Friday, 30 March 2012
Rehanon who so kindly volunteered to help me make the event go with a swing. If you're interested at all, you can check out more photos from the event here. The lovely Handmade Jane also came to Craftaganza and was rocking one of her OWOP! skirts.
But back to the outfit. On Day 1 I wore my piped denim version of this pattern with my Mariner T-shirt, mustard cardigan and awesome Bebaroque tattoo-print tights. The main benefit of wearing this outfit was the pockets which I unconsciously jammed full of thumb tacks, balloons, business cards and other event-organising detritus.
the bandstand/foliage version with a black stretch top and my usual secondhand mustard cardigan. This outfit combo is so boring and predictable, in fact, that I was forced to find a giant lobster to stand next to in an attempt to make this photo interesting enough to prevent my dull outfit from making you fall asleep. Plus, despite the unseasonably warm weather, this outfit really wasn't warm enough so I changed into my usual slogging around wear as soon as I got home. I really can't relax and be properly comfy when wearing skirts, and Day 2 reminded me of that.
remade Peter Pan collar sweatshirt. Simples.
Big Flower vintage fabric version! It's just soooo pretty. Sometime when I'm wearing it, I catching myself looking down and staring for awhile. It's the most gorgeous vintage print design and I think the proportion of the design on this little skirt is pretty quirky and unexpected. Plus the pocket and yoke details break up the print just enough to avoid the print wearing me, rather than me wearing the print. Sadly, once again, I failed to come up with a more interesting outfit combo than my black stretch top and mustard cardi. Damn it.
remade jumper. This outfit feels like I'm pretty much ready for anything! Not sure why.
stripey long sleeved T-shirt and mustard cardi. If I've learnt anything from this week, is that I really should give that mustard cardigan a bit of a break! The colour just seems to work with so many things... Anyway, I'm not really sure if this outfit looks ok, either in terms of garment combination or on my figure. But I definately don't think it looks bad in either of those terms, so I'm happy.
Anyways. So, a week of Simplicity 2451. A week of skirts. As you may already know, I was NOT looking forward to wearing skirts all week. It was actually a far more pleasant experience than I predicted once I found that one of my pairs of trainers looks ok when worn with skirts, and that I actually own more pairs of tights that I thought. The unseasonably warm weather also meant I wouldn't freeze, plus I had more outfit options than if it's been a standard March week.
This pattern was a great one to do the OWOP! project with. The pockets are so useful, particularly because I've been suffering hard with hayfever recently and they have provided me with an easy and portable supply of tissues! I have also come to the conclusion that I prefer the shorter length. I hope everyone else had a great week, whether participating in the OWOP! project or not.
Wednesday, 28 March 2012
28th March (today), Suzannah at Adventures in Dressmaking
29th March, Sunni at A Fashionable Stitch
5th April, Lavender at Thread Square
9th April Me at 'So, Zo...' (obvs)
10th April, Tilly at Tilly and the Buttons
Ha! You'll notice that the British girls go at the end because it took us the longest to receive our patterns! Anyways, go and check out the final versions and give a holler to the other laydeez, then come back on Easter Monday to see what I've whipped up! Plus you've got until 15th April to go and enter the giveaway to win your own set of these patterns.
Sunday, 25 March 2012
As previously explained, I will be 'repping' Simplicity 2451 (pictured at the top of this post). I have three versions of this pattern in my wardrobe, but actually I have lost count of how many times I have sewn this pattern for other people, including my best mate, Harriet and some women from my company. I haven't bothered to document all these garments on this blog, but I have a made three more in the last few weeks so I thought this OWOP! week would be a good time to show you them.
the navy-with-white-spots version, asked me to whip her up some more of these work-friendly little numbers. So I reached into they ol' stash o' mine and found suitable fabric for two more. The first, pictured above and below, uses the grey and blue striped wooly-fabric I scored at the Brighton De-Stash Meet-up last month. I forgot which of the wonderful attendees it originally belonged to, but I'm hoping they'll pop by this blog, see this post and feel happiness that it didn't stick around long before being made into something ace!
Monday, 19 March 2012
'New School Vintage', to make some garments that could viably pass as genuine vintage pieces. I pick a vintage pattern and some roughly era-accurate fabric (plus vintage trims like lace or buttons if possible) to make the project. However, I don't go down the wholely authetic route with particularly vintage sewing techniques or equipment, for example I use a domestic overlocker to tidy up the raw edges inside and I use fusible interfacing rather than sew-in. This is theatre afterall: a facade of vintage. I still want to create a garment that I'm happy wearing.
So, to explain this project in detail, I going to try a new format for hopefully easier reading than my usual rambling approach: I'm ripping off the Pattern Review format. Let me know if you like it better.
I finally got round to making up the blouse I'd confessed to having cut out months ago in my recent Sewing Pattern Hoard post. I made View B, a sleeveless winged collar blouse with tucks for shaping at the waist. I was drawn to it because I could imagine Rizzo from Grease wearing it, but I also feel it's something Kitty & Daisy might rock too. I'm guessing it's mid-1950's, but I don't have it with me and I can't be arsed to research it.
This is a 34" bust pattern. I was fully expecting to have to let it out around the waist but actually is was fine PLUS I'm wearing a vest underneath in these images (what? It's still March!).
I'll let you be the judge of that!
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Well, in the instruction were sparce, in that wonderful way vintage sewing patterns usually are. But yes, it was very easy and quick to put together after I'd faffed around with the pattern and cut it out.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
Rizzo would wear this. And it rocks hard with my thrifted red cardi (though what doesn't?!).
Some amazing vintage printed cotton with an almost Hawaiian floral design that I scored at work. This fabric is actually quite faded in places, so not really appropriate for the range we make at work. I'm actually quite happy the fabric was faded because I think it gives it more of an authentic vintage feel. The orangey-red plastic buttons are also vintage and have lived in my button stash for an age.
Well, I folded 2cms out along the waistline of the bodice to account for my short-waistedness and that worked very well as the tucks now hit my natural waistline as they should. I think I'm going to do this alteration as standard on every pattern I make from now on. I also lowered the armholes because I find vintage patterns can be very restrictive around the armholes and neckholes. I then had to redraft the facings of course. I'm pleased I made that alteration but I think maybe I lowered it a little two much in the end.
Yep. I would like to make another in black with the leopard print buttons I bought at Sew Over It in South London.
I'm a big fan of this blouse. I'm not sure how much wear it'll get due to it's sleeveless nature, but it's actually very comfortable (I think I had a nap in it during the day!) and it seeing it makes me feel very summery. It was also an excellent item to wear to a riotous shop-closing party which was also attended by Rehanon (AKA Miss Demeanour) (pictured with me below) who, incidentally, was wearing her epic Mysterious Cities of Gold top! Oh, and I just remembered: Karen better hand over the good money she said she'd give to see me in a version of the Rizzo blouse! I think this might actually turn a profit!
Tuesday, 13 March 2012
I made this dress back in December, but haven't got round to posting about it until now. I was planning on taking some nice photos of it during the first evening I wore it which was just before Christmas. But that evening I ended up getting engaged instead, so all thoughts of photographic endeavours went out of the window!
bolero shrug, as pictured above). I like that the two different fabrics give a kind of trompe-l'œil effect as if I'm wearing a top and skirt instead of a dress. It's a total cheat's way of appearing to have well coordinating clothing! And the VERY best thing about it? You can eat as much as you like whilst wearing it!!! Nothing digs in and tries to tell you 'That's enough chocolate pudding now, Zoe'.
Sew U: Home Stretch book (which I used a couple of years ago back in Spain here and here). It's the dress pattern included in the book with slightly adapted sleeves and a scoop neck. I'm really struggling to find details to share with you about this project! I've said it before and I'll say it again, if you are interested in learning to sew with jersey and knit fabrics but aren't sure where to start, you really should get a copy of this book. It demystifies the whole construction process and techiniques, and the patterns included in the book are a good place to start to work on creating your perfect stretch patterns. All my stretchy fabric patterns that I've developed for myself include elements from those original patterns.
Sunday, 11 March 2012
I feel that I've been forced to neglect this little blog of mine a bit in recent months, and the sewing/blogging community in general, which massively pisses me off. I really love this blog: the ability it provides me to express myself and explore the things that are most important and interesting to me, and how I can communicate and interact with all you wonderful individuals who make this community so supportive and truly special. So don't be thinking that I've gone a bit quiet or unfocused for lack of interest, quite the opposite. The list of things I want to explore, discuss and share has never been bigger and it grows by the day.
There's a back-log of garments I've made that I wish to show you, and the latest developments on my wedding dress design and other sewing project updates. I have more tutorials and how-to's up my sleeve, plus some tips and tricks that I use at work that I'd like to share in the hope that they will help a sister out. I've also be developing and grading sewing patterns to share for free with y'all, but you're going to have to exercise some patience with that endeavour. Plus, I couldn't be more excited about the forthcoming Me-Made-May '12 if I tried! I've really missed that ever-evolving community of inspirational people since the last challenge in September, and CANNOT WAIT to see who's up for challenging themselves in less than two months time. AND there's the awesome OWOP! project which starts in less than two weeks time, on the very day in fact that is shared by the reason for my recent lack of attention: the Spring Brighton Craftaganza.
One of my 2012 New Year's Resolutions was to:
'Make the three Brighton Craftaganza events that are scheduled for 2012 better than the two events held in 2011. Improve the Craftaganza blog to make it more useful and enjoyable for crafters/designer-makers and provide more opportunities for sellers and local creative people to meet and get to know each other, online and in the flesh'.
I explained further in the post about last December's event some of the ways in which I planned to make those improvements and achieve those aims, and since I'm now solely responsible for its success, I've invested more time, energy and effort than is probably realistically advisable into it.
Which is not to say I've been tackling this alone. I've got a clutch of incredible volunteers. I met Kathryn IRL at the Brighton De-Stash Meet-Up and she told me she had some spare time on her hands and was happy to give me a hand with Craftaganza. She helped me update the Craftaganza blog by creating a list of sellers who will be at the March 24th event, as well as writing me a killer press release to publicise the event and found me some key people and organisations to send it to. Kate Butler, a Brighton-based jewellery designer and seller at the event, also used her local know-how and freelance-worker-enabled spare time to hunt down more promotional targets. My best mate Vic aided me in getting my head around twitter and did some further promotional donkey work for me. Patty (the soon-to-be Mr So Zo) helped me design the poster which included an awesome illustration by my ex-university flatmate Jennie. Patty also picked up more batches of promotional material from the printers than was strictly necessary, if only I'd stopped repeatedly under-estimating how many posters and flyers I would actually need to thoroughly coat this city. The irrepressible Rehanon has helped me hot-foot it across town, dispensing flyers and posters in locations that aren't covered by the poster distribution service I have paid for. There are surely others who have already provided invaluable assistance, and yet more lovely peops that will be there, armed and ready, on the day itself.
'So, with all this help, Zo, why have you been feeling so overwhelmed?,' you may ask. Well, it's all a bit of an experiment really, but I need to see what I can achieve with this whole Craftaganza thing if I give it my absolute all. For example, I decided to publish a post on the Brighton Craftaganza blog every single day, plus update the Brighton Craftaganza facebook page and get busy on twitter, from the beginning of March until the event itself. Most of those posts have been in the form of often-illuminating interviews with the local designer-makers who will be selling at the event. The 'Meet the Seller' interviews have been interspersed with some wonderful 'Product Highlight' posts arranged and written by the ever-helpful Kathryn, which focus on specific items that can be purchased on the day. I have also been trying to be as open, helpful and professional about all communication with sellers, potential sellers and everyone else, generally be on point with everything as well as starting to plan the Summer event which will be in early June.
I'll conclude these self-indulgent witterings by saying that it actually probably wouldn't be all that much work if I didn't have a full-time job, other projects (like P&C, Hem-isphere Project, MMM'12 blah blah) to devote time and brain-space to, a wedding to plan, a life etc etc. Plus no-one is making me do this, of course. However, I did want to explain what's up, because sharing what I'm involved in is the point of this blog, afterall. Thank you for your time, please come to the event if you can!
Thursday, 8 March 2012
Time for me to rummage through the 'shelves of joy' which house my hoard of sewing patterns. I haven't got a lot of time for random sewing projects for myself these days, so your thoughts on which patterns merit a creation are very welcome. For lack of any other method, this batch from my sewing pattern hoard are very vaguely in date order, starting with the oldest.
This early 50s blouse is really lovely, but perhaps not quite my style? It's got a very cute little collar and front pleat or shoulder gather detailing. I'm thinking print rather than solid?
I'm very drawn to View B on this pattern pictured above. I LOVE that collar and can imagine Rizzo wearing something similar, though probably in black. Actually, I love this pattern so much that I've already cut it out in fabric. But evidentally not enough to have ignored the Winter weather around me and actually sewn it together! I not have started making this yet, but I'm pretty convinced it is NOT 'instant' though! I'm sure I'll get round to tackling this eventually. I've cut it out in a floral print, but I'd also like to see what it's like in a stripe with the direction doing something interesting on the collar.
I cannot believe no-one challenged my bid for this on eBay. Hello? Where were you?! Well, your loss... Only joking! It's nice though, eh? Not wildely dissimilar to the pattern above it, but with the all-important addition of grown-on, kimono style sleeves! Which is great and all, but we all know how much fabric those take up! Which version would you make and in what type of fabric?
You may recognise this pattern pictured above from a past creation. That's right, with considerable fit-tweeking, it became my Corazones Rockabilly blouse. Oh, how cute was my hair back then?! The other two views look appealing too: I feel there is a lot that could be done with piping on View A and a contrast collar for View B would be good.
I don't recall buying the pattern above, but I guess I must have. I did actual half-make View A before giving up. It was going really well, but it became apparent that the fabric I was using (really nasty 60s synthetic stuff) was going to feel horrible to wear AND be very see-through. This really isn't my 'style era' anymore, but the gathered neckline and roll collar of View A did look good, so I'm hanging on to this for potential future endeavours.
I'm not sure if the above garment is meant to be a jacket or a blouse, but I guess that's all relative to the type of fabric it's made up in. I kind of hate myself for being into something that is so 'on-trend right now', but I'm really into 70s style peplums at the moment, which is evident from the collection I've snaffled from eBay recently. How would you approach this pattern? I'm thinking a solid colour with contrast buttons? Turquoise and red maybe?
See? More peplums. But I think the genius of this particular garment lies in those crazy sleeve cuffs!!! Totally diner waitress. All sorts of contrast magic could be worked on this. But would you be able to fit a cardigan over those sleeves? Maybe a bolero shrug might make it over them.
Yet MORE peplum madness!!! I love this sun top for so many reason though, not just the peplum. I HAVE to make this for this coming Summer. Those few hot days that the UK achieves, and BAM! I'll be ready with this. But what to make it in? Thoughts please!
This is so 'Nine to Five' era, isn't it?! But look! View 4, it's got soooo much diner waitress potential hasn't it? Maybes some contrast collar and sleeve cuff action would really make my waitress uniform dreams come true. I love it in the stripes too, but unfortunately I don't have enough stripey fabric in my stash for this.
I don't remember buying this pattern either, but once again clearly I did. If you squint, you can't see the floral waterfall ruffle version quite so clearly and you can focus more of your attention to the cap sleeved view they've rendered in red polka dots. Although I've got a really high natural waist, I think I could adapt this and 'make it work'. A liberal smattering of contrast piping around the waist panel and on the collar and sleeve edges would really make this design pop.
A ha! This little blouse pattern is a tried and tested gem. From a 2008 edition of Burda magazine, I've used it twice before, once for my Bird blouse and then again with fit adjustments for the Ship Shape blouse. I've loved that Ship Shape blouse so hard that the collar has begun to fray and the printed design on the buttons is wearing off. I think, out of all of them, this blouse pattern would be the best one for encorporating small bits of amazing fabric that you don't quite have enough of for an entire blouse. I can feel another one of these blouses coming on...
Ah, the Sencha. It barely needs an introduction. As previous explained, I've altered and simplified this pattern so that I'm really happy with it. But seeing as the blue printed version didn't fit my best mate, I've got it back for when I loose enough of my Christmas-belly to make use of it. With that and my Sailor Sencha, I'm not sure I need another of this style. I'm unlikely to stop making them for other people though!
As I say, any thoughts, insights or over-views you have about these patterns, please don't be afraid to pipe up!
Tuesday, 6 March 2012
We pick one of our favourite sewing patterns and wear the garments we have made from that pattern each day for a week. It's essentially a styling challenge, to try and come up with new combinations and outfits to get the most out of these beloved creations. I'm all for anything that encourages people (including myself) to make the most out of things we already have so I'm jumping in and signing up to wear my versions of Simplicity 2451 (pictured below) all week starting Saturday 24th March. Coincidentally, that day is also the Spring Brighton Craftaganza craft market, the event I've been busting my arse over and neglecting this blog and everything else in my lifebecause of for the last couple of months.
But back to these skirts. I must admit at this point that I'm not entirely comfortable with undertaking this project. If I'm honest with myself, I dislike wearing skirts, particularly during the day. I do often feel more 'special', feminine and done-up when I wear skirts, which can be nice, but not really a feeling I am comfortable with during the working day for some reason. Plus the skirt/tights combo is NEVER as comfortable as the trousers-or-jeans/socks combo. Then I have to wear boots or girl-shoes, which are never as comfortable as trainers, for the duration of a day. But I have a perverse side to my nature which draws me towards experiences that I may find difficult, awkward or challenging!
Also, I've made three of these skirts for myself (plus three-squillion for other people) but two of them are 'statement' skirts. By which I mean, they are made from loud prints, not nice, versatile solid colours which would be easily made into numerous outfits. But I haven't worn any of these three skirts for an age and if I don't wear them, then maybe I don't deserve them, so it's time to try and find new ways to wear them and bring them into my real-life, everyday wardrobe.
I'm really excited to see what other patterns everyone chooses, plus Tilly has promised statistics which may or may not include pie charts. Who doesn't want to be involved in a pie chart?!
Sunday, 4 March 2012
A cape, no less!!! It may not be obvious, but I generally try to make Harriet seasonally appropriate garments. And what with it being Christmas, I thought I'd stretch myself to a larger and more involved project that my previous offerings. I used the vintage cape pattern I showed you in my outerwear sewing pattern hoard post. I created my own lining pattern pieces as this sewing pattern made the assumption the owner was so adept at sewing, that separate pieces would be an unnecessary frivolity (they wouldn't).
Look! Fully lined!!! I had to wing it and I'm not entirely sure I nailed the arm opening slits and how they relate to the lining at that point, but it seems to work well enough. The check wool fabric, in case you couldn't guess, came from my place of work, as did the lining. I decided to cut the collar pieces on the bias to alter the direction of the check. Because the check it quite a busy pattern, and because the fabric is so thick, I decided to use chunky poppers as a fastening which would be invisible when worn done-up.
Harriet was able to come and visit us in Brighton in 'one-night-only' fashion over the Christmas break whilst she was back in UK. We had such a great time together with Patty and Michelle, and I so pleased that she donned the cape straight away. Here she is pictured above, grappling with a cash machine!
It's so nice to be able to show you some photos of Harriet, to prove she's not just a figment of my imagination! The brief time we were able to spend together was as inspirational as ever, as we pow-wowed about all our projects and endeavours going forward into the new year and beyond.
Ok, poetry time! Let's hear how Harriet interpretted that remade sweatshirt of hers:
Girls in a deli
little red dots
bodies that twist and sprout
still laugh, trip & yell
I don't want to grow up
beyond the light of the classroom
dappled sun on a plastic cup
Who are you, Peter Pan?
red buttons erupt, they burst
laughter burns red & thirst
spilling over into the thought that they can
make that kind of joke
in the shade of a playground oak