Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Nearly there

Only two days left of self stitched September... can I manage to wear this dress before October? I am thinking it may have to be with tights now. I was so careful sewing it and while sewing it I was really looking forward to wearing but I just never reach for it in the mornings!
Ali has posted some interesting observations about photographing her outfits for SSS. I have to say I struggled with photographing more in May but I have realised a few things:
1. There is no clutter free AND well lit space in my house.
2. My house more and more resembles a pre school.
3. I tend to look for the negative aspects in any photo of myself.
4. My leggings are too wrinkly (I am channelling Nora Batty tights here)
5. My default photo pose is hands in pockets, closed mouth smile
6. I am crap at fitting all of me - shoes etc - in one photo (amply illustrated by the pic below for 26th September)
7. I am too rushed/lazy/disorganised to put on make up for the photos other than my daily mascara
8. I read somewhere that a photo is more flattering if taken looking downward at you rather than up, I think this is true! There is less double chinnification this way (try it out for yourself)

So here are some more photos,
I was trying to show my boots on the 26th photo, hence the rather strained pose on a chair. (and I didn't quite manage to fit the boots in) On the 27th I wore a me made t-shirt but didn't photo it as Little I and me were full of cold and I was feeling particularly sorry for myself, while drinking honey and lemon.
And a new location for 28th September - my son's bedroom - I just pushed the assorted junk to one side in an attempt to have a clutter free picture. I look more tired than usual I think as Little I was up since 5am today. She was also up at 2am, 2.30, 3.00, and 4am looking for her "best friend" (her brother).

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Self Stiched September Catch Up and Momentary Fame

Uh-oh, I have got a bit behind on the Self-Stiched updates. Blame it on a very bad week for sleep, a cold, and having spent most of my
spare time last week sewing my trousers(blogged in previous post) I realised (as if waking from a dream) that every part of the house was a mess, the car tax was due, clean washing was piled up waiting to be ironed or just put away, the cupboard and fridge were bare....there was a bag of plums in my car waiting to be turned into jam... do you get the picture? So I had to spend most of this week doing these domestic chores.

As I have been having problems aligning my text with the right photos when I do these updates I have tried something different - do you like the text on photo? Does it fool you into thinking I am a computer whizz? (Probably no real computer whizz would use that expression)

And the missing picture? Sunday 19th - I wore a repeat of 3835 brown and orange top but didn't photo it.
And the momentary fame? I was interviewed by the amazing and talented Hayley over at thinkermaker...

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Drum roll please

I finished my trousers and am very pleased with them. I am especially pleased because I have been thinking about making a pair of trousers for a while but wasn't sure if I was capable. I know I can make drawstring baggies as I used to make lots when I was a teenager but I wanted to try and make a "proper" pair of trousers which fit, and which won't split on the seams! Part of my fascination and enjoyment with sewing is the gradual building of my skills and challenging myself to do more difficult projects.

I used the Sew U trouser pattern but copied the shape from the knee to the hem from an old favourite pair of White Stuff trousers. They have a fly zip which works ( I didn't think I would manage it) I lined the waistband with some scrap fabric that I used to make my Simplicity Ruffle top last year.

The fabric was a sort of greenish grey which I bought from the haberdashery shop at the end of my road. You can see it on the washing line in the top photo. I paid £4.50 for it and have used about half of it for these trousers. I wanted something cheap so it wouldn't matter if it all went wrong. Little i had great fun running under it. I am not sure what this fabric is - a kind of cotton blend maybe? It is nice and soft to wear.

There are lots of different pocket shapes to choose from in the Sew U book and for me these details are half the fun of making things like this. I bound the pockets with some brown cotton tape. Now I am off to go skipping round in my new trousers... did I tell you I made them myself? I may have to go and phone my mum to tell her.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Planning and Inspiration

I have a new game - play along with me. I have been looking at websites or catalogues which unaccountably still come through my door even though it has been two years since I bought from a mail order catalogue ( how many times have my postal details been sold?) I realised I keep doing this thing in my mind of looking at clothes in the catalogues/websites and thinking of which patterns that I already own I can use to make these clothes from.
(I am sticking to my not buying new clothes principles here.)

I love this dress with its mix of monochrome and stripes from Orla Kiely. I also love the big pockets and over sized buttons. It is made in jersey but I wonder if a similar could be made in wovens using Simplicity 3835 with an adapted neck. It just so happens I have some stripey black and grey fabric plus some plain grey and some plain black in my stash.... There are lots more lovely dresses on the Orla Kiey website - it's not just that leaf design - do you know the one I mean? Image source (Orla Kiely Autumn/winter 2010)

Then a mini Toast pocket book came through my door. I like looking at Toast clothes and ten years ago I did buy two toast t shirts in a sale, but that was in pre-children, fully employed days, so somehow I had found my way onto the mailing list as a potential customer. Look at this tunic top - Simplicity 3835 again.... (Image from
Do you see how this game works?

Friday, 17 September 2010

September 11 to 16th

September 11th - Me Made top from Simplicity 2295 and 50p fabric.
On saturday my photography assistant (aka T aged Seven) was not very keen and we only got this hideous smirky photo. We had been to a strange "inter village sporting event" in a field, we watched with bated breath as a man did BMX stunts with wooden pallets, we played hook-a-duck and bought a spider plant from the W.I. We saw lots of people wearing green clothing and wellies. Ah, country life....

September 12th - Me made pink and white stripey t shirt and monsoon cardie refashioned into a waistcoat. Very old, comfy Mexx trousers. The t shirt was a quick sew project to slot in between my ongoing slow sewing. I found the cotton jersey in the shop at the end of my road for £1.50 per metre. Once again I used the basic t shirt pattern from Home Stretch but gave it a scoop neck and three quarter length sleeves. Result- a useful and comfy basic t shirt.

September 13th - Me - made stripey tank/vest top and Tate denim skirt, favourite ebay boots.

September 15th - Pink and white stripey t shirt again and Me made Clothkits skirt with traffic jam print.

September 16th - Me made duvet top, charity shop jeans, sorry for poor picture quality. The eagle eyed among you will notice an omission - 14th September...sorry I didn't manage to get a picture though I was in Me Made clothing honestly.

I was at the beginning of the week in a bit of a slump and feeling a tad downheartened with my crappy photos, geeky face, and lack of good photo backgrounds. But I have picked up a bit now and stopped feeling sorry for myself. My house is a tip because I am concentrating on making this space.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

New term, new dress

Apologies for lack of posting recently. It has been crazily busy here with the new start of term. Also we have been picking a lot of green tomatoes, apples and damsons, and I made chutney.

I am finding it hard to form coherent thoughts due to the fact I am sleeping very badly (Any remedies for being wide awake in the small hours thinking too much and unable to sleep?)

Little I has just begun her nursery school this week, though last week two days were taken up with her teachers visiting us at home and then us going in for a family visit. Now she has settled really well and is going every afternoon for three hours. (The house is eerily quiet without her). We are just in an awkward phase of her loving nursery but being so exhausted when she comes home that bedtime routines and mealtimes are slightly askew. We are very fortunate that our local authority run preschool/ nursery for 3 - 5 year olds is run on Reggio principles. I could write an essy on this but will try to restrain myself here. Suffice to say it is an amazing child-centred, creative space full of things to do and lovely staff. I am planning a future post about this, as I am so passionate about it.

But for now, back to the sewing, a couple of weeks ago, I finished this dress, based on this pattern variation of the dirndl dress from the Built By Wendy dresses book. I used charity shop fabric found back in May. I think it is cotton sateen - can you see the sheen on it? I put the pockets int he seams instead of patch pockets and made the v neck higher than the pattern as I don't like to show much cleavage! I also cheated and avoided a zip at the back by sewing as far as I could and still be able to get the dress on and then used a snap fastener. I made binding from the same fabric for the neck and armholes. And I did sew slowly... I french seamed the side seams and did not skip on my pressing as I went along ( a sewing crime I have often been guilty of in the past).

When I first got the Dresses book I have to say I was going to skip the dirndl altogther but this fabric just seemed to me to need to be in a dress with a waist. Do you know what I mean? Does fabric sometimes suggest a certain style or pattern to you? I am also not sure about the dresses that I initailly like the best or like the best on other people... there is a slow dawning that the shapes I may like the look of instinctively may not always work best on my body shape. I now need to work this dress into my SS September - as I am not going to any tea parties or events I may just have to put it on for the school run, the nursery drop off, feeding the chickens....

I am also keeping an eye out in the charity shops for some belts to go with this dress, plus some suitably girly but wearable shoes. Making a dress in a different shape to what I usually wear has made me realise that this means a re-thinking of shoes. It is getting to too cold to get away with sandals now. But I am determined not to buy any new shoes.

Friday, 10 September 2010

SS september 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

So, September 6th brown dress from the sheath pattern in the Sew U dresses book, and underneath it a half slip I made as it was so see through. I used a charity shop bed sheet to make a wearable muslin. I still have some fit issues with this dress and am not sure about the very brown-ness of it. I don't think it is a very flattering shape on my figure and maybe would be better in a different type and colour of fabric and with a belt. It was however very comfortable to wear and a novelty to wear a dress. And I did wear it all day ...and I felt quite happy in it till I looked in the mirror!
Sept 7th - My Tate denim skirt and Simplicity 2259 ruffle top. Navy and Mustard yellow is a close favourite colour combo after the old navy red white combo. I am loving this skirt - it is so comfortable to wear and versatile.

Sept 8th - stripey nautical t shirt, made from Sew U home stretch pattern for breton t shirt and charity shop fabric find. I made it too big though and have decided I will have to adjust it as it falls off my shoulders. Sometimes I seem to think I am much bigger than I really am. Any one eelse have trouble recognising their body shape? Worn with my Polish Beads from my lovely, lovely, lovely polish friend. (That's in case you are reading this Gosia)

Sept 9th - Simplicity 3835 made in Amy Butler fabric (a rare use of more expensive shop bought fabric for me) I had made this longer originally but decided after seeing photos of it to trim the hem a few inches as it looked a bit like a maternity tent before. Oddly enough I don't like this top on me very much even though it is the one made with the most expensive fabric and I was really anticipating it being great when I made it last year.

Finally Sept 10th - the weather has got a bit colder- so I am finally wearing socks.
This is my Amy Butler Anna tunic made in some grey wool mix suiting from Ebay, with added pockets for little bits of lego.
I apologise for my repetitive background. I will try to get a new background next week. Honestly, I do leave my house every day.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Self stitched September First Five Days

Here is my round up of the first five days of Self Stitched September created by the illustrious Zoe. There is lots of inspiration to be seen over at the SSS Flickr group.

Day One - top from Simplicity /Built by Wendy 3835. Sorry for strange expression it was the end of a very long, hot (but very good) day out in the woods with children and friends. I am thinking of taking the hem up on this top. Just visible filthy jeans from ebay (weren't filthy when I got them)

Day Two - Stripey vest top based on Sew U Home Stretch pattern and tate denim skirt from Sew Hip magazine Summer 09. Old Monsoon sale cardie from 4 years ago.

Day Three - Simplicity 3964 dress and a vacant expression again. Cardigan a birthday present from my sister.
Day Four - T shirt from Sew U Home stretch basic t pattern and A line skirt - fabric liberated from my mum's Uber-stash.

Day Five - Simplicity 3835 from charity shop fabric. Charity shop/Gap jeans. My favourite wedge sandals (8 years old and broken but I still wear them)
And I am very pleased with myself cos I took up the carpet (at least 30 years old) and disintegrating underlay in this room the day before. It is still showing decades of dust but is so, so much better than before. I now have a sore back from furniture moving. That over flowing cupboard is the kids' art and making cupboard, it is a lovely solid wood cupboard that was due to be put in a skip at the school where my other half works. How daft is that?
Oh and photo credit to T age 7. The best photo of the week I think.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Some useful Sewing

Okay, so this may look like a fairly scrappily painted cushion, but there is a background story here.

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful William Morris

I have had this quote flitting around my mind for years. It is an apt quote for me in that it kind of sums up my attitude to consuming and buying stuff these days, I would expand on it to add "or that make you happy"And my recent bout of sewing domestic objects shows this.
I was trying to clear some space before new projects start - It has been a lovely summer but when school begins next week we are entering a new phase and September always feels to me like a time for new projects, planning and creating. But befor estarting any new projects, I really wanted to complete some small projects that have been hanging around - I wanted to declutter my sewing stash and get them done.
So number 1 - the cushion,- I used T's fabric painting from last week and some green ikea fabric and sewed it into a cushion - (the inner had been in my understairs cupboard for only one year). I am always happy to find a way to display some of my children's artworks as I like them, and on a more serious note I like to see how they are proud of their own work. On a decluttering note I no longer have the fabric painting just hanging on my chair.

Number 2 - I made a toy bin from some fabric I was given three years ago by a friend. I hadn't found a use for it so last christmas I used as lining for some bags I made and now I used the rest up for this bin and lining. The handles are an old belt - a friend has been giving me her daughter's old belts for use. I lined the bin with cardboard to make it rigid. It is a bit baggy because I didn't actually measure the fabric. If I make another one I think I will take time to work out the circumference of a circle (what is that - Pi x R??) This falls into the Useful category, I like toys in bin at end of day and less toys on floor. I am even trying to train my children to do this - Little I is brilliant at tidying up at playgroup but oddly enough not at home.

Number 3 - Peg Bags -definitely in the useful category.

My friend gave me a remant of oil cloth left over from her new tablecloth fabric and asked me to make her a peg bag, she said there was enough fabric for me to make myself one too I had to google this as I didn't really know about peg bags. I know- shock horror - how did I get to this stage in life and not have a peg bag?? I found a pattern over at Sigrid's blog and used that as a model. I hadn't sewn oilcloth before and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was. No fraying so I left the edges raw. I have to admit - it is better than the old plastic carrier bag we were using and much better than the biscuit tin we used till it got left out in the rain. I am getting to be an organised laundress.
BTW, I am taking part in Self Stitched September - so far I have been just posting over in the Flickr group but was thinking of doing a roundup here maybe once a week.