Sunday, 21 July 2013

Have you ever been attacked by your stash?

*Disclaimer: This is not my actual fabric stash but a handy representation!*

This morning I had grand plans for an afternoon of sewing, starting off with PJ shorts (much needed in this hot weather) and then cutting out for my Kelly skirt. I couldn't quite face my Victoria blazer with the heat we have had recently, but rest assured this is next on my list. I was all ready to go and was just storing away my Victoria blazer fabric on the shelf where my boxes of fabric live....when out of nowhere disaster struck and the whole shelf came crashing down, boxes of fabric narrowly missing me and my precious overlocker (luckily we were both fine). I was literally being attacked by my stash. The result was fabric strewn all over the floor while I stood there trying to hold the rest of the boxes in place until the boy came to rescue me.

The piece of fabric I had been trying to put on the shelf was by no means heavy on its own, but it must have been the straw that broke the camel's (or rather, the shelf's) back. The boy gave me a stern talking to about overloading the shelves - apparently they can only hold 15kg in weight. I would have protested that there is no way my stash comes anywhere near that, but comparing lifting even one of the four boxes to weights at the gym, I have a horrible feeling that it weighs considerably more. Opps. So rather than spending the afternoon sewing, I spent it clearing space to store my fabric as I am now one shelf down. The screws were pulled out of the wall by the weight of the shelf and the boy thinks it's unlikely that the shelf will be able to go up again in the same place, so for now I am forced to find space elsewhere. Oh dear. I can't believe that my stash has got to the stage where it is tearing apart my sewing room - not good, not good at all. I was already on a fabric diet but this has made things even worse - I think I need to join stashaholics anonymous stat!

Have you ever been forced to confront a problem in this way? Have you ever been physically attacked by fabric?! And any storage solutions other than shelves suitable for a small space would be most welcome....

K xx

Thursday, 11 July 2013

In praise of pyjamas

Karen recently posed the question of whether people have "home clothes". Mine have got to be pyjamas - or more specifically, pyjama bottoms. Snuggly in winter with thick socks and a dressing gown, and if made into shorts or with a light fabric they can be surprisingly cool in the summer paired with a vest top. I've always been a big fan of pyjamas. Back when I was a student, I would spend large portions of the day, especially at the weekend, in my PJs. Sadly I can't really get away with that anymore, but I still frequently change into them as soon as I get home - they are the most comfortable item of clothing known to man (I challenge you to find anything as comfortable - except perhaps a onsie, I would imagine, but definitely more acceptable!).
I have now made three pairs of pyjamas using the Simplicity 2116 pattern and I love them. I swear I am never buying RTW PJs again and am already planning some shorts versions for me and Mr KK. I like my pyjamas long, and being tall, this was pretty much impossible to find. Now I just whack and extra 2" onto the pattern pieces - simples! The only other change I made was to lop about 2" off the top of the PJs before sewing the waistband - I guess I like mine to sit a little lower than intended.


This pattern is really quick to whip up, and that's even taking into account that I have used french seams for all three versions - I just love how neat and strong this makes them. Even since I acquired my overlocker, I still can't resist a french seam. The only exception was the hems, which i overlocked and then folded and stitched once.
Another advantage to making your own pyjamas is that there are so many awesome prints out there - you can choose some really quirky fabrics. My local market is full of amazing options. The first pair I made out of safari print cotton which I think was quilting weight so it wasn't particularly drapey. It worked just fine but the next two pairs I have made with much lighter cotton and this works really well (not to mention it feels lovely against your skin). 

This is my most recent pair, made just in time for Karen's Pyjama Party (part 2). I made these with a lovely soft cotton purchased at the recent Birmingham meet-up. I made a slightly late-in-the-day attempt to match the plaid, just to see if I could. You can see in the photo below that I managed it ok at the front of the crotch (left hand side) but not so well along the bum. Oh well - it's not like I was really trying or anything...!

Apologies for the creasing - they had just been washed!

Do you love to make pyjamas? Or are there other garments that you have sworn never to buy RTW again after discovering how great it is to be able to make your own with the correct length/fabric/fit you desire?

K xx

Thursday, 4 July 2013

What was your very first make?

At the Birmingham blogger meet-up a few weeks ago, a few of us got talking about the first item of clothing that we every made. Mine was my crescent skirt.

I love this skirt and I still wear it all the time. I followed Tasia's sewalong to make this skirt, which was extremely helpful for me as a total beginner because she went through the whole process step by step complete with handy photos. I don't think I would have ended up with a skirt anywhere near as wearable as this if I had gone through the process alone.

However, looking back, there are a few things that I would do differently now. For example, I was completely clueless when it can to bias binding - I didn't really know what I was doing and so before binding the hems with it, I cut it in half! At the time I was really pleased with my neat and tidy bound hems, but after going through the washing machine many many times, this has resulted in a whole lot of fraying. At some point soon I will have to redo this properly. I don't tend to use bias binding for the lining hem these days - I fold the hem over twice and stitch instead. Also my zip insertion and stitching in the ditch are both a bit of a mess - but hey, nobody looks that closely right?! I'm a bit of a perfectionist but even I realise that these are only small points and I am still really proud of my skirt. Looking back at the first few items of clothing that I made makes me realise how much I have learnt over the two years I have been sewing - and am still learning. Each item that I have made acts in some way like a marker of my progress, and teaches me new things for the next one.  

So what I want to know is - what was your first ever make? Was it a simple project or did you dive in at the deep end with a challenge? Was it a success...and if so do you still wear it?

K xx


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