Fabric Inspiration: Wool

After the (modest) success of remaking my wool skirt into a cape, I’m hankering after making more things from wool……perfect time of the year, right!?

In looking for photos as research for this post, it occurs to me that wool is a really versatile fabric. You can make all of the below things from wool – skirts (pencil, pleated and circle), dresses (wiggle, fit and flare, and maxi) and, of course, coats and jackets.

I like this skirt because of the fabric – I like the black lines that perfectly line up with the pleats.
Wool Circle Skirt(image source)I can’t resist anything blue pretty much, so I love this one!

Blue Wool Pleated Skirt(image source)

This skirt is from the 60s (which I think is why I was drawn to it) so it shows that wool is also hard-wearing, and lasts a long time. As long as the moths don’t get it!

1960s Olive Green Wool Pleated Skirt(image source)

I like how this one has the pleats starting lower down so it’s smoother over the hips, which I assume is slimming.

Jade Wool Pleated Skirt(image source)

When I was first thinking of a post about wool, I assumed it would all be black, brown and other dark colours, but I was wrong! Electric blue, olive, turquoise and pink. Lovely.

Pink Wool Pleated Skirt(image source)

The pencil skirt is a classic garment to make with wool. I particularly like this grey one – I think it’s the styling (and the model’s legs) that makes it particularly awesome! If only I could wear heels for more than 5 minutes at a time……

Grey Wool Pencil Skirt(image source)

Wool Pencil Skirt(image source)

We can add mustard yellow to the colours of wool available!

Mustard Yellow Wool Pencil Skirt(image source)

If you read my blog regularly, you’ll know I like masculine, boxy styles (as well as 60s styles), so I love this grey wool coat/jacket.

Grey Boxy Wool Jacket
(image source)

More mustard yellow!

Mustard Yellow Wool Coat
(image source)

Coral is definitely a colour that is one of my new favourite colours, and it seems to be in several high street shops at the moment, so it’s obviously one of the colours randomly picked for this season. Anyway, I like the combination of a sort of girly colour and a masculine shape of coat.

Coral Wool Boxy Coat
(image source)

The wiggle dress is a classic to be made of wool – they make me think of Joan from Mad Men.


Grey Wool Wiggle Dress(image source)

Blue Wool Wiggle Dress(image source)

Since I like the 60s, I do enjoy a black dress with a white collar and cuffs. The babydoll style is obviously a classic of the 60s and it’s starting to grow on me.

Black Wool Babydoll Dress
(image source)

Ah, Pierre Cardin. Lovely!

1960s Pierre Cardin Wool Dress(image source)

I love this lime green cocoon-y dress with the blossom embroidery. It looks so Springy! It’s making me want the weather to finally warm up.

Lime Cocoon Wool Dress with Blossom(image source)

I like this wool, the black with speckles on. And the shape makes the wool look really modern.

Black Sparkly Wool Dress(image source)

Who knew you could make a maxi dress from wool!

Green Wool Maxi Dress
(image source)

This is a great green too, and I actually like the bow – normally I don’t like things that are too fussy, but I’ll make an exception for this one!

1950s Green Dress with Bow(image source)

When I do next sew with wool, I really have to make a coat for The Boyfriend. I promised to in January, but then we decided to move and now it’s almost Spring so it seems like a silly time of year to make a Winter coat! Have you sewn with wool? Outerwear or ‘inner’ wear?

 

 

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Fabric Inspiration - Lace Tartan Skirt to Cape Pink-Francoise-thumb 2

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Fabric Inspiration – Lace

So just before Christmas I was in my favourite fabric shop, Rolls and Rems at Holloway Road (are you sick of hearing about this shop yet!?) and I was looking for some fabric to give as a Christmas present. Obviously I had a look through their remnants bin, and was tempted by a couple of things which I ended up putting back – be impressed! But there was one thing I didn’t put back – a huge length of navy blue lace fabric. I decided a month or so ago that I wanted to start sewing with other kinds of fabric and lace was on my list (as well as velvet, sequins, and leather), so this felt like fate!

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It’s quite a lovely shade of blue, as you can see here. I experimented with holding different colours underneath it to see what might work as a background in my eventual make. Weirdly it seems to really change colour depending on what other colour it’s paired with!

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I thought it would look brighter on brighter colours, but it has the opposite effect. So I think out of these, cream is the best option. And I’m going to look for some navy fabric in the same colour as the lace as I definitely think I can get 2 garments out of it – there must be 3 metres. It was £15.99, so if I can make 2 things and use mostly stuff I’ve already got in my stash, then these will be rather thrifty makes!

But then the question is what to make? I decided to do some research on Pinterest, one of my favourite pastimes! I think the options, unsuprisingly, are a top, a skirt or a dress – or a combination of these.

First skirts. It seems to be popular to have the lining shorter than the lace part, which I think looks sort of sexy and demure at the same time.

Lace Skirt 1
(image source)

I like the look with a fuller skirt, too.

Lace Skirt 3(image source)

And this one only has a little ‘overhang’ but it still adds something I think.

Lace Skirt 5(image source)

The other main kind of lace skirt I could find was office-y pencil skirts, where the lining and lace are the same length. I like both of these, with the paler linings.

Lace Skirt 2(image source)

Lace Skirt 4(image source)

Now onto tops. I love this trio of white/ cream tops – I like how they use the scalloped edge of the lace as the hem on the top and sleeves.

Lace Top 1(image source)

Lace Top 4(image source)

Lace Top 5(from Anthropologie via pinterest)

I like this more casual use of lace, too, from So Zo’s blog,

Lace Top 2
(image source)

Here’s another one that just uses just a bit of lace, but it looks more special than a basic t shirt.

Lace Top 3(image source)

This might be my very favourite top I found – from the front it looks quite plain, just with a scalloped edge. But from the back it’s got this lovely bit of lace peaking out from between 2 more scalloped edges. I may have to copy this one!

Lace Top 6
(image source)

I think I’ll definitely make a dress, then it will be a case of deciding skirt or top. And what kind of dress! I’ve got a wedding to go to in May so I’m thinking of making something a bit more special that I would normally make to wear to that. I haven’t made any party-type dresses in ages!

I could make something kind of like this, using the lace over different parts of the dress. With white/ cream underneath it could look quite chic.

Lace Dress 1(image source)

I like this with the flash of colour showing through from the lining – though as I mentioned above, I’d have to be careful about which colour I put underneath my lace.

Lace Dress 2
(image source)

This shift-type dress is really up my street, though if I made a version of it it wouldn’t look quite like this, as my lace doesn’t have such a large pattern.

Lace Dress 4
(image source)

I love this, but it might be too dramatic for a daytime day wedding!

Lace Dress 5(image source)

 

This one might be too risque for a wedding – I think it’s kind of see-through in places, though it’s difficult to tell from seeing it on a mannequin.

Lace Dress 6(image source)

Have you ever sewn with lace? Do you have any tips I should know before I embark on it?

Knitting and Stitching Show

The weekend before last I went to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace, with my sister. We kind of decided to go on a bit of a whim – well quite last minute, which is unusual for us as I am quite lazy and like to not have plans on the weekend and my sister has 2 children, so spontaneously going out for the day alone isn’t always possible!

Shamefully although I live in Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace is a 10-minute train ride away or a 20-minute bus ride away, I’d never been before! I had no idea you can see canary wharf from the top of that hill! It wasn’t a super clear day when we arrived, but you could still make out the gherkin, the shard and canary wharf!

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We’d been to another Knitting and Stitching show a couple of years ago at Olympia and I didn’t really realise Alexandra Palace would be even bigger! Even though we arrived at 11 (with the doors opening at 10), the place was already absolutely heaving! I found it a bit much to be honest and I’m not sure I’d go again. It was really difficult to get anywhere near any of the fabric stalls (of which there weren’t a huge number aimed at dress-making as opposed to quilting) and so I ended up not coming away with much even though I’d gone in with quite a long shopping list. I had wanted to get some fabric to finally make my Colette Cooper Bag (which I’ve been meaning to make for about a year!) and some fabric to make a Colette Albion Coat which will basically be a rip off of this coat I pinned ages ago:

Seasaltcornwall coatI think I’ll actually order fabric for both these makes online, though, as I’m still a relative noob with knowing what kind of fabric is what so it seems like I’m more likely to get the right kind of fabric if I can choose it knowing what it is and what it’s properties are according to a website. Any particular favourites for heavy weight bag fabric or waterproof coat fabric?

The one thing I did manage to buy was some new lining fabric for a coat refashion I’m now part-way through – I’m re-making the slightly horrible coat I bought from the Fara Workshop into something more wearable – and less holey!

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Ooh, mustard yellow – something new and different for me! It was from Doughty’s and I might check out their website as this cotton was only £4 per metre but it softer than you usually get for that price.

I also got some matching thread and a thread snipper:

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You can see the lining (and threads) with a swatch of the coat fabric – I think it’s going to look fab!

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The only other thing I managed to get was some wool with which to knit The Boyfriend a tank top:

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This was some end of line wool which was only £2 per ball and it’s really nice quality – maybe a little itchy, but since it’s a tank top, it wont really touch skin that much! I was just going to get 5 balls – as that’s how many was in each little pack – but the man convinced me to get an extra one just in case – I’d never find it again. Do you know of any good tank top patterns? I suspect I’ll have at least one ball left, so I’ll have to think of something else to do with it. Maybe a baby jumper for one of the kiddies in my life?

I did discover a couple of new-to-me pattern companies, so although I didn’t buy that much I did do some research for future possible makes! I’d not come across MIY Collection before – Wendy Ward, who designs the patterns, wrote The Beginner’s Guide to Dressmaking so you may have heard of her from that. I don’t think I’m in love with any of the patterns, but her focus on teaching absolute beginners to sew has got to be a good thing – the more the merrier!

I also discovered Sew Me Something, who are based in Stratford Upon Avon. They are a workshop and pattern company with a (I assume) growing number of patterns, all named after Shakespeare’s heroines. I quite like the Kate Dress and the Imogen Top and it’s a stroke of genius to name their Portia Trousers after one of the ‘breeches roles‘. I’m a bit annoyed with them, though, because in my vague daydreams I imagined myself one day making patterns (which I probably will never do, but you have to consider these things anyway!) and I thought I would name them after Shakespeare’s characters because I love Shakespeare. But they’re beaten me to it so it would look like I was copying….in this mythical future where I have the skills to pattern-draft!

One of the greatest things I discovered was Loopy Mango. It’s a US based company that makes knitting kits with GIANT WOOL and GIANT NEEDLES, and super cute branding, in my opinion.

Loopy Mango blanket(image source)

I love the fluoro pink!

Loopy Mango needles(image source)

Did you go to the Knitting and Stitching Show? Did you buy lots of things or, like me, get overwhelmed by the number of people and the sheer number of stalls? Did you make any new discoveries?

What I got for Christmas…

My Christmas presents this year mainly had 2 themes: tea and sewing. You can’t say my family and friends don’t know me! I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while….well since Christmas! But I’m glad I waited because my uni friends and I had our ‘Christmas 2’ last weekend and I was really lucky to get some sewing presents from my friend. We did Secret Santa this year, buying for 2 people each, because as people have paired off, the group has grown to 10 people and that’s a lot of presents to buy! Me and my 2 girlies meet up more often than the whole group does and we all discussed who we were buying for when we met in December but I didn’t notice that Farn only told us one of her people – because the other one was me!

I got these 2 books:

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They’re really good books and cover a lot of techniques. The sewing one covers loads of things like drafting and sewing pockets, collars, how to sew pleats and everything else you could possibly think of. The crochet one is also great and will hopefully help develop my crocheting skills – and help me not forget what I had already learned! It will also go well with a book one of my other friends bought me for my birthday:

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For the Secret Santa I also got this amazing box of threads and bobbins:

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Another of my presents, from my mum’s best friend was some lovely fabric:

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I’m hoping there is enough of the blue to make a dress – probably an Emery, if I ever finish my first one! Here’s a close-up – it has lovely little yellow flowers on.

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And I think there will be enough of the cream flowery one to make a blouse, possibly a Colette Violet.

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My sister got me some really sweet retro dressmaking and knitting cards, which show you all the techniques you could possibly think of, like sewing for special occasions, setting in sleeves, knitting aran and cable knitting, and everything else. So between the cards and the books I don’t have an excuse for getting any technique wrong!

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Possibly the pièce de résistance of my crafty presents came from The Boyfriend’s mum. I got a lovely vintage-style flour shaker and inside were some little packages. I first opened this:

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And I thought ‘ooh, lovely, some thread. That will match the fabric I’ve just been given.’ Then I opened this:

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And I thought ‘oh, good, needles are always useful.’ And then I opened a present that contained these:

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They’re personalised labels saying I’ve made things!!!! It was so great that I happened to open them last! I’d been thinking for ages that I should get some labels to sew in my me-made clothes and now I have some! I’ve been slack and haven’t sewn any in yet, but I do intend to sew one of these in each of the things I’ve made so far 🙂