Friday 26 August 2011

Autumn Sewing Plans

Thank you all for your encouraging comments on my last post.  It’s good to know it’s not just me that gets excited by a fast bit of sewing trickery! And hello to everybody who’s hopped over to read my blog for the first time – nice to meet you!

With one more week of the summer holidays left, I’ve been thinking about autumn sewing a lot recently.  I’ve got a busy couple of months ahead.  I’m selling my wares at two craft fairs and have a large order of wash bags to fulfil!  Although pre-Christmas is probably the most lucrative time to sell, I’m trying to be realistic about how much time I’ll have to make stock AND make myself some autumn clothes.  Consequently, my autumn sewing list has had to be realistic too.  I’m keeping it simple and trying to use up as much of my fabric stash as I can….

Autumn shirt dress

I’ve only ever read good things from other sewing bloggers about Lisette patterns and view A of this shirt dress is definitely the one with my name on it.  I’m taking a bit of a gamble and using my 1930’s look flowered charity shop fabric.  

It could be a floral overload and some of the colours aren't really me (purple and orange?!) but I'll give it a go….

Sailor trousers
I desperately need another pair of trousers as my 1940’s wide legged ones are starting to get a bit bobbly with overuse.  As soon as I saw this Flickr picture of Christi’s I knew I had to have a pair.  I’m using Simplicity 2654, which looks a bit frumpy, but I’m hoping that once I’ve shamelessly copied Christi and added buttons it will have more of a retro look. 

Fabric-wise I’m going to use a blue/black twill (or is that drill? I’m not sure) which I bought because of its lovely drape.  When I washed it recently though, it came out of the machine practically dry – just like a football kit – which makes me think there’s more than a little polyester in the mix!  Hopefully they won’t look too shiny.  And before you pull me up on it, I'm not making another pair of navy trousers, blue/black is a different colour entirely.…

Grey wool jacket
I’m going to use my charity shop grey wool for my first attempt at a jacket, matched with a lovely teal coloured lining fabric.  

I’ll probably only get round to making the muslin this side of Christmas but that’s fine.

I’m planning to make a plain collared jacket with princess seams using a pattern from this Built by Wendy book.  I've been so impressed with this book and hopefully it will be a good starting point for a jacket rookie like myself.  It goes through each step in a really thorough way: from tracing your initial pattern to sewing each seam and adding the lining.  There’s also a troubleshooting section for fitting which will be useful.

On the reserve list is a black Beignet and a cord Ginger skirt but they can also wait until the other side of Christmas.  It's now official, I'm getting an overlocker for Christmas (hoorah, hoorah, hoorah!!!) so there’s a whole different list of knit and stretch projects lined up for after I’ve worked out how to use it (gulp).

I’ve had the most lovely, chilled out summer with my boys, but after the initial wrench of them going back to school, I’ll be very pleased to get back to my machine!  Have a good week. x

Thursday 18 August 2011

The Sorbetto/Ginger Dress

I had one final holiday sewing project to complete before getting carried away with autumn sewing and my requirements were pretty clear:

  • a light dress/cover up to wear over my swimsuit
  • simple and quick to make
  • an inexpensive make as I’d only be wearing it for one week this year
Hhhmm, what could I make?  In my head I’d been thinking of my red gingham cover up dress from 1974.  

My bikini wearing days are well and truly over, but I wanted to make something that would remind me of that happy holiday.  What pattern(s) could possibly fulfil this tough list of requirements?  Enter the Sorbetto/Ginger dress.  Or should that be the Sorbinger?  Or the Gingetto?..

Anyway, I’d seen versions of the Colette Patterns Sorbetto as a dress before, and was quite taken with the idea.  Sarah’s shift version was a great inspiration, but I wanted mine to have more shape to the skirt section, so I simply used my Ginger skirt pattern for the skirt part.  It’s basically a Sorbetto top and Ginger skirt merged together.  It was a very satisfying make: all the top edges are neatly bias bound and the sides and shoulders have French seams so everything is super neat.  

The fabric was two metres of a textured, very lightweight gingham which I managed to buy on a recent clandestine visit to the Goldhawk Road (I was supposed to be sorting out a day trip for my children).  At £2.50 a metre I was happy to muck around with two different patterns and not be gutted if it all went horribly wrong.

Like my Sorbetto top before it, this dress looks more flattering on me when it’s nipped in at the waist, as the boxiness of the design simply doesn’t suit my shape.  Hence the belt

Once I’d cut out the pattern pieces, I managed to whip it together in the time it took my husband to bath the kids.  I had to sew on the bias binding at a later date, but I'd estimate the total time to complete the project, including drafting and cutting out, to be about two hours. I'm not kidding myself - I know it's a very plain, simple make - but that's exactly what I wanted.  Now, all I need is a co-ordinating polka dot bucket and I’m ready for my hols…. x

Monday 15 August 2011

Fabric Giveaway Winner!!

I'm very excited to announce the result of my charity shop fabric giveaway today

The winner is......Debi from My Happy Sewing Place!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wahay, I'm so thrilled. There's obviously some strange blogosphere luck running between the two of us, because I've won a vintage pattern from Debi on not one but two giveaway occasions!!  I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw it was her comment number.  It sounds like she has some fab plans for the fabric and I wouldn't expect anything less from such a talented gal!  Congratulations Debi, please e-mail me your address and I'll get the fabric over to you.

Thank you to everybody who entered, I loved reading your ideas for what you'd make with the fabric.  Thank you also for your fabulous usage ideas for my cocktail hour fabric. They were so inventive, I felt like a bit of a dummy saying "uh maybe cushions?" after you all jumped in with such great suggestions.  I'll be going through a few of them in more detail in a later post.  Happy Monday everybody. x

Friday 12 August 2011

Charity Shop Fabric

I've never had much luck with charity shops in my area: they don't seem to have any decent fabric (or any fabric at all come to think of it), just lots of Primark cast offs and other tat.  But miraculously my luck changed recently, and for the princely sum of £5 I managed to find this lovely lot in one fell swoop:

First up is 3.5m of a medium weight cotton (it's not very wide, only just under 90cm). The lines of the flowers are chocolate brown and the green is more minty coloured than the photo suggests.  I can’t imagine what I’d make with it, and the colours aren’t really me... but I just couldn't leave it all alone in the charity shop.  So if anybody likes the look of it, leave me a comment by the end of the day on Sunday 14th August telling me what you'd make with it and I’ll happily send it to you.  If more than one of you wants it, I’ll just draw names out of a hat.

I can definitely see a use for this one though:

Isn’t it fab? It’s like a cross between a Liberty print and a 1930’s feedsack print. In fact, it reminds me of this repro feedsack print from Fabric Rehab

There’s about 3m of this one too so I think I’m going to make a long sleeved Autumn blouse with it.

Finally there was this cheeky little print depicting cocktail hour essentials (including ice cubes) .

Sadly, there was only about half a metre of it, so not enough to make a garment, not even a Sorbetto.  I was pondering a little half apron, but it’s a silky kind of fabric so probably not best suited to having greasy fingers wiped on it.  Hhmm, not sure, maybe a couple of cushions?  If anybody else has any bright ideas I'd love to hear them.

Because I’m an optimistic kind of gal, I returned to the scene of the crime a week later and struck lucky again!!  I found 3m of this beautiful grey wool fabric for £3.  

I’m planning on making my first jacket in Autumn (more on that in a future post) and this will be absolutely perfect for a first attempt.  I’ll keep my fingers crossed it turns out wearable, but if not, then I’ve only spent £3 trying.  Good things come to those who wait…

Thursday 4 August 2011

Finished Parfait

Sewing-wise I’ve been going a bit mad on separates recently, which is all well and good, but sometimes, especially when the sun comes out, nothing fits the bill quite like a sundress.  When it’s hot - and it has been hot in London recently, despite the depressing downpour today - a dress is just so comfortable, no tucking in required.

I don’t actually own a proper, strappy sundress -  a couple of shirt dresses and wrap dresses, but nothing that screams ‘wear me on the beach’.  I decided to make the Colette Patterns Parfait to take on holiday in a few week’s time. Sadly my sewing time will be drastically reduced over the next few weeks, due to the small matter of having my children at home with me every day! So I just about finished it before the school holidays started.  I’m glad I did, as I’ve been able to wear it in the London sun.  It’s SSOOO lovely and cool to wear and such a comfortable shape. 

I chose a silvery grey Japanese double gauze fabric which I got from Fabric Tales during a splurge at the end of last year. I’m glad I waited to use it for this dress as it’s just perfect.  I’ve sewn with double gauze before, and it really does have magical properties: it’s warm and cosy when it’s cold and light and cool when it’s hot.  I also love the print of the fabric – a tree print with random animals scattered around.  Here's a tip for when your children are bored: get them to find all the animals on mummy’s dress!  So far they’ve found a crow, a donkey, a stag, a fox and a rat (!)

I was pretty relieved with the way the fabric looked once it was cut out and sewn together.  There wasn’t enough fabric to have a go at matching the pattern (plus I wouldn’t really know where to start).  I like the donkey walking across the middle of the skirt, I’m not so keen on the rat on my right boob….

Apart from the Crepe dress which was a bit of a wild card when it came to fitting, I seem to be pretty much a standard size 8 for Colette Patterns.  The Parfait was no exception, although I did decide to ride by the seat of my pants and not make a muslin.  Fitting the bodice as you go along is actually part of the instructions, and I only needed to take it in a tiny bit at the sides, otherwise it’s a good fit.  The pattern itself was the usual high standard you'd expect from Colette Patterns: straight forward instructions with all the stages making sense!

The Parfait has some lovely details: a midriffed bodice, gathered bust and buttoned shoulder straps.  I didn’t add the gathered pockets as I thought they’d get a little lost amongst all the wildlife.  The only thing I didn’t like about making this dress was the invisible side zip.  It’s a personal gripe – I just find side zips in a dress a pain to put in, especially when it’s got to zip over a midriff section which invariably consists of a couple of layers plus interfacing.  I much prefer putting zips in centrally, but that’s just me.

Having now worn the dress two days running, I can confirm it’s a winner.  The panelled skirt and midriff are very flattering and the cut of the bodice and straps cleverly conceal your bra straps – a big bonus in my book.  I really like the shape and design of the dress – it’s comfortable and roomy enough to run around after the kids in, yet fitted enough so you still feel like you’re making an effort.  I can’t wait to wear it on holiday now. x


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