Monday, June 10, 2013

Countryside? Fabric

I made a trip down to London and then thought the fateful words: maybe I'll just pop out to Walthamstow Market to see if there're any cool deals and/or blue flowery paisley suiting (don't ask).

Of course I ended up with over 30m of fabric and loads more of ribbon/trim, etc.

Among them was this mystery fabric.

It is exceptionally soft and burn tests show it has some organic fibres in it. And it's cute, it has horses, hares, and stags...and some random blotches of what-is-that. It's probably meant for small children with its...woodland? countryside? theme and the soft lilac background on which the purple animals repeat in a small scale random pattern. It frays easily, drapes lightly, and gives a little.

So! What to do?

First up was a box blouse. I made it for St. Patrick's Day to go with my green trousers.
All the hems and neckline are narrow rolled hems. I added little side slits to make the box blouse shape fit my figure without too much fabric overuse. Soft and comfortable.

The fabric got re-rolled and put back on the shelf. Until I had sewn two more knit triple skirts for my rapper team. And I thought to myself, I should definitely do a woven circle skirt!
 If I do say so, it looks good.
the Successes: I successfully installed my third zipper ever. That's piping going on below the waistband-my first successful piping attempt (I need smaller cord is what I learned). I got the buttonhole right the first time and that rolled hem worked a treat.

the failure (and some optimism): Of course, I should've thought to check my math. The problem with circle skirts is always the math. I forgot that my current working formula was for knit fabric which allows for a huge bias stretch. Yes, bias stretch this fabric completely lacks. Eurgh! This ended up 4 inches too narrow with the waistband being exactly my waist width. I had to add a panel on the side to make up the extra width. Not a problem for non sewers who all have told me it looks so lovely but an annoyance. Luckily the pattern is random so that's not an obvious flaw and the panel is exactly the width of my side. The skirt looks unseamed from the front and from the back and the panel hangs exactly the same way as the rest. So I've kept it.

some more failure: This last minute panel used up much of my last bits of fabric but I still had some largish pieces. So like with the zig zag fabric, I decided undies were the order of the day. So I tried out the Amerson undies. There's no photo because I ended up making a pair that was joined at the wrong point. *headdesk* Seems like many who got the first version of pattern did the same. Then I finally got them right and I tried them on to find out...they didn't fit me. The style didn't suit me either. But don't let me scare you off, it's a free pattern, forces you to learn some new techniques, and has other people who love them.
Mine ended up pulled apart and harvested for the elastic back.

A success: So now I had some former undie pieces and random rectangular pieces. The fabric frays too much and is surprisingly weak so it wouldn't work as handkerchiefs. But then I was reminded again about tea cup pin cushions.

I bought some epoxy glue and grabbed one of my mismatched and very very sturdy stoneware hunting tea cups. I packed in some strange scraps to fill up the cup. I topped it off with fiberfill and glued the woodland fabric as taut as possible to make the pin cushion. I then glued cup to saucer. And you know, I love it. No longer does my pin cushion roll away from me, M hasn't stepped on it driving pins into his foot, and it works as a pattern weight. I was worried it'd take up space on my cramped work desk but the saucer works a useful little catch plate for the little things (like earrings) that otherwise get lost. When I'm sewing, my embroidery scissors, seam unpick, and a hand needle usually end up hanging out on there too, in close reach. Invaluable addition to my sewing life!

Another success: With some of the last little pieces, I whipped up some hair bowties. Made in the same way as the zig zag ones except that this fabric frayed too much so I used some of the last bit of bias binding I used for the piping of the skirt. Two stashes whittled down? Oh yeah!

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