Tag Archives: sewing

Projects, projects

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Phew! Long time no blog (time to develop a blogging schedule!).

After the long drawn out weariness of the winter I am suddenly overwhelmed with different projects and plans. My plan for this year was not to buy ANY YARN unless I need to for presents etc. At my last count I seem to have 2 cardigans (including big grey cabled cardi), 2 summer tops, 2 jumpers, and 2 pairs of socks already on the needles – that’s 8 projects! Then I realised I had to get going on my Dad’s 60th birthday present if I want to finish before his birthday. This required some purchasing of yarn. I’m going to be a bit cagey about what it is, just in case, but I don’t think he reads this so I am probably safe to post a picture of the yarn at least!

Gansey yarn

It’s dark greenish navy – Falmouth Navy – from Frangipani. Tough and hard-wearing stuff. The real colour is more like the shaded corner of the picture (you can just see my sweet pea seedlings hiding behind on the right).

Currently I’m slogging through endless stocking stitch which is tedious, but hopefully I’ll make it through to more interesting stuff soon. Had to buy some lovely new needles too (these ones from Loop) because my cheap ones snagged the yarn on the join every time I tried to slide the stitches past. I got so mad I even binned the old ones!

In the meantime, I’ve been getting into some sewing again. My poor sewing machine has been languishing in the cupboard.  My inspiration is ‘By Gum, By Golly’ by vintage blogger Tasha, which I can’t believe I haven’t come across before because a) it’s awesome and b) I’m sure I’ve come across her knitting on Ravelry. Anyway, I’ve been cheering myself up at work by reading back through the posts, and as I can’t rush out and buy a 40s/50s wardrobe (I seriously wanted to) I’ve got all excited about sewing something instead.

After rummaging through our stash of fabric (mostly stuff from L’s cross stitch days) I discovered I had bugger all of interest, but I did find a knitting bag that had been waiting to be revamped. Pretty grubby and ugly polyester crimplene type stuff. I ended up choosing vintage fabric from my Nanna’s that I used a while ago to make a skirt, and some pale pink linen that was an offcut my friend Claire’s historical re-enactment petticoat (thanks Claire!). This should have been an easy project… but I discovered sewing is not like riding a bike. Some very very wonky seams and multiple rippings-out followed. Eventually though:

Knitting bag (before)Knitting bag (after)

Ugh – terrible photos. But you get the point.

And in action:

Knitting bag inside

Yay!

Soo… now I’m getting cocky. Admiring the birthday dress on By Gum By Golly, I thought “That looks comfy. And pockets! I like pockets… She says it’s easy to make… no real fastenings… wonder if I could find a pattern like that?” I couldn’t find one just the same but I did find lots similar. The tricky part is getting the right size in vintage patterns. The following pattern has now been purchased:

Photo dress pattern

Pretty! This one doesn’t have a button at the top, and just ties at the back. Turns out, in 1960’s sizes I’m a 16! (12 in today’s sizes). I read quite an interesting post about changes in dress sizes on ‘Gertie’s NewBlog for Better Sewing‘. Clearly an issue that invites controversy, but I liked the point someone made that partly why so many smaller-sized vintage patterns are available now could be related to the fact that they didn’t get used so much – the larger sizes were used to death by women over the years and didn’t survive. Problems of extrapolating from available data and surviving examples, similar to trying to work out how the poorer and lower class people lived in earlier periods when most of the related objects were used until they wore out.

Anyway – I thought this pattern looked pretty easy, not that many pieces and no facing. Hmm… having read through the instructions and thinking about cutting bias binding from the dress fabric I’m beginning to have my doubts (bearing in mind even my seams are wonky!). Still.  I am determined. I will take it step-by-step, and not get frustrated ; ) First things first – trace the pieces (so I can use it again). I found information here and here useful. Unfortunately my workspace is not the best!

photo(6) photo(5)

Incidentally – got these cutting mats with really good reduction and Cowling and Wilcox. £11.80!

Can you see L’s yellow baby cardigan blocking?

Next step – choose cheap fabric, and work out how to adjust the waist measurement on my pattern. 36 inch bust ok, but I am definitely not as hourglassed as the pattern suggests!

Flower fabric Cherry seersucker BOat fabric

I like the cherries, but think seersucker a bad move for a beginner. Little boats or flowers?

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