Friday, 27 May 2011

Crescent Skirt - Finished!

Drumroll please.......i have finally finished my Crescent Skirt!

I am really really happy with the way it turned out :) I think one of the things i am most proud of is the hem of the lining...

When i first started the lining i thought pretty early on that i had made a huge mistake as the fabric i chose was very slippery and frayed A LOT. However, it actually turned out alright. When it came to the hem, i decided to use some bias tape that i had lying around (and just happened to be an appropriate colour!). I cut the bias binding in half and sandwiched the raw edge in between. I then sewed around the top of the binding, and voila, a nice neat hem line! I used the same technique with the bias binding for the skirt hem to cover the raw edge. However, instead of handstiching the hem like Tasia recommends here (because i was too lazy/impatient!) i folded over the 1 1/4 seam allowance and sewed that up. This did leave me with a visible stitching line on the right side of the skirt, but i don't mind this as it is not too obvious.

There are things about the skirt that i am not completely happy with, or that i would improve on next time (yes i am already planning a next time!), for example the zip is more visible than i would like, due to me not mastering the insertion technique quite right. Also some of my stitching is a bit wobbly. And for some unknown reason my facing is a good inch shorter than the waistband, which means that when i did the Ditch-stitching i ended up sewing the lining and bunched it up a bit at the waistband. However, overall i am delighted with the finished result - my first ever garment! I also really enjoyed taking part in the sewalong, Tasia's posts are so incredibly detailed and easy to follow, i would definitely recommend taking a look if you haven't already. 

This afternoon i am off to Amsterdam for a work trip...guess what i will be wearing on the journey....yep my Crescent Skirt!!

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

K xx 

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Birthday Goodies

Oh my goodness, i just wrote a whole post and then it disappeared! Fingers crossed that does not happen this time round....

So last week was my birthday and i turned the grand old age of 25 + 1. I had a fantastic day and was totally spoilt! In the evening we went to Le Bistrot Pierre which is very scrummy, and lots of food and wine was had by all! My amazing friend Helen also made me this fantastic cake....

She is very clever and has recently started her own small business making cakes (Helen York Celebrations). Even better it was gluten free (not that you could really tell) so my celiac friend could get in on the cake action, which is rare!

I was lucky enough to get some lovely sewing-related presents, some of which you can see below...(sorry for the poor photographs, apparently everywhere in my house has bad light today!).

I am excited to make the pants, especially since i have been following Ohhh Lulu for some time now and admiring her beautiful underwear makes. I realise mine will be the cheat version, but never mind...! I have also been coveting 'Sew' by Cath Kidston for quite some time...there are some brilliant patterns in there which have already been ear-marked for Christmas presents (7 months to go so at this stage i can be optimistic!). I also got some money which i am planning to spend on fabric for a couple of dresses i would like to make....exciting!!

In other news, my Crescent Skirt is nearly complete! Watch this space for pictures of the finished project (hopefully) coming soon...i can't wait!

K xx

Thursday, 19 May 2011

It Looks Like a Skirt!

So, my Crescent Skirt is starting to take shape and look like a skirt! (This is not the best picture, so you're going to have to take my word for it a little!!)

....and a picture of the wrong side, just because i am so proud at how neat it looks....(although i think the waistband seams need pressing again!).

And the best bit? It fits! I pinned it on, and i am so happy with the adjustments i made as they seem to have done the trick. In fact, if anything it is now too big. However that should be easy to alter when it comes to inserting the zip. Fingers crossed everything will still be OK once it's all finished!

I love this pattern more and more as i go along. The fullness of the skirt, the fantastic pockets, i love it all! I was hoping to get the skirt finished by tomorrow as it's my birthday (woop!) and i wanted to wear it then...however this would have meant going it alone as the Sew-Along still has a couple of weeks left. I did consider this, but Tasia's instructions, pictures and tips in the Sew-Along are so helpful and well explained that i decided i would rather wait and get it done properly! Still, i can't wait to have it finished. I am already thinking up my next Crescent Skirt....maybe in a plain fabric.

So what do i have left to do? Well, i need to line the skirt by making a lining (basically a skirt front and two skirt backs, without the pocket sections), and attaching the lining to the waistband facing. I need to insert the zip, and attach the lining and facing. Then i need to hem the skirt and lining. Easy peasy, right?? Hmmmm....we shall see!

In other news, i have been asked to make my first ever commissioned item! A colleague of mine has asked me to make a bag for his girlfriend, so i have started cutting for this. I am so nervous to make something that someone will pay money for, but fingers crossed it will go this space!

K xx

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Crescent Skirt: All Caught Up

So, as of last night i am up to date with the Crescent Skirt Sew-Along, woop woop! I am having lots of fun doing my first Sew-Along, and i am learning loads of new skills. I am really pleased with how my skirt is looking too - Tasia has some great tips which help to make our skirts look really nicely finished. I can't wait to get my skirt finished and wearable - it is my birthday next week and my secret plan is to be able to show off my crescent skirt when i go out for dinner with my friends next Friday, but I'm not sure if it will be finished in time - fingers crossed!

Amongst my new skills are two in particular i would like to share with you. The first is UNDERSTITCHING, which is a row of stitching we have used to secure the skirt pockets, and is also used for facings, to keep them from rolling onto the right side of a garment. This is done by sewing very close to the seam on the facing. Although the stitches are visible on the facing/pocket side of the garment, it is not visible on the right side, and looks very neat! I'm not sure if you can see this on the picture below as my thread and fabric are quite well matched, but trust me it looks neat and tidy :)

The second is FRENCH SEAMS. This is a way of finishing inside seams, the finish effect of which is to make them look (again) neat and professional, without the use of an overlocker. I argue that perhaps it looks even nicer! Briefly this is done by first sewing a 1/4" seam with the WRONG sides of the fabric together (Tasia warns that it  feels very wrong to do this and it really does - so wrong that at first i tried to align the wrong edges so the right side was facing inwards, and ended up in a panic because they didn't fit together correctly. How many times can i use the word 'wrong' in one sentence?!?). The seam allowance is then trimmed to 1/8" and the fabric flipped over so that the right sides are together (phew!).The seam is pressed and then another 1/4" seam is shown. The end result is that your raw edges are hidden, but the right side of the fabric looks normal. Hopefully you can see this in the picture...i forgot to take pictures as i was sewing, but Tasia has an excellent tutorial (as always!) at the link above. I have french seamed both the pocket and side seams here.

On a completely unrelated note, the masters students i am working with at the moment bought me these adorable cherry earrings from Greece as an early birthday present...aren't they fantastic!

Happy crafting....

K xx

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Pay It Forward

Yesterday i noticed that Law, who blogs at Laura: in a Tangle is taking part in Pay it Forward, a brilliant scheme in which crafty bloggers send handmade gifts to three fellow crafty bloggers, then they send three gifts to three others, etc etc. I thought this was a wonderful idea; an opportunity to give something back to my lovely followers...and who doesn't like to received surprise parcels in the post?? 
So, the rules are as follows:

*The first 3 people who comment on this blog post will receive a handmade gift from me.
*In return, you must commit to taking part and write a blog post explaining Pay It Forward...spread the love!

*Then send out a handmade gift to the first 3 visitors who leave a comment.  It doesn't have to be sewn, it could be knitted or drawn or embroidered, anything as long as it's handmade. Also, you have 365 days to do it, so plenty of time :)

So, if you fancy receiving a little handmade surprise from me, then just comment below. Remember, I have 365 days to do it so you won't know when to expect it!
I hope you all have a brilliant Thursday......and those of you from the UK manage to get out and vote (I'm not going to get into politics, but please do vote :) )
K xx

Monday, 2 May 2011

Making Bias Binding Tape...and a bag!

So today i had a rather productive day! It was the last day of a 4 day weekend, and i spent most of it sewing uninterrupted, which was brilliant.

For a while now i have been planning to make a bag (first mentioned here) from Lisa Lam's Bag Making Bible. However, the main sticking point for this project was the requirement of a 50mm bias tape maker. I accidentally bought a 25mm version instead (opps!). Also, I haven't actually seen a 50mm one available anywhere except online, and i was umming and ahhing whether to buy something that i may only need for one project. Plus i would then need to factor in delivery time, and i was itching to get on with this bag. So, eventually i decided to have a go at making my own tape without gadgets. It was actually surprisingly easy! I already had sort of an idea of what to do thanks to a couple of tutorials previously flagged up by Andrea at Invisible Flower. I basically followed the same procedure but folded the edges inwards and pressed with a hot iron, rather than pulling it through the bias tape maker. Since there are so many excellent tutorials available (as mentioned above) i won't go into the method in great detail, but in brief:

I first cut 10cm strips from my chosen fabric on the bias (diagonal!).

I then sewed these strips together at a 90 degree angle, trimmed the seams and pressed. At this stage i had long strips of bias fabric, as shown below.

I folded the strips in half and pressed, to mark the centre. I then folded in each side and pressed with a hot iron (the operative word here is hot...which i forgot and then burnt myself...opps!!). And voila....50mm bias binding!

I won't lie, the folding in was a little bit fiddly. I found it easier to press on the right side (without the folds) as this way the folds did not move around. However, i am pleased with the finished result, and i think i would definitely do it this way again, rather than buy bias tape makers in many different sizes. However, i can also foresee that for smaller width bias tape this process would be much more fiddly!

Once i had my bias tape, there was nothing holding me back from making my bag...and here it is! I'm really pleased with how it turned out :)

I hope you all had a lovely (and productive) weekend...whether it was 2, 3 or 4 days for you!

K x


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