Thursday, 22 September 2011

Ottobre Love Autumn 2011

Quite a while ago Ali blogged about using patterns as blocks and having

some pattern books which can be adapted to make a whole range of different clothes. I have found that Ottobre magazine sometimes delivers on this score. The subscription is 15, 90 euros per year which gives you two magazines. This comes to about £13.84, so under £7.00 per magazine. A bit more than Burda magazine but the sizing and styles of Ottobre are more to my taste and fit than Burda.

My copy of the Autumn Winter Ottobre magazine arrived a few weeks ago. It then got lost for about ten days after a hasty tidy up before guests arrived. I was happy to find it again on Monday. I had started to question how carefully I had checked the recycling box before it was emptied.

Reading this Ottobre makes me wamt to sew knits. Sadly I have no knit fabric in my stash, but happily I am going to Birmingham's rag market in October so I plan to write a Ottobre based list and look for some affordable knits.
Lots of these items are of the wardrobe staple variety rather than the "wow" sort. For instance, the turtle neck would be ideal to wear with layers in the colder weather.
I have one ancient GAP black ribbed turtle neck that has been mended many times. Definitely time for a me-made replacement.

The everyday t shirt speaks for itself, though it would present a new challenge of buying ribbing. Maybe its the changing season but I have a yearning to make these cosy trousers for home.
I have never been a big fleecey casual clothing wearer but a good zip up hoodie is ideal for cosy evenings and pulling on for going to school pick up.

I am also intrigued by the idea of making this wool knit duffel coat. I just don't know if I could find or afford to buy the fabric for it. I am going to have a good look though on the forthcoming Rag Market meet up.

Finally, I have to say it is a "no, no, no" from me for this just makes me think of a butternut squash in its shape. What do you think? This would look good on a little girl but I am not sure on a grown woman! Nice tights though.

There are also some great vintage style dress patterns in this magazine...I will show them next time.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Remake and mending

Such a gloomy morning today. It is our first proper rainy morning since school went back. Windscreen wipers on, anoraks for the kids. Despite his anorak, T looked soaked by the time he got to the school gate. He is of course at eight too old to carry his bumble bee umbrella, though Little I was happy with her lady bird one. "Everyone will think I am a giant insect". I noticed one of his friends with a smart rocket patterned bottle green umbrella. Not too toddlerish at all.
Anyway I am feeling a bit cheesed of with the rain and ensuing gloom. Do other people feel fed up with all the detritus and mess around? I am no great shakes at house cleaning but sometimes a big clear up makes me feel much better. Over the course of the summer holidays things got more and more chaotic here.
I have been fixing and mending, I was so fed up by the mess everywhere in our house, that I decided to tackle The Piles....first up the school uniform pile. Little I starts school in January but we had been given a pile of old school clothes (a year ago!) which I had dragged out from under the bed to see what was there. Added to her brother 's old school sweatshirts and PE kit (t shirt, shorts and plimsolls), plus my summer car boot haul, she only needs me to buy the grey socks and black shoes. Hurray for other peoples' cast-offs. I have to make her a PE drawstring bag but have promised to find some pink fabric. So, I decided to sort and name it all now so all we need to do in the Christmas holidays is buy the shoes. As it is named, each item goes in a shallow plastic box under the bed so all the school stuff is in one place. I have been sewing name tapes in which is apparently a rare and archaic act these days. I like sewn name tapes though, apart from anything else they are re-usable, so in the longterm save money. Once I sat down in front of the tv with my pile of clothes and name tapes it only took two evenings to do.

Then I tackled some of my mending pile, first up was my Portfolio top.

I had made it from Simplicity 2245, view C and a limited amount of stash fabric. I have been wearing it but felt it was just a bit too short for me though so I added a contrast band in brown and white polka dots from the scrap pile.

Next 3835 tunic top had a large and getting rapidly larger hole in the lower centre front. I sliced the bottom five inches off below the hole and then reattached it without the hole. Sorry no before photos to explain what I did. I had worn it out in the summer with the hole which horrified my friend's clothes conscious eight year old daughter. She will be pleased to know I have mended it.

I added purple cord to cover the seam and to give the top a bit more ...something...structure? The purple cord was the cord I had taken from my bumble bee cardigan refashion.

Finally to cheer myself up today I am wearing this new pendant. I made it with Little I and her aqua bead set.

Okay, more clearing up to do... more photos to follow. Hope you guys are feeling more cheery today.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Bumble bee cardigan

This is my bumble bee cardigan. It is dark purple and mustard stripes and started off life as a sweater with short sleeves and a cord threaded through a casing at the bottom hem. The cord made it quite baggy. To me there is something counter-intuitive about a short sleeved sweater or cardigan. I mean, I am either cold enough for long sleeves or too warm for a sweater.

I bought the sweater at easter in a charity shop near Exeter. At the time my mum said I would look like a giant bumble bee if I wore it but I ignored her and bought it. (Do we all ignore our mothers like this?) I had not planned to wear it as a a sweater as I don't particularly want to go out dressed as a giant bumble bee. Are you surprised at that?
It had an open neck and four press studs at the top. It has been lying in my to-do pile since easter and last week I finally took scissors to it. I just sliced it up the centre front and then zig zagged a tiny hem on each side. I left the original four poppers as I liked them and their detail. I think it is mainly a cardigan for wearing open anyway and for layering up. Despite my short sleeved cardigan reservations I like it and how it adds a pop of colour to the greys I have in my wardrobe. (Worn above with me-made anna tunic and me made nora tee shirt from Ottobre magazine, Autumn 2010)
This refashion is shared at Recycled Fashion Finds

Monday, 12 September 2011

Self stitched September catching up

Thursday 8th September - Simplicty 3835 made with charity shop curtains.

Friday 9th September - Simplicity 3835 made with Amy Butler fabric

So, another catch up with September pictures. I have tried to wear skirts and bare legs the last couple of days while I still can. The Amy Butler top I made last week. I had the fabric in my stash and the colours fit with my autumn FESA planning. Simplicity 3835 is so quick and simple to sew up. It is my no-brainer, pattern block to sew when I want to have a wearable top quickly. The top hangs slightly stiffly as it is quilting cotton
and so the sleeves puff up a bit too much at time. But the colours and pattern compensate for the awkward fabric.
Saturday 10th September - Me made stripey tee (Sew U Home Stretch), me made denim skirt (Sew Hip Magazine Summer 2009), me made jersey scarf

I am excited about the response to our Birmingham meet up...excited and a bit of trepidation. 11th September by MinnadoSunday 11th September - Me Made top from Simplicity 2295 with vintage lace trim from stash. Self drafted skirt. Both fabrics were from my bin bag stash.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

High Noon in Birmingham

Yes, what a catchy title. Scruffybadger and I have been planning a little bloggy meet-up/fabric shopping expedition to that glittering metropolis Birmingham. The date is Saturday 8th October, rendezvous at New Street Station, 12 noon.

Our plan is to meet up and go the Rag Market to check out the fabric and haberdashery stalls. There is also a fabric shop nearby. And of course some lunch and chat.
Lots of victorian architecture, museum, art gallery plus the new Selfridges and Bull ring development. If you are into RTW bargain hunting there is a big TK Maxx outside the station. Oh and canals...did I mention canals? Well, there's canals.

It would be great to see other bloggers on this meet up. I seriously would not recommend driving into Birmingham if you have not done it before. New Street train station takes you right into the city centre so is much much easier. If you are interested in coming along, just leave a comment with your contact email and we will be in touch with meeting place and details.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Autumn planning

I have found that sewalongs help me think out my plans and also help me to carry them out!
I am going to try and use up fabrics from my stash before buying any new ones.

The fabrics lacking in my stash are knits and plain fabrics. I deally I would like to buy second hand fabrics but I have to say I find it hard to buy second hand knit fabric and second hand plain fabrics (except for sheets). I am inspired by the latest edition of Ottobre magazine. I am sorry to be so vague and I will post photos soon but at the moment I have lost my copy. It was last spotted on my sofa a few days ago....
There are a number of categories for the sewalong. I have only opted for some as I want to keep this achievable and also I am trying to make things that fit in with my existing wardrobe. Below are the ones I have decided to concentrate on:

Fashionable foundations for frosty weather:

I am making a pair of light grey trousers (fabric is second from right in the top picture). I also hope to make a skirt using the black and grey stripey fabric in the top picture. Then I also have some grey poly-wool mix fabric with a thin blue stripe left over from my Uniform Project dress. I am not sure if I have enough for trousers. If I don't have enough then anothe skirt beckons.

Chic chemises for cooler climates:

I am half way through making a tunic top in the paisley patterned fabric shown above. This came from my bin bag stash and is more patterned than I would usually go for but I like the colour palette and it is good to try something different. In the middle picture it is next to my grey trouser fabric and I think the two go together well. I have just finished a Simplicity 3835 top from the Amy Butler spotted fabric in the top picture. I have already flickr-ed it in Self Stitched September.

Fabulous frocks

I would like to make a knit tunic fabric yet. I have got some gorgeous raspberry wool crepe to make a very simple dress with but have to admit I am scared of using it as it is such lovely fabric. I have read up on trueing wool crepe and I am scared.

Those cosy nights

I am planning on using a knit jersey trouser pattern from Ottobre and if I can find fabric also a kint hooded cardigan. Okay, that's enough planning for me.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Self stitched September Round Up

Day 4 - Simplicity 3835 top made from a piece of fabric a friend gave me.

I missed photographing the first few days of September, if I promise I was wearing me made clothes will that let me off the hook?

Day 5 - Anna tunic pattern by Amy Butler

I was too busy rushing around to take pics but I cannot remember what I was doing...oh, yes, I was mainly being a taxi service taking the children on last minute meet ups with their friends.

Day 6 - refashioned polka dot top

Day 7 - Simplicity 2245 Portfolio denim dress.

This dress is so comfortable I could wear it almost everyday. Right that's it for now...Little I has returned to nursery today so I am going to do some sewing.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Summer thrifting - part 2 and some digressions

Thank you to those of you who commented on the last post, it has been fun reading about different sorts of second hand shopping. More please....

This may seem hard to believe given the nature of this post but I have cut back on second hand shopping in the past few months. (Don't snigger into your coffee, it's true!) My summer thrifting finds stretch from June to the end of August. I have tried to cut back due to lack of funds and lack of space to put anything. I also don't want to buy stuff just for the sake of it, just so I don't leave a shop empty handed without having found some treasure.

I have been sticking to my "one-in, one out" strategy and this past fortnight 4 carrier bags have gone into the charity shops and one big bag of books went to the nearest National Trust second hand book shop. I have been told that children can "never have too many books", well, when the bookshelves are overflowing, books are piled on the stairs, the end of beds, on the chest of drawers, on the floors, then, maybe it is time to get rid of a few. We have been given lots of books second hand from friends with older children, plus my in-laws like buying new books for the children, plus normal birthday and Christmas presents. After all these sources I realised we had four different junior atlases, numerous nature and insect books, multiple copies of Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton, the list could go on and on.I know my children are lucky to have so many books so I decided to share that good fortune around and donate a bagful.

Enough digression, let's get on and show what I have for you today:

This fabric is a pair of full length curtains. They are home made by someone and in quite a lightweight fabric so it will translate well to dressmaking. They are photographed here in their unironed state waiting to be washed. I had thought someof this fabric would make a good autumnnal skirt. But I keep having an idea (or even an inspired vision) of this fabric made up into a shirt dress using the Traveller dress pattern view A from Sew Lisette. (As pictured above) Would that be retro-chic or just terrible-frump?? I am even imagining yellow piping.

I bought the curtains in a new shop opened near to T's school. From what I can work out, it is a hybrid shop, part of the profits go to local community groups, I am unsure how much percentage of the profits this is. It also sources supplies and goods for local community groups and all stock is donated by local people. (Yes, they are big on "local" here, it makes me giggle) It is quite a junk shop and I mean that as a complement. It would be a great place to go if you were setting up your first home as it has lots of crockery, kitchenalia and small furniture. There were some lovely wooden chairs and coffee tables. But you do have to hunt as there is also a lot of tat, and broken tat too. These curtains were priced at £20 by a staff member who wasn't working that day. The lady on duty sold them to me for £5. Twenty was out of my budget. I think that in this particular town and in this shop twenty pounds was way over priced. The shop assistant on duty agreed with me! I know if it were new fabric priced per metre this may be what it would cost. How much would you pay for second hand fabric though?

One thing I look out for in charity shops is picture frames and I found this Ikea one in a different shop. It was still in the wrapping. We are about 40 minutes from the nearest Ikea and this is the second time I have found still-wrapped ikea frame in this shop. I wonder if people have succumbed to the Ikea Madness and got carried away with all those cheap frames, and swedish styling, only to regret it once they get home. This frame has plexiglass in which I like for the children's rooms especially. Mr Minnado darkened the wood for me with some wax polish to take away the cheap pine look. I have put in a picture T painted at school two years ago and which has been waiting for a frame since then. (Yes, it is the ubiquitous Van Gogh sunflowers primary school painting, but I still like it).
Two tunic tops for autumn, the pink one is White Stuff via the charity shop and I like the pin tuck detailing. Do you get White Stuff outside the UK? It is a very popular brand with the mums at T's school. The second top is from Zara via the car boot sale and in a soft cotton jersey.

That wraps up this little collection. I am now off to sort out and photo some goods to sell on ebay. Oh and to brush my hair so I can take a Self Stitched September pic.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Summer thrifting part 1

A pair of Laura Ashley curtains - they are a bit flowery for my tastes but they are fully lined and ready to hang and I thought they would be perfect for Little I's bedroom when we eventually move. I had originally planned something more modern but these were five pounds, money is strictly limited and I don't think I can make fully lined curtains for a fiver.

Somehow "charity-shop-shopping" doesn't roll off the tongue as easily as "thrifting". Usually I am not a big fan of using americanisms in my everyday writing but what alternative is there to the easy term "Thrifting"? If I am being pedantic (a family trait for me) isn't it true that US thrift shops are not exactly the same as UK charity shops? Do thrift shops operate for private or charity profit? Are they staffed by volunteers? I am curious...anyone enlighten me? And of course there are op shops in Australia...are they charity based? Anyone else got a catchy alternative name for charity-shop-shopping?

In recent years I have seen many UK charity shops undergo a professionalisation although often they are still mainly staffed by volunteers with a paid manager. I like those charity shops which have a distinctly amatuerish air to them, and which are slightly messy and junky.

Anyway, this post is part one as there is still some stuff in my car boot to photograph. Hispanitas sandals, great for days when I want to hide my chipped nail polish.

An earthenware casserole pot with lid. (£2!) I am thinking warming winter casseroles in here.

A fifties fairground plate. How cute is this? I bought it at the start of the summer at a summer fair held at the sheltered housing complex near our house. It was on the white elephant stall for 50p. I have used it for cakes when we have friends round.