Sunday, September 23, 2012

Peachy Keen Top

Remember how I went fabric shopping with a list? Well here is the first project to come out of all that planning. It's based on this top I saw at Dotti. I love the vibrant colour and I'll be able to dress it up or down depending on where I wear it.

It was pretty easy to put together - just a square of fabric that's wide enough to fit over my hips. I cut a wide neckline with a bit of a scoop and faced it. The cuff was the hardest part because I overthought the whole thing and somehow managed to do a regular seam on one armhole and a french seam on the other. I couldn't replicate that madness again even if I tried. It kinda looks like the cuff is pulling in the below photo but it's just the way it was sitting in the photo.

It's lightweight and flows well and I think it will become a Spring/Summer staple. I've got the same fabric in a vibrant purple so I may make another. Altogether it came together in a couple of hours even after I sewed the cuff on wrong, unpicked it, sewed it on wrong again, unpicked it again and finally got it right. Huzzah!

Now I just have to decide what to finish next!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Shopping for fabric with a list

I had my Birthday on Thursday and the lovely people in my life gave me money and gift cards to Lincraft to fuel my habit spend. Since I'd recently been thinking about how to choose fabric for sewing projects I decided to get all adult about this and do some research. I flicked through my Pinterest boards looking for basic spring/summer items that I know I will wear over and over. I also did a little online browsing and pinned some further inspiration to fill in the obvious gaps. Overall I was looking for a wardrobe that's functional. Light skirts in colours that will match most of my tops, dressy tops for going to the Theatre/Movies/Dinner/Pub, light tops with capped sleeves to see me through spring to summer as well as a light blazer/jacket to mix and match with all of the above.

So here's what I bought paired with the inspiration:

Top pinned here
I love the look of this top so much I bought two colours to make it in. I figure I can dress it up or down depending on whether I wear it with black skinny jeans or a skirt.

Top pinned here                                                                                                                 Top pinned here

I got enough drapey white jersey to replicate this batwing top with beading. It just so happens that I'm hoarding some matt silver beads which would be perfect for this. Also I think there should be enough left over to make a simple white jersey singlet with a little interest in the neckline. Not sure if I'm a butterfly person but it looks really cute here.

Top pinned here     
I bought this ponte knit to make a dressy peplum top from. Still kind of in love with peplums.

Top pinned here
Next up is some plain purple cotton to turn into a peter pan collared, cap sleeved top with black bias tape and black buttons down a placket. Also I borrowed this person's photo on the internet and my program chewed it up and made it look all pixelly - sorry.

This is actually navy cotton even though my camera didn't think so. I'm thinking of turning it into a little bustier singlet. I also bought some thin white grosgrain ribbon to use as trim and potentially on the straps.

Skirt pinned here

Now onto the skirts. I got some lightweight cotton in grey, blue and black to make a colourblock skirt. This grey one on the right is the closest to what it sorta, kinda looks like in my head. But different.

Skirt pinned here
This cotton is actually more of a deep aqua and I'm intending to follow this great tutorial to make it just like the skirt on the right.

Then I bought some soft black cotton/drill/suiting (??) fabric to make a blazer out of. I've had this jacket for the last two years now and it has reached the end of it's life. It's rayon and usually looks this crinkly even if I iron it before going out. Also the hem has come undone and the back piece has shrunk significantly so now the front hangs down much lower than the back. In short it was a cheap jacket at the time that I've worn way too much. What I do love though is the cascading ruffle down the front and I figured if I unpicked the seams and used it as a pattern with some heavier, sturdier cotton it would last me another couple of years.

Bag pinned here                                                              Bag pinned here  

And last but not least I made a bit of an impulse buy (which wasn't on the list, shhh!). I bought some faux leather in a nice tan colour to make myself a new handbag out of. It's really hard to photograph though so it kinda just looks cream here. I haven't decided on the exact shape of the bag but these two bags are some of my favourites.

I've also gone back through my fabric stash in the last week and found some great solid coloured fabric that I'll be making a skirt and maxi dress out of. So I'm sure they'll make an appearance amongst all these items.

It was surprisingly fun going fabric shopping with a list. It was so much easier to focus and not feel like a kid in a candy store. I'm really looking forward to creating  them and wearing all of the above items with clothes I already own. I like this new way of planning out my sewing.

I feel all growed up.

Finished Projects from this post are linked up here:
Peachy Keen Top
Black & White Striped Peplum Top
Colourblocked skirt + Tutorial

Saturday, September 1, 2012

How do you choose your fabric?

Today I found myself wandering through some handmade markets surrounded by fabric sewed into bibs, children’s clothing and pram blankets. If something could be turned into something else with bright, colourful fabric then it was there on someone’s stall being displayed and sold.

My mum kept pointing out how many of the things there I could have sewed myself. The only barrier being the appropriate pattern and a whole lot of time.

I guess what struck me about this whole set up was just how handmade everything looked. Don’t get me wrong their stuff was stitched beautifully - trust me, I looked. So I guess the thing that got me was the choice of fabrics. So much of what they were were selling was made from cutesy quilting cotton. Which I love, I do. In fact I’ve got a whole lot of dresses lined up in some bright quilting fabrics for summer because I find them really fun and individual to wear. But it made me stop and think that maybe when people see me wearing what I’ve sewn they think the same thing? There goes that girl swathed in cutesy quilting cotton. Bet she made that herself.

I think this was all brought to a head by sitting down to watch Project Runway straight after. I see these incredibly talented designers heading into a fabric store and walking out with different stuff to what I would choose. I see them turn a concept into a finished product and what they end up with is something commercial and incredibly expensive looking no matter how much they spend on the actual fabric.

What I’m trying to say is that whether I’ve seen it along the way or not my sewing is changing. I used to be so incredibly excited just to follow a pattern and end up with something wearable that I hadn’t stopped to think about the editing. The editing! The Tim Gunn moment when you really evaluate what you’re making, how it’s going to look when worn, whether the fabric is true to what you’re making and what you want to achieve, whether the silhouette works for your body type.

I find myself pinning pictures on my Pinterest boards like this one of all the clothes I want to make. Then I find myself online shopping for fabric because it’s cutesy or a bit different or because I’ve never seen it in a store before.

What I’m noticing now is a gap. Between what I want to make that I’d realistically wear in my wardrobe, and what I actually buy fabric for. There is a notable divide between fabric I will buy to make things out of and what I actually want to sew up for myself to have a versatile and on fashion wardrobe.

I’m not sure if this happens to you as well. I’m not sure if I’m the only one struggling to bridge this gap. I’m also not sure that I’m going to stop buying funky, cutesy fabrics because they’ll make my things look handmade.

I think this is just my moment to recognise that my sewing has turned from a fun little hobby to a way to project who I am as a person, who I want to be and how I want people to perceive me whether they know I’ve made the garment or not.

Is there anyone else out there who sees that gap I’m talking about? Does it bother you enough to change your fabric purchases? I’d love to hear from you!