Tuesday, 19 July 2016

When Rain Stops Play, Cora App and Inspiration

What do you do when for quite a while, your sewing inspiration hasn't match the weather conditions?  When all you want to create are cool summer garments in airy silks and crisp cottons and yet the temperatures barely rise to the teens most days and we have had on rotation: sideways rain, torrential rain or squally, gusty wind containing heavy downpours of rain.  I was beginning to wonder, seriously July, was it even worth you turning up?  With such a miserable attitude you could have just stayed at home in bed and let October make an early entrance instead - at least we'd have known what to expect!  I kept dashing outside into the garden every time it stopped hurling down in torrents to gather up what was left of my poor battered flowers and bring them indoors.  Wearing summer clothes just didn't seem to be an option.

Trying to take photographs in actual daylight of me wearing anything I've made, without looking like I've been dragged through a hedge, has been something of a challenge too.  Maybe I should have sewn up a raincoat! What I have been doing is quite a lot of holiday planning instead, as we're off to Spain and so it is very likely to be warm and dry there.  Even so, I've been doing much less sewing than expected in the last few weeks and although things have been busy at work, including a few days trip to Liverpool Biennial and lots of travel generally that has eaten into my sewing time, I'm convinced that my mojo has been somewhat dented by the spectacularly unseasonal weather conditions here in the UK.  Whilst Liverpool and the Royal Liver Building still looked impressive from my hotel window, this had to be snapped quick before the view was obscured once again in grey mizzle.

There is no shortage of creative inspiration just now though. A trip to London last week saw the opportunity to see Duro Olowus' curated show 'Making and Unmaking' at Camden Arts Centre.  An eclectic mix of artists, all of whom have played a role in inspiring Duro's lusciously opulent, contemporary fashion designs.  A feast of inspiration from textiles, craft, painting, film and photography, it's on until September 2016 if you are down that way.

Back at home I have traced a lovely Burdastyle dress from the June magazine issue with some cotton floral/camouflage fabric waiting to go and have been seriously eyeing up the crisp, white Bermuda shorts from the July issue too.  I have four meters of floaty sunset-orange and black chiffon waiting to be turned into a billowing maxi dress.  I have a pattern for a cute pair of tailored shorts already cut and the khaki cotton to make them up with.  No, there is absolutely no shortage of delicious sewing fodder or ready-to-go projects in the pipeline that I really can't wait to stitch up and wear.  But when on earth am I going to wear them?  Answer is, on holiday and I'm counting down the days now.  Even some things made back in early summer, have rarely seen daylight when by now they should have been in regular circulation.  As the weather made a major turn for the better this week, I did seize the opportunity and loved wearing my palm print dress yesterday (made back in April).  This was snapped at the bus stop on my way to work and I was so happy to set off without a coat, brolly and sans socks!

So the answer to the question of what to do, was to hunker down, regroup and reorganise. While the rain stopped play, there is something to be said for having the time to just sort out my sewing space and organise it properly so that it's ready for action. Including holiday sewing plans and having the opportunity to re-appraise my boxes of stash fabric with my new friend, Cora.

I was reading the wonderful Oonaballoona's blog this week (such inspiration, style and colour when all around is grey and gloomy) and found out about the brand new app called Cora, launched a couple of weeks ago to catalogue and organise your stash fabric.  The creator of the app sews herself so its a very practical app, and the idea is that you can photograph your fabric, catalogue it by size of piece, colour, fabric type and so on and then whenever you need to check what you've got it's all there at your fingertips - great! You can try it for free with a limited number of fabric entries to see if you like the idea and then purchase the full version for unlimited fabric.  It took about a nanosecond messing around with the free version for me to purchase this, as it is really simple to use, and so very handy.  I can imagine the next time I'm standing in a fabric shop, all eyes and full of ideas thinking "Yes I probably do need to get some of this sunset coloured polyester chiffon for that maxi dress I'm planning to make" then I'll be able to stop, quickly check the app on my phone and discover that I have exactly the right amount of fabric already in my stash in the colour and pattern I require!  Thus saving money, time and not adding further to the stash mountain monster.  Genius.  It is also great for when you're stuck on a lengthy phone call and you need something to play with on your phone to pass the time.  

But also it has taught me, during my cataloguing session this evening, that impulse buying random stuff must stop if I don't have a pattern or use in mind.  I mean why did I purposely buy one meter of black snakeskin pleather last year?  Who knows, I don't.  But now it has been captured by Cora, I have organised the fake snake and it is in my sights and under my control.  No more impulse buying small amounts of simulated serpent skin for me, oh no.

Looking ahead in the sewing forecast, there is a heatwave around the corner, holidays are coming, yay!  Spain beckons and I've loved bringing together my new holiday wardrobe.  I even managed to creep into the garden during sunny evenings this week and do some hand stitching.  I've missed my garden this year.  These are the khaki shorts coming together, now complete with some fun hand stitched embellishments.

So here's hoping for more sunshine to come, in which case I may have to change into at least four different outfits every day just to to catch up!

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