Zebras Crossing

Maria Denmark Day to Night Drape Top
Maria Denmark Day to Night Drape Top

Whoot, another make, another blog post!  I’m on a roll here…  This is the eighth incarnation of the Day to Night Drape Top made for the daughters.  The fabric is from Kat from Modern Vintage Cupcakes, swapped in the Sabertooth Swap organised by Anne from Petty Grievances.  I knew the minute I opened the parcel what the fabric would be for, I love patterns that require little bits of fabric!

DSC09647-1I put it together with my standard adjustments, no clear elastic in the armholes, just turned under and twin needled into place.  In fact there is no clear elastic anywhere in this make – not that I was trying to make a point or anything.  I had a fabulous sort out of my sewing space in January, re-organised the boxes and storage, brought in a large cutting table and generally made the whole space look a whole heap better.  However, I then didn’t do much sewing and as a result now I’ve forgotten where I’ve put stuff!  You know the drill, move things because the new home makes far more sense…  Where the flippin’ ‘eck is it now??  So I couldn’t find the clear elastic, not even in the elastic box, which is exactly where you’d expect to find it.  Ordinary 8mm elastic was called into action instead, and it’s done an ok job.

DSC09646-1With the overlocker playing up, I used the sewing machine for this make, one hour and it was done.  The jersey doesn’t stretch as much as would probably be preferable for this particular pattern, but Daughter No2 wasn’t overly bothered by the more fitted aspect of it, so I’m not gong to make too much of a fuss.  I love the stripes, didn’t make an effort to line anything up as it was rather random and I didn’t have much to play with.

DSC09645-1So thanks Kat for the fabric, and to Anne for the organising of the swap!

DSC09650-1ps, I did eventually find the elastic 3 days later – in the bra making stuff box.  Please tell me I’m not the only one…

Packing for the Jungle

Happy New Year!!  What do you mean, that was last week…

Already I am behind on catching up on blog posts to read, patterns to make & fabrics to drool over!  If 2014 has the speed of 2013, I’m done for!  Needless to say, I really don’t want to be late for the Jungle.  Yup, if you’ve been more out of the loop than I, Jungle January is back on, hosted as ever by the indomitable AnneB from Pretty Grievances.  See her first round-up post here.

This time I’m making something for me!  I did a bit of research back in December & found two rather cool pieces from Fabric Godmother.  This chiffon is really pretty, as is the viscose leopard print.  However, I opted for the slightly less expensive option.  Ditto Fabrics have a leopard print viscose with a more monochrome colourway at £7.99/m, it will suit me better than the options with brown in them.  Naturally I didn’t just get the viscose.  I also bought the very last bit of a caramel linen blend for a new pair of summer trousers.

Caramel linen blend & leopard print viscose from Ditto Fabrics
Caramel linen blend & leopard print viscose from Ditto Fabrics

Now all I need is a pattern.  I really want to pattern cut something, I haven’t done any since about June last year, distracted as I have been with vintage sewing patterns!  Once I’d ordered the fabric I started thinking of something drapey, possibly Pattern Magic inspired.  But I kept coming back to the oversized shirt I’d made for daughter No2 last year, the shirt I made her for Christmas and the waist details common on 40s & 50s blouses.  The realisation that I really wanted a “normal” blouse with a vintage hint was a relief!

Until last night however, I couldn’t decide on a normal collar or a bow-tie of some sort.  I’m going to compromise.  I will make the blouse with a proper collar & stand and will also make a sort of neck-tie.  Here’s a rough sketch of what I’m thinking so far.

Blouse sketch with vintage influences
Blouse sketch with vintage influences

Now all I have to do is make the time to draft the pattern.  I’ve been wanting to do a top with a sleeve & yoke in one for a while.  The adaptations in Natalie Bray’s “More Dress Pattern Designing” are what I’ll be using.  Fingers crossed it all goes without a hitch.  If you’re joining us in the jungle, how are you getting on?

A Giraffe’s Tail – The Long & the Short of it.

So suave in her new jacket
So suave in her new jacket

I need to warn you all, this is a photo heavy post!

Phew, I have had such a blast sewing this month!  Jungle January has been a real hit, with sewing bloggers all around the world taking part.  Thank you Anne @ Pretty Grievances, this was a fantastic idea!

So when last I posted, I had received the samples from Ditto, and was drooling quite nicely over my pretty bits of fabric, sewing up all sorts of plans in my head.  I had drafted the flat overgarment block from Winnie Aldrich, just needed to toile and get on with the playing.  The block toile was fine, baggy, but about what I had expected with the size and (non)shape of the pattern pieces.  Moving on to fiddling and playing with paper, and the toile of the working pattern…

DSC01155

The first toile, and the baggy, ugly sleeve
The first toile, and the baggy, ugly sleeve & armhole

So, I used this block because I figured there was no point in going for a tailored jacket block and all it’s shaping etc.  The flat overgarment block is for fleeces.  Baggy, shapeless, ugly clothes.  I know that now…  The sleeve on the right in the photo above is the original.  I took out the left sleeve and reduced the ease in the head to try to get it to look better.  I also narrowed the sleeve, considerably. It didn’t work.  The back is too baggy, the armhole massive, and we hated it on sight.  So it went into the fabric recycling bin and I started with the tailored jacket block instead!

The sleeve in the 2nd toile, developed from the tailored jacket block
The sleeve in the 2nd toile, developed from the tailored jacket block

So how much better is that!  And the back…

Back of 2nd toile.
Back of 2nd toile.

The relief was palpable!  Daughter no2 was happy with this one, the length, the width at the hem, and particularly, the sleeves!  Then I ran into the next hiccough.  I didn’t want to order the fabric until I had done the toiles and worked out how much I’d need.  Unfortunately for me, Ditto only had about 1m of the giraffe print left! Nooooo!  We did get the dot fabric though…  That’s another project, and one that daughter no2 is going to tackle herself.

After a quick hunt on tinternet I found the same print at ukfabricsonline, and for £1/m less than Ditto, and cheaper post too.  I ordered my 2m and set out to find a suitable lining and contrast fabric.  Lining was pretty easy actually.  I got a superb satin finish lining in raspberry from Fred Winter in Stratford on Avon, but had no luck with a contrast to do the binding on all the edges and to cover the buttons.  Running out of time, we decided to forgo the contrast this time.  Oh yes, I’m making this again!

I love the contrast of the lining when the sleeves are turned back!
I love the contrast of the lining when the sleeves are turned back!

I was hoping for an emerald or turquoise lining for the jacket, thinking fucshia may be, ahem, “slutty”, but this raspberry is the bomb! 😀

FR0064

FR0054I should say that these photos are all taken on my phone camera.  Husband is working on a new project at work, so has nicked my camera for “research” purposes.

Twins??
Twins??

ACan you tell how much daughter no2 likes her new jacket?

09Not too keen on me calling the shots with all the photos though!

If there was ever a reason for doing another it is this:  Parent’s evening at her school was last night.  Her art teacher took one look and wanted to know where she’d got it, wanted to pat it, and warned that if it ever came into the art studio, she wasn’t to be suprised if she couldn’t find it at the end of the lesson.

Once again, thank you soooooooooooo much, Anne, for starting us all on this Jungle madness. It’s been fabulous to read the round-ups of all the projects, and I have found some new blogs to follow too!

Now, what’s on the cards for February??

Giraffe in the Jungle!

Whoop!  The postie really suprised me this afternoon by delivering not only the lavender I ordered last weekend and a letter excusing me from jury service, but the long awaited fabric samples from Ditto Fabrics as well!  😀  Yes, samples – plural….

Sample swatches from Ditto Fabrics
Sample swatches from Ditto Fabrics

Did you really think I’d only ask for the giraffe print??  There’s a oh-so-pretty spotty twill that’s perfect for a pair of 60’s capri pants for Daughter No2 to wear with the giraffe print jacket, a grey wool that would make a fab pair of trousers for me, and a zebra print cotton that was the fall-back should the giraffe print not be up to scratch.  And the stripe cotton…  that’s for me too.  No idea what to make from it, but I’m having some! So the issue with the giraffe fabric when I saw the picture on Ditto’s site was, will it be too fluffy..

Giraffe print - slightly fluffy, but just enough.
Giraffe print – slightly fluffy, but just enough.

Answer – nope!  It’s just right.  There is a very short pile that works very well, so we are going ahead, full steam!  Look out for us in the jungle pretty soon!  😀  Here’s a reminder of the jacket:

Sketch for 60's style swing jacket with contrast binding and bound buttonholes
Sketch for 60’s style swing jacket with contrast binding and bound buttonholes
Jacket in the giraffe and capri pants in the spot
Jacket in the giraffe and capri pants in the spots

And boy am I glad I don’t have to do jury service for the next two weeks!  Apparently there were too many people who filled in their forms and returned them to the summoning officer, so they had too many.  It’s quite nice to know there are plenty of civic minded people out there.

While I am waiting…

It seems Royal Mail had plans for me.  The sample order for the giraffe print was sent off to Ditto Fabrics last Thursday, first class.  Ditto got it yesterday!  They have popped the samples all in the post already today, but chances are it could take another week (with a first class SSAE) to get back to me!  I do object paying for a certain service, and then getting a sub-standard one!  In addition, my lavender is late, ribbons had to be fast tracked, and everything is just going to pot this week!

So I decided to keep busy I’d make a start on an up-cycling project.  Friends of mine own a coffee roasting business in Stratford on Avon.  They donated a pile of their coffee sacks to me last week.  Their coffee beans come from the monsoon areas of the world, hence their name:  Monsoon Estates.  This is where the jungly bit comes in.  In a bit of a nod to the antics going on for Jungle January, and until the postman brings me my sample – (deep breaths…) I have chopped up some of the large sacks they get their beans in.  Cleverly I didn’t take any “before” pics.  I can say though that hessian bags like these are hard on the scissors!  You have to put some serious welly into the cutting motion too, so my hands were a little sore after all the chopping.

Another tip.  Domestic overlockers do not like industrial-weight hessian.  My threads kept snapping, but I have persevered!  In an attempt not to put too much “new” into the bags I am going to finish them off with as much as I can find in my stash boxes, but I know I need proper webbing for the handles.  So here’s a couple of iffy (crappy) pics from my phone.  Husband has the camera today, and my Nokia’s camera is not the best on the planet.

Coffee tote bags in progress
Coffee tote bags in progress

and another:

Some of the tote bags made from hessian coffee bean sacks.
Some of the tote bags made from hessian coffee bean sacks.

So that’s the state of the totes so far.  I still need to put handles on them all, and I have found some black and red wide bias binding in my trimmings box to cover the rough nasty edges.  Hope to finish them all tonight!  😀

In other news, I have finished the pattern for the grey herringbone twill, it’s just awaiting a toile and fitting.  With Daughter No1 firmly ensconsed back at Uni I will have to make a trip with the toile.  Hopefully by then I have finished the pattern for the 60’s coat and got my giraffe print so I can pop into Fancy Silks and grab a yummy lining while I’m in Birmingham.  Might as well…  ;p

Jungle January!!!

Well here it is, January 2013.  Some said we wouldn’t make it to Christmas, but what did the Mayans know??  Happy New Year everybody!  I guess I should be listing my “new” resolutions, going over the good and bad makes of the past year, but that will have to wait until later.  The news of the day is definitely Pretty Grievances‘ Jungle January.

Dangerously Stylish!
Dangerously Stylish!

The idea is simply to make something ravishing with an animal print fabric.  Now generally I don’t do animal print, and almost certainly not fur, the stuff gets everywhere!  I wanted to join in, but wasn’t sure what to do exactly.  Cue a browse on Ditto Fabrics‘ website.  I found this:

Giraffe print!
Giraffe print!

Now I can see a sort of 60’s style cropped swing-coat for Daughter no 2 here, think turquoise lining, or emerald, or even fucshia pink!  I have ordered a sample, which should arrive pretty pronto, knowing the service from Ditto.  I really hope it’s not too fluffy, because I think this could really work!  😀

Look out January, the animals are on the loose!