Meeting The Material Lady

“Well hi there, long time no see!” Look who I found in Manly, it’s The Material Lady herself – Kim!

long legs in Barb pants

Kim, The Material Lady and her husband David were just here in Sydney after a tour of Australia – we met up at Shelley Beach, Manly. What a sweetie; Kim is from Worcester and very kindly brought me the eponymous sauce – Worcestershire Sauce. Crikey, carrying that stuff around the world would have made me break out in hives – what if it broke Kim? You are one brave lady. As for the gift of beautiful Linton tweed… “wow” is all I can say. Now that we both have a piece of the same fabric, let’s see what we can make of it! Isn’t it just lovely meeting bloggy friends, especially from far, far away. I am embarrassed to say I had nothing more than some freshly made macadamia shortbread to give them. Always super aware of the bag weight limits. Thank you, thank you Kim and David, it was so lovely to meet you both 😉

As it happened and without prior wardrobe consultation – we both wore our Style Arc Barb pants! How freaky was that? These are the ones with which I wrangled hem length and the reader poll (!) suggested shorter was better on me – I quite like them this length. That link is worth a look if just for the photos of Zelda as a newly acquired puppy!

I’m adding this terrible photo of us both (below) to demonstrate that same photographer, same camera, different camera height. Like Kim, I do wonder if my husband purposely thwarts his photography, hoping not to be asked (arsed) again!

short legs

This rayon crepe blouse is my current heartthrob, though with humidity in the 80 percents I may have to move on. Self drafted from the Billabong ripoff, just like this and many more in my future!

Back to the blouse – I have no idea where my drafting went awry and despite keeping the master plan like a good girl (Hi Anita!), I’m still none the wiser. My back shoulder and neckline were a good 2-3cm bigger than the front, causing the back neck to gape like crazy. I thankfully hadn’t engineered an opening during the patternmaking because I was unsure whether I’d  prefer a front or back placket. It was going to have to be back since I’d already attached and topstitched the yoke and needed to reduce the back neck by 3cm – fate sealed. No trust in the ‘stitch in the ditch’ where invisibility is important, I secured the bias neck trim with hand stitching – such meditative joy!

back keyhole opening

…which made me think yet again, “you rarely regret a 3mm stitch length when it comes to unpicking, but those 2mm stitches ‘ll getcha – grrr!”. So I didn’t unpick, what a mess that would have made of the crepe. Thankfully my latent midwifery skills came to the rescue as I reached through the tiny sleeve end of the yoke and wrangled to make the keyhole opening, eyes closed, tongue lolling to one side – you get the picture! Sadly, this pattern had to be binned, but despite the troubles I really like it, makes me feel like a chorister… now where’s that damned halo?! Oops!

sew the elastic vertically to prevent twisting

The sleeve cuff was a unique invention of mine. Of course I’ve since seen it on RTW everywhere. Quite distressing to think one has invented something unique… then realising you haven’t, must get out more! The cuffs prior to these photos were so tight, I’d created a designer tourniquet, blue veins that had phlebologists give me the side eye! The first version was wrist + 1cm ease. 2nd version wrist + 3cm. Can I suggest perhaps 2cm is the ‘just right’ measurement Goldilocks?  I’m done fiddling!

Patternmaking help needed…

I have what seems to be an embarrassingly basic patternmaking question that needs feedback please dear friends.

When designing a panel shape, I’d always assumed the panel line once sewn would reflect a middle path between 2 pattern pieces. Say if the centre panel is a little curved and the adjoining panel is straighter, the sewn line would reflect an average of the 2 curves. But I’ve since re-drafted this tux and curved the centre panel line slightly because it didn’t quite meet the apex point and well, it just seemed like a good idea? The result is a more curved centre panel line.

curved plastron panel line

Then I found some old notes indicating which panel should be designed first, but no notes on why – hmmm, typical. Is it related to moving the darts prior to designing the panel lines or ‘setting’ the shape of the panel? Can anyone explain please? Anyone?

contour sectioning indeed

Finally, Kim’s husband David on the left and my Fergus on the right, note the leg lengthening angle achieved by crawling on the ground!!! For art’s sake!




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  1. What a surprise seeing Kim popping up here, it’s a small world. I wish I could offer some insight into your curve conundrum but it’s puzzles like that that mess with my head I usually resort to faffing about with bits of paper to try to understand what’s supposed to happen but isn’t always successful.

  2. It was great to meet both of you! I would have enjoyed clattering around Manly for much longer if my foot hadn’t been whingeing – still stuck in trainers 😞. The shortbread was gorgeous – I had to hide the last one so Hood didn’t scoff it!
    I haven’t done massive amounts of pattern cutting recently so I wouldn’t like to throw an opinion in there. I’m hoping that’s one of the things I will have more time (and inclination) to do now.
    Thanks again for sparing the time to show us Manly 😃

  3. Aw… Dontcha just love it when your favourite sewing bloggers get together!? (*mops eye tearfully)
    Seriously though, I have no idea how to help you but am loving the close up shots of your exquisite stitching. You deserve a halo totally.

  4. Commenting on the fly… 🙂 Love the top, Lesley and the photos are cute. (Best friend always makes my legs look funny lengths when he photographs me.) I’m lazy so I would just consult a bib-front shirt to see what was done. It’s kind of a fun puzzle. I’ve never done one. I like the back ties on the shirt.

  5. Laughed my way through this. No help to offer but such fun to read.

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