Monday, 16 July 2012

Some tiny projects

I've mainly been recovering the last few weeks -- do not even get me started on my terrible doctor and all the problems he's caused -- and so have done very little craftily. However, here are a couple of mini-projects:

1. A Dye Job

I spent an amusing few hours recently reading a blog called Refashionista. The blogger has spent the last year recycling hideous and out of fashion clothes mainly bought by the pound from Goodwill and the like, and remaking them into things she would actually wear, one item of clothing per day. Some of her remakes were not at all to my taste but some of them were really great. Anyway, I'm not moved to go buy pounds of 80s polyester-wear as she did, but one thing I did like that she did a lot was re-dying things that were close to wearable but had small marks that wouldn't come out. I wear a lot of white cotton t-shirts and long-sleeved t-shirts that would be very hard-wearing if it weren't for the fact that I tend to, idk, dip them in soup/drip raspberry juice down them/mark them irrevocably and you also have the problem that over time white t-shirts tend to start to look dingy and yellow-grey.

 Totally coincidentally the same week I read that blog, someone on eBay managed to list a package of Dylon hand-dye and (a) miscategorise it; (b) mis-spell the brand name; and, (c) mis-spell "dye". So I snapped up a package of Tulip Red for £1.80 (normal price: £5.85). My t-shirts came out more pink than red, but better than throwing them away!

(Please excuse this terrible photo, which also in no way accurately shows the colour it came out.)

2. A caftan.

I've tended to wear these as dressing gowns for years and years. My mum used to make them for me, and when I sadfaced at her about how the last one she made me (eons ago -- it's at least 20 years old) was now completely threadbare, she suggested that I make one for myself. I've had the fabric for at least 6 months, but only got round to sewing it this week when I wanted a quick mindless project to get me back into the swing of sewing.

 It is not a work of sewing genius. It is basically a giant rectangle (I bought 3m of 150cm wide fabric and then chopped off a bit). It has a hole cut in for the head on which I did a rolled hem, I sewed up the side seams and left spaces for my arms to go through, and then I did a quick and dirty hem. My dress form is significantly shorter than me so it doesn't drag on the floor quite as much as this photo suggests, although it is very long.

The fabric was el-cheapo crushed electric blue velour from eBay. It cost about £10 with shipping for the whole 3m and it's featherlight. If I had wanted it for any other purpose I'd have been cross with how thin it is, but in this case I didn't want a heavy fabric so it was fine.

3. The continuing adventures of Simplicity 2225.

I talked about wanting to make this pattern on a previous entry. Since then I've:

- attempted to adjust the pattern for full bust
- made up a muslin and then revised it
- scrapped previous adjustments and started again

This is one of the (failed) muslins. It's actually been a fantastic learning experience, even though it's also been incredibly frustrating. It really helped me pinpoint how I'm going to need to sew for the shape of my body, and it caused me to buy the DVD Full Busted ( link) which is an absolute GEM of a video, seriously.

I haven't made a muslin of the second revisions, but I tissue fit and am hopeful it'll work out better.

Another project I am just starting is MUCH simpler: a straight skirt. I'm using Simplicity 8664.

For the first version, I'm making up the pattern like the red one on the second row, but without a contrast band and with pegging to make it a pencil skirt. It's got a back walking slit. I'm also interlining it because I'm using wool and I can't bear having wool in contact with my skin.

For the second version I'm making the yellow version on the top right, only without the embroidery. It has a flat back and a two piece front with a walking slit on one side.

I'm making both of them in sober and serious pinstripe wool with acetate linings, suitable for work.  So far, all I've done is cut version 1, but it's a simple pattern so I am hopeful I'll make good progress on it this week.

Finally, I've been a bit off bag-making for a few months, but then I saw this pattern and HAVE to make it:

This, and the satchel from Lisa Lam's new book are at the VERY TOP of my bag-making list. Actually, there are a few of the bags made by the round bag pattern maker that I am keen to try out. I've decided to maybe try to make some of the more complex bags in my pattern stash. Not that the others don't sell or look good, but yeah, tote bags are kind of boring to make. I'm really going to work on getting a really good finish and making more complex projects that require more effort/time.

So, watch this space for all of the above!


  1. Don't stop - show us what you've achieved. I'm thinking of making bags but also thinking that it's beyond my skill-base.

    1. Unfortunately, what I've achieved lately has been a whole bunch of nothing! I'm just finishing up my PhD so I've no time for sewing. I keep promising myself that the week after I submit my thesis I am just going to sit down at my sewing machine and sew and sew and sew. :D

      I highly recommend bag sewing. I have a huge amount of fun with it. If you have a look at my 2011 bag photo album on flickr you can see where I started with bags and where I ended up.