Friday, 26 August 2011

Autumn Palette Inspiration

Like a lot of other people out there in the Blogosphere, my mind has recently turned to thinking about my Autumn wardrobe and perhaps doing some sewing to compliment this. Now, that all sounds rather fancy to me....a seasonal wardrobe is not something I think I have ever really thought about before - but ever since starting to sew, and following sewing and style blogs I have started to develop a much stronger sense of fashion, style and the desire to develop my own personal image (I am definitely still in the developing stage!).

The first stage for the plan is to come up with a palette. Conveniently, Pantone did this ages ago, behold Pantone's Fall 2011 palette (which I'm sure most of you have all seen by now):

OK, so perhaps you are thinking that was a bit lazy of me and very uninspired. However, it just so happens that on inspection of my fabric stash, a very large portion have an element of those colours within them (future post to come on this). Or to be more specific, these four:

So that is going to be my Autumn (because I'm not American!) palette. I do love the other colours, and I will probably occasionally lean towards some of them, but in reality I know I don't suit them. If you want to get into 'colours' I'm a classic 'winter' (which is a whole other post....that I probably will never write about - there are lots of sites on the Internet about colours so do have a wee search if you are curious) and out of the 10 lovely colours Pantone suggest, only honeysuckle and phlox are suitable for Winters. It just so happens that I have a lot of pink and purple in my stash, so this will be the basis of my wardrobe, and I'll try and build around it. I absolutely love the bamboo shade at the moment too, but as I know it would make me look a bit ill if worn next to my face, I will have to introduce it in small doses - for example with accessories.

I have to say that Pantone got it spot on with their prediction - the shops, now full of their Autumn collections, are all supporting apparel in these shades. Which is another reason why my choice to follow this colour palette is savvy rather than lazy - I am not a speed stitcher, and there is no possibility of me sewing up an entire Autumn wardrobe! So with these colours now readily available in the shops, I should, in theory, be able to buy complimentary pieces to go with my sewn garments.

Anyway, as my post title suggests, this is an inspiration post - so let's get cracking. Here are images from the web which have been inspiring me:


Purple or 'Phlox':

Pink or 'Honeysuckle':

Pink in tops:


'Bamboo' and 'Quarry':

From Etsy:

You may have noticed that all the links are to Pintrest. I am a Pintrest fiend and spend way too much time on there - there is just so much inspiration!!!! The link takes you to my 'Autumn 2011 Inspiration' Board, but feel free to check out my other boards too (a little insight into things I like...and other projects I'm planning!).

What's inspiring you at the moment?

Thursday, 25 August 2011

A painful lesson in sewing

Oh how it pains me to write this post. But I appreciate it when other bloggers show the good and the bad so I thought I would show you my latest horrific discovery.

One morning I was getting ready for work I was happily putting on my lovely blue Pendrell top when I looked down and saw my skin peaking through the seam.....<>. This is what the seams of my Pendrell top now look like:

On first glance I thought I could repair this...but now I'm not so sure. The fraying has gone right past the seams so a repair would mean taking in the seams and I don't know if I have the room for that. 

Lesson in sewing: When using fabric which frays easily do not just do a simple seam and pink the won't suffice!

So I have a few questions for your stitchers out there with vast sewing experience (ie. all of you because I am sure you all would know not to treat fray-able fabric as I did!):

1. Can you do a French Seam on a Princess Seam (which the Pendrell top has)? 
2. The french seam would definitely be the best seam for this type of fabric (I don't have an overlocker). Can anyone suggest any other way of finishing the seam with this type of fabric?
3. Any suggestions as to how to save my Pendrell??!!!!!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Summer Fields Skirt - My Crescent Skirt revealed!

Well I had planned to unveil my completed Crescent Skirt last Friday, but my iron broke (major catastrophe for a stitcher!!!) and I had to wait until this weekend to finish it off. My boyfriend and I took a little picnic trip to Murlough Bay (a National Trust spot) which is literally where the 'Mountains of Mourne sweep sown to the sea' - so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to get some interesting photos:

Slieve Donard in the background - the highest point in the Mournes (and the whole of Northern Ireland).

 I promise these shots were taken after the purchasing and using of a new iron...but sitting in a car for an hour prior to photo shoot is not conducive to iron-free clothes!

I happened to have some red ribbon (with white stitching detail on it) in my stash so I decided to go for the trim version of the skirt. I made View A, which was less full skirt and I think it turned out just about the right amount of 'poofiness' for me (yes, very high-tech sewing terminology there!)

I decided to fully line my skirt as I know cotton skirts have a very naughty habit of creeping up when worn with tights (and believe me, it's nearly back to tight season here!). I went for a bright pink acetate lining and trimmed it with a very pale pink lace that I had in my stash. I really love this little delicate feature - it makes me smile whenever I see it peaking out from under the skirt! I also turned up the hem with red ribbon (you can just about make it out in the photo above) - again another feature that I love. One of the good things about it was I felt the full hem allowance would have been too short for me, so this allowed me to squeeze a little extra length into the skirt!

And some shots of the skirt on Flo: least favourite part of the skirt - my sewing around the zip. Ah well, it's all a learning curve isn't it - next time I will be a lot neater!

 Close-up of the trim

The lining, with the sweet lace trim. I love the fact that most of the skirt is finished off with French Seams (more on that tomorrow - but not what you think!), including the lining - I made a point of doing that...the lining fabric frays like a demon!

I have to admit that when I started this skirt I thought it might end up too girly and poofy for me....but it turns out I'm obviously more girly than I thought because I love wearing this skirt! Another naughty fact - I couldn't be bothered making a toile/muslin and while piecing the waistband together I had a mini panic that it was going to be FAR too tiny on me and I almost didn't bother finishing it! It turns out that the size is spot on - well done Tasia for drafting such a perfect pattern that actually matches your body measurements without giving us 10 inches of ease!!!
I am definitely going to get a lot of wear out of this skirt...and perhaps we may see a few more pop up in my wardrobe soon. You can never have too many skirts right?

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Tuesday's Tutorial Treat - Dresses from men's shirts

You may have seen my attempts at refashioning men's shirts here, here and here, but there is a lady in France who does it professionally. Anne-Lise from Ma Chemise d'Homme has kindly provided a tutorial for one of her designs:

Tutorial HERE

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Thailand Fabric Haul

My final Thailand post - the one you've all been waiting for (perhaps!) - the fabric!

So let's get right to it:

I got 3 meters of this very light weight cotton...for 60p a meter! BUT, although it was mega cheap - I discovered when I got it back to the hotel that there were folds in the fabric that the printing missed! But I got so much of it that I'll still be able to make something by just cutting around the faults.

2m of smooth light cotton - £3/m. This has a lovely striped section down one side.

2m of heavier cotton - £6/m. Not as cheap as I would have liked, but with that print I couldn't NOT get some!!!

3m of lovely light soft cotton - £2.5/m. I LOVE this cotton, it's so soft and light and would make lovely Summer clothes (too bad Autumn is just around the corner...but fabric will keep!)

1m of bright turquoise eyelet cotton - £6/m. This fabric is so special. I have never seen such detailed eyelet work as I saw in this shop. The whole shop specialised in this fabric - all different designs and so many fabulous colours! It was so hard to choose. I tried to bargain with the price as I thought it was a bit steep for Thailand, but they wouldn't budge! Also, this fabric is very narrow, so 1m doesn't actually get you very much. But I'm hoping to squeeze a skirt out of this (fingers crossed!).

1m again from the same shop as the turquoise. Look at that lovely scalloped edge, I love it!

And finally the Thai Silk:

1m of Thai Silk £10/m!!! I was shocked at the price, I really thought I would get it a lot cheaper. But this fabric is so special - the intensity of the colours is amazing. Only 1 meter because of the price, and again, this fabric is very narrow. I honestly don't know what I'm going to make with this. Any suggestions?!

Also 1m at £10/m. This fabric has hand painted orchids outlined with gold - just so gorgeous. The problem with this fabric, is that because it is SO nice I don't know if I'll ever be able to bring myself to cut it!!

So that's it! I thought I would be bringing back a lot more with me, but I guess I didn't do too badly!

I have LOTS of plans for sewing. Check back next week to find out my next project. Oh, and the Crescent skirt is done and I hope to have photos of it for you tomorrow.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Bangkok Fabric Shopping

Well of course I made it my mission to hunt out some fabric while in Bangkok so here is where I went:

Chatuchak Weekend Market. This place is EPIC. There is no other word for it - it's one of the World's largest weekend markets, and at 27 Acres (yes, ACRES!) and over 15,000 stalls, that's not really a surprise! If you are ever in Bangkok on a Saturday or Sunday you must check this place out. 

As you can image, it's easy to get lost in this rabbit warren of mini-streets lined with all manner of stalls. They are vaguely organised by 'type' but to be honest, the best thing to do is just accept that you are going to be there all day and then enjoy the discovery! There are plenty of food stalls and cafes to refuel and rest.

If you fancy getting yourself some Thai Silk, you will find it here. But to be honest, most of the stalls are more silk scarves rather than lengths of fabric, such as the stall below:

But if you look hard enough you will come across stalls with bolts of fabric.

They other place I hit was Pahurat, or 'Little India'. Again, a rabbit warren of shops, but this time not in the slightest bit touristy and FULL of fabric shops stocked high with fabric by the bolt. Quite a selection that it can be rather overwhelming. And I was surprised to discover that bargaining wasn't widely accepted (but I'd give it a go anyway!)

OK, not a fabric shop, but I thought it was worth a photo anyway!

Look how narrow the 'street' is!

A bit more space here. To give you an idea of the prices in this photo, when I was there 48 Baht was £1!!!

Check back tomorrow and I'll show you the fruits of my Thailand fabric shopping - yippee!!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Tuesday's Tutorial Treat - Pleated Dress

What an amazing tutorial I have today. I honestly can't believe that this gorgeous pleated dress started off it's life as a skirt! The gorgeous Sarah from Welcome to the gOOd life is a very talented seamstress and all round crafter, so if you haven't seen her blog you should definitely have a good browse through it.

I've seen these long pleated skirts in quite a few high street shops so this is definitely a DIY we could all give a try (and so easy). But if you think it is a bit strange to buy a skirt (at full price) specifically to make into a dress...I have seen these skirts in no doubt they will be in our charity shops very soon!

Tutorial HERE

Monday, 15 August 2011

Just a few photos from my Thai holiday

...OK...maybe more than just a 'few' - but it was so hard to choose!

Since I was so kindly asked by Ashley to share some of my holiday pics on my return, how could I refuse!

So here is a wee peak at my holiday:

Khao Sok National Park:

 In the jungle

A leech hitchin a ride on my jungle trek!

 Inner tubing down the river

Our floating raft house accommodation (for one night....which was enough because we shared it with about 20 cockroaches!)

Koh Tao:

 With my home made beach bag in action!

Fire shows every night

Koh Phangan:

Koh Samui:

 We had three night of luxury on Koh Samui and stayed in a villa with our own pool and deck!

 I miss all the gorgeous fruit!

Wat Arun

 At the Grand Palace

 Wat Po

And I think that should just about do it! If you're heading to Thailand yourself, feel free to get in touch with me and I'll impart any hints and tips I learnt while on my trip.

No sewing in my post today I'm afraid, but Tuesday's Tutorial Treat will be back tomorrow and check in on Wednesday to see where I went fabric shopping while in Bangkok...and then on Thursday to see what goodies I brought back with me!!

Oh for just one more sunset beer!
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