What the heck is Wings of Goose?

Monday, 28 April 2014

The first of many..?

Hello peeps (a ridiculous word I know, but I find myself drawn to it of late!) Well, you'll recall that a few posts ago, I showed you the Vogue dress I made, which I think I can say was a success, though one friend who I know will read this - you know who you are! - cannot get over the hilarity of me posing in my back garden wearing my creation. And I must admit, one can feel slightly ridiculous. Should I smile into the camera? Gaze wistfully into the distance? Feign the utmost interest in an imaginary object to my left? Well, I would love to say that I'll have to get used to it, as I hope to be doing a lot more posing in the future, but I'm keeping my plans to myself for the time being, as they won't come to fruition for a few years at least.

However, you'll have to bear with some more posing right here, because, since making Vogue V8469, I have been literally obsessed with sewing. I've been designing clothes patterns in my head left, right and centre and sketching them out, and, after having spotted some gorgeous striped jersey fabric in good old JL, I couldn't rest until I'd designed a pattern (something I've never done before, and I don't know why I thought I could, but went for it anyway, with a bit of help from youtube), cut it out - I fully recommend those rolls of paper you get in Ikea which are meant to go on those wooden paper roll holders, for children to tear off and paint on, if anyone's interested - and actually sew it together. And the end result astonished me! I have a lovely jersey dress which fits my figure perfectly, has pockets (yes, that most essential ingredient of a wearable day dress), and which, to be honest, I can't quite get over. My only qualm is that the pockets are not quite large enough to fully extend one's arm into, but I can remedy that when I make the next one - yes, there will definitely be more!

So, without further ado, I present the grand unveiling of my first, me-designed, dress. And as all patterns should have a name, I have decided to call it  the St Mawes dress. I'll elaborate on that later...

The St Mawes dress

I used a contrast deep pink thread for the topstitching on the neckline and armholes, but it's very subtle

I'm not a fan of headless photos, but I thought this one showed the whole dress really clearly so I decided to include it

...the pockets could probably do with a bit of a press...

So there you have it. The name, St Mawes, came from my ideas behind the dress; where would it be worn, what kind of occasions etcetera. I wanted it to be smart enough to wear, say, to a summer lunch, or wandering around a seaside town, but casual enough to wear with flip flops on the beach, or relaxing in the garden. I was thinking of all the beaches in Cornwall that I love, but decided I didn't want to name it after a beach because that would only encapsulate one side of the idea. I then recalled a visit to St Mawes, also in Cornwall, a couple of years ago, and thought it would be perfect as a name for the dress. St Mawes is a harbour town over the river from Falmouth, and is rather affluent. It has a harbour and various galleries, but also possesses a relaxed feeling of subdued sophistication. This was exactly the feeling I wanted to encapsulate, therefore St Mawes sounded perfect!

So, as you've probably inferred from the post title and my rattling on about my new obsession, I'm really hoping there's more where that came from. But be patient with me, as time is not on my side, as I all too often reiterate.

What do you think of my dress? Where would you wear it, or wouldn't you? And what about the name - does it work? Tell me your thoughts.

xxx Sam

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

A Boy and Some Yarn

Noah really loves his yarn...

He likes to squish it and rub it against his face (preferably when his upper lip isn't covered in snot, as here!)

He likes to feel its softness...

 ...and see how much of it he can pile onto his lap.

Oh, and of course, he refers to it as "yarn", not "wool." Good boy!

Here, he is admiring 800g of Falkland I finished plying a while ago; the largest amount I've spun so far. Believe me, this was not a quick exercise. It took several months, and I think thats a generous guess, just in case anyone thinks I spend all my time knitting and spinning. The reason it took months is because I spend no time knitting and spinning! I just fit in a little bit maybe a couple of evenings a week when I'm not way too exhausted.This is why my poor blog gets so neglected; because I choose to do the creating rather than write about it.

I had earmarked this yarn, once finished, for a particular project, but I'm thinking more than ever that I'd rather use it for a design of my own. Its probably a 4-ply ish weight, and the singles are one pistachio colour, and the other a bluey-green-sea colour. The difference is subtle but works beautifully.

The last two photos are particularly vivid. I just put them on the arm of the sofa, on a particularly sunny afternoon, with the sun streaming onto them. You can see the colour differentiation best in the second and third photos. I'm pretty pleased overall. Watch this space for the next fifty years to see what it becomes!

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

An unintentional dress for a wedding (Vogue V8469)

A few weeks ago I was looking through my projects, feeling a little disenchanted with Laar (yes, it's still plodding on in the background - I bought a miniscule 20cm Addi circular needle to do the arms as I'm so fed up with ladder sleeves, but its takes ages because I'm having to hold the needles a little awkwardly as they are so bloomin' small!) when I came upon a John Lewis bag which contained some beautiful, springtime fabric and a dress pattern which I'd bought when I'd just discovered I was pregnant with Laurie, who is now one, FYI. The pattern is Very Easy Vogue V8469, and originally I had intended to make the midriff and bow out of a harmonising but slightly differently patterned fabric, but when I looked again, I decided the harmonising fabric wasn't quite right. I remember now trying to choose it whilst in John Lewis with my MIL and Noah, and having to make up my mind pretty quickly (because of the latter, not the former!).

Anyway, on a whim, I decided to give it a go on a Monday evening. Monday evening became Tuesday evening, and eventually all the weekday evenings culminated in Friday evening, on which I stayed up all hours trying to get it finished to wear for a wedding the following day. This hadn't been my intention at all; I had just wanted a distraction from my knitting, and something completely different to concentrate on, but the more I sewed, and the more progress I saw, the more the little voice at the back of my head said, "Hey, if you work really hard and stay up late every night this week, you could wear this on Saturday!" So I became rather addicted, which has led to some exciting things subsequently, but more on that another time.

So here is the dress. The fabric is Gypsy Caravan by Amy Butler, which is a beautiful, fresh collection of gorgeous, coordinating prints, which was released, I believe, in Spring 2012.


I used an orange zip rather than green, to pick out the centres of the flowers, and I love how that turned out. It just makes it a little bit more interesting, especially since I changed my mind about using two fabrics.

All in all, I loved sewing this dress, and its inspired me to do much more dressmaking. I think dressmaking is in a class all of its own, rather than being classified as "general sewing", which I've done a reasonable amount of. Watch this space for more dresses and other lovely garments :)

xxx Sam

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Ooh arr me 'arties!

My lovely friend Lorna gave birth to her long awaited baby boy Ronan a few weeks ago, and, having left any gift making to the last minute, though with a vague notion of designing some kind of bibs, I happened upon this fantastic toadstool fabric in John Lewis (pictured with white jersey and notions, plus some striped jersey for another pipeline project), which finally inspired me to make my notion into action!

I really wanted to make some bandana-style bibs. The first time I saw these, a few years ago when Noah was still a baby, I was somewhat dubious of their coolness - did they just look a bit silly? - but having since seen them on several friends babies, they have grown on me, and seemed an ideal shape to sew reasonably quickly.

I created a template using the neck of Laurie's bib, then freehanded the rest of the shape, onto a cereal box, from Noah's stash which I keep for him to paint on.

Then I drew around the template five times onto the back of the fabric and cut these out too.

I then pinned these onto the white jersey, right sides together, matching the grains, then roughly cut them out.

I then sewed the two layers together on the sewing machine, leaving an approx 1 1/2" opening in the neckline to turn the right way out. Once sewn together, I trimmed the seam allowances down to 1/4", using my rotary cutter wherever possible, and also cut off the sharp points at the bottoms and where the neck bits end, and turned them the right way out as I went...

... then gave them a press and pinned the neck openings shut...

...then top stitched 1/4" in from the edge with blue contrast thread.

Then I sewed the buttonholes using the buttonhole foot, sewed on the buttons, et voila! Five pirate bibs for a baby pirate - Ooh Arr!

I know - how many photos can you have of bibs? This fabric just photographs so beautifully that I couldn't stop!

This has turned into a partial and unintentional tutorial, but if you find it useful and find yourself making some baby bandanas too, I'd love to know.

xxx Sam

Disclaimer: I would just like to point out that in no way does Ronan resemble a pirate, and may only possibly do so whilst sporting his new bibs!