Friday, 25 July 2014

Spring Sewing Swap 2014 - update

Well, I'm a little late on this and I have lots of other things to catch up on too....

I signed up for Kerrie's Spring Sewing Swap 2014 and was paired up with  Lisa from Small Things.  The idea behind the swap being to check out your partner's blog and send them a parcel of sewing related things that would fit with what they like/make.

I had great fun reading through Lisa's blog and realised that I had seen it before when she had put a folded/pleated skirt on Burdastyle (which I had 'favourite-d') a couple of years ago. It turns out that she is planning to release the skirt pattern at some point in the not too distant future.

We chatted a bit by email to gauge what each other liked and I think (hope) we got it about right. Below is what I received from Lisa:

I have already cut out and nearly finished a dress using the grey and blue stripey jersey, which I'm hoping will be a simple 'throw-on' piece for the gorgeous weather we are currently experiencing in the UK. The needles and clear elastic are for sewing jersey, so will be using those in the future! The brown fabric is also a knit with a paisley type pattern which may become a Renfrew, come Autum time.

Lisa is currently travelling around Europe in a converted firetruck so I knew posting to her might be tricky. I ended up sending my package to her Mum as Lisa had told me they Skype regularly. I know her Mum has recieved the package, but Lisa hasn't seen it in the flesh so to speak! I don't think Lisa would mind me showing what I sent her:

I think the swap is a great idea to get to know different blogs that are around. Well done Kerrie and thanks for organising it!

Thursday, 17 July 2014

FO: Not Quite Finished Polka Dot Skirt

I have a denim skirt that I really like.  I bought it from one of the many charity shops in my local town about 8 years ago, may be more, and it was originally from Monsoon. I got it fo £4 - bargin! Because I have had it for so long it is looking a little the worse for wear.

The last project I did at my pattern cutting class was to make a pattern of this skirt so that I could make a copy. My teacher had me find the middle of my skirt, draw a straight line to act as the central line/grainline and then do lots of measuring.  I measured the distance from each pleat to the line and  the depth of each pleat for the top and the bottom of the skirt. I added seam allowances and a hem and did a 'rub-off' copy of the waistband.

It sounds quite quick, but it took foreveerrrhhh and the old adage of measure twice cut once is oh so true.  I found that I am pretty incapable of measuring things accurately the first time round. To make sure the pattern would work I pleated the pattern up as if it were the skirt and thought it would do.

The fabric the I wanted to use was the off cut from my polka dot Anna dress. I knew that there wasn't quite enough fabric to get the right length so I used some linen from my stash to add a band of solid colour  at the bottom and waistband. (I made a skirt from the same linen 11 years ago - I am pretty sure it was upholstery linen from Ikea. It will fade over time because the old skirt was a completely different colour from the original by the time I chucked it out last year. Any hints on how to make it colour fast are welcome).

The first time I wore my Anna dress, one of my girls pointed out that it was see through, just as I was leaving the house to go to a meet-up, so by the time I made this I knew I was going to need to line it.

To make the lining pattern, I folded out some of the pleats and then drew around the resulting shape adding on seam allowances.

As you can see I had already put on the waistband at this point, and (in the second photo below) had to reduce the height of the waistband. Because I hadn't folded out all the pleats I roughly pleated the lining to fit.

Before I reduced the height of the waist band, there was a moment where I thought the skirt was going to be a disaster. I had tried it on and the fit was terrible - it was really uncomfortable and the waistband was digging into my ribs. I put it to one side whilst I worked out what to do. I was vastly over thinking the problem and ended up just halving the waistband height.

Once I had fixed the waist band, I hemmed the skirt. I wanted quite a wide band at the bottom of the skirt so did a 2cm hem, but when I tried on the skirt and started to take photos of it I felt that maybe it would look a little less frumpy/mumsy if it were a little shorter.  I then turned it up probably another 2 cms and pinned it, then took some more photos.   I did this at the end of May hence the slight vagueness.

back view - longer length

front view - shorter length
 I was undecided and so it is currently unfinished, awaiting a decision on the length. 

side view plus pleats
Pleat detail

Meanwhile I have been sewing lots of tops for the summer.... post/s to come. You can see one in these photos.

I think overall it has worked out ok. It doesn't fit as well as it could, it is still a bit tight and the waist is still a bit high but I think that could be easy fixed in a future version. I really just wanted to see if I could make a pattern from a piece of clothing without taking the orginal apart, and I can, kinda...

twirls nicely though!

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Versatile Blogger Award...

Caroline from CJ made has recently nominated me for a Versatile Blogger Award and described me as an experienced sewist - thanks Caroline! I met Caroline at the NYLon 2014 meet-up in May and have since had great fun reading about her sewing and art.

The VBA seems to similar to the Leibster and Sunshine awards where you nominate blogs that you enjoy reading and that you think others will enjoy, but without the limitations of how many people follow the blogs being nominated.

When accepting the nomination there are a few rules to follow:

  • Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to their blog
  • Share 7 interesting things about yourself
  • nominate 15 other versatile bloggers (I have done 12) and
  • Let the bloggers know that you have nominated them
Firstly, I shall endeavour to find 7 interesting things about me!

1 - In 2008, Husband and I had the crazy idea to go and live in New Zealand for a while. October 2009 found us with our 3 young children, 10 large bags, 5 lots of hand luggage, a package of car seats, and an oversize package of kites, arriving in Christchurch, NZ. We lived in a small town called Fairlie, South Island. We made some great friends and had a mostly great time. We came home at the beginning of 2011 and it was almost as if we had never been away.

2 - I rediscovered my love of sewing whilst we were in NZ and started this blog whilst we were out there.

3 - I used to be a Law Librarian in London in my working days. 

4 - despite the organisational skills required for being a Librarian, I am not very organised at home - I would love to be a bit tidier and not have assorted tutt around my home, but I just can't  manage it!

5 -  I love to cook, but I have noticed that since I started sewing more productively, my time for cooking has dwindled.  I still cook - I have a family to feed after all - but I no longer spend a whole afternoon crafting a gourmet meal (unless it is for a special treat/we have guests!)

6 - I have been following a food blog called Smitten Kitchen since around about 2008/9 written by a lovely lady called Deb Perelman, and last year I got to meet her briefly, when she came to the UK for her promo book tour. 
7 - Husband and I got married on Halloween - it was the first date our chosen venue was available.  It was not a themed wedding!

And now for nominated blogs - I am pretty sure these have not been nominated before:

Lisa from 
Rachel from Boo Dog and me
Cathe from Amaryllislog
Amanda from Bimble and Pimble
Sara from Mixed Emotions
Ingrid from We the sewing
Sally from The Quirky Peach
Lisa G from Notes from a mad housewife
Sonia from Ginger Makes
Katy from Sleek Silhoutte
T from U&mii
Fiona from Diary of a Chain Stitcher

All these ladies write well and make gorgeous clothes - I hope you enjoy reading them.