Saturday, 25 January 2014

Art work crazy

I'm in the process of working on a couple of commissions at the moment. I love the way paintings come together, sometimes it can take weeks, others happen in just a matter of hours.

Sometimes I see the paintings emerge from layers of paint and other times it is very much pre-planned.

I still have a selection of original works and prints for sale over on my Three Cords design FB page. All proceeds go towards fundraising for my China trip.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

In search of the perfect sleeve.

Do you need sleeve cap ease?

I'm not sure. What are your thoughts?

I made a jacket at the end of last year and had a real problem setting in the sleeves. Most patterns seam to have a huge amount of sleeve cap ease. I've never really got to grips with it. 

When working with curved seams you always have some ease, do you really need extra ease?

I get the whole argument about fitting a flat piece of fabric to a curved part of your body, but I've taken apart quite a few RTW garments that fit well and very few have ease, and if they do it's minimal. So what is the deal with home sewing patterns that they have rather a lot of ease? 

Does anyone have any answers, even better does anyone have a drafting tute for the perfect set in sleeve? Or will I be forever drafting dropped shoulder designs or swearing over frustrated attempts to set in a massive amount of ease?

Thursday, 16 January 2014

2014's first make

I'm finally posting the top I made over the Christmas break. It's the bow blouse from Gertie's book for better sewing.

I've made this before in a slinky silk and decided to make it in something more substantial. This version is made in a soft curtaining fabric from Terry's Fabrics. I loved the ditsy print and originally wanted to make a dress with it, but didn't have quite enough fabric, so I settled for the bow top. I made a straight size 6, the only alteration I made to the pattern was to enlarge the neckline slightly.  I got the butting from Helen at Grosgrain Green in the spring sewing swap last year, they were from The Polished Button and are a perfect match for the fabric. 

Monday, 13 January 2014

Love hope and opportunity

 In April I'm off to China to help International China Concern on a short term team.

My daughter and I will be joining a team to one of the projects and will be helping disabled and abandoned children and young people. These children need extra love and care, as there are still rather a lot of children to each carer, they need someone to play, hold, cuddle, smile, teach and most importantly LOVE them. These teams have a real impact and can help massively with the socialisation and physical development of the children.

I first went out on a team in 2007 and it had a life changing impact! I hope that it will have the same impact on my daughter, she has such a loving heart and is so keen to help other people, this is a real opportunity to do this together. I know I've shared about this Charity several time before, we've been fundraising for the last year and have covered flights and visas, we now need to cover our team fees.

We need to raise around £2000. If 400 people gave just £5 we'd meet our target.

I'd love it if you would consider partnering with us as we step out to help others. I will keep all my sponsors up to date with our progress and what we do on the team.
See more over at Sponsume.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

On a mission... raise that last lot of cash I need for my team fees to go to China with international China Concern.

I've collated all the work I've made recently and am selling originals and prints as part of my fundraising. Postage in the UK is £5, but may be more to the US and rest of the world.

Come and take a look at what's on offer here.

It's not long until Valentines day and mother's day is not far behind, especially here in the UK. why not buy a unique gift for the one they love or commission a pencil portrait for just £45 + postage.

Friday, 3 January 2014

January Sales Hell or why I Sew.

Today I braved the sales. I was quite looking forward to it.

We headed out to Newcastle and had lunch at Lau's 202. It's one of the newest Chinese buffets in town and I hadn't tried it yet, so family lunch it was, great food at a good price and enough variety to keep the whole family happy.

I'd been given vouchers for Next, and had needed to return a gift that was too small to M&S, so I had a credit note and voucher for there too.

Me and the girly headed into next and let the boys head off to the guitar shops, I had a quick browse through the sale items, but there was nothing that cried buy me! After almost 40 minutes just looking at stuff I decided to buy new exercise wear, my old jogging trousers are very faded and tatty, so as nothing else called buy me, I bought joggers, 3 long sleeve t's and a red belt. 

Then M&S, I again browsed the sale rails without any inspiration, and felt old, the average age of shoppers was about 20 years older than me. I do like M&S undies and sleep wear, but I'd had new stuff at Christmas and wasn't looking for more. I did try on 3 dresses, but they didn't fit, or look great, and I actually quite liked one of them, but the dart placement on the bodice was really odd. I didn't buy anything. 

The Girly had money to spend and as she didn't like anything in M&S, we headed to Primark. There are always lots of choices, piled high and sold cheap, but if I'm honest the style options are much more me than M&S! However I don't hold with the ethics of Cheap fashion so I bought nothing, but the girly bought two items a gold Lycra circle skirt and a pair of shorts. I did suggest that she could use some of her money to buy some fabric to make her own clothes, but high fashion wins out sometimes. 

After meeting up with the rest of the family we headed back to M&S and bought new towels (nice ones) to go in our bathroom, once it's been done!

It all goes to remind me why I sew.  I can make the style I want, the colour I like and make it fit. I'm not against RTW, but I'm becoming increasingly picky about where I'll buy from. On the positive side today, my replacement shoes came from Yoma. I had some for Christmas but they were the wrong size, Yoma's customer service was excellent and my new shoes are wonderful. If you haven't looked at Yoma shoes, get over there and take a peak.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

2013 Winners and Losers

I suppose it has to be done, it's good at the end of the year to look back on the successes and failures of the last 12 months and set new goals. I was surprised how much I actually completed this year, but also how few of my goals I achieved. I have felt swamped by work, especially in the latter months of the year and long for a greater sense of balance. How I achieve that I'm not quite sure!

As for creating, I've been quite prolific, but so busy I've not always blogged to the extent I'd like to. I think I've only had one major sewing fail. 
It was just too big and it swamped me, hence I haven't worn it more than about twice, it's in the refashioning pile!

Winners - surprisingly my tailored jacket. It's had quite a lot of wear, although I still haven't blogged about it, despite finishing it weeks ago. I will photograph/ blog about it soon!

Sorbettos. I discovered this pattern late on and have made 3 versions. They are staples in my wardrobe and I wear them all the time.

The Maudella dress, with alterations from zip to button front, I made two polka dot versions and a floral one with a gathered skirt. Haven't worn them much lately as they are definitely summer wear.

Gertie's book has yielded two successes, the pencil skirt and the bow blouse. I also made the Lucinda pencil skirt, by be my goth. It's a great pattern and I need to make another one. 

The jury is still out on the Anna dress, I made a winter wearable muslin, but want to make another version with some minor alterations, will have to see how that goes.

I also created a whole load of drawings and paintings while I recovered from my hip op and raised about £1500 towards my charity trip to China (just another £1500 to go before April).

So goals for the next year. 
1. Get some balance
2. Sew a corset
3. Make trousers
4. Go to China
5. Sell more of my art
6. Create my first pattern
7. Spend some time sorting out the house (my hubby has designated 2014 as the year of DIY)
8. Family holiday to France. 


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