Thursday, 13 September 2012

Sewing Space, Now with more drilling

Remember back when I showed you preview photos of my sewing space?  Yeah, me either!

Well, I said that it was in need of a bit more drilling and I'm pleased to say that's been done by the lovely Mr Magpie:

Have I ever mentioned how much I love Ikea?  That's one of their Bygel rails, which was a bargainacious £2, add on some hooks (which were about £1 for 10), a Bygel basket for bits and pieces and a Fintorp pot for pens.

I'm thinking of making an inspiration line from that duck egg cord to peg inspirational images and pieces of fabric from, I'll put it between the rail and the top of my machine.

Everything being put away makes me feel happy and relaxed and ready to work and create.

This might well be my favourite adage - maybe I need to make a hanging embroidery that says that?

Oh, and yay for cutting implements arranged in size order ;)

Monday, 10 September 2012

Pretty Things 5: I Heart Stationery

I've been eyeing this notebook for ages, but have been trying to avoid buying any more notebooks.  But I just couldn't resist any longer and I'm starting another class soon, so I'll use this for class notes (at least that's my excuse!).

Even the back is cute!

It's one of Paperchase's stitched notebooks, so there's some sewn detail on the front and back.

Damn you, Paperchase, tempting me!

Saturday, 8 September 2012

This week, I have been mostly ...


Luckily, I scheduled a few posts to catch you up on things I've made, because I am writing up a storm at the moment.  I going for a marathon finish of my novel-in-progress, planning to write 70,000 words in a month.  That's 17,500 words a week (eep!).  So, if my blogging goes a little quiet over here, I hope you'll understand.

I start my corsetry class on Wednesday, so hopefully I'll have things to post from there while I'm busy writing.

And I have been squee-ing over the pre-ordered awesomeness that arrived in the post on Wednesday:

Damn, Gertie, you don't make it easy on a girl to do anything other than drool over your gorgeous book and want to sew everything in it!

And she's lovely - she even retweeted me calling it sewing porn!

I might need to make myself some embroidered versions of the stunning illustrations by Sun Young Park to go up on the wall.  How inspiring would that be?!

Thursday, 6 September 2012

12 in 2012 - End of Summer Update

After completing a few pieces over the summer, I thought I'd have another update of my 12 in 2012 list.

Priorities and the like have changed, which is no surprise as that's life, right?  The biggest changes in terms of what I have completed come from my oilcloth sewing class, but the great thing is that I've made some really practical pieces that I've got a lot of use from.  I'd been needing the perfect Stationery Bag for ages, but had automatically dismissed the idea of being able to make it myself - far too complicated, right?!  Wrong!  I loved making the bag and am really proud of it, so the lesson from that, I suppose, is that maybe I should think about making the things I need as well as the things I want.

c. 1890 Corset V&A
A new massive factor has also appeared on the horizon in terms of my plans for what I will make over the remainder of this year: I'm taking a Level 2 City and Guilds Certificate in Corsetry, starting next month!  I can't wait to do this course - a friend has just finished it and her sewing skills have come on in absolute leaps and bounds, and she's made some great pieces.  I was considering doing the course, but the clincher for me was meeting the tutor at the fascinator class - I got on really well with her, she's friendly and knowledgeable and - one of the most important things for a teacher, especially in the creative arts - incredibly encouraging.  We chatted and she gave me information about the course and what it involved, and I was sold then and there!  Over the (academic) year, I'll be making an underbust corset and a 'Victorian style' corset (that's the wording on the qualification specifications), and I think I'll also be able to make a bra, as well as lots of samples of various construction and decorative techniques.

So here's the updated list with completed items crossed off and new information added in this mauve colour.

Clothes to Make:

  1. Skirt 1 - I've got about 2 metres of the Shoes! fabric left and would really to make a skirt from it ... I've got a peplum skirt in my head, a la So, Zo.
  2. Skirt 2.
  3. Skirt 3 (high-waisted skirt using Butterick B5466 - started in black silk dupion.)
  4. Blouse 1 (anchors fabric, vintage pattern).
  5. Blouse 2 - still finishing the silk crepe blouse.  This might be a disaster thanks to my dodgy facings.
  6. Cropped jacket (vintage pattern, silver-grey dupion).
  7. Dress 1 (New Look 6000).
  8. Dress 2 - Retro Butterick 5748 in the Shoes! Fabric.  Done!
  9. Underbust corset (this was another dress, but has now been changed as an underbust corset will enable me to wear other dresses I already own!).
  10. Men's waistcoat.
  11. High-waisted trousers.
  12. Coat (McCall's 6442 - the hood, the hood!!).

Not Clothes to Make:
  1. House thing 1 - (changed in light of the sewing class I completed over the summer) Awesome Oilcloth Bag of Stationery and Sewing Storage Goodness.  Done!
  2. House thing 2 - (changed also because of the class) waterproof picnic blanket.  Done!
  3. House thing 3 - patchwork cushion cover.
  4. Pattern weights.
  5. Apron 1 - for that giveaway I mentioned aaaages ago!  Started.
  6. Wild card - flower fascinator.  Done!
  7. Wild card - oilcloth tote bag.  Done!
  8. Yule present 1 - Kindle cover for lil sis.  Done!
  9. Yule present 2.  I'm making a patchwork quilt for a friend's soon-to-be-born baby ... I'd better get a move on!
  10. Yule present 3.
  11. Yule present 4.
  12. Something pretty!  Laptop cover.  Started.

New Things to Try Making:
  1. Men's clothing.
  2. Trousers.
  3. Piping.  I think I might do this on one of my corsets for my corsetry class!
  4. Actually completing an item from one of my vintage patterns - still working on the disastrous silk crepe blouse.
  5. Actually completing an embroidery item!  Working on laptop cover, which is machine embroidered.
  6. Doing some more advanced fitting/pattern altering techniques as needed (eg, grading up one of my vintage patterns that is quite a bit too small).
  7. Knit a garment (so far I've made a scarf and a snood). - Still working on that jumper!
  8. Outerwear.
  9. Patchwork.
  10. Making a lining.  Retro Butterick 5748 is lined.  Done!
  11. Underlining.  I've changed this because I realised that I've already done underlining (in my 18th century stays!).  So this is now a corsetry-tailored goal, involving something I've previously been a bit scared of: using steel boning!
  12. Hand-picked zip (they look so lovely and seem like a relatively simple technique to use for a bit of couture luxe).  Retro Butterick 5748 also has a hand-picked zip, so this is double-done!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

First Photos - Shoes! Fabric Dress

So I was up until 1:30am the day before, but I managed to finish the Shoes! Dress in time for my friends' wedding!

Some photos are up on Facebook and I took one on my phone, but I don't have many photos through yet.  I can't wait for more photos, so here are some photos of me in the dress and fascinator.

As usual, I made things harder for myself because I decided it was a good idea to put a shirring panel beneath each arm, move the zip to the back and insert a waist stay.  Why follow pattern instructions, when you can make it up as you go, right?!  Errr, yeah ... maybe not the best idea.  The bodice doesn't fit as well as it did on the toile because of the changes, so I chucked on a belt and I love the fabric so much, I kinda don't care!

Look at me not caring:

I've decided that all weddings should have oversized swings - they're way too much fun!

If I made this again, I'd flatline instead of bag lining the bodice because that would have allowed me to adjust the fit more easily.  I might rip out the bodice lining and instead finish the neck and armholes with bias tape.  But that's for another day - for now, I like this dress a lot!

In fact, I probably will use this pattern again, after faffing about with indecision about it (thank you so much everyone who commented on that post of fabric fear - it really helped me have the confidence to actually do this!) - the bodice fits perfectly (if I don't faff).  I particularly love that the back sits just above the back of my bra.  I can't go bra-less, so low-backed dresses are usually a no-no for me, but not this one!  Isn't that one of the joys of making your own clothes?

Even better, I have about 2 metres left of this fabric, so I think I'm going to make a skirt with the remainder.  Yay for more Shoes! fabric fun!

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Stationery/Sewing Bag of Love

So I'm a teacher, as you might already know.  I have to lug lots of stuff around different classrooms - my pens, pens for students to use, scissors, board markers, board eraser, diary, glue, rulers, photocopied handouts, books, blank paper ... and so on.  My colleagues often use toolboxes for all this equipment; I've been using a tote bag, where everything floats around in the bottom so I can't find it!

For ages I've been on the lookout for a bag with different sections, with no luck, so for my final project on the oilcloth course, I decided I'd make one ...

I've mentioned Norfolk Textiles before and as I was pouring through their many pages of oilcloth, struggle to make a decision, I spotted this toile de jouy and instantly knew it would be an 18th century inspired, grey on grey fabric combination.  I played with the directions of the stripes, pieced the bottom of the bag (very 18th c!) and, as patchworkers would say, 'fussy cut' the side pockets to have the main toile motifs at the centre.

I also wanted a pop of colour to avoid getting stuck in 'Greysville', so I went for the dusky rose polka dot lining (yes, another colourway of the tote bag fabric), which I tied in with a grey inside pocket:

I was really lucky to find matching grey grossgrain ribbon to reinforce the top of the bag and side pockets at the local market.  This stuff looks gorgeous in real life - it has a lovely silvery sheen.  (Plus, it helped avoid the oilcloth sticking too much!  Though the stripe and toile are matt oilcloth, so that is less sticky.)

I also made sure it was big enough to fit A4 folders in the main body, as I have those for each of my classes.  (Unfortunately, the bag doesn't photograph so well as a whole - it's a bit floppy!)

The end pockets aren't quite so pretty, but I only had half a metre of the toile fabric.

I'm really pleased with how this came out - it's really pretty and everyone who's seen it has loved it and asked where I bought it!  Even better, it's practical and fits all my stationery bits inside, yay!

Usually there's something about one of my makes that I'm not 100% in love with, but I think this is probably my most successful make so far - love it!