Archive for the ‘Not a rant’ Category

Stop press!

Posted: March 24, 2013 in dressmaking, Not a rant
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Well, bugger me if I haven’t gone and made summat that FITS!!

Yes indeed. Yesterday I bought SEW magazine, which is sometimes good, sometimes shit, but had a pattern on the front IN MY SIZE (as opposed to the size 6-12 they normally do). At first glance it doesn’t look my sort of thing but then what is?Β It’s Simplicity 2444 if anyone’s interested….loads of reviews on PatternReview, may do my own later.

One thing that bothered me about the pattern was no waist measurement of finished garment.


Given my previous pattern traumas, I decided to make a toile of the bodice.Due to lack of waist measurement on pattern gambled with cutting a 16 for the waist. The toile came up too small on the waist and showed me I needed to adjust or a hollow chest (seriously!) and my slopy shoulders. Eventually cut a 14 top (with a slight FBA) , graduating to size 16 on waist (plus half an inch) and size 16 skirt. The front was supposed to be cut in 2 pieces but I cut it on the fold, adding half an inch for my belly. The centre seam would only have messed up the pattern even more anyway.

Fabric was cotton poplin courtesy of Dunelm. Evil Dunelm, I only went in for underbed storage, FFS. I only bought 2 metres, and it was 45″ wide and the pattern envelope claimed I’d need 3.4 metres of 44″ wide fabric. Ha. I like a challenge, me πŸ˜€

Firstly, I knew I wasn’t going to be worrying about collars…or sleeves. Or facings. In the end, I just squeezed the pieces out, by narrowing the skirt hem by 2″ on each piece (it’s a massive skirt anyway, I’m only 4′ 11″, it would have looked daft) and attempting no pattern matching whatsoever….

Also due to previous experience, ignored the instructions. Constructed front and backs as stated, then did side seams. Got Bob to pin back together to make sure it would fit. Added zip and then checked shoulders for fit before stitching. Seems odd to do shoulder seams last but this is ALWAYS where it goes tits up for me. That and bias facing armholes and neck (don’t look too closely please!) but that’s another story. Anyway, upshot is, a thing that fits. A little snugly across the chest, but I’m wearing a sports bra in the pic, will look better when I wear a proper one.

The front – we’ll ignore the mess, shall we?


The back – apart from cutting the points of the stars of, I think I’ve got the hang of zips. I especially like my invisible zip foot πŸ™‚


Construction – ie the inside of it


And the front, yes it’s wonky on the dummy


I was so pleased with it I even put a label in it… πŸ˜€


Things I think went well with the dress:

  • The fitting – everything seemed to go right this time
  • The zip. It’s rather good
  • The pleats. Hurrah for poplin, it presses and EVERYTHING
  • I managed to find a flattering shape. I usually think boat necks are grim

Things that did not go well:

  • Neck and arm facings – all creasy and stuff – nightmare on tight curves but oh god I HATE normal facings!
  • It’s a bit shortwaisted. I read as much on Patternreview BUT I’m shortwaisted. And under 5′ tall, I have no idea who that would actually fit…
  • Did I mention the facings?

So there it is. Not quite the weather to wear it atm, unfortunately, and I suspect I will need an underskirt to stop it sticking to tights…the minute it is actually not sub zero, I wear it……

Sewing mojo back…

Posted: February 9, 2013 in dressmaking, Not a rant, Vanity
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After a semi disastrous fortnight in which nothing fit and I started thinking I was going mad….

I just fancied making something a little more…..*me*

i.e. a bit gothy and comfy but a bit…odd.

Was going to make the vintage pattern I posted up the other week with the pointy skirt bit – the pink one on the right.


I wanted it to be proper comfy, wasn’t going to be arsed cutting on the bias or any of that faff…found some black t-shirt type fabric, cut out the back and front, and instead of the pointy bits, thought I’d add some random red and black stripes in varying widths for interest….the red is some of the jersey left from the skirt I made last week..neckline was too tight so slashed it and overlocked the neckline, added a very plain lace trim to the sleeves and topstitched where the stripes meet the bottom of the skirt because that jersey is HEAVY. (and it looks nice)

Verdict – it ROCKS. Bob loves it, and it’s quite loose fitting but with a wide belt my waist looks teeny πŸ˜€

It’s also knee length so a perfect goth summer dress… πŸ™‚ and can be worn with leggings/long skirt in winter…yay!!!

Front, with belt




There’s some good news on the blog…in fact, quite a bit..hurrah!!!

Meanwhile – see below. I dunno why I was so taken with this, but it was in the remnants bin at John Lewis, and there was just 1 metre of 44″ fabric….perfect for taming my nemesis, the Portrait Blouse, so I thought. Portrait here fyi


Meanwhile, I bought a New Look pattern last week, one that looked easy, minimum shaping etc as a way of getting some confidence back? Bob told me frilly + flowers = Frumpy. Pfft, well I like it, even if the fabric melted on my iron, and I spilled sauce down it. It’s even long enough that I dare go out in skinny jeans πŸ˜€ (Yes I look stoned, no I’m not but it’s the only pic that doesn’t have the cat’s litter trays in)


Meanwhile, at the weekend I also went for a stint of ‘Let’s make shit up’ which always used to be my preferred method of sewing. Cue 2 out of the 5 metres of cheap red jersey I have, a 6 gore skirt with drapey bits on…hem STILL to long but cba to do anything about it right now….it will wait. Yes that is an elastic waist, noΒ  can’t be bothered to case it, it’ll be hidden anyway…


So..back to the Portrait blouse….cut the pattern out, with an extra 1/2″ at each side seam and lowered bottom of armhole by 1/2″ too. Also added 1/2″ to the 2″ I already lengthened it by..then..DISASTER!!! The back wouldn’t fit on the rest of the fabric – solved by cutting two pieces and seaming them together. It also meant I could add half an inch each side of the back so I could accommodate my back fat lats. As I also only had enough fabric to make the back in the original length, I added a ‘peplum’ of sorts….and of course it has a bias binding neck facing.

After trying it on (and playing with my new concealed zipper foot – oh the expense!!!) I also lengthened the front and back darts by an inch or so, and took a little more in at the centre back seam just above the waist (I have a serious swayback, people!) Still a little baggy around the waist, but much better, and a decent fit…see? (And yes, a sports bra does not show it to its best advantage!!)

And yes the floor needs hoovering – I’ve been busy, dammit!!!


It is straight, honest!!


Oh, and John Lewis still had some sale fabric left. Silver blurry abstract flowers, it says. Looks like leopardprint to me!!! Either way it is excellent but I have no idea what to make, except it should be a dress. I got 2 metres….


As I said in my last post, I had already made a very basic bodice block, courtesy of the Metric Pattern Cutting book below….

Did a bit of faffing adding shaping, had a go at doing the princess seam thing, traced and cut out with 3/4 inch seams cos for some reason my Patternmaster doesn’t have 5/8″…

Cut out paper, pinned to lumpy…



Yes it’s bad pinning but from where I’m standing it looks like a reasonable fit. Next stage, which will be tomorrow, will be to make same out of some non stretchy fabric


No sewing but tidying

Posted: January 13, 2013 in Not a rant
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Aye….was all set to do some sewing but I spent most of yesterday trying to sort the bedroom, and most of today in IKEA.

I have now sorted my clothes, and my underwear is all in little boxes, easy to find. Pants and socks had their own boxes but now I have work tights, fun tights, stockings, suspender belts and bras all in their own little boxes….

I also bought some weird hangy things from IKEA for 50p – supposed to be Christmas things for hanging baubles, but PERFECT for jewellery


They’re bigger than they look – around a foot high and 2 feet wide – big enough for my bracelets and some of my necklaces πŸ˜€

We got one of the Expedit bookcases – a 4×4 one in the now the sports bags are tidy, as are my knitting things πŸ˜€

I see why people get addicted to this stuff!!!

I also managed NOT to buy some ridiculous fabric at Β£1 a metre. What would I do with a white and veg print dress anyway….

Hoping to make a start on some sewing goodness as soon as the bedroom is fully sorted…..

Spring/Summer palette

So…..somewhere on the left is a little colour wheel tag thingummy telling you I’ve signed up for another dressmaking challenge. Well, why not? I was umming and ahhing about the colour theme for this – ie I love red and don’t have enough of it in my wardrobe, I’m also getting a hankering after something in lemon yellow and lime green (think Twister lolly), but in the end, I went for the above. Why?

Well, they are my other favourite colours, but also colours I don’t wear enough of (the teal shades, for example – I LOVE greeny aqua colours but rarely wear them, so I shall be making an effort this year), or paler, brighter shades of colours I do wear – the light aqua is a bit out of my comfort zone…. πŸ˜€

Let me clarify, I am a goth, though I love very bright colours – mainly red, green and magenta. I even believe I suit them….but I still go for black cos I am lazeh…I must stop with the black!

The stuff on my board – the colou and shape of the mermaid dress is AMAZING, I would love to make one, one day. The Vibrams – I do sporty stuff, and I need to make sporty clothes – I will be making shorts this summer, that is definitely one of the things I’ll be making….the corset. I’ve made one corset, and I’d like to make another before the end of summer. I also really like the colour…

I love the shape of the green dress, the colours on the floaty dress, and everyone should have green glittery shoes…the flamingo top is due to my love of ridiculous fabrics, and I love ladybirds, hence the necklace. The grey jacket reflects workwear (I have no smart workwear) and the fact I often think grey looks smarter than black, and it goes with my chosen ‘brights’

My plan for this challenge is to make – 1 dress suitable for a wedding (I have little choice in this), 1 pair of shorts (possibly Iris), 1 go-anywhere summer dress, 2 tops/blouses suitable for pretty much anything, and if I have time, maybe a skirt. That isn’t black. I will actually be making 2 dresses suitable for weddings but one is way off the scope of this challenge πŸ˜€ Oh, and I have my netty petty to finish, which is definitely the right colour for this!

For now though, I need to get ready for a wedding, my dress has a wonky hem, but clearly it’s a design feature…. πŸ˜€

I’m going to do a challenge! And unlike most of the diet/exercise type I normally do, I think I’m actually going to enjoy this one, and make a bit of an effort. For the full blurb, go here

Clearly, I haven’t made enough stuff to actually wear things EVERY day, (unless I wear the same things for 4 days straight), but I can at least make the effort!

With that in mind,

‘I, Beklet of sign up as a participant of MeMadeMay ’12. I endeavour to wear at least one me-made garment a minimum of 3 times a week for the duration of May 2012’

Ha…..bearing in mind the wadders and UFOs, it leaves me with few wearable things – the bonus of course, is that at the beginning and end of May, I will be at various music festivals, namely and which means I get to wear my corset and the Space Dress at least once πŸ˜€

I also think that on at least 2 occasions a week, I should wear a beautiful item someone else has made for me, as really, it’s not all about me, ya know, I should at least showcase the talents of my friends πŸ˜€

So, currently wearable I have the Meringue, the Space Dress, Broccoli top, Chilli skirt, trousers (if I hem them properly), the skull dress (if I redo the zip), ladybird corset, and with any luck, the dress I’m going to finish today. I’m quite excited – it looks like it’s actually going to fit – despite the neck facing being a pain….I’m worried the fabric is a little flimsy, so there has been some topstitching at the waist, and I will be going for French seams at the side.

Also debating whether to use bias tape to hem it. I wanted lace but nowhere has any, and neither is ANYWHERE open on Easter Sunday.

I had a meeting in Peterborough on Friday, and on the way to meet my colleagues, I noticed a market. Markets usually house fabric stalls (unless you are unfortunate enough to live in Bedford grrr) and this was no exception.

After the meeting, I bimbled back there and although I was massively spoilt for choice, chose 2 metres of pink and black dogtooth stuff (fabric unknown, it was Β£1.99/metre ffs lol), and 3 metres of some floaty, see through black stuff with a bubbly pattern. Muchos bargain at Β£1.65/metre, not sure what to make from it though…maybe an ENORMOUS circle skirt to wear over the purple netty petty I haven’t made yet…. πŸ˜€

The dogtooth check was perfect for my Meringue attempt. Yes, I have jumped on the Colette bandwagon. I was unconvinced by the pics in the book, as they were styled, and in fabrics I wouldn’t be seen dead in, but having seen others’ interpretations of them (and the fabulous Ceylon dress), I thought I may have to go for it, which is why I bought the book earlier in the year….

I have to say, the instructions were spot on, I LOVED the whole facing thing – it looks so neat and pretty (maybe not for a ‘proper’ sewist but it far surpasses any previous efforts I’ve made…

I did have massive issues ith the zipper. I pressed it, put on the invisible zip foot and went for it, and was somewhat surprised to find I’d sewn over the teeth…WTF? Unpicked it in a proper huff, until I realised I’m a retard and it wasn’t even a concealed zip – d’oh! Twunt….

Got the CORRECT zip and it went in OK, but the fabric was massively puckered. Arse. More seam rippage, and the third time it did the same. Confused? Oh yes… the end I put on a standard zip foot and did it that way. It’s not stitched as close to the teeth but it’s good enough for me…

The fabric was a bit weird actually as it’s really stretchy on the bias which made sewing the scallops ‘interesting’

Oh, and catch stitching? I can’t hand sew for shit lol! Tidy it ain’t…

The finished article is lovely though – I think it’s a little big around the waist (I cut a 14 and I seem to be between a 12 and 14 in Colette sizes), but it sits an inch below my belly button which is where it’s supposed to be….

Pic of it hanging up which does NOT do it justice

And pics of it on…bear in mind Bob hates taking pics, they are not flattering, and I apologise for the state of my sewing room, but it shows the fit at least (even if I am massively foreshortened and look proper dumpy)

Hopefully I will get pics of it in action soon πŸ™‚

Meanwhile, I got some pics of the Vogue dress, though again, the shot is awful – no Myspace angles here!!!

All the faffing with the zip appears to have damaged it so I need to insert another one…..which I may get round to one day…..

I wore the ladybird corset out last night, and it was really comfy, I could eat in it and it looked good (IMHO), hopefully there will be pics surfacing somewhere…..

Now, what to make next? I have the bug!!!

In other news, I passed my Basic Skills for roller derby and am now allowed to get hit properly – eek!

Just because

1. Harmonia Axyridis – aka ‘funny looking foreign ladybird with too many spots’ hiding in a leaf

2. Yuki, being a tart

3. 14 spot ladybird, chilling out on some mint

4. 2 spot ladybird, having a good munch on some blackfly

5. The Commer, very ably guarded by BC

6. Angel, looking like one. She isn’t.


Ah yes, as well as ladybirds,Β  (which by the way, are never where you want them – I would be happy for a Harlequin in my spare room as my chilli and pepper plants appear to be a bit of a doss house for greenfly right now…..), I have been having a game of ‘let’s check lardy features isn’t diabetic, or something equally horrible’

So I bought a blood glucose monitor, checked it when I’d not eaten for a while, and blood sugar was predictably pretty low (4.6). Tested it again post Nando’s (which had included plenty of carbs – chips and peas), and it was what appeared to be a reasonable and expected 6.4.

I decided it may be useful to do a Glucose Tolerance Test, lifted from this page

Method as follows;

One bit that’s quite important is this – I’ll come back to it later…

If you are currently eating a low carb diet–especially a diet that provies less than 75 g of carbohydrate a day, your post-meal test result will be slightly higher than it would be if you were eating over 150 grams of carbs a day. That is why, if you were going in for an official post-meal test or a glucose tolerance test ordered by your doctor, you would be told that you have to eat 150 grams of carbohydrate during 3 days before your test to get a valid result. However, since this is an informal test you probably don’t want to stop your diet for that long. So when you get your result, you can make an informal adjustment to your post-meal test results that will account for the fact that low carbing temporarily raises your post-meal values when you eat an unaccustomed large dose of carbohydrate.

To make this correction, just subtract 10 mg/dl from any post-meal result that is over 140 mg/dl at 2 hours if you are currently low carbing. This is a very rough estimate, but close enough for this kind of home testing.

(One thing to note – that site is American, to convert UK numbers mmol/l to US mg/dl, multiply by 18…therefore 4.6mmol/l is 83mg/dl….)

So, I chose to eat two plain fruit teacakes for breakfast, and a cup of tea. Each apparently has 30g carbs….and this is what happened….

Fasted blood glucose taken at 07.40 – 5.7 – a bit high but not completely awful
Then ate 60g fast carbs in the form of 2 teacakes and a cup of tea.
Glucose tested again at 08.40 – 15 – shit a brick, panic a bit and nearly do a poo….
Figured I might have something on my hand, washed hands, tried again 08.44 – 8.9 – still too high but at least my kidneys aren’t about to pack up….
At work now, slope off to the bog to avoid too many questions 09.45 – 8.9 – WTF? Damn……this is not good
Just now, another bog trip 10.45 – 6.3 – down to something approaching normal but still way to high…it should really be below 5.5


Carbs, what are they?….

So, after the panic, I realised that being low carb would mean a higher fasting bg. Fine, but even with 10mg/dl off each value (remember the bit in italics, above?) the numbers are awful. Pretty close to diabetic, in fact. Definitely in damage territory, Then someone pointed out that low carb causes insulin resistance. Another poke around finds posts on Physiological Insulin Resistance here;

There are actually a few in the series but some of the highlights…

What is happening? Well, the first thing is that LC eating rapidly induces insulin resistance. This is a completely and utterly normal physiological response to carbohydrate restriction. Carbohydrate restriction drops insulin levels. Low insulin levels activate hormone sensitive lipase. Fatty tissue breaks down and releases non esterified fatty acids. These are mostly taken up by muscle cells as fuel and automatically induce insulin resistance in those muscles.

This is patently logical as muscle runs well on lipids and so glucose can be left for tissues such as brain, which really need it. Neuronal tissue varies in its use of insulin to uptake glucose but doesn’t accumulate lipid in the way muscle does, so physiological insulin resistance is not an issue for brain cells.

However, while muscles are in “refusal mode” for glucose the least input, from food or gluconeogenesis, will rapidly spike blood glucose out of all proportion. This is fine if you stick to LC in your eating. It also means that if you take an oral glucose tolerance test you will fail and be labelled diabetic. In fact, even a single high fat meal can do this, extending insulin resistance in to the next day.

Check out the bit in bold. Yep, that was me. The way to get a ‘normal’ reading, according to the two sites I posted up, is to carb load with at least 150g carbs a day for 3 days before doing the test….

Speaking of experiments, I’m, finding these quite exciting, and I really can’t wait for the next ones……

Anyway, I have some more ranting to do…