Sunday, March 15, 2015

Planning My Sewing - Capsule Wardrobe

Does anyone plan their sewing?  Do they just see a pattern they like and jump into a project?  Is anyone else nervous about having a closet so full of clothes it will burst based purely on pattern love alone?

I've had quite the fun weekend of reading (and a little bit of work if I'm honest) and taken a weekend off from sewing.

Alongside this - I've been reading the Wardrobe Architect series on The Coletterie  as they look to pare down the wardrobes and create a set of garments that work as a set to be interchangeable and classic.


That is a word I really want to have define my wardrobe.

So after having a good read of Gok's book - defining some really classic pieces, having a look at my other new books (granted May Martin's is really a book about technique for me) - I'm going to have a good plan on my new wardrobe.

So what have I "narrowed" it down to?

  • 3 Classic White Blouses - 1 normal button up, 1 pussy bow, 1 sleeveless
  • 1 Classic Jean Shirt
  • Cigarette Trousers - 1 dark pair, 1 light coloured pair
  • Jeans - I've always been keen on skinny
  • Cardigan
  • 2 Blazers - 1 Dark/Black, 1 Light/Grey
  • Pencil Skirt
  • Full Skirt
  • Classic Tee
  • Dresses - Fit & Flare Dress, Wrap Dress, Button Down Dress
  • Classic Mac

Not too bad.  Now I need to "plan my sewing".  

Have a close look at what I want in my wardrobe versus the patterns I want/need.

Blouse Patterns

Granville blouse - Classic Button Up - Classic Jean Shirt too (in a lovely Chambray)

Cigarette Trousers

I've already got a great trouser pattern, Burda 7058


Well...come on guys...obvs this is going to be the Ginger Jeans.

Anyone who's looked on pretty much ANY sewing blog has probably seen something about these jeans, or possibly underpants...these things have become SUPER popular.


This may be a  category that remains blank for now - if anyone has any inspiration they want to pass on, I am happy to receive it.  I may also need to pick up my knitting needles/crochet hook and make my own, in a more, knitted/crochet manner.  Or I'll keep my eyes peeled on a lovely cardigan pattern that will make my heart sing.


I've got a couple of options on this one.  Two of my recent Burda magazines have lovely Blazer patterns in them

From the 3/2015 Magazine (though I wouldn't make it in any sort of animal print...)

Plus I've recently made the Cordova Jacket which I think would look good in some plain fabrics.

Pencil Skirt

I would have to be a fool if I didn't plan on making the lace pencil skirt included in the Fashion with Fabric book, wouldn't I?  I is a lovely look!

Full Skirt

Again, I have a few options for this one.  I might make a few plain coloured Delphine skirts, which can be found in Tilly & The Buttons book Love at First Stitch.

The best example is on the front of Tilly's book

I've also picked up The Hollyburn Skirt

Classic Tee

That is a lovely Raglan top, the one I have picked out.  SUPER duper cute.

This, I am imagining will come in one of two forms.

Another pattern that you can't read any blog out there and miss out on is the Linden. Now, I don't own this one yet, but I can see it becoming part of my stash of classic patterns.  It looks super cute.

The other item pattern I can see this being (at the moment), is the Coco Top, again, by Tilly (seriously look at the link, and just TELL me how cute her tops are).  I have 3 dresses in this same pattern (1 has been relegated as I mentioned before) to a "in-house" only category (sooo short, and I accidentally got a few drops of bleach on it..oops) - so really I feel like I have 2 presentable dresses from this pattern.

Anyway, it comes with a SUPER cute option to shorten it.  And shorten it I shall (eventually).


Well - I have a PLETHORA of patterns to choose from in this little category.  I am going to go down the route of a classic wrap dress FO SHO.  I mean, they are beautiful.  They hug a ladies curves, and hello - they are usually made from Jersey, can we say comfortable!

The book my lovely friend M bought for me has a classic wrap dress pattern in it.  Yeah it does.  That would be The Little Black Dress book in the picture above.  Yes please.

I also have a few (3) button down dresses to choose from in my pattern stash.  The one that probably takes top place is the McCalls 7084 Dress (apologies for the TERRIBLE picture I stole off the interwebs).

But what about the fit and flare dress?  Well.  I found a SUPER pattern.  By Sewaholic (again).  But its in knit fabric - again, how comfortable?!

Classic Mac

Undecided if I am going to delve into the waterproof outerwear makers department.  As such, I haven't necessarily kept my eyes open for any particular patterns.  I may need a think on this (or again, inspiration from the masses).

As you can see - I've created quite the list of work for myself.  But in making these things, I do believe I am making to create a beautiful lovely capsule wardrobe, that will remain classic and timeless.  Something I can enjoy for a long while.  And things I would really go out and purchase myself, if I didn't know I had it in me to make them.

I will keep posting as progress, but I think I am going to streamline my makes into making myself a lovely capsule classic wardrobe.

But do tell me, do you have anything that inspires you.  Do you have a driving force for sewing?  Has anyone thought of doing a capsule wardrobe sewn by themselves?  Or have I just been bitten by a Gok Wong/ Spring Cleaning bug?



Monday, March 9, 2015

Great Minds Think Alike - The Cordova Jacket

It's like I have sewing intuition!

I purchased the Cordova Jacket pattern a few weeks ago when The Sewaholic was having a weekend birthday sale.  A few days after I bought the pattern, I went and picked up some fabric (see the end picture of this post for proof) for what I pictured my Cordova would look like.

Well, after my trip to the Spring Knitting and Stitching show I settled in to watch Week 5 of The Great British Sewing Bee.  They were making items out of lace and leather.  Such hard technical fabrics!

But the leather item they were making was a jacket, and well, conveniently I already had a jacket pattern, fabric, and lining all ready to go!

I was going to post a picture of the pattern drawing - but it's got my measurements written ALL over it - and well - a lady never tells ;) (or something like that).

 But as the contestants all revealed their items, someones sewn up coat looked suspiciously familiar.  As it turns out Deborah and I had the same jacket taste, as her finished jacket was made from the Cordova Pattern.

Imagine that luck.  Doing my GBSB challenge, and having the very SAME pattern that Deborah was using!

The contestants were given a total of 6 hours to make the whole thing, and oh-my-gosh.  That is crazy.  Using the same pattern (granted not the same material) - it took me from roughly 11am until 9pm to make the damn thing.  Granted I went for a lunch break, made pancakes, had a sit down, and ate dinner, oh and skyped my parents all in between.  So maybe if we take away the eating, drinking, sitdowns, and skypes I could have finished.

I spent Saturday late afternoon/evening taping together the pattern pieces from the PDF, and then cutting out the fabric and lining.

I didn't fully realize how DULL my rotary blade was getting until I was cutting my lining fabric and it was like I was slicing with a pizza slicer, rolling over and over and pressing really hard.  Once I changed my blade, it cut through like warm butter (but made me more wary of my precious fingers).

Ooh - look - my purchase from the expo - I seriously love it so much.  Now I can actually SEE the threads I own.

Although I absolutely L.O.V.E my fabric choices (for the finished product) what a pain in the butt this fabric was.

I am fairly certain I will be picking up fluff and threads for the rest of my life!

Look at all the fray!

While at the expo I did learn a new trick/learned how to use one of the feet that came with my machine.  It is SUCH a fancy little tool.  The two bars in the middle of the foot create the super neat effect I need to ensure there is no unraveling of the fabric.

I set up my machine to Zig-Zag, moved the needle right over, and then popped that fancy foot on.  It works almost like an overlocker, and it will stop my fabric from fraying where it was cut/sewn.  Every time I sewed a seam, I switched foots, and did a zig-zag down the same stitch. 

Once I had all my seams all sewn up, I moved my stitch length to 4, and actually top stitched all my seams flat to the fabric.  That way they all lay flat.  Because my thread matched my fabric to absolute perfection, you can't see where I stitched.  Granted, this perfect matching made it impossible to pick out a seam I accidentally sewed.   Ugh... my eyesight!

Anyway - there is my classic floor shot - I am SUPER duper loving this little jacket.  It works perfect with my black pencil skirt for work, and will look darn cute with a pair of jeans.  This is a win-win-win for me.

And here's my obligatory bathroom work shot.  One day - I will get a camera and tripod to get some nicer photos.  But for now...these will do.


Friday, March 6, 2015

The Spring Knitting and Stitching Show

Have you ever tried to casually take a the public...outdoors...but inconspicuously.  I did.  I failed.
How embarrassing.  Excuse the pouty face.   This is me in front of the lovely sign for The Spring Knitting and Stitching Show which I traveled into London for (sigh, I still am not over my anxiety about going to London, I am such a small town girl).  I won the tickets through a competition on Scruffy Badger Time's blog (THANK YOU AGAIN!).  The day was SUCH a blast.  I messaged my good friend H to come along with me (my crafty friends are mostly based in Canada, but I knew H was the ideal gal to come along).

She is such a card!

Anyway, because we are such keen beans, we arrived at 10am so that we could go sign up for some workshops!  YAA LEARNING.  We signed up to two different ones, the sew your own lacy knickers workshop, and the sew a child's pinafore workshop.  I think we are in agreement when we say the Lacy Knicker workshop was our favourite.  We got to measure our hips, cut the pattern, cut the lace, cut the "gusset" (aka crotch) out of nice cotton jersey, and then motor on with our sewing.  The sewing machine wasn't too fancy so I got along just fine.  It was H's FIRST TIME EVER sewing something.  I was so proud of her.  And she was so chuffed with the outcome.  It took us a speedy little half hour to make it.

I also learned how to finish the edges using this fancy foot on a machine - and I know my machine has that foot.  

I also really want to start making my own undergarments.  A great way of keeping my sewing happening, but without bursting the seams of my closet!

So here are my pair of beautiful lacy knickers.  They are super duper cute.

And here's H & I being super dorks, and wearing our finished pants on our head.

We had a little bit of time to wander and gather in some of the different stalls.  So many stalls.  It was brain overload.  I did well out of the day, and didn't break the bank.  I subscribed for a new sewing magazine (to the joy of my husband), and purchased a bobbin storage container, and that is it!  The rest of the items I gathered were free gifts from the day.  I got a tote (from that magazine subscription), I made a little "leather" "feather" necklace (it is destined for a child to be in her dress up box, as we quickly got bored of this).  I also partially started crocheting a picture frame.

This was supposed to be an "in-show" craft you could do sitting at the booth.  Alas, it was missing the cardboard ring I am currently crafting around.  You needed a compass to make one (WHO seriously still owns a compass and a protractor these days, I know I certainly don't), so I just guessed and cut out my own ring.  Also - that took me a little while to start, so I am not entirely sure how anyone would want to sit at the booth and make it.  It was effort.

After lunch we partook in a quick class on how to make a child's pinafore dress.  Although I managed to finish my dress in the allotted time, this wasn't my absolute favourite class.  The machines we were using were SUPER fancy and SUPER digital.  But with no instruction manual.  So there were times where I just had to stop and wait for the instructor to tell me how to switch the stitches, or adjust the length of the stitch or adjust where the needle is.  I think because we were sat nearer to the rear of the class, and some of the newer keener beans were upfront, we got less attention.  As she spent a lot of time upfront hand-holding others, and so we got a little neglected.  Once I had some of the things figured out I was okay.  But H struggled, and I had to quickly finish her Hem for her.  I think because we spent so much time waiting on instruction on how to USE the machines, we really struggled.  Had we had more instruction on the machines, I'm confident H would have been able to finish her dress by herself, and would have felt less stressed about it.  

It was a downer, only because she felt so enthusiastic about sewing after the knicker session, but after the pinafore session she felt a little intimidated about sewing.  A real shame.

We decided to look around the stalls one last time before we left, as there was really just SO many things to look at.  

My friend C bought me a knitted taxidermy book for Christmas/My Birthday (pictured below) and I was thrilled to see the stall for it there too.  I haven't made anything from the book, as I really have no place to put a giant mounted moose head in my flat, but it was super fun to see them in real life.

There was also a knitted farm competition, which was super cute.

 And then they had this super cute, super fun Crochet Jungle.  There were tonnes of little monkeys hanging down from the vines.  And they were teaching people how to crochet on the chairs.  H sat down for a minute to try to learn, but it was a bit foreign for a left-hander.  She thinks she's going to stick to knitting and learning to sew for now.

I'm going to try to make a blazer this weekend (or maybe a new dress from one of my two new patterns).  We shall see!  Our landlords are selling our flat, and there's an open house on Saturday, so we are getting booted for part of the day, which tends to eat into my crafting time.  Boo.


p.s. Did anyone see The GBSB?!  I was so gutted to see the two people leaving again!  Ugh, I am getting attached to these little amateur sewers!  

p.p.s. It was so much fun going to a craft event, crafting all day, and then coming home to watch a crafting show...aaaaaaaamazing.