Sunday, 13 August 2017

Making a Bra

Well the last two afternoons have seen me kept busy trying to make a bra, not a floppy one but a structured one with bones.  Now rather than go about it  the usual way and make sure I had everything in place and some decent instructions to follow, I dived in a deconstructed an old bra of mine.  Now this in itself took a while and I have to say what a lot of faffy little bits there are.
Here I am part way through unpicking.

Now I had ordered some lace weeks ago (described as lingerie lace) and some of the notions for bra making.  The lace arrived and my husband said what are you making with this green net curtain! Well I am not sure about net curtain, although possibly? But it certainly was not what I had in mind so really I should have held fire on using that straight way.  I didn't in case you are wondering I ploughed ahead and cut out my pieces!

As I didn't have any moulded cups other than the ones from the old bra I had a go at covering these, in some soft jersey. They didn't hold their shape well with something on them and I felt I was constantly giving them a little smooth out to be sure.

There were also other little mishaps with the lace type, it felt like it was snagging on my hands constantly and I don't have rough hands.  Still in the spirit of not letting it win on I went.  From unpicking and restitching I do feel I have learnt quite a bit about how the garment comes together and I am sure there are lots of little tricks out there to save time, improve fit etc. 

Here are the suspicious looking net curtain pieces. Ha ha

Right this is as far as I got before I decided that this is never going to be worn as it is itchy net style fabric grhhh... I have gathered quite a bit of info from working on it though so all is not lost, the cups sit correctly, it has bones and I have had a play around at trying to sus how to make cups fit without the moulding (but I do need a  bit of that).  In the picture above I had not added the elastic, straps or bow as I would only be taking them off again for my next try.  I don't want to waste any bits.

I will source some better lace and try again, I feel it is important to show that not everything always goes well and that I am constantly learning too, the actual act of hand stitching some bits of the bra was very relaxing as I don't mind that so I will push on and try again. 

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Late Summer Blouse with Slit Sleeves

Todays make is a floaty chiffon and was supposed to be nice and quick, it very nearly was but I snipped it with my very sharp scissors and sat and stared at it for ages!  The problem was a bit of cotton sticking up I thought I'll just get rid of that, then oh dear!   Well I had already decided on the style of the sleeve this just meant they were open a little further up than I planned and as it happens they are probably just right now.

I bought this fabric in Devon earlier in the year for £5, just one metre and I had thought that once I got it home it was a bit matronly however it has grown on me.  It is a cheap and cheerful make and I'm sure it will get lots of wear.  I suppose you just have to find the right idea for every piece.

I thought I would show a neutral image on the mannequin first.

Here you can see the effect on the sleeves.

So this was cut out roughly on the kitchen table, pinned on to stand and then overlocked.

I have found draping fabric on here helps me get an idea if I like the shape I'm making, it is so much easier than constant trying on although I do still do that a lot.

I pinned the neck and to be honest all it really needed was a very narrow hem, the fabric is so fine I thought any bulk would spoil it.

The skirt I am wearing in this image also had a makeover today, it was a bargain ebay buy a while ago.  It was a bit loose on the waist, well you could just pull it way at the back so it gaped, also it was that sort of length to the k nee that stops you walking quickly.  No good for me I walk very fast and I am out with the dogs a lot so I don't need anything restricting my stride.  I decided to shorten it and take it in.

I cut out a V each side because there are belt loops in certain places and this was the easiest option.

Here is the amount I cut off the bottom, it is much more versatile now and in the cold weather I will wear thick tights with it.  You can do something with most items that don't fit, it is always worth a go especially if you intend to throw them out.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Shoe Refashion and Strap Adjustment

Hello I have just come back from a holiday in Somerset so there hasn't been any sewing for a week or so, but now I am back and I just had to tackle these shoes...
Now I bought these before I went away and they are too small as the elastic strap is too tight across the ankle, the other problem was that they are far more colourful in real life than in the picture so I wasn't sure about them either.  The top bead is a really bright yellow plastic and it just wasn't doing it for me.  I thought I would send them back but no the lovely company just sent me a larger pair! 

Well the larger pair were too big as my feet are narrow and just slid straight to the front, also there was still the problem of the bright yellow bead.  My mum loved them so she has the larger pair and I thought maybe I could adjust the strap on the ankle. So I just cut it at the inside foot, then I played around a bit with a bit of narrow ribbon.  When I was happy with the feel I stitched it into place.

Now as I had started I got a bit carried away, I removed all of the beads but I was left with a gaudy, glittery fabric underneath...
I also didn't like the shape of it at this point so as you can see I cut it straight up the sides, I then covered it with lace as you can see on the right and now it was looking more like something I could wear.   Oh I did leave a few beads around the top as you can see as they were not quite so in your face!

It is amazing how comfy these sandals feel now that I have added that bit of ribbon, and I feel the lace gives a much softer finish.  I know some people will feel they looked better before but they were just not me and there is no point in keeping things we will not use or wear.

Happy feet

Here is the ribbon at the side, not the neatest but not noticeable when they are worn.

So now these are done I will look at shoes in a different way, how many pairs have we got rid of that easily have been given a new lease of life? It makes you wonder, while the lace was tricky to sew on it wasn't impossible. I did prick my fingers a number of times but that is nothing new.  With the range of shoe dyes, fabrics, weather proofing spray etc, that is out there we could all be shoe designers.  I will be on the look out, if you decide to do something similar based on this idea please feel free to link back.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Bargain Gypsy Top Finished

Well I have to say I am really pleased with how this turned out considering I had no idea what to do with the fabric until last week.  My husband very kindly took the photographs but I always feel such a fool posing in items I have made but I do understand that people want to see the garments being worn and not just always hanging on a mannequin.

I rescued the frill that had been put on upside down  and hemmed the side vents, it took a few tries to get the straps in just the right place so they don't show the bra straps but that is always the case, am I right ladies?
I thought I would stand somewhere pretty then saw the cobwebs in the garage window! Oops.

The level is about the same front and back on the neckline.

Happy that the straps stayed covered though.

That side vent lets it hang a bit more freely.

The fabric was quite nice to work with some sort of cotton mix. I didn't use my overlocker for tidying inside seams just a zig zag stitch, sometimes I really can't be doing with the thread hungry nature of overlockers.

I have some more fabric big enough  for a top just waiting to be transformed I will have to get to work on that.  The only thing is I have used it twice before, once in a patchwork cushion and once in the runner  here on the drawers in my hallway.  Is it ok to match your soft furnishings? I am not sure but maybe I will give it a go. The fabric is very bright and I think that is probably why I haven't used it in a garment yet.  Probably a simple top with no fussy fastenings will be best.

Today I have added a few new pictures to Pinterest from something I have been working on, I had them all saved then got around to adding them today.  It is based around faith art, not for everyone I understand, that is why I haven't shared on here but I feel that sort of creativity could be used in connection with poetry or other inspirational works so maybe I will post on it another day in a non-biased way.
  In relation to this I have treated myself to some new coloured pencils, Inktense  they are called, very rich colours.  I am considering this an end of School year gift to myself.  The good thing is I ordered them then got a message saying they were going to give me a £6 refund!  They must have gone on sale as they were £12.95 when I bought them, very good of them to honour it as I didn't know.  They were from Amazon.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Gluten Free Vegan Pizza with Homemade Cashew Cheese

Since I had to cut out wheat from my diet I have found that I miss pizza, bread had been the big one but I have mastered that one now so I thought pizza is just the same surely just a different shape.   Now there are probably master pizza chefs thinking absolutely not, it is different altogether but I just want to eat a pizza so here we are...
Easy Gluten Free Vegan Pizza
Now I really like a thin base so that is what I aimed for, if you want it thicker you will have to adjust the quantities. I just used my bread recipe that I have been tweaking and just used less of  it, I also left out the potato starch in this one. It was really tasty and I will definitely be making this on a regular basis.

30g brown rice flour
40g Quinoa flour
30g SR GF flour
2g of dry yeast (about a third of a 7g packet)
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
5ml oil
100g tepid water
pinch of salt

Put dry ingredients in a bowl and mix except for salt, add water and oil and mix gently then add salt when all ingredients combined. 

Line a pizza tray with greaseproof paper and oil lightly, spread mixture on paper thinly, just pour it in and spread don't over handle.

Cover and let it rise for about 10-15 minutes it will only be a little rise, then cook for 10 minutes at 200c.  While this was cooking I added peppers and onion to a roasting tin to cook a little.

Cashew Cheese
40g cashews
1 desert spoon nutritional yeast
juice of 1/4 lemon
pinch of garlic granules

Blitz nuts in a food processor keep going until they are as fine as they will go, add nutritional yeast, garlic granules, lemon juice and a little water.  Blitz again and only add more water if needed to make a thick paste.  This is so nice you can eat it as it is.
I know it doesn't look much but it is really tasty.

Cover your pizza with whatever toppings you like, I put tomato puree, the roasted pepper and onion, some tomatoes and the cashew cheese.  Pop back in the oven for 8-10 minutes until hot.  The good thing is the pizza just slides straight off the paper onto the plate and is nice and crisp around the edge.


Monday, 24 July 2017

£2 Gypsy Top with Straps

I have had this little piece of fabric sat in a drawer now for a couple of months, I bought it because it was a remnant and only £2 but I wasn't sure what to make with it.  As it was only £2 it was too good to pass up and I knew inspiration would strike at some point.

Here is progress so far. One of the frills is coming off as it is upside down! But you get the idea.

Last week when I went for something to eat with a friend  she was wearing a lovely top, I mentioned this fabric and said I thought it would be just the thing for something like the one she was wearing.  Now I had the image of her top in mind so it may not be the same but the style is along the same lines.  There was a t-shirt already hanging in my wardrobe that was a similar shape so I used it as a starting point.

This t-shirt is very baggy so as you can see I folded it in a bit.

I cut two long strips and gathered them to make the frills for front and back.

It is now on the mannequin with the side seams sewn and the straps pinned in place, I'm going to do a vent either side at the bottom.

This didn't take that long but I had to start cooking, go off and do my pilates and now I am being reminded that Game of Thrones is on in a bit so I guess it will wait until tomorrow.
This little label that was stapled to the bottom of the remnant made me smile, how often can you make a garment for that price these days?

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Sun Top Quick Make

Another week passed and summer is here for those of us who work in Schools, judging by the weather forecast though it is just in time for the worst of the weather.  Not to be put off by this I made up this sun top today using the fabric from the bottom of the charity shop dress I bought some weeks ago.  I have already worn the dress which has been taken in and up (by quite a lot!) the top should come in handy for wearing under things  on cooler days or on it's own when the sun returns.

Quick to make up and I didn't even need to hem the bottom as I used the one that was already there from the  maxi dress hem.

The only pieces needed were a front, back, two facing pieces for the top and two long rectangles for straps.  I just cut around an existing strappy top.  While I was making this it reminded  me of the quick little things I used to make as a teenager when I first got my sewing machine and also a book I have just read called Micromastery.  While I was reading this book I was nodding along thinking yes! That's me, that is how I learn.

The whole theme of this book was to keep on learning and not to be put off by thinking you have to be an expert at everything that interests you or that you have to specialise. It also suggest that you find achievable things you can do in any topic that interests you so that you have a skill in that area that you can show or use.  I agree with this completely, how many people do we know who go off and do college courses on things or night classes and learn all the theory but can't actually do anything useful. 

I'm sure it is wonderful to learn all you can  about your passion but surely things need to be transferable to life for them to be fun and to  maintain our interest for a longer period?  That is just what this book is about and it even gives you a selection of little skills you can learn (with instructions) if you so wish.

When I first got my machine when I was sixteen I bought fabric immediately, laid out a top and cut around it, I remember it was a big piece of cheap fabric and I had to cut the back again as it was a bit tight.  It was a wonderful feeling to have succeeded at something within a short time and spurred me on to do more.  I think if I had enrolled on a course, grappled with patterns, or sat figuring out what stitches the machine could do I wouldn't have had that same feeling and I'm sure it has to be the same with most things.  I will certainly be using some of the tips from this book in future.

Making a Bra

Well the last two afternoons have seen me kept busy trying to make a bra, not a floppy one but a structured one with bones.  Now rather than...