Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Charity Shop Bargains and Resizing a T-shirt

While we were away on holiday I had a look in  a couple of charity shops mainly to see if there was anything I could use for the fabric.  Fabric is now so expensive, I try to use recycled when I can but it is nice to buy exactly what you want sometimes.  I often find I don't buy it though when it can be well over ten pound per metre, thanks Sewing Bee!  When I first started sewing in my teens I would go the market and come back with something fabulous for a few pounds every week thrilled that I could recreate whatever I had seen in the catalogue for next to nothing. (Catalogue, or club book we used to call it)

I rarely have such finds in an actual fabric shop these days ( with the exception of the fabric I found in John Lewis at Christmas, I still have some left!) but I do sometimes find items I can use in charity shops the only trouble is you have to work around what you have.  I can't just decide on  a style first because when you deconstruct clothes you often have weird shaped bits left.

Anyhow I didn't find any wow fabric on garments but I did find two lovely T-shirts for a pound each, and what is even better about this is that I was looking at a T-shirt in a shop a few days before exactly the same as one them in style (different colour) in River island and it was nine pounds.  Now nine pounds isn't bad I know but it was either a washed out pink or black, pale pink doesn't suit me and I have enough black.  The charity shop one is purple, perfect!   The other T-shirt is way too big but that's not a problem.
I like this style because when you wear jeans that are low you have that extra bit of cover at the back for when you have to bend down, I always feel like I'm pulling those low jeans up! This one is size 8 so perfect as it is.

This top is a size 14 so needs some work.  I had been looking at cotton jersey in grey but like I said the price is just silly so this was a lucky find.

It didn't take very long to make it fit, I just pulled one of my tops from the wardrobe (this is sometimes quicker than trying on and pinning) and then I placed it on top of the grey T-shirt. Then I just cut around my own top allowing a small seam allowance, when I had done that I also cut around the armholes to take a little out there otherwise it would be too big on the shoulders as well. If you are only resizing by just one or possibly two sizes you may not need to do this step but as I was going down three sizes it was needed.
As you can see sides and arm holes need adjusting.

Here I just trimmed about a cm from the shoulder and around the sleeve, I didn't bother unpicking I just cut but if you are resizing only a small amount it's better to unpick.

I pinned the sleeve back in place and stitched it in place then folded the garment over, pinned all down the side then stitched all the way down starting from the sleeve.





Much better







Monday, 29 August 2016

Vegan GF Stuffing and Apricot and Apple Spiced Loaf

Recently I have been using catch up TV to watch a couple of shows that I had missed out on, one of them was 'Eat Well for Less' now I don't k now about you but I have been amazed at how much some people spend on food.  What's even more surprising is how shocked some of them are when they are told what it equates to over the course of a year.  The most recent episode I watched featured a man who was celiac and the presenters were helping the family to come up with more meals they could all eat together. During the show home made stuffing was prepared and that inspired me to make some of mine own to accompany yesterdays lunch.

Stuffing
1 white onion
100g of GF breadcrumbs
1 tbsp. chopped thyme
Vegan egg replacer equivalent to 1 egg
1 tbsp. vegan spread
1 tbsp. olive oil
sprinkle of garlic salt
sprinkle of pepper
1/2 tsp vegan cheese sauce powder

I blitzed the breadcrumbs in the food processor set aside then blitzed the onion.  Chop the thyme or remove leaves (that's what I did I think it's a bit woody) Mix up the egg replacer.
Fry the onion in the spread and oil, when soft add the breadcrumbs, thyme and seasoning.  Remove from heat then stir in the egg replacer, next take small amounts in your hands and form into balls.

Now these are uncooked, I forgot to take a photo once cooked.

I cooked them with a little oil in the tray for half an hour on 200 fan oven.  I will make these again and fussy son ate them so that is a plus.

Another thing I made this week was an apricot and apple spiced loaf.  I didn't have self raising GF flour so I used plain and added baking powder but it didn't rise much.  It tastes really nice though so I'm not too concerned I will just use the correct flour next time.  It was from my book Vegan and Gluten Free Baking which I have used quite a bit now.
It didn't last long so definitely one to make again.







Sunday, 28 August 2016

Lovely Lake District

We have just returned from a wonderful week in Cumbria, a bit of a change from my holidays of recent years in the caravan but I was really impressed.  I didn't know if the accommodation would live up to the fantastic images on the website but I needn't have worried it outdid my expectations.  The cottage was so well stocked with every gadget you could need including all cleaning supplies, washer, dryer you name it, they even provided cling film (which I didn't need, but it was there!)
I booked it through Sally's Cottages and I will be using them again, it really felt like a home.
This is the cottage and garden, the building you can see behind is one of the other two cottages which are joined to it.  Those two were bigger, our cottage was two bedroom and although it looks big from the photo it was small but beautifully done.  One open living space downstairs with  spiral staircase in the middle, a downstairs bathroom and two bedrooms, one twin upstairs.

When we arrived on Friday it was raining heavily so we just settled in and ate, Saturday morning saw more of the same so I was relieved we weren't on a camp site having to trudge across a field to the toilet.  We did venture to Keswick on Saturday but it was such bad weather we had to go back as we were so drenched.  My newly waterproofed raincoat did not hold out and it went straight through to my skin!

The weather gradually improved and we managed to see a fair bit of the area, we returned to Keswick and had a walk around Derwentwater Lake.
It was quite grey again but still very beautiful.
That's not us.
This was a fantastic walk towards and then past Loweswater, we had a bit of an uphill climb in places which gave lovely views and we were out about five hours (but that did include a drink and lunch at a pub halfway).


We visited other nearby towns also, Cockermouth, Workington, Maryport and Whitehaven. There were also lovely walks around our accommodation.

It was nice and secure for the dogs with a walled garden and a solid gate.  The floors were wood so we wiped the dogs  as they came in on a towel. We had taken our own dog pens which they slept in at night.
The dogs exploring the garden.

This was during the first few days when the weather was wet, it had cleared a little so we walked down the lane. I didn't know my husband had taken this photo of me watching the cows.

It was quite sad packing up, we had all got into a little routine there and of course it's good to spend more time with my two boys who normally don't want to go out for walks with us now that they are older. I'm sure we will see it again sometime.







Monday, 8 August 2016

Ironing Board Cover Recycle

A while ago I bought a duvet set from the charity shop and made these pyjamas.  I was wondering what to do with the remainder of the set and my ironing board cover was looking a bit sad, so I thought it could be put to good use there.

I removed the existing cover but kept it as the padded bit underneath is fine, I used that to cut around and stitched the new fabric to the top.
The elastic around the edge has gone a bit too so I added elastic to go across widthways to fit it to the ironing board.
Now it's not perfect but it fits snug and it didn't cost me a penny to replace it today and have a clean cover.  I have seen some fabulous pictures of some that people have made complete with built in pin cushion and tool pockets for sewing equipment.  This was just a quick fix!

We went for a fantastic walk yesterday to Damflask and I forgot to take my camera, my husband had his phone but its not the same to keep asking 'ooh take a photo of that' is it?  We will be going again how often do we miss things that are right on our door step or at least a short drive away.  I have been before with a friend for a run but that was a good few years ago and I don't know why it has taken me so long to return. 

Yorkshire water have lots of ideas for walks around reservoirs so I must use their website more, I'm sure it's the same in other regions with local providers having this information on their websites.



Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Sundress to Blouse Refashion

During my declutter I have come a cross a few things I had forgotten about. Some of it has been bits from charity shops bought for fabric very cheap and I have to say I have put some of these items back in the bag to go back as I will likely never use them.  However one dress I pulled out and wondered why I had never finished it.  It is a sundress and originally it had gold trim around the bodice and waist about 3cm deep, very bling, very tacky.  I remember carefully unpicking all of it so I could save the dress.

Well I might as well have not bothered as yesterday after staring at it for a while and concluding that I really want to do something different with it I decided on a blouse.  Now I didn't want a button through as the fabric is too busy for that, also it could have resembled a Hawaiian shirt. 

  
                             
A couple of months ago I made a long sleeved blouse that tied at the front and I have had lots of wear out of that one so far.  I chose to make a short sleeve version and although this fabric is a cotton I still think it works.

I had a little of this lace so I used it on the shoulders as a detail.

I cut around an existing  t-shirt for the basic shape but quite a bit bigger as it had to slide over my head, then I took it in as far as I comfortably could while still being able to pull it over my head without the need for any fastenings.

I had to cut some strips and face all the way around the neck and arms as the lace opens up really easily.  This was a bit of trial and error as I used a thin soft black ribbon at first but that rippled at the shoulder due to difference in stretchiness between the ribbon and the lace.  So I unpicked that folded strips of the cotton and did it that way.
I don't know if you can quite see in the picture above but I also had to add a little diagonal dart at each side of the neckline.  It wasn't quite sitting flat before but that seems to have done the trick.

I'm very happy with it and that is another new from old item saved from the worlds rubbish heap! I didn't have to buy any notions and it is completely pattern free.


              







Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Spicy Chickpea Stew (Vegan, GF)

Well today I was faced with what to have for lunch and as I looked in the fridge I noticed I had half a tin of chickpeas and half a tin of tomatoes that needed using up, well I say tin they had been transferred to plastic containers because you are not supposed to leave them in the tin once opened.

I had a look on my pinterest board and there was a recipe for Spanish chickpea stew but every time I tried to go the page my computer kept freezing.  So the page was called Lazy cat recipes if you want to find the original.  I could remember the ingredients but didn't  have all of them so I had to improvise a bit (which I think you should rather than buying spices you may never use again). 

So I didn't have any onions left instead I used a green peeper chopped and fried, I added the tin tomatoes, cooked for a few minutes then added 2 garlic cloves chopped.
  Once the pepper softened a bit I added the chickpeas along with one tsp mild chilli powder, one tsp oregano, one tbsp tomato puree.


  Then it was looking a little dry so two tbsp. water along with two small fresh tomatoes chopped.
I let that simmer for about five minutes then added two handfuls of chopped spinach, salt and pepper.

Few minutes more and it was done.

I decided to have it in a gluten free wrap, although I'm not a massive fan of these they are ok with something that has a good amount of moisture in it like this.


It didn't take that long, everything I used I had in the fridge, it's vegan, gluten free and healthy. Furthermore my youngest son had some in a wrap with leftover chicken and there is one full portion left which will either be frozen or consumed by oldest son later.




Monday, 1 August 2016

Coat Pocket Repairs (Tutorial)

A bit of repair work was needed today on my raincoat.  I had washed it as after a school trip a couple of weeks ago it was a bit muddy but this must have been one wash too many and whatever was holding the fabric around the zip pockets has started to come away.
Now I know a lot of these coats say dry clean only but this has been washed a number of times and it is only just having issues.  So as going to the dry cleaners is expensive and inconvenient I will continue to wash my coats.

So the best way to tackle this is to go in on the inside by making a hole in the lining seam by unpicking it a bit.


 So the space you make in the side doesn't have to be very big, just big enough to get your hand inside and manipulate the fabric.  I chose to remove the labels at this point also.
Once you have your opening place the pocket to be repaired under
the machine making sure you can feel the gap is stretched open underneath so you are not catching it, I chose to just topstitch down the side that had come away.  When you get so far you will have to lift the zip and move it behind before continuing stitching.
Now when you have finished close the original side seam, I continued in pink cotton but you could change to an exact colour match if it would bother you.
A bit of pink stitching doesn't bother me, also I don't like wasting the thread on the bobbin.
Here it is finished, now I just need to get a can of that spray on waterproof as this jacket lost it's waterproof properties a while ago, it's ok unless it really rains heavy which it has done a few times.

If you are repairing a side seam you can go in exactly the same way but obviously it's easier to open the lining seam closest to the one that is damaged.  Then you would pull the side seam of the outer jacket through the hole and repair on the wrong side, then close the lining seam as above.






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...