Monday, November 28, 2016

Undershirts - Hits and a Miss or Two

I mentioned a short while ago about shirt extenders - or undershirts as I like to call them.  Made from cotton jersey on top with a lace trim that hangs down beneath a top or cardi.  And I love them so I made some more . . . . want to see?

White cotton/spandex jersey with a rayon print trim.  Yep, regular fabric works just as well as lace.  I made the skirt 3" longer on most of these.

Grey cotton/spandex jersey with a brown checked fabric.  I also used some pink trim on the arm and neckline.

A 'tartan' check on grey jersey with a little bow on the neckline (shorter skirt).

Apparently this is Royal Stewart tartan.  I think that it looks very dramatic and I have matched it here with black cotton/spandex jersey and black arm and neckline trim.

Charcoal cotton/lycra jersey, charcoal lace and an organza ribbon trim.  For this version I used different lace and it frayed a bit so I edged the bottom with black organza ribbon, folded it up and sewed it to the right side.  Done.

And sometimes I add a lovely little patch on the back:

Please excuse the Merchant and Mills type photography.  The weather is pretty cold right now, and I didn't fancy lots of costume changes!  I think that you can see the details a bit better as well when the undershirts are flat.

Well - how do they look as part of garments?  Let me show you :)

Here is the Royal Stewart version with a charcoal grey McCalls 6168.  I would wear this with black Peg Legs or some Tina Givens jeans.

And it works equally well with the cardi open, a pretty necklace and a scarf.

This time a burgundy cardi and my undershirt is under a light grey linen drapey top.  Pearls and a short infinity cowl made from rayon fabric and done!

I think I will be wearing these two outfits to work next week.  I remember that Carolyn from Diary of a Sewing Fanatic used to plan out a week's worth of garments including accessories (I can't find the posts now) and they were very inspirational, and such a great idea.  No pondering what to wear in the mornings.  Bonus!

So, what were the misses?  Well, with one version I used some different black lace that I think had lycra or spandex in it.

Can you see all those little threads?  I think that they are the spandex/lycra/elastane/whatever and washing and wearing had made them degenerate.  That's a shame, but I'll take this lace off and add something else so not all is lost.

Here is the other one:

It is a little hard to capture in a photograph but the neck trim doesn't lay flat (this is one of my pet peeves).  It is a matter of lovely trim, wrong application.  It looks great on the neckline of a bra, but does not have the stretch for this jersey.  Oh well.  I'll cut this off too and add a different trim and this will work too!

I'd like to think that I am 'undershirted out', but let's be realistic - that's not going to happen!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

En Provence with Bonnie Hunter

I'm not too sure what the deal is with the end of month and writing up posts - quite often multiple ones, but it has happened again!  So much to say!  I have to admit to being a little lazy - firstly I do do a lot multiple sewing (much to my husbands' consternation!).  Why make just one top when you love the pattern so much?  Why not make three or four?  What I then forget to do is to make a note of the changes that I have made - add a bit here, lengthen this, scrap that etc.  I do keep a notebook that has measurements in for elastic lengths to use on vest tops, or sizes to cut when making little pouches which is useful, but not as useful as referring back to my notes and photos on my blog.  Time to catch up.

So, lots of sewing happening in my part of the world, and today I am going to start with another quilt that I have started.  Well actually, there are two, so get a nice steaming cup of tea, put your feet up and read on!!

Somehow I heard about a quilter called Bonnie Hunter (and I am so glad I did!) who is obsessed with scraps of fabric (in a totally good way) and thought that I'd have a go at her mystery quilt that she starts this time each year.  I think that this is the third or fourth that she has run.  She starts off with a tempting photo of her inspiration (in this case the lavender farms in Provence.  This link will only be live for a few months) and then suggests colour combinations.  Now this is pretty smart - as computers vary, she actually goes into a paint store and selects a number of paint chips to help you make choices.  I can only imagine how daft quilters must look, running into hardware stores to get their paint chips and then raiding their stashes for the appropriate fabric.  Of course you can make your own colour choices, but I am happy to be a sheep!

Very pretty indeed.  These are the main colours that will be used with lots of low volume neutrals.  The first clue came out on Friday, and involved making over 200 of these (see below) four patch squares (here is the first clue.  Bonnie has asked that folks be redirected to her blog rather than copying and pasting the details on your own blog).

So this is what I made:

I've included a couple of close ups to show some of the very lovely fabrics like cute little birds and sewing paraphernalia, 

the dragonfly above,

Delicate pink flower fabric as well as the two Christmas fabrics with firs and berries, and the stars with writing.  There are some cute little birds and fabric with sewing machines on too.

And the compass fabric with paw prints in.

So there we have it - clue one completed.  Clue two comes out next Friday . . . . . can't wait to see what we will be making next!

Have you tried mystery quilts?  I know that some folks really don't like committing time and fabric to a project where they don't know what the final item will look like, but I really like the freedom of not having to think - just instructions - use this type of fabric, cut your fabric in this manner etc., and if you look at her other quilts, they are rather lovely, so I am sure this one will be just as good.

Clue 1.  Sitting waiting . . . .

Do take a look at the progress of my fellow mystery quilters here.

Is it Friday yet?

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Layering Up

As I have said many times before, I really enjoy layering up, and this time of year is the perfect time to do just that.  This is what I wore today:

The cardigan is McCalls 6168 from a few years ago and the jeans are Tina Givens Holly Pants, that I mentioned here.  The white top is a Seamingly Smitten Draped Top and I love it!  I've made three or four of these, they are perfect under a cardi.  And the lace peaking underneath? This is my 'new best thing'!  Let me tell you a little more.  

A few months ago I was told about a website called 'Farmhouse Frocks' - lovely Lagenlook styles made by Amish ladies in Ohio.  Very much my style.  Anyway, I filed this away and promptly forgot about it until a post popped up on Facebook and I took another look.  Oh boy, what a treat!  There are a number of styles that I like the look of, especially the 'Shirt Extender' and I thought how well it would go with my wardrobe.  

For the basic body of my version I used Kwik Sew 2766 an OOP nightgown pattern.  It is quite a simple sleeveless nightgown/petticoat and I cut it mid hip length.  The pattern is designed for wovens (on the bias) and knits, I used some very soft oatmeal coloured cotton jersey and some matching cream stretch lace for the trim at the bottom.  The jersey is actually a fitted sheet that never really fit our bed, so some great re-purposing!  After making up the top I pleated it and serged the lace on the botton edge, and done1  For the neckline and armhole edging I used lingerie lace trim at 80% of the measured edge of the openings and it is lovely!

I left the bottom edge of the lace raw after cutting it with my rotary cutter so that it is nice and straight.

I have already cut out a black version and a (OK, and a couple of) white ones too!  So not only will I be warm as the weather gets cooler, but I'll also have some pretty lace peeking through my layers as well!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Gypsy Wife - Completed Flimsy

I love it.  I really, really love it.  I know one shouldn't be proud.  But I love it!  Here is the top (or flimsy) of my Gypsy Queen quilt by Jen Kingwell:

It really is a lot more vibrant that these photos indicate and I think that I have captured that in some of my 'favourite' blocks below:

This orange, brown and green block above, maybe my favourite block of all.  I reminds me of a sunflower!

All in all, it only took two weeks to sew up!  Whoosh, I don't mess about you know!  I have taken a class at my local quilt shop, and am now qualified to use their long-arm machine.  The plan is have horizontal lines running across the quilt, so I am hoping it will be quite simple for my first quilting project!  And yes.  I am hooked.  I am already one third the way through another one.  Totally different this time, a controlled background and colour scheme, here are a couple of pics.

Oh, and look what arrived in the mail yesterday from Black Rabbit Fabrics - I predict some more Peg Legs this weekend!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Peg Legs - or 'the Day I Became a Pirate'

I have really been embracing my Lagenlook/Tina Givens style and have enjoyed wearing my me-made clothes this Spring and Summer.  Being able to wear sandals/summer shoes means that I do not need to worry about socks/tights (pantyhose to my American and Canadian buddies) - although to be fair, I really detest tights.  I'm a stockings kind of girl - but have you seen have you seen any on sale recently?  They are like gold dust.

So, with Autumn and now Winter fast approaching (oh, and we had our first fall of snow last week.  Really), what is a girl to do?

I know that a lot of people make their own leggings, and I thought that may be the way to go.  I can still wear my slips, a pair of winter boots, a cardi/jacket.  Perfect.  But what leggings? I have a few patterns (Espresso, Style Arc Laura), but for some reason I wasn't feeling the love.  And then I came across Peg Legs by Patterns for Pirates.  Oh my goodness, they are fabulous!  When you get the pattern they look really weird.  They have a a very low rise at the front, and are one piece - no side seam.  They are designed to have a wide band at the waist rather than an actual elasticated waistband, so I made some up.  It turns out that if you have a similar waist/hip measurement, then this sort of design doesn't work too well (think yoga pants), and they were soon heading south, taking my knickers with them!  Other than that, they fit like a dream.

I know the pictures aren't very clear, but really, this is all about the view!  This is outside Banff Springs Hotel before going in for Sunday brunch, we really are very lucky to have this on our doorstep.

So, I played around with the pattern, worked out I needed to add 3" to the rise front and back, serged some elastic on and voila - I am all Peg-Legged now!

Here I am wearing a Tina Givens Jacqueline Slip (linen), McCalls 6168 (I've made one or two of these.  Cotton/Lycra mix) and a spiffy poppy scarf.  I have dual British and Canadian citizenship and am proud to wear poppies.

Here is a close up of another pair of Peg Legs.  You can see the lowered front rise.  I really thought that they wouldn't be comfy and not cover my tummy, but they are fab!

So if you fancy being a Pirate - try out some Peg Legs.  if you join the Facebook group there is code to get the pattern for free.  Bargain!  They do have quite a following on FB, and this is how the cool kids photograph their 'Pegs:

For you own safety it is not necessary to see my feets, so here are some hand-knitted rainbow socks instead!

Incidentally, as far as sizing is concerned, I did the old 'wrap the fabric around your body to see how much it stretches' trick and that determined the size that I cut out.  By tightening and loosening the fabric, I could get the 'look' I wanted before cutting out.  Perfect!  If you have a small hip/waist ratio, you may wish to wrap the fabric around your waist, cinch it in, and then see if you can pull it down over your hips.  If I use fabric with a different stretch, then I would do this to see if I needed to change size.

Can't stay - need to make some more Pegs!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Gypsy Wife - the Beginning!

Whilst waiting for the new patterns and fabrics to come out for the fall, I thought I'd try my hand at a bit quilting.  It really is 'big' in Canada - much more so that in the UK (where I hail from originally), and in fact the first Canadian dollars that I earned when we moved here in 2004 was from working in a quilt shop, cutting fabric.  As you can imagine, I was handing over most of my wages each month to my employer to pay for the fabric, books, notions that I had bought!

So, what to make?  I have made a couple of quilt tops, or 'flimsys' as I have heard them referred to, as a result of buying a 'class pass' from my local quilt shop and attending some classes, and now I wanted to try something different.  Somewhere on the net I saw some photos of a pattern called Gypsy Wife by Jen Kingwell.  Oh man, what a riot of colour and pattern!  And best of all?  You can use up scraps.

I bought the pattern online via Etsy from a seller in Australia - and I would thoroughly recommend her.  I did a bit of research checking pattern cost & postage, and she came out top, saving me over $20 on some of the other sellers.  Some people have written reviews about the pattern (mostly on Amazon) commenting about the content, and as long as you go into this knowing that you will NOT be held by the hand, I think most people will be fine.  And of course, thanks to the interwebs, there are lots of blog posts to help you out - and I used these two blogs that were actually a quilt-a-long.  There are some excellent documents that list the size of the different blocks in the different units - I found it very helpful.

But first, what colours?  I was tempted to do the full 'scrappy' look, but thought it wold also be fun to have some kind of colour co-ordination, so over to Design Seeds for some inspiration.  I love this blog - and if you ever need some help with colours - this is a great place to start.  After lots of mooching around, this is the photo and colours that I plumped for:

Very Mediterranean with quite a few colour choices.  Love it!  And here is my selection:

There is a real mixture here, Amy Butler, Riley Blake, Moda, Wal-Mart, Fabricland, fat quarters, jelly rolls, charms squares, and scrappy scraps!

Once the colour choices were made, it was time to play!!

The pattern book itself has you make up all the blocks - pinwheels x 6, hourglass x 2 etc., and then link them all together in their ten sections with the long strips, finally sewing the 10 sections together.  I found it easier to make one section at a time, including the strips, starting on the left (sections 9 & 10) and working towards the right (sections 1, 2 &7).  Here are my first few blocks:

Which when put together, made this sections 9, 8 and 10):

The colours are really rich and it amazing how they all seem to 'go' together.  I tried not to have two fabrics the same touching, and I wanted to have all my strips at the bottom to be different (60 in all!)

Close up you can see more detail (well, duh!)  I have NEVER made any of these blocks before, so although I would count myself as an experienced dressmaker, I am definitely a beginner quilter.  There are a couple of differences in my blocks - sometimes because I didn't read the instructions fully, and at others for aesthetic reasons - for example the blue heart below.  The pattern directs you to have more contrast/background in the middle section where the triangles are, but I wanted mine to have a more solid appearance.  So that is what I gave it!

Well, that was my first weekend's sewing.  I am absolutely thrilled with the progress.  My camera doesn't quite capture the vibrancy of the project so far.  I will work on that for the next set of photos!

And in the meantime - ooooh, new Tina Givens patterns and autumn fabrics to play with.  I really like this look by Kaliyana called the 'Anti Suit:

Watch this space!

Have you started your Autumn sewing yet?