Friday, January 23, 2015

A little touch of spring. Tyler shirt

Hello darlings,

This project has not only been ready for ages (September/ October 2014) but was in wearing rotation non-stop till the weather turn colder. I love making stuff and of course to share "fashion" photos (photography/styling is also a passion hence picture heavy posts) but it can get a bit boring being my one & only model all the time.  I think most bloggers get tired of their over exposed image once in a while and some projects can get skipped.  

Since my mom is here for a few weeks and sewing room is packed away I took the opportunity to dig this out for you. Ps: No, I'm not wearing handmade jeans. I want to tackle jeans and bras at some point this year. Thinking to try both the ginger and the jamie at the same time and compare.

Firstly, I must say how much I LOVE this project! This is one those makes that been blessed by sewing magic. 

The pattern and the fabric are perfectly matched. Even thou this is super girly (for me) the print just make me incredibly happy. All shirts should be made out of Voile. Delicious! I used Emmy Grace by Bari J for Art Gallery. The finishing touchers are as cute as the fabric. Pink Buttons and different denim scraps for the collar/under collar and plackets.
Details are so important specially on handmade clothes.

The pattern is Tyler shirt by named. I sewn size 38 with a very small FBA. I cannot remember how much because my muslin and alterations were made in june and I didn't write anything. I normally do so I was quite confused grumpy when I couldn't find any details. I will have to recollect stuff from memory. Oh forget it.

The only change I would do for the next one is to make the collar bigger. Being tall I can carry volume. Tiny/cutiesy details looks out of place. Being a romantic at heart I love little pretty things but they just disappear with my personally! That's what I tell myself anyway.

I have posted a lot of details photos over the web during the making off including my tips for perfect buttonholes.

Now, give me get back my coat! Brrrrrr....

Ps: I have only a few preschedule posts for the next weeks while Mom's here but you can follow our adventures on Instagram   

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Reader survey, Yah or Nay?

Hello friends,

Reader's surveys are quite common among professional/ monetised blogs but recently I have noticed so many personal blogs launching questionnaires to their followers.

The reasoning "they say" is that knowing who are the people out there that value their work and are willing to express their preferences would definitely help to focus on the "desirable" content.  I agree that would be an interesting discovery for the blogger. But what's for the reader?

Depending on the questions it would give readers the opportunity to say what's 'working' or 'not' for them. A safe place where constructive criticism is asked and dealt with. Any of the survey's I answered have not dealt with that matter.

But what are your thoughts? I would love to hear opinions.

Blog's surveys a good thing or not? What types of questions are acceptable or not for non monetised blogs and why? 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Walk on the wild side. Shadi skirt for Jungle January

Pretty Grievances host one my favourite yearly challenge #junglejanuary. An animal print lover extravaganza. I personally love the traditional cat prints so I tend to stay around that colour hue. The advantage of investing time in making something so classic is that the style is beyond fashion.

It does not age and a great foundation to any girl's wardrobe. Besides wearing animal print gives such a glamorous/ old Hollywood vibe, doesn't it?

Last year I went on a scuba buying hunt and managed to get a fun selection of fashion fabrics: windowpane, floral (Saiph dress and Nepture top retrospectively) but was struggling to find the right animal print. Perusing the local charity shops I saw the perfect fabric/print in the form of a body con dress for £4. I will have that, thank you! 
The dress fabric was re-cut it into Named Shadi knit skirt. The pattern is easy to make and beautifully drafted so It wasn't hard to pick as my pattern choice. Omitted the waistband.

I overlocked the elastic directly on top of the skirt and folded inside. That's the method I seen in all the RTW scuba skirts. Works well when there is a lot of negative ease. 

Went one size smaller than the lace one because of the amount of stretch of the fabric.

I should make everything in scuba. Love this stuff!

The skirt stretches horizontally. Something I didn't experience with the previous scubas.

There nothing I can add in terms of construction or techniques. This is just one of the meat and potato projects I'm building in my closet. Basics-not-boring!

People stop to talk to me when I'm shooting. Does it happens to you?
Are you taking part of jungle january or any other sewing challenge? 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

How to run a craft/ sewing club. The day to day stuff

Hi friends,

Last time we talked about the basics to getting a craft/ sewing club started. Today we will talk a little about the management of the day to day of the club.  The type of club I'm referring is a sustainable non profitable one for local communities. For a revenue stream club there are other considerations not touched upon that must be considered.

A crucial part of the club is creating an environment that members feel comfortable and happy. As the club leader/chair one of your roles is to implement and manage ways to facilitate interaction. Flowing communication will grow members bond with each other beyond the once a month meeting. You can use email lists, close  group pages, blog, newsletter etc. The most effective way I found is to use Facebook: close group page. Members are encouraged to post work in progress, ask questions and general chit chat. All the club documents are easy to access so new members will have all the information necessary to start. Photos also help new members have a feel for the club. 

Create a club email address for communications with suppliers and processing payment. 

Roles and Responsibilities
As the club chair members will look at you for guidance and decisions.Your responsibility will be to arrange, book and pay the venue, organise meet up days and days outings, sort any problem that occurs, create club documents etc. That can be a lot of work for one person so consider if you need to delegate tasks. I highly recommend getting a Finance/ Co chair on board. My right hand Jacq does all the booking and finances for Rochester sewing club. A bless!

Other roles you may consider on our club are: 
Club Co-ordinator(s): Someone to organise stuffs that matters to your club. Ours look after celebrations and the refreshment rota, manage the car Share scheme and look after club folder.
Club Event Planner: Keep taps on club skill gaps and organise workshops. Also updates club calendar:Looks very formal but all our members have equal say and take decisions together.
We even got a tea lady with a very fancy portable caddy. Ps: Emergency biscuits always available.

Club documents
As we have a lot of enquires about the club. It is easier to create a set of standard documents that you can send to prospects.
The membership pack: A letter welcoming people to the club containing the following information:
What is the club about.
Who is the club aimed for.
What members should bring.
How members can join.
How members pay their membership fee.
Meeting location. 
Link to club calendar and meeting days.
Current club assets.

Members enrolment sheet: Differently to the membership pack where all the information is about the club, the members enrolment sheet is a document where the club gets to know the new member. It's actually our "contract". Members interested in joining will need to fill the information, send it to our club Co-chair with a symbolic fee of £3 that will go to the club funds.  All the information is carefully stored. Mainly details about craft skills, goals, etc. We found it very useful as we can keep the club activities based on our members.

Symbolic fees helped us immensely to separate curious non-commitment prospects to real possible members. People that are really interested will answer promptly. Once people show interest and request to join the club give them access to all the documents they need to decide and have a period of a month to reply. If no reply take them off the club communication page.

If you need a bookable venue you will need to collect money from your members. With a club that is a nonprofitable organisation, the membership value main use is to support the club venue hiring and  secondary is to create club funds. 

The membership value will depend of the value of the venue hire divided equally to all. I encourage you to create a little saving pot by asking just a little more. Some venues may require booking of two months payed in advance. The most important is that you won't have to readjust if someone cannot come on day. You want the club to keep running. If members keep missing and you depend on their income to cover the venue the club will quickly dissolve.

Create a Paypal club account and get your members to pay a month in advance, either cash or PayPal.  Members pay when they attend. It helps knowing in advance who is attending for the venue management. Having a little on the saving pot means that sometimes you can cover the value of the venue even when you don't have all members present or whenever or not you should proceed with the next booking.

Create a link for payment button to make it easy for members remember to pay.

Cash book: Have a little notebook with all the club In/ Out transitions. You only need a very simple bookkeeping system.  For example: Name of the attendants and their monthly payment (and occasional joining fee) as the income. Venue hire and other bought objects as the expense. Also make all finances transactions of the club available for members if they want to see it.

Club assets: like irons, scissors, rental of cupboard space on the venue, refreshments etc. The club assets fund can also be used to pay for joined activities like an end-of-the year celebration dinner or paying for someone to teach a skill.

Final considerations

Managing Club size. When the club achieve their maximum members number, create a waiting list. Find a way to manage active and inactive members. Inactive members can have their membership frozen after a pre determine period of time. They can re-activate at any time without any extra cost.

If you don't need to financially pay a venue, an easy way to manage your club is to set up and host your meetings on community centres like local library on a fix date of the month. There you can have a poster advertising the meet up days and times and inviting anyone to join. 

If you have any questions, do ask!

Enjoy your club!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Grainline Moss skirt in tweed

First make of 2015 YEAH!!! Since planning my winter capsule wardrobe in september I have been keeping well into my original plans, working towards what were the identified gaps within my wardrobe. No apologising for patting my own back here! I'm feeling rather proud that during my sewing break I successfully avoided changing plans because of new pattern launches or fabric bought/ received. 

The make in question is grainline moss skirt in wool tweed. Both from my stash. 

Before I dish the goodies about the skirt & all I got a little controversial thing to say. Sometimes reading too many online reviews trow you on the wrong track. I love them because they often offer great advice and guidance when things are really off but is so easy to forget they are based on a personal opinions and may not be the same for you ...what I'm saying it's listen to your own gut when it tells you to ignore what you read! When seeking reviews about the fit and size most people mention how tight the skirt turned when they picked the "right" size from the chart. I'm ignoring the comments about the waistband (I didn't find any problem BTW). I must have seen every version of the mini (or not so mini) moss skirt on the blogland and they got me convinced this pattern runs small.

Based on my measurements on the grainline size chart I fit on size 10. I have sewn a size 8 lakeside shorts and fit was ok-ish. Because the nature of the wool I didn't want to risk having anything too tight because it needs the wearing ease. My gut was telling me to still cut 8 but I went against it and cut size 10. Result?
Ahhaammm, swimming!!!! It wasn't hard to fix it only losing me an evening but if it was too small would have been worst Do a muslin/toile when in doubt. Lesson learned! 

This fabric is just delicious but a hairy fraying bitch!  The inside is very pretty too (same texture but with a little less shimmer). I tried the skirt with the hem band on at first but felt it looked too behaved. 

I went rebel and turned into the mini skirt version by turning the hem band inside and hemming. 

Instead of buttons I used two hock & eyes. 

When fixing the size I took great care to keep all my sides matching as much as possible! OCD!

Call me weird but I kind of love fly zippers and the opportunity to use some bad ass metal zippers!

close view:

Ready for a butt shot?

This pattern works best for fabrics without a pattern so all the cool details like the back yokes show up. I didn't topstitch my seams because it wouldn't shown.

I really love my skirt. Specially paired my faux fur vest under my leather jacket. 

I wanted to add a detachable fur collar until it hit me that I could wear the gilet underneath giving the impression it had a furry collar. Win Win. Extra warmth and style. What do you guys think?