30 January 2011

Fine Line Between Love And Hate

When I was a teenager, I detested animal print. I associated it with everything that was cheap, common and trashy.

Oh how times have changed......

10 years on and I can't get enough of the stuff. Don't get me wrong - the shiny, stretchy fabric still leaves me feeling queasy, but check out these for classic inspiration, from the 40s through to today.

I'm progressing slowly with my next creation, but I am progressing.
Whilst I'm not convinced my attempts with black and white animal print will result in such gorgeousness, I'm going to give it a go.

And you'll be pleased to hear, my fabric neither stretches nor shines!

28 January 2011

Thankful It's Friday

It has been a long old week.

And all my good intentions to sew until my fingers drop off have been scuppered. Mainly, I hate to say, because of work again.

When work takes over my life and I'm left with no time for hobbies, I feel blue. Sometimes, I wish I could stay at home all day making pretty things and baking cakes......

I have, however, started on my muslin for Vogue 8511. And yes, shock horror, I am actually making a muslin!! But don't you think muslins always look so sad and ugly?!

Anyway, I'm still sneaking a minute here and there at work to take a peek at everyone's blog updates - it keeps me sane when I'm drowning in spreadsheets!

What would you guys do if you never had to work again???

23 January 2011

French Vintage

So far, our french adventure has been wonderful so thought I'd share a little touch of it with you guys.

Yesterday, we took a road trip to Milau. This old town is famous within the glove-making industry, known for creating exquisitely elaborate gloves sent to designers across the globe. The Milau museum documents the processes undertaken to create the gloves, right from the tanning of the leather through to stitching the final pieces together.

There was a whole room dedicated to pattern designs! These were from the 1920s:

Plus a workroom set up as you'd find it all those years ago:

They designed and made gloves for the likes of Chrisitan Dior, Christian LaCroix, Nina Ricci, Karl Largerfeld. These Hermes ones were amongst my favourites (although there were far too many to include on here!):

Something that struck me was how tiny the gloves were - my chunky knuckles wouldn't stand a chance in these!

After the museum, we walked around the town (pretending to be french but probably looking more english than ever) and came across a darling little vintage store.......It was naughty of me but I couldn't resist!

Hope you've all enjoyed your weekend.....I'm looking forward to getting stuck into the animal print dress when I get back!

20 January 2011

When Work Takes Over

I love my job. I know that's often rare nowadays, but I feel as though I'm one of the lucky ones.

I work as an indirect buyer for a quintessentially British retailer. Our whole team works incredibly hard but mainly because we all have a lot of fun doing it.

This week, I've been implementing a project I've been working on for the past 6 months and have been running around like a headless chicken - it was one of those times when you think you've covered everything and accounted for all eventualities but then the little things start to unravel.

The unravelling has led to late nights in the office and subsequently, absolutely no sewing - I haven't even had time to cut out fabric!

Depressing. Very depressing indeed.

Fortunately, the husband and I are off to France tomorrow to visit the parents-in-law. Okay, so it does mean there will be even less sewing activity until next Tuesday, but it also means I finally get a break.

Apologies in advance for the lack of blogging.......I intend on sewing until my fingers fall off on my return!

Hope you all have a lovely weekend - can't wait to catch up on all your blogs when I get back.

17 January 2011

I Actually Won Something

I'm so excited!

Marie, over at A Sewing Odyssey, held a fabulous giveaway for reaching 50 followers. She was offering a choice of 2 vintage patterns and I immediately fell in love with this one.....

And guess what - I actually won!

Now, the pattern's a little small (and by that I mean a lot small) but I'm hoping that progression will lead to abilities in upscaling. Perhaps not one to try immediately but very excited to give it a go once I'm improved a litte (and again, by that I mean improved a lot!).

Thanks Marie! I absolutely love it!

16 January 2011

Completed New Look 6826 - Phew!

From my last couple of posts it's clear that this dress caused me some problems when, in actual fact, it should have been fairly straight-forward!

So let's get going with the review.......

From my past experiences (which are limited, granted) I decided to increase the darts in the bodice and reduce the amount of material in the neckline before I cut the pattern. I was hoping this would solve my 'full-breasted' issue and help the neckline to sit flat. And it worked - YIPEE!
My first pattern adjustment and it was a success, who would have thought it.

Moving on to the dart situation.
I sewed and then re-sewed the bust dart approximately 10 times. I couldn't escape the 'cone-shaped breast' look and felt Madonna was the only person that could pull this off!
But lo and behold, a comment from Vintage Girl saved the day (thanks for that!)
I was reminded that the dart needed to taper off the fabric to nothing rather than be sewn to a point and, taking some extra care (and by that I mean sewing slowly), I finally managed it!

I also had a problem with the darts in the back of the body. Thanks to my round bottom, the darts separated too much - which meant the back of the dress lost it's shape and made my bottom look even rounder. Only way to overcome this was to sew down the darts. Turns out, this not only totally fixed the shaping issues but also looks pretty cool!

My next problem was sizing. In terms of pattern sizing, my measurements are as follows:
Bust - 12 / Waist - 16 / Hips - 16
So I sewed accordingly. My gut feeling was that the bodice was too big, especially as it needed to sit nicely under the breast in order to work as an empire line. But I didn't follow my gut and put everything together anyway.
It was definitely too big (which, to be honest, does wonders for a girls confidence!) but it also meant that, if I intended on wearing the dress, it needed further adjustments.

A call to my mother-in-law (retired designer for Jaeger and Topshop), gave me my solution - I was to pull in more material into the bodice darts and similarly, pull in the same amount into the pleats on the body. Genius. And success!
She also explained that this is probably what I should for future patterns anyway, given my measurements - apparently it's a neat way to take sizing from 12 to 16 without the excess all ending up in the side seams....

So enough of my chat, here's the final product:

So it turns out, after all the issues I had, I kinda like it.

I think the main reason for this is because it has taught me a lot! Pattern adjustments, darts, fitting adjustments....this one had it all for me.

And even though I turned a fairly straight-forward pattern into a bit of a mission, it worked. So I'm happy.
(apologies for length of post on this one - it would seem I had a lot to say!)

15 January 2011

Well, There Were Definitely Issues

My latest project is FINALLY complete.

I felt like giving up with this one - there were a number of issues along the way and at each point, I was ready to put it aside and move on to the next.

Bodice darts created cone shaped breasts; Necklines wouldn't sit flat; The bodice was larger than expected; Back darts were too short.

Yes, there were definitely issues. However, I ploughed through and I'm actually pleased that I did.

'Proper' shots to follow tomorrow but thought I'd pass on a taster...... (please ignore the lack of ironing as its late at night here now and, to be honest, I don't like to iron at the best of times!)

At the end of the day, it's finished and it's wearable - it will never be a favourite of mine but hey ho......it means I can move onto the next and learn from mistakes made.

Which also means that I got to visit the fabric store today (possibly the best part of sewing?!) and I bought these...

Yes, you have spotted more needlecord at the bottom right there (I just couldn't resist) but I'm actually most looking forward to using the animal print. Fabric details escape me I'm afraid but I already have something in mind for it!

More to come on that tomorrow......along with detailed review of New Look 6826.