Sunday, 21 June 2015

I Have of Late .......

"I have of late - but wherefore I know not - lost all my mirth."

If this post sounds a bit whingey then I apologise in advance. For one reason or another this week has been particularly trying with no respite from ****-wittery on any front. Work has been especially vexing and I normally look at the weekend to restore my equilibrium, through sewing a bit, to last me through the week.

For the last few months I have only had time to go to the Studio to sew on a Saturday and maybe a Sunday. However, for one reason and another, yesterday was a complete wash-out. I go to meditation class in the same building once a month which fell on yesterday so that took up most of the day then I had a grumpy, whining and snottery Sprogzilla to deal with.  Is teenager flu worse than man flu? I think so but just to test that hypothesise there has been both at home this week. The best I could manage  yesterday without strangling someone was to finish cutting out some rectangles for a patchwork quilt I am planning to make her grump-nesty. 

I started buying fabric for this almost 10 years ago, slow sewing may be for the win but I might be taking it a bit far.  Sprogzilla likes blues and greys and there is a little black, purple, green and pink added into the mix because I like how all these colours go together. Looking at them all it might be a bit goth.  It may need some skulls *haha*
The photo really does not do these fabrics justice. There is no solid blacks they are all dark blue, pink or purple marbled or one black/grey patterned black. 90% of these fabrics are batiks that I bought in Purely Patchwork in Linlithgow. That is a great wee quilting shop packed to the gunwales with fabric and notions. I think that they do classes as well. The rest came from Mandors in Glasgow except for this Fat Quarter that I bought from Frumble via eBay. This is the first time that I used them but I will again. They were great.

Sprogzilla has a bit of a thing for My Little Ponies and this was the best I could find. It is a Michael Miller Print called "Sweet Pony" and the colours are a pretty good match. Without this FQ I only need 45 squares out of almost 400 so will probably need another one to have enough. The end is nigh, woo hoo! People who quilt often must have the patience of a saint, and bloody deep pockets. That shizz is expensive.

No thought whatsoever was put into the buying of the fabrics. If I liked the colours then they were coming home with me. There is no design planned for this, apart from laying them all out on the floor and swapping them round until they look like they belong with each other.

In other news I got three new vintage patterns and a book on dyeing with plants. Still cracks me up that the 80's are "vintage". You have to keep me away from eBay when I am bored. Commuting is a great enabler.. The book is quite thin but is packed with really useful information and I will do a review on it next week. I have loads of suitable plants in the garden so will be giving this a go soon.

Hope that you are all having happy, healthy and strop-free weeks! I am off for strong liquor and a lie down.


Sunday, 14 June 2015

A Top of Two Cities - Another Sewing Dare!

One of the great things about my job is that I sometimes get to travel, and of course if I have a couple of hours spare between connections I will try to explore where I am. In my suitcase there will always be copious notes on where all the fabric and charity shops are in the vicinity, with how to get to them and opening times just on the off-chance that I can swing past on the way home. Obsessed, quite possibly. Fabric-shopping opportunist? Hell Yeah!

No make-up and stray tacking thread. No!

This top is one of my sewing dares. I bought the fabric in London on Goldhawk Road and the trim from Ribes y Casals in Barcelona. The trim cost about 3 times as much as the fabric and I wasn't going to use it on something for me but it is the perfect colour match.

The pattern came from The Great British Sewing Bee, Book 3 and is the "Sleeveless Tank" pattern. I made the pattern hack with the button back.  Based on the measurements in the book I did my usual 1-inch broad back adjustment and a 3-inch FBA. To try to deal with the Big Honking Dart problem the bust dart was split into two parallel but smaller darts. This added in 8-inches to the overall width but due to the patterned fabric I did not put in other darts. I have a couple of long strips of fabric left so will make a tie belt with the leftover fabric as it is pretty baggy and unflattering at the moment but loose and cool will be great for the Summer.

I matched the pattern in the back, the front is cut on a fold. There wasn't really enough fabric left to make this the length I prefer, hence the lace trim on the bottom which has worked a treat. The hem is slightly High-Low, but again I ran out of fabric to make it more pronounced as I only had the recommended 1.5m.

The eagle-eyed amongst you may notice that I am lacking buttons on my button-back. My machine made a perfect buttonhole on scrap fabric, then proceeded to chew up my top. I cleaned & oiled the machine, put in a new needle, went to the shops and got some Petersham ribbon to strengthen the back (I had done this already to the button side and it was interfaced already) and put tissue paper underneath but all to no avail. To make matters worse I tried the scrap again and it worked perfectly. Same fabric, what the hell? Someone up there was having a laugh so rather than fling my machine through the window I decided just to pin it shut and try another day.

Also I probably should have made a muslin as I could do with taking out an inch from the width of the front. The neckline is very wide on me and the top is definitely a bit loose.

So, I am now in a machine-induced strop. I think I may need a new machine so if you know one that does a good automatic buttonhole then please let me know.

Hope you have all been enjoying your weeks!

K xx

Sunday, 7 June 2015

How I Finally Got to Goldhawk Road and a Sneaky Peak of an Almost Finished Sewing Dare

Have you ever been to Goldhawk Road? This fabled street, beloved of sewing bloggers, has always been on my must visit list. Like most fabric junkies I was really taken with a street full of cheap fabric shops. However, every time I have been down to London I have never had the time.

As luck would have it I was down in London Wednesday/Thursday last week. My meeting finished much earlier than I thought on Thursday so I was out of there like a greased whippet. Brandishing my Oyster card, I hopped on the Underground to Fabric Heaven.

Do you know I thought that I hadn't been there before but I had too many years ago to admit. It wasn't until I got across from the Shepherd's Bush Empire end that I realise I had. 
Pub-ja vu!

Apologies for the wrinkles. Washed but not ironed. 

I bought some fabric. Well three bits of fabric *ahem*. For me that was quite restrained but I had already bought a shitload of fabric  some this week online and was trying to be good. 

 I bought a flowery pale green cotton with orange and green flowers, a poly crepe in a sort of eye-watering ikat pattern and a cotton voile with another style of ikat-like print.

I used the voile to start on one of my sewing dares, the sleeveless tank from The Great British Sewing Bee Book 3. I bought it with it in mind. I was reading two blog posts this week about darts; one on dart positioning on Rhonda's Creative Life and one on how to overcome the "Honking Big Dart" where you are left with a massive flap of fabric after doing a full bust adjustment on the Curvy Sewing Collective- a problem I am often left with.

As I had to do a 3-inch FBA for this top I decided to split the dart in two. I was worried that it would be really obvious and disrupt the pattern but it turned out okay. I will really do this again and might even up to ante to three. I also did my usual 1-inch broad back adjustment.

I have almost finished this top. All I have to do is bind the armholes, do the buttonholes/buttons and finish the hems. I ran out of fabric to make this the length I prefer and was going to use some of the leftovers to add a band on the bottom. However, I was out on Saturday and there were lots of fringes and trims on the bottom of tops. I bought the green cotton lace when I first went to Barcelona for a meeting from Ribes Y Casals. I was going to trim a corset with it but the top was too curved make the trim lie flat. I thought that it is too nice for something for me but bugger it, it's the perfect match so it's going on. I will sew this on by hand. Just need to buy some buttons now.

So this must be a first for me, buying, pre-washing and sewing up a bit of fabric all in a couple of days. I am really enjoying my sewing dare and am finding myself quite motivated.

So do you have a favourite place for fabric shopping? Have you been to Goldhawk Road? Or can recommend somewhere else?

Hope you are all enjoying the great weather wherever you are!

 Later Lovelies!
K xx