Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Christmas Things! - Lady Skater #2

The next on my list of secret Christmas sewing is this second 'Lady Skater' dress for other half's sister (first one and a little further info HERE).

I love the fabric! It's a great printed jersey which I purchased from Plush Addict earlier in the year after it's recipient's return from a trip to Japan. Jen's a big 'Hello Kitty' fan and jersey dresses are her wardrobe staple so I hoped this cute printed one wouldn't disappoint!

 So alterations... Firstly the bodice has been shortened around 1" and the skirt by 2". I cut 3/4 length sleeves and omitted the cuffs, instead choosing to overlock and hem the raw edge. They have a comfy loose fit and finish just at the elbow.

The hemline was treated the same way, the overlocked edge pressed under 3/4" then hemmed with the same long narrow zig-zag stitch used for the seams. I do have a twin stretch needle which I used for my own 'Lady Skater' but omitted it here solely for laziness speed and to be honest I don't think it has any negative impact on the finish at all.

As a little finishing touch I folded and inserted a little tag into the centre back when attaching the neck band. It's a beautiful 'Handmade' ribbon by East of India from the shop. (Unfortunately I underestimated the seam allowance so at first glance says 'andmade') Ah well! 

One more Christmas project left to share -it's a biggie! So big in fact that with all the germs I was unable to finish it off in time so it's still under construction. More on that one when it's ready.

Till then wishing you a wonderful New Year's Eve, here's hoping that 2015 is a happy and prosperous year all round!

Monday, 29 December 2014

Christmas Things! - Scrappy Patchwork Diary Set

'Brown paper packages tied up with string...' Or red and white bakers twine and buttons to be more precise.

I thought I'd share a few 'mid-wrapping' snaps of the first of the Christmas projects I've been working on -a little matching diary and glasses case set for other half's Nan.

They have a natural linen base with a decorative scrappy pieced stripe. Both are fastened with my old favourite -a trusty 'Kam' snap and I've used some Vilene fusible fleece to give them a little more substance / body.

I am so glad that I invested in a set of 'Kam' pliers. At the time I wondered if they would really see any use but they're absolutely great. I even use them for clothing, basically anywhere a button style closure is required as they're so quick and easy to install. Love them!

Next up 'Lady Skater' #2!

I do hope that everyone had a lovely Christmas, our was nice and relaxing -though still quite germy unfortunately! Lot's of good food, festive television and a fairly heated game of Monopoly.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

'Pinspiration' - Hexie Paper Piecing

With my usual outstanding timing I've been struck down with some vile cold / flu type bug. Conveniently just before Christmas when my 'to-do' list is at it's peak and there are lot's of fun outings to miss. The one upshot is that I have been able to spend a little quality time with my (newly covered!) sofa and crack into my little birthday treat courtesy of the lovely Steph and Jemma (thanks guys!!).

The pack shown above is a pre-cut hexie pack from Ali's (Very Berry Handmade) online store including 70 x 1 inch templates and 70 pieces of beautiful Liberty Lawn in a great range of colours and prints.

I currently have no idea what to use them for as they seem so precious they need just the right project. In pursuit of said project I'd been poking around good ol' Pinterest for inspiration so thought I'd share a little of what I've found.

I can't seem to remember / find a few of the tutorials I originally referenced when starting with hexagons. There are absolutely loads about the blogosphere but the few that I've looked at aren't quite the same method that I've settled into for ensuring that the stitches aren't visible from the front (not that it's essential of course -just a different aesthetic!) so I'll take a few snaps and share a few tips when I start to assemble them.

So for now I'll return to my tissues and TV and with any luck be right as rain in no time and able to share all of the exciting (secret) things I've been working on!

Happy 'Winter Solstice' -here's to the return of Summer!

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Ikea Klippan Sofa Makeover

We purchased a cheap and cheerful 'Klippan' sofa from Ikea shortly after we moved into our new home in April. I decided in my infinite wisdom to try to machine dye a canvas cover rather than pay a considerable amount more for the grey cover I wanted -with disastrous results!

So we were left with a rather shabby looking bare cream sofa whilst I pondered hand making a replacement...

Despite checking the fabric content (100% cotton so in theory a perfect dye candidate) and following the instructions to the letter, two packets of Dylon grey machine dye yielded the results below. It ended up a strange mottled blue/green colour (much more unpleasant than the picture lets on!) which I can only assume is due to some fire retardant fabric treatment or something of the sort.

 So I set to making my replacement from some beautiful soft grey fabric I found for a bargain £4.99 per metre. It has a small stretch content which I figured would help create a good fit and a lovely velvety feel.

Learning from past mistakes I pre-washed the fabric in case of shrinkage and used the ruined cover as a pattern by methodically unpicking the pieces (take notes as you go!) for templates. I then pieced my new cover together and replaced the elastic loops and velcro to hold the cover in place (Salvage these from the original to save buying new!).

I'll admit that the finish isn't perfect on this first one but all the same I'm really pleased with the result. The beauty is it's actually a fairly quick and simple project to recreate any time you feel like a change.

The room is still a bit of a blank canvas so to add a splash of colour I whipped up some simple envelope cushions using a Riley Blake fabric from the 'My Sunshine' collection. I love this fabric -sometimes something bright and simple is just the ticket. I have plans to make a matching roman blind for the huge window too -a first for me so we'll see how that goes!!

Hopefully we'll see a little more progress in this room this weekend so perhaps I'll be able to share another update next week.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

London Fun & Shop Update!

As I mentioned in my last post, I spent the weekend in London with my friend Alice. One of the highlights of the trip was our trip to Liberty.

We spent an embarrassingly long time stroking the beautiful lawns and decided it would be rude to leave without a little treat for ourselves so we each picked a print. I plan to simply hem our half metre pieces for festive Liberty scarves.

We also hunted down 'Ray Stitch', a gorgeous little fabric shop in Islington. We were sad to find that there was seemingly no coffee and cake but I did leave with another potential fabric for my bedroom quilt and the very two patterns from my Deer & Doe wishlist. I cannot wait to get cracking on these two lovelies but alas, my festive sewing list has to come first!

In other news you may notice the new addition to the tabs up top! I've re-stocked my folksy shop with a few bits from last week's event at 'Make & Do'. They include free UK postage at the moment so simply click to tab for more details!

I hope your Christmas preparations are coming along nicely! Anyone else still have an enormous handmade haul to get through? ....no? Sensible. Just me then.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Hexie Paper Piecing, Maker Showcase & a new toy...

Hello there! My it's been a hectic few weeks, so nice of you to drop by.

Yesterday I picked up my new toy... a brand spanking new camera. It's a Canon Powershot SX600. Now I've yet to really use it properly so will hold off on any sort of review. As you may have guessed I'm far from a practised photographer but the prospect of waving goodbye to the one-out-of-five usable pictures situation amid the blur from my old camera is pretty exciting!

I'm determined over the next few weeks to now photograph and document some finished projects which have been lurking, so perhaps you'll be seeing a bit more of me.

In the mean time -Ta-dah! A few snaps from my cutting table this morning.

I've been sewing my little heart out, during the very limited free time I'm currently afforded, to get some bits together for Make and Do's third Artist / Maker showcase this weekend alongside Emma who will be launching some brand new paper piecing packs complete with pre-cut templates AND fabric (so if you fancy trying your hand and like me are lazy when it comes to prep they're just brill!).

I've been working on some quilted natural linen storage baskets (a few still sitting on my cutting table waiting to be finished). I've hand basted and pieced scrappy hexagons for the front and machine quilted the backs. They're finished off with a little 'Handmade with love' tape tucked in the side seams.

I think they'd be great for storing fabric scraps or supplies but could be lovely hamper bases for toiletry gifts etc for Christmas.

I've also made a few linen patchwork 'Purselets' with either card or mobile phone pockets secured with 'Kam' snaps. They've also got a little lobster clasp for keys. If everything is together I stand more chance of leaving the house on time (Other half & I lose what probably amounts to a significant percentage of our lives looking for keys!).

They have hand stitched lining and are also finished with a little 'Handmade with love' tape as a little extra finishing touch.

After the event this Saturday (22nd Nov) I'll list the remaining items in my folksy store. I'ts a really limited run so there are only a handful of each! ...if I can bring myself to part with them of course.

I hope you're all enjoying the onset of Autumn, I'm off to London for a long overdue visit with a dear friend. So more on our little adventure upon my return!

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Flea Market Finds

This post is semi-belated as Steph and I went to a great little flea market in our home town Bristol on the first Sunday of the month.

I thought I'd share a few pictures today as I've also been working on a dress for the Make & Do November window display which is made using one of my purchases from the day -a 1970's vintage pattern. It's a very 1940's tea dress shape but there's no denying it's from the 70's as just look at the hairstyles and those sleeves!

The pattern has a facing not a lining, but due to my fabric choice I decided to take the time to fully line it piecing it all together like a big jigsaw puzzle! You can see in the picture above that I gathered the sleeve head and lining as one and will then hand stitch the bodice lining at the armhole to reduce the bulk. I've done the same with the under bust gathers.

I love the little button loops and I'll use fabric covered buttons. It's still just pinned so when it's finished I'll take some better pictures to share.

So back to the flea market! I set out with a few things in mind to purchase, namely a small bookcase, a vintage beveled mirror (the kind hung from a chain in you Nan's house) and some sort of glass pendent lampshade for our bedroom. Luckily I managed to get two of the three things on my mental list and then 3 vintage patterns for the bargain price of £2 each!

My first find was the octagonal mirror below. It's a little beaten up but I like it's character. The other is a beautiful 1930's white glass pendent shade with dashes of yellow and pink -just perfect for our bedroom. The chain to suspend it needs replacing but I thought it was a steal regardless.

Unfortunately it's getting to that time of year when the light starts to fade as I get home so gloomy pictures! I'll take more once they're installed and hung.

A great haul! Definitely planning to go again.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Lily's Small Blog Meet

I'm pretty new to quilting, having dabbled with some basic rail fence designs and recently tried my hand at english paper piecing (I've gone hexie mad! Photo evidence here!), so I'm always on the hunt for inspiration ahead of a couple of pretty large scale projects which I have in the pipeline.

Lynne's blog 'Lily's Quilts' is a quilting goldmine, and I mentioned recently that Steph and I were lucky enough to run into her at the NEC Festival of Quilts.

Small Blog Meet

Anyway Lynne hosts a 'Small Blog Meet' which I thoroughly recommend checking out if you're also interested in patchwork / quilting as there are some great small blogs listed which are well worth perusing. A couple of my favourites so far include some gorgeous long-arm quilting over at 'QuiltingIsMyYoga' and a bright zingy wedding band quilt at 'DorisBatting'.

I'm always after more reading material so if you have any craft blog suggestions then do drop them in the comments below!

Saturday, 20 September 2014

First Birthday & Fabric Love

I finally have a 'Riding Peplum' by April Rhodes waiting in the wings to be photographed. Here are a few sneaky pictures of it's first outing at Make & Do's first birthday tea party (aren't the button cupcakes amazing!).

So more on that one later! I've not had much time for post writing of late but I have squeezed in a little perusing of the virtual world for fabric.

Two that have recently made it onto my Pinterest board are 'Panache Profondo' from 'Petal & Plume' by Bari J and 'Adventure Springs' from 'Hello Bear' by Bonnie Christine -both for Art Gallery Fabrics.

I love the muted colours and simplicity of the prints, right up my alley (you may notice a bit of a theme developing on the board). I also love the fact that a selection of knits including these two are available from both collections as I've been intending to branch out a little with more knits (like Kitschy Coo's Lady Skater) making their way onto my 'To-Do' list.

Alas, these projects may have to take a back seat as the dreaded C*****mas sewing will shortly be commencing (the C-word is still banned by other half in our home!).

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Deer & Doe Wish List

Firstly 'Hurrah!!' ...this is my 100th post, so the usual milestone comments about my sticking power and how it's a minor miracle that I'm still picking away at my little blog apply!

So that's all very exciting -but so is this! French pattern company 'Deer and Doe' have released a beautiful new shirt dress pattern which is firmly on my wish list. It's called 'Bruyere' and is long sleeved, fitted to the waist and flared to tunic length over the hips.

The 'Datura' blouse has long been on my dressmaking to-do list but I've held off on purchasing it as I've not spotted any in the UK. Shipping from Europe is not inexpensive but now that this little beauty has just been released I may have to bite the bullet and order them both!

I love the aesthetic of this indie pattern company. The designs are clean and simple but with really lovely little touches to set them apart. Be sure to have a look at the other patterns available at their online store not least of all the free (yes, free!) Plantain tee pdf pattern.

Fellow blogger Anna at Paunnet has some gorgeous examples of various Deer and Doe garments and her blog is just brilliant so if you're not already familiar with it then do head over there too!

Any other takers? Which would you go for?

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Sewing Space & Vintage Finds

I'm having my first 'proper' sewing day in my newly decorated sewing space today! It's not completely finished but very nearly there (muslin café nets made -now just awaiting other soft furnishings and pictures).

The furniture has been moved into position and I've actually managed to sort through the majority of my sewing stash. Embarrassingly not all of it will fit in the unit shown below.

Whilst I was having a big sort out I happened upon a whole load of vintage bits and pieces given to me by my mother. I thought I'd share a couple of pictures as I just love the packaging. A lot of it has the old 'd' marking meaning that it predates 1971 (if I'm not mistaken) when the new currency was introduced.

It was my mother who introduced me to sewing (via needlework and knitting / crochet) at a young age. I consider myself very lucky indeed to have grown up in a household where making things was an everyday occurrence, in fact probably not a single day went by wen I was growing up where my mother wasn't working on something -be that a jumper, pantomime costumes or enormous cross stitch pieces.

So thanks Mother! Not just for all the stuff but for showing me what to do with it! x