Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Tuesday Tunes-day: Do you have an hour or two and a pot of tea?

For some absurd reason I love to listen music whilst I sew. Now this is fine if i'm hand sewing or doing all the sewing prep, like pattern cutting, but usually it's completely arbitrary as my sewing machine drowns out the songs. So I decided to share with you the songs I would be listening to if I could hear them ;) Plus I love an opportunity to be alliterative AND punny!!

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin-Nightwater Girlfriend

I found out about SSLYBY a couple of years ago and loved them but then they kinda slipped my mind and I completely forgot about them. Now they're back and I have been playing this song CONSTANTLY since it was released, like seriously I should be sick of it by now, but i'm not! It is literally the perfect song because it works as background music AND rocking out music (aaah it's like the holy grail!) Also I now know all the words so it doesn't even matter that I can't hear the song i'm still singing :P Other favourites are: oceonographer and You could write a book
Lisa Mitchell-Coin Laundry
When I first heard this song I wasn't really sure about it. I'm not always a fan of Indie-Dream-Pop (is that even a thing?). However this girl id literally the cutest thing ever and I've escalated from pleasantly surprised to OBSESSED! (Another favourite is Clean White Love...hmmm, I think there may be cleaning theme emerging...)

Never Shout Never-Happy
Two Missourian band in one post?! (Gasp) I first heard NSN when their song played in a Sherlock fan video (Yes. Yes I did just say that) and I really love how they make even shitty stuff sound really upbeat (Pollyanna syndrome anyone?) Also can we just take a moment and talk about the singers voice? Oooh the accent...shivers, actual shivers. Anyways other favourites by them are Can't stand it, Lousy truth, I love you more than you will ever know and Cheatercheaterbestfriendeater (when the names are as good as those you can't help but love the songs!)

Sunday, 18 August 2013

How to replace an elastic waistband

There are a couple of reasons why I ADORE my best friend, (she's sweet, kind, funny, generous, always knows what to say and is THE BEST at  shopping (I haven't even gotten started yet)), but the main reason is that she's lets me steal her clothes in return for me making her stuff! WIN!!

Point in case is this minty lace skirt that I pulled out of a draw one day and said the infamous line "Why have I never seen you wear this". THEN I noticed the weird shiny striped elastic waist, since she's an elastic-waist-no-belt kinda gal it was a kinda awkward look. Sooo, in return for us not mentioning the chambray dress that i'm currently wearing, she let me take the skirt and work some crafty magic on it.

This isn't so much a "How to" as a "What I did" (How to do what I did...?) and either way it's super simple.
Equipment needed: 1 skirt with naff elastic, 1 length new elastic, Stitch ripper Sewing machine
Step 1: Unpick naff elastic
Step 2: Cut new (unoffensive) elastic to the same length as the original waistband (Amazingly enough when I went to the fabric store to buy the elastic I found an remnant the EXACT length that i needed!! SCORE!! Plus I saw the same elastic i'd just ripped off the skirt...Awks :/)
Step 3: Sew the elastic ends together (Am i the only one who spent 5 minutes trying to work out which side was the right side?) Then sew the seam allowances down, to neaten it up.
Apparently I didn't think to take any pictures of anything but the really easy parts...sorry :(
Step 4: Mark your elastic into 8ths (divide the length by 8 then mark it on the elastic)
Step 5: Repeat for the actual skirt
Step 6: Pin the two together but ONLY at every marking (start by matching the Centre backs then work outwards
Step 7: Sew the skirt to the elastic stretching as you go (I used a medium length straight stitch and (with the skirt on top) held the two pins either side of the needle to stretch the elastic to the same length as the skirt)
Step 8: TWIRL!!!

It was seriously that easy and done it under an hour, it would've been less if I hadn't been scared shitless that i'd ruin my friend's skirt! (I can't be the only one who cuts corners for herself but has to make things PERFECTLY for others!) On a side note it was my first time actually sewing elastic and although I constantly thought it wouldn't work, and my machine HATED it, it was surprisingly easy! Win! Plus until my friend gets back from France the skirt is all mine! DOUBLE WIN!

"A personal signature? (GASP) How bloggy...next thing you know she'll be using HTML"

Saturday, 17 August 2013

The Dress: Planning & Preparation

Since my prom dress was THE DRESS that started this all off it was only fitting (Pun intended) that I start off by telling you ALL about it...

I decided to make my prom dress when I realised that I had neither the money or the inclination to actually spend money on a dress. I also couldn't find any dress that I thought were my "style", although I wasn't really sure what my style was! Every girl I knew was shopping, browsing the internet and finding the perfect dress and I was sitting the there being slowly dragged towards my deadline, whilst not even sure I was going to make the damn thing. Suffice to say I was NOT a happy bunny! (the Facebook group set up for all the girls to post pictures of their prom dresses on didn't help)

I spent A LOT of time thinking and sketching trying to decided on a "look" that I could design around (or blatantly steal) and I came up with this mood board.
1) Free people 2) Free people 3) Rachel Antonoff 4) Etsy 5) Modcloth 6) Ark 7) Asos 8) Asos
I fell HEAD OVER HEELS for numbers 3 and 5 so decided to make a strapless sweetheart bodice with a short twirly skirt. (This was to become a reoccurring theme!!) I then spent MANY weeks hanging out in the fabric store narrowing down my fabric options, since it was a one-time thing and would probably still be cheaper than a normal prom dress I was ready to give the big bucks (Read: over £5/m) for Silk. I'd narrowed down my fabric options to 2 purple silks (1 floral, 1 with squirrels) and 1ditsy blue. I was leaning towards the squirrels but wasn't sure they'd be very prom-y... Just as I was leaving I noticed the sales-lady sewing the price on a remnant... the same floral blue silk crepe that I had been ogling seconds before!! It was like a sign from the gods; the fabric was paid for before the price was even attached to it. I figured that even if I didn't use it for the dress it would be a good piece to experiment with (for my first time sewing silk. Eeep!) or just to add to my stash and stroke!

That night I drew up a vague pattern for the bodice and sewed it up in a random piece of black cotton from my stash. I loved it and decided to make the whole dress from the blue fabric (a la numero 3). I went back to the shop 2 days later to find absolutely NO SIGN WHATSOEVER that my blue silk had even existed!! (There was also no sign of the squirrels and i'm STILL kicking myself for not buying any when I had the chance! It was on sale and too perfect for words :'( ) Still reeling and unsure of what to do I wandered over to the remnants box where I saw a deep teal stretch satin material. There was a good lot of it for cheap and although I didn't like the right side (too shiny) I thought the wrong side went well with the little swatch of crepe i'd brought. (my friends had taken to carrying pieces of their dresses around in case they went impromptu accessories shopping, I had a slightly more legitimate reason)

As time went on, however, the dress ground to a halt. Why, you ask: 1) I had just been plunged into the BIGGEST MOST IMPORTANT EXAMS OF MY LIFE!! (Essentially life stopped and I disappeared into a revision-shaped cocoon, emerging only to restock on flashcards and take the damn tests) and 2) I HATED the skirt fabric. It was so much heavier than the delicate silk and and colours were so similar (yet dissimilar...?) that I really didn't think they'd work together. My mind essentially refused to work on the bodice until I had worked-out the skirt, and it wouldn't touch the skirt with a barge pole. 

So, 2 weeks before prom I was in the fabric shop, getting some light relief before my final exams, when I realised I'd walked into the middle of a half-price sale!! Say it with me now "HALF-PRICE SALE!!"...aaaah music to my ears. Then slap-bang in the middle of the shop was a roll of black sparkly lace. I took out my swatch and knew instantly that what my skirt needed was a black lace overlay for texture. I rushed home and a quick Google search (for Teal dress black lace overlay) confirmed my hope.
After all if it's on Modcloth it must be good ;)
I went back and immediately bought the black lace. It had a beautiful scalloped selvage edge and was luckily it was wide enough that I could squeeze both the front and back panel from one 70cm piece! I had also bought a long blue invisible zip and 1 metre of plastic boning and after reading this post (to find out what the hell I was supposed to do with it) I was ready to finally crack down on the dress!

For those of you who are wondering the dress was entirely self-drafted! I took a buttload (hehe, or rather boob-load!) of measurements and winged it referring to this post towards the end. I also bought a cheap nasty crop-top in the same sort of style as I wanted my bodice to be and took it apart to look at the construction. The skirt was just a simple gathered skirt I've made a million times before.

See Part II to see the final dress and find out about my nightmare sewing experience...

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Summer goals

Hey y'all, how's it going? (I hope you imagined that in the world's worst southern accent... I know I did!)

So, since you now know that this blog is technically waaaayyy behind schedule I thought I'd catch you up on a few of my crafting goals (Intriguing n'est pas?) , because some of them have even been realised! Yay, self-five!

After finishing my prom dress I came to terms with the fact that I have no finishing skills at all; Honestly it was like a shedding cat inside that thing (Fraying seams and thread ends agogogo). Therefore I decided that by the end of this summer, which is EXTRA long for me (Yay!), I would have mastered all (ok, most...alright some) of these techniques:
-French seams
-Princess seams (I'm obsessed, and not just because of the name :P)
-Darts (Bust, waist, the type where you throw metal spikes at a board...I'm not picky)
-Raglan sleeves
-Set in sleeves
-Pockets: Slashed, In seam and welt
-Invisible zips...that are actually invisible
-Flat felled seams
-Using a pattern ... Okay, this one probably sounds weird but I've only ever self-drafted my clothes, either by rubbing off existing clothes or just drawing vague shapes onto fabric. The idea of using  a pattern, and having the, in my opinion, hardest part done for you, thrills and terrifies me!
-Bias binding/binding in general
Luckily I have The complete book of sewing, Dressmaking, my great-grandma's Ann Ladbury Guide to pattern alteration and almost every edition of Mollie Makes (EVER) to help me along the way!

I'll keep you guys updated on how I'm going. It's debatable how many of these I'll have done by the end of the summer, but I'm hopeful.  After all, any progress in an improvement! :)



Tuesday, 13 August 2013

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Well fancy seeing you here...

Well hi there! Fancy seeing you here in this convenient little corner of the internet I just set up. Why don't you stick around a while, i'll put the kettle on and we can talk all about out crafting exploits...sound like a plan?

Well, straight off the bat I have to tell you that I was supposed to set up this blog MONTHS ago to document my attempt to make my prom dress, mainly to force myself to actually go through with the idea. (Because if it's out on the internet then that makes it real...right?!) However, months went by sans blog  and I kind of gave up on the idea, "I mean. a girl with a clinical deficiency in self-motivation keeping to a blog schedule... Don't make me laugh!". THEN one day I realised that not only did I have a gorgeous hand-made prom dress in front of me but atleast half a wardrobe full of clothes I'd made myself. Suddenly I couldn't keep this to my self, so I decided to document it and the blog idea was reborn! Yay! :)

The name Fledglings First has no real meaning, it's just something cute my Grampa says before he offers he the last slice of cake or doughnut, so I, atleast, think it seems sweet and strangely fitting. (Plus I ADORE alliteration!!... Geddit?!)

That's the end of what was supposed to be a brief "Hello"...Hmmm perhaps I do have a tendency to Word Splurge... 



Ps. Just so you know, I do tend to overuse ellipses... and it WILL annoy you...also CapITaliSAtIoN for emphasis...You have been warned... :P