"" The girl who makes things: March 2014

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Let's hear it for the Liebsters!

Hello bloggerland, I most certainly wasn't expecting to write a post today, but that was before I was nominated for a Liebster award by Pelly Melly Patterns. Ever heard of the Liebster Award? I hadn't until I was nominated, but I did a bit of research and this is what I found out about this fantastic initiative:

The Liebster award is like a chain letter to help promote less known bloggers. There are a few rules you need to follow:
  1. You need to thank the blogger who tagged you
  2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger asks you
  3. Nominate 11 other bloggers with less than 500 followers
  4. Post 11 questions for your nominees to answer
  5. Tag your nominees in a blog post and let them know they've been nominated 
Depending on how you look at it, the Liebster Award is either an annoying, time consuming chain letter which you'd rather not bother with, or a great way to connect with other bloggers and promote the lesser knowns. I'm certainly delighted to be nominated and answer the questions that Pelly Melly set me. So, here are my answers:

1. What are you working on at the moment?
A cotton dress made out of some fabric my Auntie bought me for my birthday a few weeks ago.

2. Do you sew to relax or to get motivated?
I'd say to relax, but mostly to satisfy the creative itch I sometimes get every now and then. This is usually after I've read a number of sewing blogs and I've got all inspired.

3. What is your favourite type of sewing project?
Definitely making dresses, which is kind of ironic as I hardly ever wear dresses in my every day life. Dresses are satisfying projects as you're basically making a whole outfit in one garment and they tend to be dead easy to make.

4. Who taught you to sew?
I can't exactly remember, I think my Mum taught me the basics of using a sewing machine when I was very young but I was mostly self taught. I think I just experimented an awful lot until I got the hang of it. I also learnt a lot from studying textiles for GCSE at school.

5. What is your favourite colour / fabric to sew with?
Cotton is the easiest fabric to sew, but I'm actually quite a big fan of a really good quality rayon. The fabric I used for this Anna Dress is probably my all time favourite fabric because the drape is so lovely and the pattern has just the right amount of sophistication and drama. I'm quite keen on buying some more for another project.

6. What do you do to relax if you are not sewing?
Reading sewing blogs! Or doing something else creative like baking, cooking, painting etc. I'm also especially fond of wondering around Leeds city center, lost in my own thoughts.

7. Where are you from?
I was born in Birmingham, but I moved to Yorkshire when I was one year old so I'd have to say, I'm really a Yorkshire lass.

8. What aspect of sewing gets on your nerves? (I hate cutting out…)
Definitely darts. I hate fiddling around with them and if you get them wrong it can spoil the whole project.

9. What makes you happy?
Being sufficiently busy (but not stressfully busy) and having lots of little projects on the go. I also love looking forward to things like seeing old friends, going out for dinner, seeing a film or play - I love the anticipation of knowing something good is coming up in the near future.

10. What makes you sad?
Being under occupied.

11. What is your dream job?
Difficult question as I still don't know what I want to do when I grow up! I probably should say something like a designer or dressmaker, but sewing is a my hobby and if it was my full time occupation I might grow to hate it. I'm a newly qualified teacher and at the moment I'm loving it, so maybe a really well paid teacher??

Now for my nominations! I do apologize if I tag anyone with more than 500 followers or anyone who has already been nominated by someone else. I've taken the stats from Bloglovin here, so please don't be offended, you don't have to answer the questions or carry on the chain - this is optional:

52 Creations
Denim Skirts and Other Stuff
Simply E.GO.tistical
Gjeometry
Ozzy Blackbeard
Tybalt-king-of-cats
The Wardrobe Project
The Sewing Notebook
The Reckless Needle
The Garment Farmer
Strange Notions

And here are my questions:
  1. If you could only keep one sewing pattern for the rest of your life which one would it be?
  2. What is your first sewing memory?
  3. Which project are you most proud of?
  4. Apart from yourself, which person do you sew most for?
  5. Indie patterns or the Big Four?
  6. When are you most content?
  7. When are you most frustrated?
  8. If you could put one thing in Room 101 (your pet hate) what would it be and why? Eg, mine would be Hawaiian pizzas...
  9. What would be your last three course meal on earth?
  10. Who is your style inspiration?
  11. What are your sewing goals for this year?
So there we go, I hope you've enjoyed reading my answers and I look forward to reading yours!


Monday, 24 March 2014

Sew the Perfect Fit: Craftsy Review

Afternoon folks, I hope you've been enjoying the fine weather we've had today (in Leeds at any rate). I thought I'd just write a quick post about Craftsy, as I've just finished watching a course and I had some thoughts.

My mother dearest recently bought me the 'Sew the Perfect Fit by Lynda Maynard' course for my birthday. It was definitely in my top 5 wish list. I wouldn't exactly call myself a beginner sewist, I've been sewing since I can remember, but my problem is always fit. Especially trying to assess the fit of a garment. I literally have no idea how to judge if someone has a 'forward rolling shoulder' or needs a 'full bust adjustment'. I can just about get away taking in the side seams, but that's pretty much it.

Sew the Perfect Fit

As you might already know I'm sewing four bridesmaids for my sister's wedding, using the exact same pattern Lynda uses in the demo. I have to say, I wish I'd watched the course before I got started on the dresses because there is so much I didn't know about fitting and pattern alteration. In fact, I wish I could start again.

Lynda begins the course by taking you through body measurement. Standard stuff if you've been sewing for a while, although I don't always take the high bust measurement. She then picks a size which fits most of the model's measurements, particularly the bodice. Most notably, she doesn't grade between sizes (something I've done for a while). She picks one size and makes a muslin. Lynda's careful to emphasize the importance of drawing horizontal and vertical lines on the garment to check the fit. The next succession of lessons involve cutting up the muslin and inserting pieces of fabric into the gaps which are created in the fitting process. This was pretty easy to follow and the lines on the garment really helped to see where there were fitting issues.

The biggest revelation for me, though, was seeing how the adjustments on the muslin were transferred to the pattern pieces. There is a hell of an amount of geometry involved. When ever I've needed to extend a side seam, for example, I've always just measured out from the side seam and extended from there. I've been mistaken it seems. The proper alteration is to cut a line directly into the pattern piece and then add the extension there. A much more logical process. I didn't sew along with Lynda, I don't have enough time at the moment, but once I get round to doing it I'll need to pause over the pattern alteration bits. They took some getting my head around.

So what did I learn about the 'Perfect Fit'? Well, there's a lot of stuff I didn't know I didn't know. Particularly pattern alteration and assessing fit. I don't think I could confidently sew the perfect fit yet, but another watch through Lynda's course while sewing along and I think I'd be on the right track.

Overall, though, the course is excellent and very thorough, I'd certainly recommend it to an experienced sewer. I loved the interactive chat forums too - a brilliant way to ask questions and share ideas. Did I have any gripes? Only one: I don't like the use of the imperial measurement system and Lynda did all of her calculations in inches. I'm sorry to my American cousins, I know you love your inches, but surely using centimeters is so much easier?! Once you start talking about adding 5/8 to 3/4 you've completely lost me.

So that's it for my first Craftsy experience! Do let me know if you've ever tried Craftsy and what your thoughts were.


Sunday, 16 March 2014

Anna in stripes

Sometimes I wish the British weather would make it's mind up. I want it to be sunny as much as anyone but I don't like to be fooled. Today I looked outside my bedroom window and thought 'ah, the sun's shining, it's spring at last! I'll wear a dress', and then I went outside and immediately the skies clouded over and a chilly blast of wind hit me and I went back inside and changed into a pair of jeans. Evidently we are only just teetering on the edge of spring.

All this sort-of spring weather is making me want to make summer dresses though, just so I'm well stocked up for when the warm weather finally bursts through. So without further ado, here is my latest spring/summer 2014 make: an Anna hybrid.


This is my fourth edition of the Anna dress and I've made a few small adjustments. Most notably I've opted for the V neck version this time and changed the skirt to a circle skirt. The fabric is an ultra light cotton lawn which I bought for about £2 from the Shipley Shuttle. I also made small back adjustment as I tend to suffer from gaping back.


There is another reason I chose to make this dress though. I'm mid way through making four bridesmaids dresses for my sister's wedding and I'm still dithering about which design I want to choose for my dress. I thought the Anna top my be a good option seeing as I've made it so many times before. I really like the V neck version too and I've got a good picture in my mind's eye of how it'll look made up in satin.

So that's it for the new Anna, I've got another make waiting to be photographed which I'll post about soon. Hope the weather is treating you well where ever you are.