Friday, 27 January 2017

A La La Land Inspired Wardrobe

Like most of us, I recently went to the cinema to see La La Land. It's received 14 Oscar nominations, including for Best Costume. And it's easy to see why. Emma Stone is dressed in a series of vibrantly coloured dresses (although, on further inspection, you could easily have used the same sewing pattern to make a few of them...) to perfectly complement her fiery ginger hair. Her separates are classic but casual.



I'm not sure how I feel about the film, but I loved the costuming. It was fairly reminiscent of the wardrobes of classic films like Roman Holiday. So how can we, modern ladies, recreate this look?
The blue sheer overlay dress she wore, also very similar to the purple dress, could be easy to recreate with the Simplicity 4070 pattern. She has a sweetheart neckline with a sheer overlay dress, which could fairly easily be hacked to become a halterneck, or even racer back if you prefer. I chose New Look 6392 as a 'nod to' this dress. If you made it in blue matte satin , with a matching blue sheer section at the shoulders, you'd have a similar effect. The yellow sundress, used in the promotional posters for the film. She has a fitted bodice and a circle skirt, with a band across the upper section of the bodice, and wide shoulder straps which are gently gathered into the bodice. I'm fairly sure this is the same sewing pattern as the green dress, but the green dress has a ruched section down the bust - an easy addition to the sewing patterns I've chosen. Simplicity 8096 is a great pattern, specifically made for Plus Size sewers. I've sewn with this pattern before and it's a lovely, easy to sew design. View C already has the sleeve effect we're looking for. Simplicity 1061 looks fairly similar to the dress, and view A can easily be hacked to have gathered straps into the bodice. Again, her seperates wardrobe just blows me away. There's a montage of outfits in the 'Dreams' trailer, which are all so cute but casual, and would all be easy to make from a range of sewing patterns by Independent Brands. Essentially, if you've got a pile of Tilly and the Buttons and Sew Over It patterns, you can make a casual La La Land inspired capsule wardrobe!




Is there a particular character wardrobe you're inspired by?

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

On My Sewing Table: Burgundy Trousers

After two weeks I've got some good news. I've finally finished the burgundy trousers! I've done a button fly, two front pockets, a back pocket, a waistband with belt loops, and turned up hems. And they fit like a dream! Here are some WIP photos...


I'll hopefully share some photos of them on soon, but I finished them at 11pm and the days are so short I barely see the sun as it is.

What I've learned this fortnight...
Although I knew how to make them before, I've refreshed my mind on various construction techniques including double welt pockets, jean style front pockets, and waistband construction.

What's next?
I intend to finish my 23rd Birthday Dress in the next week, it's just got a zip, arm hole bindings, hem, and covered buttons to complete so I think it's entirely do-able. Then I have to finish my ultimate nemesis, Burda 6986. Does anyone else think Burda's patterns are unnecessarily difficult? I feel like ultimately, they don't give you enough instructions! Like they're trying to catch you out!

Thursday, 12 January 2017

January 2016 Wishlist!

My wishlist this month is pretty simple. I want to buy all the patterns I'll need to use my stash, and any that I know are out of print that were on my Sew 9 2017 Instagram post that I can get my hands on (I've included the ones I've found this month!)




Patterns
Simplicity 2444 - I want to make this to wear for a friend's wedding so I'll need to give it a test run first!
Kwik Sew K4015 - An anorak! Yes please! I want to adapt this to be slightly longer and wider inspired by Audrey Hepburn's coat in Funny Face.
Butterick B6143 - This one's out of print so I'm snapping it up before it sells out! I really want a coat with a gathered skirt, as flared skirts with panels aren't as flattering for my body shape, but I think I'll do a minor pattern hack so I can wear this buttoned to the top with a Peter Pan collar. 
Simplicity S1609 - I think this one's also out of print? It really reminds me of Suzy Bishop's dresses in Moonrise Kingdom.

Books
Tilly and the Buttons - Love From First Stitch
Although I'm a long term sewer (I essentially have a degree in sewing now...) I've been wanting this for a good while, especially given that I want to make more basics and learn to sew jersey properly! I also got this free with my Molly Makes subscription so I look forward to whenever it decides to be delivered!
110 Creations - A Sewists Notebook
This is an indie published sewing ideas journal - great for planning all your sewing ideas! I intend to buy one ASAP to chronicle all my 2017 thoughts!

Tools
I really need navy bias binding for the arm holes of my navy and white polka dot shirt dress, and that's pretty much it for trims/etc. for this months makes.
I'd love some pinking shears. I don't have an overlocker, and sometimes zig zags just don't cut it! (wahey!)



What's on your sewing shopping list this month?

Monday, 9 January 2017

HRH the Queen of Unfinished Sewing Projects

I'm the absolute worst at finishing projects. I tend to make for special occasions, and if there isn't a specific due date things can take a while, or just be put to one side. I'm intending to not do this any more. I want everything to be finished and beautiful before I start my next project!
I am currently working on three different unfinished projects. I aim to finish two of them and be working on the third by the end of January (let's see how that goes...)!
Project title: Nic's burgundy trousers
Approx start date: September 2015
Intended due date: November 2015

When Nic got onto the Post-Graduate programme with a years placement at one of the best new writing theatres in the country, I kindly offered to make her two pairs of trousers. We toiled in calico and then I started making in burgundy twill fabric. We also bought some grey wool to make a second pair. They're a classic pair of slim fit chino-style trousers, with side pockets, one back pocket, a waistband, and a button fly (the only type I know how to make...)
Trousers are possibly my least favourite make. They have so much fiddly nonsense. Two types of pocket, a fly, a waistband. No thank you. I've also never made trousers without any assistance before so I probably should have just bought a commercial pattern - especially making these plus sized. I think these will look great with stripe tops, button down shirts, and knitwear. And I cannot wait for them to be over.

Still to do:
Fitting in final fabric - 30 minutes.
Button fly - 1 hour
front pockets - 1 hour
back pocket - 30 minutes
Fitting for waistband - 30 minutes
Drafting and fabric cutting for waistband - 45 minutes
Waistband construction - 45 minutes
Hems (turn ups) - 30 mins
Approx duration: 5 hours 30 minutes.

Project title: 23rd Birthday Dress
Approx start date: January 2016
Intended due date: March 2016

I've been working on this dress for almost a year. I was inspired by the Hell Bunny Karen
 dress, but I wanted something more accurately vintage and without the crossover low back craziness. I loved the contrasting open collar and covered buttons. I'd already drafted a fairly perfect-for-me shirt dress pattern, which I made for the opening night of the Graduate Exhibition I curated in 2015. It's a fairly simple version of a shirt dress from the Winifred Aldrich Metric Pattern Cutting for Womens Wear, and features a back yolk, centre back box pleat, and bound arm holes. So I just used this pattern, making the collar and buttons in contrasting fabric.
When I realised that I didn't have the time to finish it for the due date I just stopped. Folded it up and put it to one side. I really want to finish this in time for spring because I think it would be really light and airy for those warmer days, but would look lovely with tights and a cardigan when it's chillier.
Still to do:
Insert side zip - 45 minutes.
Sew hem - 30 minutes
Make covered buttons and sew on, make button holes - 30 minutes
Arm hole binding - 1 hour 30 minutes.
Approx duration: 3 hours 45 minutes.


Project Title: Winter Coat
Approximate start date: Late October 2016
Intended due date: November 2016

Inspired by both Madeline and Moonrise Kingdom, this year I wanted a coat with a cape. There are a few available to purchase, but due to my ethical veganism and wool allergy, I didn't feel comfortable buying them. I went for the Burda B6986 pattern and faux boiled wool (Polyester Viscose mix) in Navy and started, making the cape detachable and elbow length so I can still wear it in Lewisham Market and not look entirely mad!
Whats Stopping Me?
I realised I'm an extremely lazy person and a coat is a large project. I also had a lot of alterations to do before we went to Disneyland for Nic's birthday at the end of November, then Christmas took over. But now I want to finish it.
Still to do:
Bind Cape with grosgrain ribbon
Construct and Attach collar
Construct and insert lining
Sleeves situation!
Side pockets!
Approx duration:
Goodness me, perhaps a solid fortnight? There's a lot still to do and the only thing making me finish it is the amount I paid for the pattern and fabric!

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Project De-Stash: The Beginning! Inventory and Project Planning!

As detailed in my New Year's Resolutions post, I intend to de-stash my fabric collection before we move in August. I've been a fabric hoarder since I learned to sew, holding on to exciting fabrics, or bargain fabrics, or just staple fabrics, for an excessive period of time. Some fabrics are deemed 'too nice to use', or just don't have a purpose yet.

Once I have de-stashed I will purchase with the following rules:
1. Fabrics must be for specific projects, to be started within 6 weeks of purchase. 
2. Fabrics for special events must be started within 12 weeks of purchase.
3. Fabrics from stash must be used before any new projects can be started.

So, in that regard, I have sorted through all the fabrics I own and decided their future! Fabrics must have assigned projects, or be sold or gifted to friends, or donated to the charity shop. I do have some Christmassy fabrics that I have left at my parent's house, as this does have an intended purpose, but not yet. I will use this fabric before any new festive fabrics are purchased, and add them to my database when they are back in my hands!

Fabric:

Description: 
Grey and Pink check
Size of Fabric: 
Two pieces. 1: 156x105cm 2: 156x108cm
Fabric Content: 
Polyviscose?

Reason for Purchase: 
Intended to make a Peggy Olsen style dress for a college project. 
Duration in Stash: 
5 years
Project: 
60s Cigarette Trousers - Pattern: Vintage Simplicity 4548


Fabric: 
Vintage Navy Velvet with Pink Floral Print
Size of Fabric: 
93x317cm
Fabric Content: 
Cotton Velvet.
Reason for Purchase: 
Bought at a vintage fayre. I thought it looked nice!
Duration in Stash: 
3 years.
Project: 
Winter evening dress.





Fabric: 
Navy and Green Tartan
Size of Fabric: 
157x186cm
Fabric Content: 
Polyviscose
Reason for Purchase: 
Cheap in a Charity Shop!
Duration in Stash: 
5+ years
Project: 
60s Cigarette Trousers - Pattern: Vintage Simplicity 4548


Fabric: 
Grey Wool Blend
Size of Fabric: 
160x227cm
Fabric Content: 
Wool Blend
Reason for Purchase: 
Work Trousers for Nic
Duration in Stash: 
1 year 5 months
Project: 
Nic's Trousers


Fabric: 
Grey Faux Boiled Wool
Size of Fabric: 
154x120cm
Fabric Content: 
Poly Viscose Blend
Reason for Purchase: 
Leftover from a skirt for my sister.
Duration in Stash: 
1 year.
Project: A-Line button skirt. Pattern: 


Fabric: 
Red floral on cream.
Size of Fabric:
115x286cm
Fabric Content: 
Cotton-ish
Reason for Purchase: 
Bought at a market with no Purpose.
Duration in Stash: 
6 years.
Project: 
Wearable toile for Simplicity 2444 


Fabric: 
Cyclists
Size of Fabric: 
111x419
Fabric Content: 
100% Cotton
Reason for Purchase: 
Leftover from a dress for Nic.
Duration in Stash: 
5 months.
Project: 
Summer Dress. Pattern: Simplicity 2176 



Fabric: 
Green Floral Printed Cotton
Size of Fabric:
144x99cm
Fabric Content: 
100% Cotton (or thereabouts)
Reason for Purchase: 
Gifted to me by my Granny.
Duration in Stash: 
10 months
Project: 
Gathered Skirt

Fabric: 
Dark Green Floral Printed Cotton
Size of Fabric: 
91x207cm
Fabric Content: 
Cotton-ish
Reason for Purchase: 
Gifted to me by my Granny.
Duration in Stash: 
10 months.
Project: 1950s inspired Pinafore Dress. Inspiration Image Here

Fabric: 
Mr Men Bedsheets
Size of Fabric: 
1 double bedsheet and 2 pillows!
Fabric Content: 
Polycotton
Reason for Purchase: 
Our old bedsheets. Too fun to donate.
Duration in Stash: 
3 months.
Project: 
Dress for Nic and gathered skirt for me. Pattern: Simplicity 8096
Fabric: 
Vegetable Print
Size of Fabric: 
150x99cm
Fabric Content: 
Cotton-ish
Reason for Purchase: 
Bought an offcut in Ikea because I thought it was funny.
Duration in Stash: 
5 months
Project: 
Gathered skirt.

Fabric: 
Roasli Floral Print
Size of Fabric: 
154x103cm
Fabric Content: 
Cotton-ish
Reason for Purchase: 
Bought an offcut in Ikea because it was cheap and essentially Cath Kidston.
Duration in Stash: 
5 months.
Project: 
Gathered skirt with lining (slightly see through!).

Fabric: 
Yellow with White Polka Dots
Size of Fabric: 
115x296cm
Fabric Content: 
Cotton-ish
Reason for Purchase:
Bought at a Market with no Purpose
Duration in Stash: 
6 years
Project: 
Summer Pinafore Dress. Pattern: Cynthia Rowley x Simplicity 2215

Fabric: 
Navy with White Polka Dots
Size of Fabric: 
114x90cm
Fabric Content: 
Cotton-ish
Reason for Purchase: 
Leftover from 23rd Birthday Dress
Duration in Stash: 
6 years
Project: 
Flared Summer Shorts. Inspiration Image Here!

Fabric: 
Car Print Bed Sheets
Size of Fabric: 
Unmeasured, most of a single duvet cover and a pillow case
Fabric Content: 
Polycotton
Reason for Purchase: 
Leftover from a Christmas present.
Duration in Stash: 
1 year.
Project: 
Men's Shirt

Fabric: 
White with Small Blue Flowers
Size of Fabric: 
114x49cm
Fabric Content: 
Cottonish
Reason for Purchase: 
Charity Shop Bargain
Duration in Stash: 
5 years (approx!)
Project: 
Camisole.



Fabric: 
Lilac and Mustard 60s Floral
Size of Fabric: 
106x69cm 
Fabric Content: 
Cottonish
Reason for Purchase: 
Leftover from Graduation Dress
Duration in Stash: 
1 year 5 months
Project: 
Camisole

Fabric: 
White with Red Floral
Size of Fabric: 
Two pieces: 1:114x315.5cm 2: 114x96cm
Fabric Content: 
Not Cotton but Looks Like It!
Reason for Purchase: 
Bought for a college project. Lots left over!
Duration in Stash: 
5 years
Project: 
Long Sleeved Dress???? Who knows! I have so much of this!!!







Stay tuned to see if I actually make these things! Fingers crossed!

Monday, 2 January 2017

2017, May She Bring Us Joy!

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2017! 

At this time of year we intend to become better people. I always set myself a thousand tasks, and there simply isn't enough hours in the day! 

This year I have just three resolutions!

1. Destash! Use, Sell, Gift, or Donate all of the fabric in my stash! 




I'm becoming a known hoarder. It's definitely inherited, but I want to stop my bad habits before we move this upcoming August. I'm going to go through my stash (and my clothes, books, everything...) and decide whether to keep and use it, sell online or gift it to a friend, or take it to a charity shop/recycle it. It's a long task, but it will definitely be worth it! Ideally, I want to use everything up before I buy new fabric, but I'm expecting to buy new fabrics for projects for my birthday trip to Salzburg and the three weddings I have upcoming before we move house. Oops!

2. Prepare everything the night before.



I have a tendency to run late in the morning because I couldn't be bothered to make lunch in advance, or have lost the tights I wanted to wear to perfect that outfit. Although I always leave with enough time to get to work, I hate that stressed feeling when I look at my watch (or phone, until I've got my new watch resized!) and I've got five minutes to finish getting dressed, pack my bag, and brush my teeth! 

So, as much as possible, I intend to have lunches prepared and my outfit all hung up together the night before.

3. Set a seasonal wishlist of fun and exciting things to do.



I have a habit of forgetting to do all the fun things I see are going on in the city. So at the beginning of each season I want to make a 30 point list of all the things I want to do and pencil them into my diary! Whether it's baking an apple pie, going to an exhibition or gig, or listening to the birdsong from my teeny tiny garden. I want to remember to do it!


So there we are!

Stay tuned to see if any of these things actually get done, or if I sit on my arse watching Netflix for another year!