Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Shirt Dress

This is a short post today, I have been busy decorating all day and still lots to do.  I have a new shirt cut out and ready to sew up but that has to wait until all spring decorating is done, I do have a shirt dress on Minerva crafts blog this was lovely to make and I will be making more just as soon as I choose the fabric.
The pictures are really badly lit I know but hopefully that is coming to an end as the evenings are getting lighter hurray!
Today as I was moving the bookcase to paint I had the idea that maybe I don't need most of my books, I know it is nice to keep favourites but really there is a lot of stuff on there that I will never read again and to be honest I never really liked the first time around.  So there will probably be another large charity shop donation this week.   Sometimes it takes a bit of decorating to make you realise why do we have all this stuff?  It took a while just to empty the bookcase so that I could lift it, then you think why am I wasting time doing this, are these things needed? When my husband came home I said well it makes you understand the minimalist lifestyle when you have move everything.  He didn't quite get it, he pointed out where I've missed a bit :( . I always do the decorating during half term, I may be off school but it is still work and I know decorators get paid a packet for the hours I put in. A good job love would suffice!

Rant over and more to do tomorrow.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Story Bags

Well I found a use for the printed fabric from the weekend, while I was at work yesterday I had just printed off some images for the children to work with to create silly stories and thought these need to be in little bags.  It just so happened there was enough fabric to make them and one is a bit bigger than the rest but that is ok, I wasn't aiming for perfection with these it was a quick sew up last night so that I could use them today.  The ribbon for the tops came with a throw a while ago, you tend to get a long piece of ribbon around throws, so they are completely recycled and the words I just wrote on an old piece of curtain fabric with a sharpie to make a label.

The children enjoyed using them, so that's good and they can't peek in the bag so it makes their selection more random than just putting the cards on the floor.  I have done similar things before so I must remember for future that even just adding little  bags makes the activity more exciting for some reason?

Yesterday I had another quick blitz in the wardrobe and now have thirty five items for charity shop and six in the bin, it doesn't look that different but I do have some spare hangers now.  How is it even possible to accumulate all this and not notice?  I do have an odd attachment to things at times I feel.

There is a dress in the bag now that I bought from a charity shop about two years ago it has never been worn, I do like it but it's way too dressy so why leave it sitting there when someone else could be wearing it, someone with a more formal life or just has reasons to dress up more often.  I thought it would be nice for a wedding but everyone I know is married or separated and in no rush to repeat, my friend got married four years ago the was the last wedding I went to, before that it was fourteen years!

  So yes I am working hard on this, I read that you shouldn't hold onto things for fear of the future. Well fellow dressmakers you will know it is not fear of the future that makes us hold on but the idea that should you get rid of something the very next week you will have an amazing idea about what you could have made with it.

I have also got things that I have made myself, bags and so on.  Even if I don't use them it seems to be harder.  Here it is not money spent but hours put in and even though the time is long gone there is that silent tug.  It seems more ridiculous now that I put it into words so there is some free therapy right there.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Another go at Fabric Printing

So here we are in February and I haven't got anything much to report on the sewing front again, just the usual repairs I always think they don't make for very interesting sharing unless it's a makeover of something or a how to.  This week we all have the cold again! We only had it just under two weeks ago so I will be really happy when the cold season is over.

I have finished another Margaret Atwood book 'Hagseed' and that makes three of hers in a row so I think I am going to go for something different now and come back to her as an author later. Also in books I have read and used The Complete Pilates Tutor' from the library and that book is amazing it gives really detailed information on the anatomy and various postural problems with workouts for correcting them,  really good if you are interested in this and like to try these things out at home.  I did try to buy a copy of this but it was not in stock at quite a few places and used it was coming up at £30! I am not paying that for a used book, so after reading a few reviews I found this one...
I am so pleased with this, it was 60p plus £2.80 postage and when it came it looked brand new, it is colour coded from beginner to advanced and again gives lots of background information.  The reason I wanted to own a book on this subject is because it is fine to get novels from the library but I couldn't digest and recall all the information I got from this book in a couple of weeks. Also there are so many detailed illustrations of the exercises so the  best thing to do was find a used one.

We did manage to get out yesterday for some food to celebrate my mum's birthday, everyone enjoyed that, mine was not great to be honest but I didn't let on as I didn't want to moan.  It was a chickpea curry, I make that all the time at home and it is lovely and so easy, what is it with these kitchens when faced with a meatless dish they have to serve up some crap! Sorry but I really don't get it.  It was our treat so as I said I didn't say anything because I wouldn't want my mum embarrassed she is of the old school grin and bear it even if your paying for it so I did. :(

When we got back I decided I wanted to make something but I didn't know what, my husband has put two shirts aside as they are no longer brilliant white and given them to me for buttons etc.  I decided I would do some printing with a pot of red fabric paint I had and a potato (Ha) I have done this before.  He said very primary school, well yes but it works.  I cut my shape and I was happy with it, I had resized the shirt pieces thinking I would make a little top so spent ages repainting the spud, and printing all the pieces ( you can' t just dip it as it isn't even) then when I looked at them hung up I don't think I like it.  Some of the shapes are a little irregular now that is to be expected but it is the shape and colour, I was looking at them and thought urgh, it looks like a chicken has wandered through some blood.  Now is that me being weird? but it put me right off it.
So now they are sat on sewing table and I'm thinking what am I going to do with those, is there any point making it up into a garment if I'm not sure. Also an hour or so when I could have been making something else. Oh well you have to try these things I suppose.

I still have my zebra fabric to make up but don't want to cut into to it until I'm sure, there is still that nagging feeling that a lot of what is currently in my wardrobe is not getting much wear so I am trying to be more careful what I spend my time making rather than just diving in.  Unfortunately this can result in a stale mate while I ponder what to do.

On Friday I managed to take nine items to the charity shop, this is something I need to get back into this year.  Having a bit of a sort through things that just accumulate, I am sure there are plenty of things in the boys cupboards from when they were younger and I have a way to go too.  I can be pretty good at leaving the charity shop with items so I have to make sure there is more going in there  than coming out.  That can be my challenge I am not allowed to leave with anything unless I have taken a few things in.  I did try about a year ago getting rid of an item a day, but you soon forget and can also cheat if you think about it as you could just be taking out a pencil or something trivial. It seems to work better for me if I do it in chunks at a weekend then I can see a full bag of items I no longer use leaving the house, and hopefully being put to use by someone else.

It will soon be half term and I have a lot of decorating to do so I am hoping I can get on top the decluttering mission, it is difficult when other people keep buying items in boxes and saying don't throw that out I may sell it on later and need the box. That is oldest son who has boxes breeding in his wardrobe.  I will keep trying though.

Monday, 29 January 2018

Swapping a Zip for Buttons

A couple of weeks a go my mum came back from a holiday in Spain, she had a good time but said there were a couple of days when the weather was cool due to the time of year.  As a result she bought a jacket on market stall on to later find out the zip was broke.  I asked her if she wanted a new zip but she said could I do anything else as she said zips are always going on things.  We decided to do loops and buttons, she actually prefers it this way and as it only cost a few pounds on a second hand stall it was worth the experiment.

So first job was to take out the broken zip, this is always the bit I hate because there are always parts that stick and you can't just do it quickly or you may rip it.
It wasn't too bad on this coat but at the bottom it was maybe triple stitched then glued!  so that was a bit annoying.  I had some grey ribbon already so I folded that in half and stitched it to make the loops.
Then I positioned them on the jacket in the correct place and put a pin opposite it so I had the correct alignment for sewing on the buttons.
After that it was a quick job of sewing straight down both sides then sewing on the buttons, I chose the silver as she like a bit of bling and made sure they had a small stalk for the ribbon to loop over.
My husband said it's not really his cup of tea but then as my mother is an eighty year old woman I don't expect them to have the same fashion sense! She thinks it's ideal for popping on when she goes out in the car, she doesn't want to wear a longer coat then.  I'm glad she likes it.  

I made my first make from my 2018 to do list last week.  It is a shirt dress ready for the summer but I can't fully share yet as it is going on the Minerva blog next month I will link it nearer the time but here is a sneak peak...
I did say it was just a peak!

Right I'm off to cook the dinner then later I will continue reading 'Hag-Seed' another Magaret Atwood, it has got off to a good start.  I enjoyed The Heart Goes Last and a few of the stories from Stone Mattress.  If anyone has any recommendations about which are her best works let me know. Christina from A Colourful Life said her older work is better. 

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Sewing Ideas

This week is flying by so quickly but I have managed to get a few ideas together about some of the things I want to make this year, I have also got a blog post featured here at Minerva crafts , it is a dress I made just before Christmas and the date has really just come around so fast.   Here is a peak of the dress but to read the full post follow the link Minerva blog post.

So while these are ideas about what to make I will not be copying fabrics or every detail, it is nice to make things your own and that is the beauty of sewing.  As I am getting lots of wear out of my handmade t-shirts there will be more sewing along those lines with various sleeves and necklines.

I have a little collection of images from Pinterest here so be aware that is where these are from. First of all I could do with another pair of trousers, I don't wear them all that often but they are useful.  I like the straight fit of these...
I don't think I would put a cuff on the bottom though, also not sure whether wing it with this one or actually buy a pattern for once.

Then there are a few blouses with nice little touches I would like to imitate...

A bit of a tie theme going on there, I think the details just give them a bit more interest.  I haven't really made much in the way of cardigans or things to just slip on over tops so this is another item I want to add.  Either in a stable knit or heavy jersey depending what catches my eye.

I love the design on this one but I think it is burberry, I think I will be lucky if I find any fabric similar so if you spot anything let me know in the comments section. Then for the warmer months I would like to make a shirt dress or two, I have fabric at the moment that is waiting to be sewn into a shirt for a Minerva post. I would like to tweak that if there is enough, make it longer and that can be a dress instead.  The style on the one below is also lovely, I like the fabric tie front...
Of course there will be other things as time passes that I decide to make but this exercise  has just given me a bit of structure. There will be skirts to make of course one of which is on my waiting list ear marked for the zebra print I bought on birthday I may have to get on with that this weekend.

I have been keeping a notebook/diary this year, it is not pre- printed with dates I just write them down as I go.  Just day to day stuff so I can keep track, dates holiday booked, haircut, exercise and any items made. I am noticing it can be quite guilt inducing though if I have not done much that day it is there written down or not as the case may be!  I had a run of not missing online pilates workouts then I have just skipped two days, when I was writing down some reminders in it earlier I was tutting at myself for my lack of motivation.  It was supposed to be a positive thing so maybe I should give myself a break for the missed days. 

Sunday, 14 January 2018

First Dress of 2018

Yesterday I felt like I had been a bit unproductive, it was Saturday and we are allowed to laze around a bit if we have been working but I just felt like I have recently been browsing the ideas of others online and not getting enough done.  Don't get me wrong I love to see what everyone is up to on their blogs but sometimes it does run over into time that should have been spent making.

Not everyone likes to make things but if you do you will know that you often feel better after you have just completed something, big or small it doesn't matter.  Personally I often feel more relaxed as well while I am sewing, unless of course there has been a major disaster involving lots of unpicking then it can have the opposite effect.

So where am I going with this?  Well I had thought at the start of the year that I would not need to make clothes as I have enough, of course that may be true, but as someone who likes a bargain a lot of them have been charity shop finds or dresses I have made to go out in. ( I hardly ever go out in the evening!)  This means that not everything goes, or I have had things years and I don't like getting rid of perfectly good items whether I wear them or not. I don't like waste and I won't overpay for items, so while there are items in there that I love there are also lots of blah items.  In light of this I have decided that this year I will continue to sew garments for myself with a view to moving towards a mostly handmade wardrobe.  I say mostly because I do love my jeans and sometimes you just get a pair off the shelf that fit perfect, also I have a favourite, super warm winter coat at the moment that I love.  This coat was shop bought and I don't want to put the restriction on myself that I can't get something if I truly love it.    I will aim to make things I love even if the fabric is a little more, enjoy the process and then actually wear mostly 'me made' rather than the small selection I wear at the moment.

First up for the year is this dress I made last night, I already had the fabric it was bought early December from Minerva crafts, I can't find the link to the actual fabric but it's probably still on there.  This dress is a comfy stretch fabric and will be to wear for work...
It was quick to make up, a straight forward shift shape and that is basically a long fitted t-shirt shape.  I cut around another dress of mine to get the shape for the body, then used a sleeve from my t-shirt pattern that I made for the sleeves.  I just had to make the armholes wider when I cut out the body.
This dress is a favourite of mine and I am going to replicate it exactly at some point this year when I find the right fabric.  It was bought from Matalan a few years ago. (Not a few about five, ha!)
This is the reverse of the fabric and I couldn't make up my mind when I first bought it which side to use, I think you can use any, with the side in the above image having a more wrinkly texture.

Looking at the top of the dress it is just a t-shirt but longer, I tried it on last night then had to take  a little more out of the sides to make it a bit more fitted.

  There isn't a picture of me in at as I am busy today so just quickly popped it on the mannequin so she could model for me.  It will be great to layer up and comfortable too so there may be a few more along this line.  I will road test how often this one gets worn first.  

Later this week I may compile a little list of things I need for my wardrobe, I know others do this with their sewing but usually I tend to just pick up whatever fabric grabs my eye then think about it later.  A little planning wouldn't do me any harm, being a jump in kind of girl.

This year I want to try and read a bit differently too, I do generally try to choose a variety but it is good to have recommendation so any ideas are welcome.  I like all kinds of fiction except horror and slushy romance, I don't mind if there is a love story in there as part of the story but not just that on it's own I like a bit of intrigue.  After watching The Handmaids Tale on TV and then more recently Alias Grace I have ordered a few Margaret Atwood from the library.  This week I read Stone Mattress , a collection of short stories, I enjoyed a few but not all and I am about to start The Heart Goes Last.
I also read a book on quantum physics 'How to teach your dog quantum physics'  I bought this for my son and he never read it, I started it once before and got lost then forced my way through it a week ago.  I have to say I am not much wiser other than knowing a few terms, maybe that was trying to broaden my reading a bit too much.  Maybe if I had understood it correctly I could have gone off walked the dogs, completed the ironing and cooked the Sunday lunch then made it back to this spot at exactly the same time, alas no, I will have to go and do it all in time as I know it ;)

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Repairs, Cooking and Saving Money

Well it has been quite a wet start to the new year, dog walking has been cold and windy but still good to get out in the fresh air.  I still had this week off so I have been making the most of it to get repairs done, try some new recipes and generally enjoy being at home.

I started by repairing a bobble hat that belongs to my son, the dog had pulled off the bobble because the hat had been left on the floor, well anything on the floor is fair game or so the dog thinks, especially if it is made of wool.  My son said well that's ruined, er.. nonsense it just needed stitching back on so that was quick and averted the need to rush out and buy another.  The hat was relatively new, a favourite and not otherwise damaged by it's quick run around the house.

The second thing to repair was my younger son's rucksack, we did look for a new one while we were away but they were either really big, the wrong colour (it has to be black for school) or not quite big enough for his folders.  The one he has is just right but has somehow been wrecked recently, actually it looked like it had been in a fight!  The top was frayed, the straps were falling apart and I'm not sure why in such a short time.  Well fortunately his old rucksack had decent straps and some of the material on the inside was like new so I have done a Frankenstein job on it and used the good parts from that one to repair the current one...

Here are the new for old straps

This is the sorry state it got in.

There was also an area where the woven canvas had come away and stuffing was coming out so this was made new as well.  We will have to see how this goes as it can only be the heavy weight of all the books that is pulling these apart, but you would think rucksacks were made for that.
This is the canvas from the inside of the old rucksack.

So this has at least extended the life of this for a bit longer, I have just bought two new sets of uniform, school shoes, and also a new coat with a mobile phone in the pocket disappeared at school before Christmas and we have not seen those items again so a little saving on this item for school is welcome!

I have also tried a few new recipes this week, a huge success were Choc chip and almond cookies, I adapted the recipe from the book oh She Glows that I got from the library.  I omitted the coffee, used dark chocolate chips and cacao powder, I also used vegan spread instead of almond butter because I didn't have any but did use ground almonds.  They were gone within twenty four hours and that was everyone eating them not just me!

At the weekend I made veg and lentil soup with twice baked potatoes, this is a  nice change to just eating the soup with bread.  In fact the soup was enjoyed so much I made a tomato and lentil version and cheap easy recipe is here...

Lentil and Tomato Soup 

400g tin Tomatoes
70g red lentils
pinch of basil
1 small chopped red onion
1 veg stock cube
1 tbsp. tomato puree
dash of soya cream (optional)
boiling water


Cook lentils for twenty minutes, fry the onion, dissolve the stock in boiling water, add all the ingredients to the blender except the soya cream, blend until smooth.  Add to saucepan and heat, stir in soya cream to taste.  This makes two large bowls and the lentils make it high in protein, iron and fibre.  It works out to 27p a bowl, I used ASDA products (basics)  soya cream optional.  

We loved it so for a cheap lunch it was more nutritious than the cheap cans you can buy which are mainly water.

These are just a few things I have been up to, there is also a new cookbook at the library waiting for me so I will share any interesting recipes from that over the next few weeks. Has anyone else been doing any money saving to start the new year? it will all come in handy for a few days out in the summer.

Shirt Dress

This is a short post today, I have been busy decorating all day and still lots to do.  I have a new shirt cut out and ready to sew up but th...