Friday, 25 July 2014

Drowning in stash

Oh of goodness' sake!  I've only just now figured out why I have such a massively inflated stash: I keep buying more, and more, and more fabric, it has got very much out of hand.  I just don't know where to put the stuff any more and I can't possibly hope to use it all up!

Why oh why am I doing this?

And, oh boy, I only just realised!

Buying beautiful fabric is the best and most enjoyable part of "sewing" for me!

Never mind that I'm not yet sewing anything at all.  Nevermind that this is all still an unrealised ambition, hopes and plans, and nothing more.  As long as I'm still dreaming I can dream of anything at all - nothing has to be put to the test yet!

When I do sew something I often feel frustrated and discouraged because the garments don't fit me well enough. The couple of times or so when the finished item did fit well, I have been very pleased and even delighted with the result.  But that's not often the case.

What I would like to do is develop a range of patterns that are tried and tested: templates that I can cut out, sew up and they'll fit!  No fiddling, no faffing about.

Doesn't that sound brilliant? And it's not impossible to do, I just have to put the work in.

I have quite a lot of plans for my stash fabrics - and I've had an idea that might bring home how much of it I can realise and whether I can get rid of excess fabric.

I want to make a list of all the planned projects that I have in mind.  I want to list the following:

  1. Pattern (the number of the dressmaking pattern or template name)
  2. A description that reminds me what it was I had in mind
  3. The fabric (out of my stash obviously!) that I want to use
I have a feeling that I'll get quite an unpleasant surprise at how many, say for example, dresses I want to make. I might find that I can edit those plans a bit and cut down on the sheer volume of specific garment types. Make it all much more realistic and with that much more manageable too! (Yes please!)

I am also hoping that I'll be able to pick the most promising two projects out of each category and then get on with making those projects that promise to fit the easiest.

Now that does sound like a plan!

I am hoping I'll get somewhere with this.  How instructive to realise where I get my sewing jollies from!  Seeing as it's not from actually sewing it really isn't to be marvelled at that I'm not doing all that much sewing then, isn't it!

Friday, 27 June 2014

Trouser pattern

I did a really great course on Sunday (well, recently):  drawing up the pattern for a basic trouser block.  It was the trouser workshop at MIY Studio in Brighton, with the very patient and supportive Wendy Ward.  I had such a great day!

And I must say the pattern came out fantastic!

The trouser toile fits almost perfectly – as if I got poured into it in fact!  It only needs a tiny little sliver sliced off the side seams to get rid of some slight bagging in the hip to waist area, absolutely no problem:  I know by how much as well as where to start that slice and where to stop.

It was such a lucky thing that Monday was a bank holiday here in the UK.  I could have started to sew but alas I didn’t.  Only for the reason though that my massive stash of fabric did not yield a convenient length of suitable cloth.  All the right sized fabrics weren’t the right kinds of fabrics.  I had woven cotton that would wrinkle too much or dressmaking fabrics that would be great for blouses and all sorts, but no good for trousers.

I wanted something with good drape, a nice handle and in a colour that is not too attention seeking. I would like to reserve that kind of thing for my blouses and shirts.  Or skirts.  But not trousers.  They should be a bit more non-ostentatious.  Although I can see myself make a Capri style trouser at some point in a nice bright floral pattern – think Kaffe Fassett or Amy Butler.  Something like that.  But only for summer wear, away from work, on my own time.  Not for work (I reckon).

Plus I am very much after a very versatile pair that I can wear at work and elsewhere.  I usually get my basic black trousers at Marks & Spencer – I hadn’t recently because I went round all the rails and couldn’t find the exact shape I was after.  I wish they kept their styles a bit longer!  So you can go back and always buy the same ones again.  What do you want in a pair of black trousers?  Great fit and a very simple visual style, nothing else.  So why can’t retailers offer that?  Why chop and change when new styles don’t fit as well? All they do is lose customers when it gets too frustrating.  Those customers might not just go to the competition, they might even start to make their own!

Ergo why I am. So there retailers!  If you don't provide what I want, then I’ll go and make it myself.

I am still pretty motivated from the successful day on Sunday – so off I went to Goldhawk Road on Tuesday evening after work – and I found loads!

I got three lengths of fabrics that are more than suitable for trousers.  The shop owner gave me a discount and I paid £50 for the lot.  I think there is almost five meters there.  I got a really good discount because these were the end of bolts of between one and a half and two meters.  Great for trousers but not enough for a suit.  I don’t wear suits much, so I don’t care.  I am delighted to have found such lovely fabric.

And even more fabric: two lots of lining, an amazing black fabric with appliqué shapes on it, a grey fabric that I’ve been looking for for a while...  I can’t physically add it to my stash because there is no space.  But I also couldn’t leave the fabric I bought in the shops.  Damn.

I will just have to cut my newly made trouser fabric from two fabrics at once (not literally) and get sewing!

I can't wait to see what I get done!

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!