Saturday, 27 July 2013

Finished Sorbetto

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was making a Colette Sorbetto. I got the best part of the work done some time ago but it's been sitting in the wings ever since waiting for me to finish it off (If you missed the last post, then the kind folks over at Colette are offering the downloadable Sorbetto pattern free of charge via their website).

Printing and putting the pattern together was pretty straightforward. To reduce the paper consumption I opted not to print the instructions. There was still significant wastage but I guess this is negligible compared to the shipping/packaging involved in ordering a paper copy!

I didn't have enough suitable fabric hanging about to cut a toile so, as the measurements given were pretty accurate for my body already, I decided to just dive straight in. I widened the neckline slightly and hand drafted a peter pan collar as I wanted to try something a little different style wise.

I've never made my own piping before so I gave it a bash using store bought satin bias binding. I simply pressed the binding open then folded it around some piping cord, stitching it in place with a zipper foot.

The armholes are bound with handmade bias binding. I was tempted to cheat and use the store bought but I just knew that I wouldn't be happy with the result. I generally pin and machine top-stitch it but for some reason I decided that I'd take the time to sit and hand stitch it instead. Although it's fiddly work, I'll grudgingly admit that it does give a much neater finish -I think I'll be hand stitching a lot more now! Due to the addition of the collar I cut front/back facings instead of binding the neckline.

If I were to make another I think I would angle the bust seams slightly for a better fit and add an inch or two to the hem to make it a touch more flattering around the hips. It's far from perfect but I'm really quite pleased with the overall result!

Anyone else given it a go yet? Don't forget there's a new Stokes Croft Stitching Flickr group. I'll be posting a few more pictures on there later so feel free to head over and join in!

Monday, 22 July 2013

Local Independents - Made Just So

Another 'Local Independents' post from mine and Alice's little jaunt around Clifton Village the other day.

'Made Just So' is a wonderful little shop situated on The Mall just around the corner from the 'Cordial and Grace' sewing café I posted about last week. It stocks a range of 'the best handmade jewellery, accessories and homeware from contemporary designers in the UK and Ireland' and was chosen as a finalist in the 2013 'Greats Retail Awards' for gift retailing in the UK.

The shop itself is a beautiful bright space, with it's white walls covered in colourful prints and fabulous greetings cards. Whilst I was browsing I was lucky enough to chat with the very lovely Liza, who was overseeing the store, about the stock and more so the likelihood of me turning into a crazy rabbit lady (seems pretty high).

There is a vast range of homeware on offer. I loved the colourful modern prints used for the lampshades/cushions/tea towels by designers Maxine Sutton, and Robin and Mould amongst others.

There are also several gorgeous contemporary jewellery collections. My favourite pieces are a tiny scissors pendant by 'Muru' and a rabbit ring (naturally!) by 'Beau and Arrow'. Both definitely on my wishlist!

Clifton village is such a great place for gift shopping, or simply ambling around the plethora of independent shops on a sunny afternoon. If you're heading that way (for a Cordial & Grace cream tea perhaps?) then I thoroughly recommend popping in.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Mens Shorts (Burda 8604)

Earlier this week I was looking for some shorts for my other half (who detests shopping more than most things in life) and could barely find anything to fit the bill in his size. Evidently everyone has been out snapping them up due to the heatwave we're currently enjoying!

So yesterday I raided my pattern stash and found Burda 8604, a shorts/trousers pattern which with a few alterations turned out perfect. I found some great lightweight plaid fabric from good ol' Fabricland for £3.99 per metre, so bought 1.25 metres (which turned out to be just a tad generous) and a length of twill tape for a belt -making these shorts £5.67 in total.

I did make some minor adjustments to the pattern, I didn't want the contrast band shown in the picture so I included this length into the main pattern piece. I also omitted the side seam pockets as I decided to add some external ones to give the shorts more of a 'cargo' look. Lastly I opted for a drawstring waist rather than elasticated so they are less likely to get pulled down by the weight of things kept in the pockets.

They came together in one afternoon/evening and would have been even quicker without all of the pattern matching needed when working with plaid. I also had a 'moment' when I managed to stitch one of the pockets to the wrong end of the side seam resulting in lots of cursing unpicking! I just need to get some buttons now to finish off the side pockets

'Other half' is very pleased with how they turned out. They got their test drive and seal of approval at a family BBQ this afternoon. The fabric works brilliantly in this hot weather so I may be forced to make some more!

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Local Independents - Cordial & Grace

I'm happy to report that the beautiful sunshine we've been having seems to be staying put. Everyone knows how temperamental the 'British Summer' is, so it's astonishing that the good weather will supposedly be with us for anther week.

Last weekend, to make the most of said weather, a friend and I went for a little walk about Clifton Village. Whilst we were there we popped into 'Cordial & Grace' -a sewing café I've been meaning to visit for a while now.

It was opened in 2010 by the very lovely Maria. It offers cream teas and light lunches in the beautifully decorated café upstairs and a sewing workshop space downstairs (Unfortunately I left my memory card at home so excuse the slightly fuzzy phone pictures!).

We decided it would be terribly rude not to sample some of the goodies on offer, so I went for a 'Classic Cream Tea' -two freshly baked scones (still warm when they arrived!) served with jam and clotted cream with an iced coffee to combat the heat. Alice went for the 'Clifton Tea' which consists of a trio of handmade cakes with a glass of Prosecco -All of which were delicious. We polished off every bite!

Sewing workshops from dressmaking to knitting are held in the downstairs space which houses several sewing machines also available to hire by the hour. Private bookings are also available. A hen party was in progress when we arrived, and it would be a fantastic idea for a children's party.

It's a beautiful space to grab a cuppa or bite to eat (can't recommend the scones enough!) or gather with some friends at the 'Knit and Stitch' so I thoroughly recommend a visit. See their website or facebook for further information.

In other news a few friends are planning a regular crafty get together, so if you're local to central Bristol and would like to come along then get in touch!

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Sunshine, Bunnies and Piano

My attention has temporarily diverted from crafts to piano this past week as I've been hard at work preparing for an annual charity concert which took place Sunday afternoon.

Despite the usual attack of the trembling fingers and jelly limbs, (I'm a terribly nervous and reluctant performer!) I did make it through my three pieces -a Scarlatti Sonata, a 'Lied Ohne Worte' by Mendelssohn and a Debussy Prelude (from the Suite Bergamasque).

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the other performers -ranging from brand new students (including a sterling performance from my niece who played her modest pieces with gusto!) to the rather more accomplished. 

We raised around £300 which will be donated to the fantastic local charity 'Cottontails Rabbit Rescue' based in Wiltshire. As well as a website full of invaluable information regarding the care of small animals, Mairwen re-homes bonded pairs of rabbits and guinea pigs and even offers a 'Bunny dating service' where lonely rabbits can be taken along and matched up with a suitable companion.

'Bambi' the hand reared Hare. Read about him HERE

Our Rex Lilly (below left) was taken in by Mairwen, and subsequently rehomed with us as a companion for our now 7 year old Dutch Naboo, after we sadly lost our previous rescue bunny Pickle, a Lionhead also re-homed via Cottontails (below right) so it's certainly a charity close to our hearts.

If you'd also like to support the fantastic work that goes on over at Cottontails then why not take a moment to look at the animals needing homes, get in touch regarding volunteering or simply purchase one of their lovely tote bags or other items for sale.

Eventually I'll manage to take a better picture of Lilly and Naboo who seem to have a sixth sense -knowing the instant you're about to take a photograph and scarpering, but for now this old phone snap is all I can manage!

Time to dust off the sewing machine and get back to work. I hope everyone's enjoying the glorious sunshine! A bit of a rarity for us Brits.