An untimely sewing slump

Why is it that you always run out of steam or lose inspiration when theres a deadline approaching? I’ve been sewing like a maniac all year (and all of last year too!), but now that there is only three weeks until we make our annual pilgrimage to the beautiful Hawkes Bay for Art Deco Weekend, I just can’t be bothered sewing up any of the things I had planned to wear. (More information on Art Deco Weekend in this post, but the short version is that every year the swing dancers of NZ head to Napier during their Art Deco festival which commemorates the earthquake which flattened the city in 1934. Its pretty much just a weekend of dressing up, meandering around and eating gelato in scorching sunshine, and dancing to various jazz bands throughout the city. Its good fun!)

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I’ve done the planning stage, and I’ve bought and prewashed all of my fabric, I just…can’t be bothered sewing any of it up. Its terrible! I don’t even have that much to do, just a top (an Afternoon Blouse), a slip, and the Beach Pyjamas. I already have the skirt to go with the blouse, and the dress which needs the slip. I’ve made a start on the halter top for the pyjamas, and its looking ok. I’m struggling to see if it fits, its hard to hold it closed and see what it looks like! I’ll need to get Monsieur to pin me into it so that I can have a play. Its going to have buttons up the back, and I don’t want to sew all those button holes if it doesn’t fit quite right!

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I think its the Afternoon Blouse which has put me in this sewing slump though. I really like the pattern, I think its cute. I bought it last summer, at the same time as the Bronte, and immediately cut it out of some pretty cotton lawn. Then it got cold, and I never sewed it together. I whipped it up last weekend, and immediately noticed a few things…mainly that I had taken absolutely no notice of pattern placement or matching when I cut it out! The second thing was that it really didn’t fit…

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I have a really short torso, so a lot of RTW clothes are too long in the upper chest and shoulders if they’re sitting correctly at my waist. I’ve never had this sort of problem with something relatively unfitted though! I had enough room in the upper chest area to fit a fist in each side of the neckline, it was definitely too big. So I lifted it up at the shoulders, so the neckline sat flat against my chest, and pinned it along the shoulders…

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I sewed it along the new, flat shoulder seam (I tapered it from about 3cm at the neckline to nothing at the sleeve) and trimmed the back neckline down so it was the same shape as it had been originally, then trimmed and resewed the facing. I tried it on, and some of the excess fabric had all disappeared from around the shoulders, but now the neckline gapes open like nothing I’ve ever seen! I have no idea what happened or how to fix it, I think I may have killed it…I don’t have any photos, because I was so pissed off that I just stuffed it into a bag and tossed it into the corner. I’ll go back to the drawing board, and make another one using the navy seersucker in the photo above. Any ideas how I can fix it? I was thinking that I could take a wedge out of the pattern where the neckline gapes (either side of the “V”) and then redraw the curve of the neckline…or I could just try going down a size in the shoulders/bust, and grade it out to the right size in the waist and hips. What do you think?

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July roundup

I’m actually pretty impressed with how much I got done this month! Two of my posts contained double makes, with two Bronte tops, and two pairs of Anima pants. I also branched out into bag construction!

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I have to say, I love my Bronte tops! I wear them all the time (in fact, as I type this, I’m wearing them both and my Coppelia cardigan. Shut up, its cold.) and get lots of complements on them whenever I’m out and about. I’ll definitely be making some summer ones, maybe in a bamboo cotton if i can get my hands on any. I’ve also had a fair bit of wear out of my camisole, its really comfortable. Another pattern to go back in the ‘to make again’ pile! (The knickers are also really comfortable, if thats not TMI!)

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There are also my Anima pants. The black merino version have been worn quite a bit, but I’ve been too shy to wear the patterned ones out yet! Maybe next week I’ll get over it enough to wear them to the gym. My scrub hats get worn at every day, I have enough to wear one every day for a week.

So, this month I’ve added another 5 garments to my handmade wardrobe, not too bad really!

In short…
-two tops
-two pairs of pants
-the camisole set
-the waterproof tote bag
-the scrub hats

I’ve also learned a couple of new techniques, including sewing heavy, rigid fabric, putting buttonholes in knits (not as scary as i anticipated) and sewing with stretchy lace.

Next month is going to feature a few items I’m sewing for other people, mainly Monsieur and my mum. I’m kind of winging it for both garments, so we’ll see how that goes! Hopefully I won’t crash and burn…

Double Feature: the Bronte top

I’ve never had much time for the Bronte sisters, I have to say. I like classic literature, but I absolutely hated Wuthering Heights when I was forced to suffer through it at school and I found Jane Eyre pretty forgettable when I read it a few years later (though I have gained a new appreciation for it after reading the hilarious and extremely clever ‘The Eyre Affair’ by Jasper Fforde, I would definitely recommend that one!). However, the name didn’t put me off the Bronte top from Jennifer Lauren Vintage! I loved it as soon as I saw it pop up on her blog, and bought it the day it came out.

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It was so quick and easy to put together, even with the tricky looking shoulder detail. I had originally planned to follow the sewalong, as I’ve never actually managed to sew along before, I’m usually way too late to the party…but the instructions were really clear and everything matched up neatly, so before I knew it I had a finished top! Soon after that, I had two finished tops, because why stop at one when you have a good thing going?

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I cut both Bronte tops out at the same time, both out of merino (surprise!). The stripy knit I used for the long sleeved version is quite stretchy, so it fits over a long sleeved tee shirt confortably. The black knit I used for the second version had significantly less stretch, so I decided not to go down a size, even though I wanted the short sleeved version to be closer fitting. Just as well I didn’t! I’m always amazed how much fabric can affect fit, even though it seems like such an obvious consideration…

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(Cat fur optional…)

For the black version I added some cute black and white gingham buttons to emphasise the shoulder detail, as it was much harder to see in a solid colour. Looking at these photos, I think i need to go and check if I’ve sewn the buttons on evenly, the ones on the left shoulder look wonky…The bands on the stripy version are off cuts from the the same knit as the black top, I think the contrast is really nice. I’m planning another version for summer, I think some little flat bows on the wrap binding could be really cute too…