Friday, 21 August 2009

holiday snaps

Portscatho august 09

Back from a relaxing week in Cornwall, staying in the pretty village of Portscatho. We couldn't have wished for nicer weather. It was lovely to be able to walk to the beach and enjoy daily (sometimes twice daily) swims - why is it that I live so far from the sea?

Portscatho august 09

The children enjoyed paddling, playing with their cousin and building sand cities (we've graduated from the plain old sandcastles of last year).

In view of the fact that my sewing machine isn't that portable, and that I'm incapable of sitting doing nothing, I took my knitting with me and managed to finish my icarus shawl in the iridescent 2ply silk yarn I bought from Skein Queen. I'm not altogether sure that I'm a shawly kind of person, but it really is very pretty.

finished icarus shawl (crafting 365/3-16)

Last week of the holidays now, and as ever it seems to have gone really quickly. I barely seem to have ticked anything off my to-do list, but never mind, it's been nice to be bone idle after a busy term!

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Dress surgery

Thanks for all the comments on my last post. Revisiting the Metropolitan Good Times dress today, as I'm cross with myself for my mistake in the sizing. I looked at the hot patterns site which suggests that the sizings equate to ready to wear, so whilst I made up the size closest to my measurements, if I was making the size I'd normally buy it would have been a full 2 sizes smaller! I'm loathe to give up on it, as I really like the styling, and a quick search on the internet shows how this pattern should look when made by a competent dressmaker - not at all like my own boxy effort.

This afternoon I set to work with the scissors and sewing machine and took a couple of inches off the sides, removed the single cap sleeve, stitched a belt and set to work with some pins on the yoke.

Before

the one-sleeved sack

After

salvage attempt on overlarge dress


Already 100 times better. The problem with the boxy yoke and sleeves is probably down to the fact that the knit I chose is quite thick, so it's never going to drape nicely as a double thickness. Still undecided about whether to try and draft a sleeve pattern myself (a bit scary!) or maybe trim the yoke to how it's pinned in the second pic and bind it. Getting there slowly. I'm hopeful of having a wearable dress at the end of it.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Good sewing, bad sewing

Yesterday was very much a day of two halves. I decided to hack up the nice drapey knit I had bought for my Hot Patterns Metropolitan Good Times dress, expecting to have a lovely finished wardrobe staple at the end of my sewing session.

pattern
how the dress is meant to look

I've done a bit of dressmaking in my time, but have to say I found the instructions a bit sketchy, assuming a bit more competence and experience than I have! I ended up making a tiny version of the yoke as I just couldn't see how it was possible to do it the way the pattern seemed to show. I also had to resort to my trusty Dorling Kindersley sewing bible to clarify some of the steps (like understitching the yoke facing and inserting in-seam pockets) which weren't described in the pattern. In spite of this, though, the dress was relatively straightforward to put together as there's not much shaping, and not too many pattern pieces. Therein lies the problem though, as far as I can see.

the one-sleeved sack
pose adopted for the sake of comparison with the pattern envelope
I cut my head off to avoid further comparisons!

I tried it on after attaching one of the cap sleeves and found it was a bit boxy to say the least! I seem to have American footballer shoulders, and a lot of spare fabric around the middle - space to hide a multitude of sins (or a multitude of tins if I ever decide to embark on a career in shoplifting).

I know it's not hemmed, only has one sleeve, and I haven't made the belt yet, but this one is being put to one side for the moment until my mum comes up. I'm hoping she'll be able to help me with some radical dress surgery. I'm thinking that I definitely need to take a bit of the very square yoke at the shoulders, and probably either go sleevless or draw up a different sleeve. And no, I didn't make a muslin, so I only have myself to blame!

So needing to lay the ghost of horrible sewing and wasted time to rest, I thought I'd play around and make a rag doll just for fun, recycling the stuffing from an old failed attempt at a soft toy that had been malingering in the scrap heap. My boy came in whilst I was doing it and asked for it to be a boy doll for him, so I happily obliged.

Tom the boy doll

Meet Tom - likes messing around on the computer, running around in the nude, and cutting his own hair with the kitchen scissors, apparently.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Family day out

day out in Bristol

This week the four of us took a train to Bristol for a family day out, meeting with my mum and my brother and his girlfriend to go to the Banksy exhibition in the City Museum. We thought the children would be receptive as they're not averse to creating their own art installations in the living room with whatever materials come to hand (though thankfully we've never had the graffiti on walls problem to date!).

working on the art installation

artists don't always have time to brush their hair, or even change out of their pyjamas when inspiration stikes

We'd chosen the rainiest day of the week for our visit, though a handily located ice cream van provided a good distraction as we queued for an hour and a half in the downpour to get our hands stamped in order to join the next queue to actually get in.

day out in Bristol

stamping a 3 year old's hand provides ample entertainment for 20 mins of queuing

There was something for everyone inside. The boy's favourite was this one:

banksy exhibition

His reading of it: 'some naughty boys are fiddling with Thomas's controls'.

The girl was very taken with this:

banksy exhibition

She was also fascinated by the baby chicken nuggets pecking at some ketchup.

I'm glad we took the children to the exhibition as it was a great day out, and gave us lots to talk about. And last night my girl told me that when she's finding it hard to get off to sleep she likes to just 'think of something nice like Banksy', so it obviously went down well!
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