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

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Festival of Quilts

Why hello there! In my last post I mentioned that a few folks including Steph, Jemma and I were heading up to the Quilt show at the NEC, Birmingham to get some inspiration (and some goodies!).

I've been busy decorating these past few days so thought I'd take a break from the painting (pictures soon!) to share my little haul.

Having already subscribed to the rather brilliant new 'Quilt Now' magazine before it's launch last month, I couldn't resist the offer of another subscription to 'Love Patchwork and Quilting' for an unbelievable £3 for 3 issues! Having had a look through the latest issue I'm quite sure it'll be full of plenty to add to the 'To Do' list!

Freebies wise I was given a great 'Love Craft' tote bag for subscribing plus a little handmade flower brooch kit, then just around the corner the lovely folks from 'The Warm Co.' were giving away whole metre samples of their insulating batting. It keeps hot hot and cold cold so will get my thinking cap on for ideas for the best use of that one.

I was trying very hard to stick to items from my list but when I spotted this fat quarter from 'The Eternal Maker' I couldn't help myself. I first clocked it a year ago and it's been sitting on my 'Fabric' Pinterest board ever since. I wasn't sure it was still available so it was a must. It's a gorgeous jolly print called 'Laddies and Poppets' by Michele Brummer Everett for Cloud9.

I found a pretty good coral colour match to use with the Eloise Renouf 'Bird and Branch' fabric which I had already purchased for my Bedroom. I'm planning on creating a single horizontally striped curtain panel to be hooked up on one side (more on that later).

Lastly fabric wise I got myself quite the bargain -a HUGE piece of miscellaneous mint coloured dressmaking fabric for £2 (think that one's destined for a 'Riding Peplum' dress by April Rhodes) a metre of lovely mint texture print cotton for £5.75 and a good chunk of grey floral cotton for some sort of blouse for £3.50.

I've had my eye on a hexie die cutter for some time so treated myself to a 1.5" to use with the 'Big Shot' we have at the store and also found some great little pre-cut plastic templates to take a little of the preparation fuss out of paper piecing (Yes... I'm really lazy!).

Whilst browsing the sissix stall I was lucky enough to get to have a little chat with the lovely Lynne Goldsworthy, whose quilt is featured on the cover of the magazine above. I thoroughly recommend having a look at her blog 'Lily's Quilts' as it's a wealth of useful information and inspiration.

A couple of buttons for good measure (grey, of course) and there we have it! A great day was had! back to painting.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Flamingo Tote Bag & 'Purselet'

Howdy folks. The 'Festival of Quilts' in currently in full swing up at the NEC in Birmingham. My colleagues and I are super excited to be heading up tomorrow and are busy whipping up a few last minute bits to take along!

I had a good chunk of each fabric left over from a reversible tote which I made yesterday using some brilliant Riley Blake Flamingo fabric from the store. Rather than add it to the rapidly expanding scraps collection (possibly to not see the light of day for several months!) I thought I'd use it to make myself a little purse.

This expanded into a phone case / key ring / zipped purse hybrid which isn't quite a 'wristlet' so I've dubbed it a 'purselet'.

I won't bore you with the millionth 'Zipped Pouch' tutorial as there are lots of great ones already out there in the blogosphere. One that I recommend (and have done several times before) is this one by Ali at VeryBerryHandmade. It's not quite what I've made here but it's clear and concise and easily adaptable.

I applied fusible fleece (my latest favourite find) to the outer pieces and interfaced the lining to give it some structure. Just for fun I added a few lines of quilting on the top corner of the front. There is a split pocket added to the inside for cards, and a phone pocket added to the back panel secured with a 'Kam' snap tab.

As with every prototype there are bits and pieces which I would change for future makes. This time it's hand stitching the turning hole (which I always do so who knows why I decided to machine it this time??), adding a little extra height so that cards fit less snuggly and reducing the bulk from the seams more before turning. That said I'm pretty darn chuffed with my little purselet!

And the matching tote bag isn't half bad either! ...Birmingham here we come!!

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Foxy Cooper

This turned into quite the belated Christmas pressie but my 'Cooper' by Colette Patterns is finally finished! (It was in fact finished last month to take on our holiday to Italy, but somehow I totally forgot to take any pictures until now ...oops!)

I originally posted in February about having bought the fabrics and received all of the hardware, and for several months it sat cut out ready to go in my vast pile of unfinished projects. Naughty naughty.

It was made using a sturdy waxed cotton and cotton drill outer and has several external and internal pockets and features adjustable straps (It looks a slightly peculiar shape in the pictures as it contained A4 ringbinders at the time). I decided to opt for lobster clasp closures instead of magnets as I wanted it to be a little more secure.

I just LOVE the fox lining from the 'Wildwood' collection for UK 'Dashwood Studios'. It's subtle enough to be acceptable for a not-so-flashy man bag but adds a little handmade personality and fun.

The bag came together pretty easily -to be honest even as a bit of a rush job I'm still really pleased with the finish. Thankfully it must have gone down well as it's been in pretty much constant use for the last 6 weeks and seems to be holding up ok.

It's a great pattern so I thoroughly recommend taking a look -particularly as it's a '3-for-the-price-of-1' with a messenger and pannier option for myself next perhaps?

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Kitschy Coo Lady Skater - Finished

Well I have to say this dress came together like a dream! We had a little sunshine this morning after the storms of the last few days so 'other half' and I took a little stroll around our local park. I thought I'd use the opportunity to take some pictures to share.

Feeling really quite unwell on the day that I made this, I wanted a project which I could dive into using the very least brain power possible so I opted to skip making a toile (muslin). Being 5'3" and having read that the pattern was drafted at knee length for 5'5" I simply shortened the bodice a fraction and trimmed the skirt by 1.5" so it sits just above the knee.

Construction wise I was concerned that there would be lot of fiddling with tensions / stitches but good ol' Bernie managed the jersey like a trooper -so much so that I decided to stick with my standard machine for seams, using my overlocker only for internal finishing (I don't yet have grey spools and the stitches are less taught meaning occasionally the thread shows from the right side).

Having played about with a few stitch options I settled upon a simple narrow zig-zag (3.75L x 0.8W) which worked like a charm, even for top stitching.

For the hem I turned in 1" and used a twin stretch needle at 2cm, leaving the excess on the inside rather than catching the raw edge between the stitches on the rear. When playing around with a scrap piece I found that this coupled with a longer stitch length and lower bobbin tension yielded a nice flat hem with no 'tunneling' between the straight stitches on the right side.

I do feel that I'd make one or two further adjustments were I to make another (namely eliminating a little of the excess around the shoulder area where I'm quite petite) but for a first attempt I'm super pleased with the outcome and I'm quite sure this will be an instant wardrobe staple! It's boring plain grey so can be worn with just about anything and is perfect for throwing on and running out the door!

Anyone else made one? Or tempted?