Delaying Tactics!

I know I’m not alone in this but as soon as I set myself any kind of deadline I start to find a multitude of things to distract me until I’m up against the wire and have no choice but to burn the midnight oil to get something done.  One of the only times I’ve ever had an empty ironing basket was when I was studying for some major exams about ten years ago.  Even the dreaded ironing was more attractive than revision!

Having made a commitment to finish my first Brumby Skirt by 10 September as part of the Made Up Initiative I had every intention of at least tracing off the pattern and cutting out a toile over the weekend.

What I actually did ……

READING

Having recently finished reading A Place Called Winter, the latest novel by the brilliant Patrick Gale, I decided I would re-visit my collection of his books.  During the weekend I finished re-reading Notes From an Exhibition, which remains my favourite, and assembled a pile of all the others.  The best discovery was that I have a copy of Ease which for some reason I’ve never read.  It has been interesting to read one of his first novels (from 1986) having just read his most recent. I suddenly realised 1986 was nearly 30 years ago which was quite alarming!  I also learned a new word, “pelf”.  I thought it was a misprint but apparently it means “money, especially when gained in a dishonest or dishonorable way”!  As in “pilfer”.

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BAKING

Inspired by the Great British Bake Off I decided to try making some soda bread with added flavourings.  I settled on feta, sundried tomato and olive.  I’ve made soda bread several times but I decided to try a gluten free flour blend this time.

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It looked OK but here’s what W said about the result :

It is somewhere between bread and cake

Definitely not the reaction I was looking for and despite the ingredients it just didn’t taste of very much.  It certainly needed more salt.  Back to the drawing board.

SEWING

I sewed up the gaps in the button band of my latest Refashion and inserted a couple of press studs between the top two buttons so I can sit down in the skirt without embarrassment.  A definite improvement.

I also nearly finished sewing a new Coco top with fabric bought at the Fabric Godmother’s recent open day which I’d cut out almost as soon as I got home.  This is the Coco top I have been wanting to make since first getting the pattern but have never found quite the right fabric to make the funnel neck stand up properly.  I’ve already blogged about the first one which drooped disappointingly and I ended up unpicking the whole thing and re-sewing the neckline.  I have made two others, but both without the funnel neck.

When I laid out the Coco pattern pieces I realised I had probably got enough fabric to make two tops, the second one being from the latest issue of Love Sewing Magazine.  I bought the magazine for the free pattern to make the top on the cover which has an interesting feature at the back but then discovered another pattern inside for a very simple cropped top.

I pinned everything out, got three-quarters of the way through cutting out and then realised I’d planned for the stripes on the funnel neck to run the opposite way to the rest of the garment – and there wasn’t enough left to change direction.  Not to be defeated I cut it out in two pieces and sewed them together.  Can you see the join?

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Going back to the magazine pattern, this was a REALLY quick and easy make and one which would be ideal for a beginner.  Unfortunately I thought I’d make the large version so that it was slouchy and could be worn as a top layer but it really is too big.  When will I ever learn??  I may take it in.

I finished off the Coco top last night and here it is.  The fabric is quite heavy so this is more for autumn/winter wear and I’m planning to make a short black skirt so I can wear it with thick tights and boots.  Very 60s.

Did I mention making a skirt just then?  Back to where I’m supposed to be and I have promised myself that I will get that Brumby toile sewn up this week.  I’ve still got to make a final decision to make on the fabric choice too …

Bank Holiday Sewing Fest

As I had the house to myself over the Bank Holiday weekend I spent some lovely uninterrupted time at the sewing machine.

The spotty skirt is finished.  I’m very glad I decided to line it because it has given it more body and it now hangs much better.  I always find that sitting at my desk all day in a skirt lined with a satin-type fabric seems to put too much strain on the back seam and the fabric starts to pull at the stitches.  On the last couple of skirts I have added a strip of satin ribbon, stitched along either side of the seam line, and this has definitely ‘spread the load’ and made a difference.  I’ve done it again on this skirt just to be on the safe side.

I also decided to finish the hem with bias binding partly because I had cut it slightly too short and partly because the fabric had a tendency to fray rather drastically.  I used this tutorial which was very helpful because I’ve never been sure how to finish the ends on bias binding and this worked perfectly.  I know the grey lining and binding don’t really match the fabric but the lining was already cut out for another project so it saved a lot of time.  I find it is much easier to hand sew the hem using the binding and it does give a really neat finish.  The two layer construction of the fabric meant that I could just catch the inner layer so no stitching shows on the outside.

Next up was yet another Coco top.  I mentioned the fabric in a previous post – a ponte Roma from Clothspot.  When I came to use it it was a lot thinner than I had realised so I decided against the funnel neck and just went for the round neck version.  I’m not crazy about the fabric and the stretch is minimal so it is a bit of a wriggle to get out of it!  I’m sure it will be a useful basic though.

Black Coco

Last, but most definitely not least, the Brighton Pavilion dress (Butterick See & Sew B5447) is finished!  It took no time at all once I got on with it and I absolutely love it.  I’ve just noticed this photograph makes the hem look like it slants but it definitely doesn’t.  The princess seams which are just visible in the first picture have blended in pretty well and the dress is lined in a lovely fine lawn which is really comfortable to wear.  We have a party to go to on the 30th and this will be the perfect party frock!  I’m so glad I’ll get a chance to wear it during Me-Made-May.

I’ve nearly finished another skirt with a nautical theme but that will be the subject of a separate post.

A new Coco top

I have always had a fondness for anything striped, not just clothing but curtains, cushions, ribbon, wrapping paper, bed linen, just about anything really!

However, after my latest making of a Coco Breton top from Tilly and the Buttons using this fabric from The Eternal Maker in Chichester, I have decided to leave stripes alone for a while.  I think I’ll stick with plains and patterns which are too complicated to worry about matching. All went well until I came to the sleeves. Having already unpicked one sleeve because the stripes didn’t match up well enough on the seam I discovered when I came to hem the sleeves that they didn’t match there either! I couldn’t face any more unpicking but thankfully the pattern includes a cuff. I decided to cut this out with the stripe running in the opposite direction and this was pretty effective at disguising the problem. I had intended to have a funnel neck but I didn’t have quite enough fabric and I’m not convinced by the pattern which suggests just turning the edge under on the neckline.   I’ve had this Liberty binding for ages so I decided to use it to finish off the neckline and the hem which I think worked quite well.

It seems like spring might finally be here and my parents’ garden is overrun with grape hyacinths. I love these little flowers and I see that Winnie from Scruffy Badger Time has printed her own fabric with an image of these from her garden. It looks fabulous and I look forward to seeing what she makes from it.