SpaceCraft Rotating Header Image

Sewing

Making Monday – Lotus Tunic

I finally got around to cutting out my fabric for the Amy Butler lotus tunic on Saturday night. I’d meant to do it earlier in the day but I decided that my craft room needed a little reorganising. Ok, it was partly procrastination but it was necessary.

I also wanted to be able to watch streaming tv and DVDs on my iMac while I worked. This required a lot of fumbling around with the position of my router downstairs because my wifi doesn’t stretch to the craft room. I now have a weak signal in there but it’s not enough to watch iPlayer. So I’m probably going to have to extend the network which is annoying as it means buying more kit.

Anyway, after all that I didn’t sew a stitch until tonight. I’m currently working on the darts on the back panels. The pattern instructions are great but I still hate sewing darts.

image

Darts pinned in place before sewing

Going Digital

I used to have a lot of magazines. I don’t mean just a few but shelves full of magazine boxes containing copy after copy of film periodicals, sci-fi mags, computer mags and of course crafting titles. Some I flicked through often, others I just stored but they all had one thing in common, they took up space. I got rid of most of the movie and tv mags when I was decluttering and kept the craft mags. But where would I put any new ones? Because I couldn’t just stop buying the odd magazine.

And then I discovered that Interweave sold all of their magazines as downloadable pdfs. I’d been buying pattern pdfs for years so this made perfect sense. You can even buy the first ten years of Interweave Knits as a set. The only thing was, I wanted to subscribe to magazines rather than buying every issue – And then I found Zinio, a digital mag provider. I can now access a whole range of magazines on my android tablet and on the web.

 

image

Interweave Knits on my android tablet

 

You can get $5 off your first Zinio order by using this link. That could just be a single issue of a magazine, it doesn’t have to be a full subscription.

 

Although I’m happy reading articles off a screen I do like to have hard copies of patterns so that I can cross off rows, make notes etc. That’s no problem with a digital mag because you can still print off the relevant pages on your computer. You’re also not damaging the printed pattern. Another thing you can do, although this is just with pdfs rather than Zinio mags, is back them up to cloud storage like Drop Box. Then they’re available across all of your pcs and devices.

 

Making Monday – Building a PC

Doug’s main PC blew up last week

Smoking is bad for your PC health

So I built him a new one on Saturday.

He’d ordered some parts from Scan (the “it’s a no brainer” bundle) which were packed in an enormous box

image

With Erebus the cat for scale

Here’s

image

Case, motherboard, memory, power supply, hard disk and processor unboxed

image

This is a lot less scary than it looks.

And the motherboard in progress. You can see that I’ve already fitted the processor and the fan that keeps it from overheating. I had been a bit nervous about installing the processor but it was easy

In fact the hardest part of the whole build was getting the damn metal panel that frames the connectors into the PC case. It’s always the worst job.

image

Ooh 6 USBs! 😉 (or is it 8?)

There was no pesky software installation to contend with either as the solid state drive with Windows 7 on it from the burnt PC was undamaged.

However, I’m now really jealous of Doug’s new PC. I can’t justify building a new one for myself until next year but I’m already planning what elements I might put in it.

After the PC was built we went to a local Vintage Fair where I bought a sewing pattern. It’s too dark to photograph now so it’ll have to wait until the next post 🙂

Challenges

Yes, I know I’m posting on a day that isn’t Monday! 😉 I’ve realised that I seem to work better when I challenge myself. In my day job I have deadlines all the time but after last year’s Nanowrimo I realised that challenges and deadlines work well in my crafty life too.

Back in February on the tenth anniversary of this blog I decided to blog every Monday for a year. So far I’ve met that test but I feel I need another commitment craft wise particularly for sewing.

So I’m pledging to sew at least one garment every month. That might be anything from a top to a dress. It also doesn’t mean successfully making something. I’ve lost a lot of my sewing confidence over the years and this is the best way to get it back. Case in point, I have the week off to focus on craftiness and I have yet to cut into any fabric.

I have, however, cut into paper. The paper pattern to make this –

image

 

Amy Butler’s Lotus Tunic. I bought the pattern after seeing Magpie Mimi’s fabulous version in the flesh last year. It was so good I hadn’t realised that she’d made it herself. You’ll recognise the white cherries from the last dress I made – not a success unfortunately. I found the pink cherries in FabricLand this week and although it’s not in one 3 metre length as I’d have wished – it was the end of the roll and they only had a 1m piece and a 1.5m piece – I’m hoping it’ll work. The main body of the dress will be the pink cherries with the white used for the shoulder panels and edge of sleeve caps. I’ll be making a start on it today 🙂

 

 

Finished – Edinburgh Rock

I’m really pleased with how this turned out

 

Detail of the leaves

 

I’ve never blocked a scarf before but I’m tempted to block this one so that the yarn over design shows up

 

Another view

 

Unfortunately I don’t have anything new to show you this week. I’ve had to stop and start a few projects including, Wild as the Wind, where I’ve ripped everything out and changed the yarn and needles. Most of my energy this week has gone into decluttering, again. Yes, again. I seem to do this a couple of times a year. Well, I say that but what I really mean is that I take some things from one room and put them in another. This time I’ve been taking things to the tip and recycling centre instead. I have some bookcases on my landing and they used to have boxes of crap, sorry, I mean vitally important things, in front of them. They don’t anymore. This has brought the added benefit of my no longer having to do contortions in order to switch off the landing light. This is good.

My plan is to finish off the reorganising before my birthday on Saturday. I have next week off and hope to make another dress, watch a few fillums and possibly do a bit of cooking or baking. 🙂

 

Oh and my friend Shea Wong has an article in the Huffington Post today.

 

 

 

Making Monday – Dressmaking

I’ve been hit by the lurgy yet again! I came down with a cold on Tuesday and on Wednesday all I could do was blow my nose and watch tv. So that was my cleaning day gone to pot. I also didn’t have as much energy for sewing as I’d hoped to have.

But I am halfway through making my dress – New Look 6723.

Bodice

 

I’m making View D which has a sweetheart neckline

Hello, Sweetheart

The stitching you can see around the neckline is called ‘stay stitching’ and it helps to stabilize the fabric during construction.

 

I still have to line the bodice which basically means making two bodices and joining them. That makes it a little complicated because the bodice is made from eight pattern pieces but hopefully it’ll all be worth it in the end. 🙂 I plan on working on it more this week but this is a very busy week for me so I don’t know if I’ll be able to finish it.

 

 

 

Slightly Delayed Making Monday Post…

I finished knitting the case for my HTC One X and, although I now I have a hard plastic protective case, I’m still very attached to its knitted counterpart so it’ll be staying in there for the time being. 🙂

Knitted HTC One X Sock

I’ll post the pattern later in the week.

This weekend Doug and I went to the Southcoast Slam. It’s an annual pinball show and, as its name suggests, it’s located on the South Coast of England. Now, occasionally at shows I’ve seen a couple of the same types of machines sat next to each other but I’d never seen a wall of Black Knight 2000 before. It was an interesting spectacle to see six of them in a row.

Row of Black Knight 2000 at the Southcoast Slam 2012

 

I was hoping to knit some more rows of She’s Electric during the traveling back and forth to the show but I realised that I’d misread the instructions yet again and so I ripped out the colour work for probably the fourth time. Now that I look at it I can’t believe I misread it, it seems so obvious! Basically I hadn’t released that although the first and last three stitches are always knit in the main colour, that doesn’t mean that the rest of the stitches are always knit in the corresponding colour. The yarns alternate over the different rows. That’s why my colourwork looked so weird and messy. It wasn’t actually colourwork! I still hope to finish it soon, I worry about getting so tired of revisiting it that it’ll end up percolating in a bag somewhere in my craftroom. I’ll have to try and make a special effort to ensure that doesn’t happen. But I can’t guarantee it….

Plus I’m starting a new sewing project this week. I worked the Easter bank holidays so I have some time off and I’ve decided to spend it making a dress. This dress in fact.

New Look 6723

I’ll be making it in view D in the polka dot and cherries print I bought in the Flo-Jo Boutique

I met for lunch with the lovely Amy today and she brought me some wild garlic. I was so excited to have some to try because I’ve yet to spot some “in the wild”. But I hope to be able to spot it next year. The flowers are edible too.

"Wild? I was livid!"

Brownie points if you can correctly name where the reference in quotes comes from.

I used some of the wild garlic tonight in a pasta sauce – dead easy, heated some regular garlic puree in olive oil with chopped wild garlic leaves, added a tin of chopped tomatoes with salt, pepper and a bit of oregano and then simmered to reduce it. Although the leaves smell strongly of garlic, the actual flavour is more delicate than the garlic bulbs I’m used to. I still have lots left and think I’ll use some in a risotto tomorrow although I’m also tempted to make pesto from it too. Thanks, Amy 🙂

Making Monday – Flo-Jo Boutique

Doug, my other half, lives in Bristol so I visit the city quite a lot. There are tonnes of vintage style shops selling second hand clothes and crockery etc. or vintage influenced stuff  but one new store is very, very unique.  In fact I’d been waiting excitedly for weeks for it to open every since Doug had noticed a coming soon poster on the window. It’s the Flo-Jo Boutique and Haberdashery,  it opened on Friday, and I was able to pop in on Saturday.

Window display featuring a fab fifties ensemble

It was raining so I was only able to snatch this quick shot  of the window display on my camera phone.

Some of the bolts of fabric

From the left are several bolts of oil cloth featuring some very cool designs including my fave – cherries.

Bicycle bags made from the oil cloth are just above the bolts

You can also see some of the Michael Miller and other designer fabrics on the far right. They also have fat quarter packs.

Knitting kits and some machine knitted bags next to some cute little cases

 

Some of the ready made clothes plus various notions on the shelves

That little dresser/shelving unit contains all sorts of fabulous things including packs of lingerie elastic dyed by the Flo-Jos themselves – I’d looked in several places for cute elastic for making petticoats and had come up blank so it was great to find these. There are also all sorts of needle sets including some well designed “pebble” sewing needle sets. Behind the little girl, on the back set of shelves, are pick and mix buttons plus various ribbons and ready made cushions.

More ready to wear items including knickers! plus vintage notions

On that rack on the left were aprons and I think some tops. The suit case is full of vintage style knickers and you can also buy kits to make them. The table had all sorts of lovely old gloves and things draped around it as part of the display but in the dishes are vintage notions including lace which are for sale.

The other room contains the tables for their workshops plus some gorgeous tea dresses for sale as well as some more bolts of cloth.

Workshop area with a tea dress in the background

 

Now of course, I could not leave there empty handed. As if!

Cherries and polka dots!

I love both cherry print and polka dots so there was no way that I could resist a fabric that featured the two! It’s 100% cotton, £6 a metre and and I bought three metres. I also got a pack of the aforementioned lingerie elastic – the black hasn’t shown up very well but it’s lace like the white one above. I also picked up a spare machine bobbin and a pair of metallic green little scissors. You always need more than one pair of scissors and they were only £4.50.

Will I be going back? Most definitely! While the stock may not be on the scale of Fabricland, what Flo-Jo does have is very well chosen. I’d not seen any of those fabrics, even the cheaper cottons, in Fabricland and I love all the ribbons and notions. I really want to buy one of the needle pebbles despite not actually needing one, and I want to get some of the oil cloth. What for I’m not exactly sure, I could make another shopping bag or use it to cover my dining table. The cherry print I purchased has halterneck dress written all over it which means I will have to sharpen up my bodice fitting skills. 🙂

Oh, and I’m not really sure if buying something counts as a making Monday but there’s not been much making here in the last week, just more ripping out of the colourwork section of She’s Electric. If at third you don’t succeed…

 

 

 

Making Monday – Finishing Touches

It’s finally finished.

All done!

 

As you can see I decided on swirly, thanks for the encouragement Mimi!, for the button. Friday I bought the snap fasteners from the fab haberdashery stall in the market and I finally sat down to sew one in on Saturday night. I also remembered that after 12 years of making garments I’d ordered some labels. I’d been meaning to do it for years and in December I just googled and found Woven Labels UK. They were pretty reasonable, £9.99 for 36 and it was simple to choose a label design although the cat with yarn is possibly better suited for knitted items. As you can see I choose a purple ribbon with silver thread. I’m hoping it won’t be scratchy against my skin. Choosing what to write on the label was more difficult. I really wanted to come up with something innovative and original but I couldn’t 😉 I don’t know if I’ll stick with “Marie Made” for my next set but I’m happy with it at the moment. The only other name I’ve ever had in mind for labels was “By Marie”.

Pack of labels

The only downside about the labels is that I suck at sewing them. I made a real hash of the first one and it wasn’t very centered. This one isn’t a great deal different but it’s still better. It’s just really tricky to sew something like that in without the stitches showing up on the cardi. I’m not 100% sure how long it’ll stay in so I may have resew it sooner rather than later.

Closeup of Labels

She’s Electric has moved on quite a bit. I’ve been knitting on it while trying to catch up with Grey’s Anatomy. I’m currently in the early eps of season five. A month ago I’d only ever seen the first series and I’m trying to catch up to the current season 8. So that’s a serious lot of tv watching. Seriously.

So SE has passed the putting sleeve stitches on scrap yarn period and I’m about 2 inches done on the body. I finally agreed on the contrast colour for the waist stitching design and it’s some yarn left over from a previous project that I’ve had stashed for several years. It is perfect and it also required some serious detangling which Doug helped me sort out over the weekend. It’s now organised and wound into two centre pull balls. 🙂

 

Making Monday – Buttons!

So, my Cosmic Pluto easy Topdown Raglan Cardi is blocked. All it needs now is a snap fastening to close it and a decorative button.

Lots of buttons

 

I rarely use more than one button on a cardi plus I admit, I am a bit lazy 😉 But buttons create another dilemma because I just can’t decide which to use.

Gorgeous Mother of Pearl Moon from Liberty

 

Another decorated mother of pearl button

 

Carved soap stone hand

 

Wooden leaf

 

Carved wooden face

 

Big Ladybird

 

Bronzy faux metal

 

Crane button - I have two more of these

 

Carved Wooden Paisley

 

Faux tortoiseshell Spiral

 

Some of the buttons next to each other for comparison

 

At the moment I think I’m down to deciding between the Paisley and the spiral buttons. I bought them both from a stall at the Knitting and Stitch and Stitching Show in 2008. The others are from various places acquired over the years. It’s all too easy to get a “little” button collection going 😉

 

Thanks for all the competition entries so far, guys. Remember it’s open until March 18th so there’s still plenty of time to enter.