Saturday, July 30, 2011

Preschool Backpack and a Satchel

I couldn't wait to make this ....

A super cute little backpack ...
In "Transportation" fabric - with a nostalgic bent ...
From this rather excellent book .....

In fact, it was so much fun that I made a slightly larger version:
 .. in corduroy with a pretty print ....  I think Nikki is at the Melbourne Quilt Show this weekend - buy a book a she'll sign it for you!!
Sewing Notes:
Nicole Mallalieu's recent book "You Sew Girl" covers sewing skills (equipment, gadgets, all about patterns and techniques) and projects including accessories, bags and purses and pattern free clothes. There are 19 sewing projects in total.

The patterns are printed on separate pieces of nice quality paper - you don't have to open out a huge road map to find your project pattern.

For the preschool backpack I used a solid green organic cotton canvas from Marcus Brothers - this is a lovely quality fabric - as well as coming from organic cotton they also claim that the fabric was dyed in an eco friendly manner - I believe that this particular fabric has been discontinued - but you may still find it around. For the contrast I used a "Transportation" panel from Marcus Brothers - the colours and authenticity of the vintage style is delightful. For the larger backpack I used two baby cords with a small floral print from a little patchwork shop at Nundle, NSW.

General notes:
  • You may need to think about very strong sewing machine needles if you're going to use a fabric other than quilting cotton weight - parts of this project require you to sew through many layers - you need a machine with grunt!!
  • The instructions are very well laid out - the spiral bound book is great to just flip and concentrate on one page at a time.
  • All requirements for the project are clearly set out.
  • The seam allowances are 1/2 inch - which converts to 1.26cm - at times the instructions say 12.6mm or 1.25cm - I know that it's all the same - but it may confuse some people.
  • EDITED TO ADD:  on page 99, the diagram under point 1 is incorrect (edited to add: actually the diagram is not incorrect - I do apologise for this - the way I interpreted the diagram was that the long edge of the Back piece was being stitched to a long edge of the front piece, when actually it is stitched to the short side of the Front - the diagram in the book shows that the Back piece is sitting ON TOP of the whole Front piece - it's the underneath parts that I didn't see - thanks Nikki for clarifying this) , all other diagrams are very well set out and the photographs are very helpful as well. There are handy tips throughout the instructions.
  • If I make this again, I would add a little strap as a mini handle in between the top of the straps.
  • A bias maker is a handy little gadget to make the bias for around the flap - I use mine all the time.
  • p 103 - Line the Bag - the pattern suggests as 12cm gap for the turning through, but as mine was made with a fabric on the heavier side I would suggest leaving a larger gap - otherwise the turning the bag the right side out can become an anxious experience.
  • Finish the Bag (p103) Step 1 - slip stitch the CB seam closed - strictly speaking it is not a CB seam but a side seam - and I pretty much always machine stitch the gap together.
  • I used a plastic toggle to fasten the cord around the 
  • This is a great sewing project. The finish is neat and professional. The use of the metal slide adjusters and rings adds that special touch. There are lots of possibilities for contrasting fabrics. A strong, sturdy and special backpack for children.
  • To make the larger bag, I just experimented with making the pieces wider and longer. It's really not that difficult - make the basic preschool one first and then modify accordingly.
  • Looking forward to making other projects from this book!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Style Arc Laura Combo

Pose courtesy of Karin!!     

So here are the last of the Sydney photos - I wore this outfit to see Jersey Boys and the next night to see Mary Poppins - nothing like travellin' light! By the way, both shows were amazing - the music of the Jersey Boys was great - even though Franki Valli's voice can be annoying - the music in general was fun! Mary Poppins, all I can say is,  if you haven't seen it - YOU MUST!!!

Anyway, the Laura Combo from Style Arc ..... I'll present my notes for each item....

Laura Jacket
Size 10. I've made two of these jackets, the first was in a medium ponte, and it was evident that the fabric was not drapey enough for this design - the collar didn't sit right. My second one was in a lightweight knit - much better. I used some strips (two cm wide) of fusible interfacing to reinforce the shoulder seam. The collar/ hood (the pattern actually refers to a collar / hood even though the drawings don't show a hood - yet the pattern shape looks like a hood ...??) anyway, since the seam is exposed it may be a good idea to do a Flat Fell or French Seam if you don't want the overlocking stitches to show. Also, be aware that the wrong side of the fabric will clearly show in this pattern. To finish the front edges the instructions say to baby lock or overlock edge stitch. I thought I'd try a specialty thread in one of the loopers to give it a nicer than ordinary finish .... it took much trial and error to get the right thread - but I was happy to find this one while at the Quilt and Craft Fair ....

In summary, great pattern - even in the slightly heavier fabric where the collar doesn't drape as well as the softer one - I have still worn it alot. It's a slim fit. The instructions are basic - but it is really easy to make.

Laura Knit Legging

Size 10 - the fit is snug - as it should be. I used a lycra that is too shiney - I need to make another pair in some better fabric. Basic construction steps, no diagrams but the experienced sewist should be fine. There is a slight typo in the instructions ....2. Using a safety or sew the front crotches .... Anyway, a great legging pattern.

Laura Dress

I used a grey light weight interlock for the top portion and a Martin & Savage polyester / lycra print for the main part. I also used a mesh lining (just for the main part of the dress) to give this some body and so that it wouldn't cling to me. I think the dress ended up shorter that I thought it would from the drawing, but, I still really like this dress. It goes well with the Laura Jacket and the tights, but equally well without the tights. It has a slim fit - and feels great to wear. Lots of possibilities with mixing up fabrics and colours. The picture has no Centre Back seam but the back is clearly cut with a seam and there is no reference to sewing up the CB seam. Otherwise an easy construction and a good multi season piece to add to the wardrobe.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Vogue 8634 Mars Red and Style Arc Bella Wrap in Rosa Rose

Vogue 8634 -A  Pattern Review Top 10 Pattern for 2010
Even though I've been back from Sydney for ages now, I've still got a few blog posts to write that relate to that trip.
Whilst in Tessuti's at Surry Hills, this fabric jumped off the shelf and grabbed me around the legs - it pleaded and pleaded to come home with me ... what could I do? It was causing an embarrassing scene in the lovely shop  ... so home it came ...... this is an amazing fabric (aren't they all??) well, it's a substantial weight - but with a super soft handle - it has a double layer - the outside layer is textured and wrinkly and the inside is just smooth - hello MARS RED! So I introduced Miss Mars to Vogue 8634.

I lengthened the top design to dress length and took out the seam under the bust (well, everyone else did too). It looks OK without the belt - but probably better with a belt. I also narrowed the sleeves down to the wrist to be a little more snug. This is a great pattern - comfortable and warm.  I couldn't see this fabric on their online shop - but I phoned the Surry Hills store to get some more and their Chatswood store had 2 other colours - just too good I keep tellin' ya!!!

So, did I buy anything else from Tessuti's? ..... Well, would you have walked away from this???

Rosa Rose - Stretch fine Rayon/Elastane printed jersey. And here it is in the Bella Wrap from Style Arc.

Super easy to make - I'm sure this wrap will get lots of use.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Another Modified Sling

Another bag, on a similar theme to this one. Same pattern modifications - lengthened and slightly widened the bag. This is a great pattern - lots of variations to opportunities to add your touch to the overall look.
Apart from that ... further pics from our recent trip to Sydney ... this time for the button lovers out there - from All Buttons Great and Small, Newtown .... enjoy!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Ready, Steady, Knit

Well, not quite - this took me 2 years to knit!!! I am a complete novice knitter - yes, I've made numerous scarves and squares sewn into rugs, but I've never made anything with a proper shape for wearing.

I borrowed a library book and launched into this cardi .... it took forever, mum had to help me with the tricky bits, there are numerous mistakes - repeated rows - but they are sort of consistent - and there was no way I was going to unravel it... it doesn't hang the way it does in the picture and it weighs a tonne! But it's warm and I WILL WEAR IT!!!
Now, I did plan to title this post as "At least it's finished!" but I had to find a way to link in a boast for this picture ....
I went along to a screening of "Ready, Steady, Cook" in Sydney with my son and our school. It was an experience - good fun - and those chefs are quite amazing - they really do cook it all in the time allocated!

On a different trip to Sydney, this time with my 14 year old daughter, I was delighted with this display in a Supre shop - I can't actually bear to go into a Supre shop, but I happily snapped a few pics and waited dutifully outside. (Warning - if you click on the Supre link - you may get a blast of music which is played at 10 times the volume in the shops - hence - don't go in!!)

On our way to Haigh's Chocolate Shop in the Strand Arcade, we stumbled upon an amazing and beautiful display of fashion creations from TAFE students .... so much talent and creativity - a real treat!

On the knitting front, I have nearly completed a waistcoat - and have started a 2nd cardi - well, what are cold winter nights for???