Before I went away to America I had a load of fabric in a pile hoping to make it up for summer. Clearly that didn’t happen – and some will certainly not cross into the autumn range even if used as a layering piece. Because in my absence autumn arrived to Bewdley. Yup. Full on. Crispy mornings, leaves changing colour, the house is now feeling distinctly cool. I swear it was warmer outside today but I suppose that shows it is well insulated!
I cleared a few of the more ‘urgent’ jobs from the heap for clients last week (it isn’t that big these days which is a joy!) before having a weekend in London. This weekend was primarily a visit to Ealing to my daughter but we were also able to visit the Tate for the Georgia O’Keefe exhibition. Well worth the time – and The Management said that he saw somewhere that there are none of her pictures on display elsewhere in the UK. None. We saw some in a gallery in Chicago so I knew I was going to enjoy this . The other reason for the visit was that I have been training for Ealing half marathon – and this was the weekend. Can I just say that I had a great time, and my daughter paced me all the way round beautifully! More info on my running blog if you want it.
Anyway, as a result of all of the running I have changed shape a bit – partly back towards my original blocks so it is mainly a good thing. The other good thing is that because most of my trousers and skirts are now too big in the waist I really need to either alter them (Boo!) or make new ones (Hurrah!).
Probably time to put away the fabric I got out for summer wear and go stash diving for what I need for the cooler weather. I always enjoy doing this as I inevitably find some fabric I had completely forgotten buying!
Have you changed to sewing for the next season yet?
Just in case anyone wondered why I took so long to answer comments on the last two posts I can now confess that they were scheduled to publish whilst I was away in New York and Chicago. I know – how lucky am I! But it gets even better!
I had visited New York in 2001 with my daughter but The Management wasn’t able to come with us which was sad. He really wanted to visit New York, but we also wanted to visit Chicago because several people had said it was their favourite city – after comments like that you have to find out what its all about don’t you?
Anyway, just in case I have offended anyone by not declaring I would be in New York I knew I was going to have very little free time (The Management had pre-planned lots to do!) and I had to campaign fairly hard to get to visit the garment district and fabric shops at all. Because time was going to be short I took lots of notes from the very useful information Shams posted about her recent trip. Thanks Shams, it was incredibly helpful! We did spend a couple of hours wandering (and buying lunch, coffees and such) and I had decided to be very disciplined and only go to Mood, and if I couldn’t find anything I wanted there (as if!) we would go to Spandex House. Can I mention here that I had run in Central Park first thing (at 25°C, and humid) so I probably wasn’t on top shopping form.
It was lovely to see the iconic ‘button’ on top of the information bureau (closed when we visited) and the sculpture of the garment district worker. I hadn’t realised that there was a fashion ‘Walk of Fame’ and was delighted to see one of my own favourites almost first off. Claire McCardell is just a genius in my opinion.
We arrived in Mood Fabrics (Squeak!) and navigated our way round the stacks – and can you believe The Management found some fabric he rather liked for a shirt! He is fabric shopping ahead of me! (It was rather lovely). I caught up soon enough and added a nice pin striped denim to the order. I could have bought any number of more opulent fabrics (check out those zebras!) but I wanted to buy something I would make up quickly and wear lots – and I probably wear jeans more than anything else so this was perfect. Sadly Swatch was nowhere to be seen (perhaps they allow him to take Saturdays off). I was able to have a quick look in the Mood ‘schoolroom’ and rather wished I would have been able to take a sewing course there. It really wouldn’t have mattered what!
We both came away very tired, but very happy with our purchases. I wonder whose will be made up first?
On Sunday we transferred to Chicago by train, his choice rather than mine but I loved it! Being able to cross the USA at a fairly stately pace whilst letting someone else deal with the driving was lovely. We were in the sleeping coach, so had beds rather than a reclining seat in the main carriage, so it was actually quite relaxing. I was looking forward to Chicago not only because of the fabulous architecture we were told to expect (and it is gorgeous), or the museums and galleries which could fill weeks rather than the few days we had, but because I have been nursing a wonderful secret. I was going to meet Rhonda Buss!
I can’t remember how long I have been tossing comments and e-mails with Rhonda but it’s a long time. I have made up some of her patterns, enjoyed her recipes, and follow closely if she recommends a book or designer as she has so many great suggestions. Her inspiration posts are magnificent – I’m very much looking forward to being able to incorporate some of the ideas into my work once I retire from client sewing. Anyway, if you aren’t already familiar with Rhondas blog I can’t recommend it strongly enough.
I contacted Rhonda way back at the beginning of the year to say I was going to be visiting, and if she had time would it be possible for her to give us a couple of hours for a locals tour of the city. She was so nice, and came back with an immediate ‘yes!’. When the time came she did that, but so much more than I had anticipated.
Yes, we got to see the city – but from her Cessna aeroplane! The Management has been interested in planes since he was a little boy and was thrilled to have been taken to the airport that the plane is kept at – I don’t think he would have been upset if we hadn’t even got off the ground. Far from that, Rhonda gave us a lovely flight along Lake Michigan with fabulous views of the city. We had lunch at a Mexican restaurant in another airport before putting the plane to bed.
After that we were taken to a fabulous temple that TM had admired from the air – it was truly beautiful and very peaceful. Rhonda did recommend the gardens as being very pretty, which they were. We were then fortunate enough to be taken back to her home and introduced to Mr Buss and the dogs. Gracie welcomed us by charging round the garden at high speed whilst Little Bit was more restrained but no less delightful. It was a real privilege to meet the whole Buss family, and not one I had expected when I made my initial request. We enjoyed a drink and a chat before a real Chicago deep pan pizza. If you thought you had eaten one of these in the UK I have to tell you that you are sadly mistaken. This was absolutely wonderful! It’s probably just as well I don’t live in Chicago otherwise I would be twice the size.
Rhonda was featured in the latest issue of Sew News with her Ginger jeans,which she also did a blog post about. If I hadn’t made the Jeanius pattern that now serves me so well I would be trying that pattern for my Mood fabric.
We are home now with wonderful memories of a trip that would have been a good one, but turned out to be a great one as a result of meeting two wonderful people – whom I sincerely hope to meet again. Thank you again Rhonda and Mr Buss for giving myself and The Management such a day to remember!
It has been a little while since I knitted this but I found it whilst sorting my wardrobe and remembered that not only had I not blogged it but I had extra yarn which I meant to sell.
This pattern was bought from Ravelry, and whilst most of the versions shown were made in the recommended Rowan All Seasons Chunky there were others that looked very good in other yarns. I knitted this in the 3rd size, to give a bust size of 41.5″ to give a very little positive ease. The yarn was easy to knit with, but being very chunky was a bit challenging to join where needed.
My top took about 5.5 balls (so 6 needed was correct) and I’m not entirely certain what I had intended to make with this yarn originally but I have 4.5 balls left. This quantity is sufficient to make this top in the smallest size (Bust 33 1/4) which needs 4 balls, or possibly the next size (Bust 37 1/4″) which claims to need 5.
I will knit this top again as it is really comfortable, and as you can see from the photographs works well with and without a t-shirt underneath. I think it would look good in a slubby cotton to give a softer, less firm, garment. I could certainly reduce the hip increases for me when I make this again – I really have pathetic hips!
This yarn is selling on this site at £7.20 a ball on this site ( I think I paid about that when I bought it but can’t find the receipt). If anyone would be interested in buying this from me I would be happy to accept £15 (about 50% cost) + whatever it costs to post.
Let me know if you are interested.
While I was in London in June I visited Uniqlo on Oxford Street. I had long admired the clothes in magazines and thought that although they are probably targeted at a younger market they were very much my style – or a style I would like to have.
Anyway, I did come home with two dresses and a t-shirt tunic which I have worn loads and is frequently admired. I knew I wanted more of the tunics and I had a self drafted pattern which was not too far from what I wanted. It took longer to find the blessed pattern than it did to make the changes I wanted to turn it into a ‘Not quite Uniqlo top’! Once tracked down I think the pattern took about 1/2 an hour max.
The fabric I used was the gorgeous soft jersey I bought in Birmingham on my visit with Naomi. I
had bought 2 metres (at a massive £1 a metre – ridiculous price for a lovely jersey but I’m not complaining) and only needed a metre. The stripes (for there are stripes) were very thin and fairly subtle so I didn’t make too much effort to pattern match. Despite that they don’t look too bad – no-one but another sewer would even be looking!
I will make this again in another fabric – all I need to do to make it really good (IMHO) is to narrow the shoulders a bit to look more like the original and move the bust darts up a fraction.
Am I happy?
I was something of a tease in my last post – showing that picture and letting you guess. I have to say that some of the guesses were very inventive! No-one was quite right but Anne McClure was close.
A pleated skirt!
The picture on the left is from a Stylist magazine from ages ago. I (like many of you out there I imagine) have a whole pile of pictures ripped from various magazines and newspapers of looks I think I might like to recreate. Not all of them are ever going to see action but just occasionally a fabric jogs a mental image and I scuttle off to try and find the picture I’m thinking of. Not always easy.
Anyway, when I was in Birmingham with Fairy and Glenda I picked up this polyester taffeta fabric from the Barrys £2 per metre table. I knew I wanted it but wasn’t sure what for. When I got home it started to whisper to me and I ignored it for a while but eventually succumbed.
I sent the panels, which I had already roll hemmed, to Ciment pleating and they made a lovely job. It didn’t take too long to join the panels (if only I had thought of this skirt whilst I was at Barrys I could have bought enough to have had the fabric pleated in one piece – you learn through experience I suppose) and trim to the length I wanted. I did think briefly about an elasticated waist but went with the more attractive waistband. I fitted this late afternoon and there is definitely a bit of wiggle room there – it could probably be a little tighter but I will leave it for now.
I’m not entirely certain that a pleated skirt ‘is me’ at the moment – and certainly not styled with an orange vest! I’m thinking white shirt maybe? It’s so long since I wore skirts on a regular basis it feels odd to be in one, but now that I have seen that I can wear a skirt AND flat shoes I will try more out. I’m currently thinking about a half circle skirt although that may have been something to have done at the start of the summer.
So at the end of August (because this was finished in August, honest) I had made two shirts for The Management, the wonderful Fadanista Sneaky Shrug for me, and now this pleated skirt. The total fabric used in August was 8m – 2 more than I bought this month. Hurrah!
I had a lovely day in Birmingham a little while ago when I met Naomi from the Facebook Stashbusting group. She really wanted to see the pattern for Vogue 1258 which is now out of print but has become very popular. Naomi intended to draw the pattern out herself but by seeing the original was able to get a much better idea of how this dress went together. Since we were there it seemed rude not to go look at the fabric, wouldn’t you agree?
Anyway, despite both being ‘stashbusters’ we both came away with more fabric.
I bought the extra ‘penguin fabric I needed to make The Managements shirt, some striped green single knit jersey (not sure of the fibre composition), and some grey jersey with some stitch detail that makes ‘waves’ over the width of the fabric. I didn’t intend to buy any fabric (again) but this just whispered ‘Style Arc Toni’ from knee level and I had to buy it. Do you agree? I think it is perfect for a Toni.
Anyway, I have been pretty busy with other stuff and had little time to sew for myself but The Managements shirt is finished and declared a winner. He hasn’t tried it on yet but since the pattern is now looking a little shabby through the use it has had I know it will fit just fine.
I have a project for me on the table, all ready to go in the morning. I’m not going to tell you what it is yet but can you guess from this teaser picture?
Oh dear, we all knew it would happen one day. The Management had a significant birthday a little while back and I spent quite some time making suggestions for his gift. If you think back to the fairy tale of Rumplestiltskin with all the guesses at names you would be getting close to our house at that time. Anyway, almost as a joke I said I could make up the Bridget Riley ‘Nataraja’ picture he loved so much when we visited the Tate St Ives as the quilt I thought it could be way back then – and he said yes. Oh. My. Word. I haven’t done any quilting at all and he wants a quilt that would go on our bed. That’ll teach me.
Well, we went shopping and I allowed him to have a free hand in choosing the cottons. It was just as well I hadn’t chosen for him as I would have probably gone more true to the original picture – and I’m much happier with his choices despite them being very unexpected. Just look at the original!
It looks pretty straightforward at first – but look closely and you can see that not all of the colours are in single blocks, and not all of them stay in their own row. This could take a while.
In addition to that I would like some advice you quilting ladies out there. I would (where appropriate) pre wash my dressmaking fabrics but didn’t know if that was a good idea with quilting fabrics. The cotton stuff I got for the middle (the correct name escapes me entirely – you can tell I’m a quilting novice can’t you?) suggests that pre washing is optional but what is your experience?
As you can tell any help with this project is going to be very welcome. I can sew garments happily but this is entirely new to me. The only thing I know for certain is that this is a job for the old girls…..