Sunday, May 22, 2016

Me Made May 16 - Week 3

Welcome to Week 3, of my version of Me Made May 2016 - Climate Change Edition.
This weekend I heard the news that New South Wales is on track to have it's warmest May ever. This is no surprise. The daily maximums have hovered in the low to mid 20s, which is about 5 degrees warmer than average for this time of year. I have yet to break out the long boots, tights and scarves. That Paprika Patterns Jasper sweatshirt from a few posts ago that I was rushing to finish before the cold weather started? Need not have worried! Haven't had a chance to wear it yet!

To recap, my challenge is to wear at least Me Made item a day (not documented), and two Me Made outfits per week to share with you on the blog. Here are this weeks Me Made Outfits:

It's Saturday. With my camp chair and flat white, I'm ready for a spot of netball watching. Wearing:

Pants - Style Arc Misty (these are getting worn a lot at the moment)

I got excited when there was enough of a nip in the air in the morning to wear the Minoru. To be honest though, as soon as I sat down to watch the game, the jacket came off.
My daughter's team won 31-11. They are having a really good season, nice to have after a really terrible season in 2015.

Sunday. This is what I wore this morning to nick into the local shops to buy some groceries. When I got home, I pottered around the house all day in bare feet and the dress.

Dress: Maria Denmark Edith
Cardigan: Style Arc Cosy Cardi

Saturday, May 21, 2016

MBM - Style Arc Beth and Tessuti Mandy

Two items to share today, both in the category of "comfortable basics", which pretty much constitutes 90% of my wardrobe.

The top is Tessuti Mandy Boat Neck tee, made before here and here. Both of these tops have been hardworking items in my wardrobe, and after three years solid service, are just about ready to be superannuated. At least one replacement Mandy was in order.
 The fabric is some sort of rayon/poly blend knit from Remnant Warehouse. For this version, I followed the lead of a number of bloggers and took 5cm out of centre front and back - you can see there is still enough volume there. I also lengthened the body pieces about 10cm, and the sleeves also about 10cm to make them long sleeves, instead of 3/4 sleeves.
This was a super-quick sew. When I find another suitable stripey knit, I'll make another. And seriously, I don't have much else to add!

Ok onto the pants, Style Arc Beth, which is a variation of the much loved Style Arc Barb. The only difference is those "slimming design lines". Nice, but as a non-tucker innerer, a bit lost on me.
The fabric is Style Arc bengaline in Aubergine. Great hand and easy to work with. 


I've had relative success with Style Arc pants before, the only alteration I made on these pants was to add 5cm to the back crotch hook, which is pretty standard for me to accommodate my sticky-out rear end bequeathed to me by my paternal grandmother. I didn't add length, and the length of these was spot on for me.
There is wrinkling around the back of the knee there, but you know what? I'm not fussed.

On the other hand, the pooling of fabric at the front crotch here does bother me a bit (but not enough to consign the pants to Wadderville) - perhaps a matter of shortening the front crotch hook next time? 

Not the world's greatest photo, but here are the design lines at front. The topstitching is optional of course, but there isn't much of it and it highlights those diagonal seams. 

Happy with this outfit, and in terms of comfort, up there with pjs.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Me Made May 2016 - Week 2

Week 2 of Me Made May for 2016 over.
To recap, the challenge I set myself is to wear one me made item per day (not documented) and at least two  me made outfits per week, which I will document. (As I noted in my pledge post, my me made outfit days fall on my non-work days. Jeans work best for my work with disabled adults, and I just haven't gone there with my sewing).

This week was another week of guiltily gorgeous weather, with temps bouncing around the low 20s and mild humidity.

Soaking up some rays, while waiting for my flat white at a local cafe on Friday. Wearing:
Merino Cardi - Simplicity 2603
Now the humidity around here is in the manageable area,  the Misty pants have been on high rotation. So comfortable!
The yellow cardi doesn't get many outings, but it should get more. I always feel happy wearing it, and the colour gets  positive comments.

Classic tourist shot in front of the Sydney Opera House on Saturday. My daughter and I went to see The Australian Ballet's Symphony in C.
Pants - Style Arc Beth (unblogged)

The one-item-per-day bit of Me Made May isn't much of a challenge to be honest. Two-items-per-day would also be a bit of a no-brainer. It is only when I get to full outfits, that I have to apply some thought. Generally, because I rely on RTW items to make certain me-made-items work, or I lack the right shoes (type, colour) for different combinations of Me Made items. But, I am managing.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Me Made May 16 - Week 1

My MMM16 challenge this year is to wear at least one Me  Made item per day, and at least two Me Made outfits a week. I'm only posting the outfits.

The weather has been beautiful this week- thank you climate change. It is Mother's Day tomorrow, and I remember as a child by Mother's Day I was wearing spencers under my school uniform, and scraping ice off car windows in Sydney. Not these days.

Here's a dose of reality - end of day, hair and clothes gym-rumpled, no make up. Today's outfit brought to you by Style Arc:
 Pants - Style Arc Misty

Netball watching and errands today in beautiful autumn sunshine. My daughter's team is undefeated so far! Go NNBNC 17Bs!!

In other sewing news, I've joined the Stashbusting Sewalong . Over the years, I've accumulated pieces of fabric that have demanded standards of sewing beyond my capabilities at the time. But I think, in a lot of cases, my skills have caught up with the demands of the fabrics, and it's time to front up to the challenge. Ironically, though, just as I signed up, I was also telling my children I'd like fabric for Mothers Day, so I declare an amnesty on those purchases. (You can rationalise anything, I guess!) . After netball I went into Spotlight and despite the 40% off sale on fabric and seeing one or two fabrics I quite liked, I stayed strong and focussed! No purchases - fabric at least. I purchased elastic and a pair of shoulder pads for an upcoming project.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Me Made May 2016

So I've decided at the last minute to take part in  Me Made May this year.

Last year I gave it a miss, mostly because the daily documentation of outfits just didn't appeal to me. Also, I work three or four days a week. My work outfits generally consist of RTW jeans, a me-made top and Converse shoes. Repeat. The uniform you wear when you don't have a uniform.  No jewellery, no scarves, no accessories in general for safety reasons. Just too boring to blog, Me Made May or not.

So, I've adjusted to my pledge over on So Zo to gloss over the work days, and concentrate my creativity on the non-work days. It is this:

I, Paola of sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May 16. I will wear at least one me-made item per day, and will wear at least two totally me-made outfits per week. I will post the me-made outfits on my blog weekly, and maybe Instagram too, if I get around to setting up an account. :)

Click on the link to So Zo if you want to find out more about Me-Made-May.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Sewing Room Investigation: Style Arc Madison

Aargh. It gives my sewing ego no joy to post a sewing debacle, especially in a pattern that is ostensibly straightforward. But in a spirit of solidarity with my sewing sisters who have posted sewing fails before me,  I make my own contribution to the oeuvre of work that constitutes Great Wadders of the Sewing Blog World.
Sit back, and enjoy La Sartora: Sewing Room Investigation:
The pattern: Style Arc Madison. A knit pattern with raglan sleeves, bust and sleeve darts. Cuffs. The body has a trapeze shape and a deep hem.
I recall this pattern was a Style Arc freebie from back in January.
The plus points of this project were:
  • ·         A different take on a knit top. As someone who is in danger of thinking the Sewaholic Renfrew the Be All and End All of knit top patterns, I knew that I had to shake things up a bit in this area and do something radical, you know, like try another pattern.
  • ·         It’s Style Arc. These patterns fit me with not too much tweaking.
  • ·         I had what I thought was the perfect fabric – a soft but not too drapey stripey knit I bought from Pitt Trading.

The warning signs:
  • ·         The style – it’s drafted high in the neck, and probably a bit short for me. And I think I suit styles that follow the line of the body more, so a trapeze shape was always going to be risky.

At this point the investigation might come to the conclusion that this project  was destined to go off the rails. If only I’d had the forethought to drop the front neckline and lengthen (as Jean did) it might have had a fighting chance.

 The fact that this project skulked around the sewing rooms for weeks waiting for attention after cutting was probably a good indication of the reservations I had with this pattern.

Anyway, I mustered up some energy to sew this up and here is the result:

(NB. Yep, that hem is pinned up. I started sewing the hem for blogging purposes, but mucked it up. By this time, I’d already mentally relegated the top to the sin bin, so I just went with pins. I just wanted the whole experience to END.)
So, how many types of wrong can we see ?
  1. The neckline.  How many bound necklines have I made over the years? Heaps. How many can I count as fails? This one. The neckline is too wide, particularly at the back, and the binding sits out in a most unbecoming fashion. Yuk. Pressing and fiddling with how the top sits made zero difference. Style Arc mentions checking the binding length. Who didn’t read the instructions? Take that as advice, people.
  2. To make matters worse, due to dodgy cutting or sewing, the raglan sleeve seam angles are different. A bit hard to make out here, but believe me. It's not pretty.
  3. Annoyingly, the sleeve dart sits behind my shoulder line. I have no idea how to redraft to fix this.
  4. The fine stripe lends itself to optical illusions. My daughter said as she did the photos it was a bit like looking at a Bridget Riley painting. Fine in an art gallery. Don't  know that's such a good thing in a top!
  5. As predicted, the silhouette just doesn’t do it for me (but maybe the other problems are colouring my feelings here).

A Bridget Riley and my Madison 

After all that, it probably wouldn't surprise anyone to know that I don't have any immediate plans to revisit this pattern.

Let's change the subject:

A frequent topic of conversation on sewing blogs is the whole area of ethical practice in clothing and footwear industries. Indeed, a lot of sewists sew at least partly to remove themselves from the fraught ethical conundrums consumers seem to have to navigate not to contribute to human misery and environmental degradation. Still, RTW is still a part of most wardrobes, even if only in certain areas of attire (for me, underwear, gym wear and the occasional fashion item).   I thought I'd share a link to Baptist World Aid's Australian Fashion Report 2016. With the subtitle "The Truth Behind the Barcode", it gives marks to a comprehensive list of Australian fashion and footwear brands based on a number of areas of practice that go to the ethics, work practices and sustainability. Interesting reading, even if you are not Australian, as many of the brands listed are global. It will change my spending habits in terms of who I give my money too in one or two respects.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

MBM - Paprika Patterns Jasper Sweatshirt

I bought some merino sweatshirting last July on sale from The Fabric Store, with the intention of making up a Paprika Patterns Jasper sweatshirt almost straight away. Unfortunately, as July tipped into August, still allegedly winter, we were treated to increasingly mild days of over 20C interspersed with 30C+  stinkers. The wool sweatshirt project got shelved.
I knew  that I had to get my ducks in a row early in the winter sewing season, if I wanted to make and wear a merino sweatshirt in 2016 (This goes for all my winter sewing really). Hooray! I did it! Added bonus: I match the tibouchina currently in flower in the front garden.
Paprika Patterns is a new-to-me pattern company, so I spent a bit of time contemplating which size to cut, particularly the bust size, and  the question of whether or not to make my customary FBA. In the end, after taking note of the finished sizes, and comparing them to similar RTW sweatshirts in my wardrobe, I went for Size 6 with no FBA. (Note: Sizes 6 and below are drafted for a B cup. Sizes 7 and above drafted for a C cup.)

I made  a 7cm length addition on the body pieces to make it a tunic length sweatshirt. Let’s not beat around the bush here – I feel the cold in my backside most, and a couple of layers of wool in this region is very attractive to me! I also added length to the sleeves, mainly because that is what I always do. I have longish arms. However, I ended up  cutting off the added length, and then some.
The pattern goes together easily. There are good instructions for the welt pockets on both the printed instructions and on the Paprika patterns website, so don’t be intimidated by them.
Oh dear, this could have done with another press, but I was in a rush to get photos done before my photographer sloped off to the gym.
I’m happy with this make. The fit is pretty good and I’m happy with the amount of ease. I don’t regret not making an FBA.
And can I say how much I love sewing wool - this sweatshirting behaved itself under the presser foot, pressed well and felt lovely between the fingers as you sew. And I love the smell of wool when you iron it. 
To conclude, as someone who could wear sweatshirts for work and play, I predict that this will be a high rotation garment. That sweatshirting is lovely to wear too – light, but warm.  If I can find some decent cotton sweatshirting or good quality fleece, I’d like to make the hooded version of this pattern too - any suggestions for sources would be welcomed.