Thursday, 18 September 2014

Cynthia Rowley 2250

I'm really proud of my latest dress- Cynthia Rowley 2250 sundress pattern.  It's a beautiful pattern, with ruching details on the bodice, a bow back, roulo straps, a gathered waist and pockets! (I don't care if it's cliched, I love a good pocket.)  This dress had enough interesting details to keep the contraction interesting, but it wasn't really as challenging as I had hoped it would be.  I would really like to have a go at more challenging patterns, but I don't particularly like many of the details which often go into making a pattern more difficult- like an abundance of pleats, frills etc.  They just aren't my style.

The construction of this dress was different than most of my previous makes- it included underlining, which I've never used before. I really like the weight of the bodice with the underlining and lining layers.  It makes the dress feel structured and sturdy, and it's super comfortable.

I cut out the size 14 as usual, and made a slight adjustment to the strap length, shortening it by about 2 inches.  Other than shortening the bode by a 1.5", this is my only 'standard ' change I ever make to a pattern.  I'm planning on going to some classes to get help with my fit in the new year.   I'm not entirely sure what else I need to do, fit wise, so I'm really looking forward to some guidance in that area.

I decided to make a sundress despite the cooler weather we're having (it was misty the other morning!) because I rationalised that a black sundress isn't really a 'sun'dress and can totally be a transitional item of clothing- all it needs is proper layering :)  I wore it to a gig the other night, and dressed it up a bit.  I made the mistake of wearing new heals though!  Owch!  Remind me next time I'm going to a gig that converse are the only way to go.

So, am I the only one still making sundresses at this time of year? Or are you guys also clinging on to the warmer weather too???

Monday, 15 September 2014

Blog Hopping

'Nobody really seems to know where and when the blog hop started. If you have any idea – please share! The only thing that is known is when taking part in the blog hop, you answer four questions before nominating two other bloggers to keep the blog hop alive. And this is exactly what I’ll do! So here we go.'
Why I write
I started blogging after being inspired through reading various other blogs, both sewing and lifestyle blogs.  I started this blog when I decided to pursue dressmaking more, I wanted to document my projects and share them with other people who make clothes.  I didn't know many people IRL who sew regularly, and It's been really great joining the sewing community through my blog. People I know IRL are supportive of my hobby, and I've even made things with my sister, sister in law and I've plans to make tops with my mum soon.  Blogging also gives me the platform to challenge myself and keep accountable for pushing and improving my skills.

What I’m working on
I've just done a post on my A/W sewing plans, there are lots of projects on there that I'm really excited about- making a coat is a great example of something that I'm going to find a challenge too.  Other side projects, in addition to my listed plans, I'm working on a couple of smaller projects, such as Hepburn Skirt, by Charlie herself, and I'm wanting to make something from the Tilly and the Buttons book.  Plus, it's time to start thinking about what to make people for Christmas.
How my blog differs from others of its genre
I don't know that it does, exactly.  I try to put my own personality into my sewing and my blog, and by creating my own wardrobe, it's not going to be exactly the same as other blogs.  I guess that each sewing blog differs slightly from every other just through the uniqueness of each blogger.  I certainly have a lot of ideas for content, and I aim to make my little corner of the internet my own.
A little bit about my writing process
I sew, and then I write, except when I haven't got something sewn up to write about, then I write about whatever I fancy.  I like to plan and keep to a rough schedule for blogging, so that I don't leave weeks between blog posts- you know, to keep you interested :)  

It also gives me space to share more about my non-sewing life with you, which I enjoy.  I tend to just let my writing come from the heart, which can mean some times I've not necessarily got a lot to say, and others I ramble.  Mostly I blog on my laptop, but I've started to use the Blogger app more so that I can write posts at work and stuff too.  

I like to share almost everything I work on, unless I find the finished article uninteresting.  I'll write about my mistakes and my fails, but not things I'm not interested in.    I tend to take photos to accompany my text, rather than taking photos first.
My two nominees 

Kat at A Krafty Kat- is another sewing blogger, who also manages to complete knitting projects (I'm so jealous!).  

And Janet at Words That Could Only Be Your Own, who is more of a lifestyle blogger, who lives in my hometown.  She blogs about her work as an English teacher, feminist, music fan, reader and crafty person.  

Thursday, 11 September 2014

My Longest WIP Yet is Finally Finished

Dave and I receved a handmade quilt as a wedding present from one of my uni house mates, and it is beautiful.  Made by her mum, it is intricate, beautifully finished and just, truly gorgeous. And I credit it with beginning my love affair and desire to make quilts.  That was four years ago.  Some time in the year after university finished, three years ago, I began collecting fabric scraps from my projects and fat quarters to start on my very own quilt.  After some goes at some tiny quilts, and a cushion cover, I knew that I should keep my quilt design simple.  I really liked some of the simple quilts I'd seen on Pinterest that were basically made of rows of squares- this one in particular.

So I began cutting out and piling 4.5" squares out of the fabric I'd collected.  I spent an evening laying them out on the floor, totally getting in Dave's way as he tried to watch Tv.  I was aiming to ensure that I had no two of the same fabric near each other; touching at the corners or side by side.  I also tried to make sure that each row didn't have two of the same but that had to be conceded on as the quilt grew.   That was about 18 months ago.   Then the rows, neatly packed up in envelopes and labeled to keep them in order were left for another 6 months until we moved house last summer.

When we moved, I began to sew together the rows, taking my time over it, and then left my finished quilt top  while I found the right fabric for the backing.  I ended up using an orange duvet cover I found in a charity shop.  Once quilted the top, wadding and backing together it still took me another 6 months to bind the edges because I kept putting it off.  Nala (my cat) has been loving this quilt from this stage onwards, so warm and cosy!  She even was climbing inside its folds as I was trying to sew it together!

So the quilt is finally finished, and although it is full of imperfections, or perhaps because of them, I am so in love with it!  I think, personally, that it is actually the best quilt in the world.

It now has pride of place on our sofa, sometimes it's moved to our bed, sometimes I just rap it around myself because it's warm!

And just a couple of more photos for your enjoyment (and so I can show off ;D)

Like I said, it's far from perfect, but see if I care :D

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

A/W Sewing Plans 2014

The cold weather that we had last week really tried driving the point home, the summer is over.  Dave was back at work last week, he's started at a new school as head of department and I'm at work, sorting out the A/W stock.  Now is the perfect time to begin planning my sewing for the next few months.  I'm going to be a little conservative and plan for one make a month, knowing that I may not have time for any more.  And, should I find time for anymore, I'll leave that decision to my impulsive side and shop my stash.  You know, I'll always stay busy.

So, here are my six projects for the next six months.

Simplicity 2311 Project Runway Coat
My Dad bought me this pattern last Christmas, with all the fabric and notions needed to make it.  I never did get round to making it up last year, so it's at the top of the pile this time round..

Grainline Archer Shirt- I ended up giving my mum the first Archer I made as a birthday present, which is probably a good thing, because although I loved it, it was too big for me. I probably wouldn't wear it much, where as I know mum'll get a lot of wear out of!  So, with the pattern reprinted and cut a size smaller, here I go again!

Collette Patterns Hawthorn
Mentioned in my last Sewing Plans Post, I never did get around to making the Hawthorn dress, so keeping it on the list.  The black gingham fabric should make this a dress suitable for Autumn/Winter, though perhaps I should consider adding the sleeves.

Collette Patterns Negroni Men's Shirt
Also mentioned in the last Sewing Plans Post, but again, not actually made yet.  Part of this is the tiny problem that I'm a selfish sewer, and am less enthusiastic about making something for Dave.  I'm repentant of that though, and have promised him that this shirt will be finished for by Christmas.  He has changed his fabric choice however, and seeing as I hardly ever sew for him I've conceded and am using the purple, very large gingham fabric we both wanted for ourselves.

A Christmas Dress
I'm also planning on making a dress for Christmas day out of this tartan, but I'm going to have a go at drafting my own pattern for this (it's what all the cool kids do, you know).  Of course, I'll keep you update on how that goes.

The Miette Knitting Pattern
This is more of a 'must actually finish this, finally' plan, getting those needles busy and getting the cardigan done.  The beginning of this cardigan has been sat on my needles for 6 months already, so I really should pull my finger out.  I do find knitting to be more of a chore than sewing, so if I can finish this this year (or by February) then I'll be happy.  One knitted garment a year is enough for me.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

How I Sew and Blog with a Full Time Job

Managing a full time job and a time consuming hobby is nothing new, nor something I am an expert it, but as I've made the transition from part time to full time work I've come across some challenges in balancing work, life, sewing and blogging. Here are a couple of tricks I've picked up over the last couple of months which have helped me to find that balance and still enjoy blogging! 

1. Organise! 
It took me a while to find a format to organise my blogging schedule.  I tried diaries,downloaded printables and various notepads, but the winner for me has to be the diary I made from a notebook- using a simple layout that I designed.  

It's got space to write up to three blogposts, should I ever manage to come up with three a week, space for a 'To Do' list, space to jot down ideas and a blank page to use as needed.  I've used this space to add a monthly calendar planning space every four weeks or so, here you can see how the months ahead will look, the blank pages can also be used to sketch out plans which need more space to evolve and many other useful things.  

Having this space is key to my organisation as I need the flexibility to make notes, expand ideas etc, but I want to keep it all together.  

2. Use lists
 you can see I've space for lists on my notebook, but I also use the app Top Tasks as a way of keeping lists on me at all times, should I need to add, edit or create lists on the go.  You never know when ideas will come to you.  I've chosen this app because you can create lists with in your main list- so useful!  And it doesn't over complicate things- perfect.

2. Use mobile writing apps
I'm writing this right now on the blogger app- it's brilliant! With an app you can write blog content when ever you have an idea or a spare five minutes. I don't recommend using the app for finishing off posts or adding photos etc as it is limited in its capabilities, but for text, it's rediculusly useful.  

3. Schedule Ahead of Time
Scheduling is your friend!  My projects are rarely competed and photographed at a sensible time for posting on line.  In fact, I tend to photograph a few makes at  once and schedule post a week or so in advance.  My work schedule means I have odd days off week to week, making regular photos and blogging even harder, so this is essential. 

And the most important thing, do not, under any circumstances, be mad at yourself for to following your schedule to the letter.  Skip a week, I dare you! The world won't crumble, and you might feel better for it.  Schedules are your friends, not your keeper.

Monday, 1 September 2014

What's on my Sewing Table?

I've been super bust working on this dress for a few weeks now- but it's almost come together :)  Im making Simplicity 2250,  a Cynthia Rowley pattern for a sundress.  To make it more of a transitional garment, I'm using a black cotton, so I can wear it layered up in the cooler months-  Take a peak!

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