Sunday, May 1, 2016

May Sewing Goals

Review of April's goals:

  • 2 activewear pieces - I made one which I haven't worn yet. I'm starting to fit back into my old pieces, so I'm thinking I might wait until I have a greater need again.
  • 2 pieces for work capsule - I had intended to make a top and bottom, but I got hung up on the HP Shirt Tail T pattern and made 4 of those, all suitable for work.
  • Knit 4 more tiers on entrelac scarf - Didn't even look at this one
  • Finish fixing Erin's summer uniforms - Mended one, the others are still waiting. She's now in the winter uniform so I have a few extra months to get back around to this one
  • Fix Marcus' pants - DONE! :-)

May's Goals:
  • A wrap dress (Use up some stashed printed knits)
  • A long sleeved t-shirt (Again designed to use up some stashed knits)
  • Fit a pattern for slim leg pants (Sabrina Slims and/or HP Tummy Taming Trousers)
  • 2 pairs of winter pants (I don't have any pants that fit ATM)
  • A skirt to wear with boots
  • If time, the Jalie or Style Arc pull on jeans
  • Need to get back into the habit of knitting again, too

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Keeping Busy in January

There have been a number of things underway in the sewing room this month.

1: Some general clean up and decluttering: 

I still haven't finished (I'm about 70% of the way through my fabric), but after reading 'The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up' on the holidays, I've been inspired to have a big clean out.

I've released some fabric into the wild that I just wasn't feeling the love for anymore, and did a big inventory of what was left. I also took the time to store my fabric neatly, so that I could access it more easily. I love opening the cupboard doors in my sewing room now!

Some of the overflow - lots of denim and some pretty colourful wovens that I want to tackle this year.
My goal is to have all my fabric fit into the two cupboards. It's an ambitious goal, since that means I'll probably have to reduce the stash by 50%, but what have I got to lose? I realise it's going to take me longer than a year.

2: I made some Boxy Bags for Christmas gifts. 

This decision was initially spurred on by my inability to toss out the pink spotty corduroy. I had originally bought this piece of fabric to make a coat for my daughter - several years ago. Inevitably, as children do, she has grown and I no longer have enough fabric to make the coat. It's too small a piece to make anything for me, but I just love it and couldn't pass it on. So, I'm going to turn it into a series of bags - some for gifts, and a couple to store my knitting projects in.

I used the 'No Guts Boxie Pouch' tutorial from So Chick. It was very clear. The only change I made was to the tabs. There was no way my clumsy fingers were going to be able to make those tiny tabs work, so I cut 2 pieces 3 inches x 2 inches instead. I then made sure to position them correctly when stitching down that part of the bag. It just gave me something a bit easier to hang on to in the previous steps.

Version #1: Pink Spotty Corduroy (lined with blue/pink poly cotton); Clasp from Spotlight

I used a lightweight fusible interfacing for this bag, thinking that the corduroy would have sufficient body to support the boxy shape. It kind of does, but I wanted something with a bit more oomph for the next one.

Version #2: Heavyweight denim (a remnant) lined with Spiderman cotton (not stash, specially purchased for this project!); Clasp from Spotlight

I used a much heavier weight interfacing for this one which made it almost impossible to sew. I won't be doing that again, and am looking for a medium weight fusible interfacing to make the rest.

3: My new dress form
I have been working on getting my new dress form into (or out of, depending on your perspective) shape. 

I have followed the steps outlined in the Craftsy class: Customise your Dress Form. My husband has been such a great helper, and so has my daughter. Neither of them sew, but they both happily support all my crazy endeavours.

I'm almost there - the measurements are nearly spot on, but the proportion is just a little off. I had to put this project to one side while I knocked out a couple of the boxy bags above, but will return to this on the weekend.

Sewing Stats: 

Fabric In: 0.5m
Fabric Out: 5.4m
Stash Used 5.2m

Friday, January 8, 2016

Simplicity 1358: Knit Maxi Dress

Seems like January is the month for blogging for me! Ha. If I post one more time this year, I'll have doubled my posting rate from 2015. #lameblogger

First make of 2016!

View: A
Fabric: Poly Knit from East Coast Fabrics - Teal Peacock Print
Size: XL
Modifications: None

I bought this pattern because Spotlight didn't have the McCalls 6559 that I was really after in my size when I went shopping the other day. This looked close enough and had a few more options as well, although no bolero patterns.

Initial Assessment:

Disclaimer: The dress looks VERY different on the dress form as I haven't had a chance to adjust it to my shape/size just yet. She's very new (to me). 

  • Fits pretty well straight out of the envelope.
  • Weight of fabric is dragging it down further than anticipated, resulting in more bra showing than I'd like (which is none!).
  • VERY EASY to sew! Would love to have a couple more of these in the wardrobe.
  • Shoulder is slightly wider than I'd like
  • I really don't like attaching bands that have been pre-sewn into a circle.
Changes for Next Time:
  • Raise underarm by 1.5"
  • Shave 0.5" off shoulder width
  • Shorten dress before cutting (by 4.5")
  • Take in by 1" at bust, narrowing to 0" by waist
  • Attach bands before sewing second shoulder, side seams, etc.

Ideas for future makes:

  • Maybe try to add an elastic waist?

Finished: 8/1/2016

Sewing Stats: Stash used - 3.0m

I'm hoping that the recent acquisition of a dress form will increase the likelihood of photos being taken (and, therefore, blog posts written). Next step is to pad it out so that it really looks like my shape. I've just finished watching the Craftsy class 'Customise your Dress Form' and am itching to get going. I've got my husband lined up this weekend for a measuring and adjusting marathon, so hopefully I'll be able to move forward soon.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Sewing Goals for 2015

In the spirit of all things blogland, I'm going to make a list of goals related to my sewing that I'd like to achieve this year: 


  • Track usage
  • More out than in
  • Use up large scraps, throw out the rest
  • Work more with wovens than in previous years (This will be an instinctual measure as I don't have any data on which to gauge my success.) 


  • Use my Sure Fit Designs kits - at least once each
  • Use at least 10 stash patterns that have never seen the light of day
One pattern of many that I have wanted to make for a long time.


  • Watch all unwatched Craftsy classes (and sew the associated projects!). Sewing with Silks is the next one on my list. I love Craftsy and find the video lessons interesting and useful, for the most part. 


  • Don't really have a budget for sewing, so I'd like to track my spending to see exactly how much I do spend on my hobby


  • This is my really lofty goal - to do something each day that moves an active project forward. Ideally, I'd like to spend around 30 minutes a day on my sewing, but that's probably a bit too unrealistic.


  • I'd like to sew 4 things per month: a dress for me, finish a UFO, another garment for me and something for someone else (typically my daughter or husband).
  • I'd like to document my sewing a little better this year. Getting photos for the blog is difficult (mainly because I'm too lazy to do my hair), so I'm not going to go there, but I am going to try really hard to keep my Sewing Notebook up to date.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Endless Summer SWAP

Living in Queensland means I have an almost constant need for hot weather clothing. I thought I might have a crack at next year's SWAP, but I'm keen to start adding pieces to my wardrobe right now. The weather is heating up quickly and I don't have anything to wear! So, I'm going to make a start now and see where the plan takes me. Maybe I'll be able to make something work for the time constraints, maybe not. But at least I'll have some clothes to wear this summer!

This is my plan. I'm going to start on the tops first as I have the greatest need for those. 

The colour scheme I'd like to try to work with is navy, green and off-white. I'm going to sew from stash as much as possible, so that might mean a few things aren't as perfectly co-ordinated as they could be. I'm OK with that. 

This is my 'vision' for the SWAP - as close as I could get anyway. ☺
I've already made the grey/white top and have purchased the navy shorts. I'm going to start on the navy top next (after a quick project for my daughter).

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

30 Minutes a Day for October - Part 1

Main focus this week:
  • Muslin for Pocahontas costume (purple nightie)
  • Style Arc Susan Skirt 
  • Pocahontas costume
  • Honey Cowl

Tracking Tasks:

1st - 30 minutes sewing, 20 minutes knitting
  • Made alterations to Pocahontas pattern
  • Cut muslin 
  • Fused stabilizer to back shoulder seams 
  • Changed machine to OL and rethreaded 
  • Pressed bias strip to stop curling (didn't work!) 
  • Worked on Honey cowl - 2 rows

2nd - 45 minutes sewing, 40 minutes knitting
  • Stitched and topstitched left shoulder seam
  • Applied bias strip to neckline and pressed
  • Overlocked to control curling (worked!)
  • Pinned and topstitched neck binding
  • Stitched and topstitched right shoulder seam
  • Stitched in sleeves
  • Stitched side seams
  • Worked on Honey cowl - 6 rows

3rd - 60 minutes sewing, 15 minutes knitting
  • Finished stitching Honey Cowl - blocked
  • Nightie: Pinned hem and sleeve hem
  • Susan Skirt: Stitched front side panels to front centre panel
  • Susan Skirt: Stitched back to back yoke
  • Susan Skirt: Stitched side seams
  • Nightie: Coverstitched hem and sleeve hems, pressed and trimmed excess hem allowance
  • Susan Skirt: Cut and inserted elastic
  • Susan Skirt: Turned down and topstitched elastic
  • Susan Skirt: Measured and cut hem
  • Susan Skirt: Pinned and coverstitched hem, pressed
  • Wove in ends on Baby Lucy hat

4th - 30 minutes sewing (went away for the weekend)
  • Cut Pocahontas costume out
  • Changed machine to OL, rethreaded all machines in brown
  • Fused stabiliser to shoulder seams
  • Tidied up in sewing room

5th - 30 minutes sewing (went away for the weekend)
  • Sewed shoulder seam
  • Cut binding and applied to neckline
  • Sewed second shoulder seam
  • Sewed in sleeves

6th - 60 minutes sewing, 30 minutes 'knitting'
  • Overlocked sleeve seams
  • Stitched one side seam
  • Stabilised hem
  • Use Vliesofix to attach trim along hem
  • Stitched trim along hem
  • Stitched second side seam
  • Tried on Erin and marked where remaining trim is to go
  • Used Vliesofix to attach trim along marked lines
  • Stitched trim to dress, pressed
  • Made headband from plaited trim (rejected trim from dress)
  • Made and attached pompom for Baby Lucy hat

7th - 30 minutes of sewing (Work Day)
  • Tried on UFO tank and assessed for alterations
  • Tried on Navy tennis skort (rarely worn) and assessed for alterations
  • Unpicked the elastic from the legs of my Navy tennis skort

Did pretty well to fit in at least 30 minutes of sewing each day, given that we went away for the weekend and I had to go to work one day. Typically, I don't do ANYTHING crafty on a work day, but because I was tracking, I didn't want to ruin my streak, so I forced myself to do something very low key. Still, it counts!

I think this method has been a success this week as I have three completed garments and have made progress on another. It's been a long time since I've felt this productive!

Next week: 
Need to tackle that Honey Cowl, and get those ends woven in. I've also set my sights on getting that tennis outfit finished and tidying up the loose ends of the Halloween costumes so I don't need to think about them again. Unfortunately, that requires a shopping trip, and I really don't like shopping.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

30 Minutes a Day for September

This month, I have been trying to ensure that I spend 30 minutes a day in the sewing room actually doing something to move projects forward. I found that I would head into the sewing room but get distracted by the computer and leave an hour later having accomplished nothing. It's only been the last few days that I have kept track of the actual tasks that I accomplished, but I have found that it's keeping me on track so I'll probably keep doing that through October.

If anyone's interested, here's what I managed to get done over the last 5 days:

26th: Cut out Lady Macbeth costume, fused interfacing to back shoulder seam, started to lay out skirt pattern

27th: Cut out Style Arc skirt pattern from LM costume leftovers, worked on LM costume: stitched centre back seam and one shoulder seam, pinned down trim around neckline

28th: Worked on LM costume: stitched down trim around neckline, closed other shoulder seam, sewed in sleeves, sewed side seams and tried on!

29th: Worked on LM costume: eased top edge of trim, turned and stitched neckline, pinned trim to sleeves; Chose pattern for Pocahontas costume

30th: Finished Lady Macbeth costume: stitched down trim on sleeves, trimmed hem to right length. Worked on Pocahontas costume: prepped fabric, traced and altered pattern.

Goals for October: 

Continue to spend 30 minutes a day working on actual projects

  1. Pocahontas costume
  2. Buy some gold cord to use as a 'waist' tie for my Lady Macbeth costume 
  3. Take photos of the costumes! 
  4. Style Arc Susan Skirt
  5. Tennis Outfit
  6. White Long shorts for me
  7. (Yarn-related) Honey Cowl - Nearly done
  8. (Yarn-related) Marigold Cardigan - Half done
  9. White Burda Plus Top 
  10. Navy HP Blouse Back Tee
I know it looks ridiculous, but most of the stuff is half done already - or dead simple. Anyway, we'll see how far I get through my list.