Monday, 30 May 2011

Me-Made-June 2011

I'm a bit late coming to the party, but I'm going to give this challenge a good go, bearing in mind we have 1 week away mid-June.  I have made quite a few wearable pieces over the last couple of months and will, no doubt, be making more during June.

'I, Ruth aka PinQueen, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-June '11.  I endeavour to wear at least one handmade garment and/or use one handmade accessory each day for the duration of June 2011'

I think I will post photographs each Sunday as a summary of the week.  I'm hoping my handmade pjs and slippers are allowed in this challenge?!

Good luck to us all!

Hope you are having better weather where ever you are in the world?  Today is a public holiday and guess what?  It's raining.  Not just any old rain, cats and dogs rain...

Sunday, 29 May 2011

New Look 6407

View A/B toile.

It's been years since I made a proper shirt/blouse for myself.  I did intend to join Peter with his shirt sew-along but the tutu got in the way. So here it is, albeit a toile, and very late!

Lovely fit.  Note I have the cuff on the wrong way around -
that's what a toile's all about!

Not hemmed.  Sitting nicely around the neck.

Sorry, a blurry back.  I was trying to show you
how well it sits at the waist and back - it doesn't wrinkle
 like that, honestly
I used a piece of curtain lining as my calico is too heavy to make shirts.  I made it up as though making in my fabric with the exception of one arm* and I didn't use French seams.  It's pressed, clipped, finished and trimmed as it should be.  And I needed to practice my buttonholes so played about with those too.  The best result was achieved by using embroidery thread.

Yellow is the embroidery thread and gave the
best results on this piece
 So here are my notes made along the way.

 I cut a size 14 as advised in the Fast Fit Book.  Sandra ( I feel I can call her by her first name as I have spent so much time reading this book over the last few days!) says go with your full bust measurement when using New Look.  But in view of the neck issue I had with the grey linen top, I decided to have a go at adjusting the upper chest and back using her techniques.  I took out 2cm from the back, and graded out around 1.5cms at the hip and for the front I took out 1.5cms.

Here is the front adjustment, above the armhole

And the back, using the same technique
 I always have to add width at the sleeve for my bingo wings larger arms and shorten every sleeve I ever use!
BUT to add to the complication, the adjustment to the upper front lengthens the armhole so you have to add extra width to the front sleeve side seam too.  Now there is a possibility that the sleeve may twist once set in place, however I could not for the life of me work out what Sandra was asking me to do.  So I did nothing, I think it's worked out okay, but perhaps once made up for real I may be telling you a different tale!

How many alterations can you make to one sleeve piece? 
Answers on a postcard please!

Oh! I took out approx 1.5cms at the waist for my sway back.  I did do the hem, again for practice, after I had taken the photographs and referred back to Peters post re shirt hemming as David Coffin's book suggests using a rolled hem foot - and quite frankly that scared me! Peter suggests turning up a double, narrow hem.

*  I did add the other sleeve to double, double check the fit/twist - all okay.  Phew!

So there you have it.  I like the shape, I like the fit and I like the end result.  Making the adjustments wasn't hugely difficult and I enjoyed making the toile.  This shirt won't take very long to make up next time either. I have some shirting in the stash and will make a start on that later today.  I'm going to use soft linen for collar and cuff interfacing as I want this to be a "formal" looking shirt.

More later.  Happy Sunday everyone.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Just say it like it is .....

Just a quick note this morning as I have a bit of a hangover headache....  (honestly, 3 glasses of wine - I am such a lightweight these days....)

One of our male friends, who shall remain nameless but you know who you are, came over yesterday evening "for a quick pint" with Ian.  Whatever, they came home at midnight ringing the doorbell because there was something wrong with the lock, yeah, yeah, yeah......

Anyhoo, this morning I came downstairs and chatted to said friend whilst Ian was in the shower.  We talked about weight gain.  He has a new job where he is living in a hotel most of the week and has big breakfasts and dinners etc so has gained a little weight over the year.  I mentioned that I have put on weight since moving to Wiltshire and do you know what he had the cheek to say?  Do you??  Hold onto your hats ladies this will shock...

"Yes, you've put a tonne on since I've know you"

My mouth dropped, eyes filled and showed him the door....  Well, no, I'm too polite.  I bit my tongue, made a coffee and hid upstairs until he left...

Can you believe it?!  Hope your weekend has got off to a better start?

Friday, 27 May 2011

Roll up, roll up, I have a New Page!

Morning all!

I recently posted about commercial patterns and what's about on the high street and mentioned that I would take a look and see what catches my eye (and heart). Well, I've done it and set up a new page which I will update every the very least!.

Oh, and if anyone from Vivienne Westwood (or the great lady herself) and Vogue Patterns happen to read this humble post, please, please, please could we have a collaboration?  We NEED those beautifully cut jackets in our lives!

The great lady herself

Monday, 23 May 2011

A Question of size.... Butterick 5147

Wednesday 25th May - Quick Update. 

I wore the linen top all day yesterday (with a little grey cardi that I made to go with, more on that later) and guess what?  THE most strange thing, it didn't crease or wrinkle - at all?!?!  Do you suppose that's something to do with the muslin linterlining?  The outer fabric is most definitely 100% linen, I just tested a remnant in my hand and it did stay creased.....

And more good news re this top - It fits b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l-l-y, the neck pleats worked out well. So much so, I will be making it again, in the same size, with the neck pleats.....  Don't you love it when a plan comes together?

Okay, Mrs Smug is off for a cup of tea and next project planning.

Happy Wednesday all.

Also entitled "Blimey, the more books you read, the more confusing it gets!"

I like the Palmer and Pletsch series of fitting books, but have just read Fast Fit, properly, for the first time...  I think I prefer this book.  I found it easier to follow and laid out extremely well.

Cards on the table, I have a method that works everytime for a full bust adjustment, swayback, full tummy, full bottom, lengthening and shortening patterns and grading to a larger/smaller sizes.  I use these tried and tested methods for customer toiles and in class.  BUT  why can't I get it just right for me?  Am I being overly fussy?  

Here's an example where I though I would bite the bullet and cut a size 14 top.
The pattern used is Butterick 5147.  So looking at the envelope measurements (and finished garment measurements) a size 14 should fit me perfectly at the bust point, waist and hip (ahem, adding just a little extra at these two points...)  Yes, yes I know you are supposed to use your chest measurement as the bust measurement, but bear with me....

I decided not to line the linen I used as per pattern, but to interline it with muslin (washed 3 times to avoid any shrinkage) and finish neck and arms with a bound edge.

I tissue fit it, having pinned all the darts and seams very carefully, and guess what?  By jingo it fit!!!  I checked all my usual fitting "issue" areas and it was almost spot on.   I always need to do quite a large sway back adjustment and take out a fare old amount down the back seam from the neck to the waist.

So I got stuck in as quickly as possible, pieces cut and tailor tacked, I placed all 3 pieces on the ironed muslin, hand tacked in place and then cut the muslin.  It's going well isn't it?

I stitched it all together and used a concealed zip down the left hand side.  I hand stitched the hem in place - lovely, stitches hidden in the muslin, just perfect. 

Next I marked 1.5cm seam allowance around the neck and arm edges, folded my bias strips in half, pinned in place, stitched, trimmed, pressed open, pressed flat, pinned again and machine stitched one last time, it's all going brilliantly and such a quick project!  Do you think I should try it on?  Okay, I'll have a quick look before I go to bed. (I should mention I started this project yesterday evening.  I am not in the habit of going to bed during the working day!)

Mmmmm, as suspected, the upper chest area is too big.  I suppose I might get away with it.  But all that effort, I think I should do something with it.  I know, I'll put a couple of pleats in the neck before I bind it.

What do you think?  Have I got away with it?!

Neck pleats.  Approx 1" each.

Typical back adjustment for me.  Remember the New Look
white satin dress?

Interlined with muslin, side seams overlocked and neck/arm
edges bound with bias binding.  I'm sewing from the stash so the neck edge
is bound with ivory binding - well, who's going to see it?

Moral to this (long-winded) tale?  Stick with what you know best, don't try and re-invent the wheel!  Next time I will make a size 12 and go with my usual adjustments!  BUT  this has been a good learning curve.  If I need a pattern that crosses sizes I may go with the larger size and do an upper chest adjustment, that way the bottom half will fit with less grading out for my ample thighs....

Happy Monday everyone!

Friday, 20 May 2011

Oh No! Look what arrived in the post this morning......

Oh dear, what's a girl to do?

Remember my sister and I went to London before the Royal Wedding?  Remember we spent around 4 hours in Liberty?  Well this has just arrived:

All I have to do is spend £100 and get £15 off.....  Here's the wish list:

A McQueen jade skull scarf

early morning wake up call


fabric (I wanted to buy this one when we went to the shop, but
didn't think it would  work with the pattern I had in mind....)

Love this!

I used to have a Liberty tie up watch, and they're all the rage again

and more fabric - something for Ian

Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood

So if the scarf is about £90 I think I may have blown the budget by the time I've reached the Vivienne Westwood skirt!

But this has been an interesting exercise for me.  I always sew from commercial patterns and never think to look at what's "hot" on the high street.  I know alot of sewing bloggers look at catwalk stills and sew from there, but it never occurred to me to do that.  So there's a change a-comin'.  I could easily make that Sonia Rykiel  stripe skirt and there's a lovely one-button Paul Smith jacket that would look great with it too.

So I'm off to build a file of images I not just like, but LOVE.  I 'll carry on working through the stash, but I think some of that fabric's got to be given away.  There's just TOO much of it.

Oh, and I won't be using the voucher to purchase more fabric!

Have a good weekend all.  We're going back up North to Leeds for the weekend and I'm really looking forward to it.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

A Big Thank You to Gertie

Just a short note to pass on my sincere thanks to Gertie of Gerties Blog for Better Sewing.  She mentioned my blog with regard to the corselet which I recently posted about and today I've had over 2000 readers and have increased my followers to 50.  This is a HUGE milestone for me and I am so greatful.

THANK YOU to those of you who have been with me from the beginning (August last year) and who take the trouble to comment on my, sometimes, winges!  And welcome to those of you who are new here - I hope you enjoy reading my ramblings?

So, I'm not sure what's next on the sewing agenda.  I may use the Liberty print, or I may make the green print skirt...  Watch this space folks!

Monday, 16 May 2011

McCalls M2600

Also entitled:  "I don't do knit"

What can I say?  I did NOT enjoy the sewing process on this pattern.  Nothing wrong with the pattern at all, a lovely simple dress, no great shaping just a little gathering at the neckline and wonderfully quick and easy to make up.

I cut a 10 and garded to a 14 at the hip "just in case".  I could have left the side seams as a 12 as there is plenty of room in this tent dress.  IF I make it again I will add a couple of inches to the hem too.

I used a ballpoint needle and stretch stitch on my machine.  Yes, the overlocker still has black thread in it - how lazy am I?!  

Everything came from my stash, the fabric being a recent purchase from Ann at Gorgeous Fabrics.

Here it is during construction.  Neck and sleeve bands are not finished and I won't be wearing it with a black belt - I need to purchase a cream one:

Note to self:  MUST wear correct bra as it's a bit "hello boys" with the gathering at the neckline

enough room for two in that skirt!
 And here are the shoes I purchased to go with, including new nail varnish on my troll feet:

To be honest I don't think I will make this dress again.  The gathering around the neckline doesn't suit my bust at all and makes it look even bigger.  I'm having a love/hate relationship with this dress.  I didn't enjoy sewing the fabric and it's a bit short; however it is so light and comfortable... perhaps it will get shortened to a tunic or top at a later stage?

Oh, want to know Ian's reaction to the "in progress" dress?  "Very nice darling.  You need some false tan" No Ian, I need a holiday, ha, ha!!

Because I had purchased the shoes I wanted to be able to wear them with other things and had just purchased this fabric (honestly, before "shopping from the stash" was announced!)

another stetch - I need the practice!

Coral stretch Demin.  I may make another Susan Skirt

On another note.  I'm sorry if you have left a comment recently and now can't see it.  As most of you know Blogger was down for around 24 hours and since it's back  I have noticed comments have been removed (not by me, and not because of any dodgy content!).

Have a good week all!

Thursday, 12 May 2011

McCalls 5977 - I jumped on the bandwagon!

I've seen this little top dotted around blogland over the past year, and as I already own the pattern and had some lovely black cotton voile in the stash I thought "why not?"

I made view B.  Because the fabric is fine I decided to use my overlocker to finish the bottom and side hems of the frill.  I have never used fraycheck before and tried it on the corners not realising it would dry so very hard!  I'm hoping it may soften a little with the first wash.  No biggie but I don't think I will be in a hurry to use that product again.

Side and shoulder seams are finished with french seams and the hem is turned up double.  My only gripe with the finished garment is the pattern piece for the sleeve bindings. IMO they are too wide and when I make it again I will reduce them quite considerably.  Fortunately they look better on me than modelled by Vivienne below.****Oopsadaisy!  Updated comment below....

Without further ado, here it is

The light is making the  fraychecked corners look worse than they are....

See, those bindings are too wide.

Nothing more to say about the construction of this top other than "Easypeasy, Lemonsqueezy"!

So, next up is the green, black and white print I purchased from Gorgeous Fabrics.... I'm hoping the two will go well together!

Enjoy the rest of your day and if you have 5 mins take a look at Hand Made by Carolyn's Vblog.  It's interesting to hear each over over the web!

****  Oh dear,oh dear.  This is the first garment I have made without reading any of the instructions - and the last.  Those sleeve bindings are fine, it's me that's wrong.  They are folded in half and hand stitched to the machine sewn line, not completely folded over and hand stitched.  I'm just about to re-do them properly!

Monday, 9 May 2011

Stash Shopping

Did I  mention I'm making my current and next few projects from my stash? 

Hello,  My name is Ruth and I am a hoarder. 

I keep anything related to sewing - duplicate books and patterns (some of which I am now giving away) and way, way too much fabric.  I honestly feel overwhelmed with the amount of fabric I have.

An old Polaroid photo of me aged 11 or 12 in a pink blouse I made.  Mum helped me with the
button loops, but I managed everything else myself.
 Well, to be honest I have been sewing "seriously" since I was 11.  At that age Mum bought me my fabric and I made everything up before we went shopping for any further supplies.  As soon as I started to earn my own money that was it - Records, lipstick and fabric were my preferred purchases.  Well sadly most of the records have gone, and the lipsticks got used or chucked out long ago, but the fabric?  Ah, the fabric - some of it's still there.

The lovely crepe I bought to make a dress for my friends wedding (now married 7 years with 2 children), the Christmas Ball satin bought 10 years ago, the Harris Tweed from last year, it's all there.  Currently hidden in the loft.  Out of sight and out of mind.

So now I work part-time and have to watch the pennies I went hunting for the red linen I knew I had stashed for this skirt (I only purchased it last summer) - and there it all was, crying out to me - "use me, use me".

I must still make outfits or pieces that very definitely mix and match, but have set the challenge to use only from the stash for the next couple of months (at least!).  I have allowed myself to purchase notations if I can't make do with what I already have.  Typically I guess it will be coloured thread and zips and the occasional length of lining.  Oh, and I've included patterns in that no purchase rule too.

In the 70's my Mum had a pattern stash that consisted of 1 A-line skirt, 1 shirt, 1 pencil skirt, 1 dress and 1 pair of trousers.  Fabric was purchased when it was needed and the button box was full of butttons taken from RTW garments that were past their best.  When did I get possessed with purchasing so much fabric?  Okay, some of it's been collected over a period of 15+ years, but honestly, why so much??

So this is my last purchase of fabric for some time.   I had to buy something from Liberty when visiting London...

Cotton Lawn - LOVE the print
No more fabric or pattern purchases allowed until the stash starts to deplete.  Watch this space.  There could be some "interesting" garments on the way.  Wish me luck!

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Vogue 7910

Also entitled - Oh Vogue 7910 let me count the ways I love thee....

Okay, I don't often gush about patterns, but this one is very, very good.  I made view C from an embroidered red linen from the stash.

View C is a-line, has pockets (I don't usually do pockets in skirts/trousers), a faced waistband, is unlined and has a lot of topstitching.  Following the sizing on the pattern envelope I cut a size 16.  I did read the pattern instructions but didn't need to follow them, with the exception of the pockets because I wasn't sure if they were attached to the seams, or left free (they are attached).

The only alteration I made was to pipe the top of the pockets and use an alternative fabric for the pocket insides and waist facing.  I also used bias binding to finish the facing and hem.  Stupidly I didn't tissue fit, or make a toile which didn't dawn on me until I had cut out all the pieces - so no 1" side seams for me on this one!  Fortunately I didn't need to worry, this pattern fit me right out of the packet with a minor tweek to the waist at the side seams, I had to take in about an inch on each side.

The other thing to mention about this pattern is the speed of which it comes together, honestly, even with all my additional understitching, zig zaging  and topstitching it took me around 5 hours from start to finish.  I'm also happy with my lapped zip.  I haven't done one for years and this one worked out beautifully, I used my own method for the insertion which I'll share with you another day.  I still have black thread in the overlocker so finished the seams with zig zag and pinking sheers.  Only problem was one spool of thread wasn't enough!

So what with Vogue 1170 and this one I've realised that a size 16 is a perfect fit for my bottom half - so long as it isn't a straight skirt pattern, I still have to tweek those around my thunder thighs....

Anyway, here it is.  On a hanger for now beacuse I'm in the middle of cooking Sunday lunch!

Working out the piping, and pocket lining

Looking good lapped zip! 
Although it does look a bit wonky on the hanger, it is all nice and straight once on

Pocket lining, piping and waist facing in rose print cotton
 I made it to go with this top, which is a short sleeve version of New Look 6892, and which I made last Thursday evening.

Another VERY dodgy self portrait!!

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday - we're just about to tuck into roast chicken....

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Another Skirt... Or is it?

Also entitled "An Interview with myself" or "An unsatisfactory day".

Me:  Hello, what have you been up to day?
PinQueen: Sewing
Me: Oh, that's nice, all day?
PinQueen: Yes
Me:  Can we have a look at what you've been doing?
PinQueen:  Ok
Me: (She's a bit grumpy...) Thank you very much

Me:  Oh, that's erm, interesting
PinQueen:  It's inside out
Me: Oh, yes, can we see it the right way around?
PinQueen: Ok.  I have to say I'm not on good form today.  I feel as though it's been a wasted day.

Ok, this doesn't look too bad.....

Me: Ah, erm I sort of see why.  What happened?
PinQueen:  Well I got off to a good start and then it went down hill.  I wanted to make a twisted, or bubble skirt, couldn't quite decide which and plowed on anyway.  The fabric I used is from my stash and is a soft silk crepe. I interlined the yoke with white lining fabric (why, oh why?  I should have used cotton lawn) and used the same for the skirt lining.  I didn't have enough left so lined the yoke with some green bremsilk (I thought it novel at the time).  Then it really went downhill - rapidly....
I cut the skirt length 10cms too short and as I'm a lady over a certain age, I need to cover my knees - so I added a strip to the bottom.  After stitching the lining and skirt pieces together I then twisted, pinned in place and tried on - Oh my goodness - what a sight!  I gave up on that idea quickly and went down the bubble route.
Because I knew I'd boobed big time on this skirt I didn't enjoy the sewing process at all and can't believe it has taken me all day.  You name it, I did it wrong on this one.  Also, I can't imagine ever wearing it.  What a waste of lovely silk, time and effort.....

Me:  Never mind, it could be worse.
PinQueen:  Suppose (sulk, grump, sulk)
Me:  Pass the gin.....

So, tomorrow's another day.  A day to plan my next project properly and to take a look at the brown linen skirt that I wish I had done today.

Hope your day has been better!

PS  On a happier note here's a very blurry photo of my new top and the Burda skirt I mentioned here