Sunday, 31 May 2015

Simplicity Star Sewist Entry

Good afternoon Limbos and Ginjoints.

I write to you today with my entry for the Simplicity Star Sewist competition. To give a little background Simplicity are running a competition where they are sending entrants one of their patterns to put their own creative stamp on. I did wonder if my idea was taking my own stamp too far, then I thought well they did say there were no rules....

There are three options: a shift dress, a vintage top or a skirt. I oped for the vintage category and went for the top which is available here. As mentioned previously I had done a dry run of this pattern where I'd followed the pattern as instructed....kinda. What's one little fastening alteration between friends?

This is the pattern illustration...

and this is what happens when I go hack-happy.

As this is a 60s era pattern I wanted to stay in that era and for reasons best known only to me when I think of 60s I picture monochrome, gathered sleeves and mesh. I also picture heavy eyeliner, a beehive hairdo and baby pink lipstick. This may or may not have happened or I'm just really influenced by a fancy dress view of the 60s. Either way that's the route I chose to go.

Oooo arty

I had considered making the main body in scuba fabric however being unable to find any in the fabric shop I happened to be in at the time I went for a heavy weight jersey. I kept the mesh though because I'd never sewn with it before and it's always a good idea to use something that you utterly can't estimate the outcome of when you're looking to impress. Right?

It was naughty so we made it stand in the corner and think about what it did.

So alterations made to the pattern:

  • Cut the pattern in two below the sleeve to make a mesh yoke
  • Extended the sleeves to the wrist
  • Gathered the sleeves into the cuff
  • Cut several sizes below my own to get rid of the majority of the ease
  • Got rid of the facings on the neckline
  • Kept the additional couple of inches to the length because of my long torso and aversion to midriff baring 
Look at the top stitching! Look at it!

Speaking of the neckline it was going to be bias bound with the jersey however as the neckline is a little high (I forgot to lower it from the dry run) and the mesh a bit stretchy so it created a distinctly messy trim which, to add insult to injury, was trying to garrote me. I decided therefore to just cut the whole thing off and leave the neckline raw allowing it to fold back on itself in a slightly cowl like fashion.

Lastly a few words about the photography. You may notice the dress form is not my usual stunt double but is in fact borrowed from my best friend (it's so darn skinny!). The top is not so ridiculously low cut as it appears, the dress form is just a lot smaller than me. You will also notice the photos are not my usual slightly rubbish fare due to the assistance of her husband who is an excellent photographer and showed me how to get the best out of my little camera. He said many words on the matter of how to make the photos presentable many of which I recognised to be from the English language but lost me completely. 

The gold light makes me think of alien invasions, not sure why

What I did take away was the need to make a reflective surface for light bouncing (that's the technical term yeah?). If you need me I'll be in the garage playing with tinfoil and gold spray paint which will also be helpful when I move into my 70s glamrock phase.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

On cutting yourself some damn slack

I don't know how many times over the years I have said these words or words to this effect to people. Watched people overload themselves with demands and expectations then buckle under the pressure. It does you no good and you win no prizes (unless you're training for the Olympics in which case have at it, go for gold!) There is no point when it is all finished and you've completed everything asked of you; it just keeps stepping up a level getting more and more. It's like Space Invaders really.

Day 1
Isn't this very sage and wise advice? Don't I sound like some benign old spirit spilling my drops of wisdom? Well also acknowledge that it comes from an absolute hypocrite. Yes you should take a break and go easy on yourself but me? Well I have cracked the code and therefore will be able to beat the system entering the mothership if I can complete just. one. more. task.

Day 2

Nonsense. Absolute gibberish. This conclusion occurred to me in the participation of Me Made May. Now there is nothing wrong with the challenge as it is, in fact I think it's a great idea. The problem is with me. There are no rules apart from the ones you set yourself and really the one I set myself isn't unrealistic... on its own but taken in combination with the other obligations I hold it becomes overwhelming.

Day 3
First off I realised I flipping hate taking a photo of myself every day. It's been 7 days and I've already skipped 3. Again this is not a rule of participating yet I seem to think it is making the process unnecessarily angsty for myself. I also don't quite think I'm there with the 5 days of wear without resorting for a number of days to a handmade scarf or hat. I know that this officially is quite acceptable but to me, for me, it feels like a cop out.

Day 4
So unless I resort to panic sewing (AGAIN Humbug did you listen to what Zoe was saying at all?!) to knock up a few more garments it won't get done. I realised this wasn't going to happen when I sat down to stitch in a sleeve and thought I really don't want to do this right now. I refuse to turn my hobby into a chore so I need to change my thinking. There are some half finished pieces that I can be working on but this will be to an as and when schedule.

Any future modelling will be carried out by my stunt double Olive.
So I'm going to reconsider my pledge thus:  'I, Miss Amy of Handmade by Humbug, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '15. I endeavour to wear as many of my me mades for whatever days I feel like for the duration of May 2015 and just chill the heck out. I will use this as an exercise to find which me mades I like to wear and purge those I don't. I will not be taking sodding daily photos.'

This is just a first step that can be built on next year. No pressure.

What I'm choosing to spend my time doing at the moment

Monday, 4 May 2015

I did some mother trucking knitting

I did it! I knit something!

I get the majority of people who see the things I make will think, so? You knit lots of things. Well first off that's crochet and second it took me so bloody long to get my head round this. I don't know why. There seemed to be some blockage in my brain that went 'nope' whenever anyone tried to teach me.

I only had one temper tantrum and frogged the whole damn thing, that's positively mature adult for me. There's a couple of places where I dropped or picked up stitches but not massively and blocking hides a multitude of sins.

This time I was determined though. This time I was doing it. I think what kicked it off was seeing that you start with the same sliding knot as you do in crochet. I can do that, so I can do this I kept telling myself. The pattern is Wheat from Tincanknits who do an excellent basics set of learner patterns. I plan to go through all of the lessons which will result in a scarf, cowl, socks, jumper and cardi.

Each level has two alternatives for example you can make the scarf or a blanket. As there is no way on earth I'd have the patience for a whole blanket I went with scarf. You can make both or just the one and I've chosen one at each level apart from the last as I would like both a jumper and a cardi.

I think I'm really getting this though and I've already cast on my next project (get me, 'casting on', no big deal). On circular needles none the less though I wish someone had warned me about cheap circular needles. I snapped my first Pony set almost straight out of the packet. A needles a needles a needle or so I thought. Second purchase of Knitpro interchangeable going muuuuuuuuch smoother.

Last a word on photography. If I'm going to do this I need decent photos to show the goods. Only thing is I'm crap at photography and what's worse not overly fascinated by learning it. It's a means to an end but the process doesn't exactly fill me with the warm and fuzzys. It's how I imagine most people feel about sewing; they want the pretty dress at the end, not so bothered how it got there.

My good friend and photography whizz Denny has been trying to teach me the basics. I'm a bad student as I took these photos by just pressing all the buttons which is definitely NOT what he taught me. Hopefully when I go visiting at the end of the month I'll leave with some rather more defined skills or he'll knock my head off in frustration. One or the other.