Wednesday, 16 April 2014

built by wendy 3835

built by wendy 3835built by wendy 3835built by Wendy 3835built by wendy 3835built by wendy 383538353835

The Built by Wendy Simplicity 3835 pattern is famous on the interwebs. Everyone has made it, and usually more than once! This versatile pattern is for a top and two dresses with different sleeve lengths and necklines.

Do you know it? Its been out of print for years but still manages to appear regularly on sewing blogs. In fact all the Built by Wendy patterns are popular. And all out of print.

I don't understand why pattern companies, and fabric companies, don't revive some of their more popular designs. I'm sure there are reasons, but when they are still sought after and increasingly rare, I feel like they could do a limited rerelease.

The good news about the 3835 pattern, for me and for you if you don't own it, is that it is available as a digital download from the site along with some of the other Built by Wendy patterns.

I bought the pattern and made this top once a year or two ago. It is a quick sew and takes a tiny amount of fabric. I quite liked it at the time, but wear it rarely because it ended up as they often do too tight across the bust and shoulders, but gapey on the sides where I ended up taking it in.

When I decided recently to finally tackle the world of the FBA, or full bust adjustment, it was this simple pattern I turned to. The FBA if you don't know it is an essential tool if you are a sewer with a larger than B cup. Its also a good first step toward making your own pattern alterations, which leads to more satisfying clothes sewing.

Its taken me a while to learn this secret, but now I'm on to it! My first basic foray into pattern making here also gave me more of an understanding about how it all works, and more confidence to fiddle.

Unfortunately this is a raglan style top and the instructions for a raglan FBA were thin on the ground so it took some dithering around until I just went for it. The only tutorial I could find online was this one. I'm not sure what she does with the dart at the end, so I pressed on and added a dart where one didn't exist before and left it there.

I sewed a couple of muslins with my revised pattern making changes until I was happy with the fit. I actually ended up coming down two pattern sizes. From making a size 16 the first time I sewed this eventually as a 12, using my high bust measurement, adding a FBA and using the size 14 sleeves with slightly extended armscyes to fit. The sleeves are notoriously tight on this pattern.

I then cut the sleeve lengths where I wanted rather than following the pattern, I used the longer dress length sleeve pattern rather than the top as a starting point.

Once I was happy with my revisions I made these two tops in quick succession. I think the blue and white patterned top is the more successful due to the nice drape of this voiley Spotlight fabric which was already in the stash.

But I do love the colour of the blue floral figured fabric and couldn't resist buying it. It has a bit of a starchy, quilty feel but I'm hoping it will wear in a bit. The good news is that both tops cost less than $10 to make and I now have a bespoke pattern that I can make confidently again. And it has given me confidence for altering other patterns.

As usual I hate photos of myself (I enlisted my school holidaying junior photography team for these) but as usual I wanted to pay back all those people who have shared their 3835s online and from whom I've learnt so much. Special mention to the special Built by us Flickr group. Check out my friend Jo's versions, they are all great.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

scatter bricks

scatter bricksscatter bricksscatter bricksscatter bricksscatter bricks

I got the idea for this fabric design one afternoon while cutting orders of my ever popular Bricks print fabric. I imagined a pattern depicting that ever familiar scatter of Lego bricks across the floor. A graphic pattern made up of all the wonderful different colours and sizes of bricks just waiting to be stepped on! I'm sure most families are very familiar with this scene, and many mothers have a lot of experience picking up all those scattered bricks!

I loved the idea of having a coordinating print for my existing Bricks fabrics and can see myself using the different prints together for contrast, as I already do with my different scale Bricks fabrics.

The design came together really quickly just as I imagined it, and I am delighted to see how well it translates to fabric on this crisp white 100% Kona cotton. Graphic and colourful.

I only have a couple of yards of this print for now, a sample size helping! So if you want some of this design to sew with, something for your Lego Lovers or yourself get in quick. Maybe a pencil case, a pillowcase or a cushion cover, get in quick. I'll be keeping a smidgeon to play with myself. I have a little project idea that has been on the drawing board way too long!

The fat quarters are here or email me for other sizes.

As you can see the Scatter Bricks mixes and matches perfectly with the other prints which are all in stock now.

I am hearing great things about the Lego Movie and it is on our school holiday list. Have you seen it? Check out my lego love pinterest board for more Lego mania.

Friday, 4 April 2014



I'm loving having my own pottery wheel here at home. Its been great to be able to practice whenever I get a chance, especially since my ceramics course has ended. I am still a complete beginner on the wheel and I feel like I need to put in the hours to change that. Its also been nice to have time and space to concentrate and learn.

I love throwing but it is maddeningly hard, and I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in that opinion! One day I might have a good day and feel I've moved forward in my skills. But just as I feel I am starting to get the hang of it I will have a session like yesterday when I go back to feeling like a complete beginner and ruin every pot I attempt!

I haven't fired any of my pieces. I'm waiting to collect up a good batch to take to one of the local firing places. I kind of love them though in their greenware or unfired clay forms.

I'm enjoying playing around too with decoration techniques. From my readings there is almost a limitless range of ways to decorate your pots, and in my usual overly ambitious and enthusiastic style I am impatient to try as many as I can!

So far though I've only bought one glaze, a black underglaze. I bought it to play at mishima - incised and glazed pieces like this bird above. I haven't quite got it, My glaze seems to sponge out of the incised marks so the glazing is a bit faint, but I will keep trying. I think I need a wax resist to paint over the outside to protect the unglazed clay before I carve.

The spotty design was made with wet paper cutouts stuck to the clay and then painted over. Another experiment which needs more practice but I do love the dots.

The leaves and flowers are just painted, with the added details on the leaves scratched out later.

I'm sure you can see the flaws in my work, I can!

I wanted to share and document my beginnings here though, in case any of you were interested in ceramics or having a go yourself, but also to have a record of this fun creative journey.