Thursday, 26 August 2010

Wearable Art, Sugar and Spice....

It was raining and in a bid to get them away from tv, I got out the fabric paints and I gave T and Little I each a piece of calico. They did a bit of driving cars through the paint, then got busy with brushes.
Then in the evening I sewed Little I's fabric piece into a skirt for her. She is not a girly girl and this skirt suits her personality. She was very proud of the skirt she had made and wore it all day. (I am not sure though if I have just lost the plot and gone too far???)
But on the whole I tend to think that these are the kind of sartorial decisions a three year old can get away with though. (Believe me if she didn't want to wear it, she wouldn't!)

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

give the kid a camera

pimp your myspace
At the start of the holidays I gave T his own camera. I saved for this by selling some stuff on ebay and then buying what is called a "refurbished camera" from an ebay outlet store (basically one that is returned but there's nothing functionally wrong with it, though the case may be scratched). I recommend this if you don't want to spend a lot, plus we still have a 12 month warranty. He has been busy taking a lot of photos since receiving the camera.
Then I tried to show him how to make a stop animation ... this was one of his first attempts. We animated it at Make your own animation
One thing I didn't realise was that he would become a seven year old paparazzi - I am often woken at 6am with a camera inches from my face - these photos I hope will never see the light of day. (But he has learnt how to lock them them on the camera so I cannot delete unflattering pics!)

Friday, 20 August 2010

I wanted to use up some of my fabric scraps. I pulled out the remnants of my stripey cotton jersey fabric that I made my nautical top from and I found I was just able to squeeze this sleeveless top from the fabric. It wasn't quite long enough so I made a band with the stripes going vertically and put that round the bottom. I used the t shirt pattern from Sew U Home Stretch as a basis and cut the front neck slightly more scooped. I really like this top as I can wear it underneath so many things - I have found the weather is a bit too warm for the long sleeved stripey t shirt at the moment. Then Barbie got a new dress from the scraps.

Tres chic Barbie.

Then, later the same day we found a bag of doll clothes in the charity shop, for what I call "baby dolls". We have two of these dolls and they sadly share one grubby outfit between them. Until now.... the bag proved to be full of jackets and trousers so I got the stripey scraps out of the bin and made one more stripey t shirt. So here is (the very originally named) Baby Doll in his new shirt and trousers. He looks a bit camp, reminding me of Jean Paul Gaultier ads. I am a new convert to making doll's clothes - it is so quick and gives a high satistfaction:effort ratio.

So there really is nothing left of the stripey fabric now (stash busted).

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Old sketchbooks, one things leads to another

Everyday life here revolves with a
myriad of conversations. For example, a long chat about "Is Doctor Who real?" (7 year old) and "If we take the hen's eggs are we stealing their babies?" (7 year old) to a chat about jumping, "I like jumping. Do you like jumping?" and the old favourite, "What's your favourite colour?" ( Three year old) So with all this noise, discourse and chat, plus discussing things like the merits of biomass boilers with Mr Minnado, thinking about my sewing projects and planningwhat I want to do has a small slight place. I am often thinking about my sewing, planning, mulling over ideas while doing all those other random day to day things and I feel more and more there is a need for me to have plans, notes, diagrams, some way of harnessing my ideas before they slip away. I would like to track my progress and keep some semblance of organisation.

I have kept notebooks and sketchbooks on and off for most of my adult life. At eighteen I went on my year long art foundation course which used to be a prerequisite for doing an art degree here in the UK. The foundation course staff emphasised the keeping of sketchbooks as a resource, part of the process of making art, storing and working through ideas and also collecting inspirations and images. When I was a student the favoured style of sketchbook was the hard bound black books ina range of sizes - there is one under the bird book in the top photo.
I have since being a student veered off into notebook territory and always have several on the go (oddly or maybe not so oddly, I often get given these as presents) the little A6 bird note book above lives in my main bag and travels about with me.

In the past week, we have moved Little I into a proper bed - which meant dismantling the cot, which led to pulling an old portfolio of mine from under the cot, which led me to leaf through old sketchbooks and bits of work on paper which led me to photograph some old pages and scrappy monoprints.

So, here I am planning my next sewing adventures, and hope to share my list with you in a post very soon. I am trying to have a plan partly so I can control costs, consumption and also as part of my effort to be more of a Slow Sewer - so I can concentrate on making less garments but to a better standard. And that they are clothes I would wear a lot. For me part of the challenge of sewing is to improve my skill levels and learn new things. I would like to make clothes where I am not ashamed to show the seams to some one else!
I am also thinking more and more about how to link my drawing into textile work and have been busy sketching away. I want to have only a few projects to work on so I can devote some more time to this. In mid-September Little I goes to preschool, so I hope to have a few free hours. And I am wondering, how do other people track and plan their sewing and ideas? I would love to know.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

A very floral 50p top

I went to my local haberdashery shop a couple of weeks ago to buy a reel of navy thread. While in there I looked up and on the top shelf were lots of pieces of fabric. This floral cotton lawn caught my eye. It had a sticky label on it with 50p written on. "Did you find that in our shop?" asked the lady who runs the shop.

I gleefully paid up my 50 pence and took it home - there was just enough to make up this ruffle top (Simplicity 2599). If you look at 2599, try not to be put off by the cover illustrations and photo which shows a slightly alarming peach confection. (And look at the top Melissa at All Buttoned Up made from it)
I have used this pattern a couple of times before. It is straightforward - I cheated and used a bit of ribbon to make the back fastening loop to go over a button. As I have sewn this twice before, I mistakenly thought I could sew up the top super quick - in fact it took longer because I tried to rush the neck facing and ended up having to unpick it and restitch. I am also thinking of adding a snap fastener as the ribbon loop/button combo keeps coming undone.
As I sewed this top up I was slightly worried about whether it was just too floral for me but I like it now it's finished - I think the floral-ness will be fine as long as I don't try to team it with a flowery skirt.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Vintage pattern finds

I have been away to visit family in Devon for a week and went to Topsham. I highly recommend the open air pool! But look what I found in the charity shop there. For 40p each! First up...
Simplicity 4231 I love this dress with button front - I have been thinking of something along these lines using the dirndl pattern as a basis from the Built by Wendy Dresses. I don't have enough fabric to make this version but hope to take some elements from this and use in my own dress,. For example the sleeve shape and the collar and if possible the self fabric belt .

There are so many different piece in the Simplicity 6636 - can you imagine this as a Self Stitched September wardrobe?

The Vogue 9984 pattern includes the tank top/pullover. I liked the trousers - they look so elegant in the picture but I wondered if I would just look like I was wearing my Grandma's trousers if I tried to pull this look off.

Next, Simplicity 9466 - I am thinking this dress has a similar end effect to the sheath dress pattern I have already made. In fact I am not sure if I am keeping all of these - I have started to check the envelope contents and I think I am going to copy out the elements of these that I like and then I will probably ebay the patterns if all the pieces are in the envelopes. (I won't be selling them for a great profit).
I will post details if I do. Now I have to go and do a week's washing.