Tuesday, 27 August 2013

"Autumn in Tokyo" Dress - The Sew Weekly Reunion

I have tied myself in knots - staggering I know, it's totally not like me to give myself a hard time!

See that smile?  That's because the dress fits at bust and shoulders with
no pulling at the front and no gaping at the back - result!
In my head this is how The Sew Weekly Pantone challenge would go:

  1. I would make a garment using the Pantone Autumn 2013 colours
  2. I would finish it well before the deadline
  3. It would be a dress - because I need some and I would be brave and overcome my cowardice fear of accommodating my bust - thus achieving my Sewlution too
  4. I would use one of the 2 fabulous patterns sent to me by Barbara as part of the swap - both of which were dresses, how serendipitous
  5. I would definitely incorporate some of the beautiful notions Barbara sent me
  6. I would use only stash fabric, thus adding to the total for August for the Style The Stash sewalong and removing some of the guilt about the amount of fabric I've added to my stash in the last few weeks!
  7. I would make sure the inside of my dress was as well finished as the outside, I have an overlocker after all
  8. I would follow the instructions to the letter
Well, I managed 1, 2, 3 and 6 - so I guess 50% is pretty good!  I am not going to beat myself up over it.

My fabric choice made a huge impact on my plans.  I'd identified 16 possible pieces but when I looked afresh I felt that this was the best match for colours:

I bought this in Tokyo last September, it's a beautifully soft cotton.
There were challenges because it is actually a sarong, so very narrow - more
on that below
Because of the limited amount of fabric I had to work with I couldn't use either of the dress patterns Barbara sent me in the swap - they just needed more than I had.  So, it was back to the drawing board and a search through my patterns.

I chose Butterick B5450 because it requires so little fabric.   Also, because of the way the bodice is constructed with pleats I thought it would give me the opportunity to tweak a little bit and end up with a fitted dress that didn't pull across the bust.  I made a muslin of View A and, with a bit of faffing around, had a fit I was happy with.

I am so thrilled about this I can't express it - if Karen comes checking up on my Sewlution I have totally nailed it, I won't need to hide behind the sofa!

Sadly, my fabric choice didn't work with any of the notions Barbara sent me either - but that just gives me something to look forward to when I'm not so constrained by colour choice.  I already have a plan ...

So here goes, The Sew Weekly Facts:

As you can see, I was right at the end of my fabric,
I spent a lot of time figuring out how to make all the
pattern pieces fit

Fabric:  A beautiful sarong that I bought in a flea market in Tokyo last September.  The colours were perfect for this challenge, the size of the fabric was not!  Although I had 2.2 metres in length the fabric width was about 75cm.  It was tight!

On the plus side, width doesn't count in the Style the Stash sewalong - as it's the only thing I've managed to make in August I need to count every centimetre.

This is how much fabric I had left from each end of the sarong - literally scraps

Notions: Just a recycled zip (charity shop find) and thread. 

Pantone Challenge colors:  Acai and Vivacious.  There are also slight hints of Linden Green too.

Pattern:  Butterick B5450

Year:  Circa 2010.  I bought the pattern last year as an OOP - part of a bundle of 3 for £5 last September at a craft fair.

Time to complete:  This is tricky.  I spent one evening after work making and fiddling with a muslin.  It was totally worth it though and I'm so glad I did.

I made the dress on Sunday - apart from hand stitching (bodice lining and around the zip).  I definitely added time because I really didn't like the instructions for putting the dress together.  I was determined to try to stick to them (because for some reason I'd put that on my list!) but the lining instructions were bonkers - I'm not doing it like that again - there was swearing!

And the zip insertion made no sense to me so I reverted to Winnie's brilliant tutorial - she's never let me down yet!  That meant I inserted, removed and inserted the zip again.


All in all, probably about 10 hours - I'm slow obviously.

However, when I make it again, and I will, it'll be much quicker.  And I'll finish all the insides properly - this is totally ridiculous but I forgot to use my overlocker - seriously.  You couldn't make it up could you?  I think I got so befuddled trying to make myself follow instructions I didn't like that I just picked up my pinking shears without thinking!

Most importantly, it fits - so that trumps absolutely everything else!

First worn:  Today, for work which included a multi-agency meeting - I wouldn't wear all of my handmade garments in that environment, this dress felt smart enough :)

Wear again?  Absolutely, I've had so many compliments today.  My favourite was a male colleague asking me if I make my dresses to match my existing jewellery!

Total Cost: 
  • The fabric was 440 yen, at today's exchange rate that's about £2.90 
  • The zip was part of a bundle I bought in a charity shop, probably about 10p
  • I've had the thread in my stash for ages, I have no idea how much that cost, I'm calling it £1
  • The lining fabric was scraps leftover from part of a dance costume my daughter had years ago so I'm calling that £0.00. 
  • Cost of pattern was about £1.70
Grand total - £5.70 - woo hoo!

Forgive the wrinkles (on the dress not me!)
Photos get taken at the end of the day, when P is here to take them,
at least that way I know garments have passed the wearability test!

Well, I've really enjoyed taking part in The Sew Weekly Reunion - thank you to everyone who organised it for all of your hard work.


Thursday, 15 August 2013

Pantone Autumn 2013 - What's in my Stash?

16 pieces of stash fabric that incorporate one or more of the colours

The Sew Weekly Reunion 2013 - the challenge is to make a garment using colours from the Pantone Autumn 2013 palette
I really love these colours, I'm officially an 'autumn' according to the colour consultant I saw some years ago

Whilst I love all these, apart from a couple of potential tops I think most are
the wrong weight for autumn clothes

It's tricky to capture the colours accurately in photos but I spent ages making sure they were good matches
I think the 3 metres of knit has potential (centre top), if I can hone my skills

A couple of these pieces are for my daughter, I have orders
for blouses for her to wear to work but her exercise plan means her shape is changing
so I've been asked to wait a bit longer

I think I can narrow my choice down quite a bit by suitability for the season, it's pretty obvious I'm drawn to these autumn colours, I don't have the biggest stash and a big percentage fits this palette. 
Now if only I could make a decision because we're mid way through the month and I've started nothing!


Monday, 12 August 2013

Goldhawk Road - I'll be back!

I finally got to visit Goldhawk Road, with my brother, last Tuesday.

I made my SiL a dressing gown last year (pre-blog) - my brother thinks he's missing out.

He's settled on this fab pattern, a 1940s/50s dressing gown - if anybody asked if I knew someone who needed a double-breasted version it would be my brother, it's just perfect for him!

This is the wool he settled on - we found loads of fabrics he liked.
In fact he has a plan for a summer weight version and the fabric picked out already!

This is probably a better indication of the colour
We had a great day, I don't know about other people but I struggle to find time to have days out with only one member of the family - we both agreed we need to do this more often.  I'm lucky, I have some wonderful siblings - you know the kind you'd pick as friends even if you weren't related to them?

I figured that, if  I'm going to tackle the pattern once, I may as well
get the most out of my efforts.  This fabric is for P.
He wants a contrast colour and cuffs, I'll be making View 3 for him

Having never been to Goldhawk Road before I had to buy a little something for me ...

I love this batik, I got the remaining 1.5 metres for £4.50 - nope, absolutely
no idea what I'm going to make with it yet!

I need to get over my fear of knits - my overlocker needs using!
I fell in love with the pattern and colours - the £4.50 price tag
for 3 metres was the icing on the cake!

I'll definitely be going back to Goldhawk Road.  I think I'd have found the choice a bit overwhelming if I hadn't been to Nippori last year.  However, I felt better able to cope with the choice and able to focus on what I needed rather than totally stunned!

3 shops in and I'd turned my brother into a fabric stroker!

And this fabric is for the Dress A Girl Around the world pillowcase dresses -
7 of my colleagues are joining in and this fabric was paid for by another lady at work who
wanted to support us but cannot sew - isn't that just unbelievably kind?
So, there you have it.  My SiL has been given an old sewing machine by her Mam.  My brother's talking about having it serviced because he'd like to make something ... watch this space :)


Sunday, 11 August 2013

Just popped out for lunch

Blue and dots - perfect!

So, last Saturday I figured P and I needed a break from everything that's going on.  Sometimes you just need to step off life's merry-go-round and take a little vacation from the daily grind.

We popped to a little village near us, the sun was shining, the roof was down on the car, we had a pub lunch and took the time to figure out how we're going to deal with some things.  It was just what the doctor ordered and we both felt ready to head back into the fray when we got home.

Imagine my delight when I stumbled across this little gem as we were heading back to the car - just shy of 2 metres - don't ask me what fabric it is, it's becoming increasingly apparent to me that I have no fabric knowledge whatsoever!

The drape is fabulous, and I've had my eye on some John Kaldor fabric for ages.

And for the bargain price of £10 - I'm really pleased with that

And here's me trying to figure out if it fits in with the Pantone Autumn 2013 palette -
it looks more like Mykonos Blue in real life
Oh, the joy of fabric :)

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Sew Weekly Reunion Swap - Awesome parcel

I was very excited to receive my swap parcel, not just because the contents were so generous but because of who it came from.  I might be a little bit in awe!

I started to sew for myself in February 2012 but I'd been following crafty blogs for a while.  Any sewing fan will have followed The Sew Weekly.  Many of the blogs I follow are people I came across at that time. 

Imagine my joy when I realised that my parcel came from California, from a lady whose sewing skills I've admired for ages, who sewed her way through TSW 2012 challenges with style and finesse - Barbara of Zibergirl Sews.  Oh my goodness, I am ridiculously excited. 

Just like my other swap partner Samantha, Barbara sews for her family as well as herself.  If you haven't followed her blog before you have to go and see what Barbara makes, such gorgeous, classy outfits, thrifted, refashioned, vintage and modern.

So, I'll stop sounding like a mad stalker and show you what I got ...

I love this style, so feminine

This is my favourite view, how perfect for a work dress,
smart but not a suit - I'm not really a suit wearer

I love, love, love this pattern. My daughter would like View A, in that very fabric!

3 lots of lace, and a zip and bias binding in my favourite colour, orange

Such a friendly, encouraging note from Barbara and beautiful buttons

Looking at the line drawing, pondering my options, I think View C has my name all over it

I am really tempted to try to make this dress for my challenge garment
So there you are, the generosity of sewing bloggers demonstrated once again.  Due to everything that's been going on over the last week or so I've not started on my TSW challenge garment, although I have sorted through my stash to see what I have in the Pantone Autumn 2013 colour palette - only 16 pieces of fabric to choose from!

Now, do I have something that would work with this pattern?  And do I have time to do a muslin?

I've got no time this weekend (my boy is home from his internship) and I'm not going to get a non-working day this month at all but, I've earmarked next Sunday for sewing, so a plan is in the making!


Sew Weekly Reunion Swap

I haven't really made any cards since I finished all the wedding
stationery, I enjoyed making this one, the break did me good!

Sorry, sorry - I've been meaning to post about this for days.  Things are totally manic and I've been a rubbish blogger.  I've failed to achieve much at work or home either with everything going on - not sure if that makes it better or not!  I've not sewn a thing this month, not a scrap.

I am so excited to be taking part in the Sew Weekly Reunion and the first part of it was to join in the swap.  The idea is you send one pattern and 3 notions to another participant, it's a round robin swap, you don't receive a parcel from the person you send one too. 

If possible, I think we're to try and use something we receive in the garment we make for the challenge.  It'll be really interesting to see how many of us manage to do that.

I'm going to start with the parcel I sent, because it's supposed to be better to give than to receive and I don't want you to think I'm entirely selfish - although it may very well be true!

I love taking part in swaps, you end up 'meeting' bloggers you might not know about.  That was particularly the case with my swap partner because she hadn't started her blog when she decided to join in. 

Samantha is now up and running, and her sewing story is lovely, and she has some really exciting things going on so please pop over and visit her at her shiny, new blog here.

I didn't know very much about Samantha except she very generously sews for her girls and she loves red, this is what I sent ...


I know you're supposed to send 1 pattern but Samantha
so generously sews for her girls I didn't think that one really counted!

I thought the McCall's sundress would be lovely for Samantha's gorgeous daughters.
The vintage pattern is a beauty, passed onto me by the lady who bought
and made it when it was new.  Unfortunately it's not my size and I don't think I realistically have the skills to re-grade it.  Samantha obviously does, she's very talented - I'd rather she enjoyed it than it sat, unused, on my shelf.

It was lucky I was planning a trip to Goldhawk Road with my brother - we had a fab time and I'll blog about that another day.  I was really pleased with the ric rac, gingham bias binding and buttons I found in Samantha's favourite colour.  Hopefully there's enough of each to be useful.  She has a plan for them already.

Who doesn't need ginham bias binding and buttons?

An excuse to use the 'pin' washi tape I bought in Tokyo - it's available
in the UK now if you look online, I might need some more!

I am in love with this wrapping paper - I stocked up!


I really enjoyed making the parcel up for Samantha and am so glad to have found her new blog.  Isn't the online sewing community just fab?


Saturday, 3 August 2013

Wordpress doesn't like me :)


Is anybody else having problems commenting on Wordpress blogs? Sometimes it takes me 2 or 3 attempts to leave a comment. Or I think I have but it's not showing up.

I've now discovered that when I do manage to comment, the link back to my blog generates a warning message that my blog might be spam!

I've checked possible issues my end, and comments I've left on other domains - it's just Wordpress. Some of my favourite blogs use Wordpress so this is very frustrating :(

Any ideas for a solution would be gratefully received!



Friday, 2 August 2013

The Sew Weekly Reunion 2013

So the Sew Weekly Reunion theme has been announced - I am so glad I'm an Autumn when it comes to colour choices, I love all of the colours included.

I'm looking forward to a Saturday morning of pattern sifting and stash sorting - the perfect start to the weekend :)