Thursday, October 31, 2013

Confessions of a Nincompoop - or a Simple Project by a Simple Sewist

There are times when quite frankly, the only appropriate response is a 'self head slap', or 'le sigh' from someone else. And this was one of those occasions. Now I should say that violence is certainly not the answer, but sometimes, I despair. Let me take you back, about a year ago . . . . (cue whoozy music and squiggly lines) . . . .

Like many people, there are certain items that I like to wash in a mesh lingerie bag to protect said items when in the washing machine. As well as the usual underwears that need a little bag to protect them in the wash, I also knit socks, small shawls and gloves that to be washed carefully:

And dye my own yarn, which needs a good wash after dyeing:

And that means that I really could do with a larger/second laundry bag.  Easy peasy I hear you shout.  Just stop off in the laundry section of your local supermarket, and pick one up.  Cheap as chips.  Problems solved!  Well, sort of. When I got home and opened the bag, this is what I had purchased:

It is huge (over one metre of mesh fabric).  And has no zips - just a drawstring at the top.  I know, I know, the details were all on the packaging - but seriously, who knew lingerie bags came in different sizes??  So, not what I wanted at all.  As a result, it sat in the laundry room for over a year whilst I decided what to do (yep, I know, you are way ahead of me here, just give me a chance to catch up).  And then I decided (get ready to shake your head in disbelief at this) to go and buy some white. mesh. fabric. to make my own lingerie bags.  There are times when I really wonder about my sanity.  I'VE GOT A METRE OF MESH IN THE LAUNDRY ROOM.

Well, I got there eventually, and this is what I made:

I made four bags out of that one large bag, all zippered up, and it took less than time than, well, not much time at all!  I took these photos on my cutting mat which is the size of a fat quarter, so I have one quite large one - half the size of the original, one half that size (so a quarter size of the original) and two halved again (one eighth the size of the original).  I am thrilled at this 're-purposing', and cannot believe how long it took for the thought to perculate :)

And here is my ratty 'one and only' bag that I have been using for years (on the right) next to one of the smallest ones that I have just made (on the left).  Incidentally, I tend to also wash zippers (with cotton side bits), some trims, petersham etc., etc., so I know that these bags will get a good workout!

What about you?  What is your 'doh! sewing moment'?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Comfortable Dressing

I love to read blogs and see the fabulous clothing that my peers are creating.  There really are some talented people out there, making the most gorgeous clothing.  I then (order the patterns and) wonder whether some of these designs would suit my lifestyle and comfort level.  Because I am all about comfort.  So having recently made a semi fitted dress, and a cute houndstooth skirt, I thought that I would make one of my rayon jersey skirts, and pull on tops.  The fabric is from and I like the sweater weight (65% rayon) as it washes and wears really well.

The skirt is based on Simplicity 4221 (it is out of print, but it is a simple 4 gore skirt with an elasticated waistband), and the top is based upon Kwik Sew 3752.  Firstly, I have a patterned skirt and a plain top:

Ha!  I just wanted to show the sleeves.  As wide as they are, they are a fraction of the size on the ones on the original pattern!  I also rather like a polo/turtle neck rather than a round neck.  I find that it keeps the neckline shape much better, and it is very snuggly!

I then made another top, exactly the same pattern, but out of the same fabric.  It makes a great two piece dress that I feel very comfortable in:


So there you have it - some great separates that I can wear to work and also feel comfortable in!

The question now is - what to make next?  As the weather is now beginning to turn here in Alberta, I think I may may a fleece cape from Burda . . . . if not, it will be something else!

Happy Sewing :)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

24 Hours Earlier

Have you noticed the proliferation in TV shows (Criminal Minds, CSI, NCIS etc) where the opening scene is one of shock/horror/devastation, often with one of the main characters apparently dead/seriously injured.  Then cut to the next scene, and a comment on screen saying something like '6 hours earlier' and you know that the show is now going to tell you what happened, leading up to the events in the opening scene.  Well, whilst this drives Mr. SDSC nuts, I find it quite funny, and found myself in that position earlier this week.  It is more of a headslap than an OMG scene, but nonetheless . . . . .

Opening Scene:

I have been busy working on a fitted skirt, using a pattern I first used here.  I'm not sure what pattern it came from, but it had four darts in the front (two per side) and four in the back (again, two per side).  It is a straightforward pattern, centre back seam with an invisible zip.  The fabric is a houndstooth that I bought from Fabricland and it had been reduced by 70%.  Whoop, whoop!!!

I was really pleased with the waistband finish - I used a 3" strip of fabric and applied it like bias binding along the top of the waist, handsewing the inside as I love hand sewing, and forming a small tab at one end for a button.  I intended to make the tab a bit longer, but got a bit scissor happy and cut it rather short!!

I thought long and hard about how to close the waistband - hooks and eyes, trouser closure, button etc?  I was concerned that any closure would pull on the fabric, and I did not use interfacing/grosgrain on the waistband, so that was another consideration.  I considered using a button and buttonhole, but really was not inspired about that - and then I remembered a tip that I had read somewhere (if you are reading this, please let me know so that I can give you credit!!  Edit - here is the link!) and I dug out one of those elastic thingys used for pony tails.  As you can see - I would not have use for them (hey, I like my short hair!), but I had read about using them as closures on small clutch handbags.  And what is good for a bag is good for a waistband!  And of course it gives you a little 'give' that is most welcome!  The button I found in my collection, and although it is plastic, it is rather fun.  I also added a plain button for the inside, just for a bit more strength. 

So what does it look like?

I am wearing a RTW cardi and t-shirt.  Incidentally, I have a 'spot' somewhere on my camera (I have cleaned the lens but I just can't get rid of the mark) and you can see it on the photos, the one above, it is slightly up and left of centre.  Grrr!

I love this skirt - it took less than 1 metre, and is the type that my Mum used to make all the time.  I have about 10 lengths of tartan that she never had a chance to use - so I will be making some more of these!  I made this shorter than the previous one, and did not add a vent.  Although it is not really needed to walk, I think that is why I have wrinkling near the bottom of the centre back seam - I have worn this to work once this week, so this is how it looked at the end of the day!  I will add a vent or a godet next time round.

I had to take out two of the darts in the front, as my waist:hip ratio is pretty close to 1:1, as well as generous 1" side seams to get this fit which I am rather please with.

I really like the look with a white top and cardi, and have some cotton jersey to make my own so I do not need RTW.  Watch this space!

24 hours earlier:

I love catching up on blogs, sitting down and reading a few days worth of sewing, sewing, sewing.  Love it!  Sometimes I am inspired, sometimes I learn something, and sometimes I read a blog, like this entry by Goodbye Valentine about autumnal fabric such as houndstooth . . . 'This time each year I get the craving for a houndstooth something. I’ve bought it all throughout the years, but never tire of the crisp design' . . . . . and think 'Ha!', I would never go out and buy houndstooth fabric when I already have some in the stash waiting to be made up . . . . . .

Screen fades to the writer, standing in Fabricland making her subconscious purchase and producing the skirt above . . . . . the End.


Sheesh, who would have thought that I have other bloggers inside my head!  Thank-you Sarah for the great post, that I read and consequently forgot, until I finished the skirt!!!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Roksanda Ilincic Inspired Dress

I have long admired the fabulous 'inspired' designer dresses made by the lovely Carolyn, amongst others, and have finally dipped my toes in the water.  Here is my inspiration:


Now, I know that you probably think that I am a little late to the colour-blocking party, but I am here now, so see me through!

This lovely dress was designed by Roksanda Ilinic, and boy, don't those colors pop?  So, after the success (in my mind) of my Pointer Sisters dress, I thought that I would jump in with some short lengths of linen that I had recently purchased.  After all - what other fabric would you be thinking of using in the middle of Autumn and the threat of snow storms at the weekend?!  Whilst I really like the look of the white, I was concerned that I may have some seams showing through, so I decided upon black, fushia and tan, with a soft dusky rose Bemberg Lining (for my Canadian sewing sisters, check out the 'bargain fabrics' wall in Fabricland - they move the old stock there quite frequently, rip the label off the bolt and sell it for $5/metre.  Bargain!)

I chopped up my pattern, trying to ensure that any vertical seams did not interfere with the darts, and that the horizontal seam on the back was as flattering as a vertical seam near your butt can be, and I was off.

I chose to overlock (serge) most of my seams, and then top stitched them down so that they looked like felled seams.  I should mention that this was done after basting the seams together and checking for fit (thank-you Mr. SDSC for being such a dab hand with the pins!) - I had to take out A LOT of fabric on the side seams of the fashion fabric, but not so much of the lining.  I used an invisible zip - I find them so quick and easy to set in, and left off the vent at the back.  The dress is hemmed rather short (for me) and did not need any extra walking ease.  I hand stitched the hem so that I could change thread color as I went round, and used self binding for the neckline and armholes.  Holy cow, doesn't linen bias binding fray?  So much for the 'bias' bit preventing that occurring!

Have you noticed how scandalously short this dress is?  You can almost see my knees . . . . !

Hmmm.  The back is a bit wrinkly in some of these pics.  I think some of it is due to my modelling (??!) posture, but I did make a bit of a pigs ear on the right shoulder (see below).  I may have to revisit the pattern and double check the back to smooth it out a bit.

I am really quite pleased with this, and have been busily pinning inspiration for more clothes.  I like that for color blocking it can be a great way to use up scraps (as long as I can work out grainlines!)  I did have a bit of issue with one of the shoulders where the lining does not quite hang properly - but not enough of an issue for me to remove the lining, re-cut it and attach again!!

Next up will be a dress with sleeves and a different neckline finish - but for now, I am rather pleased with my first designer inspired dress!