Wednesday, 2 October 2013

from check-foe to check-mate

I have been wondering for AGES what to do with this stash fabric. I wasn't really crazy about it and it's been hanging around for yonks. I thought I would bascially experiment with it for this Vogue pattern to see if I liked the pattern. 

It's Vogue Patterns V8907 - a very simple pattern and now that it's traced and cut out I and I know that I really like the shape of it, I could very happily whip this up in an hour or two.At the moment it's kind of wear-it-to-work top but I think a slinky fabric could make it a pretty cool going-out top.

And now that I've made something with this fabric, I actually like it a bit better - which is good, because there's still quite a lot left!

In other related news, while I was sewing this top I had the misfortune to break a needle - BY SEWING MY FINGER!!!!! Gross eh? Actually it wasn't that sore, but it was just the shock of looking down and seeing the needle in two pieces sticking out at an angle from my finger. I was distractedly talking to my boyfriend's son and looked away from the machine for a moment. 

Keep your eye on the needle gals, keep your eye on the needle!!!

Sunday, 29 September 2013

it was all yellow

I was at a wedding on Friday and the lynchpin of my whole outfit was this pair of MAGNIFICENT yellow shoes that I bought last week. 

But I was wearing a black dress and thought I needed a bit more yellow somewhere else. 
So I went to my local silk shop - yes I have a local silk shop! Roisin Cross Silks on the coast road in Dun Laoghaire. I got pretty much perfectly matching yellow silk and set about making a clutch bag. (This was all the night before the wedding by the way, I'm not what you would call organised) 

I made a bag from a book that is one of those books that looks naff on the outside but actually has quite handy techniques and patterns in it. I went off looking through my stash for some sturdy fabric to line it with and came up with this Pucci-esque stuff that I think my granny bought a long long time ago. Is this not amazingly ridiculously brilliant????? 

THEN I started thinking maybe this would be more interesting on the outside and I could have the yellow silk on the inside - the most expensive lining ever made but the pieces were all cut out so I thought I might as well use them. 

And with ten minutes to go before we left the house I was still finishing the final seam and hoping that my nail varnish was dry and wouldn't smudge all over the place! Top-stitching around corners is a challenge for me at the best of times! 

By the way, the wedding reception was at a football stadium! It was in Croke Park because the couple are big Dubs fans. I've never been before and it was very cool! 

Oh and the fact that this is a stash project also means it is my June stashbusters project which was containment. I'm determined to have all the themes done by the end of the year!

Sunday, 1 September 2013

is it a dress? is it a top?

Who knows, is the answer to this question about the latest garment I have made. This was an adventure in knit - a cotton jersey that I got in Paris for next to nothing last year. 

Anyway, not knowing quite what it is, as such, I experimented with wearing it over the weekend, which was spent mostly by or in the sea because this is the summer that just keeps on giving. 

This pattern is McCalls M6242. I got it at the Knitting and Stitching Show last year in a random basket of patterns. Even though it's a big sloppy kind of thing, there's actually quite a lot going on with the shoulders and sleeves which I have to say I really like and definitely make this worth making again with a few changes. 
This is how Messrs. McCalls envisage it being worn:

When you look at blonde lady there, realistically I could have made it a size smaller. That way the band would be tighter and it would sit better on the top of my legs. I could possibly have done with shortening it too

It is a nice dress to wear to the beach of slouch around in. But the thing is, the short-of-stature among us - i.e. moi - are playing with fire wearing loose things like this. And it's never really a good sign when you think things like "Well, it would be useful if I was ever pregnant". So I think I will probably get more wear out of this to wear it as a top or somewhere in between at any rate! 

Sunday, 11 August 2013

way out west

I made a trip to the west of Ireland last week, and happened upon a new Irish company Irish Handmade Buttons in Joyce's Craft Shop ("One of the best craftshops in Ireland" says the sign) in Recess in the heart of Connemara. 

They are handmade by Kathleen Davies in her workshop in Connemara. I think she's looking for likes on Facebook, where you can also see her ceramic jewellery and wind chimes, if you are so inclined! 

I also found this vintage pattern in a little shop in Clifden. 

What is going on with the model's hair??? Mental.

Also(*thinks outloud*) I started thinking that maybe it's just an inferior version of a Hawthorn and maybe I'd prefer to make Hawthorn with its darts and pretty collar. Hmm ... To Be Decided. 

But, either way, a shirtdress will be manufactured and seeing all Hawthorns online made me think about shirtdress fabric. I think shirtdresses are cool - for me to avoid the housecoat or nurse look, I'm thinking above the knee and a punchy print are in order. 

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

shirr thing...

In honour of the fact that we have had what is kind of like a summer in here in Ireland this year, I have a summery refashion to show you!  

This latest little venture was a big fat experiment. I've never done shirring before and I didn't know how to do it. What better basis for trying it out???!!!! 

I started with a size 14 shirt in a Liberty print which once upon a time was my lovely late granny's. 

I chopped off the top just under the arms. 

I took in the side seams and as it was basically a straight line, I just hemmed the top: 

So at this stage it is basically a straight tube - so what to do??? I decided I would dive into the world of shirring. I thought I would leave the buttons at the front and shirr the back to cinch in the waist. 

I had to experiment a fair bit to get to grips with this technique and there may be others of you out there with more in-depth knowledge of the correct way to shirr (the verb To Shirr, I shirr, You Shirr, He/She Shirrs etc. If you say the word shirr enough times it begins to sound reeeeeally silly

I drew on parallel lines through a middle section of the back of the shirt and proceeded TO SHIRR. 

Shirring top tips from a total shirring-nube: 

You wind the shirring elastic onto the bobbin by hand and just use your normal thread in the top. You then make sure that the fabric is nice and flat as it goes under the foot - you need to stretch it a bit as the elastic bunches it all up.

I discovered it's really important to backstitch at the beginning and end for your line or the elastic just flies out. I also left long threads at the beginning and end of each line so that I could bring the thread to the back and tie it to the elastic just to make it nice and secure. 

Trying it on, the buttons at the bust were doing that classy straining open thing, yeeuw! I shouldn't have taken in the side seams before putting a load of elastic into the fabric! 

I had to take out all the shirring at bust level which is not ideal but I needed to do it so it wouldn't pull too much.

I haven't really mastered the art of taking photos of my back! 

I could have left it just a strapless top because there is shirring at the top which holds it up but I decided to Next step was a couple of straps. I made these four straps - each one about 43cm long. 

It took me the length of a 4OD documentary on what it's like to win the lottery (it has it's challenges but overall, not too bad!) to turn them inside out.

And I'm pretty sure Granny would approve! :) 

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

You're not on the list, you're not coming in...

Well Karen's pyjama party has well and truly turned off the lights and shut the doors. But - behold! -  here in all their fashionably late glory are my Vintage Rose Pyjamas. 

I have to say that I really loved making these. Maybe because they were lovely and easy and I could see them coming together really quickly. 

Also I've never made trousers (or pants - tomato, tomayto) so it was kind of exciting going, 'Aaah, so you put one leg inside the other... and then you sew, and then magically you have two legs...' etc etc... 

Now, if you would like to form an orderly queue to admire the coming together of the flower on my front seam:

This happened because of my impeccable skills as a seamstress. No, it didn't! It happened completely by accident. But it's good isn't it??

These are not (as you can see) Tofinos. These are Simplicity 2061. The fabric is from Ikea. Look at the cute little trim!

Here's why it took me so long...visiting my fab friend Brooklyn gal Jo

...who made those gorgeous earrings below - aren't they amazing?!   
... also taking in a mermaid festival in Coney Island (of course!!)

Followed by: recording a documentary in Canada on the shores of Lake Athabasca about the absolutely colossal Athabasca Tar Sands.

I brought home a mountain of recordings - there's a lot of editing ahead! 

Oh also I was travelling alone and kinda got into Instragram (I know, about a decade after the rest of the world) and it's great fun altogether. Follow me on the handle 'nicolineoh'!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

june blog crushes

Tomorrow, I'm off travelling about the place for a few weeks - a fabby combo of play and work is taking me to New York and Canada. I'm leaving behind more than one not-quite-finished sewing projects! Not to worry, they'll be waiting for me on my return.

But for now, I will leave you with a few things that have been tickling my fancy in June. 

Lisa's latest creation on Small Things is very very cool self-designed t-shirt with a self-designed stamp. Love it. 

One more super-cool graphic print for the road - this time using potatoes from new-to-me blogger Ashlee

This is a DIY from Cotton & Curls is actually from last summer  but I thought it was great then and still do now. I think it's time for shorts... 

It can't go unsaid - Hawthorn! 
Now, I have to make a confession. I haven't made my Laurel and I know everyone was going mad for it, but the lack of a defined waist I think has made me wonder will it suit me. I WILL definitely make my Laurel and hopefully fall for it like everyone else has, but to be honest, I could really see me making madamoiselle Hawthorne. I'm not going to bother saying I'm signing up for the sewalong for this because it's not going to happen by July 29th! 
Oh and I think it's cool that Colette use beautiful but not stick-skinny models :) 

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