Thursday, 23 July 2015

What's on my needles

I have bad news.  I have been without a sewing machine for two weeks now!  I've been on Holiday in France to visit my dad who lives over there.  It's a bit of a bummer that he moved out there last year, but his place over there is wow so I'm not complaining because it means I get to have some really lovely holidays!  Now my sewing machine has also been put in for a service (the foot pedal has gone a bit haywire and grown a mind of it's own), so I've been using this sewing machine free time to indulge in a far more transportable craft, knitting!

I have a confession... I love knitting, but I have never actually managed to finish a garment.  This is my third attempt to make something I can wear (scarves don't count).  I always manage to get quite far into the project and then find that I have done something horrendously wrong and just can't face frogging it back and trying again.  I'm feeling pretty good about this project though.  It's a peacock eyes cardigan by Justyna Lorkowska that I'm making up in a lovely merino lambswool and cotton blend yarn called Coast in Aconite (which is actually a bit more of an orangey mustard in real life), which is really lovely to knit with.

I'm really enjoying knitting this and I'm finding it pretty challenging as it requires some techniques that I have never attempted before, like short rows.  Short rows really scared me until I actually went and found out how to do them and found that they are actually not that bad!  Also it knits top down in one piece, which I have never tried before (I'm hoping this will help avoid the problem with the cardigan I tried to knit before where I just couldn't get the arms to fit in the arm holes, they were just way too big!)

I've finished the peacock eye motifs now, which look way more complicated than they actually are, I found that if I'm methodical and write out all my steps then they aren't that bad.  Going to start on the sleeve holes next.  Fingers crossed!

Monday, 6 July 2015

Love at First Stitch

I have a tendency to daydream.  I get an idea in my head and it grows and grows.  I nurture it with hours gazing out a window.  I play around with it, build on it, embellish it.  Then I want to make it real.  Unfortunately, my skills do not always enable to make my ideas a reality.  I usually live vicariously through looking at beautiful images on Pinterest or Instagram, or by reading all the lovely blogs out there written by amazing and inspiring creative people.

It has been this way with sewing.  I dream up lots of beautiful and stylish clothes for me to make, but when  get down to making them I get overwhelmed or disheartened when what I achieve doesn't meet the dream.  This results in lots of UFOs.

I've made a decision.  I'm going to take a step back.  Start slowly.  Nurture my skills and not the day dream.  I've found the perfect book to help me.  Love at First Stitch by Tilly Walnes from Tilly and the Buttons.  More like love at first page.  This book is fantastic.  I love Tilly's enthusiasm, it;s so infectious that reading her book you just can't help but catch it. And her instructions are so clear there's no way you could get lost along the way.

The first project in the book is the Brigitte scarf.  I was almost tempted to skip it and go straight to the beautiful dresses at the back of the book, but I stopped myself, determined to take it slowly, one step at a time.  I made it out of some of the fabric left over from my Sorbetto top.  I have to admit that it's not my usual style, but I love it!  It's great for pretending that I'm Audrey Hepburn while doing the washing up.
I can't wait to try out the next project!

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Vintage Watermelon Skirt

Hi everyone!  I just wanted to share with you my favourite new skirt.  I found it in a vintage clothing shop in my neighbourhood.  I absolutely love it!  It fits perfectly, has a great tie up high waist, buttons down the front and a super bright and summery watermelon and palm tree print... what else do you need from a skirt?  Oh, pockets! Yes it has pockets too!

I have no idea when it is from though... I'm thinking 80s, but let me know if you have a better idea than me.

I hope everyone is enjoying the sunshine! Is anyone else wearing vintage this weekend?

Friday, 19 June 2015

I made a Sorbetto top!

Well, I'm pretty sure that everyone in the sewing blog world has made at least one Sorbetto by Colette, so I thought I would join the club.

I made mine in a lovely Liberty Tana Lawn, which I got on sale!  It's a great top and I can see myself filling my summer wardrobe with a few different versions of this.

I have to say I did find that it came out very short.  I have quite a lanky frame so I probably should have adjusted for that and added a bit of length.  Oh well, you live and learn.  Next time.

Clyde Cat photo bomb
The main thing that I loved about making this top is that not only is it the first time using bias tape, but I made my own!  I found it a bit time consuming and fiddly, but I really think it was worth the effort.  I think a contrast bias tape might have been fighting with the quite busy print of the top so I really wanted to use matching fabric.  Plus I have a new skill under my belt!  I think I want to make this pattern again soon to really practice the skills in this and (hopefully) get the hang of the fit issue.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Fabric Fiesta

I've been in South Devon this weekend visiting my in-laws.  I had a great time and the sun was shining for us.  While I was down there my mother-in-law mentioned that there was a "Fabric Fiesta" happening in a nearby village.  How could I resist?  Just a 5 minute drive away there was a whole fiesta just for fabric!  So I convinced my poor long suffering husband to drive me down there to take a look (I know, I know, but I'm taking lessons, honest!)

It was great!  OK, so it wasn't very big, but it was crammed full of stalls filled with fabric and cake and patterns and buttons and ribbons and... breath!  Sorry. Got  bit too excited there.

It was chockablock, but I did manage to come away with a couple of things.

The first was a gorgeous vintage kimono that was bit torn and worn in places, but was so irresistible that I just couldn't, well, resist.  I have no idea what it's made of, but it feels so lovely and silky with a bit of texture like crepe.  I can really see this made into a lovely cap sleeve blouse, but this is really a case of aspirational purchasing here, as that is far beyond my current skill level.  A girl can dream...

Here's a close up of the pattern.  I just love Japanese kimono prints

I also picked up a far more practical black cotton with white polka dots.

I'm planning to turn this into a New Look K6107 in version E (the shorter pencil skirt).  That's the plan anyway, so we'll have to see how it turns out.  I'm rubbish at fitting so I'm hoping this will help me master that skill.

Has anyone else been fabric shopping?  What have you picked up?

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

I can sew my own clothes!

Hi there! I'm really excited to be here.  I know I'm pretty late to the sewing party, but it's better to turn up late than not at all!

I was given a sewing machine by my lovely husband for my birthday and some sewing lessons for my Christmas present in 2013 (I know, isn't he lovely?  Talk about encouraging!) where I learnt the basics of how to use my machine, and I rally enjoyed the simple pleasure of being able to create something.  I made a tote and a make-up bag, but what I really wanted to do was make clothes, but for some reason I just felt daunted by the prospect.  So my sewing machine was pretty neglected last year, but a couple of months ago I felt inspired by all the lovely crafters/sewists/bloggers out there to get my sewing machine out and have a go.  What is there to be afraid of??  It turns out nothing at all!  And I actually made something that I can (and do) actually wear. It's not perfect (far from it) but I'm so proud of myself.

It's a Zinnia from Colette made in a sort of faded burgundy coloured double gauze.  Like I said, its not perfect, but I like to see every mistake as a lesson to be learned.

I loved making this skirt.  The instructions were really easy to follow and the simple construction meant that it was pretty quick to make, even if it did take me an entire Saturday to figure out the waistband.  The instructions were fine, but I just couldn't visualise it for some reason, but I guess that's just my massive lack of experience.  I also think might sit too high on my waist and because of my lanky frame is a bit too high above my knees.  What do you think? Is the fit awful?

What I am happy with though is all the things this simple skirt pattern taught me (so much!)

  • Buttonholes
  • Buttons
  • Invisible zips
  • Pockets (did I mention this skirt has pockets!)
  • Hemming
  • Pleats
  • Waistbands

I love this button, shame about the massively wonky waistband/button/zip meet up area. Anyone have any tips to improve this next time/where I went wrong?