Wednesday, 26 October 2016

The Seamstress Tag

So here are my answers to "The Seamstress Tag" as initiated by Hollie of Hollie Sews.  I know I’m a little late to the game, but I thought I’d join in as my answers may be a little different and I like being different.

1 Who are you?
Katrina, I’m 46 and live in lovely green Sheffield, with my husband Fluffrick our two rescue dogs Hagrid and Bonnie and my Mum.

2 When and why did you start sewing?
I can’t really remember a time when I didn’t sew.  I know I already knew my way around a sewing machine when I started sewing lesson at Secondary school when I was 12.  My Mum used to sew clothes (often Clothkits) for me and my brother when we were little, so there was always sewing in our house.  I then took an ‘O’ level in Sewing (I’m that old I did ‘O’ levels not GCSE’s), but I kept on sewing as a teenager and into my twenties to save money.  Comparatively clothes were not that cheap in the late Eighties, early Nineties, so I could make clothes much more cheaply than buying RTW.

3 What is your favourite or proudest make?
My proudest make if definitely my Wedding dress, I made it using Vintage Vogue V2401 in Scarlet Dupion Silk.
My favourite make is probably my ‘Star Wars’ skirt, I mean who wouldn’t want to wear a skirt with a Wookie on it.

4 What is you most disastrous make?
I can’t really think of any truly disastrous makes.  I tried to make my brother a suit for his eighteenth birthday, grey trousers and a tweedy jacket and my first time every using a Vogue pattern.  He had already worn out the trousers by the time I got around the finishing the jacket, sometime around his twenty first birthday.  I don’t know if he ever really wore the jacket.  I do have about 20 items in my wardrobe that I have made that just need a tweak to make them more wearable, but I wouldn’t call any of them disastrous.

5 What is your favourite place to go fabric shopping?
I try my hardest not to go fabric shopping.  When you have been sewing for over 30 years you accumulate a lot of stuff - Fabric, more fabric, even more fabric, zips, buttons, thread, patterns, pattern magazines, sewing books.  I do like John Lewis, but these days only buy fabric in the sale and there is Fine Fabrics in Hillsborough that is good for a rummage.  Where possible I like to re-purpose fabric from existing RTW garments, so charity shops are great for that. I do love Fabworks in Dewsbury, I just really glas it is in Dewsbury and not just round the corner.

6 What is your most used pattern?
That would probably be Paprika Patterns Onyx Top I have made at least 12 different iterations (as seen in OWOP 2016).  I have also used New Look 6106 many, many times (as seen in OWOP 2014) and I have 8 different versions of the Tilly and the Buttons Coco Dress and Top.  When I find a pattern I like I tend to make it over and over again.

7 What is your most dreaded sewing task?
Pressing; because I hate ironing, which is why I choose to make the vast majority of my clothes in natural fibres, I must be a masochist.

8 And your favourite sewing task?
My favourite sewing task is related to my biggest sewing bug bear, which are ridiculous pattern layouts and excessive fabric requirements.  I love playing a life sized game of Tetris to try and fit the pattern pieces onto the smallest amount of fabric, whilst maintaining grainline or choosing to place pattern pieces on the cross grain, or occasionally on the bias.  I am also not averse to adding a centre back seams in order to reduce the fabric requirement.  A simple pencil skirt should never need more than 1m of 150cm wide fabric!

9 What is your favourite sewing entertainment?
Cycling.  Road races, Track Cycling, Grand tours, one day classics, I love to watch cycling, but a race can last over six hours, so there is a lot of time to sew and if something exciting happens there is always an action replay.  Tonight I will be watching the second day of Six Days of London, whilst finish my Melissa Dress and possibly starting a Brumby skirt.  I also love a good box set and feel the need to watch all seven seasons of "Gilmore Girls" before the new episodes arrive on Netflix on November 25th.

10 Printed or PDF?
PDF, for Indie patterns PDFs as they are cheaper than printed patterns.  Also when I forget to put pattern pieces back in their envelope and loose them, I can always print them out again.

11 What sewing machine do you use?
John Lewis JL300C, it does everything I need, in 35 years of sewing I have not been able to justify getting an overlocker.

12 Do you have any other hobbies?
I enjoy knitting, but I’m very slow at it.  I have tried crochet, but me and don’t get on.  I enjoy cooking and find new and wonderful vegetarian recipes to inflict on the Mum and husband.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

One Week One Pattern - Onyx Shirt

I took part in OWOP 2014 hosted by the lovely Handmade Jane and foolishly chose the skirt New Look 6106, I had a bit of a chilly week.  So when I read that Hannah of Cinderellis Sews was hosting this year I decided to select and easily layer-able pattern.  I chose the Paprika Patterns Onyx Shirt, it was an easy choice as I have 11 different versions of it already and plan on having more. 

Saturday 10th
Although Onyx is designed for woven's this is my sweatshirt version and a warning to check the scale of a print before buying fabric online.
Sunday 11th
This is my very first version of the Onyx Shirt, that I made from recycling a man's shirt. However, it was my least worn, as it was a little tight and looked like scrubs.  OWOP made me try and resolve these issues, so I added a bit of width to the back and made the cuffs in a contract colour.  I will now wear it a lot.

Monday 12th
I love this red version, it's a lovely quality cotton (I also have it in a blue colour ways) and is definitely a dressier iteration.  This may not be the best picture, but it had added Bonnie in it.

Tuesday 13th
The weather decided to be changeable today, so the leggings out and my check tunic version went on (I always worry that this looks like an Australian school uniform and I am no schoolgirl).

Wednesday 14th
Better weather today, so the top that looks like I made it from a tablecloth came out.  In person the green cardigan didn't look out of place as there is a green check next to the red check, the photo just doesn't pick it up very well.  This photo with added Hagrid.

Thursday 15th
My subtle stripe dress version today.  I liked the split hem on the Inari Tee, so I copied it. What you can't see are my matching purple Vans.

Friday 16th - Day
This is a t-shirt version of the Onyx and it's only really the cuffs that don't like the softer stretchier fabric.  I'm wearing it here with my Grainline Moss Mini, and a surprisingly still Bonnie and I didn't even have any biscuits.

Friday 16th - Evening
A colour-blocked dress version, inspired by the Christine Haynes Lottie dress.  This was made with fabric that has been sitting in my stash for well over a year and I'm really happy how the dress came out, especially the hidden pockets.

One week, eight different looks, one very versatile pattern 

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Noa - all grown up

I didn't think I would be able to post anything during Hack It week on the Monthly Stitch, hacking patterns is not something I generally do.  I might add the odd pocket or turn a top into a dress, but nothing really big.

Then Marte at Compangie M. released the Noa Pant pattern for kids for 1-10 years and I just loved the pocket detail and I really wanted a pair.

So how do you change a kids pattern into an adult pattern.  A printer, a photocopier and a lot of sticky tape.  I also used an existing pattern that I knew fitted to compare and contrast.  I enlarged the pocket and top half of the trouser pattern by 120% and extended the crotch at the front and the back.  

I then did something I never do, made a muslin and it's a good job I did because I needed to add a 3cm insert if I wanted to get the trousers over my hips.  

Here's the pocket details I love so much.

I think I may need to move the button down a little.  The dark blue is a lovely bamboo cotton mix and the light blue is linen (I hope they wash well together), both crease like it is going out of fashion.  I did think about changing they from elasticated to a fitted waistband, but that was just going to be too complicated in the timescale given.  And finally a sympathy shot, Hagrid got an ouchie last week chasing after Bonnie, who was chasing after a squirrel.


Tuesday, 14 June 2016

How many tops, it too many?

My love of the Paprika Patterns Onyx Top continues, these two version are actually the ninth and tenth time I have made this pattern (those ten versions weren’t all for me, one was for my Mum), it is my go to pattern for a woven top.

Let me gush talk about the pattern first, it’s only available as a pdf, but I’m one of those strange people who actually finds cutting and taping pdf patterns together therapeutic.  For me the added bonus of a pdf pattern is I can print it out again if I misplace my pattern (between cutting out the top version on Friday and the dress version on Monday I had misplaced the pattern and had to print it out again).  The pdf is layered so you only have to print out the size you want and the size range is generous from an 80cm to 124cm bust.  And the largest size only used 15 sheets of paper, with the instructions only using 7 sheets.  Lisa’s instructions are clear and concise, with additional tutorials on the website, if needed.

For both versions I made a size 6 at the shoulders and bust, grading down to a size 5 at the hips.  In previous versions I have lengthened the bodice by 5cm (I have a strangely long back), but for the blue version I left it at the original length because I had only bought 1 metre of fabric, 112cm wide.  Anyway let me tell you about the fabric, it’s from Faberwood, who I found through the Paprika Pattern website, but who are actually based here in Sheffield about ten minutes from where I live.  I emailed the lovely Fiona who runs Faberwood and asked if I could collect my order rather than have it posted, she said yes, and I got to meet her and chat about sewing and fabric, whilst my patient husband and not so patient dog waited in the car.  It is a dangerous thing having such lovely fabric right on my doorstep.  Check them out, but bear in mind Fiona is an enabler, she included swatches of all their lovely fabrics with my order.  The fabric I choose was a blue Indian block print that is kind of the soft lightweight cotton I have been looking for for ages.  It has a border print, but only on one edge, which I tried to use to its best advantage.  I would have loved to feature it on the front hem, but as the hem on the Onyx top if slightly curved, I don’t think it would have looked right.  I could say the pattern on the cuffs going in the opposite direction was a design feature, but that was the only way I could fit all the pattern pieces in 1 metre of fabric.

On to the dress, this fabric doesn’t have an interesting back story; it was from The Textile Centre on ebay and is a lovely viscose.  All I did to change to top into a dress was extend the pattern by approximately 35cm, I just eyeballed it when I was cutting it out.  I liked the idea of the split hem as seen on the Named Clothing Inari Tee Dress, which was very easy to do, especially with the broad stripe to follow on the fabric.  I just have to say how happy I am with the stripes matching on the side seams.

So those are my two makes, which will hopefully get a lot of wear this summer, it the rain ever goes away and the sun comes back. 

Friday, 21 August 2015

Sewing Plans

I don't usually make sewing plans, I'm more see pretty fabric, see pretty pattern, buy, sew, or all too frequently buy add to stash.  That's not to say I don't make lists, I just don't usually do very much with them. 
I don't know about anybody else, but I was very tempted by the Sewing Indie Month Pattern Bundle 1, ten lovely patterns at a nock down price, plus the bonus of to donating to charity, all very tempting.  But on this occasion I did not succumb to temptation (probably because I know I'm going to be more tempted by Pattern Bundle 2).  There are ten great patterns here, but would I actually make and wear them?  For the majority of them, the answer is actually no, and that's not to say they are not fine patterns, just not for me.

I am tempted to buy the Saltbox Top from Blueprints for Sewing, and I already own the Melissa Dress from Muse patterns, but the other pattern would have sat on my hard drive, not being sewn, and that shouldn't be the fate for any pattern.  I currently have 25 Indie patterns that I already own, but have yet to sew, go check your own hard drive and see how many impulse pdf purchases you have, I can't be the only one to give into temptation, can I?
Another example of giving into temptation is this selection of lovely fabric below.  This is a remnant bundle from the Organic Textile Company.  £39.50 for 10 metres of lovely surprise fabric.
These fabrics have jumped to the head of the sewing queue (I know it's not fare, but it happens).  Most are 1 metre lengths, but as I am a consummate Tetris player, I can squeeze quite a lot out of 1m 

There is actually 1.5m of the navy, so it's will be a pair of trousers.  The colour of the fabric on the right hasn't come out very well, it's more of a shot beige/burgundy and has a bit of weight to it, so will be a skirt.

Both of these are much brighter in reality and I can definitely see an Onyx top in the orange.

The stripy fabric on the left is quite bright, so I think it will be a pair of pyjama shorts, and then I only have to scare my husband with them.  I know the other two do look disturbingly like table cloths, but the yellow one has a lovely drape and will become an Onyx top highlighted with red bias trim.  The blue and shit check, will be a skirt, pattern to be determined.

The biggest piece of fabric in the bunch is this red/blue/beige/green check, as I have about 2 metres.  I was tempted to make some kind on pinafore dress, but then realised that I am 45 not 5 years old and I'm going to try and adapt the Onyx top into a dress.  The green and pink retro print I think may become a Brumby skirt, so that it can be toned down with plain tops. 
Will any of these things get made?  Some of them probably, all of them, probably not.  Come back to find out.

The Sky Skirt

So we actually took these photos on August the 5th, but life has a habit it getting in the way of the best laid plans.  As I set myself this sewing challenge to tie in with the Tour de France, I felt I should finally do this post as the next big cycling grand tour la Vuelta Espana starts tomorrow.  I did say at the start that I wasn't going to put any unreasonable deadline on myself, but this may be cutting it a little fine.
So here is my Sky Skirt, because of course Chris Froome of Team Sky won the Tour de France this year for the second time.  If you don't know, the Team Sky strip is black with a turquoise stripe down it, but as I don't wear a lot of black (because of a very blonde dog who likes cuddles), I made the skirt turquoise with a black stripe.
The pattern is used is Fatale Sister by Vanessa Pouzet, a lovely French designer and it is teamed here with my refashioned Deer and Doe Plantain t-shirt, also a French designer.

Undeniably the most interesting feature of this skirt is the back zipper.  It uses an open ended zipper, so you can make the back slit as high a you dare.  As you can see I don't really dare.
This is the second time I have made this skirt, the first was for the New to Me challenge during Indie Sew Month, over at The Monthly Stitch.  Blogged about here.  After the oh so clingy nature of my first version, I decided to line this one.  I don't think I completely followed the instructions, as my comprehension of French is still rather poor, but I think it turned out fine.

Once again I added pockets, I've got to have pockets.  The turquoise fabric is from Direct Fabric Warehouse and was £5.99 a metre.  The fabric is 100% Linen, hence all the wrinkles. I didn't really need a whole metre, but they only sell fabric in 50cm increments and 50cm was not quite enough.  I also bought some black polyester lining there.  So I now have a 40cm remnant of turquoise linen and black polyester, needing to be used. The zip was from a haul of haberdashery a got at a charity shop in Buxton several years ago.  The black fabric was salvaged from a pair of trousers, purchased at a charity shop, that I obviously used one leg for another project many moons ago.  It is a Linen/Ramine mix, so washing these fabric together for the first time could be fun.  I'm a rebel, I very seldom prewash my fabric.
I really like this skirt, but I don't know who often it will get worn, as I just don't have many tops that go with it.  Maybe I will get around to finally changing the buttons on the black linen blouse I made over a decade ago and I can wear them together and be all kind of wrinkly.
I do seem to have an addiction to making skirts, the way some bloggers are addicted to making dresses.  Maybe I need to focus more on making tops, so that I have something to wear with my many many handmade skirts?

Monday, 20 July 2015

K.O.M Lou Lou Dress

So le Tour has made it's from the high mountains of the Pyrenees and is heading for the Alps, so I have made a polka dot K.O.M. dress. 
The hem is straight, it's just I'm not!

Yes I know, the polka dot jersey is supposed to be red and white, but I worried about looking like Minnie Mouse.  And I could find any red and white polka dot fabric that I liked.  The fabric is a wonderfully drapey viscose from Direct Fabric Warehouse, for £5.99 a metre and I bought 1.5m of fabric.

The pattern is the Lou Lou Dress by Charlotte at English Girl at Home.  Doesn't it have a lovely pattern illustration?

I was one of Charlotte's pattern testers last year, so I was excited to make the pattern up again now that it has been released.  The new and improved version has a new option, version C, which is what I choose to make.  I tried very hard to find some nice drapey co-ordinating fabrics, but was seduced by the green and blue polka dot, but sadly could not find another fabric to go with it.  I choose version C because of it's waist seam, it was perfect for inserting little pockets (I have got to have pockets and felt that inseam pockets would effect the drape of the dress).

I drafted a simple pocket pattern piece and inserted them into the waist seam, added a little fabric loop and buttons from my stash.  I also borrowed  the short sleeve pattern piece from New Look 6069, to add little (maybe overly) puff sleeves.  Becasue I was adding sleeves I didn't line the dress, but finished the neck with bias binding.  

I do feel like go off piste completely and making up a knit this space.  Until then, here is my original test version that got a lot of wear in Autumn and Spring (when the heating was working in my office).

My original pattern testing version
This is an easy to wear and easy to make dress, and these will definately not be my only versions.

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