Monday, 30 December 2013

Happy Holidays from Outer Space

At a recent Spoolettes event, the lovely Katherine of Yes, I like that blog-fame wore this outta-sight bowling shirt:

I fell head over heels in love with it, especially the fabric because it reminded me of these gorgeous Christopher Kane galaxy print dresses from a few seasons ago:

Christopher Kane, resort 2011
And even more amazing - Kathryn's shirt fabric was a duvet/sheet set from Tesco's (for non-uk readers, a popular chain of supermarkets). As soon as I got home, I scoured the Tesco direct website for this product, but they were sold out. This was probably because all us crafty bloggers have been buying them up to make gorgeous dresses, like this one and this one. Now I wanted it even more! Plus, I always make a new outfit for Christmas, and this was perfect for the upcoming festivities.

The internet came through, namely Ebay, where I scored a couple of single bed sized fitted sheets - I bought 2 just in case the pattern I had in mind wouldn't fit the fabric. I went through my patterns and eventually settled on the sleeveless bodice of this one:

- combined with the skirt of this one:

 And here's my finished piece, the Christmas in Outer Space dress:

 (I don't have any photoshop skillz, so jumping up and down on the bed was the best I could do in order to convey a feeling of weightlessness!)

I made some small adjustments to the patterns, namely adding about 1" to the waist measurement of the bodice. I also moved the back zip to the left side, as I wanted as few seams as possible disrupting that fantastic print:


As usual, I lined the skirt with a contrasting lining, this time orange because I felt it was in keeping with the solar flares in the print:

Close up of the neckline:


2nd prize winner!
You see me above at my annual works Christmas do. Imagine a large department store's-worth of staff out of their minds on booze, letting off a year's worth of pent-up frustrations, then double it - you'll get something close to how messy this event is. But a beautiful thing did come out of it - I won 2nd prize in the nights raffle! I didn't even know there was a raffle until the store director started announcing the winners.

And what did I get? £300 cold hard cash - brilliant! This was how I felt:

I sort of have a small idea what to do with it, but I may need some advice...

I think I might go all modern and invest in an overlocker! But which one to buy?  Being an overlocker novice, I need one that's relatively easy to use, but I want it to do as much as possible, and I don't want it to be too big, but not totally lightweight either. So... it has to be perfect, basically! Does anyone have any suggestions?I'd really appreciate any advice on what to look for.

Anyway, I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and has lots of fun stuff planned to ring in the New Year!

See you soon!

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Minerva Bloggers Network - An Alternative Work Outfit

Time is flying - It's time for my second Minerva project, when it feels I only just finished the last one!

I've mentioned before that I have to wear black for work, which can be boring, to say the least. It's easy to fall into a rut of t-shirt, skirt, and cardigan. So every now and then I try to change it up with a different approach.

Enter Simplicity 1690 by Leanne Marshall:

Not being a watcher of 'Project Runway', I'd never heard of Leanne Marshall, but Google tells me she won season 5 of the show with a collection inspired by waves. The skirt caught my eye with its drapey panel on the front; for a moment I thought it could be a bit over the top for work, but hey - a day without dressing up is a day wasted!

I chose a medium weight polyester twill for the skirt, and a light weight crinkle satin (can't remember the fibre content...) for the top, and here's the result:

I really like this outfit and can't wait to wear it to work! The skirt is deceptively easy to make - it really only took about 3 evenings to make, and the top took an episode of 'Homeland' and the film 'Hannah' from cutting out to finishing up. Super quick! And the fabrics turned out to be perfect - the skirt is just the right weight (not too heavy, not too light; therefore it didn't need lining), and the satin has a peach-effect backing which feels lovely against the skin.

As usual, I did make a few adjustments:

- the instructions direct you to sew the zip in all the way to the top of the waistband, but I prefer a lapped zipper and a waistband that overlaps, which I then secured with a metal bar clasp:

- After copious measuring, I decided to cut the size 14, which should by rights be a bit small for me in the waist, but with ease, etc, it fits fine. I also lengthened the skirt by about 3"

That mysterious white smudge is on the lens, not the skirt!
- I used french seams to finish the insides of the skirt (click here for a how to), which makes for some bulky junctions in some areas, so I had to make sure they were trimmed down A LOT. It also meant that I couldn't gather the skirt with one run of machine stitching because it wouldn't pull through the seams and kept snapping, so I resorted to gathering it in sections. A little more time consuming, but a little less frustrating.

I'd definitely make this skirt and top again because it was so easy and so effective. And you can make it too if you head over to Minerva; they have kits for this project with everything you need, from fabrics and patterns right down to thread.

See you soon!