Sunday, 31 July 2011

Advancing Your Skills...

There has been lots of chat around recently about what level of sewist people think they are.
Most people seemed to put themselves at advanced beginner, even the ones I would call super advanced!

After being taught at sixth form, college and then sewing regularly by myself, I would put myself at Intermediate. But as I have mentioned before I am hugely impatient and like my sewing fix quick, so I tend to go for things I can make in 1-3 days, that don't require me to push my skills too much.

This is why I didn't take much notice of Gerties Bombshell dress class on Craftsy. I thought about all the couture techniques she employs on her, lets face it sickeningly beautiful clothes and thought no, this isn't for me. I'm a quick and dirty kinda gal and I won't get a dress fast enough to satisfy. Then I saw the dress... Its a sarong 1950s style with a bustier top, It is beautiful and something I would like to be able to make. In the end I relented and paid the half price of around £20 for the online course.

I have to admit I have not yet started making the dress. I thought I would familiarise myself with the class first and then take every step individually after that. I retain better that way.
Shockingly I have to say I am wholeheartedly hooked!
Gerties camera manner and the way she explains so clearly is brilliant. If she had been my teacher at sixth form I would probably be running up couture 1950s style suits for my own label somewhere now! She makes it fun and the techniques seem more like elegant tricks than complicated instructions like you would find in an advanced Vogue pattern!
Watching this reminded me of how much satisfaction I got when I pushed through my mental barrier about doing buttonholes, and the pride I had once i'd finished something properly at college!
There is plenty of opportunity for variations too! As Gertie has said herself the size range is somewhat limited (up to 44") but most of us who have used print out patterns before are used to limitations and are able to grade up just by adding a few inches here and there.

As I'm stashbusting I have been trying to think of a fabric to use for this. The suggested ones are Japanese cottons or Shantung. I'm thinking the first is probably more likely to be in my stash! Options coming soon!

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Not a lot going on... Musings on Trousers

Most of my stuff is strewn out on my mamas table, as I wait for my overlocker to be fixed but my fingers are itching. I'm getting used to the idea of not buying anymore stuff but this makes for boring blogging!

I've also not been feeling so great the last few days but now i'm on tablets im on the mend!
yesterday I popped out for lunch with Lauren from Tea and Crumpets
We had great fun chatting about sewing and eating really good food, I put a couple of questions to her relating to my dissertation too which I will definitely be talking about at a later date!

We talked a lot about trousers and I am definitely going to make it a goal to make some soon! They really aren't that hard but I find ready to wear ones useless for me. I'm long waisted with tiny short legs with a small waist and big hips and thighs (not painting a pretty picture here huh?)
But I find trousers end up being low waisted with a tiny crotch depth, too big on my waist and too long! This is why i've been contemplating trousers for so long. I've decided to have a practice on some Palazzo style pj bottoms. I bought some silk a while ago at Goldhawk Road and I would like to do a muslin before using that.
Very 1930s movie star I hope! I wanna use new look 6900 perhaps the top too but i'm not sure on if I want a wrap top like the short sleeved one in 6922 or something different.
Anyway here are a few of the patterns I have for shorts and trousers in my stash...
Ok! I know the last ones a jumpsuit but I kind of really want one! What are your thoughts on Trouser making? Any Votes for any particular pattern?

Friday, 22 July 2011

Today has Been a Good Day...

Today I've been sewing all blissful day and its been lovely. I was feeling a little stale this morning and my plans were thrown aside as I searched for something new and fast to make to get my SewJo going again.
I came across Butterick 5211 and a beautiful silk that I won in a giveaway from Liz at Zilredloh.

There was 2.30 odd there and I didn't want to waste any! But I knew this would be a perfect pairing of a simple pattern done in exquisite fabric. Something I am rarely good at doing.
This time I feel I have pulled it off. Its not quite finished as I need to get the mental strength up to thread my overlocker.
I think it looks like something I would certainly swoon over in a store and it was about £2 to make! I was very concious of waste on this project and so have decided to do yet another Beignet.
So before I cut the precious bunting liberty, I'm going to use this silk as the lining to the apple green sateen I had planned for a different project.
I was going to use this on the Marie skirt but thats another story for another day!
Heres what I wasted in total after cutting the dress and lining.
Not bad huh? I'm feeling good about the progress and I think that I should get my green beignet cut and sewn up in a couple of days or so as I've done it once before. I just want to check the sizing as I went down two sizes as my needlecord one is pretty huge on me. But if its not right I don't want to waste my Liberty on something that is going to be too small.

I'm starting to wind down into Autumn/Fall sewing at the moment I'm finding that my choices are starting to go towards browns and greens and more autumnal colours. I am going to make myself work through my list of cardigans and tops in jersey too though as layering is always a good thing. But sadly the topsiturviness of the great British weather has put me into a state of wanting my tights and big scarves with boots again!

Now i'm off the sew the buttons on my Colette Violet shirt!

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Progress... and a little on Cord

I forgot how frustrating cutting jersey is! It took me like 2 hours to cut out 1 cardi and 1 long sleeved top yesterday. I have yet to cut my beloved bunting cord. But I thought I'd answer a few questions people were asking about using needlecord fabric.

It is quite easy to sew but gets bulky very easily. I found it best to chop into it to limit bulk on corners etc,
Its a little tricky to cut but Its worth taking a bit more time and persevering!
I finished all of my seams on my overlocker but on the bulky bits it was not best pleased with me! I wonder if you didn't have an overlocker perhaps use a Hong Kong Seam to eliminate too much fabric. Don't forget you have to line it too!
Not any pics to show you so heres a few awesome cord fabrics I've seen.

Friday, 15 July 2011

American Designers Challenge... "Dot"

For last weeks Sew Weekly challenge. They chose American Designers. I was kinda short on time but wanted to join in. This is where one of my Built By Wendy patterns came in. As Wendy Mullens was my inspiration. This is Built by Wendy 3692 from Simplicity. I wasn't enamoured by it on the pattern envelope as I said before but here it is finally finished and I love it! I lowered the neckline just a tad but it could do with taking in a bit more (As per usual I cut too big for my actual body size.) Its only a remnant from Ditto and less than 30cms of white jersey for the yoke.
I'm pleased to say it fits in with the whole capsule wardrobe thing I've decided to go for and looks good with my Small Victory Beignet.
This week has been a week of prep for sewing more than actual sewing. I have pre-washed loads of fabric and spent most of today cutting up the patterns I want to use in the next few weeks.
Heres a better look at some of the Jerseys,

Thursday, 14 July 2011

A Small Victory! The Beignet!!!

I did it! I finally got over my buttonhole fear. My needlecord Beignet had been languishing in the UFO pile for ages but I finally decided to do it and 12 buttonholes later it was finished!
It has Mustard lining to match the buttons and the butt pocket is gone! Its super comfy and is a lot more flattering than I anticipated.
I like it so much that I've already started making the second one! In that Liberty Bunting Cord! Next time though I'm making sure that I cut at least one size down it is far too big but is fine to be comfy in!

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Moodboards and Future Projects

As I said in the last post, I have been thinking about things I need to fill wardrobe gaps and also to soothe the pain of a RTW clothing ban until Christmas. This is what I have come up with so far. 3 skirts, 2 tops, 1 shirt and 1 cardigan. I should really plan in a more capsule wardrobe kind of way but at the moment i'm going for what helps toward stashbusting.
Most of the plans I have done are based on fabrics I already have in my stash. However the Crescent and the Liberty cord are treats i'm planning on.
I'm not sure about what I want to use for the new Lonsdale dress yet, something nice and floaty I think.
As you already know I've already started on this Polka dot jersey top! I'm waiting on the Sewaholic ones!
Most of the fabrics I'm using are from the blogger meetup in Brighton. But I'm trying really hard to work through my stash so that its not languishing.
These are kind of work in progress moodboards as I've said before I just try to get things straight in my head so I can work out what fabric will go with what pattern. I need some spur of the moment projects too to stop me getting too bored but planning is fun too!

Friday, 8 July 2011

The Best Laid Plans...

One of my favorite bits of sewing is planning what I'm going to make. Whilst unpacking I decided to pull out a few patterns I was thinking about using for now/Autumn/Winter sewing.

What a mistaka to maka! 25 patterns came out, not including the free burda ones, or the ones I've had ordered, Sewaholic and otherwise.
I did exactly the same thing I always do. Dresses are not something I wear often unless I can stick tights or leggings underneath. 11 of the patterns were dresses! 6 were tops, 5 were Jackets and 1 was for PJs and 2 for shorts.
After looking in horror at these patterns and realising there was only 5 or so that had ever been used I decided on a scary solution.
I already have a partial fabric ban. I can buy one piece for every 3 I use. How about a RTW clothing ban like Jane? I'm not sure I could manage but I could certainly try until Christmas.
Has anyone else tried doing this?

I seem to make clothes at an alarmingly quick rate at the moment so perhaps this wouldn't be so bad.

Talking of which here is my Sew Weekly challenge in progress. I'm really pleased with it so far! This week is American Designers and I went for Wendy Mullins, who owns Built By Wendy. This is one of her patterns she did for Simplicity, I've taken to feverishly collecting them!
I wasn't convinced this would look good with my bust and all the ones i've seen bar one were not my kind of thing. I am not sure if I should add the sleeves or not. It needs taking in a little but it is looking pretty good. Its just a white cotton jersey and a white and blue polka dot cotton jersey. I think I could get a lot of wear out of this!
More Sewing moodboards to come. I'm still hoping to get my Beignet skirt and Violet top finished this week as I've sorted out the Buttpocket. I'm trying to intermix new and UFO so that I don't get too bored!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

MMJ Examined...

Sorry its taken me over a week since the end but its been busy!
I had loads of fun doing my first Me Made Month. However I wish it could have been a month where I had less going on!
With the move it was a nightmare trying to remember to get photos. Most days I did in fact wear me made but there was too much going on to get photos! This annoyed me somewhat as I was doing the challenge. Overall there were 4 days in which I didn't take photos but only a few were days I didn't wear handmade and they were right at the end on the 24th and 29th. Because we were moving stuff.

I'm pretty pleased I got through my first me made month with so much going on. There is always room for improvement!
I stuck with separates for the most part but it was fun working out all the ways you could wear the stuff you make. I have to admit my Pippa skirt and top came in handy, as did my Sunny, Funny Girl top and my Etta Cardigan.
I was surprised I didn't wear my Joan dress the whole way through. Its comfortable but I think it is a bit dressy unless you work in an office.
I found myself gravitating towards the Jersey fabrics in my wardrobe for comfort. My Autumn top in viscose jersey was a particular favorite and my Etta cardi is bobbling from all the wear it gets!
This challenge also encouraged me to re-fashion a few bits so I had more to wear. The parisian dress was chopped into a much more useful and more importantly, wearable skirt and has become one of the nicest things in my wardrobe!
My making dwindled a little in June. I only managed 2 items and a refashion but I have countless UFO's that I started before June for this challenge. Sadly these got left in the dust but now were settling, hopefully I can finish off most of those. I haven't even blogged about the top/dress that I wore to the blogger meetup. I will catch up when I've shortened it. But its a viscose jersey remnant and its a lovely print. (Day 26)
We finished off with the Sewalong Palooza reveal! I called mine Igraine after Arthur's mother in Camelot as it has that medieval vibe with the neckline and sleeves.
Hope everyone got through MMJ unscathed! I am working on plans for Autumn sewing at the moment. EEK!
Now to go finish those UFO's...