Tuesday, 25 February 2014

two sewing projects, two mistakes

A few weeks ago I was looking through an old photograph album I made of the first holiday my husband and I took together. This was before we were married so over twenty five years ago and we went on an escorted tour of the (then) Soviet Union. As I looked through the pictures and remembered the holiday, I also noticed what I was wearing. Most of my clothes I had made myself. We were on holiday in July and it was hot, I was wearing cotton skirts, knitted summer tops in cotton and a couple of cardigans all of which I had made.

I stopped sewing clothes when the children were born, lack of time and space and the availability of cheaper clothes to buy. Now with more time although the same lack of space (just one small table in the house which needs to be completely cleared for meals if more than two people want to eat together!) I decided to restart this hobby.

To keep it simple I chose a cotton summer skirt.  I downloaded the pattern, printed out all the peices and pieced them together, so far so good. Of course this American pattern was in American sizes so I looked at the measurements, found an online dress size converter and chose my size. I am a UK size 10 and so made a US 8.

It is far too big. I wonder does anyone know if American patterns are made on the generous size?

It looks ok in this photo,

and I was pleased with the gathers at the front.

However to get it to fit, even allowing for the dropped waist I had to pull the elastic up so much at the back that the side panels have ended up at the back and the back panel is soooo tightly gathered with masses of material - not very flattering. If I wear this during the summer it will only be at home when no-one will see it which was a disappointment as I like the fabric and the design. Where did I go wrong?

I should have stopped there but there was a discount on further pattens so I downloaded a pattern for this tunic which I thought would be perfect for wearing with skinny jeans in the summer. This time I was determined not to be caught out by the sizing so I made a size 4 which is equivalent to a UK 6. This seemed a bit ridiculous since I am a size 10 but I went ahead anyway and now I have the most enormous tunic! It isn't finished, I just tacked the skirt to the bodice last night when I realised that it looked on the large size.

I measured across the bust

40 inches, this is not a UK 6. With gathers front and back there is so much material in this. What have I done wrong this time? I have checked that I cut out all the peices correctly and used the right seam allowances.

Again I really like the fabric and both projects seem like such a waste of time and money.

What to do next? I feel loathed to try another project since problems are said to come along in threes! Perhaps after a while I will buy a paper pattern and try again, I enjoyed the process but I wanted wearable garments at the end.

Any advice would be appreciated. Meanwhile I will watch The Great British Sewing Bee and see other people sewing whilst I sit and knit.

I want to say that I am not criticising these patterns, just saying that I couldn't get them to fit me and I don't know why.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

February Photo Challenge

I haven't taken many photographs this week so I have chosen a few from my holiday in Iceland last summer.

day 19 - horizon
 This is the black sand beach at Vik in southern Iceland. If you look towards the southern horizon from here you will see nothing but sea and over the horizon there is no land mass between Iceland and Antarctica.

day 20 - unexpected
 I had expected Iceland to be very mountainous and there are mountains, but also there are miles and miles of flat glacial sands, very different from the picture I had in my mind.

day 21 - path
For most of our holiday we were on an escorted tour which was a great way of seeing a lot in the time we were there but sometimes I would have liked a little more time to explore. We stopped to look at this moss covered lava which went on for miles and I spotted this little path - a sheep path maybe? If I had more time I would have liked to wander along the path to get a sense of the scale and isolation of the place.

This month I am joining with Tash from Vintage Pretty in the February Photo Challenge.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

February Photo Challenge

I have missed out a few days but here are some photographs from the past week.

day 14 - joy
After the grey wet winter we have had here, all signs of spring bring joy. We have lived in this house for over twenty years and although I haven't spent much on the garden, I usually buy something small a few times a year. After all these years all these little plants and bulbs have grown and each year its great to see them coming back to life in the spring.

day 17 - close up
 Even tiny little plants look amazing when viewed close up.

day 18 - pale
Last Saturday we spent a morning with elderly family. Before driving back home we stopped and ate a picnic lunch in the car looking out at the New Forest.  This landscape looks pale, lots of soft colours, a little pause before it turns green again in the spring and summer.

This month I am joining with Tash from Vintage Pretty in the February Photo Challenge.

Friday, 14 February 2014

February Photo Challenge

 day 12 - silhouette

Two photographs this time because I couldn't decided which one to post. Bare branches of trees silhouetted against a winter sky.

day 13 - green
Its been a very wet but not particularly cold winter and I don't think the lawn has stopped. A lovely fresh green colour on a rare sunny day.
Something to be grateful for as so much countryside is under water and the submerged plants including crops and grassland are dying.

I am joining with Tash from Vintage Pretty in the February Photo Challenge.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

February photo challenge, days 10 & 11

day 10 - wilderness
We don't have a lot of wilderness here in the south of England but I decided that its just a matter of scale. For a small insect, an ant maybe, this clump of moss, dried twigs and leaves could be a wilderness.

day 11 - home
I think that some small creature calls this crevice in the wall "home". There were acorns around the entrance and there seemed to be a small tunnel leading back into the wall. A safe place to rest and store food for the winter = home.

This month I am joining Tash at Vintage Pretty for the February Photo Challenge

Friday, 7 February 2014

February photo challenge, days 4 -7

day 4 - slow
Now that we only have one car, I spend more time walking. Walking is great for slowing down, moving at a pace that you actually get a chance to look at the surroundings rather than glimpse them rushing past the car window. In todays fast paced world, walking is slow.

day 5 - delicious
 Black coffee and dark chocolate, a wonderful combination and with 85% cocoa solids, the chocolate is practically a health food (ahem).

day 6 - golden
 The winter jasmine has been flowering for several weeks, a bright patch of gold in the sunshine.

day 7 - texture
There were many things I could think of for "texture" but in the end went for this silvery grey oak bark caught in the pale wintery sunshine.

This month I am joining Tash at Vintage Pretty for the February Photo Challenge.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

February photo challenge - days 1 - 3

Day 1 - beginnings
This white cyclamen blooming in the garden now is full of buds, small individual "beginnings".

Day 2 - colour
 Red berries providing a welcome splash of colour amidst the surrounding grey.

Day 3 - alone
On this huge holly tree, I saw a single berry, the only one remaining at the end of the winter - all on its own, alone.

This month I am joining Tash at Vintage Pretty for the February Photo Challenge.