Brickwork Poncho

Earlier this year I picked up a great little sewing magazine Beginner’s Guide To Dressmaking. One of the main reason for buying it was I saw a pattern for a self drafted poncho. Since I brought it I have actually made 2 versions of the poncho. This is the first version I made.

The fabric I brought on my voucher shopping trip. It is a synthetic type scuba fabric. This isn’t fabric I would normally choose but the pattern calls for a scuba or heavy weight knit with drape. This fabric really spoke to me. I like the subtleness of the print. It came in a red and blue colour but this colour looked a little more classic.

The magazine steps you through how to measure out the fabric and cut the different pieces. It is a very simple make. The bland look on my face doesn’t show how much I actually like the finished poncho. Oh and I probably should have ironed it as it had been sitting on my lounge chair since I last wore it to work.

To cut out your neckline you are given basic measurements and instructions. I cut the neckline a little deep on this one perhaps. It does looks a little large and stretched out but I’m not bothered by it. I can easily take it on and off when I need too. You attach bands to the neckline like you do most tops. You can’t see it but on the back I had to piece my band as I ran out of fabric when I cut the original band. At least it is an easy way for me to tell the front from the back.

The back I am really happy with. The neckline doesn’t looks so stretched out and it covers my rounded shoulders which I think are improving. It is nice and long and gives me coverage at the back.

The pattern actually has you sew up the sides from the hemline to a point about ½ – ¾ the way up on the sides. I opted not to do this and have an open poncho. My reason not to do it was to make waking with the crutch easier, it gives me more range of movement. On my free shoulder I can also carry bag over the top of the poncho or underneath it. This works well except when it is really windy as the fabric just flys around. Generally it isn’t that windy so not is not too much of any issue.

The bands that run down the sides and the front are cut in a different direction to the main body of the poncho. With this print I love the contrast in direction to the body. I’m not usually into contrast details but I really like it on this. It is just a small detail but it adds interest.

As mentioned I brought the fabric from The Fabric Store with my voucher. In my head I had to have this poncho finished in time to wear it to the Spoolette’s VIP shopping night that was held in August as part of the Frocktails weekend. One of the girls working the day I brought the fabric was working that night and was excited to see I’d made my poncho. I’m a total dag so I had to pose with the bolt of fabric when I saw it again 🙂

I haven’t done this in a while but things to consider when I’m making clothing

  1. Comfort
  2. Classic
  3. Creative / Quirky
  4. Natural Fabrics ×

This ticks 3 out of 4 but I am happy with that. It is really comfortable and they style is a classic style poncho. The brickwork print is a bit quirky but in a sophisticated style quirky if that is even a thing. Even though the fabric is a synthetic it isn’t hot so wouldn’t irritate me. I wear it with layers so it isn’t too close to my body.

It is possible that I will still wear it this summer when I walk to work in the cooler hours of the day. Working in air conditioning I have my shoulders covered so this would be perfect for that. I can easily take it off if I go outside.

Cassiy

 

Fabric Swap Oct 19

Last Sunday the Sydney Spoolette’s held a fabric swap. Although it is called a fabric swap there is a bit more than just fabric that gets brought along. People bring sewing notions, patterns and books some are sewing related others not. They are a lot of fun and I do highly recommend if you able to get to one in your local area that you do!

I mentioned back in August I used my “I love my fabric party” to cull fabrics from my stash. I did take most of the fabric I pulled out to the stash. Yes a few pieces did go back into my stash after consideration. These were fabrics that I knew I could use in projects that I hadn’t thought of before so they were taken out to be used and not stashed for “I might make something” purposes.

Recently one morning before work I decided to cull my craft books. I was ruthless and culled I think around 50 – 70 books I would say. I divided them up into categories (yarn, sewing, kids toys) To the swap I took most of my sewing and kids toys books which ended up being 4 bags full. The other books will be taken to my knitters guild group or donated to the volunteers at my work to use or sell at their bric’n’brac stall. Guilty again a couple of books have gone back to my stash as I was packing them.

Prior to the swap I went through my sewing notions and patterns. After 8 years of crafting I have gathered a lot of things I’m not going to use. Some were items I won at craft shows, gotten in “sew boxes” subscriptions (sadly that company no longer operates) sewing patterns I’d brought or gotten for free, items I brought at Australian Sewing Guild Industry days which were a “bargain” and I thought I would use. You just gather things in your stash over time without even realising it. If I wasn’t going to use it out it went.

In the end I took 7 bags to the swap. My suitcase contained all my fabrics, 4 bags of books and 2 bags of notions. The day before I also found a set of sewing needles for a sewing machine I no longer have and since a friend I knew had the same machine and was going to the swap I put them in my handbag to give to her.

There was a last minute change of venue for the swap and it ended up being held in a café. We had a room to ourselves and from the outside it looked like a “Spoolette’s Pop-Up” shop from the street. The room was packed with fabrics, patterns, books, buttons, threads. It was a wonderful turn out of people and items. Since I wasn’t “shopping” I pulled up a seat, drank coffee, minded people’s bags and called out coffee orders as the café staff brought them in. I may look quiet but I have been called “Miss Megaphone” in the past so I am happy to yell. Ok so admittedly by the time I factored in the taxi ride to the venue and back it was it was the most expensive cup of coffee I have ever drunk but I didn’t care I still had fun. Every so often I would get up to touch fabric and watched the different layers of the fabric table emerge as people took stuff and the pile decreased. I was chatting to people and looking at the items they took. It was a relaxing Sunday morning.

So what did I come home with…. Nothing but empty bags!!! Yep that’s correct I took nothing home from the swap. I even decluttered a couple of carry bags 🙂 Everyone said I was very restrained but the reality is I wasn’t. For me the swap was the opportunity to declutter my sewing stuff knowing they would go to a home that would use them or at least appreciate them. I didn’t want to bring stuff home and repeat the cycle of having items in my stash. Even though I culled so much stuff I still have a house full of fabric and sewing supplies so there was no FOMO (fear of missing out) by not taking things home. It was wonderful that everyone else was able to take items home but I am in a mental space at the moment where I don’t want anymore stuff. I was started to get overwhelmed by how much stuff I had. In 2020 we might be moving house. I don’t want to pack things I’m not going to use, I am already starting to freak out how I will pack everything in boxes so I don’t want anymore after 10 years in the same place. I’m finding decluttering very therapeutic, each item I remove is like another little weight off my shoulders. To be honest I don’t know if I can really see a difference in my stash with all the items gone. I do have more room on my bookcases but my fabric stash is still packed to the brim, not overflowing but still heavily packed. I have learnt to distance myself or ignore thinking how much I have spent on my craft supplies over the years so there is no guilt attached to giving things away. After the swap I have seen photos of things people picked up and I smiled each time I spotted something that was once in my stash.

Cassiy

 

Cloth Books 2019

I haven’t made any cloth books for a few years but I made a couple this year for a little one turning 2. Age 2 I think is a good age for cloth books as they are starting to getting into looking at books and fabric books don’t tear easily plus they are washable.

I didn’t follow a pattern I just cut a heap of white calico into squares roughly the size I thought would be large enough for me to easily work with. I decided to use sew in stabiliser behind each page so I also cut squares that size too.

There was a lot of preparation work that went into these before I could actually start working on each page. Once all my squares were cut out I took them to the sewing machine and tacked a piece of stabiliser behind each calico square. This gave me a reference point into which I could work in but also meant I had some stability behind all my stitches.

After I prepped all my pages I went about designing each book and cutting out all the pieces. I wanted something simple so I thought numbers and colours. Things that a 2 year old are starting to learn and can point out if they see them elsewhere. I used wool felt for all my shapes and numbers. As there is a good chance that these will be washed I used wool felt. Most of it I did have in my stash already but I did have to purchase some more.

On each cover and on the colour pages I wrote out the words in chalk pencil then went over them with hand embroidery doing a chain stitch. When I want something to stand out I find chain stitch gives me the best result. It is like doing things in bold

Most of the felt pieces I cut out with my sizzix big shot machine. It was a lot easier then cutting out things individually. I placed a piece of felt over each cutting die and cut multiple shapes at once. To attach each shape to the page I used a blanket stitch. Felt doesn’t fray but I like the look of blanket stitch, it gives it a nice even texture around each piece.

I stitched the pages together on the machine. After all the pages were done I stitched them together on one side to form a spine. Doing the numbers book I broke 2 needles as all the layers were very thick by the time I stacked the pages together. To cover the spine I hand stitched the yellow strips in place. It was much easier to do them by hand then face more broken needles at my machine. There was a lot of work that went into these books but they were worth it. I spent many hours in front of the tv hand stitching these.

Cassiy

 

Blue Velvet Pinafore


Back in June when I went to use the voucher from the Fabric Store I won at Frocktails in February the second I walk into the shop a bolt of blue velvet jumped out at me. I am a Bower bird so I am attracted to any blue really but to be honest this is my shade of blue is my favourite. I used to love the song “Electric Blue” by Ice House when I was a kid, it is still a great song. The fabric just screamed York Pinafore.

If you haven’t read my blog before this is now Pinafore number 4. I decided to do the pockets different this time. To recap the pattern the York comes with a couple of options that you can make in full or mix and match to create the Pinafore for you.
Version A – Longer length, scooped neck, rounded pockets
Version B – Shorter length, higher neck, kangaroo pocket

On previous versions I’ve made version B but at the length of A. This time I made version A but with the neckline of B. There is nothing wrong with the kangaroo pocket and trust me I use it a lot in my others but in this fabric I thought it needed rounded pockets. I also took down the higher neckline down by about an inch.

This was a slow make taking me about a month from when I first ironed the fabric to when I finished it. I didn’t mind because I was enjoying making it. Doing little steps here and there when I had the chance like make the pockets, make the binding, sew a seam made me realise I don’t need to sew an entire garment in a week to actually finish something. I can do little steps here and there and come out with a finished project without being mentally or physically exhausted from making it which can happen with me. I am not the type of sewer who can spend 12 hours in a day making something from scratch and finishing it. My disability places limitations on my body so I have to be aware of my limits so that my body doesn’t punish me afterwards for doing something I love to do.

Modifications To The Original Pattern

  • Made the pockets patch pockets instead of sewing the sides of the pockets into the side seam line
  • Fully lined the pockets to be more sturdy
  • Deepened the higher neckline by 1″
  • Made continuous bias binding for all raw edge

I love the finished dress. Towards the end when I was top stitching down the binding I thought this could be my Spring Frocktails dress. I won the voucher at the last Frocktails why not wear something I brought with it to this Frocktails next month. It was never my intention when I brought the fabric but a blue velvet dress is pretty fancy for Frocktails, well as fancy as I go anyway.

Cassiy

 

Voucher Shopping Trip

Earlier this year at Frocktails I was lucky enough to win a $150 voucher to The Fabric Store. I’ve mentioned The Fabric Store a few times. It is a shop that has stores around the world including 3 in Australia. I’ve been to the Sydney store a few time and went to the Melbourne store on my holiday earlier this year.

I had 2 vouchers to use, the one that I won plus a 20% discount voucher which came as part of our Frocktails goodies bag that I had to use separately. I had to use both of them by the end of this month. I’d been saving them as a little reward after doing some extra stuff at work this year which was a bit stressful. Last Saturday I decided it was time to go shopping. Now to be honest I actually freaked out the morning before I left home. I had this awesome voucher and I didn’t want to waste it but I didn’t know what I wanted to buy. I’m fussy with fabrics, I generally only wear cottons, I don’t wear fancy stuff, I don’t like the feel of certain fabrics. I was going to this big fancy store which had some many wonderful fabrics but I didn’t even know if I would find fabrics I liked. Face it I basically live in cotton jersey knits. Some of the fabrics in the shop are what I consider pricey so it was a chance to buy fabric that wasn’t in my normal price range but I didn’t know what. It hasn’t helped that I have been in a real sewing funk of lately. Fabric shopping for me can either be really fun and relaxing or stressful, this awesome opportunity was freaking me out. Earlier in the week I had gone through my patterns, sewing books and mags and found a couple of items that I would like to make so took some them with me as inspiration to find fabric.

Even though I had no idea what I would buy I took a long a medium size suitcase to carry it home in. I knew I would be getting a few pieces of fabric and I normally buy things in at least 2m lengths so no matter what I got it was going to be tough carrying it home on the train with one arm because as I’ve mentioned before I use a crutch to walk with. When you have a disability you need to take into consideration small things like how will I carry things when you go shopping. Good job I did take this size suitcase as I filled it.

Ok so lets get to the actual shopping. I put my bag behind the counter then did a walk around the shop to see what they had.

The first thing fabric that I came across was some blue velvet. It was blue, it was pretty, it felt nice. I instantly thought York Pinafore. In my stash I actually have some pink velvet I picked up at a fabric swap which I was thinking of making a York from if I could squeeze out the pattern from it. I knew I needed a blue York. I can’t wait to make it now.

A couple of weeks ago I talked about a sewing mag I picked up. One of the reasons I got it was it had a self drafted poncho pattern in it. The fabric used is a scuba or some soft of synthetic knit that had drape to it. I came across a double knit which was actually on special at I think $10/m I liked the pattern of it. I’m hoping it won’t make me look like a giant blue brick wall. It came in another colourway but I didn’t like it as much as this colour. Because I will be wearing this over a jumper or long sleeve t-shirt I think I can get away with wearing it even though it is synthetic. For winter it will be something different to wear. This fabric was actually stuck in the washing machine to prep the fabric the day I got home. Hopefully I can start making it very soon.

Once I got the above 2 fabrics I still had an amount left of the voucher… Time to look at Liberty fabrics. The Fabric Store is known for its range of Liberty fabrics which are on the pricey side but on the day I went they happened to be 30% off. I was hoping to get some of their knits or loop backed prints but all the colours they had were pinks or light colours. Some Liberty fabrics are really girly in pinks and pastels but they do have bold prints, unfortunately not so much when I went. I did find 2 lots of blue roses, one was in a swim knit which was a white background with traditional roses and stems but this fabric was more my style. It is a cotton but it isn’t too fine. I’m gong to make some sort of skirt with it. I got 2m so will see if I can get some sort of circle skirt or elastic waisted skirt. You shouldn’t be able to see through it.

One pattern I did take with me is McCall’s M7100 which is a jacket pattern. I’ve had the pattern in my stash for a while. Thinking about it the pattern is very similar to a ready to wear jacket I’ve had for a bout 14 years. I want to make version D of it which is just plain with a kangaroo style pocket.

Using my discount voucher I found some loop backed stretch velvet type fabric. It looked perfect for an unlined jacket. I got 2.4m which is what the pattern calls for. I will see if I have enough fabric to not have to worry about making cuffs for the arms or bottom band but if I do I will use black cotton jersey for that section as I am not a big fan of ribbing.

I did have fun using my vouchers but it was kind of mentally exhausting. Shopping to a budget is a little difficult but I had an amazing opportunity to buy fabrics that weren’t in my normal price range and importantly get fabric I know I am going to use. I’ve changed my shopping habits to no longer just buy things fabrics or yarn for my stash. I have to get my overlocker serviced (on the plans for this week) then I can start getting back into garment sewing. My poncho I should be able to do on my regular machine as the fabric won’t fray.

Cassiy

Peak T-Shirt Dress

This dress is another pattern from A Beginner’s Guide To Sewing Knitted Fabrics, it is a variation of the basic Peak T-Shirt and is the pattern used on the front cover of the book.

When I was sewing my way through this book this dress was one of the pattern variations I thought I would like to try at some point, it looked comfortable and face it who doesn’t want to wear a t-shirt disguised as a dress.

For a couple of weeks I kept going on Zebra Fabrics website to look at this one geometric circle print in their remnant section which from memory was around 1m in length (give or take 20cm) I really liked this fabric but had no idea what I would make with it as it was a smallish piece, I could squeeze out a tank top but my fear was bad pattern placement and I would end up with giant circles on the centre of my boobs (that could be embarrassing) One day brainwave I thought outside the circle (or in this case the geometric circle) I could team it up with other fabric and make a t-shirt dress.

The fabric is a lycra cotton knit, from Ruby Jam Fabrics I brought some black lycra cotton knit which is roughly the same weight (plus I wanted to try out their black lycra) My initial thought was to only use the remnant in the skirt portion of the dress but thinking about how much fabric there was I decided to use it on the sleeves and collar first then use the remainder in the skirt adding extra length with the black fabric if needed.

Looking at my list to consider when clothing making

  • Comfort √
  • Classic √
  • Creative / Quirky √
  • Natural Fibres √

This dress is ticking the list 100% The cotton lycra knit fabrics means it is very breathable and comfortable. Style wise it is a simple no fuss dress but using the geometric fabric in the creative way I have has just changed it around it a little adding a bit of interest. I really thought about the construction of this dress and I had never really done that before with clothing.

I opted not to put elastic around the waist to pull it in as I thought the elastic might annoy me a bit. Admittedly it does make it look a bit baggy as is, perhaps I should’ve graded down in the skirt portion to make it a little slimmer. I’m not actually too bothered by this as I have been wearing a jacket or jumper over the top which pulls the fabric in anyway. I’m toying with the idea of adding belt loops and making a simple belt or even stitching the side seams a little even though I have already worn this a heap of times. The neckline is a bit baggy at the back, I really think I need to start doing the rounded back adjustment but I’m actually trying to correct my rounded shoulders by exercise at the same time. When you have a jumper or jacket on you can’t tell anyway that the neckline is baggy.

I love this dress, it has turned out the exact way I planned it out in my head. The remnant piece was destined for this dress, for me there is no other better way I could’ve used it. I also got to try out another pattern from A Beginner’s Guide To Sewing Knitted Fabrics (I really do love that book) This pattern I would make again, it was really easy to do and as mentioned I have worn it heaps which is always a good sign.

Cassiy

Blue Painted Scarf

organza-scarf

I had never painted on any synthetic fabric with liquid radiance but you can put liquid radiance on to any fabric so I knew that it was possible so I had a play. I cut a strip of white organza about 6″ x width of fabric. I soaked it in water a little bit longer than I did the calico to ensure it was fully soaked.

organza-scarf-wet

To paint it I scrunched it up on a board and put drops of blue, cyan and the odd drop of teal paint. Because the fabric is so thin I didn’t use much paint remembering the golden rule with liquid radiance “where there is moisture there is movement” I knew the paint would spread on the wet fabric. I did roll the fabric around a little to help the spreading process. After I was happy with the paint distribution I scrunched it back into a heap and sprinkled it with Epsom salts. To heat set it I ironed it between 2 pieces of calico using a hot iron. The calico protected it from melting so I didn’t have any issues there.

organza-scarf-salt-markings

I love the pattern that salt crystals have formed. As always you can’t predict what patterns will occur. These have a very fluid almost like water current pattern. It looks so natural. Some areas are darker than others. This has to be my most favourite piece of salting I’ve ever done on.

organza-scarf-edge

On the edges I did a double roll hem using monopoly clear thread. It is a simple row of stitching down each side of the scarf. This was an experiment that worked really well. I loved the brightness of the aqua colour that it had when it was wet but I think I love the colour it has turned when it dried even more. I can wear this around my neck or my wrist with some many different outfits.

Cassiy