Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Yearly round-up

So... it's kind of depressing to look back on 2014 and realise just how little I have actually made this year. Eight items of clothing only (plus some small crochet items) - nowhere near the amount I have made in previous years.

When I began doing my PGCE to retrain as a teacher a little over two years ago, I never imagined how little I would end up sewing. I knew that teaching would be busy - much busier than my 9-5 desk based job with no take home work, which I did previously, but it's somewhat depressing to see just how much teaching has taken over from everything else.

Admittedly, this year (since September at least) I've been at a different school, having completed my NQT year, and actually I seem to be slowly gaining more of my weekend time back, so I'm hoping that 2015 will be much more productive that 2014!

All bar 1 of the 8 items I made this year have been dresses - and mostly dresses from patterns I have previously made, which means that I have been able to turn them around much quicker than if I was using a new pattern. This is very much a result of having limited time last year. Sadly, that also means that all the lovely vintage patterns I have in my stash, that I really want to make, have been left languishing because they require more time that I have had up to date.

However, I am determined that this year will change - I have already created a muslin of a vintage 50s wiggle dress to test for fit and this needs to be sewn up in the actual fabric ready for a wedding at the start of February - so that is my first goal for 2015!

I am also determined that I will give myself much more sewing time this year as well. Much as I love my job, I am not going to allow it to take over everything any more.

On the plus side this year, I actually managed to teach myself to crochet! Thanks mainly to the blog Attic24. Lucy provides some of the best, clearest, instructions I have managed to find and she has turned me into a crocheter! As a result, I actually managed to make 3 crochet based presents - a cuddly rabbit for my youngest niece (Craftsy pattern), a bobble hat for her older sister and a crochet owl as part of my own sister's Christmas present (using this great free pattern by BunnyMummy).

Taken from Bunny Mummy
(4) Name: 'Crocheting : Stella Bunny Crochet Pattern
Taken from Craftsy
So...... Goals for 2015. I'm not normally one for New Year's resolutions - as I invariably end up breaking them, but in 2015 I am determined that:

  • I will carry on with the crochet - It's incredibly relaxing and I can also do this whilst sitting in the lounge with the hubby so I don't feel like I'm being anti-social.
  • I will sew at least 2 of my vintage patterns this year.
  • I will try to give myself sewing time at the weekends whenever I can - I'm busy during the week, but there's no excuses at the weekend. 
What about everyone else? Any crafting related resolutions for 2015? 

Friday, 26 December 2014

Finished Project: Flowery 40's style shorts

Another finished project for you. This time a pair of summery, flowery shorts.

I used the Smooth Sailing pattern for these - a pattern I've used before to make a blue pair of shorts (though I'm yet to make any trousers from this pattern).

I wear the blue version of these shorts quite a lot, but I've found that the fabric is a little too stiff, so decided a cotton might be better this time round. I still wanted them to have some shape though so I underlined them with a white cotton I had in my stash. This seems to have worked really well if I do say so my self as they keep their shape nicely.

Not a huge amount to say about construction. The waistline / side seams on my blue ones were a smidge loose so I took them in just a quarter of an inch or so which has made them much more snug fitting and they don't ride up at the waist as much now.

I also did an invisible zip this time round, because that's what I had in my stash.

I wore these so much in holiday - they're just so comfortable! Hopefully I'll get round to making the trousers from this pattern at some point too!

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Merry Christmas

To all those people still following me despite long periods of radio silence:

Hope you all have a lovely time.


Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Finished Project: pattern hack pastille

Hello hello!

I've finished another dress! ;-) I finished this way back over the summer but I've only just remembered to post about it!

This is a bit of a pattern hack. I found this fish fabric in Barry's fabric warehouse last time we had a Brum meet-up. I was planning on making a strappy little sun-dress, but decided against it in the end.

I used the Colette Pastille bodice pattern (like I did with my map dress) but I didn't want such a high neckline at the back, so I created a V-neckline instead for a bit of variety.

I lined the bodice using the method the By Hand London girls show you in the Elizalex dress pattern (which is pure genius, can't believe I haven't come across it before!), and then decided I just wanted a basic gathered skirt, so I used the Cambie pattern pieces to save measuring out and guessing the size I needed.

All in all, I love this make. And, because it's using pattern pieces that are already sized to fit me, this was such a quick make. I literally, cut the pieces out and sewed it up in a single afternoon. Probably also helped by doing a machine sewn hem.

The only thing I would change next time is the length of the skirt - I'm not a fan of showing off my knees and much prefer skirt to be slightly longer, but he-ho I'll still get lots of wear out of this I'm sure.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Finished Project: Swing Dress

Happy Sunday all! How depressing is this weather? I was enjoying the sunshine thanks and now we've got the tail end of Hurricane Bertha (or whatever she's called) making it feel like winter! Ugh. Oh well, guess I'll just have to get some sewing done instead - shame :-) .

'Scuse the not great photos - none of my cameras are behaving brilliantly at the moment. Another finished project today. A summery Sense and Sensibility Swing Dress. A made a dark blue flowery version of this a while back and have worn it so many times I just knew I needed to make another at some point.

I got this fabric from a US company as I was struggling to find a good selection of Rayon fabrics that I liked. I saw this rayon on their website and decided to go for it. It's been in my stash waiting for me to get round to making another swing dress for the last year at least I'd say.

Not much to report fit wise as I sorted all that out last time I made the dress - I lengthened the skirt by about 2 inches to ensure it sat below the knee and this time just decided to pink all the seam edges for speed.

I used an invisible zip and also just pulled in the cross-over bodice front in a little bit to avoid gaping and the need to wear a little vest underneath. I love the colours of this fabric. They're just so summery and bright.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Sewing hand-me-downs

I thought I'd share two of the lovely sewing 'hand-me-downs' I've been lucky enough to inherit.

Hubby's grandma was a seamstress at what is now John Lewis in Sheffield and she was, by all accounts, a pretty fantastic one at that! Unfortunately I was never lucky enough to meet her as she died a good 6 years or so before hubby and I met. Sadly, his grandfather died just as we started seeing each other and amazingly, S's mum asked if I'd want her mother's old sewing box as neither she nor S's aunt had any use for it... Well, what can I say - there was no way I was going to refuse something as lovely as this...

It came complete with hundreds of spools of thread, ribbon, embroidery threads etc - history in a box! Since then it's become my storage place too.

Then, about 3 months ago, S's mum was having a clear out of their attic when she came across her mum's old singer sewing machine.... She asked if I wanted that as well (stupid question really). It's so beautiful. Shame there's no table to go with it but I'm planning on looking out for one at the flea markets etc when I go to them.

Then last week, S's mum gave me a bag full of embroidery threads / patterns that she'd found in another clear out (Lets just say I am never going to need to go shopping for embroidery threads every again!

I love the fact that I've been able to give a loving home to something that belonged to S's grandma - I just wish I'd had the chance to meet her!

Sunday, 15 June 2014


Hello all.

Well, in the previous post I said I was working on the Sense and Sensibility Swing Dress and.... it's almost done! Just the hem to finish off once it's hung for 24 hours.

The fabric I've used is a viscose fabric - can't remember where it's from - but it's lovely and drapey. Perfect for this dress. (Excuse the mess in the pictures - my sewing room is in the spare bedroom, which hubby thinks is his dumping ground!)

It's such a lovely summery fabric too - although I'm now realising I should probably have sewn a lining in as it's also quite see-through! I guess I'll just have to wear a slip with it instead. Not to worry.

Also in progress is a pair of Smooth Sailing shorts in some Hawaiian fabric ready for summer. I made a navy pair of these shorts the summer before last and they are so comfy so I'm looking forward to having another pair.

I've also cut out all the pieces for the Elizalex dress in my Russian Doll fabric I bought from Barry's last time I went on a fabric splurge.

Here's to some happy sewing time (hopefully) over the next week or so.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Next up!

Next plans (if I ever find any more time to sew):

Another Sense and Sensibility Patterns Swing Dress - this time in a lovely turquoise rayon fabric - perfect for summer! The pattern prices are all cut out ready to go so hopefully I'll find some time amongst report writing, marking and lesson planning to actually sew it up! 

Then I succumbed and bought the Washi Dress pattern from Berylune when I finally visited the other week after seeing a great version on the very lovely lady that works there. I'm planning on using this vintage fabric I've had in my stash for ages as a test run and then I might make it up in a woolen fabric for a winter pinafore type version as well (perfect for work). 

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Finished Project: Sunflowers

Hello Hello!

Another finished make. This time a basic top (New Look 6483).

I ordered 2x 1m pieces of fabric from Spoonflower a couple of months ago - this one with sunflowers and another with a repeated tulip on it. Since there was only 1m of the fabric there wasn't much I could make and I just about managed to squeeze this top out of it. The facings had to be plain white cotton as there wasn't enough sunflower fabric for that but that makes little difference.

It's a really simple make although (as I should have remembered with the Big 4 pattern companies), the ease in this patterns is ridiculous. I cut out the top based on my measurements, then had to take it in by an entire size. And to be honest I could probably take it in more to make it more fitted but I quite like the slightly looser relaxed nature of it now it's done. I'm probably going to use the tulip fabric for another version of this top and I think I'll make that one more fitted though.

Not much to say really other than if you make this pattern you can probably go down at least 1 pattern size if not 2 given the ease. But all in all a very quick make. I cut out the pattern and fabric, sewed it up then took it in and finished it off all in the space of a couple of hours so very simple!

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Finished Project: Elizalex with pencil skirt

Hello all! Happy sunny (finally) Sunday.
Another finished project for you today. I finished this over Easter but only just got round to taking photos.

This is the long planned Elizalex dress with my Geisha fabric that I bought with KraftyKat over a year ago and the Home Sewing event at the NEC. Except that it's not a full Elizalex pattern because I'm a complete numpty and managed to cut the proper skirt pieces out upside down on my fabric so I had to turn them into a basic pencil skirt instead.

I bought this pattern over a year ago as well and traced and cut out the bodice pieces just after getting it, to test for fit. Then I went to cut out the skirt pieces and had managed to loose them (I told you I was a numpty) so I had to then order a new pattern so I could get the skirt pieces! Idiot! And then life got in the way and I only managed to cut the actual fabric pieces out this year. So this has been a rather long journey to completion it has to be said!

Anyhoo, onto the pattern. I can see why Roisin and others completely rave about this pattern. I love it and already have plans to create another using the actual skirt pieces this time (the tight way up obviously)! The instructions are so simple and I love the bodice lining technique - everything looks so neat like that!

I used an invisible zipper for the first time in ages which went in nice and smoothly and hand stitched the hem.

I used the ever faithful Gertie Pencil Skirt pattern pieces for the skirt part of the dress and actually, the pattern hack worked absolutely fine!

I love the princess seam bodice too and I think I might use that with lots of other skirt pieces as well. It just looks so nice on. It's definitely a pattern worth buying if you haven't already.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Finished Project: Back to School Skirt

Hello Hello!!

Another finished project today - finally got round to taking photos of this tonight! Not great light though so excuse the slight blurriness!

So I bought this fabric back in October / November when I met up with Marie, Kat, Amy and Roisin in Birmingham. I managed to haggle for good price from the guy in the Rag Market and bought 2m of the stuff. I thought it would be the perfect fabric for a skirt / dress to wear to school.

I used the Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt for the pattern and cut a straight size 10. I probably should have shaved off some of the width off the waist though as it's looser than I remember it being when I tested for fit. Never mind though, it's still fine.

The fabric is a relatively stiff cotton which works well with the wider width of the skirt. I hemmed it with horsehair braid as well to add shape to the hem.

This fabric makes me chuckle every time I wear the skirt and the kids in my class loved it, which was great.

As with all Sewaholic patterns the instructions were really clear and so easy to follow. I'll definitely use the pattern again.

I probably should have tried to match the fabric pattern, but I just wanted to sew something and actually get it finished so I didn't bother.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Charity Shop Finds

Hello again!

Just wanted to share a little piece of luck I had this weekend. I popped down to our local charity shop to get some birthday cards and thought I'd have a quick snoop around for anything interesting...

And I was in luck - a lady had dropped off a load of dress making fabric only the day before. I managed to snag myself about 3m of brown double knit, 3m of plaid wool fabric along with about 2m of matching silk lining...

and at least 2.5m of a petrol blue crepe fabric. All for the grand sum of £15. BARGAIN!!

Not bad for a quick trip to buy some greetings cards on a Saturday morning!

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Birmingham Goodies

We had another mini-meetup last weekend and I didn't come home empty handed!

I bought 3 somewhat crazy print fabrics from Barry's Fabric Warehouse - My husband was most put out when he saw the fish fabric as I'be banned him from wearing hideous Hawaiian shirts and he thinks the fabric looks just like one of his shirts! Lol I think it'll make a perfect strappy little sun-dress!

The grey and white fabrics are some very lovely and soft lining fabric from the Fancy Silk Store and the blue fabric is a stable jersey also from Barry's. I want to make Gertie's portrait blouse with it.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

FO: World map dress

Hello all, long time no speak.

I have a finished object for you today. My World Map dress. It's a mix of the Pastille bodice and a circle skirt. I love the bodice of the Pastille, as the little cap sleeves are all part of the main bodice.

I finished this about 5 weeks ago and it was a relatively quick make as the pattern pieces were all ones I'd used before. Plus I couldn't be bothered to finish the seams off with anything more than a zig-zag stitch so that made it extra quick too.

I finished the hem off with horse-hair braid, which I really love on this skirt as the cotton is quite lightweight so it gives the skirt a little shape.

I also did a lapped zipper. I'm quite happy with the matching pattern across the zip - especially as it was completely unintentional!

The cotton is from Barry's Fabric Warehouse (where else - it's amazing!).

That's about all I have to tell you about this make really.

In other sewing news, I have a Hollyburn skirt waiting to be hemmed (with horse-hair braid again - I love that stuff).

I also have half an Elizalex dress made, but I had a bit of a stupid turn while cutting out the pattern and managed to cut out the skirt pieces upside down on my fabric (duh). So I've had to convert the skirt pieces to a normal pencil skirt (my trusty Gertie pencil skirt pattern). I've yet to sew the skirt to the bodice but hopefully I'll get it done at some point this month.