#sewmystyle – January

Here is my first make as part of project #sewmystyle

The first pattern was toaster sweater 2 by Sew House Seven.  This is not a pattern I would automatically choose myself.  However, the whole point of completing this challenge is to move out of my comfort zone!

I chose a red jersey fabric from a local haberdashery.  This fabric was sturdy, which works well to maintain the neck collar.

The instructions are detailed well.  I used the pdf version to save money and found that using a guillotine sped along the cut and stick stage!

Another new product I tested with this make is using carbon paper, which revolutionised the cutting stage!  It is much faster as I did not have to trace my size and then cut it out before pinning it on.  Tilly and the Buttons have a great tutorial on how to use it here.

This was my third attempt with knit fabrics and I decided to use my overlocker for the seams round the shoulders and down the sides.  I was quite nervous using it as it trims at the same time, leaving little margin of error!  However, it does a great job as it feels less like you are going to stretch the garment out of shape!  It’s very quick too.

The main issue I had was with using a twin needle.  I adjusted the tension and used knit hemming tape alongside a walking foot, but I think that a stretch or ball point twin needle was needed.

I wasn’t sure about the dropped hem at the back, but now it’s made, I like this feature.

Overall, it was a great make and I look forward to starting February’s garment; the fabrics ready and waiting!

Reading Passport 2016 update – January

One of my goals this year is to complete the reading passport by the deadline they have to be entered for their prize draw – 31 March 2017.  I may have studied literature in the past and read 1-2 books a week, but I have been struggling to step up the pace (probably because I don’t have the hours free time I did back then and there’s no looming essay deadline!)

The Great Gatsby (1920s)

after gaping at the size of Gone with the Wind (and the age of the version from my work library) I promptly defaulted to the second book I picked up – The Great Gatsby.  I read this one before New Year.  I found this book easy to read and perhaps do not feel as ambivalent towards it as I didn’t have to study it at school.  It’s quite a short book and quick to read.  I like the classic narrative style in it with its allusions to events in the future and the narrator’s own heightened view of himself.  As it’s written in the first person, I am naturally drawn to the debates of reliability in the first person narrative, and am suspicious of any declarations he makes about himself, and to an extent, others.

To Kill a Mockingbird (1960s)

I’ve just completed this book and am dazed!  There’s so much covered in just over 300 pages.  I struggled slightly for the first 50 pages, but after this I felt compelled to carry on reading.  It’s written so well from the child viewpoint of Scout (Jean-Louise), daughter of a lawyer is called to defend Tom Robinson in court.  It covers many issues, including what equality means and how a child’s logic can highlight contradictory values held.

Next up – The Life of Pi (2000s)

I’m jumping around the generations in this challenge!  the Life of Pi is the next book in my list.  However, with February approaching fast, it looks like I am going to have to read much faster than I am currently!

Cosy Winter – the Ivy pinafore

I’ve been enjoying a bit of dressmaking this month and am finally cutting into some fabrics I bought in one go for numerous projects.  One piece of fabric was some navy polka dot cotton bought especially for the ivy pinafore pattern by Jennifer Lauren.

One worry I had at the very beginning was that I didn’t have enough fabric.  The pattern for view 1 advises to purchase 150cm wide fabric, and my own fabric was 115cm after pre-washing.  However, my fabric did not have a one way nap or design, so i was able to re-jig the cutting layout plan, which reduced fabric waste as well.  I may have enough to make a tote bag too at some point!

I still have my stash of ceramic buttons from taking pottery classes last year, and have only used one so far, so I wanted to use some of these if possible for the fastenings.  The pattern suggests larger buttons, and I was worried that they wouldn’t be big enough.  However, I left worrying about this until the button hole stage came up, and decided that my own buttons would work well.  It’s a real buzz to see my own handmade buttons on a garment!

I selected a traditional lining fabric for the lining, as I wanted this make to work well with tights, leggings or jeggings.  It was a little tricky to work with, and I ended up hemming the lining by hand, but I think it means I will get a lot more use out of it!

It’s a real joy to wear this garment.  It’s loose fittings with seam pockets, which makes it a great lazy Sunday wear when all I want to do is sit in my rocking chair and knit or crochet with a cup of tea!  I can imagine wearing it out on a walk too, when I am on the hunt for discarded rusty items to use when rust dyeing!  It’s definitely a make reserved for my days off!

I’ll have to try out the gable top sometime soon as I only have one top that goes nicely with this pinafore!  The gable top has a high neckline, which works well with this style of pinafore.  Looks like I will be getting the walking foot and ball point needles out very soon!

Reversible loop scarf

One of my goals is to use up my stash for smaller items and gifts before purchase more fabric.  For a friend’s Christmas gift, I followed this aim and found some fabrics to use.

Following a guide from Love Sewing Magazine (issue 01), I cut 4 rectangles of cotton fabric, two in each fabric choice, and then stitched them together to create a loop scarf.

One issue with using the stash is finding two fabrics which work well together.  Although the purpose of the scarf is to have the option of two different looks, I didn’t want the fabric choices to clash too badly if you could see them both.

This was a nice simple pattern to follow and I am quite surprised at how warm a scarf made from dress cotton fabric can be!

Happy New Year!

Like many others, I’ve decided to start the new year off by reflecting on my current goals.

Project #sewmystyle

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This year I am taking part in Bluebird Fabric’s project #sewmystyle

I’ve signed up to a ten week dressmaking course locally, and I thought that this project may help provide a stimulus outside of the classes.  A garment a month is a challenging target which I am looking forward to pursuing.

Reading Passport 2016

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For a slightly shorter goal, I have jumped on the reading passport bandwagon a little late, but plan to complete the South West Reading Passport 2016 by the deadline, which is 31 March 2017, for a chance to win a suitcase full of books.  I don’t need more books at home, but I like the idea of a reading goal and am halfway through book 2 of 10.

One Word

After much deliberation, the guiding word for 2017 is spark.  For more information about One Little Word, I would recommend listening to Elise Gets Crafty’s podcast on it.

No clothes shopping!

Following on from project #sewmystyle and going to dressmaking classes, I plan to avoid clothes shopping altogether in 2017!

Christmas gift ready by 1st December!

Finally, I am striving to get all of the key gifts made before 1st December this year so I am not manically trying to finish something on Christmas Eve (or on the day!)