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.

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.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Little Bird Black Dress

It seems to me that I may have a bit of a thing for fabric with birds on it, I don't know why I have only just realised this.  I pulled out a piece of fabric from the drawer yesterday that I will be working on next and that has birds on too.  Anyway as for this latest dress it has turned out well, nice and floaty but I did spend longer on a liner that I didn't use than I did on the dress itself.  The trouble was the black lining was too stiff for the fabric and I did intend to secure it at the waist but it just affected the  drape of the dress.  I chose to do a separate black jersey strappy top/underdress? This just goes on separate  and the dress can hang freely. I have another store bought dress like that so I know it is not unusual, well I say store bought I mean charity shop:)
Here is the finished item, it was too windy this morning for an outdoor shot.
I am not wearing a belt here but I might in future, it doesn't really need it as the folds I stitched in place at the front give it some shape.
It has a zipper at the side but I did find that although I can get it on and off with ease it would not go back on the mannequin once the side seams were stitched due to the fact that she doesn't pull her shoulders in the way we do when we dress. 

The dress is getting it's first wear today even though I not really going anywhere other than the supermarket later.  I just feel sometimes I enjoy making these clothes and then feel like Oh I'll just put jeans on because I am home, I am mostly home when I'm not at work so why not just wear everything. 

Over the last couple of days I read the Monk Who Sold his Ferrari, I have read a book in that series before and didn't think much of it but I thought I would give this one a go.  Motivational style of material that it is it still felt a bit insincere like the other one, there were some little bits of wisdom in there but nothing new.

I also watched a number of programmes on the reformation on BB4 I really enjoyed   those and even though I studied it in the past with the OU, I always felt like I was rushing to the next thing I needed to learn so it was good to be able to just watch these documentaries at leisure. 

Monday, 16 October 2017

A New Dress Started

I started another dress yesterday tea time, chiffon this time and the reason I was so late starting it is that I had already made a white tunic dress for  colleague's Greek day at school earlier in the day.  I didn't photograph that one as it is just a basic white tunic, she will draped in the rest of the fabric on the day.  It was quite amusing because I quickly cut out the pieces on the dining table and then we took the dogs for a walk.  When we got back I placed it on the mannequin  and pinned it in place trying to make up my mind how to proceed.  My husband came through and said hang on when did you sew that?  Well I would look well going out in it as it is, it would be a bit draughty!

I suppose it does look almost ready from this angle.

Here you can see not a stitch sewn, just one front piece and one sleeve hanging on.

I was thinking that I may put an elasticated waist in this one but now it is pinned like this I like the effect of where it is pinned at the front just as a fold on each side.  I may do a side zip and just secure those folds with belt loops and do the same at the back, it will need a liner for the skirt as it is see through but the top can have something worn with it.

There wasn't anymore sewing to be done last night as the Sunday evening ironing beckoned, I know I don't have to do it then but I have got into a good habit now of getting it all done then, with the music blasting upstairs so I'm sticking with it.  I was down in time to watch Victoria which I have been enjoying and there is a new drama coming Gunpowder plot so I have started on this non fiction book I bought myself a while ago 'The Gunpowder Plot'  as a warm up before that begins.

This past weekend I also made two dishes using tofu, this was perhaps a mistake as I have felt that it doesn't entirely agree with me but as I made Chinese last week and was fine I ate it on Saturday with stir fry then yesterday I did scrambled tofu from my Aine Carlin vegan book.   It was quite good but I spent the rest of the day regretting it as my stomach was not right, same all evening too.  Has anyone got similar issues with it?  Or maybe just eating it two days running is too much for me.

Maybe eating beans with it is a no no, but if you are vegan and looking for an alternative to scrambled egg this could be for you.  

Friday, 13 October 2017

Teal Dress, a Quick One Hour Make

My latest make is not what it was originally intended to be and I am so pleased with how it turned out.  After reading one of Jo's posts at Three Stories High where she made a fabulous dress for her friend and a T shirt with some grey fabric I fancied some of that fabric for myself.  If you follow the link above you may have to just scroll down one post to see her creations as I had to search back to find the link (she makes so much stuff!).  Anyway I love the grey but I got distracted on the Minerva site and ended up buying teal jersey!    So this arrived and I thought yes another top for autumn, sticking with my resolve to make more wearable tops.  The thing is once it was here I could not picture it as a top and I somehow thought it would not do it justice.

I decided it would be a dress based on one that I own which has a nice simple shape, the original dress has no sleeves but I have put some short ones in the new one with a little detail.  Here is the finished dress below and I am so glad I went with this style.
I have taken a few pictures inside and out as I can never decide which is giving a better representation of the colour.  I already had this little hardly used belt and I think it really sets it off.
Actually this is probably a more true colour, but don't you get fed up with photographing things in the same spot?  This area always has such good light though.

I made a small slit in the sleeves, hemmed them around and then I found these little beads in my sewing box that go lovely with the belt.  I was looking for small buttons but these do a much better job, it was a simple thing that gave an interesting effect.

Here is where I lay the original dress on top, no taking things apart here, just cut around it carefully.
Here are the pieces ready to go, the fabric didn't fray or curl so it was really easy to work with, just a little stretch but not much.

So due to the nature of the fabric I didn't feel the need for any edging on the inside seams, it is for me after all.  It was just a case of stitching all the pieces together, a quick try on which gave me the idea to shorten then snip the sleeves and also take a little off the front and back hem as it was dipping a little in those areas.  That said it was ready in an hour, I ordered the matching bias tape and thread when I bought the fabric and these were a perfect match so I was really pleased with that too.  You just  have to love the projects that go so smoothly and turn out well.  What's more I found this colour chart showing the colour trends for Autumn and my dress colour is on there albeit with a different name, ( Shaded Spruce) I didn't know the colour was in fashion, good to know!

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 ...