Thursday, 29 January 2015

Sewing | Vintage | Federico Forquet Vogue Couturier Design Suit 1402

One of the reasons that I like to sew with vintage patterns is that they are so interesting.  This pattern really has it all going on, but in an elegant way: kimono sleeves, pseudo-welt pockets, front placket and matching skirt.  Of course they photos always look so stylish as well – reminding me of when flying still required the wearing of something fancy.

 The details don’t just stop at design either; check out this explanation on the pattern of the designer:

I purchased this pattern ages ago, and finally found got around to starting to sew it over the Christmas break.   The pattern, although a size 14, is neat.  It’s too small for me really, but I love the design! I sewed it all up as far as the side seams before trying it on for size.  Cue disaster. 
The darts are way too high on me.  My top finger above shows where the dart is currently ending, and the finger below is showing where I think it should be (on second thoughts, that's a bit low).  Vs for victory!  
This took me by complete surprise, and I was so disheartened.  After all my hard work, and I had really taken time on this one – going back and redoing things that weren’t 100%.  I sat (i.e. moped) for a good two weeks.  It happened just as I returned to work as well – talk about compounding problems!

Then it was mentioned on my weekly skype with Mum this Sunday past.  Mum is a very skilled sewer (and teacher), who introduced me to this wonderful hobby.  After not a lot of thought, maybe 30 seconds, Mum asked if the dart had been slashed and then suggested I unpick it and introduce the shaping as gathering instead (with a small dart if possible).  What a legend!  Now I can’t wait to try it.  I love how Mum preempted and resolved a potential further issue before posing her suggestion too – that’s a really valuable way of providing advice and one that I will try to remember in my work environment.  Ever humble, Mum also finished saying that as it was only her advice I could choose to do as I wished.  I love talking to Mum about sewing because she is such a pragmatic font of knowledge.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Self-Indulgence | Style – Working out Mine! (Part 1)

As mentioned last post, I’ve been following Imogen Lamport’s 31 day challenge for the past wee while.  As can be imagined, there are 31 separate challenges to complete, during which one is encouraged to do a fair about of introspection to see how each outfit feels etc in order to get to decision on one’s preferred style.  It’s fun and quite interesting.

In lieu of having anywhere better to document the results, I am going to do so here.  
Please do feel free to scroll to the next blog post – I am confident this will be far less interesting to anyone other than me!
Playing with accessories and styles

Playing with lippy - too dark!

Playing with colours, textures and fun - in an entirely self made outfit to boot!

Playing with textures and patterns - again in an entirely self-made outfit.
That really brings me joy!

I am half way through the challenges and my conclusions so far are thus:
Feelings repeated on successful outfits:
Fun          Glamorous    Quirky    Feminine         Classic     Elegant    Great fit            Well made

Feelings repeated on less/unsuccessful outfits:
Safe         Boring     Commonplace         Young     Dull Comfortable    Fussy

Wardrobe gaps identified:
1.       A casual jersey (or two) preferably one light (off-white?) and one dark (navy?)
2.     Medium to Light toned skirt – light grey?
3.      Denim skirt with an interesting cut
4.     Warm winter coat in a striking style or colour

Things to donate/refashion:
Only one; a cream jersey with cowl neck and short sleeves – which could be refashioned to answer 1 above.
Curious to see what the next challenges bring!

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Sewing | Circle Skirt

Sewing doesn't get much easier than the circle skirt – the hardest thing is maintaining focus whilst hemming the massive length of material!
Payload is great though. 
I’ve been following Inside Out’s Style’s 31 day challenge for the past wee while, which has been illuminating and so much fun.  On the very first day, it was obvious that my wardrobe would benefit from a skirt that wasn’t black to wear with softer colours.  Off I toddled to the fabric store to find 1.5 m of navy sateen wool.  
Step 1
Once home, it got thrown it in the wash (cycle 4 - for future reference to myself!) and hung it up to dry whilst I did a quick bit of calculus to work out how far down to cut the first circle.  With present Christmas poundage and allowing for a seam allowance, that was 13.5 cm.  
(Could have also used this calculator! Simply put your waist measurement (with seam allowance if necessary) in the “circle circumference” section.  The result in “circle radius” is then how far down the first cut should be made).  
Step 2
Folded the dried material in half and then in half again and I was good to go.  I put the fabric on the floor, put a pin through the end of the measuring tape and then through the corner of the material that was slap bang in the middle of the piece of fabric and then cut it out at the 14 cm mark (to allow for the half centimetre that is covered in metal and therefore above the pin).
Step 3
After cutting that circle out, I looked at it, wondered at how funny it looked and thought about all the organs and things swimming in that area in my own body.  
Only then did I work out where to make the second cut (keeping the fabric as long as I could) and got cutting. Finally, I cut along one of the folded edges so that I would be able to insert a zip.  
Step 4
Next step – sew in the invisible zip and then the rest of the seam.  Then I attached the waistband (which was made with a length of the scraps) and a hook & eye to keep things closed.
Step 5
Then, the final step – but what a long one! – hemming. Gosh that took forever.  The circumference of the skirt is over 5 m.  Wanting to retain as much length as possible, I sewed seam binding to the raw edge, flipped it up and then stitched it down on the right side.  Stylistically, I would really prefer to blind stitch that hem down, but let’s be realistic – 5 m of hand sewing sounds like penance for a crime I’m not sure I’ve committed.  So we’ll see, the temporary machine stitched hem might become permanent.

Circle skirts as so fun to wear and instantly make me feel elegant, feminine and like I should be extremely well-mannered.  I love it.  The swoosh factor is ace and PERFECT for wearing whilst impromptu slow-dancing in the kitchen.
Styling a circle skirt is a little trickier than a pencil skirt, as without a little bit of care the volume in the skirt can be mistaken for volume in the person; which is not an area that I am looking for any assistance with.  So I am making sure to tuck blouses in to create some definition.
The thing that really surprised me with this make is how little fabric was required.  A voluminous skirt out of a 1.5 m square piece of fabric is less than I thought would be needed.


Thursday, 1 January 2015

Crafty | Victory Patterns' Lola dress

Welcome to 2015! We celebrated the end of 2014 in my favourite way – with good friends, in the kitchen, with ample supply of bubbles and tall tales.  We stumbled home at 0430 and I definitely paid the party tax today – didn’t wake up until 1130! 
I am slow in coming to the indie pattern part; with this being my first foray.  

I purchased Lola from Victory Patterns in hard copy form.  So glad I did that, rather than getting the pdf, because the packaging is so nice.  It comes in a wee box and the instruction booklet is printed on glossy paper.  I couldn’t fault this pattern, other than a small typo in the instructions, and it came together really quickly.  Like, less than two hours quickly.  It probably took longer to pre-launder and cut out the material than to make the dress.
After checking my measurements against the pattern, I made the 12.  It’s not as loose as shown, but that could have more to do with Christmas poundage than anything.  It will become looser as 2015 proceeds – I’m off alcohol until the middle of February which should help in that department.
Owning only a sewing machine, I cut the pieces out with pinking shears and went from there.  However, it is possible to sew almost all of this (bar the hem on the pockets) using an overlocker.  Wouldn’t that be nice!
The material used was “Beige Ottoman rib” (£4 p/m) from Minerva, and plain beige jersey from Edinburgh Fabrics for the cuffs (£14 p/m). The fabric all worked a treat and was easy to sew and press. 
I definitely wouldn’t mind sewing another (baggier) version in grey marl sweatshirting, because this has been perfect for nursing my hangover in.  Sure as eggs I will have another one of those before this year is out!

Rachel J