Sunday, 20 December 2015

Laurel n:o 1

Long time no see dear readers! I've not disappeared off the face of the earth even if it might seem so. I've just been in a sewing slump for what seems like forever, (well I did make a red bow and quick&dirty sequin top for a Rocky Horror Picture Show evening, but they really don't count). I've also had a super-busy autumn, and leading up to Chrimbo has been pretty manic too. I've mainly spent all of my free time wall-papering & decorating (see pics on Instagram!) as we bought a new place! I will post more pics (if and) when we move, but that's still a few weeks away.

This week finally saw me return to sewing and I made my first Laurel! And it seems to have got me from my sewing slump, hurrah! It's not the best thing I've made, but it's defo wearable and probably the first of many Laurels I'll be making.
Laurel n:o 1

I'm in-between sizes (who isn't though) so I did some mixing and matching while drawing the pattern. This seemed to work quite well until I fitted the blouse and decided to take the shoulders up a bit which resulted in the bust dart being too high up, dur. I was going to ignore it and keep this as a wearable mock-up, but after looking at it for a while I decided to dig out my old friend the seam ripper and redo the front. Luckily I had extra fabric to do so. This was a bit disheartening, but I doubt I would have ever worn the supposedly wearable mock-up so I'm glad I did put in the extra effort, even if it did mean the poor garment sat in my UFO pile for a month or three ...

I got this adorable dotty bias binding from my friend for Christmas last year so it was about high time I used it. I think it gives the garment a chic touch. The bias binding worked well on the arms, but I had a few hiccups with the neckline, which resulted in more unpicking, so I drafted a facing for the collar instead. I suspect I'll do that in the future as I'm not a huge fan of hand stitching and I can't seem to get the bias binding to lie flat if I do it with a machine.
Dotty bias binding

I'm also thinking Laurel would look pretty neat with a collar. I have a few funky fabrics in store so that may well be my next project, I'm all about quick and easy at the moment.  Hope your autumn hasn't been quite so unproductive as mine! Over&out for now dear readers.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Summer update

Gosh where does the time go? I can't believe its end of July already. I've been super-lazy with sewing recently, life has been getting in the way, busy at work, family things, planning moving house (though that's still to come) and all the rest. I have stacks of beautiful fabrics and patterns waiting, I just need to to get started. In fact I think there's too many cause I can't decide what to start with, does anyone else get that or is it just me?

I was in London and Glasgow for work at the end of June (which was fab!) and oh boy do I miss the UK. All the lovely sewing magazines, fab fabric stores and obviously all the buzz that has spread from the Great British Sewing Bee. Talking of which do you my dear readers watch it? I've still not watched series 3, it's on my to-do-list, maybe when I'm on hols next week ...

I did once again end up buying a pattern even though I'm not supposed to, but Tilly's Ariel skirt is just too cute to resist. I think I'd quite like a red one for the autumn (or for the non-existent summer we're having here!) I'm a bit miffed that Bettine pattern only came after I'd come home otherwise I would have bought too, see no self-control I tell you. And I might have bought a copy of Love Sewing magazine as it had a cute tea dress pattern included...Ooopss. I fell in love with the John Lewis haberdashery section in Glagsow, who wouldn't want a pink sewing machine?

John Lewis Glagsow

Accidental shopping  (sans Ariel pattern) 

We're off to Tallinn coming weekend I've heard that they have amazing fabric stores there, I may need to visit one or three. Any recommendations dear readers? Anyhow that's all for now, I'm going to go dust my poor neglected sewing machine now. Hope you're having a more productive summer than me! 

Monday, 11 May 2015

Would you like some Cocoa?

This was the first time I've used Cake Patterns. I'd ordered the Cocoa shrug pattern some time last year as it looked like something I would get a lot of wear out of and I wanted an alternative to the zillions of black cardis in my closet (though I did think it would also look good in black!).  And Steph's amazing leopard minky Cocoa.

The online opinion about Cake Patterns seems quite divided, some people absolute love their patterns and others can't make head or tails about them. I have to say I did read the sizing guide twice before tracing the pattern, but it didn't need much adjustment so it was worth it   I have to say the instructions were a bit scarce, but there's a few hints and tips on the Cake Patterns website which explain things in detail and helped me a great deal. I guess I'm veering towards liking Cake Patterns.    

Stripey Shrug

Accidental Pattern matching! 

Kimono sleeve..?

I continued with my stash busting for this project. I found have lovely black and white stripey knit in my stash, I was umming and arring it would have been better as a boat neck t-shirt, but I decided to try out Cocoa instead cause I'd been wanting to try it out for ages. In hindsight the t-shirt would have probably been better as I think the fabric is a bit too flimsy for this, but it's still wearable so I'm not too worried.

The pattern matching at the back is accidental, but I'm nevertheless pleased with it. I did after that success try pattern matching with the sleeves, but that didn't quite work out. Oh well, live and learn. I used Bernette for most of this project, and ended up attaching the hemming in a slightly weird way. My beloved singer wasn't having any of it with the button hole so that is a hand stitched mess. 

I started watching Craftsy's sewing fashion knits classes after I finished this project, I kinda wished I'd watched it before as I've picked up so many useful hints and tips. I probably will make another Cocoa shrug at some point, but it's not at the top of my sewing list at the moment. And I wouldn't mind trying out one of their dresses, maybe Esmeralda or Tiramisu.

All this talk about cake is making me peckish so I'm off to have some cake! Over&out for now.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

World's slowest knitter and dotty socks

I finished the dotty socks I started way back in November, it's about time. But not only am I slow knitter it also took me a good few weeks (read a month) to take pics of the finished socks. Tut, tut me. I've heard that people finish socks in a weekend, I'm defo not there yet, but at least I did finish them, so hurrah!

Finished dotty socks

The socks were fairly easy to knit even if I still need a bit practice with fair isle...The pattern was simple enough to follow and I used my trusty heel instructions from which is brill. Occasionally I think I should learn to turn the heel in a different way, but that works so well so why bother.

I noticed while pressing the socks that the second one is a bit bigger than the first one, maybe I shouldn't have left a month between doing them. Luckily you can't notice it when wearing the socks, I'm fairly sure the other sock will stretch anyway though maybe when knitting my next pair of socks I'll remember not to have a months gap in between.

I'm pleased with the result, cause who doesn't need dotty woollen socks? Also woollen socks are warm in the winter and cool in the summer (or just the right temperature for my freezing feet) so I quite happily wear them all year around.

I'm now going to go and work with other types of knits. Dots out.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

C'est un Plantain shirt!

So now that I have Bernette up and running it isn't hardly surprising that my next project is one made out of knit fabric. This also counts as not one, but three items from my long list of sewing as I had Plaintain t-shirt on the list, trying out a new indie pattern company and finishing UFOs (that's unfinished object in craft-speak) so hurrah!

I downloaded the Deer&Doe Plantain t-shirt pattern sometime when it was released some time last year. I remember seeing several amazing t-shirt made from this pattern pop up on blogosphere around that time, have a look at Deer&Doe addict's blog to get a better idea.  The pattern is to be easy to customise, add a bit of pleather to make it chic or add hearts as the elbows patches to make it cutesy, dots to keep it dotty...the possibilities are endless.

I was feeling a bit brave even without a working serger so I cut the t-shirt from a flimsy jersey ages ago and then I got cold feet so it's been sitting in my UFO pile since. The folded pattern pieces looked somewhat interesting when I found them, but luckily the fabric wasn't too, too creased even if the pattern pieces are.

Folded neatly you say..?

I finally dug the pieces after our trip to the UK and decided to give it a go. I was amazed at how easily the shirt came together, the serger works like a dream and my trusty Singer didn't have any problems when I added the elbow patches, but it did skip a few stitches when I did the hemming, grump.  The instructions on the pattern were clear and simple, which is always good. I'm definitely going to look into other Deer and Doe patterns, I'm quite tempted with the Airielle blouse and Anemone skirt.

My finished Plantain shirt.

I heart elbow patches.

I'm pleased with the shirt as it's turned out to be wearable even if there is some room for improvement on the stitching, but hey it was my first project on the serger!  I'm sure I will use this pattern again. I didn't do any adjustments to the pattern, but I did end up taking a teensy bit off the shoulder as they seemed to hang quite low, but that's just probably my narrow shoulders for you. I'm going to make a quarter sleeve version of this, I might also higher the neckline a tad as this feels a bit low as it is.

Over&out for now dear readers. 

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Sew Over It! or a short trip to the UK

I've been back from our flying visit to London for a good few weeks now. Despite the lenght (or rather lack of) of our trip I managed to get to the Sew Over It -cafe in Islington, yay! No shopping at Goldhawk road though which was a shame, but probably better for my budjet and ever-growing fabric stash.

Sew Over It! 

How adorable and perfect is that place? The purple exterior, the amazing fabrics, beautiful patterns, friendly staff, lovely garments and the cosy sewing area. I'm in love. Unfortunately I didn't have time to attend any classes there, but I did spend quite some time admiring the fabrics and adoring the patterns. I did buy new fabric, woops, but they were calling me and it would have been rude not to and it's not like I'm in London every weekend. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it ,)

A Spot of Shopping 

I'd been eyeing up the black birdy fabric on their website for a while. I also got some polka dot rayon crepe, because dots <3  The adorable geometric cotton jumped at the from the remnants pile, I'm not sure what I'll do with it, but it will make a nice collar if nothing else.  

I also bought the 40's tea dress pattern. It might be a bit advanced for my skills, but we'll see. I also contemplated the pencil skirt kit, the blue and green tartan that comes with it is very pretty. For some reason I decided against getting the kit and now I'm regretting it, dur. I suppose it's good to leave something to come back for, though that list is probably longer than just the pencil skirt kit...

All in all we had a fab trip to the UK despite it being short. We managed to catch up with friends, go see the Sherlock exhibition at the museum of London, a bit of shopping, geek heavens: the Orc's Nest and the Forbidden Planet, lots of walking around and I'm stocked up with Marmite too!

I'm now going to go stroke my lovely fabrics. Over&out for now dear readers. 

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Meet Bernette Funlock 4000 by Bernina

My new-old serger which I inherited from my Nan. I wish I'd paid more attention when she was using the serger as I've discovered the hard way how temperamental it can be. We've had a bit of a rocky start, but I think we're getting along better now.

I have to confess Bernette was in the cupboard for a fair few years until I plucked enough courage to take her out. I figured it would be sensible to have it serviced before starting my new sewing chapter. Good news is that everything was fine, they added new blades and new needles and that was it. Apparently Bernette has a very nice stitch as well, needless to say I was very excited.

Nice stitching

When I got home I tested it and everything seemed fine. For some reason I had beige (I know what colour?!) thread on the machine when I took it to be looked at and I don't really use beige ever so I thought I'd change the thread. This is when my troubles began. I'd seen my Nan change the thread by knotting the old one to the new one, I figured I'd try to do the same. It seemed to go fine, but the lower looper thread broke, so I then thought no worries I'll just re-thread that and everything will be fine. BIG MISTAKE. I did it and Bernette would do a few stitches but then the thread would break. I kept repeating this for a while and I had no clue what to do. I got so disheartened I left Bernette back in her case for a while.

Luckily when I was feeling up for the challenge again I came across this fab blog post series called Relationship Rescue: you and your serger by Palak from Make it Handmade that explained how important it is to thread the machine in the right order. I tried it and it worked though the stitching didn't look very nice, it looked the like the tension was way off. After some fiddling around and some more reading I figured that the needle threads weren't going through the tension thingymibobs properly. After adjusting those the stitching is nice and smooth again. I've only done small test pieces, but I can't wait to get started properly with Bernette.

Sur-rur-rur for now dear readers!

Sunday, 25 January 2015

New year and all that jazz...

So January's drawing to an end, how did that happen? I did have a new years, new sewing plans -post that I was supposed to post just after new years, but somehow life got in the way (or sleeping, but I suspect life sounds better).

Not much of a re-cap to be done about last year, I didn't really get around doing too much sewing last year, but I think it was still more than the year before so win some, lose some. Surprisingly enough I didn't finish my long list of sewing for 2014, but I knew it was optimistic when I wrote. Really it was more of a list to keep me in check about the patterns I have and ideas I'd been toying around with rather than something I'd thick item off...And the obvious problem with lists made in the new year is that you can't possibly take into account all the lovely new patterns that will come out that year, that you just have to have. But that doesn't stop me from trying!

So here's my very long list of sewing for 2015

It looks like I'm even more optimistic than last year, but you have to have plans, don't you? And I am planning on setting more time aside to do some sewing, knitting and other crafts. Our Martta-club was a bit lazy over the autumn, but hopefully we'll get back on track as social sewing is so much fun.

I'm pretty sure I promised myself I wouldn't buy too many new patterns/books until I'd made some items from my existing patterns and books. And yes, I did make a few before buying new ones, but I did also buy quite a few that I still haven't made, oooops. After digging around my pattern stash I count that I bought eight new patterns, two new sewing books (Tilly's Love at First Stitch and Gertie Sews Vintage Casual) and a two pattern magazines (Suuri Käsityö 1/2015 and Burda Style 6/2014) last year, which isn't as bad as I thought.

Last year's haul

Good news is I have already made some of the patterns in the picture and I think the rest feature on my sewing list for this year so not many misses pattern buying-wise. I am going to attempt to make some existing patterns and using up fabric I have before buying new ones again this year. Though I am going to London for a flying visit end of the month and I'm planning on visiting Sew Over It's -sewing cafe so the not buying fabric or patterns might go out of the window -.-

My fave and possibly the most worn item from 2014 is rain drop Delphine skirt despite me only finishing it end of November. The black Coco-top is a close 2nd. I'm pleased that I've made more "everyday" clothes last year as I get more wear out of them. Though I think I'd like to make a few fluffy, crazy fabric, completely out-there dresses this year so that my sewing wouldn't be too sensible, life's too short not to make some crazy clothes, isn't it? And I have some raccoon fabric ready and waiting!

Over&out for now dear readers and hope you've had a good start to 2015!