Sewing for Pleasure

Yesterday I went to Sewing for Pleasure at the NEC with some students/friends.  The temptation monster was practically roaring at us from our first step inside the halls.  For those of you what haven’t a clue what I’m on about, this exhibition is all for the sewist!  If you are into embroidery, textile art, knitting, stitching and sewing, this one is for you!  Fabrics Galore had a prime site, on the right of the entrance!  And this wasn’t their main stand.

Fabrics Galore, this stand was full of Liberty fabrics at a real steal!

There was so much lovely fabric, I had to walk away, I only had a limited budget and was not about to blow it all on the first stand!  My friend, Laura, did succombe to a length for a pretty top she had designed.  They also had some great fabrics for the Jubilee.  One thing I was desperate to buy quickly was interfacing.  I was down to scratty bits, so I was off to find Gill Arnold to stock up.  Her interfacing really is the bee’s knees.  If you have some time, pop onto her website.  She offers day workshops on various subjects, and what she cannot tell you, you don’t need to know!

Gill Arnold’s stand. Purveyor of fabulous interfacings, and fount of knowledge!

Then we ran into The Rosenberg stand.  This was DANGER in capital letters.  These guys have so much fabric, cottons, linens, jerseys, silks, you name it.  We had a good look and then headed off, we needed time to process!   We also needed to meet the rest of the gang.

A selection of the ex-designer silks at the Rosenberg stand. Only £12/m

Laura and I met up with more of the gang at the main Fabrics Galore stand – of course!  We proceeded to buy shirting, cottons, linen, etc etc!  They guy behind the stand was wearing a fab shirt made from Liberty tana lawn.  It had a print of a weeping willow in it, so pretty!  Then my eye was caught by the Oliver Twists stand, and I had to turn sharply and walk away quickly in the opposite direction!  Their stuff is like sweeties, and I am on a DIET!!

Piles of discounted wool and yarn for the knitters

Luckily I had no problem with this pile, I have no patience for knitting.  If my mum had been with me however, it would have been a different matter altogether.  We kept wandering, buying and mooching.  The Shuttle had a good selection of ex-designer fabrics, embroidered and embellished.  Then we got to the area where the embroiderers and textile artists had their stands.  Risky business!

We saw Dionne Swift finishing up a demonstration on screenprinting.  No-one told me how easy it really was!  She made the whole process look so simple, and here I was thinking I’d never be able to do it at home.  She runs workshops from her studios, so it looks like we’ll need a girly weekend away up north!

Dionne Swift – Textile Artist

By now we’re all pretty pooped, but still happy.  We had fabric, leaflets and most importantly, inspiration!

Two Happy Shoppers
Still hunting for bargains

A great day really, we bumped into old friends and collegues and bought stuff we have no space for.  These three now have enough to keep their Sewing Sundays busy for some time!  So what did I get??  Well……  I actually didn’t buy as much this time as I did last year.  I just couldn’t decide what to get, and I was determined not to go bananas.  I have enough fabric here already!

Clockwise from top: Blue and white floral stretch cotton sateen, grey linen & cotton blend and blue and ecru lightweight cotton. All from Fabrics Galore.

There’s more…..

Top: green and blue shot cotton from M Rosenberg & Son
bottom: white broiderie anglaise with silver shimmer over from The Shuttle

Of course I did manage to get 4m of interfacing before I got all those, phew!  But I leave you with a view of M Rosenberg & son’s stand.  Who could resist??

Rosenberg’s stand

Spring has Sprung

Wow, sunshine!!  Green shoots in the hedges and lambs in the fields – it’s finally Spring here in the UK.  Cue some drastic cleaning out!  Nothing makes you want to clean the windows like that faint flicker of sun trying desperately to get in.  Once started, however, spring cleaning is infectious.  All sorts of areas of the house that thought they were safe have been de-cluttered and de-dusted.  This included the sewing space.  Oh yes, that little monster took a day and a bit to get through.  I found things in boxes I didn’t know I had.  And things I forgot I’d bought.  I am so pleased with my new de-cluttered and re-organised space, I thought I’d share.

Before

So – before was…  yeah, un-inspiring.     Drum roll……..

After
After

Ok, so no great shakes, but it feels so much nicer!  And now I know what is in all those boxes!  I also know what not to buy at the Sewing for Pleasure show at the NEC in Birmingham tomorrow.  No embroidery threads, no fibres, no fabric paint, NO ribbons, no buttons!  That blue and brown swirly patterned box at the bottom next to the chair is packed with ribbons.  The only way to keep it closed is to pile those other boxes on top!  I am also not allowed to buy any vintage patterns.  This is half of what I have…..

Vintage Patterns – half of what I own :s

So what am I allowed to buy?  Interfacing from Gill Arnold.  Anything from Linton Tweed.  And Fabulous Fabric.  And Rosenberg & Son.  And Fabrics Galore.  Get the picture??  😀

On another subject, I finished another cushion yesterday, the cutest!!  Not Jubilee inspired this time.  I had seen a tutorial on Pinterest for French Knot sheep and thought it would look fab on a cushion cover.  I hadn’t anticipated the time involved.  So hours later, here is my finished result.

Spring has Sprung! French Knot Sheep

Now back to “proper sewing”.  I have to finish 2 UFO’s before I’m allowed to start anything new, and I just know that I will want to get cracking on whatever I manage to haul home tomorrow!

The Versatile Blogger Award

Wow.  Just.  Wow.  Now I never in my teeny weeny life expected this project of mine to do anything remotely earth shattering.  Or to have any number of people following it.  It was all just about me getting my little grey cells working they way they should again!  Anyways, turns out Jeyco over at I’m liking it has awarded this little blog the “Versatile Blogger Award”.  Me!  😀  Thank you for even noticing this blog in the very big wide bloggersphere!  It’s quite exciting, that people actually do visit and read my blurb!

Versatile Blogger Award - design from The Perfect Nose

So, according to the rules I have to pass this little number on.  15 unsuspecting bloggers are in line for this, but with this award multiplying 15 times everytime it’s passed on, there is bound to be some overlap, so apologies if I list someone who has it already!!

1.  Thank the person who gave the award and link to that person:

Thank you again Jeyco, I am honoured that you stop by and like what you see and read.

2.  Add the Versatile Blogger Badge to your website:

3.  List the rules.

4.  List 7 things about yourself:

  • I love sewing. (bet you didn’t see that one coming!)
  • I cannot function without music.  Music is definitely food for the soul.
  • I have two of the same sewing machine.  Seriously.  They are Bernina 830 Records, from the early 1970’s.  I inherited my first one from my late mother-in-law 15 years ago.  The second I bought from my good friend who emmigrated back to the US and couldn’t take her baby with her.  Win for me!  They are fabulous machines.  I also have 2 overlockers, a Bernina 5 reel and a Janome.  Nedless to say I use the Janome more – it has fewer hangups.
  • My mum taught me to sew.  Teachers at school tried but failed miserably.  It wasn’t until I left home that I realised that cooking and sewing were not only necessary skills, but could also be very rewarding!
  • I love books.  Fiction books, cook books, sewing and fashion books.  There are always at least 3-4 books piled next to my bed to read, nevermind I am so knackered by bedtime I hardly get to read any of them!  School pick up time is the best time to read, provided I get there early.
  • I love seeing the people I have taught get excited about their projects, both those in progress and the finished items.  I love the satisfaction they get when they realise they’ve made something, and that it looks great!
  • I have every issue of the Burdastyle magazine from January 1993.  If you ever need anything….  ;p

5.  Pass the award on to 15 dedicated blogs.

This could be tricky.  I really haven’t been blogging for that long…

6.  Let them know about the award.  Comments on the way!  These blogs are all cool and interesting to me, I hope some of them prove inspiring to others too!

Phew!  This has taken so long to get together!  Now enough of the typing, back to sewing!!  😀

Crowns for a Queen.

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These have turned out so cute, I have to share them early!  Still have another couple to make, but here is a glimpse at a couple of pretty cushions I have made with inspiration from the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee this year.  The main fabric is Irish linen, which I love.  The crowns are pink batik, free machined onto the linen.  Both measure 30x30cm.  I do hope to sell them quickly so I have space to do the other stuff I need to do!

Image

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One more for your viewing pleasure!  And an update, all 3 cushions have been sold to kate at Ivy Heart in Shipston on Stour.  From the way she reacted to them I seriously doubt they will be in the shop!  They will have found their way to her house by this evening!  😀

Large Crown applique with vermicelli and pebble quilting stitches for colour and texture
Detail of the stitching.

Just like a Stole – Tea for Two

just like a stole
Just Like a Stole

So, another Pattern Magic pattern done, and I like this one!  The name comes from the fabric print, ladies who shop, and ladies who do tea!  I like the neckline, might just need to get used to it, it feels like the shoulders drop back a bit.  It might need a couple of hand stitches just in the front a little to hold it together, but we’ll see.

back
View from the back

I used French Seams throughout with this lightweight cotton.  The buttons were rescued from one of husband’s worn out Red Herring tops, and I used a coral-red thread for sewing them on.  The pattern in the book has the dart into the front seam, not practical for me.  I changed the pattern to have the centre front button opening and moved the darts to their normal position in the front.  But I wanted something interesting there.  I converted the one BIG waist dart into 3 smaller cluster darts.

dart pattern
Front pattern showing dart clusters

Ok, so it’s really messy, but this is the working pattern.  Initially I had the darts narrower, but on the toile I didn’t like it, so made them wider, and then wider again.  When I am finally happy with a pattern, I trace it out so there are no scrappy bits of paper, there’s no magic tape, and only one set of pencil lines!  This is the rest of the front working pattern:

front
Like a Stole adaptation - front

I don’t wear high rounded necklines, unless I really want to give the impression of having a mono-boob, so I made a v-neckline, but it is rounded a bit to make it softer.  I also cut a facing to support the front, buttonholes and the neckline.  As the pattern is so opened up the top part of the bodice sits on the bias, which will stretch in a second if you look at it sideways.  I stitched about 5cm along the valley fold line from the end of the neck dart to stop the stretch there.

Admiring my dart clusters..

“So what’s next?” you ask…  weeeeellllll.  I still want to do the flip-turn, the twisted tops, the drape with twist…  You get the picture!  But.  I have been making husband some pattern blocks so I guess the next thing just might be a shirt for him.  Maybe.  😀

Happy with my new Pattern Magic top!

 

 

 

 

Sewing is Therapy

Ok, moving on, rapidly!  So now that I have sewed myself into feeling better with the Renfrew tees and a little vintage number for Daughter no 2 I feel ready to tackle another pattern from Pattern Magic.  I still wanted to play with the “Just Like a Stole” style.

Image

So out came the paper and rolls of Magic Tape (I still need to get shares in Scotch-tape).  The book has a high neckline which will never work on me, so I have adjusted it to be a sort of rounded v.  I also have a front button fastening, and sleeves.  Not too fancy this time, just pleated 3/4 length.  The dart has been moved, and elaborated!  See the sketches..  Again, the trickiest thing with the pattern is making a Winnie block do what another writer needs. It works though!  Although I’d love to share the photos of the pattern and toile with you, dearest husband has filched the camera.

Instead you get these…

Fashion sketch

The difference between fashion illustration sketches, and reality!  This is a sketch of the blouse I am making, the sketch on the left is done using a template from this book from Morplan, and the next one was done over a photo of moi.  What a difference proportions make!

You can get similar sketches from Fashionary, free downloadable templates, or buy the sketchbooks.

How tempting is it just to keep the template sketch and dump the “real” one?  Very!!  😀

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

reality sketch
Reality check!

So the toile is in a soft linen (linen sheets from the charity shop!!) to replicate the cotton I will use later.  No fabric purchase necessary, I have dug out a piece from my stash, yay!  Also, there are just about enough buttons from the button box to finish it off.  I cannot profess to be completely good this week though.  When visiting the charity shop looking for toile fabric and some vintage buttons, my eye was caught by a pile of grey houndstooth on a shelf.  Upon closer inspection it turned out to be 2m of a lovely soft wool, for £12!  Needless to say I gave in – no way that was staying in the shop for someone else to have!  So now there is another piece to make up..  😀

Welcome to the Jungle

The dress with draped design is finished, and….  I had some issues with it.

  1. This is not the right sort of fabric for this design.  The georgette is way too slippery and hasn’t enough body to hold the drape at the front.
  2. It’s too long.  I know, the last dress I made I thought was too short, this is just a bit too long.
  3. In the book, Tomoko Nakamichi says that if you don’t want the skirt flopping open in the front, just sew it up.  This doesn’t work, as it twists the “twist” in the front to the wrong side.
  4. Trying to stick to my “don’t buy anyting unless absolutely necessary until Sewing for Pleasure” rule was sorely tested.  I had a turquoise silk satin blouse that I didn’t like and was happy to chop to make a camisole, but I had absolutely nothing for lining the bottom part of the dress.  I bought some crepe de chine from the Fancy Silk Store in Birmingham to make a slip in the end.  Of course, the colours are not the same, so it’s an un-matching set, which is not ideal.  Luckily all the lace and picot elastic was in my stash.
  5. I am not entirely sure this shape works for me, and that is a real shame because I really wanted to make something I’d get lots of wear out of with this fabric.  Maybe it will grow on me.

So this is it with the cami and slip.

Jungle dress.
Jungle Dress and slip

And this is it styled slightly differently, an idea from the mum of a friend of mine.  She said it may look good with a pair of fitted silk trousers…  lightbulbs went off in my head.  I had made a pair of stretch satin trousers from a Burda magazine 12/09, no 104 about 2 years ago, and they are pretty fitted.  So what do we think?  Maybe with the trousers the dress does need to be shorter…

Jungle Dress with Trousers

Or maybe I should just leave it in the “remake this” pile.  Maybe if this dress was made in a different fabric, something with more body, it would be better.  Either that or it needs a body in it with smaller boobs and more of a waist!  I have a very good feeling this style will look fantastic on Daughters 1 & 2!

So to cope with the disappointment of this dress, I have made 4 Renfrew t-shirts and a vintage cotton dress in 3 days.  Sometimes you just need to get it out of your system by making something that someone else has spent time and effort perfecting, and all you need do is cut and sew!  I may feel better by Monday.  🙂