Curtain call for the Martini!

capital chic martini front

Sadly this is my first and very likely my last post of December. But I’m not going to duff myself up because… it’s Chriiiiiissssstmaaaaasssss!

Just one more day of work to go. I repeat, just one more day day of work. Excited? Me? Yes siree. But also determined to hold that wonderful thought and not to get stressed out that I’ve not yet scratched the surface of my shopping list nor yet contemplated what is to appear on the Christmas dinner table!

But let’s get priorities in order. Let’s blog this latest outfit of mine. This two-piece garment of brilliance that’s been so patiently waiting in my inbox! It’s the Martini pattern by the very cool and talented Sally of Capital Chic. I’ve been a fan of her amazing Charity Shop Chic refashions for like aaaages so when she asked if I’d be interested in trying out one of her new patterns I was flattered beyond belief. It just took me a hundred years to get round to finding the absolute perfect fabric to do it justice!

So just how delighted do you think I was to find this amazing set of vintage bark cloth curtains with ‘Martini’ written all over them!!

vintage bark cloth curtains

They were peeking out behind a rail of really naff shiny peachy curtains in Snoopers Paradise, Brighton. I’d almost given up hope of finding any vintage fabric at all. And as I gave one last despairing glance backwards, there they were, glowing, calling me. I literally ran back like a crazy woman, in case anyone else spotted them before me and whipped them out like my life depended on them. Nostalgia screamed from every thread. I’m pretty damned sure we had these curtains in our living room when I was a kid!

Here’s a little intro to Snoopers Paradise if you haven’t had the pleasure…

I think I might possibly be a professional snooper!

And oh the beautiful irony that this pair of the coolest curtains were to be refashioned into a Capital Chic outfit designed by the queen of charity shop chic, herself!

And so they became my Martini. Why oh why isn’t bark cloth made any more? It sews like a dream, it doesn’t crease, it presses beautifully, it has body and holds its shape, and washes like a dream. I think I am actually in love with this fabric. The colour too, actually. I knew I loved it, lairy as it was, but I’ve had at least three random people comment on how ‘very me’ this lime green is. And there’s me thinking I’m all red and black!!

This is probably my most impressive invisible zip insertion to date. Once again, Thank you for all the advice on my invisible foot purchase. How ever did I manage without it?! The zip totally sinks into the centre seam of the back skirt. And the top has a separating zip. I so love that there’s always something new to learn about sewing. This is the first time I’ve ever had to shop for one of these, let alone sew one on a garment!

capital chic martini close up back

The construction of this two-piece is very simple if you pay attention to every word of the carefully presented instructions. I say this only because I’m definitely one for skipping an instruction or two and thinking I know better. But Sally knows her onions and her technique for sewing an all in one lined bodice is genius, as is her explanation on how to line a vent in the back of a skirt.

The waist is high on the skirt as you can see and is supported by bones sewn to the darts and the seams in the lining (which makes for six). But if I had to add one thing to those instructions, it would be to file those bones more roundy at the top, because boy do they dig in if you don’t sit up straight or lean over without hoiking up your skirt!

Also, The top worked out surprisingly short. Totally my fault for not toilling and so I defo need to add an inch or two next time. I’m no spring chicken and I’m not sure that the world needs to be exposed to any amount of my midriff so I sewed an inch of ‘modesty lace’ to the hem. That said I’m still horrified by the amount of skin that still shows. I’m hoping that this is because the lens was low!

capital chic martini front

I love the cutaway armholes in the top. Even if they do highlight the squidgy bits of my arms. But I will go a size up next time to lessen the squeeze. The beauty of this two-piece design is that you can have a totally separate size top to bottom. Which is what I am. You could also add a contrasting colour top to bottom as Thumbelnina did. and if you were really clever you’d make two or three sets that you could mix and match!

Watch out crazy curtains…. I’m on a mission and I’m coming after ya, big time!

capital chic martini back

Hog blop by a sleepy Ooobop!

It’s Friday. Well just about. I can’t quite believe how I got here or how my eyes have any juice left. The last couple of weeks have been a bit of a blur. Only myself to blame though. Bit off far more than I could chew, didn’t I, and ended up working a few 14-hour days. But it’s all done and it’s all good apart from I now don’t have the energy to to invest in sewing this evening.

Sleep is the order of the day. I know that. But I am strangely relishing the need to string some words together. And I did promise Karen from Fifty Dresses and Nicole from Nicole Needles that I would accept the baton and rise to the challenge of the Blog Hop.

If anyone knows who blew the starting whistle on this one, please let me know. Always good to give credit where it’s due.

And so I believe that the challenge is to answer four little questions about me and then nominate a further three bloggers to do the same. So here goes.

Q1. What are you currently working on?

I happen to have two works in progress right now, which is odd for me because I do usually finish something before I start another. Honest, guv’!

The first, being a Bombshell Swimsuit from Closet Case Patterns. I’ve rouched the back and backed it with lining. I know it’s a bit off season but lucky for me I have some winter sun booked in and I WILL have a new cozzie ready.

bombshell swimsuit in progress

Even if the chances of me looking like Mini Mouse’s granny are totally on the cards! I’m struggling a bit with the instructions for the next stage and rather than get in a tiz with it all I started something else instead…

The second, of which is a Mimi blouse from Tilly’s Love at First Stitch book which is coming together nicely in a drapey viscosey type fabric. I totally need more blouses and if mine comes out half as nice as Scruffy Badger’s then I’ll be making more of these!

Mimi blouse in progress

Q2. How does your work differ from others in its genre?

D’you know what? I don’t think it does, particularly. As far as I can see the genre is ‘sewing’ and I make lots of different things like lots of other different sewing bloggers. I don’t stick to a particular theme. Though I love working with an old vintage pattern, I get as much pleasure out of a modern indie pattern too. I don’t partake in too many sew-alongs or challenges. Mostly from fear of not delivering on time but also I suppose because I like having something different to report. Kind of contradicting myself by totally blog hopping onto this bandwagon but you get the picture.

Q3. Why do you write/create what you do?

I started sewing before blogging as a release from my computer-based design work. I love fashion and I’ve never dressed high-street per se… never had the funds to keep up in any case… so sewing my own clothes seemed a good way forward. I joined the Burda network for inspiration and that in turn inspired me to host my own blog. I believed this to be a good way to give myself a kick up the butt to keep sewing. If I don’t make anything I’ve generally got nothing to report and so the partnership of sewing and blogging has worked a treat over the last few years. I’d say there’s a bigger picture now in that the friends I have made along the way are the biggest and loveliest surprise ever. I really never expected that.

Q4. How does your writing/creative process work?

In a nutshell, I sew something. I write about it. And I hope thereafter that I’m not boring the pants off anyone!

My day job involves a lot of computerised visual stuff – designing, creating, retouching and tweaking graphics, photos and illos. I also get to read a lot of text but its skip-reading. Not for pleasure. Even if some of those manuscripts do have me in tears! So the opportunity to spill some of my own words on a page comes as pure therapy. I really enjoy it. My English teacher rejoiced in telling my mum that I had an awful case verbal-diarrhoea! And I am ridiculously (not so secretly) hopeful that one day I will have collected enough words and have realised a great idea for a book… and write it. There’s one in everyone, right?!

And now I must make a massive hop off  to far flung places in order to pass on this Blog Hop batton. My chosen three should they wish to partake in such blog hopping activities are:

1. Symon Sez

Fellow graphic designer who totally sings from the same songsheet as me. I love her honest approach and how she details her lovely makes.

2. Mokosha

Orignal and edgy. I found Mokosha on Burda and have loved watching her site mature. The snappy posts are perfect for blog gobbling on the hop and her photos are a joy.

3. The Renegade Seamstress

An endless supply of inspired refashions. I seriously don’t know how they keep coming. This lady is so clever and it comes as no surprise that she has recently been published.

Ladies, there is absolutely no obligation whatsoever. But if you choose to take on this challenge you must answer the same 4 questions and nominate a further 3 bloggers.

Wishing you all a wonderful and restful weekend, sweet dreams from Ooobop xxx

How my Elisalex ‘test garment’ happened!

So much has happened over this last week. Starting with last Saturday when Rachel hosted her massive meet up! There have been plenty of fine reports of that wonderful day so I am going to cheat big time and point you in the direction of here and here oh and here!

I will however post a few of the pics. Just because I think they are great and our photographer for the day, Digpal Singh deserves bigging up because he was amaaaazing!

Rachels meet up

Miss Demeanour and Me
Miss Demeanour and Me

Anyhoos. One of the meet-up missions was to shop till we dropped in the Goldhawk Road. By this time I’d been so excited to meet everyone, I clean forgot my fabric shopping list and got completely distracted by the presence of Elisalex dresses modelled so beautifully in real life by these lovely ladies:

Amy, Roisin (wearing Elisalex) and Nicole
Amy, Roisin (wearing Elisalex) and Nicole
Lovely ladies inc Tara (wearing Elisalex) on right
Lovely ladies inc Tara (wearing Elisalex) on right

So I bought this fabric with the Elixalex in mind. Got a great deal by tempting Roisin into sharing 5 metres of hefty, stretch-cotton floral with me. £12.50… bargain!

floral fabric for actual Elisalex dress

For those who have yet to discover this fabulous dress pattern (I’ve a feeling I might be one of the few!) It is so brilliantly and readily available from By Hand London. I loved meeting the brains behind this fabulous site on Saturday. Meet Charlotte and Elisalex herself.

Elisalex and Charlotte
Elisalex (left) Charlotte (right) also modelling the Elisalex skirt.

I ordered my pattern as soon as I got home that Saturday evening. A miracle given no of G&Ts that were consumed beforehand! And it arrived PDQ. I’m still so busy with work and there was little hope of me achieving anything else this week but I tell no lies when I say how quick it was to put together. The instructions are very clear and it really is such an adaptable pattern that will tranfsorm with any style skirt or sleeve option. And so here is my first ‘test garment’.

Elisalex test full length

I repeat ‘test garment’ because I had no intention of actually wearing this one out of the house. But Mr O insisted, if I wanted him to take the photos.

Elisalex test pleat

Why you ask? Because it’s made out of a Duvet cover! It’s a pretty 100% cotton, Ikea, duvet cover but bedding all the same! LMO insisted on an ice-cream so there was only one thing for it!  Elisalex test buying ice cream A trip to the local cafe, that sells what transpires to be the most delicious ice-cream ever!

Elisalex test licking ice cream

Elisalex test eating ice cream

I’m actually glad I wore it out. It was a good test drive. Whilst I’m completely smitten with this skirt style on everyone else, Mr O’s rendition of You Can’t Touch This, did nothing for my indecision! It does take a lot of getting used to. I kept the length… and it is quite long. But it does mean I have to take ladylike steps with a wiggly walk which I quite like. I also like very much, that despite the blustery weather, the wind could not blow this skirt up if it tried! Unlike my first summer dress of this year! Proper Marylin behaviour in that one! I Love the princess seams.

Elisalex test princess seam

And I adore the shape of the back… just pretend you didn’t see the bra strap!

Elisalex test back

And I just can’t wait to make the real one in the fabulous floral! I would now like to remove this song from my head. So please take it and enjoy! [youtube]

Kiki’s vintage cushion cover

When my good friend Kiki asked me to make a cushion cover from her late mother’s Biba skirt, I kind of refused. Big time! I love my friend Kiki so much and would do anything for her but cut up a Biba skirt?! She was going to have to drug me first!!!

She texted to say she was on her way with said skirt. It didn’t look like I had a choice. In fact she was at mine before I got back myself! Mr O had a cuppa on the go. I went straight for the wine. This was going to be painful.

Luckily for me, Kiki gets things muddled all the time. (I really should write a dictionary of exclusive Kiki words and terms. I’m sure it would be a best-seller!) What she meant was that the skirt was a Biba-esque-style maxi skirt that her mum had hand-made in the 70s. She couldn’t see herself in it and to be honest, neither of us could get it over our thighs!

Jean's original skirt

Well. That was a relief but still didn’t make for easy cutting up. But I warmed to the idea that Kiki would get daily pleasure from it being on her sofa instead of folding it away in the attic forever.

There’s quite a lot of fabric going on in a maxi A-line skirt. Plenty enough for a 50cm cushion pad!

But there was a moth-hole. Typically right in the middle of where I needed to cut.

moth hole

I’ve not used the darning stitch on my machine before now.

darning stitch

It doesn’t mend totally invisibly but far better than a poke in the eye and a fraying hole!

darned hole

Nothing complicated about the cushion cover itself. Just two squares. Zipper sewn to top edges first. Seamed all round. And Bob’s yer uncle!

Such a great geometric design on this fabric. It’s great quality cotton furnishing fabric of some kind.

geometric fabric detail

And I have to say – I think it looks great on my sofa! Kiki can take as long as she likes coming to collect it!

finished cushion