Saturday, 17 April 2021

A new Venture

Watching videos on YouTube of people sewing clothing inspired me to give it a try.  I have made items like waistcoats for bears but never "human" clothing.   The transformation of flat cloth into 3 dimensional shapes for bears has occupied me for many years and I realised that in some ways the same principles apply to assembling clothing.



Foreman Jacket






I rather proud to say that my first effort, a shirt, was wearable, and the second much improved was a birthday gift.  After another shirt I decided that I needed a new casual jacket for summer.   The work coat, or chore coat, seems quite current so I scoured the internet for patterns.   A company called Merchant & Mills publish a very clear pattern and also sell lovely cloth.

My first attempt ended up in miniature for a bear, pattern made from scratch for him but using the collar stand and shapes as per the pattern.

Sid
Sid - Bear 002/21 wearing his Chore Coat



I had already purchased rather exciting railway denim which was one of the recommended fabrics and embarked on a full sized version to wear myself.

Matching the stripes was tricky, on the raised edges of the patch pockets they line up when observed from the front but move of line as you observe from other angles,  had two goes at the first then learn the knack of poking each stripe into position with an awl as I machined around the edge.   This little tricvk learned from observing the very neat and skilled artisan on Atelier Saison from Japan.  I can watch her immaculate workmanship taking place for hours !




Easing in the sleeves takes time and care but after fitting small foot pads in Teddy bears for 30 years it makes sense when you understand the shape you are creating.

The foreman is quite a simple jacket, there are no cuffs or plackets on the sleeves and the centre line is far enough away from the edge to avoid any horrors attempting to sew the buttonholes.   Ive developed quite a "thing" about buttonholes, I was tempted to hand sew them but as my, recently purchased, new machine does keyhole buttonholes I used that, they are pretty good too as long as you can track down a small enough punch to open the round part.  The buttons are lovely natural shell in a mid-grey; I'm getting more consistent at sewing them on now, with a nice "stalk" so they slip into the eye of the buttonhole and don't leave it gaping.

I had decided that these garments would need a label, so I christened them Hugoshouse in keeping with my bear making over the years.


Getting the sizing correct is tricky;  you have to be aware of the intended fit of the final garment, this jacket is a simple boxy shape, and although it seemed a little small made up in the muslin, when I made it in the actual fabric it is easily big enough to wear over a couple of layers and a lose comfy fit over a thin summer shirt.

I am enjoying this venture very much, I like the idea of making clothes a little different, and chosing lovely fabrics ( can be costly - cloth alone for this cost about £40 ) .  It's quite time consuming but the process pleases me and I can work to achieve the best possible results, assisted, it has to be said, by the many wonderful people who share their skills on YouTube.


Saturday, 14 November 2020

A special bear is home again

A bear of my own to keep


Over the years I've often been asked if I have any bears of my own at home, any special favourites which I just had to keep.  The answer has always been no; for practical reasons it was my income so much as I would have liked, they had to find homes.  From a creative point of view I always wanted to make improvements and move on.  So, whilst I have my first and a few very early efforts, I haven't kept any others  at all.

Do I have favourites, well yes there are out there some bears which I always remember above the others; and for diplomatic reasons my lips are sealed on that.

Back in January 2018 I made a small 6 jointed black bear, I gave him a white chest and a little white tip on his tail.   By then my old Newfie, Angus was quite frail and for some time had wanted no more than to spend his days and nights beside me; he stayed with me snoozing while I made bears and because I had given the little bear a white patch and tail just like Angus, I called him Angus and took their pictures together, under my desk where old Angus spent his time.


 I listed little Angus on my website and he quickly found a home with a collector who had a number of my bears, so I knew he went to a good home.


What I hadn't expected was that only two months later my own dear old friend Angus would pass away.  When I tried to go and do any work all I could think of was that he wasn't beside me as I sewed and stuffed and I just couldn't find the heart to do very much.

Anyway, a while ago, I noticed that the collector was thinning her collection, and I contacted her and asked that if she ever thought of selling Angus to please let me know.

I had missed him and after Angus death I regretted selling him; I shouldn't have given him the same name and I couldn't forget how much those pictures somehow tied into the memory of my old dog who in his later life never wanted more than to be beside me.

A few weeks ago I received the message that the bear was to be sold and so he came home.  

So, now I have a recent bear to represent my work in my own home, chosen by fate because in my mind he is so closely associated with Angus my special old Newfie pal.

He sits on the shelf above my work desk now, I still miss canine company when I work, Gaspard always wants to be close but I'm afraid he hasn't learned to ignore all the exciting things on the work top so has to stay out.  I'm retired from full time work now though so I only spend a couple of hours a day in there  anyway.




Last picture is of them together again; Angus' ashes with his collars and the little silver box which contains some of the white hairs from  the end of his tail.  







 












 

Tuesday, 22 September 2020