I'm obsessing culottes... Inspiration

Sunday, 30 November 2014

I completely blame Kirsty and Debbie for this and I think I might have to eat my words and a little humble pie. You see they have both made awesome culottes recently and whilst I love them on those ladies, I was convinced they'd be hideous on me. I announced they'd never get me into culottes, no way, no how. Then I saw these babies from Gorman...

Photo source
...and I thought now there's a pair that might completely sway me. Then I went to Gorman and tried them on and now I'm a goner. I hope I'm not completely deluded, and they don't in fact make me look like an Oompa Loompa.

That said, I bought this amazing cotton/linen (85/15, I think) fabric and I'm committed.

Then Myra of MyZeeMoo very rightly warned me on Instagram: that print is gonna make for some potentially awful pattern placement faux pas. Oh lord, I'm not sure I can avoid it...

But I neeeeeeeeed culottes.

Are you falling head over heels for the culotte trend or are you happily avoiding it?


Saturday, 29 November 2014

I made cake!

Sort of. It's not a print, it's neutral coloured, but it does have some sneaky embellishment. I'm still gonna call it cake as it's the closest to cake I've made in... ever? I do like me some frosting/icing.

And it gives me angel wings when the sun is at just the right angle!

This is Pattern X Cape-style blouse in scallop-edge lace, from Yoshiko Tsukiori's Stylish Dress Book: Wear with Freedom. My last project was also from this book.

I'm a bit ambivalent about this one. It's not quite a "woohoo!" (those who are participating in Bimble and Pimble's Instagram #BPSewvember and who follow me will get the reference). A "woohoo!" result is a project that turns out just as you had envisaged in your mind's eye. This was close, but no cigar. 

The fabric is super pretty, no? A lovely, scalloped edge, embroidered fabric. Well let's have a little chat about fabric choice. Poly cotton. Ick. I knew the fibre content when I purchased the fabric, it even felt a little stiff and polyester-like, but I hoped pre-washing might soften it up a little. Not.

It's just a bit too "sticky outy". And where are my crisply pressed seams and hems? Polyester doesn't do crisp pressed, even when it's trying to play nicely with cotton.

Can you sense my ambivalence?
I wanted a fair bit of body for this one, but I didn't want wings. I got me some wings. Those sleeves won't drape, no way, no how.

The top tends to slide to the back of the shoulder, but it also does in the pattern photo. Shoulda' known it'd flash my belly button on 99% of shots and therefore in real life! Damn my long torso.

It also makes my narrow shoulders look even more narrow.

I did French all the seams though. Yay, me!

It'll get worn, that's good enough. I just really wanted a "woohoo!".


Sunday, 23 November 2014

You're not going to miss me in this one.

The name of this dress came about from an Instagram exchange with Gabrielle of Up Sew Late. In the process of sewing up this number I joked that I figured I'd stop traffic. Not because it's risque in anyway, but because I'm fairly certain you could use my fabric in place of hi-vis vests for traffic control officials. Ain't ever gonna miss this one.

But I love it! I spotted this National Flags collection cotton poplin in my usual hunting ground (Spotlight) and knew it was the fabric for this dress right away. I love poplin. So crisp, so well-behaved.

This is Pattern F Tunic dress with slit sleeves in Liberty print from Yoshiko Tsukiori's Stylish Dress Book: Wear with freedom.

My love for Japanese patterns these days knows no bounds and may even overtake my love of 70's vintage patterns. Cue wide-eyed disbelief...

I love the sleeve detail, which was also probably my impetus for making this dress. I like simple shapes, but with an interesting detail or two and this fits the bill.

I found the sizing initially tripped me up with this one. I measured an 8 at the bust and at least a 12 at the hip. In fear that the dress would be too snug, I graded up to the 12 in this area. Boy was I wrong. It looked like the worst kind of mu mu.

I took it back to a size 8 all over and then took a further 8cm (!!!!!) out of the hem circumference. Yikes! It doesn't appear to be that A-lined when looking at the pattern picture or the pattern itself, but good lord it looked ridiculous on me.

I am super-super happy with the result and can't wait to wear it. I might add I am not normally one to draw attention to myself so I am a little nervous. Ahhhh bugger it, I am crafter, hear me roar!


Sunday, 16 November 2014

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...

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