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Saturday, 23 January 2010

Stage 1.5: Interim research part b more reviews and some news

Well since I only found one decent book last time I thought another trip to the library was called for but before I tell you about them I think I owe you some news updates. I have just managed to put £30 towards the sewing machine, the convention I'm going to will probably be a red dwarf one so the point of this has been somewhat removed and postponed oh and I have just received confirmation that I will be getting a sofa now onto reviews.

Pebble pets by Steve and Megumi Biddle ISBN-13:978-0-7153-3175-0 ISBN-10:0-7153-3175-2
I got this because of mild curiosity and because I felt like the idea was too hilariously absurd not to blog about.
The basic concept is that with some clay, paper, paint and the right kids of stones you can make a pet, presumably for a poor kid who really wants a pet but is allergic to them. This book is quirky and well rather pointless unless you already want to make one but these projects are all nice and small so someone starting out in crafts looking for an easy project could do worse than turn to this book.

Socks by Chrissie Day ISBN: 978-1-86108-616-7
What can i say really? This tells you how to make various socks and is thus a decent thing to read if you want to make socks or even if you're just starting out and would like a nice small project to start with that allows youto learn on the first sock and perfect on the second. However I can't totally endorse this since the socks I wear aren't in the book but overall 3 out of 5.

How to sew by Dorothy Wood ISBN:1-84215-341-2
Again thii book is pink on the outside and unisex on the inside and covers everything from clothes to curtains, machine and hand sewing techniques. 4 stars I'm buying it.

Classic knits for all the family by Sally Harding ISBN:1-85793-241-2
This knitter's pattern book continues in the theme of a great unisex book dressed in a livery of femininity and is worth buying just for its Man's sleeveless pullover on page 53-55 which would serve as a decent base pattern for 7s pullover though obviously the question marks would have to be added on but overall I give this 4 stars despite the fact that I myself shan't be going down that route.

The complete needlepoint course by Anna Pearson ISBN:0-7126-5057-1
This is a decent book on needlepoint but doesn't offer anything relevant for me or to costume creators save for teaching you how to knit your own designs of embroidered fabric if  you don't want to get one printed. 3stars.and I'm buying it.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Stage 1.5: Interim research

Now you may wonder why I'm posting a blog now, especially since I don't yet have a sewing machine and thus can't progress  to stage 2 yet. Well the answer is that I feel like this blog should/could act as some kind of guide to others for how to go from virtually no talent to, well I suppose we'll see but suffice to say my aspirations are rather high.

Now some reviews:
I recently bought the 210 Piece Deluxe Sewing Kit from Amazon uk for £11,99 with free supersaver delivery and am pleased to say that the delivery was speedy and the product is rather decent with lots of different threads of varying colours along with a fair amount of pins, needles, buttons and safety fasteners, along with a cheap measuring tape, sewing scissors and a thread undo-er. Great for beginners.

After that minor expense I was pretty cleaned out and if I was to get a decent sewing machine (A Brother LS2125 is the best and cheapest thing I could find, I dopn't even bother with anything in the 0-50 range) I would have to economise and thus avoid spending necessarily hence the next 3 reviews are of books from A library.

Customise Your Sewing Patterns for a Perfect Fit by Mary Morris & Sally McCann ISBN: 1-57990-324-X
I noticed this book and took it out in a vain hope that it would tell me where to buy pattern paper, it didn't. However that's not to say it's not a good book or very informative but it is cleary aimed at the female market and that, for me at least, is rather off putting and rather pointless since I'm making a waistcoat for myself and not a female friend, but if you are looking for a book on adjusting patterns to fit women then you could do a lot worse than this.

classic CLOTHES a practical guide to dressmaking by René Bergh ISBN: 1-85974-515-6
This would be a perfect reference book if they only covered men's clothing but alas this gem covering everything from choosing clothes through pattern fatting and up to welting pockets is only for girls.

Learn to CROCHET by Sue Whiting ISBN: 1-84330-386-8
I love this book, I only took it out because I thought it might help me understand how to make a doctor who scarf and that it did but boy did it do so much more.
Despite being enclosed in a pink cover with pink font on said cover, the actual contents are the least gender orientated of the lot, I mean perhaps that's down to the simplicity and the fact that it's not about thew wearers body but either way I feel that I could get a pattern off the internet, the necessary yarn and this book and get under way and that is why I shall be buying this book, and why I recommend you do to.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Stage 1: The initial hand hemmed handkerchief using fabric from an old shirt

I was quite surprised by how quickly this first stage was finished, especcially considering the fact that while the idea had been stewing in my mind for some time, I only actually decided I would attempt it on the day I did it. As a result of this rather sudden commitment I found myself having to rearrange my room in order to extract the desk I would need to work on from amongst my hamsters, surprisingly easy now that I'm old hand at sudden and seemingly random left of field decisions.

Now onto the bit you care about, where I pretend I'm telling you how to do what i did but really it's just so you can find errors in my method and correct them.

The shirt

A standard hawk t shirt in yellow,  childrens size L

This is what I would be working with but before that I had to tackle and encountered this problem:

As you can see my paper was too small for a pre-existing handkerchief and so buoyed by enthusiasm and blissful ignorance I decided that a rough diagram representing a square of fabric with a rough note denoting size and seam allowance would be enough,

And so the shirt was laid out on the desk, marked in pencil and cut:

And then came the hemming and although my poor cutting, inexperience and lack of knowledge of more than 1 stitch prevented a neat hem, after one rather frustrating side was completed all those old memorys and new routines were formed to the extent that I honestly feel I could sew a hem on anything, so long as it isn't on show.

As you can see the heming is not the best but I decided to add in a label for good measure anyway.

So there we have it, concept proved and in a couple of months I will be able to get a decent sewing machine so until that time I shall study up on pattern making, cutting patterns and pockets plus see if I can't blag som material to practise on.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

The quest

After reading and his spin off blogs I have decided to attempt creating my own seven inspired costume.

The deadline has already been set for around the time of my birthday as I shall be going to a convention but before I attempt any grand plans I shall start with what is simple and available.

I have recently developed a sense of fashion, even if it is still a little vague and hazy but never the less I have recently got two rather nice waistcoats one of which is a black pinstripe with 2 lower flapped pocket, 1 other pocket which has an opening a centimetre above the left flapped pocket but is 4 centimetres silmmer and 1 breast pocket which measures 9 pinstripes wide and is perfect for a handkerchief and is thus the one I wear most often. I do however have one more waistcoat, it is ghastly silver with floral decorations and makes me feel horrible when I wear it and has never been worn in public but it is a good baggy fit with 2 nice pockets (I will post pictures and a detailed analysis of the waistcoats later) and having been inspired by Steve's spoonflower hankies (which would be a perfect present for me. Hint, hint) I have decided that if I could create a pattern for my perfect waistcoat then I could create a spoonflower pattern (is that the term?) for the seventh doctor jumper then create my perfect who waistcoat.

So that's the goal, a waistcoat but that's not all, oh no, not by a long shot.
I have little to no experience of sewing/knitting/textiles/oh what's the term? but that's not gonna stop me. I intend to reach my goal and learn about this strange world that holds my world together i(For once I can speak literally since as a geek and a slob, (What have you never seen a smartly dressed slob interested in tailoring before?) the sofa is my life, without it and the invention of the micro chip I'd be in a lot of pain and rather bored and of course fabric and thread holds that world together in a very literal sense. (Sorry I've inherited the british trait of explaining analogies)) in the same way that I (sort of) fulfilled my last random quest of building a dalek, by jumping straight in and using the internet of course. :-) I have actually done a bit of this before, I once made a scatter cushion in textiles but that was a long time ago and I'm not the man I was then.

This is my plan for progress:

1. One hand hemmed handkerchief made from old shirts, using pattern cribbed from an existing handkerchief and recorded on standard paper.

2. Machine hemmed handkerchief made from old shirts, using pre-existing pattern

3. a cheap tie is bought and dissected to form a pattern which is recorded on proper pattern paper and the handkerchief pattern is transferred to the proper pattern paper

4. A tie and hanky are made up in calico

5. The waistcoat is dissected, researched and committed to pattern

6. A tie and hanky are made up in proper (not final) fabric.

7. The waistcoat pattern is perfected before a calico test is made which then feeds back into the pattern and so on until the waistcoat pattern is perfect

8. A tom baker inspired scarf is started

9. A waistcoat is made up in proper (not final) fabric

10. During which time I may panic and decide to make several proper ties, hankys and waistcoats before touching the final fabric I shall order at this time.

11. Make a hanky, a tie and a waistcoat in the final fabric.

12. I don't know but I rather like jackets.

???. finish tom baker inspired scarf :-)

All very interesting and probably enjoyable but fabric, thread and padding all cost something, not to mention the £30 outlay at the start for a sewing machine.

Help and advice gladly appreciated, I'm off to scrounge some thread and massacre a shirt.


New year, new me

Last year aq mad thought led to a mass reinvention of me but I forgot to vlog it this year though I'm ready, I havea webcame a stills and video camera andca smart phone to ensure I record my year for posterity but what about you my forgotten friend?
Well you need not worry as inspired by a certain tennant coat creator I am soon to start another whirlwind adventure of random geekyness and because my internet is in poor decline I shall be posting these memos of how I'm fairing but that's not all, oh no I have a few surprises in store for you.

Let the random quests of 2010 begin!