#MuseJennaB42mrw

My sew-jo has been a bit low lately, if you can’t tell from the lack of blog posts :)

But this is not a post to apologise for that, we all have our sewing ups and downs…this is a post about actually sewing.

It all started with a phone call from Kat at 4pm on a Saturday. We chatted about a lot of things and, of course, sewing. I complained about my low sew-jo and how I really just couldn’t be bothered right now…even though I have 4 projects already cut out. We talked about what inspires us to sew and I mentioned how I had a lot of fun sewing the dresses for TMS Frocktober 2014  because I was actively photographing them to share later. Kat said just recently she had really enjoyed Instagramming her Hummingbirds Clover dress progress and got a lot of fun and encouraging comments along the way…and that’s how #MuseJennaB42mrw started.

Kat’s challenge to me was to sew up one of my cut projects (specifically the Muse Jenna) before our planned afternoon tea on Sunday afternoon…the next day…

So I put the chicken in the oven for dinner, threaded my overlocker up with black and got to work, ‘gramming along the way ;)

I got as far as neckband before I stopped for dinner.

Then I finished up to the cuffs before I realised that I better choose some buttons. Nothing in my stash did the trick so I decided to go with pearl snaps. They play in with the slightly vintage vibe of the pattern and my fabric choice however by the time I dug them out it was dark and a little bit too late to be outside sewing with a hammer.

On Sunday morning I attached the snaps and then I was all done.

Apologies for boring inside photos…it’s taken me way too long to get around to taking these and the wind was not cooperating…so you get my soon-to-be-painted hallway wall ;)

The arms are a teeny bit long so I’ll adjust those next time my overlocker is threaded up black…and it’s just as comfy when buttoned up.

It’s such a fast make because I stitched about 90% of it on my overlocker, only using my sewing machine for the shoulder yoke gathers and the top stitching.

Muse has 4 patterns published now and considering it’s the creative child of one of my BSFF (Best Sewing Friends Forever) I’m a little embarrassed about how long it’s taken me to actually stitch something up.

I wanted this post to be a bit of a review of the experience…except that hasn’t happened!

I was skim reading and sewing so fast that I accidentally skipped a whole section and as I was interfacing the button band I thought, “whoa, shouldn’t I have attached the bottom band already?” And then I saw the ENTIRE page that I just flipped past in my haste ;)

But it’s ok, you don’t really need to hear what I think of the instructions because I know Kat and therefore I know they are awesome…this is the perfect wardrobe builder with lots of options, opportunity to personalise and to top it all off it’s an easy pattern to whip up in an afternoon…or you can take your time if you prefer ;)

You should check out her latest pattern, the Melissa…great name huh? ;)

The hearts are some sort of poly knit from The Fabric Warehouse but the black contrast is merino from my stash.

So this is a good time to mention that my favourite merino source is now online. Levana is merino heaven! So if you’ve been coveting some soft and warm NZ Merino then you’re in luck. Shipping within NZ is pretty reasonable and they will ship internationally, you just need to email them for a rate first. They will be adding more of their fabric range to the online store shortly.

THE DEETS:

Pattern – Muse Patterns Jenna Cardi, Size 38, variation B (hip length with long sleeves)

Next time I will shorten the arms about 2cm.

Fabrics – Poly knit: The Fabric Warehouse, $16/m. Black contrast: merino from stash.

I’m not normally a fan of cropped…anything…but I think I need to make the waist length version next to wear over some of my dresses come winter…but first I’ll sew up the Gillian dress, one of the other projects I already have cut out.

I learn’t a new NZSL sign on Valentines day…and the translation on the right ;)

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Rigel Bomber January Round Up and a winner!

It’s time to say goodbye to January and Rigel Bomber month :( Thank you to everyone who sewed along with us, we really enjoyed seeing all your fabulous jackets :)

Sonja, Kat and I have each picked a winner from the Instagram and Flickr group photos. There were so many amazing bombers it was really hard to choose so before I tell you my pick, I thought I’d share some of the great jackets you all made.

Click on the images for links:

Loving the colour combo of Sonja’s Rigel…check out her blog post to see the fabulous lining too…and also SNOW…JEALOUS! 

Carly made two fabulous Rigels – this one features the perfect fabric combo for the shoulder triangles. Check out her blog post for some great detail photos.

Rose’s Liberty Rigel is a nice twist on floral.

Sandra’s Rigel is covered in dragonflies! :) 

One word: Rawr!

Chloe isn’t sure about her quilted Rigel. I think it’s fab so why don’t you go and tell her how much you love it too?

And now….

(drum roll…)

My pick for Rigel Bomber January is…

Katie from Handmade Thread’s Bomb Bomber quilted Rigel! 

I need Katie to take me fabric shopping because I LOVE this print…not content to just let the fabric rock it alone she also quilted it. Great ribbing colour choice too. Check out more gorgeous photos on her blog!

Congrats Katie, Kat will be in touch soon :)

Check out Kat and Sonja‘s Rigel round ups on their blogs.

It’s all over now but we had so much fun. A big shout out to Kat and Sonja for dragging me into this, it was the perfect push to finally make the Rigel and take you all along with us.

Have we convinced you to get this pattern into your life? It’s available as PDF download too.

Happy sewing, I’ll leave you with a shot of all the Instagram #rigelbomberjanuary tags :) xx

Instagram Mashup

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Happy Rigel Bomber January!*

(*I know it’s February…)

I stitched up my jacket in a black and white polka dot needle cord. It took me a long time to decide what fabric to sew my bomber in, looking through my stash several times and trawling the fabric shops buying fabric…but not for my bomber.

This cord is actually a fairly recent addition to my stash from a pre-Christmas trip to Palmerston North with fellow WSBNer Sandra. We popped into Levana on our way and later we split up while I did some errands. When we met back up Sandra showed me what she’d bought from Morelands, which included the cord, and I decided I needed to go there too. So we went back and I totally copied her by buying the last of the bolt.

I was originally thinking skirt but eventually my ears attuned to the fabric’s whispering, “bomber…jacket…do it”

Your fabric whispers to you too right?

Right?!

I only had 1.55m, not enough for sleeves, but actually that much polka dot would probably have been too much anyway so I tested out an idea I had for a jacket with ponte arms and bought a black double-knit and then picked out an emerald lining fabric and mint green ribbing. I was channeling a 50s vibe I think…I might need a poodle skirt…

I drafted a lining from the pattern pieces (Kat wrote a great tutorial here) because I felt like this fabric needed it. My only other changes were to add 2cm in length to the sleeves and shorten the neck ribbing approximately 2cm at Kat’s suggestion to prevent a floppy collar.

It stitched up easily, the welt pockets went in like magic and I love my pocket lining choice.

I changed it at the last second when I found a random scrap of printed cotton in my “this is far too small to keep but I can’t bear to throw it away” box. I have no idea where it came from but it was the perfect match to both the ribbing and lining. You normally can’t see it but I know it’s there :)

I also used it to embellish my label.

And that’s it!

I’m really proud of this, I think it’s one of the most well made things I’ve ever made.

As my sewing improves I do notice more things I’d change next time. The arms are still just a tad short but not so much that I won’t wear it. It’s quite a different style to what I am used to, I’ve never owned a bomber jacket before and I find myself tugging it down occasionally. That’s just me getting used to it, but I think I’d like to try lengthening the body next time.

I’ve already worn this jacket a lot, it’s fun and casual and a good weight as we transition into autumn.

THE DEETS:

Pattern – Papercut Rigel Bomber, Size S, variation 1

Lengthed arms 2cm, self-drafted lining, shortened neck ribbing approx 2cm.

Next time I will lengthen the arms an extra 2cm (4cm total) and lengthen the body, maybe 5cm, need to check.

Fabrics – Needle cord for the body, double knit arms, ribbing.

I’d really love to do a glam brocade or sequinned bomber but I think my next version will be a sporty one, unlined, variation 2. I am thinking marl grey with bright coloured shoulder triangles.

Harriet was unimpressed with the lack of attention, and the beeping black thing on the tall metal tree, it was giving her the evil eye…so she is giving it right back ;)

 

The Curious Corset Experiment – Part One

I wrote in an earlier post that I wasn’t planning any new sewing resolutions this year, besides the usual sew more, blog more, have fun.

I do however have a bit of a sewing goal to complete in 2015 and that is to make a corset.

I see it as a technical challenge and an excuse to sew something fun that I wouldn’t normally sew. I intend to fit it in amongst my usual sewing and I thought I’d share my progress in a semi-regular (read: I’ll post when I do anything but there is no set timeline) blog series.

This idea has been floating around in my head for a while…maybe 4 years ago I bought The Basics of Corset Building by Linda Sparks and one of the two recommended patterns, Simplicity 9769.

All I really needed to get serious was some hardware so after Christmas I jumped online to check out several websites suggested by various sources and eventually settled on Aussie Corset Supplies.

They had what I needed in stock and being just over the ditch in the West Island (New Zealand joke) their shipping was very reasonable.

Based on the listed notions I bought the following:

  • Spiral Steel Boning
    • 4 x 25cm
    • 4 x 26.5cm
    • 2 x 27.5cm
    • 6 x 28.75 cm
    • 4 x 23.75cm
    • 2 x 22.5cm

(Which seems like a lot more more boning pieces than I can count on the pattern outline!)

  • 1 x 30cm DEU Standard Busk 30cm
  • 5 meters white lacing

This all cost me about NZD$70.00 including shipping and handling.

I went for precut/finished spiral steel boning but I also priced up buying it by the meter and the tips separately. The pre-cut boning worked out cheaper because I suspect the by-the-meter stuff is of higher quality. If this experiment goes well and I decide to make a more advanced corset I might look at upping the hardware quality then.

I still need grommets and fabric, which I will buy locally.

I’ve traced my size, I’m starting with a straight 12, and my first step is to stitch up a quick muslin out of heavy calico to test the fit. I’ll also insert the boning and busk.

Then it’s fabric shopping time!

So that’s it for now. I’ll post future entries under The Curious Corset Experiment so if you are interested you can look them up.

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Rigel Bomber Update

January is sneaking away…we’re 1/12th of the way through 2015 already, eek! :)

How are your bomber jackets going?

Don’t forget to get them added to our Flickr group page by the end of the month so that we can drool over your sweet jackets AND so we can pick our three favourites.

We chose Flickr because it’s easy to see the details of your makes in the bigger images however we know not everyone has an account or likes Flickr so we’ll also be looking for our favourite makes on Instagram. So, if you prefer, make sure you get your picture on there using #rigelbomberjanuary and you’re still in with a chance :)

I’ve been chipping away at my jacket during a busy month, with Harri’s help – it’s such tiring work for her ;)

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Drop down, increase speed and reverse direction!

So I made a hoodie…with Space Invaders on it…and lime green ribbing!

#BecauseGrownUp ;)

I picked this amazing fabric up from Levana in Levin. You must never drive north out of Wellington on SH1 and NOT go to Levana, it’s a rule.

I used the Papercut Undercover Hood which sews up in no time at all on an overlocker, and (not that it needs any further justification, but…) I made it for December’s Monthly Stitch G33k Out challenge.

I found the perfect lime with white polka dots for lining at Spotlight, on the discount table, natch! And Fabulous Sandra grabbed the green ribbing for me from a recent Fabric-a-brac, it was only $3, score!

I lined the hood as per the pattern but also the pocket for extra hidden colour and warmth.

This is super easy to do. Just cut an extra pocket piece, put them right sides together and sew around, leaving the bottom open, then turn through. I stitched the open pocket edges with my coverstitch and then attached it to the front as per the instructions, also using coverstitch. To strengthen the pocket opening I also added a narrow short zigzag at each corner.

I also ran a line of coverstitiching along the raglan sleeve seams.

The Space Invader fabric is a bit weird. It’s actually white and whole front is printed, including the black background, so when stretched you get a bit of white crackle where the base fabric shows through.

I pre-washed it and it looks ok but I don’t expect it to last very long.

The fabric wasn’t very expensive so I’ll call this a wearable muslin and I guess I’ll just have to make another…which I’ll be doing anyway :)

Next version I’d love to try to put a zipper in the front which should be easy…and NH is also eyeing up my hoodie sewing skills…thank goodness for speedy overlockers!

THE DEETS:

Pattern – Papercut Undercover Hood, full length version with hood, size XS

Main Fabric – Unidentifiable printed stretchy stuff from Levana, Levin

No changes next time in general, the sleeves and body are the perfect length. In a thicker fabric I might cut a size S and I’d like to try a zipper front version.

WSBN Does Christmas 2014

Every year (well, the last two years anyway, since that is how long the WSBN has been in existence!) we celebrate Christmas by swapping hand made decorations in the style of Secret Santa.

This year we used Elfster so that everyone could remain anonymous, even the organisers. Those that wanted to play signed up and received their partner along with three hints to help them narrow down all the options ;)

But first, food!

If you’ve had your eye on the WSBN for a while you’ll know there is one thing we do just as well as sewing…food.

It was a little chilly for our planned high tea picnic so we met at one of the WSBNers homes and spread out our glorious selection of treats. Yummy!

Later we got on with our swap and there was plenty of this:

Joahnna, Emily, Joy
Sandra, Juliet, Teresa
Me, Zara, Nikki

Everyone got fabulous decorations and it was so much fun to see each one revealed. Big thanks to Sandra for capturing all the reactions :D

Sandra drew me and made this hilariously accurate and super cute Christmas Harri in a Stocking.

AMAZING right?! Sandra even stalked my Facebook photos to get all the white bits in the right places. Look at Harri’s little socks!

When I showed Christmas Harri to Nerdy Husband he was super impressed and took her out of my hands to hang her on the tree right away.

Sandra also gave me her back-up ornament, the one she made first in case Christmas Harri was a flop. I really like it too but Harri wins paws down ;)

I drew Jenna and her hints included her love of birds. I’ve had a decoration idea in my head for while now involving native NZ birds but hadn’t gotten around to it so this year was the year!

I decided on trying to make a Tui since for me Tui = Christmas.

I shall explain: In New Zealand Christmas is during Summer which means BBQs, jandals, the beach and flowering Pohutukawa.

“Tui Eating Nectar” from virtualoceania.net

You might hear it called the New Zealand Christmas tree because of this (it’s also green and red) and the Tui flock to them to feed on the nectar.

Here is my inspiration Tui image courtesy of nzbirdsonline.

Tui are endemic to New Zealand, they have beautifully iridescent wings and a little white throat tuft. They are mimics and sing enthusiastic and complicated melodies that include gurgles, coughs and wheezing that have their own regional dialects. They are also super noisey in flight and sound as if in constant danger of crashing. I love them if you couldn’t tell… ;)

I started with Susan’s Gregarious Evening Grosbeak bird from her Downeast Thunder Farms blog. All her birds and other critters are amazing btw so go check them all out!

I omitted the beak piece and eye cap, extended the beak from the body and redesigned the tail. I added a second longer tail and the throat tufts then cut it all out of felt.

I cut the first body out of brown but it looked terrible so swapped to black and added green, blue and white felt for the other pieces.

I used black beads for the eyes and hand sewed the whole thing with matching thread and contrast on the wings. I really enjoyed this hand sewing because it was a lot of fun to see the bird take shape. I also slightly over-stuffed it because Tui are generally a little chubby.

When I was done NH said it needed legs to I dug out some wire and my pliers to bend some little feet. I made one foot then I pushed the wire though the body, bent the legs down and made the second foot. They kind of swing about but I like that.

I inserted a thick needle into the neck to find the right balance point and then used green floss for the hanger so that it blends in with the tree.

I liked my Tui so much that I didn’t actually want to give it away so I made another one for myself..and then two more. You can envision my evening of watching old Stargate SG-1 (mmm, Richard Dean Anderson…) while working on my Tui production line.

By the end of the third episode I’d created a little felt Tui army that I wish I’d remembered to take a picture of. I also wish I’d had my camera ready for when Harri took an experimental bite of one. I kid you not!

One of the spare Tui went to Fashionable Younger Sister and the other to my In-laws.

And that is how the WSBN celebrate Christmas, may our Decoration Swap tradition last long into the future…I’m going to need a bigger tree!

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