Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Reliable Sensor Velocity 200

Sensor Velocity 200

I see this is coming out fall 2012. They are available for preorder on the site, but apparently haven't been reviewed anywhere yet, that I can find . My current iron is held together with scotch tape and works, well, intermittently.

I currently have a Reliable iron on my birthday wish list for July, but I am wondering if I should wait until the 200 is available.

In the meantime, I guess I will wait to find some reviews.

Ruffle leather jacket complete!

My Mad Hatter

I did it!  I completed my ruffled leather jacket!  Though you can't see me I am jumping up and down at my computer.

I had my DD who is 6 yrs old snap some pics before the school bus came this morning...not professional quality but they will do.

The lining is so fun.  I got a lot of positive comments from the girls at work and they loved the lining. It is Alice in Wonderland/Mad Hatter themed.  These leather ruffles nearly did send me completely "mad", and the leather ruffles certainly add a bit of "wackiness" to offset any potential biker look.
I even added an inside pocket for messages/notes at work, with my Shiny Green Penny label affixed.

The lining is 100% cotton and the sleeve lining is black rayon to allow the jacket to slide off and on easily.

Here is the back view.  I really do love the fit of this jacket.  It is fitted and yet so comfortable to wear.

I even added a hanging chain so that I can hang up my jacket in my locker at work.
The leather neck facing I drafted myself because I think it makes the jacket look more polished on the inside, plus the leather seems to  make the collar more stable.

Overall, I love my jacket.  My DD does too, though she has a ways to go before she grows into it!
 I think that this has been my favourite sewing project ever.  It was a challenge, and I ended up with a very unique, yet wearable, finished product. Yay!

I did enter my jacket in the Pattern Review contest, and my review can be seen here.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Ruffle Leather Jacket - in progress

So, I have decided that I need to sew another leather jacket.  Pattern Review is having a Natural Fibres contest and that is serving as motivation for me to actually cut into my leather that I have had stashed since last year's leather sale at Fabric Mart.

After searching the web for hours for inspiration, and trying out a wide variety of trims such as lace, zipper tape, metal chain and a variety of adhesive studs and bling, I settled on a ruffle design. But not without much trepidation, that's for sure.

It seems that my hesitation was warranted.  I have discovered that there is a reason that there are few, if any, patterns for jackets with ruffle trim of leather.  I have also discovered that any such jackets available in RTW are in the $500-$1000 range and up. Sewing leather ruffles in NOT easy.

The reason that I settled on ruffles is that I didn't want it to look too "biker" because I want to wear it to work and dressier venues. A little bit girly and a little bit tough, I guess, was what I was going for.  For me, casual wear is paddling and outdoor quick dry clothing. Leather jacket = dressier attire in my world (small town, small island, where dressing up means wearing your best black running shoes and your cleanest ball cap).

First of all, you don't want too many basting threads to ruffle the leather due to the fact that holes will be left behind.  Secondly, when you sew leather ruffles to other leather, it makes for a whole lot of layers of leather for your sewing machine to get through (yay, Bernina 550, I love you!).

The pattern is McCalls 6171, with the 3/4 sleeve length.  I added ruffles along the front yoke seam.
Here the sleeves are ready to have the seam allowances glued in place. I use contact cement (outdoors so the fumes don't poison us all) to glue any seams that I don't topstitch, such as the sleeve seams and the side seams.
The binder clips in the image are my #1 favourite tool for sewing leather. The small size can be clipped onto seam allowances and allow you to leave them in place as you sew, with enough room for the presser foot to stitch the seam. I used about 10 clips on the armscyes when I set in the sleeves and they went in without a hitch. (plus I had already trimmed all the excess ease from them when I first made a muslin of this pattern.

In the 3 years that I have been sewing, this is definitely my most challenging project to date.  However, I have been enjoying the challenge and the sense of euphoria of  being able to do it!

I began cutting out my leather Saturday morning, went for a ten km run, played with the kids and gardened the rest of the day, then sewed Saturday evening for a few hours. This morning I set in the sleeves and completed the ruffles around the zipper and collar, and even got the zipper in without a hitch.

Some notes for myself:
Size 90 needle
seam stitch length 3.0, topstitching length 3.5
leather ruffles.....been there, done that, never again
Here is a quick snap...to lazy to put it on the dressform so it basically looks like a blob of leather.

Next Steps: the lining!  More to come.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Camel leather jacket knockoff

Joie jacket

Joie jacket                                                                                                     My Jacket!

Since I first began sewing, when I was on maternity leave in 2009, one of my sewing goals was to sew a leather jacket. During one of Fabric Mart's great sales I scored several leather skins, embossed and camel coloured. I wanted to sew something simple, so I read reviews on Pattern Review and decided on McCall's 6171.  I figure I made this jacket for between $20 -$30.
Line DrawingPhoto
This great pattern, which comes with pattern pieces for different cup sizes A,B,C,D, was easy to sew up and achieve a great fit because they did the bust adjustments for you. I sewed a size 12 with the C cup and it was a great fit in my first iteration of this jacket, a grey faux suede. I did take in the seam allowances an extra 1/4 inch on the leather version to accommodate the stretch of the leather. I also left off the collar because I was copying a RTW version that I found on Polyvore

I did come across an error in the pattern, luckily on my first attempt and not on the leather. One of the front pieces is too short (it is actually the size of the lining piece).

I am happy that I obtained this pattern before it disappeared (it is now OOP) because I'm sure I will make it up again and again. Great fit, quick to sew...who could ask for more?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Plaid cape frankenpattern

 I have wanted a cape since they were heavily featured in my first ever Burda issue, 08-2009.  However, It wasn't unti this winter that I actually got around to create my ideal cape.

First, I had a lot of criteria:
  •  it couldn't have droopy bits that would get caught in car doors or dragged through soup
  • it had to have some fitting so it didn't look like a tent on my large frame (my waist is my only narrow part
  • it had to be warm enough to suffer through an early spring yard duty or a stint at arena as a skating mom
  • pockets!
So this Burda 08-2009 pattern provided the "sleeves" for my cape.
This Vogue 8674 pattern was used for the body.
Line Art

I used the longer length of view C.  I detest the sleeves on the Vogue, as all I could think about was all the things I would drag them through and get them caught in. However, the body is nicely fitted and I like the high collar.

Here is what I ended up with:
 For the back view I decided to not have the sleeves meet, similar to a RTW cape that I saw - I can no longer find the link to the image anywhere.  The belt detail I got from there as well.  My belt is "faux" as it only goes to the side seams, not around the front. It is made from thin black leather with encased elastic to give it a gathered/elasticized effect. I decided to put the sleeves on the bias to get the neat effect with the plaid.  Unfortunately, it didn't dawn on me that the plaids were almost squares, but not quite. This meant it took me forever to match them up until I realized what the problem was.
The fabric for the coat is some sort of blend (more poly, very little wool) from Fabricland that I got on deep clearance. I lined it with Kasha to make it warmer.  There are inseam pockets and I used windowpane-type buttonholes for the HUGE buttons that I found. 

I love to throw it over whatever I'm wearing for an extra layer...it served me well during late winter/early spring weather.

It took a lot more time and futzing than I would have liked, but it ended up being well worth it...I've received lots of compliments and unsolicitations.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Recess Time SWAP completed!

Every year Stitcher's Guild has a contest for a complete Sew With a Plan (SWAP) wardrobe.

I actually can't believe it - I have completed a SWAP!  I always sewalong for contests and for fun, but I often don't finish. Even when I do, I NEVER take photos.  I don't really enjoy taking photos nor do I enjoy being in them.

Miraculously, I did all of the above and I have a completed wardrobe of 11 garments, and that's not even including the ones that I decided not to include.

My design plan for the SWAP changed gears several times throughout the event, which runs from January through April. In the end I decided to go with the most practical work wardrobe for my job as an elementary school teacher.  It's difficult to dress professionally and appropriately while dealing with recess duty weather, too hot and too cold classrooms, arts and crafts and a multitude of other messy activities, sitting on the floor, climbing to post things on bulletin boards....the list goes on.

So, my wardrobe is composed of many layers, washable, comfortable (lots of stretchy lycra) and easy-to-sit-on-the-floor-with clothing items.

Below are some small pics of my clothing items. The key to this year's SWAP was fitting patterns to create TNT patterns that you can sew up at the drop of a hat.  It worked!  Over the next week or so I will record some of the pattern and sewing details here on my blog so that I can "remember" them later when I need my notes.
Jalie jeans and Jalie scarf top
McCalls 6171 leather jacket, Burda wrap blouse, Style Arc Elle pants
New Look6892  peasant top, Elle pants
twist cardigan copied from RTW
McCalls 6559 maxi dress
Jalie dress
leather jacket zipped: gotta love those princess seams
Vogue 8674 cape morphed with Burda 08-2009 cape sleeves
-back leather belt detail copied from RTW

Why is this picture sideways?  Several of my images are appearing sideways when I post them in various places, yet on my computer they are correct: is there a fix for this?  Anyone? 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

New Sewaholic Cambie Dress revealed

Ever since the Sewaholic pattern line began, I have been a fan. I think that it is great to have independent pattern companies, especially Canadian ones, and I also think it is fantastic to have a pattern line developed for pear shapes. Technically, I am not a pear shape. I am more of an hourglass.  However, with an 11" difference between my waist and hip measurements, her patterns make for a great fit for my difficult-to-deal-with (thankfully muscular) thighs.

Her latest pattern is the Cambie Dress.  It is available for pre-order now. What I like about this pattern is that it has cap sleeves which allow for ease of wearing with a bra.  I detest clothing that has the "bra strap reveal" issue. Bra-less or even strapless bra really isn't an option for me, so I love summer clothing that allows for sufficient underpinnings.
Image of 1202 Cambie Dress

 Also, if you join the Sewaholic mailing list, you can get great deals such as free shipping  on pre-orders, for example.

To date, I have sewn the Minoru Jacket, which I hope to get some photos of soon.  I adore it.  The Pendrell blouse has been on my to-do list for a while , but with the imminent warmer weather I have a feeling there will be one or a few in the near future.  I am thinking that perhaps the Cambie dress will be as well.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Peasant-style top and Style Arc

New Look 6892 is a fast and simple peasant-style top to sew up.  I don't sew many wovens, but this is one that is comfortable to wear. The fabric is a sheer poly chiffon, surprisingly, from Fabricland.  I don't buy a lot of Fabricland fabrics, as I find it hard to find good quality and colours/prints that I like. Most of my purchases are made online.

The pants are Style Arc Elle, which is a great skinny pant pattern for stretch wovens and stable knits. The fabric is a really amazing black stretch that seems like a cross between a woven and a knit.  I purchased it a couple of years ago in Toronto on Queen Street in the garment district, and I now wish I had purchased a full bolt.  It is so easy to sew, washable, dryer-able, wrinkle free...great stuff.

I think this outfit is going to become a fave for me.  Fast to sew, easy to wear, and as comfy as PJ's. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

New fabrics to admire!

I just love getting packages in the mail, and even more exciting are packages that contain sewing goodies.  I ordered a few pieces during the Elliott Berman annual sale, which is a whopping 50% off everything.  I ordered from last year's sale, and am ashamed to admit that I have only sewn up one of the pieces.  Their fabrics are just so beautiful that I am afraid to cut into them.

Here are this year's treasures:
Top left I have a two yard piece of Missoni knit.  That's right, the famous Missoni, in my hands.  Not only that, on bottom left is yet ANOTHER piece of Missoni marvelousness.  The bottom piece is a wool blend, and there is only one yard as it is a remnant.  I have no idea what I am going to sew up with either piece.  Being the most expensive fabrics I have ever purchased, even AFTER I subtract the 50% discount, I imagine it will take me a very, very long time to get up enough nerve to cut into them.

On the top right is a 1 yard piece of a viscose knit.  The turquoise and orange, as well as the splashes of grey, will go with a lot in my wardrobe that I have planning for this spring/summer.  I have found that I can squeeze out short sleeve tees for both myself and my young DD, so I am planning two Jalie tees with this.

Finally, on the bottom right, I have a woven butterfly print.  This lightweight piece will likely be a tank of some sort.  I am undecided as to whether it will be a Colette Sorbetto, a free download from Colette Patterns(which I am probably the last person in the world to try) or a Sewaholic Pendrell Blouse, which I am also way behind the eight ball on.  My reason for purchasing this is that last year I purchased a stretch woven butterfly print that my DD has had her eye on ever since.  I imagine I will break down and use the other piece for her, claiming this one for myself.  The things we do for love...

To be honest, I'm not sure which I prefer: actual sewing or fabric accumulation!  For now, I'm going to keep these lovely pieces in close view so I can admire them and daydream about what they may become.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

One of my favourite pattern companies, Style Arc , has just released their new patterns for the month of May.  Each month they offer a freebie pattern when you place an order, which is a great way in which to justify the more expensive shipping rates from Australia.

However, this month, I am just not feeling the love.  Not that there is anything inherently wrong with the pattern.  In fact, the Ada knit top is actually quite cute.  Unfortunately, though, the neat hip pockets will draw attention to an area that I definitely try to camoflauge: my hips!

There are some other cute offerings though.  I really do like the Marita cross-over dress.

I guess I will just have to wait to order when a great (non-hip emphasising) offer comes around.