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Thursday 31 December 2009

Orange cardi wrap

The orange cardiwrap is now completed. Its identical to all the others so not a lot to say really :-) (This is the 5th one I have made and I love having them in my wardrobe)
I think I shall wear it a lot as this colour of red-orange is very flattering to my skintone.

Pulled in different directions

Having two possible plans for the SWAP has now left me pulled in opposite directions. Am I my one worst enemy? I feel like my head might explode.
On the one side the 'Botanical Gardens' SWAP leapt almost fully formed into being only the other day, and I have all the fabrics for it and it would work in with other pieces in my wardrobe. BUT, but, but that's not what I had planned at all. This week between Christmas and New Year was for making a start on the brown/orange/ivory SWAP not completely changing my mind and starting something else.

Something about the 'Botanical Gardens' SWAP makes it new and fresh, and since I do have all the fabrics already I could just get sewing on that.

Sewing is a hobby, as well as a way to fill my wardrobe. So it should be fun right? And therefore I should sew the thing that piques my interest now, as that will give me max sewing fun. And yet the whole point of SWAP is the discipline of making co-ordinating pieces and not just sewing whatever you fancy willy-nilly.

I shall list out my options here and then go have some lunch....

1 - add cuffs to ivory cowl neck as the turnover finish is not working and there is a bit of spare fabric - a definite as this was bugging me yesterday when wearing, and better to fix it now.

then its time to change thread on the machines for the next grouping. I have 3 ways I could go for this
a) - orange for the top and cosy for SWAP #1
b) - olive for the trousers for SWAP #2
c) - pink for the tops for SWAP #2

None of the garments are cut out yet. The plus for option a) is that I know the patterns and can just cut and sew. The plus for b) is that I actually need some of the trousers to work with other things and if made would start wearing them straight away. However I have not finalised the patterns for them all yet, or found the lining for the wool trousers. Also one of the fabrics has a subtle self check and will need pattern matching which has to be done in good light and with my brain available.
c) Although the pink would be FUN, I don't urgently need pink things in the wardrobe at the moment, and they are to give pep to the olive items, which are not yet sewn.

Back after lunch with a decision.
Well I decided to go with the orange, so after putting cuffs on the ivory top I cut out the orange cardi-wrap, a HotPatterns cowl neck top and most of the scoop neck top for the cardi-wrap pattern all from the orange. I have mislaid the neckband pattern pieces for the scoop neck top though so hope I can find them and then get them out of the scraps of the orange fabric. I have already made a wrap top (SWAP 2008 - needs altering as too large) and a knot front top in this fabric. I thought it was OK though as long as I kept all the necklines different. Though 5 tops out of the exact same fabric is perhaps slightly over the top, so I guess I won't go back and see if the shop has any left still.

Facings found! Also cut out all the fabric facing pieces, so a bit of fusing, thread up the machines with orange and I shall be good to go this evening.

Wednesday 30 December 2009

Wearing the ivory cowl neck

Here I am wearing the ivory cowl neck with the recently purchased green and white cardi and some RTW navy trousers.

RuthieK's 'Botanical Gardens' SWAP 2010 Plan #2

I have been thinking about this plan for a little while, but it crystallised for me last night. I pulled this RTW top out of my box of plus size stuff to alter and the whole SWAP is based around this.

The neutrals here are olive, sage etc - greyed greens which range from quite dark through to lighter shades.
Contrasted with the brights of the hot pink, coral pink, turquoise and lime.

I will do a 'classic' SWAP of 4 bottoms (all trousers in shades of sage and olive), 6 tops (1 print, 1 sage, 2 pink, 2 lime), and an olive jacket fabric stash permitting.

I have spent a happy half an hour pulling everything out of my fabric cupboard and putting it in 'maybe piles' if it could work for this plan. I will have to drag it all over to the window later to look at it in daylight and see which fabrics work with each other and the existing RTW items as the depths and colours vary quite a bit, some greener, browner, bluer or greyer all within broadly similar 'damp forest' theme.

I had a habit a few years back of buying 5 metres of fabric when I saw it in case I wanted to make a 3 piece suit or something. ( Kate Mathews' book 'Sewing a Travel Wardrobe' has a lot to answer for here, in particular the wardrobes from designer Joyce E Cusick who has a penchant for something known as a '6 yard wardrobe', 5 metres is about 5 1/2 yards)
So some of these pieces are enough for a whole SWAP on their own, however I AM trying to move to a co-ordinated separates look (which IMHO is harder to do well).

Fabric has all been auditioned and indeed I can create an olive, pink, lime swap out of the stash without too much trouble.
Only got one lime top though as the 'lime' fabrics vary widely in colour and most were not suitable. I only bought lime for the first time last year so have not built up much stash in it so far.

4 pairs of olive trousers all in different fabrics. One is a 'dirty' denim which will have embroidery in lime and pink on the pockets and maybe some other locations too. The other trousers will be more classic, and two pairs will use patterns I have used before.
The jacket was already cut out and is a long princess seamed style from Burda. I shall shorten it though as the longer length looks dated to me now. The fabric is a sage, pink and coral weave - an unholstery fabric I think which works with everything OK I think.
Tops will be all knits except for one blouse, 1 cream, 2 pink, 1 olive, 1 lime and the blouse out of a wild print fabric which has all the colours in it. The blouse will be the print matching, and I think will be something unstructured with a tie neck from Burda.
The jacket will have an interesting button which will be the unusual closure unless something else strikes me first.

Tuesday 29 December 2009

HotPatterns Cowl neck top

Here's another version of my modified HotPatterns Cowl neck top. This is made froma remnant of ivory slinky and I am pleased with how it has come out. I have modified the fit through the body and the lnegth, as well as altering the back neck and the sleeve length. The cowl is all original though!

Wearing the stripe pants

Here I am wearing the stripe wide leg trousers and the orange poloneck (rollneck/turtleneck) sweater.
I think it demos why I should not wear poloneck sweaters as I just don't have enough neck for them.
I have the front neck pulled down a little with the leaf brooch so the seam did not cut across the soft flesh of my neck. I think if the sweater had a deep scoop neck with a soft cowl type collar it would be better.

I now have to decide if I am going to alter this or not. I can't return it as I have worn it all day now.
I do like the colour a lot though.

Monday 28 December 2009

'Inspired by the Sea' Extra - Scoop neck print top

This was an extra intended for the 'Inspired By the Sea' Collection in November but lost under a pile of fabric ready cut out, and only found when I started to put the leftover fabrics from that collection away to make a start on the Christmas Collection.
Anyway in a new mood of not allowing UFOs any more I have sewn this up rather than leaving it to languish for another time. It came out quite cute and I am pleased with it.
Its made from the famous Simplicity 4076 scoop neck top with gathers, though mine has a centre back seam and elbow length sleeves with cuffs, in part to fit onto the remnant of fabric left from a previous project.

SWAP 2010 progress

My animal print top does not play with the newly completed stripe trousers so it is out of the SWAP. I'm sure Jenni did warn me it did not really go and I seem to have ignored her, but in fact I am happy to have it in my wider wardrobe and will wear it with other things.

I am now threaded up with ivory and finishing a UFO left from the 'Inspired by the Sea' collection (it got stuff put on top of it and was missed!) before moving on to an ivory cowl neck top from the HotPatterns top pattern. Then I think its over to orange and the Simplicity cosy with matching top.

I have a Janome MyLock 134D which I got about 15 years ago and have used almost continuously since. It works fine but recently the fact that its a pain to rethread when it comes unthreaded and the fact that it is VERY noisy (DH compared it to a pneumatic drill when he was watching TV in the rooom below) has caused me to start looking elsewhere.
I am very tempted by a Bernina 800DL from Jaycotts, but will need to save up for a few more months before I can buy it, so perhaps it can be my SWAP prize to myself as I should have enough money by April.

Bernina 800DL at Jaycotts

SWAP 2010 #2 - Stripe Trousers

These trousers are made in my key SWAP fabric and the fit is lovely. The fabric has a bit of stretch which is very forgiving, and the weight means they hang nicely in a wide leg trouser like this. I've used my favourite Burda magazine pattern -  10-2008-132.
These trousers are definitely going to be in the final SWAP. There are a few reasons for this
1- I wear the stripe trousers from the 2009 SWAP and my 'Inspired by the Sea' Collection an awful lot and can see these being as useful.
2- they are in my 'key' fabric which has the dark chocolate background but also has orange, white and gold variegated stitching which I will use for my various tops.
3 - becuase of the colours they are slightly more interesting than basic pinstripe trousers without being crazy!

A little bit of sale shopping

'Soon' at Matalan (a budget retailer) has some styles I liked so I went down whilst the sales were on and purchased these items. Plus two printed long sleeved tees (one orange, one green) and a plain sage cardigan.
I didn't bother with any bottoms becuase I know from the past that they don't cut their garments for my hip to waist ratio. The red bag is to replace my current red bag which has split on the handles.

I don't normally wear roll neck tops like this, but its a soft cotton and I thought was worth a try for the very cold days, or for days when your throat is sore. Of course I shall wear it with a massive necklace!

Sunday 27 December 2009

Christmas Collection cardiwrap

A late entry for the Christmas Collection, this cardiwrap is made up in a black mesh fabric with copper shimmer.
When the light catches this just right the copper sparkle really shows. The rest of the time its a sheer black mesh.
This is ideal for a light sparkly cover up for the holiday period - perhaps New Year's Eve.
I cut the sleeves extra long and ruched the last 9 inches with elastic in a similar way to the neckline treatment.

SWAP 2010 #1

SWAP 2010 - first possible item (not all items sewn will necessarily be included in the final SWAP submission, it depends how the items in the collection play together).

Knit top in animal print poly mesh. The body is double layer, the sleeves single layer, left with raw edges. This has components from 3 different patterns, like the black and gold knit top made before Christmas.

Edited to add this is not going in the SWAP as it fights with the stripe trousers (see post further up) and the trousers definitely are going in, so this top is not. However it will work with other things in my wardrobe so I am OK with that.

Onion Patterns

I ordered this pattern from Shop Onion today. (http://www.shoponion.com/)
Fitted jacket with shawl collar #1026

and then when I was browsing the other patterns I also chose
Jacket with flounce collar #1035

Saturday 26 December 2009

SWAP 2010 has started

Well SWAP 2010 has started. My Christmas guests have left, and actually I need to do some mending of things which use the black thread currently on the machines. So I shall get on with that this evening and start on the SWAP properly in the morning.

I have not done any prep for SWAP, other than thinking and buying, but have not cut anything out at all. So I could start with anything though really I wanted to make 4 things during this next week to have a little mini wardrobe as a kick start to the process. I am also not entirely sure what my work load will be like when I go back into work after the Christmas break, and having a few pieces made at the start will really help.

Friday 25 December 2009

Christmas Day Outfit

Christmas Day Outfit.
The top is the square necked top in black with tiny gold flecks, and the skirt is black cord with red and gold embroidery and a few red sequins. Its looks blingier in the hanger shot becuase its all being caught by the flash, but the full length shot is more realistic as to how it looks being worn.
The skirt is lined with an orinetal print lining fabric I got in a fabric swap and never knew where to use.

Wednesday 23 December 2009

Any ideas for a pattern for this jacket?

Any ideas for a pattern for this jacket?
I love the shawl collar, armhole princess seams and single button.

In my stash I have Butterick 4295 which has some similarities, though the collar crosses over much higher up.

I have posted threads on Stichers Guilds and Pattern review and got a few suggestions.
One which particualrly caught my interest was this Onion pattern.

Christmas Skirt

Well I am nearly out of time on the last two items from the Christmas Collection. I've just tacked the side seams on the skirt and tried it on, it comes almost to my ankles and is HUGE on the hips, but fits nicely on the waist. So a bit of taking in and shortening coming up, which of course means removing some more sequins (sigh).

Meanwhile the gold blouse is still in flat fabric form though I am pleased to say I have just found the pattern, so I suppose it has a (slim) chance of getting made before Christmas.

Tuesday 22 December 2009

I've got my sorting things head on

For some reason this week I have had a bug to 'sort things'. It started in each case wanting to find something, discovering it was a mess and then having a sorting bug. I've not hit the sewing room in this vein yet, but it could be good if I do. Having said that the sewing room has been through a few of these phases anyway and so is not too bad.

MONDAY: First up was spices. In the previous house I had more drawers in the kitchen. One drawer held jars of spices lying down so you could read the labels. The new house has fewer drawers and I am using them for cutlery, and the spices were chucked in the box they had moved in at the back of the pantry. I'd taken my usual approach of can't find X? Buy a new one! I decided that open topped plastic boxes on shelves were my future. Found some and put them on the pantry shelves with the jars in them - but no good, could not read what they were - so labelled them on the top of the jar lid to show what each one was. Also through out some with no smell, open packets (not jars) or very old dates. For some reason (see above) I have 3 jars of ground cumin, all open and partly used???? The tactic of if you can't find it buy a new one is obviously faulty!
Anyway the sorting must have worked becuase I've made a batch of chilli and some home-made soup since, as I have my cooking vibe back.

Monday evening I also decorated the real Christmas tree in blue and gold, and it does look lovely, though it took ages. I appear to have purchased several sets of self tangling lights. One set was so tangled I was half wondering how much some new ones would be! I did untangle them in the end though and the final result makes me very happy.

TUESDAY Still in the kitchen I moved all the tea towels through into the cupboard in the utility room. And wow I have a lot of tea towels - mostly green, so I guess that's going to be the kitchen accent colour for a while. This gave me space for the dishwasher stuff and bin liners as well as all those plastic freezer tubs in that cupboard. Now all stacked so I can easily get a dishwasher tablet out without 20 plastic tubs falling on the floor.

TUESDAY part 2. Still in this mode I head upstairs wanting to find a lovely pair of gold earrings DH gave me for Christmas a few years ago. Went through all the pockets of my handbags looking for them. Found instead 8 pens, 2 pencils, 3 hair clips and a 'lost' coat button.
Spurred on by this the madness took complete hold and I reorganised my hairclips/hair brushes, makeup and jewellery. Which has sure tidied things up but asks the question - 'Why do I have 5 tubes of Rimmel Rich Raisin Lipstick?'
Sadly have still not found the earrings, well at least not the pair I was looking for, but a few others I had forgotten turned up.

I'd also decorated the small Christmas tree in the dining room/study all in shades of red. That has a shorter and better behaved string of lights so did not take as long, but looks good in that room.

I am as bad with Christmas decorations as everything else and still have an entire set of silver decorations left over. 'No problem' says DH, ever the enabler 'Why don't you have a tree in the kitchen as well?' He might be on to something......

Sunday 20 December 2009

Christmas Skirt

Ages ago I cut a skirt out for the Christmas Collection. The fabric is black babycord embroidered with red and gold thread with a few red sequins. Its festive without being over the top (I hope).

After I cut it out I just kept avoiding it, since I know I have to do something with the sequins in the seam allowances and that seemed like a big job. Anyway Jenni (YorkshireLass of SewYLD) suggested I snip each sequin twice without cutting the embroidery thread and remove the pieces. So today I started to do just that. It was hard going, very tedious, but I am more than halfway done.

I used a tape measure which is 1.5cm (5/8ths inch) wide and laid it on the edge of the fabric pieces right side up. Any sequins partially or wholly covered by the tape then got removed. I still have to do the outer waistband pieces, and several edges of the front skirt. And depending on where I hem the skirt I may have to take some more off the lower skirt pieces.

Other than this skirt the only other planned piece for the Christmas Collection was the gold wrap blouse. I previously made a child's party dress from this fabric, so will have to confirm there is enough fabric left to actually cut out the blouse. If I get fed up of sequins that might be what I do next.

Updated to add - I cut the sequins with scissors - they need to be sharp and fairly pointed and  not shears or embroidery scissors but some sort of craft ones as if you do this a lot I am sure it will dull the blades. This works OK becuase the sequins are some sort of foil plastic not metal and so can be cut OK with scissors.
I cut each one on the opposite sides and then used a blunt seam ripper to pull the cut sections out from the embroidery thread. This worked really well.

Saturday 19 December 2009

Wearing the animal print cosy

Maybe this will go with the black and gold after all. I wanted to take some more pictures but my batteries are dead and the others are charging. However I think you get the idea. (I have not cut my hair, its just clipped up on the back of my head out of the way)

My SWAP Collection 2010

I was back on the East website because I just can't keep away. It costs nothing to look, and the silhouettes and styles are very me there. (Interestingly when I tried some clothes on in person the fit was not good, so inspiration time only!)
On the site at the moment they have a collection called Orchard Walk which has some of the vibe and colour relation to my planned SWAP, though I had not planned any green, instead adding a little gold and ivory for freshness as mine is a Spring collection and there's an Autumn one.
It will be interesting to see after Christmas when they come out with their Spring clothing what styles and shapes there are.

2010 Sewing resolutions

OK so its slightly early for New Year resolutions, but its interesting to think about what I want to achieve in my sewing life next year.

- Participate in the Stitchers' Guild SWAP and submit garments which I love and will wear.

- Join 4 or more Contests on PR, and complete them life permitting.

- Learn to sew with the Coverstitch machine

- make up the boiled wool (which was the most expensive piece of fabric I ever bought, European PR weekend in Germany!)

- learn to use Embroidery software

- finish, recut or ditch UFOs

- make more use of Burda magazine

- be serious about the overall style I want for my work clothes, so there's more of an 'East' vibe and less dressing like those 'Dress for Success' books. East Clothing Website

Friday 18 December 2009

Animal print cosy

I should be sewing the cordoroy embroidered skirt but instead I was side tracked by the animal print knit which asked to be made into a cosy. I think it worked out quite well. What do you think?
This is from Simplicity 2603 again.

I cut out quite carefully and have left all the hems raw and unfinished as the animal print mesh does not seem to ravel  at all :-D

Thursday 17 December 2009

Cosy addiction

I am completely addicted to those cosy cardi wrap thingies. I have made 2 now, though the fabric for the second was much better weight and drape. I really like them both as cardis, but also to have the option of a matching (long sleeved) top to wear underneath really allows them to shine. And I love the fact that its a modern twist on the classic twinset.
However I am not sure if they will be a long lived fashion, or indeed morph into a modern classic, so I am going to sew a few and enjoy them now whilst the silhouette is current. When I wore my black and gold set two female colleagues commented that they had seen the style in several shops and that it was very current (a rare thing for me lol!). The other plus is that if the knit does not fray you don't even have to finish the edges making them super quick projects which massively appeals to me when I want a quick project.

I was in my fabric cupboard yesterday (I am sure other sewers will understand that, you know you open it to have a look, to put something away or just to cheer yourself up) and I noticed an animal print poly I bought, planning to make a dress but discoverd it was semi sheer and I was not sure how it would drape BUT I realised it could be great for a cosy and that if the body was double layered could work also for the underlayer top.

It may well be too much for the SWAP if I have two cosy sets - one red-orange and one brown animal print, but I bet I would wear them so shall make them anyway as they won't take long.

I have pretty much run out of charcoal interfacing so will have to purchase some. I like to have the really lightweight one with little blobs of iron activated adhesive rather than the all over adhesive. I find it works on almost everything I usually sew.

This evening I wrote Christmas cards and wrapped and packaged Christmas presents to post which was fun (and very necessary), but did not allow for any sewing at all :-(
Maybe I can sneak some in tomorrow evening.

Monday 14 December 2009

No sewing tonight

Tonight I baked 2 chocolate beer cakes and a dozen mini ones. The mini ones are for hubby, and the full size ones are for colleagues in two of the offices my company has - where I want to say thank you.
That took all evening though, and now I am off to bed. Tomorrow I am away for 2 days so it will be a few days before I have anything more to report sewing wise.

I did some Christmas shopping today, having left it all a bit late, and also had lunch and the afternoon with my friend and her kiddiwinks which was fab.

I still have a gold blouse and a black cord skirt with embroidery/sequins planned for the Christmas Collection and hopefully I will get to them before the actual day! We are having Christmas Day quietly just me and hubby, but my parents are coming over on Boxing Day which will be nice, so I can make a bit of effort for those days.

The Chocolate Beer Cake is from Delia Smith's 'Book Of Cakes' which I have, but is also online at

Sunday 13 December 2009

Black tops with a bit of sparkle #3

In the same fabric as the square neck top, but single layer as its an overlayer, here's the Simplicity cardiwrap again. It seems to work much better in this lighter knit, and it is draping beautifully. This knit does not have a lot of stretch and I had to snip the armhole to ease the sleeve in again. However I think it will be OK to wear as its got lots of volume.

I lengthened the sleeves quite a bit, and may turn them up slightly if they are too long when being worn. I left the hem edges unfinished becuase this knit does not ravel :-)

Black tops with a bit of sparkle #2

This knit fabric is black and charcoal marl with little gold threads through it. I bought it in Harrogate when I was there for the weekend a few weeks ago. Its very pretty but Jenni pointed out its not really opaque. So on that basis I decided to double layer the front and back, but have single layer sleeves. This also gave me the opportunity to use a square neckline off a Marfy pattern which required a facing. Here I have just self lined to give the facing. I did have a bit of a struggle getting the sleeves in as I has machine basted the side seams and the armholes to keep the two layers together, and the resulting armhole was not very stretchy at all, so I had to clip it to get the sleeve to ease in.

The picture is lightened slightly so you can see the square neckline.

Black tops with a bit of sparkle #1

This top is a recycling project. The top with the short sleeves and cowl neck looks very pretty on the hanger (perhaps you think nicer than when I have remade it?). I bought it with my mother in a shop selling catalogue returns that had no changing room. When I got back home and tried it on I could not find a way to wear it. The scoop neck at the back coupled with the deep cowl at the front meant that it continually slipped off my shoulders and had to be worn with another top underneath for modesty. I liked the fact that the black viscose knit with applied copper print was not at all scratchy to wear against my skin so I decided to save it thinking I could recut it at a later date.
It went into the box of things which could be altered/upcycled and stayed there for several years.

When I started the Christmas Collection this year I pulled it out again.
I decided that the nice deep scoop neck would be nicer at the front, and that the back should come higher up and have a facing which gave a clean finish. I recut the pieces accordingly. The little short sleeves had never flattered my chunky biceps and were originally slightly dropped shoulder anyway. I used them to cut cuffs which I then used on plain black sleeves cut from plain black viscose knit of a very similar weight to the original top.


The end result is still a little crumpled from several years in 'the box' but will come out nice with a little pressing on the wrong side. More importantly this is now a fun top I would wear with black jeans whereas before it just skulked in 'the box'. I don't think it is as pretty on the hanger as the original, but since that was unwearable, it has to be an improvement don't you think?

SWAP 2010 plan

Well my SWAP plan is not yet fully formed but it is taking shape, and is proving a slow and painful business. I have done a few of these now and you would think I might have got the hang of it but no.

OK so first question is which of the 3 garment combo options to go for. I am currently hankering after

Option #2:
2 dresses -single pieces consisting of top and bottom that can be worn alone.
6 tops  - t-shirts, shirts, blouses, or camisoles
2 bottoms - jeans, pants, shorts, skirts or kilts.
1 your choice (not an accesory)

and this is going to work as follows:-
2 dresses.
dress 1 - dark brown pinstripe fabric sleeveless, can be worn alone or as a pinafore with other tops under it.
dress 2 - dark brown knit with cream coloured beads at the neck, not chosen a pattern yet

6 tops
top 1-  Simplicity cardi-wrap in red-orange viscose knit
top 2 - long sleeved top in same red-orange viscose knit
top 3 - ivory sweater knit - pattern not decided
top 4 - gold crinkle blouse with ribbon ties (may be a premade if I make this before Christmas as planned)
top 5 - ivory slinky cowl neck top
top 6 - ivory woven blouse - pattern not completely decided

2 bottoms
bottom 1 - dark brown pinstripe trousers
bottom 2 - many options, currently fancy the dark brown faux suede straight skirt with hem flounce.

1 choice
red-orange wool jacket from McCall's 5818.
(this may seem a little crazy but I have a few bright jackets and wear them an awful lot)

As you may be able to see I have chosen all dark bottoms/dresses, but light/bright tops/jacket. This is a deliberate approach.

Anyway I had better get back to my Christmas wardrobe.

Inspired by the Sea Wardrobe - was 4th on PR.

You may remember the 'Inspired by the Sea' collection. I entered it in to the Wardrobe Contest on Pattern review and came 4th. And that's not bad for a wardrobe sewn in one month. (If you voted for me then a big 'Thank You' I really appreciate it)

I must admit I don't love the corduroy trousers which came out rather shapeless (far right), so they are going to have a makeover. They are very comfortable but definitely look like they should be worn by a Cheshire farmer with his wellies and coat which was not quite the look I was going for.

I have worn everything except for the navy stretch denim skirt and the teal cowl neck top. Its always good when you see 'own sewn' things coming through the laundry.

Congratulations to the winner - Barbara V - and the 2nd (littlejazzbird ) and 3rd(HawkeMorningStar7) placed people. If you want to see them all they are at

Saturday 12 December 2009

SWAP 2010 Preparation - cont

Jenni very graciously went through the options for the SWAP with me. And I have decided to stick with the colours scheme and some of the fabrics I already had, but to lose the dark brown jacket as that is not very spring like to me.

I now don't have quite enough fabrics for all the things I want to do but definitely enough to make a start after Christmas, and then can have a shopping trip and further inspiration down the line :-)

Part of me wants to have it all planned out now, becuase I do like to know the parameters of soemthing, but perhaps it is good to leave some room for that extra creative spark to strike.

The dark brown will generally be kept for bottoms and the dresses, and all the tops and the jacket will be in more springy colours - red-orange and cream.

In the meantime I am going to go back to my Christmas sewing. Up next is the skirt and the cardi-wrap.

SWAP 2010 Preparation

SWAP 2010 Preparation

Crisis time. I suddenly had a wibble over the colour scheme I have chosen( brown/orange/cream) , that its too Autumnal and whilst flattering to my colouring, not appealing in terms of a contest which finishes in the Spinrgtime.

I was reading the Pantone reports

Pantone fashion color report Fall 2009

Splashes of sunshine for spring 2010
And none of my colours are on that Spring/Summer report.

Does it matter whether I follow the Pantone colours? On the one hand I guess not, if I want to go designing a collection with my own approach then that's my call.
But I do like to look relatively competmporary, and there is always the danger of sewing something so out of the current flow that I look a little odd.

I am not excited by the Pantone colours this year as much as I have been in the past, though it does remind me of a store display I saw one time which was khaki teamed with red in various combos which struck me as an exciting way to contrast the colours.
My colouring is Clear Spring - Warm undertone and contrasting as I have dark hair. So to make a dull colour like Khaki (Ok the Pantone colour is 'Dried Herb') work then I need the 'Pow' of a colour like a strong red.

The stash does actually contain quite a lot of Khaki, and whilst its not in my palette I think I could make it work if I contrasted it with the red.
The stash is short on red, and the few pieces I do have are being sewn up as part of my Christmas Collection in progress at the moment.

Christmas Collection and machine repaired.

I had a night out with some colleagues in Liverpool last night and proudly wore the black trousers and red slinky top, with the red heels and an RTW black velvet jacket (sorry no pics). A lovely evening and felt very comfortable and festive in the clothes though I did switch to my flats at the end of the night to drive home!

In exciting news the lovely people at Jaycotts have finished servicing my Janome sewing machine so I am off to collect it. I have missed it so much and the Christmas Collection items sewn so far were done on my 1980s Toyota basic machine from my teen years, which although adeqaute was frankly quite annoying to use.

It did show me a few things though

1. It is possible to sew on a basic machine and produce quite nice results.
2. It must make life more difficult for beginners when starting to sew but using a difficult machine.
3. Those extras like needle up/down, auto bobbin winding, thread cutters and speciality feet really do make all the difference.


Thursday 10 December 2009

Ruthie wearing the Christmas Collection so far

Here I am wearing the Christmas Collection items sewn so far.
P.S. I am happy enough (despite how I look), but have had dental work :D so not smiling too broadly.

Black self stripe Burda WOF 10/2008 #132 trousers

I have just finished the black self stripe trousers using my TNT pattern Burda WOF 10/2008 #132.
They need a good press as the seams are slightly puckered which is annoying.
The fabric is a black poly with self stripes in black and also a thread of clear poly which catches the light and gives a bit of glitter. However as they are basically black they should go with all the tops no problem.

I plan to wear them with one of the tops for a meal out with my work colleagues on Friday evening. So I had better get pressing.

Wednesday 9 December 2009

SWAP thoughts

Well although I have a lot of ideas in my notebook for SWAP 2010, I have not started cutting out yet, even though we are allowed to do that before we start on 26th December.
I think it is a mental switch for me - that SWAP does not start until after Christmas, and currently my energies are (slightly belatedly) focused around Christmas, not only my special occasion clothes but also gifts, cards, arranging to see people, meals out with work and all that stuff.

I am very comfortable with my colour scheme, general shapes and even some of my patterns, but am definitely still in that planning stage and things have not entirely crystallised.

Project Runway Series 6 just concluded showing on Sky1 in the UK today, and those final collections had me thinking about what is really me. Sure I am not a designer, but I definitely can show my point of view in the fabrics and styles that I choose when I sew.
I've also been analysing just a little the highlights and work horses of my previous SWAPs and other wardrobe type collections I have sewn.

I want to take into account the lifestyle I have, my colouring, the styles I find comfortable and within all that incorporate the three twists the rules contain this year.
In fact this year I wanted to do something interesting (though not necessarily too overt) in every piece.
I can churn out basic pants and knit tops which fit me quite well at a fair rate, so I suppose my personal challenge is not too rely too much on those super simple basics, but instead push myself just a little further this year.

I suppose in it all though I do have to still be me, which IS quite simple and basic - in a phrase 'Free Spirit Chic' - nothing constricting, fussy or frilly but whilst avoiding being boring.

Tuesday 8 December 2009

Barely a refashion, more a reshaping

This was just a simple reshaping of the side seams and allows me to get a bit more wear from this cotton knit RTW top.

I am pretty much done with red now LOL.

I was going to do something with the red fur, but can't decide on stole, scarf or jacket, so am going to pause it until another time. I did give it a final goodbye pat before it went back into the fabric cupboard.

Monday 7 December 2009

Butterick 3344 Red Slinky Top

I reconstructed the Butterick 3344 red Slinky Top this evening, This has been cut down a whole size though I had to leave the neckline as is, so will try to remember this for next time. It is a nice top just oversized when it should be fitted.

Sunday 6 December 2009

Red cardigan refashion

When I have the machines threaded up I like to add in a project where I recut an old garment to make something more flattering or just better fitting. Today I chose to take this old cardigan and completely recut it into a shorter princess seamed jacket with collar which I think has worked quite well.
I think I shall sew a large press-stud (snap) on tomorrow and add a button on the top and try wearing it for real to see how it works. I used Simplicity 4029, some satin bias tape and the leftovers to create the new cardi which I really like.

I think I need to add some tape into the shoulder seam as its stretching all over the place and it could take a press but overall I like the idea.

From this

to this

using this

Saturday 5 December 2009

Simplicity 4020 Print Kimono Sleeve Top

Fortunately my 1980s Toyota basic sewing machine does work. Its very noisy and smells strongly of sewing machine oil. It had been in the loft a long time in the other house and I wanted to use it to take to evening class, so asked my dad to get it running again a few years ago. He did. bless him, but used so much oil that more than 4 years later it still gets everywhere.

Once I had got used to using a clunky basic machine again actually it sews perfectly adequately, and using it and my serger I have made this top this evening. I know you all like pictures of the clothes being worn and I will do one honestly, but for today its just a hanger shot. It fits well though so I am a happy bunny.

The only changes I made were to lengthen the body and sleeves, and to have a tiny hem on the sleeves so they fell longer on the arm. I also stretched the neckband a fair bit as I sewed it on resulting in cutting about four inches off. This looks slightly gathered on the hanger but means it sits neatly on the body when worn.

The fabric is a thin cotton knit with not a great deal of stretch. It does howver have a nicely printed pattern (which stretches with the fabric, I hate when those white lines appear when prints get stretched) and I think may have been a John Kaldor fabric though I cannot recall where I purchased it. Its a bare 1.5m and neatly folded so I think one of the more expensive places rather than a bargain remnant.

This top is also a 16 and is a neat fit  - well through the lower body which is the only place this style really fits. However it is a very different fabric. I moved the slinky top to take the photo of this one, and its MUCH heavier, which I think is stretching the whole top out of shape a bit, though the Butterick pattern has come out too large before so perhaps a bit of both on that. I shall recut the slinky top tomorrow when I have a bit more will to tackle a gone wrong project. However the quick success of tonight's project will help with that I am sure!

The machines will stay threaded in red until I have redone the slinky top to fit better.

Not sure when sewing red fabric to black lining whether to use red or black thread. Is there a convention on this? The red is the faux fur, the black the satin lining for the wrap.

Machine in for serving

I took my sewing machine (A Janome MemoryCraft 4000) into the lovely people at Jaycotts in Chester. They have a shop, internet mail order business and repair workshop on the outskirts of Chester with free parking.

On the plus side the man said its a common fault on these Janome machines after a few years and its easy to fix when servicing (a tension wheel squeaking) but the minus is they are quite busy and it might be as long as 2 weeks before I can go get it back. SOB!
Anyway at least that means it'll be fixed before the SWAP starts, but does mean my Christmas wardrobe will need to be sewn on the basic Toyota which does not have all the lovely extra feet I have bought for the Janome and does rubbish buttonholes.

Anyway enough of the wingeing I shall go and thread the poor Toyota up and get sewing the red tops with it :D

Friday 4 December 2009

I decided to start with RED

Well I decided to start with red for the Christmas wardrobe and so this evening I have cut out the red print in the kimono sleeve pattern and the red slinky in the plain scoop neck pattern.
Then I sewed up the red slinky and its apparent it is too big. Recently when I have made a size 16 top its come out too large on several occasions, so I think I am probably slimmer on the upper half than I think I am (sigh).

Anyway tomorrow I shall cut the sleeves off make the shoulder seams a bit shorter, reinsert the sleeves and recut the side seams to fit better.

Yorkshire Lass suggested I make a satin backed rectangular stole with my red fur and wear it with a brooch this Christmas which would allow me to wear like that or unpick and restitch into something else another time.
That is an excellent idea, and so that is what I shall do.

My lovely Janome sewing machine is making wierd noises so I am going to have to switch to my much less lovely Toyota sewing machine and take the Janome to Chester for servicing/repair. I shall miss it so lets hope the repair people only keep it for a week

Wednesday 2 December 2009

Where to start?

I can't decide quite where to start with the Christmas mini wardrobe. I like to sew in batches of the same colours (as you may have noticed) so I have a choice of the black, the red or the gold. I also have some mending and so on I could do if I go with the black which although boring would put some clothes back into circulation.

Also in the mix is that if I don't get everything done the largest Christmassy impact will be from the coloured tops which I could wear with existing plain black bottoms (RTW) and the fact that I have not chosen all the patterns yet either which is making me pause a bit.

OK here's the rundown then.
Gold blouse
Only one gold piece, is very Christmassy, so makes sense to make this piece first except I don't know what pattern I want to use. I suppose I could reuse one I have used successfully before Butterick 6768.

Red slinky
Not a lot of this so it would be a simple scoop neck top (maybe with added embellishment) in Butterick 3344.

Red print
The red print fabric has a slightly Oriental feel to it and I was thinking of using a new to me pattern 
Simplicity 4020 has the right vibe.

Red fur jacket
No pattern for this yet. I imagine a bolero style with curved fronts and 3/4 sleeves as I have only a bit of fabric.

Black stripe trousers
These would be in the same pattern I used for the Navy herringbone - New Look 6757

Black embroidered cord
Same pattern as navy skirt though i think with skirt front cut in one piece. Simplicity 9825

Black with satin finish
No clear idea what this should be

Black/gold knit
And also found (not pictured)
Black knit with little gold sparkles in it, would make a great cosy wrap
(too sheer to wear alone) in Simplicity 2603