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Needlepoint rug in progress by rubywo on Flickr.

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Needlepoint rug in progress

When the nights draw in, the evenings feel very short. I don’t always feel like going upstairs to sit at my sewing machine, but still have a burning desire to create. Time for some small, fun crafts…

Two old hats, made a bit more fun with the application of some furry bobbles

Hats

Dodgy phone photo due to finally acquiring a smatphone

Very simple to make. I applied a running stitch round the edge of a circle of faux fur (stranded embroidery thread is best for this as it’s less likely to snap), pulled the thread to draw up the edges, and stuffed the fur bobble with some wadding. Then I just stitched it on to my hat using the embroidery thread. Hey presto, a new hat to make me smile on my way to work.

 

Animals

And just for fun, a crochet bear (made by my sister) and a knitted sheep. How could these wee chaps fail to warm your cockles?

 

Small display on Swedish fashion designers in the entrance of NK department store

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Didn’t make it to this exhibition, but like the idea!

A simple t-shirt drew with gathered skirt, made a little more interesting by the drop waist and longer skirt length. I still haven’t mastered a way to eliminate lumpy bits where overlooked seams cross each other. This dress makes me feel like swanning round the French Riviera, even though I’ve never been…

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This skirt ended up as a toile. Draping the front left some scrappy joins and tricky facing edges. However, it will become a pattern when I get round to taking it to pieces and have a better look at the inside.

A recent shopping trip left me bemoaning a lack of interesting, yet work appropriate skirts, which are lightweight enough to wear in an office which regularly reaches 30 degrees in the summer months. I decided to try draping a skirt front. I started out with a pencil skirt base, with the front drawn asymetrically so it scoops up at one side, so this skirt was not draped completely, rather the front panel was draped.

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The ‘base’ skirt

 

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adding the draped panel – I tacked down the pleats where they intersected the side seams before cutting round to form the final front piece

 

A Dutch wax print dress to wear to a good friend’s wedding the other week.

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I drafted the bodice block myself, and the skirt is just a couple of big rectangles, pleated. The bodice block needs a bit of work on the front arm scye (needs to be a bit bigger, it’s almost cutting into my upper arm), and the front neck needs a tiny bit pinching out to make it lie flat next time. The armscye was affected by a last minute decision to omit the waist darts, and shape the sides instead. I decided this after the bodice was cut, as I noticed the pattern would look much better less broken up.

And…

Ailakki jumpsuit, Named Patterns

an Ailakki jumpsuit from Named patterns. It’s great fun to wear, and easier and quicker to sew than you might think. It’s a lovely pattern with good, visual instructions. After having to make a bust alteration, mine, like the picture on the Named website, suffers a little pulling on the zip at the back. But, I was on a deadline, and decided I will wear it so little that hours of alterations weren’t worth it. I want to try the Kanerva blouse next.

I don’t often make occasional wear, but have felt recently that it’s no bad thing to sew for garments that are more a bit of fun now and then. They feel like more of a celebration.

A request for an evening bag had me struggling. Of all the things I’ve made (including a couple of everyday bags) surely this would be simple. “All the ones you can buy look cheap” I was told, which worried me. How can I make something that looks, if not expensive, at least not cheap?  The answer, it seems,  is all in the hardware.

I ended up making two bags.

The first, to me, looked very home made. Not that there is anything wrong with that, it’s just not what I was after.

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I stepped my game up with the second, adding a chunky metal zip, brass coloured fixings, and leather tabs, resulting in a wholly more professional looking handbag.

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Now this is not your typical evening bag, but after racking my brains to come up with something suitable for a person whose taste does not veer towards decorative, I think this might be the ticket.

The process of designing and making this bag reminded me that while I often panic at a first request, it’s much easier to come up with something I’m happy with if I don’t force the idea, but give myself a bit of time to think it through. I forget that I have often spent hours working up sketches of items I make for myself. It also reminded me of how tricky it is to topstitch leather neatly…

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Pretty neat

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Not all so neat…

To make the denim bag I used the Bag’n-telle blog zippered clutch purse tutorial, thanks to Don Morin for the great content he posts there.

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Sample inspired by the skirt detail on this Bottega Veneta dress.

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Photo souce http://showstudio.com/collection/bottega_veneta_milan_womenswear_a_w_2013/lou_stoppard_reports_on_the_bottega_veneta_show [Accessed 11/8/2013]

I made my sample with long strips of bias cut wool, folded and stitched down onto a base fabric along one long edge.

 

I think it might make a good mini skirt.

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Samples/sketches inspired by a couple of interesting techniques/garment features seen in the Levi’s Store.

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Slashed to slightly less than depth of radius

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Well, a semi circle for this one

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Looking around my own clothes I noticed the ruffles on this sandal are made from circles of leather folded and stiched down in bunches to create a striking, structural detail.

I recently finished this dress which challenged my overlocker to say the least. The multiple drapes were a little too thick for a domestic machine, I think I will have to select very fine jerseys in the future for similar projects.

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It’s probably the most glamorous thing I’ve ever made fo myself and I really like it. I had to take 4cm off the centre back and centre front to stop it being indecent. I did this by slashing the pattern pieces with the grainline and redrawing the neck and hem lines. After the screw came out of the handwheel on my overlocker while sewing this (I think because the fabric was too thick), I didn’t want to risk my Bernina on finishing the armholes so had to fold and use a herringbone handstitch to secure in place. Not ideal, but ok.

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Working on this dress got me think about having a go at some draped garments myself. I started working with my dress form and a large piece of fabric, but found it very difficult to have an idea for a whole garment in mind as I was pinning away. It made me realise how much work must go into the designs in the Drape Drape books. Also, if anyone knows of an affordable draping book I’d be interested in hearing.

 

The photos don’t really show it off to it’s best.