Friday, March 25, 2011

I'm on Felt!

Thanks to the fact that I know people who are way better at marketing me than me, I now have a presence on Felt. Neat huh? I realised a long time ago that I have confidence in my ability to do the designing, pattern making, prototyping and producing. I have pretty much no confidence at promoting myself. Thankfully I know Kahlia who has all that in spades, and she has taken on my stuff on my behalf. (And her Mum's a friend of mine so if she gets bolshy I can go crying to M!) Cheers Kahlia!

And since poor Isabella pretty much only gets prototype designs these days it was inevitable that her new winter coat would be one. The weather has suddenly gone from drab to "OhCr*pSheNeedsHerNewCoatSOOOOOOON!" So I thought I'd better crack on with it.

So far it looks like this.
Yeah, I should be sewing, not blogging!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Take Two

I would have finished this sooner, but I had to wait till I could get to town for thread. And I would have blogged it yesterday but the teenager had the camera batteries!

So here is Hotpatterns 1089, The Three Graces T shirt, take two. (Same fabric, totally new top) I've altered it very slightly from the original version - in about 6cm (total reduction) at the waist, and out about the same at the hip. I hemmed it at 3.5cm instead of the 5cm allowed, and messed with the neckline to make it less bulky where back meets front. I also omitted any form of sleeve, since I think it would have been too much in this shiny fabric. (And I like sleeveless tops - with a layer under for warmth I can wear this year round) I just used cross grain strips of self fabric to do a binding/facing on the armholes. Looking at these photos I think I should have spent a bit of time in front of the mirror arranging it to sit better, but it's probably better to have a truer representation of how a garment looks in the real world!

Back. Despite my waist reduction it's still not very shapely. I might have a fiddle with pinning out a little more on this one to see if it looks better, but I 'm not at all unhappy with this shape. I wonder whether the addition of a cb seam for additional shaping would be worth doing?
Verdict: this is (I think) the most expensive pattern I've ever bought, at around NZ$30, so I was very very keen for it to be a success. And I think it is. I love the drapes, and the way it feels to wear. While it was a lot of buck, I think it is worth it for the bang. And there are two more versions in the pattern to try......

Monday, March 14, 2011

Why prototypes are essential

Katy at No big Dill is hosting a month of guests showcasing clothing designs inspired by childrens books. What a great idea, I thought. I design childrens clothes, I read childrens books (I can recite "The Little Yellow Digger" from memory. Just ask David, who turned the pages for Nicholas while I recited it from across the room!).

So I started thinking about books, and suddenly thought of Heidi, my favourite book when I was a child. I remembered the illustrations, like this:

And this:
When I was about seven I got this dress as a hand me down from my cousin. I called it my Heidi dress and it was probably my favourite dress of my whole childhood.

So I decided to have a crack at a 21st century version along the lines of the designs I'm currently working on. Striped skirt, some gathers (I gathered a panel in the cf of the bodice and made puffed tulip sleeves, giving the feel of the peasant style original), flowers embroidered on the skirt (remember Heidi gathering meadow flowers?). Two recycled mens shirts (I'm sure Heidi wore recycled clothes) and here we go:
Looks ok on the hanger doesn't it?

Then I put it on Isabella. And inside my head I swore. Loud and long. I struggled to get a picture of her standing still and straight to show the problem in all it's glory, but you get the idea - the skirt collapses instead of gently flaring out (every other dress I have made along these lines, from this block, flared perfectly fine) and the SLEEVES!
This one really emphasizes the problems. Blech.
This is more like it should look. Unfortunately I don't think I can persuade Isabella to spend the day walking around with her hands in the air.
I am really annoyed - since I was using a known block and stable fabric I wasn't expecting this! I'm going to remake the sleeves (as much smaller probably un-puffed petal sleeves) and I'm thinking that some stiffening along the hem might help.

On a much less grumpy note, Beangirl has bestowed upon me the "Stylish Blogger" award. (Something to do with us unpopular girls sticking together I think) The rules state that I have to thank the person who awarded me (Cheers Beangirl!) and list seven unexpected things about me. Which is why it's taken days to respond - I couldn't think of a single interesting thing to say! I'll do my best.

1 I do not believe in any form of supernatural anything whatsoever, nor superstitions. Apart from one - if I make a bowl or glass "ting" I grab the rim to stop the noise - to stop a sailor drowning. My Mum told me this one when I was a child (her family loved to sail and were very involved with the RNLI)

2 I am totally unafraid of spiders (the joy of growing up in a country where practically nothing is poisonous!) I will cheerfully pick them up (or any bug with legs) but I cannot abide slimy things - worms, slugs, snails - they make my skin crawl and no amount of money would make me go near one. I won't step on one or run one over with the buggy wheels, not out of concern for their well being, but my own desire not to get worm on my shoe. This may have something to do with my total disinterest in gardening. I really really want to handle a tarantula. A lot.

3 My fantasy dream job would be either head of the historical costume department for the BBC or a conservator in a big museum with a huge textile collection.

4 I got my navel pierced about 8 years ago, to celebrate losing 29kg. I got asked a lot about how I lost so much weight, and how much work I did at the gym to do it. I got a huge kick out of saying none - I joined the gym after I lost the weight. And I lost the weight by watching what I ate, cutting waaaay down on snacking and being calorie aware rather than rigidly counting. I haven't stayed at that weight because it required fairly strict discipline. My set point is a few kgs above, and with fluctuations I pretty much stay there.

5 My favourite singer is David Gray. Hands down, no competition. My sister has seen him perform at Glastonbury. Twice. He performed in Christchurch a couple of years ago, but I was pregnant enough with the twins to be nervous about travelling. We thought he was going to perform there again this year, but can find no confirmation of this. If he does, we're GOING!

6 I have never had a fight with my husband. We've been together for 16 years and in all that time he's never made me angry. We disagree on plenty of stuff, but somehow we can disagree without heat. Dunno why that is, but it makes for a very contented home. I tell him that as soon as he p***es me off, I'll let him know. Possibly the fact that he notices and thanks me for every tiny little thing I ever do for him is also a factor.

7 I only learned to drive 9 years ago after having my third child. I got a speed camera ticket on a driving lesson, and failed my practical test for my full license for speeding up before getting to the sign that indicated a higher limit. I consider the $70 it cost me to resit the test a fine. (Just for the record, I passed with flying colours the second time. I went over the same route, and crawled down the hill where the sign was, with every other car whizzing by me.) I've never been done for speeding since. Because I don't speed.

Phew, anyone who got this far deserves a cup of tea and a lie down!

Friday, March 11, 2011

I can be quick!

I confess this post is pretty much only here so that I can have a slight smirk at Keely. We ordered some Hotpatterns weeeeeeks ago. (By "we" I mean she placed the order and I took advantage to piggyback!) The original order never arrived, so Hotpatterns resent them and they arrived yesterday. While texting Keely during the day arranging to pop out to her place to pick mine up, I smirked that maybe she'd like to bet on whether I could get the 3 graces top I've been dying to make done by today. She sensibly didn't take the bet!

Got home 8pm-ish and got to work tracing and cutting my trial version. If this one works, yippee! If not, no big deal. Um, yeah, those instructions are brief. I labelled the twisty seams and spent a while staring blankly at the instructions willing them to suddenly become clear. Eventually I just tried different configurations until I think I got it right. I wasn't prepared to sew at that point so left it till this morning when I could check the EXTREMELY helpful video Trudy has made demonstrating how it works. It's very easy to sew, but not easy to figure out.

And it looks like this. For the record, I cut a size 8. I didn't bother with sleeves, but I think the armscye will be fine (the weight of sleeves will pull the shoulder seam a bit further towards my shoulders. If I add sleeves. I may just finish the armholes and leave it sleeveless).

My fabric is very very drapey and I like how it hangs.

Back. See how it's pooling on my hips?
But there's heaps of room around my waist.

In a bit at the waist is easy enough to alter on this version, but out at the hips will have to wait till next time.

Meanwhile, here's that navy dress I was making for Isabella on her. Boy it's hard to photograph an excitable two-and-three-quarter year old!

Oh, and my latest Alabama Chanin corset. The fit of this one is better than the red and cream version (I made a small instead of a medium), but after I'd cut it out I remembered that I wanted to dip the hem at the front a bit more so it's more like the dip at the back hem. Ooops. The girls at our craft group immediately guessed that this means I need to make another one. They know me well.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Weird trousers

As promised yesterday, here's a scan of those trousers - #137 from Burda 09/03.

The big circle is a sewn-on motif or buckle or something.

And the pattern pieces - neat huh?

Difficult to alter, but fortunately I know from experience that Burda pants generally fit me well, so worth a gamble. I didn't have to alter these at all, except that they're SHORT! The grey ones I was wearing in yesterday's post have added flaps at the hem to give extra length.

I might need to make these again. You can never have too many subtly weird pants in your wardrobe.