"" The girl who makes things: June 2015

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Lisbon tiles skirt

Wow, I can't believe it's nearly the end of June. By Wednesday next week I'll have finished my first full school year in Lisbon! I feel as though I should write something reflective about this year. Something about the triumphs and tribulations and what I've learnt... But there's not much I to say, apart from it's been a tremendous year, I don't regret my decision to move here and everyone should visit Lisbon. I think it's the most underated city in Europe.

So what next? Well, I've already signed up to teach another academic year, which starts in October, but I've decided to take a break from Portugal between July and September. I'm moving back to the UK for these months and I'll be teaching in a language school in Leeds. If any of yous are kicking about in Yorkshire, look me up, I'd be happy to meet some new sewing pals.

Right, so now you know my plans, lets take a look at this latest make. When people come to visit me in Lisbon, they usually say one of two things: "Woah, this is a BEAUTIFUL city" and "look at all those tiles!". Yes, Lisbon is a city of tiles. So when I found this fabric in Feira dos Tecidos, I knew I had to have it, if only as a reminder.

The pattern is New Look 6128. It lived another life in the form of a black work skirt which has unfortunately been resigned to the back of my wardrobe due to a bleach stain. I love this pattern, I think it's my perfect pencil skirt - I like the pockets, the front pleats and the general drafting. It just fits well.

I didn't make any adjustments to the pattern and made a straight size 12. I'm not entirely sure where the waistband is meant to sit, on me it sits just below the navel. If I wanted to make it sit on the waist then I'd grade a size smaller, but I'm happy with how it is.

I'm really pleased with this skirt. It's been on my sewing list for a while and it fills a good gap in my work wardrobe. I'm looking forward to wearing it for work in Leeds too. As one of my friends said, it doesn't scream Lisbon, it just hints at it. And I like that.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

An Alder shirtdress

Readers, I have a question. Do you write a sewing list? Or do you just sew whatever takes your fancy at the time? In the past I've been given to doing the latter but recently I've decided to actually plan my sewing. I've found that it's a good way to keep all my ideas in check, prioritise and stash bust. The Alder pattern from Grainline Studio has been waiting very patiently in my sewing queue ever since I received it as a PDF birthday present back in March. With summer in full swing (over 30c!) here in Lisbon, this weekend felt like a good time to bash out an Alder.

This dress is so light and breezey. It has a kind of 1920s vibe, with the loose fit and dropped waist. I'm totally channelling the Daisy Buchanan look right here, I'm even considering buying myself a straw cloche hat. I just need a cool glass of mint julep to finish the look! If only.

I wish, however, I could say that sewing the dress had been a breeze. From the start I had problems. My printer decided to pack up half way through printing. After many hours googling troubleshooting pages I managed to get the printer working again, but only printing three pages at a time. The Alder has a massive 50 pages so this felt like an age.

Once I'd finally assembled the PDF pattern my next challenge was to sort out the incredibly troublesome fabric I'd chosen to use. I think this is a viscose or viscose cotton mix, either way it has a beautiful drape (which I think the Alder needs) but is fiendishly difficult to handle. I tried using starch spray to stabilise it, but in the end I had to cross my fingers and just cut into the fabric with the vein hope that it would all turn out alright in the end.

Once I got sewing though, it all calmed down and turned into quite a pleasant experience. I followed the Alder sew-along which I found immensely useful. I hadn't realised before that the the pattern has a 1/2 inch seam allowance so I'm glad I checked out the blog.

Sizing wise everything was easy - I cut a straight size 2 and lengthened the hem. There's only a few changes I'd make to perfect the pattern. I'd take in the waist a bit more to add more shape, raise the arm holes and raise the bust darts. Otherwise everything else was ok.

I'm so in love with this Alder, it's the comfiest dress ever. I'd like to say that I'm going to make another, but I'll have to let my sewing queue go down a bit before I plan another one. Here's my list to prove I'm not making it up!