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Showing posts from 2013

2013, the wrap up

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I've been enjoying the 2013 wrap up posts that have been popping up over the last week or so. So much to enjoy, learn from and inspire. Here's mine.

In February I  finally set up my own sewing blog, after years of lurking around the sewing blog world. I'd been blogging on my other blog, on gardening and cooking for ages, but I wasn't sure that I had the skill and workrate to underpin a sewing blog. I was also hesitant about maintaining two blogs (I was on the money there. Spades and Spoons has been rather neglected in 2013). Anyway, in the end, I decided to just do it. After all, we're not talking sheep stations here, right?

This year I sewed 6 pants, 12 tops, 6 dresses, 3 skirts, 1 jacket and 2 onesies (!). And numerous muslins that haven't resulted in anything.  Not bad, considering my slow sewing, and the fact that June, much of August and September were write-offs due to travel and illness.

My "Gold Star to Me" Award goes to....the Colette Truffle…

Fit help requested - the kimono sleeve

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Well, I'm into the next project and I've come up with a head scratcher. The pattern is Maria Denmark's Edith dress, which features a short kimono sleeve. I've pin basted the dress so far, and the stumper I have with this dress is the folds that go from armpit to shoulder. I've marked where the folds are in black. I have scoured my fit books, and the net, for ideas, but have come up empty handed, except for one comment that such folds are the nature of kimono sleeves. I've already scooped out a bit in the armhole, which has helped a bit, but not enough.
Here's the back - same sort of folds as in front.

Anyone with any wisdom to share on this? Is there anything I can do at this stage, or is this part of the deal with these sort of sleeves?

MBM - Stylish Dress Book Dress G, Swimming Costume Coverup

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Well, Christmas is over for another year, and our Christmas panned out pretty much as I outlined in the beginning of the last post. The only difference was that it was a cool, wet day in Sydney that day and we ended up eating Christmas lunch inside, and the adults didn't go for a swim. The kids did though, nothing stops them..

So we are in the midst of the best week of the year, the suspended animation week between Christmas and New Year, when there are no schedules, and the hardest decision is whether to have another mango, or keep picking at the Christmas ham  for lunch. Yep, the  best week of the year, without doubt.

Beach walks and swims are high on the agenda this week, so I practically live in my swimming costume. I've needed a cossie* coverup though, to see me to the beach, and then later to keep me decent when I nick into the bakery for a half dozen bread rolls.

Casting around for a pattern, I hit paydirt with one of my Japanese pattern books, Stylish Dress Book Volum…

MBM - Vogue 1224, Christmas dress 2013

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Since I started sewing for myself, I've made myself a Christmas dress every year. Christmas Day for our family involves heading up to my parents' place in Sydney on Christmas Eve, church, then getting up on Christmas Day morning for our traditional three P's  - presents, prosecco and panettone then seafood and salad on the back verandah for lunch with my brothers, their wives and our total of 9 kids. Then we flop in the pool.


So the dress is Vogue 1224, one of Pattern Review's patterns of 2011. The fabric came from my mother. We both bought lengths of this fabric from Pitt Trading a couple of years ago. I made my length into Burda 123-02-2008, pre-blog. The pattern review for that is here. Mum ended up giving me her length later on.  Yeah, I was a bit surprised she went for this print, it's a bit more out there than what she usually opts for. I love this print, so I was pleased to take it and put it to good use. The reds and greens, and the circle motifs give it a …

MBM - Burda 107-07-2008, Black Linen Dress

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Man alive, summer's arrived. So hot. All I want to wear are clothes that are loose, unstructured and COOL. Made in a fabric that breathes. Like linen.
I had a length of black linen that I had meant to make into pants. Except when I brought the linen home it was a little too lightweight for the pants I had in mind. That's what happens when you speed-fabric shop. Nice dress weight, though, but I only had slightly over 2 metres so options would be limited.
It didn't take too long to uncover Burda 107 from July 2008 from the stash, which fit the bill nicely. Here's the  tech drawing:

I'd made the top version of this pattern twice before, and was really happy with the shape, so it seemed perfect for the loose, casual dress I had in mind. Not much to daunt about this pattern, although the method I used to do the yoke probably isn't orthodox. It certainly bears no relation to what Burda was trying to get me to do. Even though I'd inserted an invisible zipper into …

MBM - Self drafted pants, in another Fabric of Happiness

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A few posts ago, I was remarking on how late I was to get on board the coloured pants trend. Well, here is another trend, the patterned pants one, that I am way late on. Better late than never, I suppose. I used my pants sloper to make my standard issue fly-front, contoured waistband pant. I've made these so many times now I can just about do them in my sleep I reckon. There is nothing much to say about these pants, sewing wise, so let's divert out attention to my garden, in particular the jacaranda, which is looking great at the moment! Ok, back to the sewing... The fabric is a cotton sateen I bought from Spotlight about 2 years ago. I had a dress in mind for this fabric, but I need pants, and this fabric leapt out at me. A close up of the print, which I just love. Yep.  A definite Fabric of Happiness . Another reason to be happy - I might have finally made something to go with my nearly-vintage Burda overblouse make from the mid-1980s. I blogged about this here. Haven't…

MBM - Fabrics of Happiness edition

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Not everything I sew makes it on to this blog.

First up, the disasters don't make it. Fortunately, these don't occur as frequently as they used to.
Second, Í haven't posted home dec projects because they haven't seemed that interesting.
Another category is clothes for my daughter. Sometimes she is amenable to having photos taken, sometimes not. I don't force the issue. After all, it's not her choice to have her photos in the blogosphere wearing clothes made by her mum. Funnily enough, exchanging photos on Instagram with her friends is never a problem.
Lastly, there are patterns that are pretty basic to begin with. In this category is the Tessuti Mandy Boat Neck Tee and the Grainline Studio Scout Woven Tee. Both involve a back, front and sleeves. Basic. I can't find that much of interest to say about them. But here are my latest versions, included on the blog just because the fabrics make me happy.

First up, the Tessuti Mandy Boat Neck Tee


I'm pleasantl…

MBM - Vogue 1357, Rachel Comey skirt

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A few months ago, I hauled out this avocado green sateen from the stash, which I liked so much when I bought it from Tessuti that  I bought it not just once, but twice. I wish I  hadn't banished this fabric to the stash for so long. I made the first length into a pair of pants, blogged here. I've found this colour green so useful with just about all my tops, that I was keen to crack on with a skirt. Last month, Spotlight had the $5 sale on Vogues. This to my knowledge has never happened before, so yep, I stocked up on Vogue patterns, including this one, Vogue 1357. I bought Rachel Comey design for the skirt. I thought the top might be nice for my daughter, but when I showed it to she gave me a look that said "Why do you think I would ever wear anything remotely like that?" Let's just say our tastes  in what makes a desirable garment for a teenager is very different. I took the hint. Maybe one day. I like this skirt mainly for the yoke. I like yoked skirts, becau…

MBM - Burda 2561, Red Linen Blouse

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Last week, I suddenly decided that what my wardrobe lacked was simple, semi fitted button-up (or button-down, if you are from the US) shirts. And because I could, I decided to make one there and then. I used Burda 2561. I notice on Pattern Review this pattern has been around since 2002. I bought this pattern in 2008, but it has languished in the stash. Nearly 2014, and Spotlight today I noticed this pattern is still in the catalogue, albeit with new photos. Why not? It is a simple blouse, with a self facing buttonhole placket, a simple collar and no cuffs to worry about. Straightforward and classic as it gets, I reckon it would be a pretty good starting point if you have a penchant for fiddling around with patternmaking. I'm pretty happy with the fit I achieved on this blouse. I did a 1cm FBA  after I had relocated the bust darts. I also added a centre back seam to help with the back fit. I added width to the sleeves around the biceps, and as usual cut this sleeve on the bias. I …

MBM - Self drafted pants...and it rains!

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How old is the coloured pants trend? Two, maybe three years? You might call me late adopter,  but I reckon I'm so behind on this one that I could be considered an "innovator" for the next time this trend comes around. At least that's what I tell myself...


You would think that possession of a pants sloper would absolve you from all worries to do with pants fit forever. You would be wrong. So it was with these pants.
I made these pants using my sloper prior to going on our holiday. I'd even muslined them, because the sloper was getting on for four years old and I was experimenting with a slimmer leg width.
Once I got round to sewing, everything went ticketty-boo. I even made my first welt pocket on this project, and was mightily pleased with it.

Yes, as I came to complete these, I was one happy sewist. I'd used a length of cotton sateen I bought from Tessuti long ago, so it ticked the stashbust box. It went with a lot of my existing tops (I'm wearing it h…

MBM - StyleARC Billie Top

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In my pattern book stash, I have a few Japanese pattern books, including the first volume of Drape Drape. Despite being attracted to the draping aesthetic, I haven't ventured to make anything from Drape Drape. This is mainly because I'm too lazy to get my head around grading the unusual pattern pieces. Sadly, the largest size in this book is too small for me. So the StyleARC Billie top interested me because it combined the drapey look with my size. The blurb from StyleARC says you will be intrigued by this pattern. That's true. It has one pattern piece, apart from facings, and only two seams at the right shoulder, and down the right side. The left hand side drapes around your body, with a hole formed for the left armhole. There is nothing difficult about putting this pattern together, although you need to carefully note where you need to make your seams. I'm guessing a few mistakes could be made here. The only thing I'm not crazy about are the facings. I'm not…

Fabric shopping - Vietnam and Cambodia

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Yes, it's been a while...
Since the last instalment I've:
Made another muslin for a dress to wear to my school reunion, Vogue 8805.Gotten sick with a knock-me-down, drag-me-out flu. Days in bed. I can't remember spending days in bed for illness, ever. And then about two weeks of feeling less than great.Failed to make Vogue 8805 for the school reunion, on account of item (2) above. I did go to the reunion, despite fighting off the flu, and I wore my black Peony dress instead (funnily I estimate about 50% of attendees went the little black dress route too!)Prepared to go on holiday. For some strange reason, around here this means not only packing, stopping mail, last minute arrangements etc but doing odd jobs and garden chores, that have been put off like, forever. Went on holiday to Vietnam and Cambodia. We had a more-than-excellent time.In amongst the items above, I got a bit of sewing done, but because of all the above, haven't got around to photographing and blogging …

MBM - Tessuti Mandy Boat Neck Tee, and lost in muslins

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Gads, it's been a  frustrating few weeks in the sewing room around here. It's been productive, but unproductive, if you know what I mean. I have two competing events demanding my sewing attention - an upcoming high school reunion, and a trip at the end of September to Vietnam and Cambodia. And I've been lost in muslins trying to get myself organised.
First, I thought I'd muslin the Colette Laurel pattern, with the idea of cooking up some kind of colour blocked version for the reunion, using the fabric left over from my two Peonies. So I muslined it. I don't know if it was because I muslined it in Spotlight Trace and Toile (I'm thinking it's their version of Swedish Tracing Paper, maybe) or because I added a good six inches to the length to bring it to my knee, but as soon as I put on the muslin, I realised I had arrived in frumpytown. The trace and toile does not drape at all so it added width, width, width. The high neckline did not look good. And I was h…

Meet the Stash

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It started out as a mere wish to rid my sewing room of the fluff outfall of making two onesies. It ended up by being a wholesale sewing room clean-out, including dragging out and reorganising the stash.

This is my stash, organised by colour. If you had asked me before I did this, I would have said my stash was small. Well, although it is not a huge stash, it is by no means as small as I had imagined.

So what do we have? Quite a lot of reds, oranges and pinks. A sizeable amount of beige, taupe and brown. Hardly any blues, besides some denim. Greens that I've had in the stash since I started sewing and really should sew. More whites and creams than I thought. One purple. Next to no black and  no grey, and given I like it so much, it is surprising I have no yellows at all.

The stash is very short on knits at the moment. And blouse weights. And yellow. I need yellow in my life.  So these are the holes I'd like to plug in the coming months.

I put the stash back into it's four p…

MBM - Kwik Sew 2175 - Onesies, continued

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So we go from the ridiculous in the previous post to the ludicrous. Introducing my 6'1" 15 year old son in his Mum-Made onesie, the first item of clothing I have made for him since he was about 18 months old. And apart from the dimensions, not all that different.
He chose the fabric. Unlike his sister, he didn't have a problem with animal prints. If was ready for him in time to take to his friend's place when he stayed there the other night.

In yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald,  this article about onesie-mania appeared (I'd link to it, but the SMH now has a paywall). In the writer's opinion, "onesies scream social equity. They might eradicate dignity, but they also eradicate status. They're gender neutral (Quite. I used  a "Misses" pattern to make my son's onesie. I won't tell him if you don't), comfortable, practical and inexpensive." Mmm. Maybe. To me, they're is something a bit squirmy about adults, even young …