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.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Flower Box Dress

Jumping with Sartorial Joy

This is the Flower Box Dress as it's flowery and has box pleats, sort of.  I saw a project on Burdastyle called The Imperfect Alice Dress, by member wonderlandalys and thought it looked great, and with the weather getting warmer it would be nice to have a new sun dress.
She had used Butterick B5317, so I purchased the pattern online for about £8 then set to work making a bunch of other stuff...ah to bethe kind of person who can stick to one project at a time... But then womderlandalys posted a new variation; The Love Letter Dress and I decided to get on with my own version.

Well the pattern is easy enough, but I find patterns very tricky.  I was musing over it as I was sewing everything together wrongly- when you have made up your own pattern there is no right and wrong as you're just making it up, and at the end of the process you can decide whether you like it or not.  Although this method does often lead to a lot of 'nots' it can be less demoralising than using a proper pattern, which often works out better but may have a list of 25 steps to follow.  That's 25 (at least) things to do right, and ways to go wrong.  And I did go wrong many times- not helped by the fact that my fabric is the same front and back so I kept mixing my pattern pieces up, and sewing back to front and left to right.

But my biggest mistake came right at the start, although I didn't realise until right at the end (of part one as it turned out) I picked the wrong size pattern to cut out, doh! I looked at the size guide and it told me my waist was a 10, and my hips were an 18- which didn't seem quite right to me!  But then I realised that Butterick is American and there sizes are numbered bigger to UK sizes to their 14 would be our 10, and since Im usually a 10 I'll cut that out.  Well the pattern people must have thought ahead, or have a UK section, or not be American at all because quite clearly the finished dress was 2 sizes too big.  So I had to unpick it all, cut the pieces down to the right size, then resew. 

With all the extra sewing the pulling apart the fabric took a bit of a battering and I started to go a bit insane.  I started to hate the sight of the flowers, and pink, and my sewing maching...and was worried after all the extra work I would have something I didn't actually like.  But, thankfully, a good nights sleep- and a trip to the shop to get a zip- cured all ills and I really like it.  It's not perfect; it's coming apart a little here and there but just superficially and considering the tortured way the pieces got cut out and resewed I'm actually really pleased.   I have bought some blue upolstery fabric and blue jersey to make the dress again, I think it will look totally different.  

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Giraffe Pencil Skirt

Another pencil skirt, but decided to spice it up with some animal print.  I made a cute bag from cow print fabric my sister had bought and dsicarded several years ago, and then I stole.  And got all animal print frenzied and bought some giraffe.  I used the same pattern from before (check my other posts) and used polyester giraffe print fabric and cream cheapo lining fabric.  I spent a little bit more than I normally do on the fabric (£7.45 per meter plus postage) but its still a skirt for less than a tenner.  It was easy and quick to make, and is slightly too tight like all good pencil skirts (but who needs to sit down?).

 I was planning to wear it with a black top or vest but I tried it on with my new pink shirt (which also rocks, I watched too many stylediet videos on youtube and was informed that pink is good for my complexion, and she was wearing a pink shirt so I bought one) and enjoyed it quite a lot. :)

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Cow Cross Bag

I have some cute little clutch bags and little bags that require 'holding', in the sense of constant, conscious effort to carry them around.  Although I don't go out on the town super often I have been thinking it would be nice to have a bag of a similar size to a clutch but with a long strap to wear across my body so I dont have to carry a bag, and a drink, and wave my hands in the air like I just dont care all at the same time. :)

I had made some little practise bags with cos fabric on the outside (from when my sister, as a teenager, had wanted a cow print mini skirt but never made) and an old Debenhams work shirt for the lining, but without zip or strap.  So I made up a new one.

Et Voila:

They're super easy to make- as a purse or simple bag.  Decide how big you want your bag- for example 10cm x 10cm- and cut out two pieces in your outer fabric this size and two the same in your lining.  Then place a lining piece face up, the zip on top (lined up with the top edge of your lining), then a piece of outer fabric face down on top of that.  So you have a zip sandwich, but you shouldn't be able to see the zip :) It can be confusing to work out what should go where and which way up so pin the zip in place then flip the outer fabric over and see how it looks.  Then sew in place, then do the same for the other side of the zip. 

Then open the zip (this is important for later on).  Then move both pieces of outer fabric to one side, and the lining to the other and sew around the edges of each (the fabric will be right sides together for this).  But leave a 2" gap at the bottom of one of the side seams in the lining.   If you want any kind of strap now's the time to put it in.   For the shoulder strap on my bag above I left two gaps in the tops of the side seams in the outer fabric then I fed the strap through these holes (remember your bag is inside out as you sew it so you need to push you strap through to the other side which will become the outside) so only the very ends were visible and then sewed them into the seams. 

Now use the hole you left in the lining to turn the bag inside out, and then put the lining inside the bag.  And it should all look pretty and finished off.   You can either hand sew the hole in the lining or just leave it if its not too noticable.  But for a purse you may find money disappearing into the lining occasionally!

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Stripey Crops

Well still working on my remnant bin score of many weeks ago (had a rather busy week last week that thwarted any sewing attempts) but did managed to finish off a few of the niggly little projects that were waiting around and causing me annoyance, although Im sure Ill find new things to fix/further mess up on them eg my pink flowery dress which looks so nice in pictures and is actually a little unwearable in real life owing to all these pesky ribs I have has now been hemmed along the bottom but my brown bias binding has just arrived meaning Ill be adding that sometimes soon.

Anyway, my latest creation is a pair of green stripey cropped trousers that Im in love with.  I used the trouser block I had made myself but made short trouser.  The block worked well up to a point, but the basic trousers produced needed a lot of altering.  I'm very pleased with my crotch*, but the legs needed to be taken in several inches- I think full length trousers would have handled the wide leg look better but not for crops.  The fabric also has some stretch to it, which I didn't realise until I had made the trousers (that's just how good I am!) so I was able to pull them on and off with need for a zip. 

So I added a waistband- with the fabric going in a different direction the waistband had no stretch to it (doh) so had to be yanked on and off.  I'm not sure if the top was too big for me before this or a result of this but I quickly realised there was serious gaping at the back.  Also the back of the trousers sits much lower than the front- so I clearly need to change my pattern to have a higher back in the paper version which will produce a level back and front when wearing the fabric version. 

I unpicked the crotch and added a short zip which is enough to allow me to get them on, and the waist band still looks nice, I added a press stud to fasten it but have yet to cover that up with a button (they are defo not finished, just like everything else).  But once on they remain to big and I think Ill have to take them in at the sideseams which means unpicking the waistband and side seams.  So for now they are held up by safety pins!

My next creations- should these ever get finished- will be a grotesque wedding dress styled for an alternative wedding party for the weekend of the royal wedding and inspired by My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding which Ive not watched but seen pictures.  And a nice spring/summer box pleat dress using a Butterick pattern after I saw someone else finished product on Burdastyle recently and felt inclined to copy them.  I also want to make box pleat shorts, and more cropped trousers...

*uh oh there's one for the blooper reel!