Black Lives Matter

Sunday 29 August 2010

Culling stuff

I'm having another go at culling stuff becuase I have a bit more than is sensible.
Today I started with a bag of clothes from my plus size days. I decided that I'm not going to allow myself to get back to that size again and don't need those clothes as insurance.
The bag contained
2 prs black pants, 1 pair brown pants, 1 pair dark wash boot cut jeans, one oversize fleece jacket.
one brown print knit top, two orange knit tops, two teal knit tops.

I put the pants straight in the 'to go' bag as I have some similar in my current size and they are not special enough to alter. The jeans went in there too, but I might pull them out and try on again. If they fit on thighs/butt, it might be worth removing the waistband and altering them to fit on the waist.
The knit tops are all from nice stores and were full price. I have quite a good track record altering knit tops so I thought that would be worth a go as I still love the fabrics. As I had brown on the overlocker I already altered the brown print top to fit.

The oversize fleece is part of a fleece jacket/waterproof jacket combo, so I'll keep it as a jacket liner although its a bit bulky to wear alone as a fleece. Good for walking/hiking.
Yesterday I got rid of some old tee shirts and spare bags, so I feel I am making a little bit of progress.

In a few weeks I'll do the summer/winter swap over. I'll have a hard look at the summer clothes at that point and see if any of them deserve to live to next summer, and what needs to go out.
At that point linen clothing and anything with short sleeves gets put away and I only wear 3/4 and long sleeved tops until April. I can also put away all my sandals. Its a bit sad, but at least then I can see my knits, wool pants etc.

thinking about SWAP sewing

Sometimes I think about the Stitchers Guild SWAP months ahead, other times it's right up to the last minute.
Jenni at SewYLD has already started planning hers at least in outline, and discussing ideas with her I have the outline of a plan.
The basics of the plan uses some fabric I bought in a shopping trip with Jenni to Abakhan fabrics. Its a loosely woven wool boucle type fabric. The back ground is brown and black, and the boucle loops are in various shades including - coral pink, emerald green, teal blue, lime green, ivory and beige. It is absolutely asking to be an unlined jacket, probably with a waterfall collar that allows the wrong side of the fabric to be seen.

This of course lends itself to various dark brown and black bottoms, and strong colour tops. I might even leave the prints to one side for this one as I think they would fight a bit with the jacket texture. To a certain extent we have to wait and see what the rules are this year on the SWAP but there's usually an options for 4 bottoms, 6 tops and a jacket which tends to work better for me than the dress versions. However I am a bit more into dresses than I was as long as they are knit ones and comfortable :D.

Pinstripe trousers completed

I just finished the pinstripe trousers. These use the same Burda magazine pattern I've used several times before and work well for me. They have side pockets, I put in a centre back zip. For this version I used chocolate brown suiting with a beige pinstripe. Its a lovely stretch suiting, really nice quality. The pocket linings and waistband facing are done with chocolate brown satin fabric. Both fabrics frayed and have been serged into submission. Sewing the stretch suiting to the non stretch satin was a bit of a bear, but its come out OK. I added a loop and button to the inside of the waistband just to hold the very top closed. The front hem had been cut wonky - the weight of the uncut fabric hanging off the cutting area had pulled the fabric out of alignment when I cut out. In the end I just levelled it up and took a smaller hem than I planned. The hem is machine blind stitched and came out OK. Not exciting trousers, but I expect to wear them a lot.

Saturday 28 August 2010

Upcoming Contests

I sometimes like the challenge of participating in a contest on Pattern Review. If nothing else it gets me sewing to a purpose and deadline. I do however always have my own interpretation on that and make the contest work for me. On that basis there are loads I don't join in with.
Here's the list of contests for 2010
PR Contests 2010 
The next one which appeals to me is the Little Black Dress. I could use one in a nice knit, with a flattering skirt length for me (ie longr than the knee) so whilst that won't have the classic ooooh of something more formal I would wear it quite a lot I think. I do have a black knit dress but its not quite right, and given my recent knit dress sewing I reckon I could tackle something successfully now.
I'm also planning another knit dress in a wine/purple print which I think would be a lot of fun.

Friday 27 August 2010


No more trouser progress today, but I might well manage some tomorrow.
I've been looking at the preview of the Burda magazine - in French becuase the English takes you to the stupid Burda Style site - and there are loads of really wearable garments. It'll be a great issue when it comes, and who knows when that will be?
September Burda (in French)

Thursday 26 August 2010

Thursday - Trousers Progress

Here's the trousers starting to actually look like a garment. Still need pressing, facing and hems, but then would be nicely wearable. I have a waistcoat cut from the leftovers which I will sew up next, though that will probably time out before I go away.


Right sorry about the ranting yesterday, I might go back and delete all the stuff in capitals as I know I was shouting. Sometimes its just sooooo frustrating, and I know that doesn't excuse it.

In August Burda I quite liked a few of the coats and the two layer top. I'm not quite ready for the skinny ankle pants, though they look sensible for tucking into boots and doing gardening, though that's maybe not what they had in mind.
I would link to the pictures from the magazine only I can't work that part out any more, and am not yet prepared to learn Russian as their site is the only good one left as far as I can see. (Ok so maybe that was a bit of a whine!).

I might do some photos of the bits sewn so far, though I don't find that very satisfying. We'll see how far I get this evening and what (if anything) I have to show for it.

Ok coffee time. Ruthie :D

Wednesday 25 August 2010

Wednesday's progress and a RANT about Burda magazine

Tuesday I was away with work, got home late not feeling too well and went to bed about 8pm. That rather messed with any planned sewing and I managed nothing at all.
Today I should have been somewhere else with work but cancelled that and struggled out of bed to work from home. The morning was fuelled by coffee and cold meds but the afternoon was tough and I just wanted to go back to bed. Post evening meal and a chat with my fave sewing friend on the phone, I managed to interface the waistband pieces and do a few more work bits.
Tomorrow I might actaully construct the waistband but it depends how I am doing after another day of work.
My job is really interesting but requires quite a high energy level, and is hard to do effectively when feeling ill.
So I might find I've used up what I have 'getting things done' at work and have none left to do that in the sewing room.

A plus is that I worked out how to show the blogs I am following, as there were some I kep missing as I only read my own sidebar. There are some fun blogs out there if you have some time to spend reading rather than sewing.

< start rant >

Oh yeah, and finally, Burda magazine for AUGUST arrived yesterday. Folks thats the August edition of a Magazine arriving on the 24th of the month. That is horrendous! I can tell you that I WILL NOT BE RENEWING MY SUBSCRIPTION!!!!!!! I can buy it 3 weeks earlier in the stores, so they can stuff their subscription.
I have NO IDEA whats up with their subscription department, but really they should be able to get a magazine to a subscriber BEFORE its in the shops not THREE WEEKS later.
Why is it even in the US subscribers mailboxes on the other side of the Atalntic Ocean before its pootled across Europe from Germany to England?
I don't understand it, but I am not at all happy.
< end rant >

When I've stopped having a strop I might have a look at the garments and see what I want to make. :D Ruthie

Monday 23 August 2010

Monday's progress

I've cut out a pair of trousers and a lined waistcoat in the pinstripe brown suiting fabric, and some matching satin lining (pockets/waistcoat lining). I've not had any big chunks of time to sew so decided to just do a bit each evening until I am done. I'm pretty tired this evening so only did a little, but even that has progressed the trousers quite a bit. I've made the front pockets and back darts and neatened all the edges. I don't seem to have any of the right weight of interfacing for the waistband so need to buy some I think. So the waistband isn't started at all. I need something which won't stretch out at all but also not be too stiff around the waist. I seem to have the interfacing extremes in my interfacing box.
The other evening I made two patch pockets for the waistcoat, but decided I wanted to work on the trousers first.
Hopefully by the weekend I will have some trousers to share with you. I might even model them, though don't get too excited.

Sunday 22 August 2010

New necklaces

I went to the larger local town yesterday to run some errands, and went into the Wallis concession inside another store. The sale was on and I managed to buy these statement necklaces for only £2 each, reduced from between £15 and £20 each so I was quite pleased about that.
As you know I have a thing for statement necklaces. These don't have my ususal strong colour palette but I think will work well with lots of the neutrals in my wardrobe.

The 'One Pattern, Many Looks' Contest on Pattern Review

The 'One Pattern, Many Looks' Contest on Pattern Review has completed and is up for voting.
I entered New Look 6735 Variations so if you are a member on PR and like mine the best please do vote for me.
Here's the items I entered in the contest

and here are other items I've also made as variations with this pattern.

Friday 20 August 2010

Pinstripe trousers

Tomorrow I plan to continue the brown wardrobe with some classic pinstripe trousers. These are from my current favourite Burda pattern, and have side pockets and a shaped waistband.
I've not even cut them out yet though so it'll be a while before they are ready.

Thursday 19 August 2010

Simplicity 3565

Simplicity 3565 came free this month in Sew magazine. Just at a point where I was thinking of cancelling Sew, they have redeemed themselves. Hmmm.

Its a Wardrobe elements with a jacket which can be at hip or cropped lengths an A line round neck proncess seamed dress and wide leg trousers.
I'm not sure I would have bought it but I do quite like it.

On pattern review there are just a couple of reviews for the long jacket (which is unlined btw) and nothing for the other pieces. I'm looking at the pattern and thinking, lengthen there, shorten there, alter here etc so I dare say I will use it but that the resulting garments won't look much like the originals!

Although the envelope pattern is all made up in dark purples that look like wool mixes and have a very winter look, the little sleeveless dress with the cropped jacket would be a lovely summer look. Round necks are not that great on me so I would probably change it to a V neck.

Sleeveless dress with a knit underneath does say little girl to me though, I had them as a small child (I did not wear school uniform until age 11 as was common in the UK at the time).

Sunday 15 August 2010

Next 'brown' thing

I'm sewing a summer into autumn wardrobe based on dark brown with various mad prints.
I need to choose next between sewing brown linen trousers, brown pinstripe trousers or a brown knit fabric cardigan. I am currently leaning towards the linen trousers being sewn up first as I have a shorter time to wear them. On the other hand they could be paused altogether and started in the Spring instead.
I want to use the scraps from the linen to add a contrast band at the bottom of a slightly too short brown linen print skirt which I also won't be able to do without having first cut out the trousers. Tricky!

Saturday 14 August 2010

Variations on New Look 6735

1 pattern, many looks

Recut knit top

This was a plus size top I've taken apart and recut to fit.
It is a fun print, and the background is dark brown not black.

Friday 13 August 2010

Wednesday 11 August 2010

Print Fabric

Loud but quite me! I am thinking of making this into another knit dress. I like my knit dresses at the moment. Comfortable, with personality and make getting dressed easy peasy!

Click on the picture to bring it full size.
The orange flower slightly above the centre  with 5 petals is 3.5" wide, to give an idea of the scale.
I am thinking about making another knit dress if I can get it out of the fabric but I will have to do a few layout tests to see. Imagine it in autumn with a brown wool jacket and brown suede boots, plus a big orange pashmina and a lot of Ruthie confidence.

Monday 9 August 2010

Variations on New Look 6735

Variations on New Look 6735.

Stretch shirting

I had a little walk out of the office at lunchtime today - in part becuase I wanted a break - and of course my feet automatically walked down to Leeds market. My usual favourites B and M fabrics didn't have any jerseys which really grabbed me, though if you like grey or burgundy you should get down there.
I did go to Jacks fabrics though and there bought some stretch shirting in a black and white which is nice. It stretches a lot round, but not at all up and down, so I think would be nice in a formal woven shirt which I normally find too restricting. I think it was Hen fruitlessly going round the fabric shops in London wanting stretch shirting which made me think of it.

No set date for making this up, but would prob be McCall's 5522 as that's already altered to fit, though it does have a lot of pieces.

I did faithfully promise Jenni that I wasn't going to buy any more fabric until the show in November. Oops!
No idea what I am going to sew next. I have brown on the machines, but am about to go away with work for 2 days, and will prob use the evening in between to catch up on my exciting (not) paperwork.

I might go and have a little browse in the fabric cupboard though, just for fun!

P.S. I did wear the dress with the sandals, plaited belt and the big pendant necklace and a purchased jacket. I added a gold bowling bag style handbag (can we say capacious!!) and felt very me :-)

I have done something useful and sewing related. Hemmed some purchased trousers. I bought these with cuffs at the hem and wore them despite them being slightly too long. The bottom of the cuffs eventually started to fray so I have unpicked them and rehemmed, cuffless at the right length. Hopefully another couple of seasons wear out of them before the fabric starts to go into holes.

Sunday 8 August 2010

Wearing the print dress

Here's what I plan to wear tomorrow to work, with a purchased brown linen jacket.
 And the same dress with different accessories.
The gold belt is a bit much for work though, and there's no way I could walk from the train station in these shoes even if they slim my legs!

Wearing the striped top

Here I am wearing the striped top with the flag pocket jeans and red plimsolls.
Great for weekend stuff like mowing the lawn.

Next Collection

Inspired by the 6 piece seasonal collection sew along Elizabeth (ejvc) hosts on Stitchers Guild, I am going to take the dress as the direction for a 6 piece collection. Elizabeth has various different calculations for the different seasons, and I never seem to fit properly into any of them.
So I am planning a Summer/ early Autumn in chocolate brown and gold

Dress -
see previous post
Trousers -
brown linen
3 blouses/tops (1 to match trs, 2 to complement)

- gold crinkle blouse (complement)
- plain brown knit top with embellishment
- brown based print knit top
1 light layering top/cardigan -
perhaps in chunky brown lace, inspired by this top owned by Karen (kbenco)

Saturday 7 August 2010

Grown up knit dress

This dress uses the new alterations, and is a more grown up vibe than some of my other recent knits.
It works well with this chunky necklace and a bronze plaited leather belt.
With brown linen jacket and brown leather sandals it can go to work in summer, and with a black wool jacket and black leather boots it can go to work in the winter as well.
I am really pleased with it and will try to model tomorrow, once I have put it through the cover hem machine to do nice knit hems..

Alterations tried

I added a wedge 1" deep across the back (very round back) and took a wedge 1" deep out of the front neckline (forward head)..
This seems to have worked pretty well, and as its a wedge alteration has in fact not altered the armholes so I may be able to continue to use my normal sleeves.
I think the back curve needs smoothing out a bit and the very top of the back neck still needs the wedge taking out which I was doing before.

The shoulders do seem to sit better now even though I have not altered them at all, I guess the shoulders are not necessarily the issue?

Anyway I am happy enough with the altered pattern to cut it out of some nice fabric (I used a nasty cheap poly knit to test) and sew it up.

The overlocker, coverhem and sewing machine are all threaded in different colours, so I could choose just about anything colour wise as I'd have to rethread at least 2 of the three anyway.. I had originally planned to do a red knit top but that's not particularly calling my name at the moment.

I managed to get all of the fabric in the cupboard once I removed the fleece, so I can open the doors and see what wants to get made up.....

Sewing Room Tidying

Saturday is a new day. Thanks for all the nice comments and encouragement.

I did a bit of tidying in my sewing room last night and some more this morning. Needs a bit more still but I have some space now on the cutting area of my desk to actaully do stuff with pattern tissue.

Jenni carefully puts each piece of tissue nicely folded in the envelope as she sews the garment. I don't! I had about 20 patterns with the pieces all jumbled up in a huge pile and I would just fish in the pile when I wanted to sew something. Good for using sleeve from one pattern and body from another etc, but terrible for organisation.
These are now all sorted neatly with the pieces from the same pattern in a clear zip lock bag (I am unable to get the pieces back in the envelope as Jenni does.) and the bags sitting on end in a box on the shelf.

I still have some fabric to put away. I've had a few shopping trips recently (online, Devon, Leeds, London, Preston/Lancaster) and after each one just left the bags in the sewing room. I also have fabric out for the PR wardrobe contest. I had planned the whole thing but didn't even manage to cut anything out even, and its just cluttering up my space now.

I'm pleased with all the fabric I have bought, but buying so much over a relatively short period has become slightly overwhelming. Local options are poor though so I tend to take advantage of good sources when they are available.

I don't think there is room now to get all my new purchases in the cupboard, so something bulky like fleece may have to come out to make space.

I may even pull pins out of the carpet and run the vacuum cleaner round to freshen things up. When things get too cluttered I lose the edge in there for some reason which probably isn't surprising really.
I swapped the floral curtains out for plain cream ones a few weeks back, and that although slightly bland, is more serene which is better for me and sewing creativity :-)

Friday 6 August 2010

D'oh alterations

I've been sewing and wearing my own knit tops for some time now, wearing them in cheerful oblivion of how poor the fit really was.
At the recent London Sewing Weekend it became apparent that the shoulder seams on my tops just don't sit at the shoulder becuase I have forward shoulders, forward head and a very round back. D'oh!
I came back and could not bear to sew anything more knowing how terrible the fit was.

Jenni helped me find the right sections in Fit for Real people but I was rather intimidated by the whole thing and have not managed to pysche myself up yet to actually alter any of my patterns. The shoulder alterations make the armhole smaller as well, so I will also have to do a fat arm alteration also (I think they call it full bicep but who are we kidding?).

Anyway hopefully tomorrow I will be able to find the mental energy to start messing about with altering one of my supposed TNTs to be better fitting.
I am a bit down about it all to be honest, but that may just be a pretty tough day at work, and a long week speaking.

Probably the most useful thing to do at this point is to have a really good tidy up in the sewing room so I have some space to start fresh in the morning, plus an early night.

Thursday 5 August 2010

Monday 2 August 2010

Sunday 1 August 2010

London Weekend

I went down to the London weekend on Thursday and came back this afternoon.
I must make sure next time to take really comfortable shoes as my feet still hurt despite having sat down all afternoon.

On Saturday we went off to Goldhawk Road, an area with a lot of fabric shops and we were there from before 11am until after 4pm.
Between us we bought the fabric below in the large number of shops there. I didn't actually count the number of fabric shops on the one street but it has to be more than 10, which coming from an area where there is one fabric shop for every 4 towns, was slight overload for me.
At this point I am not going to say which fabric pile belongs to which person, though those of you who know me quite well will probably be able to guess easily enough which is mine as it has my 'style' on it.

Click on the picture to see it full size.
And then have a think which fabric piles belong to RuthieK, Hen, Karen and Elizabeth.