adult's clothing · sewing · teen

Puff sleeved tees

A couple of blog posts ago I showed you some pattern pieces for puff sleeved tees.  I decided to mash together the SBCC tonic tee bodice with sleeves from the Pattern Emporium Hello Gorgeous tee. Given that I was using pattern pieces from different patterns, I thought that I should sew up a hopefully wearable muslin to check how they went together and to see what the fit was like.

Puff sleeved tee - SBCC Tonic Tee body with PE Hello Gorgeous sleeve

I used some scuba-ish scraps that were in stash for the muslin, but was forced by the shapes of the scraps to cut it with the greatest stretch going up and down rather than around. The girls could barely shimmy into it, although Stella found it easier than Clare.  She’s about one size smaller.  The fabric does have stretch in both directions, but not enough!

Puff sleeved tee - SBCC Tonic Tee body with PE Hello Gorgeous sleeve

Even though the wearable muslin turned out to be a pretty but mostly unwearable muslin, it showed me that the pattern mash would work, and both girls liked the fit of the tee and the shape of the neckline. Back to the stash!

Puff sleeved tee - SBCC Tonic Tee body with PE Hello Gorgeous sleeve

Oh, night-time photos in artificial lighting really do not show garments to their best advantage (nor do the tracksuit pants). I used a beautiful Liberty print knit (I think in rayon) that was a gift from a generous friend, and paired it with purple rib from Crafty Mamas Fabrics for the neckband and sleeve cuffs.

Puff sleeved tee - SBCC Tonic Tee body with PE Hello Gorgeous sleeve

I can just picture this in summer tucked into a denim mini or similar! Size wise it is the smallest size sleeve, and the XS petite bodice. I used the same size for Stella.

Puff sleeved tee - SBCC Tonic Tee body with PE Hello Gorgeous sleeve

This is a really sweet tee, but I am NEVER sewing with that fabric again. I used leftovers from a dress that I sewed for Stella last year. It’s from Spotlight, and the selvedge says that it is ‘powerhold stretch sports active’ knit. It feels soft, and she likes the fabric against her skin, but it’s a bugger to sew with. The machine does not like it at all.

Puff sleeved tee - SBCC Tonic Tee body with PE Hello Gorgeous sleeve

Anyway, I persevered, and hope that once summer arrives it will have been worth it and she’ll wear it heaps. I threw out all the scraps with great satisfaction.

Puff sleeved tee - SBCC Tonic Tee body with PE Hello Gorgeous sleeve

I quite like the current puffed sleeve trend (always makes me think of Anne of Green Gables).  It adds a bit of fun, and don’t we all need that!

adult's clothing · sewing

Style Arc Nova Midi dress

Do you wonder why it is that different patterns appeal to you at different times? I can’t even remember why I bought this pattern, other than thinking that it would work well for me and for my daughters, and I liked the length options. But it’s a sleeveless dress, and I didn’t want to wait until summer to wear it – so I made it as a pinafore.

Style Arc Nova midi dress in textured tencel from Super Cheap Fabrics

This is the Style Arc Nova Midi dress, winterised! I think that it has layered beautifully over a wool long-sleeved tee, with tights and boots. The stunning scarf/shawl that Mum knitted me tops it off beautifully! (The pattern for the shawl is Dirty Lace, by Libby Jonson of Truly Myrtle).

Style Arc Nova midi dress in textured tencel from Super Cheap Fabrics

I bought what was described as tencel corduroy from Super Cheap Fabrics specifically with this pattern in mind. Except when the fabric arrived, it wasn’t what I would describe as corduroy. There was no pile at all to it. Yes, it has raised ribs, but it’s not corduroy. I would describe it as ridged or textured. Fortunately I liked the fabric, and it has the wonderful drape of tencel. It’s just not quite what I was anticipating! Colour wise it’s an olive green/brown, one of those colours that can be difficult to capture in photos.

Style Arc Nova midi dress in textured tencel from Super Cheap Fabrics

I sewed size 12, and don’t think that I made any alterations. I wanted it to be fairly long, so didn’t alter the depth of each skirt tier. The tiers are beautifully proportioned with increasing depth as you go down. Really lovely drafting. I am 158cm tall, so as anticipated this is much closer to a maxi dress than a midi dress on me. I am also happy with the bodice fit (maybe I did do a forward shoulder alteration on it).

Style Arc Nova midi dress in textured tencel from Super Cheap Fabrics

From the pattern website: The Nova Midi Dress is a slip on sleeveless tiered dress that has a Boho inspired look. This pattern works well in a print or plain fabric that’s perfect for spring and summer months. We love this easy slip on dress that can be paired with a heel or slide or styled for everyday with a classic sneaker. The double bodice with no fasteners makes this an easy and quick make. If you prefer a shorter style just leave off the lower tier, but do check your personal length. FABRIC SUGGESTION: Silk, crepe, rayon, washed linen.

Because I was sewing this in a slighly heavier weight fabric than designed, rather than self-lining the bodice I used a lightweight quilting cotton for the lining. I didn’t follow the instructions for the bodice construction, but chose to construct it burrito style. In summary: sew shoulder seams of bodice and shoulder seams of lining. Place right sides together, sew the neckline. Sew each armhole separately burrito style, and sew the side seams last. Then I treated the two layers as one at the waist seam, attaching the bodice to the top tier of the skirt and overlocking the raw edges to finish them. Now, here is where I sent you over to read the incredibly detailed blog post that Mie of Sewing Like Mad has written about how to bag the bodice of the Nova midi dress. It’s an excellent tutorial, and the principles can be applied to any lined sleeveless bodice. Mie is a superb sewer with a background as a sample machinist in industrial sewing, and she is very generous in sharing her knowledge. Always remember that there are a variety of ways to sew most things, each with varying levels of complexity and sophistication in finish, and as a home sewer you get to choose which ones that you want to use!

Style Arc Nova midi dress in textured tencel from Super Cheap Fabrics

I love this pinafore, and I’ll be sewing this pattern again. I can picture the shorter version on one of my daughters for summer.

pattern comparison · patterns · sewing

Looking at the shapes of pattern pieces

Some weeks ago I decided to sew my daughters some puff sleeved tees in anticipation of summer eventually arriving (yes, more non-seasonal sewing). I pulled out what felt like every knit tee pattern that I owned, plus those with sleeves drafted for puff sleeves. I thought that some of you would be interested to see the differences in shapes.

Pattern shape comparisons

There are two of the puff sleeve pattern pieces that I looked at. Both are drafted for the same size bodice. I had already decided that I was happy to mix and match puff sleeve pattern pieces with bodice pieces as the puff at the sleeve head allows some forgiveness in setting the sleeve into the armscye. The two sleeve pieces are quite different shapes – I figure that the ‘slash and spread’ of the initial fitted sleeve that I assume the puff sleeve piece is based on was done a bit differently for each of them. This would also result in different amounts of gathering at the sleeve head versus the sleeve hem.  If you look closely you can also see that both these pattern pieces have notches marked for the shoulder point, front and back.  I always like to see this in sleeve drafting.

Pattern shape comparisons

I also looked at the bodice of four different tee patterns. These are all adjusted to fit Clare, so have been shortened through the body, and some have also been graded across a couple of sizes for improved fit.  So essentially these are all for the same person.  I was intrigued in the differences in shaping.  It’s not just the difference in shaping through the body for bust/waist/hips, which I think was pretty much expected (some of the tees are described as fitted, whereas others as relaxed).  It’s the armhole shaping, the shoulder slope, and the neckline shaping that intrigues me!  This really gives me a refreshed perspective on what people often call ‘simple’ patterns.  When there are few pattern pieces, they really do need to be well drafted – and there’s more to it than you’d first think.  Just look at the variables in those pattern pieces – all for a tee shirt front.  And each of those little differences will make a difference in how they fit on different bodies.

It’s a reminder to me that there is no such as thing as a ‘perfect’ tee pattern.  You need to find the one that works best for your own shape, and the overall look that you are going for.  So isn’t it nice to have options!  There are many free tee patterns out there too – they can be a good way to try out different pattern designers and drafts.  I bet that with a bit of googling you could find a tee shirt comparison post where someone has sewn up a variety of tee patterns in the same fabric.  That would really show how the differences in pattern shapes translates on the three-dimensional wearer.  I’m not volunteering to do that comparison, by the way 😉

I’ll be back in a couple of blog posts to show you the tees that I did end up making for Clare and Stella!

adult's clothing · sewing

Style Arc Cassie pants again

Oh, the difference a fabric makes!  I sewed the Style Arc Cassie pants earlier in the year, in a stretchy jacquard woven from Super Cheap Fabrics.  I was very happy with how these pants turned out, so gave them another go in printed stretch bengaline, also from Super Cheap Fabrics.

Style Arc Cassie pants in stretch bengaline from Super Cheap Fabrics

I had already modified this pattern to give some extra belly room. They’re size 10 (there’s no way my mid-section would fit into an Australian size 10 in the shops, by the way – but my hips and legs do. Thank goodness for elastane and elastic).

Style Arc Cassie pants in stretch bengaline from Super Cheap Fabrics

So comfy, easy to sew, and with interesting details.  The green top I’m wearing with it is the DIBY Club Adrianne sweater (blogged here) and I crocheted the Fishermen’s Scarf from a ball of Noro Kureyon Sock yarn.

Style Arc Cassie pants in stretch bengaline from Super Cheap Fabrics

But hmmmm, did you notice something in the above photo? Let’s take a look at the pants without the waist being obscured. Both front and back.

Style Arc Cassie pants in stretch bengaline from Super Cheap Fabrics

Style Arc Cassie pants in stretch bengaline from Super Cheap Fabrics

SO baggy around the thighs! Remember that I have sewn these before, in exactly the same size – without this being an issue. So let’s take a look at the fabric. Both times I sewed it in a stretch woven. The first time around I sewed it in what Super Cheap Fabrics described as a textured bengaline, with the following specifications: Composition: 95% Cotton, 5% Spandex GSM: 255 GSM (Medium Weight fabric). This time around I sewed it in what Super Cheap Fabrics described as stretch bengaline, with these specifications: Composition: 65% Polyester, 35% Cotton, 5% Spandex GSM: 200 gsm. So, both fabrics have the same spandex/elastane content, but the rest of the fabric composition is different. This second fabric is a slightly lighter weight, with a significant polyester content. As it turns out, it relaxes significantly during wear (as well as creasing). When I first put the pants on the fit is good, but it doesn’t take long for them to get looser and looser as I move around and sit and stand. So I took them in from hip level to knee level, both at the inside and outside leg seam. So how is the fit now?

Style Arc Cassie pants - taken in

 Style Arc Cassie pants - taken in

That is much better. It probably took me half an hour or so to take them in, and was well worth it. I generally don’t like making alterations after a garment has been completed, but it really wasn’t difficult.

Style Arc Cassie pants - taken in

 Style Arc Cassie pants - taken in

And thanks to my Mum for my lovely warm cardigan! There’s nothing quite like a hand-knitted gift. I am pretty sure that the yarn is Bendigo Woollen Mills Tweed 8 ply, in the colour Blue Haze (and the pattern is possibly from Bendigo Woollen Mills as well).

adult's clothing · sewing · teen · tween

Shorts and top for Stella

I am in a couple of Facebook groups run by pattern designers. One of them is for George and Ginger patterns. I often find styles there that work well for my daughters. Recently they were testing the Heat Wave shorts pattern to improve the draft before re-release, and I put my hand up to give it a go in the smallest teen size for Stella.

Pattern Emporium Unwind top with George and Ginger Heat Wave shorts

These shorts are designed to be sewn in knit fabrics. I had a length of Liverpool knit that came to me via Restash, but I think was originally from Lush Fabrics and came to the original owner via a Frocktails goodie bag! I’m glad that it eventually made it’s way to me.

Pattern Emporium Unwind top with George and Ginger Heat Wave shorts

This fabric has a nice crepe type of texture, and is a nice mid-weight. It’s also very stretchy. As per the pattern page for the Heat Wave Hot Pants, the most popular types of fabrics for these shorties are 2-way heavyweight knit with structure, such as ponte, Liverpool and cotton lycra. However, any knit fabric with at least 50% stretch will work.

Pattern Emporium Unwind top with George and Ginger Heat Wave shorts

The shorts rely on the fabric stretch for fitting. There are darts in the front and back for shaping, and optional pockets in the front. There are two options for the waistband width. They pull on – there are no fastenings or even elastic. Fabric choice is vital to make these work! Many of the testers had some issues with pocket gaping, but we didn’t consider it to be problematic considering the nature of the garment – a knit, pull-on short.

Pattern Emporium Unwind top with George and Ginger Heat Wave shorts

There was enough fabric left over to sew a simple top. I already had the Pattern Emporium Unwind top printed and taped in Stella’s size, so cut and sewed it up in the cut on short sleeved version. You can probably guess how fast this top was to make! All construction was on the overlocker, with the sewing machine used for hems and to secure the neckband seam allowances.

Pattern Emporium Unwind top with George and Ginger Heat Wave shorts

I think that we’re still unsure as to whether this is a summer outfit or a pair of summer pyjamas! Either way, both pieces are comfortable and easy to wear either together or mixed with other wardrobe items (no matter what time of day).

crochet

Crocheted Leaves shawl

Some of my favourite travel souvenirs have been fabric or yarn.

Leaf shawl pattern by Ana D in Amuri merino possum blend

This scrumptiously soft possum/merino blend was bought in Te Anau, New Zealand when we were on holiday in January 2018. I could not resist the colour. The yarn is Amuri 4 ply, from Naturally. The possum fur component is 25%. Possums are a huge pest in New Zealand (they’re an Australian import, not native to New Zealand and they cause significant environmental damage). Possum fur is incredibly light and warm, and makes a fabulous yarn. It’s taken a little while to decide on a pattern that would do it justice.

Leaf shawl pattern by Ana D in Amuri merino possum blend

The outdoor photos show the yarn colour more accurately than the indoor ones, but the indoor ones show you the stitch definition a little better! The pattern is Leaves Shawl, by Ana D. I enjoyed crocheting this so much that I have bought more of her patterns.

Leaf shawl pattern by Ana D in Amuri merino possum blend

This has been designed so that there is a little ‘hole’ to thread the pointed end of the shawl through, which helps to keep it in place. A clever design trick! Once I got the hang of the pattern repeat it became quite fast to crochet. There was a pleasing combination of lace edging (requiring a little concentration) and solid (mindless tv watching crochet).

Leaf shawl pattern by Ana D in Amuri merino possum blend

As with most crochet (and knitting) this really benefitted from blocking. I tend to just steam block smaller projects like this one, smoothing and pressing the crocheted fabric into place after a huge blast of steam. This technique seems to work quite well for me.

Leaf shawl pattern by Ana D in Amuri merino possum blend

I’m currently crocheting cotton placemats while I wait on some yarn to arrive for a poncho type garment – although at the rate that the weather is warming up, that might be for next winter!

 

adult's clothing · sewing · teen

Pattern Emporium Follow Me wrap dress for Clare

I am sure that you’ve worked out by now that my sewing is all over the place this year in terms of seasonality.  I’m really just sewing as the mood takes me.  Clare rather likes wrap skirts and flounces; she’s tried on plenty in the shops but as is often the case, we’ve generally been unhappy with the fit.  Back to the usual solution – me and my sewing room!

Pattern Emporium Follow Me wrap dress in Spotlight poly spandex

The Pattern Emporium Follow Me wrap dress and skirt pattern took our fancy because of the combination of wrap skirt with a ‘regular’ bodice.  This removed issues related to gaping necklines etc while still keeping the overall ‘vibe’ of the wrap skirt, especially in combination with a flounce on the skirt and equally flouncy sleeves.

2020-08-08 12.33.47 (2)

The centre back bodice seam allows for a closer fit and in combination with the waist seam there weren’t any issues with the back waist being too long and having pooling of excess fabric.  The sleeves are full circles, with a hole set off-centre that is attached to the armscye.

Pattern Emporium Follow Me wrap dress in Spotlight poly spandex

 

Pattern Emporium Follow Me wrap dress in Spotlight poly spandex

The neckline was finished with a band, with the seam allowances stitched down.  It’s the higher of the round neckline options (there is also low round and deep scoop).  I am trying hard to remember what size I sewed for Clare; I suspect it was size 6 top graded to 8 waist.  The fabric came from Restash but was originally sold at Spotlight.  It’s a fairly slippery polyester knit, one of my least favourite fabrics to sew.  I pulled out my overlocker manual and did rolled hems around the bottoms of the sleeve and the skirt flounce.  Another use for the pale blue cones of overlocker thread that I bought when making Clare’s formal dress last year!

Pattern Emporium Follow Me wrap dress in Spotlight poly spandex

Construction was almost all on the overlocker.  Clare’s dress is the mini length.  There is enough overlap in the skirt front wraps that it doesn’t rise up and expose your undies if it gets windy – or if you’re twirling!

Pattern Emporium Follow Me wrap dress in Spotlight poly spandex

From the pattern page: Allow the Follow Me Knit Dress & Skirt to take you on a journey of style, discovery & self expression. By combining different style options, lengths, hemlines & details with a variety of knit fabrics from drapey to full bodied, you can fill your wardobe with a whole range of unique skirts and dresses from just the one pattern. Enjoy the playfulness of a wrap with the peace of mind of a fixed waistline & plentiful coverage so you never have to worry about flashing your bra or knickers! All in the comfort of your fave stretch knit fabrics.

DRESS OPTIONS:
  • Wrap front with subtle hilo hemline.
  • Plain or flounce detail.
  • Fitted bodice.
  • 5 Sleeve options : sleeveless, cap, short, long sleeve or flounce
  • Necklines: High & low round, plus deep scoop.
  • Banded finish.
  • 4 lengths : mini, mid, knee & below knee lengths.
  • Excellent coverage of knickers & bra.

Pattern Emporium Follow Me wrap dress in Spotlight poly spandex

I also sewed this as a fit test for a potential valedictory/graduation dress. Since then Clare has decided that she fancies a different dress style – so I’ll be sewing up a muslin of Lekala 2124 during the school holidays. Although we know the traditional valedictory dinner won’t be taking place this year, she’ll still get a dress!

Pattern Emporium Follow Me wrap dress in Spotlight poly spandex

I am sure that we’ll get plenty of use from this pattern.  There’s the option to sew it as a skirt, rather than a dress.  It’s multi-sized, so I might even sew a version of it for myself at some stage!  As with all Pattern Emporium patterns, there are plenty of photos of various versions of the dress on a wide variety of shapes and sizes on the pattern page – you can nearly always find someone of a similar size and shape to yourself so that you can get an idea of whether you fancy it too.  There’s also an extremely active Facebook group.

adult's clothing · sewing

Leopard print Parker coat

Time to get back on the blogging wagon and update you on what has been sewn over the past couple of months.  But first, thanks so much for all the feedback on my last post.  Melbournians (and Victorians) will know that we’re still in lockdown here, but the daily number of new infections is decreasing all the time – we’re down to just 35 today – so what we’re doing, as hard as it can be, is definitely working.  We’re hanging in there and continuing our efforts – it will be worth it in the long run, both from a health perspective and from an economic perspective.  So, on to my coat!

Style Arc Parker coat in double knit from Super Cheap Fabrics

This is a pattern that I’ve sewn before – it’s the Style Arc Parker coat. I often reach for my previous version – it’s unlined, and sewn from a stable knit, so it’s as comfortable as wearing a cardigan, but it’s that little bit more dressed up.

Style Arc Parker coat in double knit from Super Cheap Fabrics

It’s also quite difficult to see some of the details in this fabric! The fabric came from Super Cheap Fabrics. They described it as a textured knit, but I would describe it as a double knit, similar to a ponte but not as stretchy. In my opinion the fabric descriptions and categorisations on the Super Cheap Fabrics website are not always what I would consider to be a true reflection of the fabric type – buyer beware! However, the photos are generally pretty clear, and they have quite good communication if you contact them. Composition wise it is 86% polyester, 12% metallic and 2% elastane.

Style Arc Parker coat in double knit from Super Cheap Fabrics

From the pattern website: With an effortless long-line shape, this coat is a perfect option for a smart casual look. Let the collar sit high on the neck and allow the revere to fall naturally. This style features a horizontal hip seam, patch pocket and stitched back vent. FABRIC SUGGESTION: ponte, knit boucle, sweater knit or rugby knit.

parker-coat

I sewed size 12, without alterations. It’s a relaxed style, without closures. Most construction was on the overlocker, with the sewing machine for topstitching and collar insertion.

Style Arc Parker coat in double knit from Super Cheap Fabrics

Do make sure that you use a knit interfacing on the collar and facings. I also did some stitching in the ditch along the shoulder seams to keep the facing in place. I probably did some along the seamline where the lower fronts attach too!

Style Arc Parker coat in double knit from Super Cheap Fabrics

I don’t have much more to say about this coat pattern, other than I think it is a great one. This type of garment works really well in my wardrobe. Even my lockdown wardrobe!

Style Arc Parker coat in double knit from Super Cheap Fabrics

My cousin Freya asked me recently if there’s a switch that flips when we turn fifty that makes us suddenly think that too much animal print is never enough – I think that there must be! There seems to be more and more animal print entering my wardrobe in recent years. I wonder if metallic has a similar switch…especially where shoes are concerned.

Style Arc Parker coat in double knit from Super Cheap Fabrics

miscellaneous · musings

Still in second lockdown

Warning: this post is not about sewing or craft. And it’s very photo heavy.  Feel free to skip if those things aren’t your scene.

It’s day fifty-seven of greater Melbourne’s second lockdown (even more for some suburbs).  We moved from stage 3 restrictions (stay at home, no school for most, maximum one hour of essential exercise per day with two people maximum, no dining in) into stage 4 restrictions (all of the above plus masks and curfews and no school for almost anyone and only travel 5km from home and closure or restriction of almost all businesses), and that’s where we currently sit.  The daily number of new covid-19 cases is finally going down, but not enough yet to loosen the restrictions.  So, how is my family doing?

During second lockdown

During second lockdown

During second lockdown

During second lockdown

During second lockdown

This second lockdown has felt very different to the first one, which started in late March. Of course, we’ve been living our lives under varying stages of restriction since then, but going back into remote learning and stay at home has been hard. I’m so nostalgic for those sweet days in early to mid June when we were able to gather in groups of ten at a local park, and have cafe meals in groups of less than six! Visiting friends in their homes! Driving up to the country to see my parents! Ah, those were the days.

During second lockdown

During second lockdown

During second lockdown

During second lockdown

During second lockdown

 I’ve been taking a morning photo every morning since lockdown began, usually the view across the city skyline from the window at the top of the stairs. I generally take it somewhere between 7.00am and 7.30am. It’s different every day. It’s a way for me to mark the passing of the days, while forcing me to pause and look and admire the colours and the clouds and the trees. I think about those city buildings, with their twinkling lights, and think about the people who would normally be gathering there. There are very few planes in the sky. I have become used to their absence.

During second lockdown

During second lockdown

During second lockdown

During second lockdown

During second lockdown

The first few weeks were particularly hard. Dan and I have been working from home since March. Stella didn’t get to return to on-site school after the mid-year holidays. Clare had a couple of weeks back on site – she’s in her final year of school, with the final exams now looming – until we went to stage 4 and she was back studying at home as well. Every day we watched the number of new cases go up, and up, and up. The rest of the country watched it too. But this time it felt like ‘them and us’ as the remaining states (understandably) closed borders. And this time around we were tired. The first time around there was a sense of camaraderie, and novelty, and through the shock and the incredulity our adrenaline kept us going. Second time? SO different. So difficult.  I really struggled emotionally for a few weeks.  At one point I was incredibly angry.  Then amazingly sad.  Now I’m okay. I just take life a day to a week at a time. It sounds trite, but I am now much better at living in the moment, appreciating the simple pleasures, and really stopping to admire the wattle, the camellias, the banksias, and the magnolias.

 During second lockdown

During second lockdown

During second lockdown

During second lockdown

During second lockdown

It’s my daughters that I worry about the most, and feel that in my immediate family they are the most impacted.  Not being on site in class for Clare’s final year of high school and Stella’s first year of high school have been huge.  All the usual rituals and markers and special events that take place in those years are either missing completely or inadequately replicated via technology.  I’ve been impressed by the school and their teachers, who are all doing the best that they can possibly do, but it’s just not the same.  We’re all so sad about it.  Clare and her friends do a pretty good job of staying in regular contact, organising fun online presentation and quiz nights.  Stella is making the most of every opportunity to play MineCraft, and ‘chat’ to her online gaming friends, but hasn’t had much opportunity to continue to form and solidify the new friendships that go along with starting high school.  Both girls have continued to do Zoom dance classes and instrumental and voice lessons.  Clare’s still had online Girl Guides, while Stella is taking a break from it.  

 During second lockdown

 During second lockdown

During second lockdown

During second lockdown

 During second lockdown

Dan is working from the dining table, which is not really ideal, but the shed is too cold at this time of year!  His clients are mostly in the same situation, and are now used to Zoom audits where there are household sounds in theh backgrounds.  That’s just life and work in lockdown.  I was working up until a couple of weeks ago.  The contracts for the work that could be done remotely have come to an end, and much of the other work that I do requires us to be on site – just not an option in Melbourne at the moment.  And who knows when I’ll be able to go interstate for work again!  I had so many trips away for work in my calendar this year; now they’ve all been deleted.  I don’t know when I’ll have work again – maybe in a couple of months.  The work is still there, waiting – we just can’t do it at the moment.  I’m not eligible for JobKeeper, but fortunately we are in a financial situation where it’s not too much of a stress.  I have to say that running the household is easier when I’m not also working!  

 During second lockdown

 During second lockdown

 During second lockdown

During second lockdown

During second lockdown

At the moment our life has contracted to a 5km radius.  The girls have barely been out of the house; I managed to drag Clare out for a walk only recently.  I think that they quite like bunkering down, in a way.  The excitement level when the doorbell rings is considerable – because it only rings when we have a delivery!  Hair colour, oodies, books, leisurewear, eBay shoes, a dog poo composter! We’ve had specialty chocolate treat kits delivered, multiple meals from local eateries, wine (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic), and even ice cream.  We’ve watched masses of TV.  We were relatively late adopters of streaming services – now we have Netflix, Stan and Disney.  Good grief.  I can barely read books – I don’t have the concentration or the mental bandwidth.  I’m back in the habit of doing home manicures, and the girls are working their way through temporary hair colours.  Gee, I’m hanging out for the hairdresser to open again.  I’m sewing sporadically, not according to any plan or logic whatsoever.  I just make whatever takes my fancy, even if unseasonal.  Dan has been going for bike rides or for a jog, and he’s meditating regularly.  I wish that I found meditation a useful practice, but it’s never worked for me.  Stella entertains herself with YouTube and with comic books and some novels – her English novel this semester was a huge hit; we’re waiting for the second and third books in the series to arrive.  Shifting googly eyes around this house has also been a source of amusement.  Clare’s been doing fancy manicures on herself on a regular basis.  Her Literature class had a regular thing going for a while where they all dressed according to a theme for each class – hats, sunglasses, make-up, etc.  Our dog Buzz has been unwell, which is awful.  He’s fairly old at around thirteen years, and it turns out that he has Cushing’s disease.  He’s just started on medication today, and we’re really hoping that this makes him feel much better for his last few years.  

 During second lockdown

 During second lockdown

 During second lockdown

 During second lockdown

During second lockdown

I get out for a walk a few times each week – we’re allowed one hour of essential exercise per day, with one other person (wearing masks, of course).  I walk with one friend on Tuesdays, and sometimes with another later in the week.  We are incredibly fortunate to have a creek and surrounding parklands within walking distance.  There are always plenty of people there either walking, jogging or cycling.  There’s nothing quite like the trees and the flowers and the sound of the water in the distance.  Even on the walk to and from the creek we come across so many beautiful details in the plants and the clouds.  My usual coffee catchups on Thursday and Friday mornings are now via Zoom.  It’s not the same, but it’s all we’ve got.  Monthly book group meetings are also on Zoom.  We even did a Nojourn sewing weekend via Zoom.  I go to the market or supermarket generally once per week, twice at the most.  Everyone there is tense.  It’s harder to communicate now that we’re all wearing masks.  It’s easy for things to be misunderstood.

 During second lockdown

 During second lockdown

 During second lockdown

 During second lockdown

 During second lockdown

I know that this will end.  We just don’t know when.  And currently I am at the stage where for my immediate family, I can see that the glass is half full rather than half empty.  We have a great deal to be thankful and grateful for.  There are many people in much more difficult situations.  It’s shit, this pandemic is absolute shit, and it’s not going away fast, but eventually it will be over and we’ll be able to move on with our lives.  Stella said the other day ‘when I’m old I’ll be able to tell my children about how when I was a teenager I lived through a pandemic and we couldn’t leave the house for months and months’.  Well yes, she will.  But right now, we just take each day at a time.  I hold on to the happiness of overhead conversations between the girls and their friends, to the deeper knowledge of what they are learning at school, and of their constantly strengthening personalities.  They are resilient, and they are funny, and they are still seeing the joy whilst acknowledging the sad.  I don’t think that I can ask much more than that.  I know that I will miss them when they eventually return to on-site learning, while at the same time relishing the time to myself.  I hold on to the things that make me smile each day – and it doesn’t actually take all that much.

During second lockdown

During second lockdown

 During second lockdown

 During second lockdown

I hope that those of you who have read this far are doing okay.  We’re all riding the coronacoaster.  I think of my parents two hours drive away in Shepparton, who I haven’t seen since early June – and they are 82 and 93.  I think of my brother Ross who is in North Carolina, and wonder when we will be able to see him again.  Then I stop wondering, and just wait.  I wait, because that’s all that I can do.

 

Added graph for context on Melbourne’s numbers of new cases during this second wave, with projections.  Further Australian data can be found here.

adult's clothing · sewing

Can’t get enough of Misty

I don’t even think that I could guess at the number of pairs of Style Arc Misty jeans I have sewn.  The first pair was made way back in 2015, and I still wear that pair.  It is a pull-on jean, designed for stretch wovens.  Because of this, the fabric that you choose can make a significant difference to the overall fit and wearing comfort.  You really do need to choose a woven fabric with a good degree of stretch.

Style Arc Misty jeans in stretch denim from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

This time around the fabric is a tan stretch denim that I bought from The Cloth Shop, Ivanhoe. I was after something fairly neutral. I already have a few pairs of pull-on stretch jeans in shades of traditional indigo, and it’s good to have a bit more variety in the wardrobe. None of the bengaline pants I normally wear to work have had an outing since March, and instead I’ve been wearing more jeans and similarly casual styles.

Style Arc Misty jeans in stretch denim from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

There’s enough stretch in this denim that you can even see the ridge that my tucked in camisole forms! I feel as though I can almost sew this pattern in my sleep nowadays. There are a couple of basic alterations that I do. First, let’s take a look at the pattern as designed. From the pattern website: Want the look of a slim jean and comfort as well? Then this is the pant for you, this style has all the features of a jean, slim cut leg, mock fly, front pockets, back yoke and jean back pockets. The treatment of the elastic waistband makes this a fantastic pant to have in your wardrobe. FABRIC SUGGESTION & DESCRIPTION: Stretch denim or any stretch woven fabric with 3% spandex is suitable.

 

misty-jean

Size wise, I go down in these. I generally sew Style Arc pants in size 10 (occasionally a 12) even though my waist measures around size 16. It just works better for my hips and thighs, and with elastic waists it’s not difficult to add a little belly room. I don’t use the exposed elastic waistband as per the pattern; instead I used the waistband from the Elle pants as a guide to make a waistband with elastic enclosed inside it.

Style Arc Misty jeans in stretch denim from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

There’s a fair bit of muffin top there, but I need that to keep my pants up! Because it’s all stretchy it’s actually quite comfortable. I cut these out with a bit of extra room in the front side seams at waist level, and add the equivalent amount to the length of the waistband. I also do a full belly alteration when I remember (often the fabric stretch looks after that bit for me). You might have also noticed that I eliminate the front faux pockets and on this pair, I’ve eliminated the faux front fly as well. I don’t need the additional detailing on my front – tops are always covering it, and it means less bulk and more comfort.

Style Arc Misty jeans in stretch denim from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

I do like to keep the back yoke and pockets, as I think that they give these the jeans vibe that I’m after. There’s the usual folds on the back of the thigh, but they’re not excessive (one of the reasons that I love this pattern with my relatively thin thighs) and they are handy for movement and comfort when sitting. This time around I used one of the Closet Core Patterns free jeans pocket stitching designs to add a bit of detail to the back pockets.

Style Arc Misty jeans in stretch denim from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

I used upholstery thread to stitch the pocket design, and my machine did not like it at all. Even though I used regular Gutermann thread in the bobbin, and had interfaced the pockets for stability, it did all sorts of weird things on the back of the pocket stitching. Good thing it didn’t really matter. I switched back to regular thread with a triple stitch for the rest of the top stitching. Most construction was on the overlocker.

There will no doubt be more Misty jeans over time.  I’ve tried a couple of other Style Arc pull-on jeans patterns, and this one is definitely my favourite.  I’ve noticed that there are quite a few pattern companies that do what looks like a good pull-on jean nowadays.  Itch to Stitch have the Mountain View pull-on jeans, and Designer Stitch have the Dylan pants.  No doubt there are others!  It’s all about finding the draft that works the best for you.