Saturday, 12 March 2016

Draped Top

I finally got organised enough to sit down and make something from my lovely birthday present last year!  The Great British Sewing Bee have a book called sew your own wardrobe and it is filled with gorgeous clothes.

I had some time this week so I sat down to make this draped top.

It looked fun and a great light top to wear in the summer.

I was gifted a voucher so I popped off to get some fabric and found this gorgeous orange printed light cotton.

All in all this pattern is quite simple to make - only 3 pieces to cut out which is always a bonus!  Because of the simplistic nature of the top the seams need to be kept quite neat and it is really important to be precise in the measurements.

Anyway - this is the finished piece.  I have to admit I love it and will be making a few more out of this design.

 The only adjustments I would make to the pattern is to make it a little longer - this is great with high waisted things.  But I would like to wear it with some lower cut jeans without showing my stomach!

Has anyone else tried anything from the sewing bee books?  What should I try next???

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Suede love and saying hi

It's been a while!  I've been sticking my head in the books and also stitching away for a fabulous wedding.  Here are the 3 bridesmaids in the dresses I made.

It was really a most beautiful day and the bride looked stunning.

So now I have submitted a few assignments I have returned to the sewing machine for a days chilled out sewing.

Recently I got given some suede scraps to use - for me scraps are teeny tiny bits of fabric that it is hard to decide what to make with.  I guess when you start doing upholstery scraps take on a different meaning because at the end of the suede session I have 3 cushion covers and a new skirt!

It was a totally new experience for me sewing with suede - something I have never tried but I really enjoyed it.  Yes it is not very forgiving - sew in the wrong place and the fabric lives to tell the tale but if you take it slow and steady it is fabulous!

I decided to make a wrap skirt done up with a button - when using a new fabric I thought I wouldn't try to tackle the zip!  I didn't have a pattern so just free-handed some shapes and lay them together until I was happy.

If you want to give suede a try I would suggest getting leather needles as using them made a huge difference to the sewing experience.  Other than it is much the same as usual just take it slow and steady!

So here it is ;

It is just an all round fun skirt - good to dress up and good to dress down.

I made the top too but more on that on another post!

Hope you're all having fun sewing


Monday, 31 August 2015

Purple Trousers!

I finally finished off my trousers!  I was gifted a pattern and some fabric for my birthday and started sewing at the beginning of the summer!  A couple of months later and other projects seem to have taken over so they were still sitting there.  But now they are done I'm pretty pleased.

I used a vogue pattern and the trousers are quite fitted which was a first for me.  Usually I go for baggy clothes to sew that have plenty of gathers of pleats which makes fitting easier.  All was reasonably simple until I got to the crotch and the zip.  That stage required a few unpicking sessions to break through it but I made it out the other end.

I did make it a bit more difficult for myself by using a strong and clear striped fabric.  My pattern matching is far from perfect and I found myself thinking of May and Patrick on the Sewing Bee when I spotted my errors.  If there was a camera in my sewing room it would have been zooming in on my mis-matching but luckily for me there isn't and overall the mistakes don't look to glaringly obvious.

A bit of under stitching
I learnt to do under-stitching which was a great for me and I was so happy with how easily the pockets lay flat against the trousers afterwards.

I really enjoyed following a pattern again although it did take me a little while to get into it.  I have become so used to making things up myself that I had to remind myself to slow down and do things step by step.

I really like the fit and I am glad I added the extra fabric for the flare - it just gives them a little something extra and especially with the purple!

 So what do you think?

I love the shape and love the fact I can add or take away from the flare.  I also haven't had a pair of trousers that fits me so well in a long time. Do share your trouser makes below!

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Having a little sort out

I can be quite a chaotic person - I blame it on being vaguely creative - but my sewing room tends to become a focus for my chaos and every now and again needs a really good sort out.  Having just finished a crazy long week I decided to take my days off as opportunities to hibernate and nest a little bit.  So I found myself digging through all of my boxes and organizing everything.  I was quite proud of my sensible head that I had on as I even managed to throw away scraps of fabric that I know I will not be able to use!

All of the organizing left me with a lovely spare room with neatly hanging fabrics and lots of space to cut out.  Now that I have a dog I find myself sewing downstairs with him a lot more so even though I use the spare room as my holding room for fabric my machine is more often than not sitting on the dining room table.  Inspire by my tidy room I set to work to make a cover for my machine.  I wanted something that makes the machine look less abandoned when I leave it downstairs but also can hold little bits and pieces that I need when I'm sewing.

I was recently given this fab fabric which seemed perfect for a sewing machine cover!

So here it is - I didn't quilt it like some of the amazing covers you see on pinterest but for my purpose it really is good enough. 

The pockets on the sides are really handy for scissors, thread, tape measure and pins - all those bits that would just lie on the table looking untidy otherwise.

And there you have it - much tidier and tucked away without any obvious wires or bits and pieces hanging around.
I'll never be a minimalist but hopefully this will look just a little more like it belongs!

Monday, 15 June 2015

Liebster Award

What on earth I hear you ask?  Well I have been nominated for a Liebster Award which is basically a nod from a fellow blogger to your blog.  It kind of reminds me of a massive chain letter of bloggers passing on a big thumbs up to their favourite bloggers.

So this post is going to be a little less about my projects and a little more about some other bloggers that I enjoy.  So thanks to Budget Food Mummy for my nomination.

For a bit of fun I have to answer some questions suggested by the nominator as part of the blog post.
Here goes . . .

Why did you start a blog?
Because I love sewing and I love writing and I love talking - put it all together and you have a good idea of why it makes me tick!
What is your dream job? 
It involves people, talking, maybe some writing - it changes regularly but I love seeing resolution - problems solved, conflicts reduced and people free to move on and live their lives - chuck some sewing in and I'm super happy.
If you could visit any country in the world, where would you go? 
South Africa to visit friends and family
What is something people would be surprised to know about you? 
I actually think most people know most things about me - as I mentioned already I like talking!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Hmm I struggle to plan consistently for five minutes!?! With my husband and adventuring our way through life I think probably sums it up as neatly as I can when it comes to plans.
Who is your inspiration?
Too many people - I have an amazing family and some awesome friends who inspire me day by day to stay strong, dream big and love with all I have.
Top 3 films? 
I can't choose - I like everything on different days - is this post starting to demonstrate I'm not good at being pinned down? 
What is your most prized possession? 
What is your favourite post you have written?
Because I still love that skirt! 
What advice would you give to a fellow blogger who has just started? 
Only do it because you love it - don't watch your follower numbers too closely - use it like a journal of who you are and how you feel.  Your blog has to be first and foremost for you!

Well that is quite enough questions for me to be honest! Here are some bloggers who I enjoy!

Well that's 10 - so if you fancy it carry on and nominate some of your favourite blogs as a shout out to all the work they put in.  
10 questions felt a bit long for me so here are 5 for you to answer

1 - Why do you blog?
2 - Favourite Sunday afternoon pass time
3 - Dinner party meal of choice
4 - Best Crafting tip
5 - Favourite blog post

Have fun :)  

Friday, 12 June 2015

Stitching gifts

Life seems to be super busy right now!  I have to admit I love it but sometimes you just need to STOP!  I think sewing is the perfect thing for that!
Shut away in whichever corner you choose to sew in and happily crafting and creating.  And then at the end of your YOU time you have a finished product to show for it!  Seriously what could be better.

Recently my projects seem to be going in bits as I just have snippets of time to work on each one.  My trousers are all cut out and ready to go but no actual sewing has happened on them yet.  I've done a little bit of repair on the dog bed (eeek my new puppy is super strong!) not that you would tell it from this cute pic!

And finally I sat down to make someone a little thank you gift - nothing massive but something small.  I used two things that I have made before but adapted them slightly.
For the eye mask I followed the instructions here but just added an extra layer in.  Instead of just using two layers of fabric and a layer of felt I added in some wadding.  I then quilted lines across the mask before continuing with the steps where you add the bias binding.  I have to say it certainly adds a bit more luxury and comfort to the finished product.
 Then I continued to make a slightly larger scale rice warming pack than this one here.  You follow the basic instructions that you find on that post but increase the size of the pack.  Once I had added a third of the rice I stitched it into a little pocket and then repeated.  Then I edged in bias binding which just finished it off neatly and gave a bit of continuity to the gift as it matches the eye mask,
All in all I was pretty happy with the finished look and really enjoyed the time out I got to make it in the midst of a busy week!
 Let me know the projects you have been relaxing with recently too! Just share in the comments and I will pop across and check out what you have been up to!

Friday, 29 May 2015

Upcycled Jeans

I am a great lover of charity shops but every now and then the bargain price tag and time constraints add together to equal hasty decisions.  I bought a pair of jeans over a year ago in a charity shop for about £3.  I jumped at them because they were flares and I can't resist a good pair of flairs.  Only problem was they were a bit short and when I washed them they got a bit shorter! So after a year of never wearing them I finally decided that skinny jeans don't have to be floor length so a bit of a conversion was in order.

So this is where I started - a fab pair of jeans but way too short for me!
 I turned them inside out and unpicked the hems of each leg.  This is really important as skipping this step leaves an untidy finish.
Once I did that I marked out where I wanted the trouser leg to be.  At this point I measured so that I took the same amount of fabric off on the inside leg of both legs and then again the outside leg of both legs.

And then comes the moment of being incredibly grateful for my overlocker.  On jobs like this it makes things so simple and so much more professional but in half the time.  If you don't have an overlocker you will need to use an overlock stitch on your machine.  A french seam is not going to work on heavy denim and certainly not for skinny jeans.
At this point I tried them on and made a couple of adjustments.  
 Then re-fold the hems back up exactly as they were.  The denim here held the creases perfectly so not measuring required I just followed the lines that were already drawn out for me,  Then I sealed off the overlocked stitch at the top of each seam.
And there you have it a new pair of jeans that I can actually wear!  Perfect with some ballet pumps . . 

 or a chunky pair of Doc Martens.

 As much as I hate to let a good pair of flares go I know that there are plenty more charity shop treasures to be had and these trousers will get much more use.
 I love a good upcycle :) 

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Cardigan upcycled from a skirt!

This week has been a slow sewing week for me - filled with good intentions after a lovely birthday weekend I came down with a cold and resigned myself to making it through work and settling on the sofa when I was at home.  That said I did continue to work on the project using my Grandmas' old skirt.
 She didn't want it anymore and kindly gave it to me to use as fabric.  I loved the swirls and the general print and originally thought I would just make it into a skirt that fitted me.  But then I saw someone sporting a fabulous jacket made from a similar pattern and was immediately inspired.

I lay out my fabric - trimming the edges and the waist band to see how much use-able fabric I had left.  Despite my grand ambitions to do something structured I realised fast that I needed to change that plan because skirts actually aren't that big.

I decided instead to go for a smaller version of the slouch cardigan that you can check out here

I followed the pattern from my original cardigan but made it about 25" by 35".  Once I tried it on I realised I needed to take out some of the length because the sleeves had way too much fabric in them for being such a cropped cardigan.  I snipped away and ended up with this!

So easy - so slouchy and so comfy - which if I am really honest is super important for me when it comes to clothes.  I've already worn it to work, out for a coffee and just as a quick throw on jacket as I head out the door when the suns out.

This is why I love upcycling - an old skirt that is no longer wanted and doesn't fit turned into something useful, wearable and funky.  

Next project has to be something more ambitious but I have to fearing ruining some of my gorgeous fabric.  Watch this space to see what happens next . . .

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Birthday Love . . .

I have become another year older and in celebration of that fact so many friends and family have showered me with love.  Some of that love came in the form of gifts and I have to admit that if I didn't know it already I certainly know now that sewing must occupy a fair amount of my conversations.  There was a certain sewing theme around many of the gifts I received so I thought I would do a little show case of the loveliness.  I also gave the blog a little spruce up to mark the occasion - what do you think?
First off are the lovely patterns that I was given this year - so exciting to be able to use these for many years to come!

 I now have such a super array of patterns to choose from I am really not sure where to start.  The sewing bee was absolutely right up there in the best programmes to watch for me and I am just as impressed with the book.  A huge amount of patterns from the very simple to quite complex is crammed into the book - in fact the only thing missing was a pair of woman's trousers.  How very convenient to have also been gifted a lovely pattern for them!  I have the Prima pattern for trousers already but really wanted to make a more fitted pair as well.  This pattern is perfect for just that.

The shirt dress

So after posting a dress out of a old shirt that I made on facebook a lot of people commented so I thought I'd share the process.  The idea came from seeing a similar picture on the page below.

So I started off with a mans shirt - this idea works great for recycling as all the parts of a shirt that wear and look old like neck and sleeves you cut off leaving behind perfectly good fabric.  As I'm quite tall (5ft8")  I would wear mine as a tunic rather than a full dress so you want to ensure the shirt you choose is a size that means it is as long as you want it.  If its too long that's easy as you just turn it up but too short is harder to fix!

For this you will need a shirt, a measuring tape, pins, thread, scissors and a sewing machine/needle.  A machine will make it a lot quicker but there is no reason why you can't do this by hand.