Monday, December 8, 2014

Gabriola, Nettie and a reminder of why sewing with poly charmeuse is a bad idea.

Helloooooo there. Where did the last two months go? One of them was spent immersed in Sewvember.  Fun times. And then there has been gardening, work, helping building a tiny house and also sewing. Lots of sewing actually, mainly on my new (old) Bernina 730 record.  I'll do a dedicated post on her soon because she's worth it.

This Nettie top and Gabriola skirt  were not made on the Bernina. Maybe she would have made an easier job of sewing with the slippery poly skirt fabric but I'm not sure.  It was hard going, but I do love the result - I feel all swishy, floaty and glamorous in this get up.  Actually the first time I wore this out I got an unsolicited " ooh I love your skirt, where did you get it from?" comment. And not from my partner either which has got to be a good thing right?

I'm definitely  not the pear shape that Sewaholic designs for but I think this skirt has unique design lines that I haven't seen in any other patterns so I thought I'd have a go at grading between sizes.  I cut a 6 at the waist, grading to a 0 at the hips for the first yolk piece and then just graded the other yoke and skirt pieces to match. It worked pretty well I think.  The waist turned out to be too big but I think that was due to to the fabric stretching out rather than the pattern measurements. It's still a bit too big (you can see it dipping down at the back in some of the pics) but wearable.

I fell in love with this fabric at Darn Cheap Fabrics. The rational part of my sewing brain was yelling "Nooooooo, slippery poly. Don't do it!!!" but the pretty fabric part was saying 'oooh, silky... you must be a Gabriola immediately"  Guess which side won? Be warned: this skirt is a fabric eater . Usually I make do with 1.5 - 2m but I used almost 3m of 140cm wide fabric for this skirt.
Very bad side seam matching.   
So of course cutting and sewing this fabric was a nightmare.  It just slid off the table at any opportunity, refused to take a press, stretched out along the bias and laddered when I was sewing it *sigh*. It's a miracle that despite using a walking foot, and stay-stitching, I managed to get any of the seams lined up at all (I failed at the sides) or get a zip in.  It's far from perfect, but the print hides a lot  of the sewing sins.I couldn't face hemming it so I just used my overlocker to roll the hem. It's fraying a bit but is doing the job.

Better job at the front

I've not got a lot to say about the top that hasn't already been said on the interwebs - it's the Nettie bodysuit from closet case files. I made the size 6 with the medium scoop back and scoop front in some 'dry knit' from super cheap fabrics. It's stretchy stuff which works well for this top.  I haven't actually finished it properly - I wanted to see whether I could cope with a bodysuit before adding the snaps so it's just tacked together at the crotch at the moment. You see, I did the whole bodysuit thing in the early 90's and wasn't sure I wanted to go there again but I'm somewhat surprisingly rather liking the clean lines under this skirt. I just won't be pairing it with acid washed jeans.

Despite loving the scoop of the back, and the cut being just perfect for hiding my back bra strap, I found that it was constantly falling off my shoulders so I added some bra holders as suggested by Cut Cut Sew and now it's great - no bra flashing at all.  I must make a few more of these. So quick and easy, whizzed up on the overlocker in about an hour.


Skirt: Sewaholic Gabriola.   Pattern from Sew Squirrel $15
Fabric: 3m of poly from  Darn cheap fabrics $30

Top: Nettie body suit, size. $10. Fabric: 1m of 'dry knit' from super cheap fabrics $4
Notions from op-shop stash

Saturday, October 11, 2014

FunkBUNNY goes hop hop hop

Funkbunny... hop hop... geddit?  I was approached by two Melbourne sewing  friends for this one: Nic who writes at The Somnolent Dachshund and Sarah from Sew Squirrel.  For those of you who don't know her, Nic is a Melbourne sewist whom,  amongst other things makes me want to sew cool Japanese patterns, drape things on the bias and own a dachshund.  I'm still convincing MMSTL about that last one. Sarah is a purveyor of fine patterns and aspiring eco-house owner.   I always have the best time hanging out with these ladies so thanks for the nominations.

Why do you write? 

I've had my blog since 2009. It started out about as a way to document my gardening and cooking adventures and share them with my family who live in the UK.  In 2011 my neighbour gave me a bag of fabric scraps from her cushion making business and it renewed my interest in sewing. I used to sew with my Mum as a teenager - remember that patchwork denim jacket Mum?  Actually, maybe it's best forgotten.

My blog has changed to reflect my sewing interest  a lot more and at one point I stopped blogging for while when I wasn't sure whether Funkbunny's garden was still quite the right platform.  I  considered starting a separate blog  but decided against it in the end - it seems that people who garden quite like to read about sewing and vice versa.  At the end of the day it's just a way to share all my creative pursuits with my family and friends. In case you were interested, Mum likes the sewing posts and my Dad prefers the gardening ones.  Sorry Dad, I really should do a few more more garden posts!

It's also been a fantastic way to connect with the online and Melbourne sewing community; something I never anticipated when I started blogging.  I'm naturally a very social, chatty person who likes to be around lots of other people (ENTJ alert) so having the opportunity to regularly meet up with like-minded others is one of my favourite things to do.  The Social Sewing, Sewaway and Frocktails events that have all started up in the last year or so have been an unexpected and lovely aspect of this hobby. Like Oanh, I look forward to Social Sewing every month and get a bit grumpy if I can't go (although I think I have only missed two and I was overseas both times. Dedication hey?!)

Connecting with other sewing peeps in real life also changed my mind about being anonymous on the Internet.  When I first started blogging I was either headless, blurry or artfully hidden behind the camera but seeing as so much of my inspiration comes from real people with heads, I decided to brave it. Turns out,  rather like making buttonholes, it wasn't too bad.

I like to look back over my posts- both gardening and sewing - to see progress.  It's satisfying to see the evolution of both the garden and my sewing.  I realise that I still have a lot to learn in both areas but it's nice to know that progress has been made and that I'm capable of learning new skills.

What are you working on?

I'm actually in a bit of a sewing rut at the moment.  The last two items that I made were the Sewaholic Gabriola skirt and Nettie top which I must get round to blogging.  The skirt was a bit of a frustrating project (entirely due to fabric choice) so I think I'm still recovering.  I'm sure my sewjo will return soon though and next up are a Bellatrix blazer, after trying on both of Rachel's immaculately made versions,  and pants of some description.

Proof that I made a pant pattern, from Instagram.  Did I mention that I like Instagram?
I've never made pants before but I took a pattern drafting class at the CAE last year where we developed blocks for a bodice and pants and I really loved it.  It  gave me the confidence to alter and adjust existing patterns, which I have been doing,  but haven't really used my blocks yet so I would like to spend some time playing with those over the summer to make the perfect pants!  

I also need to get some sewing happening for (not so) LittleFB. At eight, he is growing like a weed and needs new summer clothes.  At the moment he's quite happy to wear things that I make for him, (although I realise that this will probably change very soon) and I'm happy that he's wearing ethically produced clothes!

How does it differ from others of it’s genre? 
Not even a vegetable - a fruit!

I don't really think it does, other than it has a bit of an emphasis on sewing with recycled fabric and features the occasional vegetable but that's OK. I'm not really trying to be different, just to have a bit of fun and connect with anyone who might be interested.

How does your writing process work?

I actually find writing quite challenging. I'm a visual, pictures, arm-waving, draw a diagram sort of person so the blog is a way to practice and to try and find my voice. Sometimes I compose blog posts in my head as I cycle to work. In fact I have all sorts of conversations in my head as I ride to work.  Is this normal commuting behaviour?  Whatever. It works for me!

I'm not very good at taking pictures during the sewing process as I tend to sew in a bit of a frenzy and forget so I usually end  up roping in someone to take pictures after the event.  My friend Ines who blogs at Humble Habit takes especially nice photos so it's always good when I can beg a photoshoot with her. It's possibly time to invest in a decent camera and tripod though. Anyone have a recommendation?

Finally, even though these following  questions are not part of the blog hop I thought it might be fun to share:

Where does the name of your blog come from?

Many moons ago  I lived in Scotland and dated a drummer in a funk band.  They all had crazy stage names and seeing that I went to most of their gigs and they didn't want me to feel left out,  gave me an honorary 'funk name' - Funkbunny. 

What does MMSTL stand for? 

MMSTL is my partner and it stands for mild mannered Sam the lawyer.  He's actually not a lawyer (used to be, gave it up to be an academic/writer/sustainability advocate) and he's more gentle and kind than mild mannered, but there you go. 

OK then. Time to pass it on. I'm nominating Winnie at What would maude wear. She's a friend, has been sewing for yonks  but is relatively new to blogging. She writes for a living and makes all the patterns  in the best fabrics. I'm also nominating Nicola at Woes and wins. Nicola is a talented quilter and has started to make some gorgeous clothes recently too.  I had the pleasure of spending time with her at Sewaway (we were roomies) and I can also attest to her excellent coffee making abilities. Over to you ladies!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Floral Deer & Doe Pavot jacket for Spring

Well, there's no hiding in this jacket that's for sure, unless I'm in my garden I suppose because it's BRIGHT GREEN 70's FLORAL.  Yeah.

I found this medium weight cotton twill  fabric at the oppy - no surprise there then - 4m for $9.99 and knew immediately that it needed to become some sort of 70's inspired 'statement' jacket*.  I've had the Deer and Doe Pavot pattern for a while, bought at the same time as the Belladone which I have made twice  (here and here) and the Sureau but jackets seemed kind of scary, especially with all those buttons.  And even though I decided to make this before I realised that the Quirky Peach was doing "Let's Sew Deer & Doe" I'm totally calling it and adding in the badge anyway.

* The statement that this jacket is making is: woo-hoo! big green flowers and daisies! 70's curtain vibes! 

Confession time: before I made this jacket I had sewn exactly four button holes. Four! and not even on the same garment. No sure why.  I just developed a bit of an irrational fear of them and avoided them at all costs. Silly eh?

So, this jacket was a "face your sewing fears" kind of project as it also involved setting in sleeves, heaps of top stitching and drafting and bagging a lining.  Phew.

Deer and Doe patterns are drafted for a C cup, and the size 38 muslin fit me pretty well out of the packet.  There was a bit of extra fabric above the bust which I removed in my final version, and added in a little bit over the bust.  I also reduced the height of the sleeve cap by 2cm as the original sleeves were a bit poofy for me. There is still a little bit of gather there but not too much.  To gather the sleeves, I used by overlocker with the differential feed cranked up.   It's changed my attitude to setting in sleeves altogether and now I actually quite enjoy it.
De-poofed sleeves

Sewing this up was really enjoyable.  I did all my cutting out at social sewing and overlocked the pieces and then took my time sewing it up over the next couple of weeks, with quite a few of the sewing sessions taking place outside in the garden.  The joys of Spring in Melbourne!

The pattern went together really well with everything matching up as it should.  Topstitching was done in a lime green thread.

The pattern does not come with a lining so I drafted one using a combination of this tutorial, an article from threads magazine and advice from Kathleen at social sewing (thanks again Kathleen !)

Given the amount of winging it, it  worked out OK,although you can see that the lining is a bit saggy at the bottom because I ended up shortening the jacket by 5cm but forgot to take enough off the lining. The polka dot fabric cotton is also from the oppy but I used some bemsilk on the sleeves for ease of taking the jacket on and off.  Adding the lining using  Grain line's bagging method was pretty fun, although I did totally end up making a straitjacket the first time round. Tip:  follow the instructions for sewing the sleeves even though they seem counter-intuitive.

Let's play spot the button

After contemplating using snaps because of my button fear, I decided to brave it and did the button holes in lime green thread.  Turns out it's not so hard. Duh!  I made some self covered buttons  which kind of disappear into the garish floral explosion that is this jacket.

I am the garden detective
It's good to have a little fun with sewing, no?  And making this jacket was exactly that. Plus wearing it makes me happy.

Pattern: Pavot by Deer and Doe, size 38cm


- took 2cm out of the sleeve cap
- took 0.5cm from the upper princess seam, and added 0.5 over the bust
- shortened by 5cm
- took in the 'skirt' from hips to the hem (2cm)

Friday, October 3, 2014

Five favourite garden things

There's lots of colour in our Spring garden right now. Pinks and purples and blues.

From top: Crimson flowered Broad Beans | Passionfruit | Purple sprouting broccoli | Red cabbage | Borage 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Go Anywhere Dress? I'll go to to Melbourne Frocktails thanks!

This is my Melbourne frocktails (aka mocktails) dress.  It was going to be a completely different dress, well skirt and top actually, but plans fell through and I'm kind of glad because I loved wearing this on the night.  It was bright and fun, just what a night with the lovely sewing gals of Melbourne (and Geelong) called for. And it was a really fun night.  Yay for sewing meet ups!

So, the dress.  This is the "go anywhere' dress from Sewn Square One patterns.  I have no idea how I stumbled across this pattern. It certainly doesn't have many reviews on the Interwebs and I wasn't a huge fan of the samples made up on the envelope, but the line drawings looked interesting and it had several variations (pockets, sleeves, long & short, tunic length etc ) so I thought I'd give it a go.

I bought a couple of metres of this abstract floral cotton sateen from GJ's during a social sewing day, but only ended up using about a metre and a bit.  Sewing it up was pretty straightforward. I cut it out and based it together during the morning of a social sewing day.  I cut the size small based on my bust  and waist measurement but ended up taking it in a bit through the upper chest and hips which was pretty easy with the princess seams.  Its worth noting that the measurements for the sizes are quite big ranges (eg the small is for a waist of 25-27.5cm which is quite a big difference).  I didn't add the pockets.

Then  I left it sitting on my dress form for months until Sewaway when Rachel laid down the challenge that she could finish her dress (made from the rest of this fabric) first.  I sewed like a manic: lining with purple bemsilk using the burrito method, demonstrated by  Melanie in person; handpicked zip and handstitched hem.   I won (only just and purely because most of my dress was actually already finished)  but needless to say Rachel made a stunner of a frock which I'm sure she'll reveal soon.

There's a lot to like about this dress. It's easy to fit because of the seaming, the side panels curve around the body in a rather flattering way and it's really comfy to wear - not too clingy round the middle, helped by the fact that the sateen had some stretch.  As drafted, it is probably a bit short for work wear so I did originally do a really small hem  but when Melbourne Frocktails rolled around, thought "what the hell" and took it up another 1.5cm.  Sorry for the lack of good pictures of the back and inside of the dress. You'll have to take my word for it that the zip looks awesome :)

I was quite surprised by the positive and lovely comments that this dress elicited at Melbourne Frocktails.  So much so that I'm planing some more versions: colour or texture blocking, maybe with some leather, adding the sleeves, a version with stripes running in different directions might be cool, a tunic version with the pockets.....

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Another knit top, but this time with interesting darts: Burda 9/2012 #106

Two posts in a week? Can you tell I'm a bit behind in blogging my finished objects?  This is from the November 2012 Burda magazine and the first time I've ever made a Burda pattern.  Normally I just get the magazines out of the library, plan many outfits, return them late and rack up big fines but NOT THIS TIME MORELAND.  I traced that sucker, cut it out and sewed it up at social sewing.  It helped that it was  a simple pattern and a knit so didn't have major fitting issues.  The instructions were very brief and I did have to ask the social sewing ladies for help but fortunately they were able to demystify them for me.

In the magazine the top is made up in a knit and a woven so I sized down from my measurements (I cut the 36 instead of the 38) and the fit is fine, even perhaps on the big side.  I moved the bust darts down about 1cm and left off the bottom band.  You might also notice that my back neckline doesn't have a V-shape. This was absolutely not intentional. I just followed the wrong line when tracing the pattern (there is also dress pattern with a zip closure). It's OK, but a bit lumpy at the CB seam so I do make this again, I'll do the neckline as intended - like this one.   The whole point of this top is the interesting darts which you can't see at all these pictures!!  Take my word for it that they are there, and  add some nice shaping.

The fabric is a synthetic knit with a raised texture - a bit like flocked wallpaper- from darn cheap fabrics, bought with the intention of making a midi skirt.  It seems that I am not very good with sticking to my sewing plans!  I'm not normally a wearer of white but my colour consultant told me this shade was OK so I'm running with it.  The knit was firm enough to make the collar stand up in a pleasing way but because it's bit see-through so I have to wear something underneath. I've got a white tee on in these pics: not a particularly good choice because it makes it look like there are creases in the arms, which there aren't.

It's got a bit of a 60's/coco/Bjork vibe to it don't you think?  Good with jeans, capris (not that I own any) or even shorts?

Pattern: Burda traced from the library = free
Fabric: 1m knit from darn cheap = $9?

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Two piece Set-acular: chevron tee and pencil skirt

This Clegs knit was bought with a maxi skirt in mind but once I'd seen Sophie's 2 piece Set-acular  and Pinterest board I couldn't get the idea of a matching set out of my head. I was particularly  inspired by this one as well as Sophie's sets #1 and #2  (I'm hoping there are more to come!).  The only problem?  I only bought 1.1m of fabric. But I made it work and now have a matching set which can be worn together or... with other stuff.

I picked a couple of patterns that I've used before, and knew that would work:  the skirt is Colette Patterns Mabel, with a size tweaks since my last 2 versions (not blogged but hiding somewhere on Instagram during Me Made May).   The top is Grainline's Scout Tee which I've made a squillion times before.

Getting both these patterns to fit on my limited fabric, even though it was wide, was a challenge. No matter how I laid out those pattern pieces, I wasn't going to get a back, front and sleeves (plus the skirt) out of 1.1m.  The idea of a crop top did enter my mind. I even made a muslin but it just wasn't... me.  Plus,  I didn't want to risk making something that I might not  wear out of my special fabric.

I had almost given up on the idea when I had an ah-ha moment and realised that if I chopped up the tee pattern a bit and added a back yoke in a different fabric then I could make it work.  Woot!   I just measured down from the shoulder, copped the pattern piece straight across and added seam allowances.

Given the fabric constraints, pattern matching falls into the 'as good as could be expected' camp but thankfully the zig zags (or are they chevrons Rachel?) are quite forgiving.    Both the skirt and top were made almost entirely on the overlocker, with hems and sleeves stabilised with that sticky tape stuff and twin needled.  The neckline is finished with bias tape, as the knit is pretty stable I wanted a clean finish rather than a neckband. Looking at the back in these pics I'm kind of regretting m decision to top stitch in grey though. I might unpick and redo it again in black.

During construction I had another woot/ah-ha moment when I realised that I can gather on my overlocker if I crank up the differential feed.   Hello perfectly set in sleeves.

I'm pretty happy with my matchy-mathy set and I know I'll get heaps of wear out of both these pieces especially when the weather warms up (the sun in these pics is deceptive; it was -1C this morning in Melbourne).  Thanks to Humble Habit for taking the pictures again.  This time we had a little helper who suggested some poses for me:

Work it....
Thanks Circe :)

Top: Grainline Scout T, size 0 (I sized down to take into account that this was a knit)
Skirt, Colette Mabel, size S, grading to a size XS at the hips and waist.
Fabric: 1.1m of wool knit from Clegs, about $30 which is pretty pricey for me. I blame thank Kat :)