Thursday, 10 April 2014

when africa meets japan...

I have material I bought in one of three African countries I was lucky enough to visit in the last few years - Chad, Mozambique and Kenya.

I wish I could remember which was from which country! Anyway, suffice to say, this obi-style belt is using material bought somewhere on the African continent. 

For once in my life, I went to lots of trouble to match up my patterns and I think that looks lovely, except the tie kind of then covers it up. So maybe this would be better in a plain fabric. If I make it with a print again I could put the tie at the back. What do you think? 

I can upload measurements and instructions if anybody is interested! 

In other sewing news, I went along to a sewing Meet Up organised by a lovely lady called Emma on the website. Five of us nerdily nattered over coffee and tasty things in KC Peaches in Dublin - really nice and hopefully we'll be doing it again if anyone is around Dublin parts! 

And then next Saturday I have another very exciting sewing engagment! I am going over to London to take part in a workshop by the amazing Chinelo Bally! 

If you live in the UK or here in Ireland and you are reading this blog you'll probably know who Chinelo is! But for those who live farther away, Chinelo was one of the finalists in the Great British Sewing Bee. Sadly she didn't win, but Heather made a really stunning showpiece dress to bag her the title and led to this kinda brilliant moment.

But Chinelo has consistently been creating stunningly creative garments throughout the whole series and she is a pattern-free sewer. So I'm really looking forward to hearing about going freehand with Chinelo! 

Can't wait to tell you all about it next week! 

Sunday, 16 March 2014

easy street

I whipped this up before I came away. After the trauma of the stitch ripping and the bodice of the last dress I made, I felt like a comfort-make. Vogue V8907 was just the ticket:

Because I had made this before and the pattern was cut out I made it in an evening. I used this wonderful fabric that I have used for a few previous projects that was a present from a friend.

As you can see in all of these pics, I put this belt with it just to give the waist a bit of definition. It actually looks okay without it, but I felt like pulling it in a bit...

This top has a really nice back pointy detail going on, as demonstrated by the old 'looking backwards' shot here: 

By the way, if anyone is considering visiting New Zealand for a holiday, can I just say - Do It! Such a great place, especially Raglan which is where I am now. 

Now if you'll excuse me people, I have a holiday cider to drink. :)

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

rosy in the garden

Hello Internet, 

Remember me? It's been a while... You may forgive me for my absence when I present to you: "My New Dress". 

I'd like to thank the Academy, Mom, Dad and... My Stitch Picker. I could not have made this dress without my stitch picker. 

I feel like I made this dress about three times. Because effectively I did. Most seams were done at least twice. One entire bodice even got completely re-done.  The bodice. The bodice, the bodice, the bodice.... 

Thing about trying to get the bodice to fit without exposing obscene amounts of cleavage proved a tad tricky. I was pulling and prodding and forcing it around. I spent a long time fitting it on - a process I find  really challenging. In the end I stopped pulling it about so much and tried to let its own thing - and sometimes that's the best thing to do! 

This pattern is Butterick B5029, nabbed from the bargain bin at the Knitting and Stitching Show the year before last. 

And I love this fabric(From Hickeys, in case Irish readers interested). I think it would also be particularly kick-ass in a Georgia-style wiggly pencil skirt dress. 

Bit of a 'could do better' grade for my gathering and for invisible zipper insertion but it's basically one of the first dresses I've ever made, so,feck it, I'm giving myself a pat on the back. 

I was a bit concerned halfway through that it is a bit of a pretty-pretty dress and I'm still not a 100% where I'm going to wear it to. I need a garden party invitation or something. Or if somebody could oblige me by getting married in a chateau in France, that might do nicely. I believe I could play a game of croquet and drink a glass of Champagne in this dress. Or if I could go to somewhere like the Southern Hemisphere. Hmm... like say New Zealand. Aaaand, as luck would have it, that is exactly where I am!! And it's SUMMER HERE!!  

And, to have finished it and the fact that it basically FITS causes me pretty much indescribable joy. 

I don't think I'll get much chance to wear this in Ireland so I'm going to enjoy wearing it in the sun! 

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

from check-foe to check-mate

I have been wondering for AGES what to do with this stash fabric. I wasn't really crazy about it and it's been hanging around for yonks. I thought I would bascially experiment with it for this Vogue pattern to see if I liked the pattern. 

It's Vogue Patterns V8907 - a very simple pattern and now that it's traced and cut out I and I know that I really like the shape of it, I could very happily whip this up in an hour or two.At the moment it's kind of wear-it-to-work top but I think a slinky fabric could make it a pretty cool going-out top.

And now that I've made something with this fabric, I actually like it a bit better - which is good, because there's still quite a lot left!

In other related news, while I was sewing this top I had the misfortune to break a needle - BY SEWING MY FINGER!!!!! Gross eh? Actually it wasn't that sore, but it was just the shock of looking down and seeing the needle in two pieces sticking out at an angle from my finger. I was distractedly talking to my boyfriend's son and looked away from the machine for a moment. 

Keep your eye on the needle gals, keep your eye on the needle!!!

Sunday, 29 September 2013

it was all yellow

I was at a wedding on Friday and the lynchpin of my whole outfit was this pair of MAGNIFICENT yellow shoes that I bought last week. 

But I was wearing a black dress and thought I needed a bit more yellow somewhere else. 
So I went to my local silk shop - yes I have a local silk shop! Roisin Cross Silks on the coast road in Dun Laoghaire. I got pretty much perfectly matching yellow silk and set about making a clutch bag. (This was all the night before the wedding by the way, I'm not what you would call organised) 

I made a bag from a book that is one of those books that looks naff on the outside but actually has quite handy techniques and patterns in it. I went off looking through my stash for some sturdy fabric to line it with and came up with this Pucci-esque stuff that I think my granny bought a long long time ago. Is this not amazingly ridiculously brilliant????? 

THEN I started thinking maybe this would be more interesting on the outside and I could have the yellow silk on the inside - the most expensive lining ever made but the pieces were all cut out so I thought I might as well use them. 

And with ten minutes to go before we left the house I was still finishing the final seam and hoping that my nail varnish was dry and wouldn't smudge all over the place! Top-stitching around corners is a challenge for me at the best of times! 

By the way, the wedding reception was at a football stadium! It was in Croke Park because the couple are big Dubs fans. I've never been before and it was very cool! 

Oh and the fact that this is a stash project also means it is my June stashbusters project which was containment. I'm determined to have all the themes done by the end of the year!

Sunday, 1 September 2013

is it a dress? is it a top?

Who knows, is the answer to this question about the latest garment I have made. This was an adventure in knit - a cotton jersey that I got in Paris for next to nothing last year. 

Anyway, not knowing quite what it is, as such, I experimented with wearing it over the weekend, which was spent mostly by or in the sea because this is the summer that just keeps on giving. 

This pattern is McCalls M6242. I got it at the Knitting and Stitching Show last year in a random basket of patterns. Even though it's a big sloppy kind of thing, there's actually quite a lot going on with the shoulders and sleeves which I have to say I really like and definitely make this worth making again with a few changes. 
This is how Messrs. McCalls envisage it being worn:

When you look at blonde lady there, realistically I could have made it a size smaller. That way the band would be tighter and it would sit better on the top of my legs. I could possibly have done with shortening it too

It is a nice dress to wear to the beach of slouch around in. But the thing is, the short-of-stature among us - i.e. moi - are playing with fire wearing loose things like this. And it's never really a good sign when you think things like "Well, it would be useful if I was ever pregnant". So I think I will probably get more wear out of this to wear it as a top or somewhere in between at any rate! 

Sunday, 11 August 2013

way out west

I made a trip to the west of Ireland last week, and happened upon a new Irish company Irish Handmade Buttons in Joyce's Craft Shop ("One of the best craftshops in Ireland" says the sign) in Recess in the heart of Connemara. 

They are handmade by Kathleen Davies in her workshop in Connemara. I think she's looking for likes on Facebook, where you can also see her ceramic jewellery and wind chimes, if you are so inclined! 

I also found this vintage pattern in a little shop in Clifden. 

What is going on with the model's hair??? Mental.

Also(*thinks outloud*) I started thinking that maybe it's just an inferior version of a Hawthorn and maybe I'd prefer to make Hawthorn with its darts and pretty collar. Hmm ... To Be Decided. 

But, either way, a shirtdress will be manufactured and seeing all Hawthorns online made me think about shirtdress fabric. I think shirtdresses are cool - for me to avoid the housecoat or nurse look, I'm thinking above the knee and a punchy print are in order. 

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