What I’m wearing in May and June

I did a great job of taking daily outfit photos during May.  But right when I got to the end of the month, I managed to delete the last two photos from my phone before they had been uploaded.  Argh!  So I decided that I’d keep on going with photos throughout June.  It’s now getting really cold in Melbourne – well, what Australians consider to be cold any way.  Daily tops of 13 or 14 degrees celsius.  Nights down to 3 or 6 degrees.  Brrrr!  So some of the time these photos show only what I’m wearing inside – I generally add a coat when I go out.

What I wore in May 2015 days 21-24

Days 21-24.  From left to right: 21 Thursday. Style Arc Elle pants, Bento tee, Style Arc Mason jacket. 22 Friday. Colette Mabel skirt, Grainline Lonsdale top, crocheted scarf. 23 Saturday. Style Arc Misty jeans, Liesl + Co Maritime top. 24 Sunday. RTW jeans, Vogue top, Style Arc Laura jacket.

What I wore in May 2015 days 25 - 28

Days 25-28. 25 Monday. Style Arc Laura dress with Vogue jacket. 26 Tuesday. Style Arc Elle pants with Grainline Linden top and made to measure jacket. 27 Wednesday. Vogue dress, made to measure jacket. 28 Thursday. Style Arc Fay skirt, RTW top underneath, Simplicity 1366 jumper/top, crocheted cowl and fingerless mitts.

What I wore in May 2015 day 29 and some of early June

Day 29 and early June.  Friday – Style Arc Elle pants, Tessuti Mandy tee, RTW cardigan.  Tuesday – Style Arc Misty jeans, Tessuti Mandy tee.  Wednesday – Style Arc Fay skirt, Style Arc Molly top, Tessuti Megan longline cardigan.  Thursday – Style Arc Jodie pinafore, Deer & Doe Plantain tee, Infinity scarf.

What I wore in May and June 2015

June 5-?.  5 – Friday.  Sewaholic Renfrew tee, Vogue 1410 pinafore.  6 – Saturday.  Style Arc Misty jeans, Tessuti Mandy tee.  7 – Sunday.  Style Arc Misty jeans, Liesl & Co Maritime tee, Lekala 4114 jacket.  ? – Style Arc Elle pants, Grainline Linden top, ruana.

What I wore in May and June 2015

June 9-12.  9 – Tuesday.  Style Arc Elle pants, Liesl & Co Bento tee, Liesl & Co Woodland Stroll cape.  10 – Wednesday.  Lekala 5088 skirt, Tessuti Mandy tee, May Me shrug.  11 – Thursday.  Colette Mabel skirt, RTW tee, Simplicity 1366 top.  12 – Friday – Style Arc Misty jeans, teal Deer & Doe Plantain tee, Style Arc Harper jacket, crocheted scarf.

I hadn’t realised how behind I was with these photos, and some of you may have realised that there are still a few unblogged items in there as well.  This week I’ve been reading instead of sewing.  It’s been rather enjoyable.  I’ve read Craft For The Soul and Living Well, Spending Less.  Both had content I need to think about and ponder on.  There are quite a few novels in my reading queue at the moment too.

And hello and big wave to the person who recognised me from my blog at the Plaza today!  Apologies that I was on another planet a little – I had/have a shocking headache.  Introduce yourself again the next time that you see me!

Are you jealous yet?

One of my dear friends – I met her through blogging, oh the wonderful powers of the internet – loves green.  She also loves a pinafore.  While I was at Sewjourn I sewed both.  For myself.

Style Arc Jodie pinafore with Deer & Doe Plantain tee

The tee is pretty basic. It’s a Deer & Doe Plantain tee, graded to my measurements. That means that it goes larger at the waist and narrower at the hips. Combined with the design ease and flare through the body, I end up with a body-skimming, scoop-neck winter tee that is perfect for layering. Poor quality photo follows but at least you can see the neckline depth and width.

Sewjourn makes May 2015

The fabric is wool jersey, bought from Rathdowne Fabrics. It sewed up beautifully on the overlocker, although I did make certain to stabilise the shoulder seams and the neckline before assembly. I used Gillian’s technique to get the neckband length and stretch right, as I usually do. It’s a great technique, especially when the neckline has a considerable degree of curve and the neckband is wider rather than narrower. The leftovers became a simple Infinity scarf. If you need a tutorial to make and infinity scarf there are plenty to be googled. I sewed the long sides of the fabric right sides together to make a long tube, then sewed the short sides right side together for as far as I could, leaving a gap for turning to the right side then stitching the gap closed. Easy peasy – and warm and effective. This one is long enough to double up again and become a higher snugglier scarf.

Style Arc Jodie pinafore with Deer & Doe Plantain tee

The pinafore was really an impulse item. I had been eyeing off the Style Arc Jodie pattern for a little while, but only recently took the plunge and obtained it. At the time I had no idea what fabric I’d use, however once I’d cut out my Misty jeans I realised that there was enough of the M. Recht denim left for something simple. I didn’t want another denim skirt or jacket – so a pinafore it became! It used up every single scrap.

Style Arc Jodie pinafore with Deer & Doe Plantain tee

Style Arc’s pattern picture and description are as follows:

JODIE DRESS / PINAFORE: Fun style tunic can be worn with leggings during the cooler months or with sandals on warmer days.
The side inset panel with curved hemline makes this style distinctively different.
Approx back length 90cm or 35”.

FABRIC SUGGESTION & DESCRIPTION: Soft denim or any woven fabric.

I sewed this in a straight size 12 without any alteration.  So take it from me – this dress/pinafore is short at the sides!  My only regret is that I failed to stabilise the hems before stitching the facings to them.  I didn’t take the stretch of the fabric into account, particularly around the curves.  It’s not a deal-breaker, but the hem is a little wavy and I know that I could have done better.  I may (or may not) feel tempted to unpick and restitch and re-tostitch them at a later date.  If you were using a non-stretch fabric this wouldn’t really be an issue.

Style Arc Jodie pinafore with Deer & Doe Plantain tee

Topstitching was done with upholstery thread. I find this works better in my machine than topstitching thread, especially if I make sure that I lengthen the stitch and use a needle with a larger eye. The instructions were the usual for Style Arc in that they were relatively sparse in some places, but an adequate order of construction. The tutorials on their website often help to fill in any gaps. Setting in the front zip was rather fun.

Sewjourn makes May 2015

The zip that I had was way longer than required. Rather than take advantage of the knowledge imparted by numerous “how to shorten a metal zipper” tutorials, and fortified by some excellent champagne, I got my scissors out and just cut the bottom off to the length that I wanted. Much faster and simpler! Of course I did do it carefully, and my scissors don’t appear to be any the worse for wear. I did cover the end of the zipper tape with a scrap of denim to ensure that it wouldn’t be scratchy against my skin on the inside of the pinafore.

Style Arc Jodie pinafore with Deer & Doe Plantain tee

You know how I often go on about how fast things are to sew? This pinafore wasn’t especially fast. Zips to insert, pockets to add, facings to construct and sew in place, topstitching to do. I even had to do some hand-stitching on the shoulder seams. It probably took me four or five hours?

Style Arc Jodie pinafore with Deer & Doe Plantain tee

Oh, the leggings are Style Arc Laura leggings, made forever ago. I really like this outfit combination, and am sure that the pinafore will layer well over a variety of coloured tops.  So Tan, have you finished your pinafore yet?

More Mandy and Misty

Okay, another repeat pattern combination.  When you’re on a good thing, as they say.  It always fascinates me to see how much difference a fabric makes, too.

Style Arc Misty jeans with Tessuti Mandy tee

These are definitely becoming staple items in my wardrobe. The Mandy tee was sewn from scraps.

Tessuti Mandy tee and coordinating infinity scarf

The main fabric used for the front and the back is the last of a beautiful Gorman wool/something knit that came from Clear It. I used in for a Harper jacket and an Aeolian tee. I wish that I’d bought the entire roll – although from memory it was a massive roll of fabric! The sleeves – and the infinity scarf – are scraps from a soon to be blogged dress that I made for Clare. It’s an acrylic knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics.

Style Arc Misty jeans with Tessuti Mandy tee

The usual construction details – hems stabilised with double sided adhesive tape (usually the Vliesofix brand; I’ve used others and don’t like them much but still have some to use up) and then twin needled on the machine to secure. The rest of the construction is on the overlocker.

Style Arc Misty jeans with Tessuti Mandy tee

The pants are the Style Arc Misty pull-on jeans. This is the third time I’ve made them – and there is a fourth pair to blogged soon as well. Once again I left off the front mock pockets and switched the waistline sewn-on elastic for elastic encased in a separate band.

Style Arc Misty jeans in stretch denim from M Recht

The denim is from M. Recht. It’s the first time I’ve bought from them and it definitely won’t be the last (as the first thing I did when I returned from Sewjourn – after kissing and hugging the family, of course – was to jump online and order some more). Quality denim and the fastest delivery ever!  This denim is a cotton/rayon/lycra mix that makes them super stretchy and incredibly comfortable. So stretchy that I could possibly have gone down a size in the jeans – especially because I’d added a little to the waist measurement at the top of the side seams. These feel like I am wearing leggings. There is no tummy control at all with this degree of stretch in the denim, but gee they feel great on!

Style Arc Misty jeans in stretch denim from M Recht

The contrast topstitching was done with a triple stitch in regular polyester thread. In addition to adding about an inch and a half to the waist measurement, the jeans were shortened in two places as I usually do, one above the knee and one below.

Style Arc Misty jeans with Tessuti Mandy tee

fishy business

I dedicated the first afternoon/evening of my recent Sewjourn visit to sewing for others.  My husband got yet another Jalie 2918 tee shirt with seasonally appropriate long sleeves.

Fishy Jalie tee

The fantastic fish fabric was from Clear It, but I believe that someone bought the entire roll. I was the lucky beneficiary of some of it – it’s beautiful fabric of a lovely mid-weight cotton/lycra quality. Just perfect for winter – and what a print! Some of you might remember that I have a tee in this fabric too…oh just a minute….here you go….

Fishy Jalie tee

Matchy matchy! And check out how the fish print flows straight across from one tee to the other…how is that for chance! Stella wants one as well and I’m sure that Clare could be persuaded.

And no – we won’t all wear them at the same time, except maybe for a Christmas photo.

Details on the Jalie 2918 tees that I’ve made so far are here and here.

It’s a ruana!

So, post-Sewjourn I am starting off sharing a project that I made not while at Sewjourn but actually post-Sewjourn.  It do feel that it would be more logical to blog garments in the order that they are made, but sometimes other things seem more important than logic.  That definitely applies to the current Melbourne cold snap and the how vital it has now become to share information about how easy it is to make a ruana – commonly known as a blanket wrap.

ruana blanket wrap

Really, it’s all Anna’s fault. She brought her gorgeous blanket wrap along to Sewjourn, where it was just the ticket for keeping warm and for acting as a pillow. So it was at the forefront of my mind when my friend Kathryn sent me a photo of one that she had just made. Once combined with an IT problem at work that meant I couldn’t work from home as usual, and the extremely close proximity of my fabric stash, it wasn’t long before I was poring through lengths of wool and deciding on a fabric that would translate well into my very own ruana.

Ruana / blanket wrap

Okay, now let’s define Ruana. This is what Wikipedia says:

A ruana is a poncho-style outer garment typical of the Andes region of Venezuela and Colombia, particularly in the Boyacá department and Antioquia. According to Proexport, the official Colombian agency in charge of international tourism, foreign investment, and non-traditional exports, the word ruana comes from the Chibcha ruana meaning “Land of Blankets,” used to refer to the woolen fabrics manufactured by the Muisca natives.[

Similar to other poncho-like garments in Latin America, a ruana is basically a very thick, soft and sleeveless square or rectangular blanket with an opening in the center for the head to go through with a slit down the front to the hem. A ruana may or may not come with a hood to cover the head.

The ruanas worn by the native Muisca people were apparently made of wool and knee-long, well-suited to the cold temperatures of the region where they were used not only as a piece of garment but also as a blanket for use in bed or to sit on as a cushion of sorts. Many ruanas are handcrafted with sheep’s virgin wool. An 1856 watercolor shows an indigenous man in the Cordillera Occidental of Colombia weaving a ruana using a large foot-pedaled loom.

ruana or blanket wrap

ruana or blanket wrap

I’ve seen tutorials and photos of ruanas at different times over the years, but hadn’t realised just how quick and easy they would be to make – and how effective.  Anna made hers following instructions from The Cloth Shop, with a 130cm square of fabric.  I used Kathryn’s instructions, where the fabric was 150cm (the fabric width) by 130cm.  Since making it I have found a tutorial here that might be of assistance to some people.  Kathryn told me that the 150cm should run over my body, and the 130cm run across the body from wrist to wrist.  I somehow managed to get those two completely reversed, so my ruana is shorter than intended, but with longer “sleeves”.  Good one Lara.  However, the photograph below does have everything written on it the way that it is meant to go.

ruana or blanket wrap

It’s quite easy to alter both the length and width to suit your own proportions or taste.
I was fortunate to select fabric that had a nicely fringed selvedge, so I decided to just bind the neckline and then fringe the cut edges to match the selvedges. The neckline binding was a strip of wool knit fabric, cut about 2 inches wide. I sewed it on with a 1cm seam allowance, then turned it over the seam allowance to the other side and topstitched it in place. I then trimmed it close to the stitching line. It was SO easy.

ruana blanket wrap

I ran a couple of lines of narrow zig zag machine stitching about 1/4 inch in from the cut edge to stabilise it and prevent further fraying. It was easy to pull out the threads that were closest to the edge to make the little fringe. The fabric is a beautiful wool that has been in stash for a substantial period. I think it may have come from Darn Cheap Fabrics. The colours are so me!

ruana or blanket wrap

Depending on your fabric you might want to hem or bind all of the edges. It’s really up to personal preference and the fabric type. But honestly, if you live in a cold climate I’d really recommend giving this a go. Super fast and easy, super warm and snuggly. There are probably a few different ways that you can wear it.

ruana or blanket wrap

Sewjourn May 2015

Ah, Sewjourn!  My favourite escape.  Once again, I will let the mosaic tell the story.

Sewjourn May 2015

It was all about the basics for me. It’s amazing how much you can get sewn when it is all pre-cut and straightforward. I will do blog posts on each of the garments eventually. Thanks to Anna, Leith and Rachel for a wonderful weekend – and Sue, you were missed!

Finlaysons are Fantastic!

This latest version takes the number of Thread Theory Finlayson sweaters that I’ve made so far to four.  Finlaysons are fantastic!  The first one is here.  The second one is here.  The third one was for my dad – it was never blogged and I only have one snap of that to show you.

Finlayson sweater size S in knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Dad’s was made in size Small, with shortened sleeves, in a knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics. The fourth one was made last week for my husband.

Thread Theory Finlayson Sweater in fabric from Rathdowne Fabrics

This one is the Medium. As with the last couple I made him, I think that the sleeves are too long, but he disagrees so I have been forbidden to remove any length. The fabric is a proper rugby knit form Rathdowne Fabrics. The first two I made have been on high rotation and haven’t washed very well. I have higher hopes for this one.

Thread Theory Finlayson Sweater in fabric from Rathdowne Fabrics

Those bold stripes did require some thought in regards to placement and stripe matching. I’m quite pleased with the result. I used knit fusible interfacing in the collar, which has given it lovely shape and structure. I’m rather pleased with my efforts!

Thread Theory Finlayson Sweater in fabric from Rathdowne Fabrics

Most construction was on the overlocker. I used plenty of pins to help keep the stripes aligned. Didn’t feel the inclination to baste. They are mostly spot on. I only used the sewing machine for the collar (although I still overlocked the edges once the collar was attached).

Thread Theory Finlayson Sweater in fabric from Rathdowne Fabrics

And guess what? There is another one cut out, although this time in a jumper knit that is going to be much more challenging to sew. I think that I’ve been avoiding it….

Thread Theory Finlayson Sweater in fabric from Rathdowne Fabrics

(and how many people get why I loved writing that blog post title so much?)