Sewing sequins – some inspiration

With the festive season over and done with, you’d think I’d missed the boat on the sequin front – but there’s nothing wrong with a spot of glitz to kick off the first month of the New Year.

As I mentioned last time, I’m trying to concentrate on one of my Can’t Jar entries a month. I’ve never sewn sequins before and I’m currently without a sewing machine, so it seemed like the perfect place to start.

It can be fiddly work for sure, but, as you’ll see from some of these projects, the results are well worth the effort. I’ve gathered five sequin tutorials from around the web

Sequin clutch

This is definitely one you’ll need to set a bit of time aside for, as well as about 40 yards of sequins! Again, no sewing machine needed here right until the end when you put all the pieces together. Kris from How Did You Make This has a great tutorial for this evening clutch bag here.

Paillette sequin collar

Really simple idea from A Pair & A Spare to update a round neckline. Geneva added paillette sequins to the neckline of a refashioned white dress. Best of all, you won’t need a sewing machine at all. But if you do have one handy – why not make a version of this BurdaStyle peplum top with the embellished neckline?

Embellished headpiece

Embellished headpiece | Everything Oz/Mollie Makes

Embellished headpiece | Everything Oz/Mollie Makes

Excuse the dodgy picture on this one, as it’s actually from issue twenty of Mollie Makes magazine! This hair clip is made from sequins, beads, gems and stones with the starbust design sewn onto sinamay in an embroidery hoop. It’s from Everything Oz by Christine Leech and Hannah Read-Baldrey, which you can get here.

Sequinned shoe clips

How cute are these little bow clips?! They’re pretty easy to make too. Alternatively, there’s a tutorial here for a pair of heart-shaped sequin shoe clips, if those should take your fancy.

DIY Sequin Maxi Skirt

Being the shortarse I am, I’m not sure I could pull this one off, though I’m sure there are plenty of you out there who could rock a full-length sequin skirt. This YouTube tutorial is definitely for you.

Any of you spotted some good sequin tutorials? Or have you tried sewing with them? Do let me know in the comments below.

Happy New Year, folks!

Can you believe it’s 2014 already?

I’m feeling quite a bit worse for wear today after one too many glasses of champagne yesterday, but I’m extremely excited about this year. 2013 was a bit of a mixed bag in all – and when it comes to sewing, it slowed down a little by the end.

Hopefully, that won’t be the case this year. I’ve got a few challenges going for 2014, which you can find full details of here. But the most important one you guys should know about is as follows:

Earlier this year I popped a list of all those projects I’ve passed up into a fancy jar, which currently gathers dust on my bedside table. For each month of 2014, I’ll take a Can’t out of the jar and get it done, once and for all. Some things, like a coat for example, will take up the whole month with just one project while others can comprise of lots of different ones. I want to push the boundaries of what I can sew by getting out of my comfort zone. Should be fun!

This month, it’s all about sequins. I’ve never sewn sequinned embellishments and I’ve never used sequin fabric – so this could either be an awesome new skill or a recipe for disaster. I’ll be posting some inspiration for sequinned projects this month – hopefully ones which can travel, as I’ll be moving to London in a week and I’ll need something I can stitch on the move!

For now, I’ve got a pair of trousers almost finished and I’m in dire need of a long snooze…

And of course, if you’re stuck for a New Year’s resolution – you can always take on the Seamless Pledge!

The sheer madness of Boxing Day sales

I swear, once upon a time Boxing Day activities were limited to cold meats and watching telly.

Nowadays, it’s the day when retailers kick off their bargain sales. In my hometown of Cardiff, people queued up from as early as midnight to try and nab some discounts in Next, a popular clothing chain. Basically, if you’ve never been out for the Boxing Day sales, it’s a little bit like the stampede part in the Lion King:

stampede

 

Trust me – there’s not much a shopaholic Brit loves more than a bargain. Of course, it’s not always cut-price clothes on offer – anything from toys to gadgets to food end up in the Boxing Day sales. The day is often hailed as a chance for retailers to claw back from a disappointing run-up to Christmas.

I was working today, which meant the inevitable Boxing Day chat with some of Cardiff’s intrepid shoppers. To be fair, it wasn’t nearly as busy as I thought it would be, especially after seeing the pictures of the humongous queues. What most shoppers had in common though were oodles of bags, filled to the brim with Boxing Day goodies.

When you’re not buying any clothes at all, or trying to cut down on your shopping habits, Boxing Day sales can prove a little tough to handle. Especially when everyone else is rooting through the rails at New Look or Topshop in hunt of the best bargains. The answer is simple, of course: stay away! And anyway, at least it means you won’t be stuck in the queues.

On the plus side, sometimes you’ll find your favourite fabric shops and haberdasheries are also having a post-Christmas sale. John Lewis often has discounted fabrics (they weren’t open today in Cardiff – their sale starts tomorrow), for example.

I hope you’re all having a great festive period – truth be told, I wrote this really quickly just to get back into the swing of post-work blogging. If I’m completely honest, the last few months haven’t been so brilliant, meaning I’ve let a lot of my hobbies slide.

But! Things are definitely looking up and I’ve got a scheme to make sure I don’t lapse in 2014.

Merry Christmas everyone!

(I sent that Lion King GIF to our online editor at work today after I’d been out vox-popping shoppers for the paper – so of course, we put together The 9 stages of the Boxing Day sales as told by the Lion King. JUST BECAUSE WE COULD)

We Can Sew It – Trouser fitting has got me stumped

Well, it’s been a little while since I’ve had a chance to update, hasn’t it?

It’s also been pretty slow on the sewing front.

I finally got around to starting my Clover muslin this week and am already a little bit stumped.

So can you see those creases at the front of the trousers going towards the crotch area?

I have no idea what causes those, or how you’d sort them out!

Anyone got any ideas?

(I promise a lengthier update soon…)

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We Can Sew It: Trousers for beginners

Who’s ready to tackle some trousers?

If you’re still ambivalent, check out these patterns for inspiration. They should all be suitable for beginner/intermediate sewers making their first pair of trews.

Sewaholic – Thurlow

sewaholic

Thurlow is a great pattern from Sewaholic which comes in two versions – you can either make a pair of cuffed shorts or full-length, slightly flared trousers. According to the pattern’s description, the centre back seam has extra-wide seam allowances, which should be handy if you have issues with trousers fitting properly at the waist.

A more challenging aspect (which takes it up to the intermediate zone in my opinion) is the front fly zipper. But if you’re ready for a challenge, then there’s no reason you can’t have a go.

Butterick – B5895

butterickgertie

You all know I’m a big Gertie fangirl, so I couldn’t not include these trousers from Butterick’s Patterns by Gertie range. Probably not an ideal length for the UK’s plummeting temperatures, but the cropped length on this pair is really cute. An extra bonus is no fly-zipper, hurrah! Instead, the zip’s at centre back of the trousers. There’s also a great cropped shirt with kimono sleeves included to boot.

Rochelle made a pair of these not so long ago and it’s definitely worth reading her review of the pattern - it seems there can be some sizing issues if her experience is anything to go by, so be sure to make a muslin.

Vogue 8604

V8604

I’ve wanted to make this pattern for absolutely ages, though I’m not entirely sure I could pull off such a huge flare! As you’ve probably guessed by now, a high-waisted trouser is well up my street. The front is shaped with a pair of pleats and, once again, there’s no need to make a fly zipper because the zip is at the back. These would be great as a pair of jeans, as

Colette Patterns – Clover

clover

And I’ve saved the best ’til last. Well, the best in my humble opinion. I’ve decided to go for Clover from Colette Patterns – I love the shape, I love that it comes in two lengths and, well, I’d already bought it before I wrote this post. Ha! So Clover it is. I’m hoping they won’t be too much of a nightmare to fit, but the pattern is classed as suitable for beginners and – you guessed it – there’s no fly to worry about here either.

Anyone making one of these patterns? Or are you planning to go for something else entirely?

And in case you’re interested – I made a little Pinterest board of these patterns made up by other sewing bloggers.

Join me – We Can Sew It!

Last week, I told you all about my lovely new project, in which I’m basically trying to sew all the things I’ve been telling everyone I definitely can’t make. 

And it seems I’m not the only one with a few sewing no can dos – one especially. Who knew trousers could inspire such fear? Oh – and guess what I picked out of my can’t jar first.

Well that’s just DANDY.

Now, remember how I threatened to get you all involved? I’m just going to leave this here…

(see what I did there?)

See what I did there?

See what I did there?

Folks, it’s time for a bit more positive sewing. We all need some upbeat stitchin’. And that means SEWING SOME TROUSERS and maybe doing some pushups to prepare. I don’t know. I’m new at this.

Borrowing heavily from our pal Rosie the Riveter, this project/sewalong/whatever this is shall henceforth be known as WE CAN SEW IT. Because if you’ve got some fabric, a sewing machine and some thread, you can probably sew just about anything – you’re just telling yourself you can’t.

I’m not going to put a time limit because it’s probably going to take me an absolute age to make my trousers. But, to help you along, I shall be posting some tidbits on patterns, fun tutorials I find in panicked google searches (I foresee interesting results when it comes to fitting the crotch) as well as the heap of mess which will spew forth from my beleaguered machine.

Want to join in? Well I only bloody have a hashtag for you to use, don’t I? Lovely! It’s #wecansewit. Even if you’re not sewing trousers this time around, do share if you’re tackling a particularly tricky project.

Oh, and I made a banner button thingy you can put on your blog should you want to get involved:

wecansewittrews

 

The code for that is as follows:

[a href="http://seamlessblog.wordpress.com/we-can-sew-it/" target="_blank">[img src="http://seamlessblog.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/wecansewittrews2.jpg" alt="We Can Sew It" /]</a] (replace the [ ] with < >)

WATCH THIS SPACE! Those of you who do follow me on Twitter probably already know which pattern I’ve chosen, but I’ll stick a post up with some good beginner trouser patterns later this week.

Tomorrow, I promise* I will drink less caffeine.

*I can’t promise anything

Getting back on the Seamless Pledge wagon with a new challenge

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One of the best things about sewing is having complete freedom over your wardrobe.

You don’t have to make concessions for fabric and fit when you’re the one making the things you’re wearing.

But, I don’t know about you, I find I still have a long “no can do” sewing list of garments and techniques I won’t touch.

Sometimes it’s because it’s too time consuming, other times it’s because I feel like I’ll make a right old mess of things.

And when you’re taking a pledge not to buy any new clothes, it can lead to some difficulties.

Confession time: while I haven’t returned to my shopping habits of old, I have broken the pledge a few times in the last couple of months.

It all started when I foolishly decided to do the Cardiff Half Marathon (I DON’T EVEN LIKE RUNNING ARGHH).

My running gear is threadbare to say the least – basically, I’m the person who will happily run in her pajama bottoms if they can pass for joggers at a distance.

Yep this is a pretty accurate depiction of how I run

Yep this is a pretty accurate depiction of me trying to run

And that is totally fine when you attempt a half-hearted run around your local neighbourhood before returning 10 minutes later, panting and wheezing even though you stopped every 30 seconds.

A half marathon is serious business. Holey pajamas and my brother’s stolen hoodie would not do.

Except I ended up getting beyond frustrated hunting for the right fabric and patterns for what I wanted, simple as it was… and one lunch break I popped into a sports shop and gave in.

The guilt is pretty much going to power me through those 13 miles in a few weeks. I didn’t even break my pledge on something pretty – I broke it for some cutoffs and fluro racerback.

OH THE HUMANITY

And it’s amazing how quickly you can start slipping into old habits once you’ve had your first lapse.

Never fear! I’m back on the wagon now – but it got me thinking.

I basically gave in because I thought to myself: “I just can’t make this.”

And the more I thought about it, the more I realised just how long my “can’t sew” list is.

Let’s see, we’ve got trousers, sequin fabric, coats and jackets… I’m all about the “make do and mend” ethos, but I haven’t exactly got a can-do attitude when it comes to sewing.

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So I wrote all my “no can sews” down and popped them in a jar – appropriately labelled as the “Can’t jar”.

The plan is to pick out one at random until I’ve got through the whole thing – and hopefully come out a better seamstress by the end of it.

I won’t lie, I’m a little daunted! One of the challenges in there is to sew a faux-leather jacket – probably the most complicated thing I’ll ever attempt.

Oh, and for those of you who may be wondering – sewing fitness stuff is most definitely in there!

Over to you: what would you put in your can’t jar?

Although before you respond… beware! I may well rope you in to the challenge too…