bottom of the back bodice pattern piece (sway back) - I removed the same amount that I had to last time but somehow I had to do it again (just as much) once the dress was made ............. different knits, different quirks I suppose.

Last time I had to raise the bottom of the bodice part just above the knot to pull the dress up after it was all sewn up, this time, I preempted that caper.

I still had to raise the neckline of course and reinforce where all of the pieces meet in the centre front.

I did consider narrowing the shoulders and adding the sleeve extensions but decided that just couldn't be bothered.

When all of the pieces were all cut out and partially assembled I discovered that this fabric had a flaw, there was a lovely spot of black where the emerald green paint had failed to adhere - about 1cm above my bust point, there was no way that that wouldn't be noticed! I had just enough fabric left to eek out another piece - completely ignoring any grain issues, it seems to have worked out ok.

I didn't use my overlocker at all, all on the sewing machine. Twin needle for the hem, neckline and armholes.

Once it was done there was still a lot of fiddling and tweeking to get those pleats to look better, just like last time. The dress feels as though the waist line is below my waist? I don't know, it just doesn't feel as though it's pulling where it should be. Even though it's a fairly quick make, I think I'm tweeked out on this pattern.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Getting rid of the inner thigh pocket on RTW pants - How to

Now I'm sure a lot of people don't have this problem but there must be others out there that do (unless I really am unique like Mum says). This happens a fair bit to me - enough that I had to come up with a solution. Now, I'm positive that there are better and more 'proper' ways to do this, so take it with a grain of salt - this is what I came up with to fix my particular problem for this type of pants and the way I think they should fit me.

You're trying on a pair of pants with stretch that are meant to be fitting, everything looks good until you spy the inner thigh (on one or both legs) - there's a baggy bit that sticks out, making it look like I don't know what but not right - what the heck? If that makes no sense to you, here's a (poor) example:

See that bump on the inner thigh of the right leg? It was difficult to get a good pic but hopefully, you'll get a better understanding.
 Admittedly, this isn't a really bad example, but these pants were in the mending pile for that very reason, so they're what I had to work with.

My hack solution? Pinch out that excess (you can measure and mark - I usually just eyeball it), marking the beginning and end of it with pins. Turn your pants inside out and mark a new stitching line that gradually blends with the original stitching line.

The new stitching line - it looks longer than necessary here but the darkness of the first photo didn't show all of the excess.

 Even though in the top photo it looked as though only one was weird, both had it going on, it's just that one was worse than the other, which is why one of the new stitching lines is actually a bit deeper than the other. In this case, these pants were a bit higher (and poofier) than I wanted at the front and back as well, so I took some out of the crotch.

The new seamline isn't always as graduated as this one either, I remember one pair in particular where the top near the crotch was like a big horseshoe - looked strange off but perfect on - there was a lot of excess at the top of the inner leg in those particular pants for some reason, must be something to do with the way the shape sits on your shape?

You can see I've had a couple of goes at taking out the excess in these - I'm usually conservative to start with (until my patience runs out).

Weird inner thigh pockets gone.

 Reminder: This is most certainly not the official or proper way to do this, it's just the easiest and quickest way I've come up with.

Could it be that I'm really the only person this happens to?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Jungle January dress - self drafted

Over at Pretty Grievances there's a style revolution happening - Jungle January.  Knowing that I had a few animal prints in the stash, I figured it was definately done just for me.

This is just what I came up with in approx. 60 seconds. I know I've also got several snake skin fabrics, assorted birds and who knows what else.
I took a quick look at the stash, yep, even more than I thought. In fact, there's so much animal print that I think I also need a Jungle June and a Jungle July as well. Velosewer would probably make very quick work of it though, including the 12 (yes, TWELVE) metres of blue snakeskin mesh - I think it was 50c a metre for the rest of the roll, ok?

But what about the fabric I've had for ~4 years and finally started to work out (seriously this time) how to make something out of  ....... I didn't want to choke on it again, this time I was ready to bite the bullet and jump in ........................... Oh tiger, stupido, stupido, it'll fit right in.

So here's the fabric.

Jungle January dress fabric
It's a cotton/lycra knit with a very fine rib. The coloured part is just over 150cm wide. One of the reasons I've pulled it out, draped it, pulled it this way and that, then finally returned it to the stash about 100 times is because I just wasn't quite sure how to make something from it. The length of the print is too short for me to get a knee length dress out of and I don't wear dresses shorter than that unless I'm wearing tights which restricts me to colder weather - we don't have a lot of that here in Brisbane. I thought it would look better if the urn was centred on the front and back but then it would really be cutting it fine on the hips where the prints ended. With this print, I didn't want seams messing things up but what about the sway back - how could I deal with that? I didn't want the print finishing across the middle of my bust - that always reminds me of an empire line gone wrong but I also didn't want that tigerlily making me look like Eve in the Garden of Eden using a tigerlily instead of a leaf either. Add to that, the bottom of the urn isn't even perpendicular with the grain, it's at an angle. Well, lots of things that just added up to "too hard basket". Finally I decided that as I had two lengths of it, I'd just do the best I could and still have some left over if I got a better idea at a later date.

I marked out two panels that were perpendicular to the bottom of the urns, sewed straight up the sides and got to work. Due to the angles of the urns and one panel being on the edge of the fabric, one panel had to be wider than the other - it's a design feature. Too hard to work with without shoulders, so I found some black knit that was used years ago to make a few skirts, chopped off some offcut looking bits and sewed them to the top. Unfortunately, the back piece was a bit narrow as you can see below.

At this stage, I had the hem pinned and marked and it was perfect. A lot of time was spent pinning, marking, sewing, cutting (repeat ad infinitum) to get the sides right. More time working out the shoulders (which involved stretching the back up to get rid of the sway back puddle). Now, I could have removed that too narrow back piece and put a wider one on - that would have been the smart thing to do, instead, I added a little panel on each side of the back piece (I'm all about the design features).

My intention was to overlock the whole thing but because I was flying by the seat of my pants the whole time, I started with the sewing machine - with white thread (easier to see and unpick and no loss of fabric). As that seemed to be going ok and my new overlocker which isn't thrilling me was threaded in white, I decided to switch the sewing machine to black thread and carry on winging it. The armholes and hem were twin needled but the necklines have a deep (6 cm) seam allowance that is currently just hanging down inside the neckline - I'll probably tack it down.

Of course, by this stage all but two of the hem pins had fallen out and the chalk marks were long gone. I had to redo the hem marking but things were looking a bit weird, in the end, I decided "it'll do" because I wanted to wear it out that night. I'm sure the hem's not perfect but I don't think there is anything too noticably wonky going on.

I'm glad I finally made something in this fabric, as soon as I saw it in the store I had to have it. My favourite thing is the smoking lion, it appeals to my sense of the absurd and socially not kosher.

Now I'm thinking I might just make a shorter one with sleeves to wear with tights for winter .......... oooh and knee high boots.

And just to prove that I don't mind big cats:

That's me at the Canberra Zoo - 2007

Friday, January 11, 2013

McCalls 5975 - the pink zombie dress

I actually finished something two days ago - one dress hemmed, three to go.

I've got metres and metres of mystery knits from years and years ago - knits that are not colours I particularly like or have the characteristics you actually choose knits for (eg. don't wrinkle) - take that thick cushy pale blue knit I used in the first V1258 Vena Cava and the pink jersey I used for Mum's pj's, a Lekala dress and the first iteration of Simplicity 8728 (I still have loads of both left) - well, here's another one of those endless, odd knits, I call it the zombie knit fabric.

It's basically a nude/pinky mesh with another cut up mesh on top that is attached every now and then by a thin thread - as you can see, it looks truly raggedy. It's also quite sheer (where it's only one layer), luckily I have a very fine cotton vintage slip that is perfect under it.

M5975 - COW neck
After tigerboy's disappointment (or maybe disgust) with the raggedy edges on his pj's, I was sure he'd detest this on sight. Instead - "Pink!?, Honey, it's pink!!!"
"Oh, really? Hadn't noticed."
"You don't wear pink, unless it's with orange and pyjamas." (True)
"Yes, I know, I decided to branch out."
"I really like the style......"
So, there I am thinking - he didn't notice the raggedyness? But lo and behold, then he started peering carefully at the fabric with a confused look.
"This is kind of weird."
"You don't like it?"
silence .................................... "Yeah, I do, it's really unusual isn't it? Yeah, I really like it! I like what you've done with the neck part here."
"It's a cowl neck."
"A cow neck?"
"No, a cowl neck - C   O   W   L, cowl." (Later that night he asked me if I was going to do anything else with a cow neck - it's not worth my time.)

So maybe I've been reading too many postapocalyptic novels with zombies and general decay but it really reminds me of skin peeling off - charming right? I'm not telling him or else that's all he'll see too.

So, onto the sewing part.......

I decided to use the cowl necked bodice from version C, with the cap sleeves from version B. I used my own skirt pattern - the A-line skirt pattern that I made and have used on nearly every dress I make.

My current measurements (just had to redo these for a Lekala order):
Height: 168cm
Upper bust: 89 cm (35")
Bust: 95.5cm
Under bust: 77cm (small rib cage? narrow back?)
Waist: 74cm
Hips: 102cm

I cut a size 12 bodice with the following changes:
  • I cut the side seam of the front on the size 14 line from the armscye down to the waist
  • I lowered the waist line of the front bodice because I think some of my waist lines have been too short at the front lately - it wasn't necessary which I think is due to the weight of the fabric pulling everything down.
  • I cut the back bodice on the fold, instead of two separate pieces with a seam down the back - I reduced the side seams from about an inch under the double notches down to the waist to compensate for the extra on the centre back at the bottom (because the seam was supposed to be curved) and because my waist is a lot smaller at the back. The back waist ended up being approx. 1cm smaller on each side than the size 8.

I didn't bother with the facing (if interfacing was called for, I didn't use that either).
On the back neck, I turned the sa in and stitched with a double needle.

I think the pattern makers wanted you to put a zip in it - nah, I had no intention - directions, schmections, I say.

I shortened the cap sleeves (also size 12) but off the top of my head, I can't remember how much by - wasn't much though.

The cowl was a bit deep for me, so I ended up angling the inside front corners of the neckline (the cowl part) an extra 3cm to pull the cowl up.

I used a ribbon hanger loop from a RTW dress/top as shoulder stabiliser (those ribbons come in handy for lots of things).

Twin needled the hem and the hem of the sleeves.

I had to take at least 4cm off the bottom of the back bodice because of sway back but I think that this is such a stretchy fabric that the weight contributed to quite a bit of that, so in a different fabric, who knows?

I used my overlocker (serger) for all of the seams.

I made my own belt, I think they include a pattern piece but really? It's just a long rectangle (actually, mine is pieced, so it's 3 rectangles - not at all noticeable in this fabric).

M5975 - I'd been running errands all day, hence the 'wreck of the hespress' look I've got going on.

I'll definately be making this again in another version, it was fast and easy. I love easy to wear dresses that can go from work to around the house to running errands and doing the groceries. I might even make the straight skirt, it's just that I love that I can sit/run/walk however I feel like in an a-line, so unless I'm working I can find straight skirts a bit restrictive sometimes.

And this next pic? There in a very messy green pile on our coffee table is the Burda dress that needs the hem to be finished - it was dumped there rather unceremoniously this morning when I realised it was time for me to get going and I haven't picked it back up - shame on me!!!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

$3 Patterns & Iceland

PatternPlus has all patterns at $3 + $1.20 shipping/handling per order (within Australia) - good deal! Naturally, I've ordered some more. (Ages ago I ordered some patterns from PatternPlus (great prices and only a nominal handling fee per order). The patterns came really quickly but two weren't the ones I'd ordered - correct numbers but the pics & company didn't match. As soon as I let them know they got back to me pronto and said that they no longer had what I thought I'd been ordering but would happily send me two others of my choosing and I could keep the incorrect ones or get a refund ....... only a couple of days later and some more patterns arrived (of course I went for more patterns!). I can highly recommend their customer service, mistakes happen to everyone, what makes the difference is how it's handled.)

I haven't been blogging but I do have a few dresses awaiting hemming, so I have been doing a bit of sewing (see the WIP list on the sidebar -->). I also did make up the V1258 Vena Cava dress in the metallic emerald (and hemmed it!) that I was debating here.

Some pics from Iceland (Sep 2012?)

 Let me tell you, they don't call it Iceland for nothing. We were there at the end of Summer, one day the high was 3 degrees C, admittedly that was the coldest day but still...

I did actually wear the bogan pants at least once here but usually I was wearing two layers of thermal longjohns, so yes, I was wearing my underwear as outerwear. Bah! No one knows me in Iceland.

Sampling the local fare

 When I travel one of my top goals is to eat and drink all 'new to me' dishes and drinks - Iceland was no exception.

Eating some dried fish - tough but tasty. (I also tried the rotten, putrified shark but Tigerboy lost his camera with the pics - it's actually worse than it sounds.)

Some Viking beer - had to be done!

Puffin. I had warned Tigerboy (who is crazy about birds) that I'd do this - he assured me that no one ate sea birds. I told him that I'm sure he was making it up and got confirmation that puffins were indeed on the menu. As he had a couple of months to get used to the idea, I'd confirmed that they weren't endangered and he is aware of my need to taste everything, he was fine - in the end he even tried some.

Snowmobiling on a glacier.

Hadn't tried this before - these little gizmos handle a bit differently to my bike (no surprise) but they were lots of fun. The drive to get to the glacier was not as much fun in our non 4WD vehicle but we finally made it there and back in one piece.

Everyone else was doubled up on the snowmobiles but after I took tigerboy for a whirl on a jetski one time he thought it best that we each had our own (sook!)

Snowmobiling - Iceland

Snowmobiling - Iceland

Snorkelling between the tectonic plates in Silfra - Iceland

Yep, you can actually snorkel between the European and the American continental plates but it's cold! Dry suits only but water still gets in your gloves and of course your face is exposed.

Very little lives in the water and the visibility is 100m+ but although you are over a deep chasm a lot of the time, you can't see the bottom because it just fades to blue.

Getting into the dry suit - makes getting into a wetsuit seem easy peasy.

That would be me (identifiable only due to the camera hanging off my wrist). Silfra - Iceland

Snorkelling, Silfra - Iceland
Looks like it could be me taking pics. Snorkelling, Silfra - Iceland

Another one that we think is me (on the right). Snorkelling, Silfra - Iceland

Finally made it - my hands and face were numb. Snorkelling, Silfra - Iceland

Jokulsarlon Ice Lagoon

This place is used for movies a fair bit. The first day we were there the weather was so bad that at times I couldn't walk against the wind. Thankfully, when we went back a few days later the wind had died down.

Jokulsarlon Ice Lagoon - Iceland

Jokulsarlon Ice Lagoon - Iceland

Jokulsarlon Ice Lagoon - Iceland

Jokulsarlon Ice Lagoon - Iceland

Random shots

Basalt columns near Vik - Iceland

Vik - Dyrholaey

All of these rocks covered with inches thick cushy moss, as far as the eye can see - it was the kind of thing you'd expect to see in Lord of the Rings. Iceland.

Vik - Dyrholaey