Wednesday, October 24, 2012

An Embarrassment of WIPs

That should be a collective noun.  I recently made a dress for my friend J, and while she was visiting for "fittings" (which involved a fair bit of coffee drinking and Pinterest surfing as well as actual fitting) she mentioned wanting a jacket.  So I showed her a pattern I thought she'd like (#118 from BWOF 06/06, which is old enough that it no longer appears in the magazine archive) and shamefacedly confessed that I'd started it (in fabric she'd like) when the magazine came out.  I think I abandoned it because I wasn't sure about trim, but it may have been because I realised that the sew-in interfacing I'd chosen to underline it with was the wrong choice.  This is a light, loosely woven fabric which frays when you look at it.  A fusible knit interfacing would have been much better. So I did more work on it anyway before reaching the same trim dilemma, and I am seriously contemplating carefully unpicking everything and using fusible interfacing to underline.

Moving on, at the same time I dug out the jacket I came across the cut out pieces of this handbag.  (It's the Nairobi bag which was a free download from Hotpatterns several years ago).  My current handbag is from the same pattern and is looking pretty sad.  So (also an embarrassingly long time ago) I cut this one from curtain fabric.  It stalled because I needed to get appropriate interfacing.  This is J's and my signature favourite colour, and she LOVES butterflies, so this languishing in a box almost brought her to violence!

And of course the ongoing Alabama Chanin skirt.  Mostly getting worked on at craft nights.

This is a dress I started for Isabella.  Also a BWOF pattern (#136B from 01/09).  I bought this magazine when she was less than a year old and had to wait for her to grow into it.  And then another year or so to get around to it.  I finally started a couple of weeks ago and when I got to this point I thought I should check the (suspiciously small looking) neck opening would fit over her head.
We know where this is headed, don't we?  Not even close.  Opening was about 48cm, her head was about 54cm.  Dress tossed aside in disgust as I ponder how best to make the opening big enough without losing the look of the back section, which I like.  Fortunately I have plenty of fabric to recut any of the pieces I need.

And last but by no means least (is anyone still reading?) the current genuine Work In Progress.  It's been waiting a few weeks because I needed plenty of space for the pieces.  Two of them, which each take up most of my dining table. (My sewing for me time has been severely curtailed of late by curtains, school holidays and the mammoth task of relocating all the kids to different bedrooms)

Any guesses as to what this might be?  I LOVE patterns which are impossible to figure out at a glance!  This is going to be a dress.  This dress:

It's one of ten patterns in this book "Home Sewn", which is a celebration of the history of home sewing in New Zealand.  It gives a brief history of the subject, and the patterns, along with a short interview with each designer.  It appeals to me on so many levels!  One of which is as a future historical reference.  It's a snapshot of now, albeit brief, and it is specifically about New Zealand - YAY for local history!  The book is for sale at Papercut Patterns. I got mine from Global Fabrics in Dunedin.

This dress (the first of at least three projects I am planning to make) is by Cybele Wirren.  (See her website here).  I'm going to make a wide obi or corset style belt to wear with it.  One side the same fabric as the dress, the other something funky.

The patterns are really interesting - as far as I can tell, they are more like industry style patterns, with varying seam allowances, and notches marking them.  They're all printed on large pattern sheets, like magazine patterns, with each design in a different colour.  My only quibble is that the two pattern pieces for this dress are very similar, and were printed so close to on top of each other that I had to check several times that I didn't mix them up.  Minor quibble!  Instructions are concise and clear, but brief.  This is all you get, so not for beginners.  Hugely fascinating for those with a little experience!

So there you go, yet another blog post proving that I have a short attention span and a constant need to get on with the next thing, sometimes well before finishing the last thing.  Oh yes, and I've also decided that it's time I made myself a corset, you know, because.  I have Norah Waugh's Corsets and Crinolines out of the library and my pattern from it enlarged and ready to start playing with.  I got spiral steel boning from the States *ahem* several years ago.


  1. I've heard about "Home Sewn" from several friends in NZ - I really want to get a copy of that! I'm sure your dress will be fabulous!!!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Can't wait to see your finished dress. I bought this book too and that dress is one of my favourites.

  4. I've never heard about "home sewn" before but it looks interesting! Would you mind making a post on the books and highlighting some of the designs included?
    You don't want to know how many UFOs I have and how old some of them are. In fact, I'm n ot sure I'd want to know myself, let alone write a post about them, so I salute your braveness!

  5. Good on you for putting your WIPs out there - I'm so ashamed of my huge box of unfinished projects and stuff ups that I try not to think about it too often, except for throwing some out occasionally and even less often actually finishing one! I love that NZ has produced a book like Home Sewn, I may have to track it down.

  6. I'm surprised J didn't liberate a couple of those WIPs out of your house to join her stash. ;) You should mention finished projects as well, like that beautiful purple wool melton coat...