It’s Mother’s Day here in the States. Because it’s my first I wanted to mark it with something special. I whipped up my first garment of the year (crazy, right?) and made Ollie a matching bow tie.
The fabric came from a lovely shop in Edinburgh during a meetup there. I was stuck with not knowing what to use it for. But recently it hit me: circle skirt. And it proved to be the best project to flex my sewing foot. Now I won’t be too nervous about approaching my other projects.
Ever since I acquired some stripey jersey fabric from the lovely Rehanon at a swap, I knew I wanted to make it into a skirt. And today was finally the day! Using a maternity skirt that I specifically bought to use as a pattern, I whipped it up this morning.
There’s not much to say about the project. It was fast, easy and just what the morning called for.The skirt only has one seam and I am happy that I managed to match the stripes. I encased some elastic for the waistband and that’s it. I had the perfect amount of fabric (a meter-ish, I think) and enough left over for a nifty headband. Sweet.
We had gorgeous weather (AKA NO RAIN) this past weekend in London. And too afraid not to take advantage of it, Greg and I braved the chilled weather and went on a picnic Sunday. We packed some sandwiches, snackies and drinks and were off. The benefit of living in East Finchley is that we are surrounded by gorgeous parks. There are Highgate Wood, Queens Woods and Waterlow Park in Highgate. Then there’s Ally Pally in Muswell Hill. And the grandest of them all in Islington, Hampstead Heath. We are a nice leisurely 30 minute walk away from the Heath so we headed there. One of our favorite places to visit locally is Kenwood House, located north of the Heath. Unfortunately the house is closed until spring 2013 for renovations. But the grounds (including cafés and bookshop) are still open. So take a gander if you’re ever in the neighborhood.
The grounds were bustling with people who had the same idea as us. There were lots of families and couples exploring, taking in the view or playing games. We walked away from the house and found a nice spot in front of the pond.
I bought the most beautiful Brexton picnic set ever and still have yet to use it. Sadly it still hasn’t been christened (it’s a bit heavy to carry for long). Instead we got to use the matching napkins I especially made for the set.
But this post isn’t about singing the praises of Kenwood House, no matter how much I love it. It’s all about my refashioned denim Ginger skirt.
I initially felt bad cutting it up but then I remembered that it never really fit properly. And now I will be able to wear it, even if just for a few months. And the piece I cut out will work perfectly to determine how much I need to cut out in future maternity garments. Perfect.
**Oh! Did you spy my headband? Totally used the hem I cut away from my Simplicity 1998 dress as one. Little waste! Yay!**
No one can argue that the sewing community is a wonderful one to belong to. I find myself very fortunate to be part of such a welcoming and opening group of people. I love meeting up with fellow sewists and chatting about projects and just life in general. So it’s to no surprise that I jumped at the opportunity to meet up with Claire. We met at the OWOP cocktail meetup. She casually mentioned she lived at a castle and I basically invited myself over. I can be a bit shy at times but not enough to miss out hanging with a lovely sewist at her castle!
Okay. So Claire doesn’t live in the castle. As a gardener for the Sissinghurt Castle grounds she lives in the most adorable cottage ever.
Here we are looking adorable in our me-made outfits. She’s wearing a sweet swiss dot Sorbetto and an awesome Ginger skirt. I’m wearing my new self-drafted circle skirt.
But before I go on about the skirt. Check out the grounds she calls work and home.
Can you imagine this place being at your front door?
After a lovely guided tour around the famous gardens, Claire took my friend and I back to her cottage for some tea and delicious carrot cake. She even gave us some cake for the train ride home. It was just as tasty the second time around. Thanks so much for the awesome hospitality, Claire!
Now for the skirt. I drafted a full circle skirt using two tutorials: Patty Snug Bug’s Circle Skirt calculator and Casey’s Circle Skirt Sew-along posts. For the waistband I just used the one I drafted for my gathered skirt. For a full skirt I used about 2 meters of cotton twill fabric. It was 60 inches wide. Any less and I would have had to sacrifice length and I wasn’t too sure if I wanted to do that. In hindsight I’ll make a shorter one next time.
I do love how the skirt swishes about as you move. I can easily imagine myself swing dancing with Greg while wearing it (with shorts of course!). I definitely think this skirt will get a lot of wear.
My favorite part of the skirt is the slashed open zipper. The skirt has no seams so I was quite curious about how I was going to insert a zipper. Casey’s tutorial helped with that immensely.
May is getting closer and closer and it brings a long ago booked holiday (Crete!). I thought it was still far in the future but…nope. It sneaked up on me and my plans to sew my vacation wardrobe might be thwarted. Might! I still have time to make a handful of pieces. Assuming I get the fit okay I hope to pack these (mostly button-up) beauties in my suitcase:
I totally jumped on the Lobster fabricbandwagon . Freya and I were browsing on Goldhawk Road recently and we instantly snapped some up when we saw it. I settled to make it into a skirt because I don’t think my lady lumps can pull it off in a dress.
Another pattern that I am planning to finally make is the Sewaholic’s Renfrew. Marie’s gorgeous takes on this simple T settled it for me: must make now. I have some plain red and coral jerseys in my stash that I can use but I will be on the look out for stripey ones at Walthamstow market this weekend.
So that’s my sewing plan for April. It should keep me nice and busy.
Yesterday was the last day of OWOP. I really had a great time doing this challenge. It forced me to think outside of the jeans-and-t-shirt box and spruce up my look a bit. I definitely felt extra special every day because I knew I actually spent time deciding what to wear.
A group of us celebrated the end of the challenge with a few cocktails and friendly chatter. Meeting up with fellow stitchers never gets old. On the contrary. I look forward to meeting up more and more. It’s nice to chat about your hobby with someone who understands what you’re on about. Poor hubby just grins and nods when I explain what I’m trying to do with a garment. Bless.
A great night is always guaranteed when you mix three things together:
2. Chocolate (Find my tutorial on how to make these lovely macarons/macaroonshere).
Thanks to Tilly for thinking up an awesome challenge that got my creative juices flowing. Thanks to Karen for organizing another fab meet-up. And thanks to y’all who humored me by listening to me go on and on about The Tube. I am obsessed with that show!
See those cute teal shoes above? Yeah, haven’t worn those since I lived in Texas and drove EVERYWHERE. I am not even going to pretend that those shoes will be worn today. I haven’t worn heels since I moved to London. My poor ankles aren’t suited for balancing over cobblestones and uneven pavements. All my heels are gathering dust in the closet. Maybe I’ll start using them just for picture purposes. But really, how do women in this city rock heels so well? My calves hurt just looking at them.
So…this is my first Ginger skirt. It fits a bit big now (hurrah!) but I don’t think I will go through the trouble of taking it in. I bought some wool Prince of Wales fabric and hope to replace this one next winter. When I made this skirt I used a pattern that I graded up to a size 20. I found the pattern a bit too roomy around the hips so I’ve since started using the 18 with a modified waist. I used the slash-and-pivot method to add some inches at the waist and keep the hips the same. I’m liking the new look and will soon retire this skirt. But it’s had a great run.
Let me end this post with sending a MASSIVE congrats to Dibs and family. She and her husband welcomed Noah into the world late last night. Can’t wait to meet the little guy.
Gail‘s comment recently lead to today’s outfit. She suggested that my Mustard Jasmine would look good with the crochet Ginger and she was right. I think the look is quite sweet. But I love my layering pieces (viva cardis!) so I think I will have to start making vests (tank tops in the UK). This outfit so needs a coolio 1990s vest. No, really.
A vest would give it a bit more umph, yes? I thought about making vests earlier in the year and completely forgot about it after the weather got warmer. Must add that to the to-sew list. Who knows how long this warm weather is going to last? Oh oh. Did I jinx us? Sorry if I did, London!
I used the belt from my Madhatter Ginger to define the waist. I turned the bow to the back and ta-da…a clean look in the front with a cute bow in the back. Sadly, no photo of the cute bow was taken.
After reading Handmade Jane‘s post on the Marilyn exhibit I knew I had to check it out. Today I met a friend at the Getty Image Gallery and had a leisurely look around.
And since we were in the neighborhood we browsed around Liberty, fondling fabric, checking out their housewares and stationary section.
Here’s a closeup of my newly made Fan-tastic Ginger. I made it from a Japanese fabric that has a gorgeous pattern of fans on it. It was much too sheer to wear alone so I lined it with black acetate.
As we left Liberty I just had to capture a photo of two women wearing gorgeous kimonos.
If you browse through my collection of photos through the years you’ll find that I am a bit obsessed with alleyways. I love taking photos of them: the lines, the shadows. I saw this alley and asked my friend to take my photo. I am clearly a great actress because you would never know from the look on my face that the alley smelled of buckets of urine. Or can you? Hmmm…
Once home I was stuck trying to take my own photos since my husband is working late today. It took AGES! It’s so hard to get a good self-portrait. The sun is almost gone and I assure you it was high in the sky when I started.
It appears I am still suffering from a sugar high from yesterday’s sweets.
Sugar crash. Enter Artistic Mela…
I’m loving sharing all this Ginger love. And I have more to give!
With the excitement of the first day of my fitting workshop, I completely forgot that today was the start of OWOP. As soon as I got home, I threw my Ginger on and took a walk with the mister to enjoy the sun. Londoners, wasn’t today AMAZING?
This Ginger is my least worn simply because it’s still quite snug. Six months ago the skirt didn’t even close around my waist. But today it zips up. Small victories, yay!
Sorry to keep this post short and sweet but there’s Pimms to be had.