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Sunday, 31 October 2010

SWAP 2011: possible fabrics.

My stash cupboard search for stuff in brown, teal, cream or a combination thereof has resulted in a HUGE number of fabrics (over 40) puthering on the table and floor and I still didn't find the gorgeous silk blouse fabric that I bought at the show last year with Jenni.
So I obviously need to narrow that down a bit more. Quite a few of them are alternatives to each other for example teal, mint and cream shirtings, would only result it one or two garments which might make it into the actual SWAP itself. It was quick and dirty initial sort, for instance pulling out all the teal and turquoise knits, which don't necessary co-ordinate with each other and so on. Some are one offs - for example a nice dark brown faux leather, a cream sweater knit; others probably don't match properly with the dark brown boiled wool (pin stripe trousering) and will go back in the cupboard for another day.
It does show that this colourway is likely to work quite well for a SWAP collection, and as it also works with stuff I already have in the wardrobe should be wearable in my real life, so I think I will do another sort whilst its daylight to try and remove the fabrics which don't work with the boiled wool at all (ie the brown in them in warmer etc).
Having talked through these with Jenni there is now a smaller box full for the SWAP (some choices still depending on mood, wadders and fabric lenghts), and a big pile which need slotting back into the cupboard.
I seem to have mislaid the teal silk I bought at the show last year from M Rosenberg and son, and also some teal linen (not that I was going to use the linen) so I must've put them somewhere together when inspiration struck at some point. They'll turn up, probably when I am looking for something else, so I'm not too traumatised.

SWAP 2011

As mentioned before the SWAP 2011 Official Rules have been announced which is very exciting. As a person I am inspired more by fabric and colours/textures first and then have the patterns to fit with that.
So having had a very excited chat on the phone with Jenni, I am now going to go and destroy the stash cupboard by pulling out my dark chocolate brown boiled wool from Germany (this is going to be my key piece which everything else has to work with) and anything else which looks like its going to co-ordinate with it.
I think this year I am going to go back to one of my favourite colour combinations of chocolate brown, teal and cream as I have loads of gorgeous fabrics already in these colourways, wonderful wools and silks, faux leather, cotton shirting etc.
I will take a photo of the fabrics once they are pulled out and assembled, then I will park them in a box and tomorrow start on the Pattern Review challenge in black and spring green (a mini winter collection, that will then morph on itno the Endless Combinations contest as well).

Possible techniques for the SWAP
  • silk blouse
  • leather or faux leather skirt
  • boiled wool with lapped seams
  • welt pockets
  • fly front zipper
  • hand picked top stitching
  • hand made thread loops
  • using woven and knit fabrics in the same garment
  • a buckle on a knit top
  • perfecting coverstitching
  • zipped pockets
  • flat felled seams and other traditional shirt construction techniques
  • working with non-stretch lace
  • classic lined wool pencil skirt, with the back vent properly handled with the lining (this always gets me in a tangle)

I am sure some other techniques will come up as I do some research.
I'm going to be moving in March, but I've moved mid SWAP before so should be able to cope with that again! I just leave my sewing stuff out until the very last moment possible!

New techniques for knits: any suggestions

I'd like to extend my sewing with knits to the next level and am open to ideas for new techniques.
I have an overlocker and a coverstitch machine (as well as a 'normal' machine) and tend to sew a knit garments with all 3 machines.

My basics tend to be knit tops or knit dresses which have set in sleeves, applied band at the neckline, or the edge turned under and cover hemmed. The hems are cover hemmed, the sleeves either coverhemmed as well or have an applied cuff.

I've never done binding thats sewn on, collars on knits, mixing woven with knit in the same garment. I tend to make the same few simple patterns up over and over in different fabrics. That's great for strong prints but it would be nice to do some things that have a bit more detail/interest to them. Perhaps make tops which look like they came from a more expensive store (only no-one can figure out where!)

SWAP 2011 Official Rules

The SWAP rules are up at Stitchers Guild!

Option #1:
6 tops  - t-shirts, shirts, blouses, or camisoles
4 bottoms - jeans, pants, shorts, skirts or kilts.
1 your choice (not an accesory)

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)

Option #3:
5 dresses -single pieces consisting of top and bottom that can be worn alone.
4 tops  - t-shirts, shirts, blouses, or camisoles
1 bottom  - jeans, pants, shorts, skirt or kilt.
1 your choice (not an accesory)

3 garments may be purchased or previously sewn.
1 may be knitted or crocheted.

Now here's your twist:

Every garment should be made with a technique or feature that you haven't tried, or haven't mastered.  My personal Waterloo is zippers -hate 'em, because I have to take them out and redo them at least once, every time.  And there are several things I've sampled, but have never used on a garment -slotted seams, for one. 

That doesn't mean every garment should have a zipper, if that's what you have trouble with.  But at least one should.  And if you never mastered buttonholes, at least one garment should have one.  If you've never made a flat-felled seam, now's the time. Smiley

Because this will be more challenging, I'm allowing one more garment to be puchased so that everyone can be pretty sure to finish in time.  I know last year was more fussy, but this year will be more apt to have pieces that need to be redone, or may even cause a wadder or two.  So to offset that, the total number of garments to be made is one less.

Sewing will begin December 26th, and all garments must be finished by April 30th, 2010.  Because this is a shorter time frame, pattern fitting and cutting may be done whenever you're ready.

I might actually have to make a technique sample book as I work on new techniques! Argh.
I have a lot to choose from welt pockets, front fly zippers, collars with a stand, flat felled seams, hong kong finish, tailored fitted jacket, working with boiled wool and doing lapped seams, making a woven dress that actually fits! etc
As I love to sew with knits I need to come up with some things I've not done with knits to extend my skills there too, but although I have been using my coverstitch we have an uneasy relationship which I can't be said to have mastered.
I wonder what else I can learn to make my knit sewing move to the next level?

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Purple Wallis Dress

I took a break today to drop some stuff to the charity shop and have a mooch about the shops. The local department store now has a Wallis section and although small compared to the range of stuff on the Wallis website, had some nice things.

I really liked this purple knit dress, which at £40 is something I could buy. The style looked like it would be quite wearable. It is however just basic viscose lycra knit and would be easy to make something similar if I had a pattern and fabric.

I thought it would make a grown up Christmas dress but still be wearable for other things like work or church afterwards, and with the elbow length sleeves be wearable for a good chunk of the year.

So Jenni, we need to look out for fabric at the show that could make this, unless I succumb and buy it first (I've not tried it on yet, and it might turn out to be hideous!!!). The argument for buying is you have it straight away, the argument against is I could buy a lot of fabric for £40.

Its a raglan sleeve, with a cross over front into a slightly raised waistline (I think, as I've not tried it on, maybe its at the actual waist) and cuffed elbow length sleeves. The skirt is gathered slightly into the waistband and appears to be slightly flared.

Project Pouffe: goes wrong

Well I made up the beanbig/pouffe inner and stuffed it with 3 bags of stuffing. Its huge and the stuffing goes nowhere near it. In fact its a lot larger volume wise than I imagined which is a bit frustrating.
I don't want to buy more stuffing for it as the point was to use materials I have not buy more, and I think the resulting item (if I did) would be very large and rather in the way in the living room rather than providing just a bit of extra seating as I had imagined.
Of course despite it being a test bean bag, I have neatly finished all the seams with the overlocker and it has a zip in the side seam and everything!
I have a few options:-
1. Remove the stuffing and donate the outer as a 'bean bag cover'. Its in shades of neutral creams and might let someone reuse an old beanbag.
2. Recut the fabric down to a smaller size and restuff it with the stuffing.
3. Have a rethink and try and locate a better pattern
4. Leave it and work on something else

Friday, 29 October 2010

Project Pouffe: Part 1

I've started making my pouffe/ottoman using a pattern from a book for a beanbag. Hopefully once completed it'll be a little bit like a large Amy Butler Gum Drop Pillow as I shall use lots of stuffing rather than beans.
So far I cut out and sewed up the inner, including a zipper in one side seam to make stuffing easier.
I chose a light coloured print fabric in cream and beige (sheeting I'd used as curtains, then recut for something else etc) to make the inner so it wouldn't show through any outer layer. I'm planning on using home dec fabrics in shades of cream and gold for the outer layer but haven't chosen them yet.

New Look 6735 for the challenge

I think I am learning towards my old favourite New Look 6735 for the PR challenge. I've made the top lots of times and also converted the top into a dress multiple times, so I can do a dress and top as a starting place.
Next I thought of doing the skirt, in a black and lime tweed, though whether I do that length and wear with boots, or make it longer I'm not sure. Then I think plain black trousers, and those will need some alterations to look more like a Burda butt and perhaps even facing and zip if I use a woven, and then a shortened version of the cardigan and maybe another top!
 I'll be away 3 days a week each of the weeks if the contest so I dare say I won't manage all the pieces but I can definitely try can't  I?

Thursday, 28 October 2010

PR Challenge Contest: One Pattern Wardrobe

You may recall I had a mad scheme at one point called Wardrobe in A Week, which I ran as a sew along on Stitchers Guild. 
On similar lines Pattern review have a contest starting on Monday as follows:-

Pattern Review Challenge Contest: One Pattern Wardrobe
November 1 through 14, 2010

Select one pattern and make a miniature wardrobe out of it. You must make at least 3 items that combine to make 2 complete and different outfits. All items must be made using the same pattern.

Examples: 2 tops & 1 bottom; 1 top & 2 bottoms; 1 top & 1 bottom & 1 dress

All work on the items must be done within the Challenge Contest 2-week interval. Patterns can be ones previously used, and fabric can be pre-treated before the contest starts. If a dress is made, it should co-ordinate with the other 2 items made, but does not need to be worn with them.

That whirring noise you can hear is my brain madly thinking, thinking because despite a crazy work schedule you know I have to do this right?
No cutting out in advance though I guess I can choose fabric. This might be the ideal opportunity to make the black and spring green pieces I have planned for winter, or at least use this to start a new capsule off. 

Some possible options:-


Saturday, 23 October 2010

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Co-ordinating Camel at InsideOutStyle

I left a question for Imogen at InsideOutStyle about how to wear the colour camel, which as you know is big this season.
She posted her answer today, and it uses a lot more colour than I expected!
You can read it here - Co-ordinating Camel.

I thought it was lovely of her to take the time to answer my question. I have been wearing my camel wool pencil skirt with ivory, dark brown and a tweedy jacket with camel/ivory etc tones in it. Her approach has much more colour in it which is interesting to see.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Winter Sew along

I still need to make the brown striped waistcoat, but in my head I've already moved on to my next capsule, a spring green and black set based around this fabric and existing purchased jacket, bag and necklace.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Gold blouse finished

Here's the gold blouse finished. The little gold buttons were a gift from the lovely Jenni and were cut from a worn out but expensive RTW blouse and the quality shows beautifully I think you can see. From the thread still in some of the buttons I would guess this original blouse was in a dark rich blue though I never saw it.
I decided not to do any more thread loops because once I started making my first one I could see that my two usable thread colours were both different to the sample Jenni used on the first thread loop. The buttonhole attachment on my machine had been behaving nicely though on the cuffs so I did 3 little keyhole buttonholes on the front and snipped the thread loops off.
Each cuff has two buttons and the front wrap has 3. A spare button is sewn to the inside just in case.
The buttonholes and buttons are fray checked on the back as this is very ravelly polyester fabric.
Just need to see what bottoms this would work with and I have something for Christmas events.

I am much happier with this now it has no tie. The little buttons work very well and are elegant and in keeping. And if I put it under a jacket I won't have wierd bits hanging down which I normally get with the wrap over side tie blouses.

The Unpixies

Still no progress on the gold blouse, but post coffee and danish I will get started honest.

Last weekend I was at Jenni's where we did a few tweaks to the gold blouse. We really could have done with the help of some Unpixies (these are the opposite of Pixies who make a mess in your house) and instead had to wield two of Jenni's multiple unpickers ourselves. (A girl after my own heart she has 3 because they are always under things, on a similar basis I cannot tell you how many I have, though I reckon its more than 3 but they have never been seen in the same place at once and so unless I put those animal trackers on them, I will never know!)

When I was growing up my sewing relatives (mainly my mum) called those seam ripper tools 'Quick-Un-Picks' which I think was a brand name common at the time, but I always felt was a bit of a fib, as the unpicking always not that quick (and hence my desire for Unpixies to speed things along).

(If I was artistic I'd pop a picture of a Pixie with a seam ripper here, but sadly the best you are likely to get is a blouse hanger shot and only that if I go away and actually work on the garment).

Meanwhile in my research on Ottomans which are rather hilariously called a Pouffe here in the UK, (which strikes me as a truly bizarre and yet onomatopoeiacal word) I find that Volume 5 of the Stitch by Stitch book series has something called a 'Sag Bag' a Bean Bag Chair in other words, which if stuffed very firmly would infact greatly resemble a large Amy Butler Gum Drop Pillow.
The Stitch By Stitch books were published in 1982 and have all kinds of knitting, crochet and sewing projects in them, including one I love which is how to make your own 'Continental Quilt' which is what Duvets were called in the UK when they were a new an exciting thing and we all still had sheets and about 10 blankets on each bed in the winter.
The sheer reduction in weight when I first got a duvet took some getting used to I do recall, but suddenly made child hood bedmaking a whole lot easier.
Another Stitch by Stitch project shows how to make a sofa from two thick single mattresses and a lot of cushions, some carboard and fabric and is truly ingenious, though they don't actually show anyone sitting on it.
But it would be super easy if you have friends over and need a sofa bed!

Maybe I will start a series of projects made from the Stitch by Stitch books, although as I don't knit or crochet, those projects are lost to me. There are some excellent fitting chapters sprinkled among the other bits and pieces. I don't have a full set of these books, and in fact I seem to have partial sets of two editions, with some books twice. I think I paid a pound for each book at a bookstore closing down sale.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Fabric Ottoman

Having promised Jenni I would finish the gold blouse and wear it to my multiple Christmas parties, I instead have started plotting a new project which is a fabric Ottoman something similar to the Amy Butler Gum Drop cushions in large format.
I don't really want to buy the Amy Butler pattern as it is not quite what I want but its sparked some ideas....
I plan to make mine out of several co-ordinated unholstery fabrics - probably in shades of cream to be neutral and not clash too much in various room furnishings.
Here are some ideas, just have to find some instructions somewhere.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Vogue 7828

I really liked this Vogue Pattern - 7828

But to make use of the pay one get one free offer, need to find another I love as much.
Possible others are
V1132 Wardrobe Pattern - I can see this in some brown tweedy fabric I bought last week.

And V1020 which would work with lots of knits.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Gold Blouse

Gold crinkle blouse almost done. I am full of cold, and colds make me stupid (well stupider at sewing than normal).
I stopped after I neatly sewed the cuffs together down the long sides, giving myself a very nice long tuby thing, which is nothing like a cuff.

Since the next step would have been to make one of those bound edge slit thingies in the sleeve I decided to cut my losses and phone a friend.
The outer fabric ties are also too pouffy despite having the heck pressed out of them, and I may have to remove them and replace them with ribbon or something.
And of course they have been securely sewn in with many rows of very small stitches and some understitching.

It does fit reasonably well though and looks like a shirt. The collar in particualr is sitting quite nicely.
It is however for a gold crinkly shirt, pretty shiny and gold (and crinkly) and has a slight air of crumped Christmas gift wrap, perhaps another reason why the giant bow isn't quite making me happy.
For some reason it seems to be a bit shorter than I expected, and doesn't really work too well with jeans. But I think with trousers or a nice skirt it'd be fine.

Next up more brown stuff, a brown and gold dress, a brown striped waistcoat and a brown cardigan.

Mind knowing me I will throw sense to the wind and instead make a black and green print dress.
Oh and I still have to actually finish the blouse.

Fave Pattern : Burda 02-2010 #102 Pants

I saw that Dawn of Two On Two Off has recently made up some lovely Burda trousers, and when I looked at the line drawing I realised these are my current favourite trousers pattern too at the moment. They do look slightly different in my size, but hey there you go!

Saturday, 2 October 2010

PR Contests - that I'm probably not participating in!

In the past I have been very excited by the various contests on Pattern Review and used them to drive my sewing at some points. This year not so much for some reason.
Running at the moment, the 'little black dress' is part way through and 'pattern stash' and 'costume' just started.
Not being a great fan of Halloween I am not planning to participate in 'costume', it doesn't get the same fun feel here in the UK where the costumes are darker (witches etc) and not my thing really.
'Pattern stash' is supposed to encourage you to try a lot of different patterns. That's not massively my approach, because once I have sorted my size/fit issues with something I want to make several things from it. Making patterns work is a different sort of mental energy than actually sewing and I don't always have it.
If I did make a 'little black dress' (and I've more more on a bonkers print dress bender) it'd be a knit one and I'd wear it for work with a bright jacket. So all in all they are not grabbing me.
But October is a shiny new month and I want to done something fun and creative, that is also useful to me.
I have been bashing away at my Autumn Collection sew along with Elizabeth from Stitchers Guild but am part way through a blouse where I have lost a facing piece and deviated from the pattern when cutting out and thus confused myself (need to write little notes to future Ruthie explaining the thought processes at the time, or else sew stuff up straight away!). Meanwhile some black and green print knit fabric begged to be a knit dress with some sort of cowl neck treatment and long sleeves, though I''ve so far left it hanging longingly and not cut it out.
Maybe a cup of tea will help matters, and perhaps I can find a scrap to recut the back neck facing for the blouse.....