Just a quick one

Soo stoked!!  The cushions I finished last week and delivered to the store on Tuesday made it into the window display yesterday afternoon!  *Happy dance*!

Window display at The Arter, Stratford upon Avon

The photos were taken with a mobile (cell) phone, so not fabulous quality, but hey, it’s all good for me!

Window display, The Arter, Stratford upon Avon
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Two for One

This weekend has been pretty productive for me, I got the cushions finished and made good progress with the jacket pattern for the grey wool..  I have kept it pretty straight forward.  I have a limited amount of fabric, so I cannot go too mad on seam detailing etc.  This is the initial sketch, nothing over the top.

Jacket Sketch

Everything has gone together fairly well, I have kept to the panel seams in front and back, although I have curved the back panel seam a little, this takes it closer to the centre back seam, I am hoping it will be a visual slimming line..  But overall it didn’t have much oomphf.  I decide to something with the sleeves …

Darted Sleeve Head
Pattern for Sleeve Head - see all the alterations??

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I altered the sleeve head to accommodate 3 short darts.  It took a while, and was tricky with all the layers of paper I already had going on!  This has the effect of adding about 3m to the width of the shoulders, which is great if you have no waist little waist definition.  Broadening the shoulders makes the waist appear narrower than it really is – bonus!!  I also cut the sleeves 10cm short, and kept an angled hem line.  I added 2.5cm flare to the back seam of both the upper and lower sleeve.

Jacket pattern pieces, pinned on calico to toile.

So it looks pretty good, but – the collar and rever combination appear a little small with the new sleeve-head.  I think the rever could do with being 2cm wider, and the collar needs to be adjusted so the proportions are correct.  But if I still had a “normal” sleeve-head they would be fine.

The Back
Front, see those sleeves! Fitting alterations are pinned.

This is where the “2 for 1” comes in.  I will trace off another sleeve from the sleeve block, and keep the head normal.  This will work just fine in the jacket as it is.  Then I will trace off the front panel and adjust the rever and draft a new collar.  This front & collar will be used with the big sleeve.   The rest of the jacket can stay exactly the same!  So I have two patterns – yay!!

Jacket front, seams altered.

Sorry about the fuzzy pics, I was using the self timer, and I cannot work out where to stand to be in focus!!

So what do you think of the collar & rever vs sleeve proportions??

Coats & Jackets

After finishing the cushions the other day I am really inspired to get going and finish the jacket and coat I started the patterns for last month.  However – Daughter no 2 and Husband and I went into Birmingham on Friday….  A quick visit to the Fancy Silk Store and a much longer visit to the Bullring has resulted in more fabric and more ideas!

Caramel wool

I got a lovely piece of caramel coloured wool (only £12.99/m!) to make some carrot leg trousers for me – I do need to make sure the style works on me first though!  I also got a caramel and blue plaid – daughter no 2 fancies a jacket…

Plaid for jacket

But – a pop into the French Connection store put something else in the front of the queue…  She found this coat, and can I please make one of these???

Coat from French Connection

It’s double breasted, collarless and has an interesting skirt.  The back doesn’t connect to the front at the side, but further forward.  This accommodates in-seam pockets pretty well. It also has bound buttonholes, but I didn’t think the opening on the facing side was done very well – it wasn’t very “City & Guilds”!!  😀

French Connection coat

Of course, I don’t have fabric for it now either, so I may have to force myself to go shopping – again!  😀

We also slipped into the Waterstones in the Pallisades.  The best part of the shop is right at the very top – 4th floor- in the Book Garden.  Daughter no 2 and I collected up a pile of craft, fabric and cookbooks and snuggled into the leather seats.  About an hour later we had whittled the pile down to three that had to come home with us.  All told it was a productive day!

It’s not just clothes geting made around here!

Nope, anything goes!  I have just finished some cushions that I started back in June! *blushing*  Excuses – none really, I just lost focus and made other things instead!  I thought I’d pop them on here so you can see the other stuff that gets made in this house.  I made these for a shop in Stratford upon Avon.

The Arter - Stratford upon Avon

The Arter is a gallery stocking arts and crafts from 26 artists in the locality.  They have some fabulous stuff, and the goods range from handmade jewellery to glass, pottery, felted creations and ceramics.  If you are ever visiting Stratford on Avon, make this little National Trust shop a place to visit!  I don’t think there is another quite like it!  In this tiny picture, it is the shop with the little red bits in the window!  Soon there will be workshops and other fun activities run there, I am looking forward to them!  Visit their Facebook page for more information.
So, the cushions.  I wanted to make some kiddie ones, and I just love the way children use colour.  A child’s colouring in book is full of the most amazing colours, so this was my main draw.  I also love the way they see things “flat”, so the designs are not 3D at all, but flat, like children draw.  I chose four African animals, to reflect my roots, and I had just come back from a 3 week holiday in South Africa, so homesickness was still coursing through my veins!  I figured I had better have some English animals too, especially as they were to be sold in a National Trust shop!

African Animal Cushions

The animals are all applique, the black outlines are free machine embroidery, I wanted it loose, so I didn’t use a satin stitch, which is what you usually use for applique.  I wanted the lines to be within the shapes I had cut, so it looks like the colours have over-run.  The giraffe cushion has a patchwork design of triangles on the bottom, not my most successful technique, but it looks good.  The swirls are what you want them to be – suns, stars, clouds…  And the grass is pink.  Why not??

English Animal Cushions

Ok, only three..  I couldn’t decide on the fourth, so instead of it holding up the works I figured I had better get on with the others.  My favourite is the fox, he is just so cute!  The same techniques were used on these cushions.  I have restricted the pallette, otherwise it could have gone overboard very quickly.  These colours are bright and cute, without being brash.  The back is a sturdy dark blue denim with an envelope closure, topstitching in a loverly orange.  The size is 30x30cm, a really nice size for a child’s bed.

I have grand plans for these designs, I have roped daughter no 1 in – I want her to paint these for me so I can do framed prints etc.  So what do you think??

Purple Haze

Phew!  A project that worked!  It is fair to say that this project has been way more successful than the poor dress…

Purple Haze Ruffled Top

So this was made from the easy fitting bodice block.  At first I thought I’d adapt the block to make it a dropped shoulder and lowered armscye…  Not successful!  I toiled it up and wasn’t impressed.  The easy fitting block is loose anyway, but with the added 10cm from the adaptation it was swimming on me!  It was rather hideous.  So I went back to the table and just did a dropped shoulder.  I moved the bust dart from the shoulder to the underarm, and shortened it quite a bit.  I only wanted a small amount of shaping as the fabric is supposed to have some room to drape.

Georgette and the inspiration picture

The shoulder was dropped by 5cm, which really seems to be the limit.  I am quite happy with it.  I used French seams on all the seams, and double turned the hem so there are no edges showing anywhere.  The facing was cut a little wide to support the ruffles.  Initially I was going to have 3 rows, but the two work just fine,  I think it would have been too much to have another.  This pattern really worked well.  I have some other fine, fluid fabrics that this would work in, or I could come up with something else…

Ruffles at neckline

Now usually I wouldn’t buy a polyester, I prefer to work with natural fibres, but when I saw this georgette online at Ditto Fabrics, I had to have it.  The colour just screamed: “BUY ME!!!”

Ruffle top

When a plan doesn’t quite work out

You know the feeling when you are about to cut up your favourite fabric – the “Oh boy, I hope this works” feeling.  Then you take a deep breath and go for it.  I finished the Kimono dress in that fabulous silk.  But I don’t like it…  OH NOOOO!!!

Photos will follow, once I can force myself to get daughter no 1 to take some for me.  I don’t quite know what went wrong – the pattern doesn’t go with the shape, I hate the waistband area…  So for now I will pop it back in the cupboard and get on finishing the purple georgette blouse which, fingers crossed, seems to be working out better.

I have learn one thing though – I do NOT look like the figure in the sketch!!  I will have to make some templates that are more my shape than a tall skinny minny!  Perhaps that will help me to be more realistic!  I saw a pin on Pinterest a while ago…  and I think this sums up my predicament perfectly, although it isn’t always the camera and the mirror who disagree, it’s me and the mirror/camera!

Reality

Friday – busy day!

Wow, I can honestly say I am gobsmacked!  This little blog of mine has been ticking along with a handful of visitors, when suddenly the tracking spiked!!  Thank you so much to BurdaStyle for making me featured member of the week!  Another big thank you to those who have added my blog to their subscriptions lists, and those who left me comments.

New Blocks

So back to work!  I have re-drafted some of my personal blocks.  After making the jacket this last month and having way too many adjustments to make, I gave in.  So yesterday I drew a new Jacket Block, Coat Block, Close Fitting and Easy Fitting Bodice Block.  They will all be used this season!  I still need to toile and fit them, and draft their respective sleeves, but in the mean time I thought I’d share what I intend to do with them!

I have a lovely purple georgette that has been begging for something pretty and floaty.  I am going to use the Easy Fitting Bodice Block to make a loose-fitting top with a dropped shoulder and ruffles along the neckline.  Isn’t that top cute?  And purple will make a change to my usual grey, black or blue!  The georgette is not silk, unfortunately, but I loved the colour when I saw it on Ditto Fabric‘s website, so I had to have it!

Purple Georgette & Ruffle Top

Next, the Close Fitting Bodice Block will be converted into a One-Piece Dress Block and then I will adapt the bodice and sleeve to form a Kimono Block.  I have FINALLY decided what that green and turquoise silk is going to be!

Silk Graphic Kimono Dress

The Coat Block is going to be a hip length Pea Coat in the most beautiful pale, ice-blue cashmere that I bought at Fred Winter back in January on their winter sale!  I already knew I wanted something different, so I also got some Liberty silk for the lining and some Dupion to make piped details!

Cashmere and silk for Pea Coat

And the Tailored Jacket Block??  Something simple.  A cropped jacket with 3/4 length sleeves, possibly cut on the bias to take advantage of the burgundy/maroon flecks in the grey wool I got last week at Fred Winter.  I was really good, only getting 1.7m instead of going for the remains of what was on the roll, 2.5m!  I am sure I would have used it somewhere, but if I had got 2.5m I just know I would still be procrastinating this time next year!  I am going to use the last three buttons from my antique shop purchase, the others are on the Spotty Jacket.

Grey wool and Jacket sketch

So that’s that!!  Busy me!  Have a fabulous sunny weekend (if you are in the UK) I will be making winter goodies!  😀