Gold Lady Skater

IMG_3145Blog photo opportunities are hard to come by these days – I made this Lady Skater in March to fit in with the Stashbusting Sewalong theme of sewing with patterns we already have. I mean, I bought the fabric especially, because I only have one piece of jersey in my stash and it wasn’t big enough. Also, it was very hard to leave gold jersey in the shop. Stashbusting be damned!

I didn’t have anything to make a toile from (I could have toiled the bodice, but I am quite attached to that other bit of jersey and want to make a t-shirt from it), so I went for it and hoped for the best. The only modification I made was to lengthen the bodice by about 1-2″ – I just did this by continuing the size four side lines down to the end of the largest size. As I have a super long body, I thought this would be a prudent measure, but looking at the photos of the back in particular, I think I’ve gone overboard. I don’t think the back looks this bad in real life, because I normally slouch, and having seen this picture, I still love this dress.

IMG_3162Aside from that, I think the fit has turned out well. I have wrinkles above my boobs from the armpits, which I should probably investigate a bit more, but I’m sure I have them on all t-shirts, so I’m not that worried.

This is the comfiest thing I have ever worn, and I am really pleased that I got around to making this pattern up. I’ve found this is the perfect dress for most occasions – I can wear it at work, as a day dress or out in the evening. I don’t think this will be the last time I make it. It goes really well with my new rtw blazer, too.

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This skirt really strikes a cord with me…

Simplicity 1321 FrontI love red and I love corduroy, so it was no surprise that this bright red needlecord, 10 euros for three metres from Les Coupons de Saint Pierre in Paris, came home with me. I knew that I needed more separates in my wardrobe, so this was always destined to become a skirt of some kind.

These pictures do not do this skirt justice – it was difficult to get the colour to come through nicely in the photos, and the ones where you can see the detail also show up all the wrinkles. The seams are also a lot less bubbly in real life. This is what happens when you decide iPhone pictures will do because you can’t be bothered to find your camera.

I came home and browsed the pattern stash before finding Simplicity 1321, purchased in a sale about a year ago. I really liked the look of view A as it looked like a slightly more professional version of a short tweed kilt with combat pockets that I used to own. I obviously didn’t go down the originally planned route with my bright red skirt, but it’s important to know that there is always some sort of warped logic behind the sewing patterns I buy.

Simplicity 1321 BackAs I had three metres of the fabric, I decided to just try and pin fit it as I went, but after the initial pinning, it seemed to fit almost perfectly, so I didn’t bother making any adjustments. I was actually surprised that it fit so nicely without modifications as you use the same pieces for the front and back. I think I could stand to take about 1cm out of the seams across the back above my bum, but I think this is the level of detail that only I could care about or notice.

I’d imagined that it would sit a bit higher on my waist, and find myself tugging it up quite a bit, but I don’t think mine actually sits any lower than the models (I have an incredibly long body), and the shaping around the hips is nice as it sits now, so I just need to get used to it. Maybe I would take future versions in a bit.

Simplicity 1321 PatternYou may have noticed that view A of the pattern has some interesting tabs on each side. I made these, and then realised that I’d sewn them both for one side. I wasn’t really feeling the unpicking, or the thought of cutting another one out, so I’ve left them off this version. If I make the pattern again, I would include them, as they are utilitarian looking enough for me to not hate them, as I hate almost every decorative feature known to (hu)man.

Talking of making it again, I don’t think I would ever make any of the other variations of this pattern, because they are just far to fussy for my tastes (decorative features – *shudder*). However, I think this version is versatile enough that it could be made again with a few variations each time.

Previously Unblogged…

I’ve made a few things recently that I just haven’t really felt like modelling for blog pictures, all for different reasons, so I’ve saved them up and taken some rubbish pictures of them hanging on a wall. This exercise has led me to the conclusion that I should always make the effort to have photos taken of the clothes when I am inside them, because they look a bit sad on their own.

I haven’t blogged about this before because… I don’t think I like it

IMG_2843This is the Delphine skirt from Love at First Stitch, and I just don’t love it. It’s turned out a bit too big (I don’t know how – I made a toile), I’m a bit meh about the colour, and while I really like the exaggerated A line shape on other people, I’m not a fan of it on me.

Good things I will take from this are that I quite like the exposed zip, and the waistband will always be covered with a belt, so it won’t look quite so wrinkly. I will try and fit this into my wardrobe once the weather warms up (it rides up horrifically when I wear tights), so all is not lost.

IMG_2845Lessons learnt: I need to stop getting overexcited about finding fabric in unexpected places, and only buy the fabric if it’s a colour which I will wear.

I haven’t blogged about this before because… it’s the worlds most simple refashion

IMG_2848A few years ago I picked up a tunic in Uniqlo, but the length didn’t really do me any favours. I had a sudden spark of inspiration and shortened it to fit like a normal shirt. I considered taking it in a bit at the sides, but decided I liked it baggy. It is now the most worn thing in my wardrobe.

Lessons learnt: It’s amazing how a simple change can make such a difference with a refashion.

I haven’t blogged about this before because… makeup and pyjamas do not mix

IMG_2846I still had a fair bit of wax print fabric left after making my awesome tunic, and after much deliberation, I decided that croissantish print pyjama bottoms were the obvious and best choice. I used the pattern from Love at First Stitch, but this time I created an exposed turn-up on the hem because I was in that kind of mood. Let me tell you now – there is nothing better than coming home after a tough day at work and putting on breakfast themed loungewear.

These were made in January for my ‘make something every month’ challenge.

Lessons learnt: people who love lounging need loungewear. Lots of loungewear.

Do you blog everything you make? 

Much 70s, So Dress

_DSF7633I’ve set myself the realistic but still challenging goal of finishing one project each month in 2015. In January I made some pyjamas, which I have yet to blog about because blog photos mean makeup, but wearing pyjamas means no makeup, and I just don’t know what to do.

_DSF7585February’s project was much more makeup friendly! I found this wool twill in a local vintage shop and knew it would have to come home with me. Despite loving it, I couldn’t really work out what I wanted it to become. Eventually I realised I was overcomplicating things, and that I should just make a bloody A-line dress because that is exactly what I like to wear.

_DSF7618Out came the pattern from Dressing Chic Revisite les 70s which I have used previously for my birthday dress. I’m not sure if I’ve cut it out slightly inaccurately, or if I’ve traced the pattern inaccurately, but none of the seams at the waistband line up exactly with each other. Fortunately it’s incredibly hard to tell on this fabric, but I’ll probably retrace the pattern if I use it again.

_DSF7609While I’m happy with how this has turned out, I do think I could do a bit more work on the fitting of the bodice in future versions. The neck gapes when I stand in some positions (most of my awkward photography poses). I think this is partly the shape of it, but might I need a slight full bust adjustment? I also have a problem with the bust darts. Despite careful pressing, they do seem a little pointy. This is an issue I have with the orange dress, too, so I wonder if I need to reposition them slightly. Does anyone have any suggestions?

_DSF7586Because I’d made the dress before, I felt confident enough to push my skills slightly. It has a lining, which is a first for me, and the invisible zip is actually invisible! I’m feeling quite proud of myself. I didn’t bother pattern matching, because I didn’t think there was a very obvious repeat when it was laid out on the floor. It looks a lot more obvious on the dress, but I’m not concerned.

I’d been noticing the lack of handmade winter clothes for a while, so it was great to add this number to my wardrobe. I can see it getting a lot of wear in the next month or so.

Do you manage to make clothes for every season, or only for the ones you like?

Using Evernote to Track my Sewing Stash

Always keen to jump on a bandwagon, I have signed up for a spot of stashbusting in 2015. I don’t have a massive stash, but I also don’t have very much space for it, so it needs close monitoring. At the start of January it was full.

Despite being the owner of all those glorious glorious fabrics and patterns, I was struggling to decide what I wanted to sew, so I decided that the first thing I should do was document what I had. I’ve experimented with doing this in Excel in the past, but using it on my Mac makes me furious because none of Windows keyboard shortcuts work.

After a bit of a browse of the stashbusting Facebook page, I settled on Evernote. Pro tip: if you want to do the same, you’re probably going to have to sign up for a pro account as there’s a limit to how much you can upload in a month – those pictures take up space. Screen Shot 2015-01-31 at 20.22.53First of all, I took photos of all the fabrics in my stash, and then set up a notebook in Evernote to store this information. For each piece of fabric, I created a new note, where I entered the picture, as well as the size, and any other useful information I could think of. I also included tags with the size, colour and fabric type. You can search by tags, which makes it easy to find only pieces which are 2m for example. There is text recognition within pictures, but I think this is only available if you upgrade to pro membership. I took out a subscription for a year for £35.

Then I did the same with my patterns, which took ages, because apparently they are my hoard of choice. I took pictures of the front and back of the envelopes, and tagged them based on what type of garment they were; whether I had made them previously; whether they were for woven or knit fabrics; and whether they were paper patterns, pdfs or from a book. Screen Shot 2015-01-31 at 20.27.46 One negative which I noticed about Evernote is that you can’t choose which picture from your note appears in the thumbnail. As you can see, in the picture above the chosen picture for the Simplicity patterns is the back of the envelope. I tried to find a way around it, but without success. It’s very easy to flick between notes though, so I don’t think I’m that upset.

The final notebook I created was for sewing plans. Looking through the stash had left me full of ideas, which all needed to be recorded before they escaped my brain. I copied the pictures of the fabrics and the patterns I wanted to use into more notes, posted to this notebook. Screen Shot 2015-01-31 at 20.35.31 I’m really pleased with this new method of organisation, especially since it will be easy to access from my phone, too. I can update each note easily, so there will be no problem in making changes to the remaining lengths of fabric.

How do you keep your stash organised? Share your knowledge!! Organisation is power!!