Friday, 25 January 2013

Jungle January!

The fabulous Pretty Grievances blog has managed to bring out my love of animal print again. Who knew. I'm a shy and retiring wallflower don't you know. 

Sure I've dabbled in the past... 

...But it hasn't always been a happy partnership....See that murderous look I'm getting from my husband? The one that is a little bit American Psycho (with facial hair). OK yes he's smiling but he's really eyeing up the tiger as fresh meat. He likes to destroy all that is animal print. He nearly succeeded with the other dalliance I had. A cotton 3/4 sleeve cardi, a leopard print beaut that would go with everything, a true beige and black neutral. Well add maroon jeans into a wash (his maroon jeans I should add, the maroon and I were never friends but this meant war) and you get a PINK tinged number and the love was never there again (for the cardi, I'm not callous enough to divorce for a washing malfunction...just).

So yes, animal print has been known but it wasn't at the forefront of my mind when I was planning my sewing year. But then BOOM, Anne threw a party and I wanted to join in.

ooh armpit baubles
I decided fairly early on I'd be playing it safe and would limit my dabbling to a simple top, or possibly a skirt, but if this dabbling was to be of ernest then I would not fall short on quality of material. I scouted my usual stomping grounds for the fabric in question, but it seems good quality animal print is not a common occurrence, certainly not in my region of the world. I stumbled across Tissu fabrics, who had the widest range of animal print on the interwebs, they even have their own category, and fortunately also feature reviews, very helpful indeed. I took a gamble on 1m of modestly priced cotton jersey leopard print and was surprised to find it beautifully soft and drapey, this was exactly what I was looking for.

The Salme Kimono sleeve top was intended as a muslin, but I think the style would be a tad too loose-fitting in jersey even if I went down a size. So instead I went for MariaDenmark's kimono sleeve top (got to love those kimono sleeves!), a pattern designed with jersey in mind.

This being the third item of clothing I've ever sewn, jersey may seem a tad ambitious. But I don't know, maybe the spirit of the jungle told to me to be bold!

caught in the act of posing (animal print killer was busy sniffing out his next prey)

The pattern was a real delight. The neck seams were finished with self-fabric ribbing. I even dared to use a twin needle for the hems. I cut between a size XS and S. I'd be tempted to repeat again using XS. But hell yes I'll be making more of these. 

And dear Jungle, you sure have got your claws in me now....

back away from the washing basket darling. And pass my cigarette holder


Monday, 21 January 2013

Aye or naw

A week ago, with some time to myself during nap time, I found myself in Pierrot et Coco. Pierrot et Coco is an incredibly sweet little shop, and with what they lack in size, they make up for amply with amazing taste. They manage to stock a variety of desirable objects, including - jewellery, homewares, stationary, art and kids stuff; a mini kooky department store. My husband has been instructed on more than one occasion that if he needs to buy me a gift, then he will do well to take a spin to P et C. As may come up in future on this blog, I have a bit of a thing for France and when I first entered the doors it was if I had gone into a little shop in Paris. Not knocking my local corner of the world, but it was definitely quite surprising. Montmartre, it ain't.

As if they couldn't read my mind any better (and yours, sewing fan), under the counter they have a small but perfect selection of haberdashery. Ribbons, trims and buttons, like everything else beautifully packaged and displayed. There is a short bio of the owner couple on the website, and as they used to be fashion designers I guess haberdashery has a natural inclusion in their boutique. 

This recent visit was planned to buy a bracelet in the sale... I'd spotted the bracelet as it matches a locket my husband bought for our first anniversary, as chance would have it, in Paris, and also to pick up some more Monty Bojangles Sea Salt Butterscotch truffles (ooh get a mouthful of that one!). A box for my Mum and a box for us, after we scoffed the last lot in an embarrassingly short space of time.

Help me mama, these are gooood
I seem to have a bit of a thing for salt chocolate, my last Official Favourite Chocolate in the World Rococo Salt chocolate has been recently replaced by Monty Bojangles and jings! its available in walking distance. Having said all this, I'm not above combining crisps and chocolate in one mouthful to get the same salt and chocolate hit. Hula hoops and a Crunchie, don't knock it till you try it. 

The posh version of crisps and chocolate 

So, bracelet and truffles procured, I was made aware of a newly stocked necklace. The owners have christened it the Aye or Naw necklace.

If you haven't cottoned on to the local Glaswegian banter, then that translates to Yes or No, the pendant spins from an open to closed eye. Not wanting to miss out on the opportunity to perturb my future patients in my official capacity as an eye poker (optician is my day job), I couldn't resist. Now that I've worn it a few times, I'm not sure that it doesn't have the look of the occult! Ah well, my daughter loves it as I knew she would...she never misses an opportunity to poke people in the eyes if she gets the opportunity. Gawd bless her, maybe she too will have a future as an eye poker.

If this post is sounding like its sponsored, it really isn't. But its run by lovely people and is an asset to my local community. And as I'm passionate about small enterprises, I'd like to spread the word on its existence. One of the best things about blogs in my mind is reading about places you would never ordinarily hear about. And better still, they're online!

Friday, 18 January 2013

At last my love has come along

Man I love that song. I've been hearing it on the radio so its been merrily spinning around my head. But for me the title doesn't concern a love for a new man, I'm quite happy with the one I've got. Yes folks it is the love of sewing that has arrived!

I have not one but two completed items in my wardrobe. This red skirt has been lying around waiting to be hemmed for so long that it has become covered in dust and cat hair. But no more!

The pattern is Vogue V1247. I'm sure you've all seen this a gazillion times and I was drawn like most to the funky front pockets. I lined mine with a floral cotton for the heck of it but I'm chuffed I did. The main fabric is a heavyweight canvas cotton, bought in Abakhan in Manchester. It was a precut piece so they're may well be other poly-materials lurking in there, but it has a nice brushed quality to it.

The seams are finished with satin bias binding as per instructions...a sweat inducing fiddly bit of maneouvering for this novice. Next time I would definitely line it (a la ScruffyBadger's lovely use of saucy hot pink) so would be able to skip this step. But in all honesty it wasn't that bad, and I'm darn pleased with how it looks on its innards.

To the fit...I chose to ignore the recommended measurements and decided my usual RTW size would probably be fine based on the finished measurements. Pure vanity! And I came to my senses but only after cutting. I tried to salvage the situation by halving the side seam allowances, which has given me enough room in the hips, but of course that threw out the waistband. After three attempts of lining it up, I decided to cut a size larger in the waistband but even that is a touch too neat. I've tried fiddling with hook and eye and popper closures, and though there is one popper on there just now, after a day of wearing I think I'll need to add another. I think a thinner waistband would work better for me next time though I intend to cut a size larger overall which would let the skirt sit lower than it does just now.

Like most I lengthened the skirt. Exposing your pants whilst attending to your child is a look I wanted to avoid. Even this 5 ft 2 tiddler needed 3 inches to keep her dignified.

On to the top. This is a Salme pattern Kimono top, which was started after the skirt but finished before it. Its simple constuction was a blessed relief! Even the pdf piecing together, tracing and adding of seam allowances was simple in comparison. The instuctions however were a tad too simple in my mind. I'm sure anyone with more experience would wizz through it but I really feel there could be more detail there for a beginner pattern. The turned back cuff insertion really bended my head!

The fabric is also a mystery Abakhan purchase. I tried a burn test which was pretty inconclusive. After one wear, I would say there is definitely one part cotton and ten parts crumple added in there. I'm going to have to break my no ironing ban for this one.
crease-tastic after one wear

So two pieces of clothing that have found a happy home in my wardrobe. No longer are they left strewn disregarded in my home. I'm also chuffed that when I bought both these fabrics on the same shopping trip I pictured them to be pretty much exactly how they've turned out. I've a lot to learn in fitting and though I like to tell myself I like loose fitting clothes I realise that they are not always the most flattering considering my height.
Wow can you see how comfortable I am posing in front of the camera

So with my sewing mojo kicked off I'm RRRearing to go. The top was made as a wearable muslin for what I have in mind for Jungle January. I definitely think I can afford to go down a size but may go for a different pattern all together. Watch this space!
The Jungle January anticipation is palpable