Sunday, January 21, 2018

Agnes, Amagnes, AmaZgnes!!

I've been trying to make a t-shirt for a while now.  And I mean a good, well fitting t-shirt.  It's tricky when you have boobs.  T-shirt patterns are flat, boobs are not.  A full bust adjustment on a pattern creates a dart, I don't want a darted shirt.  There are ways to get rid of the dart and I'd been trying them, but I was also struggling to get sleeves to fit nicely on me and the shirt to sit well around my belly.

I finally tried the Halla Agnes pattern.  My first muslin was a good start but needed changing.  I had to add to the waist/torso length, which I'm thinking I should be doing to most patterns since I'm at least 1" taller than they seem to be drafted for.  I also wasn't really happy with the sleeve, they are drafted to be on the fold, so the same front and back.  I swapped out another sleeve from a pattern I made last year, which was better.  Eventually I got it to fit nice enough to use good fabric.

The fabric I chose just sat so nicely, I was in love instantly!  Wore this for the first time to a New Year's Eve party.

Now that I loved the shape of the body so much, I decided to work on it some more so I could make lots of shirts.  My t-shirt drawer still has some maternity wear in it so it definitely needs a refresh!

Halla had a pattern sale, so I picked up the Amanda. I love the yoke neckline (in the main picture) and a lot of people have been mashing it with the Agnes.  I put these sleeves, and the V neckline onto my Agnes and came up with this:
I've since realised that this one is a bit longer.  Will get around to shortening because I prefer the length of the pink one.  I'm *still* not happy with the sleeve, but I will fiddle that another day.  Just a little too much fabric at the front when I put my arms down (you can't see it in this photo).

So I have now nicknamed this pattern my Amazgnes, because it is an Amanda/Agnes cross (Amagnes) and it's AMAZING!!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Rosy Skulls

This is another project that has taken a while to come about.

I saw this Blooming Skulls fabric on Little Fabric Boutique in June and HAD to have it. I checked a patterns and decided I could get a shirt out of 1 metre. Also this became my introduction to AfterPay.

In September, The Australian Curvaceous Community Sew-along Group's theme was Spring, so that was the perfect opportunity to make my shirt.

I was using Butterick 3389, view A

Cue the six muslin shirt!!

I had to do a full bust adjustment, which I've recently realised is what's been missing from my sewing the last 25 years! I also had to allow for my belly.  I did my initial FBA, on the princess seam, and made a muslin, which was a great starting place but so far from right.  The princess seam ends at the 'corner' of the neckline, which created some difficulties. I ended up reshaping the shoulder portion of the neckline too, to make it sit right.  As well as this, I had to add length and reshape the back darts.
After the 6th muslin, I decided it was good enough. I think I'd still fiddle it a bit more if I made another one but this is great for now.

I had to buy the lining fabric for this, but the skulls were in my stash, so that's 1 metre less for the year!

Scarf Lady

I always check the clearance table when visiting Spotlight, and one day I found these scarf panels. 
They were the end of the roll and printed off grain, but I liked them and for the price I thought it was worth playing with. When I got to the counter, there was a panel on the roll that had been cut crooked so was missing an edge, she gave it to me for 50c. So for $7.50 total I had almost 3 panels.
I had been planning some sort of hanky hem skirt or maybe loose fitting top/dress, but with the extra panel, I decided to cut a proper bodice.

I went back to my trusty Space Dress pattern. Because I'd made that out of stretch with zero ease, and I was now working with a woven, I added some room back in, but it turned out to be too big. I pinned it in and I ended up with zero ease again! I do like a firm fit in the bust.

I cut wide rectangular straps along the edge of the panel to create the stripe. The skirt is a double circle skirt, so a whole circle on the front and a whole circle on the back. Because the panels were printed crooked and I cut/sewed to the printing not the grain, the points of the skirt are uneven, but I don't think it matters, it all just gets lost in there.

After wearing the dress for a day, I've come to realise I need more ease around the belly. When I sit down the bodice rides up and feels a little tight. I also wish the bodice was about an inch longer, although I'm thinking I actually pulled the bodice up higher than intended when attaching the straps, so maybe I can just let the straps down a little.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Welcome to Space

I've done a little bit of sewing since the new year, but first I wanted to talk to you about my Space Dress.

I had started working on pattern New Look 6299, doing a full bust adjustment, changing sleeves etc to make a dress in the winter.  Upon completing my first muslin, I discovered just how flattering I thought it was and how great it made me feel.  This dress is still not made as I haven't nutted out all the fitting issues, and it has now been put aside as it's very much a winter dress.

My daughter's birthday was in September and we go all out for parties.  This year was a space theme and we were all getting costumes.  I had decided I wanted a retro-futuristic space outfit, sort of along the lines of "The Jetsons".  I decided to use my New Look 6299 as the base.

First I redrafted it with zero ease in the bust, I was using a PVC fabric with a slight stretch and I like the bust area to be firm.  Then I made a new muslin and drew lines on it to make it 'strapless' shape.  I transferred these lines to the pattern and voila! I had a space dress pattern.  All I had to do to complete my desired look was cut a hi-lo hem and add rectangles for straps.  I also made a bolero top to go over it, but I can't recall which pattern that was now.

This dress has now become a bit of a starting base for things I've made since.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Hello again

I've been contemplating reviving my blog for a little while now, and a new year seems like a good time to start.  So I'll dive right in.

This year I have set myself the goal of ending the year with less than I started. I have databases set up to keep track of my fabric stash, which includes clothes I have kept/bought to upcycle, and sewing patterns with indicators as to whether I have used them or not. At the end of the year I want to have less metres of fabric, less items of clothes, and less patterns that I have never used.

My focus with sewing is firmly set on clothing these days, for me and my kids.  Hoping to fit more time in for hubby and extended family but we'll see what happens.  Last year my goal was to not buy any clothes that I could make.  I did a lot more sewing, and a lot less buying, but I did still buy some things.  Lack of time for sewing meant that I had to buy a few things for the kids out of necessity, and I bought myself a few pieces that I fell in love with.  It did make me really consider what I bought though.  And some of the items I bought I regret because they don't fit that well afterall, so that was a bit of a reminder of why I want to make my own.

So this year I want to turn a good portion of my stash into well fitting, well made and good looking clothes!

As it stands at the moment these are my tallies:

Currently on database: 430 metres
On order awaiting delivery: 2.5 metres
On order (in UK) waiting for me to fill postage box: 8.5 metres
It's not absolutely accurate because my database tally doesn't include "lengths" of panels and some larger oddly shaped off-cuts, etc but it's a starting point
Total: 441

Currently on database: 126 entries (some entries are for multiple, similar items)

Currently on database: 326 total.
Those marked as unused by me: 201.  I'm not sure if this is accurate, some I feel like I've used them but can't remember.  I'll have to dig them out and see if they're cut or not etc, so this figure might get updated.

I think I was going to write more here but have been distracted by kids too many times so I guess I'll have to remember it later

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Some finishes

I haven't felt much like blogging lately and I haven't been doing as much sewing as I did a few months ago, so there hasn't been that much to blog.

I have finished a few things recently though, including the quilt I was making for my friend.
I had intended to do the white quilting by hand and the rest by machine, but my piecing and sandwiching wasn't great so, after outlining each of the flower blocks in white, I was worried that machine quilting would produce puckers.  Plus I was enjoying sitting on the couch in the evenings with my husband watching TV, so I decided to hand quilt through all the squares.  It was a lot quicker than I had expected!  I machine quilted the border and hand sewed sashiko style flowers on the corners.
All in all I'm very pleased, even though it was a bit of a rush job and not my finest work, and the recipient appreciated it greatly, which was the main point!

Next I think I should finish my Birdie Stitches quilt and work out what I'm going to do with my Civil War blocks before I embark on any new quilts.

Also in the week since I finished that quilt, I have caught up on my (very late) January and February hexagons.

Back in January I received some more hexagons too, but appear to have forgotten to post about them

My current sewing project is going back to garment making for a little while.  We're having a birthday party next month and the theme is Steampunk so some costumes have to be made.  My husband's and my birthdays are a few weeks apart and this year is a divisible-by-five-year (I don't know that I'd call it a milestone, and I can't call it a round number) so we decided to do something a bit fun!  Of course I have to go all out so I need to make a jacket, skirt and bustier.  My husband is a bit more willing to work with what he's got so he only needs a pair of trousers.  I've left it up to him to make all the 'gadgets'.

Monday, January 30, 2012

A job half done

I have been so slack with my blog writing.  My life feels like a bit of a blur the last month.  Just this last week I've signed up to be a consultant for The Body Shop at Home.  It feels a bit crazy to do that before I can drive, but I discussed it with hubby and he's happy to drive me around for a while.  Plus it means that I'll actually be able to afford driving lessons!  Learning to drive actually isn't too far away (I hope).  I was driving a few years ago and nearly got my license, but haven't driven for two years.  We have an auto now which makes it sooo much easier!

As for the sewing, since this is a craft blog....

I had decided I wanted to make a quilt for a friend, then whilst cleaning up my sewing room in preparation for the guests earlier this month, I found this pattern I'd bought a good while ago at a craft show.
It's called Le Fleur Rouge, but I can't link to them because their website doesn't appear to work any more.

I wanted to make it more black and less white, which an asian feel.  I headed to Patchwork with Gail B in Bayswater, and with the help of a friend, selected all my fabrics.

I set to work straight away and was able to finish the embroidery in record time because my mum bought me a 'headlight' to do my sewing by night.  I have been dreaming of a 'daylight' lamp for night sewing, but my mum's solution was a lot cheaper.  She got me a camping headlight, which she uses all the time when they go camping.
This particular model isn't the best for hand sewing, as the smallest angle you can tilt the light down is still too far away from my body, but we fixed that with an off-cut of quilt batting wedged behind the strap.

So once the embroidery was done, I cut up all my squares and over a night and a day sewing sessions, I did this:
When I was cutting out my little squares, I started to feel unsure about my fabric choice.  The patterns seemed too busy, the colours weren't quite right, the asian feel got lost (one of the fabrics is red with asian writing in black).  Luckily, now that I step back and see it as a whole, I'm happy with it.  I do suffer a lot of 'can't see the forest for the trees'.

Since taking that photo yesterday, I have tonight attached the borders, which are mostly black.  Tomorrow I'm heading out to buy the batting, and to find something for the backing.  Not quite sure what I want to do yet, and it will depend on what is available since I want to buy it tomorrow and am only going to one store.  I was considering using something 'cosy' like flannel or even polar fleece, but not sure how the quality of the fabric will mix with the batting and quilting cotton.  Guess I'll see what takes my fancy tomorrow.

I'm hoping to have it finished in the next week or two.  And of course I have yet to decide how to quilt it.  I am considering some sashiko-style quilting in white crochet cotton, since it is an asian-inspired quilt, but I guess we'll see how I feel about it once it's sandwiched.

Other than the above, I haven't done any other sewing.  I'm behind in my Hexie flowers, and I haven't made any more progress on Birdie Stitches of Civil War blocks, but once this is finished I'll get back on that path.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Catching up on Civil War

Now that I have finished Birdie Stitches I've tried to focus a bit on my Civil War blocks.  I'm not working through them in order any more, just working on them as I work out fabric, and then putting some aside half done because I've cut something wrong and have to go cut more fabric.

Here is what I've done recently:

45 - Port and Starboard
Fabrics for this block are from hexagons and a solid from my Terrain quilt

42 - H is for Hospital
Fabrics here are the backing from my TV Squares quilt and the fabrics I used for my Halloween Mug Rug (that's how far back this block dates!!)

46 - Apple Tree
All the prints in this block are left overs from my Terrain charm pack, which I used for my as-yet-unfinished Terrain quilt.  The white fabric was used for my husband's waistcoat and the brown/blue pieces were just from my stash since I needed a brown for the trunk.  It was supposed to be an apple tree but the Terrain fabric range doesn't have red really so I made a cherry tree instead.

44 - Union
These fabrics are all solids from my Terrain quilt, as that week I had been trying to match solids to the prints for my quilt.

39 - Hovering Hawks
And these fabrics all came from the second Clucky that I made
The rest of the outstanding blocks have become a bit of a challenge for me.  The idea of this quilt was to make each weekly block out of fabric from the project(s) I was working on that week.  During November and December I would sometimes go a whole week without entering the sewing room.   This means that I don't have any fabric to use for that week.

I'm thinking I'm now going to lay out all the blocks that I have and see what other colours I might need to make it look 'whole'.  I might need more light colours or more dark etc, and then select fabrics which I have used any time this year to complete them.  It then still fits in with the idea of being an album quilt for the year.

I also have to start thinking about setting.  There are 53 blocks for the year, which doesn't make a nice even layout on it's own.  The two obvious options are to leave out 4 blocks and do a 7x7 grid, or as suggested by Barbara, select your favourite block, make three more of it, use these as corner blocks and then you have 56 blocks to do a 7x8 grid.  I want to put sashings between the blocks, so some of the decision will come down to finished size, and finished size will really depend on what I want to use the quilt for, which I haven't decided yet.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Little Birdie Pirates

I have finally finished all the blocks for the Birdie Stitches quilt.  Aside from falling behind because I was too busy doing other things, I also hit a snag in November.  

Most of the block designs centred around the seasons or holidays/celebrations in the U.S.  This was okay, I'd just decided that I'd do a bit of a re-arrange when I made my quilt, make the seasons match the southern hemisphere etc.  Until I got to November... the block was about Thanksgiving.  We don't celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia so it had no significance to me.

After finishing all the other blocks, I laid them out to see which designs could go in which month.  Hubby and I decided to leave the 'blank' month in September, which is my daughter's birthday month (this is destined to be her 'big girl bed' quilt).  She is also born on International Talk Like a Pirate Day, so that settled it and we had to have a pirate birdie.  In the end it was a pirate birdie opening a treasure chest which is a present.

So now I have to get too and put the quilt top together.  I have all the fabric ready, but it might have to wait till my house guests leave.

My mum and 10 year old niece are visiting for a little over a week so there is lots of time spent in the sewing room after baby has gone to bed.  Tonight we are working on making a cushion cover.

My niece has selected fabrics and sewn squares together, now she is attaching ribbons and braids to decorate it. She has done all the sewing herself which is great.  It was fun watching her work through the design process, selecting fabrics she liked but then discovering they don't go together and having to find new ones.  She is currently looking for fabrics to make a cushion cover for her younger brother.  Hopefully I can share some pictures with you when she's finished.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Hexagon flowers everywhere!

After posting yesterday that I had received my December Hexie Flowers, I found an envelope on the kitchen table today and discovered THEY were my December flowers, and the others where November.

So here are my lovely DECEMBER flowers to add to my garden

I've finally decided on a colour theme for my flowers and that pink one will go perfectly with the idea I have!  All the other flowers will come in handy somewhere I'm sure....


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