Friday, 1 April 2016

moving to wordpress

Apologies to anyone who received posts from August.....I have moved my blog over to wordpress and at one point of the move I duplicated all the posts and it was only an hour later when I found one emailed to me!  Sorry

I am not able to move my subscribers via email, but have put a new subscribe button on the side bar of Wordpress

Hope you can follow me there!

Link below will get you to the new site

Sunday, 13 March 2016

big plaid dress - vogue 6879

There are a few reasons why I rarely buy fabric, but remake instead....

1.  the local fabric store is rather small and limited choice (lots of synthetic blends)
2.  economics, remaking from charity shop buys is a lot cheaper and has some eco-cred.
3.  quality - it is easier to assess quality, wear, and hang of the fabric from something already made

and finally

4.  it seems I lose the run of myself when I get to a 'good' fabric store, and buy random crazy stuff, half of which is destined to sit around and taunt me (a certain cream knit with sparkles and a strawberry yogurt number come to mind).  I get rather overwhelmed with stash so never ever like having much of it....

I got this plaid in Murphy Sheehys and as I like plaid, wool (its a wool mix), and turquoise, why not.....I was really questioning why I got it when I got home.

Murphy Sheehys sells fabric bale ends, so the info on the fabric is often not there (have not a clue what this label meant below) but the choice can be fantastic.

I originally wanted enough for a skirt -.75m, as there was just under 2m left on roll -  and they and they gave discount for the full piece, so I got it.  I was unsure of which looked nicer right side or wrong side, and cross grain (longer diamond) vs on-grain (squat diamond).  For the skirt I cut wrong side as it had more pixels and cross grain, and I don't like it.  I made a plain a-line, and it feels neither-here-nor-there, and the pixels side ended up being horrible to match.

The skirt is finished but not photographed, as even though its in the wardrobe, its only until I figure a remake.... 

The fabric looked well on the mannequin full length - or so I thought so I thought I would try and make a dress - Vogue 6879


I had just enough to match plaid, and get the dress to knee length.....I cut cross grain again, as I thought the longer diamond looked better.  The plaid matched up a dream on sewing and the dress went together easily.  I love it, and am currently wearing it with a jade polo neck underneath.  

The only drawback, and it really isn't is that I don't like 'working/sewing' in it. The arm hole and neck are lovely but it often feels a bit restrictive when I am sewing on the machine, but it is the style of the dress, so its a minor thing really.  I adore the dress.  I think its a flattering shape, and currently I think the big plaid is compensating for my three-tone hair (in the final two months of growing out my hair dye!)

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

a floral blouse from floral pants - Simplicity 1278

I have been steadily sewing since the new year, but super lazy in not writing or photographing much. Its been a mix of crochet, experiments in embroidery and a ruthless run at the 'use it or lose it' stack of clothes, and one piece has already gone to the charity shop when I thought of a use for it!

This pair of floral pants was not under any threat as I love the print.  I think the intensity and balance are captivating, in general I am drawn to print, but rarely wear it as it always feels busy. 

I also wanted to try out Simplicity 1278 for a while as I liked the look of the tucks, and it looked like there would be enough fabric.
I used the modern reprint, and traced my size out, using version b with longer sleeves.

The construction was straightforward, a lot more careful that I needed to be with the pleats and tucks, and tacked the markings.  Its a nice use of fabric the few tucks are so effective, and very subtle.

The only real compromise in the cut was the sleeve, I could get the sleeve to below elbow and added a cuff.  I was able to get a sleeve and front of the trouser fronts, the blouse back from the remaining two leg pieces, and the cuffs and facings from the lower leg with very little left over, and also a zip!

I used two buttons from the button box to close  I cannot remember what they were taken from but they are rather cute, they are clear faceted plastic.

It was a relatively quick sew, and while I do like it and I will wear it, I am beginning to figure out that while I like prints, I feel a bit overwhelmed wearing some of them.   I don't really have many blouses, and mainly wear sweaters in winter, and summer tops in the warmer weather,  I have not worn this as such yet, and in ways made it to expand the styles of clothes I wear in both style, and pattern.  It does feel a bit busy, I had thought it would look well with jeans, but think its more for trousers, and the weather here is still rather cold so it may be a while before I wear it.  

I would like to try the pattern again in a plain fabric, as the tuck detail is rather lost in the floral fabric, but rather impressed that I got a full blouse out of the trousers - inspired in no small part by Linda in Remake Remodel.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Sweater Remake and Seamwork Astoria

I got this sweater at the euro rail - its one of the few things I bought in a charity shop this year.  I am trying to get through what I have here - but I seem to make an exception for the euro rail - I often think these are the 'no hope-ers' and bound for landfill.  I love this colour, the fabric is cotton knit/ jersey.  The sweater colour is uneven due to wear and laundry, but to me this was part of the appeal as the colour now looked slightly textured,   

For the remake, I used the Astoria pattern.  It was all straight forward.  I added 5 inches to the length, and made the sleeves as long as I could.  I sewed it using the overcast stitch on the 'new' machine.  (so handy)

Cut out

Cutting Sleeve - I use bulldog clips to keep the two layers together, and it stops the fabric rolling back in.

I was unsure about the neck finish, and luckily I had some of the same shade in yarn, left 
over from a previous project!  (its a colour I like).  I turned the edges and machine basted them, and blanket stitched them.  The trim is a mix of double and treble (uk) stitches.



Love how it turned out -I cannot believe how quick and easy these types of sweater remakes are, (and the corresponding amount of sweaters on the men's rail in charity shops).  I have a few more sweaters to remake soon, but I am hoping to try a few different finishes, like embroidered hems and embroidered embellishments....   

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Liebster Awards

I spent the best part of an  hour formatting this post and each time it uploaded some jinx got at it so I am running thru it again (still keep meaning to move to wordpress, and now I just might)................................anyway.............................

Last Thursday, I got a lovely surprise when I got in from work, Linda from Remake, Remodel, Recycle, had nominated me for a Liebster Award!

 I had not come across them before and the 'rules' are

Show the award on your blog
Answer 10 questions asked to you
Ask 10 questions to up to 10 new nominees (who have less than 200 followers)
Notify them
Thank your nominator

so THANK YOU to Linda, I still cannot figure out the widget for sidebar, but have copied the pic below.

so down to the questions

What surprised you about blogging? 
I had no preconceived ideas and blogged to try and get an idea of remaking/sewing up and running.  I decided one post per week, which gave me focus, and kept me motivated, and I kept the 'one post per week' going for a year - now I don't feel as obliged, but I do like the show-and-tell aspect as well as the on-line/virtual support.  the show-and-tell did focus me on my sewing skills and attempting to improve and hone them.

I also got into the habit of finishing items, even making myself baste a hem to get it to a finished state.

What inspires you to sew whatever you sew?
Generally the amount of fabric I have, and a vintage pattern - although the two rarely collide, so its always a compromise.  I buy the clothes from the charity shop based on the colour, and fabric, and then check to see how much fabric there is and go from there

What is your most selfish sewing habit?
Unsure on this one, as I think you have to focus on the job in hand (I don't even listen to the radio unless its hand-sewing).  Years ago I shared a flat with another girl and a pin ended up in the dinner somehow.(I sewed in the kitchen) and I didn't understand the fuss was about when it was found, (I saw it when dinner was being served) so 'no one got hurt', I now see how careless this was, and since switched to pearl pins!

Where do all the pins go? can anyone answer this?
see above!

Why do you blog?
Originally it was to commit to a project/idea, and I thought by putting my sewing out there would cut out some of my naughty sewing habits.  most have been gotten rid of - but I have yet to find the patience to sew elastic in correctly (as i only use  on underwear, and pjs I  am not going to lose sleep on that one - pls excuse lousy pun!)

Tell us something we might not know about you?
Vintage patterns are my Kryptonite!  about 20 years ago, I had stopped sewing by a lot, so I decided to donate my patterns to a charity shop (I did not have many), so when I started back sewing clothes again a few years ago, I lazily bought a pattern rather than draft, and was surprised how dumbbed down it felt.... so I started looking at vintage, and was hooked.  I now sometimes use vintage if I can, but a lot of times, I just appreciate the subtle line, and the sewing techniques (and the lovely sleeve variations.....)

Whats your favourite book?
I am thinking of re-reading 'The Charwomans Daughter' by James Stephens soon, we did it in school and I later read some of his other books and loved them.  He writes women so well, and some days I feel like Mrs Makebelieve, and some days I think I am Mary (both of them are dreamers).  I also read a lot of gumshoe, so have just finished 2 Denise Mina and 1 Sue Grafton 

Whats your favourite film?
So many, but after watching an Orson Wells documentary last night, I want to re-watch The Third Man, last film seen was The Big Short, which I really liked

Which catches your eye first, plain or print?
Print - and plaid.  I love them, but invariable I sew plain .... although have just finished a plaid dress and about to start a print blouse....

What is your favourite sewing gadget?
Well its either the tailors ham that I bought in a charity shop (unused and with original packaging from the 70s and 3 euro) which makes me feel so professional, or the buttonhole feature on the new sewing machine (but the old sewing machine is still better for tailoring)

So Thank You
Finally, I would like to thank Linda and the bloggers listed below who have been so kind commenting on my blog, which is much appreciated and has been very encouraging.  

Aimee from the Wrong Doll
Lynn from American Age Fashion
Karen from  Rude Record

I will nominate the women above, but I would like to add, that if they don't want to partake, its fine with me (I don't want to exert pressure, and re the number of followers rule..... I didn't really check as the followers thing is rather arbitrary as there are so many avenues for followers and I know these ladies potentially exceed......

what persuaded you to start a blog
favourite piece of advice you have been given
what is a favourite make (any medium)
best or worst sewing habit
most useless sewing gadget in your collection
what would be your 'dream' make 
who taught you or inspired you, to sew/make
favourite cartoon character
favourite piece of music

Sunday, 24 January 2016

fancy pants - recutting wool cashmere trousers

My ruthless 'use it or lose it' continues, which is just as well as these trousers have been in my wardrobe an-embarrassingly-long-time, and on a to-do list for the same length..... Some years ago, I did a wardrobe clear-out, and sold some dresses on ebay, and ended up buying some cashmere jumpers (we had just moved to a freezing house, and these wool/cashmere burberry trousers).  I probably shouldn't have as a strange vanity got the better of me,  but I did, and I really should have known they would not fit right and they didn't.  And for some or other reason, I could not/would not give them away, resell or donate......

The trousers fitted at the hips but huge on the waist, and while I loved the wide leg, I looked 'a-bit-of-a-pudding' in them.  I took them in at the back to wear around the house and see how much I liked them.  I was rather nervous of re-cutting them - in case I would render them unwearable, but I had to bite the bullet sometime, so  I took the trousers apart, and to keep an eye on the location of the grain, I basted the crease and lightly pressed it out, and half way thru taking them apart, I was thinking I should have just given them away as I was still having a lot of work to do.  As it turned out, I was wrong.

I had got this Clare Shaeffer pattern especially as I figured such a swanky fabric needed the Shaeffer touch (I bought it on etsy after reading Lynn's post), and I also had the Balmain pattern out to see what the detailing would be.  The Balmain was quickly put back when I measured the leg width (same as trousers).  The trousers were taken apart, pattern laid on top..... and no way was it going to work

Balmain vs Shaeffer
Shaeffer pattern

Plan B was to draft a trouser block and adapt to the Shaeffer..... and it was still not going to work, but the trouser block fitted on the trousers fine, so I laid the block over and chalked the seam allowances and widened the leg of the block on the fabric (I was getting a bit tired or tracing and figured I would just go for it).  Ultimately I did the simplest which was a basic re-cut using my pattern, and a resew in the same way of the originals.

It was a straightforward sew, but done over a few days which also allowed the wool fabric to rest in-between..  I was in two minds to replace the belt loops but decided to leave as is - as I thought them a bit fussy.  So five years on..............I have a rather nice pair of slacks! (and I know I will wear them lots as I have already....)

And I had to check the length of this sweater from last year with them as I have another sweater remake (blue) which I may do a similar job on.....

Thursday, 14 January 2016

use it or lose it - trousers to Astoria top

I have started this month with a tidy up.... of everywhere..... and trying to figure what to do next.

I did a check (again) of all fabrics and charity shop buys..... to figure a plan.
The plan is start using these up or donate back to the charity shop, which means to get trying the patterns I keep meaning to 'try out' and to stop shelving other projects to the back of the queue.

My sewing has taken a slow down due  I had pretty much stopped buying at charity shops some time back, as I found I was getting more than I could sew and was borderline hoarding!   My sewing slowed down a bit for a few reasons

  • was busy making the dance dress
  • I seem to have sufficient in my wardrobe (yup seriously and I love my new makes)
  • my soon to be grey hair has me wondering on whether is is worth making anything in yellow (my hair is currently in transition, with graduated roots in thanks to thoughtful cut by hairdresser kept it looking okay till christmas -however the roots are now just plain half and half)
the trousers
I bought these purple trousers sometime in the summer - for some reason on that day I bought three purple items from the euro rail and have yet to use them.  They are a 2 way stretch (barely) and a size 16 polyester.  I had thought to try a draft a pattern for a sleeveless shift, but then thought I could try the astoria pattern from Seamwork, and hope the fabric would work.  I had wanted to try this pattern for a while as there are some lovely results online (this being one)

the layout

As it turned out, there was enough fabric for the full sleeve (I thought I would have to do a two part sleeve)  All other pieces did have to be seamed!  I left the creases in place for the cut as they were my straight grain guide, and I ironed them flat with vinegar solution after cutting and left them to rest overnight.

The astoria is a one-hour sew, which would be right, except for I sewed a sleeve in wrong side out which I am part blaming on the shocking amount of Italian sweets I have been gorging....

The top is nicely fitted.  I find it slightly too fitted for what I wear but this is also probably due to the fabric is not a 4 way stretch (its not a great 2 way stretch either).   I am glad to have it as reference for a cardigan I am going to upcycle as the sleeve fitting of the Astoria is really lovely, it sits just right, so I am hoping it will work for a slightly thicker knit/actual knit.

As I seemed to be on a bit of a go slow with crochet this January, I got some gumshoe books from the library - there were about 10 curse words in the book I just finished and some previous reader blacked out each one! strange........but even more unexpected was the first result back on a google search on 'defaced library books' (I was wondering if there was a actual term for it, and it turns out there is -  6 months...)