Thursday, 17 December 2015

Finished project: Christmas cake

A little Christmas make for you today. My first ever home made Christmas cake. In the past I've made Christmas puddings but never bothered with Christmas cake until this year.

It's a traditional fruitcake but since I'm not the biggest fan of normal marzipan I made an orange flavoured marzipan instead.

It's the first time I've decorated a full sized cake too - having only decorated cupcakes in the past.
overall, I'm very happy with this make.

Merry Christmas too you all.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Finished Objects: An advent calendar and a 2 week early surprise!

Hello hello!

Hope everyone is well. So I managed to finish the advent calendar I was working on for Mr HM and I before advent began (very chuffed).

Not much to report in terms of the manufacture. Its a pre-prepared fabric panel from Cotton Patch which you cut out and sew together. Probably only took me about an hour in total from start to finish.

I've been meaning to make a reusable advent panel for years and finally got round to it so I'm very happy with myself!

In other news... this happened ... 2 weeks earlier than expected! Baby Felix.

One of the reasons I'm so chuffed with making the advent calendar is because I made it up after he was born - and he slept through the noise of the machine beautifully (yay for more sewing time when he's sleeping - that is when he's sleeping better at night and therefore I don't need to join him in a nap when he sleeps in the day!) :-)

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Finished Project: Christmas Stockings

Hello all! Hope you're well.

Another finished project for you today - something Christmasy (I know it's a bit early, but with Baby HM on the way I need to get stuff out of the way as I'm pretty certain I'll only have eyes for the baby once it finally makes an appearance!)

Anyhoo - it's three Christmas stockings, one for each of us.

I drew the stocking template by freehand till it looked right then pieced together loads of Christmas coloured fabric scraps to make the front stocking piece. The back is made of plain calico for ease and a little more strength. All pretty straightforward and uncomplicated really.

I'm planning on embroidering name labels for each of them so father Christmas knows who's is who's but I haven't got round to it yet.

I've also finished an advent calendar wall hanging for my nieces which I forgot to photograph (oops) and have one for our house to sew up too so that's next on the list.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Finished Project: Baby Blanket

Hello all! How are you all doing?

Another finished project for you today. I finished for maternity leave last Friday so I've got time to start doing some crafting again before Bean arrives in just a few short weeks! Eeek!

Having made a baby blanket for both my nieces, I thought it only fitting that I make a blanket for my soon to be addition to the family too. Since we don't know whether Bean is a boy or a girl, I wanted something relatively neutral  in terms of fabric choices. I decided to go for greys, blues and yellows.

The chevron fabric came from Ditto Fabric, the polka-dots from Cotton Patch and the cloud fabric came from an Etsy seller in Australia sine I wanted cloud fabric and couldn't find anyone in this country selling any I liked.

It's not a complicated design - I'm no expert patchwork sewer - plus I really just wanted the fabrics to stand out and speak for themselves. I've backed it in a plain yellow brushed cotton for a softer touch underneath. Other than that, not much to add really.

Next up - 3x Christmas stockings for me, Mr HM and Bean - 1 1/2 of them have already been made and then 2x hanging fabric advent calendars - once for the nieces and one for our house. I've been meaning to make these advent calendars for the last couple of years and never got round to it.

I'm also currently finishing off a baby cardigan for Bean - just the hood and button band to finish.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Finished Project: Grainline Hack

Hello hello, how are we all?

Unfortunately, the summer holidays are now over and I've been back at work since Tuesday - RUBBISH! But at least there's only 7 weeks to go till I finish for maternity leave! (Not that I'm counting or anything!) However, I do have a finished make for you again today. A Grainline t-shirt hack.

I made this at the start of the summer holidays (despite having other things I'd planned to make - like an actual, proper Grainline t-shirt, with the insect material I bought I while back). I had this idea in my head of a cross over front t-shirt and thought the Grainline pattern would work a treat.

And it pretty much did. Although there are a few tweaks I need to make to the hacked pattern still. Like increasing the size across the bust as it pulls a bit and I want it to be a little more relaxed and roomy.

Despite it not being perfect, I've worn this loads since making it and it's become a summer staple this year. I used some left over yellow broderie anglais I had in my stash.

I decided to get rid of the sleeves and widen the arm hole slightly then bind it all off with bias binding. All in all, a nice, straightforward, quick, make. The longest part was drafting out the new front pattern piece! :-) I've currently got a second version cut out with about 1 - 2" added to the bodice pieces so maybe that will make the fit better.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Finished Project: Kwik Sew 3486

Another finished dress for you. This time a Kwik Sew pattern. I've never used their patterns before but I was pleasantly surprised with the ease of the make.

I made this a few months back, based on my pre-maternity size at it was still too large for me. I was at that awkward stage of no longer fitting in to my previous clothes (unless they were stretchy) but still not really 'showing a bump' so not fitting into maternity clothes properly either.  However, I have worn this recently and although still a little roomy around my waist area it fits much better.

I made this out of some cotton I had in my stash which was intended for a summer dress that I never got round to making. It was really simple and straightforward to sew up so not much to report there really. The only thing I'm not happy with is the length - it's to long and what with the extra material over the bump area it looks a little frumpy so I want to shorten it by an inch or two and get it just above the knee I think.

I'm not sure how much wear I'll get out of this as I'm not overly fond of the pattern but it's there for me to wear should I need to.

The whole thing was machine sewn - including the hem. I've been so short on sewing time recently that when I do make something I've been quite lazy with finishing it off - usually I would catch stitch the hem of my makes as I think it looks better, but I just haven't had the inclination with these last few makes. I did finish the edges off with a zig-zag hem to prevent fraying though so I wasn't totally lazy!

I still need to get round to making the Megan Nielsen top version of the last dress I posted with the insect jersey.

Although I may make a Grainline T-shirt out of it instead. Not sure yet. I think I'll get more wear out of it post pregnancy if it's a Grainline T-shirt rather than a maternity top so I'm veering down that route. Plus, I'm still wearing the two Granline T-shirts I made a few years ago (here and here) at the moment and they're really comfy so I don't think I'll have to re-size the pattern to accommodate the bump at all which is a bonus.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Made Up: Sewing for good causes and a finished project

Hello all,

As a primary teacher, reading and literacy are two things I believe are incredibly important - I'm also a book lover myself so it's doubly important to me! Which is why, when I saw Love Sewing Magazine and Karen over at Did You Make That? were launching the Made Up initiative to raise money for the National Literacy Trust, I just knew I had to take part - although having been away, it's taken a while to blog about it!
If you want more convincing, head over to Karen's site and read her blog entries about the cause.

Anyway, I donated and pledged to make something by the 8th September. And here it is! I pledged to make a Grainline t-shirt - nothing particularly fancy or challenging, but what with having a house in total chaos because of decorating (and therefore limited access to my fabric stash) and being 7 months pregnant so wanting something practical, it seemed like a good option to me.

I bought the insect fabric a few months back with the intention of making a Megan Nielson maternity top out of it, but decided I'd prefer it as a t-shirt instead.

Not much to add in terms of making it as I haven't made any alterations since the last proper Grainline t-shirts I made here and here. The only difference is that this is a stable knit fabric rather than a woven fabric, which means there's enough stretch to fit over my ever expanding mid section! I made this in a morning and I have no doubt it'll be a well worn piece of my wardrobe!

So, that's me done with my pledge! If you haven't joined yet, please consider it - it's such a good cause! And well done Karen for setting up such a great fund raising activity!

Friday, 21 August 2015

Finished Project: Megan Nielsen for Simplicity 1469

Hello again!

Another finished project again! And another that was made back in the summer half term break. Somehow, despite wearing the purple version of this dress loads I haven't actually got round to photographing either version. This time a Simplicity pattern - by Megan Nielsen. It's her maternity top / dress.

I used this jersey for the first version. I bought it from the Birmingham at the rag market, knowing that it would be good to make something stretchy and accommodating out of!

This dress has a lot of different pieces but it was really straightforward to make and put together. I managed to make it all in a morning and still had time to put together a quick self drafted, elasticated, gathered skirt as well. Not bad for a day's work!

This pattern is however, really loose on me (even with the increased bump size since making it). As with all maternity patterns, you have to base your size choice on pre-pregnancy measurements, which I did, but it's way too loose still. Maybe it will fit better towards the end of the pregnancy? As a result, I haven't actually worn this version at all. Although putting it on to finally take pictures showed that it fits better than it did so it might be brought out of the closet for the last few months. It'ss see me into the winter with some leggings / tights and a cardie so I can't complain.

I machine sewed everything on this dress including the hem as I find catch-stitching jersey to be a bit of a bugger sometimes. This made the whole process very quick and easy!

Because the original blue version was so large, I decided to make the next size down in a purple ponte knit I had. This second version fit so much better and has been in constant rotation since making it. Plus, it still fits well even now and will no doubt fit up until the end. The bonus with this pattern is that it's also a nursing dress as the cross over top allows easy boob access so it will get lots of wear even after Bean arrives.

The second version was even quicker to make than the first since it was familiar so I managed to make it in a couple of hours. The great thing about jersey too is that you don't actually have to finish off the raw edges so it's great when you just want a quick make with no hassle.

I've ordered this fabric:

To make the top version of this pattern too and I've got some nice red and white stripe jersey which I plan on making some comfortable t-shirts and vest tops out off as well. Although, as mentioned in the previous post, I have no sewing space at the moment, so who knows when this will happen!

Friday, 14 August 2015

Vintage pledge #3: 1970's maternity top: Style 1107

Hello hello!

Another finished project for you today and another item to add to my vintage pledge. This is the third of the 5 vintage patterns I pledged to make this year. When I signed up for the pledge, the plan was to use the patterns I already have in my stash. However, my plans were thwarted by me becoming pregnant 5 1/2 months ago so I decided to buy a couple of vintage maternity patterns to see me through the next few months and also hit my pledge too.

So, this pattern is from the 70's and, although I will probably never make the dress or trousers, I really liked the swingyness of the top. the pattern was a bust size 34" which means I should have sized up to 36" but it looked quite a loose pattern so I decided to leave it as was. And I'm glad I did! It's massive on me even at this size! :-) I actually made this top way back in summer half term when the bump was virtually non-existent, but even now with a much larger bump it's still pretty spacious!

This was such a quick make plus it's made with swapped cotton I scored from my first ever Birmingham sewing meetup so that's an added bonus - no new purchases necessary.

The original pattern calls for a zip up the back. No idea why given the looseness of the fit, so I decided to ignore the zip, sew up the back seam and just leave the back yoke open to add a button. This is more than enough for getting the top on and off so I'm glad I didn't waste a zip on this pattern.

So that's pattern #3 finished. The next vintage pattern on the list is this one: Simplicity 7363. I love the dress in this pattern and I may make the top as well. No idea when I'll get round to making it. Our house is currently in complete upheaval mode while we decorate so I have no sewing space to speak of! :-(

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Finished Project: Megan Nielsen Cara maternity t-shirt

Hello all,

Sorry for the radio silence recently - my sewing has been a bit in limbo over the last few months because there's been no point sewing my usual stuff - having a wee one growing inside means that I'm fast growing out of all my old stuff and also don't fit into my usual size (and won't for a while). But at the same time, I'm still not big enough to fit into 'proper' maternity patterns (I'm 14 weeks so the bump will start to show pretty soon no doubt). Despite that, I've been sewing up a couple of maternity items anyway.

This t-shirt is a classic example - there is still no visible bump (although in the picture it kind of looks like there is) to fill this t-shirt but I'm generally wider and larger than I was (pregnancy is so flattering is it not) so non-maternity clothes I've made no longer fit comfortably.

On to the make though! Not much to say about this pattern really. It was super quick to make - probably an hour in total (after printing, sticking and cutting the pdf pattern, which always takes a while). One of the great things about jersey is that yo don't have to finish the raw edges as they don't fray, so one less thing to do.

I lengthened the pattern pieces by about 1 1/2 inches as I made a mock up in cheap jersey and it was way shorter than I'd like, but other than that no alterations. I've got a stack of jersey waiting to be sewn so no doubt I'll be making more of these over the next 6 months!

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Vintage Pledge #2: Simplicity 3062 Jacket

Hello all!

I've got my second of 5 pledged makes for the vintage pledge for you today.

Now, if you read my last vintage pledge post, you will remember I said I was planning on making Vogue 8112 to go with the dress. However, having made a calico version to test for fir, I found the shape looked really weird on me so I decided to go with the matching cropped jacket from my dress pattern. Having seen Oobop's version of the Vogue jacket though, I'm kind of tempted to give it a go again.

But... on to the jacket I actually sewed. I bought the fabric from Barry's fabrics in Birmingham - I went in with my vintage hat in order to find the best colour match!

Now, it's fair to say that, as far as pattern's go, this should not have been a difficult jacket to sew up but every time I started sewing part of it I seemed to make a load of mistakes! So much sew I almost gave up. But, thankfully, I plodded on and eventually ended up with a finished jacket.

I'm such a classy kind of girl aren't I!
I made bound buttonholes for the jacket since I don't often make them, but I always think they look lovely and I interlined the fabric with a brushed cotton to make it extra snugly before lining it with a burgundy lining fabric that matched the dress.

It's such a lovely, warm jacket to wear but it's not exactly day wear so probably won't get that many outings unfortunately.

I wore it with my red Simplicity 3062 dress to a friend's wedding along with the vintage hat that started the whole outfit off. I decided to go the whole hog and have my hair done too by the Vintage Salon in Birmingham - they did my hair for my own wedding and always do such a great job.

So that's #2 of my pledge down - only another 3 patterns to go! Oh yes, and this is what happens when you have to wait 1 hour for a taxi that decides to turn up late at the end of a wedding...

and you decide to take out the million and one hair pins holding your hair in place...

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Pattern Drafting

Hello all,

I wanted to share with you what I've been up to over the last few weeks. I've been taking part in a pattern drafting course at Carolyn Rose School of Sewing in Leamington for the last 4 weeks - with another 2 weeks still to go - and it's been fantastic!

I've been searching for a pattern drafting course for a while and luckily, finally came across a course at Carolyn Rose. Fortunately for me, there was still a space on the course (I found it 3 days before it was due to start!).

The first session was definitely a bit of a brain teaser, what with all the measurements, arithmetic and measuring out accurately, but Candace, the lady who teaches the course made everything feel super simple so we all got through it in the end. By the end of the session, we had our rough bodice block to check for fitting. Mine fit first time round fortunately so it meant I could get on to creating a skirt block and the final bodice block the next session.

So far we've made our full bodice block and a skirt block.

We've learnt how to manipulate the darts for different bodice shapes.

And I've even drafted my very first ever pattern design for a bodice to go with a nice gathered skirt. This week's job is to make it up in muslin form to check for fit etc. Can't wait!

Next week we're drafting our sleeve block before going on to more pattern design in the final session.

All in all, the course has been great and I've learnt so much. I have so many ideas of things I want to design and make so watch this space!

Those of you out there who want a new sewing challenge, I'd definitely recommend a pattern drafting course. And if you live in the Coventry / Leamington area you should check out Carolyn Rose as they have not only the beginners pattern drafting course, but intermediate courses, trouser block courses and jacket block courses. I'm pretty much determined to sign up each and every one of them! :-)

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Finished Project: Copycat Coco

Happy Sunday all! Hope you all had a lovely Valentines day, whatever you were doing. Hubby and I went to Ludlow for the day - I really pretty black and white market town in Shropshire - before coming back and going out for a nice Thai meal. Pretty chilled but lovely nonetheless.

Anyhoo - on to the finished project. I made this the day after I made my Coco Blue - I'd been to Birmingham and came across some really snuggly red sweatshirt material so decided to completely rip-off Tilly's own snuggly red coco top she made and make one of my own.

Just like the dress, this is super easy to make and Tilly's instructions are really easy to follow. I made it in 1 hour max. What I love about sewing with sweatshirt / jersey fabric is the ability to be a lazy stitcher and not do anything with the seam finishes as they don't fray.

I have worn this so much since I made it - perfect for wearing round the house when I need another layer or on those colder days at school too.

Plus, I've got enough sweatshirt fabric left to make myself a bolero top or something - anyone have any suggestions for good bolero patterns?

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Finished Project: Coco Blue

Hello hello! How are we all?

I've got another finished project today - something super quick and easy to get me in the mood for sewing up my vintage jacket. Tilly's Coco pattern.

I bought this pattern a few weeks back because I liked the idea of having some super simple and comfortable staples for work in my wardrobe. It basically took me just over an hour to cut out the pattern, cut the pattern pieces and then sew up - it could not be simpler! That's my kind of quick make!

I used some navy blue ponte de roma jersey - so lovely and soft - to make up the dress. I thought about adding the pockets but decided I just wanted a simple plain dress for this version. However, I have plenty of plans for making more of this pattern - tops and dresses.

Other than that, I added 2" to the length because I prefer my dresses slightly longer than it would have been if I'd left it. But other than that, I cut out a straight size 3 and fits brilliantly.

Next up (in between sewing my vintage jacket) is a blatant idea steal from Tilly herself - a red sweatshirt version of the funnel collar Coco top. Very snuggly!

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Vintage Pattern Pledge # 1: Simplicity 3062

Hello all!

So as I mentioned in my previous post, I decided to sign up for the Vintage Pattern Pledge this year to try to encourage me to use some of the many vintage patterns in my stash. 


As I had a wedding coming up, I wanted to make a new dress - something that would go with a lovely vintage hat I found before Christmas - so a vintage pattern seemed like a good choice! 

The pattern I've used is Simplicity 3062 - a 1959 wiggle dress pattern. There's a matching cropped jacket to go with it but I've decided not to make that this time round. 

I made the dress out of some red wool fabric I bought at my first ever Birmingham Blogger's meetup - I bought it with either a wiggle dress or some kind of skirt suit pattern in mind but never got round to making anything with it.

The bust size was right for me but I needed to alter the waist measurement so I re-drew the pattern and made a muslin to check - when I tried it on the waist was then too big so I took off about 1/2" overall around the waist and made another muslin. The fit was fine after that so I was able to get on with making the actual dress. 

I fully lined the dress with some lovely soft, grey lining fabric and ended up shortening the length of the dress by about 1" before hemming.

I did a lapped zip as I always think these look lovely with vintage dresses. 

Because the wool gets bulky where its folded, when I made the darts in the front and the back, I snipped them open and pressed each side flat rather than pressing the whole dart to one side.

I also catch-stitched the hem and whip stitched the lining to the zip to finish the dress off. 

All in all I'm quite proud of this make - the fabric is a lovely colour and the fit is really nice.  

I'm planning on making a jacket to go with the dress out of a really nice grey/blue woollen fabric I bought this weekend from Barry's Fabrics. Since the wedding is in February I wanted a jacket that would be warmer than the cropped style jacket that matches the dress pattern.