Twinkle twinkle little star…

I’m currently working on one of my Winter sewing plans laid out in the last post.

The BurdaStyle Twinkle skirt is offered for free on the Burda site as part of a collaboration with Whenlan Chia, to promote her line Twinkle By Whenlan and her book Twinkle Sews.

For a free pattern this is quite a lovely garment. I was really quite surprised. It’s almost too good to be free!

Now that I’ve said that, I’ve got to list the things to take the shine off the niceness.

Firstly the pattern pieces. Printing at home is terrible to do when there are 10-20 pages. But this pattern had 50 pages!!! FIFTY!!

Phew. I started by cutting out the pieces on the train home from work on Friday. Best way to make my hour commute fly by…. Though you attract looks like you’re a nutter.

All the waste makes me sad. I understand from a logistical perpective you need a border to ensure the pattern pieces are matched properly. But does it need to be such a big margin?

I decided the taping of the pattern was a Saturday daytime task. I made such a pest of myself to Mr Almond Rock. Oops, apparently my butt gets in the way when taping on the floor in front of Soccer Saturday.

Matt Le Tissier looks disgusted at how big this pattern sheet is

They had to put the skirt front out in full to show the pleat instructions. I get that. But why but the skirt back and lining pieces out in full? They could have been cut on the fold couldn’t they? Am I missing something special about them? Wool doesn’t make a difference surely.

*Edit: Since writing this I tried cutting wool on the fold. It’s almost impossible! So I take back what I said about the skirt back. Burda/Whenlan you were right. I still stand by what I said about the lining pieces though!!*

Well I got over it in the end and went shopping for some muslin fabric. I wanted and still want a red wool skirt. Something not too tomato coloured but warm and bright.

I felt sure Samuel Taylor’s would have something gorgeous and perfect… NOPE. NOTHING. NOWT.

I went to the market… NADA, NIL, NONE… ZIP (had to get the sewing related  one in)

Then I fell in love with some navy wool with a sort of waffle knit pattern. But there was only 1m left and this pattern calls for 1.6m. Sigh.

Then I spotted a blue wool suiting fabric and laughed. It’s pretty much the same shade as the sample picture! Well at least I knew how it would look.

And I think it’s coming along quite similar!

I agonised over the pleats because the instructions made NO sense. The diagram in the instructions made them look like inverted pleats but the sample photo shows folded pleats. Turns out the sample photo was more helpful than the careful created line drawing.

The other problem I encountered was the sizing. There is a cautionary note on the Burda pattern page that this pattern uses Whenlan’s sizings. And it’s true they are on the 5th page of the instructions but they refer to 0, 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 sizes….

THE PATTERN PIECES USE DIFFERENT NUMBERS!

Epic fail.  0, 4, 8, 12, 16 on the pattern? No chance of keeping it straight unless I’m a size 4… Or a 0. I struggle with American sizes already but I know I’m not a size 4.

I’ve already worked out I need to take 3cm out of the width.

*Blows raspberry*

But overall I’m pretty happy. I’ve cut out some midnight blue satin lining so it feels gorgeous against my skin and worked out the placement for my invisible zipper with the size alternations.

(On a funny note Whenlan’s instructions say “install the zipper using your favourite method”. Good job I know a couple of ways right Whenlan? Cos you’re not telling me any!)

I still need to decide on whether to hem this with a visible stitch (Whenlan calls this the “sporty” look) or use pretty lace hemming tape.

I’ve never used hemming tape before but imagine I’d get crabby about the state of my handsewing as I catchstitch it into place. I don’t think the suiting fabric is that bulky so it isn’t really necessary but I love the idea of my skirt ruffling in the wind and showing a peek.

Should I build up my handsewing skills? Should I go for the sporty look? Or can I form some hybrid using wonderweb?! All thoughts welcome.

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Winter sewing plans

Everyone knows how lame English weather is. Sometimes it feels like we jump straight from Summer to Winter.

But something that is different this year is that I’m embracing sewing a Winter wardrobe! I pretended Winter wasn’t happening last year by sewing sundresses but I can’t kid myself much longer.

I’ve got some quite ambitious plans. Here are the first few concrete ideas I have.

I hope you’re not too cold wherever you are.

And if you are I hope you’re whipping up something lovely to keep you warm whether it’s a blanket, a scarf, an outfit or a coat.

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Craft swap. October 21st

Anyone going to the craft swap at Fabric-ation Leeds on Sunday October 21st?

Looks like a great opportunity to swap a variety of items. The details encourage bringing whatever you like; patterns, fabric, magazines, notions, fabric paint/dye, craft kits, etc!
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I’m thinking of going because I might see something awesome but also because this might lift the lid into the Leeds crafting community!!

If you’ve not heard of Fabric-ation check out their website. They’re doing awesome things in the community.

They run loads of workshops on a crazy variety of things; intro to gold plating, corset making, card making, pewter jewellery casting… as well as a range of sewing sessions including refashioning and repairing skills for clothes that just need some love.

I’m tempted just to go work in the sewing lounge on one of the open sessions. £3 to sew around like-minded people and not have to listen to the Fifa game music in the background sounds like bliss, and a bargain!

If you’re thinking Amy, you’re telling us a bit early. Well I just want you to have time to put it in your diaries.

It’s Sunday starting at 12 so you’ll be home in time for Sunday roast and Downton Abbey, and you might just get a great swap! Or make a new friend…?

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Where have you been woman?!

Is what I imagine you’ve been saying. Or if you’re too polite to think/say that then please believe me that’s what I’ve been saying to myself when I look at the last time I posted.

I have actually been a busy lady which is reassuring (I’ve not been trapped under a pile of fabric unable to reach a telephone to call for help, etc).

Today is my first day back after a week in Spain. Aaaaaaaaaah lovely beachy sunshine and reading books.

I took my Edith Head auto/biography with me that I got as a birthday present. Using her first drafts of an autobiography this book was completed and added to by Paddy Calistro.

The semi-autobiographical story of Edith Head

For those of you who don’t know, Edith Head was one of Hollywood’s most memorable and rewarded fashion designers. She started work as a fashion artist with Paramount and worked her way up to being the signature designer for the studio. She won 8 Academy Awards for Costume Design; some for work she didn’t even think was her best!

She dressed too many stars to name but formed strong friendships with many iconic actors and actresses; Bette Davis, Barbara Stanwyck, Shirley MacLaine, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, and Natalie Wood, Bing Crosby and Bob Hope. She was one of Alfred Hitchcock’s preferred designers and although she found working with Hal Wallis difficult at times, he always asked for her on his pictures.

This book really opened my eyes to how costumes were conceived, designed, produced and fitted for the movies in the 30s through to the 60s. The effect of the war on available fabrics, the changing styles as new decades passed and the politics of handling certain actors and directors are all covered with wit and detail.

I really recommend this book! It’s got so many lovely photos and anecdotes. There’s plenty for a dressmaker as well as someone just enthusiastic about film-making during the golden years of Hollywood.

The other thing I’ve been hidden away working on is a dress.

Aaaah the dress. I blogged about it here.

I had a wedding to go to in the Dales in Yorkshire. At a place called Danby Castle that I’d never heard of even living in Yorkshire all my life!

I wanted a new special dress to wear and dug out some lovely French Crepe I had in stock.

I made my sort of cambie dress out of the pajama pattern I got for my birthday. It’s not really that much like the cambie but it’s got that vibe which I like.

Smiley happy bunting photo!

Best photo I have sorry. I’m going to post a review with better photos soon as I think this is a good pattern and with a few tweaks becomes a very wearable dress.

The wedding was fantastic. Bunting themed cake, epic vegan food (courtesy of the chef who goes on tour with Thom York and Radiohead) and lots and lots of dancing. Plus an aggressive pony who only liked men. Humpf!

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