Black Lives Matter

Friday, 31 December 2010


Having just emptied my sewing room prior to moving in February, I found a lot of UFOs, half done projects, things I want to recut etc, and I wonder if this should be the season of doing that stuff rather than the SWAP and 12 jackets......
I love sewing new stuff, but maybe this year I should finish some old projects off.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Shearling update

I've finished my little faux shearling jacket though it needs hooks and eyes or some other sort of closure that works on an edge to edge jacket.
In the end I edged it with strips of the fur side removed from the backing as the raw edges didn't look too nice. I like the furry edges, but it does need some of those jacket clips or something to do the front up nicely. Its very warm and if nothing else will be great for late night surfing or reading.
It's rather late here tonight, so I'll do a photo of it tomorrow.
I'd like to lightly press it, but no idea what that would do to the shearling, quite possibly not anything good. Perhaps the edges will flatten out with wear?

Shearling dilemma

I have a dilemma, I can't decide if the piece of coral pink embroidered faux shearling should be a waistcoat or cropped jacket.
As a casual fabric I'm unlikely to wear it over dresses, and I'm not sure I'd wear a bolero length jacket with a longer top and trousers and feel comfortable. But I don't wear sleeveless jackets at all as my arms get cold.
I do only have one metre of fabric though......
My latest thoughts are to change the front to a two piece shaped style and see if I can get a longer body and still keep the sleeves. Some little patch pockets would be cute too and would not need much fabric.
Let me see what I can come up with. I do love the sleeves on the bolero jacket from Burda, the shaped two piece gives a really nice sleeve.

edited to add I morphed the sleeve of the Burda with the bodice of a favourite waistcoat pattern and have a little short jacket. Just need to insert the sleeves, trim the edges neatly and topstitch the edges and I'm done!

Classic brown boots

I was given some money for Christmas and decided to use it to buy these lovely classic brown boots.
They are the 'Grace' brown leather boots from The Bootmakers and I was very happy that they had my size (foot and calf width) in the sale.  As you can see they are a very plain classic style, and have a low heel so practical for actually walking about the place. (P.S. I know heels look great, but hey my knees hurt if I wear even a mid heel all day so I've gone for wearability!).
I'm a 'Clear Spring' in colouring and the signature neutral for a Clear spring is apparently a very dark brown, so I try to pick up dark brown leather goods when I see them, as anything which doesn't work with black seems to work with brown instead.

The sewing I have planned for the Spring is also based around brown, so I will have some boots to wear with any new creations!
(I ordered online, so they've not actually come yet, I hope they are as lovely in person as the pictures. I am pleased with the simple lines, lots of other boots had buckles and faux brogue detailing and other nonsense, I just wanted PLAIN boots!)

Saturday, 25 December 2010

A Jacket a Month for 2011: January Burda

I'd like to participate in 'A Jacket a Month for 2011' but I'll need to see how life works out over the next year or so.

January Burda is great and has a lot of very wearable clothes, which makes a nice change.
I was so entralled that I traced off the little bolero jacket 117 this evening and made a muslin.
The muslin showed it needed to be longer (if fabric allowed) and have the back neck taken in at the top for my forward head.
My fabric will be a coral embroidered faux shearling (From last year's Harrogate show), but I am not quite sure what to do about the edges. I could just cut them raw and then top stitch the edges to stop the layers separating too much.
I think I got my layout sorted this evening, but I'll save the cutting for when I am a bit fresher.
Pictures below show the bolero

Friday, 24 December 2010

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

I'd like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, with love from Ruthie.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Vogue Wardrobe V2989

I'm quite inspired by Vogue 2989 which I bought at the BMV stand at the Harrogate show.
The model even wears jewellery like some pieces I have.
Not sure I'd make the knit pants tbh, and the skirts would need to be a smidge longer, but its quite wearable don't you think?

Project pack up the sewing room has begun and of course has left the remaining stuff unusable for the moment, though I am having a look at the fabrics as I sort and pack them and some are getting left out to be sewn :-)
The jacket LOOKS like its sewn from a sweater knit, though that's not listed on the envelope. Sewing with sweater knits is new to me, so could fit with the new techniques IF I can work out how to sew the fabric.

I think I'll make a bit of time to read the instructions through a few times and see what I think.

Here are the current reviews of V2989 on Pattern Review.

Sewing With A Plan : Dec 26th 2010 to April 30th 2011

The annual Sewing With A Plan contest hosted at Stitchers Guild kicks off on December 26th. This has the short name of SWAP, but its the initials of the contest and not about swapping anything, you get to keep everything you sew.
To participate you don't have to buy anything from anyone, just go and become a member of Stitchers Guild, and post on the SWAP discussion thread.

As Pattern Review are NOT doing a full wardrobe contest this year, this is the only contest out there that I know of to sew your own whole collection. Obviously you can use any commercial sewing patterns, tried and tested old favourites, self drafted etc and any fabric of your choice as long as you meet the requirements of garments in the rules. The twist this year is to push yourself slightly on techniques, and to perfect or learn new techniques which you use on 8 of the 11 garments.
Go read up the rules and the replies by the fabulous DragonLady to see the details of what's in scope for the techniques area.

I'm packing up and moving during the early part of this contest (and potentially again at the very end) so will probably not be able to participate all the way through, though I shall still have a good go, making sure that laptop and sewing machines get unpacked first at every location!

If you'd like to see more the photos of the last 2 years entries are in Ann Rowley's Flickr set
SWAP 2010
SWAP 2009

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Knit dress - timed out for now

I was hoping to make the crazy print knit into a dress, but other life stuff needing doing and I've not had chance to sew.
Instead I've pulled various bits out of the wardrobe to assemble a suitable outfit based around a plain black RTW knit dress. The dress is boring but I am planning on wearing it with the black velvet bolero, black velvet heeled knee boots, my red leather jacket, a red pashmina and 3 red necklaces - they are all different lengths but have similar colours/ bead shapes, and make an overall nice chunky look. I have a red flower for my hair as well, and will make a bit of effort with makeup. The print dress will have to do for another occasion I suppose.

To SWAP or not to SWAP?

As you know I love sewing co-ordinated wardrobes and SWAP (sewing with a plan) is the classic home of this. Even though Julie Culshaw of Timmel fabrics closed her business, the SWAP lives on at Stitcher's Guild and 2011 is the 8th year of the SWAP contest.
Each year there is a new twist on the original approach, which go in different directions and are meant to take the challenge on further. I have participated for multiple years in a row.
SWAP on stitchers guild

I'm probably not going to particiapte this year as I am moving in February, and between Christmas and Easter will have just a table in the bedroom for the sewing space. I will still be sewing I am sure as its a great stress buster and creative outlet but I need to be able to sew at my own pace the things I want to sew.
Anyway if I find that after Feb I have loads of time to sew then maybe I'll suddenly catch up and be producing garments but somehow I doubt it.

Interestingly in 2011 Pattern Review have left out their full wardrobe contest from the list. Theirs had 10 pieces not 11, but I think it was still too many for a lot of people to participate. They will still be running the mini-wardrobe contest in 2011 (in March), though they are not repeating the Endless Combinations in 2011, the 2010 Endless Combinations is running now and finishes on Tuesday 14th December.

Open to anyone with no prizes other than camerarderie and the garments you produce is Elizabeth's 6 piece collection sew along on Stitchers Guild. I try to play along with this every season if nothing else, though I bend the rules to suit me something shocking, making dresses in winter and leaving out the coat etc as I fancy. Elizabeth is very understanding about this, which I appreciate, and I may even come into line one season.

I have been slowly working on a small collection I call 'Winter Berries', but so far have only made 2 black items (shrug, trousers), not really seeing much of the Berries yet. It's supposed to have a black skirt, a print dress, a knit top and some other stuff which will be red, but I'm not getting a huge amount of sewing time at the moment.

I am away with work 4 days next week, so there may well be a big lot of nothing on the blog for a while.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Winter Berries Collection: Print Dress musings

The print fabric is begging to be made up next, and I wanted a change from the usual scoop neck dresses I've been doing, and thought maybe a knot front would be nice. I could morph my Kwik Sew knot front pattern into a dress by adding sleeves and a skirt. Here was what it looked like with sleeves so imagine that with a skirt as well. I'm going to take some length out of the that front neckline as well as its quite low.
Well that's if it'll all bit on the fabric of course which is never a give. I might let myself have some play time today and see what seems to work

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Winter Berries Collection: Black Herringbone Trousers hanger shot

Here are the black herringbone trousers. They are cut quite long and fit neatly on the waist. Slightly ironic really since I added belt loops on this version but the waist came out a bit snugger.
Not room to wear thermals underneath, but OK for normal wear.

The pattern is slightly adapted from Burda magazine Feb 2010 #102.

Err there is really not a lot more to say about them, other than that I noticed from these that I am wider and flattish at the front, but have a narrow back waist, and am very curved out to my bottom.
This makes for some pants which look a bit wierd on the hanger it must be said but fit quite nicely when worn.
They are not perfect as this pattern still has some fabric pooling under the butt, but I seem to need that as spread room when I sit down so am willing to live with it I think.

I've got a couple of days off work (Fri and Mon), and could use the mental break. Might not manage much sewing though as I am supposed to be packing for the move.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Burda December arrived

December's Burda Style Magazine arrived, on 7th December so not too terrible I suppose.
Its been in the shops for weeks though which makes me slightly grumpy.
I only have one more magazine left and then am not going to renew my subscription despite the begging letters.
Apparently it would be E82.27 (Euros) though whether that is a saving on the cover price of £4.75 I am not sure. The poor delivery times are more of an issue to me.

I also to need brush up on my German a bit so I can read the Burda website instead of having to go on the completely rubbish Burda Style English language one which has different stuff!

Anyway enough of that, what things do I like..... well I am really liking draped sleeves from View 102.

The boiled wool (loden) skirt view 124
The plus Fur Bolero view 125
Maybe THE design for the red faux fur.......

Monday, 6 December 2010

Winter Berries Collection: Black Herringbone Trousers completed

The Black Herringbone Trousers from the Winter Berries Collection are completed but not photographed yet.
They've come out quite well and I am pleased with them. I hope they will be a workhorse item in the wardrobe.
I think the black pencil skirt will be up next or maybe the mad print dress, actually yes the mad print dress would be good.

I now have less than 10 weeks until I move so I should be thinking more about packing and less about mad print dresses, but there you are.....

Here's the fabric for the mad print dress so you can see why it is so called.
 The coin is a British 50 pence coin, and I dare say as useful to any American readers as a quarter is to me when shown to indicate scale. The 50p is quite a big coin, so I think you can tell that its a huge and crazy print, and therefore strangely suitable for a Ruthie.
I might even wear it to one of my up coming Christmas meals out with black velvet knee boots, red lipstick and quite a lot of attitude.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Serger woes: resolved

After several cups of coffee and a trip to the storage unit with some suprisingly heavy boxes of books I was sufficiently alert to have another go at rethreading the serger.
This time I was successful and I have now finished the edges of the main parts of the black herringbone trousers. This is good as its a very fraying fabric, and I wanted to serge the edges before I handled the pieces too much.
I realised that I am in fact using the wrong side of the fabric (and will continue to do so) and the right side is actually grey with black herringbone and a bright blue pinstripe. The wrong side is black herringbone, with less of the grey, and the blue stripe being less obvious.
(A few times recently I have chosen to use the wrong side of the fabric deliberately, and I will continue to be fearless in this, if the effect is more what I want).
I'll be careful when assembling to make sure I have all the black sides out.
The fabric is a mystery remnant from the stash and I can't recall where I bought it, and have no idea of the fabric content. Its not 100% poly as it presses quite nicely. From the slight damp animal small when pressing it wet I am guessing it has some wool content, though it doesn't have any itchy feel to it. (So myabe its viscose/rayon then and its a damp vegetation smell not a damp animal smell.....)
Good progress made on the trousers today. They now only need inner leg seams, waist facing and hems, I gave the outer leg seams a good press and left them on the ironing board to cool and dry.
I decided that tonight was not the night to burn the midnight oil and try to finish the trousers off.
I think I'll have a nicer finish if I take a little time tomorrow and finish them nicely.

The only thing I've done differently on this pair is to add 4 belt loops and a slightly deeper shaped waistband, otherwise they are the same as the previous pairs made from this pattern.
Hopefully as a pair of black trousers, but with the slight interest from the textured fabric they will be useful in the wardrobe.
No pictures as half sewn up trousers are not very inspiring IMHO.
But I will post a hanger shot once they are done.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Serger woes

I AM supposed to be sewing, but on my last garment I stupidly allowed the serger to run out of thread on one of the spools. This evening I decided just to thread the missing spool up, and then to replace the other low spools, and ended up in a terrible mess. After 6 rethreadings (the last two with the book in front of me) I still cannot get it to make the stitch.
After a long and tiring week I think I am just going to call it quits for today, but am frustrated becuase I had an hour to sew this evening, which is now lost.
The plan is to make the black herringbone trousers as I have now cut the missing pocket linings out.
Maybe I should fuse the interfacing to the waistband pieces and have a hot bath with Lavender bath salts and go to bed early. I might wake up a bit more with it and be able to get the darn thing to sew.
Obviously no more garments will be produced until this gets resolved, or I return to the old serger in a fit of pique.
(The older serger is still in the sewing room and has threads attached to make it easy to rethread.
Perhaps if I went back to using it the new serger would feel bad and start co-operating again?
I fear that it is actually operator error and not the fault of any of the machines.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Winner's Cup

Pattern Review Challenge : One Pattern Wardrobe Large

Apparently this should show my winners cup.
How cool is that :-)
I've not picked a course just yet as life is in chaos a bit with packing and work and stuff.