Saturday, 5 January 2019

A personal word on 2018 and first make of 2019

I don't normally go into personal stuff here, preferring to keep this blog for my crafting.  However 2018 was a very difficult year for me personally and I think it would be wrong to pretend otherwise.

The worst thing was in March I lost my beloved mother.
Xmas Day 2017 at The Brigham


 She had an assortment of illnesses, including an abdominal aortic anuerysm.  The aneurysm should have been operated on 2 1/2 years earlier, however with her other health issues the surgeon felt it was too risky, something we both agreed with.  He gave her anything up to 5 years, so I was lucky to have her for another 2 1/2 years.

Dealing with her loss was difficult and also at the same time I had her house to prepare for sale, which meant clearing out all of her things.  I kept a few special mementos, including my great grandmothers tea set and some of her wedding presents from 1959.  Other things were given to relatives and friends the rest went to charities and auction.  I also had the house professionally cleaned.  There were decisions to be made, such as do I rent or sell, get new carpets and decorate, etc.  However I decided to sell it and leave it as it was and see what comments came from people coming through the open home.  If not having it decorated was putting off people then would be the time to get it done.  However I had a buyer for the house after a month on the market.  This was a relief as it was for sale in winter, traditionally a slow time, plus reports in the paper said the Auckland market was the slowest it had been for 9 years.  Other neighbours had houses for sale before I put hers on the market and had been for sale for months.

Happier times.  Family event in the 70's. Dad is in foreground, Mam in background, with Grandma next to her

During this time my dear cat Maxie was continuing to fight her battle with cancer but was steadily getting worse.


 I tried changing her to a raw food diet, with advice from a vet, but of course in the end it was a losing battle.  I had to make the very hard decision to put her to sleep in August.

On top of all this, another very good friend lost her mother in April, and another very good friend ended up having a triple heart bypass in April.

Sandy has now become no. 1 cat.  He was really my Mum's cat, spending most of his time with her.  When I was selling the house I was worried if he would settle at mine as he kept going back there.  However he has settled in very well.  Particularly since Maxie went he has decided he enjoys cuddles on my knee, something he has never done before.


Anyway, enough of 2018 and on to 2019 which can only be better.
Apropos of absolutely nothing, just cause it's pretty.  Pohutukawa in blossom at local park


I've already finished my first make.  Another True Bias Southport dress.  This time I:

  • Raised the back neck
  • Made facings
  • Lowered the dart 1"
  • Eliminated the front buttonholes and cut front piece as one on the fold.  There is plenty of room for getting on and off so buttons aren't needed.


This is made from linen from SmartDress fabrics.  It is quite sheer, so needs a slip underneath it - you can see the outline of my slip here.  Because of this, I think it will be around the house only.  It's very hot here today, so is getting worn around the house today.





Sunday, 30 December 2018

Year in Review Part 3: The stats and goals

For the final of the yearly review series I want to look at what I made, did I achieve my goals and what do I want to achieve in 2019.

In total I made 39 garments and 26 lingerie items.  Lingerie includes bras/pants/slips/camis/nightwear.

This compares to 36 garments made in 2017.

Of those 39 garments:
2018                                2017
5 jumpers                        2 jeans
2 vests                             2 jackets
1 sweatshirt                     2 cardigans
1 cardigan                        16 tops
15 tops                             9 dresses
10 dresses                         4 : pants
4 pants                               1 skirt
1 skirt


And lingerie:
4 PJ sets
11 bras
8 pants
3 slips

All items were from Indie designers, the most used were:
Itch to Stitch  17 items
Jennifer Lauren Handmade 6 items
Love Notions 6 items
StyleArc 6 items
Cloth Habit 4 items
Sew Over It 4 items

Garments made multiple times were
Jennifer Lauren Handmade Nixie pants 5
Cloth Habit Watson bra 4
Itch to Stitch Visby top 4
Love Notions Laundry Day T  4
StyleArc Winnie Jumper 3
StyleArc Airlie pants 2
Itch To Stitch Anza dress 2
Sew Over It Heather dress 2
Sew Over It Vintage shirtdress 2
Chalk and Notch Fringe top 2
Itch to stitch Lago tank 2
Itch to stitch Vienna top 2
Itch to Stitch Uvita 2
Love Notions Oakley vest 2


total spent on fabric was $750.  $627 was spent on garments and $123 on lingerie.  However I haven't included the extras in this, such as bra clasps, special elastic, foam, etc.  This meant my average spend was $16.10for a garment and $4.60 per lingerie item.

Last year my total spend was $525 making an average of $14.50 per garment.

Interesting that this year I didn't make any jeans or jackets, even though all year I wanted to make some more jeans and a denim jacket.  At the time I just couldn't find any of the right sort of denim I wanted.  I really wanted the pale blue/washed look.  I have got some black denim in my stash so if I can't find any that I want then I will use that.

So what were my goals and did I achieve them.  Last year I wrote 
"Finish my daffodil quilt
I'd like another pair of jeans - in light denim
Another denim jacket - this time in light denim
Make leggings, and get more into tunic type tops that I can wear with leggings.
I really want to try bra making, reading lots of tutorials at the moment
Possibly an anorak - possible the Closet Case Kelly.  

So out of 6 items I only accomplished 2.  I finished my daffodil quilt and got into bra making and lingerie in general.  I did make a couple of tunics to wear with leggings with mixed results.

2019 goals


So for 2019  I still want to


  • I'd like another pair of jeans - in light denim
  • Another denim jacket - this time in light denim
  • Make leggings, and get more into tunic type tops that I can wear with leggings.


  • Possibly an anorak - possible the Closet Case Kelly.  

I have got black denim that I can make into jeans and a denim jacket if I can't find the light blue denim.  I'd still like to make some leggings. I now have the pattern and the fabric for the Closet Case Kelly anorak and it is in my sewing diary to make around March

In addition to still wanting to do last years goals, I want to:


  • Make a winter coat.  I've bought some wool in the end of winter sales and the Style Arc Stella pattern.
  • Make a rain coat.  I've seen some waterproof polyester on line and thinking of making Tessuti's Melbourne coat.
  • Eliminate my stash.  I have 12 pieces of fabric in my stash and I want to use all of it.  I've made a list to use 2 pieces each month, so that should be gone by the end of June.  I've realised that having stash on hand is stressing me and limiting me.  It stresses me because I've got it, usually on sale, with the idea of making a specific garment with it, but as time goes on I no longer want to make that garment but want to make something else that I don't have the fabric for.  This means I'm limited as I can't make the garment I want to make as I need to use up what I already have.  With this plan to use 2 pieces a month I can get rid of my stash and at the same time buy fabric only as I need it to make the garment I really want to make at the time.

So I have 7 goals, lets see if I can achieve more than 2 next year.

Friday, 28 December 2018

Last finish of the year - Pauline Alice Bailen dress

I previously made this as a slip, but found it also made a great nightdress.  So using up fabric from the stash I made another one.

This is a quick sew and used up some fabric I've had for about 3 years and didn't know what to do with. Its a polyester so not great for daytime wear but should be fine for a nightdress.  Time to sew was only around 2 hours which included time for making my own bias binding.

Thursday, 27 December 2018

Fringe Top

I had enough of the rayon/linen blend left over from the Southport dress to make a Chalk and Notch Fringe top.


This is the second Fringe top I've made.  In a rayon fabric it is a lovely smart/casual summer top.

Tuesday, 25 December 2018

Christmas gifts

Well the Christmas gifts are given out so here are some photos of things I made this year.

Art portfolios for the kids.





Notebook covers for friends
Knitting bags for the ladies in the family who are knitters.  filled with wool, row counters and point protectors


This was from a birthday gift earlier in the year, can't remember if I've shown it before.
 Teddy bear for the newest family member

Bags for the gents.  Filled with car wash supplies
Another cushion identical to the one I made for myself.  In the pocket was a box of chocolates and a magazine.


Sunday, 23 December 2018

Year in Review part 2: 5 Sewing misses






I'm glad to say it is very hard to find 5 misses for this year.  Last years review helped me realise what I should not be making - colours/fabrics I won't feel comfortable wearing, making clothes I need in my wardrobe rather than I like that, I'll make it and  then never wear it.

This year the misses are:

This SewOverIt Heather Dress.  I love the dress, I love the ponte fabric.  However the fabric just hasn't stood up to washing and has pilled horribly.  It saw out the winter season, fast became suitable only for wearing around the house, and won't see another winter.   Plus having the dark side panels and the wide front panel just makes me look really hippy.  Next winter I'd like to make another one, but will probably make it all in one colour to avoid the hippy look.  And a fabric that hopefully doesn't pill




Next is the Itch to Stitch Sequoia cargo pants.


Again I love the pattern, love the drill fabric I made them in, love the pockets and the embroidery I did on them.  But I stuffed up.  I made a size 12.  I should have made size 10 waist and graded to 12 at hips.  The result was the waist was too big.   I thought as it had a ribbed  waistband  it would take care of my smaller waist.  Indeed I cut the ribbing at size 10.  No, that did not work, with the result the pants fall down.  I also really struggled getting snaps into the fabric.  The snaps at the waistband kept popping off.  Try as I might I could not get them to stay on.  So I decided to make a button closure.  However I somehow stuffed that up as well and got the buttonhole on the wrong side, so now they button up really weirdly.  So these just aren't comfortable to wear as they keep sliding down.

I want to make another pair next year, this time I'll grade down and replace snaps with buttons.

No 3 is StyleArc Airlie Pants.
Same story.  This time the pants have elastic in the waistband.  I'd had a recent weight gain so didn't want pants too tight so I made the elastic a little longer than usual.  Nope, should have kept it  the same.  These pants start falling down when I wear them.  I made them again and made the elastic my usual length and those ones fit perfectly.

NO 4 is the Colette Moneta dress. 
This is partly fabric choice but also partly the pattern.  Reviewers on PatternReview rave about this dress.  However for myself I'm not too keen on all the gathers in the skirt, for some reason it feels a bit 80's or too young for me.  Also the fabric I chose was a ponte and it is a bit too heavy.  I have however worn it on a couple of special occasions.  I had finished it the day before my mother passed, so wore it to her funeral, then a month later to my friends mothers funeral.  I won't be making this again.

No 5.  I really haven't got another.  Everything else I made is being worn and I'm happy.

The next review will be the stats, did I achieve my goals, and goals for 2019.


Saturday, 22 December 2018

True Bias Southport

For summer I wanted a dress similar to my TNT Itch to Stitch Anza dresses but with a tank top style.  The True Bias Southport dress fit the bill and is a very popular make on Pattern Review.  I bought the pattern when it was on sale in the Black Friday sales.
Image of SOUTHPORT DRESS (PDF)The Southport dress is a tank style dress designed to be worn as a coverup at the beach or a dress for around town. It has a button opening at center front and a drawstring waist with inseam pockets. View A hits 20” from the waist. View B is maxi length and hits 42” from the waist and includes a center front slit.

  My version:


This is made from a linen/rayon from Backstreet Bargains.  I ordered it over the internet and it was a lot more sheer than I expected it to be.  I thought with it being linen it would be fairly heavy and I bought it with the intention of making a SewOverIt Vintage shirtdress.  However it was too lightweight and drapy for that.  I bought 3m x 147cm and have enough left over to make a Chalk & Notch Fringe top.

Alterations made to the pattern were:
Lengthen bodice by 2"
Lengthen skirt by 6"

Next time I want to
Lower bust dart apex 1"
Raise neck front and back 1"
Create facings for neck.

The pattern finishes the neck and armholes with bias binding.  I prefer the look of a faced neck.so next time will make facings.

I think the bodice could easily be lengthened to make a tank shirt.  I have some broderie anglaise that I can't decide what to make and that would be perfect for a summer tank.