Friday, 15 January 2016

Oh! You Pretty Things

I've just got back from a few days in Birmingham, staying with a friend I'd lost touch with over 30 years ago, and, thanks to the magic of t'internet, managed to re-connect with last summer.
We had a great time (although with considerably less alcohol than we would have done 30 years ago).
We did lots of walking, eating, chatting, and, with total disregard of my NY resolution to reduce my fabric stash - fabric shopping!
I dragged poor Sherri (a non-stitcher) to the Fancy Silk Store, then to Barry's Fabric Superstore, round and round the Rag Market, before heading back to Barry's again.  Well, you have to check out everywhere before you make a decision.
And it really was a Fabric superstore ...

So difficult to choose - but in the end I restricted myself to four fabrics - a metre each of two neoprenes in a black and white gingham-type check, and a neon-floral on navy, plus two metres each of purple Ponte Roma, and a black embossed jersey.  
The embroidered and bead trims were from a VAST selection of trimmings and haberdashery at the Rag Market.
I have definite plans for all four pieces, and have cut out the black and white check already for another Makers Atelier shell top. Watch this space.
Whilst I'm on the subject of pretty things, and as I haven't posted a photo of gorgeous Gracie yet this year, here she is wearing one of the dresses I made her for Christmas.
It's Guess How Much I Love You fabric from the Creative Sanctuary - and I bought her the book of the same name for Christmas too.  (I think I'd like dresses to go with my books - is that a thing?)
And as a final pretty thing - how about this beautiful Love Heart cookie ...
I've included the 10p coin in the photo so you can see just how big this cookie is - if you're going to have one, have a big one. It was made by my friend Gina in her alter-ego of Apricot and Fig, her new baking business.
We met up for knitting today and she brought one each for us.  They look lovely and if anyone is thinking of sending me a Valentines card (as if!) I'd like one of these instead please.

Actually, I think it would make a brilliant alternative to internet dating. You could carry half a dozen of these about with you with your phone number on the back, and hand them out to would-be suitors.
Just saying.

Oh! You Pretty Things - David Bowie

Friday, 8 January 2016

Cape Fear

A belated Happy New Year.
You'll have worked out that this year's resolution was not "Blog daily!"

Talking of NY resolutions - you may or may not remember that this time last year I resolved not to buy any new clothes - initially for a month, and subsequently extended to two months.   In the end, I am pleased to say that I more or less stuck to it for the year.  Charity shop buys, and boots/shoes didn't count (oh come on, I'm only human) but basically the idea was to make clothes instead of buying them  and specifically, clothes that I'd actually wear day-to-day, as opposed to a succession of ridiculous frocks. 
Over the past 12 months I've bought a jacket and two shirts from charity shops for refashioning, but the only new things I bought were a pair of walking trousers, a zip-up running top, and a net petticoat.  I really don't feel too bad about those, because they are not things I could've/would've made, and anyway, it was my resolution and I made the rules.

I've made tops, t-shirts, skirts, dresses, trousers  - all of which I meant to blog about, but mostly I didn't, but I might one day - and I used a couple of fabrics I'd not tried before - Nani Iro (double gauze) which is lovely - like stitching into a cloud!  And now for the first time - neoprene.
I'd read about a few 'neoprene makes' on various blogs,  and I just wanted to try making something from it myself, to see what it was like.
So, while I was on a trip to Walthamstow market, I bought a metre of this 'less-than-subtle' floral, not really knowing what I was going to do with it -  then I saw the perfect pattern, The Makers Atelier shell dress and top which even listed neoprene in the fabric suggestions.
It was a lovely pattern to use, the only fiddly bit was the diamond shaped gusset that fits under the arm, but it wasn't too tricky, and means the top fits nicely over the shoulders and under the arms.  Any extra time taken to do this is offset by the fact that neoprene doesn't need finishing - so the neckline, sleeves and hem are all left unfinished.
I know the fabric is a bit loud, but I'm pleased with it and I will definitely be using the pattern, and (a more subdued version of) the fabric again, but I might make it a couple of inches longer next time.

My most recent make was on Wednesday when Gina and I had a lovely day sewing at Backstitch near Cambridge.  While Gina got on with making a dress, I started on the April Rhodes Popover Poncho.
It's not a pattern I would normally have considered - you say 'Poncho' and I think this ...

Fortunately there was a grey herringbone version made up in the shop, and when I tried it on I knew that I wanted one.  I used a wool mix coating, in black with a stitched check, for the main fabric, and a fuchsia pink cotton/linen blend for the cowl.  
I didn't get it completed on Wednesday, but I got a long way with it, and I finished it yesterday - and wore it today!
I'm really pleased with it - one of my favourite makes, and I'll definitely be using the pattern again.
But I'm still not happy referring to it as a poncho - I'm calling it a cape.

Cape Fear - Seth Lakeman