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

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. :)

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Style 2206


I wanted to sew this pattern, Style 2206, because of its unusual neckline and front bodice.  The neck is incorporated into the top of the front bodice piece and is shaped at the front just by a little pleat.  You then attach the remaining back neckband to the back bodice as normal.

I found this a little bit tricky to do.

Although I did like the result once I had attached it.

Having made quite a few dresses recently I decided to make this into a tunic top and altered the back to make it button up rather than using a zip as instructed in the original pattern.

The only problem is I think it looks like something a dental nurse would wear!  Mr HoffiCoffi valiantly tried to persuade me that it didn't and stayed resolute even when I said it was time for his appointment and tilted his chair back.... but it still reminded me of the dentists.

Tucking it in helps and I think this is how I am going to wear it.  I really don't want to be stopped in the street for any dental emergencies!!!!

Linking up with the Vintage Pattern Pledge.


Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Fabric Samples Clutch Bag

My friend appeared for coffee the other day with these in the boot of her car.  They are home decor fabric sample books that she was given, and she thought I could make use of them.  She knows me very well.

There is an awful lot of good quality fabric in them - the challenge is of course that they are quite small pieces.

But on the up-side they are already in lovely colour co-ordinated layouts so it is easy to match colours.  You definitely need to combine the samples to make anything useful I think.

Well I came up with this bag.  It has a magnetic clasp fastening and I even managed to use the smallest samples to make the little tab pulls at the top of the bag.  Naturally I gave it back to my friend as a present, as she was kind enough to think of me in the first place.  And there is lots left for more bags!

Another treat I received recently was this lovely book for mother's day.  There are lots of nature inspired embroidery ideas in this gorgeous book, and - aware that I am living up to a Welsh stereotype here - I was immediately drawn to the sheep!

Love the embroidery stitch used to make his little fluffy coat.  I then made this into a little zip purse that I gave to another friend.

I haven't just been making bags though.  I have been taking a few craftsy classes on cake decorating and decided to practice some of the techniques I have learnt.  If you are not reading this with a cup of tea you may be tempted to put the kettle on now....

Enjoy! xxx

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

"When we get to Wonderwool, please don't let me buy a loom."

These were the words I uttered to my friend as we were driving along to visit a fibre festival last month.  Luckily she didn't intervene when I did the inevitable.  I purchased an inkle loom.

I have used an inkle loom before, but it was about thirty years ago.  My sister was into spinning and weaving and I was jealous of her loom, so my dad made me a left handed one!  Sadly this isn't left handed, but it is another handmade one.  It was cheaper than the main supplier that had a stand at the festival and; let's see if I can get the terminology right, it also has a movable heddle which means I can create more sheds.  The poor lady at the stand tried to explain this to me but with a thirty year gap in any weaving I didn't have a scooby doo what that meant!

Luckily, I had already purchased an inkle weaving textbook from the same show a few years ago (must have been fate a certainty I would eventually succumb to the purchase).   After reading this and the leaflet that came with the loom I finally understood what it meant. 

I warped (ooh get me!) the loom the simplest way I could and absolutely loved going back into my past weaving again.  My tension is terrible - hence the wobbly sides - but despite that I still managed to come up with a usable piece of strapping.

And what I did with the strapping....

was to make my friend who didn't stop me a bag to say thank you! :)

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Sing-Along-A Sound Of Music

Naturally I left it to the very last minute to finish my outfit for the Sing Along A Sound Of Music event held in Cardiff recently.  I had chosen something very easy to do though - I cut out lots of rectangles self drafted a novice's apron using one of the duvet covers given to me by my friend.

The back is fastened with a rather weather beaten button from my button tin, I already had the jumper and a long black skirt, so this outfit really cost nothing to make.

The only problem I had was that the front bib was a bit too high, but I rectified this when safety pinning it to my top, but otherwise I think it is a reasonable representation of the original.

Yes, I did already have the DVD!

Genuine fan here, genuine fan.

Anyway, on arriving in Cardiff with my friend and her son I did what every novice would do - went and had a pint.

Which it turned out I really needed as I ended up on the stage!

If I look a little uncomfortable with it, it is because I was.  I think I am more keen on making fancy dress because of the challenge - and then I realise I have to wear it out in public!

Anyway, I was in good company.  Look at all the nuns coming back after the interval!

You also got a goody bag of things to wave about during the performance. 

Note in particular the swatch of floral fabric to 'feel the quality' when Maria realises her drapes could be made into play clothes for the children. There is also a party popper to release when Maria and Captain Von Trapp first kiss.

My view of the nuns!

I really enjoyed my night (apart from the stage bit!) and would recommend it for a great night out.  Be prepared for a sore throat after all the singing, which I remedied with an ice cream on the way home!

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Woman MP.11 (Catchy Title!)

I was the successful bidder for a bundle of patterns on Ebay the other day, and the reason I wanted to place a bid was mainly for the pattern above.  It's a 'Woman Easy-Makes' pattern with the mysterious code 'MP.11'...

The bundle was all complete apart from, wouldn't you know it, this pattern.  I'm afraid it was missing view C completely and the shorts for view B.  Oh, and all the instructions!

No hipster bikini for me then.  (The world breaths a huge sigh of relief!)

I decided to make the shorts in View D.  All the pattern pieces for this were there.  It was also an opportunity for me to try out a fitting book I have recently purchased, 'Create the Perfect Fit' by Joi Mahon.  An excellent opportunity because this pattern was a UK size 12, waaaaaay smaller than I am, but the book does aim to get you fitting yourself whatever size the original pattern is.  So how did it go?

All in all I was very pleased.  My main area of difficulty was that my centre front waist to hip measurement seemed very small.  It wasn't something I had noticed as being a problem before but I dutifully made the corresponding adjustment on the pattern - only to find that the shorts now dip at the centre front.  Hmmm.  Either I've measured myself/the pattern incorrectly or I did need a full abdomen adjustment I had ignored as I thought I had quite a flat tummy..... where's the wine.....

Anyway, I will undo this adjustment in my final version.

Another thing I will do in the final version is increase the depth.  They are a bit too snug when sitting!

I do like this pattern though - particularly the turn ups at the hem. Without instructions I was going to sew them the most logical way I could think of - but luckily I looked at another pattern I had that also had turn-ups and there was a  better way.  It must have been a better way as I've managed to get them to match up at the side seams which I am pretty pleased about.

So these are my shorts mark 1.  I have highlighted the original pattern pieces in green for you to see the amount of adjustments I made.  Will have another go when I've decided what fabric to use.