Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Sewingless again...

I would like to say that I sewed my socks off this weekend. I didn't. I could repair it by saying that I knitted my socks off this weekend. That too would be a lie. I am progressing slowly but surely with my knitting, having finished both sides and now working on the back, but I'm afraid to say it feels like I didn't get a lot accomplished this weekend.

Of course it didn't help that Saturday was spent feeling delicate after a night out, which was then cured by two margaritas and a lot of cheese. I did manage to add to my ongoing project of creating a dress on my dress form:

I started this a few months ago. The top half of the dress (please ignore the bra straps, as my dummy needs extra support it seems too) I made to try out a new pattern, and I actually liked the way it looked. (Please also ignore the clutter behind the dummy, my mind is not ordered, therefore I don't see the need for my room to be either.) I added the tiered skirt this weekend. I think I'll replace theBlue band for a black one, and then it's ready to sew up.

I also, by Scruffy's suggestion, decided drape myself in my Walthamstow floral fabric in order to work out whether the design would be a bit too much. I actually quite liked it, and have decided to go ahead with V8615, but with a plain belt to break up the design, as illustrated in another cluttered photo:

I made the muslin, and do you know, it fit! No alterations. I suppose that's the great thing about making a pattern by cup size, means less needs doing to it afterwards. I am going to make one change to the pattern. The floral is quite busy, and as I'm not really a fan of long sleeves, I'm going to shorten the sleeves slightly with this as my inspiration:

You might be able to tell from the photo that the sleeves are gathered up the centre, with elastic on the wrong side. Hopefully this won't be too difficult to draft by myself. Wish for no tears and swear words, thats all I'm asking.

And to leave you with another accomplishment for the weekend:

Eton Mess: easiest thing in the world to make but yummy! And look how pretty!

x Twitchy x

Monday, 21 March 2011

Swapping thread for yarn...

Well, after the incredibly exhausting weekend being all touristy last week, I was going to dedicate this weekend to sewing. Unfortunately, this did not happen. As nearly always happens when you procrastinate during the week "I'll only trace my pattern this week seeing as I'll be sewing all weekend" and "I'll cut out the muslin at the weekend, aster all it is two days!", I put it off all of Saturday, and then all of Sunday.

The reasons - in my head at least - are two fold. Firstly, I recently got a knitting book called Vintage Knitwear for Modern Knitters, and I thought I would give it a go. However, when I do this, I'll sit and knit and knit and before I know it, 5 hours have passed and I haven't had a sip of water the entire time.

This is what I'm working on:

 The joy of it, is that it's coming together really really quickly. It would have gone even quicker if I hadn't of done this:

You may or not be able to tell from the photo that I copied out the pattern, with row numbers and shapings. I always get things wrong, so I've found that doing this means I make fewer mistakes, but does make me feel like a complete nonce. Am I the only one who does this?

The second reason for my halted process in sewing is that I'm having second thoughts about my fabric choice. You may remember that I was going to make Vogue 8615. I was thinking this fabric:

but I'm now thinking that this is a bit busy for such a high neck and swooshy skirt. So what do we think? Yay or Nay? Sew or not to Sew? Perhaps match some plain navy (it is in fact navy) fabric on top and have the pattern on the bottom? Or go floral crazy? Love to hear your thoughts, as I'm evidently unable to make my own decision.

x Twitchy x

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Undercover as a London Tourist

Hi all,

I had a marvellously touristy weekend. I've lived in London for over a year now, and for the first time, my parents decided to come up and visit. I'd love to say that they came to see me purely for the pleasure of seeing me, but alas not.

Mummy Twitchy has decided to take up sewing again (I'm rather impressed that by shoddy examples I have managed to inspire Mummy Twitchy and Family member No.1 to start making or atleast think bout making clothes). And where better to shop for fabric than old London town? After my very successful visit to Walthamstow, I've been telling anyone what a fantastic place Walthamstow Market is for buying fabric. So Mum decided to put it to the test - I'm happy to say she loved it! Daddy Twitchy who's less inclined to buying fabric spent his time declaring 'this is how markets should be' and examining cheap pans.

I was naughty and bought things I really didn't need:

Lovely lovely check suiting, and you may not be able to see, but with purple running through it. A bargain at 3 pounds a metre. The fabric on top is a crepe de chine (I think), in a lovely dusky rose colour - 1.20 a metre! Right now, I'm thinking a Cinnamon slip.

The purpose, as it turns out, of Daddy Twitchy was to see Chinatown. Unfortunately, I don't think he realised that you can only really eat at Chinatown nowadays, but we did all enjoy a marvelous buffet meal while we were wandering around.

On Sunday, I went to Columbia Flower market. I hadn't even heard of it before, but had a lovely time wandering though the market, smelling Daffodils, Tulips and Roses, and managing to wangle an orchid for free! The flower market is also surrounded by some posh vintage boutiques, but seeing as it's Shoreditch, everything was incredibly overpriced!

We then walked back down Brick Lane to get the tube station, and had a quick look in the Sunday Up-Market, but nothing was purchased there either. The stores seemed to just be fulled with the same kind of stuff you can get from Camden, and although there were some nice vintage stalls, nothing really caught my eye.

I did eat a cake. I lurved the cake.

A fantastically tiring and exciting weekend was had by all. I think next week however you'll find me behind the sewing machine.

Enjoy this statue of a car being picked up along Park Lane (apologies for the quality. I was on a bus at the time of capture!)
x Twitchy x

Monday, 14 March 2011

Et Voila!

As promised (thanks for the interest Scruffy Badger!), please see above a rather pleased-with-myself-wearing-the-Beignet-in-front-of-a-pagoda skirt which I finished last week.

Please excuse the rather rumpled nature of the skirt. Forget the meaning of life, I would very much like to know why a skirt will crease when wearing it, despite the fact that you were unable to properly press the darn thing when sewing it in the first place?!!!

The obligatory back, side and front shots

After wearing it for a few days, I'm warming up to it. For one thing, it's red. And I love red. It's warm and it's comfortable.

The skirt was easy to put together, which gave me a chance to be particularly meticulous and practice all those techniques that I should be doing but I don't.

However, the skirt came out a little too big for me, despite the fact that I made a muslin that was a tad on the tight side. (Another one of life's unanswerable questions...) Also the wool was a poobum to press. The hem looks messy, I did the catch stitch to tight (although very neatly which is a thumbs up for me) and the seams look like they had never heard of an iron.

Karen told me a good tip for treating wool crepe - 'cut a 10x10cm square from your fabric and put it in the washing machine with a wash. Then when you pull it out, re-measure the square to see whether or not it has shrunk [...] but this would be one way of finding out how your fabric behaves in the wash.' It didn't shrink in the wash. Now I wish (really?) it had, then I could shrink it to fit... (I can almost hear the gasps of horror - I will not be doing this)

Will I wear it again? Simple answer - yes. Plus I know how to make it now which means the next one will be stellar. I was thinking of inspiration for the next Beignet, and I though, blue with yellow buttons. Wouldn't that look a treat? Then I realised Tilly has made the exact same skirt in the exact same colour scheme. (She's also made this skirt in red - I feel I may be copying her a little bit.) So I'm moving on to a dress. This one in fact:

Gertie made a gorgeous version of this, in fact as soon as I saw hers I went away and bought it myself. And now due to my Spring resolution, I'm making it. I've only had in my stash for what, a year?

I had a wonderfully touristy weekend, which I'll share with you a bit later, but until then...

x Twitchy x

Friday, 11 March 2011


Hurrah! The Beignet skirt by Colette patterns is finished! to ensure that you don't have high expectations of it I'm going to tell you now - it's not great. I think as previously expected, the wool is just too bulky for the skirt, and I managed to poop up the button holes. Luckily these have been hidden by the tie belt, so people won't know. But I will.

I determined to get the most out of this skirt though, and am wearing it to work today. Plus it's wonderfully warm in the cold air conditioned office!

Pictures are to follow... once I take some.

I thought I'd fill you in on a little something I tried this week - bouldering. Now, since I was younger I've had this magical ability to fall off every single rock I've tried to climb. So I think it was quite impressive that I gave it a go.

Source: www.archclimbing.com

Bouldering is like rock climbing, but the walls are smaller, at inclines and with overhangs. You're not attached to the wall either. I did it at Arch Climbing in London Bridge, and I can't tell you how much I enjoyed it! The first thing they make you do is jump off the wall, which was terrifying! I could barely pull myself onto the wall, it turns out I have the upper arm strength of a kangaroo. And boy, did I hurt the next day. And the day after.

Anyways, after that little diversion into the excitement that is my life, I'm going to head off to twirl around in my new skirt.

x Twitchy x

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

It's still not finished...

That's right. I am still yet to finish my Beignet skirt. I don't think I've ever spent this long on a project!

On the one hand, it's so far looking a lot neater than the majority of my projects, but the wool crepe I bought is in hindsight, probably a bit to bulky for the job. And what with the weather getting warmer (isn't it gorgeous today?!) I probably won't be able to get a lot of wear out of it.

The problems I managed to have so far are:

Understitching. A very simple concept, but why oh why did it take me an evening to work out what this is? I had the pattern glossary, The Sewing Book and the internet. And I still couldn't work out what it was. (In the end I took this as a sign to give up sewing for the day, and managed to wrap my brain around the idea in 2 mins the following day!)

Lining. Somehow the lining is about half an inch longer than the shell! I have no idea how I managed this. Also, I'm mildly confused about the hem step. Am I meant to catchstitch the hem? Or the lining to the hem? (comments, suggestions, HELP, would be appreciated...) The most explicit instructions in the world, and I still can't quite work it out.

It will look fantastic once it's done, but when that will be, I'm not quite sure.

I was also a it naughty and bought more patterns this weekend. My stash is getting out of control. Which is now why I vow not to buy any more patterns for the rest of the year. I know it's a bit late for New Years Resolutions, so this will be my Spring resolution. So for the rest of the year I will only sew the patterns I already have, including these lovely vintage ones:

So my Spring resolution this year will be to learn how to grade patterns as well. Because I've got to have those pyjamas.

x Twitchy x

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Royal Wedding anyone?...

I just found this interesting slideshow about bridal couture on the BBC.


I love the way they do draping on the tailor's dummy to design the dress. I'd love to learn how to do that! Enjoy!

x Twitchy x

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Why having a Grandma is cool...

I haven't managed to do a lot of sewing recently. I went home for the weekend (not so sunny Buckinghamshire) to visit my family who are suffering after the departure of No.5 for Sydney. She's only going for 3 weeks, but apparently that's just too long for my Mum and Dad!

On Saturday I went to visit the Hell Fire Caves, which is situated in West Wycombe, and used to be the occasional meeting place of the Hell Fire Club. Well known members of this group included Lord Sandwich and Benjamin Franklin. The outside of the caves is beautiful:

The Caves themselves were a bit rubbish. Madame Tussuad leftovers and old Halloween decorations were scattered about. There was a lot of information about the life of Benjamin Franklin and old visits by Most Haunted, but not a lot about the local area, the chalk mining etc. There is a bit of family history with this place, as my Grandfather's company were contracted to light the place when it was refurbished many years ago.

But anyhoo, I also went to visit my Grandma who decided she wants to clear out her sewing kit and this worked out very well for me!

 These are my favourite items from the haul, which included some thread, lots of buttons, pins and things.

The top picture is of handpainted mother of pearl buttons, which I'll have to save for something really special.
The middle is an ivory belt buckle. I'm going to sideline the fact that it's ivory, seeing as it's an antique. You can't really tell from the picture, but it's been carved with roses and leaves.
The bottom picture are antique scissors. Hopefully you can tell from the image that it's a heron! They won' be used for sewing but they'll be treasured.

Hopefully I'll get a chance to finish off the Beignet skirt within a couple of days. I'm looking forward to getting back behind the sewing machine!

x Twitchy x