five minute frock and blinged bag

The frock and the bag are not a set, and the only thing they have in common was that I rushed them off before my 5 day work week routine began.  I was a bit frantic trying to ‘finish’ projects before part time work status ended, and I got these two out of the way.

 

The five minute frock was pretty much that! I had found a wallis maxi polyester skirt on the reduced rail (€1) in the charity shop and picked it up with the intent of maybe making another skirt, for the new job.  Some days later I wondered if I cut armholes in it would it make a dress? I did and it was.  I wore it for the day to see if it was comfortable to wear – it was – so shaped the armhole cuts to curves and hemmed them, and sewed down the elastic waistband which gives a slight structured boat-neck collar.  It also can technically be converted back to a maxi skirt later …..should it be needed!

 

 

The blinged bag was a whim.  I had picked the bag up for €3 in a reduced bin.  I figure it was reduced as the lining was shredded and the bag, while being a functional black, was also a vinyl bag.  I had been rather inspired by Kate’s cross stitching (at our knitty-stitchy group that meet up in Carrolls pub, Dominick St Wednesdays if anyone is in Galway and wants to pop in!) and Lulu Guinness Handbags when I planned this bag.  What I had not realised is that Kate makes cross stitch look easy, which it is not.  I had trialed a few cross stitch hearts and they were disastrous…..so resorted to a few hours on the embroidery machine and did this one!

 

I used a screwdriver to loosen the bag, and made a new lining.  I then embroidered the vinyl, and then got the gutterman glue, put it together again and hoped I did it right.  I get a bit frantic towards the end of fixing the bag into the clasp again as i am always convinced it will fall out or I will have missed a bit, but this is the second one ever I have done and both have been fine.

 

The motif I downloaded for free (and edited it to make the single smaller hearts) and when I find the link I used, I will post it here!

 

 

 

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embroidered wool coat

I don’t know if this is a general habit for others, but often if I am working on a long/boring/difficult project I start to plan a nice/interesting project in my head and this project becomes the treat that I can look forward to.  So while I was plodding away with the Irish dance costume, wondering when it would all end….. I was planning to embroider this coat on the left below.

embroidered red coat

The coat is a nice quality wool, and in its day, it would have been a mid-range coat with a basic (ie not satin) lining, although the wool by contemporary standards is excellent.  It had the 80s shoulders (big), a generous cut in all (I think everyone wore big jumpers in the 80s too).  It didn’t sell for €20 didn’t sell for €10 and I bought it at €2.  I was never too sure on the colour as it was a dull rust red so I left it for a while until I figured what pattern to use for it.

I used simpliciy pattern 6733.   The cut is similar to the one I drafted last year, but the simplicity pattern has no darts, and a bit more generous in the cut, and I managed to squeeze it in.  The cut was quick enough – centre front and buttonholes and pockets carefully lined up and cut (and useful to have them all done) – back equally easy to line up.  The sleeves were a squeeze and I find this each time I recut a coat, so as long as I got 2cm past hem line, I could do a faced hem!  The collar was part cut from collar and I cut as short as I could so I would have sufficient fabric for a hood.

I dithered over the design.  Originally I was going to go with one colour only and do a grid of this motif, but it did look and feel a bit bland – a friend of mine suggested the scale of the design was insignificant got me thinking a bit more and I went searching for a another motif so with some other tiny scraps I did another test using this new motif, and loved it as the red and pink seemed to lift the colour and I could do some borders also.  I used motifs from embroideryonline.com.   Originally I was going to try and do a tiled design but once I did the finished the large motifs and placed the half motif I figured it looked a bit busy so left it.  The coat  has 2 borders – one in red, and the other in brown, and there are 8 large motifs around.  The sleeves just have the borders, and I used standard sewing thread for the embroidery.

embroidery  samples

final motifs for embroidered coat

Out of the left over fabric, I recut some back and side facings, and reused the lining, and also cut a hood.  I did not re-cut the lining as the cut was so similar to the coat itself, I just took it in a bit at sleeve head and sides.  I did use some gross-grain ribbon on the hem to give a make a bigger hem, and I like the way the ribbon looks on the inside – I also put my label on the lining with the original! (these are school labels – and I am finding them useful especially for knits so I know the back and front!).  The hang loop was reused.

 

 

The hood was a tighter cut, and I had tried to make it more dramatic originally, but when I tried it on I did not like the bigger hood at all, and as the idea of the hood for me is practical, the bigger hood has less weight and would probably blow off occasionally so I trimmed it and had to use some embroidered scraps in the edging.  I put poppers along so its not detachable.

embroidered coat with hood and without

Verdict- so delighted with the coat and wearing it loads.  This red, despite my original misgivings,  is a perfect shade, and the embroidery seems to ‘lift’ it.   It nicely replaced last years red coat which I did not wear that much as the red was a bit overwhelming for me.

I did a stall at a local market and sold some makes and last years red coat was sold.  It a great shade but too bright for me.   The stall was a bit of an experiment as sometimes donating back makes to the charity shop potentially increases their workload, and it could be interesting to find out what people think of the remakes directly.  I priced the makes at secondhand clothes prices – as charging labour time would have been unrealistic,and I wanted to clear the excess makes.  I see these makes as sample sews and considering doing a stall occasionally in the future as I like the making but sometimes I make more than I wear and and sometimes, I make for an experiment.

 

irish dance dress – the long way round

The making of this dress was epic and not in any good way.  I hadn’t realised how lucky I got with the last dress until I was in the thick of this one,

Last June, red was the chosen colour and I tried out some threads on it. The original motifs looked stronger in white (agapanthus leaf) however  Donna (niece/dancer) seemed to like the idea of a celtic motif and I got this one from Embroidery Library.  I had trouble with it from the start and could not get the outlines to work but as it was ‘voted’ a favourite with the outlines, I had to go with it. I tweaked it a bit to get it to fit in.  I figured I could make a simple collar out of ovals and crystal bling-stones could be set into them.  I was not overly enamoured with the whites as I tried out some more samples – then changed to some yellows oranges and reds and it all looked so much better, and it was the last week of August!  I was confident in the pattern as the dress I had made last time still fitted well so I could use the same pattern – my niece however had grown 5 inches!!!! and is no longer 5’3″ but nearer 5’8″,

1 embroidery testing

a mix of embroidery sampling – the lower LHS has a yellow outline on white in the middle  as a trial….

So once the colours were figured, I raced on ahead and the bulk of the embroidery took 7 days – except for the neckline which I ‘designed’ on the Sierra Software – which turned out to be easier this time than the last time as they had a software update.  However the skirt didn’t work like I had anticipated.   Donna had wanted a stiff stand out skirt and I was unsure on how the ‘classic’ one was constructured and the way I figured I would do it didn’t work – and I never did a ‘toile’ so was working on the real fabric all along.

And then after sending some pictures of the embroidery front –  Lisa/dance teacher asked for some changes to the centre front embroideries after I sent on some rough photos – she (rightly) felt the centre front needed definition and could I do an outline in lemon….after the lower bodice was cut

Irish Dance Dress Construction

initial pinnings

I was flumoxed and took a few days to figure what to do and took a break.

The Skirt – I did locate a pattern called guna rince and it seemed like the answer – which it was in part.  It had a pattern and instruction for the underskirt and corresponding overskirt.  I ordered it.  The pattern was what I needed but as the fashion here is for a shorter skirt longer bodice I adapted it a bit by shortening the skirt, and also had to tweak it so it would accommodate the cut skirt I had done.  I used Vilene S80 on the stiff underskirt, and basted interlining of sew-in heavier vilene M12 to the back and a double layer of vilene M12 on the front skirt.

3 construction Irish Dance Dress

The top LHS is the right panel of the back of the dress – the ‘fashion’ here now is no cape/braith at the back but to heavily embroider it in an ‘unexpected’ colour with less bling

The additional embroidery – The issue with the outline was that its not easy to fit in another embroidery after the fact and I did digitize a line on the Sierra software and kinda lined it up.  The difficulty for me is that the hoop on my machine is 150x230cm so the centre front motif took 3 hoopings originally and the outline took 4 and the fabric was pretty stressed by the time, I also figured covering the spaces with some bling would conceal.

The long way and the wrong way

So in all it took 5-8 weeks – the first 2 weeks of August I was only dabbling, and the last week of August I did most of the embroidery. Most of the dress construction was done in the last 2 weeks of September.  It was all rather stressful, as for a while it seemed everything that could go wrong did,   The bobbin tension of the machine was not great throughout, and I had to keep an eye on it.  I am still not sure what went wrong but it got half fixed with changing threads, dusting after each embroidery, and John in the Singer Centre Waterford posted up a new case (which still has not fixed it but helped a lot).  I bought the machine off him originally and cannot recommend him highly enough.  They really offer a great service there, and just plain lovely to deal with

I was also running out of embroidery thread a lot faster than I thought (there were over 600,000 stitches) so had to get WM Trimmings in Dublin  to post extra down from Dublin – They really are a wonderful shop – and both times I phoned lunchtime, and the thread arrived in the post the following morning! (local fabric shop does not carry the shades or the larger spools of thread).

Hindsight

should have made a toile – are these the ‘not so famous last words’?  as I hadn’t realised that the new fashion amongst Irish dancers here is a much shorter skirt (about 4 or 5″ from centre V)   and longer bodice – and I should have added 1.5″ more to the bodice length- my skirt length is 6″.  The dress pictures Donna had sent that she liked had a mix of skirt lengths and she never pointed out specifically till the end about the length.  It was not a deal breaker as the main request was a stiffer skirt.

Verdict 

I was so relieved when Donna tried it on.   when I saw her moving/walking around in it the hang and movement of it was good – and she seemed to move well/confidently in it – although I could swear she grew another inch since the beginning of the summer.  Lisa (Dance Teacher) has given her seal of approval so all good.

 

The Bling

My Sister, Eithne, is brilliant with the bling – I really don’t know where to start – or end.  She tells me it’s because she goes to so many feis’s (competitions) but I really think its more than that.  Luckily she will bling it – and hopefully I will have a competition dress photo soon!

meanwhile – here are some photos from when we were trying out different stones

4 bling

The Cost

The cost of dresses can run into about €2200 and the costs of this dress without bling ran to about €250 which included – I bought 5m of fabric and I have 1 m left over.  I could have bought less originally but I did need some to sample and am happier to have 1m left as this wa

  1. Fabric and lining – 80
  2. embroidery designs approx – 30
  3. threads approx –  approx 60-80 (yes really!!! )
  4. vilenes and stabelizer  – 40 (I did get too much
  5. machine needles – 5
  6. zip and bias binding – 10
  7. pattern – 40

The bling will cost about €150-200

What now

I am going to toile the Guna Rince pattern as when I compared the two – mine has a higher armhole and different darts so I am curious to the fit – and I also want to get a better pattern for the next dress and figure the shorter skirt long bodice.  I happen to have a cream fabric here that could work as an alternative and work on it slowly over the next few months – but as cream is not a good stage colour I will see if it mixes well with jade? but as one dress is done, there is less pressure now.

I am also keeping the embroidery machine out for the moment – as in order to keep my sanity with the dance dress, I started a side project of another coat so half way through that – and seems to be going to plan…….seems to be

 

 

 

 

Shirt Blouse Pattern

When I first started this pet project / blog, my mini-ambition was also to develop a set of patterns suitable for upcycling clothes, and it seemed to keep falling by the wayside.  I did up one last year….and its still on rough paper (but I hope to get that drafted and tested in the next month)

Two months ago, I changed jobs – I went back temping –  and wanted to make up some new ‘work’ tops.  When I used temp years ago, I would wear skirts more, whereas this year I have pretty much been wearing cigarette pants all summer, and wanted to make up a few ‘prepier’ looking shirts/tops to go with them.  One was this butterick shirt, which I made from a pale blue linen.  The one think I hadn’t thought of, was to cut the front up-side-down on the men’s shirt as the buttons go the wrong way!

butterick shirt upcycle

Anyway – while it has been a useful addition, I wanted a top with no collar, but still ‘crisp’ looking.  I had a white dress shirt from the sewing room in the cupboard and ran this one up.  I was very pleased with it, as I managed to get the whole top out of the shirt (and still have some usable scraps left – cuffs and collar).  I took off the pique panels and used them for the yokes and incorporated the button holes as a ‘feature’, and did a slash opening at the back.

I was very happy with the construction – its a lined yoke, and slash opening back, and sleeves are sewn in flat, and there are a small amount of gathers at the cuff of the sleeve.

white shirt upcycle

I then wondered how adaptable the pattern would be, and as I had a few stripe shirts in the workroom, so I started to experiment with some mix and match there (I had planned to use these with the teens in the sew summer camp) so started taking them apart and sampled up a few – tweaking as I went along, the main tweak really was adding shoulder darts.  I am rather pleased with the patchwork-ed ones and am now foisting some of the makes on friends, as I got carried away with the making…..

shirt blouse - upcycle shirt

 

So-with the making of the new Irish Dancing Dress looming I spent last weekend drafting and had it scanned yesterday.  I put it on craftsy and its free, and hope to have an A4 version up by the weekend.  I am hoping the explanations of each step is sufficiently informative without being too simplistic.  I have found in the sewing room – that I tend to assume that ‘everyone’ knows this – but then remember or am reminded that not everyone learned to sew in school etc.  So if you have any comments tips on the instructions and pattern if you wish to download/read/use, I would be delighted to hear them.

Originally I was to grade it also, but I was running out of time, and if my niece (irish dance dress) finds out I am doing extra-curricular activities – I thought it best to finish what I had, and get onto that!

 

Nehalem pants – a job for a featherweight

I got this Nehalem pants pattern last year and spent an afternoon taping pages together, and then, couldn’t figure a fabric.  I got this 1.5m of this light cotton (I think, has a linen quality but dont think its rame) in a market in Leeds in May and thought to finally sew them.

nehalem pants (8)

They sew up so fast – an afternoon, and the only adjustment I made was to place the tie an inch lower (hollow back).  They are very practical (pockets and front seam which acts as a fold guide).  I find I prefer to wear them with the waistband folded over, and if I was to wear the other way, I think I would make thicker ties for it.  The only real issue I had was that the tops I had didn’t really seem to work with it – I was wearing the gathered sleeve t from the last post, but then I remembered my ‘smocky’.  Its a top I bought when I was 15, and I have photos of me wearing it for the next 10 years and some.   I think it retired to my sewing basket in 1996 as there is a tiny hole in it and I was going to repair it and yet never did/could.  So happy to wear it again.

Looking at the photos just there unsure how come I am squinting into the light – I look asleep…..and it wasn’t even that bright this morning…

And the Nehalems were sewn on a featherweight! I have acquired one and can so see the appeal of them now.

featheweight

Some months ago I was in a local charity shop and got talking to the manager Aileen.  We were talking sewing and she asked me to look at some machines for their value.  I looked at 2 and cleaned them and got one working and then she brought in this case….. and it was a featherweight a bit worse for wear.  Cracked lacquer, damaged case, rust on the tray but luckily none on machine – the chrome on the needle plate is damaged.  There was an issue with the bobbin which would be expensive to fix.  I explained (too much – her eyes glazed over) to Aileen that it was a lovely machine but as it would be expensive to fix I could not offer her much -she was happy to take 30 and I kept telling her she should really advertise it for more money (how pathetic am I!).  So I brought it home.  Cleaned and tidied case as much as I could.

  • which was using metal polish on the spare bobbins as well as some attachments and the tray to clean off the rust (some attachements were in a box and they were fine)
  • Metal cleaner on the latches etc of case – one latch is a bit buckled but it does have a key
  • PVA on the case where the vinyl was torn and bubbling
  • oiled everything – which in turn made the cracked lacquer less obvious
  • cleaned bobbin case as it had dirt preventing the bobbin sitting in

and justified getting it fixed by Morgan as there were a few things still off with it (crack in the bobbin case holder and tension spring gone) for 160euro incl parts –  and I was also rather chuffed that Morgan was enthusiastic about its repair (he kept telling me normally he would never give repair advice but did I know these were a really good machine….and told me about a matching iron they made for them….) and when I got sewing on it….it sews a charm – and I can see why the fan club exists for this machine.  The stitch is like the elna (technically the elna may be slightly better), and the machine has a lovely noise/rhythm – it reminds me of my favourite GIF (both sooo cute)

giphy

 

Its also very portable.  I have started to bring it to the community sew room for me to sew on if there are not enough machines as its light enough to put in a bag. (less bulk that way).  I also justified spending 160euro on the fix as I had taken a second job, and I was going to sell the 99k (now sold).  However, since I also had to drop one of my jobs, as I was working 2 part time jobs spread over 7 days a week and getting very tired, so I have now changed jobs from retail(job 1), back to clerical work (job 2 which is temping part-time).  The change is good overall, and now I have time to start on the new irish dance dress……….which technically will be my main job for the next few weeks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quick remakes – T and Shirt

I was asked to help with a workshop a youth group was running locally.  The ‘summer camp’ was going to try and combine fashion along with eco-sensibility – by both discussing the negative environmental and social aspects of fast fashion as well as facilitating the attendees to make their own fashion by handing over a fiver and getting them to go to the charity shops and find some clothes that they would wear or upcycle!

I thought I better do some quick sews to show them pieces that can be done with very little sewing and cutting.  I found a shirt and tee in the sewing room box (a lot of unsaleable pieces from the attached charity shop end up here so some have holes some have stains….).  The big T had some small holes and the design was badly faded, the shirt had a stain to the front.

The T

grey tee shirt cut out

The front print on this was faded but was not as noticeable on the wrong side – which I used as the right side,

  • I cut it up and rough cut a tee-shirt shape from the front and back and shortened the tee shirt
  • cut a slight curved arm-scythe. I used one of my own tee’s as a guide.
  • I sewed the shoulder seams together
  • I trimmed the sleeves into as long a rectangle shape, and joined each to a rectangle made from the front and back trim from the bottom of the tee – with the original hems left intact so they became the finished edge of the new sleeve – I gathered the sleeves and inserted them flat
  • and over-locked the sides together and twin needled the neckline and hem.

grey tee after (1)

The hem and neckline were turned over and finished with a twin needle!  The sleeves in this are very dramatic, but its a great tee, and I have since tried another with smaller sleeves.  The sleeves here were made from the 2 rectangles cut from the bottom of the tee-shirt only.

G Star T upcycleG star t upcycle

The shirt

There are a few upcycles around for this style of gypsy shirt, but I wanted to show shirring as I find it so useful, effective and fast.

shirred shirt upcycle to summer top

So for this I cut the shirt above cuff and placket, and around the neckline (which was just under the yoke of the shirt at the back, and over-locked all edges.

I then did 3 lines of shirring…. which equated to one bobbin full!  I later put in some at the hem.

Both took less than an hour each.

The workshop was last week and it was so interesting and so hectic – I did 3 afternoon sessions of about 2.5 hours and it was non-stop.  There were 7 attendees and a great mix of ages and fashion styles, and they were all incredibly enthusiastic.

Few had really sewn before and the nice bit about the making were all were happy with making in general and setting a realistic standard (I think sometimes teaching adults to sew is more difficult as some expect to have a store bought finish and feel defeated when it comes out otherwise.)  Anyway this was just as well as they all seems to have picked up very tricky fashion fabrics at the charity shops.

 

My ‘Anthro’ crochet beach dress

My favourite way to finish sweaters is a crochet edge, one reason is its incredibly quick way to finish, and the second is it gives a sweet hand-made touch – the last one I did was a navy cardigan – I don’t have the before photo but it was a zara long cardigan which was rather jaded looking and languishing on the ‘euro rail’ (reduced rail in charity shop). (I have put a small ‘how to add trim’ or ‘how I do’ here)

I had thought a few times of trying crochet trims on tee-shirts but never did – until this ‘Anthopologie’ number popped up on my pinterest feed the Xanthe dress.

I follow Anthropologie on Pinterest, and I only got to visit the store for the first time in York.  It was interesting but slightly boring, the huge whale made from denim was brilliant, but it was really racks of the same clothes.  I think I have gotten used to charity shops with where everything is different and requires a look, that I sometimes get bored in shops!  I didn’t see this dress when I was there, but it did pop into my feed a week after I came back.  I really loved the fresh look and colours and thought I should try something similar.  So a few days later when I was in a charity shop, I got this jersey skirt and its a perfect colour (although a small bit light).  I cut the waist-band off, cut a ‘vague’ underarm curve to give illusions of sleeves, and then a neckline.

Originally this dress was to be whipped up in no time, and use some left over yarn. I blanket stitched the neck and sleeves and did them first in a mix of single, double crochet and fillet stitch.  but this was not meant to be, I was nearly finished when the weight of the yarn had the dress stretched to mid-calf.  But as I was happy with the dress besides…………I went out and bought the yarn in 4ply, and started all over again.  This time I flew through it as the stitches were worked out.  I pretty much went with similar patterns to the original, I used some fhdc’s here and there, and I am unsure how the braiding was done on the ‘Anthro’ dress, but I did a foundation chain, and threaded it through the white fillet.  I tightened the neckline but I am thinking of making it big again after seeing the photos, it was more boat-necked before hand.

 

There is something so perfect about crochet summer dresses, especially on a warm day, as they are incredibly comfortable to wear.  I don’t really like to sit in sunshine so generally use this sunhat every summer if I sit ‘out the back’.  (when I say every summer, I mean every summer for the past 27 years…… probably my best buy-it-once buy)

 

 

 

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.