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Once you choose hope, anything is possible.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

SWAP Musings

Long day at work today so not trying to do too much in the way of sewing tonight, however a large mug of Earl Grey tea and I can pause and review progress.

I have a black dress on the sewing table from New Look 6071, plus plans for the Burda seamed skirt also in black. (This is a lot of black for me, but this wardrobe just seemed to need it, maybe the crazy print makes up for it?)
That would bring the total up to 8 pieces and would mean I had :-
2 tee shirt style tops
2 cardigan style jackets
2 knit dresses
2 skirts

Reading back through the SWAP rules, I see I need to make 7 different sorts of garments, 4 made twice. As I always have a few wadders I thought I would in fact have at least 7 types of garments and make them all twice, and then make an overall collection from this larger selection of pieces (time permitting).
Since I will have already used up 4 of the categories and some of them I just wouldn't want to sew for my everyday type wardrobe and the vibe of the 'Angled Poise Collection' , my current thoughts are to make 2 each in the following categories
Trousers - using a great pattern in an old Burda magazine I got from McGintie, make this twice in pinstripe and black denim.
Tailored jacket - as distinct from the cardigan jackets - collarless and sleek, incorporating the forward head alterations. Make this twice in red and pinstripe.
Blouse - tie neck blouse. Make this twice once in sheer, the other in red.

My reserve pieces would be one or two waistcoats (vests), a shirt with collar in a black/white stretch shirting (prob only one of these), and if I found appropriate fabric a simple raincoat. The fabrics are in boxes under the sewing table, so I might pull them out and see what speaks to me. Sometimes when stuck for ideas the fabric leads.

P.S. I haven't made any pants for a while so maybe this is what I need to sew next......

Monday, 30 January 2012

Print Dress

Here's a print dress made from New Look 6071. The 6th item in the 'Angled Poise Collection' I'm making for SWAP 2012.
I've lengthened the dress by 4.5" and shortened the sleeves to elbow length.
I plan to wear this tomorrow!
And with the other items....
I think the vision I had for the 'Angled Poise' Collection is coming through in the pieces, even when they only hang limply from the hanger.
Next up is a longer version of the black dress, and then I shall have to see what speaks to me.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Snow on the moors

Well I've had a strange week and not productive at all from a creative perspective.
I'm still doing the Artists Way, and wrote my pages each morning, plus went on a lovely walk on the moors where it had snowed which was gorgeous. This hasn't seemingly translated into anything creative as far as I can see. I have been cooking for the freezer and reading old Burda magazines and other people's sewing blogs but not doing anything actually creative myself.
 (view from Abney Moor)

I'm transitioning my old role at work which I have found a lot more emotional than I expected, especially the bit where I realised I was going to have to move out of my desk, and it looked for a while that I wouldn't have anywhere in the office to work in 2 weeks time. I'm hoping this gets resolved on Monday, but I have found the 'desk wars' exhausting. The new role is in a completely different part of the organisation and I don't know any of the people, and I think I'm going to hugely miss my current colleagues (some of whom have become friends).

So this week has been a bit of a slog. Change is good and necessary, but its also difficult and unsettling. I've still not got anything done for the Craft Fayre, and have not sewn any steps on the knit dresses. Aware it was all getting a bit stressful I have booked a day of leave on Friday to give myself a bit of mental space. Here's hoping for a better week this next week.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

February Burda Skirt

I am planning to make a version of this skirt in a fairly heavy black ponte.Its pretty much the only thing I liked in February's Burda Style Magazine.
I don't really like that long separating back zipper. Think I could do an elastic waist or a shorter invisible zipper?

Monday, 23 January 2012

The Artist's Way

I've done two weeks now of the Artist's Way and am finding it simultaneously hard going and very productive.
The very first week something unlocked in my brain and I rewrote my internal CV (resume) describing myself in a much more creative (and true to myself) way in the opening paragraph. I then used this to apply for an internal job, which after 2 interviews (one by phone, the other in person) they decided to offer and I accepted. The descriptions of my actual work experience and qualifications remained unchanged, so it shows that intro bit really matters!
I'm now in handover mode as I wind down the old job and then begin to learn the new one.
Not quite what I was expecting from a course in creativity :-)
However I really love the field I work in and want to bring creativity into that, so this feels right if  a little scary.
I suppose I anticipated the impact would come in my sewing, photography or various crafts, so the creative spark coming in my work took me slightly by surprise.
I'm very excited that there are now 150 followers of this blog. Wow! Thank you all. I am humbled and encouraged that you want to see my projects.
I shall continue to sew as much as is feasible along with everything else and share the results here.
I do have some plans, but opening the door to being more creative may well change those as I learn and grow :-)
I'd still quite like the direction to include lots of hill walking, wardrobe sewing and things for the Craft Fayre, but maybe there's some other fun things waiting for me as well.

The rainbow is there because there was a great one on my way to work this morning. I enjoyed it as much as I could whilst still driving safely. I know rainbows are a little hackneyed, but they do bring me such joy every time I see one - all those pretty colours and almost always on a dismal day!

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Cream tops coverhemmed

Rather than starting sewing another garment, I decided to rethread the coverhem in cream and hem the bottom and sleeves of the two cowl neck tees. Well worth doing as I can now wear these if I want to.
Sometimes its good to finish something off. There's a lot of satisfaction to be had from that!
This style is great to wear under wool sweaters or jackets that I can't bear to have touching my skin, and are basically my looser collared version of rollnecks.

Craft Fayre Sewing

There will be 3 craft fayres through 2012 and I plan to supply goods for them all, and help sell when I can. The first one is Sat 3rd March, and clashes with a weekend away, so I'll just supply the goods and others will sell them. That might be quite good actually as it'll take the personal element out of it - ie the aspect where you want the person to buy because you made it, and it hurts a little bit when they don't. I'm hoping this will give me an idea of what to make more of and what to make less of. I'll need to label and price up in advance as well. I think I'll print on ordinary paper, cut up and hand sew with a bit of thread, though sticky labels could also work, and would be quicker!
The next one is on Sat 1st September. I might do a few extra 'new term' type things like pencil cases and tote bags for that one. And then Sat 1st December, the Christmas Fayre, which can have Christmas stockings, hot water bottole covers, and anything which might be a nice Christmas gift for someone. I'm also going to pot up my baby spider plants and sell them as well, nothing at all to do with sewing :-). The lady I'm sharing space with makes greeting cards and gift boxes, so hopefully we will complement one another well.
Do you think a service where you can have the initial of your choice handsewn onto a cushion would prove popular? I could have felt letters and spare felt ready and sew on with embroidery thread in their presence. I could only do this at the ones where I was actually there, so not something I have to decide for March.
Thanks Ruthie

Friday, 20 January 2012

Black Drape Front Cardigan

The plain black version of the drape front cardigan is finished.
Hanger shot as per usual. It IS properly black, the camera has lightened the shot and I've left it so you can see the detail.
Works very well with either of the tops and skirt :-)
Here's the 5 pieces, you can see that already I have quite a few outfit combos.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Little print tee

Here's the little print tee I managed to cut out with the dress. I could only manage short sleeves, but I think that still works. I think this would work well under a plain black pant suit with a bold necklace. And it is a free garment as well, so I'm pretty happy with it.
It is a completely crazy print but a simple tee, and does work with the whole 'Angled Poise' collection I think.
This is a variation of the top from my most used pattern New Look 6735 - view C.
Since I now have the sewing machine, serger and coverhem machine all threaded up in black, I am going to carry on and sew the two dresses and another version of the drape front cardi this time in black.

New Look 6071 - print and plain

I really got a lot of use out of the Christmas New Look 6071 dress. Black with gold sparkles is a little too much for the office though, so I'm making it again in a bold print with a 4.5" added to the drafted length and also in plain black, which I will hopefully cut a lot longer, to come below mid calf length.
The leftovers from the print should be enough for a little top as well if I am carefully with cutting out. I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Clothing of the right size, wardrobe cull etc

I found this old post on Corporette very interesting, especially the comments.
Buying a Bigger Size
especially as I have 2 nice pant suits which don't currently fit but would be useful for work.

I would be interested in how people have tackled wardrobe culling, building a basic work wardrobe etc.

The area where I work is likely to undergo quite a lot of change causing my role to change, or perhaps me moving to a new role, so giving off the right vibe with well fitting and appropriate clothing is going to be a bit more important in the next few months than it has been. I've gained some weight since I've been living alone and adjusting to my new single life so this has been of particular relevance to me.

Burdas from 2003-4

A lady on Stitchers Guild was clearing out some of her old Burda magazines and asked if anyone wanted them. I did although she's miles away.... but I've managed to arrange for a friend who works in that area to collect them from her and hopefully they will be on their way towards me on Friday. Apparently its the whole of 2003 and 2004, and given that I'm not usually one to embrace the latest fashions in Burda, may well give me lots of patterns which would work.
I had a little search on PR and people were sewing Burdas then and had good reviews, so I'll have to see when they come.
I'm really quite excited, and hope there will be some patterns that are quite me in there. Not sure if it'll disrupt my SWAP plans if I get distracted by something different than planned. However I have taken a different approach this year with a mood board and 3 boxes of co-ordinating fabric rather than anything more specific. So as long as the yardage is enough for whatever I fancy sewing I can have this freer form way of sewing which I think will be good.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Chunky Necklaces

I treated myself to some chunky necklaces from http://www.prettycool.co.uk
They are very Ruthie you have to agree?

First up chunky coral coloured resin. Coral is a great colour for me and gets 'looking well' type comments from people.
Hammered chunky gold, great for reflecting warmth up into the face. A great piece to add to a boring suit.
Lime green multi-strands. Another great colour for me. Have been looking for something a bit like this for quite a while, so jumped at the chance.
And last, but by no means least, a silver tone leaf necklace. Trees and leaves are my preferred motif and bring me great joy, so I really wanted to get this. It is great for my 'Flamboyant Natural' personal style.

Monday, 9 January 2012

'Garment' A Month and cuuuute tape measure

There's a proliferation of 'garment' A Month type topics on Stitchers Guild. I've decided to join in with Jacket A Month, Top A Month and Pants A Month, but leave the others well alone.
If I manage 12 in any category than that'd be great but I'm not too concerned about actually completing them, I'm using it more as a self pacing exercise to sew a balance of items for my wardrobe. For my definitions, jackets include cardigan type jackets as well, tops are any tops but mostly knit ones, and pants are any pants including PJs, waterproofs, walking trousers etc.

My lovely non sewing friend E was over yesterday and we went out for lunch and exchanged Christmas gifts. Part of mine was this adorable little tape measure. It's sooooo cute and has a recessed button to retract the tape. Isn't it lovely! I wouldn't have ever bought it for myself, thinking it somehow frivolous, but I adore it.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

All Points Skirt Completed

Here's my version of the All Points skirt. I made a mistake cutting out and needed to add a deeper waistband with elastic so it was long enough. I also didn't like the raw edges on my fabric so serged,  turned and stitched. I think it needs a bit of a press so shall not wear tomorrow.
I love love love this ponte knit, and will probably go back and buy some more so I can make more pieces - a cardigan, dress, slim leg pull on pants, maybe leggings as well. This is the sort of stuff those travel wardrobes are made of, and at £5 per metre I need some more of it!

Saturday, 7 January 2012

The All Points Skirt by Rhonda

Although I loved the Tablecloth skirt on Shams' blog, I knew it wouldn't work on my bottom heavy figure, so just admired it as a thing of interest. So I was very excited when I came across The All Points Skirt by Rhonda Buss which appeals to me very much. This drapes from the waist and doesn't have the angular points which add visual weight I don't need, so I think it could work very well for me.
I could not decide which of the knits in my SWAP pile to use, and in the end went into the fabric shop in town and discovered they had ponte knits, and bought black (for SWAP, particularly this skirt) and rust (for stash, prob next Autumn).

It's not really worth a photo of black ponte, so I'll just say its smooth, light to mid-weight and should work very well for the skirt. I've measured me and the fabric and will be able to cut out the panels across the width of the fabric, which will be very efficient use of the fabric, and means I can make something else from the rest of it - maybe a simple black dress.

Jenni suggested that if this skirt style works well for me I should consider it in a pinstripe woven, and I am hugely excited about that. There's something quite subversive about a suit in a conventional fabric, but with unusual lines. I probably would need to keep the jacket quite simple to avoid overload.

Hopefully I will be able to cut out and sew up the skirt tomorrow and share with you.

With the sweater set and skirt, I would have a whole new outfit to wear next week!

Sweater Set

Remember the drape front cardigan? It's now a sweater set as I sewed a little knit top out of the same sweater knit to go under it. This came out quite well, and I really utilised the fabric carefully, having only teeny weeny scraps left over.
Tip if you want to make a sweater set, cut both garments out at the same time to make sure they fit onto the fabric. I interlocked the pattern tissue pieces and also realised I needed to shorten the top slightly so it didn't show longer than the cardi.

Sale Shopping

I got some money for Christmas and decided to do a little sale shopping.
If you've been reading my blog for a while you may remember that I loved a red-orange dress in Monsoon but decided I could NOT justify the £70 price tag.

I went back today and bought the dress for £21 in the sale, and am very happy. I also picked up a little red-orange butterfly pendant to go with it.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Drape front cardigan

Not quite finished as a thread broke on the serger at an unhelpful point, but thought you would like to see the drape front cardigan out of the black and white stripe sweater knit.....
There's also a 3/4 sleeve scoop neck sweater cut out (but not yet sewn up) to make it into a modern sweater set.
Edited to add a little more about the pattern and construction.
The cardigan is based on New Look 6735 View A, the cardigan jacket. I had already altered this to deal with my forward head and shortened it for a previous cardigan. For this version I made a new pattern piece for the lower front and back (which I'm calling a peplum) as described in the last post - basically a rectangle the length of the hip circumference and the depth of the original waist to hip length, with squares added each end for the drapes. Then when cutting out I stopped the cardigan front and back at the waistline.
Construction order was as follows:-
- shoulder seams
- insert sleeves (flat)
- sew up sleeve and upper side seams
- sew 2 sections of peplum together.
- sew peplum to lower edge of cardigan
- sew 2 sections of neckband together.
- sew neckband to front of cardigan.

I've cut a version of the view B top to make it into a sweater set with the cardigan. I shortened the body and sleeves slightly to make sure it both fitted on the fabric and would not show longer than the cardigan. Hopefully I'll sort out rethreading the serger tonight and can sew up the matching top in the next day or two.

All sewn to the rather chilled strains of Lauridsen :-)

Monday, 2 January 2012

SWAP sewing

Honest I AM starting on my SWAP.

So far I took the Autumn 6PAC fabric that didn't get made into anything and packed it away in two huge plastic boxes and stuffed them under the sewing table. Kinda sad as there's some boiled wool in there that didn't want packing away really and made a bit of a fuss when I tried to get the lid on, but we've a new season coming up, so it had to go away.

Then I fished out the 3 boxes of SWAP fabric and went through them getting out the knits that could be sewn with black thread. These are now on the ironing board waving at me. One - the black and white sweater knit - is laid out on the cutting board on the bed whilst I think how to get a cardigan and a top out of it. I'd initially planned a classic sweater set, but then decided I really wanted a cardigan with those draped hem points, so I've been investigating my RTW cardigans - and its really easy - so I will try to share my findings with you so you can make your own :-)

First up find yourself a pattern for a cardigan which consists of a front, back, sleeves and neckband as a starting point. Confirm the basic finished length you want (not including the hem points) and mark the hem and waist positions on your pattern. When you come to cut out the cardigan use theexisting pattern pieces for the sleeve and neck band, plus the front and back as far as the waist marker. Then cut a new piece for the lower body. This should run in the opposite direction for interest. The width is equivalent to the waist to hem length plus seam allowances. The length is equivalent to the waist length plus the waist to hem length twice. When you sew it together, pivot the peplum part at the centre front waist and sew it to the front band, this creates additional triangles at the side front giving the dipped hem. Easy but very effective.

If I get it to work I'll share a picture :-)


Craft Fayre

The next craft fayre at the church community centre is Saturday 3rd March, and my aim is to have a whole table of Ruth sewn items to sell. I'll pass any profit on to the community centre, as I'm not doing this for my own financial benefit, but to use the stash up in a creative and useful way.
I think I'll call the stall 'Sew Ruthie' as well (the current blog name) and I will have to get shifting on the sewing as there's basically 2 months to get everything ready.
I've partly sewn a few items, and have collected loads and loads of ideas. My head's almost ready to implode, so I wrote them all down in a Word document so I won't forget any of them.