It’s February already?

I’m back…… I’ve been in essay land but its all done now, phew.

Remember my survey that so many of you lovely sewers helped me out with, well, I’ve been writing about that.

*** My survey is still open by the way, (as I plan to pursue this line of research, it’s really interesting) so if you are a home sewer that hasn’t filled it in, there’s still time! Its here :

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/9LV9WJV

In the meantime I’m going to chuck in a pic of my new sewing space – I have moved out of my little studio at the back of the house (it was too small and a little bit damp which was making my fabric stash sad).

So, we now have a kitchen/diner and the dining room is all mine!!! All my husbands suggestion, what a star 🙂

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When I get my kit back I will start posting more information about my results so far…

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Starting work on my final collection

This week I have started to draft the patterns for my final collection… The first look I am working on is the apron dress and rib knit dress:

Apron dress

ribbed knit dress with triangles

the apron dress with will be made from Furakawa denim (From Merchant and Mills here) they describe it as ‘a special Japanese 6oz denim. 57% cotton, 34% wool, 9% linen.’  As this collection is for Autumn Winter, the apron dress will be worn over the rib knit dress (fabric yet to be finalised!)

Here are the sketches of the garments:

blue apron

rib dress arrows+castle

I have lots of changes still to make but here is some snaps from this weeks toile:

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Still some tweaking to be done on the pocket placement and positioning but so far so good,

R x

Latest pattern … Casual Jersey Dress

I drafted this pattern over the summer as my sister wanted an easy fitting dress she could take away with her.
It is a jersey dress, with elasticated waist,  sweatshirt style top, 3/4 sleeves and slim A – line skirt – with pockets of course!

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The neck and cuffs are finished with overlocked binding and I used a coverlock stitch to add some colour over the seams, pocket opening and to finish the skirt hem.
I love this denim look jersey.

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Still a few tweaks to be made but I shall be grading some more sizes soon,
R x

Julie Arkell at Ruthin Craft Centre

Moo and I popped along to Wales this afternoon for a date with the lovely Julie Arkell at Ruthin Craft Centre  – A drop in workshop to coincide with her exhibition ‘Away’ that is currently being shown in Gallery 3. JA biggerThis exhibition had everything that I have come to expect from Julie Arkell …. even though the subject matter is sometimes melancholy, it always makes me smile.

I really enjoyed getting a peek at her travel journals and sketchbooks .. lots of that lovely handwriting.

I picked up the exhibition book (which Julie kindly signed for me), a lovely neat sized collection of images.

Moo made a caterpillar ‘inspired’ by Julie’s exhibition, she covered her drawing of the caterpillar with lots of pieces of fabric, carefully selected and cut precisely … the workshop co-ordinators were amazing, really helpful and fun.  2 hours later and here is the masterpiece:

Moo cropped

After the workshop we went in to Ruthin, a quaint traditional (hilly) town centre with lots of interesting independent shops (including a great fabric shop) and some beautiful buildings;

Button Windows at the Market hall:

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windows, windows, windows:

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Ruthin Craft Centre is well worth a visit and if you can get there before the end of November you will catch the Julie Arkell exhibition too!

Saturday Sewing

Moo's Shoes

Moo recently acquired these beauts (Marks and Spencer A/W Kids)  – you know that thing where you plan the wardrobe around the shoes – this is one of those times!

The teal tights were already in the drawer so I had a furkle in my studio stash and dug out this lovely teacup fabric (Melody Miller, Ruby Star Rising) – My sister picked it up in Purl Soho, NYC around 5 years ago i’m afraid but there are plenty of other lovely Melody prints out there.

I only had half a yard so it is a rather slim elasticated skirt but still lovely nonetheless.

I love the way the grey, yellow and teal are picked up in the fabric pattern – just need to find some fabric for the perfect top now!

R x

Sewing Studio … after pics

So I’ve had a few requests for the after pics …
Before you look can I just remind you that this wasn’t a massive tidy up, just enough to get some sort of order back!
I still have too many things;  fabric/books/paper/stationery etc etc but that isn’t going to change anytime soon! This is as good as it’s going to get for now:

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The sparkly stuff now has it’s own box

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My vintage Jones machine has gone to live at Em’s studio for the foreseeable future so I have a little bit more surface to fill.

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My shelves are bursting but everything has its place and I know where to find it

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My sewing desk is clear and my cutting space is visible – very exciting 😉

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The blackboard is even empty for a change .. though there is plenty of jobs to chalk down..

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All my works in progress are bagged up and pinned so I don’t lose any bits (I had been looking for this peach ribbon since Moo’s birthday in May!)

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Still a few corners to deal with but never mind … it’s a happy place once more.

Northern Art Carbooty, Manchester

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On Saturday I spent the day assisting the twinny with a performance commissioned by Northern Art Carbooty in Manchester.
I made the garment from a material called Tyvek, often used for protective paper suits/ packaging and other industrial uses. It feels like paper but is really strong and light.  It creases when handled which added movement and life.   Emily magically turned it into an architectural costume (with emulsion and acrylic).
It represented the architecture of Victoria Square, the first social housing in Europe and a stunning building.

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Me … waiting for orders!

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‘The Houses of real Men and Women’ Emily Speed

All images copyright Emily Speed

We met some amazing locals who all had a story about the building, from memories of a much loved Nan to the changes that have been made to the area over the years. I also loved the fact that people were happy to look at the costume and offer their own interpretation – my favourite was a gent who thought that it might be a guardian angel for the building.
The Art Car Boot is an event worth noting in the diary, a selection of artists selling their wares/screen printing t-shirt and more .. plus nice cakes/coffee and burgers. My favourite stall was the guys from Victoria Square (still social housing btw) who were representing their gardening club with a slugs and beans take on snakes and ladders ..

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that may be because I won the game though!

Sewing studio

This is some ‘after the hoover before the clear up’ pics:

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So today I have found myself at the end of a run of projects and commissions … I have a couple of kiddy free hours and am contemplating having a sort out.  Not a huge sort out that means it needs to get worse before it gets better… one that clears a bit of desk space and clears my mind a little bit.

I tend to grab sewing time in-between Kids/Uni/Cleaning etc so it is too precious to allow tidying time aswell!

imageThe three amigos – Overlocker, Coverlock and Sewing Machine.  Next on my list is an invisible hemmer  I just completed a dress commission that was crying out for one! (more on that after the dress has been worn!).

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even my chalk labelling is rubbing off – might wait until I can sort through the drawers before I re-label them though – who knows what treasures are lurking in there!imageThis corner is mostly piled up with Moo’s fabric; lovely big spots from Nani Iro (from Miss Matatabi on Etsy) and loads of bargain sparkly tulle and satins from Goldhawk road – for future tutus of course.

Wish me luck, maybe one day when I grow up I will have a tidy, organised workspace (or maybe I will just move somewhere bigger and fill that too!)

Making the Factory Dress

It’s been a couple of weeks since I cut the pieces for the Factory Dress toile (Merchant and Mills pattern). Today I made it up, it took me about 2 hours in total, with a bit of faffing inbetween!  It was pretty simple and the only change I made was to take the seam allowance off the interfacing pieces – my fabric was pretty sturdy and I didn’t want to add any more unecessary bulk.

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I following the instructions that came with the pattern (sometimes I just wing it. ..) they were thorough with plenty of diagrams and without too many words! The darts/pocket details come first, then the bodice is sewn together … It has facings rather than linings, which I haven’t overlocked, so i will need to add extra time for this when I make it up in my final fabric.
There is a 1.5cm seam allowance – i use the 5/8 guide on my machine but you could always pop a bit of masking tape as a guide instead?

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pretty much all of the seams require pressing open;

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Always quite satisfying.

The sleeves heads are attached and then sewn up along with the bodice side seams, I prefer this method to
making up the sleeve and setting it in, less fiddly.
Here is the top section of the dress;

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After a quick brew I came back to make up and attach the skirt … company had arrived! 

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Not that helpful as it turns out, especially as the path to my sewing room is currently flooded (blocked pipe next door awaiting repair) …muddy paws and fabric is not a happy mix.

So, the skirt … A few tiny pleats at the front,  attaching the side pockets in to the seam and sewing the side seams … super quick and straightforward. The skirt and bodice are literally attached right sides together and sewn all the way round, et voila;

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Finished (well a bit of hemming to do when I get to the final fabric but that’s all).
I popped it on (it is a slip on dress – no fastenings, great if you have a zip or buttonhole phobia), bit of a close up pic but it’s the best I could do!

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I love it, it’s loosely fitted enough not to feel like a tent but is nice and baggy at the same time.  My favourite bit? The pockets of course 🙂

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When I can decide on my final fabric I will probably shorten the pattern before I cut it .. might save me a few inches! …. Coming soon (ish).