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

Saturday, 7 January 2017

2017 - Trying out new things means crafting injuries!

Yeah, title might be a tad dramatic!

A while ago I purchased some punch pliers and fancied trying them out.  It's just a pair of pliers that you can use to make holes and attach eyelets or studs into fabric.  So I started simply with a gift tag.

I actually made two, and then let myself loose trying to put the eyelet in. 

Firstly, I didn't push hard enough with the pliers whilst making the initial hole.  This meant that I had to cut away the fabric by hand instead and could I find my tiny sharp embroidery scissors?  No, I could not.  So did I wait until I could find my small embroidery scissors?  Nope - attacked the hole with my dressmaking shears and lo and behold ripped a big hole into the top of the first gift tag.

This put me a bit out of sorts but I continued to try and put the eyelet in as practice and, distracted by the previous mistake and my son asking me what I was doing I managed to put the eyelet onto the pliers the wrong way round, applied pressure and it jammed fast onto the pliers pin.

I asked Mr HoffiCoffi for advice and he went to get a small pair of normal pliers to prise the eyelet back off my pliers so, of course, I waited patiently for him to come back with his pliers as the eyelet had split slightly resulting in sharp metal edges sticking out.  Oh no, wait, I'm telling that wrong.  What I, of course, actually did was start picking away at the eyelet with my fingers resulting in a thin cut along the back of my middle finger when my hand inevitably slipped.  I'm not doing New Years Resolutions anymore!

I did manage to get the hang of it on the second gift tag, which is photographed above and I decided I had better get straight back onto the horse so to speak and I made a bunch of tags.

Lovingly (plasteronthe)handmade. :)

Happy New Year.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

I craft for me - I craft for you - to say "thank you!" ...Part 1

I purchased these balls of 100 per cent cotton yarn in a sale in John Lewis in the summer, and I used them to knit dishcloths.

I managed to make four dishcloths from each ball of yarn and, using my Inkle loom, I wove braids to tie them up into bundles.

I sold one bundle on Ebay.  I kept one bundle to use myself.  I gave the third bundle to a friend who gave me cooking apples from her tree....

 ...and I used those apples to make my family an apple pie with a caramel sauce.

The last bundle I gave to another friend who handed me a glut of damsons from her garden. 

I used the damsons to make a jam...

...half a jar of which I used to fill...

...this cake for my family.

I wish every day was like a Milly-Molly-Mandy story. :)

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Aquatic Knitting

I've got my knitting head on at the moment.  More specifically, I've got my fair isle knitting head on.  I've just finished this hat and top set in which I combined...

... the smallest size in this (70's?) pattern purchased in a bundle from Ebay...

... with a design from this book.  This book was published in 1985 and I purchased it on my last summer holiday for the silly price of 99 pence in an Oxfam bookshop.

The yarn used is acrylic.  The orange and blue I have had in my stash forever - no idea how they got there - and the white yarn was a massive ball purchased in a charity shop for £1.99 I think - and I've still got loads left.

The total cost came to well under a fiver, and I will be donating it to charity.

Linking up with the vintage pattern pledge.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Maudella 5676 and Simplicity K1873 Mash-Up

I made this dress by tweaking two patterns that I already had in my stash.

Maudella 5676, which I bought in a bundle of patterns from Ebay - probably paying about £1 per pattern.  Look at those mutton sleeves - it took all of my powers to stop myself making that sleeve!

And Cynthia Rowley K1873 for Simplicity.  I got this pattern with a magazine.

Firstly, I used the Maudella pattern to give myself a guide to bust gathers on a high bodice without darts.  I then drafted side panels to bring the sides down to my natural waist - using my French curve to draw the same curve on the bodice.

The skirt and sleeves are the Cynthia Rowley pattern.

I adore these sleeves.  They are a slight labour of love because they are shaped with five darts per sleeve and, as the bodice is fully lined, that means making twenty small darts.  However I like them and remember, it could have been worse, it could have been mutton sleeves!

The back of the dress with an invisible zip - which I alllmost got to be invisible! :)

And a nice deep handsewn hem.  I've said before that I am terrible at deep hems on a-line/circular skirts but I had a fortuitous moment on making this.  The skirt back pattern piece is very wide due to the pleats and I had a quite narrow width of fabric - which meant that the very bottom of the pattern fell off the fabric - leading to the bottom of the hem falling straight down on the fabric as opposed to continuing the a-line, which meant that it sat nicely when folded up.  I've no idea if that makes any sense - but it worked for me.

The reason for the narrow width is because I made this dress out of a pair of curtains I purchased in a charity shop a while ago for five pounds.  I used the lining to line the bodice and, as I purchased the invisible zip for a couple of pounds I think, I reckon I made the entire dress (patterns and all) for about £14 if you include the £5.99 I probably paid for the magazine the Cynthia Rowley pattern came with.

Now mutton sleeves... I think I'm going to have to make some you know... :)

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Simplicity 8124

I was out shopping with a friend the other weekend and we kept on seeing in the shops some lovely off the shoulder floaty tops.  I remembered that I had seen a pattern for such a top on the Simplicity website, but wasn't sure of the pattern number.  I went home and searched for it and it was pattern of the week.  So I got it for half price!  What a happy coincidence.  (Cynthia Rowley Simplicity 8124)

Well, as I pushed the boat out on the pattern I also had to be extravagant with my fabric choice - so this top is made out of another friend's old duvet cover.  :)

That combined with the fact that I teamed it with my refashioners' skirt made me and my purse very happy.

As you can see.

I took these photos when on a mini break in this gorgeous cottage on the Wales/England border.  It was a very relaxing break...

...sunshine...views... of sheep.  What more could I ask for. :)

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Handmade On Holiday

It is the end of the summer holidays, and I am about to go back to early mornings and hairnets - so I am cheering myself up with the photos I took of our main holiday this year.  In beautiful West Wales.

The photo above was taken on a wonderfully sunny day at a beach that is often included in lists of the most beautiful beaches in the world...

Barafundle Bay.

It was a perfect opportunity to wear my beach set.   Although I would be lying if I said the weather was this glorious for the full week!

We did have rain.  Here I am cuddled up in our 'sun' tent on the beach with my daughter, and lots of tea and hot chocolate!  I am wearing my seagull skirt which proved quite appropriate.. look who came for a nose once the weather had cleared up a bit.

We didn't just have rain though...

...there was also wind!  This is one of the few photos my daughter took of me that day that isn't showing too much leg!

This was at Angle beach and I am wearing an old favourite, a floral skirt I made out of a curtain that seems to find its way into my limited suitcase every summer.  I think it is my favourite thing I have ever made and I am in love with it still.  Plus it has my favourite colours in it so I always seem to buy shoes that match! :)

The changeable weather didn't bother me that much as we stayed in such a beautiful cottage it was hard to leave it every day.

This was the view into the garden.

And a clematis arch lead you into a summerhouse.  Bliss.

Also, look at this book I found on a shelf in the cottage - just asking to be read by the fire on the rainy day we had (I can remember it was the rainy day because there I am wearing the seagull skirt!)  The book is called 'The Art of Needlcraft' and the envelope inside advertising a tobacconist must have been used as a bookmark for many years.

Anyway, you can see why I am sad to get back to normal daily life now the summer is over.  The clothes, the cottage, the coast, the collectibles...

and I forgot to mention... the CAKES!!!!

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Simplicity Sewing Challenge and Refashioners 2016 all rolled into one!

Well, this has taken me a while!  The thing is why not stretch yourself by trying to combine two challenges in one.  I am entering the Simplicity Sewing Challenge and The Makery's Refashioners 2016 Challenge with the same skirt. :)

I started out with Simplicity pattern 1458...

and four pairs of jeans.  (To clarify - the Simplicity challenge requires you to use this pattern and The Refashioners' requires you to refashion jeans.)

I knew from the outset that I didn't want a patchwork look for my skirt but wasn't sure how easy it would be to find the same colour denim in sufficient quantity in a charity shop.  Turned out I was very lucky!  In the first shop I went into they had a whole rack of size 12 jeans, unworn, that they couldn't seem to sell.

You can see from this label that they had reduced them from £3 to £1.50.  As a rule I don't like to cut up clothes that aren't damaged but they had a whole rack of these, all size 12 that weren't selling, and I was worried they might end up being recycled anyway.  So I bought four.

I traced out just the skirt section of the dress pattern.  I knew I wanted a very tight fit so I cut out size 16 regular, when I am actually a size 16 c urvy (I am not fooling myself!). 

I trimmed the top of the tracing to fit my waist measurement.

This was easy to do as the waist was clearly marked on the pattern.  I then traced a slight curve which a waistline needs to sit nicely.

I made up a toile and I had a lovely A-line skirt but I wanted to do a bit more to the pattern (and the jeans!) than that.

So I traced around my pattern pieces again - because I wanted to keep the original skirt pattern for future use.

I had marked on the toile when wearing where my hips started to curve back inwards, and I used these measurements to mark a curve on the toile (just to double check the fit) and the copy pattern.

(I know - my drawing of the skirts are quite something aren't they.  Completely self taught in drawing I am!)

Don't forget to curve the other way as well, as in the photo above, or you'll end up with a sticky out bit where the fabric abruptly changes direction.

I also lengthened the skirt and carried on the curve and I ended up with a pattern piece that looked like this...

The straight line is the original line of the dress, the curve is where I have altered the pattern.

The beauty of a princess seam is that it is easier to fit the pattern pieces onto the leg of a pair of jeans.

... Although it is still a squeeze.  I found out that they would fit easier onto the back legs - which were a little wider - but I did put some pieces on the front legs and had a few odd seams because it meant that I could spare one of the pairs of jeans from being cut up.  I will donate these back to a charity shop with the original £5 tag on them to show they are unworn and hope they can get some money for them.

So, I had a lovely fitted skirt with a cute kick out at the bottom - but I wanted to use some of the original jean furniture.  (I am guessing how handles on doors are door furniture then zips, rivets and pockets on jeans are jean furniture, or is that just me?)  Soooooo, I decided I wanted a high high waist using the original jeans.  Sorry, this is going on a bit, you aren't late for an appointment are you?

I drafted a high waistband for the front of the skirt, and split it into three to coincide with the princess seam lines, and I used the zips from the three jeans I cut up to make the waist detail.

Like so.

I kept the back waistband as two pieces as I liked the lines made by the stitching from the back of the jeans.  I also left a teeny tiny bit of the pockets on as well.  The zip is exposed because it cost me more than the jeans and I wanted to see it!

You will have noticed that I kept some of the piping detail from the original pattern on the front of the skirt.  I used a piece of scrap fabric I bought on ebay in a bag of scraps for 99 pence I think.

I made quite chunky piping hence why it is just on the front of the skirt.  It would not be very comfortable to sit on if it were on the back.

The finishing details included a scant bias bound hem on the skirt. 

And I was done!

Time to sit back and smell the flowers.

Phew. :)