Monday, 21 May 2012

Apples and pears from Walthamstow market

Well I think I jumped ahead of the sew-along over at The Pretty Pickle but I was getting on so well with my sewing yesterday that I didn't want to stop! I can't quite believe I've made something with sleeves!! Okay, they're most definitely not perfect, and I totally winged it so there are probably much easier ways to add the sleeves but for now I'm just happy I made something I love so much! I used the sleeve pattern that Sew Incidentally kindly made available here.

This fabric contains quite possibly my favourite colour combination ever - pink, purple and orange - and the added bonus of featuring apples and pears! I wouldn't have thought of adding red to all these colours before but it totally works - well, I think it does anyway hehe! I bought this on a lovely Saturday morning stroll round Walthamstow market with The Toile and Trouble and I think the fabric was a grand £2 a metre (I really need to start keeping a note of what I spend on fabric).  I also bought some lovely soft purple cotton which I think could be another sorbetto - I have plans for a dress with another inverted pleat.  As well as the sleeves this was my first time attempting a hand rolled hem.  The fabric I used is quite sheer so I thought this might be the best way of doing it.  The hand rolled hem tutorial on the Colette website was really helpful.  Changes I made this time were to make a size smaller and although I did add length once again I wish I'd added a bit more. I also really like the inverted pleat as a change from the normal one.

Another truly awful photo by me - just wanted to show off my neat inverted pleat though!
I'm so pleased I got this finished over a Saturday evening and Sunday!  Next on my list is an elasticated waist skirt as I've not made a skirt yet, and don't quite feel confident enough to tackle one with a zip yet.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Vintage Vision

On my most recent trip to Abergavenny I stumbled across a lovely vintage store Vintage Vision which is handily situated just down the street from my brother's restaurant Pizzorante.

I was very restrained (there were a lot of gorgeous clothes in there!) and, almost, didn't buy anything. However when I saw this pattern I practically squealed with delight and couldn't leave without it.  This pattern is so similar in style to one of my favourite dresses - a stripy sun-dress I bought in Iguana Vintage Clothing in Los Angeles.  When I bought the dress it had stripes in the v-neck like the yellow version on the left. Not just one stripe like shown but three, and in a luminous pink fabric that I really wasn't sure about.  Apart from the stripes I loved it so I bought it and quickly cut the stripes off.  There's no zip on my dress, just some thin elastic at the waist and some buttons on the shoulders which I never need to undo to get it on and off, so I know I could make it again without the zip (another bonus!).

I get so much use out of the dress I have that I'm looking forward to making another one up and I particularly like the blue stripy version with the contrasting stripes on the shoulders. 

Minus the pink stripes

Wearing my LA dress for a friend's wedding

Monday, 14 May 2012

Signing up for another sew-along!

I so enjoyed participating in the pyjama party and think sew-alongs are the way forward for me in terms of learning to sew, keeping my motivation up and not getting discouraged when I find things a bit difficult.  So I was very happy to read that The Pretty Pickle is hosting a Sorbetto sewalong starting tomorrow! I've already really enjoyed making three sorbetto's but haven't deviated from the pattern at all.   Now is the time for some deviancy!

I'm still trying to decide between a Sorbetto dress a la TidyTipsy or using Sew Incidentally sleeve addition to do a short-sleeved Sorbetto with an inverted pleat (like Casey does here) .  If I'm feeling particularly brave I wondered about some two-toning in the style of the photo below (though with short sleeves not long).  I wonder if such a large pleat would work though? Would I need to sew it down each side of the pleat to sit flat?

Sorry, I can't remember the source for this image

So in answer to Sara at The Pretty Pickle's question's 'Have you made you final decisions yet? Are you ready to start cutting yet?' eh that'll be a no then - how to choose between so many great variations?! and fabric, I haven't even thought about that yet! I'm planning my first trip to Ray Stitch after work tomorrow and hoping that choosing a fabric will help me decide which variation to go for!

Friday, 11 May 2012

A one-night project

Due to the tiny size of our flat it can often be difficult for me to get the sewing machine out as it takes over the living space and can be quite distracting if my husband is trying to work.  So on Wednesday night, feeling too restless to just vegetate in front of the TV, I decided to do a wee bit of jewellery making.

At the age of 15 I decided that jewellery making was what I wanted to do so I left school and went to college (or maybe I decided I was desperate to leave school and found a jewellery course as a suitable alternative!). Either way I've always enjoyed making my own jewellery but haven't done any in ages. This DIY Anthropologie inspired flag bunting necklace by Mrs Priss was a perfect project to start back with.  It didn't require the sewing machine and I made it in one night!

The colours I chose out of all the leather scraps I've got.

I've got this bundle of leather scraps that I inherited from my mum and have never done anything with them.  I imagine she got them in the mid-late 70s when she was making lots of beautiful patchwork leather bags (I'll photograph some of these another day and put them up).  I've got a plan for a camera bag in the piece of lovely red and white cross-hatch design but that would have required the sewing machine.  All this necklace required was jewellery pliers, leather, a needle to make holes with, scissors, jump rings, gold chain and a necklace fastening.  I bought the jump rings, chain and fastening in packs in John Lewis so I have plenty to make some more necklaces now - yay!

You can see the result above.  I decided to leave the ribbon off it - I couldn't get it to sit right and now I've made it I think I prefer it without.  Some of the pieces of leather were thinner than others and you can see them curling a bit in the photo.  On getting home from work tonight I've added medium interfacing to the back of them with fabric glue and it looks much sturdier now (see below). I'm so happy with it and I know I'll get lots of wear out it. Thank you Mrs Priss!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

More on 'South Riding'

In a follow-on to yesterday's  post on the book South Riding I was excited to find this blog post by Wendy, The Butterfly Balcony on the beautiful clothes which Sarah Burton, the young, headstrong and idealistic new Head Teacher, wears in the 2011 television adaptation.  This has just made me want to see it even more!  Go check out Wendy's blog post to see all the lovely screen shots she's put up of the clothes worn by Sarah Burton.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

When work and hobbies collide - again!

I try and not harp on about it too much but I really do love working as an archivist - today's 4.30pm cataloguing find is a real case in point.  I found a letter by Winifred Holtby, an author, journalist feminist and all-round interesting lady, who just happen to be the author of the book South Riding, which I'm currently reading!  In the letter, from 1935, Winifred Holtby talks about her admiration for all the work of the National Union of Women Teachers and is sending them a gift of a 'Speaker's Bell'.  I'm assuming from the context and subsequent correspondence that this was a bell which would have be used to announce each speaker at a meeting.  However the correspondence between Winifred Holtby and the NUWT makes reference to a Tortoise and I'm not quite sure whether this was part of an inscription on the bell or the design of the bell itself.  I'll need to do some archival detective work and see what I can find out!

©Institute of Education Archive
 I talked a wee bit about the book in my last post on my pyjamas (you'd need to read the last post to get the connection!) so I thought I'd just include a few links here:

The Tortoise... and the Hare? - this is the post I just wrote on my work blog about the letter I found

A review of South Riding which also talks about the television adaptation which came out in 2011. I'd love to see this sometime!

When work and hobbies collide - a blog post I did on another connection - this time relating to a vintage store dress I bought in Los Angeles