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Sunday, 27 September 2015

Woven Clutch Bag

I have been playing around on my inkle loom again.

I used the same colours as my first attempt because there was loads leftover and - more importantly - they were the only two colours I bought with the loom!

It is a slightly different design and this time I had to try to get the longest length I could to enable me to make something out of it at the end of weaving.

Every dowel is used!

I managed to get eight strips about 14 inches in length, with a little gap in between for cutting apart.  Once off the loom the strips were sewed together.

Don't look at it for too long - it'll make your eyes go funny!

You could see the joins so I thought I would like to cover them somehow, and I hit on the idea of using the thin ribbon straps I always cut off purchased clothes.  You know the ones they put on tops in stores to stop them sliding off the hangers - but when you wear them at home they always seem to make their way out of the armholes and you have to keep tucking them back in... or is that just me?!  Anyway, I always cut them out of my tops and so I had a nice selection.

I auditioned suitable thread...

...and sewed them over the joins with a straight stitch to try and disguise the joins.

I lined the clutch bag with some black flannel fabric I still had left over from making a dress and a skirt and I found a single button from my charity shop button tin.  I made a buttonhole in the lining to slot the button into - a bit fiddly but I didn't dare cut into the woven cloth!

I love weaving - how long will it be until I give in to a bigger loom....!

Thursday, 10 September 2015

The Refashioners 2015 - Second Make

I found a shirt that I couldn't resist in a charity shop for £2.99.

It is covered in cola bottles!  I thought initially someone may have bought it on holiday abroad as I hadn't seen anything like it before and I didn't recognise the brand label (not the Coca Cola one!) on the inside.  A quick internet search though led me to think it may have come from Primark... not quite a rare find then!

The shirt was in good condition apart from a little bit of wear on the sleeves.  I would have happily worn it as it was but because of the slight wear I decided to unpick the sleeves.

In order to make the shirt sleeveless I had to tackle a very large armscye.  I ummed and ahhed about this for a while.  I didn't want to put in a great big dart - and I didn't want to unpick the side seams to place a dart under the arm to bring it closer to the body.  I hit on the idea of placing small inverted box pleats around the circumference of the armscye.  Another quick internet search on whether this was a good idea came up with nothing which is always a worry.  Oh well - feel the fear and do it anyway.

I think it did the job.  Whether it is too Becky Home Ecky I'm not sure.  I bound the edges with some red fabric I got in a bargain bundle of scraps from Ebay.

It's done a pretty good job of making the unwearable wearable anyway.

I was then left with the sleeves I had unpicked.  Only a small part of the fabric was unusable, and I so loved those little cola bottles that I wanted to make more, more, more.  The print reminded me of backstitch embroidery with it's hand-drawn feel so that is what I decided to do.

I scanned the sleeve fabric and cropped and enlarged a section to the measurements I needed to make a bag.

I then used a lightbox to help me trace the image twice onto an old sheet offcut I had left over from the Boho Chic top I made a short while ago.  I then interfaced behind the image and stared to embroider.

This took ages!  I did wonder whether I should just have the cola bottles on one side of the bag but I had already traced the images and was loving the way they looked so carried on stitching. 

I'm glad I did because I love the result.  And it means that I can see my hard work however I hold the bag!

I used a strip of the Ebay scrap red fabric to tie it in with the shirt and it fastens with a zip I bought in Cardiff market for 95 pence.

I wore it with several skirts for the photos. 

The white skirt is made out of a friend's duvet cover and the pink one is a maxi skirt given to me by another friend which I cut off from the top to make shorter, as it was originally too small for my waist.  I love the splash of colour when I twirl... not that I spend a great deal of my time twirling you understand.

The outfit kind of reminds me of an American diner, what with the coke bottles and swirly skirts.  

Would have loved to have been photographed perching on a stool by a formica counter but will have to make do with a gingham background.

See what everyone else is up to on the Refashioner's pinterest page.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Handmade on Holiday

Now that I am back in work I thought it would be nice to look through some of the photos I (actually, mostly Mr HoffiCoffi) took on holiday.

The weather for the week was quite unpredictable and this is reflected in the photos.  Queue blue skies and grey!

When the weather perked up we headed to the beach.  The first photo shows me in a refashioned skirt made out of a dress which I haven't blogged yet.  The dress was kindly donated to me by a friend and it was nice to have something new to me to wear on holiday.  Beach days were also a perfect opportunity to wear my sunbonnet sue sunhat!

Not every day suggested it was actually the summer though.  Such as the day I went to the county show in a handmade skirt.

A little example of the glorious Welsh language for you there.  The craft tent was closed when I got there for judging but once the doors were reopened I was in there with my camera.

Please tell me other countries also have these wonderful craft competitions!  You have got to love an owl made out of fruit!

Some time was also spent enjoying the cottage we had rented for the week. 

You may recognise the top above as it is the vintage one I made a short while ago.  It went nicely with jeans on one of the colder days.

Visits to National Trust properties were also high on our list of things to do.

Here I am in the ubiquitous tearooms wearing a handmade top.

And here I am outside my new house...

Ah, if only.  Another National Trust property.  Although I did keep insisting it was mine...

Don't worry.  I didn't climb over any ropes to take this picture.  It was a very hands-on house.  You could even play a game of badminton in the drawing room!

Finally, I also wore my Gertie shift dress.  Heavily photoshopped picture there of me running with wild abandon towards the sea.  Yes the dress is too short but I had a plan stan!

Matching shorts under the dress saved any blushes!

I had a lovely time and editing the pictures was a lovely way to remember the good times had.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Refashion Runway Sewalong - Boho Chic

I decided to sew along once again with the Refashion Runway entrants and this week the theme was Boho Chic.  

My friend gave me this cotton sheet with a fabulous broderie anglaise border around three sides.  I realise this isn't the most impressive way to refashion - using an already flat sheet of fabric - but this top is something I have been meaning to make and this challenge just fitted in nicely with the look I was going for.

The pattern is View A from the 'Basic Black' book by Sato Watanabe.   The pattern pieces are fairly straightforward but it involved a bit of, shall we say, creative placement to get the border on the sleeves, hem and bodice front of the top. 

I did make the bodice pieces a bit wider than the original top suggested as I wanted a very loose fitting top.  It could be argued that I went too far in this regard but I still do love the amount of fabric it has... because it can look like this..

 I know I've already used this photo but I love it!

 Talking of photos I couldn't help seeing what Boho Chic will look like out in the open...

Campsite?  Check.  Picnic?  Check.  False ponytail and a hair band borrowed from my daughter?  Checkedy check check.

Saner women in their boho chic ensembles can be viewed here

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Refashion Runway Sewalong - Maxi Skirt or Dress Challenge

I am a bit late in the game for this year's Refashion Runway challenge.  I sewed along with quite a bit of season two (I made a plaid dress out of a skirt and a fifties skirt out of an eighties dress amongst other things!) but as it's the summer holidays I haven't had as much time as I would like to participate.  This week, however, is a maxi dress challenge and I happened to find the perfect item to refashion.

I got this two piece in a lush blue/green colour for the bargain price of £2 in a local charity shop.

What a bargain!

I loved the colour and the long ties at the front of the top were just begging to be made into halterneck ties.

I have quite a bit of seventies inspiration to work with as it's my favourite era of vintage pattern to collect.  Unfortunately my eye for a bargain can be a bit hit and miss!  When I opened up this pattern I had also purchased from a charity shop some while back I realised that all the skirt pieces were missing.  There's a story there I'm sure!

Anyway, I could only use the bodice as a very rough guide as I needed to re-draft it as a longer piece so that the skirt I had would be long enough to become a maxi.  This meant that I had to drop the waist of the skirt section to around hip length and could just about squeeze the length I needed for the bodice out of the original top front.

The fabric had quite a bit of stretch in it so I could omit the waist and back darts that were in the original pattern.  I did have to line the bodice with some cheap fabric I had which had just a one-way stretch to stop the weight of the dress pulling downwards.

I do like the finished result.  Mainly because it's a colour that I simply adore.  I'm surprised everything I own isn't in this colour!

Please take a look at what the actual entrants have created here

Monday, 3 August 2015

The Refashioners 2015

Keen to get as much sewing done as I could during my summer break, I stumbled upon an excellent way to challenge myself.  The Refashioners 2015 is a sew along challenge where the aim is to refashion a button down shirt.  

I purchased this shirt at a charity shop ages ago and it has been languishing in my clothes pile ever since.  It's a soft woven plaid fabric and it seemed perfect to make into a pair of sleeping shorts. 

This took a bit of fabric juggling.  I could obviously use the front and back of the shirt for the shorts front and back, but I needed a bit more fabric for the inside leg and, sadly, the hip!

Here is one of the pieces to show you.  You may be able to see on the left of the picture I have had to add a bit more fabric to the outside hip area - I took this from the original shirt sleeve.  The extra fabric for the inside leg was harvested from the top of the shirt front.  

As there was a button placket already it seemed like a good idea to have a button down front.  This did involve a bit of fabric manipulation though; as if I had sewn the front inside leg and just stopped the button placket would not be lying flat.  Luckily the extra fabric I had used at the inside leg came over the button placket.  I sewed up to this extra fabric and hand turned the raw edge.

Hopefully you can see in the picture above that the button placket is lying flat below the extra fabric.

As you can imagine I didn't have much fabric left for a waistband.  I hit on the idea of using a cuff as the front fastening on the waistband, so I cut off what was left of the sleeve including a seam allowance...

..and cut the back yoke of the shirt into two strips to attach to the cuff.

You can see here the end of the cuff continuing on from the strip of fabric cut from the yoke.

Here is another photo from the front.  It was quite a windy old day today which made photography a bit tricky.

The back of the shorts.

They are really comfy to wear and what I loved about sewing these was that the more I concentrated on the fabric, the more colours I could see woven into the cloth.

Pop along to Pinterest to see what everyone else is up to. :)