Saturday, 26 April 2014

Peter Pan just became a Superhero

You can't beat a good old basic white top in ya wardrobe, can you? For those days when coordination and imagination have all gone out the window. 
This was the idea with this top, just a regular pull out, pull on top, with a very TNT pattern, Butterick 5922 here                            
Not sure when or why, but I'd decided I wanted a tiny bit of interest with red buttons through the back as contrast. To achieve this, the centre back seam was extended by a couple of inches and then folded these back on itself (with a strip of sew-in interfacing). With only three pattern pieces to deal with and no dart shaping, this top could easily have been whizzed up within an hour. But just how boring can one get! the more I looked at it, the more I disengaged with it. 

The neck on this top is quite high and the expanse of white.... I looked like a strangled albino tortoise!  it was doing me no favours whatsoever. 

A collar- that's what it needed, a Peter Pan collar in a contrast colour.  A good ol' rummage in the stash box posed a few option -Red-gingham?Red-polka dot? something Christmassy!! ......oooohhh no KAPOW BOOM, this little number, it was brought to make a lunch bag or something. 

Asking the opinion of my 9yr old- I just got SERIOUSLY! I don't think so! ....she has eaten all of her humble pie up now:)  

I'm really pleased how it turned out, it really is a top that can be pull out and put with a skirt or Jeans without the effort of thinking.  Oh, and I even made my own bias binding to finish off the sleeve edges, I've never been bothered to do before, even though I had brought one of those bias making contraptions ( it works great!) 

 It is a Bird, Is it a plane NO its Peter Pan what a Superhero!! 

What quirky print have you added to a garment to give it some life?  

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Time For a SPOT of Relaxation

Hi there, thanks for dropping by, this is an update on  my quest for getting a few more casual relaxed everyday/ basic items in the old closet- with the odd distraction of a dress. Not that I'm tired of creating dresses its just that I can't prance about doing things like the housework in a fancy frock, can I? - second thoughts  just don't do the housework! result! 
I'd every intention to make this shirt up prior to Christmas, for the hols to Canada- but if you've read my Christmas Santa Dash you'll realise that it wasn't possible to fit any more into that week!  
So, busting some of the ever increasing stash, plus the fact summer is taking forever to put an appearance in, I put together this casual shirt in a spot baby cord, using Vogue 8857, View E - having made before here ; it just goes to show how a pattern can take on a different look with the choice of fabric and the odd tweak.   
There's not too much that can be said about this make over all; its a shirt! the construction was pretty straight forward especially knowing the pattern pieces- the pin tucks were definitely easier this time as a fine georgette was used previously- boy did that slip.
At one point, I was a little concerned that it would be too bulky and that it resembled a pyjama top!
I placed plenty of tailor tacks for the  pintucks - colour coded for fold & stitch lines and used the edge foot to (try) keep a straight line. Flat felled seams were used throughout, but on the inside, as I wanted to create a kinda denim style shirt.


I had loads of trouble trying to find buttons that would be right for this and after spending a flippin fortune on possible, I ended up with self-covered - bit boring & safe but hey ho it was driving me potty and I suppose you cant beat a good covered button.  

The verdict is still out whether to put a couple of darts in the back just to give it a bit of shape- but you know what - I probably won't - too many other things taking priority 

Surprisingly,(to me)  I have now wore this shirt  quite a few times and it does exactly what it say's on the tin and meant to...a really easy shirt to wear.  

Had to add you with this one- in a deep and meaningful conversation with Mr Wally dog (Walter when he naughty!) 


Pattern Testing-Retro Ruck-Sack

Don't you just love it when you achieve a first? This time its pattern testing. The Retro Ruck-Sack from Radiant Home Studio .
I came across Sara's site the beginning of March, while I was on a "blog browsing session" and saw she was enlisting pattern testers. I pondered a wee while, wondering if she might want me and thought "what the heck, dip your toes"- she said yes! (as I wouldn't be writing this!) 
Received the PDF and once printed I spent sometime just reading and familiarising myself with the details- I do this with most patterns - confession sado time - I love nothing more than taking a cuppa and a pattern (or two) to bed as reading material - okay, not quite 50 shade of grey, but darn good reading fodder! tell me I'm not on my own on this past time? 
So I've not actually worked from a download pattern before, "tick" for another first. Straight forward enough though, each piece links together by a bit of simple letter & number coding- bit of sticky tape and way you go.    

I went with a Retro fabric of lime/yellow with Mini Cooper's, a laser cut leatherette as contrast and a soft black n white polka dot cotton for the lining. The additionalities/ hardware stuff I collected n (pilfered) along the way, which meant that I spent time jumping from one part of the pattern to another   
The inner lining went together in a flash; it comprised of inserting an internal zip pocket- not sure if I put the final construction in the wrong way! as this pocket is dead deep inside.

Internal zip pocket 

There's also the option of inserting a partition panel- and as I was testing the pattern I thought it only right to complete all of the components

Inner partition pocket

The squaring off of the internal liner gave a great shape.

The outer shell took a little more thinking about, as I mentioned earlier, I probably didn't help myself by flitting from one stage to another. I think the hardest part was inserting the side panels to get a square finish, but after some head scratching and logical thinking it came together just fine. 
A mobile phone slips great into the external side pockets, which are nice 'n' deep to keep it safe- but they are a little snug to then get your hand in and retrieve...I might cut the pocket a little wider and feed some elastic through the top to overcome this. 
Side pocket 
Finding the hardware proved frustrating, local suppliers didn't carry much stock and too impatient to order, improvisation or resourcefulness meant nabbing curtain rings for the strap feeds, so now I have bedroom curtains that sag at the ends of the pole!!!   
The strap itself was taken from an old holdall that we don't use the long shoulder strap to. I cut off the padded piece and inserted a strip of the main fabric 
Back view 
This is a lovely bag with some great features. Used fully extended, it easily takes A4 folders ( I've had 3 ring binder types in and a notepad) For work I use it with flap over as a lunch bag and had lots of complements. The possibilities  to create different looks are endless. Highly recommended and have fun. :)) xxx    

Friday, 18 April 2014

Proud as a Peacock for Dolly Clackett

Being pretty new to the old blogosphere (but eternally grateful for all the fab tips; insights and inspiration) it wasn't too long before I came across Miss Dolly Clackett. And whoo can this lady do print! Some of the fabrics she has used,  I have come across on my explorations and totally loved... Lobsters, Racoons, map of the world!!....but to wear, I've not come close. Having a fair few year on Miss DC and  living in the sticks may of have a slight bearing on this, but the reality is probably.... I just don't have the balls !!  although I think I'm increasing my repertoire of colour and print since exposing myself to some of the awesome blogs out there and gaining confidence in each make. 
Jackdaws BlackAnyhow, back to business, when I saw the totally awesome post by Sarah @ Rhinestones and Telephones, I was so touched-(but not totally surprised) to think that this incredible sewing community was to honour one of their own in such a way; I wanted to be part of it, and lets face it girls,those of us who are lucky enough to be in that other amazing club....marriage - top trumps xx

My initial idea was to make the full skirt version of the Butterick Retro 6582 after the success of my Retro Tulip  in the fabulous  Michael Miller fabric Jack Daws 

I'd even found the shoes to go with it!!!
But alas... distracted with other projects and dawdling over the purchase of said fabric, meant that when it came to ordering there was just 1 meter left!!! 

I was now in a right old pickle and conundrum-time was ticking...on my visit to the Sewing for Pleasure Show at the NEC mid March, inspiration stuck... as clear as the "Wahkkkin" of a peacock, buried beneath the bolts of fabric, between the throngs of sewists, I spied a distinctive plumage. This was it!!
and at £ 6.00  a meter I loved it even more!! I'd also picked up New Look 6223 pattern - a good shape that echoed Miss DC. 
I went with the cap sleeve version with the pockets. With not using a New Look before knocked up a toile of the bodice- glad I did as I miss read the final measurements and it were rather snug. The usual lengthening and back reduction was needed, but the front still didn't sit right so out came the darts, and so did the felt tip! Basically, I stood in front of the mirror and drew all over myself and pinned in surplus material... Not sure if thats quite what you're supposed to do, but it appears to fit okay and feels comfy. 
The pattern matching is not brilliant, but was the best I could do with the amount of fabric I'd got. The fabric requirements were 2mtr - which is what I had... one side of the selvage... but the cut line had gone awry .. to 1.75mtr!   
The fabric itself has got a fair bit of body to it, but with cream as the main colour it needed lining. For this I splashed right out; it's in the honour of a wedding, so a lightweight silk seemed quite the done thing .... at £8.50per mtr (more than the flippin dress!) but I love it- ooohhhh its soft and ... silky!!! I thought I would extend this extravagance by doing french seams around the arms.. and mighty pleased I am too.
I even hand stitched the lining around the zip, waist and hem of the main skirt- for me that is a major achievement, as hand sewing is definitely not by bag and therefore dislike with a passion. 


 I do really love the dress, I did think about getting my wedding shoes out and dying them peacock green - but there not that comfy now ( can your feet change shape?)

 I can see me making this dress up quite a few times - its such a great shape, especially now that  I've got a basic bodice that fits (will try and  play around with the dart placement)   

 So, here to wishing Roisin and Nic a wonderful wedding day, may the sunshine throughout their marriage. XXXX  


Monday, 14 April 2014

Just what the Dr. ordered

Yes,  its official I have man must be; it originated from hubby and lasting for two weeks now (with little sign of shifting!!) large sniff of snot 'n' sympathy. Even got to the stage where I couldn't sew- sharp intake of breath !!!!( well  I would if I could but would just start coughing and choking:((
Anyhow, the feelings of misery have been temporarily lifted with not one but two parcels arriving with the postman. 

First up was the prize winnings from the Sew Dramatic, Sew Gabriloa  competition @Stitch 56  my skirt entry managed to rack up 75 votes all thanks to my amazing friends and family- so i really owe this one to them.  With the winning voucher, I ordered two further Sewaholic patterns- the Alma blouse and Cambie dress- I love the shape of both of these and have seen plenty of posts that have inspired me to follow suit. I was torn on my choice of By Hand London, this was between the Elisalex dress or Charlotte Skirt, as you can see, Elisalex won but I'm sure it won't be long before I have a Charlotte in my possession. I am determined to make some trousers before long, so my faith is resting on Collette's Juniper trousers. 
The other bits n bobs, are various bag hardware, I have recently been lucky enough to test the pattern for a Retro Rucksack for Sara @ Radianthome studio    ( not blogged about this yet as I thought it best to wait for Sara to launch) but as a sneeky update ( It fab!!!) 
Sneak preview- My version  

My other delightful parcel was a belated mothersday gift- (it could even of been a bit of a guilt trip I put hubby on after my birthday(another story) I am now the "very proud" owner to a pair of Gingher 8" sprung loaded shears - and they are AMAZING - hot knife in butter doesn't come close to these bad boys.  

So lots to be getting on with, once I'm back in the sewzone. 

Thanks for dropping by - hope to have some posts up very soon .xxx

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Huffy Tantrums: that ain't sew bad

Okay, so the reason we all blog...apparently IS to share the good, the bad, and anything in between -right?... why?..... well, hopefully to share and save the pain of others. (unfortunately for others, I've not had too many of the "others") until now. :((((((
This blog is a tail of two halves. Are we sitting comfortably... then we'll begin...
With the onset of Spring closely followed by Summer hahahahaha.. Whoooh is this Jackanory!!!   Actually before I tell my tale, please allow some digression, taking a pair of ankle boots back to a well known retailer at the weekend, zip had burst its seam on 2nd time of wearing (immaterial, but a justification of being in a high St clothing store), a little meandering around the ladies dept. was required (it would be rude not too- and it ended up being for research purposes anyhow) Now April, I realised that I had not purchased a single item of RTW clothing this year! whoop... I've not even taken the 365 NO RTW pledge; Can I join in late, or start at any point in the year? On my surveillance around the racks, I found myself drawn to certain items (as you do), I'm sure you know what's coming, only to find myself thinking- look at the appalling top stitch, poor pattern match or How Much !!! Made me feel pretty proud that I was able to Paff!!! at these, knowing that  I'm able to create something that is equivalent- ( well hopefully not in, appalling top-stitch and pattern matching) come to think of it not always cheaper but all my own work. 
Right so where was I, oh yes, with the onset of warmer times, I felt that the contents of my wardrobe required a few basics, staple items- one can not prance around in dresses all of the time! (even if one would like too).My intention is to bring in brighter colours and jazzier prints where possible. On my last fabric haul (Sewing for Pleasure Show at the  NEC)  I purchased this lovely cotton print.. was either Abakhan or Barry's - visited  a fair few that day to get this little lot...
The fabric for this project was a print that is..not too in your face but enough to be cheerful and the added bonus of being a lovely soft cotton. Ahh remember now, it was from Barry's a bit pricey at £9.99- originally, I was looking for a suitable soft cotton for my second Gabriola, first here,  but needing 3.25 mtrs so felt this would be rather excessive. For ease of sewing and not to detract from the print, I minimised all fuss and went with a TNT, Burda 8677 used here my very first make!    

I made a couple of alterations from my first make, although happy with it, there's a little more "comfort" ease at the waist than was really needed. The intention was to lengthened the yoked front by and inch and graded the waist down a size, being lazy though, I  just cut straight up from the hip line, which meant the waist went 2 sizes smaller !!! resulting in the seam allowance  being utilised  and was taken to the wire!!  
In the effort of trying to redeem my laziness, I lined the skirt with a plain cotton, which also doubled up to give the skirt some body- I only had white so served the purpose.   
The zip was one of those times (that happens a little too ofetn for my liking)  where it just wasn't happening; I stopped counting after the fifth rip out gggrrrrr. Its a zip for heaven sake, on the easiest fabric imaginable; I just couldn't get it in straight or concealed enough. I then tried my hand at inserting a zip placket; not too sure if I put in on the right side...-the zip is on the left hand side so attached it to the front facing edge of the zip- should it go on the back to smooth forward? No idea the RTW skirts I have with these are all back fastening???? 

Overall I'm happy with the skirt, I know it will be a useful, casual  everyday wear item.  

Next up was a "simple" jersey cowl neck top, Yeah right- the guy who sold me this fabric reacond it was organic! and you know how?
I love(d) the colour and initially bought it to go with my Gabriola skirt here .My vision was to keep everything soft and flowy, while picking out the aqua dots ( how sickly !)
I think my first failing was cutting out while full of a head cold and a throat that felt like I was gargling razor blades:(( not the best recipe for concentration - but its a "simple" top, what can go wrong.
I cut a standard size 14- the measurement of the finished top stated it would be 2 inches bigger than my bust measurement- that's okay, room for ease I can go with that... OH noooo a carry on camping look alike - it was huge. I had debated about the back, this was a Butterick pattern and the last couple of Butterick's I have made, had to have narrow back alterations applied - should have checked, measured more.. I know  I know! The back neck edge was not going to sit flat, no matter how much shoulder pulling, seam intake i was going to make... and there was no way I could or was going to even attempt unpicking stretch stitch! In total temper and a mad woman possessed, wielding scissors screaming insanely like the Queens of Hearts...OFF with the FACING woosh it was gone!!. I lay the pieces down, placed the pattern on top and crudely sketched in new seam lines (where permitting, the neck edge was now somewhere around a 10/ 8!! oooh bugger) new fashioned pieces were restitched. A tentative fitting just to check - phew ok .  
Next stage were the sleeves- I had already bodged one set up, and knowing there was no way my performance was going to produce neat, flat even seams, out came the rolled hem on the over-locker (a number of practices were had before the real thing) result - passable, not perfect, but passable.        
"errmmm it might look all smiles here but not behind the seams"

Inside views of the top

Now hand sewing is not my forte- and therefore I don't particularly enjoy it,  so to rub salt into my wounds this bad boy wanted the entire sleeve facings to be slip stitched- Pahh, not a chance - stitch in the ditch ... WRONG stretch stitch and foot attachment dont go! don't you know- do now, one broken needle. Tried again with the normal foot...a 1/4 of the way round it was going all over the place- out comes the hand sewing needle and a lot of steam from the iron.  
Look at the state of that neck!! inside facing 
I went to bed that night in disgust, feeling decidedly sorry for myself . I can't sew, Who am I trying to kid; If I can't even sew a simple skirt and top - What chance do I have - snivel snivel ( runny nose from cold doesn't make an attractive look)  
As my good sewing chum WillowWears Face booked by chunter -
 "Tomorrows a new day hun!" 
She was right- This morning I feel a little more positive and retrieving the green eyed monster off the floor of the sewing room- I give it another airing. 

Okay - it might not be the best sew in the world but Its mine and I shall always need to ware something when gardening or walking the dog!! Oh and i got new boots!! even nicer than the first :)))) Sorry this has been such a long blog and a little ranty- it so does you good to get things off your chest ( just wish it was so easy with a cold!) 


Thanks for stopping by  Amanda XXX