Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Western style Ginger, celebrated by freakishly nice weather!

I'm convinced that this freakishly nice weather we're having in the UK, is nature's way of celebrating my new Western style Ginger...my second finished Ginger skirt in one week no less!

This Colette pattern just keeps giving and giving in my opinion! I'm over the moon that my second version has turned out as well as my aubergine version and thanks to Sarai's comment I realised where I went wrong with the cutting and matching up of my waistband the first time round!


Anyway, I actually can't take any credit for this western-style, denim Ginger! It was completely ripped off inspired by Casey, who was generous enough to share this tutorial on it. 

I love the top stitching effect on the waistband and pockets and I think the faux pearl button is a sweet touch.




I even used my overlocker to finish the pocket and side seams. It's the first time I've used it so I'm  not sure I got it 100%, but it kinda looks ok!?!



Unlike Casey, I have somewhat voluminous hips that the pockets just emphasised. So I decided to stitch the bottom half of my pockets down, a much more flattering look for me.



Just like last time, I shortened the waistband by an inch to suit my short torso better. But this time I knew I had to take in more at the top of the back seam, so there was no nasty unpicking involved. 

So it's another big HURRAH for the Ginger skirt pattern! I even have fabric for my third version picked out, but I may give my tired pattern a rest before putting it to work again!

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Vintage fabrics or bust!

“Where is all my money going?”, I've been wondering these last couple of months. I know I've had a lot of social commitments, but even so, things just didn't add up! And then I had a mini fabric sort out and found the culprits. Worth every penny though I think!


From Fun Old Stuff I purchased 2 ½ yards of a lovely blue 1930s floral cotton and 4 yards of black and white gingham from the 1930s, both from an Iowa farm estate sale apparently. 



This stunning 4 yard piece of 1940s cotton came from a Tempest in a Teapot.


Over 3 yards of a 1930s polka dot linen type fabric and 3 yards of pretty 1940s floral cotton, came form Lakeview Arts



From Fetch Vintage 3 ½ yards of adorable 1950s windmill-print cotton and 3 ½ yards of a really unusual cotton print also from the 1950s.



And the piece de resistance? A real steal from a local vintage shop - 1 yard of a gentle green 1950s silk and 2 yards of the most gorgeous 1950s dress fabric.



Do you find online shopping, and particularly paying by Paypal, dangerous? I get easily carried away late at night, when the temptation of all the beautiful fabrics and patterns on offer becomes too much to resist. With a couple of quick clicks they are mine and I don't even feel like I've spent any money at all...until I check my bank balance of course...eeep!

I still maintain that the above were worth being a bit broke for. They're going to make me some beautiful pieces of clothing when I build up the courage to cut into them!

Have you ever bought anything that was worth being broke for?

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Ginger in rich aubergine

Apologies if my title’s misled you into anticipating a yummy recipe, but what I’ve sewn up is pretty delicious too!

I’ve been so impressed by the many fabulous versions of Colette’s Ginger on the blogsphere that I finally decided to give it a go in a rich, aubergine cotton, ideal for autumn/winter. I had high hopes for this sweet Colette pattern from the start and it certainly didn’t disappoint.



This was my second ever experience using a Colette pattern - after my beloved Sorbettos here  and here – and I can see the Ginger skirt fast becoming a year-round staple of mine. The instructions were a delight to follow and the construction process was so simple that I almost felt guilty!

It’s so nice to have a garment that looks as pretty on the inside as it does on the outside



A little word of warning though, I cut out a US size 8 (UK 12) and it was surprisingly spot on. However, I’m glad I took the time to make a muslin, because I discovered that in order for the waistband to match up with the skirt pieces, I had to cut it two sizes larger than the skirt pieces. Did anyone else come across this problem, or is it just me?

I did also experience quite a big hiccup, all because my short torso/waist is best suited to lower waistbands. So as usual I chopped a good inch off the top of the waistband pieces, but this seemingly minor alteration brought up a problem I’ve encountered before with my Crescent Skirt. Shortening a waistband alters where the skirt sits on me and I always end up with a gaping waist.

No one likes a saggy waistband...so unflattering!



Of course I only discovered this after I handpicked my zip (as I decided against an invisible zip for this version) and finished my waistband, which almost broke me. Talk about making a mountain out of a simple project like that Ginger Skirt! I’m so glad I took the time to fix it though - I didn’t bother with my Crescent Skirt and I ended up giving it to my mum! So I begrudgingly unpicked the zip and waistband and took the back waistband in by 5/8” (1.5cm) on either side. The trickiest bit was blending the waistband changes into the back seam, but it seems to have worked!

Much better and snugger fit now, no?


Pardon the miserable expression, I wasn't feeling miserable, honest!


I kept my first Ginger skirt nice and simple, as I wanted a versatile and comfy look for work. Fear not though, for I already have a western-style denim version cut out, thanks to another one of Casey’s expert tutorials.

Ginger, I think I love you!

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Drumroll please...

It’s announcement time, because two lucky readers have each won some fabric and a pattern from my latest giveaway!

I went through the comments, eliminated the ones that were not giveaway entries and ended up with a column of 19 entries for the 50s pattern and a column of 22 entries for the 30s pattern. The random number generator did the rest, so without further ado:

For 1950s Simplicity 2034...


...the random number generator picked…

Adrienne! I think this pattern will suit you so well, can’t wait to see what you do with it! Can you please leave your email address in the comments below so I can get in touch about your postal address? I know you're off to Spain soon...

For 1930s McCall 8123...


 …the random number generator picked…

Evie! Evie, I adore your blog and the beautiful dresses you make. I know that this pattern is going to a good home and I love that you have embraced the challenge of an instruction-free pattern! I’ve emailed you for your postal address.

I also wanted to share some of the comments that people left on the giveaway post, because I’m always intrigued by the names people choose for their blogs, brands, shops. The stories behind the ones below caught my attention because they were either heart warming, clever, honest, cute or downright funny! Hope you enjoy reading them too… 


"My brand name (Maelle) is a play with the first letter from the names of the women in my family. My Asta Evy Linn Liselotte - and bonus extra "e" at the end. It was a natural decision for me since my clothing line takes most of its inspiration from them."


"My blog name, Pixies Ponderings, came about when my hubby nicknamed me 'pixie'. it has stuck with me all these years!"


"My URL is TheMaterialGirl.co.uk - a cliche I know but I was trawling the "Buy a domain name for £5" site and came across it and couldn't believe nobody else had taken it. It turns out it had been used before - by a Madonna tribute act in Essex!"


"As for my blog name: Su Sews So-So....well I'm a sucker for alliteration and well, it's true!"


"I didn't want something that would sound like I actually knew what I was doing (with regards to sewing) because I was a beginner, and I wanted to leave it open to the possibility of blogging about other things like music and food (although sewing has now taken over my life so that's out the door!)"


"My name is Beata, and my first thought for a blog name was the very creative "Beata's Blog"....I like alliteration, so I went with the same theme and ended up with "Tatulinka's Tales," Tatulinka was a family nickname of mine!"


"I have an Etsy store called Babbs Boutique and I had a heck of a time coming up with that! I finally chose Babbs because it was my Nana's nickname and she was the person who inspired me to sew. :)"


"My blog www.upsewlate.blospot.com gets its name from the fact that with young kids and a job the only time I have for sewing seems to be late at night, plus I love puns - the cheesier the better!"


"My blog name, Sew Well, came from a few Shakespeare lines, "And since you know you cannot see yourself, / so well as by reflection, I, your glass, / will modestly discover to yourself, / that of yourself which you yet know not of." I thought "sew well as by reflection" was an appropriate name for a sewing blog since blogging is an act of reflecting. Plus, it seemed inspirational for a sewing path. I do hope, over time, to discover something of myself that I yet know not of!"


"My business name was something I worked out over several days. My name is Karrol and Kiki is a nickname, I am part German, but I wanted something Polynesian influenced to bring to mind pin up girls and Dorothy Lamour 1940's retro glamour. So Kiki von Tiki was born!"

Friday, 16 September 2011

Join the ‘chintz(y)’ debate

When I settled on Chintzy Cherry as a brand/Etsy name, the definition of ‘chintzy’ that I have always had in mind is one summed up perfectly by Urban Dictionary:

A vintage style pattern used originally for wallpaper and furniture coverings. Chintz has transformed over the decades from an old Granny style fussy pattern, to a modern, sexy style emblem. 

I also have images that conjure up this word perfectly for me:
 
Chintz Fine Bone China by Maxwell & Williams (image taken from www.whiteporcelain.co.uk)
 

The master bedroom in the country residence of the late Yves Sant Laurent (image taken from www.mysticmedusa.com) 


Sweetheart Chintzy Cookies by Peggy's Cupcakes (image taken from www.notonthehighstreet.com)
 

Makower Classic Rose Chintz Ivory Patchwork Fabric (image taken from www.rainbowcrafts.eu)


Pottery Barn's Arlington Chair (image taken from www.apartmenttherapy.com)

However, Melizza form Pincushion Treats has kindly opened my eyes to a darker definition of ‘chintz(y)’, one that I’d never associated with the word before. Maybe I’m just not down with the kids, or maybe I’m just plain stupid, but a bit of digging has unearthed these kind of definitions:
Chintzy

Shitty and cheap.

Characteristic of being a habitual, pathological liar.

A person or act that has the intent to screw somebody over.

 Chintz

Very cheap and low quality.

Will sacrifice quality for quantity.

To be cheap, miserly, not willing to pay for quality, or wanting to just get by as opposed to making a good investment.

There does seem to be a UK versus US split to the whole definition thing, which is illustrated in the online Oxford Dictionary, which gives the following three definitions for ‘chintzy’:

(British English) covered in or decorated with chintz 
(North American English, informal) cheap and not attractive 
(North American English, humorous) not willing to spend money

Knowing all this though, how can I continue with
Chintzy Cherry as my name, even if I love it so! I’m really grateful to Melizza for pointing this out to me, but I’m also gutted about being back at square one again.

Did you know about the darker definition of ‘chintz(y)’? Is it just a US thing or is it a UK thing too that has just passed me by? Am I really this out of touch?!?

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

A ‘thank you’ giveaway is in order

I wanted to thank you all for your contributions to my last post about finding a ‘brand’ name for my Etsy store and beyond. To be honest, I’m relieved that most of you agreed that a) it’s tough think of names and b) it’s tougher to actually commit to one. I was beginning to feel like I didn't have a creative bone in my body! However, ‘talking’ things through with you guys sparked a rather fruitful conversation with my boyfriend and I finally have a name that I’m excited about now!

Don’t worry if you didn’t contribute to this particular conversation, you can still enter this giveaway, because I also want to celebrate (almost) reaching 200 followers. I’m at 195 at the moment, which I’m both astounded by and appreciative of.

Up for grabs are the following:

1950s pattern Simplicity 2034, along with 1 metre of a very lightweight yellow corduroy with ditsy flower print. The pattern is in excellent condition, uncut and factory folded. 


The pattern is a size 14 with the following measurements: Bust 34", Waist 26" and Hip 36".


1935 pattern McCall 8123, with 1 metre of a petrol blue and cream coloured cotton. IMPORTANT: All pattern pieces are present, but the instruction sheet is missing. I know I'm not experienced enough to give this a go without instructions, but hopefully the winner will be confident enough to give it a go!


This pattern is a size 14, with the following measurements: Bust 32" and Hip 35".


This giveaway is open to anyone in the world, as long as you follow my blog. It will close at midnight (GMT) of Friday 23 September and I will announce the randomly chosen winners on Saturday 24 September. To enter:

  • Leave a comment about what you’d like to win and letting me know how your ‘brand’ name or blog name came about. If you have neither, just let me know what you’d like to win.
  • Include an email address for me to contact you on.

Good luck!

Oh, for those interested, I’ve chosen Chintzy Cherry as my name! It’s kooky, hopefully memorable, ambiguous enough not to tie me down to specific 'products' and a good summation of my own personal style. Here’s a sneak peak of a logo in progress that my talented boyfriend designed. If you ever need an excellent website designing, his company – Hark2, is the place to go ;o)



Monday, 12 September 2011

Creative input desperately needed

Following my last post, the wonderful Tilly suggested that my Etsy store name dilemma might be solved if I 'ask the audience' for input. It's such a great and obvious idea, that I'm kicking myself for not thinking of it before! You friendly people are so creative and imaginative and I can only hope that you'll be willing to share some of that with me, because I'm desperately in need of some help. 

During this arduous process I've discovered that although I may be good at picking out fabric, I really don't have a knack for choosing names. I've had my poor parents brainstorming for weeks now, but we just can't seem to find a name I like enough. It doesn't help that my thought process has been rather erratic.

To begin with I longed for something pretty, girlie, kitschy. Something to reflect the lovely fabric in my blog banner. Ideas included Sew Splendid, Handmade Chintz, Polka Dot Pink and various other names that were either clichéd or taken.

Then I was determined to come up with a vintage-sounding name/persona along the lines of Edith Cherry and Veronica Darling. But could I think of any decent ones!?! I got as far as Ruby...that's it :o(

I then resorted to more 'practical' names which all sounded a bit lame.

I've also made things harder by preferring to stay away from the words 'vintage' (because my makes will be not truly vintage, merely inspired by) and 'sew' / 'sewing' (in case I want to expand to selling other things). Having said that, it's almost impossible to fulfil all my criteria and at the same time find a name that is available both on Etsy and as a URL.

Anyway, I have (with help from others) come up with a rather mixed bag of potential names, none of which particularly excite me:

Sew Nostalgic

Fashion Retake

(Little) Miss Sew and Sew

Back to Fashion

Fashion Comeback

Taking/Take Back Fashion

Sew Now and Then

The Kitsch Stitch

Blue Violet

Darling Dahlia

Has the disappointment of discovering that my favourite names were already taken made me unable to see potential in any of these names? Do you like any, or better still, do you have a favourite? Do you have any other suggestions or ideas? I'd absolutely love to hear them! 

I know that many of you have plans for your own future shops, so please only help if you feel you can without giving away too much.

Anyway, thanks for all the support so far and I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Choosing a name is such a big commitment, but with your help, I just might get there in the end ;o) 

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Fun with detachable collars #2: the peter pan series

If you're bored of detachable collars, look away now! Although I did warn you here that they'd be plenty more related posts to come...

As you can see, I've dedicated this post to the peter pan collars I finished off this weekend, but I've also got exciting plans for some sailor collars coming up soon. 

I've tinkered with some simpler, reversible peter pan collars. I think the crocheted lace ties are such a sweet touch!





I've also grown my collection of double layered peter pan collars...






Clearly there's more peter pan collars here than a girl could ever need, but these aren't for me. They're for my Etsy shop, which I intend to open at the start of October...as long as I've picked a name of course. Picking a name is harder than I could ever imagine! I'm also having issues with lighting and getting decent pictures. I'm sure you've heard me moan before about the poor lighting in our flat and the weather restricts the number of good outdoor shots I can get, so my lovely boyfriend's been looking into light-tents for me. I'm so grateful for his help, because I'm a bit impatient when it comes to researching 'boring' things.

Anyway, I hope you've all had a great sewing-filled weekend. Although I'm not looking forward to work tomorrow, I am very much looking forward to following Portia's newly-unveiled challenge, The Refashioners...is anyone else ridiculously excited by the caliber or stitchers involved in this?!?

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Mini makeover

Last week, I got to spend a lovely evening with a rather creative friend – there's a hint there about which blogger she is - mainly chatting about our love for sewing and for vintage styles, whilst sipping some wine. I definitely got the better deal out of the evening, ending up with a new hairstyle and a genuine vintage dress! 

I sat there like a good little customer, hoping that my friend (curious about her identity yet?) wouldn't get bored halfway through pin-curling my hair! I've always admired the vintage way in which she styles her hair and as I'm notoriously bad at styling mine, she agreed to help! Pin curling was so effective that I may even have to give it a go myself...they do say that practice makes perfect!

All pinned and ready for bed! Now that was an experience...sleeping with a full head of metal sure takes getting used to!



In the morning I unpinned and brushed thoroughly to get rid of the crispy mousse look and voila! Doesn't it look great?!?



Here's a full view of the vintage dress too, which is probably from the early 60s! My friend was going to sell it on Etsy, but then realised that it would be my size, so I got first dibs! I'm so glad I got to snap it up before anyone else, as the fit is near-perfect. I don't own any other vintage dresses, because I never find any I like that actually fit. So I'm over the moon with this Fred Howard number!



Back to the hair! The waves dropped a bit throughout the day, but even so it still looked tousled and voluminous. I genuinely loved it both ways. Here's what it looked like after a day at work.



Anyway, I bet you're dying to know who this amazing friend of mine is! Because I'm kind, I've arranged for you all to get to know her, so watch this space for an interview soon! In the meantime, I shall enjoy keeping you in suspense about her identity, but please do feel free to take a guess or two...