Wednesday, 17 November 2010

addiction to pattern buying..

Worryingly I realised the other day that it is less than 5 weeks since I first looked idly at the vintage patterns on ebay.. I am astonished that I could have accumulated so many patterns since then and slightly horrified! This realisation has prompted me to try and focus on which ones I should actually try to make rather then just collecting more. I have to try and move the satisfaction from buying them to making them!

So...a plan (I do enjoy making plans)

Firstly someone I know will be getting a silky lingerie set for Christmas and so I am going to make one for myself first to test it. I will be making the Madeliene mini bloomers from Collette Patternsas they are so cute! (and a free pattern-OK so this isn't exactly working with my stash!) and I will frankenpattern a top from a combination of two lingerie patterns from my stash. I might also add a short skirt slip if I can find the elastic, I was going to use the simplicity pattern but I've just noticed Gertie's amazing tutorial so I shall probably use that instead.

A request from my other flatmate is also a little overdue, Charlotte wants a Glee dress, based on the black dresses with white bows they wear to sing Hello Hello

Luckily I have a current pattern that should do nicely, Simplicity 2417. I bought it after Green Apples made the long cardigan from it, and I have had the purple jersey sat around for months! So that is also definitely on the list as well.

The Glee dress should be reasonably straightforward-the bow is probably going to be the problem, getting it the correct shape and stiff enough. I think I'm going to make it detachable, mainly for washing purposes. Charlotte looked a little horrified by the pattern-the print on the picture is insanely loud and quite hideous but I reassured her with the line drawing!

Halloween (slightly late!)

So, its a little late for my Halloween costume dramas, but never mind. This year I was determined to make better costumes than normal due to having a working sewing machine, last year I had only just bought it and about 3 hours of battling with inexplicable tension and thread tangling issues and trying to sew difficult fabric left me seriously drained and I didn't touch the thing for months afterwards! This year after weeks of consideration, I decided to be a scary weeping angel from Dr Who (scaring myself slightly just at the thought of it!). I had also in a reckless moment suggested I could make my flatmate Lindseys's foxy Maid Marian from Disney's Robin Hood dress.

So far so good, I had had a look through my (already ridiculous-more on that later) pattern stash, and discovered that my Simplicity 9559 which I had though was a bit of an error was actually perfect for both costumes, with a few alterations (lower neck on Lindsey's, much baggier on mine, both floor length). We went to the shop and bought some nice lilac cotton and fur, and were a bit stuck due to the lack of availability of light grey until Lindsey remembered she had some old sheets she was going to throw out and I could just dye one-perfect!

Then the drama began, Firstly I proved that my understanding of fabric dye is very limited. I tried some black dye on the sheet, aiming to take it out too quickly to get grey. This did not work, it quickly became clear that the sheets were a) too dark after about 30 seconds, and b) more blue than grey. FAIL. I congratulated myself on having only dyed one and decided that the colour was actually quite nice and I would just make it into something else later.

So next day, I reasoned that as I wasn't going to be wearing this again, or washing it, I could try some paint I had instead, SUCCESS! I got an off grey with artistic and helpful smudges on it.

I also then made myself some wings (structure) by cutting out two double wing with back bit shapes out of some really big bits of card that my friend Aaron gave me years ago when he moved, and stapled them together slightly held apart with bubble wrap so that they would stand out from my back. I then stapled on some canvas straps to hold them on, and added some additional "wingy" shape with more bubble wrap.

Now being slightly cocky, I then decided that once I'd tissue fitted Lindsey's bodice, I'd pretty much done everything and the actual sewing could be done on the day. This was not very clever of me.

So the day comes and I (after mooching about and wasting most of the day) start Lindsey's dress about 4pm (for a party staring at 9...hmm). Its all going fairly well, until we try the bodice on and the darts are all wonky. Great. so I fix them as best I can and quickly start to realise that the I've not left nearly enough time to finish hers let alone mine, so all interior finishing goes immediately out of the window, along with skirt fittings etc. I sew like a madmen (failing miserably to hide my panic from Lindsey who is making her ears) and throw the thing together (including almost 20 min unpicking the skirt side seam I've sewn inside out-definitely a case of more haste less speed!) and miraculously it all looks pretty good! . Together with her great furry ears, hastily hemmed veil and AMAZING makeup she looked incredible!

So that's great, only by now its about half 7, my costume is still a pair of stapled together wings covered in tape and a painted sheet and I'm panicking! Luckily during the mad sewing I've decided to not bother with any darts on mine, just make it baggy, and make the skirt a wrap to avoid any further side seam drama! So I chop out a massive bodice and sew the thing together. Then whilst my friend Anna used the machine to put her  wasp costume together I did the world's quickest and worst single layer printer paper paper mache job on the wings so that I could paint over the tape. half and hour in the airing cupboard was followed by the worst ever paint job (seriously it looked like a 5 year old had done it!). Then all that was needed was for Anna and Lindsey to attack the wings with a hair dryer whilst I covered myself in body paint and toxic hairspray (thanks guys for all your help-I couldn't have done it without you!)
Here is me doing my scary angel attack.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Arthur Ransome skirt

I went to the  lake district on a great road trip with friends a couple of weeks ago, and I suddenly realized that I didnt have any clothes that were suitable for a chilly October in the outdoors (even though we weren't  going to climb any mountains). therefore I decided (very late) to make something. My views on the lake district are pretty much all based on the Swallows and Amazons books by Arthur Ransome, so I clearly wanted something slightly retro and yet intensely practical, what would the amazons wear? I decided to hack up a blue wool skirt I had got from a charity shop. It was pretty simple, as it was a bit small I cut the waistband and top 8 inches off and made a new waistband and put a new zip in, and tapered the sides in to make it flare. The whole thing ended up as a shortish A-line that was very cozy for taking boat rides.

Sadly I didnt take a before picture, but it was a long straightish skirt that was 2 sizes too small.

I wore it with a fine woolley jumper, thick bright wool tights and shiny patent (but very practical) shoes.

Here is the skirt in my room (very creasy as I took it out of the washing basket for the picture) and here I am wearing it at the Pencil Factory in Keswick.

My charity shop addiction

Since realizing I can cut things up and remake them. I have become completely obsessed with charity shops. I literally cant walk past one now, much to my friends' amusement/despair. I now therefore have a substantial stash of things that I mean to alter, and which I have not got round to touching. The things I have managed to alter have mainly been skirts, which look the same once I've changed them, just slightly smaller! I have altered a summer dress but it is a bit too low and too wide so it needs further work..(currently in the wash so no photo available).

So I thought I would display some of my stash, in the hope it shames me into doing something with it!
These shapeless skirts are both pretty fabrics so will get made into some pretty dresses one day (promise!).

I love silky tops, but due to the boobs can never manage to find one that remotely fits, so I found this top, which is actually a brighter blue than this looks and is beautifully soft. I haven't yet worked out exactly what to do with it, but there's plenty of fabric.

This is a lovely jersey skirt I found, which is completely unwearable as it flaps open at the front like a sarong. But the fabric is great, so I shall have to cut it up.

And the creme de la creme... the babydoll muumuu

This is probably the least flattering and bizarre garment ever conceived, it flares from above the boobs,
and then flares out to almost an entire circle. Hideous! But the fabric is a lovely orange with little white flowers, and will make a great skirt.

Hmmm, where to start...

Well I guess I have to start somewhere, I should say that whilst I have a reasonable working knowledge of sewing, mainly from watching my mum, I haven't actually managed to make much so far. Hence this blog, which will hopefully motivate me to start (and more importantly finish!) projects.

So far my main achievement has been a silky dressing gown (which I wear all the time). I cut it off a pair of pajamas, which meant that the neckline is really odd at the shoulders but luckily this is not that obvious when I'm wearing it.

(sorry about the lack of my head, I seem to be chronically incapable of looking half reasonable in photographs!)

Its main flaw is the belt, which slips terribly, I'm not really sure how to fix this. Plus I didn't clip my seam allowances, so the seams are all really heavy. Still you live and learn!