Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Sew Grateful Week - giveaway

I've just learned about Sew Grateful Week. I feel I've benefitted such a lot from fellow sewers on Pattern Review.com initially and in the wider blogosphere since. I've found an amazing generosity with advice and support and a lack of frustration with what must seem silly questions at times.

I've gained enormously from blogs giving advice, tips and tutorials - including how to set up my own blog.

I've therefore decided to have a giveaway. I know I'm a day late in posting but better late than never, I reckon!

The giveaway:

I have 4 patterns (all new and uncut) to giveaway, to anyone, anywhere. These are in larger sizes so won't suit everyone. I bought these when I was larger but am now going for a smaller size, except for the Kay Unger pattern which I had bought , then received another copy with a Craftsy class.

Vogue 1329 - Kay Unger - size 16 - 24

Butterick B5461 lined dress in sizes 18W - 24W

Simplicity Khaliah Ali coordinates se in sizes 18W - 24W

Simplicity 1914 Amazing Fit dress in sizes 20W - 28W

There will be 2 winners - please leave a post with either your biggest dressmaking disaster - or your best tip for a new sewer such as myself. Each of the winners can have 2 patterns - the first to be drawn has the choice - and that will be the disaster. I will choose from the most cringeworthy disaster or the most useful sounding tip. Closing Date 28th February and I will post re winner the following weekend.

I'm Sew Grateful!

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Hopefully just about to start sewing again!

Well, my 'sewing room' (that's far too grand a title for my corner of the dining room) is well on the way to being finished.

I still have some room in the drawers and cupboards but I don't have room for my fabrics which will have to live on in the 4 large plastic boxes they are stored in. I do hope to do some serious stash busting. My patterns are stored in 2 plastic boxes to the left of the unit. My computer is up and running, and my laptop is there too. Today I made sure that the PC and the laptop were in synch with each other as far as sewing went. Now that my PC is accessible when I'm sewing, I hope to be able to start to watch some of the online classes that I've bought or had given to me as presents - some of my patterns came with these classes. I have the Islander sewing system jacket but it looks much too complex for me at the moment. The dress I made for my daughter, entered into the LWD competition on PatternReview.com, was one of these, Fit the Perfect Fit, though I hadn't done the class and made quite a few changes.

Talking about books - as I said, I have a lot - which ones do you rate highly? There are a few that I've used quite a bit for general sewing techniques and a few I've had to consult for pattern fitting. Some I've seen recommended and purchased and others I just saw...  I haven't bought the book from Series 2 of The Great British Sewing Bee ... yet.

I say I want to de-stash, in common with many of the bloggers I follow. However, I had a serious set-back this week! A few years ago, a high end, expensive and good quality, RTW dressmaking and tailoring company (I'm not really sure what to call them) closed. They had a shop in my home city and an online store. The online store was bought by other people and the name and the price kept on but unfortunately not the quality. That's why I'm not mentioning the name of the company. I have a couple of garments from them from a few years back, bought in their sale. When they closed, some of the employees were able to take all of their fabric and notion stock, all good quality, and they stored it in the room of a church hall, selling it off bit by bit. Apparently, they hadn't realised how much they were going to be taking on. I went to one of their sales last year, the first I knew about this, having learned about it from the tutor in the dressmaking group I attend and bought a fair amount of fabric, including the textured ivory cotton/spandex fabric I used in the dress, for me, I submitted to the Little White Dress competition at PR. I didn't know what kind of fabric this was originally and thought it was a textured polyester. Back to yesterday. I went to the final sale of this fabric - the church needs the space back for another venture. The most knowledgeable lady involved in the selling was unfortunately not able to attend as she had fractured her shoulder the night before. However, I'm sure I got  good advice on the nature of the fabric (a German cotton with stretch) and how to treat it. I had some problems pressing a previous fabric, stretching it out of shape and had been very wary of repeating my mistake. I had to update my PR review with the changed type of fabric. Naturally, I couldn't leave this final fabric sale without buying anything!! I was really quite restrained and only bought 5 lots of fabric and a few lots of lining - even though lining was available the last time, I hadn't bought the right colour or type for my ivory fabric and had to go and buy it locally. So now I have some really serious stash busting to do!!

I have decided to enter PR 'New to Me' competition - I really do benefit from a challenge and a time scale. What do you think of the following choices?

Maybe the vest. I've never made a New Look pattern - but are they part of Simplicity?
I rather liked this dress from the Sew U Home Stretch book - but then I realised that the included patterns are Simplicity patterns which I have sewn before.

I have never sewn Burda - this is the pattern and the fabric I have already bought (full price from Dainty Fabrics in Washington (Tyne & Wear not DC!). However, I've heard these patterns can be tricky so it may be too difficult for me even though reviews say 'easy and great for beginners'.
Another option is a Style wrap over pencil skirt from a pattern bought in the 90s - I don't think the company still exists.

So hopefully to sewing next week!
Best wishes

Friday, 21 February 2014

First post in my new blog

Welcome to my new blog!
After receiving some encouragement from fellow sewers on the Make a Garment a Month Challenge, I decided to go ahead after all and create a blog - this time on Blogger. I had decided to create a blog for the New Year and followed some steps and ended up with a domain name and a website, together with ongoing costs and scary high profile but not very efficient support. It was clear that the company expected a high powered website set up to promote a business, sell items etc. All I wanted was a way to chart my (hopefully) progress so there was a clear mismatch! I withdrew from the company but had already paid for my domain name for a year.

I notice lots of blogs on PatternReview.com and follow a number myself. I find them very entertaining and informative. They offer a lot in the way of additional information about patterns and techniques. I’m a beginner but felt that I wanted to chart my progress over a year. I have never managed to keep a diary but resolved that I would start a blog. This is it - so resolution 1 ticked off!

Now I need to use the blog to chart my progress. This is my first posting. I’m not sure how to link and need some photos!

Another resolution I made was to join the Make a Garment a Month Challenge. There was no way I could go on a garment fast as I couldn't sew fast enough or well enough to allow this. But one garment a month for myself sounded feasible. I decided that the garment would be one which I couldn't buy easily and more cheaply such as tops and underwear but would be those that I find virtually impossible to buy such as jackets, blouses and trousers. I am tall with a long torso and this leads to fitting problems - on blouses, bust darts don't point to the right place, body is too short and so are sleeves. Similar issues with jackets. On trousers, the crotch depth is too little - leg length is less of an issue. So a big challenge for me is to get fit right! I want to aim towards garments that look good, that fit well and are finished well, so that they look good inside too. I also plan to use good quality fabrics, a lot natural. Hopefully these garments will fill gaps in my wardrobe and coordinate with each other.

I also plan to go through my wardrobe and prune. A lot of clothes just don't fit well, especially as I have lost a bit of weight over the last year. I have a large bundle of clothes that I planned to alter but perhaps I should just give them to charity now rather than later. And I resolve not to gain that weight back again and to exercise.

For a new sewer, I already seem to have accrued a large stash of fabric! I plan to stash bust largely by using the fabrics as muslins as I don't want to spend a lot of effort to achieve a fitting garment with fabric I don't like or that is quite simply not good enough. I also have a lot of patterns - and books, I'm a bookaholic - so I really need to make some of these patterns before buying new ones. Some of the patterns came with Craftsy courses and I really must complete some of these, certainly before buying any more. Most of these classes are to help with fit and I also have the Sure Fit Designs kit. Last year I started to make the basic garments but because I was losing weight, every time I tried them they needed to be altered again. This was very frustrating so I put the whole thing on the back burner. I'm stable now, so I plan to start the process again.

My fabric stash and various notions waiting to get organised:

My threads, fabrics, patterns and everything else were totally disorganised. For my Christmas, my husband bought me a Horn sewing machine cabinet. Today, he has been busy building up a number of Ikea Expedit units to use as book and notion storage for my sewing. This is in our dining room, which is large and not used much as a dining room so perfect to be part used as a sewing room and the dining room table is great for laying out patterns.

Some of my new units:

 I have an old dressmaking model but she doesn't bear much relation to me in shape, I'm afraid. Although she has an adjustable waist, she doesn't adjust long enough and breasts are in the wrong place. I've read a few posts about altering existing dummies, and about choosing new ones. I think we are going to try to make one. We've seen posts on duct tape models, on paper tape models, on plaster etc. David is going to cast me in modrock and use that to make a model. Watch this space!

 By next week, my new sewing space should be sorted out and I can sew again. I will post a picture of my space. These photos were taken very quickly tonight when I realised I'd better have a couple of in progress photos but my next will be better quality as they'll be during the day.


Gifts for my new granddaughter

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