Saturday, 21 October 2017

Little Bird Black Dress

It seems to me that I may have a bit of a thing for fabric with birds on it, I don't know why I have only just realised this.  I pulled out a piece of fabric from the drawer yesterday that I will be working on next and that has birds on too.  Anyway as for this latest dress it has turned out well, nice and floaty but I did spend longer on a liner that I didn't use than I did on the dress itself.  The trouble was the black lining was too stiff for the fabric and I did intend to secure it at the waist but it just affected the  drape of the dress.  I chose to do a separate black jersey strappy top/underdress? This just goes on separate  and the dress can hang freely. I have another store bought dress like that so I know it is not unusual, well I say store bought I mean charity shop:)
Here is the finished item, it was too windy this morning for an outdoor shot.
I am not wearing a belt here but I might in future, it doesn't really need it as the folds I stitched in place at the front give it some shape.
It has a zipper at the side but I did find that although I can get it on and off with ease it would not go back on the mannequin once the side seams were stitched due to the fact that she doesn't pull her shoulders in the way we do when we dress. 

The dress is getting it's first wear today even though I not really going anywhere other than the supermarket later.  I just feel sometimes I enjoy making these clothes and then feel like Oh I'll just put jeans on because I am home, I am mostly home when I'm not at work so why not just wear everything. 

Over the last couple of days I read the Monk Who Sold his Ferrari, I have read a book in that series before and didn't think much of it but I thought I would give this one a go.  Motivational style of material that it is it still felt a bit insincere like the other one, there were some little bits of wisdom in there but nothing new.

I also watched a number of programmes on the reformation on BB4 I really enjoyed   those and even though I studied it in the past with the OU, I always felt like I was rushing to the next thing I needed to learn so it was good to be able to just watch these documentaries at leisure. 





Monday, 16 October 2017

A New Dress Started

I started another dress yesterday tea time, chiffon this time and the reason I was so late starting it is that I had already made a white tunic dress for  colleague's Greek day at school earlier in the day.  I didn't photograph that one as it is just a basic white tunic, she will draped in the rest of the fabric on the day.  It was quite amusing because I quickly cut out the pieces on the dining table and then we took the dogs for a walk.  When we got back I placed it on the mannequin  and pinned it in place trying to make up my mind how to proceed.  My husband came through and said hang on when did you sew that?  Well I would look well going out in it as it is, it would be a bit draughty!

I suppose it does look almost ready from this angle.

Here you can see not a stitch sewn, just one front piece and one sleeve hanging on.

I was thinking that I may put an elasticated waist in this one but now it is pinned like this I like the effect of where it is pinned at the front just as a fold on each side.  I may do a side zip and just secure those folds with belt loops and do the same at the back, it will need a liner for the skirt as it is see through but the top can have something worn with it.

There wasn't anymore sewing to be done last night as the Sunday evening ironing beckoned, I know I don't have to do it then but I have got into a good habit now of getting it all done then, with the music blasting upstairs so I'm sticking with it.  I was down in time to watch Victoria which I have been enjoying and there is a new drama coming Gunpowder plot so I have started on this non fiction book I bought myself a while ago 'The Gunpowder Plot'  as a warm up before that begins.


This past weekend I also made two dishes using tofu, this was perhaps a mistake as I have felt that it doesn't entirely agree with me but as I made Chinese last week and was fine I ate it on Saturday with stir fry then yesterday I did scrambled tofu from my Aine Carlin vegan book.   It was quite good but I spent the rest of the day regretting it as my stomach was not right, same all evening too.  Has anyone got similar issues with it?  Or maybe just eating it two days running is too much for me.

Maybe eating beans with it is a no no, but if you are vegan and looking for an alternative to scrambled egg this could be for you.  




Friday, 13 October 2017

Teal Dress, a Quick One Hour Make

My latest make is not what it was originally intended to be and I am so pleased with how it turned out.  After reading one of Jo's posts at Three Stories High where she made a fabulous dress for her friend and a T shirt with some grey fabric I fancied some of that fabric for myself.  If you follow the link above you may have to just scroll down one post to see her creations as I had to search back to find the link (she makes so much stuff!).  Anyway I love the grey but I got distracted on the Minerva site and ended up buying teal jersey!    So this arrived and I thought yes another top for autumn, sticking with my resolve to make more wearable tops.  The thing is once it was here I could not picture it as a top and I somehow thought it would not do it justice.

I decided it would be a dress based on one that I own which has a nice simple shape, the original dress has no sleeves but I have put some short ones in the new one with a little detail.  Here is the finished dress below and I am so glad I went with this style.
I have taken a few pictures inside and out as I can never decide which is giving a better representation of the colour.  I already had this little hardly used belt and I think it really sets it off.
Actually this is probably a more true colour, but don't you get fed up with photographing things in the same spot?  This area always has such good light though.

I made a small slit in the sleeves, hemmed them around and then I found these little beads in my sewing box that go lovely with the belt.  I was looking for small buttons but these do a much better job, it was a simple thing that gave an interesting effect.

Here is where I lay the original dress on top, no taking things apart here, just cut around it carefully.
Here are the pieces ready to go, the fabric didn't fray or curl so it was really easy to work with, just a little stretch but not much.

So due to the nature of the fabric I didn't feel the need for any edging on the inside seams, it is for me after all.  It was just a case of stitching all the pieces together, a quick try on which gave me the idea to shorten then snip the sleeves and also take a little off the front and back hem as it was dipping a little in those areas.  That said it was ready in an hour, I ordered the matching bias tape and thread when I bought the fabric and these were a perfect match so I was really pleased with that too.  You just  have to love the projects that go so smoothly and turn out well.  What's more I found this colour chart showing the colour trends for Autumn and my dress colour is on there albeit with a different name, ( Shaded Spruce) I didn't know the colour was in fashion, good to know!


Saturday, 30 September 2017

First Autumn Top, Black Spotty Jersey

Today I got on with making up my black jersey fabric first thing this morning, I had a few ideas sketched on my notebook but changed my mind at the last minute.  My other ideas will be used for future fabric.  I decided to do a keyhole style neck but slightly gathered into it, the reason for this is that I have a couple of t-shirts that I have had for years and I like the style.

No messing I just cut around an existing t-shirt but made it longer with a curved hem front and back.
The sleeves are full length but I like to have them pushed up, I don't like three quarter ones as you lose them up your arms when you put a jacket on.

I decided to wear it straight away, why not? Quite often I make things then they sit in the wardrobe waiting for an occasion so I am making more of the things I will wear.

I used just a meter of fabric for this top and I will be making more as it is just so comfy, I need to have a look what other styles I can get.  The fabric has quite  lot of bounce which usually really annoys me while I am sewing but today I must have been quite chilled as I got on ok.  The nature of it actually really makes the top.
I just cut a normal scoop neck then made a slit down the centre.

I cut two small pieces to be the placket.

I hand stitched each side just a little to gather it then pinned the small pieces on top ready to machine over, then turned them through to the wrong side once machine stitched.  I used binding around the neck to make it a bit more secure with less movement.

The sleeves are just hemmed at the bottom with a double fold, the hem at the bottom of the top is zigzag stitched then single hem, I didn't bother overlocking any of the seams as the fabric does not appear to fray or unravel in any way.

My overlocker doesn't get that much use these days, there may be some things that I think I will just finish off on it but that is all.  So anybody who is new to sewing don't be put off by thinking you need one as they are quite pricey, I know lots of people swear by them and you do get that professional edge but really it's on the inside mostly.  If you are just sewing for yourself you can zig zag the seams, neatly trim with a good pair of scissors and you will use far less thread!











Thursday, 28 September 2017

Catch up and Autumn Fabric

This last few weeks have gone by so quickly I only just noticed it has been so long since I posted anything!  The greenhouse is coming along nicely, it has had its first coat of stain and we need to order the glass so not long now.  I am saving all the images of the process until it is complete then I will share.

I have bought some fabric, both pieces are black so will see me through Autumn/Winter here they are...
The spotty fabric is a jersey and the one with the birds is a chiffon but a bit thicker than usual.
I must make them up this weekend as all I have been doing this few weeks is the odd alteration for other people and making some chinos into to shorts for my oldest son.  An odd time of year to do this I know but he has just been on  holiday abroad without us, he went with two friends and is back now safe and well.  He is all grown up but we still worry don't we?

There are quite a few things saved on my make it list on pinterest including little felt birds so that may be something I can do on the sofa, with  the darker nights coming and I feel like I need a few projects that can be accomplished by hand rather than at the sewing machine all the time.  With the fabric above I have in mind something like this...
I also really like this below but would need to source some non itchy lace for a large area of sleeve.
The above image is from the next website, I could always copy the style and shape but do it all in one fabric?  This is what takes me a long time, making up my mind, the sewing never takes that long.  I know lots of people have in mind what they want to make, go out and buy the fabric and that is it sorted.  I tend to go to the fabric shop or look online, browse for ages then buy whatever grabs my attention and isn't too expensive and then wonder what to do with it.  The problem with this is I sometimes don't have enough fabric when inspiration strikes.

We have been watching more Walter presents dramas recently, Eye Witness was very good, as was Acquitted and we are currently watching Black Lake.  The Scandinavian dramas seem to be my favourite right now and very well done.  Right I'm off to cut out some fabric and see where it leads. 





Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Little Fox Tank Top/Vest Top

This small piece of fabric (printed jersey)  arrived last week from ebay, it is small only half a metre but not at all wide so I was a bit stumped as I had thought I could squeeze a little top  of that but after laying it out I could see there was no room for sleeves so it would have to be sleeveless. 
Just managed it as you can see but would have preferred sleeves, I can layer it with a longer sleeved top underneath as it turns to autumn though.  The bottom band was eaked from the bit that was left, without it the top would have been too short.
Although I have p[laced it here to show you it wasn't cut from the bottom of this fabric but the side of where I cut the pieces if you get what I mean, still the right way up of course.  This did mean there wasn't enough fabric left for sleeves and not a lot for facing either.

My stitching was playing up here and on removal of the plate it was full of fluff underneath and in need of a clean, whoops! All working fine now.

That just added a bit of length to the bottom, I suppose if you had contrasting fabric in a similar material you could use that if you are pushed or just using up oddments.
The neck and armholes had to be faced in pale green binding as that is all I had, you can't see it when it is on and it is not bad when you can see it. 

I washed this fabric before cutting and it has washed nice,  they do lots of different prints so I may be buying more in future but a larger piece next time.  I will see how this one lasts with more washing and wearing first. 

It is hard to believe it is the last week of the summer holidays, but walking the dogs in the park the weather is beginning to feel different, lots of leaves down already too.  Last night just as it had started to go dark there was a bat flying around the back garden and past the window, I was stood there a while watching it.  There was just enough light left to be able to see it and with the dining room light off this made it easier to make out. 

My husband is in the middle of building me a green house using the old base from the raised pond, it has a wooden frame and he has completed most of it already.  He has been out there all weekend and some of last weekend too.  Lots of photographs have been taken of the process he assures me so I will share that soon.  We will need to price up the best budget friendly place to get glass cut and we have ordered some woodstain today from Wilko as they have it at half price, so glad we didn't buy it from B&Q yesterday.  I always forget about Wilko I don't know why because on the odd occasion we are in one we find things cheaper.  I think it may be because we don't generally browse shops so when we need something DIY based the usual places just come to mind.  Note to self to check Wilko first, I am not working for them I must add!  It is just based on todays trip out to buy paint,  they didn't have our shade in the store so we came back and ordered it from the website. 








Thursday, 24 August 2017

Amy Butler Print Blouse

I have had this piece of fabric a while and I love the print and the colours so I have used little bits in other things.  It is only now that I have decided to commit to the remainder and make a garment with it but it does mean that I will match some of my soft furnishings when I wear it.  A bit weird I know but maybe I will just have to stay out of the house.
Here are my cut out pieces for my blouse (own pattern).
Recognise the fabric from my Japanese pinwheel cushions if not they are here in February Patchwork Challenge  and here in Japanese Pinwheel Patchwork.  You can also see the fabric in use as a runner here in my retro cupboard makeover.  So I am sure this is not the end of it as there are the little bits left from where I cut out the blouse so they will probably be used for something.

The darts were added once I had sewn the shoulders and side seams as I tend to find I end up moving things around anyway, so now it just appears to be easier to do it this way around.

                   I pin it all up on here then have a quick try on to see it is correct and then sew.
I have added a side zip, just a small one to make it easier to pull on and off due to all the fitting,  I also went for the small sleeves with elastic as I did this on my elephant blouse which is a favourite of mine and I like the result.   The neck is faced and then hand sewn as I do feel you get a nicer finish sometimes than topstitching.
          I have let the darts flow out and shaped the sides a little so it is comfortable for when sitting.

          Not really sure which way was up on this fabric so I went for this way, not sure it matters.

Well  another top completed which is great because that is what I am needing,  due to my obsession with always making skirts and dresses my wardrobe ends up lacking in things to go with skirts and jeans.   I have another little piece of fabric that has just arrived today, it was only a fiver but also only half a metre, I want to make a little T-shirt with that too.  That is my next job.

Monday, 21 August 2017

More Bra and Underwear Making

After spending ages on a bra last week only to decide it wasn't happening due to the wrong lace I was keen to make it work this time and have a wearable garment.  I ordered some more lace from ebay last week, nice and budget friendly, I also saved the bits from the previous project, the underwire and so on.  I did buy a pattern from ebay also, but I have not used it as the style looked so deep so I may do a give away with that at some point and a couple of other brand new patterns I have.  

I decided to use the bra that I deconstructed last week as I know that it is a good fit and I always feel you can't beat things you already own for giving you an idea of fit.  If you have well fitting garments that are past their best but can be used as patterns then you have the basics for making all kinds of things.  Here is the finished set, I will go through below what was easier this time.


I  wanted to make matching knickers to go with the bra so I used a pair I own to get an idea of shape and both pieces have a join down the centre because of the width of the lace and looking at ones that I own this seems to be a common thing.  I used the two colours of lace that I bought  as I wanted this set to be a little different.  I have to say that second time around the bra came together really quickly, I didn't use pads inside like the one I made last week, I wanted this bra to be just lace.

So having already had a go at bra making last week I was more confident in how it went together, there is also the fact that I made a lot of mistakes last time and had that feeling where you think it would have been better if I had stitched it the other way around, or done things in a different order so having that in mind helped.  I did find that I should add the channelling for the bone while attaching the cup to the band, I did this separately last week and got in a topstitching mess.  I really love the way the elastic edging changes the look of the bra, almost instantly making it look more professional.

  It just shows that doing things wrong really is useful!   I know this bra is not perfect and I still have a lot to learn but already I feel more confident with this and that is the main thing.  I have to say it fits perfect, while it doesn't have the moulded pads like a lot of my bras it does have boning and it feels supportive, but I don't really need much support anyway.   The straps are a little wide and I hadn't realised this when I ordered the strap material but I will know for next time.
The little bow on the bra front came with the elastics, but the one on the knickers I had to make so it is not quite as neat.  Looking at this image it could maybe do with a little bow where each cup meets the strap, or would this be bow overload?

I have noticed some of my bras have a reinforced little band at the side but I haven't done one, time will tell if this was required.
Here you can see the straps are quite wide.

I just used the stretch lace no additional elastic and they feel secure.

I only had purple soft jersey that was closest in colour so I used that for the gusset.
In all I am very happy with how this all turned out, it has certainly inspired me to make more but I have an eye out for where I can source inexpensive materials.  The different types of elastic can be expensive and I am loath to spend large amounts on little pieces of elastic!  If anyone knows a good source please let me know, I have seen some nice little stores on Etsy but with the postage it can still be pricey when you factor all the little bits.  As ever I like to reuse so this project had bones from the old bra that I used as a pattern and I will not be getting rid of any bras in future without first taking off all the little loops and bones. 






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.







Little Bird Black Dress

It seems to me that I may have a bit of a thing for fabric with birds on it, I don't know why I have only just realised this.  I pulled ...