Monday, 27 April 2015

Cloth happiness

Just when I thought I was getting a hand on my fabric stash - and giving the flat a much-needed KonMari blitz - this happened. A couple of fabric sourcing trips for clients, and suddenly I have a huge stack of cloth piled up on my desk, threatening to spill over everything else. Oops.

But these were bargains, indeed! First, the Cloth House sale. One of their Berwick street shops closed down due to developers buying the land, and they were selling off their fabrics at dreamy prices. I scored 4m of this gorgeous very 1970s-esque wool and 4m of a darling basket weave printed lilac chiffon for only £20. I have very different plans for them: a slimline winter suit for the wool and a floaty babydoll-and-bloomers set for the chiffon.

(I wish I could have gone back and bought more stuff, for oh! the prices were bargain galore! But I'm sure you'll agree that this is quite enough to be getting on with for a very long while!)

Then, this massive stack of grey and yellow which came from Shepherd's Bush. Well, the yellow was for a client, and was sewn up very imminently. The grey is a range delicious linens, for some Japanese dresses and a summer suit. And stretch velvet, for leggings, to see if I can avoid paying ridiculous prices for them at places like American Apparell. For only a fiver, it's worth a try.

What are your favourite places for fabric bargains?

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Simple red velvet skirt

Sometimes, what you need is a simple, quick little sew. One that combines instant gratification in the making, with a simplicity that becomes indispensable in your wardrobe. For me, this simple red velvet skirt was such a project.

 I made this skirt out of an off cut of reddish-orange cotton velvet that I found when clearing out the cupboards. It was either a leftover from a work project, or accumulated from someone else's stash (granny? friends? who knows?) which means that, combined with a zip, lining and thread from my stash, this was basically a free skirt! Hoorah!

This project was so easy that it hardly bears writing about. But sometimes, it's those plainer everyday pieces of clothing that get worn the most. Really exciting sews - like difficult vintage dresses, tailoring or clothing in the craziest of fabrics - don't tend to get worn everyday. Simply a gathered rectangle with a waistband and side zip, and a gathered cotton lining within that makes it keep the poofy volume. The waistband could be tighter, but it allows for wearing more layers in the autumn and winter. For this skirt is really one for colder weather. 

For the last two years I've worn hardly any skirts, probably because all my skirts are tight-fitting pencil skirts that are impractical for everyday wear. At least, if you like to eat and cycle as much as I do. I'm hoping that this simple addition might change things. 

Do you have a favourite everyday sew? 

Monday, 13 April 2015

Last-minute space cadette costume

Oh hi!

It's been a while since I've blogged, but I've been doing quite a bit of sewing over the past couple of months. Things like plugging away at a queen-sized patchwork quilt are pretty boring to write about, but I've also sewn some shirts for my boyfriend and the odd thing for me, too.

Last week I offered to help out at a friend's club night by being on the door. It's a gay night in a  basement in Spitalfields, and loads of fun. We played a gig there last time, so it was nice to go back to help out - but this time it was a themed night! The mot du jour was SPACE - but - horror of horrors - I had nothing even remotely galactical in my wardrobe! There was no way that I'd be able to be a door girl all night with no costume. So on Saturday afternoon I cycled off to Goldhawk road, procured myself some silver lam√©, and spent the next two hours sewing up a space cadette uniform.

 I'd started drafting a pair of French knickers a few months ago and made up a few toiles, so I had this shape in mind when I was puzzling out what to do for the costume. However, when it came down to it, I discovered that I'd managed to lose a whole pile of patterns, and could only find one of the pieces! More horrors! A bit of head-scratching and lots of measuring later, I managed to come up with the missing back piece, and cut out the shorts.

French seams were compulsory since the fabric frayed like crazy. I did a simple side zip, rolled hems, and a tiny waistband too. The pattern originated as the (free!) French knicker draft on Sew Vera Venus.

There's nothing quite like a deadline to show you what you're really capable of, and I'm really happy with this funny little pair of tap pants. The fabric was a little stiff due to the silver thread, and they'd actually work better in a more drapey fabric. I was also dying to sew up a matching bra and garrison cap, but alas, had no time. I made do with a sash and a star in my hair instead.

It turns out that it's actually really difficult to take photos outdoors when it's really windy and sunny with clouds, so here's just one without sepia effects to show you the colours! As you can see, the shorts look a little funny and stiff when not blown about by wind. For a space-y costume, I think this works, so I'll live with it! 

It's also really good to just bang out a project in an afternoon, and not have it languishing around on the sewing table for months on end. I think I'll re-make this pattern again, but in a drapier fabric and with pockets.