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Tuesday 24 June 2008

Sophisticated Safari so far

Top1: Simplicity 4699 print knit shell top
Bottom1:Simplicity 4638 olive wool pants
Top2: McCall's 4304 ivory wrap blouse
Bottom2: Simplicity 5524 olive wool skirt
Accessory: Necklace, bracelet and earrings made from recycled vintage beads in olive with a few gunmetal coloured ones for balance.

Why my capsule should win!

Elizabeth asked each of us to say why we think our collection should win, and pointed out that it is not being conceited but gives everyone some sense of what you think are the best aspects of your collection.

I'll put mine in pictures! This is me wearing the olive pants I sewed for myself in June 2007, I felt reasonably pleased with them and posed with a happy smile - they had wide legs and an elasticated waist.

In June 2008 I was again inspired by the safari theme and sewed another pair of olive pants for myself. This time I used a slim leg pants pattern with darts and a zip, and this pattern is also 2 sizes smaller as well as more closely fitting. What a difference 35lbs makes!

I only need to lose 5lbs more to get into a healthy weight for my height, but I need to sew more clothes as nothing fits anymore. So for this reason vote for me :-)

OK I think I should win because I have lost 35lbs and have 5lbs to go, but I have sewed for the body I have now. My clothes fit me well and are practical for my lifestyle. The garments are constructed in a way that will allow me to alter them to fit when I get to my goal weight.

Monday 23 June 2008

Simplicity 5524 Skirt

Simplicity 5524 Skirt. Needed some alteration to get it to fit, but gives a flattering look once that had been done.

Simplicity 4638 Slim Leg Pants

Simplicity 4638 Slim Leg Pants

I had a frustrating time with these slim leg pants, but the end result after lots of ripping and resewing is really rather flattering, so it was worth it in the end.

McCall's 4304 Kimono style blouse

McCall's 4304 Kimono style blouse

Patterns used

Sunday 22 June 2008


OK I am officially DONE!!!
Here are the finished garments being worn.
Simplicity 4699 Leaf print Knit Top - Pattern review 4699 Shell Top
Simplicity 4638 Slim leg pants - Pattern Review 4638 Pants
McCall's 4304 Kimono Top - Pattern Review 4304 Blouse
Simplicity 5524 6 gore skirt - Pattern Review 5524 Skirt
Olive bead necklace, bracelet and earrings as the accessory (also made by me)

Sunday 15 June 2008

Simplicity 4699 Print Knit Top

Simplicity 4699 TOP is a TNT for me, so I sewed it up in this crazy jungle leaf print, it fits very nicely and works well over the flat front pants and skirt. I will try and do a picture of an actual outfit being worn once one of the bottoms (probably the skirt) is actually done.

The neckline is reinforced with Heat 'n' Bond Quilter's Edge since I can't locate the Steam a Seam and actually its worked pretty well and I would happily use it again, The armholes and hem are just turned under and stitched and lightly pressed.

Ripping and resewing

OK, so I ripped everything except the darts and zipper, and resewed with a 3/8" seam instead of a 5/8" and now I can sit although they are still not the best look ever.
I guess they are truly slim leg pants which is something which doesn't seem to be great on me :-(

The front crotch is definitely too long also. I trimmed 1 1/4inches off the front tapering to nothing at the centre back and its looking and feeling better.

The print knit top came out great, but I've used that pattern before so I know about the fit, I also used the 16 which came out nice which is one thing to be pleased about.
I tried on both the almost finished skirt and the pants with the top and bead jewellery and it looks pretty good.

I am going to make an ivory wrap blouse for my fourth garment as I think that will give a different look altogether and I can imagine it all working out now - the end is in sight :-)

Sizing of patterns (boo hoo)


As you may now I've lost 35 lbs since July last year which is great but of course means things don't fit anymore. At least in the shops if something is too large I can go down a size.
There must be some vanity sizing going on in the UK clothing shops these days because I am buying size 12 trousers if they have wide legs. I have no idea how to translate this into sewing pattern though.

In the Timmel SWAP I used Simplicity 4699 for many items including trousers. I cut a size 16 and the trousers were absolutely massive and needed about an inch taking off all the seams - admittedly I used fabric with some stretch in it but still.....

Fast forward to the JCC, and I am now using Simplicity 4638, this has some neat little straight leg pants, based on the experience with 4699, I decide to cut out a 14. I put the zip in the centre back to allow easier altering at the side seams if required and sew the pants up to try (no waist or hem treatment).
I can get into the pants and zip them up but look like an olive green sausage. Suddenly I have a huge tummy and thighs, sitting is not an option. The waist appears to come up 3 inches above my natural waistline, I have .8m of fabric left so recutting is not an option.

I don't get it, presumably the design differences and fabric choices are a factor, but the 14 is not that much smaller than the too large 16. And both patterns are fairly recent Simplicity wardrobe patterns.

I am currently taking a coffee break, but then I will let out the side seams as far as they go and see how it looks. If its still too tight then I'll add some narrow strips as a 'design feature' down the sides.

I suppose the secret is in measuring the pattern tissue before cutting out?

Progress at the half way mark

Today is 15th June, so I need to be at least half way finished with the June capsule contest.
What can I say some people are finished already!!
We seem to be having a lull in house viewings, so I have got the sewing stuff out again, at least for a little while.

I have finished my accessory - a jewellery set based on olive beads recycled from a old fashioned triple strand necklace with a broken clasp.
There is a very long strand of beads knotted onto sage green cotton knitting thread with two knots between each bead, which took awhile to get going but got done in little sessions.
There's also a bracelet on nude elastic cord using the olive beads and pairs of pewter grey beads.
Finally some simple dangle earrings using the same beads and some sterling silver hooks.
I hadn't made any jewellery for months and really enjoyed this little project.

Garments wise I am part done on three garments - the olive skirt, the olive pants and the print knit top. I'm not quite sure why that is if I am honest, I guess I am having a bad case of grasshopper brain, so need to switch over into completer finisher mode for a couple of hours and it'll all get finished off.

For my fourth garment I was going to sew the Jalie wrap top in Light Teal green knit, but it doesn't work terribly well with the olive green necklace, so I am going to have to come up with something else instead. I can ponder that whilst I finihs off the olive green things though.

Sunday 8 June 2008

Possible burda wrap dress

I subscribe to Burda World of Fashion magazine in English and have it sent mail order from Germany.
I do find my personal taste is less crazy than most of their fashion forward designs. I'm not really plus size any more but I do find the plus styles more appealing because they tend to be more classic and wearable styles.

The June edition of Burda WOF arrived a few days ago and has a lovely selection of plus size dresses designed by Ann Scholz. I was particularly taken with the simplicity of this classic wrap dress, though I might have slim 3/4 sleeves instead of the ones gathered into the cuff.

I plan to use a jungle leaf print knit for the dress and have a contrasting front band and tie in emerald green.

Slight issues with skirt

I sewed Simplicity 5524 except for the waist facing. I had cut it out in a 14 because all the 16 things I used recently were too large and needed altering back down. Ha! The 14 initially fit like a sausage skin - not a flattering look, fortunately 5524 has loads of seams so I was able to let out the two front and two back seams by ripping out and resewing at 3/8" instead of 5/8" and gained myself 2" all round which is much better. I left the side seams as the zip had gone in so neatly I didn't want to mess with it.

First garment started

I started sewing my first garment for the JCC. Its a 6 gore skirt from Simplicity 5524. I cut a size 14 in a lightweight olive suiting as part of my 'Sophisticated Safari' look.

I've used the long skirt shortened by 1 inch.