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

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Geek Day

I'm on holiday.  Renting a cottage in the beautiful Pembrokeshire/Ceredigion coast and today we had a geek day.  A day spent searching for vintage haberdashery for me and boardgames for Mr HoffiCoffi.

As you can see I got quite a bit of fabric.  I seem to have gone for a lemon theme this year.  Enough for a few dresses and no piece was more than £1.99 from charity shops.

Although I also found this fab jersey for £2.99, hopefully enough for a dress.

These patterns were only ten pence each!  Even though one says twenty pence I still got it for ten.  I did point it out to the cashier but she seemed quite insistent on the price so I didn't argue further!

The vintage knitting patterns pictured below are probably my favourite finds.  These were less than ten pence each.

There were more in the charity shop but I make a point of not buying anything I don't think I will use.  However, I did get this one for the cover alone. 

Who could resist a mohair/wool blend called 'shaggy darling'.  I know I can't!

I will knit these bedjackets but will wear them outside the bedroom.

Maybe I can use this yarn.  Quite a geek day!

Friday, 24 August 2012

I can overlock!

Meet my New Best Friend!

There is a bit of history with this overlocker.  It has been in the family for about 20 years and I remember my Mum had it free when she bought a sewing machine at a local craft show.  My sister, who had just finished her Fashion and Textiles Degree, took possession of it and she lent it to me a while ago when I started dressmaking.

It hadn't been used for a while and didn't have a fused plug on it and it stayed in the corner of my sewing space with a metaphorical label on it saying 'scary metal thing'.  A trip over the border to Cheltenham spurred me on to conquer my fear of the overlocker.  I saw one in a charity shop for sale for £60 and I thought 'this is silly, I've got one of those sat in the corner at home'.  So, when we got back Mr HoffiCoffi got me a new fused plug (for the princely sum of 75 pence!) and he put the plug on for me.  I cleaned, oiled and re-threaded inside (bit of shouting, bit of unnecessary jabbing with a very long pair of tweezers) and I got it working!  Look!

I was jumping up and down happy.  I am a proper grown up who sews now!

This hat was done in the blink of an eye!

I'm so pleased I have overcome my overlocker fear and I'm surely not the only one who feels like this about the scary 'lots of threads and levers and blades' monster!  My advice - feel the fear and sew it anyway! :)

Monday, 20 August 2012

Camping in the Cotswolds

A few weekends ago the weather was actually kind enough to allow us to pack up and go camping.  We stayed at an organic farm in the Cotswolds - and whilst some would consider the compost toilets a disadvantage (honestly, they weren't that bad!) a definite advantage was the organic farm shop where I made a couple of purchases.

The aran wool from organically reared Lleyn sheep will hopefully become a Study Hall Vest designed by Vladimira Cmorgej.  

I love the pattern on this Sarong from India which I believe is block printed.  I am undecided however whether to leave it as a single piece of fabric and use it as a summer shawl, or whether to cut it up and make it into a light summer blouse which I think I would get more wear out of.  Is it sacrilege to cut up a brand new item of clothing?  One for me to ponder...

In the meantime, I did take loads of photos of things that caught my eye in Bourton-on-the-Water and Stow-in-the-Wold.  Some are craft related but on viewing them I realised they were mostly about food!

Tea shops...

... and cake (see what I mean!)

Sadly this gorgeous looking shop was shut. :(

Yes - I did have an ice-cream!

Me looking very smug outside a gorgeous vintage shop in Stow.

I really would recommend the Cotswolds and the campsite was very nice if the thought of compost toilets hasn't put you off!

Friday, 17 August 2012

Seventies Mash Up Dress

I have finished my seventies mash up dress and despite the light being terrible for photographs here today I just had to share it with you.

The bodice section of this dress is an old seventies pattern (Butterick 6571 to be precise) as shown below.

I bought it at a charity shop for the princely sum of one pound but when I got it home I found that the majority of the pattern was missing.  The resulting dress is therefore an amalgamation of several patterns as blogged here.

When I put this dress on after making the bodice I just laughed. 

Those sleeves are redonkulous!

But I really, really love them!

For me, this is why I sew - to make things that I simply couldn't find on the high street.  It's not that I want to stand out it's just that I always seem to find it impossible to blend in.  Believe me, I spent many a youth club disco in my early teens desperately trying to dress like my friends but never quite getting it right...!

I have put in a lapped zip.  It's my first one so it's far from perfect but the book I used for advice assured me the hand pick stitches would 'scream couture!'.  I remain unconvinced!

Another gratuitous sleeve shot.  Honestly I could look at those sleeves all day!

Finally this is my tailor's dummy Merle modelling the inside of the dress.  I was lucky enough to have some vintage binding given to me which I used to bind the neck and sleeve edges (the original dress had a small bow at the neckline but, given the gingham nature of the dress, even I thought that might be a 'Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz' step too far!).  I was even luckier to have some cheap and cheerful polycotton fabric in exactly the same colour as the binding to face the sleeve and waist bands.

In short I love this dress.  The skirt panels are not as full as the original pattern.  This was an accident a considered design choice that I am really glad happened as it fits me perfectly and I would usually go for a fuller skirt.  My only real slip up was due to my insistence in keeping the central seam in the front of the skirt, the gingham pattern placement is slightly off putting as there is a double row of red stripes down the centre which is a tad annoying but I can live with that!


Thursday, 16 August 2012

Bell Stitch Scarf

Alas, poor Yankee Candle, I knew him well.  Sorry, I appear to be channelling my 'inner shakespeare' with this photo.

It's an odd way to celebrate really because I've finally finished my bell stitch scarf.  I have been knitting this for ages.  I must have started it just before the New Year as we went to a Welsh language residential centre to see in 2012 and I remember sitting on the floor there knitting this.

Mr HoffiCoffi came home one day with 11 balls of this yarn which he purchased for £2.99 at our local charity shop.  (I have taught him well!)  It is a 4 ply yarn hence the inordinate amount of time I have spent knitting it.  I have wrapped it around twice in this photo so it is quite long but as it's so light I prefer to layer it up.

I love the stitch pattern, which I just copied from a stitch directory in a magazine. It's a simple 12 row repeat pattern with a few yarn overs.  Nothing too taxing which is what drew me to it in the first place but unfortunately my laziness was also my undoing because, as the months went on, I became really really bored...!

Still I love the finished result and I have even become fond of the very seventies brown.  It makes me want to make a pair of dark brown flared trousers and a thick green blouse.  Ooh I've just bought a pattern for a wide brimmed hat.  Groovy.  Check me out this Autumn! :)

Wednesday, 8 August 2012


Yesterday I had a very soggy trip to the Eisteddfod.  The Eisteddfod is a festival celebrating Welsh talent in the Welsh language.  There's always lots to see and do but it's quite tricky finding something to wear with all the mud!

Not so much of a problem mind you when you've bought a coat for 30 pence at a jumble sale and can team it with a refashioned skirt also purchased for 30 pence.  I think I can risk the mud with this bargain ensemble!

I can take you on a quick tour - not all craft related - but the next bit is!

This is the lovely Lisa Jones of siwgr who I snapped preparing for the felting classes she was running for the many children who visit the Eisteddfod.    My children were lucky enough to take a class with Lisa in the run up to the event and, in true Blue Peter style... here are the ones they made earlier...

They had such fun planning their designs and wet felting (and I learnt a thing or two as well!).

There was an Open Art Exhibition at the Eisteddfod with a fabulous display of work, including textile art.  There was an amazing framed piece of manipulated silk but unfortunately I don't think photography was allowed.

I did take lots of photos on the Maes (which just means the field - where all the stalls and displays are).

These ranged from the 'to be expected' books and clothing stalls....

To the frankly, bizarre.  Like this aeroplane you could walk into which had television screens under your feet.

Complete with a picture of the same plane apparently wrapped in a Melin Tregwynt blanket.  Ooh Melin Tregwynt - how I love thee.

Finally, I couldn't resist this last photo.  That's me under the umbrella which is under my name in lights!  Well, ok, not exactly lights... :)

Monday, 6 August 2012

David and Goliath Skirt

We went to the library today and after I (erroneously) tried to take out a reference only book and managed to get the help desk in a state of disarray, we still had half an hour left until we had to catch our bus home.  So we decided to have a quick look around the charity shops.

My daughter spotted this David and Goliath branded dress in the children's section and desperately wanted it.  It proved to be miles too big for her.  Ahem... let me demonstrate.

"I think it fits Mummy".  

It took me a while to come to terms with the fact that a. I am forty and b. I promised my daughter in the shop that I would make it into a skirt for her.  So I unpicked the lower section from the pink sleeveless vest top and made a channel for elastic.

I really think this fabric is more suited to a nine year old fanatic of bright colours than her mother.

Besides, I am still working on my seventies 'mash up' dress.  Here's a sneak preview of what I've done so far....