Friday, 11 April 2014

Sewing Project 3 - Cynthia Rowley Dress

So, here we are again. Another school holiday, so another sewing project. I wish I had more time for projects outside of the school holidays but what with studies, a new job and a wedding to plan, I just can't find the time. I can, however, always find the time for buying patterns and fabric, then I find more time for longing I had the time for making things.

Anyway, I bought this pattern awhile ago. So, after thinking about the honeymoon and needing a new summer wardrobe but being to skint to do anything about it, the pattern came out.

The pattern (for the dress in the main image) was quite loose and and had sleeves and though, initially, I liked the idea of this, when I had cut the pattern and had pinned it to my dress form, I started to want something more fitted. As I cut the pattern for Size 14 (I'm still not too great at measuring myself), I had excess material so just kept stretching and pinning. 

The back was way more striking, I loved the V-shape it created when stretched more than the pattern wanted. 

I had enough excess material from the back facing to pull over the shoulders making a sleeve as I didn't want to use the sleeves I had cut from the pattern. 

 It had looked a little boring  from the front, so I added the fabric I cut for the front facing to the create a ruffled collar type thing (it also served to hide really terrible stitching!). 

The dress benefits from a few accessories.

 I'm proud of the dress for a few reasons:
a) It was my first time attempting a pattern that had more than two parts (this one had fifteen though I think I used eight pieces).
b) It was also the first time I have sewn pockets.
c) I use pattern and adapted it. 

I love the print and think it is a perfect summer dress!

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Sewing Project 2 - 'One-Hour' Sneaker dress

Second project is finished!! Yay! What a palava this one was. This time I downloaded a pattern called the 'One-Hour Dress'. It certainly did not take me one hour!

Making the pattern and cutting the fabric was easy enough and I was very proud of myself for doing so. The website has a downloadable PDF that basically walks you through it all.  I'm new to this and I found it reasonably straightforward.

I need a lot of space when I'm creating as you can see.

However, after sewing the front and back panel together, the foot pedal of my sewing machine exploded! Well, slight exaggeration, as I inspected my stitches, the sewing machine started moving without my foot on the foot pedal, I heard a fizzing sound and smoke started flowing out of the pedal! After turning it off my the mains, I turned to P (I'd like to say calmly but was actually quite frantic as I thought the machine was broken forever) who took apart the pedal and found this:

So, it turned out the capacitor had blown. Not wanting to risk, I reluctantly gave up for the night. 

The next day, P and I went to a replacement electrics shop, got a replacement capacitor for £2.50. Much cheaper than a new sewing machine! P replaced it for me. 

So, I was back to sewing!

Here's the finished project from the back:

I'm so lucky that you can't see some of the stitches, I have to remember that I am still a beginner and it's not going to be perfect. 

I like the length - not too long and not too short. Though, if I was doing this again, I'd definitely add pockets. 

I found gathering the sleeve really difficult and ended up cheating by adding elastic. Shh, I don't think you can tell. 

All in all, I am pretty darn happy with myself for this project and can't wait to move on to the next. Practice makes perfect. 

What do you think?

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Sewing Project 1 - Stripy Maxi Skirt

So, I finally got my sewing machine out and I haven't even blogged about it. I'm annoyed with myself as I completed this at the end of May!

I am incredibly proud of myself; getting in contact with +Jennie Caminada, going fabric-buying crazy and finally, producing a finished garment.

Jennie came over for a lesson, teaching me how to become independent with my machine.

I have created a Craftsy profile  , bought a few classes and gotten going from there. 

My first project from the Sewing with Knits class led me to make my very own maxi skirt! The class itself is a bit monotonous but the patterns are great and easy to use. I bought my fabric from Saeed Fabrics in Walthamstow for £2 a metre.

The finished result is definite source of pride considering this is the first real thing I have ever made. 

The skirt has had a great response on Craftsy and Google+ sewing community, which has given me enough confidence to keep going with my new-found skill.  I have gone a bit mad with fabric at Saeed Fabrics (I'll post my evidence soon) and am really excited about the end of term to spend more time sewing. 

What do you think? 

Monday, 15 April 2013

Metamorphosis: Descent in to madness

I began this piece when I was at a low ebb in my life and didn't know what path to take in my career and personal development. It has been quite cathartic to carry out as it needed me to painstakingly add string to the figures and draw lines between them. It required patience and focus, which is what I needed in life at the time. I finished it yesterday at a time where I think I have a plan for my paths in career and personal life. I am usually the type of person who knows in her gut what her next steps are and what direction I should take. It was disconcerting, which is what I think this piece represents. 

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Day 42 of Today

I have been inspired by The Great British Sewing Bee. Got my 50 year old Singer serviced. Now to get sewing!

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Not smoking: A collaborative effort

Five days ago, I quit smoking. It is one part of my step towards better personal development as I have realised that I am doing a lot of talking about the things I want to do and not a lot of actually doing.

On my first day of being a non-smoker, I posted this on my Google+ profile  publicly and was amazed at the level of support I was offered by complete strangers. In particular, the support from +Ian Russell and +Mark Wray, who have been posting daily encouraging messages, has been pretty mind-blowing. I believe their support has been part of the reason it has been a lot easier for me to give up this time. I have smoked daily for about 11 years and have tried giving up about four times. The longest I have managed prior to this is four months.

Yesterday, +Ian Russell asked me what was it that made me start up again the other times and this got me thinking. It is an important question as knowing the answer will mean that I am able to avoid that factor this time. However, I couldn't answer it. I couldn't remember what it was that sent me off the edge. One thing I have recognised though, is that this is the first time I have given up and felt this committed and dedicated to never giving up again.

There are many reasons that I don't want to smoke anymore: I'm nearing my thirties, soon I'll be thinking about having children, my health, financial reasons; the list goes on but primarily, I just don't want it to be part of my life anymore.

I have managed to get through through these five days without relying on any substitutes. Whenever I have a craving, I think about what I feel after submitting to a craving. I know I would be annoyed and frustrated at having to start at Day 1 again. Also, importantly, I know I would be ashamed at having to tell friends, my fiance and all the other people who have been supporting me that I have set myself back.

I was initially annoyed with myself for having even started smoking in the first couple of days of giving up but I am now starting to be grateful for the journey that it is setting me on. I am proud that I've gotten this far. Every time I ignore a craving and distract myself with something, I mentally give myself a bonus point. I am seeing this as a competition between Mel the Smoker and Mel the Non-Smoker. I am rooting for Mel the Non-Smoker and I know that I'm not the only one.

P.S Thanks to all the Google Plussers who have been so lovely to me especially +Mark Wray and +Ian Russell