Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Walk like an Egyptian!

My lovely eldest son Rowan needed a costume for his Ancient Egypt day at school, and I needed a quick sewing fix.  Wahoo.

Take one slightly hideous gold cushion cover circa 1970, a tiny scrap of blue cotton, a quick scribble, and away we go.

I used my beloved friend pinterest here to research cossie ideas; then, the design was drawn up by Rowan and me.

I didn't make a pattern, just made it up as I went along: much more fun than measuring and following instructions.

 The collar is fastened by velcro, which is easy for a boy to do and un-do.

The little wrist guards just slip on.

And the belt is elasticated at the back, so is easy to get on or off.

I have made a small boy very happy, with very little effort. It's made me rather happy too.  The only downside was he was buzzing so much from such a great day today, he's only just gone to bed!

Friday, 24 January 2014

Where's my SEWJO?

This last week I have done precisely no sewing!  Each night I've asked my husband how long since I last stitched anything! Seven days in a row.  My machine has been giving me reproachful looks, and I have felt frustrated and moody.

On the plus side, my sewing stuff is neat and tidy on its little trolley.  My thread is no longer pic and mix, but now colour-coded!

I've sorted my patterns and my fabric stash, and I've finally started to go through the large amount of fabric which I inherited from my Nan's house.  But that will be a long-running project.

Plus, I stole an idea from a friend, creating a little ironing space next to where I sew, on the top of my trolley.  This means I don't even need to stand up to press seams... if I ever sew a single seam again!

All in all, I feel SEW organised! Get it? Sew organised? Sew... oh, never mind!

I'm hoping my energy will come back.  There have been lots of lurgies going around, and the miserable weather also saps your strength.  But there will be sewing. Just possibly not very good sewing. (I'm worried that after a break I may have forgotten how to do it!)

I have a perfect project to ease myself back in: fancy dress for a seven year old.  Rowan needs an ancient Egyptian costume for school on Tuesday.  Something will be produced by hook or by crook.

This is what I'm aiming for, with just a few scraps of fabric to play with.  Come on SEWJO, come back to me...!

How do you feel, when you have short periods when you can't or don't sew?  I'm surprised at how down it's made me after only a week.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

My first muslin

Okay - so this is just a muslin, a rough version made from not-so-nice fabric to determine whether the pattern is flattering enough to cut up nice fabric for.

The pattern is a (60s or 70s?) vintage blouse with bell-bottom sleeves. When I bought it, as part of a bundle of vintage patterns on ebay, I thought it was similar to Tilly's Matilde Blouse.

I'd been umming and ahhing about the Matilde for ages - there have been many beautiful versions made (my favourite is sew amy sew's version in peanut-butter voile).  What's put me off is that the pattern is only available as a PDF currently, although Tilly has mentioned on her blog that she has plans for printed patterns in the future.

My muslin is made from a pale old blue poly-cotton sheet that had worn far too thin to serve its proper function any more.

The blouse has a zip rather than buttons, which I actually rather love.  It gives it a lovely vintage feel.

I think the blouse suits being tucked in more than loose.

The sleeves are rather funky, but I'm unsure about the blouse itself.  I think it needs more room (is that called ease?): maybe an inch or two on either side seam.

But I can't decide whether to turn my muslin into a finished outfit in a nice printed cotton, or wait and see if the Matilde blouse comes out in a printed format later in the year.   What would you do?

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Stylish Dress Book Vol 2 - Dress D

...or the table cloth dress, as I like to think of it!

I rather enjoy making things to wear from old curtains or table cloths, as I have here - it appeals to my sense of frugality.  I've made this dress pattern once before; the blog post about it is here.

As the fabic is a nice thick cotton gingham, it is easy to wear and to wash.  It was also easy to make - the pattern is simple with only five pattern pieces, and the instructions are straightforward.

The roomy pockets are my favourite bit: big enough for my iPhone, and for packets of sweets confiscated from naughty children (I have real-world experience to back that one up!).  The neckline is flattering (I think so, anyway) and is big enough to go over my head without a zip.

Now, a lot of bloggers have been documenting their plans for 2014; here are mine... I don't have any! Sewing is my hobby and my joy.  I am going to go with the flow, make things, and have fun.  I'm not going to worry about specific fabrics or patterns, just enjoy myself.

Having said that, there are a few things I have to make: the boys need new trousers, but after several failed shopping trips I can find nothing that will fit both their waists and their heights!  Oddly the fact that I need to make these, makes me reluctant to start: I am a contrary mary.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Happy New Year!

Wow, had a lovely Christmas and New Year!  Don't mean to sound suprised that it was so enjoyable, but it was the first festive period for many a long year without a bout of Noro virus laying the whole family low. Hooray!

We relaxed, saw friends, went to family parties, and ate loads and loads; but I did find time to do some sewing too.

Finally, I feel brave enough to show you my disastrous green dress.  It is probably the worst work I have done since I started sewing! But I am determined to avoid having any UFOs so I ploughed on and on until it was wearable.

The fabric is a green velvet stretch knit.  If you remember, the seams popped everywhere, and the fabric slipped all over the place as I stitched. Thank you to everyone that offered me advice, either here or on twitter, when I was close to quitting - it was really appreciated.  I now have a walking foot and special "stretch" needles.  I've also finally understood what the stretch stitches are for on my machine.

Because of the stretch the dress is rather big on me.  But great for christmas gluttony as no tight waistlines.  I've worn it twice over Christmas with pride. And... it survived the wash!

Would I sew with velvet again?  Yes, but not for a while.  I am still very much a beginner, and I think I need a few more skills under my belt before I attempt something this difficult again.  But for now I can relax: it's made, it's been worn, and the disasters along the way have not destroyed my love of sewing.

Happy New Year!