Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Eleven More Menswear Months

The next eleven months of Darron's twelve outfits are starting to take shape.  We rummaged through my fabric and picked out a few bits and pieces that he likes.  Adding that to the bit of shopping we've recently done and here's where we're going:

October:  Another pair of Jeds, this time in light weight, chocolate brown drill.  A white, green and blue checked shirt.  The pattern for this is a Style pattern from 1984.  It's a great simple slim fitting shirt with different sleeve lengths, collar and pocket options.  I made a muslin to check the fit and all important sleeve length, both of which were spot on.  Joss then claimed the muslin and wore it shopping.  Finally a Strathcona Henley jumper in a gorgeous olive NZ merino knit.

November:  A pair of chino shorts with a contrast check pattern turned up cuffs and pocket binding.  This will be the first modified Jeds of the project.  A raglan long sleeve tee, possibly with a henley placket in this blue slub jersey.

December:  A pair of mango coloured canvas shorts, Jedediah of course.  A plain white crew neck tee from the Strathcona pattern and a sailboat print shirt from the same shirt pattern as I used for October.  The short will have long sleeves to fold up to elbow length.  (I am making myself a shirt in this sailboat fabric too, matching his and hers.  We're one step away from matching tracksuits!)

January:  Another pair of shorts, maybe cargo shorts or denim and an interesting tee.  We've been looking at colour blocking and interesting patterned knits for this one, but haven't come to a final decision yet.

February:  A short sleeved Starthcona henley with contrast placket and pocket, possibly in this rusty coloured jersey.  With a pair of wider legged Jedediah pants in a summer weight fabric, I'm looking for a nice linen blend for these.

March:  I'm going to have a go at mens jeans in March.  They will be joined by a mustard V neck jumper and a button down shirt.

April:  Heres where we really get challenging!  A three piece navy wool suit, with a dress shirt and tie.  This will be a big month, there is a lot of work in tailoring a mens suit.  I am searching for a pattern for this, it's difficult as there is really not a great variety of menswear patterns about at the moment.  Maybe Vogue patterns will release something, but I'm not holding my breath. 

May:  May's outfit will be based around a Newcastle Cardigan.  We haven't planned the details of the last few months outfits, just key pieces at this stage.

June:  Pump Jockey.  This is the only knit for the project so far.  There is a possibility for some accessories along the way, but we need to see how they fit in.

July:  Winter pyjamas and a warm hooded robe.  I have a pattern for the robe already, and mens PJs are the one thing there are plenty of patterns for!

August:  The final month!  For August we're looking at a button down shirt with contrast under the collar and inside the cuffs and button bands.  A waistcoat and maybe another cardigan.  Pants of course, we just haven't decided what type.  If March's jeans are a success, there could be another pair of jeans here.

So that's our outline!  I have accumulated a bunch of patterns in my travels, there are some decent simple patterns from the 80's, some poorly styled but versatile patterns from the 70s and even some interesting pocket details on a pants pattern from the 60s.  

With the Thread Theory patterns as well (they're releasing a beautiful coat pattern soon too!) I've actually got a good variety of garments covered.  Menswear seems to be variations of the pants/shirt/outer layer combination, so mixing up detailing, layering, fabrics and styling seem to be where the variety lies.

Has anyone else found some great menswear patterns?  

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Dress

Hey, remember a couple of years ago, I was making a wedding dress?  I did actually finish it.  And it was actually worn by a bride on her wedding day!  Here are the pics!  The gorgeous bride is my best friend Emma, the photos are by her lovely, talented sister Michelle.

This dress was not only the most involved sewing project I had attempted, it was also the first time I had ever sewn an important garment for someone else, following their brief.

I am very proud of this dress, it was a big lesson in patience for me.  Every step had to be carefully completed before moving on to the next.

Looking at the photographs again, I still get warm fuzzy feelings.  I am so glad I was able to make this wonderful, important thing for someone I love.

After I finished, for a while I was sure that I could only ever make a garment like this for someone I love.  Some of this can be credited to my infant and preschooler, at the time I couldn't imagine ever having the time and focus again to do careful beautiful work.  As the kids are getting older and more independent, I want to make more special dresses, so much so that I'm taking steps to get formal education in the field.  I love to make beautiful things.  Tiny gorgeous first birthday dresses, first communion dresses, debutant gowns, bridesmaids frocks, I want to make them all, and maybe one day more wedding dresses will come out of my studio.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Summer Colours and a Capsule Wardrobe

Because I clearly don't think I'm sewing enough!  Following Gillian from Crafting a Rainbow as she created an autumn capsule wardrobe using her wonderful colour palette method made me look a little differently at my summer wardrobe sewing plans.  So when I found my coloured pencils while spring cleaning the studio I spent an afternoon assessing what I want and need, what I actually want to make and what colours I'm loving for summer to bring it all together.

I started with my November and December outfits, navy blue and some bright floral fabric I really want to use for summer.  Then I gathered all the patterns I had been setting aside for summer.  Finding a balance between what I want to make and what I want to and am likely to wear was tricky.  I want to make them all!  That's why I collect all these patterns, every single one of them.  I took the floral fabric as a starting point for colours.  All the colours go well with navy, so that's a base colour confirmed.  Then there is red, pink/coral, yellow, teal and turquoise.   At this point I decided that the floral print gets to be a Wiksten tank dress.

Using the Fashionary printable technical templates, I got to planning.  I love my big fashionary journal and I have a little neon light in my bag at all times, I think I'll get the tech template sticky memo pads too, they're wonderful.  And here's what I've come up with: 

Shorts: Navy, and stretch geometric patterned denim, both from Burdastyle Magazine.  The denim shorts are the bottom of December's outfit.

Dresses: Floral Wiksten Tank dress with elastic casing at the waist, 1980s Vogue wrap dress - I'm hunting for another bright patterned fabric for this one.

Shirts: Chambray sleeveless shirt - this one came from the shirt originally planned for September's outfit and already cut, white sailboat sleeveless shirt from Burdastyle mag 06/2012 - there will be enough left over from Darron's November shirt (aw yeah matching his and hers).

Tops, tees, and tanks:  A Wiksten tank - this one in red voile, a white jersey Elise tee (November's top).  

Scoop neck bodysuit in coral jersey, navy jersey scoop necked button front tank (December's top).

Skirts: Yellow (possibly eyelet lace, maybe a print, it looks like I may have to dye to get the golden yellow I'm after) wrap skirt from a late 1970s Simplicity pattern.

Blue and white seersucker Button front skirt, this one is November's bottom.

Swim suit: Turquoise 1970s halter neck.

So in theory all these colours work together and any top and bottom from the collection should look good.  It seems like a lot to tackle, but most of the garments are quite simple.  The chambray shirt is already done and awaiting buttons and the Wiksten tank is cut and ready to sew.  So by knocking over a garment every now and then between other projects I should have a well stocked wardrobe in time for summer! 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Outfit Eight - September

Now that I've shown off Darron's September outfit, here is mine!

This outfit was always going to involve a Dahlia Cardigan.  I bought the Colinette Jitterbug yarn for it a year and a half ago at the Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show.  The colour way is Ginger Cinnabar and it is gorgeous!  This cardi has a really interesting method of construction, everything is knitted off the centre back lace panel.  Once I wrapped my head around the construction it was pretty straightforward. The only modification I made was to shorten the sleeves to elbow length, perfect for a spring cardigan.

I have had the fabric for this skirt for a couple of years.  It is a heavy weight cotton with a floral print inspired by the work of the artist Pissarro.

I bought it from my fabulous local op shop and was waiting to come across the perfect garment for it.  When I saw how well the colour of my yarn picked up the darker tones in the fabric I was sold!

The pattern is from BurdaStyle magazine 08/2009, pattern 110.  I made it without lining because the fabric is heavy enough to not need it.  It has pleats in the front and sits just above my natural waist line. An invisible zipper and vent in the back.  It's a very simple fitted pattern that makes the fabric the feature.

I had planned on making a chambray shirt to go with this outfit, I had even cut it out.  Then I found a 1980s Calvin Klein for Vogue pattern while shopping my mum's stash.  It was perfect for this outfit, then I found this slinky crinkly rayon at my local basement fabric outlet, a one metre remnant, just enough to make it.  I took that as a sign.  

I love the shawl collar and simple lines with a little bit of texture.  The fabric, while bing quite lovely, it light and slippery, so even though I took my time sewing, there were stiLl some nervous moments.  There are some flaws, but nothing major so I'm ok with them.  With a garment so simple I went a bit fancy with the buttons.  Speaking of buttons, the top button placement on the pattern is quite low, this wouldn't be an issue in a fabric with more body, but this just slipped open too easily and exposed considerably more of my undergarments than I like.  Simple solution, I added another button. 

This outfit is a bit of a departure from my original 12 outfits mission statement.  It's not quite in line with the more casual, everyday wardrobe I was aiming to make.  A couple of months ago I applied to return to school.  I'm hoping to study a Diploma of Applied Fashion Design and Technology.  I have an interview in November and an opportunity to present my folio and three garments I've made.  I'm planning on wearing this skirt and blouse for that interview.  So with interviews and the possibility of school next year, my wardrobe focus has shifted somewhat.  If my application is successful, it will mean big changes, two years of full time study would definitely be an adventure!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Menswear Outfit One: September

Here is the first of Darron's twelve outfits!  As you can see from that smile, he likes it!  I love a satisfied customer.  September's outfit is brought to you by Thread Theory.  I bought the Parkland Wardrobe Builder Package, because building a wardrobe is what we're doing here.  Plus these are by far the best menswear patterns I've found.  The patterns are so adaptable, the style and fit suits Darron perfectly, and the patterns themselves are fantastic.

The first garment is a Strathcona Henley in navy jersey.  This fabric is fairly firm, with minimal stretch.  I'm going to use the henley neckline on a tee for me, the pattern for it is so easy to use.  The best part of this one?  The sleeves.  With the cuffs, these sleeves are the perfect length for Darron!  No modifications necessary!  We have plans for some more henleys with various sleeve lengths, pockets and features in a couple of different fabrics too.  The plain tee version will be very hand as well.

Above you can see the waistband hem on the top.  I love the way it looks.  It takes it above plain tee to  be a nice smart top.  

Check out those top stitched back pockets and flat felled seams!  The Jedediah pants pattern is amazing!  I am so pleased with the result.  The pattern itself is excellent, the instructions are clear and helpful and the sew along on the Thread Theory blog was super!  The flat felled seams, bound seams, zip fly and waistband attachment, all clearly stepped through with pictures and even video instructions.  I will be using their trouser construction method for all future casual pants.

The next pair of Jeds I make for him will probably go down a size as the size I cut is borderline between fitting perfectly and being a smidge on the large side.  The next pair we'll go down a size and see how we go with a slimmer fit.

All up, as a smart casual outfit, this is exactly right for Darron.  A bit of colour with versatile garments.  Darron is now on the hunt for the perfect shoes to go with this style of pants.  Desert boots, boat shoes, oxfords, tennis shoes, leather, canvas, the options go on and on!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Holidays, Relaxation and Productivity

In a rare and wonderful occurance all members of this household have had the last two weeks off school, work and extra curriculars.  This has meant quality time as a family as well as some quality sewing time for me.

We started out our break with our September family tradition.  Every year we go to the the Royal Melbourne Show.  We go for many reasons, but the big one is this:

Coen was 18 months old the first time we took him to the show.  I love this way of watching him grow and change, and now Joss is in the picture too.  There will come a day when we may have to bribe teenaged Coen with unlimited ride passes to have a photo taken with his little sister and a lamb.

Next on my list (possibly after all the tasty food, beer and GIN samples) is the amazing craft work exhibits.  It's no secret that I love all things handmade, and there are always many gorgeous examples on show.  Every year I come a way inspired to enter some of my work in our local show, I've never actually been organised enough to get anything done in time though.  Maybe this year is the year.  It's not like I have the next few months completely booked up with sewing for myself and others.

Last weekend we took the kids on their first real camping trip.  It was the most relaxing thing we've done in a very long time.  We are lucky that we live just 20 minutes away from beautiful camp grounds like this, and now that Joss can follow directions and not put every single thing she finds in her mouth, we are planning a summer filled with camping trips.  We may or may not have put a deposit on a second vehicle more suited to camping than our wee roller skate so we can go on bigger more adventurous trips.

How's the serenity.  I cast on an Oscar cardigan for Joss while we were away and managed to get up to the armpits, just knitting by the creek and campfire.

What? Doesn't everyone get meditative knitting on a log over a creek?

On the sewing front, my September outfit is done!  I'm really happy with this one.  It's a little different from what I had originally planned, but with good reason, which I will go into once I get it photographed.

Darron's first outfit is also done! (Or it will be once I attach a button and hem his trousers.)  His outfit is also a little different to the original plan, but when school holiday expenses eat up your budget for wool-cashmere blends your blazer gets moved back a couple of months.  Here's a sneak peek at his pants.

Piggies in his pockets!  These pants have been so fun and educational to make, I can't wait to show you!

So that's what we've been up to.  We also donated about a third of the kids' toys, put up Coen's new loft bed, I got a fantastic deal on gorgeous summer shoes, sat down with my niece to pick out a pattern and fabric for her Christmas/birthday dress, bought the pattern for the bridesmaid dresses I'm making for my wonderful friend's April wedding, and this weekend is packed with family celebrations.  Even though we've been super active this break, it has still been the most relaxing holiday I've had in a very long time!