Thursday, 8 November 2012

Sewing under the influence

One thing from my PMS sewing list: done! The small collar blouse from Japanese pattern book, Simple Chic.

Despite its casual, breezy appearance, I'm actually more enamoured by this shirt that many of my other more complicated or glamourous makes. For two reasons: firstly, I don't actually remember making it... I was completely out if it having gone under a general anaesthetic the day before, and considering all the morphine and codeine and whatever else they pumped into my system, it's a wonder I didn't stitch my fingers to the machine let alone come away with a shirt so well made and beautifully finished! Man, I even took the time to blind stitch the hem - although that part I do remember - and rest assured my fingers received a fair few stabs of the hand sewing needle whilst I zoned out to my second apocalyptic movie that day... And secondly, I feel like I've had a bit of a eureka moment with the making of this shirt. My monotonous everyday uniform of jeans & t-shirt couldn't be further from the sort of things I make and wear to go out, and I've been struggling to bridge the gap between studio slouch and dressed for the Opera. Not that I give even the teeniest damn what I look like when I'm slouching about, it's just that there are times when I'd like to feel a little more interestingly put together, yet still casual and comfortable. For me, this shirt does exactly that.

Construction-wise, I had been interested to see what it would be like working from this book, seeing as all the instructions are in Japanese. Before my operation I started making notes in the book as I figured out that the patterns did not include seam allowance, I began interpreting the characters for things like Centre Front, Side Panel... I figured out the sizing chart, then got confused as there seemed to be only one cutting line for this pattern - I was almost going to write a Help Me! post when I realised it was one size fits all! 

The fabric is from a grotty little market stall in Kilburn and cost me all of £1 per metre! For that price I would've expected something deeply unnatural but it feels like cotton voile, and behaves like it too - easily creases, irons like a dream and no meltage when burned. So why was it so cheap?? 

Despite the language barrier, the technical drawings in this book are incredible. Each step is so clearly illustrated and impossible to mis-understand, even post-op and under the influence of serious pain killers. The epitome of sewing instructions! 

All in all, mega success. 

New skills acquired: interpreting Japanese sewing instructions; sewing under the influence. 

It's the kind of shirt I always wanted to buy but never found and somehow never thought to make - until now. Hardly surprisingly, I want to make more. And wouldn't it be cute as a mini-dress...?

Friday, 2 November 2012

By Hand London is LIVE!!! is officially LIVE and our very first collection of sewing patterns is now 
FOR SALE, for real!

We’ve sat here, teary-eyed as we watch the first orders roll in, trying to think of a more eloquent/witty/intelligent way of announcing this… but there’s really no other way than WE’RE LIVE! IT’S REAL! WE DID IT!!
We are nervous, excited, terrified, proud… and we can’t wait to hear what YOU think. Any feedback would be so much appreciated – it is our first collection after all, and we only want to keep improving on our collections to come.
There’ll be a little silence over at the By Hand Blog as we recoup our emotions, send out packages, and put the finishing touches to the Spring Summer 2013 toiles… I am also currently recovering from an operation I had at the beginning of this week to remove a stone from my salivary gland so I'm hoping to get some light personal sewing done as I potter about the house, swollen of face and slurping of soup (I'm SO hungry!! Definitely going for a Mexican when I'm better... and a pizza... and...). Keep checking back to By Hand London though, as we will be back with details of the Charlotte Skirt SEWALONG which will be commencing mid-November!

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