Sunday, 29 May 2011

Pirate Day - Aaarrggghhhh

Miss M has been looking at Pirates* this term and so as usual the school had a dress up day, in the past she’s been Alice in Wonderland, a servant during the Fire Of London and a Lion but this time it was pirates.  Luckily we went to Chessington World Of Adventures a couple of weeks before and in the Sea Life Centre on 3 for 2 they were selling pirate hats, swords etc so we got her a hat, sword and eye-patch.  She wanted the whole Captain Hook coat but I knew there was no way that was going to happen so looking round on the web I found Dana’s post on the pirate costumes she made her kids so I shamelessly pinched her idea and made a pirate waistcoat!


The best part was I didn’t have to buy anything for this!  I had some black linen left from a skirt I made, and some cheap striped poly/cotton I had bought ages to make a muslin.  I used a basic bodice pattern that I know fits her with little ease so i traced around that adding an inch or so to get the right size, there was little science to it.  I found a template of a skull and crossbones that would be easy to cut out and painted it using freezer paper and fabric paint. 


I wanted a frilly loose chemise style shirt but wasn’t able to search charity shops for one so I took one of the school polo shirts and added some lace that had come from my mothers stash so its at least 30 years old!  I hand sewed this lace on, which just goes to show how much I love Miss M as I hate hand sewing!




Teamed up with a pair of black leggings, long socks, school shoes and the pirate accessories makes the whole outfit look great!


(Please ignore the mess in the background!  It was breakfast time, mind you it doesn’t get much better any other time of the day!)


(Channelling Jack Sparrow I think!)










*How come we find pirates acceptable, we’re talking about murderers, rapist, robbers generally all round bad people yet we glamorise them and encourage our kids to dress up as them!  I don’t get it, its not like we’d encourage them to dress as Hoodies or even modern day Pirates yet put a couple of hundred years between us and them and funny accents and its all ok!  We wonder why kids get confused when we tell them all their childhoods, don’t lie, don’t steal, don’t use violence and then we tell them all about S****a C***s the T**th F**ry and pirates! 

Friday, 27 May 2011

Crescent Skirt

I’ve been following Tasia’s Crescent sewalong and have finished my skirt and I think it looks great, like everyone else I really like the pockets but I also like the yoke round the waist.


Unfortunately there are a couple of issues (all of my making) , I made size 16 but it seems to be a bit too big, the waist is falling down onto a low waist (which is a problem I seem to have with lots of skirts, even when I measure the waist the real thing seems to be too big, must make more muslins and check out FFRP!) so next time it would have to be a 14 as the hip measurement is obviously not as critical.    Having measured the finished skirt waist measurement its coming up bigger than the patterns finished measurement, maybe I’ve not been as accurate with my seam allowances as I should have been….


The other imperfection is the zip… I’ve only put invisible zips in before (with hit or miss success)  and Tasia had a new technique to put the zip in.  I think part of the problem was that somehow I managed to miss the step where I sew the centre back seam below the zip!  Maybe being used to invisible zips I was working on the principle it would be done after the zip was inserted but obviously that doesn’t work with a regular zip.  Anyway I had the zip in there looking lovely and realised what I had done so I had to unpick the lower part of the zip to sew the seam down.  This bodge caused most of my zip problems I think.  Its not too bad but the bottom of the zip is not as neat as I would have liked, the topstitching around the zip is also not as neat as possible and I had to unpick and redo a section of this as the stitches were fouling the zip.  Anyhoo, I got the zip in, I decided not to topstitch or stitch-in-the-ditch around the facing as I couldn’t get a straight line well enough to pass muster (the fabric I used was a thickish black and white weave so its tricky to work out the edge) and I didn’t want to spoil it!  I have stitched this by hand. 


So that's the negatives, now for the positives, as I said I like the waistband, I love the pockets and the overall shape.


I also liked the zip/facing method of putting the zip in, had I done it properly it would have been a dream.  Like the Pendrell the pattern is brilliant with innovative design features and techniques.  Having the sewalong to follow is also a great boom as although the pattern directions are comprehensive Tasia covers alternative methods plus the posts are  so picture heavy there should be no excuse to get it wrong!!!!    I was able to use my overlocker a lot to finish the seams.  Next time I think I would be tempted to use a contrast on the pocket and a trim on the waistband (although I never tuck tops in so it might never get seen!)  and generally be a bit braver!   When I was shopping for fabric for this project I wanted a colourful linen but couldn’t find it so I might try it again.  

I’ll add some pictures to the Flickr group as well. 

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Tilly asks some questions

Tilly was asking some questions today about what role bloggers play in influencing culture, we wants as many opinions as possible on a series of questions so I thought I would post my answers here for you to see and give an opportunity to give your own opinion.    Have a look and give your view in the spirit of online collaboration!

  • What does the online sewing community mean to you? Why do you participate?
    The sewing community is a real community to me, I, and lots of people these days don't belong to the 'traditional' communities of church, village, small town etc. so its harder to find like minded people in real life especially as many of skills/experiences we are looking for are no longer practised as widely.  None of my close friends are sewers and although I grew up watching my mother sew & knit she died 6 years ago and its only really since her death that I've picked up sewing again.  This means I don't have anyone close to me that can advise, correct, teach or just act as a sounding board therefore I read blogs.  I read to find out how to do stuff, get ideas, I write to document for myself what I've done.  When I first started my blog I wanted lots of people to read it and see what I've done so I used to put my posts on link parties, recently I've given up on that as I've become an ad hoc blogger and what I blog about is for me rather than anyone else's approval. 


  • What are your favourite examples of projects initiated by sewing bloggers that capture this spirit of collaboration, creativity and innovation?
    I'm participating in my first sew along (Sewaholic Crescent Skirt) and it does feel good to be part of a collaborative exercise.  Previously I've watched sewalongs but this time I thought its time to engage.  I like what Mena has done this year to with a regular theme and different contributors.  Burda Style is also a great example of collaboration. 


  • Who are the “leaders” in the sewing blogosphere? Is everyone / can anyone be a leader?
    I think anyone can be a leader but not necessarily of their own making.  The bloggers I feel 'lead' me are usually very talented with skills & knowledge and the generosity to share them with the rest of the world not for material gain.  Not everyone is a leader, in my view its the people with something interesting to say or an interesting method of saying it that can be leaders. 
    These people include but aren't limited to Gertie, Tasia/Sewaholic, So Zo, Mena, Dana, Rae, Disney.  I think its clear to see when lots of similar project appear on multiple blogs, e.g. Sewaholic design, Collette designs, Liberty fabrics etc. how these memes move around the blogosphere and we influence each other.   I think the confidence to expect people to follow you when you suggest something as well as a JFDI attitude highlights leaders on the blogosphere just as they do in real life.  Blog life and real life aren't that different IMO, we might exaggerate somethings, embellish others but at the end of the day the personality that comes across on a blog must be a fairly accurate one as I don't think we would be able to maintain a false persona for very long!  I think the leaders change over time as well as its seems quite common for bloggers to burn out, I subscribe to loooooooots of blogs and every so often you see a women announce they are taking a back seat from blogging for a while as its taking over their real life and impacting on other things.

  • Are you involved in any other network of makers, whether online or offline?
    No unfortunately as I say I have no real life sewers but I wish I were although I would probably doubt my value to join such a group!


  • What makes sewing blogs unique?
    I don't think sewing blogs are unique, my OH plays role playing games using models and he's involved in a number of forums which have similar ebbs and flows.  He's probably one of the leaders in that area and that's due to his extensive knowledge of the hobby, skill at creating and painting models and his lets-just-do-it attitude which results in him organising at least 2 meet ups a year for people all over the UK (& Europe) to get together to play, swop & talk about their hobby.  I'm sure there are other forums/blogs for other hobbies/interests which have a similar pattern.  I also follow other blogs (kids hair do blogs – Babes in Hairland, Cute Girls, Princess and her Hair, GirlyDos) and I’ve seen similar behaviour across those blogs, some bloggers have the talent to do something different but more importantly the charisma, style & presentation to make people pay attention.       Its all about making connections which as I said before aren't always in your real life.  Whereas previously you might have soldiered on on your own or even given up now the internet has provided lines of communication to find people who like what you like and have information to share. 


So in summary I think bloggers of any genre can influence culture, either within that genre but also in the wider arena.  But of course like any zeitgeist it will change and move and fall out of fashion.  The use of blogs/forums will remain a valuable method of showing/influencing the zeitgeist in the short term (who knows that technology will bring in the future) whilst the current ‘leader’ will ebb and flow as society looks for new interests and individuals rise and fall in that interest.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Caught up!

So I’m supposed to be doing the Crescent skirt sew along but what with Easter weekends away, Royal Weddings and day trips to London to visit the British Museum (seriously what a brilliant place, I loved it, it was amazing all the beautiful things to see there as long as you put aside the imperial idea that we could go anywhere in the world and take it back to Britain!  Now all this stuff is displayed for us to see and learn from and they have some great kids trails to do, we did Egyptians and Dragons yesterday.) I haven’t been a very good sew alonger! I got as far as tracing out the pattern in the size I thought I wanted and that was it, and that happened back on on 18 April when Tasia posted her Lets get started post.  It sat there staring indignantly at me thinking ‘I’ve been dumped, I’m destined to become a UFO!’ so this morning I guiltily gathered all my bits together and kicked my butt into gear.  Choosing to ignore my family (come on its been the school holidays, 2 long weekends, I’m sure they have seen more than enough of me to tolerate one morning of independent play and their father can refer any arguments as well as I can!) and got myself caught up. 

I decided not to make a full muslin as I felt it was only the yoke that needed checking. After sewing the curved seam wrong a grand total of 8 times (I know, I don’t understand it either, I think it was because there is no right and wrong side of the fabric I was using, either that or I’m a worse seamstress than I thought I was!) I finally got a decent yoke.  I sewed it in Frost Fleece so I’m not going to show you as its too transparent to broadcast my ample tummy region on t’internet.  Anyway I think the fit is good, sitting slightly below my waist on a low waist line.  I think the length is good but I reserve the right to reduce the hem allowance to eke out as much length as I need. 

I’ve now completed my least favourite part of sewing, the cutting out, I have all the pieces cut out and the interfacing so I’m ready to go.  Caught up!  Right better go and spend some time with the family, as I haven’t got any pictures to show you I thought you could have some pictures of the British Museum!