Friday, 29 July 2011

Autumn Planning

That's right.  It is still summer and I'm thinking long sleeves, knits, trench coats and boots.....  I desperately need some transition pieces.  It's raining here again this morning, the sun isn't up and it's just blah.  Perhaps summer will come to us late again this year?

I need:
Casual Basics:
Long sleeved white classic shirt
Neutral jacket
Trench coat

I've been having a good look around the Internet at a couple of my favorite sites.  Some are still showing Summer sales, but Hobbs are forging ahead.  Their colour palette this year is black, blue, white, red and coral.  Here are a few of my favorite things....





Stella McCartney

Marc Jacobs




Lela Rose
 Aside from the Trench Coat, I don't think there's anything too scary.  Obviously I'll have to save up for the watch!!  I truly love the denim skirt and that belt, it takes me back to early school days (remember snake belts?).

I'm waiting for Liberty to update their website.  I just know there will be lots of Vivienne Westwood designs to ogle over.....

Have a lovely weekend all.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

A long time friend in need....

Sally and I have been friends for over 35 years.  We've dipped in and out of our friendship, as true friends do.  She's always "just been there" and one day last week I thought she looked a little unloved and slightly scruffy in her brown velvet jumpsuit, sitting on my sofa in the sewing room.

I know, I'll make her something new to wear.  Well, it's the least I could do after all these years of friendship.  I started with some lingerie made from the finest handkerchief lawn (incl knickers, but Sally is a lady and didn't want to show those to the world) and put a bow in her hair ....

Next up, a new dress.  I made a special trip to the fabric shop for this pretty cotton.  Well, she deserved it....

And I have tied a new piece of ribbon around her dummy.  That used to be around her neck with a piece of red wool....

Doesn't she look pretty?  I'm working on a lilac coat and bonnet next, but keep it a secret, I don't want her to find out until end of August because I think that's when her birthday is.

Sally is, of course, my 1976(ish) tiny tears.  I still have the original dress but lost her bottle years ago.  Anyway at 35+ she doesn't want to cry and wet herself anymore.  Her hair is very matted after years of Sunday baths but she still closes both eyes when she lays down.  I loved her so much and took her everywhere.  There is a photo of us up the mountain in the Isle of Man (very exotic childhood holidays in the 1970's).  I still love her to this day, but just neglected her for a little while.

Her best friend is Gillian.  Gillian lives with my sister and is approx the same age.  She is a teeny tiny tears and is wearing a knitted ensemble from my great auntie Phyllis from approx 1978.  Maybe it's Gillian's turn next?

I hope you aren't neglecting anyone important in your life?

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Friday, 22 July 2011

How to get your mojo back...

It's simple.  2 hours, 1.3meters of printed cotton lawn and McCall's 5977.

Phew, I think I'm back.  This week I have made a navy pencil skirt (own self drafted pattern) and another McCalls easy-peasy-lemon squeezy top.  They don't go together at all, but in times of sewing crisis you just have to go with what you need to do....

Navy skirt is way too boring to blog about, so here's the top

This top reminds me of liquorice allsorts.  I'm thinking about the brown and black one (I actually don't like that one at all!) and the yellow and black one!

Nothing exciting to report about it.  I used french seams at the sides and shoulders and turned a narrow double hem on the frill.  Because the frill is so curved I stitched 1cm from the edge with a long stitch and pulled up the bobbin threads to draw it into the curve to make hemming easier.

That's it for now.  Except to mention that I went fabric shopping earlier this week and found a couple of bargains which are hanging on the line drying as I type.  More on those later.

Have a lovely weekend all.  I hope those of you in Central and Eastern America are managing in the heat - we are hearing snippets of news of it being incredibly hot right now.  Our summer's disappeared again - I'm wearing joggers and long-sleeved top again today (sigh....)

Friday, 15 July 2011

My 100th post

Crikey here it is, my 100th post since last August. Hasn't the time flown?

Sadly I've lost my sewing mojo. I have a jacket toile (half done), a chanel jacket (half done) and a pencil skirt (75% done) plus a HUGE stash of summer fabrics that I just can't seem to get through....

I'm not fretting, it will return soon I'm sure.  I'm just sad I don't have anything truely wonderful to show you on this milestone post.

On Sunday I will be taking a look at some of the new Autumn trends and patterns and planning a new wardrobe for the cooler months ahead - that will get the creative juices flowing again I am sure.

In the meantime has anyone else an issue with blogger?  I'm struggling to leave messages on certain sites so if you haven't heard from me for a while I'm still reading your posts and enjoying your creations!

Have a lovely weekend all

Thursday, 14 July 2011

The joy of stats

This is in no way a sewing related post, but something I just had to share with all you lovely readers in blogland.

I've just watched the most AMAZING programme on BBCFour called "The joy of stats".  Some of it went completely over my head and some of it had my jaw on the floor.  As an example, if all the data available to us on the internet were in written form then there would be 90 piles of books stretching from the earth to the sun(!).  But here's the interesting stat for all us bloggers.

In California there is a place that analyses EVERY blog in the world and reads our emotions....  So if you write something along the lines of "today has been a good day, I feel very blessed" or "today has been a rubbish day and I feel tiered"  or "today I'm feeling very sick" the software picks up everything related to "feels like" or "feeling" or "feel".  Since all blogs are in the public domain they can analyse every blog and run their stats by age, sex, country, continent.  Isn't that fascinating?!  Apparently most of us are happy, most of the time.

You may be able to catch up with this programme on the BBCiplayer later today.

Did I ever mention I'm a number geek?!?!

Sewing posts coming soon I promise.  I FEEL as though my sewing mojo's still on holiday....

Monday, 11 July 2011

Hanging a Garment Properly

I was browsing the Threads website this afternoon because I'm missing the June/July issue and came across this great article.

Some of you may already have seen it and one of the techniques I have already discussed here.  I use the hanging loops and tacks on all my strapless garments and am loving the idea of the hooks and eyes / snaps.  Such a simple idea!

Hanging a Garment Properly - Threads


Gill Arnold Speed Tailoring class - A review

Sorry for the delay since my last post - sometimes life just gets in the way doesn't it?

I mentioned that I booked a place on Gill Arnold's 2 day Speed Tailoring class 28th and 29th June and thought I would give you an overview of the class, venue and Gill.

To learn more about Gill and her classes you can see her website here:  I won't reiterate her experience, but would add that her teaching style and manner is relaxed and you learn so much without realising it!  Gill always goes over the basics of any process - ie when pressing the jacket seams open she talks about the 3 steps of pressing.  Even though you may already know the information it is presented in such a way it still feels new.

Classes start at 10am prompt and I decided to drive each day.  The studio is located a few miles from the motorway and it was an easy run form me (albeit about an hour and a half each way). Places are limited to a maximum of 6 students.

Gill started by explaining the difference between formal tailoring and speed tailoring and we looked at jackets she had made using both methods - it was hard to tell the difference even with a good feel.....

Here Gill is explaining how speed tailoring will look and that to have a successful
jacket you need to line it - hong kong finish really doesn't work. 
She is also showing us the variety of fabric weights you can utilise with this method. 
This sample is a lightweight poly blend.
We then looked at the different types of fusibles we would be using, including a non-fusible which would be used for the chest plastron.  Of course Gill sells everything you need and makes up packs for you to take away. The packs are round £16 and include enough fusible to do 2 jackets, some fabulous shoulder pads, sleeve heads and bindings.

Here is Sylvia adding her back stay
 As a group we worked through each stage together and broke off into 2's at the ironing stations which works well when trying to remember everything!  Gill provides everything in the class so you don't need to bring anything other than some lunch.

Remember to use your pressing cloth the right way around! 
Here the roll line is being pressed
 Unlike some speed tailoring classes where you literally just press the pieces in place Gill goes through other techniques and we sew one side of the jacket together on a lovely Bernina machine.  She shared with us a great way to get the notched collar to go together so each side is symmetrical, how to steam and turn the facings, and my personal favorite was how to turn the collar keeping the edges square - no trimming of corners allowed!
My finished, fused front. It has written notes all over it!
My only niggle with the class is that you don't get a full set of notes.  But I completely understand why Gill doesn't provide these - apparently there are two ladies locally who are now running this class using her full class notes and undercutting her prices.  The notes you do get are excellent but there's always something you forget isn't there?

***  Added later:
Sorry, I forgot to mention the venue.  Gill has a dedicated sewing stuido that is very light and airy and has a lovely clam feeling about it.  There is the front classroom as you walk in the door which is set up for 6 students with desks and sewing stations.  There is a cutting room which also includes two pressing stations.  Along the corridor there is a small, but beautifully formed,  kitchen where you can help yourself to tea and coffee and sit during lunch time - if you don't busy yourself looking through the beautiful garments Gill has made which are used for demonstation!  There are a couple of minimarts, Post Office and chemist for anything you may need over lunch and the free parking is a bonus too.
I will definitely be taking another one of Gills classes and am thinking about the Foundation of Fit in November.  My big issue with sewing at the moment is personal fit.  I'm uber fussy and am reluctant to spend time and money on something I'm not 100% happy with. 

So for those of you living in the UK I would thoroughly recommend taking a class with Gill and recommend her fusibles too - I have my first lot drying over the banister as we speak.

***  Gill is also holding a one day Linton Tweed event on Sunday 4th September.  The ladies from Linton are "on the road" and will be at Gills between  11am and 3pm that day.  I'll be going as I love their fabrics and it's very handy to be able to purchase the fuisibles at the same time.

Have a good day all.  It's a beautiful day here so I don't think there will be much sewing - again!