Thursday, September 30, 2010

SSS: Over and Out (days 27 to 30)

Self-stitched September: the final countdown...

Day 27:
Self-stitched: Mulled Wine socks. That's all.
Seriously?! Yes - I had a day off and spent it sewing, knitting and dog-walking. What I wore was not important to me. The rest was shop-bought, knickers and all.
Day 28:
Challenges: FL's hospital appointment in super-heated ARI, then back to ice-box office. Too dark for a photo this morning so had to have a self-timer experiment at my desk at lunchtime - eek!
Attitude / Inspiration: Layer it up, peel it off, layer it up again. In autumnal palette!
Self-stitched:
Aubergine wool New Look 6190 trousers, blogged here
Purple dobby dot blouse, blogged here
Aestlight shawl, blogged here
Knickers, blogged here
Gaps:
Thermal vest, cardigan: the usual!
Solutions: I am 25% up my Audrey in Unst cardigan - woo hoo! But will it be warm enough...?!
Conclusion: Even if this was not SSS, I would probably have worn this outfit today, which says a lot about how SSS has led me to a deeper acceptance of my self-stitched wardrobe. I am a stitcher... and proud of it!

Day 29:
Challenges: Cold, dark, rainy. Still no heating. Not even enough daylight in the morning for a photo. SAD!
Inspiration / Attitude: As grey as the weather!
Self-stitched:
Charcoal wool trousers, New Look 6190, blogged here
Ishbel shawl, blogged here
Knickers, as before
Gaps: Thermal vest, long-sleeved t, cardigan, armwarmers, extra-long socks, coat
Solutions: I just kept adding layers today . Even the thermal vest had long sleeves! I don't think I could have kept warm in self-stitched clothes alone - not without a major attack of sewing and knitting fever!
Conclusion: I am not sure that these trousers survived their dip in the washing machine before they went away for the summer - they are looking a bit wrinkley and may have to be retired. Ishbel always surprises me. She looks so drab lying in the drawer, yet once I am wearing her she seems to be full of subtle storm greys and blues - and is wonderfully cosy!
Day 30:
Challenges: Last day of SSS and coffee date with another knitter (woo hoo!)
Attitude / Inspiration:I was so warm and comfortable yesterday that I wore exactly the same again - but with fresh knickers, honest mum!
Self-stitched: As Day 29
Gaps: As Day 29
Solutions: As Day 29
Conclusion:
As inspiring as it has been, SSS is now over and out and all I want (for Christmas?!) is warm clothing! I was getting so cold towards the end of last week that I was in actual physical pain with the Raynaud's in my fingers.
When I made the discovery that a long-sleeved thermal vest, a long-sleeved t shirt, a cardigan and a shawl could actually make it comfortable enough to sit at my desk without clutching a mug of hot tea in my claw-like, white-fingered hands, vanity went right out of the window!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Autumn Palette and the WIPs

Picture: Joules Autumn catalogue 2010, showing £59 wool scarf, £129 tweed jacket... and some gorgeous red hair!


I have seen a few sewing bloggers write about their "new season palette" and smirked to myself that it all seemed a bit pretentious.


Readers, it was pure jealousy! I was frankly bewildered by their apparent ability to pluck colours from the air and say "these define the New Me."


My sewing and knitting tends to be driven by whims and obsessions - witness: the Brighton Pavilions tunic plan!
So please forgive me, as I present to you my discovery of the weekend (year): my Autumn palette!

That Joules scarf? I love it! But I don't see myself paying £59 for a scarf. It was only later when I was assembling my WIPs for a photograph that I realised I had found "my colours":

>Purple Fiori di Notte armwarmers
>Glade green Audrey in Unst cardigan
>Turquoise thread from my Brighton tunic
>Liberty print blouse fabric
>Deep plum poplin for 50's blouse (underway)

Add to this some dark chocolate brown / purple stripe trouser fabric (pre-washed and out to dry), and my last skein of Fyberspates Echo self-striping sock yarn to knit a shawl, in shades of turquoise and raspberry...?
Coherence at last!
I have snipped that picture from the catalogue and glued it firmly into my notebook. The next time I am floundering around trying to make sense of my sewing / knitting colour choices for autumn / winter, I will have a point of reference . That dark chocolate Wool of the Andes for a Krookus cardigan doesn't seem so "off the wall" anymore! And nor does the turquoise pin-stripe wool for a wiggle skirt. Or the aubergine felted fabric for a winter jacket. There is even room for a dash of copper...!
A trip to the hairdresser might be on the cards...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

SSS: Days 23,24,25,26

Nearly there!
Day 23
Challenges: Rain. The uncertain promise of heating in the office. Meeting with my immediate boss.

Attitude / Inspiration: Rockabilly rebel? (Indulge me, please!)

Self-stitched:
1950's polka-dot peekaboo blouse, blogged here
Blue Bella trousers, blogged here
Knickers, as usual.


Gaps: Boden boyfriend cardigan; thermal vest; Redoute parka - eek! Now you have seen the scruffiest coat in town! I bought it for dog-walking round the farm but it has become the thing I reach for every morning.

Solutions: I suppose I could buy an umbrella, and then I wouldn't feel the need to hoist the dog-coat on top of my respectable workwear!

Conclusion: I added a vintage bluebird brooch (from Herman Brown in Edinburgh) and a brass rose hairclip (TopShop) as tributes to tattoo imagery. I had this idea that they added a subliminal Rockabilly air to my outfit...?

Before I do the sums, I already know that Bella-pattern trousers have been the most-worn items in my self-stitched September wardrobe. The blue pair are a bit softer than the green, so I feel I have to work a bit harder to look work-smart. Time to make some more?

Day 24:

Spot the difference?!

Challenges: 9am meeting with boss. It was only 5 C when I got into my car this morning.
Attitude / inspiration: Sencha's last outing til Spring?

Self-stitched:
Green Bella trousers, here
Sencha Liberty print blouse, here
Shetland Lace Triangle shawl, here
Knickers, as before

Gaps: Thermal vest, cardigan, armwarmers, coat.
Solutions: I am pretty comfortable with this balance between home-made and shop-bought, as I know I am working towards addressing the gaps.
Conclusion:
This is how I have looked most of this month, with slight variations.

Definitely heading into shawl-wearing weather. I am quite surprised to see this is just the second time I have worn a hand-knitted scarf this September. I might even be heading towards wearing hand-knitted socks to work... but this would cause shoe-fitting problems! I don't think my workplace is ready for me in my Doc Martens...
Days 25 and 26
Self-stitched:
Aestlight shawl, blogged here
Mad Budgie socks, blogged here
What can I say? Weekends and self-stitchery don't really work out for me...

Friday, September 24, 2010

September by the Sea?

I am in the mood for instant gratification. I have a capelet and two blouses “queued” but find myself sidetracked by an insane desire for a 1970’s-pattern tunic top for weekend wear.


I blame Ms Scruffybadger for this. I saw her Brighton Rocks dress and was smitten – tsk!


So here we are, edging towards the end of September, and I am planning a (sewing) trip to the seaside – yay! Still just a big kid at heart!


My plan is to make this zip-fronted tunic in that mad, bad and dangerous Brighton pavilion print turquoise cotton. To wear with jeans, or possibly (gasp!) leggings, with a layer of thermal vestage (naturally!)


Leggings and I had a major falling-out when I was pregnant with my son (so that was 18 years ago...). They were so wonderfully comfy that I wore them all the time with massive lumberjack shirts... until the day one of my colleagues at work remarked upon the bagginess of my knees, and how she hoped I would be able to lose all that pregnancy flab, or wouldn't it be awful? Sob!!!

All these years later and I have studiously avoided any further knee-revelations. My 1940's tea dress is my first flirtation with the above-joint-genre in almost two decades! And I am seeing other self-stitchers wearing leggings with their self-stitched skirts and looking mighty fine! Karen - I am looking at you!


Ooooh - I really fancy snuggling up in front of the fire this autumn in a funky tunic top, woolly jumper and some cosy cosy leggings and handknitted socks - mmmm!


Best get stitching then....

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

SSS: Days 20, 21, 22

Day 20:

Challenges: Monday morning. Woke late after watching Glorious 39 til midnight. (OMG - the wardrobe is sublime! The script is incidental.)
Attitude / Inspiration: Element of panic! Wanted to wear Pioneer but what with? Cowboy boots obviously, but what else?

Self-stitched:
Pioneer pullover, blogged here.
Refashioned White Stuff skirt, last seen here, before I made it fit!
Knickers, as before.
Gaps: Long-sleeved top. I had to add an extra layer of enormous Gap grey kimono cardi for warmth in the office (still no heating...)
Solutions: Admit it is autumn. Stop trying to wear your summer clothes!

Conclusion: It is getting too cold for cotton skirts. The white top is a bit stark and makes the skirt look grubby by contrast. But I like the shapes together.

Day 21:

Sorry about snooty expression!

Challenges: Once a year I have to help out at the public-facing side of my workplace... today is the day.

Attitude / inspiration: Listen, I am NOT your mother. I am a thwarted "Blue Peter" presenter... and at 1pm I am going back to hide in my cold dark office with a large mug of tea. STAMP! Now go and join that queue over there...

Self-Stitched:
Red Birdie Clothkits skirt blogged here
Black cotton Japanese jacket blogged here
Knickers blogged here.

Gaps: Between my jacket hem and the top of my skirt. I almost lost my skirt getting out of the car this morning. Funny - it seemed OK last week! Thank goodness for that thermal vest.

Solutions: I need to take this skirt in at the waist (again!). I was going to wear my Clothkits Ruby skirt today, but forgot that it is 4 inches too wide at the waist. I could alter both in one sewing session, so why don't I? And Vivienne (Day 17) too!

Conclusion: It looks like I am not getting any fatter and I am hoping not to get thinner. And at least my eyebrows have grown back. But yeah, I need to make my skirts fit if I am going to be able to wear them.
Day 22:
Challenges: Quiet day in the office.
Attitude / Inspiration: Built around my new blouse. Gothic horror? (see below!)

Self-stitched:
Simplicity 2501 black blouse, blogged here
Japanese pattern skirt, briefly blogged here
Knickers, as before
Gaps: The jacket was from Oasis in about 2003 and used to have matching trousers. It picks out the caramel colour in the skirt's herringbone wool - more obvious in real life. Thermal vest!
Solutions: I am sewing a black capelet which should look fierce with this skirt and blouse! Especially with long lacy armwarmers.

Conclusion: The jacket is less fitted than I would prefer. I was asked if I had a job interview...!
Inspired by Glorious 39, I am going to buy a couple of belts to add waist definition to my "look" in general: one broad and black and the other narrow and caramel (you can't make me say "camel" - camel is what my mother wears!).
I am totally obsessing about the costumes of Glorious 39! A lot of what I learned concerned accessories: belts, scarves, hats, jewellery. Not just to look "vintage" but to generally pull an outfit together, make it cohesive. And colour... wow oh wow the costume designer (Annie Symons) knows about colour!
And the horror element?:
Today's jewellery got a bit confused.
I started with "jet" glass earrings (1928 from John Lewis), to go with the buttons on my blouse. Then I added the hairclip (fake cameo from TopShop)...
...and then at the last moment, when I put my jacket on, I realised there was something too stark about the neck area, so I added a rather creepy "mourning brooch" which FL bought me a few years ago.
It has a frame of garnets around a glass-fronted plait of human hair. FL didn't realise. He just saw it in an antique shop one Christmas Eve and liked the garnets. I am wearing a complete stranger's DNA and I don't feel entirely comfortable. Very Gothic?!

Monday, September 20, 2010

FO: Simplicity 2501 in Black



When I first saw this pattern, my initial reaction was horror and scorn. That white polyester 80's-esque monster with the girly bow tie and puffy fluffy sleeves? Eeurgh!



Then I made the tamer (pleated sleeve) version in a purple dobby dot... and found I wore it at least once a week. My eye became more accustomed to big sleeves and my daughter stunned me by expressing a preference for the puffier design. So I decided to give it a try.







The fabric was left over from making a dress for The Girl over a year ago and came from Favourite Fabrics at eeebaaay - they still sell it.


It has alternating bands of dobby dots and ladder-work embroidery and is definitely a summer-weight cotton. The season has moved on since the day I cut it out!





Those sleeves (which have a culture and language of their own...) have a centred strip of bias binding on the inside, to form a casing for a short length of elastic. Pulled up, this makes those larger-than-life gathers, on top of an already tightly-gathered sleeve top.
I have reservations about the resulting silhouette, but I think I get away with it in black. It has a kind of Edwardian feel... which might have been improved by having full-length sleeves, but I didn't have enough fabric.

Stats:
Simplicity 2501, View B with View D sleeves, size 10 with the B-cup front pieces.
Fabric: Approx 1.4 metres of black dobby / ladderstitch cotton from Favourite fabrics, here. Oh look - it's reduced in price! : )
Buttons: Vintage black glass, bought for my 1940's tea dress. I still have loads of these left on the card, which only cost me 99p!

Verdict:
There is no doubt that I will wear this blouse to work. It ticks so many boxes: it is black, it looks smart, and yet it has a funky vintage-looking twist. The buttons are exactly right.

My only mistake was to use white elastic - it shines through the ladderstitch stripes -duh!

Would I make it again?

Not sure. How many tie-neck blouses does one wardrobe need? And the sleeves are a bit of a "statement"! But the basic fit is pretty good, so I will definitely keep this pattern in mind for future work blouses. I could always change the neck / sleeves.

Yay - I sewed something in Self-Stitched September!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

SSS: Days 16,17,18,19


Day 16:
Challenges: 9am meeting, so needed to be organised the night before
Attitude / Inspiration: Tried and tested!

Self-stitched: Green Bella, Sencha blouse, knickers

Gaps: had to wear a thermal vest!

Solutions: Make long-sleeved tops for autumn!

Conclusion: This weekend, I need to so some serious sewing. Even some light-hearted sewing would be a start!





Day 17:
Challenges: Friday... but my department doesn't "dress down"
Attitude / Inspiration: Autumnal tweeds

Self-stitched: Wool skirt, blogged here; Manon jacket, blogged here, purple dobby dot blouse, blogged here

Gaps: Knickers! Don't worry, I had some shop-bought ones in the drawer! Armwarmers.

Solutions: Yarnissima's new armwarmer pattern, Fiore di Notte - the kit uses Lilith's yarn too - oooh! Shame the first pair are for a gift...

Conclusion: Cold arms! I usually wear this knitted jacket over a long-sleeved t-shirt but the colour goes so well with the blouse I had to give it a go. The skirt is too long. I made it when I was wider and it won't stay up. My blouse kept popping out of the top too. I thought this skirt had a touch of the Westwoods about it... I refer to it as my "Vivienne" skirt... but seeing this photo I am not so sure. It's looking a bit old-lady-ish in an un-cool sort of way.
Frump-tastic?

Days 18 and 19:

Challenges: The weekend. It is cold, but I don't want to put the heating on yet. I want to sew but have housework to do - blah!

Attitude / Inspiration: Not much.
Self-stitched: Central Park Hoodie and Bridget's Blue Soup socks, blogged here.
Gaps: Jeans, long-sleeved top and thermal vest!
Solutions: Get sewing...
Conclusion: No picture cos it rained all weekend and I have been trying to fit in some sewing during daylight hours.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Wind and Hot Air

We are having equinox-related gales. As a result, the disused cat-flap was blown permanently parallel to the ground and our hallway was a wind-tunnel. Duct tape has been deployed, but now the dog has a headache as he liked to shout at the neighbour's puppy through the flap and smacked his unsuspecting noddle off the door...!

Meantime, all my talk of sewing has been hot air. I have a blouse and a capelet cut and ready to sew, and plan to get at least one of these garments completed this weekend.
I pre-washed my Little Treasures fabrics and hung them on the washing line... and almost lost the blackwatch, which started to shred in the wind - oops!
However, I have done some knitting. I finally cast on my Audrey in Unst cardigan using the dark green Albayarns shetland fingering. I have decided I don't like working twisted rib: "purl through the back loop"? Err - no thanks! But it's too late now: 18 rows done, 18 to go. Deeply unphotogenic.
While knitting, I am reading "Brave New Knits" (from The Book Depository, since Amazon failed to pre-order for its pre-orders!) and am absolutely itching to cast on: two pairs of socks, a cardigan, a jacket and a shawl.


Which must be why I printed off Yarnissima's new armwarmer pattern "Fiore Di Notte".

This is Yarnissima's photo


I am going to use one of my Knit Love Club yarns for this project, the deep purple Spirit Trail Fiberworks merino / cashmere / silk mix intended for the Caretta Caretta sock pattern.
This is my first Christmas knitting project of the year - eek!

And the yarn photo is from the dye-er's website.



Thursday, September 16, 2010

SSS: Days 13, 14, 15


Oh wow - half-way through September already!

Day 13:

Challenges: Just another day at the office. Wayward fringe.
Attitude / Inspiration: "Yay! I like this 50's pattern blouse - let's add some sparkle-y jewellery!"

Self-Stitched: Green Bella trousers here; polka-dot blouse here; knickers here.

Gaps: This is my new Boden cardigan, as worn yesterday. I haven't mentioned the coat situation... my only home-made coat is very heavy felted wool. So I have been wearing a Redoute parka. We have lots of weather here!
Solutions: Can I be bothered making a raincoat? Nope. Despite there being a very smart trench-coat pattern in Burda 09/10. No - I don't fancy the Lady Grey sew-along, before you ask!
Conclusion: I don't know what I wore before I made my Bella trousers! Today I added a blue glass 50's-style brooch from Joules to the whole Bella / blouse / cardi thing I've got going on! Not that you can see it very well in that picture...
Day 14:

Challenges: Construction project Board meeting, several cobbled streets and a building site away...
Attitude / Inspiration: Let's wear the 1940's tea dress.

Self-stitched:
Tea dress from a 1940's pattern, blogged here
Black cotton jacket, blogged here
Knickers, as before

Gaps: Dare I say "none"?! Though an anti-static underskirt might have been a good idea.
Conclusion: The only thing I don't like about this dress is that it is so lightweight and "flippy", I can't tell if it has blown up in the wind. I wore these totally flat red shoes (from Red or Dead) because I knew I had to negotiate the cobbles of Old Aberdeen. But really they are too flat and I felt a bit clumsy and out-of-alignment.

Day 15:

Challenges: Autumn has truly arrived: wind and rain! A cross-departmental meeting, so needed to look like a grown-up.

Attitude / Inspiration: Autumn!

Self-stitched:
I made this skirt a long time ago. Blogged briefly here.
Black jacket, as yesterday
Knickers, as before

Gaps: Long-sleeved black top, raincoat, thermal vest! And although I can't make them... I need to mention the shoes... These are the shoe/boots I wore to my wedding to FL. I took them out of the box today to find they were covered in green and white mould - mmmm - stylish! And the toes are almost worn through at the points.

Solution: I applied my car windscreen-cleaning cloth to the mould, but there's not much I can do about the toes. Shoe repairs are SO expensive - have you noticed? It cost me £6.50 to get little bits of rubber glued onto the heels of my boots. Is this something I could learn to do myself?

Conclusion: Cobblers! I need another pair of winter shoes.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Beautiful Blog Award

OK, I give in!
Both Karen of Did You Make That and Steph of 3 Hours Past nominated me for the Beautiful Blogger Award. Thank you!!
Now I have to think of some things you might not know about me... and nominate 5 other bloggers. Both of these are quite tricky, so forgive me if I am repeating myself.


Seven Things You Might Not (definitely don't) Know About Me:
1 Almost every night I dream about wandering in a strange city. The dream city is an amalgamation of many other places I have lived: Hull, Leeds, London. I always seem to be sharing a house with complete strangers and facing uncontrollable dangers like fire or flood. The toilets are always blocked. Jung would have a field day!

2 I am exceptionally un-sporty. When I was about 7, a photo of me running at school sports day
appeared in the local newspaper. I had a look of total determination on my face, as my chubby little knees pumped up and down. I was, of course, last!

My only brief moment of sporting glory came in the final year of primary school when the school netball team was playing away, and there was some bizarre last-minute need to cobble together a "B Team" to play the neighbouring school. I scored 6 goals! I was immediately promoted to the "A Team"... but never scored a goal again!

3 My dad's aunt, "Spookie Jeanie", claimed to have psychic powers. She refused to come into my childhood home because she said it had a bad atmosphere. After meeting my 11-year old self she rang my parents and told them I was going to be a teacher. OK... Then she rang back the next day and said, actually, that wasn't going to work out, but I would definitely do something to do with the government or education and to please tell me that everything would work out fine in the end.
So here we are 35 years later and I am working in education management after failing to become a teacher (after three attempts!). And although I wouldn't like to call it "the end", I have come full circle and married my First Love. Self-fulfilling prophecy?
4 I named my son after a character in a novel, and my daughter is named after a piece of music by John Coltrane. My son should just be grateful his father did not get his own way, or he would have been called "Miles". Ha!
5 When I grow up... I want to live in a cottage by the sea. I used to say "a croft on Skye" but now I would settle for a sea view. If anyone wants to buy me a new house, this one would do me fine.
Will 5 things do? I think so!
And 5 Beautiful Blogs: I think these awards have done the rounds a few times now and I don't mind if you don't keep the pot boiling:
Indigo Orchid another SSS girl who drapes - ooh! Proper designing!
Delfinelise more self-stitchery! And I love her new vintage shoes!
Tasia, the Sewaholic who is bringing out her own pattern line soon - I like the look of her Pendrell blouse!
Circle of Clothes doesn't blog often but has some very creative outfits in her repertoire - inspirational!
And Christine who writes about Aberdeen... because it's her birthday today - happy birthday!

Monday, September 13, 2010

SSS Day 12, A Departure and an FO


So here we have it: The Boy left home on Sunday to go to University.

Recent mothers take note: this time comes round far faster than you would ever believe!


No sooner are they out of nappies, than they grow a full head of dreadlocks, tower above you and call you "Titch". Charming!



As it was my last chance for a while to embarrass him in public , I ramped up the self-stitchery ; )

Day 12
Self-stitched:
Blue Bella trousers, blogged here
Polka-dot back-buttoned blouse, blogged here
Knickers, as before
Socks, as yesterday
Gap: The cardigan... this is my new one from Boden. My excuse is that it will let me wear lots of self-stitched garments that would otherwise not go with much / not be warm enough. meantime I will knit Audrey in Unst. Honest!

The FO:
I could not send my son away without a new pair of socks!
It's the Freshman pattern from Knitscene Fall 2009, in Regia self-striping, bought from Kemps when they were practically giving it away.
I love this pattern: simple, fun and a real sense of progress as you knit up the spirals.
And 72 stitches on 2.5mm was wide enough for my Boy - hooray!


I let them be mis-matched. It suits his personality!
So there we have it. My First Born has left home.
Crikey.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Matchy matchy


With two items cut out and ready to sew, but no time to actually hoist the machine onto the table and get stitching, I have been decidedly "antsy" as my transatlantic cousins might say!


But I have been buying fabric! I told you about my "Little Treasures" splurge, but hadn't shown you the goods.
So I reckon it's about time I told you what I plan to make with all this... stuff! Match up patterns and fabrics as if I had, you know, a plan.
We all know that what I really need are long-sleeved tops.

The Liberty Tana lawn from Little Treasures (centre , above)is going to be kitsched to the max, using this 1970's pattern.
The photo is a bit sun-bleached. It's more of a bottle-green background and will look ab fab with the Audrey in Unst cardi I just cast on. At last!

The crisp plum poplin is crying out to be Rockabillied-up into this 1950's blouse - I spotted the pattern on Etsy and then found it in the UK at Ebay ... and nobody else bothered to bid - woo hoo!

I am going to make the long-sleeved version with that cute little tie-neck. Not sure about the pockets.
On my training course on Friday, there was a bloke with a very interesting shirt. Just above the cuff, by the button band on the left sleeve only,there was a tiny embroidered swallow - a very unexpected detail on a man's shirt. I am thinking of copying it.

Which leaves the warm blackwatch brushed cotton. I love the colours in blackwatch and used to have a simple tartan shirt that I wore with my granny's jet beads. So maybe I will make something really plain... or else use the Rockabilly pattern again and give it a white collar...? But my daughter thinks that is a really weird idea.
I haven't forgotten that I have black cotton sateen to make a wiggle skirt, and navy drapey cotton to make some 1940's Evadress pattern trousers. I bought Burda 09/10 today and there is a very interesting straight skirt with curved panels at the front - I might try it out.

For the life of me, I have no idea when I am going to find the time to do all this sewing. If all else fails, the October school holidays are not that far away...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

SSS: Days Nine, Ten, Eleven

Day Nine:


Challenges: Quiet day in the office

Attitude / Inspiration: I wanted to wear this dress, despite the approach of autumn, so had to layer it up.

Self-Stitched:
Japanese pattern dress, blogged here
Knickers, as before

Gaps: I had to wear a long-sleeved t-shirt under the dress and a cardigan on top: neither home-made.

Solutions: Yadda yadda yadda

Conclusion: This outfit got me so many compliments at work! I felt relaxed and stylish. A good day! Vintage boots, as before. Birdcage necklace, as before. TopShop hairclip.
Day Ten


Challenges: Up at 5am for a 3-hour train journey to Glasgow for a training course, dress code: "smart / casual".

Attitude / Inspiration: Where has my Boden order got to? (If I have to wear this cardigan one more time I am going to scream.)

Self-stitched:
Exactly the same outfit as Day Three, but didn't do up buttons on the cardigan (woooo - dangerous!?!)

Conclusion:
When you get dressed in the dark and come home in the dark, after a whole day of Risk Management training and six hours on British Rail... you just don't care any more! Well - I don't!

But I did have lots of knitting time and finished my son's "going away" socks and read a fair chunk of Elaine Showalter's new tome "A Jury of Her Peers". Serious reading!

Day Eleven:

Um... well I am wearing my Mulled Wine socks, and home-made knickers. But other than that I think the weekend is going to be a self-stitched wash-out: jeans.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

SSS: Days Six, Seven, Eight

Day Six:

Challenges: IT meeting with senior people. High winds!
Attitude / Inspiration: Flapper with a twist?
Self-Stitched:
Green Bella trousers, blogged here
Liberty Sencha blouse, blogged here
Knickers, blogged here
Gaps: Cardigan (yawn!), lack of which provoked deployment of thermal vest

Solutions: Will you knit that beeping cardigan, Roo, before we all go mad?
Conclusion: A good day for self-stitchery! I love the Sencha / Bella combination: it just "works", especially with my granny's genuine vintage glass beads!

Day Seven:

Challenges: Quiet day in the office. High winds!
Attitude / Inspiration: A bit of a 1940's vibe?
Self-stitched:
Green Bella trousers, as above
Sandpiper blouse, blogged here
Knickers, as above
Gaps: as above
Solutions: as above

Conclusion: There's a definite rhythm developing here. I like back-buttoned blouses with Bella trousers and a quirky necklace - today it was the birdcage from here.


Day Eight:
Challenges: Quiet day in the office.
Attitude / Inspiration: Need for a bit of fun and colour. Sick of that cardigan!

Self-stitched:
Red Clothkits skirt, blogged here
Black Japanese pattern jacket, blogged here
Knickers, as above

Gaps: Warm black long-sleeved-ness, so thermal vest also required!

Solutions: It's becoming old news. I need to sew / knit seasonally-appropriate tops!
Conclusion: A very comfortable "fun" outfit, which I reckon manages to look smart at the same time.
Simple black agate bead earrings from Red Bird at Etsy (UK seller)
Shoes: Fly London. I have worn these every day this week, despite the evidence of the two photos above, where I am wearing my driving shoes!

Monday, September 06, 2010

Warning: Enabling Post!

It's been a crazy few weeks here. I have had no time to sew, and am feeling quite overwhelmed by the ideas buzzing round my head, and all the new fabrics / patterns / wool I have either bought or put on the Wish List!
So I thought I would "share", cos that's the kind of person I am :o)
New in at Sewbox: Liberty jersey, organic jersey, Liberty silk and some amazing Alexander Henry prints on a super-silky tana-lawn-like base fabric - ooooh!

I am SO tempted to make a silk Sencha, or that bow-neck blouse from Burda Feb 2008.

This is "January" paisley silk - mmmm!

They have several of these deep, dark, mysterious autumnal prints - not at all the "usual" ditsy florals.
I really like the midnight-blue jersey called "November": it would make a fab long-sleeved top.

In the world of Knit, I pre-ordered "Brave New Knits" by Julie Turjoman.
Strangely, the designers featured in this amazing book don't seem to be trumpeting about it yet. It is one of those books that I just had to have, immediately. And knit everything in it... yesterday!
26 patterns by the "best" knitting bloggers, with supporting interviews by Julie Turjoman, and photos by Jared Flood!


I will be knitting the socks on the front cover
using a mix of variegated and plain green sock wools from Lidl, bought with the weekly grocery shop on Friday (I blame Kate!).
But there's also a beautiful lace shawl by Ysolda, a sculptural cabled jacket, Krookus, by Mari (who designed Sylvie, coat of my dreams), an Origami shawl / cardigan by Melissa Wehrle, a simple shawlette by Jared Flood (pattern free here!). Actually, I just discovered lots of pictures on Jared's blog here. Don't you just want to give up work and spend a year knitting your way through this book... or is that just me?

Sunday, September 05, 2010

SSS: Days Four and Five

Yay - it's the weekend! Boo - I have nothing to wear!

Paula asked me what I wore "at night" during SSS. I am not sure if she meant in bed or "after school", sorry "work". Either way, it a non-self-stitched wilderness.
Here lies the tumbleweed...




Days Four and Five:

Challenges: Extreme Housework, trip to optician with my daughter, dog-walking and ... sigh, at last!...knitting

Attitute / Inspiration: Well I would love to say Super Kawaii Mama. But I can't live up to her standards.
Self-stitched:
Blue Bella Trousers: blogged here
Lola apron: blogged here
Handknitted socks: Conwy pattern by Nancy Bush, ravelled here

The Gaps:
Knickers (all home-made in the wash, had to wear my "pattern"!)
Long-sleeved top (this one is at least organic cotton, by Seasalt)
Thermal vest (yes, really)
Casual jacket to wear in town

Solutions:
Make more knickers!
Make long-sleeved tops - you know this already
Cardigans might reduce need for thermal vest
I have a pattern to make an autumnal jacket

Conclusion:
Well at least I wore some home-made trousers! These are quite a jean-like blue so passed the "out with teen girl and might be seen by a schoolmate" test. I have some organic denim in the stash but haven't got round to making deliberately casual weekend trousers.
I failed even more badly today (Sunday) when I ended up in my jeans to help gut out my son's room - he is off to Uni next week and I was determined he wasn't leaving me with his childhood mess to sort out! Just as well I made that apron...

Friday, September 03, 2010

SSS: Days Two and Three

Challenges?: Two days sitting at my desk trying to look intelligent.


Dress code: smart/casual, layered to allow for trips to the boss's office (lose the eccentric woolly bits) but still be warm at my desk

Day Two

Attitude / Inspiration: 2010 does 1970's: the miners' strike meets Carbon Management (i.e. no heating at work til October!)

Self-stitched:

Central Park Hoodie, blogged here
Flowery cotton skirt, blogged here
Andrea Shawl, blogged here
Knickers, blogged here

The Gaps: Long-sleeved top - I have yet to make any "neutral" tops with long sleeves.

The solutions: Um... pretty obvious really - I need to make long-sleeved tops!

Conclusion:
I like the hippy / boho vibe of this outfit, but it wouldn't work on a day with formal meetings. The overall look is very very green, and I got some funny looks in the coffee shop. I've never worn this skirt with boots before and it looks a bit too long... but I like it.

Editor's Note:
The vintage cowboy boots were from the best Dress Agency in London, Dress For Less on St John St, EC1 (no website).
Please go there and spend lots of money, as I moved away 6 years ago and they must be struggling without my custom! Excellent source of Nicole Fahri business suits!

Day Three:

Attitude / Inspiration: I got up late with a streaming cold, headache and rash-ravaged face, and reached for a tried and tested outfit. It was either that or stay in bed.

Self-Stitched:
Purple tie-neck blouse, blogged here
Aubergine wool trousers, blogged here
Knickers, blogged here

The Gaps?: Cardigan!
You will be sick of the sight of this one before the month is out. I could have worn the CPH again but I hoped it was going to be too warm and sunny.

Solutions: Knit a cardigan... mutter... mutter... mutter!

Conclusions:
I wear this outfit a lot. I thought it made me look long and lean, but this photo suggests short and dumpy, which was a bit of a shock! I need to get up earlier to iron the ties on the blouse.
The brass cuff adds a touch of quirkiness which I cannot do without, especially if I am feeling a bit under the weather.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Sewing in September


So, not content with actually wearing my me-made clothes, I am cooking up plans to stitch some more!
I cut out my capelet. But I am waiting for lining and buttons, so I have stalled.
And I have cut out a blouse. It is Simplicity 2501 again.
This time, I decided to brave the super-puffy sleeve after watching an old episode of Project Runway and seeing Kenley rock a plaid version of this style.

NO!!! I don't mean her puffball collaboration with Wesley... I mean the blouse she was wearing herself... oh dear, let's just move on...
The fabric was left over from making my daughter's 13th-birthday dress. You can't really see it in those pictures, but the cotton alternates stripes of dobby dots and ladder-stitch openwork.

This still doesn't address my lack of long-sleeved tops. I ordered some lovely stripey jersey knit fabric, but when the shop went to cut it they found a flaw, so my order was cancelled. Meantime, I had printed out and prepared the Leg of Mutton Sleeve pattern by JJ (free over at Burda Style). I am not sure what I was thinking... why is my eye drawn back to the Kenley/Wesley dress again?! So perhaps this was a lucky escape.
With long-sleeved tops in mind, I was seduced by a series of "Make Me An Offer" deals over at eeebaaay.
One of my favourite sellers, Little Shop of Treasures, is having a clearance and she really will accept all reasonable offers. On their way to me I have shirt-lengths of: deep plum cotton poplin, warm brushed cotton tartan and a sophisticated Liberty Tana lawn , all for the price of one Boden blouse*. Ahem.
And I fell for this 1970's pattern over at Etsy (only £2.63 !). I never imagined I would want a spaniel-ear collar blouse in my adult life! I still shudder at the memory of the bright pink polyester satin version my mother made me wear when I was about 8.
But imagine this style in any one of the fabrics I just purchased...? See where I am coming from? Hush, daughter, hush!

*P.S. Have you seen that Boden has a very Sencha-like blouse this season? Are clothing manufacturers watching what home-sewers are making and copying it...? Now there's an interesting thought!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

SSS: Day One

Today's challenge: construction project management meeting

Dress code: one of the lads, but in touch with my feminine side

Attitude / Inspiration: Mattie Ross from True Grit, the old John Wayne film.

Did you know the Coen brothers have just done a re-make of the best Western ever? I just found the audition summary for my character:

"Fourteen year old Mattie is a simple, tough as nails, young woman. Her steely nerves and straightforward manner are a shocking contrast to the way women behaved in the early century. She's possessed of true grit and plenty of determination. Enough so, that she insists on going with two marshals to hunt down the killer of her father. We are looking for a Caucasian girl who's tough, strong and tells it like it is. We are open to all looks! "

Today I am Mattie Ross. Don't mess with me... even if I am "just a slip of a girl".

Self-Stitched:

Pink Gingham blouse from a 1940's teen pattern, blogged here.

Black cotton jacket, Japanese pattern, blogged here.

Knickers, blogged here.

The Gaps?:

The blouse is too short, so these trousers (La Redoute) are the only garment I own that even meets the hem... and it still pops out of the waistband.

To cover my embarrassment, a plain black wrapover cardigan.

The solutions?

I am seriously considering lengthening the blouse using the instructions in a "Make Do and Mend" booklet from WWII, found somewhere on the web (I will post the link if I can find it again).

I know I need to knit a cardigan or three.

Conclusion?:

A reasonable start to Self-Stitched September, including wearing one of my most "difficult" garments - woo hoo!

Editor's note: By the way, I can't guarantee to blog every day, so I intend to compile "omnibus" posts of a few days' outfits at a time from now on. That way, I still get to blog about other things besides my own vanity!