Saturday, 16 August 2014

I Beg Your Pardon... "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden"

Okay, I've heard of word association but fabric song association!...really...its driving me bonkers - you know when you get a tune stuck in your head and it just won't budge...agggrrrrr..

Them ikkle yellow rose buds look so innocent on their bed of cerise cotton, and really appealed back in the spring (they certainly have some answering to do now). Not being too sure what I was going to make, I picked up about 2-3 meters (there's a fair bit left so may-be it was 3 - easily get  a top out of the left overs)  
Now, trousers needed to be conquered at some point, especially after my mishap of some cropped denim pants that went from a dowager's hump to a full camel hoof! (I assure you these were beyond decency to blog about) So shorts seemed to be the next best thing to tackle.  
Being soft 'n' floppy cotton this was definitely suited to a wide(er) legged short, something like the Megan Neilson  Tania Culottes  look,  but having already ordered the McCalls 6965 way back in the year, I somehow couldn't justify another pattern purchase...WHAT! I can always justify patterns and fabric- obviously a lapsed  moment  there. 
At this point, I feel rather responsible and perhaps owe the good peeps of Britain and apology for the downturn in weather; we have had some gorgeous sunshine of late with temps of 20+, perfect for wearing shorts- these come a long, with my pasty looking pins and whooosh the sun hides behind clouds!      
I did a bit of background research on these, just to check if there were any anomalies with making up. Soooo glad I did before blundering in, I found these two reviews most helpful  here and here.  There is NOOO way I could wear shorts that short and went for the mid-length version.
Being a diligent sewer (errr..not always), I even made up a muslin to check out potential smiles, frowns and dowager toes! Yep, minor alterations required, to prevent that undignified procedure of internal fabric removal from ones butt! hence the the crotch was dropped by a cm.  
Construction is pretty much straight froward, with each leg made up of four pieces and a centre back zip. To add some customary detailing, yellow piping was added to the waist seams- which gives these fairly ordinary shorts some cuteness.  The one thing I do think that is lacking, are pockets, ye' just gotta have a pocket or two!

These are really easy to wear and I'm seriously considering making up the full length palazzo  version in a cotton viscose that I have in the stash; although toying about increasing the height of the waist and inserting a facing rather than the fixed waistband and of course them all important pockets- what do you think, would it work?

Thanks for popping by and reading; back soon. Amanda XX 

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Silky Squares at 2.30 am

What do you do on a Good Friday, when you take your youngest for a four hour dance session... in Leamington Spa...time you get home, time to turn around and go back...NO! you Google fabric shops and mooch!! Oh yes, my friends, four hours was not nearly long enough (the debit card took quite a bashing) but came back with some beauties to top up the old fabric collection. 
The colour way in this silk is not what I'm normally attracted to, but you know how it talks to you (in that high pitch squeaky voice) " Oh, take me home, and I promise to turn myself into something spectacular !!"    
The pattern used was  McCalls 6883; originally I had ideas on completing view C with the under slip, yet somewhere along the line a change of plan took place and View B was thought to be more suited, although it was touch 'n' go on having enough fabric.
Everything about this fabric oozed evening, slinky and special.If you've read my recent posts you will know about a wedding that I was very excited about and planned on changing for the evening reception.. the day dress here .
Allow me a slight digress here- time was not on my side and after a total melt down over my daughter dress, that did not happen! (the bodice was just to tight when the lining was inserted) and at nine O'clock the night before, the poor girl needed to go to bed, thus resulting in a quick trip to the local shopping centre at 9 am the following morning to kit her out ( Awwwww the shame and the guilt of it, but then again she's not on a RTW fast!) Think I was forgiven after I did her hair, pretty awesome
To appease the self doubt and lick my sewing wounds, I set to task at 9.30 pm the night before the said wedding...just to see if I could put together the planned evening dress.
The fabric had already been cut (boy isn't silk flipping hard to cut) a total mind of its own, it's as if it gets ticklish when you show it the cutting shears and it starts to wriggle about!
Due to its transparency, a nude/champaign very silky satin lining (sorry, not too technically exact there) was used to underline it along with copious amounts of pins to anchor and tame this serpent.  

Sorry the photo a little  out of focus - or was that the wine!!
Front and back darts were inserted  by sewing both the lining and silk together, I had envisaged tiny wee French seams down the side-seams so it would be fluid and flow!! but as time was not going to allow that- so again,  both lining and upper fabric were sewn together. 
Thankfully, my fairy sewing godmother(FSG) must have been looking over me and one concealed zip went in first time! Huzzar, Huzarr. The fitting was fairly minimal as the elasticated back ruching was an absolute godsend. 

The neck band ended up been a little skew but I figured it was on the curve of my shoulder, so not too noticeable. The fastener suggested a hook 'n' bar but I'm never to keen on these - mainly that if they not positioned just so, they can come unhooked! and I certainly didn't want any wardrobe malfunctions, thank-you very much. Instead I went for a decorative button- that should have been way too heavy for the fabric, but FSG again looked after me and it did just the ticket.     
When it came to the hem there was no way the two fabrics could be sewn together, hmmmmm but with the seams joined, this posed a head scratching moment (not needed  nor appreciated at 1.30 am!!) don't give me problems, give me solutions I cry...treat each section individually...four tiny weeny rolled hems later, done I felt like Cinderella by having a new frock to wear to the ball! 

On the day/night I was really happy with the result - perhaps not my best sew technically but it did the job, I even managed to stay upright on them heels as well!!
Have you ever done a mammoth sew into the early hours, just to have something to wear the next day? 

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Westfalenstoffe fit for a Wedding

Everyone loves a good wedding, right? and last Friday the Wyatt Clan attended the most fun and happy weddings in a long time... It's fair to say though, as a guest, finding the right outfit can be a bit of quandary, never alone making one. 
The biggest head scratcher I have to say was "which" pattern to choose, copious amounts of sourcing and reviewing narrowed it down to Vogue's Bellville Sassoon 1296; this is so me and I just fell in love with the whole outfit. However...the wedding had a vintage theme to it, so in keeping I plumped with the Butterick 6018

The Fabric used was a Westfalenstoffe Organic Cotton, Red Pink Flowers and Birds from Dragonfly Fabric's with a great offer of 15% off thanks to the promotion from Jane @ Handmadejane .

I started the said project two weeks prior to the event- rather late I know, but life on the hamster wheel had been spinning pretty fast for me to get off any earlier. 
Having used Butterick patterns previously, here  here and here, I had experienced various fitting issues up top, but never ( can you believe) completed a FBA! ( Full Bust Adjustment). Wanting to get the best fit possible, it was also the perfect opportunity to test out the enormous amount of research material of tutorials, tips and instructions that are out there. It all seems so straight forward and logical when your reading about it!
Not to make this post too long winded, nine muslins later!!! and I'd just about cracked it; it was like a rewrite of Goldilocks and her bears, this ones too tight, this ones to loose, this the time I'd finished I didn't even need to refer to the excellent tutorial by Christine Haynes.I'd gone on my upper bust measurement, applied the rule of increasing 1 cm per cupsize or 1/2 the total difference between upper and full measurements = both came out at 3cm. (but too big)The biggest issue was when the sleeve was inserted, it just changed the whole fit...too tight under the arm due to the increased U shape of the armscye shape becoming; if anybody has some wisdom on this it would be gratefully received. 
Think you can see just here that there is some tension around the front arm area. Darn-it!
One positive technique I came up with (sure I wont be rocking many boats) but I thought it was pretty smart, was to use sewers carbon paper to mark the darts- I then basted down the centre line to join the interlining fabric, then sewed the dart legs together - result, no shifting of interlining, no bubbles at dart points yeh!!

I wanted the white back ground to retain its crispness, and used a really fine cotton voile to interline the bodice section but hang as a loose lining for the skirt; sharpness of the white works perfectly but it did added a tiny tad too much weight.
In for a penny in for a pound as they say- a net skirt was added for additional va-va-voom- This again I thought was pretty genius! attached with popper tape that's used for duvet covers! this way the net doesn't have to be worn every-time nor laundered so will keeps its umph. 
Okay fair cop, one flaw it would of been better if it was sandwiched between the dress fabric and lining, as it was a bit itchy on the legs (an additional slip remedied that!)  
Overall I think it was a great sew, the bust fitting could still be improved and not too sure the style is really me, hence will it be worn again? not too sure - but saying that, how many times back in the RTW purchasing are we guilty of only wearing something once for an occasion..I know I am!. Having said that, it did make me feel very girly and I'm totally proud and in love all the little details that I took the time to include, from the self- covered buttons and contrast cuffs, to the hand stitched 3 meter hem! oh,and the pretty much perfect invisible zipper, with matching side seams may I just add - whoo it really nearly is invisible. 

I leave you with these swoosh shots and a note about the shoes- please say you noticed them? they're "Ruby Shoo, Natalie"- I also own Kate and Miley and have my eye on Gwyneth, but until I fine me a new job, she will have to wait - hehehe
Well thanks for stopping by and reading-I'm off to write the post on the dress that was very hastily made for the evening reception! XX

Saturday, 2 August 2014

How time flies when you're having Sew much fun

Hello my luvies, hope you are well,  its been so long since my last post and much has happened with both sewing and life in general! Pretty much I've been on a massive sewing quest to complete not 1, not 2, but ....3 dresses for myself and the little Wyatt! for a wedding we attended yesterday; (blogs on these to follow) totally amazing day was had by all, and now chilling with a "woolly head" and "sore dancing feet" after some hard partying last night!. Part of the sew fest included helping out with just over 50 meters of bunting! originally was aiming for 100 meters but thankfully there were lots more crafters' on board- thought I'd just share a couple of the fabulous pieces that made up such a pretty wedding. 

Apologies for blogging off piste there for a moment... So  to task-
First up, would you believe it, I've had a kind'a anniversary in my blog silence...I've officially been sewing my own wardrobe for 12 months and not a RTW purchase for 7 month now!.. this event sort of crept up on me when I was sorting out some paperwork and realised that I'd purchased my over-locker last July, which is when my venture began. Never dreaming that I'd get so consumed by sewing, the idea was just to 'have a go' at making a few items for fun (hahah)

So what do I have to show for myself, twelve months on? Well.... I did a bit of a tally and WHOOO did  I get a surprise....53 items ( not all clothes for me but nevertheless)
  • 14 X Dresses
  • 11 X Tops/blouses
  • 9 X Skirts
  • 8 X P.J bottoms and 8 X embroidered tops 
  • 4 X Irish dance dresses
  • 4 X Roman blinds
  • 2 X Sets of curtains
  • 1 x Romper suit
  • No partridges in tree's! !!! 
I've also took this time to do a bit of reflection on the highs, lows, lessons learnt and where now. 
High...this was probably winning the stitch 56 competition  for my Gabriola Skirt, the high was not necessarily about the winning (although gained some awesome sew patterns as a result!) as it was not particularly based on sewing ability but a fantastic reflection of how many of my lovely friends & family supported me by casting a vote :) 

Lows... thankfully not many flops on the sewing front, however, its been interesting to look back at some of my earlier makes and see the progress made - anybody judge their progress?  Of course any flops are really learning piece not blogged about were my fist attempt at some cropped trousers, not blogged  only because they weren't finished and would be too indecent to show to the t-internet world - they ended up covering the full crotch spectrum scale, from what only can be likened to a dowager's hump down there to a full camel foot!! I'll leave that vision to your imagination!   

What have I learnt 
What can I say, there is "sew, so" much regards to techniques and skills and obviously still lots to discover. The main thing though to my astonishment, is that since making my own wears, I am much more comfortable about my body shape-don't get me wrong, I still have hang-ups about the bits that I would love to change, alter or generally slice off,  but I think I have a much greater appreciation and understand my size and shape. I have had more folk comment on my shape and ask me if I've lost weight this year- Nope, just better fitting clothes- RTW clothing and its irregular sizing has a lot to answer for...anyone else agree? 

Where now .. well this is an interesting one ... part of my blogging absence, as mentioned above, has been down to general life interferences and its knack of throwing things up at us- two weeks ago I found out I'm been made redundant!! a fallout of the latest round of Further Education funding cut backs ....cheers Mr Gove! Okay then, I've done the day of numbness, the day of crying, I'm now on the role of "bring it on"( with the intermittent "Oh Shi... flip!!")...really not sure what I want to do...more of the same, or time for a complete change? Friends have been really encouraging, saying "this could be the opportunity to dabble with some sort of crafting venture?" not too sure, it could be a total fantasy and disillusionment but I'm the type of person who'd rather try and fail, than not try at all- I really enjoyed my teaching groups for four weeks and is an area that I may pursue...however, whilst I have some breathing space, I really do need to get a "proper" income coming we will see and watch this space as they say, in the meantime, I have a whole host of projects that need attending. 

So TaTA for now, thanks for stopping by and I'll be back with posts on the wedding outfits very soon :)XXX