Thursday, 18 January 2018

Sewing Ideas

This week is flying by so quickly but I have managed to get a few ideas together about some of the things I want to make this year, I have also got a blog post featured here at Minerva crafts , it is a dress I made just before Christmas and the date has really just come around so fast.   Here is a peak of the dress but to read the full post follow the link Minerva blog post.

So while these are ideas about what to make I will not be copying fabrics or every detail, it is nice to make things your own and that is the beauty of sewing.  As I am getting lots of wear out of my handmade t-shirts there will be more sewing along those lines with various sleeves and necklines.

I have a little collection of images from Pinterest here so be aware that is where these are from. First of all I could do with another pair of trousers, I don't wear them all that often but they are useful.  I like the straight fit of these...
I don't think I would put a cuff on the bottom though, also not sure whether wing it with this one or actually buy a pattern for once.

Then there are a few blouses with nice little touches I would like to imitate...

A bit of a tie theme going on there, I think the details just give them a bit more interest.  I haven't really made much in the way of cardigans or things to just slip on over tops so this is another item I want to add.  Either in a stable knit or heavy jersey depending what catches my eye.

I love the design on this one but I think it is burberry, I think I will be lucky if I find any fabric similar so if you spot anything let me know in the comments section. Then for the warmer months I would like to make a shirt dress or two, I have fabric at the moment that is waiting to be sewn into a shirt for a Minerva post. I would like to tweak that if there is enough, make it longer and that can be a dress instead.  The style on the one below is also lovely, I like the fabric tie front...
Of course there will be other things as time passes that I decide to make but this exercise  has just given me a bit of structure. There will be skirts to make of course one of which is on my waiting list ear marked for the zebra print I bought on birthday I may have to get on with that this weekend.

I have been keeping a notebook/diary this year, it is not pre- printed with dates I just write them down as I go.  Just day to day stuff so I can keep track, dates holiday booked, haircut, exercise and any items made. I am noticing it can be quite guilt inducing though if I have not done much that day it is there written down or not as the case may be!  I had a run of not missing online pilates workouts then I have just skipped two days, when I was writing down some reminders in it earlier I was tutting at myself for my lack of motivation.  It was supposed to be a positive thing so maybe I should give myself a break for the missed days. 

Sunday, 14 January 2018

First Dress of 2018

Yesterday I felt like I had been a bit unproductive, it was Saturday and we are allowed to laze around a bit if we have been working but I just felt like I have recently been browsing the ideas of others online and not getting enough done.  Don't get me wrong I love to see what everyone is up to on their blogs but sometimes it does run over into time that should have been spent making.

Not everyone likes to make things but if you do you will know that you often feel better after you have just completed something, big or small it doesn't matter.  Personally I often feel more relaxed as well while I am sewing, unless of course there has been a major disaster involving lots of unpicking then it can have the opposite effect.

So where am I going with this?  Well I had thought at the start of the year that I would not need to make clothes as I have enough, of course that may be true, but as someone who likes a bargain a lot of them have been charity shop finds or dresses I have made to go out in. ( I hardly ever go out in the evening!)  This means that not everything goes, or I have had things years and I don't like getting rid of perfectly good items whether I wear them or not. I don't like waste and I won't overpay for items, so while there are items in there that I love there are also lots of blah items.  In light of this I have decided that this year I will continue to sew garments for myself with a view to moving towards a mostly handmade wardrobe.  I say mostly because I do love my jeans and sometimes you just get a pair off the shelf that fit perfect, also I have a favourite, super warm winter coat at the moment that I love.  This coat was shop bought and I don't want to put the restriction on myself that I can't get something if I truly love it.    I will aim to make things I love even if the fabric is a little more, enjoy the process and then actually wear mostly 'me made' rather than the small selection I wear at the moment.

First up for the year is this dress I made last night, I already had the fabric it was bought early December from Minerva crafts, I can't find the link to the actual fabric but it's probably still on there.  This dress is a comfy stretch fabric and will be to wear for work...
It was quick to make up, a straight forward shift shape and that is basically a long fitted t-shirt shape.  I cut around another dress of mine to get the shape for the body, then used a sleeve from my t-shirt pattern that I made for the sleeves.  I just had to make the armholes wider when I cut out the body.
This dress is a favourite of mine and I am going to replicate it exactly at some point this year when I find the right fabric.  It was bought from Matalan a few years ago. (Not a few about five, ha!)
This is the reverse of the fabric and I couldn't make up my mind when I first bought it which side to use, I think you can use any, with the side in the above image having a more wrinkly texture.

Looking at the top of the dress it is just a t-shirt but longer, I tried it on last night then had to take  a little more out of the sides to make it a bit more fitted.

  There isn't a picture of me in at as I am busy today so just quickly popped it on the mannequin so she could model for me.  It will be great to layer up and comfortable too so there may be a few more along this line.  I will road test how often this one gets worn first.  

Later this week I may compile a little list of things I need for my wardrobe, I know others do this with their sewing but usually I tend to just pick up whatever fabric grabs my eye then think about it later.  A little planning wouldn't do me any harm, being a jump in kind of girl.

This year I want to try and read a bit differently too, I do generally try to choose a variety but it is good to have recommendation so any ideas are welcome.  I like all kinds of fiction except horror and slushy romance, I don't mind if there is a love story in there as part of the story but not just that on it's own I like a bit of intrigue.  After watching The Handmaids Tale on TV and then more recently Alias Grace I have ordered a few Margaret Atwood from the library.  This week I read Stone Mattress , a collection of short stories, I enjoyed a few but not all and I am about to start The Heart Goes Last.
I also read a book on quantum physics 'How to teach your dog quantum physics'  I bought this for my son and he never read it, I started it once before and got lost then forced my way through it a week ago.  I have to say I am not much wiser other than knowing a few terms, maybe that was trying to broaden my reading a bit too much.  Maybe if I had understood it correctly I could have gone off walked the dogs, completed the ironing and cooked the Sunday lunch then made it back to this spot at exactly the same time, alas no, I will have to go and do it all in time as I know it ;)

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Repairs, Cooking and Saving Money

Well it has been quite a wet start to the new year, dog walking has been cold and windy but still good to get out in the fresh air.  I still had this week off so I have been making the most of it to get repairs done, try some new recipes and generally enjoy being at home.

I started by repairing a bobble hat that belongs to my son, the dog had pulled off the bobble because the hat had been left on the floor, well anything on the floor is fair game or so the dog thinks, especially if it is made of wool.  My son said well that's ruined, er.. nonsense it just needed stitching back on so that was quick and averted the need to rush out and buy another.  The hat was relatively new, a favourite and not otherwise damaged by it's quick run around the house.

The second thing to repair was my younger son's rucksack, we did look for a new one while we were away but they were either really big, the wrong colour (it has to be black for school) or not quite big enough for his folders.  The one he has is just right but has somehow been wrecked recently, actually it looked like it had been in a fight!  The top was frayed, the straps were falling apart and I'm not sure why in such a short time.  Well fortunately his old rucksack had decent straps and some of the material on the inside was like new so I have done a Frankenstein job on it and used the good parts from that one to repair the current one...

Here are the new for old straps

This is the sorry state it got in.

There was also an area where the woven canvas had come away and stuffing was coming out so this was made new as well.  We will have to see how this goes as it can only be the heavy weight of all the books that is pulling these apart, but you would think rucksacks were made for that.
This is the canvas from the inside of the old rucksack.

So this has at least extended the life of this for a bit longer, I have just bought two new sets of uniform, school shoes, and also a new coat with a mobile phone in the pocket disappeared at school before Christmas and we have not seen those items again so a little saving on this item for school is welcome!

I have also tried a few new recipes this week, a huge success were Choc chip and almond cookies, I adapted the recipe from the book oh She Glows that I got from the library.  I omitted the coffee, used dark chocolate chips and cacao powder, I also used vegan spread instead of almond butter because I didn't have any but did use ground almonds.  They were gone within twenty four hours and that was everyone eating them not just me!

At the weekend I made veg and lentil soup with twice baked potatoes, this is a  nice change to just eating the soup with bread.  In fact the soup was enjoyed so much I made a tomato and lentil version and cheap easy recipe is here...

Lentil and Tomato Soup 

400g tin Tomatoes
70g red lentils
pinch of basil
1 small chopped red onion
1 veg stock cube
1 tbsp. tomato puree
dash of soya cream (optional)
boiling water


Cook lentils for twenty minutes, fry the onion, dissolve the stock in boiling water, add all the ingredients to the blender except the soya cream, blend until smooth.  Add to saucepan and heat, stir in soya cream to taste.  This makes two large bowls and the lentils make it high in protein, iron and fibre.  It works out to 27p a bowl, I used ASDA products (basics)  soya cream optional.  

We loved it so for a cheap lunch it was more nutritious than the cheap cans you can buy which are mainly water.

These are just a few things I have been up to, there is also a new cookbook at the library waiting for me so I will share any interesting recipes from that over the next few weeks. Has anyone else been doing any money saving to start the new year? it will all come in handy for a few days out in the summer.

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Sewing for the Home

I hope everyone has had a lovely holiday and you are all ready for the new year, we went away last week so this was a nice change for us at Christmas we still cooked our own Christmas lunch and other meals but the change of setting was good.

We don't really bother much with the sales as I often think they just get the rubbish out that doesn't sell the rest of the year however we did pop in John Lewis yesterday as last year they had massively reduced fabric.  Well I didn't buy any dress fabric as most of it was bright patterns, lovely but what to make as I am trying to buy more neutral fabrics for everyday stuff.  What I did buy though were three pieces of furnishing fabric, reduced of course and I only wanted about 3/4 of a metre of each.  Well that confused the guy serving me (I don't know why, go in any dress fabric shop and they can handle that request!).  Anyway I ended up getting 0.6 of each which was enough as it happens to make my new cushion covers.  It was enough as I used a different fabric for the backs, something I have started doing as you never really see the back and it saves on your nice fabric.

I also bought two throw for my sofas  for £20 pound each these were half price, this has given my sofas a mini makeover with the new cushions...
My sofas are a deep red and we wanted a change, we had thought maybe new ones next year but I have talked myself out of that.  I don't want to spend money to be worrying about the dogs snagging the sofa or things getting spilt.  So I felt this way we get a change and if there are any spillages I can just put everything in the wash and it was also a cheap way of doing so.
I know you can still see the arms but never mind, I tried the throws a few different ways but this way they stay put when you sit on them.  The throws are quilted so they are actually comfy too.

There are lots of posts out there at the moment about sewing goals for the new year, I don't usually make them as such.  Two years ago I set myself a challenge to do more patchwork, which I did and I tried a number of different designs, it didn't last for the whole year though as I was wondering what to use it all for.  As for clothes my wardrobe is pretty packed and while I do have some dress fabric left over from my birthday and some from Minerva to post about over the coming month I do feel I need to be sewing something different.

So I will have a think about that and any ideas I would love to hear about them, anything involving recycling would be great as I have used a lot of new fabric recently, or ways to use up my little bits and scraps.

I will leave you with a few views from my Christmas week away, enjoy this evening and have a Happy New Year,
A bit of snow on the mountains, this was actually the nicest day, we had thick fog most of the time we were there.

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Relax and Enjoy

Well the day is nearly here and I hope everyone is having a restful time and not still running around like maniacs.  We were out having a walk yesterday and had to call in the supermarket, you would not believe the chaos in there anyone would think the world was about to end or the shops never to reopen.  I really don't get it as the shops are usually only really closed for a day and as for the food shopping, why do people go so crazy with the food?

We were very impressed with all the veg for 29p at Morrisons and I have just seen an advert where all the veg is 20p at the moment in ASDA, that is carrots, sprouts, parsnips and potatoes.  I have tried to get on with sprouts but they give me a stomach ache, so just the husband eating those.  It did make me think though that even with quite a few people round for lunch it doesn't have to cost a fortune for Christmas dinner.  It is all the pre-prepared and unnecessary stuff that boosts the cost.

I am  having a few days off from sewing but I do have my post for this fabric and top...
 This can be viewed over at the Minerva blog just follow that link, I have already worn it quite a bit so this was a really useful make and very comfortable.  It is a very strange thing but over many years of sewing I never bought bias binding and always made my own and now I am buying it in every colour and using it on everything.  It is so cheap and useful!  Why did I spend time making my own when it just costs pennies?  Don't get me wrong if you have some little strips left it is a great way to use them up if they can be cut at the right angle but it has saved me time using the ready made binding.

Right we are off out for a walk in a little while , have a lovely restful Christmas and try not to stress about it because there really is no need.  Happy Christmas. x

Monday, 18 December 2017

Christmas Sweatshirt

I know most people have had their Christmas jumper day at work now but ours is this week, I am not a big fan of heavy jumpers so I didn't fancy buying one, the only solution was to make something.
Last week I bought the fabric, a heavy jersey in royal  blue, some felt and a packet of little silver stars.  Yesterday I put it all together, the most time consuming part was sewing on all the little stars but they do make all the difference.
Now due to artificial lighting the colour looks a bit washed out but it is a really nice royal blue.

The reindeer template I made last year to write everyone's names on for Christmas lunch I just got it out and cut it out of felt this time.  I know there were lots of reindeer but I was content to just cut out two.   I could have gone on and on sewing on stars so I had to say to myself enough!

When I tried the top on I decided the sleeves needed a cuff so I quickly added these, I think it looks more finished off than in the first picture and has the bonus of keeping the heat in. I think I will probably wear this more than if I had just bought a novelty woolly jumper.

If you would like to see what I used the reindeer template for last year it is in this post, I am sure it will be used again in the future.  Every year I think I might make some cushions just for Christmas but I never get around to it, maybe next year?  I think what puts me off is that they would be on for such a short time.

While browsing the other day I saw a lovely Christmas dress by My dear Lizzie, just the thing to wear on Christmas day (while inside of course). I am sure many layers will be required when we venture out so while it is nice to dress up, the jeans will be back on for dog walking.

Anyway not long to go now, I wonder if I can fit one more make in before Christmas alongside the curtains I need to shorten?

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Midweek Treats

I know it's not quite midweek but it really does feel like it, I think it's the dark mornings that are doing it. I was talking to a colleague today about some recipes that were healthy, easy and could be done quickly with children.  The trouble is that a lot of what I make contains nuts as I need the protein and they are super good for you.  Well you have to avoid them with children due to the nut allergy problem and many don't like them even if they can eat them.  So I had a little look around and found this super recipe online.  If you are making it with children I would use coco instead of coffee but for yourselves go ahead and use coffee.

Chocolate Oatmeal Balls, thanks to  Nutrionist meets chef

I have to say I ate one before they went in the fridge, the good thing about these is that they give you that bit of sweetness but there is still nutrition in there in the form of dates, oats and I used cacao instead of coco as I'm vegan and coco powder often has milk. Cacao is more expensive but more nutritious.

Saying that making these is still less expensive than buying the raw bars you can get from the supermarket such as Naked. For some mad reason I still buy those when I'm feeling lazy and I really must stop,  as making your own doesn't take much time at all.

What I really need are some nice storage tins to keep the treats in and I have only just realised that!  As I have a little birthday money I think I will treat myself to some storage solutions for homemade treats.

Sewing Ideas

This week is flying by so quickly but I have managed to get a few ideas together about some of the things I want to make this year, I have a...