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

Thursday, 31 December 2015

The thing is, I've googled it since and I think orange may actually be 'in'!

Well my Christmas break has been put to good use!

I had another spurt of enthusiasm for making Barbie clothes.  This time I made a sloper for Barbie by making a cast of her torso much like the duct tape thing you can do - in real life!?.   I could then use those measurements to make clothes either from scratch or using my vintage patterns for inspiration.

I love this dress that was inspired by a seventies pattern.  Note I say inspired because, as we all know, Barbie's measurements do not correspond to normal body ratios, so I pretty much had to look at the line drawings and then make my own patterns referencing the Barbie slopers I made.

Loving this white dress with its matching underskirt.  The dresses are fully lined because it was the easiest way to have neat seams, although I am now experimenting with French seams.  That is until my enthusiasm for teeny tiny fiddly clothes wears off again!

Happy New Year! :)

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

The Christmas Presents I Made

I made two things as Christmas presents this year. 

For my sister I made this hand quilted bag.  It is using a traditional Welsh quilting pattern and I am hoping to spend a lot of 2016 exploring Welsh quilts more with the hope of making a full size Welsh quilt.  To this end I will come back to this bag in the near future to discuss it more.  You know you have a slight obsession with a technique when you start placing your stitches in a scanner in order to examine them further!

The second thing I made was for my Dad.  He has taken up painting again after many years and painted this scene for me.  Using this scanned copy of the painting I was able to embroider a lavender bag for him of the child with the balloon.  It is made even more special as the lavender in the bag was grown in both mine and my Dad's gardens from plants he had given me.  Can't get that in Marks and Spencers! 

Monday, 21 December 2015

Knitted Gifts and How I Blocked Them

I seem to have made quite a few hand knitted gifts recently.  It must be the darker days that lead me towards the needles. 

The first gift is a hat for my sister.  Choosing yarn can be a tricky thing when making a gift, which is what made this gift so easy - my sister had given me the yarn as she had it leftover from her own project!  It's Rowan tweed and the pattern is a free one from Ravelry.

It came off the needles like the photo above, but I knew it could be blocked beautifully because it was wool. 

I put some fabric softener into some lukewarm water and briefly immersed the hat, trying not to agitate it much.

When the hat was wet I placed it over the inverted plate, placed the plate onto the inverted (emptied!) bowl and left it to dry.

You can also pull in the brim a little while it dries by hand sewing a line of running stitch around the brim and pulling it in slightly to stop the edge of the hat distorting, but I didn't do this and mine turned out ok.

The finished product.  I love how nicely wool blocks.

The second item I made was a knitted washcloth for a friend.  Again, another free pattern from ravelry and I used Sirdar baby bamboo.  This needed to be blocked flat and I had purchased from a local bargain shop a foam interlocking play mat for jobs such as this.

The washcloth is obviously small enough to fit onto one of the sections but you could easily make it whatever size you need and they store away nicely afterwards.  Result!

I had a little bit of yarn left over so I made a tassel for the wrapping and teamed the washcloth with some colour co-ordinating soaps.

The tag I used was from a lovely pdf set I purchased from a knitter on Etsy.  I just printed it out onto label paper and stuck it on cardstock.

The label was great as I was able to put the care instructions from the ball band onto the back of it.

Although I suppose if there is a special way you have to wash a washcloth it probably won't be a very good washcloth...  If you see what I mean! :)

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Running Before I Can Walk

It looks like I've got myself into quite a tangle here but bear with me - it does have a happy ending!

My inkle loom love is still going strong and - me being me - I decided to have a bit of an experiment.  I already had in my box of tricks a rigid heddle which I purchased a few years ago when I first tried weaving.

The above photo was taken in 2013 and I am weaving using a photo frame and the rigid heddle... took me another two years to get a proper loom!

Anyway, I thought I could get more variety into the weaving design if I could create slight variations in the sheds.  (Forgive me if I am using the terminology incorrectly - newbie!)  I decided to use a darker thread for some of the unheddled warps and then put them through the rigid heddle so as to separate them off from the lighter threads - that way I could move them up and down for the sheds independently and see what difference this made to the cloth I was working.  

The picture above shows the darker threads going through the heddle - I can move this up and below the sheds I make as normal on the inkle loom.

Confused?  So was I a bit when it looked like this..


But it did work.  

By varying where I placed this additional heddle I could get the darker threads to appear normally, to float on the top to make a longer line as it were, or I could make them disappear.  My tension is still dodgy at the sides so why I am fiddling around with intricacies is silly when I should be practising on perfecting my actual... weaving.

I wove enough to wear as a headband and I was pleased that my experiment worked.  I believe I could achieve this effect much more effectively by using tablet weaving techniques on my loom but I may have to buy another book to learn about that.  Mr HoffiCoffi will be pleased!

Friday, 30 October 2015

Autumnal Skirt

This is another duvet cover skirt.  My friend gave me a king size duvet cover with this lovely floral border that was just calling out to be made into a full skirt. 

Although me being me I couldn't leave it at that and had to add a fox.

The fox is taken from a magazine called "Sew It Yourself" which I think is a spin off from Sew Magazine here in the UK.  If you happen to have a copy of this magazine and fancy using the fox template I believe that the tail template has been reversed in the download.  I had to flip the tail over before tracing it to make it fit anyway. 

My machine was not happy putting the details on the fox as I was trying to stitch through a few layers of fusible web and this led to a gunky needle and skipped stitches, so I did the minimum possible to add detail and will hope it doesn't all fall apart in the wash!

There is a full two tiered petticoat attached to the skirt which is made out of the fabric that was above the border design.  It gives the skirt a nice structure as well as making the thin white fabric more opaque.

As it has been half term we have been enjoying going out and about in the lovely autumn sunshine.  I haven't managed to photograph any foxes but I have managed a deer and bee hives. :)

Sunday, 18 October 2015

My 62 (and a half) pence mittens

On the minus side I don't think my bokeh candlelight photography quite worked.  On the plus side I am sure that my fire alarm is working!!!

Anyway... a year ago I knitted a scarf I called my sixty two and a half pence scarf.  This is because I purchased two balls of grey acrylic yarn at a charity shop for the grand total of one pound twenty five pence and I used one of those balls for the scarf...

... a cute cable number using a free pattern from ravelry. 

I had every intention of using the second ball of yarn to make mittens and, a year later, I have finally finished them!

The pattern is another free pattern I found on ravelry and they knitted up a dream.   I did initially want to make pink and grey mittens but came to my senses and thought that snowflakes had to be white.  The white yarn was kindly given to me by my friend's mum so I can still claim these cost me sixty two and a half pence to knit.

I did simplify the pattern a little as there is a little more colourwork in the original, but I was using a fairly thick yarn and wanted to avoid having to wrap the white yarn around the inside of the entire body of the mitten.  They are very cosy as it is and I love the fairisle pattern. 

I do have some yarn leftover but surely not enough for a hat! :)

Saturday, 10 October 2015

A Thank You and a Refashion

From time to time friends give me their unwanted garments in the hope that I can make use of them.  When I can make use of them I like to thank them for their generosity.  This thank you usually comes in the form of a handmade bag.

I have had my machine quilting head on since watching another very good crafty class on machine quilting (no affiliation - and in actual fact I got this class with the money I had refunded on another machine quilting class which I thought wasn't very good!).

Anyway, it all looked so easy and, whilst I came up with a usable piece of machine quilting, I clearly have a long way to go to meet a good standard.  I am still calling it artistic licence!

The other side of the bag is quilted with a Leah Day design.

The bag is lined with some fabric I purchased from a charity shop whilst on holiday a few years ago.

My friend liked the bag despite its wonky quilting and it was to say thank you for giving me this dress...

A gorgeous dress which unfortunately was too small.

Thank you Merle for modelling it for me... as you can see the zip was miles apart!

It was easy to turn it into a skirt.  I just cut around the dress an inch below the bottom piping on the bodice as this was the closest to my waist measurement and folded over a waistband (not convinced this is the best way to do it though) and put in a new shorter zip.

I cut the bodice apart and was left with these pieces.

Had a great time playing a game I like to call 'how can I make this into a bag'.

The result.  Can't quite remember now which piece is which but as every bag in this game is unique I won't need to recreate it!

Here I am modelling the outfit.  I did joke it was a bit Queen Mother having a matching bag but I am an old fashioned girl.

Linking up with the Free Motion Mavericks.

blogbutton photo peacockfmq025_zpse5bceb10.jpg

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Woven Clutch Bag

I have been playing around on my inkle loom again.

I used the same colours as my first attempt because there was loads leftover and - more importantly - they were the only two colours I bought with the loom!

It is a slightly different design and this time I had to try to get the longest length I could to enable me to make something out of it at the end of weaving.

Every dowel is used!

I managed to get eight strips about 14 inches in length, with a little gap in between for cutting apart.  Once off the loom the strips were sewed together.

Don't look at it for too long - it'll make your eyes go funny!

You could see the joins so I thought I would like to cover them somehow, and I hit on the idea of using the thin ribbon straps I always cut off purchased clothes.  You know the ones they put on tops in stores to stop them sliding off the hangers - but when you wear them at home they always seem to make their way out of the armholes and you have to keep tucking them back in... or is that just me?!  Anyway, I always cut them out of my tops and so I had a nice selection.

I auditioned suitable thread...

...and sewed them over the joins with a straight stitch to try and disguise the joins.

I lined the clutch bag with some black flannel fabric I still had left over from making a dress and a skirt and I found a single button from my charity shop button tin.  I made a buttonhole in the lining to slot the button into - a bit fiddly but I didn't dare cut into the woven cloth!

I love weaving - how long will it be until I give in to a bigger loom....!

Thursday, 10 September 2015

The Refashioners 2015 - Second Make

I found a shirt that I couldn't resist in a charity shop for £2.99.

It is covered in cola bottles!  I thought initially someone may have bought it on holiday abroad as I hadn't seen anything like it before and I didn't recognise the brand label (not the Coca Cola one!) on the inside.  A quick internet search though led me to think it may have come from Primark... not quite a rare find then!

The shirt was in good condition apart from a little bit of wear on the sleeves.  I would have happily worn it as it was but because of the slight wear I decided to unpick the sleeves.

In order to make the shirt sleeveless I had to tackle a very large armscye.  I ummed and ahhed about this for a while.  I didn't want to put in a great big dart - and I didn't want to unpick the side seams to place a dart under the arm to bring it closer to the body.  I hit on the idea of placing small inverted box pleats around the circumference of the armscye.  Another quick internet search on whether this was a good idea came up with nothing which is always a worry.  Oh well - feel the fear and do it anyway.

I think it did the job.  Whether it is too Becky Home Ecky I'm not sure.  I bound the edges with some red fabric I got in a bargain bundle of scraps from Ebay.

It's done a pretty good job of making the unwearable wearable anyway.

I was then left with the sleeves I had unpicked.  Only a small part of the fabric was unusable, and I so loved those little cola bottles that I wanted to make more, more, more.  The print reminded me of backstitch embroidery with it's hand-drawn feel so that is what I decided to do.

I scanned the sleeve fabric and cropped and enlarged a section to the measurements I needed to make a bag.

I then used a lightbox to help me trace the image twice onto an old sheet offcut I had left over from the Boho Chic top I made a short while ago.  I then interfaced behind the image and stared to embroider.

This took ages!  I did wonder whether I should just have the cola bottles on one side of the bag but I had already traced the images and was loving the way they looked so carried on stitching. 

I'm glad I did because I love the result.  And it means that I can see my hard work however I hold the bag!

I used a strip of the Ebay scrap red fabric to tie it in with the shirt and it fastens with a zip I bought in Cardiff market for 95 pence.

I wore it with several skirts for the photos. 

The white skirt is made out of a friend's duvet cover and the pink one is a maxi skirt given to me by another friend which I cut off from the top to make shorter, as it was originally too small for my waist.  I love the splash of colour when I twirl... not that I spend a great deal of my time twirling you understand.

The outfit kind of reminds me of an American diner, what with the coke bottles and swirly skirts.  

Would have loved to have been photographed perching on a stool by a formica counter but will have to make do with a gingham background.

See what everyone else is up to on the Refashioner's pinterest page.