Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Leading up to Christmas


High tea is such a wonderfully decadent institution.  Just before Christmas I managed a high tea in the Little Teapot in Kilbirnie with two good friends. 


I used to be so envious of the little teapot covers but now I think I prefer my own!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Blankets Big and Small


I finished quite a few crochet blankets in 2015.  These three just had to be introduced to the world together like the three bears.

The first is a granny square blanket for a queen bed made using the Wool Company Corriedale Yarn.  Its taken me quite a while to make up and I'm not sure when I started.  Its not a bad blanket but I'm just not in love with it when I finished it.  Its off to a friend's home when she buys some land with her partner (thankfully she doesn't read the blog so I'm not spoiling anything!).


I made it with a mixture of warm and cool reds, pinks, purples and blues.


Its rather a monster of a project and I got absolutely sick of making it about half way through.  Thank God for other WIPs so I can switch out!


The middle sized blanket was just for fun and is waiting on its intended recipient to make themselves known to me.  I love Lucy's (of Attic 24) ripple pattern.  So soothing to make.  Also Wool Company Corriedale Yarn.



The final blanket of the three (the baby bear) is for our cats!  They really enjoyed the granny square when I was making it up and spent a lot of time snuggling into it and kneading it - despite my shooing them off frequently.  So BM asked me to make one up for the fur boys.



They've quite taken to it on the basket (and it got quite furry! but a recent washing mishap has seriously felted the little blanket).

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Another sewing disaster

On the back of the Ngaio blouse - I tried and failed to make a princess seam blazer using a free Gabrielle blazer pattern from Spit Up and Stilettos (now renamed to Sadi & Sam).  Christ on a bike, it was disasterous.

Two muslins and the final version in map fabric specially set aside for the endeavour.  Not my finest sewing moments.

A proper finished version should look something like this from Salt and Stitch (also includes line drawings of the free pattern).

However my versions were dreadful.  I adapted the pattern on the first muslin make using fabric I acquired at a Fabric Hoarders swap (from Sandra/FlossieFT if memory serves).


Is there anything even right with this version?  Hah, you can tell my level of enthusiasm from the hunched shoulders.


I completely over manipulated the fabric while ironing it and stretched it out of all sensible proportions. I also sewed up one sleeve while very tired and attempted to adjust for a mis-aligned notch while sewing on my overlocker as I went - always a genius idea!  I completely over compensated and made the sleeve far too tight so its slit in the version above.


I'm pretty sure I don't normally have a hunch back issue like this one!

Round II - things can only get better right?  In a fabric closer in weight to the one I hoped to make my final version in I made up muslin number 2.  (The round 1 navy I thought could be a wearable muslin - some thought that turned out to be).  


Significant improvements in the fit (especially at the back).


But I wish I had fully finished it as I made some minor adjustments from this version and tried it in my final fabric.  Though looking back at this I can see the same issues were already there.  

Bugger!  See that annoying bunching below the bust (most probably due to some weird grading I did to take my bust into account and not grading back quickly enough.


Round III (the one that was supposed to be the charm!)


Nope.  Double bugger.  Serious frump going on.  Collar width too wide.  That weird bunching around the waist.  My dejected posture...


Back curve looks good and I think I fixed (ish) the sleeves.  But that princess seam is a disaster.


The back just hangs in an unattractive manner.


And in case you think its just the unflattering belly focused close ups.  Nah.

A learning curve (in futility) and a disappointing use of some fun fabric.  But if the failures weren't around the wins wouldn't be as sweet.  I've constrained this pattern to the rubbish heap and think the next time I try to make a blazer similar to this it'll be with another pattern maker - though I doubt its them and I'm far more convinced its my (and my bust's) fit with the pattern sizing and my grading issues.  But there's always next time!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Decking out the deck


Over the summer we sourced two Adirondack deck chairs for our front deck.


I love putting together kitset furniture - its just like a life sized jigsaw!


They're a great addition to our house and really open up our use of the front deck.  BM has secured them to the deck with bungy cords so the Wellington wind doesn't take too much of a liking to them and want to transplant them inside!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Ngaio Pattern and Class

Last year, I took the 1930's inspired Ngaio Pattern class in Made Marion in Wellington.


The pattern is designed for woven and the class instructions stated that silk could be used.

“Based on a vintage ’30s original, the blouse is best sewn in soft draping fabrics such as satins, crepes and georgettes in silks, rayons or synthetics, or very light cotton voiles, making this the perfect opportunity to learn how to work with those trickier delicate fabrics.”

When I started sewing I bought a few pieces of beautiful silk and this was my favourite.  I hadn't built up the courage to actually make anything with it but I figured a class was a good way of getting my confidence up and learning how to work with this slippy/tricky fabric.


The fit is a bit of a disaster.  The arms are too small and the bust pulled uncomfortably - I think it placed too high.  But I'm not great at figuring out the fit issues! I've already donated the finished garment.

The pattern is based on a vintage vogue pattern.  Unfortunately, the class didn't allow enough time to grade the pattern to fit before we had to cut.  The tutor suggested going with the bust measurement size - but as I have a large bust and not so a large torso (and even smaller shoulders) this was never going to work so I had to rush through grading in the first class.


The pattern is provided after the class as a pdf for large format printing and a printed version is included in the class costs. As we cut directly into the pattern, I'll need to print it again if I want to make fitting changes.  I doubt I'll bother to get it printed to make it up in future (I much prefer A4 printing as its pretty much free even though I have to tape it together).


The hem is very uneven but I knew at that stage I wasn't going to get it to fit properly so just hemmed quickly to get it out of my sewing room and into the world!

On the plus side, Made Marion is a lovely venue for classes and the numbers are nice and intimate.  You can bring your own machine or borrow the class ones there.  And as a particular bonus, if you forget any supplies you can purchase them on the night!  

The class focused more on making this particular pattern rather than skills improvement - my prime reason for going to a class.  At this stage in my sewing journey, the construction process is less of a problem for me and the fit is the biggest issue.  However, I learnt how to do a rolled hem on the neck facing (though doing this as in the instructions it also meant the notches didn't line up with the other pattern pieces).  For the next class, I'm going to have to inquire more up front to make sure it lives up to expectations!

Though the class helped me realise what I wanted in future sewing classes and as a result, I did another class later in the year with Maryanne who runs Made Marion and was very pleasantly entertained and learnt loads.  I have photos somewhere and will post a review soon!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Somedays work just flows


Of course, its not often I get to pack up my work and bring it to a cafe.  But when I can, it can make the whole day...

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

An October Mantle

The downsides of catching up on my blogposts is that I have some rather (out of season) seasonal posts.  But I love these collection of spooky creatures that adored my mantle in October.  So I'm sharing now...


They were knitted up by my mother's friend who subsequently passed away and they're very treasured.