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Once you choose hope, anything is possible.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Style Challenges

I've been posting pictures for a Style challenge I am doing over on my other blog which is here.
Sew Ruthie's Colour & Style Blog

Please do leave comments if you pop over there.
If you just want to see the next sewing project... the brown turtleneck will appear Monday probably as life got busy.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Cool Dark Brown Ponte Leggings

Here's the leggings, or maybe they are slim knit pants (they are not as tight as leggings, but still a very different silhouette to my usual wide leg pinstripes).
These are McCalls 5394 which I made up previously in a black self stripe knit. I've not worn them yet as it is still summer and more shorts and skirts weather.
So here's what the 6PAC looks like now. (P.S. I know I don't seem to be able to count)


Sunday, 23 August 2015

Cool Dark Brown Ponte Cardigan

The cardigan had to be made from the limited remaining fabric so I used the Prima November 2010 pattern again but shortened it and made the collar area a little narrower.
The selvedge had an interesting fringed effect so I have used that as my finished edge.
So I now have a cardigan, skirt and top all in the same shade of cool dark brown, enabling me to create an inner or outer column.
Here's the 6PAC so far.
I have leggings/slim pants and a turtle neck still to sew in the brown but after 3 garments I am already bored of it. Just need to push through and finish those off this week.


Cool Dark Brown Ponte Skirt

This is a very simple skirt made from the cool dark brown ponte which is the same colour as the drapey viscose (rayon) knit I used for the top yesterday.
I like to use the back piece of the skirt from Vigue 2989 and cut it out twice. Side seams are stitched and overlocked, top is overlocked then elastic zigzagged on by machine (easier to remove if required!). The hem is simply done on the coverhem machine.
With yesterday's top this makes a dark inner column, ideal for wearing a bold jacket/scarf/necklace. Those supporting pieces make getting dressed a lot easier.

Cool Dark Brown 3/4 sleeve tee

I decided to go down a slightly different route for a few garments and pick out the cool dark brown in the leaf print.
The stash yielded two appropriate pieces, both nice quality but no idea when/where I purchased them.

The first is some beautifully drapey viscose knit ideal for the 3/4 sleeve top.
This uses the body from New Look 6414 View C and the 3/4 sleeve from New Look 6735.
It is a very basic piece that can have a supporting role, for example with my existing purchased brown/lime leaf print skirt and bright lime jacket, just add a lime necklace for some colour.

Already cut out I have the same top with long sleeves and a turtleneck for when the weather gets colder. The lovely drapey fabric will be a wonderful piece against the skin if I want to wear a wool sweater or jacket on the top. (I can't bear wool to touch my skin, the fibres make me itch)

The second fabric is the same colour but a much heavier weight ponte type knit, so am planning a classic pencil skirt, some slim pants/loose leggings and maybe a cardigan if there is enough fabric left over.
This is the darkest colour found in my hair and is a great dark neutral for me (I think!).

I have the sewing machine, overlocker and coverhem all threaded up with dark brown so should be able to make good progress over the next few days/evenings. I will share as I go.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Coral pink half sleeve tee

Remember the collection I'm making for late summer.
And I made the leaf print skirt
And now I've made the coral pink top
This uses the body from New Look 6414 View C and the sleeve from New Look 6735 cropped to elbow length due to fabric limitations, I added bands on the sleeves to make them slightly longer.

I now fancy making some dark brown leggings and a cowl top to wear under the coral mesh cardigan but need to stay focussed and make up the coral jacket next if I can find the pattern.
I also need to mow the lawns, trim the front hedge and paint the trim on the garage whilst the weather is good!

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Coral Mesh Cardigan: Prima November 2010

I bought the fabric for this a few weeks ago from the fabric stall on the Monday market, mostly because it was coral. As the fabric is cotton I prewashed it to avoid too much shrinkage later. I didn't measure it before hand but I think it did shrink quite a bit in width.
I couldn't quite think what to do with it, and then decided that actually a simple cardigan style would be the best bet.
The fabric is a cotton mesh base with chenille sections, no stretch and quite big holes between everything.
I sewed with a longer than usual straight stitch (length 3) and overlocked immediately to keep the edges contained.
The front is cut on the selvedge of the fabric.
I used a cardigan jacket pattern from the November 2010 issue of Prima magazine. This is a general women's magazine published in the UK, which if you subscribe comes with a free sewing pattern, often a very simple style, so good for things like this.
Not sure what you could possibly do with the leftover mesh scraps!

Cream Culotte Slip

Cream culotte slip made from a lovely soft cotton blouse fabric which has been in the stash for a long time.
This have been made in the same way as the previous ones.
I wanted a light coloured slip to wear under the lighter skirts and dresses.
I will test it tomorrow under a purchased skirt and decide if the rest of the fabric is another slip or a blouse/top instead.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

New Shoes

New shoes purchased on Saturday at the Clarks Outlet.
Sturdy skintone wedge sandals to wear with summer skirts, and slip on suede wedges to wear with dark tights and knee length winter skirts.

Monday, 17 August 2015

Happy Birthday Bunting Finished

Here's the completed Happy Birthday Bunting, hope the recipient (my dad ) likes it.
The description of how I made the letters is here. Happy Birthday Bunting.

Updated to add this is for a family BBQ for my Dad's 70th birthday at the end of the month.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Barcelona Stained Glass Window Quilt

My lovely auntie Joy made this beautiful quilt for me. I am so lucky!!
I am not a quilter and have never had a quilt before.
Isn't it gorgeous?
It is based on one of the stained glass windows of Gaudi's Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.

It is even better than the photos as the quilt shows both the beautiful stonework and the richness of the colours in the glass which doesn't quite come out in photos.

It is hanging above my sofa and I am overjoyed with it.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Wearing the coral leaf print skirt

A quick shot of me wearing the coral leaf print skirt.
I've added a pink cotton sweater, dark brown belt and sandals and a gold coloured necklace and earrings in the shape of a leaf.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Happy Birthday Bunting Letters

The blue fabric I bought on Monday was for this birthday bunting, each flag is 9" high and 7" wide.
I printed the letters out large on paper, then roughly hand copied them onto the blue fabric with a sliver of soap, then stitched cord over the soap lines with a straight stitch.

I am planning on backing these with matching fabric triangles and turning through as neatly as I can then stitching together with blue tape from my haberdashery box.
The technique was inspired by this cushion from Tesco (no longer available) which I snapped on my phone one day as inspiration.

Hopefully will be able to share the finished item by the end of the week.

Coral Leaf Skirt - Butterick 3972

I made the first first of ployester linen mix leaf print fabric into Butterick 3972.
It was much trickier to cut and sew than the black and white linen print, being much finer weight and very prone to fraying. A good press with a hot iron right at the end seems to have sorted things out and it hangs beautifully, and like a skirt from an expensive shop.
Apologies for the slightly wonky camera angle. I plan to wear it some time this week and will get the wheely bin to take a shot so you can see what it is like being worn.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Monday Market Man

You may have noticed that I often reference my fabric purchases as being from the Monday Market Man.
This is Tony, an old fashioned open air market stall holder, with no website.
He often only gets one roll of each fabric so if I like it I tend to buy it in case he doesn't have any more next time. Fabric is usually £2.99 per metre, with the more expensive ones being £3.99.
Apparently he does occasionally get special fabrics in which would be more at £8.00 etc but I've not seen any of these. Tony has a double width, double sided stall in order to display as much fabric as possible. It is arranged by type and always in the same way so you can find what you want. From left is printed lightweight cottons, the right is other wovens e.g. things for trousers and jackets, round the other side there's a whle section just of knits (this is where I buy the most), then round into linen prints, tapestry and the newer speciality items e.g scuba.
None of the fabric is seconds and everything I have bought from him as worked out well, to the point I've abandoned the local roll end shop which had a lot of low level stuff.

If you'd like to see Tony's lovely fabrics he is available as follows:
Monday, Chesterfield, Derbyshire
Wednesday, Newark, Nottinghamshire
Friday, Lichfield, Staffordshire
on the open air market of each town from 7am - 5pm

I live near Chesterfield and can walk from my workplace to the market in my lunchbreak.
I don't know Newark well so can't comment too much.
Lichfield is a lovely place and well worth a little trip if you are an hour away. You could go for the day, visit the adorable Cathedral, where you can see the ancient book of St Chad, pop to the market, look round the shops, have lunch in the Cathedral cafe etc. It would be a delightful day out.

Apparently Tony did previously go to Loughborough market, but some sort of reorganisation there reduced the stall sizes below the size he needs to display the fabric so he doesn't go anymore, which is a big loss to my auntie who lives in the area.
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Here's what I bought from Tony today
Left: 2m of black and white striped ponte at £3.99 a metre. I just loved the quality of this and have no idea what to make it up into. It would be great used with plain black ponte in a panelled dress perhaps.
Centre: 1.5m of polyester linen mix also at £3.99 a metre. I bought some of this the other week and have a partially contructed skirt I'll finish and share tomorrow, but really wanted to have a blouse as well so got some more before it all sold out. The shapes and colours in this print really reflect my natural colouring and the shapes in my features so I thought it was a real winner.
Right: 4m of a poly mix suiting twill in medium blue at £2.99 a metre. I chose this for a craft project (which I'll share later when complete) but decided the fabric was nice and I would buy the rest of the roll and see what I wanted to do with the rest. It is a good medium weight so could be anything from floor cushions to a skirt and would make indestructible shopping bags.
Can anyone enlighten me on what the writing woven into the edge stands for? This fabric smells a little musty so could be quite old. RUBIN TERGAL or maybe RURIN TERSAL??
(Updated to add apparently Tergal is a sort of good quality polyester fabric and Rubin is probably the manufacturer's name, it seems to be the sort of thing uniforms and overalls are made from, so would indeed make almost indestructible shopping bags using that stripe webbing I got from Bond's haberdashery shop in Farsely Leeds 2 years ago)

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Pattern Alterations for High Round Back and Forward Head

I had fitting problems for a long time which I could not really identify, I tried petite alterations and various things which didn't seem to work too well. At the Stitchers Guild Meet up in London July 2010, I was proudly wearing all Me-Made things and we were chatting away about alterations (as sewists do), Karen and Elizabeth pointed out very politely that I needed a high round back alteration on my T shirts. When I came back my sewing was a bit stuck for a while, because now I knew I needed to do something more but didn't quite know how. I researched it a bit more and found some options which I thought might help others.

There are a couple of way to tackle the high round back which either introduce a centre back seam, gathers across the centre back neck or a shoulder dart. Here's a really good Threads article showing the various options.
http://www.threadsmagazine.com/item/5063/the-dowagers-hump
I tend to go for the shaped centre back seam and add about an inch at the deepest part of that wedge.

Threads don't seem to cover the opposite side of this which is that at the front I now have too much fabric between the shoulders and the bust, which fits ok out at the shoulders but is too much fabric in the centre. I remove this with a wedge taken out across the front between the bust and the shoulders. This works well on an open V or scoop neckline but on a round neck it needs to be redrawn lower down.
This alters all of the facing, neckband and collar pieces too which also need an amount removing where they would be attached at an area which has had fabric removed from the front or back. I often avoid things with a collar for this reason because you are then altering the collar, facings etc as well which is a pain.

Here's an example from a top I made in March 2014 from Vogue 2989.
I add a wedge across the back which adds an extra inch. And I also take a little bit off the top of the centre back seam. This is a super easy alteration on things which have a centre back seam.
Basically draw a line across the upper back (I do mine about half way up the armhole) at 90 degrees to the grainline. Cut through this from the centre back almost to the armhole leaving a small 'hinge'. Then add extra tissue behind and spread the upper section by the amount you need - 1" in my case. I also curve in the very top of the neckline (not clear on my photo) but same as the image below. That little curve affects the shape of any back neck facing and/or collar pieces, so you'll have to take matching wedges out of them.
Here's someone else's diagram with extra red lines. My alteration is more extreme and further down the back, but you get the idea.

This will then need a matching forward head alteration to remove the excess from the front neckline. 
Again draw the line at 90 degrees to the grainline. Then mark 1" up from the line and draw a second line at an angle back to the hinge point in the armhole. Fold so the two lines meet and tape in place. Alter any facing and collar pieces to match (easiest done by transfering the two lines onto the facing piece and then folding afterwards).
This leaves you with a bit of a step in the edge and you can fill in with tissue if liked. I tend to just mentally add the tissue and cut accordingly.

This leaves the armholes and sleeves exactly the same and thats not been a problem for me.

I thought for ages I needed a small bust alteration but I don't - the excess fabric for me is between the bust and the neck so this is where I need to remove it.
I tend to pick styles with scoop or V neck as I don't like the sensation of a neckline at the collarbone level. However if you do have a higher round neck style and do this alteration, you will need to redraw the front neckline slightly lower, and alter any facing/collar pieces accordingly.

I hope this helps! 

The top I made in these pictures was too drapey for the pattern and I didn't keep it, but I used the alterations for a dress as well, also from Vogue 2989, and here's an old photo of me wearing it.
You can see there is no excess fabric at the front neckline and the raised neckline which forms a sort of collar hugs my neck at the back.

Friday, 7 August 2015

Wearing the striped dress

About 2 weeks ago I made a simple T shirt dress based on the Kirsten Kimono Tee, and today I decided to wear it for dress-down Friday at work. Here I am after a full day wearing it. I've added a coral pink cardigan, necklace and earrings, a black knit fabric tie belt and black sandals.

Also I had my hair cut mid week and really like it.
I have to pin the fringe (aka bangs) back until its grown out into the layers a bit more.
Here's the original dress laid flat so you can see the shape

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

August 6PAC new patterns

I had a trawl through my pattern stash and for the coral jacket I want to try this beautiful pattern - McCall's 5481.
It has a two piece sleeve, elegant lines especially through the back and is lined.
I think I would probably have a button/loop or hooks instead of the waist ties but the centre back seam and lack of a collar should make my alterations slightly easier.

For the stone knit top I really like Simplicity 1916 as it has some slightly different looks to the pattern as well as a handy centre back seam and some nice 3/4 length sleeves.

I like both views A and D, maybe D with the belt detail from F, as the dangling part of the belt would distract nicely from a tummy.



August 6-PAC plans

The Autumn 6-PAC has started on Stitchers Guild but its still summer here and I'm not quite ready to sew the heavier pieces. So I am planning a simpler version of the 6PAC using two RTW items as a starting place.
The existing items are these taupe trousers which I wear with a bronze belt and bronze loafers, and a stone linen jacket with waist seam and three little buttons which fits beautifully.
The pieces to sew to expand this into a little collection are:-
1. Print linen skirt - this print has the stone background with coral and taupe leaves and is the key for the collection. I'm planning on using Butterick 3972 for this again as that worked well. Any leftovers will be a little woven blouse of some sort.
2. Stone knit top. A very simple pale stone colour soft knit jersey, this will be some sort of knit top and should be very useful in the wardrobe. I've not decided what style yet and may go for a new pattern for a change (not New Look 6735). It is such plain fabric I think some interest will be needed in the style, and I have a few to choose from.
3. Coral pink knit top. This is a small remnant and a strong colour, so will be a simple style, probably New Look 6735 with 3/4 sleeves if fabric allows. This will be great to add some pop to the neutrals.
4. Coral pink jacket. I bought this fabric specially to co-ordinate with the print though have not yet chosen the pattern. I am envisaging something fairly short, collarless and gently shaped to fit, though again have not chosen a pattern. This is going to be a more time consuming item to sew. If I choose a new pattern I will have some fitting alterations to do for my forward head and high round back.

There are still 3 and a half weeks of August left, so maybe it is possible as I have two simple TNTs, a new knit top pattern and a simple jacket.

Linen top

This boxy linen top was cut out at the same time as the skirt panels. It is based on the Kirsten Kimono Tee with a slightly lengthened sleeve, reshaped neckline and slightly cropped hem. I cut it on the fold and all the hems are finished with the overlocker then turned and stitched.
It can be worn with yesterday's skirt as a dress look, or over trousers as a modern summer top.
Apologies for the terrible taken-in-the-dark-with-a-flash photo, but hopefully gives you an idea of it as a dress. The wide elastic belt is great at covering over the place where the top is tucked into the skirt. I'd happily wear this to work with a shortish coloured jacket (turquoise, red, lime) and appropriate accessories.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Wearing new skirt

The red tee is from the usual New Look 6735 and the jacket is purchased.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Butterick 3972 linen skirt

I bought this gorgeous linen fabric at lunchtime today, came home after work and sewed it into Butterick 3972.


This is a very clever pattern, as the square or triangular pieces are sewn together on the straight grain to make a bias cut skirt, very economically indeed. I had 1.5m (150 wide) of this beautiful printed linen fabric and have got this skirt plus a Kirsten Kimono Top out of it in a size 16 with minimal waste. Hopefully I'll sew the top up tomorrow and share, but it depends if I need to do anything other than spend the whole evening sewing which is what I did today and LOVED it.
I'm going to wear this tomorrow with an unblogged red knit top from NewLook 6735 and a purchased black linen jacket and some black and red organic blob red jewellery