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Friday, 22 January 2016

Princess Duvet Cover Dress

I have been duvet dress making again!  This time it was a princess single duvet cover, which had princesses on the front and a floral design at the back.

I started by cutting off the fastenings on the bottom of the duvet.

I then cut about 22 inches off the bottom of the duvet for the skirt.  My intention was just to gather the top of this (with a break in the side seam for a zip), and to attach it to the bodice with the princesses all over the front of the dress and flowers on the back... but more on this in a moment.

I turned my attention to the bodice.

As I hope you can see I spent some time centering one of the princesses onto the bodice front.  I decided to go for snow white as I liked the yellow contrasting with the main pink of the dress.

At the back I also spent time matching up the flowers either side of the centre back.

Feeling pleased with the pattern placement I went back to the skirt panel I had cut out earlier and...

Ahhh, I don't think I wanted to cut it like that!!!!

Due to a massive oversight on my part I had not checked that the skirt panel included a complete panel of princesses.  I was left with a dilemma - have incomplete princesses on the skirt or come up with something else. 

Luckily, and I do mean luckily, I had enough material left over from the back of duvet to make a gathered skirt out of just the floral motif.  So that is what I did. 

I fully lined the dress with offcuts of lining material from other projects, and the dress fastens with a side zip that I harvested from a dress I had previously refashioned into a skirt. 

But my lesson has been learned - not just measure twice cut once but look twice cut once! :)

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

It's getting colder here in Wales, so I am knitting.

My sister kindly gave me some oddments of yarn she had left over from various projects, and I have been using them up.  Firstly I made a hat for her and then decided it was my turn! :)

This hat was made out of a lovely blue chunky yarn and some leftover Noro.  I love Noro.  It's official. 

The hat is, as ever, a free Ravelry pattern, which I altered slightly as I didn't have enough of the blue yarn for the full slouch, but I think I prefer it this way and particularly love the egg yolk coloured top!  Like I say, I love Noro.

I also actually purchased some yarn!  (Well, it was in the sale) and knitted these leg warmers (from a - all sing along now - free Ravelry pattern!).  The yarn is Rowan lima in denim if I remember correctly.  A lovely soft yarn to work with.

So, I am all set for the snow.  Bring it on!

Thursday, 31 December 2015

The thing is, I've googled it since and I think orange may actually be 'in'!

Well my Christmas break has been put to good use!

I had another spurt of enthusiasm for making Barbie clothes.  This time I made a sloper for Barbie by making a cast of her torso much like the duct tape thing you can do - in real life!?.   I could then use those measurements to make clothes either from scratch or using my vintage patterns for inspiration.

I love this dress that was inspired by a seventies pattern.  Note I say inspired because, as we all know, Barbie's measurements do not correspond to normal body ratios, so I pretty much had to look at the line drawings and then make my own patterns referencing the Barbie slopers I made.

Loving this white dress with its matching underskirt.  The dresses are fully lined because it was the easiest way to have neat seams, although I am now experimenting with French seams.  That is until my enthusiasm for teeny tiny fiddly clothes wears off again!

Happy New Year! :)

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

The Christmas Presents I Made

I made two things as Christmas presents this year. 

For my sister I made this hand quilted bag.  It is using a traditional Welsh quilting pattern and I am hoping to spend a lot of 2016 exploring Welsh quilts more with the hope of making a full size Welsh quilt.  To this end I will come back to this bag in the near future to discuss it more.  You know you have a slight obsession with a technique when you start placing your stitches in a scanner in order to examine them further!

The second thing I made was for my Dad.  He has taken up painting again after many years and painted this scene for me.  Using this scanned copy of the painting I was able to embroider a lavender bag for him of the child with the balloon.  It is made even more special as the lavender in the bag was grown in both mine and my Dad's gardens from plants he had given me.  Can't get that in Marks and Spencers! 

Monday, 21 December 2015

Knitted Gifts and How I Blocked Them

I seem to have made quite a few hand knitted gifts recently.  It must be the darker days that lead me towards the needles. 

The first gift is a hat for my sister.  Choosing yarn can be a tricky thing when making a gift, which is what made this gift so easy - my sister had given me the yarn as she had it leftover from her own project!  It's Rowan tweed and the pattern is a free one from Ravelry.

It came off the needles like the photo above, but I knew it could be blocked beautifully because it was wool. 

I put some fabric softener into some lukewarm water and briefly immersed the hat, trying not to agitate it much.

When the hat was wet I placed it over the inverted plate, placed the plate onto the inverted (emptied!) bowl and left it to dry.

You can also pull in the brim a little while it dries by hand sewing a line of running stitch around the brim and pulling it in slightly to stop the edge of the hat distorting, but I didn't do this and mine turned out ok.

The finished product.  I love how nicely wool blocks.

The second item I made was a knitted washcloth for a friend.  Again, another free pattern from ravelry and I used Sirdar baby bamboo.  This needed to be blocked flat and I had purchased from a local bargain shop a foam interlocking play mat for jobs such as this.

The washcloth is obviously small enough to fit onto one of the sections but you could easily make it whatever size you need and they store away nicely afterwards.  Result!

I had a little bit of yarn left over so I made a tassel for the wrapping and teamed the washcloth with some colour co-ordinating soaps.

The tag I used was from a lovely pdf set I purchased from a knitter on Etsy.  I just printed it out onto label paper and stuck it on cardstock.

The label was great as I was able to put the care instructions from the ball band onto the back of it.

Although I suppose if there is a special way you have to wash a washcloth it probably won't be a very good washcloth...  If you see what I mean! :)

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Running Before I Can Walk

It looks like I've got myself into quite a tangle here but bear with me - it does have a happy ending!

My inkle loom love is still going strong and - me being me - I decided to have a bit of an experiment.  I already had in my box of tricks a rigid heddle which I purchased a few years ago when I first tried weaving.

The above photo was taken in 2013 and I am weaving using a photo frame and the rigid heddle... took me another two years to get a proper loom!

Anyway, I thought I could get more variety into the weaving design if I could create slight variations in the sheds.  (Forgive me if I am using the terminology incorrectly - newbie!)  I decided to use a darker thread for some of the unheddled warps and then put them through the rigid heddle so as to separate them off from the lighter threads - that way I could move them up and down for the sheds independently and see what difference this made to the cloth I was working.  

The picture above shows the darker threads going through the heddle - I can move this up and below the sheds I make as normal on the inkle loom.

Confused?  So was I a bit when it looked like this..


But it did work.  

By varying where I placed this additional heddle I could get the darker threads to appear normally, to float on the top to make a longer line as it were, or I could make them disappear.  My tension is still dodgy at the sides so why I am fiddling around with intricacies is silly when I should be practising on perfecting my actual... weaving.

I wove enough to wear as a headband and I was pleased that my experiment worked.  I believe I could achieve this effect much more effectively by using tablet weaving techniques on my loom but I may have to buy another book to learn about that.  Mr HoffiCoffi will be pleased!

Friday, 30 October 2015

Autumnal Skirt

This is another duvet cover skirt.  My friend gave me a king size duvet cover with this lovely floral border that was just calling out to be made into a full skirt. 

Although me being me I couldn't leave it at that and had to add a fox.

The fox is taken from a magazine called "Sew It Yourself" which I think is a spin off from Sew Magazine here in the UK.  If you happen to have a copy of this magazine and fancy using the fox template I believe that the tail template has been reversed in the download.  I had to flip the tail over before tracing it to make it fit anyway. 

My machine was not happy putting the details on the fox as I was trying to stitch through a few layers of fusible web and this led to a gunky needle and skipped stitches, so I did the minimum possible to add detail and will hope it doesn't all fall apart in the wash!

There is a full two tiered petticoat attached to the skirt which is made out of the fabric that was above the border design.  It gives the skirt a nice structure as well as making the thin white fabric more opaque.

As it has been half term we have been enjoying going out and about in the lovely autumn sunshine.  I haven't managed to photograph any foxes but I have managed a deer and bee hives. :)