Sunday, 30 December 2012

pockets of joy, collar of doom...

This tunic top reminds me of Scandinavian style - it's Simplicity Lisette 2245, view B which is the tunic version. 

I really like this pattern, particularly the pocket detail - I thought it was really clever.

Overall I found the pattern fairly straightforward and it came together nicely.

BUT I struggled a little with the collar/ facing attachment. It's nice to have the blogosphere to make me feel not so alone in that! And I found a helpful post on Did You Make That that helped me out of a dark moment and pointed out that you need to attach the long side of the collar to the garment. This is may be obvious to experienced sewers but it seems like it is the most awkward way to attach it when you first look at it. Anyway, even after I stopped trying to attach the wrong side, it took me a while to get it on correctly and really shows how important it is to cut and stitch seam allowances accurately. My sewing New Years Resolution is to become a more precise sewer!

I made this in a blue and white stripey cotton that I got in Paris (that Paris part of my stash is the gift that keeps on giving!)which meant that the fabric only cost about €5.

Oh yes, and of course I used my covered buttons from the same fabric!

And I do so love the buttons but I do not love the evil collar... how did the right side get to be so much bigger than the left side????! 

I could live with it but there is a nasty pucker on the front collar/ garment attachment ... sad face... 

Sooo...I think that the collar may have to become unattached and then attached again...seriously I don't know what I would do without my stitch-picker.  

I still love this pattern and plan to make the top version. The fabric is sitting on the sewing table, but do I have the patience to fix the collar of this one before I start the new one....? 

santa baby... christmas slothfulness...

Clever Santa (aka lovely people in my life) know me so well. Most of the Christmas presents I got were sewing related!

Rosie Martin's DIY Couture book came from my Mum and it is REALLY interesting looking - I can't stop looking at it and trying to figure out which I'm going to make first. I think I will start with the Coffee Classic Slouch Top. 

The Colette Sewing Handbook came from Mister Reckless - I know this has been about for a while but it looks like a fab book to work my way through. I'm particularly looking forward to having a go at the Truffle Dress and the Taffy Blouse.

My pal Jo who lives in London came over to Dublin bearing fabric - I think she said it came from Peckham Market. 

And then other books like lola Nova's Simple Sewing from my buddy Olivia and Mum's other pressie Printed Pattern are full of ideas for printing on fabric and general fun stuff that will keep 2013 very busy indeed!
Thank you Santy! xx

Thursday, 20 December 2012

knitting and stitching....

After the Knitting and Stitching Show is in London, it visits Dublin... the fact that it was so packed I think just shows how things are changing... this is the upside of the economic downturn!

Yes it was quite a long time ago but I only got around to uploading photos now! Obviously there are tonnes of things that you can't photograph but I loved loved loved Jean Draper's stand and her brilliant OzDots.... She is amazing.

One stand that you were allowed photograph and fortuitously I also loved was the MrXStitch stand. 

These guys manage to cross stitch into metal and wood... how cool is that?! 

I also picked up some bargain-licious patterns which were only €2 each, very nice for me.


Tuesday, 18 December 2012

on buttons...

Changing the buttons is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to make a piece of clothing a bit more interesting and I am such a sucker for colourful buttons. 

Back before winter kicked in, I took to the outdoor sewing room to do little repairs and button changes:

This little Bennetton shirt came from the local VdeP for €2. It's cute but it does scream 'Office Worker' a bit...

...So I swapped the grey buttons for little green ones...better, non?

And I also picked up this Warehouse jacket for a fiver at the Dublin Flea Market at the weekend. 

...It got re-buttoned and I think looks a bit cheerier...

But my latest thing has been covered buttons - love em. I found these little lovelies in a flea market in Berlin:

I was searching high and low for kits to cover buttons and couldn't find any anywhere in Dublin. Eventually I picked up a few packets from Mood Fabrics in New York when I visited recently (I've been travelling a lot recently!).

Actually in terms of finding these in Dublin I have since seen these kits or similar in Murphy Sheehy and The Cloth Shop. I couldn't find them in Hickeys.

I'm sewing this Simplicity Lisette Pattern at the moment (View B)

 I wish I had done some research before I cut the pattern because other people found it a bit roomy and I think it needs to be cut a size or two smaller than it might seem. Anyway, time will tell!
It requires two 3/4 inch buttons so I ththought it would be nice to have them in the same fabric. It is easy peasy doing the covered buttons and they turned out really well...

Plus I like the way the groove in the wood where I took this photo makes it look kind of like an angry face.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

staring at a top until it makes sense...

I was doing the DIY "off-pattern" approach for my latest top which involved looking at an existing top that I have for quite a long time until I made sense of how it was constructed.

The Flatter Me Cowl Neck Top

I got this fabric in Paris - it's a cotton jersey. It was oh-so cheap (€2.99 and I still have some left over) which is rather satisfying! 

I used a top that I already had as a guide because I love cowl necks. All that drapey fabric is brilliantly flattering. 

It's nice not having the fussyness of a pattern, but measuring the neck and the armholes had me sitting and just staring at it for a while. 

Anyway, when I got my head around it, I made the front in a double layer of fabric, cut on the fold at the neckline. This was because, firstly this cotton jersey is quite flimsy and secondly, the cowl neck is so floppy so, no nasty seams are on show. 

I also made the back in double layered fabric but I wasn't able to do it on the fold as it needed a curve in the neckline. 

I think it's surprising how complicated the most seemingly simple garment can be. Once I had cut the pieces out, I pinned all the seams I was planning on sewing to make sure it worked.   But now I have done it once, it's a very easy top to make so I'll make another soon. I have a new challenge for the next time - the overlocker (that's serger to you folk across the water).

Unfortunately I am having overlocker-fear, so when I do another one of these, it is TIME to tackle the overlocker! 

Sunday, 12 August 2012

the long-time-coming dress

This dress really has been a long time coming. It is UFO that really feel like it has taken a trip to outer space and back..

The pattern is from a rather ancient Prima magazine. When I say that I began it years ago, I'm not exaggerating. The half-made dress has been hanging around for a long long time. It has moved house with me at least three times. It has been taken out, stitches have been stitched; stitches have been unpicked.

But finally, here it is, finished! 

The bodice had been finished when I pulled it out last week, there was a half-made black skirt but it wasn't looking like it was going to shape up to be very nice (which I think may have been the motivation for stuffing it back into the back of a wardrobe). So, I re-made the skirt with some of my never-ending African fabric.  

I think we would all agree that I could have paid a bit more attention to the placing of the print, but I got to a stage of being completely slap-dash just to get this little blighter finished! In fact there are a number of things that I might not be happy about (e.g. pointy darts, awkwardly rounded corners at the arms) if I could only see past the happiness of it being finished. Which I can't. Happily. :) 

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

curl up and dye..

Sorry couldn't resist that blog post title as it is my all-time favourite hairdresser name. A close second is the salon in Dublin called Hairess
But I digress. I had a little bit of a refashioning weekend last weekend.Being an '80s child, I am all about the tie-dyed bleach denim knocking about. 

They do say if you were around for the first time you shouldn't go there again... but... what the heck!  

A pair of old black jeans got the chop+bleach treatment.

I hacked them into little shorts, tied up tightly into a bundle and immersed them into a basin of water and bleach mixture. 

I kept having to add more bleach to get the dye out - it took a lot more than I expected. I used almost a whole bottle of bleach.

Give them a spin in the washing machine to fray up the ends and to wash out the loose dye. 

Now, all I need is sun(are you listening, Irish weather??), a beach, tanned legs and perhaps a cocktail to complete the look. *quickly books flights to Ibiza*

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

screen printing evening

I had great fun last night at The Craft Lounge, learning how to screen print!

Oh look it's the omnipresent ooh-la-la bag making its way into another picture.... 

The Craft Lounge run lots of other workshops - sewing and other crafty fun things. They're in Dun Laoghaire but Ruth who runs it told me that they will probably have to move and become mobile because the council rates are too high. I get so annoyed when I hear about great businesses having to close down because of high rents and rates. Would it not be better to take a lower rent and not have an empty building???? Hmmmph... 

Anyway, back to the screen printing. It's really do-able and actually there is so much you could do with it. 

The other two people doing the workshop were final year Graphic Design students - they came up with very groovy designs. 

One of the guys did that green monster just from his own drawing - I think it's so cool! I used a stencil and did this fishy design as I am quite partial to fish. 

Now of course I want to rush out and buy a screen and fabric paint and start printing fabric, but I'm not exactly sure where I'm going to find the time to do all this! I already have an ever-growing list of Things To Sew! 

Thursday, 19 July 2012

violet in dots

I am very excited to have finished off my first Colette Violet blouse! 

Well, actually, I'm not sure if I am finished. I think it is lovely but, like some other folks out there, the fit is a bit loose for my liking. It looks pretty cool tucked in, but I'm not much of a tucker-in when it comes to my clothes. 

So I think I will definitely be inserting some darts and I am thinking of hacking a bit off the side seams. I'm just a bit nervous about wrecking it - I think it would break my heart! 

About the pattern - I love the Colette pattern. It is beautifully presented and the instructions are great and clear. However, I impulsively bought it online from America which means that it has turned into quite an expensive garment! I discovered I could have bought it online from Sewbox in the UK. And then yesterday a friend texted me to tell me about a new fabric shop in town - The Cloth Shop on South William Street. I looked at their website, and - Lo! They stock Colette patterns!!

I don't feel like the most original blogger to have made a Colette Violet blouse in a polka dot fabric, but I will definitely make another of these. I could also see me using the collar and sleeve parts for re-fashioning projects. How I love the Peter Pan collar!

things I learned: 
- when fusing interfacing, iron it from the fabric side to ensure it goes on smoothly. This is probably something that is obvious to the rest of the universe. It wasn't to me, hence wrinkles, but thankfully on the least visible part.
- maybe it's time to start making muslins or tracing patterns. I think maybe I could have made this in a size smaller but now it's too late because I cut the pattern directly.
- I need to learn more about how to do buttonholes - I really was making it up as I went along! 
- even if things turn out a little bit bockitty, I still love making things myself!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

bonjour paris

Oooh, Paris was fun! One of the highlights was definitely hopping on the Metro and going to the fabric district in Montmarte. 

We got out at Pigalle, but I think Anvers is a bit closer. We had done our reading about the various shops and it sounded like some of the shops lower down the hill were better value. We started there but they were pretty uninspiring - a lot of the fabric was quite tacky and it didn't seem particularly cheap either. 

Things started to look up when we went into Moline, and then to Marche Saint-Pierre which is where we had to control ourselves lest things get out of hand! 

Striding purposefully towards Marche St. Pierre!

I spent €20 and got myself three metres of cool stripey jersey (now have to learn how to use the overlocker), a metre of linen and two metres of a lovely white and blue striped cotton. It felt like a great haul for that price - can't wait to start sewing with it!

It was brilliant being with my mum because she knows her stuff when it comes to fabric and I would have the potential to get a bit overwhelmed by the sheer volume of material in front of me. 

So that was fun! 

And we also visited Le Drogerie on Rue du Jour in Les Halles. 

It's full of all sorts of buttons and beads and ribbons and feathers and wool and trimmings and everything you could ever want.

But apart from the fact that it looks like  a cute sweetie shop, to be honest, the service was a bit rubbish and I found myself standing dolefully in the middle of the shop practically pleading with the busy ladies to take my money. 

But I stuck at it because I had come across this oh-so-lovely Liberty bias binding: 

I can so imagine this on the neck and arms of a little shift dress! 

Thursday, 28 June 2012

ooh la la pretty summery bag!!

I was given a little pile of pretty flowery fabric and to celebrate the return of my sewing machine from sewing-machine-hospital, I just made this tote bag. 

I had half an eye on a tutorial from one of my current blog-crushes, See Kate Sew as a sort of guide to keep me on track, and I just have to say at this point, I freakin' love my rotary cutter that I got for my birthday! It makes it really easy to just go for things like this!

The fortuitous thing about this bag is that is reversible so if you choose a pretty lining, you've got yourself two bags for the price of one :) 

I'm going to Paris tomorrow; Ooh La La New Pretty Summery Bag - you're coming with me!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

june magazines!

I had been wondering if it was possible to buy Burda Style Magazine in Ireland but yesterday I found a BurdaStyle Ireland Facebook group - albeit a rather lonely Facebook group with 134 likes but only one person valiantly ever writing on the wall. Well, until I posted asking where I can buy it, and got a prompt reply from Juliette of Sewing and Style Den - one of the very few Irish dressmaking-related sewing blogs I have come across!

Anyhoops, I got my first ever copy in Easons in Dundrum today and it won't be my last! 

Here are the things that caught my eye...

Loving this jacket but it is advanced - which I am not, so for the moment I think we may be incompatible lovers. But, hey, maybe in time for Autumn I'll be a pro-sewer and will be able to tackle it then!


This might be more for me right now, I reeeeeeally like both the top and the skirt. 

And this dress is pretty cool. It's also a beginner pattern AND is the sewing lesson in the magazine

While we're on the subject of magazines, I would like to issue a RED ALERT: 

I love Vogue but usually the price of it makes it a bit of a decadent treat. HOWEVER, the June issue of Vogue is for sale at a bargain basement price of €2.50. 

Right, I'm off with my bedtime reading: 

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