Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Upcycled skirt

I was trying to clear outsome of my 
now-a-problem fabric stash 
when I found the top of a "bad-buy" goth skirt I had bought probably 15 years ago.

The black fabric is a goth skirt - top of a skirt and the check stuff out of my stash.

Only the top tho because the rest is actually net/tulle which I  chopped off but actually is also in my stash! 

Yes I am a terrible hoarder and its half the problem. 

Using this means I have not sent what is really a brand new skirt to the landfill and also I do not have to sew it up - thats the bonus of course.
 I do not need a buy a new zip etc etc. Its morally right and a very fast make.

It also clears a couple more bits from my far too large fabric stash.

I remember objecting when others have made comments on their blogs about the immorality of stashing fabric. Well then mine was not a problem. It is now. 

Suddenly!

And its hard to decide what to get rid of and what to keep. I am intending to make up as many large items as possible over the coming weeks and forget the The Monthly Stitch challenges unless they fit in with this aim. 

I spend a lot of time and effort trying to decide what to do for this challenge or that. 

Well right now my main challenge is to clear out some of my stash but not necessarily to chuck it away. Instead to actually make some of this stuff into clothing that has been planned in some cases for several years.
AND NOT BUY ANY MORE FABRIC!
or not for a while and until the stash is again manageable and storeable.
I am happily between jobs for about 2 weeks now. I quit my temp job when I found out I have a perm job with a local organisation but they are taking some time to actually give me a start date.

Thats OK because really I want a sewing holiday. Normally when I have holiday my other half has one as well which is great but no good for sewing. So this is my time to be free to sew and to delete some of my stash. I have so far been off work a full week and have tidied the garden, done some decorating and yet no sewing at all other than this upcycled skirt made from the rest of this fabric which I made the off shoulder top and my pixie dress from and its such a small bit of stash so I need to do better. 

I am sorting it all out to make into stuff tho honest!

So here is my skirt:

So to make my lovely skirt. I took 4 bits of around the same size and overlocked together and overlocked the edge that is now the hem.

 I then pleated this bit roughly around the bottom of the goth skirt. That makes the bulk of the checked part of my skirt. 


Because it frays something crazy I overlocked the now joined black fabric to the pleated fabric making the inside seam neat and strong.

 Then I found two more bits of fabric strips and used the natural raw fraying edges to make a pleated frill on top of the join between the black and check fabrics. I needed to do two rows of stitching to make this frill lie right.

 But then I had this frilly bottom with a plain black top which did not look quite right so I added the rest of the bits of fabric I still had and sewed around the black skirt top in rough strips. They are not quite straight but this is actually intended. Then I had to deal with the bottom of the zip. One strip already overlapped and I decided to leave it dangling so I added an extra bit to the other side and made a second dangly bit which can bit loosely tied or not as a feel like on one side. It finishes the strip next to the zip where otherwise it looked a bit strange and I did not want to sew over the zip and thereby shorten it.


The fabric has alternating checked patterns but to make this I had to decide not to worry about matching anything because there was not enough fabric to do that so I decided to randomly just attach bits and it works really well.

Its very much a raggy skirt made from little bits of fabric but I am very much into it. I wore it to town yesterday and it feels good its so very raggy and different to what is currently in the shops. Reminds me of lots of stuff I saw in the 80s and early 90s but not quite like current fashion. I felt good wearing this. I think being a kind of check too will be great for autumn/fall and winter tho its not a warm skirt but UK winters are often not cold. Having said that I am expecting from the huge amount of berries this year we are going to have a long cold winter but for now this is my latest stash buster garment. I need to tray and make sure the next one uses a bit more fabric tho!

Oh I also made the green velvet top.
Bracken

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

BEWARE of Rip-off CRAFTSY!

I got an interesting email back in June from Melissa Feyr Trade about a class she did for Craftsy. I decided to have a look and sign up for their free 1 week trial of Craftsy Unilimited at £12.99 a month. 

I had a quick look around and decided the same day I signed up that Craftsy is not for me. Not now anyway so unsubscribed. I got an email from Craftsy on 1st July saying I had unsubscribed and "Goodbye".

Yesterday I was checking bank statements - something I really must do more often in fact since I am a bit slack about that - and found despite me unsubscribing Craftsy have actually charged me £12.99 twice on 1st July and 1st August 2018. 

I contacted Craftsy and explained I had unsubscribed but they say there is no record of me unsubscribing and they will not refund. They have confirmed I have now successfully usubscribed again.

I have now sent them the email they sent me saying "Goodbye" but thought I will let the world know about this because I suspect I will not get my money back from the email I already recieved, so if I was you I would steer well clear of Craftsy Unlimited because they a RIP OFF company. 

I have previously signed up to other types of online courses for the trial period and never before have I ever been charged. I always have unsubscribed and until my contact with Craftsy I have not been charged. 

The customer services department say their is no record of my unsubscribing despite me having an email confirmation of it. 

Quite unscrupulous and quite disgusting!

So people buy Mellissa Feyr Trade's book - I did and have yet to make anything but looks good, but do not bother with Craftsy and if you do you have been warned!

Have you had a problem with Craftsy overcharging you?

Bracken

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Sewing Inspiration

I often find it difficult to get actual inspiration for real sewing. I collect patterns, I collect fabric, I read other sewists blogs but most of the time I simply seem to imagine or dream about what I can make from this or that fabric which is not very productive.

I actually have bits of fabric "allocated" to different patterns but have not got round to making them and some of them have been waiting two years now. In many cases I have yet to actually even stick the patterns together. But then there are other other patterns where I collect the different bits needed over several months when I see things reduced or on offer so to keep my costs down and it does take a bit of time and effort as well as space where I am storing all this stuff.

Space is a real problem for me. I have even discussed the possibility of hiring storage space for my fabric and yarn stash. Its silly then though, because it means my hobby has become very expensive so in that case there is no point stashing cheap bargain fabric because it will work out cheaper overall to just pay full price and not store it. So then my "hobby" is becoming a real problem.

I am sure I could make much more if I found a way to focus. Or maybe not more but more unusual unique items and that is what its about for me.

Often making basic items is just not worth it when I can buy new RTW top that fits fine and works perfectly for a few pounds and sometimes that is cheaper than making so I think unless I actually have fabric already, why bother to make that?

Of course there is also the ethics of making and the fact no children are labouring for hardly anything to sew my clothing but realistically ideals are not always in line with what I am able to afford and for example I must have presentable work clothing so sometimes I have to break my own rules and compromise and buy cheap RTW for work.

I do not yet live in a world where I am free to chose some things. I also find it difficult to understand how its bad to wear clothing made by children but Ok to make your own from fabric which is probably also being made by children. Or am I thinking too much here?

Surely if kids are labouring in clothng factories so they are also labouring in fabric manufacturing. Its not right that they are doing either, but using that as a way to justify making your own clothing is rubbish. Obviously I do want to continue making stuff but you get my point.

The only way round this I can see is to only buy fairly traded/woven/knitted fabric and thats a very rare commodity in my world!

And that is before I even start on the microfibres in water/ soil/ animals/ humans, problem - but I think thats well covered by several other bloggers right now.

So  really my reason for sewing is either to get something I cannot afford cheaper than if I bought it because I simply will not afford to waste money on that, like for example my recent copies of the River Island dress:
http://brackencrafts.blogspot.com/2018/07/copying-rtw-river-island-dress-copy.html http://brackencrafts.blogspot.com/2018/07/orange-dress.html
or its to make something unique and again as affordably as I am able to.

It was certainly worth my making these. I simply would not have wasted £28 on these and I already had loads of each fabric costing very little. I think in all with thread and bearing in mind my buttons are recycled these probably cost under £5 for both dresses.

Most of what I make is unique - though not all of it is actually that good/nice.

I am getting better now though at actually making things I really like. I suppose I can explain some of my early makes which are downright vile and unflattering as part of my learning adventure into sewing my own clothing. Like for example this horrible blue dress:

http://brackencrafts.blogspot.com/2016/05/mmmay16-day-15.html

In the case of this dress I still have LOADS of this pale blue crepe fabric and I still hate it. This dress just made me look old and I do not yet feel that old tho possibly its debateable depending on how old the particluar reader is😊

Possibly I was also over tired and having a bad day but even then and excuses appart, who wants to make clothing that makes them look like that!

I even tried a Tshirt - two in fact and hate both of them too. Its not the designs its this blue fabric.

http://brackencrafts.blogspot.com/2017/04/98-and-99-sports-top-and-flared.htmlhttp://brackencrafts.blogspot.com/2016/05/36-raglan-sleeved-black-and-blue-top.html

So I have realised some fabrics have no place in my stash. I am going to ebay this blue stuff in fact, once I find it, because I still have loads of it.  Even adding punk rivets did not really help and the top above became a decorating top pretty quickly. I tried using both sides of this fabric which has worked for some similar designs like my sports top where I used the reverse with great results. Maybe its the pale blue colour because the orange is by the looks and feel of it exactly the same stuff.  I do not know but I am getting rid of this blue fabric out of my stash. Its just not me!

I decided last weekend I need inspiration and was wandering round town looking at stuff when I came across these pieces of jewellery in a charity shop.

They cost just 99p each so bargains. I reckon why not make a dress or top or something anyway to go with each piece of jewellery instead of what I usually do and find jewellery ( usually costing far more than these pieces too) to go with my outfits.

In fact I would certainly suggest having a look at charity shops for jewellery. I often pop in to check out fabric or second hand clothing I can cut up but never normally look at jewellery or belts or such and they had loads that was really nice so I intend to pop in again this weekend and see what else they have to inspire me.


 Not too sure why but I see a mediaval inspired dress here in the round pendant with yellow stones, and am thinking of two different costume patterns I have owned for ages - years and never used. I will have to see what fabric I can find in my stash to make something to work with this. I do not really wnat to waste money on expensive fabric for a costume type dress unless I have a special reason to wear it but maybe mediaval or maybe more warrior? ➜





↩ This one screams summer hippy fashions at me, so its a bit of a shame I bought it now when summer is about to end but I will keep this in mind for future creations.

I may even find an autumn/fall pattern which could work with it.

It does seem summer festival clothing though to me right at this moment. Still nothing wrong with that.

 Then this lovely long sparkly bead necklace is actually slightly defective - the catch is broken though still does up. It does not notice and it works fine so I am not too worried though may have a look for some long nosed pliers to attempt to fix at some point. Right now though the length is suggesting 1920s dresses to me. I always love dropped waist dresses so thats a great option. ↪

So in the end I reckon for the next few items at least I am focusing on these 3 pieces of jewellery to inspire me to go forward and make something a bit different. 

I am very interested to see how other people plan what they are going to sew since I am at a point where I have collected all this stuff but I am pulled in all different directions but only have  a very small amount of time to actually make things so I must be selective. 

So what do you think? 
How do you get your inspiration for what to make next or do you make what you need rather than what you want?

Bracken

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Black and white stripe dress


I decided to tidy up my fabric stash since it seems to have all fallen off the shelves while I have been rummaging and it has got to be a tangled mess. Whilst doing that I found this striped 4-way stretch that has been hanging around for a few months now. The day I cut this out it was raining. Its hot again now so I expect this will be a great little dress for the coming autumn. Its probably a bit hot for today. Its a different view of McCalls M6612. I have not made this view before but decided why not. I am getting a bit bored with view C which I usually make. Its a fast easy make so a good wardrobe filler. I also need to use up some of my stash since its getting out of control.

It needs slightly different construction to the other view because you have to finish off and hem the back neck before joining up the shoulder seams. The cowl is doble thickness so needs a light weight fabric else it will be pulling forwards too much and be too bulky. I think this fabric is going to be ok.
The only other option could be to use a heavier fabric for the back to kind of balance it a bit more. I am hoping that my version is going to work cos I hate heavy cowls. I made a pretty heavy cowl with both of my hoody cowl dresses ( below).

 http://brackencrafts.blogspot.com/2017/05/mmm17-day-4.htmlhttp://brackencrafts.blogspot.com/2015/12/7-burdastyle-092015-hooded-cowl-neck.html
I think its likely whatever fabric you choose for these tho its going to be quite heavy.
They are both great in autumn /winter tho and I do wear them but tend to find them annoying for work and OK for shopping when its windy /rainy especially with a  gillet type top over them.

Anyway back to this dress- its all overlocked and twin needle hemmed. Inexpensive but good quality 4-way stretch which I already made some leggings out of here:
http://brackencrafts.blogspot.com/2018/03/productive-weekend-1-shirt-3-pairs-of.html








I wore this dress to work and it was good. A good make, I think I will get quite a bit of wear out of this one. I have no idea why I never made this view of this pattern before. I was put off by the cowl neck but actually its nice and makes a change from the usual look I go for.

Thanks for visiting 
Bracken

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Gold Trousers



Well I almost never got these posted in time for The Monthly Stitch July challenge despite making them over a two weeks ago. That would make the second time in two months where I have actually made something based on the TMS challenges but not posted so I have to do better.




These are the Lekala sports trousers. I have made this pattern twice before. I made my lovely camo sweat pants 
and my not very well made red sweatshirt trousers. The red ones were made right at the start of my adventures into making me -made so the finish is rubbish.They have however been very weel worn and loved and they are very practical. They are not very stylish at all in this fabric and I will not be using this pattern for this sort of trousers again. It was  afast make for some cool traouser when I was sweltering in the heat so I needed loose fit and thin fabric which they are. They work Ok and I got away with them several times over the last couple of very hot weather weeks for work wear. I do not like them at all but they do sevre a purpose and have stopped me dying of heat. I will not be repoeatig this particular make. The best bit is the pocket linings which are made from the left overs of my ladybird top. I like my pockets.The trousers fabric wassold to meas "gold" its a kind of yellowey beige so I suppose you may call it gold but really I have made some brown trousers. I hate brown as a colour. So I do not like the colour ( tho it is easy to wear work-wise) and I don't like the style. The only thing I do like about these is they dry quick when washing midweek in hot weather and I have lovely big pockets lined with ladybirds.



As you can see I wore my ladybird top as well. I kind of feel like this is an outfit despite it being very different fabrics and its all down to the detail of the pocket linings.




The trousers are stupidly easy to make. I really am not into the colour at all but in the end I had the fabric and I needed a new pair of thin trousers with the heat wave we have all just been through in the UK. Its funny a friend just went on business to India and it was 39◦C in the shade and the locals thought it cool and we only got to 35◦C in the UK I think but here that is unbelievably hot hot hot. I must admit I would rather have hot than cool but maybe not quite so hot. 28◦C is hot enough for me when I have to go to work.

Certainly not my best make tho!

Thanks for reading 
Bracken

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Orange Dress























This is the second and much anticipated copy of the River Island dress which I already copied in pink see my last post for the details. The pink version of this dress
(my muslin) is a bit different to the orange dress. I did not top sitch the button stand this time and the front pleat is higher and also folds better. I self lined the bodice with a second layer of fabric. Its much better made though now I want to make matching pants/knickers since it turns out this fabric is a little see-through. My only pant pattern has swinsuit type very stretch fabric and when I tested this fabric it does not stretch even half as much so I reckon the pattern I have will probably not fit if I use it to make pants so I need a different pattern.
This fabric does have stretch but I do not think it is lycra. I am none the less very pleased with this dress which has turned out pretty much like the original picture from my Newsletter from River Island. I rarely copy RTW but I am very happy with this cos for a self drafted copy this is a definite success!
Mind you I may have to avoid patterns with so many buttons. It took me three sittings for each dress to sew all these on. That I think was the worst bit really about making these two dresses and has definitely slowed up my me-mades over the last 3 weeks.Both my dresses have more buttons that the original RI dress but it just seemed the right amount to use.

I also think the model is probably taller than me or maybe wearing heels?


I did not add cross over back straps to this dress so its slightly different to the pink version.



The lighting is terrible on these photos. I tried to get quite a few hoping for some better brighter light but I think there is a thunder storm on the way!

Its definitely a bit cold while I am waiting for these to be taken whereas last week it was scorching hot. Apparently we are back in heat wave mode sometime next week though so this should get a lot of wearings in that case. Today I needed a denim jacket and leggings to keep me warm.


Thanks for visiting
Bracken

Monday, 23 July 2018

Copying RTW - The River Island dress copy

Jersey ribbed fabric Button front detail Cami shoulder straps Our model wears a UK 8 and is 175cm/5'9'' tall
About a week ago now an email arrived in my inbox from River Island which is weird since I have not had one from them in years. Anyway this dress caught my eye.

I am no way going to spend £28 on this however exclusive it apparently is, so I set about copying it using a self drafted pattern from what is a mid 1990s New Look top

which I still love and wear as underwear on days off when I want to just be comfy and the well used ( by me anyway) McCalls M6612 dress pattern.




I have two different stretch knit ribbed fabrics which could work with this so I decide to start with the pink which cost me 99p from ebay because there was a small mark on the selvedge and no one else bothered to bid on it. Its not really my colur in this lilac pink but for 99p has to be useful so this was my muslin. I also have a bright orange ribbed fabric which will hopefully make into a very good copy of my much wanted summer dress. Now really this dress would never be on my list of buys. Its just too impracticle but when you are making for a small amount rather than buying what is not a cheap dress lets face it it can be great fun to make what you would not waste money buying. It has also very little fabric in it which to me means it should cost less to buy.
But then we all know that is not how it works😊.
 So I daringly cut out two dresses one in each fabric and I sew up the pink one.
This small mark is why this was so cheap but the fabric was 3m long for only 99p.




 I mark approximately where the centre front vent is. I also added a few inches in length cos I usually make the short dress.


I fold the pattern so I can graft on the self drafted top pattern



 Then I cut version two in orange.




On the pink dress I do the fake button stand on the outside. I am really not sure the best thing to do here so its all an experiment. Sew centre front on inside.

 Then I fold into place and I top stitch both sides down after folding this in on both sides of the front button stand. Possibly not the best method.





 Then I  add a strip for the neck edges and I try it on and get my other half to pin on my back straps.

 Yes its too big. So we carefuly pin the excess in.


 The repin more accurately:
 And sew it up cutting off the excess which does mean my sides are not perfect since I have now overlocked them together and lost my edging.

 I try it on and it fits so now I sew on my straps properly and I cut down the orange dress by the same amount.

So here are the pictures:

 Its not perfect but I wore it today to work with a top over it ( my tattoos are not very good in professional services role)

 



 Not so sure the originaldress had crossed straps but it works here.



 It took me ages hand sewing all those tiny recycled buttons on so I have yet to finish the orange version but I think I now know what needs changing to make this even better. Despite that I think its a great success and I am going to persevere with version 2 my orange copy.
Thanks for visiting
Bracken