1

Changing domains: bear with me

Hi everyone! Just a quick note to say I’ve switched my blog over from wordpress.com to a self-hosted wordpress.org domain. That means the domain/URL has changed from http://www.tworandomwords.wordpress.com to http://www.tworandomwordsblog.com. I’m in the process of getting everything shifted over, including comments.

For those who follow via bloglovin: I have contacted bloglovin and the process should be automatic. I think I can do the same for those who follow via email.

For those who follow via wordpress, unfortunately I don’t think I can do anything to help the shift, so if you use a different RSS feeder as well I’d love you to follow me there. For anyone who just loads up the URL, every post will be automatically redirected here so you don’t have to do anything either!

I’ve tried to make it as easy as possible for everyone (although I should have waited for redirection until AFTER everything was sorted out, whoops). Everything should look the same as I haven’t changed themes yet (that will come later). Please tell me if there are any issues with the new site, or if there’s anything missing! I’ve also changed over to disqus for the comments because I like getting notifications when people reply to my comments and I figured you would too.

Mr. Guy sent me this .gif just for this post.

https://i0.wp.com/www.tworandomwordsblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/speeded.gif

12

Plaid Flannel Negroni

Hooray for Indie Patterns Month! Although actually this year there will be a two-month celebration, given that the annual Indie Pattern Month being run by The Monthly Stitch is in June, and the month organised by Mari from Seamster patterns is in May. It’s a busy month with Me-Made-May as well and this week is Selfish Sewing Week on Kollabora.

I kind of missed out on the selfish sewing week because (other than the bra) I only sewed for Mr. Guy this week.

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I’m quite a fan of checked flannel shirts, and have wanted to make him one for a while, inspired by “The New Zealand Legend”, the Swanndri. After I had such success with his first shirt, I decided to finally get around to making him one. I can call this one a success as well, he’s worn it almost every day since I made it!

ImageI used Lladybird’s tutorial when cutting out the fabric to ensure all the stripes matched. I thought I had made sure the sleeves matched as well but I’m thinking that the flatness of the sleevehead means you can’t match? I don’t know, it didn’t work anyway. But everywhere else – that is some MATCHING, ladies and gentlemen! I would like to point out the matching stripes at

  • The front
  • Both side seams
  • Each pocket and pocket flap! That one required re-cutting
  • The sleeve placket and cuffs
  • The collar!
  • Even the damned facings match even though there’s no way you’d be able to see that.

ImageOnce I get a hand sewing needle and stitch the pocket buttons on, it’ll sit flat and the stripes will line up PERFECTLY

I’m surprised I got it all so lined up, I used every last bit of fabric I had – which was only 104cm wide! Luckily I bought 3 yards*. I’ll admit the collar matching the shirt body was accidental, but it is a beautiful sight. I initially cut the yoke to match the body of the shirt but Mr. Guy thought it would be better cut on the bias, and he’s right – even if the lines matched in the middle they wouldn’t have on either side once the pleats get in the way.

* srsly I’ve decided to pretty much stop buying fabric from online – they only cut the exact measurement (and it’s usually in yards rather than metres), unlike our fabulours local sewing ships, and it’s often really narrow. Plus all the other obvious stuff like, supporting local, travel miles, not being able to feel the fabric.

ImageI made no changes to the fit since it fit perfectly in the first place, although there was something weird going on in the front (too much fabric at the center front so I chopped it off). The facing of the last version can swing open sometimes and you see the little seam there, so this time I did my trick of sewing the facing and interfacing right sides together, then turning and pressing so the seam is nice and pretty. I also, y’know, used black interfacing (unlike the white interfacing in the navy linen shirt) which helps.

I also drafted a collar stand and proper collar – when I asked, Mr. Guy said he would much prefer that to the camp-style collar, and even Zara from Off-Grid Chic said only Hawaiian shirts are allowed to not have a collar stand. For lack of a better option and following the suggestions on the Male Pattern Boldness – Men’s Shirt Sewalong, I traced off a pattern piece from an existing shirt. This worked well except I must not have had a right-angle at the “cut on fold” side. It looked a bit weird but luckily I was able to save it. Next time I might try and add a button placket rather than having a facing.

ImageThe only thing I don’t like is how the pocket flaps attach – the edge isn’t finished and because the back of the fabric is white, it looks bit odd, but not many people will see that. I guess it’s a sign of me growing up as a sewer that I care how so much about how the insides look.

ImageI love how this shirt turned out, and am quite jealous of Mr Guy – I tried it on and it’s soooo comfortable, so I’m just waiting on some muslin before I can plan my own flannel Archer shirt.

Details

Pattern: Negroni shirt by Colette Patterns

Fabric: Cotton plaid flannel from fabric.com, about $25 including shipping

Notions: Interfacing, thread (stash) and buttons, $3.70

Total: $28.70

ImageHave I convinced anyone else to try making stuff fo’ yo man? Sonja, I’m lookin’ at you. Look at that happy face.

19

And she produces… a bra!

Guysguysguys, I MADE A BRA

ImageThis is something that even a few months ago I wouldn’t have believed I would do. A proper adult bra with underwires and everything.

I had been dreaming of making bras for a while but figured it was such a specific skill set it would take ages to get even close. Meg posted about her Bra Quest and that brought it more into the realm of possibility, and I decided to try and start my own bra quest, thinking it would be a long time until I had something that I could wear comfortably.

After reading several reviews I decided to go with the Pin Up Girls Classic Bra by Bra Makers Supply, and I went with a kit from Summerset rather than trying to source every bit myself and ending up with a hodge podge of colours – this is Wedgewood Blue. While the supplies took a while to get to me, took even longer to finally build up the courage to make it. I traced off the pattern and it sat for a week before I pulled out the fabric. (Note: I used my regular tracing paper and I wouldn’t recommend using something so flimsy, because the pieces are so small I think you should really use the cardstock and trace route rather than tracing paper and pinning).

ImageSorry for the poor photos – the shiny material is difficult to photograph

I did make a muslin with underwire and everything (just missing the elastic, using woven fabric for the straps and muslin for the band) and while I did make a change, in retrospect it may have been the wrong fix! I’ve worked out over the last year that I have a broad base relative to cup size, so I need quite a large underwire. When I tried on my muslin I had fabric pooling in front of the side of the underwire so I took that out – but now the underwire sits a bit too close at the underarm. Neither of my bra fitting books deal with this so I’ll either add back the fabric I took, or try and lever the underwire out at more of an angle (does that make sense?). The second fix I can try on this actual bra so I’ll see how it goes.

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I’m really truely surprised at how good this looks, and how easy it actually was – although it did help to have experience with stretch fabric, and other lingerie (I’ve made lots of underpants) as it’s quite fiddly. I found the bra sew-a-long by Cloth Habit extremely useful.

 The bra has some issues with construction but they’re mainly just aesthetic – the zigzag being too big, etc.Also, I stupidly got my left and right lower cups mixed up so the shape isn’t quite right and there’s some pulling.I did my bar tack at different heights on the bridge casing and I suspect it’s causing problems with the underwire sitting in the wrong place.

Most importantly though, it fits, and fits reasonably well – I wore it for the first time today and while there is a small amount of irritation under the left breast, it’s pretty comfortable! And it’s pretty – I like how it all matches, including the rings and sliders. I decided to put the sliders at the front because it’s sooo annoying tightening a bra strap when they’re at the back, amirite?

ImageA few other bloggers who have recently made bras commented how odd they felt in soft-shell cups rather than padding – I don’t wear padded bras so this isn’t an issue for me. Most of my RTW bras are partial-bands so maybe part of my discomfort comes from a full band, I’m not sure. (The most annoying this about all of this is I don’t quite know WHY I’m getting the discomfort). I would love to make a long-line bra and it should be pretty easy, particularly if I put boning in the sides.

ImageNot sure what else I can say, other than “I have caught the bra bug” – I can see why most bloggers who have made a bra haven’t stopped at one (and this is surely the best bra set in the world – it matches my shoes!), and I’m looking forward to being a fancy lady having matching underwear sets (that don’t cost $100+).

Has anyone else made bras, or thought about it? What about lingerie? I’ve also got the two Ohhh Lulu bralet patterns, which I keep meaning to make again (sooo comfortable). I do make my own underpants as well which is cheap and quick to do once you have a good pattern (I have Ohhh Lulu’s Ginger and Betty patterns found here, and Jalie 3242).

Details

Pattern: Classic Pin Up Bra from Bra Makers Supply, $27

Fabric and Notions: Wedgewood Blue kit from Summerset, $29. It came with this beautiful lace too but I FORGOT to put it on

Total: $56. Not tooo dissimilar from a fancy bra, although I used to rough it and buy $20-30 ones.

ImageFull sun!

27

Curvy Colette #2: Show Me the Moneta’s!

This is my second post for the Curvy Colette Blog Tour. When you’ve finished reading, why not check out the rest of the posts:

Wednesday, April 16th: Jenny at Cashmerette
Thursday, April 17th: Mary at Idle Fancy
Saturday, April 19th & Sunday April 20th: Laurence at QuirkyPrettyCute
Monday, April 21st:  Tanya at Mrs Hughes
Tuesday, April 22nd and Wednesday, April 23rd: T at UandMii
Thursday, April 24th: Jenny at Cashmerette
Friday, April 25th: Mary and Idle Fancy
Saturday, April 26th and Sunday, April 27th: Sophie-Lee at Two Random Words (me!)
Monday, April 28th: Mary at Young, Broke and Fabulous 

Welcome to my second post for the Curvy Colette blog tour. This time, I’m here with their new dress pattern, the Moneta. This is a simple, but cleverly designed knit dress but 5 extra collar options. Readers, this dress is rad.

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When I got the Tiramisu dress by Cake Patterns, I thought “this is it! Comfortable dress that looks good” and planned to make a heap. After making it twice (the first had poor fabric choice, the second got stained somehow on the first day I wore it) I realised that the shape/design didn’t really suit me – the bias skirt made my hips cu-razy (especially with the pockets) and for the seams to sit in the right place the mid panel would have to be 15cm long, which looks odd. So without a pattern, I’ve been sewing purely woven dresses. Until the Moneta.
The pattern has a fitted bodice, shaped quite differently from other knit bodices I’ve seen, short- or long- sleeves, and a gathered skirt with in-seam pockets, which because of the fuller skirt are hidden well.
 https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/p1070694.jpg
This version is made from a knit I bought at last years Fabric-a-Brac, I’m not sure of the content but it feels like a viscose, heavy but quite thin. I had just enough of the fabric and couldn’t fit on sleeves, and thought a collar would be too busy so I went with the plain sleeveless version. It’s lined with leftover “ponti” from my Mabel skirt (which is, in fact, the perfect weight for a bodice lining, go figure).
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Size cut: I cut the size L in the bust and waist and an XL in the hips.
Changes made: Thinking this might be a bit short on me, I added 10cm to the length. This was TOO much length to add, when I tried it on before hemming it looked… weird. I did a 3cm hem (just zig-a-zag ahh’d) but it could be a couple of cm shorter.
Things to change next time: Because the bodice is drafted for sleeves, when I made it sleeveless the shoulder seams are a bit too far over – which I think is the reason why I have some gape at the front. Next time I make it sleeveless I’ll narrow the shoulder a bit and see if that helps. I also felt that the waist seam was a touch too high so I lengthened the bodice 1.5cm.
https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/p10706881.jpg
Now because I had so much success with this first one, and only kind of because The Monthly Stitch’s April challenge is “Sew Double”, I quickly made up another version, this time with my favourite collar:
https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/p1070640.jpg
This version is made from a merino-viscose blend from The Fabric Store. I had initially bought it to make another Sew Over It Wrap Dress, but I hadn’t got around to it yet, and my stash knows that my plans are only solid until another plan comes to mind. Annoyingly, the stripes are completely off-grain (by about 20-30 degrees) – when cutting the skirts I had thought I made them straight, but they shifted (silly for cutting on the fold). Luckily it’s not very obvious (small stripes and gathered skirt) but I had to be a lot more careful when cutting the bodice/sleeves/collar.
https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/p1070664.jpg
This version has the added 1.5cm length to the bodice, so I don’t know if that was too much fabric (amazing how 8mm will make such a difference with comfort) or if it’s because the fabric seems to have stretched vertically a bit – the hem feels a bit longer than it did when I first made it.
https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/p1070669.jpg
Other than that, this dress is so good. The collar is cute as, even if Jessie-Dog got excited when we were playing and somehow bit a hole in it, meaning I have to tie it weirdly. It’s a thin merino wool which means it’s appropriate for all seasons. Because it’s thin and extra stretchy it does show bra straps etc which is annoying but I can live with that.
https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/p1070648.jpg
What else to say? These photos were taken on our anniversary weekend again (this time with crappy weather) – the first is in the harbour of Okiato, a tiny town that was New Zealand’s first ever capital before it was shifted to Auckland in 1841 (later moved to our current capital, Wellington, for political reasons). There was also some FLASH houses there. The second dress was photographed at Flagstaff, where the British flag was cut down 4 times in protest against colonisation. We also got to see where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed, which was cool.
https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/p1070679.jpg
Details
Fabric: Houndstooth knit from Fabric-a-brac, $5, leftover knit for lining. Merino-viscose knit from The Fabric Store, $45
Notions: Thread, interfacing and elastic from stash (I used picot elastic because it’s all I had but I don’t think it’s quite strong enough)
Total: $5 and $45
25

Curvy Colette: My Mabel Skirts

This is my first post for the Curvy Colette Blog Tour. When you’ve finished reading, why not check out the rest of the posts:

Wednesday, April 16th: Jenny at Cashmerette
Thursday, April 17th: Mary at Idle Fancy
Saturday, April 19th & Sunday April 20th: Laurence at QuirkyPrettyCute
Monday, April 21st:  Tanya at Mrs Hughes
Tuesday, April 22nd and Wednesday, April 23rd: T at UandMii
Thursday, April 24th: Jenny at Cashmerette
Friday, April 25th: Mary and Idle Fancy
Saturday, April 26th and Sunday, April 27th: Sophie-Lee at Two Random Words (me!)
Monday, April 28th: Mary at Young, Broke and Fabulous 

There are some patterns that as soon as you make and try on, you laugh. Why on Earth haven’t I made one before??

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Colette Mabel is one of those patterns. I used to have a black knit, princess seamed skirt that I loved, and wore all the time. At least once a week. One day a year or so ago it went missing and ever since I’ve thought “I should really make one of those”. I’ve half-heartedly tried a couple of times, using this pattern from Burdastyle, but they ended up going to my sister-in-law Tough Chick.

When Colette Patterns released their two new patterns, the Mabel skirt and Moneta dress, it took a bit of time to sink in. “Oh, some basic knit stuff, how nice” and on I continued with my day. Then I realised – this is EXACTLY the sort of stuff that’s missing in my hand-made wardrobe. With Me-Made-May coming up, I’ve really had to think about which garments I reach for more than others, and what kind of things I’m missing.

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This pattern has definitely filled a gap in my wardrobe. It’s quick to make, quick to pull on and sooo comfortable. I would warn you though: be very careful what kind of fabric you use! Being so far away from any fabric stores, I bought this online and while it was described as a Ponti de Roma “knit wear, tops, skirts and pants”, it’s a bit thin for this kind of thing. I cut the XL size, grading to a size L at the hips, and it’s a bit clingier than I would like.
https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/p1070588.jpg

At first I thought I would have to give it away as it was showing all sorts of bumps and VPL’s, but I’ve found myself reaching for it quite a lot. Unfortunately the fabric has already started to pill, only a week after making it (and wearing it about 4 times since making it).

https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/p1070584.jpg

Thinking that the clinginess was a combination of the fabric choice and the pattern being slightly too small, I quickly made another one to test out the theory. Luckily I had just cut out a jumper for Mr. Guy and had easily enough of this wool blend leftover:

https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/p1070600.jpg

This second time I traced off the 2XL for the front side panels, giving me more room all around. I chose only that panel to trace bigger as I wanted the princess seams to sit further towards the middle, so they sit over the “fullest” part of my puku (stomach). You’ll also note this version is longer – while my black one has 2cm added to the length, when I walk it rides up to sit at mid-thigh. This version has a total or 12cm added to the length, and a 1.5cm seam allowance (for reference, I’m 178cm or 5’10”)

https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/p1070592.jpg

This is a much more “work appropriate” length, and is what I usually wear, although the shorter black version is nice to make me feel a bit like a babe (and it’s nice to finally have clothes that I can only wear out of work, rather than everything being work-appropriate – I don’t feel I can wear my ships or lobster dresses to work, for example).https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/p1070615.jpg

You’ll see that this thicker fabric still shows a lot of lumps and bumps, so it’s nicest with a cardigan over it. It’s quite thick so I can’t really wear a top over it (plus I don’t have many tops that are for wearing untucked). This is the main thing to be aware of when choosing fabric for this skirt – the more stretch the fabric has, the more it’ll show what’s underneath (because the fabric will “stretch” over the lumps/seams rather than sitting flat over them). Thicker fabric will help alleviate that, as would a fabric with two “layers” such as a terry knit. https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/p1070599.jpg

 I just love my facial expression in this photo.

What do you think of the new Colette patterns? I’m absolutely stoked that they’ve graded their patterns up – yes, I fit their standard block (although I would grade up in the hips) but so many women are stuck using Big 4 patterns because the indie patterns don’t go big enough. When looking at the patterns you can tell they actually did a fair amount of work getting a good “plus sized” sloper, as there’s some extra shaping in the 2 and 3XL sizes, to keep the proportions right. Well done Colette!https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/p1070576.jpg

This is how short it actually wears.

Details

Pattern: Mabel by Colette Patterns

Fabric: Black ponti, $14 incl. postage. Grey and black wool, ~$15

Notions: Thread, stash

Total: $14 and $15

In case you were wondering, the photos were taken in Russel in the Bay of Islands, where Mr. Guy and I went for a few nights over this ANZAC weekend, for our first wedding anniversary. Damn but I love that man. You’ll see a couple more Bay of Islands photos in my next post for the Curvy Colette Blgo Tour – tomorrow!

5

Tough chick dressed by Sophie: part two

Earlier in the year I did a post about some clothes I had made and were now in the possession of my sister-in-law, Tough Chick (that’s what her TV show would be called, if she had one). I realised I hadn’t posted the second lot of photos and, while I’m on holiday and not sewing (it’s our wedding anniversary!) I would post the second lot. These photos were taken at the end of a long day so we ended up getting quite silly with the poses. Both the tops were RTW tops that I gave to her as well. Even the shoes were once mine! Tough Chick doesn’t like shopping very much.

The first two are both made from this Burdastyle pattern and both ended up a bit too small for me. The first is made from a purple cotton ponte from The Fabric Warehouse

ImageImageIt doesn’t have a separate waistband or facing; instead, the top is folded down and tacked in place, so it looks seamless but it a bit harder to fit if you have a big difference between waist and hips, like me.

The second one is made from a lavendar woven fabric (?content) with lots of stretch, leftover from another dress.

ImageThe following is an example of my learning curve when it comes to choosing fabric for projects. It’s a Hollyburn skirt that started out as the knee-length, but I cut the hem so wonky it ended up being quite short. It’s made from a polka dot fabric (either polyester or rayon, I can’t remember) that is so lightweight it’s obviously meant to be a lining rather than a full skirt!

ImageImageThe last skirt was my Christmas present to TC, and is a Colette Ginger skirt made from an acrylic fabric, lined with some kind of fabric (honestly, I should know all this, but they were all made before I had a really good handle on fabric selection). It’s hemmed with a lace facing.

ImageImageSo, that’s that. Last year I ended up getting rid of quite a few of my me-made items and although I’m getting better, I have a few items made this year that will end up the same way (hopefully TC wants them too). I’m not sure if it’s because of my fitting, or because I’m sewing styles that aren’t completely me? It’s so easy to get caught up in hype about certain patterns, or decide that you like a pattern so much without really thinking about whether it’ll suit you or not.

At least it’s better making your own than buying RTW, as I used to buy things purely for the fabric rather than the style (I would buy basically anything polka dot that I could find). Do you guys think it’s easier or harder to “shop to flatter” when sewing your own clothes?