Thursday, 3 September 2015

McCall's 7093 Top

Hello from my not very glamorous Sydney balcony. I've sewed up the first of my travel materials using McCalls 7093 here  a pattern for a pieced, raglan sleeved high/low hem tops. I had seen this on a blog made up in a knit and liked it but silky or floaty wovens are recommended on the back of the envelope:  Crepe de Chine, Charmeuse, Chiffon, Georgette. I always wonder if they mean the silk variants of all these..
Anyway I have made it up in a pretty poly with digital print London scenes. See the Tower Bridge in the back view? I'm happy with the result and am thinking about digging out some 'too pretty to use' floaty silk georgette from a previous travel stash. (Got to get over my fear of ruining it and just do it already...)

The pattern is also crying out for some contrast piecing to bring out the design. I brought back a Desigual top from overseas and it's a clever mix of plain/patterned  knit/woven all in the same garment and I can see the possibilities to do similar things using this top and bits from my stash. I will have to start rummaging!

I used a size 14. My only alteration was to modify the front hem curve by lowering it by 2" at the centre front and drawing a new curve through the front and side front pieces but still using the original hem for the back. I like where it sits.

I used the view with the short sleeve. It is cut very curved almost like a cap sleeve. I'll straighten the curve out to bring it down an inch over the upper arm in future versions.

This is a nice summer top pattern. As for now I'm typing this in a sweat shirt. It's still cool here this morning!

Happy Sewing,


Monday, 31 August 2015

Sewing Again

Dear Readers,

I have almost come down to earth after my travels. My body clock has been reset. I have to get to work hideously early tomorrow. I've been catching up with family and friends, showing them photos. I've even cut out one of my Barcelona materials for a top using M7093. Soon it will be spring here and there are warm days to look forward to. The pattern for the top I am making can be seen

Why do I feel like I could happily pack my bags and go travelling again? I am  already dreaming of my next trip and how to save for it. There must be tribal nomad in my background.

However it's time to stay put for a while and sort out my priorities. Sew up my travel stash. I have also been catching up with the goings on of the sewing blog world. There seems to be a lot of talk about the decline in blogging activity, decline in comments, the attrition of several indie pattern companies. It's all part of the natural cycle of things. Boom, bust. High tide, low tide. Ebb and flow. If blogging was part of a me-too popularity contest I was never part of it. I write this blog as if it were an open letter to a few sewing friends. I really think that's what it is and will probably remain. As for Indie's there been a lot of jumping off bandwagons with people saying 'show me value for money' instead of 'oh a new T-shirt isn't that fabulous'.

It could just be a coming of age. Online is so different from the nuts and bolts of learning to sew in person and grappling with a three dimensional body but it's also the greatest boon to sewing that I can think of. A world of knowledge and communication at the fingertips.

Blogging will survive. The better Indie's will survive. Everyone's just getting more choosy.

Travel inspires me.

What inspires your sewing?


Wednesday, 26 August 2015


I'm back!

Sorry about the delay in writing this post. When I was in Barcelona I was having too good a time to post, then when I got back the jet lag set in. I still feel a bit upside down to be honest, waking up at 3 am in spite of sleep or work or exercise or any of the things that usually reset my body clock.

Anyway Barcelona! What a vibrant lovely cosmopolitan city. I'd been there once before and had a totally different experience, being robbed, getting sick and being annoyed with the endless drinking of one of my travelling companions...ah well, lessons learnt. This time I saw the lovely side of this city and found that time sped by far too quickly.

I took DD with me. We stayed in an apartment on the Passieg de Gracia, one of the two main streets of Barcelona that lead down to the sea. The other is La Rambla where the action never stops. We avoided it except for the fresh produce market which is an experience in itself. Lunch on that day was a delectable picnic with locaI wine on the balcony. After hours of sightseeing it was always a treat to get back to de Gracia and unlock the big wooden door to the street, go through the foyer, catch the wrought iron elevator to the apartment and relax!  BTW This was the least expensive but also the best accommodation we had in the three countries we visited.

The view from the balcony..

We were a couple of blocks from the marvellous Casa Batllo designed by Gaudi

La Pedrera with it's ice cream shaped turrets, also designed by Gaudi, was a couple of blocks in the other direction.

I got to tour both buildings and see the inside and learn a bit more about Gaudi's philosophy and vision. I thought he was just an eccentric who did not like straight lines but in reality his structures are ingenious and energy friendly and human friendly and inside have lovely spaces. He was ahead of his time, for sure.

In the area there were designer shops full of new Autumn fashions all having end of summer sales. 
DD made a beeline straight to Spanish brands Desidual and Zara and had a brilliant time. Her mission was to shop and shop she did. A top or two may have fallen in my shopping basket  :) as well as lovely leather sandals. We also had a great time shopping in 'Mango' which is sort of like our Portmans.

About 15 minutes walk away was the old medieval sector called the Bari Gotic. The Bari Gotic is wonderful to explore, with narrow winding alleys, little shops, tapas bars, medieval churches and a number of art museums. We went to the Picasso Museum. Wonderful! It was especially good to see many of his early works.

In regards to all the designer shop windows I couldn't help noticing the new fashions for the northern fall seem to be centred around black, with reds and cream with touches of lace or fake fur.

I suspect black is the new black! This being Spain there was a bit of colour and bling thrown in. I really like the look and came away inspired.


Max Mara


Can't remember but took this shot in a hurry because DD wants me to copy the lace over floral idea

The new and the old sit well together in Barcelona

I love looking at well designed clothes for design lines and special touches but where'e the fabric?

I did a bit of googling and found out that there were fabric shops to be found on Passieg de Roger de Lluria. 

The biggest one was two story with a big selection called Ribes & Cassals link to search for fabric shops on Roger de Lluria There was also a good smaller fabric store next door called Teixits Dona. The was another shop on the same street (don't know the name) a block further south with a good range of knits and quilting cottons.

My goodies, a black and white rayon and a digital print poly 

DD's choices, a silky paisley remnant for a summer top and floral cotton for a retro dress.

Barcelona was full of art, food, shopping, warm weather and I got to do a bit of photography. I wish we were there longer. I would have liked to explore more. As for shopping, I think I've done my quota for the rest of the year. Seriously. I had a wish list and I filled it.

While there I picked up these, so cheap compared to the price we pay for them in Australia.

Spanish instructions will make about the same sense to me as Burda does in english.

Now all I have to do is get over my jet lag and start sewing all the ideas I came up with while overseas. I made rough sketches during my lightbulb moments so I wouldn't forget.

I could go on but I'll sign off here.
Back to reality,