Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Sew Grateful Reflections

I was taught sewing at school and it was disastrous.  I made half an A line skirt, green with tiny daisies on it, it remained, a screwed up scrumpled halfmade scrap.

I think I was really taught sewing by my mum.  She used to sew clothes and then in the eighties discovered quilting. She taught me to create a pattern block using "Metric Pattern Cutting" when I was about sixteen.  I loved the freedom of choice sewing gave me.  She bought me a secondhand Elna in my twenties and gave it to me with a box of sewing threads in a range of colours.

Now my mum has Alzheimer's and I can no longer phone her for sewing advice ("Help mum, my needle's jammed".  She'd tell me off for not keeping my machine cleaned and oiled - oops).  Instead I turn to the online sewing community.     And that's what I am Sew Grateful for...that help and support.  I really value those repeat commentators on this blog and feel I have made friends across ages and geographical borders.

Also in my everyday life, who can I turn to to mention french seams, ballpoint needles or the latest Colette pattern?  If I say my new dress is a Victory Lola, I get blank glassy eyed stares, not a nod of recognition.  I think we all like to find like-minded people and through sewing blogging I have.  So thanks people... here's to another year of bad photography and hopefully good sewing.


Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Sew Grateful Giveaway

My Sew Grateful week giveaway consists of  old, new and a few blues.  
The old is Style 1063 A line skirt pattern and an unused Prima magazine shift dress pattern.  
Then there are several sea themes pieces of fabric - this batik turtle print is a fat quarter and 100% cotton.  
NO matter what I do, I cannot rotate this image, so please squint and grimace to see the dress pattern
I teamed it with the blue shell fabric (cotton too I think)  and these machine embroidery threads.  I think they are so pretty and could be used for really effective decoration, or embroidery.Finally the dark blue is 2 metres of heathered fine jersey knit.  
Be warned this is really fine, almost sheer in a single layer, but it does have a fabulous drapey quality.

It is more navy in real life than in the second photo.
If you are interested in winning this bundle, please leave a comment with contact details.  If you are holding your own giveaway this week, please leave details in your comment as it's good to share.  It would be great if you would add a bit about why you are "sew grateful" for the sewing-blgging community. I will leave the giveaway open till midnight Saturday 1st March GMT.  Thanks for looking.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

FO: Victory Patterns Lola Dress

The headlines screech "Woman suffocated by her own junk."

I know, I know, the Victory patterns Lola dress...all the excitement about it was last year.  I am always so late to the party.  I was tipped into buying it by Alessa's multiple versions.  I hate to spend much on a pattern but bought it as a Christmas present ostensibly from my children to me.  Then I just could not decide what fabric to use.  I pretty much prevaricated more than Hamlet.  I looked at lots of options online and looked at lots of other sewers' versions, trying to see what I thought of their fabric choices.
Or maybe "Woman gives up on clearing junk.  Children eventually tunnel out of house.  Woman still sewing, oblivious" 
Finally, I chose the same "subtle animal print" from Minerva Crafts that I used for my  Ottobre tunic top.  I liked the weight of the fabric and knew it would be not too warm to wear nor too lightweight.
The pattern was straightforward and quick to sew up. The instructions are clearly written. I cut it out on a tuesday evening and sewed the dress up in two sessions over the next two days.  I don't have an overlocker so just used the zigzag stitch on my machine.  Then I stopped for about two weeks as I had no ribbing fabric for the neck, cuffs and hem.  I didn't want to do the edgings in the main fabric.  Again I pondered, browsed online shops and found it really hard to decide.  Then I remembered the jersey rib sold in the Ottobre Etsy shop and ordered half a metre.  It took 6 days to arrive, not bad, as it came from Finland. It went on - and there you go.  The dress is easy to wear, the fabric is the right weight for the oversized pockets so they drape rather than bag out.  I like the shape that the princess seams give the dress - I can see that I have a waist when I wear this!  I can wash it and dry it quickly and (yippeeeeeeee) it doesn't need ironing.  I will definitely make it again, probably in a brighter colour for spring and summer and I am tempted to copy Alessa's polka dot version.  Now, that's my review over, do you want to see my out take photos of the Lola?
Possibly the worst picture but so funny.  What is my face doing in this picture?  Where has my fringe gone? Why am I standing in front of a fighter plane?  

And look,  my own mission control.  "We meet at last, Meester Bond"  It's blurry as that's what often happens when a six year old takes the picture
Can anyone else share their out take photos?

Friday, 21 February 2014

Sew Grateful Week

It has been a week of hectic school holiday coupled with a round of stomach bugs here, but in quieter moments I have been putting together a little package of goodies for a Sew Grateful Week giveaway.  Drop by on Monday if you are interested.
A sneak peak, I promise there is more than these...

Are you taking part in Sew Grateful Week?  I would be sew grateful for some more pins myself right now, all mine seem to have packed their bags and left home. 

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Anna Tunic - Wore it - Smiles

Worn with thrifted boden cardigan - I love me a stripey cardigan
I wore my Anna tunic dress twice last week and both times I wore it to that hardcore testing site that is Toddler Group.
Spot the post-toddler group RG sleeping on the sofa

The dress bore such cruelty well and was so comfy  to wear.  I thought at first I had made it too short but I liked this length with thick tights and boots.

I loved the colour of this dress, it is so bright and cheery in our gloomy winter days.  It does crease a bit during the day but you can't have everything.
I don't particularly like the look of the dress without sleeves but it is not likely I will wear it sleeveless without cardigan as by the time it is warm enough for sleeveless, it will be too warm for lined wool crepe.

So, I hope maybe some of you will brave wearing me-mades considered too smart for everyday.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

FO: Raspberry Wool Crepe Anna Dress

I bought 2 metres of raspberry stepweave wool crepe on ebay about three years ago.  It languished in my stash as I was too scared to sew with it.  It was a glorious colour but too nice for my slapdash sewing I thought.  Last year I even put it back on ebay in an attempt to clear my stash but no one bought it!  By November last year I finally gained the courage to wash the fabric and using a special wool washing liquid it was fine.  Emboldened by this, I cut and sewed an Amy Butler Anna dress (pattern here). 
Previously, I have made this pattern in plain grey,

  green patterned as a top, in orange as a sundress and in red polka dot as a top!  I think I got my money's worth from this pattern!  

The new dress is fully lined with black and white polka dots.  The wool crepe hangs beautifully and the dress rustles when I walk.  For some reason this equates with being very grown up in my mind!  I am so very happy to have stashbusted this fabric.

 So now are you wondering why there's no picture of me wearing this dress?  Um, well, ridiculously, I am scared!  My daily life is so messy.  I need to gather courage and just wear it this week.  Does anyone else have me mades that feel too much like "best" to wear?