Monday, 21 July 2014

Pattern Hacking with Pride

Hi everyone, I hope that you are having a great time and enjoying the weather. I have been so, so busy at work trying to get everything tied up before we all go away for the holidays. All our deadlines are in August,  great timing Me, way to go, so another couple of weeks of frantic work but not too much sewing. Such is the lot of an itinerant scientist!
  However, I am preparing for having some time off and hopefully getting some sewing done.Weekend before last I bought some more fabric. A 1.5 piece of lovely grey cotton batik with a flower design. Isn't it pretty and summery? What was I thinking? Summery? Me? Ha!

This is such a nice light fabric and will be nice and cool plus the colour will work for Autumn.

I also bought another 1.5m piece of fabric which I have plans for..... summery plans (it will be ready for next year at this rate).

This is nothing if not colourful

I was thinking that this might be nice as a sarong skirt. I bought a vintage 1980's pattern from eBay, here it is.  I think that I will make the knee-length one.

Simplicity 8304 sarong style skirt

 It looks pretty easy but I will give you a sneaky peak of a sort-of-sarong hack that I am doing. I can't spill too many beans but I am hacking McCalls 3830 pencil skirt pattern, a favourite pattern of 2012 on Pattern Review. This pattern has great reviews and only has two main pattern pieces (plus the waistband of course but I am not using that for my secret project). 
Traced off the front part.

Pegged it a bit at the bottom by measuring in 1.5cm from the edge and drawing a line with my big-curvy-ruler-thing-that-isn't-a-hip-curve-but-the-other one.

Precision pattern making with a big fat magic marker!

The excess is trimmed off and just gives the pattern a bit more of a va-va-voom vibe rather than office look. I traced the pattern out on pattern paper, doubled it over and just cut round to make one big piece for the front which I am using this principle on (nicked from Winifred Aldritch's Metric Pattern Making) to add some sarong style drape. Basically, just slash, spread and add some more paper underneath.

Winifred really holds you hand through this. Thank you dear.

 Can't show you much else at the moment though. Mwah, haha!

So apart from that I spent bits of last weekend working the F6 Studios stall at Northern Pride and having a bloody good time while I was there. What a great event. We had a soggy Saturday and a sunny Sunday. The weather was glorious. There was cake, rainbows, more rainbows and a Lady Gaga impersonator (she was brilliant) as well as loads of other stuff going on.  I am knackered from all the too-ing and fro-ing and it is only Monday. Last weekend was 6am starts EVERY DAY!!! Shouldn't be allowed.

So I hope that you have got more sewing done than me and that you are all enjoying the fabulous weather.

Have a great week!
K xx

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Rip it Up and Start Again.........

Seems like ages since I have posted anything but I have been snowed under with work (as per...). Think that you have got something done then three things come along to take its place!  Added to that I forgot to bring a USB cable so and had to snaffle mine from work today to download pics from my camera. Still I am off on holiday in about three weeks and it can't come soon enough. Two weeks of being home and NOT living out of a suitcase sounds utterly fantastic to me.

This actually looks like a collar!

I did get a little sewing done this weekend though. I did a bit of my shirt and all was going swimmingly. I top-stitched the front bands without sewing wobbly lines, my sleeves went in without so much as a single pucker but the collar. Quelle horreur!

Not even pressed yet and the tacking stitches still in but looking good,

 I totally screwed up somewhere and one end was a little longer than the front of the shirt. No pictures of the pig's ear I made of it or I will cry. I must have stretched it when I was sewing it but it still fitted perfectly over the other which was covered in fusible interfacing. I don't know what I did but after half a dozen attempts I had to stop and do something else. The other end was perfect as well. Not sure whether to unpick it all or just a bit, or even cut a new collar. Not sure if I have enough fabric for that one though. Stopped in a hissy fit before I put the cuffs on as it was liable to meet a gruesome end with my fabric shears otherwise. Anyway I think that it covers my ginormous bosom fits ok.

Really need to add front darts.

I should really have trimmed all the threads of before Sprogzilla took this

Talking of fabric I have bought lots. The red linen that I got a couple of weeks ago, green star-spangled cotton for Sprogzilla's shirt, the orange polka dot for my sheet shirt facings and some bits of Solstiss lace for some corsetry work I am doing,

Small, but perfectly formed.

Solstiss are a family lace-making company based in Caudry in the north of France. There is a long tradition of lace making in Caudry which started with the introduction of a smuggled  English loom in 1808 (from Nottingham, natch) and was aided by French modifications by a M. Jacquard (who knew?) to allow the loom to use pattern cards (a Jacquard loom) to produce Leaver's Lace. They are the only remaining lace making town in France and even have a lace museum there. I would love to go to that, especially since they have a current exhibition of dresses from the film, "The Great Gatsby". Never seen it but I loved the book and the costumes look incredible.

Look at the beauty! Source

Solstiss supply lace to lots of the big couture houses and even made the lace designed by Sophie Hallette for the Duchess of Cambridge's wedding dress. With such a pedigree it would normally be well out of my beer-bottle budget but I managed to find some small pieces for sale which were not too expensive. They are small but perfectly sufficient for what I need. It is pretty hard to get good lace these days.

I also bought a couple of vintage patterns from eBay as I do when I am bored. I am going to use the sarong skirt to make something a bit cheesy and Tiki-inspired when the right fabric comes along.

This is a bit of inspiration for a pattern hack I will be doing shortly.

Simplicity 8706. Do you think that this would work with a border print?

The dress, well I have a border print linen but I don't know if the pattern will work with a flare?
Anyway, I had better skedaddle as I have work to do tonight. BOO!!
Leaving you with a song.

Hope that you are all having a sunny summer week.
K xx

Monday, 23 June 2014

Carry Me Caravan, Take me Away........

Sorry for the gap in posting. I have been away with work, then had a horrendous deadline and then was in Edinburgh again this weekend seeing my Mum so no sewing done but I have been buying fabric, a couple of new patterns and a copy of Patrones magazine! If you haven't read Patrones before then it is a Spanish magazine with sewing patterns in like BurdaStyle where you have to trace them off the sheets. It is very fashion forward and usually has a lot of designs by fancy labels. I have never seen one in the UK which is a pity, but I did buy one from eBay ages ago.
patrones 338

This is full of lovely outfits. I think that the sizing runs pretty small though.

I think that I have been buying stuff as a bit of displacement activity 'cos things have been a bit busy. I mean look at these. Not really me at all. Add to the collection I suppose and they were cheap. My favourite kind of pattern.

Bloody Hell! What was I thinking buying these two? I am fat and rectangular enough without wearing these. Better book me in for a sack-fitting!

 I was lucky enough to go to Spain the other week and it was glorious (and bloody hot). I am scared into catatonia by the thought of flying, I hate the sound of the engine and freak out at every clunk and change in tone. Solution: my earbuds in and some tunes blasting. That coupled with Morrisey's autobiography and I was happy as I could be when facing certain death a clam!
I didn't take a camera with me but  here are a couple of pics of  the view from where I was.

It was the Garrotxa region of Catalonia and I have to say it was very special. The scenery was fabulous, the food was delicious and the people wonderful (no drink for me with 8am meetings though). I would definitely like to go back again. There looked like some great places to explore. On the way back to the airport we had a spare hour (literally) and stopped for an ice cream in Besalu. What a lovely place filled with medieval flagged streets, roman ruins and a huge stone bridge across the river. There was a guy on it playing early music on a steel drum. Sounds a bit bizarre, and I suppose it was, but it was a bit magical too.

I also learnt about a "Mikveh" which is a ritual bathing place used in Judaism. There was fantastic ruins of a medieval synagogue, school and a mikveh at the side of the bridge. Unfortunately to see round you had to book and we literally had no time left. 
So a short post with borrowed photos and no sewing.

Probably the worst sewing blog in the world.....

Anyway, I hope that you are all great. I will get behind a machine again soon, promise. :)

K xx

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Early Dawning, Sunday Morning.......

Good morning all! I have been up for ages today so though I would post about what I was up to yesterday when I went down to F6 Studios with Sprogzilla. Actually we spent most of the day cleaning up.  It was quite a big mess before, everything was in piles and bags and I could not find anything as it was all squished into a corner. We put things on shelves, shifted things about and folded up fabric. 

This is almost tidy and I can now find things (although this is just a very small selection of my threads and trims).

Sprogzilla did the hoovering and we listened to lots thrashy rock tunes on You Tube to work along to. Fab.

Some of my dressmaking fabric (and a set of stays) halfway through the big clean. All the posh fabric is in big plastic boxes which are piled so high that they are taller than me!

 It was a lovely day. I don't get to spend much quality time with Sprogzilla at the moment and I really cherish it when I can, even if we are just doing mundane stuff. However she got bored, the call of the computer was too much, and went home with her Dad. I snuck in a couple of hours sewing time. Yay!

Back yoke in "Flea Market Fancy" Fabric. I love it. Spot the obvious mistake?

I had previously cut out most of Simplicity 2339  in a pattern size 22 after doing a 2" FBA, lengthening the pattern and doing a broad back adjustment. I still had to cut out the cuffs, the collar and all the interfacing. I am so happy I now have all my interfacing together in a big box and I can find it. Happy face!
I didn't have enough fabric to do any form of pattern matching except on the outer collar where I cut it on a fold to get an equal amount of orange on each side.

Back view. I added in the back darts to give it some shape. Glad I did.

Well this is what I have done so far. I have only made up the body part of this pattern but I can tell that I will definitely make this again already. I don't think that I will use a quilting cotton next time though, no matter how much I love the print, as it is feels far too stiff and heavy for this design. Not putting darts in the front though on this version. my mum-tum needs the camouflage.

Excuse the bad hair and no make up. It's been a long week.

I an also not too keen on the way that the front band is done. I do however love the way that the yoke facing is attached on the inside. The pattern has you roll up the front and back, sew up the yokes with them on the inside and then turn it through so that there are no raw edges. It gives a lovely clean finish inside and looks fab (and I forgot to take a photo of it). I used french seams on the sides.

Anyway I am really looking forward to finishing this shirt next weekend, especially the sleeves to hide my bingo wings. I had bought orange buttons for it but might see it I can find a matching grey. This is a bit of a funny tone to match though as it has a bit of brown in too that doesn't seem to come across in the photos.

Anyway, It feels great to be making stuff again. I hope you are all having a happy, creative time too. I am off on my travels next week so perhaps I'll be back with some pics of far-flung fabric shops next week.

Bye for now. Kxx

Sunday, 1 June 2014

A Dreaded Sunny Day So I'll Meet You at the Cemetery Gates..........

OK, sorry not to have posted last week but I was not at home. Traveled over to Edinburgh to see Mum as she was a bit poorly. Also the last couple of weeks have been a bit crazy with some major changes going on and no internet! As a consequence I have done no sewing (again). This is a bit of a recurring theme on this blog but yesterday one of the massive changes was that I finally got the studio back to myself. Today I have been hard at it sorting things out, shifting furniture and generally changing things round so that I can finally have a space to work in that is clean, (reasonably) clutter-free and my own again. It feels great.

I have tons of vintage notions.

So with nothing hot from my machine to show you I am kind of at a loss what to post. I was going to write about the recent interesting "Wardrobe Architect" series on the Coletterie blog but although I was pinning like mad on my Pinterest Board which you can see here, I still don't have a clue what to sew or wear. Wardrobe Architect is a great series, it has really made me think about what I like and my personal style. The big problem, no pun intended, is that all the styles I like are for skinny boho 70's groupies and vintage glamour pusses and I am none of the above. So what do you do when your person can't match up to your personal style? I need to regroup I think.

So with nothing to show you I will leave you of some pics I took at the Necropolis in Glasgow.

In a Julia Margaret Cameron Stylee! (Hurrah for Photoshop)

 I used to work in the hospital close by and go there for a wander at lunchtimes. 

It is a beautiful Victorian cemetery, opened in 1833, and filled with loads of statues and forgotten graves designed by the likes of Alexander "Greek" Thompson and Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Cheer up love. Bah, and I thought "I" was a bit of a Goth!

 If you are ever in Glasgow it is well worth a visit and you can get stunning views across the city from up on the hill where the Necropolis stands. I have a bit of a thing for graveyards (and Photoshop, can't you tell). They are always so peaceful. Great places to take a book and real havens for wildlife. You sometimes used to get deer in the Necropolis and loads of beautiful bunnies.

Anyway, have a great week people. Happy June!

K xx

Sunday, 18 May 2014

F6 @ Fashion Front Row - The Photos

Ok, now is the calm after all the rushing about. I had to bail out from the stitching on last Sunday night to return to work and left everyone sewing, talk about feeling terrible, so can take very little credit for anything much in the following pictures in this post bar a little minor sewing and general chit-chat. 

Isn't this dress absolutely stunning? Photo credit: Dan Graham Photography

I did not attend FFR itself with it being on a "school night"*boo, hiss*. All the fabrics in these pics was designed and printed either by Helen (Kahtash) or a beautiful woven fabric from Lydia (Bayly). Tiago, my room-mate also helped out with some design/sewing (Galvan). They did not use my cincher on the night so no pics of that but, hey, I actually made something and did some sewing!

Effortlessly stylish and so Summer chic. I love this outfit.

Comes is a range of colours too!
The yellow is so summery. Photo credit: Dan Graham Photography
I am really loving the idea of shorts for this Summer. This is coming from the woman that does not expose any skin, ever! I mean look at these blue ones.

I really love this fabric. I looks fabulous here but SO much better in real life.

I am so incredibly proud of everybody and it was a brilliant couple of weeks actually spending time working with each other. We have something else up our sleeves for later on in the summer which I will be making more stuff for, in a BIG way.I am already designing things in my head so the mojo is definitely back working overtime. I will leave you with another couple of beautiful dresses. 

That print!

If you want to read more about our escapades and the collaboration between fellow F6-er Melanie Kyles  and the luxury lingerie brand, Tallulah Love then please click over to the F6 Blog.

Another amazing print. Photo credit: Peter Reed

Anyway, I was also at The Late Shows this weekend where loads of art venues open up to the public in Newcastle and Gateshead. Sprogzilla and I ate, drank and Instagrammed our way round. There was loads going on and I took many, many photos, especially of the handbag exhibition. However, I forgot to pack my USB cable so can't download them off my phone until I get into work tomorrow. Doh!

Anyway, I am starting to waffle so this is enough for one night. I hope that you are all enjoying the sun wherever you are.

K xx

Monday, 12 May 2014

Sewing for Newcastle Fashion Week

Well this weekend was a bit hectic. Lots of sewing going on. However, this will be a short post as I can't show you anything.....yet that is.

I made a little waist-cincher and some other random bits of sewing. It is really tiny, about 20 inches closed but it is for Newcastle Fashion Week. As you know, some of us at F6 Studios are collaborating for Fashion Front Row, the "young designers" showcase (I feel it may be stretching the definition a bit with me) but it is looking good. FFR is on Wednesday night and I will post pictures as soon as I have them but I am sworn to secrecy until then. I do have to say that everyone has worked so hard and produced the most amazing things. I am so proud of them. I will do a proper post about all the things and the designers after the event.

We have all been sat in the sewing room working together and it has been really invigorating to spend time with such creative people. I am really missing my sewing machine now.

Image totally stolen from the NFW Facebook page... Oops :) But hey, it is advertising, right?

If you are in the Newcastle area you should pop along to some of the events which are running from the 9th May until the 17th. If you are interested in seeing the program you can click here. Newcastle is a pretty stylish city. People really make an effort when they go out (even if it is a bit OTT with the fake tan sometimes) and take clothes fairly seriously. There are some great colleges and universities in the area too with a very high standard of work from the students.

Anyway, I won't rant on and will post some pics as soon as I have them.

Hope the sun shines on your week!
K xx