Me made May 2016 final

The end of May was an absolute whirlwind but I did manage to photograph what I wore.
It was still warm in mid-May and you can tell from these photos.

Brynna dress

Some days at work I didn’t need a jacket so this cotton dress was fine for work. 

Simplicity top using John Kaldor fabric and a trusty red skirt from years ago.

It was nice to make and wear a new colourful Simplicity (1425) top to go with a trusty red skirt made way back. All of my skirts are fully lined.

McCalls 6460

Again it was a warm day so I wore this dress as I added pockets to the side seams for work.

Burda blouse and fully lined pants

The Burda shirt 2564 is a Minerva make from last year. The Burda pants are fully lined pants that work well when it gets cold. I made these 5 years ago.

Vogue 1204 jeans and Vogue 8815 top

When I got up in the morning, it was time for a bit of colour because there were a few office functions on that day. Both pieces are Vogue patterns and are three years old.

Then I got to wear a New Look top using shiny lycra top with my black jeans on a night out. It still was warm enough to go without a jacket. I can see why I like sci-fi costumes. The jeans were my Minerva jeans from 2 years ago.

Tessallate tee and Steeplechase leggings.

 Again I paired this new Tessallate tee from for Winter with a previously made pair of leggings. The colours work well together and brighten up a 5.30am gym room.

Vogue 1378 jeans, Burda 7140 jacket and Tessellate test tee 

So you can see the activities at the end of May drained a lot of my energies. I had to go to a workshop the day I wore this so I just threw anything together. The jeans are a Minerva Crafts project too.

Candor outfit made from factory cut offs
I loved wearing this outfit to work. It was another tough day but knowing I had two new pieces on made me start the day out better.
Butterick 6062 coat, stripe tee and Jalie 2908 jeans
On the last Saturday night is was cold so I got to wear my new coat with Jalie jeans and a green stripe top.
Burda 7140 jacket and Simplicity 2154 pencil skirt

The cold finally hit last week so I was able to drag out the boots for these Me Made pieces. So you’ve seen the Dauntless jacket again because it’s so comfortable. The skirt is a new one to be blogged. The top was made a few years ago too.

1960s Simplicity 2154 jacket and pencil skirt: to be blogged.

It was finally cold enough to wear this 1960s set using Elliott Berman fabric worn with a grey wrap top.

The bottom line is, Me Made May gave me to opportunity to wear new pieces with some favourite existing pieces. 
I hope everyone who participated enjoyed the experience. Thanks Zoe.

Vintage retro

What do you get when you combine a vintage blouse, a retro suit, denim and a touch of Erudite office style? This month’s Minerva Crafts UK project.

You could say I’m very easily influenced by lots of ideas and none of these ideas are mine. Truly.

Let’s take a simple 1950s vintage style from Simplicity (1460) and a retro print from Minerva Crafts.

I first discovered this retro print when Jo, a talented fellow Minerva Crafts blogger, when she used this print for a retro dress last year. Hi Jo!

So my project uses View A to and View C peplum of Simplicity 1460.

When I made the test blouse there were some tweaks needed to make at the front waistline at the right spot for me. A forward shoulder adjustment and slightly shortened front bodice is all I needed to make this pattern work.

The sleeve is built into the bodice so if I had taken out the fullness across the bust, I wouldn’t be able to lift my arms so this blouse is roomy.

Now let’s take that 1960s retro suit from Simplicity (2154) and research from Kyle’s epic skirt posts to sew a great lined pencil skirt. 

One of Kyle’s suggestions was to interface the hem before you start sewing the skirt together and this gave the hem a sharper finish.

Kyle also had some good research on lining and finishing the skirt vent.

I had no problems climbing up the airplane stairs wearing this skirt. I raised the skirt vent by 3cm.

This denim holds it’s own after an early morning flight. 

I’ve washed this denim (both fabrics really) in the wash and they’ve kept their colours.

The print colours held well under the Australian sun and the denim didn’t colour my fingers blue as I worked with it.

Workwear for me means suits and fitted clothes, so I wanted to take a risk and make a denim suit. Wearing double denim to work sounded like a risk I wanted to take.

Lastly a few weeks ago I watched Divergent, quickly followed by Insurgent. I love the military styling worn by Dauntless and the structured clothes worn by Erudite and Candor. So of course I looked into the design ideas by Carlo Poggioli

This suit is tailored and has a lot of blue in it like Erudite so I decided to use the blue ribbon from a previous Minerva Crafts project last year to add more blue to the jacket. 

The blouse collar is high so I’ve used that detail too.

Simplicity 2154 jacket is unlined and has fake pockets so I traced out a basic pocket bag to match the pocket flap patterns supplied. I’ve again done a forward shoulder adjustment and added 3cm at the centre back seam.

This jacket has no closure so it’s easy to wear. I had planned to make this jacket for my May project but it simply made sense to make this whole suit right now.

It’s still quite warm here even though it’s April but I found this suit was perfect for a full day’s travel and work.

Thanks Minerva Crafts for these new work clothes. I’m so tempted to try another faction outfit from the Divergent series.

PS: Both patterns are part of my Vintage Pattern Pledge 2016.

Fluoro fun

Here’s a mild-mannered cyclist who sews and has created a fluoro/reflective jacket using McCalls 7026.

Here’s how this jacket looks with my normal Sunday morning cycling kit.
This jacket looks quite tame.
Nothing too amazing yet.
But here’s how it looks when you use flash photography.
And the back looks amazing too.

The back view covers my RTW cycling jersey so I won’t be adjusting the jacket length.

What I will be adjusting is the front panel so I can include zippered pockets for future jackets. The pattern has the pockets in the side seam but on a form fitting jacket, side seam pockets makes the side seams gape.

I prefer the pockets at the front and with a zipper, to keep my keys and id intact. I always carry id in case of an accident and I’m the one they need to put in an ambulance to send to hospital. It’s happened in the past and fortunately I regained consciousness fast enough to get off the road.

The yellow fabric is two-way stretch and is a factory off-cut I was given. The print is a Spotlight special I bought. Kirsty of Top Notch used this same print for her Frocktails 14 dress and I loved the texture and flouro-ness of it when I saw her dress in real life. When it was on sale, I bought a few metres to experiment with.

I didn’t use the cuff on sleeve for this version. I was checking the fit of size 12 and I’ll use this size for my Minerva Crafts version next month. The print fabric has no stretch but my Minerva Crafts ponte does so this size will work. I’d certainly go up a size for non-stretch fabrics. 

I do love the effect of the reflective tape.

Staying in shape

No matter what fabric you use, you can make your jacket last longer and keep its shape by interfacing it.

I’m working on Vogue 8931 and my fabric breathes well and is the colour I want but just a bit light-weight to stand the test of time.

Interfacing is normally used on collar, cuffs and waistbands but over time, I’ve seen how jackets can keep their shape when every piece is fully interfaced. I’ve fully fused 2 jackets made of double knit and they still hold their shape even after the fabric starts to pill.

This cotton linen-look fabric from Minerva Crafts is soft and great for summer. It’s dress weight. Normally you wouldn’t use the same fabric for a jacket, but I have.

Above is the ‘before’ fabric. It looks a bit wrinkled right so I’ll steam it before I interface it.

I interface each piece separately but there’s no reason why you couldn’t interface the fabric before you cut out each piece – if you’ve planned it ahead of time.

See how the nicely steam pressed piece looks. Smooth…

Above is this piece is ready to steam press with a layer of interfacing. The interfacing you choose is your choice.

Above I cover these two pieces with a moist pressing cloth.

See the bubbles? This piece needs more pressing time.

Above is how the inside of the jacket looks once each piece has been fused and sewn together.

See how smooth these pieces are to work with? From here on in, these pieces stay smooth and make my sewing life a bit easier.
I always keep a bit of whisperweft, sheerweft, armoweft and textureweft in my stash.

This jacket will also resist creasing when I take it to work or wear it in the car.

Don’t just look at what I’ve done, go to some real references.
Singer Tailoring – 1988,
Jackets for real people by Alto, Neall and Palmer – 2006,
New Simplicity Sewing Book – 1979
Easy, Easier, Easiest Tailoring by Palmer and Pletsch – 1977

Fitting fatigue – Minoru jacket

There’s no way I’ll let this jacket beat me. We spent the weekend with Angie’s getting the fit sorted. Those sleeve lines don’t happen with a standard fitted sleeve but because there isn’t the same sleeve head room built into a raglan sleeve, a couple of us had to build in the sleeve head room that was missing. Then I was able to take the 2″ out of the collar that I had added previously. Phew. Collars are not the sort of adjustment I’m comfortable making so returning the collar to its original length was a relief. As you can also see below, this raglan pattern is all in one. There isn’t a separate front and back raglan sleeve pattern piece so the changes in the Big Red book Fitting and Pattern Alteration: A Multi-Method Approach to the Art of Style Selection, Fitting, and Alteration (2nd Edition) didn’t help.

So the sleeve has been cut and spread 2″/5cm to add in the additional sleeve head room. I’ve also readjusted the length so it’s only 3/4″ longer at the top of the arm. Now that I’ve had a fitting expert check the raglan twist (Angie), the solution was to add more space at the shoulder head. So we cut and spread the pattern open and added at least 2″/5cm at the shoulder head and graduated it back to the original size at the wrist.


The front and back pieces have been adjusted based on the increased sleeve head length (3/4″) and all pieces have been shortened to suit my body length (or lack of length).
To come…the trial garment is mushroom colour in a stretch woven shower proof fabric. The lining is a polyester chiffon (lots of movement) that I bought for nix and there’s plenty more of it in the stash. The zippers were bought at Ferriers in Fullarton, Adelaide. I’m building in zippered pockets on the front with a single welt and zippered pockets inside the jacket, replacing the velcro opening. I know, who else would be silly enough to ask for more hoops to jump through with this jacket?
February 2013 edit: If you add the wrist band with elastic, there won’t be a twisting on the sleeve. The gathers at the top of the sleeve and at the wrist will overcome this fitting issue.

Fleecing moment – McCall 5714

With the impending NSW Industry Day, my memories of past meetings are full of freezing moments at the Simplicity warehouse. We are really fortunate that Simplicity allows ASG members to meet on their premises one day a year and our meetings have been on wintery Saturdays. So, with Mum’s warm experience with her polar fleece jacket and a 25 per cent discount at the local Spotlight store, I took a plunge and decided to make this fleece layer for the day.

The aim was to have a warm casual layer that wouldn’t show any marks that might happen while at the warehouse. We have an exciting day at Simplicity because of the fabric and pattern discounts offered they offer ASG members.

The front bodice has a self facing and this piece is interfaced. The under collar and front self faced ‘skirt’ band are interfaced. I follow these directions so the pieces would maintain their shape for longer. The rest of the jacket is unlined although I was in two minds about lining polar fleece, but it’s really thick and my poor Janome needs my assistance when sewing through more than two layers of polar fleece.
While testing the jacket, I realised the 3/4 sleeve length wasn’t going to keep me warm so I did a frill test sleeve. Now that the sleeve is done, I’ve ironed in flat because I don’t have the height to make this sleeve billow out so far.


I’ve never thought using gatherings on polar fleece, but there you have it. Just joking around, I felt that this jacket was a bit robin hood or pirate-like.
As for Industry day, we were in the presence of a great seamstress Renee Wedell. She worked on dresses for Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly and Jackie Kennedy during her career in many French couture houses in the 50’s, 60’s and early 70’s. The black dress below is a couture original. The dresses  below were made by her for her family. Her sewing career spanned for more than 50 years as workroom manager through to tutor in her later years.

Yes, you are looking at the inside of the Simplicity factory, as you can see.