Saturday, 16 February 2013

A few of my favourite things

Although I have a sewing kit that has gradually grown over the years, there are a few items that I really love to have.  These are the little things that just make the sewing that wee bit more delightful, especially when you are hand sewing.  I thought I would share my current top five items.

My little embroidery scissors, which I have had for years - purchased when I went through a cross-stitch craze.  It was only in January that it dawned on me that they were sitting in the cupboard and I should reallocate them to my sewing kit!  They are truly delightful to use.

Next is my newly acquired set of embroidery needles.  After using a general, probably cheap, pack of needles that someone would buy if they didn't know any better (yep me), these John James feel like the Roles Royce of needles. 

This is my recent discovery - bees wax.  Applying this to the thread when hand sewing is amazing, especially if you then run the thread under the iron after waxing.  This not only makes the thread strong but I find it also prevents the thread from twisting terribly.  Again makes hand sewing a pleasure.

This is my funky pin cushion.  It's about 12cm wide and is the ideal size for me.  I really don't like fluffing around trying to pick the pins out of their container.  This baby is big enough to contain a decent amount of pins that are easily accessible, but not too big so it can sit to on the right hand side of my sewing machine foot, making it easy to 'pull and poke' the pins as I sew.

Lastly but by no means at the bottom of my list is my brand new Clover tracing wheel.  As you can see it is a double wheel so it can apply the seam allowance as you trace.  Whether you have to add the seam allowance or if you want to mark the sewing lines because the pattern already provides a seam allowance.  Both wheels can be removed and the distance between then either increased or decreased with seven holes into which they can be placed.

What are your top five favourite sewing things right now?  Not necessarily your 'must have' but your 'love having' items.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Preparation for the year ahead

In January I wrote a blog post on reallocation of resources - well I revisited our event resource room on Friday to gather yet more calico (muslin) in preparation for my year ahead, knowing that before too long things will get busy with work and kids.
Saturday afternoon I got the iron out and neatly ironed each piece in half and folded them up all nicely ready for the projects ahead.  I swear this lot will probably last me a year or two or more!

Sunday I headed off to the Global Fabrics 50% sale (last day - talk about cutting it fine), with a few patterns in hand.  Here's a peek at the fabrics added to my pile.

A couple of cuts of NZ Merino for making some basic Renfrew tops for winter.

The top fabric is a lovely embroidered cotton which I've paired with a cotton lycra solid.  These two beautiful fabrics are destined to make a dress (something along the lines of this one on my pinboard)

This photo doesn't do any justice to this piece of fabric which is a fine wool, destine for a jacket.  However, I have a few projects on the sewing list before I will get to these.

Do you plan ahead or just make a trip to the fabric store when you're ready for the next garment?  How do you decide what next or do you have a list of things a mile long like me?

Friday, 8 February 2013

Morphing patterns together

This was one of those projects that I began in 2012 but didn't finish until just recently.  Actually by recently I mean 3 weeks ago! It's a top that I morphed together from two patterns, and made some tweaks here and there to get exactly what I was looking for.
The base pattern is New Look 6713   The pattern provided for an a-symmetrical or cow-neck front, neither of which was what I wanted, so I took the a-symmetrical pattern piece and cut it on the fold at the centre front so both sides were the same.

On the back I didn't just want two straps which would look as if I was going to the beach instead of work, so I took a back pattern piece from another pattern and used it as a template to create the back, matching the side and shoulder seam pieces to the front piece.
On the back I inserted a zip and removed the need for elastic.  This meant I had to slightly alter the width of the pattern across the back so it wouldn't hang but would provide a snug fit.
The fabric is gorgeous, a very light weight cotton (could even be bamboo??) which I've fully lined.  It was a piece that I had in my stash - I think I originally brought it to make a dress, but then changed my mind!  I have already worn it a few times, either on it's own with a simple straight skirt (as you see in the photos) or just yesterday with black skinny pants and a jacket.
Haha! this isn't exactly the most flattering of photos but all the same is a good shot of the full front of the top.  I would probably make this pattern again as it is a versatile piece for my work wardrobe, but next time I would lower the neck line in the front and take about half an inch off from around the empire line so it has a firmer fit.

I'm interested to hear from others on their success with morphing patterns to get what you want rather than looking for a whole new pattern.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Ready to Wear Fasting

I have joined a group of dedicated sewers who have made a pledge not to buy Ready-to-Wear  (RTW) clothing for one year in favor of making their clothes!  (with the exception of our underwear, shoes and accessories).
This is the brain child of Sarah at Goodbye Valentino, whose story many of us can relate to.

Whilst I'm not one to shy away from a good day shopping this will just be in the fabric stores instead of the clothing stores.  Although a visit to the clothing shops is always good for the inspiration, and checking out the construction techniques used.

While we're speaking of shopping, Global Fabrics have a 50% Off Sale for the next few days (stores in NZ and OZ).   I love this fabric store, it has an array of fabrics that I don't see in other stores and have a focus on natural organic fabric.
The fabric for my recent Milia dress was purchased on sale for just $8.00 per metre down from $16.00 per metre.  I also purchased another piece of fabric which I am currently making into a Cambie Dress and some lovely silk organza to use for the interlining.

I'm itching to get back to the store before the sale ends this weekend.

I hope you will join and support me in my journey of RTW Fasting this year.