My wardrobe

Since I’ve (re-)discovered sewing, and since I read Overdressed, I’ve been looking at the clothes I already have. I have never had a particularly well-paying job so I’ve never really had the money to spend on high-quality clothes, so it’s mostly from Primark and H&M with some hand-me-downs thrown in for good measure. I’ve also never had much money spare to buy clothes all the time…..so how have I ended up with so many clothes? Most of which I hate? I think it’s because I can never bring myself to throw anything away – which means I’ve got a shirt in my wardrobe which I bought for Sixth Form 12 years ago, which is now falling apart and no longer white (thanks to a washing machine I had in a rented house ages ago which seems to make it its personal mission to turn all of my clothes grey – and I’m not just talking about ones that were originally white!).

I’ve also become bored with the colour palette I wear ALL THE TIME – black, grey, navy, other shades of blue and the occasional green. Just look at my trousers:

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I basically never wear the one brown pair or the green linen ones (from Primark!). Do I really need 8 pairs of jeans?

My dresses are the same:

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The cream one in the middle is no longer cream (it’s green, ooh what a treat!) – blog post to follow.

My skirts and more interesting tops are equally dull…are you spotting a pattern yet?

 

IMAG0410Why do I have so many t-shirts?

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Seriously! They’re mostly from Primark which means they don’t fit nicely and have all gone a bit crap from being washed so many times. In my (very slight) defense, I bought a bunch of the vest and long-sleeved tops when I had to wear a uniform t-shirt, as tops to go underneath. I don’t really like most of these, which I think is the main reason why I always feel like I have nothing to wear . After all, the average modern wardrobe is probably largely based on t-shirts – but maybe I can work on having nice, more interesting t-shirts to wear.

My jumpers and cardigans feel as though they have a little more variety in colour, but only in shades of blue and green – they’re still all from the same spectrum of dull.

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I hope that I have the balls to sew clothes in more interesting colours and I’m bored, bored, bored with my clothes. I have spent the weekend refashioning some of the stuff I never wear, so that I don’t have to throw them away (where they’re knackered) or give them to a charity shop. Not that I would probably do that as I would feel even more like I had nothing to wear…..twisted much? I’ll keep you posted on how I can clear space for the clothes I plan to make!

Vintage Sewing Patterns

So when I was at my Grandma’s at the weekend, it occurred to me that she used to do lots of sewing – there’s a very glamorous shot of her in a 50’s style halter dress (like Marilyn Monroe on The Seven Year Itch) and she made the dress herself…….without a pattern! So I asked he if she had any patterns left from her sewing days and I was in luck! I picked only the ones I though I might be likely to make (so left behind all the 70s and kids’ ones). Because my Grandma was born in 1930, the 50s and 60s seem to be the eras when she was sewing the most clothes – especially the 60s, which is lucky for me as I’ve just become obsessed with Mad Men (I know, only like 6 years behind everyone else!)!

I got this one as The Boyfriend has been saying he wants a night-shirt for a little  while now – so now I’ve found a pattern, I’ve got no excuse.

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Another one for The Boyfriend – see how selfless I am?! I love the fact that the guy in the jacket is smoking in the picture!

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I love, love, love these 60s blouses – and I love the fact that the brand of pattern is called ‘Housewife Special’!

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The rest are mostly dress patterns….

I’m not sure about this one – but I might just be being put off by the orange!

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I think this one is more 70s as it was a dress my Grandma made for my Mum’s school uniform. You can’t go wrong with a shirt dress!

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Simple shift dresses.

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Simple skirt, top and jacket pattern.

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I really love this one, even if the cover is quite damaged – and you can see it’s been drawn on by a small child at some point!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI think this one might be a my favourite – look at those coats!

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It remains to be seen if I ever get around to making any of these – I would have to grade them all as they seem to be mostly in size 14 (whereas I’m a size 8). Maybe one day, when I’ve sewn a few more modern patterns……

I Want to Sew All The Things!

So I’ve been a little obsessed with sewing recently. You may not be able to tell this from my blog because I haven’t actually gotten around to making much yet, but it’s been literally all I’ve been thinking about for about a month! (Which has gotta be better than lying in bed thinking about work or something, right?!).

I am now on holiday for a week, and am going to visit my Grandma for 4 days from tomorrow, which should be mellow and relaxing.Hopefully which I’m there I’ll finish my Miette cardigan – just the sleeves to go. I’m definitely going to make another one as it has been easy to knit and quite quick.

Miette 1

My plan for the rest of my time off is to Sew All The Things! I am probably going to end up grumpy with myself because, let’s face it, I won’t be able to sew that many garments in 5 days (minus time for cinema, lie-ins and general socialising). My plan is to take my patterns with me to my Grandmas so I can cut them out/ trace them while I’m there to save time when I can be sewing.

I bought this this week:

Gertie's New Book For Better SewingI really want to make the pussy bow blouse:

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and it’s variation, the peter pan collar blouse:

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I might also have a go at the shirt waist dress, though I’m not sure it’s my style and I’m conscious of spending ages sewing something I won’t wear. But it’s so pretty!

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I also downloaded this pattern from BurdaStyle:

BurdaStyle 1which I’m pretty sure has this variation, though I haven’t stuck the pattern together yet to work out whether I’ve got the variation or would have to work out how to do it:

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It does come with this variation, though I don’t think I like it without the pleats:

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I have also bought the latest edition of BurdaStyle magazine, mostly for the men’s shirt pattern (as The Boyfriend would like a grandad shirt or two):

Why the stupid expression?!
Why the stupid expression?!

Plus there might be one or two things in there I could try. So with my copy of The Great British Sewing Bee book on order (for free from our rep at work hopefully), there should be plenty to keep me busy! I just mustn’t get annoyed with myself if I don’t make all of these things in one week off!

The very first thing I need to make, though, is a Polaroid camera case for one of my friends at work. I promised to make her one at Christmas (as it is currently sheltering in a fluorescent sock) but have been super busy. It’s all cut out and planned, so I just need to actually sew it together. In return she is going to give me a photography lesson as she is a super good photographer, so hopefully you won’t see any more blurry, wonky, dark, crappy photos from me!

Knitted Lego Brick Door Stop

If I have any regular readers, you may have noticed I have changed how my blog looks a little bit. I was publishing all my posts as pages as well, in the relevant category, but it seemed stupid to publish everything twice and was just creating huge lists of things which isn’t very interesting to search. So I’ve changed it so each category has a page of photos which link to the posts – it also means I’m not splitting readers between a  page and a post, they’ll all be in the same place! Because WordPress seems to be a bit pooh at a lot of things (unless you pay), I can’t format my photos nicely, so they’re just in a long line – hopefully I’ll figure some magical way to make them look a bit nicer!

I have also decided to delete the film category – I mentioned a little while ago that I was thinking of doing this. I go to the cinema most weeks and watch probably one or two DVDs every week, so unless I was doing a film blog, I don’t think I’d ever find time to review them all – and the perfectionist in me would want to review them all! Sorry to anyone who was reading this blog for the films, but there must be loads of great film blogs out there – which this blog will never be!

Anyway, enough rambling…..on with my crafty post………

So for my Christmas 2, I tried to make as many presents as possible (I’ve probably already told you that), but it’s kind of tricky to make presents for boys. Luckily one of the other girls in the group hit on the genius idea to all make lego-themed presents for one of the boys. She sent me a link to a giant knitted lego brick doorstop, so I bagsied making it! The full instructions are here – I won’t write it all out as I’m lazy! I will say, if you’re using a standard UK house brick, use the amended sizes of pieces the designer mentions on Step 3 – my pieces ended up a bit long. Anyway, enough words…..pictures!

Step 1: Wrap the brick in something soft (in my case some left over wadding) to protect the knitting and your floor!

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Step 2: Knit all the pieces.

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I used contact lens case lids instead of bottle caps for the ‘nipples’ on top of the brick, as I had tonnes of them lying around!

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I used the trails of wool from the knitting to tie the ‘nipples’ onto the top piece before I sewed all the pieces around the brick:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA(You can kind of see the white of the wadding)

Step 3: Is just to sew it all together (sorry if my steps don’t line up with the ones on the instructables)

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And here it is, fulfilling its purpose in life!

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Make It: Sherlock Kindle Case

So for the last 3 years, I have made Christmas presents for my wonderful Aunt. She is a HUGE BBC Sherlock fan (along with quite a lot of other people I know!) so last year I made her a Benedict Cumberbatch Calendar:

It took AAAAGES to draw all of the line for all of the days inside!(Photo from Evenlode’s Friend Tumblr)

It took AAAAGES to draw all of the line for all of the days inside!

 

 

I had to think of something to top it this year, so I decided to make her a Kindle case with a Sherlock theme. (A Kindle is approx 20.2cm high, 13.5 cm wide and 1cm thick, so I made the case 23cm x 16 cm with seam allowances. I figured it was thin enough to not need a gusset). Although I am contractually obliged to hate Kindles and Amazon, I had a brilliant idea of how I could make it awesome! On the internets, there is a LOT of fan art for Sherlock and amongst the common things are some Victorian-style silhouettes. I decided to cut these out of felt and applique them onto each side of the Kindle case:

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It was quite fiddley, but worth it! I then used one of the fancy stitches around the outside, to give them, like, a frame. Look how they’re gazing at each other longingly!

So I was pretty pleased with this part, but the pièce de résistance was using some of John and Sherlock’s best-loved clothes (and the ones that so often appear in the many, many, many pieces of fan fiction) for the other side of the case – to make it reversible. Probably Sherlock’s most famous piece of clothing, aside from his amazing coat, is the purple shirt of sex:

Purple shirt of sex

I still had a bit of purple fabric left from making Norman (which is slightly wrong, using fabric bought for a child’s present to make a purple shirt of sex, but what are you gonna do?). I decided to cheat a bit and just sewed 2 lines down the middle of the rectangle but the buttons in the middle of them, to make it look like buttons and button holes. (There would be no point making functioning buttons and my machine is crap at button holes). You can just about make out the stitching…

You can just about make out the stitching...

Probably John’s most famous piece of clothing (aside from the red pants – warning, explicit content!) is his oatmeal/ biscuit coloured jumper he wears in the first episode:

John's jumper

For the other side of the purple shirt of sex, I knitted a rectangle of John’s jumper. I can’t quite remember how many stitches I cast on, though to work it out, knitting usually ends up about 1.5 times the width of the cast on stitches, not including the stitches which will be used in the cable. I practised to make sure I got all of the cables going the same way as on the actual jumper, though sadly, again, I can’t remember which way round it was – I have various notes which I worked from, but they don’t say which ones I used. Sorry!

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Construction-wise, I sewed the 2 silhouettes and the shirt and jumper together as though they were small individual bags (with right sides together). I made a small button tab which was calico on one side and purple on the other side, so that it would blend in whichever way round you have the case – I sewed it together on 3 sides with right sides together (not that it really mattered as they’re pretty reversible fabrics) and turned it inside out – the un-sewn edge would get sewn into the top seam, so it didn’t matter that it wasn’t sewn. I also sewed a button-hole into the end of this (with purple thread in my bobbin and cream thread in my machine – check out the detail I went to!). The top button on the shirt allows the case to be closed up (and closed on the inside of the case if it’s the other way around).

I sewed the bottom seam allowances of both bags together a little bit, to stop the whole thing being turned inside out, rather than one bag being reversed (if that makes sense?! I’m not sure it does). Anyway, I sewed the 2 bags together at the top, remembering to put in the button tab and voila!

Finished 1Finished 2Finished 4

Finished 3

When the sillhouettes are on the inside, it looks like they're kissing!
When the sillhouettes are on the inside, it looks like they’re kissing!