Thursday, May 31, 2018

Tamarack jacket test garment

I ran out of bias binding before I could finish the sleeve hems and side seams

I've been wanting a quilted jacket for some time now, and nearly bought one last year while on a family getaway in Martinborough. I didn't though, because the boy thought it was a "granny" style. I suspect he meant "Chinese granny", as this style does have a bit of the Mao jacket look about it.

That is probably why, when I decided to make the Tamarack jacket, I didn't choose an indigo blue fabric.
Please excuse the inclusion of my faux-woolly blue polka dot socks
The above is the test garment (but there is the possibility that I won't get around to making the "real" garment for a long time - that quilting takes so long and so much chalking).

I used just two fabrics rather than the standard two fabric layers plus an insulation layer. The facing layer is a cotton poplin quilting fabric that was on sale at my local sewing, quilting and knitting shop. It's got variable brown polka dots on a black background and makes me think of a crowd of planets.

The backing layer is actually from the boy's old grey sweatshirt which I had originally intended to use to make a sweater dress. Using this meant that I didnt have quite enough meterage to make the jacket or sleeves quite as long as I wanted - but actually the length is fine on me (high- to mid- hip length). The sleeves are definitely a bit short though, and I'm considering adding some "cuffs" to lengthen them.

According to the instructions I am in between a size 10 and a size 12. The dimensions of the size 12 garment looked like it would be too wide on me, so I made a 10. Now that it's almost finished (I ran out of bias binding so didn't get the sleeves finished just yet), width-wise there is plenty of room around the torso but not a lot of ease around the armcye.

So for my next version I may try either going up to size 12, or doing a 12 around the armcye and a 10 everywhere else.  

2 Possible user errors
I had never attempted a welt pocket before but was confident the instructions would be so good that I wouldn't need to do a practice on on scrap fabric. My first pocket was a disaster - the slash I made was about one inch wider - on each side - than the welt! I then re-measured the marking on the pattern versus the marking I'd made on the jacket but they match, so I don't know what happened there. For the second pocket I did not sew the rectangle according to the markings but instead based it on the width of the welt. This worked and the resulting welt pocket is something I'm not at all embarrassed for people to see.

The sleeve was also somehow much wider than the jacket armcye, so I just made sure the top of the sleeve lined up with the shoulder seam and trimmed off the excess at either side. This might be why the finished jacket was relatively tight around there, so maybe I traced the wrong lines in that area (on front and back pieces)!

Anyway, once I have finished binding the sleeves and washed all of the chalk lines off it (and sewn in some hook and eye closures) I will be happy to wear it around, outside the house even.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Op shopping win!

This isn't me or my jeans - but I think it illustrates nicely what my usual dressing room experience is...

Coinciding with my extreme moulting has been a slight size reduction body-wise. It's a bit disconcerting (but still welcome) when I lose weight and don't know why.

So now very few of my jeans fit me, unless I am doing the boyfriend look (ie. looking like I am wearing the jeans of a boyfriend who is a 5 foot tall wrestler).

So on Monday when I had a day off I decided to go secondhand jeans shopping. I would limit myself to no- or low-lycra denims because once that lycra stretches out the jeans look rubbish.

At the very first op shop I visited I found three - yes three - pairs of designer jeans in my (now smaller) size and in great condition! I had one pair each of Ashley Fogel (a NZ company, now defunct), Mavi and Workshop jeans for the princely sum of $35! Sure, two of them are bootleg styles, but that should be easy to alter into straight legs.

I now have jeans ranging from size 10 to what would probably be size 14 (the latter being pairs I made myself during a fatter time) and I have realised that I should really keep the jeans that don't fit me because in 6 months' time they might fit me again.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

From edgy to Dixie

Yesterday I started wearing my wig at work again. I take off as soon as I get home - although to start with it felt like putting on an old shoe (ie fairly comfy), as the day wears on it starts to really bug me where the ear tabs hit the top of my ears. (On one side, anyway. It must be true that one of my ears is higher up than the other...)

It's a nice wig style (a dark brown with red highlights version of this) I have, but definitely a bit on the bouffant side, no? It's probably due to the need to hide the construction bits of the wig that it is so bouffy, but I do wonder whether this amount of volume is a hangover from the Southern belle look?

I started swimming again a few weeks ago, and now I am going to start swimming with a cap on. I tried one of those latex ones in a shop yesterday, and after I took it off I probably spent 10 dodgy minutes trying to remove all the stray hairs off it. Awkward!

And what am I going to wear to my Taiko drumming lesson? A wig? A beanie? Or go head-commando?

Anyway unless there's a sudden reversal of folliculer fortune I aim to buy one of those hand-tied wigs to replace this one. This type of construction is supposed to produce a more natural look, but costs an unnatural amount of money compared to what I've already got (not that that was cheap!).

I'm thinking this onethis one or this one. Though if I want to get the government subsidy to help with the cost of it I will have to wait until July (12 months after my last subsidised wig purchase).

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

It's raining hair. Again.

In the past week or so I've gone from no noticeable hair loss, to seeing the odd hair slipping off my head onto whatever surface, to experiencing a worrying amount of hair loss.

So what do I mean by a "worrying amount"? If I stand over the washbasin and rub my scalp as though proactively shedding all available dandruff , there're enough short hairs collecting on the bottom of the basin to plush up your average-sized mouse pad. It definitely looks like more than about 80 hairs per day to me (supposedly a normal hair-shed).

I keep asking the boy and TLM to check the top and back of my head and they've promised to let me know if they spot any scalp show-through. The boy said that I always shed hair at this time of year. But I'm pretty sure he's only told me that once before - 13 months ago just before it all fell out.

Once I got to work I checked in the mirror and was concerned that up top was already looking alarmingly flat. Hours later I remembered I'd worn a beanie on my way to work - and even very short hair can be subject to hat hair. Although... there's definitely more scalp on show at my left temple than there was a few weeks ago.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

A greenish pullover

I've been wearing this pullover quite a lot - surprisingly I quite like the pistachio colour and high neckline (one good thing that has come out of my hair loss and subsequent pixie regrowth is that high necklines actually look okay on me now).

The yarn is a cotton and acrylic blend I got on sale at KnitWorld.

The pattern is called Keynote Pullover, by Mary Lou Egan. I can't recall the name of the book - Easy Knits, Simple Knits or Quick Knits - something like that. Boring title, very knittable designs.

I have been thinking I should be knitting with organic fibres, but knitting yarns are expensive enough as it is. My next knitting project will be from an unraveled cotton/acrylic cardigan I made two summers ago that I never wore. Even if I can't do organic at least I can do re-purposed :-)

Friday, April 27, 2018

A slightly different jeans-to-skirt refashion

This is the skirt I made during the sewing meet-up I went to a while back. The boy gave me a pair of his jeans which had a nice fade on it but was well ripped in the knees, plus a pair of navy blue twill (rather than denim) jeans.
This is the back. One of the two patches is from TLM's old tartan cord jeans
I cut up both pairs and flipped them upside down so that the pants' hems form the waist of the skirt, while the skirt hem is from the crotch of the pants - giving me some swishy shape.

This is the right side view. 
The navy pants were used mostly to form side pieces, which I pleated up until the total width around the waist felt about right to me. Then I add a D-ring and strap (from The Little Madam's old school backpack which I cut up) so the skirt would stay up. A red jeans zip that I bought cheaply from a furnishing's shop was added to help with the closure but in the end is just decorative.

Front view
I added one of the jeans pockets (the other I had inadvertently cut through), plus a pocket I sewed up out of the navy. Once I'd sewed them down with two  lines of topstitching I realised they were too low and close together to be front pockets. So that side is now the back!

The end result is just above ankle length - a little too short to wear with sneakers but still wearable, especially with boots.

I haven't been back since, only because of a lack of suitable sewing project and/or it was going to be too nice a day to spend indoors. But if the timing is right I may get to the next one with a Tamarack jacket.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

The undies saga returns

In this episode of the undies saga  heourroine makes more attempts to make herself well-fitting, sporty-looking, affordable cotton undies.

The story began when, armed with a swimsuit sewing pattern (Kwik Sew 3239), this slightly stingy sewer bravely tackled issues of pancake bottom, lack of overlocker and few materials (due to stinginess) - to produce promising but not-quite-there-yet underpants.

Then she received a valuable gift - a free bikini-style undies pattern (Megan Neilson's Acacia). This produced a few wearables -

Acacia - Used lingerie elastic for the classic look. The shape wasn't exactly what I was after but it was quite wearable - until the elastic started to come apart with each wash!

I made a couple of versions of Acacia with self fabric binding, with mixed results. One pair didn't stretch much after I was done stitching it up, the other pair wouldn't stay up.
In the spirit of upcycling, the next pair was made out of two of the boys' unwanted t-shirts. I won't be doing a  gusset in a contrast colour next time, okay? 

For this pair I went back to the Kwik Sew pattern for a higher waistline - but it is too high. At least there's a barbeque on the back. I used  foldover elastic at the waist (but it's not folded over), and strips of viscose/elastane (from a maxi dress that I shortened) around the leg holes. 

I made a second pair from the same Kwik Sew pattern with a slightly lower waistline and using viscose/ elastane for the waist and leg openings. But theres no photo because but I'm taking them out for a test drive. My takeway from this exercise is not to use old or thin jersey. It feels a bit baggy on (though the shape is fine.

This one I have high hopes for. It's the boyleg view from the Kwik Sew pattern, with a deep panel of viscose/spandex around the waistband (so it's not too low cut) and the legs are just folded under and sewn down. I had to draft a gusset for this because the original pattern doesn't have one (just a front lining piece).

I found with my first boylegs that the seam at the centre back gives me a nice bum shape. However the flip side of this is having to put up with wedginess. I wanted short legs on than designed because  I want to be able to wear them with re-usable pads when it's that time of the month.