Tuesday, 26 June 2012

I have entered the one pattern many looks contest

Pattern Review are holding another competition - One Pattern Many Looks and I have consolidated the 8 shirts made (so far) to enter the contest before the closing date at the end of this month.

From the basic pattern, here are the changes I have made:-

Added Flat Felled Seams - all shirts
Collar Stay - some shirts
Pleats in the back - some shirts
Contrasting fabric for collar band, cuff and front bands - on selected shirts
Replaced the basic cuff with a French cuff - on all shirts so far (for the last two I want these to be very casual so will put on basic cuff).

If you think its worth a vote then please vote for me :-)

Bridal couture by Susan Khalie

As some of you know I am getting married on the 18th May next year and of course thoughts about my wedding dress are running around in my head.

It is no secret, even to my D Mike that I want an Art Deco themed wedding and have already started looking at various sites for inspiration.

When I met up with the lovely ladies on Sunday Sigrid mentioned that I was due to be married next year and wanted to make my own wedding dress, and Joana mentioned that she had the Bridal Couture book by Susan Khalie, but on CD.  I had heard about this book but when I looked it up on Amazon the price was over £100, so I can't tell you how happy I was to hear that this book is available from Susan's website for considerably less, so of course I ordered my copy today.

Thank you all for your lovely comments on my bra making post yesterday.  Of course the whole process was made much easier with the expert help from Sigrid.  I know that many of you can't go to The Netherlands to benefit from her help like I did, but please look at her blog because she has put up lots of information on lingerie making.

Well must head out to work, Catch you later............


PRICE: $39.95

Monday, 25 June 2012

My First Bra

I have had such a wonderful weekend and I need to tell you all about it.

I had to go to The Netherlands for business, so now whenever I go to The Netherlands I try to meet up with Sigrid an incredibly talented sewer who has a passion for sewing lingerie.  On this latest trip, we planned ahead so that I could extend my trip and stay for the weekend, so of course I had to ask Sigrid to show me how to make a bra.

I had purchased my bra kit in Birmingham at the Creative Stitch and Craft show, however when we sat and unpacked all the goodies, Sigrid didn't like the colours they had put together, or feel some of the notions were right, so very kindly delved into her stash to come up with the things I needed to complete the bra (to meet her high standard).

Originally I bought a Kwik Sew pattern to use, however once I had cut out the pattern and did a sort of tissue fit, Sigrid felt that the shape of the cup on the Kwik Sew pattern wasn't right on me and suggested I try one of her bras to compare.  We found her own tnt pattern by Sewy Rebecca fitted me perfectly in the cup, but I just needed a little length added to the back strap as I have a broader back. 

A few fellow bloggers have posted their recent attempts at making a bra, each of them doing a splendid job, and I am sure that I could have given it a stab and had a go on my own too.  However, I can't tell you how helpful it was to have such an expert sitting there showing me where to take care, tips on placement for the lace etc etc.  Sigrid has given up precious time to create fantastic tutorials on her blog, so please check it out if you are interested in making a bra, they are worth their weight in gold.

So having read all of the above, I bet you want to see the end result, so here it is ta da.....

The cup has three pieces to it, and we split the side band to insert lace into the side too.

Sigrid buys most of her materials for bra making from a shop called Kantjeboord, but as luck would have it,  the shop was closed for their annual 2 week vacation, but Sigrid was able to pick me up some lace and notions to complete another bra at home.  I am sure that if you have looked at what is on offer, you will be, like me, gagging to go back to the Netherlands to visit the shop myself (better have a big bag). 

Sigrid warned me that if I start making bras that it becomes addictive - she is right, I can't wait to buy more materials and start making the best ever lingerie I can (lets hope I can repeat the process alone).

Sunday we drove around 100km to Arnhem to meet up with some more ladies who sew.  Sigrid met these ladies on one of the European PR meetings, and they have since met up outside the PR forum because they are all located in The Netherlands.

So here is a photo of us all - from left to right, Marta, Joana, Sigrid, me and Hilde just before we went to look around the exhibition in church across the road.  We didn't stop chatting about sewing, thrift shop purchases, projects etc - IT WAS WONDERFUL.

Last but not least, I have to extend a HUGE thank you to Sigrid, who gave up time to help me and I can't tell you how much I enjoyed myself, and spending time with her - the next trip can't come soon enough.....................

Catch you later....................

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Butterick 5526 blouse and TNT trousers/pants

I managed to do some "me" sewing over the weekend and last night, and completed two pairs of TNT trousers/pants using McCalls 5537 and this Butterick 5526 blouse made out of some lovely striped fabric purchased on one of my Walthamstow market visits.

I am delighted that I have lost some weight so I had to adjust my TNT trousers/pants  pattern to make two new pairs of trousers/pants, one in black and one in beige and feel that they are not so baggy looking on me now.  I used some of the spare skull and cross bone fabric for the inside of the waistband of the black pair, and the apple fabric for the inside of the beige pair, just to add a quirky touch.

I had seen a striped blouse in the Madeleine collections (see below) and fell in love with the look.  Sadly my fabric doesn't have the orange running through it, but that is fine because I have red, jade green, black and blue shoes that would look great with this.

I didn't really follow the pattern too much, because I wanted to incorporate some of my shirt making techniques into this blouse.  I sewed this with flat felled seams (except for the sleeve which required some gathers).  I added the same placket to the sleeve as used for Mike's shirts too.

This fabric is rather like a charmeuse, a dream to wear, but slipped and slided all over the place.

I didn't put any interfacing in on the front bands (I never interfaced the shirt front bands either) because when I inspected a good quality RTW shirt it wasn't there.  I also didn't want a stiffness to the front as this is a lovely "soft" shirt.

Excuse the headless photo - I hadn't jumped in the shower when this was taken by my son (the builder) who was working on my porch.

I am flying out to The Netherlands later today and after I have done all the boring work stuff I am delighted to be meeting up with Sigrid and will spend the weekend with her, meeting some of her friends and doing fun stuff...... cant wait.

Catch you later.............

Sunday, 17 June 2012

8th Shirt completed

I have finished my 8th shirt this morning and given it to my D Mike for Father's Day here in the UK.

I had one of those moments last night when I sewed on the 2nd sleeve with a flat felled seam, looked at it and then said @!****!@ I had put it on the wrong way.  Have you tried unpicking a flat felled seam on a black jacquard fabric sewn with black thread?  All I can say is thank goodness for my illuminated magnifying glass.

My plan was to finish the shirt last night, because I have cut out some beige pants/trousers that are part made, and also bought some beautiful orange cotton to make a jacket with.  You recall I bought some orange shoes and bag recently, well my beige pants, and orange jacket will make up a particular  look that I saw in a RTW catalogue that I wanted to copy.  However, by the time I had unpicked two seams, on a fabric that also liked to unravel, I was too grumpy to finish it last night.

I woke around 7am this morning and left Mike fast asleep in bed and crept upstairs to finish the shirt and give it to him today.  He loves it and I am pleased with the end result.

I mad one minor change to this shirt.  While I was out shopping yesterday I saw a shirt in a shop window with a contrasting bias strip sewn to the hem line, where the back and front pieces are joined.  I cut two 1" bias strips of the skull and cross bone fabric and stitched it on the curve of the hem, this give just another tweak to the same pattern.

I have two more shirts to make to meet my quota of 10, however when shopping for buttons yesterday I bought a lovely two-tone oxford broadcloth, and a beautiful purple and blue shot fabric.  I already have some more fabrics that I had bought for shirts, so I suspect that Mike will get more than 10.

Here is the end result:-

I have 9 for lunch today, so I am off to prep lunch so that I can go upstairs and get on with my other projects.

Catch you later.........

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Progress on 7/10 which is actually the 8th shirt

I am sorry I just can't help myself, I go upstairs with the intention of just cutting out the components for the next shirt and then I think I'll just sew the collar, then the cuffs and I sort of get carried away.

Here is a sneak preview of 7/10 which is actually the 8th shirt because I sewed 8/10 last.  I purchased the black fabric first and then saw the skull and cross bone fabric and thought this fabric would really add a quirky touch to the inside of the shirt.

Once again I used my new found "favourite" collar instructions and it went in really really well.  I would say I am 99% happy with the collar (well nobody is perfect).

I have decided not to embroider this shirt because the fabric already has quite a bit on it, and I am not sure it will show too well, and I don't want to embroider in a contrasting colour, so this one will be left plain (except for the inside).

Excuse the lighting, its late I had powered down all the other lights except for a small light with a yellow tinge.

All being well, this shirt will be finished tomorrow evening leaving me with only 2 to do.

I have lost a little weight since I last made any trousers/pants, so I also spent some time this evening adjusting my TNT trouser/pant pattern and cut myself out a black pair (to check the size and handy for work).  When I am happy with the adjustments, I want to make myself a beige pair to go with my orange, beige and navy colour theme I want to create.

Right time for bed, catch you later.............

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Adventures in a car park

This evening I had to attend a local meeting of the professional institute that I am a member of.  It was in a town about 30 miles from my home, I wasn't actually sure where the venue was, or where I would park.

I found the building, and then saw a car park and parked the car on the 2nd floor.  The meeting finished just after 9pm and I made my way back to the car park.  The town was empty,  it had just got dark, and I already felt a little nervous walking back to the car park alone.  When I reach the exit /entry point to get back into the car park, the door was locked and a gate had been pulled in front of the door - THE CAR PARK WAS CLOSED!!!!

So my car was locked inside a car park, with my house keys inside, to say a slight feeling of panic crept inside me was an understatement..............  I called the emergency number and was told I could leave the car in the car park until the morning, however that didn't help my key situation, or even getting home.  The 2nd alternative was that they come and unlock the car park and I pay a £50 fee for them to open one gate lol, that has to be the most expensive car park ticket for a 2 hour stay.

Hope your day was better than mine.  Catch you later....................

8/10 Completed

I am pleased to present shirt No.8/10.  Those of you who are good at numbers will know that 7/10 hasn't been presented yet.  Even I got excited when I was sewing this shirt thinking ohhhhhh I only have two to go.  Basically I had embroidered the yoke for two shirts and picked up No.8 before No. 7 lol,  never mind, won't put my posh frock on to go to the shop just yet.  This shirt leaves 3 shirts to complete.

I really like this shirt.  First the design - yes they are apples, and as my D Mike is a huge MAC fan, how does the saying go, I saw this and thought of you.

I used the new collar technique, which I blogged about here.  I think this method is now a keeper for me as I believe it gives a much better result.

A subtle difference for this shirt, is the front band which has been made using the black contrasting fabric.  I have seen this used for other shirts and like the idea.  When the shirt is buttoned you don't really see it, its just the glimpse of black when buttoned, but more so when unbuttoned for a more casual look.

All topstitching has been sewn with black thread, buttons are recycled from one of Mike's old shirts.

Catch you later...........

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Pattern Storage database - Bento

I have just found a great pattern storage database called Bento which I am using on my MAC, ipad and iphone.

I have collected a large number of patterns which I currently keep in a 3 draw chest, however its really difficult for me to find what I want, and normally means I have to just flick through all the patterns and hope I find it sooner than later.

I mentioned to Mike I needed something and wanted to create a database, and he said he had Bento on his laptop and looked so see if it would work for my patterns.  There are already kind people who have done the hard work for you and I used an existing template, and then added some extra fields.

This screen is showing all the sewing patterns, but you can enter them into specific categories, i.e pants, skirts, tops etc.

Below is the screen for those patterns that fall into the "pants" category.

On this screen I have selected McCalls 6440 and you can see an image of the pattern cover, the line drawing, make and number of the pattern.  I have created a new field called ID so when I enter a new pattern on the system, it gives it an automatic ID number (this is an option you need to select). Once the number is allocated, I write this number on the pattern cover and I am now storing the patterns in this numerical order.

I have also added a link to PR so that before I sew I can see what other people have thought about the pattern and any problems they encountered, and lastly another link that takes me to my blog if I have made up this pattern.

This next screen is produced when you click the fabric tab, and allows you to enter the information on fabrics, notions etc.

Needless to say, I went to the respective pattern companies, and copy and pasted the photos and the information.

So far I am delighted with this system, and better still you can sync it to your iphone and ipad so if you are out shopping you can take these smaller appliances with you to look up material and notion requirements when you see some fabric and think great dress!!  Just go to the dress section and find a dress suitable for that fabric.

So far I have entered around 120 patterns - I know some of you are cringing at the thought, but I have a small box next to me while watching TV and will just do this work in batches and then any future pattern purchases can be added immediately.

FYI I have already found 2 patterns where I have bought it twice lol.

Hope you find this info helpful.

Catch you later.................

No 6/10 and only 4 to go

I am pleased to present shirt No. 6/10.

This is a completely different fabric from the other shirts,  its a crepe and doesn't have the crispness of the shirting cotton, but the fabric is lovely and more important Mike loves it.  Its modelled here with the Hermes tie I purchased for Mike in a charity shop for an unbelievable price.

I tried a different method for attaching the collar to the shirt this time using a useful tip provided by
Margyh who sews some wonderful garments.  Click the link for the full details, but in short, the Collar band is partially sewn first leaving the bottom edge open and a gap in the top edge to pull the shirt neck edge through.  Once these are sewn together the upper collar is pushed through the opening and then sewn.  I quite like this method (thanks Margyh) and now want to try it again using cotton shirting again.

So here we have it, only 4 shirts to go - its getting exciting for me, Mike says terrifying for him (have no idea why).

Catch you later...................

Thursday, 7 June 2012

consolidation 5/10 shirts.

I thought I would consolidate my shirt making project and post them all together - This is my half way mark - 5/10 and I have actually made 3/4's of shirt No 6.  Sadly I didn't have a flat fell foot in the flat so had to stop after setting in the sleeves, and stupidly forgot to pack the collar stand for No. 6.  I will  take the part-made shirt with me today, to finish at the cottage later tonight.

I am delighted to say Mike has been wearing all the shirts and seems really happy with them.  Phew what a relief.  I told one of my work colleagues about this "shirts for a bag scheme", and she said "oh dear be careful, he may only be wearing them to be kind to you".  I confess this did get me worried and of course I had to ask him if he was truly happy with the shirts, and wanted me to make them for him.  I am pleased to say he was delighted with them.

Shirts 2,3 and 5 all have collar stays in them.   3,4 and 5 have small pleats in the back.  Some have white contrasting collar stand, cuffs and inside yoke. I am trying to do something different for each of the shirts.  I managed to purchase some great fabrics on Saturday and they will sew into some funky shirts so watch this space.

Catch you later..........

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Jubilee celebrations now over

Its been a busy weekend in the UK, especially London where events were held to mark our Queen's 60 years reign on the throne.  

I have to say, for a lady in her late 80's she looked absolutely stunning in all her outfits, and a recent news article said that these were all made by her long-serving in-house couturier, Angela Kelly. 

The Duchess of Cambridge also looked beautiful in her Alexander McQueen dress, designed by Sarah Burton.

Sadly the weather was hit and miss during the celebrations, and we were not in London to see any of this because my D Mike had to go to Plymouth to collect his son's belongings from his university house.  Never mind, I saw lots on TV while I got on with lots of sewing.

Back to work today, just when I was getting used to a lovely long weekend........

Catch you later.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Butterick 5760

Yesterday I showed you the part finished Butterick 5760 cardigan, today I managed to finish the first cardigan and even sew a 2nd one.

The camera doesn't really like the stripes and sends your eyes a little weird, but here they are modelled in a pair of white jeans, (still needing more dieting to achieve a better look), to give you an idea of the nautical look I am trying to achieve.

The first cardigan I used the same fabric cut on the grain for the front and collar trim and used some little white buttons, the 2nd cardigan I used some white knit I had in my stash to give a contrasting look with some dark black/navy buttons.

Here are the pattern details:-

Misses' jacket, cardigan, dress, skirt and pants:  Unlined jacket has shoulder pads, princess seams and two-piece sleeves.  Close-fiting cardigan has neck/front bands and stitched hems.  Loose fitting dress has collar, collar band, side pockets, sleeves with continuous lap, pleats, button cuffs, and belt.  Skirt has self-lined yokes and back zipper/slit.  Straight-legged pants have waistband, side pockets and mock fly zipper.  A,D and E: semi fitted.

Designed for medium weight woven fabrics and moderate stretch knits.

I used one metre of 60" wide ponte knit purchased for only £2.00.  This was enough to make the two cardigans.

I made a couple of minor alterations to the pattern.  For the shoulder seams I added some iron-on tape to give some stability and stop the seams stretching out of shape.  For the collar band I just folded in half and serged to the neck-edge for the rest of the jacket, I just followed the pattern instructions.

This is a really quick easy pattern to run up and can be done in a couple of hours - quicker if your cover stitch machine is working correctly and you are not spending so much time saying unmentionable things to it.  I love my babylock but I seem to struggle with the cover stitch and just cant work out what I am doing wrong - If you have the Evolution then PM me I am getting desperate now.

I highly recommended this pattern, quick easy and a great price for a working wardrobe pattern - I want to try the shirt-dress next.

In the photo on the left, you can see my burnt orange bag and shoes that I purchased recently - I could do with a white or even orange belt too.  Still at £1 per cardigan I can afford to splash the cash on some accessories.

Catch you later..................

Monday, 4 June 2012

Babysitting, shirts & cardigans

Well the past few days have been interesting to say the least.  My weekend started on Friday with my graduation ceremony followed by a lovely dinner with my darling Mike (thank you).

Here in the UK we have all been enjoying the celebrations for the Queens Diamond Jubilee - the coverage on the TV has been wonderful.  We are making our way back into London tomorrow, so we may see some more when we get there.

Saturday we were back at the cottage for an hour or so before Mike set off for Plymouth to collect his son's belongings from his son's student house and wasn't due back until today.  This gave me the weekend to get on with some sewing projects, in particular knocking off some more of the shirts to reach my quota of 10, and a little trip to Walthamstow market with my twin sister to look for some more fabrics for the shirts - and as usual I found some fabulous fabrics again.

The pink shirt was one of the new fabrics, check out the design near the shirt tails - its a paint brush.  This of course will be hidden when the shirt is tucked into Mike trousers but I thought it was quirky.  As you can see the pink shirt is 5/10.  The blue stripe is 4/10 and was fabric from my stash.  I have used the white contrast on this shirt.  No 6/10 is cut out and will be ready to be sewn during the week.  So I have now sewn half a designer handbag ha ha.

Sunday I volunteered to look after Bentley for my daughter - he is the Great Dane puppy who has grown somewhat since you last saw him.   Now this little story may amuse you.  I was up very late Saturday night sewing and didn't get to bed until around 1:30am.  Sunday morning I was in my PJ's until around 10am, at which point I thought I must go to the supermarket to buy some food to cook dinner when everyone came round.  Just as I was about to walk out the door Lauren turned up with Bentley.  I said I wouldn't be long and drove off. 

I assumed that she would stay in the house with the puppy until I got back, and more so because I didn't take my house keys with me.  When I pulled into the drive, my daughter's car was gone, the dog was in the house and I was LOCKED OUT OF MY OWN HOUSE.  You can imagine the air was rather blue for quite a while.  Bentley was rather confused as to why I wasn't coming into the house too.

Thankfully my older son took a locksmith's course and was able to get me into the house - but I had to sit in the car for nearly an hour before I could get in and I was able to get on with some sewing..................

As you can see here he wanted to join me in my sewing room - there wasn't a lot of room for him, and later in the day, my DGD came round and here are the two of them together - so sweet.  Bentley is 5 months old, so still has a lot of growing to do.  Alana will be 2 in July, so she too still has a lot of growing to do too.

Last but not least, I thought I would make a start on the cardigan from Butterick 5760 using some beautiful ponte knit that I purchased in the market over the weekend.

This photo doesn't show the true colour of the fabric.  It is actually navy and white and I have a quite a few ideas on how I want to wear this cardigan - with a white shift dress, or jeans, with beige shift dress or pants/skirt etc etc - more on that later.

Now the only things I have to do to finish this is cover stitch the hems , and sew my buttonholes, however, for some reason, I always have trouble when setting my Babylock Evolution to cover stitch, so I have given up for the evening and will look at it with fresh eyes in the morning.

Friday, 1 June 2012

My Fellowship Award

Its a special day today for me as I was awarded my Fellowship status for the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators.

I was actually awarded the status in July last year, but the ceremony is an annual event, so we had to wait a while before going through all the pomp and ceremony of the service.

The ceremony was held in the Merchant Taylor's Hall, which dates back to as early as 1347.  The King's Gallery gets its name after King James I, who used it as a private dining space in 1607.

This is probably the last award I am likely to get in my working life, but it was lovely that my D Mike was there with me, and responsible for taking these photographs.  We did have one taken together, but I guess we will have to wait for that one to arrive in the post.

Under my gown, I wore the dress McCalls 5818 which I had made (not reviewed) last year.   I used a nice peppermint linen, which I was very grateful for due to the heat from wearing the ceremonial outfit.

We are off to dinner later to celebrate so no shirt sewing tonight..........

Catch you later....................