Monday, 21 September 2020

Dreaming of travel - Stitcher's Guild Sunset SWAP

Once I caught up with the Stitcher's Guild SWAP 2020 rules late last year I began playing with a plan of my own. The ideas were all over the place and whilst I had an inspiration photograph and fabrics to execute it deciding on which patterns to sew with which fabric was elusive. The other fly in the ointment was that in the first half of this year whilst I made ten garments they were chosen based on ease of sewing rather than my SWAP plan. So all in all, despite being very enthusiastic about this years rules, it was a very feeble attempt at participating

Creates Sew Slow: Dreaming of travel - Stitcher's Guild Sunset SWAP

The SWAP rules

The Stitcher's Guild SWAP 2020 rules were simple and very achievable. You had to make eleven pieces, in two groups:
  • nine or ten that may coordinate (be worn together) to form outfits
  • one (if you make ten) or two (if you make nine) that MUST coordinate with all of the others
  • no required garments
  • no required colours
  • one garment could be knitted, crocheted, or handwoven
  • one garment may have been sewn before the SWAP rules were announced on 29 October 2019 plus one RTW garment (or two pre-sewn garments)
  • one garment may be included that was sewn after the rules were announced but before SWAP officially started on December 26
  • one garment to include a technique that stretches your skill set and is something you have been wanting to learn
  • all garments to be finished by 30 April 2020 (later revised to 30 June 2020)
There were supposed to be two overseas trips this year one back to England to visit family and the other a creative sewing trip to the Design Outside the Lines retreat in Ashland Oregon then on to the International Quilt Festival in Houston. As usually happens with thoughts of travel for me I wanted to sew some new clothes for the travel wardrobe. Then as travel fell off the list of things you could do and 2020 became the year of staying at home sewing to a plan became elusive.

The SWAP intentions

There were many ideas for inspiration with Diary of a Sewing Fanatic back in mid March posting about a Chico's advert for twelve pieces to make twenty-four outfits and Fit 2 Stitch series 700 being about making nine garments for a complete wardrobe. The potential fabrics were even curated into a plastic tub so the ideas could ferment.

Creates Sew Slow: Dreaming of travel - Stitcher's Guild Sunset SWAP

However, nothing could compensate for the lack of focused sewing and the SWAP remains a work in progress.

Creates Sew Slow: Dreaming of travel - Stitcher's Guild Sunset SWAP
My eleven piece Sunset SWAP wardrobe
My plan was for five tops, two dresses, two pairs of trousers, a jacket and a coat. Both the jacket and the coat went with everything. The Centre for Pattern Design Smaller dress was the garment to stretch my skill set, as it was based on subtraction cutting a technique I had been wanting to try for some time. My Morse Dot Sun top was the item sewn before the rules were announced (finished way back in 2017) and I included the Untouched World Weekend jacket as my ready to wear item. Not required by the rules but all of the tops would go with either pair of trousers.

I managed to make four versions of the Katherine Tilton V8710 top and the Swing dress #4000 from Silhouette Patterns before 30 June; with the Megan Nielsen Flint trousers made at the beginning of July.  Three of the garments remain unmade.

The SWAP mini travel wardrobe

The Sunset SWAP, with a few additions, did however become a mini travel wardrobe.

Creates Sew Slow: Dreaming of travel - Stitcher's Guild Sunset SWAP

So what did I take besides the four finished tops?
Top row: This is the ready to wear section! Moochi black Puffed coat; Untouched World Ecopossum Weekend jacket in colourway Kowhai; Untouched World black Pure Skinny jean; and Andrea Moore black Boyfriend jean
Second row: V9243 Twirling Rebecca Taylor dress; Sew Different Sheer Fly Birdie Fly top; Silhouette Patterns #4000 Swing Dottie dress; and B6232 Morse Dot Sun top
Third row: Four Katherine Tilton V8710 tops - Busy City; Dreams of Summer; Fall Blues; and Little Mustard Stripe
Bottom row: The accessories - Uashmama dark grey Mini Bag; Ernest Wyler Keesha boots in Sunflower; and Ivy Lee Courtney flats in Yellow Faux Python

Outfits of the day

A miracle occurred and I managed to take an outfit of the day picture every day we were away.

Creates Sew Slow: Dreaming of travel - Stitcher's Guild Sunset SWAP

Okari Lagoon


X marks the spot!
By the end of May we were quite keen to take our postponed Easter break and just laze by the sea. As this trip was about relaxation rather than frenetic sight seeing (and we drove to our destination) I took my overlocker as well as the Singer Featherweight. Both of which were used. This was my opportunity to make the Silhouette Patterns Swing Dottie dress (and then wear it), as well as finish Silhouette Patterns Lana's wine metallic linen jeans started in Easter 2019 whilst we were away in Northland. It seemed appropriate to take them with me to finish sewing them on our Easter 2020 trip even though it was postponed until May.

Our most strenuous activity was walking on the beach and talking pictures of the view.

Creates Sew Slow: Dreaming of travel - Stitcher's Guild Sunset SWAP
View from the bach
Creates Sew Slow: Dreaming of travel - Stitcher's Guild Sunset SWAP
Ripples on the lagoon
Creates Sew Slow: Dreaming of travel - Stitcher's Guild Sunset SWAP

Creates Sew Slow: Dreaming of travel - Stitcher's Guild Sunset SWAP
Sunset over the water
Creates Sew Slow: Dreaming of travel - Stitcher's Guild Sunset SWAP
The birds
Creates Sew Slow: Dreaming of travel - Stitcher's Guild Sunset SWAP
Quilt at the bach of the local wildlife
and here is the Google movie


Monday, 22 June 2020

Vogue 8710 a versatile Katherine Tilton top

In a search for the perfect top pattern to use with a wonderful Liberty of London jersey knit I rediscovered a Katherine Tilton pattern Vogue 8710. Like many of my Tilton sister's patterns it had never been used. I seem to admire the style lines buy the pattern and store it as a collectors item rather than using it. Don't know why because I usually love the finished garments made from their patterns.

Once it was rediscovered I proceeded to make view B four times, only the second top pattern I have sewn since Christmas. Other top patterns have been selected and the fabric cut out but they haven't made it to the sewing machine. I normally loathe the cutting out stage and can't wait to sew. This year however garments have been cut out and no sewing has followed. There are currently about ten to be sewn items sitting on my sewing table.

The finished garment

All four of these tops have been on constant rotation since they were sewn. Even though it is Winter now I am still wearing them with the addition of a woolly layer.

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 8710 a versatile Katherine Tilton top
V8710 KT Dreams of Summer top
Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 8710 a versatile Katherine Tilton top
V8710 KT Dreams of Summer top
Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 8710 a versatile Katherine Tilton top
V8710 KT Little Mustard Stripe top
Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 8710 a versatile Katherine Tilton top
V8710 KT Fall Blues top (never to be worn again with these trousers)
Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 8710 a versatile Katherine Tilton top
V8710 KT Busy City Top

The fabric

The journey started with a wonderful Liberty of London jersey (94% modal and 6% elastane, 160gsm) called Dreams of Summer and sadly sold out. It was pretty expensive so I only bought one metre (137cm wide). My first plan had been to combine it with a plain mustard jersey knit but as luck would have it there was enough fabric for Vogue 8710 in size small.

The second version made from the mustard stripe knit fabric (95% cotton and 5% spandex, 190gsm) was chosen because I wanted to emphasise the little cut out by placing the stripes vertical with the rest of the garment having them horizontal like the top on the pattern envelope.  This fabric is extremely wide (175cm) and was bought from Fabric Vision here in Christchurch but is available online from Miss Maude (Torpedo Little Stripe Jersey Knit). There will be more versions of this top as I bought the same fabric in two other colourways duck egg blue and blush pink.
Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 8710 a versatile Katherine Tilton top

Then followed Fall Blues a brushed ITY knit from Silhouette Patterns. This is a light weight fabric originally intended for Vogue 9243 the Twirling dress. I made the mistake of cutting the fabric for the dress double layered creating a hideous pattern join at both the centre front and back seam. It looked so bad that I only sewed the centre front and back seam before throwing it in the bin. The positive side to this was using the left over fabric for V8710.

Finally I used the off-cuts from another dress Giorgio's Busy City Dress made using Silhouette Patterns 312 Giorgio's Top lengthened to the knee. The remains of the Busy City French digital print viscose knit 130gsm also from Silhouette Patterns was intended to be combined with other left-overs for a different Katherine Tilton pattern B6492. As soon as I saw how much fabric remained it inevitably became V8710. Maybe the scraps could be combined with two or three other fabrics to become B6492. I do want to get better at using up the fabric remnants rather than just storing them. If I continue to sew in themes combining the left over fabrics should be easier.

The pattern

The pattern includes two tops. I was attracted to View B for the little cut out piece and if you make it with short sleeves it fits on less than a metre of 137cm wide fabric. View B is described as a semi-fitted pullover top with top stitching details, forward shoulder, mostly cut on crosswise grain, bound neck edge, long sleeves, and stitched hems.

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 8710 a versatile Katherine Tilton top

The pattern card

Back in March 2020 Grainline Studio wrote a getting organised blog post about pattern cards they specifically designed for home sewers.  Pattern cards are used in the garment industry to accompany a pattern around the sewing facility giving the people working with it the information they need to correctly cut and sew the garment. For me the value is in having notes about what pattern adjustments I made, the pattern pieces and fabric used, my measurements when the garment was sewn and the pattern size cut.

I downloaded the pattern card and have been trying to remember to fill it out as I alter the pattern and cut out the fabric. Not entirely convinced of the value of having one for each garment sewn from a pattern, when they are sewn in quick succession like these, as opposed to one per pattern or one each time the pattern is altered.

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 8710 a versatile Katherine Tilton top

Storing them is a challenge I haven't quite conquered yet, as I don't keep my patterns on pattern hangers and even reduced to A5 size they are too big to be inserted into many pattern envelopes.

The pattern alterations

As this is a Vogue pattern it has ⅝" seam allowances. I chose to use the size small sewn with ⅜" seam allowances which increased the circumference from 35½ to 37½". This provided me with 2" of negative ease (the right amount for me).

The bust point was lowered by adding a 1½" strip above the bust point in the front pattern piece. For the side front piece I cut across to the side seam and created a wedge 1½" larger where it joined the front pattern piece and nothing at the side seam. I made the alteration in this way to increase the depth for a 1½" FBA.  For the fourth version (the Busy City top) I increased the FBA by an extra 1" as I was still getting a little fold of fabric at the bust which can be seen most clearly on the Little Mustard Stripe version. It is a bit hard to see in the before and after photos below due to the print in the Busy City top but in real life the difference can be clearly seen (if you sew and are attuned to these things).

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 8710 a versatile Katherine Tilton top

The difference in the pattern pieces after the total 2½" FBA change can be seen in the photo below.

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 8710 a versatile Katherine Tilton top
Pattern piece 8 (at left) is the side front; fitting into the curve on the left of pattern piece 6 Front

Rather than use the long sleeve intended for view B I altered the armhole to match my preferred sleeve from Silhouette Patterns 195 sweater set and used the short sleeve length.

Writing this blog post highlighted a small faux pas. Reading the pattern envelope and the notes on the pattern card identified I made a forward shoulder adjustment when one was already incorporated into the pattern. This explains why the finished garment sits a bit oddly on the shoulders. However this is preferable to the top always falling backwards strangling me with the neckline as tops without a forward shoulder adjustment do. For the next version of this top I will correct the double forward shoulder by putting my ½" adjustment back on the front pattern piece and removing it from the back.

The sewing

The pattern instructions are good and include some design studio tips. I veered off from the instructions by using the overlocker and not top stitching the seams. Also whilst the neck binding was attached as per the pattern instructions (albeit using the overlocker) I didn't use the neck binding pattern piece cutting a 1½" strip instead. This strip is stretched slightly as it is stitched around the neck to give a nice snug neckline.

The old Singer Featherweight was used for the hemming and stitching the neckband in the ditch.

Outfit of the day

These four tops went with me for a week away by the Okari lagoon near Westport on the west coast of the South Island of New Zealand. This was meant to be our Easter break but we weren't allowed to leave home then so it was deferred until late May.

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 8710 a versatile Katherine Tilton top
V8710 KT Fall Blues top: Andrea Moore Boyfriend jeans; Ivy Lee Courtney Yellow Faux Python flats
V8710 KT Dreams of Summer top; Andrea Moore True Love orange pant; Birkenstock Arizona Metallic Silver sandals
Untouched World Ecopossum Weekend Kowhai jacket; V8710 KT Busy City top; Andrea Moore Boyfriend jeans; Ernest Wyler Keesha Sunflower bootie
V8710 KT Little Mustard Stripe top; Andrea Moore Boyfriend jeans; Face & Cie glasses

On the way home we stopped at the Maruia Falls. This waterfall was created by the 1929 Murchison earthquake which triggered a landslide in the Maruia Valley diverting the course of the Maruia River westwards and forcing it to cut a new channel over an old river bank. Once the river had eroded the gravel, the bank became the Maruia Falls. Immediately after the earthquake, the falls were only about a metre high, but after a year, the drop was 5 metres, by the early 2000s it was 10 metres.

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 8710 a versatile Katherine Tilton top
Moochi Puffed Coat; V8710 KT Dreams of Summer top; Andrea Moore Cropped Boyfriend jeans; Ernest Wyler Keesha Sunflower bootie

This outfit was worn to breakfast and for my first haircut in eleven weeks. When I arrived home I took a selfie in the sewing room to record the moment! All of the other pictures in this post were taken at various points during this eleven week period. Is this proof I don't need a haircut every six weeks?

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 8710 a versatile Katherine Tilton top
Untouched World Ecopossum Weekend Kowhai jacket; V8710 KT Little Mustard Stripe top; Andrea Moore Boyfriend jeans; Ernest Wyler Keesha Sunflower bootie

Monday, 4 May 2020

Wonderland: The Exhibition

In these topsy turvy times it seemed appropriate to share a visit to the Wonderland exhibition at Te Papa in Wellington, from way back in early March when the outside world was a bit more right way up. A fabulous exhibition that filled me with joy for many days. From the walk along the waterfront with the knitted flagpoles, the opportunity to be Alice or the White Rabbit, exploring the world of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson and watching Alice on film through the ages.

The other reason for sharing Wonderland is that there is no sewing to share with only two knit tops sewn in the nearly six weeks I have been staying safe at home.  Two  more versions of Katherine Tilton's Vogue 8710 view B emerged from the sewing machine. Maybe now there are three versions an actual blog post about sewing could appear in the near future.

The exhibition developed by the Australian Centre for the Moving Image is described by Te Papa as:
an interactive exhibition that celebrates Lewis Carroll’s timeless stories. Explore Alice’s journey from book to screen, through original picture books, magic lanterns, and more than 40 films and 30 television programmes. Then join an immersive Mad Hatter’s Tea Party that comes alive with digital wizardry. You’re bound to get lost on the way. Squeeze into a tiny house, climb a giant chair to peek into Alice’s room, and post your soldier avatar on the Queen’s croquet ground. The closer you look, the more you’ll discover – not everything is what it seems!
So into Wonderland - lets fall down the rabbit hole...

Creates Sew Slow: Wonderland The Exhibition

For those who don't have time to scroll through this picture heavy post Google kindly made a little video of the event.


In case we got lost we were provided with the Lost Map of Wonderland. These maps were produced for different characters - I should really have asked for the White Rabbit instead of the Queen of Hearts. The Queen does have a scale of impatience, which is appropriate for me, although I would never be quite as extreme to vary between hold your tongue and off with your head.

Creates Sew Slow: Wonderland The Exhibition

Through the book lined corridor into the exhibition - some great childhood favourites here.

Creates Sew Slow: Wonderland The Exhibition

Pages from the original manuscript

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson better known by his pen name Lewis Carroll told the story to entertain three girls as he and a friend (Reverend Robinson Duckworth) rowed up the river Isis one afternoon in 1865. The story featured a bored little girl named Alice who goes looking for an adventure. One of the girls Alice Liddell asked Dodgson to write it down for her.  The exhibition featured facsimiles of the original manuscript (held in the British Library).

Creates Sew Slow: Wonderland The Exhibition
Pages from the original manuscript with Dodgson's drawings
Dodgson added his own illustrations to the book but for its publication he approached John Tenniel to illustrate it. The illustrations of John Tenniel are my favourite.

Creates Sew Slow: Wonderland The Exhibition

Not a great admirer of Disney's depiction of Alice and friends.

Creates Sew Slow: Wonderland The Exhibition

The film through the ages

Alice in Wonderland was a fabulous book for early cinematographers where the imagination could run wild. We spent so long watching the films from the early twentieth century through to the 1930's that we had to rush the end of the exhibition before it closed.

For those who are as much of an Alice nut as I am I have included links to the films on YouTube where I could find them (sometimes only snippets). It was truly amazing to see such early films and how they adapted the story. Despite some of them being over a 100 years old they didn't seem as dated and consequently amusing as early science fiction films. They are also in remarkably good condition considering their age and how they would have been treated in their early life (not as treasured archival pieces of cinematography).

Creates Sew Slow: Wonderland The Exhibition

One of the doors in the Hall of Many Doors led to a cinema where we watched the first version of Alice in Wonderland directed by Percy Stow and Cecil Hepworth in 1903. The British Film Institute restored some of the film and its original tinting. The original film ran for about twelve minutes, the restored version is just over nine minutes long. Now thanks to the British Film Institute and YouTube you can watch it too...


Stills from Alice in Wonderland directed and written by W W Young in 1915 a silent film starring Viola Savoy as Alice. I really appreciated the music that accompanies this film found on YouTube.

Creates Sew Slow: Wonderland The Exhibition


Stills from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, a silent film directed by Edwin Stanton Porter in 1910 with Gladys Hulette as Alice.

Creates Sew Slow: Wonderland The Exhibition


Stills from Alice in Wonderland, directed by Norman Z. McLeod in 1933 with Alice played by Charlotte Henry.

Creates Sew Slow: Wonderland The Exhibition

Then come the more modern versions like this 1966 television musical of Alice Through the Looking Glass directed by Allan Handley with Judi Rolin as Alice. A fun version but I much preferred the earlier silent films.

Creates Sew Slow: Wonderland The Exhibition


The most recent version is from 2010 by director Tim Burton with a star studded cast led by Johnny Depp.

Creates Sew Slow: Wonderland The Exhibition
Early costume designs by Colleen Atwood for Helena Bonham-Carter's Queen of Hearts
Creates Sew Slow: Wonderland The Exhibition

And the official Disney trailer.


Fascination with Alice takes many forms

Magic lantern projectors were developed in the 1600s using a lens and a candle to project an image painted on a glass slide onto a wall. By the 1800s skilled operators could entertain audiences, creating the illusion of movement by wheeling the magic lantern towards and away from the screen. Narration sound effects and music added to the show. Not so skilled operators could harm (or even kill) their audience with projectors illuminated by limelight!

Creates Sew Slow: Wonderland The Exhibition
Johnson Optiscope Magic Lantern projector, Houghton-Butcher, UK circa 1910
An assortment of magic lantern slides, some by W Butcher and Sons Ltd, London 1905-08

Creates Sew Slow: Wonderland The Exhibition

The Toy Jektor film viewer saw this Dandy Film released in 1933. Movie jektors or toy film strips were created by printing images and text in three colours on 35" strips of translucent paper that were rolled onto wooden dowels and stored in boxes. They were viewed through a toy film projector to create simple animations.

Creates Sew Slow: Wonderland The Exhibition

Character sketches from the 1933 Alice in Wonderland film by Norman Z McLeod

Creates Sew Slow: Wonderland The Exhibition

This scene design from the stop motion and live action 1988 Czechoslovakian film Alice by Jan Švankmaier was much darker than the other items in the exhibition and of course a snippet of this film can be found on YouTube. Its original Czech title is Něco z Alenky, which means "Something from Alice" being a loose adaptation of the book.

Creates Sew Slow: Wonderland The Exhibition


The Mad Hatters virtual tea party

You enter a completely white room and take your place at the table, images play over the walls, table and crockery creating different illusions. In a couple of pictures I managed to capture the transition between scenes.

Creates Sew Slow: Wonderland The Exhibition
Creates Sew Slow: Wonderland The Exhibition
Creates Sew Slow: Wonderland The Exhibition

Playing croquet

On the back of the exhibition map was a playing card where we could stick on our own design in the interactive studio at the end of the exhibition. I really wanted to be the White Rabbit in his Court attire but could only find his legs so added the kings head and drink me bottle to make my own unique character. Once the playing card was completed to your satisfaction it was placed in a slot with your head in a cut out hole and you become the soldier avatar on the Queen's croquet lawn painting the white rose bushes red. Being a loyal Yorkshire women it was a challenge painting the white rose of Yorkshire red for the House of Lancashire (War of the Roses all over again!)

Creates Sew Slow: Wonderland The Exhibition
My playing card
Creates Sew Slow: Wonderland The Exhibition

Acknowledgements

Fabulous exhibition that brings joy even through these photographic memories. I echo my thanks to those of Te Papa to everyone who brought this exhibition to life.

Creates Sew Slow: Wonderland The Exhibition

Along the waterfront to Te Papa

On the walk to Te Papa along the waterfront we came across these knit bombed flag poles. The characters where fabulous and the photographs don't do them justice. They added another layer of colour to a wonderful day.

Creates Sew Slow: Wonderland The Exhibition

Outfit of the day

I don't normally remember to take photographs of me made outfits but as I went to Wonderland with a fellow dressmaker photographs were taken with my very favourite White Rabbit, as the adventure continued.

Creates Sew Slow: Wonderland The Exhibition

Creates Sew Slow: Wonderland The Exhibition
The Cut Make Trim dress, Green Pink Kantha jacket and United Nude Mint Fold booties
Here I am fulfilling my life long ambition to become the White Rabbit (had to try out being Alice too!)

Creates Sew Slow: Wonderland The Exhibition

And finally an ode for our times...

Creates Sew Slow: Wonderland The Exhibition