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Sunday 30 September 2012

Drawers, boxes and purging

Today I discovered why the underbed drawer full of shoes was sticking. It turns out I had bust the drawer by overloading it, and a pair of slingbacks had fallen out and got wedged underneath. Oops.

I love storage solutions, wire baskets, little boxes with lids, giant underbed storage drawers etc etc.
Rather than dealing with my excess I often just buy more boxes. This is not the best strategy I realise and I am trying to mend my ways. Honest.

The up side is I can nearly always find a box when I want to store things :-)
So since the fabric stash is mostly now on the shelving unit, the storage boxes are free and I was able to put all of the shoes into one of them!
I mended the drawer with some little panel pins, and refilled it with winter tights which had been in the bottom of the wardrobe. A better solution I think.
Whilst I was at it I sorted the tights by colour, always useful so you don't find you are wearing navy tights with your brown dress on a dark winter morning.

I was supposed to be doing something else, I wonder what it was?

Prima jacket

I've started on the Prima jacket, and other than a bit of a 'mare with the collar/front pleaty thing not seeming to line up very well, seems to be going OK. I'm doing a step and then have a break as don't want to overdo it.

I've been looking a bit more at one of the gift patterns - Simplicity 1920 - and a few things struck me about it.

The scarf can be made from a yard (or 0.9m) of fabric. The skirt takes 1.1m (1 1/4 yards). If you used alternate neck binding the little shell top takes only the body length, and the belt also uses very little fabric if you used purchased ties rather than cutting bias ties from the fabric.

So these would be great items if you had a little bit of yardage left from something else, or had bought a cute remnant and then couldn't work out what to use it for.

The jacket takes more fabric 1.6m (1 3/4 yards), and I think could also be made as a great soft waistcoat (vest) if you left the sleeves off.

So although they are really quite simple pieces to sew this could be a great pattern to have in the stash to use up those smaller pieces of fabric.or make a co-ordinated mini wardrobe.

Saturday 29 September 2012


I want to make myself some soft jackets to wear to work.
I have been looking at different patterns, but for the moment am going to attempt these 3.

First up, the free pattern in this month's Prima magazine, these are pretty simple patterns usually, so can work out well.
I've been having a think and I will need to do my normal rounded upper back alteration to the back piece, then my forward head alteration to the front/front facing, plus a full arm alteration to the sleeve and then I'll be good to go. All those things are a bit of a pain, but having learned how to do them I should just get on with it!

Second as previously mentioned is New Look 6082, though with some alterate closure to their fabric belt.

And then finally Simplicity 1784.

Once I have an idea which of these 3 works best - or hopefully all 3 will be fine and then I'll have options - then I hope to be able to run up simple jackets for all the existing orphan trousers/skirts, fabric permitting. We shall see!

Friday 28 September 2012

Patrones Magazines

I've just got back form a 6 day city break in Barcelona, and got a lot of creative input particualrly from the Gaudi locations we visited. I am not quite sure how this is going to come out in my sewing or other creative outputs over the winter, so will ty and split things out over a few posts.

First up I bought 2 Patrones magazines in Spanish. Having travelled hand luggage only space was limited for souvenirs, and I didn't buy all the magazines I looked at. So these and 700+ photos were what I brought back with me :-)

I picked these as they were Autumn versions and seemed to have styles I would wear.
Not purchased was Burda as that's available easily now in the UK, a Simplicity pattern magazines, Diana and other Patrones magazines.

I've long been intrigued by Desigual, and I think they might be Barcelona based as they were everywhere. I went in a couple of the shops, but was unable to bring myself to part with my money, though quite inspired.
One thing I loved, but may have been a shop only display as I cannot find it online, was a multicoloured patchwork chair, and its not a new idea, but definitely one which appeals. My parents gave me an old sofa and chair when I moved here. They'd had it in their conservatory and the current terracotta loose covers are unevenly faded. My fevered imagination wants new patchwork loose covers more in the style of this - though it would be a lot of work as I've never made loose covers before.
I was particualrly inpsired by the Gaudi and Miro Trencadís pieces I saw, as well as the wonderfully coloured stained glass, so this idea of mixing in many colours within a room has really caught my imagination, and is a big change for me as I tend to go for neutral plus one or two accent colours. But neutral plus rainbow is really appealing right now.

Friday 21 September 2012

Jackets for work

So I've changed roles at work again, and am much happier in the new role even though I only just started.
This one I am working out of a local office, but need to go in most days and dress smartly.

It is hard to tell what's appropriate for a woman as there are hardly any, and none in the small group I'm working in.
The men are wearing suits and shirts, most of them with ties. All very classic and traditional. I want it to come across clearly that I am one of the project managers and not be mistaken for the girl who gets the tea, so am sticking with suits as much as possible.

If money were no object I'd go out and buy some new trouser suits, but I'm saving to buy a house and am really not sure that's something I want to do.
What I'd really like, would be to make some simple (but still really smart) softly tailored jackets, as cardigans and so on are not going to cut it here.

I have a forward head and rounded upper back alteration which I make on tops and dresses and works well on New Look patterns. I have not quite worked out how to transfer this to things with collars, so am going to start with New Look 6082, as this has a long band instead of a collar, and a centre back seam which should make things easier.

I'll probably add patch pockets and a simple lining as well, and see how I go on from here.
I don't want to do 'proper' tailoring, just soft jackets that are smart enough will be fine.

Thursday 20 September 2012

Wow Simplicity Patterns

Regular readers may have noticed me moaning about the price of sewing patterns in the UK a while back. A lovely lady who reads the blog and is a member of Stitchers Guild gave me the wonderful gift of choosing 10 patterns which she offered to buy for me at the next Joann'es 99c sale and send to me. Wow what a wonderfully kind and generous offer. I was thrilled.

After quite a few weeks stuck somewhere in the postal system they arrived yesterday and I have taken a photo of them tonight.
A huge thank you for such a great gift. As you can see I went for a few wardrobe patterns, lots of knits and a nice skirt pattern. I have no idea what to sew first though I suspect it may be something from Simplicity 1784.

In other news I have just changed assignments (again) at work. The new assignment is for 2 years and is based in the local office, so no more driving to the customer site miles away. I am very thankful for this as the winter is coming and the driving is always worse in the dark, rain and other bad weather. It should also release a bit more time for hobbies including sewing!!!!

The new assignment does require me to go into the office pretty much every day and dress smartly - suits, jackets etc so I do really need to crack the whole fitting and making simple jackets this Autumn so I can have a range of suits for work.

** edited to add the back view for Jenni - the jacket has a centre back seam which will really help a lot with the forward head alterations.

Wednesday 12 September 2012

Trouser leg width

A few years ago I could buy trousers in RTW that passably fitted, for some reason despite the fact that I have remained the same shape this does not seem to be the case anymore.
As far as I can see this is because the trousers that fitted me were when we had wide leg trousers, more recently legs have become straight or at best boot cut, but folks I remained wide legged.
I tried these trousers on tonight (see above) in several sizes and each time putting my homemade ones back on was more comfortable and flattering. Boo hoo!!!!
Wonder if I have plain black woven in my stash.

Tuesday 11 September 2012

Sewing goodies (part 1)

A kind lady on Stitchers Guild offered me some more Burda magazines, and I said 'yes please'. She's not hugely local to me, but happily a friend works occasionally near to her and collected the Burda magazines plus some bonus fabric and other magazines, and I've had a great time looking through them and planning things I may or may not make.
As you can see they are from 2005! And as ever with Burda there are great things and super fails.
I've promised to send the maternity edition on to someone else, so its not in the picture because its been put to one side to be posted - honest!
Knowing my love of all things dark brown, my giftee also included two pieces of brown fabric.
The darkest brown is apparently a length of Mulberry wool and is wonderfully squishy and almost furry. I don't know anything about Mulberry that i can recall, so must google it.
The lighter brown is still pretty dark (the blue carpet is the same carpet as the top photo), and is a stretch lace. I immediately envisaged a pair of stetch lace leggings worn under dresses, and a stretch lace knit top worn over a cami - what do you think? A little too risque?

Given my current workload and social life (both busy) I'm not sure when I shall get to sew them up, but wanted to say a HUGE THANK YOU to my lovely benefactress for indulging me!

Wednesday 5 September 2012

(Lack of) progress on the mini wardrobe

Regarding the mini wardrobe, so far I have partly constructed the 'key' piece which is a knit dress.
Since this can be pre-made I'm already a bit behind.

I'm away this weekend, and also away for a whole week at the end of September, the rest of the time I seem to be working, asleep or reading people's blogs who ARE actually sewing.

Anyway.... I guess I wanted to set your expectations nice and low, because on my current estimates I'll manage the dress, camisole and leggings and nothing else during September and therefore won't have actaully achieved the requirements of the contest. Ah well.

I've been very blessed by other sewists sending me sewing related gifts, and I will both share some of these with you, plus try and 'pay it forward' a little by offering some small giveaways here on the blog.

Due to international postage being a bit painful these will be small and light things folks - lace/elastic, buttons, the odd pattern etc, as sending anyone fabric is just not feasible due to the weight, which will be open to blog followers who comment on the relevant posts.

That's all for now.

Ruthie x