Sunday, 24 March 2013

"Two Blue Wonder" Laptop Sleeve

"Two blue Wonder" fabric from Italy has, amongst other great uses, been the perfect thing to make a great laptop sleeve.  It has an almost wetsuit type feel on the aqua side and a beautiful soft cushioned feel on the navy side of the fabric.  The fabric is $29/m and it took a mighty 25cm of fabric so $7.25 later and 15 minutes of sewing and adding a skirt hook/eye (wide version) by hand, we had a fantastic laptop cover for one of casual staff who has just begun uni.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Bloomin' Brilliant Bamboo Boxers

If Jamie Oliver can create 15 minute meals, so too we can create 15 minute clothes.  But like Jamie, you just need to be prepared a little.  So have the fabric and the pattern ready to go and yes, you can make this in 15 minutes, providing the phone doesn't ring, the water pipes don't suddenly burst, the kids rearrange your sewing table for you and nick off with the right coloured thread, or whatever!

Our 12 yr old son is at that age when he is too big for kids sized clothes and too small for adults.  Know what I'm talking about?  Its a pain.  So last week I thought I'd pop and buy him a batch of boxer shorts since he has grown out of the others since Xmas.  No luck, short of having Pooh bear, Ben Ten and whatever else plastered on them and he's "way past all that, Mum"!

So I've made him some boxer shorts and they are so easy its ridiculous.  I made a pattern by tracing a larger, wider, deeper version of his existing boxers.  Below I am showing you the third pair.  I made 2 earlier pairs of boxers in woven/non-stretch fabric and the pattern suits both non-stretch and stretch knit.

We have a gorgeous array of plain but colourful bamboo jersey knit fabrics which are the ultimate for comfy pj's and everything else.

Ok so here is how the boxers were made.  Cut out the pattern - cut 2, both on the fold.  Our range of stretch fabrics are very wide so for this size and below, you can make the whole lot with 1/2 metre or less.

Unfold and putting right sides together, stitch down both long curved sides.  This is the seam that runs down the front centre and back centre from waist.

Lift half way along and lay so sewn seams now line up front and back centre and folds are to the sides.

Stitch around the bottom curve that is now lined up, to join front to back and this encloses the crutch area.

Join the right length of elastic (I used 70 cm) in a circle.
 Turn shorts right way out and fold waist edge inwards and insert elastic under the edge.
 Pin 4 equal points on elastic and pin 4 equal distant points on shorts (i.e.. front and back seam and fold where side seams would normally be).  Join the elastic pinned points to fabric pinned points.  Elastic will be shorter between each section.
 Zig zag stitch (stitch width 2 and stitch length 2) on both fold and including elastic.  Stretch the elastic and fold over waist out until fabric is flat and hold firmly as you stitch.  It will create a natural gather once it is stitched and the elastic rebounds.  This is probably the slowest part but get it right and neat and tidy and you will be happy!
Hem the leg cuffs by turning up about 1.5cm.  No need for overlocking or edging as stretch knit wont fray.  I just used a straight stitch as the legs are baggy enough not to have any side stretch pressure applied when wearing.  Normally for horizontal seams in stretch, I would zig zag or use a twin needle so the stitching will give/stretch under pressure.

Finish with the secret of success for all stretch sewing - iron/press the seams!

And here are the Bloomin' Brilliant Bamboo Boxers - so soft and comfy!  This pattern would work for long pj pants as well, or shorts to use as day wear and more!

"Water Islands" Winter Skirt

Our daughter Ebony turned 14 last Saturday and as usual, she falls in love with just about all the fabrics in our shop.  One of her favourites is a new fabric called "Water Islands" which is an Italian winter wool blend.
So birthdays have suddenly become easy.  I've made her a skirt!  Its so simple and doesn't require a pattern.  For the record, I'm not that clever.  I do get some of these idea's from clothes I have bought over the years.
It takes 50cm of fabric, a 10cm metal zip or any zip for that matter, and I used a bit of piping to add a dimension to it.  Last but not least a fabulous buckle to finish it off and hold the zip closed.  Zips can sometimes have a habit of sneaking open when under pressure.
Step 1: Fold the fabric over - selvage to selvage.  This fabric had a nice selvage I could leave exposed.  I overlocked top and bottom edges.

Step 2: Working from fold (which will be the centre back of the skirt, I created 4 darts.  2 darts to define the "side seams" and 2 darts between them to make the back of the skirt sit right as a normal skirt would.  I had to work out the measurements to place the side darts.
Step 3: Lining it up with our tape measure area on counter, I folded the front flaps in using the 2 side darts as a guide for the sides.  This should then sit to roughly the right waist measurement.  I angled it slightly so that the zip and stitching down the front was not straight but tapering out to create a slight A-line affect.  The darts are on the inside so skirt is right side out as you would wear it.
Step 4: Next I laid the zip down to mark where I start a seam to sew the two front flaps together.  I sewed down to about 4 or 5 inches above hem line, on a slight angle.

Step 5: Double fold the top and bottom edges of skirt adding choc brown piping with it.  This neatened the edges that fell at front of skirt.  I stopped the piping for back edge between the darts as the fabric was so thick and just turned it over once rather than doubled, as it is unseen.
Stitch zip in working on right side, with seam allowances tucked under already.  I added a buckle at the top of the zip to do 2 things.  One was to give it a finishing touch, second to secure the zip from undoing itself at a most inconvenient moment.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Heirloom Baby Girl's Dress

One of customers created this stunning little dress and bonnet for her new granddaughter.  She chose out 2 different stunning Mokuba laces which we have in-store and created this masterpiece with a beautiful tulle overlay on silk.  The photos speak for themselves. I had to share it with you - enjoy!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

25 min lace vest!

I know I know, its another vest but what started this one is a customer came in recently and was looking at all the gorgeous new stretch lace and asked how hard it was to sew it?  I had no idea, so to solve the mystery, I decided to make something at 4pm one afternoon in the shop!

I call it my 25 minute vest, did not involve a pattern and just decided to try and use simple logic to create a vest with minimum fuss!  And this is the result!  Big question - is it easy to sew?  Absolutely!  If you like sewing stretchy fabrics.

Now I'm not sure if anyone will be able to follow this entirely but I've provided photos to give you an idea of how I got away with not using a pattern (and made it up as I went along!).

This fabric is called Mulatto Lace.  It is 123cm wide with a really nice frilly selvage edge.  Its a rayon/nylon/spandex blend and super stretchy and gorgeously drapy.

First step was to cut fabric to allow for length of vest and approx. 5 cm for seam allowances/hem etc.

I laid it out folded in half across so selvage edges were lined up.  Right or wrong sides didnt matter during the cutting out process.

I then folded one edge back on itself and beyond the original fold and left approx 18cm - 20cm folded as you can see in the pic.

I then pinched and picked up the new top fold each end and let it hang to fold the bottom edge back in line with the new top fold.  Does that make sense?  

Basically I folded the other piece under to match what I had folded back already on top.  So selvage edges were together again on the left but there was an additional fold inside the fold.  That hidden fold is what I imagined to be the back panel of vest.  Next step is to cut arm holes.

  I chopped from the top end (or one end) and did a guess-amite of the shape and size of an armhole.  I did have a basic t-shirt pattern armhole to guide me as a backup.  I also cut about 9 cm off at a slight angle for the shoulder seams.

Then next step was to undo that hidden fold of fabric so its all back to the original fold in half.  You can see the arm holes now and the fold on the right, shoulder seams cut out.  Last step was to cut a mini back neck line out near the fold.
 Pattern cutting was complete.  Next step is to join the shoulder seams.  This stage is where I needed to work out what would be the right side and wrong side of fabric.  With right sides together I found the shoulder angled parts and sewed them together.
Then the rest was simply folding over the edges inwards and sewing a straight stitch to hem/edge everything that needed it.  The neck line around to the start of the frilly selvage which I left as is.  The arm holes and around the bottom.

This type of fabric is very forgiving for fit as its busy, stretchy and drapey.  Worth a go!

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Daffodils are blooming!

We spotted our first daffodil blooming in our garden over the weekend and its so good to see Spring approaching!

Andrea, one of our Ruche staff tried out the knitted linen called "Daffodil Saki".  This is available in 8 colours.  Black, navy, daffodil yellow, tangerine orange, dark spearmint, natural/stone, light grey and off white. And here is what she had to say about it ..

It was a fabric I’d been eyeing off ever since I first saw it, and with gold/mustard being such an ‘in’ colour, this season, I just had to try it.  I used to have a grey swinging vest I brought years ago, and virtually wore it to death.  Because I loved the style, I cut it up and used it as a pattern.  –probably breached every copyright law there is!  The linen knit was beautiful to sew, and has ironed up really nicely.  My only problem is with the armholes – they’re a bit to big and gape, so now I’m armed (excuse the pun!) with that piece of knowledge, I can fix it on the next one I make.  This fabric falls beautifully, and is so well suited to anything that requires ‘draping’.  I love this vest (apart from the extra large armholes), and it adds a bit of brightness to the winter greys and blacks.  I’ve even been wearing it with other colours too- looks great with purple and cobalt blue believe it or not!..  My next project is to try this fabric, perhaps in a different colour to make a cowl scarf.  Because it’s such soft fabric, I believe it will behave perfectly.  It’s nice to have something thick and woolly in the scarf line for winter, but for spring, I think this linen knit would be just the right type of fabric to have a scarf made of…

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Peasant Dress

Well we are off for a very short break to the tropics to temporarily escape the cold winter and so last week I decided to make our 13 year old daughter a peasant dress from the Japanese Pattern Book called "Dress Style Book".  So good to sew something with a splash of colour while we are all rugged up in our dark wear for winter!
Needless to say I discovered how much fabric goes into a gathered, tiered dress!  We decided on light cotton fabric (almost a voile).  First job is to find and trace the correct pattern pieces from the pattern sheet in the back of the book.  They are quite easy to identify and you simply trace them.  I did find with this pattern that the facing wasn't included as a pattern piece.  But it was easy to create the facing pieces.  Simply trace the neckline profile and follow pattern piece down each side about 5-8cm and then cut it that wide and you have your facing, as shown in pics below.  Sorry that isn't explained well.

The neckline was to be gathered up so I figured the easiest way was to insert narrow elastic.  One I have joined and sewn on the facing around the neckline, I lay the elastic up inside near the join, or like on the sleeves, just fold over the hem edge and lay the elastic inside fold.  Stitch it across at the beginning, within the seam allowance so it won't be seen after seams sewn.  Don't cut the elastic to length.  Just lay it flat and sew as if creating the channel, or sewing down the hem edge, as shown.  Then draw the elastic out and let it gather up the fabric to the desired tightness, snip and stitch across, like the beginning.  This saves having to insert and thread elastic through the slow and tedious way after doing the channel or hem edge.
All finished!  Couldn't get the light in the shop to behave for this photo, so hope you can see it sufficiently.  The intended recipient wouldn't pose for me this time around so the trusty coat hanger did the job!  A tip with the pattern.  I actually narrowed the top bodice section pattern by about 8-10cm but it could do with more, as its quite full.  A couple of ties for sides or front and back will help this pinch in better when worn.  All the same, the pattern worked out beautifully and Ebony loves it!