Monday, 30 December 2013

Slow Progress And Future Plans

I'm getting on with tracing NewLook 6150 at a steady pace but it's still going slow. Faster than I would at home but not as fast as I was expecting. That's mostly due to laziness though.

What's more important, to me anyway, is that I've finally got my housing situation sorted for the next few months. I was hoping to move back to my home town but trying to find a place and then only being able to give my months notice when I have somewhere to go is both annoying and expensive.

I'm going to pack my stuff up and stick it in storage instead. Move onto Mum and Dads futon, where I've been staying this week, if I haven't found a place by the middle of February and be able to look properly for a flat. I'm feeling a lot less stressed about it now and edging into excited. I've still got to declutter a lot more but I can live with that.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Holiday's Over

The fun of Christmas has kind of worn off, and I spent yesterday evening tracing my little white dress pattern. I didn't realise it was unprinted and not very well cut. God knows what it'll look like.

The longer seam lines down the body were wonky and the notches were all uneven depths like it had been used before by someone who wasn't used to using scissors but when I get it everything was folded up like it had just come from the factory. I don't know if it was like that originally or if someone used it and then folded it up and compressed it well enough to look new. If they did they didn't use pins, but maybe that explains the wonkiness?

Today I'm going to get to work on NewLook 6150 so I can use it on some of my bigger knit stash pieces. I'm actually excited about making the version illustrated in red. :-)

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Little White Dress

I've tried taking part in Pattern Review's sewing competitions before but I didn't sew fast enough for the stash busting one and didn't even manage to start the others, just getting as far as planning. This year I want to actually have something in the running, even if I don't win it'll be a huge achievement.

The first one, from January 16th to February 15th, is for a little white dress because they've already done a little black dress. I don't have a LBD but there's always time for that later.

I've already chosen my pattern. It's an old mail order pattern that came with a newspaper/magazine. At least I think it is, I can't find anything via google. If it was a newspaper then it's gone out of business since then. Oh well, it doesn't really matter in the end.
I'm going to do it in white cotton, obviously, but I'm going to have a bit of fun with the embellishments. I've talked about blackwork before, but since the challenge is a reworking of black as white I figured I'd reimagine blackwork as whitework. Whitework is where you do embroidery in the same colour as the fabric you're sewing on (usually, you guessed it, white). I'm planning to do silver blackwork on the bodice neck and then use white thread and beads at the bodice and sleeve hems.

It may not win but I think I'll feel pretty wearing it. :-D

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Hats Off To Christmas!

Hey there guys! I hope you're having a great Christmas and getting to do something you love, whether it's spending time with your family or indulging in a rare pleasure. I'm going to be spending the morning with the grandparents and then settling in at home with the parents and siblings for presents and dinner. I think it's the first time the five of us have been together since last Christmas.

On Christmas Eve we got drunk over board games and played with hats.

Dad wore Mums hat:

The brothers wore Dads hats:

And I wore my brothers hat (the one on your left):

Mum wore one of her many rainbow hats but no one took a picture. :-(

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

My Next Knitting Project?

I didn't have a picture of dad
in a jumper so you get one of
him dressed as Gimli at my
brothers wedding.
I'm not really very good at sewing for other people, but knitting is a bit different. I seem to find knitting a more enjoyable experience in and of itself, rather than doing it for the sense of achievement and the resulting garment.That's one of the reasons I think I'll be able to put the time and effort into making my dad a jumper.

The other is that I know he'll wear it. Dad pretty much lives in them in winter and kept one his mum made for 30 years! (It got eaten by moths.) I know it's a bit late in the season to be starting a knitting project but, lets be honest, what are the chances I get it finished before next winter?

I did initially want to cheat and get some 'sweater knit' fabric to sew up into a jumper but I couldn't find anything that looked right. Brandhyze Stanley at the Mood Fabrics blog made some lovely mittens out of just the type of fabric I was looking for but I couldn't find any I liked in the shop. There was only two and they looked a bit thinner and more feminine than I can imagine dad wearing. I'm thinking they have more in the shop but they don't put everything online.

I searched ravelry and there aren't any free patterns with the look I want to I'll have to trawl through the for sale ones and put my money where my mouth is. Luckily the wool I made my scarf out of would look okay (if a bit quirky) and knitting patterns don't cost that much.

I haven't told dad about this yet, apart from asking what he'd think, but I'm going to have to get his measurements before I start so it's not going to be a big surprise.

Sunday, 22 December 2013


Tomorrow I get to go home to my parents place and spend ten days sleeping in the dining room on a futon. I'm looking forward to playing board games, staying in a heated house and slogging books that I won't get around to reading there and back.

 But what about my sewing and this blog? Well, even though my mum has three sewing machines I don't know how many of them are working at the moment and I'm concentrating on knits anyway. I'll just have to wait till I get back home to my overlocker.

Also, I just wanted to point out that the stuff in the picture isn't all of my stretch odds and sods collection. It's about half of it, but the rest is just more velvet in a huge range of colours I don't wear at the moment.
I can, however, get on with copying off some of the patterns I haven't tried yet. I just have to find out if I'll have to bring my iron with me.

If I just fill this blog with pictures of the copied off patterns then it's going to get a bit boring, so I'll try to carry on with the (hopefully) interesting musing on various sort of related subjects.

I'm also going to take the opportunity to get measurements for my family so I can make muslins if I feel like it and bring them home the next time I'm going. (I might move back to the town before I get around to it but that's beside the point.)

Hope you guys have a fun Christmas!

Saturday, 21 December 2013

The Work Of Deborah Cook

I'm in love with little details in clothing and miniaturisation in general so the work of Deborah Cook just gets to me in all the right ways. She's a costume designer who works in stop gap animation and is responsible for the clothing worn in both Coraline and Paranorman.

All the garments are hand sewn so that they can work in tiny detail, even making a map for visible stitching so that when the film is expanded to the size of a movie theater screen it looks consistent. They might have 40 versions of a costume in use so it really does matter.

In 2010 Deborah Cook did an interview with the FIDM Museum Blog that's really worth a read. I found it really interesting to learn about their use of fabric and how the size of the puppets made an impact. Because the figures are so small it's not realistic to use the same fabric you would use on a lifesize person, but they wanted it to look the same, so they had to source a good replacement that looked close enough that would stand up to scrutiny. They even examined it with magnifying glasses!

The costumes in Coraline are gorgeous and if google is to be believed then the main characters yellow raincoat is the most popular garment in the movie, among cosplayers at least, but I'd have my own starry jumper if I could pull anything out of the computer screen. It's pretty and feminine but it looks so comfortable that you could wear it almost all day, every day and not get bored.

Maybe when I've cut down on my fabric stash a bit I'll go searching for the right sweater knit and the right silver fabric? It wouldn't be that hard to put together, even if the stars might be time consuming. What do you think?

Friday, 20 December 2013

White Lace (New Look 6230)

I put together another toile! I took the pictures with it on my sewing dummy because it's a bit see through but you get the idea. It looks a bit better on me, partly because I fill out the arms better, but one torso is very much like another in a loose knit top.

It's got raglan sleeves that would look great in a contrasting colour to the main body and there's a seam at the back that adds a bit of shaping (but not much).

Now that I've got a couple of T-shirt patterns muslined I went digging through my stupidly big fabric stash and pulled out any peace of stretch fabric too small to be made into a dress. I'm figuring I can make what I can into tops and what I can't I can finally get rid of.

Maybe I'll take one or two more patterns down to my parents house for Christmas? If I can't get any sewing done I can at least get ready.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Capsule Wardrobes And Dressing For The Seasons

It's frickin' cold in my house. I haven't been able to get the boiler to work since I moved in over a year and a half ago and the only thing that's kept my toes from falling off is my hot water bottle and a happy willingness to stay in bed all day.

I also realized I have very little cold weather clothing. I have no jumpers, no thick trousers and wearing a coat in the house gets awkward after a while.

Every year there are magazine articles and fluff pieces on the news telling us about unpacking our winter wardrobes and transitional pieces, whatever those are. I never really payed attention because the only change I made was switching from the winter school uniform to the summer one and back again. (They never seemed to change when the seasons did so sometimes you'd boil and sometimes you'd freeze, but that's not important now.)

One of Jillybejoyful's projects. Her blog is worth a visit. :-)
The realization that I need to get some winter clothing made got me thinking about capsule wardrobes (or mini wardrobes). Sets of clothing that I can pack away when I don't need them.

Capsule wardrobes were the brainchild of Susie Faux, a London boutique owner, and was supposed to be the basics in your wardrobe that you could wear year in and year out and mix with all the new 'fashionable' stuff that the magazines tell you that you need to buy now discard after a couple of months rather than look dated.

Hey, I'm a cynic.

Capsule wardrobes of that type were made for people a lot more consistent than I am, but they also get mixed up with what are generally called mini wardrobes. That's as little as four or five items that go together and you can mix and match so that you're never left with one beautiful top that doesn't go with anything else you own and you can always reach for two things in this group and not have to think too much.

Not having to think when I first wake up appeals to me, along with being able to have a range of vaguely ridiculous garments and knowing they won't sit and rot in the wardrobe.

I can't help but think that maybe I should be planning more mini wardrobes, and less one off projects.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

The Inherent Absence Of Light

My mind hurts.

I haven't sewn for days. I haven't done much of anything for days.

I think I'm having a depressive episode. It's been suggested to me that I may have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) because my depression  gets worse this time of year. I just know I feel terrible.

Sorry if this is oversharing. I'll get back to adding pictures of sewing soon.


Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Gingham Dress

I finally got my gingham dress finished! It's now too late to wear it outside the house but at least it's not weighing on my mind any more and it'll be hanging in my wardrobe ready for spring.

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with this dress. I started it as a stash busting project because I had five meters of gingham and I'm really not a girl who wears gingham. I don't know if it's just a really nice wearable muslin or something I'll actually go out in, though.

Everything seemed to go wrong with this dress, especially the buttons and the elastic. I originally bought black elastic but I was afraid it would show through the gingham and went back for some white stuff. I think I was worried over nothing but it's too late now. Turns out the white elastic and the white bias binding where exactly the same size, making it pretty much impossible to sew along the edges of the binding and leave enough room inside.

I ended up sewing along the crease of one side and then wedging the elastic in as far as it would go and going along the other edge with my zipper foot to try and make it even. I think I did pretty well but since my bobbin tension's been acting up it doesn't look very good. Thank god it's hidden by the gathering.

This dress has put me off buttons for at least a year. I first bought both buttons and poppers planning to only have fake buttons, and then I got it into my head that I should at least try and make real button holes. You know what they say about good intentions.

I would have to sort out my sewing machine tension but I also needed a buttonhole foot. I got online and bought the cheapest one on Amazon. Big mistake. It didn't work quite right and the top layer of metal was flaking off when I got it out of the packet so now not only do I not have the buttonhole foot, I have the trouble of sending it back. I looked into hand sewn buttonholes but soon realised I didn't care enough about this dress to do them, I just wanted it to be over.

Then I cried a little.

Turns out I ended up doing exactly what I had planned in the beginning.

Monday, 2 December 2013

I've Joined Kollabora!

I may be jumping on the bandwagon a bit here, but I just joined this website and I'm loving it! It's like Pinterest with all the good bits of PatternReview thrown in.

What I really love is discovering other creators and their blogs. I'm addicted to reading crafting blogs (if not biologically then definitely psychologically) and when I find a good one I literally go to the beginning and read it like a book. I've done that with about 40! :-P

I tried to upload a project in progress (my t-shirt) but discovered a bug! That just shows you how new it is! There was a place to add in a description but not marker showing you where so I couldn't see it. I told the tech people and they jumped right on it, which is always a good sign for a well run website, and it's probably fixed by now. I'll have to add the finished top when I get home today.

Hope to see you on there!