Archive | July 2015

unseasonal knitting and dastardly alcoholics.

So a couple of weeks ago I finally finished the scarf I have been working on for the last 6 months, well, I say working on, actually I mean doing everything I can to avoid having to touch the damn thing, doing two rows and then giving up in disgust and generally procrastinating as much as possible.

Me and k2 p2 ribbing really don’t get on. On the one hand cuz its so repetitive its really really really boring, on the other hand I found it easy to get mixed up so couldn’t have the telly on whilst knitting or get on with it at knitting group or I made mistakes.

Bizarrely, not all ribbing is equally awful, I am currently working on the accompanying hat for with this which is k3 p2 ribbing and that little amount of variation is just enough that I’m getting on with it in a lot more efficient way.

Anyway, the person it was intended for (Jon)  really likes it, & agreed to model it for me. After a period of insanely hot weather we are now having a cold spell, everyone I know had their heating on for a few days over the weekend, so the fleece is not entirely unseasonable.

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Oh yeah, the pattern, albeit a very simple one, was Ribbed for her Pleasure from the Stitch and Bitch book, the wool was Debbie Bliss Donegal Arran Tweed, which I had knocking around randomly from ages ago.

I know I haven’t posted a charity shop haul in a long time, but I had to share this awesome little pair of reprobates I picked up recently for £6.99 from one of my favourite charity shopping locations that shall remain nameless.


I don’t think they are genuine 18th century. There is no makers mark on the base and the base is very unscuffed and in good nick ,according to the Antiques Roadshow which my parents used to watch religiously as I was growing up, lack of scuff and wear marks on the base suggest these things are modern reproductions. But they are really cute and were £7, so I’m glad to give them a home.

I’m in the middle of making a dress at the moment, and although the instructions are simple (its a Sewaholic Cambie) I’m feeling a bit bogged down as health and life has been such that I’ve only had about an hour and  half to spend on it over the last week. Specially as I am scaling up the waist on a size 16 pattern and have no guarantee the damn thing will fit me when its done.

Im also feeling a bit skint as I have finally found a plus sized fashion company that sells stuff I actually want to buy and I don’t really have a budget for clothes 😦 One of the annoying things about sewing ones own stuff is that although in many ways it allows one to stay true to a personal style, when stuff you like comes into fashion it is really difficult to react quickly to it. In this case its all the witchy, Stevie Nicks style Strega stuff. Even if it wasn’t beyond my sewing capabilities I am not finding chiffon or much stretch velvet on the market stall to play with, and even if I did, by the time I’ve done something with it the moment will have long passed.

Its one of those things about growing up actually, when I was a student my clothes were all in fashion having been acquired over the last 2-3 years since I stopped growing. I used to look down on ‘adults’ who were not fashionable and wonder why they didn’t care about having cool stuff, and be like ‘I’ll never let myself get like that’. Of course as one gets older one realises the importance of having a personal style over blindly following whatever Topshop, or in my case Camden Market dictates is in fashion this season. but even if stuff you like is fashionable at the moment, there is absolutely no guarantee it will fit you, the Strega stuff has been a youth/alternative trend for about 3 years, this is the first year it has hit the plus sized ranges, already making me out of date. & there is no guarantee that at the requisite moment you’ll actually have any money to buy stuff. Which is not that we are short of money by any means, but having ones own flat and grown up responsibilities means that money has to go on things like a new stereo as our old one conked out rather than clothes. Its also rather hard to justify frivolous clothes purchases when one already has a full wardrobe, & even these days a relatively well developed Lolita wardrobe, or at least one that fills the purpose given how rarely I actually get to wear it. So basically I am feeling somewhat sartorially frustrated.

Of course what I actually need to do is get sewing, even if it is not the garment I’d imagine it to be in an ideal world, having new clothes finished always makes me feel a little better.

So that means not whinging on here and getting on with stuff.


I’m back!!! (with a lovely floral lolita number)

So thats probably the longest I’ve gone without sewing something in the last 4 years, & frankly wasn’t very pleasant. I’d love to say I was better now, but I’ve been lying in bed going ouch for most of the hot weather, so probably not. However i was well enough for a week or so to finish this dress, which I’ve had lying around in my to do pile for the last 3 months at least…..

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Its just a fairly basic classic lolita dress. I was getting majorly into the frilly in March when I cut this out but had zero money, so I decided to use stuff from my stash (plus extra lace) to make something basic that would fill a hole in my wardrobe, and take my mind of all the pretty things I couldn’t afford. Apart from one major crap-up, I am really rather pleased with how this one has turned out.

It is not shirred at the back, it has a zip, this is because I bought the fabric about 3 years ago when I was a lot worse at sewing and so only bought enough for the dress pattern (New Look 6457) plus widening the skirt and adding a frill. It is my aim that all future lolita dresses are shirred, but I thought after three years I’d better just be done with it and use the fabric rather than spend money I don’t have on new.

Now what I’m specially proud of with this one is the lace. I have struggled for years to get proper Far Eastern quality lace for an affordable price, its one of the things that put me off attempting to make lolita dresses for ages, is I couldn’t get hold of high enough quality stuff.

However in the last few months a load of sellers from Korea have popped up on eBay doing proper amazing quality lace for really reasonable prices and in bulk amounts. One of my favourites is laceking2013 who I found when looking for burgundy lace for my burgundy jersey top, he has since been picked up independently by a couple of the another lolita seamstresses on the internet, which proves he’s proper good. I got the rose lace I used on the bodice of this dress from him and actually wish I’d gone with him for the lace round the hem as well as although the stuff I used (from another eBay seller) is good quality and very soft, it was a bit more expensive and doesn’t like irons very much.

Anyway the bodice

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And the hem

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I got the idea of the trim for the hem from this up close photo of a Mary Magdalen dress (Arabesque Rose – stolen wholesale from god knows where on Tumblr) ……

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Obviously it actually looks nothing like, but that was the inspiration anyway.

So then…the massive cock up…..

So given the print I was using is so busy it was actually really hard to tell which way up it went, so I ended up sewing the main bodice panels to the chest band and the straps upside down. 😦 I kind of noticed something was wrong when I was pinning the chest band, as it was much wider than the bodice I was pinning it to, but I assumed it was cuz I’d used the size 20 pattern piece instead of the size 16 or something. Anyway, so I didn’t stop and go “hang on, somethings wrong here” like I should have done. Anyway I only worked out what I’d done after I had finished the bodice including loads of trim and sewn the skirt on. So I thought about it for a minute, tried the finished piece against me and decided to finish it anyway as I have quite a small chest and I usually have loads of surplus fabric when I come to set the zip in at the end, and usually I’m pushing it a bit tight on the waist,so it being upside down might not be too bad.

As it happens I think its worked out kind of ok, the zip had to be set lower than normal as the chest band didn’t quite stretch, and it pushes my tits down a bit making them look larger and a bit lower than they normally are, which is not great, but as they are fairly small to begin with considering my size, not the end of the world.

The thing I love about it though is what happened with the centre front. this needed taking in massively as it was far too loose and blousing out in a most unattractive way around the waist, so I just took a bow pin (off one of my lolita blouses) and pinned it together into a pleat, and I think it looks like a really cool like an intentional design feature. I haven’t sewn a bow on permanent as I think I will change which one I use depending on which colour I am co-ordinating the outfit with.

Which leads me to accessories, the co-ordinate I used for those pictures was fairly casual, for Hyper Japan (which this dress is fortuitously finished in time for) I will probably add my Muchacha Achachumu cat bag, as I don’t have a proper suitable lolita one at the moment (it is not actually lack of funds, I have an idea in my head of what I want and I just haven’t seen it on the second had sales comms yet). My disappointment is my bonnet, i have the most gorgeous burgundy Victorian Maiden bonnet with white lace that should go perfectly with the dress, but it looks horrific on me. Seriously I look like some moon faced 40 year old in it, it is so bad I’m not even going to post the photo of me in it. So sad as it is such a beautiful item. So I’m going  to make do with hair flowers, but at some point I need some nice hair accessories to go with the dress.

I could make some, but typically both my sewing machines have conked out simultaneously. The overlocker was loosing thread on one spool all the time and I couldn’t work out what I was doing wrong, but now I have and I just need to rethread it, but that takes energy, which I don’t really have at the moment. & my sewing machine, more worryingly has stopped picking up the thread from the bottom spool/started jamming every time I try to sew. Now several people have suggested the needle is bent and I need to change it, which again I don’t have the energy to do, but if that doesn’t work there is a proper problem with the machine and at the very least I will need a new spool case.

At the same time the heat seems to have kicked my ME off again so I’m sleeping rather than doing stuff. Anyway, hopefully I’ll have something productive to post sooner than it took me this time! 🙂