Saturday, 31 December 2016

Top Five of 2016

Top Five of 2016

My most worn me-made garments this year have been a fairly predictable bunch due to their simple structure. My devotion to Grainline patterns has not wained with three of the five 'hits' attributed to Jen's awesome clean pattern styles.

Left to right:

Merchant and Mills Camber Set in Samuel Taylors Viscose. Yes, I know it looks suspiciously like a Grainline Scout Tee! Read about the details of the make here. The top has some lovely little details that I'd like to replicate in 2017. Unfortunately I was rather over zealous clipping the neckline and in subsequent washes the bias bound neck has unravelled. It is currently sat on my 'to-do' pile waiting to be mended.

Grainline Linden in Liberty Knit. This was my second version of the Linden sweatshirt. Details of the construction are here. My inexperience with knit fabric meant that the sleeves are a little snug as the width-way stretch is limited on the Liberty knit (even more so since I have washed it). Despite the snug sleeves I love this top!

Grainline Linden in Olive Girl Charlee UK Knit. This was my first ever successful knit garment using the fabric I won at Sew Brum in 2015. I am super happy with it as it is super comfy and fits really well. Construction details here.

Grainline Scout Woven Tee in 1950's style Cotton Voile. My friend Sophie gifted me this beautiful Chinese fabric when she stayed with me over Easter 2016. Nothing much else to say about the construction of the tee but if you are interested read about it here.

Dolores Pocket Skirt in 1970s Vintage Cotton. Not only did I stash bust with a much-loved vintage 1970's cotton for the outer, it is also lined with a beautiful olive green silk left over from my Art college days in the 1990's! I spent a lot of time over the finish of this skirt with lots of hand-stitching and attention to detail. Construction details here.

Not really 'Misses' but clothes that are 'Not Quite Right....Yet'

It is not a reflection on the By Hand London girls that two of my 'Not Quite Right.... Yet' choices are their patterns. I love both of the above dresses but need to tweak them before I feel comfortable wearing them.

Left to right:

By Hand London Charlie Dress in Liberty. I absolutely love the style of this summer dress as it reminds me of my favourite Top Dress circa 2000. I did a terrible job of fitting the dress bodice and I need to unpick the whole thing to fix it which I have no energy for right now. I am putting it on the 'to-do' pile until I get some inspiration about how to adjust it (I have enough left-over liberty fabric to re-cut another bodice if it came down to it). Construction post here.

By Hand London Flora Dress in Viscose. This is the first 'party-dress' that I have made since getting back into sewing (I used to make a whole bunch of clubbing outfits back in my 20's). Again I spent a lot of time finishing seams, bias-binding the hem and lining the bodice. The fit is not quite right on the bodice but not so much as it would be a major issue, see more photos here. I just haven't been anywhere this year that requires this type of more 'dressy' garment. Note to self: have an event in mind when making time-intensive clothing!!

Self-Drafted Circle Skirt in Polyester. I whipped this up one afternoon with some Goldhawk Road fabric that had been in my stash for ages, see the full story here. I re-used an elastic waistband from a previous make but despite hand-stitching the hem I just didn't wear it! Off to the charity shop it went!!

Friday, 30 December 2016

Sew Over It Coco Jacket (Work-in-Progress)

I attended a three part evening workshop at Sew Over It in Clapham to make the Coco Jacket. I initially selected a black and white dogtooth fabric but felt like it would be too similar to the Prince of Wales checked wool fabric I used for my SOI Francine jacket and instead selected a blue wool-mix material with a black lining.

Overall, I really enjoyed the course but didn't quite have enough free-time between classes to complete the homework required for the last workshop (which ultimately meant I have a part-finished jacket) which I hope to finish in early January 2017! It was also great to meet some new sewing buddies, Steph, Susan and Sue. Kate who taught the course was totally lovely and I would be great to attend another class ran be her.

Enjoy some photos of the construction. I improved my skills with a number of techniques including:

  • Traced the whole pattern including marking grainlines, notches, darts and hem lengths
  • Drafting new sleeves (I added an extra 4cm to the length)
  • Sewing two-part sleeves
  • Inserting neck facing
  • Clipping curved seams to improve the finish
  • Using a tailors ham / sleeve ham to iron the seams
  • Using a clapper to fix seams into position
  • Iron on facings

My original choice of fabric which I then rejected for the blue wool-mix fabric

I still have to finish the jacket which shouldn't take too long (but I am really enjoying some sofa time with loved ones right now). Jobs left to do are:

  • Hand baste the right sleeve into position
  • Machine stitch left and right sleeve into position
  • Hand stitch the lining onto the bottom of the jacket
  • Machine stitch the sleeve lining onto outer fabric
  • Hand stitch the sleeve lining around the sleeve arm sythe

Thursday, 29 December 2016

The (New) Design Museum

I have been visiting the Design Museum in London for years. The original collection was housed in the V&A which they then outgrew and moved South of the River to Shad Thames to a former 1940's banana warehouse. Despite the trek I enjoyed many great exhibitions there including Hello, My Name is Paul Smith retrospective, Women, Fashion, Power and A Century of Chairs.

The new home of the Design Museum is at the end of High Street Kensington (next to Byron Burger and Cass Art) situated in a striking refurbished building that used to be the Commonwealth Institute. The architect John Pawson has tripled the museum's exhibition space to over 10,000 square metres.

The attention to detail in the building is amazing. Pawson has allowed the concrete and glass structure to be able to shine with classic wooden handrails, polished concrete floors, exposed fixtures and sleek lines. The lighting in the space is fantastic creating a cosy ambience even though the atrium space is open to the ceiling.

Spotting the iconic designs was a fun game to play!
Amazing fashion using new fabric technologies

The design evolution of the iconic Anglepoise lamp

A striking light shade inspired by nature (an artichoke)

I saw the permanent free exhibition Designer, Maker, User and got tickets for the Bleazley Design Awards show which is in the basement. Both exhibitions were creatively curated and there was a lot to look at and interact with throughout the collections including the design evolution of technological products and the use of new smart materials.

Overall, I would highly recommend a visit to this beautiful museum.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

CJ Made 2016 Review

18 Fabric Makes
13 Art & Craft Experiences

2016 was a great year for me creatively. I didn't sew as many clothes as I wanted (hence the quite big work-in-progress pile) but I really enjoyed many fantastic exhibitions and art experiences that I hope to continue. I am going to do a top 5 hits and misses review before the end of the year.

I wish you all a happy and creative 2017! 

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Merry Christmas!

Have a lovely, relaxing Christmas with loved ones and I'll see you in the New Year with more creative adventures x