Friday, 18 May 2012

Zig Zag Wanderer

Halfway through the month and I haven't really got far with the project I was meant to be doing. Oh well. There have been some good diversions though, more on that further down the page...

At the start of the year I sketched out a vague plan of things to make for this garment-a-month challenge. I'm supposed to be doing these trousers, and I have made a toile for them, but then I had a change of plan and thought I'd try and conquer my fear of the overlocker by doing a project where I would have to use it a lot.
Vogue 2011
So I started tracing the pattern for the long sleeve top (Vogue pattern) I've had in the cupboard for years. I made the asymmetric skirt (nice fit and quick to make) a few years ago and it still gets a lot of wear. Going further back to my last year at college, I made the sleeveless top from some fabric I'd printed to wear at my degree show. I'll have to go up a size, even back then on a meagre student diet it felt a bit on the neat side. I made it on the sewing machine, but this time I'd like to try doing the whole thing on the overlocker.

It's a double layered garment (not that clear on this image) with the undergarment showing at the hem of the body as well as at the cuffs. I've got some nice drapey jersey fabrics in red (bamboo blend) and dark grey (viscose blend) to use for this. Will probably go for the red as the outer colour to help me look a bit healthier.

After much procrastination, I have finally spent a night away from the Creature - the first since he was born. He seemed cool with it; sounds like he and dad had a fine old time. I suppose I was cool with it too, a couple of phone calls home helped.

I went back to Edinburgh to visit my excellent friend and fellow textilian Kath, who is getting married in October and has all sorts of creative plans for it. I've missed Kath, and Auld Reekie too. Plenty of tea, scones and blether, not to mention plenty of doodling in sketchbooks, looking through collected images of every possible permutation of wedding was a busy 24 hours! Kath is doing a printmaking course so that she can print her own wedding invitations. She will also be making her own dresses (possibility of a costume change for the evening). And making decorations. I hope there will be a couple more trips to the Reek between now and October to help glue pine cones/pin hems/drink gin and tonics etc.

The other diversion has been finding a knitting booklet and suitable yarn in the sale at the yarn shop last week. I had no need for either, but it has been a handy thing to do while we've all been poorly this week. It doesn't take much energy and I don't need to think about the pattern too much. Here's a pic of the cardigan I'm doing:
Long sleeve nomad cardigan 

It's the long sleeve version in the top right corner. I also splashed out on a large snazzy enamel button for it which cost the same as one ball of yarn. At least I resisted the tractor beam of the vintage haberdashery box this time.

This is the first time I've worked with boucle yarn. It was a bit of a faff for the first few rows and fortunately I've not lost any stitches, I think it would be hellish trying to find out what was going on if I did. I suppose the flipside of that is it's quite forgiving yarn to work with as any minor mistakes just disappear!

It's knitting up quickly. I managed to knit a front panel in an evening and that was with the distraction of telly and stopping for a tea cake.

All being well, I'll post a pic of the finished cardie in a couple of weeks. If I really get it together, I might even have the long sleeve top done too. Ok, that's maybe a bit ambitious...

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The Model

On time at last!  Here it is, a Burda 8281 skirt (view a) completed by Beltane just before midnight:

Burda 8281(a) skirt in lightweight denim
The hem is only tacked at the moment, so am I cheating by defining it as a finished garment? Probably. I did have time to finish it last night within my deadline. But I'm swithering about what colour thread to use and how many rows of stitching (I was thinking two rows, Mr K suggested three). I figured attempting a handsewn invisible hem on denim could get a bit ugly so it will only take a minute on the machine once I've made up my mind.

At some point, I'll add a picture of the skirt as modelled by a real human. It doesn't seem to matter how I adjust my trusty dress form, I can't present finished garments well on it. In spite of the perky conical boobs (unlike any I've seen on a human) it has been a handy item for dressmaking over the years. It was an 18th birthday present and back then, it was set 1" up from the narrowest waist setting to 25". Twenty odd years and a baby later, I've had to crank it up to 28". I had a look at the new version - the fabric's a different colour and the bust doesn't look quite so pointy (maybe that's the illusion of a different colour). I think I'll get a few more years out of my old dummy. 

Supafit dress form
Once, I decided not to bother with the dummy and its pointiness when, two days before my wedding, I thought it would be a good idea to adjust one of the bust seams of my dress. With an 8" mirror tile as the only reflective opportunity in my flat, no one to help or advise on what I was doing, and a pointy-breasted dummy seemingly mocking me in the corner of the room, this turned out to be a really-not-good-idea at all. After hours of a tacking-sewing-unpicking routine and trying to angle that tiny mirror to get a proper view I gave up. Somehow, either the power of the Force or sewing elves working through the night sorted it out while I slept. Whichever way it was solved, it looked fine in the end.

I made such an arse of the last skirt, so I'm relieved that this one has turned out ok. I like the fit. I'd like to do a few more of these, possibly a couple of centimetres longer and with some applique or embroidery on them. It's a quick and easy make (when I can actually get near the sewing machine).

Snazzy Lightning vintage zips
Last time I was at the sewing shop I picked up a few vintage Lightning zips. I don't usually go for metal ones but the packet promised "permanently coloured teeth" with money back guarantee and charmful packaging offering a special offer booklet from their Publicity Dept. for 6p in stamps (bit late for that one). There was a whole box full of them in bright colours. I thought 3 was quite a restrained purchase, but now I know they're there, I'll probably "have" to go back for some more...

In other activities, we have been doing a lot of speedy racing in the dining room. It can get perilous where small cars and busy patterned carpet meet, and there have been a few unfortunate crunches underfoot. So far the Lamborghinis and Porsche have escaped any damage. So we have now introduced a parking system: