Saturday, 8 August 2015

Autumnal Harris Tweed

 Do you feel a hint of autumn in the air? I certainly do, but then I have just been in the Scottish Highlands. Artisan's Square has just started an Autumn 6 Pac thread. This is where you sew 6 coordinating garments to form a capsule wardrobe. I have often thought of doing this but haven't got very far with it. I am going to have another go. When on holiday I went to the Harris Tweed Shop and purchased two designs to make two skirts. The first is the Lovat Tweed. A lovely soft green herringbone with a windowpane check of burgundy, mustard and blue.

The second piece is a wonderful rich mustard tweed. There was just 1 metre of fabric left of this and at 30 inches wide I am really going to have to eek out a short skirt. But I just loved the colour and the shop keeper let me have it at half price so I couldn't resist it.

Harris Tweed is very expensive at £34 a metre when it is only 30 inches wide but this is because it is handmade. The shop buys directly from a weaver on Harris and I got a wonderful sense that I am supporting our textile industry by buying this fabric. Above this though is how wonderful the fabric is: wonderfully textured with a lovely loft. I just can' t wait to sew with it.

I will only have enough of the mustard to make a basic short slightly A line skirt. I want to make Vogue 8835 Out of the Lovat tweed.

I am not exactly sure what else I am going to sew for my 6 pack, I have an almost finished burgundy coat languishing in a carrier bag that would pick up on the Burgundy in the Lovat Tweed. I have been looking at the Joules and Barbour websites for other inspiration.

Monday, 15 July 2013

UFO: Simplicity 3503

Before I had my first child ( I now have three!) I cut out and started sewing an animal print maxi dress using Simplity 3503. It was all the rage back then..... you know before the indie pattern and general sewing pattern explosion....... ah those were the days when sewing patterns were just numbers, not names belonging to the blogosphere........

Eventually, she is finished

I have nothing to add to what everyone has said about this pattern. It is fabulous. I cut a size 8 and it fits like a dream straight out of the packet. The only change was to cut 4 inches off the length as I am 5'4". Despite the fact that I am four years late with it, there are still a lot of maxi dresses around and it is perfect for the heat wave the UK is experiencing.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Built by Wendy Sew U A line skirt

My first garment of 2013 is this super easy A line skirt from the Sew U book. I highly recommend this pattern, but then you can't really go wrong with a basic A line skirt. I wanted a simple pattern so I wouldn't disrupt the embellished detail at the hem. I am really glad I did because I haven't done a great job pattern matching at the side seams, though to be fair this was due to the limited amount of fabric I had.

A line skirts are perfect for casual wear and are flattering for most figures. I love Boden clothes and they always have lots of A line skirts such as these from A/W 2012

When I saw this lovely soft baby cord in Leon's (the best fabric shop in the North). I knew it would be perfect for a Boden style skirt. What is more, a Boden embellished A line skirt retails for around £60, whereas my skirt length was only £6! As I already had the pattern, some black lining, zip and interfacing; I knew I was onto a winner.

The pattern is super simple, very suitable for a beginner, or someone wanting a quick project. It also meets two of my goals for 2013: to sew clothes inspired by Boden and to make clothes appropriate for my lifestyle ( A line skirts are much easier to wear than pencil skirts). There are some lovely summer versions of this skirt in the new spring catalogue so I will be making a few more of these in the coming months.

The only alteration I made to the pattern instructions were to use seam binding at the hem. There was hardly any hem allowance beneath the embellished section and I thought seam binding would add a little length and weight. I am not sure I pulled the seam binding taught enough and it is a little wrinkled but this is not noticeable from the right side.

Friday, 28 December 2012

2013 Sewing goals

No review of 2012 sewing for me! The only sewing I did was maternity sewing and I have no photos to prove it. I do have twin daughters though....... So whilst I will not have much time for sewing in 2013 I am determined to carve out a little time for myself. Hopefully writing these goals down will help me to achieve them.

The principles:

1. To sew for 2 hours a week. I know the luxury of a weekend of sewing uninterrupted will just not be possible so the real challenge for me will be to carve out snippets of time to sew. Tilly has recently written about sewing for 15 minutes  a day but I think I am going to strive for two one hour slots.

2. To sew for my actual lifestyle, ie a mum and part time teacher whose social life comprises of seeing friends and family. I am no longer an about town career girl!

3. To sew a coordinated wardrobe ( as inspired by Janice at the Vivienne Files)

4. To blog what I sew as a record of my progress

5. To take steps to improve my skills and thus the quality of what I make, possibly by trying an online course.

A few specifics:

6. To try some of the independent pattern companies that have sprung up in recent years. If nothing else, to see if they are worth burning the extra cash eg, make a Beignet skirt, a Tova tunic, and perhaps a Sewaholic pattern.

7. To make an outfit inspired by the Duchess of Cambridge. I have wanted to do this for ages.

8. To make a Boden inspired outfit, this could apply to my whole wardrobe.

9. To sew something for my husband.

10. To sew more Oliver and S clothes for my daughters.

I am writing this listening to a radio programme reviewing 2012; not only the Olympics and Golden Jubilee etc, but also people's personal achievements such as the 65 year old lady who adopted the motto "Just Do It" and began the year doing a zip wire. The programme was totally inspirational and I am writing about it here so I can remember it and draw upon it. I am a "right one" for setting goals and then not achieving them because I have moved on to another whim but I am really determined that I will achieve these goals during 2013. Or else........

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Spring Sewing

Despite the fact that it is still cold here in Blighty, there is a definite mood that Spring is on its way. That must mean it is time to end all thoughts of tweeds, wool and heavy knits and time to start planning our spring wardrobes. Inspired by the Sew Weekly challenges of "Pretty as a Picture" and using the "Pantone Spring Colours", here is my first spring outfit.

The Top is Vogue 1127. There are loads of reviews of this top on Pattern Review, all commenting about how big this top runs. In particular, I used the alterations that Amanda S made to reduce the width and length of the ties and the width of the collar. I sewed a Size 6 instead of a Size 8 but I wish I had left the armholes a size 8 as it is a little bit snug there. I decided this was far better than a gaping armhole though and left it.

The Skirt is Vogue 8603. Again, judging by the number of patterns on Pattern Review, this is a very popular skirt pattern. I made view A with the side gather details. This is a fabulous pattern and I urge anyone looking for a new skirt pattern to give it a go. I cut a Size 12 and it fit me without any alterations whatsoever. In fact, I love this skirt pattern so much I am currently making View C in navy cotton sateen with gold topstitching and gold buttons. I have made the outer skirt and just need to complete the lining

Just one question..... to Spanx or not to Spanx? A year on from giving birth, I am pretty much back to my former RTW Size 10, apart from what can only be described as a flap of stomach around by belly button ( sorry if this is too much information). Looking at these photos I realise that it might be time to investigate foundation garments!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Chanel Jacket

I finished my black Chanel Jacket a while ago but I haven't had time to blog about it yet. This is the second time I have made a Chanel type Jacket and I am much happier with the finish I have achieved on this version. I used a different pattern for this one, Simplicity 4241(OOP). It is very similar to the Vogue pattern I used last time but I like the turn up cuffs on this version.
If you are going to make one of these jackets, I highly recommend you use the techniques explained by Claire Schaeffer in her book Couture Sewing Techniques. I quilted the lining to the jacket fabric first, before machine stitching the jacket body and hand sewing the lining together. On the Chanel Sew-a-long website there are loads of resources if you are interested in sewing a jacket using these techniques. All I can say is: the more time, care and attention you spend on it, the better your finish will be. I suppose this is true of all sewing, and indeed most things in life!

I absolutely love this type of jacket. It feels like a cardigan because it is so comfy and light (no interfacing is used) but it has the polish of a tailored jacket.

I was in LK Bennett recently and I saw this jacket, The Madi. At £225.000, and the fit not being as good, I think I have done very well! I am still considering adding a fringe trim like the Madi Jacket, even though I have already worn the jacket twice! I might pin it on to see what it looks like. What's been holding me back is time and the fear that I will shed everywhere because boy does this boucle tweed shed like mad!

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Sew Weekly

Sew Weekly is a site worth discovering! Each week there is a sewing challenge set which acts as inspiration for a new creation. Last week was "All Buttoned-up" which inspired the button tabs on the skirt I just made. This week the challenge is "Make the Look". The idea is to create an outfit based on a look you have seen. I am making good progress with my Chanel Jacket but I haven't got time to sew anything else. Just for fun though, this is what I would do:

My look:

I have always loved this DvF dress worn by Kate Middleton. Her dress is silk but I think this could be made is any silky or viscose fabric, or even a knit could give you the same look. As for patterns:

I love the Lisette Itinerary Dress (Simplicity 2060) although that has a yolk. This Vogue pattern (1207) has the V-back that Kate's dress has: