Thursday, August 20, 2015

Tutorial photos v Reality photos

I'm not sure which of these images to show first.
I wanted to make my own "stretch fabrics gauge" from cardboard.
One of the photos is taken when I got the thought "I should document making this".
While I was making it, I had fifteen pens, a few rulers, two cutting mats, blade, spare blades, green pouch to store blades, instructions for how to draw the gauge, red cardboard, red cardboard remnants and probably a cup of coffee strewn all over my desk (only some of which is captured in the picture).

The second photograph is taken after I realised "I didn't use a lot of the equipment that is strewn all over my desk" and tidied up the desk and put things away.

So which is the more useful image to demonstrate how I went about making this for myself?
Often when I follow a tutorial, it recommends "2B pencil, L-Square, Clear-Grided-Ruler..." - I don't have these items! Or I do and I can't find them, so I pull out what's to hand and instead of having a tidy list of 4 items, I have a mishmash of items that I'm making do with.
It can get very disheartening for a learner to see an online video or a blog tutorial with really tidy photos and neat point-by-point directions, no hiccups, no lines that don't align and all equipment spick-and-span, unbroken and exactly what is required for the job.
Have you ever seen a pencil sharpener in an online tutorial?!
(Have you ever rummaged to look for a pencil sharpener *during* a tutorial?!)
On the other hand, the tutor has to consider the most effective way to instruct the reader/viewer. And clutter wouldn't be helpful. But I think it is fascinating to see the contrast and to see how marketing and "the perfect image" can block us and be an obstacle to following our own haphazard make-do creativity.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Online course for Stretch Fabric Pattern Drafting

Last week, I signed up for an online course with BurdaStyle Academy: Pattern Drafting and Designing for Stretch Fabrics.
I've made myself two dresses which i *adore* and wear a lot. I can't find any pics of them on this blog so I may never have blogged about them. I wear them all the time, the minute they are out of the wash, I am wearing them again. Basically just a "long-sleeve, high-round-neck top, past-the-knee skirt"-dress. Very suitable for the Irish climate. No pullovers required, no mixing matching of different items. One garment and I'm dressed.
This is the pattern I used for the dresses:
I didn't do the funny split at the elbow, and I lengthened it a bit. But I've since sold the pattern.
I've bought more fabric to make another dress. But have been humming and hawing over blocks I have from a year or two ago, not sure if they'll fit, checking the measurements etc. So to give me a little push, I decided to take this online course.
I'm very happy with it for no other reason than it shows that I should be more confident about my pattern-drafting, there's not that much to it and I am totally able for it. So watch this space... pics of stretch-fabric garments ahoy.
But first... an audit of the stretch fabrics I have in my stash.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

What a difference a pattern makes

I've moved house. Here's a pic of the window in the bathroom:
 It needs a blind. So I got a blind... plain white:
And then I added some fabric to it. I was pleasantly surprised by really how much of a difference the pattern makes:
From Ikea! The fabric and the blind itself.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

"Meditate where you're at" cushion

I intend to meditate more often. So why don't I? I'm not a lazy person and I'm good at keeping my word - so usually when things aren't happening there's an explanation for it. And if I really truly intend or want to do the thing... then I should search for the reason that it's not happening.
I got a meditation chair, thinking that would entice me
 ... but I'm still not meditating. And I think it's because:
  • it takes up a lot of space > so there aren't many options about where it can be
  • the chair is a permanent fixture > I can't move it from place to place depending on where the sun shines or if one of the rooms in my place is occupied
For a while, I thought I wasn't using it because it had no cushions, but I made cushions so I had overcome that obstacle!
I'm staying away from home, alone on a semi "retreat"right now (which is why I'm thinking about meditating!) and I started scribbling and designing an idea for a "Meditate where you're at" cushion - because really all meditating requires is sitting on your bum on the floor and concentrating. I'm a big believer in posture; striking a pose has a huge effect so sitting on the couch wasn't working for me, I need to be crosslegged. The tiled floor is cold here and the cushions were too small... hence the requirement to design something.
I'm thinking it can fold.
The black line indicates a zip. And it's got a handle on it, not sure where yet
There's loads more work to be done! I'm writing about it here so I can throw out the scribbly bits of paper that I've been designing on!
For the filling, I researched some Ikea baby foam mattresses, Vyssa Slappna:
160x70x7 €30
120x60x5 €20
When I go home, I will ask someone to sit on some paper or fabric on the floor and draw around them to get the shape and dimensions.
Regarding the shape, I'm not fully decided on it yet, not entirely sure that I like the heart shape above. I had dismissed this shape, however, and focussed on progressing with the other, the folding etc is working out with the heart shape.
This is what happens with design - an idea must get discarded, sometimes for no valid reason other than a whim - but I suppose that's what designers are for, trusting their whims and following them!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Baby bibs

Today I was mostly... finishing sewing baby bibs
11 bibs made and no two the same
Thanks to for the pattern


The Eleven Bibs - back and front

A tie shape appliqué for a little man.

Plain and simple. Bright orange! With tie fastener.

A simple dickie bow for a boy. And matching blue on the reverse.

It's harder to find ideas for girls! I appliquéd one of the circular shapes from the oilcloth pattern on to the orange fabric.

This one features an appliqué boat on one side, and blue watery colour fabric at the rear.

Same as the first one - tie with blue on reverse.

Black and white fabric with orange on reverse (using up fabric scraps from my stash!)

Blue/orange combo

Orange/ B&W combo:

A lovely oilcloth pattern with orange on reverse:

(I think there's only ten there!) They will be gifts for friends and family.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Onion Bag

I bought a bag for storing onions. Like this one:
And it's been a really useful, tidy, functional addition to my kitchen.
When Derrybeg Farm needed to make up a hamper of goods to promote Community Supported Agriculture, I thought to contribute an onion bag. I had bought just the fabric for the job!
Bought on sale from The Eternal Maker: Abstract Onions by Kobayashi
It's a simple drawstring bag pattern. I think I used shoelaces for the drawstrings.
The shape/size/dimensions of my bag were influenced by the scrap of fabric which I had.
The professional bag which was my inspiration does have a zip in the size for easy access of onions if the bag is hanging, I didn't trouble myself with this. I wonder if the winner of the hamper minds! And if the bag gets used!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Minoru jacket

This jacket was sewn over a year ago by me. I really liked the pattern and absolutely recommend it.
 It was surprisingly easy to sew a jacket.
 The fabric is maybe a light denim. Bought in Wexford at Colman Doyle's shop. It's interesting because it's got these lines through it, ready-sewn grooves in the fabric.
I remember the zip purchasing being a bit of a challenge- it's open ended.
 For the lining, I used a red satiny lining fabric for collar and sleeves and a floral cotton fabric (used to be a curtain) for the main body - I mustn't have had enough of either fabric so I mixed and matched! Actually it works really well, because the silkiness feels nice at my neck but there's more warmth in the body.
 There's an elastic casing at the back which was easy to make and makes the fit of the coat really work for me.
5 stars to Tasia at Sewaholic - whose website and pattern collection has come on sooo much since I last checked it out. Great work! I think she started out as an independent pattern drafter in Canada only a few short years ago.