Monday, 30 May 2011

Stitches I know

I decided recently that I needed to spend more time practicing my embroidery.  I want to use embroidery a lot more on sewing projects but am not a very neat stitcher.  Also it's a good thing to do of an evening, if you are too tired to do anything major.  So it has been great for me he past few weeks as I have been studying as soon as I get home from work, and my brain has been far too dead. to do any sewing.

Back in January, on my birthday I received Jenny Hart's book Embroidered Effects.  It has lots of cool projects in it, and there's a few I wanted to have a crack at.  However as my first attempt to try proper embroidery fell a bit flat, this time I decided to start at the beginning and have a go at the sampler project in the book. This is the result:

I'm not sure whether to frame it or to put a border round it and turn it into a cushion.  What do you think??

It's a bit scruffy in places, but these are my favourite bits:

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Inspiration ideas #1

I am a very easily distractable person, and often have an idea, but forget it and move onto something else before the idea is fully formed and recorded anywhere.  I want to start recording these inspirations, so that one day I can (possibly) go back to them and do something with them.  I have many fleeting fancies with project ideas, mainly pretty dresses, and want to show you what I’m currently inspired by. 

Recently I saw the dress below in Dorothy Perkins:
I totally loved the lemon print fabric, yellow is not a colour I usually go for but this print was so summery and kitsch I though it looked fab. 

I’ve seen similar style prints around recently but the Dorothy Perkins dress was my favourite in terms of the style of the dress.

Dresses from South, Primark & New Look
I tried the Dorothy Perkins dress on but (bizarrely in my case) the waist was a bit too tight and the bust was waay too big!  So it’s something I can’t buy, and I already own a few patterns I could use to make a dress like this myself.

The first is New Look 6557.  
I’ve made view B before but was thinking of maybe using view C or E instead.  However I’m not a massive fan of the waist band on this dress as I really like the matching waist and hem bands on the DP dress.

Next option is McCall's 6011,view C wthout sleeves.
This is better terms of waistband, and I’m sure I could figure out how to add a band on the skirt too.  Plus this dress is lined which is better if the fabric is going to be white / pale.

And the wildcard entry is Vogue 8184, view B (which is incidentally the first sewing pattern I ever bought). 

This doesn't have a wiastband but I think the structured bodice, which calls for boning, could work really well with a big bold print. 

The next question is fabric.  Where would I find a fabric like this?  Anyone got any ideas, apart from scouring ebay for something similar (I’ve already googled “lemon print fabric” and “fruit print fabric” with little success).

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Do you sew basics? - Follow-up

Firstly thank you to everyone for your responses. 

The consensus seems to be that as a [semi] beginner it would be better for me to sew things that excite me, rather than making boring basic wardrobe-building pieces.  Rachel did mention I can make simple stretch tops on my machine, but I think my machine is too basic as there is no stretch stitch. At least I can't find one. 

So although I do fancy having a go at stretch fabrics, I think it'll have to wait until I invest in a more advanced machine and/or an overlocker.

Some of you also brought up the interesting point that I could have the best of both worlds and make a staple piece I am likely to wear frequently but that also is a fun and interesting pattern.  I totally agree, and following Sarah's suggestion I think the Beignet skirt is bumping the queue to be first on my to-sew list once my accounting technician qualification is done and dusted (only 2 exams and 6 weeks to go!!!).  It fulfils both criteria of being a beautiful pattern that caught my eye (plus I’ve been inspired by the gazillion gorgeous versions you other bloggers have made) and it is a good staple piece that I know I will wear. 
I think I will probably make it out of dark denim so I can wear it with my pre-existing tops.  But I’m not sure what buttons I should go for.  There are a few blue versions I’ve seen, namely Jane’s (who used red buttons) Ashley’s (who went for gold/metallic) and of course Tilly the queen of Beignet (who chose yellow buttons for her blue denim version), that all inspire me but I am confused as to what to go for myself.  I've not used buttons on anything before, and want to make sure that this skirt can be worn with lots of things, so a strong contrasting colour may not be the way to go.  Could I make self-covered buttons with denim do you think?

But at least I decided what my next project should be.  Sadly it means leaving a few UFO’s behind at least for a while.  I don’t want to be the kind of blogger who posts about works in progress and then never shows the finished article (ok so I’m already guilty of that, see grey leafy skirt, echino bag, quilt top etc etc), but I really think I need to kick start my sewing afresh, with a shiny happy sewing space and a brand new project!

Fingers crossed I’ll find time to finish up my WIPs soon.  I’m most keen to finish the quilt, but I can’t sign up for another class until after July so that’ll have to wait anyway!

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Starting to bring order to chaos

Right ok, having realised my sewing productivity is pretty poor, I have decided to organise myself a bit by sorting out my sewing space.  As mentioned in a previous post, I have half a small room to use, but I have not yet done anything with it, because frankly I didn't know where to start.
What I need to do is:
  • Clear up, tidy and clean my part of the room
  • Create a partition of some kind
  • Make decorative bunting and hang and a cork board to pin inspirational bits and bobs
  • Get our big bookcase sorted [not in pic].  Empty the two drawers of my man's man-things (wires, cables, screws, hammers you know the kind of thing) into plastic boxes and move to his side, and instead fill the bookcase with my sewing books, my fabric stash and my patterns!
  • Move in my sewing machine and my storage drawers, then the space is complete
I already got some storage drawers (from Ikea, inspired by Karen's) for all my sewing sundries:

And I've shamelessly copied Ashley and bought myself some plastic drawers to store my mid-progress projects:

I'm on my way!

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Do you sew basics?

So I haven't been sewing much [read at all] recently, and am spending my free time finishing up my project and revising for my exams [boo hiss].

Side note:  my stepdad couldn't fix the laptop, apparently there was a motherboard connection problem.  But he did rescue my hard drive and has lent me his old laptop so I can finish my project, yay stepdad!!!

I am stepping it up with sorting out my sewing room (update post to come soon).  And I still want to keep my blogging going even if i have no crafty projects to show you, so I thought I'd ask you lovely readers a question or two. 

I've been thinking a lot about the fact that I keep wanting to sew "feature" items, you know pretty dresses and fancy clothes for special occasions, but not really practical for everyday wear.  Five days a week I have to wear smart clothes for work, and that's an area where I should be sewing clothes for but I  don't really want to spend my time making things to wear at work.  I want to make fun things!

Also I should be sewing things like basic tops and maybe a simple tunic dress or two, but again they don't exactly inspire me.  But if I'm ever going to get over the "fear" of wearing things I've made I do need to make something I can wear on a regular basis!

So what about you, do you sew good basic staple items, or mainly fun pretty things from fabrics and patterns that really grab your eye?  Or maybe you're a bit of both? 

What inspires you to sew, practical need or desire for beautiful clothes?

Here's a few of my basic items I always wear:

The Denim skirt
I have a short(ish) denim skirt and it is my fallback item, along with a pair of leggings or tights.  Can be worn with pumps, heels or boots so is good to dress up or down. 

Would I ever sew one?  Well I am considering making a Beignet skirt and denim is a fabric I'm thinking of using for it (that or corduroy).  Plus Lucy made a great skirt refashioned from old jeans so it's certainly possible.

The Black Cardigan
I love my black cardigan, it's a work staple and is the thing I grab on a sunny day "just in case" it gets cold.  It goes with anything and is soft and comfy.

Would I sew one?  Well it'd have to be made from a knit, so at this stage probably not.  I want to customise more of my existing knitwear though, as lets face is it black is a bit boring isn't it?

The baggy jeans
Jeans that are well worn and easy wearing.  Comfy and relaxed, good for "fat days" and slouching around on weekends.

Would I sew them?  No way would I attempt jeans at the moment!  Maybe way way into the future (but don't hold your breath).

Plain vests and T-shirts
Dull dull dull, but again they are a good basic top to just "throw on". 

Would I sew it?  If I had an overlocker I bet you could whip these up in minutes, and could probably customise them very easily too.  But until I can afford an (and justify the purchase of) overlocker it's another thing I have to buy.

So those are my basics.  Pretty dull huh?  But who wants to sew dull things when you can sew pretty things like these:

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Pay it forward

I recently spotted on Sarah’s blog narcoleptic in a cupboard that she was participating in Pay it Forward. It’s a really cute idea for crafty peeps in the blogging community to send handmade gifts to 3 other bloggers who then each have to do the same for 3 other bloggers (and so on). I signed up pronto as I think this is a fab way to share our skills and anyway who doesn’t like receiving a gift in the post?! The rules are as follows:

The first 3 people who comment on this blog post will receive a handmade gift from me.
In return, you must FIRST write a blog post explaining Pay It Forward 2011.
Then send out a handmade gift to the first 3 visitors who leave a comment.  It doesn't have to be sewn, it could be knitted or drawn or embroidered, anything as long as it's handmade
Take your time, you have 365 days to do it.

So if you fancy a little handmade gift from me please comment and take part. I have 365 days to do it though so you won't know when to expect it!
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