25reasons

Sew Knit Craft ~ Live Healthy


archerbuttonAre you loving the Archers that are showing up around the traps for Archer Appreciation Month? Just in case you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can read all the details on Rochelle’s blog over at Lucky Lucille, or on Erin’s Miss Crayola Creepy blog, or of course, on Jen’s Grainline Studio blog. OK. Now that I’d worked through my first Archer, I was ready for a second go at it, and wanted to be able to share a “good” shirt for #archerappreciation month. I’d seen a gorgeous J. Crew shirt made using 3 different Liberty Tana Lawn fabrics…

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and I was so smitten with how it looked, that I spent a bit of time going through my stash looking for the possible fabric combos to make one just like that. Here’s what I came up with, my Butterfly Archer shirt. I’d been saving that piece of Alexander Henry Fulham Road Eton Butterflies in cream for ages, waiting for just the right pattern. I squealed when I realized it would be perfect for this shirt. I’m so delighted with how it came out. I wear it every opportunity I get, and when I look down at my sleeves, or catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror or glass, I feel so happy and proud. This shirt came out exactly how I wanted, and with virtually no mistakes or bits I’d rather you wouldn’t see. Know what I mean?

I used Alexander Henry's Eton Butterflies voile for the front and back pieces, as well as for the undercollar.

I used Alexander Henry’s Eton Butterflies voile for the front and back pieces, as well as for the undercollar.

A beautiful Liberty Tana Lawn Hera in pink for the button band, cuffs & plackets, upper collar, and yoke.

The beautiful Liberty Tana Lawn Hera in pink for the button band, cuffs & plackets, upper collar, and yoke, purchased at Odette (a.k.a. Patchwork on Central Park)

Alexander Henry's Fulham Road Blue Bell for the sleeves and collar stand

Alexander Henry’s Fulham Road Blue Bell for the sleeves and collar stand

Did I mention that I love buttondown shirts???

Did I mention that I love button-down shirts???

I picked up some pretty pink shell buttons from Tessuti in Melbourne

I picked up some pretty pink shell buttons from Tessuti in Melbourne

How pretty does that collar look!

How pretty does that collar look!

Again, like with my first Archer, I chose the angled cuffs.

Again, like with my first Archer, I chose the angled cuffs.

My pretty yoke. Ah! Could I tell a story about that! Tip: when ripping out a seam you're not happy with, don't do it when you're angry with yourself, and be careful how far your rip goes! ie. down the newly-attached, beautifully finished and topstitched yoke is too far!!! Luckily, a bit of fancy footwork on the machine with carefully placed scraps manages to hide the blunder pretty well, don't you think?

My pretty yoke. Ah! Could I tell a story about that! Tip: when ripping out a seam you’re not happy with, don’t do it when you’re angry with yourself, and be careful how far your rip goes! ie. down the newly attached, beautifully finished and topstitched yoke is too far!!! Luckily, a bit of fancy footwork on the machine with carefully placed scraps managed to hide the blunder pretty well, don’t you think?

It feels so good on. I love it. I don't want to take it off. Ever.

It feels so good on. I love it. I don’t want to take it off. Ever.

I’m already planning my next Archer. Either a chambray, or linen. Or possibly a white batiste. I guess I could do all three, yes? Helene xo

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I feel rather embarrassed that I haven’t posted since before I attended The Craft Sessions - over two months ago! I’d fully intended to write all about it immediately after the weekend, to share with you just how amazing it was. But I want to share my Grainline Studio Archer shirts I’ve made first, before December is gone. It’s already the 30th! Nothing like leaving it to the very last minute!!!  Anyway, I’ve started a whole “nother” post about the Craft Sessions, and I promise I’ll get to it in the next couple of days and share with you just how ridiculously good that weekend was, but for now, I’m so excited to blog about this…

archerappreciation

This fabulous blogging event is collaboration brainchild of the fabulous Rochelle of Lucky Lucille, the wonderful Erin from Miss Crayola Creepy, and of course, the inimitable Jen from Grainline Studio. I had decided way back when I’d first seen the Archer that I’d sew myself up a few gazillion of them. I have always loved a good button-down shirt, and for some reason, the past few years decades have not seen many – if any at all – in my wardrobe. So, pretty much as soon as I’d returned from The Craft Sessions, where I’d restored my sewing confidence enough to fire up my brand new Husqvarna Opal 670 and, with my foot firmly planted on that pedal, I floored it, sewing my first shirt in, like I said, decades! I can’t tell you how happy I was, finally, to be sewing again.

My darling daughter Sarah had brought home some fabric from Mood that I just had to have, including a superbly light-as-air Marc Jacobs voile. This became my first Archer shirt, a very “wearable toile”.

I followed Jen's easy-to-follow tutorial. Even though the instructions that come with the pattern are great, there's nothing like and audio/visual!

I followed Jen’s easy-to-follow tutorial. Even though the instructions that come with the pattern are great, there’s nothing like and audio/visual!

Look how the pattern matches up across the button tab!

Look how the pattern matches up across the button tab!

Looking sharp on the dress form

Looking sharp on the dress form

I think I just stood there admiring my pattern-matching feat for ages! Couldn't believe I'd done such a good job, after all these years away from sewing!

Once I’d sewn on the button band and pockets, I just stood back admiring my pattern-matching feat for ages! Couldn’t believe I’d done such a good job, after all these years away from sewing!

Love the instructions for sewing on the yoke on the video! Jen's a genious!

Love the instructions for sewing on the yoke on the video! Jen’s a genius!

Do you like my little buttons? The placement was a little off, leaving a bit of a gaping problem when I wear it, but it's not too bad

I’d followed the button placement exactly from the pattern, but it was a little off, leaving a bit of a gaping problem when I wear it. Fortunately, it’s not too bad, especially if I wear a singlet or cami or tank top underneath

I just love the design of the cuffs! I took a whopping 4 inches off the length of the sleeves for this shirt, and the cuffs sit just shy of the wrist bone. Nice for a light summer shirt, but I wouldn't take that much off again.

I just love the design of the cuffs! I took a whopping 4 inches off the length of the sleeves for this shirt, and the cuffs sit just shy of the wrist bone. Nice for a light summer shirt, but I wouldn’t take that much off again.

Love the collar construction! Having a separated collar stand has the collar sit beautifully.

Love the collar construction! Having a separated collar stand has the collar sit beautifully.

Tomorrow I’ll post about my second Archer, one I adore wearing, one I’m quite proud of.
ciao, xo

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The Craft Sessions

I’m so excited! In a few day’s time, I’ll be attending The Craft Sessions weekend workshop in the beautiful Yarra Valley! I’m signed up for both Saturday and Sunday classes with the fabulous Sophie Parslow who writes a great blog called Cirque du Bébé.

On Saturday, she’ll be teaching us the ins and outs of making the Wiksten Tank. I probably could sew the Wiksten Tank on my own, in fact I know I can, but I picked this class to learn how to do a really nice rolled hem “worth bragging about”, as Sophie promises. Somehow I’ve lost a little confidence as a dressmaker, and I’m looking forward to the kick-start this weekend will give me.

Sunday will be equally amazing – we’ll be learning all about sewing with knits. I never had the courage to try sewing with knits on my 37-year-old Husqvarna, so I’m really looking forward to this one, learning how to use my new Husqvarna on knits. Hopefully my grandson will end up with a fabulous little Figgy’s Banyan t-shirt. Do you read Sophie’s blog? If not, you really must! She’s such an inspiration to me and so many others. I can’t wait to meet her at the weekend!!!

You know, I do keep wishing there was at least one more day of classes available, just so I could also do the half-day embroidery class with Melissa Wastney from the gorgeous blog Tiny Happy. I love to embroider, as you can tell with this and this quilt, this coverlet, and this pillow case, and I’m always wanting to learn more. I also would have loved to do the block printing on fabric half-day class with Leslie Keating of the truly inspiring blog, Maze & Vale. Not to mention the indigo blue dyeing class, and…. well, you see what I mean. Do you think I had a little difficulty making up my mind about what to sigh up for? You bet I did! So many great instructors and great classes! Oh well, next time I guess.

So now I’m dealing with having to decide which fabric to use for my Wiksten Tank top class. Here are my options. Which would you choose?

I hope to be tweeting/instagramming/blogging (maybe) throughout the weekend. I hope you’ll follow me.

Helene x

 

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Now, I’m delighted to say, there is one good thing that’s come out of the past horrible chest-infection-ridden days – Moshe said he’s happy for me to get started on his coat. In other words, he’s happy for me to measure him up, and to get that coat done. The fact that one of our good friends rocked up to our house for dinner last Saturday night sporting a similar warm and fabulous coat probably had nothing to do with it, right??? But hey, I’m just happy to be getting started!

First thing I did was to look through my library shelf of sewing books. I’ve sewn coats and jackets before, but I’ve not made a tailored mens coat before, and I’ve been searching and searching for information on how to do it right. After all, I’ve got the most beautiful fabrics lined up, you know the 80% wool/20% cashmere grey  with the gorgeous lining I’d bought from Tessuti. In case you missed it, I blogged about them here.

Except I’ve decided to ditch that Burda pattern I was going to use, because when Vogue Patterns came out with this more classic style, I thought it suited both Moshe and the fabrics I’d chosen better.

Now, here’s what I’m really excited about. I pulled a book off the shelf that’s just loaded with all the information I think I’m looking for. I’ve spent the past couple nights sitting on the couch with Moshe, watching episodes of Suits, and thumbing my way through the book, and I’m so excited. This book is unbelievable. I’m so very grateful to Peter from Male Pattern Boldness for recommending it to me!

Tailoring (Singer Sewing Reference Library)

Tailoring (Singer Sewing Reference Library)

Three Methods of Tailoring

I decided to start from the beginning of the book, and work my way through it as I follow the instructions that came with the Vogue pattern. First up, the book talks about “The Standards of Tailoring”, outlining the 3 different methods available for tailoring a garment – custom, machine, and fusible. It says that custom tailoring requires the most handwork, but I like that, so I think I’m going to go with that method, although I may end up using a combination of custom (ie. handstitching) and machine tailoring. I love the fact that I’ll be learning techniques that I should have asked my father to teach me while he was still alive, given he was a professional tailor, but I never did ask him. I didn’t think I needed to, since I didn’t ever plan on sewing for men. Shockingly short-sighted, I know. But oh well. Now, I want to know how to work with that hair canvas, and how to roll a collar properly. And this book has everything laid out for me to learn. So, here goes.

Selecting a Pattern

I’m pretty comfortable with the pattern I’ve chosen. It has a tailored collar, set-in sleeves, a back seam, it’s full-lined, a current yet classic style, among other required attributes, so we’re all good in this department. On to the next step.

Selecting a Tailoring Fabric

Now I’m pretty sure that what I paid for at Tessuti for my fabric kinda ensures its tailoring qualifications, but I decided to take it through the paces.

a) fibre content – with all natural fibres, it’ll press and shape well, and can be shrunk to reduce excess ease (although that one scares me a little!), and stitches will blend well into the fibres. Its colour is dark, it’s a medium weight, with surface texture, and a medium weave. All boxes ticked.

b) the “feel” tests – here I have to show you in photos:

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the push test – CHECK. yarns don’t separate, fabric recovers its shape well

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the crush test – CHECK. no creases or wrinkles remain

V8940-06-drape-test

the drape test – CHECK. falls into flattering folds, drapes nicely over shoulder

Now, the next step is choosing my interfacing. Here’s where I have to leave this post because it’s just after 7pm on Sunday night as I’m writing this, and I need to make some phone calls to find where I can buy me some hair canvas, lambswool, and any other interfacing I am going to need. Not actually convinced I need hair canvas for this soft cashmere/wool coat, but that’s one of the things I need to find out.

Do you know where I can get that stuff in Melbourne? Please let me know in the comments if you do. I’ll be forever grateful.

Have a good one!
x Helene

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I made this blouse awhile ago, and although I had blogged it back then, the post got deleted when I revamped my site last year. I want to include it here in My Sewn Wardrobe, so I’m writing it up again. Sorry if you’ve already seen this. It’ll be mostly pictures.

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This blouse is the first garment I made after a couple of decades! I love this Liberty print, I’d used it for lining this bag, and decided I wanted to see more of it.

 

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I’ve had this sewing pattern for years now, can’t remember exactly when I bought it, but I think it would have been back in the very early ’90s.

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A favourite wooden button for the back closure.

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French seams all the way through. Although I’m not really happy with the underarm seam It’s pulling a little.

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Overall, a very wearable blouse. I hope to get at least one photo of me wearing it for you. I’ll add it here when I do.

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