Challenge accepted – and met!

A long time ago (in a land far away…..) I joined a Stash busting Group on Facebook. Yes, I see the joke too. It hadn’t occurred to me that this would be so useful – and it also directed me to a group that were issuing Sewing Challenges. What better way to induce you to sew. I love a challenge!

So, back in January I joined a challenge – the SSW:Deep Stash Challenge. It seemed like a breeze to sew eight (yes, 8) garments from patterns bought before 31st December 2016 before the 30th April deadline. A mere two a month would be a piece of cake. Or so I thought before my gall bladder interfered so much.

I started strongly in January with the Fehr Trade VNA sports top and the self drafted warm ‘leggings/trousers’. The top was blogged here as my Jungle January garment but I never blogged the trousers. They were made from warm lycra from Funkifabrics bought an age ago and have been worn pretty much constantly since. I love these trousers, and the top has been worn for both yoga and running and I can heartily recommend it. I even managed to use Butterick 6388 for the first time.

February was OK too, I made up the Savage Coco Presto top as a dress, and also made the first incarnation of Butterick 6388 as a dress. Loved them both. Both patterns that had sat around a while, the Butterick unused until January and now a strong favourite in my wardrobe. Details here.

Although made in March (I’m pretty sure) the dresses I made next weren’t blogged until mid April. Yet another Butterick 6388 – didn’t I say it had become a firm favourite? – and Vogue 1410 by Lynn Mizono. Both now well established in my wardrobe (I have even cut out another Mizono for summer – ever the optimist!) and I seriously can’t work out what I had against wearing dresses for so long as it makes getting dressed a breeze. No trying to find matching bits. That truly appeals to my lazy side 🙂

Following this I got seriously slow and almost gave up on the challenge. We had the break in Cornwall, followed by a manic week clearing jobs before my surgery, and then a week recovering. And reading old blog posts, sorting through patterns, and making plans.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe sharp eyed among you might recognise these flowered ‘what nots’ as the garment The Management called ‘scrousers’. The pattern was from Patrones magazine and was first made in July last year (details here) and worn more than I expected. I decided that they needed to be shorter and have pockets this time.

Since the originals can be worn facing in either direction I didn’t want to lose that when I added pockets. Easy alteration to do – side panels make adding the pocket a very easy alteration. There is a (very) minor nod to current fashion by using a floral cotton from very deep stash for these. Nice to clear that away, and I know that when it is positively tropical here in July/August I’m ready . Stop sniggering – I told you I was an optimist.

I really thought I had given up after making six of the eight garments required to complete the challenge and then I saw Carolyns blog and another of her gorgeous makes from her Japanese pattern book collection. Back on the horse Hood!

Now Carolyn had adapted the last incarnation of the top she made but I knew I had that book (She Wears the Pants by Yuko Takada), knew I had taken it off the shelf frequently with the intention of making several of the garments inside, and had made precisely …..  none. Time to change that.

I really liked the Square Top (No. 11) and decided to make that first – although I had cut out the other top at the same time. The ability to wear it in two distinct ways appealed, and though I like it as a straightforward top it really is very square. The clue was in the name so I should have known. I will wear it like this but I think I prefer the way it can be buttoned up, turned around, and worn as a shrug. Magic!

The red striped top is the Top with Epaulettes (No.4 in the book) that I had been admiring on Carolyns blog. Why didn’t I make this earlier!!!!! I freaking LOVE this top. This will be worn to death (despite the fact that I look a bit ‘Where’s Wally’ in it) and will spawn lots of friends in my wardrobe.

So that’s it. I actually got to the end (and well done if you have too) and made all 8 garments needed in the time allowed. Just.

What have I taken away from the challenge? Get those unused blessed patterns out and start sewing woman!

So what about digging out a pattern you have been giving house room to and never made, or an old favourite that could replace one of the worn versions you made and love. You must have liked a pattern enough to stump up cash to buy it so off you go! Which pattern are you going to make? I have an idea which of mine you will be seeing soon.

Kim

 


Marching on

Yet again time has flown by without my noticing. March is a distant memory, and April is already well advanced – how come?!

I really have been sewing and knitting between just chilling and enjoying trips out with The Management. Evidence below.

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Firstly we have a really grotty photograph (why does flash make it look so bad?) of The Management wearing the shirt made from the fabric bought from Mood Fabrics in New York. I used the self drafted pattern which has been made multiple times now and is very easy for me to knock out. I struggled a bit to find buttons that worked on this fabric until I turned one of my stash buttons upside down and discovered that it was perfect. I even had enough of them. Score!

This has been worn on so many occasions now that I can confirm that it is (apparently) very comfortable, and washes like a dream. He claims that it is the most comfortable in his wardrobe so I must have got something right. If you have an amazing memory I did wonder who’s fabric would be made up first. His, but I have cut out my jeans from the pin striped denim. They are waiting in a queue at the moment.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Remember the Purl Soho Botanical Yoke sweater ? Finished, worn, and loved. How gorgeous is this? This version was made in  Drops cotton light and is perfect for right now but I really do want to knit another version in the recommended Cashmere and Merino mix. The actual yarn from Purl Soho is fabulous but I saw Colourmart in Shrewsbury mentioned in Kate from Fabrickateds blog and decided to check them out. Am I glad I did! I am lucky enough to live close enough to visit the unit they trade from and meet the lovely Sue. She showed me around in an attempt to find a yarn I liked but I got completely overwhelmed and had to come away just with samples to try before committing. I was even given a swift lesson in how to Navajo ply the yarn to bring it up to the thickness I needed. What service! The yarn I think I am going with is a very dark OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAblue, almost black, wool/cashmere mix which will need to be knitted using my new knowledge. Now that I know about Colourmart, and know I can collect orders from them if I am visiting Shrewsbury (and let’s face it – I can think of many excuses to do that!), I will definitely be using their services. Thanks Kate for drawing them to my attention. I even got this finished before The Management and I managed to sneak away to Cornwall for a week. Doesn’t it look good by the sea? (I ask because I want to go back again. And again..) The bucket hats I made from Rhondas blog got good use in the sunshine that week too 🙂 . The jumper was perfect because although the sun was shining magnificently there was a chill in the breeze. Well it is just April!

 

There has been sewing  too. I saw the lovely Demented Fairy  in Birmingham wearing this  Lynne Mizono Vogue 1410 pattern dress and knew I had to have it!

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In my last post I showed some fabrics I had bought from Barrys bargain table. This grey was on there, and was described as ottoman but I didn’t get the exact fibre composition. There is a lot of stretch along the length of the fabric, and the stripes went across the width. I decided I preferred it turned sideways and there didn’t seem to be any reason why I shouldn’t. The pattern is very simple but I took issue with the idea that the neckline and armholes should just be turned and stitched so I used a self bias tape to neaten and finish them. I’m very happy with the result despite feeling like a dwarf after taking 5″ out from the length! The Management likes this too so there are certainly more in my future.

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I made another version of Butterick 6388 , again dress length. You might recognise this as a piece from the last Birmingham trip too. This was a sample piece from the jersey stall that had a whopping great hole in the middle. I wasn’t certain this would fit from the piece but I managed to squeak it out. Again, I have worn this multiple times since I finished it. I put a very fine knitted interfacing into the collar this time as the others weren’t standing quite as as wanted them to. I’m much happier now. I think this piece cost me about £4 so I think I have a very good value dress now – only the thread and interfacing to add to that cost and that must have been pennies. Although we are now (allegedly) into Spring here in the UK I can imagine I will still get a bit more use out of this before it gets too warm.

Well I managed to actually make up two of the six pieces of fabric I bought in Birmingham before I went back and was led totally astray again by Fairy. Look at this lot! We did have another lovely day and it seemed rude not to join in the fabric buying. There is so much there that I’m not going to show it all this time – but I do promise to post again soon so you can see my treasure!
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I have pre-washed all of this now so it is ready to use, I even have an idea of how I am going to use some of it. Whisper it but there is in excess of 12m in there. Well in excess. Oh my.

Till next time.

Kim

 


Orange jacket/waistcoat

…or vest if you are American.

I have been thinking about what I wanted to  make with both the orange felted wool and brown merino jersey for long enough now. I have probably overthought the whole enterprise, which seems to be a common problem Chez Hood right now.

The main problem I have is that there is barely 140cm of the orange cloth (after washing) and I have spent ages convincing myself I can’t do what I want with that much. Rubbish. I’m planning to self draft this pattern so I can make sure it fits the fabric available. Within reason.

The other problem is that I can’t decide between two options. Think donkey between carrots. Yeah, that would be me at the moment and it isn’t going to get any better until I just get on with something!

Option 1.

Boiled wool waistcoat

Waistcoat by Poetry

All Ssaints jacket

All Saints Waistcoat – open

All saints Jacket 2

All Saints Waistcoat – closed

All of the pictures of waistcoats shown really appeal. The Poetry waistcoat has been in my ‘I like this’ pile of pictures for an age. I can’t even remember when I put the booklet on the heap. *sigh* . The All Saints version is a prettier version in my opinion – but I still can’t decide which I prefer. I know I want to have pockets, it would be useful to be able to close against the wind/weather, I don’t want it to look too voluminous, and I want to be able to layer garments with it. What would probably happen is a hybrid version with the sections I like best from both.

Option 2.

  I thought a neater, more ‘jackety’ option may be more useful – a bit like the Marcy Tilton Vogue 8430. Not necessarily a real ‘jacket’ but something edging that way.

I also liked the yellow Vogue 8932.V8932, Misses' Jacket and VestV8932, Misses' Jacket and Vest

Check out that back detail – and it could be made sleeveless. Sadly I can’t currently think of a sensible pocket option. Not something to kill the option but I would have liked a pocket.

I’m going to start drawing the pattern for these garments and then just make a start. They aren’t so different so I may find that part way through I will make a final decision. I think I may be leaning towards the Yellow jacket, but after a cup of tea who knows. Any suggestions/preferences might be helpful – feel free to give opinions again.

 

I have (I think) decided to re-stash the brown merino for now. There are a number of things i would like to do and I am starting to feel a bit bogged down. I really need to clear a couple of projects to loosen a mental ‘log jam’. Does anyone else find this happens to them?

 


Another one of those?

Yes, sorry. I have been seduced by the alice+olivia Vogue 1261 again. I am sad to say that my ‘happy top’ has been worn almost to extinction and really needed a replacement. This time I decided to make view B, which is the one with the cowl and set in rather than raglan sleeves. It is still pretty cold here in the UK and I wanted something to wear right now.

Vogue 1261 - View B

Vogue 1261 – View B

After a quick trawl through my stash I came across what can only be called jersey ‘stuff’ which I can remember buying in Birmingham Rag Market for very little money. It is nice and soft, but a little firmer than the fabric I used for the previous incarnations of this top. I would guess it is a cotton or viscose, but with those painted lines it would be impossible to do a burn test!

This was a very quick project, and as I had made view A , ahem, several times before I just went ahead and sewed from start to finish without trying on. I narrowed the sleeves as before though I could probably have left a little more ease in this firmer fabric. It also appears to be a little shorter (probably not ‘dropping’ in the same way as the others) but I am quite happy. As this fabric is plain black on the inside I sewed the cowl with the right side to wrong side at the neckline seam so that the patterned side would be outside when I finished. The plain black does show a bit unless you spend some time organising the cowl so if I was making this again I would aim for a fabric that was OK to be seen on both sides.

I am pretty happy with this, but will be looking out for another top to make. I have a number of t-shirts that appear to be nearing the end of their lives. Why do they all die at once?

Lucky find!

I was in a Charity Shop recently and happened to spot a small, green box out the corner of my eye. That isn’t a ?…..is it ?…..buy it now Kim!

Lucky me! A Singer box!

Lucky me! A Singer box!

An old Singer box! I lifted the lid with some trepidation as it was labelled ‘spares’ but inside discovered a little huddle of machine feet and a couple of bobbins.

Five Singer feet and other bits.

Five Singer feet and other bits.

For £5 I have got a Ruffler,  a binding foot, a rolled hem foot, an edge stitching/zipper foot, and another foot with a single hole in the middle (no other distinguishing features). There is also a seam guide and two metal bobbins. How happy am I?! I think all of these will fit Molly, although with one hand winding I may find myself struggling to manipulate all that I need to with some of these feet. I have photographed the only foot I can’t identify on its own. Any ideas anyone?

Mystery Foot

Mystery Foot

Mystery Foot

Mystery Foot


Make do and mend

I hadn’t realised how long it has been since I posted. Please accept my apologies – I have been working on clearing ‘that pile’ of odd garments that we all seem to have which we intend to try and make more wearable. I may have managed with some of these but I will leave you to decide.

Slightly sloppy sleeve

Slightly sloppy sleeve

Nicer narrowed

Nicer narrowed

I decided to make a start with this blue top that I ‘Quite liked’ but never really picked out to wear. After some deliberation I decided that  the problem was the sleeve – it just felt a bit ‘baggy’ and carried on into the underarm. The fabric was not expensive so I was very happy to just run the sleeve through the overlocker  to narrow it , continuing a little way into the body side seam. Better I think. This top was from Burda magazine (10/2008) and whilst I quite like it I remember making an adjustment to tighten up the front neckline (to make it a bit more modest I think). In retrospect this really wasn’t necessary.

Rear view - and those leggings!

Rear view – and those leggings!

Tunic length - and Vogue 1214 leggings.

Tunic length – and Vogue 1214 leggings.

I pulled out a dress in a fabulously bright (not what The Management called it!) cotton jersey. This was also from Burda 10/2008 – the magazine obviously hit a chord with me that month. I know this pattern is available on the Burda site to download and have seen some other versions blogged fairly recently. I love this dress. It would have been nice to have had a picture when it was a dress but I forgot that. Why wasn’t it worn? No idea. I have another version in purple crushed velvet which is my ‘go to’ dress for winter. Anyway, as so many of my tops and t-shirts seem to be looking a bit sad I decided to convert this dress to tunic length. The hem is now about 24cm shorter than it was and I think I will probably wear it more now  (that will make ‘him’ happy!).

You might also notice the black leggings. Yes, they are the black Vogue 1214 leggings from the last post. I took the thigh seam in about an inch and graduated that to about 1cm (anyone else choose metric or imperial depending on whichever suits the purpose rather than sticking to one?) at the ankle. I had to go into the crotch seam a little but not significantly to do this so the body is almost as it was. I did however add elastic into the band around the waist. It is a nice deep band, and I am sure it would have been just fine to hold the leggings up, but I’m a bit of a wuss and wanted the security of that elastic! I think I like these now – but I have bought the Papercut pattern that seems to be well regarded so I will try that next time.

Yes - I really liked this pattern!

Yes – I really liked this pattern!

I liked the adaption to the loud colourful dress so much I decided to shorten another from the pile. This is a polyester jersey that I bought from Birmingham – I can’t think why particularly but I do like it. And the pattern. So, another tunic.

The next victim was a dress I made last year. This is Vogue 1027, and I really liked this when I first made it but it never felt quite right. The bust/waist ratio never felt quite right when I was wearing it. I was pretty upset about this – I thought I had found a real gem to make again and again. Maybe I am just not a dress sort of a gal. Or not the ones I have been choosing. Scissors at the ready, and now it is a skirt – with pockets. Don’t you just love pockets to swing in?

Vogue 1027

Bessie models 1027

Pockets in skirts are great!

Pockets in skirts are great!

I suspect it may get more ‘outings’ now that it is a skirt but I would still love to find that elusive dress that would make my wardrobe sing. I love the idea of dresses  even though I am not a ‘girly girl’ . Maybe this on was too full skirted. Maybe there is just too much me. I am not going to get upset about the previous mistakes as I think you have to try new things out to have a wonderful surprise from time to time.

I have also been knitting – and that Kim Hargreaves sweater is almost finished now. I think that will probably get a bit more attention to get it to the finish line! What it really needs is a pair of smart trousers to go with it …..

Back soon. I promise.


Vogue 1214 – Not quite right.

I’m not entirely happy at the moment. I have worked on the Alice+Olivia vest/waistcoat this week and got almost to finished. For some strange reason I decided to try it on again yesterday after the lining was almost completely in place. And something is not quite right. I can’t decide what I am not happy with (because I still like the basic garment) – but something is just ‘off’. Darn. I split the front piece and made a princess seam to make a FBA. Maybe this made it wrong. Or it could be that I have added a bit too much allowance for my thick waist. As the whole thing is within an ace of being finished, and is top-stitched to blazes, I am going to put it away quietly for a week or two (not too long or it will become a UFO!) and come back to it fresh. I have photographs but the stripe in the fabric looks a bit weird on them. Sorry.

Vogue 1214

Front – not as bad as this on me – but bad.

Vogue 1214

Side view – what can I say?

Vogue 1214

Back – A bit ‘baggy’ and maybe too long?

I really do think the best thing I can do at present is walk away from this project.

Patrones 318

But there is good news! My dear friends G & H came back from Spain and brought me a new Patrones magazine (Number 318). There are a number of things that are very appealing in this magazine and it would be very easy to just decide to run away with another project. (Can you hear another ‘but’ coming?)

Patrones 318

Patrones 318

Patrones 318

I have decided to edit my wardrobe before I do any more sewing for myself. I know that there are some howling gaps in there but I really do need to get everything out into daylight, try on everything, and be really ruthless about what stays. In common with most of the population (according to the popular press) I wear about half of my clothes and the rest seem to be in the cupboards/drawers as insulation. Got to stop. We people who sew are lucky to be able to create exactly what we want/need. In my case I just need to be a lot more disciplined! Over the next few days I will start making a list and going through the stash to see what will fill the gaps.

Patrones Cape

Patrones Cape

One of the things I have been lusting after for some little while (and the weather here in Worcestershire is now just right for it) is a cape. I like both of these capes although they are quite different in character. I think I am leaning slightly toward the shorter, more casual, Patrones version but I am still concerned that I may end up looking like Batman’s elderly Auntie. Any suggestions?

Burda Cape

Burda Cap


Sew slow!

I can’t believe how slowly Vogue 1214 is coming along. I haven’t been faithful to my ’30 minutes for me’ time – and doesn’t it show. The back and fronts are made – but not sewn together. The lining is cut out – but not sewn. The pieces that need to be interfaced are still waiting. Really not very good progress at all! And yet I like it so far (despite having sewn one of  the back godets in twice as the stripes were going in different directions).

Vogue 1214

Still in bits – but I like it!

I did look at the different comments on Pattern review about this particular pattern and was very amused to see the godets referred to as ‘Mud flaps’ in one of the reviews! Tee hee! General opinion seemed to be mixed about how good/bad they were – but I like them so they are staying. I hope to be able to get this finished this week. I get bored if I spend too long on a garment so I don’t want this to suffer that fate.

One of the reasons I have been so slow on this was I visited my darling daughter in London this weekend. I took the opportunity to visit the V&A (again!) to see the Ballgowns exhibition they have a t the moment – I thought it was well worth going to see. I bought the book as you weren’t allowed to take photographs so I am able to enjoy them all over again. There was also a display in the gallery with the wrought iron in (on the third floor I think) of garments inspired by Armour  I will post about that separately. This  trip was mainly to support my daughter in what was her second half marathon at the Royal Parks Half Marathon – she did the first last week in Ealing. It was never the intention to do a marathon with a rest in the middle but she did just that – and did it very well finishing both in under 2 hours 15 minutes. Pardon the gloat but I am one very proud mother.  Check out the medals!

Doing it by halves

Two half marathon medals – Well done DD!