A Return to Past Challenges

Blog post started 4th May 2015

I have recently started watching The Great British Sewing Bee, and of course, instead of starting at the beginning which is logical, because everyone on the Facebook pages I am a member of was talking about season 3 that is where I started.

I love it , how wonderful to see sewers of all sorts challenged in so many ways. I have been completely obsessed and have ended up watching all 3 seasons over the last few weeks which I am sure is the part of the reason for my limited blog posts.

In The Great British Sewing Bee Season 3, One of the challenges  was to make a boys vest.This made me think of my one attempt at a male vest, and caused me to run up to my sons room and pull out the suit I had made him for a “Boardwalk Empire”themed college party he went to. I made this pattern for him : Burda 8186 CW suit patternedi1t CW suit patternedit
In this fabric:

The judges comments made me look more critically at my efforts . It was about 4 years ago and my first male three piece suit , made very hurriedly as it was spur of the moment impulse, with a lot of late night sewing involved ,but I think I did okay. As you can see here , I didn’t exactly match the pattern which is something I now would be very careful about, but it looks pretty good still.

This is a picture of my son in his suit. Conor in costume

In keeping with the loud styling of the suits worn in those days we picked a fabric that is not subtle.
It is a wool blend and feels really nice . He may use it again as a costume I hope so it was a lot of work.
My next  attempt will be a navy blazer for my husband. I plan to undertake a craftsy class to ensure I perfect my jacket sewing before I do it but I will put it up when I am done.

Have you ever attempted a mans suit or jacket? How did you go?
Are there any tips you can give me for tailoring?
Improving my skills is an on going challenge I love.

The other reason I have not blogged much lately  is my decision to completely declutter my home. I started in my bedroom and then at my husbands urging I moved to the sewing room. This is an enormous undertaking as for the last few months I had set up my sewing in the games room of our home as it has air conditioning, a blessing in Summer ,and a huge table. My sewing room had become the family dumping ground for unwanted school books, costumes, bags and seasonal clothes. I had to reclaim it. I have hauled out all the things that were not related to my activities, sewing, craft , scrapbooking and reconfigured the space. I will show you it when it is finished. I have also put all my fabric into zippered clear bags so that they stay free of dust.

I have been sorting all my fabrics and patterns with the intention of donating all that I don’t feel I will use to the Achieve Australian fabric cave in Meadowbank. A wonderful initiative where you can purchase donated fabric and patterns for a really reasonable price and all funds raised are used to help people with disabilities. I stopped in there last week to find out what I needed to do  to donate and also happened to pick up some lovely fabric and patterns . I am thrilled with what I got and will show you as I use it.

I will post my latest make soon.

Happy Sewing ,

Sue 🙂

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Autumn Leaves

Hi ,

My latest make is something made to comply with Make a garment a month

challenge. I used this fabricfabric dress 2a lovely autumn toned sheer pleated synthetic. I immediately decided I wanted another of the Vogue V1410. winter patterns.jpg2This pattern is my favorite at the moment as I intend to make it again for myself and for my sister in law. It is so versatile. I love that there are only 2  pattern pieces and the side seams are french seams so it has a lovely finish.

trimming french seams before encasing

trimming french seams before encasing

Sewing French seams

Sewing French seams

autumn leaf sheer dress button2

Attaching a button to inner side seam.

the three buttons for adjustments.

the three buttons for adjustments.

I found when I cut out this fabric that I was a little short. This meant I had to do some creative cutting and have a seam across the upper bodice, it works and I feel is not to noticeable. I made this to get me thru the warm early autumn days and into what is now quite cool weather. It is sleeveless so I add layers when I wear it.Here is a link to my previous post about this pattern it is a winner in my opinion.

Happy Sewing ,

Sue 🙂

Front View

Front View

Back View

Back View

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Autumn Tones

My latest make is a wearable muslin in preparation for my winter sewing.

The pattern isblack jkt MT.patternjpg a Marcy Tilton dress and jacket. I had made the jacket earlier and featured it in a post here.

I used fabric that I had in my stashfabric MT dress

This has two different designs one side has autumn tones and flowers with lines, and the other with spots of varying sizes. that gave me two of the fabrics needed for the dress, and the other contrast was the fabric used in the jacket the sheer black .

sheer contrast fabric

sheer contrast fabric

The black was used for one sleeve , the small pocket and a part of the collar.MT dress sleeve aI realized after cutting the pattern out that the body of the dress was a little sheer. I went to the sewing room to search for fabric ,and I found a jersey skirt in black that I was getting rid of. It was a long black skirt, that is never a good idea for someone of my limited height( you would think I would know this), but for some reason I have accumulated them over the years. This one was perfect to cut up for my lining.

Cutting the skirt to make the lining.

Cutting the skirt to make the lining.



MT dress take Rthe dress in the process of being made.I really like the contrast between the fabric.
MT dress take  d1 a

Dress and lining

Dress and lining

The dress was  good to sew, I have decided though that I won’t put the pocket into the next make of this pattern. It really does not add anything , it’s too small to use and is a little fiddly.I finished it but…
This was one of those times when adjustments were needed after it was finished.

Being vertically challenged when I looked at the photos below I realized that I needed to make it shorter. MT dress take 1bMT dress take 1 aThis just looks too long and a little frumpy. So I went back  to the sewing machine . I reduced the bodice panel length a bit of unpicking but necessary so as not to lose the balance, in the panels.

The next installment isMT dress.picMT dress.pic2more flattering. This is a better length but when I wore it out I added a belt for this look,MT dress  aand wore leggings with it. It is comfortable and easy.

I am looking forward to making it again.

Hope you are enjoying your sewing,

Sue 🙂

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Shades of Mondrian

The title is credited to one of my sons.

When I first wore this make he said” Wow mum shades of Mondrian”.

The fabric is very much colour and geometry.

Maxi print pattern.1

The Pattern I have made before the details are here

It is New Look 6119.

This time I thought I would make it as per the pattern but in the maxi style. The fabric is from my stash and is another that I have had for many years, just waiting for inspiration.

The drape and feel of this fabric  is wonderful and I used some black fabric as the accent. I also edited the pattern and added a bow to the shoulder for a little interest. I didn’t to  step by step as I had made it before but I am very happy with the result.

Close up of the top

Close up of the top

Back View

Back View

Maxi printMaxi print .2

Maxi print a

This is a great  dress terrific for warm days. Very easy and really comfortable perfect for Summer.

Even though we are now into Autumn I did get a few wears out of this dress before the weather started to turn cooler.

Happy Sewing,

Sue 🙂

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A little observation 

Hi ,

Someone sent me this list and I think it is pretty close. 


What do you think ?

Great huh!

Happy Sewing,

Sue 🙂 

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Bali Revisited

silk bali fabric maxiThis wonderful tie dyed silk was part of my fabric haul from my Bali trip last year. We found a great fabric store called Alta Moda and bought some beautiful fabrics on our trip.Bali

It was lovely to spend time there and as I had recently started my RTW fast for the first time fabric was all I shopped for.

The pattern I used was Burda Style 7083 and my previous make is here

silk bali maxi patternAs I had made a version of this before I felt confident that I would not make a mess of this lovely fabric, and when cutting the silk the pattern would fit perfectly. It really is the the best way to approach a new pattern. Make a muslin ( wearable or to keep as a pattern), that way you are not taking chances with your fabulous fabric and can have confidence in the fit of what you are making.

As this pattern was well known to me I knew this would be a fairly quick make. there was only one change this is a maxi dress my previous make was a top . Not a big deal but the previous make was polyester and  this is silk satin fairly light weight . I cut it out and sewed it as per the pattern but I used french seams this time.

After making the dress I felt that it was to clingy and the fabric was too light even though I absolutely love the fabric , it needed more body . I decided to add a lining . Luckily in my Bali stash I had some lovely double georgette that is mauve on one side navy on the other. Perfect .silk bali lining fabric maxi 2 I cut out the pattern pieces needed to line this. .silk bal maxi.1jpg

silk bali maxi liningsilk bal maxii lining 1silk baili maxi lining see throughjpgsilk baili maxi lining sew

I sewed the lining and attached it to the dress. The pattern doesn’t give any lining instructions but it really isn’t hard. I noticed as well the dress was a little to sheer  before the lining and even with the lining its not completely opaque but the lining makes it better. It falls beautifully now, feels amazing and fits like a dream. We have a function coming up at a winery so this will do I think nicely.

silk bal maxiisilk bal maxii 1silk bali maxii 1

As we are now in Autumn in Australia the weather is a little cooler.  We still have warm days though. I have started my cool weather wardrobe additions Yeah ! . What are you making? What season are you planning for? I hope you are having as much fun as I am ! Its exciting to plan and execute new challenging makes.

I  will post mine  soon.

Happy Sewing

Sue 🙂

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Fun Skirt Style

I am feeling pretty good about my sewing at the moment. Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together.

floral cottonI have had this lovely printed cotton for a long time it was a part of my fabric stash that had been waiting for the right garment.I have just finished a fun colourful skirt that was so easy and fun . I used a pattern I have had for quite a while Vogue 2092. This is a wonderful pattern the skirt has no waistband .Oh Yeah !I am a big fan of  the lack of waistband on a skirt .It is so comfortable it to sits on your hips, and it has a nice straight style.

pattern V2092I had not used this pattern before so this is my wearable muslin. I lined it in voile as a layer , as it wasn’t very heavy and a separate lining in white polyester for comfort.

skirt sketch

I drafted the pattern onto cotton fabric to fit and do adjustments before cutting.The skirt has 2 sets of darts in the front and the back.

skirt muslin wearableThe skirt has a back zipper and a back split. I have actually cut out another two skirts from this pattern and will talk about them when they are done.

skirt muslin  pattern

skirt muslin front edit patternThe skirt required a little bit more fabric than I had so I had to find some extra cotton for part of the facing.

.waist facingskirt back zipskirt multi3skirt multiskirt size adjustI needed to adjust the side seams before completion as it was a little bit bigger than I wanted. It fits well and is a great addition to my wardrobe. It is such a lovely colour and it is so comfortable . I have decided for myself life is to short to wear uncomfortable clothing. I love style but really value garments that are not hard work to wear.

skirt zip multi3

coloured skirt 3coloured skirt 1coloured skirt 2coloured skirt 4

Happy Sewing,

Sue 🙂

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A Short Trip

EditI had a llittle break from my sewing for a few days this week when I had to drive to collect my mother after she had spend some time with famnily. Distances in Australia are a fact of life we live in a country that  is larEditEditge and getting around it takes time. My Mother was staying some 600kms away in Walgett,  so I drove up to her on Friday , and back home Saturday. The drive is a good oppportunity to see the state of the the changing landscape 

The lovely mountain vistas , this is at Hartley about 1 .5 hours into the drive.

I decided to take photos on my trip just to record the  landscape this is a trip I do infrequenlty but its a trip into my past. 

The change was so striking the lovely rolling hills gave way to the barren dry Walgett  region. 

When I got onto the last piece of road to my destination I was horrified at the carnage I saw . Where kangaroos that had been hit by( I am assuming trucks) littered the road and then swarms of bugs sacrificed themselves on the front of my car. A big change from busy city driving . 

The time spent with people who have known me forever in a place that holds so many memories is one thing that feeds my soul . Sewing and creating is another. What are the things that are important for your creative process  ?

A long trip allows for lots of thought.Reflection is often  helpful I find ,and spending time with family is wonderful, and always enriching . The trip home was uneventful my mother was also astounded at the change in the landscape. The First thing I did when I got home was take the car to the car wash to rid of bugs.

I will post my next creation soon . 

Happy creating,

Sue 🙂

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Versatile Fun and Transition ready

Hi today I made a decision to not rely on my family to take my photos . I know this seems a bit of a no brainer but it didn’t occur to me that my little camera would have a self timer but lo and behold it does. I had been reading another blog a few days ago and the writer had talked about how she had used the  self timer on her camera to take her great shots.

I was inspired.

Firstly I went to my husbands camera a big professional type digital as he has a tripod and I knew it would fit. All good except the battery was flat. So I decided to balance my tiny camera on his large tripod. I couldn’t attach it but it seemed to work. Here are the pictures of the set up.
IMG_2082 IMG_2084

My first attempt is of my starting garments for the transition from summer to autumn . I ordered for the first time a number of patterns from Vogue online. I had never done this before but the patterns I wanted are not available in our Australian stores yet and they were all on sale. I am thrilled with what I picked up. Here they are:winter patterns

The first make is a Vogue designer pattern V1410 a Lyn Mizono design.
winter patterns.jpg2   fabric dress

I purchased this poly blend cheaply from a local fabric store to make my wearable muslin.

Also the colours of this will coordinate well with my transition garments and it is really comfortable and adjustable .
pattern blue dresspattern detail blue dressstitch detail dress

This is a seemingly simple pattern only has 2 pattern pieces. But French seams are needed and although it makes up quickly it requires a  care, and attention to detail. I love it.  It is fine in the still warm weather we have but I envisage putting tights or leggings under and long sleeve tops and jackets over when the weather cools down.

dress blue edgeblue dress stitch.fixjpg I discovered when I was assembling the dress that I had not cut the hem on the back evenly ,(I have no idea what happened but as it is checked I had to match some more fabric to get what I was after. The result took a fraction longer than it should have but I think it came out just fine.
blue dress front blue dress back1

Front view buttoned

Front view buttoned

buttoned to the middle on one side and bottom at the other

buttoned to the middle on one side and bottom at the other

buttoned up to make the top version

buttoned up to make the top version

This dress is ingenious with the way you can adjust the length depending on whether you want a top or dress. There are three buttons on the inside and buttonholes at the side seam near the hem . Very clever I will be making this in a heavier weight fabric for winter I think.

blue dress back 1

I also have started on this Marcy Tilton pattern. V9081

black jkt MT.patternjpgI have made the jacket and this will go with both my wearable muslin, and the dress that I will be making for cooler weather. I have made it in a knit back fabric with embossed pattern.

sheer black MT

jkt pattern image

The jacket came together quickly and will be very handy to have on hand .jkt MT knit stitching

black jkt MT

black jkt MTbutton hook

black jkt MTbutton I decided to overlock the seams and it works. I have worn it and it is a comfortable little jacket.

I am really looking forward to making the garments I have planned for the cooler months. It is lovely to see the creations of all the talented people whose work I wake up to on the internet each day. My RTW fast really is going great and I have no plans to stop.

Next step : I really just need to carve out some time to organize the chaos that is my creative space.

Happy Sewing,

Sue 🙂

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Clearing UFO’s and a little fun

Hi ,

I have been attempting to work through my Unfinished pile as well as create a few new items before I start on my winter wardrobe.

One item I have been avoiding for a while was a silk top I had bought a few years back , it was originally a tunic style.

Silk top pseudo original  style Seen here my attempt to show how it originally looked . It was a little too much for me I loved the fabric and color but I wanted a short top and had some leftover once I had cut it. I had avoided hemming it for a few years just couldn’t be happy with my attempts.

remake silk5 remake silk6

The hem of the top I have finally finished after I got the step by step details from a wonderful blog here and I am really happy with it.

The excess fabric and lining I used a couple of years ago to make a evening shawl type garment. My husband and I were invited to a Pink Ball and as I at that point didn’t own any pink evening wear ,I used the leftover fabric to make this.

I am really happy with this combination of garments the silk is gorgeous.

I have now one less unfinished garment so can move on to completing the next in the pile. It is very satisfying when something works. I know we all have things that don’t work or that make us remake or change but that is all part of the process of creating the things you want for yourself. The more I do, the more I learn and I am loving it.

The wonderful world of the online sewing community makes the answers to questions not hard to find , there is always someone who can assist with techniques and generously sharing knowledge, it is wonderful .

Happy creating,

Sue 🙂

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