Monday, 29 July 2013

Had My Cake and Ate It Too

Well, the day came- it was time to wear our sewn Cake and eat cake!
If you don't know what I'm talking about, check out my post on it.

So without further ado, here's my Tiramisu!
And yes, some amazing person brought tiramisu, so I'm posing in my Tiramisu with tiramisu.  So awesome!
Bonus: My dress even matches the COLOUR of the tiramisu! Thanks Mel for the photo :)

We all had a blast.  Nearly everyone was wearing cake, and there was so much incredible food! Credit for these pics go to Sandra, our lovely lovely host.

We stopped stuffing our faces with deliciousness for long enough to get some group shots: (oh, and notice we all  had name tags stuck on so we could get to know new members of the WSBN!)

How much fun is this??  All the Tiramisu girls at once!  :D
The whole gang :)
I'll be putting up a "proper" pattern review post about the Tiramisu dress at some point.  I'm so glad I made it in time for this fun event!
Did any of you join in?  If you did, show me! 

P.S  On an unrelated note, on my Christmas ornament swap post, I totally missed out the pic of what I received. I felt like a jerk when I realised, lol! So I updated the post. :)

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Completed: New Look 6594 Pleated Skirt

This is probably almost the most basic thing you could possibly make...Well, not "easy" basic, I mean "extremely practical wardrobe" basic. You follow?
Anyway, I'm revisiting a pattern I made a while ago, when I first decided I wanted to sew. I like to think I've learned something since then. I'm too embarrassed to link to the old project cos I look so dorky! Haha!
Oh fine, here you go. I like my new skirt better, though the photos I got are iffy. The bright sunlight is super unflattering on the face...
Oh yeah, and the skirt's a bit wrinkly because I was wearing it before the photos. This photoshoot business...
Super-squinty face!  Get me out of this awful sun!
(Fun fact- I hate being in the sun, and avoid it at all costs).  Ahh... focus on the skirt!

There were issues with the old one for sure. Something you can't really see in the old photos is that the yoke tilts! It isn't the right shape for my body- something I had no idea about back then. Not a clue! So that means I'm learning, which is good.  
The other issue was that it sat too low.  After a lot of thought, I feel that for a yoke to be flattering, it really has to hit in the right spot on the body. The seam between the yoke and skirt should be about on the hip bone, I reckon.
This time I put more thought and work into getting the skirt to fit me.  I'm planning to put up a quick post on how I fitted the yoke.

Instead of tilting, it now sits nice and horizontal, which means the skirt hangs properly too!  Yay!  Check out my vertical side seam! :) That mean I could just hem the skirt at a uniform length which was nice and easy :)

So, back to the style- I thought it would be a good idea to make something relatively simple (for confidence building!), and I have a bit more of a focus on practical garments at the moment. Hopefully I can wear this with a bunch of stuff :)
The skirt is simply a rectangle with a bunch of knife pleats thrown at it.

I added a lining too...(can't make it too simple now can we?? I fudged it in, no idea what I'm doing as usual). I always feel compelled to add linings to skirts, it just feels so luxurious and fancy. It is extra work though... is it worth it? I don't know if a skirt this flared would stick to tights, but ooh, speaking of which:
This fabric!! It attracts dust and lint like no-one's business!  It gave my lint roller a real workout and I suspect it will continue to. Why would someone invent a fabric like this? It's a cotton spandex blend infused with tiny dust magnets. Ick.

I was concerned that the extra stretch in the fabric would ruin how the yoke fitted, although the top of the yoke is stayed with twill tape. In the end I decided that the non-stretch fusible interfacing I used would help, and using a non-stretch fabric for the facing would keep it stable too. Can't be too careful right?  
For the yoke facing, I actually used the lining fabric.  
It does keep bulk down (yay, I hate bulky seams!), but I haven't seen this technique used much, so I worry there's may be a reason for that. lol! I hope I don't have any problems with it. I do have a RTW skirt with a lining as a waistband facing, but that's for a thick-ish wool, so I can see how it would be necessary in that case.

Both lining and facing made from lining fabric.

Here you can see the hand-sewn zipper and the fact it's covered in dust again ALREADY.  This fabric!!!

Oh yeah, and I styled it with one of my Renfrew tops!

I don't know if that wrinkle on the right's a fitting wrinkle, a construction wrinkle, or a wrinkle wrinkle??
Solution: cover wrinkle with arm. Also, I look super evil here.
Even though I put a lot of work into fitting the yoke, I still had to tweak it while sewing, as it still didn't sit quite high enough (just having to take it in a bit). I hate tweaking things while sewing!! I can't wait until I'm good enough to get it just right in the toile stage. It'll happen right??

Oh yeah, and even though this was an "easy", confidence-building project, I still managed to screw up a bunch... Messed up sewing the zip in by machine twice, gave up and put it in by hand.... I also messed up stitching in the ditch to secure the facing, gave up, and slip stitched it by hand. It can be so frustrating, but I'm doing my best to be positive with myself.

I did the hem by hand too, though I was tempted to machine stitch it. You know, I have a blind-hem foot I should totally try sometime!

The back.  Yep.
I guess this is on the boring side of the sewing scale, but I found it pretty satisfying. It's so cake-y! I already have wool to make another one.

Oh yeah, and a sewing miracle occurred while I was making this.
This was how much thread was left after I'd finished the machine sewing:

And THIS was what was left after I'd finished hand-stitching the hem:

I don't know about you, but I thought that was pretty amazingly lucky!  Ha!
So yeah, I guess I'm pretty pleased with how this skirt turned out, basic though it may be. I hope my next one's even better :)

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Completed: Peabody Pullover

Ahh finally! I started this all the way back in February! I then gave up with gauge issues and made my Agatha, before returning to this with a vengeance! (Gosh that seems an age ago!)
Also, I have had this ready to post for ages, but didn't until now.  Things got in the way, oops!
But I love it! And wow, it's so warm!

I fell in love with this pattern a long time ago. Isn't the lace panel just gorgeous? I love how impressive it is, but here's the secret: knitting this lace was actually really easy, and I'm totally not a genius. All I had to do was follow a chart. That's it!
I love the way it's styled on the model, but I have no button up blouses. I'd love to make one though.
I think this jersey would also go really well with skirts too. I have so many things that I've made in my head that would go great with this. Isn't that always the way? Get out of my brain and into my sewing machine! I could be way more stylish than wearing my old jeans with this.

Imagine I'm wearing this with a super stylish skirt or something.  lol.   Ooh I bet it would be nice layered over a dress!

Alright, let's talk fitting. I completely modded the pattern sizing. Everything from the armpits down is 100% custom, lol!
That was quite a tough thing to do, but things are getting clearer in my head and I feel I will just get faster and faster at making sizing mods.  Well, I hope :)

First I had to figure out how much ease I wanted. I didn't want a skin tight garment, as this is supposed to be a relaxed layering piece after all. The pattern recommended 0 to 2" ease at the bust.
However, the waist shaping is relatively minimal so there's a lot more ease than that at the waist. My version is a lot more curvy! 

In the end I aimed for around zero ease in the bust and hips, and 1" in the waist. See how I said around zero ease? That's right, I am releasing my grip on the need for absolute precision. Slowly. lol :) 
You see, when customising stitch counts and spacing out decreases, it usually makes life easier to round numbers up or down, so I did. It was quite fun actually, once I felt like I knew what I was doing.

I also lengthened it a bit. For this one I chose it to sit 2.5" below my high hip. I'm all about getting that hemline to sit in the perfect place to balance one's figure optimally. If I keep track of the length of my garments, then I can use them for reference next time, or that's the plan! What do you think of the length? I figure it should cover the top of my jeans and not be too long, or I'll get the stump-leg effect. 
The sleeves are also made longer, as my arms always seem to need that extra length.

Lacy sleeve detail
Oh my gosh though, I still am not convinced on bottom up garments. You can't just try them on as you go! I can't imagine knitting it without doing some maths, you wouldn't have a clue how it was going to sit on your body!
And then there's this whole "knitting the sleeves in the round" business. I guess I still have a lot of practice to go on DPNs because they are so awkward for me.

I did some fancy construction stuff that was new to me. I changed the shoulder slope bind offs to short rows, a tip I picked up in the free Craftsy course on short rows. I found it very tricky to figure out but I eventually got there. It took ages. Don't judge. lol.
And I felt fancy because I did some maths on the lace! I worked out how many rows it would take me to get to the neckline (since my length was all modded too), and applied that to the lace chart so it would finish with a "leaf" at the neckline, just like the sample garment. Sweet satisfaction!
Anyway, I could go on about tiny details all day, but I won't. More project details are on Ravelry here. Have some pictures.

The back is a bit spacious due to my sway back, but it doesn't bother me.  All my knits want to do this I think!
Looking smug and very squinty.
I do feel like I learned a lot on this garment, and made plenty of mistakes too, but it was fun. I still have a lot of patches of funny tension in my knitting (especially near the m1 right increases- anyone get that?), but I'm okay with that.

I'm obsessed with the colour lilac now. Actually, lots of other pastels too. I have an urge to find more lilac yarn and make a cardigan in the same shade! But I find it so hard to find the perfect colour that I'm after when I get like this! I end up trawling the internet with nothing to show for it... Shopping for yarn is serious business you guys. Don't even get me started on how there doesn't seem to be any 10ply yarn in New Zealand! Oops, started ranting there...

Anyway, that's my Peabody.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Okay, So Who Likes Cake?

So first off, thank you so much for all the amazing replies on my previous post on self-criticism!  You are all awesome people!  I have read and re-read your comments and I have been amazed at the amount of you that relate, and have wonderful insights.  It's so great to hear from you :)

Secondly, I actually have few projects in the pipeline to post about, so look out for them coming up. I've totally been holding out on you guys. But I thought I should have a quick mention of this upcoming event before all that!

The Wellington Bloggers came up with a brilliant idea when we were talking about Cake Patterns, and how great it would be to eat Cake while sewing Cake. All the patterns sound so delicious don't they?
There's Pavlova, Tiramisu... now, I admit I don't have much of a sweet tooth, but I do have a soft spot for the idea of a simple knit dress. So I'm going to try out the Tiramisu.

I'm not a huge fan of the envelope styling, but check out Lauren's version and you'll be converted! 
The plan is to each make a pattern from Cake, meet up, and eat cake!  Are you following?  Well, I hope you are, as we decided to invite the internet!

So if you'd like to join in the wee party, grab the badge that our dear Mel made, and get ready to party on in Cake on the 28th of July!
Put up your pictures of yourself wearing your Cake- bonus points if you're enjoying a sweet treat.  Double bonus points if you're eating the same thing your garment is called!
I hope you guys are keen, as I want our Cake party to spread around the globe. :)

Now, wish me luck, I've got a Tiramisu to cut out.  And some finished project blog posts to write! :)

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Some Thoughts on Creativity and Self-Criticism

So I've mentioned this to quite a few of my fellow sewing bloggers lately, and you may have noticed the recent dominance of knitting on my blog. I've been in a sewing slump!

It's been going on for quite a while, and I thought I'd write out my thoughts on it. It really all boils down to a lack of confidence and a surplus of self-criticism. It's a subject I think is worth examining...

Friday, 5 July 2013

Merry Christmas!

Recently the Wellington Sewing Bloggers got together and had a mid-Winter Christmas!  Don't be confused, it's just that us kiwis have our Christmas in summer, so sometimes we play pretend Christmas in the middle of winter.  Makes perfect sense right?
Huge thanks to Joy for hosting, organising, and making it such an awesome time.

Much crafty fun and gossip was had by all of course.  And we had an ornament swap!

Me pulling a weird face while I open mine!

Kat opening the ornament I made!
All the presents together.  I love Mel's reindeer.. gotta make one!
Here's a close up of the cute wee angel I received from Maryanne:

I worked really hard on my ornament, putting way too much effort in as usual, haha!
I started with this pattern but had to modify it when I couldn't find the supplies I needed!

Anyway, I have this light box that I made ages ago, so I thought I'd better put the darn thing to use!  (Not sure if was worth making, but I guess it does make nice pics!)

The icing and cupcake part are amigurumi from the pattern.  The base is hand stitched felt (finished with a blanket stitch on the top and bottom, with running stitch for vertical lines).  I designed the cherry and hanger myself.  I got a tiny hook and some perle cotton for that bit.  So fiddly!  The hanger is just a long chain anchored to the ornament.  And the cherry is just a stuffed ball!  Not too complicated, but it took me ages, haha!  Micro crochet was fun though.

Back view for good luck.  You can see the felt seam here and the "sprinkles" a bit better.
The craft was a fun diversion, and it seems a lot less stressful than sewing can be- if you fail you don't have to try and wear it!  lol.  It was also good to keep my crochet in practice... you never know when you'll need it! :)  
I put a lot of love into it, so I hope Kat's tree enjoys this ornament for years to come.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Completed: New Look 6808- Nightmare Edition

Tada!  A sweet, innocent top!

Just kidding, not innocent at all.  This simple top is what has been killing my excitement for sewing... The pattern is New Look 6808.  If you didn't know by now, it's kinda my nemesis.
This super summery top has taken me so long to make it's now not weather appropriate at all.  Haha.
It looks so easy...  but I'm pretty sure it's cursed.
No, I'm being dramatic.  It's all me- I went to a bad fitting place on this (AGAIN).  You see, I thought I had all the issues ironed out, but then they cropped up again when I started on the final garment!  That cursed back view!
Ugh, I kept trying it on, getting poor husband to take photos of the back, wincing at the result, fiddling with the centre back seam and darts, rinse and repeat, ad infinitum, etc, etc.  It was not fun!

That is one depressing way to sew.  In the end, getting another sewist, Maryanne (she's awesome and an expert- I'm lucky I know her!), to fiddle with the back for me was the answer.  If it wasn't for her, the garment probably would be burned by now.  lol!

Ahh it's like all the trauma is forgotten.  Almost.

This cotton voile seems to be a sticky and grippy fabric, which I think causes wrinkles to form so much more easily when it clings to itself, your skin, and your garments.  Which means you just have to let it go!  However, I am glad the back is looking much more respectable than it did.  Phew!

So back to some positive stuff- I did have fun experimenting with a few things on this top.  I added a self drafted pointed collar, which went quite smoothly in terms of construction- that was nice for a change!  I think I would refine the shape for next time though, making the collar less wide at the shoulders, instead of the same width all the way around.  I used Gertie's tutorial series.

As the width is now, to me it has a slight hint of this guy:
Did I make a pilgrim collar?
Okay, now I've probably ruined the collar forever for you right?  Moving on!

I tried out a sort of neckline split thing at the back, but it droops a bit, I guess due to the weight of the collar.  I don't even know if I did it right- I just stopped the centre back seam early and called it a day.    It's kinda all-around pointless, but I guess it was a good experiment!

For the top of the neckline split, I did my first rouleau loop and my first self covered button (which you totally can't see hidden under the collar!).  The rouleau loop was a bit of a despair moment until I found this nifty method by Steph C which worked out for me!  Hopefully I can incorporate some more rouleau loops into another garment.  They are pretty cool :)

Neckline detail that no-one will notice,  heh!
Hem and side zip- I did them both by hand.  I love how invisible it looks with the busy print!

The sleeves were a bit iffy- they really didn't want to ease in nicely, particularly at the back armscye.  I think the sleeve pattern needs more tweaking (I already had a play with it so it's totally messed up, haha!  But to be fair, it was bad to begin with).  Anyway, I just left the puckers totally intentional gathers in.  By that time I was totally over the garment, and really, I don't think it's noticeable anyway!

Here I tucked it in.  I think I like both ways.  Also: pockets on skirts are amazing.  I must make some pocket-y skirts!

So what did I learn?  Well, putting this garment away for a while after finishing it was good.  I could distance myself from it and now my hate for it has turned to cautious like.

I also learned that I really hate tweaking a garment during its construction.  Even though I made a muslin/toile (oh who am I kidding, I've made half a million by now), I probably could have saved myself a bit of grief by making another.  ALTHOUGH, toiles can be their own form of grief, can't they?  So I'm not sure what I've learned here!

I do know I obsess a bit too much over fit.  I'm still learning to find a balance.  My friend Joy of A Charm of Magpies said to me a while ago "Bodies move, fabric wrinkles".  And I think that's a perfect way of looking at it...
So here goes.  Let's get that body moving!
Look at all my wrinkles!!