Friday, 25 July 2014

Spring Sewing Swap 2014 - update

Well, I'm a little late on this and I have lots of other things to catch up on too....

I signed up for Kerrie's Spring Sewing Swap 2014 and was paired up with  Lisa from Small Things.  The idea behind the swap being to check out your partner's blog and send them a parcel of sewing related things that would fit with what they like/make.

I had great fun reading through Lisa's blog and realised that I had seen it before when she had put a folded/pleated skirt on Burdastyle (which I had 'favourite-d') a couple of years ago. It turns out that she is planning to release the skirt pattern at some point in the not too distant future.

We chatted a bit by email to gauge what each other liked and I think (hope) we got it about right. Below is what I received from Lisa:

I have already cut out and nearly finished a dress using the grey and blue stripey jersey, which I'm hoping will be a simple 'throw-on' piece for the gorgeous weather we are currently experiencing in the UK. The needles and clear elastic are for sewing jersey, so will be using those in the future! The brown fabric is also a knit with a paisley type pattern which may become a Renfrew, come Autum time.

Lisa is currently travelling around Europe in a converted firetruck so I knew posting to her might be tricky. I ended up sending my package to her Mum as Lisa had told me they Skype regularly. I know her Mum has recieved the package, but Lisa hasn't seen it in the flesh so to speak! I don't think Lisa would mind me showing what I sent her:

I think the swap is a great idea to get to know different blogs that are around. Well done Kerrie and thanks for organising it!

Thursday, 17 July 2014

FO: Not Quite Finished Polka Dot Skirt

I have a denim skirt that I really like.  I bought it from one of the many charity shops in my local town about 8 years ago, may be more, and it was originally from Monsoon. I got it fo £4 - bargin! Because I have had it for so long it is looking a little the worse for wear.

The last project I did at my pattern cutting class was to make a pattern of this skirt so that I could make a copy. My teacher had me find the middle of my skirt, draw a straight line to act as the central line/grainline and then do lots of measuring.  I measured the distance from each pleat to the line and  the depth of each pleat for the top and the bottom of the skirt. I added seam allowances and a hem and did a 'rub-off' copy of the waistband.

It sounds quite quick, but it took foreveerrrhhh and the old adage of measure twice cut once is oh so true.  I found that I am pretty incapable of measuring things accurately the first time round. To make sure the pattern would work I pleated the pattern up as if it were the skirt and thought it would do.

The fabric the I wanted to use was the off cut from my polka dot Anna dress. I knew that there wasn't quite enough fabric to get the right length so I used some linen from my stash to add a band of solid colour  at the bottom and waistband. (I made a skirt from the same linen 11 years ago - I am pretty sure it was upholstery linen from Ikea. It will fade over time because the old skirt was a completely different colour from the original by the time I chucked it out last year. Any hints on how to make it colour fast are welcome).

The first time I wore my Anna dress, one of my girls pointed out that it was see through, just as I was leaving the house to go to a meet-up, so by the time I made this I knew I was going to need to line it.

To make the lining pattern, I folded out some of the pleats and then drew around the resulting shape adding on seam allowances.

As you can see I had already put on the waistband at this point, and (in the second photo below) had to reduce the height of the waistband. Because I hadn't folded out all the pleats I roughly pleated the lining to fit.

Before I reduced the height of the waist band, there was a moment where I thought the skirt was going to be a disaster. I had tried it on and the fit was terrible - it was really uncomfortable and the waistband was digging into my ribs. I put it to one side whilst I worked out what to do. I was vastly over thinking the problem and ended up just halving the waistband height.

Once I had fixed the waist band, I hemmed the skirt. I wanted quite a wide band at the bottom of the skirt so did a 2cm hem, but when I tried on the skirt and started to take photos of it I felt that maybe it would look a little less frumpy/mumsy if it were a little shorter.  I then turned it up probably another 2 cms and pinned it, then took some more photos.   I did this at the end of May hence the slight vagueness.

back view - longer length

front view - shorter length
 I was undecided and so it is currently unfinished, awaiting a decision on the length. 

side view plus pleats
Pleat detail

Meanwhile I have been sewing lots of tops for the summer.... post/s to come. You can see one in these photos.

I think overall it has worked out ok. It doesn't fit as well as it could, it is still a bit tight and the waist is still a bit high but I think that could be easy fixed in a future version. I really just wanted to see if I could make a pattern from a piece of clothing without taking the orginal apart, and I can, kinda...

twirls nicely though!

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Versatile Blogger Award...

Caroline from CJ made has recently nominated me for a Versatile Blogger Award and described me as an experienced sewist - thanks Caroline! I met Caroline at the NYLon 2014 meet-up in May and have since had great fun reading about her sewing and art.

The VBA seems to similar to the Leibster and Sunshine awards where you nominate blogs that you enjoy reading and that you think others will enjoy, but without the limitations of how many people follow the blogs being nominated.

When accepting the nomination there are a few rules to follow:

  • Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to their blog
  • Share 7 interesting things about yourself
  • nominate 15 other versatile bloggers (I have done 12) and
  • Let the bloggers know that you have nominated them
Firstly, I shall endeavour to find 7 interesting things about me!

1 - In 2008, Husband and I had the crazy idea to go and live in New Zealand for a while. October 2009 found us with our 3 young children, 10 large bags, 5 lots of hand luggage, a package of car seats, and an oversize package of kites, arriving in Christchurch, NZ. We lived in a small town called Fairlie, South Island. We made some great friends and had a mostly great time. We came home at the beginning of 2011 and it was almost as if we had never been away.

2 - I rediscovered my love of sewing whilst we were in NZ and started this blog whilst we were out there.

3 - I used to be a Law Librarian in London in my working days. 

4 - despite the organisational skills required for being a Librarian, I am not very organised at home - I would love to be a bit tidier and not have assorted tutt around my home, but I just can't  manage it!

5 -  I love to cook, but I have noticed that since I started sewing more productively, my time for cooking has dwindled.  I still cook - I have a family to feed after all - but I no longer spend a whole afternoon crafting a gourmet meal (unless it is for a special treat/we have guests!)

6 - I have been following a food blog called Smitten Kitchen since around about 2008/9 written by a lovely lady called Deb Perelman, and last year I got to meet her briefly, when she came to the UK for her promo book tour. 
7 - Husband and I got married on Halloween - it was the first date our chosen venue was available.  It was not a themed wedding!

And now for nominated blogs - I am pretty sure these have not been nominated before:

Lisa from 
Rachel from Boo Dog and me
Cathe from Amaryllislog
Amanda from Bimble and Pimble
Sara from Mixed Emotions
Ingrid from We the sewing
Sally from The Quirky Peach
Lisa G from Notes from a mad housewife
Sonia from Ginger Makes
Katy from Sleek Silhoutte
T from U&mii
Fiona from Diary of a Chain Stitcher

All these ladies write well and make gorgeous clothes - I hope you enjoy reading them.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Spring Sewing Swap 2014

Kerrie of KestrelMakes has organized a sewing swap for the last couple of years and when I saw her post about this years swap I decided to sign up. 

My parcel is ready to go and I am hoping it will get there on time!

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

MMMay 14 final round up

Here is my last round up for Me-Made-May 14. I was marginally better at taking photos this week.  We were away for a few days, but that didn't impact on my clothing choices at all.

Day 21 - 27th May
Blue Cowl top - No photo today

Day 22 - 28th May
White Peasant top

Today was Husband's birthday during which he wore the shirt I made for him at Christmas

I also made him this cake:

lemon ombre cake

Day 23 - 29th May
Autumnal Renfrew - no photo again

Day 24 - 30th May
Magpie top

Today was the Flickr theme Friday. I didn't get a picture of me with my stash, but I did take the opportunity to sort through most of my stash.  I have measured each piece, labeled it and organised by type of fabric (knit, woven, lining) and sort of  by colour with in the fabric group. I laid it all out on the floor and took a picture:

I really need to get sewing - most of these pieces were bought with a plan in mind, I just need to stop procrastinating!

Day 25 - 31st May
Geometric refashion

I set myself the target of wearing 5 me-made items a week thorughout May. I have (I think) worn me-made for 6 days each week, which shows that I am pretty good at wearing my stuff day to day.

There were several days where I repeated items and several makes that haven't seen the light of day yet - mostly due to the weather. One item that I haven't worn at all which surprised me, was my Denim Portfolio dress as that has been worn a lot in the last two MMMays.

I make a lot of tops, which is great as I live in jeans and tops, but I also want to make some more 'bottoms'. I have a pair of trousers cut out, drafted from my block that I have made at my Pattern Cutting class and I have a skirt waiting for the hem to be finished. Several of my stash pieces were bought for skirts/trousers in mind - I just need to get cracking!

Many thanks again to Zoe who has organised these Me-Made months for the last few years. I managed to post to the Flickr page and Pinterest board this year - which has resulted in finding yet more blogs to read!

Month in review:

Monday, 26 May 2014

FO: Little girl's shirred dress

I recently made a shirred dress for a friends daughter. It was her birthday and I wanted to make her something.  Husband says I am making up for not having the time to make my girls things when they were little!

I used some Liberty lawn that had been given to me by my mother-in-law some year ago - I think she gave me nearly 4 metres of it and as this was for a little person I still have about 3 metres left! Unfortunately the colour and pattern is not to my taste - Husband might get a shirt out of it at some point...

I used a tutorial from Jorth on how to make a shirred dress, which worked very well and needed no adjustments.  I made the straps too long so that they could be let out as she grows.

This is the first time I have done shirring and had no idea it was so easy - I love it and am thinking of other ways I could use it! I remember when I was little (early to mid '70's) my mum made lots of dresses in this style for her, me and my sister. I saw a friend of mine wearing something similar last summer which reminded me of these dresses and I have obviously had it in my mind since.

I also made a little fabric flower broach to match, which I pinned to the front.

I have not yet got a photo of her wearing it, but I am hoping that her mum will let me put one on here when I get one. 

Sunday, 25 May 2014

MMMay14 round up week 3

Having covered 2 weeks and 2 days in the last round up, here I am with week three. I have been pretty poor at taking pictures this week, so here goes:

(My pledge was 5 me-made items a week for the month of May)

Day 13 - 17th May
Polka dot Anna, worn to Rachel's fantastic #NYLon14 meetup in London. There are photos available on Flickr taken by Kitty Wong.

Day 14 - 18th May
Turquoise blouse - no photo to day

Day 15 - 19th May
Turquoise blouse - worn to my pattern cutting class so that my teacher could advise me on fit.  It is still one of my favouirte summer tops, but I have noticed that the bust dart is too high, it pulls across the back just below the collar and I have excess fabric in the upper chest. She suggested using my block and transposing the style lines on the block, then toile-ing it up, which I may try and do during the summer.

Day 16 - 21st May
Jasmine blouse - First time I have worn this this year.  Last year I noted that the sleeve band was too tight, and uncharacteristically dealt with it  by taking them off and resewing them with teeny tiny seam allowances to make them as big as they will go. However they are still too tight and I am probably going to take them off all together.
tucked - this is how I wore it after seeing the picture below!


Day 17 - 22nd May
Stripey Lydia - no photo today (I seem to wear this every Thursday!)

Day 18 - 23rd May
Autumnal Renfrew - no photo today

Day 19 - 24th May
Geometric refashion - no photo today

Day 20 - 25th May
Cowl top that I made for Eldest. The neckline was a bit low for her even with a vest top underneath. She hardly ever wore it and said that I could have it. Yay!

Still doing pretty well at wearing me-made. I think the only day I didn't wear me-made was Tuesday - I woke up full of cold and just put on the first things that came to hand. I haven't even managed to post of the flickr pool or the pinterest board during the week - I have just done that today.

It is the last week next week, which will involve a couple of nights away and Husbands birthday - nearly done!