Thursday, 28 February 2013

My February polka dot frock

I have to admit, I'm pretty excited to  be showing this one off today!
For this is a frock that involved a lot of firsts - and first among those is the fact that never before (I can't actually believe it) have I participated in a sewalong or online sewing event of any sort. But the other week a series of tweets by Scruffy Badger and friends caught my eye, and before I knew it there was a #februaryfrockfest welcoming sewists to sign up for a month of New Look 6000-inspired polkadot loveliness.
And it grabbed me. So I did it! And here - drum roll please! - is my first ever rendition of New Look 6000:
Which is also the first thing I have ever sewn or even worn involving polka dots. And includes my first ever vertical darts (how is it possible I've never done that before??) and first ever kick pleat. In fact I've hardly sewn any dresses in such a classic style before - so I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this is an extremely straightforward make.
I was confident and impatient enough to decide I wouldn't bother trying my first ever lapped zipper, and put in a straightforward invisible zip instead. I'm not too pleased with the gap of brown between polkadots at the upper back, but then - it's on my back, I don't care that much.
I made a 14, the middle of the wildly disparate sizes suggested by my measurements, with 2 cm added to the bust darts and 2.5 cm removed from the back. A quick&dirty muslin on Sunday showed that these, my by-now standard pattern adjustments, were fine - but that the waist and bust darts fell far too low. I raised the whole lot by two inches; were I to make this again (and I may well), I'd lower them back down by half that. My bosoms are a little overfitted in this dress, and the waist now falls slightly too high. Another first - I always have the opposite problem, and it feels slightly odd to be wearing something where the garment's waist is higher than mine! The final fit could still do with some tweaking (I think I might have to add swayback to my list of standard alterations), but for a first go I'm extremely happy with how it all turned out.
BUT, in my humble and not particularly modest opinion, the most exciting and brilliant thing about this fabulous frock is my first ever underlining. Not the execution (my word, underlining isn't a shortcut at all is it?!), but the colour...
Classic and calm on the outside, but on the inside I'm wearing hot pink.
No-one in the office would ever guess, would they?
I leave you with my top style tip of winter 2013: stylish dressing on cold mornings is made vastly easier by having a scarf that matches your favourite tights.
Thank you so much Winnie for the idea, the inspiration and the organising! This may have been my first of many things but I doubt it'll be my last of any of them!


Saturday, 23 February 2013

My first knit

Since the pointless yards of french knitting I did aged 10, that is.

Question: how hard is it to photograph yourself wearing a cowl without a) chopping your head out of the picture, b) chopping the cowl out of the picture, c) being distracted by your kids and blurring the whole thing, or d) looking like a bit of an idiot in all the above scenarios?

Answer: very.

Now I know why all the pattern pictures on Ravelry look like this:

Yes, I'm over there too now. Grand total of one project uploaded so far: this one, and mainly just so I can get to be all knitter-ish and say: my ravelry notes here. The excitement! I have no future projects queued yet, due to total indecision: I want to do them all (except the frumpy stuff, haha!)

OK here it is on my neck, with my face, doing a reasonable approximation of how I like to think I look when I think I'm looking ok. That's what blog self-portraits are all about, isn't it?

Is that enough pictures of it yet? There's not a great deal of exciting styling to be done with this really, is there.

Anyway, what would a new hobby be without its own handmade bag?

It's an open wide pouch, of course. Quick, easy, stylish, functional: Noodlehead Anna is a genius.

:: :: ::

Do you knit? If so what's your best/favourite knitted thing so far? Do you feel like suddenly everyone with a sewing blog is trying knitting too and raving about how cool it is? Is that a bit irritating or are you a generous share-the-love kind of person? And, the inevitable: what should I knit next?


Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Primary colours and green

Look: I finally got to grips with styling my blue wool skirt! The pretty blouse helps. As does the sun in February.

These things make me happy :-)


Thursday, 14 February 2013

Love is in the air

And this time, it's for real! 

The Jasmine that teased and taunted me through multiple fits and four evenings of unfinished frustration is done - and I think it's rather gorgeous.

It fits like a dream (apart from ahem is that a swayback??), is warm, comfy, stylish, and well, what more could a girl want?

Happy Valentine's Day!

:: :: ::

The lowdown

  • Pattern: Colette Jasmine
  • Fabric: polyester crepe from the Maison Dorée.
  • Fit changes: too many to mention... I ended up with a size 8 and an FBA, with a sizeable wedge taken out at the top of both the centre front and centre back seams. Although in the end this isn't so far from my usual adjustments, the journey there was tortuous, and a belated pattern review search revealed that I am not alone in experiencing nightmarish fit issues with this top.
  • Other changes: three-quarter length sleeves, finished with an elastic casing instead of a cuff. I wanted to do a cuff but by that point I was so fed up with sewing it, I just took the short cut, and I don't really care anyway. I also lengthened the tie by about 30cm.
  • Make again? : yes definitely! BUT only now I've got the fit sorted. If I'd known in advance how difficult that would be, I probably wouldn't have bothered.


Thursday, 7 February 2013

True confession: I've gone off sewing

(Plus totally pinched my post title from the wonderful Karen).

Thankfully, I don't think it'll be permanent. God only knows what would happen to my sense of self if it was.

But I had such good ideas for February, and I feel like everything, including the ideas, has conspired against me over the last week, to the point where I'd like to just throw in the towel. Can you help me?? I'll show you the evidence - any and all creative rescue plans are welcome!

Exhibit #1:

It's a briar, of course. The pattern I was excited to get for Christmas and even more excited to be sewing along with this month. This was my trial version, in a jersey I didn't really like much any more (too sludgy), so in principle it's only a muslin. Nonetheless I sewed the whole thing meticulously to test-run, and the top indeed sews up beautifully. Or it would have if it weren't for my first pet hate - breaking my only double needle halfway through. The rate I get through double needles, it'd probably be cheaper in the long run to just buy a coverstitch machine and be done with it (mental note to self: actually do the maths on this).

Anyway, that's not really the point. The point is - look at that fit.

Gah! A twitter shout led to some kind hand-holding by Tanit-Isis who confirmed my suspicion that it'll be fine with an FBA and something about the swayback (plus a narrow back adjustment too? All thoughts welcome!). But I am just so utterly fed up with fitting. In my head this was going to be one of those knit tops that miraculously come out right first time. Boo.

On to sewing-grump Exhibit #2: an unfinished Jasmine.

This is why I am fed up with fitting, and frankly, with making an effort to get things right in general. Make no mistake, it'll be a beautiful blouse when it's done. I have finally got the fit of this right! After FOUR muslins. Yes FOUR. And it's a slinky, warm poly crepe with wonderful drape that takes just that little bit extra effort to sew nicely. BUT. But. I was planning this post a few days ago, at which point I thought the blouse would be finished that night and was in love with the idea - hence the photoshopped swooning. You know what? EVERY night for the last four days I have thought - tonight's the night! And guess what - it's still not done! It still hasn't got sleeves. And I am SO FED UP with sewing it but can't bring myself to move on till it's done. Gah and more gah....

Exhibit #3:

This one is not a bad thing per se but an attack of nerves. It's a dress that will involve Yet. More. Fitting. I just can't take it any more!! But I simultaneously so want to join in the February Frock Fest fun. Also, I'm not a natural polkadot person. I really don't know what inspired me to buy this in the first place, apart from the fact that it's chocolate brown and mint green and hence makes me think of mint-choc-chip ice cream.

click for source

I want to do the view shown made up on the pattern cover, but can't decide if with the collar it'd just be polkadot overkill. What say you, sewing stylists? I mean, it's a really good collar that I know will flatter, I just don't want to turn up at work looking like a fancy dress party of one.

And finally, Exhibit #4. Which is not illustrated. It's another true confession.

Last week when I was ill, I couldn't do much else than sleep, or sit on the sofa watching tv, drinking lemsip and sulking because I had gone off eating, and, well... I was knitting.

Indeed. After a gap of at least 20 years, it turns out I still know how to knit (thanks Mum/Grandma!) Just the basics, but enough to make myself a cowl which has hardly left my neck since. And I love it. It's like magic, the way this beautiful squishy fabric grows in your hands, and all you have to do is meditatively and rhythmically keep those needles moving. I can't wait to start my next project.

That's in fact what I really just need to admit to myself: I'd rather be knitting.