Saturday 26 November 2011

Winter Wool Dress Muslin - Advice Wanted

Today must be muslin day (toile for my British friends) as the lovely Karen blogged about her coat muslin earlier on. I agree 100% with her on the fact that there is nothing flattering about a muslin. I look hideous! But I know muslins are important to ensure a good fit. How frustrating to spend time and money and end up with a badly fit garment. Just take my Winter wool dress, from the gorgeous pattern above. If I had cut my pricey, gorgeous wool flannel what would I do with it? I wouldn't wear it, for sure.
Anyway...I need help! I need your wonderful advice on how to fit this dress and any comments are very helpful.
The dress fits like a glove from the waist down. The length needs taking by about 10 inches but that's easy. I only pinned it roughly for the photos so ignore that.
Onto the dreaded photos. Straight up with arms down you can see some bagginess in the arms.
Hands on hips the bagginess in the arms becomes clear.
Side view shows some more bagginess in the front and somethings terrible wrong at the back.
Back view. Too much fabric.
So as usual for me, the bodice is way too big, even though the measurements in this vintage pattern are smaller than mine. ( I'm a bust 32 and pattern is for bust 30). The sleeves are kimono with gussets under the arms. Disappointingly (but understandable) my pattern making class was cancelled today due to illness as I believe we were going to do kimono sleeves.

My dear readers, any suggestions, recommendations? What do I take out, where and how. Thank you!!

Thursday 24 November 2011

Flurries...a gorgeous knitting pattern!

Today on Thursdays Knitting I bring you a very special knitting pattern. Very special because it's the first knitting pattern from a gorgeous talented girl I have the pleasure to call my friend.
Just look at these gorgeous set of a cowl and fingerless gloves:
Aren't they super cute? And their name is fantastic...flurries! I will be supporting Julie and her brand new first pattern by knitting these on maybe a red/ turquoise combination or a red/ black one. Not sure exactly when, as we know by now I am the slowest knitter around but I'll come to it.

So who is Julie? She's a very talented knitter (embroiderer and general crafter too) who blogs at Button, Button. I truly believe Flurries is the first of many gorgeous knitting patterns she'll design. You can purchase the pattern from Ravelry here and also see how other people are knitting flurries.

I would finally just like to say I have in no way gained by posting this on my blog. I truly love this pattern and gorgeous things created by independent designers should be shouted about.

Monday 21 November 2011


Dear readers! Last week I had an enlightening moment. One than initially filled me with dread, shock and horror but have come to accept. I have discovered I am a procrastinator! I am, indeed, a total utter procrastinator! The first reaction of shock and horror was due to my assumption that procrastinators are horrible people who are lazy and don't bother or care about doing things. And that is simple not me. I am not lazy and I do care about things.

As you might already know, I am taking a short course on Pattern Making at the London College of Fashion. I'll be finishing off in two weeks and already a bit sad to see the end of it. I am loving it so, so much and there is so much more to be learned (I would probably give an arm and a leg to be able to do a full time course). My main motivation to do this course is the zillion ideas for designs in my head that I simply cannot put on paper. I am terrible at drawing, even though I am trying!
I want to be able to design my own clothes but I would also love to share these designs with other people. How exactly, I do not know yet but I have a few possible ideas kicking about in my head.

And this is how I realised I am a procrastinator!! I have ideas, I somewhat know what I want to do but I fail to do it. I know what little steps (some, at least) I need to take to reach my goal but I end up doing other stuff. I delay, delay, delay and then get frustrated because I haven't done what I want.

Google is my friend and I found out a bit more about procrastinators that I have identified with myself (and that made me accept the fact a bit better):

  • Procrastinators get overwhelmed when the task ahead is too big. Well, that's me! When there's so many things to do and so many things to find out and things that I don't know about, things to consider....ahhhh! I am like this at work actually and thought it was because I didn't love the task ahead but it's not. It's the complexity and enormity of the task.
  • Procrastinators can be so because they are perfectionists. We'll, that's me too! I want to make sure everything is just right and all the conditions met. I know in real life this is not possible and mistakes and errors are the best way of learning, but I want to have it as good as I can. This happens in my day job too. I usually tweak an action plan for ages until someone asks me when am I going to implement it.
  • Finally, and this is the crunch one with my current objective. I am so afraid of being a utter failure and not being able to hack it. And actually on my day job I don't have this problem mostly because it's not just my project (I might lead but there are hundreds of active partners whom success depends on too).
So what are your thoughts on this? Are you a procrastinator? Do you have any tips in how to deal with it? As always, I would love to read your thoughts. (and honestly, if you know of any great self help book to deal with it, I am that desperate ;)

Photos taken with phone and compact camera using Instagram or edited in Picnik.

Thursday 17 November 2011

More lovely scans

 I promise scans is not all I have to offer on Thursdays! I have a few ideas for posts lined up and you will see more of a variety soon. But for now we get scans! We are still in 1960 and I quite enjoyed seeing a photo of someone eating fruit. Just because the amount of photos of women smoking in these magazines is huge. Not a surprise, I know, since smoking was considered fashionable then but I don't think nowadays it is and I couldn't put a photo on my blog of someone smoking as an inspirational image.
The dress below is just stunning! Made entirely of wool lace. Can someone knit me one of these please?
The one below is also a favourite in mine. Knitted in Moss Stitch with a matching border to the dress. How cute! This is also something you can use as inspiration for a refashion. Pick up a old cardigan or jumper and add some trimming.
See you next week for more knitting gorgeousness!!

Sunday 13 November 2011

Easy Winter Cape

I finally did all my hand sewing on this cape and have now finished. I am quite pleased with how it turned out. Behold, the cape!!
I decided to do a bit of photoshop editing on this one as I am getting bored with straight out of the camera photos.
This cape is from Easy Stitch n' Save M5913 by McCalls. It was an easy make however I decided to underline it with fleece (yes, you read it right, fleece) to give me extra warmness. This cape was originally intended to go with me to the Bombshell Party, but I decided otherwise, as the extra tickness meant trouble ahead. It is warm but the inside is quite ugly as layers are very tick to do any type of seam finish (other than an overlock stitch). The super tickness also meant I was unable to do machine buttonholes. The thing wouldn't fit under my sewing machine foot. I decided to sew the biggest snaps I could find and put some buttons on top for decoration. 
Just look at the size of the snaps, found in MacCulloch and Wallis. For those not familiar with the 50 pence, the snaps have a diameter of 1 1/4"/ 2.7 cm.

Hope you had a lovely weekend, I am now onto some serious pattern making and hopefully my next project for you might come straight tout of my course!

Friday 11 November 2011

Knitted Fabrics

When I was lusting for warmer clothing that I could sew I considered venturing into knit fabric sewing. And by knit fabric I don't mean jerseys. I mean the thick and warm thing good for jumpers and cardigans. Knitted fabrics! I decided instead to learn how to knit, as I was (still am) keen to replicate knitwear fashions from 40s and 50s. The stuff I found out there wouldn't allow me to do this.
A week or so ago, Ruth from Sewruth posted this comment in one of my posts:
"I knit very slowly and the most basic of patterns so I've been seeking out sweater knits to sew instead - that way I get an original garment that I can make but look like they're knitted. Any sources anyone?"

I sympathise with this and decided to share what sources for knit fabrics I encountered. You would think with winter on it's way, you could find this in abundance but no. Sweater knits are a rarity (or at least I can never find them).

MacCulloch and Wallis have a small selection of sweater knits fabric including this gorgeous Cable Knit. A bit pricy though at £30 per meter (exc.VAT)
They also have some stripy knits a bit more affordable at £17.50 per meter (exc. VAT)
Ditto Fabrics have this gorgeous eyelet lace knitted fabric at &8.99 per meter here. Isn't the colour gorgeous? They also have it in lime.
They also have this more chunky Tweed Knit.
Readers, have you ever worked with knitted fabrics? What's it like? And please, if you know other sources where to buy it please share. Ta!

Thursday 10 November 2011

Thursdays 1960

From our last Thursdays Knitting we go back in time 2 years to 1960 and see what was in Vogue...
I have to say this is not an exciting issue, in my opinion. In fact I struggled to find images that I liked. The one below came close. A beautiful women in a gorgeous cardigan.
I also loved the section below, entitled Finds for Knitters. The hand intrigued's actually hand cream sold at Boots. Some weird packaging back then no?

Tuesday 8 November 2011

Just to let you know...

... the wonderful Tors from Girl Meet Wolf asked me to guest post on her blog whilst she's away working and my post on Autumn Fashion in 1954 is up. I had originally intended on a short tutorial on how to do a sleep mask but the process needs further tweaking and I couldn't pull it off in time.

...I will be tweaking the layout of my blog in the next week or so, so don't take much notice if you spot apparently incomplete things or strange additions. I will let you know what I changed when it's done and also why I changed. No major redesign will happen though.

... I am planning a post on knits fabric after reading Ruth's comment on my last post. She is asking for sources of knitted fabric and as I was contemplating using it (before on deciding I would attempt knitting) I have some ideas and possible sources.

Thursday 3 November 2011

Vintage Vogue Knitting in the 60s

Welcome to Thursdays Knitting! I am yet to complete a proper knitting project (I am the slowest knitter around) and to be honest knitting will not out do sewing for me. However I do love knitting and I'm very keen to have some time and space (in my head and online) dedicated to it. I chose Thursday because this is the day of the week I attend (when I manage) a wonderful pub knitting evening with other fantastic knitters.
So what can you expect on Thursdays Knitting? Everything and anything related with knitting. It might be a finished project (ha!), a featured knitter or knitted garment or some images of vintage knitting. Which is where I will start. At an antiques shop close to my work I found a stack of Vogue Knitting magazines from 1940s till 1960s. Needless to say I bought them all at a very good price. I have started scanning my favourite garments and adverts from these and will share them with you. If you are a knitter and want to know how to knit a particular garment you see, drop me an email and I'll happily send you a scan of the pattern instruction. I like leaving best things for last so I will be starting with most recent items.

Vogue Knitting Jubilee edition
Nothing to do with the monarchy though, it was the 60th number of the magazine. Dated 1962 shows the well known box shape from the 60s. Enjoy!
I love the suit but I also love the puppy!
Gorgeous dress in eyelet rib.

Tuesday 1 November 2011

The Bombshell Meetup and what's next...

What a fantastic meet up it was! It was so awesome to meet these 5 gorgeous ladies and spend some time drinking cocktails in a gorgeous venue. Honestly, it was awesome! Much was said about it in Karen's blog, Jane's blog,  Roisin's blog and Amy's blog...go read! I'll leave you with a group photo, which you probably have seen already. The barman had to go really, really back to get us all on the frame as I decided to take my SLR camera with a 50mm lens. That means lots of space is needed for group or full body shots. And the venue was gorgeous but too dark for photos. And I hate flash! So not many photos from my part!
So now that the Bombshell is finished, what's next? 
The focus of the next month or so will be pattern making. I'm starting the 2nd part of the course and want to really crack on with some design ideas and practice the basic dart manipulations already learned on the 1st part. I want to feel confident tackling more advanced manipulations. This means finished projects might be scarce in the next few months. 
I have a cape in the final stages, all it needs is some heavy duty snaps sewn on. I will be able to share this with you at some point. I am also going to have another go at sewing little things. Now I don't particularly like sewing little things but maybe having quick, dirty and easy sewing projects to break off the pattern work might make it more enjoyable.

On my blog I will be starting a regular knitting feature and finally sort my photography tips posts...stay tuned! Oh, and my Book review that was due this last Sunday? It will be up next week.


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