Thursday, 31 March 2011

"Sack to slinky" dress refashion

At last-the slump is broken! Admittedly not with any of the many UFOs I have been avoiding, but with a new refashion I bought last week, but nevertheless! And its even navy and white so it fits with my Spring Palette!

The dress (£2.50 from Shelter) was about 3 sizes too big, and really shapeless. It was a "killer" combination of squared necked shapeless smocked elasticated bodice with an over large tulip skirt (and lets face it, those are only flattering if they fit). But the fabric is really cute, with white outlined flowers on navy, and it had nice pin tucks and buttons on the otherwise underwhelming bodice!

As you can see, the original dress, was a misshapen sack that bore very little resemblance to my figure. Massive round the waist, no bust definition, weird baggy back where the smocking kicks in (very tight round the top and bottom, huge in the middle-sorry no picture of this wonderful detail) and no indication of where my waist or hips would even be. And the neckline sits in a very odd place and makes the whole thing just look weird.

Flattering huh. I look like I weigh about 3 stone more than I do!

Luckily though it was very easy to fix! Firstly I just undid the top button and folded down each side to make it a lovely curve v-neck. I then pinned out some pleats under the bust, along the line of the existing princess seams which led to the existing front pleats, so they are now bigger. I also took 2 inches off each side and did an odd scooped tuck out of the centre back to make it less poofy.

The end result is a little tricky getting it on and off, and a little tight under the arms when I reach forward, but otherwise I love it! I shall be wearing it this weekend down in London with my beautiful friends Shrob, Sarah and Sally. Clearly, as has been proved before, there is nothing like a self imposed out of nowhere deadline to make me do some sewing!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Sorry I've been being rubbish!

For some reason the last few weeks I have been really demotivated, in pretty much all parts of my life. So not really any sewing (or anything else) has been happening at all. But as the sun has been coming out this week, I am determined to pull myself together and get going again.

I suffered a slight set back with the shifting skies skirt as I inadvertently sewed the french seamed ruffles on all cock-eyed so the whole stupid thing is massively crooked. I shall have a unpick quite large amounts....(this is possibly a cause of my "can't face starting again problem"!)

But I shall get going and make something, I have drifted long enough!

In more cheery news, I had been contemplating dying a beige trench coat I found in Newlook as I have always fancied a bright coloured trench; but the thing never fit me right and I wasn't sure how the fabric would take the dye. Making a coat is totally beyond me right now (particularly given the motivation situation!) but the day was saved (and many of my pounds) by my finding a trench that was already bright pink in a charity shop for £3.99! Hilariously this coat was also by Newlook but not this season, and theoretically a size 16 (which I don't believe for a second as it fits my shoulders.. ) so it does up across my chest! I shall have to take about 3 inches off each side seam at the waist so that it isn't such a sack, even with the belt, but this should be pretty easy! I am also toying with taking the buttons off so it wont be double breasted. Now I just have to remember to take the other one back!

Even more excitingly, I have realised a life long dream to have brightly painted front door. I hate how doors are traditionally either white or some boring dark Victorian colour. Our flat door was a very chipped and grubby white with horrible stick on numbers. After not getting round to it for months (if not years) me and Charlotte went to Homebase and got some bright blue paint mixed (we loved the Dulux mixing machine a lot!) and then painted it! I also put on a shiny new number 5.

Here is door, taken as part of Charlotte's 365 photo project. It's sooo jolly-it cheers me up every time I see it!

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Other changes to my Spring Palette - the " shifting skies skirt"

As I am re jigging my Spring Palette, I am also going to have to not make the Chuck dress just yet. I just cant face another hardcore pattern altering session and a shirtwaist dress is just going to be too much. But it will be next on the list! Instead I am making another skirt, partially to replace the circle skirt that the Wildflower skirt didn't get to become as I didn't have enough material! I was inspired by this week's theme on the Sew Weekly, which is Local Colour - basically to make a garment inspired by your local environment. I was interested to see what Debi would make based on Edinburgh but she is away this week, so I decided to make something. I'm not sure how well it is going (it was the thing annoying me yesterday, but its better now!) so I am going to keep a little quiet about it for now, but its going to feature the gone wrong dyed cotton sheet from my Halloween costume and 7m of navy lining. Here is a peek at progress so far.

Slight adjustments to my Spring Palette- the refashioned "I no longer hate hemming" skirt

I promise I have been working on my Spring Palette, but various stuff what with seeing people and doing essays has meant that it has all slipped a bit. Plus, several projects have just been winding me up! Accordingly I have some adjustments to make to my plan.

The flowery jersey skirt refashion is not going well, for some reason it just wont behave and I keep adjusting it and the rage is getting greater! Currently it just looks like a misshapen sack with an inexplicable hem. So it is being put to one side until I am calmer!

However-I have a replacement! I was wandering through the charity shops on my way home (its so dangerous!) and spotted a lovely white skirt with turquoise flowers in a nice slightly cheeseclothy cotton, with a built in soft underskirt. Perfect! It was however too large in general and ankle length. It was actually quite nice ankle length but I would never have worn it, I find long skirts make me feel like a hippo, no matter what the mirror says! Sadly I didn't take any pictures of me wearing the original that came out, they were all weirdly flashy (I took them near a mirror and it didn't work). However, here is a shot that shows the skirt as I altered it, and the bit I took off the bottom so you can see.

I just took an even amount off it all round, cutting through both the outer skirt and inner. and it hangs beautifully and the hem was perfectly even first time! Result -(and a nice change after the stupid jersey one!). I also took a few inches out of the waist and side seam so it fit.

I wouldn't generally wear it with my shirt tucked as it sits a little low for that to be very flattering but I did so the whole skirt was visible. I like that it looks nice with tights and without, a good versatile spring skirt!

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Oooh-pretty clothes coming

Also, I had forgotten to say, walking along George Street (Edinburgh) this weekend with my (newly architectural qualified) friend Rebecca, I noticed they are opening an Anthropologie shop! Such clothes inspiration opportunities!

slight sewing rage..

Sorry about the lack of posting this week, I have actually been working on something that I meant to have half finished to show today, but I have made practically no progress as I got so enraged with myself, my machine and sewing in general due to two factors

a) that despite having just sewn 9 beautiful seams, my machine failed 6 times in a row to sew the 10th, identical seam. It just keeps chewing it up and getting tangled. ARGHHHH! I shall try again later with different tension and a new needle.

b) I inexplicably cut a far too large hole in the middle of a circle skirt so that it is now too short and you could fit an elephant through (facepalm!). I dont know what I was thinking. Luckily it was only very cheap material and I have more. But still, not a very motivational moment.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

foray into millinery -hat refashion

I made a hat! Well, I altered one. I went to my lovely friend Brenda's birthday party and the theme was hats! I didn't have any very exciting hats so I decided to make one. Now I haven't got any hat making expertise so I pretty much made it up as I went along.

The hat I started with was a very floppy wide brimmed 70s style sun hat I bought years ago very cheap and have never worn, as the floppiness makes it look stupid and its very hard to wear. Here is a (terrible-I really seem to be incapable of smiling normally in photographs!) picture of me wearing it before I started.

I didnt have a particular era in mind for the hat, but I wanted it to only have a brim at the front and to be asymmetric and pull down to cover one eye. (I think this is based on all the historical literature I have read where the feisty heroine always has a hat that seems to meet that general description!)

To get this effect, I basically cut the back half of the brim off, and put it over the front making two layers.  I also put a small fold in the top layer at the highest point in the brim to add stiffness. I stuck them together with super glue and sewed through each layer with black thread, making sure the edges wouldn't fray and the whole thing wouldn't fall apart. I then weaved some thin wire through the under layer to make it stiffer. I think I should have put more wire in as it did tend to sag over the evening and I had to keep reshaping the brim so I could see!

Once I had done this I put a black ribbon round it, finishing the ends into a stylistic bow.

I wasn't at all sure it was going to work, but I love it! It is far less of a joke hat than I anticipated, and looks far less homemade. If I were to wear it agin (not to a joke hat party) I might have to do a little more finishing, and be a bit more brave, but it is definitely a possibility!

Friday, 4 March 2011

Ridiculous things I have made in the past -part 3

I have handed in my essay! yay! so am now free again. Just thought I would include in this series my first upholstery project, which(again) is a ridiculous architecture thing. In a project where I was exploring "boundary" and mapping different elements of Cadiz together to make a "zone of boundary" rather than just a line, I made this bizarre upholstered thing. There is wood and bent wire inside it, and it was over an metre long. I pinched out all the seams and then sewed them on a machine I borrowed from my friend Dave. Frankly I quite enjoyed it, but it was quite difficult! It was also quite fragile by the time it was done, so by the time I took this picture it was starting to fall apart.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Ridiculous things I have made in the past -part 2

Well, continuing the lack of sewing due to learning about international debates on climate change, here is some more high concept (or silly, depending on your view!) designing from my architecture course. For my final project I designed a series of houses/shops for small businesses (ok that's the first time I have ever described it so prosaically!) based along a unlikely shopping street pushed through a half abandoned and demolished area of Cadiz in Spain. My favourite of these (mainly as I really enjoyed doing the research for it!) was the house and workshop of a corset maker. The house was fitted onto a tiny thin site (and expanded over an open courtyard behind at a higher level and was anchored through the centre by long metal supports that acted as stair supports and also a wardrobe for all the corsets!