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Slouchy, comfy, birthday PJs!

Hello everyone!

Let me tell you, I have been sewing up a storm! I seem to have gotten into a rhythm and now I can’t get away from my sewing machine. I’ve got lots to show you, but it doesn’t seem to be making it up on the blog because I really dislike taking photos of myself. I promise I’ll get some of my makes up soon though!

For now, let’s look at some slouchy, cozy pyjama’s I made for my Mum’s birthday!

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My Mum Avril loves babushka dolls (she has an amazing collection of them!) so when I saw this super warm and soft fleece from Spotlight I knew I had to make some PJs out of it for her. It feels so nice, I kept stroking it as I was sewing (yeah Mum, sorry, that’s a bit creepy). I used McCall’s 5992, views B and E. There’s a cute dog coat included in the pattern that I plan on making for her two Jack Russell’s – haha!

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Overall the pattern was okay. The only issue I had was that the sleeves were ridiculously long, I had to size them down a lot. The pattern didn’t call for piping but I really wanted to give it a go because I am crazy ambitious a go-getter and I thought it would give them a nice finish. I was surprised by how easy it was actually! I used a piping foot and made the piping using bias strips. I had a a bit of difficulty with the finishes of the piping, but if you don’t look too closely it’s not too obvious.

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I’m really proud of the buttonholes – I feel like I’ve got the hang of them now! They’re a bit wavy but neat. I attempted some pattern matching on the pocket, but I think the shirt front must have been a bit off when I cut it, so the pocket is a bit crooked. Oops.

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Look – I’ll show you the insides! I don’t have an over locker, and I really wish I did after this make! The fleece doesn’t fray but I just love the finished look you get from overlocking. I zigzagged the seams to neaten them up a bit, so I guess that will have to do.

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The one thing that really annoyed me about this pattern is that the facing doesn’t extend all the way to the back of the neck – it stops at the shoulders. Maybe that’s to keep bulk down? It seems though there is as much bulk on the sides of the collar as the back though, so next time if I make this I will probably draft a back neck facing. Unfortunately I ran out of time to do it this time (darn piping!).

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The trousers are just plain trackies with an elasticised waist. I added some piping in the side seams to jazz it up a bit. I ommitted the drawstring because I forgot to leave a gap for it in the waistband, and then I realised I didn’t actually have any fabric for them. Oh well. The only thing that went wrong with these is that I made them too short! Oops!

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Overall, I’m pretty proud with this make. In the actual construction of it I was stressing out about all the imperfections. Normally I’d not worry about what can’t be seen but because I was making this for someone else they all seemed magnified about 10 fold. After looking at these pics though, I feel better about it. I’m actually amazed at myself – I only started sewing clothes a few months ago and this would have been really daunting to me in the beginning. Yay! Go me!

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I also got my Mum tickets to see The Rocky Horror Show which is playing in Adelaide at the moment. It was amazing! We had such a great time. Here’s an instasnap of us with a cardboard Columbia. The blouse I’m wearing is actually one I made myself! I should blog about that next.

Happy birthday Mum! I hope you like your PJs 🙂

 

 

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A fail and a success

Hello everyone! I’m sorry I haven’t blogged for a while. I actually have a bunch of finished projects to show you but I’ve been feeling in a bit of a slump lately and haven’t felt much like taking pics….plus I seem to have lost my camera! Anyway, I decided just to take a few snaps with my mac – hopefully they aren’t too dodgy (urgh they are so dodgy)!

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Let’s start with the fail and get that out of the way shall we? I was super excited to make the Madeleine skirt from Victory Patterns – and here is what it was supposed to look like:

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There’s pretty much no light in my apartment these days (the sun has disappeared – no! Come back Summer!) but here are a couple of close up shots to show you the details:

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I was really careful with this make – I made sure everything was cut out beautifully, I pressed all the seams properly, and I was really careful with my top stitching. Granted when you look at it this close it’s a bit wonky, but I’m really proud of it! I freaking love those pockets! I lined them with this awesome print and couldn’t wait to walk everywhere with my hands stuck in ’em.

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I’m really proud of the zipper too….look how close that is! Perfect! The button hole is less than perfect….I’m still struggling to master them. Let’s just look at the pretty zip and ignore it….ahhh that’s better.

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So, despite being really careful and focusng on getting all the details correct this turned into a fail. Why? Well, I learnt a big lesson in this – there is a difference between pressing and ironing. Oh yes. The fabric for this skirt is denim with a bit of stretch to it, and it creased a lot, which meant I was ironing it a fair bit between construction. Obviously my ironing enthusiasm did not go very well with the stretch in the fabric, because when I finally finished it and put it on – it was WAY too big.

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I’ve thought about taking it in, but the only place to do that really is at the back, which will pull the pockets around to the back and past the sides of my hips which I’m pretty sure will look ridiculous. I think I might have to chalk this up to “experience” and see if any friends want it. I could wear it in the hips instead of the waist but I really dislike wearing skirts on the hip (in fact I never do), it just doesn’t work for my figure.

Let’s move on to the success, just to make myself feel better. It’s another Plaintain tee! Hooray!

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I love this pattern so much! It’s getting cooler here (hence the dark pictures) so I made a long sleeved version in a heavier jersey that has some Lycra in it. It’s so comfy! I love it! My favourite part about is…….

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Elbow patch! This hand printed patch was given to me by an awesome band from Portland, Oregon called The Underskore Orchestra. They play fantastic gypsy swing and jazz, and they played at the swing dancing social I run here in Adelaide. I’ve been sitting on this patch for a while, waiting for the right place to put it. I decided this was the perfect way to jazz up (haha, see what I did there?) an otherwise plain black tee. I don’t even care that it’s assymetrical – I like it that way! This pattern is such a breeze to whip up. The only adjustment I need to make is to nip the waist in a bit as my waist is a couple of sizes smaller than my hips. The neckline is so flattering and it’s a very easy top to wear. I see many more Plaintain’s in my future. Thanks Deer and Doe!

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Stay tuned for my next make – a snuggly hoodie!

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Geranium Dress for Ava

Sorry that it has been a while since I’ve posted everyone! The Adelaide Fringe Festival is happening at the moment so my entire life has turned into performing, watching shows, eating, (some) sleeping then rinse and repeat. I’ve had very little time for sewing! But my season finished on the weekend so hopefully time will be a little easier to come by. Here is a cheeky pic of me with some audience members in the costume I made for the show! If anyone is interested in more details about the costume I can do a post on it.

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But moving along to my latest completed project – a teensie weensie dress for my beautiful niece, Ava! I actually finished this a little while ago but I had to delay my post until my sister received the parcel in Townsville where she lives.

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Isn’t it adorable? I love little kids clothes – they make me all clucky 😉 I used the Geranium dress pattern by Made By Rae because I had read good things about it. This was the first time I have made a piece of clothing for someone else and it was a good motivator – I was very careful and patient with all the steps to get it just right! The fabric was actually used to decorate the tables at my sisters wedding last year when Ava was still a baby bump – so I kind of liked that!

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This was also the first time I had lined something – and it was really neat to practice on something miniature! I’m really pleased with how it turned out – I do wish it was a little bit neater around the armholes (there is a bit of puckering there) but on the whole I think it worked great. I finished the dress with French seams in the hopes that this would be nice on the skin rather than zig-zagged seams as I don’t have an over locker.

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There were a lot of firsts for me with this dress – it was also my first attempt at buttons and button holes. I’m sad to say that the button holes are not very neat – I just realised that I don’t have a picture of them, but they are not very straight or even! Fortunately the buttons themselves are really cute and they kind of hide the dodgy buttonholes. I used flat buttons so that it would be comfortable for Ava when she is lying down. You can see that the edge of the bodice doesn’t quite line-up. I adjusted the buttons a couple of times but unfortunately this was as close as I could get it because of the dodgy buttonholes I had sewn. Ah well – if my sis and Ava likes this dress I might make a couple more, so hopefully I’ll get it perfect next time!

Hopefully Ava likes it (and her mum too!). What are you all working on at the moment? I have a couple of things on the go, including Victory Pattern’s Madeleine skirt and Colette Patterns’ Violet blouse. More on those later! Bye for now!

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Lu Tries Deer and Doe’s Plantain Tee

OMG you guys! I made a practical and wearable item of clothing! And it actually turned out! I was very proud of myself when I went fabric shopping, because I stayed away from all of the crazy prints and colours I would normally go for, and just went for a plain, off-white cotton jersey. I love crazy colors and patterns, but it means that I have real difficulty mixing and matching pieces from my wardrobe. This Plantain tee (which is a free pattern – sweet!) filled a hole in my wardrobe and I think I’ll get a lot of wear out of it.

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This is my “would you like to buy this t-shirt?” catalogue pose.

And hey look – it’s the first picture of me on the blog! Hello! Excuse the pretty terrible quality…I took these with my mac because I couldn’t find my camera.

I made the size 42, and whilst it fit me pretty well in the top half, the cut of the pattern flares way out at the bottom which is really unflattering for my figure. I did a pretty dodgy “that look’s about right” and took in the side seams, so it’s a bit slimmer to the hips. I probably won’t ever wear it without tucking it in to something high waisted, but considering most of the bottoms I wear are high waisted that works for me.

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Here’s my ecstatic “I made a tee!” pose

I reeeeaaalllly wanted to make the long sleeved version (it has elbow patches. I’m sold.), but I decided that was pretty impractical considering we’re suffering a heat wave where I live – South Australia. The awesome elbow patches will have to wait until the weather cools down a bit. Overall, I’m really pleased with how this turned out and I was surprised at how long it took me to finish, just over an hour or so. I think I’ll probably bang out a few more, but I might try a different pattern just to mix it up. Maybe the Renfrew since that seems to be pretty popular around the blogosphere. I’m feeling confident after this success. Hooray!

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Oh you want a crazy closeup? HEEEELLLLLLOOOOOO!

 

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Why I suck at sewing clothes

I’ve been doing a lot of “sewing soul searching” lately about why I am so reluctant to sew clothes, and why I always dislike the clothing that I do attempt. I have been sewing costumes for about 8-10 years (mostly beading and decorating), and have sewed odd bits of home-wares over the last few years, but I haven’t made one piece of clothing that I have worn for more than a couple of months. I have attempted many, many items of clothing but they have rarely turned out or been finished. Eventually I just stopped attempting them. This year though, I am determined to turn it around! After taking a good long look at myself, I figured out the reasons I’m afraid of sewing clothes. And in the interests of public accountability and baring all to the blogosphere I will list them here!

I buy patterns that I think are gorgeous, but when it comes down to it – they just don’t suit my style.

Beautiful pattern from Esty seller allthepreciousthings

Beautiful pattern from Esty seller allthepreciousthings

I have so many beautiful vintage patterns. Most of them I picked up from markets or thrift shops, and a bunch have been given to me over the years. I love vintage clothes and styling, but I really can’t commit to wearing a vintage style every day. I feel restricted and uncomfortable. Most days, I would be happy to rock out in jeans and a tank or a simple skirt. So I’ll spend a bunch of time finding the right fabric, cutting out the pieces, putting them together, only to get half way through and feel unenthused about it because I realise it’s not going to work for me. I know it seems dumb to keep making this mistake over and over, but I can’t help it! I love vintage patterns! Maybe I need to start making the clothes for other people….

I buy patterns that are too advanced for me

Piped Trench Coat by Burdastyle

Piped Trench Coat by BurdaStyle

Ok, so this time I’ve found a pattern that I love and I think I will wear all the time. What’s that? It’s an advanced sewing pattern? No problem! I’m sure I can master the million techniques I have never attempted before. It’ll be alright won’t it?…..anyone?

I don’t follow the instructions

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This is the hardest thing to admit, but it’s true: I’m a skimmer. I start reading the instructions on a pattern and my eyes go glazed over and I throw caution to the wind along with the instructions. I think I have developed this bad habit because I have spent so much of my life sewing costumes in which it was ok if they were put together pretty dodgily as long as you didn’t see it from the audience and it stayed together. Pretty much all my costumes I make up on the fly without a pattern. I can get away with this for stage when it’s just for me, but you really can’t do that if you have no idea how to sew clothes!

I’m determined to make more clothing for myself this year, and even though this stuff is embarrassing to admit it’s helped me set it all out. So from now my sewing commandments are 1) Only buy patterns that are actually wearable, 2) Only buy patterns I can actually sew – e.g beginner! and 3) Follow the instructions on the pattern step by step!

On that note, here is a pattern that I am going to try which is specifically for beginners.

Miette skirt pattern by Tilly

Miette skirt pattern by Tilly

I found this pattern through the blog Ginger Makes. I’m not 100% sure if it’s my style (am I breaking one of my new sewing commandments already?), but Ginger pretty much sold me on it with her enthusiastic description of how easy it is to put together and how great it turned out. I recently chopped pretty much all my hair off (hello pixie cut!) so I am trying new bits of clothing that I perhaps wouldn’t have in the past, because my new hair makes me want all new clothes. Plus it has pockets! Skirts with pockets are the best!

I have the pattern – now I just need some fabric! I will post again when I have completed this cute skirt and let you know what I think.

Is anyone in the same boat as me when it comes to sewing clothes? Or do you have other sewing confessions to make?