Monday, 22 December 2014

Speed Gifting! Box-Pleat Skirt and Margot PJs

Hello folks! I hope you're all well and geared up (and not too overwhelmed!) for whatever your festive plans are over the next week or so.

I've been pretty busy on the sewing front but unfortunately have no proof of this as both projects were gifts, and both were made to such tight deadlines that I didn't even have the chance to get a crappy 'hanger shot' before getting them wrapped and out there in the world. I basically did the fastest turnaround on a sewing project  I've ever done- not deliberately! As I work all over London I have access to some pretty decent local fabric shops- Simply Fabrics in Brixton and Mermaid Fabrics in Hackney are my faves to just drop in and have a browse at lunchtime. It's a big part of the pleasure that you can drop in regularly and there'll always be something new to catch your eye. However, although I was fabric scouting for a few weeks, frustratingly neither of these had the fabric I needed for my gifting (I find it really hard to buy fabric for others!) and so I needed to widen my search, and ended up having to do a last minute fabric run the weekend before I was supposed to be presenting the gifts. Cue a speed-guide to the fabric shops of South London (any hints on undiscovered gems welcome!).

Rolls and Rems in Lewisham didn't deliver the goods (although it was interesting to have a peek, they have some good solid jerseys so I'll be back). No joy at Rye Lane in Peckham- lovely range of wax prints, satins and embellished fabrics but not much else. So I bussed it up to Lavender Hill to Fabrics Galore and finally found one of the fabrics I needed (this place is a haven for fantastic prints) for the Birthday Box-Pleat Skirt- a lovely forest green cotton printed with owls with envelopes in their mouths. Perfect for my green-and-owl-loving friend!

Again I used the Box-Pleat Skirt Pattern from the Great British Sewing Bee Book 2, but this time made no modifications to the length (although I did add a lining)
However I couldn't tick everything off my list- there wasn't anything inexpensive enough for my Secret Santa budget of £5 so back to Brixton I went for a last-ditch try in Simply Fabrics. I found some tartan flannel for £3 a metre which seemed snuggly enough for a nice pair of Margot PJ bottoms so I went with it- even if it was a little over budget and half a metre less than was recommended on the pattern!

Back at home both fabrics went straight in the wash and hung up in the most warm/ well ventilated places I could find in our little one-bed flat in the hope that they would be dry to get cutting on Sunday, and started tracing off the patterns. Sunday I did all my cutting for both projects (thankfully they were dry!) and got started on the he Birthday Box-Pleat Skirt, which I finished off over Monday and Tuesday evening.  I decided to add a lining for extra warmth but had never done this before so it was a little fiddly, and I fudged the drafting a bit (I cut the shape roughly after making the box-pleats on the paper pattern, not realising you should cut exactly as is and still make the tucks with the fabric). Other than this it went pretty well- I followed Tilly's tutorial for adding a lining which was a massive help. I had a bit of difficulty with pattern placement on the waistband- I got going with the instructions which start you off with pressing and trimming before realising if I carried on as is I would end up with some headless owls in a very prominent place! So I had to fiddle with that a bit and it's not as neat as it could be, but by this stage I didn't have time to go back and re-cut.

Box-Pleat Skirt done, I spent the rest of the evening on Tuesday making the Margot PJs. I kind of shot myself in the foot by picking tartan and having less fabric than was asked for, as I had to cut one of the legs on the cross-grain (although luckily the checks were identical in both directions) and there was no way I was going to get the checks to line up nicely with what little fabric I had! They are more or less balanced from the front however (although you'll have to take my word for it). This was the first pair of PJ bottoms I've made but came out pretty well considering what a rush I was in. I hadn't had them at the top of my 'to-sew' list as I have been more enchanted by the cute blouse, skirts and dresses in the book, but they are a great project for a quick and satisfying make (with no fitting!) and I can see myself making more whenever I need an easy 'sewjo' restoring project and finally replacing all the worn-out jogging bottoms that currently make up my pyjama drawer.

So, two projects in three days (four if you include shopping and laundering). That's a record for me! I've now got a few days off to relax before Christmas so hopefully will get another couple of things under my belt before the new year (will the Vintage Sewing Pledge happen?! Eep!) and will maybe even do a round-up of hits and misses like the ones I've started to see cropping up (although I have so few finished projects there may be garments filed under both categories!).

And how did the gifts go down did you ask? Very well I believe! The Box-Pleat Skirt is by no means perfect (especially if turned inside out) but fits the bill of something wearable for work, green, and just about warm enough for winter. Plus bonus owls! The PJ bottoms I didn't get to catch the reaction for but I heard on the grapevine the person who got them in the Secret Santa was very pleased. And, as a participant in the Secret Santa I also got a gift! Some lovely purple and green wax print fabric which I have already envisaged as a full-sleeved Elisalex from the very talented Frankie, who has her own slinky nightwear/loungewear company, Pennyface.

That's all for now folks, sorry I don't have more pictures of my most recent creations. Hope you're all having a very merry time!

NorseOtter xxx

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