Dance like no one is watching.
Blog like no one is reading.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Cars Skirt

My friend gave me a pair of curtains printed with the cast of the Disney Pixar film 'Cars'.  She thought I could make something out of them and we did suggest sensible options like children's cushions.  Did I do that?  Nope, made myself a skirt.

I had wanted to make a skirt with contrasting side panel pockets for a few weeks now, and having looked through my BurdaStyle magazines found the perfect pattern in issue 7/2011.  (Note to Mr HoffiCoffi - those old magazines I store in that cupboard do come in handy from time to time!)  Well I say it was the perfect pattern - it was a petite pattern which didn't go up to my size so some tweaking was involved!

I do like the contrasting pocket panel though.  The red fabric is from a bundle of scrap fabrics purchased on Ebay - and judging by the edge finish on the piece I received I think it was probably a tablecloth in its previous life.  

This last photo has greatly amused my friends.  I know - such a classy lady!

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Charm Square Lavender Bags

I was given a present of a big bag of dried lavender this summer.  The smell of lavender has always reminded me of my childhood as lavender grew, triffid-like, in our front garden. As summer is coming to an end it is lovely to capture that smell in lavender bags to use in the following months.

I used a moda tutorial I found here.  They were straightforward to make out of two charm squares each, but as it involved manipulating the fabric it was quite a good exercise in controlling fabric under the sewing machine.  Definitely a case of the last one I made was quicker and tidier than the first one I made!

They are stuffed with toy stuffing along with the lavender to give the bags a plumper appearance.  I chose not to fill them too much so they are lovely and squashy.

It was a fun way to use a charm pack.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Up above the streets and houses, rainbow climbing high.

On returning from my holiday, I was catching up with blog posts when I stumbled upon the Repurpose, Reuse, Refashion competition via CharityShopChic, which is being run by Sew Amy Sew.  There was only a week to go before items had to go up on the Flickr page so I thought I would be unlikely to enter.  Still, it was the Bank Holiday weekend and we happened to go to my favourite charity shop town by the sea, and I thought I would only rush to enter if I could find something that I really, really wanted to refashion.

Kerching!  I found this duvet cover for £1.50 and instantly fell in love.  I was convinced this duvet cover is a print of the opening sequence of one of my favourite childhood television shows, Rainbow, but a quick search on YouTube proved me wrong.  It is uncannily similar though.  

The front section contains the rainbow, whereas the back of duvet cover is all clouds and sky.

It did leave me with another dilemma though, I loved the rainbows, I loved the trees, but they couldn't all fit into a dress.  Hence another day umming and ahhing and the deadline loomed.

Eventually, I opted for the rainbows and cut the fabric just above the tree line.  I had to do a very narrow hem to keep the length that I wanted.  The bodice of the dress is the Colette Peony.  The skirt is just the front and back section of the original duvet cover.

The back of the dress is made up entirely of the back of the duvet as the 'sky' was a little lighter on the back section.  I like how all the detail is in the front and how the back gives someone walking behind me a false sense of security that the person in front of them is not unhinged!!!

I have teamed the dress with a petticoat I made previously, together with the shoes I wore to my wedding ten years ago.

I love my new dress, and whilst wearing it outside it seemed to want to join its friends in the sky!

Thursday, 21 August 2014

My Holiday Part 2 - What I Wore

The joy of having sewn my own clothes for a number of years now is the increased confidence I have about wearing them on a daily basis.  I am no longer worried that badly sewn items will simply fall off me as I walk down the street!!!  I've never been one to 'fit in' fashion wise anyway and so am used to wearing something a little out of the ordinary.  It's just that these days I am usually wearing duvets and curtains I found in the charity shop or had donated to me.  So I can have a lot of fun - especially on holiday!

We stayed in a lovely cottage with sea views and as you can see, the bathroom lino rang a bell!!

I don't want you to think that my holiday was all about having photo's taken of myself!  When I wasn't thrusting the camera into Mr HoffiCoffi's hands and giving him instructions like "make sure you get the floor in" I was using the camera myself - to take photos of a LOT of food!  (I do have pictures of the kids as well :) !)

I know this post is photo heavy - but I just have to show you some lovely quintessentially British holiday treats!

Yep - I ate them all!

Monday, 18 August 2014

My Holiday Part I - Geek Day

I have mentioned previously how much fun I can have on holiday having a rummage around the lovely independent charity shops to be found on the West Wales coastline.  I call them my Geek days - not something everyone would do I admit - but I like it.

Being very aware of how big my fabric stash is at the moment I avoided getting any more fabric or yarn - and I didn't see anything that I couldn't resist.  But patterns..... oh lovely patterns in all your various forms!

Can you get any more seasidey than a jumper with a lighthouse on it!  I think not.  I also loved the mountain scene jumper so got both for 20 pence each.

The most expensive item I bought was for 2 pounds and it was a groovy knitting book...

On closer inspection it turned out to be a Japanese knitting book in English.  On even closer inspection it unfortunately turned out to be a Japanese knitting MACHINE manual book written in English.  May take some figuring out this one....

For 10 pence I got this...

I have bagged the heart number but the other suits are up for grabs in my Christmas jumper photo 2014/1973 style!

20 pence each got me these two patterns...

The white jumper is designed by Mary Quant and the pattern is for the jumper and matching socks.  I repeat - matching socks!!  Unfortunately the trims are crochet and I can't crochet - in my defence there were several folders of knitting patterns to go through in this charity shop and I finally got the subtle hint they were trying to close as I was pouring over the files when they locked me in the shop!!!!

I got three sewing patterns.  Two of them were definitely 20 pence each (can you sense a theme here!) and I'm not sure how much the other one was as Mr HoffiCoffi kindly paid for it for me.  Very kind of him indeed as it was the culottes pattern and I was in the middle of the shop re-creating the illustration poses at the time. 

Finally, for 50 pence, the adorable Golden Hands Book of 60 Things to Sew For Children.  There should be more Golden Hands books I feel.

This was full of cute as a button garments.  Really awesomely cute....


ok.  Maybe some not so much!

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Please someone I know throw a sixties themed party!

Now, this isn't the greatest thing I have ever made - in fact it isn't even the greatest thing I have made this fortnight!  I really liked the toile of this dress - and then I became a victim of my own 'tweaking'!

The background story to this dress is that in one of the Ebay fabric bundles I like to purchase when I am at a loose end, there was this very cheap looking check fabric.  I knew that there was over a metre of it in the bundle but what I didn't know was that it was a piece only about this wide.  The joy though is in the challenge of finding something to do with this fabric and then this dress popped into my head and I couldn't get it out!

So, throwing good money after bad I purchase a few metres of black flannel and a 20inch black zip and set about creating a dress that I really didn't think I would ever wear.  Just to get it out of my head.

I used New Look 6145 and sewed the check fabric to strips of the black flannel before cutting out the front bodice.  I thought that my toile was a little on the tight side on the hips so I re-drafted the pattern to be a size 14 bust and a hip size that went off their chart!  Sewed it all up bar the hem and armhole finishes and lo and behold I had made a sack!

I didn't really want to unpick for hours a dress I thought I would only wear once in a blue moon so I winged it.  Really quite badly.  I took in the back darts (ok that is acceptable)  I sewed a convex line along the bust dart without taking apart the side seam (yeah, a little weird) and then I tackled the obvious swayback by putting handsewn darts in the neckline without taking the neckline facing apart (that is just plain crazy). 

I am left with an 'interesting' back detail, but I am also left with a dress I can wear without someone thinking that there should be several trapeze artists and a clown performing under it.  Actually, there is a clown performing under it!

Sunday, 27 July 2014

A Groovy Toile and A Grand Day Out!

I have made yet another duvet dress!  This was meant to be a toile for a Black and White dress I have got in my head, but I liked this version so much I wore it on a day trip to Bath Spa.

The pattern is New Look 6145 and I made the simplest version I could because I knew the fitting would be a nightmare.  I cut a size 14 bust and tapered it out to a size 18 hip - despite the fact that my hip measurements were way over the largest (size 18) sizing.  I have only just got away with it and, truth be told, it is too small across the hips but it was so darn lovely to wear I went out in it anyway.  I don't know what it is that I like about it really.  It was a boiling hot day and the top is a lot looser than I would normally go for so that may have been it - and I liked wearing the shorter length even if my knees did scare children.  It just felt comfortable.

I also liked the fabric placement.  The duvet I used had a large central design (which I used at the front) that rather unusually blended with a smaller print at the sides (which I used at the back).  It meant that I didn't have to pattern match at the sides of the dress but the different patterns obviously toned well together.

These photos were taken in a lovely little coffee shop up a small side street in the centre of Bath.  I recommend the real fruit milkshakes!

We had a lovely family day out which included myself and my daughter sneaking off to the Bath Fashion Museum.  I have linked to their website rather than put my own photos on here as I am always wary about copyright and also, as no flash is understandably allowed, my photos of the clothes did not come out brilliantly.  I do recommend taking a look though (I would love your views on their Dress of The Year 2013). 

The one thing I can show you however is the fun we had drawing dresses to put on their notice board.

About the most fun you can have with a fineliner!

My daughter completely trounced me in the design stakes though!

Finally, a walk around some of the vintage clothes and charity shops led to some purchases.  I managed to get three metres of this fabric which I am hoping is from the seventies.  It is going to become a seventies dress anyway!!!