Monday, 30 December 2013

2013 Hits + Misses

As New Years Eve approaches it is a time of reflection. Many of the sewing blogs I read are participating in a round-up of their 5 top sewing hits and misses for 2013 - hosted by Crafting a Rainbow.

Well, I haven't sewn ten things in 2013, but I've sure had some misses...and a few (non-wearable) hits so I thought I'd round them up here.

THE MISSES: may as well start with the bad news first and work our way up to the (two) things that worked.

DixieDIY t-shirt dress: I attended two classes on sewing with knits and walked away both times with an unfinished dress that didn't fit me. I loved this t-shirt dress pattern but it just didn't love me.

Part of the problem was that I've jumped right in to wanting to sew with knits, as that is what I mostly wear. Sewing with knits is darn HARD, especially for a newbie.  The fabric is stretchy and slinky, it curls and won't stay in place when ironed. My second problem is that this pattern is too small for my hip/tummy measurements and attempts in class to adjust the pattern ended up making it TOO big *face palm*.

Both of these dresses ended up in the charity bag - banished forever from my life.

JoCole Easy Swing Skirt:  Because I'm not a small person if I find a pattern to fit my size 18 body I jump at it, as was the case with this "easy swing skirt" I found on ETSY.  I liked the style, it's something I'd wear and although it was a knit I thought I had a good chance with it. My sewing machine thought otherwise and I didn't even get to start sewing this as my machine just "ate" all the test pieces I played around with. Next...

Goldfinch and Eagle Sirkel Skirt:  It's obvious I need to move away from wanting to sew with this early stage anyway...and try my hand at wovens.

I liked the idea of a circle skirt in chambray but I just could not get my head around the maths of drafting my own (despite all the online tutorials) so I was pretty happy to find this pattern on ETSY that had a waist measurement equal to my own.  I'm half way through this skirt and it's pretty obvious it's not going to fit. Honestly...things are just getting ridiculous now and I'm starting to really lose my motivation to keep sewing. Finding to sewing patterns to fit me is just as difficult as shopping for ready-to-wear clothes. Not happy Jan!

THE HITS: I've had ONE hit during 2013, and one "kinda sorta" hit.

Cushion Cover:   The first thing I sewed in 2013 was this cute little cushion cover at a sewing class at Sew Make Create. Everything went really smoothly and the teacher was REALLY encouraging. I felt so confident when I walked away from the class and was ready to start making my very own handmade wardrobe. Wrong.

Coin Purse: After a series of mega-misses in the sew-my-own-clothes stakes I decided to make something non-wearable, enter the coin purse. This is a bit messy, and not perfect - but I finished it and it serves its purpose so that counts as a WIN from me.

What about you - did you have so many misses when you were first learning to sew? I really feel like the world's worst sewist. THE WORST!

In 2014 my aim is to sew a dress that fits and that I love. Just one - small dreams means that they should be achievable. I'm currently working on a Laurel and so far things are going well. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Victoria and Albert Museum, London

On one of my final days in London The Boy and I went our separate ways. He went off to the Imperial War Museum (zzzz) and I headed over to the Victoria + Albert Museum to check out their legendary fashion exhibition.


The V+As fashion exhibition is jaw-droppingly amazing and spans the last four century's. The first dress that greets  you as you enter the gallery is from the 1750s and it's hard to fathom how any women would've negotiated life (or the loo) with its enormously W-I-D-E petticoat underneath.

I wasn't sure if I was allowed to take photos - but everyone seemed to be taking happy snaps with the I followed the crowd.

One thing that really struck me about the exhibition is how modern some of the clothes looked, despite being really quite old. The green dress in the second photo below (on the right) could very well be in the shops today though from memory it dates back to about 1920. I also adore those boots...they are pretty modern looking and I'd wear them in a heartbeat.

As there is just SO much to take in with this exhibition, and the museum in general, I decided to buy a copy of the exhibition book - it has a picture of everything on display and I've loved pouring over it since I've been back home. It's kinda heavy though, so I ordered it from Book Depository for a bargain price and had it shipped home.

You can find the V&A South Kensington on Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL. If you're at all interested in fashion, sewing or textiles it's well worth a visit (make sure you head up to the jewel room - WOWZERS)!

Monday, 2 December 2013

Adventures in Sewing #5 - clutch purse

With two failed dresses under my belt (or in the charity bin) plus a botched skirt remake I'm thinking I need to find a different approach to my sewing efforts.

I decided a few weeks ago to "try" and make a stretch skirt at home - enough of dresses that won't fit. The pattern is simple enough but my machine just WOULD NOT come to the party. I didn't even get anywhere near sewing the skirt - the machine just kept "eating" the fabric and doing all sorts of dodgy stitches.  I tweaked all the settings I could think of but still no luck. Best to take a deep breath and walk away I think...

I then decided to abandon stretch altogether (for now).  I'm attempting to make a circle skirt...except for it's too small even though the pattern measurement say it should fit. I'm going to keep going with it...for practice, but again it's another unwearable project. I think I will attempt to make this again and increase the pattern size by adding 1cm to each of the edges.  Hopefully that will work.

Who ever said sewing was fun needs a smack up the side of the head. 

Despite all the tears, I do want to keep sewing as I'm sure I'll get the hang of it sooner...or later.  I just think I need to take a break from clothing. I'm considering making a quilt (or is that just asking for trouble?) but I decided to make a small craft project  to start with - a clutch purse.

After days of stalking Pinterest I finally found a tutorial that didn't make my brain want to explode with instructions I couldn't quite picture in my head.

The time it takes to whip up one of these purses is hardly no time at all so I thought I could add a little bit of interest (and time) to the purse project by sewing a cute little heart onto the front of the purse. The problem with my sewing wants is that I want projects that aren't too quick to complete. Honestly who needs 100 coin purses floating around (this is why I think quilting could be good - it must take AGES to churn out a quilt).

The inside of the purse is make from some polka dot cotton remnants I have leftover from a half-made Laurel dress from a class over the weekend. The lining and the outer bag aren't sewn together on this inside bottom half so I need to think about how I can make this neater on the inside...

Don't look too closely to the handle - what a MESS! I bought a sew in purse frame as I thought it would be more sturdy and long-lasting BUT I decided to glue in the fabric before sewing. Yep. And sewing in the frame was so painful! I bruised my thumb and index finger so much that typing the next day at work was painful.

It's not perfect but it's finished and I enjoyed myself enough to give this project another watch this space.

Happy sewing, Melanie xoxo