Tuesday, 21 May 2013

A Shift In Attitude!

Thank you to everyone who commented on my Sewing Setbacks post. It was so reassuring to see that even advanced sewers become frustrated when their sewing doesn't go to plan and sometimes let things sit for a bit. It motivated me to replace the metal zip on my denim skirt with a super safe modern plastic one and a rustic looking wooden button:

It's so much better and the zip insertion was much easier second time. I am wearing the skirt right now (with a big smile on my face!).

Also sewing this has made me look at side zips everywhere! This is the zip insertion on my daughters RTW skirt. Admittedly a good press would make all the difference, but...I mean, handmade can actually be better!!

I do feel encouraged to keep bashing away at making more wardrobe staples for myself. I suppose I was worried people may point and laugh ;)

Happy sewing, 'til next time!

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Me-Made-May Week 3

Day 14
Simplicity 1920 again
with thrifted wool cardigan
Day 15
New Look 6035/Simplicity 1717
denim skirt & thrifted jumper
Day 16
My first Simplicity 1920 again!
Day 17
Denim skirt & Ottobre fleece

I am sorry to say reviewing these photographs has reminded me what a difficult week I have had. The weather has been very cold and wet for the time of year (note constant presence of scarves) and I had a bad time health wise. However I have had a lot of fun interacting on the Flickr group, which I have enjoyed all the more when I was limited with what else I could do. As you can see I have been mixing and matching my few me-mades, too, and made headway by making my first "most urgently needed garment" ( now needing correction in zipper area, see previous post!). All aims I had at the outset of MMM.

Last week I spent two and a half hours tidying my sewing corner as a result of knowing I had to photograph it. This week I thought it was time I got to grips with my "wardrobe" to see just what I have (or haven't). This involved doing more ironing than I would have liked but it was necessary to get a true picture. I was quite surprised and may have to consider ironing more often! I want a little more time to come to some conclusions so I am planning to post about this in a few days.

I hope you had a happy week 3 and are enjoying or learning from your me-made experiences!

Happy sewing, 'til next time!

Friday, 17 May 2013

Sewing Setbacks

I am feeling disheartened as while wearing my new denim skirt today, I became aware of a burning sensation on my left side. Investigations revealed a big red rash. I have a very extreme nickel allergy and used a vintage metal zip from my stash which must contain some :(

To correct this there is a ton of unpicking to do and since inserting the zip was my least favorite bit of making this skirt I am feeling pretty fed up! When I get over my strop, I am thinking of somehow creating a side button fastening. Much safer!

And for further reference, no more metal zips, ever!

How do you deal with hiccups in your projects? Am I the only one who has to come back to an 'issue' when I am feeling calmer?!

Happy sewing, 'til next time!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

New Look 6035 & Simplicity 1717 mashup in denim

Will I ever learn? Here's a skirt I made by neither taking notice of fabric suggestions or pattern instructions.

Basically I wanted some warmer bottom halves other than jeans and this is my first attempt. Having seen some very cute kind of angley (angular?) denim skirts on the Flickr group, I decided that one of these would be useful across the seasons and could be paired with virtually anything.

This is the pattern I wanted to make:

Not sure if you can see - the pattern cover says "oversized patch pockets are up to the minute trend".
"Well, that's me!" I thought ;)
Those massive pockets looked like a cool design feature. I also wanted dark denim, but I didn't want to order new fabric as I am cheap environmentally minded and on a budget, so I compromised on this mid-blue which I had just one metre of. Due to this skirt having front and back seams I just couldn't squeeze it out of the fabric.

So, I thought this pattern was kind of similar in shape:

Btw isn't this a great pattern? All of the pieces are classics!

Just side seams so takes less fabric (but note, denim not suggested!). Anyhow, I cut the pieces of this skirt and the pockets of the Simplicity. What I ignored because it was inconvenient should have given more thought to was a side zip and large pockets extending from the side seams are fundamentally incompatible, especially if you use the lapped zipper insertion suggested, which I did. The top stitching looked hideous cutting in to the pocket. So I unpicked it and inserted the zipper using the newly discovered bodged-by-Philippa-don't-ask-me-to-explain-how-I-did-it-and-hopefully-will-never-be-repeated method. I should mention here that both of these patterns would have been perfectly straight forward, and the one I made above was true to the packet measurements given size wise. I would definitely make it again (following  the instructions another time), all difficulties were caused by me!!

Nice smooth side seam!
Dodgy zipper insertion

The skirt gave me some useful top stitching practise (again not suggested on the pattern, but the denim looked awful without it), but my machine hates top stitch thread so it wasn't the most relaxing item to sew. I left off the belt loops partly for that reason, and partly because I was trying not to reproduce the classic western denim skirt. The inside has a few bird's nests of orange thread dotted about. This post pretty much sums up the situation. Lauren is a very experienced and productive seamstress, so remembering this post made me feel a little better...in that way that when you have a cold and you meet your friend and she has a cold, you think, "at least I'm not suffering alone", and when you think about it that's not much consolation really :( Possibly, you are wondering why the inside of a garment matters. All I can say is it does to me :(  Rationally no-one's going to see it unless I have an accident, in which case I assume the inside of my skirt will not be a priority. So I will still wear it and attempt to be rational while doing so.

Conclusion: I am definitely getting a top stitching needle next time I feel the urge to top stitch, and might try using my old  non-computerised machine to see if that makes a difference, too.

Side view complete with long suffering face and small dog!
I am really glad I waited until the end of the day to post about this skirt, even if it means a few more wrinkles (and I much prefer photographs outside). It is a strange side-effect of having fewer clothes that anything new seems entirely out of character and an interloper among old friends. I felt quite critical of the skirt when I wrote the rest of the post but having worn it, it is very comfortable. I am really bundled up here with a winter jumper tucked in and leggings, scarf and boots. (It's 9c today. It's usually somewhat warmer in May so I had to resurrect some winter gear urgently!) I think it will fit better and be more flattering without all the layers, but it's so cold (even in the house) that nothing would persuade me to pose in cooler stuff!

Have you identified anything you need, or would like to make, yet this May?

Happy sewing, 'till next time!

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Me-Made-May Week 2 - Thoughts on a minimal wardrobe

Day 8
Day 9
Looks as though Sunday nights are round-up time around here! This post is primarily to document my Me-Made-May challenge.

You don't have to look too closely to see that I am wearing pretty much the same clothes on rotation! Not only do I have a minimal me-made wardrobe, I have a fairly minimal number of clothes anyway. There are a number of reasons for this - environment, illness (I cannot walk in a shopping centre/mall for more than an hour to an hour and a half even with a break, plus I do not like them), lifestyle (now I work at home I can be much less formal) and preference (I hate looking in to a stuffed wardrobe and feeling I have "nothing to wear"!). I might post some more on this when I have more time. How the state of my wardrobe links to Me-Made-May is that one of my reasons for taking part is "to identify my most urgently needed garments and make them myself if possible".

Last week I identified I needed more layers, a slip and warmer bottom halves.

I am pleased to say I have not been idle and in the next day or so will have a new garment to show!

Day 10 - ThemeFriday, my sewing corner
wearing first Simplicity 1920 top made pre-blog
I haven't posted repeat outfit pictures on Flickr as I feel they will be boring. But I did put up this one of my sewing corner! While I am not a panic sewer, I am sorry to report I have been a panic tidier. I spent two and a half hours this week clearing up in here and it still looks like this! My sewing space is a corner in a multi-purpose room (you can just see a printer lurking behind my machines). It is used for music practice and is also where I do my work and blogging (the desk you can see in front of my machines is where my computer lives). I spend a lot of time in here! I feel very lucky to be able to leave my machines out, as for years I only had the family table. Now I can just pop in here when I have a few spare minutes and sew.

Learned this week
- I don't need a lot of variety to be happy.
- I am getting better at facing the camera. The key for me is get the photo taken quick and don't be too picky!

Loved this week
- I am not sure of the etiquette around naming individuals, but I have been very inspired by some of the outfits on the Flickr group, three in particular. Two are checked tops (not shirts) and the other is a lady who sews the most beautifully fitted dresses in small florals. They sound twee in my description but they are just soooo elegant!
- Seeing where others sew. How generous to share your spaces. Thank you!

Day 11

Happy sewing, 'til next time!

Sunday, 5 May 2013

What I have learned and loved - Me-Made-May Week 1

Day 1

1. The weather in England in May is capricious. Most days I was either too hot or too cold. Layers for May!

2. I like wearing florals (at least, on this skirt)!  I only had this fabric because it was cheap in our charity shop and was unusual colours. Wearing it made me feel cheerful and feminine. I will start considering selected florals.

3. I need a couple of slips to go under my cotton skirts so that I can extend their wear with leggings when it's chilly (otherwise they ride up).

4. I would like some warmer bottom halves (other than jeans), but I knew this already really...

Day 2
Day 3

5. The top half of day 3 does me no favours! Cardi/wrap has been re-donated (originated from charity shop) and old vest top has been recycled.

Day 4
Another casualty of Me-Made-May!
The white linen shirt pictured above was heavily refashioned a couple of years ago (collar removed & shape changed, sleeves removed, armholes changed, fit changed, shortened), I was looking forward to wearing it  as it is cool and pretty (it has some white embroidery you can't see in the photo), but the button over the bust gapes too much :( so I have donated it.

7. Using Flickr is easy.


1. The massive Flickr group. I don't have time to look at all the photos! Inspirational style.

2. The international flavour - there seems to be more nationalities taking part this year. I love looking at not only the clothes, but snapshots of other countries, their weather, snippets of other lives...

3. Being part of something. Sewing can be quite a solitary activity. Hoorah to Zoe for bringing us all together.

Looking forward to Week 2!

Happy sewing, 'til next time!

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Me-Made-May 2013

Happy Me-Made-May to all those taking part and all those interested watching! I am super excited to be taking part for the first time, albeit in a smaller way than I would like (but this gives me something to aim for next year!).

My pledge: 'I, Philippa of Gloria & Me, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May'13. I endeavour to wear one handmade item or one heavily refashioned item* for four days a week for the duration of May 2013'.

* Many of my clothes are refashions. For the purposes of this challenge, 'refashioned items' will only include garments I have significantly re-made - either a complete alteration of shape and style or, like the top I posted recently, garments that have been washed, unpicked, pressed and used as fabric, and have therefore been sewn in to a completely new item.

As advised, I took some time to think about what I was hoping to achieve by joining in with MMM'13.

- My original aim, to appreciate and contribute to the wonderful handmade on-line community still stands, obviously;
- I would also like to find out what my most urgently needed garments are and make them myself rather than buy them if possible;
- Have fun mixing and matching.

Although these may seem like small achievements, they will mean a lot to me!

Also, I have tried to download the button to tell everyone I am taking part but due no doubt to my technical incompetence have utterly failed! I am only using buttons in posts anyway, as sidebars can get a bit busy.

I was able to download this one however!

Kerry is hosting this fun swap over on Kestrel Makes. I am a little apprehensive as I have never taken part in a swap before (it's a month of firsts!) and seemed like a nice thing to do instead of my usual monthly giveaway. I promise to post whatever I send/receive/make and again I am pretty excited to be dipping my toes into something new. 

Enjoy your me-mades everyone, I can't wait to see what you post!

Happy sewing, 'til next time!