Sunday, 27 January 2013

It's too cold for short sleeves!

I took the opportunity of the sunshine we had for about a millisecond yesterday to grab some photos of me actually wearing my denim Kelly.

The headless photos are because on every single one, either I was squinting into the sun or I had a "hurry up, I'm freezing!" face on...

Mr Sabs is already fed up of being my photographer (after just three months and about half a dozen garments), he moaned and groaned and told me he really didn't like doing it. Hmm, should I invest in one of those remote controlled timer thingys and a new camera? Or should I just make him suffer....? Votes in comments please!

I teemed the Kelly with another Sorbetto, this time with cap sleeves, using some fabric left over from my Sureau. I'm really pleased with it, it's girly and fun and fits well too. And it takes such a short time to whip up, instant gratification! I made my own bias tape this time for the neck hole and also added a bow made out of the leftovers for added interest. Cute, right?

The snow has gone now - I loved it for about a day but it made commuting to and from work really difficult for me and stopped me going out running so I'm secretly a bit glad but shhh! you didn't hear me say that, ok?

Saturday, 19 January 2013

A second Kelly and how I'm getting on with my re{sew}lutions

I finished my second Kelly, woo hoo! The only thing is that I was going to model it today but I'm poorly... I got home last night (after spending 2 and a half hours driving back from work in the snow, what should have been a 45 minute journey) and felt a bit funny. Thought it was just the sweets and berries I'd scoffed whilst stuck in traffic but then spent the evening and night throwing up. Nice. So feel a bit fragile today and definitely don't think going out in the snow in a skirt is a great idea! I will endeavour to take photos soon. In the meantime, here's the skirt by itself.

It's in a lightweight denim that I got from Birmingham Rag Market. I only had 1m and it was 112cm wide so I had to be really economical with the cutting. I knew from before that the recommended hem is quite large (over 6cm) so I just made the pattern pieces a bit shorter and did a smaller hem. I didn't use denim for the pocket linings as I thought it would be too bulky so I used some shirting material that I had in my stash.

And I did buttonholes properly! All six of them came out alright after I used Amanda's tip of extra interfacing (I decided to put interfacing all the way down the button plackets). I might have, sort of, erm, accidentally cut through one of the bar tacks but we won't talk about that...

Suffice to say there was a lot of handstitching going on!

So now I have two skirts to wear for #kellyskirtfriday, organised by the lovely Sarah of Notches and Notions!
With snowboots for the bad weather
Part of my New Year resolutions was to enjoy my sewing. Well, I'm definitely doing that! So much so, in fact, that I've joined up to soisewedthis's Focus on Enjoyment campaign. There's a little icon and everything! I don't have any specific things on my list about how I'm going to focus on enjoying my sewing, just that I am! I'll make things only that I want to and not get too bogged down by details or not get disappointed if I can't do something very well. I hope that's ok!

I've also joined in with Karen of Did You Make That?'s sewlutions (aka the 2013 Jar of Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is).

My one "proper" sewing resolution for the year is to finish the seams on every garment I make. So far so good so if I do get called up, I shouldn't get caught out!

Look how neat this is for once!

Enjoy the snow everyone (or heatwave if you're in Oz)!

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

So I jumped on the mustard bandwagon too!

For months, I've wanted a mustard garment...but what? I remember I used to have an old, oversized mustard jumper in the early 90s that I wore almost everyday - you can just about see it in the photo below.

{WARNING: I used to look like Ugly Betty. You may want to avert your eyes} 

I loved that jumper, it was completely stretched out and baggy and perfect to wear over leggings (yes, they were fashionable back then too, but mine had massive flower power flowers all over them!)

oh my god, what was i thinking with those glasses?!
I thought about buying a mustard coloured cardi or jumper again but then came across some organic cotton at The Organic Textile Company from a link through Roobeedoo's blog (thanks Roo!). It was billed as being grown organically and dyed naturally with pomegranate and turmeric - and was on special offer. Actually, it still is, I've just checked! So, not one to forgo a bargain, I snapped it up as I reckoned it would be perfect for a skirt.

Excuse all the creases - my iron died and I didn't have my new one when the photo was taken.
I wanted a straight skirt for work, preferably with pockets. We have this semi-official uniform policy of polo shirt and trousers that we're trying out at the moment. Although it's great for not having to think about what I'm going to wear each morning, I was getting a bit sick of wearing the same thing all the time and even more fed up of not being very smart. So I've decided to mix it up a bit and wear uniform some days of the week and normal clothes the rest.

I already had the New Look 6843 pattern in which one of the variations is a knee length pencil/straight skirt but none of the variations had pockets. Pockets are essential! But wait a minute -  haven't I just finished the Kelly skirt? That has pockets! Can I apply the same principles? WHY YES!

So that's just what I did! I drafted my own pocket bags to make them a slightly different shape and size but otherwise just followed Megan Nielsen's brilliant instructions and it worked a treat. The only thing with the addition of pockets was that it made the front panel a bit too big and as I couldn't increase the seam allowances at the sides (due to the pockets being in the way) I had to add in an extra pleat on each side of the front panel. I don't think it's a problem though. I've read on patternreview since that the pattern does have quite a bit of ease at the hips and other people have had to take theirs in too.

With my Sorbetto top
The NL6843 pattern is fairly easy to follow and overall this skirt took very little time to sew up. There were a few instructions that implied prior sewing knowledge though, with little direction, despite this being billed as "1 hour easy". It definitely took me a few hours, not just one! I just didn't like some of the instructions being a bit vague, but I suppose this isn't a huge problem for anyone who isn't a complete beginner and seeing as I managed to work it out, given time and more experience, I probably could do it in a couple of hours...

I skipped the slit in the side of the skirt because I didn't like it and I'm glad I did as the skirt doesn't need one - it's roomy enough to manoeuvre in without a slit. I also made my first successful buttonhole! I had major problems with this when sewing my Kelly skirt (I think it must have been due to the thinner, slippier fabric) and Amanda from Bimble and Pimble gave me some great tips on putting small bits of extra interfacing under the buttonhole area before sewing. I'm so glad I tried this as it worked out fine. Well, almost fine: I made it a little bit too close to the edge and it's not the neatest buttonhole ever but it works and that's all that matters!


Anyway, the skirt is comfy to wear and pockets really do make all the difference. I'm sure I'll make it again, but next time I want to try a heavier material (or even, dare I hope, wool) for a winter skirt. I might also try making a narrower, more pencil shaped skirt by cutting a smaller size. All in all, this is a great pattern for beginners like me and I would definitely recommend it.

In other sewing news, I'm currently sewing covers for the window seat cushions - the irregular corner bits are making it a hard job! Photos will be here when I finish, but I suspect it may be some time yet! I'm also going to make another Kelly skirt in denim. Watch this space...

Oh, and sorry if the Ugly Betty photo gives anyone nightmares ;)

Thursday, 3 January 2013

My new favourite accessories

Over Christmas week, Mr Sabs, along with his dad and brother, had booked a blacksmithing day course where they made cool pokers and got sooty. So my mum-in-law and I decided we would have our own crafty fun, nicknamed "Ladies' Day"...!

She used to do enamelling back when she was younger and still had some of the old equipment in their workshop. So she dug it all out, ordered a few more bits and pieces, et voila! - a ready made craft class for me!

It was so much fun. I took a few photos of the process along the way:

Copper blanks - can you guess what it is yet?!

Then sprinkling on the enamel powder (after polishing, pickling in vinegar and putting the adhesive on) and firing - the best bit!

And here are the finished products:

I love the fact that there is still a little bit of blackness from the firing on the buttons - it gives them a rather used, vintage look which is gorgeous. I also love the copper ring that you can just see round the outside. I can't wait to use them in a handmade garment, it'll be the perfect finishing touch...I just need to find the perfect fabric and pattern now to show them off!