Thursday, 18 December 2014

Camouflage

I said I'd make Frances another dress - I was going to make one from a pink spotty fabric I have with a nod towards being a Flamenco style dress - so ruffles and more ruffles and twirly.  Before I started figuring out what I was actually going to do I made the new curtains for the kids' bedroom.  There was a bit left over of the fabric and Frances decided that she would like a dress made from that.

I used the Absolutely A-line dress from the book of the same name.

I think Frances was hoping that she would be completely camouflaged against her curtains and was quite disappointed when she looked at the photos and found that we could actually see her.  She's still pretty well camouflaged though!

I was just about to sew the side seams when Frances announced that she'd like a bow on the back.

So, voila, a bow on the back.  I used a tutorial I pinned from pattern revolution, which I think has worked out well.

Here's a close up of the bow.  I stitched into place at the top, centre of the actual bow as it is quite heavy and was lolling about a bit.

I added a contrast facing, for a bit of fun.

I think the birds are all being pretty well behaved - they went to kindergarten with her today, so lets hope they haven't been flying around the school and annoying everyone.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Lou Box Top pattern test

I answered a request for Pattern testers from Beth of Sew DIY - this is not something I've done before, but thought it could be fun.  The pattern is for a boxy top that can either be made from woven or knit fabrics and has a couple of neckline options and a few hem shape options.  It's very loose fitting and it's recommended that very drapey fabric is used to make it more flattering rather than looking too boxy.

I must admit here that I'm not a big fan of clothes that are described as boxy - I have a fairly boxy figure without much of a waist, so try not to add to the general boxiness by adding boxy clothes.  I thought if I could find a drapey enough fabric, as recommended, things might be OK.  Of course, there was nothing large enough in my stash - but I found a drapey scarf across at the Brocki.

More red sewing for me.

The pattern is written at a good level of detail (without being too patronising) and fit together fine.  Because of the fabric I chose I decided to do French seams throughout and rolled hems around the bottom hem and sleeves - this is the first time I used my rolled hem foot that came with my new machine, which was fun, but I think I need more practise.


The neckline is finished using self bias binding.


The pattern said to cut the back of the woven t-shirt as two pieces and sew them together leaving a small opening at the back with a button and loop.  While I was putting it together, because of the scoop neck option I realised this back opening wasn't necessary, so I sewed it up - bit of a shame really as it would have looked better without the seam up the back, never mind.

And finally, a picture of me wearing it (head chopped off as my hair was wet).

So, all in all, despite my reservations about the boxy name I think it looks quite flattering.  I'll be interested to see what the other pattern testers came up with.  (#LouBoxTop)

Thursday, 4 December 2014

curtains

Last week was all about curtains. 

We're slowly adding curtain poles and curtains to all of our windows - there's no real rush as they all have shutters over them, but it makes the place feel cosier, especially at this time of year when there's curtains up. 

The kid's had some old curtains from our dining room in Bristol at their window, but we decided it was time to have something more fun. 

I made these from fabric bought at ikea.  I learnt to make curtains when I had a temporary job in a made-to-measure curtain shop between degrees, and this has stood me in good stead ever since.  I used my blind hem stitch on my machine for both the bottoms and sides of the main curtain fabric, which worked well and sped things up a little, so I only sewed the linings in by hand. 

Frances now wants a dress from the fabric as there was a little left over - I'm thinking just a plain A-line dress as the fabric is quite stiff and the design quite large.  Hopefully I can get the birds to sit in the right place.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Dither

It's been really tense around here.... well, not really... I've been knitting some socks for my Mum for Christmas and was convinced about half way through that I was going to run out of yarn for them.  I chose the pattern because it looked interesting and also so I could reduce the amount of stash I have and when I thought I was going to run out I was pretty gutted.  I even "phoned" a friend and there's some emergency yarn winging its way from Finland to here.  In the end I didn't need it, so my plans for stash reduction have only been partially successful, but I'm sure I can find a plan for the extra yarn when it arrives. 

Anyway, here are the socks:
I really like them -  I love how the colours dither (hence the name of the pattern) and I can see some other versions in the future.  I think they're quite a unisex pattern, so I can see some blues and blacks and greens going well together for David.

They're ravelled here.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

JJ blouse finished.





I little while ago (back in April!) I blogged that I had started the JJ blouse using some of the fabric I bought in Vietnam.  After my old sewing machine playing silly buggers, this is now the first piece of clothing made fully on my new machine :-)  I'm really enjoying sewing on it.  Anyway, back to my JJ blouse.  I had originally thought of doing some pin tucks on either side of the centre front instead of the ruffles that are on the original pattern, but then changed my mind and decided to leave it completely plain as the fabric is quite busy.

I cut a size 36 bust grading to a 38 around the waist.  A lot of people have complained about the pattern directions - they were a bit confusing, but with the help of this tutorial and looking up how to do a continuous bound cuff opening in my trusty sewing book it went together fine and fits well. 


The only changes to the pattern I made apart from the obvious omission of the ruffles is that I put 6 buttons down the front rather than the 4 the pattern said, I also didn't do the belt ties. 

I did do French seams everywhere.  I love French seams and how finished and professional the inside looks with them.  I don't want a serger as I love French seams so much.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

mermaid costume


I've been sewing this mermaid outfit recently for F.  When we were in Vietnam earlier in the year she found this sparkly pink Lycra material on a stall in the fabric market we visited and its been destined to be a tail ever since. 

 It's basically a tube skirt with some pieced together shapes to make the flippers.  I also got some pink net and sewed that inside the flippers to give them a bit more dimensionality - it's quite long as she wanted to be able to lie around and have her feet covered, but then she's able to hitch it up and be able to walk around.


She needed a top to preserve her modesty so I picked up some plain t-shirts and attached another bit of the Lycra to it and sewed it into the side seams of the t-shirt.  I also gathered the centre so that it looked like a bikini top.  


And here's both of them getting ready to go to a Halloween party.  R's going to need a new costume soon as he's had the dinosaur one now for a couple of years.  I'm thinking of a lion next.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

upcycled jumper cushion cover.



Hello blog, I've been away again - this time back to the UK for a bit of blighty time.  The weather was surprisingly good, and apart from a bit of a luggage diversion (3 bags decided they wanted to be a day late and one bag decided it wanted to go for a holiday on its own for a few days to Rhodes) we had a great time.

I'm now waiting for my birthday present to arrive - we bought it in the UK and are having it shipped back - it's meant to be delivered today so I'm very excited. 

While we were away I did a bit of knitting.

I finished off some socks that are going to be a Christmas present for David.

 They're the waffle rib socks from Charlene Schurch's Sensational Knitted Socks book.  I was gifted the yarn by my friend Quinn when she moved back to the US and I can't remember what it is, but it's pretty nice.  (Ravelled here).

I also knitted this flamingo for Frances - my Mum had got all the yarn etc together and then gone off the idea of knitting it, so I took over.    






It was a pretty simple knit although my row gauge was off so I add a few more rows to the neck and wings.  It has a bouncy ball in its bum, although the kids haven't figured this out yet! (only a matter of time).  (Ravelled here)

Since we've been back I've been working on refashioning an upcycled cushion cover.  An old jumper of David's was being relegated so I thought I'd turn it into a cushion cover - the first version involved chopping off its sleeves and filling in the neck area - I wasn't particularly pleased with my effort.  While we were in the UK I picked up a copy of Sew Magazine in it was a pattern for a patchwork cushion cover (it also has a pattern for a flamingo, but that's for the future).  So I've now cut David's jumper up further and turned it into a jumper patchwork cushion cover:

 
It was originally grey and black horizontal stripes with the brighter blue as ribbing around the bottom.  I decided to cut the main part of the jumper up so that some of the pieces have the stripes running horizontally and others vertically.  I like the effect - especially with the addition of the bright blue ribbing running across.  It's backed with some half cut up black sheet that happened to be just the right size to make an envelope opening in the back using the existing hem.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

wearing what I make - vogue 1965

I haven't done a trawl through my me made wardrobe for a while, so here's another one:


I made this dress years ago (I won't tell you how many) and did have a phase of wearing it.  It's view A from this pattern:
Which is Vogue 1965 by Marc Jacobs.  The pattern calls for a knit two way stretch knit - but I used a woven cotton as I remember finding the fabric and loving the colours - celadon green is one of my favourite colours - especially to wear, as is the right shade of red and this fabric combined both.  I made a hidden bra inside using some green knit fabric I had.
So - why don't I wear it now... not really sure.  I don't think it looks too bad, although I think it makes me look very apple shaped in this photo - maybe if my fitness regime that I've started is successful I'll feel better about wearing it next summer. 


Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Laila and Lottie

A couple of things to show today on my show and tell blog:

First are a pair of socks I've knitted for my MIL for Christmas - they're Laila's socks from Folk Knitting in Estonia by Nancy Bush.  Raveled here.  This is the second time I've knitted them, the first pair were for me.  I really like the design and how simple, yet effective the colourwork is.

Next is the Lottie Blouse that came with the 2nd editions of Love Sewing magazine - I saw this pattern and bought the magazine over the internet specifically for it.

I bought the fabric in Spain at the same time as the fabric I used for Frances' dress - it was in the remnant bin - it's a light cotton which I thought would make a nice top (everyone else thought it would make a nice skirt or dress).

I think the pussy bow is quite nice and feminine - I was a little worried I would look like I should be part of a 60s typing pool, but I like it. 

It is a very simple pattern - a couple of darts in the front and very simple sleeves.  I cut a straight size 10 and it fits fine.  The opening at the front (hidden for the most part by the bow) is quite large, but allows it to easily get on and off without needing a button or zip. 


And the back is just plain - sorry about the wrinkles... I wasn't particularly happy with the photos my husband took of me wearing it, so Flissy Anne wore it after me.

What I'm particularly pleased about is the inside...
The instructions called for the collar to be sewn into a tube and then attached, which would leave a raw edge at the back of the neck - this seemed unnecessary so I attached the collar like a normal collar, which is a lot neater.


I also french seamed all my seams - including my armholes (which I'd never done before), so the inside looks much more professional.

All in all a simple, satisfying make. 





Monday, 1 September 2014

Winning dress.

Just before we left to go on holiday I won a competition!  I love all the giveaways on the sewing blogs, and enter quite a few - and apparently if you enter enough eventually you will win something.  I won a copy of the First Day Dress pattern by Dana Made It.  Now, although I enter quite a few competitions, I don't enter for anything I don't think I would actually use.  I thought this pattern was very cute and I could see Frances wearing it. 

While we were away on holiday I got my Mother-in-Law to take me to a fabric shop in Granada - I bought a couple of pieces of fabric, one of which with Frances in mind.

It's a nice, light cotton with a border print, which is just her colours. 


I was originally hoping to make Frances the version of the dress with a circle skirt as she would love a twirly skirt, but because of the border print I decided it would be better to utilise that.  So, I cut it on the cross grain and positioned the bodice pieces so that the print on the dress flows from small to large as you get to the hem.  The skirt part I cut as a rectangle 2 1/2 times the length of the bottom of the bodice and gathered it.  I lined the bodice with some leftover sheeting, but left the skirt unlined.  I also added the cap sleeves as I think they're very cute. 

And the verdict? 
She loves it.

Now to find some fabric to make her a version with the circle skirt.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

boxer shorts

While getting back into sewing I've decided to make a really concerted effort to make things that are needed, rather than things that are just pretty or fun to make (there's a place for these, but at the moment practicality and usefulness is uppermost in my mind.  

I was going to make some boxer shorts for David for Fathers Day (back in June) - but my sewing machine was AWOL and so it never happened.  The kids did though buy him a boxer shorts sewing pattern (lucky him!).

After extensive research they bought him Kwik Sew pattern 1672 they bought this one as it has a one piece back.  (read: no annoying seam up your bum.) 

I've made 5 pairs of view A so far all from stash material - I started off with the medium size - the first pair (below) is made from an old cot duvet cover and are a bit tight around the waist.  I sewed all the seams as French seams.
The second pair are made from some black sheeting that I had around as a remnant after making a duvet cover a while back.  I continued with the medium size, but cut the elastic as a size large and this now seems to be OK.

The third and fifth pair are made from some checked cotton that I had left over from making David some PJs a few years back - I think I should be able to make him at least one more pair from this fabric. 


And the fourth pair are for me as PJ shorts:  I cut a size small and did the medium elastic - which fits nicely.  I also tried to make a PJ top using McCalls 3247 view A.  The pattern was already cut out in a size that is now too small for me, and I had to improvise the back as I didn't want it tying together like in the original pattern.  I thought I was doing OK, but when I had finished it was huge around the bust.  I'm not quite sure what I've done, and I'll give it another go at some point.  In the meantime I just nipped the excess at the sides and sewed down to the horizontal join.  They're only PJs so they're perfectly wearable like that.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Daddy Totoro

A knit I made at the end of June to compliment the rest of the Totoro family:  

May I introduce O Totoro, or Daddy Totoro as called by the kids.  I knit him using the free Chu Totoro pattern, but with bigger needles and thicker yarn to make him a bit bigger.  I also added some whiskers and a mouth.




Raveled here.  There's not a huge amount to say about the pattern - it's quite a fiddly knit, which makes it interesting for such a small knit, and the overall result is quite satisfying - and using yarn that was in my stash makes it doubly satisfying.  I was hoping the O Totoro pattern that is said to be under construction would have been released before I felt the need to complete the Totoro family as I've liked how they're written, but not to worry I think this looks fine. 

Friday, 15 August 2014

Octonauts masks

These are a couple of masks I made up for the kids a while ago from scraps of fabric and some thickish interfacing I had lying around.  For anyone not in the know they are Tweak and Kwazii from the Octonauts.


They were pretty simple to do - I used this tutorial from annkelle.com and copied some printable Octonauts masks from Etsy for the shape.

I'm pretty pleased with them - the kids were for a bit (as kids of 3 and 4 are).  The interfacing in the Tweak mask isn't quite as thick so it wrinkles a bit between the eyes.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Wearing what I make - fancy dress

We've been away in Spain for most of the summer - I had hoped to be able to do some blogging while I was there, but after an unsuccessful attempt I decided to concentrate on having a great time enjoying the sun, pool, and just chilling out.  There wasn't much crafting going on either - just one pair of socks knitted. 

I do have a few more pictures of some clothes that I find when I dip into my wardrobe - since I've started doing this I do feel that I'm making some progress in my wardrobe, but need to keep the momentum going.  I'm also still having some problems with my sewing machine, so I doubt I'm going to be able to make any more clothes before that's sorted.  I sat down to sew some name tapes onto clothes for first day of school the other day and the bloody thing wouldn't even stitch a proper straight stitch :-(

Anyway, back to things I made when my sewing machine was behaving itself:  I made these two for a couple of fancy dress parties I went to quite a while ago:




The first is McCalls 8108 view B. 


I was dressed up as one of the power puff girls with a couple of friends for a fancy dress party.  My hair was a lot longer then and I found a huge red bow to put in my hair.

It still fits, although the sleeves are a bit tight.

The other dress is this one:
This is view H from Vogue 2429 in size 10, with the addition of some black net underneath.
I was meant to be dressed up as Cindi Lauper - but if I remember correctly I ran out of steam getting ready before I could put on enough make up.  I think I was aiming for this kind of look:

The dress doesn't fit any more - but I like the pattern, so maybe there's some scope for its use in the future

Why don't I wear them?...well, fancy dress is fancy dress and I don't go to a lot of fancy dress parties (although I do have one to go to in a couple of weekends time with a wild west theme! - I have no idea what I'm going to wear.) 

They've now been taken out of my wardrobe and put in a box - maybe they can be adapted to be something else at some point?