Wednesday, 28 May 2014

It's been ages!

I haven't blogged here for an awfully long time. Really really long.

To be fair though it's because my life has taken some interesting turns. I gave up my PhD, got engaged, moved cities, started a new job, moved in with my parents (temporarily) and starting planning a wedding (my pinterest is crazy).

All that hasn't left a whole lot of room for making things. (Apart from huge amounts of bunting, like thousands of 'bunts'). I made another Anna dress at Christmas and after that?... Well not much. However in June I'm getting back on the garment sewing. Does a veil count as a garment? Is it more of an accessory? But I'm also going to be making four flower girl dresses. So perhaps until the big day in August this might be more of a wedding themed blog.

Exciting all the same though eh?

Friday, 4 October 2013

What next?

Although I'm knitting, I'm not sewing, there isn't even anything on my 'sewing table'. I'm just not sure what I want to make next. Possibilties include:

  • A pink woolen picnic blanket skirt - much like these which I've stolen off pinterest. Surprisingly hard to find the right pink boucle/textured wool though. I've been looking for a while.

  • A chistmas appropriate winter dress - my lovely boyfriend is in the army and that means christmas balls. Jingle Jingle Jingle. But what would it be made out of? Crepe? Silk? I'm tempted to make another Anna dress, that split up the front calls to me. Real loudly. Also theres a little tutorial for adding sleeves on the By Hand London Anna sewalong. Tempting.
  • I also have the Charlotte skirt pattern. I'd like a few lovely pencil skirts. I also found when perusing the amazing Dolly Clackett blog that mixing the anna bodice and the charlotte skirt make a beautiful melange of a wiggle dress. I'm going to post her picture below and hope she doesn't mind.

  •  I'd also like to make a Lady Skater or two. Big 'but' though, I don't know how my little machine would handle jersey, it doesn't do anything other than regular old straight stitches. But ideally I'd like to make a couple like the dresses below, the one on the left is from Whistles and the one on the right is from M&S. 

  •  I would include the tania culottes, but it's too cold these days for shorts. Next year! 
Anyhow. I'm lacking fabric. I might pop down the market this weekend, or I might find something in PARIS next weekend. *Rubs my hands together in glee*

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

By Hand London Anna Dress - the finished article

Well. It's been a while.

I have been busy and lazy. And putting off taking photos of the most beautiful thing I've made myself so far.

I had a crack at the By Hand London Anna dress back in August and used some fabulous Amy Butler Alchemy fairy tale voile in vanilla. I had two metres from my birthday trip to raystitch in June and bought two more when it was on sale at the small but charming elliemagpie. None left at either establishment now of course (raystitch does still have a weirder pistachio version).

I made it with the intention of wearing it to a late summer wedding in Anglesea. Nearly froze to death. Wedding was in a tipi.
At one point I was wearing fleecy owl print purple pj's underneath, a huge woolly cardigan on top and a considerable wine jacket. Still it was real pretty. I got cornered in the loos by a stranger who complimented me on the dress, then tipsily asked for my number as it "would be great to have someone make me stuff for free"... Charming mais non.

The wedding was beautiful but I took next to no sensible pictures. It was too cold to pose. I only had the strength to drink wine and gin. Thus there is only one grainy phone picture of me without the cardigan on, note that it is actually poised around my wrists to be pulled back on afterwards. The pj's aren't visible, but trust that they're there, it had also rained all over my hair.

I have just noticed a girl in the background with bare arms. Perhaps she had already lost all feeling in them?

This dress shouldn't be a lot of work as it's rated beginner, but it is, the cutting lasted forever. There are an awful lot of skirt pieces. I tried to make sure they didn't match, I didn't have enough fabric to ensure they matched and I thought it would look like I just got it wrong if they were almost there.

I made a full toile before cutting into my precious fabric and here are my alterations
  • I needed to take the back in at the zip by an inch either side. 
  • I also did a sway back adjustment by just pinching out the spare fabric which seemed to work just fine.
  • I also cut four inches off the bottom of the pattern because I am not a giant. 
It's all finished with some pretty french seams although in the interests of speed I machine hemmed. You can't tell and I was too busy swishing the skirt and 'Angelina-ing' my leg outta that slit that I simply did not care. See, look how happy it makes me.  And indeed how twirly the skirt is.

It is of course now full on winter up North. My fingers are getting chilly typing and my feet are firmly ensconced in thermal slippers. So it's going away in the wardrobe till next year. Sob*    

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

A little catch up

A little 'where I'm at post' is needed I reckon.

Firstly in very sad news Jo H. was right. Tania culottes use up a whole lot of fabric. My dress had enough fabric to make either the front or the back or potentially just one entire leg. None of those options were appealing. I still love the idea of eyelet/broderie anglaise culottes, I'm just going to have to source more fabric first.

As for the eyelet topshop dress? Well, I ripped it apart.  The picture below was the only one I could find of it, foolishly I didn't snap it before I snipped it. Good lord there was a lot of stitching. Topshop evidently believe that if it's going to have a seam you might as well do it 5 times. Anyhoo, it's not going back together now. 

This photo was taken in Moscow where it was about 40 degrees and I was not dealing well with the heat. I had tiny blisters and I was just getting over shingles. Nowhere had air conditioning. So a dress this insubstantial was appropriate. Looking at it now I miss it. But that's only because I know what it has become... (that sounds a bit unnecessarily over dramatic)

I decided to turn it into a sorbetto, which being both free and requiring little fabric seemed like an excellent idea. However, I didn't make a muslin, I have no idea why, I have perfectly sensible muslin fabric just sitting around. And it's a little off, the bust darts need to be fatter and the neckline is a bit weird, but that's because I tinkered about trying to get the shoulders to not be so crazily far apart. 
It's nearly finished, but I can't decide if I want to add sleeves, which isn't the point of a sleeveless top I know, but something is needed to improve it's looks. There's a sleeve pattern for the sorbetto over at sew-incidentally that I might have to have a little look at but adding sleeves seems to be fairly common.  

So all in all I feel a little disheartened. However, excitement lurks around the corner because I have a plan for something beautiful. Tania culottes will have to wait because my new and exciting plan needs to be finished before the first week in September and I am going to make a proper muslin!

Saturday, 10 August 2013

My datura styled differently

I presented at a conference last month and I wore my datura wearable muslin. Styled differently I loved it. I've recreated the whole outfit (without the name tag or nervous sweatiness) just for the blog. My housemate might think I'm going a bit bonkers.

I'm even considering moving on and cutting into the liberty fabric to make the 'proper' version. Although looking at the view from the back, I will definitely cut the shoulders a little slimmer. 
I've even included an actual picture of me at the conference, not that you can really tell who it is up there. In my lovely photographers defence, it was taken on a camera phone in the semi darkness.

Tucked into a high waisted pencil skirt I think it works a lot better. Proof if needed that not everything looks best with jeans.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Tilly's picnic blanket skirt - The finished article

Ta Da!

It is finished and I like it a lot.

Climbing up was easy. Falling off not so much.

The pattern itself wasn't really a pattern, it was just maths and an excellent step by step guide. Which was fun. To start with I didn't have a metre ruler, but I've *acquired* one since (think skip diving).
I learnt how to apply interfacing, ruching, hand sewn buttonholes and applying snap fasteners / poppers.
I did not make a muslin, but I didn't need one for this project. I did however do everything properly, I tacked the skirt to the waistband before machine sewing, I practised button holes before cutting into my skirt and I did a lot of finishing by hand. So it took a while but I like it all the more.

One of the things I like best is that the skirt is nice and full, but because of the shape you don't have to worry about the breeze exposing anything. 

I compromised on my buttons versus poppers situation and added one button at the waistband and kept the rest of the placket button free. I'm not that sure about the styling, I felt a little bit like I should have been on my way to Sunday school, but I'll have a think about it.

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Tania Culottes - they're here!

Look what arrived first thing Saturday morning!

Very impressive backstitch. Bravo. Bravo.
I was running out of the door Saturday when I picked up my post so I didn't get to open the envelope till I was sitting in the pub later with some friends. I don't want to name names, but there was open mocking of a grown lady wanting to make herself culottes. Not by everyone, but I definitely heard snorting.

Are culottes so bad?

I mean personally I haven't had the best experiences, I did have to wear a hideous poo coloured pair for brownies. And actually there was a red woollen embroidered culotte suit when I was about 6 that left some mental wounds, (I would say scars, but I've just been thinking about it and they haven't healed yet). But hey, that was the early 90's and bad things happened to good clothes back then. Also, six year olds are not known for their sartorial taste.

So these culottes will be just fine. However, just to make sure I googled them. And there are some really pretty versions out there, I like these and these and these. Consider me reassured. Now I just need to pick apart my old broderie anglaise dress and hope I have enough fabric.

One project at a time though. The picnic blanket skirt is merely a hem and a press from completion.