Wednesday, 15 July 2015

London Meet Up - A Review

I have just had the best weekend!

I was in London visiting my brother. The main reason for going down was to attend Secret Cinema. The film this year was Empire Strikes Back, and as my brother and I are both geeks Star Wars fans, we leaped at the chance to go. Well, I kind of leaped, then nearly fell over when I found out how much it was. Luckily my brother is both generous and better off than I, so he very kindly treated me in lieu of a birthday or Christmas present this year!

I think Secret Cinema is a bit controversial, particularly over the ticket price and whether or not it is worth it. In my opinion, it was a very expensive, but as an experience it was worth it. We were blown away. The detail was incredible. We even had drinks in the Cantina. You aren't allowed to take photos inside at all (mobile phones were to be put in sealed bags) and a friend even had his disposable camera confiscated. Which is a bit OTT, but I get it: it makes it a true suprise for everyone; no spoilers, and furthermore it means you concentrate on actually enjoying the experience, rather than worrying about Instagramming everything. It would have been nice to get a photo with Boba Fett though! :)

Our party
We were assigned characters which were made up - not from the film. Most people dressed up but with varying degrees of effort, and there were more Leias and Hans than assigned characters. I was given the character of Governor of the Alliance. I did think about making something, and even bought fabric, but time just got away from me. In the end I settled on wearing black: trousers and my black Liberty vintage Simplicity 6304, which is vaguely uniform-like. I basted an insignia badge on, to give it a more military feel, and wore the scarf they rather oddly insisted everyone wore. For the record, I think this is probably as close to cosplay as I am ever likely to get.

On to Saturday, and the London Blogger Meet Up! I was in London without kids or hubby, so perfect conditios for meeting up with some fellow bloggers/sewers. It was brilliant fun.

What you wear to a blogger meet up is very important: Red denim Kelly, with newly made Liberty Tana Crepe Emmeline Tee.

4 of us (Shivani, Charlotte Rosie and I) met to go to the Riviera Style exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum, which was brilliant. It was much bigger than I expected and covered swimwear, and some leisurewear, from the turn of the 20th Century (swim dresses, made from wool), right through to present day. It was fascinating to learn how women had to remain covered up at all costs, right down to wearing stockings in the water. Women were not even allowed to swim at first, merely "bathe".

3 bathing dresses made of wool, with removable skirts. While women were forced to wear this get up, the men were swimming naked off of a segregated beach.

First costume designed for actual swimming, and made of cotton. Designed for better movement than the bathing dresses.
Stockings to be worn with bathing costume.
The exhibition then took us through the invention of knitted fabrics in 1913 (invented by the Portland Kitting Company, eventually renamed Jantzen), the introduction in the 1930s of the "one size fits all" telescopic costume made possible with elastic and ruching, beach pyjamas (why don't these still exist), corset inspired swimwear and onto nylon and ultimately lycra via some very interesting diversions.

A costume from the 1920s or 30s

A 2 piece from the 30s - way before the invention of the bikini in the 60s
Beach pyjamas, the perfect cover up. Look at that gorgeous fabric, and the angled hem.

A Horrockses playsuit. I would definitely wear this! Look at that print!

Another playsuit which I think was also Horrockses
L-R: Blue velvet 2-piece, Gold Lame one-piece, beautiful highwaisted 2-piece, Closet Case Files Bombshell inspiration
Some of the more... er.. interesting mens' offerings. From top left, clockwise: wool trunks with a modesty panel (I'm imaging to stop any cling...,) satin trunks, lace up satin trunks (of course!), "Men's enhancing trunks" featuring "show it technology", applique mens' costumes from the 30s.
This, to me, is the epitome of 60's swimwear, and I love it.

A "trikini", which is made from 3 pieces of fabric. This doesn't seem the most flattering of garments. And in towelling too.

1980's styles. In the words of the brochure "with internal structure removed, the responsibility for body-moulding was transferred from the manufacturer to... the wearer". Hmmm.
We were able to take photos, which was great, although the lighting wasn't brilliant. But unfortunately no touching was permitted, much to the disappointment of the 4 of us, and our itchy fingers.

L-R: Jo, Elena, me, Rosie, Charlotte, Claire
 After the exhibition we had lunch in the museum cafe, where we were joined by Claire, Jo and Elena (Shivani had to leave us at this point). After lunch and a blether covering topics as diverse as sewing, Scottish politics and the Kardashians, we headed off to Goldhawk Road for a spot of fabric shopping, where we were further joined by Alison. I'm afraid I did not keep track of which shops we went into, and where I bought what, but I think we started in A One fabrics (or something similar) and worked our way along.

I was restrained. I was travelling with hand luggage only, so was concerned about weight and I went with a vague list of things to look for, but not intending to buy them all. I did pretty well, with the coral silk being the only off list fabric. And not a print in sight!

L-R: royal blue cotton, coral silk crepe de chine, chambray
After about 4 or 5 shops I had to head off again and meet my brother for dinner.

On the Sunday, my brother and I went for a walk and eventually ended up in Marlyebone High Street, where we mooched around expensive furniture shops, bought cheese and had lunch, before I had to head back to the airport.

I lived in London in a previous life - I moved back to Scotland nearly 12 years ago - and although I had reached a point where I no longer wanted to live there, I still love it passionately. We both (the city and I) have changed a great deal in the interim, and although I largely spent the weekend in East London, whereas when I lived there, West London was my 'hood, it was nice to get back under its skin. When I lived in London, I was single and childless, and my day exploring and meeting people on Saturday, took me back to my time there; meeting friends for lunch, seeing exhibitions without having to worry about naps, baby changing facilities, or even having to rush home to relieve P. Of course I missed my boys terribly, but having that freedom was nostalgic, refreshing and liberating. It was like a holiday.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Edinburgh Meet Up!

Quite the social butterfly, just now!!

Another meet up, this time in my home town of Edinburgh! A group of us are going to see Fully Fashioned: The Pringle of Scotland Story at the NMS on Sunday 26th July. If anyone fancies joining us, we are meeting at 12pm outside the main entrance. We are then going for lunch and potentially definitely fabric shopping.

If you fancy it, please come! I am booking a table for lunch, so probably best to get in touch beforehand if you want to join us.

Helen x

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

London Meet Up!

It has occurred to me that I have organised a meet up on Instagram, and haven't mentioned this on my blog at all! And there might be some readers not on IG, who might like to come!

So, this weekend I will be in London, and I have arranged a meet up on Saturday 11th. We will be meeting at 12pm at the Fashion and Textile Museum for the Riviera Style exhibition, then will have a spot of lunch, followed by some fabric shopping.

If you are interested in coming along, drop me a comment below with your email address. Or, just turn up on the day!!! The more the merrier. :)

Friday, 3 July 2015

Completed: Double Gauze Emmeline Tee

Given the name of this blog, and the reason behind that (it's my favourite colour), I don't sew nearly as many green garments as you might suppose. My recent make is a step in redressing this.

Green on green
You may recall way back here, when I went through a brief infatuation with Cotton + Steel Bespoke double gauze, and then it sold out, but by then I'd moved onto something else. But I had my lovely double gauze quilt to stroke and I couldn't get a blouse version out of my head. I received some Village Haberdashery gift vouchers at Christmas, so instead of the C+S, I ordered  Framework double gauze, by Ellen Baker for Kokka, in teal broken plaid (now sold out in TVH), which is a bit of a mouthful, but which is beautiful. It has the same strokeable softness of the Nani Iro and the C+S, and the colour is gorgeously saturated, although seems to be difficult to capture on camera. IRL it's greener than it appears in these photos.

It was destined to be a Scout, and I'm unsure why it kept getting bumped down the queue, but I'm glad it did, because I was recently fortunate enough to win the Emmeline Tee, the first pattern from The Little Tailoress, which this fabric was perfect for. When it was first released I'd thought it too similar to the Scout to buy, but when Ami posted the giveaway and I took a further look at the pattern, I realised it's not that similar after all. Yes, they are both a relaxed fit and dartless, but where the Scout has set in sleeves, the Emmeline has options for raglan sleeves, grown on (or kimono style) sleeves with or without cuffs, and it is specifically designed for both wovens and knits, with separate instructions for each. Talk about thorough!!!

I made the size Small, and I did a quick muslin first just to check fit. It's not quite as loose fitting as the Scout, but it's still quite relaxed and the Small fit well. I did intend to add about 3cm to the length, just as a personal preference (it's what I add to my Scouts) but I forgot. And actually the length is absolutely fine as is. As there are no sleeves to set in, it's a really quick sew. I opted to make the cuffed sleeve version, and to make the process a little more fiddly by using French seams, which was tricky with only a 1cm seam allowance and a fabric that frayed like nothing else. Other than that though, it was a quick, easy and pleasant sew. There's not really a lot to say because it went so well.

Bias binding. Perfect from the outside...
The neckline is bound with self bias tape, which gives a really pleasing effect, with the "broken plaid" on the diagonal. Due to the shifty nature and open weave of the fabric, the bias tape was difficult to manage, so it's a bit messy on the inside. For some reason the pressed edge didn't want to stay pressed and so I have some raw edges that unfurled themselves as I sewed. I did unpick and redo a couple of sections, but I still ended up with some exposed raw edges, and due to the open weave I didn't want to risk damaging the fabric with lots of unpicking, so I left it as is. 

... not so good from the inside. 
I LOVE LOVE LOVE this top, which has already become one of those "wear, straight into the machine, straight out and onto my back" type shirts. I have worn it to work, casually and on a night out. I think the fabric works well with the pattern. As I said, it's a little less loose (more fitted?) than the Scout, which took me a bit to get used to, but I do like it. I love the cuffed sleeves, which are a little different to anything else I have in my wardrobe, and I like the wider scoop neck.

Cuff detail
One word of warning: this pattern is a wee bit of a fabric eater. With the grown on/kimono style sleeves I couldn't fit the front and back side by side with a double fold. My fabric was only 106cm wide, but I would have been able to do this with the Scout. Plus there is the bias tape pattern piece which is quite long. To conserve fabric I ended up actually cutting this in half and cutting 2 (adding SA) and then joining them, but that then meant I had to think about where to place my bias tape so I didn't have a join at CF (I placed the join at one shoulder and then closed the tape at the other shoulder). I bought 1.5m and I think i have about 20cm left of the full width, plus fairly decent sized scraps that are only about 40cm wide. I reckon with 150cm wide fabric, I might be able to fit the bodice pieces side by side, and thus have got away with a metre of fabric, and if I'd made the version without cuffs, I probably could have fit it into a metre of the narrower width. It doesn't matter too much, but I do like to have a selection of patterns I can make with a metre of fabric, as then I can better justify (and afford) the pricier ones I always seem to want.

This is a good versatile pattern to have in the arsenal. I can see this made up in a wide variety of fabrics, and I am looking forward to trying it in some knits too.

Baby Boy. Not really a baby any more.
We took these photos at Jupiter Artland, where we went last Sunday for Father's Day and Small Boy's birthday, which was Monday. It's a privately owned sculpture park near Edinburgh, which is utterly amazingly beautiful. You just wander round the grounds of the house (a private residence), stumbling across these fantastic (and sometimes creepy) works of art, some by well known artists such as Anish Kapoor, Jim Lambie, Anthony Gormley and Charles Jencks. Here is a selection of my photos which seriously don't do it justice.

Jim Lambie. And the McFadyens.

Anish Kapoor

Anthony Gormley
Weeping Girls by Laura Ford. Particularly creepy if you are a Doctor Who fan.

Charles Jencks

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