A Plethora of New Sewing Skills with Gertie and Twinkle (& a Freebie)

Twinkle Sews and Gertie's Sewing Books OutfitSewing BooksI have completed my makes from Gertie’s New Book For Better Sewing by Gretchen Hirsch and Twinkle Sews by Wenlan Chia.  For both of these projects, it was my first time utilizing a variety of sewing techniques, seven to be exact!

New Skills/Techniques

  1. Invisible Zipper
  2. Skirt Yoke
  3. Inverted Box Kick Pleat
  4. Lining a Skirt with an Inverted Box Kick Pleat
  5. Side Lapped Zipper
  6. Hand Picking a Zipper
  7. Hand Stitched Invisible Hem

So, for January’s Monthly Stitch: New Year = New Skill 2014_01_badgechallenge, we are all trying our hand at new (to us) techniques.New SKills Outfit10

Twinkle Twinkle, Little Skirt

I used the Masculin et Feminin pattern from the Twinkle Sews book for my skirt, which I made from a lovely stretch silk fabric that I received from Kristin at Sew Classic.  Thanks Kristin!

Since the fabric was a stretch woven, I opted to also line it with a stretch woven.

Skirt Lining

Skirt Lining

The skirt hem was bound with fold-over elastic before hemming.  This was my first time putting a yoke on a skirt as well as inserting an invisible zip.  Having the zip extend below the yoke meant I had to make sure the fabric change points were exact.

Invisible Zip and Yoke

Invisible Zip and Yoke

This was also the first time I’ve used an inverted box kick pleat.  For the skirt, it was not too difficult, although tricky to remember which way to fold and iron.

Inverted Box Kick Pleat

Inverted Box Kick Pleat

However, when it came to inserting the lining, this is where we entered a bit of a grey area.  The pattern pieces for the lining were different from the skirt and the instructions did not seem to correspond to these pieces.  She wants you to “stay stitch a V of reinforcing stitches the length of the kick pleat as indicated on the pattern piece [it wasn't].  Carefully cut a slit in the lining to the point of the V.” This somehow did not make sense to me since there were 2 back lining pieces that you sewed a back centre seam.  So, why would you cut a slit?  And where?  And then what on the skirt are you sewing these two sides to, since this is a closed inverted box pleat and not an open vent.  There were no pics of the completed lining in the book. I had help from a volunteer sewing instructor and she did not understand these instructions either.  If anybody has made this skirt, please do share how you did this!

I ended up altering the back lining pattern pieces to be mirror opposites of the skirt back pieces and sewing an inverted box kick pleat in the lining.  I then sewed the line of topstitching that lies horizontal to the top of the pleat to include all the layers of fabric of the lining and skirt, to hold the lining in place.New SKills Outfit Back2The book divides the projects according to difficulty and this skirt was classified as a ‘beginner’ project.  I’m not sure I agree with that as there were many aspects (yoke, lining, inverted box kick pleat, invisible zip, waistband, lace overlay, working with slippery satin fabric) that are not necessarily beginner skills.

Another noteworthy aspect of this book is that there are:  no construction pictures; no technical drawings of any kind; no diagrams, just text.  This does make it more challenging to follow along if you are a beginner or a visual learner.New Skills Outfit8The book includes a cd with all  the patterns included in pdf form.  One thing to watch out for:  sizing.  To find your size, according to the author, you need to measure your hips and then add 2″ for seam allowance and then 1″ to 2″ for ease.  (For tops, you measure your bust, add 2″ for SA, then add 3″ to 5″ for ease.)  Now the thing is, I did not realize nor do either of these measurement add-ons before cutting my skirt!  I found my measurements on the measurement chart and printed out that exact size.  The skirt fits me rather well, and, while it’s true I made the skirt from a two-way stretch woven with a small to moderate stretch and the pattern called for a non stretch, I still think the skirt would have been really huge if I had added on an extra 3″ to 4″!!??

I plan on making one of the tops next, but I don’t think I am going to add the extra 5″ to 7″ (for tops) as specified in the book. This seems really extreme, especially since the skirt fits without my adding any SA or ease.

The book, however, does have some simply beautiful garments in it.  They are all very creative and interesting, constructed from a variety of different fabrics and styled nicely, as well.  This is what immediately appealed to me when I bought the book.

Some exciting news:  Threads magazine has one of the dress patterns from the Twinkle Sews book available for free!

Click here for the free pattern of this dress.

Click here for the free pattern of this dress.

So, if you don’t have the book and are interested in sampling it, here is the link to download the free dress pattern and instructions.

A Portrait of Gretchen’s Blouse

The top I chose to make from Gertie’s book was the Portrait Blouse.  The pattern was fairly easy to put together and included some nice touches, such as hand sewn invisible hems

Hand Sewn Invisible Hem

Hand Sewn Invisible Hem

for the sleeves and bottom as well as a hand picked side lapped zipper.  It is sewn with a wool / cashmere blend, or at least that is what I was told by the vendor at a sewing expo where I purchased it in the ends bin for $5.00.

Hand Sewn Invisible Sleeve Hem and Bound Seams

Hand Sewn Invisible Sleeve Hem and Bound Seams

The instructions for the side lapped zipper did seem a bit lacking, as I could not completely understand how to insert it just using them alone, so researched online to find tutorials.  I noted that each tutorial was a bit different in their approach.  Does anybody have a favourite tutorial or way of inserting a lapped zip?  Please do share it!

Side Lapped Zip

Side Lapped Zip

The zip was ‘hand picked’ or hand sewn using what is really a very tiny back stitch.  I also hand sewed the hems, using a slip stitch.  I really enjoyed the hand sewing aspect; time moved nice and slowly and precision was so much easier to achieve than by machine and the stitching did, indeed look invisible afterwards.

Hand Picked Zip

Hand Picked Zip

Gertie’s book includes drawings for each step within the instructions, as well as a one or two sentence synopsis of the written instructions.  It includes paper patterns for all the garments.

The book also provides a plethora of information regarding pattern alterations, sewing techniques and, because this book is a take on the 1952, Vogue New Book For Better Sewing, it gives you a lot of insight into vintage patterns.

I thought that this top would be ‘untuckable’ due to the zipper at the hem, but actually it tucks in fine and the zip is not bothersome!

Tuck in your shirt!  And, stand up straight!

Tuck in your shirt! And, stand up straight!

Road Testing With the Sewcialists / Spoolettes

I also ‘road tested’ the skirt at a recent Sewcialists / Spoolettes meet-up.

The Twinkle Sews Skirt in Action

The Twinkle Sews Skirt in Action

Spoolette Meetup

Yours Truly, Gillian, Clare, Sara and Andrea. Hi there, Sewing Sisters!!  Cheers Clare! ‘clink’

small spooletteSewcialists

This was not the first time I’d seen these fantastic lovelies in person and each time it gets better and better.  I can’t wait till the next outing.  Who knew that my new-found hobby/past-time would bring me such joy, not only in solitude, when sewing, but socially as well, through social media, the blogs and, the best part, in real life!!

And, look how happy we all are! :)

I leave you with Wonder Woman…

Da na na na na na na Wonder Woman!!

Da na na na na na na Wonder Woman!!

The Hunt For Red October Finds an Innocent BHL Polly Top and…David Bowie’s Pants!?

Red By Hand London Polly Top and CulottesThe Sewcialists on Twitter began chatting about life, love and the pursuit of happiness, as you do, when out of that, came an idea to sew colours.  October then became Sew Red October, and here is the uber-fabulous badge that Gillian made:RedOctober Badge

Polly-By-Hand-London

Free Pattern – By Hand London Polly Top

I also discovered that the lovely ladies from By Hand London created a pattern called the Polly Top.  It’s terrific, a great stash buster, and I will be sewing it again in other colours, for sure.  And, it’s FREE!  You can find the link to download it here.  They’ve also included a how-to video so it’s perfect for beginners or anybody wanting to follow along with visual aid.

The smallest size was a bit too large, so when printing it out in Adobe, instead of selecting ‘actual size’, I reduced it to 94%.  I did not want to lose the length, however, so measured how long the smallest size would be, and added that amount to the reduced pattern pieces.

Printing at 94% & Adding Length

Printing at 94% & Adding Length

The great thing about this top is that you can showcase a colour / pattern or fabric that you may never wear because you don’t like it on you personally, since the piece in front is small and doesn’t touch your neck/face.  You can use either contrasting or matching bias binding for the neck and armholes and I opted to make my own bias tape (my first time) out of the striped fabric.  I used a bias tape maker for this and it was very simple.

Making Your Own Bias Tape Using a Bias Tape Maker Tool

Making Your Own Bias Tape Using a Bias Tape Maker Tool

By Hand London Polly Top different anglesCulottes and Poly Top TwirlingVogue 8136I have always liked the practicality and the swishy factor of culottes, so wanted to make a pair.  I used a vintage pattern from the 1970s, Vogue 8136, which has a yoke, back zip and are high waisted, something I don’t normally wear, but I like the look with the yoke and wide leg.  I believe it is likely we will be seeing more culottes in fashion.  There are dozens of vintage patterns out there, or if you are interested in something more modern, Megan Neilson has recently developed the Tania Culottes.

Sewing Machine Needle Tip:  The fabric I used for the culottes was a tightly woven sueded polyester/microfibre and I kept getting many skipped stitches.  I was using a small size (75/11) Universal needle.  But, for this type of fabric you NEED to use a Sharp or Microtex.  The Universal needle has a slight ballpoint and it was not piercing and catching the fabric so the stitches were not taking.  As soon as I changed to a larger sized (90/14) Sharp, I had no more skipped stitches.  Culottes Gauchos Split Skirt I used the striped fabric from the Polly top to line the yoke and the pockets of the culottes.  So they do match the top, but since it’s all on the inside, only you and I will know it.  Shhhhh, don’t tell anyone. Lined Yoke and PocketsYoke and Pockets LiningThese culottes have quite the leg girth, so if you stand certain ways, It is difficult to tell if it is a skirt or trousers.  I plan on making them again but reducing the size of the leg pieces to emphasize the ‘culotte factor and make it more obvious.

Is It A Skirt??  Nope!! It Is Culottes.

Is It A Skirt?? Nope!! It Is Culottes.

–Do these trousers remind you of anyone?–

That's The One!!

That’s The One!! David Bowie in his infamous trousers designed by Yamamoto Kansai in 1973.

Today’s blogpost has been brought to you by:  The Colour Red!  While doing this Sewalong, I realized that I have absolutely nothing in my wardrobe that is red, except for one winter coat.  What about you?

Red, a primary colour that is the hottest of the warm colours, Rainbow over the Muldrow Glacieris the highest arc of the rainbow and is also the longest wavelength of light.  It is the colour of fire and is associated with heat and warmth. Coals-Heat-FireRed is the color of blood, and as such has strong symbolism as life and vitality. It is associated with energy, war, danger, strength, power, determination as well as passion, desire, and love.

Red is one of the first colours to be used by humans as art such as prehistoric cave drawings or body painting.

Cave Drawing Altamira, Spain

Cave Drawing Altamira, Spain

In an archaeological site in South Africa, Pinnacle Point, ochre coloured iron oxide tools were discovered dating back to 170,000 years ago.  Before synthetic dyes were created, the colour red was produced by drying and crushing tiny insects called Kermes Vermilio (hence, vermillion red).

Being the color of physical movement, the color red awakens our physical life force. It is the color of sexuality and lust while love is expressed with pink.  Red is a very emotionally intense color. Red is energizing.  It excites the emotions and motivates us to take action.Red Tag Sale

It signifies a pioneering spirit and leadership qualities, promoting ambition and determination. Red is the colour most associated with courage and can give confidence to those who are shy or lacking in will power.

It enhances human metabolism, increases respiration rate, and raises blood pressure. The color red can stimulate the appetite, often being used in restaurants for this purpose. It also increases craving for food and other stimuli.Red Dining Room Country Living

It has very high visibility, which is why stop signs, stop lights, and fire equipment are usually red.  It is the universal colour for danger.  Danger SignsRed brings text and images to the foreground.

source: Damir Sagolj Reuters

source: Damir Sagolj Reuters

In heraldry, red is used to indicate courage.  It is a colour found in many national flags (77% of all flags include red) and is commonly associated with socialism and communism.

Being surrounded by too much of the colour red can cause us to become irritated, agitated and ultimately angry. Too little and we become cautious, manipulative and fearful.

In Eastern cultures such as China, red is the colour for good luck, prosperity and joy and is traditionally the colour for weddings.  In Indian culture it symbolizes purity and is often used in wedding gowns.  In South Africa, red is the color of mourning, representing death.  In Central Africa, Ndembu warriors rub themselves with red paint during celebrations.  red-roses-photoSince their culture sees the color as a symbol of life and health, sick people are also painted with it.  In Russia, the word for “red” means beautiful.  In the Middle East the colour carries symbolism of Danger and Evil.  According to Greek mythology, the red rose originated from the blood of the slain Adonis, Aphrodite’s lover.  Red became both the universal symbol of lovers, as well as nature’s cycle of life and death.

source: catholicpressphoto.com

source: catholicpressphoto.com

In the Catholic religion, cardinals wear read and its one of the most iconic colours of the clergy.

The colour red can provide:

Energy:  it boosts our physical energy levels, increases our heart rate and blood pressure and prompts the release of adrenalin.  Action:  it is fast moving and promotes a need for action and movement.  Desire:  it relates to physical desire in all its forms- sexual, appetite, cravings.  Passion:  it means a passionate belief in an issue or undertaking, including passionate love or passionate hate or anger.

root chakraRed is the color associated with the Root Chakra, which is the first chakra, located at the base of the spine and groin area.  This chakra deals with life at the level of practicality and allows us to be grounded and connected to universal energies. It is responsible for maintaining the body’s heat and has a relationship with the circulatory system.

Red-Green Colour Blindness Test.  Can you read this?

Red-Green Colour Blindness Test. Can you read this?

Many kinds of mammals, such as dogs and cattle, have dichromacy, which means they can see blues and yellows, but cannot distinguish red and green (both are seen as gray).  Some humans also have what is called red-green colour blindness.

Katherine Hepburn was a ginger

Katherine Hepburn was a Ginger

Red is the rarest hair colour and between 1% and 2%, or 70 to 140 million people around the world, have red hair.  It is caused by a recessive gene and both parents must pass it on.

Put some red in your life when you want:

  • increased enthusiasm and interest
  • more energy
  • action and confidence to go after your dreams
  • protection from fears and anxieties

Kitty has made no appearance in the photoshoot!!!!!  Fear not.  I have compiled collages of him as a baby kitten in a SuperKitty costume with a bright red cape!  Because that’s the kind of Kitty he is.Super Kitty

Kitty.  Super Sewing Hero.

Kitty. Super Sewing Hero.

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Sewing Dare Done: Ikea Fabric + Butterick 5285

Ikea Fabric B5285 Skirt FrontI was recently charged with a sewing dare sewing daresby Jagoda from FitNottoFit to sew something for myself to wear out of this Ikea Fabric.  sewing dareYou can see the post here.

I decided to make a skirt from Butterick B5285. butterick 5285 2 I made View B, which has two box pleats in the front and back, a back zipper and side seam pockets.Ikea Fabric B5285 Skirt Front 3

It was quite easy to make, (save for my brand new (to me) vintage overlocker eating my first skirt, both front and back pieces.  I had to start all over again.  And, the second skirt, the waistband was too big, so I had to make a new one.)Ikea Fabric B5285 Skirt BackThe only real difficulty I found was with the box pleats.  It took so much time, measuring and ironing them, then lining up the next pleat so that it did not overlap the first one, making sure the pleats were the same size, etc.  This actually took longer than constructing the skirt.  It was much more challenging to get these box pleats even and flat from top to bottom than it was for knife pleats, like those found in versions C and D.  Is there a trick / secret to making box pleats?  If you know of one, please share!Ikea Fabric B5285 Skirt Front 4I do really like the way the box pleats layer the fabric and allow the large floral print on it to peek through and make all kinds of abstract and colourful designs on the skirt.  I think it really utilized the fabric to its full potential, adds an extra element of design and creates an interesting composition.  I am quite pleased with that aspect.  And, of course, POCKETS!!!!  ‘Nuff said.  I submitted it for my skirt project in sewing class and received 20 out of 20 (100%).  :)Ikea Fabric B5285 Skirt and KittyAnd, I have seen so many photos of you lovely garment makers twirling in your skirts, so here goes:

Ikea Fabric B5285 Skirt Twirling 4Ikea Fabric B5285 Skirt TwirlingTwirling is THE BEST!!!!  And, it really shows the layers of colour and abstract floral patterns underneath the box pleats.

Kitty Likes Measuring Tapes

Kitty Likes Measuring Tapes

Equinox Giveaway Winner! And, Your Favourite Season.

Update – April 15:  Christine Haynes, the author of the book, tweeted today to thank me for hosting this giveaway of her book!  She was excited about it and I added her tweet into the comments section.

We had a total of 70 entrants for the Equinox Celebration Sewing Book Giveaway!  The book is Chic and Simple Sewing by Christine Haynes,ChicSimpleSewing and is divided up into sewing projects designed for the four different seasons.

The entrants were from all across the globe and were asked to tell us their favourite season.  It was so exciting to find out where everybody was from and why they chose their season.  I compiled the information into a chart.  CHART!!  (The science and math geeks just perked up :)).  Some people chose all the seasons as their favourite.  D’oh!  Way to skew a chart! LOL.

Favourite Seasons Pie ChartSpring was the clear winner with autumn/fall and summer (the dry season in the tropics) practically tying for second and third place and winter (the wet/monsoon season in the tropics) coming in a distant fourth.

The following are a few of the simply beautiful and poetic quotes for each season, written by YOU!  The comments really allow everyone to see why you love your favourite season and made me appreciate seasons that may not be my favourites, by being able to see them through your eyes.  I was right there with you!  I thank you for that.  Your thoughts were truly lovely, you poets you!  A book or song should really be written; read on to see what I mean. (Can you find your comment?)

WINTER – Wet / Monsoon SeasonWinter Scene 2

The storms are so wild and huge and you feel so small in a good way.  The monsoon, it’s hard to comprehend.  There is just so much water in the world, all raining down on you at once!

I love the look and the sound of snow.

I love when you’re all warm and cozy next to a fire with a nice hot cuppa and u can hear pitta patter on the window.Winter_wallpaper 2In the tropics, the monsoon is in full swing. Nothing like falling asleep to the rain on your roof and the sounds of distant thunder!

I like the beautiful view after a snow storm, when everything is blanketed in pure white.

SUMMER – Dry Season

summer_sunflowers 2It feels like the climax to my year…. I adore the long evenings and early morning sunshine, I can walk the dog and have had my breath of fresh air by 6am… wonderful stuff!!

If I had to pick, I’d go for the last days of summer, with the plentiful fruit, the somewhat tired heat, the foreboding of darker days.

It’s warm and sunny and if you’re lucky enough to have a garden, it peaks in mid-July.  We cycle and swim outdoors, we go mad because winter will begin again in November.

I love hot and humid weather, iced tea, pools and ocean time.summer_landscape 2

I get to sleep in as much as I’d like and my children are all home with me. What could be better?

I love sitting in the garden sewing. We live beside a river, so a glass of wine outside as the sun goes down is just lovely.

The rains stop for a while and we get to have sunshine.

Lucky for me I live in the desert, constant summer!

It means BBQs, hikes, camping and swims.

AUTUMN / FALL

I think, it’s the most beautiful time of year, full of colour and charmFall 2.

I love that it’s still warm but the colours are changing.  It often brings the best of the weather.  It also feels ‘new’ to me; a hangover of the new school year starting, I guess!

I love the trees shedding their leaves not to mention the beautiful warm colours that are associated with autumn- orange, chocolate, tan, coral, khaki, cream and cinnamon.

I love the change, the drama, the unpredictable weather.

I love Autumn, the crisp air and the changing colours of the leaves. The chilly mornings where fog lies low in valleys and the smell of woodfires is on the breeze.

My favourite season is early autumn, where it is still warm but not too hot, and late flowers are still blooming but the air is already getting an earthly smell. It just gives me a happy warm feeling.

Cool nights for snuggling.autumn 2

Perfect weather for watching the amazing sunsets over the ocean!

The smell of autumn leaves is delicious.

Autumn always feels like a big relief that the heat is over.

The hot winds of the desert blow through the basin. The air is clear and the heat is sharp and by this time the garden is bursting with color and fragrance.

 SPRING

I love the freshness.. the new growth… planting a garden… daffodils…Spring Kitty

I’m big on light layering and I love to see the new growth appear.

I love that it’s hot and sunny, and seeing all of the flowers blooming after a dreary winter.

Cherry blossoms in the spring. That is what I’m waiting for.

I love spring because it’s fresh, new, and hope for what’s to come!

The days are getting longer, and everything is still green from the winter rain.

The grass starts to turn green, the leaves begin to bud, flowers start to bloom. Bliss.spring - baby animals 2Spring is so full of new beginnings for so many things. There’s always new baby birds flying around and all the plants come to life and are blossoming everywhere, I just love it.Everything is bright and beautiful and it leads to summer.

Cool crisp mornings and evenings and the newness of Spring with leaves emerging on trees & flowers blossoming everywhere.

I love spring, when all that has been sleeping in winter comes back to life. Warm days and cool nights that usher in refreshed fields of color and the wonderful perfume that springs from it.spring flowers 2

Days are getting longer, but it’s not too hot yet.

I love Spring the most because the newly appearing rays of sunlight after a long winter make me happy and make me feel alive.

After a cold, wet & snowy winter, the flowers are beginning to bloom, the trees are turning green and the birds begin to sing. The temperature is not too hot & not too cold and it is so nice to be able to go out and get my garden started. I love the colors of spring as well, the yellow daffodils, the red tulips and purple pansy. I love to get inspiration for my sewing from the flowers.  You can see many colors in one flower.

The transition from cold grey wet days into slightly less cold, occasionally blue wet days here in Manchester is always welcome.

And, something to be said for the beauty of ALL seasons:

There’s something grand about the circle of life, and the different feelings the change of seasons evoke that I enjoy more than “just” a single season.

I love every season, especially when they are beginning.  The blooming flowers in spring, the warm summer nights, putting on the first cozy sweater in fall and I love a good snow fall.  By the time the seasons are changing, I’m ready for the new one.

In NZ, colours are so much greener all year round, so these wonderful changes are a little more muted.

Missjoiedevivre from A Charm of Magpies, also shared an interesting seasonal factoid for us:

“Here in New Zealand, we mark the turning of the seasons on the first of the month, not the equinox/solstice. So it has been autumn since March the first!”

I had no idea!!  Does anybody know why?  Please, do share.

Because this Giveaway induced a very contemplative, calming and thoughtful vibe, Kitty thought that he would take his initial draw officiating ceremony idea, down a notch and also relate it to the seasons.  (However, do not fret, Kitty fans, I have just won the Wellington Pattern Pyramid from Laura over at miymdiary, so for the winner of that draw, Kitty is going to put his original plan into action and let loose his boisterous side).

The Draw

spring buds 3

Inspecting Spring Flower Buds

I listed numbers from 1 to 70 on tiny bits of paper, that looked like hopeful spring flower buds.Spring flower buds  Kitty inspects the flower bud numbers, and they are then placed at the beginning of the Kitty Tunnel, which depicts the hot yellow sun, clear blue sky and calm blue water of a gorgeous summer day.  names in tube, blow dryer set up 2

A blow dryer was then set up and aimed at the flower bud numbers.  The blow dryer was turned on and Kitty delighted in watching as the flower buds create a lovely winter storm and swirled around frantically and hypnotically inside the windy tunnel.

Tunnel Eye View

Tunnel Eye View

Kitty then bravely enters the eye of the hurricane.  Oh, our gallant and fuzzy beast.  Will he persevere over natures elements?

Kitty stands strong, never taking his eyes off the prize.

He grabs fruitlessly in the air, on the ground, in the tunnel; so many paws, so much paper, such wind.

Winter Storm

Winter Storm

Kitty Tasting Names

Kitty tasting the paper numbers

Kitty Inspects Names 2Kitty leaves no sense underutilized and even tastes the spring flower buds, to ascertain which paper holds the possibility of being the winning entrant.  Kitty then exits the tunnel, patiently watching his targets fly out of the tunnel and flutter delicately to the ground.  Like gentle autumn leaves, departing their spring and summer homes on the trees, they fall softly to the ground. Kitty Emerging from Tube to Capture Winning Name of Fallen Autumn Leaves

Kitty waits for the bewitching autumn leaves to land while contemplating his next move. Whcih Name Will Kitty Select He inspects the items, never quite pinpointing just one, moving effortlessly between all the spring buds/fallen leaves, until…..his eye sees what it wants.

Kitty does it!! He hones in on, and dutifully captures a solitary flower bud/autumn leaf!  He gets his paws on the winner!!!Kitty Captures the Winning Flower Bud Name

The paper is unfurled like a beautiful tulip in Spring,

Name Unfurled Like a Spring Tulipand……

You are Taking Too Long, Let Me Help You!!!

You are Taking Too Long, Let Me Help You!!!

A Spring Tulip

Ah, Sweet Smells of Tulips

Ah, the Sweet Smell of a Lovely Spring Tulip

…the winner is…..Entrant Number has Been RevealedNumber 33!!  Which corresponds to……Elise Lin from What the Dormouse Sews, whose favourite season happens to be:  Autumn.

Elise LinCongratulations Elise!! Kitty and I are both so happy for you.  Please email me with your specs so that I can mail/post you, your brand new sewing book!

-Thank you to everybody for stopping by the blog and entering the giveaway, and for your engaging commentary on nature’s finest hours.- 

I will leave you with Nick Drake, metaphoring on the seasons with the hauntingly beautiful, The Time of No Reply.  You’ll thank me (after you’ve finished rocking back and forth in the fetal position, while weeping gently.)  You’re welcome. (click on the song title to view it, you won’t regret it).

Kitty retiring to his tunnel tube with the winning number to contemplate Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

Kitty retiring to his tunnel, with the winning number, to contemplate Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness…….and Tuna.

photo and comment credits:  Giveaway entrants favourite season comments, quoted in this blogpost, have been edited, by me, for grammar and spelling as well as for brevity and are the sole property of the authors.  The original comments and their corresponding authors can be found on the Giveaway sign-up post, here, in the comments section.

Photograph of the four seasons courtesy of:  winter, summer, autumn, spring Photograph of Kitty in Spring courtesy of Halo Pets.

Bowie Sewalong Make – And it GLOWS IN THE DARK!

Fabric, Notions and Kitty, Ready to Go

Fabric, Notions and Kitty, Ready to Go

So, I have finally finished my project for Bowie Sewalong.  The lovely and unique Tempest Devyne, from FanBloomingTastic has been the gracious host of a Bowie Sewalong, a sewing group dedicated to everything David Bowie.  She has been so great about posting music, information, movie clips, it’s been great fun following along!

I remember when I was young, single digits years old, and my brother and I went to camp in the summers.  And all the camp counselors listened to David Bowie and Supertramp.  At that age, there are really no cool cliques at school or with your friends yet, so, the camp counselors were the very first “Cool Kids” encounter for me. So, I took what they gave very seriously.

Is Bowie the best singer around?  Definitely not.  The best musician? Not really.  But, can Ziggy Play Guitar??? Oh Yes, you bet.  He is such a performer and free spirit and I love the personas he takes on and how unapologetic he is about them.  His creativity knows no bounds and the key underlying theme is to express himself, any way he sees fit.

Bowie Sewalong Skirt at Piano

My contribution for the sewalong is a wrap-around skirt, that I designed and sewed myself, with no patterns or instructions.  I really wanted to ‘wing it’ for this project, as it seemed the perfect time to try my hand at something unique and off the cuff.Bowie Skirt Full View, Wrap, Front, Ties, Back  I have no idea if it’s drafted, put together or sewn ‘correctly’ and, in fact, have never made a wrap skirt before.  But, that was the point of the exercise, to channel the Bowie Spirit and just let it roll!

The skirt references, not only the ’70’s, when they were so popular, but all things Space that David Bowie was interested in during that decade, including Space Oddity, Life on Mars, Starman, even Ziggy’s last name was Stardust.  It was definitely a huge theme in his art.

I found two scarves in my parent’s basement (we can call them vintage) that depict a map of the universe with the entire night sky, including stars, galaxies, planets and horoscope signs.  I used these scarves for the back panels of the skirt and then added a fabric that looked like the sky with stars and planets all over it for a smaller, front panel.  I added some tucks to front and back for shaping, a bit of a waistband, and, of course, embellished with bright red chevron and silver trims.Bowie Skirt

And, the best part?  The scarves glow in the dark!!!!  The whole night sky lights up in the dark and glows on my backside!  This just felt ‘right’ for a Bowie sewalong. :) I wanted to offset the universe pattern on the scarf, so that the entire night sky was not centred perfectly on my backside.  Something about that thought, just didn’t quite jive.Bowie Wrap Around Skirt Back View

Bowie (on shelf) and I

I love this video, it really depicts Bowie’s inner geekdom.  Doesn’t he look like guys from your high school and not a ‘rock star’?

Charging My Skirt Backside

Charging Up My, uh, Backside with a Lamp to Get its Glow on! As you do. Don’t you? Maybe it’s just me then.

Proud To Be Charm School Reject

Proud To Be, Charm School Reject

For his contribution, Kitty made a chevron choker and blinged it up with gold and pearl studs and gold and silver appliques, as well as a huge remove-able charm.  Kitty channels Bowie easily and is and always will be, proud to be a Charm School Reject.Kitty's Bowie Chevron Choker with Stars and StudsKitty's Bowie Chevron ChokerKitty's Chevron ChokerProud To Be The Charm School RejectSkirt Back Close UpBowie Skirt Sitting DownPlaying Piano in Bowie Skirt

A Giveaway to Celebrate the Vernal-Autumnal Equinox!

Well, today is that glorious time of year.  The Vernal Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere (first day of spring)

Spring has Sprung in Spain

Spring has Sprung in Spain

Autumn in Australia

Autumn in Australia

and the Autumnal Equinox in the Southern Hemisphere (first day of autumn).  Both are excellent seasons and an exquisite end to the grey, cold snow and the sticky, humid heat.

An equinox happens twice a year and is the day where the terminator (twilight zone) is at 90 degrees to the Earth’s equator and the length of day and night is precisely equal!  Ooooh, the wonderful math and symmetry involved.  I get goosebumps!

To help celebrate this momentous occasion, I am giving away the sewing book Chic and Simple Sewing by Christine Haynes.ChicSimpleSewing

This book includes paper patterns, instructions and photos for 20 fashion projects that range in difficulty from 1 to 5.  There is a rating system applied to each garment so that you know what you are getting yourself into, before you begin sewing.

The first section of the book explains some sewing techniques ranging from patch pockets to applying bias tape and the rest of the book presents a variety of garments for you to sew with the full patterns included in sizes small, medium and large (measurements included).  The fun part of this book is that it is divided up into seasons, Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter with associated clothes and patterns for each season.  I thought this fit perfectly into the Seasonal Celebration we are having!

I have made several items from this book including the A-line skirt, fabric belt and belt loops, The Trench and The Date Dress (which I made into nightgowns).  I also have The Retro Shift Dress lined up in the queue to sew for this summer.

The Retro Shift Dress

The Retro Shift Dress

For most of these projects, I altered and embellished the pattern and sewing to add a bit more polish and finishing.  That’s one of the good aspects I found about this book: that it is aimed at the experienced beginner, but as you begin to climb up the levels of difficulty, or if you are already an advanced sewer, you can alter, embellish and add to the patterns and the sewing style to make your own, more tailored creations.

Also, this book is now out of print.  Christine Haynes just blogged about this recently, so you will no longer be able to order or purchase this book anywhere!

chic-simple-sewing-2

Projects from the Book

chic-simple-sewing-3

Projects from the Book

Projects from the Book

Projects from the Book

chic-simple-sewing-5

Projects from the Book

tulips

Beautiful Spring Tulips

To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment letting everybody know what is your favourite season and why.  You can enter from anywhere in the world, no matter what season it is for you currently.  :)

The giveaway will close on Sunday April 7, 2013, so please be sure to have your comments in by then.  Kitty, of course, will be officiating the draw to pick the winner.  Drop by again for the, sure to be exciting, entrant selection!

Update:  See the official draw ceremony and the winning entrant here!

Good luck to everybody!  And please ensure there is some way of contacting you, if you do win.

Feel free to ‘like’ Gjeometry on Facebook and follow this blog so we can all keep in touch!

(Autumn in Australia pic courtesy of Reef and Outback Rail Tours, Projects from the Book pics courtesy of Christine Haynes blog)

Pattern Pyramid Pick Progess (De-80s-fying). And a Sewing Dare!

So, to refresh your memories, I had selected the Very Easy Very Vogue Pattern to Take Out9647 from the winning Pattern Pyramid.  There were two main reasons for this; one, it was in my size, two, it was touted as “very easy”.

Now, not sure if you can see from the picture or not, but this pattern is definitely very ’80s.  Especially, the incredibly expansive shoulder pads.  They are actually large enough to land a plane on!  Seriously!  And for those of you afraid to fly, picture a Kitty perched on each shoulder and walking around all day like that.

I wanted to try my best to De-80s-fy the pattern (yes, I coined that phrase, please feel free to use it and share).

This is what I came up with to bring it into this century while lancing the shoulder pad design detail:  De-80's fying the pattern pickI opted to make the top half of the dress in B (the short sleeves) and the bottom half of the dress in A (the full skirt), while also shortening the dress to about knee-length.  I’m using a periwinkle blue cotton voile that has a flower design embossed on it, and is almost sheer where the flowers are embossed.  I thought it would be delicate and flowy and deter from that ‘boxy’ look.  I then decided to sew an Obi Style belt out of the cotton floral fabric to cinch it at the waist while still keeping that light and airy look (as opposed to using a heavy leather / plastic belt).

So, these are my plans to de-80’s fy, what do you think?  In my mind, it looks fabulous! :)  In reality, we’ll have to wait and see.

And, I have been charged with a Sewing Dare by Jagoda from FitNottoFit:

Catja, I don’t know what your plans are for March, but I CHALLENGE you to make something from Ikea fabric. Hopefully something wearable, for yourself, not for the kitties. Do you accept?”

Yes, I accept!  Although Kitty is a tad disgruntled.  Here is my plan:sewing dare2I love Ikea fabric, but it can be a challenge to sew clothing with it, as it is mainly designed for home sewing projects.  I am going to make Butterick B5285 in Version B and use this Ikea fabric pictured.  The fabric design is:  Malin Akerblom, 2010.  The floral print is quite large and I’m hoping that with the addition of the pleats on the skirt, it will look like an abstract floral pattern.

Karen, from Did You Make That? made the same version (B) of the Butterick skirt in a fabulous fabric, check it out here.  It looks terrific, so if mine comes out half this well, I will be stoked!