Monday, 8 June 2015

Red and black skirt - using up stash fabric!

Oh yes, I am using up stash fabric. I can feel the relief coursing through my veins at saying this: I am actually using up material that I've had in my stash for ages! Fantastic.

I have this beautiful true red and black patterned fat quarter, a quilting cotton.  It has these lovely rope or thread motifs on it that somehow remind me of bamboo (I don't know what my thought process is there) - but I have no other fabric that this goes with if I want to use it in a quilt.

So repurposing is the order of the day.

What can I make with one fat quarter? Not a heck of a lot.  But I can if combined with a plain black fabric, like for example a skirt. Marvellous idea!  But the fabric isn't long enough to run down the length of the skirt - therefore I need to sew two separate sections together.

Then I had a sudden vision of a wavy panel, snaking its way down the skirt. I got on really well with putting this together, so here are some progress shots:

What I love about designing something yourself: you get to decide what you want to do if there is an issue - like the seamline between my two sections of the red fabric.

I did try to pattern match this as pernickety and detail obsessed as I could but it wasn't perfect. And I would always know that it doesn't quite fit together. But what if I turn this around and make a feature out of a bug? (That's my absolutely favourite design process and objective!)

Why not hide that seam in a way that becomes a defining design feature? Why not sew a sort of tab across?

I didn't want a straight piece of fabric stuck on top, that would have looked silly.  But picking up the wave theme and going with a satisfyingly curved piece of applique: It looks just right!

I did sew the side seam together to attach the tab on the right hand side, now I have to adjust the width for the second side seam because the pattern pieces are way too big. Very odd.

And it isn't because I pulled the black fabric apart to insert the red panel: I actually removed the middle bit that I cut out - I will post lots of photos of what I did in another blog post soon.

Isn't sewing just so much fun?

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Turquoise jumper

I completely forgot to post this draft, oops! I finished this jumper a few months back.  I just want to stitch down some excess fabric at the front of the neck, to stop it pushing forward.  But then it'll be completely done. I wonder if that's what stopped me from posting this?

Well, here goes for now:

I am so very happy, relieved and delighted: I finally got my turquoise jumper done! Yes, actually finished. After I had marked it complete already on Ravelry, and then decided that the rolling down funnel neck looked a bit like the tightly rolled lip of a balloon, the bit that you blow into if you know what I mean?  It looked exceedingly odd around the base of my neck - as if it was trying to squeeze my head out of the jumper. Not a good look any way you consider it. At all.

I went from this - i.e. just having to knit a bit of a facing down from the cast-off stitches:

To this - the finished product: 18 months!  What the hell took me so long?  I just don't get it.

I mean, look at it, it was almost completed, finished, done:

An almost completed jumper - in limbo for about 18 months, or so
I had to go back a bit further than I realised because the neck opening was too tight to get the jumper over my head. Such a common mistake, a bit of a rookie mistake to make. Just goes to show.  So I picked up lots of stitches every here and there - and if I remember correctly, I also opened the shoulder seams a bit and picked up stitches in that area too.

It worked well.

It is just that the front of the jumper at the top, in front of the neck, - it's a bit loose sitting and baggy.  The Alpaca yarn is quite springy and holds the shape more than merino would. The eyelet funnel pattern is just a bit too stiff to relax into a better fit.  I'll have to look at that and see if I want to make some post-completion change there. I'll see.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Summary of my stash coping ideas

Where my blog posts are concerned, I often apply a lot of voluble outpouring in the verbal department.  I just can't seem to shut up.  Can't be a bit more concise. Not happy with that.

The very length of my posts threatens to bury the points I wrote about.  I am even less happy with that.  It took quite a bit of rereading of my previous blog post about stash busting (this one) to figure out just what my conclusions were that I had come to about how to manage my stash.

So I want to do a summary.  What did I learn, what ideas did I come up with?

  • I don't fear cutting into fabric but cutting out feels like it needs lots of effort
  • I don't have enough tried and tested patterns I can whip up
  • My stash is badly organised. As in not organised at all (gah)
  • I don't know my fabric fibres well enough to know what fabric is good for what kinds of garments
  • I bought several versions of the same thing because I forget what I have
  • I don't have enough colours or patterned fabrics in my stash

This leads me to the conclusions I came to:

  • I want to organise my stash lots better: put similar fabrics together
  • Use my stash app Clothio for lots more fabrics than so far
  • Measure the lengths of my fabrics properly
  • Put remnants and odd pieces aside
  • Examine each fabric thoroughly to get rid of tat
  • Put aside fabrics I can use for toiles/muslins
  • Look over my project ideas list to check my earmarked fabrics
  • Keep going on developing TnT patterns
  • Keep my self-drafted patterns in better order
  • Go through the fabric fibre bible I bought at the V&A
  • Chuck non-viable UFOs to lighten the load
  • Resign myself that I won't use most of my fabrics (sneef)
  • Use a specific fabric as starting point for the project
  • Get on with it: I can only learn from doing, even if badly. More sewing is the answer to so many different problems!

Ooh, I've had more ideas on practical ways of doing something with and about my stash. That feels very helpful. I want to really take hold of that last point: just get on with it!

I shall report back about how it's going.

PS: There is perhaps one more insight that just occurred to me: I don't want to use up a very special fabric on a pattern that I'm not sure of. I would rather sew that pattern with a less special fabric (it also reduces a bit of my stash) and perhaps make it a second time, than 'waste' the special length. I would be too heart-broken to find the pattern/fabric combo was awful. And you get more of a feeling of achievement out of a successful project even if the material used wasn't the most loved one.