Return from internet blackout and ‘Neat Pleats’ completion

Sorry for the long break in posting, I have been moving house and hence have had to contend with the usual switch-over time before getting the phone line up and running!

In the meantime I have been busy sewing and creating and I have completed my pleated top in time for the sun to come out!

I decided to have a one inch pleat about every four inches, although I followed the stripes in the fabric rather than the exact measurements. I decided to line the top with a yellow viscose jersey (very stretchy) to make it secure (very important in a strapless top). I calculated the stretch in the jersey and cut it so that it would fit over my shoulders when completely stretched.

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I pressed the pleats into the striped fabric before beginning and then hemmed the bottom by hand and pressed it again.

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I attached the lining and top together and added a snap fastening for the striped fabric as it has no stretch to it.

I love the way it turned out although if I were to make this again I would use bigger pleats to give a more flared look!

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Neat Pleats – Designer Inspiration

In April I was going away and so I treated myself to a copy of Vogue to read on the plane. I love leafing through the glossy pages and the UK April edition had some fantastic editorials. I have read that issue so many times now and every time I read it I get more inspiration! Since April I have bought a couple more issues but they are not so beautiful as that edition.

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In the editorial entitled “Plain Song”. They explore soft clean white and neutral lines and I fell in love with this top here by “JW Anderson”.

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I had recently purchased some striped yellow and black fabric and I think this could be perfect for making a similarly pleated boob-tube.

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I am going to have the stripes lying up and down parallel to the pleats and inside I will face the top with some jersey fabric to add a bit of extra fit. I haven’t quite decided on the type of fastening to use at the back but I will probably go for a few large poppers. The fabric should probably be opaque enough to do a single thickness top (as long as it is worn with a bra that is!) but I will have to see. I will experiment with the width of the pleats but currently I am planning on having two inch pleats every four inches around. I’ll keep you posted!

Cryostasis Dress

In the latest issue of Sew Today (my favourite sewing magazine). There was a lovely suggestion of an organza shift dress made from a simple tunic pattern. Immediately I thought “this is something for me”. I loved the idea of a great 1960’s space age minidress that is stiff as well as sheer with the seams forming art deco lines! Although the shift looks fabulous there is something vaguely sleepwear-ish about it (maybe thats why it seems so alluring). In my mind it would be worn by a beautiful girl travelling through the stars in a cryostasis pod.

I chose a Kwik Sew pattern to form the basis of the tunic:

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I lengthened it to minidress length and added a triangular godet down the front to add flare reminiscent of the space age of the 1960’s (think early Star Trek or the Jetsons). I chose a lovely “pewter” coloured organza and bound the seams with grey thread to reinforce the structure of the seam lines and also provide a stiff skeleton for the dress. I used the same method for the hem round the neck, sleeves and bottom as I did to edge the fabric in my “GoodGirlBadGirl” shorts.

The dress is so light it would make an excellent beach cover-up or over a slip for a smart cocktail dress, however I think it looks best over a crop top and leggings so I can show off some flesh whilst still covering up!

My boyfriend took some great photos of the dress down at the beach:

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Review – Pattern Magic

So far I have been posting about the clothes I have been making but now I want to pay homage to the pattern cutting book that taught me all I know: Pattern Magic by Tomoko Nakamichi.

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This book is invaluable to anyone who wants to move on from basic pattern cutting to creating really modern garments that are sure to stand out!

The reviews on Amazon praise this book but most caution against using it if you are not already a competent pattern cutter. I will admit that some things are not included (eg. instructions on how to draw a basic sleeve block) but these things can be found from a simple internet search so I would say this book is suitable for anyone happy with using shop bought patterns!

There are several projects in the book. Some are very complete (like the lovely “hide and seek” dress on page 77) and some are just suggestions of projects (like the bamboo shoot bodice). When I first got this book I spent hours and hours just looking through. It is so inspiring. The English translation is very well done and understandable even with the more technical instructions and the use of diagrams and pictures guides the reader gently through all the necessary steps whilst allowing room to add flare!

The book is separated into two sections although I can’t really see what distinction there is between them: both contain a mixture of techniques and projects. My favourite parts of the book are those dealing with the sculptural aspects of more stiff fabric such as the “drop hole” technique which I used in my Vortex – N -skirt.

If you are starting out you can easily follow the patterns in the book before moving on to designing your own things that are sure to turn heads! I can’t wait to get the rest of these books in this series but I have by no means exhausted all the possibilities I have in mind for the techniques I have learned so far.

 

241 skirt – continued

It had been a tough decision for Martia to make: let Venetia die or condemn both of them to a life on the run. The first days after the procedure had been a haze as the two consciousnesses had begun claiming parts of the brain. Every time Venetia advanced through the neo-cortex Martia was pushed backwards. Her body felt drunk.

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This past week I have been taken away from my sewing/designing as I had a workshop to attend in my other life as a Solar Physicist. This means I have not been able to complete this skirt so far but here is a nice little progress report to let you know how things are going!

The skirt is made up of two pieces: the underskirt that goes all the way round and is short (I chose a red pure cotton fabric for this) and the overksirt that is only half a skirt and is long (I chose a navy blue pure cotton fabric).

So far I have only made the red underskirt:

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I fitted a red zipper into the side seam and top-stitched round the waist.

It was such a lovely day up in Scotland today I couldn’t help but sit out in the garden to hand stitch the hem….. If only there was a way of using the sewing machine outside as well!

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241 skirt – design stage

It wasn’t safe after dark this side of town. They reached for the Sierpinski knife in their thigh holster, their impulses collided as they rushed down the spinal cord simultaneously.

Martia allowed herself to rest as her sister’s consciousness took over the body, her body.  Pluralism was against the law but her sister had been dying. Sharing wouldn’t even be so bad if they weren’t on the run…..

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I always love the idea of contrasting parts of the same garment. Just like Martia’s body is shared between two, this skirt is split into two sides one long and one short. Here is my sketch:

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I have cut the pattern pieces and ordered the fabric, I intend to make it out of navy blue and red cotton fabric. I can’t wait to start work!

Bio-hacker top – design stage

In the years following the Plague Wars, most people fear invasive technology, but among the new generation too young to remember, there are those that flaunt their cybernetic symbionts.

Freelance bio-hacker, Xyla, rubs her fingers against the vial in her pocket. She hopes it was worth the credits…

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The idea of implants on the skin (much like 7 of 9 has in Star Trek Voyager) gave me the idea to make a top with cut out holes. Here is my sketch:

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The gathers around the holes focus the eye onto the exposed skin.

I intend to make this top out of stretch viscose and have already cut the pattern…I’ll keep you posted as the top progresses!