rennous-oh-glennus

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Circle Work

It’s been quiet round these parts for a bit.  Partly because I’ve been toiling away on a time consuming project it turns out I’m not in love with, and partly because I’ve been away in Japan for a little while for a friend’s wedding.  If you follow my adventures on Instagram this won’t be news to you and you’ve probably already had a gutful of photos. Tune out now if that’s you! For everyone else, following is a small collection of pics from our quick trip.

If you’ve been hanging around here for a while you’ll know I’m a bit of a sucker for a photo challenge. My inspiration for this one came when one of my travel buddies was munching away on a doughnut on our first day.  Funny how inspiration strikes.  As usual, the photo challenge tunes your eye to things that may have otherwise passed unnoticed, but in this case it’s also made it that much easier choosing the photos that I share here with you.  And trust me when I tell you there were plenty of photos to choose from :p 

I think this simple challenge has actually captured a fairly broad spectrum of Japanese-ness (totally a word).

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This was my third trip to Japan and I’ve returned home more smitten than ever.  It was especially difficult pulling out of Kyoto.  Kyoto is so much more than temples, shrines and tourists.  Creativity and entrepreneurship abound.  It has is a relaxed vibe that is particularly inviting.  You can tool around on a bike without a care in the world.  There is loads of great coffee. And visiting during the height of the cherry blossom season didn’t hurt either; it really imparted an appreciation for the transient- of not holding on and not owning, just being. All in all, it just feels like there’s so much love.  Inspiring to say the least. 

Much dreaming made the flight home a quick one.

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A Severe Case of Indecisiveness

While I was making my most recent pair of pants, I decided that the Tokyo Jacket would make the most perfect accompaniment! Funny, since my initial reaction when the pattern was released was that this was definitely a pattern for the more, um, mature lady, you might say.

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Anyway, I thought that a flowy top/ jacket would work especially well with tight pants.

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I still stand by that pairing, it’s just that I’m not sure how well it works on me.  I mean, look at all that volume!

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This is definitely not a silhouette I’m used to wearing!

Once finished, I was completely torn.  You see, this pattern was so much fun to make up. It seemed very counter-intuitive at times but was really interesting watching it come together and it’s probably the most well finished thing I’ve ever made.  I also had a bit of fun trying out some shibori techniques I learned from a workshop at Handmaker’s Factory a few weeks ago.

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I’m so pleased with how the shibori turned out!  It adds interest but is quite understated, keeping it neutral enough to pair with many things.

But I felt like I was swimming in this thing, even though I only made a size small.  I’m also used to wearing jackets that hit my waist rather than hips, so this was doing a really good job of making me feel like I just stepped off the set of Frumpsville.  That, or out of a smoking den or something.

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So I’d all but decided that this would be heading out of my life and into someone else’s.

That is until I had a look through these pics!

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It doesn’t seem quite so bad after all!  I’m still not entirely convinced this works on me but how is it that things can look so different in the mirror and in a photo? Curious.

I’ll try to persevere with this- I think it could be quite useful- it’s just that it’s going to take a rare experimental mood to wear it outside the house. I have felt recently that my style might be changing, but this could be a bit too much of a leap. We’ll see!

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I had such a lovely time at the botanic gardens this morning!

During the week I finally got myself a new lens for my camera.  Originally I had planned on getting my old one fixed but the fix-it-folk kindly told me it would be better to put my money towards a new lens.

My new lens is this Sigma that I got from Michaels.  It’s marketed as a  travel lens which is great for me since lugging a whole bunch of photography equipment around isn’t really my idea of a relaxing holiday.

Since I’m far from being a photography whiz, I sat down last night with a book from the library and my camera’s user guide. It’s amazing what you can learn when you read the instructions.

This morning I shot in Tv mode, meaning I chose the shutter speed and the camera chose the aperture.  I thought I’d just try and get my head around  a few things at a time before launching into full manual mode.

Obviously, I also chose to shoot in black & white.  It was really fun approaching the morning with this limitation as it helped to focus my attention on shapes, patterns, textures, shadows and reflections.

An interesting point that I picked up while I was reading last night is that there’s no such thing as ‘correct’ exposure.  I thought shooting in b&w would be a good way to test this theory.

I know that technically that image I just blinded you with is totally over-exposed, but I actually love how it’s turned out.  I mean, that’s exactly what it feels like to look into the sun!  And I also love how under-exposing is like walking from the daylight into a dark room.  It takes your eyes a little while to adjust, but once they do, there’s all sorts of detail around you.  It’s a bit more of a challenge.

Anyway, I was ready for breaky after all that, so it was time to come home.

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One Small Step

When I pulled my most worn clothes out of my wardrobe a  couple of months ago, I decided it was time to take the bull by the horns and head into jeans territory. And rather than leave it till it became emergency-like, I thought it best to crack on with them now.  I’m using my self-drafted pants pattern, seen before in shorts-form and chef pants-form.

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Sure, I can see that these aren’t actually jeans!  I decided to tackle the process in parts, part one being the shape of the leg. (In its original form my pants block is straight leg.)  Later, I’m going to move onto adding jeans features like yoke, waistband, pockets, fly, rivets etc.  Eep, writing it all down like that, it looks like I’ve still got a bit of work ahead of me :p  

Anyhoo, it can be a bit tricky trying to convert a straight leg pattern into a narrow leg one as it’s really easy to mess up the grainline.  But I had the ultimate helping hand in the form of my chef pants.  They got checks, yeah?  So I very technically (!) pinned down the inside & outside of the legs, making sure that the checks were hanging straight at all times.  I know not everyone has this luxury, so I guess what I would recommend is to make up a toile in gingham and then go from there.  Once I’d got the fit I was after, I laid the pants on top of the pattern, traced the new leg shape and added seam allowance.  Although this may not be the most technical approach, you can see from the fabric pattern that they’re hanging pretty straight, woo hoo :)

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A lot of you will probably recognise this fabric from this time last year when it was doing the rounds in Tessuti’s Gridlock comp. I had every intention of participating, but let’s be completely honest shall we?  This fabric has fugly written all over it and surprise, surprise, I failed to be inspired. It’s been filling up a good chunk o’ space in my cupboard ever since, so I was pretty happy to be able to use it up in this here experiment.  And you know what?  It turns out that this fugliness actually kinda works in pants form with a solid top!  Well, I think so anyway. You’re all entitled to your own opinion, of course :p

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And can I point out one last thing? It’s a bit of an achievement that I think/hope many of you might be able to appreciate:

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It’s the 100% me-made-ness nature of my outfit!  It’s funny that after nearly 2 years of not buying clothes that I’m only just filling out my wardrobe with stuff that actually goes together!!  Although the cardi & t-shirt weren’t made especially to co-ordinate with these pants, I have been inspired by Jen of Huff Makes Stuff who concentrated on making an outfit a month last year.  While I don’t think I would want to base all of my sewing around making outfits (gotta leave room for idle fancy!), the satisfaction of having a bunch of separates that work together is, well, totally satisfying :p

So watch this space for more pants action!  Next pants effort will (hopefully) be a polka dotty pair with jeans details! 

Oh wait, there is one last thing… Anna, my shoes are Wonders from Step Ahead on Glenhuntly Rd in Elsternwick.  Dangerously close to my house… may have come home with a pair of magenta loafers today, oops!

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Stretchy Fun Times

Friends, I know it may not make for particularly interesting reading, but I have been having so much fun with knits! There’s been a sleeveless Plantain, a regular Plantain WIP, a Vogue 2091 t-shirt and this beauty, Butterick 3643:

I picked it up in an op-shop along Chapel St about a year ago (for but a couple o’ bucks!!) & it’s been whiling away its time in my pattern stash, waiting patiently for shoulder-baring weather.  Did you hear?  It’s been shoulder-baring weather….

It’s one of the simplest things I’ve ever sewn- two fronts and a back and no bindings- but I think it makes for a really interesting addition to my wardrobe.  And I’m really finding this high neckline + bare shoulders look (see also Victory Patterns’ Simone) super flattering.

I made it up in a ponte that I got during the recent Fabric Store summer sale. The pattern calls for ‘moderate stretch’ and I think I erred on the side of moderation here- it would definitely work better with something a bit stretchier than I used :)  But for my first effort it worked just fine & I couldn’t go past the colour anyway :D  (There’s more pink coming this way in the not too distant future too, by the way! )

This make also qualifies as my first contribution to my Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge, brainchild of Marie of A Stitching Odyssey fame.

Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge

I pledged to make up 4 of my vintage patterns throughout the year.  Like many, I have a bit of a weakness for pretty (albeit unrealistic) pattern artwork & I have quite the collection of patterns that it’s unlikely I’ll ever sew, least wear. I did manage to pick out a few wearable ones though and I think one every 3 months is a totally achievable target and I think that this will be a fun challenge! For those of you joining in, how goes your pledge so far?

Well friends, that’s your bloomin’ lot for this week. Conclusion: if you can get your grubby mitts on a copy of this pattern, buy it.  Minimum effort for maximum result :) 

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The Cardi Express

I imagine this will be a relief for everyone who’s had to listen to me bang on about cardigans for the last 12 months!  Yes, after a few false starts (McCall’s 6084 and a failed rub-off of a former wardrobe workhorse) I have some winners, hooray!

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Vogue 8819

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It was Christy’s version of Vogue 8819 that finally inspired me to try this pattern.  I’ve seen a few versions floating around, but none of them looked like anything I might wear.  I think it was the shortened length of Christy’s that got my attention.  I applied a similar adjustment to mine, although rather than shortening the lower section, I shortened it by 6cm through the upper body so that the flounce-y section hit my waist (according to the markings on the pattern pieces, the waist starts 4cm below the seam of the top & bottom front sections).  I also did a 1.5cm narrow shoulder adjustment and added quite a bit of shaping to the side seams.  While this isn’t exactly the cardigan pattern I was looking for I am quite happy with the end result & will probably make up some more another time.  

BurdaStyle 03/2013 #107

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Next up is a pattern I’ve been meaning to try since it was released last year, the BurdaStyle lace cardigan.  I love it!  The ruching at the front (done with the assistance of some narrow clear elastic) adds just the right amount of interest without being too fussy or cute, and the fit is spot on (I did add about 5cm to the length though).  To be fair, I could probably do with going up a size since it’s pulling a little bit at the buttons, but I’m realising that I’m not really that fussed when it comes to the fit of casual stuff like this. 

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Can I also just say, that as far as tiled PDF patterns go, BurdaStyle have really got their game plan on!  The pattern pieces are kind of laid out in sections so that you don’t actually have to tape every single sheet together. Much appreciated BurdaStyle, thank you :)

I have a few other patterns I’d like to try including Style Arc Cosy Cardi, Style Arc Abby Cardi and maybe even a Plantain cardi.  I might hold off till the weather dips back below 40 though :p

I know quite a few of you are cardi knitters, but if anyone has any other suggestions for winning cardigan sewing patterns, do let me know in the comments :)

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The Simple Things in Life Are Often the Best!

Let’s cut to the chase.

I never would have thought I’d get excited about something as basic as a t-shirt. But this pattern is gold! An utter gem!

Plantains have been popping up left, right and centre since the pattern was released a few weeks ago, and every single one I’ve seen looks like a winner. I do believe we’re a bunch of happy campers right now!  Thanks Eléonore :o) The things I love most about the Plantain are the neckline (scoopies are without doubt my favourite) and the fit across the bust & shoulders.  And let’s not kid, the free part is pretty ace too- it looks like Tessuti may have lucked out with their very similar Lola T-shirt for $10-20 :s

I’ve sewn both of these on my regular old machine using a narrow zig-zag stitch (stitch length 0.5 and stitch width 2) which is why they’ve taken me a little longer.  Sewing with knits is on my unofficial ‘to conquer’ list, so this pattern was released at the perfect time for me, it would seem.  I have several other knit projects that I’ve been pottering away on that I’ll have finished soon too, woo hoo!

Anyway, back to the task at hand… let’s have a quick look at these two, shall we?

Number one is straight from the packet, with the super useful (!) addition of a little pocket on the front.  I thought it may have been overkill in the beginning, but I’m quite partial to that little fella now!  I used the elbow patch piece with one of the rounded edges folded over, in case you felt like giving it a shot.

The fabric is a stretch poly crepe from Spotlight that has a really nice weight to it- perfect for the floaty front.

My second version has a couple of mods from the original pattern.  The placket was self-drafted (or rather, made up as I went along :p  ) and attached using this method from Megan Nielsen’s Banksia top. Can I just say that sewing a placket in a slinky knit is probably best not attempted on 40°c+ days.  Could be said for most things that, but I think you all catch my drift!  I also changed the short sleeves from the pattern into shorter cap sleeves (the pattern pieces now resemble crescent moons) since I do prefer this style & found the original ones a little unbalanced on me.  The fabric is a viscose knit that I picked up for a song from Darn Cheap Glenhuntly (didn’t see it at Heidelberg strangely), and the buttons are from there, too.

That leaves me with little else to say, except two thumbs up for Plantain, yay!!

Someone at work called my crazy today. (Actually their words were cray-cray, only I can barely bring myself to type that) God knows where they got that idea from.

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Revisiting an Old Friend

It would be fair to say that my sewing machine & I have been in struggle town of late & I have more UFOs & generally not quite right projects than I care to admit.  Let’s see, there’s:

Colette Parfait- I’d been itching to make this up for years but once I’d nearly finished it realised my style had probably moved on

Ohhh Lulu Ginger Bodysuit- I found the instructions particularly confusing & since I’m not very confident with knits I was discouraged pretty quickly

Burdastyle Boucle Jacket 03/2013 #102- I started this as part of the LFJ Sewalong, but found myself struggling with motivation very early in the game.  If I’m ever to succeed at this sort of project I think I’d have to take part in classes because I could really use the energy from people in the same room

Victory Patterns Roxanne- It’s not a total abomination, but will need some tweaking to tame that epic volume at the back.  I love the shirt front & collar so will invest a bit of time in fixing it up & will hopefully share this with you soon

So as you can probably imagine, it was well & truly time for a pick-me-up…. yes, it was time for another Moss Mini!  What’s more, a Jungle January Moss Mini, woo hoo!

The fabric is a pinwale corduroy remnant that I picked up at the Dancing Queen closing down sale back in October (sorry for not giving you a heads up- it wasn’t advertised & by pure chance I happened to go in on the last day) and from the get-go it was destined to be a Moss Mini.

I have nothing to say about the construction of this skirt that hasn’t been said before.  I suppose the biggest challenge of this make now is deciding what I can wear it with.  Not being a dab hand at jungle stylin’, I rummaged through my wardrobe to see what I could come up with:

Some work better than others, but I think they’re all passable combinations! Any tips for jungle newbies like myself?

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Onwards

Hello everyone!  How are you?  I hope you’ve all had a bit of time for some r&r, or if not that you have some coming your way soon.  As tends to happen with me around the end of the year, I’ve been 100% fed up with human beings and have been fairly happily wallowing in my own company, enjoying activities like…

pottering around home,

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snoozing (lots of),

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reading,

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sewing,

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camping,

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and so on. 

Anyway, yesterday was my first day back at work, so it’s time to snap out of that self indulgence!  And that brings us to the part of the year where we project a whole lot of hopes, wishes & plans on ourselves.

While I’ve been enjoying reading everyone’s round-ups, I thought I might approach things a little differently this year.  I guess what strikes me most about all your hits is the chasm between most worn & favourite makes.  Now I have LOTS of favourites that rarely get worn, and for some of you this counts as a fail.  I don’t really see it that way- they’re fun to make, I learn from them & I won’t pretend that I’m not going to continue making them- but I definitely need to balance things out a bit & invest more time sewing things that will get worn more than twice a year. (I KNOW you know what I mean :o)  )

So I was compiling a bit of a mental list of my most worn makes from 2013, and from there I added all of my other most worn makes from years past and used this as a foundation for what I should focus on. But there was something missing!  It’s all those store bought clothes from 18+ months ago that I rely on day to day, some of which will be nearing the end of their lifespan before too long and will need replacing.  Which brings me to this little exercise- I pulled out all of my most worn clothes for a bit of assessment!image

Not only can I see what things I wear most often, but also what fabrics and which colours I lean towards.  Let’s break it down!

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imageNot pictured…. trackies (wearing them!), singlets, undies, bras etc (no need to be advertising the sorry state of those over the interwebs, no no no.)

While I haven’t gone into a lot of thought about this yet, there are definitely some things that jump out:

  • jeans (wish me luck)
  • cardigans (pattern suggestions welcome- trying out Vogue 8819 & BurdaStyle Lace Cardigan 03/2013 at the moment)
  • tracksuit pants
  • t-shirts- short, elbow, full length sleeves
  • shift dresses
  • jumpers (learn to knit or sew them with knitted ‘fabric’?  Leaning towards the latter option)
  • hoodies
  • ballet wraps
  • casual skirts
  • winter coats
  • blue
  • red
  • pink
  • spots
  • stripes

So I guess you could say this acts a a pretty loose framework for sewing stuff that will get worn, but more importantly, that I need.  While at first glance it may not look like particularly glamorous or fun sewing, there’s definitely lots of new techniques, new patterns, challenges & adventures in there!

And that’s my (current) approach to practical sewing. I’d love to hear your thoughts & ideas on how you motivate/ inspire/ educate yourself about this dastardly everyday sewing.

Now I’m off to put everything back where it came from, blerrrrgh

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Party Like It’s December 2013

I don’t much go for parties, and that can be a bit of a problem come this time of year. So I thought I’d try & get myself excited & in the mood by sewing a special silly season frock… perfect justification!  Is anyone else indulging in a bit of frivolous sewing for the party season?

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Simone from Victory Patterns has been on my radar since it was released, but it was the recent epic weekend of meetups organised by Tj (blogged here by Tj & here by Maria) that propelled it to the top of the ‘to do’ list.  Yes, the meetup serves to inspire and excite once again… what an amazing weekend!! Thanks again to Tj for her efforts & to all the lovely folk who I was lucky enough to spend the weekend with :)

I have to say that I’m sorry I left it this long to try one of Kristiann’s patterns, because sewing this up was an absolute pleasure!  It wasn’t till I started this that I realised how stale a lot of patterns feel at the moment, but this one is truly original and so well thought out.  The clever thing about its design is that it incorporates interesting and challenging details into what at first glance appears to be a simple dress.  But these details, especially the pleating around the front placket, complement the style so well & make for a unique pattern.

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Those of you familiar with the pattern might notice that I made a few changes, most notably changing the hi-lo hem into a straight knee-length hem.  I wish I could rock the hi-lo, but I knew I’d get more wear out of this if I kept it simple.  Besides, this dress is enough of a departure from my recent style as it is!  I don’t quite feel comfortable in it yet, but  hopefully a few outings in it will change all that.

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I think this is one of those patterns where fabric choice is paramount.  The front placket & back yoke really do need fabric with some structure, while the body of the dress will look best using a beautifully flowy fabric with a little bit of weight to it.  I couldn’t believe my luck to find both of these fabrics squirrelled away in my stash, and I think the not-quite-matchiness of them really works with the more modern design of this pattern.

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Yes I know the hem isn’t quite even… the joys of hemming a bias cut garment on your own :-P  Every project has a handmade element to it doesn’t it?!

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So if you haven’t ventured into Victory Patterns territory yet, you should do yourself a favour and get on it!  I also recently bought Roxanne (inspired by Amy’s beautiful Vietnamese silk version) and Nicola (inspired by Yoshimi’s lovely dress from day 2 of the meetup), so don’t be surprised if you see a bit more Victory Patterns love around these parts :)    

Filed under victory patterns

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So I Made a Chef Uniform

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And that my friends, is something I swore I would never do!

Now I know a lot of you sew clothes for work, so it shouldn’t really be such a big deal, right?  But the thing about industry specific clothing is that there are absolutely no other occasions on which you wear it.  You don’t wear it down to the pub after work. You don’t wear it out on your lunch break (ha! Lunch break…can’t remember the last time I had one of those anyway….). You don’t wear it when you need to quickly duck down to the shops for something.  You can’t dress it up or down.  You get the idea.  So the mere thought of spending my relaxation time sewing something that is purely functional, just left me plain uninspired. That, and they are really just not sexy.  Case in point:

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Anyway, my point in all this is that I’ve reached the point where I can no longer justify buying clothes that have been made in conditions that I wouldn’t want to work in, or any of my friends or family to work in.  I am fully aware that me not buying a uniform every once in a while isn’t going to solve anything, but I can say that it gives me peace of mind knowing that I haven’t done anything to support it either.  It seems pretty hypocritical to approach sewing fun stuff with this ethos, but not the things I don’t want to sew, you know? So, I made a chef uniform.

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Now there is NO going back!

Anyway, since I’ve only ever come across one other sewing blogger (Liz) who was a chef, I realised that this post would pretty likely be lacking in interest and/ or relevance for most people. So just for fun, I did a little documentation of the process, and maybe you’ll be able to apply something here to a project down the track. 

For the jacket:

I know I could have used the rub-off method of creating a pattern from this jacket, but seriously, it was already well past its used by date: think ‘threadbare’, ‘grimy’, ‘iron scorched’ etc!  So I decided to harvest the jacket for its pattern pieces instead: 1. I thought it would be more accurate and 2. it would give me a heads up on the construction method.

Firstly, I traced over all seams and top stitching with a thick marker. I also labelled each piece and added notches:

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For the sleeve notches, it’s my understanding that sleeve ease begins where the sleeve head changes from concave to convex.  

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Second was the mega-tedious process of unpicking this monster. It didn’t take long for me to run out of unpicking patience, so I decided to only unpick the topstitching and then cut along seam lines from the inside of the garment.  I simply added seam allowance back on when I cut out my fabric.image

As I was unpicking/ cutting, I also made notes of the order in which I took it apart so that I could use them in reverse for construction.

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 Once I had harvested my pattern pieces, I needed to find the grainline of some of the pieces where it wasn’t immediately obvious:

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I then proceeded as usual, using the old garment pieces as my pattern pieces, adding seam allowance as I went.  The fabric for the jacket is cotton gabardine that I found at Spotlight, but you can find the more oft used poly/cotton blend here (she also stocks other fabrics that are perfect for chef uniforms like apron fabric and b&w check)

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Twenty button holes, yo. Two. Zero.

For the pants:

Most chef pants you come across will be the ultra-stylish elastic waist with tie-string variety.  While I know that this style is a LOT less labor intensive than their fly with waistband counterparts, I’m telling you that thanks to these elastic pants, I’ve seen more bum cracks during my time working in kitchens than I care to remember, and I will have no part in it!!  Hmmm, there’s an interesting insight into my daily life, right there.  WELCOME. So fly with waistband it was for me.

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Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you would have heard the praises that have been sung for the wonder that is the pocket design of the Moss Mini.  When I made my short shorts I was kicking myself that I forgot to extend the pockets up to the fly, but this time I was a bit more on the ball! Borrowing the Moss Mini pocket piece I drafted new pocket, pocket lining & front pants pieces:

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and used the trusty Grainline Fly Front Tutorial for construction.

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So tomorrow, these babies will set off into the wild.  There will be tasty treats, laughter, and bum cracks.  All in a day’s work.

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Make Facings Your Friends Part 6- Post Round-up and Finished Garments

So our facings adventure has drawn to a close.  For easy future reference, here are the links to all the posts:

MFYF Part 1: Series Introduction and Drafting Your Facing

MFYF Part 2: The Basic Complete Facing

MFYF Part 3: The Complete Facing with Sleeves

MFYF Part 4: Facings and Invisible Zips

MFYF Part 5: Facings and Princess Seams

MFYF Part 6: MFYF Post Round-Up and Finished Garments

I’ve also gone back through all of the posts and added these links there too.

I have to say that this little series of tutorials has really given me a whole new respect and appreciation for anyone dedicated enough to host a sewalong! So much stopping and starting to take photos and just document everything in general.  And no cutting corners either!  But it has definitely been a productive few weeks, that’s for sure.  Look what I made!

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First up is a reversible Wiksten Tank. Initially I had just planned on the white fabric being the lining, but it turned out well enough that I think it can pass as a right side!  Two for one- alright!

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Inspired by Morgan’s modifications, I narrowed the straps to make what feels like a slightly more balanced and feminie neckline.  I also sewed the straps together with a 6mm seam allowance rather than the specified 1.5cm, meaning the neckline is lowered by about a centimetre.  Both fabrics are viscoses found at Darn Cheap (you might remember the blue from this calamity :s )  

Next up is a simple A-line shift made using my basic bodice block.image

I’ve been itching to make this up all year, since my spotty number is one of my all-time faves and is on an endless cycle through the wash in warmer months.  The fabric is a double gauze that I picked up at Cottonfield on our trip to Japan. I’d never used double gauze before, but let me tell you, it’s love!  It’s so cushy and comfortable to wear.  It also has that beautiful property of linen in that it actually looks nicest when not ironed and left to softly crinkle. 

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Just as a quick aside, I’d also like to point you in the direction of the brand of zipper that I used for this dress (as well as others in the past):

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You can pick these fellas up at Darn Cheap and I really suggest that you do, as they are the BOMB!  The tape is cotton rather than polyester and they have a much sturdier feel to them than other brands that I come across. Trustworthy, you might say.

Finally, the high-waisted princess seamed pencil skirt made using my self-drafted skirt block.  

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How totally awesome is this fabric?!! It’s a stretch woven called Yesterday’s Story from Tessuti. I picked mine up from the Melbourne shop but I can’t seem find it in the online store.  It’s part of a massive blowout/ stash re-stock that happened a few weeks ago when my friend was visiting from Perth. Oops :D

The original skirt pattern is drafted to sit on my natural waist, so to make it high-waisted all I needed to do was to add 8cm to the top of each skirt piece. Easy peasey.  As for the exposed zipper, I followed this tutorial from Pattern Runway.  To be honest, there’s parts of the tutorial that I found a little unclear, but lots of pictures and common sense got me over the finish line! 

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It looks equally good with an un-tucked t-shirt (Jamie Christina Mission Maxi) for a more casual look too, don’t you think?

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Well friends, that just about does it.  Back to regular programming!

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Make Facings Your Friends Part 5- Facings and Princess Seams

To be honest, I feel like a bit of a fraud claiming this as a whole post as a part of this series.  It’s really just one nifty little trick that catches the facing to the shell.  Feel free to skip ahead to steps 7~10 to find out how, or follow along from the beginning for more info.

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Cut, interface & finish the bottom edge of all your facing pieces. (I’ve decided not to interface my facings here since I cut them out of canvas and have deemed them sturdy enough).  This time I’ve finished the bottom of the facings with a zig-zag stitch.  Also, if you’re wondering about all the little masking tape squares, I like to label pieces that are easily confused just to make my life easier.  I always tape on the wrong side just in case they leave any sticky residue.

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I choose to finish the seams together so I can just treat them as one from here on. 

At this point, if you turn your garment right side out you actually have a fully attached and fully functional facing.

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But we can do better than that!  Read on…..

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Alternatively, you can also stitch all your facings together, all your skirt pieces together, sew the facings to the shell and then continue with steps 7~10, it’s up to you :)  Oh, and you can also use this method for a bodice with princess seams coming from the shoulder or neckline. Bonus!

So there you go friends, that’s my take on facings.  I hope some of it has been of interest or use to you.  If not, sorry about that, but stay tuned to check out all my finished garments from this series in the next post :)

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The complete series of Make Facings Your Friends:

MFYF Part 1: Series Introduction and Drafting Your Facing

MFYF Part 2: The Basic Complete Facing

MFYF Part 3: The Complete Facing with Sleeves

MFYF Part 4: Facings and Invisible Zips

MFYF Part 5: Facings and Princess Seams

MFYF Part 6: MFYF Post Round-Up and Finished Garments

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Make Facings Your Friends Part 4- Facings and Invisible Zips

I used to get a bit grumpy whenever I saw one of these photos pop up in my reader:

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Stop showing off! And I mean, how do you even DO that?? 

But friends, if I told you that sewing a zipper with a facing was now one of my all-time favourite sewing things, would you call me a crazy lady?  Well you could (it’s been said before…  it’s ok, I can handle it), but you’d have to eat your words later because seriously, this this nifty little manoeuvre is so ridiculously easy and yields bloody marvellous results!  It’s just so satisfying!  And the best part is….. NO HANDSTITCHING REQUIRED!!!

The technique that I’m showing you today can be used to install an invisible zipper (or even an exposed zipper) to a centre back seam of a dress or pants, a side zipper on a dress that goes all the way up to the armscye, or a side zipper on pants. For this post, I’m going to be solely concentrating on the back bodice of a dress.

One last thing before we get this show on the road- this tutorial is not a lesson on how to install an invisible zipper.  For anyone needing help in that department I suggest you have a look at this tutorial on Coletterie.

Orright. Here we go.

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Cut, interface & finish the bottom edge of all your facing pieces.  This time I simply turned under 6mm and stitched.  Since the facing has been interfaced I don’t expect that raw edge on the underside to fray.

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What you want to do here is pull your facing so that its CBS extends 1cm beyond the bodice’s CBS.  This will create a little bubble in the bodice, but never fear, this will be sorted in a jiffy!

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Attach your presser foot and butt its left edge up against the zipper teeth (that’s the stitching that you see there.  And just in case you were confused by the two rows of stitching, it’s only because I use a regular zipper foot to sew my invisible zips and multiple stitching is the only way I can get close enough to the teeth :p ).  You’ll be able to feel the teeth through the fabric.  Stitch all the way from the bottom of the facing to the neckline.

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Repeat for the other side and turn right sides out

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And will you look at that, it’s invisible zipper + facing perfection :)

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Seriously, I can’t wait for y’all to try this out & have your minds blown!! But as always, if you’ve got any questions or comments, please holler!

The next installment (princess seams & facings) might be a little while off since (a) I haven’t even decided what I’m making yet and (b) I have a friend from interstate staying with me next week so there will be zero activity on the sewing/ blogging front.  I’ll be back before long though to finish off :) 

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The complete series of Make Facings Your Friends:

MFYF Part 1: Series Introduction and Drafting Your Facing

MFYF Part 2: The Basic Complete Facing

MFYF Part 3: The Complete Facing with Sleeves

MFYF Part 4: Facings and Invisible Zips

MFYF Part 5: Facings and Princess Seams

MFYF Part 6: MFYF Post Round-Up and Finished Garments