Tuesday, April 24, 2012

darkest denim

still in the sewing mode, my third wardrobe item had to be a good pair of jeans. i always make my own because they fit the way i like and because i think whiskers look best on cats, not jeans. when i find a heavier weight stretch denim, i usually buy lots and stash it for future use because it wears well and holds everything in comfortably! for these jeans i have used my last piece so the pattern had to be a good one.

perfect jeans

this photo doesn't do these jeans justice, but as 'betty' isn't bifurcated, she can't be my usual model. i used my favourite pants pattern from burda magazine February 2009, style #132; in my opinion burda is the best fit for pants for curvy women. they understand you have a bottom and hips!

contrast waistband facing

as usual i used a patchwork cotton for the inner waistbands, this one was a witty wild west theme, so obviously the name for my jeans presented itself as "the cowboy jean". i love these, they have a straight leg that matches with any top or dress shape, and the dark denim can be dressed up or down as required. now i just need to hunt for new denim to replenish my stash for future wardrobe plans...

Saturday, April 21, 2012


(n) a fear of not having a light hooded jacket in the wardrobe to ward off wind and inclement weather.
well that fear has been taken care of. after looking at many patterns wistfully over the years, i have finally made an anorak, or parka if you prefer. i love coats of all descriptions: trenches, military greatcoats, tweedy wraps, man-style frockcoats and anoraks. the sewing time investment for these is huge, the topstitching, lining, interfacing and collars soak up time like no other garments, but the sartorial usefulness is equally huge.

the useful anorak

once again i used knipmode August 2008, this time pattern #5a, with a lightweight stretch cotton/nylon blend from the stash. also in the stash was a spotty lining i've been saving for a trench coat, but as it was the perfect match with my main fabric, i had to use it.

pretty spotty lining

the only change i made to the pattern was to borrow some designery pockets from a burda pattern and exchange them for the welt pockets. i'm still such a wuss when it comes to making welt pockets, its one of the things i always avoid!

giant bellows pocket

in honour of these large pockets i have named this "the riding jacket", as i hope they will be useful when cycling to the shops for a few things, or stashing energy snacks for a longer ride with the kids.

Friday, April 20, 2012

the best laid plans

all of a sudden the weather has cooled off considerably and i've got nothing to wear! i started a wardrobe plan for this season, but after rummaging through the shops i've decided i need a better one. most of the clothes i sew end up being too dressy, too office. what i need are cosy, everyday clothes with an emphasis on casual; the sort to wear to walk the dog, go to the park or the farmers market or to ride my bike on the weekend. so, to my favourite procrastination activity, wardrobe planning!

getting inspiration

collecting fabrics

tracing patterns

when i think casual, my first thought is denim, the only problem is i don't like the fit of commercially produced denim jeans and skirts. knipmode magazine always makes cool casual skirts, so naturally i found the pattern i wanted there. i used a supple viscose denim from my local textile traders and pattern #21 from knipmode August 2008.

cool denim skirt

i really like the way this turned out, the details are interesting enough and the red topstitching adds a bit of designer appeal. the fit is great, i just needed to take in the waist a little, and i managed to bumble my way through the dutch instructions by studying the photos in the magazine very closely! it does help to be a bit of a "dutchie" myself; although i've never learnt any dutch i think it must be inbuilt.

waistband closeup

it's a bit of a signature of mine to use a contrasting fabric for pockets and waistbands in skirts and pants. its a secret that's just for the wearer, what could be better? this was a patchwork cotton printed with the Scouts emblem and the stars and stripes. because of this i've named my skirt (another weird trait) "the campfire skirt". i'll be wearing it with coloured tights and clogs! marshmallows are optional.

Monday, April 16, 2012

home and away

its so lovely to be back home again after a whirlwind trip to the city to celebrate my brother's wedding last week. of course there was lots of sewing to be done in the lead up to the wedding, not to mention secret present crafting!

the happy couple

i loved looking through the shops (quickly!) and have lots of ideas stuffed in my head for later use. the winter fashions look cosy and colourful and i really liked the marled knitwear i saw everywhere in my favourite colours of red, mustard and navy with lashings of cream, yum. when we finally got home and unpacked, i was inspired to knit on the couch for a while, despite sitting in the car for 4 hours!

marle beanie

i love making hats because you get something finished in a short time that can change your whole look. i used two strands of 8ply to create the marl effect and it knitted up quickly. i started a matching scarf the next day and can imagine being able to plan a whole casual autumn wardrobe around these colours.

scarf in progress

last week i also made a cute present for a favourite niece that couldn't be shown on the blog until i gave it to her. on her present list she had asked for a hamster and tempting though it was to get her a real live one, i knew it would be safer to crochet one!

amigurumi hamster

the pattern for this cutey is from super-cute crochet, another great book from my local library. there are some really nice cats i have been asked to make from this book, but really its hard to choose just one. who could resist this face?

super cute!

Friday, April 6, 2012

happy easter!

woolly easter egg

aaah, Easter....apart from its religious significance, Easter gives us a lovely break and time to catch up with family, not to mention the chocolate overdose! this year we have quite a few birthdays to go to and its the start of school holidays and a welcome rest from sport and chaffeuring children. i couldn't resist taking an afternoon to do some crafting and get stuck into these amigurumi eggs. i made sure i included a bad egg in my half dozen of which half have hatched already!

amigurumi half dozen

the pattern for these cuties was a Spotlight leaflet from a few years ago that i've been saving. now i've got to start on my special dress to wear to a wedding in a weeks time, well i do my best work under pressure apparently! i've just noticed that Spotlight has 40% off fabric tomorrow...

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

green glamour

today i pushed on with the next item in my wardrobe plan, this time a jersey dress. knipmode magazine is fantastic for simple jersey dresses with interesting designer details. i chose style no 14 from the march 2010 magazine and found some emerald green cotton lycra blend jersey in my stash.

emerald dress

the model doesn't really do this dress justice. when worn, its much more fitted and the waist gathers sit much better; actually its a bit of a joan dress! the only alterations i had to do to the pattern were to take a wedge out of the back empire seam to fit my swayback, and to release the front pleat from the end of the gathered section down to the hem. this made the dress a better fit for my shape.

pleat details

i will definitely need to invest in some industrial strength spanx before i model this one myself, but with the cut and colour of this dress it will be a knockout on a grey winter day. it couldn't hurt to do a copper coloured hair rinse either could it?

Monday, April 2, 2012

i'm feeling blue

i've just finished a large sewing project for someone else which has been stopping me from dressmaking for myself for a while. with all the sudden weather changes its clear that i will be needing a whole new wardrobe for the cold season (yay!). i love the sort of clothes you can you wear in winter; woolly coats, boots, knitted jumpers and colourful tights are joy. today i did a bit of a wardrobe plan so that i will have things to mix and match together. my first item was a bright top to wear with plain dark pants.

tuck front tee

this pattern was from knipmode May 2010, style no 21 and it was made from some cotton blend jersey from my stash. the tuck detail is a nice tailored touch on a t-shirt and i love the rollup cuffs for autumn. the top is longer than i would normally wear, but i think it would sit well over the skinny pants that are in fashion this season.

closeup of tuck detail

the tucks take a bit of fiddling to get them to sit nicely and i gave up on trying to put buttonholes into the tabs when my machine tried to eat them. instead, i popped on some snaps with my handy pliers to add a sporty touch. voila! item one of my new wardrobe complete.