Sunday, 30 April 2017

In the merry merry month of May.

 Tomorrow is the first day of May and that means it's Me Made May time again. A time when makers across the land make pledges to wear their own handiwork through the month of may. 

Cookie Blouson and given away to a colleague who liked it 

With that in mind I needed to consider what my pledge this year would be. I looked back over my instagram posts and found some of the garments I made are no longer with me. Either they didn't fit right, the construction was dodgy or they just didn't feel like me.

Sencha blouse finished and although I'm not sure I'm keen on the cut it will stay with me forever as the fabric has the same name as me. Well it did before I was married...

It feels like each time I participate that there should be progress which I suppose is towards the ultimate goal of making all of my own clothing. I'm not entirely convinced I want to go all the way down that road but knowing that I could make them all if I wanted to. My pledge last year was at least one handmade item per day which I would record daily in instagram (which I achieved) and blog once a week (which I did not....In fact I didn't blog again until 2017).

The barrel loads of teeny pieces cut out for two flower girl dresses

The year before I had made a similar pledge of one item per day but gave up after day three as I just wasn't there yet. I also couldn't be bothered to take the photos with my camera but fortunately I find instagram much more achievable.

Did finish the Bruyere and it gets regular use and love.

So where does this stand for a older wiser 2017 Humbug? One item per day is definitely achievable so how do I push this forwards? Two items? In the end here is the pledge I make. Lets see how we go.

I did finish this but I don't think it was in May. The fit on the armholes was crap though so off to the charity shop it went.

'I, Amy of, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '17. I endeavour to wear at least one handmade item and at least three times a week two each day for the duration of May 2017. I will try to complete my unfinished jumper and the garments I have cut out ready to be stitched. I will instagram once a day and round up once a week' 

Looking at the photos above I should also probably work on taking better photographs 😒

This photo is nice though....the top didn't survive as the fit on the bust was AWFUL but the picture is pretty.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Outlander Skirt

If you'll excuse me I'm about to go a bit hipster on you. I was in to Outlander before it was a cool. Before it was a TV series full of attractive people with improbably good teeth.

I had been given the first book to read by my Aunt and Uncle when I was a student staying with them in Oz. I spent a truly sweltering day sat obsessively trying to finish it before my flight home, panicking that my baggage was likely to be over the weight limit (which it was).

I became entirely hooked especially as the protagonist was a nurse. Their job is like my job! She also spent most of her time getting up to ridiculous rumpy pumpy without being entirely spineless and insipid *eyeballs Fifty Shades of Grey disapprovingly*.

So when it came out on TV I was all over it especially when I realised I had Amazon Prime. I have absolutely no recollection of signing up for this but I will tolerate the machinations of corporations in this instance. Some binge watching later and I was ready to coat myself in woad, wrap myself in tartan and run across a field bellowing 'FREEEEEEEEEEEDOM'. I am aware that's from Braveheart what are ya gonna do?

So on to the sewing. If not running around in woad I did at least want to have on the tartan (also my body weight in woollens but that's for another day). I already had the Grace sewing pattern free from Love Sewing; View A being one of my bridesmaid's dress. This skirt was intended as a quick palate cleanser after the more complex Archer popover....which was also tartan :)

I love this skirt. The fabric is a polyester and viscose tartan suiting fabric from Minerva Crafts. It's a nice medium weight fabric with a good drape. I love this fabric and it'll make a nice transitional spring and autumn piece. During sewing this I learnt the ongoing lesson that always leaves me as soon as I finish i.e. might be a good idea to overlock your fabric pieces before you sew them together as doing so once you have sewn them together is an almighty pain in the arse.

I also realise that I have absolutely no idea where my waist is or what size it is. This one I tried to fit to around my belly rather than to my actual waistline. This turns out to look like you've wandered out in your grandmother's skirt and not in a cool retro way. So 4 1/2" removed inches and the skirt sitting at my natural waist later and it's working much better. Also means I can put my hands in my pockets without slouching like a hungover teenager.

So Jamie I'm suitably attired, head over at your earliest convenience.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

The Cadillac of Skirts

The great thing about sewing your own clothing (apart from discarding all size labels) is that when observing a garment on someone else that you like you can go off and recreate one for yourself. Which is precisely where this Grainline Moss skirt in green pleather comes from. 

For anyone who doesn't know pleather is plastic leather. Now although I'm not against the concept of leather altogether I'd rather not sew with it if it doesn't feel necessary. This fabric is and ebay purchase and is intended to be used to make car seats hence it is the Cadillac of skirts. I'll be honest when I set out to do this I really didn't know how it was going to go. When I pre-washed the fabric it felt very stiff and I was concerned it'd be like trying to make a skirt out of a cardboard box. None the the less I persisted.

Lovely Liberty Isle of Wight cotton to line the waistband.

Stitching it actually came together a lot easier than I thought it might. I used scraps of fabric for the pocket bags and the waistband facing. The fly zipper was the only place where I got in to difficulties. It's serviceable but not terribly neat but to be honest I stitched a skirt out of something intended to be used in cars; I'm gonna cut me some slack. My machine didn't particularly have any trouble handling the fabric while using a leather needle (a needle with a specific tip for piercing leather rather than one made of leather) apart from making the button hole. She did not like doing that. 

Look how terrible it is! It's not so bad from a distance though so I not gonna get bogged down in it.

As is fairly standard for the Moss skirt I added about 3" to the bottom as I don't like my skirts too short and I didn't really want the addition of an extra panel.

From a colleague to me in a slip of a needle. Ain't sewing grand?


Following on from my Outlander and all things tartan obsession came plans for a Grainline Archer popover in a gorgeous brushed cotton blue and green tartan again from Minerva crafts. Although I had this shirt in mind when I bought the fabric I realised that there was a special little guy's first birthday and I wanted to make him something. 

I was little burnt out from the bulk of stitching for the wedding but frankly a shirt for a one year old is so teeny what's the harm? I used the free pattern and instructions from small dreamfactory available here.

Maybe the fact I had to do it twice because I didn't pay attention to the instructions? Yeah, probably that.

This is why you concentrate when clipping the collar curve. Yep cut a gash straight through the shoulder. Hasty patch for the win.

Anyway the little boy the shirt was intended for I refer to as my nephew. He's my best friend's little boy so no actual blood between us but sometimes family is more than blood. I think of this as my twins shirt as frankly the best advice I can give him in life is the secret to everything (not just take away eggplant Parmesan) is add more cheese.

So details of the popover. I wanted the popover rather than the proper button up as A. it's rare I find a button up that doesn't gape at my bust and B. I'm always wary of too boxy silhouettes as I think it makes me look manly. The popover seemed to me a nice combination of the masculine style with feminine details.

Olive my dress form wears this necklace as the first time I put it on I broke it. Yep I broke Feminism. Doh!

Turns out no matter how many times I read the instructions for the tower placket that said DO NOT cut off the little triangle...I did. My plackets therefore are not perfect but I think they're acceptable. 

The sleeves have also been through some variations as initially I found them much too long  and so flappy that they didn't roll up nicely. No matter, I thought, I shall just cut them off at elbow length as it's very rare I wear long sleeves not pushed up to my elbows (you can take the girl off the ward but you can't take the ward off the girl).

Unfortunately that gave me a loose t-shirt like sleeve which is a look I really really dislike. After a couple of wears it occurred to me to unpick the cuffs from the discarded length and stitch them back on to the shorter sleeve with pleats put in to make them marry up. Perfect. The sleeve is taken in and once again looks like a shirt sleeve. I didn't add buttons as cuff is the perfect size for that part of my arm and can't be taken in any further with a button.

It still gapes a teeny bit at the bust but meh. I like it so much I'll forgive it it's foibles. Much like a good auntie.

Oh also on a side note. In order to take these photos I had to commando style around the fence because the fella is seeding the grass. As you can see below however it's one rule for one and another for another in this dictatorship of cats.