Thursday, 12 November 2015

The quick Cascade

Well, its been a while (again!). I've not been doing much sewing for most of this year because I'm pregnant and my unborn child has decided to make my life a misery! A few weeks ago, though, I got drenched on the school run and decided I needed a coat that would be good in the winter (the only coat of mine that will actually do up now is my Ziggi, which isn't great when its cold and raining) and I needed it finished for bonfire night so there wasn't time for a muslin or anything. It turned out really well though.

I've liked the idea of Grainline's Cascade duffle coat since Jen released it but didn't really think it was very me. At this point though, all I wanted was a coat I could do up and would give me some protection from the rain when I'm pushing a pram. The Cascade seemed ideal - it's not fitted, so there should be enough room for the bump and I can still wear it later in the winter so its not a waste of money (the main reason I wasn't going to buy a maternity coat, not even a cheap one off ebay).


I managed to pick up 3m of navy boiled wool from ebay for £25 and used some horse print fabric I bought last year at Abakhan for the lining. I made the stupid mistake of buying the wrong length zip but that's a minor detail.


Obviously there are fit issues with the coat but I'll have to wait until the baby arrives before I can figure out what needs adjusting other that that the sleeves are a little snug and need lengthening. That said, it has been one of those makes that I am really proud of and has been a winner with the family and Stuart thinks I should make some in different colours, which I'm taking as permission to spend a ludicrous amount of money on fabric - the wool I used for this coat is probably the best quality fabric I've worked with to date and it was a revelation!






Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Adventures in corset making

The past couple of months have not been good for me sewing-wise. I lost count of the number of patterns I got out to make, only for them to go straight back in the drawer. I started a dress, which turned into a skirt, which went in the bin along with a pair of trousers. I wandered around the fabric shop for inspiration and left completely underwhelmed. Three times.

Then things started looking up when Stuart bought me a corset kit from Sew Curvy! I chose the Silverado corset and got some extra fabric so I could use the stuff that came with the kit as a trial run. I made a quick muslin to make sure there was nothing drastically wrong with the fit then dived into my first go. I thought it was a good idea to do it this way since I have never made anything like it before and by doing the first one properly at best I would come away with a decent enough corset and at worst I'd have an idea of what to do differently fit- and sewing-wise next time.

This was a project I have been waiting years to do so I wanted to make sure I took my time and did it right. I have a tendency when I start sewing to wqant to get it done, which leads to rushing and cutting corners (I'm really impatient) so I decided to to one bit a day and only when Faith was at school so I could focus. It worked really well, although I was dying to get 'just a little bit' done each night. I resisted though and it turned out surpringly well.

The Sew Curvy busk tutorial got me through the busk insertion and I made a cover for it as suggested, partly for wear and partly so I could have a go at putting one in before doing the real thing. The stitching is a bit wonky on one side and it overlaps a bit but I'm pretty impressed with it. I was paranoid about breaking a needle by hitting the busk so I hand cranked the needle all the way round.

I tried using a tailors awl to make the holes for the eyelets but ended up punching the holes out because I couldn't get the eyelets through the holes made with the awl - I had poorly fingers to prove how hard I tried!

Everything else was pretty straight forward, I just took it in half an inch at each side seam before sewing the lining and coutil togetherr, although for the next I think I'll re-trace the smaller size and use the bigger gores - I have enough of the coutil that came with the kit to make another trial run. These will be the most expensive muslins I will have made but it's going to be worth it! If anyone knows anything about corset making and fit, any advice is very welcome.

I feel a bit silly making relatively expensive (compared to what I normally make) garments knowing that they will rarely, if ever, get worn, but I think that is partly why I've enjoyed making it so much. There are clothes that have been on my mind for longer than I car to admit (corsets being one of them) that I haven't made because fabric is an expensive thing to waste of somethi that I know isn't really my style or the I don't need - one of e unfortunate side effects of becoming more financially responsible!

But making this corset was quite freeing - who says I have to make things with a purpose? I'm going to make sure I do more 'for the hell of it' sewing from now on, I think this was the push I needed to start.






Sunday, 18 January 2015

The feel good Charlotte


Last night I was in need of a confidence boost and sometimes the only thing that does the trick is a bit of sewing, so I emptied my basket of traced patterns on the floor to hunt for something I knew would go together quickly, easily, and would make me feel good. Obviously the first thing I looked for was my Georgia pattern (a guaranteed feel good pattern) but remembered that last time I used it I messed it up and threw it out. At 10pm and in the mood I was in, I wasn't about to re-trace it so I made a Charlotte skirt instead using some African wax print effect fabric I got from Abakhan in the summer. I've used this pattern a couple of times as part of a dress, but this is my first Charlotte skirt.

I never get on very well with the front of skirts - the darts are never quite right and I don't know whether it's because they're in the wrong place or whether I should take them out, that's next on my list of fitting problems to figure out.

I lengthened the waistband a bit to include a tab - I'm not a fan of zips that go to the top of the waistband. I was going to add a slit but completely forgot about it while I was sewing the centre back seam, so it's not as easy to walk up stairs as I would have liked but that's a minor detail.

I really love this skirt, and it definitely did the job. This was one of thoses fabrics that I loved but thought I wouldn't use because it's a bit to bold for me it so I'm very happy to have proved myself wrong.




Friday, 16 January 2015

Squares project: week two

This week I tried my hand at a bit of embroidery using a chandelier transfer from Sublime Stitching's Craft Pad.

It took much longer to do than last week's attempt at smocking with less reward, and as much as I would love to be able to produce beautiful embroidery (I envy my Mum's talent for it), I got bored of it after a while (partly why it is unfinished). I do like the idea of it though, and it has inspired me to finish some of the cross stitch projects that have been in a drawer for years.

Any future embroidery I do on any of my projects will be very simple and very small.



Friday, 9 January 2015

Squares project: week one

Week one was easy enough to do but I have no idea how I'm going to blog about them each week. There are lots of notes I want to keep incase I do the techniques again, but they probably aren't going to be interesting/relevent to anyone reading this. Some weeks I might just post a photo with a link to the tutorial I used, but some weeks I might write my ramblings too (if I don't put them here, they'll end up on bits of paper which will inevitably get lost).

I've started my little project with lattice effect smocking which is something I saw in a magazine ages ago and have wanted to try since but it was one of those things I never got around to doing.

All of my squares are 12" and the smocking has reduced this one to 7"x7" including a 1" border (roughly 60% of the orignal size) and using a 1" grid. This is the tutorial I used.

I do want to use this technique again but it's quite bulky so I'm more likely to use it on something for Faith rather than myself, I'll just have to make sure I line it so she doesn't catch all the stitches on the back.



Sunday, 4 January 2015


Hello! It's been a while but I'm (hopefully!) back. Things got pretty busy after summer and the blog just hasn't been a priority. I do have a few things to show you through the next couple of weeks though, so hopefully that will get me back into the swing of it.

I guess now would be a good time to share with you how badly I did with last years goals!

1. Complete the bombshell dress class on Craftsy - I started it last month but didn't have the attention span to sort out all the fitting required. I might go back to it, but I'm not in any hurry

2. Make a pair of trousers that fit well and look good - I didn't do this, but it's not a fail either. I just haven't really worn trousers this year except my jeans a few times. I would much rather wear skirts and dresses

3. Quality over quantity - make fewer things but do them well - well, I've certainly made fewer things and I think they're better quality

4. Complete Goodbye Valentino's RTW fast - check! I feel a bit of a cheat though as it didn't really feel like much of a challenge and most of the things I made last year are things I would have made anyway, with the exception of a swimsuit

5. Put more thought into what I'm making - pattern first, then fabric, and make sure it fits in with my wardrobe - no. Just, no. This was never really going to happen, was it.

This year, I just want to have fun with my sewing and be a bit more creative: I became so focused on wanting to have a handmade wardrobe that I lost some of the fun (probably partly why I haven't been blogging), there are only so many clothes I can wear, and I don't really feel like I'm getting any better.

With that in mind, and armed with the tablecloths from my sister's wedding, I'm going to practice a different creative technique each week of the year and will be blogging about my attempts every Friday and will try and use at least one of the techniques in a garment each month.

I hope you've all enjoyed the holidays, happy new year!