Thursday, 22 May 2014

Stitch or Ditch - there's nothing like a good deadline hanging over you


With my existing clothing falling apart, a to-do list as long as the A1 and an impending house move, I've decided to act decisively.

The unfinished projects will be done!

The scraps pile will be reduced!

The Hated Projects (namely the infinity dress...) will be cut up and remade!

The old clothing will be copied or chucked out!

Frankly, it's a bit overwhelming. No fun or frivolous or complicated projects for a while. Just cutting quilt scraps and desperately salvaging garments. You can tell I'm not totally enthusiastic about this, dear reader. Any moral support will be much appreciated.

Not sure I can handle this...


Thursday, 8 May 2014

Leggings. Straight and swung.

Confession time. I know nothing about musicality. I can just about understand there's a difference between straight rhythm, swing, funk, samba...etc. But we stop about there.

In fact, if you were to ask about my sense of rhythm, you'd get pointed straight towards a dungaree'd Stephen Fry in this classic sketch.

So to help me remember the difference, my next projects have been two pairs of self-drafted leggings. One pair straight. One pair swung.

Aha! Not only is it a pun, but it's also educational! That's the best kind of pun!

The blue ones are standard self-drafted using these two tutorials (One Little Minute and So Sew Easy), the red ones are rip-off spiral leggings from Pattern Magic 3 by Tomoko Nakamichi. Both were made from a cotton/spandex jersey ready for the Spring Race Challenge, and a proof that I've actually been working up a sweat in them here are a few shots of some drills I've been practicing.

I'm super-pleased with the straight leggings. They fit, move don't ride up and are generally comfortable for lots of moving around. That being said, I keep forgetting to get a photo in them so you'll have to take my word for it...

The swung ones, I'm not so sure. They look edgy and avant-garde but they're very odd to wear. They move around, sag and shift. They might not be the greatest exercisewear. There are some sewists who have made these as 'workout' leggings, but I do wonder if they've had the same experience? Can anyone comment?

Saggy ankles...

Anyway, these are  my new straight and swung leggings. Hopefully they'll help me remember my rythm patterns. This probably means I need to make a samba pair, right? Any ideas?

Peace out,

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Mod Dress - Practice Makes Perfect (or close to it)

In the runup to STF2014, I desperately needed a break from exercisewear. I mean, come on. GIVE ME A PRETTY DRESS AND GIVE ME ONE NOW.

So I made one.

Meet my mod dress. I love this fabric.

I bought it from some tiny alley, just after I started sewing in late 2010. I knew it was fabulous, I knew I needed to make something from it. And I came up with this:

It was not good. My vision was poor. I was ashamed, ripped it up and mourned the loss of something so beautiful. Never again would we cross paths.

Then 18 months ago I was in the same dingy alley. The shopkeeper somehow still had 2m hidden away in some forgotten corner. You don't hesitate when an opportunity like that comes along. A second chance passed down from the Saints of Seamstressing. It would be a mod dress. I confess it was always destined to be a mod dress.

And I still stashed it for a year.

I finally made it in time for Stockholm as a reminder that hours of practice will eventually make perfect.
Front, mid-boogie

Back, mid-boogie
I traced a base pattern for which I've already done the work perfecting the fit and balance, drafted some modifications, then cut, stitched and finished the dress in 3 hours. Guys, 4 years ago...hell...18 months ago I could not make this in 3 hours.

Everything hangs straight, I added my favourite shoulder crossover detail, all the edges are enclosed. It's not going to ride up and show off my booty because I told the bloody pattern it wasn't going to show off my booty. Ha.

So when I'm struggling with something tricky in tap, I can look at this dress and know to crack on with it. Keep working at it, and one day you'll wake up and it will be a breeze. You won't think twice. It might just take a few years.

But let's move on to a different kind of eye candy...guys, meet B:

B, short for Jumping Bean

B is cool. B patiently takes photos, taps, calms creative fury, crochets and happily takes part in random sewing challenges. B is also a fan of the mod dress. He and I have created a new sewing challenge for each other, but you'll need to stay tuned to hear more...right now I have a project to finish.

Toodle, Oodles and Doodles,