So Long, South London!

IMG_0362Dear sewing chums,

This week I want to ask you what kinds of posts make a good sewing blog. There’s a good reason for this: I am on the verge of an adventure.  A huge one. Involving many thousands of miles (and probably as many boxes).

You see, I don’t usually write much about life away from the sewing machine, but since I am about to be separated from my beloved Janome for a while until our possessions catch up with us I need to think about whether to continue with the blog. I have loved sharing my finished garments and connecting with all of you lovely folk, so it would be a great shame to shut up shop. I am also inappropriately proud of my little corner of t’internet. In around eight months I’ve amassed 230+ regular subscribers, and have had over 21,000 hits. I like to think that I’ve made some good buddies too, even if we’ve never met IRL (in real life!). So my awkward camera moments in front of the fireplace have not gone unnoticed. But i also have to be realistic about this impending sewing sabbatical.

Empty fireplace!

So my big questions are these: do I say a simultaneous goodbye to South London and the blog? Or carry on with it but accept that there won’t be any posts for quite a while? Are you in it for the long haul? Do you read blogs to look at finished projects, or are you interested in more varied posts? Would you like to hear about the fabulous textiles I hope to be buying around the world, even if I’m not stitching for a while?

Please drop me a line and let me know what you think. I’m all ears.

Single White Female in South London: Thimberlina’s GBSB dress!

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Lucky lucky me! I have a dress to blog about today that I can take no credit for. Last week, Thimberlina posted about her GBSB drapey dress, and how she wasn’t entirely happy with the finished garment. The consensus from her readers was that although it was an interesting design, it wasn’t massively wearable due to its Humpty-Dumpty-esque design. I couldn’t disagree more! Despite its egg-like proportions, It was love at first sight! So, Thimberlina very kindly sent it down to South London for me to rehome it, and maybe even remodel it. If you haven’t come across this dress, it’s from The Great British Sewing Bee: Fashion With Fabric, published to accompany this year’s TV series.

IMG_0412Wearing someone else’s hand-made dress reminded me of the 1992 film ‘Single White Female’, where creepy new housemate takes stalking to a whole new level altering her appearance to look like her host. Am I showing my age here? Sorry, Thimbelina. I hope this isn’t too disturbing to read about! I won’t be moving to Yorkshire just yet (sadly).

There’s really very little to say about the dress. Thimberlina described the construction process in her post. I was going to consider whether to make any alterations. But the truth is I just love it the way it is! My daughters have nick-named it The Moon Dress for obvious reasons! I’ve worn it here with black tights and my trusty white Church’s brogues. From the photos, it looks like I might have static issues.

IMG_0417I will try to force myself to hem it before I wear it to work next week, and will come up with a suitable retort for those asking whether I’m expecting again! Having seen the photos, I think Thimberlina’s right about the hands-in-pockets pose being most flattering!

A huge thank you to Thimberlina for sending me a gorgeous dress and for doing all the hard work. There’s definitely wardrobe space for this dress in my house!

Whatever Happened to Violet?

Isn’t it a great feeling when something turns out better than expected? You just want to wear it at every opportunity? Sadly, this dress isn’t one of them!! It’s the Violet by Bluegingerdoll, that I was playing with earlier in the year. I found the Bonnie with the Violet pencil skirt was a winning combination for me. The gathered sleeve head, the waistband, the slinky pencil skirt…. violetNonetheless, I was keen to finish the Violet as intended. I’d run out of this fantastic snakeskin ponte, so decided to try out a contrast skirt in navy ponte from Minerva Crafts. There’s not a whole lot to say about construction: the instructions were easy to follow. I wore this dress happily, but having seen the photos I guess the shape just doesn’t suit me. This isn’t a blog for moaning about body shape, etc. So that’s it. No more to say. Violet is now leaving the building!!

UPDATE: Violet has been rehomed to the Cancer Research shop in Streatham!

Grainline Archer. Warning: Contains Graphic Images of Topstitching!

Happy Almost Easter, fellow citizens of the stitchosphere! I’ve got something a bit more demure to show you this week, so no need to adjust the colour setting on your digital device!

A shirt! With topstitching! The Archer by Grainline Studios has been a labour of love these past weeks. After steaming through a cluster of Bonnies and trousers, I relished taking on a project that involved numerous steps, each taken lovingly and slowly. I dialled up the Archer Sewalong, and settled in with laptop beside sewing machine and overlocker to be led through the construction. I used cotton chambray from Classic Textiles on Goldhawk Road, which was a bargainous £3 per metre. Archer The fabric pressed easily and behaved beautifully, so it was easy to be accurate. I used a water soluble fabric marker, which you can see around the buttonholes on the photos. Overall, it was a pleasure to sew with. I went back to the textbook and used the used the overlocker to finish seams inside. As recommended, I pressed the seams to one side and topstitched along the seams on the right side to mimic the flat-fell seams typically found on a denim or chambray shirt.

After a bit of research on collars, I decided to follow Four Square Wall’s tutorial for assembling in a different order for a more accurate finish. I’d recommend it – I was really pleased with the way it went in.

Archer So far, so good. It was all going so well until it was time to stitch the button holes. I felt the anxiety levels rising – I had a few dry runs then went for it! After five perfect buttonholes, you guessed it –  it went mad on hole number six, and got stuck. What a mess! It’s not too noticeable. But then things got worse: I cut through the top buttonhole with the stitch ripper!

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And then…. I realised i’d put the buttonhole on the wrong side of the cuff, so had to stitch it back together and add a buttonhole to the other side! So after ten long days of tender loving stitching i sabotaged the shirt with my finishing touches. Isn’t it always the way?