Of Clouds and Silver Linings

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In some ways this week has been a success, but in others an epic fail!

The not so great stuff:

Husband has been suffering a bit from depression due to lack of work, which affected me causing me to lose the plot at my place of employment on Wednesday.  Tears and sniffling in the middle of the office is not the normal me!  Husband is a plumber and heating engineer and the early part of every year is always slow work wise, not just for him but for the whole sector.  However he is not good at doing nothing and when given too much time to think he gets tunnel vision and starts to spiral and its very hard to pull him out of it.  I try and support him but its quite tough sometimes, particularly when I’m dealing with the effects of…

My medication being doubled.  Hello insomnia, nausea and generally feeling rubbish until I become accustomed to the higher dose!

Then to top it all I managed to infect my work laptop with such an evil virus (and I have no idea where it came from) that it had to be wiped and re-built.  So I didn’t manage to do anything productive until about 2pm yesterday.  I feel so guilty about it even though I can’t think where I’d been online that would have had such a nasty file.  Ack.

But on the flip side there’s the good stuff!

I’ve found a way to give Husband some control over the work situation.  One of which is to finally sort a website out for him so I’ve made an appointment to go and see a hosting and design company next week to see about getting a site made.  He’s also been contacted to do some short notice work and to quote for some jobs so I hope his mood is lifting…

Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods

Thursday night I went to the theatre to see the touring production of Legally Blonde: The Musical.  I enjoyed it, although for me the characters of Paulette and Kyle stole the show – probably because they provide the comedy and I was in need of some laughter!  The portrayal of Elle Woods was more annoying to me than Reese Witherspoon’s in the film although I warmed to it much more in the second half.  And no, I hadn’t been drinking!

I also wore a me made outfit – my Beignet and Sencha.  Both now need altering though as I’ve lost over 9lb since the start of the year.  The Sencha should be quite straight forward but the Beignet is going to take some thinking about and will probably involve removing the facing at the waistband and then nipping in at each seam…

And finally I finished two items this week!  My Taffy Jasmine and my Minoru!  I’m really pleased with both and will try and get some pictures to bore you all silly with next week if the sun ever appears today…

Colette Sewing Handbook Pattern: Meringue

So all I have to do now is decide what to make next…  I think a work appropriate Meringue is a strong contender as is a Renfrew.  If anyone has any tips for cleaning and caring for wool garments I’d love to hear them!

Wool Plaid from Annabelle

I also plan to get out my Renfrew pattern and do a FBA so that I can make one or two of those as well!  Would you like me to photograph the steps I’ve worked out for a dart less FBA on this top for a tutorial?  Lauren uses the technique of grading from one size to another, but as I start at the top end of the size chart that’s not an option for me.  Let me know in the comments…

PS – don’t forget to enter my give away here

Final Finished Object of 2011

And it needs ironing!

I actually finished this yesterday and wore it to a house party last night and have been wearing it again today.  Hence it needs a good iron!  I also need to apologise for the photography – done in the bomb site that is the office using the photo booth programme on the MAC.  I apologise that it’s a bit of a poor effort on the photography front.  I feel a little as if a bus has hit me, but I really wanted to share this final item from 2011 and say Hi before the year came to an end!

This is my finished Sencha and I have to say I rather love it and love wearing it.  A definite win.

Front View

I love the wider neckline as I don’t feel constricted in it at all, although I may make it a little less broad next time around.

Back View

I also really like the back.  I used 10 domed shanked buttons and paired them all the way down the back.  I also sewed a couple of snaps beneath the waist as I noticed that other bloggers didn’t like the way it gaped open – it makes for a much neater ‘un-tucked’ wear!

Button Detail
Snaps to hold beneath the waist closed

I didn’t fold the sleeves as far back as the pattern suggested, which covers a little more of my upper arms.

The only change I think I’d make to this is to size it down a bit as it is a little baggy in places.  There’s about 3″ of ease at the waist and some excess fabric in the chest area where about 2″ of length could be taken out.

Tuck to take out length above chest

As you can see, with the length across the chest taken out, it does look a bit better!  But I’ve still got a very comfortable, and wearable top.  So a definite win and one that I’ll be making again.  I didn’t even mind the hand sewing aspects – I actually quite enjoyed it!  Does this mean that I’m becoming a proper sewist/seamstress/person who sews?!

Oh, and I’ve also cut my hair off!

Note to Self: Desk Light = Harsh Lighting!

What ever you’re up to tonight, I hope you have a wonderful last few hours of 2011, and here’s to 2012!

Sencha Muslin / Toile

Huzzah!  I have muslined / toiled my Sencha.  I cut a 16 with an FBA.  I’ve also widened and lowered the neck line as the original felt like it was strangling me (a common issue, it seems).

Please forgive the tracky-dacks and the hideous fabric.  The fabric is old, I suspect late 80s early 90s poly cotton curtains from a caravan awning, or tent!  Least ways, something I’m more than happy to hack into!

So, is there anything glaring that I’ve missed?  It does up all the way along the back, no problem.  I think I’ll shorten how far into the sleeve I sew by 1/2″ as it feels a little restrictive around the arms if I stretch forwards.  I may also lengthen it a little, as I hadn’t turned under the hem at the bottom and I actually like this length and don’t think I’d want it any shorter…  Other than that I’m really happy as I did have some major doubts about how well this design would work for me!

So next question is, which fabric should I use?  Some cotton with cherry blossom dotted over it, another cotton with smaller cherry blossom attached to branches, the subtle fireworks or some gorgeous satin printed with butterflies (or they may be moths?)…

Which would you choose?

Sencha and Bust

I’m suffering from a lack of discipline in the sewing department at the moment.  I’m not starting a project and seeing it through before starting another one.  So as of this evening I have:

  • a mostly (apart from the hem, and a bit of stitching of the facing) finished Crescent skirt
  • a muslined but in need of some serious downsizing and flat pattern altering Beignet
  • and now a fully bust adjusted Sencha, in need of a muslin

See, can’t finish one project without starting another!

Well, casting a veil over my lack of focus, this evening my project was altering the flat pattern of the Sencha top by Colette patterns.  I’m probably looking in the wrong place but I couldn’t find very much in interweb land about doing a FBA on this pattern, but here’s the only one I found:

The Naked Seamstress’ post.

And what I did was different!  Because I’m like that.  And because I read the section in Fit for Real People about a billion times before doing this and trusted that their technique was the right thing to do!

Slashed, spread and pinned

So here’s my slashed, spread and pinned traced pattern piece (I get the heebie-jeebies just thinking about doing this to an original pattern!).  I traced a 16 going by my high bust measurement of 43″ (the 16 is for a 44″ bust).  My full bust measurement is 47.5″ so I need another 3.5″ of room in that department.

I followed the Y Full Bust Adjustment in Fit for Real People which is recommended where you need to add more than 1.5″ (I needed to add 1.75″).  I also followed the instructions for a dart less, cut on sleeve bodice:

First off was removing the sleeve.  There’s a tiny green mark where the bottom of the sleeve meets the bodice.  I also had to make a note which was the top of the sleeve, not in the instructions, but good to know later!

Slashed, spread and pinned - is this any clearer?

I also needed to work out where my apex was and draw a line from that to somewhere along the side seam.  I chose about an inch below where the sleeve joins the bodice – no particular reason, it just seemed right.  When I make the muslin I’ll find out whether that was the right thing to do (I may want a steeper angle to my dart, or need to move it so that it points to my apex properly).

Now that I had a dart line I could follow the instructions for the Y adjustment.

I drew and cut a line (1) from the hem up to the apex and then continued that line at an angle to the centre of the shoulder, stopping at the seam line. I spread this apart 7/8″ between the centre front and the apex and pinned it into place.

I drew and cut a second line from the apex to halfway(ish) down where the sleeve was (1a).  This was all the way to that edge but leaving a tiny bit of paper for a pivot point. I spread this apart 7/8″ from it’s starting point and then pinned so it couldn’t move either.  I’ve now got 1.75″ extra room at the bust.

I cut from the side seam almost to the apex along the dart line I drew earlier, again leaving a tiny bit of paper to pivot (2). I then moved the side that’s closest to the side seam so that each side of line (1) was parallel.  More pins.

I drew a final line parallel to the waist line, above the tuck marks, from centre to the gap created by (1).  I then moved this part down so that the cut edges remained parallel and the bottom hem was smooth.

Next I filled all the gaps in with paper, trued the lines and created the dart ‘wings’.

Altered Sencha pattern view 1

I also taped the sleeve back on, truing as necessary.  I hope the photo above shows you what has been added!  So I’ve got another 1.75″ each side at the bust (3.5″ total), plus another 3.5″ total at the waist.  This will fit, but with only 1″ ease at the waist, so I may add a little at the side seams, pivoting out from the armpit.  But I’ll muslin it first with generous side seams and go from there…

Apologies for the lighting - inside and at night does not make for bright photos!

The other thing to consider is the neck line.  A lot of people have commented that it’s very high and can feel choking.  I’ll leave it as is for the muslin and if I’m not a fan I can then mark out where I want it to be with tape and transfer that back to the pattern front and facings.

Assuming I don’t get distracted again?!  I really should make a list of projects and fabric and put it somewhere I’ll keep seeing it – my sewing room door maybe…