Saturday, 14 July 2018

Silhouette #3300 Lana's Caesar Jeans

These jeans were made as part of my 2018 Travel Wardrobe and they are fantastic, fitting into my wardrobe with ease. I have found them extremely comfortable to wear and adaptable. I can wear them as full length jeans or roll up the hem to wear them just above the ankle (to be trendy!!).

There are many other pieces of fabric in my collection that could be made into these jeans so don't be surprised if this pattern appears again soon.

The finished garment

These jeans were made the week before we left on our five week trip to England and were on my list of must sew items for the travel wardrobe.  Funny how the must sew items always end up being completed in a mild state of panic at the last minute.

The finished jeans are not perfect but for the first pair made from a never before sewn pattern they are a miracle.

Here they are worn with another garment from my travel wardrobe the StyleArc Besharl Tee which has not yet made it into a blog post but will do one day.

Creates Sew Slow: Silhouette #3300 Lana's Caesar Jeans

Creates Sew Slow: Silhouette #3300 Lana's Caesar Jeans
The front - bit of excess fabric around the knee
Creates Sew Slow: Silhouette #3300 Lana's Caesar Jeans
The side - caught up a bit around the calf
Creates Sew Slow: Silhouette #3300 Lana's Caesar Jeans
The back - complete with under bottom wrinkles

The fabric

This is a Liberty cotton twill originally produced for a collaboration with Clarks shoes. The pattern is called Caesar. I wasn't sure how this non-stretch twill would work for a pair of trousers but the colours were so fabulous for my travel wardrobe that I bought some any way.

The fabric does soften with washing especially if you use the trick with Coca-Cola. Peggy Sagers of Silhouette Patterns introduced Coca-Cola as a fabric softener to many of us through her YouTube videos.  I have a front loading washing machine so you put the Coca-Cola in the soap dispenser instead of soap and wash the fabric - don't add any fabric softener just use the Coca-Cola on its own. The fabric softening effect can only be achieved with Coca-Cola original and not with any other brand. I personally can't tolerate the taste so the only place you will find Coca-Cola in our house is in the laundry.

Creates Sew Slow: Silhouette #3300 Lana's Caesar Jeans

As my jeans were not perfect I bought some more of this fabric on-line from The Fabric Store whilst we were away.  With the benefit of distance from the production of these they will stay in my wardrobe and I will squirrel away the extra fabric for the future. When this pair of jeans wear out the fabric is on hand for another pair!

If you want some of this fabric too it is still available in The Fabric Store's online shop.

The pattern

As is often the case with a Silhouette Pattern the image on the front cover is not that inspiring. However the bones of these patterns are always good. They are well drafted for me and I haven't had a disaster with any of the patterns used so far. Often I prefer to start off with a Silhouette Pattern and alter the style to get the outcome I want than use another brand of pattern that looks to be just what I want but often fits badly.  So whilst I wanted skinny jeans (within the limits of using a non-stretch fabric) I started with these straight leg jeans.

I also feel that given all the free videos and information Peggy provides to enhance my sewing skills I should at least support her company.

Creates Sew Slow: Silhouette Patterns #3300 Lana's Jeans

Creates Sew Slow: Silhouette Patterns #3300 Lana's Jeans

The pattern alterations

I traced my pattern onto lightweight sew-in interfacing tracing a mixture of size 8 and 12, based on the finished garment measurements. Size 8 for the waist and size 12 for the hips.

As I wanted the legs to be more of a skinny fit than a straight leg I measured a pair of RTW non-stretch trousers. My RTW trousers are slightly uncomfortable around the knee so I added a bit of extra circumference in the pattern. They are also extremely low rise so I made sure that this pair of jeans fitted to just below my belly button, which seems to be where I like my trousers to sit.

I measured incorrectly for the hem circumference and the tapering from knee to ankle was a bit extreme making them a tight around the calf area.  The jeans require some jiggling to fall back into place after sitting down.  The leg hem opening is also only just big enough to get my foot through.

When narrowing the leg the extra width was removed equally from all four seams (front and back inseam plus front and back side seam). This ensures that the grain line arrow on the pattern continues to represent the fabric straight of grain.  Trousers are one of the most important garment to cut on the straight of grain, because of the leg length. Trouser legs that twist are a sign that the pattern was not cut out on the fabric straight of grain. The longer the pattern piece the further off grain you are from the top to the bottom of the pattern piece, if you don't take care with the fabric grain when cutting out.

For the next iteration I am going to increase the crotch depth and the hem circumference, then modify the transition from knee to ankle at the side seam. I may decrease the crotch length very slightly but I am not finally decided on that yet.

After wearing the jeans for a while I have found that the front pocket isn't quite big enough and I am thinking of using the pocket pieces from another pattern as a guide to enlarge the front pockets in these jeans.

When I make my next pair of these jeans I will take photos of my pattern pieces versus the original so that you can see the changes made to my version.

The sewing

As this fabric is essentially stripes that go around the leg it was important when the jeans were cut out for the stripes to visually flow across both legs. I was very careful both when cutting out and sewing to achieve this effect.

The sewing wasn't difficult, however I did use two sewing machines and the overlocker in the making of these jeans.  All seams were first sewn on the sewing machine (my old Bernina 180) and then overlocked.  All of the top stitching was done on my 1953 Singer Featherweight using two strands of Guterman sewing thread, threaded through the eye of a single needle.  I wanted to echo the light sea green colour in the trousers in the colour of the top-stitching and I couldn't find a top stitching thread in this colour so had to improvise.

Luckily for me the sewing room is big enough to set up my portable sewing table and use it for the Bernina 180.  I bought this table for my Wellington sewing machine, as that is the one I generally take to classes, but my 180 and the Singer Featherweight both fit in. In Winter I have been known to set the portable table up in the living room so I don't have to stray away from the cosy log burner.

I shouldn't really describe my Bernina 180 as old as it was only purchased in December 2000 but it has been replaced by my Bernina 830.  The 830 was still at the doctors undergoing diagnostic tests for an on-going illness. I do have it back now (after its two months away) but haven't used it to see if its lingering illness has been cured.

Creates Sew Slow: Silhouette #3300 Lana's Caesar Jeans
The sewing room with the overlocker front left, the Singer Featherweight middle left
and the Bernina 180 back right.
I followed the pattern instructions carefully and they were informative and easy to follow. I had no trouble inserting the fly front and zipper, which came out very neatly.

For the front pockets I used a quilting cotton and under-stitched the pocket lining to the jeans to make sure the curved seam lay nicely and the pocket lining didn't peak out.

Creates Sew Slow: Silhouette #3300 Lana's Caesar Jeans
Under-stitched pocket lining
For the back pockets I had carefully cut them out so that they pattern matched the back trouser pieces. When I came to sew them down for some reason I had trouble matching all four sides. They still look pretty good and unless people are looking very carefully at my bottom no-one will notice. Well perhaps another sewer might. I was less successful pattern matching the yoke and the waistband.

Creates Sew Slow: Silhouette #3300 Lana's Caesar Jeans
Excuse the large picture of my bottom - it is necessary to show the pattern matched pockets!
I am not sure what I did with the waistband but it was 2" shorter than needed.  Luckily I could add a piece on to the waistband at the front under portion which is also hidden by the button. The other faux pas with the waistband - no interfacing.  Would have been a good idea to add interfacing as the waistband has a habit of rolling over.

Outfit of the day

I liked this outfit so much I took a photo of myself in the bathroom mirror at the Christchurch domestic airport Koru Lounge on my way to work. I am wearing my Sable and Minx hot pink cashmere cardigan, a Moochi top and Lana's Caesar jeans.

Creates Sew Slow: Silhouette #3300 Lana's Caesar Jeans

Here is a very flattering picture courtesy of my beloved, taken for reasons best know to himself. I am wearing a favourite Sass and Bide striped merino jersey with my Lana's Caesar Jeans whilst lounging on the sofa on a lazy Sunday afternoon - reading blogs!!

Creates Sew Slow: Silhouette #3300 Lana's Caesar Jeans

And a photo collage of the jeans in action on our recent trip to England.

Creates Sew Slow: Silhouette #3300 Lana's Caesar Jeans

Saturday, 7 July 2018

The Yorkshire Dales

This is a picture heavy post of a wonderful week spent in the Yorkshire Dales - just the two of us. A no sewing post but gorgeous scenery plus a bit of knitting at the end.

We booked a last minute bed and breakfast at a pub The Queens Head in Finghall. We had a very comfortable room, in close proximity to good English beer (important from the other half's perspective) and great food. Ian and Helen were wonderful hosts which enhanced our pleasure in the week away.

Creates Sew Slow: The Queens Head at Finghall

The Yorkshire Dales

A photo essay!

Creates Sew Slow: The Yorkshire Dales
Wild and woolly scenery
Aysgarth Falls and church yard

Creates Sew Slow: The Yorkshire Dales
Traditional stone walls and cowhouse
Creates Sew Slow: The Yorkshire Dales
Askrigg village
Creates Sew Slow: The Yorkshire Dales
Getting to enjoy the scenery before the grockles invade

The Himalayan Gardens

We spent a few truly inspirational hours walking around the Himalayan Gardens admiring both the sculptures and the garden, created over the last twenty years, with its vast array of rhododendron (including azaleas) and magnolias. This is a private 30-acre woodland garden owned by Peter and Caroline Roberts which they started opening to the public in 2005 for a few weeks in the Spring and Autumn.

Creates Sew Slow: The Yorkshire Dales - Himalayan Garden
Creates Sew Slow: The Yorkshire Dales - Himalayan Garden
Creates Sew Slow: The Yorkshire Dales - Himalayan Garden

An arboretum has been planted with over 300 species/cultivars of trees and whilst it opened to the public in 2017 it is still in its infancy and has not yet reached its full beauty.

Creates Sew Slow: The Yorkshire Dales - Himalayan Garden
Contemplation Circle - five chairs carved from Giant Redwood by Liam O'Neill
Creates Sew Slow: The Yorkshire Dales - Himalayan Garden
Clockwise from top left: Swift, Owl and Leopard by Hamish Mackie
Creates Sew Slow: The Yorkshire Dales - Himalayan Garden
Bottom right: Red Scarf by Carol Peace
Creates Sew Slow: The Yorkshire Dales - Himalayan Garden
Left: The Fir Cone by John Simpson
Creates Sew Slow: The Yorkshire Dales - Himalayan Garden
Clockwise from top left: Skywards (fountain) by Giles Rayner and
Wave (Lock Ness Monster) by Rebecca Newnham; Pinnacle by Giles Rayner
Sunrise by David Williams-Ellis
Creates Sew Slow: The Yorkshire Dales - Himalayan Garden
Left: The Hare by Christopher Marvell
Creates Sew Slow: The Yorkshire Dales - Himalayan Garden
Clockwise from top left: Magnolia, Samara, Magnolia (with the Balinese Pagoda)
and Lily Pads by Rebecca Newnham
Creates Sew Slow: The Yorkshire Dales - Himalayan Garden
Kath Kuhni Shelter
Thatched Summer House by Henry and Julius Caesar

Wensleydale Creamery, Hawes

Our visit to the Creamery combined two loves - Wensleydale Cheese (a soft crumbly slightly tart cheese) and Wallace and Gromit.  The Wensleydale Creamery was resurrected by a management buyout in 1992 after Dairy Crest closed the creamery with the loss of 59 jobs.  Now it employs around 200 people and is the only Yorkshire maker of the cheese.

The cheese is made from the milk of locally grazed cows that are free to wander about the pasture eating whatever grows there naturally. After the tasting and the cheese making demonstration I got to do the absolutely best bit - have my picture taken with Wallace and Gromit. Well perhaps not the best bit as I am a bit partial to Wensleydale cheese myself just like Wallace and got to taste some very nice cheeses and purchase some for picnic lunches.

Creates Sew Slow: The Wensleydale Creamery
Afternoon tea with Wallace and Gromit
Creates Sew Slow: The Wensleydale Creamery
Giant truckles of Wensleydale cheese (or hay bales)


It is a bit of a tradition when we visit England to have a day trip to Whitby for the fish and chips.  This time we went to Whitby but we had Wensleydale cheese on crackers sitting on the pier - not the warmest place for a picnic.

Whitby is an old established east coast fishing town, famous for Captain Cook, kippers and lobster. As well as being the home of Dracula's legacy.

Google Photos very kindly provided me with a video of the day from my pictures - not so sure about Google's choice of music.

Swaledale and Wensleydale Arts and Crafts Trail

No holiday would be complete without a bit of a craft moment. So this trip I got to do a wee craft tour around the Yorkshire Dales. I even purchased a few things.

The Old School Gallery and Craftshop. Muker
The Old School has an exhibition space and a gift shop.  When we visited the exhibition was Yorkshire's Coast and Sea.
Hartley tea towel by Nicola Jane Rowles and Tilly Tea Dance felted wool sheep brooch
The gift shop has lots of interesting bits and pieces and I purchased a couple of sheep brooches as well as a rabbit tea towel.  I have a habit of buying tea towels which I think will look good included in clothing.  So far none of them have quite made it into a finished garment.

Graculus Sculptures Michael Kusz Sculptor, Reeth
These are the most amazing sculptures.  Michael has a fantastic imagination and makes his creations from recycled materials.  They truly are wonderful and examples of Michael's work can be found on his website.  Much as I would have liked a piece for the garden we didn't indulge.

Michael shares his workshop with a crow named Jo.  Jo sits on the various sculptures in the studio cackling - he has quite the sense of humour!

Emma Sedman Gallery, Leyburn
The lady manning the gallery on the day we went was a machine embroiderer and we purchased her heron for our newly renovated bedroom. The heron hasn't made it onto the wall yet but will look fantastic when it does.

Wensleydale Longwool Sheepshop, Leyburn
Having now spent many years in New Zealand I am used to the soft fine fibres of merino wool and some of the wool I found in Yorkshire was a bit of a shock. The Yorkshire sheep breeds seem to produce a more industrial feeling wool, I definitely think I would have found it quite scratchy against my skin.

I did get Cath some Wensleydale sheep wool (sorry no pictures) which in my opinion has a much nicer texture than the Swaledale sheep. 

Apparently Swaledale sheep are found in the more mountainous areas of Great Britain.  The Swaledale Sheep Breeders Association was founded in 1919 with farmers living in a seven mile radius of the Tan Hill Inn which segues nicely into the next section.

Tan Hill Inn

This is Great Britain's highest inn at 1,732 feet above sea level.  The good weather brought out the visitors and the pub was doing a roaring trade.  From the existence of a Hägglund all terrain amphibious vehicle (used in the Arctic) parked near the Inn one can imagine that it gets pretty inhospitable on occasion.

The Tour de Yorkshire

We didn't get to experience Le Tour de Yorkshire as it happened the weekend before we visited. In 2014 Yorkshire held two of the stages of the Tour de France and in 2015 they started their own competition. Whilst the race itself had been and gone we did see the amusing decorations as part of the "Best Dressed" competition.  Most of my photos were taken in the village of Patrick Brompton which is one of the finalists for the "Best Dressed Village".

Creates Sew Slow: Tour de Yorkshire - Best Dressed Village

The Food

For some reason we took quite a few pictures of the food we ate whilst in the Yorkshire Dales. Considering we ate mostly in pubs they are getting pretty sophisticated, must be the influence of all the reality cooking shows.
The Angel Inn at Hetton
Clockwise from top left - Thirteen in Leyburn. The Sandford Arms at Appleby-in-Westmorland

EZ Seamless Raglan Knit-along Progress

Last weekend we were supposed to be at the underarm stage of the body ready to knit our sleeves.  Kate at Fabrickated has very kindly given us permission to be slow and I am certainly achieving that.  There are going to be two timings of show and tell of the finished garment and hopefully the second one is far enough into the future for me to have finished my jumper. Not sure it will be knitted in time to keep me warm this Winter - maybe Spring or next Winter. Although the knitting is progressing better than the sewing, as despite cutting out three dresses since we returned from the UK, I have sewn precisely nothing.

Creates Sew Slow: EZ Seamless Raglan Knit-along

Saturday, 30 June 2018

Sewing with a Plan for Houston Quilt Festival 2018

With the 2018 travel wardrobe the idea was to use it to go to both the UK in the Spring and Houston in early November for the International Quilt Festival. So I should be continuing to sew the garments I had planned at the beginning of the year that haven't quite come to fruition.  Instead influenced by my Liberty of London purchases especially the Sungleam Sequins fabric I now have a whole different wardrobe floating around in my head.

The trip is only for 11 days plus three days at work when I get back, so I would like to achieve The Vivienne Files 4x4 wardrobe.

I have to cater for three days in San Francisco, eight days in Houston and three days in Wellington.

The ideas

I pulled out some tops, and a few potential fabrics, that would work with both the sequin bomber jacket and a new pair of Silhouette Patterns Lana's jeans.

Creates Sew Slow: Sewing with a Plan for Houston Quilt Festival 2018

There are a few other ideas floating around in my head.  Possibly replacing the True Love trousers with a pair of navy leggings that I could wear under the dresses if it is cold. I also have the idea of using the Liberty Ophelia scarf in a dress as it is a bit small for how I wear my scarves.

Creates Sew Slow: Sewing with a Plan for Houston Quilt Festival 2018
Liberty Ophelia 90 x 90 cm Silk Twill Foulard Scarf 

The sequin bomber jacket

I had the idea of using my scrumptious sequin fabric to make a raglan sleeve bomber jacket with contrast sleeves.  The idea of a luxury fabric and utility garment appealed plus if Alice+Olivia could do it so could I. Mine would be a bit more practical with the raglan sleeves in a contrast fabric I wouldn't be rubbing the sequins when wearing a shoulder bag.
Creates Sew Slow: Sewing with a Plan for Houston Quilt Festival 2018
Clockwise from top right: Alice+Olivia Lonnie Sequin Bomber Jacket;
Valentino Longline Embellished Bomber Jacket
Rachel Roy Floral Print Duster Bomber
Papercut Patterns Rigel bomber jacket fit the bill and I bought it on-line whilst still on holiday. My first week back in NZ I bought the December/January issue of Vogue Patterns and it practically fell open at the article on the long line bomber jacket. So combined with my inspiration pictures and the magazine article making a long line bomber jacket is in my not too distant future.
Creates Sew Slow: Sewing with a Plan for Houston Quilt Festival 2018
Papercut Patterns Rigel Bomber Jacket
I now have the sequin fabric, a wool cashmere for the sleeves, a silk satin for the lining and some wool batting to quilt to my lining. No zips until I have altered the pattern to the length I want and I am still working on the ribbing.
Creates Sew Slow: Sewing with a Plan for Houston Quilt Festival 2018
Liberty Artists Bloom Sungleam Sequins and wool cashmere fabrics

Silhouette Patterns 3300 Lana's Jeans

The version made for the UK trip (Lana's Caesar jeans - to be blogged about soon) are absolutely wonderful, very comfortable despite being non-stretch.  There are a few tweaks that I will make to the pattern before the next version but overall I am extremely happy with them. The pattern is designed for non-stretch fabrics and is another winner from Peggy Sagers.

The Liberty cotton canvas was originally produced to make shoes in collaboration with Clarks.  Liberty called this print Small Meandering Chrysanthemums. This is one of my favourite prints so I couldn't miss an opportunity to buy the fabric even though at the time I was sceptical about using it for trousers.

Creates Sew Slow: Sewing with a Plan for Houston Quilt Festival 2018

And I just happen to have a pair of the Clarks shoes that used this print (Clarks called the shoes Caviar Gold). They were purchased quite a few years ago from the now departed Wellington department store Kirkcaldie and Stains (affectionately known as Kirks - a Wellington icon 1863 - 2016). Would it be too matchy matchy to wear these shoes with my Lana's jeans?
Creates Sew Slow: Sewing with a Plan for Houston Quilt Festival 2018

Simplicity 1284 linen dress

When I went to The Fabric Store to find a contrast fabric for the sleeves of my bomber jacket I also found a linen print and an aqua linen to go with it to make Simplicity 1284. I wanted the aqua linen to be the panel at the top of the dress and sleeves with the blue border of the print at the hem. Orientating the print this way around puts the diamonds on their sides which could have a widening effect. Although I often wear stripes around the body rather than up and down and I really like them that way so this maybe another instance of flouting the rules.

Creates Sew Slow: Sewing with a Plan for Houston Quilt Festival 2018

Creates Sew Slow: Sewing with a Plan for Houston Quilt Festival 2018

Style Arc Besharl knit tee

The Besharl tee is another garment I made for the holiday wardrobe using two woven fabrics.  It is meant to be for knit fabrics so I thought I would try it again with two red knit fabrics. The front and the stripe down the back would use the red dot fabric, with the plain red for the two back pieces.

Creates Sew Slow: Sewing with a Plan for Houston Quilt Festival 2018

Creates Sew Slow: Sewing with a Plan for Houston Quilt Festival 2018

The patchwork dress

Reading blogs can be dangerous for the "I wants". Reading Heidi Emmett's blog I came across her "Rectangle Pieced Dress". I want to take one to Houston - after all it is the International Quilt Festival. The style immediately made me think of V9112 which Marcy calls the Cirque dress. I would modify V9112 slightly to a scoop neck with short sleeves plus add to the overall length.
Creates Sew Slow: Sewing with a Plan for Houston Quilt Festival 2018
This is Heidi's inspiration dress Folk Print Short Sleeve Shift Dress
Creates Sew Slow: Sewing with a Plan for Houston Quilt Festival 2018
V9112 Marcy Tilton Asymmetrical Seam Detail Dress
The top half could be either a navy or black knit.  For the patchwork part I have furtled through my Kaffe Fassett red fabric scraps. Hopefully there are enough scraps for the bottom of the dress but if not there is plenty more Kaffe Fassett fabric in my collection waiting to be chopped up.

Should I take a jumper as well as my cardigan?

Heavily influenced by Kate over at the blog Fabrickated and her EZ Raglan knit-a-long I have started knitting a striped jumper using the Elizabeth Zimmerman technique on circular needles. This is the first knitting I have done in 22 years - memorable because it was our first winter in New Zealand. The garment started 22 years ago for my beloved is still in progress - I hate the wool it is far too scratchy so it is probably more abandoned than in progress.

I have high hopes for this jumper which uses colours specially chosen to work in with my Houston SWAP.
The inspirational book; my colour choices; stripe inspiration - Milly Rainbow Stripe Jumper; the jumper body in progress
It was hard to find soft double knitting wool in five colours to work with my SWAP at the brick and mortar wool shops in Christchurch so I have ended up using three different brands. Just hope they play nicely together.  You would think with the number of merino sheep we produce finding soft NZ wool would be easy. Maybe like everything else these days it has to be bought on-line.

As an aside I did venture into the Midwinter WoolFeast held here in Christchurch a couple of weeks ago but was overwhelmed by the options.  It was also hugely busy, so I left discouraged and empty handed.

Whilst searching for inspiration I found the picture below. When I grow up I would like to knit a jumper or cardigan like this. Maybe after I have knitted my beloved his promised jumper.

Neiman Marcus Cashmere Contrast Stripe Cardigan