Saturday, 18 February 2012

Top 5 Best Sewing Bloggers on the Net

The group are away this week so - to keep you entertained - here is my list of the top sewing bloggers on the internet. I know you'll comment with '..but what about blah-blah?' and 'You need catnip Red Kitty because such and such is fantastic!' And you know what? They probably are.
But if you are still mighty indignant after reading this, put your comments down at the end and we'll see. Heh-heh.

5. Green Apples
Music teacher and sewing addict Jessica from Kentucky USA shows us how to sprinkle a little fairy dust on that pattern you wouldn't look twice at, let alone purchase. Once she sews it, you'll buy it.

4. Very Prarie and Petit Main Sauvage - joint 4th place
Kristin from the mid-West sews the oddest but most beautifully constructed creations on her blog 'Very Prarie'. See a Vivienne Westwood-inspired 'Anglomania' waistcoat to a Japanese knotted 'Magic' dress. Sadly now defunct (last post in 2010) it's still worth reading to see how a little creative thought can elevate every pattern.

For experimentalism at it's very best try Lauriana from the Netherlands with her blog Petit Main Sauvage. Such creations shouldn't work, wouldn't work, but somehow they do - but only on her!

Another experimental and beautifully sewn creation 
from Lauriana of Petit Main Sauvage

Immaculately groomed mother-of-three Adrienne from Alabama shows that confidence is what really elevates your sewing projects. Whatever pattern you thought was too young for you, too short or too revealing, she will sew it and change your mind instantly. You'll ask yourself, is that the same pattern?

Like normal sewing but SO MUCH BETTER. 

Adrienne shows us a thing or two
about confidence.

Elaine May is known for gifting planet Earth with her self-drafted pattern Coffee-Date Dress. Thousands of women have and will, for many decades to come, sew this dress - and it's a beauty!
Very funny blog with great pictures from a woman who takes perfect-fit, perfect fabric and designer detail to the next level. She throws in even MORE free patterns on her blog...just don't expect any instructions.

Elaine May wearing a trench-coat she made out
of one of my distant cousins.

Portugese Tany is simply PHENOMENAL! Deserving of the number 1 slot, Red Kitty has never seen anyone sew as many garments as her, as WELL as her. She truly deserves to put the word 'couture' in her blog title because anyone who can produce a near-perfect copy of a Burberry zip-detail coat from two patterns and her imagination must be given ultimate respect. 

The kind of sewing you only dream of doing....

Tany's version

 The real Burberry

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Vogue 8028

Week 3: 17 weeks left. That's 4 months to make your baby clothes, jumpsuits, evening wear, clutch bag...

So finally Red Kitty has decided to stop mucking around and get stitching!  
Very much liked Green Apples cord version of this dress and as soon as I saw it I knew I wanted one. I love cord and I love green. I've always wanted a 'fits-like-a-glove' shirtdress which I (kinda) achieved by making a muslin first. Actually made TWO muslins, because the first was true to the pattern and didn't fit me so I had to ditch it. Who knew Vogue cut a B-cup on their patterns? B-cup was a looong time ago.....
So here we have View A. The 'pin-it-on-the-dummy' before sewing technique. Matching darts and seams with a thousand pins and careful folding! I've also included side bust darts to improve the fit and left an extra two inches in the waist to flatter with a tie-belt. Sleeves full length with cuff. More tailoring is needed to take in the bodice but it's a good start. Already I want to replace these sleeves with ones which are three-quarter length balloon style with a long cuff - but I cannot find a pattern like this anywhere (boo-hoo!).  Anyway, I have a trip to Greenwich next week (no sewing group) because I got a heads-up on a lady who sells cheap, retro buttons in the flea market. Meow! 

Vogue 8028 in thick green cord from

Dart matching in the rear

Vicky proceeded on Simplicity 2281 (view B) on a beautiful vintage Frister & Rossman sewing machine in yellow. It purred like a kitten and sews the most perfectly formed stitches. 
As you may remember, Vicky is using black crepe and the dress already looks great but the instructions were of the 'Kafka-esque' variety, i.e. downright puzzling, when it came to attaching the sleeve. Being high in the neck with gathering makes it slightly difficult to attach but we're sure she'll nail it and produce something quite lovely.....

Vicky and her gorgeous Frister & Rossman sewing machine. 

Blogger 'Green Apples' attempt at Simplicity 2281

Yes, it's been icy cold of late but good men and women of Lewisham you MUST come to the group; blink or you'll miss it! We only have funding for the next 4 months so don't leave it too late to come and work on your favourite pattern or knitting project. A lot of good advice is going up and down the tables so we'd love to see you!

Just think of all the great patterns you could be sewing and knitting.....

Catford South Sewing & Knitting Group is completely FREE of charge, thanks to Lewisham Council. Use it or lose it.

Quelle surprise!

Week 2: 18 weeks left. That's 4.5 months to make your hats, gloves, dresses, trousers....

With RK and the rest of the group eagerly awaiting three sewing machines, we were instead delivered three sturdy knitting machines! Gulp. Needless to say, I promptly purred and sniffed over them in a curious way, hoping the secrets of automatic knitting would be revealed to me but alas, I was no nearer to the truth. The truth? You can't handle the truth Red Kitty! 
All jokes aside, we are extremely grateful to receive these machines. However, as everyone hand-knits, the general consensus was that these beauties may have to find another home. If anyone out there knows how to work one, come on down! :)

One of three knitting machines donated to the group

Jenny proudly displays her lacy knit scarf with
pattern on the diagonal.

Speaking of hand knitting, Jenny's project of a lace-effect scarf in white wool got some admiring glances from the group. Not for the beginner this. The pattern is tricky and steely concentration required  to ensure the diagonal pattern comes out purr-fectly. So beautiful...

On the sewing side, Delphina put the finishing touches oVogue 1194 a casual dress in crepe jersey. Apparently the blind-hemming was no walk in the park but she completed after two seam rip-outs and was pleased with the final result. If at first you don't succeed, hem and hem again. :)

Vogue 1194 completed by Delphina
in royal blue crepe jersey

And Red Kitty? Well thanks to coaching from Marilyn, I resumed knitting after a 30-year hiatus. My lofty ambition of knitting a hat for openers has been relegated to a test square. And the picture below tells you why! Until next time...

Catford South Sewing & Knitting Group meet every Saturday (except 3rd in the month) at the 
St. Laurence Centre, SE6 from 11am - 5.30pm.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Sew helpful - Colleen G Lea

Being a cute kitten rather than a full-grown cat, Red Kitty is still in the early stages of sewing. So when I made the ubiquitous 'Coffee Date Dress' by Elaine May last year, my feline calm was positively ruffled when I had to complete the all-in-one-facing on the bodice. I scratched not only my head but mewed over every sewing book I could to find for a decent explanation. Screech! Scratch!

Eventually I turned to every crafters best-friend; YouTube. My kitty rage dissolved instantly when I discovered the most fabulous channel; run by sewing expert Colleen G Lea. 
I had that all-in-one facing done in 10 mins flat and primped my whiskers. That's right

A great website run by a great seamstress who knows all the tricks of the trade. She's also shown Red Kitty how to hide shoulder seams and how to sew inseam pockets (properly). No longer is the seam ripper my best-friend. 

Well, not exactly.....

Catford South Sewing & Knitting Group is completely FREE of charge, thanks to Lewisham Council. Use it or lose it.