Saturday, 29 October 2011

red herringbone tweed skirt - 3

Nearly there...needs the waistband sewn down, the lining stitched next to the zip and the walking pleat, and everything about the hem done.

I got one of those 'what if' ideas and discovered it would be fun to have buttons as part of the stitching detail. This was because I sewed one stripe above the pleat part in the back, but it looked lonely so I thought I would do my normal button with it as well. and so one thing led to another. I had almost enough of the right buttons, but some were sort of "mmm, not sure."

So while I was in town getting the zip, I rummaged in their button box and found a few more that might work. I traded one of my possibles for one of the ones I bought. and choose a different one for the back, too. So, I had a about 3 extra...

for which I was glad later. Would you like to hear a story?

WELL, I was sewing the lining in after the waistband was stitched on to the skirt fabric, (which is not recommended practice). and so the waistband got caught in the sewing, and then as I was unsewing that bit...
yes, you guessed it. I made a hole in the fabric. oh, dear. So, I tried to darn it with some of the 'white' thread. but being herringbone weave, it was not the best looking thing I have ever done.

SO, what if I stitched a line of stitching over it like below. Okay, that was happy, but I could still notice the mend. So, being too late at night to be sewing already or I wouldn't have got into this state in the first place...I decided to just touch it up with felt tip.(also not recommended practice if you don't have a colour that is spot on... or else at least try it on a scrap so you can say "that won't work" before you find out it doesn't.) So, anyway, extra button to the rescue.

and actually, I think it is the bit about the whole thing that makes it from interesting to 'designerish'. Check it out on the photo up on the waistband.

you should be able to click on the photo and enlarge, but I am not sure because Blogger seems to think you want to look at all the photos in blogs in a fancy black background but not have the choice of looking at detail.

oh while I was in the market, I had a look at Lady Sew and Sew's stall. I thought I would see what was interesting for blouses. Well, I did think, "what in the world will I wear with this skirt?", but anyway. Nothing there wanted to be a blouse for this skirt anyway. But this fabric seemed to say it had to come home with me.

In a strange way, it almost wants to go with the skirt, but I don't think I am brave enough. I will have to get some second opinions.

and then ask my son, who will be brave enough to tell me the full truth. (Actually, I have always been able to get good design advice from him, except for the years when he wasn't really doing normal conversations, let alone ones having to do with my sewing.)

Thursday, 27 October 2011

red herringbone tweed skirt - 2


well, still needs the threads drawn to the back.

also have done online training for college before it became too much of an overwhelming Sword of Damocles.

that is enough for today.

oh, I do hate closing in Autumn days and it is only going to get darker this weekend.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

red herringbone tweed skirt - 1

Some days...

Today I just couldn't get very motivated. Okay, I did get out the box of jeans to see what I might use for the recycle project. and I did actually come up with an idea. But...

and I also got out the scraps from the red herringbone tweed that is on the cut out pile waiting to be a skirt and tried a few ideas for jazzing it up. I was thinking pun - herringbone stitches on herringbone tweed. getit? but I thought hand stitches would catch, and the right colour thread was too thick for even a size 120 needle. So I did a few bobbin work samples.

But I really didn't like the machine herringbone this time, since it closes the ends of the stitch. anyway, I eventually decided I liked this quilting stitch which is at the top - basically it is like a staggered buttonhole stitch from one side to the other. I could have adjusted the tensions to get it just right. But I like the look of the slight v. Here is a close up.

So it got to be 8 pm and I felt like the day was a bit of a waste production wise. Then my husband went off to the shops and I thought. Okay. let's see how much I can do in 2 hours.

and actually, I managed to do alot! I had the skirt and lining parts sewed together by the time he came back around 9 pm.

I got stuck when it came to the zip. I forgot I had meant to go looking for a dark red one. I am considering this cream zip. (I have a red one that is more scarlet, but it shouts WRONG!) If it is lap construction, you won't see it anyway. but, if I am doing the stitching on the skirt, it would be fun to have the right kind of red zip, too.

So, tomorrow I will play with where to put the stitching. and Friday, when Sew Divine has their haberdashery stall in the Market, I will go get a zip.

and if anyone is out there, here is a question?
So, the fabric sort of reads as pinkyred. I am hoping the red stitches help the viewer decide it is a red skirt. (basically I like red and I don't like pink much! - unless it is fuchsia.) What do you think?

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

resewn skirt

while I am on a skirt roll, and while today was to be a bit of an in and out of the house today. I thought I might resew this skirt.

I bought this in the charity shop some years ago, even though it was too big for me. I really loved the stitching on the front. So, I did a bit of a sew-sew taking in so I could wear it. However, it was never quite right, and as it was unlined, if I wore a slip under it for more warmth, the awkward fit made the slip end up round my hips.

So, last night I took it apart at the side seams. I forgot to do a before photo, but here you can see the stitching on the front.

and here you can see how much wanted chopping off to be my size. The waist doesn't seem that much bigger, but it had no darts. I have sewn darts in as usual with my own pattern. One of the problems before was that it was even longer than I like, which is below the knee. I couldn't take it up without compromising the design. So, when I recut it, I retained the original hem and cut the excess from the top.

Because I was doing that, I had to reposition the invisible zip at the back. I am very chuffed at how successful that was! I usually avoid invisible zips. I may reconsider!

Because the original was just sewn with the overlocker, I used that method for sewing the skirt together. It was pretty quick.

Anyway, the waist treatment was a faced waist. The original facing was rather dodgy and never behaved right in the first place. Besides being pretty ruined by the time I got it off, with recutting the skirt, it would not have gone back on properly anyway. So, I discovered just enough of the black pin stripe skirt fabric in my scrap bin to be able to make a new facing. (Both fabrics have a bit of stretch in them.)

et voila! So, no dramatic changes, but it fits now! and that was all done like I said between going here and there today.

Monday, 24 October 2011

skirts - done

It is half-term this week. So, I was able to finish the 2 skirts I was working on.

I like putting buttons at the back of skirts that are a bit plain. It helps to keep the walking pleat from stress. I put one of the patches at the back of the pinstripe skirt to go with the ones from the front.

Thoughts on the patches on the pinstripe skirt?
So, it is okay, but not sure if I managed to make it look like a design and not just a bunch of plonked on patches.

Thoughts on working a bit more like a production line?
It has worked really well to do a bit here and there. Generally I focus on one thing from start to finish. (well, I generally have several types of projects going on, but I usually keep going on one garment at a time, so I can remember what it was I was going to do next.)

Not sure what I will work on next. I have several options.

-Work on the Book Project.
-Stitch one or two more winter skirts.
-Have a cutting out blouses day so I can get a few of those ready to work on a bit at a time. I really need blouses more than I need skirts.
-Start work on a textile piece to get a head start for next year. (Now that is where everything else goes out the window because I really enjoy doing that sort of work.) But it would really become a tip in here if I did that!
- make some gasp Christmas presents.

one thing I will do...
look out some bits and pieces to refashion something for the Pattern Review contest that is coming up. I have wanted to do something for one of the contests for a long time, but you need to belong at least 3 months. so after I got that far, I was recovering from the emergency trip to America and starting on the Fashion sans Frontiere's garments. Not all of the contests suit me. It is, after all Pattern Review, and I make my own patterns. But, I haven't done a refashion for a while and am not right out straight for the month of November. So, that should do.

Sunday, 23 October 2011


A lovely young lady we have come to know at our church is going back to Korea. This past summer, she graduated from the University of Surrey - Guildford. She had a job here, but wants to try to get a job back in Korea so she can be with her family.

We are going to miss her very smiley bubbley face.
My husband made a book cake and I found ribbons to go with it. (they are a bit scrunched so I could get the lettering in the photo.)

We always find some reason to have a cake with a cuppa after the service!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

good find

Aldi had a set of craft knives this week for around £6! I had been thinking about getting a scalpel type of craft knife for the book project. Well, here are all the variations I could imagine! Should make the project easier!

Have done list includes:
- getting the zips and waistbands and lining in both the black pin stripe skirt and the blue/brown plaid. They just need hemming. Just in time for warmer skirts to wear in colder weather!

- research for a topic I am considering for the CQ@10 exhibition next year. Contemporary Quilt will be 10 years old. Somehow getting the QA challenge done so quickly has motivated me to start to make work now for some of the exhibitions I want to enter next year.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

this week

Monday was not so bad at college this week. For the first time I actually was able to use the Smart board in my room! A how-to video on making a fold over channel with elastic insert for a waistband. this was for the Level 1 students. While they watched, I showed 1st year Level 2 students how to change a straight skirt draft to an A-line skirt. Cool. teaching two lots of people at one time!

Tuesday and Wednesday I was busy making something for the current QuiltArt challenge(an online list). With all the college stuff, the deadline snuck up on me. I really did want to do it though, as it was about using unusual materials: i.e from the DIY shop or whatever. UMC = Unusual Materials Challenge. This as you might guess was right up my street. I have been wanting to do more with some of the ideas I have started experimenting with sewing on Weird and Wonderfuls.

However, we are not to show in progress photos til it is up online. So, photos of the drawers where I have been collecting these sorts of things already will have to do for now.

So, you will have to wait to see the result!!

Oh, today? I read a book. So there! Next week is half-term, so I figured I could read at least 2 books, couldn't I ?  I also gessoed the rest of the pages I am going to use for the book project.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

threads and machines

Today I got my poorly machine back from the doctor again. It was doing a little blind hem stitch dance and then kept chuntering along even when I lifted my foot from the petal. Not good.

I haven't dared try it, but they said they replaced the synchroniser. Okay. me neither, but I think it must help the 2 new boards (that they put in when it went to hospital in August) talk to each other. Or something. I am so glad my dealer decided to extend the warranty another year.

anyway, besides going to Reading for that, I also needed a post for V, for the Ideas of Inspiration blog. I forgot I already saved one of a sculpture in Lyon which was covered with Verdigris. Anyway, I decided to go for variegated. So, that meant I had to sort out the box with all the tangled variegated threads!

This is not all of the variegated threads mind you. But it is worth having such a selection. you might choose one which is almost right, but has a bit of green or yellow or something else, which changes the look of a piece in a way that you don't want. So, if you have a choice of nearly the same versions, you can find the one that works.

Most of these are Valdani rayon threads as sold by Thread Studio. I understand they have worked with them to get their own dye selections. I get a few more each year when they come to Knitting and Stitching show.
Recently, I discovered Mettler silk finish variegated cotton threads. They are good when you want a bit thicker line. I have started to get one of each so I can shop in my stash when I need them.

Friday, 14 October 2011

to do or have done

Some people write their to do lists on their blogs. I do make lists, but I reserve the right to not do it. So, I don't need the pressure of telling the world I didn't.
However, sometimes you need to have a 'have done' list. So, in the last few days I have...

-resolved the test situation with the book project. clear gesso, softer brush, and cheap watercolours from tubes painted on straight. The page is sturdy enough to cut the fine detail and also the paint doesn't bleed like it did in the soft 'as is' state.

-nearly completed the last of 5 schemes of work for the variety of C+G fashion students in my class. (you don't want to see those.)

-finally wrote the update letter for TVCT (If you need to see that you should have already.)

-consulted with one of the TVCT committee about mailing list programmes. (not ready to look at)

-sewed all the darts and vertical seams on the grey lining for the black pin stripe skirt, as well as the brown/blue plaid skirt and it's lining. (I am sure you have seen sewn seams! but you can see the fabric here.)

-won the battle with my overlocker and got it to produce results consistent with the book. I decided to stop looking in the manual, which leaves much to the imagination. and look instead in the Bernina Serger/Overlocker book.
oh, and I am ashamed to admit that I discovered that somehow the needle had almost become like a minute crochet hook! Oops. I am sure that didn't help. (not showing you :p )

-so I also have overlocked each individual seam allowance plus the hem and waist. I may still shorten the skirts, but at this point, I am fed up with strings. (you know what overlocking looks like)

-hoovered all the strings off the studio floor. I may have said this before, but I can cope with piles akin to archeological digs on my tables and surfaces, carving out a space for anything I want to do. BUT, after a certain point, I CAN'T COPE WITH STRINGS ON THE FLOOR. Not sure what the difference is. (still not showing you :p )

-oh, I also tidied the big counter area in the kitchen. Mr. Wonderful has discovered baking in the last year, and as he is quite the gadget man, whether computer gadgets or gardening gadgets or baking gadgets, we were getting quite a collection. SO, I found a few spaces out of site for some of them. Besides strings, I like to have that space clear, because you look through from the kitchen to the dining room. ( also not showing you :p )

So, any applause for the above would be appreciated. (Including avoiding taking random photos.)

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

black pin stripe skirt - 3

So, the idea I got to make this skirt a bit more fun... add black lace to the patches.

Not sure if I mentioned that the patches are from the wrong side, which has more of a plaid effect. I am not sure if I actually saw anything at Knitting and Stitching that made me think of the lace, but just an overall idea of what I like. I quite like the juxtaposition of lace with things you think shouldn't have lace. I also like the deconstructed aged look that bits of lace can give. Sort of a Miss Haversham effect.

I tried the skirt on to see about the length. It wants to be about 7cm shorter. I also discovered that the patches I had already sewn on were a bit too much all at the sides when I was wearing it. So I placed a few more patches towards the centre front.

Then, like I said, I have a stash so I can shop in it when I get a bright idea. I got down the box with lace bits and lo, and be-hold...a little bundle of black lace which was just right. I added it here and there.
I also have one patch just at the top of the back pleat.
The photos with flash make it look like you can really differentiate between the skirt, the patches and the lace. But in reality they are all very similar in colour. It is the sort of detailing that you don't notice at first because it blends in. That is the effect I wanted it to have. It looks like a serious black pin stripe skirt, but then you take a secondlook to see what is interupting the stripes.

Next job, the lining and waistband. Remember, the fact that I have to piece the waistband is what set me off with these little patches. There is one patch just pinned where it will be when I get the waistband on.
I might get the lining sewn tomorrow. I have a bit of co-ordinator stuff to do for the Thames Valley group.

Monday, 10 October 2011

caught the eye

on the rail platform

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Knitting and Stitching show

Friday I went to the Knitting and Stitching Show. I went by train this time because I haven't been too full of energy lately and didn't want the stress of driving. It was a long day/ordeal even with the train because it takes so long. Hard to know which is best.

Anyway, I saw a couple of the girls who were in the fashion show with me. They were doing 'performance' stitching and making. They had printed a copy of the floorprint of the show onto fabric and were stitching bits and pieces onto it. Their idea was to do random, but I thought it might be a clever idea to do something similar and stitch things that actually relate.
Sorry for the blurr. This camera is normally good about shake.

There were some pretty interesting knitted fashion pieces in the student knit wear area this time. Well, usually they are interesting, but totally unrealistic and hardly wearable. (I am not a knitter, nor do I usually ever work with knits. No aversion, just more interested in wovens.) These dresses are more like real fashion.

This is Fabulous! This dress and the photos of the other pieces this girl has done are much more like real fashion to me.

And yes I came home with a few bags full of interesting things. Some were quite dear, but I generally save my money up to buy at shows, rather than buy online or try to find shops that sell what I am looking for.
Some of these are for trying along with the students for the unit on applying pattern. Some are just because. some are for an idea I am percolating in my mind. I collect bits and pieces for a work and then with the idea is ripe, I sit down and begin to make it.

And look at the lovely blue linen fabric. I had on my list to find fabric for trousers. I had almost given up hope, since most fabric stalls at shows are either quilting fabrics or colours and patterns that shout. If it is plain, it is often brown or tan or bright red or something. So, not only was this 1- blue! 2-linen, but also 3- it is a tightly woven linen.

black pin stripe skirt - 2

A bit of progress. I cut out some rectangles from the little bit of scrap fabric I had left and tried a few arrangements of them scattered on the front of the skirt.

Then I auditioned a few threads to see which one looked best. I had been tempted to go with a black/grey twist thread. But when I tried several other greys and black, the one which seemed best was 'almost black'. I sampled a few stitches on a swatch. I haven't mentioned that in the process of dealing with the skirt, I discovered it had a bit of stretch. So, although I thought a 3 step zigzag might look interesting, it actually stretched the background fabric when on the bias. In the end I went for one I use a lot.
It sort of looks like this.

I decided to use stabliser on the back anyway, even though this one didn't seem to cause stretch. I had some tear away I had been given and discovered one of the packets had black in! cool. Even though I am tearing it away there are always few little bits left. It won't show anyway, with the lining. But, it just gives ease of mind for me to know there aren't awkward looking white bits in the stitching!

I got another idea at the Knitting and Stitching show, which I will audition tomorrow if I get a chance.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

black pin stripe skirt -

...has the side seams stitched together and lapped zip in centre back. I am sure you can imagine that.

Now, laying in wait on the table to see how I am going to do the interesting bits tomorrow when I have a bit more intelligence at my command than I do tonight.

Today we had training about using the interactive whiteboard ( or reminding in the case of those of us who haven't had access to one the past few years.) I am looking forward to being able to use youtube video clips of sewing techniques.

Like this one...

Which actually makes sewing an invisible zip look easy, and thus I will not be spending 10 minutes trying to do one and looking like a fool getting more and more flustered because it doesn't work when you do it in front of people! Plus...they can replay if they don't get it!!! and I can get on with the trillions of other people waiting for my attention.

Up to now I have avoided invisible zips. But I might actually have the confidence to do more of them now.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

yes I have been busy

Because I am teaching about 5 different levels or year groups of City and Guilds Fashion this year, I have been right out straight putting together schemes of work and interpretting what the logbooks for each group needs. Last week I worked on it all day every day. Some of it was organising all my handouts into folders for the various units. and then of course, you leave one folder home and discover you needed it for something for someone else. Oh well.
But for light relief, I am doing some cutting out of fabrics. I am mainly concentrating on getting some nice clothes for cold weather. I rather wore my one warm wool skirt to death last year! Then, in moments between paperwork I can sit and stitch something up. Well, when my sick machine gets back from the doctor again!

So at the TVOffcuts meeting I took some fabric to cut. I was going to cut trousers from the pinstripe black (which I discovered was a faint check on the inside!) but because of the adjustments I have to make to the back crutch length, it was just a bit short. It was an offcut I inherited somehow and just enough was cut into that I couldn't fit it. However, it will make a smart skirt. I even needed to cut the waistband to be pieced, so I have some ideas of taking some of the scraps and cutting interesting shapes to applique and turn it into a fun smart skirt.

And since someone was wanting to get rid of the plaid, I also cut a skirt from that as well. With the prominent blue, it means I can wear brown even though I am not normally able to without looking ill.

At the weekend I cut linings for them. A rust coloured lining, for the plaid, which you can just about see. It goes with the rust stripe in the plaid. A grey lining for the pin stripe - goes with the pin stripe. I am trying to use up some lining fabric I also inherited somehow.

Then I also drafted a trumpet skirt pattern from my block. and cut out this lovely embroidered linen which I have been waiting to do for sometime. there is enough for a possible jacket as well. I am lining it with cotton, since the embroidery is metallic, and I think it will scratch. As a lining, it will help the linen to keep it's shape as well.
Then tonight I dug around in the skirt lengths box and saw this red herringbone and decided it would be just the cheerful thing this winter. My offcut of red lining was just a bit not enough because someone had cut a chunk out where I needed it. However, I decided I would go for secret cheerfulness too, with this strange flowery reddypinkygrey stuff. I would never use it as jacket lining, (even though I think that is about the only visible use I'd consider for it,) because it is rather strangely printed. Some flowers have good detail and some have almost none. I have decided the colour of the roses on the back side of the fabric (not shown)matches the red of the herringbone better, so I will use that. I am alreading using the back of the herringbone because the front side has marks from sun fading.

So, there we are. I am here...chuntering away at things in the background while I chaff under endure the early weeks of getting this course going.