Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Blue and Green

Gorgeous Gracie ....
will be spending her first Christmas in Ireland with her Daddy's family, so I thought I would make her something appropriate to wear - and what better than an emerald green Christmas frock.

I used the Spencer dress pattern from Minikrea which I got on a recent visit to Raystitch.  The link is for the older girls' pattern, but mine is for 6months to three years.
Sometimes I cut patterns and sometimes I trace, and as I thought I might make more of these as she gets older, I traced the smallest size.  I managed to squeeze it out of half of metre of a cotton linen mix and some 'Owl'  christmas fabric for the lining.

Sorry about the creasing and the tacking - I wanted to get it photographed before the light went, but I have hemmed it now.  
I wanted it to be reversible, so instead of buttonholes on the shoulders, I used a press stud, and then sewed on buttons 'for decoration only' - red shiny hearts on the blue owl fabric, and self-covered buttons in the owl fabric on the green.

Being two layers, it should be fairly warm, and I'm going to get her a T shirt to wear underneath - maybe blue and white stripes?
Anyway, hopefully she'll like it, she's a very happy girl
Well, all except when she's forced to watch football with Uncle Rob!
Look at that grumpy face!  I don't think she likes football.  

Blue and Green - Van Morrison (talking of grumpy faces!)

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

It's Been Awhile

Blimey - over a month - no excuses, I just didn't get around to it.  I have a little bit of sewing though.  I made this dress ...
My second Merchant and Mills Factory dress.  As my last one was very much on the loose side, I decided to cut a size smaller.  It's still very loose, but that's the style and I don't think I'd be tempted to go any smaller - I just checked the pattern, and this is a size 12 - and to be honest, its a number of years, and even more pieces of Millionaire's Shortbread (other calorific cakes are available), since I would consider myself a size 12.

I made this version in a dark blue lightweight denim - not so light as to be a chambray, but lightish, and soft.  Its very comfy and easy to wear and will work in all seasons - cool in summer, and in the autumn and winter I'll still wear it but with long sleeve Tshirts underneath.
Anyway, I love it, and its probably my favourite 'what shall I wear today' dress.  I was therefore a bit miffed the other day when I caught the pocket on a door fitting and ripped it - not just the seam but the fabric itself.  Horror!  Fortunately, however,  as it was near the pocket, and due to the voluminous shape, I was able to take it in a smidge and the rip has disappeared inside.

I'm trying to think what else I've done - I've had my sofas recovered and while they were away I had the lounge decorated and the carpet cleaned.  Given the size of my flat, it meant that for ten days I was either busy in the garden during the day, or holed up in my bedroom in the evenings.  No tele - but I did watch DVDs and so I spent the week eating dinner whilst lying on my bed and catching up with Season 2 of Ripper Street.  Yes, I know, everyone else has done Season 3.
Mum and Dad have been down for a visit, so we met up with a few family and old friends, and did some more gardening.

Oh, and I've started running again, after many years of abstinence.  I suggested it to my friend Jill who I was sure would talk me out of it, but surprisingly, she was up for it too, so two or three times a week we get out and walk a bit/run a bit until we've had enough. Not sure my knees entirely approve, but we are taking it steady, and so far, both of us have made it back home again.

It's Been Awhile - Staind

Friday, 11 September 2015

Nick of Time

During August, Karen of 'Did You Make That' launched the Made Up Initiative.  You can read all about it HERE, but basically it involved bloggers/stitchers, making a donation to National Literacy Trust, and then pledging to make a particular item, big or small, by Friday 10th September.  My pledge was to make a dress for the Christening of my great niece Grace.  The Christening isn't until October, but  as I am notorious for leaving things to the last minute, I thought that this pledge was ideal for me.
Naturally, I still left it to the last minute, but I got it finished in the nick of time for the deadline, and I have to say that I am absolutely delighted with it.
It's my second Mortmain, made from a stretch cotton, in a kind of vintage-y looking print, which is just the perfect weight for this dress.  The bodice is lined in a beautiful crushed raspberry taffeta, gifted to me by my chiropractor's Mum, believe it or not (thanks Catherine's Mum!)
The only changes to the pattern from last time was a very slight adjustment to the back bodice which was just a tad too long, resulting in a little tuck above the waistband.  Not, I have to say, something that would EVER have bothered me in RTW, if I'd even noticed it.  But, one of the main benefits of making your own, is to get the fit as near to perfect as possible.  So I shaved 1cm off the back bodice, tapering to nothing at the side seams.  

The only other change was that I added in-seam pockets - I always thought the Mortmain called for pockets.  And, just to prove it, here I am looking smug about them.
Thanks for organising this Karen - a great initiative for a good cause - and it made me get myself in gear for once!

Nick Of Time - Bonnie Raitt

Friday, 21 August 2015

Baby Wants a New Dress

My niece telephoned a week or so ago to say that Baby Grace had asked for another dress, suitable for the hot weather (she's very advanced for her age).   I had a quick rummage through my fabric stash and found something suitable.  Well, I say suitable, it was nice and soft, so I was prepared to overlook the fact that it was a little bit on the garish side.  I used the free Made by Rae dress that I used here so it only took about half a metre.  I cut it out that evening, stitched it the following morning, and posted it off that afternoon.  

The very next day I got a text message with a photo, showing Grace wearing it.  That's better than any 'Prime' service!
I did suggest that the fabric would be suitable if she was planning a Carribean cruise, but she seems happy that it's bright and cheerful.  

Baby Wants A New Dress - The Danny Johnson Band

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Pink Shirt

I've been following the 'Refashioners 2015'.  You can read all about it here, but basically the idea is that you take a charity shop/donated/recycled shirt and refashion it into a different garment.  There have been some really innovative designs, so inventive that you'd never recognise them for what they were.  
I quite fancied having a go at this challenge myself, but what actually triggered a burst of activity, was the fact that my boiler had it's annual service yesterday, and I had to clear the entire cupboard, including a suitcase that contains out-of-season clothes.  I had a look to see what was stashed in there, and  came across a pink shirt that originally came from a posh menswear shop, but that I bought (apparently unworn) from a charity shop a couple of years ago, with the vague intention of making it into an upmarket painting apron.  Well, that never happened, so I decided to combine my fancy for a refashion, with my current love for the Sorbetto and here's the result -
Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of the original shirt, but I guess we all know what a man's shirt looks like.  

Anyway, I kept the original hems and button stand, but cut the neckline, armholes and side seams from the Sorbetto pattern, ensuring that the top button was going to end up in the right place.  The sleeves were quite full, and there was plenty of fabric for cutting bias binding.  Having done all the cutting, I stitched the front darts, resewed the side seams, and stitched on the binding. 
I'm really pleased with it, and I'll be keeping an eye out for more fancy shirts.

Pink Shirt - American Suitcase

Sunday, 16 August 2015

I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles ...

It's the last day of the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy, so if you haven't been - too late, you've missed it.
Anyway, in case you did, here's a little taster -
Oh, you'd better look away now if you are prone to migraines, but I thought the stairs were fab
and I think the walls must have been painted especially for me - I was tempted to paint my lounge in exactly this pink, what do you think?

Obviously, with such a huge amount of diverse art to see,  there was obviously some that I didn't like (maybe because I'm too thick to understand it)
but there were loads of pieces that I loved ...

and some pieces that made me smile ...
But the work that I had read about, and made me determined to see the Summer Exhibition this year, was The Humument by Tom Phillips.  A kind of up-market altered book, this was art created from a book called A Human Document by W.H. Mallock, and purchased by the artist for threepence in 1966.  He has been working on it for nearly 50 years, and continues to revise and develop it.
I could have spent hours looking at, and reading, the separate pages - and the idea was very inspiring. I bet there were a few exhibition visitors who went home with the idea of creating something similar.

Even if, like me, they probably never get around to it.

Oh, and the title for this post is taken from a light installation in the 'pink room'

I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles - by West Ham supporters everywhere.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

1, 2, 3

I've just discovered the Colette Sorbetto pattern - a free download from HERE.  I actually printed the pattern off a while ago, but rediscovered it in one of my 'pattern mountains' so thought I'd give it a go.  I've been really pleased with the Colette Laurels that I've made and this looked to be an easy make - and it was.
The first one was cut from a seersucker gingham in red which was intended just to check the fit, but I've been wearing it lots
As you can see, it's a simple vest shape, with a front pleat and bias trimmed neck and armholes.  I used my bias maker - such a brilliant little gadget. My trusty and much-used overlocker had finally given up the ghost  (it's since been replaced with a shiny new model) so I used french seams to neaten the inside.  A check of other versions on the internet suggested that the darts might be a bit high, and I thought I'd want it a bit longer too, so I slashed across the pattern between the armholes and the darts, and added 5cm there, both front and back.

I was so pleased with it, I had a look to see what other suitable 'Sorbetto' fabric I had, and that resulted in this version
and then on my birthday at the Creative Sanctuary sew-in, I cut out my third version, and finished it when I got home
Look at that terrific pleat placement - deckchairs slap bang in the middle!  Actually, I can't claim any credit for that, if Jane hadn't mentioned it, I'd have just cut it out without thinking about it, so thanks Jane.  I think this is my favourite version - and I'm very tempted to get the same fabric in pink too.

I've also made a 4th version for my friend Jill, in a fresh green and white floral print, but I forgot to take a photo before I gave it to her.

I can thoroughly recommend the pattern as a simple and quick summer top - there will definitely be more.

1, 2, 3 - Len Barry