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Monday, 31 October 2011

Aug-Oct sewing summary

Here's a summary of the pieces I've sewn during August, September and October. Not a great many I think we can see. I also altered some RTW pieces which I don't show.
I've got more social activities on the go now, which has been cutting in to sewing time but is good for the rest of my life.

I'm planning to sew some more pieces in this colourway. I have some previously sewn trousers which I have been wearing with the other items to make outfits.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Harris Tweed: 100th birthday

I found this article about the manufacture and history of Harris Tweed which I thought might interest others.

Harris Tweed: 100 years of the Orb


Sunday, 23 October 2011

I have been sewing

I have been sewing though I don't seem to have a lot to show for it.
The first two jobs were to fix the pants of two very smart RTW pant suits.
 The first needed rehemming 2 inches shorter. I'd cheated by wearing them with heels but they were still dragging on the ground. They are now properly rehemmed and pressed.
The second pair of pants are wool and were unlined, so I cut out a lining from some very dark plum bemberg type lining, sewed it up and hand slip stitched round the waistband and front zip.
I also sewed on the inner and out buttons. These pants don't look any different at all but hopefully will be more wearable now. So I now have two very smart winter pant suits.
They are both pinstripe, one a very dark navy the other a very dark grey. They are proper suits for a serious person, so I will wear them with loud print knit tops and plenty of jewellery to Ruthiefy them.
 I then decided that today I would take a remnant of a novelty knit and make a little cardigan. This has a black mesh background and then tan woolly fibres knitted through the mesh. The cardigan is now made bar hem, buttons and buttonholes. I have made 2 of the 5 buttonholes, but the thread keeps breaking in the needle, so I think I need a stronger thread. I also want to cover stitch the hem on my coverhem machine, and sew the buttons on (Black/Tan varigated buttons - from stash astonishingly) then do a final fitting as I think it needs to be slimmed a bit through the body.
This should be a useful little cardi to tie black, tan and cream items together into an outfit.
The remnant was an odd shape, but I used a single layer scheme when cutting out and have made really good use of the fabric and am pleased with myself.

Last week I sewed black snaps onto my black and lime cardigan jacket and wore the suit for work, though I think the silhouette would be better if the jacket were shorter, so I might lop a chunk off and rehem the jacket.

Postscript: Tried the suits on and I have gained some weight since I moved out from my parents. I lost some whilst my divorce was going through, but I've been looking after myself since May, and have gained now. I suppose I need to take a look at my food, drink and exericse and see what I can do to reverse the current trend. The charcoal grey suit would probably be OK with control panties, and both do up, they are just a bit tight.

Friday, 21 October 2011

More non sewing Pictures

These are all from Derbyshire
a few close up shots from my garden
This one is the reflection of a plant in the surface of the rain water butt.
and some from last weekend in the grounds of Chatsworth House (the house is used in lots of period dramas so you might have seen it on TV) but locals can go and walk in the grounds for free.

The autumnal colour is quite hard to find - maybe I'm a bit early.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Non sewing pictures

Here's a selection of my recent photographs. Its a good motivator to get out and about in the countryside. These 3 shots are taken from Arnside Knott in Lancashire.

And these at Grizedale Forest also in Lancashire

 This last one is a place called Nicky Nook (seriously!) near Grizedale Forest.
No pictures of the bit where I got lost in the rain and had to climb over a rusty fence in a farm.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Fabric Purchases Part 6: Chesterfield

The final purchases are at Chesterfield market on a Monday lunchtime (I nipped into town from work).
 The same stall is also at Loughborough market in Leicestershire on another day of the week.
(The open air markets are on different days of the week, so the sellers often cover several towns in a week, I think 'Washable Fabrics' also does Garstang on a Thursday for example).
I bought two pieces of nice soft jersey in different prints.

After all this I shall have a break from fabric shopping and sew instead.
It may not be obvious but I have still only bought fabrics for 3 ongoing colour stories in my wardrobe.
Autumnal darks browns with lime and orange.
Black, Black and white stripes/geometrics -with red and or pink
Navy blue basics to wear with any bright.

I've not bought any teal/turquoise this time as the stash is already quite heavy with it, and the lime or red/pink/orange are more flattering to my Spring colouring skin tones.

Fabric Purchases Part 5: Preston Market

After Abakhan, Jenni and I went on to the market. This is maybe not the best way to do it if you are having a day in Preston btw as the market starts early and packs up early where the Abakhan does more 'normal' shop hours.
For the market, you want to go on a Friday and in the morning or early afternoon.
The shot above is of the 'outdoor' market which is under a large roof for some protection. The stalls here vary on different days of the week. On a Friday there are two fabric stalls, one with very cheap/poor quality fabric which I would not recommend, but I suppose would be OK for one off use costumes or something like that.
My favourite is 'Washable Fabrics' (see above, though he was already packing up) which has very nice quality fabrics, and correspondingly higher prices but is stuff you are happy to have in your stash later.
Here's what I bought on the market
Left, top to bottom, top left- warm pink poly for blouse, centre left - animal print poly for blouse, bottom left - coral pink poly for blouse.
Right, top to bottom, top right - jersey print, bottom right - navy blue 100% boiled wool.

There is also a permanent indoor market right next door. This has one fabric stall which also has pattern books, and a haby/buttons stall where I bought the two reels of coloured shirring elastic - one burnt orange, the other lime - as they are not common and I don't have these colours in stash.
It's smaller than Leeds market, but does have stalls selling lots lots of other things.

The owner of 'Washable Fabrics' also specialises in Liberty print fabrics, which he also sells online (his other fabrics are not online) through an e-bay shop. I can't quite work out which one because I think his auctions end on a Sunday and his location would be Lancashire.

Fabric Purchases Part 4 : Abakhan Preston

 On the Friday of my week of holiday, Jenni aka Yorkshire Lass headed over to Preston and we met up at Abakhan Fabrics. There are a few different Abakhan fabrics across the North West of England but none near either of us, hence why we make the effort for a special trip. Their main shop is a mill in Mostyn, North Wales, but that's a bit far to go now though I used to visit from the old house. They do also sell some things by mail order which I used once.
My purchases.
Back row left - orange knit and right - orange linen look cotton, these are both for next spring/summer and were on deep discount.
Middle row - all knits, some from the pieces in the remnant boxes by weight, and some cut from the roll. For knit tops.
Front row - all wool mix lightweight suitings for trousers/skirts - 2 narrow stripe, 1 broad stripe and one plain, but all black. The leftovers will make a waistcoat (or maybe even a jacket) which combines ALL the black fabrics together.
Jenni's fabrics are here if you want to see what she bought.

Fabric Purchases Part 3: Fabrix

Fabrix is in Lancaster, and whilst away on holiday I was staying in a village just outside, so I really did need to go :-).
They also do mail order though I've never used it. The fabrics are relatively expensive, but lovely. They will send swatches out to other parts of the UK.
I did spend a lot of money here, which is easy to do especially when you start buying boiled wool, which I did.
My picture is not very good.
Back row L to R
left - Burnt orange boiled wool, centre - brown boiled wool with lime and orange felted pattern, right - dark brown sweater knit.
centre the 3 patterns I bought.
Front row
left - black brown paisley lining, centre - lime ponte (has come out too bright in the flash its a bit more olivey, right - remant of red textured fabric for a blouse.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Fabric Purchases Part 2: Pennine Outdoor

Whilst I was away on holiday in Lancashire I took a trip to Pennine Outdoor who are mainly internet/mail order, but do have a physical shop also.
Pennine sell waterproof, windproof and thermal fabrics in particular, ideal for walking and other outdoorsy things.
If you do want to visit the shop you can combine it with a visit to the nearby Ingleton falls for a nice day out.

In the photo of the shop, you should be able to see that 'Bentham Imaging' a photographic gallery is on the ground floor. To reach the shop go through the archway to the right and go up the stairs and through the door marked 'Pennine Outdoor'.
The owner is a lovely lady who let me take photos of some of the fabrics to share with you.
 I was a bit boring and bought 3 pieces of navy fabrics for 2 prs walking trousers and 1 pair of waterproof trousers, plus some needles and some seam sealant.
Mailorder is mainly UK, but also Europe, though I think technically they will ship pretty much anywhere in the world (except US for insurance reasons).

Fabric Purchases Part 1 : Leeds

I've done quite a bit of fabric shopping over the last 3 weeks but not shown any of it here on the blog.
I'm working through from oldest first, so starting with a trip to Leeds market.
My company has an office in Leeds which I visit occasionally, on 2 recent visits I bought the following.
The fabrics are all jerseys and all from Jacks Fabrics on the market.
The haberdashery items are from Samuel Taylor's which is a shop in a road near the market.
Also on the market there is B&M fabrics, which I have bought plain coloured jersey from in the past, and MK Fabrics who have a wool section too.
Leeds Market has LOADS of other stuff too, though I don't normally bother with them and just head for the fabric stalls.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

October Update

Remember my plans of things to be done before the end of October?
Well I have cleared the garage out and have been parking the car in it nightly for a week now.

This has a slight side effect of nine boxes of fabric and 4 bags of cushion stuffing being in the dining room, but hey the car can fit in the garage.
As to the other things, no progress whatsoever.

I have now managed to get the photos off my camera chip though, so will photograph my new fabrics, and over this coming week write up the posts about the various places I have bought fabrics.
Then I need to sew some of it becuase at the current rate I'm SABLE and only 40!

Monday, 10 October 2011

Fabric Items: ideas please

The local church I attend has a community centre. It opened recently, but there are ongoing fundraising events for it. Two ladies I know make bead jewellery which they sell, and I've offered to add simple fabric based items to their stock.

I want to sew from stash, so as to keep the costs down, though obviously I also need to bear in mind the attractiveness of the finished objects so they will sell.

I've had a few ideas of things but am open to more suggestions.

reusable fabric bags
felt Christmas decorations
pencil cases
makeup bags

I have quite a lot of cushion stuffing, which would lend itself to non standard shape cushions, though nothing is really coming to me - maybe heart shaped red cushions and gold star cushions?

I have remnants of fairly traditional home dec fabrics and a linen sample book etc.

Anything you can suggest?

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Jacket A Month

There's an idea out on Stitcher's Guild about sewing 12 jackets throughout 2011, its called 'Jacket A Month'. Its a great idea. I made one in January but have not put fastenings on it yet. And I made a throw into a cardigan a bit more recently. I'm thinking hard, but that does seem to be it. I am well behind since its October now and I can't see me making 10 jackets in less than 3 months, but hey you never know.
The Material Lady has a nice blog post about this dilemma.
My plans include several tasteful cardigan style jackets, but nothing too complicated. Remind me to put pockets in the darn things though as the pocketless women's suit is a thing out great frustration to me.
I have an astonishing amount of sewing planned BEFORE SWAP which includes 2 entire collections for me and a raft of fabric bags and dinky felt Christmas decorations to sell to raise funds for the church community centre. I work full time, my deputy is taking multiple weeks off in November and going to Australia (argh argh) and I have a bit of a social life now. I might have to give up TV or something to have time to sew. I'm definitely going to have to give up wine during the week, once I've had my dinner and my glass of wine, sofa&TV wins over sewing room, which is fine for chilling but no good for sewing.
Anyway here are my good intentions and you may call me on them.....
Before end of October (and to the U2 soundtrack...)
to have made two pairs of navy walking trousers and one pair of navy waterproof trousers
(This is so I can do some walking during the winter)
to have made at least one sample fabric bag and at least one Christmas decoration to show to the lady who sells crafts for the community centre.
to have cleared the garage enough to put the car away in it over the winter.
to have rotated my linen summer clothes and summer sandals into the hall cupboard.
Other stuff would be a plus, but with work and other committments that's probably enough for now.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Autumn thoughts

I'm away on holiday, elsewhere in the UK and am alternating hill walking and shopping. The shopping is mostly fabric related, but other bits too. The weather isn't great with lots of rain storms and wind, and once I get soaking wet I give up for the day and come back to my room to dry off and warm back up again. I'm self catering so I stay in during the evening surf sewing blogs, watch DVDs I brought with me and eat my dinner and read, so that's working pretty well.
I'll do some separate posts on each of the fabric shopping places when I've done them all. Each has its own characteristic so I don't want to mix them up.
The fabrics I've bought so far are for planned garments to wear over the next 3 months, so I need to get on and sew them up once I get back. I've also bought some New Look patterns as they were on sale for £2.95 each, and I use a few of my New Look patterns a lot so these seemed candidates to be new favourites.

I'm quite busy these days with work, church and social events so need to be quite focussed to make sure the sewing gets done, and I'm not just reading about other people sewing and not actually doing any!