Monday, April 27, 2015

It's been...0 days since my last fabric purchase

And a couple of weeks since my last post. I'm afraid I've been buried under mountains of paper for uni, and very little sewing has happened except for the odd bit of quilting.

Some time ago, I cut up a bundle of old T-shirts that held sentimental meaning for me and stitched them into the front of a quilt. I backed it with an old sheet and put a bit of batting in between, then carefully folded it up and put it in a bag.

A month or so ago I go sick of moving the bag to sweep and started quilting it with an odd assortment of embroidery silk that's been loitering in my sewing box since Moses was floating about in a basket. It's become a slow process that has acted as a kind of meditative process to relax me when I'm stressed and can't part with more that 15-20 minutes for sewing. It's one of those things where you need to concentrate just enough that errant thoughts can't make it in, or if they do they float through briefly and then bugger off.

There's only another 6 weeks of insanity left until I'm hopefully all done with this study caper and I can do things like find people who live near me to sew with, and play team sports and not work the equivalent of a 70 hour week (if you count study-load and work-for-pay together). And I've only got about 20'000 words total to put into a variety of assessments. Totally do-able, right?

In the meantime, I've been appeasing my desire to sew by loitering over sewing blogs like the dodgy guy in the dirty mag section of the news agency. Lladybird Lauren has, as always, been completing the most amazing array of projects even though she's just moved house. And Miss HandmadebyCarolyn trotted out this beautiful quasi-quilted dress last week...not quilted so much as pieced from pieces of old T-shirts, but mind-blowing! And Miss Katie Who Writes Stuff made some pyjama shorts out of some of the fabric I sent her, and that was also cool. They're really pretty! So, you know, the loitering around other people's pretty projects keeps my inner sewing-addict happy in the short term.

But then sometimes I walk past the op shop and they'll have new fabrics in and even though I swore that I wouldn't buy any more fabric until I'd emptied my current stash a bit...

But...well...I had to! Because ribbing is so expensive, and handy to have about, especially for the Free-Tee-Patterns project that I'm planning to do.

And where else are you going to find such mad retro paisley goodness? Besides, I was only in there for 5 minutes, so it's not like I lost a lot of study time or anything.**

**That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Thurlowed denim should be deeply pocketed, no?

I meant to post this a week or so back, but somehow I managed to collect one of those delightful vomitty-bugs that make you wish you didn't exist...and then I had assignments...and now here we are...

Some time ago, after falling in love with Miss Lladybird Lauren's Thurlow's from the Sew-Along I broke my promise to not buy anymore patterns* and invested in Sewaholic's Thurlow's. It's been nearly a year, I think, but life's been busy.

Anyway, so the other week I was in Spotlight and the denim was on sale. And my pants have all been getting tight, so I picked up a role of something I liked the look of and did a guesstimate of required length to bring home for Thurlation. It's been a steady process over the past few weeks: adjusting the pattern here, loosing a pattern piece there, cutting them out, putting them together, adjusting them. But overall, I'm quite in love with the pattern and I've already embarked on the next pair. There shall be many.

Two things struck me heavily upon inspecting the pattern:
1) The finished length of them is normally 34". OMG! This is unheard of in the world of a woman with a 36" inseam who has to buy most of her clothes from specialists like Long Tall Sally. For once, I only needed to add 2", not 6". It was a delightful shock change.
2) Tiny pockets are not to be had! You're talking to a woman who hates handbags and wants to lead an existence sans them so she doesn't end up sans them. The back pockets were deepened by about a Samsung's length and the front ones by it's width.

That done, it was time to start cutting out the pieces.

Except muggins here had decided to do this on the back patio in the sunshine to cut out her Thurlows. A little gust of wind came along and departed with the pattern piece for the belt loops, whisking it away much like the dancing plastic bag from American Beauty, before depositing it into the top of the neighbour's tree .

So I wrote to Sewaholic with my tale of woe. And in the mean time I clipped on regardless, learning that my fabric purchase was a little bit on the short side, but adequate. And I fossicked through my off-cuts bin for some left over cotton lining for the waistband and deepened pockets. Luckily Caroline took pity on my tale of woah and furnished me with the dimensions of the belt loops piece. I ended up having to cut it in two half lengths, but since the piece gets cut into six even lengths this wasn't exactly a terrible emergency.

The pants went together beautifully, although I made a couple of changes to the process. One was to cut out both the front pieces and the waistband out using only the right hand pieces and trimming off the excess later. This was partly because I'm lazy and partly because of the history attached to the whole girls/boys button opening thing.

My objection to the left/right thing falls to the bit about class and who dresses me. Way back in the day, ladies clothing opening to the left and men's to the right. This was supposed to indicate that the lady had a maid to dress her (whether or not she did). Now, with delusions of grandeur summarily binned, I do dress myself, thank you very much. And I do detest having to twist my wrist at a weird angle to do up my pants.

Ergo, these Thurlows are a little bit bisexual in the details. What, with their pockets large enough to hold a phone, keys and a wallet AND their opening suited to a right-handed gal zipping and buttoning instead of a left-handed one. There is no point making things for your own needs if you don't actually sculpt them to your own needs. And next time I like to think that I won't have issues with buttonholing the waistband.

The one thing I really did get a little tricked up with was stitching up the back, but having now managed it, I must say that I quite like it. It allows for future fitting adjustments - adjustments that I intend to need. I misjudged the back seam at first, and the pants were a little too loose, and I so I got to test this whole concept straight away. It was nothing a belt couldn't fix, but it's not the way you want them to be forever. So I unpicked Round 1 and adjusted to what is now a fantastically comfortable pair of pants.

Besides! Look at all that pocket!

Dare I say, I 💓 them. Even though seeing photos of myself in them indicates that I'm not nearly as fat as I thought I was when I cut them out. They're ridiculously comfy, and when I'm wearing them I feel like my inner Katherine Hepburn is rising to. Besides, I've always been a bit of an arseless wonder. It runs in the family.

I've cut out a pair of yellow chevron Thurlow shorts as Take 2 already, although I might go back and shave a little off the hips so they're not quite so hangy.

* I know, right! It's hilarious that the thought makes it even halfway across my brain. HahahahahHAHAHAhaaha.