Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Admin top

So I have finally managed to do some sewing this week, and have started putting together the top for work from the Burda pattern I talked about in my earlier post. I've called it 'Admin' as I reckon this one will be confined to wear in the office. So the fabric I'm making this from is a sort of creased stretchy crepe - the photo here isn't great but you can probably see it looks all wavy, sort of like stone. It has a LOT of stretch widthways (from selvedge to selvedge - is that widthways?!) and not much lengthways, which has made it really awkward to mark, cut pin and sew (more on that in a second). I have been using a lot of pins...

The pattern is made of four basic pieces - front (cut on the fold), back left, back right and a bit for the collar. The first thing to do was to sew the shoulder seams (ie front to back right and front to back left), which I did on my machine and then neatened the edges with my overlocker.

I should have thought ahead that of course the stretchiness of the fabric would likely mean some adjustments to the settings on the overlocker... after I'd done the first shoulder I realised, and twiddled one of the knobs on the side to try and
stop it stretching the fabric out so much. You can see the first seam at the bottom of the pic, and the second at the top. The second seam is far from perfect but much better than the first. Practice makes perfect I guess! Once I'd done the shoulder seams, I neatened to edges of each centre back pieces and then sewed them together, pressing the seams open. The next tricky bit was the collar - mainly because of the floppy fabric.... it has rouleaux loops to fasten at the back and pinning and stitching those was really hard. It also requires hand finishing - the collar piece is an oblong folded over, with the rouleaux loops sandwiched between the short ends, and the inside of the collar stitched to the seam line of the front side of the fold (does that make sense?!). Anyway, I've pinned that and the hand sewing shall have to wait for another day...

I'll post more pictures when I'm done :-)

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Happy birthday to me!

Today is my birthday! Another year older, not so sure about the wiser bit... Anyway, out for supper to my favourite restaurant tonight with my lovely finance which should be awesome.

What about the sewing, I hear you say. Well, I recently received in the post a Burda pattern I ordered ages ago but which was out of stock - pattern 7576. It has a simple top similar to those I mentioned in my previous posts here and here, but appeared to be a bit less complicated (and at the time I couldn't be bothered with tracing out the free Burda patters from the magazine...). It actually only has three main pattern pieces - woo hoo. I have cut it out in a sort of crinkle crepe in black which I got on sale in Peter Jones (mental note - crinkly fabrics = annoying to cut), with the idea of wearing it for work. Is it just me, or does getting the fabric ready, pinning the pattern and cutting it out take ages?! I think I might be particularly slow...
We are away this weekend for our first of two engagement parties so won't get to do any sewing, but am hoping to finish it next week; need to have done a bit of sewing before my course starts next Saturday! Speaking of which I need to make sure I have all the bits and pieces I am supposed to have on my first day - scissors, rulers, chalk... think I have most of it but might give me an excuse to buy some new sewing stuff. Really hope I'm not too out of my depth....

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Fab fifties

It seems that fifties fashion is back - AWESOME! Maybe my most favourite fashion period. This month's Burda magazine has a feature on 50s inspired clothes, and I already have quite a few vintage patterns waiting to be made up... in fact Jackie was based on a 1950s stle pattern. I love the fitted bodice and wide skirt style - so flattering (as long as the skirt is the right length of course!), though I'm not sure I'd go FULL 50s and wear the full petticoat / crinoline, it looks gorgeous. Again, born fifty years too late (I reckon nicest to be in your early twenties in the fifties to make the most of the gorgeous clothes!). On that note, we have just started watching the first series of MadMen, the series from the US about advertising in 1950s Manhattan. It's AWESOME. Not least the clothes. Office politics in those days... wowzers. Anyway, work wardrobe then was great. Pencil skirts, silky blouses, tight tops, 3/4 jackets. So flattering. Which brings me onto my next project I think - the skirt and blouse from August's burda issue, and maybe a second frilly blouse. They both look fairly easy, and the blouses both have sleeves (eeek!) but as they're not set in they probably don't count for my Virgin Sleeve Challenge...

Wondering whether I need to bother making a toile of the top or whether it is easy enough for me to just crack on... hopefully the latter, although I don't have any chiffon-y type fabric (though I do have some spotty satin stuff which might pretty cool for the one without the frill). Wonder if chiffon-y fabric will be hard to sew with... and cut out... maybe I will try and get to Goldhawk Road on Saturday morning.

Roll on the weekend - maybe I might actually get some sewing done, wedmin appears to have taken over (churches booked: 0, venues booked: 0, guest lists finalised: 0, minutes spent awake in the dead of night worrying about foregoing lack of progress: too sleep deprived to remember).

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Chanel, you say?

As my bonus this year did not stretch to a Chanel suit (dammit), I have been dreaming about attempting to make a Chanel-style jacket. Given that I am yet to sew anything with sleeves, this might be a little ambitious. Discouraged? Not I. Not yet, anyway.

I stumbled upon this Chanel jacket sew-along blog today which looks to have some cool resources. Perhaps this could be my project for sew school... or perhaps GIVEN I HAVE NEVER SEWN ANYTHING WITH SLEEVES that would be just a little too ambitious..?

New look!

So... I was getting fed up with the rubbishness of my blog template, and found an awesome site called Hot Bliggety Blog, which claims to be "the best free blogger backgrounds site on the entire interwebular planet. No exaggeration", and I think they might be right. Thanks to them for the lush background. The new header I managed (after much faffing) to make myself which watching back-to-back Hollyoaks this evening, using Gimp which is an awesome free image editing program. Rock on free stuff! On my wander through the interweb tonight I also stumbled across a site called DryIcons which has some great free graphics. Though I haven't had a chance to use any yet, some of them are well lush.

So - whaddya think of the new look??

I am REALLY REALLY hoping to (i) finish hemming the black work dress which has been hanging in the study trailing thread since the beginning of August now, and (ii) start on the
skirt I posted about here. My Saturday course at the London College of Fashion starts in a few weeks and at this rate, on my first day it's going to have been months since I last sewed! I am already worried the course I have signed up for is going to be too advanced for me... well, watch this space.

The picture for today's post was taken when I walked to the tube station yesterday - first
autumn leaves on the ground. I absolutely love the autumn; crisp sunny days, memories of Micahelmas term and being all wrapped up outdoors. My favourite season.

Monday, 7 September 2009

General malaise, wedding dresses and sewing stuff

So a particularly long (given we is in a recession, innit) and arduous day at work today, such that I am writing this while on my way home on the tube (note environmental friendliness AND recession-busting nature of my choice to take public transport home instead of spenny cab on The Firm!*) and listening to Dido.

So now I am engaged, and getting married in what is rapidly becoming the really much-nearer-than-I-thought future, I have turned my attention to The Most Fun Part. Yes, that's right. The Dress.

Obviously, as is natural and right, I have over the past few years spent the odd ten minutes browsing bridal web sites. Nothing parochial of course, Oscar de la Renta and Vera Wang all the way. But Looking With Intent is oh so different. However, I am worried my search may be fraught with the terror of not finding The Dress for reasons I will now explain.

I have made some appointments with the obvious choices for a fashion forward bride (Pronovias at Harrods, Vera Wang at Selfridges, Sassi Holford and Browns Bride) for early October. I had found an absolutely stunning Oscar de la Renta dress - pic left - and called
Browns Bride to see if they have that dress to try on when I come (it is from the Spring 2008 collection). They don't have it in, the lady says. Gutted.They can ship it in however. Hooray! It will cost £150 to ship it over. Meh - not too bad I guess, given how truly stunning the dress is. The dress, the lady almost casually adds, is £12,000. F#%*. Wasn't expecting that. I am exceptionally lucky to have a substantial budget for The Dress, but £12,000 is sadly well above it.

Not to worry I think, there must be others. Cue Caelum from the Elie by Elie Saab range on the Pronovias site. Pic to the right. Lush. So again, I call the lady at Harrods to ask if I can try it when I comefor my appointment. Aah, she says. The spring 2010 Saab dresses don't come in to us until November. GAGH. That would be leaving it pretty late for a March wedding. Out of curiosity, how much is it, I say.

£7,200, she says.


Still, suppose that is at least substantially closer to my budget than the ODR delight. But still over...

Must. Reign. Self. In.

Really hope I find something I love and which is within budget... these two are so gorgeous!

*Choice may also be entirely to do with fact it's quicker at this time to get the tube...

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