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Friday 25 January 2013

Frugal Fabric Friday

Hi folks, I'm afraid I'm going to pass again on Frugal Fabric Friday as I don't really have anything to share with you, I've started thinking about moving again (this time buying my own place), and that plus quite a stressful week at work and still not being fully recovered from my new year virus has resulted in no sewing.

I had a few ideas just not any time to execute them.
Perhaps its Ok to share the ideas with you even if I don't actually make up the item?

The one that's currently making me the most excited is multiple fabric panelled skirts. The pattern I'm thinking of using is Simplicity 4966.

What a great way to use up menswear remants left over from making tailored trousers. And you could always cut the pattern pieces into smaller segments if you had smaller pieces of fabric.
My plan is to use various black based remants (pinstripe, tasteful check etc) to make the knee length skirts, then wear it with a black wrap front sweater and leather knee high boots, maybe a very funky necklace.

I also want to make it in a plain navy pinstripe to showcase the directional piecing, and make a matching jacket. But what with work, house hunting and a great social life with my sweetie I just don't know if it'll happen anytime soon.

P.S. The pattern is from my stash and the reviews on PR go back to 2005, so I guess it OOP now. I have several other similar patterns stashed, one with an elastic waist which I made and wore to death when I was plus size, and a Burda magazine version from years ago.

So if you have this in your stash, fish it out, sew it up from some scraps and wear it please :-)

The skirt in the Autumn leaves collection uses a similar pattern from Prima magazine, which I'd not thought to do in different fabrics, so there are a few similar options out there. And I guess it depends how bohemian you want to go with angled hems, fringing, contrast fabric etc.

Anyone else got any examples of this sort of skirt they would like to share?

Having been and trimmed Simplicity 4966, I can see the large and odd shape of the pieces might not work too well with those bits left over from cutting out pants.

How about Simplicty 1760. Make view E (the Yellow one) with a contrast front panel, maybe a contrast waistband, perhaps with the back different from the front.
I will share if I actually make any of these up.
I have seen quite a few contrast centre panel skirts in RTW so it would be quite current, and probably more office appropriate. More Chic/Avant garde than Bohemian ;-)

Thursday 24 January 2013

Smartening up for work

I decided I need to smarten up a bit for work. I love bright colours, prints, textures and comfort, but actually need to also present a polished professional image, which I'm not sure is quite happening at the moment.

So I have ordered online, and had sent to the store, these TMLewin shirts. They were in the sale :-)
 Blue stripe
 Teal check
Pink spot

Hoping these will look smart when I pick them up at the weekend.

I really need to crack jacket making, and then I could have some nice suits to wear with the shirts.

Sunday 20 January 2013

Ooops overdone things

Whilst I was pleased with the end result of the tidying and sorting in the sewing room, I overdid things so soon after being ill and am absolutely exhausted today and had to go and have a short nap this afternoon.

As I fell asleep I was mentally planning one of my future projects which is a basic rucksack made to fit the dimensions of budget airline hand luggage.
Ryanair - 55 x 40 x 20cm.

That's a bit bigger than a normal day rucksack but a whole lot smaller than anything other than the tiniest suitcase. I'm not keen on buying a new small suitcase at the moment, so am thinking about sewing myself a bag, reusing the straps and other hardware from an old rucksack where the fabric has failed. We shall see how practical this turns out to be in reality.

Any suggestions on approach?

Sherril, we're going to Valencia in Spain, hand luggage only!

Saturday 19 January 2013

Sewing Room After

Its all put away on the shelves or in boxes now, so a quick whizz round with the hoover and it should be fine.

I'm quite happy with 98% of the fabric lengths and plan to keep nearly all of them.

The remnants, leftover bits and small scraps however are quite a significant volume, as are the projects which need alteration/recutting/harvesting. So those need more thoughtful sorting.

I also have kept every single sewing pattern I have ever bought, plus quite a few people have given me, and have many of the earlier ones filed in a complex envelope in box, plastic sheet in folder arrangement. I reckon these must be into their hundreds.

If I wanted to sell patterns what would be the best avenue do you think? I am in the UK.

Sewing Room Tidyup

I'm sorting out my sewing room a bit. Clearly the thing to do when you can't stuff anymore on the monster shelving unit is to remove everything off it, sort stuff into piles and then stack it all back on again right?
So that's what I am doing and currently I am half way through, you know that part when everything is in piles on the floor and you go in another room for a cup of tea and some blog reading.

I clearly had a corduroy phase, and bought it in lots of colours. Unsurprisingly I love knits and have a lot of them, including some I must've bought during a brief colour blind period. I have a huge number of trouser lengths, and could make something like 30, 50? pairs of pinstripe trousers in black, grey, navy, brown, grey etc. I also have lots of shirt/dress weight fabrics despite almost never making them. Some of the prints are scary! I also have some nice jacket weight fabrics. many in sensible colours.
I also have linen, leather, faux leather, denim, faux fur, felt, boiled wool and even some silk and waterproof fabric.

I could make enough cushion covers for 100 sofas, but have hardly any pieces big enough to make curtains. Despite having no nets at my windows, I have a big choice of sheer fabrics.

And then there are the scraps, oh boy have I got a lot of scraps. My Frugal Fabric Friday projects are only tickling the edges. The scraps are knits and woven, clothing, bedding and upholstery weights.

So, I really don't need to buy any more fabric, even though actually there are some things I don't have (plain black knit, medium weight blue denim). I do need to make myself some lovely clothes from the great pieces I have happily bought over the years. And yes I need to really make a good dent in those scraps - the fabric tote bags sold the best at the Craft Market, so I think I will make as much of the scrap yardage as possible into bags. I will then try and get to another craft market (or even sell on eBay or etsy??) before I move house again this summer. And anyone having a birthday will get their gift delivered in a fabric bag I then leave with them. Oh and my favourite ones can live in the car for my own supermarket shopping.

Right enough planning, I'd better get back to actually doing hadn't I!

Friday 18 January 2013

Frugal Fabric Friday #2: denim pencil case

Following the instructions at skiptomylou, though you may get slightly nicer results from the tuorial I later found at flossieteacakes, I made some denim and cotton scraps into a lined pencil case for carrying in my computer backback to work. I work across several buildings and don't have a permanent desk so like to keep my pens together in a pencil case. My current one is falling apart and isn't large enough for a stapler and other things as well, so I made this one.
One thing I liked about the fabric was it could easily be used to make gifts for guys, and even recycle old jeans and shirts to do so. I love it and am thinking about what other pouches I could do with in my backpack, handbag, on my bedroom dressing table etc. The pouch is the width of the zip by whatever depth you like. Maybe a power cable bag would be handy, and another one for headache tablets etc.

The denim does make for lumpy corners, but I'm happy with it, and think its rugged good looks will wear well.

Sunday 13 January 2013

Frugal Fabric Friday - pause this week

There's a pause in the Frugal Fabric Friday posts as I have been quite ill with sinusitis.
I'm mostly recovered but rather than pressure myself in trying to catch up, I recalled that my target was 40 FFF posts during 2013, so this is one of the 12 or so weeks I get to give myself a pass card. I hope you are all OK with that.

There will hopefully be no 2 on Friday, though I'm not quite sure what it is going to be yet, although I am sure inspiration will arrive at some point during the week.

I put away a large basket of clean laundry today and was a little surprised to discover that one of my SWAP knit tops has already had a laundry disaster, shrinking in length by a huge amount, and now being comically cropped!
Before washing. Shoulder to back hem - 26"
In the picture below, hanging behind it is another top the same size/style etc to give an idea just how much it has shrunk! Shoulder to back hem now 20" (was 26") - shrunk by 23%
Not quite sure what I am going to do about that......

I do have some fabric left over, so guess that needs to get laundered as well - and no I had not prewashed it (and clearly should've), and it was cheap from the local roll end shop, so unknown fibre content though feels like cotton and elastane to me.
I also discovered that I have left a pin inside the serged up collar which is now sticking through the fabric, so not one of my best attempts! 

As its about 6 inches shorter than it was, it now has 3/4 length sleeves, but I guess I could recut it and use the (prewashed) remnants to make another new top.
I wonder what will happen to the other things I've made from unprewashed fabric? Ooops!

Saturday 5 January 2013

Sale Shopping

I did some sale shopping earlier in the week and bought this lovely shirt from the Cotton Traders outlet. It's not on their website anywhere so must be old stock but its lovely fine cotton and reminds me a bit of a liberty print.
Great to dress jeans up a bit, or even for work with a suit.

Hope to make up the short jacket in fleece and then boiled wool.

Friday 4 January 2013

Frugal Fabric Friday: #1

This week's project is an old classic the Hair Scrunchie.
Made from knit scraps (but could be woven) this is a gentle way to pull long hair back, and I find tends to pull less than a thread covered elastic. Being over 40 I tend to pick dark plain colours for my scrunchies so these stripes are a slight departure for me, but you can make them up in whatever you like.

There are 6 steps to this

1. Cut a piece of fabric aaprox 20" long and 4.5" wide. Cut a piece of 1/4" elastic 8-10" long depending on how tight you want the scrunchie.

2. Fold the piece of fabric in half lengthways with right sides together, and sew the long edges together, leaving a gap of approx 1.5" half way down. (Don't forget to leave the gap or you get in a mess later!)

3. Start to pull the tube right sides out, but stop halfway and align the short edges together. Stitch round the short edges in a circle.

4. Turn right side out through the hole left in the long edge.

5. Insert the elastic. I like to use 2 safety pins. A large one to thread the elastic through the tube and a small one to anchor the other end so it doesn't disappear. Knot the ends together or stitch the overlapping ends with a narrow zig zag stitch.

6. Tuck in the raw edges and stitch up the gap by hand or topstitched on the machine.
This can be made from knit or woven fabric, but avoid thick fabrics like denim, upholstery fabric etc, anything sheer (as you can see the elastic inside) and anything slippery like satin. Vary the size of the fabric and the length of elastic depending on how full you want the scrunchie to be. For small children you'd want to scale things down a bit.

Wednesday 2 January 2013

New Year Sewing Goals

Happy New Year!!!
 My sewing goals for this year are

- write and share 40 'Frugal Fabric Friday' posts using up scraps or short yardage.
(This is less than one a week because I have holidays and so on).

- complete and photograph SWAP 2013.

- sew a boiled wool jacket with forward head alteration.

- sew in the week after work to leave weekends free for going out and doing stuff.

- make a travel bag to fit cabin luggage restrictions.

I have other non sewing goals in the year as well so am going to leave it at that for now. Boiled wool/jackets and using scraps being my main aims this year.

Tuesday 1 January 2013

2012 Year Review: Part 2

In July I tried to watch the Olympics and sew at the same time. This was only partially successful as I only completed 3 of my planned 5 garments
In August I was away on holiday for 2 weeks and didn't sew at all.

In September I changed roles again at work (sigh). I was very blessed by two fellow sewing people who sent me sewing goodies:-
Lovely L sent me my choice of patterns in the 99c sale
and M fabric and Burda magazines
And I made many plans but didn't actually sew anything.

I had a great holiday in Barcelona and was wowed by Gaudi!

In October I bought a better (used) sewing chair
I bought charcoal jersey and mused about patchwork chairs.

I went to the ballet for the first time! I converted my home office to use a temporary standing desk and sewed a knit dress and cami to finish off my 5 piece autumn collection
In November I made Christmas decorations for the craft fayre, and also went on the day and sold lots of my stock
I made a Christmas stocking
and started to think about SWAP 2013!

In December I made some more Christmas stockings
A whole load of clay snowmen decorations
Bunting thank you cards
I also sewed 4 tops and 2 dresses - all knits!

I am back at work tomorrow so we will have to see how the sewing goes on into 2013!

2012 Year Review: Part 1

2012 was interesting, since whilst I didn't move house, I did change roles at work twice which taught me a lot but was extremely tiring. I also had a much better social life, going out more and doing things which has been HUGE fun. All of those impacted my sewing quite a lot, but I still managed to get a fair bit done.

In January I worked on my SWAP - Angled Poise
In February I made a black dress
And things for the craft fayre
Plus changed jobs at work for the first time.

In March I had flu and a follow on infection, and the only sewing I did was a wadder:-
This red dress which was far too large in the neck and body.
I also got some shelving for the sewing room, enabling me to unpack all the stash from boxes.

In April I finished the SWAP and did the photos
I also tested Rhonda Buss's 'Lend Me Your Shoulder' top which I've wormn a lot with jeans for meals out etc

In May I don't seem to have sewn anything at all, which is how things go sometimes I guess!

In June I bought two old sewing machines but failed to get either properly working.
I made a cushion and some pillow cases

(Part 2 coming shortly!)