Wednesday, 19 June 2013

My aeroplane-free top


This is the finished top that I showed mid-construction in my post about trimmings. It's inspired by an Orla Kiely top that I spotted on her website, complete with amazing aeroplane print - I did contemplate feeding my children on stale bread for a month in order to buy it, but in the end a fear of rickets won out. I often find that although I feel I can have a good attempt at pulling off a wearable version of a coveted off-the-peg garment, finding the right fabric to do this is trickier. But I love this cotton, which I spotted in The Cloth House a while ago - the very stylised print reminds me of the type of design you might see on the clothes in the Orla shop. However, I'd still love to find a source of end-of-bolt Orla Kiely fabrics.


I kept true to the knife-pleated yoke on the original, but I actually wish that I'd followed the Orla Kiely design more slavishly now, as although the cream picot trim was fun to sew, it doesn't feel as beautifully minimal as Orla's perfect-in-every-way aeroplane top.



Sometimes it's so difficult to balance out the fun of sewing with what I really want in my wardrobe...this time the fun won. 


I had huge (yes, really, huge!) amounts of fun with the bias binding maker that I used to make the self-binding for this top.


I always make my self-fabric bindings by cutting a bias strip and then folding and sewing it by eye. However, this bias maker means that you can make pre-folded bias tape pressed crisply with an iron, making it as easy to apply as shop bought binding.


This post holds the curious thing of photos that are not simply Florence-standing-against-a-cream-wall, but Florence-sitting-against-a-cream-wall! I find it really hard to find places in my house where I can be photographed...anywhere other than a blank wall seems to have too much clutter as a backdrop.


Taking photos for dressmaking posts is quite different from any other area of sewing. It requires you to a) put photos of yourself in the post, with or without your head depending on how weirded out by the whole Internet thing you're feeling on that particular day b) to discuss fitting issues and, if you want to be helpful to other seamstresses when sewing from a widely available pattern, the odd body quirks you have and how you negotiated sewing for them c) publicly face the fact that no matter how well you might have sewn the garment, it simply may not fit well (it may actually be a sartorial blancmange) - not something one has to cope with when making quilts! d) attempt to make those photos something that won't make you cringe if you happen across them by accident on Pinterest.

How do you feel about the photos of yourself that you put on the Internet or do you avoid it completely? After six years of blogging I still don't feel blasé about putting photos of myself online - quite frankly it still feels downright freaky, but I find it difficult to tell if that's because I'm a super-reserved sort of person or if it's because this is an odd period in technological change where we're the first generation where it's become wide-spread to do so. I wonder about whether for my children's generation having some form of online presence will be as natural and unquestioned as having a postal address.

Florence x

44 comments:

  1. Gorgeous Florence - you are super talented x

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  2. I love my bias binder maker too!!

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    1. It's new to me and I now can't believe I didn't bother to buy one for so long.

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  3. LOVE it! the details are perfect, and it is a dead ringer for the store one, even if it doesn't have the airplane print (who can see it from afar anyway??)

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    1. I love that from a distance my flowers may morph into airplanes - that's a good way of looking at it - thank you! x

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  4. Lovely! I really like the cream trim-- it highlights the yoke detail, which kind of gets lost in the inspiration top.

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    1. I like it without a cardigan, but with one it just looks like an unexpected horizontal line...I just need more non-cardigan weather to truly fall in love with it!

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  5. Love the top and the photos are great! It seems to fit perfectly too. I hate putting photos of myself up, but will occasionally if I have one that I feel doesn't add 20 pounds or make me look like some kind of sub-normal freak. Sadly I'm not photogenic and never have been, and my husband takes The. Worst. photos of me, so good photos are few and far between at the best of times! Given the vast quantities of trout-faced bathroom posing (and more, ewww) I see on Instagram and elsewhere these days, I suspect our reticence is generational.

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    1. Jacqui, I'm absolutely sure that you would never look sub-normal, but I do know that feeling of horror - I experience it on a regular basis too :(

      Trout-faced bathroom posing? Explain yourself - it made me laugh out loud, even though I didn't quite know what you were talking about (I'm obviously following the wrong people to gain insight into that one!).

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  6. My mother-out-law doesn't really do the internet at all, and recently asked us, "So, do we all have our own websites? Is there a page out there about everyone?" - she thought she might have a page where people were discussing her but she knew nothing about it (and now she does, right here). You know I almost completely avoid showing my face online! Now that I'm experimenting with sewing underwear obviously I'm not going to model it but I'm feeling pretty reluctant to show even non-modelled photos of it to the WWW at large.

    Lovely top, great copy of the original and I think I like your picot trim more! Glad I'm not the only one who finds the bias tape maker fun - if you combine it with that clever continuous cutting method it's downright thrilling. By the way, Orla Kiely collaborates with People Tree and I think those items are a bit more affordable. I WISH P Tree would sell the leftover fabric from those collections. x

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    1. I love that your mother-in-law has a page on my blog. What did she have for dinner tonight? Please do share.

      I know what you mean about the underwear sewing...although I'm guessing that once you've gone through the trial of sewing it you'll want to discuss it on your blog!

      I wish People Tree would sell their leftovers too - do they actually make it themselves? I might write to them and see whether they have any end rolls and where they end up. x

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    2. All the stuff People Tree sell is made in fair trade projects that they have long-term relationships with, and I believe that includes the fabric. I wonder if they plan very carefully to avoid having much left over, though. Let's both email them about it! x

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  7. I really love this top. Thank you for overcoming your reservations and posting pictures of you wearing the clothes you make, I am always in awe of the beautiful fit and finish you achieve in your sewing. Definitely something to aspire to. I'm planning to start a blog myself but first I need to invest in a decent camera in order to have any pictures at all!

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    1. Thank you so much, Bella!

      If you're looking for any recommendations, for years I took my blog photos with a Canon Ixus that cost around £100 - I love their cameras - they make fantastic point and shoots that work well in low light without a flash (that tends to be the main thing I look for in a camera) . Good luck with your blog plans - it's such fun - although do think through your blog name more carefully than I did... x

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  8. Wonderful, you've done an absolutely brilliant job with that top, it's fantastic. Oh how I wish I could sew like that! And you're photos are wonderful. Nothing that will ever make you cringe I am sure!

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  10. Sorry about that! Read it after publishing and realised it made no sense at all! What I meant to say is:
    Love the top. I am still taking the 'headless' variety of photos and I think yours look very natural.
    Vicky

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    1. Thank you :) Don't worry - I understood what you meant. x

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  11. the blouse looks fabulous, the piping detail really works. Your photos are great, I try to avoid scaring everyone with a selfy, just very self critical.

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    1. I'm very self-critical too - I think of forced selfies as a form of acceptance therapy ;)

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  12. I really do love that top- yoke tops are my fav, so flattering on a smaller chest! The sleeve trim detail is so pretty too. I still loathe putting pics of myself up and struggle to find a blank wall, enough light and a pet who doesn't want to photo bomb every shot

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    1. I love your photos though - I love the idea of them throwing themselves into shot each time too. x

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  13. It's a beautifully made top, and really suits you. Fabrics Galore in Lavender Hill sells a lot of end of line designer fabrics (although I can't specifically remember ever seeing any Orla Kiely). It does sell plenty of Liberty lawn though, and best of all, sells it online!

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    1. Yes, I've seen lots of Boden and Paul Smith there, but never any Orla Kiely...maybe one day.

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  14. It's so beautiful! I absolutely love the pleated front yoke, gorgeous!
    I don't particularly enjoy posting photos of myself online. I usually crop my head out off the shot. It's bad enough to have to pose and get your picture taken without 'the whole world' seeing said photo( I'm under no illusions about my blogs popularity really!)

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    1. The idea of the 'whole world' is one thing (yes, my blog is that popular too!), but the idea I find even odder is acquaintances who don't sew stumbling across my blog (this happens more often than I ever thought it would!). I think if you're not involved in the whole process of dressmaking and sewing it must seem a very strange thing indeed.

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  15. I love your version, and think the picot edging adds something that the OK version doesn't have, actually.

    I actually just choose not to think about the fact that I'm putting pics of myself online. I do feel self conscious posing, but I kind of got over it a bit after Me Made May. it's still not my favourite thing but you can't really show clothes off properly without doing it.

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    1. Thank you, Helen!

      Yes, maybe it's best just not to think. I've had a quick look at your MMM photos -they're lovely. Lots of dressmaking inspiration over there. x

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    2. Thanks and thank you for your comment! :)

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  16. You look lovely Florence and if I were you I wouldn't worry too much about putting my face out there. Though headless pictures are much easier to manage after a while you want to see a face. The problem is when you don't like the way your face looks on the camera...I had a crisis about that last week. The top is great!

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    1. Everyone has days (or weeks!) like that, but your face always looks totally lovely in your photos - warm, friendly and very pretty indeed. x

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  17. Love the pleats! Such a lovely detail. Been thinking about making a pleated blouse myself and after seeing yours I definitely feel spurred on to give it a go (though I can't imagine mine looking so perfectly turned out!).

    Picture wise I feel the same -though less due to internet presence and more due to the cringe factor. Plus I have a strange inability to keep my eyes open in photographs!

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    1. I share your eyes closed thing! When I was at school I'd always close my eyes if a ball was coming towards me (everyone SO wanted me on their team) and I think I often seem to do the same with a camera now too.

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    2. Because I am naturally inclined to close my eyes at the wrong moment, I have developed my photo face. This means I stare wild eyed at the camera until the picture is taken. I am reliably informed that my photo face is horrible.

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  18. Your top is lovely - I'm a big fan of bias binding makers too although I burn my fingers on the iron every so often.

    I am naturally unphotogenic and find that I need to take at least half a zillion photos of myself before I can find one that's even semi-bearable. I do look slightly less terrible in the mirror which is a small consolation but completely useless for filling blog space.

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  19. I like your version even more! You did a fantastic job recreating the top.

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  20. Oh, this is gorgeous and so flattering on you! I just bought a bias tape maker, but have not used it yet. Now, after seeing your bias binding come out so nice, I'm so excited to rip it out of the packet!

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  21. I recently put a couple of photos of myself on my blog for the first time. It did feel really strange, and I sort of cringe slightly when I scroll down the page and see those posts. I had made a dress, so if I wanted to write about it, there really needed to be a photo or two of it. But at the same time I'm not particularly photogenic and tend to involuntarily make a weird face right when the shutter snaps, which makes it hard to get a good photo. I'm also really not comfortable with my weight these days, and so when I see that photo I have this involuntary moment of oh-wow-I've-gotten-really-fat, which I then try to squelch because I'm really trying to be kinder to myself. (And also because beating myself up about it isn't going to make me lose weight. Getting back to lifting weights would, but that's another story!)

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  22. wow! wonderful job on a beautiful blouse! love the fabric and little details. :-) i don't really like posting pictures of myself on my blog... but since part of my goal in sewing clothes for myself is to make them fit just right, it makes sense to document these successes with a photo of the garment being worn by me. i compromise by chopping off my head or eyes. :-)

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  23. Great blouse! I've got the same fabric, also from the Cloth House. (Oh how I love that shop!!) Wish I could make it into something as wonderful as you have.
    Despite my camera shutter whirring away ten to the dozen there's rarely a frame where I'm not looking stiff, ill or misshapen.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message - it's always really lovely to hear from people.

I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x