Tag Archive | sewaholic renfrew

The top that nearly didn’t happen

All the credit for this top rightfully goes to Jon.

I was clearing out my fabric about 6 months ago and this fabric was added to the Chuck It Out pile (it got to a grand total of 10 pieces of fabric out of a stash of nearly 200 that I didn’t actually want.) About 2 months later, we did actually come to chucking it out, we had had ambitious plans about selling stuff on Facebook sales communities, but in the end what was chucked out was so little and all the shit quality stuff, that there didn’t seem much point doing anything with it but sending it to the recycling bin.

But Jon stopped me and persuaded me to look again at this piece. I bout it up Goldehawk Road about 5 or 6 years ago, before I discovered the local fabric stall, & almost immediately decided I made a mistake, it seemed quite primitive and 90’s to me at the time, & I didn’t think the fabric quality was great. However as Jon pointed out when I tried to get rid of it, extremely 90’s and bold florals is very heavily in fashion at the moment. & he persuaded me to at least wash it and see what I thought then.

So I washed the fabric, & it came out an awful lot softer than before, & I was in need of a basic Sewaholic Renfrew top, same as millions of times before (here, here & here) as the washing was backing up…..tangentially, it is one of the extra paradoxes of living in a small flat that no one ever admits to, but if you don’t have a garden to dry clothes in, & you don’t have room for a tumble dryer,  all your clothes have to dry on a clothes rack in the flat,  & a cycle of washing can take up to a week to dry in grimy weather, so you need to have twice as many flipping clothes as you would need if you lived in an actual house , & of course in a tiny flat, you don’t really have room to store them! ……..so I decided to make it up quickly and if it was shit I’d only wasted 3 hors of time so it didn’t matter anyway.

I was moderately rigorous about pattern matching, but tbh, its a wavey stripe, those are the ones that on the Great British Sewing Bee they go ‘are you sure you want to use that?’ so I matched all the main points and then didn’t really worry about it too much. In the event, I aced it!

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Its not 100% if you are being nitpicky, but its the same under the arms and on the other side, & actually thats a lot better than I was expecting it to turn out.

Actually the same could be said for the whole of the top. I tried it on, & my response was like “wow, this actually really suits me!”

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So now it is in constant rotation in my wardrobe (albeit it takes it 2 1/2 weeks to get through the laundry and ironing pile) the jersey is still a bit stiff, but actually that means it isn’t at all transparent (An issue with white jersey) and it will wear well with age. I am so happy with Jon for making me look again at what is actually a really useful bit of fabric.

 

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grey like the skies

So I haven’t posted for a while, spent 2 1/2 weeks at my parents recovering from London and illness basically, then came back and spent 3 weeks recovering from overdoing things physically whilst at my parents. Have been busy doing things, just not sewing.

Except for what I’m about to blog about….

Made this a few weeks ago actually, & although its boring, with a pattern I’ve used millions of times before (Sewaholic Renfrew) I actually really really like this, it fills a massive hole in my wardrobe, is totally versatile, & despite the fabric being some weird, slightly stiff jersey off Lewisham market, its actually really soft and snuggley to wear.

Anyway…….

 

Skirt it is worn with is this devore grey one from 2013. The black velvety bits have finally worn off now, but it is still going strong, which is not bad really. I am never sure how long any clothes, let alone hand made ones, are supposed to last, but I don’t think three years so far is a bad lifespan at all, specially for something that gets worn pretty much constantly.

The next thing on my list to make is a heather grey Colette patterns Moneta dress. I’ve got it all cut out ready to go, but had to put all my sewing stuff away this weekend whilst we painted some furniture. I’m also about 3/4 finished with my tiger print hat, I got a load of knitting done at my parents, but haven’t really touched it since. It feels too much like summer really. Which is silly cuz its tipping it down right now.

 

forever delayed

So the first mention of this I can find in my sewing queue is back in October 2014  It reappeared in my sewing goals for 2015 but completely failed to happen. So now in March 2016, may I present to you, a bright red Renfrew Top…..

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So this has been in the works a very long time, I made the skirt it is pictured with back in February 2014, and swiftly realised that although it works brilliantly with black tops, for variations sake a red one would be nice. I got the jersey in Rolls and Rems in Lewisham a few weeks later. It was a bit of an impulse buy, & one largely driven by laziness as I wasn’t feeling the idea of going shopping up Goldhawk Road, & buying plain jersey on the internet has been decidedly hit and miss for me (well at the prices I’m prepared to pay anyway). So it was £5 a meter, which was a bit more than Goldhawk Road would be, but given I didn’t have to pay train fair or lunch, I figured it worked out. At the same time I bought some burgundy jersey which ended up being this and this. Immediately I got it out of the shop into the sunshine I realised I’d made a bit of a mistake, what in fairly gloomy light looked a slightly darker fire engine red, turned out to be bright orangey tomato in daylight. The quality of the fabric wasn’t quite as good as the burgundy either, its not bad, but its not top quality either. So I sat on it for a few months, & then stuck it in the washing machine with some slightly pinkier red dylon. It sort of worked. Its not much darker now, but its taken the absolutely glaring edge off it.

So yeah, it went in my sewing queue and then just kind of stayed there. I was still a bit unconvinced I guess and would rather sew stuff I was 100% sure about.

Till a couple of weeks ago, when I realised I had a major shortage of basic tops, red became even more of a priority gap in my wardrobe, & I saw something about Pantone colours suggesting that tomato red is going to be a big thing this year, & I thought I really ought to get round to it.

There was also going to be a frilly version in this style, which I’ve made several versions of over the years. But I’m kind of not as into it as I was, they are a pain to iron, my style has simplified slightly, and its not a colour I could ever envisage myself using for lolita, so I’m leaving the rest of the fabric for now, & having a think about what to do with it at some point in the future.

So I’m reasonably pleased with the top I’ve made anyway. Its still not my ideal red colour, but its a useful basic to have. I’m planning another one in grey, but I had to wait a week or two before starting it as I was waiting for the overlocker thread I ordered to turn up, & now its Easter, so I won’t get started on that for a week at least.

I have been doing some knitting and some embroidery though, so hopefully I’m keeping some kind of momentum up.

 

lucky accident and a couple of reviews.

Ok, so my new sewing machine is going like a dream. It took me a few goes to get the hang of threading the bottom bobbin as it is totally different from my old system, but apart from that I’ve had no problems with it whatsoever. In fact its sped up the sewing process considerably for me.

So as I mentioned in my last post I had a burgundy Renfrew Top on the go that I’d put a couple of nicks near the collar so it needed some improvising with lace to cover it up, that I was intending to use as my test piece, thoroughly expecting the same to happen as when I learnt to use my overlocker, it come out chewed to hell and completely unwearable. Actually it finished off like a dream. And I’ve got to say, cover up by the neck and all, this is one of my favourite and most versatile tops at the moment, & its the ultimate thing for going with lolita clothing. Also this week the end of my order from My Lolita Dress finally arrived (it took about 5 months, but everything else about the process was lovely) so I finally have a proper petticoat the right length, so I took a load of photos.

first up, top I made with homemade skirt and classical puppets petticoat….

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I’ve done pictures with this skirt before, but its never really worked as I didn’t have a petticoat the right length to go with it. I’ve got to say despite the time it took, i am over the moon with the classical puppets petticoat,i had it custom made and even though it took ages, I am thinking of ordering one in black as well, it is that poofy and full in shape and cuz I custom ordered it I got it exactly the length I needed. Loads of people have raved about these on Egl LJ and I completely agree they are brilliant.

You can also see the top I made properly in these pictures, I really like the way it works.

 

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Next up is the same top by me with the Sleipnir JSK by Ergi by Piratessen.

This actually turned up a few months ago, but I wasn’t sure quite what to do with it, i’m not thinking I have a particularly impressive co-ord going on here, but at least its a start. Its so plain and such an unusual colour scheme its quite hard to accessorise. (although I have totally non lolita plans involving my boyfriends fishnet top and a plastic helmet and hammer for a lady thor look at some point)

As far as the dress goes I am really quite pleased considering it was quite a low price. The quality is good, in fact the skirt is so heavy I think it will ultimately need a second petticoat. There was the odd hanging thread and the zip was a little stiff at first, but nothing major wrong with it. It is nicely printed and I managed to spill oil on it the first day I got it, so relatively easy to wash too. The bow is nice too and in proportion to my head.The only thing about it I’d say is a pain is the fabric crumples easily so it needs ironing before practically every time you wear it.

I am really looking forwards to having a play with more accessories with this. I have a Victorian Maiden bonnet I’m thinking of playing with with it and I’m on the look out for some grey flowers, and I might make some wrist cuffs if I can be arsed. Or something, at least I’ve got a top to go with it now.

And lastly this cut-sew from HMHM, a taobao seller I bought through My Lolita Dress….

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Apart from the long turn around time, there seems to have been some kind of balls up, but Linda from My Lolita dress was  very good at communicating whilst they sorted stuff out and got on with it, my only problems with this blouse are mostly my own fault. I did not realise, probably due to the impossibility of taking a picture of it, (mine are too dark, the websites came out too light,) quite how white the trim and the buttons were, so it was a bit of a shock when it arrived and not quite what I was after. I was also surprised it was made of jersey material rather than cotton, though with thought I do not mind very much as its really quite practical that way. However it fit me spot on and was made well to my measurements and it is really good quality.I think my real problem with it is it doesn’t suit me at all, again totally my own fault, but I have a bit of a double chin and round face with being fat and all and a high necked blouse does exacerbate that and I think make me look fatter. Being prepared for a stupidly long wait I would buy stuff from that brand again as the quality is good and the custom fit was good though. Maybe next time I’ll be a bit more careful with the styling.

I would also buy custom stuff through My Lolita Dress again.

Anyway, I am stupidly busy at the moment with non sewing stuff, but largely thanks to my new sewing machine being a breeze to use, I am halfway through the next dress I was planning to make (it is jersey and stripy and completely not lolita.) and I have given in to consensus from my dancing group and ordered a ready made set of stays (making my own in the time frame needed was never going to happen) so that when I make my Regency dress it is fitted correctly. This means that I won’t be making it till january whatever as I have to wait for the stays to arrive first. So seeing how I go in the next few days I intend to have a go at a lolita dress for xmas, I have my eye on the most gorgeous fabric.

The nice thing about having driven myself mad doing boring basic sewing for the last year and also thanks to the fact the British High Street is getting better and better at catering for plus sized clothes in styles that are not tunics and leggings  or cutesy Zooey Deschanel crap, for the first time in 4 years since I put the weight on, I actually have a wardrobe full of nice stuff with not very many gaps in it, so apart from the Regency stuff and a few things for other people, everything I make can be for fun now, not necessity, (and to be fair the girls side of the Regency stuff is going to be fun too). This is a real relief as I’ve felt very much stuck in a sewing rut the last year that does not accurately reflect what I want to be about. Especially with the new machine I’m really looking forwards to the next few months sewing! 🙂

Though not to taking pictures of stuff, seriously now it is dark after Jon gets home from work its going to be that yellow door all the way!

entire winter wardrobe in a week!

For several months I’ve been going through a frustrating patch with sewing, making silly mistakes and taking ages over things, but suddenly in the last three weeks everything just seemed to come together.

It helps that I’ve made both these patterns several times before, but I’ve got the Renfrew Top down to two hours now and the Hollyburn Skirt to just under three, which means I can kinda churn them out. Its also an amazing help as because of my ME I can’t sew for more than three or so hours in one day so being able to make an entire garment in that time makes life considerably less frustrating than making half of something and then having to wait several days till I’m well enough to finish it.

So yeah, I made these three in a week and a half. (I then managed to catch the stomach ache thats going round so I haven’t touched my machine since!)

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The skirt is a remake of the black skater skirt I buggered up a wearable mock-up of the other week. This time I knew what I was doing and it came out perfectly.

The first top is completely new and I think the fabric (off the market stall) has Campanula or Canterbury Bells on it, though my knowledge of flowers isn’t that great.

Here is a close up picture as it doesn’t photograph best in the world from far away…

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I am so glad I’ve got round to making a top with this one as I really do love the fabric.

the second top is sort of a remake too….

About a year ago I found a version of the fabric with a mustard border at the fabric stall and made a top with it. Unfortunately as I was new to working with jersey I completely failed to realise that as the print direction ran across the fabric rather than up and down with the stretch, I needed to make it that bit bigger to be my normal size. The original version was written off as a learning experience and went to my Mum, whom it fits perfectly.

I was a bit sad as I really liked the fabric, but I thought nothing more of it, until a few weeks ago the fabric stall lady put out a load of clearance stock for a pound per meter and amongst it was the same fabric again, only with a blue border rather than a mustard one. So I snapped it up and this time I was really careful to prewash it and to cut it larger than normal. And it fits! I am so happy.

Heres two more pictures of the different outfits…..

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I now have one more boring black everyday piece of clothing to make before I can start on some clubbing gear. I am massively short of stuff as I have totally become too fat for all my old outfits and as clubbing clothes are so expensive to buy (if you are into goth,steampunk and goblin themed nights) I am going to have to make some. As I haven’t tried to make anything spectacular for a couple of years, I’m really hoping my skill level has massively improved since last time round.

Unfortunately I’ve still got the remnants of the stomach germ, so not making anything for a few days I guess! 😦

china lady, dr who,another ladybird top and vexatious overlockers!

A while ago I know, but last time I posted I mentioned the necklace and the ceramic bust of a woman I was massively regretting not picking up from the charity shops in Beckenham. So early last week I went down there, the necklace had gone, which is sad, but I can always find another one I guess, but the woman’s head was still there…..

It is a little smaller than I thought so only my teeny tiny hat will fit it, but it is settling in nicely on my mini hat shelf….

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i thought that was it for charity shopping for a while, but our as I passed our local British Heart Foundation the other day I spotted a load of Dr Who DVD’S in the window for 99p each. There were some old series and some new series, and at first I thought each dvd was one episode they were so cheap, but for the new series it was 2 and the old series it was a complete story arc! Now I don’t mind watching Dr Who, which given I can’t really be bothered with TV is enthusiasm from me. Jon however loves Dr Who massively. So I bought them all….

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Turns out when I got them home and did a little digging on the internet, that they originally came with one of those monthly magazines, called the Dr Who Files . Anyway, when I went back the next day there were 40 odd more there. So I bought all of them! I don’t have photos cuz they are in a massive bag waiting till we can find somewhere to put them. but Jon is completely over the moon, and we are looking at it as a long term investment! 🙂

Also end of the week before last I sewed up another ladybird top….

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Same fabric, same pattern as last time….the ubiquitous Sewaholic Renfrew. Long sleeved version this time though. I’m going to try a couple more adventurous knit problems next time, however I didn’t manage to get any momentum going as despite it only taking an hour and a half to make and looking amazing on the outside, the back side of the overlocker stitch was looping/bubbling and no amount of fiddling with the tension settings would tell me what was wrong. So I left starting the next one for a week whilst I researched on the internet. Finally I found a couple of blogs which suggested the problem probably was one of the threads wasn’t between its tension plates properly (as opposed to every other blog which said rethread it entirely with  multicoloured threads and fiddle some more…not if I can get away with it!) and looking at it closely, yes one of the threads was out from its tension plates. So I’ve fixed that!

I have no idea if it has worked yet though, as the builder came yesterday to sort us with new radiators and put a power point in behind the table where I sew so I don’t have to keep long and dangerous extension cables winding across the floor to plug the machines into. So I had to put the machines away on a shelf and hopefully when I get them out again the overlocker will have been sufficiently un-jolted it will work and not need rethreading anyway! :-S

However when I got up to get a glass of water a few minutes ago I had to peel myself off the seat I’m on, so I’m not going to try anything potentially very frustrating in this kind of heat!

acorns and unicorns and pretty things!

So I’ve been really quite busy.

In between watching the olympics on the telly and avoiding the olympics crowds by hiding at my parents’ I have been buying things and making stuff.

Firstly..I picked this up a couple of weeks ago (£1.50 in a charity shop- nice!), but forgot to post about it,

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The acorns are made of little bits of polished wood. It is so pretty, and very very Mori Girl!

Then I made a couple of long sleeved t-shirts…..

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This one is a quick remake of a plain round necked purple job a friend of my mums gave me, it was too big and the neckline wasn’t flattering.

The unicorn was copied freehand from this colouring page and the lace is vintage i picked up ages ago.

I’m not sure about it, I think the neckline is too low, I didn’t actually cut it that bad, but it has stretched. i had the same problem with my cherries top I made a couple of weeks ago. It was the same kind of jersey too, the thick old fashioned sort rather than the thin modern sort, which I seem to be having no problems with at all. Does anyone know what i can do to stop this happening? I’ve stabilised the shoulder seams.

Also I made this for Jon….

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It is using the same sewaholic pattern as all the rest, which is technically a girls, but jon is going to wear it for goth clubbing and playing onstage with his band, so it actually works really well as a guys top for that purpose. It is the first renfrew top I have made I can say is pretty much perfect, there is nothing wrong with it at all, so I am really pleased! 🙂

So I already have a list of sewing projects taking over the flat, and then when I was out shopping in a local shopping centre (Which shall remain nameless, as this was too good a discovery) I walked past the £2 a meter stall, which I usually ignore because it is usually full of crepe style synthetics I wouldn’t touch with a barge pole and noticed it actually had a few interesting looking pieces on it….

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These three are all jerseys. I think I got 2 meters of each but in a couple of cases its a little more, cuz although the guy would cut it for you, there was no point if there was only 75cm or so extra in the piece.

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This is some kind of gauze, which is more the usual stock of this particular stall, but it has pretty feathers on it! No idea what I’m going to use it for yet, but at that price I don’t really care.

And this is the find of the century….

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About 5m of UNICORNS!!!! Sadly it is viscose, not cotton so is a bit shiny and see through and therefore better fro a Marilyn Monroe style Vivienne of Holloway knock off dress, rather than a Lolita number, but given I was revving up to spend 15 quid a meter on this (possibly if i could afford it) £8 for 5m of the viscose equivalent seems like a brilliant deal to me. The care label on it also says it is Japanese, so at least its quality viscose!

Apparently he got all this stuff cuz the samples department at Wallis were having a clear out. No idea what they would need unicorns for, but I am very grateful to where ever it came from.

Recently my sewing has lacked a bit of focus actually, but this month I have 3 actual deadlines for garments for the end of the month, otherwise I am going to have to go out and buy stuff, so given I have so much fabric to play with now its good to be forced to prioritise. I’m not going to say what the things are for incase I don’t manage them though! 🙂