Musing about blogland

Just so you are not totally photo deprived, here’s another Renfrew I made.

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I added 2 inches at the waist and I like this length a lot better than the last version. It’s pretty loose and comfy – perfect weekend wear. The fabric is lovely quality cotton lycra jersey from The Fabric Shop, Fitzroy. I bought it last winter and the colour is a big departure from my normal palette but I do like it. I now want a more fitted work-appropriate knit top, but I think I’ll try a different pattern rather than radically alter the Renfrew.

But what I really wanted to talk about today was blogs. My first sewing community was PatternReview. I posted a review of this little dress that I made Althea for her first birthday and people on the other side of the world who didn’t know me left nice comments!! I was so excited. The forums were warm and friendly and very helpful. PatternReview really kept me encouraged and sewing and  I am very grateful to everyone there.

I noticed that quite a few sewists on PatternReview had blogs. The blogs had more pictures, it was more customisable, and I just knew that there was another world that I would like out there. However at that time I was in the very, very torturous process of writing my PhD thesis and another distraction was not what I needed. So I read blogs sporadically when I came across them and would not let myself get a blog reader.

Post thesis I set up my blog reader and away I went. It took a while to find blogs and liked, and importantly to drop the feeds from blogs that drove me crazy (…..seriously talking about yourself in the third person, not my cup of tea). Several blogs that I only found late in their lives and loved have disappeared but I am learning that is the way of blogland: we all have real non-virtual lives and our passions wax and wane.

It’s taken me a while to settle into blogland and I still don’t comment on blogs as much as I would like. My big issue is that I do the majority of blog reading on my phone (I use Reeder for MacOS) which makes it very easy to read blogs during my lunch break, or a spare snippet of time I have at the park when the toddler is amusing himself (it does sometimes happen), but very annoying, if not impossible to comment on blogs. Blogger blogs, actually it is impossible. So I mark as unread and then a week later when I open my laptop the moment has passed.

There are so many lovely blogs that I enjoy reading and now I have finally managed to (manually, laboriously) import 25 of my favourite blogs into WordPress reader so that they can appear in my sidebar. The list is ugly – someday I’ll work out a better way to display them. (Gosh I wish I’d chosen blogger back when I started this blog – widgets! bloglists! bah!)  I want to spread the blog love so please do check out the blog list. There are some gems, I hope you enjoy!

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Social sewing and my first Renfrew

So I finally made it to Social Sewing! I had a really lovely six hours away from the usual goings on of life. I met some lovely sewists, sewed up my first Renfrew top, traced out both versions of the Hummingbird skirt, started cutting it out and generally enjoyed some time to myself. The very lovely Helen of FunkBunnysGarden was also wearing a hot off the press Renfrew – so here we are!

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Her version was totally gorgeous.

I was pretty happy with this T-shirt as my first iteration of the pattern.

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My current full bust measurement is 43″ and the largest size in this pattern is a US RTW 16 designed for a 41″ bust. Given the larger sizes are 2″ apart, this puts me at a US 18. I traced the size 16 for the neckline, shoulders and down the armscye to the underarm point, then traced where the 18 would be if it existed for the inner sleeve seam, side body seam, hem seam, sleeve cuffs and waist band. It is a rather generous fit. Perfect for weekends with jeans or general slouching around but a neater, less baggy fit through the body would probably look more polished. I’ll try a more fitted version next.

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The fabric is a cotton lycra jersey from Spotlight. It is a reasonable weight and very stable – good for winter. My favourite part of this pattern is the length of the sleeve right off the bat! So long, so lovely. My RTW long sleeves tops are all 7/8 length at best after a few trips through the wash. The body length is pretty good too, though I’m not 100% sold on the waistband finish. The band is not tight but it causes the hem to ride up a bit. The banded cuffs work well though.

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The neckband was too long to sit well. I cut it as per the pattern and followed the notches. There was enough stretch in the band around the bottom of the curve but you can see that the sides wrinkle up a bit. On a side note, I personally find a 15mm seam allowance overkill on a knit neckband seam, I prefer 10mm seams. I sewed, overlocked then topstitched the seam allowance down. Normally I’d use a stretchy decorative stitch on my machine for this, or a well stretched straight stitch but I thought I try the zig zag. I’m not totally sold. It is a more casual and er, homemade finish.

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Overall I’m really happy with this top and I plan to make several more. A winner at last!