Thursday, 28 August 2014

Sewing: Sew Over It Betty dress

If the theme of the previous post was the contrast combination of hurry and laziness, this post is about the contrast combination of delightful sewing experience and disaster.

Let me present to you my Sew Over It Betty dress:

Last month we went to Josh's sister's wedding (a work of perfection, I have two new crafting idols) and the dress code on the invitation said "summer dresses." [Feels so strange talking about summer dresses when it is so autumnal outside!] I have a wardrobe full of dresses, but I guess I wanted an excuse to buy a new pattern, because none of them felt like they ticked the 'summer dress' box.

I had a little browse online and I saw the Sew Over It Betty pattern. It looked like I ordered it! And the first thing I have to say about it is what an amazingly fast delivery! I ordered on a Friday morning and had the pattern by the next Saturday midday.

I made a bodice muslin the same weekend I got the pattern to try the fit and to test how long it would take me to sew it (i.e. how late could I start it). Did my measurements and size 10 fit like a glove. The bodice sewed in a few h. And that's with a few breaks to Skype home, have some food, and scratch my head over how to turn the facing inside out to finish the shoulders.

Oh yes, this was confusing. Really confusing. But this guide is SUPERhelpful! Once I got it, it was easy. So I'd say...factor in some time to figure this bit out. So far a delightful sewing experience.

I picked up 4 meters of gorgeous floral cotton, quite heavy, almost like a quilting cotton from Goldhawk Road. Because the colour is so light I was worried about see-through issues, so I bought loads of buttery soft Indian cotton and underlined the whole dress.

This is when the disaster happened. I didn't have time to pre-wash my cottons, so I just hoped for the best. Well, after the first wash the underlining shrunk! But not the shell fabric. Imagine.... The underlining was pulling at the shape in the strangest way.

I spent a day doing some reconstructive surgery sewing and largely fixed the problem. Lesson learned. Pre-wash fabrics!

Ah well, now it is fine and oh so perfect for twirling.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Sewing: Denim Colette Iris shorts

This post is brought to you by a combination of hurry and laziness. I completed these shorts in a hurry. Then I photographed them in a hurry. But I'm taking my sweet time creating this post. It has been raining here all day and it's the bank holiday Monday before work, so laziness is very much on the agenda. I'm on my second pot of jasmine tea and after this post I might just make a third one and watch a movie.

So you might remember my Sound of Music Colette Iris shorts? I mentioned that they were a joy to sew. So quick and easy! Well, after I finished them last summer I immediately started on another pair. But got distracted and left them half-finished for a year. Then this summer I was trying to finish some other sewing projects before moving house and packing everything into boxes. I remembered these and thought I really should finish them too. I gave myself one day to finish three projects, hence hurry no 1.

Here's the thing about making things in a hurry, you make mistakes. Everything was coming along fine with these, I did a final fitting before doing the leg hems and marked on the fabric where the shorts should finish on the leg. Then I cut. And instead of cutting a few cm below my markings...I cut on my markings. This is why they are so very short.

So hurry number two you ask? Well, we have had just the best summer in terms of weather. Absolutely nothing to complain about. And I just assumed it would last. But last week there has been rain, winds and a drop in temperatures. So today I realised I better hurry up and photograph and post my last few makes of the summer, before it is time to make the switch to autumn sewing and blogging.

I managed to photograph two before it started raining way too much. So the others I will have to do at a later point. But that means...another post coming this week!

Look at that invisible side zipper! Can you see it? No? That's right, because it's perfectly installed! (Years of sewing and I still struggle with invisible zippers....)

Final thing to say about these shorts...the fabric. This is very plain, boring, dark denim. But somehow it has become very special to me. I bought meters of it years ago, when I first started sewing. And over time I have used bits of it for various projects, including three patchwork cushions that have all been gifted to special people in my life. These shorts are the very last of that fabric. 

Finally, a close up of the rose that is photobombing all the photos above:

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Quick update - moving house

Hey guys,

I noticed how my page views have increased, so my fingers are twitching to create some new content. However, I have no time at the moment. I am moving house and we all know what a pain in the arse that is. Thankfully, we are in the very final stages of it. Little bits of cleaning of the old place left and last few boxes to unpack in the new place. Oh, also about 2 weeks worth of laundry to do.

But, I thought I'd share little delights of my new home with you. Admittedly, because I'm lazy these photos are from Instagram, but bear with me. I've got some good posts planned for later on in the week.

First out, my little blogging corner. (The other corner along the same wall is to be my little sewing corner. That's work in progress at the moment, I'll be sharing it as soon as it is ready!) The new house has a lot of beautiful wooden furniture (desk is my antique treasure though), so I took the opportunity to indulge in a little British colonial style decor.

I loove the new garden! I am no fan of gardening, lawn mowing etc (I'm taking it one nerdy hobby at a time) and this one is cemented with a hugely overgrown corner filled with all sorts of low-maintenance delights, including rosemary, wild roses and a very sunny spot the neighbourhood cats seem to love. Only downside...lots of spiders!

One of said neighbourhood cats. We hit it off right away from the moment we met! Although I feel he is taking things a bit fast, he tried to move in yesterday!

Right, there is a huge Mirabelle plum tree in the alley calling my name. Absolutely nobody seems to pay any attention to it, so I predict many a plum galettes about to happen in my kitchen.

See you in a few days! xx

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Sewing: Don't be jealous of my boogie skirt

Has anybody seen RuPaul's Drag Race? A friend introduced me to it a while back and I started watching it and I am HOOKED! I love all the over the top, glamorous, fabulous, big hair, big make up, ELEGANZA EXTRAVAGANZA!

Basically all my sewing is powered by Netflix, and this summer RuPaul and his girls have been keeping me company at the sewing table.

On quite a few episodes these girls have to sew fabulous outfits, often from scratch and sometimes from thrift shop clothes (see what I mean? what's not to love about this show?). Then they wear them down the catwalk to one of RuPaul's songs.

Well, my favourite RuPaul song is 'Don't be jealous of my boogie.' Inspired by this song, I wanted to make a fun little skirt to boogie in. Season 3 saw me through the sewing of this one....

It's kind of self-drafted, but quite basic. Simple ruffled skirt with a broad quilted waistband and invisible side zipper. Fully lined with scraps of some delicious Indian cotton I had left over from another project.

That sounds nice and simple, right? Wrong! This was hell sewing! Mainly because this fabric was sooo hard to work with. It frayed wildly the second I looked at it, it slipped all over the place and it would not ruffle. Threads kept breaking, hemlines were turning out asymmetrical, and there was so much unpicking. The seam ripper did probably two months' worth of work in a 24 h period. I redid the hem something like 14 times, and I think it shows in the photos. Ah well. It's beautiful, so it's worth it. It's basically an off-white satiny polyester with a delicate tulip print that looks water painted.

You will have seen the fabric in the post just below. It was used for one of my earliest sewing projects. I definitely like it much better in the current version.

Right, time for the season 4 finale!