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.

 

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. -_-

The Hoodie

This is the key piece of the collection #TheShire. It is, in essence, a huge circle with sleeves and a hood.

Inspiration

The One Ring, “There and Back Again”, “A perfectly round door, like a porthole,”… Tolkein’s works, and especially The Hobbit and LOTR are absolutely stuffed with circularity. It’s only fitting that a huge part of #TheShire is circles.

The draft for this hoodie was pretty simple (except for the hood, which has 5 pieces plus lining and facing). It’s just a huge circle with sleeves (flat-cut so no bother with easing), a whole for your legs, and a hood. Well, apart from the piecing. It’s a Celtic Knot (I’m part Irish so I wanted to put some of that in).

This is a page from my second sketchbook. The toile had “a few” changes to be made.

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(Also, I got a Wacom Intuos Art and I’ve started illustrating on Photoshop).

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Getting a model to fit the clothes was a huge bother, so I modelled some myself and got a mannequin to for the ones that are too big for me. 🙂

The fabrics are a paisley embossed scuba, a gold velvet, and a golden-khaki lining fabric. The zip pull is The One Ring on a piece of leather!

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So that is the Hoodie 🙂

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:

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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).

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.

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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! 😀

 

How to Measure Yourself (or anyone else) for a Skirt Block

This is a throwback to a post I did a while ago on how to draft a skirt pattern. A reader messaged me and asked for a post on how to properly measure oneself, so I said I would do one. And here it is 🙂

The first thing to do is to tie some tape round your waist and your hips to keep a level. This is easier if you have a full-length mirror, which I currently do not. -_-

To get your front and back waist measurements place the end of the tape where you feel the side-most point of your waist it (this is all a matter of what feels right), wrap the tape around your waist and use your thumb nail to mark the other side-most point. Hold that and the waist measurement point (good thing you have two hands) and make a note of them.

Do the same for your hips. Be a little slack on the front of your hips if you like, especially if like so many of us, you have a bit of a tummy. 🙂

And do the same for your high hip measurement. This is along your pelvis bone line. On me that’s 8cm down from my waist at the CF. I know the measuring tape drooped a bit in the photo.

You will use this measurement to check that the darts aren’t too hollow and the side seams aren’t too curved when you shape them. I once scooped my back darts too much and now I have a high-waist skirt. 🙂

Measure from the waistline to the hipline front and back.

This is why a mirror helps: my hip tape dropped a bit at the back in the photo. 🙂

To make this easier/quicker, I’ve added an Excel file for you to download. It makes it quicker to get your dart measurements and so on ready for drafting your skirt pattern. Click here to access the file. 🙂

And here’s the link to the original tutorial: How to Draft a Custom-fit A-line Skirt Pattern.

Be sure to upload any makes to the Student Designer Facebook page!

Sabrina

Summertime Shorts

We’ve been having a heatwave here in Britain, and I needed some more shorts. I had what I thought was a pretty good pattern, but measuring the waistline I wonder how on Earth I ever managed to zip my un-stretched shorts up! I must have made some colossal mistakes when measuring or something because I’ve had to increase the waist measurement considerably (and, no, I haven’t got that much bigger — as if I could gain weight!).

The inspiration for these shorts is a blend of Audrey Hepburn’s shorts in Sabrina, and some shorts I have already designed and made. They are quite short, but not hot pants, and I’ve flared the legs a bit since toiling so they will hopefully be a bit more elegant.

Toiling

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The initial fit (after adjusting the waist measurement on Illustrator) was pretty good. The waistband pokes out a bit at the front, but I think that’s due to the fairly straight waistline on the front pieces. I’ve corrected that since. The waistline fits actually on my waistline all the way around. They’re comfortable.

I did have a 1cm discrepancy on the inseam — the back needed lengthening there, but now it matches the front. I think that may account for the funny fit on the toile.

I’ve since flared the back leg pieces so they don’t cup the cheeks so. I was working off a photo of Audrey Hepburn:

Audrey Hepburn filming for the film ‘Sabrina’

There seemed to be some variable camel toe on the front. It wasn’t major and I wasn’t sure what to do about it, so I’ve left it for now. We’ll see if it disappears when I use proper fabric. 🙂

 

Making

Summertime shorts, making

Now, partly in an effort not to use the iron (I don’t want to use too much electricity) and partly because I don’t know where my interfacing is, I have not fused the waistband on these shorts. Instead I am using my favourite notion: cotton tape. I stitched to the waistband on one seam-line before I did anything else, and I will stitch it along the fold-line next. On this line of stitching, I will ease it in by 0.5cm to give the fit of a contoured waistband, without the bother of actually drafting and cutting one (save fabric). This is kind of an experiment and we’ll see by the end of this post how it goes.

I am using an invisible zip because they are the easiest to sew, and you only need a 1cm seam allowance, so they’re the easiest and most economical to cut as well.

I have lined the back pockets too. I liked in inside, so I’ve left one the WS out, which you’ll see at the end. 🙂

(Bother! I just remembered that I forgot to use cotton tape on the hip pockets; they seem to be okay…)

Fabrics

Both of the fabrics for these shorts came from a previous college project (which was heavily inspired by Colette Sewing Patterns). One is a stretch jade denim, and the pocket linings are Liberty, both from eBay.

I was going to use the WS of this denim, but I kind of like the RS too. We’ll see if I make another pair from it, or if I use to for something else. 🙂

I’m a teensy bit out of practice with stretch fabrics, so the back pockets were minutely distorted, but I think I soon got the hang of it again. 🙂

 

The finished shorts

Annoyingly, my sewing machine pedal stopped working, so I had to sew using the start/stop button, which makes it harder. Anyway, I finished the shorts last night. I hand-stitched the waistband down inside, after bagging it out at the ends.

I hemmed the shorts by hand, and then found that I had to TS the edge down by machine anyway. I should have increased the hem allowance because, for some reason, I only used a 1cm hem allowance. I need about an inch. I could have used a bias facing, but I don’t know how much binding I have left…

Click on the images below for more details. 🙂

(Just trying out the gallery thing on WordPress — every one of those cuts my head off! lol)

All in all, I LOVE these shorts! They’re so comfy! They fit just right too.

 

Sabrina