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1  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / The Porsche Dress on: April 29, 2008 08:54:40 AM
I haven't posted here in a while, but my most recent project was prompted by a vintage Porsche duvet cover and pillowcase set I bought off eBay for 8.



I cut the seams from the duvet cover, laid it flat, and carefully used the fabric to make Simplicity 3780 (one of their reprinted 1950s patterns). I shortened the hem and made a few other changes, but it's mostly made as printed (though probably nothing close to what the original pattern drafter intended, hahahah)!





There's more photos and construction details up on fehrtrade.com, or if you're interested in what I've been up to in my craftster absence, here's a couple bits and bobs from the past few months:



Refashioned Ikea Patrones skirt and bag




BurdaStyle's JJ blouse




Tuxedo-inspired suit from vintage wool




Yellow satin cocktail dress and fascinator tutorial




Go Patterns perfect little black dress


And some helpful informational posts with no eye-candy:
How to trace a pattern
Burda WOF vs KnipMode vs Patrones
Spanish sewing terms
inside La Mia Boutique pattern magazine

Hopefully these will help someone fill a rainy afternoon or two. Smiley
2  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Cropped white jacket (SewStylish) on: October 01, 2007 05:08:27 AM
I haven't posted any projects here in a while, but I thought someone might be interested in this jacket since it's one of the SewStylish magazine ones and is very up-to-the-minute fashion-wise... The pattern is extremely beginner-friendly, too, so if you've never tried a pattern before, I highly recommend this one.







There's lots, lots more about this over at fehrtrade.com and a couple more photos, too. Now I just need to see how long I can keep it white! Wink
3  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Glastonbury meets IKEA on: June 04, 2007 04:36:59 AM
Back when I got the pillowcases for my famous IKEA skirt, I also bought a Tanja shower curtain that caught my eye from across the store and was conveniently marked down to a fiver. It's stayed in my fabric stash ever since, just waiting for the perfect project, which presented itself in the form of this Burda WOF 60s dress from the May 2007 issue. It turned out to be the perfect fabric for this dress, considering that Glastonbury is coming up in a few weeks and I've been wanting something special to wear (and let's face it, if the famous downpours happen again this year, this dress is ready for them!!), and because the pink piping matches my hot pink wellies perfectly.





(more photos on fehrtrade.com)

I chose to line the bust portion with a white cotton bedsheet from our hotel linen stash, and I interlined the rest of the dress since the shower curtain is 100% poyester and I figured soft cotton would be nicer on the skin. I've never attempted pipng before, either inserting store-bought let alone making my own piping, so there was definitely a learning curve involved! I made my own piping with some string from the hardware store and bias strips cut from the pink jersey I used in the Pucci tunic. Curse Burda to make the very first seam on the entire dress a piped princess-line bust curve though!!

Overall, I am deliriously happy with the way this dress fits, moves, and looks. The IKEA shower curtain proved to be the perfect fabric to give this dress a bit of body without resorting to a crinoline, and the print is perfect for hot summery days (like today!). I'll definitely be taking this to Glastonbury (a nice bonus is that it doesn't wrinkle!!) and updating my site with photos afterwards.

Edit: And here I am wearing it on the Saturday at Glastonbury (I think this was during Lily Allen!). It stood up really well - the rain beaded on the fabric and I only got a few spots of mud around the hemline, which all came out in the wash!

4  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Striped 70s Chloe-esque smock top on: May 08, 2007 05:48:12 AM
I picked up a few vintage patterns at a stall on Broadway Market last year, and the moment I saw this one, Butterick 4126, I instantly "oh, how very Chloe!".

Smocks have been in for the last few seasons now, but I finally got around to sewing this one up last week. I very happily used up some fabrics from my stash, a stripey polyester-rayon with a nice fluid drape, and the remains of an emerald raw silk that's also been in a top for my housemate and the lining of my Yamamoto jacket. The pattern was actually for a 34 inch bust (I'm 38"), but after deliberating whether to grade up the pattern or make a muslin, I did a very un-me thing and opted to throw all caution to the wind and just make it up as-is since it probably had a ton of ease in it anyway. And I'm glad I did, because my gamble paid off - I love the way it fits, and the only time it seems too small is squeezing my big head through the neck opening!







I'm really pleased with the way it turned out, except for one trivial thing that will bug me each time I wear it - I meant for the stripes on the collar to run parallel to the side edges of the collar, running from neck to shoulder, not horizontally. But by the time I figured out I'd aligned the grain with the wrong edge of the collar, it was already too late. C'est la vie!
5  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Pink Pucci-esque tunic top on: April 30, 2007 10:07:54 AM
Ever since I finished my sewing room, I've been sewing like a woman POSSESSED! On Friday evening I finished this tunic top from the March 2007 issue of Burda WOF magazine, and on Saturday, nearly finished another tunic top, too.



(more photos on fehrtrade.com)

I made this tunic with two stretch knits from Walthamstow market - one hot pink and the other in a very Pucci-esque abstract floral print. Because the original pattern was for wovens, I omitted the back zipper and cut all the back pieces on the fold to do away with the back centre seam altogether. The knits are stretchy enough to easily fit over my head, and it's SUCH a comfortable finished top! The only problem I had with the end result was that the V-neck was scandalously low - you could see about 2 inches of my bra! I'm usually fine with what most people consider "low cut", but this was a bit much! So I had to hastily join together abut two inches at the bottom of the V, which makes it sit a bit funny, but it's much, much more wearable now.

It was perfect for the picnic on Sunday! Cheesy
6  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Completed Projects / My floating sewing room! on: April 24, 2007 04:51:41 AM
Backstory: My boyfriend and I bought a 103 foot long Dutch barge that was formerly a hotel for canoeing holidays a few months ago. A skipper helped us bring it across the North Sea from Holland to London, and we're now living in it on the Thames near Tower Bridge. If you'd like to know more about our boat, our blog is here. Now on to the room at hand...

After a bit of hard labour with some power tools and brute force, I was able to clear three of the little hotel rooms on the boat two weekends ago. One became a walk-in wardrobe, one will very shortly become my boyfriend's office, and the third blossomed into my (temporary) sewing room (all the little hotel room walls will be ripped out to make way for our living room, two bedrooms, and two en-suites. The fate of a sewing room in the new plans is still unclear!).

I finally got it the way I wanted it last night and even had a few minutes spare to sew the initial darts and seams on this tunic top from the March 2007 issue of Burda WOF magazine. But let's move on to a tour of my sewing room, since this is probably the tidiest it'll ever be...

Here's the overview shot of the whole room. It's about the size of two single beds side-by-side, with light coming from two halogen lamps and the porthole (which puts out a surprising amount of light during the day).



It wasn't worth painting walls or laying down nice flooring for a temporary room, so I opted to use storage solutions that could be easily moved later on. I needed a place to keep all the bits of a project at hand, but with a lack of surfaces, I opted for the clothesline approach, which I love. It keeps the pieces handy and within reach, but out of my way, and provides a nice bit of changing wall art at the same time!



A small amount of shelving was leftover from the hotel room, so I made good use of these, organising my magazines and patterns on the middle shelf (and using cardboard separators to group like patterns together), and managing to store all my fabric stash in two clear plastic storage boxes underneath. One contains full measures of cloth, and the other has partial pieces leftover from other projects. I'm actively trying to reduce my stash, so it'll be my own personal challenge to keep it contained in those two boxes!



Finally, I got to unpack the pattern hooks and hanging rack I got for Christmas and used it to keep frequently-sewn pattern pieces at easy reach. Currently on the rack are things like the button-down shirt pattern sized for my boy, an every day tank top pattern sized for me, a pocket template I use for inserting into side seams, and the pieces from my current project as I don't need them any further.



So what do you think? Do you see anywhere I can improve my use of a small space? What organisation tips do use use in your craft rooms?
7  U.K. AND IRELAND / ENGLAND / screen printing kit - 7 at Tesco on: April 12, 2007 04:31:59 AM
I posted this in the slik screen forum but I thought more people might check here...

My boyfriend and I were at one of those huge Tesco Extra over the Easter weekend and we saw in the kid's arts & crafts aisle a screen printing kit for 7 and picked it up to try out. I do loads of sewing, but I've never tried screenprinting before since the amount of startup materials always seemed so intimidating.

The kit looks pretty good for the money, with a reusable plastic ~6x8 inch frame and locked-in roller system and a cover to keep the mess inside, two mesh polyester screens, two pots of glue (for blocking out the negative), 3 colours of fabric paint, a black marker and a bunch of gross paper stencils we'll throw away. So it looks like we'll only need to replace the mesh screens and the glue/paints as we use through them, fingers crossed. I've looked on tesco.com but I can't find it listed on there so I took a photo of the kit if anyone's interested...





I'll let you know how it goes once I've tried it! I'm not hoping for professional grade quality for something so cheap, but I'm hoping it'll do the job, anyway... Smiley
8  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Screen Printing: Discussion and Questions / Tesco screen printing kit (UK)? on: April 10, 2007 08:01:17 AM
My boyfriend and I were at one of those huge Tesco Extra over the weekend and we saw in the kid's artis & crafts aisle a screen printing kit for 7 and picked it up to try out. I do loads of sewing, but I've never tried screenprinting before since the amount of startup materials always seemed so intimidating.

The kit looks pretty good for the money, with a reusable plastic ~6x8 inch frame and locked-in roller system and a cover to keep the mess inside, two mesh polyester screens, two pots of glue (for blocking out the negative), 3 colours of fabric paint, and a bunch of gross paper stencils we'll throw away. So it looks like we'll only need to replace the mesh screens and the glue/paints as we use through them, fingers crossed. I've looked on tesco.com but I can't find it listed on there so I'll try and take a photo of the kit if anyone's interested...

Has anyone used this before (or something similar)? I'm not hoping for professional grade quality for something so cheap, but I'm hoping it'll do the job, anyway... Smiley
9  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Bitchin' Blue Jeans! on: January 28, 2007 11:45:25 AM
I decided I needed a challenge. I've never made trousers before, let alone jeans, but I had some stretch denim from Walthamstow Market wallowing in my stash for over a year, and I finally had enough time in my schedule to do them justice. I'd attempted to make Vogue 8202 about a year ago, but only got as far as the muslin stage before I realised that a) the front rise was scandalously low, b) there was about 4 inches too much ease, and c) I started to lose weight and the pattern size range I bought was far too big to bother downsizing and redrafting. So this time around I used a pattern for corduroy trousers from the August 2006 Burda World Of Fashion magazine and just added the missing pieces (namely, the back pockets, the fifth pocket, and an interior fly piece) from my old Vogue pattern.





(more photos here!)

The fit of these Burda trousers are perfect for me - I couldn't believe my luck when I tried on my muslin and didn't see any "smile lines" whatsoever (they've clearly been drafting for my white girl pancake butt!) but I did end up taking in the outer seam by 1/2-1" in the hips and thighs to make use of the stretch in my denim.

I had some massive troubles in the beginning with my topstitching thread, though - who would've thought that Gutterman's Topstitching Thread is actually not suited for topstitching? After 45 minutes of thread snarls, tears, and a whole lotta swearing, I went online and discovered that everyone else has the same problem with their topstitching thread being too thick for home machines, and that Gutterman's Upholstery Thread is much better suited to machine topstitching. So luckily I found a tiny haberdashery store in the village we were staying in in Holland where I picked up the upholstery thread in the same colour as before. When we got home I was then able to continue on with no further problems. I'm quite proud of the final result of the topstitching, since I had to eyeball it with a very steady hand to keep the double-lines the same distance apart.

I will definitely be making this pattern again, but I'm going to lower the front rise by an inch. It's not that these are grandma-styled (in fact, they're awfully close to the high-waisted styles on the catwalk right now), but more that I'm so used to low-rise jeans that these feel too high to me. As a comparison, the top of the waistband on these falls directly on my belly button, whereas all my RTW trousers fall about an inch or two below. I think these will look even better as I break them in a little bit and the indigo softens away from the "1980s Jordache" look. I'm wearing them in the office today and I think they might possibly be my most comfortable pair I own.
10  U.K. AND IRELAND / ENGLAND / craft in weird places - Tesco magazine on: November 22, 2006 03:37:31 AM
I picked up one of the free Tesco magazines on my way out the door with my shopping last night, and I was very surprised to find this Christmas issue is absolutely bursting with craft ideas and instructions. Usually it's just recipes and thinly-veiled ads, but in this issue they've got about 5 pages of christmas crafts to make, and 4 different kids costumes to sew (all with a Panto theme - Cap'n Hook, Cinderella, Aladdin, and Tinkerbell, and you could easily make them for adults, too). I'm actually going to make some of their christmas decorations I think.

Just stay far, far away from their recipes - the Nutritional Information on most of them made me GAG - 660 calories and 51g of fat for a single slice of quiche??? They've got to be joking...

Anyway, it's a free magazine and you might get some ideas, too.
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