Thursday, 29 May 2014


I got a great strike rate this last craft camp. A good mix of projects and good success with a number of items that were a bit of a stretch. I'm trying to get a better balance between the practical family needs, my desire to use specific fabrics from the stash, to try new exciting patterns and do some experimentation to push me out of routine choices.

It's hard to get the balance right. I'm a bit of an ADHD crafter and method, order and need can fly out the window with only slight provocation. I'm trying a few disciplines to push me to be more strategic and if this camp is any indication, I'm on the right track.

I always start with a to do list, but I've started collecting projects in advance of camps now, settling aside fabric and pattern in my special camp tubs. I also survey the kids wardrobes to try and find the oncoming holes I should plug before they become urgent, I try and have one exciting new project and at least one potential wearable muslin - expanding my repertoire without the pressure to make it awesome.

I've also started using my first day at camp just cutting out. This is my second camp doing this and it works really well. I can use the time before everyone arrives and there's more space to work with, and somehow cutting them all out stops me from dithering over what to do next. It also means I can organise the project order to minimize changing threads on the machines. I also figure if I don't get to sew them all they will be more likely to be finished off at home (or next camp) if I've already committed them to scissors.

I started with a simple skirt, the Norma from Ottobre 5/10. The pattern was so simple I was skeptical it would be good so I used a knit remnant from Tessuti that was just the right size. It came out better than I expected, but I think next time I'd use a heavier fabric.

Next up a repeat of the cowl neck vest from Ottobre 2/10 - another very simple quick project I've made a few times before. It's great for layering over long sleeve Ts in the office and I just squeezed it out of the left overs of some lovely soft slightly felted light weight wool jersey from a project from a few winters back. Another Tessuti remnant.

Next up I tackled I a project I've had in my head for months. I wanted a skirt with big pockets. I drafted the pattern from another very different Ottobre skirt - turned 4 panels into 6 and added the gapey pockets into the panel seams. I had to alter the original quite a bit - it was too flared first run - but the changes were easily made and transferred back to the pattern, so I expect to make another work oriented version soon. I love this Tessuti denim I used for jeans a few years ago and am very glad I added some extra to the stash. Big thanks to Amanda for donating the gingham for the pocket linings! I absolutely love the end result, it's exactly what I wanted and it feels so good to have made the pattern myself.

Next up the (planned) increase to the lad's long sleeve T store and the (unplanned) robot short replacements. The kid doesn't need shorts, especially at this time of the year but a few days before camp he tore right through the backside of his favourite linen robot shorts and was very down about it. Luckily I'd added extra robot linen to the stash at the time and since he does wear shorts all year round I indulged. Luckily he requested super simple elastic waisted ones with patch pockets, so they were quick to make. I admit to flat felled seams because, well because he's fussy and I'm indulgent.

Next up the girl child got a skirt made not with a pattern but a wave of her hands and some favored images from a google search. From what I understood her to want, I made her a simple high waisted and gathered skirt with centre back invisible zip and sewn in sash. I was a bit worried about fit since I was flying blind and didn't have her with me to try on so I made it out of a medium weight cotton elastine textured fabric and placed the ashes to allow her to cinch the waist to fit. A very grown up addition to her wardrobe and a change of style for her. Interesting turn of events.

I picked up this remnant of viscose jersey from Tessuti and it really made me think of hungry hungry caterpillar. I was a bit worried about how busy the pattern was, so I used it for a simple long sleeve version of the tired and tested Lola T from Tessuti. I can team it with black pants and skirts and cardis for winter office wear.

Next was my big excitement project, the Genevieve coat from StyleArc. When I saw this pattern I was full of love for the neck and interesting design lines. I was a bit concerned to launch straight in without a muslin, but the coat is so much work I couldn't bear the thought of making it as a tester only. Instead I decided to take a risk, helped along by having this charcoal wool flannel from the $10 roll sale at Tessuti just before Christmas.

The pattern is fabric hungry so I was glad to have enough, especially since it turned out that while I'd made a few standard preemptive tweeks to add a little extra width to the hips, I ended up needing to recut the under sleeve to add an extra 1.5cm width. Aside from the sleeve mod, the rest of the coat is a good fit and I really like the design. It's a closer fit than I usually choose but I like it a lot. I'd make a few changes next time, and I'd like to see if I could adapt the neck onto a different garment - a shirt maybe?

Like a number of StyleArc patterns there were some details that annoyed me. Some pattern notations were missing, and the order of the construction make up could have been done more efficiently. The lower design lines didn't quite meet between the front and back panels, which was just sloppy drafting and shows what I have previously suspected that they don't test their patterns properly. Since the patterns don't come multi sized I think they are a bit pricey for the quality. I'm sucked in by their offerings, they have some great designs but I wish they were a bit more rigorous with their drafting and instructions.

Lastly I made a Tessuti Eva dress out of wool for layering over winter Ts and leggings. I'm super happy with this one and managed to sew it up much quicker than the last two. I used a dress weight twill weave wool with a small amount of elastine and great drape - it's lovely to wear! I can't recall where the fabric came from - I suspect a past Tessuti roll sale, since a 3m piece of black dress wool isn't my usual impulse buy and too big for a remnant. It's plain but elegant enough for office wear, and the elastine makes it super comfy in a snug fit across the bust. I expect a lot of wear will be had.

Sadly I returned from camp in an eerie repeat of May 2012 with a sudden and vicious onset chest, throat, sinus and ear infection, rapidly accompanied by asthma. I stupidly went to work Monday, but by 7pm I was off to the doctor and given a kick start on the drugs with warning to stay in bed and have the ventolin and steroids at hand. I read back over the post I wrote back then and it was interesting how much the same and yet how different things seem. It's Thursday night now and I'm still in bed, but hoping I've turned the corner a little. I've still got hours of The killing to watch on my sideways propped laptop so I'm going to take it very slowly even if I do feel better.



neki desu said...

nice! i am going through an eva dress phase.just finished one and have another one queuing.and looking for a nice wool crepe for another one.
the t shirt with the robot is adorable.

jodie said...

I am not often lulled into the garment making trance, but that cowly vesty thing is right up my alley.
You know my thoughts (and sympathies) on the illness front -it sux big time.

kt said...

Oh, hope that you are feeling better. Such GORGEOUS creations you've made!!