blue coat with embroidered sleeves – and MeMadeMay makes

I really have far more than I can re-sew currently, and yet when my friend Petra mentioned she saw a coat in her local charity shop she thought I would like, and I liked the sound of it (wool), and so the next time she was at the shop, it was still there and she got it.  One reason it was probably still there, was it’s navy, which does not seem to sell, and yet I find it a better colour for me.

It still had its tags, and the maker label – Miller Raynor Danco .  I looked them up and it seems they are a brand (still going) that make ship uniforms and this one was from the 70s or 80s as they had some name changes.  I could not figure the size but think it an 16 or 18, and it felt a bit big on, and the cut was rather boxy and school-ish.  Its a light-weight wool so it really looked like a useful summer/mid-season coat.

I left it a few weeks before I cut into it.  The main changes I wanted to make were to take out the button thing at the sleeve, and take it in, and I had in mind to add embroidery.  I unpicked the seams to the neckline, and tried to work on the coat without fully taking it apart.  I used my raglan coat pattern for the front, and trimmed about 4cm off the side seams on the front panels and tapered it the sleeves.  When I lay the rest of the pattern on the coat, my pattern was slightly bigger than all the other pieces so I resewed them all up without cutting them.

I dithered a bit on the embroidery and settled on a ‘lawn’ motif, and in a single colour.  Originally I wanted to embroider the centre front or around the hem.  Doing the centre front would have been tricky,  and I would need a bigger motif and a machine that could take a bigger hoop for the around the hem, and after a fair bit of deliberation, and dragging another friend over for a consult – the sleeves seemed to be the way to go.

It was relatively straight forward, and once done, I decided that the collar had to go.  I was going to keep it, but really thought it too severe – so I just tidied up the neck-line until I decided on whether to go for a bound edge on the neck or a ribbing (as in what you would get on a ‘bomber’ jacket).  So the plan is to wear it as is, until I figure it out – I still have to change the buttons and I will go for covered buttons in the same fabric and sew up the top buttonhole and replace with decorative button and popper underneath.

I enjoy MMM (me-made-may) postings but I don’t post any,  a lot has to do with my delaying in organising photos, but as I was very happy to have ended up packing for a trip with mainly me-makes – I figured I better get some photos of them.  We went on a small trip away to York and Leeds

I packed a DKNY dress (I made this a while ago, and never blogged about it).  Its a brilliant pattern and the dress wears well with a base layer or on its own and I have worn it loads since its January make.   I tend to wear it with a hand-drawn baselayer.  Another make I have never blogged about as I didn’t think much of it as I made it 2 years ago and yet I use it constantly – so much so, that I found white sleeve tee in the charity shop last month and made another!  Basically its just drawing strips with permanent marker, and then brushing them with methylated spirits to disperses the pen and then when its dry -wash  it well (as the fumes stay in the fabric).  The reason I was disappointed originally was that the tee looks particularly cool when its meths soaked and dries rather flat later, but its since become a staple, and now I have 2.  In all I was really pleased with my packing as other times I go away, I bring too much of the wrong stuff and dont wear it all – the amount I brought this time was just right and I was able to layer on the two cooler days and wear less on the 2 warm days.

The stripe tee looks well with the yellow cardi I upcycled in January, and this works well with my denim cigarette pants, which also work fine with the McCalls summer top from last year, so between that and  a few shoe changes I was packed!

I used the boots, cigarette pants and long sleeve baselayer and navy sweater for the travel (Navy sweater only item not a MMM) on the Wednesday.  Thursday was a beautiful warm day in York – I didn’t not bring my coat at all! -and I changed shoes going to dinner later.

Friday was cooler, and I wore the DKNY dress with baselayer and coat for a trip to the Leeds Armoury (swanky photo above) and shops (including seeing the All Saints sewing machine window display – WOW*, as well as the M&S Archive), and on Saturday, wore the cigarette pants, boots, yellow cardi baselayer etc for musuem and gallery visits before heading back.   I was well glad of my choice in footwear as we walked loads – the only issue really was the trip was too short and we could only do so much – so thinking of heading over again sometime.

So after wearing the coat for the weekend, I am still undecided on collar and will take the coat in a small bit more on sides.  Very chuffed with coat – and will be repeating the embroidery on some summer linens.

*there was a Tesla car on display opposite the All Saints shop and I never even noticed it- I was only told about it later by my sister who went there on the the Saturday –  I was inspecting the machines it didn’t register!

finishing old jobs – and fashion revolution day

When we moved here 4 years ago – I was in such a hurry to set up my work room that I hurriedly put up temporary shelves.  The walls are painted beauty board on minimal studs and the shelves were pretty dismal and it was in the corner of the room that was to become a bit of a glory-hole full of stuff propping more stuff up and hiding other stuff.  Inspired by a post in Sewing at Damgate, I moved my folded drawing desk to another room, gave James my Bobby trolley (5euro buy in charity shop) and he was so happy to get the trolley (had been vying for it for a while – and I don’t really use it) and also happy to help with a shelving solution for the workroom, that we got these sorted in a day! We used a simple slot in system and some pine boards and all of a sudden – complete organisation!  All of my sewing books are now finally together and while I hadn’t intended on any floor storage – I simply have too much craft stuff.  The floor boxes contain yarn, the next two shelves are sewing machines (the two white baskets are current projects to try and limit myself).  The shelf above is sewing supplies (the ikea drawers are full of spare re-used zips and other haberdashery) and books, next shelf is a mix of favourite patterns and other supplies and there is a top top shelf are boxes of less used supplies (christmas decorations, old belts, dyes) file folders and some empty spare shoe boxes (always handy).

It also gave me a chance to organise my projects a bit better and try and take a critical look.  I rarely get anything in the charity shops now as I have more than enough to work on here.  One thing I did come across was this bag.  It has been hanging on the door for a whole year.  When I saw it in the charity shop last year, my thought was to clean it, take it apart, reline it and re-sew it…….honestly, I sometimes think the woman in my head sews a hell-of-a-lot faster than me.  So I got real – and looked up best ways of cleaning leather, and decided to take my chances on hand-washing and soaking with wool shampoo!  I only soaked it the first time for about 20 minutes rinsed, and let it dry and saw most of the stains came off so I soaked it a second time and scrubbed it with a soft nail brush and then soaked for about 20 minutes again, rinsed….. and then when it dried put some leather conditioner on it!

BEFORE……leather bag before

AFTER

WIN_20170424_09_42_50_Pro.jpg

I have since put some dubbins on it and its now the same colour/tone as the rest….. the lining is still turquoise but cleaner – Job done!

We also did a fashion revolution mend day – it was a lovely day and I always meant to do something to mark the day as very little ‘fashion revolution’ events happen in Ireland and I thing only a few in Dublin and Cork this year.  Myself and Maureen and Helen (SewlastSeason) did a mend event in a community room/hub and met some lovely people who dropped by  and of course I have only a few blurred photos!

Singer 99k and some bags

I always had the idea, that straight stitch machines were ‘better’ to sew on and had better control.  Sometimes when I am making, I am often on a race to the finish so I can get extremely slap-dash, and I thought a straight stitch machine could help me get the neater finish (spoiler alert – it didn’t).  Anyway, there were three potential straight stitch machines  – a 99k, a 201, or a 221/featherweight.  As the 201 and 221 were too expensive, I got a 99k.

Singer 99k

 

Its made in 1953 according to the serial number and for a 3/4 machine, its plenty weighty – lord only knows what weight a 66 or 201 would be.   I really like the mock alligator case – seriously these old sewing machine cases are like air-hostess luggage – so cute!

The first job the machine had was to remake a mock-suede bag.  I made this last year, but the singer excelle didn’t really ‘get along’ with the mock suede and the final finish was a bit rough, and either way I didn’t even use the bag as the pink didn’t really tie in with anything.  The other side of the fabric was plum so I just took it apart and turned it all around.  The second time I did not do as much top stitch, but what the machine had to sew, it did very well.

 

I also ran up some more purses and bags in an effort to use up scraps, and old belts and zips.  These purses are from Noodlehead.

noodlehead pencil cases.jpg

 

The back pack is still a work in progress – I had a raincoat last year I was remaking and it was quickly going south as I didn’t have enough fabric, but I did manage to use it up in this back pack along with some old belt pieces – I will probably make a fabric strap or use old belts as the shoulder straps.  I think its slightly too big and also could so with some interfacing so I will be tweaking it over the next few weeks.

 

I also made a bag from some denim scrap and used a belt cut in 2 to make the handle.  the machine even sewed through this thick belt.  I was turning the wheel by hand for going though the belt, and even then I was beginning to feel like  a person that was deliberately cruel to sewing machines…

I then got a bit carried away and started on this butterick blouse and used some of the white fabric.  I was a bit quick and overconfident and the top-stitching is rather nasty so I have put it to one side and will redo it next week- reverse engineering my bad sewing habits will take more than the singer 99 I think.

 

 

 

simonetta dress 1587 – vogue coat 7514

I have had these patterns for a while, and a wedding invite last January was a bit of an excuse to make them.  It was for an April wedding, (last weekend) in the very west of Ireland (connemara).   Both patterns are very simple, and were relatively quick makes (my favourite type).

simonetta dress vogue coat

 

I am especially pleased with the dress as I think the shoulders being slightly extended make it a very flattering cut for the pear shaped, and although I graded it out for my hips, I ended up having to take it in, and for all my ‘A-line empire line shift dress patterns’ this one is the best!   I wanted to run up a ‘wearable’ muslin – and as luck would have it, I found a strange (I think 70s synthetic curtain fabric?) piece in the fabric cupboard in the community sew room – It had been there a while, and has a not-great feel to it, but has the look of thick linen, and there was just enough to get the dress out of it.  There was not enough for the collar so I used some satin, and I didn’t fully ‘get’ the steaming of the collar first time, so I just bias bound it and simplified it. simonetta black dress

Finding the fabric for both the coat and dress was a bit of a chore as the local fabric shop has only a small selection, and my favourite Dublin shop (Murphy Sheehys) now only does interior fabric, so I went online and got this from Clothspot in the UK.  I was trying to keep within a budget (40stg was the total in the end), and chose a grossgrain (not my favourite fabric but knew the weight would work fine) in a red and a cotton in ‘pebble’ for the coat.  The red dress was quick to run up and the collar much easier once kept steam ironing – I never did this type of collar before so was pleased with the finish. Basically its a straight strip of bias, folded and then steamed into a curve shape to mimic the interfacing, and then trimmed if longer than the interfacing.  I omitted the pockets flaps/mock pockets as I really could not see the point and they seemed unnecessary.

bias steamed collarsimonetta dress

I had been hoping to make a summer coat for a while as they really are useful, but finding the right weight of fabric was difficult.  This fabric was slightly light for a coat, and creased easily enough, so I ended up interlining it at the last minute.  I was unable to get a cotton voile so I just used vilene – I did not interline the sleeves as they are on the bias, and therefore should not ‘hold onto’ an elbow crease (I think this should be the case but will see how it wears in time).  I lined the main part of the coat in some left over craft fabric and used regular lining for the sleeves (and not enough craft fabric left)

vogue 7514

The collar of the coat is bias cut, and I had to do a pad stitch – which I never did before and wasn’t sure so out came Allyne Bane sewing book – creative clothing construction  (one of my go-to books) and I am really pleased with the roll and sit of the collar, it sits away from the neck.  Other than that, the only other issue was BUTTONS (I spent ages and ages and ages on them) – I could not figure one at all, but went with covered ones and they seem fine.  I did keyhole buttonholes on the machine, as I had not chosen my buttons until after the coat was fully made.    The side seams are slightly to the front on this which makes for comfortable in-seam side pockets, and the ribbon close just threads through under the arms.  I think it looks a bit fussy closed, but I do like the way the ribbons drape at the side when its worn open.  I stiched red gross-grain over wider plum gross-grain to make the ribbon-tie, and I have a blue brown one which I will use this summer to wear with denims!

coat and dress

I made the bag as well, but it was rather rushed as I did it the morning of the wedding!  I used a noodlehead pencil case pattern, and then recycled a lanyard clasp.

Overall, it all worked so well.  The day itself was incredibly sunny, but rather cool, so the coat worked out very well as most of the afternoon was spent on a windy terrace, and I got to wear my favourite silver shoes – so all good.

pfaff 91 and quick run up

A few years ago I was teaching sewing and if attendees wished, they could bring in their own sewing machines – which was useful as some had machines they could not use.  Most times its mainly that the machines were family (mother/grandmother) machines and they ended up having them, or the machine was bought with the intention of learning to sew.   One woman had the most gorgeous Pfaff which was over 60 years old.  She was unable to use it, so she brought it along to find out how to use it.  It really was such an advanced machine, and considering its age, it must have been the rolls royce of its day, it had a wonderful sound, and a load of decorative stitches and still managed to look understated.  Anytime I was setting up the machine to show her anything on it, I was loathed to stop sewing on it!

So when I was browsing machines, this caught my eye.  It was not quite like the other pfaff, much simpler, but the look of it was so simple and I thought the simple finish rather appealing and ‘what the hell’ I bought it!  I was also taken by the year of purchase, 1967 – I have a special interest in machines of this time as its my birth year, and subconsciously I am thinking, look how well this machine looks for its age, look how well it works……..The machine had this cute case, like air hostess luggage, and the attachments and original book and receipt.

When it arrived, the plastic pieces had cracked.  – however, as old plastic can be brittle and its only the front plate and button (in the back of my mind I figure it could ultimately be 3d printed and interm fixed with sugru) so I overlooked these as the mechanics were ‘the thing’.  So off to test – and the feed dogs were half frozen – they moved back and forwards, but not up and down.  (I did get a partial refund from seller when I send a video of the feed in action).  I got it serviced (I did look at the mechanism but did not want to mess about with it myself too much) and now its working well.

Its a good machine and the big appeal here was the free arm, as I like the idea of using this one for a lot of sewing.   I have done a few jobs on it and its good.  I am getting used to it, and the only think I am noticing is the feed, while its perfectly fine, its fractionally less than my other machines.  Its a tiny tiny issue, and its really still me getting a feel for the machine, but if I was to compare it the the Elna, the Elna wins re stitch and feed, but then again if I was to compare it to my own Singer Excell that I have had since 1989 they are on a par (the feed of the Excell can be a bit ‘clampy’ whereas the pfaff is a bit light – and Morgan who serviced the machine said he raised the feed dogs slightly so it must have been lighter again).

I really do like the look of this machine (shallow I know), the extension tray is very handy, and although I prefer a top loading bobbin, this one is not fiddly to change so that’s great.  Interestingly it also has a plate that can be turned upside down for darning (ie it covers the feed-dogs)   It doesn’t have a seam guide but I have put some tape there.

One project I did run up on it was this blouse (its a free download).  I had to go to a ‘thing’ last week and it was a bit formal so I wore my grey wool trousers, a yellow cardigan (reworked a few months ago) and figured what would work well with it – would be a white blouse.  I was under a bit of time pressure (needed it the next day) so I figured I would try fabric shop, charity shop, regular shop in that order.  In the fabric shop there was this white fabric and it was perfect (I even bought extra once I found out it was on sale) and ran this one up.  Its a lovely pattern and useful top and I felt rather smug that sewing this took less time than wandering around shops trying stuff on.  The fabric has great weight, but also has a small percentage of spandex which give some softness.

The yellow cardigan was an upcycle I have been messing about with since December and finished last month and worn loads since.  It is a mans knit which I got and used wear (while all the time trying to figure a more flattering cut).  I recut to a round neck cardi with a tie at the neck, and I half lined it – there was the intention to so some beading or embroidery but I as I still seem to favour plain, I left it for the while.  The ties could have been made a bit longer, and I still have fabric, so am wearing as is for the while.  The ties this length are less fussy so I like them this way.  I attached the bands at the front in a slightly clunky way at the neck – as I changed my approach half way.  Its a little off and I think in only a way I would notice, but as its a first time try out with this pattern I am pleased and the main change I would make in the next is to have the back side seams 1cm in.

Peppermint bag and Elna Lotus ZZ

I have been doing a few change arounds the last few months, and with all the reviewing, too-ing and fro-ing I ended up buying three new-old sewing machines and selling the novum and brother sewing machines from last year/year before.

I was a bit up to high-doh anyway as we are planning some works on the house and was getting easily distracted.  I also had decided that I did not really use the novum or brother as I don’t really like sewing on them, and then somewhere in this (twisty) logic was the decision to buy a machine I did want to sew on – at this stage I was also having the feeling that whatever about buying vintage dress patterns,  I was really in the big leagues here (and also glad I stopped at three machines, as I was getting carried away).   Anyway I sold my machines locally and some patterns (and a dart board!) and started a bit of a wish list…..

One of the machines I got was this Elna, and got rather suckered into the idea I was buying a design classic.  This one has a zig zag option, and I think from 1968.  Such a cute machine, and it was in great condition.   I decided to sew a small project on the machine to try it out.  ‘The project was making the ‘peppermint bag’ as I will be showing others how to make it in next weeks workshop.

Its really gorgeous, has a lovely motor sound and so beautifully put together.  Its only as  I was sewing on it I appreciated it more.  All the levers work as you would expect and the tension is preset and quite perfect.  I kept checking the stitch on a white bit of fabric as it was so tidy.  Its a bit heavier than I expected, not quite what you can put in your handbag, but it is incredibly compact and has the novelty/convenience of the accessory tray (there were 2 pieces missing -seam ripper and oil tube- so I filled them with my own seam ripper and a chalk pencil).    It is not the fastest but fairly nifty all the same , but it does sew so well, I kept admiring the stitch, really beautifully balanced.

The peppermint bag went together well – cute pattern and got to use up some liberty pieces I had been hoarding for a while, as well as some of the wool gabardine from the christmas dress….

Peppermint Bag

And just to illustrate how small this sewing machine is ….

It also came with a mystery tin and curious and all as I was about the machine, I was dying to see the contents of the tin (machine was bought on ebay).   Not sure what some are for but did justify the machine purchase in part by the pack of  singer machine needles which was tucked in there as well!  I have put the little black dust brush on the shelf ready for work (its a good brush) so forgot to put it in the other photo.

The plastic box is half the workings of a stitch marker of sorts, there is a single turn foot, zipper foot but not sure if the other is an embroidery foot – any clues on the black screw end? Its the thing-a-majig in-between the gold thread and small screwdriver!

Bianca 1 and Bianca 2 – skirt and shirt upcycle

I have been sewing a lot, and blogging less.  Some of my sewing has really been going in circles – normally I like to make something, finish and move on to the next but the last few months I have been sewing a few things at the same time, and dawdling on the finish.  Bianca making

I started these Bianca’s ages ago.  I used the Wear Lemonade Free Bianca pattern and thought it would be a cute update for this ‘blackwatch’ plaid skirt, which ultimately I think it is.  I cut the plaid as usual for the main body, but had not enough to plaid match sleeves fully so I only matched them on the cross grain.  Personally I don’t mind this as it looks even.  I did not like the Bianca collar and perhaps its because I don’t wear shirts (?) but eitherway I tried doing a more casual collar with notches.  I still think the collar is too tight but other than that its a sweet blouse.

bianca finish

 

At the same time, I decided I really needed a white blouse with peter pan collar so I upcycled a white shirt to make this.  To add a bit of interest I tried out a lot of the decorative stitches in the machine in a grey thread.  I have yet to put a button and loop close at the back but at least they are both now FINISHED!

white bianca shirt upcycle

 

Irish Dancing Waistcoats #2, sleeveboard#2

Before Christmas I was asked to make an Irish dance waistcoat for my nephew, (going for an ‘aunty of the year award here)  it was to be a ‘simple’ waistcoat (class style waist coat), and as he is the only boy in the class, there is no actual class waistcoat as of yet (this is now it!).   Anyway, the main issues were

  • I would have to embroider on velvet – this was resolved by hooping up heavy sew-in vilene and then spray basting (with the water soluble glue) the velvet in place and placing net over (I upcycled a black velvet skirt for this)
  • he lives far away (the first waistcoat was too short at centre front and centre back – as I drafted the pattern myself and wasn’t really sure what the lengths should be)
  • I had to design the embroidery to match the class costume – and this was the crux!

I did a rough drawing of a version of the motif that would fit in my hoop, and this could be flipped (there are 4 embroideries the waistcoat).  The dance teacher liked it the rough drawing so I went ahead to problem number 2 – how to digitize.  Before I got the machine, I somehow thought the digitizing process was a lot easier, (ie would do it by magic) and also was surprised at the cost of the software (as expensive as the machine).  Getting it digitized locally would have cost about 35euro, but as it was just a test piece it was probably it could have to be done twice so I thought I would look at some alternatives.  I used a 30day trial of Sierra and ended up downloading a basic license (24 euro for year) so I could practice over the year (great intentions) and I managed to get something respectable in the end with the help of a few youtube videos.  The teacher liked the waistcoat enough to let him dance in it but asked the next one be made longer with more burgundy.

velvet-irish-dancing-waistcoat

When I went to make the second, I was still not happy with the velvet as stitches were drowning in it and the fabric was light.  I did have a pair of re-made worsted wool trews (from a mens trouser) that I was pattern testing on (and still need tweaking) so these were once again reused and it embroidered beautifully.  I redrafted the waistcoat and went from there.  Its pretty basic, and I used a heavier satin on the back to give it a nice weight and also lined the front panels in the same.  I did a simple band of snaps to close.

wool-irish-dancing-waistcoat

Last November when I was asked if I wanted anything in particular for Christmas (by James), I asked for a sleeve board and passed some pinterest links on how to make and on Christmas day…..I got a half made one that was too high and falling over (there was a point he deemed to ditch the original design – I am not privvy to the logic here!) – I suggested a different approach to the stand bit and a few weeks later it was ready….it took a morning to cover, I used some leftover wool from a sew and a double layer of calico over, bias trimmed and corded it.  I covered the base as the wood used was a bit rough so I did a simpler cover in denim.  Very happy with it, and no longer have to use a rolled up towel (for sleeves anyway).

sleeve-board-covers

sleeve-board-finished

Vogue 9002, trousers to top

v9004My long list of wanna-makes has had this pattern in it for a long long time.  I also wanted to make something for my sister, and when I showed her the pattern she was skeptical.  We are rather similar in temprement, and very close, but have completely opposite colouring (she’s blond) and shapes (she has long legs and opposite curves to mine), so a lot of what I will wear, she wouldn’t and vice versa.  Skepticism aside, as I went looking for the ‘fabric’ and found these in my box of ‘silks’ (I have a shoebox of swankier pieces put aside).  It was a pair of trousers which was from the reduced rail.  The fabric is a viscose poly shantung (easy to launder), and the colour is predominately turquoise which is shot with green and a slight royal blue/purple.  All in all, its gorgeous and her favourite colour.

v9004-before

I was going to just about make the cut, except I had to cut the a small panel extra on the right panel.  I gambled if I got the angle to mimic the centre front and was exact on grain, it may not be too noticable and I think it works fine.  I was delighted to get the sleeves cut in full, and the only squeeze were the facings but it was not by much.  I used the pleat of the original trouser (and hem) as my grain guide, and then used the wooden lat laid along the grain to work from. ( I did not full press the trouser crease lines out fully when I prepared fabric for the cut, and after the cut, I sprayed the fabric with a mix of 50:50 vinegar water and pressed to remove the crease line.)

v9004-the-cut

There is a ‘thing’ I do though if the corners are a bit tight in the cut (ie, missing) and I still want to be accurate, and that is to selotape some fabric over the corner and cut and when the item is sewn, this is taken off, I did this in the underarms of the left front.

v9004-cut-out

Its a lovely top to make up.  Getting a colour zipper to match didn’t happen but the green invisible one works well.  For some reason I don’t like invisible zips.  I cannot tell you logicially why.  They feel a bit flimsy and I don’t like the way the weigh into the seams of the garment, so I don’t use them that much.  Again, I was glad I did in this instance as it gave the top a finished look.

v9004-zip

 

So I posted it off on Monday and she got it on Tuesday.  My big fear is that it would not fit, as I don’t actually have her measurements, but know that she takes one size up from me in tops (and one size down in jeans).  Turns out, it fits!

vogue-9002-sis

crochet patches – fixing it finally

I have a cardigan for a long time, well since we moved to this house 4 years ago and I picked it up at a jumble sale a month or so after moving and finding out just how cold our new house could be.  Its one of those cardigans you can put on over everything and be warmer, or wear as a temporary jacket…..its not that I like it loads, its just so useful.  I also had not noticed it had a hole in one elbow  and it way too late  by the time I went to fix it, and I pretty much made a mess of it, so the next plan was elbow patches.  I couldn’t figure a patch I liked (yes I did have that dilemma!)  but when I saw some crochet ones on pinterest, I liked the overall quirks, so made some.  I would have liked them with more pinks and finer yarn and but went with the yarn ends I had.  There is something so appealing to me these days about the obvious handmade…. to the point I value it so much more (ironic considering my chunky stitches).  Some months ago, a friend commented on my jeans – ie why were there big cross stitches on the arse of my jeans….. I had to explain that they were sashiko mending, the new-old way to darn (I was trying to be succinct)…..and went on to the point that I was nearly selling the idea that my badly done example was the way to do it (oops)…… I have a strange vanity about hand-stitching, no matter how badly its done, I see it like drawing….its all my work!crochet patches

Other than that – I seem to have made it my mission to catch all the colds and top it off with a flu (at which point I finally went to the doctor who tells me – oh flu….cant give you anything for that) so I was lying low beyond going to work etc.  I had planned to embroider cushions as presents (didn’t but did made some more tea-towels….its a polish saying and I think apt for when things are out of your control) as well as a cute collar for a friend (will be making more of these), as well as a dress (chose awful fabric for this, navy wool gaberdine – what was I thinking so now it looks like a verger, and it looks worse on, but I have planned to remake something from it in time).  My sewing plans for January consist of finishing the projects started in November, as well as a make a few patterns I really really want to try and have been on a wish list for a while.

embroider-presents

embroidered presents

 

vogue-7691-2

less said about this – the better………..

 

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planned makes for 2017…………the last two patterns are for my sister, the 4th pattern I am unsure of still….the toile looks too much like a sack…..

 

I also got a whim for the sales and did some browsing.  I don’t have a strict no-buy-new policy, it just ends up that I have not bought new for the last few years as inevitably I am put off buying anything in the shops as its either badly made, awful fabric, or doesn’t fit, …and I also was trying on styles I love, but styles that don’t suit me…..  Ultimately I always feel the better after this experience, as I count the money as saved by not buying and congratulating myself on making clothes I like and fit me better than the store-bought.  Although subconsciously I must have had the intent to buy something, as I did get these trousers in the charity shop, and they are divine wool, fitted well, and are lined beautifully, and a swanky ‘label’  …..they only needed to be taken up, and a small ‘sway back’ adjustment, and I steamed them.   I always end up somehow wondering about the former owner of these clothes (is that creepy?)  And as they had such little (maybe none) wear, were they a sale buy?  did the long legs of these fit this person? wouldn’t it be so convenient if my legs were 2 inches longer and I didn’t have to take them up etc….. and I couldn’t bring myself to cut them, so I hemmed by turning up again as some part of me thinks that in some years when I donate back to the shop, a long legged person will get them and need to take them down….

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I did manage to do my christmas card as usual – although one friend was quick witted enough to compare to the Aldi 4 bird roast!  And obviously I meant to post this one sooner on the blog………..but I was fixing a cardigan!  I am off to Dublin for my ‘second’ christmas with my fab sis,  (working in retail seems to overtake the actual day as it just becomes one day off – so my focus is always on the days after which I enjoy so much more), and I am thinking I may call to the lovely Murphy Sheehy Fabrics as the vogue coat needs 3 metres of fabric and has a bias sleeve….

Happy New Year!

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happy christmas 2016