Sunday, 16 November 2014

SEWN: BESPOKE BAG OF LOVE

It's here!!!!!!!!


I apologise now 'cause you're gonna get photo bombed. This bag is just. that. good.


Disclaimer: I didn't sew this... hubby did. He is the most awesomely brave leather craftsmen, full of heart and the most amazing sense of shape and design. I am the luckiest wife ever, oh yes I am.

Let's be clear here. This gorgeous work of art started as a loosely formed idea in my head after hubby asked one day "what would you like me to make you". I mean seriously - offer to make something for me as opposed to me begging!? That's true unselfish sewing as these pieces take a whole lot of blood (literally, those needles are viscious), callouses (you try hammering each and every single hole through which to sew), tears (when something you spent hours on just doesn't quite work... we'll get to that later) and time (a good few months).

But oh my, oh me, just look at her awe-inspiring perfection.


I set about finding a few inspiration bags and hubby designed a pattern from scratch, creating several "muslins" (made outta cardboard) until I felt it was perfect. To. The. Very. Last. Millimetre. P has the patience of a saint.

I spent literally hours at Birdsall Leather trying to find the perfect hide. We decided to buy a coloured chrome side in tan rather than dyeing it ourselves. I really wanted a uniform colour and when we've done the dyeing ourselves in the past it has tended towards uneven colour.

  

We managed to find one lonely last skein of Irish waxed linen thread in the perfect colour and we were off.


And just in case you still don't quite get it. This bag is made entirely by hand. From the cutting and finishing of each piece, the punching of every needle hole, to the very last stitch.


Which is why it's so devastating when something goes wrong. We thought we were done a few weeks ago as you may have seen if you follow me on Instagram. But when we went to attach the shoulder strap we realised one of the ends (the buckle end) was way too short.

The shoulder strap is two lengths of leather sandwiched and sewn together. This lends strength to the strap and also means you don't have raw leather against your clothes (which kind of leaves some flaking behind). 

It took hours and hours to hand sew. 

We had to start again. Not happy. 

Loss of hubby's sewjo and a short break.


But finish P did. And man, what a finish.



Rear strap fixing for buckle

And since P loves this photo because he says it feels so "panoramic" and world conquering...

Thursday, 9 October 2014

SEWN: INDIGO ALDER

 

We thought we'd never get there (that's the royal "we"), but good god we've done it!

If you read my last post where I lamented my complete and utter lack of sewing time of late you'll understand the delay in this. It's been something like 10 weeks since I started! I got off to a flying start with the sewalong, but it all went pear-shaped and I've only just picked it up again and finished it off.

Check it. Like. A. Boss


If you follow me on Instagram (go on, you know you want to), you'll have seen me post on my most amazing topstitching. Truly - it is amazing. Well on the pockets anyway. That collar stand leaves a lot to be desired.


This was my first proper collar having only sewn the Negroni shirt previously which has a "camp" collar. And let's not even talk about my pirate clown shirt distaster (sob, it still bites).

After reading through Jen's instructions for attaching the collar (which I'm sure are impeccable to the average person but made my brain bleed with my inability to decipher what the hell was going on there) I decided to follow Andrea's tutorial "Sewing a Collar: A Different Order". This tutorial comes highly recommended throughout blogland and I can see why. It does make more sense to brains like mine.

I have to say though I still had a bee-atch of a time with finishing the front edges of the collar stand. You can see the fraying edge of the stand seam allowance poking through. No matter what I did I couldn't solve this - I tried leaving a decent seam allowance as advised by Andrea and when that didn't work, trimmed it back a bit. But good lord that edge is impossible to finish cleanly when topstitching through about four layers of denim, one of which is interfaced. Any advice peeps?


I cut a straight size 6, choosing my size based on my intention to conduct a 1" SBA. I totally did not think about the front shoulder seam being forward though and when checking the bust dart point I lined up the top edge of the pattern with my actual shoulder line. The marked dart very suspiciously lined up well with my bust point. I should have trusted my gut. I had to adjust the bust point up for my Tiny Pocket Tank and would have expected to need to do so with this and any other Grainline pattern. Bugger. Those dart points are at least 2 inches too low, but thankfully the pockets cover that faff up. Will fix for next time.

I also wonder if I couldn't raise the armscye a bit too. Looking at that photo above, whilst it's not revealing my bra or anything, it does seem a bit too deep.



Nice fit across the back, but perhaps could size down a little??

In general, it was a beautifully drafted pattern with everything lining up just perfectly. I love that.

The instructions were brief, but adequate. I would advise that the sewalong posts are well worth looking at as they give other very useful hints and tips of value to even experienced crafters.

In the end I adore my new dress. I can see it on high rotation during the coming warm months and transitioning to cooler times with the addition of tights, boots and a cardigan.

And there are definite (maybe) plans to get started on the gathered View B, but maybe with the v-neck variation...

In the meantime, I'm a very happy camper.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Who? Me? (AKA a bloggy hop)

Are you sick of seeing these posts yet? I'm not sure where this current blog hop originated, I'm not sure anyone else does either (!) but I'm so very much enjoying getting to know a bit more about the bloggers I love.

I had the absolute pleasure of meeting the gorgeous Myra of my-zee-moo at Frocktails in Sydney some weeks ago. So when Myra asked if I'd agree to be "hopped" I was so very chuffed that I said "why of course, I'm sure there are oodles of readers out there just waiting for my little getting to know you post" (kidding). So in case you're still tuned in here 'tis.

Why do you write?

I'm one of those people who always think it'd be cool to keep a journal. I go out and buy an awesomely cute, visually appealing notebook, and last like one day - two days max. I just have no discipline whatsoever. Or perhaps it's that writing a "dear diary" entry feels a bit contrived for me and it never sat quite right.

Then a couple of years ago, looking for some free baby girl dress patterns for my newly popped baby girl I discovered blogs. Awesome, interesting, often funny and self-effacing, I found myself obsessed hooked. I had found a little community that were in many ways, just like me, and I wanted in.

After some seriously dedicated stalking blog reading I decided that perhaps I had something to say too. Nothing terribly clever or witty, but I wanted to share my makes and create some relationships with like-minded individuals, even if just on screen.

I've been sewing since I was about 8 or 9, learning on my Mum's old Singer machine. Then taking Textiles and Design at school, designing and creating my own gowns for year 10 and 12 formals. Taking a little hiatus when it suddenly seemed uncool to make your own clothes and then gleefully rediscovering the bug and this community years later. Rarely have I ever found anyone in real life who can share my goofy excitement and appreciate the work that creating entails.

My blog is a bit "notebook" (keeping track of changes or alterations I've made to garments/patterns in case I want to sew it again) and a bit about establishing a relationship and dialogue with other creators out there who just "get it", and therefore, generally get me.

What are you working on?

I'm beginning to realise I'm not at all like some incredible bloggers. I don't have more than one project on the go at any one time. I just don't have the time and I think that'd just make me anxious! This winter in particular has been especially challenging. What with work, blah, blah, family, blah blah and study (what on earth was I thinking?) my creating has taken a serious hit. It's enough just to keep upright sometimes. Sewing has just felt like an additional straw that might very well break this camel's back...

And so...

Ugh... my poor, poor Alder. I had such high hopes of keeping up with Jen's sewalong and actually getting this make done. It's getting done... albeit at a pace a little slower than a snail's.

But check out the awesome start I've made!


How's that for topstitching?

I'm halfway through the collar and then it's buttonholes and hems and I'm done. I think it's the brainpower required to get that collar looking right that has really done me in. But I'll get there.

In terms of plans... remember my plan to have no plans? Well that's working real well for me! But possibly means I'm getting nothing done.

I've definitely got a Bombshell swimsuit planned for summer in the awesome lycra below..


Sigh.. so pretty

And remember this ridiculous silk twill? Ridiculously beautiful that it is...


I'm planning to use it for the gathered version of the Alder shirt dress. Yeah, yeah, get the first one finished first Jillian, I know what you're all thinking. But a girl can dream.

Other than that, I see a few more Japanese patterns made up. I am rather a fan.

How does it differ from others of its genre?

For a start I am totally not one of the cool kids. The ones that make sewing and creating their life's work, and who's blogs I devour ravenously (I just had a thought, perhaps if I stopped obsessively reading I'd carve out time and energy for actually creating! Huh!). I won't be asked to pattern test. I won't be purchasing every newly released indie pattern. I won't be scrabbling to join in with sewalongs at every opportunity (sorry Alder...). I'm not trying to create my entire wordrobe.

I am who I am. A bit of a sewer, a bit of a raveller and increasingly more unravelled. I row my own boat, try not to worry that if I am conspicuously absent from my blog that the online (and recently IRL. Yay Frocktails!) relationships I've created and nurtured will not completely disintegrate with my absence.

If you like a bit of sewing, and a bit of winter knitting, then perhaps you'll like looking at and reading about my creations. At least I hope you do.

How does your writing process work?

What process? You mean I have to have a process? Is that where I've been going wrong?

Everything I make, makes it to this here blog. From the moment I choose a pattern, to purchasing fabric, sewing seams to finishing touches, I am writing my post in my head. Occasionally that means scribbling some witty aside onto a scrunched up receipt at the bottom of my handbag, so I won't forget it later. Witty asides are not known to come thick and fast in these here parts.

After taking my finished garment shots I'll cull to the few I see making it to the blog and use a combo of the photos to guide my writing as well as those witty asides, pattern review tidbits, alterations made and lessons learned.

I generally wait until I'm in the right head space and the writing then seems to flow so very much more easily.

So that's it folks. I hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about me.

Onwards and upwards (AKA who's next?)

I have followed Debbie's blog Lily Sage & Co for ages now. Now Debbie is definitely one of the cool kids. Have you seen her stuff? I want to be Debbie when I grow up. I'm not even kidding. I might have squealed when she agreed to let me hop to her. It was very embarrassing.

And Sasha of Fruits, Flower & Clouds. I have only more recently discovered Sasha's blog. I want to live in her wardrobe, and probably her country/city/town. Sasha had me with her Jacques Pants and then everything else on her blog was a bonus. Did I also mention she's incredibly sweet?

So it's over to you ladies. I look forward to getting to know you both better!