This is Bowling - there are rules!

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Hey guys,

Just wanted to get this post out there as I keep seeing the beautiful faces of the spoolettes popping up in my feed. I'm sure you have realised by now that I went bowling last weekend with some amazing sewists (who have become my favourite people in the entire world btw).

The first rule of Bowling is that you must do it wearing an amazing handmade shirt. And boy did everyone rise to the challenge. I myself had grandiose plans of a huge hand embroidered piece on the back and a hand embroidered name on the front. I did in fact manage the name on the front but the back fell off the wagon pretty fast. Maybe if I had started it when we first began to speak of it (but Alison was the only one who started work early, as seen by the embroidery below!)

I actually was pretty sure I wouldn't get my shirt done in time. I was pretty close to not even trying! I had put myself under a tight time schedule in the lead up to Christmas and then other things decided to come up at the same time. Needless to say, I've been a bit of a wreck recently, but everything should be right as rain come Christmas. 

However I decided to suck it up and whip up something. I used a vintage pattern from my stash that I got at the Chelsea vintage frock, if I remember correctly.

 And what ensued was a night of  random slashing and sewing of fabric, the addition and removal of a random inch here and there, ignoring pattern instructions and all that sort if thing (Malfy here I come). I'm ecstatic to say that something completely awesome emerged from the flames, and it is quite possibly my favourite thing I ever made.

I was worried about the pattern being too small, so I erred on the side of caution when cutting and putting it together. I reduced the back neck pleat by an inch and increased the placket by 1.5 inches. I sewed up the front shoulder dart but not the darts at the bottom front and back. I'm glad bowling shirts have suck a boxy front, they are so forgiving! I sewed the top back neck pleat down an extra inch or so, and I had kept the bottom pleat at the full 3 inches.

All of these alterations meant I had to adjust the collar, so I just traced It off and added in all the missing inches where I thought it made sense. Thankfully it worked! I had to cut out my placket facings a second time because I forgot about the extra I had added!

 I was pretty happy with the progress I had made in a couple of hours. 

I had intended to use the cuff from this pattern, but when I looked at the pattern piece held up to the shirt it kind of looked ridiculous. So what did I do? 

I looked at the pink fabric I had remaining, eyeballed it, and ripped a strip off. I used the cuff method from By Hand London's Victoria, and sewed the cuff onto the edge of the kimono sleeve, opened up the side seam, and sewed it all in flush. And it worked perfectly.

As I had already embroidered my name onto a piece of the poplin, I just cut around it and stitched it onto the front. I had intended appliquéing it properly, but there wasn't time for that sort of nonsense.

 The back was my biggest trial! I didn't want to let go of the lettering on the back, so after many iterations and trying different things, I had to settle for cutting out letters and stitching them down the centre. There was intended appliqué there too but this was down to the wire sewing at its best. Fraying edges and all. Some might say its a look? 

I was even running around all morning looking for buttons, and in the end, the ones I got in the first shop, as a back up, were prefect. More than perfect really, they are my favourite bit of the whole shirt!

And of course the pink buttonholes!

There's also some pink topstitching on the pocket, and the pocket is not functional because I decided I wanted to topstitch the top edge after I had stitched it on the shirt. Sorry (Not Sorry).

After all of that palaver, I ran for the train, and stripped on the street to get my shirt on before I met my girlies. I must have looked like a nutter :)

Anywho, what ensued was a wonderful evening of bowling, burgers and karaoke. Spoolette Karaoke is second to none ;)

I'll leave you with my pictures of the evening, hope it entices more Spoolettes into the fold!

Love Sally's face in this one!


Emmie xx

Speaking too Soon!

Friday, 22 November 2013

Hi Guys,

I clearly spoke too soon! 

I have a feature on Abby from Bluegingerdoll patterns' blog about my Mae blouses... you can pop over and check it out if you like :)

Emmie x

Radio Silence...

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Sorry about the long absence!

I do have things to show and tell but am up to my eyes at the moment! Between my bowling shirt, my next Minerva Crafts make, handmade Christmas presents (1 down, 4 to go..eep ) 

All of that, on top of trying fill in a job application, is basically running me into the ground so I hope you guys will forgive me... 

I'll try and get a few good pics of the bowling shirt at the weekend - if I manage to finish on time!

I'll leave you with a little sneak peek, but just be aware things will be a little stilted on here until Mid-December :(


Emmie x

Mr Tailor Man Part.3 (..the saga continues..)

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Hi guys!

In all my stressing last week over my Minerva make and organising a hen party (which went great by the way!) I forgot to say that I MIGHT have been to the tailor guy's shop again. MAYBE.

Ok, well, as I had said, I couldn't stop thinking about a wool blend in red that I had left behind, so I went back. 

Unfortunately, he also had the same wool blend in a beautiful purple too.

And then he pulled out this amazing 100% green wool that he was also selling. 

Needless to say, the sucker that I am, I walked out with all of it.

What I hadn't realised when I went back for the red, was the price tag. I knew it was £20 - but it had been reduced from £170!

So that was 2 of those.

And the green was reduced to £40 from £346!!

So £80 for £686 worth of fabric. Nuts. I felt horrendously guilty buying it off of him for such a low price, but that was the price that he had set. I have never tried to bargain with him, with the already low pricing, it wouldn't feel right.

How I'm ever going to cut into the fabrics, I don't know. I really wish I had never seen the 'before' price! And it has already been pre-shrunk, so no wool worries about that aspect.

The green wool was actually what they used to make officer's uniforms when they came back home from serving in the army. Tailor's used to have to buy in a specific wool from a specific supplier, and were paid to make the suits from scratch, but eventually they started to buy in standard sizes and tailor them to fit instead.
You can really see why it's so difficult to make a living from being a tailor sometimes.

He had also kept me some special buttons!

These are a couple of buttons made from Stag Horn. Pretty sweet, eh??
Kind of nutty when you think about it.

He ALSO gave me a discontinued suiting sample book, and I have started putting them together to make some patchwork cushions. I'm really happy with how the first one turned out.

And so I'm off again today, to see what treasures are in store.
He rang me last week to let me know that he had a few bags of scraps to give to me (I'm worried I have no more space!). I'm going to enjoy looking through it all and dreaming up what I could possible make out of them! He mentioned that there may even be enough velvet for something wearable!

Wish me treasures!

Emmie xx

First Minerva Crafts make!

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Hi guys!

I've been super excited to show you my first Minerva Crafts Network make - and here it is!

I eased myself in gently this month, with a Mae top by BlueGingerDoll. Granted when I decided to have this as my first make, I hadn't made it at all. Maybe I shouldn't have blogged the green one first... Oh well.

I couldn't help myself - I craved a creamy white one. It might be something to do with the fact that I have over 50 skirts, and only 2 tops that I like! You'll also see why I couldn't resist ordering this particular kit when I turn around.

The fabric I ordered to make the top is the Linen-Look Cotton, previously used by Kathryn and Anna. I thought it looked beautiful, and it had the shade of cream I was looking for. And I thought the texture would give interest to an otherwise simple top.

I love the fabric; it feels lovely against my skin, has an interesting linen texture and washes and presses really well. One of the only issues I've found about this shade is that it was somewhat more sheer than I expected. I was almost finished when I decided to check how opaque it was, but I didn't feel that a lining would've suited this top as it would add too much bulk to the lines, especially at the darts. In the future I would consider underlining this fabric colour - and I can give it a go as I seem to have half of my kit left! I think I squeezed this out of little over a metre of fabric! Thats 58" wide fabric for you.

 As I was quite a ways into the make, I decided to make some slight adjustments to make it work as it was. As the intended neck and shoulder facings for this top are quite wide, they could be seen through the top. I didn't like how it looked, so I trimmed them down to about 5/8", and I slip stitched them down. To be honest, I might actually do this again in the future, as facings drive me cracked! It just ends up looking a bit like a bias bound edge. Or, you know, you could just have a bias-bound edge (But who wants to make bias-binding? I need a bias-binding fairy).

The only other issue I encountered with this make, was the method by which I transferred my pattern markings. I'm a fan of carbon tracing paper for transferring pattern markings and tailors chalk or fabric pencils for buttonholes. They weren't visible through the fabric when I transferred them, but I could see them when I got around to pressing it properly. And the chalk tinted the cream thread in the buttonholes!
I rubbed in some intense stain treating detergent and gave it a good wash and it almost all came out, thank god! But I would definitely think of going down the tailors-tack route, or you know, using yellow carbon instead of blue next time! Only I would use blue!

You can definitely see the colour of my trousers coming through the top, but I will definitely be able to get away with wearing a nude bra and a high-waisted skirt. And hello?? I'm wearing trousers?? Who can say they've seen that before?? I just really want to show you guys the full line of the top this time.

You can read about all of my other pattern adjustments in my previous blog post here. The only thing I changed this time was to take in the hips slightly - the pouffyness was hidden under the skirt in the pictures last time. I overlocked all of the insides, and finished as many edges as I could before I started putting the pieces of fabric together.

I made the decision to make this blouse when I found these buttons. Are they not the cutest thing you've ever seen?? There are a few variations, but these were my favouite... Little Art Deco ladies. Amazing.

Changes for next time? I think I will interface the back button plackets, and I think I may topstitch the placket too. Just to give it a bit more strength and stability. Plus I like how it looks!

So, I hope you like it! You can buy the kit for my make here. You get 2 metres of the cotton (enough for any mistake!), interfacing, 7 of the beautiful buttons, and matching thread. Who doesn't love not having to go and find matching thread? I don't know anyone who would turn that down!


Emmie xx

Simple Sixties Style...

Friday, 1 November 2013

Hi Guys,

Just wanted to share this Autumnal shift dress with you!

It's not a new make - in fact, it was one of my first! It was actually made back before I started my blog, but it's been languishing in the back of my closet all Summer! I made it in the sewing classes I took, and looking back at it now, I'm still impressed with the quality of the make - CL at The Thrifty Stitcher keep at close eye on us!

I got the fabric on Goldhawk Rd (of course). It has a lovely weight to it, but it's a lint magnet. Nightmare! It also gets a bit of a shine of you press it to much, so I have to be careful. I lined it with a blue satin, which means that I have no problems wearing it with tights in the winter! We used this McCall's pattern - which looks horrendous, judging by the styling! But its a decent basic block. We were given the pattern, and CL had FBA'ed the pattern on tissue paper before we got there to save time (we were taught how to do it ourselves too). She even transferred my tweaked pattern onto pattern card for me at the end!

Unfortunately, the sixties isn't completely my style, the only way that I really like it is with a cute blouse underneath. The blouse I'm wearing is Jasper Conran (It's actually my interview blouse! and I may need it again soon - eep!). I've been considering shortening the sleeves on a few shirts to get the same look. It can't be to hard, can it?


One of the main reasons I feel uncomfortable in it, is the lack of fitting when you look at a side view. 
But I'm not always wandering around taking side photos, so I can usually forget about it! It is the concept of a shift dress - a loose fit. I'm just used to a fitted waistband under the bust.

Although, to be honest, I did actually pick the most flattering shot of what I took!

 There were vertical darts under the bust on the pattern, but I have a feeling we left them out as we had three bust darts already. One small issue I do need to fix is that the lining has started to poke out at the front. I don't know how it has happened, it's almost as if it has grown overnight. I think I'll just turn it up an inch and it'll be fine. Also, just so you know, this is the absolute shortest that I would wear a skirt/dress nowadays. I love a midi length ideally.

Anywho, I'm up to my eye's in cake and batter for a 'Alcoholic Afternoon Tea' Hen party that I'm hosting at my flat tomorrow. You should see the sitting room, it's so empty! I had to move loads of the sewing stuff out for it to be safe for people to be in. Hopefully no one steps on any pins!!!


Emmie xx

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