October 07, 2014

Blog Hop: From Poppykettle to Ernest Flagg and Boo Dogg & Me

Many moons ago, Melanie, of seamstress: poppykettle, nominated me for a blog hop. I then promptly got inundated by life and work and kids. I then threw it all in and hit the road for 3 weeks on an epic road trip! So here's my belated post on the now widespread blog hop. 

what am I working on?
I'm not actually working on anything at the moment. We are 7 weeks in to a 7 month renovation of the back half of our house. We are living in the front two bedrooms and a bathroom. My sewing machines are looking at me longingly from behind the bedroom door. The contents of my sewing room are stored in six large storage boxes in the boy's bedroom. They were too precious to be stored in the shed! I have a few things cut out, ready to sew but I'm actually enjoying the break from sewing. It was becoming more of a chore rather than a hobby. I felt pressured to sew, both to clothe myself and to keep up appearances on the blog. I was starting to feel overwhelmed juggling working, mothering, renovating, sewing and blogging. Blogging was the first to go. And then sewing. I have enough clothes, so I'm going to enjoy the break and look forward to my weekend away with my sewing buddies in December. 

why do I write?
When I think about why I started blogging, there are many reasons. I had just finished my second stint of maternity leave, during which I had really got in to sewing. After raising two boy babies, I wanted something for myself and sewing was my thing. It brought me great joy and challenged a different part of my brain to what my work did.  

Even though I'd sewn for years, I didn't have any friends who sewed. My mum sews, my mother-in-law sews, my sister-in-law sews but none of my friends sewed. I would discuss sewing for hours with my mum but I didn't have anyone in my own generation to discuss sewing with. During my second maternity leave with Mr H, I would go in to Tessuti every week while exploring the city to buy fabric for my next project and discuss sewing with the wonderful Lisa and Nikki. I would then go home and sew that project, returning the next week to buy fabric for the next project. I was on first name basis with the lovely ladies in Clegs. They knew my kid's names and what fabrics and notions I liked. I would chat endlessly with them about what project I was working on and what machine I should upgrade to. I needed more people to talk about sewing with!! Lisa from Tessuti had suggested I start a blog and I laughed her off, saying it would take time away from the actual sewing. But then I started reading blogs and commenting on them. I wanted in! I wanted to be a part of this community. 

I never in a million years thought I would meet actual real people through blogging. I thought it would be a bit of an anonymous thing. I created, I took photos, I shared and I discussed. Nothing more. But then I got an email from Rachel. Asking if I'd like to meet for a coffee one day. Hell yes!! We met at a safe place, Clegs (in case I was a serial killer, hey Mike?!). We then had a few blogging meet ups which were fabulous. I met more sewing buddies. I can now safely say that I have met some of my closest friends through blogging. I am forever grateful that I decided to start writing a blog.  

how does it differ from others of it’s genre?
How does my writing differ from others?? Well, I don't consider myself a good or creative writer. I'm good at writing technical information, directional instructions, business cases and negotiation discussions.  Hell! I'm married to an engineer who doesn't even include dear and regards in his emails. Straight to the point.  He does put xx in emails to me! 

I'm a pharmacist plus a project and business manager so I spend all day carefully crafting my written correspondence to be precise and to the point. I write instructional protocols and guidelines as well a negotiation and legal emails. I spend my days organising, negotiating and liaising. I find it easiest to approach my blog posts like a case report or laboratory report. I use the project details section to clearly define the specifics of my project and then the paragraphs to describe the process, issues and thoughts. I find it really difficult to write creatively. I'm a very succinct and precise person. What you see is what you get!

I don't tend to write very wordy posts. Personally, I stop reading blog posts if they're too long. I want to the know the details not the waffle. I love pictures. I will often search the images section of google when  planning a project. I notice that a lot of bloggers don't include pictures of the back of the garment. Drives me nuts! 

how does my writing process work?
If I'm making a new pattern, I will start writing the blog post while I'm sewing. I note all my alterations and issues while they're fresh in my mind. I don't do this with the basic everyday items (which tend to be a majority of my sewing) and this backfires on me when I come to blog it and I can't remember what I've done or changed. As I mentioned earlier, I like to write in a structured way with the details and my process clearly defined. I do include a bit of chatter but not a lot!

So it's now my turn to nominate a few bloggers to join the blog hop and discuss their writing styles. I would like to know more about Emma behind Ernest Flagg, who I had the pleasure of meeting on our epic road trip, and Rachel of Boo Dogg and Me, because we could talk sewing forever! Ladies, your challenge if you choose to accept, is to address the questions highlighted in bold. 

L xx
August 10, 2014

Sew: Style Arc Simone Cardi

Another successful Style Arc cardigan! I got this pattern, the Simone cardigan, free when I bought my beloved Harper jacket pattern. I wasn't that interested in it until I spotted this beautiful pink and black patterned merino knit at The Fabric Store. Something clicked in my sewing mind and I knew the fabric and pattern would be a perfect combination.

The Style Arc Simone Cardigan is described as "the clever cardigan pattern" that has been designed so the drape creates the pocket. It can be made with or without buttons. I made it without the buttons as I will never button it up.

Despite the fact that the pocket looks a bit tricky, it was exceptionally easy to put together. The instructions are limited but you don't really need them much. Just follow the notches and look at the pictures. I debated about whether to interface the neck band or not and ended up not as I thought it might be too thick. It is fine without but I would interface thinner or slinkier knits. This merino knit has a bit of body to it.

From the instructions it is not clear that you have to cut two neck band pieces. You do need two of them and there is a seam at the centre back. It is strikingly obvious that the neck band is too short to make it all the way around but I did still hesitate. Take it from me, you need two!

If I was to make this cardigan again I would size down one size, or sew it with larger seam allowances. I feel that it is a touch too large, especially across the shoulders. That could be the style but I'm not used to over-sized styles and I keep wanting to pull it up.

Besides that, it is a perfect cardigan to liven up a black tee and jeans. I wore it yesterday to the sewing meet up at Little Creatures. It was great to meet some new faces and catch up with friends.

Project Details
Pattern: Style Arc Simone Cardigan, size 16
Fabric: Printed merino knit from The Fabric Store
See Also: Thornberry | What Katie Sews

Mr Sew Brunswick photo bombed my photo shoot! Can you see him in the shed window? Our house and yard is an absolute mess while we prepare for a major house renovation. We ran out of "nice" space to take photos, so in front of the shed it was!

L x

Sew: Tessuti Brigitte Tee in Jaywalk

More Jaywalk!! Don't worry it's almost finished. Almost.

Just as I was cutting out my Mandy Boat Tee, Tessuti released their new Brigitte Top pattern. I realised I could sneak the Brigitte Top out of the side of the Mandy Boat Tee. I now have only one small piece of Jaywalk left. I think what I love most about the Jaywalk fabric is that the black and ecru stripes aren't as harsh as black and white stripes. The combination is much easier to style and wear.

Now back to the pattern. Seriously, I think Tessuti designs patterns just for me (oh, and the rest of you can use them too!). Each one I've tried is perfect on me. They match my style and personality and most of all, my favourite fabric choices. Thanks Tessuti! Love your work.

The Brigitte Top is described by Tessuti as "a fitted, classic boat neck (bateau) top with set-in sleeves. The pattern includes four alternate sleeve length options - cap, elbow, three-quarter and full length. Suitable fabrics include stretch jersey or light weight ponti." My perfect top pattern. Simple yet stylish.

It all came together smoothly and quickly, especially after making the Mandy Boat Tee which has a similar neckline finish. I made it exactly as per the pattern with no alterations and it only took an hour or two.

My only issue with this top is that I have to wear it backwards for the neck to sit properly. I swear I made it properly but I can't be sure. The front and back necklines are almost identical. It would be wise to mark your front and back during cutting out because once you've serged the armhole notches off there is no way of telling which is front or back. If I put it on the way I think is right the shoulder seams sit too far back and the front neckline is too high.

So I wear it backwards, which could be forwards!! Anyway it works for me. I'll just have to make another to test it out again... I have the ecru and white stripe Jaywalk ready for the next version.

Project Details
Pattern: Tessuti Brigitte Top, size XL, three-quarter sleeves
Fabric: Black/natural viscose/elastane jersey knit "Jaywalk" from Tessuti Fabrics
See Also: Baste + Gather

L x

July 26, 2014

Sew: Tessuti Mandy Boat Tee

Still more Jaywalk! I bought enough for two dresses and this tee. After making my Jaywalk competition dress, a Colette Moneta and this tee, I still had more. I cut out a Brigitte Tee and I have a little bit left which I'm going to use to make an Ali knit skirt. When I unpack my fabric in about 9 months...

I made this tee up over a month ago. The day before I got sick actually. I then promptly wore if for a whole week while sick and then every opportunity I get. Love this tee!

From reading reviews I noticed that the sleeves were often reported as tight. I have large arms. Always have, always will. So I knew I would need to alter them. I simply slashed the sleeve piece straight up the middle on the straight grain, leaving a tiny piece of paper at the shoulder seam to act as a hinge, and spread the pattern piece by 2.5 cm. Perfect sleeves!

Project Details
Pattern: Tessuti Mandy Boat Tee
Fabric: Jaywalk jersey in black & natural (no longer listed online)
Alterations: Widened sleeves by 2.5 cm
Also see: Sewn By Elizabeth | Sew Amy Sew | Bimble + Pimble | Funkbunny 

My only word of warning with this pattern is that besides the slight adjustment on the sleeve piece, I made it up exactly as is. No alteration for length or size. I'm tall and a plus size so if you're short and petite, take this into consideration.

I really love this top and I think Tessuti have done a wonderful job in drafting this pattern. I'm looking forward to trying out the Brigitte top as soon as I find some space in my disappearing sewing room.

L x

July 09, 2014

Sew: Lady Skater meets Alexa T-top

Hello! Long time, no blog!! As always life has been crazy busy, but probably a little more than normal. And I've been sick, really sick. I ended up in hospital for a few days with an extreme sore throat that was threatening my airway. Thanking my lucky stars for modern medicine, steroids and IV antibiotics! I'm almost back to my normal health self. Almost.

I have been sewing a little bit but not nearly as much as normal. My desire to sew and drink coffee are the first things to go and the last things to return when I get sick. I'm back to drinking coffee so I hope the sewing returns soon. Especially considering I only have a few weeks left of my sewing room before it is demolished for our house renovation and extension. Fingers crossed!

On to my latest dress! Despite making a failed Lady Skater, it's been stuck in my head. The combination of a fitted bodice with a flared skirt is hard to resist. My last version was too big despite removing 5 cm from each side seam. I also had issues with the length of the bodice. I ended up removing 5 cm and it was still too long. I'm surprised that not many people mention this issue in their reviews. I'm 178 cm tall and it's too long on me so I'm not sure how someone shorter has no issues. Despite all these issues, I still love the idea of a Lady Skater dress! I've had great success with the Alexa T-top from Tessuti so I thought using that as a base for the bodice would work well. I simply marked my desired bodice length and attached the Lady Skater skirt.Voila!

Project Details 
Pattern: Lady Skater by Kitschy Coo skirt and Alexa T-top by Tessuti bodice
Fabric: Deep red ponti from Alannah Hill outlet
Alterations: Many!
See Also: Look What I Made | Busy Lizzy in Brissy | Lladybird

I'm still not feeling the love for this dress. It's not something I reach for in the closet. I'm much more likely to reach for my striped Moneta dress. Not really sure why, but I'm just going with the flow.

I have a few other makes to blog soon. I hope to get some photos this weekend. I'm working on a magenta shift dress at the moment. It's going to rock! 

What's everyone else been up to lately? 

L x
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