My Bicester Village Haul

Friday, 25 January 2013

The boyfriend wanted to stop at Bicester Village to do some shopping last week. For those not nearby, its a discount designer outlet village near to Oxford, with everything from Armani to All Saints.

I, however, was drawn into the Cath Kidston shop....

I never used to really like Cath Kidston. I like the floral fabric patterns, but I don't tend to like brands that have visible names on products, and I wasn't sure about their range of plasticy bags.

Further to that, my boyfriend bought me a canvas tote of theirs for my birthday last year and I must say, I really liked its construction and I used it all the time.

That being said, I still think that their products are very expensive, and quite overpriced at times.
But that's not so much of an issue in a discount outlet!

I bought three things;

Some very cute stationary tins to use for storing sewing bits and pins. Reduced to £6 from £12

My boyfriend persuaded me to get this pack of knitting needles.There are 8 sets of wooden needles, in a lovely canvas case. They are very long! I haven't tried them out yet, but they look very pretty, and come in sized from 3.5mm to 6.5mm (I think!). They were £10 down from £20.

And finally, I got some fabric! It's very similar to the one that was used for the knitting needle case. 
It was reduced to £6 per metre, think all of the full price material was £17.50 but my boyfriend thinks mine started at more than that! And it's very very wide which is great. Think its at least 150cm. I got 2 metres.

Think I'm going to use it to make seat cushions for my table and chairs and maybe some placemats if I have some left. 

I could've bought more, but I was trying to control myself. There were loads of reduced tote bags, and some lovely sewing boxes reduced, and to be honest, lots more. It was a very big shop, and very well laid out.
And the staff were very friendly and helpful. I wouldn't hesitate to go back!

Emma x

First Solo Skirt

Sunday, 20 January 2013

I know I said I was going to start blogging but I drifted off into the Christmas craziness and completely forgot about it but I'm back and I'm going for it!

So I postponed sewing until I got my sewing desk and gadgets all together. I bought all of mine from Joycotts online. I found all of their prices really good! In case you were wondering what I bought:

I got a magnetic pin cushion, some dressmaking pins, a long tape measure, a pack of squared pattern paper, 2 sheets of dressmakers carbon paper (white and yellow), some tracing paper, a serrated tracing wheel, an 'ergonomic' seam ripper, a sewing gauge, a tailor's awl, a magnetic seam guide, a 'handy' measuring gauge and some machine needles in 80/12 and 90/14. I also bought an adjustable double wheeled tracing wheel from amazon.

So this is what my sewing desk looks like now!

And then of course before I could start I had to get some fabric! I took a trip to Walthamstow after hearing it was cheap. I didn't find much in the way of fabric in the market, I think I got it all in the surrounding shops, but I did get it all for £1.50-£3 a metre which was pretty sweet! There were some fabrics that felt weird but had cute patterns and were cheap so I said I'd try. The little Scottie dog fabric is strange and sort of furry on the outside.

And then of course I had to read around the subject! I got Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing , Rosie Martin from DIY Couture's Book and The Palmer-Pletch 'Fit for Real People'. They all teach me different things and I'm really happy to have chosen them. So most of my Christmas was spent reading those!

But onto the Skirt. 
I chose to make a skirt from a pattern I had been given from a friend from Prima magazine.

It looked reasonably easy, it only had one pattern piece for both the front and back. I had some dark denim I had no idea what to do with so I said I'd give it a try with that.

I did do a tracing of the pattern piece, as the jacket was printed on the back of the pattern. I used my Burda tracing paper, which was good, and traced it by pinning it to a large corkboard, as I am anal about lines being transferred right, the pins gave loads of stability. I used different marker colours for different lines.

 I unfortunately had problems pinning the pattern and the material down to cut on the carpet like I usually do, as the denim was so thick. I ended up pinning it all to the corkboard again! I also had problems cutting the denim out and keeping it all pinned down, but I got there in the end. 

In relation to transferring the markings to the fabric, once I had cut it out, I kept the fabric folded over, right side out, with the pattern still pinned and put some white carbon paper in the middle of the folded fabric. 

The carbon paper was folded over also; so the white carbon faced both the wrong sides of the fabric. I then went over the pattern markings with the tracing wheel (hardish) and it went through both layers of fabric and carbon and transferred the markings to both sides of the fabric at the same time.

The only thing that the pattern involved was sewing the lines at the top together, which  was pretty easy! I didn't take a picture at that point but I can show you from the pattern, I was left with loops of denim on the inside. 

All that was instructed was to press is down (no trimming) but the denim was quite thick, and I was already concerned about it being too small so I decided to trim the top bit down a bit at least in the centre of the loop and then trim down some of the loop edges and zig-zag them so they wouldn't fray. I also decided to do this so that I wouldn't have problems  with too many layers when I was hemming or putting a waistband on. 

This next one just shows the stitching lines

I then put in the invisible zip. I didn't have a invisible zipper foot so I tried the regular zipper foot at times, and also some sort of rogue method where I used no presser foot at all. I took off the foot I was using and lowered the foot clamp to press the zip coil open as I stitched close to the coil. It sort of worked, but was by no means a method I would use if I had a choice. Still I can show that the zip looks okish. There is a small pucker where the zip ends and regular seam meets but that happened with my last skirt too, and its not too noticeable so I won't worry too much.

The pattern advised to add a waistband as instructed for the other skirt in the pattern pack (a pencil skirt slightly visible in the above pattern picture). I originally wanted it to look like the drawing, with no waistband, and maybe try do a sort of hem but it wasn't really feasible with the heavy denim, and i ended up putting the zip in too high for me to do some sort of a hem. 

So I decided to make a waistband and once it was on it didn't look too bad! I made the waistband over some petersham ribbon, like I was taught in a class I took, but that method was for keeping the waistband's stability when it is only attached to the skirt by a few millimeters of overlap. Because the skirt already sat at my waist and I didn't want the waistband to sit higher, I overlapped the waistband completely over the top of the skirt, so in reality it didn't need the petersham too. I did a double rolled hem on the bottom of the skirt. I couldn't decide how thick to make it, so I overlapped the denim by the width of the presser foot so I would at least keep it even the whole way around.

And that was it! Here is the skirt on my mannequin:

I kept it the full length of the pattern, as I like a long mid-length skirt, and I really like it. It ended up being roomier than I though it would be when I first cut out the pieces. The only slight problem is that the denim is quite stiff and when you stand up you need to settle the pleats into their shape. And they do hold the shape as you walk instead of moving with you so it feels a bit funny! I would put pictures of it on me but it needs a good pressing!

And thats it I think! Please leave comments if about anything that pops in your head!

Made With Love By The Dutch Lady Designs