Saturday, 19 April 2014

More sort of re-fashioning

Hi Internet

I hope Easter is treating you well? I have been eating way too much food and pre-washing fabric. Not much sewing has been going on as the cat objects -

He ignores all of the cat toys I buy him.

Onwards to draping pics - 

All of the above were draped with one pair of mens skinny jeans. To make them into final garments you would need an extra source of denim. I found the shapes quite inspiring and now I really want a little denim jacket with lime green patch pockets.

The photos below were draped using the skinny jeans and a pair of boys jeans. These pics show the evolution of what ended up being my final garment for this module, however because I am a dick I forgot to take a picture of my garment when it was actually finished.

The technical drawing for this dress was a bitch and a half to draw, unfortunately it's on a memory stick which I am too lazy to go find! The cat has gone out now so I can get on with cutting that toile (its a Seamster Patterns Dandelion dress) 

Adios Internets

Rachel x

Monday, 17 March 2014


I am sooo way behind at watching The Sewing Bee, hopefully at the weekend I will have time to watch but I'm not holding out much hope, life is being a  bit odd at the moment - one of those times where everything feels like its changing and time is speeding forward but then nothing is actually changing at all. Enough of my waffle, on to the sort of sewing related stuff.

I have been draping like a champ, but not draping flat fabric because that would be too easy, nope -  I have been draping other clothes.  Hopefully this will provide some inspiriation for people who have the time to do some actual re-fashioning (lucky lucky people)

Saturday, 22 February 2014

The Great British Sewing Bee - What Would You Make?

So like most of the British sewesphere I am watching the Bee with equal levels of face palming and wonder (seriously Chinelo cutting out that silk free hand just amazed me, I think I now have a bit of a girl-crush) I really can't be arsed to do a full review but - if you were competing, what would you be doing for each of the challenges???

Shell Top.

 I have a very similar pattern to the one that was made up for the show -  New Look 6483. It doesn't have a hi-lo hem but that's OK because I'm not time travelling back to 2012.

Hand sewing a button loop, pfft I don't think so. I usually just use a bit of shirring elastic or sacrifice a hair bobble in an appropriate colour. For the fabric I would use Tula Pink Raccoon Sky I am obsessed with this fabric and raccoons in general as I think my cat looks like a raccoon (we were adopted by a stray cat,whom in turn we officially adopted, he is beautiful and grumpy)

See he totes looks like a raccoon!

The Refashion Challenge

The original skirt looked something like this, but obviously not blurry ( I can't find a picture of the actual skirts they used and this is the closed thing my google-fu could find)

I would have chopped it into something like this - 

I think there would be enough fabric in the cut off length to create a circular ruffle. I would probably cut some contrast bias tape to hem the ruffle. 

 Lingerie Challenge

I thought this was a real stinker of a challenge, silk -  in the first week of the competition, harsh!  I imagine the men felt pretty uncomfortable measuring and fitting their models as well. 

I would have gone with this amazing McCall's pattern

Probably made up in an orangey red silk charmeuse...

 .. with a crazy lace overlay on the bust, but not on the hem as that would be scratchy. 

I'm looking forward to next weeks challenges and to sewing along in my imagination (the only sewing I seem to get to do these days *sob* )

Friday, 17 January 2014

Lost In Menswear

Long time no see internet!

Long story short -

New Job + Christmas + College = No time to sew selfishly

While I haven't had time to make any clothes for me I have been sewing for college. For my last module I lost my mind and decided to have a go at menswear and just to make things extra challenging I thought I would make a shirt. No idea what I was huffing to make that seem like a good idea - I was soo sooo envious of the others when they were making up simple skirts in a couple hours when I had been up til midnight sewing on buttons.

I started with the Fitted shirt block in Metric Pattern Cutting for Menswear by Winifred Aldrich Drafting this was pretty painless as the instructions in the book were very easy to follow.

 I was so happy that this fit on the mannequin (who was obviously modelled on a linebacker) - it looked enormous as I was drafting and making it.

Final Garment -

I had a lot of changes to make to my final pattern, the most noticeable being 'raglanising' the sleeve. I found the instructions on doing this a bit vague, however this could be due to the book starting from a different pattern block than the one I was using. 

I chopped into the bodice pretty thoroughly to add my design lines and eliminated the darts whilst doing this. I came across a couple of problems doing this as the book has you drafting your blocks with a centimetre seam allowance, so in some places you are adding a seam allowance to part of your pattern piece but another of the edges will already have a seam allowance. As I had a lot of triangular pieces to match up on the front it was sometimes awkward to match up the seam lines, on the whole I prefer my pattern blocks to have no seam allowances so I can add them after I've chopped my pattern into a million pieces. 

I am reasonably happy with this project although I wish I had more time to complete it as there are some dodgy stitching lines which I'm hoping my tutor won't notice (sleeve plackets I'm looking at you) 

The fabric was purchased from Waltons Fabrics and is a thin crisp cotton chambray. I have enough fabric to make another shirt so I will probably made a shirt block for Beau, after I have finished some selfish sewing for me that is. 

Rachel x

psst - anyone else having problems with bloglovin? nothing on my feed will open, Its making it very frustrating trying to keep up with all your beautiful blogs.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Colette Iris..

... or pointless pants fitting hell.

I bought this pattern in the great Colette pattern buying splurge which saw the Laurel added to my vast pattern collection (and we all know how well that turned out) For some reason I thought that pants from an indie pattern company would be easier to fit than  a pattern from the big four (I have no idea why I thought this, I'm definitely not in the running for Spock's logical thinker of the year award)

I made a toile out of a faded old curtain (no pics, def not a wearable toile!) and to Colette's credit the drafting on these shorts was very good, every notch met up and they flew together in about an hour. The fit was OK on my toile but I noticed a bit of bunching and some crease lines at my crotch. Thinking I knew what I was doing I made a full inner thigh adjustment to my pattern pieces and cracked on with the next pair (also made out of an old curtain)

Note the long t shirt (which I also made) that was because I still had the crotch bunch wrinkle problem, sigh.

For the next pair I though a slightly larger full inner thigh adjustment might do the job.

Nope, pesky creases still present.  I'm not glowing with rage at my rubbish shorts in this pic, honest! Florida is humid and steams up camera lenses faster than Mickey can part you with your dollars. On this version (and the ones in the future) I got rid of the side panel as I knew I would never use the pockets.

By the time it came to version three I was beyond frustrated I was still pretty sure the fault was something to do with my legs as it seemed that the fabric was getting 'stuck' above my leg muscles (quadriceps?). I turned to the Internet and found an adjustment for full FRONT thighs.

Yeah I don't have a picture of me wearing this pair. The front thigh adjustment made these incredibly 'waffy' so much so the Beau questioned whether I was wearing a skirt. This is a photo of the inside of the waistband. I was pressed for time when making all of these so I used a finishing method I had seen in some ready to wear pants. Instead of folding the facing inwards and slip stitching it down you apply bias tape to the raw edge and then stitch in the ditch from the right side to secure the facing.

By the last pair I had almost lost the will to live, a niggling question started eating away at the back of my brain... what if it's not the legs that are the problem, what if it is the crotch? I asked my trusty friend google and google responded with Anatomy of a Camel Toe Part One and Anatomy of a Camel Toe Part Two now my problem was not a camel toe but rather the camel toes evil sibling 'the wad'.

Armed with this new diagnosis I set to work on altering my pattern and scooped out that crotch curve viciously.

These shorts fit great but I picked the wrong fabric. This is quite a thin loose weave pink hounds tooth cotton which stretched to unwearable after having them on for an hour or so. boo.

You can't win them all I suppose, at least next time I go somewhere hot I will have a better idea of how to fit my shorts pattern!

Rachel x

Thursday, 17 October 2013

An Unseasonal Dress

When is a wadder not a wadder? when you discover that absolutely enormous dress you made two years ago now fits your chubby frame.

I have just been on holiday to the happiest place on earth and like all good sewists I left it to a fortnight before I went away to decide I needed to sew new holiday approps clothes - that is why I have been absent so long. I sewed 7 complete garments in that fortnight, its a wonder I didn't die of sewing exhaustion. In my sewing frenzy I discovered this dress in the jersey stash -

no idea what is going on with that foot, why do I pose like someone with a broken ankle?
This is the Cynthia Rowley dress with the un-stitchable racer back that every man and his dog made a couple of years ago. I actually saw the designers version in a TK Maxx one time. The fabric it was made out of was gross- it felt like a wetsuit and the zipper was wavy.

Now although this was made over two years ago now I still remember what a bitch it was to construct. At the time I had just got my overlocker and was going through a phase of overlocking all of the things. As this was designed for knits I thought I was onto a winner. No. See those straps/banding across the top of the bodice, no way in hells those can be overlocked neatly and you haven't even seen the back.

See, not a snowballs of getting around opposing curves, in fact I still did a really crappy job of it with my regular sewing machine, there are little puckers all over this thing.

I tried gathering the skirt on my overlocker as well, lets just say I've not done it again. I love my overlocker beyond all reason but no matter how much I tinker with the settings I can never get a gather that I am happy with. 

Despite all its faults, this dress was super comfy to walk around a hot busy theme park all day. I took it originally as I thought it would be ok for lounging around the villa and since I didn't really care about it if my case was overweight on the way back home I could dump it. But it made the journey back, I like the fabric too much! I think it will get re-made into a t-shirt. 

Expect more photos with eye searingly bright blue skies soon

Rachel :)

Sunday, 1 September 2013


Well today I did want to post my Sew Weekly Reunion creation, but it's not finished (Rachel misses deadline - what a shocker!) I had a day off this week and decided my stash was in urgent need of tidying so I did that instead. I know that sounds boring, but it really was a mess and mess makes me stressed and stress makes me not want to sew (or do anything apart from sit and worry about how stressed I am). Now my stash is more organised and I have put all my knit fabrics in one place, before my stash was organised by colour not by fabric type so it could make things quite difficult to find. I'm hoping this new organisation will make me more productive and I've reminded myself of how good my stash really is and rediscovered some forgotten fabrics.

So anyway, no sewing project to show but I thought I would show you some of the stuff I've done on Spoonflower -

Not too shabby ey?!  I discovered in College last year that I like making patterns, it appeals to my OCD tendencies. I'm rachellousews on Spoonflower, hopefully I will be able to create some more designs when I get back to school.