Saturday, October 7, 2017

Lekala #4612 One-Piecer

The very best thing about Lekala patterns is the custom fit.
Liddy has a chum who is very tall and strongly built.
Her mum struggles to buy her pretty, age appropriate clothes and Lidia really, really wanted me to sew for her.
Lidia chose Lekala #4612 I okayed it with her friends mother, got her measurements, we purchased it and Liddy printed it and glued it together for me.
One-Piecer featured on the Witchery website, now sold out.
(Another nice feature of Lekala is the pattern suggestion competition I am pretty sure the style is exactly the same as this one I pinned from Witchery)
I guess because I didn't print the pattern or read through the instructions before I started I really underestimated this sew.
Zara gave Lidia the fabric from her own stash (a pretty, light weight satin charmeuse she purchased to have a kimono made in. It was from Spotlight, around the $20/m)
It was very difficult to handle, very slinky and pins didn't want to go through it. My washer weights were good but it shifted as I cut it, no matter how careful I was.
It would not take a crease, no matter how hard I tried. Even my Tilly-made clapper could not hold this stuff down.

I really wasn't concentrating when I cut this project out. I didn't realise the garment was fully lined. 
I am trying to minimise my stash so I immediately cut some shorts from the scraps, only to realise I  need that fabric for self lining...
Lidia choose some pink stretch satin from the remnants I had picked up from my Melbourne shop ($7 for 2.2m cut)

Again, not a good choice, it was heavier then the main and falls a bit too heavily.
As it has waist ties I had to piece the lining to make these main fabric, both sides.
I sewed the arm and the front edges together first and
I under-stitched all the edges to help it sit nicely.
Then I turned it again and sewed the side seams, lining and main, as one.
The shorts instructions did not work for me at all and I ended up with a sort of 'infinity bloomer'.
I unpicked the crotch seam and pulled the lining legs through and under stitched. 
I then pinned and resewed the crotch seam.
The front bodice is too wide for the shorts so I had to gather that to fit (another lass had the same problem so it is the pattern)
The instructions call for you to press the waist seam up and make a casing from that but as the rest of the garment is so nicely finished I wanted to do better.
I made a casing from the satin, sewed it to the waist seam and pressed that up.

Rather then using wide elastic, which can be uncomfortable, I made three casings and used soft, non-curl elastic.
The flounce edges are meant to be sewn with a narrow, double hem but it was not going to happen.
After nearly an hour of trying and burnt fingers I gave up and (after practicing on some scraps) I went with a narrow zigzag on the edge, using a silver grey thread.

The buttons are a deep blue shank button that Liddy chose.

~My Verdict~
This project nearly finished me.
I have some nude pink silk to make Lidia one and now I know what I am in for I think it will be a more enjoyable sew.

Now that it is done, I can concede it is kind of cute but it was 10 hours of sewing hell I am glad to see the back of.

I really hope the recipient likes it and I have learnt a big lesson in moderating gift choices. Sewing is not a cheap gift and often it is seen as one.

I worked out, with my wages at $20/hour and notions/fabric, this is nearly a $250 gift.
I have had two phone calls in the last week, inquiring about sewing and this has confirmed it is not for me. I couldn't charge someone that much but how could I not if that is what it takes?

Simple gift sewing from now on.

~Lidia's Verdict~
This sew was very important to me because my friend's 13th birthday was coming up and I really wanted to get her something special and Mummy sure provided me with the perfect gift.
It is just perfect for my friend and she has always admired the clothes Mummy has sewn me. It's just perfect Mummy, thank you.

Thanks for reading xx N

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Sunday, October 1, 2017

Trousers for Two~After School Pants and Raven Pants

A quick post about some quick trousers.
Trixie needed some new trousers.
She is not out of nappies and shows absolutely no inclination.
Tilly was far more petite and all her pants at this size were very much cut for knickers (Trixie wears a 3, Tilly was at school when she was a size 3)
However, I didn't want to invest a lot of time sewing them as, you know toddlers, she could decide to wear knickers next week!
The Clever Charlotte Raven pants fit the bill.
I had just handed her size 2's on to my cousins as they were okay over disposables but no-go over cloth nappy. The rest of the leg was good though.
I didn't want to draft up a size so I added a bit extra bum room and added the same to the front and back waist band pieces.
I sewed them up in a thick, stretch, poly/cotton, brushed back fabric I picked up in Melbourne. It was very cheap ($3) so I only purchased 1 1/2 m to make Liddy some Winter school pants (to be blogged) as I thought it may not wash well.
It did, so I will definitely pick up some more next year.
From the scraps of Liddy's I was able to cut these and a tiny pair for Squeaky. (Beatrix's doll)
I ran up another pair in a denim look cotton/poly remnant (from the bin at Eliza's)
There was not enough for the facings so I used some scraps from Tildy's Music Class shirt.

The fact that there is pockets is not lost on Trixie.
Tildy asked for some new school pants.
So, I thought After School pants.
These are a size 4 with the length of a 7 and a wee ribbing cuff added just like these.
The faux waist tie is a shoe lace, stitched in place.
The fabric was left over from Hugo's Jedediah trousers (another Eliza fabrics remnant) some stretch cotton moleskin.
~Tildy's Verdict~
I love the white tie on the front.
The feel on the fabric is nice and velvety.

~My Verdict~
Two, very good, go-to patterns.
Both are great for using up leftover fabric #ninjacutting and both are quick sews, a few hours at the most.
I love dresses and pretty skirts but my girls are active and trousers just seem to work best.
For a step by step tutorial for the After School pants see here.
For a tutorial for the Raven pants see here

Thanks for reading xx N
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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Lekala #4679 The dress that nearly wasn't!

Our first Lekala flop...
The ability to move one's shoulders is advantageous.
Let me explain.
Liddy needed a black dress and a white dress for a play.
Rather then sew costumes I thought I would get a jump of her Summer sewing.
Zara gave her some black, floral poly/rayon she had grabbed from the $2 bin at Eliza's, in Melbourne.
(It is not a 'good' fabric, I will sew some float-y beach pants out of the left overs but I don't think it will wash well so I won't invest too much time in it. That said, it is pretty and falls nicely)
Lekala#4679 gave her the float-y sleeves and she liked it.
I put in her measurements, adjusted the pattern for wide shoulders and sewed it up.
We tried it on once the side zipper was set in, gorgeous!
I attached the flounce and thought it looked a bit hinky so we tried again before adding the straps.
Bugger.
Not. Going. To. Happen.
I emailed the company but needed to have a fiddle myself due to time constraints.
Now, I am a reasonable sewer but pattern maker, I aint'.
#patternhackfreezone.
I fiddled with the flounce, cutting it out in increments and then tried the pattern piece on Lids.
It still didn't look right.
I then cut the flounce and added a bit.
Still wasn't right.
So I cut it again, added another bit, lined up the grain lines, redrafted the curve and crossed my fingers.
It worked and I will blog the next dress soon!
What to do with the dress to hand...
Whilst we were fiddling we realised if she pushed the arm flounce up on her shoulders, it worked.
As the edge of the flounce is bound, it is quite firm and sits nicely.
I trimmed the front corners (where the straps would extend from) and turned it under and hand stitched it in place.
The whole thing rolls nicely and just sort of works.
~Lidia's Verdict~
When we  first tried the dress on I was a little nervous as it did not fit over my shoulders.
So we ended up lifting the flounce over my shoulders so that it made a gorgeous floaty neckline.
 As soon as it was finished I wore it to my friends house. It was so light and cool to wear and I didn't even get hot although it was rather hot!

~My Verdict~
Not quite sure what happened here. I checked my measurements and they were fine.
The dress is also far more fitted then the diagram, that dress shows a great deal more ease.
I have emailed Lekala and left notes on the website so hopefully, someone will work it out.

The next dress, with my adjusted flounce, looks much more like the diagram.
But, do you know what? I am not holding one, slightly dodgy pattern against them.
Maybe Liddy's measurements blew up their pattern making algorithm.
As Tim Gunn advises, we made it work.


Liddy's play went well, it was over an hour long and the students did a great job.
Trixie amused herself by flicking every single seat down (very quietly) in the town hall but did disgrace herself yelling out 'Liddy, its me, Trixie' when she spotted her on stage.
I was mortified but Liddy assured me Sophie had forgotten her lines and was glad of the distraction. 


Thanks for reading xx N

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Vintage Cape Part 2- The Replacement

Do you remember the navy cape Tilly gave to her special friend?
I finally finished the replacement.
Just as sweet the second time around.
The original was a navy cashmere blend and while I did not have any of that left I did have some nice navy wool coating that would suit.
But she wanted something different.
Some woollen coating from Eliza's in Sunshine, the same cloth I cut Zara's soft jacket and Hugo's Peacoat (WIP). 
$12/m, very wide and not too many flaws.
The fabric is very cheap (from Eliza's) but can have flaws or small holes, I generally hang my cuts in front of the window and mark the imperfections, before cutting.
This was a much easier sew and my bagging of the lining was very successful.
My last one was a bit dodgy, the cashmere 'grew' as I sewed it.
As for the lining...
Feast your eyes on this me-laddies!
Tildy chose this remnant of cherry coloured red stretch satin for the lining $2.
~Tildy's Verdict~
I absolutely love the epaulettes.
I also love the cherry red lining.
The buttons on it are super cute with the pretty pattern.
The colour on the fabric is perfect to match the cherry red lining.
It makes me happy when I wear it because I gave my other one to my friend.
The red lining makes me feel happy and reminds me of flowers. When I wore it to school my teacher and my friends all liked it.
When I wear it out I feel special.
~My Verdict~
The sewing was so much smoother this time around. I was able to properly bag the lining with a good size 'lip' around the hem.
Slashing the inside lining to make the hand holes was still utterly terrifying.
Tildy chose some heavy metal brass buttons, I wasn't keen, I wanted brown knotted leather but once again, my clever children were right.
They are perfect.
Although it looks straight forward it is a reasonably complex sew logging in 6 hours sewing time.
I just wish we lived somewhere posher to warrant making another.

Thank you for reading
xx N

Friday, September 22, 2017

Lekala #4491 for Zara

Have I ever told you just how much I love sewing coats?
It is a lot.
The pressing, the gorgeous fabric, the fact that they last f o r e v e r makes them such a satisfying sew.
I did some serious #ninjacutting with 3 1/2 metres of grey heathered wool coating that I purchased on my Melbourne shopping trip, $12/m.
I got Tildy's cape (to be blogged), a peacoat for Hugo (WIP) and this coat for Zara.
It is Lekala #4491 . They call it a 'cape', I say 'soft jacket', Zara says 'coat'.
Who gives a whoop? It is gorgeous.
The original has a hood but I just couldn't quite get that out.
It suggested lining fabric in the notions but when I printed it, no lining.
I emailed the company (they have great customer service) and it did not, in fact, have a lining however they did talk me through adding one.
Using some gorgeous copper coloured stretch satin (Eliza's Fabric $10/m) I cut the lining from the main pieces, adding a deep tuck at the centre back for ease and laying the sleeve pattern pieces together, cutting the sleeve as one.
The pattern called for the outer edge to be sewn, folded in half and the the raw edge covered with binding.
After bagging the sleeves, I sewed one edge of the outer edge to the inside, easing through the curves.
On the right side, I top-stitched the edge in increments, sewing the long straights first and then hand gathering the curves, removing the basting after top stitching.
The welt pockets took a little fiddling (well, the first one did) and I used one of my labels to cover a little mending where I snipped too far.
The sleeve detail is natty but very firm, okay for me, I have small hands but it is almost too tight for Zara.

So, couture sewing, it aint but a serviceable, fashionable, wearable piece, it is.
The copper satin is apparel not lining quality but is so lush and really does up the ante of the garment.
The back view really sells the custom fit of the Lekala patterns. This jackets hangs limply on Liddy and me but Zara's gorgeous derrière fills it out as per measurements.
~Zara's Verdict~
This coat is absolutely beautiful.
It's so stylish and sophisticated. I feel every bit an adult instead of a goofy teenager (when I am wearing it)

The fabric worked so so well and the lining that Mum managed to create herself is just mind blowing.
~My Verdict~
When Zara said she wanted the leftover from Hugo's peacoat I was expected her to want something similar or a bomber jacket. I was pretty surprised by her choice and wondered if the style was a bit old for her.
She showed me lots of pins on Pinterest and I was convinced.
The long strips leftover from my previous projects worked out just right (except for the hood but I am not sure how that would have worked with our mods, anyway).
The sleeves were very narrow and my sewing brain struggles with the straight edges sewn to a curve, I think it falls in a odd manner but she insists that is exactly what she wanted.
She be happy, I be happy. 

Thanks for reading xx N