Friday, 27 July 2012

Back in the game!

I have officially cut out my Beignet skirt. I can't tell you just how good that feels. I've been so apprehensive about cutting but I did it and I think I did a passable job! One day I will get a cutting board or table with a surface big enough to cut on. That should help! Now there is nothing between me and a new skirt.

I'm glad I realized that i'm scared of cutting out my patterns. I'm terrified of making a mistake and ruining all the fabric, especially after the disaster last time I tried to cut. I really want my cutting to be perfect and am scared of making a mistake.

I guess the only way to get better is to keep doing it and one day I might get there! In the meantime, the clothes I've made have been wearable, though I can see how much more I have to learn. I won't get there until I make more things, though, so I guess I have to make more mistakes along the way. It's kind of a freeing thought, though I feel embarrassed already thinking about mistakes I might make.

On I forge, though, and hopefully I have a warm new winter skirt to wear on Monday!!

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Sewaholic squirrel

I'm ridiculously excited. I finally got my shit together enough to place an order for the following Sewaholic patterns that I've been lusting over:

I think these patterns, along with the ones that I already have, are pretty much my perfect wardrobe! I've been looking longingly at these patterns for a long time, but the shipping from Canada was really expensive, and I baulked at spending so much money on the patterns and basically having to spend enough to buy another whole pattern on shipping too.

I saw on the Sewaholic website that they have one Australian supplier, an online pattern store called Sew Squirrel and went to have a look. The patterns were the same price on the Australian store as on the Canadian store, but with free shipping! Win! I immediately bought all three patterns. Within half an hour I got an email from Sarah from Sew Squirrel letting me know that the last Renfrew had just been sold, and that there would be a slight delay. I really wasn't fussed, as I won't be sewing the pattern in the next couple of weeks anyway, but was really pleased with the fantastic level of support that I received.

I'm so excited to have a place to buy the patterns that I love that is both supporting a local company, and has free shipping and much quicker shipping times! I'll DEFINITELY be buying from them again.


Monday, 23 July 2012

baby steps

I made friends with my seam ripper again the other night. I tried on my Hazel muslin again, confirmed that I'd taken in the seams too much, and I unpicked the sideseams, the front bodice piece and the darts. Draping the bodice over me, I suspect that I need to widen the front bodice piece, and lengthen it a little. I'll lengthen the sides as well, once I get the front piece fitting correctly. There seems to be ample room for decolletage...but the darts aren't sitting in the right spots.

It feels good to get back into things.

I also started cutting out my Beignet skirt, and this time, without making stupid cutting errors! Always a bonus. I don't think I have *quite* enough fabric for two pockets, annoyingly, so I think I'll leave it with one pocket only. I'm really excited to get into this project!

I wish I had more time for sewing, but things have been frantically busy at the moment. I've now got two jobs - I'm a kitchen hand at a restaurant too! That's been keeping me pretty busy - on top of my full time job, too. I worked for a bit on Monday night, and then did about 20 hours of work on Friday and Saturday nights this week! It's a lot of fun, but it's exhausting too. The restaurant is closed for renovations for a couple of weeks, so I'll get a *bit* of a break for a little bit - but then when it re-opens, I'm expecting things to only get busier... Considering that The Chef and our friend are the owners and managers of the new restaurant!! I'm very excited and very proud of him, and can't wait to share more details with you when I'm allowed to announce them. Don't worry, you'll hear all about it. Let's face it, most of you already have!

I hope to spend a good chunk of this weekend making friends with my neglected Janome, though, and hopefully I'll have a new skirt to wear next week!

I feel like I'm getting my confidence back. It got dented a bit, what with the disaster cutting the first time that I tried to cut out the Beignet, and the difficulty that I've been having fitting my Hazel muslin. I'm getting there, though, and I'm persevering, but it's taken me a while to feel ready to pick things up. Now I'm so excited about this project, again, though, so hopefully there will be no more delays!

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Little Red

After getting all fired up by fabric shopping three days in a row, The Chef and I got home on Friday night a couple of weeks ago to find the rugby on TV. With no chance of getting the channel changed, and the final pieces of fabric that I needed to make my skirt, I sat down and started preparing my fabric and cutting it all out.

The next thing I knew it was Sunday at lunch time, and my mum had arrived to go visit The Chef while he was working for one last cheeky lunch on his last day, while I frantically finished the hem.

Look at me go - basting my seams before I sewed them!
I'm pretty happy with the skirt, on the whole. It came together a lot quicker than the last one, and I love the fabrics and colour combinations. I lined it with the red lining that I picked up the other day, so it's nice and warm in this cold weather.

I left out the pockets. I'd not worried about lining up the prints and I thought that the fabric by itself was busy enough to not need the extra complication. I'm glad I left it out.

Setting the seams as I go
I love the fabric, but found it a little hard to work with. It showed up the needlemarks and I found it hard to get the tension right on the thread. It also crinkles a lot when I wear it, especially on the back, which rides up and lets the lining peek through a little.

The Cat also might have helped make things difficult here.
I think I did a much neater job of this, and I worked really hard to get the details right, not as successfully as I'd like, but again, much more neatly than the last skirt. I did a much better job of sewing the zip in, and took a long time to fix it so that the ends of both the lining and the shell fabric were tucked in and lined up.

oops...I sewed the yoke on backwards again. At least it gave me a chance to unpick it and sew in the lining at the same time though!
The belt on this is a little saggier than I'd like - the fabric is looser on the belt and I think that must have been a mistake from when I sewed the yoke to the skirt, but it is such a pretty colour that I forgive it for not being perfect. I think I'll add some top stitching, when I get neater, to stiffen it up a bit. Maybe.
Look at the lining and the belt on the inside! Pretty! and reasonably neat, too!! I want to bind this seam with some bias tape to neaten it up.

So here you are! The finished skirt. Despite its myriad flaws, I love it and am so proud of it. I can definitely see a huge improvement and hope you can too. I'm stuck into a new project already, having made a toile of the bodice of my Crepe dress (update, this dress is now finished too), and can't wait to have a few more projects under my belt. I'm learning more every day and really loving the process even more than I suspected that I would.

Why oh why didn't I take this up a decade or two ago?!?

Building a wardrobe

I read through the entire Colette Sewing Handbook after I bought it, cover to cover. It had some really good tips and information in there. It's a really good starting place for people who don't know much about sewing (like me). One of the chapters in it was talking about building a plan and being thoughtful about what you make and picking projects that work together and in with what you have.

I think I've done a reasonably good job so far, I wear everything that I've made so far and I don't think I've had any real misses, though there are a couple that I'm less than 100% thrilled with - mainly due to poor finishing techniques on my behalf than anything else. But to be honest with you, I've never put any real thought into my wardrobe, buying things that I like or need sporadically and making do as much as I can. One of the reasons that I've loved sewing so much is that it's a good way for me to build my wardrobe without feeling guilty about spending money on clothing.

Since I've taken up sewing, I've been giving long and hard thought about what aesthetic I'd like my clothes to reflect. What do I like to wear? What do I feel most comfortable in? What are my staple items? I've been pinning a lot of gorgeous dresses on Pinterest, and I do love dresses and wear quite a few of them, but really, in my day to day life, I wear more skirts than dresses. I think that's because it's easier to vary the outfits by changing a top etc.

Pinterest has been really useful, but I've discovered something even BETTER! I'm now totally addicted to Polyvore. It's a really good way of building outfits, dressing them up, and trying to come up with key items that I'd like to make for myself, as well as what accessories I need to buy to complete the outfits. I'm going to try to come up with a few different items and build as many looks as I can from the pieces. It's a risk free place to play around and also work out what I like and what I don't like.

For instance, I have realised that I dislike fussy tops. I don't mind a little embellishment, but really, I like a simple fitted top, either knit or tee. I also like bright block colours teamed with neutrals. I like some vintage items, but I like them mixed with a few more modern touches so that I don't have to commit to a whole vintage wardrobe, which I would find intimidating and not casual enough.

I spend most of my time at my day job, which is in a pretty casual office. Jeans are everyday wear, not just for casual Fridays. I tend to still stick to skirts and cardigans, but dress up a little more depending on whether I have external meetings with authors or not. Weekends I like to look smart, but not feel too constricted. I wear my jeans and my converse sneakers and probably pinch one of The Chef's big hoodie sweaters when he's not around to notice.

I have a plan for my next pattern shop, all at Sewaholic this time: Minoru Jacket, Renfrew, Cambrie dress and the new Thurlow trousers. I haven't placed the order yet, but I can't wait to... I think these patterns will all fit well with my planned wardrobe and will all become staples. I'm especially excited to try the trousers, and more than a little scared, because I find it so hard to find clothes that fit my 28inch waist and 40 inch hips. I also have THIGHS, and short stumpy legs, so being able to make jeans and corduroy pants that fit and (hopefully) flatter my figure will be AMAZING. I suspect that my high hopes for these pants won't live up to expectation.

In other sewing news, I finally started sewing up my new Hazel muslin! I suspect that it hasn't worked as well as I'd like, from initial draping over myself, but I haven't actually tried it on yet. It might take a while before I get something that fits properly, but I'm learning by the attempts, so I am trying to not get too downhearted. I stopped off at Cleggs last night to pick up some more lining to replace the stuff I butchered last weekend and did a stoptake when I saw some gorgeous fabric on sale for $3.95 a metre!! Brilliant! I bought two metres of it. It's pretty sheer, so I'll underline it with some white cotton and I think I'll make another Hazel out of it, once I've worked out the pattern, of course.

It felt good to get some proper work done, for once!

Monday, 9 July 2012

Unfruitful weekend

I'm feeling so unproductive with my sewing at the moment. Real life seems to have gotten in the way and it's led to a distinct lack of new projects on the go. The house is a mess, and the work that I attempted to do on the weekend just didn't get very far at all. All my own fault, too.


I've had a pretty crazy couple of weeks. A few intense weeks at work in a row, including a trip to Adelaide that ate up half my weekend last week. This weekend was nice and quiet, so I planned to have a big sew fest, but life had other plans. Friday night was Taco night! The Chef has been hosting some Mexican Fiestas, which have been great fun, if a little exhausting. Then on Saturday, as I was beginning to get organised to get some good sewing done, he finished (very) early at work, and pretty much had his first (almost) day off in about a month! There went those plans! So I sat down on Sunday, and even though I was rested, I just wasn't that organised. I started cutting out my Beignet skirt...even though I hadn't traced it yet! and I certainly hadn't made a toile. The fabric that I was using for my facings was a little short and it was very tight, so I did what I could, but I think it's too short and I might need to redo it. I gave up after starting the lining - I cut one piece in the wrong size, then cut another to discover that the slippery fabric had crept down underneath and there was an inch gap at the top of the bottom piece!!! DISASTER!

I put the sewing aside after that and began taping all the paper back to the pattern so that I can trace it PROPERLY this time and try again next weekend. Clearly my head wasn't in the right space. I was trying to make too many shortcuts and that's never a good idea because I just get sloppy.

Thank GOODNESS I didn't attempt to cut the Corduroy!!

I did get some productive work done earlier in the week, though - I fixed my Little Spot skirt and mended a top and added some hooks and eyes to my Red Bow Belt so that it fits better. I've also been hand-rolling a hem on some beautiful silk that I bought to make a scarf. So at least I had better luck with them!

Now to figure out a way to take some semi-decent photos of all my projects to show you all. Because I know you're all sitting there in KEEN anticipation!!

I also need to sit down and sew up my new muslin of the Hazel bodice, as I have it sitting there ready to go and haven't pieced it together yet. Whoops! I love the dress and can't wait to sew it up, but I must admit, it being so freezing outside at the moment, the thought of sewing up a sundress just seems a bit weird at the moment!

Have you ever had disasters with sewing through your own lack of concentration? Are you tempted by short cuts too sometimes?