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October 24, 2014 / Blogless Anna

Home and hopped

Our five week European and UK family adventure is over and we are home again.  It was an awesome trip, but as always it is oh so nice to be home.

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All smiles at Lake Contance (Germany)

I did… ahem…. buy quite a lot of fabric while I was away.  The quality, range and value was just too tempting.  Think French linens, Liberty (tana lawn and jersey!) and European knits… my three most favourite fabrics to sew!

I visited both Liberty London and Shaukat on my birthday and it was a memorable day.  Check out one of the walls of liberty in Shaukat… heavenly!

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The lovely Lara from Thornberry has asked me to join in the writers’ blog hop.  Lara and I have similar body shape, colourings and we don’t shy away from colourful fabrics.  I remember when I first stumbled across Lara’s blog one evening I spent several hours searching all her archives as I had one of those moments of ‘if these patterns suit Lara, then it’s likely they will suit me too.’  I’m now super lucky as I not only get to enjoy Lara’s blog, but also see her in real life too.  Friends made on the internet… who would have thought?!

1. Why do you write?

Like a lot of the blog hop posts I’ve read, I write for two reasons.  The first is too keep a record of my makes and the second is to connect with the wonderful worldwide online sewing community.

I was inspired to start this blog a little over two year ago after I attended the first sewers/sewists meet-up in Melbourne.  Most people were introducing themselves as ‘such and such’ from ‘such and such’ blog.  Taking their lead, I went with the… Hi, I’m Anna, Blogless Anna.  Although it makes no sense at all (how can you be blogless when you have a blog?!) when I started my blog a month later I decided to keep the joke running.

2. What are you working on?

I’m hoping to join the Modern Vintage Make-a-long that the Handmaker’s Factory is running this month (better get onto that!).  I have my eye on View D (the white one) of an old Vogue Pattern 6601.  If the muslin goes well, I have selected some double gauze for the real deal.

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My big girl celebrates her birthday this weekend and the tradition of a birthday dress will continue.  Miss A has placed her order – the same dress as last year, but with a longer skirt this time.  Yes, I better get onto that too!

While I was away, and with a little bit of time on my hands some evenings, I decided to join Pinterest.  I know, I’m a little behind the times, but the first board I created was a Sew Sooner one.

If that’s not enough, I’m also have some personal sewing challenges bubbling on in the background.

Challenge 1:  Full Bust Adjustment (FBA)

Several months ago I accepted the fact that I had a bigger bust than the usual B or C cup that patterns are drafted for and I would need to start learning more about Full Bust Adjustments (FBAs).  I started with a dartless top – The Scout Woven Tee – and it was amazing the difference that it makes.  These two tops are the same size, but the first is straight out of the packet and the second I completed an FBA.  If you can’t pick it up in the photos, the difference is definitely in the wearing…

I’m already playing around with FBA on a dartless top, and princess seams will be after that.

Challenge 2:  Experimenting

This one is really about pushing a pattern to it’s maximum and trying out different pattern alterations and fabrics and seeing how these changes effect the outcome.  How many Scout Woven Tees have I made myself recently… one, two, three, four?  And who’s counting the different fabrics I’ve used to sew up a boxy cropped Japanese pattern (jumper/sweater knit, viscose jersey & wool/silk)?  I’m enjoying the experimentation and learning lots along the way.

Challenge 3:  Sewing Silk

The silk stash keeps having little bits added to it here and there, but without anything being removed.  It’s time to re-acquaint myself with this fabulous, but slightly scarey fabric.  I’m going to start with simple patterns and french seams.  You guessed it, I’m planning (and it’s not on my Sew Sooner Pinterest board…oppphs!) another Scout Woven Tee with a full back alteration.

3. How does your blog differ from others of the same genre?

In short, it doesn’t.  But in saying that, I do feel that my blog reflects me and I am a unique individual who seems to have developed quite a love for fabric and print matching in the last 12months!

4. What is your writing process?

My blogging has changed over the last two years.  I used to finish an item, get Mr Blogless Anna to take a few photos, write the post and bang it was done.  I rarely moved onto the next project until the previous one was blogged.  The process is now the same.. sew, photos and then write, but the timing has changed dramatically.

My best friend (a non-sewer)… who understands me, my style and takes an awesome photo, has been my blog photographer this year and what a difference it makes (sorry Mr Blogless Anna).  The only problem is that my bestie and I live a 1.5hr drive from each other.  Therefore, these days I sew, sew, and sew some more, leading up to us seeing each other, we photograph several makes all at once (outfit, make-up, accessory and locations changes included) and then I blog the makes over the following couple of weeks.  My blogging therefore might not be as regular as before, but I think it’s worth it for the improved photos.  Call me vain, but I prefer my blog photos to be flattering and to capture all the details of the item.

Reflecting and writing this post has been fun.  I can’t quite get my head passing the blog hop on… so many of my regular reads have already participated!  So anyone who hasn’t already played along and feels like a bit of navel gazing, feel free to join in!

August 17, 2014 / Blogless Anna

Bias plaid

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I popped into The Fabric Store in Melbourne a few weeks ago and after a quick ‘pat’ in the merino jersey section I headed straight for the 50% off table.  Hello winter sale!  I quickly spied this wool/silk plaid and I was smitten.  I was wearing my jaywalk boxy cropped top and I wondered about making a woven version out of the plaid.  I asked the sale assistant if she thought the fabric had enough drape for the project I had in mind and she suggested cutting the plaid on the bias.  Genius!

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Even though I’ve made this pattern twice before – firstly in a jumper knit with an open weave and secondly in a viscose/jersey – I still made a muslin as woven fabrics behave very differently to stretch.  In particular, I wanted to check it would fit over my head (an important consideration) and I knew the sleeves would need alteration.  When I looked at the sleeve pattern piece I quickly decided it was perfect in a jersey.  Yes, another mixed fabric make was born.  The sleeves are a medium weight 100% woolen jersey from the stash.

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I promise I pressed the sleeve seams (although it doesn’t look like it above) and I did attempt, and failed, pattern matching.  Can anyone pick where I went wrong?

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The way I’ve folded the fabric has the front piece with right sides together and the back piece with wrong sides together.  I knew I’d done this, I even placed a pin to denote the ‘right side’, but I failed to see the implications for pattern matching.  Yes a the right side of the front piece matched the wrong side of the back piece perfectly.  Well actually, I assume it does.  By the time I’d worked out where I went wrong, I’d sewn & overlocked the shoulder seams together and I wasn’t unpicking them!

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I used my walking foot for the entire construction, but it was only essential when I was sewing the woven and jersey fabrics together.  That being said, I took the slow option and hand sewed down the bias binding on the neckline and the double-fold hem.  Hand sewing was the perfect way to nurse my head cold while resting on the couch on Friday.

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I feel really at home in this style, but I’m looking to the skies and putting my hopes and dreams into a new to me pattern next.

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Pattern:  Number 30 from Pochee’s May & Me Style Sewing II
Size:  LL (without adding seam allowances)
Fabric:  Wool/silk plaid and 100% medium weight merino jersey from The Fabric Store (Melbourne)
Alterations:  Lengthened and narrowed the sleeves.  Added 1 cm to the front and back piece to allow for a double-fold hem.
Accessories:  Scarf from Scarlett Jones
Photo Location: 
Wombat State Forest

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August 15, 2014 / Blogless Anna

Back-to-back success

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I’m not one to walk away from a cutting accident…  In fact, I embraced this one wholeheartedly.  I now have a colour blocked top which I like to think of as a happy accident.

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Two weeks ago I was tidying up my sewing space and I came across my traced Olivia Oversized Tee and I decide to shorten it (as per my previous Olivia post) before packing it away.  I removed the required 1 inch off the front and back, and before I knew it, I was cutting out another one.  This pattern has that effect on you!

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The stripes are from an ex-designer fabric store which is no longer exists.  When purchasing this fabric I was told it was from the boys range at Seed (a clothing brand in Australia). The fabric has been in the stash for a long time.  Yah for stash busting!

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I didn’t have enough fabric to cut a back and front as per the pattern, but I remembered Lara’s trick of piecing together your fabric and including a centre back seam.  My brilliant thought was then squashed when I discovered the hard way that two left sides do not make a whole!

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Thankfully, the stash yielded some viscose/lycra that was a good match in weight and colour.  I also decided to use the brown on the neck and hem bands.  This meant there was only two seams (shoulder and side) to stripe match.

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I secured the neckline seam with a twin needle and decided, purely for decorative reasons, to do the same with the shoulder seams.

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Pattern:  Maria Denmark’s Olivia Oversized Tee
Size:  Medium
Fabric:  Cotton/lycra and viscose/lycra from the stash
Alterations:  Removed all waist shaping by drawing a straight line from the short sleeve underarm cutting line to the hips.  Added a seam allowance to the centre back, cut the back in two pieces and joined them together before constructing the top as per the instructions.  This version is 1 inch shorter than the xs hem cutting line.
Accessories:  Sophie Digard scarf from Scarlett Jones

August 12, 2014 / Blogless Anna

Nani Iro loves Liberty

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Inspiration can strike anywhere and anytime!  And for this make, it was a mixed fabric kids t-shirt by Craftiness Is Not Optional that got my creative juices flowing…

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For the front of my mixed fabric t-shirt I used another long time stash occupier, this super soft Nani Iro double knit cotton jersey.  I actually had the whole t-shirt cut out and ready to sew, but I was hesitating and now I know why.  It needed to be paired with some liberty!

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And for the first time in my life I used ribbing. Stripy ribbing of course!  There will definitely be more ribbing in my life.

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The pattern you ask?  It is of course another Scout.  Are you sick of all my Scouts yet?  I’m still enjoying them, so try and bare with me…

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The front is a size 10 with an FBA (as described here).  I wanted a high/low hem so I used my french curve to alter the front hem.  The back is made from liberty.  I used the Grainline’s full back pattern tutorial to add volume.

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As the Nani Iro is a double knit, and a little lacking in the draping department, the sleeves were a little sticky-outy (that’s a technical term of course!).  I unpicked the sleeve hems and added a box pleat.  It was fiddly, but well worth the time invested.

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Pattern:  Grainline Studio’s Scout Woven Tee
Size: 
10
Fabric: 
Nani Iro double knit cotton jersey, liberty from Tessuti (a remnant) and ribbing from Crafty Mamas
Alterations: 
I completed an FBA (see details here) and used Grainline’s full back pattern tutorial to add volume to the back.  The hem was re-shaped to be slightly high/low and I included box pleats on the hem of each sleeve.
Accessories:  Vintage necklace purchased at an Antique Fair

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August 11, 2014 / Blogless Anna

Old London Town

I’m currently sewing some unseasonal garments for an upcoming European family adventure.  We’ll be visiting friends, taking in the sites and without a doubt I will be visiting the holy grail of liberty… Liberty of London.

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Can you see the goose bumps on my arms?  These photos were taken in Ballarat (1.5 hours from Melbourne) which is known for its cold winters.  It snowed in Ballarat last week!  Anyway, on a 10 degree day I was braving the elements to record another quirky liberty garment.

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Longtime readers of my blog know that I love mixing my liberty prints.  And my recent Scout obsession is well documented.  This top combines the two.  It’s a Scout Woven Tee with an extra sleeve ruffle.  Have I gone too far?  Is it too much?

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The ruffle is based on this Japanese pattern.  Interestingly, the sleeves pattern pieces for both the Scout and the Japanese pattern were very similar, which gave me confidence to proceed without a muslin.  Admittedly, I have sewn but not overlocked the sleeves in place.  I just wanted to see how this garment photographed before fully committing!

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The main fabric is Richard & Lyla and is full of London icons – Big Ben, Tower Bridge, river Thames, red phone booths, plus sunflowers, aeroplanes, dogs, gardeners and a blimp!  Such a summery and fun print.

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Pattern:  Grainline Studio’s Scout Woven Tee
Size: 
10
Fabric: 
Liberty of London from OdetteTessuti & eBay
Alterations: 
I completed an FBA (see details here) and added a ruffle using this pattern as a guide.
Accessories:  Vintage necklace purchased at an Antique Fair and Artiga Espadrilles from Scarlett Jones

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August 9, 2014 / Blogless Anna

You’re the one that I want…

As Olivia Newton-John once sang… you’re the one that I want oh oh ohhh.

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The Olivia Oversized Tee is a welcome addition to my wardrobe. I usually make a muslin for all my creations but this time Lara did it for me!

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Lara and I caught up one Friday evening last month and we played dress-ups for hours (maybe a slight exaggeration, but you get the idea) and I’m inspired to try a few new patterns.  First cab off the rank was Maria Denmark’s Olivia Oversized Tee.

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I followed Lara’s alterations to a ‘T’.  This is a medium with 3/4 sleeves and all waist shaping removed as I don’t like clothes clinging to my thickish waist!  The length is that of the extra small, but in hindsight it’s just a little long for my personal preference.  I’ve already removed an inch off the bottom of the pattern for next time… Actually next time has already happened.  I’m a little behind with my blogging, but if you are an Instagram follower you’ve probably already caught a glimpse of my colour blocked version!

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I love the relaxed and flattering fit of this top.  Thanks again for the inspiration Lara!

Pattern:  Maria Denmark’s Olivia Oversized Tee
Size:  Medium
Fabric:  Super soft cotton jersey from Clear It (Alanah Hill) Outlet
Alterations:  Removed all waist shaping by drawing a straight line from the short sleeve underarm cutting line to the hips.
Accessories:  Scarf and beads from Scarlett Jones

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August 3, 2014 / Blogless Anna

It’s all about sleeves

I feel like I’m on a little bit of a sewing journey at the moment.  I’m either taking a pattern that works for me and then trying it in different fabrics (like here and here) or adjusting a TNT pattern to create a slightly new look.  This make was all about the Scout Woven Tee and it’s sleeves.

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To create a gathered hem sleeve (yes, it has a name!) I consulted Pattern Cutting Made Easy: A Step-By-Step Introduction by Gillian Holman.  The book assumes you are altering a basic block and gives you simple step-by-step instructions supported by easy-to-follow diagrams.  This book is a recent purchase and I love it!

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I printed out and assembled a Scout sleeve (one of the benefits of pdf patterns!) and straightened the curved hem before following the cut and spread approached as outlined in Holman’s pattern cutting book.  My final sleeve piece looked just like figure three in the book.  Woo hoo!

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Inspired by Judith from Tessuti, I decided to use the selvege of this stunning yarn dyed linen to create as a feature cuff on the sleeves.  I thought it might be a bit quirky, but to tell you the truth I’m not sure.

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Actually, I’m not sure about these sleeves full stop.  I wished that I had gathered a sleeve a little more and made the cuffs smaller so they fitted my arms more snugly.  I might even go back and redo them.

Even though I feel a little bit like a professional footballer (choose your own code) in this top, I’m sure to wear it when warmer weather hits the southern hemisphere as this linen is too good not to be worn and enjoyed.

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Pattern:  Grainline Studio’s Scout Woven Tee
Size: 
10
Fabric: 
Yarb dyed linen remnant from Tessuti (Melbourne Store)
Alterations: 
I completed an FBA (see details here) and used a slash and spread method to create a gathered hem sleeve
Accessories:  Sophie Digard scarf from Scarlett Jones

And I’ll bid you farewell with my ‘don’t mess with me’ look!

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