Thursday, November 20, 2014

Project New Overlocker

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After around 12 years of loyal, if sometimes temperamental service my Brother 1034D has finally called it a day. That machine certainly earned it's keep, sewing hundreds of cloth nappies back in the days I was running a cloth nappy business, (Good old Tiddlybums.), and stitching countless other items over the years. I only paid £150 for it back then, so that works out at a fraction of a penny per item. It went out with a bang and a crunch, and now nothing is working. Sadly it's barely worth repair costs, and so here I am in project , "fund new overlocker".
My faithful old overlocker will no doubt be making it to Ebay to sell for parts (wow! that sounds cruel doesn't it? ), and I've been stashbusting, running up skirts for my Etsy shop with dreams of a shiny new overlocker.

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I love a circle skirt for glamming up my everyday. On a rainy dull Manchester morning when I have one eager child running ahead to school and one dragging his heels behind, I take solace in the swish of fabric . When you've been mumming as long as I have a pretty skirt and a slick of lipstick can go a surprisingly long way to improving my day. Add a petticoat and I'm in heaven !

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Of course, I've kept one skirt for me too.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Pyjamas and Bargains.


Around this time of year I like to stock up on cosy pyjamas, the nights drawing in always make me want to put on my jammies, a snuggly dressing gown and big soft socks. I admit I tend to buy my pyjamas from cheap and cheerful high street stores. I don't normally want to spend precious time making pyjamas when they are so cheap to buy. This year though, something has changed; I just don't feel like buying many clothes anymore, not even pyjamas.


I have a stack of vintage sheets that make perfect pyjamas, so this weekend I fished out some of those sheets and a few vintage scraps and whipped up these pyjama bottoms.


The pattern is traced from an old pair of pyjama bottoms that I liked the fit of. The waist is simple elastic in a casing, and the hems are finished with some cuffs from my scrap box, as is the back pocket.

While running these up I also ran up a flannel pair using a metre of Anna Maria Horner fabric I had been saving for a few years. Stupidly I cut one leg with the pattern running in the wrong direction, but I'm not too upset, they are super snuggly and cosy. This time finished with a ribbon drawcord, basically because I ran out of waistband elastic!


I am going to need more pyjamas before winter truly sets in, and luckily I do still have lots of vintage sheets to use up, plus a gorgeous 1940's pyjama pattern that I want to try. Pyjama bottoms and t shirts are comfy and cosy, but I'm feeling the need for something pretty, and something a bit more sophisticated to lounge in.

And now for the bargains....

fabric find

I popped into my local charity shop yesterday for a quick browse before school pick up and propped up against the wall were these bolts of fabric. I quickly snapped them up for the bargain price of £8.48!
When I got them home, I could take a better look.

fabric find

The navy blue pin stripe is a "Blue Chip Terylene", and the grey pin stripe is "Blue Chip Superfine Worsted". I've googled the manufacturer, Radnor and Liston, who appear to have been a Manchester company that are no more. The company started in 1956, but I can't find any other information.
Each bolt holds about 3.5 metres of fabric, and I'm so excited to cut into it. I'm not certain what I will make with either of them yet, but they deserve to be stitched up that's for sure!

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Patience...I have none!

dress 5

I am an impatient seamstress as well as a lazy one! When I was a teenager I would hop on a bus to town, buy a few metres of fabric from the market and whip up an outfit to wear the same night. I barely ever used a pattern, and honestly I didn't care too much if the garment fell apart the next day so long as it stayed together for the night out. I don't do that anymore, but I do sometimes often abandon all my sensible stitching plans for a quick fashion/sewing hit.These days my standards are highrer and I expect even my quick and dirty projects to last longer than one evening, but it is a part of my nature I'm not terribly keen on.

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This dress is a perfect example, when I should've been working on something more sensible like filling the gaps in my wardrobe with seperates, or making myself some much needed pyjamas, I instead fished this fabric out of the ironing pile and started cutting into it.
The fabric was bought in Abakhan for a quite stupidly low price. I thought it looked vagueley corporate, and Woody said it looked kind of "air liner", so yay I thought, "retro air stewardess dress , here I come!"

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I used my self drafted bodice, a self drafted circle skirt, and the sleeves from my favourite Maudella dress. (I have yet to draft my own sleeve...something else I should've been getting on with!).
The fabric is a very loose weave. I pondered underlining the whole dress to give it some stability, but decided it was probably going to end up too bulky for that, so just lined the bodice. The wrong decision! Although the bodice works well with lining, the circle skirt with such a loose weave is less successful. I left the dress hanging for two days before hemming, then I trimed the hem even while on the dummy, and it still hung unevenly. Sadly the weight of the fabric combined with the loose weave means that where the skirt hangs on the bias it stretches out making the hem uneven. If I'd underlined the skirt I think I might've not had this problem? Or maybe this is simply a case of wrong shape for this fabric? Probably both.

Despite all that though. I do actually really love this dress! I adore my self drafted bodice, it feels amazing to wear something that actually fits, even if it does look odd on the hanger and my back waist darts seem like they should never work for anyone. (They are so large I have to press them towards the side seams so they don't overlap the centre back zip!)

Think my next make needs to be more considered, less impatient.....

How about you? Are you a careful considerered seamstress, or a quick and dirty fashion hit type? Or maybe a bit of both?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

All Change!

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With India away at University, She and Eden have swapped bedrooms. Actually the day India got her A level results Eden was in her (much bigger) room measuring up, had made a detailed floor plan and started a Pinterest board of new room ideas!
Eden moved into India's old room a couple of weeks ago and I was left the task of decorating Eden's old room; India's new room in time for her coming home this coming weekend.
Of course, as is usual the budget was non existent, in fact I spent only £12.50 on a new mattress topper, and £14 on a new rug which hasn't arrived yet. Everything else was shopped for from around the house.

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The bed is the very first bed we bought for India when she was a toddler, I've simply painted it with a half pot of cream emulsion left over from other projects. Three thick layers, that should knock about and get more interesting as time goes on...lazy shabby chic!

The duvet and pillow case is made from vintage sheets I had in my fabric stash, the welsh woollen blanket is a hand me down from Grandma Margaret, and the cushions are from India's old room.
Oh yes and the walls are painted with two different shades of grey paint left over from other projects, I just mixed them together, luckily there was just enough.

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The cross stitch was a 1st Birthday present from Aunty Clare.

India's new room

Curtains are made from a piece of heavyish cotton I'd been saving for a dress, the loom blanket box is a hand me down from Grandma Alyson, I repainted it with the same paint as the bed and used some vintage fabric from my stash to recover the top. The light shade has also been recovered with some lovely blue vintage fabric that was a gift from a friend, Caroline.

The mirror is from India's old room, the hoops are from my habby drawers and the fabric from my vintage scrap box. I will have to buy a few more hoops to complete this wall, I have plenty of scraps left to fill them though.

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There is also a large fabric covered noticeboard that I made for India a while ago. I've hung a few of India's trinkets on that already.

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I sent India these photos this morning and she said she loved it! I'm so glad. Thanks to Pinterest and our shared ideas board we managed to communicate at a distance, and I think it will be even better when India comes home and adds her personal touches.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Another tablecloth into a skirt.

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Another charity shop tablecloth that caught my eye recently, and was begging to be made into a skirt.Priced at only £2.99 it would have been rude not to buy it.

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Simply a full circle skirt, concealed zip, vintage button on the waistband. Therapy sewing with a satisfying result.

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skirt 3

skirt 2

Monday, October 20, 2014

where has all the time gone?

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October is whizzing by, and I don't seem to have completed anything much to share on my blog in the past few weeks.
I have made a Jenna Cardi by Muse patterns, and then re made it again, and still not happy with it, but I love this pattern and I will make it work for me! I should say it's not the pattern's fault it isn't working for me, it's my shape that is the problem!

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I've also started a college course!I'm attending a local sixth form college on Wednesday evenings to complete a City&Guilds level 3 in Fashion. I am really looking forward to improving my pattern cutting skills. I studied needlework and dress up to A level, but all my pattern cutting is self taught, I'm certain there are huge gaps in my knowledge.
A few of my friends suggested the rest of the course might bore me, but I don't think it will. I'm enjoying going back to basics in some ways, we all get lazy ( Hence the title of my blog! ) and it's good sometimes to go back and practice skills, especially those I don't use often.
I'm really loving the design side of the course too. I have kept erratic sketchbooks over the years, but having an excuse to start keeping regular sketchbooks again feels like such a luxury. I'm very out of practice, but very happy getting back into the swing of things.

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So, tell me, what have you been up to lately? Anyone else out there started an evening class, or similar?

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Bodice Blocks


Over the summer, my friend and fabric dealer/enabler Mary and I have been meeting up in any bits of spare time to help each other draft and fit basic bodice blocks. (sometimes called slopers) We both struggle to get a perfect fit with standard patterns, both of us are blessed (or cursed!) in the bosom department, but have small backs, and narrow shoulders. Actually we both have remarkably similar measurements, unyet as we discovered both needed very different adjustments to our basic blocks, which only goes to show that standard sizes and styles work differently even on two women with the same main measurements, ie bust and waist.

I discovered I have a more rounded back than I realised, with small sloping shoulders and a sway back...then there is my dowagers hump! I can't say fitting the back was much fun for me. You may or may not have noticed that I almost never post back views on my blog, and that is because I think I look rather odd from the back, and I struggle to get a good fit with commercial patterns in the back bodice.

This photo shows my first fitted bodice block, before moving the shoulder dart.

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This photo shows my first fitted bodice block after moving the shoulder dart to the side bust. Putting even this calico toile on felt amazing!

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I was so pleased with how this toile felt that I had to try making a simple dress using it. I'd been planning to make a sleeveless dress to wear over a long sleeved sweater in the winter, and this seemed the perfect chance to give it a go. So using my newly drafted basic bodice block I cut out a simple sleeveless bodice and self drafted circle skirt. I added pockets in the side seams of the skirt, and cut bias binding from the same fabric to finish the armholes and neck. The resulting dress is simple, but I love it! Far from perfect, I think the front waist darts could come in a little more, and yes the neckline is a little high, but I know this is a dress I will wear lots this Autumn and Winter.

Best of all, is now I have a basic bodice block that fits, the options to make many different designs are huge. I can't wait to get started!

And look a back view!!


Next on the list is drafting a sleeve...