Printing Fabric

Last year I was able to attend a block printing workshop at Woven Stories.  It was such a fun thing to do.  We started by selecting 2 m of fabric from the shop front. We then examined the blocks on offer and tested out our selections of fabric, blocks and paint on some scraps, before settling down to the business of printing fabric.  The classes are run by Liz, at the back of her shop, and she creates a lovely relaxed environment to pass on her block printing wisdom.  Of course, it was all the more fun because I got to share the experience with sewing buddies Sue of Fadanista and Megan of Meggipeg.  

Sue chose to use a single block and set out to create a border print.

Megan chose two different fabrics, and used the same combination of block and paint on each of them.  You can see her second fabric choice at the side of my fabric photo, next one down.

I was a lot more random in my choice of paint and block.  Doing a workshop is a great way to try out something without having to buy all the gear.  Turns out, block printing is not really my thing.  It didn't take me too long to get bored, so by the end I was just slapping down blocks and paint trying to get it done already.  Luckily, Woven Stories stocks a great selection of (already) block printed fabric!

Here is my fabric after I took it home and washed it.  Quite a bit of the colour washed out, so I am thinking that I did not take enough time with the heat pressing step before washing.

Next was to find a suitable project for my fabric.  I decided to continue my journey of new experiences and chose a pattern from one of the Japanese sewing books that I have owned for years and never used (it was published in 2010 and I think I bought it in 2011).  I bought my book in Japan, so it doesn't have an English title, but after a little bit of sleuthing, I have found a link to the same book on Amazon.  My top is made using pattern C1.  I chose to use wider elastic in the cuffs than the pattern suggestions.  The base fabric has a width of 120 cm, and surprisingly, I had to scrimp to get this top out of my 2 m.  

Of course, we then had to meetup to see how everyone had used their fabric.  Sewing outings are the best outings.  


Stylearc Austin Jacket

I made this Stylearc Austin Jacket a few months ago, but I must confess to hardly wearing it.  I think I chose the wrong fabric.  Having lived in very hot climates for most of my life, I haven't quite got the hang of layering.  Since I made this, I realise that when I want to put a jacket on, I want it to be weather proof in some way, to protect from wind and / or rain.  

The fabric I used is a viscose linen noil from maaidesign.  I don't even know what noil is.  I think I was swayed by the pattern cover, which has the jacket drawn up in this same colour. 

I left off the pockets, because the placement seemed a bit odd and not like somewhere I'd stick my phone.  I have enough scraps if I decide I want to add them later.  I made this a while ago, so I can't quite remember, but I think I might have made this 5 cm longer than the pattern indicated.

I did have perfectly matching thread for overlocking and perfectly matching toggles in my stash.  Shame I couldn't find a matching zipper.

Hopefully I can work out when to wear this jacket and so get some use from it.


Frocktails 2020

I seem to have bloggers block.  I've had this window sitting open on the computer for days, but am  having trouble sitting down and writing.  Frocktails is such a fabulous event that it definitely deserves a post.  It really feels like I am getting together with my tribe.  

I don't think that I talked to so many people this year, but all the sewing talk with those that I did.  Shout out to Vanessa (I hope I haven't got your name wrong in the intervening weeks) who says she still reads my blog...and here I thought that I was back where I started, just blogging for my own records.  So much sewing inspiration in one place.  I learnt about Nerida Hansen fabrics, and have already received an order for her fabrics, hopefully to be made into a summery top for Christmas.  Of course, the most fun is playing Guess The Pattern, discovering new patterns and rediscovering old favourites.

So, onto my dress.

I've had this fabric and pattern combination in mind for a few years now.  It can take me a little while to implement a plan!  I retrieved the fabric from my box of special fabrics, but it was originally from EmmaOneSock.   I think that it is a viscose crepe.  It has a bit of stretch in one direction and a lovely, heavy drape.  The fabric is a print (I haven't done any clever colour blocking).  Sadly, it frays terribly, and I did have a sticky moment when my neck facing pulled away from the dress whilst I was understitching it.  6 mm seam allowances on the facings might have been too narrow for this fabric, and fingers crossed that no more damage happens with wear.

The pattern is Burdastyle 04-2016-122.  I took a bit of a risk in not making a muslin, just grading between sizes and making my usual pattern adjustments.  

The dress pattern is lined.  The lining is for a fairly standard sheath dress.  The outer pattern is shaped as a sheath dress, with extra volume for the drape, and not a-line as the photos would suggest.  I was just about to cut out a Bemberg lining, when I realised that there was no walking room in the lining.  I went back to check the pattern details (I'm not so good at reading pattern instructions these days) and sure enough, it recommended a stretch lining.  My other concern with the lining was that the front neckline gapes a bit, both on the model and in previous versions I have seen made up, and the lining would probably show.  I didn't have a suitable stretch lining fabric on hand.  I thought about just putting a vent in the lining skirt, but in the end, decided that my fabric didn't need a lining and I was better off drafting a facing instead, and cutting it out of the same fabric as the dress.  This had the added bonus of using up the odd shaped remnants of the fabric.

Thanks so much to the organisers of Perth Frocktails.  It really is my favourite event of the year.


Beachy Jumpsuit

I don't know why it has taken me so long to get on the jumpsuit bandwagon.  Possibly because this is the sort of clothing I used to wear in my teens / twenties...you know, not taking on the fads the second time around.  Anyway, I should have got there sooner because I love wearing this jumpsuit.

There are plenty of jumpsuit patterns to choose from, but non of them was quite what I wanted.  I thought it would be just as easy to start with a trouser patter that I already had, and make the required changes, as it would be to buy a new pattern and make alterations.  Both options would require a muslin.

I didn't want patch pockets, because they never seem to sit right once you fill them up.  I didn't want in-seam pockets, because they flap about.  I wanted curved inset pockets, which would necessitate a waist seam, at least in the front.  

I started with the Jalie 3676 Vanessa Pants, and made the following changes

- I added an inch to each side seam (ie total 4" added ease)
- I lowered the crotch by 3 cm (just watch me flit between metric and imperial)
- I added 5 cm to the waist height, which is the same height as the Jalie Vanessa waistband.  I kept the back darts, extending them up to the new waist seam.
- I increased the height of the pocket pieces 5 cm to match.  I also made the pockets a bit deeper, as the ones in my Vanessa pants are a bit shallow for my phone
- I created a bib shape for the front and back, with a bit of trial and error.  The side curves on the bibs are quite low.  They are actually are as high as I can make them without having to add a side opening, being pear shaped and all.
- the tops of the bibs are folded over.  The side edges are finished with self-made bias binding.
- the straps are just rectangular tubes.  They might have looked better a bit skinnier.  I went with ties instead of buttons, because I thought the button holes would drag with the weight of the jumpsuit in this linen.
- I cropped the leg length and sewed a deep double fold hem that can be turned up as a cuff.  Not that the cuffs stayed up on my walk to the beach.  I might have to stitch them up.

The fabric is a beautiful linen twill from Tessuti.  It has a thin white stripe running through at about 5 cm intervals, but that is not showing up in the photos.

It turns out that having a big red blob in the middle of your photo creates some fun filter effects, so here are some more photos for you.


When bad things happen to good fabric


Linen twill is a new fabric for me.  I must confess I was excited when I saw it on the Tessuti website and clicked "Add to bag" pretty quickly.  When it arrived, it was even more luscious than I imagined.  I washed and dried it, and then my daughter laughed when she found it draped over me whilst I was watching tv.  It really has a lovely drape.

I decided on the Stylearc Lennie overshirt.  

I started with the popover placket.  Instead of following the instructions, I decided to do it the same way I would sew a placket on a shirt sleeve.  Only, I must have got the dimensions mixed up when I was cutting the placket, because after I sewed it on, the top didn't sit neatly over the underneath.  I unpicked it, and followed the method given.  Something went wrong there, not sure if it was Stylearc or my seam allowances or turn of cloth, but the upper still didn't sit neatly over the underneath.  More unpicking.  Not great for a linen twill.  You can see the fabric giving way in the photo below.

I would need wider plackets to get them to lay on top of each other.  I had enough fabric to cut new ones, but that would leave me with a not so useful remnant piece, so I decided to add to the existing plackets.  I seamed some pieces together to make new plackets, as you can see in the photo below, with the outsides of the plackets being on the bias and the inside on the straight grain..

Third time around, I got the placket in, but you can see that I had to stabilise the area with interfacing.  Not sure how long this shirt will last before fraying.  

I thought that I pattern matched the side seams, but when I sewed them together, it would appear that something went wrong there too.  I shortened the top quite a bit.  The shirt is oversized, but it still had bust darts.  I should have eliminated the darts.  I ended up extending them, because they didn't come anywhere near my bust and so seemed pointless (pun not intended...ha!).

I added a pleat below the back yoke, for added movement.

I bought this same fabric in the other colourways, but think that I will choose a different pattern for the others.