Cord love them!

Hey there!

Before the warm weather hit us I decided I needed to copy a lovely shirt-dress I saw this lady wearing on Instagram a few months back. It was made in corduroy, and after making my  cord jeans I was looking for more projects in one of my favourite fabrics, and had managed to source a lovely Liberty needlecord, from memory from Sewbox too.

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The dress itself had been bought from Laura Ashley, I established, so I needed to find a pattern for it and was lucky enough to find a very similar design on the StyleArc website. I don’t know about you, but very often  I know the design I want, and can spend ages tracking down the right pattern on the various websites. I really wish I could just search each website by design components e.g. raglan sleeve, v neck, gathered skirt etc, but they never seem to offer this option. If I had the time, the inclination, the finances and the skill, I’d would just go ahead build a website that would do all that for me 🙂

Anyway, the Style Arc Italia was pretty spot-on with it’s loose fit, darts front and back and with the added bonus of cute inserts at the hem.

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It all came together pretty well, the fabric behaved beautifully and I’ve made quite a few shirts in my time too. As usual, I made some fit adjustments. The length I didn’t change so tall ladies take note, I’m only 5’4″.

  • 1cm broad back adjustment (probably should had added another 1cm)
  • lowered the darts 0.5cm
  • shortened arms 5cm
  • shortened darts at back and moved out 1cm
  • lowered pockets 2cm
  • positioned buttons where they best went (I almost never put them where they say!)

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I’ve got to say I did have some quibbles with the pattern though.

  • the instructions for the sleeve placket were very poor and even after referring to their website I had an extra piece I wasn’t sure what to do with
  • the pockets are small and proportionally would only suit the smaller-breasted lady

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On the positive side I loved the whole design and the cute little hem insert, which unfortunately is somewhat lost in this fabric.

The dress is probably better suited to a plain fabric to show off all the topstitching details, and I may do that one day.

I’ve sewn a lot of Style Arc and love their drafting but am coming to the conclusion that they mostly don’t draft for my body shape, so haven’t been tempted by their designs of late. I’m getting rather tired of seeing lots of baggy/voluminous tent like styles everywhere, but definitely have been inspired elsewhere.

Cos have opened a shop in Leeds and I’ve been very tempted to scoop up a few of their designs.

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I do like a good plain garment with strong style lines, so my next projects will definitely incorporate some of these details this Summer.

Hope you’re all having a great Spring/Autumn. Until soon…..

Greek Cats have 0 lives

Thank you Alex Horne, for the fabulous punchline!

Hey everyone,

Despite the lack of posting I’ve been busy sewing away like mad of late. The weather in Northern England is proving to be my best dressmaking ally at the moment, so I’ve got a few recent items to share with you.

I’m still trying to sew to a kind of loose plan, around my colours, and as one of my  core neutrals is olive, and I haven’t got very many basics in this colour, they’ve been on my “to sew” list for a while now.

My core colours.

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Before I stopped buying fabric, I bought a few metres which would fit the bill. It’s not an easy colour to source but I’m always well up for any fabric buying challenge 😉 And yes, before you ask,  I have already have broken the “no fabric until July ” pledge I made in January. Boo! The fabric was in the “too good to miss” category. An ivory hammered silk satin which was a reasonable price and had been on my fabric bucket list for years. I’m still aiming not to buy any more and am pleased to report that I’ve reduced my stash by a satisfying 29.5 metres overall so far, despite the purchase.  Yay!

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(Beautiful hammered silk satin, yum!)

So, first up is a pair of wide-legged cropped trousers, or culottes as they’re described,  from Burda’s February issue this year,  no 104.

I’ve seen a lot of this style around lately and it’s very work appropriate for me, as well as being comfortable and flattering.

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The fabric is a gorgeous marled green/brown wool I bought from Cohen’s at the Knitting and Stitching show in Harrogate at the end of last year. It’s a medium weight, with plenty of drape, which this style definitely needs imho.

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The style is very forgiving of fit issues, although I did my fair share of alterations. The pleats allow you to increase/decrease the waistline area easily and the wide leg fit helps too. I did my usual fit alterations, swayback, moved the pleats over for my high hips and usual crotch alterations. The length was reduced too by a couple of inches. The back pocket flaps are non-functional and they are hand sewn down to stop them from moving.

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Because it was Burdastyle I ignored the sewing instructions and did my own thing. Bad move! The waistband facing needs to be sewn in on the overlap before the zip fly is inserted, otherwise you can’t pull the zip up. In my defence I’ve never sewn a waistband facing on fly-front trousers. This meant I had to rip out my zip to resolve it, but was lazy and just did a partial fix. The trousers zip up now but the insides aren’t quite as pretty.

I also made a new top to go with them.

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I used my faithful Vogue 8939 t shirt, altered for a round neck, and I just added the ruffle myself to perk it up. The fabric is from Fabworks and is a lightweight jersey, slightly sheer, so the ruffle helps with coverage as well as being decorative.

The ruffle was easy to make, if you have enough fabric. You need just 2 measurements before you start ;  the length, and the width of your desired ruffle. The length you use to draw a circle of the same circumference (I measured a pan and drew round that)  You then draw a second, outer circle, the width away from the first circle that you want your ruffle to be. Cut round both circles and then in-between to open it up.The diagram shows it best.

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I think I might have a few more ruffles in my life now 🙂

I’ve a few other items to share with you, when I get the chance to take some decent photos. Until then…

 

 

 

Style arc stella

Hey everyone,

When I first saw the fabulous Sewing Engineer’s version of the Style Arc Stella coat recently it went straight to the top of my queue.  Her review, as usual,  was very comprehensive so I knew she had my back too. Don’t you just love the sewing community?

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(The line drawing is slightly incorrect, as it fails to show the centre back seam)

The real star of the show is Fabworks’ Rich Chocolate twill melton. Their description is pretty spot on, but I went to the shop to check it out for myself. Still in stock, it’s a gorgeous, firm, 100% heavyweight wool with a slight sheen and is lovely and soft. It doesn’t fray, eases beautifully, but needs a lot of pressure and the use of a clapper to iron flat. I wasn’t entirely successful with my pressing either, later on that ,and the coat has a few wearing creases too as I couldn’t wait to try it out.

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The lining is Liberty Silk Satin in pattern Manning, which I had sourced already, bought when it was on sale.  It’s still available here.  I know silk is not the most durable of linings but this coat won’t be worn all the time, so I thought it was worth it. It really elevates a fairly plain coat in my opinion. And I’m not allowed to buy new fabric until July either.

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(that pose is not a great one out in public, ha!)

I debated whether to use any interfacing at all, because the fabric is pretty heavy and firmly woven already, but went with advice from the Fashion Incubator. As I’ve used this before with success I went with Silky Touch Couture fusible from  English Couture and used it on all hems, facings, sleeve heads and across the whole of the front. It’s very lightweight. For perfection I might have used an additional layer across the chest but I was wary of making the coat too stiff.

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Sizing wise I went with my normal 10 from Style Arc, which in hindsight was probably definitely a bit small in this pattern. This was most noticeable across my shoulders, unusually for me.  I often find Style Arc to be generously sized around the waist area and this was the case with this pattern, so no adjustments there.  The hips also are snug, but not overly so and I didn’t end up adjusting them, although I would normally expect to.

I did make a few alterations, as usual

  • small upper broad back adjustment 1cm
  • Forward shoulder adjustment 1cm

I also gave myself a tiny bit extra room width wise (there’s plenty of seams here to adjust) when sewing up for extra ease.

My toile also lied as I had quite a bit of trouble getting the sleeve to hang right after adjusting it for the forward shoulder. I fiddled about with it and eventually got it somewhere close but there wasn’t quite enough room width wise across the upper cap which could have been because it was too small in the shoulders.

The length of the coat is as drafted, and I’m 5’4″

No adjustments were made for sleeve length, which is unheard of round these parts. I usually lop off a couple of inches on every pattern I make for my T rex arms.

I topstitched all the seams to help them lay flat and to add a little extra interest.

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This pattern would be great for an adventurous intermediate as it’s a fairly simple sew, for a lined coat. There’s no buttonholes or notched lapels to worry about and plenty of seams to adjust for tweaking fit. The pattern is beautifully drafted, despite an odd notch or 2 missing on the lining. Style Arc’s instructions are pretty sparse though, but if you’re prepared to look up how to do things then I think you’re good to go.

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A sewing friend mentioned that she alway has had her coats professionally pressed, and I’m still considering whether to do that or not. Looking at these photos I’m quite tempted, as it was the most unsatisfactory part of the process of putting it together. I just need to find someone I can trust enough to hand over my precious coat.

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I’ve never owned a wrap coat and I don’t know why. It’s very versatile, easy to slip into, and out, and feels super smart. My version is lovely and warm and even feels classy, not normally something I aim for when I dress. Seriously.

Stay Classy San Diego.

One big one and five small ones please Rachel

Hi sewing chickens!

So, I’m on a bit of a casual, comfortable and classic jag at the moment and for the last couple of weeks I’ve been working on a new sweatshirt and some more jeans for the cold Winter days we’re getting.

First up the Cords, using my trusty Burdastyle Floral Skinny Jeans 03/2014 in some lovely stretch corduroy I bought from Cohen’s at the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate last November.

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These almost went in the bin, as after I tacked them together to check on the fit I found the legs had twisted at the bottom, and the inseam was all the way round to the front. After some investigating I realised that my adjusted pattern was at fault, so I got my lovely, patient husband to re-pin them and they were just about saved. They are just a little tighter over the calves than I’d like as a result and this shows as wrinkles at the knees and back due to my extended calves.

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I did all the usual topstitching but it doesn’t really show well in corduroy.

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Construction wise I didn’t do anything different than the last pair of jeans. I did however interface the waistband as the fabric is stretchy and I didn’t want them to fall down! They are  super comfy and soft and are a useful neutral in my wardrobe.

Since then I’ve gone back and totally revamped my jeans pattern, as I was still dis-satisfied with back leg wrinkles and after 4 muslins, phew, I think they’re pretty good, although I’ve yet to make a proper pair from them yet. Well fitting jeans are, to me, almost the holy grail of sewing.

I’ve since learned a lot about my fitting issues whilst doing this, so for the record the following changes to the pattern were made.

  • extended calf adjustment (tuck upper thigh at front to nothing at inseam)
  • Flat bottom adjustment (tuck upper thigh at back to nothing at inseam)
  • Low posterior adjustment (Scoop out and lower back crotch curve)
  • Swayback adjustment (take out wedge at centre back waist)
  • Widened inseams for large thigh/calf

I found the Itch to Stitch Liana jeans fitting sew along useful, as Kennis seems to have a similar shape to me in trousers. I do also use the Palmer Pletsch Pants for Real People fitting book but find the examples and patterns they use a bit dated. My best resource for problem diagnosis has been the Fitting and Pattern Alteration by Liechty/Rasband & Pottberg-Steineckert, my go-to guide these days. Expensive, but comprehensive on fitting.

And now, my new sweatshirt, another Burdastyle pattern I’ve used before but not blogged,  in some lovely Liberty loop-backed sweat- shirting, or French terry, I think it’s called.

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Apologies for the selfie. I got the fabric from Ebay after missing out on some over at Guthrie and Ghani in the Autumn and it’s lovely and sturdy, but has very little stretch. I used some ribbing I had already to finish it off and other than that there’s not much more to say. It’s perfect for pulling on over a vest top on casual days and after exercise classes to stay warm.

I also got the chance to meet up with fellow sewer and blogger Ali at a new shop which opened last week in our area, Fabricate. (Thanks for the photo, Ali, looking very stylish in her Tilly Cleo)

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They stock  a small, but quality selection of fabrics, craft kits, habby and other crafting items, and it’s only 20 minutes from where I live. I was gifted a lovely goody bag and treated myself to some cute pattern weights too.

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Ali’s organising #SewDownDewsbury , a meet-up for fellow sewers on the 25th February, and I’m really looking forward to catching up with everyone, and also bracing myself to resist the temptations of all the fabric shopping.

And how’s my New Year pledge doing too, you ask? Well, Carol, I mean Rachel, is keeping an eye on the numbers these days and here’s the results, so far.

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So, I record fabric purchases,(the 7 metres in column 1 were a Liberty sale purchase made in December before my pledge) fabric out (either used or donated) and the Sum shows I’m 15 metres better off than this time last month. Admittedly some of them were toiles, however I’m pretty pleased so far, though it’s early days.

I’ve just blown the dust off the knitting machine in the teenagers room, which usually means radio silence will ensue as the great big metal-teethed monster battles the determined,wily and effervescent Yorkshire seamstress. Who will win? No one can predict!

Until then,  you have fun!

 

How long can 6 months be?

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Around my work I’m usually pretty focused, setting myself deadlines, working towards long-term goals, making plans and being organised and scheduled. I’m not trying to blow my own trumpet, it’s just the lot of a small business owner, so in my sewing I usually try to avoid too many more commitments, and I certainly don’t want to put any timelines on them. It does make life more spontaneous and enjoyable,  and I really like the freedom.

I don’t therefore join in many sewalongs, or participate in competitions or Secret Santa exchanges because as soon as someone puts a deadline on me, it will often kill any pleasure in it. I hold my hands up. There must be something in it for me before I will join in, you’ve definitely got me there, selfish sewer in the room! Very occasionally there’s a brand new technique or item I covet or someone very special in my life who will appreciate the input that goes into making something. Only then I will make the effort. But occasionally frustrating consequences occur too.

Therefore, I’m hoping 2017 will be a little different, because this year I do actually want to set myself a longer-term goal in my sewing, one which will take me a whole 6 months to achieve. It does feel like a bit of a big deal and I’ll admit that I’m slightly scared about it too, which is a good thing, hopefully, in that it will challenge and stretch me.

I’ve really built this up haven’t I? You’re probably thinking that she’s going to say she’s only going to wear me-made clothes or make a whole wardrobe out of only chicken feathers. Nope and nope, although both of those are less challenging to me than what I’m hoping to do.

I’m actually just going to do all my sewing,  only,  from the existing fabrics that I already own (my husband told me to call it the large mountain of existing fabrics, but he doesn’t read other people’s sewing blogs, so he thinks it’s just me, ha!)

Of course, as soon as I thought I might commit to this, I went straight out and bought four metres of fabric to make a coat and some cushion covers!

But that’s it. No more fabric until July 2017. Dead simple. I have committed. Or should be!

 

 

 

 

 

When all around you is in turmoil, make jeans!

Happy New Year to you all! Aren’t you glad 2016 is behind you? I sure am. So many troubling and sad events it’s hardly comprehensible, and in my personal life things were mostly drama-free, thankfully, other than going through a very challenging time at work, as my small business deals with the very difficult economical circumstances we’re facing.

Anyway, that’s what the sewing is for, and making jeans is always a really good distraction when things round you are unpredictable and the future uncertain. Sometimes you want to be told exactly what to do and how to do it, so you can just concentrate on doing a good job  without too much thinking, and jeans are pretty perfect for that.

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I used a pattern I’ve sewn previously, but not blogged,  the Floral Skinny Jeans pattern from Burdastyle March 2014.   I had made a tonne of alterations to the pattern previously, including inward knee, flat seat, large calf and thigh adjustments and had cut them out a while back, then I got side-tracked. Since then, I’d  lost a few pounds then put some of it back on,  so when I got round to sewing them I wasn’t sure whether they’d fit or not. I don’t normally cut things out in advance, and that’s why, but once I tacked them together for a test fit I was relieved to see that they were fairly close. Each fabric is slightly different so it’s a good idea to do this, even when you’ve got a good fitting pattern.

For some reason I had bought denim  ( I think it was from Fabworks) which had ZERO stretch, but that is lovely and sturdy, which meant I had to plan plenty of extra ease for them to be comfortable. I’m hoping that means they’ll soften up and wear in really nicely as they age.

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I went full on with traditional gold topstitching and rivets, following the wonderful Ginger jeans Sewalong from Closet Case Files although the Burda magazine has fully illustrated instructions, which are pretty good too. I didn’t interface my waistband, as I like it softer and more comfortable and I went for the standard-ish back pocket embellishment although I made them slightly bigger since my derriere is rather wide and bigger pockets seem to look better somehow.

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I set up by old Bernina 830 to do all the topstitching, to save time re-threading machines, but it was struggling with all the layers so I switched it to doing the normal sewing and my Bernina 350PE did the topstitching instead. I used Gutterman topstitching thread throughout and had bought the rivets previously from TaylorTailor in the USA.

And I put in the fly the wrong way round! It seems lots of RTW jeans do this so at least I’m in good company but I didn’t realise this until I’d finished all the topstitching, and I wasn’t about to unpick all that, nope.img_8364

 

I think that’s all to say about my jeans making. As usual I’m raring to make some more, but this time I think they’ll be in Corduroy.

Until next time, friends.

 

 

 

2016 Review

I’m quite behind on blogging my sewing efforts, and this post won’t get me much further ahead either, however I didn’t want to leave 2016 behind without marking it in some way so I thought I’d do a mini review of my hits and misses this year. I hope you enjoy it.

So, let’s dive right in!

THE HITS

 

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This Burdastyle dress was on my list for so long and I’m so glad I finally made it. I love the design and the fabric, from Fabworks, is a perfect match.

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This Vogue 1465 Donna Karan jacket paired with a Style Arc Emily skirt  is in regular rotation at work and I feel stylish and cosy in it.  The jacket seams were left unfinished and I don’t think I’d do it again as they’re now fraying slightly, however I’m considering making the jacket again as it’s a good shape for me and one up on my normal cardigan/skirt look.

 

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A bit of a surprise, this, as I didn’t care for it much after I’d made it. My first Makers Atelier pattern is an oversized cocoon shape, not particularly flattering, however it’s loose enough and the colour versatile enough to wear over most of my outfits, so it gets taken out of the wardrobe regularly.

 

My Named Jamie jeans are being worn as I type although sadly they have shrunk a little lengthwise so, not for best any more. I loved making them too. I’m  going off the low rise style lately but will definitely be making more jeans in the future.

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The semi-self drafted dress was a real labour of love and I’ve worn it a quite a few times and absolutely love it! It’s that rare combination of comfortable, beautiful and versatile.

This Burdastyle outfit got worn quite a bit over the Summer and I got a few compliments from people too. The Liberty Tana Lawn fabric really is the star but the culottes are very easy to wear and the top has a few nice touches too. I’d like to make some Winter culottes from this pattern and have some fabric lined up all ready.

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I didn’t blog this Butterick 5926 jacket as I thought it was too boring but it’s worn regularly and has proved to be a very useful basic. It does make a change from wearing cardigans to the office too.

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Lastly, my Simplicity 1504, Liberty Tana lawn PJ’s are oh so comfortable and luxurious. They were a lot of work tho,  so I certainly won’t be rushing to make more.

THE MISSES

 

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I only recently made this Named Helmi dress but it was just a bit too snug across the back and one of the seams has already ripped.  Due to it only having 1cm seam allowances it’s not repairable. I do like the pattern though so will probably be making more, once I adjust it properly.

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This Butterick B6168 is just a little bit too revealing to be worn regularly. I might donate it sometime in the future.

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This StyleArc Ethel top  is just a bit too boxy for me and doesn’t feel very flattering on so I’ve hardly worn it. The Burdastyle jeans are keepers though!

In summary, I feel my skills are now practised enough that I can sew most things confidently to a good standard. Fit is something I can struggle with, but I’ve got a reasonable handle on my issues and because I don’t like doing toiles, or repeating patterns it’s something I have to live with.

Also, after a few years of making my own clothes, I’m at the stage where I’ve sewn enough variety to have a good few patterns that fit well and that flatter, and that I should really use again.  So in 2017 I’m going to try and aim for a few pattern repeats. Sorry?  Not sorry! I’ve already started making another pair of jeans using a pattern that I’ve used before and my list of to do’s is a mix of TNT and new patterns. I must also use some of the “special” fabrics I can’t bear to cut into too.

I’m really looking forward to some extended sewing time as well as sharing a few weeks off work with friends and family over Xmas. Here’s wishing everyone a wonderful holiday,  wherever you are,  and hope to see you back in 2017!

Mmmmm pie

Hi fellow sewing peeps

Those of you who follow me on Instagram will  already know that I’ve been working on reviewing my wardrobe the past few weeks. I’ve been struggling recently deciding what to make next and I think, other than the fact that I’ve got quite a few clothes already, it’s because I’m not putting enough planning into co-ordinating my outfits and, probably more importantly, I don’t have a solid base of neutrals to pull things together.

A random reference by Ruth recently to this website led me down a rabbit-hole of beautiful colours, capsule wardrobe plans and a format for pulling together a whole wardrobe which seems to make the effort of choosing what to wear each day both simple and straightforward. And when life is busy and your time is precious,  that did sound awfully attractive. Also I’m not being paid to say this, all these opinions are entirely my own.

Now, I’m not normally big on planning what I make more than a couple of items ahead, and I don’t think that’ll change, but what I did learn is that if I work on simplifying the colours I wear, using just a few key neutrals, then I’ll have a wardrobe that co-ordinates better. Apologies if this seems obvious, and yes it is, but I’ve been working for a long time with a palette of about 30 colours I was given by Colour me Beautiful, years ago, which apparently should suit me. Of course I wanted to be able to choose ALL the colours. And I did!

After reviewing some of the suggested colour schemes I then set about Powerpoint,of all things, to pull together some of my favourites and came up with this Pie chart. Mmmmm pie!

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If I’ve understood correctly, the idea is to choose a couple of neutrals which work together (in this case I chose olive and khaki, the large sectors of colour at the bottom) You then pick a light neutral (which should work with all your colours, the ivory at the top) and then a couple of highlight colours. I was drawn to a rusty red and teal.

For a wardrobe to work you need to have a base of clothing, as well as shoes, bags etc in your neutrals and you can then use items in your highlight colours to add some pizzaz to your outfit. The rules aren’t strict, but ensure most things in your wardrobe will work together. These items can be casual, smart, funky, classic, whatever suits your lifestyle and preferences but the colours you use bring it all together.

After looking at my wardrobe,  I refined my colour palette slightly, since I realised that I really enjoy wearing brown more than khaki as a neutral.

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It was hard to get to these colours, and I in real life I won’t limit myself only to these, but the exercise was both worthwhile and enjoyable.

So, the last few weeks I’ve been trying out the colour combinations from my existing wardrobe and these are some of the results. Apologies for the poor quality of photographs but the season of the Winter indoor shot is upon us, I’m afraid.

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I don’t know what I was thinking when this photo was taken (pie?) but I’m using brown as the neutral and rusty red/orange as the highlight. The jacket is an unblogged Butterick 5926  in a wool ponte from Fabworks with a hand knit scarf I made recently. The suede skirt is thrifted .

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This photo illustrates the problems with trying to pin down a particular colour, such as olive. I’d say this jumper was olive green, but there’s a lot of yellow in it and I don’t think it works too well with the tan skirt.

So, I’m continuing to work out my colours, and what works best for me but I’m already planning to make up a few items in the ivory especially, as that seems to be missing most from my wardrobe, as well as the neutrals. Is that, can I, almost, feel a SWAP 2017 in the air?

In other news, I’ve been busy with Christmas gift and party wear making, so they won’t make it to the blog anytime soon I’m afraid. This year I’ve chosen to work with ALL the sparkly and the shiny and the green 😉

I did also make a wearable toile of the Style Arc Marilyn Dress in preparation and I think it is going to be a very comfortable and stylish addition to my wardrobe. Plenty of room for pie in that silhouette I think!

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Have a fabulous, pie-full,  and stress-free sewing December everyone x

Restraining Order

OK, you might want to settle-in now and have your favourite beverage at your side, as this is a bit of a long post, but there’s plenty of pictures too if you did just want to skip through quickly.

So, the last few weeks have been pretty crappy both at work and at home, and I’ve really needed some full bodied sewing distraction to get me through. I don’t have a burning need for more clothes but a wedding invitation in December meant I had a pretty good excuse (not that I always need one) to make something new and fabulous!    I had also bought these from the newly opened John Lewis in Leeds with the wedding in mind and was feeling pretty inspired.


The new Stylearc Marilyn pattern landed on my doorstep about the same time. I bought as soon as it came out because I just loved the combination of gorgeous sleeves, lovely neckline and a back seam for fitting.

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Because I don’t like pdf’s I ordered the pattern as a hard copy, but as you know if you’ve bought Style Arc before, you can only order one size.  I chose this based on my bust size and as this pattern isn’t fitted around the hips I thought I could get away without doing many sizing alterations, however on doing a tissue fitting I realised I’d need to do a few more.

So, for the first time in ages I did a a small full bust alteration, cutting the front full-length pattern in half at the waist and just altering above there. When I rejoined the 2 pieces obviously they didn’t fit but I just drew a connecting line from the upper to lower piece, it’s a pretty unfitted style there so no problems with that.

I also had to do my usual shortening of sleeves. They came almost to my wrist, but the pattern shows them just below the elbow. That was fine. The forward shoulder adjustment to the sleeve cap wasn’t though!

I use this tutorial to change my sleeve after doing a forward shoulder. I find it very simple and intuitive. On this pattern the sleeve is in 2 parts so I had to tape them together first, then do the alterations, which was straightforward.

What you’re doing is moving the sleeve shoulder point forward (where it meets the shoulder seam) to match the new location of the shoulder. The Marilyn sleeve is split so I then had to make a further adjustment to redraw a new split line from the shoulder line all the way down too

That took a while!

I’m making a toile for a change and have cut it out already in  a lovely deep aubergine poly crepe fabric (Fabworks, still in stock!) which I’m hoping will be wearable. I only had  1.5 metres and the pattern called for over 2 so the dress length will be quite short, but basically as per the pattern, because this dress is REALLY short, as drafted.   I will lengthen it to knee for the real version, which I hope (if I like the toile) will be in a gorgeous deep green silk/viscose velvet fabric that I’ve been sitting on for a while.

I did consider another drapey fabric I own, a beautiful quality heavy, pure silk crepe I got from Evilbay, which is in a no-good-to-me shade of bridal ivory and is a bit boring therefore too. I’m fancying doing a Shibori job on it so bought some brown Dylon hand dye (suitable for silk) last week and am quite liking something like this effect.

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I’m of the thinking that if if it all goes wrong I can just overdye it again, so I’m happy give it a bit of a try to see if I like it.

In other news, I’m not knitting (ok, I admit, I did do some knitting, but at least I am trying not to) but have started an embroidery project. It’s Cats on a Wall by this lady .


I’m not an experienced embroiderer, so I used the wrong needle at first, however once that was sorted it’s all looking ok-ish, and is probably a good learning project for a beginner like me. Longer term I’ve always wanted to hand-embroider a white on white table runner, Scandi style, something like this.

I have a couple of old embroidery books, from when my interest started a few years back, but I haven’t got round to doing anything about it yet.

This book is fab


I also love this one from the 1970’s  You’ve gotta love a table setting where there’s room for a pot of cigarettes for everyone to share, ha!

And, drum-roll please, after 7 long years, we finally got rid of some the deep red carpet we inherited when we moved to our current house. It’s all through the downstairs, sob, and  we only did our living room, but yay, and double-yay.   So I thought I’d celebrate by sprucing up the soft furnishings in there, and treated myself to this little kit. Thanks to Kate at Fabrickated for pointing this lady’s work out.

Progress shots on my projects tend to get posted on Instagram straight away. Like I’ve said before I’m really enjoying it. Lots of sewing people are on there, some you’d expect, and some not. Like Kenneth King for example.  I used to buy Threads magazine so first came across him there, and then I did the Jeanius class on Craftsy, which I loved. He’s warm and super-stylish and a great teacher. Some of the jackets he’s made are incredible. He’s always got a cheeky twinkle in his eye, and a smile hovering at the edges of his mouth. An inspiration in fact.

However I noticed this week that almost every post he makes results in an automatic “like” from me. It’s because I genuinely do enjoy them, probably, secretly, more than anyone else’s that I follow and certainly much more than anyone I’ve never met, or are likely to meet. I’ve commented quite a few times on them too, and he’s often replied. It did get me to start wondering lately whether I’m beginning to become slightly annoying. You know, that person who gushes way too much and is just overly friendly. And where the line is drawn between simply enjoying someone’s output versus officially stalking them, ha!   So, when does liking every single post someone does become a problem to them? Do they even notice? Would they actually say something too? Anyway, never in a million years did I think  that the result of joining IG would be a restraining order from the likes of Kenneth King, ha! Anyone else in his fan club? OK, only me? I’ll get my coat.

 

Named Helmi

The Autumn season is definitely upon us over in this part of the world, and is when I start to think of berry colours,long sleeves, layering up and soft comfortable fabrics. I also remember that my winter wardrobe is sadly lacking in the work appropriate area, since I did a massive clear out of items which no longer fit me, due to weight loss last year.

So, when the Named Helmi dress started popping up around the internet I thought I’d dive straight in!  I liked the loose fit, the simple design, the on-trend hem and, as Mr SM pointed out, the fact that it could almost be your nightshirt. So, pj’s basically.

 

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Even the model looks like she’s just got out of bed!

The dress comes with a shirt version too, which is equally delicious. I got my pattern from Raystitch online and it was delivered really quickly. I do avoid pdf’s if I can.

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Apologies for the quality of the photos , they’re definitely not my best.  It’s rained here on and off all week and we’re in the middle of decorating at home, so it’s been difficult to get decent shots.

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For my version I used the collar from the shirt version and changed the concealed placket to a normal placket, to add interest to the very plain fabric, which was an eBay purchase and was described as a viscose blend. It feels like a chambray and is lovely and soft, and was easy to work with, although it shows every mark when ironing.  The 2 metres I had purchased was plenty.

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I did my usual size UK 12/40 at the shoulders grading out to a UK 14/42 below the armhole, which in hindsight was a slight mistake.  That’s happened to me on a couple of patterns recently, so maybe I’ve been getting away with some mis-sizing. I definitely should have done a 14 at the shoulders as it’s a bit snug there.  I can rectify that easily if I make another.

The instructions were great but I didn’t really follow them. I’ve made a few shirts recently, so had some practice. It’s all finished on my overlocker and came together very easily, once I fixed the swayback problem and adjusted for my forward shoulders. The waist seam really helps with fitting my figure and it’s a very loose shape so almost beginner friendly, (apart from the collar and placket, ahem)

I’m not sure it’s that flattering a shape on me, partly because I’m a slight pear, so I would recommend it for apple or inverted triangle shapes, or anyone with hips less wide than their shoulders. I also think it would be improved for me if the button placket went all the way down to give an illusion of length to my figure.

I’ll definitely be wearing it to work though with woolly tights and, when I get round to finishing it, a long cardigan that’s been missing it’s fronts, from my neglected knitting machine. It’s also VERY comfortable.

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In other news, I’ve been busy sewing for Christmas, for family, but I do have a couple of other items I might share, that I’ve made recently. This time of year is really hard for getting photos so I don’t want to promise anything. If you follow me on Instagram you’ve  seen some of them already.

I get a proper buzz out of having lots of projects on the go and challenging myself, however I’ve realised that I can’t do it all, so I’ve decided to curtail my handknitting, as I think of all my hobbies, it’s the one that exacerbates my RSI most. I guess something had to give, working at a desk most days, then going home and hunching over my various sewing and knitting machines, for years on end, and hand knitting has been the one. So many of the things I love doing involve sitting down and using my hands and arms. Sitting down is bad for you, if you do too much, so outside of work I do have to be fully active. Thankfully, I love to play tennis, which is ARMS and SHOULDERS, again. Also cooking, and yoga.  I really do love hand knitting, so it makes me sad, but I already have lots of gorgeous hand knits in my wardrobe and I will still knit, just not nearly as much, for now.  My shoulders and arms ache most of the time and I need to take better care of myself.

So, I hope you’re all taking good care of yourselves whilst you’re doing what you love and that you’re enjoying what the new season brings to your sewing. Can’t wait to see what you’ve all been up to.