Quick update after Uni

So, I’ve finished uni now (I get my grades next week). I’ve also moved to another house share. I still work at Levi’s and will do for the foreseeable. But now I need a new goal. And I have one: my own home.

Now, I want to be free, so it will hopefully by either a Tiny House (if I can sort out the land and plumbing situation) or a houseboat. And the first hurdle to overcome is money. I need to earn more and/or spend less. Spending less is virtually impossible, but I’m looking into ways of doing it.

Spending less is one long-term benefit of my latest obsession: being (nearly) zero-waste. I want to grow my own food too. I’ve started making my own underwear (after about 10 years, the old stuff finally wore through). But I’ll go into my new “Elven” ways (rather than “hippy” ways) in more detail in future posts.

This blog can no longer be a Student blog, so I’m rebranding it with the interest of Sustainability and Ethical Living, and Hygge and all that good stuff. I don’t know what it will look like yet, but it will unfold 🙂 Fear not, sewing WILL be involved. I think sustainability will be such a part of me that it will have to channel through my career, however that pans out. I feel like the picture is just becoming clearer and in more colour now. I can’t see it properly yet, but it’s slowly getting there 🙂

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Jeans

There are three jeans-type garments in #TheShire: The Golden jeans, the “skinnies,” and the shorts.

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That’s quite a bit of embroidery. 🙂 These jeans have a button fly, which I had to relearn because it’s such a long time since I’d done one.

The waist somehow ended up rather larger than I expected, even after toiling, so now it’s a paperbag waist. Well, they are inspired by Levi’s 501S anyway, which have a square-cut hip. 🙂

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This fabric is quite thin and stretchy (though still not stretchy enough to be proper skinnies), so embroidery wouldn’t be advisable. Apart from that I was running out of time. So used lace overlays on the pockets instead.

You may have noticed the pockets: they’re shaped like shields, which I thought fitted because it’s heraldic. 🙂

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The lace bits at the hem are not symmetrical. They were cut the same, but I should have used more notches. One of the back pockets is floral embossed leather, and the other has gold and silver embroidery in the style of Tolkein’s illustrated trees.

These and the skinnies have a zip fly, which still took a bit of reworking out. I still have to perfect the specs to make it look exactly like RTW.

 

The Viking Dress

Some years ago now, I came across an article in Threads Magazine about Zero-Waste patterns. There was a Viking dress in there, and it kind of stuck with me. As Tolkien was largely inspired by Scandinavian culture/myths and legends, and would likely have been a proponent of sustainability, I thought I’d have a go at using this concept.

The initial design is very different to the final one.

Initial Design

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It looks wildly different on different sizes. This is actually a couple of sizes too big for me. It looks miles better with a belt. 🙂 The sleeves were too narrow for anyone bigger.

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Trying it on the right size mannequin. With potential embellishment. I like it better on me. Moving on…

The Final Dress

Completely different silhouette. And I love it! 😀 Note the dart in the back hem that just curves the silhouette. 🙂

I tried it on one of my taller friends and we established that for a model to wear it, it would have to be longer. So I added a few inches. Also enlarged the neckline.

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It’s a versatile pattern because you can remove the sleeves and wear it as a pinafore or a sleeveless, so it’s a good transitional piece, or you can switch up the sleeve and pleat fabric. I’d like to make it in a lighter colour. I have some grey jersey, but that might be a bit sweatshirtish, in a bad way. :/

Also, pockets are essential. 🙂

Weskit Pinafore

This dress is somewhat less modern than the other pieces, and slightly ’70s. I wanted to show that I can actually cut garments to fit the figure, not just drape over it.

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The first go was a funny fit. Somehow I lost about 4cm on the chest and it only just closed. I also needed to enlarge the armholes.

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Take 2 was much better. I also flared the skirt and embroidered on of the waist panels. Note the mis-matched buttons. I kept that. 🙂

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The embroidery looks somewhat Scandinavian, which is good because Scandinavia was part of the inspiration for #TheShire. It’s not perfectly symmetrical, but Tolkein’s illustrations were very clearly hand-done, which is part of their charm. 🙂

The dress is made from stretch-needlecord and has a bagged lining done entirely by machine! I’m so pleased with myself for figuring out how to do it! 😀

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I can pass this off as not being too big on me, partly because it’s a fitted style, and partly because the fabric is stiff so kind of holds itself up.

 

Leather Dungaree Dress

You can’t have missed the dungaree trend lately. Well, I’m not fond of having to get undressed every time nature calls, so I’ve done a dungaree dress. In leather.

I wanted to have leather in #TheShire from the beginning. I’m sure a lot of hobbits’ things would have been leather, and more likely pigskin because cows are bigger than pigs. This dress is pigskin, and the hides are from GH Leathers so it’s from the meat industry.

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I had to reverse engineer the dungaree button flies at work. And please forgive my imperfect stitching. It was nearing hand-in day and I was NOT going to go full-on perfectionist. Plus, this is real leather, so you can’t unpick.

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The parts of the dress are in slightly different colours, which happens, evidently, when you use a few hides.

 

The Three Tees

By coincidence there are three tees in #TheShire (like three rings). There are two circle tops too, but I’ll cover them separately because they’re so different.

The first one has a kimono sleeve at the front, but Dolman sleeve at the back (so that I could get the lace to look as I wanted). I blogged about the toile of this top here, so check that out for details!

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The second tee is a bit more normal. The key things here are the embroidery and the lace sections. The embroidery (free-motion) says “The Shire” in Dwarven runes. 🙂 The jersey is sort of like a Broiderie Anglaise kind of jersey. It’s covered in tiny flower-shaped hole patterns.

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The third tee is intentionally devoid of embellishment because it was always intended to go under a dress. But I wanted to give it the versatility to be worn over jeans too, so I gave it the lace asymmetric hem section. It’s a bit big on me, but only by a size or two.

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And yes, I will be wearing any of my collection that I can when I get them back. 🙂

Circles

For the same reasons that the Hoodie is round, these tops are too. That doesn’t meant they all look the same. Every single circle garment I’ve made looks totally different to the others, even though the draft is pretty much the same shape. Fabric and size make a huge difference. Viz.

Toiles

I made a calico toile first. Not the best choice given the final garments are in jersey, but at least we knew it fitted on a person, and looked pretty cool too, if I do say so myself.

This is a page from my first Shire sketchbook. I drew over the others too, I think.

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Trying it with and without sleeves, with different armholes, with possible style lines.

One thing I like about a lot of the garments in The Shire is that they’re unusual, but simple enough to offer a lot of design variations that are really wearable.

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I forgot the dimensions of the first toile when I was cutting the second one, so I guesstimated and missed about 4″ off the radius, which is fine because now it’s a proper top-length.

When I was doing this I leaned how to band jersey. It’s so quick and easy to make t-shirts! So satisfying to just whip something up!

Final Garments

There are two circle tops. One turned out a bit big, so it can be worn as a remarkably comfy dress too.

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Yes, the hem is dipped. 🙂

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Looks better tucked in. 🙂

Also: lesson learned: test ribbing ratios on EVERY INDIVIDUAL jersey you use. Even if they look similar, they probably aren’t. -_-

Skinny Jeans Toile 1

Well, yesterday was horribly stressful (so much so that I was too tired to go to the Tolkien Society at UOY), but today was very good, so “swings and roundabouts” I suppose. 🙂

I toiled the “skinny” jeans for The Shire, but I hadn’t thoroughly checked the pattern before printing it, so it was a bit of a disaster (although it sewed what was possibly the neatest fly front zip I’ve ever sewn!).

These are the pages from my sketchbook:

The Shire Skinny Jeans Lay plan

These jeans are going to be made from stretch denim, with stretch needle cord knees (if I have enough fabric, otherwise, it may be the other way around).

The Shire: Tee 1 Toile

Following on from the Viking Dress toile, I made some changes to the pattern and commenced toile 4 (of the collection):

  • widened sleeves a bit (though evidently not enough)
  • took it in at the body
  • shortened to make it tee-length
  • added lace inserts

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Looking at my illustrations, I can see that I forgot to add the asymmetrical hem. -_- Never mind; I needed practice with the coverstitch machine anyway (still do).

Also, I accidentally made it a size too small. This is because the size chart in Metric Pattern Cutting (which I Googled for quickness) does not agree with the dress forms at college. A size 10 dress form fits size 12 in the book, so when I made a size 10 according to the book, it was a size 8 according to the dress forms. Confusing? It can be. -_- So now it’s a nice fit on me, and a close fit on the dress form.

 Details

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Lace Inserts
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Free-motion lace and cutwork (like the cobwebs of Mirkwood)

Seeing this now, I notice I forgot the top inner bar of the Celtic Knot. It could be neater and I regret marking the circle with a Sharpie (lol),  but everyone seems to be impressed with it (and I’m my own worst critic).

Neck facing
Neck facing

I was looking at my store-bought t-shirts (I acquire them via uniforms) and the back necklines are faced or bound (not sure what to call it) to cover up the overlocking. I’m trying to figure out the best way to do this. So far, I cut a shape like this, press up 0.5cm on the lower edge and short ends, sew it on after the ribbing, and then edgestitch it down. It’s not perfect, but I’m getting there.

Lay plan

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This was my first lay plan (not exactly zero-waste, but I cut the fabric too short, and this is a work in progress. I’m sure there’s a better way.

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Realised I could cut the ribbing on the fold, so I could rearrange things to waste less fabric. I’m beginning to think kimono sleeves are not very economical.

The Whole Tee

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The neckline ribbing actually sits nice and flat when I don’t have my shoulders raised. 🙂

The Shire tee 1 Back view

(The colours in the first photo are truer to life). I like it. But, of course…

Changes to make

  • lower sleeves underseam by about 2-3cm
  • make the correct size
  • widen shoulder lace by 1-2cm
  • widen front lace to match shoulder lace
  • move back sleeve seam closer to CB
  • make asymmetrical hem

I’ll make these changes and toile again. The next top is slightly different. The lace is differently placed and there is different embroidery. It will have the wrong hem on the toile, but the actual one for the next tee is very simple so I don’t need to practise it. 🙂

I’m quite pleased with myself. I’d never made a t-shirt till this term, and almost never used an overlocker, but I think the quality on this is pretty good!

This is how the new pattern is looking so far:

The Shire tee 1 pattern

 

I have a to-do list that is a spreadsheet. I might miss college. :/

I love free-motion work!

As part of my most recent module at college, I started doing more free-motion work. I’d done some before, without a free-motion foot, but not very much. I think I decided to do it more here because the concept seemed to suggest embroidery and I was NOT going to do it by hand (too time-consuming for college). So I got a Bernina foot #24 and watched some videos on YouTube.

I found out that not only can you do absolutely beautiful embroidery by free-motion, but you can make lace! It took a few goes to get anything really good, but I soon picked it up.

Free-motion lace
Free-motion lace
Free-motion embroidered Celtic Knot design

Helpful sources on YouTube include:

 

 

There were some others too, but I can’t find them anymore.

There is also this fascinating ebook I found (please note I do not have the rights to this ebook, but I don’t know where I found it).

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There are more of my samples on the Pinterest board for this module. Free-motion is my new favourite thing! 😀