Monday, 22 August 2011

Knits - A Fast Sew up of NL6735

Dear friends, sewers, bloggers,

This is the story of three fast knits, three non-eventful basics. What makes me very pleased with them is that I made them on my sewing machine using two rows of zig zag on all the seams - just under 2mm in width, just over 2mm in length and a decorative stitch on the hems. I read a tip in a sewing magazine about stabilizing the hems with  fusible hemming tape so I experimented on a scrap. Any stitch that stretches is suitable and most machines will have a decorative stitch that looks like triangles in a ladder, or triangles off to one side. It worked! I thought the seams would look lumpy - hems too - but they didn't. They are just fine. This is a breakthrough for me as I remember my first zig-zag attempts at sewing knits years ago not looking very good.

It is hard to photograph black! The body was eased into the self band, smooths out when worn. The pink Liberty is my next project, a long shirt/tunic top.

I bought the knits a few weeks ago. I boarded a bus and did a commute to London to catch up with a family friend who was passing through London on her way to work as a tour guide in Italy *sigh* and after a long, long, lunch she graciously came fabric shopping with me on London's Berwick Street. This is a wonderful street, fellow sewistes. It is closed off to traffic and has several fabric shops down each side and a market with fruit stalls down the middle. There is a fashion institute on nearby Oxford Street and the theatre district is nearby as well. The result is that you get shops that cater for students and costumiers and there are shops full of wool for tailoring and several shops that are something in between. Heaven to a fabric starved Aussie!

Feathers anyone?

I know where to go next time I need a feather boa .. My friend enjoyed this street and humored me as I hunted down the fabric I required. I was shopping with a plan believe it or not. My favourite three quarter sleeve black knit top had been stained with a glob of washing powder (communal washing machines..spilled powder..too hot a setting by mistake ..ack!)  I wanted to replace it and also make one in dark chocolate brown. I had packed the pattern pieces for my die-hard TNT knit top New Look 6735 in my luggage when I came to England.

Yeah, yeah I know, they look the same but this is what I live in dear reader and I am not trying to set the world on fire. I am happy with a functional wardrobe!

 I also bought some pure khaki linen from the bargain table of this shop.

It felt good to get some speedy sewing done and get three items that I need. The third was a slinky knit nightie, not going to model it! The leaves are starting to fall from the trees here in Oxford and I've agreed to stay on at my job here until Christmas. I look forward to getting a taste of a real winter. I'm going traveling on holiday in a few weeks so the linen will become a simple little jacket and maybe some pants as well. I am going to try to make the jacket from a modified shirt pattern. I have some preliminary sewing to do from the aforementioned pink ..

Here are some Oxford shots.

The start of Autumn.

Happy Sewing

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Burdastyle Shirtdress

Tada! Trumpets!
The Burdastyle shirtdress 117 May 2011 is finished. Brought to you from the ambience of my nurse's quarters.

I was trying to take pretty outdoor shots but it rained. How English! I am so pleased with how this dress turned out, for a number of reasons, the main one being I didn't ruin all that Liberty and two I have a tweaked pattern ready to use again and three the collar is comfortable. It is the first shirtdress I have ever made where I can just put it on and not be conscious of the collar. My fellow sewers it only took me forty years of sewing. May the rest of you have much faster results!

The altered un-poofed back. I have a little bit of overhang ease left anyway.

The dress is lined with cotton voile. The inner seams are finished off with a second straight line of stitching 1/8" in from the first. I didn't want to line the sleeves so those edges were finished last with plain zig-zag, as I don't have access to a serger. Having a lining meant I could hand stitch the hem to it and not have stitching show on the outside.

Close up of the skirt. I was coming back in from outside and one of my fellow housemates saw me in the hallway and remarked that she liked the dress and that it looked retro but modern. I thanked her and said that was the look I was trying to achieve.
I'll do a review on PR soon.


Thursday, 4 August 2011

Style Inspirations

Dear Sewing readers/bloggers,
I borrowed a book from the library the other day.  Zandra Rhodes  a lifelong love affair with textiles, copyright 2005 by The Antique Collectors Club Ltd and Zandra Rhodes, published by Zandra Rhodes Publications Limited.  Needless to say, as a sewer I have loved textiles all my life too, especially hers. Ms Rhodes describes herself as "a textile designer who could not find a job". I remember her blazing onto the scene in the 70's when London was the happening fashion scene. She was an integral part of it.

Many of us are interpreters of other people's ideas. We see something on the street or in a window or magazine or a new pattern, go 'hmm' and go home and put our own interpretation to it. That's still creativity as we are still making something unique to us, but to get an idea out of nowhere and do something no one has seen before is a special gift. I admire her for this quality. Gianni Versace is another.
There has been discussion on other blogs over the wastefulness of designer fashion, the questionable production values, the overly high markups in price. She somehow manages to bypass all this and if I could afford to buy one of these dresses I would. Maybe I should start trawling ebay.

Designers often admit to being inspired by other designers, taking an idea and running with it. One such design is this Vogue coat by Koos van den Akker. V1213 Here is a link to the site. Koos Coat

 I believe it was inspired by this coat by Zandra Rhodes.

Love the hat. Another shot of the coat below.

With it's scaled down scales it is somehow cuter than the Koos version, in my opinion.
My liberty dress is in its final stages. I have to go do a trial button hole or two on my preloved machine. Happy sewing.