Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Planning my wardrobe for my KL trip

In two and half weeks I will be flying to Malaysia for a work trip so have been giving some thought to my wardrobe.

I will only be away for a week, so will need to pack smart and light as I hate having to drag too much luggage with me when I travel for short trips.  I have to give two presentations and thought that I might wear my blue Chanel style jacket that I made for my sister's wedding, and with this in mind, I decided to use up the remnant of blue wool that I purchased at Linton Tweed that I found in their bargain bucket for just £5.00.

Now the reason I purchased this remnant was because it was the exact same wool that I purchased to make my Burda dress that I wore with my blue jacket for the wedding.  How did I know it was the same??  Ah well,  I knew it was the same was because I had my dress in the car and compared it to the fabric before I purchased it.  After making my dress I had a little left over and thought that this extra metre of fabric would give me an element of certainty that I would have enough fabric for a skirt to go with my jacket.

This morning (the last of my long weekend) I cut out and made the skirt from this McCalls 6042 Palmer Pletsch pattern from the single piece of fabric I purchased, leaving my original scraps left unused. I will post a photo/review at the end of the week, because  I still have to hem it.

Now what to do with that scrap of fabric left over from the dress, well I had just enough to cut out another Simplicity 4885 camisole top that I made out of the silk jersey.  I forgot to mention that with the silk jersey I omitted the side zipper, but I think the wool will not have as much give, and I will have to line it, so will definitely have to include it this time.

I cut out two other tops at the same time, in similar colour palette to make:

OOP Simplicity 9581 which you can see here when I made it back in January.  This time I am using a gray, lemon and white fabric which is quite sheer, so will need a camisole to be worn with it.  I also cut out

Bagdley Mischka's blouse again using another sheer grey leopard print fabric.  I have made this blouse twice before, once for me (not blogged about) and once for a friend as a leaving gift posted here.

Ideally, and time permitting, I hope to make a pair of gray trousers/pants to go with my wardrobe so I can get several looks from the key pieces.

I think I have a busy weekend coming up, but before I can get my teeth into my projects (all cut out, folded neatly into ziplock bags with their pattern cover, waiting for me to sew them up) I have a business meeting in London all day tomorrow and then a 7:25am flight to The Netherlands on 'Thursday morning and not back until Friday so I will just have to restrain myself until Friday night.

This is the nearest I have got to making a 6PAC but its getting there so fingers crossed for a trouble free sewing weekend.

Hope your sewing plans are coming to fruition. Catch you later.....................................................

Monday, 27 August 2012

Silk Jersey - Simplicity 4885

Just recently I saw a piece of milk coloured silk jersey on ebay L120cm x W40cm.  I put it on my watch list because I wasn't sure it was enough to make anything out of, and gave myself a top price I was willing to pay.

Searches on the internet gave me silk jersey prices around £45-60 per metre, so I figured I didn't have too much to lose on this purchase if I didn't pay too much for it, and eventually I paid £4.45 including the postage.

I was delighted when my package arrived so quickly in the post, and my initial thoughts were, feels lovely etc etc., but to my horror, and not declared by the seller, there  was a large hole in the fabric and it had been written on too.  This of course reduced my options as to what I could make from it.

When I first opened my package, I did originally think silk scarf, but decided that was a waste of the fabric, and I really wanted to make this up into a wearable garment so I could decide if I wanted to invest in some more silk jersey to make twin sets, cardigans or even a nice dress.  If I am very lucky, I may find some silk jersey in KL when I fly out there next month.

Using my Bento pattern storage system, I looked through my patterns and came across Simplicity 4885 which included a nice little camisole top.

I cut out the pattern pieces, and I am pretty sure I was holding my breath when I placed them on the fabric, and can you believe that I managed to just about get them on.

Once all pieces were cut out, I proceeded with sewing this up.  The facings called for interfacing so in order to keep this soft, I selected Perfect fuse sheer and here is the end result.

Because this is a lovely soft silk the straps had a tendency to fall off my shoulders and I didn't want to shorten them which would result in shortening the overall length of the top, so I used some clear elastic and stitched 2" of it to the top of the straps (underneath)using a zigzag stitch just to give a little extra grip.

I am pleased with the results having  converted my scrap of fabric into a lovely little cami top, which will work perfectly with my coral linen cropped pants and blouse.  This ensemble will definitely be packed in my suitcase for Kuala Lumpur.

I need to do some more weeding in the front yard, so catch you later.............

Saturday, 25 August 2012

McCalls 6116 progress

Well there is good news and there is bad news.

I had the day to myself today and other than half an hour's weeding of the front drive way, I more or less sewed until my D Mike came home.

I had cut out a 2nd pair of linen pants and made them up more or less identical to the first pair, other than the fact I put a small embroidered design on one of the back pockets.  Some of you will appreciate what I say when I decided to use up the remainder of the coral linen while both the serger and the sewing machine were threaded with coral thread.  I made up McCalls 6116 some time ago (not reviewed) and thought I would have enough of the coral fabric to cut the dress view A (green) but sadly I was a fraction too short of fabric to cut a dress so I decided to shorten the whole thing and make a sleeveless blouse from it.

As you can see I have made good progress despite topstitching every seam or edge.  My D Mike picked up the Prym snaps that I wanted (good news) bad news is that he picked me up a refill pack which doesn't include the plastic tools that hold the back and front parts on the tool while you squeeze the pliers together.  Of course tomorrow being Sunday the local haberdashery shop will not be open, nor Monday which is a Bank Holiday *!@*****.

As you can see I managed to get the top part of the snap on the pocket, but I just couldn't do the 2nd one that sits underneath.  I have ordered some packs from ebay but I doubt they will arrive before the end of next week so other than finishing the last remaining hems I will have to wait - ho hum.  I love the look of these snaps, and have ordered a variety because I want to make some twin-sets and use these instead of buttons.

Tomorrow is designated as another sewing day so I'll finish these last bits and get ready for my next project.

Hope you have had a good weekend.  Catch you later..........................

Prym Pliers for Press Fasteners, Eyelets, & Piercing

Ok, the snap on fasteners have always been a problem for me and I just never managed to get them onto the garments without managing to damage half the snapper when using the tool that comes in the packet and a hammer.

When I stayed with Sigrid she was wearing a cardigan with snaps down the front and I asked how she got on using the tool.  She informed me that she uses the Prym pliers and found it a success so never one to miss a useful tip I decided to purchase a pair of these pliers.

Now there is one small problem with this little story in that Sigrid never showed me how to use these pliers so here I am with my pliers trying to work out how to use them and I found this You Tube clip which, if like me, seeing a visual demonstration (stored on my blog) will be a useful reminder.  My D Mike is currently in a haberdashery shop purchasing some snaps to put on a blouse I am currently making so I'll let you know how I get on later.................

Friday, 24 August 2012


A few months back I made a quillow for my friend's new granddaughter and tonight I saw this delightful photograph on facebook with a thank you message for me.

People never really know how many hours go into making a gift like this, but it brings joy to my heart to see it being used.

Mike and I have two more grandchildren arriving between December this year and February next year, so I guess if I am going to make any more quilts, I had better make a start on them now because I think my wedding planning and sewing will be my No.1 priority next year.

Catch you later............

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Copying my RTW linen cropped pants

For quite some time now I have wanted to copy some RTW linen cropped pants that I have had now for several years.

My original thoughts were to unpick the pants and use them as a pattern, but these are still more than wearable, so I decided to trace around them.

The first thing I did was to turn the pants inside out and to pop one leg into the other so that I could clearly see the outline of the back and front piece.  I then pulled out the shape of the front and the back piece and used pins to secure it to the tracing paper and drew around the pieces.  For the pockets I laid the paper over the pocket and felt the edge and drew around it.  I did the same for the front placket.

Once I had drawn the pattern, I added a little extra seam allowance (I added a 1/4") and then cut out the pieces.  I  sewed the front and back seams.  Then inserted the zipper (including a zipper guard)  followed by pressing the top edge of the back pocket and top-stitching, I used a long stitch with my sewing machine to mark the seam allowance of the back pocket, folded the raw edges under, and then attached them to the back pieces followed by top-stitching.

I scratched my head a bit for the side pockets which entered via a single welt opening.

To make sure I did this right, I recreated the pocket front from some scraps.  Take the first pocket piece and pin it to the right side of the pant front.  I cut a piece of paper to the size of the pocket opening to use as a guide and stitched a rectangular box (see below).  I cut an opening through the middle and created little v shaped tab at each end before pushing the pocket through the hole.  You need to clip right into the corner to make sure that pocket turns through and all the edges of the opening lay flat.  Next take a strip of fabric that will be wide enough when folded in half to sit under the opening.  Pin into place and then top-stitch all the way round (securing the welt in place as you go).  Do the same for the other pocket and now you can stitch the 2nd pocket piece (that forms the actual pocket) to the piece you have just made the opening from, make sure that you don't catch the pants front (I used my serger for this).

Once the back pockets and front pockets are complete, sew back and front pieces together.  Hem, and added waistband.  I used a buttonhole and button to fasten these.

I am wearing these as I type and they are really comfortable and I now have my pattern to make another pair from some black linen I have.  One change I made was to add about 1" to the back waist which sits lower than I would prefer, but for a pair of pants made without any commercial pattern I am delighted.

Catch you later..........

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Peter Rabbit and the shirt

My D Mike's father, and soon to be father-in-law, has a knick-name at home - Bunny.  With this in mind I wanted to make him a shirt for his birthday (last week) and add contrasting fabric with rabbits on.

The only fabric I could find was the Beatrix Potter fabric, with Peter Rabbit and his friends on, so I had to make do with that.

I have already blogged about this dreadful fabric, which stretched every which way when I stitched it, and I think I unpicked the collar about 4 times before I finished in the end.

So this is my end result which was delivered and received today, which is why I can now post about it.

 I used the same Kwik Sew pattern that I used for all my previous shirts, but the only change I made was to add the small pleats in the back.  Mike doesn't really like the pockets on shirts, but I figured that David would, so I added the pocket with a monogram and a small image of a bunny which I sewed on my Janome 350e machine.

I believe the shirt was well received, and as mentioned before I am so glad I don't have to sew this fabric again.

I have been doing some more sewing today which I will post about tomorrow.  I have had two fans on the whole time to stop me keeling over in the heat.  It was around 28c today and even as I type this at 8:30pm the heat hasn't really reduced much.  Makes a change from the rain I guess so shouldn't really complain.

Hope you have had a good weekend.

Catch you later..........

Friday, 17 August 2012

McCalls 5433

My twin sister is the queen of thrift shopping and picked up two pieces of fabric for me recently.

The fabric itself looked lovely and I had two items in mind to sew from the first piece, however in my wildest dreams, I never thought it would be such a nightmare to sew.

This fabric stretched every time I put it under the presser foot, and yes I guess I could have used a walking foot, but I persevered and managed to finish both items but am so glad that I don't have to sew it again.  I am not sure of the composition of the fabric, but it feels like a cotton mix but I am glad I didn't pay good money for this otherwise I would have been spitting pins.

For me I chose McCalls 5433, and because this top was made up out of the remnants of the first article (to be blogged about later) I selected view C but using the shorter length.

This is a Misses shirt in three lengths: Semi-fitted shirt has three length variations and four armhole and sleeve variations, colar and collar band, front band and stitched hems with side slits: shirt D has sleeves that may be rolled up to for cuffs (wrong side of fabric will show).

This is a Palmer Pletsch pattern which includes instructions and cutting lines for sway back, broad back and FBA too which saves you the bother of trying to work out where to cut or draw the lines for these adjustments.

I cut a size 12 and made all 3 adjustments for my little top which is really a wearable muslin.

On the whole, despite all the sewing difficulties with the fabric, this top turned out ok.  I have added a little extra to the FBA on the paper pattern, so I have a little more room for the next top I make.

The instructions for this blouse are really clear and straightforward, however I confess that having made a large number of shirts recently I didn't really look too closely at them.

One thing I did differently was to use marking paper to mark the darts for this top.  It certainly does make it more accurate.

While this particular top will not rank high in my wardrobe, it will be perfect for lounging around the house, and hopefully my next version will not give me so much grief due to fabric choice and will be used for work etc.

Catch you later..................

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Progressing with our wedding plans

I can't believe that it will only be 9 months to our wedding day, and I think I can officially say I need to get into panic mode.

Today we drove to the wedding venue to firm up some more arrangements and went through a number of things we need to do.

We made a decision on the room that we want to be married in, which gives us the cause of our first problem, because they only have a licence to have  50 people attend the actual wedding service (including us two and the bridesmaids) and we have more than 50 with our combined immediate families.  Making the selection process will be difficult, and I hope that those selected to be asked to kindly wait in the other area during the service will understand.

We took a look around the marquee where we will have our sit-down meal and party in the evening - so that all looks good, but I need to make decisions on colour schemes for flower arrangements, and table decorations etc.

We finished by having a lovely lunch (my treat) at the venue, sitting outside overlooking the river in beautiful sunshine.  It was so lovely, and relaxing.  After my lovely treat last week, I wanted to do something special for my D Mike today, especially because today we celebrate 5 very very happy years together, and it still only seems like yesterday that we first met.

Last night I spent ages looking for a document that I already had in my hand, but thought it must be more than just that.  I had found my decree absolute, but it didn't look very official (if you know what I mean), but a telephone call to the court confirmed that I had the right document, so panic over.

While we were driving I called to book the Registrar who informed us that we have to present ourselves to our local Registrar to give notice of our wedding and present proof of identity and confirm we are free to marry (who would have thought - it didn't occur to me).

Lastly we drove to look at a selection of vintage cars,  to transport us between the the hotel where we will be married and the reception venue.  After a lot of deliberation, we both decided that we loved this beautiful 1928 Wolseley because the car is appropriately of the Art Deco era which will be the theme for our wedding.  A special thanks go to my future father-in-law to be who has kindly offered to pay for the car as our wedding present.  Thanks David that is so kind of you.

Of course I can only share those items that both Mike and I know about on this blog because he does read it, but I will post anything I can share as we move closer to the date.

Catch you later...................

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Summer tops, paddling pools and gifts

We have had a wonderful weekend of sunshine, a rare treat this summer, most weekends, especially if I plan a BBQ it seems to rain.

One of the towns close to my home was host to one of the olympic events, and two former work colleagues had purchased tickets for the event, so they came to stay with us for the weekend, which meant  they could get to and from the event more easily.

Although I have technically been on vacation this week, between Wednesday and today, I have still been nursing my cold, and cleaning the house, mowing the lawn in preparation for our visitors and even been called upon to deal with some work related issues and not done anywhere as much sewing as I wanted to.

As for sewing accomplishments, Friday morning I did manage to run up another cowl neck top from some fabric in my stash and this was just an hour and a half project from start to finish.  The top was made entirely on my Babylock and I managed, once again, to successfully change its function from serger to cover stitch with no problems.  Despite the fact that converting it from one function to the other was purely down to "operator error" it was like my sewing nemesis, and it was really bugging me.  I hope my new-found technical breakthrough will allow me to continue to use the cover stitch function, trouble free henceforth because now I have worked out the threading, I love it.

I really like these tops, and if you can get your hands on a pattern I would urge you to make one.  They are slightly smarter than a tee, but still look great for a casual look.  I will also look to wear these under my suits for work.

Today we were blessed with a visit from my son, daughter-in-law and my DGD Alana.  They gave us some great news that we will be welcoming another grandchild around February next year, so many congratulations to them both.  My D Mike's son Harry also informed us that he and his partner just found out that the baby they are expecting in December will be a boy.  Two new babys due to be born between December and February - how exciting.

Because the weather was glorious today we managed to get the paddling pool out and boy did Alana have lots of fun.  So much fun that when it was time for mum and dad to go home, she didn't want to go, so stayed on for another couple of hours.  By the time we took her home it took her all of 5 minutes to fall asleep in the car.

Last but not least I am in the middle of a sewing project which is a birthday gift.  Now because the recipient of the gift does from time to time read my blog I can't put too many details on here, but I need to get it finished before Wednesday, at which time I will be able to put up some photos on my blog.

I have quite a few things I need to finish myself.  Clear up my sewing room which looks like a bomb has hit it.  I would like to make myself a few new items, including some summer outfits to take out to Kuala Lumpur in September ( a work trip) I may also be going to China and Indonesia at the same time, so I need to make myself a nice new working wardrobe that is easy to pack, and will cope with the heat.

Well that is all my news to round off the week - I hope you have had fun.  Catch you later........

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

My 10 shirt prize = Chanel handbag

Today was the day that I got my reward for sewing the 10 shirts for my D Mike, and I was not disappointed.

We left home to set off to the Chanel flagship store in Old Bond Street in London.  There were lots of bags to choose from, but I wanted a classic shape and style bag, and I knew I wanted silver hardware.

Here are the pictures that say a thousand words - and many many thanks of course go to my D Mike for buying me the bag.  Needless to say I think perhaps I owe him some more shirts over the next few years.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Olympic showjumping event & cowl neck tops

This morning I wanted to try and make another of the cowl-neck tops before heading up to London to go to see the olympic show jumping event.  Sigrid had suggested that I cut the front on the bias which should give a better fall to the cowl collar, and she was right.

I am really happy with this top on two counts.  First the collar sits exactly how I envisaged, but more important, I managed to thread my babylock in its cover-stitch mode and sew the hem, and the armscye x 2 using my cover-stitch.  I hope that I have overcome my fear and will use this on a more regular basis now because the finish is fabulous.  This top is sooooooo easy to make - only three pieces, I sewed this entirely with my babylock and I think this took me approximately 1.5 hours to sew this morning from start to finish.

This afternoon we set of for Greenwich to see the GB olympic team win the gold medal in the showjumping.  It was a brilliant event, and we both loved it and here is a little shot from my phone of the arena.

There were two of these fabulous statues outside the arena made entirely of horse shoes.

We took the clipper boat back to the city of London which was a really lovely way to travel back and look at one of the images as we approached Tower Bridge 

Another exciting day tomorrow - we are off bag shopping and having a lovely lunch out too.

Catch you later...............

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Pretty in pink

Hi everyone

Well today we have seen sunshine and we have seen torrential rain all within 10 minutes - crazy crazy weather.  This is my decking this afternoon.

This morning I took my DGD to a play park with her dad, and I found myself being dragged into the ball pit, and up and down slides, but we had lots of fun.

My sewing didn't get under way until around 3pm today and I wanted to run up another bra and pantie set.

A few weeks back I purchased some embroidered organza and thought it might be good for making a sweet bra set.  Sadly all my stash items that Sigrid kindly picked up for me are sitting in my office in The Hague, and I will not be able to get them until the end of the month.  Still undeterred, I thought I would see what I could up-cycle or find out of my stash.

I used white for the bra straps and the back power net, but I only had off-white net that I could line the under-cup with which in the photo looks worse than in reality.  I had purchased some picot elastic from ebay, which worked ok, but it certainly doesn't have the firm feel that you get from proper lingerie elastic (this was for baby-wear I think).

The pink ribbon came out of my card-making stash and the back fastener came from a white bra that was too small in the cup for me so I unpicked the back fastening.

I know some of you are thinking "why didn't you wait until the end of the month when you pick up your stash from The Hague"?  Well I am not very patient, and it keeps my hand in the construction process of the bra.

Last but not least, you remember my navy and white striped cardigan I made back in June, well I was having trouble threading my Babylock serger in its "cover-stitch" mode.  I was able to attend a training session and I asked the lady who sold me the serger to check the machine was working right, because I just wasn't winning with the cover stitch.  I am embarrassed to say it was all due to operator error.  Tonight I unpicked the hems on the cardigan and re-stitched them again, this time with the stitches sitting as they should.

Well I am going to nurse my cold by having an early night.  We are off to the olympics tomorrow to watch the show jumping, and again on Thursday for the dressage to music.  Oh, more important I am getting my handbag on Tuesday and then taking it for a nice lunch somewhere to show it off (I am so excited).

Hope you had  great weekend.  Catch you later..........

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Prima Magazine Cowl- neck top

Hi folks, I hope you have been sewing up a storm.

I got back to the cottage this morning and today is the start of a two week vacation for me.  However I have managed to bring with me a horrible sore throat and cold, so I don't actually feel on top form right now sob sob.

My D Mike was watching one of the Olympic football matches today, so despite feeling poorly, I decided I needed to get some sewing done.  I mentioned a couple of posts back that I wanted to try a cowl-neck top and while I knew I didn't have any standard patterns, I searched through my Burda and my Prima magazine patterns, and found one in the Prima magazine.

I haven't made any of the Prima patterns before, so wasn't sure the of size/fit etc.  I cut the pattern as a size 12, and used some burnt orange fabric I purchased in a thrift shop to make up my first muslin.  The pattern has no darts in it, but having quickly sewn the top with my serger, I felt that the addition of a dart and my usual FBA would benefit the pattern.

I made the alterations and then found some silky fabric (actually purchased to use for lining a jacket) and here is my end result.

So what do I think.  Well its ok - that's all I feel about it.  I may have a look at my Burda pattern to so see if their versions have more gathers in the cowl/waterfall neck but it gives me a little top to wear if we start seeing any summer evenings arrive here in the UK.

Catch you later..............