Monday, 16 April 2018

Handmade Greenhouse Reveal

My husband starting building me a greenhouse late last Autumn using the hand made base he constructed for what used to be our raised fish pond, he has made me wait until it is completely finished before I show the pictures so here it is and I think he has done an amazing job.  Everything was made from scratch, using wood we had, sale wood and new wood at full price from  builders merchants.  He just made the frame as he went along tweaking things where necessary.
I thought I'd start with the finished item then work back.

It has two opening windows, one on the end and one at the side and the benches for planting are all built in.  We left the back wall without benched as grow bags will go there, we also opted to panel that wall as it just backs onto the garden fence anyway.
This was how it began, my husband drained the pond and cleared it out.
He cut a doorway at the side.

The beginning of the frame.

The bit of mesh you can see just inside the opening was to block the doorway when he wasn't working on it as the dogs wanted to go in there and use it like a toilet.



This next part took a bit of time, he was very thorough.

Starting the roof.




Making the benches.
Gravel on the floor.

A lick of paint.

Panelling on the back wall.


So on the roof he used dual wall polycarbonate and for the windows clear acrylic as it was supposed to be more efficient and safer than glass.   He has also added a mini guttering and a small water butt. In total for everything he had to buy it has cost roughly £400, I think this is amazing given the quality of what he has built and the price of flimsy greenhouses in the shops, I would say this is more of a garden building. Of course there were many man hours put into this project but he has enjoyed the process.





Friday, 13 April 2018

Tie Neck Blouse How To

I thought I would share today how I hack my existing clothes to make new ones, removing the need for patterns and ensuring a good fit.  Warning this post contains a lot of pictures today and I hope they are clear enough to be helpful if you want to have a go at doing something similar  for yourself.  Below is the finished blouse...
This type of blouse was one that I had on my to do list for this year, as all tops follow pretty much the same shape however I didn't want to buy a pattern for it.  I had seen an image for it which I shared in a previous post and I put this on my notepad...
So my first job was to get one of my existing tops that has no stretch in it, the reason for this being my fabric is non stretch and I want this blouse to just pull on with no need for a zip or buttons.

From here on are the steps to making this blouse.

I lay the blouse on the fabric, this one has some gathering at the bottom I arranged the fabric of the blouse so that this would not make my pieces too wide.  I then cut around it leaving a good inch all the way around, you can take in but can't put back once it's been cut so allow more if you are cautious.
Fold in the sleeve so that you can see where to cut for the armhole,  of course if you have an old top you may want to just take it apart to make a pattern.  I do it this way because this is a top |I still wear.

Cut around the neck and along the shoulder, I cut back and front together then lowered front neck line after.
Fold your front piece in half and cut where you want your neckline to lie.  Don't worry if it is not spot on you can take more off later if you need to.
Then I cut a V shape notch to one side where I want the blouse to tie, I also cut two small pieces to face inside the V but no interfacing as the fabric is quite floaty and I don't want it unnaturally stiff there.

Fold fabric in half, double again to make two sleeves, lay on sleeve of blouse to get an idea of armhole shape then fold back so you can see to cut.  You may want to mark the line with chalk.
You will now have this sleeve shape, now measure your arm from shoulder to wrist to see what length you will need for the arm.  Add on 2cm for the hem and 1.5cm for the shoulder seam.
Now cut up the side tapering it  a little .

Now cut two long strips for your tie pieces, about 4cm wide, it will be folded then folded again so if you want a wider more obvious tie on your blouse then make your pieces wider than that.  Now to put it all together.

Put your front piece on the machine right side up, fold one of your little facing pieces in half then stitch down one side of the V.  Take the other piece and repeat on the other side.
Then turn them through to the wrong side and cut a little v there.
Then pin it in place and topstitch on the right side. Neaten the inside by trimming, folding under and hand stitching on the inside.

Now you can sew front piece to back piece at the shoulder.
Then take your sleeves and fold them in half, make a little notch at centre sleeve where it will meet the shoulder, open the shoulder seem right sides facing up, lay sleeve right side facing down match notch to shoulder seem then pin in place easing sleeve to arm hole gently but don't force it.  If it hangs over a little you can trim that off. Sew in place.
When both sides are done fold blouse over and stitch down side seems and up along arms, match the under arms and pin before you do this and ensure the fabric doesn't slip.

Try on to check that the neck is where you like it, if not lower it a bit, or reshape if needed.

Join both tie pieces then fold in half lengthways, make a small cut centre back neck then start sewing you tie band on from the centre cut matching the centre join of tie piece.  Raw edge of tie to raw edge of neck.  sew down one side then the other this will ensure even tie on each side.




Then starting from one side fold the tie piece in half again tucking the ends under, sew all around the neck trying to stay in last line of stitching.  If you find this tricky pin it first then work from the right side to ensure neat topstitching.  Make sure you overlap it a bit on the inside if you do it that way so that you catch it in.

Before you go any further now you may want to try it on to check the fit, take your pins with you!  Make it as fitted as you can while still pulling it over your head easily, just pin on the outside and try it you can always move the pins after. Check the sleeve length is ok.
Now you can just hem the sleeves, I chose a thin elastic, zig zag or overlock first, measure around your wrist with elastic then sew it together. place on the bottom of the sleeve and pull as you hem around leaving it to move loosely inside.

All that is left is to hem the bottom and neaten up those inside seams, I always do this after now when I am happy with the overall fit it saves wasting time.
I've done a curved hem so it can be worn out or tucked in, you can just make it straight if you want.
It is purple but on a very gloomy day!
I hope this has been of some use and inspired you to have a go at winging it without a pattern, my apologies to any purists out there who do things differently or like to stick to the book.  Patterns can be expensive and I know there will be many people who want to make new styles but can't afford all the latest patterns.  For those people I hope this is helpful, if any of the steps are unclear just leave a comment and I will answer it.

Happy Sewing!












Monday, 9 April 2018

April Catch Up

Well today it actually looks like spring is here and a good job as my husband has just finished my greenhouse, I say finished it just needs mini guttering to connect to its own little water butt, then that is it.  I will post in full on this when I sort through all the photos. Make the most of the weather though as the rest of the week looks gloomy.

We have just had a week away, it was a nice change despite the weather in a little village called Allendale in Northumberland.  The cottage was gorgeous and really friendly local people in the pubs, we did not get to do all the walking we had planned due to the fact that little legs would have completely disappeared in mud (small dogs).  We did get to walk around the town and also visited Hexham and Carlisle while we were there, one day saw a lot of snow and we enjoyed walking in that while it was fresh and white.  I have a few photos of the house here to share but all other images are on the big camera which is still in my husbands car! I will have to sort those later too.


Little Easter wreath on the door when we arrived which I thought was a nice touch, here you can see we were right in the square so three pubs on the doorstep, an art gallery, gift shop, tea rooms and a really good co-op that even catered for my difficult needs.

Setting up the dogs crates is always a priority, they go everywhere with us but sleep in those at night.

I will share more later when I have collected all the images from all the devices.  We would like to visit there again maybe in the summer months one year, not this year though I have decided no more holidays this year I booked that one on something of a whim.  We will be enjoying our time off at home for the rest of the year with odd days out.

While I was away I re-read Jane Eyre, I read this  years ago but I loved it this time, I bought a copy for myself and a friend as we are off to the theatre this week to see the ballet version of it and I thought it would be nice to read it before we go.


The odd thing is now that I have  finished it I have started another novel and the writing seems so poor in comparison, while I do realise that some of the classic novels can be really hard going it was a real jolt to go straight from such formal writing to a modern novel.

This morning I have shortened my charity shop skirt that I bought before I went away, I also took it in at both sides as it was sitting on my hips it may have been the correct position but it was annoying me so I adjusted it.
I took a chunk off the bottom and pinned it where I wanted it, then I undid the waist band and ran it in down both sides.

When I set about this task this morning I must have looked in every sewing box trying to find the cotton that was just the right colour, I knew I had some as I could see it in my mind and after looking in very box maybe twice I saw it ...


On the overlocker at the back of the table!  How could I have missed that? it really is a worry.  The skirt is now a more wearable length for me.


So while it is nice to get away sometimes it is always good to be back, even the dogs slept in later after that first night home.  I will try to get back into a more routine blogging schedule too now I'm home.

Handmade Greenhouse Reveal

My husband starting building me a greenhouse late last Autumn using the hand made base he constructed for what used to be our raised fish po...