Saturday, 13 April 2013

That's All She Wrote ....

... for now, anyway.

Tomorrow we leave for Belfast to get hitched good and proper. After seemingly endless trips to the mechanic, and quite a bit of money paid out, our car is up and running, which is a relief. Today will be spent packing her, which, for some reason, is the bit I love. It's like tetris with suitcases.

There is an irritating niggling in the back of my mind that's making me convinced I've forgotten something. Though, naturally, I can't for the life of me think what it could be. Despite all my lists, I am always left feeling like this when I have to pack! It probably didn't help that I spent Wednesday and Thursday making another Wiksten Tova instead of actually planning or packing! I couldn't help it! I got some navy crepe de chine on eBay on a whim, because I loved the print and the four metre remnant was going super cheap. It was my first time sewing with crepe de chine, and it got ugly more than once, but that's a story for another day. The upside is that with the exception of my wedding day, I will be able to wear one me-made garment every day I'm away (okay so, I may have to wear the same top twice, but whatever.) That's an exciting achievement for me, as it means my wardrobe is starting to fill with more useful, wearable pieces and fewer mistakes.

Anywho, I'll be back in a few weeks time, hopefully with some wedding pics to share too.
See you all then!

Saturday, 6 April 2013

The Best Laid Plans ...

So, we're getting really close to this whole wedding business. I've planned it to within an inch of its live, and so far, everything has gone pretty smoothly. Tomorrow it will be a week until we load up our car, drive down to Stranraer and hop on a ferry. So you know what would be just excellent right now? For the car to suddenly stop working.

That's right. Yesterday, our beloved lump of a car, Bessie, decided the best thing to do to help ratchet up the pre-wedding tension, was to break down. So she spent the evening waiting to be seen at the nearest garage, which, judging by the amount of cars there and the length of the waiting list, is currently experiencing its busy season. As you might expect, yesterday was not a good day. So what's a girl to do when she's freaking out about things beyond her control. Why, sew, of course!

I had cleaned up my sewing room, packed away all my bits and pieces, and covered my machine, with the intention of not touching it until I got back. I thought these two weeks would see me ridiculously busy. But thanks to all my planning ahead, I'm actually at a bit of a loose end. So, to calm my nerves and take my mind off the car, I started, and finished, my Wiksten tova.

Some of the details get lost a bit here thanks to the picture, but it looks great in real life. I didn't make a muslin for this - I simply checked my measurements against the size chart. I cut a large and graded to an extra large for the hips, but, to be honest, I'd probably need to add another inch or so in that area. I also feel that it's a bit tight in the upper arms for my liking, and the shoulders are too big, so there's a few little adjustments to make if I plan to make another. As it is though, it fits well enough and I'm happy with it.

One thing I'll be doing to it though, is to add a little stitch about an inch from the bottom of the opening, as it falls open far too much and is a little indecent. I don't really want to wear anything under it, so I figured if I hide a few stitches in the top stitching to hold it together, that'll do the trick. I'm not sure if that's a universal problem with the Tova, or a sign that I cut too big a size in the top half.

This is only the second time I've made a top with sleeves, the first being the Mathilde blouse. I wasn't aware then that some sewists find sleeves daunting, and I, knowing no fear, did a fairly good job with the Mathilde. These sleeves were so similar in construction to that blouse, that I felt well within my comfort zone, and they were no problem at all. I'm probably owed some difficult sleeve karma though!

The fabric I used is a printed cotton from Minerva Crafts. I liked the warm, vintage tones and did all my stitching in peach thread that looks great with it. About half way through I worried that the pattern was too much, but I think it's turned out lovely, and will look great with blue denim. My top-stitching skills are also improving drastically and I'm rather chuffed with that! The only problem I encountered was getting the collar to fit the neck opening. I don't know if the fabric stretched a little, or if my seams were too small (I eyeballed french seams throughout, rather than making sure to stick to the 3/8" allowance in the pattern - I may have erred on the side of caution) but whatever the reason, the collar piece was simply too small. This meant that I ended up sewing a pucker in the shoulder area, which had to unpicked and fixed. I probably should have left the collar to finish this morning, as I knew after I finished the sleeves that I was getting tired and sloppy. But I was so close to finishing I just ploughed on. The collar isn't as tidy or perfect as I'd like, but I don't think anyone would notice but me.

Overall, I'm pleased with this shirt, and will definitely get wear out of it. It's the kind of clothing that I really need at the moment - things that are easily paired with jeans and well suited to running around after three little boys in. The fabric is a little bit stiffer than is ideal for this shirt, and when I make it next, I'll choose something with more drape, but I just couldn't resist the pattern. I'll be wearing it when travelling next weekend.

Now onto the math.

Pattern: about £8
Fabric: 1.5m at £5.99 a metre, but it was a gift, so free!
Thread: stash
Total: £8

A bargain in my opinion!

And as for the car? Well, we managed to drive it back from the garage today, after the water in the engine that was causing the problem had a chance to dry out, though the engine still sounds ill. We'll be dropping her into our usual garage on Monday, and fingers crossed they can do speedy work!

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Super Sorbetto

I made this a few months ago, and never blogged about it, so to fill time between now and when I get actually sewing again, here it is!

This blouse is obviously the ever popular Sorbetto from Colette. It was a free download and seems like a solid wardrobe staple. I committed a pretty common sin here, and I did it knowingly - that's right, I sewed a garment in quilting cotton! Well, I say quilting cotton, but it was never actually described as such. I bought this fabric, plus a load of other superhero themed prints, from an eBay seller ages ago, with the sole intention of turning it into accessories for my Etsy store. And I certainly have a made a ton of wallets, purses and pencil cases from it. Thing is, I have a huge amount left, so figured I'd give the Sorbetto a go in it, as a kind of wearable muslin if nothing else.

It's 100% cotton, and is pretty stiff and heavy as cottons go, so it's clearly craft or quilting fabric. It was easy to work with, and the Sorbetto is a straight forward pattern to sew up. I cut a size 14, but it gapes at the arm holes and back and is a bit snug around the hips, so when I make it again, I think I'll grade it from a 12 at the bust to a 16 at the hips. I added 2 inches to the length, but for me, I think it could do with another inch or so. As I've mentioned before, I feel far more comfortable in long tops that cover my mummy tummy, and this doesn't quite do that.

I took the easy way out, when it became apparent that this wouldn't be a totally wearable garment, and finished the neck and arms with pre-made red bias binding. I have yet to make my own binding tape, but that's definitely something I'm going to start doing from now on. The pre-made stuff is stiff and scratchy, and doesn't make for a very comfortable top. If I'm honest, this top will probably be harvested for fabric to turn into more purses and iPod covers, as it kind of looks and feels more like pyjamas, but not comfortable ones. But at least it gave me a trial run at the Sorbetto, and allowed me to figure out what adjustments need to be made to future versions. So that's a win in my book!

While I'd like to turn more superhero themed fabrics into clothing to satisfy my geeky tendencies, the fact is that there aren't many fabrics available that aren't more suited for quilting, or low quality sheeting. I will certainly keep my eyes peeled, but I'll probably have to find more creative ways of channelling my favourite characters in my clothes! :)