Archive: Oct 2014

Shaping a Neckline with Horsehair Braid

Horsehair braid is not just for hems! You can also use it in a neckline to add shape and structure. This works especially well in strapless or strappy dresses, where the bodice is supported by boning. Sometimes interfacing the neckline isn’t quite stif…

read more

Outfit: By the Water

All photographs are self portraits taken by myself.  My favorite season is fall!  I love the sound of leaves crinkling beneath my feet, the smell of bonfires, and most of all the chilly wind hitting my face.  There’s something …

read more

I guess nice just ain’t my colour.

YO! It’s FRIDAAAAAY! This has been one seriously long and stressful week so I am super pumped that it’s finally the weekend, and finally payday. I guess someone (not me) bought too many pairs of shoes this month. So that is the craic there. This week h…

read more

Did I get dressed?

I don’t really know if this outfit says ” I got dressed this morning” or ” I jumped right out of bed and run out the door”. So the line between normal – pajama clothes is really close with this one. These are my Anima pants from Papercut patterns. It’s…

read more

October Indie Pattern Update!

I’ve been enjoying a few days off to get some serious fall sewing done and as always have been really inspired by the new pattern releases and your finished garments. Put the kettle on and settle down somewhere comfy to enjoy all the news from the indi…

read more

PPP #6 Ladies Edition! My Mikey Outfit (featuring the Julia Cardigan, and Neutral Milk Hotel Skater Dress)

Happy Halloween everyone!!  I am excited to go trick or treating with my kiddos tonight, how bout you?!

Today I am on the Perfect Pattern Parcel #6 tour, Ladies Edition.  If you are not familiar, here is how Perfect Pattern Parcel works:

“How Pattern Parcel Works:
Here at Perfect Pattern Parcel, we believe in supporting independent pattern designers. It’s our opinion that indie patterns are just, well, better than big box patterns, and we’re pretty sure our customers think so too. So, we allow customers to show their support in naming their own price for each Parcel.  We also encourage customers to allocate part of their Parcel price to the charity Donorschoose.org in order to help classrooms in need. Pattern Parcel donates all profits after expenses from Parcel sales to the charity as well. Together we’ve raised over $12,000 for classrooms in need!
Parcel #6 includes: 
Syrah Skirt by Lauren Dahl (exclusive release!)
Bronte Top by Jennifer Lauren
Julia Cardigan by Mouse House Creations
Hudson Pant by True Bias
Zsalya Dress by Kate and Rose
BONUS PATTERN: Odette Dress by Bluegingerdoll
Bonus Pattern:
Choose a price of $32 or greater for Parcel #6 and you will automatically also be sent the Bonus Pattern! That’s only $5 a pattern. The Bonus Pattern for this Parcel is the Odette Dress by Bluegingerdoll. Vintage inspired silhouette is had two flattering necklines and a gorgeous skirt. The Odette Dress pattern goes from a size 4 through a 24!”



  So originally I planned on making the Hudson Pants because I love me some sweatpants, sorry I really do! 
But, if you have read any of my recent posts, you’ll know that I lost a dear, dear friend this month in a tragic act of gun violence and it has left me reeling. I know some of you know the story and some might be tired of me posting about it, but it’s a part of who I am now, and I am hoping that blogging about it might be cathartic. In any case, I don’t want to let any little details slip away from my memory because that’s what worries me the most. 
With that being said, I was at Jo-Ann’s looking for fabric for my stash, when I happened upon a grey and black knit fabric. I had told my husband, Jon, that I wanted to make a “Mikey” sweater sometime because we both really miss him and like surrounding ourselves with elements of him when we can. Mikey’s sweater was multi gray and black, knitted by his mother, and was how I’ll always remember him. He was wearing it when I met him two years ago when (I hadn’t even gained employment at Hair of the Dog at that point) Jon pulled me over to meet him and told me to turn around and show him my Chobits tattoo on my back. Mikey’s eyes lit up so sparkly, he held his oversized sweater sleeve cuffs over his knuckles and clinched his fists to his mouth and just giggled and told me how awesome it was.  I’ll never forget that moment because it was the start of what I knewwould be a treasured friendship. 

The Julia Cardigan pattern that I used for my “Mikey” sweater was just perfect in a girly interpretation of his sweater, at least to me. The pattern was super easy to not only assemble but also to sew. I had zero problems with it and sewed it in only a couple of hours. 

 I made it in a size Large with the long sleeve and doubled cowl option. 

 Let’s see, I finished on Tuesday and have scarcely taken it off since then. I friggin’ love the thing! It’s so cozy and I love the look of it so much. 
 
 The sleeves are just exactly how over-sized and glorious as Mikey’s were. It makes me feel comforted wrapping myself in his memory if that makes sense. 

 This cardigan will be something I wear to pieces and will always make me think of my friend. 


Now the Skater Dress I am wearing is not a part of the Parcel tour but I really really needed to blog about it and I thought since I was blogging about a Mikey inspired cardigan that I might as well blog about the memorial dress I dropped everything to make in time for the event.
Besides Akira’s moogle outfit which was a must to have for his memorial, I quickly decided to make a Neutral Milk Hotel dress since it is a band that we both really love. 
I’ve always loved the imagery of the song, In An Aeroplane Over The Sea, and it contains some of my favorite lyrics of all their songs. I told him how I like listening to NMH and how Jon really dislikes it and we’d laugh and make fun of him about it (it’s okay because we all actually work(ed) together and at Hair of the Dog the staff are all like family ^_^). 


“In The Aeroplane Over The Sea”
What a beautiful face
I have found in this place
That is circling all round the sun
What a beautiful dream
That could flash on the screen
In a blink of an eye and be gone from me
Soft and sweet
Let me hold it close and keep it here with me

And one day we will die
And our ashes will fly from the aeroplane over the sea
But for now we are young
Let us lay in the sun
And count every beautiful thing we can see
Love to be
In the arms of all I’m keeping here with me

What a curious life
We have found here tonight
There is music that sounds on the street
There are lights in the clouds
Anna’s ghost all around
Hear her voice as it’s rolling and ringing through me
Soft and sweet
How the notes all bend and reach above the trees

Oh how I remember you
How I would push my fingers through
Your mouth to make those muscles move
That made your voice so smooth and sweet
But now we keep where we don’t know
All secrets sleep in winter clothes
The one you loved so long ago
Now hedon’t even know his name

What a beautiful face
I have found in this place
That is circling all round the sun
And when we meet on a cloud
I’ll be laughing out loud
I’ll be laughing with everyone I see
Can’t believe how strange it is to be anything at all

One of my all-time favorite quotes is “Let us lay in the sun and count every beautiful thing we can see.”  I always imagine laying in the grass amongst a field of wildflowers looking up at the clouds, just being filled up with happiness.  So when I went out searching for fabric, I knew it had to be a vibrant floral print.  Stamping the dress was a hard decision on how to do, but in the end, I decided to use a letter stamp set that I have and just print directly down the front, like a newsletter.  There’s a hidden message in red letters scattered through the lyrics on my dress that, when you put them together, spell out “FOR MIKEY LOVE KAT“.  It took a solid four days to just stamp the dress which I used black Slick fabric paint to do.  Each letter was carefully sponged with paint, and before sponging, I used an Exacto knife and my fingernails to scrape around each stamp to lift any of the previous paint.  


 There are so many memories when you work with someone for two years.  Jon and I are such homebodies when we are not working, generally requiring no more than our own company (and the girls of course).  We always talk about how he needed to go sing karaoke with Mike soon or how we should have people over to our messy house for wine more often.  I regret with a heavy heart that we those moments were never fulfilled.  There are countless moments that I will go to when I think of Mikey:
  • the long list of anime he needed to watch, talking about Attack on Titian and how good it is.
  • the countless Disney riffs and 90’s songs he’d sing to and with everyone.
  • the way he’d interact with Chuck, our chef, his best friend and roommate, when we were at work.
  • talking about Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts and Silent Hill (Pyramid Head!!)
  • the way he got so concerned when Jon and I had a teeny tiff once and how relieved he was when it was resolved (which was pretty much immediately)
  • the night he, a little tipsy, came over while I was cleaning the mop bucket and asked if I was pregnant (I was, with Akira, shh! 😉
  • The way he made sure I didn’t even exert myself when I was pregnant.  To which I would always say he needed to knock up some sweet lady so that he could go and be that amazing dad I always anticipated he would be.
  • “Oh, it’s pickled food.
  • “Ow, stop pulling and twisting!”  [got his finger stuck in a bottle, I was helping, lol]
  • the Potatoes are Inert song.
  • meep.
  • Adventure Time.
  • “WHAT TRAIN?!”
  • when I’d tell him of all the things Sehpira says and showed him the cute pictures of Akira he’d say “Ow my ovaries.”
  • duck sauce Brussel sprouts and potato salad with crushed potato chips
  • the 8 minute whistle song that comes on the blues station that plays at work
  • his love of Doggy Claws, our Barleywine, and Fradam ( mix of two of our other beers at Hair)
  • “many many smooches” was what he’d say at the end of the night when anyone one would leave.
  • his love of Firefly and him trying to get me to watch it.
  • saying meow in place of regular words all the time and changing lyrics of songs to sound like a cat was singing. He tried stopping at one point because he saw a little girl do the same thing and he got self-conscience. Haha.
  • Him saying that Azriella wanting to be a Pokemon trainer when she grows up was the best thing he’d ever heard.
There’s just SOO much more too.  Countless wonderful memories.  Jon and I were talking about it a couple of nights ago and I said I hated that I took for granted that Mikey would always be around.  Jon said no, you relied on him being around; that he didn’t think I ever took him for granted.  Some weeks are better than others; this week happens to not be as great as the last.  Hardly a minute goes by where I don’t think of him.  He was a good friend and the best person.  I know it may look like I’m overindulging in his memory but he seriously touched everyone he knew.  No lie.  He wasn’t someone you didn’t remember.  He was always genuine and always witty and always open to everyone.  His death, so sudden, so disgustingly tragic will forever haunt me and it has most certainly changed me.  If it weren’t for my kids and for Jon being there I’d be an even bigger mess than I am, I know.  I’m extremely grateful to have them in my life.  They are my everything. 

I miss Mikey.  Every. Day.  But I feel eternally privileged to have gotten to share so much time with him, albeit 99% of which was at work. 
I’ll leave you with this, a little video Chuck took of Mikey singing karaoke.  All that awesomeness in one person is just pure magic.  



That video… I don’t think I will ever be able to watch it without bursting into rivers of tears.  Also the ending makes me giggle so badly!!!
 Thank you JILL for letting me be on your Perfect Pattern Parcel Tour and being the catalyst for this sentimental post!   
http://i.imgur.com/56qg3ZP.jpg

Until next time,
many many smooches,
Kat

Dedicated to Michael W. Olson (1983-2014)


read more

fear fabric: leather

This past year of sewing has been all about facing (not necessarily conquering) my fears — fabric fears being one of them. I mean, just think of how many wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses I had to work with. That’s a lot of chiffon, satin, organza,…

read more

Girls in Blue

Who’s that girl?  Why it’s MG!  She’s been missing from the blog lately but agreed to be one of my models to help show off what I made with the 2 yards of 100% organic cotton jersey that Organic Cotton Plus sent me.    pattern:…

read more

Playscale Halloween

Halloween always seems to sneak up on me. I have no excuse. It’s the same time every year…Pris is a little pissed off that she didn’t get the epic witch costume I had in mind for her, but this little top and skirt number will have to do. I think it’s…

read more

The "just sew something" Margot pyjama bottoms

I’ve been quite frustrated with my lack of sewing over the last few weeks, so on Sunday I decided to just sew something, and that something was another pair of Margot pyjama bottoms from Tilly And The Buttons Love At First Stitch book.But I need to bac…

read more

Thursday Miscellany

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!Pic from hereTOCStar BloggerCheck Out This Blog: Domestic DebThread CultGrim Ripper Star BloggerI’ve heard from a number of folks who have received their Dec 2014/Jan 2015 issue of Vogue Pattern Magazine (VPM).Yes, I was thrilled when I…

read more

Barbara Hulanicki – The patron saint of Sewingthe60s

Oh Barbara Hulanicki! How do I love thee!


Barbara Hulanicki of Biba fame.


In a recent interview with The De-brief, Barbara wisely tells readers, that if they want to achieve the 60’s look the best way to do so, other then buying it, is to make it yourself!

“The easiest way to do the look yourself then? Make it. ‘I think sewing is coming back like mad,’ says Hulinicki. ‘The high street is doing some simple pieces that actually look very 60’s, so you can very carefully unpick the seams and make a new pattern from a finished garment. Then you can make the look your own.’

The right approach to fabric shopping might not be what you’d expect either. ‘We used to use a hell of a lot of fabric for furnishing or curtains, which is actually the kind of look Prada’s just done a lot of,’ Hulanicki says. If curtains are a step too far, then she suggests that ‘fabric shops in the East End of London are fantastic for the brocades’.

And she is so right! I mean this blog wouldn’t exist without that sort of motivation for myself to get the look down right.

If you are thinking of sewing vintage, but don’t know where to start, check out your local sewing store to see if they do classes, get yourself a few vintage patterns or even some of the new retro patterns and give it a go! And just as Babs mentioned, use an old curtain or table cloth to start you off! 


If you think that’s ridiculous, take a look at Vix’s marvellous lace dress she made from a curtain and vintage pattern! Trendy and true to the 60’s style 

Sewing your own clothes is not as daunting as it seems. There are plenty of books, youtube videos and tutorials on-line and many of us know a family relative who sews, so why not ask them to show you some basic steps! 

And now for those of you who are on the verge of finishing your Halloween outfits, I just have to share this link on Burdastyle of 10 Thoughts Everyone has While Sewing their Own Halloween Costume (in GIFs!)

Halloween is on/off in popularity here in Australia. But many of these feelings I still get when making Christmas or dress up party costumes.. or just sewing anything in general!

Take care all!
Cat xo 
read more

Ice Cream for Fall



 
I took advantage of the beautiful afternoon and no running around right after school to take a few pictures of a top that’s been finished for over a month.  I had plans to photograph the top shortly after finishing it (with a stunning location to boot) but I had forgotten to put my memory card back in the camera. One of those Doh! moments.   I’m not the only one who has those, right?


pattern:  Oliver + S Ice Cream Top
size:  8
fabric:  Tula Pink – Prince Charming – Dandelion in Coral

Not much to say about this pattern that hasn’t already been said.  This is the fourth time I’ve sewn it and I love the way it looks.  It pairs perfectly with a pair of shorts (Sandbox Shorts here) or jeans.  My younger girls prefer knit tops but will happily wear an Ice Cream top.

Ice Cream Top Fall close
 
The only thing I did ‘differently’ was to cut the yoke on the cross grain. I had slightly less than a yard of the Tula Pink print left and by the time I got around to cutting the yokes out there wasn’t much left. I like it! The direction change is subtle but it’s there. I think it adds a little additional interest.;)
 
 


read more

I Knit A Sweater!

Hey, look at me! I knit a sweater! I think I’m starting to get the hang of the whole knitting thing. I started with some lovely variegated wool yarn. I knit the whole thing in the round without a pattern. It was a little nerve-wracking, especially toward the end when it looked like the neckline […]

read more

Project Procrastination

 
There hasn’t been huge amounts of sewing going on around these parts over the last couple of weeks.  I’ve been suffering from project procrastination.  There are too many things I want or need to make, and I don’t know where to start.
 
Plus I had a dramatic change of hairstyle last week, and while I’m really happy I did it, it somehow makes all my clothes feel wrong!  If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen a photo of my haircut, if not, here’s the Instagram pic.
 
 
 
As you can see, it’s quite a change!  I feel like I need a wardrobe change to match!  I’m not feeling the love for my dresses quite as much now my hair is shorter and want either some new “cooler” dresses, or some stylish separates. 
 
Am I the only one who feels the need of a change of style when I get a new haircut?
 
So, to compound my project procrastination, I’m trying to fit a pair of trousers, with limited success. After having made a couple of muslins, I’ve worked out I have excess fabric in the back of the thigh.  Pinning out a vertical double ended dart in the back of the leg solved the problem, but I’m not sure how to transfer that onto the pattern.  I’ve actually ordered a copy of Pants for Real People today, and I’ll wait until that arrives before continuing.
 
I’m also having second thoughts about my coat.  I was planning on making this one:
 
 
 
 
I’ve actually muslined this, and have all my fabrics and notions.  I’m having second thoughts though and am now thinking of this one:
 
 
 
 
They’re both Burdastyle patterns, and if I decide to go with the second choice, it will be navy, as that’s what fabric I have.  The second one is actually a plus size pattern, but I think if I make the smallest size with slightly larger seam allowances it wouldn’t need to much in the way of grading.  I would also very likely omit the collar, as I always wear a scarf when it’s cold anyway. 
 
So, please give me your coat related opinions!  Which one would you make?  Why?

read more

Attach a Pocket with Almost No Topstitching

Today I have a tutorial for you on how to attach a pocket with little to no topstitching. I learned this technique in my tailoring class, and it’s a nifty trick. Apparently a lot of time in tailoring, you will hand stitch a pocket for a nicer finish. T…

read more

And the winner of the Mollie Makes Embroidery book is…

… Kristin Jones!

She said:  "I keep trying to take up embroidery, but without a proper teacher, or even a dedicated learning resource, I always set it aside. This book looks perfect for me, and I absolutely adore the project you’ve highlighted. It’s a bit hard to choose my favorite, but I think it might just be the cloud shaped pillow. This book looks incredible!"

Kristin, please send

read more

Crossover Pleat Skirt Draft Along 4: Drafting the Master Pattern

Finally I got it all in one place. In this post I will explain how I draft the
master pattern, which we will can also use as a pattern for the skirt lining
and, optionally, a petticoat.

Using the formula from the previous post I
calculated that the radius for the ‘waistline’ circle will be 30.1 cm. The
length of my skirt is 60 cm.

I am taking a sheet of pattern paper that
is wide enough

read more

Crossover Pleat Skirt Draft Along 4: Drafting the Master Pattern

Finally I got it all in one place. In this post I will explain how I draft the
master pattern, which we will can also use as a pattern for the skirt lining
and, optionally, a petticoat.

Using the formula from the previous post I
calculated that the radius for the ‘waistline’ circle will be 30.1 cm. The
length of my skirt is 60 cm.

I am taking a sheet of pattern paper that
is wide enough

read more

Miss Cressida and the Slipping Scissors: A Halloween Tale

In honor of Halloween, today I’m sharing a terrifying story of my own: The Tale of the Slipping Scissors. Grab your teddy bears and grasp your mugs of spiked cocoa close, darlings, because this one gets truly frightful. If you’re prone to fainting spel…

read more

Bra copy finished

First of all I must add the information Monika from LaMona gave in the comment on my previous post. She said she always takes the underwire from a bra before copying. That way the cup parts can be traced flat easily. I just had not thought about doing that and initially did not want to do anything to my new rtw bra, not even taking out the tack securing the wire. But in the end I did and there was a small difference to the cup I traced with and without wire. Not a lot but in bra making it is about small changes making a difference. So my advise would be: if you can, remove the wire and then trace.

 

For the bra I used a remant of the lace that Pauline gave me as a gift about two years ago. I made a bra from it then and there was just enough left for this one. It’s not symmetrical. I placed the red flowers at the same spot to create a synmetrical image

The back on the dressform looks about the same as it does on me. In the pattern piece the center back is almost vertical, while wearing it the shape forms automatically. I used a 2 eye/hook closure, not having any 1 eye/hook closures like the original in my stash.

Also I would have like bows that are a bit larger, but to go to Kantje Boord for bows only….

 

A few details of the finished item.

And a few finishing details. The under and side cups are interfaced with a non stretch tule. At the seam with the lace upper cup I did not fold the seam this time, but used a narrow elastic and stitched that first to the seam on the edge of the stitchline, then trimmed the seam and topstitched from the right side. I think this is a very neat finish. There was no need for elastic but it was the only material at hand and I used it without stretching.

Outside

Inside

The band was made of a firm elastic material that is sold here as powernet, just like the original, which does not have lycra in the band as well. The part beside the cup is interfaced with the same non-stretching tule that is the interfacing for the cups. Basically the only stretch is from  the part of the band that has only one layer of fabric.

 

      

Did everything go smoothly? Of course not, there is no project without using a seam ripper 😉 But at the end I had to make another change.

When the bra was almost finished I tried it on and noticed a difference. The bridge was too wide. Wearable but just not completely right. Then I talked to my friend Valerie, who sews lingerie too and she wondered whether it might be the hole in it. I had already sean that the hole was a bit bigger than the original but now found out it made it stretch more. Below you cna see the difference in my version and the original. I solved the problem by sewing the center of the bridge together by hand. It makes such a difference!

   

There will be more bra’s from this pattern in the future.

read more

Fancy Tiger Sailor Top + Pattern Giveaway

I remember one time in maybe 2009 when my then co-worker Rhea called me over to the computer and showed me the blog of a craft store in Denver called Fancy Tiger. “THIS,” she said, “THIS is how you do a craft store.” Since then I’ve spent many an inter…

read more

NYC Event: Draping Live Demo and book signing by Karolyn Kiisel

How I wish I was in NYC next week! On Tuesday, November 4th, Laurence King Publishing is hosting a draping event at FIT.

Karolyn Kiisel, the author of a now sought-after solid volume on draping will be doing a live demo draping of the iconic bateau neck dress that Audrey Hepburn wore in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. 

The dress is featured in her book Draping: The Complete Course, and is a perfect

read more

New Closet Workhorse – Black Textured Burda Vest

TOCFabric DetectiveThe ChallengeInspirationPatternCutting it OutFitZippersConstructionConclusion Fabric DetectiveThis is a project that was entirely motivated by a unique piece of fabric.I received 1.5 yards of this novelty fabric from Marcy Tilton&mda…

read more

Week in photos

photos from my Instagram                                      Top to bottom,left to right:                  &nbs…

read more

A Basic Bronte Top and Perfect Pattern Parcel 6!

Looking at all the gorgeous garments that have been popping up in my reader over the last week or so I’m fairly sure most of you are already aware that the sixth Perfect Pattern Parcel is now available. This parcel features women’s apparel patterns from many popular independent pattern designers and I was delighted to once again be asked to sew up one of the patterns to spread the word and get behind the worthy cause that Perfect Pattern Parcel supports.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: White Bamboo Jersey Bronte Top
After expenses, the proceeds from each parcel go to Donors Choose. Donors Choose is a charitable organisation that matches up the needs of teachers and their students for specific projects with willing donors. The funds raised from each Pattern Parcel sale go to help K-12 students in minimising educational inequality and encourage a community where children have the tools and experiences necessary for an excellent education. It’s a fantastic way for the sewing community to contribute to charity and support the development and education of the next generation. My sister is a teacher so it’s a need close to my own heart as I have watched and heard about the difference good resources and teaching can make. To date Perfect Pattern Parcel has raised over $13,000 for the cause!
The fantastic thing about the pattern parcels is that you can name your own price for the whole bundle! This parcel includes:
And if you choose a price of over $32 you will receive the bonus pattern, which this time is the Odette Dress from Blue Ginger Doll. Considering that the total retail value of all these patterns is $85.75 that’s quite a bargain!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: White Bamboo Jersey Bronte Top
Anyway, on to what I chose to make this time. After the frippery of my silk chiffon dress I’ve been trying to focus on sewing some more practical garments, which I still feel stylish in but which i’ll get a lot of wear out of as they can be worn as part of a variety of outfits. The Bronte Top from Jennifer Lauren fits this bill exactly. I’ve long had my eye on all of Jennifer’s patterns as she has a knack for designing basic, wearable garments with interesting vintage inspired details.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: White Bamboo Jersey Bronte Top
Thinking about my aim to make basics I chose to use this plain white bamboo stretch knit which I picked up as a remnant from Ray Stitch when I visited to meet Christine Haynes in the summer. I’m so used to thinking about what I can do to make a project more unique (I mean when you can sew and are not restricted to the designs in the shops it’s all about using your creativity right?!) that it was really hard to restrain myself from using a contrast binding or adding buttons to the neckline as the instructions suggest as an option. I had to remind myself that adding in some colour would restrict the garments I could pair it with. I’m so pleased I kept it simple as it’s resulted in a great wardrobe staple and let me tell you when you are working with a fabric this lovely it doesn’t need any extras!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: White Bamboo Jersey Bronte Top
It isn’t cheap for jersey (this is coming from a girl who tends to buy her knits for less than £5/m on Goldhawk Road) but it’s totally worth the money in my opinion and any cash that I have for fabric splurges I’ll definitely be using to make myself some lovely snuggly tees. I’d also love to make another Coppelia Cardigan in the mustard colour way! It’s a super duper soft knit that’s the perfect weight for tops and feels so nice against the skin. It’s got a good stretch and recovery in both directions (I initially picked it up with a Nettie in mind but didn’t have enough for the length of the bodysuit) and was the best knit to sew with that I’ve tried yet. I still consider myself quite the novice with knits but I could tell I had the good stuff here, it pressed and sewed beautifully.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: White Bamboo Jersey Bronte Top
I really like how high the design comes up under the arm

Pattern wise I loved the way the PDF was tiled in separate sections so there were only one or two pattern pieces on each assembled sheet. It meant less time trimming and sticking and also took up a lot less room! I cut a size 8 and have got the nice snug fit I wanted. I only needed 0.8m of the 150cm wide jersey and reckon I could have just about squeezed the long sleeves out of that much too. The assembly was really straightforward and with the thorough instructions and explanation of knits included is definitely suitable for a beginner. Everything is sewn flat with the exception of the hem. The only thing I had a little trouble with was getting the shoulders/sleeve heads to sit nicely as my fabric was so soft and that seam is quite bulky with all the layers of front, back, sleeve and binding. I think I’d grade it more vigorously next time.

I took a different approach with this knit project and sewed it all up using a narrow zig zag stitch on my machine, just using the overlocker to finish the side seams and armholes as I like the professional look it gives. I really like how robust the seams feel with the zig zag stitch compared to my previous overlocked projects and felt I was able to be more accurate when sewing.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: White Bamboo Jersey Bronte Top
I actually had some straightforward success with my twin needle! I’m still not all that confident with it as it feels a bit of a fluke but I’m looking forward to trying it again. I’m not sure what made the difference, the lovely fabric, a different make of stretch twin needle or the thread but the combo of all three certainly did the trick on both the neckline and hem. To get it to work this time I:
  • sewed slowly
  • threaded the right needle with the standard spool as normal
  • threaded the left needle with the extra spool, threading as normal but missing the thread guide above the needle
  • used a normal stitch length (of about 2 on my machine) 
Just to clarify I was sent all the patterns included in this bundle in return for my review and promotion of the project. I’m wearing the top here with my wool crepe Charlotte Skirt, it’s a great top for tucking into high waisted skirts and trousers. This Pattern Parcel is only available until Friday 31st October so make sure to decide on your price and snap it up quickly if any of the patterns have caught your eye!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: White Bamboo Jersey Bronte Top

read more

What Did We Learn From Project Runway THIS SEASON? Finale recap

Friends, readers: sorry for the much belated post. But I put off viewing the season finale until last night, so I could enjoy it with friends over a taco feast. And as much as I love them (and love watching Project Runway….and tacos), I missed many of the episode’s finer points because I was too busy enjoying their company. So of course I had to watch it again today.

Also, I just spent an hour creating this animated gif of Nina Garcia listening to Char make the longshot case for herself as winner of Project Runway:

That subtle widening of the eyes…what was she thinking?  We may never know. But we can sure as heck speculate! (Mind control? “STOP GROVELING…STOP GROVELING…STOP GROVELING…”). Anyway, onward…

If there’s one thing we can learn from the final four’s Fashion Week collections (and, truly, the entirety of the season) it’s this: constraints beget creativity. Just like the restrictive 5-7-5 syllable structure of haiku forces beautiful brevity out of the writer, the most focused challenges in Project Runway are often the genesis of true genius. (Remember the rainway? Or the storage lockers?).

Meanwhile, give the designers four weeks, $9,000 and free reign to do whatever they want…and the results can be disappointing. Like Kini. Sweet, crazy talented, speed-sewing Kini. What went wrong?

I know. None of it is bad. Oh, except this. This was bad. Like, linebacker-in-a-thong bad.

Char, meanwhile, was thrilled to be there. Making it to Fashion Week was her goal, so mission accomplished. Her collection was hip, sexy and wearable, though there were a couple snores and a few oddball fancy chic pieces that didn’t fit with her overall vibe. I loved that all the models got Char’s haircut:

(Note to self: email picture of Char’s hair to stylist).

Now, imagine if she had a mentor to help her shape her vision into a more cohesive, unique collection…oh wait. Hmm. Well, she will probably kick butt on All-Stars in 2015.

Amanda’s collection earned a lot of praise from the assembled ladies (and my husband and daughter), as well as the judges. I think she took that one amazing dress from episode 12 and then rehashed it 10 times (each time in a less-appealing color). If I sound like I didn’t care for it…I’m just feeling a little defensive on Char’s behalf. Looking again at the collections, I think Amanda had one good look:

Fortunately, we all agreed, the worthiest designer took home the big prize — the opportunity to design an accessory for Red Robin (seriously, Lifetime?).

Oops. Sorry about that last one. Honest mistake.

So what did you think about the season finale of Project Runway? Did the right designer win? What was your fave look?

read more

What Did We Learn From Project Runway THIS SEASON? Finale recap

Friends, readers: sorry for the much belated post. But I put off viewing the season finale until last night, so I could enjoy it with friends over a taco feast. And as much as I love them (and love watching Project Runway….and tacos), I missed many of the episode’s finer points because I was too busy enjoying their company. So of course I had to watch it again today.

Also, I just spent an hour creating this animated gif of Nina Garcia listening to Char make the longshot case for herself as winner of Project Runway:

That subtle widening of the eyes…what was she thinking?  We may never know. But we can sure as heck speculate! (Mind control? “STOP GROVELING…STOP GROVELING…STOP GROVELING…”). Anyway, onward…

If there’s one thing we can learn from the final four’s Fashion Week collections (and, truly, the entirety of the season) it’s this: constraints beget creativity. Just like the restrictive 5-7-5 syllable structure of haiku forces beautiful brevity out of the writer, the most focused challenges in Project Runway are often the genesis of true genius. (Remember the rainway? Or the storage lockers?).

Meanwhile, give the designers four weeks, $9,000 and free reign to do whatever they want…and the results can be disappointing. Like Kini. Sweet, crazy talented, speed-sewing Kini. What went wrong?

I know. None of it is bad. Oh, except this. This was bad. Like, linebacker-in-a-thong bad.

Char, meanwhile, was thrilled to be there. Making it to Fashion Week was her goal, so mission accomplished. Her collection was hip, sexy and wearable, though there were a couple snores and a few oddball fancy chic pieces that didn’t fit with her overall vibe. I loved that all the models got Char’s haircut:

(Note to self: email picture of Char’s hair to stylist).

Now, imagine if she had a mentor to help her shape her vision into a more cohesive, unique collection…oh wait. Hmm. Well, she will probably kick butt on All-Stars in 2015.

Amanda’s collection earned a lot of praise from the assembled ladies (and my husband and daughter), as well as the judges. I think she took that one amazing dress from episode 12 and then rehashed it 10 times (each time in a less-appealing color). If I sound like I didn’t care for it…I’m just feeling a little defensive on Char’s behalf. Looking again at the collections, I think Amanda had one good look:

Fortunately, we all agreed, the worthiest designer took home the big prize — the opportunity to design an accessory for Red Robin (seriously, Lifetime?).

Oops. Sorry about that last one. Honest mistake.

So what did you think about the season finale of Project Runway? Did the right designer win? What was your fave look?

read more

Self-drafted blazer!

See this blazer?  I designed, drafted and sewed it myself!  And since I’m no longer actually attending lecture (conflicts with my teaching schedule), I’m using the book and my professor’s office hours to get the job done!  (By the way, here she is, walking through the construction of the jacket on YouTube.  She’s an amazing sewist!)

This most recent project for my patternmaking class isn’t due

read more

Pattern Review: Simplicity 1651

So the first summer dress of the season is finished! I’ve wanted to make up this pattern for absolute yonks, and when I saw the Kaffe Fassett Lotus print in GJ’s I knew that the perfect fabric had finally come my way!

There are a few things that I…

read more