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Sunday, 31 May 2009

June Capsule Contest

For the June Capsule contest I am planning a wardrobe in Lime, Black and White. being heavier on the bottom half I am sticking to black with fine white stripes for skirts/trousers, and bringing the interest up to my face with colour and print.

I have a planned trip to Abakhan fabrics in Mostyn next Saturday morning to try to find the lime pieces as my stash is woefully short of them. I promised DH that I would only buy stuff I will sew up for my summer wardrobe so as not to add to the stash.

I will of course share a picture of the stuff I buy here, and also of the garments as I make them up during June and beyond.

May review

During May I sewed 8 garments, though all simple ones.

2 of the items were refashioned knit tops which were too large. That worked really well, so I plan to keep on with the refashioning going forwards. I have a big bag of clothes I saved from when I was much larger, planning to refashion them somehow, so its been good to do this with some, but also pass some of the items on.

I also made 3 skirts from my modified Loes Hinse Gore skirt pattern. Two of these have worked out really well, and one less so. The ones which worked well are from very drapey fabric, that is quite thin, obviously something that's needed for that pattern. The less successful one was from a fabric which seemed quite drapey but has more body when made up. I am not quite sure what I shall do with it to rescue it.

The other knit tops use a Simplicty pattern for several knit tops (Simplicity 4076) which I used 3 times for two knot front tops (a current favourite) and a scoop neck top with a front gather.

Knit top refashion

OK so I can't stay away from the sewing machine at all!

This one was a quick and easy project. I had already cut off the side seams of this over large knit top, and then put it to one side. Today I wanted to sew something simple, and had ivory on the machine....

This top is from when I was at my fattest, a UK size 20! I loved the print though so saved it hoping I could recut it later.

I used the Jalie wrap top to get a better size and shape for the top, and cut new set in short sleeves to replace the kimono sleeve on the original. I also removed the back ties because I think the fit is fine without them. I think the new top is much more wearable (as well as being 2 or 3 sizes smaller)

More photos

Here I am wearing the crinkle skirt with the ivory knot front top. They both look better on a real person. Also my updated storyboard for the Mini Wardrobe contest.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Lack of progress

Well I haven't sewn anything at all since Wednesday now, I think I have hit the burn out point after 6 months of the SWAP and 1 mad week of the Wardrobe In A Week.

I did manage to mow the lawn (after DH strimmed the edges), do the food shopping and move the last few unpacked boxes so DH could put a huge Ikea Billy bookcase up in the spare room. So its not been a wasted day.

I really need to take some more photos of me wearing the 'Wardrobe In A Week' clothes particularly the ones which are going to be the the PatternReview.com Mini Wardrobe but somehow I have lost the plot a bit.

Things I could work on, but can't quite get to
- leaf curtains for the study
- remake of a cream/brown print top I have cut apart but nothing further
- remake of some too large grey trousers, also taken apart but nothing more.
- cut out squares for the Sew Hip Mystery Quilt

I fancy making some simple beading earrings, but can't work out where I have put the stuff for that. The best bet may be an early night, and see what I can manage tomorrow.

Friday, 29 May 2009

June Capsule Contest Orphan

I have decided to use this necklace as the 'Orphan' piece in my June Capsule Contest entry on Stitcher's Guild. I am going for a capsule in lime, black and white. The bottoms will be black with white stripes, there will be some sort of knit top and a tailored jacket in the lime.

Ugly Fabric

Patternreview.com are having a contest to use up Ugly Fabric by making it into a wearable garment.
I immediately thought of this piece of knit which made DH pull a face when I brought it home, and also strongly reminded me of the curtains in our family kitchen in the 1970's.

Each small flower is about 4 inches across, and the orange is a garish shade :-)

I like the idea of it being a Jalie wrap top with the front band in a plain orange knit (which matches perfectly).

Jenni (Yorkshire Lass) has advised I need to be careful where the flowers hit so I don't end up with one centred on each bust point. I suppose she's right, so I'll try and manage that.

Orange Knot Top with Brown Bark Print Skirt

I wore this outfit to the office today, and it was comfortable, though a little warm on what turned out to be a sweltering day. Not shown the the purchased jacket.
I thought I looked smart with a twist.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Ivory Top completed

The ivory top is now completed. I have a long day away with work tomorrow so this is probably it until I take photos at the weekend.

(edited to add picture of me wearing this Sunday morning).

Monday, 25 May 2009

Ivory threaded and ready to go

The serger and sewing machine are now both threaded up in Ivory, ready to go on the next project, but I am pretty tired now and back at work tomorrow, so I am calling it quits for today.

I think as my evening time is fairly limited it will take me two evenings to finish the ivory knot front knit top, as unlike Yorkshire Lass I don't sew in the morning before work as well (!). Jenni sweetie I don't know how you do it, it takes all my energy to find matching shoes and my car keys

Once that top is done though I have done all I originally planned for the WiaW, though I may add in some extras in terms of alterations or refashioning projects which also use the Ivory thread.

Simplicity 4076 Knot front Top - Orange- Finished

The knot front top in red-orange is now finished. Its a great colour and I am very pleased with it. The viscose knit is beautifully soft, though quite thin, but was OK as long as I was careful.

Whilst I have the red-orange thread on the serger and sewing machine and I seeing what alterations/repairs I can do from 'the bag'. This is a bag of stuff that's too big, missing buttons, went a bit wrong etc, and I am trying to weed things out of it a bit by pulling them out for attention when I have the right colour thread available.

I have taken in the side seams on a camisole, and am about to shorten the sleeves and hem on a too long knit top. I dare say I will run out of steam shortly.

Tomorrow I am back at work, so will only be able to manage a couple of hours each evening, so my rate will slow right down, but I only need to make the ivory knot front top to might what I had planned so I think that is OK after all.

I know people like to see the clothes being worn, so I will do a fashion show next weekend showing them in action.

Knot front top - progress

I have started my red-orange knot front top, and have carefully followed the instructions and so far have constructed the whole front including seams, knot and neckline finishing. After this the rest is fairly straightforward, but first a break for lunch, and if its a nice afternoon DH and I might go out and then I'll finish the top off this evening.
Or if the weather is not so good I will carry on sewing after lunch.

I will share a photo when I am done :-)

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Other stuff with brown thread

Whilst I was thinking brown thread I altered a knit top that was too loose in the body, cut apart and completely reassembled a knit top, shortened some trousers, and sewed a button back on to a skirt.
I also put a skirt waiting to be altered into the charity shop bag because I didn't like it enough to put the effort into the alterations.

I've had enough of brown now and have just rethreaded the machines into sunset orange for the next item!

Left - before (some issue with the colour) and on the right - after (colour is more accurate).

Wardrobe in a week - Bonus Skirt

Using (yet again), the Loes Hinse Gore Skirt - 6 panel and 6 godet modified version, here is a print skirt which is working a LOT better than the jacquard one.
The print reminds me of bark, leaves, even African tribal shields and so I think works well with the Sunset Safari style.

This also shows what a difference the weight and drape of the fabric makes. This one hangs down nicely, and its only apparent how much fabric there is at the bottom when you actually walk. It took about 3 and a half hours to make.

I've called this the bonus skirt, but I think it works better than the jacquard skirt, so they may swap over and I'll need to rework the jacquard one another day.

I also shortened some brown trousers I made for last years SWAP which have always been too long, now they are just right.

I will see what else I have in the alteration pile that needs brown thread whilst the machines are threaded and then I will have really had enough of brown and will need to change colour.
Somehow alterations seem easier if the right colour thread is on the machine so I try to throw one in every so often when I am on a roll.

Wardrobe In A Week - Bonus top

Whilst I had dark brown thread on the machines I decided to sew up this little top from a remnant of print fabric. Its a lovely soft viscose knit with heft, but was a strangely shaped piece so I was creative with the cutting out and am pleased with a T shirt from the 50p remnant bin.
I used the gather front top from Simplicity 4076 but had a centre back seam (only way to get out of the fabric, but I also need for fitting). The sleeves come to just above the elbow and are gathered a little at the shoulders (to reflect the gather at the front neck) and have a band the same width as the neck band. I added 2 inches to the length but then cut 1.5 inches off when I did the final adjustments :-) so I will alter the pattern on that. My tops need to end before the widest bit of me (top of thighs) and I have been wearing some of mine too long and creating an unflattering line.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Wardrobe In A Week - Second Garment Sewn

My second garment for Wardrobe In A Week is now complete.
This is another Loes Hinse 5007 Gore skirt, exactly the same 6 gores + 6 godets, same elastic and waist treatment, but my how different it looks in different fabric.
This is a dark brown polyester jacquard fabric with a pattern woven in variegated red and gold thread (which appears orange from a distance). I have topstitched all the seams in orange, though it blends rather with the background!

Sadly its a little loose at the waist (and the elastic is stitched down in a LOT of places so the seam ripper will be in action later).

I think this fabric is right on the border of the weight for this style.

Wardrobe In A Week - First Garment Sewn

I have had the day off today and used it to take the car for a service and sew.
And I have finished my first garment, a modified version of the Loes Hinse Gore skirt from a chocolate brown cotton crinkle with metallic threads.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Wardrobe Analysis

Today I got the chance to be the 'client' at a training session for the Style and Wardrobe part of the work done by some ladies training to be Colour Me Beautiful consultants.
They ask you to take along 5 outfits and they analyse your personality, colouring and body shape and give you advice on clothes.

I had a great time and learned a lot. I had taken along a mixture of clothes from my wardrobe - a lot of them from my SWAP and a mini wardrobe I had sewn.
I'll share with you about the session here - sorry its quite long.
If you want to do this yourself, or with a friend its all out of the book 'Colour Me Confident' by Colour Me Beautiful.

They had asked me to bring with me 5 outfits of clothes, which I did. When I arrived the trainer took the suitcase away for them to have a look, gave me a coffee and had me do a style personality questionnaire.
This is all in a little booklet which they work through with you and personalise as you go along.

This is the quiz in the 'Colour Me Confident' book on p142 for any of you that have it.
The trainer asked me to tick all the answers which apply and bear in mind not just how I dress now, but changes I might like to make in future.

I sat and did the quiz which came out as follows:-
Creative: 2
Dramatic: 5
Classic: 5
Natural: 5
City Chic: 0

They also asked me which stores I like to shop in.

Because I had a tie between 3 different areas they showed me some mood boards of the different looks, and I didn't like the Classic at all, so they wrote me down as a Natural Dramatic.

Throughout the consultation there were a few things where the trainer asked certain questions or I mentioned something, which seemed to her to confirm the Natural as the main style, with the dramatic parts being in bold colours, jewellery and other accessories.

Next we moved on to Face shapes. Here I came out as a Softened square.
There was some debate about the square versus rectangle, but basically I am a square with a long forehead and not a rectangle - due to how my features are placed on my face.

They thought I had gone for a reasonably good hairstyle for my face shape - having my natural wave going into curls and layered softens the outline of the face. I need to have a fringe but not to completely cover the forehead so I get some length there.
As a Natural I should stick to low maintenance hairstyle, not try to straighten it etc (phew!) And should choose deep and warm hair colours - ie medium brown with warm red undertone. Because of my Dramatic leanings I can go quite red if I want to, particularly because I have green eyes.

Glasses need to be angular and not rounded, because I should play up the angular rather than the rounded contours in my face. This was a relief as I just ordered some new glasses in a dark bronze colour (like a metallic version of my hair) with angular frames - spot on they said

After that we moved onto body shapes, and I came out as a Triangle in their system because I carry my extra weight/visually seem heavier around the hips/thighs.
So to appear balanced they suggested tactics to visually balance out the two halves of my body.

That was interesting because having reasonably broad shoulders, but small bust and broad hips I never quite know where I sit on those designations.

Their suggestions were:-
Key Elements
Tops - patterns, texture, bold colours.
Skirt - simple lines, no prints and coming out at the bottom e.g. flip, bias etc.
Trousers - plain flat fronted with side zip, bootleg etc, no hip pockets.
Coats - Single breasted, no hip pockets

Dressing the Top Half
Fitted tops, avoid boxy jackets

Dressing the lower half
Plain smooth bottoms
No extra bulk e.g. cargo pockets etc

Bring interest to
Your top half with big jewellery and accessories

Straight skirts
Details on trousers
plain tops (need layers/texture etc)

Smooth on bottom, texture on top
Soft fluid draping bottoms, Knit tops
Patterns on the top half only. Use horizontal stripes on the top.

Scale and height
Here I came out average height and shoe size, and neither long nor short waisted.

Due to Triangle shape should not wear light bottoms, dark top.

Options either - all one colour, or lighter/brighter top to balance.
Good to wear same colour/tone bottom and jacket with strongly contrasting top, or top and bottom, with contrasting jacket. This gives the contrast which I need to have definition. Should not have monochrome or tone on tone, need to have a colour (or two colours).

Clothing Lines
Next they went through lots of necklines etc, and we did stop and start this by trying on some of the things I had brought and saying why they were good or not.
Bad: Halterneck, crew, funnel
Good: Scoop, boat, bardot

Tops should not stop at the widest part of the hip - I had at least one which was too long - an unflattering line. I need to keep an open neckline and not wear polo necks or anything which comes up too high.
A boat neck needs to have a longer necklace to give that same impression.

Shoulder lines
Raglan or cutaway are not good as they de-emphasize the shoulders.
Classic inserted sleeves are the most flattering.

Sleeve lines
3/4 sleeve good, also puffed shoulders as these broaden the shoulder.
Flared sleeves, cuffs and ruffles were all marked as bad..

Camisole marked as good for layering
Wrap tops, fitted twinset and bolero jackets also marked as good.
Wrap tops as extra good as they show off the waist. (and I think the current avatar pic demonstrates how fab that does look)

I queried the bolero because I was uncertain, so they dressed me in one of the ladies tops, tied to look like a bolero/shrug type top. Advised as a good way to take my plain bold colour 3/4 sleeve tees and give them more texture was to wear a short sleeved crochet style bolero over the top. This is new to me so have to try it.

No to anything loose fitting. classic, bulky.
Good to wear a fitted waistcoat - adds interest at the top, shows of waist etc. Avoid Victorian style blouse -too fussy, also anything too loose as have lost waist definition.

We spent some time trying on a few skirts I had brought with me. A plain dark 6 gire skirt with godets at the hem was best - hit at just below the widest part of the calf.
(Loes Hinse gore skirt btw, but modified a lot)
Also tried a similar shape skirt which was just below the knee- very unflattering.
Though they did say with a fitted suede boot and tights I could wear the knee length in winter.

Lots of no's on the skirts
pencil skirts in either knee or longer were out as made me look like a parsnip!
Flip and bias marked as good
(not sure on the bias myself, they like them and said shows my curves, I wonder as T&S say no bias for saddlebags).
No to full skirts, tiered skirts or circle skirts as too much bulk.
Also should not have thick fabrics as adds bulk.

best option was plain front side zip trousers with a medium leg.
Boot cut also OK
No to classic jeans, flares and combats..

best: Single breasted with button at waist - fitted
Also cropped shrug style and gilets.
Should not have anything cardigan style, deconstructed or double breasted/boxy.

Single breasted, knee length with open collar and darts/shaping to fit at waist
Single breasted trench coat
No shapeless styles.
No pockets on hips.

No to straight shift styles - very unflattering.
Generally best with separates but can choose
empire line or wrap dresses.

Shoes, boots and handbags

Ballet pumps
Knee high boots in suede.

Also suggested I bring colour in with bright coloured bags - e.g turquoise, teal, red etc.

Bathing suits

Pattern on top and plain on the bottom.
Swimsuit with bust detail.
Padding to enhance bust.


Padded bras to build up top half.
Spanx or similar when wearing clingy skirts and trouser to minimise bumps and lumps.

Neutral hosiery

Belts worn on the waist - never at the hips. And can be slightly dipped at the centre front (no idea how to make it stay like this btw!)

Dramatic jewellery, bronze, teal, orange, turquoise, wood

Avoid high around the neck. Better worn showing some skin.

Remember: go bold and bright with your accessories.

Summary at the end

Your colouring
Chocolate, navy, pewter for summer, but make sure wear with brights for contrast.

Additional Colours

At the end of the session they gave me some mail order catalogues and some post it notes and asked me to find outfits and mark them.
Then they looked through with me and asked me to explain which area of their suggestions the garments matched.
This is to check that the client understand what they are looking for and have understood the advice.

So I will weed out quite a few of the 'meh' things in my wardrobe, and also style myself up a little more.
I loved when the trainer styled me in my navy Loes Hinse skirt and teal print scoop neck top - in a skirt and wearing my ballet flats BUT with a shorter top and a belt, just to give a little bit of waist. (Need to shorten that top as hitting at the widest part of the hip)
also when she put turquoise with lime for more summer POP.

I got a few tips on how to dress more young/fun/trendy and less classic. I think the classic bits are to do with wanting looking smart for work, and wearing what I think you should wear and look frumpy on me, so that was really helpful.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Other stuff

Since I am paused on sewing up the WiaW items until Friday I thought of a few things I might do in the evenings before then
1. Finish off the UFO trousers I took apart to make them fit - charcoal grey and kinda boring but would be useful, not very summery though.
2. Make curtains for the study from the leaf print fabric. I have some old curtains up now for privacy so other being being bland and dated, no desperate rush on those. Though I dare say once the new curtains are done and up there will be a ripple effect and I will sort papers and do other useful study related things.
3. Repurpose some costume jewellery from my drawer, and/or make new from my stash of beads. This would make a nice break from sewing, and its one heck of a scary drawer of tangled beads! Since moving I seem to wear a few pairs of earrings and hardly any of my necklaces as i could never find anything. A good sort and a bit of customisation might mean I get some nice pieces to wear.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

WiaW - cutting out finished

OK I finished my cutting and as the patterns are so simple I have removed the pattern pieces from the fabric and bagged the cut pieces ready for sewing week.
I really want to start sewing them now, but must hang on until Friday and then can sew with everyone else.

WiaW progress - prep week

Well the prep week for WiaW(Wardrobe in a Week) is under way, I have cut out the two knit tops an extra bonus top and one of the skirts and plan to cut out the other skirt this afternoon.
Each garment is going into a ziplock bag from Lakeland to keep them tidy. I fancied a pair of trousers as well but none of the fabrics I had were the right weight and colour to work with the jacket, and I'm really trying to sew from my enormous stash rather than buying much extra new. I'm not sure its working but its a good approach.

My colouring is Clear Spring - ie a dark haired Spring, has the contrast and brightness of Winter but with a warm undertone. I am not an Autumn though so have to be careful to not get too carried away in the lovely warm browns, golds etc as these are not my best. So the WiAW is using quite a dark brown and the orange is one with lots of red in it, which works well for me, I think CMB call it Bittersweet.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

JCC Skirt - second thoughts

I am having second thoughts about the stripe fabric being used with the fitted Burda skirt pattern - it quite a light weight fabric (almost a shirting) and I'm not sure it would have enough body to look good in that skirt style.
It could be another Gore Skirt (yawn) as that needs more drapey fabric, or I could keep the skirt but make it instead in a denim fabric or the cotton linen mix fabric since I have loads of that.

Hmm lots of time to ponder...... as June is a long way off and I would probably sew up the TNT pieces first to get them out of the way.

Stitchers Guild June Capsule Contest: Beautiful Berries

Here's my current plan for the JCC, I've called it Beautiful Berries and its inspired by an orphan beaded cardigan.
The wide leg pants from Burda WOF featured in my recent SWAP 2009 as did the cowl neck top with raglan sleeves. The boat neck top was from the wardrobe pattern I used in SWAP 2008. I've never used the skirt pattern though so there may be some tweaking to the fit.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Wardrobe In A Week

The Wardrobe In A Week preparation week starts today, so I have kicked off by cutting out Simplicity 4076 View E (Knot front top) out of some leftover ivory viscose knit. This is a very soft knit which I think will make a lovely drapey top, though will definitely need a 'nude' T shirt bra underneath! This used fabric left over from some long gone project and so had to have a creative layout and shorter sleeves (kinda 3/4 length-ish)!

I cut the same top with long sleeves out of red orange (the sunset part) viscose knit. Plus a bonus scoop front top in brown cotton knit printed with stylised flowers (this is in the same colourway as the Sunset Safari, but does not really work as a truly interchangeable piece)

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Orphan for June Capsule Contest

I want to use this beaded cardigan as the jumping off point for the June Capsule Contest on Stitcher's Guild.

SWAP Winners

The winners of the 6th Annual Sewing With A Plan contest for 2009 are:

{drumroll, please}

Second Prize goes to mdmcgrath is accepting the challenge!

First Prize belongs to Morzel's Maternity SWAP!
See www.morzel.blogspot.com/ for more details

And the Grand Prize winner is Audrey's Drafting Demon SWAP!
Flicker SWAP Album www.flickr.com/photos/audan/3094361372/i n/set-72157617694...
Blog: www.sewtawdry.blogspot.com

Congratulations to all three of you! Pink Pom-Pom

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Rotary Cutter

The only sewing related thing I have done today is buy a rotary cutter. Looks sharp, so I won't try using it late at night when tired! I also bought a spare blade, so I have one ready for when I nick the original blade.

Most of the evening has been sorting out my larder and food cupboards. I could not find things so kept rebuying. I must have 5 packets of half used pasta, an extremely large number of cans and 3 packets of pudding rice.
Anyway its all tidy now, and I even threw out the packet which was best before sometime in 2005 which must have moved from the other house with us!

Sunday, 10 May 2009

May Sewing - Safari Sunset Mini-Wardrobe

On Friday I am going to start cutting out the pieces on this storyboard, and then starting the following Friday I am going to sew them all up.
In my usual style I may add a few other smaller items in along the way as extras.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

My SWAP Garments (including 3 'extras')

Here are all my SWAP garments (including 3 'extras') - the extras are the crinkle skirt, the turquoise trousers and the black waterfall jacket.

My SWAP Photos

Here they all are together.

SWAP 2009 Photos are up

SWAP 2009 Photos are up at Ann's Flickr site

if you are a member of Stitcher's Guild you can vote for which one you like the best

Voting is open to all current members of Stitcher’s Guild.

Voting ends midnight Wednesday 13 May.

You have three votes - for first, second and third places.
You may not vote for yourself.

Please email me your three choices in order to

annrowleyukuk at yahoo.co.uk
Please sign your email with your Stitcher’s Guild identity.

You first vote is final – you may not change your vote.