Monday, November 18, 2013

Tessuti Suzy Pants

We've been back from Hong Kong for two weeks now. I bought quite a bit of fabric while we were there so I was keen to get cracking on some sewing straight away. I had planned to make some slouchy pants and bought the pdf pattern for the Suzy Pants from Tessuti.

I didn't make a muslin, because frankly I don't get much sewing time and I just couldn't be bothered. The pattern is pretty forgiving and has an elasticated waist so I figured not much could go wrong :) I made some alterations on the fly, extending the crotch length by about 3cm to account for my full tummy and ample derriere (sounds lovely, yes?). I also took out 3cm from the leg length as I am a bit of a shorty. This turned out to be perfect (thank goodness!). My measurements were between a medium and large so I cut the large.

The only part I probably wasn't in love with is the pockets. They are inseam pockets and I think probably add bulk to my thighs/hips which I can't afford. My husband said they definitely didn't, but what chance did he have with a question of 'Do my thighs look big in these?' Sitting duck. I also found the pocket installation confusing. Next time I make them I think I will try different pockets. And I do plan to make them again, this time cutting into some of my silk blend, also purchased from Hong Kong :)

Fabric Shopping in Hong Kong

We spent 8 days in Hong Kong and have been back for 2 weeks now. I visited the fabric store in Jordan that I went to last year. He isn't the cheapest but he stocks lovely fabric, a lot from designer fashion houses last season's range. Jordan is next to Tsim Sha Tsui and walkable down Nathan Rd, although you can get the MTR (train). We were staying at the YMCA (we can really sing 'It's fun to stay at the Y-M-C-A -- ba boom tish!) so we just walked down Nathan Rd.

I visited Sham Shui Po fabric and craft area but to be honest I found it so confusing because there was SO much there. A lot of the fabric shops that have sample cards only sell wholesale or have a minimum of 10 yards and some a roll which I think was about 30 yards. You need to order the fabric and it is brought down from China, so it takes about 3-5 days. I like to get an idea of the drape and feel of fabric, so swatches is a bit difficult for me. On the streets, there are some sellers with rolls of fabric but it is pretty ad hoc and the sellers often don't speak English. Next time I'm there I hope to have time to really investigate Sham Shui Po fabric district, but with 3 children in tow and my husband working, it was difficult to do this trip.

I would estimate that the store I visit in Jordan is about half the price of similar fabrics here in Australia. It ranged from $10/yard for polyester to $20/yard for pure silk crepe. It is often 60 inches wide too. I have to think in imperial in Hong Kong instead of metric. A little confusing but I managed. I know that one yard is about 90cm. I bought 3 yards for slouchy pants and dresses, 2 yards for blouses or skirts. If I have leftover fabric, my girls are always keen for new clothes :)

Monday, October 21, 2013

Cherry Half Circle Skirt

Miss C loves looking through my stash and found some cherry patterned fabric that she loved. She asked if I could make a 'vintage looking skirt' with it. I decided to make her a circle skirt but only had one metre so it became a half circle skirt. I drafted the pattern myself using this tutorial.

I ended up having to cut the waist circle bigger to pull on which shortened the length but I don't think it ruined the result.

I used plain white elastic sewn straight onto the waist. Miss C doesn't like how that looks. Perhaps next time I'll dye some elastic to match.

I learnt a new skill as well -- using my rolled hem foot. It was really ingenious! When I saw it working I made little nerdy squeaks of excitement! It made hemming a curve very simple and I only had to fold under the one fold then the foot did the rest!

Rolled hem foot in action!

I'm going to call this a wearable muslin as I had to fiddle with the pattern, the elastic isn't ideal and the rolled hem was my first attempt ever and has a couple of flaws. I'll definitely make more!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Summer Sailors by Brownie Goose

My eldest daughter has just turned 8 and she is wearing a size 10 in clothes. This means she has outgrown most of the children's ranges of ready-made clothes and is into the teen clothes. I have had an awful time finding shorts that cover her butt. Most sewing patterns for children end at size 8 as well. Miss C also has my bodyshape and as she gets older it is kicking well into gear. She has a rounded bum, curvy thighs and legs, and a sway back. Unless pants are adjustable, they just don't fit her. I had the same problem as a kid and still do!! I wanted to get her some shorts that were dressy and after having no luck I found this pattern for Summer Sailors shorts from Brownie Goose.

I'm not very good at 'shopping' from my stash but this time EVERYTHING came from my supplies including the elastic.
Fabric: navy and white spotted poplin from my stash (bought a couple of years ago on sale at Spotlight)
Buttons: 6 white buttons from my mum's button jar (probably buttons from my dad's PJs years ago!!)
Bias binding: White single fold bias binding from my stash for the faux pocket detail and navy bias binding from my stash to bind the waist seam.

Bound waist seam

I am insanely happy with these shorts. The pattern was very simple but the instructions for the little details including making a flat front elasticised waistband, making the cuff loops etc were described very clearly in the instructions. And the pattern was a pdf so it was instant gratification!

I'm definitely going to make more of these. I saw a tutorial for using the same pattern to make a different look.

The pattern is sized from 3 months to 12 years which is brilliant!

Best of all, my daughter loves them :)

Monday, October 14, 2013

The sewing algorithm

Perfect pattern + perfect fabric + careful cutting & sewing = FABULOUS finished garment.

I'm improving on the last one but the first two I am not so good at. I've now developed a block at matching up fabric and a pattern which has brought me to a stand-still.

Case in point. Beautiful Liberty of London fabric procured by my darling husband on a buying trip to London. I agonised over the pattern to use for it. And I FAILED. The lawn was way too crisp and the pattern needed better drape. I used this pattern and got very sad results due to my fabric choice.

 I was bitten and now I am freaked out.
Sad dress :(

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

$5 Patterns at Spotlight Australia

If there is something I'm really good at it's adding to my pattern and fabric stash. Not so good at the finishing projects bit...

Paper patterns are $5 until Oct 30 2013 at Spotlight Australia, so I went in...twice. The second time I went I took Miss Eight who has never perused pattern books before. You also need to select the pattern yourself from the drawer these days. She thought it was all particularly awesome. Her quote: 'I never knew looking at patterns could be so EXCITING!' Sweet little nerd.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Crikey! More than a year since I last blogged. What on earth happened?

Firstly, I have done no sewing (making a dirndl skirt for my daughter's bookweek outfit doesn't really count). Secondly we have moved house twice and I didn't unpack my machine in the house-sit we had for 5 months. Thirdly, I was pregnant and suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum -- severe morning sickness; I threw up until literally the day I delivered. And, as I've seen other pregnant women comment, my creative juices dry up when I'm pregnant. I have no motivation to sew.

So, now I have 3 girls and my baby is nearly 6 months. We're slowly unpacking boxes and trying to find storage solutions to reduce our clutter. 

My sewing table is set up and my machine and overlocker are headed off for a grease and oil change. I hope this is a fresh start for me and sewing.