Dance like no one is watching.
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Thursday, 26 May 2016

Long Post About Lots of Bags!

I was playing around the other day with a bit of freehand machine embroidery, and I created this portrait.  There was something about it that I liked, but I was a bit stuck on what to do with it.  I thought I could turn it into a brooch but thought I might feel a bit too 'arty' wearing it; so I made a bag.

I used some more of the scrap linen fabric that was leftover from underlining my last make and just attached the felt backed embroidery to the front.

It is a teeny tiny bag!  More of a purse really.

The second bag that I made was mainly using three pairs of old jeans.  I appliqued the front of the bag by cutting out random boat and wave shapes and sewing them onto a plain cotton backing.

The bag is lined with fabric from a duvet cover.  I had a bit leftover after using it a few years ago to back a quilt

The back of the bag is where I might have gone a bit crazy.  I just wanted to make use of all those pockets!

Pockets in action!

I was happy with the bag, but I had purposely appliqued the shapes quite a way inside the cut line.  This is because those big waves looked far too calm when completed.  Neat - but calm.  The idea was to put the completed bag in the washing machine with a lot of towels and then tumble dry it with dryer balls to agitate, agitate, agitate.  The denim then frays to reveal the white warp (or is it the weft?) threads in the jeans resulting in a lovely white foam crest of the wave. 

The before and after shots.  I love the neatness of the first but there is just something about the drama of the end result that I love.

Finally (if you are still reading!) I made a bag for a friend.  She handed me a bag of sewing notions that she had retrieved from her grandmother's house as they were clearing her belongings; she gave the notions to me as she knew I would make use of them.  I am always honoured when I receive things like this and I wanted to make something in return.  The bag I made is on the left there in the above montage. 

My friend also gave me a few pieces of clothing she no longer wore, and I used the floral fabric from one of her tops for the front of the bag.  The main body of the bag uses the last remnants of black flannel I had after making a dress and a skirt; and the lining is the last of the remaining fabric I had from the pink jacket of my last refashion.   The purple button used for decorative purposes was from my friend's grandmother's lovely button box, pictured top right. 

Phew that's a lot of bags, a lot of links and a lot of photos.  If you have reached the end of all that I applaud you! :)

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

I was about to take photos when I thought, 'I could make a hat as well'.

Is it too much?  Surely not.

I wanted to make an outfit specifically for wearing on the beach this summer.  I sort of had a fifties playsuit mix and match idea going on in my head and decided to make a start on a simple top and shorts.

Only the shorts are from a vintage pattern.  It's 'Woman Easy-Makes' pattern MP.11, which I have redrafted from my earlier version after watching a trouser fitting class on Craftsy.  They now sit very nicely on my natural waist and have more room pretty much everywhere but the hips, which has proved successful... and comfortable!

The back view.

The top is View A, Butterick B6182, which is a modern Lisette pattern and the hat is View B, Burda 7685.  No brand loyalty here!

The entire outfit is underlined with a cream cotton linen.  Time will tell if it will prove to be too layered.  I chose to underline it as I thought I might wear it over a light coloured swimsuit which I didn't want to show through.

I only had two metres of this yellow stripe linen fabric which I purchased some time ago on a trip to Hereford (Doughty's).  As you can see I used it from the top to bottom to place the top and shorts pattern pieces on the straight grain.  The bits you can see uncovered are all that I had left - which is why it was a bit mad this morning to think I could also make a sunhat to match.

It was a tight squeeze fitting it on the leftover pieces - as you can see in the photo above.  

Isn't it typical that my best pattern matching of the stripes is on the back of the hat.  I have taken a photo for posterity as I will not be able to admire my luck skills when worn. :)

Although, as they say, even a stopped clock is right twice a day and so I decided to use the photo above...

... to show that I have a matching line running down the entire ensemble... as long as I always stand like this!

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Butterick B6182

I made a top. View A Butterick B6182 to be exact, which is a Lisette pattern.

I cut a straight size 16UK.  I decided against doing any alterations for my wearable toile because I wanted to see how this loose top would look straight out of the packet.  I had researched how others had made this top and pretty much everyone I read had lengthened it by quite a bit, and initially I thought that I would do the same.  But I pondered this and I questioned whether, in so doing, I would lose some of the design of this top.  It was meant to be cropped and I personally kind of wanted to be true to that.  This all sounds very ernest but I had a problem.  As somone of a certain age and a certain size I am not a regular crop top wearer.  I like to be covered up pretty much and this top is going to eventually be made as part of a two piece and it will be teamed with high waisted shorts for the beach.  Should I make a high waisted skirt to go with this version?  Then I remembered I had this....

It was 99 pence on Ebay - I was the only bidder.  Pretty much welcome to frumpsville but I loved the colour and I loved the pleats.   If I kept it as a dress to wear under my new top I would be midriff mishap free.

I took the sleeves off the dress to make it sleeveless - but I forgot to take a photo of the original sleeves - they were short but they stuck out beneath the top.  Also the neckline was a problem.. 

I didn't want the neckline of the dress to show under the top so I reshaped it - with the help of the Butterick pattern and a french curve.

The altered neckline above.

As you can see it is now nicely hidden away.

Here is a photo of the altered dress.  Not very exciting in its own right but it has an important job to do.

It lets a middle aged woman wear an untucked, cropped top without fear of showing off midriff... matter how crazy she gets. :)

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

It's hard to wrestle with that much polyester.

Following on from my apparent obsession with the colour orange, I found these items in two charity shops on the opposite side of the road from each other. (Inspiration struck so I ended up crossing the road a few times to make the purchases!)  The shirt is a man's 100 percent cotton shirt from 'Animal' and the curtain is 100 percent polyester and from 'Ikea'.

I decided I wanted to make a party dress with a fitted strapless bodice.  The back of the shirt was enough for the centre front of the bodice and, as the bodice I was making had princess seams, the rest of the bodice pieces were easy to fit onto the shirt front and sleeves.

I decided to line the entire dress and placed boning into the bodice lining.   This is the only 'action' shot I have.  This is because the rest of the time I couldn't find my camera under several metres of polyester.  I do not entirely recommend wrestling with polyester, or gathering it for the matter.  I ended up sewing the two curtains together along one of their shorter sides (having taken off their hanging loops).  Then I folded them in half widthways so that the fold would be the bottom of the skirt - so that I didn't have to try to hem such a slippery fabric (have never perfected a rolled hem!).  I then 'attempted' to 'gather' the fabric by running two lengths of long straight stitches along the entire length to trying to pull them into a gather.  Several snapped threads later (which was bound to happen - what was I thinking) I managed to gather the length up enough to be able to fold it in half and then attempt to sew all that bulk to the bodice.  It was not my finest work but...

The finished dress front.

The finished dress back.   I'm happy with it.

I had initially intended to use the original shirt collar for the bodice band, but upon inspection it was quite worn and wasn't quite long enough to be caught in the side seam.

Luckily I had enough leftover fabric and was even able to line it up so that the stripes went along uniformly.

This is the dress inside out to show you the lining.  I managed to avoid hemming the lining by using the selvage edge on the bottom... luckily my calculations as to length worked out for me this time!

The before and after shot.  I think I am over orange now! :)

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Put a Bird on It

After I had completed my princess duvet dress I had some leftover fabric that was proving a bit tricky to use, because of a silly cutting mistake on my part.  If you recall...

I have made some quilt blocks with some of the leftover fabric.  Quilt blocks are great because you can fussy cut the fabric and the original design doesn't have to show up unless you want it to.  I also wanted to try something a little different though and I came up with the idea of making a bird brooch.

It is a mixture of applique using pieces of the leftover fabric together with some hand embroidery for the facial features and feet.  

Here is a picture of the finished dress.  

Here you can hopefully see what pieces I used from the duvet pattern for the bird - remember, I didn't cut up the dress to make the brooch!  I used the fabric I had leftover after making the dress.  It was fun and I definitely ended up with a unique bird brooch!

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!