Saturday 27 December 2008

Two knit tops to round off the year

Oh gosh where did the time go? I hope you all had a very happy Christmas - certainly a very white one for lots of you by the sounds of things.

I am still plodding along with the jacket so thank you for the encouraging comments! However I wanted to make a couple of quick tops before the end of the year, so with the bargain knit fabrics I bought recently I tried two new BWOF knit patterns. Both are black so I have lightened the photos so you can see the details.

BWOF 11/2006 - 116
This is made from cotton sweatshirting. It's incredibly quick and easy to make. The collar is cut on so you need to be aware that the wrong side of the fabric will show. My fabric was ribbed on one side so I turned my seam allowances outward and serged and zig zagged for a sort of coverstitch finish to make it look intentional (it wasn't!). I normally avoid sweatshirts as they make me look like a shapeless blob but the shaping and fit on this one are great. If you have this issue and are wanting to justify all that cupboard space the back issues take up I highly recommend trying it out.

Edit : Thanks to Melissa who has pointed out that Burda have released this pattern as 7890 in case you don't have the back issue.

BWOF 11/2008 - 103A
Another fairly simple top, provided you make sure that you sew your front bands to each other at the centre front to make one band rather than trying to attach them separately like this ninny did at first. You can see from the magazine photo that the neckline on this one is very low so on a less model-like figure (especially post Christmas!) I knew this would be far too low without some alterations. I raised the neckline and also took the shoulder seam in - probably at least 2 inches in total in the end.

I've found it so interesting reading through everyones reviews of their sewing year. Back in last January when this blog had just started I set some sewing goals - lets see how I did.

1) Keep up with this blog, recording all my projects successful or otherwise. I think it will be interesting to look back over the year and see what I have achieved.
- Well I'm not going to win any prizes for frequency of blogging, but I've definitely kept it up and I've really enjoyed the process.

2) Make a piece each month from BWOF, unless I hate everything in an issue obviously
 - Erm no, I started the year well and it's gone a bit haywire for the recent issues.  To be fair this is because it's been hot here until a few weeks ago and I just can't get excited about making fall/winter clothes when I am wearing summer dresses.  Here's the rollcall for 2008;
Jan - 3 patterns.  120 blouse, 116 wrap top, 127 pencil skirt
Feb - 3 patterns.  113 dress, 117 coat, 103 dress
Mar - 2 patterns .  105 skirt, 117 blouse
Apr - 2 patterns.  107 jacket, 116 dress
Jun - 2 patterns.  121 skirt, 105 shirt
Oct - 1 pattern.  114 top
Nov - 1 pattern.  103 top

3) Make something, anything, from the Patrones magazines my Spanish sister in law has been kindly sending to me.  
 - Well I've got my feet wet by making a few simple patterns, definitely something to build on next year.  Slideshow Link

4) Complete a co-ordinating summer mini wardrobe or collection. My sewing tends to be a bit random and while I am not ready for a full blown SWAP this will be a good introduction to better planning.
 - I completed a mini wardrobe for a PR contest this summer and in addition made quite a few summer basics that I've got a lot of wear out of.  In my heart though I know I will always be a bit of a haphazard sewer and I've decided that's OK, as long as I am enjoying it.
I'm off on holiday in Australia tomorrow for a week so let me wish you all a very Happy New Year and a happy and healthy 2009.

Wednesday 17 December 2008

Black Peacock Suit part 2

Black tortoise suit more like. My sewing mojo took an early Christmas vacation and only came back last night so sorry for the total lack of posts here. I think it only returned because I spent the afternoon showing a colleague's wife (who sews, hooray!) around town. We had a great time and I got lots of bargain fabrics, mainly plain coloured knits so I will be playing with those next. They're all in the washing machine right now!

Anyway, the skirt is complete, really happy with this pattern (BWOF 01/2008 127). The panelled front and back pieces make it easy to fit. The only changes I made were to swap the waistband for a faced waist, just because that is my personal preference and to interline the skirt with some leftover silk organza that matched. Why make a simple skirt when you can make a complicated one. Here I am wearing it with the RTW black jacket that will surely have fallen apart before I have got around to finishing it's replacement! The photo is a little dark I'll try and get better ones when the suit is finished.

Edited to add better skirt pics :

The jacket has been giving me lots of problems, all caused by the same thing. This is blindingly obvious to me now, and will be to all of you, especially quilters, but if you apply thick interfacing and canvas to a piece of fabric and then add multiple lines of topstitching, it shrinks! I should have started with bigger pieces and trimmed them after "quilting". I've had to really fiddle with the cuffs and collar to get them to work properly (no fabric left to redo those pieces) and only now is it starting to look like a real jacket. I also managed to find some interesting zips shopping today so I really do hope to get this finished soon. Yeah yeah I know thats what I said in my last post about a hundred years ago.....

The row of pins is marking where the multiple rows of topstitching will start. The instructions have you topstitch the pieces before joining them, but I knew it would be impossible for me to match the lines so I ignored that. Usually I ignore BWOF instructions at my peril so I hope this doesn't come back to haunt me later.

Friday 5 December 2008

Black Peacock Suit

This is my latest project - actually it's more likely that I will wear the pieces as separates rather than a suit.  I like wearing my brown brocade skirt with brown boots so much that I decided to make a black version to wear with my black boots.  Also my RTW short black jacket is really on it's last legs so I decided a new one was in order.

The skirt is almost complete, I just need to hem it.  I used BWOF 01/2008 127, a panelled pencil skirt, omitting the back welt pockets.  It's a great pattern, I'm sure I will use it again. Here is a picture of the fabric I am using - a black brocade with blue and green peacock feathers.

For the jacket I am using an old BWOF pattern - 02/2004 - 112, a sort of biker jacket.  
I'm making this in black wool with brocade topstitched collar and cuffs.  There is a lot of prep needed for this pattern as it requires all the jacket pieces to have batting applied to the topstitched areas.  I decided to sandwich a piece of canvas between the fabric and fusible interfacing, with the fusible interfacing covering the whole jacket piece.  
For the brocade areas I used a thicker interfacing so these parts are slightly more padded.  Now all that is done I have started topstitching the brocade areas.  

Hopefully it will start to come together quickly now the boring but necessary prep work is out of the way - more soon.....