Where have I been??

July 15, 2011

Wow! So it’s mid July and I’ve neglected my poor wee blog. What have I been doing?

A fair bit of this (it’s finished, hurrah!), followed by three months of long days in the office (at a temporary job which was even harder than writing the thesis!)

Quite a lot of this

(those WIPs are an Atelier – great pattern – and a Selbu Modern, while the finished cardi is a laceless Audrey in Unst. I’ve made 4 sweaters based on this pattern already. Best $6 I ever spent. Thanks to Roobeedoo for the lovely glass buttons!)

A bit of this (that’s coffee-dyed yarn, not the head of a highland cow)

Plenty of this

The results:

(clockwise from top left: Burda 02/11 dress in cotton voile underlined with polycotton, not quite finished!, Kwik Sew 927 in stretch cotton, another version in printed rayon is in progress, and two self-drafted skirts. My swing dress is not included – despite two muslins the finished version is far too tight!)

Making some of these (for my new nephew)

Getting ready to move here

And lots of this


Oh my, am I busy at the moment! Sewing and knitting is happening , but so is a lot of writing, working, preparing and stressing. Oh the joys of being a PhD student!

**UPDATE – Etsy appear to have responded and fixed the site so that purchases are no longer public. Phew!**

Anyway, some recent changes to Etsy have come to my attention and as someone who primarily uses Etsy for purchasing, it’s a cause for concern (not that I buy anything other than sewing patterns and the odd bit of yarn, but still. There’s a lot of embarrassing stuff on there that I could buy if I wished!). Basically, Etsy, in the quest to become a social network (why? Maybe they should work on their search function first!) have changed everyone’s default settings so that purchases and favourites are fully searchable, and if you included your real name in your profile, that’s searchable too. This post contains more info, including how to change your privacy settings if you want to hide this information.

Right, back to that thesis..

A….sewing room?

February 9, 2011

I will very soon have one! My boyfriend (who is now back, yay!) and I are in the process of moving to a lovely flat in which we are going to be housesitting for six months while the owner is away. I can hardly believe it, but it has a second, miniature bedroom with 1. a large table and 2. a full length mirror.. This can only really mean one thing :D

Anyway, before we move, I’m settling for a tiny corner of my bedroom where the sewing machine and overlocker interchangeably live (depending on which I’m using at the time). In spite of the tiny space, I have managed a few projects recently: a first muslin for my swing dress (sleeve too long, bodice too short after my initial length adjustment, waist too tight. The shoulder fit is good though!), two muslins of Simplicity 2337 (it’s looking good now, finally!),  half a shift dress recycled from an unsuccessful 50s project  – more on that later – and this knit dress from New Look 6802.

The fabric is the printed jersey remnant of which I’ve still got about two metres left (not bad for a fiver!). I made a straight 8, with the only change being to draft a straight, 3/4 length sleeve using the bell sleeve piece and just tapering down to the desired width around the arm. I adore this dress – it is comfortable, flattering and looks great (clearly I’ve got a thing for midriffs). The only thing I’ll change next time is to shorten between the shoulder and the armscye by about 2 cm as it’s slightly too long in this region and the v neck is a bit low.

The sewing was a total breeze! The twist looks complicated but was very easy to make, and the whole dress went together in an afternoon, including cutting. Everything apart from the twin-needle hem and topstitching is serged (even the darts). Instant gratification.

Seasonal sewing (just)

January 24, 2011

So, I finally finished my winter coat! This has swallowed up well over 50 hours of sewing time and contains *so* much handsewing it’s unbelievable. The hair interfacing is all applied by hand, the seam allowances and hems are catchstitched, the collar is padstitched, the lining hems are slipstitched, the bound buttonhole facings are all made by hand. What a labour of love!

The stats; McCalls’ M5525 in tweedy wool blend, lined with polyester habutai, interlined with cotton lawn (I knew I’d find a use for it!) and interfaced with hair canvas and lightweight fusible.

I made a few changes to the pattern, leaving out the belt, but adding a half belt at the back waist in its place (it’s just stitched into the princess seams). I used the redrafted pocket bags from my first version of this pattern, and moved the pockets up by 2 inches as they hit way too low on my other version. They could even have come higher. I made a 1″ FBA on the front pieces and the fit is great. The body is interlined with cotton lawn which adds a surprising amount of warmth given its lightness.

My one complaint about this pattern, and something I wish I’d fixed before cutting, was the one piece sleeve! I mean seriously, no RTW coats have one piece sleeves (I’ve become obsessive about checking out people’s coat sleeves on my daily 1.5 hour’s worth of commuting, so I feel I can be quite authoritative on this!), and of all the parts of the coat, the sleeve fit is the biggest let down. I can deal, and I still love this coat (I’d better, given how long I slaved over it!), but I am drafting a two piece sleeve for this baby as soon as I start to think about making another one (hmm, maybe a classic trenchcoat with all the trimmings?)

Speaking of clothes-watching on the tube (one of my favourite hobbies), I have had an inspiration sketch in my notebook from last summer, when I saw a woman on the tube with the most amazing draped-bodice summer dress in yellow voile. Imagine my excitement when I saw Simplicity 2250 on Jessica’s blog – the bodice is almost exactly the same as my dream dress, and so I’ve snagged a copy from eBay and will be adding it to my to-sew list. I’ve also developed a bizarre obsession with making the jacket in black and white striped doubleknit (partially inspired by Rihanna, I think? I’ll probably get over this).

Maybe I’ll even finish it during the correct season – unlike my coat!

Sewing along

January 13, 2011

It certainly seems like sewalong season in the blogosphere, with Tasia, Peter, Casey and Gertie all joining in. I’ve got to admit to an enormous crush on Tasia’s Pendrell Blouse, especially her blue floral version, but I’m not exactly a pear and so am going to leave that one for another time. Peter’s sewalong has come around at exactly the right time, and will be another handy reference for Mr Robot when it comes to our shirt lessons.

I am however, very excited about Casey’s swing dress sewalong; I feel like it’s time I put more vintage in my life, and produced an outfit I can wear on those occasions when I go swing dancing (which is not all that often, but it does happen! I used to take lessons with these guys). I have a nice floral printed fabric which feels a bit like a rayon-polyester blend; I’ll be putting a picture up as soon as I can.

Here are another couple of recent makes. The skirt is the ubiquitous Jenny – although every version of this I’ve seen has been amazing, I was reluctant to buy the pattern for ages; I only wanted the basic pattern and £7.50 seems a lot for a pattern I had to print myself.. But I did eventually give in, and I’m glad I did; it fit perfectly in the size 34; I had to add an inch total at the top of the waistband but that was only a minor adjustment, and I also drafted on a vent using the instructions from Sunni’s sewalong. I lined the skirt in bright red acetate (left over from my summer coat), mainly following Sunni’s instructions but adding lengthwise ease as recommended by Eugenia. I love this skirt!

The top is a simple t-shirt made using the crew neck pattern in Sew U Home Stretch (the neckline is lowered as per the instructions for the scoop neck in that book). 20 minutes might even be an overestimate of how long it took on my serger. Though it doesn’t yet have hems on the sleeves or the bottom, so once I finish those it’ll be a little longer!

Speaking of coats, what’s this we have here?

That’s right – she’s almost finished! Just a lining and a hem to go. I might even be able to wear it while it’s still cold :)

The year ahead

December 31, 2010

So, another year is finishing. 2010, where did you go? It seems like only yesterday I was baking wasabi cupcakes to take to a new year party, and only the day after yesterday (er, today? OK, that doesn’t make sense) that I was waving goodbye to my dearest at the airport (he’s back in 26 days, hooray!). Long distance relationship loneliness aside, this has been an excellent year; I could babble a lot about personal growth and being happy in my own skin and blah, but I do feel very strong, which is a good way to enter the future, I think!

I don’t really make new year’s resolutions, because I tend to think that evaluating oneself and one’s goals is an evolving process, though maybe that’s part of my tendency to generally not plan things very far ahead! But this year is going to be one of change all round; finishing my degree, moving countries to start a job, becoming an aunt(!). I’m still looking for a way to fit ‘getting a cat’ in there, but give me time. So the only resolution I really have is to face the challenges and changes ahead with optimism and to make the most of it all!

Although resolutions aren’t really my bag, like Roobeedoo, lists most definitely are. So here’s a crafty list of things I want to achieve this year:

– yarn dyeing! I have several skeins of Ethical Twist purchased for a bargainous £2.50 each at Kemps, which I want to try out coffee dyeing with.

– joining a sewalong. I’m hoping that the Swing Dress wins Casey’s vote!

– making a suit. Tailoring galore! I’ll probably use Simplicity 2446 for the jacket and a modified Jenny for the skirt.

– shrinking the stash. Of course I promise to do this every year, but seriously, moving across the continent in 9 months time is going to require some serious effort…

A reasonably ambitious list, but with plenty of room for other projects and for life getting in the way, which it has a tendency to do. Happy New Year!


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