The long time no see tops…

Hello friends.

Life has been busy. Life still is busy. I’m not going to lie. I have to be up at 5:30am most days for uni, so I don’t have much time to do anything but eat, run and study. Stress levels are high. Eating, running and study change depending on the day of the week and the level of stress.But I am alive, and I have been making things once a month or so.

I thought I’d do a big photo dump of all the tops I’ve made in the last few (4 or 5?) months. For your viewing privilege, here is my chaotic curly hair. Enjoy. Here goes:

Here is the Blank Canvas Tee by Cake (?) Patterns (It was released before Cake patterns was a thing, but it’s the same mastermind behind it). I had to modify it to within an inch of its life, by adding the shirt tab  hem, bringing it in by approx 2 inches at the sides, lowering the neckline… But theoretically, that’s the pattern I started with! You can see my other grey version in the Tania Culottes post from a few months ago. Anyway, here’s top number 1:

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Excuse my weird facial expression. The builders next door were doing something strange, and I’m tired. I pull stupid faces when those things coincide.

I like this T-shirt. I’ll probably only ever wear it in public with another top underneath it though, because the fabric is so sheer, but I like it still. It’s airy and floaty and comfy. I used a CB seam to save on fabric, and made most of it (all of it) on the overlocker I’ve been borrowing from my mum. It took about an hour from cutting to sewing.

Here are my latest two Washi tops. I made them using the exact same pattern (with neckline alterations), but the purple one is tight, and the floral one is not. I don’t get it, but whatevs. I can’t fix it now. I took two lines of shirring out of the top of the purple one, and that made it fit a little better, but it’s still really tight across the bust. I don’t know. The floral one I love, but there’s a reason this neckline is designed with a facing: pro tip, it’s because it needs a facing. This neckline stretches out without it. The fabric is too delicate for me to add one after the fact, ripping out the bias would destroy the fabric I think.ImageImage

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The purple top is some mystery fabric from my stash from when I was a teenager. I had this and a beautiful poppy print which will hopefully be another pair of Tania Culottes. I think they’re both just printed poplins, there’s definitely some polyester or something in them, although they’re mostly cotton. The floral fabric is some Japanese Lawn from spotlight. I own a lot of this. Whenever new prints of it go on sale and or clearance, I’m all up in that action. At this point in time I have five or six different prints of it in my stash. Its ridiculous, but it’s pretty much the only fabric spotlight sells that I like. So get used to it. There will be more.

Lastly here are my two Wiksten Tova tops. I like both of them, but the floral gets the most wear. It’s made out of, you guessed it, Japanese Lawn from Spotlight. I love that print for some reason, and I still have a bit of it left. Hopefully I can get a t-shirt out of it or something. The white sleeveless needed some modifications other than just removing the sleeves. I probably should have raised the armscye further along the shoulder line. At the moment where the top strikes it makes me look as broad as a rugby player. And I missed one of the reinforced corners when I was sewing in the front placket (I’m not really sure what to call that top front panel??). It will probably become that “throw on over bathers on the way to the beach” top (it’s pretty see-through). I’m ok with that. I’m going to love wearing it with some cut off denim shorts I think.Image

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Anyway, there’s my big photo dump. I hope you’re all going well, and having a less stressful winter and spring. The sun has been out here for two days, and I’m looking forward to swims and beaches and a break in 9 weeks when semester ends! Off to my anatomy study I go! Wish me luck!

 

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Hey there!

So, I’ve been away. Sorry! I wasn’t fully intending on having such a long hiatus, but then I had a two week placement at a hospital (incredibly rewarding and fun- turns out I might be studying the right thing here people!) and then I worked full time until I went back to uni last week. Blah. Any spare time went to sewing, rather than writing about it. What can you do, life is tough haha :)

Thankfully, this means I have a backlog of creations for you all to check out, so stay tuned! Here, at least, is my latest make:

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It’s the Disparate Disciplines Avocado Hoodie. You can tell this by the trendy second set of pockets, just waiting for someone to steal your phone out of…

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Alternatively, they’re there for your loved one/friend/pet hampster to put their hand in as you walk around with your arms around each other. I like this in principal, I really do, and it does work with my loved one (more to come on that in another post, since I made the boys version for him for his birthday), but I do wonder if it perhaps adds extra bulk to areas I don’t need any bulk added in…

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I was inspired by Lauren from Lladybird’s version from way back when she pattern tested it here. And I wanted to do something a bit different and add a bit of personalisation, so I embroidered Anna Maria Horner’s Waves of Plenty border cross stitch across the front pocket.I did this by sewing through a piece of graph paper I had pinned to the fleece and then trapped in my enormous embroidery hoop. I forgot to take a picture of this process for some unknown reason. On a big scale cross stitch like this it worked pretty well. I’ve used the same method for another project that I’ll show you later on that it didn’t work so well with.

I panicked half way through this and thought I was going to end up with a  Christmas sweater when I realised I had chosen red floss for a mint green fabric. Luckily I don’t think it screams Christmas too much. It’s just as well, because Christmas here is often 40 degrees celsius (104 degrees farenheit for those of you in the states). I don’t think a thick fleece jumper is very appropriate then. I sound like I’m joking. It often gets hotter than that.

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I really wanted to rave about this pattern, but there are a few things that are a little weird about it. There are lots of things I do like though, so I’ll start with those. Once I started sewing, it came together pretty super fast (about 2 hours from start to finish). The princess seams on his and hers are great. The sleeves match in well ( I didn’t even ease the sleeve to set it in, I could fit it in without any basting/gathering stitches pretty easily), and the hood is a winner- the perfect size:

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Things that weren’t so great… Well. The PDF’s are HUGE. Like 90000000 pages. It took me hours and hours to lay out cut, tape, trace and cut out the pattern pieces. and the star thing? It was HARD. There are little five pointed stars in the corners of each piece that you have to match up. Seriously. I hate stars. I don’t know what they were thinking. All the cutting time you save was lost again trying to match those goddamn stars up.

The pocket tabs stick out, and the instructions there are just not so great in general. The sleeve cuffs are TIGHTER THAN ANY KNOWN THING TO MANKIND. I don’t know what I did to them, if it was me or the pattern, but those things are TIGHT. Like, I can barely get my hand in there, and I can’t do anything other than wear them with the sleeve all the way down and the thumb loops on. I’m going to have to cut them off and make a new set, because as it is it’s ridiculous. I can’t push the sleeve up far enough to read my watch. It’s not like I have sumo arms or anything either. Also, who uses facings with knit fabrics? I used the facings in my boyfriends one, and they’re a bit weird, so for mine I just fed some ribbon in to my over locker as I attached the hood. Easy as. I had another moment of panic when I forgot to check if I would still be able to get it on without any stretch at the neck line, but it works- phew! Next time I’ll use clear elastic and skip the facing again.

Over all, I’m going to make this pattern again. But I’m going to have to rework those pocket tabs next time. I’ll also have to add an inch or two to the the bodice length above the pocket, because it’s a teensy bit short on me (even though I’m short waisted (I barely have a torso) and Lauren said hers was long? I don’t even know.). And I will definitely have to use different sleeve cuffs. And I’ll raise the neckline by an inch, maybe two. I cut and used the size 10 if anyone is interested, which as a finished garment was the closest to matching my measurements. I didn’t want it to be huge, so I did that on purpose. Aaaand I used a fleece that I bought online. It’s warmer than I thought possible, and I think a poly/cotton blend. Because hoodies should be snuggly and warm. That’s just the rule.

Here’s my last pic. I hope you have all fared well over the winter :)

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Peace out! Jen.

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Pyjama Time!

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So over at Did you make that? there’s a pyjama party happening, and I thought I might get involved. No, you’re right, these aren’t Sewaholic Tofino’s… But really we’re lucky they exist at all, so let’s concentrate on the positives shall we? When the PJ party was announced I got all excited, but it was right in the middle of exams, so I was a) poor, and b) in the middle of exams, so I knew I wouldn’t really have time to do anything. Right? Right? WRONG.

Because I’m awesome, I managed to double book myself last night (fail), and leave myself free tonight…(WIN). So what did I do on my Saturday night off?? I made pyjama pants, of course.

Huzzah!

Huzzah!

 

So tonight I decided that I probably could manage to get some made. I drafted the pattern myself earlier this evening- I rubbed off a pair of old pj’s that have weird holes in them and have become all threadbare. And then I just chopped into the fabric and stitched them up! I think I spent about thirty minutes sewing all up!

I wish I had thought to make weird patterns with the little fish up the centre back seam!

I wish I had thought to make weird patterns with the little fish up the centre back seam!

P1030889 I’ve gotta say, they were pretty easy. I’m kind of embarrassed that I didn’t make them two months ago when the temperature here dropped into icicle land. The pattern I drafted worked pretty well, but I don’t think I quite got the grain line right, because on one leg the side seam seams to have a mind of it’s own (dyageddit?? hehe) and it twists around to the top of my foot a bit. And I need to make the centre back rise a bit longer, in order to avoid my kidneys seeing too much of the light of day. But generally, I can’t believe I drafted up a pants pattern! I would have loved to buy Sewaholics tofino pattern, but I just couldn’t justify it at the moment (particularly since I bought a pattern last week…more to come soon!). I love to support small businesses, but until I’m qualified and I have a significantly larger income, I have to be more frugal and less philanthropic. One day.

Buying fabric in Perth is like driving into the desert and trying to buy a swimming pool. It’s just not really going to happen. But I got lucky, and happened to get to spotlight about two months ago, just after they got all their printed flannelette in for the season. Here’s a picture of the cute little fish and  the background ripple. Win.

Fish and ripples! Winning at life. Sorry about the blurriness. It's too dark here to get good shots at the moment.

Fish and ripples! Winning at life. Sorry about the blurriness. It’s too dark here to get good shots at the moment.

How much did it cost me, I hear you ask? These fine pyjama pants cost me a whole $2.50! Because of some confusing maths thing, these worked out to cost a whole, entire… $2.50… Win. WIN. 2 Metres of fabric… Just wow. Spotlight, I hate you so, but sometimes, I must love you too. I added the bow, but it’s just there for fun. It does nothing but mildly amuse Josh. Hah.

Anyway, I hope you’re all nice and snuggly somewhere in your homes, and not freezing like we are. Another great thing about the place I live? Today, when we got home from work, our house was COLDER ON THE INSIDE. Seriously. The temperature DROPPED as we walked into our home. I felt practically naked taking these photos. I went away and put on two more layers and woolen blanket. So I hope you’re all nice and snuggly wherever you are, and I hope you all are having a ball with your pj’s if you made them! Only two exams and then it’s my birthday! Yay!! Here’s one last photo with Josh’s latest painting in the background. Have an awesome Sunday in your pyjamas! x Jen

Check out my partners awesome new painting of Walt from Breaking Bad... He's watching you. That's really the only reason I've included this photo.

Check out my partners awesome new painting of Walt from Breaking Bad… He’s watching you. That’s really the only reason I’ve included this photo.

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We interrupt your viewing to bring you this announcement…

Hey friends!

I thought I’d pop in for a short moment to show you something wonderful that arrived in the mail!

I have been on the hunt for some thread snips to live next to my sewing machine for a while now, and my wonderful Mum (Hi Mum!! Never fear, I’ve only stopped studying for a tiny moment!) said she would buy me some sewing things for my birthday… So, of course, I ordered myself some things from Anna Maria Horners website (!!!! OHMAN I’M SO EXCITED!!!!) annnnnnnnd I also ordered myself something cute, and beautiful and handy….

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These gorgeous snips are from Thewallinna’s Etsy shop, and they got here all the way from Japan so fast I can’t believe it! They’re so lovely, I can’t even explain. They’re nice and solid feeling, incredibly sharp, and they have that heft to them that makes them seem like they’re the kind of thing that one day when I’m 90 I’ll pass them on to somebody young enough to still see the threads to snip them off :)

Thewallinna’s blog is one of my favourite blogs to read. She makes some awesome clothes, and always has funky, quirky designs, cool ideas, and amazing couture methods in her work. If you’ve never checked her blog out, go and have a look! The detail she works in to some of her creations is amazing. She puts lovely little details in her sewing, and lovely little details in her packages! My thread snips came with an adorable little origami kimono, and I couldn’t resist taking a photo of that to show you too!

Image Anyway, I need to get back to studying- five exams down, three to go!! I have managed to do a little sewing, and I have some new projects to show you next week after these exams are out of the way (don’t worry mother dearest, the sewing hasn’t stopped the study :P)

Stay tuned :)

x Jen

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This week…

Well, another week, another assignment, exam and a cold. I handed in a 30 page paper on the anatomy of the brain on Monday. Sunday Monday Tuesday I hid at home with a cold, and Friday last week I did a patient interview exam. It’s been one of those weeks, that’s for sure. I’m in my last week of semester (finally!) so I have five weeks of assessments left before I get a break- we’re on the home run! Whoo! One exam down, seven to go. And then a two week clinic placement. Bazinga.

I’ve been making bits and pieces to satisfy my brains’ need to have down time and be creative- I made one open wide zipper pouch from Noodlehead’s blog, and I have three more on the go:

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Here are the cut and planned ones:

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Another large (above) And two medium sized ones (below), plus my lab coat. Because I’m sure you were all super keen to check that out.

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These are for the express purpose of reigning in discussions about how I leave threads and scraps all around our lounge room, and how my projects take over the coffee table. Although at the moment my boyfriend has a painting out on the table, so I figure all is fair in love and war ;) (hopefully they’ll have the added benefit of meaning I lose less pins though haha).

Whilst I’ve been tucked up under a doona with a cup of tea, when I haven been working on anatomy I’ve been making a needlepoint I picked up at the craft fair. This has to be the most relaxing craft ever. It’s honestly like colouring in with threads. I don’t even have to count anything. Brilliant.

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Whilst I’ve been at home, I’ve been catching up on everyone’s blogs. Particularly their me made may posts (they seem to have taken over my RSS feed).

What I really can’t believe is that some of the blogs I follow managed to take photos of their outfits for the whole of may! Or at least, for most of may! I have been singlehandedly amazed by the dedication to documenting.

The whole me-made-may thing has had me thinking about personal style though. Lots of the blogs I follow seemed to say that they were amazed at how much more they had to work at their outfits for photos they knew would end up on the web. It’s a pretty big undertaking, and I totally understand where they’re all coming from. I didn’t participate because life is stressful enough at the moment without trying to take photos of myself every day, let alone style my clothes to take photos of them everyday. I have a routine, I stick to it.

But I did keep track of what I wore, and I amazed myself- for the whole of may, I only missed four days of me-made clothing. The rest of the time I was wearing at least one piece. Call me surprised! Admittedly, most of the time they were outfits like this:

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This is my winter uniform I think. Leggings, sneakers, singlet, long top or dress, jumper, scarf. So I’m pretty much guaranteed- if I made myself leggings, I’d probably wear me made clothes every day. But most of my tops and dresses these days are made by me, so it’s pretty easy to just throw them into the equation over my singlet and leggings. Easy peasy.

Looking back, I wear plain basics and colourful things over the top. I love colour, I need it in my life. So I can’t just stop at black and grey. I collect scarves, so in winter they tick that colour box perfectly. On reflection though, I think that’s why my sewing always seems so unexciting- I wear black leggings, white, black or grey tops. Grey shorts. I put colourful things on top and that’s that. But most of what I make seems far too boring to put up on my blog. Can you imagine? “Hey guys, here’s another white t-shirt” I can hear the snoring and unconscious bodies dropping from here.

So I don’t know if I’ll do me-made-may next year. It looks like fun, and I love seeing what everyone else makes, but I just don’t know.
What about you guys? Have any of you been overwhelmed by the me-made-may phenomenon?

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The Winter Washi

Well, to start off my May stashbusting, on Friday night last week I decided I wanted to make myself a winter Washi. Well, that’s not precisely how it came about. I was getting ready for uni the other day when I felt a sudden need for dresses I can wear during winter. My standard winter uniform is normally jeans, a singlet, a long sleeved top and a jumper (it rarely gets below 8 degrees down here in Perth!). But I’ve been wearing leggings a lot because a) I don’t have any jeans that fit me at the moment, and I don’t have enough money to get more, and b) I wear leggings even more because they’re way easier to get around in in my prac classes at uni. So leggings it is. But some days, you just want to make them look a little bit nicer, you know? Enter the idea for a winter dress:

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This way, I can look nice on the outside and hide a singlet and leggings underneath so I can just whip the dress (and probably jumper) off for my classes, and then whip it back on again when we’re done. Win? win.

So, on Friday night I sat down, um’d, ah’d and then made my boyfriend listen to me umming and ahhing, about whether to size my washi pattern down one or two sizes. I don’t know why I talk to him about these things, since he has absolutely no idea, but to his credit he listens, and then tells me that whatever I’m thinking is right, which is normally all the reassurance I need. My gut said to go two sizes, and then I remeasured myself, and discovered that I should be making a size down these days anyway… And that decided me. I cut this two sizes down from the dresses that I’ve already made, and I’m glad I did, because it still runs a little big.

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I, of course, put myself on a time limit, because I instantly decided I wanted to have it done in time for the craft fair the next day, which I was going to with my mum. It’s just as well this pattern pretty much makes itself. Honestly, why do I always do that?

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I used Rae’s free Sleeve pattern, and just graded it up ‘about that much’. I think it was about half an inch- somewhere between what was recommended for an L and an XL. I didn’t even read the instructions, I just did it. It was pretty straight forward.

I hate hemming knits, so I threw some big 1″ hems on the sleeves and around the bottom and put some elastic in them- what was that? It doesn’t matter at all how wiggly my hems are now because they’re gathered by elastic?? It’s just like sewing magic. If the look didn’t remind me slightly of a pumpkin, I’d probably do it more often.

This was the most unstable knit fabric I have ever worked with, so I took the time to do a few ‘good sewing with knits’ techniques that I don’t normally bother with. I stabilised the shoulder seams with some mint coloured ribbon. So now they’re stable AND pretty on the inside. I stitched all my seams with the lightening stitch on my machine, so no popped seams for me! It took a little longer doing that, but I like that I can roll around on the floor in my dress and I don’t hear that horrid ripping noise we all know and love. Because, you know, I always roll around on the floor when I’m wearing dresses.

Finally, I did an awesome thing when I finished the neckline. I used some inspiration from Megan Nielsens blog where they talked about easy finishes for necklines for the Briar. Seriously, I have been meaning to try this for a while, and this fabric was so unstable there was no way I could do my normal self binding trick. I basically just ironed on a 1/4″ strip of lightweight fusible interfacing that I had cut, folded the neckline in once and triple-zig-zag stitched it down. Seriously, it took longer to cut the strip of fusible interfacing than it did to sew this neckline. Easy peasy. I don’t know if it will last as long as other methods, but we’ll soon find out!!

I also added a few extra lines of shirring to the back, to try and help the shirring cope with the bulkiness and heaviness of the fabric. It worked ok:

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I swear my bum isn’t really that big. But this is the only photo I have of the back, so I’m putting it up anyway! Next time (or maybe sometime with this one when I can be bothered) I think I’ll stabilise the front underbust seam with a bit of elastic too. And I’ll definitely remove the pleats. I put them in because they were there, but they were a bit half assed from the very beginning. They just don’t work with knit fabric. The shirring works well, but the front gets a little boxy and weird from being stretched round to the back by all that shirring. It’s a minor thing, but if you’re thinking about making this dress in a knit fabric, you definitely need to give that seam a little more support! You can see in the photo below how the fabric doesn’t tuck in under my bust, it just sort of hangs out under my boobs in no-mans land… Not the most flattering look, that’s for sure, and at the wrong angle, it makes me look a bit pregnant- also not something I’m going for.

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Overall I’m pretty stoked with my warm little dress. It’s a polyester and wool blend, which makes it pretty toasty. And soft. Did I mention warm? And the fabric was on sale at Potters end of season half price sale last year, so this dress cost me $12.50. Ultimate win. (Aside: Does anyone know when Potters is opening it’s doors at their new location? I went  to the shop front in West Leederville with my lovely friend Julie the other day (HI JULIE!!) and they had  a sign on the door saying they had moved and would open up again soon, I was a bit devastated to say the least, they were the only fabric shop I could easily get to on the train line)

Anyway, I hope you’re all coping with your transitional weather sewing, and keeping warm and or cool depending on what hemisphere you’re in!

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Oooh pretty…

I dropped in to my local fabric shop yesterday after an extremely long mission (think a short car ride, a 1km walk, a terminating 500m bus ride, a 15min wait, a 1km bus ride and then finally a 1.5km walk- all with massive anatomy text books!). I went in to buy two zips for a new pencil case… And I came out with 9m of fabric and three zips! Turns out three fabrics I’ve been eyeing off forever- my favourite Japanese lawns- were all on clearance for $5 a metre!!! So of course I took the chance to nab some- you can’t just let chances like this pass you by!! Haha

I haven’t totally decided what to do with them yet, but I thought I’d share the prettiness with you all to brighten up your Friday! I’m off the the craft fair with my wonderful mum tomorrow (I’m actually having the day off work!!!) and I’m pretty excited! Have a wonderful weekend guys!

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PS- sorry about the blurry picture! My iPhone and the perth wind are conspiring against me!

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