Monday, 29 June 2015

Rosy Wedding Skirt (Zip-gate)

....and breathe! Wow it's been non-stop since getting back from our little trip to Devon. Now I've found myself with a day to decompress I can start telling you folk all about it so I'll start here -This weekend saw two of our lovely pals Dave and Cat tie the knot.

I had planned some time ago to use this vintage pattern to make a shirt dress. Happily the measurements were all spot on but I just wasn't totally sure about the very high neckline and collar. Anyway, I left it so late that I decided a pleated skirt was the more sensible option so it became one of my patented on-the-hoof projects.

So I set off using the pieces from the pattern above. I must have been a little overzealous with my pleating as when factoring in the fold for the front placket it was never going to fit! Hey-ho. I just figured I'd keep pleating the remainder and add a separate front placket piece, no probs!

But wait, why don't I just stick in a zip and call it the centre back? ...Why? Three zip insertions later and I was cursing this ingenious shortcut.

Zip one was invisible. Perfectly inserted and just awaiting trimming off the excess as it started life at about 18" -broken. Round two...

I had no more invisible zips so had to compromise with some cream standard zip-on-a-roll. Perfectly inserted and super neat, before securing the ends I thought to myself 'I'll just try it on to check' and promptly whipped off the end.

(Donna this one below is for you!!)

I could have cried. Bear (Bare?) in mind this was late Friday evening with the wedding taking place the very next day. Fun and games! So in went zip number three which did the job quite nicely under the circumstances. I even covered the zip end with a little fabric.

Ok so trauma covered on to construction. The fabric is cheap slightly sheer polycotton so needed lining. I cut the panels from both, shortening the lining on the overlocker by 2.5" which was the given hem allowance. I stitched the side seams of both then treated them as one for pleating leaving only the centre back seam exposed.

I wanted a little volume but didn't want to make or buy an underskirt so I added a bit of horsehair braid to the hem. It was at this point that I realised I wanted a little extra length so instead of encasing it with the 2.5" seam allowance I just used a narrow hem then carefully hand stitched it up into place. This does in hindsight make the lining a shade short.

So there we have it. For a 'simple' skirt this one required a lot of thinking on my feet but really if you will cut hoping for the best and finish a day ahead of the event...

You'll have to pretend this is a great occasion photo of me all coiffed in the sunshine instead of after-the-fact in my dark sewing room. I really love it though (and my now filthy yellow shoes!) and a great time was had by all.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Hillary's 2015 Crafting Competition - Laptop Sleeve

A few weeks back I was sent a great piece of fabric from Hillarys to create something for their '2015 Crafting Competition'. The print is great with a hand block printed feel. Due to the scale I wanted to create something which made the most of it -something large enough to showcase it to it's fullest so I decided upon a laptop sleeve (mainly as I really needed one for carting my new laptop to and from teaching!). I also whipped up a little matching velcro cord tidy.

There's plenty of room not only for my laptop but a few music books and board pens etc -everything I need for my evenings lessons.

(side note, I don't usually treat myself to flowers but the stocks in these pictures smelt so heavenly that I couldn't pass them by! My sewing room now smells wonderfully floral)

I managed to scrape together just what I needed from my stash. It has microfibre fleece lining to prevent scratches with a quilted layer of cotton batting to give a little extra protection from bumps, and a faux leather feature band to give it a little more of a contemporary feel.

I found a huge chunky vintage zip in my stash which started out life as an opening (presumeably) jacket zip, but with a little fabric zip stopper magic it was just what I needed. Hurrah! Free (ish) laptop sleeve!

I started by assembling my outer and lining panels. Again, not wanting to detract from the print I pattern matched some incognito patch pockets for the front for holding handy bits and pieces like pens / bus pass etc. You can just about see them (or can you!) in the picture below.

It's constructed in exactly the same way as a simple zipped pouch -only super sized with more features / bulk.

Instead of topstitching the outer I understitched the fleece lining to encourage it away from the zip teeth to prevent it catching.

And a slightly rubbish last picture in my clutches to give you an idea of the scale. I really love this print -it feels quite Orla Kiely to me. I'm just about to head off to teach my Keyboard groups this evening so I'll be taking it out for a spin!