Monday, February 6, 2017

70's Love


I'm a big fan of second hand shops and one of the things I like most about them is finding cool vintage patterns. When I go for trips to New Zealand I always look for them. This one is Style 2631 from 1979 and I got it for the bargain price of 20 cents!

The bust size is perfect for me but I am very much a pear so I added 9cm at the hips (3cm at the centre back and 1.5cm on the side seams). I followed the pattern instructions for the most part although I added interfacing to the sleeve bands and neck facing. I think now though that maybe it would have been nicer to have had a soft collar.

This belt is also from an NZ op shop

"Dress is gathered to yoke cut all-in-one with sleeves, and has shawl collar, front fastening and side seam pockets". I LOVE that it has pockets. And the yoke is so very nice. I really enjoyed making this dress (except for the RAYON).

The boyf chose this fabric. I wasn't really into it but he was so enthusiastic about it I let him buy it for me. But now I love it. I think it was the perfect fabric for this pattern. It was purchased about a year and a half ago so when I was cutting it he forgot it was mine and thought that it was fabric for a shirt for him. Lol. He has more floral garments than me! I am not even kidding, I counted.

So, this fabric is rayon. Apparently I have somehow never used rayon before. It is the devil's fabric! It moved around so much while cutting. It stretched out at the pockets. It was ridiculously hard to get a straight hem. It drapes so nicely but is it worth all the trouble? I followed some of Sarah Beth's tips which helped a little. Normally the sewing instructions (at least on older patterns) always say "baste and then sew" and I always just ignore the basting part and just sew. Not this time though. I basted almost every single seam! It was completely necessary otherwise I probably would have been in tears while sewing.

The buttons are some from my Nana's button collection. She gave me a tin of some nice ones last year so I had a rummage through that and found the perfect ones. These are even the right size according to the pattern (1.5cm).

I'm very anti-smoking but I love this tin

I bought a new sewing machine last year, a Juki HZL-600. Her name is Hazel and she is the true love of my life (for many years I thought that my Babylock overlocker was the one but now I see that I was wrong. Although I LOVE LOVE LOVE my Baby). One of the reasons I wanted this machine in particular was that I had heard it does beautiful buttonholes and it really does. No more dreading doing buttonholes. They are so fast and easy and come out so perfect.

Just look at that buttonhole!!

I really like this style of dress and the fact that it gets belted (so can actually eat when wearing it, unlike a lot of my other dresses). I think I will make it up in a solid fabric next time to really showcase the details. It has topstitching on the yoke but it is barely visible with the print. 

I can't wait for the weather to warm up so I can start wearing this!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Jeans! I made JEANS!

I made jeans! Jeans which stay up without a belt!!! This is something which has been missing from my wardrobe since I was a teenager. I'm a pear shape and have been stuck on low rise jeans for years which always (always always) need to be worn with a belt. These ones come up to a cm or two below my belly button. If I saw these in a store I would have skipped right past them but the higher rise was what I needed all this time... It is funny to look at them when I'm not wearing them -  the waist looks so tiny and I think there is no way I can fit into them but they are actually really comfortable. There is a such a huge difference in the waist measurement depending on the rise. I find it very interesting how you can get so used to one certain style that it is near impossible to change, even though it may be a big improvement.

The other day I was browsing through some websites, seeing what cool clothes people have been making and came upon some amazing looking Jamie Jeans which are from Named, an independent pattern company owned by two Finnish sisters. 

Jamie Jeans from Named. I love the front seams and the slanted front pockets.

I don't usually buy patterns online. Maybe this was the first PDF pattern that I've actually paid for? The thing which usually puts me off of PDF patterns is how many hours and hours it takes sticking all the pieces of paper together. But I loved the look of these jeans so much that I bought it straight away. I thought in Hungary that the printing would be very expensive for the copy shop version but it turns out I was looking at the wrong options. I was checking out poster printing which is astronomically expensive if you just want a pattern you will cut up. But then I realised there is a thing called tervrajz nyomtatás which is "blueprint printing". An A0 page costs only 330 forints at CopyGuru! That's just over one euro. This opens a whole new world of patterns for me!! 

I ran to the fabric shop that same day and was very disciplined and only bought the necessary fabric for this project. Very proud of my self control in the face of all the gorgeous sweater fabrics they have  out now. I have a rule for myself this year - I have to sew three garments before buying one piece of fabric because my stash is out of control. I got a black stretch denim with a white weft. It's 97% cotton, 3% elastane but only has around 12% stretch. I prewashed it and while doing that started on my muslin. I realised that is the huge benefit of muslins - it stops you from dying of impatience while getting your good fabric prepped. 

But the muslin was also good for it's real purpose - getting the fit right. I had to make a lot of changes. There were huge wrinkles under my butt and on my legs. I ended up looking at so many photos of butts in jeans. My butt, other people's butts. Lots of pinning and adjusting seams and just when you think you are making your butt look great (in the mirror) the photo tells a completely different story. AAAARGHHHH. 

This was about halfway through the muslining process. 

At I first thought I should do a "flat butt adjustment" but that didn't fix the problem. Then I tried the equally sexy sounding "low butt adjustment" and that helped a lot! But I realised also that in skinny jeans you will still have some wrinkles under your butt if you want to be able to move. 

This is after two days of wearing. They have stretched out a little but I don't want to make them super tight. I'm at peace with these wrinkles.

Indiesew has a sewalong which shows you how to make the jeans. I used both that and the instructions and it was actually pretty simple, sewing wise. 

I started with the size 40 (my hips are 100 cm) but probably should have gone down a size. 

These are the changes I made:

  • Added 2cm length to leg (1.5cm above and 5 mm below knee) 
  • .5 cm off outer back leg side seam from thigh down until knee then .3 until hem
  • 1 cm from lower front side seam until thigh, then .5 cm until knee then .3 until hem
  • Front inner seam reduced 1.5 cm at crotch tapering down to .5 at thigh to .3 at hem. Crotch length lowered 5mm.
  • Back crotch lowered 1.5 cm at point, 2cm at lowest point
  • Inner back seam reduced  .5 to .3 
  • Back crotch centre seam tapered in 1cm (shortening the width)
  • Recut back yoke with 1cm wedge removed
  • 1cm length added at hip
  • 1.5 cm wedge added to back crotch, slash and spread (lengthening, making back rise higher than front)
  • I made the waist band have more of a curve but still it could be a bit more curved because it gapes just a little at the back.
  • When I was sewing I somehow made the waistband too short so I took it off but didn't have enough fabric left over to cut a new one in one piece so this final waistband has side seams. I interfaced the whole outer band and the inner one under the buttonhole.And then I still ended up pinning and removing lots of fabric from the side seams after all this...
  • Pockets shortened. I just ironed them shorter, I see from the photos that I really should have trimmed the seam allowances... I also made them one piece instead of two.
  • Left off the belt loops. I made them and they looked super nice but the jeans stay up without them and I wanted to reduce bulk.

I topstitched most of the seams but it's black on black so it is hardly visible. I really wanted an elegant (as far as jeans can be elegant) pair of plain black jeans. I looked in the shops so many times for some and couldn't find any. They all are distressed with those horrible fake looking holes cut in them. I wanted this pair to be simple and clean. That's also why I didn't do the contrast front pocket (which is what really drew me to the design in the first place....). Next time!

This was my first time using a jeans button. It's quite satisfying to finish a project bashing it with a hammer!

The pockets are lined with navy polka dot cotton from Istanbul, leftover from this dress and this dress.

I'm pretty happy with how the fly zip turned out but next time I would move it over a little so it is not so close to the topstitched part.

I also made my jumper. It's a self drafted pattern. I wanted something semi fitted. The fabric is 60% nylon, 30% polyester and 10% METAL. So I think of this as my "metal jumper". It is cosy and comfortable and fluffy.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Peach Pyjama Set

For a while I have wanted a nice set of pyjamas for wearing when I travel, when I sleep at someone else's place or say if we decide to have a pyjama party. OK, I'll be honest. I really, really just want to have a pyjama party!

I've had this lovely peach coloured cotton sitting in my stash for a few years. It seemed like a great choice for these items. It wasn't until I was nearly finished with all the sewing that I really realised how very sheer it is... These pjs will not be worn in public after all... But it's ok, they will be good for lounging around at home in the summer.

I ordered lots of elastic lace from eBay ages ago. Metres and metres of it in all kinds of colours. It's not the best quality but it's fun to use. Note to self: do NOT iron synthetic lace!

All the patterns are ones I have made several times. The top is Burda 3379 which I first used back in 2010 when it was already an old-ish pattern. I added some pleated lace before sewing down the facing.

The bloomers are made using the free Colette Madeleine Mini Bloomers pattern. I added some length to the legs and also raised the waistline a few cm too. I skipped the ribbon tie thingy at the legs and put in a simple row of elastic instead. They got lace at the hem. And a tiny bow so I know which is the front to make them prettier.

The panties were made with a modified version of a panties pattern from The Secrets of Sewing Lingerie book. I always cut the gusset separately from the front piece to save fabric and also anyway I prefer a completely enclosed gusset.

I always melt the ends of my ribbons using a candle. Very easy way to stop them fraying.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

An Old Favourite Top

I decided to have a whole sewing afternoon. I'm working on a new pyjama set and they are nearly complete. I finished the top. Then I remembered I hadn't bought the elastic I need for the shorts. And for the panties I need my measuring tape and I have misplaced that. OK, so I lose either my seam ripper, measuring tape, snips or scissors basically every day. But usually they are just hidden under a piece of fabric. However this time it's been hours and still no sign of my measuring tape... Very frustrating so I decided to work on something new. But something simple because again, the missing measuring tape.

I had a quick look through a few of my (far too many) bags of fabric and found some sheer black polka dot fabric. I had loads of the fabric left so originally I must have bought a ridiculous amount of it, especially considering I have made at least two tops out of it already. I used this fabric way back in 2010 to make a polo necked top.  Turns out that was the first Burda magazine pattern I ever used.  It's really funny and eye opening reading back through my blog from that year. How different my life was. How differently I saw the world. That year I wrote 78 (!) blog posts. A few more than last year's two posts...

Anyway, I loved that top soooo much. It got worn completely to death. The fabric was pretty delicate and susceptible to snags and then in 2013 it became an amputee and not long after that finally died. I'm actually surprised it lasted that long.

Since it was such a favourite I thought why not just remake that exact top.

So sheer
I did the entire sewing on my overlocker. Even the hems :D I think it took me an hour total for cutting, sewing and snapping a few pics. I made the neck a little higher and wider than originally because I remember the tightness bothering me on the old one. It's pattern 121 from Burda magazine Sep 2010.

This machine was not used for the making of this top.

Actually I've never sewn anything on that machine because I can't figure out how to thread it or where the leather belt thing is meant to go.

This is not me. My annoying front camera automatically goes first to this crazy "beauty" mode. Bigger, whiter eyes, narrower face, clearer skin. I think it whitens skin too, negating all my fake tan! Asian phone, Asian beauty standards :)

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Being productive

Hi! It's been a while since I have blogged. Not because I haven't been sewing, I've just been being lazy. There are so many garments I would like to post!

Since New Years Day I have had a pretty bad cold and mainly staying at home (I finally sucked it up and went to the doc yesterday though. I think I haven't been to a GP since I was a teenager...). Anyway. The upside of this illness is that since I haven't been partying or socialising at all I have been sewing, sewing, sewing. I've been very productive in the last two weeks.

I've been trying to make the perfect loose-ish sweater pattern for myself for the last few months. There have been a lot of bad patterns and wasted fabric. And sometimes I was just too tired while drafting patterns that I made things which look ok, but which are a bitch to sew up.

For example this sweater which was meant to have raglan sleeves. Except it was very late and somehow forgot what raglan sleeves actually are (yeah, I don't know how either) and made sleeves caps which come to a point.... They look fine though and it fits great but I wanted something just a little easier to sew.

My phone can take pictures if I say CHEESE!

It couldn't be left so plain so it got a little sparkle. I know it would be useful to have a few more solid basics in my wardrobe but it is oh so very hard to achieve. Maybe one day, when I'm a real adult. For now though, sequins are still one of my favourite things in the world. I love them almost more than chocolate. Almost.

Robots in the snow

So after that drafting mess I had a go while wide awake and made a pattern (with actual raglan sleeves) that I looooove. I've used it three times this year already! I only have pics of one of the versions so far though. I bought these two lovely grey fabrics years ago. Only 75cm of each so not enough to make anything just from one fabric but they match perfectly. It's nice and light but still warm and cosy.

I have also been doing some knitting. Although at a much slower rate. I bought this lovely merino wool last year in September to make a hat for Peti's October birthday. And it only just got finished now in January... This is the way to make sure birthday presents are a surprise!

It's the Classic Cuffed Hat from Purl Soho. I really recommend this pattern if you are a beginner who wants to expand your skills. I learnt so many things from this. It was my first time using circular needles and knitting using double point needles in the round (which I was always very intimidated by). And I learnt a new cast on! The Long Tail Tubular Cast On is something I wish I knew about years ago, it's so useful!

I used Malabrigo Rios yarn in Sand Storm. Such a nice wool to work with!
Doesn't this look terrifiying! FIVE NEEDLES!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Me-Made-May 2016 Pledge

I cannot believe how fast this year is passing, nor how extremely slowly winter is disappearing - it's cold enough to still have the heating on and it's May already tomorrow! And with May comes Me-Made-May! Organised by Zoe of So, Zo every year, it is a month where you set yourself a challenge to do with wearing me-made clothing. It should be something that is personally challenging. It could be wearing a me-made item a few times a week, or solely me-made garments every day. It's up to you to decide.

I have been hesitating over whether to join in all the fun this year. I've taken part in a lot of these Me-Made-Mays over the years, I know I can go months just wearing my clothes. That in itself isn't extremely challenging although it means I have to give up my store-bought jeans (and the wearing of all my boyfriends clothes - his stuff all fits me - cardigans, jeans, everything!). I was thinking I can use this challenge as a chance to change how I feel in my clothes. Lately the weather has been so miserable and I have been in a rush to get out the door so I have worn some outfits that I don't totally love. I am generally a big fan of mismatched clothing but recently I haven't been doing it in a way that I find aesthetic... I would like to use this month to work on that, to really think about what I am wearing and plan things out because it makes me feel so much better about myself, more confident, when I wear an outfit I love.

'I, Jodi Wade of, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '16. I endeavour to wear only me-made clothing (excluding undergarments and hosiery) in outfits I consider to be nice each day for the duration of May 2016'

Also, this challenge is a great reason to finish some of the many half finished projects I have lying around everywhere, so I can have some variety in my wardrobe!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Teenage Treasures

I went back to New Zealand for a visit earlier this year. I had a lot of fun going though all my old boxes, my wardrobe and my dresser throwing out lots of things, choosing what I really want to keep. My dad had been a bit annoyed about all my stuff still being in my old bedroom (it was basically untouched for, oh, 13 years) but I managed to empty it.

I even found all my old payslips from when I worked at KFC during high school. And my old bank statements from the same time period. It was quite hilarious/shocking to see how much I spent on fabric back then!! Half of my pay check went on fabric! I wish I was exaggerating. (And I earned so little! Just over $5 an hour...) And then seeing how much of that fabric was still sitting in my wardrobe... (it is now mostly in my mum's stash because we have similar fabric taste). Nowadays I am really trying to not buy too much fabric because I have so much to use up and it takes up so much space.

My style as a teenager was much more colourful and brave than it is now. I brought back with me a few of my old cardigans but the majority of pieces I just cannot wear anymore.

Like for example this fluffy, furry orange hoodie with gold bead string with a matching skirt from 2002.

All of my skirts from about this time (early 2000s) seem to have these ridiculously high splits. They are quite obscene. I was even embarrassed wearing them in front of my mum for the photos.

This pink dress was one of my favourites back in 2001. I modified a 70's pattern to make it. It's a little bit too tight now, made me feel too self-conscious, (and of course, another scandalous split...) so this one stayed in NZ.

This green zigzag dress is made from the original pattern of the above pink dress. I think I made this one in 2000 when I was 15 or 16. Back then I didn't care about pattern matching. At all! I used to love wearing this with matching green tights. It's a little too tight for comfort now even though it's a stretch fabric.

 This next outfit is kind of horrifying. I almost didn't post this because it is so unflattering. I think I wore the skirt quite a bit but I am pretty sure the matching (hahahaha, what was I thinking?!) top never saw the light of day.

I loved these blue pants to death. It was rather surprising for me to see how badly they are sewn. The insides are not finished at all. The waist is so high! They are from around 2000 when I was 15, the top from about 2002.

My gown for the ball (prom) when I was 17. I can't believe I can still get it on!! Not much breathing room though. I'm surprised at all the details in it like boning and an internal bodice. I was very last minute sewing this up, I made it in a week and it was only finished half an hour before the ball started... One of the pieces I am most proud of.

The main reason for my trip was my Nana's (grandmother's) 90th birthday. She's really cool, she keeps up with things, she's active on facebook, has skype, learns languages online! We had a big party for her which was lots of fun with lots of my rellies and family friends. On the day of her actual birthday I went over to her place. She mentioned she had found her wedding dress a few days before. Now this is a dress I have ALWAYS wanted to see but never had because it was "up in a cupboard somewhere". I got to try it on!! My Aunty Bonnie was so patient and did up the seemingly thousands of buttons (with tiny, tiny loops). It's a little short in the front, and the sleeves could be a tad longer but the bodice fit perfectly. I couldn't believe it. My grandparents married in 1948. People loved her dress so much a few of her acquaintances copied it!

I'm not married! Playing dress up only!

The details on it are amazing.

There is not much I love as much as playing dressing up!