Friday, 9 August 2013

In Which I Put Three Year Old Fabric To Good Use At Last

Once upon a time, I received a shiny new sewing machine for Christmas. Being so green, I decided to buy some cheap fabric to practice on, and so snapped up a 7 metre remnant of surprisingly good quality polka dot cotton for £7.00. Three years later*, and I have used this cotton for everything. It has lined purses and pencil cases for my Etsy shop, formed the bases and sides of pin cushions, been turned into a quick gathered skirt last summer and a somewhat wearable muslin for my first Pattern Runway gathered sundress. It was one of my best fabric buys. 

 (*Has it really been three years since I started sewing! I would've though I'd be further along, skillswise, by now, but I've only really started sewing garments seriously in the past 6 to 9 months, so that's my excuse anyway!)

So after making a corduroy Kelly skirt, and cutting out a denim one, I pulled out what I had left of this black and white dots and managed to squeeze another Kelly skirt out of it. It was really tight though - I barely had enough. So there was no room for mistakes. Luckily, although this is the first Kelly skirt I'm blogging, it was actually the third I made, so I was well practised and with such a wonderfully easy pattern, it came together without a hitch!

This was taken on one of the ridiculously sunny days we had last month - sorry about my whiter than white skin!

It looks like it pulls a bit at the waist in this photo, but it doesn't in real life. I must have not adjusted it properly after standing up. This skirt was a pleasure to sew, and I would definitely recommend it to sewists who are just starting out. Despite always considering A line skirts to be a bit boring, I'm learning that this shape actually suits me most. My only niggle with this pattern, and it happened on all three skirts, is that it seems to billow or bulge a bit in the front at the button stand. I don't know if it's the pleats or some error I've made, but it tends to make me look a bit bloated. I can forgive this though, because it's so easy and comfortable to wear!


I would've liked a bit more length on this, but didn't have enough fabric - it rides up a bit high when I sit down, but isn't indecent. I added about 2 inches to the cord and denim versions of this skirt, though after wearing them a bit this summer, I think they may be too long. You can help me decide when I get round to blogging about them! I didn't go for any particularly interesting buttons, just some simple white plastic ones that I got cheaply in one of those big bags of mixed buttons you can buy, that have been in my stash for forever.

Best picture I could get of the pockets!
 For the pockets, I used some colourful fabric that I had already. Again, I've had this for a while, less than a fat quarter, and I've not really found a use for it. I would have been happy to make the pocket linings in the polka dot cotton, but again, didn't have enough, so used this instead. There are probably other fabrics in my basket that would've made a better pairing with the monochrome main fabric, but I didn't want to sacrifice anything that may be of use for purse linings later!

I also had a bit of a problem with the two sides of the skirt being slightly different lengths when buttoned, and this was the same on all my Kellys. I think this has something to do with the way I put the button on the waistband, as they were perfectly even when I did the hem. Now that I think of it, that may also be the reason for the bulge I mentioned before!

In the end though, I have a versatile and wearable skirt, which will hopefully stand the test of time, thanks to my obsession with using all French seams (which was easy on a pattern with so many straight seams!) Honestly, I feel like in the past few months I've developed a more mature approach to sewing, approaching projects more sensibly, not rushing and not churning out unwearable garments by the truckload! I've actually made one or two things where I was genuinely thrilled with the finish inside! I've heard other sewists take pride in the inside of their garments, but never thought that would be me :)

So, to the mathmobile!

Pattern: £13.00
Fabric: about 1.5 metres at £1 a metre, so £1.50
Interfacing and thread: stash
Buttons: stash
Total: £14.50

But I have made this pattern three times, so it probably works out cheaper per use!

In other goings on, I was flicking through the latest issue of Glamour magazine a few days ago, looking at the clothes for inspiration, when I came across a spread featuring a £1,930 dress from Mui Mui. For that price, we're talking quality and attention to detail, right? Well, not so much. Check out the shoddy pattern matching on the side seam!

Maybe pattern matching isn't as vital in polka dots as it is in other prints, but I would've thought that buying couture means that this type of detail does matter. It certainly caught my eye - and that's another thing I never thought would happen! All I know is that if I was charging nearly two grand for a dress, you'd better believe I take the time to make sure the patterns match! (Then again, I don't know much about the conditions and pay of the workers who actually make the garments, so maybe I'm being too harsh ... something to ponder ...)

And finally, I've got a query for you all - has anyone ever made a dress from cotton ticking? I'm aware that vintage ticking is much heavier than modern versions, but I'm not sure if it's still too heavy for clothing. And since I can't get to a fabric store to actually feel some, I'm drawing on the collective knowledge of the sewing blogosphere! Thanks for your help :D

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

In Which I Am Grateful To Win Beautiful Buttons!

Apologies for the radio silence around these parts, but we've been off on holiday, which promised to be great fun, and ended with a whimper when our temperamental car broke down, yet again. It appears she doesn't like the rain, which is problematic for a Scottish car, to say the least.

On arriving home, I found a lovely package from Sarah at Fulton & Co containing the most beautiful buttons I've seen in a long time.

This isn't the fabric I plan to use them with!

I had entered a competition on Portia's blog to win $20 worth of handmade buttons from Fulton & Co, and was so surprised to be one of the winners! I chose these beauties because they reminded me of Charles Rennie Mackintosh's roses, which I pretty much saw everywhere while studying in Glasgow. I plan to use them on Sew Liberated's Ashland Dress which I haven't gotten fabric for yet. Usually I buy buttons to match the fabric, but this time it will be the other way around! I'm thinking something in soft pink and creams, maybe vertical stripes? Any suggestions are welcome!

Also, before we went off on holiday, I was sewing up a storm, and managed to wear a handmade item nearly everyday. But, alas, there were no pictures taken of me the entire time. That sort of thing happens when you have three much cuter sons. But I'm hoping to get some pictures taken once all my laundry is done :) In total I made 3 Kelly skirts (a pattern I adore!), a sleeveless Violet, a Hawthorn dress, two gathered sundresses and another picnic blanket skirt - so lots to blog about! And of course, lots of your blog posts to read too :D