Sunday, 30 November 2014

Birthday Treats and York Christmas Market

We have had a busy week around here, it didn't start too well either with two children sick but it picked up towards the end. We had tickets booked to see the Nut Cracker Ballet for my birthday luckily everyone was on the mend by then so we could still go.
We went to the Penistone Paramount and it's the first time I've been there, it was lovely and like stepping back in time (in a good way).  The lady still comes out at the interval with ice creams in the box hung around her neck like they used to at the cinema when I was little.
It has been there 100 years this year so it is lovely that it still used by the community.

The company that did the performance were the Vienna Ballet and they are coming back in March.  When we got home my husband booked tickets for us to go again so he must have enjoyed it.
This is the one we are to see in March.

Yesterday we visited York, this was my idea thinking it would be lovely to see the Christmas Market and have a wander around.  My husband said it would be packed, he was right!  I only got a peak in a couple of the little Christmas stall huts as it was so crowded it made me feel ill.  We managed to get out of the thick of it and walk around the streets where the usual shops are but it was still hectic. 

Still it was lovely to get out, the lights were on later and there were some street musicians playing.  My son said he doesn't ever want to go there on a Saturday again, I agree!  I came home with my birthday money intact, just paid for parking and lunch.  
Which leads me to my wonderful birthday present from my husband that I wasn't expecting. I  have complained that my mannequin is a bit bigger than me but would not have bought a proper adjustable dummy. Look here...
I was very excited when I opened it. It has a  hem guide and a place for your pins at the neck.

Continuing with the sewing theme my lovely friend got me these cute sewing storage tins complete with accessories inside.
Thank you buddy. you know me so well.

Also on order is a book (you guessed it, on sewing) called Basic Black, it has patterns and different shapes to tailor and customise .  I will take photos and share more on that when it arrives later in the week. All in all quite an extravagant week but all planned for well in advance. Any purchases were made from  gifts from my parents with the strict instructions it was to go on me and not into my purse for food shopping!

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Easy Frill T shirt

Looking through my fabric box I found a piece of jersey about three quarters of a metre, I made a simple T shirt with it just using one of my existing ones.
I wanted to do something a little different around the neck otherwise they all tend to look the same.  The good thing is they do come in handy when it's cold for layering up with other things.

The fabric is navy blue although it looks quite dark on here. I got the idea for the collar from Tea Rose Home so thank you Sachiko for the inspiration.  On her blog she uses two T shirts and puts ruffles all over the front and on one shirt she also puts them at the bottom.  I have made this shirt and just added one frill at the neck but you could use Sachiko's idea and revamp some of your existing tops maybe by doing a ruffle in a different colour.

I just cut a long straight strip, left it raw at the edges and I pleated it on once I had faced my neckline. It instructed you to gather on the Tea Rose Home blog but I prefer it quite neat so I often do little pleats when I am instructed to gather!
There are some more bits of jersey I have left over from other things but they might not be quite big enough to do long sleeves, there may be a few more variations made up with short sleeves.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Maxi Skirt Refashion

This was a pretty basic refashion, the skirt I bought form the charity shop yesterday had quite a good shape at the top. It was cut on the bias and was an A-line almost to the floor.  I unpicked the lining from the waistband at the top and chopped off quite a chunk at the bottom so it would sit above the knee.
I took it in down one side only, lining also and then re-attached it to the waist.  It was quite quick as I mirrored the other side of the skirt.
I zig zag stitched the bottom and did a tiny hem, I didn't want anything bulky as with it being bias cut they sometimes hang funny.

Here is the size 8 above the knee straight skirt.

This was the size 14 maxi skirt.

It would have cost me far more to make this skirt from start to finish what with lining, fabric and zip.  It is good quality as it was a Per una skirt (Marks & Spencer) I decided against doing anything fancy with the hem as when I tried it on my husband said it was nice as it was.  Sometimes less is more.

A bonus is that I have a big piece of fabric left over measuring 91cm by 50cm on the fold and the same in lining.  If anyone has any ideas for using that up I would love to hear them.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Charity Shop Finds

Had a little peak in our local St Luke's charity shop today and came away with a couple of  bargains. I went in with the intention of looking for fabric, so not necessarily just looking on rails of clothes that fit me. I think this is important if you sew as you can get much better bargains and more fabric for your money if you look on rails of different sizes.  You have more to play with in terms of revamping an item, also if you keep a look out for sheets, pillowcases and curtains you can get a large amount of fabric that way for other projects.
I found this size 14 skirt in a lovely tweed, it is almost to the floor...
It is a dark picture so it is hard to see but it is pale blue and grey with a blue lining.

I intend on remaking this tomorrow, it will become a much shorter skirt (above the knee) sized down to an eight.  I may do a straight hem or a bit of a layer/ ruffle, I'm not sure yet.  Either way there will be lots of fabric left for a bag or something else.  It cost just £3.00.

While I was looking my husband picked up this cute little teapot...
It has a cup at the bottom and is for tea for one.
It still had the original stickers on the bottom and appears brand new. It was £1.50, I have seen these before but I never thought they were worth the usual price, this one is ideal it even says Earl Grey on one side which is what I drink. 

I then had a visit to the library to pick up a book on order and return a few. Here is what I ordered...
I will see how this goes, none of the books I have read recently have been very gripping and as this was the winner of  The Man Booker Prize lets hope it proves worthy!  It doesn't always work that way though does it?  Sometimes films win loads of awards and then they are just plain dull.  It is sometimes the lesser known books or films that leave an impression on you, and of course it is a matter of personal taste.

Later in the day I visited my favourite sewing shop and also bought new fabric for a shirt I'm going to make for me. (I know I said I wouldn't buy any new for a while but it wasn't expensive and I had the need to make a shirt)  I wanted to make one for my husband but he said there is no need as they are cheap enough to buy! Really they don't get it, they are cheap as they are mass produced over seas.  My son did however say he would like a jacket as he has seen nothing he wants in the shops.  We are going to have a look one week so I can make one for him.  
Quite excited by this as many of you with girls probably get to sew for them all the time but with boys usually never once they are older.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Pattern Free Cowl Neck Dress

Well I finished my dress this morning so I finally feel like I've accomplished something this week other than work! I made it all pattern free which is what I prefer, some how it is always quicker and things fit better.
Here it is below, I will go through what I did  step by step.

Saturday evening I cut out the pieces for my cowl neck dress, I used a tunic dress that I already have for the shape but I had to fold in the bottom at the sides as I cut it as it was an A-line and I wanted this dress straight.
I also wanted long fitted sleeves so I used a long sleeved T shirt that fits me well to get an idea for the sleeves.
In the picture you can see pins I trace the shape of the neck line by feeling through the original garment and putting pins in place, after I am certain it is correct I cut close to the pins.  I also do this if I need darts or other markings sometimes. no darts in this one as it is so stretchy.

Here I laid on my t shirt with the top of the sleeve to the fold of the fabric, then feel through again and mark with pins the curved shape of the sleeve at the arm hole. Cut around the rest allowing for sleeve hem.  When you have done one place it on the fold of the fabric again and just cut around to get your second sleeve.

Right sides together I cut out the shape for the cowl neck the tunic I used had quite a big cowl but as this is a smart dress I made this smaller. I stitched them down both sides then fold it out so it is the right way, but folded over.

Sew all pieces together, notch sleeve pieces at the top on the fold so you can pin at the shoulder before you sew, if you are using stretchy jersey it is very forgiving when you set in your sleeves any way.
When I sewed in the cowl  I put right side of cowl to right side of dress sewed all around then folded it over to the inside then sewed it there, but you have to do half way around, pull through and do the other half. You  have to leave a little gap for pulling through and finish that bit by hand. ( Sounds confusing but if you have sewn linings in jackets you will get what I mean.)

Here the neck is ok on the dummy but I found when I tried it on it hung funny unless you arrange it as the fabric is quite heavy. I put a jacket on and took it off to test it and the neck was all over the place again. Now you don't want to go out and be faffing around with your collar when you take off your jacket. I knew that would drive me crazy! So I decided I would stitch it invisibly in place catching only the under layer of the cowl. That way if I take off my jacket my collar should survive!  I also did a little stitched fold at the back of the neck as that was the area that was annoying me  the most.

Here it is with a pin in  it while I tested, maybe more of a back v but the messy look was not doing it for me.

Here the neckline had pins in while I hand stitched it on the inside to keep that collar where I wanted it. I think maybe it would have hung better with a different fabric, something more floaty as this fabric stood out quite stiff once it was doubled so maybe that was why I didn't like the effect when it was loose. I will definitely try this neck again but in a different fabric.

Below is the original dress that gave me the idea, I have noticed that on that one the cowl doesn't continue at the back of the neck also the neck shape was more of a square with a bigger cowl hanging down at the front.  Something for me to try next time.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Frugal Crafting

 I read a few  blogs about sewing and crafts and I am often amazed at the amount of fabric some of you have out there. I too love good fabric and gaze at what is on offer at sites like fabric rehab but often only buy a small amount as it is just so expensive.

The same can be said of wool, embroidery threads and card making supplies.  I tend to try and recycle as much as I can and liven things up with bits of newness. This is always easier of course with small projects not so easy with large clothing unless your into patchwork although I did see this fabulous dress at Crab &Bee  she has used up her scraps to make a dress what a super idea.

I was looking through some bits and found this lot...
Here we have some Christmas stickers that came with a magazine last year, ribbons from chocolate boxes, a bit of posh wrapping paper that was around a gift I was given and some card toppers that were on sale for pennies last January.  So some card making in the next couple of days I think.

I also found these papers/vinyl I'm not sure what they are exactly but they were samples that someone gave me and I have used in the past but I have loads left. It is very thick, but they were throwing them out and there is such a collection of designs, just think what people pay for craft papers for scrap booking.

Finally there are a couple of craft magazines that I had bought for me that I have kept, I came across these in my desk and looking at them now I have some renewed inspiration from them.

 I think saving these sorts of bits and pieces can really save you money. I am not suggesting you hoard everything but visiting craft stores can be expensive and when you look at some of the items they sell you are just paying to have things pre-cut.

There was lady demonstrating this fantastic machine that cut papers into all sorts of intricate designs the last time I visited. It was very expensive and on top of the machine you had to buy all the stencils separately, I was quite shocked how many were selling. 

 There are a few bits of sewing that need finishing off this week plus stuff for other people, it is hard to get on when we only have slots of time here and there but hopefully all will be done for the weekend. I am going to have a look on the library website now and see if there are any Christmas craft books I can order to further use up some of my bits and pieces. 

Another Shift Dress

The dress I made today is from the free New Look pattern I got with Sew magazine last month. It is very similar to the scuba dress I made bu...