Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Meringue Skirt and Materialise Sewing Club

After buying the Colette sewing handbook, I knew for sure that the Meringue skirt was going to be the fist thing that I would make from it. Out of everything in the book it is definitely that one that I would be most likely to wear on a regular basis. So, in the hope of getting it right and so I can make an even better version of it in the future, I decided to first make it up in this black cotton as a skirt for work before making it up in some nicer fabric (I guess it is what some would call a wearable toile). 

Complete- Colette Meringue Skirt
I have to admit that I was a little intimidated by the scallops before I started. I knew I had no problem sewing a curve so I think it was knowing that I was going to have to do a lot of clipping into the seam allowance that was scaring me a little. With this in the back of my mind I decided that this make would need a bit of moral support to get going. Luckily I started it at just the right time to join the first ever sewing club night at Materialise in Edinburgh. Materialise is a fairly new company who have been running dressmaking and sewing classes in the city for around 2 years now. Last year at the Edinburgh Science Festival I took their lampshade making class as posted here. After a great experience with the lampshade I thought that the sewing club would be a great way of finding out more about the company and meeting some new people. 

Photo from Materialise Facebook Page
Well I am so glad I went. I had some great chat with the other sewers and the Singer sewing machines that we were using were perfect, plus they had all the machine feet you could want (my pet peeve at the moment is my dressmaking class not having zipper feet). It was really refreshing to meet like minded people who knew about indie patterns, read blogs and had some really cool sewing ideas and projects. All helped along with some snacks, tea, wine and even a little bubbly (although we were told that was just to celebrate the first meeting). My skirt turned out to be a great project to take to the class as there wasn't to many parts to it. Someone even recognised what I was making just from the shape of the pattern pieces as she had made one last year. 
I didn't realise that there was still a pin in the hem when I took this photo,  just ignore it!
The all the encouragement and speaking to someone who had made the skirt before I felt far more confident about tackling those scallops and by the end of the night I had sewn the main skirt together, put the zip in, attached the scallop facings and clipped the curves for the back half of the hem. The next day I clipped the rest and got to ironing them all into shape. I used an old knitting needle to push the seams out and make sure everything was shaped nicely. 

Stitch sampler
After being inspired by a skirt that I saw on display at the Sewing for Pleasure show and also after the suggestion of one of the lovely ladies at the Materialise Sewing Club I decided to topstitch the edge of the scallops. Since getting my new machine at Christmas I haven't used any of the fancy stitches. So, to help decide which one was going to work best with the tight turns and curves of the scallop I made a little sampler of all the "fancy" stitches the machine has to offer. I quite like the effect of the all the stitches together so I am thinking that I might make another sampler in colours that will match my living room and then I can put it in a hoop and make it part of my hoop wallIn the end I went with this little daisy stitch in a contrasting white thread. I just sewed slowly and managed to do it all in one go avoiding all need to unpick. I think it turned out pretty fab.

Anyway, this is a great skirt and I will definitely make it again. I really like Lauren's (Lladybird) version with the piping along the waistband. The Colette how to draft a waistband for the Meringue skirt tutorial looks reasonably easy to follow so I think next time I will have to give it a try.

Ready for cutting 
Also as I had mentioned in my last post, I am really looking forward to the next Materialise sewing club night and I have already traced my Sew Me Something Voila skirt in anticipation.

PS - can you tell that I have just discovered Instagram! Expect some overly worked and filter photos in upcoming posts :-)

Friday, 18 April 2014

A little bit of everything

This is just a short round up of some of the things I will be getting up to in the next week or so. 

Making good use of my Easter weekend I am spending it painting my living room with some assistance from my dad. As I have said in previous posts, decor wise I haven't touched my flat since moving in almost 5 months ago. So, I am really excited to put my stamp on it a little. I have already started to sand and paint my door frame and skirting and it is looking great. Also, it's amazing how therapeutic painting can be. I will hopefully have some before and after pictures coming soon. 

10 days ago
In other news, I have planted some herbs so I can have a little greenery in my kitchen. The kit was a fiver from Tesco and came with everything needed including compost, seeds and cute metal buckets. I have planted chives, basil and parsley.

Some small signs of life
At the moment they are still living in darkness in my hall cupboard but as of yesterday they are showing some signs of life. I will move them out of the cupboard and onto my kitchen window sill when all the paint fumes have gone and they look a little more sturdy. I hope they work out alright, I have always wanted my own little herb garden that I can have on hand when cooking. I will do another update in a few weeks to track how everything is growing or not growing.
Finishing touches
On the sewing front with all the decorating I haven't had much room to really get sewing. However, before the rearranging of furniture started, I had a lovely crafternoon with one of my friends where I started making a slightly belated birthday present for my mum. It is nearly finished and hopefully I will be able to give her it on Easter Monday and then I can post it. I also have my next project waiting in the wings and I am hoping that at the next Materialise sewing club night I will make some progress with it.


Also related to sewing, last year I loved reading everyone's Me Made May posts and I had really hoped to join in this year. Unfortunately, I just don't think that I have enough handmade items for it to not get really repetitive. So my new hope is for next may and over the next year I will aim to make lots of fab wearable pieces suitable for Me-Made-May15. Good luck to everyone taking part this year I look forward to reading all about it.

So there is lots happening and hopefully there will be some interesting posts coming up soon.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Stripy Plantain

I am really loving working with knits! I actually made this a couple of months ago just after the pattern was released. However, it has taken me a while to pluck up the courage to put a twin needle in my machine to finish the cuffs and bottom hem. It has therefore taken a while to finish it to a point where I wanted to post about it.

Testing neckband options
So, this is the Plantain t-shirt by Dear and Doe which I immediately loved as it is free (which is always my fav kind). After making my first Sewaholic Renfrew I found the construction of this one pretty easy. I guess the only real difference in the construction is that the Renfrew has bands on the cuffs and bottom and the Plantain doesn't. 
You can see in the photo above I spent some time trying to work out if I could half the neckband and use the main and contrast fabric to make it a bit more interesting. In the end I just chicken out and just went for the contrast for the whole thing but I think it could look pretty cool, maybe next time. As I had mentioned in my Renfrew post I used a different technique to attach this neckband. I followed this tutorial from Megan Nielsen which is actually part of her Briar sewalong. I like the way that it encases all of the raw edges and doesn't need a zig zag top stitch.

Loving the elbow patches!
Anyone who has heard of the Plantain t-shirt knows that it is all about the elbow patched. I hear that everyone is doing elbow patches these days. Well its news to me and before this top I have never owned anything with them. I am really loving them though! They were really east to add you can see from my photo I wasn't that precise with my tracing the pattern on to the fabric but they are still nice and even on each sleeve. 
I wish I could say more about the fabric but I feel my knowledge of fabric leaves a lot to the imagination. All I know is that I bought it in John Lewis during their New Years sale. It is a bit thicker and heavier weight than what I used for my Renfrew, which is actually the fabric I used for the collar and patches. Although I really light the weight of the fabric, (it is far less likely to cling to the wobbly bits) I thing it is going to be too warm a top to wear during the summer months especially with it being long sleeved. I guess that gives me an excuse to make a lighter weight one for summer.

I realise that this photo doesn't actually show the twin needle hem but trust me it is there. Question, do you ever feel intimadated when asking for things in sewing shops?  So, when I went along to the haberdashery shop I had a very specific request - "one ball point twin needle suitable for knit fabric, please". In reply to my request I received a very puzzled look and the return question (from the shops owner) "what are you planning to do with that?". This sent me in to an instant panic but, I explained my plan to hem my top. The owner of the shop gave me a smile and a nod as if to say well done, correct answer, and then went on the hunt for my needle. I am all for having a chat about my makes with folk in shops they always have a great knowledge of their products and have often given me some great advise and hint. Sadly, on this occasion it felt a little more like a test of my knowledge than helpful curiosity. After this I was left a little concerned about using my twin needle, it was almost as if it had come with a warning or something.

 Anyway, I finally decided to bite the bullet and I added my extra thread holder to my machine, read the instruction booklet and watched some youtube videos on twin needling. All I can say is IT IS SOOOOO EASY! I have no idea why I got so worked up about it. It is really no different than sewing with one needle. I am really pleased with the result. So happy that when I was at the Sewing for Pleasure show I bought another three twin needles of varying widths for my next projects.

I would really like to try more Deer and Doe patterns in the future, in particular the Beladone Dress and I am also loving the versions of the new Anemone Skirt which I have seen popping up online. Maybe some time in the future I will make them but at the moment I have enough in the pipeline to keep me going.  

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

A Quick Crochet

Last year when I went down to Birmingham for the cake and crafting shows, I noticed that everyone was wearing a little bit of handmade (mainly a knitted poppy for Remembrance Day). With that in mind and my imminent return to the NEC for the sewing for pleasure show, I decided that I was going to make myself a flower corsage style hair clip. So whilst watching The Great British Sewing Bee the other night I got my crochet hook out and created this little flower

This is the simple flower corsage pattern from Yellow, Pink and Sparkly. As the name says this is a really simple pattern and once you work out whether you are crocheting in US or UK (why oh why do we have to use different stitch names) then it is made in about 20mins. In fact it was so quick that I ended up making my mum a matching one during the sewing bee too. I had sent her the pic above and she immediately text back saying she wanted one too. 

I think the pattern calls for DK and a 3mm crochet hook. However, I only have 3 hooks so I just used my smallest one which I think was a 4mm. I also fancied using this chocolate brown and beige Rowan tweed which is an aran weight and not DK. As a result the flower is probably a different size than it is meant to be but I think it looks fab and it is perfectly suitable for what I am using it for.
The buttons came from a little stash I picked up at one of the Edinburgh thrift shops. Unfortunately, I have been in so many recently that I cant remember which one they came from.

Here is a terrible photo of me looking really awkward at the show. 
Also, my mum is still wearing hers and keeps moving it from top to top. 100% success :-)