Tag Archive | sewaholic renfrew

Shine like a star

So still on catchup with blogging the stuff I’ve been sewing this summer. Bizarrely moving house with the threat of having to put my sewing machine away every week or so to make it look tidy and I’ve actually been sewing as much as I normally sew.

It’s all the same patterns though!

On which note, introducing my latest incarnation of the Sewaholic Renfrew top . Again with added sleeves from McCalls M7542.

I wore it for a day out in Greenwich and we took loads of pictures round the Queens House and Royal Naval College (site of filming for Les Miserables, Thor 2 and Poldark – & pretty much everything that needs an unspoilt Georgian backdrop)

Lots of flouncy gestures to show off flouncy sleeves.

Trousers are shop bought from Simply Be. I am actually struggling to know what to do with this top. It’s harder to co-ordinate than I thought it was going to be. It’s also white so I am super paranoid about wearing it unless I know I’m going to be eating and drinking extremely bland coloured refreshments. I’m going to have to work on it.

Upclose of the fabric and trim.

It is a really good quality jersey from Maggies stall on Lewisham market (where 75% of my fabric comes from)

Ultimately I should probably stop worrying about wearing it. If I stain it I can always stick it in a dye bath. I reckon it’d look good a nice rich burgundy!

Finery of the Red Queen

So after resurrecting this thing we promptly decide to move house and chaos ensues for several months while we try and sell it then do the whole wait for the paperwork to happen thing during which time I’m finding it hard to sew as for the best part of three months I’ve had to have my sewing machine packed away incase anyone wants to come round and look at the flat. (We sold it pretty quickly, but then there were second viewings and surveyors and all kinds of people traipsing round needing it to look like a civilised flat rather than a sewing studio with a bed in it 😂)

However I have managed to make some stuff, basically by keeping it really simple and sticking to quick and easy projects that only take a couple of hours to make.

So first up are these two beauties I made during the heatwave (oh yeah , that hasn’t helped- zero energy to sew and no way in hell Im wearing what I’ve made whilst that was going on). A plain black Sewaholic Renfrew and McCalls M7542 mashup, which needs no real explanation, it’s just a basic wardrobe staple….

And a self drafted gathered rectangle skirt with an elastic waistband (so barely drafted at all) made out of this gorgeous Dolce and Gabbana knock off fabric I picked up from a Russian seller on Etsy.

The fabric is actually really good quality, but I don’t think it’s genuine, or if it is it was a dodgy print run because the black background fabric is a bit mottled and grey.

There was only just over a meter by 1.5m of it so my options were limited with what to do with it – hence the gathered rectangle skirt to maximise use. It has pockets though (in a complimentary other fabric) I was undecided as to whether to bother, & I’m really glad that I did.

Here I am wearing both of them together on Monday…..

Think both of these will be very useful and get worn quite a lot.

The skirt has Alice in Wonderland vibes and I am going to try and find appropriate accessories to style it up in a more alternative kind of way.

The necklace I’m wearing in these photos is a good start. It is awesome actually, I was thinking I did not have any appropriate accessories and then I walked past the Sally Army shop in Catford and this was in the window for £3! I bit back my dislike of the Salvation Army (they are actually quite vocal anti gay and trans rights activists specially in America) and went in and bought it, and it’s perfect…

To me that looks like proper lolita brand jewellery.

It is about to be Halloween season though, TKMaxx have got all their stuff in already. So it’s just a case of waiting a couple of weeks till Claire’s and Flying Tiger and Asda start stocking stuff and then going down to Lewisham and doing a haul. I have a set of skeleton hand hair clips I bought in Flying Tiger last year that I have worn pretty much two or three times a week all year, & whenever I go out people comment on them. Hopefully I will find something as good this year, and I’ll certainly be looking for anything Alice in Wonderland themed.

Such an exciting time of year!

Guess who’s back? Back again…..

So about 9 months ago I stopped posting on WordPress. Partly I was under the impression that no one reads this damn thing, partly I got over excited by Instagram (so much easier to use if you are tired- & I’m tired a lot of the time) and partly even though my sewing has been going brilliantly, I got in a bit of a downer and wasn’t really in the mood to write about stuff.

However, having revisited my blog today for the first time in several months, I’ve realised that

a) even when I don’t write in it I get more hits than I was expecting – people actually read this stuff!

b) it’s not as awful as I thought.

& c) it is actually useful for me to record details of the things I make more than what I post on Instagram, largely for me – then I know what worked and what didn’t if I make stuff again, but also for other people, the more detailed reviews of a pattern there are the better.

Anyway….. apparently this new app makes it easier to post photos, so I’m going to do a very quick run through of all the stuff I’ve made since my last post (I have chronic fatigue, I sew slowly…. it’s not going to be that much!)

Firstly another Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress, fabric courtesy of the local fabric stall. I had a few issues with this one to start with, a little darling locally accused me of cultural appropriation 🤦🏼‍♀️ which massively upset me because under no definition of the term could I see a way it possibly could be, I’m super careful because we live in an area with a lot of African neighbours and fairly near to Goldsmiths uni (one of the hotspots for the social justice warrior movement) not to make stuff with African Wax fabric, even though it’s really easily available round here and it’s super fashionable with sewing bloggers & basically it made me feel really self conscious and worried about wearing the dress. (Actually I think this incident is why I stopped blogging – I was very very upset, it happened the first time I wore this out & I didn’t want to write about it I did not want to open the can of worms that is racial politics) However I made myself keep wearing it, & gradually fell back in love with it (also I got “called out” loudly behind my back by a bunch of teenagers for dressing like Gwen Stefani 🤦🏼‍♀️🤦🏼‍♀️ (I was wearing black and white striped leggings and had some stamped eyeliner stars round my eyes – and a massive great coat covering what else I was wearing it was freezing and I’d been at a metal club) and I’ve come to realise you just can’t win with the kids round here, they basically take offence at older people wearing anything fancy, cultural appropriation is basically a tag they use to justify being judgy little busybodies, so it doesn’t bother me as much any more. Which is good cuz it means I can give this dress the love it deserves.

Short sleeved version of a kitschycoo lady skater dress. Not my favourite make ever, had a bit less fabric than I expected so had to make the bodice in black, worked out ok, but basically I needed a sun dress in a hurry so I made it in a hurry, & it does the job ok. It’s only about two weeks of the year it’s hot enough to need sun dresses but those two weeks are usually one continuous block of time so you need loads of the damn things cuz you have to change at least once a day and I can’t do the laundry quick enough.

Another sewaholic Fraser sweatshirt like the one I made here . Made this for a friend. I like this better than the one I made me. The contrast sleeves and hem was largely a happy accident and I much prefer the 3/4 sleeve version to the full length version I made myself.

Took a cheap £10 Claire’s Accessories cloak for Halloween, added lace trim round the edge and a velvet bow and improved it from tacky children’s costume to something I could wear comfortably to a goth club.

Deer and Doe Belladone also for Halloween. Excuse the drag queen makeup – that was actually the look I was going for as I made this to wear to a Rocky Horror themed fancy dress event. I was supposed to be the lips. I need to get pictures of this at some point the way I wear it normally, cuz I wear it quite a lot, & so far I haven’t spilt anything down it which is an achievement!

Tilly and the Buttons Coco out of floral velvet from the fabric stall for my Mum. She really likes it, & wears it a lot.

Sewaholic Renfrew, but I stole the bell sleeves from McCalls M7542. Fabric is beautiful laser printed jersey from a Dutch fabric shop (the laser printed Dutch stuff is just amazing) with images of Rembrandt paintings on it. One of my favourite things I’ve sewn ever!

Another Tilly and the Buttons Coco – so useful for the middle of winter. In bright yellow beetles fabric I got from Ditto Fabric about a year ago. Doesn’t have the best recovery in the world, but I really like the dress.

& lastly a goldwork embroidery I did at a workshop a couple of weeks ago. It’s a bit shit, but I’m proud of it, it was my first try. The big problem was I found it difficult to mark out the fabric in enough detail to give me guidance where to sew, so I winged it, so it’s come out a bit wonky, but I think it looks nice anyway.

Anyway. That’s my catch-up. I’ve been sewing consistently but it hasn’t been a huge amount. There’s a dress I’ve nearly finished at the moment that hopefully I’ll be able to blog about soon.

Hopefully I’ll be able to keep this a bit more updated in future. I didn’t mean to stop blogging. If anyone is actually readingthis ofcourse!

The top that nearly didn’t happen

All the credit for this top rightfully goes to Jon.

I was clearing out my fabric about 6 months ago and this fabric was added to the Chuck It Out pile (it got to a grand total of 10 pieces of fabric out of a stash of nearly 200 that I didn’t actually want.) About 2 months later, we did actually come to chucking it out, we had had ambitious plans about selling stuff on Facebook sales communities, but in the end what was chucked out was so little and all the shit quality stuff, that there didn’t seem much point doing anything with it but sending it to the recycling bin.

But Jon stopped me and persuaded me to look again at this piece. I bout it up Goldehawk Road about 5 or 6 years ago, before I discovered the local fabric stall, & almost immediately decided I made a mistake, it seemed quite primitive and 90’s to me at the time, & I didn’t think the fabric quality was great. However as Jon pointed out when I tried to get rid of it, extremely 90’s and bold florals is very heavily in fashion at the moment. & he persuaded me to at least wash it and see what I thought then.

So I washed the fabric, & it came out an awful lot softer than before, & I was in need of a basic Sewaholic Renfrew top, same as millions of times before (here, here & here) as the washing was backing up…..tangentially, it is one of the extra paradoxes of living in a small flat that no one ever admits to, but if you don’t have a garden to dry clothes in, & you don’t have room for a tumble dryer,  all your clothes have to dry on a clothes rack in the flat,  & a cycle of washing can take up to a week to dry in grimy weather, so you need to have twice as many flipping clothes as you would need if you lived in an actual house , & of course in a tiny flat, you don’t really have room to store them! ……..so I decided to make it up quickly and if it was shit I’d only wasted 3 hors of time so it didn’t matter anyway.

I was moderately rigorous about pattern matching, but tbh, its a wavey stripe, those are the ones that on the Great British Sewing Bee they go ‘are you sure you want to use that?’ so I matched all the main points and then didn’t really worry about it too much. In the event, I aced it!

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Its not 100% if you are being nitpicky, but its the same under the arms and on the other side, & actually thats a lot better than I was expecting it to turn out.

Actually the same could be said for the whole of the top. I tried it on, & my response was like “wow, this actually really suits me!”

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So now it is in constant rotation in my wardrobe (albeit it takes it 2 1/2 weeks to get through the laundry and ironing pile) the jersey is still a bit stiff, but actually that means it isn’t at all transparent (An issue with white jersey) and it will wear well with age. I am so happy with Jon for making me look again at what is actually a really useful bit of fabric.

 

grey like the skies

So I haven’t posted for a while, spent 2 1/2 weeks at my parents recovering from London and illness basically, then came back and spent 3 weeks recovering from overdoing things physically whilst at my parents. Have been busy doing things, just not sewing.

Except for what I’m about to blog about….

Made this a few weeks ago actually, & although its boring, with a pattern I’ve used millions of times before (Sewaholic Renfrew) I actually really really like this, it fills a massive hole in my wardrobe, is totally versatile, & despite the fabric being some weird, slightly stiff jersey off Lewisham market, its actually really soft and snuggley to wear.

Anyway…….

 

Skirt it is worn with is this devore grey one from 2013. The black velvety bits have finally worn off now, but it is still going strong, which is not bad really. I am never sure how long any clothes, let alone hand made ones, are supposed to last, but I don’t think three years so far is a bad lifespan at all, specially for something that gets worn pretty much constantly.

The next thing on my list to make is a heather grey Colette patterns Moneta dress. I’ve got it all cut out ready to go, but had to put all my sewing stuff away this weekend whilst we painted some furniture. I’m also about 3/4 finished with my tiger print hat, I got a load of knitting done at my parents, but haven’t really touched it since. It feels too much like summer really. Which is silly cuz its tipping it down right now.

 

forever delayed

So the first mention of this I can find in my sewing queue is back in October 2014  It reappeared in my sewing goals for 2015 but completely failed to happen. So now in March 2016, may I present to you, a bright red Renfrew Top…..

red renfrew red renfrew 4 red renfrew 2 red renfrew 3

So this has been in the works a very long time, I made the skirt it is pictured with back in February 2014, and swiftly realised that although it works brilliantly with black tops, for variations sake a red one would be nice. I got the jersey in Rolls and Rems in Lewisham a few weeks later. It was a bit of an impulse buy, & one largely driven by laziness as I wasn’t feeling the idea of going shopping up Goldhawk Road, & buying plain jersey on the internet has been decidedly hit and miss for me (well at the prices I’m prepared to pay anyway). So it was £5 a meter, which was a bit more than Goldhawk Road would be, but given I didn’t have to pay train fair or lunch, I figured it worked out. At the same time I bought some burgundy jersey which ended up being this and this. Immediately I got it out of the shop into the sunshine I realised I’d made a bit of a mistake, what in fairly gloomy light looked a slightly darker fire engine red, turned out to be bright orangey tomato in daylight. The quality of the fabric wasn’t quite as good as the burgundy either, its not bad, but its not top quality either. So I sat on it for a few months, & then stuck it in the washing machine with some slightly pinkier red dylon. It sort of worked. Its not much darker now, but its taken the absolutely glaring edge off it.

So yeah, it went in my sewing queue and then just kind of stayed there. I was still a bit unconvinced I guess and would rather sew stuff I was 100% sure about.

Till a couple of weeks ago, when I realised I had a major shortage of basic tops, red became even more of a priority gap in my wardrobe, & I saw something about Pantone colours suggesting that tomato red is going to be a big thing this year, & I thought I really ought to get round to it.

There was also going to be a frilly version in this style, which I’ve made several versions of over the years. But I’m kind of not as into it as I was, they are a pain to iron, my style has simplified slightly, and its not a colour I could ever envisage myself using for lolita, so I’m leaving the rest of the fabric for now, & having a think about what to do with it at some point in the future.

So I’m reasonably pleased with the top I’ve made anyway. Its still not my ideal red colour, but its a useful basic to have. I’m planning another one in grey, but I had to wait a week or two before starting it as I was waiting for the overlocker thread I ordered to turn up, & now its Easter, so I won’t get started on that for a week at least.

I have been doing some knitting and some embroidery though, so hopefully I’m keeping some kind of momentum up.

 

lucky accident and a couple of reviews.

Ok, so my new sewing machine is going like a dream. It took me a few goes to get the hang of threading the bottom bobbin as it is totally different from my old system, but apart from that I’ve had no problems with it whatsoever. In fact its sped up the sewing process considerably for me.

So as I mentioned in my last post I had a burgundy Renfrew Top on the go that I’d put a couple of nicks near the collar so it needed some improvising with lace to cover it up, that I was intending to use as my test piece, thoroughly expecting the same to happen as when I learnt to use my overlocker, it come out chewed to hell and completely unwearable. Actually it finished off like a dream. And I’ve got to say, cover up by the neck and all, this is one of my favourite and most versatile tops at the moment, & its the ultimate thing for going with lolita clothing. Also this week the end of my order from My Lolita Dress finally arrived (it took about 5 months, but everything else about the process was lovely) so I finally have a proper petticoat the right length, so I took a load of photos.

first up, top I made with homemade skirt and classical puppets petticoat….

burgundy renfrew top lolita 2 burgundy renfrew top lolita

I’ve done pictures with this skirt before, but its never really worked as I didn’t have a petticoat the right length to go with it. I’ve got to say despite the time it took, i am over the moon with the classical puppets petticoat,i had it custom made and even though it took ages, I am thinking of ordering one in black as well, it is that poofy and full in shape and cuz I custom ordered it I got it exactly the length I needed. Loads of people have raved about these on Egl LJ and I completely agree they are brilliant.

You can also see the top I made properly in these pictures, I really like the way it works.

 

sleipnir by ergi piratessen 2 Sleipnir by ergi piratessen

 

Next up is the same top by me with the Sleipnir JSK by Ergi by Piratessen.

This actually turned up a few months ago, but I wasn’t sure quite what to do with it, i’m not thinking I have a particularly impressive co-ord going on here, but at least its a start. Its so plain and such an unusual colour scheme its quite hard to accessorise. (although I have totally non lolita plans involving my boyfriends fishnet top and a plastic helmet and hammer for a lady thor look at some point)

As far as the dress goes I am really quite pleased considering it was quite a low price. The quality is good, in fact the skirt is so heavy I think it will ultimately need a second petticoat. There was the odd hanging thread and the zip was a little stiff at first, but nothing major wrong with it. It is nicely printed and I managed to spill oil on it the first day I got it, so relatively easy to wash too. The bow is nice too and in proportion to my head.The only thing about it I’d say is a pain is the fabric crumples easily so it needs ironing before practically every time you wear it.

I am really looking forwards to having a play with more accessories with this. I have a Victorian Maiden bonnet I’m thinking of playing with with it and I’m on the look out for some grey flowers, and I might make some wrist cuffs if I can be arsed. Or something, at least I’ve got a top to go with it now.

And lastly this cut-sew from HMHM, a taobao seller I bought through My Lolita Dress….

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Apart from the long turn around time, there seems to have been some kind of balls up, but Linda from My Lolita dress was  very good at communicating whilst they sorted stuff out and got on with it, my only problems with this blouse are mostly my own fault. I did not realise, probably due to the impossibility of taking a picture of it, (mine are too dark, the websites came out too light,) quite how white the trim and the buttons were, so it was a bit of a shock when it arrived and not quite what I was after. I was also surprised it was made of jersey material rather than cotton, though with thought I do not mind very much as its really quite practical that way. However it fit me spot on and was made well to my measurements and it is really good quality.I think my real problem with it is it doesn’t suit me at all, again totally my own fault, but I have a bit of a double chin and round face with being fat and all and a high necked blouse does exacerbate that and I think make me look fatter. Being prepared for a stupidly long wait I would buy stuff from that brand again as the quality is good and the custom fit was good though. Maybe next time I’ll be a bit more careful with the styling.

I would also buy custom stuff through My Lolita Dress again.

Anyway, I am stupidly busy at the moment with non sewing stuff, but largely thanks to my new sewing machine being a breeze to use, I am halfway through the next dress I was planning to make (it is jersey and stripy and completely not lolita.) and I have given in to consensus from my dancing group and ordered a ready made set of stays (making my own in the time frame needed was never going to happen) so that when I make my Regency dress it is fitted correctly. This means that I won’t be making it till january whatever as I have to wait for the stays to arrive first. So seeing how I go in the next few days I intend to have a go at a lolita dress for xmas, I have my eye on the most gorgeous fabric.

The nice thing about having driven myself mad doing boring basic sewing for the last year and also thanks to the fact the British High Street is getting better and better at catering for plus sized clothes in styles that are not tunics and leggings  or cutesy Zooey Deschanel crap, for the first time in 4 years since I put the weight on, I actually have a wardrobe full of nice stuff with not very many gaps in it, so apart from the Regency stuff and a few things for other people, everything I make can be for fun now, not necessity, (and to be fair the girls side of the Regency stuff is going to be fun too). This is a real relief as I’ve felt very much stuck in a sewing rut the last year that does not accurately reflect what I want to be about. Especially with the new machine I’m really looking forwards to the next few months sewing! 🙂

Though not to taking pictures of stuff, seriously now it is dark after Jon gets home from work its going to be that yellow door all the way!