Monday, 24 November 2014

Burda bargains

Just thought I'd share with you the fact that Burda have 50% off their patterns until the end of November. I came across it over a week ago on the John Lewis website and then spent the entire Sunday afternoon browsing, clicking and collecting. It would be rude not to! Got them on Saturday but haven't yet started to make anything from them yet. I bought 6 patterns for £17.60. Bargain! Thought I'd blog the patterns I bought and think about what I'm going to make with them. 

As I just so happened to be in the store last Saturday and while on my way to the toy department for some Christmas shopping, I just happened to go through the fabric department, as you do, and bought myself a little treat- 2 metres of a lovely black and white dogtooth checked fabric.

I'm going to make some badly needed trousers. My RTW ones that I have admittedly had for years, are on their last legs (unintentional pun there, did you notice?). No photos of the fabric as I pre-washed it.

I've a feeling the dogtooth check will end up as a pair of these trousers.
I'm also being restrained and not starting anything else before the grey lined wool trousers are finished. I've been making them for at least the last six weeks. I have, of course, been distracted by quick-sew projects along the way, well, you know how it goes. But yesterday I finished the lining, attached the wasitband, sewed the lining hems and then had to stop because it was dark and I couldn't choose an appropriate button. I still need to hand sew the trouser hems. So, they're almost finished. I'll blog when they're done and then allow myself to start something else. 

I liked this dress pattern and how it also includes a good jumper/thicker top pattern too. It looks a good casual/smart type of dress that you can just throw on and add layers, accessories and boots.
What can I say? It's a dolman sleeved top and I can never have enough of these (left). I'd make both options of this pattern.

I liked this pattern (right) for what they call a jacket but looks more like a cardigan to me, made in a thicker knitted fabric or jersey. I like the zipped version on the left.  

This is just another option for a thicker weight knitted or jersey top with a floppy collar or a loose dress with a woven fabric skirt (left). 
I (obviously!) liked the dog toothed version of this jacket (right). It has a fur collar but I think that it would be better in a tweed or plain fabric as the front panels kind of 'disrupt' the check. I like the length too. And the fact the pockets are patch pockets rather than welts. I'd need to work up to those! This just looks like a good warm jacket . Any plans for winter sewing?

Monday, 17 November 2014

And now for something completely different...

Well, it is actually about sewing but it's just not about me sewing something! Anyway, I spent yesterday afternoon continuing with the grey wool trousers I started a few weeks ago, but got distracted by making a couple of tops. So yesterday I thought I should get on with the trousers as the weather here in Edinburgh is heading towards the chilly, although no frost yet! I've just about finished the outer wool shell of the trousers but have yet to start sewing together the lining. So it's a work in progress but I'm actually enjoying taking my time and completing quite a complicated garment. I'll blog about them when I finish them.

All quiet last week as I went to London for a wee holiday. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves but as you know, London is not one of those relaxing holidays! On the trip we went to the V&A and I spotted this garment in their Fashion section-

 What a lovely garment and the label says it's a Christian Dior...but the seam finish inside is really quite poor quality. I was so shocked I had to take a few photos with my iphone and blog about them!

I'm not even aware that the seams were finished at all, the hem had a zig-zag stitch or was pinked, and then hand stitched.

I'm actually really shocked about the quality of the seam finishes given that this would have been quite an expensive garment in its day. You can probably tell how shocked I am!

And I just had to show you this close-up too!

So that's enough of that. We also went to Kensington Palace where they have an exhibition of dresses from the collections of the Queen, Princess Margaret and Diana, called Fashion Rules. There were some really beautiful gowns that realistically I'll never end up wearing anything halfway as nice in my life! The other thing I noticed is that the royal women were/are a lot shorter and generally smaller than my 5'9" frame! The dresses are behind glass and well lit and displayed. Again, I took some photos to blog about-

I loved this purple puritan ensemble just for its weirdness and it stuck out like a sore thumb amongst all the other dresses.

But I think my favourite was the Maharajah's outfit complete with turban. What can I say?

Just to prove I was really there, can you see Floral Heaven reflected behind the dress on the left? Just giving Hardy Ames a run for his money by wearing a me-made top! My seams are much better finished than Christian Dior, I can tell you!

The exhibition was included in the price of admission for the palace so I'm not sure if you can visit just the exhibition itself. I thoroughly enjoyed visiting the whole palace and seeing lots of other clothes and accessories, including one of Queen Victoria's dresses (she was absolutely tiny!!!).

The beadwork on all these dresses was amazing. I can't think how long it would have taken to sew it all on. More time than I have the patience for!

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Back to black

I've been reading other sewist bloggers who have been making more practical garments to add to their wardrobes. You know, the kind of wearable item that you either wear or it's in the wash. We've all got that kind of thing, whether it's RTW or we've sewn it ourselves. Well. I've recently thrown away a number of shirts that had definitely seen much better days in their dim and distant past. And they'd frankly seen the inside of the washing machine way too many times! Anyway, all of this has kind of made me get on with sewing some rather mundane in a way replacements. Here's another one I cut out and sewed up in one afternoon last weekend-

Yes, it's yet another New Look 6216 that I've already blogged about here and here . I thought I'd give your eyes a rest this time and chose plain black. Yes, the fabric is my beloved bamboo jersey. I think I've cracked it with the sizing of the pattern so I cut it out to the same requirements as I did for the floral version.

I didn't pre-wash the fabric either. It's such a good quality fabric that this doesn't seem to be necessary as there's no difference in the cream bamboo version I made after its wash. I daresay one of these days it will matter though! I always pre-wash wool.
I used my trusty twin needle too. Getting the hang of that quite well. Here's a dodgy photo of the body hem. It's given me the courage to buy an ordinary twin needle and do some top-stitching on woven fabric garments. Actually, I was thinking about a lovely Vogue dress pattern that could look great with some twin needle top-stitching. I like this pattern too, now I'm having a look at it...

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Floral heaven!

Well, what can I say? I rushed off to the fabric shop last Saturday, as I warned you I would, and rummaged round the bamboo fabrics. They're all plain, by the way, I've never come across a patterned bamboo fabric before. If anybody knows of any, let me know!

So, anyway, there I am rummaging around the bamboo and going into the nearby jersey fabrics when I spied this lovely floral patterned jersey. That was it! It's got all my favourite colours in it...and it goes with black! It's the perfect patterned fabric. Also, at £12 a metre a new top would be mine for £18. I know other sewists like to get a bargain, and I do too, but I just haven't come across any places in Edinburgh I can get cheap fabrics. I think you just have to think about the cost of buying something like this RTW and £18 for fabric still makes a cheap top in my opinion. Part of the reason for me taking up sewing again was becoming really fed up at the cheaper quality fabrics used in RTW clothing that just didn't survive three months of moderate wearing and washing. I'll stop my ranting now and get back to the flowers!

 So, this fabric is cotton with 3% spandex which gives it a
 nice stretch, but not too much, if you know what I mean. I haven't pre-washed it which could be a big mistake but I only yesterday found out about the importance of pre-washing jersey fabrics. This could be the only photographic evidence I ever have of me wearing it!

I used my trusty Favourite Pattern Ever, New Look 6216. I made view A and added 2" to the body length. Just like my cream bamboo top, I cut a size 14 for the top part and then tried graduating to a size 12 for the waist and hips. These areas are too big for me with the cream bamboo top. Now, for the sleeves I thought I'd simply make the sleeves as long as I could get them as there's plenty of fabric width in this 150cm wide fabric. So, I ended up lengthening the sleeves by 10cm and also cutting to the end of the sleeve, where the size 16 sleeve length cutting line is. All I was intending to do was to have longer three quarter length sleeves but happy accident...I ended up with long sleeves. Hurray!!! (Warning: impending)...and here it is...even in winter you can't buy a long sleeved top. They all have three quarter length sleeves, or in my case, just-below-the-elbow-length. My arms get cold! (rant over).

 This New look pattern has dolman sleeves as you can see from this photo. This makes for fast cutting out and sewing up as the front and back are both cut on the fold and there are no separate sleeves. There is a neck band, so all in, there are only three pattern pieces. I cut out and sewed the top within 3 hours last Saturday afternoon and wore it to the theatre on Saturday night. In the grand tradition of a lot of what I wear, it's now been worn and is now waiting to be washed. Result!
 I was also able to use my twin needle for jersey fabrics again. Here's a close-up of the neck band and double row of top stitching which you can't really see among all those flowers.

The one thing about sewing with a twin needle, though, is that you have to have three sources of thread- two on top of the machine (see photo below) and the bobbin underneath. I'd just spent a small fortune buying a large reel of black thread so didn't want to buy another one just yet. So I wound some onto another empty metal bobbin and put it on the top of my machine. I wasn't sure if the bobbin was too lightweight and would simply jump off when the sewing
started but it was as good as gold and behaved itself perfectly. So I thought I'd take a photo and show you my set up. The twin needle is great and gives a good professional finish to the garment...just take a bit of time to go slow and steady and use a long stitch, on my machine that's a 4 which is the longest stitch it does.

So, all in all, a definite success!