Sew Red October

The twitter sewcialists came up with a plan to sew something red during October, and this fitted perfectly with my sewing plans. I knew I wanted a long-sleeved Tiramisu dress for autumn/winter and (in the summer) I picked up some heavy ponte (style) red jersey. I extended the sleeves (by holding my arm on the pattern/fabric and seeing where it should end up) and cut a narrower midriff band.red october 1

I should have made more adjustments, as mid-way through sewing it I remembered that this is a very stable knit. With little stretch. Ooops. So this dress fits but is a bit snug and cosy, especially around the bust (hence the need for a vest top underneath!). I can wear it, but it doesn’t have the comfort I was wanting from a jersey dress (it feels like wearing a woven). Not a disaster but not perfect (and at £9 I can live with that) but I think I’ll have to get some more heavy jersey to make another with a little more ease.red october 2

I also rustled up a pair of pyjama bottoms (using a pair that I had made from an old M&S pair, since my pattern has disappeared). Pyjama bottoms are so quick and easy to make, and they are great for using crazy cotton prints… such as this red and white circle print I had left over. [Warning: dodgy camera-phone pictures taken in bad light*]

pjs

And what is behind those pjs? It is my Black and White and Red All Over quilt!

pj quilt

This was completed in October so it sort of fits into the #SewRedOctober theme. I am loving snuggling under this on the sofa as it is huge! More details of my new quilt to follow soon.
red october 3

* Apologies for the bad camera-phone pictures of pjs. I had misplaced my camera remote a few weeks ago (it was found in a pile of fabric, of course). Then I found it and set up my tripod to take pictures. I got 3 shots taken before the camera battery ran out. Found battery charger as storm arrives with grey skies.

Meanwhile, while trying on the red Tiramisu dress, my dinner splashed it. Quick! Dress thrown into wash and air dried. Dry dress tried on again a few days later to actually wear it. Making a craft project and I drop a pen on my lap. Quick! Soak stain and hand wash it. Dress dries but now I am feeling cursed and decide those pictures will have to do (with a bit of editing to distract from my unflattering face pose!) if I want to get the post written in October.

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Autumn Sewing Plans

sewing plans

I have a couple of finished garments to show you, but before I show you all my sewing I though I should share my plans for autumn back-to-school sewing. At the beginning of the summer, while bored from my break from sewing (saw the physio this week and the rest has helped) I decided to draw all the things I was planning to make. Last year I made a personalised croquis* using the instructions in the Colette Sewing Handbook and I printed some out to doodle my wardrobe plans. I’m not normally one for planning my sewing, as you’ve probably worked out by now, but I was preparing for a blogging meet-up shopping-trip and had time on my hands.

blazer

  • A By Hand London Victoria Blazer. I have already shown you the blazer I made, which turned out pretty similar to the original idea; plain dark jacket with contrast (spotty) lapels.
  • A dark grey or black Hummingbird skirt. Last autumn/winter I lived in my black cord skirt, so another plain dark skirt is a basic wardrobe necessity.
  • A “plain” t-shirt to go with my patterned skirts. This was the plainest jersey I could buy; I am attracted to fun prints in fabric shops, but there is a space in my me-made wardrobe for plainer tops to wear with the snazzy prints! I’ll use my jersey t-shirt block for this, with self drafted cap-sleeves.

aubergine skirt

  • Last year I bought LOTS of aubergine-coloured corduroy and I haven’t made any clothes with it yet! I love cord skirts in winter, so am going to use it to make a Hummingbird skirt.
  • My wardrobe needs a plain navy top or t-shirt to match with my navy skirts. Still haven’t bought fabric for it yet.

hawthorn

  • I love the new Colette Patterns Hawthorn shirt dress; it is cute without being too vintage or girly looking. In my head I imagined a dark purple fabric with a subtle print, with a plain collar and cuffs. Whether this fabric exists in real life is still under investigation…

blouse

  • I’m pretty sure there will have to be a few adjustments made, plus my first time making sleeve plackets, so I thought I should plan to make a wearable muslin of the Hawthorn blouse; If it is in a busy print it should disguise any mistakes I make.

elisalex

  • I got this turquoise dotty fabric from Paris as a birthday present, and thought it could be a great first go at an Elisalex dress bodice, with a Cambie-style gathered skirt. I have seen so many lovely Elisalexes and variations, that I had to give in and get the pattern too.

tiramisu

  • I love my Tiramisu dresses and really want a long-sleeved cosy one for the winter, in a heavy ponté jersey. Not black, so maybe dark purple/plum or maybe a deep red or pink…

peplum

  • When fabric shopping with Jo from SewLittleTime I bought some pink polka-dot jersey that we thought would be great for a Hummingbird peplum top. I didn’t even own the pattern, but Jo had the measurements written down so I bought some fabric in the hope of owning the pattern.
  • My second self-drafted pair of jeans were a much better fit, but the knees are already starting to fade from so much wear. Time for a new pair of jeans, in a dark almost-black colour.

So those were my plans at the beginning of the summer – stay tuned to see which plans stayed the same and which ones changed! Is anybody else getting excited about autumn sewing (despite it still being summer!)? What are you planning to sew?

 

*The croquis was made by taking an accurate (and unflattering) photo of myself in underwear and then tracing over it, to get an accurate outline of my body. I used an edge-detector tool on the computer to generate my outline and printed it in pale grey. The final image shows what I actually look like, and not what I think I look like, so my sketches of my designs look more realistic.

 

 

Reflections on Me Made May 2013

Me Made June 2011 was one of the reasons I started this little crafty blog, however last year I didn’t join in for whatever reason. This year my pledge was:

I, Alison of anotherlittlecraftycreation , sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’13.
I endeavour to wear all me-made garments (excluding bras, socks, tights and sports wear) each day for the duration of May 2013. I am allowed to wear RTW knitwear no more than 3 times a week.

Despite having not purchased any RTW clothes for over a year and a half (except a Christmas jumper that would have taken me a decade to knit!) I was apprehensive about how well I could meet this challenge. I may not have purchased new clothes but I have some old favourites that I live in. To make things easier in the mornings, at the end of April I vaccum-packed* all my RTW clothes away under my bed so my wardrobe was just me-mades.

The weather was very changeable, as I suppose is to be expected in Britain, so you can tell when it got cold and rainy in the picture below. I can’t believe I started the month with post-work ice-lollies in the park!

MMMay 2013

 

 

Here are my thoughts on the month: (this is longer than I intended it to be, sorry!)

  • There are two clear winners in the most-worn sewn-garment category (excluding my Minoru raincoat which was almost worn daily due to the weather); my blue Jeanius jeans and my new black linen trousers. I’m not hugely surprised by this since the weather has been pretty gloomy (not cold enough for boots, but too cold for skirts) and they allowed me to wear my printed tops.
  • I’m not sure if I would have coped if I hadn’t made the emergency black trousers! I like sewing exciting patterned garments, but actually I need to sew some boring basics to go with them. I find it really hard to choose plain fabrics when I am shopping as my eye gets distracted by all the lovely prints, but obviously I need something neutral to pair with the prints.
  • My (unblogged) red ruched top, and my 1-hour striped t-shirt got a lot of wear; plain colours and patterns that were easy to wear and went with lots of options. I have already cut out some boring simple and versatile tops for the summer.
  • When the weather was nice I loved wearing dresses! I don’t feel comfortable in skin-coloured tights, so in an ideal world I would go from wearing wooly tights and boots straight to sandals, hence the couple of weeks of trousers.
  • I have analysed what I wore each day and made some lovely pie-charts!outfit typesOver the whole month there was a lean towards trouser-based outfits, but this was massively skewed by weekend and holiday wearing of jeans. I wore lots of dresses to work, probably because they are so easy to throw on with a cardigan in the summer, with minimal thought or planning; I really like the pictures on the days when I was wearing dresses so I think I should follow Dolly Clackett‘s example and dress up more during my leisure time (she always wears gorgeous dresses, whatever she is doing, and has been my favourite MeMadeMay-er to watch)
  • I planned to allow myself to wear RTW cardigans but ended up not having to. I wore my Miette and Basic Bella cardigans most days, rediscovered a purple shrug I had made to wear to a wedding, and then made a black cardigan.
  • The colours I wore in May were different from what I usually wear. Due to mainly wearing red and turquoise cardigans, my outfits contained much more blue than usual; Normally I wear a pink or purple M&S cardigan to brighten up an outfit and have accessories to match, but not wearing them in May created some other wardrobe orphans. I do really like red and navy as a combination, so will have to make an effort to wear more of it.
  • You have to do washing regularly if you only have 8 pairs of underpants. I know readers who are parents will find it hard to believe, but living on my own I can last over a week before I fill a wash. Today I am finding RTW pants just aren’t as comfy, so I have cleared out my underwear drawers  and have some jersey scraps to make some more custom-made pairs.
  • I am almost at the stage where I can have a fully me-made wardrobe! I have tried to go clothes shopping, but I am not satisfied with the fit/construction/design of anything anymore. Yesterday I unpacked my RTW clothes and thought carefully about what clothes I had missed wearing. Anything I didn’t desperately want to wear went in a bag to go to Oxfam. I filled a blue IKEA bag with unwanted clothes; some were RTW and some were my old creations that I just don’t wear anymore. donations Seriously full bag, my shoulder hurts today from carrying it down the road.

I really didn’t expect my thoughts to be so numerous, so apologies for all the random ramblings and thanks for reading this far. If you took part in Me Made May, is there anything you have learned about yourself and your wardrobe?

*I cannot recommend vaccum-packing enough, especially for those who live in tiny flats. I have half my wardrobe (summer or winter) put away and it really makes a difference space-wise. Plus it is super fun to vacuum-pack a double winter duvet away into a tiny little space! My brother may disagree with this, after I condensed most of my wardrobe into one giant suitcase when I moved; I didn’t realise how heavy it was (solid clothes, no air) until he carried it up three flights of stairs!

Me Made May 2013

We are over half way through April so it is time to think about So Zo’s next Me Made challenge.

I, Alison of anotherlittlecraftycreation , sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’13.
I endeavour to wear all me-made garments (excluding bras, socks, tights and sports wear) each day for the duration of May 2013. I am allowed to wear RTW knitwear no more than 3 times a week.

This shouldn’t be too hard, since I haven’t bought any clothes for over a year and a half (except one Christmas jumper). Except it turns out that my lightweight work trousers are approaching their second birthday. Hmm… Maybe I’ll need to rustle up some non-woollen trousers or live in skirts.

I recently went through all my jersey scraps and cut out lots of pieces to make some Oh Lulu (not so) high waisted knickers. I started a production line but never got around to finishing the edges and elastic, so I need to move this to the top of my to-do list asap.

Is anyone else participating in Me Made May this year?

Surprises in the post!

There is not much crafting to share this week, as I have been thrown back into work with a thud and have been busy all week. However my evening were brightened up by some envelopes in my post box.

On Wednesday I got some dinosaurs I had ordered for school.

On Thursday I got the latest issue of Threads magazine. Since it only comes every two months, I always forget when to expect it and it is always a surprise. Both Thursday and Friday night I fell asleep before I had even finished reading the letters page, but this morning I sat in bed and read the whole thing.

On Friday I got home to find a parcel all the way from Canada – my Sewaholic patterns bought in Tasia’s birthday free-postage sale! I got the Cambie dress for spring/summer, as I realised it has been a long time since I made a dress. Then, just so I could make the most of the postage of course, I got the Thurlow trousers pattern since they are designed to fit and flatter pear-shaped bottoms.
special delivery

I need to decide which view of the Cambie dress to make first, and in which fabric, but when I am ready to sew I will be ready now that my bobbins are sorted and tidied with these amazing little pegs. I got these when I bought my quilt wadding (to make the most of the postage charges of course) and they are such a clever but simple way to keep bobbins with the matching thread. And at just over 10p a peg they are one of my cheapest impulse buys.bobbin

Review of 2012

Everyone else is doing it, so I’m going to follow the cool crowd and do my own review of the year. I love seeing reviews of the blogs I follow and remembering all the inspiring images and projects I have read and followed through the year, so I hope you enjoy mine as much.

I tried to pick just 5 or 10 top makes over the year, but as I looked through all my pictures* I saw so many makes I forgot about (because they have seamlessly merged into my wardrobe, not because I never looked at them again!) so here, sorted into categories, is my round up of the year…

In the category of Most worn garment of 2012 the nominees are:

most worn 2012

In the category of Best Fancy Dress of 2012 the nominees are:

  • Self-drafted boiler suit (worn to Secret Cinema showing of Promethius)
  • HRH The Queen cloak and sash (worn to a birthday party)
  • And the winner is… HRH The Queen! I loved this night out, the cloak was great for waving while dancing, and it can probably be reused for future parties with different themes.

fancy dress 2012

In the category of Most time-consuming make of 2012 the nominees are:

  • Miette cardigan (it has been a decade since I last knitted an adult-sized garment)
  • Peacock dress (hand-beaded, couture finish in expensive silk)
  • Colette Sorbetto (lots of pattern adjustments to get the perfect fit)
  • Jeanius Jeans (making a pattern from scratch and lots of muslins)
  • Minoru jacket (again, lots of muslins and adjustments)
  • And the winner is… The Peacock Dress! When people admired this dress and asked me to make them a dress, I added up costs of materials and my time (at least 15 hours of beading, 6 hours of fitting and tweaking, and many, many hours of construction including 4 hours hand-sewing the hem!) to give a quote of just a little under 4 digits. Surprisingly nobody made further requests…

most time consuming 2012

In the category of Most unusual craft location of 2012 the nominees are:

  • in a cable car over the Thames (going between Olympic venues)
  • on a beach in the middle of Camden at 7am (after the start of the last leg of the Olympic Torch relay)
  • outside Buckingham Palace while waiting for Olympic cyclists to arrive.
  • And the winner is… The Beach in Camden at 7am. A beach in Camden is pretty unusual. Being there before breakfast is even more unusual. Sitting in baking sunshine by 8.30am in England is definitely the most unusual happening!

most unusual location 2012

The final category is for projects that I would never have believed were possible a couple of years ago (well possible for other people, but not me!). In the category of Most life-changing make of 2012 the nominees are:

  • the Peacock dress (sewing with silk, couture techniques, hand beading)
  • Jeanius jeans (making a pair of jeans without a proper pattern)
  • spotty Burda blouse (I’ve never even managed to buy well-fitted woven tops before)
  • Miette cardigan (not just a knitted garment, but one that fits without gaping!)
  • Minoru raincoat (It is a coat. I can wear it when it rains. I don’t get wet!)
  • And the winner is… the spotty woven Burda blouse. The other nominees may be fancy or more technical, but as a curvy girl I have never worn or owned nice woven tops (without them looking unflattering) so this blouse makes anything seem possible. Plus, when I tried on the finished blouse I wanted to wear it immediately, which is always a good sign.

most groundbreaking 2012

Looking through all my pictures there were so many that didn’t make the nominations, so here is the best of the rest.best of the rest 2012

Top row, left- right: Sorbetto top, giraffe crochet hat, Birthday Butterfly dress
Middle row, left-right:
Summertime skirt, Embroidered Embroidery case, iPad case
Bottom row, left-right:
Blogging meet up and shopping, Denim Traveller dress, United Stashes of Awesome skirt

A lot of great crafting and great memories this year, I hope you have enjoyed reading all about them on my little blog. Thank you to all my followers and for all the lovely comments. Happy New Year!

* I am aware that some pictures haven’t been blogged, or some makes haven’t been photographed. Sorry. Will try and do better this year!

Suitcase Statistics

As soon as school finishes on Friday I am catching a train to see my family so tonight I started packing my suitcase (leaving tomorrow evening to pack the all important crafts to do on my break!)

suitcase

While packing I thought I would work out exactly how much of my wardrobe is now me-made and have analysed the clothes I am taking away with me for a week. Since I have to carry presents and enough crochet to last a week I can only pack what I know I will wear, so this should be a realistic approximation of the proportion of me-mades I actually wear in my wardrobe!

memade

The contents of my suitcase

memade2

My me-made clothes by type

These charts don’t really surprise me. I know I make a lot of jersey tops because I wear a lot of them! I used to have lots of me-made dresses but for a cold winter I need to pack my cosy knitted dresses (unfortunately my knitting isn’t quite up to that!) but I am surprised I have so many me-made cosy jumpers to wear (both recent makes this autumn).

So, how much of my winter wardrobe is me-made?

memade3

My winter wardrobe (including underwear)

Considering it is so much easier to sew floaty light summer dresses and I have packed for a week of cold weather (with festive jumpers), I think 48% is a pretty good result. If you only count the clothes people can see me wear it turns into 63% of my wardrobe as me-made! How realistic is it to have a 100% handmade wardrobe? How much of your wardrobes are made by you?

After all that statistical excitement I am going to slip into my me-made pjs and get some sleep as we have our class Christmas party tomorrow – 25 hyper 4-year-olds meeting Santa means I need plenty of sleep!

Christmas Crafting

I have just one Christmas gift to finish, so I thought I would share some pictures of the things I have been making recently before they get wrapped up.

secret presents

secret presentYou didn’t think I’d risk my recipients seeing their entire presents on here did you?! Luckily I do have one gift I can show you since I made a present for my self (well, the machine was out already)…

secret gift  I have decided to start a new tradition – making a pair of Christmas pjs to wear on Christmas eve – and my second pair of festive pj bottoms are a lovely tartan flannel. I added a little patch pocket with a bow on the front and some festive ribbon at the waistband (for decoration only).

There is no action shot as I am trying to be very good and save them for Christmas eve. Until then I’ll just have to wear last year’s reindeer pjs…

 

Super soft winter trousers

Since term started I have been living in my new wool trousers. I was waiting for the chance to get a good picture of them but the winter weather hasn’t been helping, so I hope you can bear the camera-phone shots after a day of wearing.

I used the same trouser pattern I have used before, but added a few special features…

2″ deep turn-ups and wide bands around the pockets.

I really like these extra details – who would know they are the same pattern as my black trousers? I’m sure you are thinking that design features like this must take hours of designing and drafting, but can I tell you a secret? Promise you won’t tell anyone?

Well, I was half-way through cutting up my lovely soft wool fabric when I realised I didn’t have enough fabric! Normally I over buy, but apparently not this once. And I had cut the back legs out so I couldn’t use it for a skirt. Uh oh! After a LOT of arranging my pattern pieces I decided I could just squeeze the front legs on to make cropped trousers. But would I want cropped trousers in a snuggly fabric? Nope, so I decided on adding scraps to get the length and covering the join with some deep turn-ups. Problem sorted! Errr, not quite. One leg fitted perfectly but, when I placed the pattern piece for the last leg, there was  a chunk missing! Hmm.. what to do? Cover up the missing whole with an applique/outer-facing, of course! I deliberately wanted to play with the direction of the herringbone stripes here, and the decision was nothing to do with squeezing pieces on the ever-shrinking left-over fabric I had.I lined the pockets and waistband with the fantastic hot pink lining from my Minoru. I found a trouser hook and bar in my sewing box (from my first ever sewing attempt as a teenager – a long corduroy skirt) and hand-sewed them on pretty carefully – so much easier than sewing tiny hooks.

The wool fabric was so so soft I didn’t line the trousers, but I did try my best to finish the seams. The 10p bias binding I got in the holidays was a great colour match and there was just enough to finish the seams of the pockets and fly plackets.

I’m definitely changing my sewing plans from quirky to classic – the amount of time spent making these doesn’t compare to the amount of time I have worn them so far. Definitely a productive use of my time! (Although there is still room for some quirkiness; I wore my bird skirt today and got compliments on it, and it is so fun to say it is from Ikea!)

 

Fabric Frenzy and Half-term plans

On Saturday I got up bright and early to meet Kathyrn, Elisalex, and some other lovely bloggers/sewing fanatics to go to the Peter Jensen fabric sample sale. We got there just after it opened at 10am which was a good plan as it was already very busy and the queue to get fabric cut was huuuuge. The sale was in a design studio which was interesting to nosy around – look at the pin-cushion attached to the sewing machine!

There were mostly plain solid fabrics and no sign of the crazy prints we were expecting, but they were all lovely quality and bargain prices. I was queuing with some lovely aubergine corduroy and deciding how much I needed and for what (cord skirt, winter shift/pinafore dress, jacket… someone suggested a Minoru) and got convinced to take the whole roll end. Uh oh! Except it was only £20 for over 6m of lovely fabric, which is what you would expect to pay for 4m (which was what I was planning on getting). I’m still deciding what to make with it as I realised I have quite a few skirts planned already. (The other roll is some spare inner tubes I grabbed for school – to make a wigwam? – which were interesting to take on the tube!)

I also got a roll of black ribbed jersey from the random remnant bin. All the bags were £1, £2 or £3 and the £1 bags really did just contain off-cuts. My bag/roll was £3 and unrolled it looks like there is almost 4m of it! This is going to be a snuggly long-sleeved top with a cosy cowl neck, although I’m not sure if it is warm t-shirt or cool jumper thickness.

There were various ribbons and elastics for 20p a metre, rolls of bias binding (the pink was 10p and white was just £1) but my most exciting buy was these super sparkly buttons. They are black with faceted edges and I got two sizes – the tiny ones were 20 for £1 and the larger ones were 20 for £1.50. What a bargain!

Today I have cleared my table and am going to get cutting my stash – its not my favourite part of sewing so I am going to cut out multiple projects ready to sew bit by bit over the next few weeks. With the weather turning cooler I am looking forward to cutting into some of my wools from Goldhawk Road  – a simple charcoal ginger skirt and some stretchy herringbone grey trousers – and a wine pinstripe that I got in the summer sales to become a chevron Ginger skirt. I also grabbed a remnant in John Lewis a few weeks ago (when in to get a zipper for the wool skirt) which I couldn’t resist (John Kaldor fuscia with black and grey splodges) as it was exactly the right size for another Burda Septemeber 106. I think this will quickly become a wardrobe staple as it feels so good to wear something fitted and woven.

Wow! That sounds like a lot (2 skirts, 2 tops and 1 pair of trousers) but I suppose it is what you could buy in a day of shopping and I know I will live in them (if they are successful!) now it is getting chilly! I better log-off now and get to work!

p.s. Any pattern recommendations for a good winter corduroy dress? I want to be able to wear it over long-sleeved tops and pockets are a must! I am thinking about drafting it by combining a good bodice with a Ginger skirt…