Thursday, 24 February 2011

Pattern conundrum - advice please!

I’ve just started cutting out a pleated skirt and have been halted by an error in the pattern.  The issue relates to the placement of the waistband piece on the fabric.  The layout diagram shows the waistband (piece 14) placed so that the short edges are parallel to the selvedge. 

However on the piece itself the grain line is shown to go across the long edge of the waistband, suggesting it should be placed long-edge parallel to the selvedge. 

Which method should I use?  Should I place it parallel to the selvedge on the short edge or long edge, so option A or option B, or option C either. As does it really matter in this case?

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

I'm stylish!

Well according to Carly and Lucy anyway, as they have both given me a Stylish Blogger award!  Thanks guys. 

 Apparently I have to reveal 7 things that you may not already know about me, so here goes:

  1. I work in finance but am rubbish at mental arithmetic.  Don’t get me wrong I am very good with numbers and maths in general, but I never learnt the times tables at school and calculators were all the rage so I never picked up the skill of counting (or multiplying) in my head.
  2. The only form of exercise I take is hoop dancing.  If you don’t know what this is check out this youtube clip for more info [BTW I am nowhere near as good as that].  I hate exercise and am not a believer in “no gain without pain” so avoid the pain as much as possible! Hooping is so much fun, although I do get weird looks in the street / on the bus when I have my hoop with me.
  3. I have a fear of going to the corner shop.  This isn’t a specific corner shop, it’s all local newsagents.  It all stems from a time when I was young when my mum let me go to the corner shop on my own  A big dog was outside, who barked at me very loudly and chased me for a bit back down the road as I fled in fear.  Actually my mum may have been there too, my memory is a bit hazy, but the fear was real and even now would rather starve [read: go without chocolate] than go to the shop by myself.
  4. I have an oversensitive sense of smell (and I think maybe hearing too).  I am learning this as I seem to smell & hear things which other people can’t.
  5. I enjoy reading comic books and graphic novels.  It’s an expensive hobby (graphic novels are pricey) which I haven’t been indulging in much recently.  My particular favourite is anything involving the X-men, the Fables Series and I really enjoyed Persepolis.
  6. I studied Psychology at University and love social psychology (mainly group/social behaviour) in particular.  I’m also 2nd author on a paper which was published in the journal Social Cognition titled “Beyond secondary emotions: The infrahumanization of outgroups using human-related and animal-related words”.  I don’t get to boast about this much as infrahumanization is not exactly an easy word to drop into conversation! 
  7. I love cake.  Baking it and eating it.  Cake is basically the best thing ever.  Whoever first thought, “lets mix flour, eggs, butter and sugar together into a splodgy mess then heat it up and see what happens” was the most amazing persion in the world! I think maybe it stems from being Engish, as there is nothing better on a cold, wet and wintery English day than a cuppa and big piece of cake!  

Proof that my love affair with cake started at an early age

Right that’s my seven things.  I’m off to find some cake now.  Oh yes and I need to nominate 7 people to pass this award onto.  Well my nominations are quite tricky, as a lot of peeps whose blogs I admire have just got this award (or sent it to me).  So rather than pass on the 7 things aspect, I’m just passing on the award as I like your blog (although you can do the 7 things list if you want).  Also apologies if you have already got this award, but it's getting passed around faster than head lice at a primary school (but in a good way)!!!

Zoe of So Zo…


Sunday, 20 February 2011

Big purple bow

Recently I have been admiring the trend of having big bows on tops and dresses.

An old issue of cloth magazine had a tutorial on stencilling a bow onto a t-shirt.

Source: Cloth Magazine

I liked this and knew I wanted to put a bow on one of my plain t-shirts, but wanted to actually put a real bow on my top, not just stencil something on. 

So then I went browsing at wardrobe refashion, in the hope of inspiration.  And low and behold I came across a post by Bethany, and as soon as I saw it knew that a lace bow was exactly what I wanted.

And even better she had a tutorial on her blog [yes!!].  But alas and alack I’m not sure if the blog had moved or been deleted, but I couldn’t find it [Nooooo!!!!].

So I wasn’t sure what to do, as I didn’t quite have the confidence to try and make something up myself.  But then a couple if days ago read Lucy’s post on her blog Tricky Seams, and saw she had done something very similar except with ribbon.

Lucy's cool ribbon top

I really liked her version of this trend, and the fact that she had been inspired by the same thing, seemed more than coincidental to me!  I was meant to make a lace bow top.  So finally I decided, “Enough procrastinating woman, just do it already!”

So I did.  I went out and bought some lace.  I’d tried to get navy blue lace, as the top I wanted to embellish was blue, but couldn’t find any so went with a dark purple.  I’m so glad I did as I don’t think blue would have shown up too well.  The top I was using was a stretchy cotton so I was a bit worried about sewing onto it, in case it went all squiffy, but I went slowly and carefully and it went ok.

But anyway here is the finished article:

Close up [sorry I know the pics are rubbish!]:

I'm actually pretty happy with it!

Friday, 18 February 2011

Brighton Craftaganza!!!

Ok crafty peeps in the south east, check this out.

Zoe from So Zo... is co-organising an awesome local craft fair in Brighton called Craftaganza.  The first one is set to be on the 26th March at Fabrica.  Zoe's written a post all about it here.  If you're interested check out the Craftaganza blog.  Oh and I was lucky enough to get asked to write a guest post on the Craftaganza blog.  It's all about Sashiko, an ancient form of Embroidery originating in rural Japan.  Check out my post here!

Monday, 7 February 2011

Pique, tricel and other fabrics, what the heck???

Ok so I am a novice when it comes to fabric.  Before learning to sew I knew there was silk, velvet, satin, cotton, linen and polyester and that’s about it.  I never realised how many different types of cotton there were, let alone all the other different fabrics out there!  It’s crazy.  Therefore I've always struggled when reading the recommended fabrics part of a sewing pattern.  It always seemed to contain at least one fabric I have never heard of.

To start with I struggle with names of fabrics that suggest they are made of more than one type of fabric, but I think it just means they have the appearance of another type of fabric.  Maybe I am misunderstanding but I do not get these:

Cotton sateen
Crepe back satin
Then there are those fabrics that have the word cotton in them but are all totally different [or are they?].

Cotton Broadcloth
Cotton Twill
Cotton Drill
Cotton Lawn
Cotton Duck Cloth

And so on

Then there’s fabrics everyone else seems to be aware of that I have no clue what they are:

Crepe (this makes me think of crepe paper, which is a rougher sort of tissue paper I used as a child when making stuff)
Finally what about these fabrics:

Tissue faille
Crepe de chine

Can anyone tell me what the heck they are?  Most of those I found listed listed on one of my stash of vintage patterns so maybe they no longer exist or are called something else these days.

I think a lot of confusion comes because I think the names for the fabric are there to describe the different style of fabric so you can identify the process used in turning the material (cotton, silk etc) into fabric.  For example velvet can be made from silk or cotton or something synthetic can’t it, but the name velvet describes the fluffy pile unique to velvet [I think].  So the name describes the texture, weight and style of the fabric not what it is made from, right?  But fabric shops tend to tell you what material the fabric is made from (often in percentages) and only sometimes have a description of the style of fabric.  So when I go in a fabric shop the label will say 100% cotton or whatever but it’s totally different in weight and texture to another 100% cotton in the same shop even though they are both made from cotton, the fabric making process was clearly different, and has thus created a different style of fabric.  Or am I totally wrong here?

As you can see thinking about fabric sends me off in circles and makes me dizzy.  Oh and don’t even get me started on knits vs wovens, or wools or jerseys!!!!

Perhaps I need to invest in a fabric guide book, but what I really want is a book with little samples of each type of fabric so I can really understand what I am looking at.  Does anyone have any recommendations on where to start? 

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Showing off: Look what I've got!

It was my birthday recently, and I want to show off what I got.

My mum gave me loads of cool buttons and ribbons, including the smallest ric rac I have ever seen.  I don't even know how I would sew this onto anything it's so small!

[I like the reindeer ric rac the best]

And this is what I bought with my birthday money

I have a real thing for sashiko, I love how a simple running stitch can make such intricate and decorative patterns.  Yum!

I'm a big fan of Pip Lincolne and have been lusting after this book since it was released.  Waiting for it to become available in the UK has been really frustrating!  Also one of the things I love about her books is that they have a baking recipe at the back, to provide you with sustenance whilst you sew!  It's like she read my mind  :o)

Lastly John got me these embroidery scissors (admittedly I did kinda help him with this gift choice).  They look fancy though right?

Right that's enough showing off for now!  Best make use of some of this stuff instead of just drooling over it.
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