Draft 2 Slashes Sleeve TopHere’s the second draft of my slashed sleeve top.  I improved on one feature: the cuffs; but I worsened two!  The sleeve head now hasn’t enough fullness and the bodice is too long.

I like to think that learning to draft is like learning to drive.  The mistakes and the failures make you better and more knowledgeable than someone who struck lucky the first time around.  I hope to find that thought a comfort when I begin draft three. 🙄

Now for the admin.  I’ll be celebrating my blog’s second birthday by smartening up this site.  The idea is that by making sew2pro more marketable, it’ll hopefully be a little less overlooked.  It won’t be an overnight change because I’m a Luddite who constantly alienates her IT staff by being destructive and unintuitive with the ways of … (*spits on floor*) technology!

So, while I knuckle down, will you please let me know by comment or email if:

– you want your blog included in my list of links on bottom right

– you recommend any sewing or drafting blogs or how-to websites for me to add to my reading list.  My blogroll is currently in the doldrums and a couple of favourites haven’t been updated in months.  Ideally I need tutorials with good visuals, or book reviews (like Pella‘s series on pattern drafting books), or guides on turning clothes-making into a profession.

Thanks 🙂

Postmodern Scrunchie

DonutsDo you remember when Carrie Bradshaw determined that a woman wearing a scrunchie in her hair was either:

a) washing her face, or

b) a scrubbed-cheeked hillbilly from Hickville?

1 The NieceWell, no more.  A recent discussion panel on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour (a programme where they normally tackle such weighty issues as gender pay inequality) suggested the Scrunchie is back and with a vengeance.  No longer an apologetic substitute for a decent hairstyle, the Scrunchie worn ironically is the hairstyle.

Make one that’s a bit out of the ordinary for your daughter or fashionista niece so that she can wear it with a donut: use the scrunchie instead of pins to tuck in hair. Or, as the Radio 4 programme suggests, make it enormous and out of Dutch Wax cloth like a youngster’s version of a traditional headdress. Or use Day-Glo neoprene or paper silk.  Make it from the leg of some old jeans (especially if they’re leather!).  Liberty fabric leftovers make a good choice too and striped shirting is good for tomboys.  Just don’t underestimate the amount of material this will require: the postmodern Scrunchie is a monster.

How to sew a ScrunchieNon-Metal Hair Ties

You will need:

a) One of these metal-free hair ties.  These vary in quality so make sure they’ll last by giving them a reasonable stretch before committing to purchase.  If they snap, walk off nonchalantly!

1 70 cm by 10 cm rectangleb) A rectangle of fabric some 70cm x 12cm for a smallish scrunchie or 90cm x 15cm for a jumbo.  If using jersey, the end result will look even bigger.

If possible, cut with pinking shears.

Step 11 Press under 1cm on short ends to wrong side

Press under 1cm on each short end of the fabric.

Step 21 Insert Hair Bands

With right sides together, fold the folded corners together over the centre of the hair tie.

Step 3 Stitch

Stitch the long side with a 1cm seam allowance, keeping the hair tie stretched out of the way.  When you get to the end, leave long strands of thread hanging.

1 Inside out scrunchie
Step 4

1 Feed to right side

Feed to the right side.  I use a safety pin.

Step 5

1 Slipstich the opening

Use one of the long thread ends to slipstitch the opening closed.


And no, you won’t catch me wearing one of these but then I live in England and my ears are usually cold 😉

Are you a (closet) scrunchie wearer?  Any interesting fabric suggestions?

Isabella Blow

I didn’t think I’d like Isabella Blow, whose collection of designer dresses and hats is currently at Somerset House.  There’d been nothing to warm me in the portraits I’d seen, most showing her expressionless if not rather po-faced, and usually wearing one of her antelope-spike hats.  I admit I have an aversion to fashion, seeing it as a preoccupation of the rich who dress eccentrically to detract from an inner vacuum, with followers who seemingly dress identically when they should be making their own!

So did I have my prejudices overturned? 🙂

Not initially.  In the first display room, a familiar sight of a mismatched zip (ooh, at least  5mm, girls) spotted on the back of a lace Alexander McQueen skirt had me feeling rather smug.  “Blimey, he must have done that before he had people to do it for him,” I thought.  Even less impressive was a fashion feature in The Face showing a child clad in nowt but glittery Agent Provocateur knickers.  Clearly, we’d travelled into the past: a suspicion confirmed when one of the displayed documents turned out to be a fax (I’d forgotten they existed) which referred to the rather mundane  but very relevant matter of Blow’s expenses.

Amber Anderson photographed by Nick KnightHowever, you soon start to feel luck at being able to circle, and study closely, such giants of design as you see here.  I would have loved to touch some of the exhibits (like the fluffiest collar ever, on right) but I’d been warned off by repeated signs.  “No Photography” either, sadly.  As there wasn’t a catalogue of the exhibition on sale, here are some personal highlights which I’m trying to entrust to memory:

– One Philip Treacy hat, or ‘head sculpture’ if you will: a scarlet velvet number worthy of a female cardinal (if there was such a thing).  All parallel pintucks curling up in a sphere.  In a video clip, Blow very sweetly offers the theory that such hats “lift” faces like hers.  “Anyone can find a husband if they wear a Philip Treacy hat!”.

– An ice-smooth, silver shift dress, matched with a two-pronged headdress and the most pointed ever silver trident.  A she-Neptune outfit perhaps?

– A McQueen python-skin suit: a pointy-shouldered jacket and pencil skirt.

And if you think I’m just some sucker for power dressing, how about:

– The Jun Takahashi shocking-pink Burka printed with skewered-headed teddy bears (see it here)?  Very low Taliban-approval rating but Lady Gaga also gave it a go.

Looking around, I did in fact start to wonder if I haven’t lived when I haven’t partied  in frocks like these!

The exhibition veils over the ending of Blow’s and McQueen’s symbiotic relationship and you wouldn’t guess by the triumphant catwalk-show ending that Blow’s last years were ruined by depression, money worries and disappointment at her infertility and divorce.  I think this is deliberate.  We have to let this collection celebrate Isabella Blow and use our imagination to wonder at the rest of the story.

If you can, do go.  Till 2nd March.