Another jeanius!

These were finished almost a week ago and I have finally given up waiting to have someone available to take the pictures and resorted to the tripod. Aaargh. Anyhoo, let me introduce the snaky jeans.

Snakeprint Jeanius - front

Snakeprint Jeanius – front

Snakeprint jeanius - rear

Snakeprint Jeanius – rear

This fabric had been in my stash for an embarrassing length of time so when my eye was drawn to a pair of snake print trousers in Bazaar magazine I knew it’s time had come. Some might say it ought to have been saved for Jungle January over on the Pretty Grievances blog (yes, it is happening again in 2015) but I have actually got a pearl of a fabric in store for that!

I knew exactly what changes I wanted to make to the last pair (which have been worn and washed like mad) so I was able to just cut out and put the pedal to the metal all the way to finish. This was also helped by having bought the Advanced Industry techniques class from Craftsy in their last big sale. (More on the class at a later date).

What can I say about these? I love them! They have been worn out in public – and admired which is always nice. I now know that unless I change shape radically I have a TNT jeans pattern. Thank you Mr King :)

This brings my GAM target up to 7 – only 5 left if I am to finish this year. And only 21 days. Hmmm.

(There is more sewing etc going on here but as in many sewers homes it is top secret at present!)

 

 


Jeanius at last!

Don’t ever let anyone say I can’t stick to a project. This one was started months ago. (In May – shocking huh?). But now I have finally finished my first pair of jeans from the Craftsy Jeanius course. And I like them! I am counting them as my 6th garment in the GAM Challenge and I know I have some catching up to do. About six weeks left to make another six garments – not terribly likely but I can try to make some, even if I can’t make them all.

I bought the course with the intention of copying a pair of Max Mara Weekend jeans that I wore loads last year but when I tried them on they didn’t look as good as my faithful Marks&Spencer Per Una everyday jeans.The Management said so so it must be true – he doesn’t often offer an opinion. The Craftsy method of providing video tuition that you can access whenever it suits you is good for me. I learn visually, so it helps that I can see someone actually demonstrating a process. As an experienced dressmaker the demonstrations (not just in this course) are sometimes a bit ‘fullsome’ but this will no doubt be of great help to a novice tackling the project for the first time. Again I came away with new toys (my pressing dept. has been expanded) and I am looking for another couple of things which Kenneth D King makes look indispensable – I will let you know how I get on.

 

Jeanius muslin front

Jeanius muslin front

Jeanius muslin side

Jeanius muslin side

Jeanius muslin back

Jeanius muslin back

The method he showed to get an accurate copy of your garment was really good – and in no way tied to jeans. I have already used this method to copy a clients jacket for her. Score. I even made a muslin after making the jeans pattern. I just forgot that the jeans were stretch denim and that calico doesn’t stretch. Did I mention how long I have been sewing?

Despite the lack of stretch I was able to get into these, and even fasten the zipper. I was fairly happy with the fit (giving some consideration to how it would translate into my stretch denim) so I went ahead and cut it out in some black which had matured sufficiently in the stash. I like it but don’t love it so wasn’t going to be broken-hearted if it didn’t live up to my hopes.

Jeans front

Jeans front

Jeans back

Jeans back

In the interest of learning I followed Mr Kings instructions precisely – except for the pocket which was different in my jeans – and ended up with a pair of jeans I am happy to wear. Changes on the next pair – use my method of installing the zipper which hides a bit further back in the fly front, use his pocket method as I think it may sit better than mine. Everything else worked well – I loved his method of working the waistband which makes a straight piece into a curve, and the pocket support.

I wore these all day yesterday and they are just like the original so I am very happy. Sadly black really doesn’t photograph well so you will have to take my word on the fit being pretty good. I already have the next fabric washed ready to cut out so I guess this has to be considered a success. I bought the course on sale so I am a very happy bunny! The course is on sale again at the moment – 34% off – if you are inspired. I don’t have any affiliation with Craftsy  – I am just a satisfied student.

On a totally different matter The Management and I had a day out at Dunham Massey (another National Trust property) recently and I saw this sculpture. Isn’t it just gorgeous?

Gorgeous wooden horse

Gorgeous wooden horse


Sometimes life needs to change.

I am not going to make any apology (this time) for having taken so long to post anything new – but I will tell you what has happened here Chez Material Lady.

Immediately after my last post I worked like a crazy lady (no sniggering in the back!) to clear the decks of client work before going on holiday with The Management. We had a fabulous time in the amazingly beautiful medieval walled city of Carcassonne. If you ever get an offer  of a holiday in this part of France take it – Carcassonne looks like medieval Disney. And is the home of cassoulet.

Beautiful Carcassonne

Beautiful Carcassonne

We had a fabulous time…..until I got food poisoning on a day out to Avignon. Big style. After almost a week on fluids and very little solid food I rather foolishly went on a trip to Gozo with some diving friends – I know I probably shouldn’t have done but this had been arranged for ever. The logic was that if I wasn’t well enough to dive then resting in the sunshine would be good for me. I confess that despite still eating very little I did go diving – and wonderful it was too – and very much enjoyed the rest in the sunshine. Lots of rest and back home to start work again.

The lovely bay in Xlendi, Gozo

The lovely bay in Xlendi, Gozo

Or not. My batteries were on empty, and for the first week back almost every time I sat down I went to sleep. Thankfully I had left little client work that needed urgent attention so I was able to just rest, but it did make me consider what I would have done if there had been lots as it has taken weeks to start feeling anywhere near normal again.

I hate to let anyone down, and I always try to ensure that work is completed well within a deadline just in case there should be a problem (I am glad to say that I can’t remember the last time I needed it). I have also been fed up with not having time for my own sewing – it is clear from my lack of progress in the GAM challenge that I am not attaching enough importance to what I would like to make for me. So…I have removed my listing from the Yell.com site and intend to gradually reduce the amount of work I do for other people. I have loved the 20+ years of professional sewing (so far) and intend to continue – but in a reduced capacity. Hopefully that will give me time to play a bit more.

Larry front

Larry front

Larry back

Larry back

During all the time sitting around doing nothing (pffft!) I have at least finished knitting Larry.This is a pattern that is available free of charge on Ravelry which I saw on ‘Pendle Stitches‘ and I fell in love with it. I know it was shown on Ravelry as a mans garment but I thought I would enjoy wearing it. I knitted it in Rowan Pure wool Aran which is so smooth it feels almost like cotton, but with the warmth of wool. As Evie said it was a wonderfully easy knit (despite the fact that she had some difficulties) and is a great pattern for clattering through whilst watching the telly, or listening to audio books (my new addiction – Overdrive app to access the libraries supply on my new Kindle. Brilliant!).I used the sewn cast/bind  off again around the neck and cuffs (the sleeve stitches are picked up at the armhole edge) and love the finish. I know I don’t look as good as Evies lovely hubby in my Larry but I love it and know I will wear it loads now that it is getting cold here in Bewdley.

I am still working on the pattern for Kenneth D Kings ‘Jeanius’ course on Craftsy but I am about to make a muslin to test the pattern. This has taken so long that I need to make good use of this pattern once it is right.

Don’t work too hard out there!


In which I show my ‘Backbone’

Well time has been running away again and you could be forgiven for thinking I am just settled in the garden with a drink enjoying the sunshine. I wish.

I have been sewing like a maniac to clear client work recently, and every time I clear some space more work arrives. Still, never complain when business is good  – but it makes doing any sewing for myself unappealing so in any ‘relaxation time’ (almost always late evening whilst watching mindless TV) I have managed to finish my ‘Backbone’ sweater.

Collar and back detail

Collar and back detail

Backbone

Backbone finished!

Despite this pattern showing in my Ravelry search for what could be made with the quality and quantity of yarn I had I was a little concerned that the Rowan felted tweed DK yarn was going to be a bit fine for the project. Now it is finished I am very happy with the result which is going to be much more wearable than the original cardigan I knitted in this yarn.

As the garment is knitted from the top down I didn’t really want to have the ‘chain stitch’ finish you get from my usual knitted cast off so I used this sewn bind off. By finishing the edges this way it gives a much more ‘professional’ finish – and will confuse my mother when she trys to see how this was made! The other benefit of knitting the whole garment this way was that once the knitting was done there was very little by way of sewing together – just a little seam under each arm, and darning the yarn joins. Brilliant.

Backbone

Backbone … back

If I am being honest life hasn’t been all work – The Management and I had a couple of days in London. We met up with Jess (the Darling Daughter) for a  day at Kew Gardens and Palace. This wasn’t anything like I expected – I thought it may be a bit regimented and stuffy but it was brilliant! We had a fantastic day there, which was helped by the magnificent weather we are having in the UK at present, and I discovered even Royal Parks get yarn bombed!

Yarn bombed tree at Kew

Yarn bombed tree at Kew

Big smocked tree - and little Jess

Big smocked tree – and little Jess

Does that look smocked to you too?

Does that look smocked to you too?

 

 

Whilst walking around I also spotted this tree. It was pretty massive so Jess (who is 5 foot 1″ tall) stood in the picture to give an idea of scale. Doesn’t the bark look like it has been smocked? I had to share that with you all.

 

 

On a total other subject, I think I have to adapt my ‘Garment a Month’ challenge to ’12 Garments in a Year’ since I have failed to sew anything for myself in June or July – and if I am honest August isn’t looking too promising! Still, I have high hopes of managing 12 garments in 12 months – even if they aren’t evenly spread.

 

I hope you are all managing to be more personally productive out there in blogland!


I’m relaxed – now I need to work!

It would be flattering to think that some of you might have noticed my absence – but I don’t expect anyone to have done so. I took a short break from blogging whilst I got organised with client work, had a short holiday diving in Cornwall, and got back ready to get stuck into Kenneth D Kings Jean-ius course.

Hah. Serves me right for thinking I could make a plan. I worked really hard before a break last week so that I could clear off diving with a clear conscience (well, more or less) and come back to a light workload which would allow some time for me. That didn’t take into account that ‘The Management’ (who had been left at home) would have accrued a big list of clients who had called to book in. So much for time for me.

However, I know that the 30 minutes a day routine has worked well for me in the past so I will follow that and determine to get a pair of jeans finished by the end of the month. Please feel free to goad me if you see me slacking.

Meanwhile I give you a picture of me half in my favourite outfit, next to a fantastic mode of transport. Shame it is such a poor picture.

Mt favourite suit

My favourite suit

P.S. Whilst the sewing for me is going very badly the (portable) knitting project is going fairly well so my ‘Backbone’ sweater is coming along nicely. Pictures of the progress next time.

 


Burda wrap tank clone – but nothing for me. Again.

There has been lots going on here – just no sewing for me. The garden is in overdrive at the moment, and my clients are all making sure I don’t get into/cause any trouble. It is nice to know that I am valued as a dressmaker but just occasionally it would be nice to actually get to the bottom of the ‘to-do for clients’ pile. Or even my own ‘to-do’ pile.

I have great plans to sew, and I am still checking out my Burda magazines that arrive monthly. There are even things in there that I would love to make. For me. For example, I really liked the pattern for a slightly odd but fabulous looking waistcoat/vest, Model 132  in the  May 2014 issue of Burda. It went on the wish list – where it is still lurking. Just incase you hadn’t seen it here is a picture.

132_0514_b_large

 When I went to stay with my wonderful daughter I managed to bring away a pile of Stylist magazines (which I am still reading late at night) and came across this….

Love it - can't wear it!

Love it – can’t wear it!

….made by Carven at £220. I love it but I could never expose my stomach in this way (too much of it!). However, if you were a young, toned thing I would imagine that it would look great. And very similar don’t you think? It should be very easy to adapt the Burda pattern to get a great looking similar top for a fraction of the cost.

When I eventually get some time to sew for me I might even get to make it.

I hope all you out there in blogland are having more success sewing for yourself than I am at present. Bye for now :)


Jean-Paul Gaultier at the Barbican

I had hoped to get the photographs sorted for this post soon after I got home – but I didn’t realise how many I had taken!

This was my first visit to the Barbican in London, which has a reputation as a fairly ugly building. I am told it is in the ‘brutalist’ style of architecture. It was certainly helped by being a sunny day but I thought it was OK. You can judge for yourself.

Ugly or not?

Ugly or not?

I enjoyed lunch in the sunshine outside before heading in for the exhibition. The timed ticket system meant that it was very orderly, and at no time did I feel really ‘crowded’. There were lots of garments, for both sexes, on dummies which at first seemed to be live models. They were actually dummies with faces projected onto them. Some had audio so it seemed as if they were actually talking too.  Freaky!

Next best thing to J_P actually being there

Next best thing to J-P actually being there

As I said I took way too many pictures to show them all here – it was really difficult to stop snapping as there was so much to admire. The detail in the clothing was wonderful, and whilst the staff were ever watchful that no-one got close enough to actually touch anything they didn’t interfere with very close photography. Rather than trying to show them all here you can access them all at my Flickr site.

I really can’t recommend this exhibition enough – I spent about an hour and a half cruising the garments and probably only left because my daughter had already gone to sit in the foyer. Anyone with the slightest interest in fashion and sewing will enjoy it.

This visit was after the Parkrun I did on Saturday morning (in this post) and I was still pretty tired given the condition I ran in. I suggested to my daughter that it might be a good idea to have afternoon tea at the Barbican. She didn’t argue.

Cheers!

Cheers!

If you are near, or can wangle a visit to London go see J-P G. And I can recommend the afternoon tea too :)

 


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