Saturday, 30 October 2010
Firstly thank you so much for the wonderful book suggestions in the comments to my last post - I've so enjoyed finding out more about them on Amazon.
Above is a photo that I took of one of the cats and Zebra-girl's bear in fashionista-mode last week, during our Herbie-watching marathon. The cats loved our unfamiliar sedentary pace of life and happily lolled about on the sofas near us making themselves look as strokeable as possible.
Thursday, 28 October 2010
The pinks and greens made me happy each time I went to the sink that day, until they were put into the fridge to preserve the freshness that will later be used to set people's mouths on fire.
One of my small ones has been poorly for the last couple of weeks...we finally decided that rather than continuing to plough on doing lots of things and hoping that she'd get better, we would instead go into hibernation to allow for complete rest. With the heating up high, and a box-set of Herbie films, we have spent a lot of time snuggling under blankets and generally lounging about. I have been itching to knit - such a sociable, portable, sofa-bound activity, but couldn't find any of the knitting needles or wool that I know I have squirrelled away somewhere. So I occupied my fingers with some hand-sewing, finally using the Sashiko threads that my husband bought me for my birthday several months ago.
It all became easier when it finally sank in that with sashiko one moves the fabric on to the needle and not the needle through the fabric...it seems counter-intuitive, but it's amazing how much more this way of doing things regulates the stitches to become more even. However, it's somehow an activity that fails to feel completely absorbing to me...and I'm still wanting to have another attempt at knitting (this time armed with the Simple Knitting book that I reviewed back in June).
I shall be back soon, to share the sewing that I've been doing in the evenings, but for now we continue to enjoy being toasty indoors and working our way through a stack of Micheal Morpurgo books. Have you read any of his books? He writes stunning children's fiction - by far the best we've ever read - he has a huge back catalogue, but our favourites so far would be Why the Whales Came and Cool!. He writes about people, animals, tragedy and the way the world is with utter kindness and sensitivity, tackling subjects that one wouldn't immediately think it's possible to write about for a six and nine year old. When Mr Teacakes reads them aloud to us all every evening we both invariably end up blinking away tears, while the children are left pleading for just one more chapter.
I'd love any book recommendations that you might have (adults or children's) - it's such a treat to discover unfamiliar authors whose writing is so completely wonderful.
Wishing you a happy half-term,
Thursday, 21 October 2010
I just wanted to say thank you so much to the great many of you who took the time to share your opinions on the poll that I put up on yesterday's post about sewing patterns (it's still running, if you want to add to it) - I'm so appreciative of your help. Thank you.
I've started remaking the skirt (and hopefully next week the dress) to try and crystallise which might be a best first pattern for me to write (the summer blouse was lagging far behind, so I've put that to one side for the moment) and to try and start pinning down the pattern a little more. As you can imagine, this is a trying and awful thing to have to do as it means that I will end up with more clothes. Oh no! I have reworked the details on the skirt pattern a little - taken some things out that weren't quite working for me and added in other things that I think would be nice things to include. This photo is of the inside of the skirt (doesn't the corduroy look horrible from this side...it's really much more lovely on the outer side) - it's spending time on these details that really delights me and ones that I'd hope to include in a pattern. The skirt has bound seams and a hem faced inside with a thick band of colour: a geometric print from Joel Dewberry's Modern Meadow range - purchased from an online shop that's new to me - River Fabrics - they carry a relatively small selection of fabrics, but happily, stock colourways of the Modern Meadow range that I haven't been able to find anywhere else in the UK. Hurrah!
* In answer to a couple of suggestions with sizing that were raised in the comments section of my last post: any pattern that I wrote would be available in a range of sizes and, I'm thinking, designed for a slightly more average height than I stand at, to avoid people making a belt rather than a skirt. When I originally designed both the dress and skirt I created them with darts at the bust or the waist to accommodate my curves and to improve the fit - these darts would increase in size proportionately over the sizing range to (hopefully) continue to offer a good fit for an increasingly curvy figure. After grading (the process of drafting a pattern in different sizes), I would then make some samples up to double check. Thank you so much for raising this - it's good to have things to keep in mind as I take my first steps in designing a clothing pattern. x
Tuesday, 19 October 2010
Following my post last week about my hopes to start (eventually) creating my own clothing patterns for sale I have a few questions that I wondered whether you might be happy to answer with your opinion.
The first is about seam allowances. Traditional envelope patterns from Vogue and Simplicity tend to have seam allowances built-in to their clothing patterns. This means that when you cut your pattern pieces out you don't have to add on any extra seam allowance. However, it also means that if the pattern dictates a 5/8" seam allowance that's what you have to use (which can be annoying if you're using an overlocker or if you want to give the garment a certain finish that requires a different seam allowance)...and it makes it more difficult to make any adjustments to the pattern as you have to allow for the built-in seam allowance in any changes that you attempt to make.
I've come to love the Japanese patterns that don't include a seam allowance - I find it's easier to think about which finishing technique suits me and it also makes it easier to make any adjustments to the pattern. When it comes to adding on the seam allowance, the pattern can be cut out and then the extra seam allowance easily added on as you trace the pattern onto your chosen fabric.
However, out of interest I'd really love to know which method other sewers prefer? So here's the first poll:
Do you like your dress patterns to have a built in seam allowance?
Which sewing pattern would you be most likely to want to buy?Thank you so much for your help.
Friday, 15 October 2010
I have been coveting the black jersey for a while as it is incredibly thick and beautiful quality, so when I was out with Ian's mama last last week I finally snapped it up when I saw that it had 20% off.
The dress, being black, has proved incredibly difficult to photograph, so here are a few blurry pictures. The mirror in the wardrobe is less than 10" wide and has odd distortions and age spots in it...but unfortunately it's the only full-length mirror in the house. I'm thinking of asking our local glaziers if they might make me a new one to go in it, as it would be so nice to get dressed without looking through the film of dust which somehow seems to be within the mirror.
It has darts at the bust...they look as though they're in the wrong place in this photo, but I think it's because of the angle my arm is at to hold the camera, as happily I think that they look fine in reality.
I'm actually really pleased with this dress: it feels comfortable, wearable and slips on over my head without any troublesome zips to do up. I would love to be able to write it up into a pattern (and actually several others) but I'm feeling a little stumped as to how one goes about it with such large pattern pieces - how to get them into the computer? I wonder if anyone has read any blog posts lately about how one might go about this? I have Adobe Illustrator on my computer which I (or Mr Teacakes when he eventually becomes too pained by my confusion) create my other pattern pieces in, but a whole dress feels beyond my capabilities and too much work to hand over to Mr TC, when he is so busy with other things. I've thought about the possibility of getting paper patterns printed, but then there's the problem of cost, distribution and whether the investment would pay off, as I've only ever sold PDF patterns so that feels like a big leap. Mmmm, lots of thoughts....
I'm so looking forward to the weekend: it includes extended family, babies and dinner with friends and the wearing of my new dress. All good things.
Wishing you a lovely weekend,
Tuesday, 12 October 2010
|My mannequin is modelling the bag here...they are not my empty, floppy arms.|
Monday, 11 October 2010
However, once home, Mr Teacakes said that he'd really like me to make him an iPod holder from it, as whatever I thought about it, he couldn't see how it differed from the real thing and would really like a more wintry cover. And do you know, he's right. When the backing side is tucked safely away, stitched into a place that fingers can no longer reach, I am left with an ipod cover that feels...ummm.... like it's made from real leather. And not just any leather, but that lovely kind of leather that Penhaligon's used to make their slippers from...the kind that requires that you to sit and stroke your own slippered feet for the entire evening because it's so deliciously soft.
So with a little more confidence I set about making a 'leather' bag...to be continued...
Thursday, 7 October 2010
It seems like such a long time since I first discovered that Liberty printed on jersey, so I can't believe that it has taken until now to see and feel it for myself in real life. It's actually even lovelier than I'd imagined: far thicker and more substantial than I'd expected, so although it would work beautifully for tops, it's almost more suited to dresses. I'm imagining that they produced it with the creation of Diane Von Furstenberg style wrap dresses in mind - although I always find wrap dresses hard to wear and, for me, they feel a little too eveningy for daytime wear. However, I'm excited about the idea of a jersey shift dress, which seems to be the garment that I reach for most often from my winter wardrobe each year.
And like buses, the Liberty Jersey is now appearing all at once: Leah of Sew Box (a website dedicated to dressmaking fabrics and patterns) recently started stocking a small selection too - you can find them here - where they are, curiously, almost half the price - the presence of the gorgeous wooden floor boards, hallowed halls and the deep purple bags seem to be an expensive accompaniment to a metre of fabric...I'm retrospectively shocked).
I am now going to try and sleep off the shock (she said dramatically, before falling into her bed in a swoon).
Monday, 4 October 2010
Firstly, the pattern book in the last post - I'd omitted to put a name or a title, because this book is entirely in Japanese (often the title is in English) and because the isbn number on the back doesn't bring up a single search result on Google. However, having trawled through my emails I've found that I bought it from Pomadour24 and that her translation for it is Nice Fall & Winter Clothes by Fabric Length. Megumi's customer service is completely wonderful, so I'd definitely recommend buying from her - and postage from Japan is oddly inexpensive. I think someone else asked if there were any coat patterns in the book - the two jackets that I photographed were the only ones in the book. If you're thinking of buying the book, do be aware that it feels a little like a magazine and lacks the very clean and simple styling that makes most Japanese pattern books so delicious to look through.
Now, back to the photo at the start of this post - last week I saw these lovely black buttons - I didn't know quite what I'd use them for, but I bought four because it makes me happy to think that at some point in the next decade I might make myself a garment that makes me feel a little bit Audrey Hepburn....or just like a Liquorice Allsort depending upon the success of the finished garment.
Audrey Hepburn has been on my mind ever since seeing the Audrey Dress on the Boden website. For a moment I considered buying it, but lately Mr Teacakes' words have been ringing in my ears: why would you even consider buying dresses or shirts when you can make them yourself? Mmm...normally I would consider this because the right dressmaking fabrics aren't always so easy to find....but in this case I've seen some lovely, incredibly thick jersey in my local fabric shop that I'm sure would be just right, so I shall take his advice and soon hopefully have my own unique slice of Audrey goodness.