Sewing with a plan

Have of you heard of SWAP? It’s a yearly challenge to sew 11 garments that will all work together. Some years, every top has to match every bottom; other years, the 11 pieces simply have to work together as a collection.

This year the rules are very flexible and I finally feel I can commit to such a big project.

  • 1 “3 pack” of Color(s) A (3 garments)
  • 1 “3 pack” of Color(s) B (3 garments)
  • 1 “Combo Pack” of Colors A & B (2 garments)
  • 1 “3 pack” of Wild Cards

I went through my stash and chose the fabrics and patterns I want to use. This made me realise I have way too many, more that I could sew for several swaps. And I still love most of them so I should stop buying more.

My first pack is full of colours and it’s my favorite.  The shirt fabric is a poly cotton blend, the top will be made in a cotton silk blend and the trousers in cotton sateen.

The second pack doesn’t have any prints and the colours are quieter. Cotton sateen for the trousers, swiss dot cotton for the top and raw silk for the jacket.

The combo pack has prints again – cotton viscose blend for the top and medium weight cotton twill for the jacket. I think the stripes will look nice going in different directions on the lapel. I might add a waist seam and play with the stripes direction.

And the wildcards which are not plain but they will go nicely with the rest of the garments. Two of them are dresses so they can be worn by themselves anyway, but I think the wrap dress will look great with the yellow jacket, and both dresses will go well with this coat. The coat goes with everything, the dots are very small so it doesn’t really look like a print from a distance.

Two garments may be previously sewn, one may be purchased, and two may be sewn up before the official sewing start date of Dec 26, 2015. I already have the denim dress but I didn’t take pictures for a post yet and I want to make at least the wrap dress before Christmas. I want to wear it to my work Christmas party which is on Dec 17.

There are a lot of garments but only a few patterns. I have Simplicity 2599 and Butterick 5678 for the tops, both of them are patterns with different cup sizes so I’m hoping I won’t have a lot of work to do with the fitting. I’m showing two different trousers patterns, an Ottobre and a Burda, but they are very similar and I will only make one. I’m still debating on that, I know that Burda trousers fit me well, but I like more how the Ottobre look on the model.

trousers

Ottobre on the left and Burda on the right

The jacket/coat patterns are very similar so I will probably fit one and use that pattern to alter the other two. I think out of the 3 I will start with the coat, so I can wear it during the spring.

I made the board in PowerPoint and I was surprised to see you can remove the image background after adding it to a slide. I don’t know since when this has been a feature, but I found it very easy to use and you don’t need any photo editing software. Of course, you do need to have Microsoft Office. If not, I recommend Gimp, it’s a powerful free photo editing software. It might take a while to get the hang of it, but there are a lot of tutorials online.

Do you like to make plans? Are you just having fun and sew whatever you feel like? I was on the fun crew but I never have anything to wear so I’m switching gears.

‘Make the fabric your own’ – the second round of Pattern Review Sewing Bee

The announcement for the second challenge left me stumped. ‘Embellish or alter some fabric to make it your own’. Aha. Ok. What now?

I think painting could’ve been the quickest, and with some decent skills can be pretty impressing (see here). I stress the ‘I think’ because I’ve never done it so I have no idea. I’d like to try it at some point, but a limited time challenge wasn’t the right moment to start.

My mind was set on boiled wool and I wanted to make a jacket. I thought about applique, reverse applique, discreet or full on Alabama Chanin, yarn stitching and needle felting, cross stitching at the hems or around all edges but I couldn’t imagine any of these ending up like something I’d wear.

I then went through my fall sewing list (mentally, I don’t have it on paper) and remembered (this post helped) I wanted to make a tartan half circle skirt. Still with the boiled wool in mind I decided to give it a try. My initial plan as to use dark green, navy and black, to simulate the black watch tartan. But I didn’t find the right colours in the shop (Saeed in Waltamstow, I knew they had boiled wool) and online shopping wasn’t an option given the time constraints. I looked at all the wools for probably half an hour before I picked dark green, brown and cream.

I cut strips of 1/2, 1 and 2 inches and started weaving them. It was a long and tedious project, trying to keep everything square and in place, so a lot of pinning an basting happened. I finally finished tonight and I now have a cosy little blanket, roughly 145cm X 75cm.

more fun awaits, all those basting threads need to disappear

This is going to be quilted tomorrow on a piece of silk, I’m going to topstitch all strips edges, so I expect to go through a lot of bobbins. I’ll load half a dozen before I begin :). I quilted a small sample tonight and it looks like the final fabric might be a little too stiff. I’ll still try a half circle skirt, and if it’s too Judy Jetson, I’ll just chop the flare off and make it a-line. We’ll see!

quilted sample

I’ll have to try and keep the skirt clean for as long as possible. Drying the fabric in one layer took 2 days. I can’t imagine how long it will take now with 2 woven layers and the lining stitched to them.

I’m happy with my idea and how things look so far, but after working on it every night this week my view is meant to be biased. There’s no time to edit though, we just have to go with our gut. I would’ve never tried something like this if it wasn’t for this contest, so there’s a win right there (cliche, I know), I stretched myself to come up with a concept and put it in practice.

A spotty JJ for PR sewing bee

A few weeks ago the new PR Sewing Bee contest was announced and I decided to join. I don’t remember why I didn’t enter last year, but I did watch it and it seemed like a lot of fun. Contests and challenges are big motivators for me, so this year I say ‘Bring it on!’

The first round challenge started yesterday and I did not expect a fitted blouse as the first project. They are supposed to get more complex every week, so I wonder – will a tailored jacket be the last challenge? 😀

I am going to make another BurdaStyle JJ – I’ve made it before and it fits nice. I am a little rounder than last time I made it, but I’ve made it with seam allowances a little larger than 5/8 last time and I am making it with 3/8 SA this time. There are 6 vertical seams adding up to a total difference of 3 inches, enough to fit with 1.5-2 inches of ease around the bust.

The fabric I chose is a very light satin backed silk crepe – it was a gift from a lovely friend I met online and then in real life (Servus, Olga!). I starched it to make cutting and sewing easier. It didn’t transform into quilting cotton, but it is easier to handle after starching. I don’t think the stand collar would look good in this fabric, I lowered the neckline and I will bound it with bias. The neckline is now 2 cm wider, 1 cm lower in the back and 11 cm lower in front. Somebody tried it before me successfully so I can be sure it will look nice.

I was going to make ‘real’ french seams, but I couldn’t sew the fabric with a narrow 1/4” seam allowance without it shifting under the presser foot. I am now slowly going through all the seams fake frenching them.

I want to have no visible seaming on the right side of the blouse, a lot more hand sewing will be needed  – fixing the bias on the back of the neckline, the same for sleeves (I’m not making cuffs) and invisible rolled hem. But I am on holiday and we have to stay around the house, so I have plenty of time for that.

The buttonholes will show though, not sure what I can do about that. I could’ve done loops, but I didn’t think of them early enough and now it’s too late. I have these dainty bobble buttons in red and light purple, I’m not sure which ones I’ll use yet. None of them matches perfectly, but there’s no way I can get to a haberdashery before the challenge closes. I might change them after.

Are you doing this? You can join anytime before the challenge closes on September 7th.

Simplicity 2451 – the almost perfect skirt

I had a plan, you see? I was going create a wardrobe and enter the wardrobe contest on PR. But I have to admit, I knew 9 pieces of clothing in 6 weeks was not going to happen. But I still wanted to think of a mini wardrobe – “an organized closet where one can pull an outfit together at a moment’s notice”.
wardrobe contest
I’ve only done 3 so far and one of them is the skirt I’m talking about today. I wanted a red skirt. A basic red skirt that I could wear with every top in my closet. Red is a neutral in my book.
I recently gave in and bought Simplicity 2451 after being exposed to many beautiful specimens in the last couple of years.
So the plan was to have a red skirt. I didn’t have any red fabric but I had plenty of other colors and a pack of tulip red dye. The color turned out great, but I dyed only half a meter of fabric. Sometimes my brain goes dead. I’d like to blame it on my age but I’m only 30.
Half a meter wasn’t enough to cut all the pieces out and in another strike of genius I decided to use scraps from my skinny barb for the plackets. Now the skirt doesn’t go with anything in my wardrobe.
EXHIBIT A – where’s my waist?
EXHIBIT B – red, navy gingham and dark floral – are you dizzy yet?
EXHIBIT C – This one kind of works, I’m not one to save red and green for the holiday season :). I’ll probably wear it with a black cardigan. The only (small) problem is I didn’t make the top or the black cardigan I’m going to wear it with.
EXHIBIT D – this is probably the best match, but this old shirt is gaping at the bust so I can’t wear it outside my garden.
Try to imagine all of the above with a full red skirt – a totally different story! I’m thinking of dying this one black and make another red one. What would you do? I’m not looking forward to another hour of stirring the fabric in the dye bath. Have you ever used machine dye? Did it ruin your next 3 laundry loads?

Bust my stash! or Less shopping, more sewing

It’s been a little over a year since I moved to London and a little less since I started buying fabric and patterns here. I have developed quite a large stash since then, there’s a lot of fabric hidden in dark cupboards, cardboard boxes and the bottom of my wardrobe. I have a high stack of sewing magazines (mostly Burda) and a big drawer of patterns. I won’t have time to use all the fabrics and patterns I have in the next year, but I still kept buying. During the holidays I spent quite a lot of time browsing on-line shops and I bough more fabric and patterns. I love so many of them, and I’m sure I have enough love to give to even more fabric and patterns, but I’m not treating them well by stuffing them in dark places.

Soooo, I decided to stop buying more for at least 6 months. The only exceptions will be interfacing, zips, etc and the occasional Burda. Oh, and I’ve already subscribed to Sew Magazine, so I will get that every month too.

These are the last two pieces of fabrics I bought from myfabrics.co.uk. The fabric came from Germany, but I think they have an office in UK. The spotty one is a boiled wool and the spots are actually blue. I am looking for a fitted blazer pattern in my stash, I’m sure I have something to use it for. The yellow check is a poly remnant, 0.8m. I think I will make a sleeveless shift dress out of it.

Before or around Christmas I bought this from Textile express fabrics. Waterproof poly cotton (Burberry apparently) and seersucker. I’m going to use those stripes for a v-neck dress with a center front seam.

The weekend after Christmas I went to Walthamstow, hoping to meet The man outside Sainsbury’s and find this beautiful jacquard Karen used months ago. He wasn’t there, but all the shops were open, so I didn’t come home empty handed. The wool check is from Saeed fabric, only 5/meter. They also had boiled wool and it was 50% cheaper than what I paid for the spotty one. Their wool didn’t have spots, but they had plenty of colors to choose from.

I bought this raw silk for Pauline Alice’s Quart coat. I had to buy 10 meters because I couldn’t find any in smaller quantities. I’m going to try and dye 3 meters a darker green. If it doesn’t work, I will still have 7 meters left.

Beautiful cashmere bought from The man outside Sainsbury’s 4 months ago. Not sure what to make with it.

I’ve only used 3 of the fabrics I got in Goldhawk Road at the the meet up.

And there’s plenty more hidden away that I don’t have photos of and probably don’t even remember I have. I’m going on a stash busting diet and it shouldn’t be hard considering the beauties I’ve hoarded.

London Sewing Meet Up

Pff, what a day! What a day! I shyly entered the V&A cafe this morning at around 11 (fashionably late? 🙂 ), where there were 60-70 ladies, wearing fabulous outfits. I looked around for a few minutes, building courage to join one of the groups. It was a bit strange not knowing anyone, but I guess it was the same for many of the girls there. And once I joined, there was no way out! 🙂 I met so many lovely ladies – Amy, Amanda, Louise, Carmen, gorgeous Jennifer, Simona, blogless Vicki who had a fantastic self drafted shawl collar linen dress, blogless Maya who bought some really cool fabrics, I hope she will start a blog or at least Instagram, so I can see what she’s going to make -and more, I hope there will be a list somewhere with everyone who attended. I didn’t take many pictures, as I was too busy socializing 🙂 but I’m sure a lot will pop up everywhere around the blogosphere (The spell checker doesn’t recognize blogosphere, why isn’t it a word yet? :D).

At noon we took some group photos and headed out to Goldhawk Road, and this is what I bought:

I have a plan for everything, except for the pink bathing ladies, which was £2/m anyway, so no mindless shopping. Ok, maybe just a bit.

I wore my Burda 10/2011 – 122 red dress

Thank you, Rachel, for organising such a wonderful event! I’m sure it wasn’t easy, but I do hope you will do it again!

Am I too late for the hoot trend?

When I first started sewing more than 5 years ago, my main resource was BurdaStyle website. Lots and lots of sewing tips, tutorials and free patterns. I still have manyof them saved din my account, but I think this is the first time I’m making something with one of their patterns. (I don’t count a failed Kasia that I attempted as a first project)

The JJ blouse is a simple princess seams shirt with ruffles and puffed sleeves. I skipped the ruffles as my fabric is busy enough.

I’m usually a 38-40 but after measuring the pattern I decided to cut 36 and my seam allowances were a bit more than 5/8, so this pattern runs large.
I also removed 2 cm in length, one from the bust and another one from the waist. This is standard for me as I am petite.

I had the buttonholes made at DMButtons. Save yourself a headache and use them if you are in London. You could also send them your garment by post if you are in the UK. I paid 3 pounds for 8 buttonholes, and they were done in 2 minutes. Sewn, cut and ready to use. I’m never making buttonholes again!

What you see there is water. It was raining and I wiped that street light with my bum.

I bought the fabric at Saeed’s Fabrics in my only (so far) trip to Walthamstow market last year. I had only one meter, it was an impulse purchase as I loved the print too much but had no idea what to make with it. A month or so ago I saw that a fitted blouse contest was going to run on Pattern Review. I had the pattern (still free on BurdaStyle), I had the fabric, a contest was the motivation I needed to make something.

This is the first shirt I make and I love it! It’s not often that a project ends up better than I imagined 🙂 . I was feeling so smug I even tried the Rachel pose.

I won’t do it again. I promise!

 

Almost there

This Sunday I ran the HM distance for the first time, the longest I ran before is 16 km. Hooray for me!! 😀 I have 7 more weeks until my first HM competition, so there is still some time to improve my close to 3 hours time.

The weather was so nice this weekend. But don’t be fooled by the image below, I’ve seen daffodils in bloom throughout the winter here.

20140309_120106

Here is an action shot of my running belt, sorry my hand is so short and I can’t show you a more “panoramic” view 🙂 . I’ve been wearing it for all my runs lately and I love it. I don’t know how I could live without it so far. It did stretch a bit and I’m thinking of a new version with a separate smaller pocket for coins, so they don’t scratch my phone and jiggle while I run.

20140309_142236

I tried to run really slow, just to make sure that I can make the 21 kilometers, and good for me! Because I don’t think I would’ve made it otherwise. I stopped for a banana at 17km and it was so hard to get back to running after that. Maybe I should try gels, so I don’t have to stop?

I’ve been listening to the National a lot during this run. Their lyrics and his voice are so beautifully sad, I just want to give him a hug and tell him everything will be alright.

In other news – sewing/knitting related – I’ve made some progress with my perfect jacket pattern. I have it ready, 2 piece sleeve and all, I need to make a muslin now. I’m thinking of something similar to Dapper.

1

I’ve cut my owl fabric for a JJ shirt.

jj1

And my Tweedy Dan is ready, waiting to be blocked and sewn.

dan1

O coacăză

Coacazele sunt foarte populare aici – gasesti suc de coacaze, iaurt cu coacaze, Strepsils cu coacaze … Eu am mancat ultima oara cocaze acum vreo 20+ ani, cand bunicii mei de la Baltaraței inca mai aveau un coacaz care facea coacaze. Nu tin minte ce s-a intamplat in anii urmatori in care am mai fost acolo – ori a disparut coacazul, ori nu a mai facut coacaze. Oricum, sper ca la vara sa mananc si eu niste coacaze 🙂

Fix acum 2 saptamani Sebi a vazut prima oara in viata lui reni si o bufnita alba. De fapt si pentru noi a fost tot prima oara.

Sebi si renul

Sebi si renul

Miercurea asta a fost petrecerea de craciun la servici si tema a fost Hollywood. Hm. Voiam de mult sa imi fac o Anna si s-a potrivit pentru tema petrecerii, mai ales ca are si o varianta lunga. Bine, cred ca orice tema ar fi fost o faceam cumva sa se potriveasca 🙂 . Miercurea trecuta m-am dus din nou pe Goldhawk Road, si din nou m-am ratacit. M-am invartit aiurea vreo jumatate de ora, desi aveam oricum putin timp sa pierd in magazine. Dar daca nu ma pierdeam, nu as fi vazut asta:

Uxbridge Rd

Nu stiu totusi daca merita atata alergat:

Azi am fost cu Sebi la Walthamstow Market, Europe’s longest market street. Sebi s-a dat in masinute, care erau gratis cu ocazia “Small business Saturday“.

E Babies, nu Barbies

Materialele astea nu a fost gratis, dar au costat in medie 3 lire pe metru:

Planuri de la stanga la dreapta:

  • un fel de Kelly skirt din tercotul bleumarin care nu se vede in poza facuta la lumina becului cu telefonul meu performant de-o seama cu Sebi
  • Scout
  • Scout
  • Scout
  • Anna

Din nou promit tutorial pentru fusta, si plusez cu o Anna lunga si rosie si un Scout din tricot. 🙂