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

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Sixties Dress

I am continuing to work my way through sewing some amazing charity shop dress patterns, and this week I tackled what I believe to be the oldest in the pack - copyright 1968.

The material I used was from my Pembrokeshire holiday haul.  A duvet cover I purchased for a pound.  I chose this material as I specifically liked the idea of tackling a bit of fabric placement and the bottom panel of the cover gave me that challenge.

I pondered whether to fussy cut the sleeves to also include the broad green panel that is on the bottom of the dress, but after considering the issue I thought it would be better to line the sleeves up with the fabric drop so that they blended into the sides more.  I have a tendency to over embellish and I thought too much green panelling would be overpowering.  I'm pleased how exactly the fabric panels match up - I hope you can see the match in the photo above.

I love the raglan sleeves but they did present a problem when it came to inserting a lining to the front and back of the dress - something that the original pattern did not have.  In the end I caught the lining at the neck edge, sewed the side seams independently from the main fabric and then slip stitched the lining to the sleeve seam.

Originally I meant to make the pattern loose - like the light blue dress shown below - but when I put it on it was just too tent like.  It would have been ok had I been able to shorten it and wear it as a tunic but then I would have lost the green panel that was the main reason I had chosen this fabric.  Dilemma.
In the end I decided to make a casing, which is actually used in the longer dress above with the yellow ribbon.  There was a slight trepidation in doing so as I had already attached the lining and was sure that I would accidentally keep catching the main fabric as it bunched up underneath but luck was on my side and it came out the other end ok!

Finally, just to prove that I do wear my handmade creations outside of  the house, here I am at a soiree wearing the said dress.  To match the dress I had a teeny tiny snowball cocktail as I remember my mother drinking it only at Christmas time many years ago.  Good job I only tried a little bit as I definitely prefer the dress to the drink!

Monday, 12 November 2012

Knitted Bunting and Craft Fair Mark II

I had an idea to knit letter bunting but didn't want to reinvent the wheel so I had a look on Ravelry for a free pattern.  I found a lovely one but I still completely changed it!  I wanted my bunting to be smaller than the original design so I re-drafted the letters and cast on a smaller amount of stitches.

I really like the cream and orange combo.  I would like to say it was chosen as I am an edgy crafter who likes to push the boundries on 'traditional' christmas colours - but the truth was I couldn't find any red wool in my stash! :)

I had a second attempt at a craft fair on the weekend.  The table I was provided was quite small but I managed to get pretty much everything on it.  I have been working on adding height to my display and I was quite pleased with the result.  So have I managed to 'Pay for Pembrokeshire'?  Umm, nope.  The stall cost £15 to hire and I made..... £13!  But - in my usual twisted logic - I did get 2 free cups of tea from the organisers which they were selling to punters for £1 each so that makes it up to £15 ∴ I broke even!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Owl Cushion

Following my recent post about a charity shop blanket, I have summoned up the courage to cut it up and this is the first cushion made from the fabric.  I was tempted to keep the blanket as it was but I am lucky enough to already own several lovely blankets so didn't really have the need for another. 

I used the same owl pattern I drafted for the party bags I made for my daughter's sleepover.  The only difference this time being that I embroidered french knots for the eyes instead of using buttons, as I am not keen on buttons on cushions - I always think they are going to be uncomfortable!

Like a math's exam - I like to show my 'workings out'!  This is the reverse of the cushion and I try and keep my work as neat as possible.  I did throw caution to the wind though and didn't cut the embroidery thread between the french knots used for highlighting the eyes.  This might mean that you deduct marks... :)

Gratuitous close up.  Can I just say however I do not recommend two layers of fabric backed with fusible web and a thick layer of felted wool when machine sewing a blanket stitch.  My sewing machine is no longer speaking to me.  It managed two owls fine and was so gummed up by the third set of wings it stopped playing.  I have left it alone to sulk and hopefully it will be happier tomorrow!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Monster! (Too late for Halloween!)

Scary?  It's funny what speaks to you when you look at a pair of shorts bought from a charity shop for 50 pence.

The pocket was just crying out for teeth!

But the scariest thing is that there is another pocket!  I'm thinking another monster friend....

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Is it too early?

"Ding dong merrily on high..."

I don't want to say the word 'Christmas'.  Particularly when there are no mince pies in the house and I am not sure yet whether the advent calender is in the attic or the airing cupboard but I have been making decorations and show them I must.

 Always nice to make your own printed fabric.  I had the, admittedly, not so groundbreaking idea to mix my matt fabric paints with my silver fabric paint and lo and behold, an angel appeared... sorry.  Lo and behold, I got sparkly coloured fabric paint.

A bit of stuffing, some gorgeous vintage buttons and jobs a good un.

Although this was my first one.  Note the button at the top of the hanging tab.  This is because numpty here managed to cut the hanging loop apart when I was cutting out the bird near the seam line.  It was a classic 'how thick am I?' moment!

Friday, 26 October 2012

Ice Cream Cupcakes

I realise I am probably bandwagon jumping with these.  The recipe was featured on the television a few weeks ago so I'm sure they are going around the blogosphere a lot.  They were so cute however I couldn't resist having a go.

They are just my usual vanilla cupcakes baked in a flat bottomed ice cream cone (who knew that would work!) topped with piped vanilla buttercream icing and half a flake. 

They would be easy to do if it were not for the fact that they are a little top heavy and kept falling over.  Took them down to a school fundraiser and they were gone before I could try one so I can't vouch for the taste!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Can I keep one? Pleeeeeaase!

During my summer holidays I purchased a 'scrap bag' of vintage fabric and trims from a lovely little supplies shop in Pembrokeshire.  On opening it last week I felt a little dismayed as to what I could make as they were all quite small pieces of fabric.  I'm not sure why I was surprised at this as the scrap bag only cost £4!

On pondering I realised I could make some small clutch bags using a tried a trusted pattern.  (In evidence may I refer you to Exhibit A and Exhibit B!)   

I have managed to make five of these bags using fabric only sourced from the scrap bag, the fabric from the charity shop sprees on holiday, fabric given to me by a friend's mother and my charity shop tin of buttons.  Hopefully just selling one of these bags will cover the material costs of making all five.  This is why, M'lud, I feel justified in keeping this one....

I just fell in love with it whilst making it.  It is using the only patterned fabric to be found in the scrap bag.  I love the blue and orange combination even though I cannot think of one orange piece of clothing in my wardrobe, I was pleased with how the ruffle looks even though it may not be my finest work and the button was found after very little rummaging in the tin.

Anyway, all the rest look so co-ordinated together.  The one I want to keep is the odd one out! I rest my case!!!!!

P.S.  I couldn't bear to throw away any of the offcuts from my teeny tiny pieces of fabric so I made this coaster using the flip and stitch patchwork technique.  Well the fabric did cost me a whole four pounds!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Hope to Ghana

I spent a lovely Saturday evening at an urban market raising money for the charity Hope To Ghana.  It was a great opportunity to spend time chatting with friends, drinking an enormous cup of tea, raising money for a good cause and trying on some gorgeous previously owned clothes... and eating a lovely homemade victoria sponge!
There seems to be quite a lot of photos of me with tea and cake on this blog!

Naturally I made a couple of purchases!  I'd love to show you two dresses I got for five pounds each.  

I love the pattern and the capped sleeves on this dress.

This dress is from Monsoon.

I love the gathered neckline and the embroidered fan design.

Quick question - can a girl have too many aqua dresses?!!

Thank you Sarah for a lovely evening.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Humbled by a 99 pence blanket

On entering one of my usual charity shops there was a 'sale rail' pushed against the door which said 'everything 99 pence'.  Naturally I rummaged and came across what I hoped was a wool blanket.

It did have a few small stains but I thought I would have a go at felting it - a warm wash would hopefully get rid of the stains and compact the fibres to make a great base for a cushion.

It worked beautifully.  Lots of conditioner meant it came out soft and fluffy and gorgeous and clean. 

The thing is, I now feel a great responsibility towards this blanket.  From an unloved sale rail which I am assuming was only an afternoons' walk to the bin to a lovely covetable fabric.  Wool blankets are a rare find and I am now feeling great pressure not to make a bad cushion!  It seems it isn't the price of the fabric necessarily that makes it hard to cut into but also the rarity.  Little blanket I will ponder you a little while longer and hope that I do you proud.  (Yes - I am now conversing with a blanket!)

Friday, 12 October 2012

Fabric Snakes

Sorry - I know my Mum and my Mother In Law hate snakes and even pictures of them so I apologise if these are not everyone's cup of tea.

Personally I have found making these to be strangely addictive and I now keep eyeing up socks with a view to 'liberating' them into something much more fun!

I am hoping to make enough things like this to make a 'monsters and scary animals' lucky dip for a school fair.  Lots of fun for both boys and girls... maybe not for Nanas.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Craft Stall - Total Sales £3!

Thank you so much for your kind words about my first craft fair.  I have to say it was hilarious!  Now, if you judge the day on sales it was a disaster, but if you judge the day by the value of myself laughing so much that tears were streaming down my face then it was a roaring success!

Here I am at my stall.  If I look a little tired and unkempt it's because the sleepover last night did have very little sleep in it!  It was lots of fun though and the girls were really pleased with the owl bags.  It was just a bit manic in the morning with Mr HoffiCoffi printing off signs for me whilst I ironed my wedding day tablecloths to display my wares on!

This is my friend Lisa's stall.

She did really well selling plenty of these lovely felted soaps.  As the title of this blog subtly hints at I didn't do quite so well!  I sold a bookmark for £3.  The stall cost £5 and I spent £2 on raffle tickets but I did win a bottle of wine.  Can I say I broke even?  :-)  I've convinced myself that is really the case!

But I was so happy.  Starting the afternoon with a coffee and one of the leftover sleepover cakes I laughed almost solidly for the next four hours.  From sniggering at my friend's reaction when the lady in the stall next to her told her that her items were too expensive to shock and awe at a couple sitting at a stall a few tables up where the husband was filing his wife's feet to pass the time!   Really it really happened!  To sitting resolutely drinking tea when all around were packing up an hour early to hanging around awkwardly just so I could see if I won anything in the raffle to fulfil my 'break even' plan, I had a ball!  Seems I am a glass half full kind of a girl!

Thanks Lisa for a farrrrbulous day!!!

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Sleepover Party

In a few hours' time I will be helping my daughter host a sleepover for her birthday.  She has invited three of her friends and in a moment of madness, and a desire to use up some of my enormous stash of fabric, I decided to make sleepover bags for them all.

Owls appear to have become the unofficial theme and I tried to do as quick an applique embellishment as I could.  It might be just me but using felt in applique always feels like cheating! 

I had a great time searching out the fabric.

But my favourite part has to be the button eyes.  Who would have thought that buttons could be so expressive.  This looks like a very sleepy owl.  Here's hoping that by 10pm I will have four very sleepy girls!!!!

Any excuse to make cupcakes and absolutely any excuse to use pink icing!

Wish me luck! :-)

Monday, 1 October 2012

Paying for Pembrokeshire Part 2

I have been busy preparing for a craft show on Sunday.  The tricky thing is thinking up things to make with a view to selling them but luckily I just make what I like and hope that others might agree with me.  I am realistic though.  This is not how I'm going to make my fortune.  No, that is going to be with my amazing 'Pamela Anderson Buoyancy Aid Swimsuit' for ladies who can't swim. :-) This time next year I'll be a millionaire....!

So anyway, back from my head in the clouds I have been making brooches.  There are knitted ones like those above where I have had great fun trying out new cables stitches.

And many butterflies in a tin!  I have taken some photos of them flitting through the flora and fauna.

And finally I decided to print 'diolch', meaning thank you in Welsh on a few paper bags. I think it will be a quiet one but as it's only my second fair that might be better for me.  I wonder if I could make anything else by Sunday.....