Sunday, 10 December 2017

Practical Sewing and Secret Makes

This week has seen another batch of alterations, with a few more in the coming weeks.  Shortening pyjamas for my mum, a ripped seam, darned socks and replacement zips.  I also have a zip for a coat in the coming week and some curtains to shorten. I did do some sewing on Friday in the form of a new dress for our Christmas night out, I can't share that right now  though as the post was for Minerva fabrics.  I did however make an infinity scarf with the piece that was left...
I will share the link to the dress in the future if they decide to use it.

It is that time of year when there is lots going on and you try to fit in seeing everyone, going out and getting presents and cards delivered.  We don't go the whole way and buy for everyone, we decided as a family years ago we would just buy for the children of the family and there are a few friends but that is all.  It has taken all the stress out of it, one of my friends told me they always do theatre or other nights out as their present as they never know what to get.  

I put my tree up today, a little later than I usually do and had a nice meal and a catch up with my friends. The tree could probably use some new tinsel I have been getting out these same decorations for years now but on the whole the rest are ok.

  I also got out my Christmas handbag...
Blurry picture I know, my camera doesn't do dark nights.

So feeling a bit festive and I'm sure that will only increase as the week goes on at School, I still have the rest of my cards to write and none of the children's presents are wrapped but being older there are not lots of little bits.  

We went into town yesterday as well and I got the fabric to make my Christmas jumper, well mine will be more of a Christmas top but I would have been uncomfortable in a big thick jumper all day.  I will share later in the week when that is finished.  It is not needed until a week on Wednesday, we are finishing close to the big day this year. 

Hope the snow is not too disruptive wherever you are, it is lovely to see but soon becomes a pain when you need to get to work.  Have a lovely week. 




Sunday, 3 December 2017

Winter White Long Sleeve T-Shirt

This little top that I have made has come out better than expected, you know sometimes you buy fabric online then it arrives and you are not that inspired? Well this was that fabric for me, I was trying to keep with my resolve of not always buying wild patterns so I chose this plain off white with a semi transparent stripe.  I have stared at it a lot and thought oh it will be just too plain, today I cut it out and made it up within an hour and I love it.
 So sometimes less fuss is better, as soon as I put it on I thought it will probably get lots of wear, the fabric is good and thick so time will tell how it holds up after a few washes.
I used a satin stretch bias binding around the neck this time and that was good to work with, just a simple hem on the sleeves and a curved hem again but a bit shorter than the last top I made.

I have cropped these photos but there is a dog trying to creep into every one and cock their leg, here one of them succeeded! 
Here is my baking paper pattern in use again that I made a while ago, I think it will see many outings in various forms.

Happy to have got that finished I then took up the sleeves on a coat for a colleague while watching a few Ted talks and powered through my ironing for the week curtesy of my new iron. My old one gave up on me last night just as I was about to go over a dress I was going out in, fortunately it only had a few wrinkles from being hung in a cramped wardrobe.  The night out was a treat to myself, I went to see the Northern Ballet perform The Little Mermaid it was wonderful, it was the original story not to be confused with the Disney version!

I don't  know what it is with us and irons as we seem to get through a lot, always just after the warranty has expired annoyingly.  There are some who tell me they never iron, how is this possible? Why are people not constantly crumpled if they never iron?  There must be some secret non ironing society that I have been left out of and doomed to buy a new iron every year or so.  If you have details of the non ironing secret please feel free to pass them on.  However being a dress maker there will always be something that needs a press to finish it off won't there.

This week I have tried out some lovely new recipes one of them being the Masala Cheela Pancake
it uses the gram flour and is the closest I have come to feeling like I ate a pancake since turning vegan.  I probably added more veggies than stated but it was lovely so have a look at the Hungry Gecko blog for more recipes just follow the  link above.


Sunday, 26 November 2017

Raspberry Broderie Anglaise Dress

I have had this dress sat on the dummy this week in various states of progress.  I had intended on having long sleeves but when I added them they just looked too old fashioned with the style of fabric.  So I chopped them off and they are short now, it is not a problem as I just layer clothes in cooler weather and this dress does have an under dress too.  I used the shape of another dress for the skirt part and a little blouse that I made for the sizing of the top section, after that it was just a case of trying and pinning on the mannequin as I went along.

All these pictures are dark I'm afraid even though it was only three forty five when they were taken.

I was going to go for a full collar but I like the mandarin style as it is so I left it at this point.

Not sure about the shoes or tights with it but I just threw something on to get a few pictures, I will decide on that later.  It will really be ideal for summer but I just got this idea in my head now that I wanted to make this.

This is the dress I made to go underneath so that it can be worn across the seasons, it also gives it a bit more substance as the fabric is so open in places you are good and covered up. 
Originally I had also thought I would do buttons all the way down the front but due to the way I cut the skirt I thought it may hang off centre with the line of buttons so I stopped at the waist and added a side zip.
I am happy with the way it turned out considering it was a bit of mixture of ideas, when I decided I wanted to make a dress like this I had seen a green dress and that was the colour I wanted.  This is a really lovely colour though the dark pictures just don't do it justice.  




Friday, 17 November 2017

Finishing Odd Jobs and New Fabric

This last week I have got quite a bit of sewing done but more on the practical side of things.  I did some curtain alterations for a former colleague at the start of the week and I have been getting some repairs done which is not that exciting but needs doing.   One of those was to add a lining to a skirt I made over a year ago, I always tend to line skirts these days but as this was quite thick I didn't.   After it had been worn a few times and grabbed to my tights I decided it needed a lining.

It feels much better now and more substantial for this time of year.

 The lining is actually quite thick and very shiny which I didn't realise when I ordered it, fortunately the skirt is heavy enough to take it.  It wouldn't have worked on a lighter material.

I also had a couple of shirts with tears in them, a broken zip and I did complete a top that I love but I can't share that on here because the post is for Minerva crafts, I will share link later if it is featured.
Also today I have been having a little think about how to proceed with my next project which is a broderie anglaise dress in a deep red. Not sure if that spelling is correct, anyway I did myself a little doodle and I will be cutting out tomorrow.
Shirt dress style with a bit of a circular skirt and long sleeves, the jersey is for an under dress as the fabric is holey after all.   I saw a gorgeous green dress on pinterest but couldn't find a similar green fabric but I liked this red so I went for it. 


Saturday, 11 November 2017

Navy Skirt with Pleats

Yesterday I got on with finishing the skirt I started last weekend, I thought it would be a quick one to finish but I ran into a couple hiccups. The first thing that went wrong was that one of the side seams appeared to be a little off so I had to take that apart and redo it.  Then when I was cutting the button hole with my new seam ripper it resisted a bit because the fabric is thick, so did I get my sharp scissors? No I pushed a bit harder and it went straight through the top and left a nasty fraying jagged mess.  I thought maybe I could just hand stitch it but no it's having a new piece in.
Argh!!!!

Then when I tried it on and the lining was in and two rows of topstitching done, it stuck out a little bit at the front on the yoke bit at the stomach. This was a mystery as it had not stuck out on the last trying on! So now it has a pin in the front holding up the bottom section until I get my picker and undo all that topstitching and redo the front.  I am not doing it now I need to step away from it for a while to save my sanity.  The thing is if I had not put in the pocket plackets the sticking out bit could probably have just been solved by deepening the darts, but as they run through the pockets that is not and option.  
Here is the back and that is hanging ok



Here you can see I have tucked up a section at the front and put a pin in.  I will mark this on the inside then unpick the front, when I am in the mood.  Once that is done it will be great but now it is time to move on or I will end up not wearing it if it annoys me too much in the making process.

So things do not always go smoothly and even though I have made this before and it mostly came together quickly I then got bogged down in a few things that went wrong.  I know some beginners may get stressed and feel they have wasted time when this happens, the thing is most things work out really well and there are always going to be some things that get a bit sticky.  Just put it to one side for a bit and come back to it with fresh eyes another day.   I will do a shot of this skirt being worn in future. 


Sunday, 5 November 2017

Sewing and Books (Lazy Sunday)

Looking through my recent posts it occurred  to me that I haven't posted much about the books I have been reading this past year despite the fact that I have got through quite  a few. I do enjoy seeing what other people are reading and this has led me to read on subjects I might not otherwise have bothered with, so I must try and stay on top of this.  It may be helpful if I pick one day a week to do this as I seem to be the sort that needs some kind of deadline and then everything runs just fine.

So I am not going to back track months but just what I have been reading this past week.  First of all I picked up 'I coriander' at a charity shop a couple of weeks ago, it was in the regular books section but on closer inspection  it said it was a book for older children.  Well I wasn't going to be put off by that as it looked an interesting story and also the little bit about the author grabbed my attention. Sally Gardner is dyslexic and did not learn to read and write until she was fourteen, she was labelled unteachable and sent to a school for maladjusted children.  Despite all this she went on to get a degree with highest honours in art, then onto theatre school and after that became a costume designer.  If all that wasn't enough she illustrates and writes children's books.   Well that information alone was enough to make me want to read this book, I can say it didn't disappoint I loved it!  Even grown ups need a good fairy story occasionally I think and I will be checking out her other work.

Another book I read this past week was Playing Big by Tara Mohr, I didn't really get on with this one. It was suggested on another blog I read as a personal favourite so I was quite excited when it arrived quickly especially as it was from a third party seller.  Quite a lot of telling you to visualise, journal and  all that stuff and lots about her other work or how successful she is with various programmes/courses etc. I sort of spent the whole book thinking well get on with it then, where are the new ideas and tips? 

There is nothing new here, but I suppose everything has been said it is just sometimes things are said better and in a way that we can relate to more fully but for me this book didn't do that.  I may come back to it in a year or so and think wow I get it, but not just now. 
If you have read this book and found that it works for you then great.  I would love to hear your thoughts on it and anything I may have missed.

Today I started another skirt, this time one with centre  pleats identical to one I have made in the past, well almost that one had one pocket with a zip, this one will have two with a little button fastening.  The previous skirt can be seen here it gets worn often so I thought I would make another.

Just one pleat at the front and back.
I really ought to have made these rectangles a bit bigger as it was a bit of a faff but worked out ok.
When these pockets were complete it felt as though they would gape a bit so I have made a little button fastener for each one and a loop.  Looking through all my odd buttons I couldn't find two small ones in blue that were the same size.
 I did find two in a deep red that looked good against the contrast chambray so I used those, with the fading light the pictures are not great so I will post more in daylight once it is finished.
A bit blurry, more to follow. 





Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Blue Bird Skirt

I have just finished this skirt today and yes it has birds on it again, it must be a thing where I see something with birds on and I have to buy it. That said I am happy with the skirt and only hope the fabric keeps its lovely bright colours after a few rounds of washing and wearing.
I dressed the mannequin as nobody was around to help me with photographs, I suppose I really ought to invest in a tripod so I can be more creative with the pictures. Looking at that t-shirt the sleeve could have done with an iron ;)

It is a style I have made before, slight A line based on another skirt of mine that made from my own measurements.  The original skirt was made using methods form the Sew What Skirts book and from then on I just lay out that skirt and cut around it now I am certain it's a good fit.

Same back and front as you can see below...

As ever I like to do plenty of belt loops on these kinds of skirts as it drive me crazy if you only have a couple and the waistband starts to dip below the belt.  I do two front and back and one each side.  The skirt is lined in a pale blue so it can be worn over the coming cooler moths with thick tights without feeling a chill.
The waistband is hand stitched on the inside and down the sides of the zip, I like to do it that way I know some people prefer to machine around but I enjoy a bit of hand stitching.

 An outdoors shot and more crumpled sleeves!

Here are a few photos of the process below.
Just lay out the original skirt and allow for seams and darts.
Cut a lining to match.

Mark with pins where the darts will go based on the original skirt then fold and check both sides match, repeat on the lining pieces.
Make a few belt loops, I like to do six.  Then fold and press a waistband, one long rectangle, check around your waist, face with interfacing, width up to you. 


I am going to try and buy a few more solid colours to work with from now on, Jo at Three Stories High mentioned this the other day and it is something I do a lot.  I buy fun fabrics and bright prints that grab my eye but often end up wondering what to pair them with, it is also true that a lot of the stylish clothes I see are not covered in pattern all the time.

When I have been browsing Pinterest recently I have seen quite a few techniques where the fabric has been used in a different way to give varying effects.  I think that maybe I should try and find other ways to add detail and interest rather than always going for the boldest of prints, watch this space I may need reminding!

We have just had a night away in Manchester, we went to see the amazing Switchfoot (band) and they were incredible, I was also impressed with Manchester.  I have only ever passed through before and I have seen one concert in the past there but we were into the venue then back in the car last time.  This time we had a chance to look around have a couple of meals including a lovely full English vegan breakfast ( Thank you Trof Northern Quarter).  They also have an amazing vegetarian/vegan health food shop in the city that stocks everything, I was very impressed.

I was lucky that the concert took place during half term otherwise we wouldn't have been travelling there on a Monday evening with work the next day, my husband just booked a couple of days leave so we could have this break and it was great. It felt like a little holiday, my mum stayed with the boys and the dogs for the evening.

Practical Sewing and Secret Makes

This week has seen another batch of alterations, with a few more in the coming weeks.  Shortening pyjamas for my mum, a ripped seam, darned ...