I hope you are having a good week? It’s the day before we break up for half term and as per every penultimate day of a half term I am super stressed. There is a big sign on the wall at the Sew Over It studios which says SEWING SOOTHES THE SOUL … OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT. It does but my coat making has caused a lot of stress too. There are four classes and homework each week – the tasks for which are detailed and numbered on really helpful A4 sheets. I have just finished class three of four. The lesson has seven tasks and there are a further three for homework. I have managed to do task one … of the classwork!
I think the stress-inducing issue for me has been the homework – which is not something quick but a chunky four to six hours worth of work. This amount of time needs to be carefully scheduled in but with consecutive weeks it can cause a build up in other activities which you normally do at the weekend e.g. marking (I am choosing to forget that I spent a glorious afternoon on the beach – wasn’t Sunday gorgeous?)
I had not finished the classwork/homework for week two so decided to skip off early from work and get to the studio two hours before my class. I sat companiably with one the of the Sew Over It girls, listening to classical music and as I caught up, I did find that, yes, my soul was indeed soothed. Next week is half term so goodness knows what time I’ll have to arrive in order to make up the deficit after this week!
I did learn an interesting new technique this week – pressing. When I attached the front facings, Julie (brilliantly patient tutor) told me that I had to “press and pat” to get the facings to lie completely flat. This involved steaming and pressing and then, so that the fibres don’t spring back into place you have to “pat” them back until the steam has been pushed out and the fabric has gone cold – it then lies much flatter. The patting was accomplished by whacking the fabric with the ham – you can see how the end has mounded itself to my hand with all the pressure. Anyway, it gives a nice clean finish. We also marked on the buttonholes and I am going to take them to a man in Soho who apparently has a buttonhole machine and makes keyhole buttonholes for professional tailors – and amateur seamstresses apparently. I am looking forward to sharing my button hole experience with you next week – are you excited?
Finally, it is very difficult not to buy anything when you are in a fabric shop/haberdashery for five hours. This is what I bought this week. Some lovely broderie anglaise – isn’t that a lovely thing to say – BRODERIE ANGLAISE and a blue/black chevron jersey. I’m thinking Moneta for the knit – I have been impressed with recent versions from Sew South London and Navy Blue Threads. For the cotton, another Belcarra maybe? It would make a lovely shirt but I have button hole fear at the moment – to sit alongside my overlocker fear – what IS the matter with me?!
I hope you’ve got a nice glass of wine lined up for GBSB tonight – wonder what I’ll spot that I recognise this week?
I really enjoy the community events, most recently Bimble and Pimble’s Sewvember which introduced me not only to Instgram but to some wonderful, inspirational ideas. Now it’s approaching the end of the year and I see that Crafting a a Rainbow is again promoting a Top 5 of the year. As I only bought my Janome at Easter, my round ups will be from the last eight months and here is my first one: The Top Five Hits of 2014
Moneta and Marilyn
This was my first ever knit and I was particularly proud of myself when I had completed the bodice. I followed instructions from The Colette Guide to Sewing Knits having bought myself a walking foot and a twin needle. This post could have made it into the Misses of the year due to my failure with the twin needle and the clear elastic – both of which have still eluded me and will be goals for 2015. However, the sheer fun to be had from the fabric and the pleasure of completing my first knit puts in firmly in the Top Five Hits post.
Sorbetto and One Week One Pattern
Having only been sewing since Easter I did not really have much of a choice for my One Week One Pattern – it had to be the Sorbetto – which I love. The skill I most enjoyed learning from this make was bias binding. It was through this that I discovered The Little Tailoress and her super helpful tutorials. Here are three of my five Sorbettos from that week, including a running top I made from some of the leftover Marilyn knit – as you can see I take my race preparation very seriously. My participation in this event was a HIT for another reason. I entered a giveaway competition by Handmade Jane who organised this year’s OWOP and won my choice of three patterns. Having this announced on her blog gave me by biggest number of hits in one day – 99 – the likes of which have never been seen since so as a new blogger this was very exciting for me in addition to the delight of wining three patterns – which will feature in a future post.
How I love my Sureau. I adore the button placket at the front and the easy comfortable styling. I would say this is the make I wear the most. It is super comfortable and always gets favourable comments. I plan to make more, many more. This could be the garment for OWOP15.
I do enjoy knitting – I was a knitter long before I could sew but like many other hobbies of the past it was long forgotten but my interest has been reawakened and I now knit regularly on my commute. This little beanie was my first time of using both circular and double ended needles. I really enjoyed making it up and knitting is such a useful thing to have in your handbag for a spare ten minutes – imminently more portable than a sewing machine.
This shirt is a favourite because I have worn it a lot and I love the funky fabric. It teams well with a grey skirt for work and looks equally at home with denin for a more casual look. I also have fond memories of making this shirt. Six colleagues and I held our own sewing bee at work and afterwards we decided to take a workshop at Sew Pretty together to further improve our skills. Only three of us actually made it to the workshop but we all made a version of this shirt and none of us finished it during the three weeks worth of classes because we were laughing and chatting so much. By the way, as we’re getting to know each other a little more through this series of posts, I’d like to point out that these two photos were taken at the end of my garden
So, four more posts to come. I am looking forward to pondering about what to include and then writing them; I hope you are looking forward to reading about my Misses, Highlights, Reflections and Goals!
This post combines a number of icons but is principally about the Moneta dress by Colette Patterns which has already become an iconic dress. I was swept along on the enthusiasm of so many bloggers, bought my pattern AND the book! The next decision was the fabric. Whilst trawling through the internet for Jersey knit just look what I found:
It it comes from L&S Prints who offer customised printing on a wide range of fabrics. The instructions for making the Moneta were really clear and I was impressed with how the bodice came together. I was pleased to be learning new skills such as inserting a lining. I’ll be honest, I struggled a bit with the elasticated waist which was due to a combination of using a technique for the first time, the fabric being a little slippery and me being too tentative using my new walking foot (I’ve used it since and let it know that I’m the boss and will not be putting up with any nonsense).
I wore the dress for a night out and teamed it with a black leather jacket – maybe too old now for a leather jacket now but the dress got lots of compliments and will certainly be worn again on other nights out. I plan to make a further Moneta more suitable for work, perhaps in a plain fabric.
I ended up with a little bit of fabric left over so, you’ve guessed it – I squeezed another Sorbetto out of it – minus the front pleat. I had planned to make a VNA top to wear for the Arundel 10K but did not order the fabric in time. So here is the Sorbetto as a running top – as you can see I took my pre- race preparations very seriously, posing on the riverbank at the end of my garden.
The race went well – I can confirm that the fabric had no wicking properties whatsoever (which I didn’t need the pace I was running) but that it was very comfortable. I have decided to run the Chichester Half in October wearing a VNA running top so watch this space.
It is a miserably wet Bank Holiday Monday and incredible to believe that these photos were taken yesterday on such a gloriously hot, sunny day. Final comment – in the ’80’s I loved Madonna’s styling in Desperately Seeking Susan but would never have had the confidence to wear a headscarf with a big bow plonked on top of my head – a few decades on, I couldn’t care less and actually enjoyed my fun look for a fun race. What do you think?