Friday, 5 December 2014

pineapple kelly midi

my personal fabric buyer lara has certainly come through with the goods recently! after seeing a great linen printed with pineapples on darn cheap fabrics' instagram feed my personal shopper was kind enough to pick me up 1.2m.

my first thoughts were it would make a great skirt.  i love the megan nielsen kelly skirt, which i made here and here last summer.  so i thought a midi kelly would work for the fabric.

i lengthened the skirt by 6 inches, mainly because that is the length my 1.2 metres of fabric would allow and am really happy with how the length looks. i didn't make any other alterations.

construction for this skirt is the same as my two previous kellys. i really love the kelly pattern. i like how easy it is - mostly straight line sewing, but that the finished skirt has a really nice shape to it.  the fabric was a dream to sew, it has a nice linen feel and you can finger press it well as you go along.

i have read a few bloggers say that the back pleats on the kelly add volume at the back where its not really wanted, but given the busyness and weight of this fabric i think it works ok in keeping a slim look.

the weather of late in sydney has been quite tropical, hot days and late storms - its actually hailing as i type this.  the light has made photo taking challenging with my limited abilities, the pic below was the best of the full length shots, but still blurry and dark.

like my last two kellys i finished the pockets with bias binding and french seams for the side seams to keep everything clean and neat on the inside.

i used bias binding on the hem too to keep the length close to what it was cut at.  i absolutely love this skirt and have already cut another in the wax print i bought in south africa at the start of the year, but have added 7 inches to the length so i can turn up a proper hem.

yep this one is a winner!

quite a few other bloggers have this fabric and am really keen to see what they all make up.


Friday, 7 November 2014

darn cheap fabrics seasonal challenge - spring 2014 (+ giveaway winner)

in august i took a trip to melbourne and went to lunch, drinks and fabric shopping with a bunch of melbourne bloggers.  i got to meet lara from thornberry. i've always admired lara's style, envied her output, but best of all we both share a love for darn cheap fabrics.  even though lara lives in melbourne and i live in sydney and we have always shopped at dcf separately we have actually bought quite of few of the same fabrics in the past.

lara kindly bought and posted me some fabric from dcf that wasn't available online after we both liked the fabric on instagram.  when talking over email about this purchase i asked lara if she would like to do a dcf seasonal challenge, where each season we collectively choose a fabric, make it into whatever we want and then post on our blogs.

so here's our first challenge - spring 2014.  lara bought the fabric as i haven't been down to melbourne for a few months.  the plan was for lara to take a few pictures of fabrics she liked, sms them to me and we would choose the challenge fabric.  unfortunately lara's phone battery went flat at dcf (i totally know the feeling - it happened to me when i was looking at some merino for kirsty one time) so lara chose the fabric and i decided to wait til it arrived in the post to find out what it was.

lara chose 2 fabrics, but i decided to go with the knit and make a matching top (simplicity 1366) and skirt (new look 6228) both of which i have made before here and here. am sure lara will have better details on the exact fabric type/content on her post - she has great fabric knowledge, needless to say i love her selection.

there is not much to add about construction and fit for these versions.  i made an 8 in the top, added 2 1/4" to the length and shortened the sleeves the same as my previous version.  i made the skirt with 1 piece for the front and 1 piece for the back, rather than cutting it in panels, as per the pattern.  to do this i cut out the panels using an old sheet, sewed them together so i had 1 piece for the front and 1 piece for the back and then used this as my pattern.  i also added 4 1/2 inches to the length.  

i'm pretty happy with how it turned out, the one thing i am a bit disappointed with is the way the top pools near the hem at the back - you can kind of see it in the photo above left. none of my other versions have done this, but they are made from heavier knits.

i am planning on wearing the skirt and top together at times, but will also get a lot of wear from the pieces as separates too. below is how i wore the top to work today.

here's another pic showing the pooling at the lower back.

i had to cut the waistband across the stretch as i didn't have enough fabric to cut it with the stretch, so i didn't need to use any elastic in this version.  i can't remember how much fabric there was but i think it was around 1/1.5m or so, so am very happy i was able to get 2 pieces from it.

i'm really looking forward to seeing what lara has made, i have seen a few progress shots on instagram - but am looking forward to seeing the final product.

finally if you got this far, the lucky winner of the fabric from my giveaway is Christy - whose name was pulled out of a hat by the other mr flagg. congratulations!! i will send you a message on instagram to get your postal details.

thanks for sharing the fun of the challenge lara!


Sunday, 19 October 2014

this that and the other: blog hop, lisette 2245 & giveaway

this blog hop has been hoping and hoping – it seems like quite some time ago i read an early post and its still going.  thanks to leith from sew brunswick for nominating me.  i love her style and envy her alteration skills – she always gets a fantastic fit. she's also loads of fun, recently we met up in sydney and had a great afternoon of sewing chat while our 4 boys (2,3,4&5!) played at the park.  perhaps i did a bit of play too.

why do you blog?
1. contribute to the online sewing community, as i find pattern review blog posts invaluable when sewing a new to me pattern.
2. meet people who share the same hobby as me.

this is the first dress i made after i started reading pattern and then blogs around 2 years ago - simplicity lisette 2245.  i wore it to a grand final party in 2012 for sydney swans v hawks and this is me wearing it again a few weeks ago at this years swans v hawks grand final.

after reading more and more blogs i decided i wanted to become a blogger - then it only took me about a year longer to start one.

what are you working on?
i have just finished a linen camber dress, but it doesn't actually look much like a camber.  in the past i was a bit less persistent with my sewing and would throw something that wasn’t working in the ufo pile.  now i try to get a wearable outcome so i will often change things in patterns as i sew.

how does your blog differ from others of the same genre?
my blog is a pattern review type blog, in that i try to give key info about a pattern for a sewer who is after some info before sewing it.  having said that i find it pretty exciting that a bunch of people have decided to follow my blog too!

the main difference is probably that my blog does not look nearly as slick, fun and inviting as so many others as i am very low-fi on the tech front. i hope this improves one day!

what is your writing process?
i take some photos, upload them, order them and then write a couple of paragraphs between each photo.  i would like to say that the focus is on a reasonable photo of the garment and not me like lara – but that would be a lie. i try to provide key info eg, pattern, where i got the fabric, the size i cut, construction info and alterations.

where does your blog name come from? (i added this question after seeing it on funkbunny!)
when i started my blog i turned to google for name inspiration.  i googled ‘singer sewing machine’ as my first sewing machine was a singer and came across ernest flagg, an architect who worked for the singer sewing corporation in the early 1900’s. he worked in the real estate part of the corporation and according to wikipedia was responsible for some of the first planning zoning and height controls for manhattan.  my day job is an urban planner so i was sold as soon as i read about him.  i also like that my blog name is masculine, but sewing is mainly a female hobby.  i don’t think i will ever tire of getting introduced as ‘ernest’ either!

back to a bit more sewing here’s 2 other lisette 2245’s i made quite quickly after the first red one.

i quite like the black one made from sateen and with short sleeves - it has had quite a bit of wear.  the colourful one is made from liberty but unfortunatey I find it pretty blah and don’t wear it much.  the bummer about the dress design is that it is made from smaller irregular shaped pieces so i am yet to work out how i could cut it up and sew it into something else.  its my first and only liberty piece to date and it’s a bit of a thumbs down for me.

as i said above i am genuinely chuffed that a bunch of people out there on the www have decided to follow my blog and recently i reached 100 followers on blog lovin’.  to celebrate i am having a giveaway, open to anyone and i will post the loot anywhere.

i have a tessuti remnant of about 1m (cotton voile?), a butterick jacket pattern and if you or someone you know happens to be pregnant a kwiksew maternity dress pattern up for grabs.  both patterns are unused.  all you need to do is leave a comment and say which one/s you would like.  the giveaway will close on sunday 2nd november 2014 and i'll announce the winners soon after - should more than one person want the same item the lucky recipient will be selected randomly.

thanks for reading! lastly i would like to nominate renee from nearest the pin for the blog hop. i was lucky enough to meet her recently, always love her fabric choices and would love to hear more about her.


Saturday, 11 October 2014

spring time in sydney - simplicity 4047

can i say first up that i love the design of the fabric i used for this skirt, but it was a shocker to sew.  as soon as i finished my last simplicity 4047 i wanted to start one in this fabric, a recent the fabric store purchase.  i imagined such a great looking skirt but unfortunately the whole process was a bit blah.

yes i'm standing on a sloping driveway in these pics which is why everything looks a bit lopsided.

being polyester and really stable i thought it would be a quick easy sew - mistake 1.  i went with the same size as my previous S4047 and things started ok with the 4 waist darts going in fine.

i then i went to overlock the back centre seam ready for the zip and my overlocker didn't like the fabric one bit.  i spent a good few hours playing with the tension and thinking my new second hand overlocker was a dud.  i turned to IG for help and thankfully leith, lara and susan came to the rescue and i pushed ahead and then went back to the sewing machine to do the zip and side seams.  my machine didn't like the fabric one bit either, it laboured, making irregular stitches and sounds that are more likely heard at a zoo.

i got the invisible zip in and side seams sewn and tried the skirt on - though unfortunately i couldn't get it on, even though i cut the exact same size as my previous wool version. i took the invisible zip out, replaced it with a longer lap zip and took out the side seams until i was able to get the skirt on and sit down.

i originally planned to line the skirt, but as it had taken up so much of my time i decided to go with a bias binding waist band.  the fabric is slippery enough that i think it should be OK.

you can see in the pic below how little my sewing machine liked sewing this fabric - i sewed the waist 3 times.  each time it started out ok, but by about 3/4 the way round sewing machine said no.   after 3 go's i decided to leave it how it is as it looks ok from the front.

now that a bit of time has passed i am not so angry about this skirt and i am happy how it looks with my  simplicity 1366 in chocolate brown ponti.  i love this new to me pattern - this top took around 2 hours to make.

the amazingly talented and fun leith of sew brunswick recently nominated me for the blog hop going round the www, i'll be back soon to answer the questions and also have a give away to celebrate 100 followers on blog login'!


Monday, 6 October 2014

a tale of 3 bloggers - cynthia rowley simplicity 1366

i love this make and i especially like that 3 bloggers from different cities made it happen.

firstly, the inspiration.  i was reading a blog post on how good is that? one day and i saw in the side bar a blog i had never read before effortless anthropologie so i clicked on the link and this was the post that appeared.  i love everything about the neoprene sweatshirt featured, the style, fabric design and how it looks dressy but that i imagine it would be very comfy.  i decided i wanted to make something similar but needed a pattern and fabric.

i thought about using a rub off pattern that i made from a rtw top, but it has long sleeves, a high low hem and a round neck.  luckily for me lily sage & co has made up simplicity 1366 - a cynthia rowley pattern recently and as soon as i saw it on her blog i knew it would be a perfect pattern to use.

lastly i needed some fabric. recently darn cheap fabrics posted a photo of some new spring neoprene fabric on IG.  both myself and lara of thornberry liked the fabric and as the fabric was not available online lara very kindly offered to pick me up some next time she went to dcf. I love how social media works!

so here's my top:

i made a straight size 8, even though my bust measurement correlates with a size 14 and my waist and hips with size 16.  i decided to go with a size 8 based on the finished measurements printed on the pattern and am happy with how it worked out - though during construction of my first 1366 i did wonder if i had gone too small!

the only alterations i made were to lengthen the front and back by 2 1/4" and shorten the sleeves by 3/4". i also used home made bias binding to finish the neckline, rather than use the pattern piece provided.

i used my sewing machine with a small zig zag for all of the construction.  the inside of this fabric looks fantastic too.

i used zig zag to hem the sleeves and bottom as i thought it suits the triangle cut outs.

yes there will be more of these tops, perfect for work and play.  have made 2 others in knit already (they are quick - like a couple of hours) and am keen to try some woven ones too.  perhaps at some time i will try a neck band, cuffs and a sloping hem like the anthropologie one too.


Thursday, 2 October 2014

cynthia rowley 2054 dress…again…but this time its sleeveless

i really do have a whole pinterest board dedicated to patterns for knit dresses, but i just seem to keep making this pattern up.  i can generally get a dress with 3/4 length sleeves out of 1m of fabric so its just too easy when in a fabric store to get a metre instead of wondering how much i should buy for a different pattern.

i got this fabric at darn cheap fabrics on a recent trip to melbourne (the trip was to see the afl grand final, but being a sydney swans fan the highlight of my trip was probably my 5 minute dcf visit).  its a polyester knit with minimal stretch that goes up and down the fabric as i have placed it.  personally i think the pattern would look a little odd if i had put the stretch cross ways.

construction is the same as my other 2054 dresses e.g. shoulder and side seams, back darts (i added these myself as the pattern does not contain them) and hems.  pretty easy.  for this dress i had to let the side seams out to almost nothing to make up for the lack of stretch.

i did cut some 3/4 sleeves the same as my jaywalk dress, but when i tried it on after stitching the side and shoulder seams i decided to go with a sleeveless dress instead.  i think this will work well for hotter weather given that the fabric is polyester and the dress is close fitting.

to go sleeveless i cut a few mm's from the armhole between the front notches and back notches.  i turned the hem under on both the neck and armholes and stitched with a twin needle.  i was a bit worried how this would go given the lack of stretch but am pretty happy with how it turned out.

now having seen the pics of the dress on me, for future makes i will take a bit more of a curve out of the front armhole.

although i am keen to try some other knit dress patterns i can see a few more of these being made for summer, particularly as they only take a few hours to knock up. 


Sunday, 17 August 2014

simplicity 4047 wool skirt

today's make is a simple pencil skirt.  i was given this absolutely beautiful italian wool from tessuti for mother's day.  when i first opened the present i wasn't sure what i would make, but mr flagg suggested a straight skirt and i was sold.  i have never sewn with real wool before so went to IG to seek some fabric prep knowledge. thankfully rachel suggested that i didn't need to do any prep if i was going to dry clean the finished item.  simple.  like.

the pattern is simplicity 4047.  i had a few straight skirt patterns in my stash to choose from, but i chose this one as google images collated a few examples for me that looked good.  in terms of sizing my waist and hips correlate with size 16 but i cut a 14 - basically because my pattern was only size 6-14.   i basted the side seams first and then ended up taking it in and cutting my lining as a size 12.

the sewing of this make was very straight forward, although i found the bulk of the wool a bit tricky for two aspects - the zip and the back vent.  i used a conventional zip and needed to do my exposed stitching line quite wide given the bulk of the fabric, so i also hand stitched the zip on the inside closer to the zip teeth so my zip opening does not gap...too much.

the other area i have a bit of bulk is the back vent.  i have only made lapped back vents before so i didn't even check the pattern for construction of the vent.  when i got to this stage i had a look at the instructions and found that the vent was constructed using an additional piece called a 'pleat underlay'.  grrr i then had to unfold all of the tissue to locate this small piece.  i do actually like how the back pleat works, but on this skirt it is a tad bulky given the weight of the wool.  to do the top stitching of the pleat i used some quilters quarter inch tape as a guide.

this skirt is super warm and great to wear.  i lined it with black radiance from as i couldn't get any more elegance from martha pullen.  both fabrics are sold as 55% cotton 45% silk, but the elegance is easier to sew with, not being so slippery.  regardless both are great linings and the radiance makes the skirt feel great on.  i like the contrast of the mustard wool and black silk/cotton too.

and a few more pics...

back and front.

back darts and lapped zip.


i seem to be into skirts at the moment and am just about to cut two more of these out in spring fabrics.  having said that i am definitely keen to give the myrtle a go for summer too - it looks like a perfect work and play dress.

hello too to all the victorian bloggers and non-bloggers i met up with recently in melbourne.  it was fantastic to meet you all - i had a super fun arvo!  thanks again for organising rachel.