Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Crepe Sew Along - fabric and measurements

So what do you think of my fabric choices for Gertie's Crepe Sew Along? I was split between two but the zebra pattern with red belt won the day. It will go super well with my gorgeous red shoes!

The sew along is due to kick-off next week and quite looking forward to it. I had so much fun sewing along with my Lady Grey, not to mention everything I learned. With the crepe sew along I'm particulary looking forward to learn how to fit a bodice properly (on dresses I've done so far they are always a bit too big) and on using organza to stay a neckline.

So this week I'll be tracing off the pattern. I got used to doing this and now cringe at the thought of cutting the pattern directly. To be honest it's annoying sometimes and I might need to learn how to "let go" of a uncut pattern.

Size chart and my own measurements don't match quite well:

Bust: 32 inc
Waist: 27 inc
Hip 34.5 inc
My waist is the culprit ;)

Because this is a dress I think size 0 will be the best option. What do you think?

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Progress on Winter Dress

Working on my Winter Dress Project and now stuck and in need of help! Started last week by cutting all my fabric pieces but couldn't start sewing as I ran out of black thread. Placed an order online and I'm now stocked so started sewing yesterday. Was very anxious as it's my first time sewing with corduroy but have to say it hasn't been bad. I had to zig zag all the raw edges because corduroy ravels like crazy. It also sheds some "fluff" which is now everywhere. I decided on some design changes. My initial though was to insert sleeves, after all it's a winter dress. But when I gave it a bit more thought I realised it wouldn't make a difference as even with sleeves the dress wouldn't be warm enough for me to wear in winter. So I decided to do the sleeveless version and use it with a nice close fitting jumper underneath. Because I want to keep it simple I'm not doing the collar either. The princess seams were fairly easy to sew. They are a bit of a nightmare but with care and attention it works out fine. I also had to chop off 11 inches from bottom as it looked like I was out of the Little House on the Prairie 80s TV series.  This is what I have so far:

I've constructed most of the dress, attached the lining, finished neck seams and have the back seam and invisible zipper to do plus finish the lining in the armholes. And this is where I'm truly stuck and in dire need of help. I have found several tutorials on how to attach lining to sleeveless armholes but a) they are all in fabrics less bulky than corduroy and b) all have the side seams still open. I have thought of a way to do it but would love to finish it the right way, if that makes sense. Below are Sew Magazine instructions for the armholes and it's gibberish to me. I have read it countless times and have not yet made sense of it. I am sure it means something very simple and once I crack it I'll be like...duhhh!! But for now I'm truly stuck, so if someone knows about this or can make sense of the below please leave a comment or email me at : suzysewingblog[at]yahoo[dot]co[dot]uk. Thank you!

Friday, 26 November 2010

Vogue patters on my way!

After reading this blog post by Julia from Sew Curvy Corsetry  and learning that Vogue was having a 50% off sale on all patterns I couldn't resist to take a peek at Jaycotts website and... the rest is history.

I got these two blouse/shirt patterns, Vogue 8476 and Vogue 8557. I was undecided so ended up getting both.

Nothing out of the ordinary but I quite like this Vogue 8295 skirt so ordered it too. I think what made it for me was the wide waistband and the fact the skirt seems to sit quite high at waist. I used to hate high waisted stuff when I was younger but love it nowadays and don't have that much of it.

Next is Vogue 1092. I looove the sleeves in this suit and liked the overall look with buttons et all.

I order two patterns from vintage section. The first is this beauty, Vogue 8615, which Gertie has sewn and looks amazing. Hope I could do a good job with it.

And I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am with this lovely Vogue 1044. This is the one I might tackle first (after my corduroy dress and the sew along). I have high, high plans for it and already have fabric chosen. Literally so excited with it I might start it before I finish the other ones.

Do you have experience sewing any of these and have any useful tips and advice? Would love to hear them :)

Monday, 22 November 2010

My first Blog Award

I'm very chuffed at having received my first blog award. Whilst blogging in itself is not new to me, this blog is new and so are my adventures in sewing. Therefore I was extra happy and honoured to having received it.

The lovely Lady Cherry awarded me this award and I have to say, if you're not already following her two amazing blogs, make sure you start today. At Lady Cherry Loves you get a taste of vintage, from fashion, movies and style icons. Baking, Making and Creating is all about...baking, making and creating! Thank you very much Lady Cherry!

To accept I need to nominate 15 blogs and let them know. So here we go (in no particular order):

Butterflies and Hurricanes
So, Zo
Tea, Love & Anarchy
Temperamental Broad
Enamorada de la Moda Vintage
House of Marmalade
Sailorettes, Love and Rock n'Roll
The Sewing Directory
Welsh Pixie
The Fabric Loft
The Naked Seamstress
Wearing History

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Fabric Scraps Sewing

I have always been a bit of a hoarder so naturally when I started sewing I also started accumulating lots and lots of fabric scraps which I just can't bear to throw away. A few weeks ago I decided I need to sew some little things and reduce this scrap stash. The photos below are what I managed to do. Most of it is black as that seems to be the one colour I mostly have scraps in.

A cushion cover with a tutorial given to me by The Thrifty Stitcher:

A coin purse. The result at the 3rd attempt. Free drawing a simple pattern should be easy but I kept getting it wrong.
 A random little heart:

A fabric hamper taken by the latest issue of SewHip Magazine

I have to confess that I get a little bored by sewing little things. My big sewing passion is definitely clothing :)

I'll leave you with a photo of my brand new fabric cabinet. Was empty at this stage but it's now full of gorgeous fabric in my sewing area. And guess what? It still has space for more fabric. I better hide the plastic ;)

Monday, 15 November 2010

Trousers drama conclusion

You might be aware of my recent attempt to make a nice pair of sailor trousers with Burda 8488. That didn't go very well. One of the legs was twisting backwards and the inner seam laid almost on the front of the trousers. I decided to pop along The Thrifty Stitcher SOS sewing surgery  in London to try and figure out what was wrong with them and find out if I could save them. The afternoon was wonderful. CL was an absolute star in helping me, not only with trousers but with other things too. I highly recommend The Thrifty Stitcher for sewing classes and drop ins, it was my second visit and I know I'll be back. Back to the trousers then. Even before I went down to London the wonderful Bea from Butterflies and Hurricanes suggested that the fabric might have been off grain but I thought that would not be possible as I had cut both leg pieces together and only one leg was twisting. I was wrong and she was right. CL explained to me that probably because I've done all my cutting in the (carpet) floor, the lower layer probably shifted slightly as I've cut it. We set to work (CL teaching and me listening and trying to absorb) on altering the pattern to a slimmer fit (I originally wanted this as the legs are way too wide) and trying to ensure the pieces could be re-cut on a straighter grain.
Back home I left it for a while  as I was a bit anxious it wouldn't work but it did. I managed to re-cut on  a straighter grain and actually have wearable trousers...but... I don't like how they look on me. They're still too wide and worst of all too big on me. I decided to not use the original bib design and put some belt loops to help secure them to my hips with a bit more shape but that failed as well. I have photo evidence so you can see for yourself.

With my Lady Grey coat on they don't look so bad:

But without a coat on top it's a bit of a disaster:

Apologies for the quality of photos. Winter evenings are not great for natural lighting photography. Also excuse my bare face. I receive some news from home that my grandmother is unwell so decided to avoid makeup today.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

A new Sew-Along

So Gertie announced a new Sew-Along, this time aimed at beginners using the Colette Crepe wrap dress pattern. When I initially read about it I decided not to take part for a number of different reasons:
a) The dress is very cute but I'm not mad about it.
b) I really do not wear dresses that often. 
c) For the times I want to wear a dress I usually end up being cold. Having grown up in a place where summer is equivalent to 30 Celsius plus, the average British summer of 20 to 25 Celsius doesn't feel hot  enough. (I know there where some very hot days this year). 
d) I also thought that having done the Lady Grey, which is more advanced, a beginner sew along would be silly. Very stupid thought, I know, but I did have it for a few minutes.

However, and coming to the point of this post, I have changed my mind and decided to join the sew along because I'm really a beginner and could use with constructing a more simple garment with the right techniques and support from start. I've done a couple of dresses already but even though they are totally wearable they're not exactly perfect.

So my next step was to fret about the fabric. I decided to use a existing stash fabric but changed my mind after as I  have it saved for a very specific project. I decided against cotton lawn as I want to be able to use the dress in spring with some tights, however I'm undecided on two fabrics. I actually spent most of last evening thinking this out and took ages to fall asleep.

I ordered the pattern from Sewbox who also has some gorgeous cotton lawn available, if you inclined that way. 

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

A trip to London

I’m still over the moon at my new Lady Grey Coat. I wore it today for work and got some very nice compliments. I think my favourite was my manager who very politely apologized before saying the coat did not look “home made”. I thinks that’s a brilliant comment and nothing to apologize there. I also got some very nice comments from you all. Thank you so much!

Last Saturday I went up to London and had a few hours to kill before my SOS sewing dropin with The Trifty Stitcher (that lovely afternoon will be covered in a separate, future post). 
Despite the fact I lived in London for almost 6 years, I had no knowledge of fabric and haberdashery shops and the only vintage shops I knew were the one in places like Brick Lane. Because I only started sewing in June this year (already out of London) I never looked for it. I always had a keen interest in fashion and vintage but lived that via photography and shopping ready made clothing and magazines. I asked around in Twitter for recommendations and CL shared with me (thank you) two little haberdashery and fabric shops in Broadway Market, Hackney, so I set along to find these little gems. I do apologise for the lack of photos. I did take my camera but Broadway Market is quite busy and, to be very honest, I couldn't be bothered to take my camera out. 

Fabrications is a cute small haberdashery/thrift/vintage shop with so many little things to explore it’s easy to spend an hour rummaging through the bundle bags. There are boxes with little bags full of things like vintage buttons, fasteners, trims. Even vintage fabrics and Liberty swatches. Prices start at £1 per bag. Quite good, I think. They do very nice cushions too! I was a good girl and contained myself having only bought a £5 bag of beautiful burgundy trim. If you’re out and about in east London I recommend you visit this little gem.

Our Patterned Hand (couldn't find a official link to the store) is set in the same busy market road and sells some haberdashery, sewing patterns and fabrics. Upon entering I was “greeted” with the most amazing Harris Tweeds and lusted after them for quite some time. The other fabric choices are not to be ignored either. The layout of the store is fantastic and the selection doesn’t feel overwhelming. Needless to say, if you go to Fabrication you should pop to Our Patterned Hand too.

As I still had some time to kill, I decided to pop over to Dalston Mill fabrics, having read on their website that they have a vaster choice of fabrics in shop than online. And OH MY GOD, they are right! I simply cannot describe such shop. There’s piles and piles and piles of stacked fabrics in different rooms you keep discovering once inside the shop. In fact , there are so many it can be quite overwhelming if you’re just browsing and not sure what you want. The shop is also small and on a busy Saturday lunch time it was impossible to browse in peace or get anyone to help. Overwhelming but also paradise, because the choices are so vast.

I go to London about once a month at least so if you have any fabric/ haberdashery/ thrift/ vintage shop recommendations do let me know. I think I’m going to love rediscovering London from a seamstress eyes!

Sunday, 7 November 2010

My Lady Grey

Last Friday I finished my Lady Grey Coat! I was so happy I did a little dance around the house. I'm quite chuffed at the fact I only started sewing this June and managed to make this coat. Extra special thanks to Gertie and to all my readers and friends who helped me along the way. So without further ado here it goes (apologies for the not great photos  - click on them for larger versions):

I need to buy some brooches to put on the lapel. The one I have here is way too small.

A shot from behind:

The lining. Again, the colour is not truly representative but close.

When I finished I noticed I had no way of hanging the coat on my coat hanger so decided to sew a little tag and sew my name on it. My fingers were in serious pain after but I love it.


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