Saturday, 23 April 2011

Here comes the sun

We are having a week of lovely weather in the UK so this short sleeved top is finished just in time.

I used pattern number 113 from the April 2011 edition of Burda magazine.   I wanted something easy to make and this did the trick.  

A couple of weeks ago I looked through the Yellow Pages to see if I could find other dress fabric shops near me.  I found one in Reepham Road, Norwich.  It was a wonderful shop in a small, very old fashioned looking shopping centre.  It was more like an indoor market than a shopping centre and I was practically the only shopper in the whole place on the Saturday afternoon I went.  This fabric immediately caught my eye together with a red linen next to it so I bagged them both.  This fabric wasn't labelled and the woman said it was viscose.   I know from wikipedia that this is a man made fibre which is also called rayon.   The term rayon doesn't seem to be used much in the UK (at least in the fabric shops I've been to).  Tasia recommended rayon for the Pendrell blouse and I can see why.  It's soft and drapey and perfect for a blouse.

I didn't have any major mishaps with this blouse and it was easy to make.  I got a bit confused about the facings.  I added a seam allowance to the facings pattern piece but I wasn't sure if you had too.  The fabric was too soft for a facing so I ended up removing the seam allowance from the facing and incorporating it into the bias binding.  I lengthened the top so I could tuck it in but I think the top would work well cropped just below the waist so that it can just be worn loose over a skirt, jeans etc.

I am wearing it with an old H&M skirt I have which gives the outfit a more casual look.   I was gardening in this skirt earlier in the year so the top has rescued the skirt from that fate!

I have gone from a straightforward project to a very difficult one which I am working on at the moment.  It is fair to say I am having problems with it.   I really want it to work so I will be looking at more tutorials on the subject today.

Happy sewing.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

What we wore

I love looking at old photos especially photos with people in.   It doesn't matter if they are family photos, people I don't know or famous people.   I will look at them all - anything from a different era will do.  They don't even have to be that ancient - pictures from the 1990s are interesting.  I love seeing what was worn in the pictures and scanning all the background details like the car in the background or ornaments on a shelf.  (I always make sure I photograph my cars now, something I wish I had done with my first car - a black mini and my trusted Fiat Uno that I drove for years!).

Which brings me onto the term "vintage clothing".  The wiki definition of vintage clothing is anything from the 1920s to the 1980s.  I have also seen it defined as anything over at least 15 years old.   Anything before the 1920s is antique clothing.

With that definition in mind I thought I would share some of the "vintage clothing" that I have knocking around.  There won't be many posts on this as my bag of vintage clothing is very small.  It didn't occur to me to keep a larger selection of clothing to look back on in the future.  It is weird to think that some of these items are considered vintage, especially things like T shirts that I knocked about in on the beach.

First up is something my mum wore.

This is a floor length corduroy skirt and a purple top dating from the early 1970s.  I don't know what material the top is but it is very crinkly and stretchy.   The skirt doesn't have a label (except for a dry clean only one) and the top is from Etam.   I remember shopping at Etam.   Thanks to wikipedia I now know that this shop disappeared from the High Street in August 2005 (see wikipedia link).  It used to be Tammy Girl and then Tammy.  I must admit I thought Etam had morphed into River Island.  Apparently not.  River Island used to be Chelsea Girl until 1988 (see wikipedia link).   I do remember Chelsea Girl and the switchover to River Island, often described as a more upmarket Chelsea Girl.

I remember my mum wearing this to dinner parties in the 1970s.  She must have been teeny - I can't get the skirt past my thighs now.  I did wear this outfit to two fancy dress parties in the 1990s and even then I was struggling to get into it.   I remember at the second party there were other people wearing Abigail's Party type flared jumpsuits as 1970s clothing, an obvious pastiche of that style.  I had to explain that these were actual 1970s clothes in case people thought I wasn't dressing up!

On to other news.   I bought a wonderful sewing book by Alison Smith:

I used Karen's method for book buying (from Did You Make That) to good effect.  I browsed the book in my local store where the cover price was £25 and then ordered it from Amazon for £14.39.  I did buy the Vogue book of sewing a couple of months back but I felt I needed a few more visual step by step guides like this:

I have developed a fondness for burda magazine patterns (I am working on a burda top at the moment) but the instructions are atrocious.  I want to make a skirt from the magazine with pockets and I didn't want to start doing something like that without more visual aids so I decided to splash out on the book.  I can't wait to begin using the book in practice!

Happy Saturday everyone.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Burda Wrap Top

I have now finished my Burda wrap top.  Without further ado here are the photos:

I used a pattern from the January 2011 issue of Burda.  I downloaded the pattern from the Burdastyle website here

I used blue wool jersey so the top is nice and warm.  The fabric was all joined in a tube when I bought it so I had to cut it open.  I used a size 16 ballpoint needle.  This is the first time I have used a ballpoint needle for a jersey project and it was really effective.  I did break one needle but that was when I was using my overcast foot to finish the edges.   I have broken a lot of needles using this foot to finish the edges.

I used the same size pattern as my Burda jersey top so I thought I would be OK using the same size for this.   Wrong!  The shoulders and arm holes were huge which I didn't find out until I had sewn on the sleeves.  If I was after an 80s look with huge shoulder pads I would have been fine.   I ended up taking in the sleeves another 1.5 cm all around.   I lost the same amount at the top of the side seams, tapering into the waist.

The instructions were unfathomable in places and so I ended up winging a lot of it.  This appears to be a common complaint with Burda patterns.  I wonder whether something is getting lost in translation from German?   I would like to make the top again and it would be nice to be able to be able to follow all the instructions.

I have worn this top a lot since I made it.   I haven't found any more wool jersey to make another one but as soon as I see some I will snap it up to make another one of these tops.

Friday, 1 April 2011

My Fabric Friday for April

As mentioned in this post I have set myself a mini challenge to try and wear at least one handmade item to work on Dress Down Friday which happens once a month.   I wore my Take two Jersey top to work today with jeans.  Here is a photo:

This is the first time I have worn it (other than trying it on or taking photos in it) and I have to say I love it.  It is the perfect top for jeans.  The material is so lovely and soft that I was finding it hard not to stroke the arms.  It was so comfortable.  It makes such a difference wearing a top or cardigan that actually covers all my arms and is a decent length.   I originally wondered if the two fabric colours might look a bit like "two bits of fabric sewn together just to use them up" (which of course it was).    Well I don't think so at all.  I think the black strip is cut just in the right place to add an interesting detail.

On to other news.   My Crescent skirt pattern has arrived and Tasia from Sewaholic has announced a Crescent Sew-a-long starting on 14 April 2011.  Hurrah!

I was inspired by Angela Kane's beginner's knitting video here to try my hand at making a scarf.   I've even bought some knitting needles and wool:

I have knitted before but I haven't knitted anything since about 1983.  I am able to pinpoint the year because the last thing I tried to knit was a jumper for my cousin's baby who was born in November 1982.  I got as far as the front panel!  Little Katie (named after me!) now has a baby of her own.

I read this hilarious post about a UFO (unfinished object) knitted scarf.  I am not expecting to fare much better than Portia but I'll have fun trying.

Happy sewing everyone.