Friday, 27 August 2010

Sew little time!

Oh dear, I have so little to show, sewing wise, for the last few weeks - or month for that matter. I just can't seem to find enough hours in the day. I love reading all the lovely sewing blogs out there and they are all so inspirational...but I just don't know HOW they do it!! So many of you seem to be able to churn out fantastic garment after fantastic garment, while I struggle to find 20 minutes to even pin a pattern piece to some fabric!! I'm afraid I'm just not able to keep up with the vast majority of sewing blogs out there. Initially it was really getting to me and then I took stock one day and realised why am I letting myself get so stressed out about trying to get as many FOs out into the ethernet as possible. That's not why I started sewing. I started sewing to learn a new craft, get a hobby (that I enjoy, not one that stresses me out!) and as a creative outlet. Well because I have been putting deadlines on my sewing I have just ended up rushing, stressing and inevitably creating FOs which are not good enough quality. I need to learn how to sew well, not quickly!

I just haven't been able to fit in as much sewing into my life as I thought, or even perhaps hoped, I would be able to. I don't want to have to compromise on socialising with my friends, boyfriend or family, or cutting down on gym or (can't believe I'm saying this) housework just so that I can get my latest project finished faster. I need to find a way to fit sewing around the rest of my life so that it compliments it, rather than prevents it!

So I'm going to slow down and take my time on each piece I start. I want to feel proud of what I have made rather than making excuses for badly made stuff. So unfortunately there won't be tonnes and tonnes of new FOs on this blog. But I will definitely continue to post on this blog, but I guess not as frequently!

And speaking of improving my sewing skills, I have enrolled in a "Dressmaking and Tailoring" course in the local college. 2 hours every Monday evening starting in September for 10 weeks! I'm really excited and looking forward to it!! If nothing else, I'm looking forward to meeting other people in Belfast who are interested in sewing as it's not a hobby I share with my current friends. There was a beginners class and an intermediate and after some chat with the college enrollment staff (who weren't quite sure to be honest) I have enrolled on the intermediate course - eep! Hope it's not too difficult. I'll keep you posted on how it all goes and what I'm learning and making.

And just to keep you updated on the latest project I am currently working on this:

I mentioned this as a project in the pipeline in a previous post. I'm making a straight skirt from the 07/2010 Burda Magaine from blue and white linen. On closer inspection of the instructions I have discovered that this pattern actually has a double pleat at the back, I'm hoping that will turn out ok and not make my bum look massive! It also has welt-look pockets but I cannot for the life of me understand how you are meant to put these in! I am currently deciding if I should get mum to decipher, put in-seam pockets in or just go ahead without pockets. Currently it's sitting with the pattern pieces pinned on fabric but uncut. It's Bank Holiday Monday next week so I'm hoping I get some time to cut and start sewing then!!!!

Thursday, 19 August 2010

A Spanish Singer - no, not Julio....

I've been a bit quiet this last week as I have been on holiday (yes ANOTHER holiday - no grief please, I am getting loads of it from my work colleagues!!!) in Malaga.

Very little sewing to report on (apart from getting distracted by a BEAST of a spider the other night while trying to trace a burda pattern!!!!) so I shall just leave you with this pretty antique Singer sewing machine I spotted in a little hotel in Spain.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Style Vintage Patterns

As I mentioned in a previous post , I recently acquired a number of vintage(ish) patterns thanks to my addiction to the iPhone EBay app - and I have discovered that the drawings on vintage pattern sleeves are really rather amusing!

So for today's viewing pleasure, I have two examples from Style patterns. Based on my small selection, it appears the artist who drew for Style had the general opinion that girls are a bit on the bitchy side by the looks of things (a man scorned perhaps?!)....

In this scene we see Green and Black blatantly bitching about poor innocent Pinky...who's been left all on her lonesome in the back there. But then, how are we to know she's as innocent as her pink coloured attire and sweet hands-behind-back body language may suggest? Perhaps the pink is a touch on the scarlet side and maybe she did the dirty on one of the other girls' men?!!

And in this example Maxi and Mustard are totally sharing a rather hurtful 'in' joke about Ms Pink, who is, I think, being a bit 'blonde' (sorry all you lovely blonde people out there, no insult meant!) and can't quite figure out what's so funny! you think I have a bit too much imagination?!!

On a more practical (and sensible?!) note, I particularly love the second Style pattern - especially Ms Pink's outfit. The floaty sleeves, V-neckline and shaped bodice (hmm..I am sure there is a proper word for that part, but I'm still new to pattern pieces!) are lovely! I will definitely give that pattern a the distant future though!

Still loads more amusing vintage patterns to share with you - so do keep checking back!

Monday, 9 August 2010

FO: A Frock!

As I mentioned last week, I have been following along with the 'Frock by Friday' sew-along over on Grosgrain. the name kind of indicates, you should end up with a dress by Friday...and today is definitely NOT a Friday. I had a few difficulties along the way, a few (a lot of?) harsh words were given to the fabric, but eventually I got there!

The three main problems I had were:
1. My boyfriend really wasn't too keen on me spending every night working away on the dress when I could (should?) have been spending quality time with him! To be honest, that is just really sweet so I can't really be annoyed with him wanting to spend time with me.
2. We had a couple of gorgeous days over here in Northern Ireland, and when they come along you REALLY want to make the most of them as they are a rare thing!
3. This is the main problem I had - the fabric I chose (poly crepe de chine I think) really didn't want to play! A BIG part of making the dress, pretty much the only bit of work you have to do for it, involves ironing strips of the fabric - you iron this material and it laughs in your face and falls back to how it looked at the start! Then there was the pinning...I had to pin the elastic casing strip to just below the bust...this was near impossible! I tried putting it over the ironing board...nope. I tried putting it on myself and pinning....nope (and ow!). I tried lying it flat on the floor...nope. Anything else - nope nope nope! In the end I had to enlist my boyfriend to hold it in place while I pinned (and held back curse words!)!

But anyway, enough complaining and excuse making - here is the dress:

Sorry about the facial expression...think I was waiting for my boyfriend to figure out how to use a camera!! In general I'm happy about the dress, but I do fee it is not the most flattering on me, as is. So I tired it with a navy belt I have and I like it a lot like this:

and one more for good measure:

So there you have it, my Frock by Friday Monday! Kathleen on Grosgrain said that this was a very simple pattern and this project should really be called 'A Dress in a Day', and I think she is right - if you choose a well behaved fabric, like 100% cotton. I may try this again, in cotton, and in a smaller size so that it's not as baggy.

P.S. I actually DO own more than one pair of shoes, but for some reason everything I've made so far on this blog involves me wearing these red shoes!!!!

P.P.S. This is also another addition to my SSS wardrobe (phew, finally adding to it!). But its pretty short and lightweight so I'd need to rock it with boots and maybe a long sleeved top underneath too. My problem though is what coloured tights should/could I wear with it???!!! Navy? Red? White? I think red would be too extreme and white would make my legs look massive! Anyone have any suggestions? Would love to hear!

Thursday, 5 August 2010

My addiction to buying patterns grows.....

I mentioned in a past post how I became ever so slightly addicted to the EBay iPhone app and buying sewing patterns off it....well I'm afraid to report that the condition is worsening....

I even got into a bit of a bidding war on this last auction...I never realised how intense watching the final seconds of an auction can I get out bid within the last 10 seconds and my fingers stumble across the iPhone screen trying to get my bid increased in time! But it was worth it - I won (take THAT other bidder!) and I LOVED what I received in the post a few days later.....

45 Misses patterns, mainly from the 70's I think, but also a few older - perhaps 50's.

Some of the patterns are total gems. Others not so great, and some ridiculous. But the good more than make up for the bad!

I thought I'd take you through a few of the patterns from time to time. If for nothing else but comedy factor - as I was sorting through them all I really loved the drawings on the front - the artists really gave these girls such individual characters and some of the facial expressions and body language is brilliant!!!

Take this one for maxi and yellow polka dot are totally bitchin' about chevron girl - I recon they're just jealous of her hat - and who wouldn't be!! But the characters aside, this is definitely one of my faves from the bunch...and I'm definitely going to be making this. The bad thing is that Northern Ireland 'Summer' is pretty much over. But there's always next year! (Plus if you saw my projects in the pipeline post, I have more than enough to be working on at the moment!!!)

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Frock by Friday - Wednesday progress

Well although this is quite a simple dress pattern I thought I would follow along each day as Grosgrain dictates and not rush ahead on my own.

But the first two days were pretty basic, I didn't even go near the sewing machine!

I have been mainly cutting.....

and sticking....

I rushed home this afternoon looking forward to finally putting needle to fabric, but no post....I waited a few hours....still no post!

But the post I've been waiting for has finally arrived! I guess that's down to the whole time-difference thingy. Well, I'm too tired to start tonight so my Wednesday input will have to be included into my Thursday input!

But I'm looking forward to it!!

Monday, 2 August 2010

Projects in the Pipeline

So as I mentioned in my previous post I spent a glorious 3+ hours in the fabric shop on Saturday. Its actually the first time I've been in a 'proper' fabric shop since I got my sewing machine last October (shocking I know!!) so it was such an experience! Believe me, I have spent many hours of my youth being dragged around fabric shops getting more and more bored as my mum 'ooh'ed and 'ahh'ed at various bits of material so it was so funny to be back in one of those very same fabric shops finding myself doing the 'ooh'ing and 'ahh'ing!! I brought my mum along with me, one, for some good ol' mother-daughter quality time and, two, because I knew I would have a million and one questions about all the various fabrics and notions!!! And she certainly proved very useful. One of the best bits of advice she gave me was pointing out that if the fabric was folded over on the bolt (so double thickness/width) then one meter would be more than enough to get a straight skirt out of! Brilliant! So I nabbed a meter of two bargain linens that were reduced to £5/m!

Anyway, enough chatting, lets get a look at the goods shall we!

So this is one of the pieces of 1 meter linen that I nabbed to make a straight skirt out of. At the moment the pattern I'm leaning towards is one from the July Burda. Hopefully there's enough material for it!! I also bought a lovely bright pink bit of lining for it as well. I have yet to do a piece with lining so that's a new challenge for me.

This is the second piece of linen. I thought this would be a good pattern for work and would go with a lot of things I have in my wardrobe...although, i am constantly looking for a suitable pair of navy heels for work - why is there none out there that I like!!! Again, I've paired it with the Burda skirt...and again it's only one meter so not sure I have enough material. If not, I will just find another, simpler pattern to make.

This bit of fabric is actually from my mums stash. She produced a suitcase FULL of beautiful linen from the Moygashel Linen Factory (very famous Irish Linen factory) and proceeded to offer up an array of it to me! I was shocked as it usually is impossible for mum to part with any of her fabric stash (which I am starting to understand myself!!)! So anyway, this is a beautiful piece of navy blue linen and there is more than enough to make a pair of trousers from them. At the moment I am leaning towards this pair, again from the July Burda magazine. This pattern, however, is for 'Tall' ladies so I am a little concerned about this fit. I am 5'6'' so not quite in the 'tall' category - but sometimes I do have to buy 'long leg' trousers, so perhaps my legs are long for my height...if that makes sense!! I will do a musil first anyway so I'll know before I cut into this lovely fabric!

Another piece from my mums stash. This isn't linen, but is a lovely tweed of sorts. Not sure what kind exactly, but she informs me it will be washable as she avoids buying fabric that is 'dry clean only', so that's good! Again, I thought it would be perfect for work trousers.

And finally - I have saved the best for my opinion anyway. I am SO excited about this project!!! One of the pieces of linen mum had stashed away was this GORGEOUS bright pink linen. The moment  saw it I KNEW I had to make a shift dress out of it. And then my mum noticed that the patterned linen I bought matched perfectly with it. So I have this Butterick pattern which I think would look so great with the pink as the main and then the pattern as the waist section. I am deliberating about making the neck patterned too...but I'm not sure the beige/tan in the background of the pattern fabric will suit my complexion the best right next to my face.
I'm also thinking about making a top out of the pink as it would go really well with a dress made from the patterned linen and also the navy blue check linen.

So I have LOTS of projects to keep me going for quite some time!!! And it will take me time as since I'm still very much a learner I'm not confident enough to make anything without doing a muslin first!

Oh....and here is a kinda crappy pic of the project I'm working on at the moment:
Unfortunately it (the photo) didn't turn out that well so you can't quite see the fabric. Its a very pale pink sheer fabric with a little spot on it. Actually - it started life out as a sample curtain! I bought it in a bargain bin for £1.50!!! When I started this i thought I would get it done in a night, I thought it would be easy to sew - no!! But it's because of this can't iron it down, it just springs back up at you! so All the hems and all the bias binding has turned into a bit of a pinning nightmare! I'm nearly there though...just the arm holes to bias bind and then a hem at the bottom. But I tell ya, hemming the frill - horrific!! I just hope it turns out nice enough to wear after all this work! I've tried it on a couple of times and I'm not totally convinced yet...the frill is maybe a bit TOO frilly....but maybe with a cardi it might work ok. I thought it would be good for a work top...we shall see!!! Wish me luck with the remaining bias binding...not looking forward to it...

Sunday, 1 August 2010

A Frock by Friday

I'm sure a lot of you will know the lovely blog Grosgrain. Kathleen makes such gorgeous dresses and is such an inspirational seamstress. She has recently been hosting a sew-along called 'A Frock by Friday' where each night from Monday through to Friday she takes sewers step-by-step through from fabric to dress! I have been watching avidly but due to timings of her past events I haven't been able to take part.

However, this Monday starts a new FbF and I thought that this was my chance this time. OK, I am actually ridiculously busy in work at the moment and I'm not sure how my boyfriend is going to feel about me spending every night this week sewing...but I thought I'd give it a go anyway. The dress this time round is the Anda dress from Burda Style website and it looks quite simple so hopefully I won't be stressing over making it too much (ha, I hope those aren't famous last words!). I also love the name of the dress as 'Anda' means 'you' in Indonesian (I grew up there so I have a very soft spot for anything and everything Indonesian!).

If anyone else fancies joining along I've added a link to my sidebar:

On Saturday I visited one of Northern Ireland's few decent fabric shops and spent a gorgeous 3 hours there!!! Honestly, I could have spent longer. But I came across a lovely fabric which I thought would work really nicely for this dress (and was a decent £4.99 per meter!):

So I have my material, I bought and downloaded the pattern...I'm all set for tomorrow!

...Or so I thought. i had a quick look at the instructions last night and discovered the first thing you do is sew on bias binding to the neck and sleeves. Er - there is no mention of bias binding on the list of I didn't buy any...and there is no mention of cutting bias strips from the where does the bias binding come from??!!! Hmmm....This FbF week hasn't even started and ALREADY I'm confused! Oh dear! Well I shall buy some bias binding on my lunch hour tomorrow and see what Kathleen has to say about it tomorrow evening!

Oh, and as I mentioned above, I was at a really great fabric shop this weekend and I came away with some GORGEOUS fabric that I am just so excited to sew-up. I have projects in mind for them all so I'll show you in another post this week. Yeay!

Giveaway Winner!

We have a WINNER!

Not the biggest giveaway on the internet, I will give ya that - but still, a giveaway is a here we go:

We had one lovely comment from Tasia (1) who said:

"Whoa.. those are some very 80s patterns! But the Vogue 7050 dress is pretty, and the blouses on 9191 have potential too...Sign me up for the goodie bag! Yay! "

And two new follwers to my little blog:

- The Wilted Magnolia (2)
- Rosy (3)

Using the numbers I placed next to the names above I used to decide who the winner of the giveaway would be and.....


Well done Tasia! I think Tasia is on hols at the mo (lucky duck) but do send me your address when you get back and those patterns will be winging their way over to you! Have fun! Looking forward to seeing her take on those 80s patterns!
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