Patrones 303 (April 2011)

Apparently I did manage to scan another magazine, Patrones 303, which is weird because I have zero recollection of doing so but the flash drive never lies so here it is :)

There wasn’t a huge amount in this issue that grabbed me but I do like the look of this green dress. I’m a bit iffy about the whole one-shoulder thing, there are quite a few in this issue and Burda seem to be obsessed with it lately as well, still, this dress is quite stunning.

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The central section contains several different skirts and tops. They are all quite youthful and fun and I really like the soft colour combinations. We are heading into winter here in Wellington and while autumn is clinging on (yay) these are definitely getting filed away until warmer weather finally returns. But I don’t mind, I quite like winter sewing and I have a few ufo’s to catch up on that will be perfect while these patterns ‘mature’ on the shelf ;)

I just had to stick these shorts in here because Patrones do seem to have an unhealthy obsession with the bloomer style pants and shorts, there’s usually at least one pair in each issue. I’m not going to say much more because I know my fashion sense is not entirely on the level so some of you might has spotted these and added them to the top of your ‘to-sew’ list but personally I’m putting these in the same category as Jeggings, Ugg boots in public and Crocs…please, just say ‘no’.

'no'

If you are keen for some cute bloomers as underwear why don’t you check out Colette Patterns free download: Madeline Mini Bloomers, very cute.

Another one shoulder item but I am more interested in the pants, a slim-fit 3/4-length cargo pant which I’d like to make, perfect for the last few autumn traps up Mt Kau Kau or out to the Orongorongo Valley.

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I have received this months issue but have no way to scan it at the moment. Its full of beachy goodness, lots of flowy summer dresses and a blouse with the largest pleated cuffs you’ve ever seen so I promise to get it scanned and uploaded as soon as I can for a giggle.

I have  good news to share about the container that contains my life (which you are probably all sick of hearing about) it arrives today and just has to clear customs, yay! I also picked up the keys to our rental property this morning so now I just have to beat husband to the bigger of the spare rooms ;) I think they are actually both the same size however one does have significantly more power points. However I am used to subsisting with a single power point so even the room that has one double will seem like a electrified luxury!

Sewing a Foreign Language: Patrones Blouse #9

Remember this blouse? It’s from Patrones 290, #9, I promised a how-to and here it is.

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The first thing I always do when working without instructions is get my head around the pattern pieces. Here they are nicely laid out and labeled.

Because this blouse has princess seams both front and back we have two front pieces and two back pieces (with the center back cut on the fold). The center front is self-faced and there is also a back neck facing, the pattern piece for this was traced from the center back pattern piece (see the blue curve at the top). Then we have two different rectangles, one for the ruffles and the other is to become self bias-binding for the armholes, these pieces are given as dimensions in the instructions.

Preparing the pieces: There’s not a lot to be done to these pieces, there are no darts or pleats or gathers, just the front self-facing and the back neck facing. For the front I folded the facing to the outside, right sides facing and pinned the neck edge then stitched along the curved edge only, neaten and turn.

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Here is a close up of the neck edge, after turning I decided to topstitch it to keep it in place but after the next step I realized I needed to attach to the neck facing first so I had to unpick it. You’ll see what I mean in a bit.

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Place the neck facing onto the center back piece, right sides facing, lining up with the curve of the neck. Pin, stitch along the neck curve, neaten and turn.

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This is the step that caused me to undo my top stitching. I realised that when I sew my shoulder seams I can also sew my facings together at the same time.

It’s hard to see in the photo but you fold out the front facings on the front pieces and fold up the neck facing on the back piece. Now you can pin the front and back pieces together at the shoulders and across where the facings meet as well.

I hope that makes sense, in the photo you can see the seams are pinned and then I have opened the whole thing out, I have tried to label each piece.

Turn the facings back to the inside and now if you want you can either under stitch or topstitch them. I chose to do this since my silk is slippery and I want to keep the facings in place.

Now for the ruffles: I neatened all edges of the ruffle rectangles then created a narrow hew along one long side and both short ends then along the other long edge I ran two lines of gathering stitch (longest stitch length 4.0 on a low tension)…and here is where I discovered a problem with the pattern.

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What you can see in the photo above are the blouse pieces lying open at the shoulder seam and the finished ruffle rectangle lying beside it. You can see the two orange headed pins in the blouse body, they mark where the ruffle is to be attached and even un-gathered the rectangle is barely long enough to span between them.

Frustrated I checked my measurements and no problems there so it must be a typo in the magazine. I was loath to re-cut them since I have plans for the tiny bit of left over silk that remains so I re-cut two more rectangles and joined them together at the short edge. This extra seam will be in-line with the shoulder seam and since it is gathered I’m sure it will be almost invisible so I stopped stressing and got on with it.

Here you can see one newly lengthened and gathered ruffle pined in place beside an un-gathered one. Doubling the length was perfect and I am wondering if the instruction/diagram was meant to show it cut on the fold. Gather each ruffle to match the length between the pins/markings, pin in place right sides together and stitch.

Attaching the ruffles

Here is the blouse, with ruffles attached laid out. Excuse the lazy Photoshop stitch attempt – I couldn’t get high enough in my room to snap the entire blouse:

Side seams are stitched next, and then I hemmed the bottom of the blouse. You can turn the self facings out as you hem to make really neat, sharp corners at the bottom.

Scarlett models the almost finished blouse

Mark the buttons holes next. I have always had a problem with gaping at the bust on my blouses so I have started ignoring the button hole markings on the patterns and instead I mark one button hole at the largest part of my bust and then space my buttons evenly around this hole, usually one above and then the rest below.

I use this Simflex Expanding Gauge to mark even spaces, it’s a great tool that I use all the time and you can use it for pleats as well.

To reinforce the silk I used some rectangles of interfacing behind the button-holes, under the facing and again behind the buttons.

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I’m always a bit nervous sewing buttons holes, they feel so final and permanent.

My machine has a 1-step button hole, I set the dial and stitch length to suit the fabric and use this special foot, which expands to take one of the buttons an sets the overall button hole length. A pull down guide catches some thinga-ma-jig near the back and makes the machine return at the end of each hole.

Always make a test button hole on a scrap piece of fabric and fold it over on itself to mimic the final thickness of fabric you’ll be sewing your real button holes on. Adjust your tension and stitch length until you are happy with your practice hole.

The most common problem I have with button holes is forgetting to reset the machine after each one is complete.

The most important switch

And there you are: one button hole. I prefer to pull the threads to the back and knot them off rather than cutting them at the front.

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Now for buttons: I bought this foot when I first bought my machine, it’s amazing! I never sew buttons on by hand (well flat buttons anyway). You could probably use a satin stitch foot for this but the rubber tip and back edge of the foot helps keep the button in place.

To use this foot you need to be able to adjust your machines zig-zag width. For extra slippery button/fabric combinations I quickly hand tack each button in place before slipping it under the machines foot. Set your machine to a wide zig-zag and stitch length to zero. Hand-turn the wheel and adjust the zig-zag width so that the needle clears each button hole then put your foot down for a few stitches and move onto the next button. I always hand-wheel the first stitch for each button first to test position otherwise you risk snapping a needle and damaging the button. I have been told you can just snip the threads off flush with the button but I prefer to pull them both to the back and knot them off.

I was a bit unsure of how to finish the armholes. I think you are supposed make self bias-binding from one of the rectangles given in the instructions and encase the raw edge but this can only be done to the lower half otherwise you end up catching part of the ruffle so I turned in the ends and worked the bias around the lover half of the hole then just overlocked the upper half as you can see. I don’t think this is entirely correct but it works.

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And that’s it. I really love the silk that I use, I bought it from the Joveeba closing down sale about a year ago, both the colour and pattern of it and how it feels to wear. I’ve never owned a silk item before (lame huh?) and even though I have to hand wash it I can see many more silk items in my future.

 

Manequim 622 (April 2011)

This post is very late due to no internet and me wringing every inspirational sewing droplet out of the last two magazines I received before jumping on the plane. I have re-directed all my magazines and already received the next Patrones but this in the only one I have managed to scan for now.


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I love a good versatile/infinity style pattern and this wrap/cape/cardi is really interesting. It’s simple in shape, a rectangle with armholes and buttons at the ends, and it’s nice they include the modesty singlet as well. I like the first and third stylings the most.

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From the celebrity copy-cat section I have selected this fun summer top and pretty dress. I also couldn’t go past the flared pant, I don’t care what anyone says, flared leg pants will always be around and since they are the most flattering cut for my body shape I’ll wear flared leg jeans/pants forever. The black dress may or may not be a true wrap dress but I love the waist detail, it looks super flattering as well.

The central style section had much less patterns than usual this issue. I’ve picked out this pencil skirt for it’s interesting panelling, nice as is or easy to colour block for a completely different look.

I’ve been toying with the idea of doing a sort of capsule wardrobe to get my style on track. I seem to sew a bit disjointed sometimes and I end up with a lot of items I LOVE but that don’t go with anything else I have sewn or own. I’ve started a list and been gathering ideas and one thing I just realised I haven’t got on my list is an LBD. This one is simple but cute with enough detail to keep it from being boring but make it versatile.

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Love this purple top, it’s a great shape, interesting panels and fun to jazz up with beading.

I had to put in the jumpsut since it’s been so hotly debated and defended on various blogs recently which I find funny since it coincided with a similar lunchtime debate at a recent impromptu lunch with the Perth BSC girls. I’m not so sure about this one above since the pockets seem to look a little bit like wings and my hips need no help in that area :)

And then because the weather outside has turned from sunshine to horrible, and this is the April issue, here’s some yummy chocolate!

Somewhere in the Tasman Sea…

It’s been a chaotic and busy week but for those of you following along we made it safely to New Zealand last Tuesday, I can hardly believe we’ve been home a week already. My internet opportunities at the moment are few and limited so please excuse the absence of posts, but here’s a quick update:

We spent the last weekend in our rental property in Perth surrounded by boxes with nothing more than our 2 suitcases, bed, single couch, the tv and fridge. I managed to fish out of one box a pot to boil water for tea/coffee, my “keep cup” and the top off the thermos flask to drink from. It was kind of like camping indoors, they really did pack EVERYTHING for us.

Boxed in!

On Monday they bravely backed a 20ft shipping container right down our driveway. It was going to be tight, they told us, and we selected a few items the night before that would be left behind if it all went pear shaped. I’m not sure who had it worse: Me, sitting at work chewing my nails and wondering how it was all going or Husband, watching the men playing Container Tetris with our every belongings. It was close, Husband says there was just 1cm left in front of the doors when they closed it up…with everything inside and suddenly a big weight lifted off of us. We moved into a hotel that night for our final week in Perth, leaving the same way we arrived: with a lot of tears from sad goodbyes, 2 suitcases and a bunch of nerves.

Biggest sewing machine carry case ever ;)

We had an amazing flight. I’ve flown into Wellington a few times from various locations but I’ve never arrived in the direction we did last week. We flew low right over my home suburb (I would have waved to my Mum’s house if I’d been fast enough to get my orientation) then I spotted the local shopping centre and we zipped past that and over the motorway, right past the rugby stadium (affectionately called the “Cake Tin” because that’s exactly what it looks like) then a lazy right hand turn over Oriental Parade lined us up for the smoothest ever recorded, and likely never to be repeated, landing at Wellington airport.

We are staying with family at the moment and I’ve been busy organising all the necessaries – bank accounts, driver’s licences, that sort of thing. I also found time to spot a Burda magazine at my local newsagent ;)

It’s been pretty emotional so far, a lot of good emotions, but a few unexpected ones as well. It’s quite disarming, feeling like you have nothing, starting again, back to living out of a suitcase in someone else’s house. I’ve gotten used to being independent and I have to constantly remind myself that it’s only temporary. Then I think of all the people who really have lost their entire lives to earthquakes and floods and I chastise myself for being so selfish.

If the Australians were confused at why were we’re returning to NZ then the Kiwis are absolutely perplexed. Apparently “because we wanted to” is not a sufficient enough reason. I’ve given up trying to explain and instead I am concentrating on settling us in.

Right, enough moping, did you ever play the unfortunately/fortunately game in school? You take turns making up a story where the beginning of each line alternates between “unfortunately” and “fortunately”, it goes something like this:

Unfortunately Mel had to pack up her sewing machines and she had no idea how long they’d be apart…

Fortunately the shipping company takes a quick route and told her it would only be 2 weeks shipping time, yay…

Unfortunately the ship they were supposed to be on was running 5 days late due to bad weather so it booted the only Wellington-bound container off the manifest so it could skip Wellington to make up time…

Fortunately there was another ship after it…

Unfortunately it wasn’t scheduled to depart until the end of May…

Fortunately the Fremantle “warfies” decided to strike…

Unfortunately the strike meant yet another ship was 2 days late…

Fortunately it meant the sewing machines could get on that ship and leave even earlier than expected.

So our luck has been good and floating somewhere in theTasman Sea is (I hope) the 20ft sea container containing pretty much our entire lives…oh and my sewing machines :) I’m only guessing where it actually is but I do know it’ll be popping into Lyttleton and Port Chalmers before wallowing (if the current weather system heading our way is anything to go by) it’s way up to us here in Wellington around the 25th of May. Fingers are crossed that customs gives the immediate tick and now the hunt is on for a new home and rediscovered independence…

So I’ll leave you with a few pics from my walk yesterday xx