Sunday, 28 October 2012

Nose to the grindstone

I'm on call today. Went in at lunchtime and saw all the patients that had been admitted up to 4pm - proper on the ball today, me. But then I had a lull and an hour spare. So I went back to my office and downloaded a pattern for a long sleeved T shirt for the green jersey fabric I bought yesterday. Printed it out, taped it all together and cut it out!
It's the downloadable Burda Lydia pattern...I would actually love to try the Renfrew from Sewaholic but I'm too impatient to sew something and just wouldn't have been able to wait for the pattern to arrive in the post! So I'm all ready to pin, cut and start sewing tomorrow night after work. Just hope I don't get disturbed tonight (it's a 24 hour on call) so that I have a clear head in the morning...
Oh yes, I had more help from Merky last night as my Sureau dress fabric was drying. Cheers mate.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Fabric shopping

So I finally went to Barry's Fabrics today to get something with which to make my Sureau. I loved it! So much fabric all under one roof. Although, I was a little bit baffled as I'm sure someone said to me that it was a three-storey shop when actually it's just one that's packed to the rafters. I must be going deaf(er) in my old age. I had to stop myself buying loads of material, especially when I saw some tartan brushed cotton - perfect for pyjamas. ("No, Sabs, don't start too many projects all at once, you'll never finish anything"). Oh, and how's this for coincidence? I bumped into Kelly from bakedo&mend who is also doing the sewalong!

Here's what I came away with:

Green jersey for perhaps a T-shirt and/or some knickers. I saw a lovely pair over on Roobedoo's blog and that made me think about attempting my own. Plus some navy something-or-other with an ever-so-slight stretch (it's slippery and drapey, feels lovely but is fairly heavy too) which I thought might be good for a Kelly skirt (the pattern is on my Xmas list - fingers crossed!)
Both of these were £1 a metre!!
Unfortunately the photograph above just doesn't do the colours justice. The green is a teal/dark turqoise and the blue is dark navy with an almost crossweavey pattern.

And here's what I chose for the Sureau:
 With a close up of the print itself:
It's a dark brown, printed cotton with a vintage feel. You can't see that well but the flowers are coral and dark yellow. I wanted more orangey tones but couldn't find anything that matched the picture in my head. This came the closest really. But it's autumn/wintery enough and I think (hope) it'll look good with woolly tights, brown boots and maybe a mustard or coral cardi.

All three fabrics have already been washed (as soon as I got in the door!) and are now drying.

I also splurged out a bit more and ordered some organic cotton dyed with natural herbs from Organic Cotton. There's a lot of thoughtful stuff there which makes choosing harder, but I finally chose kassam olive and pomegranite. I can't wait to see what they look like in real life.

So is it too early to cut out my pieces for the sew-along when the fabric's dry tomorrow...?

Friday, 26 October 2012

Mon patron est arrivé!

I promise I won't I'll try not to keep writing phrases in French throughout the sew-along, as tempting as it is.
I couldn't wait for the sew-along to start cutting. (And I was far too lazy to go and get tracing paper so I just cut out the pattern direct)
Must iron.
If you look really closely at piece number 7 (top right) you might be able to see claw holes, courtesy of Merky. Thanks for helping, mate!

I went for a run - it was the archetypal autumn day: sunny, crisp and COLD. I stopped in Highbury Park to get a couple of photos of the gorgeous colours and thought that I would like these sorts of colours for my Sureau. Maybe a bit more brown though.

Autumn is definitely my favourite season for colour. There will have to be a trip to Barry's fabrics this weekend to search for the perfect fabric that matches the perfect colour in my head. Hope I'm not disappointed...

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

I won an award (um, NO, you cheated)

Well, I found this today... I don't care that I haven't been nominated, I'm awarding it to myself!
It was set up by Cindy over at cationdesigns (oops, I'm over six months late) and I think it's fab! My two cats Mini and Merky constantly "help" me to sew. Mainly by pouncing on or refusing to get off my fabric. Now that I've started dressmaking, they also like to "get" (read: hunt) the tissue paper. Thanks Moomins (the collective name for my two, along with Tinkers).

So I have to answer some questions now:
  • When did you acquire your helpful feline assistant? What is the average amount of time elapsed between when you start a project and when something gets helped with? Eighteen months ago when they were seven or eight weeks old (they are siblings). Anywhere between two seconds and two minutes.
  • What is your helpful feline assistant's favourite/weirdest thing to assist with? They like to pretend they are pattern/fabric weights. Mini also likes playing "tunnels".
  • How do you decline said assistance without losing your arm? Hmm, tricky. Bribes mainly. But they just look at me. With that look.
  • What's the worst thing your helpful feline assistant has managed to botch up? I'm imagining shredded chiffon, snagged silks, etc. Ripped tissue paper pattern. Luckily not too much damage, I managed to save it in time. Just.
  • Are you ever afraid to post too many pictures of your helpful feline assistant on your blog, for fear of being labeled a crazy cat lady? I am a crazy cat lady,  I don't care who knows.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Je suis fou, ma parole!

Um, I'm joining the Sureau dress sew along with Anna over at paunnet. I've just ordered the's in French...I know basic French....and no French tailoring/sewing terms....
But I love the look of these dresses so much, I couldn't resist. Anna says on her blog that she'll talk through all the difficult bits in English so I'm hoping I'll be able to follow along. I'm a bit scared though!

I need to go fabric shopping once the pattern is here. I want an autumnal look, similar to Anna's dress I think, but with more orangey tones. I've definitely caught the bug now!

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Curtain dress part 2

I wore my Curtain Dress as I call it out for the very first time today! Here are some photos - please excuse the creases - I had been sat in a cafe eating lunch...I knew I should have taken the photos before leaving when the dress was ironed!
Also in the first two photos, I forgot that the bright yellow bucket was spoiling the photo right behind me...

It was really comfy to wear and apart from the fabric getting very creasy, I loved the look - not too baggy and not too clingy. I did decide to take the hem up a bit so I didn't cheat in the end Katie! I had cut the pattern out to length B but it didn't look quite right below my knee but by taking it up about 1 or 2 inches, it's just above my knee which looks much better with boots.

Overall, I thought the pattern (Simplicity 1878, the Diplomat dress) was a great little sew for a beginner like me. I did have to take it in quite a lot, even though I cut it according to my measurements but I'd much rather do that than realise I'd cut all the pieces too small. It's all experience for me. I would definitely sew it again, maybe in a lightweight cotton for summer.

By the way, those tights might not look like much in the photos but they are fleece-lined - brilliantly warm and cosy for the winter! (Another bargain from Primark)

Friday, 19 October 2012

Curtain dress part 1

You know how I started a dressmaking class? You know how I've only been to one class so far? (The second class is in four days' time) We-ell, it seems that I somehow think that makes me an actual seamstress or something...because I've made a dress already!

I'm still planning on making the Cynthia Rowley skirt for my class project but when my little parcel of patterns arrived a week ago, I was so excited that I just had to dive right in! One of the patterns I got was this one:
Lisette Diplomat dress (Simplicity 1878)
Initially I wasn't sure about the style of this dress but I read a few reviews and looked at what others had made and everyone said it was an easy dress to make so I thought I might as well buy it. I also found the ideal material a couple of weeks ago. My local B&Q was shutting down and they were selling curtains for £5. Yes a FIVER. So I got one pair which equates to two 100% cotton curtains sized 90" by 66" each! Plus lining! The colour is a lovely rich purple and the cotton is on the thicker side (but not overly thick) so ideal for this project to be a winter dress.
Mini liked the fabric too and wouldn't get off to let me take a photo...
So here are a few WIP shots - all from last weekend which is when I did the bulk of the work...
Ripping apart the curtain and lining. Note the slightly odd olive coloured nail varnish that I was trying out that day - only my thumb, mind, not the rest of my fingers for some reason.
Sewing...some part other, I'm not entirely sure what!
The neck facing - I found this bit quite tricky as I couldn't follow the instructions very well and in some parts just had to do what I thought was right. Actually after I had finished this bit, I did think that I could have skipped it all together as the fabric was thick enough not to need facings. But, hey, it's all good practice! (Although looking at the photo, I probably should have made it all a bit neater...)
Putting in my very first garment zip!
And finally for today's post, trying on the dress before sewing up the side seams. Note (1) that I'm trying it on over my pyjamas on a Sunday morning as I was too impatient to have a wash or get changed before I started sewing and (2) no need for hemming as I'm just using the bottom of the curtain - hoorah!

More soon...

Saturday, 13 October 2012

A change of heart

Well, I've decided not to make the Belle skirt after all... I had a look at the pattern in more detail and realised that it had an elasticated waist and lots of gathers. When I bought the pattern I obviously only looked at the photo and not the description as I was under the impression that it had a zip closure. What a silly moo I am! I will be more careful in the future as I think I wasted about a tenner on the pattern when I could have got a few patterns more to my taste in the recent sales. Never mind, it's a lesson learnt. Maybe I should the pattern on eBay and see if I can recoup some cash?

I jointly ordered some patterns from the US with my friend Katie (hi Katie!) and they arrived yesterday. Looking through them, I realised I could use this skirt pattern instead:

I love the fact that it has pockets! SO, this is going to be my first sewing class project instead (although I have already started a little weekend project on the side - more on that soon). Watch this space!