Saturday, 23 August 2014

Today's cutting out and some rummaging results

Didn't get too much done on the sewing front today as I went to the last event in the Fringe earlier on but I have managed to fit in some cutting out this afternoon. This is going to be a long sleeved top and is my first Burda pattern ever. Yes ever! When I used to sew, years ago, the small fabric shop I practically stalked, didn't sell Burda and I have to say this was in the days before the big interweb-thingy that's revolutionised our lives so much. Anyway, as I was saying before I distracted myself, the fabric is a poly-cotton from Edinburgh Fabrics. Just managed to get the end of the roll, 1.7m, and just enough to lengthen everything that needs to be lengthened for my longer frame. Result!

Oh look, it's another bright fabric!
The other thing I have to confess is that I am a big paisley pattern fan. If it's got paisely pattern, I'm drawn to it like a moth to a flame. Can't resist it. Ever.

So, tomorrow I'll be sewing Burda 6984, the long sleeved version. There's something about the instructions for the neckline that I cannot for the life of me work out but I'm hoping that it will all become clear when I'm actually sewing it. The front neck is pleated, which is fine, and the neck edge on either side of the pleats is finished with bias binding which stops at either side of the pleats. So I can't see how the raw edge of the pleats will be finished. I'll let you know how it works out.

The other thing I did today was have a good rummage around my old favourite British Heart Foundation charity shop in Dalry Road and came away with some jewellery. I think some of it might go very well with my bright skirts. What do you think?

Actually looking around all those bits and pieces of jewellery made me realise that you could buy some necklaces and use the beads to embellish clothes and jumpers. Each of these necklaces was £1.50, cheaper than buying beads from a shop. Anyone done this?

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Buttons and stuff

Now, I'm taking a wild guess here, but I'll bet that a lot of you out there have a button tin. You know the kind of thing, the tin where you throw all the buttons you cut off clothing that you throw out just because they might come in useful. Or throw in all the odd button or two extra from a pack that you buy to finish a garment (if you can't buy buttons individually). Well, all this came into my mind the other night when I was rummaging though my tin, here's a photo of said tin and contents-

To have a good rummage you really have to empty EVERYTHING onto the floor! And yes it is tartan, it does live in Edinburgh, after all. Just to accentuate the Scottishness of it, as if being red tartan wasn't enough, I think it was even a shortbread tin, contents looooong gone! Anyway, as I was looking through the buttons, I realised that its like a history of the clothes I've made over the years and what I was doing in my life when I was making them or wearing them. Does anyone else think this way too? There are some buttons I'll keep but never use for sentimental reasons. These are the ones my gran gave me and are very definitely vintage ones- glass buttons, mother of pearl shirt buttons and some lovely large coat buttons. Some of the details are lovely too. Anyone else have a vintage button collection or button tin/box? 


Tuesday, 19 August 2014

A busy gap...

Well, I know it happens to everyone and I knew it had to happen to me sooner or later. Yes, The Disaster. I was making a top from yet another bold fabric (when isn't it?), very plain with dolman sleeves, lovely. Started to pin the sides together when disaster struck. My horizontal pattern is skew-wif! It doesn't match. How?! Why?! I carefully steam ironed the fabric before folding it in half before I started laying the pattern pieces on it so I could match everything up. Something has gone wrong but instead of throwing it in the bin in complete disgust (that'll show it!) I decided to stuff it to the bottom of my sewing box. Give it a breather while I do something else and work out what to do. It's funny, but I read this advice on another blog and they're proving to be wise words. My sewing brain is already thinking of how to get around this challenge. You may yet see the bold dolman sleeved top in a future blog post!

Anyway, to console myself I had to make another one of my successes.
Yes, it's another bold patterned pencil skirt. After the previous disaster it's good to get on with something that you know you'll like. So, I'd had my eye on a this lovely bold fabric in John Lewis that suddenly went on sale for £9 a metre. Bargain! The fabric is a 97% cotton 3 % spandex mix and it's lovely to work with. There is some stretch in it but I treated it as a woven fabric for this skirt. I also like re-using patterns, I know some people don't but the second time you make something it always fits better and this is no exception. It's like you just get to know the pattern better.
What do you think?
Rather proud of this zip even if I do say so myself

Proof that it's lined!


Tuesday, 12 August 2014

A first try at knit fabrics

I've been interested in copying a few of my current tops which have definitely reached their 'mid-life' so I wanted to do some succession planning! They're good tops but they're in knit fabrics and that just seemed too complicated for me to do as I don't have an overlocker. However, I've been looking around other blogs and realised that sewing knit fabrics is much easier than I thought. Tilly and the buttons came up trumps with easy to follow instructions so I put my trust in her and here are the results:

I drew around a top I have, drawing the outline on a piece of newspaper (!). Then cut out the fabric. I used a stretchy fabrics sewing machine needle and did lots of adjusting and experimenting in getting the correct length of stitches and type of stitch. Normal zigzag is good but I did have to play around to get the right length of stitch so it wasn't too tight and pull the fabric. Here's a photo below of the zigzagged hem which I'm pleased with.

For some reason this photo and the one below insist on upside-down-ing themselves!

I bound the neck and I think I've got away with it! I used a straight stretch stitch to sew the band on, the folded over the raw edge to the inside of the garment, and slip stitched by hand the last edge. The neck looks better when worn, honest!

Monday, 11 August 2014

A bright skirt

Well, I kind of got a bit ahead of myself and went mad shopping for fabric. So easy to do! And it doesn't help that I'm on annual leave at the moment. Anyway, I finished the striped sleeveless top just as the weather in Edinburgh became a wee bit cooler. I'll show you a photo of that soon when it's ironed and neat-looking. It's just been washed.

So, the bright skirt. I decided I wanted a summer skirt that wasn't black, skirts of any kind are difficult to find at my height. I saw this wonderful fabric in John Lewis at the weekend and had to have it. I've made a lined pencil skirt:

 By the way, the lovely black necklace you can just behind my phone was a very successful purchase from the British Heart Foundation charity shop on Dalry Road. I bought another one but this is definitely my favourite! Kind of goes with the skirt too.

And just in case you want a close-up of the how bold this pattern is...

Going out to see 'Inala' at the Edinburgh Festival so something lovely and bright like this seems a good thing to wear!

Thursday, 7 August 2014

The lapsed sewer

So why did I stop sewing? In the last 10 years things kind of happened, studying and full time work, and there just wasn't any time left over for sewing. My 'thing' was sewing clothes for myself. I have made Roman blinds (that actually work properly!) and curtains but that's functional sewing, really, as well as saving quite a bit of money too, which is always a good thing in my book!

So why did I decide to return to sewing? Funnily enough it was watching the tv series presented by Dawn Porter, 'This Old Thing' that really gave me the kick-start I needed. So here I am. I got my sewing machine repaired by the legendary David Drummond at Haymarket (don't try to find a website, he hasn't got one). Absolutely fantastic service- took the machine to him on Saturday and picked it up on Wednesday. Now for my first project after a 10 year gap.

I spent ages in John Lewis on Saturday but eventually chose New Look 6895 and spent even longer choosing the right fabric. I eventually decided on this 100% cotton, Rhythm Stripe by Felicity Miller for Free Spirit. The pattern repeat is quite big when you've got 1.6m to play with and I'd totally forgotten about matching stripes until it came to laying out the pattern pieces. I've also added 6.5cm at the waist to lengthen the body as I'm taller than the average pattern allows so laying out the pattern pieces took an unbelievable hour!

I'm going to make the sleeveless shell top which has a few gathers at the front neck and bias binding edging around the armholes and neck. Purchased bias binding matches the darker vertical stripes. Yes, I'm using purchased bias binding. One step at a time, I might work my way up to making my own bias binding in future projects.

So, today is a sewing day, what a luxury! I'll let you know how I get on with My First Project For Years and if it's wearable and decent enough to post online (with what's available on the internet, why am I worried?!) I'll let you see what the finished result looks like.