Saturday, January 14, 2017

Road Testing My New Machine

 This year, Father Christmas bought me a Janome Coverpro which is something I have been wanting for a while.  I chose it myself and was able to test it in store before purchase. Having owned a cheaper model previously, I was keen to do this.  My previous coverstitch was a Merrylock.  It was probably the most frustrating piece of equipment to ever grace my sewing room.  I wasn't sure whether this was due to my lack of skills and patience or just an exercise in buying something a little too budget.  Anyway, I did loose patience with said machine and eventually it got evicted from my sewing room.  I didn't want a repeat, hence the test driving.

Since I was going camping for two weeks after Christmas I asked the gift giver (in this case my husband) if I could open the box and have a play prior to Christmas.  The tee you see above is the result of this testing.

The fabric I chose is a lovely weight cotton lycra from Fabric Vision's sale table.  This fabric was a bargain at $3.00 per metre. Despite my husband telling me it reminded him of some bed sheets he had as a kid, I really wish I had bought more.  It really is lovely to work with.

My two favourite tee patterns are both Tessuti patterns.  I really wasn't sure whether to choose Lola or Alexa but eventually settled on Alexa because I really like the sleeves and neckline.

I am pleased to report that my Janome Coverpro performed beautifully without any of the skipped stitches that plagued my earlier coverstitch machine attempts.  It will take a while to get used to getting my stitches in the right spot to cover the cut edge and I think a piece of tape may go a long way to doing this.  I do wonder though, why isn't there a marked measured edge on the machine.

The above beach photos were taken on beautiful Awaroa beach which was partly bought by the New Zealand public in 2016 by crowd funding for the purpose of adding to the Abel Tasman National Park.  It is a beautiful pristine part of the world that is becoming as popular with Kiwis as it is with tourists.  Our day started on this beach after a 1 hour boat ride and finished at Midlands beach at the end of the day with another boat ride.  During the day we walked  9km through native bush, over hills and across stunning beaches.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

End of 2016 Wrap Up

I am a little late to the party with my 2016 wrap up post.  I have been in beautiful Golden Bay camping in my caravan with my family since 27th December with limited internet and dwindling mobile data.  The time unplugged though has bought me some time to reflect on what worked and what didn't in 2016.  

If you have been following me for the year you would have noticed that a lot of what I have made has erred on the side of practicality and there have also been a lot of easy projects.  I work 5 days a week so my sewing time is limited to the evenings and sometimes weekends although increasingly this time is taken up with catching up on household chores I don't get time to do during the week.  How inconvenient that work should get in the way of life!  But it is what it is and I try to work around it the best I can.

Working 5 days a week also mean's that my needs predominantly are work related.  The industry I work in requires me to wear business casual, hence a lot of knits.  I also vowed in 2016 to rein in my desire for pretty dresses and make what I really wear.  I also plan to continue this for 2017.

So what would I rate my biggest successes of 2016?  You can usually count my successes by the number of times I repeat a pattern and there have been a few repeats this year.  I made Stylearc Harper Jacket a total of 4 times this year and it will probably be made again in 2017.  This cardigan/jacket I find works equally well in the weekend and for work.

My favourite blouse of the year would have to be McCall's 7284.  I made this blouse a total of 3 times and my silk cotton version is my favourite.  I wouldn't rule out more of these blouses either.

McCall's 6886 has been really popular and I can see why.  I love all 3 of my versions but who can go past stripes!

Swimwear can be a tricky thing to like but I think Closet Case Files Sophie was made for me!  I have been admiring all of the lovely underwired suits and bikinis on the beach for a while now so buying this pattern when it was released was a no brainer.  I made my trial bikini before my Australian holiday and have recently made and am yet to blog my second.

As far as pants go, Stylearc Elle Pants have been my most made trousers of the year.  In total including pairs made for myself, my daughter and my mother, I have made 8 pairs.  Only 3 of these have made it into my wardrobe but because they are so easy to wear, they are on regular rotation.

Honorable mention would also have to go to Papercut Undercover Hoodie.  In total I have made 3 of these and know there will be more in 2017.  These hoodies are the real workhorses in my wardrobe and are among the first things I grab when I get home from work.

My favourite make of the year would have to be the waistcoat for my youngest son for his primary school graduation.  Joel really got enthusiastic about what he wanted to wear so together we had fun creating this outfit.

On a personal note, I lost my father mid way through the year and found sewing very theraputic during this time.  I have also had ongoing hip and knee injuries which are agravated by too much sitting which is quite unfortunate due to the need to do exactly that when sewing.  I will need to find more time for exercise in 2017.  Who knows, now I have a coverstitch machine I may get enthusiastic and start making active wear.  This is not exactly part of my plan for this year but never say never! 

As for the stats for the year, I made a grand total of $1296.88 of me made items for the year.  I don't know how this compares to rtw because well quite frankly I don't care!  One of the things I have realised this year is that just because I can make my own clothes, it doesn't mean I have to.  There have been times especially when time poor that I have bought clothing that actually fits but these times are few and far between.

One thing I do hope to achieve for 2017 is to sew more consciously.  By that, I mean to analyse what I actually do wear and not to make frivolously.  To help me analyse my wardrobe I have downloaded the Stylebook app for my phone and hope to log what I wear and the cost of making/buying it.  It will be interesting to see how this works out for me.

So for 2017 the plan is onwards and upwards.  I have no idea where my sewing journey will take me and am not going to get too carried away making plans.  I make what takes my fancy but this year with a level of consciousness added.  If I can make a serious dent in my exploding stash then that will be a real bonus.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

End of December Wrap Up

There has been a lot of catching up involved in my blogging this month.  I had quite a backlog and I am pleased to have this finally dealt with.  I tend to stack all of my unblogged items on the spare desk in my sewing room until photos have been taken and I have written it up.   Since Christmas this space has been taken up with my new Janome Coverstitch machine which I have enjoyed learning to use. 

End of Month Wrap Up

Olive Culottes
Pattern (used before) $0.00
Fabric $18.34
Zip $3.00
Total $21.34

Navy Culottes
Pattern $20.00
Fabric (remnant) $0.00
Zip $3.00
Total $23.00

Leopard Top
Pattern (used before) $0.00
Fabric $12.23
Beads (used before) 0.00
Total  $12.23

Floral Scuba Dress
Fabric $12.50
Pattern (used before) $0.00
Total $12.50

New Look 6225
Pattern $7.50
Fabric 16.95
Total $24.45

Burdastyle Dress
Pattern $16.00
Fabric 12.00
Zip $5.50
Total $33.50

Total Me Made $127.02

Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Look 6459 Take Two

I am playing blogging catch up today and just in time I have come to the end of my 2016 makes.  There is one more that I have forgotten about but this will need to wait for the new year.  

I hinted the other day that there would be more culottes made using New Look 6459 so here is version two.  

I initially visited Spotlight with the intention of making my second version in Linen but couldn't find a weight and colour that I liked so ended up walking away with something completely different which often happens.  

The fabric I chose is a lovely light weight suiting fabric in the most lovely shade of olive green.  The tag said wool suiting but I struggle to feel any wool in this fabric.

I made no changes to my previous version.  Even the length is identical.

I love the resulting pants and they have been on regular rotation as part of my work wardrobe.  They even became part of my Christmas day outfit of choice due to weather being cooler than expected.

McCall's 6886 Version 3

You know I have struck gold when I repeat a pattern but making a third version is elevating it to a whole new status.

McCall's 6886 will go down in history as one of my favourite patterns ever.  It is up there with Vogue 1247 which is very high praise indeed.

My current version of this very popular dress is made of some Spotlight Scuba Knit  bought from their sale table.  This fabric is so bright that I initially had reservations.  I love the fabric but am not used to wearing such vivid colours and all at once.  I do however love the resulting dress.  I lengthened the sleeves to three quarter length as a spring version and because it was made for an evening dinner.  I also felt the scuba knit was more suited to spring wear than summer due to it's weight.

Not surprisingly I love the resulting dress and with the right accessories and tights to tone it down will transition well into next autumn as well.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

New Look 6225

One thing my wardrobe was really lacking for spring/summer is work appropriate tops. 

When Lincraft has a 40% off sale at the beginning of spring I snapped up a few pieces of lovely rayon and new New Look 6225 would be earmarked for one piece.

I played with layout for a while before giving up on any hopes of pattern matching and just ran the sleeves lengthwise.  This was a necessity due to buying too little fabric.  I rather like the resulting effect.  What I don't like however, is the fit of this one.  If I was to make another, I would need to alter the pattern .  It tends to gape a bit at the back hip.  I think I actually need to go down a size.

While I wouldn't call this top a fail, I certainly wouldn't rate it a favourite.  The fit in the neck and shoulders is nice but the width lets it down.  The pattern does however have potential.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016


Okay, I don't know whether you would technically call these culottes or palazzo pants, but I made myself a pair of comfortable summer appropriate work pants using New Look 6459.

I did a lot of research before buying this pattern because this type of pants is not really suited to a 8 shaped short woman.  The reason I chose New Look 6459 was because they legs were not too wide and the front sat flat with no pleats or obstructions.  Despite all of my careful research I did think that this may end in failure especially after starting the wearable muslin you see now.  In fact I had already thrown the whole thing in the corner in disgust but I just couldn't shake the idea of wearing this style of pants.  I rescued them, let them out a bit and shortened them and hey presto I actually like them!

I made them up in some op shop navy suiting that has been in my stash in abundance for quite some time.  I even perfected my invisible zip sewing in the process.  This was out of necessity rather than desire.  I think I may have put that darn thing in and ripped it out 3-4 times before I was happy.  I still have a little work to do though because that pesky zip has come unstitched at the bottom with constant wear.

Now these may not be the most attractive of styles on anyone but I really do love the resulting pants.  So much so that I have since made a second pair.  I also have a hankering for a third in linen but I really don't know whether I could handle all of those wrinkles!