Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Social Sewing day plans

<a href="">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>This Saturday, a bunch of Melbourne sewing enthusiasts are getting together for a social sewing day. Organised by Rachel of My Messings. I'm very excited and have been planning what to make.

I have fabric ready to go for three projects: my Hazel that I still haven't finished for the Sew Colette sewalong. Whoops. I still need to make some adjustments to the bodice, but it's getting there! I also have fabric that should be enough for another Renfrew, and I bought some lovely cotton on Saturday to make a Cambie with.

I need to do quite a bit of prep before Saturday, so hopefully I get enough of it done so that I can have a productive day on Saturday. My to do list consists of:

- Trace the Cambie pattern and make muslin. I want to make a muslin of the bodice, based on my high bust measurement, and then do an FBA before I make it up... we'll see if I get it to work!

- Cut out my Renfrew

- Make final adjustments to my Hazel muslin and cut out fabric / prep for sewing

I don't think I can get all three things done before Saturday. In fact, I doubt that I'll be able to get the first one done! It's a lot of work and I don't have much free time before then. I'm going to focus on the final item, my Hazel dress is closest to being ready. Also, the Renfrew can be cut out on the day, if I need to as I can sew one up in a few hours.

I'm looking forward to getting my sewing mojo back. The more I sew the more I want to sew, but once I stop sewing, it gets more daunting to start back up again.

I'm wearing my little grey skirt today, I'm still pretty pleased with it! I made an effort to finish the seams inside, but they look pretty shabby. If I made it again I'd use french seams (still my favourite finishing technique) or fold the ends under and sew them down. Possibly even top stitch over them. I'm getting quite fancy, now, but I have a long way to go before my clothes are truly neat!!

It's nice to celebrate improvements, though, even if they are small. :)

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Blue Beignet

And so it is finished...or jolly well close enough to finished for me. Thanks so much to the super lovely Jenny from for taking these photos for me! We caught up on Saturday and it was so lovely to meet her and for her coming to my rescue in taking photos!

 Looking at them now, though, the skirt needs a JOLLY GOOD PRESS!

 I'm wearing it with my red Tilly Bow Belt, but I have a polka dot one to match the facing and the pocket and I have a belt as per the pattern in the corduroy too.
 my polka dot pocket! I only have one because I ran out of the polka dot fabric. One is better than none though!

On the whole, I'm really happy with it! I tried to take my time with this project and make sure it was finished properly. I sewed the lining together with french seams, and bound the seams of the shell fabric (in a pretty red contrast bias binding! ooh la la!). I also had more fun with picking finishings for this project - I used a navy polka dot fabric - the same as my Olive Grove dress - as facing and for the pocket and lined the skirt with red lining.

I found this to be quite a challenging project in many respects though. I had difficulty with the corduroy - I found it kept slipping and it left some of my seams a bit puckered. This was particularly frustrating, as I basted all the seams before sewing them. It meant my skirt is slightly shorter than intended as I had to even up the front pieces which had stopped being the same length. Irritating!

I also wasn't as careful when buying lining or lengths of twill tape, and I had to go back TWICE! to buy more as I didn't get enough the first time. My own fault for being careless, but it was aggravating, none the less.

Then I ran out of thread mid-button hole. Unpicking button-holes from corduroy fabric is pretty hard, it turns out!!

But it's done, and the troubles from the build are fading from my mind.

This isn't a style of skirt that I'd normally pick out, but I was swayed by the multitude of versions that have been made by better sewists than me. I didn't make a muslin for this, and I graded the hips up to a size 8, with a size 6 in the waist. I think next time I won't bother with this grading, as it feels too big - especially in the stomach area, and adds too much bulk there. It's really comfortable to wear, though, and I do like it, and maybe this is just a style that I'm not used to wearing? When I'm less lazy, I plan on taking the buttons off and sewing them on again a bit further in, to make the skirt smaller. I think it's a bit big for me at the moment.

I'll make this skirt again - a nice garbadine version could be good for the warmer weather. And I certainly learnt a LOT of new skills whilst making this: sewing curved seams, stabilising with twill tape, bias-binding, button-holes, not to mention working with corduroy! So ultimately, I'm pretty happy. And again, I have to keep reminding myself that this is my 5th garment, so it's ok for them not to be perfect at this stage. I read a quote - can't remember where - saying that the problem with starting to write is that your taste is developed enough to be able to tell that your work isn't good and you know what you'd like it to be like. I think it's easy enough to give up in a huff, especially if I try to compare myself with people that CAN sew and have been sewing for a while. It's like a muscle though - I'm getting better by sewing more, and the more that I sew, the better I'll get. So I'm trying to not be too disheartened when it doesn't look exactly like the packet, or when I can see glaring flaws in what I make. I'm trying to focus on what I'm learning and how far I've come.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Spring / summer sewing

I've been trying to come up with a plan for my spring and summer sewing. I'm being conservative, as my time (and money) is pretty limited at the moment, so I'm putting less on, rather than more.

What I'd really like to sew:

I need to finish my Hazel. I have the fabric sitting there, and have attempted an FBA or two. Working out how to adjust patterns was pretty ambitious for such a beginner, especially on a pretty complicated bodice shape, but it's getting there. I need to sit back down with it, and try try again. It's pretty good practice, but I find tracing patterns time consuming and dull. The dress should go together easily once I get the adjustments right.

I also want to sew at least one Cambie dress. I have the pattern sitting there and I love it. I still need to pick fabric for it, but I'm thinking a pale blue with small flowers would be pretty. I don't usually wear many prints, so this would be a change for me, but I think it would be nice for summer.

Thurlow shorts - I'd like to sew a pair of these in Tweed or something, but probably a little longer than the pattern suggests! I don't have any shorts and probably haven't since I was a teenager, so this is a bit of an experiment for me, but I'm keen to try and somehow think that shorts are less intimidating to sew than trousers!

Renfrew: I still need some more basic tshirts. I have enough wool for one more Merino tshirt, but I'd really like to make a couple more in stripes! I am in love with stripey t-shirts at the moment and can't get enough of them.

Finally, in my most ambitious project to date, I would like to sew up an Anise jacket. I've been wanting a little cropped jacket that is high necked for a while, and the Anise is pretty much perfect! I'm thinking a grey wool with white buttons and some pretty lining would be perfect. I bought the companion book for it, and will buy the pattern closer to the time I'm ready for it!

I want to sew up the patterns that I have, first.

Finally, I have all five of the patterns that came with my Colette sewing handbook to sew up too. I saw some olive green velvet at Tessuti on the weekend and was restrained and didn't buy it (though I did stand there stroking it for a while), and I would like to have made a meringue skirt out of it! I'm pretty underwhelmed with the photos in the book, but looking online at other people's versions of them, I think I actually do like most of the patterns! I can't see myself making or wearing the Taffy blouse, but the other ones are ok... not sure about the big bell sleeves on one of the dresses though!!

I think I can get at least some of this done for this season... buying the fabric will be the tough part, as will getting photographs of the creations afterwards!! I tried unsuccessfully all weekend last week to get photos for the Beignet, but the ones that I got in the end were tiny and grainy. BOOO. Taking photos is the most stressful part of blogging. I don't have a camera with a self timer function and the Chef is working 120 hour weeks, so there's no-one to take pictures for me. I am also not the best photographer at the best of times. I think I might have to suck it up and post those silly selfies. I hate them, but they seem to be my best shot at the moment!!