Monday, August 29, 2011

Modified Vogue 1250

So obviously I am the last person in the world to make Vogue 1250.  I have made it twice.  Once is red version which is the dress, though left rather longer than on the pattern (I haven't actually hemmed this yet so not sure of the final length).  The other is a teal version modified to be a cowl neck top:


Here I am looking rather awkward in it and with the top draping oddly (neither I nor the top look like that most of the time!).  It was made in a teal viscose / spandex oddment I got from Melbourne Tessuti while I was over there recently.  Oddly I think it suits the other fabric (cheapy Spotlight jersey spandex) better as that fabric is more drapey, but a few washes might change that.  I cut an enormous size 20 (to get the shoulders and chest in there) and then spent lots of time bringing the waist and hips back to probably a 14 and 16 respectively, though am not sure as I did with the garment after rather than with the pattern initially.

Here is a view of the back:


And a slightly better one of the front (though not much...it was dark and we were about to head out!).


I made it by taking the two main pattern pieces and putting them together.  Then I pretended the top of the two skirt pieces at the back of the original pattern (down to the second adjustment line) were the bottom of the upper back piece (basically to lengthen it).  Similarly I adjusted so the main piece stopped at the lengthen/shorten line and at the front rather than arcing round to the back (as I already added that piece onto the back).  Then I made the top as instructed but ignored the bits sewing the skirt back and skirt to upper back and skipping straight to sewing up the sides.

It was a really interesting exercise in changing a pattern for me (having only made a few items of clothing I have not really done this before except to lengthen and do the usual cut big and narrow in).  I don't know if it was as successful as I would have liked - probably partly due to the heavy weight of the fabric and also mainly due to my lack of understanding of how seams would work when I was making them up at the bottom of the side seams.  I ended up with some odd flarey bits and had to spend more time faffing than I wanted to in order to pull it in and make it look more like a top should.  In the end I got a top which I wore out that night to dinner, which I will also wear to work, in a lovely colour, so am not really complaining!  Definitely inspired to do more stretch sewing and I would like to make this again in the lighter drape jersey spandex to see how much of the difference was the fabric versus my incompetence.  I thought about making the sleeves more sleeveless too so I might try that next time.

All up not bad for an experiment!

Zpaghetti bag for Kate

A bag for a friend...

I haven't really posted much since we went to the Melbourne Quilt and Craft Show.  Interesting trip really.  I found some amazingly lovely things such as some lovely printed linens from Duckcloth and also some Zpaghetti.  Both of these fit my criteria for projects I wanted to get on with, interesting new materials and things we don't get down here in Tassie.  I was a bit disappointed with the rest of it mind - there didn't seem to be as much in the way of really nice wool and also the quilts themselves for the most part just didn't really grab me.  Perhaps I am a bit more aware of what's out there than I was the last time I went...

Anyway on to the Zpaghetti.  This is "yarn" made from the off-cuts of the garment industry.  Think t-shirt fabric in a gorgeous array of colours, some with patterns and some plain.  They are fabulous.  My only concern was needing to get a 0.8kg "ball" of the stuff home on the plane (measures about 21cm high and maybe 18cm around, though I am totally guessing those dimensions from memory so they probably bear no relation to the actual...).  I ended up buying a kit for a bag which came with a ball of the yarn, a handle, a closure toggle and a pattern.  And this was the result:


I was pretty pleased with it.  Is it lovely to handle - kind of rigid but soft to the touch at the same time.  A detailed shot of the toggle closure:



All up this thing was sooo quick - with a 12 mm crochet hook it was done in a couple of hours (and that included me faffing about getting used to it and making up etc.).  My only complaint would be that the kit came with a hook which was wooden (which I normally prefer) but which seemed to make it harder to work than the plastic one I happened to have from Spotlight.  That might be a personal thing though - I tend to err on the side of slippery as possible for crochet hooks but more grippy for knitting needles.

I modified the pattern ever so slightly to include a pocket inside for a phone (just by double crocheting - in UK terms - a square the size I thought it should be a long with a bit of a seam allowance).


And above is a truly terrible shot of that pocket.  I added that because I haven't found a bag which didn't need a pocket.  I don't have a phone cover and don't really want my keys and phone screen in close contact. Otherwise the pattern was cute, easy to work and well explained.

So a nice project finished and winging its way off to my friend in the UK.  The colour is kind of in here at the moment so am hoping it's the same in the UK.  I hope she likes it, we don't have completely the same taste and I worry that this won't be one of the cross over things and she might hate it.  Always even more of a worry when I get my act together and make something and especially so when it cost more than the raw materials to send the damn thing!

I am definitely going to order more Zpaghetti soon (when I have finished off enough stuff to not feel indecent doing so) - I saw a lovely pattern on Etsy for a dinosaur shaped bathmat made out of t-shirt yarn / upcycled old sheets or similar which might have to be next for the young man...It also makes great placemat and coasters with the added benefit of being washable (a must in my house).

Now we just need someone down here in Tassie to start stocking it so I don't have to pay postage!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Where have I been, I ask myself...

So I have been suspiciously quiet for all of August but really I have been busily making stuff but failing to finish much.  I have made Vogue 1250 in deep red (haven't hemmed the bottom),  most of three amigurumi bunnies (not yet complete), a zpaghetti bag for a friend (done and posted - more on that later), two quilts (one nearly bound and ready to reveal soon) and a modified Vogue 1250 in teal for a new top...phew!  I have actually been busy then...just not finishing and blogging!

Got me thinking about how much I would like more time for all this though.  Every other sewing and craft blog I read seems to have posts at least once or twice a week and often they are things like "I got this fabric today and am going to make this pattern" and then two days later they post their finished article.  It takes me weeks.  Seriously.  Weeks and weeks.  Is it the fact I have to go to work three days a week? (seems unlikely)  Is it the small people? (probably)  Is it that my sewing room desperately needs a reorganise (again) and that I need to discipline myself to finish things off rather than viewing nearly there as good enough but then not using the thing as it's not finished? (definitely).

Where does this leave me then...feeling guilty about not doing enough when the first paragraph above shows that I am really getting a lot done.  So it's all about the organisation and the focus from here on in.  I will do the following (in the following order):
  1. Post about the two things I HAVE finished and photographed asap.
  2. Make a list of unfinished projects and prioritise them.
  3. Make a list of planned projects and prioritise them.
  4. Stick to the plan.
Of course you note that the above doesn't tackle whether the lists created in steps 2 and 3 are to be completed in sequential order...no fun to start no new projects until *everything* is finished.  And perhaps not so practical either.  I have two issues (well, perhaps three) I think, as follows:
  • The first is that I do different types of making stuff at different times - so I sew in a class on Thursday nights and sometimes at the weekend if I get a chance.  I would like to sew more but it's hard to have the machine out with the nearly-two-year-old around and  I can't really leave him and his sister to their own devices and run off to sew (sounds nice though...).  I tend to knit or crochet more when they are about and also at night-times when I couldn't possibly get out of my seat to sew and I need to watch True Blood at the same time.  So by definition the way that I use my time means I must have more than one thing on the go simultaneously.  
  • My second issue is that I don't have enough time to make everything I want to (laughing as I type this because I am not sure anyone in the world does...unless they don't want to make stuff I guess).  So I am happily doing something for me or the kids just because...and I realise someone's birthday is coming up.  And I have a good idea for a present.  And I am going to make it for them...you see where this is heading...
  • My third issue (which I don't want to own up to) is some sort of compulsiveness that means I want to make stuff that I see and think is a good idea RIGHT NOW.  And if I don't do it I will lose the idea and the world will end.  I may need to work on this.
So this is long and not really of interest to anyone but me perhaps. Time to stop and go and make some lists.  If anyone happens to read this and has the answer to all my problems (note:  giving up work totally is the answer but I can't make it happen!) then feel free to let me know.  Otherwise I will just revisit this one in a few months / years and laugh that I remain in the same boat.

Its a good boat though really :)