Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Simplicity 2365 revisited

A very meticulous surgeon that I used to scrub for was fond of saying "Near fear perfection, you won't achieve it." Nevertheless I believe the majority of sewers secretly - or not so secretly - strive for perfection. The prefect design, the perfect marriage of pattern to fabric, the perfect fit and of course the perfect execution of all of the above. If something doesn't sit quite right it niggles until we've done what we can and then what can't be fixed gets tweaked on the next version. My tunic was supposed to be a simple, buttonless beachy thing (see previous post) but the material said otherwise. It said 'Come on, fix me, give me a narrow hem and pretty metallic buttons." So I did.

Same length, narrow hem, sleeve cuffs turned up

The buttons were from the stash as was the material. The buttons are sewn onto the center front seam and are purely decorative.

It looks more finished now. The thing I'll tweak next time? I need to do a sway back adjustment. I've avoided it for years but I'm no longer going to cheat by diddling with the back hem. I'll do it properly by making a horizontal tuck at the waistline on the pattern as my slight swayback is no longer so slight.

Now you know my secrets :) Happy sewing everyone.

Friday, 23 March 2012

A tunic for the last blast of summer

Dear Friends,
The seasons are changing. I read blogs from the northern hemisphere describing the return of sunshine and warmth and plans for new summer wardrobes. Here in the antipodes it is, of course, autumn. There is a twinge of coolness in the early morning air and the nights are a bit chillier - by our standards but there are still days that are sun drenched and warm and 26 degrees. That is our weather cooling down! I fully appreciate being able to go to the local pool and swim in sun warmed water that is comfortably tepid in the outside pool. This is my homeland, Australia. Meanwhile I am saving and planning to work another stint in the Uk in the northern summer so I'll keep on sewing warm weather clothing for the time being. Here is my latest effort, a Simplicity tunic I've been procrastinating over for two years. I'm glad I finally made it.

The material is a very finely woven cotton from Sydney's the Fabric Store, Surrey Hills. It was a joy to work with.

The pattern is Simplicity 2365. I like the pin tucks and the almost Indian look the material gave it. I was in a hurry to finish it but I may take it in a touch at the sides and narrow hem it but the pattern sits well and is definitely a keeper.
Happy sewing everybody.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Sunday Sorbetto

Dear People,
Some months ago I traced a friend's copy of the Sorbetto Top, a free download from Colette Patterns. http://www.coletterie.com/colette-patterns-news/free-pattern-to-download-the-sorbetto-top  It seemed like everyone else had tried it so  I thought I'd give it a go, as the weather is still quite warm here as summer fades into Autumn.
I am not usually keen on free downloads, being a believer of  'you get what you pay for' but now that I tried this download, my thinking has changed. I made this top from leftovers and I like it enough to make the 'real' version soon. Here's a photo of me doing the 'look natural for goodness sake' camera walk ..

I had traced this pattern off from a friend's copy so I had no instructions. I made my own bias binding from scraps and attached it to the neckline and armholes and hem. I'm glad I did because it would have been too short if I had wanted to do a normal hem, even a narrow one.
It's a cute little top, open to interpretation. I wore it with a necklace I had made last year added some extra oomph.

p.s Do you like my little backyard visitors, the Rainbow Lorikeets in my new header? Aren't they gorgeous? Happy sewing everybody.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Coverstitcher Aggravation

Dear blog friends,
This is not an exciting blog entry. It is mostly about aggravation. The worst kind of aggravation, the 'my machine worked perfectly the last time I used it so why isn't it working perfectly now' aggravation. The culprit was my Janome Coverpro 1000 coverstitcher. Now let me tell you that when this machine is working it is just lovely. Hemming any knit is a dream. I use it often to shorten purchased T- shirts as well. The last time I'd made a knit dress I had hemmed it with no problems. Then I tried to hem a purchased T-shirt and encountered disaster. I knew the machine was clean and lubricated so that was not the problem. Yes I was using inexpensive - ok I'll admit it - rubbishy threads but that had not previously been a problem either. I tried my most expensive threads. Still terrible. Breakages, looping, uneven tension no matter what settings I tried.
I gave up and put the machine in the car to take it way across town to my favourite sewing machine man only to find he had shut up shop early on that day as business had been slow. I phoned and he said to leave it at the barber shop next door, then pick it up a few days later. I asked about the cost and was shocked at the amount he expected me to pay for what I was convinced would be a simple solution.
I packed it back to the car, in its plastic cover, through the rain feeling very sorry for myself.
Then I remembered there had been a Coverpro thread on Pattern Review. I searched and found that the salient points had been condensed into some very convenient trouble shooting articles by Nancy2001. Bless you girl, wherever you are. Coverpro guide Part 3 on PR Do you know what I had done? I had confused the stitch length knob ( the top one) with the differential feed knob (the lowest one) and thrown the differential feed out. Also the more I jiggled with the tensions the worse it became. It caused me some stress I can tell you. Then, with the right settings and good thread - problem solved. I finished my little red T- shirt made from my much used New Look 6735 pattern here, the cap sleeve version with the neck raised.

Just a note. A couple of months ago I bought a red  T-shirt from a chain store here, a cheapie for about $12 Australian. After a few washes it looked pretty ragged then it developed a hole. For about the same money I bought some medium weight cotton/lycra from Lincraft and made this. I know it will last.
I should have just made it to start with. Lesson learned.

That's why I sew. Happy blogging.