A new obsession is born

My life has changed a lot over the last 18 months. Apart from moving from the delightful but rainy and rather chilly UK to the south of Spain, my work situation has improved quite a bit, too.

I have a nicer job, in a nicer company, with a nicer title and a somewhat improved salary to go with it. Spain, on top of that, is much cheaper when it comes to the cost of living. Which means that now I am in a position that I can occasionally shop for things I like (which tends to be a bit on the higher end of range), like some nice shoes for fall. To be honest, right now it’s rather incomprehensible that I’ll ever want to wear closed shoes again, or any shoes if I can avoid it. We’ve been graced with a 3 week heat wave where temperatures won’t even fall much below 25C over night, and I’m not complaining. But we all know this will come to an end eventually, and I like to be prepared.

So I got myself a pair of really nice shoes:

Now, obviously shoes alone won’t make a good fall/winter outfit. So I went searching for a coat. And I found one.

Alabam Chanin, Ezra coat

Alabam Chanin, Ezra coat

The only problem with this coat is that, improved situation or not, just short of 5k is not a price tag I can afford. What’s a girl to do?!

Clearly make one herself.

Now, before you walk away, shaking your heads in disbelief (and I wouldn’t blame you, I feel this is a bit of a crazy undertaking), hear me out. Winter is coming. This coat is not a winter coat. But it will be perfect for spring – which is still a rather ambitious timeline, but hey? Evenings spent in front of my fireplace, lovingly hand stitching all those cut-out appliques? I’m game.

So I started on a test panel. I mean, not even I am crazy enough to start on a coat as a first project in a totally unknown-to-me technique.

Alabam Chaning - easy ring design

Alabam Chaning – easy ring design

I decided that the middle panel of Colette’s Mabel (of which I made two recently, which I will show you in due course, I promise) was a perfect size for a test piece. And because I’m me and couldn’t really be arsed with cutting a stencil for something I might hate, I just drew some circles on the fabric and called it a design.

Then I started stitching. The jersey came from my stash, obviously.

After a couple of hours I had this:

Alabama Chanin  - not quite there yet

Alabama Chanin – not quite there yet

I’ve added a few more of the smaller circles in the meantime, but I’m not quite done yet. As it turns out, threading needles with strong thread in less-than-optimal light is a deal breaker.

So I ordered some self threading needles, which arrived today, and I’m thrilled to finish this (hopefully) this weekend.

And despite the fact that I still feel I’m mad to even try this, I’m really stoked by the idea of the finished skirt, and even more so by the possibility of a coat I’ll love. I mean, c’mon – isn’t it just beautiful?

Belcarra

Today I did another wardrobe clean out. I’ve done a few of these over the last couple of weeks – a lot of my clothes don’t fit me any longer because I’ve lost quite a bit of weight, and some others I’m just over.

All those geeky t-shirts? Still there, but probably they will be worn around the house more and less in public going forward. Although I stand by what I said to a friend recently – I doubt I’ll ever dress “age appropriately”. So all bets are off concerning these t-shirts …

Anyways, point in question – I need some easy basics to fill those gaps. To address this need, I decided to give my first Sewaholic pattern a try: the Belcarra blouse.

Because my relationship with woven tops is a little tense at the best of times, I went for a muslin and used  the last bit of my toile de jolie for it, leftover from this Archer.

It went mostly okay … but after I’d hacked off a good 2 inches from the length, the flare was more a peplum.

Belcarra toile back

Belcarra toile back

And there’s neckline gaping. Which, after carefully inspecting the shop photos for this, I suspect may be a pattern issue as much as one of my lacking skills.

Belcarra toile front

Belcarra toile front

So I shortened the pattern pieces along the proper lines, trued up the side seams and proceeded to make one more out of a lovely remnant I bought during  a recent visit to Brighton, in the totally adorable shop Ditto. If you ever are around there you should totally go – just not on one of the first sunny Saturdays while the Fringe Festival is on. It was madness.

Anyways, the second one came out better, although there’s still some gaping in the neck line and I might have made it a tad too short now – you can see the no longer huge but still present testament to my genetically inherited love for beer peek out here.

Belcarra fo' realz

Belcarra fo’ realz

The matter isn’t helped by the jeans I’ve shrunk out of to the point where the belt just barely keeps them on my hips …

I made my own bias, following some handy tutorials about how to do just that by using the ironing board and a sewing pin, like this one from Coletterie. Which was surprisingly easy and even, dare I say it, a little bit fun :D

The pattern itself is alright, I’m still on the fence as to whether I’ll make more of these, but maybe I just need to wear them a few more times. I suspect that a life time of wearing mostly stretch tops may mean it’ll take a while for me to get used to wovens.

 

Trifecta (again) and Vogue 1247

And finally I started to get photos of my work wear.

Today, it was one of the recently made Trifecta tops (the colleague taking the photos told me it’s her favourite from the batch, btw) and a make from some time ago, the ubiquitous Vogue 1247.

That skirt was made from a left over piece of black denim I used to make another Jalie Jeans (which hopefully you’ll get to see soon, too).

trifecta and v1247

trifecta and v1247 – and of course a derp face again. It’s becoming a bit of a speciality of mine, non?

This skirt probably was the single most worn item I made last year. This was actually the second one I made – the first one is a more dressy fabric (which in fact is curtain fabric I acquired during a sailing trip to Ceuta – I know, my hard life …) and hence sees a little less wear. But it still is a staple for semi-formal family dinners and such.

I have another Trifecta cut with those same fabrics, just reversed – patterned body and black sleeves. The fabrics are both pretty awesome.

The patterned one is from Minervacrafts, and it’s buttery soft and a real delight to wear. Sewing is a bit tricky, as is usual with that kind of light jersey, but totally worth the hassle.

The black fabric came all the way from the US – and yes, it was rather expensive with shipping and taxes and whatnot, but I love it nonetheless. It’s an organic cotton jersey from fabric.com – looks like it’s sold out in black, but I’ve linked to the array of colours which are listed on their website.  The only problem with it is that it’s a proper cat hair magnet :/

Speaking of which – here’s helper cat approving of the shipping box from said fabric (there was a lot more in there, which gradually is going to be revealed here as I turn it into wearable things ;)

Helper cat

Helper cat

Also, there was a bit of a story around that fabric delivery – being a working woman, I had to schedule a date and time for the delivery to be made so I’d be home to actually take it (taxes to pay, remember?). That all went fine, except that the delivery guy didn’t have change on him. Now I live in a suburb with very little in the terms of shops or businesses (a pub and supermarket 5 mins on foot away is pretty much it). So just going somewhere to get change is tricky.

In the end, I told him to keep it (13 Euros) and consider it a rather huge tip. He, however, didn’t like that – the next day, I found this in my mailbox:

Thx Juan!

Thx Juan!

Isn’t that nice? Totally made my day.

 

 

Trifecta in triples (actually quadruples …)

The plan for my next few posts was to catch up on things I’ve made in my silent phase – well, that would of course mean I get photos. Now, my cunning plan was to just ask a nice colleague to take some at work when I’m wearing my makes (which I very frequently do, and in fact my Anna no.2 got me the unparalleled number of 9 compliments in a day), however that hasn’t happened yet.

Instead I give you (most of) the output of an afternoon of t-shirt making. Summer is coming early around here – in fact, today we had 26C and at times I was sewing in my bra. Admittedly not because of the heat, it was laziness but it was warm enough in my sun-flooded sewing room to get away with it.

Anyways. My friend Kim suggested I try the Trifecta top by KitschyCoo. Words like “best thing ever” may or may not have been uttered. So I got my own copy, and today spent a couple of hours taping, tracing, cutting and sewing.

In the end, I made 4 and have another 2 sitting all cut out and ready to go in my sewing room. Yup, it’s that great a staple.

No. One was made with some leftovers from a previous Laurel dress and some black double knit that was languishing in my stash, waiting for that perfect opportunity (I thought that it would become a Lady Skater … maybe some other time).

Trifecta One

Trifecta One

Please forgive the totally unmade-up state of my face and hair … bra sewing and bank holiday is all I’m going to say.

Then I made another one, same Laurel left-over combined with cuts from a shirt I made a loooong time ago:

Trifecta Two

Trifecta Two – probably looking for apparitions here. That would explain the blurriness.

And then I made yet another one, which remains unphotographed – it’s pretty much like no. One, only the sleeves are comprised of patterned fabric tops and black bottoms. Use your imagination ;)

And then no. Three:

Trifecta Four

Trifecta Three. Could the apparition be in the other corner?

Now, this was a different beast.

While the previous three all went together like a dream – I didn’t even bother to change to a jersey needle! – this one was a tad fiddly. But then, it’s a mix from silk and organic cotton jersey, so considerably more flimsy. .

Hence the mild fuck up on the neck band, which is a tad gapey – maybe it’s going to get a bit better with a wash? But despite that – and I’m pretty sure I bought worse RTW shirts – it’s still pretty awesome. Oh, and I added the bottom band after a little incident in  hemming. Possibly caused by the fact that I couldn’t be arsed to look for my twin needle. But it’s all for the better in the end.

Anyways, this pattern is a winner! If you are looking for a quick to make and easily customisable (I didn’t even play with different neck lines yet!) make, this is your thing.