Occasionally it seems that world is in pure chaos with nothing making sense, but that doesn't matter as long as I can sew. Sewing is a form of art, or at the very least creativity, and a form of expression. A great outlet for the tension of everyday life. Also you can make cute things. The craft revolution is truly taking place, old skills are being revived by a new generation, but with a seriously modern twist.

I've made Mario pillow cases, a giraffe print background, and turned duvet covers into summer dresses. I enjoy making something unique, special, and me- then I like wearing it and watching it fall to pieces or not fit properly. Then I enjoy (slightly less) fixing it.

One day I shall have a room filled with glorious fabrics and boxes of notions, and on that day I will have found my nirvana. But until then this blog will exist as my virtual haberdashery and sewing room. Hopefully you'll enjoy looking at my creations as much as I enjoy looking at other blogs, and you'll be inspire to make something of your own.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Dress de fleur

I can't decide whether this was a triumph or disaster, but rest assured I shall meet them both the same.  Using a pattern from the internet :
for a potentially awesome full length 50s style dress, that looked simple but came with no instructions and mismarked pattern pieces, and a old duvet cover I bought in a charity shop for £1.75 I have made a dress de fleur.  I picked apart the duvet cover and had the largest pieces of flowery pink fabric EVER, laid over the pattern pieces, pinned, and cut them.  The front and back skirt pieces looked remarkable similar and although I had tried to keep track I did mix them up several times. 

As I said the pattern came with no instructions, it is actually a fairly simple cut, dart, sew but a few sentences to explain exactly which bit went where would have helped especially as I'm pretty sure the back skirt piece was marked as the front and vice versa, the front top piece was marked cut one when you really need two, and it didn't say which way around the front top piece was supposed to go.  If I were a more experience, less silly, sewer I might have been able to work that last one out (I did work out the first two) but I'm not so I didn't and the dress was made with backwards pieces.

It didn't tell you why the front top pieces were longer than the back pieces either, or how to fasten it all up but I worked out to put a zipper in the side as I got stuck in it when I tried to put it on without. Also it only came in one size, and I had to hope it would fit- it is online as a pdf which you can only print out fullsize with photoshop, so my friend managed to turn it into a paint document and I printed it out that way but there were no measurements on the pieces.

Having said all that I remain impressed that I managed to make anything remotely resembling a dress.  But I really think Ill have to turn the top pieces around, improve the facings (which go in the inside of the neck and armholes to tidy the edge and refuse to lie flat despite my burning the dress to iron them down >.<), and somehow find an extra inch of fabric to make it slightly easier to get in and out of and breathe whilst wearing it!

Still I think I pretty much rock it! Of course.  Now I'm not suggesting you say I look like Grace Kelly, just that you think it. :)

Monday, 7 February 2011

Little Orange Jacket

Well my second look from the remnant bin is a little jacket made from Orange and Red upolstery fabric; okay I didn't add sleeves so it's really a waistcoat/body warmer.  I had very little fabric to work with, and spent a lot of time woking out how I would fit the pattern pieces on the fabric to cut it out, especially since I did cut out two sleeves (and sleeves are really big btw), so its a super cropped waistcoat jacket- which may not be a thing.  I made the excellent decision to add a green lining, lining always makes clothes look more finished and professional as it hides all the messy seam crap inside.  And the green actually compliments the red of the outer fabric.

I used the basic bodice block I had made for the pattern pieces, but blocks directly correspond to your measurements making them skin tight.  So I added approx 3cm to the back piece (which is cut on a fold, so it was extended approx 6cm in total), and a similar amount to the front pieces.  But when I cut out the pieces and pinned them together it was far to small, even for my skinny little bod. So I cut out two small rectangles and inserted them under the arm joining the front and back.  I also needed to adjust the neck and armhole.  So I think I'll need to reconfigure my bodice block, and I still don't know how to effectively transform it into a pattern for another garment.  But I managed to complete something wearable, so a small pat on the back!

Not sure how I'm gonna fasten it up, I purposefully made one side of the front wider than the other so it overlaps.  But I'm not sure why, or what I'll do with it. >.<  I like the idea of using Asian fabric buttons and ties shown adjacent.

I think it'll work.  But frankly, on me, it's always gonna look hot.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Paper Bag Skirt

First make from remnant bin score (see previous post) is a paper bag skirt, so called because the top looks like a scrunched paper bag.  I saw a few how to guides:

I used the burdastyle one because it seemed simpler, the only complicated element was working out the pleat sizes which did require some maths skills, and SEVERAL attempts at getting the pleats correct.  For every 1inch pleat you need 2 pleats of fabric meaning you use twice as much fabric, as my fabric wasn't quite twice as wide as my waist I had to space my pleats out a little.  Hence the tricky maths, I didn't understand the how to at first but once I thought about it it made more sense.  Subtract you waist measurement from your fabric length, and the amount you get is the amount you can use for pleats.  You then divide this by the size of the pleats you want to determine how many you can make- so if you have 20" of fabric left and you want 1" pleats you divide 20 by 2 (because every 1 inch of pleat requires 2inch of fabric) and the answer is 10 pleats.  Now, the more confusing bit.  To work out how much you should space you pleats out you divide your waist measurement by the number of pleats plus one e.g 33" waist divided by 11 = 3" space between pleats. Yes a calculator and some blind faith helps.

The skirt uses box pleats, which I enjoy, they are basically two pleats next to each other but going in different directions, and as I type this I realise that is a rubbish description and more confusing than the maths gibberish. Heres a picture:

For each box you draw 5 lines then meet line 1 and 5 with line 3.  Using the above hypothetical measurements you would space the lines apart 1",1", 3",1",1".   If you have unlimited fabric you would space them evenly one inch apart.   Once in place you pin, then iron your pleats.
Hopefully that makes sense.  But the internet is awash with pleating how tos.

Always hem your fabric before pleating though (much much easier than doing it afterwards).  For my skirt I then two lines on the wrong side of the fabric, the first about 1.5" below the top edge (aka the waist), the next line a couple of inches below that.  This is the cinch waist, so you make it as wide as you want the waist.  You then sew the pleats but only inbetween the two lines you have just drawn.  Then sew the back seam (I had to do this several times as the skirt refuse to fit, my stupid skinny waist), and add the zip.  And voila!
(and yes I am aware that it's far too short!)