Can sewing be an Olympic sport?

Wow, what an amazing week it has been at the Olympics!  Everyone is doing well, and I have to say I am blown away by the dedication and commitment of these athletes!  Best personality of the games so far has to be Bert le Clos, father of South African Chad le Clos who had the US Olympic swimming legend, Michael Phelps on the back foot.  Not much sewing has been done, I must be honest, and the fabric piles are not going quietly.  I dug these two pieces out of the cupboard over the weekend, and they are my next task.

A sturdy cotton/linen blend with leaf print

This stuff is quite cool.  I got it in Derby in May, intending to make cushions or something, but I just couldn’t cut it up into little squares.  I’ve sort of decided to make a jacket with it for the Autumn.  I’m picturing a hip-length jacket with jetted pockets and maybe a pleat detail at the back.  One thing that is definitely going to happen is the crater sleeve from Pattern Magic 1!  I have been waiting a while to do that sleeve, and I’m feeling it for this fabric.  I will get cracking on some sketches first, to get a better feel for what I have in my mind.  I also think I might use a sidebody this time, to see how different the fit is.

Leaf print – perfect for Autumn!

The other fabric is this gorgeous Liberty tana lawn.  One of my students had some from Fred Winter in Stratford on Avon a couple of months ago and taunted me with a picture of it on twitter.  Did I have the commitment to resist?  Did I, like hell!  The first opportunity I got I was off to Freds for my own little bit.  They only had 2m left, so naturally I got the lot!

Big “blousey” flowers, love it!

Now, I didn’t think this was really me, until I brought it home.  I love it!  Carolyn made a blouse from several patterns that has turned out pretty great, I love her collar and the roll-up sleeve with tab.  I tend to roll my long sleeve shirts, even in the winter, or wear 3/4 length.  Problem with 3/4 length is that they end up under your armpit when you put on jumpers and jackets!  I won’t be making this as billowy as Carolyn’s, I’d prefer it to be a bit more fitted.

So that’s the fabric sorted, now to make the patterns!  Watch this space, but don’t hold your breath too long, we still have another week of amazing sport to watch!  Maybe if sewing was included, I might get more done!!!

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

Silver Lining

Silver Lining blouse

Ok, so this post has nothing to do with an actual lining – but it felt right as a name for this next project, and it’s a pretty good song too!  (Silver Lining, by Hurts)  The fabric is a Liberty print cotton voile with what looks like draped fabric printed in shades of grey on white.  I loved it when I saw it in the shop, and loved it even more when I noticed it was only £6.99/m!  Naturally I hadn’t a clue what it was to become, so I played it safe and got 2m.  I am so glad I did, because when I finally made a pattern I had just about enough.  Here’s the sketch again:

Blouse with oversized polo placket

The pintucks were substituted with twin needle tucks as the voile was so soft, the last thing I wanted was wobbly tuck lines!  I have made the yoke a double layer, I just think it looks better that way.  The remainder of the bust dart was incorporated into gathers, and the bodice front was widened 3cm to allow for some draping and fullness.  I also made the back a little wider, basically cutting up the back dart and opening up 3cm there as well.  Originally I had added more width at the centre back, but when I did the toile it was too full, and I didn’t like it.  The yoke at the back also has twin needle tucks.

Silver Lining - blouse

But it’s the sleeves that really catch the attention!  That big poofy bit was cool to make!  I had fun with that.   First, I drew a line 5cm above the elbow line, then another 5cm below the halfway point between the elbow and the wrist.  That was to be the extent of the poof.  To keep that poof, however, you need a stay on the inside.  So I traced that bit of the pattern, adding balance points and grainlines, then divided it into 9 sections, adding 2.5cm between each piece.  This made a very wide section, perfect for lots of poof!  Then I added 8cm at the lower edge for “blousing.  Once it was toiled, I realised the blousing was hiding the cuff completely, so I chopped 3cm off, and now it works quite well.

The three sleeve sections, the top, the "poof", and the stay to hold the poof in place!

I really like this blouse, and am definitely going to use the pattern again to make more!

Poofy sleeve

Pictures are a little dark, I got daughter no 2 to take them after the sewing class today, we were way too busy to do it earlier!  It is amazing how busy a class with 6 people in it can be!  Here’s a peak at the class today:

Working hard today! And yes, that's me on the right at the back.
Yup, we're Burdastyle fans too!

So it is half term this week, Daughter no 1 will be galivanting with friends, except for Thursday when we head into Birmingham for another University interview and possibly a little fabric shopping at the Fancy silk store then straight home!!  Yeah, right!!  Daughter no 2 needs to start work on her prom dress, so guess what I’ll be doing..  playing with paper again!  Yay!  😀