Thursday, 18 January 2018

A Kimono for me! It's more or less identical to Joanne's.

Just after Christmas, I blogged about a kimono I made for my daughter - and in that post I was wearing her kimono (I still don't have a photo of her in it - she is very photo-shy). I could use the same photos again!! This time, I took some photos for Instagram on my phone and they are pretty awful. Black is so difficult to photograph. I tried to lighten the exposure to help. David took some on his camera and they are a bit - a lot - better so I can use here. 

I used the same fabric as I had enough left, though not enough to be quite as careful with my pattern placement. I don't think it's a big issue, though. I didn't make any further changes to the pattern. I thought I might have to shorten towards the original length and perhaps use the shorter sleeves. However, I managed to get the pieces in. So this is still version D, with the longer sleeves from the full length version C.

This was an easy sew - particularly as I had just made the kimono a month earlier. This was faster to make up, partly through experience and partly through realising I really didn't need to do all the hand tacking I did last time. I also benefited from the practice and I think the corners on my bias binding are nicer.

I was all too aware of the weight I have put on when I saw the rear view - unless I pulled it down, the fabric ridged across - a faux sway back! Actually, I do have a sway back, anyway, but didn't think I'd need to adjust a kimono. Maybe I should have gone up a size.

Overall, it's a good result. I like wearing it with my black trousers. Black isn't one of 'my colours', though (I prefer navy and suit it better - I'm a cool summer). I found that I didn't have a top to wear under the kimono, though I have compromised with tops and have already worn it a three times. When I modelled Joanne's, I used a black top but felt overwhelmed by it. The top in these photos is black but has warm colour stripes across the top and down one side - not easy to see in the photos because of the necessary overexposure. Do I make a suitable top? Do I simply put the kimono aside for when Joanne will inevitably need a replacement? I plan to make another kimono for myself - if I could only find that same fabric but with a navy base!! Otherwise, I have some suitable fabric though not as nice as that fabric with the flocked embellishment.

There's nothing more to say. Nice pattern - it's described as 'easy-to-sew' and it is!. All parts match where they should. I might try view B with a more drapey fabric. 

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Plans for 2018

Plans for 2018

Comment - I had major problems with formatting the text - the end piece is awful but no matter what I do, I can't correct it - it just seems to get worse! At first it was lack of line wrapping but in this post, it's to do with bullet points. I trust you will overlook this!! I don't want to remove the post altogether.

RTW Fast
I have joined Goodbye Valentino’s 2018 RTW Fast. It’s easy for me not to buy RTW as it doesn’t fit - far harder for me to sew things I need. I’ve bought so very little over the last 3 years - the only thing, other than bras etc, that I can remember is my MOB outfit for Helen’s wedding in summer 2016 - I had planned to make my outfit for that but ran out of time - but still have lots of ideas and some beautiful fabrics. I tried to go sale shopping in advance of starting the fast on January 1st  - the only thing I actually bought was a cup of coffee! There were a couple of ‘nearlies’ - a cashmere pullover which was maybe a 7 and a dress which was maybe not the right size but I liked the fabric. I decided not to try either. Reference to ‘7’ - if each item of clothing you are contemplating buying is rated out of 10, you shouldn’t really buy if it’s less than an 8! That takes into account appearance, style, colour, fabric, fit etc. Obviously, if you’re desperate for something, you might have to become less discriminating and might drop to 6. This was not necessary for me so I declined purchasing.

7 Steps to Style
I am a member of 7 Steps to Style and evolve Your Style and will be trying to ensure that I stay true to my best colours and styles.

Patterns and garments
I will be working on creating blocks/slopers as already started and TNTs from commercial patterns. I will choose a small selection to work on.

I intend to use up (or at least break into) the special fabrics I have in my collection - dupion silk, other silks and lovely wools. These were bought for MOB possibilities. However, I am happy to buy good quality fabrics for projects as they come up. I’ve made more mistakes over unsuitable fabric than I can tally up. No more!!

The year will be largely devoted to sewing for me. If time is short, I will prioritise my sewing rather than that for others! I’m so selfish! (David says it’s time I was doing this as I sew for others and do very little for myself) I will try to put in a garment each month for the MAGAM challenge hosted by Sarah Liz - but I won’t sew something ‘for the sake of it’ eg for a contest or challenge.

Garments planned
I plan to make pieces which work together, based on a navy neutral and a grey (or just possibly burgundy) secondary neutral.

I have reread The Vivienne Files, Starting Out and 4 x 4 and plan to base what I do loosely on that.

As there are quite a few garments here, I decided to link into #2018makenine. As far as I can see, it’s simply to post plans for 9 garments over the course of the year. No penalty if you don’t achieve 9. Only thing is, they seem to be largely Indie patterns and I will mainly be sewing with the Big 4or my blocks if I can get them sorted.

I’m going to jump into my sewing this year with a repeat of the kimono I mad for Joanne. I modelled it as Joanne wasn’t available and really liked it. I have enough of the fabric left. It’s not quite in my colours - it’s black and wine, but I still have wearable black trousers. It’s an easy make. It probably needs a suitable top underneath - the black top I used for the photos was too drab.

This is Joanne's but I think I have enough fabric to make another

I modelled it

Trousers/pants - these will either be based on commercial patterns or my block. Perfecting a pair of trousers is my key aim for 2018
·        Navy trousers - at least two pairs. I wear trousers almost all the time. Maybe 1 in heavier and 1 in lighter fabric for our version of summer. I might use my block but I think it could be easier to get Vogue 9189, which comes in tall (as well as petite and regular) to work.

  • Burgundy or grey trousers. I have burgundy wool suitable for trousers but I’m not sure I have any grey.
  • I can’t afford to make too many pairs as I MUST lose weight.
  • I may try to make Style Arc Barb. I have the PDF with 3 sizes so that might work.

·        I’d like to make a pair of jeans for myself. Not sure as yet which pattern I would use. Possibly McCall’s 5894 ‘The Perfect Jean’ and I’m sure I have another and of course, my block. I don’t have any Indie patterns for jeans. I have some denim I bought to use last year. Navy with stretch. Also, David wanted a pair of grey jeans and I bought the fabric - I might have to requisition that!
McCall's 5894 The Perfect Jean by Palmer/Pletsch

Jackets - commercial patterns
·        The Chanel-type jacket is navy based and will work with these. The jacket also has black, blue, pink and white in it, colours I’ll be able to pick out in accents. I’ll finish that by the end of the month and I should be able to post a completed version then - too many things going on in January to think I could be faster than that. It's my mother's 90th birthday this coming week and the whole family is getting together to celebrate. All this hand sewing is SLOW.
·        The Grainline Morris jacket - probably in cobalt/royal blue boiled wool. However, I’m still not convinced that the fit is quite right. So I might not do this at all. I would like a really casual  jacket.
Cardigans - x3
  • I’m not sure what patterns I will use here as yet. I have a couple of Style Arc patterns and I haven't tried this brand as yet. These will be worn with trousers and top, a style with which I am very comfortable. So one will be navy. One perhaps grey. And I’ve just purchased online a double faced navy/grey wool - this may be for a heavier jacket. I will wait to see how it feels when it arrives. I also have McCall's 6844 which I’ve used before. I made a peplum version that time but would forgo that this time.
McCall's 6844 - I'e made this previously and it's very popular

McCall's 6966 - similar but less popular.

Style Arc Abby. I've never used SA. This is a single sized paper pattern and I don't know if I have the correct size!

  • I intend to use natural fibres to make two, maybe three tops, if I have time. I have a number of RTW tops that still have life left in them so I don't need to go overboard. These will go with navy trousers and some with burgundy or grey. I have plain navy silk, though not much so maybe just enough for a tank; a lovely navy based silk; a baby blue crinkle silk (might be too pale for me though) and maybe a couple of other navy based prints that I bought when I was going to do PR’s wardrobe contest last year. It would have been great to do but I can’t sew that fast!
  • Navy silk tank - probably using the pattern I drew up last year.
  • One other item that I recognised was missing from my wardrobe was a plain jewel necked long sleeved tee shirt type top dressy enough for use under my blue checked jacket. I’m not sure what fabric this would be - preferably natural, preferably with some stretch (are the two compatible?) and in a fine smooth luxury fabric. Which pattern? I'm not sure - I don't think I will/I won't use the Cashmerette Concord though.
Special occasion
  • Dress and indoor type jacket (I haven’t decided on pattern to use as yet). I will use Royal blue dupion silk.
Shirt dress

  • I’m not quite sure which of my commercial patterns I’ll use. I have got a lovely fabric which has blues and greys and an almost peach-skin surface in mind for it. Also some classic chambray.
  • I'd also like  to make a casual every day dress in ponte de Roma - I could perhaps use the PR Winter Street Dress which I have made previously

I've made this 3 times previously, or is it 4? I've made the required modifications to the pattern (which were many!)

For others

Although I have said I plan to be more selfish this year, I also have some items to make for my family

  • Alison - I made a dress toile but hadn’t seen her in it and she told me she had gained a bit of weight. At Christmas, we were able to confirm I could go ahead with the dress. She had thought that as what I had sent her was a ‘toile’ she couldn’t wear it but I confirmed that she could, provided she liked it. The skirt part of the dress is a thicker fabric than the original but Alison confirmed that she liked that. I don't have the fabric for this dress as yet. A navy background rather than black is the plan. She has to wear black at work, but navy is her preference. When she tried it on for me, it was clear that the sleeves aren't right - I’ll ask advice about that when my classes restart next week.

  • Joanne - I will make her a pair of shorts. She wants black, as before.
Shorts identical to previous ones. I have the pattern. I’ve made it twice previously. It fits. It shouldn't take too long once I start. I’ve ordered the nicer of the two fabrics I used previously and the lace trim  - from Minerva fabrics.

  • Helen - a green silk dress. I’ve said she needs to buy the fabric for
    this herself. She has much better opportunities to buy as she lives in London.
    I got the last lot in Goldhawk Road and though that takes her over an hour to
    get there, that’s still far less than it takes me! I remember they had a nice
    green at the time I bought the red silk.

The long-awaited red silk dress. The green silk dress should be identical 

Also, the tartan skirt using our family tartan that has been on the cards for a couple of years now. Helen still hasn’t chosen the style - so that might be for her birthday or Christmas in 2018:

Style 2 - not our tartan

Style 1 - not our tartan

  • David - graphite jeans, another pair of brushed denim jeans and a checked shirt. I have all these fabrics. I also have fabric for a jacket but don't think that will see the light of day! David is in no hurry for any of these.

  • Grandsons - not sure really about whether to go ahead with shirts and gilets as contemplated.
  • Probably not!
  • Crucially, I plan to track my fabrics, patterns and makes rather more thoroughly in 2018 than I have done up until now!

    We had a number of trials in 2017, which I won’t go into, and hope that 2018 will be better from that point of view. We are hoping to downsize and move in this coming year so that will have an impact on sewing time available. I will take into account availability of classes/sewing tutoring available when we are deciding where to move to as I will really miss what I get just now.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

My Top 5 Hits and Misses of 2017

I’m once again linking in with Crafting a Rainbow’s Top 5 of the Year. So here’s my top 5 - both hits and misses in this post. They are roughly in order from the start of the year, rather than being in favourite order. I've included a link to the original blog post which will have details of pattern used and more details of construction etc. I've used different photos - I think the actual blog post has better photos but for some reason I couldn't pick them up today. I had to cut down my labels as there were way too many characters.

Top 5 Hits

1 Orange padded gilet for my grandson

In February, I made a padded gilet in class and asked for the pattern to be sized to fit my grandson. He liked it and it did fit. It’s too small now of course - he has grown so much in the last year! I’ve included it here because I learned such a lot making it. I have some fabrics for new ones for him and his brother but would need to identify a suitable commercial pattern. I'd use microfleece for the lining next time around and bought some in a  lovely lime green. I don't think I ever blogged a photo of the completed garment. An earlier post where I tried it on him for fit is here

2 Check self-drafted tank

In March, I made a simple sleeveless top using a block I had made. Armholes and neckline bound with contrasting, visible, bias binding.

I like this top and wear it regularly - but I would choose a different fabric next time around as this is a bit ‘spiky’. I would make it in a natural fabric - this is polyester.

I’ve included despite not being 100% happy with it as it looks good and taught me a lot. This was my first venture into using a print on a print (contrasting tartan bias strips). I loved the result.

Blogged here.

3 Nettie bodysuit

Nettie worn with trousers and a cardigan. Long sleeves next time.

In the summer, as part of my class on stretch fabrics, which ended in July, I made a very successful Nettie bodysuit. As this was done in class, I followed class instructions rather than pattern instructions and made a couple of modifications. I intend to make more but haven’t got around to it as yet. I would want to add sleeves to the next one.

Blogged here.

4 Murder Mystery weekend garments

Under this one heading, I’m going to include 3 separate garments, all of which were made for our murder mystery weekend in November

  • Yellow jeans for David (in photo below). David likes these and has worn them since and intends to go on doing so. I previously made him jeans from my own pattern (part of another course) but this was from a commercial pattern, which made it easier for me. I made a couple of tweaks and would alter more next time around. Blogged here.

  • My colourful jumpsuit (in photo above). My son-in-law loved this and I wore it again over Christmas, especially for him!! Actually, I love the jumpsuit - it’s just that there aren’t many places I can wear this bright a fabric! However, I will make up another more ‘sober’ one! I don't often wear my own handmade garments as I'm so critical about finish and fit. Blogged here.
  • My ‘flower power’ dress. I love it. I would make the smaller size next time, though. It was comfy, cosy and warm with plenty of space for Christmas pudding eating! I guess I would do the sleeves as per pattern though as these aren't very practical for working around the house! Blogged here (with better photos).

5 Red Silk Dress for Helen

I absolutely have to include Helen’s red silk dress even though it’s less than two weeks since I gave it to her!!  I know this will be worn and worn and worn, like its RTW predecessor. She loves it and it fits. This is, incidentally, my entry into Designin' December, conceived and run by Linda of Nice Dress Thanks I made It!. There is currently voting on her blog and on IG. Blogged here. This link is to the 5th of a 5 part blog! Previous posts were about developing the pattern, toiles etc.

I have had a few successful makes, both garments and craft type makes but the ones above are my edit.
Top 5 Misses/Failures

1 Bias Cowl Top for my Mother

You can see that it's falling off the shoulders

The first has to be the bias cut top I made for my mother’s birthday in January 2017. I had made the same top for me for the PR Sewing Bee (but didn’t pass beyond the second round) and as my mother loves a cowl neck and I had some fabric that she gave me, I thought this would be a good idea. The fabric was fine.

My mother told me the top was lovely etc. Some months later, I had the opportunity to see her wearing it - what a disaster! She told me she hadn’t wanted to say…
The fit was awful. I recently suggested I remodel/remake but I think she has got rid of the top.

I should say, my mother has lost a considerable amount of weight (weight that she can’t afford to lose) so that has contributed. Also, she has a marked ‘dowager’s hump’ (I hate that term!), which I did try to take into account when I made the top.

So it’s not the pattern, or the fabric but fit that’s the problem here. Issue - fit. Blogged here - but obviously needs updated to reflect the fact that it didn't actually fit her!

2 Two UFOs which I completed but which aren't a success:

The first is the lace cardigan I made in February 2017, photo above. I just don’t like it. It had been a UFO and perhaps should have stayed that way! I modified the pattern from the original so can’t really comment on the pattern.  Issue - simple dislike. I find it too 'floppy' and insubstantial. Blogged here.

The next was also in February, above - another UFO. This time a cotton skirt. It just doesn’t work as it clings.  I did try to wear it as I like the fabric and felt the skirt fitted but was put off by the clinging. It isn’t lined but needs to be because of this. Again, the pattern is fine, fabric fine, but lining needed and probably fit tweaked further. Issue - need lining with this fabric. I may well get around to doing this as summer approaches. blogged here.

3 My Merry May MAGAM Top, sadly

I loved the pattern on the fabric. I wear a lot of cardigan type jackets.

In June, I made a top from the same pattern as my successful sleeveless tank. The fabric choice was poor, however much I loved the pattern. Snags and runs appeared in the fabric (rips that is, not colour runs)  and despite trying hard to ignore them, I couldn’t. It was binned. Issue - fabric choice. Blogged here. You can see it without the cardigan on the blog.

4 A checked skirt which gave me migraine

My eyes crossed as I tried to sew with this fabric. I gave away what I had left (quite a bit)

In April, I made a skirt. It was finished but I didn’t like the fit and tried to modify. I also didn’t like the fabric. Never worn - and not just because summer was coming up. Issues - fabric choice (the pattern on the fabric even more than the fabric though it was too heavyweight) and fit. Blogged here. There are much better photos on the post

5 Grainline Morris Blazer

My Grainline Morris blazer. Least said the better!! I will, however, try again as I think the biggest issue here was fabric choice. Issues - fit and I think I would like to line it. Blogged here

There are other failures, too, some of which didn't get to the stage of taking a photo and certainly weren't blogged. Forget about them, Anne!

Others - UFOs or WIPs

  1. I have a Linton tweed Chanel-type jacket almost completed. I just have the lining to hand sew. I might do this as we catch up with the Star Wars series. David got movies 1 - 6 for Christmas. We have previously seen them, starting when the first came out in 1977 but it will be useful to see in story chronological order. This is certainly a WIP - and nearly finished.
  2. I started but didn't complete culottes for myself. I may or may not complete them - I do like the fabric but culottes might well be out again. Issue - time available. This is a UFO.
  3. My interminable trouser toiles did get to block stage but I haven’t made them up as yet. I plan to make up in navy wool and navy gaberdine (?)
  4. My bodice and skirt/dress  toiles were not completed to my fit satisfaction. Lots of work here! I will tackle again in the new year.
  5. I have another jacket at toile stage ready to make up. It’s definitely on the back burner. UFO.
  6. I plan to make up a Grainline Morris blazer in lightweight boiled wool. I think this could be a useful and versatile jacket - if I get the fit right.
  7. There are others….
2018 Plans

I will be putting up my 2018 plans in a separate post

Friday, 5 January 2018

My First Knitting Project in Many Years!

I think it must have been in April at the Edinburgh Knitting and Stitching Show (not sure about that! It could have been Harrogate in November 2016.) that I purchased a knitting kit - a hand knitting pattern and the yarn to make it up plus button and poppet from The Wool Shop Leeds. The yarn is Mode/Serenity chunky. I have a lot left over.

It’s a long time since I did any knitting and I started slowly as my hands can get very sore.

When I first started knitting this time, I found I was a bit uneven. I hoped that would  improve with practice and I think it did.

I did the tension piece as advised - and discovered that I needed to be a bit tighter, so went down a needle size. That was perfect. My required tension was 14 stitches and 19 rows to 10 cm. It measured spot on. I didn't want it too tight and the size I chose gave 6 inches of ease at the bust - the size smaller was only 2 inches so I didn't think that was enough.

I knitted the pieces fairly quickly, really, without many problems. I did have to undo a portion as it was too long for the other side. I rapidly remembered how to measure knitting!!

I had some problems doing the sleeve bands and neckline - the former more so than the latter as they were done first. I had to pick up stitches from the edges (after back and front were sewn together at the shoulder) and knit several rows of moss stitch. I could NOT get the number of stitches picked up to the exact number required by the pattern. In the end, I did my best.

I was less worried about having the exact number of stitches for the collar. However, I do need to learn how to do this properly! There were a few bits where I felt that the hole in the knitting junction was too big so I filled in with a hand stitch - it obviously means that I wasn't doing the picking up correctly, I guess. Any advice on that? Can you point me to a resource?

After the collar was completed, I had to sew up the waistcoat sides. I found this more difficult than I remembered! I think my next attempt will be better. I remember that sewing up was never my greatest skill! I need to find a good resource to help me work out the best way to do this. Any recommendations?

Then I had to sew on the button and place a poppet behind it. These were supplied in the kit. The poppet is plastic and I'm finding it difficult to fasten it when the gilet is worn. Once fastened, it stays in place. I may replace with a large metal poppet.

Then I blocked the completed piece. How best to block a completed garment? The blocking was recommended after the completion of the garment, not for each piece. I laid the gilet out flat, covered with wet tea towel, patted in place and allowed to dry. This seemed to work well.


  • I need to practice, probably, to even up my knitting
  • My knitting is slow and I cannot watch TV at the same time. I need a better method. Is continental knitting a better option - I’m not sure what it is but I have seen people extol its virtues.
  • When you do stocking stitch, do you have a knit stitch at the end of EVERY row? I did that and feel it complicated the making up of the waistcoat as it ends up with a definite edge stitch
  • I'm not at all skilled with picking up stitches.
  • I need to learn a good way of sewing up. (I was tempted to use my sewing machine)
  • I need to learn the best way to block
  • I need to learn to read the pattern sizes before I start

Then came the time to try it on. I didn't like it at all as the shoulders were much too wide. I'm not narrow shouldered but the back was also too wide.

I realised I had never seen this garment worn. I saw a completed gilet on the show stall. The pattern as a picture printed on it with a dressmaker's model wearing the gilet and on closer examination, I see that the shoulders are probably meant to be oversized. That doesn't make me like it though!

Only now did I work out that the shoulder length given, even before the bands were attached was massive! I hadn't thought to do this in advance - and I wasn't sure how the garment shoulders were being created. I can now get an idea of how wide they are but I don't think I'd have been able to do so earlier, before starting the gilet. Maybe I'm just making excuses!

I then measured my knitting tension on the final garment and found it was now 13.5 stitches and 19 rows to 10 cms. This means my tension is slightly too loose and the garment has ended up wider than it should have. Measuring confirmed that. The length is exactly correct. I'm assuming that it is more important to get width correct as it's easier to correct for length? Though on some occasions, a particular number of rows is specified. If I went down another size of needle, my row measurement would not be correct. Any suggestions? I assume that the most difficult thing to do would be to get me to knit to the correct tension!

If this had been a toile in woven fabric, I would now have marked where I wanted the shoulders to come to and trimmed off the excess. I asked on Instagram whether it was possible to cut and sew, by which I meant a very similar process - cut off the excess fabric and either sew on a band knitted separately or pick the stitches up to knit the bands. I think the limiting factor could be that this is chunky knitting and while overlocking was suggested, Karen's overlocker wasn't able to cope with the thickness when she tried something similar.

The majority thought it was okay and didn't need changed. I was advised to put it away and reassess when I am more divorced from it. Others thought I need to rip it out and redo the top portion. That's a lot of ripping out! Off would come the collar, the sleeve bands and half of the knitting back and front. Hours of work. My husband falls into this category though he also suggested just dumping it, which I'm not prepared to do - the yarn was quite expensive in my view. He's opposed to the idea of cutting off the excess.

Trying to mark and cutting off the excess through the shoulders to front and back would avoid all that re-knitting and would avoid having to take the collar off. Obviously the stitches would need to be secured. That's where overlocking the ends comes in, Is there another method? I don't have the experience with hand knitting (I only ever followed a pattern) to know how I would then pick up and knit the stitches for the bands - or do I knit separately and sew on afterwards? Do I have anything to lose? I have 2 full balls of yarn left (I bought 1 extra in case I needed to lengthen and had 1 left over).

Whatever I do, if I end up ripping out and intending to re-knit, this would be changing the style of the gilet and I would have to work out how to reduce the number of stitches at the shoulder - I reckon I need a minimum of 4 stitches fewer on each shoulder - that's  2.85 cms (1.15 inches) or more given my tension issue ( less on each shoulder and even then it would still be oversized but not so much so.

Also, if a re-knit from armhole up - do I use a size smaller needle or just go down a couple of sizes?

I'm really at a loss here. I want to be able to wear it as it is but I really cannot! Not at the moment, anyway

I am planning (as I have been since before Helen’s wedding) to get out my knitting machine and start using it. I wasn’t too bad in the mid 80s when I was using it. My machine (Toyota plus ribber)  is long since obsolete and it isn't now possible to buy needles for it - I do have a few spare but not many. As I have committed to Goodbye Valentino’s 2018 RTW Fast, any jumpers I need must be knitted by me - they cannot be purchased. So that’s an impetus. Just before Helen’s wedding, I did get it out and David renovated it so I hope it is all ready to go. I just haven't had a chance in that time.

I bought another pattern plus yarn (not a kit) at the same show - also for chunky yarn - and I will start that in the near future but I'll take into account lessons learned from this one.

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Peruvian Purses - a little extra

I saw a cute little purse on Emmaandhermachine's  Instagram. She had received the kit as a gift and told me where it had come from (Craft and Cotton) I liked it, thought it would make a good stocking filler for one of the girls and bought a kit and a spare set of fittings - the fittings are the most crucial part of it.

I took photos of the two purse together but can't find them!! This is my first. I should have put a scale next to them

The kit came in 3 choices - printed canvas (?I'm not sure canvas is the most appropriate
term) type fabric, black faux leather and red faux leather. I really liked the fabric shown on the website so went for that.

The kit arrived quickly. The front of the purse is in the fabric, the back in black faux leather. There is no interfacing. There was a set of instructions, the pattern for the back and the front and the hardware in the pack.

I’m not a crafter as most people who read this will know. However, even I managed to finish this pretty quickly although a couple of things puzzled me. Firstly, there was no indication of the size of the seam allowance around the purse - I guessed at 1/4”. Dan pointed out that the finished length of the purse would match that of the hardware. I went for ¼”. Secondly, I couldn’t for the life of me work out how to get the hardware into the purse properly. With some help from Dan and encouragement from others who were watching, it was achieved.

The scariest bit was cutting through the fabric for the magnetic catch!

The purse is small - smaller than I realised it would be and I’m not sure how useful it will be. Nevertheless, it was a fun thing to make.

I made another with the spare set of fittings. Two of the girls got them for Christmas as a little extra. The one I gave to Alison fell apart as she tried to open it so I had to put together again - and show her how to do that in case it happened again. The girls thought they were cute and really liked the fabric (a town scene).

I don’t think, though, that I’ll make any others.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

A 'funny' story? AKA Cashmerette Concord part 3

Well, not that funny tbh!

I have done two previous posts on the Cashmerette Concord tee shirt and was still far from happy with the result. I made another tee incorporating the changes - and still wasn't happy. I was going to throw my attempt as a wadder but my sewing tutor see suggested I persist after making a few changes to the armhole/sleeve area.

The big disadvantage to these changes was that my careful stripe matching was to no avail!

The sleeves were too short so I added a band, which I like. Otherwise pretty standard. My tutor agreed with me when I said that some of the lines at the front suggested I might need a FBA - though I used the G/H cup size (I'm DD) and it certainly didn't feel tight.

Nevertheless, I persisted and finished the tee shirt. In class, I used a coverstitch machine for the first time for the bottom hem and perhaps fortunately for my pocket and my house, I can't see that I need one of these. Maybe also because my result is pretty shoddy! Okay from the outside but not great inside. I like my insides to look good but it's not absolutely critical.

This was months ago. I didn't blog about it. I went on to other things, put it away.

So what's the funny story? This week, I went into my wardrobe, pulled out a tee shirt and wore it all day with no concerns. Only when I took it off at night did I realise this was the Concord tee I had finished but ‘abandoned!’

Lesson here?

None of my RTW tops are perfect - this self criticised top is probably better than most. I know that I'm overly self critical (and know I'm not alone in this) and am trying to change. Not to drop my standards but to accept that things can be ‘good enough’. That's what I was trying to do with my murder mystery outfits (see previous posts) - not putting in more effort than was warranted by a likely once worn garment. In fact I will probably wear them again and I can as they are well constructed; the time I saved was in fitting not in construction. David always planned to wear his yellow jeans again. There are fit issues but he was happy, they were certainly good enough for the event and I'll change for the next pair I make him.

So I resolve to continue to do my best but not to sweat it if things aren't perfect. That's my plans for 2018 and for the red silk dress I'm making Helen at the moment. A future green one might be better. Don't they say you have to make something is it 3 times before it goes smoothly and you get it right? There are also more TNTs  on the cards. I say more but in fact I don't have any as yet!

I hadn't got around to making the necessary changes to the Concord pattern from the last lot of adjustments and hope I can remember what they were - otherwise there won't be any more!

I decided to put the top on for some photos and immediately saw lots of flaws. It IS wearable. I'm not making any changes to it. Note to self - don't be so hard on yourself!

I wore it to sewing class. The tutors agreed that it might not be perfect but what RTW garment was and I would have worn that as a RTW with no concerns. True -  probably.

Today I got rid of a lot of garments that were in the adjustment pile - I was just never going to get around to them. The pile was mainly RTW with various fit issues but included some worn out polo shirts where I had planned to recycle the fabric to make child’s tees and a few me-made items that are not worth any further effort.

I also donated around 60 metres of fabric to my sewing class. Around 45 metres was stretch lining type fabric bought as toile material when I was making Helen’s wedding dress and the rest was upholstery fabric and some fabric left over from makes. I still have all the toiles from the wedding dress - these are next to go.

I’m joining the 2018 RTW Fast, starting 1st January. So anything I don’t have now, I’ll have to make! First on the list and this time I’m determined to finish is of course trousers! My weight has gone up again as I can’t exercise at present due to a flare up but hopefully I’ll start to get it under control after Christmas. I got to the stage of being ready to make up a pair of trousers in fashion fabric but then I ran out of time - hopefully it will still be okay. So - January.

A Kimono for me! It's more or less identical to Joanne's.

Just after Christmas, I blogged about a kimono I made for my daughter - and in that post I was wearing her kimono (I still don't have a...