Friday, 27 November 2015

Jumper refashion

I love this refashioned skirt that I made from a jumper last year and find it really practical to wear for work as I can cycle in it and its a decent length. However, as the weather got colder I was struggling to pair it with any of my cardigans or jumpers. I really needed a cropped jumper to pair with it. I started looking at different patterns, the coppelia cardigan and Bonnie sweater were both contenders. The problem was that I also had no appropriate fabric in my stash. I suppose to be stash busting and I've fallen off the wagon a bit lately so I was reluctant to do this. Then I remembered this jumper that I had in my stash. I had 'rescued' it from my boyfriends charity shop pile at one point. Potentially the same rescue mission that I had acquired the jumper for the skirt.
I loved the pattern and the colour was a perfect match for the trim on the skirt. However it was too big and too long for what I wanted so it was time to get altering. I started by putting it inside out on Rosie. I cut off the bottom ribbing and pinned the sides to get the shape I wanted. Then I (carefully) put it on and pinned the arms to slim them down as well. Then I ran all the pinned seams through my overlocker. Sorry I should have taken some photos of this process but I was on a roll. 

The next step was to try the jumper on with the skirt and adjust the length and then reattach the ribbing.  And ta-da one new cropped jumper.
I mentioned in my last post that I wanted to get my boyfriend crouching down to take some photos of me from a better angle and while I did mange it for this photo, it was so cold outside that we took a very limited number of snaps and headed back into the warm.

Most of the photos had me looking like this:
Shivering and with my eyes shut!

Sadly the eyes shut look is one I sport a lot, honestly we sometimes have to take about 50 photos just to get a couple of decent ones with my eyes open!  Just as well I never had aspirations to be a model!

What about you? Do you end up with lots of ridiculous reject photos?  Have a lovely weekend all.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Totally Sew Over It

So today I have a sew over it double act to show you. I loved my first pair of ultimate trousers (although they were too big and met a sad failed refashioning fate) and have wanted another pair. Also last pay day I treated myself to their ultimate shift dress pattern and figured they would make a good combo. 

The are made from black twill which I bought from Minerva crafts at the same time as the fabric for my previous pair. I had planned to make a skirt with it so I only had a metre which created some interesting sewing challenges. 

With only a metre I knew these were going to be cropped (maybe not the most practical as temperatures drop in the UK but never mind). These had been cut and I'd started sewing when I spotted a colleague wearing a pair of trousers with zips at the ankles and I knew I wanted to add them to my ultimate trousers. I followed this post from Megan Nielsen on inserting exposed zippers and I'm really proud of them. I'd never used them before and while they're far from perfect I can now see how the process works and improved from one to the next. So now bring on all the exposed zippers! I cut a size 12 with the other adjustments I had done in the class. The only thing I don't like about these trousers is that the fabric stretches out with each wear which is annoying. However, I'm going to make another pair in wool for winter. 

I cut out the ultimate shift top in cutting spree I had a couple of weeks ago. It's a liberty print fabric that I had left over from a sew over it tea dress that I made a one of their classes about 4 years ago. It seemed like fate for it to become another sew over it pattern. I needed to make quite a lot of alterations to the top which as I didn't make a muslin were a bit convoluted in the fashion fabric. I cut a size 12 (grading to 14 at hips) however, there were lots of fitting issues and I wanted it to be less loose at the waist. The upper arms needed more room plus I needed more room across the back, I will need to do a broad back adjustment in future but this time I dealt with it by sewing the top with 1 cm seam allowances. 

We took these photos in our super beautiful local park.  I always read about how other bloggers boyfriends/children/husbands/pets take such wonderful pictures without a single word of complaint.  My boyfriend rations me to the number of photos he will take of me in the cold.  When I told him I was going to out this lack of generosity to the blogosphere, he told me that I should as he should really be featuring more prominently on the blog, so to make him happy, here's a photo of him, not wearing handmade clothes.  

Isn't he cute?  (I need to keep him sweet because when looking at these photos, I realised that my next mission should be to get him down on the ground to take photos of me.  He is tall and his photo taking angle is not working for me.) 

As Sew Over it have such lovely sewing cafes I thought it was appropriate to include a photo of me curled up with a cup of tea.
Happy weekend all.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Fall essentials sewalong, how did I do?

Hello all.  I've actually spent quite a bit of time thinking about this post as once I started reviewing where I got to with creating my fall essentials, I got to thinking about the reasons for my successes, failures and excuses.  It's been a really interesting process and I think will be very helpful for forward planning.  So while this is a round up post, there are also some planning thoughts. So for those who don't know; the fall essentials sew along is the brainchild of Sarah and was running this year from the 12th September to the 14th November.

While I had a comprehensive list of makes I was realistic about not being able to get everything done and some things being longer term goals. Anyway what did I manage?  And where do I go from here?

Fashionable foundations
Pleather circle skirt: Done and I wear this a lot! The added bonus with this is that I never fail to get a complement on it when I wear it.

Culottes: not even in the priority pile yet. I have however almost finished a pair of black trousers which will be very useful. 

Chic chemises
I made my first Dolores top and a second one promptly followed and a third will shortly happen. This top is a win in my book!

I didn't make any of the other tops that I'd considered but have a couple of others as WIPs. Watch this space. I decided against an Agatha cardigan but I cast on an Aiken jumper when I was on holiday, although progress on this has slightly stalled as I've made a start on some knitted Christmas gifts. I'm ok with this, I know that I knit really slowly and that it's not realistic to expect my knitwear to be hand knitted at this point, it's something I do as a personal challenge and for the enjoyment of the process.

I am always desperate to make good tops as I feel it's a real gap in my wardrobe but this situation is slowly starting to improve.

Fabulous frocks
I managed my Renfrew/lady skater mash up dress and it may be love. I want one in a less synthetic fabric now.

I did not manage my vintage Style 3361 pattern, I still really want to make it but it's going to require a fair amount of fitting work and I'm feeling lazy. 

I started my Lou Lou dress as I thought it would make a lovely dress to take on holiday but I came a cropper somewhere in the process which was super demoralising. I was also really annoyed as it would have been perfect to float around in the Spanish sunshine in. 

Baby it's cold outside
I have a real tale of woe to tell about my chunky scarf. I made it and it was a thing of beauty and lovely and snuggly and warm and the first day I wore it I left it on a train. I honestly could have cried! I have some left over wool and I think I going to try making another one of these as I was really so in love with it.  Although I have to get over the psychological hurdles of having wasted such a lot of money on version number one and the time it's going to take me to recreate!

The weather has been really mild here in London so far this autumn so the mittens never became a priority for me to make but as temperatures have decreased this week, they have swiftly moved to the top of my list.

My vintage coat is still very early on in its development stage. I've made some paper pattern alterations and tissue fitted it to my mannequin but I've come to the conclusion that I'm going to have to make a muslin which I never do and so am procrastinating doing that. I want to do this properly so this may be one of those projects that drags on for a long time.  This is no bad thing as I should learn to pay more attention to details and this process should be a good learning curve.

My general thoughts on moving on to winter sewing are; take time over the coat. I have some wonderful Donegal tweed for the coat that I don't want to ruin by rushing things, even if it means that I won't get much wear out of it until next winter.  Keep sewing everyday items which I want to wear and help me develop skills.  I wear these most and get real pleasure from wearing them and as they get constant use it makes me be thoughtful about fit and hat I can do to improve these items.  This being said I went on a night out last night wearing a RTW dress and it made me swear to myself that I am going to make some posh frocks for myself that work for me in the same way as my everyday clothes.  Watch this space for a sparkly Christmas dress!

Did you take part in the fall essentials sewalong? How did you get on?  What's on your winter sewing list?

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Perfect autumn day

The perfect autumn day deserves the perfect autumn dress!  By perfect autumn day, what do I mean? Well not today for a start, I am so not a fan of this horrible rainy misty weather that we are getting.  However, just look at these pictures which I took on Sunday:

However, I'm not sure I'm equally correct in my statement about the dress, a scuba dress may not be perfect autumn wear, however I'm pleased with it.  I have a pretty new dress and it ticks off another item from my Fall essentials list.

This is my lady skater/Renfrew mash up dress in a gorgeous Scuba that I just could not resist from the Man Outside Sainsbury's in Walthamstow.  The mash-up really was so easy to do I just laid the lady skater bodice piece over the Renfrew bodice piece and graded between them for the waist.  The top bit is all Renfrew but the lady skater is more fitted at the waist and the bodice is a lot shorter.  After that I sewed up as normal.  I sewed it all on the sewing machine rather than using my overlocker as the scuba felt so thick that I didn't want to risk causing any problems to the poor overlocker.  My sewing machine has taken a lot of abuse over the years and I've learnt to handle it and judge what it can and can't do, I don't yet have the same relationship with my overlocker.

I made the cowl version of the Renfrew which I love, its like a scarf and dress all in one.  However, it means that this dress eats fabric, it would be a great stash buster (you know if I'd had something suitable in my stash and hadn't bought the fabric) as it used up almost 3m.  I would really like one of these now in a lovely wool jersey, something warm and snuggly (and breathable!)  

Right I'm off to stare at pictures of beaches and pretend that we are not hurtling towards months of rain and snow!