fair enough call, point taken!

Monday 3 May 2010
I don't know why cooler weather makes me want to sew in shades of grey, but every year it does. In fact I seem to recall Carolyn calling me out on it last year, but once again this year I fell into the same old predictable pattern! I wasn't overly concerned because I don't wear a lot of black so I guess grey is my 'go to' neutral, but then I saw this line of clothes waiting to be ironed in my ironing room (also known as my guest room when we have guests and junk room at other times, I'm sure you all relate):

Yes that would be four grey dresses and two grey skirts worn in recent weeks waiting to be ironed and put away - I like to air my clothes in between wear, aka being too lazy to iron them straight away! Even I admit that this grey obsession is possibly a bit much and I should branch out.

So I thought about making a bright fuschia dress in some wool from the stash, but baby steps here! Hopefully you'll all be pleased to know my next project, a skirt suit for work, is made from a green woven wool, with flecks of gold and blue through it:

And in even more surprising developments I'm actually trying to do things properly for a change. I have bought a few sewing books over the years but haven't really used them, so I thought it was about time I cracked this one open and followed it's advice:

The Classic Guide to Sewing the Perfect Jacket is a really good book, all the photographs make it easy to understand and it goes through the techniques for full handstitching of the jacket and also the technique for using fusible interfacing which gives you the choice to pick how involved you want to get. Following the book, for my current jacket I've block interfaced all of the jacket pieces with lightweight interfacing (whisperweft I think it was called), and I've also made a back stay from some tightly woven but thin cotton, all to help stabilise the fabric because it's quite a loose weave:

Now to make the lining for the jacket, the most boring part. I did read a tip somewhere or other recommending that you make the lining first which means you get the worst part over and done with first and may make it less likely you'll end up with a UFO.

My business trip to one of our regional offices to deliver some training last week was a success. My job for the main part is writing policy, but I sometimes run training sessions for staff although I haven't done so since before I went on maternity leave well over a year ago now. Not only did all my knowledge of the legislation I was training the staff in come flooding back to me and the training session went really well, but I also managed to visit two op shops and score some bargains. First up a big bag of button covering kits in varying shapes and sizes:

Some knit fabrics to add to the stash until I get over my dislike of sewing with knits - a black heavy cotton like ponti de roma, and a thin polyester in a nice green brown pattern:

A 1939 McCalls sewing book, which is heavy on the handstitching techniques and interestingly refers to zippers as "slide fasteners".

And best of all was a stack of vintage golden books, with the funniest title ever:

I guess "goodbye tonsils" is the precursor to modern educational but entertaining books for children such as "why does daddy live in his own house now?" and "why do I have two mummies?" Aaaah, innocent times of eras gone by....

As for me, I'm off to insert an invisible slide fastener into a skirt. Happy sewing everyone.


  1. Hi Kristy,

    Just discovered your blog last week, it's fantstic, informative and very inspiring - to someone whose sewing mojo has all but disappeared in recent years. I've started reorganising all my stuff and am wanting to sew again for me now.

    Nothing wrong at all with gray - I wear alot of it also, mainly charcoal grey -it goes with so much!

    Love the material for your new jacket and am looking forward to seeing it completed. I'm pretty sure I've got that same book in my collection.

    You mentioned ordering books from Amazon in an earlier post. I heard about
    thebookdepository.co.uk that sells books worldwide - but with free delivery.My husband has ordered from them and my son has ordered books today from them ($145-00 total - but would have cost him $300. from A&R)

    All the best, Jenny

  2. There is nothing wrong with grey. I find grey to be the best neutral, it goes with everything, try to un-grey it with a pop of color accessories, like thick red/yellow/green.. belt.
    Love your blog btw <3

  3. Thanks for understanding what I wrote. I've just seen you in several other colors that compliment you as well as the gray does and just wanted to remind you about all the other crayons in the crayon box.

    What type of skirt are you making with the suit? And blouse?

  4. By the way, I heard that tip about making the lining first too. I guess for a simple project it would work like for a sheath or shift dress. However, it didn't work for me as I'm still dragging on the fashion fabric part of my Colette Oolong dress. But it is bias, form-fitting, and has gathering at the bust. But I have made progress and will be posting about it soon! Good luck on your suit.

  5. I did notice that your 2 last dresses wear gray, but I really didn't pay it any mind. For all I knew, you could have been doing a study in gray for the month of March. Oh well, either way, I love what you've been making lately. You could always jazz it up with another color.

  6. Grey is good, but yes it does look like you have a lot!
    The green fabric sounds like it will really suit your colouring.

  7. I too am drawn to grey over the cooler months but I suspect it has more to do with the changes in my colouring than the changes in the year!

    That jacket's going to be great! The thing that made the most difference to me in my jacket/coat construction knowledge was purchasing and learning to use all the speciality pressing equipment - being able to press all seams perfectly open on collars and lapels, clapping flat thick side seams is what really makes things look super professional - as does interfacing the entire garment.

    Burda's little reminder "well pressed, half sewn" is truer than I ever realised.

  8. Let's face it Kristy, the whole of Sydney is doing the grey thing at the moment. Add red patent leather shoes.

  9. I remember that book! Isn't the doctor called Dr Constantinople? (Or am I thinking of another Little Golden Book?)

    I like the grey. A lot. I personally prefer it to black as basic colour. And there are sooooo many shades........

  10. Grey is a perfect neutral. I have plans to make a grey suit - I have got as far as cutting out a calico muslin. I think I am too scared to take the next step....it is much easier to just make knit tops..lol

  11. Great finds! And gray is a wonderful neutral, very versatile.

    I just wanted to say that I remember reading that calling zippers "slide fasteners" was necessary to avoid patent/copyright infringement issues when they were considered a new technology. Some very high-end garments of the era featured them prominently as a high-tech design detail at the time!

  12. Ok I have to delurk and say that we had that tonsils book!! We lived with my grandmother for a bit, who had an impressive collection of Golden books including that tonsils one! Your post brought back a flood of memories, mostly of my brother and myself begging Mom to let us have our tonsils out so we could eat LOTS of ice cream. :-)
    I do enjoy reading your blog very much and think you are a lovely sewist. Thanks for the smile and perhaps I'll get brave and comment more often.

  13. You look great in grey, especially that last dress. but I was thinking a spot of color, and your next sentence you named it!
    (We won't talk about my ten black shirts. I use charcoal grey as my light tone.)

  14. I had "Goodbye Tonsils" when I was little... I always wanted to have my tonsils out because of the nice nurses and icecream to eat afterwards.