Wednesday, 29 February 2012

It's in the bag! First "The Plan 2012" project complete

Yes indeedy I've made myself a bag.  I've been planning this bag for a while, but due to sheer laziness have not got round to making it.  Feeling a bit despondent that my Da Blues dress was a big fat fail, I decided that rather than get into a sewing slump again, I should make something I know wouldn't be issuey.

The main fabric is upholstery fabric I picked up at an Artist open house a while back. The lining is a red mini polka-dot cotton from Ditto (bought on the recent meet-up).

Scuse the markings, I forgot to rub them off before taking the pics
 I love making bags and purses, and really should make more.  The pattern is a freebie by Lisa Lam.  If you like the look of this pattern, check out Stitch and Witter as she has made a fab version of this bag too.

I bought the handles at U-Handbag, Lisa's online shop.  You just hand stitch them on with embroidery floss, as they have holes punched in them already.  Handy!

Sunday, 26 February 2012

I got da blues dress

I started making up a Colette Peony over Christmas, after getting the bodice fitted in a private class blogged about here.

All went well with the sewing, the fit was good and the invisible zip went in without a hitch, happy days.  Now I’ve even finally managed to hem it, which took a while as the rayon seam binding was a bit of a pain to sew on.  It’s slippery and really narrow, so I kept just missing the edge of the fabric.

Anyway I finished the hem, tried it on and, well the neckline is weird!  It sticks out loads!

 Here’s a close up.

It’s even worse wearing a cardigan (a requirement for 80% of the times I’d be wearing this dress).

Can any master adjustment peeps give me any suggestions on how to correct this?  I haven’t tacked down the facing, so could unpick that and fiddle around.  I’m thinking maybe I could alter the neckline to make it deeper and less boat-necked, then just use bias binding to finish the neckline.  Also the shoulders look a little long and actually end on the top of my arms, could I take those in, thus pulling the neckline in towards me a bit?

What do people suggest, as in its current state its not really wearable which is a shame as I quite like the fit and the style of the dress itself.  I especially love the little gathers at the front of the skirt.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Argh inspiration overload

It’s happened again, I have too many ideas going on in my head, have too many things I want to do, I spend every lunch-hour window shopping on the internet, filling baskets but never actually pressing the “continue to checkout” button.  I can’t focus, I can’t think straight.  I need help! 

Ok ok ok, Laura, stop, breathe, re-group.  I have issues.  I have a very distractible flighty brain, my thoughts whizz from one thing to another very quickly.  In fact I’m like a squirrel who’s drunk too many coffees.  You should see me when I’m on a computer, my boyfriend gets a bit motion sick watching the screen when I’m on my laptop, I’m that fast.

The problem I now face is, I have a plan, and want to stick to it.  I’m ready to start drafting my wool half circle skirt and to cut a toile for my darling ranges dress.  The fabrics are washed and ready to go.  Buuuut I’ve just discovered the joys of overlockers and sewing with knits, so want to make this pattern

And this pattern 
and that pattern
and a million more of this pattern
Oh and the ballet dress by DIY Dixie too!

I need to pull up the reigns, and re-stock before I get too over excited and (like I usually do) end up doing nothing.

Maybe I can come up with a compromise.  I have decided to buy an overlocker, and have signed up for a workshop in April that runs through everything you need to know to use one.  I know I’ve already been playing with Zoe’s but she did give me a crash course on how to use hers, and I am a bit nervous a different machine might scare me off.  So I thought if I bought one of my own I could get familiar with it in a structured environment. 

So I am thinking that I should maybe make one more Renfrew whilst I have Zoe’s machine and then put knits aside until April.  So spend March making my wool skirt and at least starting on my darling ranges dress, as that’d be a great springtime dress to have.

Then I have summer to whip up tees and summer dresses in jersey fabrics (my eye is on you simplicity 2443).  I know myself and when there’s sunshine outside I will want to be out in it with my hula hoops.  Sewing indoors will not be a priority for me, so trying to make a few vesty dresses for summer hooping is reasonable I think, as knits are quick and easy clothes to make, and are practical to wear.

Finally come autumn I can crack on with the rest of my plan and make the pleated and gathered skirt, and maybe try my hand at the trousers.

Ok now I’ve put that in words I feel better.  Thanks guys, talking it through has really helped :o)

Sunday, 19 February 2012

I love overlockers!!!!

When Zoe brought round her overlocker last week she said "this will change your world".  Well she wasn't kidding.

I now love overlockers.  I made myself this Renfrew T-shirt in about 3-4 hours. 

It was my first time handling knit fabric, and using an overlocker, but once the dreaded cutting process was over (thank heavens I have a a rotary cutter), it was so quick and easy to put together. 

Almost matching stripes
The jersey I used was pretty cheapy and thin, so I'm not mad about the T-shirt itself.  Also I think I need to tweak the pattern a bit, I cut a size 10 in the end, but reckon I could go smaller in the waist.  However I am dead chuffed with this first attempt. 
Stretchy jersey!
Also the overlocker's abilities impressed John so much that, when I asked him what he thought of the finished T, he actually looked up and passed comment, rather than glancing my way and murmuring in a usual vaguely positive way!  I think realising I could make him customised T-shirts has sparked an interest in the overlocker.  This means I could actually buy one, without having to justify the practical necessity of the purchase, which is something I struggle to achieve when it comes to my other hobby, hula-hooping. 

Any more entry level overlocker recommendations greatly appreciated!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

T-shirts and a question for overlocker owners

So I’ve bought a shed-load of t-shirting from Fabricland.  It’s not a stable knit as its quite stretchy, but it was very cheap, so is good for me to ruin practice on in my first attempts at using knits and an overlocker. Looking at the measurements on the Renfrew pattern it seems quite loose for a fitted top.  I think I’d be a 12 as my waist is around 31 ½ inches, but the finished measurements make the waist 35 ½ inches, so I may go down a size or two.  Also, although I’ve ordered some double knit online (planning to make a cowl version), for normal t-shirts I want thinner jersey, so I want to see what size I’d need to use for a stretchier material.

Once I’ve mastered the art of t-shirt making (because I have full confidence I will), I also want to have a go at customising my creations.  Mad Mim as a whole series of posts on this (and on how to make your own –shirt pattern as well!).  I like the idea of yoyos on one shoulder, and the reverse appliqué bow.

Now although Zoe has lent me her overlocker for a little while (which I am super super grateful for), she is going to want it back at some point.  And blatantly by then, I will not want to let it go, so I need to start thinking about getting my hands on an overlocker of my own.

I’ve seen that many peeps in blogland (including Tilly, Karen and Jane) have the Brother 1034D, which looks like a fab one to go for.  However at around £200-£250 it’s a bit out of my price range, so I may end up going down the secondhand route.

However if I buy secondhand I won’t really have that much choice in terms of make and model, or have any online reviews to help guide me.  What are other peoples experiences of buying and using secondhand overlockers?  Are some brands better than others?  Are there any brands I should completely avoid?  What about age, is it better to go for a sturdy 70’s-80’s overlocker than get a newer model secondhand?  Should I just save my pennies and go for new?  I was thinking about going to my local dealers to see if they have any reconditioned ones, or display models I could buy at a cheaper price.  What do people think?

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Brighton swapping and borrowing someone's baby

So a few bloggers have posted about the Brighton de stash meet-up, but me being me, I've taken a wee while to write up my post.

It was a really fab day, and I met some lovely bloggers and soon-to-be bloggers. But I won't go into mega details as it has been so well covered elsewhere.  So instead I'll just get straight to the important bit, the items I received in the swap:

From left to right, a red muslin fabric (great for lining), awesome retro vintage cotton (cushion cover methinks), green and white heavy weight cotton (definitely going to become a bag) and tonnes of lush grey silk (Colette Truffle dress maybe).  Oh and an ace vintage dress pattern too!

The idea of a stash swap was a really great one, as we all went home with new-to-us fabric and patterns, and had given away things that we no longer needed or wanted but that others were really keen to have.  Karma was topped up and we didn't spend any money!!

I also ended up with something else as a result of the meet-up.  The generous loan of someones precious baby.......well not their actual baby, but their overlocker!!!

At the meet-up I mentioned how I'd like to try sewing with knits, and am keen to buy an overlocker, to sew knits, and to finish seams.  Anyway Zoe, kindly offered to end me her overlocker for a few weeks, so I could get to grips with one, and hopefully make a few things.  So earlier today she popped round to mine, overlocker in hand and gave me a crash course on how to use it.

Isn't she pretty.  Don't worry Zo, I will treat her well I promise.

Isn't the sewing community generous! 

Monday, 6 February 2012

The Plan 2012: The list

Right so here's the list of things I'd like to make in 2012. Some of these are fully formed ideas, with pattern and fabric already chosen, others are vaguer ideas, and I may need some suggestions on fabric or pattern choice.

Note: I was going to have loads of pics of all my planned patterns and fabrics but haven't had time to get it all together, and as this post is about a month overdue, it'll just have to look a bit bland I'm afraid!

1. Red dress

Fabric choice:  Red cotton lawn
Pattern choice: Darling Ranges Dress by Megan Nielsen

I loved this dress the moment i saw it and am desperate to make one for myself.  Instead of playing it safe and going for a black or navy fabric which is my first intstinct, I have decided to take a risk and make a red version.  I’d love to have a red dress, and this’ll be a nice everyday wear kinda dress, that hopefully will be super comfy.  The cotton lawn was bought online from Truro fabrics, they threw in a spool of matching thread too, which was nice.

The next three items all belong together really.  In deciding that I needed some separates I was unsure what type of skirt to make.  I don’t really wear skirts much and am not sure what suits me.  So I have decided to make 3 different types of skirt.  One gathered, one pleated and one half-circle.  I already have an a-line skirt, my black Ginger, which is ok, but I’m not a massive fan of.  I would like to try a pencil skirt, but that’s for another time I think.

2. Slouchy gathered skirt

Fabric choice: not sure, maybe black I want something drapey though
Pattern choice: Simplicity 2226

3. Pleated skirt

Fabric choice:  maybe an olive green or navy
Pattern choice: Simplicity 2215

4. Half circle skirt

Fabric choice: A charcol grey wool from Ditto Fabrics

Pattern choice:  For Christmas my mum gave me the book Make your own clothes.  In it is a pattern for a half circle skirt.  I just need to input my measurements into the program provided on a CD-rom, then print out a paper pattern supposedly custom drafted to my body.  Will it work, we shall see, but it’ll certainly be handy if it does, as that eliminates fitting issues.

Also, I'm a bit nervous about using wool fabric, so any hints or tips would be greatly appreciated!

 5. Wide legged trousers

Fabric choice:  Not sure at this stage, will be a dark colour like navy, dark brown or black, probably cotton.

Pattern choice:  Also unknown.  Any suggestions (high waisted is a plus)

6. Tops
I've just received two patterns from Sewaholic, the Pendrell and the Renfrew.

I am keen to get a good fit with princess seams, as I think it's be a very flattering look for me, and I am keen to give knits a go.  No decisions have been made on fabrics though!

Plus a few non clothing items:

1. New bag using the free pdf pattern from U-Handbag, with a blue floral cotton and red leather handles I think.

2. Purse or wallet.  I'm still searcching for a pattern for this as I am quite particular about what I want from a purse, but havn't quite got the skill to draft my own or adapt an existing pattern.

3. Oh and finally finish the quilt I started months ago, and blogged about here

I'm not sure if I will achieve everything on this list, but I have a clear plan now.  Other project ideas may disrtcat me during the year, but I will try to hold off from veering too far from my plan and do my very best to make at least 2 or 3 of these things listed above!
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