Friday, 21 August 2015

Sewing Plans

I don't usually make sewing plans, I'm more see pretty fabric, see pretty pattern, buy, sew, or all too frequently buy add to stash.  That's not to say I don't make lists, I just don't usually do very much with them. 
 
I don't know about anybody else, but I was very tempted by the Sewing Indie Month Pattern Bundle 1, ten lovely patterns at a nock down price, plus the bonus of to donating to charity, all very tempting.  But on this occasion I did not succumb to temptation (probably because I know I'm going to be more tempted by Pattern Bundle 2).  There are ten great patterns here, but would I actually make and wear them?  For the majority of them, the answer is actually no, and that's not to say they are not fine patterns, just not for me.
 

 
 
I am tempted to buy the Saltbox Top from Blueprints for Sewing, and I already own the Melissa Dress from Muse patterns, but the other pattern would have sat on my hard drive, not being sewn, and that shouldn't be the fate for any pattern.  I currently have 25 Indie patterns that I already own, but have yet to sew, go check your own hard drive and see how many impulse pdf purchases you have, I can't be the only one to give into temptation, can I?
 
Another example of giving into temptation is this selection of lovely fabric below.  This is a remnant bundle from the Organic Textile Company.  £39.50 for 10 metres of lovely surprise fabric.
 
 
 
These fabrics have jumped to the head of the sewing queue (I know it's not fare, but it happens).  Most are 1 metre lengths, but as I am a consummate Tetris player, I can squeeze quite a lot out of 1m 

 
There is actually 1.5m of the navy, so it's will be a pair of trousers.  The colour of the fabric on the right hasn't come out very well, it's more of a shot beige/burgundy and has a bit of weight to it, so will be a skirt.

 
Both of these are much brighter in reality and I can definitely see an Onyx top in the orange.

 
The stripy fabric on the left is quite bright, so I think it will be a pair of pyjama shorts, and then I only have to scare my husband with them.  I know the other two do look disturbingly like table cloths, but the yellow one has a lovely drape and will become an Onyx top highlighted with red bias trim.  The blue and shit check, will be a skirt, pattern to be determined.

 
The biggest piece of fabric in the bunch is this red/blue/beige/green check, as I have about 2 metres.  I was tempted to make some kind on pinafore dress, but then realised that I am 45 not 5 years old and I'm going to try and adapt the Onyx top into a dress.  The green and pink retro print I think may become a Brumby skirt, so that it can be toned down with plain tops. 
 
Will any of these things get made?  Some of them probably, all of them, probably not.  Come back to find out.

The Sky Skirt

 
So we actually took these photos on August the 5th, but life has a habit it getting in the way of the best laid plans.  As I set myself this sewing challenge to tie in with the Tour de France, I felt I should finally do this post as the next big cycling grand tour la Vuelta Espana starts tomorrow.  I did say at the start that I wasn't going to put any unreasonable deadline on myself, but this may be cutting it a little fine.
 
So here is my Sky Skirt, because of course Chris Froome of Team Sky won the Tour de France this year for the second time.  If you don't know, the Team Sky strip is black with a turquoise stripe down it, but as I don't wear a lot of black (because of a very blonde dog who likes cuddles), I made the skirt turquoise with a black stripe.
 
 
The pattern is used is Fatale Sister by Vanessa Pouzet, a lovely French designer and it is teamed here with my refashioned Deer and Doe Plantain t-shirt, also a French designer.

 
Undeniably the most interesting feature of this skirt is the back zipper.  It uses an open ended zipper, so you can make the back slit as high a you dare.  As you can see I don't really dare.
 
This is the second time I have made this skirt, the first was for the New to Me challenge during Indie Sew Month, over at The Monthly Stitch.  Blogged about here.  After the oh so clingy nature of my first version, I decided to line this one.  I don't think I completely followed the instructions, as my comprehension of French is still rather poor, but I think it turned out fine.

 
Once again I added pockets, I've got to have pockets.  The turquoise fabric is from Direct Fabric Warehouse and was £5.99 a metre.  The fabric is 100% Linen, hence all the wrinkles. I didn't really need a whole metre, but they only sell fabric in 50cm increments and 50cm was not quite enough.  I also bought some black polyester lining there.  So I now have a 40cm remnant of turquoise linen and black polyester, needing to be used. The zip was from a haul of haberdashery a got at a charity shop in Buxton several years ago.  The black fabric was salvaged from a pair of trousers, purchased at a charity shop, that I obviously used one leg for another project many moons ago.  It is a Linen/Ramine mix, so washing these fabric together for the first time could be fun.  I'm a rebel, I very seldom prewash my fabric.
 
I really like this skirt, but I don't know who often it will get worn, as I just don't have many tops that go with it.  Maybe I will get around to finally changing the buttons on the black linen blouse I made over a decade ago and I can wear them together and be all kind of wrinkly.
 
I do seem to have an addiction to making skirts, the way some bloggers are addicted to making dresses.  Maybe I need to focus more on making tops, so that I have something to wear with my many many handmade skirts?

Monday, 20 July 2015

K.O.M Lou Lou Dress

So le Tour has made it's from the high mountains of the Pyrenees and is heading for the Alps, so I have made a polka dot K.O.M. dress. 
The hem is straight, it's just I'm not!


Yes I know, the polka dot jersey is supposed to be red and white, but I worried about looking like Minnie Mouse.  And I could find any red and white polka dot fabric that I liked.  The fabric is a wonderfully drapey viscose from Direct Fabric Warehouse, for £5.99 a metre and I bought 1.5m of fabric.

The pattern is the Lou Lou Dress by Charlotte at English Girl at Home.  Doesn't it have a lovely pattern illustration?


I was one of Charlotte's pattern testers last year, so I was excited to make the pattern up again now that it has been released.  The new and improved version has a new option, version C, which is what I choose to make.  I tried very hard to find some nice drapey co-ordinating fabrics, but was seduced by the green and blue polka dot, but sadly could not find another fabric to go with it.  I choose version C because of it's waist seam, it was perfect for inserting little pockets (I have got to have pockets and felt that inseam pockets would effect the drape of the dress).


I drafted a simple pocket pattern piece and inserted them into the waist seam, added a little fabric loop and buttons from my stash.  I also borrowed  the short sleeve pattern piece from New Look 6069, to add little (maybe overly) puff sleeves.  Becasue I was adding sleeves I didn't line the dress, but finished the neck with bias binding.  

I do feel like go off piste completely and making up a knit version...watch this space.  Until then, here is my original test version that got a lot of wear in Autumn and Spring (when the heating was working in my office).

My original pattern testing version
This is an easy to wear and easy to make dress, and these will definately not be my only versions.


Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Compagnie M Julia Sweater

So my Mellow Yellow Challenge was meant to be a gentle easy going, not challenging challenge.  However, as le Tour de France leaves Belgium today, I did give myself a rather short self imposed deadline of posting my Belgian inspired creation today.

Here it is, the Compagnie M. Julia Sweater.


I'm not often a tucked in sort of person, by due to my self imposed short deadline, I am not 100% happy with the bottom hem band, hence the tucking in.  I think the problem lies with my not very stretchy jersey, making the bottom band a bit tighter than it has to be.  It's not uncomfortable, but I'm just not sure of the look of it.


Here I am demonstrating the dolman sleeves (they are not Batwing, I lived through the trauma of Batwing in the '80s).  The dogs really did wonder what I was up to.


I don't know why I have this look on my face.  We were trying to get a better shot of the colour, it looks like a tomato red, but it's really a lovely burnt orange.  I am glad the weather had cooled down when we took these photos as this long sleeve version is definitely a more Winter top than Summer.  The bottom half of the sleeves and cuffs are close fitting, which will help to keep the drafts out in Winter.

I had intended to make the top two tone, but inadvertently didn't buy enough of the lighter orange fabric (I see another colour block Coco or Plantain in my future).  I did make the split front version, to help mitigate the lack of stretch in my jersey, a contract piping would have helped show off this design feature, maybe next time.

It's nice to find a new Indie Pattern maker to go to, I definately have my eye on the Lotta skirt, but a need another skirt pattern like a hole in the head - didn't I say that when I bought the Vanessa Pouzet Fatale Sister Skirt.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

It seemed like a good idea at the time...

It may be an excess of Indie Pattern Month over at The Monthly Stitch, but the start of le Tour de France today, got me thinking.  I am a huge cycling fan, I have to admit I'm not quite as excited about this years tour as last years, but then they're not riding through my home town this year.  Having driven (not walked or ridden) up le Cote de Jenkin Road, I can tell you it is an absolute bugger.  Anyway that's beside the point, but it did get me thinking about how I could combine my love of sewing and cycling.  Last year I made a skirt specifically to go and watch le Tour de France come through Sheffield, but what to do this year?

It helps that I'm currently obsessed with the Onyx Top by Paprika Patterns from the Netherlands, where le Tour has it's Grande Depart this year.


I bought this fabric last week in the John Lewis sale, half price at £8 per metre and the pattern only takes one metre.  I cut a straight size 5, but lengthen it by about 3cm and the fit is perfect.  I cut the lower neckline and bound it with bias binding made from the same fabric.


Hagrid like it, even if he doesn't like the heat.  This is him post paddle, in the very sunny Meersbrook Park.


The Jeans I'm wearing are also of Dutch origin, as they are my Knipmode Jeans, which if you don't know is a Dutch sewing magazine.

But this is a challenge, not just one outfit for one day, what else can I do.  Well the race is in France, so I can sew my french (currently I own 3) patterns, that's fine.  But then I looked at the route of le Tour and it starts in the Netherlands, then goes through Belgium before getting to France.  Belgium, what can I do for Belgium???

Thank you Google.  After a little searching I found out that Compagnie M. is a Belgium Indie Sewing Pattern maker.  So the Julia Sweater is now in my inbox.  A long sleeve t-shirt is perfect for this atypical British weather we are having.

So I can make up a Indie pattern from all the countries visited by le Tour this year.  I have some other ideas percolating, but I'm not going to put pressure on myself, this is meant to be a fun challenge.  Which is why I'm calling it Mellow Yellow.  For those of you not familiar with le Tour de France the leader of the race wears a Yellow Jersey (or Yellow Jumper as Ned Boulting would call it).

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Do I look like I'm wearing a tablecloth?

The photos for this post are not the best.  My photo shoot (or as the dogs like to call it their walk) was curtailed when the dogs decided to do a runner, squirrels are more interesting that watching me have my picture taken apparently.


This is the Brumby Skirt by Megan Nielsen.  I need another skirt pattern like a hole in the head, but I succumbed to the pockets.  They are HUGE.


I made View 1, but cut the front on the fold rather than adding a seam and top stitching.  I also added some extra length, but I can't quite decide if I added too much.  However, as the fabric has an embroidered border, if I wanted to shorten it now it would mean taking off the waistband, removing the zip and re-doing the whole lot again.  I think I can live with the length. I've had this fabric for a couple of years, I got it from the bargain section at my local independent fabric shop Fine Fabrics, I think I paid about £1.50 for it.


I cut a size L and the fit is perfect.  The main pattern piece for this view is just a large rectangle, but the pattern does have a lovely curved waistband.  I have a number of skirts with straight waistbands and I don't wear because of gaping issues, but this waistband I love.  The pattern does feature an exposed zipper at the back, but I just put in a regular zip, just for ease (and because it was what I had to hand).

I've made this Summer skirt at just the right time, because the weather has just got stupid hot.  I can hear the rumble of thunder as I type this.  I definitely have plans to make this skirt again, probably a straight up View 1, but maybe lined to wear in the Winter.

Now tell me truthfully do I look like I'm wearing a tablecloth?

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Does anybody else think Jean Jacket when they see a tablecloth, or is it just me?

We just had Netto open a branch down the road, so I went to have a look round on Friday, I do love my budget supermarkets.  And look what I found...


Sadly Netto have not started selling fabric, but they do sell table linens.  This is a denim weight cotton, 140cm wide by 220cm long, for the princely sum of £8.  I saw this and just thought Jean Jacket.  I have a denim jacket that I got from Gap many years ago, but it has a distinct lack of usable pockets, no where to put keys or poo bags (one of the many joys of dog parentage).  I think I will have enough fabric to make a skirt as well, but NOT to be worn together.

So what pattern to use?  I did make a Jean Jacket before in my late teens out of a green drill fabric with an Aztec accent fabric.  Fortunately I don't think there is any photographic evidence of this garment and it had been gifted to charity long ago.  But the pattern may still be somewhere in the house - but do I want to waste a week of my life searching for it only to find pieces missing (I have never been good at putting my pattern pieces back in the envelope).

Fortuitously Burda pattern are half price at the moment, so I have opted for Burda 7018, even though it is a Young pattern and I am definately not.



So as I have declared here, my sewing intentions, I had better well make this jacket and not just add to my fabric and pattern stash.


Sunday, 28 June 2015

One Melissa, Two Melissa, soon to Three and Four

You know when you find a pattern that just fits.  I have quite broad shoulders and a long back, so usually have to tweek patterns to get them to fit, but not with Melissa, if fits straight off the printer.  I made a blouse and skirt with this patterm for Separates week over at The Monthly Stitch and decided to make another blouse for One Pattern Two Takes.  I previously blogged about my adventures with Melissa here.


The only fit issue I had the first time round, was it was a little loose around my waist and hips.  I remedied this by grading the seam allowance for 1cm to 1.5cm for the bottom 15cm of each seam and now it fits beautifully.  I had ironed this really, it just I'd been wearing it all day at work, hence the wrinkles.


The fabric I used was a man's shirt I bought from a charity shop and some white cotton from my stash.  It was a bright sunny evening when we took these photos and the colour has washed out somewhat, the stripe is actually very close to my skirt colour.  I decided not to include the back contrast chevon as I thought it might look a little busy, but did include the chevron trim on the pockets.


I utilised the original buttons and buttonholes from the men's shirt, which has lead to me being confused no end as the shirt buttons the wrong way.  When I do this again I will try and remember to cut the front upside down (provided it's not a directional print), to get the buttons to do up the Ladies way.


Making this for a second time, did make the process a whole lot faster.  The only fiddly bit was of my own making, as I had to bind the collar with a bias strip as I wasn't utilising the facings.

I already have plans to make this blouse again with some not so subtle red gingham for Check it Out Month

It's been really fun to participate in IMP2015, now I just have to keep up with the posting.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Is this too formal for walking the dogs?

So it's still Indie Pattern Month over at the Monthly Stitch and this week is dedicated to "New to Me".  Sew an Indie pattern from a designer you have never sew before, it's not hard for to find an Indie designer I have not sewn before.  I've only sewn from a handful of Indie designers, although I own patterns from several more just waiting to be sewn.  So did I pick one of those patterns to sew? No.  Did I sew my "Secret Santa Swap" pattern? No (technically I couldn't, as I have bought and sewn the Onyx top from Paprika Patterns since being given the Jade skirt in the swap).  No I bought a new pattern after reading Diary of a Chainstitcher, there is a regular update of new Indie pattern releases and news on this blog.  The pattern in questions is the Fatale Sister Skirt by Vanessa Pouzet.


It's a simple pencil skirt, with an open ended zip at the back.  So you can make the split as high at you dare.


The pattern consists of only two pieces and prints in only 12 pages.  Some patterns on this site are in English, but this one was only available in French (I haven't studied French in over 30 years).  Fortunately the picture instructions were good and with the dubious help of Google translate I was able to work out what I needed to do.


The pattern is meant to be fully lined, but I didn't have any suitable lining, so I finished the hem and waistband with bias binding.  Of course I couldn't leave it as a simple two piece skirt and I doubled the number if pattern pieces by adding pockets.  The fabric is a funishing fabric I picked up at Standfast and Barracks (the Liberty Factory Shop) on our way home from holiday on the Isle of Arran in February.  I only bought 50cm so that is the length of my skirt.  The turquoise open ended zip I picked up at the Yorkshire Spoolettes meet up in Dewsbury.


So it it too formal to walk the dogs?  I don't think so.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Today I will mostly be making seperates


If Me Made May showed me anything, it's that I wear mostly separates.  Out of the 31 days, I only wore dresses on 4 days, the other 27 days I wore separates.  I just find them much more versatile, I can happily wear the same skirt 3 days out of a week, pairing it with different tops, but would feel self conscious if I wore the same dress twice in a week.

So when The Monthly Stitch announced a Separates Week during Indie Pattern Month, I knew it was the challenge for me.  But what pattern to choose...  I eventually opted for the Melissa Dress/Blouse/Skirt by Muse Patterns.  I bought the pattern not long after release (unusual for me, I don't tend to be an early adopter), because the 40s/50s aesthetic appeals to me.



I keep trying to use fabric from stash, rather than going our and buying new and found a remnant of red denim that I have had for at least four years begging to be used.  The only problem was, the pattern calls for 1.8m of fabric either 114 or 150 wide and I had 1m of 1.2 wide.  A couple of modifications were required.  I decided to omit the button front and insert a side zip instead, I also omitted the centre back seam.  As you can see from the picture above, my Tetris skills came to the fore when positioning the pattern pieces.  I didn't think my fabric had any sort of a nap, but just to be on the safe side put all the front pieces in one direction and all the back pieces in the other direction.  I also didn't have enough fabric for a waistband, but as I'm not a huge fan of straight waistbands anyway, I opted to finish the waist off with petersham ribbon and a large hook and eye.







The fabric for the blouse is also from my stash, it's a dress weight cotton from Ikea, with a copyright date on the selvedge of 2007, so I've had it a while.  I love the pockets on this pattern, they may not hold a lot, bit I think the chevron details is lovely.  I replaced the button and buttonholes with poppers, partly because I liked the look, but mostly because my sewing machine has recently been having a strop whenever I try to do buttonholes.  My sewing machine has now had a service after 5 years of abuse and I'm sure you'll be pleased to hear is feeling much better.  There will be buttonholes in my future.


And just to finish a not great picture of my outfit but a lovely picture of the lovely Hagrid

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Me Made May - Days 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 and 31

I am not going to miss the daily photo session, but it is nice to wear some things I haven't worn in a while.  Below is a Coco that I actually had to make twice.  Originally it was not colour-blocked, but the fabric shrunk quote dramatically, so I took it apart and added a black yoke.  The skirt was made a couple of years ago from a charity shop find and I must have lost weight since I made it as it now site on my hips.


I do love this fabric, walking dogs, it is one of the few items my boss asked me if I made.


Wewent up to Scarborough on the 20th to see Fluffrick's Mum.  I'm wearing my jeans, my navy stripe Coco and my new colour blocked (from remnants) Jenna cardigan.  I need to tweek the fit of the cardigan, as it is too big at my hips and I would be happier if the sholder was a little higher, but a very wearable muslin.


Here is Fluffrick with his lovely Mum, wearing his new Finlayson Jumper and his Jedediah Jeans.  I love me a good Thread Theory pattern.


One of my many Amy Butler Lotus tops, this was the first one I made from a refashioned shirt and a refashioned Boden Skirt.  Another charity shop find, that was several sizes too small, but also too long, which resulted in me separating the front and back, using the top two thirds of the front, the bottom two thirds of the back and re-attaching the two together.  Although it has my sewing fingerprints over the whole skirt, it doesn't quite feel me made.


My 70's denim skirt with my Gray All Day Sandpoint top.  This is the first time I have worn this top since I pattern tested, but I really don't think it's my style, so I don't know how much longer it will be taking up space in my wardrobe.


My Simmons dress again, it is a really comfortable dress, if it wasn't so black I would wear it more.  I have no idea what we're all looking at! 

My raspberry chambray New Look skirt, with my stripe Bronte t-shirt and a shrug I made about 20 years ago.  It was really cold today.


It finally go warn enough to wear my Tour de France skirt, paired with a new Amy Butler Lotus top.  I think I could maybe do with shortening the top just a little, but it is nice to have a plain top to pair with things.


My jeans again, this time with a Mimi blouse.  I made this last September and this is the first time I have worn it and I just don't like it as much as I feel I should.  It's a lovely fabric, a good fit, but It just doesn't feel me.  Maybe it will grow on me?


My new Onyx top with my other denim skirt.  The onyx top does not come with a button band, not raglan sleeves, these as just quirks of this iteration as I was using a mans shirt as my fabric.  More versions of theis top are in my future, made in a fabri though that doesn't make it look like scrubs.


You may not see why, but this is one of my favourite dresses and one I have actually blogged about, maybe it could have used an iron. 


And finally the 31st.  My jeans again (this month has just been too damn cold) here with a top I copied from a favourite White Stuff top.  I had a hell of a job finding a light enough material, this is actually the lining from a Per Una skirt that is awaiting refashioning.

And why do I have this face... 


... because I am about to get a Hagrid Hug.


A couple of days as missing here.  I worn the same outfit on the 19th and 29th.  And there is no photo for the 25th and I can't remember what I wore.

So another me made may done and dusted, I can't help but think this would have been easier if I had already blogged about the things I had made. 


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