Thursday, 28 January 2016

I Read A Lot Of Blogs

I read a lot of blogs, but I don't tend to read them like you would expect. I tried subscribing to them and reading posts when they came up but I had a tendency to not check it for a day or two... or a month, and when you go back that far and try to find where you were, you've forgotten most of it.

When I found something I was able to recognise and read forward from it, it was like reading more than one book and switching every page. Maybe that works with two or three but more than a dozen and you start asking yourself when Ahab will slay the alien. Whether Lady Chatterley will fall in love with Snape or Dumbledore.

So, when I find a blog I want to read I stick it in my favorites. When I get around to it I go to the archive tab, go right to the first post, and read forward from there. Then I bookmark the specific post and go off and do the same thing on another blog.

So if I used to leave comments on all your posts but don't any more, that's why...

I told you all this because I was going through alidamakes's archive and came across a post from back in May of 2013. It had a quote I felt I needed to share.

Makes me think of all the bad dresses I made. Makes me feel a bit better about them.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016


No crafting has happened since Saturday and it probably won't be for a few more days. I have the sore throat from hell. My submandibular lymph nodes are the size of grapes and I can't swallow without flinching.

And yes, I google everything that's just the slightest bit wrong with me.

I went to the doctors but they just used the opportunity to do a pap smear and give me an inoculation I should have already had. That just made me feel awesome...

Monday, 25 January 2016

Fashion Book Monday?

It seems like Sunday is my reading day, and since I post about what I do a day late, why don't we just make Monday posts about books?

So, in between visiting the grandparents and getting a terrible headache, I read Fashion Since 1900 by John Peacock. It's layed out with a couple of pages of drawings of various women in dress of a specific period, sorted into various categories, and then a couple of pages of outlines with the descriptions.

I can't imagine it's a book you'd spend a large block of time reading. I'll be honest, I think you can do better nowadays with google. People have scanned so much original material and posted it online.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

A Pick Me Up

I was having a bit of a downer when I wrote my last blog post, so I decided to do something quick and easy to cheer myself up.

I made a rat hammock out of an old pair of jeans that had ripped on the back, in a way that left a little too much showing. I ripped both legs off and cut them down the outside seam and cut off the hem. You see those D rings in the corners? Those strips of fabric holding them on are the cut off hem!

This one should last better than the last one. :-)

I also measured a piece of fabric to go in the 'Shop the Stash' page. I knew when I bought it I'd have a hard time finding a place and time I'd wear it, but it was too awesome to pass up! :-)

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Mess And Stress Killed The Crafty Bug

I just haven't been feeling up to making anything for a little while. It's partly because my workspace is an utter tip, but that's not the only reason. It's also a combination of the cold making me want to huddle next to the little space heater, work taking up a lot of my emotional energy, and getting pulled into other things like finishing writing a story I started back in August. That's always like pulling teeth.

I think I'm going to have to bring home one of the bookshelves I've got at my parents. I have to clean up my crap.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Book Confusion

The book on the left is a book I got from the library. The book on the right is one I bought online a while ago. Until I opened 'Dress in Detail' I thought they were different books, but it turns out they're just different editions of the same book, and I have the newer one.

Has this ever happened to you?

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

That Damn Skirt

This skirt is still going. I think I've got the darts just about right, but I'm going to have to make one up in a thicker fabric to see if it works in a better analog for the final project.

I just hope it's over soon. Given how often I change weight, it might not fit by the time I finish it.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

A New Fitting Project

I spent yesterday planning for today's sewing class. The skirt should be finished quite early and one the pattern works I'm going to make myself a skirt at home before playing with the pattern, so I'll need something new to do.

One of the projects I set out for myself in the next few months is an underbust corset, and I already have a pattern for it, I just need to do the fitting.

I measured a size 18 underbust, a 20 waist, and a 22 hip. Not unusual for me. When I copied off the pattern I blended between the three sizes. I just hope it works.

The pieces are all cut out in white cotton now, I just need to mark the seam allowances and sew them together.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Finished Trousers and Sunday Reading

I managed to finish the trousers on Saturday, but with a 7 1/4 inch reduction in length. I didn't realise my legs were that short. I don't have a good picture of me in them yet but tomorrow at my sewing class I'll ask if someone will take one.

I wasn't able to blog yesterday because I left my laptop at my flat when I went to my parents house. I spent a couple of hours on mum's cross stitch and then read Fantastic Fashion cover to cover. It's an interesting book, and it makes me glad that today's ideals of beauty don't require the breaking of bones.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Sewing To Clothe Myself

My Trousers are almost finished. I just need to sew the sides from the mid hips down, hem them, and sew down the inside hemline. Then put the button on.

I guess they aren't almost finished. Huh.

Friday, 15 January 2016

I Really Need Some Trousers...

This morning I found one pair of trousers that I can get to do up, but yesterday I had none and I do still need something to wear.

I had planned to make some black wool trousers but I haven't gotten around to pre-shrinking the fabric and the situation is getting desperate. With that in mind, yesterday I cut out the pattern pieces for a pair of digital camo trousers. I've only used this pattern for shorts so I think I might have to shorten it but I just need to get it done at the moment. :-P

Thursday, 14 January 2016


I've been working on little projects since my last post, and forgot to line up a post for yesterday so I'll just dump it on you in one go. :-)

Firstly, I clipped loads of those little pills you get on wool off of my favorite coat. I love that coat, it's a Juju & Christine one that I bought at the Whitby Goth Weekend, but it's a few years old and it's showing it's age. It's lost some buttons and the faux leather bit that anchors one of the toggles has lost it's black top surface and is now just the dark beige knit fabric base. I need to get around to fixing this coat! :-P

I also sorted out this box of books and took out the ones I wanted to keep. The ones shown here are going to the charity shop next time I pass through town.

The trough on my windowsill is sprouting! I borrowed a drill from my dad this Sunday so I can add holes in the big outside pots to let them drain. The empty ones were easy but the one I had already filled was a bit more tricky. I propped it up on the garden wall and when I broke through with the drill about a litre of water came dribbling out. There's a good chance the daffodils have drowned in the three-ish weeks it took me to get around to doing that. :-(

And here is my project from the sewing class. It's a basic straight skirt toil that I'm getting help filling perfectly. I probably need one more lesson to get it perfect and then I'm going to build other skirt patterns that fit using this as a base. It's been most enlightening at the back, because I've never had a good look back there so I don't know how well or badly things fit. It didn't come as a surprise I had a swayback, though.

Monday, 11 January 2016


I finished two books yesterday! Both of them were quite short, but still...

Firstly, Chinese Clothing by Hua Mei, which I started a week ago. The pictures were okay, and the text was okay, but they felt like they'd been put together by two different people who didn't know what each other were doing until it came time to put the final draft together. It would spend a page talking about something like the lenin dress... and then never show one! I don't get it!

The other book I did quite like. "We wore what we'd got" by Maggie Wood was more about how things were for people in the second world war than about styles. It was interesting reading about land girls making moleskin slippers. Step one? Catch a mole.

It's definitely worth a read, since it's both quick and quite funny.

Also, I finished my antibiotics, so fingers crossed I'm all healthy now! :-)

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Sewing Progress And Weight Gain

I got quite a lot done yesterday, what with finally feeling better and all. I drew out the basic skirt block I'm going to work on in the sewing classes and started cutting out pieces for the Teddy Bear.

The Teddy is taking more time than you'd think because I have to remove all the fur from the 1/4 inch seam allowances. I'm going to use that fur, some unwanted fabric and all my tiny fabric scraps to stuff it.

I weighed myself today and calculated my BMI as 33. For those who don't know that's counted as obese. I always put on a little weight during winter but not that much!

I bring this up now because the clothing situation has gotten a touch urgent. I have three dresses, two trackie bottoms, and a pair of shorts that fit my lower half. That's enough to keep me going for now but it can't go on, and I don't want to just make clothes to fit me now and have done with it, I want to be healthier, and, yes, thinner.

I was at my best when I cycled everywhere, but it's been all cold and muddy lately so I stopped. I guess I'll just have to get over that to get what I want.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

A Cuff

I pretty much spent yesterday sleeping. My course of pills finishes on Sunday and I don't know if I'll be feeling 100% by then but I don't feel it now. Sigh.

At some point during the week, I can't remember when, I finished the cuffs on little brothers shirt and added a button and buttonhole on one of them. Getting close to the end...

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Still Alive

I've spent the last couple of days playing on the computer, sleeping 12 hours a day and taking so many pills I rattle, but I'm feeling quite a bit better now. Just goes to show, if you're too scared of being a bother it can do more harm than good.

I did go to my sewing class, and I think I might have given the teacher the wrong impression. I told her I'd taken a course 10 years ago and nothing like that since. I meant no courses, but it probably sounded like I hadn't sewn... Add in that the other two people have just started sewing.

I didn't quite know what the lesson would include so I brought the teddy to work on and traced most of it off. Next week I'll be working on a skirt block that I can make loads of different patterns from. :-)

Tuesday, 5 January 2016


I'm going to my first Sewing and Dressmaking class at the Guild House in Rugby today and I don't have much idea what to expect so I'm going to bring a simple project that I can do without my sewing machine. It's a teddy bear pattern that mum sent off for in 1981, before she met Dad, that worked it's way into my stash a few years ago. I'm thinking I can make it for her birthday. :-)

Monday, 4 January 2016

Nee Naw

You know that snotty/wheezy feeling I've had since Christmas? Turns out for at least some of it I've had a secondary infection in my left lung. Dad took me to the hospital and my blood oxygen was low, but after some ventolin and oxygen through a mask I was feeling a whole lot better! :-D

I've got to take 8 Prednisolone tablets a day for three days and 3 Amoxicillin Capsules a day for 7, and go to the doctors tomorrow to get an appointment with the asthma nurse. I still feel all snotty, but I can breathe!

While I was in the waiting room I was able to start reading Chinese Clothing by Hua Mei, and it's obviously not aimed at the home sewer but there are quite a few diagrams of types of clothing lain flat, which is more useful with these kinds of clothes that are mostly flat off the body and shaped by drape.

Don't expect piles of historically accurate chinese clothing to be forthcoming, but I could see myself giving a simple coat a try. :-)

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Reading Reference Books

A few years ago I heard a newsreader and journalist dispel a rumor that he'd learned english from reading the dictionary. It was a little thing in a long interview but it stuck in my memory.

How is that relevant? Well, I spent today feeling ill and reading Couture Sewing Techniques by Claire B. Shaeffer, and it's full of details that you could never hope to remember after one go without an eidetic memory. So why did I do it?

When she was young, my mum read the whole encyclopedia, and, even though she didn't remember the details, she could usually tell you if a specific topic was in there or not. I'm going to be referring to this book allot in the future to help me improve my sewing and it would be good to know when I can turn to it. I can come across a task and think, 'This was covered in that book I read!"

Much more useful than digging up facts about airplane crashes in Mary Roach's 'Stiff'. (Over the 2-ish years I wasn't sewing I read about 300 books.)

Did you know when airplane crash victims his water they often end up stripped naked by the force? Something to think on.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

New Years Resolutions And A Day Of Sewing

Yay! It's a new year! And yesterday I tried to start things well.

I've looked back at the last set of new year resolutions I posted on here. They were all the way back at the start of 2014. I stopped sewing just a bit after that so most of them went out of the window, like making something every month or doing something sewing related every day. I did stop buying cheap fabric... or any fabric, and I did start making adjustments... just before the end of the year.

So, this year's resolutions?

1) Eat Better! I'd like to loose a bit of weight but it's more about being healthy. I've always eaten a lot of junk food when I don't put any thought into it, but I can change! I only need to really work hard when I'm in the supermarket.

2) Exercise! I enjoyed cycling near the end of last year, but I'd like to make it part of my routine. It's wonderful on the towpath when it hasn't been raining.

3) Destash! I have far too much fabric, but I'm addicted so I don't know if full on cold turkey is going to work. I do need to buy a lot less than I sew this year.

4) Try new things! I want to try more techniques that are new to me and make things I haven't before like the corset I see in my future.

5) Embellishments! I'd love to try doing something with decoration. Even give beading a go?

6) Read more books about sewing! God knows I've bought enough.

7) Fix it or dump it! I've got to get rid of all the clothes I have that I never wear and will never put on, and fix everything that needs fixing. Quite a bit of it will be going to the rats.

But back to now. Yesterday I spent the whole day sewing my little brothers shirt. Just for the record, sewing flat felled seams on sleeves is hell!

It helps when you don't sew the body of the sleeve into the seam. -.-

I got to the point of putting on the first cuff, then went to turn it rightside out and realised I'd sewn it on wrong. It was about 6pm so time to call it a day and I unpicked it ready for a second try tomorrow.

If I keep on like this I'll definitely be able to finish the Christmas presents before the end of January! :-P

Friday, 1 January 2016

The Dress!

I finished the Simple Sew English Tea Dress, but my photography leaves a bit to be desired. I need to go back to using my proper camera, and that means getting a memory card reader to plug into my computer. Tracking down the tripod would probably help as well...

Here it is on my fully extended adjustable dummy. It's maybe a bit clearer? Next Sunday I'll get my mum to take a picture. :-)