Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Crochet attempts

Well the personalised croquis is on hold at the moment. I wanted to do one on the computer like Lauren at LLadybird, but alas the photoshop expert that is my boyfriend has abandoned me this week to go sliding down snowy mountains on a bit of wood (also referred to as snowboarding).  I’m not much good with complex computer software programs, and I know it’s the kind of thing he could do in minutes but that it would leave me tearing my hair out and take at least a day.  Therefore I am waiting until his return so he can do it for me!  On the plus side I have pretty much finished my plan for 2012, so I’ll probably do a croquis post as a follow-up after I’ve posted about all my plans.

In the meantime I have been trying my hand at another craft as I had my mum to stay over the weekend, and persuaded her to teach me how to crochet.  She's a master at embroidery, cross stitch, knitting and crochet and she can sew too!  She got me doing a basic chain stitch and showed me how to double crochet, slip stitch and treble crochet.  She left behind some perfect examples to look at that she whipped up whilst drinking a cup of tea and chatting (it's like her brain is on auto pilot the muscle memory is that good).  Oh and she bashed these out in a few minutes as well.

Bad photos are due to the boyfriend taking the good camera with him on his snowboarding holiday. Bitter, me?...Never!
Needless to say I didn't get that far, however I am very keen to get cracking on some granny squares, then maybe I can make this lovely crochet tie for my currently absent boyfriend

or these charming pieces of headgear for myself:


Thursday, 19 January 2012

Rayon seam binding

 I first heard of this stuff whilst reading Lauren's blog Lladybird.  She seems to use it a lot, and even has a tutorial on how to use it.  This stuff really appeals to me.  I like the look of bias bound seams, but double fold tape can be a bit bulky.  Also I hate hemming with a passion and a narrow hem practically kills me, I go nuts pressing the hem over twice, it’s such a pain in the posterior.  So using seam binding on the edge and only folding the seam once will give my hems a nice finish that is less bulky than bias binding, and will avoid some of the painful and painstaking hem pressing.

Look how thin this is!
It doesn't seem to be something widely available in the UK though.  So after scouring the Internet for a little while I found a UK based shop called Crafty Ribbons which sells hundreds of colours of the stuff at £1 for 5 meters.  They have an offer on as well, if buy 5 lots of 5 meters and get a 6th lot free.  So I stocked up with a nice selection of colours.

 The colours of the binding will give you some clue about the projects I am deciding on for The Plan 2012.

So what about other UK sewers, do you use this stuff, how do you get hold of it and what are your experiences with it?

Sunday, 15 January 2012

My 5 favourite wardrobe items

A few other peeps in blogland have followed one of the exercises recommended in the Colette Sewing Handbook, of picking 5 things in your wardrobe that you love to wear and analysing them to try and get a better understanding of your own personal style, and what you value in your clothes.  I've had a go at this now, and my top 5 are below:

1. Chunky necklace
I love this necklace!!  Every time I wear this necklace I get a compliment on it, it's just fab.  Pretty, chunky, unusual and funky (also it's from Accessorize if you can believe it).

2. Brown and yellow blazer jacket

This wool blazer is so warm, but is smart and cool too.  I love the mustard lining, and the pinstripe.  It's a really nicely tailored piece, but isn't "too" smart so I tend to wear it with jeans.

3. Purple blue dress

I love the bright block colour of this dress.  It's empire line so is very flettering to wear, but not too restrctive either.  I like the simple style, fitted bodice but floaty skirt.  I also like the embroidery detail near the hem

Wearing this dress makes me feel really feminine and pretty.

4. Flowery jersey dress

This dress is so soft, comfy and easy to wear.  I can just throw it on and go.  It's basically just a rectangle with a waist tie and a cowly style neckline.  It doesn't exactly make me feel professional or pretty but it does make me feel happy!

5. Chunky biker-style boots

I adore chunky boots.  I own a fair few pairs. Although I'm occasionally tempted to be grown up and actually buy proper shoes, I really am only drawn to converse sneakers and chunky boots!  Boots are practical in wet and muddy weather, and are comfortable for my feet.  Also my favourite thing to do is pair chunky boots with a girly dress, I'm not sure why, I just love that look.

Looking at my chosen items, I'd say I like to mix soft with hard, feminine with a rocky edge I guess.  I like soft comfortable clothes, but also things that make me feel pretty.
Browsing through my wardrobe, whilst selecting these 5 items, made me realise that I really really like blue!  Almost to the point that it’s the only colour I wear.  I am attracted to other colours but don’t tend to wear them, I’m not sure why.  I don’t even know what other colours may suit me!  So that’s challenge #1, make something not blue.

Besides blue, I tend I veer towards earthy tones and darker shades. But one of the reasons I love my purple/blue dress so much is that it’s quite bright and I would not regularly wear a colour that bright.  That’s something I want to change too, so challenge #2 is make something in a bright block colour.

I have also realised I don’t wear trousers much these days.  I tend to buy a bootcut pair of jeans and wear them till they wear out, then buy another and so on.  But other than jeans I don’t really wear any other trousers.  This is partly because of current fashions, I mean skinny jeans, harem pants or high waisted shorts on my body, um I don’t think so!  I also hate jeans / trouser shopping because they never fit me because of my sway back!  They always always gape at the back of the waist, and wearing a belt gives me this unattractive tugging look, nasty!  So that’s challenge # 3 make a pair of trousers that fit me!

Lastly I have spotted that I don’t own a lot of separates.  I own a lot of dresses, and a few long tops that I wear over my denim skirt or jeans, but I don’t own many nice tops or blouses, and the only skirts I wear are my denim mini and my beignet, which to be honest gets pretty limited wear because I have no tuck-in-able tops to go with it.  So finally that’s challenge #4 make more separates (a mix and match selection of tops and skirts/trousers is the ideal).

Right so the next step is too make a croquis, have a play with a few pattern ideas, and try to incorporate my 4 challenges to come up with a list of items to make this year.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

The plan 2012

Peter from Male Pattern Boldness had an interesting post the other day on whether we sew with practicality in mind or fantasy.  Personally when I think about my behaviour in the past (especially when I first started sewing), the motivation behind my pattern and fabric purchases was pretty much always pure fantasy.  I mean seriously what was I thinking when I bought this quilting weight cotton!?  What can be made from this?

And these 1950's retro patterns, yes they are beautiful, but lets face it how many occasions am I going to find to wear these?

I have realised that what I need to do as a sewer who still puts herself in the beginnerish category, is to make functional wearable and well constructed pieces.  This will help me gain confidence in my sewing abilities, and in wearing the things I have sewn!  Then later on down the line I can go a bit nuts and make a few things just for fun.

That's not to say I won't be having fun when sewing, but in order to enjoy the process I need confidence that the end result will be good.

Also I am an avid reader of So Zo.  I share a lot of her views when it come to consumerism in society, but so far have done little to start making changes in my own life.  I  would love to be able to only make my clothes and not buy new ones.  Fantasy sewing in this respect is also fairly pointless if I make a "fantasy" dress that I hardly ever wear, only to have to go and buy some practical clothes I actually need.  I really need to think about the clothes I "need" and then make them myself.

So I have decided for 2012, I am going to plan, and hopefully sew, a selection of key basic pieces..  When I say basic I don't mean dull and boring plain coloured things, just items that are wearable on a regular basis and aren't going to be crazy hard to sew (like smart skirts and shirts for work, or comfy tunic style tops for my free time).  As fitting has been such a massive issue for me, simpler more basic patterns will also mean I can get to grips with adjustments more easily.  For example I love the Colette Ceylon dress, but attempting to fit that to my full busted front and my narrow and sway back does not appeal to me right now!

With that in mind I am starting to follow the "programme" in the Colette Sewing handbook.  I intend to:

  • Analyse my wardrobe to find my favourite 5 items, and work out what I value in these.
  • Look and see if there are any obvious gaps in the clothes I already own, that I could fill by sewing up something
  • Make a Croquis of my self so I can have a play with a variety of pattern styles.
  • Come up with a list of maybe 5-10 items (I'm not trying to be over ambitious) of things I would like to sew in 2012
So thats the plan anyway!
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