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Friday 31 October 2008

16 panel skirt

I am going to start my SWAP sewing with this 16 panel skirt from Danish independent pattern company Multisnit - this is taken from Multisnit 3.35.
At the moment I have just traced off the pieces, lengthened the skirt panel and added seam allowances.
Tomorrow I shall cut out the teal crinkle fabric. I think even lengthened I should be able to cut it out from 2m of fabric.
I plan to have exposed serged seams showing on the outside, but I suppose I'll see what they look like when they are done.

Sunday 26 October 2008

3 cool patterns swapped plus one purchased

On the PR weekend we did a swap of patterns, buttons and fabric, I got some great stuff, but it was all pretty amicable, each of us choosing whatever appealed to us.

These 3 patterns came home with me from the swap

McCall's 4161 panelled skirt

Today's Fit V7903 shirt

Hot patterns Classix Nouveaux Great White Shirt

And I purchased New Look 6735 at full price!!!!

Preston weekend

In addition to the fabrics I already picked out of my stash to use for the SWAP, some of which are only OK rather then fabulous, I bought quite a few matching fabrics at the sewing weekend in Preston. Plus thread, buttons, ribbon lace trim etc etc at some great Haby stalls on Preston market.

Abakhan fabrics, Preston
- Brown lace knit (maybe)
- teal ribbon for trim

Washable fabrics, Preston
- teal/grey/turq print - bought this same print/colourway in knit and woven poly as could not decide which to get!

Fabrix, Lancaster (a real treasure trove)
- New look 6735 pattern
- Charcoal brown wool for pants and skirt (matches base of stripe fabric)
- Gorgeous turquoise knit (lovely top)
- Teal stretch velvet (dressy Christmas top)
- Teal wool knit (cardigan jacket)

weekend away

I have just got back from our little sewing weekend in Preston. Very spendy, but grrrrrrreat fun.
I took the SWAP fabrics from my stash stapled onto a card and purchased some fabrics which would co-ordinate with them.
I was very pleased to eventually be able to match the browned charcoal grey which is the background in my pinstripe suiting, with a lovely wool trouser fabric - so I can now make plain trousers to wear with the stripe jacket if I want to. This was exceedingly hard to match, but I was pleased with myself holding out for a perfect match and buying quality fabric.

We also swapped patterns, buttons and fabric with each other which was great fun. I have a few cool patterns to try out.
I also wore clothes each day which I had made myself from various previous SWAPs and wardrobe contests.
It was apparent when I wore my home-made jeans on Saturday that I really need to improve my trouser fitting skills. Jenni had a GREAT book on fitting which we had a look through and I might need to buy but maybe I'll try a simple burda pants pattern first to see if they work for me as so many people have good results.

And when I got home I found that Effortless style by June Ambrose has arrived and so has Ottobre design Woman 5/2008. I also brought home 1 purchased and several swapped patterns, plus fabric and notions so I am well set up.

Next week we should be exchanging contracts on our new house and then moving about 2 weeks after that, so I may not get to sew too much before my new sewing space has got set up in the new house.

Sunday 19 October 2008

seam allowance for Multisnit

I used the option on the Fjoelner website for them to email you a translation, and even though it is late on a Sunday evening, got a reply back already!

[quote]All patterns parts should be cut with ca. one half inch seam (i.e. one half inch should be added). At the end of sleaves and pant legs one should add ca. 1 inch so adjustments can be made later.
If side seams are to be pressed together and finished off with a slit, it is recommended to add ca. 1 inch (2-3 cm) of seam when cutting.[/quote]

So the ends of the sleeves and pant legs sounds like hems. So I guess I add 1/2" on normal edges, 1" on hems, and 1" if I want to have a side slit.

I will say that the customer service from Fjoelner has been excellent.


A little while back I ordered 2 Multisnit patterns from Fjoelner in Denmark


They have instructions only in Danish, which I know nothing of and there are no pictures. I haven't had a go yet because of this, although Fjoelner provide a basic list of terms and their translations I can't seem to work out simple things like whether seam allowances are included or not, and if so what they are. Fjoelner do offer to translate sections from Danish to English on request, so I have emailed the bit which talks about seam allowances for assistance!
The styles seem pretty simple, so I am sure once I get going I can work it out.

Ideas, ideas, ideas

Well it looks like its going to be workable to do this SWAP entirely from stash if I want to.
Here are the current suggestions of pieces.

Short fitted jacket in stripe suiting fabric
Pants in stripe suiting fabric
Skirt in stripe suiting fabric
Pants in plain dark colour (brown/grey)
Long skirt in teal crinkle fabric (quite boho)
Sweater knit top in ivory with dark flecks
Teal and white print knit top
Turquoise knit top
Ivory satin blouse
Turq print blouse
Stretch choc lace top

Extra Pieces
Teal jacket
Aqua stripe blouse
Stripe suiting waistcoat

Trying to match the fabric

Grrrrrrr. I've just come back from going through all the clothing fabric that was in the offsite storage unit and have brought a few pieces back with me and have more options for tops as well as several different linings for the jacket.
Annoyingly the charcoal colour in my 'key' fabric is neither black, grey or dark brown instead being a browned dark grey and as such nothing much in my bottom weights matched with it as they were all too grey, too brown, too blue or too green. I have some fabric still stored in the house so will look at that next in hope.

Interestingly the leftover fabric from this blouse (which was part of my 2007 SWAP and the only piece which still fits) matches beautifully.

So on the PR weekend I will concentrate on finding some matching bottomweight fabrics and something for the dark blouse (the idea of this is a shirt which can be worn as shirt or soft jacket)

Saturday 18 October 2008

SWAP 2009 Storyboard - rough sketch v1

SWAP 2009 Storyboard - rough sketch v1

Wardrobe sewing over the last few years

The posts below show the wardrobes I've managed to complete in the last few years.
(also see mini pics in sidebar)
I suppose you can see that my taste has changed (improved?) as the years have passed.
I have learnt about the sort of clothes I like to wear and how I combine them.

There were a couple of earlier partial wardrobes which are not shown because they never got completed and had wadders etc.

Nov 2006 - Berry tones Mini Wardrobe

Nov 2007 - Berry tones Mini Wardrobe

PR Wardrobe 2007

PR Wardrobe 2007 - Olive and Coral

SWAP 2007 Complete

SWAP 2007 in Brown, teal and orange.

PR wardrobe 2008

PR Wardrobe 2008. Dark navy and orange/peach.

Previous SWAPs and wardrobes sewn - SWAP 2008

SWAP 2008 - Chocolate, Coral and Emerald green.

Previous SWAPs and wardrobes sewn - JCC

June Capsule Contest (June 2008) In Olive, Ivory and Teal

SWAP 2009 thoughts

I do love the idea of SWAP, but I found in previous years that after a while I got bored and having the whole lot planned out was a little too confining for me.
So I think I will give myself some freedoms this year within certain rules

1 Have to stick to the colour scheme of charcoal, ivory, teal and turquoise
2 Can make extra items which go with SWAP along the way e.g. turquoise jacket, stripe waistcoat etc
3 Sew from stash as much as possible (I have quite a lot of stash in these colours)
4 After two SWAP garments do another unrelated project, even if it means changing serger threads! This will kick start the creative process again and make SWAP seem fresh.
5 No decisions on patterns are set in stone until its been cut out of the fabric, then there is no going back.
6 As the stripe fabric is the 'key' which brings the other items together test garments need to be made for these as wadders would wreck the plan. The test garments can be in the SWAP palette however and be used as extension items. Also test the wrap blouse before cutting into the cream satin.

Whilst not required it would be a bit of fun and challenge to
- revamp wadders and UFOs into wearable items - perhaps a full stripe skirt into a shirt etc
- use lots of different pattern companies, including some new ones
- make some co-ordinating jewellery
- embellish a completed garment
- try some new techniques

Blouse from Burda WOF 11/2007

Blouse from Burda WOF 11/2007 was the one I was thinking of. Thanks Elizabeth for pointing me in the right direction.

Friday 17 October 2008

Ideas for 2009 SWAP

I got my notebook, and started to go through ideas. I have a corporate life 5 days a week and the SWAPs I made in past years ended up with too many casual items I could not really wear to work and feel comfortable.
So this year to really reflect the twist I think I am basically going to sew a classy pinstripe suit, co-ordinating bottoms and contrasting tops.
A quick paw through the fabric I have bought recently or kept out of the storage unit revealed four possible stripe suiting lengths, and I thought there was the most mileage in one which is charcoal with fine stripes of aqua, teal and black running through it. Really quite classy, and slightly different to my existing RTW suits.
I'll use the stripe for a jacket, skirt, trousers (and an extra piece of a waistcoat). Then add bottom weight charcoal as more trousers and a skirt, and top weight charcoal for a soft shirt.
Other tops with be ivory cowl neck from sweater knit, ivory knit tee and an ivory satin wrap blouse, plus knit tops in teal and a print.

I recalled a satin wrap blouse in Burda WOF last winter, can anyone give me the month/year? Its was a bright emerald green satin, in an issue with loads of bright satin used for dressy holiday outfits.....

Thursday 16 October 2008

Link to SWAP 2009 on Stitchers Guild


Timmel fabrics closed this year but a SWAP contest in the same style as Julie's is being run by the administrators of Stitchers Guild.

Timmel SWAP 2009 rules announced

Timmel SWAP 2009 rules announced.

No purchase neccesary anywhere; this contest is open to anyone with a needle and thread, regardless of budget or availability of items. Just start a thread here to announce your intention to participate as a contestant or to sew along, and tell us about your progress.

Please keep a copy of all images you upload on your hard drive in case SG's server fails or something is accidentally deleted. After the contest, the top three winner's images will be archived and displayed for the full year.

Everyone who finishes is a winner. However, the official winners will be given the option of displaying a ribbon on their profiles for a full year.

Each SWAP must consist of 11 garments, which all work together to form a basic wardrobe. All garments must be handmade. You may knit, crochet or weave if you please, but they must be your own creations.

The garments are:

4 bottoms - jeans, pants, shorts, skirts or kilts.
6 tops - t-shirts, shirts, blouses, or camisoles.
1 jacket - a tailored blazer, jeans-style jacket, sweater or shawl will do, as long as it looks right with everything else.

* A dress will qualify as a top, if it can be worn with all the bottoms (tucked in or worn as a tunic) *

* Recycled garments are fine, as long as the new item is entirely different than the original, such as old jeans made into a jacket, or a wool coat made into a skirt. Before and after pictures are required, if you do this. *

All the tops must work with all the bottoms; and the jacket must work with everything. Dressier clothes require a dressier jacket, and vice-versa. Traditional clothing such as salwar kameez qualify, too.

2009 Twist: A wardrobe which reflects a week in your REAL LIFE. If you're a stay-at-home mom who lives in jeans and tees, that's what you'll be sewing. If you're a rock star who lives in zebra stripes and pink hot pants, that's what you'll be making. The finished wardrobe should consist of the pieces you'll be grabbing to wear for the rest of the year. Whether you work in an office, or spend your days eating bon-bons, your SWAP should reflect your current lifestyle and weight.

All garments must be made between November 1/08 and April 30/09.

Sunday 12 October 2008

excerpt from Claire Schaeffer's Complete Book of Sewing Shortcuts

excerpt from Claire Schaeffer's Complete Book of Sewing Shortcuts :

"If you can't bear to part with your fabric collection, try to use it. Go through it carefully at the beginning of each season, select the pieces that can be made into fashionable garments, make those garments before you buy any new fabric, and don't buy anything unless you're going to sew it immediately. Last, but most importantly, repeat to yourself, "I'll never be a fabricholic again.'" (from "Closet Close-up' chapter)

Fabric stash pledge

So I am coming clean, I have 7 tea chest sized moving boxes of fabric, plus some home dec plus some in a cupboard. I have no idea how many metres in total. When we move some time next month and I have decorated the sewing studio to be more neutral I'll start to have a proper look at what I have.

There is a thread on the Pattern Review Message Board started in December last year where a lady known as popoagiesmiles has posted this pledge information.

Having just realized how fabric I have and how much money I don't have as a result, I had a realization:

No matter how good a deal is, if you don't truly need it soon, you're just giving away your money and creating more maintenance for yourself, and the money and time won't come back. The fabric vendors will have more sales. Right now, I just don't need any more fabric.


I have decided to go on a fabric fast for a whole year, using only what I have with the following exceptions (since even with food fasts, most people drink water and may supplement with juice or not cut out everything:

1) If I cannot complete a garment without a lining fabric that I absolutely can't cover with my stash, I can look for a deal and do it. But, I can't do it too far in advance, can only do it for one garment at a time, and I must follow through before making any other purchases.

2) If I need a notion for a garment that I'm committed to make SOON, I can get it, but only for one garment at a time, and I can't get any more until that garment is made.

3) If I need a pattern for a garment that I'm committed to make SOON, I can get it on sale, but only for one garment at a time and only for every fifth garment.

4) If I am truly committed to making a garment type that I have no suitable fabric for, such as a swimsuit or a bra, I can do it. But, only for every seventh garment. No buying just because I like the fabric and someday would like to make it.

5) After every tenth garment I sew, I get a ticket to spend $50 on sewing supplies, whether it be fabric, notions, patterns, equipment or whatever. I can save this or spend it. I will probably save it for the really good sales.

6) Basic sewing machine maintence is not included in the fast, but new equipment is. Gifts from others are allowed, of course.

7) I must do something sewing related each week for a minimum of the time I spend on sewing-related sites that week.

I must otherwise make garments from what I have and avoid spending time on sewing sites without actually sewing. I have enough interfacing, fabric, thread, zippers, buttons, patterns, etc. that there is no reason why I can't make several SWAPs with what I have and very few supportive purchases. And, I have enough time to sew if I cut back on time just talking about sewing.

Anyone want to join me? If your stash is smaller than mine or your time much more and you fear you wouldn't have enough fabric to get through a year, you can do it until your stash is gone.

This may simply save me money and time. Or, it might get me sewing. I don't propose a contest but simply an HONEST supportive dialogue

In less than 2 weeks I am away for the Pattern Review weekend in Preston, and have saved up some money to spend on fabric and patterns there. After that though I think I am really going to reign back, and have a fabric diet along the lines outlined for November and December at least.
I am hoping for a new SWAP contest in 2009 and this usually runs from Jan-April. I will see if I CAN do that from stash, but if not I am not against buying a few pieces of fabric.

Saturday 11 October 2008

Tim Gunn's 10 Essentials

1. Basic Black Dress
2. Trench Coat
3. Classic Dress Pants
4. Classic White Shirt
5. Skirt
6. Blazer
7. Day Dress
8. Cashmere Sweater
9. Jeans
10.Comfortable sweat suit alternative.

Ottobre Autumn Winter for Women

I just ordered the Autumn Winter 2008 magazine from Ottobre, the one with adult women's designs in it. I like their clean lines I must say.
Here's the line drawings (a slightly different look to them)

Ottobre Autumn Winter for Women

I love this coat!

Friday 10 October 2008

feeling better

I started to feel better finally today (have had a virus flu bug thing) which I am pleased about. So will be back in work Monday.
I've been thinking about customising Tee shirts, easier to handle than full scale sewing projects, and when I have done a few of the ideas I have planned I will post them here.

Wednesday 8 October 2008

The Pocket Stylist Wardrobe Checklist

The Pocket Stylist Wardrobe Checklist

I love all those wardrobe planning books and one of my favourites to return to is the Pocket Stylist by Kendall Farr.
This isn't a book review though, so see those on Amazon is you want one.

I just wanted to share her wardrobes basics list. she calls it
"A Bare Bones Chesklist of the Indispensables You Need in Your Wardrobe
which seems a mighty long title to me but here goes

Two pairs of dark pants
- Simple, skimming cut in a crisp fabric for day
- Fuller leg in a fabric that drapes in black for day and evening

Two pairs of jeans
- One hemmed to wear with heels
- One hemmed to wear with flats, sneakers

Three skirts
- Clean lines like a pencil, trouser or an A-line in black or in a lightweight wool
- A-line, bias or circle in a fabric with drape for day and evening.
- Neutral in a mixable fabric which can include a subtle chalk stripe or tweed.

A white button-front shirt and T-shirts
(of course)

Three sweaters
(seasonless, lightweight merino or cashmere)
- Black must tonally black your black bottoms - see Colours
- Another neutral choice - skin flattering, of course
- Rich colour

Two jackets
- Tailored jacket that matches one pair of your dark pants (read: suit, black is always a good bet)
- Sporty shape in a refined fabric, like a bomber, motorcycle jacket or windbreaker style in leather, suede, corduroy, soft wool. Cotton twill – goes to work and works for play.

Three Coats
- trench coat or any riff on this classic that flatters you both for rain and between seasons in a light neutral or black
- between seasons knee-length coat that works day and night, in leather, suede, tropical weight wool
- Winter coat (a regional consideration, of course) in the very best fabric you can possibly afford.

Or matching separates that create a dress silhouette. Always have something that serves as a Little Black dress in your closet.

Tuesday 7 October 2008

Planning projects

I've had some sort of flutype virus thingy, maybe just a heavy cold? and its left me very tired and achy so I am off work at the moment for a few days. So not got energy to actually do to much but have been thinking and planning. Mind I always seem to have more ideas in my notebook than actually make it into garments.
I've lost 35lbs in the last 15 months which I am very pleased about, and recently I've had a few goes at sorting out my too large clothing. Most of it has gone to the local charity shops. However I have kept a few things- mostly stuff I made myself to refashion into something I could wear now.
Here a few of the ideas:-

I have 5 (no idea why 5!) identical crew neck tees in a great teal colour - crew neck is bad on me but the tees are a nice colour, so I plan to alter each one in a different way - and keep any results I like. Plans are for neckline changes to scoop, boat, V, sweetheart and squared with maybe some embellishments as well.

I also found a black Marks&Spencer wool coat I bought in 2001 and wore for 3 winters whilst I commuted 40 miles on the train to work in Preston. It is a very long boxy coat in UK size 18, and just asking to be recut into something with more shape. I like the collar shape, so might keep that and recut the rest.

Also found a very full cotton voile skirt (elsticated waist) in a great animal print. Am thinking of remaking it into a balloon sleeve blouse like McCalls M5522. The fabric has good drape for that sleeve I think.

Also a few things which need shortening at the hem or sleeve, or mending, and maybe the waists taking in. Not sure what I'll work on first at this point.

There was also a red wool mix cardigan - long and boxy which would be great a bit more fitted - not sure the best way to go about that yet.

We have a Pattern Review weekend planned in Preston later in October (24-26 Oct) which should be great fun. But I think after that I might have a bit of a break and try not to buy any new fabric or patterns for a while - and actually work on some of the refashion projects I've been thinking about.

We're hoping to move into our new house in November, and I'll have a great new sewing studio there. I will finally get my fabric out of storage so I could try to keep the no buying thing going from after the PR weekend right through until the new year.

Artisan Square are going to host the SWAP contest in 2009 since Timmel Fabrics closed this summer. If that requires a purchase of some sort I would do it, but otherwise try to sew from stash as much as possible.

I'm making no promises though :-)

Right off for a bit of a lie down since I ache sooooo much.

Thursday 2 October 2008

Great chunky necklace & earrings

Great chunky necklace and earrings. These are all from Chicos site, but I don't own them, just like the style!