Monday, August 24, 2009

The new trousers

It’s taken me a while but I have finally cottoned on to the idea that there is a new shape in pants happening. I have been so used to wearing bootleg cut hipster type of pants that it didn’t occur to me to think about trying a different kind of trouser for summer.

Until I was browsing around on the web and came across this pic of Diane Kruger in harem style trousers.

Pic from

What I love about this is a. they look comfy, b. they look very cool (can’t ever go wrong with a black skivvy either) and they are NEW! Hooray!

Well not really new. I remember learning how to draft this kind of pattern at college (we called them poo catchers back then) and thinking that they were so daggy!
But now, despite being a bit late on the uptake, I have managed to find a similar commercial pattern and have had a go at making some for myself.

The pattern

The result.

The fabric is a cotton/nylon stripe that has a slight seersucker type of texture.
I have about another 10 metres of this so I am sure it will crop up again for this season.

I made View A which has a high waist which I am not too fussed about, but the shape and fit is great. I originally made a toile in size 14 but after fitting realised I needed to make the 12 instead. It's a great pattern, very easy and quick to make and doesn't really need any tweaking which is a nice change.

Closeup with belt.

I was a bit dubious about the fact that there are inverted box pleats on the BACK of the pant but beacuse the fabric is so light and floaty this is actually fine.

They may just end up being a one season wonder but they are so quick to make who cares! Now I just need a whole new wardrobe to go with them!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Long time between drinks

Things have been pretty quiet on the sewing front of late.
Miss C seems to think that day sleeps are for LITTLE girls, not BIG girls Mummy, and so come 4pm which is usually my sewing time, she switches into whirling dervish mode and doesn’t stop until The Simpsons comes on at 6pm.

(Is it wrong that a 2.5 year olds favourite show is The Simpsons? Hmmmm. Must consult the parenting manual again).

If I can get her outside for a nice long walk then the evening is manageable but that means no sewing for me. Oh well. Time to rethink the game plan I guess.

Still, amidst the mayhem I did manage to do a quick knit top during the week.
I have about half a bolt of some lovely hailspot viscose knit which, despite being a cheapie, has a really nice drape and is perfect for inbetween seasons. The only problem is it tends to look a bit pyjamery so the trick has been finding the right pattern. It is too sheer for a dress or skirt so I tried this Vogue pattern, mainly to test it out and see how tricky or not it would be to handle.

As it was a knit, I didn’t bother with doing a toile to check the fit and cut a straight size 12, no alterations to the pattern.

The pattern is designed to leave the neck edge as a raw cut edge, which in my fabric I don’t think works. I am not averse to raw edges and think that in the right fabric and right garment then they can look great. But not this one. To me it just looks unfinished.

Edgy edges? Or sloppy sewing? I know what my grandmother would have had to say!

Instead I used a grey marle rib fabric to trim the neck and sleeves. I think that the fabric needed a strong edge, and I didn’t want to ‘match’ the fabric by using black or white and I liked the casual feel of the grey marle.

Ahhh! That's better! Nice and neat. Good job Mum!

The ribbing is cut as 2/3 the length of the neckline and sleeve circumference and 6cm wide, folded in half and then sewn to the edge with a 1.5cm seam allowance on the overlocker.

Doing the model thing. Why is my child licking the floor?

So all in all its not bad. I am not in love with it but I don’t hate it either.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Ask and ye shall receive

Isn’t it funny how sometimes when you talk about (or write about) a problem that the universe gives you an answer. The day after posting about my current design funk, Miss C and I moseyed on down to our local op shop and lo and behold some wonderful person had donated a whole bag of vintage patterns. And they were in my size. And they were nearly all uncut. And they were only 20c each. You beauty!!

I have come to realise that the only ‘vintage’ stuff that suits me are things that don’t look vintage if that makes sense. I have quite an athletic shape, broad shoulders and muscular legs so anything from the 1950s just makes me look like a bloke in drag and while I love all the mod ‘60s stuff I aint Twiggy! And all that boho, floaty hippie business makes me look like I am dressing up as a bag lady for Halloween.

So I tend to stick to the 70’s and 80’s and look for things that reflect the current runway looks.

The pick of the bunch

And this stash of patterns really fits the bill. I was tempted to take the lot but didn’t want to look greedy! But if I go back tomorrow they will probably still be there.........................

Thursday, August 6, 2009

An awkward age

Remember being 11 or 12 years old and just starting high school?

I can remember feeling like I was caught between 2 worlds; no longer a kid but not yet a full blown teenager. Kids stuff was no longer interesting and the world of rampaging hormones was still a shadowy mystery to me.

Well I kind of feel like that again. This time though I am in my late 30’s, no longer a ‘young’ person but not quite eligible for my seniors card.
So what kind of clothes am I supposed to wear?

It is only now that I am beginning to see just how much the fashion market is geared toward the spring chickens. I am still interested in fashion but now I want good quality fabric, clothes that will last and not be a carbon copy chain store one season only thing. And I most definitely do not want to look like mutton!

I need clothes that ‘work’. I need to be able to shop, garden, socialise (and occasionally go to work!) and so my garments need to be able to multi task. I don’t want clothes with tricky bits that have to tie a certain way which means you can’t raise your arms above your head and I don’t want some obscure fibre that has to be wrapped in tissue paper and shipped off to the dry cleaners every time it gets splattered with finger paint.

So I guess that is why I have started making my own clothes again. But I still have the dilemma of WHAT to make.

Thanks to the ageing process I do have some new rules that helps narrow down the field; nothing above the knee (heck who am I kidding, nothing above the ankle!), straps must be wide enough to mask monster nursing bra straps, no puffy sleeves EVER and definitely no hipster and midriff top combos.

If I had unlimited funds this is how I would like to dress, but achieving this kind of pared back simplicity is actually incredibly difficult. It takes both exceptionally high quality fabric and expert patternmaking skills and I don’t really have either at my disposal at the moment.

Which is why I have hit a bit of a brick wall with designing my summer wardrobe. I have a few patterns and fabrics picked out but nothing has quite hit the mark.

Oh well, I could always try a visit to Fletcher Jones!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Why is it that whenever I start a project thinking; this will be easy, just a couple of seams, some elastic and bob’s your uncle, that it all goes pear shaped?
I thought that I would get started on the summer wardrobe with an ‘easy’ (ie no zip, waistband or buttonholes) top but instead of looking at the instructions to see if it could be done an easier way (which is often the case) I just ploughed on in and ended up having to unpick FOUR seams, with overlocking as well dammit!

And having had a proper look at the instructions for this McCalls dress, I can now see a way to put it together that is much quicker than the original pattern, plus it will mean no hand sewing which I have a life threatening allergy to.
So it’s back to the start. Will post pics of the alternative method and (hopefully) finished project in the next couple of days.