I’m a little bit behind with the Great British Sewing Bee, last weekend we were catering for the local village show, so two coffee cakes, two coconut and lime cakes, an elderflower drizzle cake and a chocolate cake later…oh and two dozen iced cupcake…not a lot of time left for sewing!
Last weeks Great British Sewing Bee had an international theme, the first challenge was to make a chinese inspired top. It was based on the qipao, a traditional chinese dress, the pattern for it is in the new book that goes with the series. It did look quite a complicated pattern, one where you have to really concentrate! The fabric didn’t particularly help either being a satin brocade. I can’t say I’ll be rushing off to make that pattern up!
The upcycling challenge was to make something from a sari, there were a few harem pants and a couple of nice tunics. Last year I bought a vintage silk sari off ebay and made a beautiful dress, I love wearing it, it’s so light. Have a look at it here. A couple of weeks ago I was browsing on ebay (always a mistake!) and I fell for three vintage silk saris, they were £10 to £12 each, including postage from India! A sari is on average about 5m long, so that’s a lot of silk for £12! I was feeling a bit guilty about buying all this beautiful silk so cheaply and I mentioned about it to one of my colleagues at work who is Asian. She made me feel much better when she pointed out that over there they would be seen as second hand clothes, whereas I look and see gorgeous silk!
My saris arrived at the weekend, one of them is a rich turquoise blue and purple pattern, very similar to my other dress, it does have a gold border on which I may or may not use, it’s a bit bright for me. The second one is a gorgeous soft mauve colour with a delicate gold border (I like this one!) and a beautiful patterned square at one end. I’m thinking of making dresses out of these two.
The third one is the one I’ve been sewing this weekend as part of my Little Sewing Bee challenge. It’s a gorgeous steel grey colour, it has a slight sheen to it but it isn’t as shiny as the photos make it look! It has what I would call an ombre effect at both edges where it darkens to almost black. Within the weave there is a subtle check in very dark grey and then every so often there is a gold flower in the square of the check. The border has gold flowers and then the decorative square at the end is all gold flowers. I love it!
I decided to make an Anywhere Maxi Skirt, I made one a couple of weeks back in a liberty print and I’ve worn it several times, it’s lovely to wear and even better I’ve had quite a few compliments about it! I decided to sew it without side seams (and therefore pockets!) so I could have the border round the hem uninterrupted. On saris there is a hand sewn cotton strip along one edge, I presume it would have originally gone next to the skin to protect the silk, on this one it looked fine, no noticeable wear marks so I decided to use it as my hem to help give a bit of weight.
With no side seams and no hem it was a pretty quick skirt to make, it would have been even quicker if I hadn’t cut the waistband a touch short, I added a strip of gold squares, it seemed a good idea at the time, but I’m not sure now as it looks a bit messy with the sash. I’ll wear it a couple of times before I decide whether to keep the sashes or not, it took me a couple of wears last time to get used to how to tie it.
I went down to Duttons for Buttons for my buttons. There is a shop locally in Ilkley which is very handy. They stock about 12,000 buttons, shelf after shelf of them, it’s like an Aladins cave! The assistant came to help, usually I prefer to browse on my own so I don’t feel pressured but she was really helpful and found some perfect grey buttons with a lighter grey swirl and the tiniest bit of sparkle, just what I needed!
I finished the skirt this afternoon and I’m hoping to make a simple top from the gold flowered end, possibly this weekend.