Monday, 29 October 2012

Oppan Burdastyle!

Yes, it's a truly terrible post title but I couldn't resist :) I haven't made much progress on my green skirt since I've sadly got plenty of more important things to get on with. I have cut out everything that isn't my fashion fabric - waistband & pocket facing and interfacing - I just need to clear a bigger flat surface to cut into the green.
 Anyway, I thought I'd share a great charity shop purchase from last month:

Burdastyle 11/2010 and 4/2011

Two completely untouched issues of Burdastyle for 20p each! I also picked out a long purple zip for another 20p.
I know I'm a long way off managing most of the nicer clothes featured in these but I can dream, right? Most of the simpler items are a bit hideous (like that purple shiny monster above) but one of them has a pretty simple looking pencil skirt pattern. The other has one with enormous folds sticking out of the front. I wish I'd taken a photo of that now, it looks pretty strange.

Simple-ish pencil skirt?
The blazers/jackets are a bit daunting but there are some in both issues which look like they're decent shapes, something to work towards perhaps? I'd like a navy jersey blazer one day, something that looks like Kelli of True Bias's chambray one.

Nice blazers, but what's that monstrosity on the right?!

Self-flagellation with flowers?
I'm undecided on this dress - it could be really nice or it could be one of those things that'll only look good on model-shaped people. The sleeves could definitely do with toning down.
My favourite bit of either is the 11/2010 "Romantic Windswept Isle" which reminds me of the Suffolk marshes and makes me think a bit of Roobedoo's wuthering Scottish surroundings, although it's probably nothing like!
Woollen wanderings
 Images in this post were all taken by me but the magazine images are property of Burda.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Snoods, Strawberries & Skirts

Big softie by name, big softie by nature
I've been crocheting a Christmas present for my younger sister K - it's snood.
Since she asked for a snood instead of a blanket (like I've made for other people) I thought I'd go to town with the yarn.
Sirdar Big Softie is sort of thing you see snoods made out of in shops. It's very soft (51% wool, 49% acrylic) and, as it says, super chunky. I ordered my yarn from Derramores in the end as they had 20% off and carry the full range of colours. Annoyingly this colour, 324 - Fripp, turned out to be much pinker than it looked online. I'd been aiming for purple & should have picked 323 - Damson. However my other sister & I agreed that this colour will look really nice on K so on I went.
I improvised the design and it seems to be going ok thus far. It's a big loop formed by joining the ends of the foundation chain into a sort of giant magic ring. Mindful of a previous loopy crochet attempt that had been horribly twisted, I carefully flattened out the chain before joining it. It didn't work. The snood is a mobius loop. Oops.

15mm crochet hook hehe
I don't feel totally at home working with this sort of yarn instead of my usual 100% acrylic bargain basement DK. I feel a bit like I might ruin it with dirty/sweaty hands or if I have to rip back any stitches. I also don't know if loose stitches will be obvious, my tension isn't really consistent and I have a feeling that big yarn and big stitches won't give me anywhere to hide... Hmm.

Rag market strawberries
In other news the next thing in my sewing queue is probably a proper Sorbetto made of this strawberry fabric from the rag market in Birmingham. I'm still undecided on whether to use plain white bias binding, red with white polka dots, or attempt to make my own out of leftover fabric. I think perhaps I'll cut out my pieces and see how much fabric I have left!

Simplicity 2451, green cotton sheeting and a matching zip!
I'm quite excited to have a go at making Simplicity 2451. I've seen loads of great versions around, especially by So Zo, House of Pinheiro, and  Bernie & I.
Cotton sheeting probably isn't the right thing to be making it from but this will do as a muslin. I've got very little chance of getting everything right first time, especially as I've not inserted a zip or interfaced anything before.

This looks like the stuff, no?
Speaking of interfacing, my mum said I could use some of her stash before she went away. The only problem has been finding & identifying it! I think I've got the right stuff here, guidance would be much appreciated.
Does the "light" in the name have any significance? Will it affect the floppitude of my waistband much? I'm guessing the side with the dots & shiny is the gluey side...

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Cornwall With Sporti - Part 2

Clockwise from top left:
The beach at Durgan on the Helford River, below Glendurgan
A view of the Carrick Roads from near Mylor Bridge
Porthleven harbour (& storm clouds)
The daymarker at Gribbin Head

These were all taken with my Ilford Sporti 6 camera using Rollei RPX 100 film. This is medium format (120) roll film and with this camera you get 12 frames on a film.
You can click on the photos to see them bigger on Flickr.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Cornwall With Sporti - Part 1

Tree Ferns St Mawes Lanhydrock Tiger Lilies 

Clockwise from top left:
Tree ferns at Trelissick
View towards St Mawes from St Anthony Head
Tigerlilies at Lanhydrock
Formal garden & church at Lanhydrock

These were all taken with my Ilford Sporti 6 camera using Rollei RPX 100 film. This is medium format (120) roll film and with this camera you get 12 frames on a film.
You can click on the photos to see them bigger on Flickr.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

25 Before 23 - Books & Films

books standing on a mantlepiece
The rather small and non-fiction-biased selection of books I had with me in Bristol
I have, probably because I've been mostly unoccupied for almost a month, managed to reach and pass the targets of reading 3 books and watching 3 films that I set for myself at the start of August. I'm rather reassured that, despite only having read one or two books in the past three years, I haven't lost my ability to read (and read fast).
Here's a little summary of what I've read & watched.

I'm a pretty fast reader, when given the time, and I managed to finish all the books in around a day each, apart from Fear & Loathing.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
I enjoyed this book, the style is easy to read and the narrator pretty agreeably bland - enough character and impact to be more than a shell, little enough to provide a platform for the real story without interrupting. I found the ending to be sad (without caring too much for the characters) and the outlook of the book is pretty bleak, but it was certainly an interesting read. I've already read Bernice Bobs Her Hair (and other short stories) and I intend to read more and see the Gatsby film when it comes out.

The Restaurant At The End Of The UniverseLife, The Universe And Everything, So Long And Thanks For All The Fish & Mostly Harmless  all by Douglas Adams
Having known and liked The Hitchhikers' Guide To The Galaxy for a long time I thought it'd make sense to read the rest of the "trilogy". For some reason my family had the 2nd and 4th books but not the 3rd or 5th but they were duely acquired. I read these pretty avidly and found I was anxious to get to the next book at the end of each, although after a while I did begin to feel that there was actually scope for the"trilogy" to continue indefinitely with the universe's probability axis being a rather cheaty plot device. Accordingly I felt that the ending of Mostly Harmless was a bit unsatisfying. I wanted to learn more about the newly introduced characters and concepts, bring back the significant lost one (trying to avoid spoilers) and generally have more story!

The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger
I read this because it's a classic. I wasn't particularly taken by it, maybe I didn't quite believe in Holden Caulfield - I certainly didn't understand him - but I'm fairly sure he's not really meant to be understood. The story didn't grip me and I wasn't really bothered about what might happen to him next. My Mum said that when it came out it stood out because of the style it was written in - the first person narrative and the thoughts and feelings. I can see how it differs from older books but having grown up with books in similar forms it doesn't have the same impact as it must have when newly published.

 Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
I don't have much patience with wild crazy drug-fuelled antics and unfortunately there's not much else going on in this book. My main thoughts were along the lines of "What are you doing? Just stop it". Not liking the book probably contributed to me taking a reading hiatus in the middle of it, a good week or two went by with me feeling no inclination to continue. However I don't like leaving books unfinished or reading more than one at once so I finished it.
Earlier this year the boy and I saw the film of The Rum Diary, also written by Hunter S. Thompson, and I enjoyed it. Perhaps it was because the pointless debauchery wasn't so obvious, but I still didn't muster much respect for the main character. I'd probably watch more films based on his books but I don't think I'd bother reading them.

Dry (a memoir) by Augusten Burroughs
This was a recommendation from my sister and I read it quickly. I was slightly appalled by the terrible life he had growing up but the book didn't dwell on it so it was nowhere near as harrowing as it could have been. I don't know if Running With Scissors is harrowing but I might be inclined to read it and see if his style makes things seem less horrendous like in Dry.
His account of rehab, attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and counselling was fascinating. Having been to counselling myself (not for any addiction) I could imagine the experience and relate to the idea of exploring and working on mental health. I found the whole thing easy to read and definitely worth it, recommended.

I don't often feel like watching a film, partly because it feels like a commitment to wasting a big chunk of time and probably partly because I just don't like being scared or disturbed. Trying to hide from things like that is probably not the best idea so I've been trying to just suck it up and watch things. I still won't willingly go to horror films though, not unless they're very good and I have the boy's shoulder to hide in.

The Big Lebowski
I was left non-plussed by this. I didn't particularly feel for "The Dude" (another case of "What are you doing?"). There was a lot of weirdness but it didn't quite connect up into something that I found particularly entertaining - I could take it or leave it.

Role Models
Easy to watch & entertaining. Enough complexity to give a decent run-around before the inevitable schmaltz.

This Is Spinal Tap
Definitely amusing and far too believable. I was already familiar with the idea and the "turn it up to eleven" joke, plus I was watching it at home on TV with my family around so it wasn't ay kind of affecting cinematic experience.

The boy's flatmate came with a good DVD collection and we've watched a few now. I was in a strange sort of mood when we decided to stop playing Carcassonne and watch a film instead. I was vaguely aware of the film and of Mods and Rockers (my friend and hopeful future flatmate (HFF) is keen on Mods and owns a parka) so it was good to actually watch it. I hadn't realised it was made by The Who until the opening credits, and from then on I was rather conscious of the music. Some of it seemed a bit clumsy - I'm not sure the songs need to narrate the story you're watching. The story was good, and not as predictable as I feared.

On Monday my sister and I decided to take advantage of our ridiculously cheap local (small chain) cinema to see Looper. For £8.10 we got two tickets and a large slush puppy (for her) - you wouldn't get one of us into our other (large chain) local cinema for that. Buoyed by that spectacular bargain we went into the film cheerily and, despite a fair amount of violence, I came out happy & entertained.
We had a few laughs at slightly hammed up bits and Joseph Gordon-Levitt turning into Bruce Willis but nothing like when I saw The Mechanic with my other sister and giggled all the way through.
It's a clever film, definitely a cut above the rest of its genre - what sex scenes there were weren't gratuitous or degrading to the women, they fitted. Definitely recommended.

Here follow some thoughts about reading/work/leisure I typed up the other day. It's rather a stream of consciousness but I'll leave it as it is.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

25 Before 23 - October Update

25 Things

  1. Finish my final project -Re-submitting 03/01/2013
  2. Get a job - Planning to go & talk to university careers advisors
  3. Move to Bristol - Still at home. I have a future flatmate but no plans as of yet.
  4. Sew a dress - Hoping to start Simplicity 2451 skirt soon
  5. Make 10 of my recipe bookmarks / pins - 3/10 Courgette crisps , sesame & ginger green beans and Delia's caramelized apple flan (cheaty tarte tatin)
  6. Send parcels to far-away friends - Gal & Maiyan, Amber, Steph
  7. Go to Southwold at least once
  8. Get rid of my Flickr backlog - in chronological order. Currently: film - July '11, digital - January
  9. Get a grip on my finances
  10. Sell my eBay pile, swap my swap pile - 0/? 0/?
  11. Mend & alter my mending & altering piles - 0/? 0/?
  12. Read a newspaper regularly - reading The Week while I'm at home, i on trains
  13. Weekend away by train - Went to Plymouth for a friend's birthday.
  14. Buy good shoes - Need interview/work shoes & winter boots. Clarks? Hush Puppies?
  15. Crochet 3 items from stashed wool - I have plans
  16. Get a new phone - Currently awaiting delivery!
  17. Read 3 good/classic books - Stormed this one. The Great Gatsby, The Catcher In The Rye, The Hitchhikers' Trilogy (of 5), Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas, Dry.
  18. Print more photos
  19. Watch 3 good/classic films - The Big Lebowski, This Is Spinal Tap, Quadrophenia. I've also seen Role Models which was entertaining but probably isn't going to go down in history.
  20. Exercise regularly
  21. Scrapbook - my pile is getting more organised
  22. Have a picnic
  23. Visit a city farm - St Werberghs and/or Windmill Hill?
  24. Visit my sister at university
  25. Cycle from Bristol to Bath - need to buy a helmet

Monday, 8 October 2012

The Shirtbetto or I Finished A Thing!

 This post has been brewing for a while, I didn't get around to writing the post or taking photos for ages. I still haven't worn it yet but I'll try and take the plunge soon!

Almost a year after visiting Birmingham's Rag Market with some lovely sewists I have got around to making a Colette Sorbetto of sorts. Being silly I went and bit off a bit more than I could chew and made it from a button-down shirt I found in a charity shop. The result is wearable-ish and I've learnt a bit about sewing clothes in the meanwhile.

Just so I get the details down I'm going to copy The Sew Weekly's format:

Fabric:  Shirt, fibre content unknown, suspect polycotton.
Pattern:  Colette Sorbetto
Year: 2011
Notions:  Ribbon, thread
Time to complete: Unknown!
First worn:  Not yet
Wear again?  Perhaps
Total price: The shirt was £2ish in a charity shop, the ribbon was from my stash & the thread was Mum's. So £2!

To make this I unpicked the existing shirt along the side-seams, shoulders and armholes and removed the collar. Then I attempted to cut out pieces to match the Sorbetto pattern from corresponding shirt parts. I did the front in two halves but unfortunately the shirt placket was fairly wonky so it was quite a bodge job. My test patch was more like 3 7/8 than 4 inches square so I cut an American 14 with an inch or two of extra length and it came out alright.

The good: check out that french seam!

I made french seams by hand on the shoulders while I was in Bristol and had made an attempt at the bust darts and side seams but the result wasn't pretty. On Sunday I unpicked my wonky bust, worked out that one armhole was higher than the other, hacked a bit off it, and re-sewed the darts. I used bright coloured embroidery thread to trace the dart lines which I think helped with accuracy.
Since I was now at home I used my Mum's lovely old Bernina to sew up the side seams, luckily she'd threaded it with navy so my wonky stitching isn't too visible. I french seamed the sides too as the fabric was fraying quite a bit and I like how it looks.

The bad: Spot the re-sewn dart and wonky placket
After that came the neck & armhole bindings! I had bias binding but it looked a bit big and clumsy but also too neat. I'd had a glass of wine with dinner and wasn't going back near the machine, so I dug out some navy ribbon from my large stash (I like pretty things & dislike waste...) and set to stitching it over the raw edges while watching 24 Hours In A&E. It was that or the Paralympic closing ceremony and I'm not really a fan of anything Coldplay did after A Rush Of Blood To The Head. Have I Got News For You was on Dave (as ever) and would have been my preference but I have an aversion to Louise Mensch...
Anyway, a few cups of coffee and three fortuitously-sized pieces of ribbon later I had a completed shirtbetto!

If you squint it looks alright
I think the size 14 is on the snug side of alright, the back is almost perfect (apart from my sway back), but it's hard to tell at the front with the placket weirdness. If I didn't french seam it there'd be a tiny bit more space, and of course the true Sorbetto has a centre pleat whose width can be stolen to fix tightness. I don't think I need an FBA, I'm not far off the C cup Colette patterns are aimed at.
I'll be making another out of the strawberry fabric I bought in Birmingham but I'll have to find some white bias binding (or brave red & white polka dots) and face re-threading Mum's sewing machine.
My binding is a bit wibbly but I noticed the flat parts are where I backstitched - I didn't bother all the way around because it'd take far more time and thread than I could be bothered with. I stay stitched the neck immediately after cutting out but not the armholes and I think they've suffered from it, I have baggy armpits!
The ugly: oddly-shaped armholes
I'll be investing in some chalk or a fabric pen before I make the next one, I think it'll help with the fit as I currently don't know which issues are due to my having a strange-shaped body and which are wonky cutting. If I trace the pieces then hopefully they'll be more true-to-shape. It'll help with the darts too, I'm not sure how else one is meant to transfer markings and my method wasn't very easy or accurate.
The ugly: mismatched side-seams & trapped raw edges

Anyone know of good tutorials on darts or sway back adjustments?

P.S. I've added Disqus comments to the blog to make follow-up easier. The one thing that really bugs me with blogger is that I have no idea when someone has replied to my comments on their blog. Hopefully Disqus will make it a bit more conversational. Let me know if anything goes wrong!