Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Sewing for exams

October 2016

Each year the students at the studio sit Royal Academy of Dance ballet exams. Dancers come in all shapes & sizes and occasionally they are of a larger build and find it hard to fit a standard size leotard. I was asked to make a leotard for one pupil plus a chiffon skirt & character skirt for another.

I took a few photos although as it turns out my small camera was on its last legs so the photos are not great.

Cutting out the lining. I used Power mesh as the lining to give a bit more support than the usual lycra lining I use. Years ago I was given a whole lot of out-of-date survey maps on stock card paper and they have been great for patterns I use over and over again. All ready to be cut out.

The leotard from the front. Once again I used Jalie 2915 joining the pantie to the bodice part and continuing the front seams down to the leg line. These shots are a bit fuzzy 😟

Straps added to the front . . .

Pinned at the back ready for a fitting on Miss A to get the length right. 

Photo credit to Locket
Miss A ready for her exam with classmate Master B. Miss A was very happy with her bespoke leotard. It is a tad long in the body so will hopefully do her for a few years as she gains height. 

I got a couple of photos of the chiffon skirt I made for Miss R. I have a post here from a couple of years ago with more on the making of these skirts. Miss R is another lass who is fit and flexible with a more solid build.

This is what it looks like with the bias ribbon pinned . . . lots of pins!

I generally place the pins close together as it gives me better control when I am stitching the binding down.

Photo credit to Locket

Miss Z, Miss R and Miss T all ready for their exam. Miss R requested her skirt be a little longer than chiffon skirts generally are.

All of the students who sat exams passed them  😃  Thanks for reading!

Monday, 2 January 2017

Am I still sewing and creating?

First things first . . . it's a new year! So

To answer the question above, yes, I am still sewing and creating. However as far as sewing, crafting and creating went I had a quieter year last year. This was partly through choice, sort of like a sabbatical except not paid! As it turned out family life became busier than ever, which left little time or energy for anything other than getting through the days. There is a little about it on my other blog if you'd like to read about it. I didn't do many posts on that blog either!

I am hoping things will be quieter this year . . .  we shall see. So far this year it is looking promising. I have a few projects to be going on with. I'll also be posting about some makes from my ongoing list. Not all however because unfortunately my laptop couldn't find itself it's operating system! So it is with a techie friend to see if it can be revived or if it's a goner. I do back things up . . . but I hadn't for a few weeks so may have lost some photos. I'd taken them off the camera SD card too as it was full  ☹  So between son's tablet & the old desktop PC that sounds like a 747 taking off I'll do my best to post.

The last day of 2016 brought me an unexpected wonderful gift. I'd gone to meet up with a friend who was over from Aussie. We met at her family home. Her parents are in the process of sorting through things as they are moving into a retirement village in a few months. There on the coffee table was a small machine. After expressing interest and excitement I was gifted the machine!  😀😀 My friend was going to take it and they were trying to work out how to get it back to Aussie. When she knew I wanted it and would use it she said to take it as she would just put it on a shelf. Mrs B was very glad to pass it on to someone who would love it and use it.

So I am now the very happy new owner of a Willcox & Gibbs chainstitch handcrank machine! Isn't she a beautiful wee thing.

She's a bit dusty as she has been sitting on a shelf. This is one side . . .

. . . and the other. As far as I can make out from the serial number she was made circa 1907! Mrs B brought her out from England in the 1960s I think.

Mrs B even had the box she got with the machine! 

Treasure! Methinks some research is in order to find out what the gizmos are. One is a hemmer as it says so on it.

And look . . . the packet even has needles in it and as far as I can work out on quick inspection they're not even rusty!

So will it work? Mrs B said it used to but she hadn't used it in many a year. I was having a good look at it when Boar arrived home. And he couldn't resist! I got to watch . . . and advise of course, after all it is my toy  ☺  I had spied a small bottle of machine oil on a shelf so Boar put a bit in each hole. He also fixed the belt as it snapped, the leather was very brittle. Then I figured out how to thread it with the help of some images online. A bit tricky but after a few goes I got there. The green thread in the top pictures just snapped. So I went for a bright orange.

And after a bit of trial and error . . . she worked! Amazing! There is just the single thread, no bobbin.

This was my first few attempts at stitching, on a plain piece of calico. This is a single layer but I also folded the opposite edge and sewed a seam to see how strong it was. A seam would hold together no problem I think. 

There are quite a few things I still need to figure out. She needs a good clean as she is a bit rusty, but that's just cosmetic stuff. I also need to get her a new belt as I think the old one is too brittle to last for long, and I've sourced a place I can get one. I had a fun afternoon doing a bit of quick research and look forward to doing more.

Oh, and her name? Milly, after two wonderful ladies. My Pa's mum, my Granny, was Mildred (Milly), she was a seamstress, and one of Pa's sisters, Aunty J, had the middle name Mildred, she also was a seamstress. I wrote a post about her work here. Aunty passed away late last year and I am so glad and grateful to have some of her beautiful work to remember her by ♡  

So for me it was a great beginning to the new year. How was yours?