Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Hey guys!

I’ve been keeping this a secret, but it’s just gone live, so I better let you know that I’ve become a member of the Minerva Crafts blogger network!! I was so honoured to be accepted, especially as my little blog is only just approaching its first birthday (I’m also going to try and sort out a giveaway to celebrate that too!). I can’t believe it’s a year since I started sewing – and also a year since I have bought any brand new clothes (a couple of charity shop dalliances, but that’s recycling, lol).

Now the pressure begins, eh? 

I spent hours scouring the website, trying to pair fabric with patterns, so I hope you like the results!
Thankfully I have just finished my first make for the network (although I have yet to try it on since I finished – I better get on that tonight!). My first post goes live on the 7th of November. I’m scheduled for the first Thursday of every month (thought you might want to put it in your calendar :)

 Also, the network itself will be compatible with all of our RSS feeds soon, so the posts can be delivered straight to our Readers. That will make me especially happy. And because there are new faces joining, there will also be more posts to read. It's a jam packed schedule!

More posts = More inspiration!!

I don’t know about you, but having more posts to read excites me! I’m always checking to see if another post has gone up. And, as ever, the items we choose for our makes will be available for you guys to buy as a kit if you so wish :) I will of course let you know how I got on with my kit (and my make) in the post so you have a
heads up. The kits look so lovely all packaged up, with everything you will need in one pack. 
And of course Minerva offer free delivery on purchases over £20 – which is nothing in my book, sure I spent £55 on fabric on a whim last night (ahem, thanks Kathryn).

You can head to the Network to watch as more faces pop up!

Wish me luck!!

Emmie xx

Mr. Tailor Man... Part.2 !

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Hi Guys,

So, I got up really early this morning (well, 8am) to get down to the tailors shop and see if he kept my extra goodies aside... I had meant to go last week, but with all the excitement of joining Rachel's sewing club, I forgot, and it was almost time for him to close.

Mr.G forced me to get up earlier than I wanted and head down. Thankfully he still remembered me, and had left the bits that we had discussed aside for me in the back.

So... these are the boxes I picked up. Can anyone guess what's inside? SewBrooke maybe?


Its a never-ending zip! 

I don't know about you guys, but my mind was kind of blown when I saw this! It completely makes sense, but it never occurred to me that this existed! 

Oh and there wasn't just one.

Because there were 5 boxes, but only 1 bag of runners for the zips, he didn't want to split them up. I was FORCED into buying them ALL! Oh well - MOAR ZIPS FOR ME! So I've got olive green, navy, beige, tan and grey I think? No black which was a bummer! Thankfully I want to get into lapped zips and move away from invisible. He also gave me a little lesson in how to thread the runner on :)

 I could literally cover everything I own in zips for the rest of my life and still have zip left over. 
There's like 200 yards a box. I own, like, a kilometre of zip.
Yes I just mixed imperial and metric for some unknown reason.

My next exciting purchase, another thing I've never seen before...

A jacket pressing board! Its so cool, and such a decent size and shape to drape a garment over.
And even cooler, it might be fancy in the front..

But there's a party in the back.

It has an extractor fan to draw the moisture out of the jacket when pressing it!!

 I assume this would be pretty necessary when you're using one of those crazy professional steam irons. Maybe I'll manage an upgrade someday!

I just think it looks shit cool.

I also bought a yard of thick blue fabric to cover the sleeve board from last time - it's the kind of stuff that he had covered his own board with. Now I've stroked it for a while I'm sort of tempted to go back and get one of the longer lengths to make a dress with.. Maybe the red. Argh, I have no control.

I also bought a piece of tweed that I was drooling over last time. It's not Harris, but its beautiful. It's Holland & Sherry, if that means anything to anyone? There was a piece of Harris but it wasn't very long, and I wasn't feeling the colourway. I stroked some other pieces of fabric but held back. Although I want to go back for that red now. Can't get it out of my head!!

I also picked up the remainder of this card of buttons with anchors on them (Mr.G made me). And he also managed to persuade me to give a home to one of his pairs of shears.

They look old and worn, but they are sharp!

He must be so happy I walked in off the street a few weeks ago.

I am!


Emmie xx

Late night sewing... Mae Blouse - Bluegingerdoll

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Hi Guys,

I finished the third attempt at my Mae blouse! Yes THIRD.
Let me take you on a journey...

The first attempt was with sewable tracing paper. 
I traced between the size that suited my "finished garment" measurements and the next size up, but it wouldn't even close. This surprised me, as I know the patterns are drafted for a D (I know I'm an E but I thought I was gonna be pretty close, I was wrong). I definitely needed some bust adjusting, I wasn't even been able to close it! 

So I decided to follow the sewalong, and do an FBA.
However it went a bit weird in the middle. Let me explain why.

In the sewalong, the first thing you do for an FBA is cut off the sleevey bit. Then you do the FBA and stick the shoulder back on.

Weirdness 1: In the sewalong (illustrated) pictures, it shows a straight edge where you trimmed off the sleeve, even after the FBA. But when you do an FBA you create a side Dart and it ends up kicking out at the side, it doesn't end up straight. I didn't know what to do so i just overlapped the sleeve over the kicked out bit and continued on

Weirdness 2: The side dart created is never mentioned again. I was at a loss as to whether to ignore its existence or sew it up. I thought it would be be baggy and weird if I ignored it, so I sewed it up and trued up the waist/hips. Although I kind of made a balls of measuring them (I forgot to remove the front darts when measuring)

Muslin 2 was done in a lilac cotton sateen lining, that I thought could possibly be wearable, until I cut too short a piece of fabric (although it was still workable) Then I realised that it had a really loose weave (pins were leaving massive holes) and that it was pulling like hell. No No No.

After sewing that up, it closed, but it was SNUG. And getting something to just close is not something to aim for! It was drag-line city.

So I halved the seam allowance and tried again. Close but no cigar.
I drew a whole new seam allowance on the pattern for the next try.

So that brings us to Muslin 3! I made it with something I got at a stash swap. (Thanks to whoever donated!). Not sure what it is, a slub silk or a wannabe slub silk. Either way, its a little stiff, so bear with me in terms of how it crumples instead of drapes. Part of the issue is that my skirt has a smaller waist than the blouse! It looks a lot shinier in these photos too... 

Now in photo one, I am becoming one with the fabric in terms of stiffness. What is with the arms? I look like a puppet on a string. However, let us admire the fact that I found something to match it in my wardrobe! A kilt I got in the Salvation Army. Talk about a 'Fall' Wardrobe, eh?

Although in this photo, I think it looks a little big, it looks better shortly!
I am pretty proud of my finishing. I surprised myself with the scalloped neckline, I thought that was going to be a lot harder. It turned out a lot better than I thought, although Thank God it did because any flaws would be really obvious in this fabric. I used my new overlocker (although it was threaded white, so the insides look a little silly) but I did hand catchstitch all of the hem and sleeve facings! And partially thanks to the stiffness, partially my mad 1.00am sewing skills and partially Mr.G's thread matching capabilities, I think its pretty damn good.

It's like the 1.00am sewing never happened... 
I haven't done the neckline facing. Yet. I'm still not sure if I want to, in case it's too obvious.

In a side note, you can see my crazy eye colour in that top photo!

After the first few photo's, I decided to loosen up and stop looking like such a grump grump.
However, apparently I must raise one eyebrow at all times.

One modification I made to the back was to do the buttonholes vertical instead on horizontal, as I didn't like  the thought of how the buttons would drag off to one side instead of being central in the buttonhole.

I wish that the skirt waist wasn't so snug! Crumple crumple.

I would like to take this opportunity to categorically state that I sewed the buttons on straight and tight, but the buggers prefer to look tipsy, no matter how much I twiddle them. They are vintage buttons that I bought in a vintage shop in Rochester. Thanks for the recommendation Rachel!

All in all I found the pattern pretty straight forward, although I would definitely follow the sewalong, as I found the written/illustrated instructions hard to follow. 
It's probably just how my brain works, but I was stumped in a few places. The hem boggled me so I winged it in the end. I didn't end up doing the second turn either. Ironically I think I understand now, in this exact moment. The photo was the wrong way up for my brain.

But look, I'm still happy with how it turned out! Even my eyebrow agrees

Another version is already in the pipeline. 
Has anyone else noted how ridiculous the concept of a button-back blouse is??
My arms go forward people!


Emmie x

Selfless sewing - Deer & Doe Chardon .... and a few surprises!

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Hi guys,

Long time no hear? (Is that an Irishism btw? I'm still having to check certain phrases, even after 4 years)

SO.. I haven't posted in a while, but I have been tipping away (now that's definitely an Irishism?).

aNYwho - 

So I have been sewing, trying to muslin out a Mae blouse at the moment, and I've been having a few issues - 

Mainly the first one was too small. The back barely touched, and clearly as its a button placket, its supposed to overlap!
I was surprised as I did go by the measurements, and even traced between sizes for some ease. 
I have done an FBA and some other random tweaking (mainly more letting out) so I should be good to go soon. I've just cut out the 3rd (hopefully wearable) muslin. Mr.G left me alone last night to get it all sewn up, but on a phone call to my Mam she asked me about the skirt that I was supposed to be making my sister, and I realised that it was sitting in a box, just waiting to interface the facings.

And after Kathryn's Sewing Enjoyment chart, I've realised my 0% is interfacing stuff. 
Why - I don't know..

But I decided to get my shit together and suck it up, and I've just finished off the whole thing.
Boo yea!

As the title said, its a Deer & Doe Chardon skirt. I'm actually very proud of the darn thing! It looks great, and I'm really excited to give it to my sister.
I can't model it for you myself, as she has a smaller waist, so I'll have to let the dressform do the honours.

Pattern-wise, it came together really quick. I used a tropical print, medium weight, stretch cotton from A1 on Goldhawk Rd. It was one of the 5 meter lengths that Janene and Roisin split in the past. 
I, however, am selfish and if 5 meters are there then they're all mine!! Mwa- ha ha.
Thankfully, I have still got more than enough of this to make myself a dress too :)

The fabric is weighty enough to give the pleats a proper pop, and stand off the body.
I did find it came up a bit big (although maybe the fabric stretched?) so I trimmed it down.
I'm a bit nervous that I was a bit trim happy so hopefully it fits! I also shortened it a fair bit, as my sister is one for the short skirt (occasionally indecent). I think for her this is a very modest, demure length.

The fabric is a bit thick in terms of folding down the facings and getting them to sit down, and again in terms of zipping up at the facing area. This was a combination of the fabric, but also all the pleats. Although my zipper insertion was very clean! I topstitched along the top to keep the facing down inside.

I did intend on doing the back bow but I forgot to do it before I sewed up that pleat, and then I wasn't arsed going back to put it in! I wasn't sure about it anyway because I only had the same print, and the fact the fabric is so thick, I wasn't sure it would tie well. No matter.

One thing I ADORE about this pattern is the pockets! Granted they are my first pockets, so I'm pretty excited about them, but they are lovely and deep, and are the perfect hand-size - wrist deep! They feel so good. and they are really well hidden in the pleats. They will be my go to pocket pattern piece from now on.

And I must say, one of the reasons it came together so fast and so clean, was because of this baby...

Surprise!! I got an overlocker yesterday!!!

Its a Janome 9200d, and I must say I am IN LOVE

Now, I didn't expect to be... Mr.G was going to get me one for Christmas, and I wasn't even excited.
I was a bit shruggy about it. A bit 'Meh'.
I kept saying - "I don't really neeeed one".

But dear god things have changed. The insides of this skirt look serious.

Now, the surprise is the overlocker, and the story of how the stork brought my baby to me.

Well - 

I was walking through town last week, and was thinking about how I would love to befriend a tailor/dressmaker to teach me the ways of the needle, and as I was passing a small tailors that I usually just stroll past, I looked in the window, and I saw that he was selling mannequins for £20. Mr.G noticed a few other things for sale, and we wondered if perhaps he was closing.

I passed again today, and noticed other things for sale. And hanging up there was a Harris Tweed men's Jacket for £45. Bearing in mind that the last Harris jacket I saw was £250, I couldn't help having a look.
It was a 40" chest, so I thought I could definitely take it all apart and cut each piece in a more me size.. perhaps? It didn't have much detailing as it stood, so the pieces weren't distorted.

It looks vintage (the lining has that look), so I decided to go for it.

I have pictures of the expensive jackets I was inspired by.

As I had forgot my purse, Mr.G had to go to the cash machine.

In the meantime, me and the Tailor-man got to talking about dressmaking and he asked me if I had an overlocker. He then proceeded to tell me he was intending on selling his 6-9 month one due to closing down.
And then he said he would sell it for £70.

I was sold, and Mr.G had to go to the cash machine again. He also did a quick google search and it came up at £200-250. On top of that, I bought a big tin of buttons for £5. He said there were some Horn buttons in there (but I'm no button connoisseur).

 And he gave me a sleeve board (as he had 3!). I just have to pad and cover it, but he showed me how he did his. It pretty big. I may have to get a smaller one for slim sleeves! but it will be good for wider sleeves and trouser legs. Or maybe it will be ok, I haven't done many sleeves so far.

It was so cool. And there's more that I'm going to buy off him...
But I'll talk about that when I get them.

Some stuff he's ready to part with (but I had enough to carry for one day, and I couldn't send Mr.G to the cash machine for a third time!) And other things he's gonna wait until he's closing the doors. There's a couple bits of fabric I have my eye on!

I also want to take pictures of his industrial machine ( I think he said approx 5200 stitches a minute - that is mind-boggling) and an industrial overlocker (the reason he had the Janome was because it takes about 2hrs to change a thread colour!). And also, an industrial steam iron (which you have to fill with 5 pints of water in the morning! Something like 40psi of steam).

It's only a small shop but it was cool to see thing's I'd never seen before.
I'll have to wait and see what his price will be for a few of the bits - I'm gonna put a clamp on my bank account for the minute!

To be continued, eh?

Do you think that I will be able to refashion the Jacket???


Emmie x

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