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Saturday 30 April 2016

SWAP : Taupe cardigan

Using the same cardigan pattern as before (Prima Nov 2010) this time in the shorter length in a lovely silky viscose (rayon) jersey.  As before I've reduced the flare on the front for a straighter look.
The jersey fabirc is a great match for the panelled taupe skirt and I am now removing the cream skirt from the collection.

** Prima is a general women's magazine published in the UK, which if you subscribe comes with a free sewing pattern, often a very simple style, this one has worked very well for me.

Charity Craft Stall - Natural Fabric Bags

Ive taken a selection of my Craft stall items into work this week for my colleagues to have a chance to buy things. A few items have sold so I now have a bit of a headstart for Monday plus some change for customers.
One lovely colleague bought a little drawstring bag (not shown) and then came the next day with fabric pieces for me.
These are bags made from the bottom of some overlong Ikea curtainsshe gave me and twill tape handles. I love the unbleached cotton look and hope they will appeal on Monday.

Tuesday 26 April 2016

Charity Craft Stall - drawstring bag

This bag was destined to be a shoe bag but I decided not to sew up the middle to seprate the shoes in case someone would rather have it for lingerie or laundry instead.
A bit more romantic than my personal aesthetic, hopefully someone else will like it.

Monday 25 April 2016

Charity Craft Stall - Neck cushion and leaf bag

More simple sews for the craft stall.
 a rather small bean bag neck cushion with a pale blue and gold chenille cover
and a very large shopping bag with a leaf print design (I like this a lot and want it for myself!)

Sunday 24 April 2016

SWAP ivory tee

Modified Kirsten Kimono tee in a beautifully drapey ivory jersey.
Hopefully simple, elegant and wearable rather than just boring.
Here's what it looks like with the other things in the wardrobe.
I might swap the cream skirt out if I make another ivory top as its feeling a bit bottom heavy, however this plan would meet the rules as well as my taste.
Once SWAP is over I have all sorts of extension pieces I want to sew to enhance it.

Saturday 23 April 2016

Charity Craft stall - dark floral cushion and some denim shopping bags

I had some of the dark floral left over from the other things and decided it should be a cushion front.
I backed it with some distressed denim, and then used the denim to cut out some more shopping bags. I'm trying not to make too many things the same to give my customers some choice.
After this I switched the thread over to ivory and made a cushion pad for the cushion cover.

I make my cushion covers any size and shape I like and then make the cushion pad to fit myself. The cheapest source for stuffing is to buy new cheap bed pillows and cut them open, reusing the stuffing in a new polycotton inner in the right size for your new cushion cover.

Friday 22 April 2016

Charity Craft Stall - leather bookmarks

I had some bags of leather scraps bought some time ago. I cut them into strips based on the size of the piece of leather using a rotary cutter, quilting ruler and seal healing board.
The red ones have an embossed texture already so I left those plain, but I used gold acrylic piant and some small rubber stamps (2 stars and a heart) to decorate the plain ones as they seemed a bit boring.
I took these, the fabric bags, earrings and scrunchies into work today and a few colleagues bought some, so I have a start on my change for Monday 2nd.

Monday 18 April 2016

Charity Craft Stall - fabric shopping bags

I made these on Sunday, 7 more shopping bags to have on my stall on 2nd May.
I already made one of each design, so now I have 9 really nice bags to sell.

Leather bookmarks next, cut from some bags of leather scraps I bought years ago.
I'm going to start with boring rectangles and go from there, I saw some cool leather bookmarks in the shape of a leaf.
 A few of my colleagues have said they would buy the bookmarks before the event, so definitely worth doing as I might get some presales.

Saturday 16 April 2016

Charity craft stall - more earrings

I made another 12 pairs of earrings from my beading supplies, and found a few previously made necklaces too. These will be on my craft stall on 2nd May as well.
I think that is enough on the earrings now, so I'll move on to something practical (which has sold well in the past) - shopping bags.

Thursday 14 April 2016

Charity Craft Stall: Draught excluders

It's just over 2 weeks to my Bank Holiday Charity Craft Stall and I thought I had better make a few more things to fill the stall.
Here are 3 more draught excluders, two from a dark blue heavy upholstery fabric which has an outer blue twill and an inner white lining bonded to it. The third one is wool tartan (and I have a fourth also in wool tartan cut out but not yet sewn). Hopefully at some point I will make myself a tartan skirt with the rest of this fabric. However if that doesn't happen again this winter I'll make some tartan cushions for next year's craft fair.
I also have a partially contructed bag from the blue fabric but have not yet found the blue stripe webbing to use for handles.
I have a feeling that work pressures, trying to complete SWAP and having to eat/sleep are going to interfere with my ability to produce a lot more for the stall, though happily I have stashed a bunch of things which I've made but never worn, and have made beading earrings and hair scrunchies plus a few cushions and some other random things, so hopefully there will be enough to fill the stall on 2nd May and lots of money will be raised for the charity.

Wednesday 13 April 2016

SWAP rule clarifications

The SWAP clothes (and some extras and accessories) are now on the new rail - yay!

And I have some clarifications of the SWAP rules

We're trying to avoid orphans, yes.  And yes, everything should be wearable with at least one other item, and ideally with several other items.

The combo should work with both of the first and second packs.  It's intended to act as a "bridge" between them. 

To avoid orphans, the wildcards should also be a 3 pack, but they do not have to be wearable together -rather, they should be wearable with other items in the SWAP.
So with all of that in mind I will have another look tonight.

Tuesday 12 April 2016

New hanging rail for sewing room

The various freestanding hanging rails I've had in the past either collapsed, broke or were given away. Three collapsed ones (adjustable ones which have dropped to their lowest level) are still in use - 2 in the loft for out of season clothes and one in the airing cupboard for ironing and spare coathangers but the others have moved on.
I decided what I really wanted was a super heavy duty wheeled fixed hanging rail, but that was only 2 feet wide so I could wheel it about between rooms upstairs, and ordered this one for about £30 including delivery online.

Having paid £6-£10 for the various ones I had previously I would say this is definitely something where paying a bit more for something much sturdier was definitely worth it.

It is fantastic, it only took a few minutes to assemble (spring clips), wheels about and holds lots of sewing projects with ease. I am really pleased with it.

I can see it being handy when packing for a trip, planning what to wear, doing the ironing and most importantly seeing what works together in a SWAP which is of course what I'm using it for now.

SWAP and capsule wardrobe thoughts

I'm still plugging away with my basic day wear pieces for the SWAP.

Having done classic SWAP so many times before I struggle to get away from the idea that everything in a collection must coordinate. Ie every top can be worn with every bottom. 

As far as I can see this year that's not the case. Each 3 pack must work alone and the combo items need to work with the 3 packs, but the wildcards are another 3 pack again which work together but not necessarily all with something or everything else?

I was also trying to make enough outfits for a week as a personal challenge but seem low on tops for that plus have 2 denim bottoms which I would only wear Friday or weekend.
And I would like to add some more prints but then things have fewer combos that work.
On the plus side I have some great red shoes for the photos when I get to that point!
Perhaps I am over analysing things?

The SWAP rules this year say

1 "3 pack" of Color(s) A (3 garments)
1 "3 pack" of Color(s) B (3 garments)
1 "Combo Pack" of Colors A & B (2 garments)
1 "3 pack" of Wild Cards 

A "3 pack" will be:

2 tops + 1 bottom 
1 top + 1 bottom + 1 outer layer 
1 dress + 1 top + 1 bottom
2 bottoms + 1 top
Two dresses & one layer.
The final 3 pack option is 1 dress + 1 top OR bottom + 1 layer. 

The "Combo Pack" can be just about anything, but they must be garments, not accessories (scarves, belts, bags, etc).  The "Wild Cards" can also be any color, or any color combination,  but for this to work they will need to follow the format of one of the other "3 packs".  That is, you'll need more tops, bottoms, or dresses to make the wardrobe work.

For this to work for you, the "combo pack" may need to be both tops, or both bottoms, but two more dresses is allowable for those of you who wear them.  If you're in the colder climes or need business attire, a jacket can be either a part of the combo pack or a wild card, whichever will work for you best. 
My interpretation of this has been

1 "3 pack" of Color(s) A (3 garments) - navy long cardigan, navy drape neck top, navy denim slim leg trousers

1 "3 pack" of Color(s) B (3 garments) - long taupe skirt, an ivory or taupe top, then either the cream skirt or another top

1 "Combo Pack" of Colors A & B (2 garments) - currently the navy and ivory check check and skirt (is it too much having two items in the same fabric?)

1 "3 pack" of Wild Cards - red top, navy denim skirt, red dress (top and dress are previously made)

Now the limitations of this are

  • its not generally a good look to wear a long cardigan over a long skirt, so the navy cardigan only goes with the denim bottoms.
  • this set is generally short on tops
  • the navy top is quite dressy but the navy bottoms are casual
  • the red top is almost off the shoulder so is not really work suitable
  • the denim bottoms are not work suitable
  • the ivory skirt is very light and I'm not sure I really like it
  • it might be too much having a check skirt and a check jacket

However given that there are less than 3 weeks to go on SWAP sewing there is not much time to go too much down an alternative route.
I have fabric for 4 tops/layers as follows

  • plain taupe jersey (as seen yesterday)
  • ivory/taupe/red print (as seen yesterday)
  • plain ivory jersey (with slight marl, goes with absolutely everything)
  • navy and ivory print (goes with everything except the taupe tops)

Monday 11 April 2016

New fabrics

No sewing today but did manage to get to the open air market at lunchtime and buy these two knit fabrics to co-ordinate with the taupe skirt.
I have laid them out on the skirt and am very happy with the way they co-ordinate.
I think the ivory/taupe/red print will be a simple top and the plain taupe a cardigan.
I also have a plain ivory fabric and an ivory navy textured stripe so have lots of options.
I had better make some tote bags for the craft stall first.

Sunday 10 April 2016

Navy drape neck tee

Navy drape neck tee, adapted from my usual knit top pattern.
I angled the front pattern piece away from the fold and cut a U of fabric above the neckline to form the drape. The fabric is wonderfully drapey, probably a fine viscose, so I washed and dried it before use to get shrinkage out.
Here I've put it with the long navy cardigan and a chunky faux pearl necklace.
Here's how the collection is coming together.
Just need to make an ivory top and I'll be done!

Change of SWAP direction

I have been trying to make something which follows the SWAP rules and also satisfies me aesthetically and I was getting quite stumped. Then I decided to put the duck egg blue to one side for now and inject some soft red instead.
In my wardrobe I found two previously made items in red which I thought could add the much needed pep.
 New Look 6071 knot front red dress
 Rhonda Buss 'Lend me your shoulder' top in red jersey.
So the new plan could look something like this, and only needs a plain navy top and a plain ivory top to be complete. Phew!

Navy and Ivory Plaid Cardigan Jacket

The economical cutting of the skirt, enabled me to also cut out this little cardigan jacket, though I think it would be a bit much to wear them together.
This uses the same cardigan jacket pattern as the navy long cardigan but is cut shorter and with a curved hem which is longer at the back.

Navy and Ivory Plaid Skirt

The idea of this piece is to bring together the navy and ivory strands in the SWAP. Also I have an orphan navy pinstripe jacket and plan to wear the skirt with it to work.
The fabric was originally in my stash, but passed on to a sewing friend when I had a clear out at one stage. Then I was looking for it some time later and mentioned it to her and my kind friend donated it back to me. It is a non scratchy, loosely woven fabric which presses well. I have no idea of the fabric content.I did not attempt to match the plaid as the curved panels basically make this impossible. So I made sure I followed the grainline and used as economical a layout as I could.
The pattern is an old favourite which had been lost for a 3 or 4 years but I recently found when tidying up.
This is another one from Prima magazine, this time from September 2005, a flared bias cut skirt made from 3 shaped panels.

Long navy cardigan

I used the same pattern as I have used before for the cardigan, from Prima November 2010. **
I have reduced the flare on the front panel and folded the collar band to the inside for a cleaner finish. I've also added quite a few inches in length so this works with the navy stripe tunic tee I made previously. It also works well with the navy floral print top.
The fabric is a fine sweater knit in a rich navy blue and looks elegant. I will give the front a gentle press so it hangs nicely.
Here's the original pattern information
** Prima is a general women's magazine published in the UK, which if you subscribe comes with a free sewing pattern, often a very simple style, this one has worked very well for me.

Spring Summer Colour Palette

After reading the colour palette posts on Into Mind and taking into account some of my favourites plus the advice I had from Kate, I've come up with a colour palette for Spring Summer.
The neutrals/basics here are taupe, chocolate brown and navy blue plus ivory and a rich brown (mostly for leather accessories).
For accents I've picked my two favourites - duck egg blue and coral pink, plus orange and an apple green. The apple is the most tentative one, but I chose it as I have a favourite summer skirt in chocolate and apple leaf print linen.
I'm using the taupe, navy and ivory plus duck egg already in my SWAP. Taupe was a colour suggested by Kate as a good neutral and I prefer it to grey.

Saturday 9 April 2016

Man's Navy Bathrobe

We've just got back from a 3 week trip. For both of us our travel wardrobes consisted almost entirely of travel clothing from Craghoppers. These clothes have a relaxed fit, a large number of secure zipped pockets and can be washed in a sink/shower/bucket and allowed to dry overnight if required. We buy in the sales and its not worth trying to sew something similar.
However for this trip we were travelling on the MV Searcher on a whale watching trip in Baja.
Part of the suggested packing list for this was a bathrobe as the showers and toilets are shared and are accessed via the public area. As packing space was limited I sewed lightweight kimono style robes for both N and I.
Here is N wearing his bathrobe in the hotel after the boat trip days. It is made from a fine navy poly cotton I bought on the local open air market.
Here is my bathrobe on the dressmakers dummy. This is made from a remnant of border print I got in the local roll end shop. It worked out well.
Both are made from the same Unisex pattern, Simplicity 5763. N's is an XL, mine is an L. I made his first then trimmed the pattern down to make mine.

I can see these being useful again in future whenever we stay with family or anywhere with shared facilities.
This is the first garment I've made for N and he seemed happy with it which is good.

P.S. If you zoomed in and thought I'd managed to pick up a craft magazine whilst on holiday you were partly right, N is reading Craft County which is about Craft beer in San Diego.