Saturday, 9 April 2016

Hide and Seek tunic with an indonesian twist

Some years (decades!) ago in a market in Singaraja - a town in the north of Bali - I bought a bunch of cloths made for Balinese traditional dancers and have kept (hoarded!) them ever since. From time to time it's struck me that R would adore the pretty, bright colours and the touches of silver and gold, but I haven't been able to figure out how to incorporate these things into an actual, wearable garment. Until now - when I realised that a cut-up songket scarf would make a perfect yoke for an Oliver + S hide and seek dress. Songket is an Indonesian fabric woven through with metallic threads, with the woven designs creating a shimmery effect.

I was worried about all those metallic threads coming loose while cutting out the yoke, but zigzagging the edges before sewing seemed to do the trick. The main fabric of the tunic is a beautiful soft linen from Darn Cheap, a rich browny-grey colour that I love so much, I'm thinking I should go back and buy a couple of metres to make something for myself. I remembered the first Hide and Seek I made as being quite a bit of work, but without the pockets this shorter version was pleasingly fast to sew. I made the size 5 with size 7 length, which turned out just about perfect. Just one modification: snaps at the back in lieu of buttons. Beautiful though buttons are, I just can't cope with the tears and tangles when R's long hair wraps itself around them.

I love this top so much I'm almost reluctant to hide it away in R's cupboard. The plainness of the linen with the richness of the yoke - so lovely. Plus it carries fond memories of Singaraja market and my fabric purchases all those years ago.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Skinny jeans and a corduroy jacket

I did it! I finally made jeans - real ones, with flat-felled seams, a coin pocket and LOTS of topstitching. And it was fun! I used Titchy Threads' well-loved Small Fry Skinny Jeans pattern and thoroughly enjoyed the process. Now, I do realise I'm probably the last person left in the sewing world to discover this pattern, but I must say I am truly impressed. The pattern itself is great, and the instructions are very clear and well-written. The only thing I will change next time is to sew the waistband inside buttons on at the very end as they interfered with my topstitching. Also, my machine rebelled against sewing on the belt loops with topstitching thread, so after several attempts at this (all of which had to be laboriously unpicked) I gave up and used normal thread instead. These little difficulties aside, the jeans are not a difficult sew and the results are impressive.

I made the fully topstitched version with a half fly, reversed for a girl as outlined in the instructions. I cut a size 5 in width and size 7 in length based on R's measurements but the jeans are far from skintight so I probably could have reduced the width even further - although this might make them more difficult to put on, which could then lead to them not being worn. I really love them just the way they are and it's such a pleasure to see my girl in jeans at long last. A side benefit of all that thread changing while sewing: I worked out how to use the automatic threading function on my machine! No more squinting at the needle for me!

We went into town today for a Japanese lunch and a trip to the Chinese Museum, and I managed to get some modelled photos on our outing. R wore her new jeans with another new item - a baby-wale corduroy jacket from Kids! magazine. The cord is beautifully soft and is an unusual shade somewhere between grape and... well, whatever colour is greyer and murkier than grape (why am I so often attracted to colours I don't know the names of?). Indoors it looks a little dull, but in natural light its true colours shine. I lengthened the sleeves a little and bias-bound the facing, but otherwise it's made exactly as per the pattern. The cute wooden buttons are from Darn Cheap, as is the fabric. I love the style of the jacket but the neckline is weirdly large, so this will need some modifying if I make it again. Kids! magazine has quite a lot of nice patterns, and best of all, they go up to size 150 so I can use them for a few years to come - at least, that's how I justified buying it!

R happily put on the jeans today, so I'm considering this a turning point! Hopefully they'll get loads of wear over the cooler months.