Sewing for the Soul

It’s been a bit quiet around here lately. I changed jobs last month and the few weeks leading up to that decision were pretty stressful. I lost my sew-jo and most of my enthusiasm for almost everything else.

Sewing is usually my go-to defence against stress but when that fails me, going to the gym, riding my bike, and more recently, running, are just some of the other tools I employ to keep me sane. I wouldn’t call myself a fitness freak but my brain needs to be active and doing something to keep it on track.

With that back story sorted you can understand what a wonderful distraction the sneak peek at the newest patterns from Papercut were for me.

They jump started my sew-jo AND my fitness-jo!

I stitched like a wild woman then I reinstalled the Couch to 5k app on my phone, along with the entire season of Project Runway 12 and hit the treadmill. It’s winter here but we have the odd nice day when I can get outside. My goal is to get back to comfortably running 5kms and then join my local ParkRun every Saturday morning. I run slower than I can hand stitch but I can run, and I feel good!

So, enough about my pavement pounding goals, let’s talk PATTERNS!

There are three new patterns in the collection, cleverly called TRI:

The Soma swimsuit which includes the one-piece plus two bikini and two pant variations, that’s 5 options in one pattern.

The Anima Pant in three lengths, with or without cuffs.

And finally, my favourite, the Pneuma Tank with optional drapey over top.

On top of these three patterns Katie has also re-released four previous patterns with new variations and all are also now available as PDF downloads.

Coppélia, Ooh La Leggings, SJ Tee and Undercover Hood.

If you already own one of these older patterns, don’t panic, there will be tutorials on how to mod them on the Papercut blog soon.

Pneuma (translation: soul) is my favourite of this collection because I have given far too much of my precious fabric money to Lululmeon (except for this year since I am RTW Fasting). I really like their workout gear but they are super exxy and so I may a squealed just a little bit when I saw the line drawings for the Pneuma Tank.

It’s been tricky lately to get finished garment photos. The weather doesn’t co-operate on the weekend and after work it is too dark. Luckily last weekend was beautiful and sunny so I headed into town to meet Kat and Nikki for a mega-photo-shoot-catch-up. We chose the ANZAC Memorial which has just undergone a huge restoration as part of the lead up to ANZAC Day’s 100th commemoration in 2015.

It’s pretty there with lots of great background variation but, more importantly, has lots of bushes and other nooks for quick and (kind of) discrete outfit changes.

The Pneuma is really easy and quick to sew and the instructions are written for a standard sewing machine but you can also use your overlocker or coverstitch machine.

It has wide elastic under the bust and thinner elastic around the arm holes, neck and across the back so it feels snug and comfortable. You zig zag the elastic in place and I finished it with my coverstitch. You need a fabric with high lycra content for the bra top and something nice and drapey for the tank. The straps are bra strapping.

The cross over straps are a really nice feature and super easy to adjust when sewing. I recommend safety pins when you attach them to test their length or you may get stuck like I did, unable to get out without sticking yourself with the pins.

And then your husband will laugh and laugh and laugh…

The extra black straps you see are my sports bra underneath. I guess didn’t actually need to wear a bra for the photos but obviously I do need one for exercising.

Just keepin’ it real, yo.

I have paired my Pneuma with a knee length pair of Anima pants. They are sewn in a medium-weight grey marled fleece with the cuffs and waistband contrasted in black.

They are really comfy but actually a bit thick for exercising. Also I cut a size medium, a decision based on the combination of thicker than normal fabric selection and me worrying about needing extra booty room. They are a bit too big so next time I will use a merino or merino blend and cut the small size.

They have a wide elasticated waist with drawstring (that I didn’t manage to capture in any of the photosgraphs, oops) and I used eyelets for the tie holes instead of button holes, copying from a pair of RTW track pants.

You can whip these up really fast on an overlocker. I just threaded up all 4 spools and went nuts. You only need to top stitch the faux fly and waistband on your sewing machine and then you can put them on while you sew the second pair ;)

As per usual Kat and I ended up with about a million and one photos…but this time we can blame Nikki ;)

I had 2 weeks off between my old and new job when I sewed these up so I also made a long pair in thicker fleece to keep me warm while temporarily unemployed.

I call them my Temporary Lady of Leisure Pants.

Nerdy Husband calls them my Please Don’t Wear that Crazy out in in Public Pants and I’m happy to admit that they were never sewn for exterior excursions but they make me smile and they give you a different perspective on the pattern.

They are also really warm and perfect for winter.

I already have a second Pneuma in the works and plan to pair them with some cropped Ohh La leggings (pattern and fabric for which have been sitting on my “to sew” pile, literally, for months) and I also caved and added the Undercover Hood to my pattern collection. If they work out I’ll need another pair, of course, plus Pneuma #3 and #4, and two more pairs of Anima pants and then I am sure I will be 100% weaned off of Lululemon.

Which means more money for fabric ;)

Yeah!

You can check out Kat’s Pneuma and Anima here.

Also we met this donkey and his friends.

Photography and modelling is hard work…

…so we rewarded ourselves afterwards with high tea at Logan Brown.

#HighTea #LoganBrown

A photo posted by Melissa (@thecuriouskiwi) on

I was so, so good!

Little teaser: I also made the Soma one-piece, but those photos will have to wait for some beach-appropriate weather.

THE DEETS:

Pattern –

I want to make another knee length pair (or two) but next time I will use a merino, or merino blend and cut a size S

Fabric – Various fleece from Spotlight. Lycra and cotton from The Fabric Warehouse

Other notions – Cord, eyelets, various elastic, bra strapping

Let’s do this! Indie Pattern Month June 2014

In June last year Kat and I hosted the first ever Indie Pattern Month – a whole month devoted to celebrating all the wonderful independent pattern designers that we love.

We interviewed many of those fabulous designers, stitched up lots of Indie patterns and showcased your amazing Indie pattern makes. You can read all those posts here and here.

It was a lot of fun and inspired us to start The Monthly Stitch, a huge ongoing group sew-along blog with a new theme each month. That’s right, Indie Pattern Month 2013 was the catalyst behind The Monthly Stitch and all the fun we’ve had since!

Ever since then we’ve had sewing peeps telling us how much they enjoyed sewing Indie for a whole month and asking us when we were going to do it next…

Well guess what? It’s time!

June 2014 will be our second Indie Pattern Month, repeating each June, but this time run through The Monthly Stitch, bigger and better than ever!

Along with the usual monthly theme of sewing Indie and celebrating all those fabulous labels and the people behind them who inspire us and keep sewing amazing clothing, this year we also have some Indie themed competitions, one each week, and we have lots of loot to give away. Yes, that’s right: PRIZES!

2014_06_Challenge01_dresses2014_06_Challenge02_newtome

2014_06_Challenge03_frankenindie2014_06_Challenge04_fangirlultimate

Each week we have a new sewing contest theme, starting with an easy one: “Dresses”, which is all about sewing, umm, dresses ;) and working on up to “Indie Fan Girl: Level Ultimate”, a whole outfit from your favourite Indie label.

There are a few simple rules you need you to follow, check out Kat’s post to find out more details, but ALL independent pattern designer labels are eligible.

We have other give-aways, interviews and discount codes too so keep your eyes on The Monthly Stitch during June for more.

Want to find out more, sign up to take part, see what designers are involved, and maybe check out the competition categories? We’ve got everything you need all in one easy to find place.

So jump on over to The Monthly Stitch and sign up so that you can blog your Indie Pattern Month make on The Monthly Stitch during June for your chance to win some amazing prizes from our fabulous sponsors.

Indie Pattern Month June 2014, YEAH! :D

 

Desideratum Deer & Doe Datura Disaster

About halfway through making my Cotton Candy Culottes I realised that I didn’t have a top to wear with them! So I hatched a plan to make up something quick that would suit them but that could also fit in with my normal wardrobe.

I consulted with Fashionable Younger Sister who was in the middle of cutting out her own culottes. We talked about styles and colours and I mentioned I was thinking of trying mustard. I’ve never worn mustard before because I’m not sure if it suits my complexion. I thought maybe I could get away with it if I combined it with another colour like white or a lighter yellow or perhaps grey.

FYS sent me some awesome inspiration images:

And I realsied that I had the perfect pattern in my stash, Deer & Doe’s Datura:

Fast forward to a sneaky lunchtime fabric shop trip with my trusty accomplice, Nikki.

We went to The Fabric Store and I did a couple of laps looking for the perfect fabric. Unfortunately I didn’t find any mustard I liked, everything was too sunshine yellow, but I did spot a pretty lilac and white cotton with a homespun-like weave:

I thought it was nice enough and since it was not very expensive I grabbed some.

Annoyingly the yardage chart on the pattern envelope does not include separate fabric allowances for making this blouse in two tones. I found that a bit strange (and disappointing) given that all the examples on the pattern page are sewn in two colours. I grabbed a meter of each colour even though I knew it would be too much.

I chose to make the view A with the triangle cutouts and they were really easy to construct.

Spikey spikey! #DeerandDoe #DaturaBlouse

A photo posted by Melissa (@thecuriouskiwi) on

On the cutting layout the bias is laid out and cut in four lengths that you join which I guess saves some fabric but you end up with all those joins. It is neat that they give you a template that you can trace onto card and use to fold your bias.

Since I had extra fabric I was able to cut my bias as one long length. I own 3 different sized Clover bias tape makers that I use to make bias tape. They aren’t that expensive and once you get the hang of them are worth owning.

There didn’t seem to be any mention of joining the bias tape ends together in the instructions. I joined mine at the centre back, unfolding to stitch the ends together, before trimming and refolding…

…like so…

Pretty!

And then my Datura was almost finished. Except that it wasn’t, ahhh, unfortunately my fabric was too stiff for this pattern. I tried to save it with some extra darts but it just didn’t work.

The bust darts are also too high on me so the fabric tents out from my ladies and is quite unflattering over the tum.

All is not lost however because even though this fabric was the wrong choice I do think this pattern has potential. You don’t need a lot of fabric (hello silk off-cuts in my stash!) and it’s a pretty quick make so there will be another version soon.

THE DEETS:

Pattern – Deer & Doe Datura, size 42, version A

Next time I will use a more lightweight drapey fabric, lower the bust darts and probably sew the buttons straight on (no button holes as they are purely decorative)

Fabric – 100% Cotton from The Fabric Warehouse, $8.00/m, Feb 2014

Other notions – 3 x buttons from stash

This photo is of me testing to see if I could reach the buttons. I took in the side seams a little to see if I could improve the fit. I wanted to make sure I could get the top on and off in case my alterations meant the buttons actually had to function.

Electric Blueberry Coppélia

It’s been a while since Kat and I unleashed the Papercut Fangirl Twinsies ;)

So we decided it was time for a pair of Coppélias.

You might notice that our versions look a little different from each other.

When we decide on a twinsies pattern we don’t really discuss how we are each going to interpret it. We might share a sneak peek of our fabric choice but generally we sew them separately to suit our individual tastes and then see what happens when we meet up for photos!

It’s more fun that way.

So you get to see Kat’s striped version with short sleeves and my solid coloured version with lengthened ties and bodice.

The Coppélia stitched up quickly on my 4-threads-of-awesomeness overlocker and I hardly needed to look at the instructions (I mostly just glanced at the diagrams) because this is super easy to make.

Then it sat for a while in the corner because I wasn’t really sure if I liked it.

I just couldn’t get it to sit nice when I tried it on and the back felt really big on me. When I tied it up my side seams came forward and I had a lot of bunching at the back.

After we had some time apart I picked it up out of the naughty corner and added two long vertical darts in the back and that helped a little but the arms were still quite big at the top and very long.

I gave up and decided I would just see what Kat (and photographer Nikki) would have to say.

They both agreed that the problem was quite simple, I cut it too big…and once said out aloud everything clicked! It was even more obvious when tried on Kat’s XS (I cut an S) and it fitted perfectly…after Kat helped me dress…haven’t quite gotten the knack of it yet.

So, all is good and I will make another, soon, because it was so quick and didn’t need much fabric…plus I love speeding on my overlocker, it makes NH nervous ;)

Also this happened:

Photobombed!

These photos were taken in front of the Executive Wing of New Zealand Parliament Building…or Beehive to the locals. It’s a beautiful spot on a sunny day to have lunch and take long overdue sewing photos.

There are also lots of huge Pohutukawa trees…so we did some tree climbing, in heels, because, yeah… :)

Check out Kat’s Strawberry Shortcake Coppélia here.

THE DEETS:

Pattern – Papercut Coppélia, size S, lengthened 10cms, lengthened ties.

Next time I will cut an XS, lengthen another 5cms (15cm in total) and possibly shorten the sleeves.

Fabric – 1.30m of 154cm wide mystery electric blue stretchy fabric from Arthur Toye, purchased November 2013 for $24.95/m – 50% discount.

Big thank you to Nikki for being our lunchtime photographer.

PS: If you feel like it, I’d love you pop over the Pattern Review a vote for my Megan Nielson Cotton Candy Culottes in the New To Me Pattern Co. Contest.

Double Bossy Twinsie Vote: The winner

Image

Double Bossy Twinsie Vote

You may have noticed that Kat and I have been doing a bit of regular Twinsie sewing. It’s a lot of fun sewing the same pattern and seeing how we each put our own twist on it.

We get the feeling you guys like seeing our Twinsie shoots too ;)

We have a list of patterns we both own and have been working through the ones we like but the list is so loooooong we need some help, and that’s where you guys come in!

Can you help us decide what our next Twinsie make should be?

We’ve narrowed it down to three options:

Papercut’s Midsummers’ Night Dream

Cake’s Cabarita Knit Top

and Colette’s Rooibos

So, do you feel like bossing us around? What do you want to see next?

Cotton Candy Culottes

Question: What’s better than Quadruplets?

Answer: Quintuplets!

Nikki, Emma, Kat, me & Jenna

Quintuplets Megan Nielson Tania Culottes!

Technically I can claim we were sextuplets because I also made Fashionable Younger Sister sew some Tania Culottes. FYS does not live in Wellington so she participated by Distance Sewing.

Why did I force Fashionable Younger Sister to make Tania Culottes?

Because her name is Tania.

Tania wearing Tania’s!

Last Sunday the WSBN went to the Newtown Fair with visions of culottes group selfies involving candy apples and cotton candy.

We didn’t quite manage to get the candy floss photos but we did eat roti and fudge and hot dogs and spent far too much money on pretties like these:

Pretties! #newtownfair #owls

A photo posted by Melissa (@thecuriouskiwi) on

We did remember to take a few photos of each other ;)

With Nikki

Kat and Jenna

Emma and Kat (with bonus Phoebe and Drake peaking around the corner)

I made my culottes from some super floaty rayon I bought at Arthur Toye in Palmerston North. I got 1.5m but forgot I wanted to lengthen the hem. To the size L I originally added 10cms but wasn’t able to fit them on my fabric. Luckily I found a 0.7m remnant in the Wellington store but I still had to reduce my added length to just 5cm.

Consequently they are shorter than I would have liked but I actually don’t mind the length that much. They are perfect for hot summer days at the beach or other informal setting…not particularity appropriate for work although I did consider putting on my steel cap boots and taking a photo for you all ;)

The main issue is the floaty rayon, which feels so nice to wear, sewed beautifully and drapes amazingly…but is far too light for Wellington’s breezy reputation. I think before I wear this particular pair again I will make up some cropped leggings to wear underneath to prevent any accidental flashing…there may have been a bit of that last Sunday but thankfully no photographic evidence ;)

Hemming these took forever. I think I was at it about an hour, maybe longer, because it’s like hemming TWO circle skirts. As much as I enjoyed sewing with this fabric it didn’t like pins very much. Every time I tried them on pins would rain down everywhere which didn’t help!

Fashionable Younger Sister’s culottes are also made from rayon, she cut size S but cut the hem at the XS size line. She admits they are a little too short as well but she does have the legs for them!

Here is a close up of her fabric btw, I have some in my stash too so don’t be surprised if you see this again soon:

I really enjoyed making these, they sew up really quickly (only four pattern pieces!) and the pleat at the front is a really simple but super clever detail that gives the illusion of a circle skirt.

I’m used to fabric allowances being a bit more generous so I had to buy that extra bit to get my lengthened pattern pieces all on. I suspect that even the recommended 1.5m for the un-lengthened larger sizes is cutting it fine. If you are not lengthening (but I strongly suggest you do!) I suggest you get an extra 10 or 20cm just in case, especially if you have a crazy pattern that needs some matching.

The instructions are nice and clear, lots of good diagrams and I only made a couple of changes.

On page 6 you are instructed to stay stitch the edge of the waist band at 1.5cm but I stitched at 1.0cm instead because later on when you attach the waistband using 1.5cm seam allowance you will probably end up seeing your stay stitching on the outside and then you’ll have to so some unpicking. No one likes unpicking ;)

I also didn’t clip along the edge before attaching my waistband. I’m always wary of clipping. If I don’t need to (and I didn’t in this case) then I prefer to not do it. Unnecessary clipping weakens the seam and will make it really tricky to attach the waist band and to enclose this edge later on.

I had no trouble laying my waistband onto the top of my culottes without clipping them.

Lastly I hung my culottes overnight to allow the hem to settle. I was surprised that this wasn’t mentioned in the instructions but when I trimmed my hem after hanging the long strip I cut off went from nothing right up to about 4cm and back again. That’s how much the bias section dropped while resting. If you don’t give your culottes time to relax before hemming you may find that sections drop over time and you’ll have to redo it.

Next time I will buy more fabric and lengthen a total of 10 or maybe even 15cms. I also found the crotch a little high, it’s not uncomfortable but I can tell it’s there which feels …strange because they are so floaty. Oh and I will totally copy Kat’s in-seam pockets idea. I thought about pockets after it was too late and shrugged it off but when I saw Kat’s pockets I was super jealous. At least if I had something in my pockets the added weight might have helped ;)

Hey did you notice my super cute necklace? It was made by Fashionable Younger Sister and is from her newly launched jewellery line, Fortune and Blame.

I have the Diamond Silhouette in Blue Skies and FYS is wearing The Impaler in Black and Gold. She’s adding new stuff to her online store all the time and if you want any custom colours or fills you can just email her at fortuneandblame[at]gmail.com to ask and she will post anywhere in the world :)

If you like her style please go take a look at her online store and follow her on Facebook or Instagram.

Tell me what your favourite piece is and what I should make her sew next ;)

THE DEETS:

Pattern – Megan Nielson Tania culottes, size L, lengthened 5cm

Next time I will lengthen an extra 5 or 10cms (for a total of 10-15cm extra length), drop the crotch about 2cms and add in-seam pockets.

Fabric – 1.50m + 0.7m remnant of 148cm wide Rayon from Arthur Toye, Palmerston North, purchased January 2014 for $12.50/m

Other notions – Invisible zipper