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Once you choose hope, anything is possible.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Sewing co-ordinated capsules

As you know I have been really into sewing capsules, and whilst I may appear to have paused on that goal at the moment, I am in fact now wired that I sew new things to add to a previous capsule.

So at the moment I am sewing extras to go with my new jeans (the ones with the flag back pockets.)
These have red top stitching and the coordinating pieces are all in red and navy.
I'm pulling in some navy pinstripe pants from the 'Inspired by the Sea' Collection (which was all navy and turquoise),  a long jacket with 3/4 sleeves from the PR Wardrobe Contest in 2008 (navy and orange) plus a red knit top from the Christmas 2009 collection (black and red).

This all works OK becuase I am fairly consistent with my colours, and because the pieces still combine a neutral with a bright.
I'm making another knit top (dark red) at the moment and then I'll call a halt to this capsule at which point it has

navy jeans
navy stripe trs (previously made)

navy jacket (previously made)

navy and red striped knit top
navy knit top (previously made)
red print knit top (previously made)
red and white print knit top
currently sewing dark red knit top which may not make it.....

I will have to add red shoes and bag of course, plus a red necklace when wearing the navy top, to avoid being navy woman. These are the pieces I will take with me to London, as I reckon its OK to wear both pairs of trousers twice.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Sewing in small chunks of time

Recently my work has been rather busier than I would like. I'm taking steps to get it back under control but in the meantime I've learned some things about sewing when you don't have much time which I thought might be useful to others.
- Don't put off sewing all together becuase you only have small chunks of time. Its a valuable outlet and can be a real stress buster.
- Choose a project that is fairly easy to achieve. I am not saying dumb it down, but if you pick a knit tee it'll be finished and wearable a whole lot earlier than a complex jacket.
- Choose something you can wear straight away. ie is seasonally appropriate, is the right size, suitable for your lifestyle, flattering colour etc and works with at least one other thing in your wardrobe even if its only a plain tee or jeans. That way you can wear your new garment as soon as its completed.

- Break the project into bits, you don't have to have a whole day to sew just a few minutes on each task.
- Choose fabric and pattern, make sure you have thread, zipper, buttons etc so you don't have to stop. Put them together so they don't get lost. I like plastic zip lock bags.
- thread up the overlocker and sewing machine so they are ready.
- Cut out the pattern and make any little alterations you normally need.
- Cut out the garment leaving the pattern pieces pinned on.
- if required apply interfacing, cut linings etc.
- Sew a few seams, insert the zipper, press, then hang the partly garment on a hanger to inspire you.
- Sew a few more seams until its done.
- Do hems, elastic, buttonholes and buttons etc

- Choose a day to wear your new garment, make sure its pressed and you wear other nice things with it.
Enjoy wearing it.

When I am really pushed for time I make PJ pants from an old TNT pattern, add a purchased tee shirt and I have lounging or night wear. This is also my fave way to use up outlandish prints that are a bit too wacky for daytime. Lampshade prints, cartoon cats, slightly too kitschy florals etc all make great PJs.
You can add to too short pants with contrast print with a little ribbon at the seams.
I still get the 'I made this' buzz even though time was very limited.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Next project

Yesterday and today I used the cover stitch to hem the sleeves and hem of the striped and plain knit tops.
Tonight I decided what to sew next - a dark red knit top from the new New Look pattern.
I found serger thread and threaded up ready, perhaps tomorrow I will get chance to cut out.
And the next evening to sew up.

Meanwhile I have picked up more stuff at work and am still travelling so my sewing time is pretty limited

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Sewing Direction?

I keep planning to join this contest or that sew along. I get as far as pulling out a bunch of matching fabrics. Thinking about what I am going to do etc etc. I write posts oin the relevant boards, sketch away in my notebook .....
And then I sew a knit top in a different colour way. And don't follow through on the plans.
I also keep buying fabric, rather than sewing it up.

I'm not quite sure why that is. Perhaps its a reaction to my work at the moment which is pretty driven and this last week has been quite pressured. Don't misunderstand, I enjoy my work, but sometimes it seems to take a lot of my energy and I have none left over for anything else much.
I've also had a few weekends away, which is always nice but cuts into the flow, especially if you are away with work in the week for a few days as well.

I need to pack my bag to go away again, but once I am back it would be nice to finish the hems on the navy tops, and then the questionm comes - what next?

I'm not going to bust a gut trying to do the PR wardrobe contest. I've been all over the place colour scheme wise and don't have an obvious base for a collection. I quite fancy the One pattern many looks contest and have a lot of ideas of ways to use a TNT pattern. As ever though that begs the question of whether I would sew those items if the contest was not running, or if I'd just be sewing things to fit with the contest.

Elizabeth (ejvc) is doing an Autumn Collection on Stitcher's Guild. That has no prizes, and flexible rules and I have some fabrics which could work.

However all of those things are me being driven by someone else's ideas and time frames (though some gentler than others). Perhaps I should walk (sew) to the beat of my own drum for once.
I'm a good implementer, at work its one of my strengths, getting stuff done. But perhaps its time to dream a little about vision for myself.

I'm not a loner. At work I love being part of a team, even if that's something which varies from project to project. And that personality trait transfers through to participating on boards, in chats and in sew-alongs and contests. Sewing isn't very sociable but the boards (especially my beloved Stitchers Guild) make it so.

So do I want to do my own thing, or be part of the community? Well a bit of both I think is the real answer.

How that translates into the next sewing project, or a series of connected projects I am not quite sure.

Sew along/contest OR doing my own thing?
Something to wear now OR planning ahead?
For me OR for someone else?
Red OR turquoise OR navy OR ?
Work OR WFH OR casual?

OR tidy up the sewing room and do something else different just for a little while......

(The answer of course may lie in just being home a bit more, and working a bit less)

Fabric Shopping

I went to an evening wedding party in Lancashire this weekend and so of course made space to go to Fabrix in Lancaster.There I bought
2 metres of bright red and 2 metres of dark red high quality viscose lycra knit at £6.99 per metre. Lovely quality stuff so happy to pay the price. I also purchased some apple green burnout knit which would make a nice soft cardigan and some neutral beige poly knit (very thin) which will be great for linings and so on for too sheer as its quite close to my skin tone.

I also bought this pattern - New Look 6922 which is for knits, and so I think I would get good use from it.


This morning I stopped in at Abakhan in Preston. They have a 10% summer sale off everything but I was not wowed. Continuing the knit theme I bought a piece of dark red viscose lycra knit and quite a long yardage of a beefer red poly knit with not much stretch which I thought would make a good cardi, knit dress for winter etc.



I think I need to pause from shopping for a while now and concentrate on sewing instead.
The cupboard has been short of red knit fabrics though and I think that has been addressed this weekend so I am happy.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Striped Top

Here's the striped fabric from Leeds market made up into a long sleeved knit top.
I picked a simple style as the stripes are so dominant, and I think that has worked out OK.
I cut the neckband out of the widest navy stripe so it was all navy for a simpler look than having stripes there too. I also cut the back on the fold again to keep the stripes even. The pattern does have a centre back seam which gives a nicer fit, but here I wanted to showcase the stripes so will have a bit of lower back puddling I will have to live with.
It still needs hemming which I will save for another day.
It was a bit fiddly matching the stripes up but the knit gives a bit of fudge factor.
This is to wear with the Union Jack jeans for casual wear.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Weather and lack of sewing

Other than Friday evening's sewing I've not managed any more over the weekend though I've been reading blogs, magazines, looking at patterns etc.

On Saturday here it reached 30 degrees Celsius and that's very hot for the UK. My northern English brain couldn't handle it (and I guess I wasn't drinking enough) as I felt distinctly unwell.
Yesterday it was quite a bit cooler and today (Monday) its down to 15 degrees and gently raining.

I'm travelling a bit less with work this week so hope to get some cleaning/tidying/sorting or even sewing done in the evenings.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Navy top

I've been buying more than sewing, which since this is 'RuthieK Sews', not 'RuthieK Buys a lot of fabric and posts gratuitous pictures of it' is not quite on topic.
The usual excuses apply, I've been away with family, with work, working (a lot) etc.

So I thought I would actually sew something, and here it is.

This top is from New Look 6735. I cut a size 16, have elbow length sleeves and added a few strips of ruffled fabric as detail on the front.
The fabric is a knit with not much stretch, I think a viscose without Lycra and was a tiny remnant purchased from Abakhan Fabrics in Preston with Jenni a few weeks ago.
I'm quite pleased with this as it quite grown up.
It still needs hemming, but I think you can get quite a good idea from the hanger shot.


I am frankly all over the place with the sewing at the moment but seem to have been sewing in three strands
1 - Black, white and red
2 - Navy and red
3 - Teal, turquoise and brown

I am moving ahead with the navy at the moment as that is what is on the serger.
My Exeter fabrics went mostly with the turq/brown with one black/white piece of fabric.

I think I will hem the top and then move on to making a top from the striped fabric. I might use this pattern again as its simple lines would be good with something strong like the stripe.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Totally Fabrics

....had a sale (40% off and I bought a few pieces of fabric).
All jersey lycra print knits
White turquoise navy fan print - 1.5 metres
Black white red pink abstract print - 2.0 metres (so could be an eye popping dress for work)
Cream brown turquoise gold - also 2.0 metres though not sure this reads as a dress as it has a pale background. But could make some great knit tops with it to wear with choc brown separates.
Orange blue and brown leaf print - also 2.0 metres. An even more eyepopping dress????
Perhaps with choc brown bands it could be relatively tasteful.
Plum, red, navy and white print - only 1.5 metres as this was all that was left. Not really enough for a dress for me unless I have a minimal layout, straighten the skirt slightly, have short sleeves etc. I have to try as it would make a really great dress
Anyway we will have to see what the lengths are like when they actually come since a few are end of bolt, and I've noticed are therefore sometimes slightly short.

I did order a 6th fabric, but that must have got sold out as they already refunded my order.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Sewing Whatever I Want - SWIW

Having been a keen followers of SWAP and similar wardrobe sewimg approaches I have currently gone free range and am following a programme I made up randomly called 'Sewing Whatever I Want'.

This basically consists of just making whatever I want to do next, and as long as it works with at least one thing I already own its OK. In the case of a dress that means I need to have shoes and maybe a purchased jacket etc.

Whilst this lacks the structure and drive of an online contest its quite good fun.

Currently in the pipeline is a navy blue knit top which is a fairly classic scoop neck but has a bit of ruched self fabric detail on the front. OK so I can sew whatever I want but I'm keeping it wearable and relatively tasteful.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Exeter Fabric centre

We've been away for a few days and on Friday afternoon I got a chance to go to the Exeter Fabric Centre where I picked up these :-
 Click picture to view larger.
Top left - cotton Batik print DH chose for me to sew him a loose tunic top.
Bottom left to right
Chocolate brown linen (2m), jersey knit with white background and lace print (2m), plain chocolate brown jersey (2.5m), turquoise knit with flaw (3m), and light and dark taupe threads to go in the overlocker/serger with impossible to match fabrics.

The chocolate brown linen will probably be trousers with leftovers used to trim a slightly too short brown linen print skirt. The lace print and turquoise will be knit tops, the chocolate knit will be a dress and the cotton print a loose tunic for DH.

MIL also gave me some old Sew Today magazines (magazine for Vogue/Butterick/McCall's patterns) and though the pattern offers are expired there are good constructions tops and ideas for garment and fabric combos.
She also gave me some pieces of nice leather so once my techniques have improved a little bit, and I am used to sewing with leather on my machine I will branch out to some slightly larger leather pieces - I fancy a simple laptop bag, but we'll have to see how good I get.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Patterns Ordered from Sewing World.

I ordered this end of line patterns today and hope they come in the next couple of weeks

Simplicity 2977 -
Simplicity 3775 -

New Look 6697 -
New Look 6751 -
New Look 6786 -

1st July Update

We have broadband back and are happily surfing.
I have been away with work as usual, and trying to stuff a week of work into only a few days.
I am lucky as I enjoy my job, but it can be quite hectic.

Anyway here is the dress I made. I wore it with a black elastic belt with clasp, red shoes/jacket/bag and chunky gold tone jewellery.

Also here is a photo of some sweatshirt fabric with a mad print, which I think might become a casual hooded top to wear with jeans. It would prob be too warm for a knit top.