Thursday, 19 February 2015

Cheap notions are a false economy

Hi folks, I'm suffering with a horrible cold at the moment and for some reason this is making me more wordy, it must be all that time I'm spending watching 'the Good Wife'.  So here is a wordy post on notions.

I've been sewing for a while now and have started to put more thought and money into the fabrics that I use.  However, when buying notions I only think about quality control when buying thread.  I think about it because I have had some fails with rubbish thread snapping and snarling up my machine.  For anyone who is interested, I like gutermann threads. However, I've now realised I should be applying these same standards when buying notions.  Look at what happened to the zip on my pink New Look 6873 skirt:

This was particularly distressing for 3 reasons, firstly I had done what, for me, was a meticulous job on this skirt and I was pleased with my lapped zipper.  Secondly, the fabric used was a gorgeous quality wool which I had spent more than my average spend when purchasing this fabric and it was now being let down by the zip!  Thirdly and super embarrassingly, I had been staying at my boyfriends the day it broke and when getting dressed in the morning found myself with nothing to wear!!!! Luckily I managed to find a dress I had left behind otherwise I would have had to spend the whole day in a skirt that was safety pinned to me!

So its pretty unusual (in my experience at least) for zips to come apart like this.  I may have used too fragile a zip for the weight of the fabric (this is a hefty wool) however, I wonder if a zip that cost me 25p was the best idea on an item that I'd bought quality fabric for?  Can anyone weigh in with some recommendations of zip brands or types that I should look out for?  How much of a false economy do you think cheap zips are?  Did I just get unlucky?

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Jumper to skirt refashion

Happy Thursday people! This week has been really shitty but now the bad bits are done (hopefully, although I kinda feel like I'm tempting fate) and I'm off for a couple of cocktails with friends and tomorrow I am working from home, yay! For your pre-weekend enjoyment, I have a refashion post to show you.

I had this jumper in my stash that my boyfriend had donated last time he moved house.

I have no idea why he had it as it must have been really big on him. However, bigger size equals more fabric, so I'm not complaining and I have been wanting some more skirts which are work appropriate.

So I chopped off the arms, ribbing and cut across the shoulders below the neck line.  This left me with a (wonky) tube which I was then able to fit to Rosie.

I created an elastic waistband. I've just noticed that Lauren has put up a tutorial for the method I used so I won't bother elaborating further.  The length of elastic I used was 2cm shorter than my waist with a 2cm over lap (so finished length of elastic is 4cm smaller than my waist size). 

This left me with something that was technically a skirt but was very short so was not going to cut it as a work skirt. Inspired by the Capital Chic champagne skirt I decided to add a ruffle to the bottom .
I used some burgundy ponte scraps, left over from a nettie muslin, and pleated them the whole way along the bottom of the skirt, to create a lovely swishy bottom section. I haven't hemmed this, partly because I'm still deciding if I like this length, so far I think yes, but please chip in with opinions, but largely because I didn't have any matching thread left and having placed it firmly in the finished item pile I'm very reluctant to put it back into the WIP pile. 

Swishy ruffle!

I have worn this a few times already and had lots of compliments on it which is always nice. It works well for work too, however, a couple of things I've realised when wearing it: I should probably wear a slip with this as the jersey and ponte cling to tights (and every lump and bump).  Also I have very few tops that go with this, time to think about some work appropriate tops too I guess. 

One success for stash busting and refashioning goals!  How are you all getting on with your sewing goals?

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Owl jumper finally finished!

It has taken me an embarrassingly long time to finish, but my Kate Davies Owl jumper is finally done!!!
When Kat announced she and Sabs were running a knit along for the owl jumper which I had seen popping up everywhere, I jumped on board.  However having started it, knit half the body, realised it was going to be too small, frogging it and starting over, I totally missed the knit along deadline and so gave up on it for a bit. However I'm so glad I took it up again as the finished jumper is making me happy and is going to fit so well into my wardrobe.  It goes well with this strawberry circle skirt (pre blog), my kilt and a host of other unblogged items.

I wore this on a recent day trip to york with my friend Elizabeth. We had lots of fun visiting the railway museum and taking silly photos *Warning* there are lots of irreverent and irrelevant photos coming up so those who are just here for the knitting, feel free to scroll to the end.  I make no apologies for us loving trains!
 Lovely old train destination ads.

 Luggage for going off to school.

 Milk delivery by train, how cool is that.

 I fell off the train and Elizabeth caught it on camera, hilarious!

To put into perspective how long this jumper was in the making, on our last fun trip away (to Leeds) when I took the trio of skirt photos, I had started the jumper and when I spotted this statue of an owl and took a snap with a 'look at how owl themed my life is' type comment planned. 

It has just occurred to me that although I've done a fair amount of knitting this year and learnt loads (quite a chunk of that learning was linked to this jumper), this is the first knitted item I have ever made for me.  Yay, for selfish knitting!

This was actually a surprisingly easy make (YouTube tutorials are my friends). I used Wendy merino wool which is lovely and soft and I LOVE the colour which is going to be a perfect addition to my wardrobe. However I have a suspicion that the wool is going to pile quite a bit. 

I had some surprises when I had finished this. It came out quite a bit shorter on me than the other versions I have seen on the net, even though the pattern states it is designed for someone xxx. It may be because I have a long body as my swatch said I was knitting to the correct gauge. However for me this was a happy accident as really I wanted a cropped sweater but at the time was too lazy to do the maths to create it. Also both sleeves could do with being a little longer (long body and monkey arms!)  The left one is fine but the right one leaves a 1-2cm gap exposed which my wrist is not living in this cold weather. 

Have any of you been thinking of knitting this?  I would really recommend it as a pattern for someone who is just beyond beginner stage (or beyond).  Also at the end you get a lovely, warm, snuggly jumper with owls!!!