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Colette Patterns’ Spring/Summer Palette Challenge {on lazystitching.com}

23 Apr

New post.

{to get full posts: please update your reader to lazystitching.com :)}

Mojo: How to Lose It and Get It Back Again {on lazystitching.com}

22 Apr

New Post over at Lazystitching.com

Stevie’s Pattern Marking Pen {on lazystitching.com}

16 Feb

See it in stop-motion at my new digs over at lazystitching.com

Working Girl: Pure Wool Pencil Skirt

29 Jan

The thing about job-hunting is that it goes painfully slow and then suddenly very fast. After the Crafter’s Ceilidh last weekend I had a second interview on Monday then an offer through on Monday evening, and by Wednesday morning I was in the office for my first day.

During the job search I wasn’t sure what kind of environment I was going to end up in – office, retail, hospitality etc. so it was sort of hard  to start planning the appropriate clothes. Now I know it’s in a smart-casual office (the women often wear dark skinny jeans and smart tops) I can make garments appropriately, starting with this skirt I made for the interview process.

With such a tried & true pattern like Burdastyle’s Jenny this was a very fast make. The fabric is 100% pure wool bought in this stash from Walthamstow Market for £5/m and the lining from the same place for £1.50/m. The lining is my favourite part, like a hidden ray of sunshine.

This version varies from the standard pattern by removing the front darts and instead easing the front into the waistband which is cut on the straight grain rather than the bias. I also eliminated the split at the center back as I find there’s enough room to walk fine. The lining is about 2in wider than the fashion fabric for ease of wear and is gathered into the waistband front and back.

It feels pretty good to be working again and the company is an exciting and expanding one, although it’s pretty nerve-wracking being the new person and trying to read all the personal dynamics. I hope you’ll all bear with me while I adjust to the new schedule, it’s Monday to Friday for the most part and with a whole hour for lunch (in NZ 30 minutes is pretty standard) I’m going to trial posting at lunchtime.

Also progressing nicely, is the new blog design and move to the lazystitching.com domain. Watch this space and hopefully next Monday I can announce the launch!

The Gray Swan Dress

23 Jan

A sudden rush of sewing mojo has me twirling like a ballerina.

Sometimes, things work out better when you stop worrying about the consequences and so it went with this dress. This winter, it seemed all the high street stores had these little ponte skating dresses with circle skirts and although I had some left over double-knit from my Minoru muslin I had no pattern that would work.

In the end, I used Ali’s method of pin-tracing the bodice pattern pieces from my Gertie dress (which originally used New Look 6824); the sleeves came from my newly adjusted Victory Hazel Dress Pattern and the skirt is a 3/4 circle. The construction was a case of trial and error.

The princess line fit well but gaped a wee bit at the centre front so I gathered approximately 2in of length out there. I free-handed the cut of the neckline then added a band of the same fabric using this tutorial to get it sitting flat. My favourite thing though,was top-stitching all the seams; thanks to Tasia’s instructions on the Minoru jacket I already knew I liked the effect on this fabric. I even topstitched the darts at the back! For the circle skirt I used Patty’s calculator to do the maths.

I love the end result and feel I could fit right in with the Corps in Black Swan…

{illustration} Amy Westcott : {source} Clothes on Film

Okay well maybe not but if you need me I’ll be pirouetting over here.

Epilogue:

Note to self – do not let fantasies of ballet stardom distract you from the weather report… unfortunate circumstances may result in windy Scottish cities.

{source} Kestrel Finds & Makes

Victory Patterns Follow-Up

5 Jan

This post proved mighty popular so I thought you might be interested (if you haven’t seen it already!) …

Gorgeous Anna from Paunnet has an interview with Kristiann from Victory Patterns.

Your Style Rocks! (I can’t even explain how cool this is)

4 Jan

I love the way the internet works. There I was on pinterest when I saw a cute dress come up.

Cute, non? Even better when I clicked through to the source and discovered it was a sewing pattern… a free sewing pattern – what can be better than that you ask?

Well, it’s part of a website called Your Style Rocks and this is where it gets really interesting. It’s a newish community which hosts a monthly design competition with members contributing their sketches around a theme, e.g. Wardrobe Essentials is the current brief. The winning design, as voted by the community, is then turned into a free downloadable sewing pattern!

In their own words:

“Here at Your Style Rocks! we think that individual, home-sewn fashion is so much more exciting than standard clothes you can buy in highstreet stores – which is why we offer you dress patterns to download and use for free. You have your own design ideas? Awesome! Share them with us in our monthly challenge. The style rated the most by our community will be published as next month’s free pattern. It could be your design that’s going to rock our fashion world next!”

The finer details:

  • The patterns are in RTW dress sizes US6-16/UK8-18/AUS10-20
  • They are available to print on A4 or A0.
  • They include the sewing instructions.
  • The patterns include seam allowance.
  • They are freaking amazing – check out the other designs below (click images for links).

Hurry over there to check it out!

(All images - yourstylerocks.com)

(Original pin via sara w.)

Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with the site, I just think they’re pretty damn neat.

Colette Fall Palette Challenge Wrap

3 Jan

With the end of the year also came my self-imposed deadline for the Colette Patterns Fall Palette Challenge and whilst I barely completed half of the original plan, I still consider it a big success.

It all kicked off with the collection of inspiration images on a pinterest board. These formed the basis for a fall colour palette. I loved the changing leaves against smokey blue skies.

The colours were quite a departure from my previous wardrobe which was dominated by blues and greys and other muted shades. I was only able to bring 20 kgs of luggage to the UK so it was a fresh start to my wardrobe. You can see the change below – the photos on the left are from Self-Stitched September 2010 and on the right is everything I made in 2011.

In terms of garments I started with a very limited wardrobe so it was expanding on the basics.

It was fun to start experimenting with croquis, which have now developed into my own mini-me version.

Here are the successfully completed garments:

The Seasonally Inappropriate Sorbetto // The Colour-blocked Blouse // Double-knit Jenny Skirt // Linen Rooibos Dress // White Lace Tee

And the items that didn’t get made:

The Pants: I’m part way through the fitting process with both the Colette Clovers and the Wide-Leg Pants but as anyone who’s attempted pants knows – it’s a long and frustrating process. So right now, we are on a break.

The knit top: I found it was cheaper and easier to just buy one – I’m not trying to re-invent the wheel ;)

The blazer: This is about 80% done – it just wasn’t inspiring me.

The dresses: Are still on the cards at some point this year but they’re cross seasonal so it doesn’t matter if I put them off.

The biggest thing I realised is that I need to feel motivated in order to sew. I steadfastly refuse to let it become a chore or something I have to force myself into. The result is that the less exciting items got pushed to the back of the list. It’s something I need to think on how to remedy.

Still, the palette worked well which is why I still consider the challenge a success. Most of the garments I sewed that weren’t part of the original plan were still consistent with the palette.

The Toast Tunic // The Christmas Macaroon // The Burda Blouse // The Brumby-blue Dress

I’ll definitely take part in the Spring Challenge when it rolls around.

My new colourful wardrobe.

The Toast Tunic

2 Jan

At what point does a Sorbetto stop being a Sorbetto? I’m not sure of the answer, but I do know Colette’s free tank top pattern hasn’t let me down yet.

One of my favourite discoveries in England has been the phenomenon of the Toast Catalogue.

Toast is clothing/homewares store that stocks simple designs in beautiful quality fabrics. Their campaign shoots are just stunning and have made them their own niche in the world of catalogues.

They are (somewhat humorously) described in the Guardian as

“[being] synonymous with an idyllic, relaxed and creative way of life where people breeze around their Venetian palazzo or Scottish bothy looking beautiful. The catalogues are famous for their photography, shot on location in Lapland, Argentina or Sri Lanka. And Toast customers from Notting Hill to the Outer Hebrides buy into that way of life when they order their Fair Isle wool socks or their faded floral silk dressing-gowns. “

Toast Catalogue

One of my favourite items are their kimono-sleeved tunic dresses which they do in several fabrics, so it was a natural leap from my kimono-sleeved sorbetto to this dress. I widened the neckline, added cuffs and lengthened it straight down.

The problem is that it was so quick and easy to make… now I want more in silk… and wool…  and velvet… sigh.

 

Hopes for 2012, Baby!

1 Jan

I know, don’t I look all festive and celebratory?

In actual fact, I’m having a quiet new years more along these lines but I hope whatever you’re doing you are having a lovely time!

2011 was a bit of a write-off for me personally, the first 6 moths were spent working extremely hard and reaching the decision to leave the company I had spent all my adult working life with. The last 6 months were spent relocating from New Zealand to the other side of the world and reconnecting with family.

For 2012 I don’t have any big plans other than settling into a comfortable routine, starting with a job. I’m rather out of practice with the whole job hunting process so it’s a steep learning curve (not to mention the fact that I hate trying to sell myself) but, in order to make this London thing work, it’s a necessity. My background is in hospitality Training and Development and if I can find a position in a company with a solid positive work culture I’d love to continue doing that but if not I’m happy to find something else. All I want is an engaging job, paying enough to cover rent, bills, and fabric, and most importantly for me – working with and for good people. Hopefully it isn’t a pipe dream.

This is also the year I turn 30, if I’m happy, calm and content at the end of it, it will have been a good one.

Sewing wise I have bigger plans. I feel like I coasted a bit this year and didn’t really go out of the way to learn or progress my skills; this year I’d like to focus on challenging myself more.

  • Move to lazystitching.com: Last year I purchased my own domain name (how grown-up!) and I want to have moved to the new address by the end of February. The hold up is that I’m determined to teach myself html/css so I can design it myself, which ties in nicely with my belief that the internet can teach me anything. It’s actually really fun and I’m using a series of online tutorials called Don’t Fear the Internet as well as resources from Pugly Pixel.

Don’t Fear HTML from Jessica Hische on Vimeo.

  • Fit a perfect sloper: For Christmas this year, I finally got my hands on Palmer/Pletsch’s Fit for Real People from Mum + Dad. Their Full Busted DVD is one of my favourite resources and this book has a lot of love in the sewing community. The graphic design may be dated but the content is irresistible so much so that I can’t imagine sewing anything else until I make the fitting shell I’ve had in my stash for the last 6 months.

  • Take a pattern drafting course/Buy a mannequin: After drafting a few Sorbetto variations, I’d really like to learn more about pattern-making. Tilly and Suzy have both used courses with the London College of Fashion and that’s all the endorsement I need. So, provided I’m in a position financially, I’d like to do at least one course. Also related and reliant on moolah, is the hope to attain a dress form.

  • Make a pair of jeans + a winter coat: I want to up my skill level by tackling some of the techniques and garments I’ve been putting off for most of the time I’ve been sewing. Namely, fly-front pants, bound button holes, and bagged lining. All of which are used to make two wardrobe essentials – jeans and a winter coat. In the BMV sale, I’ve ordered a McCall’s Palmer/Pletsch jeans pattern and Simplicity 2508.


  • Sew more vintage patterns/Create side project: After making my first dress from a Vintage Pattern a few weeks back, I’m determined to make more use of vintage patterns in 2012. This ties in too, to a little monthly side project I have in the works. It sounds very secret squirrel but it’s not –  I’m just working on the details still so watch this space.
  • Attend V&A talks: Mela has written a couple of great posts on expat guilt on her Sifting Through blog and I can appreciate where she’s coming from. I often feel guilty about not making the most of London and I’m in a city where I don’t really know anyone – making new friends as an adult is challenging, y’all! It makes me miss my friends back home even more. I think the answer is just to say yes to as many opportunities as you can – you never know what will happen. One of those things is to attend more of the museum events that London specialises in. In particular the V&A often has talks by well-known fashion designers so I’d love to catch one of these.

Balenciaga: The Work of a Master - V&A, 19:00, Jan 23 2012

  • Buy better quality fabrics: My secret shame is the amount of polyester in my wardrobe. Being in a big city provides access to better quality materials at a range of prices so I’d like to step up the quality of the fabrics I’m using.
  • Have a go at some “advanced” patterns: I feel like I was more fearless when I first started sewing – I made a boned corset top for my 6th form school ball – and I scoffed at pattern difficulty ratings. Now I worry about making  mistakes and wasting fabric instead of just having a go so I have a couple of designer Vogue patterns heading my way.
  • Utilise more pins from Pinterest: Lastly, something I’m sure anyone on pinterest is guilty of , I’d like to make better use of the inspiration photos pinned to my boards. It’s so easy to put them there and forget about it, but maybe once every 2-3 months a pinterest challenge wouldn’t be a bad thing.

A little Erdem from my pinterest board

Heres to a exciting and rewarding year!

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