Sewing Plans

Do you ever get a bit overwhelmed with your sewing projects?  By which I mean, there are so many nice things to sew, and not enough time to get them all done?  I have a nice big pile of gorgeous fabric I bought this year, and some very nice patterns I’m desperate to try, but my list just keeps getting longer.  And then there’s the problem of the fabric which initially was quite clear in what it wanted to be, changing its mind and now wanting to be something else.  For which there isn’t enough fabric.  Or I don’t have  a pattern, don’t have the time to draft one and so now trawl the internet looking for something suitable.

That’s what has happened this week.  While in Cornwall, I bought 2.5m of the most beautiful cotton fabric with a chrysanthemum print.  It has a slightly Japanese feel to it, the flowers are crisp, colours definite, and I fell head over heals for it.  Why didn’t I get a nice round number, like 3m?  Because it wasn’t (for me) cheap and I didn’t want to be greedy.  But what I initially thought I could turn into a pair of culottes now wants to be a jumpsuit, or a dress, or a wider, longer pair of culottes that I originally pictured, or a jumpsuit.  So 2.5m is not enough.

collage culottes or dress
Burda culottes or Sew House 7 Tea House Dress??

I thought of making the culottes #126 from March 2015 Burdastyle, they’re wide enough to look like a skirt, which is what I had in mind.  But now it wants to be a dress (for someone who doesn’t wear dresses).  I could give in to that demand, but only for the right dress!  I spent lots of precious sewing time on Friday looking for just that right pattern/shape/look.  Eventually I emerged form the deep dark pit that is a combination of Instagram and Pinterest with the Sew House 7 Tea House Dress.  It’s the bodice part that I really like – and it has pockets!  But of course, nothing is ever that easy, have fabric, bought pattern, make dress, right?  Nope – that dress needs more fabric than I have.

So now what?  Do I email the fabric shop and see if they have more?  Or dig through the stash and find a fabric that will work with the print and have contrasting pieces?  Or be realistic and just make the damn culottes I wanted in the first place?!  Let’s face it, even if I like the dress, I have a very good feeling culottes would get worn way more often than a dress.  But I now like the idea of the dress…  AAARRRGGGHHHH

dsc_0262.jpg
The top fabric that now wants to be bottoms…

The same conversation happened with another piece of fabric I got from the NEC in March from Rosenberg & Son.  It was only ever going to be a top of some sort.  I traced the pattern, toiled and adjusted, but now it doesn’t want to be a top.  I’d seen Clare’s fabulous print culottes on Instagram earlier and couldn’t get that image out of my head.  That is why my “top fabric” now wants to be “culottes fabric”.

One piece that is behaving is the most gorgeous deep dark inky coloured linen and rayon mix fabric I got from Fabworks back in May (I think).  I had expected a soft, drapy linen to arrive, instead it’s really crisp and full of body, but it will still look good as pants/trousers, and now I know what pattern to use too!  I made the cropped flared trousers from this month’s Burdastyle in turquoise washed linen and love them, so I think a “posh” pair is on the cards with that rayon/linen blend.  Just need somewhere equally “posh” to wear them…

I also made a jumpsuit last month (!) in one of the border printed viscose pieces I brought back from South Africa back in 2016 – only one more 3m piece of that left now!  It was from a German magazine Chris brought over for me last summer, the August issue of Fashion Style.  I’d liked it from the start and bought 3m of black herringbone linen from Croft Mill Fabric for the project, then Autumn came and I left it.  Then I got reminded of it when I watched the new Star Wars movie, Solo.  The female lead, Qi’ra wears a black jumpsuit that I totally needed!

the-art-of-solo-a-star-wars-story-concept-art-no-17
Image from https://milnersblog.com/

So I went about tracing, toiling and adjusting, but when it came to the making, I realised the black linen was too stiff.  So in the mean time, I used the print viscose, to “road-test” the pattern before buying a more suitable black fabric.  But that jumpsuit would be great with that floral print fabric….  My jumpsuit doesn’t have the wrap front, or the fluttery sleeves, but I was at least inspired by this to get on with mine – finally!  So I now have black viscose from Croft Mill Fabrics, and will get to it, hopefully before the summer is over – again!!  It also means I now have 3m of black herringbone linen that can be used for something else….

collage jumpsuit
Black viscose lined up and ready for this!

When I was tracing the culottes from March 2015, I remembered there was a wrap over dress that I’d drooled over, #127.  It comes in two lengths and when I first saw it I fell heavily and bought a couple of metres of Ikat fabric from Fabric Godmother.  Then doubt (as usual) set it and I didn’t make it.  But I still have that fabric, and I still like the dress!  This is the weekend when I said “sod it”, and I’ve finally traced that pattern.  It will need to be graded out a size on the sides (I have no waist) and will need a decent FBA, but it’s do-able, right?  I just don’t want to mess up my lovely fabric.

collage dress top
Burda wrap dress in the Ikat, blouse in Seasalt gull print cotton voile crepe

Then a horrible thing happened.  Everyone – and I mean everyone, was chatting online about the fabric sale at Seasalt, a Cornish clothing company.  Their fabrics are nice, cute even, and I’d never thought of buying any.  But when we were in said county at the beginning of July I happened to pop into their St Ives store to investigate the fabrics “in the flesh”.  A couple I recognised from seeing them online, some I liked, some I didn’t.  So when we got back to our holiday flat, I bought 6m of Seasalt fabric. WHY?!?!  Because I have absolutely no will power and I was enabled.  It’s wasn’t my fault…

July’s Burdastyle has come to the rescue of some of the gull print cotton voile crepe.  The boxy blouse, #117 will look very nice in that fabric, and it will just happen to work with the trousers I’ve made this summer, because the colour is perfect!  It will also be less boxy because of the floatyness of the fabric.  The other piece I bought will be destined for something yummy for my Mum.

Aah, I bet you think you’re nearing the end now, right.  Nope.  Just because I haven’t taken any more photos doesn’t mean my list is done.  I have charcoal twill that’s begging to be made in the fabulous jacket #101 from May 2018, black & white gingham desperate to be used in a top from Kana’s Standard, natural coloured washed linen crying out to be made into a pair of trousers from the same book, navy viscose with a white feather print that’s been asking very nicely for about 2-3 years to be removed from the stash and is now getting loudly demanding.  Then there’s the navy oilskin I bought from Merchant & Mills last summer to make a Waffle Pattern’s Tosti, and the summer coat I said I would definitely be making this year.  Summer coat!  Not requred this summer, what I need is a paddling pool and a nice new cozzy!  And let’s not even mention the lovely fabric set aside for daughter no2’s list(s).

And I’ve spent all day writing this post.  That’s the problem when there are so many lovely things to make, and you want them all today, but you cannot decide which to start with, or which fabric to use with which pattern because you don’t want to stuff it up, and you  cannot or don’t want to buy more fabric.

I think I’ll make a cuppa and go for a walk.  Maybe when I get back I’ll have an idea, or maybe you can add your 2 cents worth!  And please tell me I’m not alone in my madness.

Daydreaming my way Through March & into April

Hello?  Anyone still out there? I feel as if I am coming out from hibernation!  Spring in the UK this year has been so slow to arrive, and Winter so reluctant to leave, but there is rain and sun outside, so it’s time to get on.  I must admit that apart from the appaling weather keeping me from felling like blogging, I haven’t actually done any pattern cutting, which afterall, is what this blog is really supposed to be about.  That and fabric hoarding!  The Swap your Stash project co-hosted with Kat from Modern Vintage Cupcakes has gone really well, we had some amazing interviews, and it was great to see into other sewist’s hidey-holes.  I have to confess that it rather made me want to go fabric shopping, soo not the right thing to do!  So what has been going on in the last 2 months?

Well, I have still been sewing, and am currently working on project no 34 for this year.  Not all projects are clothing, but I have been keeping track of everything I make this year, just for interest sake. When I last blogged back in february, I was working on project no 15!  So here’s a glimpse of what I’ve been upto.

In the Stash Swap, I exchanged 2 pieces of silk for 2m of pink habutai from Becky from Sew and So.  It went into this dress from the March issue of BurdaStyle as the lining.  Thanks Becky, the colour is perfect!  For more details about this make, pop over to the BurdaStyle page.

The 1m dress, or, you never know until you try!
The 1m dress, or, you never know until you try!

Then I made some stuff for daughter No1, who came home for Mother’s Day weekend.  It was a nice suprise, but she had a problem, the standard university student diet of booze & pasta had had an unpleasant effect on her fitting some of her clothes!  So Mother’s Day weekend was spent making theseshorts & tees, again, more info is on Burdastyle.  All the fabric for these was from my stash, I’m doing well on the stash-busting front!

Earning my Mother's Day presents
Earning my Mother’s Day presents

Inbetween the clothes, I also ran some of these up, not-so-little grey wool pincushions, free machine embroidered with an image of Hall’s Croft, one of the 5 Shakespeare properties in Stratford on Avon.

Hall's Croft pincushions
Hall’s Croft pincushions

And I played with fonts and twirly bits and fabric paint to make these linen cushions…

"Love" cushions
“Love” cushions

And a few more…

Love Tea & Cake at Home!
Love Tea & Cake at Home!

Then, to use up some of my stash of bits of silk, ribbons & braid, I made some lavender cushions & piled them up:

Vintage ribbons & brooches bind silk lavender cushions into fabulous scented bundles
Vintage ribbons & brooches bind silk lavender cushions into fabulous scented bundles

Through all of this, Kat’s swap parcel arrived…  I got a fab printed cotton that Daughter no2 wanted for a skirt, some stretch black lace that I will use for Daughter no1 & some rather scrummy New Zealand chocolate for me!  😀  I made the new blue t-shirt too.

Print cotton skirt & swap stuff from Kat
Print cotton skirt & swap stuff from Kat

Phew, what next..? Using the pattern for the above t-shirt (see the Mother’s day project for pattern details) I ran up another in a Liberty Print cotton jersey, but I don’t seem to have a photo of that anywhere… I also used up some stash fabric & made some PJ shorts for Daughter no2, in anticipation of summer.  Yeah.  Give us a while.

Using some black linen from my stash I made pants 123 from June 2011 BurdaStyle for Daughter no2.  As it was a petite pattern I had to lengthen it a bit, but the result was worth it.  She really likes them, & we are still going to make another pair in the spotty twill I got from Ditto fabrics back in January!  Details of the adjustments etc can be found on BurdaStyle.

Black linen vintage look trousers
Black linen vintage look trousers

The Sew for Victory project was a great hit with Daughter no2, and although I have made her a couple of 60’s patterns before, she hasn’t been hugely into the whole thing.  Until now.  She has added a fair few pins to my Vintage Pinterest board, and we’ve made a pile of the vintage patterns from my stash that she wants this summer.  One of these is a little seventies shirt-dress.  I made the first from a cotton viscose, and it’s ok, but I way prefer the second which I made with a John Kaldor print cotton Daughter No2 picked out at the Stitching show in Birmingham at the end of March.  Details as ever are on my BurdaStyle page.

Moonshadow
Moonshadow

Something more for Daughter No1.  She chose some black cotton with red roses at the Stitching Show for a pair of cropped trousers for the summer.  We settled on a pattern I’ve made for her before, Burda 7533.  It needed copious amounts of shortening and taking in, but the result is a fab pair of pants!

A pretty funky pair of pants!
A pretty funky pair of pants!

Two shirts follow, one vintage, one not!  I had cut out some stretch poplin with a small spot design last summer, and for some reason put it away.  Or it just got mixed up with the stuff that went back into the cottons box, but whatever happened, I found the cut pieces this month & decided to get it finished.  Thankfully it still fits!  The pattern is a Burda favourite that has been made many times now.

The second is a pattern from 1975.  I found the pattern in a charity shop last week for just 20p, and I pounced!  I found some ex Paul Smith stretch cotton with a multi-coloured stripe in my stash, leftovers from a previous project.  It proved to be just enough to get the short sleeved version out, & I can tell I will be using this pattern again!

Two shirts
Two shirts

Then another vintage make.  From the stash I had rescued a small piece of stretch navy & ecru twill, and some fucshia pink linen.  The linen went into the washing machine with some navy Dylon and we were in business!  I made a little 60’s dress with a contrast upper bodice, details on BurdaStyle.

Blue 60's dress
Blue 60’s dress

Right, last, but by no means least was a pattern cutting project!  Like I said, Sew for Victory was a hit, and Daughter No2 picked out another piece of fabric for another version of the 1944 pattern I made in February.  Initially I did think this fabric was going to be too much, and i definitely left the ruffles off the front.  It would have been waay too Victorian, nevermind 40’s with this particular fabric.  It was finished off on Friday last week, and we took advantage fo the little bits of sunlight coming into the garden to take photos.

Sew for victory, take 2
Sew for victory, take 2

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Ruffles at the sleeve only!
Ruffles at the sleeve only!
Happy customer!
Happy customer!

So I am steadily working my way through my stash, and trying very hard not to buy anything new unless I have used 2 pieces from the stash first.  So far so good, but this is what I bought (with a fair bit of help from daughters 1 & 2) in Birmingham in March.

The little pile of fabric that had to come home with us from the Stitching show in Birmingham.
The little pile of fabric that had to come home with us from the Stitching show in Birmingham.

Now 3 of those pieces have already been cut up, and they all have patterns allocated, except for the jersey in the middle on the right, but I’ve no doubt something will come up!  So I’m off to plan the next item to be sewn, and in the meantime, if you have been watching the Great British Sewing Bee & think you have a chance, they are apparently going to make another series and are taking applications now!  Rules and forms etc are available here.  Have fun!  😀

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

Derby Day

No, don’t panic!  It wasn’t the ponies!

Derby – Iron Gate with the Cathedral at the end of the road

Husband is working on a job in Derby, and as it’s the Easter holidays this week I thought it would be a good time for a little road-trip.  Husband went off for his meetings and Daughters 1,2 and I did some sightseeing and shopping.  Catherine Daze had been to Derby a few weeks ago, and had kindly posted the whereabouts of some fabric stores, so I made a list and planned the attack while having a quick “wake-me-up” cuppa at the cafe at The Quad, opposite the Assembly Rooms.

Derby town map

First stop for me was going to be Ink & Thread.  Husband had found the shop a few weeks back.  They stock only British-made stuff, quirky and with a retro twist.  They are to be found at no 28 The Strand.  They are well worth a look, they stock cards, gift wrap, quirky gifts and home furnishings.

The Old Bell Hotel

So to get there we needed to walk down Sadler Gate.  We saw a fabulous old inn, such a shame it is so neglected!  Looking through the old doors you wouldn’t have been wrong to expect to see the Harry Potter cast in there!

A Harry Potter location??

Down near the bottom of Sadler Gate is The Strand Arcade, a covered Victorian Arcade.  Naturally I’m pretty nosey, so we wandered through to see what delights awaited us.  Unfortunately most of the shops are empty, a victim of the economy and the rather large shopping centre, Westfields, that was built in Derby a few years ago.  Just as we’re about to give up and return, I spotted this….

It was 10am and they had just opened – serendipity!!  So in we went, ooing and aaahing!  then I noticed the notice – no credit or debit cards, only cash or cheque.  Dang!!  So we left, with the promise to return!  From there we found Ink & Thread, they were just at the end of the arcade, on the left.

Ink & Thread

Everything in Ink & Thread is British made.  The designers are British and the manufacturing processes are done in Britain too.  They have an independent style that is really cool.  Check out their Facebook page, and Twitter too.

We popped into the Art Museum and Gallery to take in the Joseph Wright exhibition and some of the history of Derby, then wandered off to find Hook & Eye on Albert St.  Catherine had mentioned it had a pretty good stock of haberdashery, and she wasn’t far wrong!  They had stacks of buttons, buckles, all sorts of elastics and miles of ribbons.  We also found some peacock feathers for Daughter no 2 for her prom dress – success!

Daughters 1&2 in Primani

Time for lunch, but on the way to Nando’s the girls spotted Primark….  The death knell to properly made clothes!!  It was the busiest shop I’d seen all morning – how sad is that!  Look at that basket – loaded with cheap t-shirts and shoes for £3 a pair.

Husband joined us for lunch and had the rest of the afternoon off, so we headed back to the arcade, and Tatler’s Fabrics!  Pam Austin is the owner, and the store has been there for 20 years!  They haven’t got a website, don’t seem to do email either, but she says she’s happy to send out samples if you phone.  The shop itself is pretty small, but there are lots of quality fabrics on the shelves, and at pretty good prices too.  Upstairs is a small workshop, where Pam runs sewing classes.  She limits the class to 5, and they are usually fully booked.  If you are interested in a class, pop in or call to leave your details.

Inside Tatler’s Fabrics, 2 The Strand Arcade, Derby
You can sit and browse the pattern catalogues, Tatler’s stock Burda and New Look patterns, so you can go home with fabric and pattern.
Cottons, viscose jerseys, linens and wools, colour co-ordinated and very well priced
Husband was very patient…

And so this is what I escaped with:

from left to right: 1.5m cotton and elastene grey twill, 1.2m red and white cotton sateen, 1.5m grey striped viscose jersey, 1.5m green and cream spot cotton, 3m cobalt blue and ecru floral print viscose. Heaven in a bag!

Now I just need to make it all up!  As I type, the twill, jersey, spots and blue florals are drying, the red is being washed on its own!  What to make??  The grey stripe twill will either be a pair of skinnies or a jacket for Daughter no 1, the red cotton is earmarked for a skirt or dress for Daughter no 2, the jersey is mine – I feel another Renfrew coming.  The green is for a top with Peter Pan collar for Daughter no 2 and the blue viscose will make a maxi-dress for Daughter no 1 and a blouse for me!

ps. That viscose is BEAUTIFUL!!  The colour is superb and the handling is fantastic. At first I thought it was a silk, until I checked the label.  An absolute steal at £7.95/m.  Yup, thats all!!  :O  Happy drooling folks, and get yourself off to Derby!

Tatler’s Fabric is at 2 The Strand Arcade, Derby, DE1 1BQ.  Phone 01332 293 853.

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!