Sunday, 12 June 2016

Sewing with Mother: Sew Curvy Sophia Underbust Corset

Hi lovely people. Sometime earlier in the year I asked if anyone would be interested in a corset sew-along. Although this is labelled very loosely as a such, there is no start or finish date. If you fancy giving it a go I will be posting my construction stages in real-time and will be answering any questions as best as I can. I am by no means a corset-making expert although I have made a fair few. I don't normally follow a pattern (or make corsets for myself for that matter) but I think that it will be interesting to see how we all get along. - If anyone else wants to make one up that is.

So as to pattern choice, I have had a bit of a think and as I have heard such good things about it have chosen the "Sophia" underbust pattern from Sew Curvy. The sizing for this is based on the measurement of your natural, uncorseted body and ranges from a 23" waist right up to a 46".  I have shown the size chart below for information. It is really inclusive and plus-sized friendly and it is nice to support indie pattern makers.

Sew Curvy, might be familiar to you as suppliers of corsetry components and classes and is based in Oxfordshire, UK. It is run by Julia Bremble, who is a pretty amazing corset maker in her own right. The Sophia is one of her small but perfectly formed range of patterns. The pattern handily has a list of everything that you need on the back and is printed on sturdy paper which also serves as the instructions. I have not had a proper read through of them yet but it looks really comprehensive at first glance.

As I am advocating curvy sewing, and that includes everyone as we are ALL made of up of curves (except her),  then my thought was to start with an underbust as this is probably the easiest one to cut your teeth on if you have any sort of fitting issues.

To illustrate I have a difference of about 12 inches between my underbust measurement and my full bust (Eek!). That is hard enough to fit on myself and I have been making corsets for a lot of years so this will be ideal to learn corset making techniques (and to remind me too). Then once you have the construction basics down to pat an overbust will be a lot easier.


I traced off the pattern in a size 24, looking more closely at the size chart I should have probably made this a 22.  NB. This pattern does not include seam allowances. This is great as you can add your own in. Just because I like them I have added in 1.5cm SAs except for at the top and bottom where I have not added anything (I forgot).  I have shown a bit more detail of the pattern pieces so that you can appreciate the lovely curves. As you can see the front is pretty flat, a bit of a godsend for me as I carry all my weight in the front. Accurate measuring is pretty important here as you really want this to have negative ease in the waist and not be too big round your body.

I bought a nice busk from there too.  It is a 2-part metal busk. Busks are used to close the corset front and have a little metal knob which slots into the metal loop. They are pretty strong and help to support the front of the corset. Busks are a bit tricky to insert the first time but I will walk through that in a later post.


I am choosing to make this corset up as a double layer using an outer silk dupion flat-lined to some cotton herringbone corset coutil as a strength layer. I will also line it with a floating lining in a nice quilting cotton.  Cotton is great as a lining as it is hard-wearing and can cope with wicking moisture and being worn next to the skin, plus all those amazing colours and prints. It is a bit of a signature of mine.

So anyway, this is more than enough for a first post. I do hope that you will follow me sewing this up as I think that the pattern looks great. I really hope that I can do it justice. If you would like to sew this too then the pattern can be purchased from Sew Curvy.

Disclaimer: Just as a last comment, I bought this pattern with my own money. I don't know Julia Bremble from Eve and I have absolutely no affiliation to anything or will get any gain from this except for the joy of making myself a lovely corset and of possibly using up some of my huge stash before it swamps the house (again). 

So does anyone fancy making a corset with me? Doesn't have to be the same pattern, or indeed any pattern? Got a favourite or would you like to link to a corset that you have made? Looking forward to hearing from you!

Have a great week.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Book Review: "The Great British Sewing Bee: From Stitch to Style".

You would have to be living underneath a rock to not know that the new series of TGBSB is back on the telly (or BBC iPlayer if you are like me). And as with every popular BBC series there is also an accompanying book - "From Stitch to Style".

This book follows the same format as the last, a hardback book supplemented with a separate cardboard pack containing all the pattern sheets.
After comparing the contents there is a little repetition - basic sewing kit, how to use the patterns and some fitting advice. Considering that this book would probably be used as a stand-alone then this is not really an issue.

Apart from the intro, the book is divided up into three chapters:

Chapter One: Foundation - which covers some core sewing skills (simple seams and seam finishes, interfacings, elastic casings, exposed and surface mounted zips, appliqué, sewing with sticky/slippery fabrics and fabric ties and Rouleau loops)  and includes patterns for the "Bias Cut Top" featured on Episode One of the new series, and A-line child's skirt, a pretty natty jumpsuit (as modelled by a very lovely older model), the babygrow featured on the show, a child's cape and a unisex kimono.

Chapter Two: Inspiration - Which has a load of patterns and their corresponding hacks and some additional core skills (invisible zips, blind hemming, pleats, lapped zips, bias binding, lining and darts)

Chapter Three: Exploration - Which has even more patterns, including the soft-cup bra pattern and a very nice "Drape, Drape" -style asymmetric jersey top, related hacks and more core skills (snap fasteners, sewing with stretch fabrics, sewing with lace, pin tucking and buttonholes).

The sizing is quite inclusive and goes from a size 8 to a size 20, which is about a 45 1/2-inch bust so lots of FBA-action for me! It's even got a page of style advice broken down into rectangles, pears, inverted triangles, apples and hourglasses.  Don't know if I agree with all that nonsense as I think you should be able to wear what the hell you want but it is there if you fancy a look-see.

There are a few children's patterns, a couple for men (shirt, cycle top), with the majority for women including some lingerie.

To round up, this book is really well worth the purchase price. I paid a tenner for it in our local big supermarket chain but it is available on Amazon for the cost of a Big 4 sewing pattern (unless you are in the US of course. Damn those 99 cent sales!).  You get a whole wheen of patterns, some good ideas to hack them and some simple and well-illustrated sewing techniques and advice. I was so underwhelmed by the first two books in this series but am so happy to have bought this and the last book,  "Fashion with Fabric". Between the two of them you have some great patterns and enough info to hold your hand.

In other news, Sprogzilla and I have been out and about taking advantage of the lovely weather and the festival that is on in the West End of Glasgow at the moment. I love this pic of my wee chicken, she is rocking her mermaid hair.
Hope that you are all having lovely weeks and enjoying life wherever you are!

DISCLAIMER: Just for the sake of transparency I bought this book using my own hard-earned. All comments are most definitely personal ramblings of my stitch-crazed mind. 

Friday, 27 May 2016

My Belated 2016 Vintage Pattern Pledge!

Yay! The "Vintage Pattern Pledge" is back for another year - and it started in January and it is now May. I am of course fashionably late (Dahlings).

I have sewn nothing yet but I have bought a shedload of patterns. Taking part last year actually got me to sew three vintage patterns which might not seem a lot but I think was pretty good going all things considered. Choosing the patterns that I sewed was a bit hit or miss.  This year I have decided to be a bit more organised *cough, cough* and am going to pick them from my ever growing pattern stash and try to fill in my wardrobe blanks.

So I, Kelly from Mother of Reinvention, pledge to sew 6 vintage patterns (or more) from my collection, including one that will be drafted by me from an original garment, one that will be lingerie and at least one using vintage fabric.

Here are some of my choices for 2016. Choosing six gives me about a month to sew each pledge. All of these pattens are already in my collection and are ones that I think will be most useful. The ones that I will actually wear without feeling like I am in fancy dress. Although I love the era I don't think that I could pull of the 50's look - it's too polished and lady-like, all things that I am most definitely not.

I have always loved fashion from the 60's and 70's so this year I am going to oscillate between unleashing my inner Margo Leadbetter, my inner Mrs Slocombe and channeling some GTO chic.

Mrs Slocombe - Style icon, cat mama and the absolute queen of the double entendre.

I am hoping to make some stuff that will be useful as there are huge holes in my wardrobe. I think that apart from M&S-style work clothes I have a shedload couple of things I can't fit into and that is about it. I have no evening or party wear and nothing that fits what I would like to wear when I am not at work apart from jeans and very faded band t-shirts that should have been retired to dusters a long time ago. So hear are a few patterns that are possibles.




I have shedloads more but you may have seen them and I didn't want to put too many pics in this post as I have a couple of the garden.

Even though the place has been really neglected while I have been away there are little things that have self-seeded themselves and are making the place look pretty. Forget-me-nots and purple aquilegias are all over, even my 50p daffs and grape hyacinths from the bargain bin at B&Q look great. I think that the aquilegias might be "Black Barlow", if you are interested.

I have bought some herbs at Sprogzilla's school plant sale to fill a raised bed. Hopefully going to excavate a place for it this weekend and get them all in before the weather gets too hot and they have to be watered all the time.

Mittens is not impressed at all.

So are you doing the Pledge? Is sewing vintage your thing or would you not touch it with a barge pole? Do you even like sewing pledges?

Sending you all happy Spring vibes!


Monday, 2 May 2016

Blocks of Boredom: Three is the Magic Number

Bloody hell, it's been ages since my last post. I haven't meant to leave it so long but lack of stuff to blog about, plus being a bit down in the dumps, has not really been conducive to producing a flourish of posts, or sewing for that matter. Actually, I am doing myself a disservice. I have been doing a little cutting out of fabric, resulting in a few more "Blocks of Boredom".  Here are blocks 2-4. Only 20 or so to go.

Being a little short in variety and volume I did buy some new fabric from Mandor's in Glasgow and from John Lewis. I am planning to make a quilted throw for my Mum. She doesn't have internet access so I can post this here without her knowledge. I have no idea if she will like it but they are handy to have around the place, especially in a Scottish winter.  At this pace it might be ready for this one coming.

 Mum used to have a Siamese cat that she adored so I couldn't resist the cat fabric.
Each block is 12-inches/30cm/one foot square. To make it sort of double bed  throw sized I think that I will need to make it 6 by 4 blocks big or even 5 by 5 plus sashing. That is a minimum of 24 blocks. I had better get my sewing skates on. I love all the colours. Very not "me" but they are so Spring-like and cheerful.

Random Fabric Photos

I have the backing fabric washed and ready to go for this. It is Amy Butler' "Spring's Beauty" which I bought from John Lewis. I was hoping to finish Sprogzilla's first but I haven't found a decent fabric for the back of that one and we haven't redecorated her room yet so it is okay for now.

Squillions of buttons and they cost just a quid!

I have also been picking up some odd vintage bits of bobs, including a lovely fox fur stole that I think I am allergic to, lots of buttons, a lovely red Tootal scarf that Mum bought me and a pink felt 60's (?) hat by Miss Millie which was apparently from C&A. It is a couple of inches too wee in circumference for my massive head but for £2.95 it was coming home with me.

Look at that wee face. How could I consign him to landfill when he could come and live with me?

I have some polystyrene heads so am thinking of trying to stretch it. Maybe a bad idea? Has anyone ever tried to give it a go. I did a millinery class once and think I might be able to steam and stretch it and pin it till it dries. Any advice grateful received. Will take a photo if it survives the abuse.

As an aside it is really a shame that we are losing another High Street store in BHS which seems to be going the way of C&A. Very sad and terrible for all the people that might lose their jobs. Not going to make any comments about a Kleptocracy, no not me at all.

Next post will be about my Vintage Pledge for 2016. I have been stockpiling patterns and fabric like crazy and actually tracing some of them off to make adjustments to. 

Take care and have a great week!


Tuesday, 23 February 2016

The Blocks of Boredom: Patchwork on Location with Lelia

Hello lovelies! Well I haven't dropped off the edge of the world. Just not getting much access to computers out of work hours so you will have to put up with a fairly short post with blurry phone photos taken in my bedroom. *Ooh err, Missus*. I will be getting my ankles out next.

I am working away from home again as you know so to pass the time of an evening I have brought one of my vintage machines out of storage. After a good clean and a bit of TLC she is up and running again.  Meet Lelia 513, a Necchi machine built in Italy sometime between 1960 and 1971. 
I bought her from a bloke on Gumtree. His mother owned her from new (he said the 1960's) and had only just stopped sewing with her as she sadly went into a care home. He said that she would be glad that she is still being used and I am very glad to have her. She stitches beautifully, although is a little fast!

I have been sewing patchwork as I can cut out the bits when I have a little time and piece them together in dribs and drabs.

I am using this book, "Traditional Patchwork Quilt Patterns with Plastic Templates - Instructions for 27 Easy-to-Make Designs" by Rita Weiss. It is a very thin book, only 32 pages, but it has 5 pages of instructions in the front and the rest is a block layout per page, in black and white. I bought this from Amazon about 10 years ago. I know how to have a good time.

The templates supplied are on sturdy plastic with the 1/2-inch seam allowance marked. There are four pieces, A-D and combinations of these make up all the blocks. I have mislaid the one that I have been using already (C). I hope that I haven't binned it when I was tidying up. Typical me, I was so worried about losing it that I must have put it in  the black hole that is a "safe place". *sigh*

First up is the "Pieced Star", all in Amy Butler fabric that I bought years ago in John Lewis. I have loads of odds and sods of quilting cotton, strangely enough a lot of them in these sorts of colours. I normally use quilting cotton to line corsets as it is nice and sturdy and comes in some very funky patterns so lots of these blocks will be made from leftovers.

It is a wee bit wonky but I am unrepentant. This is neat work so waaaaaayyyy out of my comfort zone. Each block is 12-inches square (haha!) when sewn up, if you have cut/sewn nice and straight of course. I am hoping to make a decent sized quilt so will be making probably 24 blocks plus some sashing in between. I will probably have to order a few more bits of fabric to make up the numbers.
Anyway, I have a lot of wee bits sewn out so am going to try to do at least one block a week if possible.

Anyway, it is nice to spend a night or two doing something that is not science. My sewing room at home is still all in boxes and bags as I am decorating the rest of the house first. This might be the only sewing time I get for a while.

 Do you manage to find time for sewing or do you struggle to fit everything in? Do you find that sewing in little bits is more productive than one big splurge? Do you feel really guilty, like me, if you can't get things done?

Hope that you are having a great week!


Sunday, 7 February 2016

A Century of Style Exhibition at Kelvingrove

Back in Glasgow for the weekend, Sprogzilla and I decided at visit "A Century of Style - Costume and Colour 1800-1899" which is on at Kelvingrove Museum until the 14th Feb. All the clothes were chosen from the Museum's collection of European fashion with emphasis on clothing from Glasgow departments stores and some gorgeous Paris gowns

I had wanted to go to this as I had heard it was fantastic and wasn't disappointed. There was some stunning exhibits. Unfortunately both my DSLR and my phone really struggled to cope with the extremely low lighting so apologies in advance for the fuzzy photos. 

Anyway,  take your glasses off, screw up your eyes and join me in taking a blurry look at some of the fancy frocks.

All the exhibits were grouped by colour and  I have to say that some of the dresses looked really vibrant and fresh. Maybe if I stay in the dark I will look as good as them at 100+.

There was lots of interesting information about the dyes used and how the use of synthetic dyes allowed using previously expensive colours like purple and red to be available to the working classes.

I loved the attention to detail and tone-on-tone embellishments They weren't shy with a ruffle or two especially on the bridal wear.

Mentioning the Better Pictures Project after you have seen this sorry lot might seem a little silly but I had a go with Adobe Lightroom to try to redeem all the dark shots. Just worked out how to change the white balance on the last photo! Typical.

Anyway after too many dodgy photos I am going out with The King who is alive and well and performing in Kelvingrove.

MOR has left the building.

Sending you lovely lot best wishes. 

K xx