Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Like you

That is not quite your walk,
But for a moment
Wishing overcame remembering.

That is not quite your car,
But for just a moment
I really thought it might be.

That is really very like
Something you would wear
Very like your hair.

I felt a jolt of hope
Slip suddenly into disappointment.
I fooled myself again.
So briefly, so achingly like you.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Burn baby burn

I mentioned in a previous post that I had made a skirt from a fabric of unknown composition. Since I wanted to list it in my Etsy shop I really wanted to know what it was made of. A little Googling led me to this wonderful site. I followed their directions and was delighted to get fairly definitive results.

They point out that fibre blends are often simply constructed of one material as warp and the other as weft. So I separated the two in my sample, and sure enough the first one burned and charred, gave off an odour of burning paper, and left soft black ash; indicating linen or mercerised cotton. I already suspected linen, and the fibres are matt rather than shiny. So linen in one direction.

I couldn't see an obvious difference between the two directions of fibre, but I decided to burn the second set for completeness. Well I'm glad I did, because the second set burned and melted, gave off an odour of vinegar, and left hard black ash; indicating acetate or triacetate.

It was rather exciting to be able to get so much information from such a simple test.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Making bias tape

I've been making circle skirts lately, and one very important thing about circle skirts is the flow. If the hem is too heavy it will stiffen the bottom of the skirt and it just won't fall well. My favourite solution is bias binding. I've been making my own, and today I got really detailed about it, so I thought I'd take some photos and post the process.

Tip 1: Use bed sheets
First, you need wide fabric, or you'll have to cut lots of short strips. I've been saving old bed sheets (and sometimes buying new flat sheets on sale) for making stuff out of, and they're a great source of much-wider-than-usual fabric.

Tip 2: Check your angle
Then you need to fold your fabric along the diagonal. If you want to avoid puckering you need to get this angle right. The grain should be at 45° angle to the folded edge.


I used the 45° triangle from a maths set. It's worth fiddling with this to get it right, because small mistakes in the angle will result in puckering when it comes to sewing on the binding.

I have a tool (something like this) for making bias tape, and it requires a strip 48mm wide. I usually bodge this number to some extent, but I really felt like being exact tonight. So I got out my rarely-used rotary cutting tool and cutting mat*. My metal ruler is about 55mm wide, so I added little notches at either end to help line it up with the edge:


I can hardly make out the notch myself in this photo, but there's something I like about the composition so I'll leave it in :)

* my favourite sound in all the world is a good scissors cutting through two layers of fabric on a smooth table. Rotary cutting tools are all very well, but they will never replace my scissors in my heart.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Circle skirt and Etsy shop

I have finally opened my Etsy shop. There are only two items there right now, and the photos are terrible*, but it's a start. The first item I added is a custom wedding fascinator, and the second is a circle skirt.

The skirt was originally supposed to be for me, but I forgot to make an adjustment and ended up with a skirt about 4" too wide. I hope someone gets to enjoy it, it really is a lovely skirt.


It's up for sale here on Etsy. The pocket is made from one of the semi-circles I cut out at the waist, which pleased me no-end. I was going to use the button as the waist closure, but I didn't think it would work well in the long term so I decided to add it to the pocket for interest.

The main fabric is quite heavy (I'm going to do some experimentation later tonight to see if I can identify its composition) so I didn't want to hem it and ruin the flow of the skirt; instead I made bias-binding from a sheet I've been saving for its wonderful colour.

* my daughter tells me the photos are not terrible, so let's just say they leave a lot of room for improvement.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Wedding fascinator

My spell check doesn't like the word 'fascinator', and I don't blame it. It's slightly better than "head thingy", which is what I've been going with up till now.

I mentioned in March that I was working on a crochet project. Now that the bride has had a chance to wear it I'm ready to share photos :)





I learned some basic lace-making for the purpose. I'd be happy to post a tutorial if anyone wants one (leave a comment). The bride's favourite flowers are all very difficult to crochet flat, but I'm quite happy with the amaryllis design I came up with (see the aforementioned post). The design on the other side is not representative of anything in particular; it was inspired by some lovely images of crochet I found on the web. There's a tiny shamrock in one corner for luck.

I'm open to the idea of making these by commission, if you'd be interested please leave a comment or take a look at my Etsy shop.

ETA: photos from the wedding