Friday, 20 May 2011

The proper Pendrell

After getting the quick make cushion cover out of the way, the attention span got a bit better. I had all the Pendrell pieces cut out and ready to go, so I set about transferring all the markings. I was taught, by my Mum and in Home Ec, to use tailors tacks for this task, which I duly did, but 16 tailors tacks in each sleeve...... that's a lot of tailors tacks. I think I need to invest in some chalk or something!

I didn't take any construction pictures, and found it relatively easy to put together. I had to do a bit of unpicking and re-sewing of seams, just for silly mistakes where I caught some of the fabric in the seams. I also redid the neckline at least once. I did a much better job on the muslin! I have seen several people on the web commenting on how easy Tasia's method for finishing the neck and arms is. I have to say I found it super fiddly - but it might just be my machine's inability to sew slowly. I'm thinking of making another Pendrell with something from my Goldhawk Road haul, so I'll give it another go. Having had a play with my overlocker on my cushion cover, I used it to finish all the seams, which I'm very pleased with.

I stayed up late on the eve of the Fabric Fandango, in order to finish the Pendrell for its first outing. I wore it with a pair of pink linen trousers (Boden) and a denim jacket, so there is only a peek of the top in the photos of the day, but here are some different shots:

Now that I have worn it a couple of times since, I think there is too much fabric in the upper chest area, which may mean I need a narrow chest adjustment in the future. I might just make a smaller size and maybe use the cap sleeve from the ruffley version. I not going to do anything to this version, I like it too much and I don't want to mess up a completed project! I am also looking forward to it being warm enough that I can wearing this without jacket of some sort - the sleeves get a bit rumply under a jacket.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Getting distracted

At the beginning of last week I had the attention span of gnat - couldn't settle down and concentrate properly. Having made my practice Pendrell, adjusted a sleeve to have the pleats facing down, lowered the neckline slightly and taken in the underarm side seam, I put off cutting into my Liberty fabric. When I finally got round to cutting it out,

I put it to one side, and decided to make a cushion cover. We have a pair of arm chairs that used to belong to Husbands grandparents. About 10 years ago we had them re-upholstered. Unfortunatley, this was not done properly and the upholsterers lost some of the cushions, which means that there is not quite enough support at the back. Whilst we were unpacking the house recently, I found the original sample for the fabric which was quite large 65x65cm, so I thought I would make a cushion...

I had found some material in John Lewis that matched the red stripe in the the background, bought a cushion pad, and I was all set. I found a quick tutorial here for an envelope style cover. I could have worked it out myself, but I like having something to follow!

I got to play with my buttonhole foot on my sewing machine as well. I have made clothes in the past that have buttonholes, but not for a long time, so that was fun and a lot easier than I remembered!

Oh, and I used my new overlocker for the first time too! Both fabrics frayed alot so I overlocked all the seams (but didn't take any pictures of that!)

Monday, 16 May 2011

Karen's Fabric Fandango

Saturday 14th May dawned reasonabley brightly, although I was feeling a little bleary eyed. (I had stayed up until nearly midnight the previous night finishing my Pendrell blouse, so that I could wear it to the Fandango).

Having been dropped off at Bishops Stortford, I started my journey across London, whilst Husband and the girls went off to sunny Surrey to catch up with some friends we haven't seen since we got back from NZ.

I got to Goldhawk Road ahead of the meet up time and had preliminary wander up the road. I got back to the meet-up point at 2.30 to find a group of fellow sewists gathered in the ticket hall. More and more people arrived, including several people from the Sew Weekly meet-up, and everyone was getting quite excited.

The Sew Weekly group left us after some happy hello's, and Karen got us all introduced and into more manageable sized groups for shopping, with a view to meet at 5pm in a bar up the road.

My group was led by Handmade Jane, and consisted of me, Winnie from Scruffy Badger, Debi, and Aisha (I hope I have spelt that right). While I shopped with a very flexible mental shopping list, I admired Winnie's organised shopping - notebook complete with notes and swatches, and Aisha's restraint - swatches obtained and attached to the shop card, for considered purchasing later.

Aisha took the photo

I ended the shopping day with two jersey knits, and three prints:

I rather wish I had bought more of the dotty cotton, and also that I had looked for some plains for skirts/trousers. I had in mind to look for linen, but I couldn't see the weight or the colour I would have liked.

Having left most people in the bar comparing purchases, I left with my hoard, to join Husband and the girls at our friends house. My purchases were admired along with my restraint (!) before settling down with a glass (or two) of wine, a lovely meal and a good old catch-up.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Pinning out a practice Pendrell

I have been following Tasia's Sewaholic blog for a while now and when she announced her first pattern, the Pendrell blouse, I ordered a copy quick sharp. I knew that we would be returning to the UK in a couple of months, so I got the pattern sent to my in-laws for safe keeping. Having thought that I had lost the pattern at least twice during our unpacking, I wanted the Pendrell to be the first thing I made for myself.

After tidying the spare room for my parents visit, after they had gone, it was clear enough to start sewing. I decided to make a muslin of view A, before cutting into my Liberty fabric.

I found some curtains during the unpacking, that were surplus to requirement, so decided to cut into them. They were a muslin type material, quite light and floaty. Muslin for a muslin!

Having finished the muslin and tried it on, I think the neck line is too high for my liking (and a bit wonky) and the sleeves seem huge on me. I felt like an extra in Star Trek!

I did some research on the net and had a look at other peoples versions of the same view and found that most people had done the pleats on the sleeves to face downwards, whereas I had my pleats facing upwards. I think that the upward pleats are making the fabric too 'stand up-y' (not a real word I know!), instead of drapey. Next step is to take out one of the sleeves and reset it with the pleats going the other way, just to see, and then work out how low to make my neck line.

Getting back to sewing

Well, I have finally started sewing again. Lots of things have been going on... in brief:

Over a month ago, my mother-in-law took me shopping for my belated 40th birthday present - an overlocker. After lots of research on the net and some advice from Tilly and Karen, we went to the Sewing Centre in Clapham and I am now the somewhat daunted owner of an Elna overlocker. Following that, mother-in-law took me to some of the fabric shops that she has used in the past. We went to Joel & Sons, MacCulloch & Wallis, Cloth House, Broadwick Silks, Borovich Fabrics and a few more. Amazingly I only bought two pieces of fabric:

this for a Pendrell;

and this for a muslin for a shirt for Husband;

However, since that shopping day, the weather has perfect for gardening, so the overlocker is unpacked, but otherwise untouched, and the fabric remains uncut.

My parents came to stay for a few days over the Easter holidays, which meant that the spare room/sewing space was transformed from this:

into a space that they could sleep in.

The garden was pretty much untouched by the tenants while we were in New Zealand, so we have been transforming the garden as seen here.

Eldest and Middlest daughters have expressed an interest in using the sewing machine and creating something themselves. Over the holidays I have been helping them with a project I found here. This has been an education, most for me. I have found that I cannot teach them both at the same time, even with a spare sewing machine. Each of them needs a different approach, and acceptance from me of differing attention spans! Middlest now has a finished bag, which she has taken to school to show today. Eldest has a half pinned heap of material waiting for her.

I have also been making a muslin for my Pendrell blouse, but I will save that for another post.