{ TIPTRICK TUESDAY } Bias tape…

Peeps, its been a { LONG } while since I shared a tip/trick with you but I remembered this one on Saturday when I was searching my stash.

A while ago I got so tired of having to find various colours of bias tape so instead, I purchased a whole roll of white cotton bias & now when I need a specific colour, I just dye it exactly the colour I need.

Saturday called for deep purple…

So out came the Rit liquid dyes that I purchased last year in almost every colour. I mixed a little bit of purple & a little drop of violet to make this vibrant purple, dropped in my white tape, let it stew for a few minutes & then rinsed it out under cold water. Sewing_tips_bias_tape

Your’e very welcome :-)

{ PS } Those of you that haven’t entered my Mens shirt pattern giveaway, you’ve still got until Sunday!!

{ MEN } Simplicity 1544 + giveaway…

There is constant chatter amongst the sewcialists regarding “selfish sewing”. Some of us are quite happy to be selfish seamstresses while some of us will sew for anyone or anything….yes, Im talking about you out there that sews for your dog/cat/neighbour. Ive touched on it briefly, but for me, sewing for others really does boil down to how confident I feel as a sewer. I always think that while a crooked seam here or there, a wonky facing etc might be ok for me to overlook, I always worry that it may be frowned upon by others I may sew for.  Strange but true.

I recently sewed a Datura for my SIL which was very well received.  With this in mind coupled together with the ½ price Simplicity sale (still running BTW) at Sew Essential UK, I purchased a whole whack of patterns, Simplicity 1544 being one of them. Simplicity1544_giveawayI have wanted to sew for the hubby for some time so this pattern seemed like a good place to start. Without going into much boring detail, I buggered up on the sizing..& it turns out I now have  { TWO } of these lovely Simplicity 1544 patterns.

I cheekily suggested I give one away via my blog. The lovely folk at Sew Essential agreed so they win, I win, you win. Its a { WIN WIN…WIN }.

So, if you wanna win this mens pattern (SIZE 34-42 US, 44-52 EURO), please leave a comment below before next SUNDAY 05 October 2014. You must have an active sewing blog linked to your comment & follow me either on WordPress or Bloglovin’. Giveaway is open worldwide so dont be shy.

Good luck.

xxAnge

 

{ DATURA } The 2nd…

So Ive probably gone & confused y’all with my Datura’s.

But its not so confusing. Stick with me.

Splat! came first, then this one & then the 3rd for my SIL. You see…not so confusing after all. I just posted them in the wrong order. Deer&Doe_Datura_closeup

Anyway, since Splat! was a little snug I had promised to make another allowing a little extra room for comfort. I { REALLY } wanted a white one for summer { WHAT SUMMER ??? } so after scratching through my stash, I settled on this white cotton with light grey paisley print thats been lurking for years. Since this version was quite a spontaneous make, I had to improvise with the contrast yoke fabric….& by improvise I really mean I cut into one of the hubsters shirts & lined it with white. The shirt was too big anyway but the grey was a perfect match. Deer&Doe_Datura_back

She went together as easy as pie until I got to the snaps at the back. I dont know, I just prefer to use snaps on my Datura tops as opposed to regular buttons. I hammered & hammered until I couldnt hammer any more. Eventually got it right. I think the snaps I was using were just rubbish so when Juli of Sweet Little Chickadee posted some lovely colourful snaps on her  Instagram one day, I jumped at the opportunity to ask her where she had found them. Dear me that girl is the best. She hooked me up to Cowgirl Snaps on etsy & I didnt waste time in ordering a whole bunch of stunning colours. They took about a week to arrive with me in Europe & I was in popper heaven!  I might still remove the silver snaps off this Datura & replace them with some pearly white ones….we’ll see!Deer_Doe_Datura_poppers

Cowgirl_snaps Deer&Doe_Datura

Anyway friends, thats 2 posts in 2 days. I deserve a medal especially with how slack Ive been with blogging recently! Ive been sewing, just not photographing. A combination of no time & no lack of decent weather outdoors to photograph. I had such high hopes for summer this year { SIGH }.

To all of you, have a great weekend.

We have a friends wedding tomorrow. I had high hopes of making a great dress for the wedding too { ANOTHER SIGH }…alas, Im RTW all the way :-)

xx Till soon

{ DEER & DOE } Jet Black Anémone…

The Anénome pattern dropped through my postbox on a Wednesday. She was finished 2 days later! If you’d recall, I did the same thing with my first Datura so it seems to be becoming my ‘thing’ with the Deer & Doe patterns.  I just find these patterns the cutest & so easy to rustle up as long as you have all  your bits ‘n bobs together. Deer&Doe_Anemone_front

If you dont know Anénome yet, allow me to introduce her. D&D launched her beginning of March & describe her as “A fitted high waisted skirt, lined, in two versions : short with a peplum, or knee length with decorative buttons”. Now of course, you could go long with a peplum or short with buttons, the choice is yours, but I decided to go short with pepi.

Before I go on I just wanted to say that Ive overexposed these images purposefully. Black is such a difficult colour to photograph to begin with & its another reason why Im showing you this garment on Poppy  {my dress form} & not on myself.  The overexposure of the background has also made the creases of the fabric more visible because of course, Poppy is not an exact replica of me.

Ok, back to the good stuff : I found the Datura a little small cut on my usual size so I erred on the side of caution this time around & cut Ms Anénome a size larger & because I have ample ass, I added a little more for extra measure.

I used an off-cut of the jet black gabardine I used for the V8601 riding jacket I made a while ago. The gabardine is tough as nails so there was no need to do any lining – something I really do not like is lining. Because the pattern expects you to use lining, I had to make some facings. I traced directly off the pattern pieces themselves. The only thing I did differently was make sure the front & side front pieces were cut as { ONE } facing & the side back & back pieces as one piece each as well. Does that make sense ? It just eliminates the need to have the facing made up of so many pieces & therefore less bulk at the waist. I folded over & under at the zip & stitched down by hand as most patterns instruct you to do when working with facings. I added a hook & eye above my zip because the zip specified for this skirt is quite long & you know how annoying it can be to try & get a zip up without a hook ‘n eye. Deer&Doe_back

Inserting the zip was painless thanks to the invisible zip foot which I would always recommend. I sewed in my “made by me” label & stitched some magenta loops on for hanging. I like to use coloured loops because they’re so much easier to find if they contrast to the fabric. Deer&Doe_Anemone_label

I blind hemmed the entire skirt, gave it a good press & { VOILA }. Deer&Doe_Anemone_front1

She’s really cute… I think.

If you’re not into high waisted skirts, then think about this one coz she really does sit quite high but I love the shape.  I had thought about the peplums adding extra width to the hips but I think she helps to disguise wide hips rather than accentuate them so this may be my first Anénome but certainly not my last!

Till next time… Ange x

PS – Thanks all for your advice & recommendations regarding overlockers. I have narrowed my search down to overlockers only since most of you reckon stay away from the combination machines…..so stay away I shall!

 

{ OVERLOCKER / SERGER } In the market for a newbie…

So after around 2 years of not using my overlocker, I finally pulled it out a while back & since then Ive been using it for almost everything.

I was given this machine back in 2003, but she had plenty miles on her then already…Id have to guess & say she was already 8 years then. So that makes ‘ol Ellie around the 18/20 year old mark?!?

She’s tired.  She works. { HARD } but she’s sooo tired. She’s aged incredibly well & in the 11 years Ive had her, she’s given me very little trouble. I’ll admit, there were some days I wanted to throw her around the room in frustration but I learnt over the years that she just mostly likes to do things in { HER } time which usually meant overnight. Id sleep while she worked on her issues. The next day we’d be friends again. Forcing her was never an option as Im sure many of you have discovered with your overlockers & their threading issues!

Anyway, recently Ive started wondering if its not worth looking into a new overlocker but perhaps with the added benefit of a coverstitch too. Ive been reading a tonne of reviews and watching a lot of youtube vids but I was wondering if any of you have any recommendations.  Also, any advice from those of you that maybe have a combination overlocker/coverstitch machine & how its been working out for you. Ive read some sewers say they’d keep their overlocker & coverstitch separate ??! Hmm..interesting. Im not 100% sold on whether I need a coverstitch either…

Machines are an investment & I dont mind spending a good amount of cash because I know if a machine is good, it will last!! Take Ellie for instance. She’s almost 20 & still going…albeit with some issues. (I could have her professionally serviced & new blades installed etc etc but servicing in Austria costs upwards of €130 so when I think about the value of that cash, I start to think about investing in a newer fancier one than repairing or servicing a 20yr oldie).

Anyway fellow sewcialists, your advice is always welcome & valued…

Good weekend to you all

Ange x

{ THOUGHTS } Do you sew for others…

Ive thought about this…alot. More so than I probably should to be honest.

Do you sew for others? 

Im not talking about you lovelies that sew for others for a living….I mean, thats paying the bills. Im talking about you other lovelies that sew for fun, because you love it – not that those of you that sew for a living dont love it but youknowwhatimean…Maybe the question should be rather – Do you enjoy sewing for others ?

Cos lemme tell ya, I dont. Im a selfish sewer if ever there was one.

There. { I SAID IT }.

Why ? Well, for a variety of reasons.

I dont like spending hours sewing for other people when Im not 100% sure they’re gonna love it, appreciate it or value it the way I do. 

And I always feel so open for judgement. Could that just be me?! Do you feel it too? 

Also, what about those folk you’ve sewed for that tell you “OMG i love it “ but you { NEVER } see them wearing whatever you made them? I call those the one-timers coz thats how many times I sew for them….only one time!

And, there’s still an era of folk out there that think “homemade” is beneath them, working class. The type that must buy labels. Yip, I avoid those folk too coz their understanding & my understanding are just too far apart.

My sister-in-law recently saw the 2nd Datura I was finishing up (still to be blogged) & mentioned some fabric she had stashed away. I offered to make her a Datura which I finished up last weekend. Im so curious about how it will be received.

Datura_Deer&Doe

So tell me, do you enjoy sewing for others? 

{ VOGUE 8888 } Sleepwear…

Im notoriously bad at buying sleepwear. What I do have lasts me forever because to be honest, I dont wear that much sleepwear. Sounds weird I know but in the past its been too easy to throw on a t-shirt & shorts or sweats & be done with it but Ive come around to the thinking that some pretty sleepwear is not a bad thing. Ask the hubster, he’ll tell ya its a great thing.

So I decided to give V8888 a try. I chose the cami & the panties/shorts to start. I wanted to see what the fit was like before I made it with something expensive like charmeuse so I pulled out this really old stretch something or another that ive been hoarding for years. I never really loved this fabric so it seemed like the perfect option for  a muslin if you will… but as you know, I do not like that particular “m” word.

The first thing I noticed about the instructions is they fail to mention that pieces 12 & 14 are required! These pieces make up the cups of the cami & the yoke front so IMO, very important pieces. Anyway, now you know. Apart from that little error, instructions are good.

I did not use lace overlay to my cups because this was a (insert “m” word here) remember. I overlocked all my pieces and the cami came together remarkably quick. As it started to take shape I realised I actually liked how it was looking so I decided to add some lace trim to the bottom of the cami & the knickers once it was all finished. For the straps I used double organza ribbon in cream & brown with little bows on the ends. The little shorts are so easy to make. 2 seams, some elastic & lace trim & they done.

As much as I love you all, this quick iphone image is the most you’ll be getting out of me as far as finished garment is concerned.  Vogue8888_sleepwear

Its cute huh?!

Overall, a great pattern with additional length on the cami as well as another slip & gown options. I do love the Vogue patterns with multi-garments in one envelope – they are such good value for money. This pattern is still available in print so do check it out if you looking for sleepwear.

Keep sewin’ on xx

{ ON THE CUTTING TABLE } & other news…

Hello friends -

London was great. Busy but good. I wish we had planned in Friday as well just to do our own thing but sadly ….next time huh. On Thursday I decided to clear my schedule for 2 hours while I jumped the tube & headed off to Goldhawk Road for a quick fabric shop.

I found some gems to be honest – absolutely not what I was expecting because I feel like when I shop under pressure I can never really enjoy it & end up leaving frustrated. Do you have that too? Anyway, it was weird to see all these fabrics popping out at me even though I was { VERY } aware of being on the clock. Here are the fabrics I took home with me :fabric_shop

{ left to right }

// multi-coloured (but mostly pink) irish linen which is heavy & beautiful quality.

// great floral cotton – so crisp but so soft too

// a viscose blend but the colours & pattern are rad

// an olive-ish green poly

// a black cotton with cut-outs – very cool. i only got a metre of this because i only intend on making a sleeveless top but thinking now, i really should have got more for a dress.

// a black & white cotton with the most adorable paris print

I picked these up from a variety of stores along goldhawk road. Every store I went into, the staff were super friendly and eager to assist. Where I felt fabric was a little overpriced for what it was, I said so & the sales staff had no problem negotiating.  Looking forward to visiting again – perhaps with more time on the clock!

Before leaving for London, I took advantage of the McCall Company sale & ordered a whole stack of new patterns so I was excited to see them sticking out my mailbox when I arrived home. There is { NOTHING } better than arriving home to sewing bits ‘n bobs – Im sure you know the feeling :-) Anyway, new patterns means I have to find an afternoon to sit & cut them all out. I really dont like having to cut patterns out before I start sewing so I like to get that done asap.  Cutting 7 patterns literally took all afternoon. Some of those suckers were huge! This is the recycle pile : pattern_cutting

And new to my sewing room is a drawer unit to help with storage of my threads and smalls, stationery & general crap. I was quite keen to use one of those thread holders to display them but then I started looking at how much thread I have and quickly realised my thread holder would have to be one giant coz I got lots…so I ditched the idea & used the drawers instead which doesnt look too bad. Whatcha think ? threads_drawer

The sewing room has been taking shape over the past couple of months & its almost { ALMOST } finished. As soon as I think its photo worthy, I’ll give you a peek inside ok?!

Ive also finally decided to make something of the yellow silk I purchased  a few months back. Silk has been pre-washed, pressed & ready for cutting :-)  Coming soon…silk

Ive also got 3 or 4 pieces that have been finished for some time but Ive been wearing them to death so I really do need to photograph them to show you. Ive made a linen skirt with an offcut from the white linen I used to make the shirt dress plus I recycled one of the hubsters shirts to make another Datura which Im so in love with…so those should be popping up here real soon.

I know its only Thursday but have a good weekend :) x Ange

{ ABSENT } Ive been gone so long even WordPress thought it time to upgrade without me…

Yip friends, thats what happens when your’e absent from blogging for almost a month!

We just had to break away for a little holiday. Those that follow me on Instagram will know we took a little us-time to Italy. It was just a week but it was enough to recharge the batteries before heading back to work to start a new project & deal with the snagging of the old.

We traveled by car coz the hubster has been doing so much air travel recently. I couldn’t ask him to do airports & planes for holiday too so a little driving it was. First stop was { BIBIONE }, then onto Venice for the day, then to Lake Garda, then up into “The Roof of Italy” to Merano, back into Austria to Salzburg and then home. We drove, slept, wined, dined, swam, hiked, moaned our way through Italy whilst sampling all the gelato we could along the way. Let me tell you Bibione might have been the most touristy but boy oh boy did we have AH-MAZING gelato there! Id drive 5 hours back to Bibione just for the dark chocolate ice-cream…you dont believe me…I absolutely would.

{ VENICE} was lovely. Fell in love with this perfect city with all its flaws. We didnt find it smelly or over-priced at all but I guess thats because we’ve lived in some expensive countries/cities to know when things are really bonkers expensive. Im pretty sure there are some bonkers places but in general, its european prices all day, every day.  Id go back in a heart beat & Im not just romanced by the touristy stuff that everyone does because I dont really subscribe to that crap to be honest.  I was just romanced by how peculiar and different Venice is.  I seek out the oddness & peculiar in everything so for me this was a treasure chest just waiting to be explored.Italy_Grand_Canal_July2014

{ LAKE GARDA } was disappointing, weather wise and otherwise. It was not what I was expecting, bar the lake of course so it was no great shakes to leave & press on to Merano.

{ MERANO } was beautiful, full of lush green vineyards. Very Austrian/German in every way but the Italian still manages to shine through here and there.

{ SALZBURG } – oh Salzburg. You know how much I love Salzburg. One night was enough to remind me of my love for this city.

Salzburg_July2014

A great little getaway filled with spectacular views. Italy_July_2014

So now Im back at work and headed to London tomorrow. Its a short in & out business trip that unfortunately I didnt have much time to plan. Back in May I was supposed to join Rachel and all of you at the London get together. I was all booked & ready at the airport but unfortunately, I was not allowed to board the plane. UK Immigration is a bitch I’ll tell ya that!! I dont travel on an EU passport, I was denied entry to the UK and therefore my passport had to go into the Embassy for stickers and stuff. (Now dont be thinking how did she not know she needs visas/permits etc coz Im not that clouded over…..the system is chaos! I had been traveling in & out of London for 2 years without any problems until that farking day!)

I received my passport back last Thursday after what seemed like an eternity. Im stickered up & ready to rumble. I could go on for days about my immigration situation and while I would very much like to vent here, I think its probably better that I dont.

Long story short is that I’ll be in Londontown quite a lot over the coming months. Most of the trips will be quick in & outs for business but Im hoping that I can at least get to meet some of you & shop fabric while Im there.

Lovies to you all

x ange

{ KWIK SEW 3488 } The Shirt-dress…

i’ve been wanting to make  forevs…

I had seen an image in a magazine yonks ago & thought the idea of creating a focus down the middle using contrasting buttons quite genius. After settling on the Kwiksew 3488 pattern, I found a lovely weight 100% white linen at my local fabric store for €6/m & knew it was a match made in heaven. KwikSew3488_front01

This was the first Kwiksew pattern Ive used & I have to be honest & give credit where credit is due. First of all, I love that its printed onto heavier weight paper than the tissue most pattern companies use. It just makes more sense because Im not the sewer that traces…I cut that darn pattern & I use it. The only time I trace is when I notice the pattern battling after multiple abuse….& of course those dreaded BurdaStyle traces. I also love that the paper is { WHITE }. Probably because the writing is easier to see…I dont know, I just prefer it to the brown tissue. Also, most of the writing is in dark blue but the really important text like “PLACE ON FOLD” or cut 1 “ON FOLD” is in red as well as the pattern piece numbers. Sure, these are small details but I dig small details!!! The thing I love most though are the colour coded size lines. XS is in light mauve, S is in light red/pink, M is in light blue & so on. { GENIUS }. It makes following your size so much easier. Again, small deets but you know…

**edit** after publishing this post yesterday Ive had a few ladies mention that since KS was taken over by the McCalls group, the patterns are now printed onto the same brown tissue as the Vogue, Butterick, McCalls etc. This is rather disappointing to hear obviously however Im also quite surprised this is the case because I purchased this pattern from the US recently – directly from McCalls. It could be it was old stock & thats why the pattern was still on the thicker paper?!? Just wanted to clarify incase anyone goes out to buy their patterns based on my review only to find tissue!

The instruction sheet is also printed onto white paper rather than the drab brown but hey ho, whatevs floats your boat. Where some other brands show little diagrams of which side the pattern piece should be laid for cutting ie. right side up etc, these instructions you do have to read..no diagrams. I prefer the diagrams for quick reference but the text is also fine so I highlighted it for quick reference next time. The actual sewing instructions were also really good. This wasn’t a difficult project & I couldnt find any reference to what level of sewer would find this suitable but I would say an advanced beginner with experience sewing buttonholes & topstitching could take this on without a problem. KwikSew3488_front02 KS3488_back

The body measurements listed on the back of the envelope indicated I should sew the L but once I saw the finished garment measurements on the actual pattern piece, I went for the M & Im glad I did.  There is a certain amount of ease allowed for but ease is such a controversial subject. Some people like lots of ease, some like very little. I think it also depends on the style of garment & your body shape really.

Because this was my first Kwiksew pattern, I decided to leave the topstitching until as late as possible. I needed to fit it & I certainly didnt want to have to unpick masses of double topstitch…because almost every seam calls for double topstitch but you can leave those off if you like too – its ups to yous. Most of the seams I topstiched with a twin needle giving it a really nice finish. After sewing so much silk & jersey recently, the linen was a darn dream. I sewed the shorter version, with short sleeves & no pocket flaps. KS3488_stitching_detail

Next big decision – the { BUTTONS }…I had black buttons in mind because I wanted to create that focus but then I found bronze ones…the mind boggled! I took to Instagram for help & some of you voted black, some of you voted bronze – so thanks for that!!! I eventually found these lovely black domed buttons with silver splatter on them. I liked the shape & feel so I went with those. You might also notice I placed my buttons at closer intervals than the pattern suggested which meant almost double the amount of buttonholes. Luckily my Sapphy has the one-step buttonhole feature so sewing those were easy as pie. Once the buttons were stitched on, I blind hemmed & she was done.I wonder if the buttons prevent it from looking too doctor-ish though….because it feels a little doctor-ish. What do you think ?? KS3488_buttons

The dress is really comfortable, belted or not…& in linen perfect for the hot weather we’re having & Im hoping the linen will keep softening with every wash too. Im lucky enough to work from home so this kind of dress fits my lifestyle incredibly well. I just have to slip on a pair of cute flats or my over-worn nude espadrilles & Im ready to go should I need too.KwikSew3488_front04

Im definitely sewing her again, perhaps with 3/4 sleeves in a lightweight denim & red topstitch or chambray….or even with cap-sleeves??!!?

Have a good weekend & till next time,

A x