Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A handbag.

A handbag?! Yes Lady Bracknell, I have made myself a handbag.

This is a replacement for a handbag I made for myself a few years ago which I very stupidly left on a train - and not even in the wee hours of the morning after a night of merriment, I left it on the train on the way into work one day. Sigh.

The original design came about because I saw these excellent purse frames with big bobble closures available at U-Handbag. Luckily Lisa posted a very handy tutorial about how to use them and following her pointers I drafted the pattern adding a wide gusset piece so that it would be roomier. The original handbag was in a grey fabric with a very feint pinstripe and featured some excellent badges from The House of Ismay. Here we are in happier times hanging out in Milan...
...paired with my me-made two tone pointy flats. That scowl on my face might be due to an underlying sense of foreboding that I would one day abandon this bag on a train.

Anyway, that was a year or so ago and I finally got around to making a replacement. 

I used that same pattern and some crazy-old-lady's-couch-fabric that I had in my stash left over from a skirt I made ages ago. The lining is my go-to lining/muslin/etc fabric - a polycotton which had been the tablecloths at our wedding and which I am still incorporating into various makes.
I used a lovely deep purple metallic leather for the handle loops (also from the stash), backed everything with heavy weight iron-on interfacing, and used some other hardwear recently purchased from JT Batchelors. All in all there were 31 pieces to put together!

The wide gusset piece makes for a roomier bag.

And the bag is pretty roomy - in the way that the TARDIS is pretty roomy.
(Please ignore the bits of glue in the corners. It's been a while since I've fiddled around with a purse frame and I'm a bit out of practice.)

This time around I added a lined patch pocket for my phone.

A long overdue, vaguely carpet-style handbag.
Completed: May 25th.

(and for any Green Wing fans out there, this.)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Beard bib!

I have fallen a bit behind with documenting the things I have been making as part of Me Made May. So here is a look at the first MMM item I made for the Little One...

Completed: May 4th (after completing my maxi skirt)

I have already made a few dribble bibs for the Little One, but this time round I made her a long beard bib. Why on earth would I make my baby daughter a long beard bib? Thanks internet, that's a good question! It was so that she could non-verbally celebrate the launch of my friend Stephen Collins' wonderful first graphic novel The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil.

If you click on that link you'll see that the whole book was done in soft pencil with lots and lots of intricate cross hatching, so in homage I chose this excellent fabric from my stash with its scrawly cross hatched design...
...and I drew a beardy shape.
I lined it with some white flannelette and topstitched around the edge, all ready to go to the book launch...

(she was getting a bit grumpy by the time this shot was taken)

You can see Stephen Collins' weekly cartoon in The Guardian Weekend Magazine here (may I recommend this one, this one and this one), his website here and you can buy The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil here.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Celebratory stitchery

Some friends of my sister recently took a trip to New York with their little daughter. One of the things they planned to do was, on a day that felt right, go to City Hall and get married. 

Their friends wanted to commemorate this happy event so my sister commissioned me to do some celebratory stitchery. She asked for their initials, NYC 2013 (because no one knew exactly what date it would be!) and some sort of tying-the-knot motif. 

This is what I did...

I extended the ends of the knot, turning them into leafy tendrils which I felt represented the possibilities for their future while giving a hint of the look of a family crest.

I spent a while experimenting with the design and when I arrived at the one I liked, I traced it onto my fabric using my fancy light box (ie: I taped the design to the window, taped the fabric over it and traced away!)

The design was for a 4 inch embroidery hoop but I stitched it on a larger hoop. I hadn't done any embroidery for ages and it was so nice to do it again - the thread makes a really satisfying noise as it passes through the taught fabric. It's quite tambourine-y!

I used three subtly different shades of blue embroidery floss (you know, 'something blue') the darkest for the lettering, medium blue for the knot and the tendrils, and the paler blue for the leaves. I used two strands of floss except for the ends of the tendrils and the leaves where I used a single strand.

I washed it, remounted it in a 4" hoop and sent it over to my sister in Australia. She wrapped it up beautifully and gave it to her friend to open up once they got to New York. She told me that her friend opened it up on the plane on the way over and promptly burst into tears she loved it so much!

So now I can finally tick "make someone cry through the medium of embroidery" off my list of things to do!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Floral sorbetto

Floral cotton sorbetto with pintucks.

Completed: May 9th. 

For me the whole point of joining up to this year's Me Made May challenge was to kickstart my making mojo. I've had the mindset recently that I don't have the time to make things. While it's true that baby wrangling doesn't always allow me the time to complete a project in one sitting, there are times when I can do just a stage or two of a project. I've not always been particularly good at the little-and-often school of making, if inspiration strikes (and I have all the materials to hand) I prefer to go go go till it's done. 

I have previously made two of Colette Pattern's free download Sorbetto before - pony and plain and put them together relatively quickly, but this time circumstances meant that I had to make it in stages. Day 1: cutting fabric. Day 2: morning- darts and seams, evening- making continuous bias binding (this tutorial). Day 3: morning- pintucks, neck binding, evening- arm hole binding, hemming.

Changes I made:
Originally I wanted to make it with the front pleat but I didn't have enough fabric so was going to leave it plain. I felt like it needed something though, so I stitched these five little pintucks down the front. I also added a bit of length to the pattern. 

Changes I should have made:
I only realsised once it was done that I should have shifted the darts down a bit (the last time I made it I didn't have post-pregnancy bazooms!) The fit is ok but it could be better. 

Usually I would go for a darker, more muted palate but I chose this lightweight floral cotton for a couple of reasons. I was inspired in part by the pink floral print sorbetto that Lauren wore on the Great Brittish Sewing Bee (she added buttons down the back which is a nice touch), and I think I was subconsciously inspired by a little white/blue floral blouse my sister had in the '90s which had pintucks down each side of the buttons (although I only remembered about that blouse when I was stitching the pintucks on this top!) Mainly though, summer is coming and I think I could do with some more light, bright summery options. 

I've worn it out already (with a pale purple vest underneath and a blue cardigan on top, because summer isn't quite here yet) and it was nice and comfy. So it's a handy summer wardrobe addition and a lesson in the value of the little-and-often approach to sewing.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

First make of May...

So it's the end of the first week of Me Made May '13 and here's what I've made for myself over the last few days...
This stripey jersey maxi-skirt.
Worn with me-made cowl neck t-shirt,
me-made map bag

completed: May the 4th (be with you)

I've had this jersey in my stash for ages. Thanks to the tag still being on it I know I got nearly three metres of it for a fiver. I had thought it was black and grey stripe but on closer inspection it turned out to be a dark navy blue. 

The skirt was self drafted, although that makes it sound like there was a proper plan - it was more of a make-it-up-as-you-go-along sort of deal. The stripey jersey is quite lightweight which means it flows nicely while wearing it, but it also means that it's a bit see-through, so I added an interlining of black jersey-
(please excuse the wrinkles)

Having so much fabric to play with I allowed myself the luxury of cutting it quite wide at the bottom. The waistband, which sits more on my hips than waist, is 1.5" elastic stitched to the wrong side of the skirt, folded in and stitched again. I stitched the seams and finished off the bottom edge using my serger/overlocker and used my regular machine for the 3-step zigzag stitch of the waistband and hem.

I've already worn it out a couple of times and it's a good, easy, breezy sort of skirt with lots of movement. I think it will get a lot of wear this summer. 

So there, I'm calling the first make of May a success! I did complete another little something for the Little One this week which I will show you in the next few days...