Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Final Stretch of MMJ

I took a week off work and so it was very obvious that I still don"t have many casual clothes. My sewing is geared to a work wardrobe!

Saturday (Day 25) errands as per usual on a Saturday morning. My trusty denim skirt and a Joe Fresh tee. Also. the hand crocheted shopping bag.

Sunday (Day 26), I spent the afternoon at the side of a rugby field before heading into cottage country to join the rest of my family. We had rented a cottage for a few days as we have family here from overseas. I wore the cropped pants that I wore earlier this month and teamed it with a nice little white tee. Unfortunately on the way to the cottage I managed to spill my coffee down me. So the photo taken as I arrived, is with me wearing one of my son's sweaters! But lovely view behind me!

On Monday I wore a little denim halter neck top that I finished Sunday before we left. Funny story here. This is an old Burda magazine pattern, at least 11 years old. I had cut it out and finished except for the button holes. Somehow this got caught up in my stash and went unnoticed until I was looking for something the other day and found it tucked away. So it survived an emigration to Canada and three moves since we have been here!

On Tuesday, (Day 28) I did wear my jeans in the evening but no pictures unfortunately     (or is that fortunately, I have worn them so much this month!!)

View while I was wearing the jeans!!!

Wednesday we were back home for our younger son's high school graduation. I wore the black and white check Vogue dress that I finished earlier this year. Vogue Divine Details V8353. I did leave out the lace insert that the pattern suggested.

For the last day of MMJ, I managed to wear my golf skort. With all the rain we have been having and with work functions, this is only the third time I have been out this season so far. The skort was very easy and nice to wear. The shorts are made in a stretch fabric and the skirt in a cotton fabric. The shorts and skirt are joined at the waistband. This is a kwik Sew pattern 3341.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

My Adventures In Bag Making Begin

For Mothers day I received the Amy Butler Style Stitches book. For months, I had been looking at this book every time I went in to Chapters! The idea behind wanting the book is so that I can do some stash busting when trying out each of the 12 bags for the first time.

So the first bag in the book is the Cosmo bag (pictured on the cover of the book), and is rated as “easy”, while not an expert sewer, I am certainly not a novice and I found this bag tricky! Maybe due in part because Amy doesn’t have many diagrams in the instructions, it is all words. I am a visual learner apparently!! Wonderful instructions, but not many pictures. I prefer the Ikea type of instructions, lots of pictures, very little writing!!!

I used an old curtain that I had picked up several years ago in England on a holiday there, to make blinds for the kitchen (never happened!). I didn’t do the contrast for the bands and the handles, I just cut the material in the other direction to get a different effect with the stripes. I lined it with a plain green cotton fabric.

I am very happy with it. It is bigger than I had thought. Maybe I can carry my dog around in it like the celebs do! My dog is a 110lb yellow lab, plenty of space!!!

Just as I finished the bag I found the Crafty Crap blog and a sew-a-long. So although I am coming late to the party (they started with bag one in January!), better late than never I say!! I am going to start with bag number 7 in July and continue to the end of the year and hopefully in between then I can catch up on the other 5 that I will be missing.

Yes I do of course realize that I am skipping through the rest of the easy and intermediate bags and jumping in to the more difficult ones!!! 

Friday, June 24, 2011

MMJ Days 20 - 24

Two new items this week. It would have been three, but due to rain on Thursday afternoon, golf was cancelled so I didn't get to wear the new golf skort that I had made.

Day 20(Monday) I wore the Vogue Easy Options skirt and top. Day 21 and all I could come up with was the black and white Pendrell blouse and black trousers! Every wardrobe needs something like that you can just throw together when you are running late.

Day 22 was the new outfit. Well I made it two years ago but rarely wear it on account of the fact that due to a technical issue it is a little tight across the middle. OK, I misread the measurements and cut it out too small!! But with a longer jacket over I felt it was actually quite fine. It is an old pattern, Butterick 6150 and very easy to make. Zip at the back and darts to shape it back and front.

Day 23 was my self drafted A-line skirt again,and I didn't even change up the top. Just repeated the same combo as previously.

Day 24, and a new item. Well it is several years old and doesn't get worn much due to a laundry incident. Whereby someone, no names mentioned left a pen in their white shirt pocket and it leaked ink all over only one other thing in the dryer, my brand new, only worn once white skirt. It has some yellow stains at the top, where I had removed the ink. But with a top over, no one sees. It is made in a heavy white cotton, and the pattern is the same as the black skirt I wore earlier this month, except with a front slit. Simplicity 5259.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Bloggers' Dinner Party

I recently stumbled upon a lovely blog, Needle and Spatula, by the very talented Kate S. who is an avid crafter. Of particular interest to me was the Blogger’s Dinner party:

The Bloggers' Dinner Party will be a monthly link-up for you to show off handmade placemats, table runners, napkins, trivets and any other handcrafted item related to serving a delicious dinner!  Items should either be hand-sewn or significantly modified (such as by screen printing, freezer paper stenciling, embroidery, etc).   Each month you can enter one item (or set of items); the item(s) entered must have been made within the past year” (from the blog)

Now, I sew mostly clothes and have just recently ventured into the world of bags, thanks to the Amy Butler Style Stitches Book that I received for Mother’s Day. More on that in a later blog when I actually have a finished bag to show off!

I do however have many household items along this line that I have been meaning to sew. I also have  fabric collected on a trip to Namibia and South Africa in 2008. Lots of animal prints and very pretty, all waiting to be made into household items.  In fact I did make a few placemats a month or so ago and am going to sign up and enter them for this month.

So, these placemats that I made are from end of the roll pieces. So there was only enough for 3 of each pattern. I backed them with quilt weight plain cotton, with batting sandwiched in between. I didn’t quilt as such, but did frame the print with stitching.

Rhinos, zebras and lions

Guinea Fowl

I won’t be using them for a dinner party, but just casual every day dinners (at the kitchen table or out on the deck).  As these have an Africa theme, I thought I would share a traditional South African recipe.

”Melktert” (milk tart) is very popular in South Africa as a dessert of with a cup of tea or coffee any time of the day.

Line a 22cm tart dish with pastry, I sometimes make my own, but often buy frozen pastry as well!

500ml milk (2 cups)
1 stick cinnamon
25ml butter (2 T)
50ml sugar (4T)
2 Eggs
50 ml Cake Flour (4T)

1. Bring the milk to almost boil in a large pot with the cinnamon stick.
2. Combine the sugar and flour and stir in the hot milk slowly.
3. Return to the heat and cook for 15 minutes with the lid off.
4. Remove from heat and stir in the butter.
5. When cool, add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
6. Pour the filling mixture in to the pastry lined plate
7. Bake at 200 deg C (400 deg F) for 20 minutes.
8. Before serving sprinkle the top with powdered cinnamon and castor sugar.
Serve cool or cold.

Unfortunately I haven’t made it for a while, so no pic to share!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

MMJ Days 16 - 19

I need more me made clothes for summer!!

On Thursday I wore my "OMG I didn't know Coach made dresses" dress. I got some wonderful comments earlier in the month when I posted on Flickr so have plans for another one. Comfortable to wear. One of my favorites.

What did I do today? Work!!

Friday it was jeans day. I went from work to see my younger son off to his prom and then on to dinner. I do like my jeans. None of my real live friends sew, so they are all terribly impressed when they hear (thanks to my husband) that I sewed the jeans!! The top is years and years old, and was bought back by someone I worked with who went home to Poland on a holiday.

Slightly underdressed next to a tuxedo!!

Saturday was the usual round of chores and my denim skirt was the ideal choice for something to wear. Paired with a plain white tee and a self made chain lariat necklace.

I think someone told me that the hands on the hips makes you look thinner!!!!

Sunday, Father's Day. My dad lives on the other side of the world (in Namibia) but luckily for Skype I was able to chat to see him this morning and chat. I helped the boys do a breakfast and nice dinner for their Dad. Otherwise a nice lazy day. I wore my Vogue pattern apron to assist with the BBQ and then changed into a skirt for dinner out on the deck. A me made gypsy skirt, self drafted from an old issue of Threads magazine and made in a crinkle cotton (no idea what the proper name of the fabric is!!). I made this about three years ago and it is a staple on a beach holiday.

Helping with the BBQ in a me made apron. Very 1950s!

Changed for dinner outside! oops, forgot the shoes!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Me Made June Days 11-15

We have reached the mid point.

Lets's see where I was last up to. OK Saturday was day 11 and I wore my Jeans (Jalie 2908) with a t-shirt that I think is Joe Fresh, perfect for the usual Saturday errands. In the evening we did have a function and I used the opportunity to wear my crepe dress.

Note the veggie plants behind me!!

The photographer was in the car ready to go!!
Sunday (Day 12) I tried the little sports top (McCalls Spa Essentials pattern) that I had made for yoga (as part of my commitment to have me made clothes for my sports). For obvious reasons there are no photos of me in it!! But this is not a keeper. The band under the bust is way to loose and even with a sports vest over the top, this was not comfortable. Lululemon has nothing to worry about.......I will still be buying their sports tops!!

Not a keeper unfortunately!!

So on to a new week, work as usual, nothing out of the ordinary.

Monday I work a black and white skirt that I wore several times as part of Me Made March. Tuesday was the crescent skirt, this time with a black blouse. Which brings us to today, halfway there!! I wore a mandarin collar top that had been languishing in the back of my closet unworn for several years until I found it as part of Me Made March (and wore it to death!!). 

My son rightly feels that the skirt is the focus, so cut out the face!!

Now back to the sewing table!!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

MMJ Days 8 - 10

Day 8 (Wednesday). Work and then an evening dinner with out of town colleagues. Thank goodness for my Pendrell blouse. Second wearing of the Pendrell for MMJ! This week I wore it with grey pants (part of a suit).

Day 10 (Friday). I was in such a hurry to get to work today and after work had a farewell function for a colleague moving to another department. All in all I totally forgot to take a picture!! What did I wear? As it is casual day in the office on a Friday I wore my self stitched denim skirt along with a grey short sleeved cowl neck seater from H&M.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

MMJ Days 6 and 7

Monday (day 6). Normal day at work. I wore a new skirt and top outfit that I had sewed as part of the Colette  Patterns blog Spring Palette Challenge. Vogue Easy Options 2218. Lovely pattern has it has several different top and skirt options. The fabric was a beige check from Fabricland. Necklace, a recent Birthday gift from a  friend. In the office I slipped a little black cardigan on.

Tuesday (day 7). Work and then a dinner out with colleagues. I wore my Crescent skirt. very happy with it and this is the first wear of it. Good fit and feels nice on. Going to start the second one this weekend. I love the pockets!

With a little cardigan

Without the cardigan

Sunday, June 5, 2011

MMJ Days 3 - 5

Usual photographer at work already!

Day 3
Friday, so casual day at work. I wore my jeans for the first time, paired with a  black and white striped shirt  from H&M and little black sandals (origin forgotten!).

The jeans felt good on, very comfortable. Excuse the over flowing laundry basket in the background of the photo, laundry in the process of being renovated so everything is in the hall!
The jeans (again!!)
Crochet shopping bag

Day 4
Me made necklace
Running around doing errands on Saturday and the only me made item I had was my crocheted shopping bag. But in the evening we did go out to dinner with friends and I wore my jeans again, this time with a sleeveless top (origin forgotten), really cute beaded shoes from Woolworths in South Africa purchased during a visit to Cape Town about 6 years ago and a self made chunky necklace.

Day 5
Before the run!
After the run!
Started the day with a run, so tried out my new running top that I made yesterday. I couldn’t find nice sporty type material at Fabricland, so I bought an extra large men’s golf shirt from Value Village, it was made of the nice dri fit type material. After a good wash, I cut out a vest top using an old pattern from a magazine series I collected in the late 80s “Successful Sewing”.

Close up of the flower!

I then made a cute fabric flower from a tutorial on the Collete patterns blog and stitched it to the neckline with a few pearl beads. Adds a bit of interest to an otherwise very plain top. Had a good run so the top is a keeper!!

The yoga mat bag!

Then headed off to a hot yoga class (I was home alone for the morning, the males in the house either playing golf or camping!). I haven’t quite finished the bra top that I am attempting, but I did have my self stitched yoga mat bag!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Me Made June (MMJ)

And we are off!

Day one was a usual day at work. I ended up wearing my favourite Pendrell blouse with black pants. Boring way to start this challenge, as I wore the blouse many times for MMM.

Today I wore a dress that I love. Burda 7827. It was a pleasure to sew this, it is cotton with a little bit of lycra in. The first time I wore this to work (2 years ago), one of the young fashionistas in the office was like "OMG, why didn't I know Coach were doing dresses!" I took that as a great compliment!

After work I played golf in my usual Thursdays ladies league. As part of the challenge I decided to also wear at least one self stitched for my sports as well (running, yoga and golf), not sure how successful I'm going to be in this regard. The cropped pants are Simplicity, I added large pockets in the side seams for golf balls and tees!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Jeans Are Finished

Finished at last!

Once I had actually plucked up the courage to sew the jeans, it was easier than I had anticipated. I cut out a size T in the Jalie pattern but could probably have gone down one size as I am using stretch denim. The waist band gapes about 2cm at the back. I debated unpicking and re-shaping the waistband, but decided in the end that as I always wear a belt, this would do for these jeans, but next time I will adjust accordingly.

Showing the gap at the top of the waistband
Gap not noticeable with a belt!

Yes, there will be a next time. I have my eye on black denim, white denim and beige as well!! Being height challenged (5’1 if I stand up tall!!), I find buying jeans a challenge, as if they fit, they are generally too long. Hems just change the shape of the leg. So now that I have discovered that I can make my own, there’s going to be no stopping me!!

My sons even looked impressed when I tried them on and were asking about when I was going to try a men’s jeans pattern!! One got the shirt earlier this year, so maybe the other one should get jeans! (If I didn’t have a day job, they could each get both!!!!)

I like the red colour that I chose for the top stitching. And I took the time to add a proper Jeans closure (button?) at the front as well as rivets in the right places.

Front closure

What I think helped me in sewing this, apart from the fact that the pattern has really clear instructions, is the fact that I kept a favourite pair of RTW jeans next to me as I stitched these jeans up. I could then keep referring to them as well.

Back pocket stitching

Now, whenever I see jeans (even if they are being worn by a total stranger at the time!) I can’t help but look and get ideas with regard to back pocket shapes, top stitching patterns on the back pockets (thanks to Matt for my design!), top stitching in general etc. Until you really look, jeans all look the same but they aren’t.