Sunday, 22 December 2013

Green Pants Plan B

Well as you may know I was planning on using M6361 and this green cotton spandex to make  view A.

This pattern calls itself  " the 2 hour pants". Well after 2 hours of grappling with my traced pattern pieces, I still hadn't managed to make much headway. Maybe I'm awkward, maybe fitting pants pieces on yourself is an awkward thing to do. Who knows. All I know is that 2 hours later I still had no idea what adjustments I needed to make nor how to make them or frankly, even where to begin really.

The green pants were looking unlikely to happen.

And then this arrived

It is the Plus Size Pattern Pyramid which I was very fortunate to win from the lovely Chris Lucas.

And this was inside

So the green pants (Plan B) are a go.

Wish me luck!

Has anyone else tried M6361? Was it just me? Should I give it another go?

Monday, 16 December 2013

A quick, satisfying make NOT!!!

It was supposed to be a quick satisfying make while I worked up the nerve to start on my green pants. You know, a simple pattern - should be able to knock it together in a couple of hours. Well that isn't quite what happened.

It started with this

How hard can it be - it only has two pattern pieces.
I chose size XL based on these measurements and finished garment size;

Bust 112 (mine is 114) Garment 123
Waist 94 (mine is 103) Garment 123
Hip 117 (mine is 113)   Garment 128

Problem number one was that I am still getting familiar with exactly how a certain amount of ease translates into a finished garment. Just what does 5cm or 10cm extra look like?

Well let me tell you I now know that this is enormous. I basically took it into a size L and there is still plenty of room. Especially given that my bust is 12cm larger, my waist is 13cm larger and my hips are 6cm larger than the pattern size.

And the fabric has no stretch whatsoever - because it is cheap (and I don't mean inexpensive) rich, red satin. Fortunately it was inexpensive as well at only $1/mtr - even I was surprised by that. And it is a gorgeous colour - just the thing for a party top. Although more dark red that it looks here - no amount of colour manipulation helped.

Great, isn't it? And well it should be since it took 3 days to make. And why was that? Well after the sizing debacle we then had the great bias binding disaster. I tried to make my own for the first time ever. However, this fabric did not press. At. All. But it did fray fabulously. So I ended up with manically fraying, getting smaller by the second, completely flat with no creases at all, bias binding. Ok, so we aren't using it after all.

I thought about facings. But I have a gorgeous powder blue silk satin blouse that I had made at a tailor that has the front facing hand stitched down. They did a great job and only caught one thread with each stitch (I know, I checked) and every time I put it on those hand stitches are the ONLY thing I can see. So no facings aren't going to work either.

So I'll make bands (for want of a better word) and handstitch them. The sleeves went together beautifully, no problem.

Now I knew the neck would stand up a bit like a collar but I did it anyway and then threaded elastic through it and I really like how it turned out.

And that just left the hem, which I ended up handstitching two and a half times!! Originally I made a 10cm band with the intention that it would look like a design feature rather then a "thing stuck on the bottom" as MrH described it. (Obviously design feature fail). So then I reduced it to the finished size you see here.

 So why all the restitching? The first time I got half way round and realised that I hadn't eased it or had twisted it or something. Anyway it was off. So I redid it. That was at the original large size. So then I had to redo it again when I made it smaller.

The funny thing was that I actually kind of enjoyed the hand sewing, which was a bit of a revelation and should be useful to know in future.

So here is my finished party top after all my labours....

Oh, but it looks lovely - why did she say it was cheap satin? Because of this

This fault just appeared, all on its own, ages after I had finished everything except the hem. That is, I wasn't sewing anywhere near the shoulder. Lucky it is at the back and I have long hair.

Ever had a quick make turn into a nightmare? Spent hours only to discover a flaw in the fabric? Tell me I'm not the only one, please?

Sunday, 15 December 2013

RTW Fast

Have you seen Sarah's gorgeous blog Goodbye Valentino? If this doesn't inspire you, nothing will.

So I am joining Sarah's RTW fast which basically means no clothes shopping, although you are allowed to buy shoes, socks and underwear thank heavens.

I don't buy many shoes. I spend half my life barefoot anyway as it is customary in Thailand to take your shoes off inside homes and since the lifestyle is casual, and the climate is warm, the rest of the time is just sandals. This does mean that I do often get pedicures however, so I spend way more on them than on shoes.

I do however buy underwear (you'll be pleased to hear:) But buying size 80F (36F) is also not easy here (or anywhere I suspect) so I would one day like to sew my own but that day is still a long way off.

Since I sincerely can't remember the last item of clothing I bought anyway - no seriously, I have been sitting here racking my brain and really can't remember - I'm hoping it should be quite achievable.

Wish me luck and if you want to join check out Sarah's blog.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Sew Green December

As you no doubt already know the sewcialists host themed monthly challenges. They did Sew Red October and then Grunge November and now.....

So I am planning to make something with these green lovelies

The dark green cotton/spandex on the left will become close fitting pants. (yeah first pants I've sewn in 30 years). The middle fabric is gorgeous border print linen and will become a Christmas Day dress (not sure which pattern yet) while the eyelet fabric is destined to become a cool comfy top for our annual end of year raft trip on Kiew Lom dam.

Gee, raft trip sounds so outdoorsy and active. In reality it is a very large raft with 30-40 people, lots of good food, beer and wine. Don't worry I'll post pictures and all will be clear (after Dec 28 which is day of raft trip).

So are you a sewcialist? Any plans for Sew Green December?

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

How lucky am I???

Recently I posted a quick reminder about the 3 Plus Size Pattern Pyramids doing the rounds. Well guess what? I won. All. of. them.
Plus sized Pattern Pyramid

Yes, I won all 3. (Even though Mr H assures me that that is statistically speaking impossible.) I joked about buying a lottery ticket but how much luck can one person expect?

In the interests of spreading the joy (and really that many patterns would be truly overwhelming) I have accepted the one from Chris and asked Alison and Bea to do a redraw.

Thank you very much ladies!

Make a Garment a Month December plans

Since it is technically 'winter' here... oh come on it was like 20 degrees (celcius) last night... that's cold, isn't it?

Alright, since it is 'cool' season here, it is time to tackle pants! This is what I'm planning

(Sorry for the crappy picture but batteries are almost done.....)

I bought this fabulous cotton/spandex at my favourite Chiang Mai fabric store (Narin Fabric Supermarket, in case you're interested) for about $4/metre and it's 150cm wide.

And my wonderful sister popped along to the recent Spotlight sale and picked me up 5 patterns for $10. This is one of them and I didn't even realise at the time that it was a Palmer/Pletsch fitting pattern, which I now hope will help with the fit. I am going to make view A, long close fitting pants.

I hope to move the fly zip to a side zip. I've always found side zips pants to be a good fit and they don't add any extra bulk or detail to the front (which I definitely don't need).

So that's one plan for December. There are several more, including a Christmas day dress, which I'll post more about soon.

And since the pants are green they also count towards the Sewcialists  Sew Green December. (You can also follow them on twitter) two birds, one stone - love it!

So what are you sewing in December?

Monday, 25 November 2013

Plus size pattern pyramid

There are not one, not even two but yes, three plus size pattern pyramids happening at the moment.

Check them out and enter to win!

Bea's sewing adventures

Sewing with cats

Chris Lucas

Good luck!

Friday, 22 November 2013

Complete Make a Garment a Month November

Well I have a day dress. I've only ever had one day dress before so this is a new experience for me. And while it isn't perfect, I like it. Unfortunately, I don't have any good photos of completed dress:).

So here it is

Looking at the photos, I actually think it may be a little big. I am sooo afraid of making things too small that I think I err on the side of making them too big. What do you think? Too big?

I cut a straight size 18 but I increased the size of the neckline, which also meant I didn't need any kind of closure (although that wasn't why I did it). And I won't do it the same again. I will still increase the neckline slightly but not this much. I also think it has affected the hang of the dress plus it has reduced the visual impact of the upper bodice pieces which in turn affects the proportions of the colour block. Especially since I added the extra length (sorry can't remember exactly how much) to the lower piece. I should have spread the increase proportionally over all pieces. This will also lower the bust darts, which it needs.

It has a CB seam from the original maxi skirt I used. I had wanted to make the 'stripe' of the fabric vertical but there was a faded fold mark in all the wrong places. Hence, keeping the CB seam which also has a tendency to buckle a bit because it is quite thick.

I also think the colour choice for the lower piece is wrong. Either a darker grey or a dark blue would have been better I think. It would have anchored the bottom better.

I also did a completely incorrect forward shoulder adjustment. Instead of starting it at the seam line, I started it at the fabric edge. This completely threw it out.

But it is really well finished (which I of course didn't photograph). It has flat felled seams everywhere.

So adjustments I made;

  • Shorten bust dart (2cm)
  • Increase neckline size (about 1.5cm at shoulder to 3cm at front)
  • Forward shoulder adjustment (2cm)
  • Increased length

What I will do next time;

  • Increase neckline but not as much (1.5cm all round)
  • Correct forward shoulder adjustment
  • Increase length on all pieces (this will also lower bust dart)

And maybe if I'm feeling brave I'll cut a size 16 instead, which of course will probably then need a different set of adjustments.

I am actually in the process of making another one already but this one is for my sister. She chose this fabric

(fabric available here)

Instead of contrasting colours, I am going to run the 'stripes' horizontally on the upper bodice and lower panel, with verticle 'stripes' on the middle piece. 

So what are your thought on the dress? Too big? 

Monday, 18 November 2013

Make a garment a month muslin complete

Well I finally got photos but they're still not pretty I'm afraid. As this is a muslin, albeit a very wearable muslin, I made a shorter version. I used the upper and middle pieces and just left off the lower piece.

Sorry, I told you the pics aren't good. I have in fact worn this out twice but always at night and hence no pics. However, on both occasions I was really comfy wearing it and received many compliments.

I used an old (maybe 15 years old) wrap around skirt and a remnant of black cotton. Of course black is notoriously difficult to photograph, but here are some detail shots nonetheless.

Flat felled seams - everywhere. I figure if you're going to have topstitching, you may as well....

Since this has some Asian influence in the Thai silk fabric, I decided to use a Chinese knot instead of a hook and eye.

Again apologies for the crap photos.

So how does it fit? What needs fixed?

Well, the first problem is even deciding which pattern size to use. If I had used my bust size it would have been a size 24 and then a D cup. This would have been enormous. It would give me something like 25cm of ease! So I used my upper bust instead and made the 18 with D cup. I also graded out to a 20 on the front only, based on the listed finished garment size. This was totally unnecessary.

So for the dress version, I will cut a straight 18. However, I will probably lower the neckline - it really is quite high. And I think I'm going to try my first ever forward shoulder adjustment.

So how are you all going with your challenge garments?

Monday, 11 November 2013

Fabric shopping in Chiang Mai

So on Friday I was in Chiang Mai to visit some friends and just had to sneak in little fabric shopping. And I found a new shop which has great printed northern Thai cottons. I'm going to be going back there for sure.

The first is a great geometric print

And the second has stripes and spots because the stripes are made of spots

Both of these will also be made into V8805

One will be for my sister and one for me. Don't know which yet, I'm letting my sister choose first. I'm nice like that sometimes:)

So now back to my original V8805 dress. I made a wearable muslin tunic version which I wore on Friday night and was very pleased with it. No photos yet but I'll post about it soon.

If you like the fabrics you can find them here in my etsy shop.

Here's to a productive sewing week for everyone....

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Make a garment a month November plans

Apparently I missed the party the first time round (I wasn't sewing then) but better late then never... I am making Vogue 8805

and I'm making it in this (these)...

The contrasting solids are just cheap ($2.50/m) cotton from my local fabric shop. The main fabric is locally made Thai cotton which is actually a maxi skirt. i.e. a tube of fabric with one seam up the back. I have had it for years so I can't remember where I got it (probably Chaing Mai night bazaar) or what I paid for it (probably about $10).

You can find similar(ish) Thai cottons here in my etsy shop. Have a browse, maybe you'll find something you like.

I also plan to use #makeagarmentamonth on social media so why don't you too, then we can all follow along on Twitter or Instagram or both.

Lots of other plans brewing (that may involve a yellow skirt) but more on that later.

Here's to a productive month everyone.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Shopping Notion

So I went shopping...

I am most impressed with the bias maker and hemmer foot - although I don't think the Thai language instructions are going to be very helpful for the hemmer foot - thank heaven for the blogosphere!

And I have no idea why I bought those buttons. They were to cute to pass up but I cannot imagine them on a garment - ideas anyone?

And since it's Sunday, a gratuitous gorgeous cat photo... Koshka telling me it's time to stop sewing and feed him keeping me company.

Hope you've had/are having a great sewing weekend.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Make a Garment a Month Challenge

Well as you may know from an earlier post, things did not go according to plan. Do they ever? However, I do have a completed garment (and still have hopes for another before the month is out). So here it is..

What should have been a quick, simple make turned much more complicated due to my own stupidity. This simple top was inspired by this tutorial. I intended doing this right with either French or flat felled seams and everything. I started off well enough, I increased the measurements to allow for a woven fabric rather than a knit. And then I forgot to add seam allowances!!!!

So a bit of trickery was called for. I sewed the shoulders using the absolutely smallest seam allowance I could manage and then I used bias binding (where would we be without it?) to enclose the raw edges in a kind of imitation flat felled seam. That's what you can see here in the shoulder seams.

Don't worry the puckering pressed right out.

So far so good, although this fabric 'grew' at a startling rate. This is how much longer it was having only sewn the shoulder seams (and yes, I did check against the pattern and they were both cut the same length).

And as you can see it also frayed like you wouldn't believe.

So that first fix was fine for the shoulder seams but was not going to give me enough extra room for a comfortable fit around the waist and hips. So I added  godets extra bits of fabric. Basically I just worked out how much more room I needed and then tapered it to nothing at the underarm. I don't actually have a pic which shows it clearly but you can just see it here.

Again I realise it all looks a little puckered under the arm but that is because I am standing awkwardly.

So I did manage to save what could have been a disaster, which I am pleased with, but it would have been so much simpler to have just not fucked it up to begin with.

 And yes the neckline did stretch out because of course I forgot to staystitch it. But I can live with it.

I know I am going to be making more garments with similar fabric just because I love it. It is woven by members of a hilltribe community near the Burmese border. I bought this in Mae Sariang a few years ago and had a jacket made from it (by a tailor) and this was the leftover remnant. Photos don't do it justice as the colours are very rich and change according to the light.

Oh and I just used a cheap cotton for the back in purple because (although you can't really tell here) the darkest colour in the print fabric is actually a very dark purple, not black.

I have worn this already and it is really comfortable so I'll count that as a win.

How are you going with your Make a Garment a Month garment?

Monday, 21 October 2013

A little perspective...

So I was all ready to start on a rub off pattern from a RTW blouse this morning. However, this is what my drafting/cutting table looks like this morning

Yes, that is the large (very large) bamboo reflected in the water on the table. Yes it's pissing it down here. Yes my table is outside.

Just a couple more bamboo and rain pictures

Now for a nanosecond I was disappointed by this - no using that table today. However, almost instantly I thought of NSW and the Blue Mountains in particular and those truly devastating bushfires. Oh how I wish I could send this rain to them. Suddenly my completely trivial, minor inconvenience was put into perspective.

Sending all positive thoughts to everyone affected by the bushfires and also a big shoutout to all the amazing volunteer firefighters. I once had the honor of working with some of these people (in their day jobs. I'm way to wussy to contemplate doing anything that brave) and they are truly remarkable people.

Be safe everyone.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Make a Garment a Month

Hi all (warning this a long read and not a lot of fun)

I really hope your sewing (for this challenge or anything else) is going better than mine. You may remember that I am making the Danielle from Burdastyle. Well, I was..

After several tissue fittings and two bodice muslins (muslin bodices?) I am conceding defeat. Well, momentary defeat. I definitely intend revisiting this in the future.

I have realised that the basic problem is that the pattern is just too small. In the front anyway - the back is great. Now I know that I could grade the pattern up - I have even read several tutorials on this. But grading it up plus adding an FBA, forward shoulder adjustment, respacing the under bust darts, etc, etc is just too difficult at this stage of my sewing journey. I really need to start with something that is a closer fit and tweak it.

I have also read  (and reread several times) this post on a Fashionable Stitch. This really resonated with me because I cannot buy patterns locally (I have never seen one here) and compared to the price of fabric here (or tailors for that matter) patterns are expensive and then of course there is the wait for them to arrive. But now I am looking at them in a slightly different light so I am happy to make the investment in some good basic patterns. So I am currently looking at the Amazing Fit range from Simplicity and now just have to choose one. So that will be my garment for next month.

"But what about this month?" I hear you ask. Never fear, I have already finished one blouse and will do a proper post on it shortly when I get some decent photos. But here is a sneak peek.

I also really want to buy the Scout woven tee from Grainline. However, I am concerned about the sizing. The largest size is too small in the bust (by 2"). Will an FBA fix this? Has anyone done one before? Am I going down a familiar path of starting with a pattern that basically doesn't fit?

I am looking for a basic blouse pattern that I can then modify in the future. I am a very apple shape - my back waist is a full 15cm smaller than my front waist. Weird I know, but I have recently recovered from a long illness (4 years long) the cure of which involved taking steroids. This has resulted in the "potatoes on toothpicks" (Really that is what they call it) body shape often associated with taking steroids long term. There are many patterns that I love (Anna by By Hand London for example) that I just can't see working because of my belly (which also starts just under my bust).

So do you have any suggestions? Any and all suggestions would be very welcome.

And thanks for listening to what has basically turned into a whinge.....

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

How did I not know that???

I managed to get my hands on some sewing books recently, one of which is

Now I actually haven't gotten very far into it because I am still reeling from this tip in the Sewing Equipment section

How did I not know that my tape measure was standard seam allowance width? (And yes, I did measure it to check). I know I'm just getting back into this sewing lark but surely I should have  remembered this (if I ever knew it).

Am I the only one that didn't know this? Is this the best kept secret in the sewiverse or am I just woefully ignorant? What else don't I know? (that apparently everyone else does) 

Did you realise/learn/discover something and think "How did I not know that?" Please save me from further embarrassment needless difficulties by sharing your sewiverse secrets in the comments below.

Thanks very much.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Some bloglovin tidying up

<a href="">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Please note the new address - there is a reason behind which will become obvious in the fullness of time i.e. I'll tell you all shortly!

The bloglovin button will connect the new blog.

Sorry for any inconvenience

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

I nearly forgot...

Well obviously I did actually forget to say hi to my 4 followers. Unfortunately Bloglovin only sent a notification once so I don't actually know who you are. I will sort this out but you'll have to be patient since I'm new to this.

It is quite surreal (and more than a little nerve wracking, but I'm ignoring that) to think that this might actually be being read by others (who are not my Mum and sister).

So thanks very much and I hope that you sometimes find something worth reading.

Make a garment a month challenge

Wow, my first ever challenge and just to make it even more challenging it will be my first completely me-made garment in nearly 30 years. (The sort of sorbetto doesn't count and is already back on the cutting table).

And if that wasn't enough, I am also going to make the Danielle dress from Burdastyle.

I must admit that I have looked at this pattern many times and felt very ambivalent about it. But I kept going back to it - probably because it is remarkably similar to the only dress I have owned in the last 20 years (I'm more of a separates girl obviously) and I did like that dress, a lot. I kept thinking, the right fabric, the right sleeves (because it was never going to happen as per the pattern) it could work.

And then I saw this by Deby at Sew so easy and I was convinced. It is hard to believe it is the same dress.

So I decided the pattern was a go and then I also found this

And no it isn't a great border print, it is a printing error. But it has created a great border effect and coincidentally in the right proportions for a light bodice, dark skirt ending in the light border. And because it is a defect I got it for $1 pm. So I don't have to worry about ruining great (or expensive) fabric and I bought the whole 4 metres so I have some extra to play with.

So the fabric is pre-washed and ready to go. For the first time ever- I didn't even know you were supposed to do this until recently. (In my defence, last time I was sewing they had barely invented the computer, let alone the internet.)

I have downloaded and taped and cut the pattern pieces. So now there is just the small thing of an FBA on this bodice - my first ever FBA, I might add. Should be interesting....

Thank you so much Sarah Liz for organising/coordinating this challenge. It is just the incentive I need to make a well-fitted, well-finished dress. Yay!!

I look forward to seeing what everyone else is up to.

Friday, 27 September 2013

First time failure

Well after weeks of refashioning, to get back into the swing of sewing, I finally made my first complete garment. Unfortunately it didn't go so well...

I made a sort of Sorbetto by Collette patterns - sort of because I took out the front pleat (I have two other tops with front pleats) and extended the shoulder because I'm not fond of sleeveless. This is a great little top with fabulous versions all over the blogosphere. Unfortunately, this is not one of them. I should hasten to add this has nothing to do with the pattern or instructions and everything to do with the fit on me. See what I mean?

Actually that picture doesn't do it justice. It is actually much worse...

Although to be fair I think some of those back wrinkles are from how I'm standing. But still there are obviously issues.

I made a size 18 based on my bust measurement. However, after much reading around I think that maybe I should have made a 14 with an FBA. So I am now doing extensive research into FBAs starting with this excellent tutorial  from Alison at i could make that! I'll let you know how I get on.....

Monday, 16 September 2013

Well it's certainly not white and boring

I was prompted to post this by Kristy's earlier post here. I recently bought a machine after nearly 30 years without one (best thing I've done in ages).

Many commenters noted that modern machines are all white and boring - well not if you live in Asia!

Happy sewing.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

So why Sew sew hot (updated)

A little explanation of the title might be in order. It is hot here ... all the time. Well technically there is a cool season but the temp still doesn't often drop below thirty. So as much as I love jackets and I really love reading about other people making them (and lots of other lovely warm and snuggly makes) there won't be any of that here. There will be lots of cotton and cool and comfortable.

Are you a hot climate sewing blogger? Please leave a link in the comments so that I can follow you.

This will be the last intro post, I promise. From now on it will be all about the sewing and will include photos because we all know they are the best bit incredibly informative.

Updated 1/10

I have been inspired by my sewing machine (and not having ever been inspired by the original blog title) and so have changed the blog title to Creating my own happiness...

See the post Not so white and boring for the source of inspiration. Let's hope it continues to inspire (but more in a sewing kind of way).

Claiming my blog on Bloglovin

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So I have lurked for a while and now it's time to leap in.

I haven't sown for nearly 30 years but am really enjoying getting back into it. I have been tremendously inspired by so many wonderful bloggers  and by the generosity and kindness I have witnessed while lurking. Basically I want to be a part of the truly lovely sewing blogosphere. So I promise to do my part and to start participating and commenting not just admiring you all from afar. Let the fun begin!