Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Re-allocation of Resources: what an idea!

Isn't it funny how sometimes it never occurs to reallocate resources from one part of life to another.  I own an event management company and sitting in my resource room was metres and metres of calico (or otherwise referred to by sewers as muslin), which we had purchased and used for an event a few years ago.  After the event we took it off the walls, folded it up and stored it for the next event where we might need it.

In the mean time, I am searching the internet for where I could purchase some cheap muslin for my sewing projects.   I figured that if I purchased in bulk it should be cheaper and I would get a few projects.

An then it dawned on me - I have metres of the fabric in the event resource room doing nothing, and even if I just got 1% of what is there that will last me at least a year of sewing projects.  So to the resource room and vol-la, just what I was looking for. 

The model here is our new little puppy "Jayjay", at just 3 months old he is a tiny maltese chihuahua cross, who thought it would be great fun to play in my fabric as I was ironing it.

All pressed and folded ready for my next sewing project - which by the way is a Cambie dress - I know, I'm all about the dress at the moment.

Note to self:  what other resource can I find and re-allocate to my sewing box?
Another thought:  wonder if I could sell this stuff and turn resource into cash for more dress fabric?

Monday, 28 January 2013

Smart Casual Mila

Yesterday I finished sewing the hooks & eyes, as the finishing touch, to my Mila dress.  After a wash 'n dry I was able to wear it to work today.  What do you think?

(excuse the no shoes - I couldn't wait to get them off my feet after a day at the office!)

You can most certainly tell I've been in the office today - the crinkles in the front, noticeable in the lighter solid colour, are a definite give away.

As mentioned in my earlier Mila post, this was the first time I had downloaded a pattern from www.burdastyle.com for printing at home.  It felt quite strange working from a heavier photocopier paper rather than the usual pattern tissue.  I almost felt like I was damaging my pins.

It was a bit of a funny pattern really.  Usually I just choose a pattern size according to my bust measurement and make an adjustment for my hips and I am good to go.  So I did the same with this pattern, but after the first fitting I had to remove at least 4 inches evenly from the two side seams and back seam (as I had already constructed the front panel).   I also removed about 1 inch from the should seams.  

The front has a inner layer, which you can't see in my pictures, but this inner layer was really, really low - so much so that you could see my bra in my first fitting.  I wasn't able to change this too much but I did manage to raise it so it is a little bit more respectable for the office.  The pattern concept was a good one, but it didn't really pull it off.

I went back to the pattern website to revisit the pictures of the sample dress, and I now see that the front bust area on the this dress (below) are the same as mine - see how her black bra is peeking out the top of the dress.  Luckily I have managed to close the outer layer of my dress more than the picture below so as not to have too much cleavage showing.

After much wiggling and fitting I have a fit that I am happy with.  If I got to do the front all over again I would reconsider the placement of the darts and perhaps separate the front bust pattern piece from the placket so I didn't have to sew a 90 degree angle into the dress, didn't enjoy that part at all.

After wearing the dress for a day I am feeling better about it than when I first tried it on.  I can definitely see this dress being worn over and over and over this summer.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Discovery of JKnit

I have found yet another use for my iPad! (Oh and I love using my iPad for everything from meeting notes to reading the paper). While reading www.ravelry.com this morning doing research of the Emelie pattern one of the knitters referred to the JKnit. Having never heard of that term before I immediately needed to know more ...

A few hours later ... I had purchased and download the Pro version of JKnit, linked my Emelie PDF pattern and have spent the day setting up the pattern row by row. I can now officially ditch the pen & paper and the handy stitch counter.

Just after a day I am a fan. The tools of the modern knitter!

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Open source sewing: The Mila Dress

For my next project I have chosen an independent pattern from Mila Fashion on the Burda website.  This is the first time I have downloaded a pattern from the website, printed and assembled it.  I was pleasantly surprised how easy this exercise was; something I would definitely do again.

It is meant to be mid summer, despite that I am sitting here writing this with a blanket wrapped around my legs and a sweatshirt on.  So in preparation for the return of those long summer days I'm going fabric shopping tomorrow, specifically looking for a fun summer cotton.  I'm not sure yet whether I'll go for a contrast in colours (as per the pattern images) or a variation of the same tone - it will come to me when I get to the fabric shop I am sure.

I've already decided that I won't be putting the pockets into the side of the dress - I think this makes my hips look bigger than they need to.  I quite like the hook'n'eye detail down the front of the dress but instead of sewing each individually I'm going to look for a strip of pre-sewn hooks and eyes ... I know this might be slightly cheating but I'm okay with that.  As with all slim fitting dresses I will need to adjust the pattern to allow for my hips, which usually works just fine when I make that adjustment directly to the pattern before cutting.

I think for this dress I won't make a muslin, but I'll allow for a rather large seam allowance and baste the dress together for a fitting before I machine sew it.  This way I can make any fitting adjustments directly onto the dress without too much hassle, and hopefully save a bit of time. 

I always want to wear the garment before I've even cut it out!  My aim for 2013 is to take a bit more time with my projects to improve my fitting skills, which will hopefully give an overall more professional finish to my garments.  Here goes .....

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Changed to a Knitting Stitch

I've changed my sewing stitches for knitting stitches just for a moment.  In December I packed away my sewing machine, and transformed our dinning room back into a place to eat rather than my personal sewing space!

Since we have come back from Christmas holidays my husband has turned our dinning room into his temporary study so the sewing machines are still packed away.  Instead the knitting needles have been busy.  Even though it is summer I will be ready for winter when it gets here.

My knitting garment of choice - arm warmers.  My first pair was a lovely Raspberry colour yarn with a single cable, which are more wrist warmers than arm warmers.
These are knitted on two needles and the seam runs up the thumb line, with a small hole for the thumb about an inch from the finger end.  Knitted on a size 5mm needle with a double knit yarn, these are cute and snug fitting.  The second pair I decided to add four stitches to the pattern and a few more inches in length and chose a deep purple colour yarn.
I really love this pair, so promptly went back to the shop and brought more raspberry yarn to make more.  These are based on a Stitch Nation pattern, but I can never resist changing a pattern for my own personal style, so these aren't true to pattern but the finished product is just as I wanted.

I'm now half way through a third pair - this time I switched to double pointed needles (DPN) in a double knit, winter white yarn.  Here is the beginning of the right hand.... I've just completed the 4 rounds of ribbing and first cable round.
The left hand is complete with the exception of the thumb gusset - I thought I would save that part and do both hands at the same time, as I feel it will be really fiddly and best get it over and done with together.
I love this pattern because there is no sewing up afterwards (yay!) but I'm still trying to get the tension on the stitches, when I change needles, more consistent.  I'm sure practice will make perfect.  More pictures once I've completed these.