Sunday, 22 March 2015

No Animals Were Harmed in the Making of this Blog Post

Hello! Today I am going to share with you a collar that I made inspired by the lovely Rhonda Buss, of Rhonda's Creative Life fame. I made this using a tutorial that Rhonda shared on her blog as part of her Free Pattern Friday series. I was really inspired as this collar was just so cute and looked amazing on, yet was a very simple sew (find Rhonda's collar here and here).

My poor, long-suffering dummy. Apologies for all the fluff.

This was a quick make.  I didn't have to buy anything as everything was already in my stash.  I bought this really crazy tie dye fur fabric when it was on sale in Mandors in Glasgow. It is a bit of a wild mixture of white, pink, lilac and black. You get a better idea of the colours from the back.

I have a sort of love/hate relationship with this fabric, it is so awful it is great, but have never been able to part with it even though I didn't have a clue what to use it for.  I must have had it for about 10 years! Talk about being delighted when I read Rhonda's post.

The sewing part was fast. The pattern is just a 4" by the fabric width rectangle and the pom-poms two little 4" squares that you round off into circles that I cut off the end. The squares were trimmed into circles, drawn up into little balls using a running stitch and stuffed to keep there shape using a little kapok. The ribbon was hand stitched into place.
I took the advice and cut the fur using a blade so that I didn't damage the fluffy part and then zig-zagged the edge with all the hair tucked in. I didn't cut the other side off where they had chopped it off the roll in the shop and boy, does it make a difference.  Thanks, Rhonda for the great tip. Photos of the two methods below:

This was the razor cut. You can't really see the join.

Seamed using the cut edge. This took some work with a pin to get it looking furry I can tell you!

So I love the final outcome. This little collar makes me insanely happy and the colours really cheer up the miserable transition into Spring that we have been having. I am now on the look out for more fur in funky colours. This would make a fabulous gift to make someone, except this one. Me, me, me. Mine, mine, mine!

Me after a long day and covered in pen from marking the back of the fur. What a clart!

Apologies for all the big pics but I have borrowed a Mac to write this and I am missing all my photo editing software.

So have you worked with fake fur? What did you make?

Have a great week!


Sunday, 1 March 2015

Love is Like a Butterfly (Mabel)

I have a horrific work deadline this week so this will be a very short post. Still not had time to take the shots for my Wardrobe Architect. Although, talking of all things Colette here are some pics of my finished Mabel skirt. As I have written about in a previous post, I received this pattern from the lovely Friedericke of Naehen Ist Therapy blog as part of the Curvy Sewing Collective Holiday Swap. This was great for me as I have now lost my fear of sewing knits and have even got to grips with my overlocker again after losing the knack! Thanks, Friedericke.

Colette Patterns, Mabel - View C

This is made using view C, the longer pencil skirt with a 3-panel front and 2-panel back, plus attached waistband except I didn't see the point of a vent in a stretchy fabric so I folded the vent part back on the pattern piece and cut the whole back piece on the fold.  It is made up in a blue butterfly-print Ponte knit remnant from The Textile Centre on eBay. There was only 0.9m and it cost about 3 quid so this skirt must qualify for bargain of the year, pipping my snakeskin Ponte Gertie pencil skirt by a whole 50p. It was supposed to just be a potentially wearable muslin so another definite win. Because of the muslin status I made no attempt at pattern matching but it doesn't look too shady if you ask me.

So will I make this again - Yes! Will I sew with more knits? Try and stop me. This skirt took about 2 hours in total. My only problem was that I cut out the 2XL and after comparing the sizing with the Gertie skirt realised that I had to trim off a whopping 6 inches - 1 inch off each side seam piece and 2 inches off the front panel piece.  Plus I would like the skirt to sit a little higher in the waist. Now that I have some patterns to finesse I can see a lot of knit skirts in my life. Since they take such little fabric they are a cheap and quick fix. I even have some more fabric washed, lined up and good to go.

So who wins the knit pencil skirt challenge? Gertie or Mabel? Looking at the photos I will have to say I don't know but will definitely use both patterns again so maybe it is a draw.

Have you tried both of these patterns? What did you think? Or do you have a tried 'n' true pencil skirt pattern?

Hope you are having a good week wherever you are. 


Sunday, 22 February 2015

Giveaway Winner and Some Shaky Pics

So this week has been half term in the UK and the schools have been on holiday. If you have school-age children have you been off? If so, did you go away or doing anything special? I have been off for the past week which has been a bit of a mixed bag but to be honest I really needed the break. Last weekend we ventured out in Glasgow and I dragged poor Sprogzilla to go see a band - nothing like a bit of heavy rock to make you relive your youth.  The first time I saw them was 23 years ago! I was very young of course *cough, cough*

This was followed by a day wandering the roads around Greenock and Gourock. It was really beautiful out there and hard to think that you are close to the biggest city in Scotland. I know that a lot of the world is really suffering with snow at the moment but it was beautiful weather, we just had light coats on, but you could still see snow on The Trossachs at the top of the Holy Loch.

Looking over to Dunoon and the Holy Loch. You can see the wee ferry.

Then we headed to Edinburgh to see my Mum for a couple of days. She is doing a lot better but still convalescing and was really pleased to see us. We had another trip to the beach for sea glass again but our timing was rubbish and the waves were racing up the beach. We still had time to get a small bagful.

 I have been doing no sewing this week but I did cut out a lining for my pink corduroy skirt that I started last year. The shame! I did have an excuse as I lost the back pattern piece so had to trace out another one and I hate tracing.

I wore something that I made today though. This is the pencil skirt from "Gertie Sews Vintage Casual". I finished that and my Mabel but haven't worn the Mabel yet to get any pics. This is my least favourite fit-wise out of the two. 

I cut out the biggest size which was to fit a 50" hip but I had to take it in my an additional 4 inches, plus I pegged the bottom by a few cm on each side as it was a bit straight for my liking. I still feel like it is too big, even in the waist. The only thing keeping it up is my "mum-tum". 

Hope this doesn't break the internet.

I do like the fact that this is a 1-(yes really) piece pattern but to be honest it would probably be a bit frumpy as it is drafted. This is loose enough for me to wear to work though if I can find a long enough black top.

Apologies for the shaky camera phone pics but Sprogzilla's friends invaded the studio today and were highjacked into kindly acted as photographer, bless them. 

So anyway, now for the thing that you are all waiting for, who has won the mag. So without further ado the winner is..........

...............................Nicole. Congratulations, Nicole! Please send me your snail mail address to ligeia2001 at hotmail dot com by Thursday 25th Feb and I'll get your magazine sent out to you this week. Huge thanks to everyone for taking part and leaving comments. They are always really appreciated. Please keep checking back as I will be having another giveaway soon in honour of the Vintage Pattern Pledge.

For all you rock chicks out there I will leave you with a slice of my mis-spent youth.
As always have a great week!

K xx

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Psychohail, Whippocino, Shimmerglisten........Plus My First Giveaway!

Beware picture-heavy posting ahead.

Bah, snow and not even the good stuff. That stuff that just comes down in a stinging, soggy shower of misery. Yep, today I am having a good rant about the weather even though the sun is streaming in the window in a very winsome and deceptively golden fashion. You could almost mistake it for Spring.

The first snowdrops in my garden. Still got roses and geraniums flowering. Weird.

I have been away out of the office and had the good fortune to go to Florence for a couple of days.  It snowed. Everyone was quite surprised there as this is not apparently a common occurrence. The snow must have heard this as it sort of gave up and turned to sleet in a hissy fit.

Arriving into Pisa the day before, the weather there was beautiful and balmy. I had put my thermals on under my suit, plus a raincoat over the top. Cue one big sweaty mess, so the next day I dressed for warmer weather. Bad move, it was freezing but I was in Florence and determined to make the most of the tiny amount of time I had.

So time for a big wander round the city, looking for fabric shops and generally having a good nosey. I didn't find any fabric shops. It was quite late and dark. A lot of stuff was shut. I did go for a stroll round the Duomo and the indoor/outdoor markets near San Lorenzo Church. The leather stall holders there really give you the hard sell. It was still sleeting and I got soaked literally through to the skin so squelched back to the hotel in search of a hot shower and a glass of wine.

The Duomo is a bit mental and not in the best possible taste. You can't deny that it is some achievement though and was lovingly crafted. I love ecclesiastical art, the sheer scale and literal awesomeness, but some of it really has me thinking about the purpose behind its creation. In a lot of Italian churches the art there really makes me feel like it is there to remind people to toe the party line and know their place. Look at the expressions on this pair. Not a lot of benevolence in there.

However, these little chaps are charming and make me wonder who the sculptors used for models. They are crafted with such life and quiet love about them.

A final one for the Doctor Who fans out there. Don't blink!

For all you proper fashoionistas, I found a couple of streets full of the big designer shops: Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada, Dolce and Gabbana, Tiffany. They all had very impressive window displays. I loved these flowery trousers.

Next day was time for home and I checked out extra early so I could have a couple of hours in Pisa. I really like this town and have been there quite a few times now. There are some good shops and I noticed some market stalls dotted around the side streets selling local food and handmade goods.

My favourite photo is out of focus but I think that it looks quite Impressionistic that way.

Anyway, now to the exciting finale. One of my primary (non work-related) objectives was to pick up a copy of La Mia Boutique magazine. This is like the Italian Burda, with sewing patterns inside that you have to trace off. La Mia is a bit legendary as it is hard to get outside Italy and is supposed to have very swish patterns inside. I am going to reserve judgement on that but someone can make their own mind up as I bought an extra copy to giveaway.

This giveaway is open world-wide. Just leave a comment below this post before Midnight Friday 13th February! Spooky Possums!

So to round up, apologies for the bad camera photos and for the fact that this blog is slowly becoming more of a travelogue. I have been doing some sewing, all day yesterday in fact, and have finished two skirts so it will be back to the sewing ASAP.

Best of luck and have a great week!


Sunday, 1 February 2015

Just Checking In

Sorry for not posting for a bit. I have the most ridiculous amount of work on and have a deadline for tomorrow which I will be lucky to meet. To top it off I have been out of the office for a few days to a meeting in foreign parts so will be hosting my very first giveaway this week for a sewing-related item. International woman of mystery me like!

Hate not having time to blog/sew and am now behind on my Wardrobe Architect. Never mind get my life back this week. Oh, and I broke my RTW fast as I need to look less scruffy posh and have had no time to sew anything. All I can say is M&S to the rescue. And shoes! Definitely sorry not sorry from me.

Hope you are having a nice stress-free week! 

Sunday, 18 January 2015

How I Stared with a Mabel and Ended with A Gertie! (Plus My Plans for Wardrobe Architect 2015).

Hi Everyone, well yesterday was a bit of a wash-out sewing-wise although I did trace out two patterns which will be going head-to-head in my knit pencil skirt challenge. Sprogzilla and I got down late to the Studio yesterday (I have no sewing machines at home now) partly because we had to go do some food shopping but also because Sprogzilla introduced me to "Attack on Titan", a Japanese anime and we watched a few episodes in the morning. It's great and very addictive! 

This is a  91cm/150cm-wide ponte knit remnant that I bought from The Textile Centre on eBay to make a test run of my Mabel pattern. When I saw the fabric though I thought that it might be better as the pencil skirt version 3# so I quickly traced it out completely as drafted. No length changes at all as I wanted to see how it sewed up and if it was a bit above the knee then that was okay, it was a wearable muslin. I cut it out, put a new needle back into my overlocker to make it back into a 4-thread and then discovered that I had no navy blue thread. I never even thought to check before I started cutting. I have 100's of threads in every colour apart from navy blue it seems. Typical! The photo really makes this look very dark but it is closer to Monaco Blue.

So what to do, I was all fired up to do some sewing? I bought the new "Gertie Sews Vintage Casual" this week which I will review when I have some time. 

Not the high-point of my book collection I have to say but it did include the knit pencil skirt pattern above so I quickly traced it out. One pattern piece! My kind of pattern. It was just straight up and down though and to be honest I thought that would be a bit frumpy so I pegged it by about 1.5cm at the bottom and cut it out. Anyway, I had just overlocked the raw edges top and bottom before I sewed up the side seams when I was called away to do something and didn't get back to it before I got picked up to go home. Boo! I used another ponte knit from The Textile Centre for this skirt. This is a bit heavier weight than the butterflies but there is not much between them. They are both lovely fabrics and I will seriously be buying more of the snakeskin. They both have great stretch.

The plus point of both these patterns is that they are so economical. You could have cut out both these skirts from way less than a metre respectively. Out of the fabric bits that are left over there are some good sized scraps which could probably make some short raglan sleeves and a binding for a knit top  (a plan emerges). I can't comment on the fit yet but as these are all good to go then I should get them sewn up next weekend.

Talking of plans I will also be posting next weekend about my plans for Wardrobe Architect as I am taking part this year.  January is all about finding your core style and exploring shapes so I have scoured the interwebs to completely rip off   review the options for assessing your own body shape using photography to make a croquis  (a little line drawing of your figure used as a template for design) and using the low-tech paper and pen to find out your own proportions. Be warned though. It won't be for the faint of heart as I will be seen in something tight so you can see all the undisguised lumpy bits in their full glory. The things I do for sewing!

Anyway, enough waffling for today. If you have got this far thanks for reading and please tune in next weekend for the full horror!

Later lovely people! K xx

Saturday, 10 January 2015

The Vintage Pattern Sewing Pledge 2015

Do you sew vintage patterns? Or are a fan of vintage styles and fancy putting a toe in the water with some vintage repros? Then you might be interested in "The Vintage Pattern Pledge" being hosted by Marie from A Stitching Odyssey, ably assisted by Kerry from Kestrel Makes.

Simplicity 5519, Vogue 5827 and Simplicity 7716

As you may know, or have realized by now I am an avid pattern buyer and I have bags of vintage patterns kicking about. Unfortunately, not many in my size but I do have some vintage repros which are, plus a couple of true vintage plus-sized gems.

McCall's 7456, Butterick 4708 and Simplicity 7583.

One of my goals for this year was to actually do some sewing and make myself some garments so when this came up I was pleased as I had been following the proceedings last year.

Vogue 5956, Simplicity 6808 and McCall's 7230

So I, Kelly of Mother of Invention do solemnly swear that I will actually put my needles where my mouth is and stitch up at least three of my vintage patterns in 2015.


Think that I should manage three in a whole year! I hope that they allow patterns taken from vintage examples. I don't know if they will as I have to draft it up myself so it is a "new" pattern really but I'll have a go anyway. I love redrafting and making these patterns up, like this 1930's girdle from the the "Vintage Lingerie" book by Jill Salen. The style lines on this are beautiful, it looks really Art Deco.

I have still got to finish the binding properly, add front closures and put some suspenders on the front but I hope that you get the general idea. Apologies for the dodgy phone pics but I forgot to take these in daylight today. This looks really gorgeous on. I made it up exactly as drafted and it fits a neat UK size 8. I used cotton coutil, a specialty corset fabric with a tight weave, for the strength layer the same as the original but I used a silk dupion outer and lined it with coordinating quilting cotton. Don't think that this would have been too comfy to wear in real life but it gives a smashing shape. Would certainly have kept you in a svelte, slinky shape perfect for all those bias-cut gowns.

Hope that I have added enough length.

Well that is enough of me waffling on. I had to do some work today and still have to pre-wash all my new fabrics. I have drawn out my "Mabel" pattern. Boy, is she short. I held up the pattern to get an idea of the length on me and it *just* came to the bottom of my bottom! Eek! So I added three inches to the length. I am far too old to have all my giblets on display. Really looking forward to making this  though as it is nice and pegged, just the way I like it.

Have a great week and stay warm (or cool if you are in the Southern Hemisphere) !