Thursday, May 17, 2018

Shoes, Shoes and more shoes.

So its shoe sewing time again.  It's always about this time of year that I decide I need some new shoes for the season - Well I suppose it's to be expected I mean these shoes really don't hold up all that well - one season is all that I can get out of them.

So anyway I spent some time recently making three different pairs of shoes. I went looking through my old shoe patterns and couldn't find the one I was looking for - the basic ballet flat - I know I threw out a couple of versions of shoe patterns a while ago, but I didn't think these were one of the ones I chucked, but they must have been.

OK so it was back to the drawing board.  I drafted  a new pattern and made a muslin.  I wore the muslin (without any sole or finishing) for a day to see how they went and decided I needed them to be a bit more cut out  at the top.  So I cut them down, then took them apart to make a new pattern and made a second pair.



These were made out of a basic quilting cotton, with two layers of craft foam inside the bottom.  I tried putting some clear elastic inside the shoe around the top to keep them on more but I didn't get it tight enough, so rather than taken them all apart I just added some decorative FOE around the top.



I wore them like that for a day to check the fit and when I was happy enough with them I finished them off by gluing some of my 1mm thick soling material to the bottom.



I really like these, they're comfortable and cute, but possibly a bit too thin in the sole region.  Great for running around in the backyard, but not so good for standing on burning hot concrete or walking rocky paths.

It looks like I need to go back and trim down that left hand sole it's hanging off a bit.





 I then moved on to make a pair of more covered shoes.  I still had the pattern I used for these shoes that I loved so I went straight to my real material.  I decided to use some off cuts from some handbags that I had lying around.  A grey embossed vinyl sort of material (its certainly not real leather) for the toes.


A green leather for the sides and a light blue leather for the heel.



 I lined the inside of it with grey suede


and finished them off with a rubber material that I bought last year.



I'm not happy with these at all.  The heels are way too low and the shoes are over all too tight - I'm guessing it's just that there is less stretch in these materials than in the original denim shoes.  I will still wear them, but they're not great.






 The final pair was using the ballet flat pattern again.  This time I used some kid leather off cuts I had lying around.  A teal blue overlaid with some cream at the toes and heels.  I laid the cream over the toe and basted it onto the teal leather and then ran three lines of stitching straight across and cut out one of the cream pieces in between leaving a smaller section on the toe and then a strip across the ball.





Again in order to keep them more securely on my feet I added some decorative FOE around the top of the heel.



This time I did the right thing and waited for some real sole materials to arrive.  I bought this 4.5mm thick rubber sole material off etsy.  Thankfully it arrived within two days and I could finish these off.


I have to say I love this sole material.  It works so much better than the store bought rubber and makes the shoes look much more "real".  I will definitely be buying more of this.  I only bought one sheet to start with just to try it out.   I will be able to get a second pair of shoes out of this sheet, but then I'll have to go back and get some more - probably in black this time.







So this final pair of shoes is definitely the best, but I think I can do a little bit better even.  They're a bit....podgy....around the heel and I think that I want to cut out the front a little further.

I have another couple of pairs of shoes in mind that I will hopefully make soon.  stay tuned!

Monday, May 14, 2018

Feather Dress






I found this fabric at the end of last season and had to have it.  As a general rule I don't like fabrics with a light background, but it seems every fabric that I love recently comes on a light beige background. With this fabric I loved the feathers and all the colours so I figured for $1.99/yard I wasn't going to worry and bought myself a full 3 yards knowing I wanted this to be a dress.

   I wanted the dress to cover my shoulders and have a full skirt and a band around my waist so I started with my dolman sleeve knit shirt pattern that I used here, here and here, cut the "skirt" of the shirt 5" wide for the band and then cut a full circle skirt to knee length.


The whole thing came together really quickly.  I faced the neckline and turned the sleeves under once and left the bottom edge raw.  I tried it on and wasn't wowed....the band just didn't work.  So I took the skirt off and cut 2" off the band. Put the skirt back on and it's much better now.  I also added some fold over elastic to the lower band seam allowance just to hold up the weight of the skirt a bit.



The thing is I don't love the dress on me, something just seems slightly off with it.  I think there is a proportion issue as I know I  love this top as a top, but for some reason here it just makes me look really top heavy and wide.



Still got to love the drama of the skirt - I do think in general this dress looks a lot better with a little bit of movement.




Overall - whilst it will get worn plenty I'm sure - its certainly comfortable enough it's not going to be one of my "favourite ever" pieces.



Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Blue Linen Pants

OK so the first of the summer sewing has finally started.  I'm not the sort of person who can look ahead and make things early.  Until it starts warming up I can't start making warm weather clothes.  I need to be able to wear what I make straight away.



So anyway my first warm weather make this year is a pair of light weight linen pants.  I've been wanting these since the end of last summer - even had the material in my stash.  It s a beautiful linen in a light blue.

But it's a good lesson in how material can really affect the way a pattern fits.

I used my basic pants pattern that I've been working on forever now.  All my winter pants that I've made out of this pattern have been great, no fitting issues as all, so I just went straight ahead and made these pants without any modifications. Unfortunately something is slightly off.  They fit fine if I'm standing still, but as soon as I move the bunch up in the front and pull down in the back.  It's really annoying.  I was soo looking forward to these pants.

But anyway a couple of features of these pants.  The back pockets were made extra long and cut off at and angle.  The extra length was then turned down and the whole pocket was top stitched onto the pants so that the angle makes a faux flap - I really like how this worked out.


In fact the fit of these pants at the back is spot on.  I have that down pat now.  I just have to work on the front.

The front pockets I made quite square this time and possibly a little bit too small, They're a bit awkward to get my hands into.  Also, I had to top stitch the bags in place to get them to stay where I wanted.  I didn't do a front fly - I never use them anyway - and just used elastic in the waistband.  It's more comfortable that way and really who cares!


Obviously, being linen the pants are in dire need of a press after being worn all morning.

I've still been wearing them, but I'm just a touch annoyed that they're not perfect.  Now I've got to figure out what the problem is and how I can fix them before I start making shorts for the season.




Sunday, May 6, 2018

A Larissa/Jasper Mash Up

A few weeks ago I made a muslin of the Larissa jacket.  Whilst I liked it, it had a few issues, mainly the fit across the front and the length.  Whilst I do like the length of that jacket for the jumper I was envisioning it needed to be longer.

So I took my Larissa pattern and then grabbed my Jasper sweater pattern that I really like the fit of and laid all the pieces out on my dining room table for a comparison.

I then started creating a new pattern which took the bests of both parts of these patterns with a few self drafted bits thrown in for good measure.




  • The back piece is basically the jasper, but with the bottom cut to the curve of the Larissa and some extra length up top from the Larissa. (The Larissa moves the shoulder seam forward a bit which I like and wanted to keep)
  • The side piece is taken directly from the Jasper - It had much more shaping than the Larissa allowing for a better fit.
  • The front piece is Jasper with some length taken out at top, and then cut at the angles of the Larissa to get the asymmetrical zipper.  The neckline is from Larissa with a slight modification to make it more V necked.
  • Neither the Jasper or Larissa sleeve seemed to work with all my other modifications so I redrafted the sleeve head from scratch and used the two piece Larissa sleeve from there down.
  • I used all the little accessory pieces from Larissa, the elbow patches, shoulder tabs bottom band and band tabs and sleeve zippers.
  • The collar was drafted from scratch to be a mandarin type collar that tapers to a V in the center front.
Once I had all my pattern modifications in place I was ready to get started.  I thought about doing another muslin, but then said bugger it I'm just going to use my good fabric - a sweat shirt type material, knit on one side and fleecy on the other  in a beautiful blue colour.

The sweater came together pretty easily though I did have to make a few modifications as I went along.  I had to take some width out of the front above the bust line, and I took 1" off the length of all the pieces.



Instead of doing the welt pocket specified on the Larissa,  I put the front zipper pockets into the front princess seams, which are much further forward than in the Larissa Jacket so are in a good place for pockets.




I also used a contrasting fabric in a number of places.  On the underside of all the tabs, inside the sleeve zippers and on the pocket bags etc.


The main issue I had stemmed from the fact that I didn't want to line this jacket.  The basic Larissa jacket is meant to be lined so the inside finishing details are not so great - especially on the sleeve zippers.  I left those as is and just have to deal with the extra bulk around my wrist, but around the neckline I made some bias tape out of my co-ordinating fabric and used that to finish off the neckline.


The zippers I used are all brass zippers and I used brass snaps on all the tabs.  Unfortunately I didn't have the right setting tool for the snaps and I was too impatient to wait till I got one so I just set them using a hammer and anvil and they're not great, maybe if they start falling off I'll buy the proper setting tool and re do them, but until then they're OK.


Whilst I love wearing this jacket there are a few small things that I really don't love. The bottom band seems to sit a bit funny - too much bulk and not wide enough, I still don't love the fit across the front.  And yet despite all these little issues it's still a great jumper.

Of course I've already managed to get it stained (but they didn't show up in the pictures so hopefully no one else can see them in real life either), but that wont stop me from wearing it.  I got a few wears in this season before it started warming up. but it'll probably go away till Autumn now.

Bring on the summer makes.




Sunday, April 22, 2018

A reversible long sleeve T shirt

I have an ongoing love hate relationship with sewing contests.  I love that they push me to make things I might otherwise not have made, but I hate that I never win, and worse I quite often come away from them with a lowered self esteem.  I know in my mind that most of what I make probably doesn't appeal to a lot of people - that's one of the reasons I make after all - because I like different things to most people.  But every now and then I feel like a have to take a break from the sewing contests - allow myself to get back to being just me and being happy with that.

Anyway I've been on a contest break for a while now, but the other morning I woke up feeling like I'd like to take part again.  so I took myself off to the Pattern Review website to see what contests they're offering at the moment.

Bargainista Fashionista - not really my cup of tea. I don't have anything that I can copy off because I never actually look at ready to wear clothes.
The Upcycle Contest - nahhh don't really feel like upcycling at the moment.
That left the Reversible Garment Contest.

I've made a number of reversible garments in my life - I've always been interested in figuring out how to make something reversible, but given that the contest is already more than half over I decided that I would try and stick with something simple.



I decided that I would make a new T shirt.  I trawled through my fabric stash and found a thin cotton poly knit fabric in a plain grey and a cotton knit fabric remnant with a teal/black/green/pink paisley pattern that I used in this reversible collared shirt and this dress for my daughter.

The pattern I decided to use is one that I've been working on for a while now.  It started as this pattern for a shirt with exposed seams.  Then last fall I modified the pattern into a dress that I could wear as a cover up to the water park.  I never blogged that dress as the only photo I ever got of it was this elevator shot.


I extended the basic pattern down to dress length then added a bit of extra swing to it.

Then last month I started working on some new work out gear - yet to be blogged - and I took this pattern and cut it back to tunic length, but retained the extra sing so the shirt is fitted through the bust but with plenty of extra room around my waistline.

I ended up loving the pattern and decided I wanted to use it for this reversible shirt.


The exposed seam details would work great for a reversible shirt.

In order to make the shirt reversible I cut two pieces of each pattern piece - one frome each fabric and sewed the pieces together around all edges expect the neckline and cuffs.

The shirt was then sewn together with the pattern sides together and the the seams were opened on the grey side and top stitched down to make a feature.  The cuffs and neckline I cut out of the patterned fabric and finished them on both sides.


I really love the way this shirt turned out and it's been a staple in my wardrobe ever since I finished it.


 The fabrics work well as a reversible shirt - the grey is very thin and a shirt made from it by itself would be very clingy and not very flattering, by lining it with the sturdier patterned fabric it makes it much more wearable - and the extra grey layer on the patterned fabric adds some extra warmth to the shirt, which is always appreciated my my froggy self!