Friday, 29 August 2014

Adoration of prym pliers

Not much sewing happening here with school holidays but last week I added buttons to my denim jacket.  I was expecting an hour of huffing and puffing, cursing with a hammer and hammering my fingers, but then in a lightning flash I remembered I had some prym pliers.  

Bought about three years ago on eeeeeebay, they held the adaptors and the buttons
Then they pushed the buttons in.

Ta-dah!
They made the job so quick and painless.
Sometimes the right tool really does help get the job done.   Though I confess to breaking my twin needles about three weeks ago on all the topstitching.  I still have to buy a new one to restart.  At first the topstitching was fun, now it is dragging on, it's not quite so fun.  There is just so much topstitching!

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

reading: the pink suit

I don't get much time to browse in the library, going with Rocket Girl prevents leisurely looking. But last week I snatched The Pink Suit from the shelf before chasing after my runaway child, who can open the main doors and run to the lift. A hilarious adventure for her, a stressful race for me.

I have only just started reading the book but am delighted by the unexpected writing about sewing, couture, fabrics, toiles....Yes, that's right, a novel with detailed descriptions of the process of making a muslin!  That got your attention didn't it?  The central character is a young Irish immigrant working for the fashion house who dressed Jackie Kennedy. It is partly love story, also a tale of worshipping a hero and the reality versus the illusion.  In this case the hero being worshipped is Jackie Kennedy and the central character travels from starry eyed adoration to..well, to something more cynical but I don't want to spoil the plot.  Interesting though to see how Jackie Kennedy was such a popular role model for style and dressing in the early '60s.  I know we often still refer to her now, but then she was massive (at least according to this book) However, when reading this book my interest has been captivated by the sewing descriptions, the beautiful fabrics and the intricacies of the
making process.

Here is a description of the central character's apartment:
 "There were dozens of boxes filled with zippers that were grouped according to color- and the same was true of rickrack and lace.  Kate prided herself on having thread of nearly every single shade ever made, she had eight variations of violet alone.  Buttons were kept in old mason jars that lined the windowsills.  Patterns were filed in a battered four-drawer cabinet that she'd found on the street.  Fabric was piled everywhere"

Wouldn't you like to visit?? I would.  So, has anyone else read anything good recently?

Thursday, 24 July 2014

A fast breezy skirt

I had avoided the maxi skirt for a long time.  But last summer started enviously noticing them on other people.  I have the skin type that should be covered up from the sun, freckly and fair and so the idea of a skirt that covers my legs but allows me to stay cool is very appealing in our current hot spell.  Other days I just slather on the children's factor fifty.  
I used a length of light cotton sent in Alessa's parcel.  I had been mulling over a maxi skirt but thought I had no fabric till it dawned on me last friday to use this fabric.    I simply seed up a rectangle adding a side pocket on one side and a casing at the waist for elastic.  Then I tried it on and decided it was too wide so I sliced about four inches off one side and resewed the seam.  I hemmed it and the whole process took about an hour.
Since completing it I have worn it three times in six days as it is so practical for hot days.  BUT I have to confess around the house I keep hitching it up and even hoisted it into my knicker elastic!  So maybe I am not a natural ong skirt wearer.  I am not 100% certain if the maxi looks good or bad on me, and as I am quite short I am not sure if I look  even shorter in a maxi.  But I think it is partly getting used to wearing a different silhouette and length.  My goto, default skirt is a low waisted A line hitting the knees and I must have made about 5 of these plus I have a couple of old RTW ones too.  Do you have a default style skirt? And have you stepped out of your skirt comfort zone with success?

Monday, 21 July 2014

On my sewing table

Except I don't really have a sewing table.  More accurately, on my ironing board and on my dining table....
Burda 7018.  I decided to make a jacket using the remaining denim left over from my V1246 skirt.  
I browsed my patterns and hesitated for weeks over what jacket to make but finally opted for this one as I wanted to try a jeans jacket.  I bought it in the half price Burda sale last month at Jaycotts. For some reason Blogger keeps rotating the photo below, so please excuse this.  I am making view A, shortish with a waistband.

So far, sewing this jacket has been fun.  It is the kind of step by step construction that I like and making it has made me think about the construction of RTW jackets.  I have sewn the curved front seams, the fake pocket tabs, the side and shoulder seams and the waistband.  Plus I have added side pockets as I know I won't get much wear out of a pocketless jacket.  

And then there's the topstitching!  Twin needle time. (A new twin needle was among my birthday presents from my lovely friend Emma, **Hello Emma**) I spent about three weeks thinking about what colour to do my topstitching.  I kept checking out any denim jackets I saw.  Finally I decided last week to do the top stitching in red. 
The frustrating part is I have to sew the construction in blue threads, then changes needles and threads for topstitching.  To have two machines like Sonja would be brilliant for a project like this!  If you haven't tried twin needles for top stitching I recommend you do - it is fab.
I am expecting this project to take quite a while to finish as it is now school holidays.  But for the first time in ages I am really enjoying the sewing journey rather than rushing to the end product.  What is on your sewing table?  And is it really a dedicated sewing table?  Or does it share functions with other people, eating, other crafts....?

Monday, 14 July 2014

Lovely things from lovely peeps

Oh, sweep away the cobwebs from this blog. I didn't intend to stay away from this place for so long.  Real life just got in the way, various minor illnesses and too many other events.  I kept wondering if I will lose all my readers by being so neglectful. Maybe?  I hope not.  This post has been languishing half written for at last a month.  So I pulled myself together, left the dirty dishes in the sink and got typing.



I was very lucky and won some great sewing goodies.  Firstly this pattern, Butterick 5612 from Philippa.  She didn't tell me in advance so it was a lovely surprise when it dropped through the letterbox.  I have already sewn up view A and still have to blog about it.  


Then I received a handknitted cardigan from Jessica that she had offered as part of
Spring Cleaning Swap Meet.  I still have to photograph the cardigan.  She was generous enough to include some fabrics.  There is a black knit fabric, some stripey jersey and this cute cotton.  Hmmmm......my mind is whirring with ideas.  There is enough of the black for a pair of jersey trousers - and I have several pattern choices.  I just have to choose either a drapey flowey (is that  a real word?) pair or a more fitted style.  The stripes I have earmarked for a top if I can figure out cutting and pattern placement.  I was thinking of using the japanese doll cotton for a skirt for Little I.


Next I won the "white bundle" in Alessa's giveaway.  There is a large piece of the grey/pink floral striped cotton.  It is a really nice light weight and I was thinking of a dress.
The other pieces are smaller and I am planning to use them for my little girls.
This black and white cotton was also in Alessa's bundle and I have used it already.  Do you want a peek of what I made?  Well, here it is...


...it is  the Butterick top from Philippa's pattern.  I will witter on write a constructive review soon about it.  I have doubts as to whether it suits me greatly but I have worn it lots anyway as it is so light and ideal for summer days when I don't want to have arms out.  Oh and please feel free to laugh at my unfortunate bad haircut. Happily it is now grown out a bit.  It was cheap and sometimes you gets what you pays for.  A lesson learnt. I have to say a big thank you to Jessica, Alessa and Philippa.  
So a big thank y

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

FO: V1247 skirt in denim

Ha, Sonja and Tamsin...you were right!  It was Vogue 1247 shown in the previous post.  It's that binding, isn't it?  A true clue.
I don't often buy patterns but I did buy this after seeing Solvi's red version here.  Also check out Winnie's skirt here.  I made my first version just over a year ago in thrifted green cord and I like it but always had it in mind I would like to make it in denim.  So those sewing deities aligned when I went to visit a scrapstore.  Imagine my glee when I found they sell end of roll fabrics.  I bought 3.75 metres of denim for £9.  It was literally the end of the roll.   Tee hee.  Sadly the people I was with had no idea of the price of denim fabric, but I hope you can be happy with me!


When cutting out, I added a couple of inches in length as this skirt sews up short and there is only so much middle aged leg I am willing to flash.
The pattern calls for a lot of binding of seams.  I used gingham binding that the lovely Jessica sent me in a parcel.   I love the simplicity of this skirt, it provides a basic that I can  wear with lots of different things and is robust enough for the toils and turmoils of daily life.  

 Plus, regular readers know of my pocket love, and this skirt has two great pockets.  Ideal for hiding keys, phone and choking hazards from RG.
 I made the pocket inners from some John Kaldor fabric from my mum's house.  I only have about a fat quarter of this so I am using it for linings and facings.


Sunday, 25 May 2014

Ow! Work in progress

This week I have cut out and been sewing a denim skirt.  Two out of three children were asleep so I thought I could get it finished,  I sewed the waistband in place and trimmed the bias binding.

 Trimmed it with my big orange sewing scissors...and, yes, did you guess?  I also trimmed my thumb!  Ouch, ouch, ouch.  
Maybe night time sewing after a 4.30am wake up and non stop day is not such a great idea.  Too  much rushing.  I was just so keen to finish something and blog about it, not to mention wear it!  I am off to watch Wallander instead.

Anyone else have a sewing related injury?  And can you guess my pattern?  I think the bias binding gives it away if you know this pattern.
y