Saturday, December 29, 2012

A handmade year.

~ If you can't have gratuitous photos of your ducklings at New Years, well when can you? ~

As this year draws to a close, like many other sewing bloggers I am taking time to reflect on the sewing year that was 2012. Before looking back over this blog, I thought what I had made most this year was sewn items. I knew I hadn't sewn as much as I did the year prior, and I was feeling a bit down about it to be honest. This year has been difficult personally and my sewing energy has felt pretty zapped at times. But now I have actually clicked through, I can see that this year really wasn't such a handmade right off as I thought (what is a "handmade right off" anyway?).

So, the details:
Sewn items: 18 (1 Cordova jacket, 5 Sorbetto's, 2 1920's chemise, 2 pairs of knickers, 2 pairs pyjama shorts, 2 Sorbetto dress's, 1 Cambie dress, 3 aprons)
Hand spun yarn: 8 skeins (4 white, 3 pink, 1 mustard)
Knitted items: 4 (2 baby cardigans, 1 tam, 1 scarf)
Quilts: 2 (1 baby quilt, 1 for my mum)

That's 32 items hand made. An item made more than once per fortnight! I am wrapped with this result, considering spinning wool takes me hours, as does knitting, and I won't even say how long that quilt has taken me!

Here are my favourites for 2012...

My fifth Sorbetto in the gorgeous Liberty of London "Lodden". This was my first Sorbetto with self made bias binding and I love the result.

 ~ Click Here ~

I drafted a simple "Alys Fowler" style gardening dress, using the Sorbetto pattern as my starting block. This dress is incredibly comfortable, and perfect for our Australian summers.

A tulip styled apron made from an authentic 1952 pattern. Made from a medium weight quilting cotton, with a kitsch retro print, paired with musk pink bias binding.

 ~ Click Here ~

The next on my list would have to be the sweet lingerie set I made for my dear friend in Switzerland. I used Casey's 1920's chemise tutorial, and think it turned out beautifully...

Pattern testing for Tasia certainly was THE sewing highlight for 2012. I first tested the Cambie dress pattern back in the middle of the year, being delayed with the final picture post due to heart surgery. I made the dress from a white cotton I been saving until the perfect dress pattern came along.

I was lucky enough to be selected as a pattern tester again three months later, which led me to make the Cordova jacket in a beautiful Italian wool crepe...

 ~ Click Here ~

This year I learnt to spin...

 ~ Click Here ~

I also learnt to knit. Like real knitting. With seams and buttons and decreasing...

 ~ Click Here ~

 ~ Click Here ~

I really enjoyed giving you all some serger/overlocker tips back in March. I enjoyed the comments and emails I received about the series, it was nice to know the tips were helpful!

2012 also brought with it some awesome finds and some epic fails.

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Phew! Buckingham Road has been busy this year hasn't it?!?

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My words from last year ring just as true today... "As someone who does not have many sewers in their life, I find our online community invaluable. I learn so much from reading other peoples blogs (I need to comment more and share the love), learning from my own mistakes and the successes and challenges of other bloggers. All the knowledge, projects, and ideas that are shared online are inspiring and encourage me to continue to sew. 

As I am sure sewing is for a lot of you, sewing for me is a form of relaxation, a way to escape from the stresses of my everyday life, to focus my energy and thoughts on something other than the demands of my job, relationships, and life worries. The thrill of creating something from a pile of fabric and some thread, for me, cannot be matched. "

Happy New Year everyone,

Sam xox

Friday, November 30, 2012

Finally, a Sorbetto in Liberty.

I am so blown away by all your nice comments and emails about my Cordova Jacket - I honestly couldn't have made it had it not been for Tasia's amazingly clear instruction sheet :-) Let me know if you give the jacket a try, I would love to see your versions too!

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This Liberty of London 'Lodden' has been in my fabric stash for a little while now, and I couldn't quite decide what to do with it, as I had only purchased 1 meter. When I saw the illustration of the Cordova Jacket, I knew a Sorbetto would sit nicely underneath a jacket of that style. The navy's match perfectly too!

I sewed a size 4 in the top, with the only adjustment being I added three inches to the hem line. The Sorbetto's I have made in the past all sit at a nice length when worn with a skirt, but when I wear them with jeans they just feel too short. The three extra inches on my Liberty version really makes a difference! I also added self made bias binding from the left over fabric. I will post a little tip on how I made the bias binding later this week.

I have been saving all the little scrap pieces of Liberty that is left over from every project I make. My dream  is to one day make an entire Dresden Quilt using my scraps of Liberty fabric, with the plates set against a plain white cotton. Sounds amazing doesn't it...?! Slowly slowly :-)

Sam xox

Thursday, November 29, 2012

My spinning wheel.

The beginning of this month marked my birthday. It was a weekday so was reasonably normal. I went to work, had birthday cake with my colleagues and did a few support visits. When I arrived home I was treated to a home made dinner and an amazing gift - a brand new spinning wheel! When I decided to learn to spin back at the beginning of this year the agreement was I purchase a second hand wheel and see if I liked/could spin wool. I loved it. I joined the spinning Guild, and spent the rest of this year handling the most wonderful Merino and Alpaca fleeces and turning them into yarn. My new spinning wheel is an Ashford Joy Double Treadle. It is so unbelievably compact - it can even be carried around in its own carry case!

And what about my old wheel? It was enthusiastically accepted by a wonderful local friend who is treading the path of sustainable living. She is loving learning to spin.

If any of you are interested in learning to spin, I would say to you "have a go!". Buy yourself a working second hand spinning wheel and a bag of fleece (washed or unwashed - it doesn't matter). Then sit down and watch a few YouTube videos to get an understanding of what spinning looks like, read a bit about it, then give it a try. I promise you will look at yarn in a whole new light after spinning your own skein. If you're not sure, why not support a spinner and try buying hand spun yarn for your next knitting/crocheting project? There are plenty for sale on sites like Etsy.

Sam xox

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cordova jacket.

After keeping this secret for almost two months I am so excited that I can finally show you my Cordova Jacket! To be honest I was a little nervous about sewing an intermediate jacket pattern, as I have never sewn a jacket before (though I do have one half completed). When I saw the pattern and read through the instructions the nerves completely settled. Tasia really does know how to write simple, easy to understand instructions without "dumbing down" the patten or techniques. This jacket had it all; lining, zipper, interfacing, princess seams, and a peplum.

I decided on navy for the colour and fortunately found the perfect Italian wool crepe in my local fabric store. I had promised Tasia a Liberty of London lining, but it just didn't seem to suit the drape of the crepe fabric. Instead, I opted for a soft lining fabric in a pinky/latte colour. I sewed a size 8 and did not have to make any changes. The jacket went together very easily thanks to the clear instructions. I am soooo happy with how it turned out. It looks dressy and casual at the same time, know what I mean? Also, my husbands comment was "you could buy that in a store".... always a nice compliment (do other people say that to you as a form of compliment when you make something?). And I did keep my promise to Tasia in a way, I made a Sorbetto top from a Liberty of London Tana Lawn to match the jacket!

So without further ado, here is my version of the Sewaholic's latest pattern, the Cordova jacket...

If you want to try making a Cordova jacket for yourself, visit the Sewaholic pattern store.

Sam xox

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sheep tam.

I just had to share this with you all! 

If you are a Ravelry user I am sure you have seen this tam pattern or the similar tea cosy pattern whilst lurking around the pages. A fellow spinner brought this hat along for show and tell at our last Spinners and Weavers Guild meeting. She knitted this from seven different alpaca yarns that she spun herself! All natural colours. I was in awe and just had to grab some photos for you all using my iPhone (so they are a touch grainy). If you are a fellow knitter or spinner, or just love a good quality knit, I know you will appreciate this ...

Sam xox

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Chemise and knickers gift set.

Are any of you maintaining a long distance relationship with a dear friend? I am and I miss her so much! We aren't strangers to long distance friendship, having done it before. Mill lives in Zurich now and I haven't seen her for over a year. We still keep in touch through emails, texts, postcards and Skype dates, but none of it is the same as actually being face-to-face. I wanted to make her something special for her birthday this year, and knew a set of delicates would fit the bill nicely.

I followed Casey's 1920's Chemise tutorial for the top and used McCall's 2389 for the knickers. I had great success with this Chemise pattern last year when I made it for myself with a set of French knickers. For the Chemise I used a medium weight ivory satin that has a beautiful drape. I matched this with some ribbon for the straps and an ivory stretch lace. The top was constructed using French seams and a rolled hem. For the knickers I chose a Liberty of London Tana Lawn because, well, is there any cotton softer than a true Tana Lawn?! All the knickers needed were some thin pieces of elastic and a small piece of cotton jersey for inside of the crotch piece.

The pair were then wrapped in a vintage scarf, tied with ribbon, and posted to Switzerland. Mill loved them and the fit was perfect, much to my relief!

Sam xox

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Patterns and Liberty.

The gorgeous Spring weather we are already experiencing here in the Hunter spurred me on to begin planning my Spring/Summer sewing. My goal for this season is to sew a collection that is suitable for everyday where. Most garments I sew are lovely, yet are items I do not often wear. My pattern collection reflects this also.

So recently I began to stock up on everyday wear garment patterns. I bought some patterns from Sewaholic and Colette Patterns. I also recently purchased Gertie's book, which does have a couple of things I would class as everyday wear for me. I also purchased these four patterns from auntonniesnest on Etsy:

I decided that if I am going to be focusing on sewing everyday wear, I needed to make an effort to sew the garments in fabric I would feel special wearing. Liberty always feels good to wear, so I bought a few pieces on ebay.

 ~ 1.5m of Fairford in blue ~

 ~ 1m of Lodden ~

~ 1.6m of Emillie's Flowers ~

The Lodden will definitely become another Sorbetto, but I am still undecided about the other two. Any suggestions?

Sam xox

Monday, October 1, 2012

A prize from Ashford.

I promise this will be the last spinning related post for a while, but I just had to share with you the prize I received from winning an Ashford Facebook competition! The call was made for people to submit a photo of themselves and their Ashford product, with two winners to be selected and rewarded with an Ashford apron.

I entered this photo...

Yes, that is me in my pyjama's spinning Merino fleece while my darling cat Sophie watches on. A typical week night for me :-)

The apron arrived on Friday and it is terrific!

I have already pinned my Guild pin to it, and I plan to christen it at the next meeting. 

Sam xox

Psst - In case you were wondering what on earth aprons have to do with spinning... one must wear an apron to protect their clothing when spinning. Fibres like to attach themselves to your clothes and are super hard to remove. At other times, when spinning freshly shorn / unwashed fleeces, the apron catches all the dirty bits and pieces that fall onto your lap!