Thursday, 13 March 2014

I wanna stash-bust!

I just had THE BEST idea yet!  As long as we're talking sewing, lovely fabrics and great projects of course (I would hope I've had other good ideas in the course of my life that might not be about sewing. You know what I mean...)

I've got this huge problem of a huge fabric stash, loads of ideas for sewing projects that I would quite like to get to at some point and the harrowing realisation that in addition to all the dressmaking fabrics I've amassed (it really is an unmanageable 'mass' at this point, sneef!) I have even more quilting cottons.  Absolutely LOADS of them!

So much fabric everywhere that I have no idea what to do with.  It makes me feel like I won't be able to get through it in the next 20 years or so.

And the worst thing is that every time I think I've got a dressmaking project I really want to make and wear: I don't seem to have quite the right fabric to hand.  It feels utterly sob-inducing to be honest.

So here's my fabulous idea: I've wanted a skirt in a nice big pattern for a while. I already sewed an A-line skirt in a patterned bright pink fabric which came out okay.  I did a mini skirt in a nicely patterned tartan, I like that one too - but I still haven't made a skirt in a really BIG pattern as I wanted.

I know: I'll use patchwork to MAKE that big pattern that I am yearning for!

How's that for a brilliant idea? I know: just genius, right?

Something a bit like this.

I can use mainly solid fabrics, I can mix in a print or two, I can pick out just those kinds of colours that I want - and then make a repeating motif of something like a big square with some kind of frame in different colours around it.  Dot those in regular intervals over the expanse of the skirt, and I'm sure I'll love wearing it!


Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Green/blue scroll top

Here is another version of my simple top that I knocked up in a couple of days (Version 2 was my black and white linen tunic here and Version 1 my grey damask top here).

Nice to get one item done pretty quickly.

The idea was that I must make inroads into my stash.  It certainly seems to have worked with this fabric.

I bought it together with a pink and also a grey version of the same pattern, and a different pattern but same fibre in blue, from Atlantic Silks in Electric Avenue, Brixton shortly before they closed up shop.  I only paid a total £10 for five metres if I remember correctly.  Another reason why my stash is out of control: I keep finding such great fabrics, great bargains or great patterns and colours.  Or all combined.  I just can't resist any of it.

This fabric irons a lot better than I thought.  I am not wildly in love with the pattern but I hope it'll fill that gap in my wardrobe where a bright and highly patterned item goes.  If there is such a gap...

These colours are truer to life

I'm curious to see how it washes and how often I'll wear it.

The grey fabric might become a summer dress, I got more of it. Let's see how quickly I'll get round to it.  Then I "only" have to get through the pink and the blue fabric for more tops to get back to the stage I was at before the Brixton shopping trip.

Oh actually, I got a lovely white fabric too... Oops, I'd forgotten.  But this one is reserved for a special project because it's beautiful fabric that needs to be used for something like a generously cut big over-blouse that can be worn over trousers or open instead of a light summer jacket... Something like that.  I'd rather use up other fabrics than that one first.

Good thing I already sewed up the petrol fabric from the Market Row stall (I forgot to blog about this top, it's the same cut as the simple black top here), and have used the white calico from the same place on the Dress pattern drawing workshop in Brighton in January that I bought it for. Phew!

Monday, 17 February 2014

White top finished

It is done, my lovely bias-cut summer top is finished!  I can't believe how quickly it came together.

I already blogged about the process of making this here.  So I'll try not to repeat myself.

I attached the bias strips at the armholes and the neckline.  Because there were some wavy pin tucks that distorted the bias strips, I ended up ripping them out to try and make the strips lie flat.  Then trimmed to the right width a second time. Even with plenty of water and steam it wasn't that easy to stop the former tucks from puckering up.  But it went well enough.

I had no idea that the bias strips get sewn onto the edge laid double, so you stitch through three layers of fabric (that was an Aha! moment) and then, after trimming, the whole doubled roll where its edge ends with the closed lengthwise fold - the whole thing gets folded inside the garment.  I had always assumed that you still see it above the top stitching line on the outside, but no: the fabric you can see on the outside is still the same front or back piece you originally cut out.  And nothing added.  What a revelation!

I feel that the hem was the part that went the least well. I didn't attach bias strips: I machine basted this 5-6mm from the edge (about a quarter inch), folded over at that line and pressed with lots of water.  Then still quite moist I folded this pressed strip over again to hide the raw edges and encase them, pressed some more, and then sewed this up.

The machine pushes the top layer of fabric ahead and creates these puckers.  I will figure out the dual feed function and see how much this improves things.  Wish me luck!

I am so pleased with this.  It looks lovely.  Really pretty too.  Can't wait for summer.