Learning something new

Over the Christmas period this year I finally got around to learning how to crochet. It all started when I visited the stitching and hobbycraft show at the NEC Birmingham back in November. I got very excited by and bought ‘Edwards Crochet Imaginarium’ by Kerry Lord

What I loved about the book was the split pages meaning you can mix and match body parts to create something truly exciting. That is if you can crochet! 

And so I started to learn the basics. Through a mixture of a crochet magazine, the ubiquitous YouTube and helpful hints from the ladies at Ewe Time (a drop in yarn group hosted by the Handspinner Having Fun in Broadford on Skye) I began to get my head around the stitches. 

I began at the beginning of December and have gradually improved throughout the project. I would say by the final leg I was starting to feel as though I knew what I was doing. Up until that point I found it difficult to count stitches accurately and would lose count completely if I had to unpick (which was quite frequently). You’ll notice that each body part is a different size. Like I  said before, with this pattern you can make unique creations! 

That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it! 

Ride ’em cowboy! 

I have finally finished my V2960 vintage pattern and I’m ready to share. 

  
What an incredible learning curve it’s been. 

When the theme for our end of season party was announced as ‘Country and Western’ I knew immediately that I wanted to get hold of this fabric and make myself a dress. Deciding on the pattern took a bit longer. I love the 50’s look and was already in possession of the net under-skirt but I was looking for a pattern that had a hint of cowgirl. I found Vogue V2960 just about right. 

I say just about because the pattern has a button front that I’m not a fan of, so cue my first ever pattern hack. 

  
It’s been a while since I made a dress, what with moving house and life, so I really enjoyed preparing the pattern pieces, marking the stitching lines and getting everything ready. I decided to make a muslin to check fit as the fabric was quite expensive now that I’m a part time worker so I didn’t want to waste any. In actual fact the bodice hardly needed any adjustment but I was so focused on that that I failed to spot a more fundamental error that had bigger consequences later. 

  
I went ahead with the bodice, using up old scraps to make the facing. I had a bit of trouble getting the facing to fit accurately – another clue to my niggling issue that I failed to take heed of. 

Next I tackled the skirt. It was clear that the vintage 50’s pattern needed WAY more fabric than I had so, another first, I drafted my own patern pieces to make the biggest circumference I could round the bottom of the dress. I managed to get six lengths from my remaining fabric so did the maths and made a six panelled skirt that fitted the waist size of the bodice. Success. 

But this is where my earlier mistakes came back to bite me on the bum. When I tried the dress on there was a massive issue with the fit on the arm holes. It appeared I had attached the back pieces of my bodice to the wrong sides! 

After several days ignoring the problem and mulling it over I decided there was no option but to unpick the whole thing and change them round. So that’s what I did. I learnt that unpicking isn’t as awful as you expect and it actually only took one afternoon to unpick and re stitch the entire dress. 

  
I took my time hand stitching the bodice together around the shoulders and, although I’m not the worlds neatest hand stitcher, I’m pretty pleased with the finish. 

   
I traced the original issue back to an incorrect marking on my muslin, so of course the fit now needed some adjustment which I took care of when reinserting the zip. After adding a hook and eye and hemming the skirt it’s finally ready. 

   
   
It’s far from perfect but I thought I’d share for all the other intermediate sewers like me out there. I am always inspired and in awe of other sewing bloggers, but occasionally a little intimidated. 

I hope you like it. I’m certainly looking forward to wearing it later in the year. 

Overwhelmed by possibility

At last! After 2 months I have unpacked my sewing machine. And not only that, all of my sewing notions that were packed away way back in August when we initially moved house. I have set up my sewing space and reorganised my bits and pieces. 

So now what? 

I’ve spent so long thinking about what to sew, reading magazines and blogs and preparing for this moment that now it has arrived I’m overwhelmed by it all. I keep finding other things to do to avoid getting started and committing to one project. I’ve even made a list, but it still doesn’t tell me where to begin. 

Any ideas?  

    

where would you start?

 

Oh my! 

I’m sitting here on a January afternoon just seeing where my mood takes me and I find myself in WordPress looking at others blogs and dreaming about the day I can unpack all my sewing equipment and start sewing again. Imagine my surprise to look at my own blog and realise that it’s been over 200 days since I last blogged! (That’s not quite true, I have been blogging on another site about my house move, but that’s another story!)

I’m not one given to planning or resolutions, but here goes: I’m going to try and blog a sewing themed entry here at least once a month during 2016. In theory I have the time – I’m not working at present and still in the throes of moving to the Highlands. And once I’ve unpacked, I’ve certainly got the motivation! 

That’s it then. See you February! 

Recycling Scuppered 

I was recently gifted a rather splendid and expensive curtains to make use of the fabric. It’s not the kind of colour my hubby or I wear but we thought it would be great to use for a first ever attempt at a men’s jacket. 

Burda 6872 duly purchased, pattern pieces all cut (sending me into a panic of apprehension about the ensuing project) and so to disassembling said curtains. 

 
It seems as though the dog has other ideas. Tonight’s sewing is scuppered! 

 

Day Dress

2015-06-07 17.51.11On Sunday I made a whole dress in one day!

This is exciting news for me as I usually do an hour here and an hour there, but after a long time away from the machine I resolved to stay at it until I was done.

Having said that, I’ve bent the truth a little – I did cut out and prepare the paper pattern during the week. And Butterick B5815 is quite a simple pattern to put together.

2015-06-07 17.51.05

However, I still managed to make a rookie error. Getting ahead of myself in the ‘I can do it’ stakes, I fitted the paper pattern to my body form and made several changes to the fitting around the torso and shoulders. It was only when I read the instructions during the construction phase that I realised they are lapped shoulders and I hadn’t fitted the tissue that way! D’oh!

2015-06-07 17.51.16

Not to panic, I got out the trusted body form and refitted the fashion fabric, making adjustments where necessary. The result is that the laps are not as big as they should be, but they are still visible and have been remarked upon when I have worn the garment since.

I got the fabric from a stall at the Sewing for Pleasure show at the NEC a couple of months ago and felt that is suited a simple shift dress, even though it’s not something I usually wear. Having worn it this week I can feel the temptation to make a whole collection in different fabrics. It was so comfortable and I’ve worn it bare legged with sandals as well as with leggins and boots (interesting weather we’re having in the UK). Plus, once I’ve got the pattern right, it’s such a simple make.

2015-06-07 17.51.25 2015-06-07 17.51.35

 
 

Knickers!

This weekend I attended a knicker making workshop led by Laura Stanford, hosted at my local sewing heaven The Sewing Cafe.

I had been looking at blogs by other sewists making pants and was very tempted by the idea when I caught sight of a tweet by Laura advertising her workshop locally. I signed up immediately, and I’m glad that I did.

It was a lovely morning. As we (there were 4 of us on my workshop) arrived we were made welcome with a cup of tea and got a chance to pick our fabric. I went for a fine cotton print of pink peacock feathers. 2015-05-16 11.10.40

As soon as we were ready Laura got us started, letting each of us progress at our own rate, talking us through each step as we got to it.

Fantastic tip number one: using a highlighter pen, mark the size line you will be cutting on the paper pattern. This simple tip made cutting out the pattern a whole lot easier and is something I will definitely do at home. Laura patiently talked us through construction, working out the maths to get the right amount of elastic, the best way to ensure an even distribution of the elastic and the tricky business of bringing the whole thing together. She couldn’t have been more helpful, and I was really pleased with the result. Theylook gorgeous and, I can now report, are very comfortable to wear (although I’ll spare you having to see that!)2015-05-16 13.05.50

You can see Laura’s blog of the workshop here.

You can see all of the workshops on offer at the Sewing Cafe here.

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