Monday, 5 February 2018

Out With the Old. In with the New (Look 6471).

Okay, so maybe it's a wee bit late for the end of November deadline for the Sewcialists' TNT Month  (only 3 months but hey, who's counting?) but I was almost finished at the time and considering my recent sewing output that was a major achievement. November I was up to my eyeballs in work as we were winding down towards year-end and it has not let up since, maybe even got worse, not ideal for sewing or for taking photos. This top has been finished since the start of December but unblogged as I never managed to get any dodgy phone pics until now so thanks to a grumbly Sprogzilla.

So this is my second version of the NL6471. This time with long sleeves and in some sort of crinkly poly fabric that I bought from Fenwick's in Newcastle a few years ago. They weren't obvious at the time but there are a few printing faults in this fabric so I am not best pleased. This is one of those rare occasions when I actually paid full-price for a fabric as it has a lovely vintage feel to the print. It is busy though, a bit like wearing your Nan's curtains. 

Currently, my wardrobe is desperately short of things that feel comfy and look smart-ish for work. This year I am going to try to live up to the "dress for the job you want" mantra. Being a bit of a bag lady most of the time I could do with scrubbing up a bit now that I am supposed to be a responsible adult. Still not really sure that the top lives up to its legend. After seeing photos of me in it, it is probably the least flattering thing that I own. The fabric hangs weirdly off my not inconsiderable bust and it just makes me look HUGE (not mentioning the 10lbs of Christmas-related chub at all). If I didn't love the sleeves and the fact that it goes so well with my necklace I might have consigned this to the charity shop pile but it has a reprieve for now.

Definitely something more drapey for version 3 (that is already cut out in something suitable that I have had in my deep stash for about 15 years!!). I have had this necklace for about a decade and think it was from Monsoon but can't remember exactly. It's only been worn it once since I bought it but it's quite a good match for the fabric and the style.

So to round up this top is a very simple sew although this fabric was a challenge. It was quite shifty when I was cutting out and I hand-basted everything before sewing it on the machine.  The neckline was a bit of a struggle this time around. I ended up ripping it out 3 times and finally lowered the neckline by about 1.5 inches on this version but this was the only additional change that I made (see this post for the others). Looking at the pics I could do with a slight sway-back adjustment but that would be easy with the centre back seam. It isn't rippled in real life.

If you are wondering why all the photos have my head cut off then behold the horror that is me after a 10-hour shift in the office. Half a head but that is all you are getting since I was a make-up free zone and looked like I was going to cry. It was bloody cold today so I layered it up with a black silk cami and a velvet swing jacket from Biba. Swing jackets and big boobs are not best friends I think but this jacket is nice and has a big bow detail on the back collar.

Anyway, to recap I really enjoyed taking part in the TNT Month Challenge and have something on the cards to use up some more stash for the current "Sew Stripes" one. Challenges are great as they make me do stuff. I might not be sewing fast but I have got my mojo back, which is fabulous. I am now even contemplating the Sticher's Guild SWAP 2018 after seeing the rules on a post by The Demented Fairy and have started embellishing my RTW item. Thanks to everyone at the Sewcialists for the MoR reboot!

So are you sewing any challenges or making anything? Or completely side-tracked by life or work? 
Do tell!
Take care until next time.
K xx

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Book Review: Draping: The Complete Course

Hello Lovelies! I was packing up some stuff to bring from home when I came across this book. I thought that I had reviewed it but can't find the post anywhere. I must have been having a senior moment. Doh!

The book in question is "Draping: The Complete Course" by Karolyn Kiisel, published by Laurence King Publishing. The book itself is  a pretty weighty tome, standing in at a very informative 320 pages plus a DVD with 32 video tutorials.  

I don't know how many of you have tried your hand at draping or even want to give it a go but are a bit clueless where to start. If so then this might just be the book for you. The main body of the text is preceded by an introduction outlining all the tools that you need, followed by three sections covering Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced Draping. 

Each of the main sections is broken down into several subsections all covering draping theory along with some projects as examples for each technique. Each section is illustrated with a mixture of full-colour photographs and diagrams.

The Beginning Draping Section covers:
  • Draping the Woven Panel

  • Dresses (Like this copy of Audrey Hepburn's iconic Givenchy dress from Breakfast at Tiffany's)
  • Corsets (my favourite section and a garment that I have draped many times. This one is Lacroix, Darlings).

Intermediate Draping covers:
  • Skirts
  • Blouses 
  • Trousers
  • Knits
All of the above in every variant you can think of including bodice variations, seaming, darts and dart positioning and sleeves all all kinds. It is really, really comprehensive. I love the two blouses below, especially the Gibson Girl style.

Look at these bonkers Harem Pants as worn by the glorious Nijinsky in the Ballet Russes

Advanced Draping Covers:
  • Coats and Jackets
  • The Grand Gown
  • Draping on the Bias
  • Improvisational Draping
My favourite are the grand gowns and there are some great ones as inspiration, everything from Lady Gaga, Glinda from the Wizard of Oz to Vivienne Westwood frocks.

I am going to caveat this review by stating that I have't had a chance to do many of the exercises in the book (except the corset ones) but am hoping to give at least a couple of the others a go this year. 

So to round up, this book has pretty much everything. Even if you will never give draping a go then the information on darts, grain lines, seaming and a wealth of other topics contained within would provide you with a better understanding of how garments are constructed and how patterns are made. There is also good information on fashion history. This along with the colour illustrations makes for a lovely book and a really interesting read. I think that this book would be invaluable if you want to design and make garments to your own designs or where no commercial patterns exist, like historical costuming or cosplay, and would allow you to create or copy just about anything. If draping is something that you fancy giving a bash then I can't recommend this book enough.

Have you ever tried draping or designing your own garments? Do you make your own patterns or think that it is all too much of a faff when they are so readily (and cheaply) available?

Hope that you are having a great week!
K xx

Disclaimer: I bought this book with my own money. All opinions are most definitely mine.

Monday, 1 January 2018

My Top Five for 2017

Well, 2017 is officially over and I have woken up to the perfect blank canvas that is 2018. New Year's Day is historically a little flat here at MOR Towers, usually due to an excess of wine Hogmanay cheer. However, this year has started in a bright-eyed and clear-headed fashion so it's as good a time as any for gathering reflections upon days past. 

I love reading everyones posts so I am joining in with Gillian at Crafting a Rainbow's Top 5 roundups. With no further ado here's my five. 

MISSES - In some respects last year was a bit of a roller-coaster although looking back it feels like a lot of positive stuff happened, even if it didn't always seem like it at the time. I thought that I would start with the misses as they definitely inform the hits.

I was made redundant from the day job at the start of the year - for the fourth time! This did not come as a shock, science is always a precarious industry at the best of times, but it never fails to fill me with a little self-doubt and anxiety of what's to come and how I will support myself and my family. I was lucky to find another job straight away but it is still a bit of a knock, especially having to move again. Also my dodgy bad back has mean that my mobility and ability to sit comfortably to sew have been somewhat limited. This is annoying but I am trying to ignore it. I am also trying to do without any painkillers. They knock me flat and make me feel like I am on the downward-side of a serious bender. When things get unbearable I try a bit of mindfulness and it sometimes works too.

HITS - For shame! I don't think that I have blogged, or even sewn five things this year. My biggest hit was actually getting back into sewing at all, mainly through the Sewcialist's TNT Challenge. My new TNT is New Look 6471. I have made two already, one unblogged awaiting photos, and I have another cut out and started to sew up. A very useful pattern for workwear, an easy sew and comes highly recommended.

HIGHLIGHTS - Strangely enough I would probably put being made redundant as a highlight as well as a miss for last year. I didn't like where I was or what I was doing and my new job is fab-u-lous. I love the team and I love my role. The move was also a surprise bonus. The small town where I am staying has a very relaxed vibe and is a nice change of pace. It has some great charity shops and I never fail to find stuff that I like. The major upside though is that Sprogzilla has moved down with me. This has made me incredibly happy. Working away from your family is hard and I had to do it for too long.

Another massive highlight was getting to meet Veronica from Vronni's Style Meanderings and Vix (and Jon) from Vintage Vixen.  All gorgeous, funny and incredibly stylish. I am so happy to have met them in real life and to have met some amazing people through blogging that I wouldn't have otherwise met. Thank you all for your support last year.

REFLECTIONS - From a pretty grim start, 2017 certainly surprised me. One thing that stands out is that I would like to have a little more "life" in my work-life balance. Not easy when you are a serial offender when it comes to being a bit of a workaholic.

GOALS - I am hoping to take full advantage of being much closer to London and other big cities to indulge in more art/theatre/phototgraphy/fabric shopping with Sprogzilla, keep up with my sewing and getting out and about. Also to sell my house and to find another one to do up. The hunt is on.

Well if you have read this far thank you for sticking with my stream of consciousness rant. Have you made a Top 5? Any goals for 2018 or will you just take life as it comes? Here's hoping that this year brings you magic and joy and that 2018 is filled with fun and adventures.

All the very best!
K xx