"" The girl who makes things: February 2014

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Second time lucky

I've become a bit obsessed with nailing the Plantain top from Deer&Doe. After my first attempt which turned out to be a bit on the small side, I decided to give knits another go and make a plain and simple Plantain. 

The fabric is off-white cotton jersey from Leeds Market. I have a hole in my wardrobe crying out for some basics and so far this year I've managed not to buy any new clothes. As time goes on it gets harder to break this vow, to the point where I find it almost impossible to imagine purchasing RTW clothes. Am I changing? I'm not sure how long I can hold out!

Anyway, I was in need of a white T-shirt so this seemed the perfect choice. The fabric was much stretchier than the pink paisley and I was careful not to make the seam allowances too big. The result? A much better fit. I even added some elbow patches for extra decoration.

I still had some pink paisley jersey leftover from my previous Plantain. I'm getting very particular about waste and hate having fabric scraps hanging around the flat so I decided to make a gathered mini skirt.

It was dead simple. Just a case of sewing two rectangles together, folding and stitching the top edge over and then running a piece of elastic through it. And as jersey doesn't fray, so no need to hem!

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Yes I CAN sew with knits...just

Good morning, or should I say afternoon? It's very difficult to tell the time of day/day of the week when unemployed. Not that I'm sitting round doing nothing all day, I'm sending off lots and lots of job applications for various teaching jobs around Europe. Fingers crossed something comes back!

Anyway, after I finished my course I had a real itch to get some selfish sewing out of my system. I already had the pattern and fabric prepared for what I was going to do: a Plantain Top from Dear&Doe.

I've never made anything from Deer&Doe before and this free pattern was a really good tester to see how much I liked them. I have to say, I'm very tempted to buy some more patterns from this company as I was impressed with the Plantain. The instructions were incredibly clear and reassuring and the whole piece sewed up nicely.

This is my first time with sewing knits so I tried my best to be as thorough as I could - I even bought the ballpoint needle. I did some practicing on my sewing machine before I started but found it terribly difficult to get even stitches, any advice you have would be welcome!

Also, the top actually ended up being a bit smaller than intended, especially around the bust. I have a feeling this was my fault, as opposed to the pattern sizing. I think I was rather generous with the seam allowances. As a result the top pulls around the chest and arms. I'm happy to chalk this up to experience though, and call this one a toile/muslin. The fabric was a bargainess £2 from the Shipley Shuttle so I'm not going to lose any sleep over it. I've decided to make a couple more Plantain tops to get my sewing knits practice up. I love the design so much that I'd like a number of T-shirts in different colours to fill up my wardrobe.

So now I'm going to send off some more applications and have a mooch in the market for some more jersey fabric, happy Tuesday!

Saturday, 15 February 2014

The next step

Hello blog-world! It feels like ages since I posted anything (it's been about 4 weeks) but so much has happened and so much has changed. The exciting news is that I've finished my CELTA course - I'm now a qualified English teacher! Today is the first day I don't have anything to do. No assignments, no lesson plans, nadda. It just seems crazy.

The course was fantastic, but so much hard work. I could put up with it for four weeks, but anymore than that and I'd have collapsed. I put myself under a lot of pressure during the course. I went into it thinking that I'd barely scrape a pass, so I went a bit mad and overworked myself. The result was that I did pretty well, much better than I ever thought I would, but I had some stress attacks and I'm still finding it quite difficult to wind back down. The tutors were wonderful though and I managed to push through right to the end.

So what now? Well this is the hardest decision of all - where should I go? I'd like to stay in Europe but even that's a massive area and there are so many language schools once you start looking, it's difficult to know where to start. Furthermore, it's difficult to know who to trust once you've heard a few horror stories about teacher exploitation. Top choices are Italy, Spain, Germany and possibly Turkey. If you have any advice then let me know!

For the next couple of weeks though, I'm going to be hanging around in West Yorkshire, looking for jobs, sorting stuff out and relaxing a bit. I've just fetched my sewing machine from the servicing shop and I'm thinking about indulging in some celebratory sewing. Next projects are:

The Plantain t-shirt from Deer&Doe
Plantain t-shirt

Four bridesmaids dresses .

So there we are. Rolling back into life after a stressful four weeks. Bring on the next stage!