|Pic courtesy of Lesley. Top, L-R: Ellie, Lesley, Caroline, Liz, Helen, Judith. Bottom L-R: me, Emma, Franca, Jens, Elaine, Carol|
Here's a list of the attendees, and there were many more who couldn't make it on the day who I certainly hope to meet at the next meet-up. In the meantime, please check out the blogs or instagram feeds for those pictured above:
Ellie of An Original by Ellie
Lesley of Sew Sleep Deprived who as co-organiser has written her own excellent account of the meet-up here (great pics too!)
Caroline of La Robe A Caro
Liz of Mrs Whiskerson Knits
Helen of Grosgrain Green
Judith who is on Instagram here
Emma of Sew Do It Emma
Franca of Oranges And Apples
Jens of Hummingbird Sews
Elaine of Elaine O'Connor
Carol who is on Instagram here
Talvikki sweater from Named Patterns. Actually, it wasn't just me who was impressed, she got lots of compliments and rightly so! (check out the Talvikki on her Instagram feed here)
Carol and I had a right good chinwag on the journey east, and even did a bit of sneaky early-bird fabric and pattern swapping....oops! :) We then picked up Helen and Jens as we left Waverley and thankfully Helen, being a local, took us straight to the cafe where the rest of the gals were waiting. Our motley crew numbered an even Durty Dozen once Elaine (the only girl who I'd met before) joined us at our next stop which was the National Museum of Scotland. Unless I am blocking out a memory, I don't think I've ever actually been here! The shame! Our target was the permanent fashion gallery. To be honest, I was enjoying yakking to so many fellow sewers so much that I didn't properly take in the exhibition, though did get a few snaps. I'll just have to go back for another visit sometime. The weird thing is that whenever I visit Edinburgh I feel like I'm in some foreign city abroad. I have absolutely no idea where I am at any given point (unless I'm on the Royal Mile) or how to get anywhere. Thank feck for Google Maps then!
|This 1980 Jean Muir matte jersey dress caught my eye. Love the perspex belt buckle detail.|
|Picture courtesy of National Museums of Scotland website|
|A special thrill for me to see an Andre Courrèges dress right in front of me!|
|Caroline gives scale to this supersized pannier court dress from the mid 1700s|
We had soon museumed ourselves oot and empty tums were needing attention, so Emma called the restaurant she had very kindly booked and we managed to get our reservation brought forward. Along with Emma, Lesley had co-organised the meet-up (and I believe the visit to the museum was suggested by Helen). The Edinburgh gals did such an excellent job (thank you once again ladies!), I hope the Weegies can do the same back for the next one.
|Caroline shows Elaine some of the details of her model designs|
|Introducing Petite-Moi, Caroline's 1/4 scale dummy|
|My fantastic haul from the swap - I was so restrained as I could have got a lot more!|
I don't know if Emma planned it this way, but we had the whole of the sunken part of the restaurant to ourselves which turned out to be perfect for two reasons: one, we were unable to bore anyone within a 5 yard vicinity with our constant stream of sewing chitter chatter; and two, we had surrounding spare tables and seats to lay out all the fabric and patterns that people had brought to swap. It's always interesting to see what is one woman's trash versus another's treasure. We had all been so generous with our patterns that we dropped about a dozen or so, which were unclaimed, into the charity shop after lunch. There wasn't as much fabric left, so you can tell where our priorities lie then! I came home with 5 fabrics and 5 patterns, and felt like christmas had come early. In fact, I had so overindulged that I didn't buy anything at our final stop of the day, Edinburgh Fabrics. It was funny to see the local gals go straight to their favourite sections, while us fabric tourists took in every inch of the ram-packed shop, moving slowly (as tourists are want to do) and causing bottlenecks while we paused in front of every bolt.
People then dispersed and started to make their way home. It was just me on the train back to Glasgow, but it gave me a chance to digest all I'd learnt over the course of the day. Little did I suspect that I'd still be thinking about it all for the next week!
Lesson one: feel the fear and do it anyway
A conversation I had with Ellie was very enlightening. She made a coat within the first handful of garments she ever made. She had no idea she was supposed to be scared of attempting it, so therefore she wasn't. I loved this attitude, and resolved to make a start on my project of replicating this Boden coat using Simplicity 1197.
|The Boden Bridget coat in a fabulous emerald green boucle|
Lesson two: sometimes life is just too short to trace
I don't think this was borne out of any specific conversation, but my overall increased confidence and energy post the meet-up resulted in me doing a very rare thing (perhaps even for the first time) of cutting straight into a pattern (it was Simplicity 1197). I don't even cut into PDFs, so this was a real change for me (I can now reveal it's not been a permanent change though - yes, I am back to tracing again!).
Lesson three: if you can see it, you can sew it (part one)
During our lunchtime chatter I specifically asked the question about ideas or tips for displaying project plans, and Lesley said she had seen people using bulldog clips to hang up patterns and swatches. I loved this, and though I ultimately want to put a pegboard up to do it, I've made quite a nice stop gap by using adhesive plastic hooks (12 for a pound from the pound shop) , some trouser hangers (also from the pound shop), and some pastel coloured clips from ebay. I've been able to hang up some blue string lights that I got from Primark earlier this year. Only thing is, I thought I had placed the hooks high enough to be out of the reach of naughty cats...apparently I am just a stupid human who thinks she can outsmart cats. Like I said, stupid human.
|It doesn't look like much yet...but a vast improvement on the blank white wall it's been for 12 months|
|Pepsi chooses her favourite from my newly arrived Fabworks samples|
Lesson four: if you can see it, you can sew it (part two)
A fascinating lady in particular is Caroline, with the most wonderful french accent, a fellow one-time Canadian resident, and god-like creator of Petite-Moi, a quarter scale model on which she perfects her garment-making. I unfortunately couldn't quite hear everything she was saying about Petite-Moi during lunch, but she brought along a mini sized portfolio, complete with drawings and pattern designs, and of course Petite Moi made an appearance in the flesh! Caroline studied with a fashion designer who lives in her town, and she suggested that maybe we can have a day trip there sometime and a visit with the designer/now teacher. We will hold you to that Caroline! After having met Petite Moi and subsequently seeing some of the croquis that Emma and Ellie have posted on their Instagram pages, I used this idea to mock up a mini Linden....which brings me finally on to the Linden!
|A very rudimentary attempt at a fabric sample croquis - but enough to see that the combinations would work|
Lesson five: come on in, the water's lovely
Wherein, after stubbornly refusing to succumb to the lure of the Grainline Linden pattern for the longest time, I take advantage of a Black Friday discount and purchase it, and today, finished my first version.
|The Linden Sweatshirt from Grainline Studio|
I had been wanting to make some raglan tops for ages, and did hum and haw about buying the Grainline pattern, having also considered the Hey June Raglan or Simplicity 1317 (which I saw on the wonderful Saturday Night Stitch's blog). But I knew I had a pattern for a raglan somewhere in my current collection, and true enough found this vintage Kwik Sew 1230. I made a toile of it over a month ago but wasn't happy with the look (the piece for the neckband was so short that I had to completely stretch the ribbing to the full when sewing up, which resulted in it springing back once sewn and just looks like it is too small, though doesn't feel it; the sleeves and the area round the ochsters were awfy roomy too. In general I just didn't like the cut of this 80s pattern), and knowing the Linden is much more of a modern fit....Reader, I jumped on board the Linden love train. I've seen so many wonderful versions out in the instagram and blogging wilderness, and then Jens sported a fab quilted one at the meetup, so edge duly tipped over!
|Vintage Kwik Sew 1230 from 1983 - Olivia Newton John, eat yer heart out love!|
|Toile of Kwik Sew 1230. Sleeves are too long and baggy and I made a real kack-handed job of the V-Insert, as I simply could not fathom the instructions or work out how to do it. The fabric is from Canada and poly waffle knit.|
Not only had I swithered about buying the Linden, but I have also spent weeks, which have become months, thinking about possible fabric combos (and of course, some of those combos necessitated more fabric purchases...of course they did!). I've recently noticed many makes posted on Instagram using fabric from the Fabworks shop, which amongst other fabric types, have a great selection of knits. Up till now, when fabric shopping, I've really confined myself to £5 and under per metre, but I bent my rule for this mustard looped back (aka french terry) sweatshirt (which is organic too, but I find that I don't really care about that) purely because I haven't seen mustard anywhere else. At £7 a metre, this was a luxury buy as I don't pop my cork for just any fabric, and certainly not from an unknown (to me) shop. I also ordered some samples of other colours, for future colour blocking plans. Postage at first seemed steep at £5 (I'm used to paying much less on ebay), but was guaranteed next day delivery and is a flat cost, no matter the weight of the package (which sweatshirting is bound to make on the heavy side). It didn't arrive the next day, but no matter, it came the day after that.
The mustard is less bright than I had initially hoped for, but it's more than fine (and is sadly sold out now!). The quality is very impressive however. I did not have a smooth ride with sewing up the Linden but everytime I touched the mustard fabric, it was so comforting and soft and giving, it seemed to be telling me that everything was going to be okay. If this fabric was a John Lennon song, it would be Hold On from the Plastic Ono Band album (in fact, I've been singing this song in my head all day).
Things got off to a good start. I had done lots of research and noticed that many people say they could have chosen a smaller size, after having sewn up the Linden according to their size on the pattern booklet. With measurements of 36" full bust/32" waist/42" hips, I chose a size 6 and graded out to a 12 at the hips. I also placed my pattern pieces from my Kwik Sew on top of my Linden pieces to check that the bodice and hips would fit, and that the sleeves on the Linden size 6 wouldn't be too tight (I also used the sleeve pattern piece from my Pattydoo Ella top, to check length).
|I chose a size 6, graded to 12 at the hips, and sewed up View A with self neckband and hemband, and no cuffs|
There aren't much in the way of instructions in the Linden pattern booklet. For example, I wish it had recommended stay-stitching the neckline (after all, the pattern isn't only for stable knits, it recommends jersey too). This is part of the Tilly and the Buttons Coco instructions, and I have used it on other knit projects, but of course because I didn't see it mentioned in the Linden instructions, I omitted to do this on what turned out be the most stretchy of french terry fabrics that must exist on this planet! I bought a wonderful bicycle print french terry from one of my favourite ebay sellers, The Textile Centre, for a bargain £4 a metre earlier this year. The description on the listing is quite interesting :
Mid-weight jersey with a vintage bike print suitable for work out wear and pyjamas.
This fabric is relatively new and huge on the continent,It is not your usual track suit or hoodie material,
Very soft to the touch with a slight crepe feel on the back,
The sleeves and bodice went together really quickly (which is the good thing about a raglan sleeve, so much easier to sew up) and I cut a size 12 in the hem band (from the mustard fabric, as I didn't have any ribbing - what is it with the price and availability of ribbing by the way??) and attached it to the bodice. However, there is not much stretch in the mustard sweatshirting and try as I might to stretch it to its full capacity while sewing the hem band on, I still came up short when I got to the end (the bodice side seam). I rectified this by sewing a new side seam, bringing in the seam allowance by a few cms; not enough to affect the fit across my hips, and at least the hem band then made it all the way round.
Having spent a total of 6 hours non-stop (commencing with printing out the PDF pages) I was tired and hungry; two things which are anathema to me and sewing! So I hung up Miss Linden on my mannequin so I could look at the pretty, all the while making a Pretty Woman style huge mistake.
|Check that stretched oot neckline, arrrrghhh!|
Getting up the next day the neckline looked even wider than the night before, and when I tried it on it was giving me (unintended) Flashdance realness. I had seen someone comment on their version of the Linden with the very same issue, and now I really got the fear (you know when you think a make is completely fecked beyond redemption?). I knew the neckband pattern piece wouldn't have a hope in hell of reaching all the way round my gigantic stretched out neckline, so I measured the circumference to see what I was dealing with. 72cm didn't seem good. I also didn't like the narrowness of the neckband pattern piece, and having seen it on numerous other people's Linden's I had already decided I wanted it thicker (I do think a narrower neckband looks proportionate on jersey versions of the Linden, but it never seems to look wide enough on sweatshirt versions - but that's just my personal preference). I used my Kwik Sew neckband pattern piece for the width and drew a 36cm by 7cm rectangle on my pattern paper (another new thing I've tried this week is using Baking paper instead of my usual Burda tracing paper) and cut this out on the fold. Because I had had to stretch my hemband out as much as possible to accommodate the real width of the bodice, it has resulted in a wee bit of a blouson effect, so I tried to avoid the neck looking gathered by not stretching the neckband at all, but just sewing it straight on. Of course, this came out looking disastrous. Cue one very lame looking, sticky-up-sitting neckline. As you can see from the pic below, I was not amused.
|From Flashdance to Star Trek realness!|
I unpicked it and decided to then try stretching the neckband this time (as the pattern instructions do direct you to do, to be fair), but not to its full capacity, just about halfway to its capacity, and took off about an inch and a half of the neckband where it met at the back. This time when I tried the garment back on, I was much more pleased with the result. The neckline is still a lot wider than I want - I suffer from drafty neck syndrome and felt it keenly when test driving my new sweatshirt out in the minus 1 afternoon weather today, even with a scarf on. It also doesn't sit well under a coat. It gapes terribly at the front, and I had to pull the back of my sweatshirt down, while putting on my coat just to get the front looking nice and flat across my clavicles. However.....I have a Linden (at last), the fit is overall fairly good on first try, and I love my final choice of fabric combo. I wonder how less wide the neckline would be if I were to use a stable fabric for the whole garment, or use proper ribbing for the neckline, or whether I might just re-draw the neckline (at least for winter versions, I think the looser neck will be quite nice for spring and summer styles). Oh, and although I've seen lots of people comment on the extraneous length of the sleeves, mine are just perfect on me (which leads me to think I must be part orangutan in the arms department as I am a 5'2" shortarse!). I didn't want a cuff, after all was said and done, so I just turned up the sleeve ends by 2cm, and twin needle stitched at 1.5cm. I haven't stitched round the neckline to anchor the seam allowance down as I prefer the look without the extra stitching line. I used my sewing machine throughout (still need to sort out my serger issue).
|Neckline still pretty wide but I'm definitely pleased with the general finished product|
|I think I didn't cut my left sleeve on the grain, which may (or may not?) explain the pulling here|
|Will mostly be wearing my hair down when I have my sweatshirt on, so the wide neckline won't really be so evident|
|Talvikki from Named Patterns|
|Geodesic pullover from Blueprints for Sewing|
|From the legendary Mad Day Out photo session which ended at Paul's house in Cavendish Ave|
I think that's quite enough for one blog post! I don't expect anyone to still be reading by now! My coatmaking project, while still high on my list, will be taking a deserved back seat to some christmas gift projects...and time is already running out on those. Have a wonderful and festive time everyone!