Thursday, 4 February 2016

Baby on Board


npl -seaux or -seaus (-səʊz)
the clothes, linen, etc, collected by a bride for her marriage
[C19: from Old French, literally: a little bundle, from trusse a bundle; see truss]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014

I decided when my best friend told me she was pregnant that I would make a baby trousseau. As you can see by the above definition that I'm using the term wrongly. Don't much care to be honest.
I had a whole raft of projects in mind however due to my previously mentioned difficulties with the concept of time and being a painfully slow knitter I didn't manage to get half of what I wanted to do done. 
By the time of her baby shower I'd only four items made (one took me six months to make to be fair). Some I have in the cut up and ready to be constructed stage so they will just have to be birthing gifts for when the little man finally comes to meet the world. 
Shout out to Baby Denman's grandmother's contributions. A raft of handmade jumpers that means that this lady must knit like the wind! and grandma on the otherside who came up with the brilliant idea of bags sorted by age. So clever. 
So without any further ado here are my minion's baby shower pressies.

Tin Can Knits- Fly Away Blanket

Love sewing issue 15- Very hungry caterpillar baby towel

Simon Francis- Baby Moccasins

Vanessa Moonice- Puffer fish 

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

I wanna hold your hand

It causes me a great deal of irritation when other sewists refer to a sew along or particularly in depth instructions as 'hand holding'. There are some very seasoned sewists who only give instructions a cursory glance before using the techniques their experience tells them will result in the finish they want. Others however are new to this game and need you to be a bit more thorough in the explanation, preferably with step by step photography for those that struggle to translate the words into the objects in front of you.

I consider myself an advanced beginner. I can add in a few steps that the instructions might not mention because my experience tells me that it will improve the fit, form or longevity of my garment. I however am still relatively new and sometimes need a little extra help to make sense of what is in front of me. I also have a great loathing of being 'wrong' so dammit I want to know I'm doing it right. 
My pockets came out a bit awry, but if it's wool surely it can just be blocked?

This leads me on to my latest make which I had to give myself a little bit of time before blogging about so I can be constructive rather than descending into childish name calling. Especially as the one who deserves the name calling is me. I have mentioned previously that I have a tendency towards baseless optimism and an almost Whovian approach to the nature of time. This often leaves me in the position of trying a complex new skill to an impossibly tight timeline. 

This was something lovely that hadn't occurred to me but really helped. Tacking the lining in place so it doesn't show when you stitch it down properly.
I had decided for Christmas to make the fella a new winter coat. I had repaired his old one several times and it was starting to look very threadbare and ropey. Enter the Thread Theory Goldstream Peacoat. I made him another of their patterns the Newcastle Cardigan for Christmas last year and really love the aesthetic they have. 
Bit of old quilt cover to act as a pocket stay giving the area strength.

He'd picked some lovely Brown wool and a Red and Green shot Viscose and Acetate Twill Lining  which depending on which way you look is either red or green both from Stone fabrics. He then picked some gorgeous buttons at Abakhans and frankly I was quite proud of the fella's taste. 

Now the problems come. 

I gave myself four days to do this. This might have worked out ok if I'd just followed the instructions but as there was a set of instructions for tailoring I though heck the Fella is worth that degree of work, why not. If I hadn't I would probably be much happier with the finished result. 

Wah la no pocket lining on show
The problem I feel is that the tailoring instructions are done by a lady called Dana who is evidently very skilled in her craft and writes as such. It reminds me though of the challenges on Bake Off where they're given deliberately sparse instructions to test the bakers knowledge. In this case instead of 'make a custard'  you get 'make a welt pocket'. Which I imagine if you've done a few before is simple pimple however my difficulty is even if I looked up instructions (of which Crafty does an excellent set ) I'm not familiar enough with the technique to see how it could be applied here. Now to be totally fair she doesn't instruct you to make a welt pocket, she just says that's what she did and considering it looks so beautiful why wouldn't you want to do that?!?! 
Cheeky flash of the lining

It's also difficult as it's not overly clear which of the pattern's instructions you need to skip and which to follow when following the tailoring instructions leaving me unpicking things that I stitched from the pattern instructions and then found shouldn't be done until later in the tailoring instructions. I also found I needed more pictures which were of a wider angle to help me work out how things fitted together. 

Even though I had no idea what I was doing all the tailor tacks did make me feel proper
This brings me on to the Peacoat kit you can purchase from Thread Theory. Another place where the instructions are very very few. The kit you get is obviously of very high quality but there isn't even an indication of which piece is which. The coat fronts are easy to work out, as are the shoulder pads but the sleeve head and collar took some noodle scratching. There's also absolutely no indication of how to use them.

 It would be really helpful if the kit is being sold for this particular pattern that there were instructions for how to use them. I had no idea where to place the pieces or which way up to place them. I tried googling it but ended up on a professional coat makers forum where, for reasons I don't really understand, they descended into a heated discussion of Punch and Judy??? 

New skill that I was quite pleased with. Catch stitching. See there was so much to love in these instructions. Just a tiny bit more of the larger detail would have made them perfect.
I had to do some just winging it which as mentioned previously I really didn't like to do especially with expensive  materials that are intended as a gift. In the end I just didn't use the undercollar or sleeve heads. I was too fed up of googling fruitlessly for anything that might be of assistance. Obviously I was annoyed at myself for not giving myself time but really really frustrated with the instructions. I can imagine that if you know what you're doing you can make sense of it all and come up with a really lovely piece. Although the peacoat is intended as being at its most basic to accommodate a beginner the tailoring instructions don't appear to account for the person who is trying to push themselves in terms of skills and therefore will need things explaining that the writer may consider obvious.

The idea of the tailoring instructions is lovely I just think it needs the input of a rank amateur such as myself to be able to ask all the stupid questions and therefore make them a little bit more accessible. 

I had however winged it so that the hood was attached permanently to the coat as per the fellas instructions. I wish I had interfaced the hood as it is so floppy it's a tiny bit Jedi. I've had to come back to it to sort out the buttons which I did too quickly and therefore stitched on wonky. 

Final piece photographed by the lovely Mr James Denman.
I am told from the recipient however that I am nit picking and that he loves it which is the main thing.  I do love the style and the combination of the lining and shell fabric so maybe with some time I might come to love it too. Hopefully once the feeling of being irretrievably out of my depth passes.

The lining. I'm crouched behind this holding it up