Surf Jewels

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Sep 2
New fabric

I’ve been wanting to try some new fabric for a while now and have been reading a bit about what fabrics are what and trying to figure out what fabrics are best for which projects. I think I’ve said before it is a bit if a minefield out there! 

There are cottons and poly cottons and poplins and lawns, there’s rayons and viscose, creeps and statins and when you look into any of them there are different weights, mixes and types. There seem I be creeps made if different fibres and its all soooo confusing. Ahhhh.

I wanted to find a good fabric for making dresses, I’ve mainly used poly cottons and cottons up till now, though I have experimented a bit with jersey, chiffon and tulle. I wanted a fabric that drapes well, as cottons can be a bit stuff for some projects, although I must say have been great for others and easy to sew!

So I chose some crepe fabric, not crepe de chine, as that’s shiny, but good for linings though.

I bought some navy crepe as well as this turquoise floral print that I just thought was pretty. A dress in this me thinks! I was unsure what it would be like and was worried it would be shiny and satiny, but got it through this morning and am very pleased. It is not sheer or see through and has a lovely drape. I am going to make a bike wrap dress from the navy, so will let you know how I get on.

The other fabric I got was a thin black jersey for lining my blue chiffon dress. I chose it as a lot of my bought dresses seem to be lined with this, so thought I’d give it a go instead of the usual shiny lining. I’ll let you know which I find better.

New fabric

I’ve been wanting to try some new fabric for a while now and have been reading a bit about what fabrics are what and trying to figure out what fabrics are best for which projects. I think I’ve said before it is a bit if a minefield out there!

There are cottons and poly cottons and poplins and lawns, there’s rayons and viscose, creeps and statins and when you look into any of them there are different weights, mixes and types. There seem I be creeps made if different fibres and its all soooo confusing. Ahhhh.

I wanted to find a good fabric for making dresses, I’ve mainly used poly cottons and cottons up till now, though I have experimented a bit with jersey, chiffon and tulle. I wanted a fabric that drapes well, as cottons can be a bit stuff for some projects, although I must say have been great for others and easy to sew!

So I chose some crepe fabric, not crepe de chine, as that’s shiny, but good for linings though.

I bought some navy crepe as well as this turquoise floral print that I just thought was pretty. A dress in this me thinks! I was unsure what it would be like and was worried it would be shiny and satiny, but got it through this morning and am very pleased. It is not sheer or see through and has a lovely drape. I am going to make a bike wrap dress from the navy, so will let you know how I get on.

The other fabric I got was a thin black jersey for lining my blue chiffon dress. I chose it as a lot of my bought dresses seem to be lined with this, so thought I’d give it a go instead of the usual shiny lining. I’ll let you know which I find better.

Sep 1
I sent all my little crochet items off to the Little Haven world record attempt and got this lovely response on the Craft Clubs Facebook page :)

I sent all my little crochet items off to the Little Haven world record attempt and got this lovely response on the Craft Clubs Facebook page :)

First carrots of the year.

These are the first carrots I’ve picked from my veg patch this year, strange, huge and oddly shaped as ever!! But will be tasty :)

First carrots of the year.

These are the first carrots I’ve picked from my veg patch this year, strange, huge and oddly shaped as ever!! But will be tasty :)

New Designs

Further to my plans, this is the idea for the chiffon dress with a satin neckline.

And this is my plan for a light pink (possibly now cream) chiffon dress. The plan is similar to the above dress, but the neckline is higher and made from chiffon and will tie at the neck too. I’m hoping for something pretty, drapy and with a 1920s look :). Something pretty for an evening out? Or a wedding?

Sewing Plans

My latest sewing plans are a mixture of some ideas I’ve had bubbling around in my head, a desire to try some new fabrics other than poly cottons and some pretty dresses I’ve seen recently.

The first dress on the left I saw on Modcloth, I love the way it ties at the neck, has a twenties style and flows nicely. I have purchased some fabric, called dusty pink, but it is much too orangy I think for my taste. I might buy some cream chiffon to be on the safe side and then some lining, maybe Crepe De Chine?!

The middle is a dress that I didn’t have planned at all, but saw and fell in love with, if it was cheaper I might have just bought it rather than made it, but there you go. I have purchased some American Crepe for this one in Navy, I haven’t used Crepe before, but wanted to try out some different fabrics that have better drape and maybe look a bit more casual. I’m waiting for the fabric, so I will keep you posted.

I also have white fabric paint which I plan to stencil on the design, assuming you can print on crepe?

The one on the right isn’t going to look much like my final dress at all really, but I saw this neckline and loved it. I have bought some navy chiffon and am waiting on some thin stretch jersey for the lining. I am going to have a black satin neckline, then have navy chiffon from it, there will be more info to follow…

Sewing Niggles

Don’t you just hate it when you sew a long seam and then realise your sewing machine was out of thread for ages? Does anyone else do that? It is so annoying.

Sewing tips I wish I’d known

I have a lot of blogs on my Feedly blog feed to read, mainly sewing ones of course, with maybe a scattering of baking ones and a few other craft related. I read a blog post on coletterie here called 10 things I wish I knew when I started. I am always looking for tips and advice, it is amazing what you can pick up from articles and blogs, love it.

Tip 5 related to my biggest thing recently, I want to learn a lot more about fabric. I most often go for cotton or a polycotton. It is cheap, easy to use and there’s a lot of choice of colours and patterns. I have experimented with other fabrics, more recently jersey fabric, chiffon, lace and tulle. But I still feel like it is a mind field out there. I see cotton lawns, rayons, crepes and many other things, some the same things but with different names and I am just confused.

I really want to learn more, but where do I start? Where do I look? (Any advice welcome!)

This is No 5 that I am refering to:

'5) BECOME A FABRIC SNOB

This might seem to contradict my “start simple” advice, but I think it’s important to learn about what makes fabric work and why.

I cut my teeth on piles of cheap polyester and quilting cotton, because that’s what was available. It let me do a lot of sewing, so I’m not knocking it. And some of those quilting cottons were awfully cute.

But the more you learn about the wide world of fabric, the more your creativity expands and the easier it is to create the clothes you dream about.

It also gives you more chances to explore your personal style and aethetic preferences. Do you gravitate towards rough linen, or slinky silk charmeuse? Wool jersey or fine cotton lawn? Chambray or chiffon?

I’m not saying you should waist fine silks on experimental projects that you’re unsure about. What I am saying is that learning about fabric is a worthy goal for anyone who cares about clothes.’

I am definitely going to have to scour the net for some info, but I kinda need a fabric to see and feel and test as well as some advice. That’s how I have tested out new fabrics so far, the jerseys, chiffons etc. Maybe I will keep my eye out, but I’d like to know, for example, what would work better than a polycotton fabric for a nice maxi skirt that is drapey and not stuff or a flowy dress.

This last point, point 10 below, is something I thought about recently. I heard someone say ‘If you are not failing at things, then you are not pushing yourself hard enough’ and I guess with trying new things you will always make mistakes and things will go wrong, but you learn from those and gain something each time and I think it is important to remember that when you get annoyed with yourself about those mistakes or those items hanging in the wardrobe that you’ve made and know you will never wear! But you have no doubt learnt something from all of them.

'10) MISTAKES ARE GOOD.

There is no growth without mistakes.

Embrace them. Laugh about them. Accept that they are all part of the process of learning and do not reflect badly on you as a human being.

You’ll be much happier that way, and you’ll learn a lot more.’

Dress Adjustment

I bought this dress ages ago and really like it, love the pretty lace top, but it was just too short.

So decided to add fabric to the bottom to lengthen it.

Tadaa!

Kimono Blouse

After seeing a lot of tutorials on how to make simple kimonos and finding some fabric, I made this, a nice quick make.

I got this beautiful fabric, which is actually a scarf, and quite a big piece of fabric, I measured it and it is 1 metre by 190cm, so nearly 2 metres.

There are lots of free tutorials out there, that are pretty simple and nicely illustrated, there is one here and another here.

I found this diagram really useful and simple:

I pretty much followed this, though I didn’t fold my fabric, but cut it in half, as I wanted my design to be the correct way up front and back, but this would work for floral or plain fabric or one that didn’t have a right way up. I didn’t round the edges off either.

You can just adjust the size dependant on how long you want it and how long you want the sleeves.

Here is a diff diagram from another tutorial:

kimono template

I used a combination of the two.

And this shows how it works on the body, helps you to visualise the pattern:

Free Series | DIY KIMONO

Here are the results.

Wrap Dress

A little while back I saw this dress and was inspired to make my own.

I had a look around for some jersey stretch fabric, but it always seems pretty expensive, but I recently stumbled across some and because it was on a roll I could get away with buying 1 metre, yay.

So here is the fabric, a bit bluer than expected, and a bit smaller, hmmm…

Some how it was not as wide as it was described, so at first, especially seeing as I was just about going to get the dress out of 1 metre of it, I thought I wouldn’t be able to do it.

Lucky that I’m pretty inventive. I started by laying out my pattern pieces. I decided I could have a slightly narrower skirt. Then what about sleeves? I had barely any room left, but luckily I managed to squidge them in on an edge and I lost the 3/4 sleeves and went for short sleeves.

By the time I had finished I had barely any fabric left. What about the tie? (I hear you ask)! I managed to leave just enough it out of this pile of scraps. Luckily I had left a long edge so could do it in one section too.

Dilemma averted I think you’ll agree.

Right, after all that I got to sewing, switched to ball point needles, sewing all the insides with a single needle and zigzag stitch and then switched needles again to twin ball point needles to sew hems.

A couple of notes on sewing the hem on stretch fabric:

I seemed to have a bit of trouble making it neat, tip one I must remember for next time is be very careful not to pull and stretch the fabric as you sew, which is hard to do I can tell you. The weight of the fabric, the pull of the machine and trying to keep it all neat and straight make it hard to not pull it out, so you have to be very careful.

Also keeping it nice and neat isn’t an easy task (can you tell I usually sew with cotton, so much easier if you are a beginner!) I found that it is best to try and not focus on the needle too much, but make sure that the edge of your fabric follows one of the guide lines on your machine. I wanted to get a nice neat finish for a change, no wobbly sewing lines! Does anyone else have this problem?

This is the dress when I first sewed it up, was pretty quick to do and I have used this pattern before, so knew what I was doing (kind of!).

This is the dress I made with the pattern before:

You can see more info here, on a previous blog post.

I used this free pattern (I do love my free patterns) from Burda for a Hope Wrap Dress.

Once I had finished making the dress, I started on the design. Ever felt like the fabric you want is just soooo expensive? I always pour over lovely fabrics, but with some at getting on for £15 a metre I decided to go for making my own recently. I printed my own toadstools on a dress before, that time I used fabric paints and a stencil, this time I went for a fabric pen and stencil. I like the control you have with the pens.

I went for the outline first.

Then made sure it was all filled in.

And this is the result: