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Sewlutions – Final Wardrobe Maths

Right at the start of the year I boldly entered into  the sewlutions jar with the statement “I aim to have 75% of my wardrobe made by me by the end of 2013” so with a matter of hours to spare…how have I done?

Being a behaviour analyst as my day job I love using graphs so I thought I would demonstrate my progress graphically to show progress throughout the year because I realised soon on that this sewlution relied on steady progress.

Here is my graph:

wardrobe graph

 

So what does all this mean? Firstly and probably most importantly I did not achieve my goal. I started the year with a wardrobe that was 15% made by me and I am finishing with 71% made by me…this is still an increase of 56%! I made steady progress throughout the year with two big jumps in february and july, this is because I had wardrobe sort outs at this point and cleared out a lot for charity shops or refashions.

I had a massive shock at the start of the year when I found out I had 135 items of clothing in my wardrobe…who really needs that many clothes (there were certainly items in there that i did not wear). At the end of the year I have 77 items in total, 54 of which are made by me.

Doing this challenge has taught me quite a lot about myself:

1) I have a tendency to over commit myself!

2) I love making dresses (I have made six throughout the year) but focusing on getting a balanced wardrobe made me focus on other things

3) I have finally sewn knit fabrics, making five (yes five!!!) skater dresses and four renfrews. I have no idea why I found this so terrifying now but it is a great fabric for wardrobe staples.

4) I still haven’t managed to make a pair of trousers, they truly terrify me especially after the sewing disaster with trousers for Si.

5) I love colour and choosing the colour palette helped focus my fabric selections and also meant that everything sort of co-ordinates in my wardrobe meaning I could seriously cut down on the number of clothes I have.

6) Getting dressed from a smaller selection of clothes is so much easier!!! Choice can sometimes be overwhelming.

Finally here is my favourite make of the year:

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The skater dress has been my big favourite this year and the tiger fabric on this makes it a winner.

Skater Renfrew mash-up

It is no secret that I love the Skater dress pattern by Kitschy-coo, I have already made three versions (the grey one, tiger one and flamingo one) I have now made another version but this time I mixed things up a bit by adding a cowl to the neckline.

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This was made in a fairly heavy fabric which I felt would be perfect for a winter dress. I have had the fabric in my stash for about a year and I had about three meters so perfect for giving the cowl a go. To make the cowl I borrowed the cowl from the Renfrew Sewaholic top. I basically added the shape of the neckline from the Renfrew onto the skater dress and then used the cowl as it was from the Renfrew:

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As with my grey version I added three inches to the bottom of the skirt so that it is the perfect length to wear with boots (although it is worn here with my yellow shoes). The bodice as with all the others has one inch taken from the length.

I have already worn the dress to work, it is very comfy and warm. The pattern of the skater dress is so easy to wear…I love it!

Pay It Forward – Crafty Sharing

I’ve signed up for a Pay it Forward at Dottie Doodle.  As soon as I saw the idea I thought it would be something that I would like to give a try. Would you like to join in too?

Here are the “rules” (taken from Dottie Doodle):

1. I will create a crafty gift for each of the first three people who comment to this post. This is a surprise, and will arrive to you anytime within the next year.

2. In signing up for PIF, you are committing yourself to the project…someone pays it forward to you, so you pay it forward to others! Just post this, or something similar so others can get involved. Basically you will create your own post where you create gifts for 3 people as well.

3. You need to have an active blog of your own… (or some way to post up your PIF info like a flickr, pinterest, or Facebook account. You’ll need a place to announce your own PIF and to post some pics of the process.)

I will email you asking for your mailing address and the online address where you are posting your PIF info.

Do let me know your favourite colours to help me decide what to make.  I like making  gifts for children, so if you’d prefer me to make something for a child, please say so in your comment.

Looking forward to seeing who joins me.

New Look 6674 – The Parisian Wrap Dress

Way back in October last year I had the pleasure of fabric shopping in Monmarte, Paris and selected a whole range of fabric as part of my capsule wardrobe challenge. Last Thursday I managed to get around to actually making up one of the item and today I wore it to work.

Newlook dress pattern

Please forgive the photos, it is so wet and dull in the UK at the minute and regardless of what we did Little One insisted on photo bombing me. Here is the dress on:

New Look 6674 Dress

 

Firstly with the actual making, I made up view C, although I did not have a contrast band I wanted the band because when I have worn wrap dresses previously I prefer the way the band makes the dress sit. I also wanted the longer length so that it would go perfectly over my winter boots. Clearly the pattern included only options for short sleeve or no sleeves, I know that I would never wear a dress without sleeves and I kind of dislike short sleeves so I nicked the 3/4 sleeves from the Skater Dress pattern.

Overall I am mainly happy with this make, my main issues were the instructions, I felt that they weren’t the clearest (maybe I have been spoiled with indie pattern instructions which are incredibly clear) and the band took me about three attempts to put on, that seamripper is not my friend!

I am very happy with the way the pattern matches across the wrap, this took a fair bit of working out but I am so pleased that I did:

New Look 6674 front

However the pattern on the skirt is ever slightly wonky, massive unhappy face, having clearly defined stripes on the pattern of the material makes this very unforgiving. I also would have liked the ties, which I have no pictures of to be a bit longer, I can fashion a knot that will not come undone, however they are no where near long enough to tie into a nice bow.

Wearing this dress today has however indicated one major issue, the wrap shows far to much breast curve for my liking and I spent the whole day fiddling with the fold trying to feel comfy with the amount of exposure…not a good look, especially when trying to chair meetings.  The next time I wear this it’ll be teamed with a vest of some description.

Grey Skater…my final version!?

Considering that I have already made two skaters, my tiger one and my flamingo one it may come as no surprise that I love this pattern.

Here is my third version, a nice simple grey one:

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This time I made the long sleeve version because it is made in a much heavier fabric and I wanted something suitable for winter. I have done the same alteration in the bodice as my previous two, taking one inch off the length of the body.

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I also decided I wanted the skirt to be a bit longer so I could wear it with my knee high boots so I added three inches onto the lenght.

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It now goes pretty perfectly with my boots. I did have two mishaps with this make however, firstly because I extended the skirt I found out, after cutting out the skirt that I did not have enough material left for the front of the bodice which is meant to be cut on the fold. I there cut out two halves with a bit extra and have ended up with a seam down the middle of the front. I am not too worried about this mishap, it adds quite a nice bit of detailing to the front of a simple dress.

My second mishap happened when I attached the neckband onto the dress, I don’t know how I managed it but it was massively wonky. The only thing I could do was take it off but because I had overlocker it the seam had been cut, I therefore had to cut out another neckband piece and the neckline is lower on this dress than my previous two:

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Again as mishaps go this wasn’t too bad, the neckline isn’t obscene so it is still perfectly wearable. I have already worn this dress twice, once to the knitting and stitching show and then again to Newmarket Races, it is surprisingly warm so a great make for the cooler months. I have also teamed the dress up with another make that I am very excited about, more on that tomorrow.

Tiger Skater at Wedding

On Tuesday Si and I went to a friends’ wedding, as is the case when you are invited to a wedding I felt that it would be good to have a new dress to wear and so I embarked on the making of a second skater dress (the flamingo skater was my first). I brought some tiger patterned fabric from Kitschy Coo (there is an amazing selection of knit fabric is her shop, I have fallen in love with the new scooter fabric).

I made the dress up on Saturday and it gave me an excuse to use my new to me overlocker. The longest part of this dress was the cutting out because I really wanted to ensure that my tigers ran straight over the waist of the dress. I didn’t get it absolutely perfect but I’m actually pretty chuffed with the finished result.

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I think the cutting out probably took me a couple of hours and then the sewing only took about an hour, so all in all a very quick make. There is not much to add to what I said about the pattern before, I once again took an inch from the length of the bodice and still feel that the instructions are perfectly written and very easy to follow. It is no understatement to say I love this pattern, I’m already planning my third make with a lovely grey fabric I have in my stash.

The day of the wedding was very sunny, giving a perfect chance for the dress to be photographed outside:

tiger standing

Here is one to see the close up of those tigers:

tiger top

Making the dress up on my overlocker really cut down on the sewing time and the hemming was a breeze (unlike my first skater where the knit fabric was a bit tricky to handle)

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We both had a great day (and the bride was in a beautiful handmade dress too). Here Si and I are enjoying the sun:

si and jo

My Knitting Hero

Last week I blogged about my problems with my paperdolls jumper, namely that it appeared to be too small around the arms and this meant that i would have to frog all of my beautiful dolls to correct the issue. Then my new knitting hero commented on my post to say that I should give a go at doing a sample and blocking it to check the amount it changed. I want to say a massive thank you to Lizzy of Lizzylikescake you have saved me a massive amount of work and me falling out of love with the paperdolls….you are officially my knitting hero!!!!

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New Toy Renfrew

After my sewing disasters I decided that I would get back on the bandwagon by treating myself to a new toy:

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An overlocker!!! I have been thinking about getting one for ages (in fact my mum asked if I would like one for my 30th and I opted for pans instead!) but decided to finally get one last week. I knew that I couldn’t afford to get a brand new one so had a look on eBay, watched loads and then I won the Janome a few days ago. I was very excited when it arrived though the door and couldn’t wait to get my hands on in.

I opted for the Sewaholic Renfrew. I have had this pattern for ages and have no idea why I didn’t get around to using it. Anyway for the fabric I used rest of the flamingo left over from my skater dress . I thought it would be good to try using leftovers because I have never used an overlocker before and if it all went hideously wrong at least I hadn’t ruined a whole load of fabric.

When it came to cutting out it was very clear that I didn’t have anywhere near enough so I also used a bit of light blue knit fabric from my stash. Here is the finished pattern:

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As you can see I halved the front to use the flamingo at the top and the blue at the bottom, the back is all blue. I then used the flamingo for the waistband and cuffs to bring the whole top together.

The other change I made to the pattern is that I shorted the body by an inch, in all honesty now that I have put it on I wish I had taken off another inch. I made the round neck version with the three quarter sleeves, I love three quarter length sleeves, I like the idea of long ones but spend the whole time pushing them up my arms.

Once I had figured out how to thread up the overlocker the whole make was very quick, probably about 90mins including cutting out. I love the inside finish that the overlocker gives and I am looking forward to using it again in the future. I am also particuarly happy with my seams and how the match up:

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The top is super comfy, great for relaxing weekends. I already plan on making another one in some other fabric I have in my stash.

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Creative Slumps

I read a lot of other crafting blogs and have read about other people being effected by craft block/low sew-jo etc. and these past few days I have found myself somewhat afflicted with this dreadfulness, hence my period of quiet.

I think I have usually got around my loss of interest in creating stuff because I have projects in knitting, sewing, crocheting and cross stitch running concurrently, so if I lose interest in one I have another three to bury myself in. However this week I have had two projects hit a bit of a wall and this has knocked me somewhat.

So in true honest style, here goes, incident on project one – Sewing:

Remember I was making those trousers for Si? The ones I actually did my first ever muslin for? Here they are:

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And from the back:

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I finished these off whilst Si was away and literally the only thing left to do was hem them. When he returned I asked him to put them on so I could get the exact right length and horror of horrors…they were about four inches too big around the waist!!! ARGHHH! I was very upset with the whole thing, I spent ages on them and can’t believe that they don’t fit. Prior to this project I have never made a muslin in my life but I did for this one…and it fit! This all happened last weekend and I haven’t touched my sewing machine since, that is how upset I am with myself.

Now I have had a few days to reflect, here are my thoughts:

1) I followed the craftsy class and even though the trousers do not fit I have learnt a huge amount

2) At least they are too big, I can alter them, better than too small

3) I brought the brown cord material as a test fabric for the moleskin ones he really wants, thank goodness I did this

Incident on Project Two – Knitting:

I have been merrily working away on my paperdolls jumper, getting it ready for my self imposed deadline of the 18th September. I have now reached the top of the dolls and have actually started working on the ribbing. That’s right on the collar…final stretch!

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On Monday night, after the knitting group I go to I decided that I would try it on.  All was going fine, the body fits beautifully (Kate Davies’ designs are very flattering) the lenght is perfect and then oh no, the arms are too small/tight. Currently the underarm bit is on safety pins (my stitch holders) until I sew the ends in, but if I sew them up as the are I’ll never get my arms into the jumper. The main issue with this is that to sort out the arms I have to frog the paperdolls and they have taken me months and months to finish.

I’m now at that point where I know I have to frog but just can not bring myself to do it, it is all quite upsetting. I will do it eventually because I love the jumper and the colours of the wool are beautiful and very “Me.”

Yesterday I cast on a new project to work on whilst I come to terms with the disaster with the paperdolls. But fret not, the paperdolls WILL get finished and hopefully before 18th September 2014.

 

The Flamingo Skater

Since buying the flamingo jersey at the sewing meet-up I have been desperate to make it into a skater dress by kitschy coo. The fabric is just lovely it is ridiculously soft and the pattern has just enough interest without being too crazy to wear for work.

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I couldn’t be happier with the finished result. This is my first ever project with knit fabric and despite some initial handling issues (it is ridiculously easy to unintentionally stretch is as you sew) I was amazed at how straightforward it is and unbelievably quick! The pattern comes with step by step instructions with photos or a short list for more experienced sewists, I’m not embarrassed to admit I needed the full on step by step photos and they helped me tons!

The only alteration I made was shortening the bodice by one inch, the dress sits on your natural waist and is very flattering. I am particularly pleased with the fact my flamingos run in a straight line up and down over the bodice and skirt section:

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And I’m also very happy with how my neck turned out (though I unpicked it once because when I flipped it the first time I had my poor flamingos standing on their heads):

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I choose the three quarter sleeve version and this means I have enough fabric left over to make a top, probably a Renfrew. Now I have finally got around to using knit fabric I can’t believe I waited so long!