Sunday, 25 September 2011

September Book Analysis (and a giveaway!): Custom Couture

I was offered a copy of Custom Couture by Hélène Le Berre for a review or a giveaway on my blog and the promise of a couture book meant I couldn't say no. Let me start by saying this book is not about couture in its strictest. It is all about refashioning and upcycling which, have no doubt, is a fantastic thing. I am always amazed by refashionistas around the world who pick up the most boring garments and transform them into something gorgeous.

The book features 32 refashion ideas divided into four main chapters: Boho, Jet Set, Retro and Diva. The last two are my personal favourites. Photography is outstanding and illustrations and instructions to transform and create these beauties easy to read.
Whilst this book can be a fantastic source of inspiration for all levels of sewists, I think it will lie best with someone with a passion for refashion and up cycling.
And that is the reason I am also giving this copy away to a reader. Whilst I find refashioning exciting I just can't seem to get inspired to do it. And to be honest, I love the "start from scratch" process.

So if you are into refashioning and would like a chance to win this book all you have to do is leave a comment of this post telling me what refashioning you have done and why you like it.
This is open to readers from all around the world and it closes on Friday 30th September 6pm GMT time.

Good Luck!

Saturday, 24 September 2011

My Navy Beignet

The construction wasn't without problems but here it is, my navy Beignet Skirt. I have to say I LOVE it! Annoyingly (for photo taking) the sun was out today which means I am squinting in all photos. I tried changing place but all other backgrounds would have been to busy.
Onto the skirt. I used a heavy cotton drill I bought in Hungary and lined with with a bright orange lining. Pattern is Colette Beignet Skirt and it's a treat to work with. Easy instructions and nice illustrations. 
For the facings and pockets I used a leopard print polycotton. I just love the combination. I also decided to use self cover buttons (I like matching things). It was my first time using self cover buttons and I'm glad I bought in excess of what I needed. I ruined quite a few. Doing so many buttonholes was a source of anxiety but slowly and steadily my Janome behaved. They're not even that wonky (although for that I had to do lots of chalk marking in front piece.
Several things went wrong whilst construction but mostly because of me and my attention spam. For starters I cut the pieces wrong and ended up with some with right side out and some with wrong side out. With a cotton drill you can clearly see the difference. Then I assembled the lining pieces all wrong. I attached the two side back pieces together then the back piece. I actually pressed and hemmed the lining and only when I went to sew it to the facing did I spot the error. Luckily I had enough fabric to cut again. I also slightly burned the lining when pressing and it hasn't ruined it but it could have easily done so.
The first belt loops didn't cut it so I decided to cut again and wider. Still looks good I think. I decided not to do a belt for now, as I had a leopard print I bought recently that fits perfectly fine.
One photo of the inside only. I'm still struggling to find a good place for photos at my new house. Whilst my previous flat was small it had floor to ceiling windows which meant light was great all the time. In new house I have lots of space (and a sewing room, which I prefer) but windows are ever so small, meaning rooms get quite dark.
You might have noticed that I didn't really write any "in construction"posts with photos of sewing process. Mainly because of the above but I'm curious to know: do you like reading about and seeing photos of the sewing process or do you prefer the finished outfits only?
This skirt will definitely see a lot of use. I absolutely love the colour combination and it's such a versatile skirt, meaning I can use to dressed up or dressed down. Fantastic!!

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Box of Delights

My Beignet is ready but I won't be able to snap good photos until the weekend so I'll leave you with a photo from a lovely box the postman brought me.
Photo taken with my phone and edited via Instagram

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

The problem was still in the fabric...

Thank you all for your lovely entries regarding mistakes one can made whilst cutting pattern pieces. I am pleased to say the winner of this little game who will get a yet undecided small prize is Esz from Kitty's Drawings. Here's what she said:
"Is it because it's princess cut you've mixed up the grain in the pieces so some go one way and the others got the other? And due to the nature of the pattern, it wont work out neatly.
That's all I can think of if it's not forgetting to flip the pattern or turn the fabric right/wrong way..."

Now technically her guess is not correct either but she was the first to mention fabric right/wrong so I have decided to award her the prize. If anyone else feels disgruntled with this please drop me an email.
Can you spot it now? Flipping, or not flipping, the pieces is a classic and it's not that far off but I have actually made that mistake very early in my sewing journey, when I tried to make a corset so I did remember and made sure I flipped the pieces. This fabric is very wide and as I flipped the pieces I also kept adjusting the fabric on my table, to make it easier to cut, flipping it around. Duhhh!! I ended up with correctly cut pieces with the wrong side of fabric in right side in some. Because this is a drill, you can clearly see the different in weave and shine. If both sides where the same I could just flip them around but the one on the left is cut correctly with wrong side marked but the one on the right is the opposite. Lesson learned!!

Esz: I just discovered your gorgeous blog, send me your address so I can post a little present for you. Email is suzysewingblog[at]yahoo[dot]co[dot]uk

Monday, 12 September 2011

Guess the error game

Edit: And we have a winner: Esz! Correct answer is in your comment although not what you might think. At work now so will post a new post later on.

Edit: lovely entries so far but the correct answer has not yet been found. Keep going, you are allowed double entries. Going to close this little game 20.00 GTM today (Tuesday, 13/09/11)

You know that heart sinking moment when you realised you done something wrong in your sewing process?
I had some problems with grain on the cotton drill for my Beignet skirt. Frustrated, I decided to cut pieces on single layer, which took longer but meant grain was found. However something else quite terrible happened!! Can you guess?

I'll give a still undecided but sewing related small prize to first comment to answer correctly. I'm going to sulk somewhere now.

Friday, 9 September 2011

One Autumn, Four Garments

In a nutshell that's my plan for sewing this Autumn. I don't like having a sewing plan as I hate feeling restricted but a lot of stuff is happening between now and January. I'm doing a pattern making course in October and it will run for 10 Saturdays. Technical drawings and maths are not a natural flair of mine so some studying and practicing will be necessary. I have a secret project on the pipeline and on that I can't say much. Exciting stuff but still very undeveloped so don't worry, you're not missing much at this point. And knitting, yes! I want to actually finish a knitted garment this Autumn.
In order for me to do all these things and actually pursue my dreams instead of just dreaming them I need to be clear what to do and when. I am focusing on winter garments that I can wear in colder months.

1) Colette Pattern Beignet Skirt is already in the making. Fabric is cut and all I need to do now is sew. I am using a navy drill which will see much use in winter with some nice warm tights. I just hope I don't chicken up in the buttonhole phase.

2) Wool Flannel Vintage Dress. One of the bigger projects as I will be working with a fabric new to me which cost some money and I don't want to screw up. It also has lots of buttonholes. You have seen the pattern envelope but here it is again. It's so pretty!
3) Winter Coat: I was very indecisive about making a coat or not. I want to be sure I finish in time to use during the colder months. I was also divided between a vintage inspired coat and this one I found on a Brazilian pattern magazine called Manequim. Ended up going with this one as the other pattern works best with a waterproof fabric. This will be a big project too, as I will have a go at pad stitching and all other tailoring elements I avoided during Lady Grey.
4) Another go at knits with version C of Vogue 8685. I have a relatively cheap knit fabric I will use to do this.
I must also add that in the making but not on the list is The Perfect Fit Bombshell Dress from Craftsy online course. It is taught by the wonderful Gertie so I simply can't wait. Actually I might be able to wear in end of October if a awesome event is put together. Fingers crossed, it would be awesome!

So I have 4 months for all of these, do you think I can hack it?

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Wool Flannel Quest Day

What a great Saturday I had! As previously mentioned here, I decided to hit the finest central London fabric shops in search of some wool flannel fabric. I got some of that but my favourite part was meeting up with three fantastic bloggers. Here they are in front of MacCulloch and Wallis:
Left to right we have Justine from Polkadot Pebble, Lauren from Tea and Crumpets and Tors from Girl Meets Wolf.
MacCulloch and Wallis was our first shop and it was also the one where I did all my shopping (more on that further down). Apparently the shop assistants have a bit of a reputation and I was cautioned against using the word muslin or toile. But my experience was very pleasant, staff was courteous and helpful. Maybe I got them on a good day, it was sunny after all! I loved all three floors, there is so much fabrics and haberdashery is easy to get overwhelmed. I had a shopping list with me and it helped. Saying that I might have to go back soon as their bias binding, ribbons and trimmings choice is just amazing. My favourite shop of the day and a must to visit, I think.
After a light lunch we went to Liberty. It was my first time there and what can I say! What a fantastic department store and a cute fabric and habby section! The fabric is gorgeous, most of it a bit too flowery for me (love to look at but would not wear). Interesting discovery for me, is the fact they also sell woollens and jerseys. I always hear about lawns and poplins. Pricey, very pricey!
Justine looking works of art.
We then proceeded to walk the famous Berwick Street! The silk shops where gorgeous and I saw types of fabric I never had before, Some very peculiar stuff too! My favourite there was the Cloth House, one in each end of the street.
The decoration is outstanding and the fabric choice vast. In both shops there are rooms after rooms with fabric displayed beautifully. Prices again are very central London but if you can afford it and you're looking for quality it's a good choice.
It was brilliant having company to rummage through these shops, I didn't really have much of a plan but I think we all enjoyed the day. We ended up in a coffee shop having a good rest and great talk.
Now the whole reason I went to London was to buy my wool flannel and I did buy it, amongst other things.
It doesn't look much but let me tell you, it feels gorgeous. I have to be brave to cut into it now. I have been reading about pre treating and washing and considering a cold hand wash with Eucalan. Anyone else tried this with wool fabrics? Any other recommended method? I also bought some other supplies as I'm starting a patternaking course beginning of October.
Finally I could not resist this lovely book, it's beautiful!

Friday, 2 September 2011

The hour of the muslin!

Before I even say anything else let me share with you all that for some reason that I'm unaware of, I have a deep dislike for the word toile. Not so much writing it but saying it. Silly I know, but that's the reason I always say muslins. I know I'm in the UK and should be saying toile but hopefully none of my UK readers will take offence.
I have done some progress in my sewing and done two muslins. The first was a Colette Beignet skirt. I've cut a size 2 at waist and 0 at hips and the result is perfect. Photos were taken but they are not that interesting and everything fits fine so why bother you with that.
For my second muslin, for which your fitting feedback is more than welcomed, I present you lots of photos:
The Perfect Fit Bombshell Dress from Gertie Sew Retro Craftsy class. The above photo presents a few wrinkles but feels pretty good overall. Length is fine, as it hits the waist.
The next couple of photos show a gap on side seams. Now for me the most, in my face fitting issue is this. I need to take in the side seams, about 3/4" maybe and reducing as I go down. It fits fine at the waist.
The other issue I think I have is a slight drop of bust cups. They fit fine but they drop. Now this might be resolved by taking in the side seams but I am thinking that the real problem solver will be the halter neck strap, which I will use. I don't like strapless dresses or blouses. Now surely that will pull them up, no?
Finally a shot from the back. I know it looks like it's too tight but in all honesty, it isn't. And I don't have any extra fat there, so not sure why those flaps of flesh there.
What do you think? Any glaring or not so glaring fitting issues I haven't identified?
I'd love your opinion!


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