Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Stashbusting - the love challenge...

Just a quick post to get this in before the end of the month...

This is my February contribution to Cation Designs Stashbusting Challenge.

I've made Mr N a shirt! This is the first men's shirt I've made so it took me some time, but it's finished in time for Mr N's birthday which is today! I was sewing the last few buttons on at work today!

As he still hasn't tried it on it's perhaps a tad unfair to write a full post... Plus we're away for the weekend in Queenstown, so I'll write a full post when we get back.

In the meantime... What do you think of my handiwork?

Monday, 18 February 2013

The giveaway winner and why I'm grateful...

At last the winner of my giveaway. I've had problems with my laptop and I think it knows I'm frustrated as it continues to cause problems... Time for a new one methinks!

So the winner is...

Congratulations! Sewpapillion is new to the blogging world and hasn't written a post yet, so welcome to the blogging world! What a great way to start! I shall be in touch soon!

So why am I sew grateful?
Both my grandmothers knitted and sewed, one being mad on patchwork and quilting. My mother also sewed a lot of her own clothes.

Mum made her own wedding dress as well as the two bridesmaids dresses. She was apparently hemming the bridesmaid dresses the night before they got married! She's amazing. I decided it would be far too stressful to make my own wedding dress.
How's this? It's 1961 for those interested. Doesn't my Dad look handsome! :-)

I was lucky because as soon as I was able, I'd watch Mum sewing, learning from her, probably from about the age of 8 or 9.  When I was big enough, I got to play on the hand Singer machine. As far as I know, this was her mothers and I've now got it. It's in need of some TLC, but I still love using it. It has a satisfying sound sewing with it!

The first thing I made was a drop waisted dress when I was about 10. Then I made clothes for my dolls which I self-drafted. Yep, I still played with dolls aged about 10 or 11... I was a real girly-girl. Mum encouraged me with this sewing and I'm glad she did. OK, the dolls clothes may not have been perfect, but... My dolls were the best dressed in the neighbourhood! And still are :-)

 I copied this pattern from a dolls pattern book for New Dolly (she never had a proper name!)

 Carol (she was a Christmas doll!) is standing on the dolls bed which was my mothers dolls bed. That means it's about 70 years old! How could I ever get rid of that?
 Believe it or not, I did that embroidery too!

[You're probably wondering why someone of my age still has her dolls... well they were meant to be sold on in the UK, but I didn't have the heart and they kind of followed me all the way to NZ. Funnily enough, I still haven't the heart to get rid of them, unless I know where they will be going. How selfish and silly is that?]

I continued to sew until I went to uni, then I didn't really sew much for about ten years. The Singer machine was given to me in my late 20s and that's when I started to sew again, mainly curtains and soft-furnishings for my various homes.

My sexy Singer. In need of some TLC and an overhaul, but isn't she a beauty? A traditional hand crank machine. No electrics with this one!

I made dresses for weddings, etc, then about seven years ago, I finally bought my own electric machine. I began to sew lots more and I think it was once I discovered the blogging world that I began to sew quite a lot. This is about three years ago. I've never looked back.

I been lucky to meet-up with bloggers, such as Sew incidentally, Stevie and Dibs in both the UK (about 18 months ago) and now have a great group of bloggers here in my adopted home of Wellington. We've met three times in about four months and regularly keep in touch and will help with even the smallest of problems we may have (such as why interfacing won't stick!)

I have so much to be grateful for... my grandmothers, Mum in particular for keeping me going, but not forcing me and the sewing world, particularly bloggers I've had the privilege to meet.

She now exits stage left very quickly before showing gushing tears to the masses :-)

Thanks all and particularly to Debi for another great Sew Grateful week.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Swapping my stash

One of my local bloggers Kat and Anne have organised this Swap your Stash party, and although l I don't have loads to get rid of, and going through some of my fabric I don't have the heart to swap it for now, maybe next year... :-)

So currently I have three lots of fabric and four patterns, although I may be able to add more patterns. I'm happy to send these internationally and there may also be some local kiwiana included for the lucky winners!

First up, some kind of polyester crepe in navy blue. It's quite a bit darker than the photo shows. It's heavy fabric, but I've not pre-washed it or tested it, so I'm not completely certain what it is. There's 2m 20 of 140cm wide.


Next up some fabric which I think must be thermal backed cotton, possibly curtain fabric? For some reason it's been edged along each side. There's just about 2m by 120cm wide. It's a lovely colour and really cheerful print.

Some more of the same as the thermal backed fabric with finished edges. It's also 2m x 120cm. This is sea shells in blue and a really gorgeous blue too!

The patterns...

Style 2337 in size 8-18. I think this was made up for me years ago and so some pieces have been cut, etc. But it's a great pattern and just look at that swing on the black view! :-)

Butterick 4988 sizes 14-20. It looks like all pieces are there and has been cut in a size 20, so there will be some cut pieces.

A pattern from the UK Prima magazine. This pattern is from 2005! It's a cami top and jacket pattern. These are generally in sizes 10-20. It's not been cut, so should all be there.

Finally another Prima pattern from 2008. This is a strapless long or short dress with a shrug, again in sizes 10-20 and not cut.

So comment below if you'd like anything and I'm happy to swap.

If you want to join in with the swap, the rules and guidelines are here

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Sew Grateful - giveaway!

THE GIVEAWAY HAS CLOSED. STAND BY FOR THE WINNER! A bit late joining the Sew Grateful week, but it's been a bit frantic this week, so better late than never! This is the third Sew Grateful week which the lovely Debi has organised and the second time I've taken part. I have to say I get quite choked sometimes with the comments you all give and because of this, I want to give some goodies away.

I've been hunting through my patterns and fabrics, trying to find some awesome-ness to give to let you know how grateful I am. I couldn't find any fabric which was good enough for the lucky person who wins this, so I have a pattern, a pattern book and some scrummy local chocolate...

First up, the pattern:

Simplicity 8165, size 16, 18, 20. All the pieces should be there, I made it up years ago, long before blogs existed (well probably!) It was made up in a 16, but I don't think it's impossible to grade if necessary.


Secondly is the Burda plus magazine from Autumn/Winter 2011. This has not been touched and all is still there in tact.

Finally the option for some scrummy local chocolate... You have the choice between Hokey Pokey Milk Chocolate or White with raspberries, mmm!

So how's that for a prize. I'm happy to go international and with any luck the chocolate will be won before I eat it! :-)

May the best sewer/blogger win! You have a week to enter, so I'll end this next Wednesday, so by the time I wake up Thursday I'll be able to announce the winner!

Sunday, 3 February 2013

The red leaves blouse

This fabric I bought when I went to Goldhawk Road back in September 2011, so it's definitely from my stash! I remember only asking for a metre, but because it was the end of the roll, I ended up buying more than that! Looking through my post at the time, I intended to make a peasant blouse, well that didn't happen! Funny how we get ideas when we buy the fabric and how they change when we finally decide to make them up. I'm sure I'm not the only one anyway!


Having seen a few incarnations of this blouse, I thought I'd give it a go. The pattern is BurdaStyle 09/2011. Karen from Did you make that? made two versions of this, one from elephant fabric, so I just had to give the pattern a go! (Could it have anything to do with my obsession love of elephants?)

I am really happy with the finished blouse, but making it certainly hasn't be plain sailing. As with most patterns from the BurdaStyle magazine, the instructions were almost worse than useless. I'd lost the plot after sewing up the seams! The first lot of pleats I stitched were completely uneven and so when I tried to attach the shoulder seam it was a complete mess. From then on, I kind of went my own way, guessing at what came next. I did follow the instructions for the armhole binding, and fortunately they worked out OK, although it's possibly bulky under the arm, but not noticeably so. (If you're wondering what's different, the binding is attached before stitching the side seams.) The tiny collar at the back is a bit strange and takes a bit of understanding to attach.

This blouse is very long and the bottom is too tight for my hips, so I have to undo two buttons and it gapes. I'm not really one for putting a belt around an untucked blouse, but I guess I could try it. At the moment I think it's best tucked in, but over trousers, the length will hopefully come into it's own. I'm also debating whether to add shaping to the back, since it seems quite big and square! I wish I'd faced the back collar, since it seems quite flimsy compared to the front facings and pleats.

Too long or not? I've left two buttons undone!
Please excuse the bad hair, it's in desperate need of a cut and I'm still deciding where to go!

The other problem I had was with the buttonholes. My fabric was so fine that it kept catching on the needle, I've two buttonholes that I am NOT happy with. But I can't unpick them!

Anyone know why this happened? Was my needle too big or the tension wrong?

I'm not happy with my button choice either. I chose 4-holed buttons, which mean the button holes don't lay as flat as they really should. I'm on the lookout for new buttons.

Saying all this, I am honestly happy with my result. I'm hoping it's going to be a really good addition to my wardrobe and for once, it's not a dress and it's an everyday item of clothing! Hooray, I've succeeded in my January stashbusting pledge. An everyday item of clothing made from a piece from my stash which was less than a metre (well I used less than a metre!).

The nitty-gritty
Fabric: A fine cotton with a red and cream leaf pattern, bought from Goldhawk Road, September 2011. I think there was about two metres in total.
Trims: Cream 4-holed buttons, possibly from Spotlight.
Pattern: BurdaStyle 09/2011 with no changes (as yet!)
First worn: For a photo shoot in our garden today, but will probably be worn to work tomorrow!
Worn with: A RTW skirt made by Kew bought in a John Lewis sale about three years ago and my red pumps bought in Rome when we were on holiday there about five years ago. Being Italian leather, they are so comfy and still look as good as new.