Sunday, October 04, 2015

Spritzer pyjamas

Hey everyone, I accidentally made pyjamas!

I didn't think I would ever put time and effort into making pyjamas, but I honestly don't want to take these off, they're so comfy.  I'd originally bought the harlequin fabric a couple of months ago with the intention of sewing obnoxious workout leggings, but when it arrived I thought it was a little flimsy for something so skintight.  Since it was a teensy bit louder than something I'd otherwise inflict on the general public I decided to put it to one side for possible future PJs.

Then about a month ago Sew Independent released a bundle of mostly knit sewing patterns and a few days later announced a competition based on any patterns by the collaborating designers, and my fate was sealed.  Although the bundle included some awesome patterns, some of which were already in my wishlist, I have more or less no experience sewing knits so I figured it made sense to start with some of the simpler designs!

This frankly magnificent set is therefore comprised of the Pinot pants and the free Tonic tshirt,both from Skinny Bitch Curvy Chick patterns.  I've just about squeezed the trousers and sleeves out of only a metre of the harlequin fabric, and the rest is some 4 way lycra from Tia Knight.  This fabric feels lovely but it wrinkles really easily!  I ironed it when I finished the project and by the time I'd put it on the tshirt was already wrinkly - let's be honest though, this is the only time these are ever going to see an iron, I'm definitely not a PJ-ironing person.

The waistband of the trousers uses 1 3/4" wide elastic, and of course I had already cut the pattern pieces before I realised that it was really sodding hard to find that width of elastic in England!  I was very happy to eventually find some on eBay, and since all the colours were the same price I had to buy the green one despite the fact that no one will see it INCLUDING ME.  It's the little things.

I've stitched the seams on my overlocker, and the hems are finished on my sewing machine with a twin needle. 

The feed on my overlocker is apparently a bit uneven (saaad sad little underarm corners), so I'll have to remember to baste my seams first if I want to match them in the future on garments that will see the outside of my flat.

The neckline band of the Tonic is sewn on with the overlocker and then topstitched by machine - I really like this finish, much easier than I thought it would be for a professional looking edge.

I love the twin needle finish as well!  It's a bit ribbly-bibbly on the tshirt as my machine manual doesn't consider twin needles an eventuality that they need to cover so I was making things up as I went along, but I'd managed to figure out the correct tension on the trousers and sleeves so it lies much flatter and neater.

I'm going round to Martin's mum's for dinner tonight so it's probably more appropriate for me to put actual clothes on, but I really want to spend the rest of the evening in these.  Oh well.

Voting on the competition opens soon and there are 3 different categories so you don't have to feel obliged to vote for me (unless you're my mum), but I promise lots of silly faces if you do!

Eh, who am I kidding, I have a tripod and remote control now, there will be loads of silly photos anyway.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Rescue Mission it's been a while, hasn't it?  Four and a half years ago in fact, and according to the blog the last time I posted was when I was spending all day stuffing envelopes for an insurance company, which feels like a lifetime ago.

In brief summary, these are the latter years of my twenties (oh dear god where did they go):

  • Walked out of said insurance company in disgust when the somewhat more interesting job they kept promising me went to someone else
  • Walked into an HR job in a recruitment company and spent the next year and a half being shouted at by temp staff who couldn't quite grasp the fact that no, they weren't going to get paid if we didn't know that they went to work, and yes, they do have to use the sign in sheet for us to know that.
  • Watched one of my best friends go off travelling the world and developed seriously jealous itchy feet.
  • Shamelessly copied her and left the job to go backpacking around Asia for a year (I actually managed to keep on top of a travel blog as well)
  • Miraculously stayed with the same boyfriend all this time despite the fact that I callously left him back in England on his own - his year of waiting devotedly goes some way towards explaining why I can forgive him for the constant fart jokes
  • Finally moved out of Martin's parents' flat into a lovely sparkly flat of our own, which has a second bedroom which we have christened the Nerd Lair as it is full of half yarn and fabric and half Warhammer models.
  • Got meself a new job in payroll, passed my payroll technician certificate with 98% because (my view) it was a really bloody easy exam, or (my parents' view) I'm phenomenal, aaaaand
  • As of this week, started college again part time to learn AAT Accounting, which I'm rather excited about, because payroll is fairly dull (no, of course accountancy isn't dull as well, accountancy is a thrilling rollercoaster every minute)

But in other news, I'm resurrecting the blog because I SEWED A THING!

This isn't just a rescue mission for the blog though, I won the pattern for this dress in a blog giveaway 4 years ago and rather ungratefully it has been sitting abandoned and unfinished for almost as long as Pie and Handkerchiefs because I couldn't get it to fit.

The pattern is Lonsdale by Sewaholic, and I'd like to stress that the not fitting part was down to my pitiful attempts at a full bust adjustment rather than the pattern itself - if you don't do so much inept faffing about with it it's a lovely design and the instructions are very well written.  I'm sure my old college tutors would be horrified with how badly my adjustments went, but I maintain that it's very different fitting something to yourself rather than another body that you can walk around and look at from a distance.

I promise, I did do a muslin of my changes, which seemed to work fine, but my first error, and potentially my first indication that maybe I should slow down and think this through logically came when I somehow managed to cut the bodice from my adjusted pattern and the skirt from the original pattern.  Of course this meant that the skirt didn't come close to fitting on the bodice any more, and I didn't have the fabric to cut another one, so I was forced to cut additional 2" wide panels to fill in the gaps at the side seams.  But - I had several long skinny bits of fabric left, so I decided to make extra long strips and gather them up so the panels looked like a purposeful design feature rather than a bodged up repair job.


Off I go happy as Larry, sewing up all the pieces, finishing all the seams and inserting my ruddy perfect enclosed invisible zip and making everything look beautiful until it comes time to sew the hem and I tried it on for (what was I thinking) the first time, and it didn't fit.  At all.  I could fit approximately six of my boobs in here and two of those could have migrated to my sides if they really wanted to.  Clearly when I fudged around with the skirt, I really should have checked whether it still worked with my bodice adjustments.  At this point I wanted to cry, so I screwed the damn thing into a ball at the bottom of a box and sulked about it.  For four years.

Fast forward to last month and it appears that it was quite an irrational sulk, because now that I've calmed down and matured somewhat it was quite an easy fix - just taking in the side seams and hoiking up the waistband at the centre front.  I'd thrown out all the excess fabric and there was no way that I was unpicking all the finishing, so it was a case of pulling things around on the inside and slipstitching the outside into submission, which means that there are some odd folds going on inside the dress, but who cares?  The outside fits!

Weird insides

Gratuitous close up of the boobs neckline.  The ladies don't behave when I leave them unfettered so I have to wear a clear strapped bra, but I can live with that.

Best part of the dress though, is without doubt:


I love the pockets so much and kind of want to put them in everything.  The sudden finishing of the dress was down to a last minute invitation to a wedding, and I left with cake in my pockets just because I could.  I had intended to wear this again to my friend's 30th last week but had to change my mind due to less than stellar weather.  I ended up wearing a shop bought dress which was admittedly warmer, but did not share the pockety magnificence of Lonsdale.  I was disappointed all evening. Handmade dresses win.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I'm in love with a kitchen implement

Yes. I know. First the iron, now this. I should see a therapist. Seriously though, Oh My God, my life has been changed by a microplane grater. This one in fact. I bought it with my Christmas money (thankyou Granny!) expecting it to be somewhat easier than zesting citrus fruit with the small holes on a cheese grater, but I was not prepared for how utterly perfect and simple it was. I want to put zest in EVERYTHING now.

And yet again, yes I am in my twenties, and no, apparently I do not get excited about the same things as other twenty-somethings.

I just made Amaretto Shortbread from Baking Bites - or at least I almost did. I had to leave out the lemon zest as Martin's stepdad saw my lemon in the fruitbowl and thought 'Ooh! Gin and tonic!' Grr. It still tastes good though!

I have now become so distracted by my shiny new toy that I've forgotten what I was going to say about my knitting, so let's be brief. This weekend we had Christmas again with Martin's family, and I'd knitted some presents for his parents.

His mum had requested a hat like Martin's last year, but with flamingos on. Ok, yep, no problem.

His stepdad wanted a neckwarmer, which I was all prepared to knit from stash, until he told me at the last minute that he couldn't wear wool. I was quite surprised to find how hard it is to buy 100% acrylic yarn at the moment. A good thing most of the time I admit, but then you get saddled with a fussy person. Bahhh, I'm sure he could have coped with 10% wool.

That's not a very exciting neckwarmer. I realise I should have closed with the flamingos. Eh. I'm tired.

There ya go. More flamingos. Yay!

Friday, January 14, 2011

New job new job la la la la la

I have a job! I went back to temping at Castle Cover, who've had me on and off since July and they offered me the permanent position on my first day back. I'm still officially a temp until my birthday (I was booked to the end of the month), then I shall be a permanent admin/mail assistant. It's......not the most exciting job in the world, but it's a hell of a lot better than never knowing when my next temp contract is coming in and things can only get better from here. And hey, it's ten minutes walk away from home! (Although, hadn't I just decided I was going to cut my losses and move out of Poole this year? Oh well.)

I got my security pass today when I signed my contract and whoever was in charge of the photo decided it would be easier to stretch it sideways into a square rather than just cropping it - so I have uneven googly fish eyes and a big clown mouth. Nice.

I'm not sure what the new job is going to mean for my crafting. I've been too exhausted to do anything other than surf the net most evenings, but hopefully that's just beacuse I'd gotten used to extreme lie-ins. I'd like to do more sewing this year, so I'll probably have to persuade myself to take my difficulty level down a few notches. The bad thing about having training in sewing (at least for me) is I have this ridiculous idea that simple projects are somehow beneath me, yet complex projects feel to much like work and I get flashbacks of university deadlines and critiques, which leads to me just ignoring my machine altogether. So, there will be attempts to break out of this habit and sew some simpler projects now. I got One Yard Wonders from Martin for Christmas which has some great ideas in, and over a year ago I was in a knit-and-sewalong in Ravelry for Cape May. I got the knitting part down, and cut up some fabric and then started thinking 'maybe I could add a pocket to the lining' or 'how about an adjustable strap' or 'could I put an extra compartment in this?' before that inevitably turned to 'Meh. Can't be bothered.' So if I can find the pieces, that'll be first on the sewing line.

And finally, just so this isn't an entirely pictureless post, and because I should show it off, I won a new year giveaway from Bugs and Fishes! She sent me 2m of wonderful cutout felt trim (she sells lots of felt, plus she has a new giveaway up)

It's way wider than I thought it would be - I was initially thinking skirt trim, but since I could cut it in half and have 4m, I may save it for when I eventually move out and start needing curtains. Have to find a flat first though...

Monday, January 10, 2011

The project that made me love my sewing machine again. And hate buttonholes.

Last post I showed a picture of Martin's Christmas present, a reproduction (nearly) of this Civil war jacket. I'm quite ashamed to say that this was the first garment I'd undertaken since leaving university, and when I first started drafting, that definitely showed! I can't believe how much I'd forgotten since my degree - my notes were nowhere near detailed enough. Ugh. After failing to remember how to draft jackets from scratch (something to practice for another day perhaps) I decided to swallow my pride and start from a pattern. This is based somewhat loosely on McCalls 4745, though it came up very small so there were a lot of adjustments to make on the first fitting.

Drafting out of the way, my actual sewing skills started to come back to me :) The jacket is fully lined and interlined with the lining finished by hand. The cuffs, collar and centre front are piped and the buttonholes are painstakingly and maddeningly sewn by hand (I was still doing that on Christmas Eve)

The russian braid (rideekulously expensive postage, go to London instead if possible) on the cuffs looks awesome, but was actually pretty easy - it worked much better freehand than trying to pin the braid on before sewing.

He even gets an inside pocket, because I'm that generous! The only thing I'm not entirely happy about is the collar. I'd never done a standup collar in university so I sort of made it up and it doesn't lie entirely flat. I'll get it right next time though!


Thankyou for modelling Martin. Yes, you were marvellous dear. I shall get Tyra on your case right away.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

The mojo returneth

Hey hey! Guess what my new year's resolution is? More crafting, more cooking, more blogging.* That shouldn't be hard after lasting til March this year! I've had a peculiar mojoless year of blah, very little knitting and sewing and nothing else I've wanted to blog about in between. The desire to make, and more importantly for pie and handkerchiefs, the desire to blab about things I've made is gradually creeping back though, helped in no small part by Christmas. Actually I went a bit mad for Christmas. There were cross stitched Christmas cards (with no photos, bah), knitted hats and related woolies (pictures will be in my Ravelry projects) and lots and lots of cookies.

See? Many cookies.

Martin helped me decorate these

Dear God how did I ever think these would all get eaten?

Oh, and this.

Yeah. A nice simple project to ease me back into sewing. Better photos and detail shots to come. I'm so happy with this, as are Martin and my mum who both said 'I'm sooo glad you're sewing again' in the kind of tone that makes me think they would have staged an intervention otherwise. Fingers crossed that the machine will not gather dust for another year.

*well, there is also find a proper job and a place to live, not neccessarily in Dorsrt, but we'll see what happens later in the year.

Monday, March 15, 2010

FO: Honeycomb Vest

I finally have a photo of my finished Honeycomb :D I am very very happy with this project, not least because I finished it within the Ravelympics deadline. The yarn is Rowan Purelife Organic DK - my birthday present from the BF, a mere 300g of it. I knit it pretty much to the pattern, apart from adding an inch at the hem, and it fits wonderfully - better than in the photo in fact. It looks somewhat lumpy around the middle for some reason. I swear it's not. Nor am I (My lumps are beginning to position themselves on my hips instead - too much cake). I think this is probably a result of it being scrumpled up into wrinkles at the foot of my bed. I CAN'T HELP IT! It gets very hot in this bedroom, there is much flinging off of jumpers.

Also lookee! New haircut! I got a fringe cut last Tuesday for the first time in about 8 years. I regretted it so much when I first had it, probably just because I felt I didn't look like me, but I really like it now. It has a bit of a split personality too, sometimes it's wispy (as above), sometimes it's straight. I prefer the wisps, they are more friendly to people who miss being able to see their foreheads, but I'm getting used to the straight fringe as well though (it's more fashionable - I'm not accustomed to being fashionable). It looks cute with hats too :D I think I may be brave enough to knit a beret next time.

Watch this space for me experimenting with more wooly hats and passing out because the sun has now decided to come back to England.