Friday, 21 August 2015

Amazing what you get done when...

Isn't it amazing what you get done when you're supposed to be doing something else and can't bring yourself to get stuck into that something else?

That's what it's like for me right now. Sewing is so much more fun than job hunting. So I am sewing. It is comforting to know that this activity is productive: I see a tangible result and that's very confidence building.

Most times I've been doing something else rather than sewing - perhaps I'm intimidated by it?  It could be because sewing seems so much work, or because I worry that I am not going to sew well enough... I'm not completely sure why I'm not finding it easier to knuckle down to.

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It is vitally important to me to get stuck into sewing projects to try and diminish my massive stash at least a little bit. So when a friend mentioned wanting to make an A-line skirt with pockets I had a project idea shoot through my head that seemed strangely fully formed.

A flared skirt with huge patch pockets on it. Love the idea, and it seemed very do-able (spoiler: I think it even was).  I preferred to draw my own pattern so I can avoid all those soul-destroying attempts at fitting and pattern adjustments. I'd rather start from scratch and know that the measurement is correct.

I established the different hip and waist measurements for front and back because I want my side seams to sit at my side and nowhere else. My front panels are a bit bigger than the back panels.

I'm glad to say that the skirt looks like a good fit even though I plain forgot to work the back darts into the pattern pieces - I can probably get away with that.

I did some lovely patch pockets with strips of light-weight interfacing ironed next to the three seams and then I found that these big pockets throw out the lovely flare of the skirt and I prefer it without them. I have some fabric left, maybe I'll use them in some other way in future.

The fabric is a funnily bouncy fibre, very thin and light-weight but surprisingly drapey. It sews up wonderfully well, I am really impressed. There are very thin and strong black warp fibres and softer silvery grey weft strands. I don't remember what the fibres are. I got it from Fabrics Galore on Lavender Hill in London (has there every been a better address for a fabric shop?). Their labels stated the fibre, I should have written it down! Or taken a photo...

I've done quite well so far. Except for attaching the lining inside out (I did French seam so I won't be tempted to re-do this). I need to hem the lining and then continue thinking about what I'll do for the closure. I attached two facings so could do buttons or hooks and eyes. I would prefer something unobtrusive.

I decided against a zip (even an invisible one) because I may want to take the skirt in a bit in future. It'll be easier to move buttons or hooks than a zip.

What do you think?

Monday, 20 July 2015

Lavish seamless jumper

It is not quite seamless: all of a sudden I decided to knit the sleeves open - because it is easier to remember when to do the decreases for the sleeve shaping when there are knit and purl rows.

The stitch holder finally saw some use (I had them a while) but turned out to be a bit disappointing; they popped open on at least three different occasions and dropped stitches, which is precisely what they're meant to prevent.

So I'm slightly disgruntled on that point. I might have to get those horrible plastic ones that have an elastic go across them. I don't like the way those look. At all.

The yarn is Supersoft Lambswool 2/11.3Nm yarn in the colourway Lavish 1734 by JC Rennie, the greasy on the cone variety.  I don't actually know what '2/11.3Nm' means, I just copied that from their website.

I am knitting with a 2.75mm needle. A really long circular needle that keeps curling up and getting in the way when I did the sleeves. A tad annoying. Still manageable though.

I love the colour of this yarn, it is slightly heathery with flecks of other colours in it. But mainly a dark magenta-like pink. Love it.

Such a nice strong colour that makes me feel good.

Now I just have to prevent the moths from eating this before I can wear it!  It is washed for the first time (squeezed through some lukewarm water, no wringing) but still smells quite a bit of sheep.

PS: I am catching lots of moths in pheromone traps but now it's too hot to wear this even though it is so thin. I must check that the shape is okay and that I want to wear this. Otherwise I better take some corrective action sooner than later!

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?