30 October 2016


Hello, its been a while. I'd like to say my lack of blogging has been down to very exciting things going on in my life, but truthfully its because they released a new Warcraft expansion, and well a girl has to get her priorities right! But enough of that, I'm back, I will try and get back on a weekly basis, but it might end up being bi-weekly if I am a bit more realistic with myself. 

So what has been going on? Well its been a busy summer, We have been to 3 weddings since I last blogged and sadly the aforementioned completely ruined my plans of sewing up dresses for these occasions (though I did wear my cherry print bettine to one of them). I did however manage to knock Master Fox up a suit which I really need to blog about. Sadly I haven't managed to get one decent picture of him in it yet. I might need to dress him up for no occasion soon just to try and get one. 



For those who follow me on instagram you will seen I have a shiny new sewing machine. Its a Janome TXL607 and it has 402 stitch options!!!!! yes 402! including letters and the ability to program it. That being said I am just most excited that it basically sews a button hole for me, no more manual 4 step button holes for this gal. Also it snips your thread for you, I'm pretty impressed with that. For information I got it from the lovely ladies at Sew Essential who kindly let me go visit them and let me have a play before buying. 

With that in mind I wanted to start off my reblogging by showing you my first make on this wizzy new machine which is a little girls dress made from another Puperita pattern. Its the Mini Tulips dress which is a reversible pinafore style dress with a button or snap fastening on the front of the dress.


This pattern, as always from Puperita, was a doddle to sew, and on my new machine I swear it took me longer to cut this dress out that it did to put it together (I certainly spent longer ironing than sewing). I am on a bit of a mission to clear out some of my fabric stash so am using up some of the smaller pieces of fabric to make up dresses, either for people I know or to pop in my Etsy shop

This particular dress has been made for one of Master Foxes little friends, who is one of the best dressed little girls I have ever met, can you have style envy of a 1 year old? So I am really pleased that something I have made will go into her glamorous wardrobe. 


The pink fabric is some left over chambray from one of my earlier makes, and the cats are some scraps I have had lying around for over a year now. I had thought about saving them to line one of my own dresses with, but honestly I cant see when I am going to make a dress in a colour similar to this that it would be a fitting lining. Plus I much prefer the idea that it is going to get worn and people are going to get to see it, rather than it just being me knowing that its there. 

I also scrounged the buttons out of my button collection. They aren't a perfect match, but I kind of like them, they are a dainty and a bit chintzy. Just take a look at that buttonhole too, it makes me happy how easy that was.


I'm definitely going to be knocking out a few more of these (I have 3 half cut already) so watch out. How do you use up your fabric scraps? I think I am going to start keeping a pile of squares though to see if I can (eventually) make a quilt from it all. So if anyone has any tips on that, size of squares to keep, basic patterns, where to start I will gladly listen to them.

19 August 2016

Mexico Kitty Ceramic Pot


I am so excited to show this little fella to you, he is the first thing I made in my ceramic workshop and I'm so pleased he is finally home. He is named 'Mexico Kitty' as he was inspired by some Mexican art I saw, with the painted design. Isn't he the cutest!


He was made using the snake pot technique; i.e hand built using long snakes to form a pot. I really like the shape of him, he sort of curves in like a nice plump kitty but I think its a really aesthetic shape. I then added four legs onto the bottom. Sadly I don't think I secured them well enough, so as you can see here they exploded off on the first firing but they have been very cleverly attached back on by David when dip glazed. David also put a hole in the bottom of my pot for the water to drain out so I also made this little stand for it to catch any water that drips through. This I just made out of a flat rolled piece of clay which I made dint's in for the legs to sit in so its all nice and sturdy.


The pattern was hand painted on using some oxide and water after I added the blue slip to colour the main pot. I really like the way this looks actually, its definitely something I will try again. I like how delicate the brush strokes are on something which is otherwise quiet chunky. With the face I cut away from the clay and then painted in the gaps but as you can see the oxide has burnt away during the firing process, which is a shame but I really see all this as a bit of a learning curve, there are no errors only happy accidents!


The final shiney glaze was added by dipping him in glaze, this helped to stick his legs back on, but we would normally paint the glaze on to the pot. After firing the shrinkage of the clay caused the glaze to crack which is the effect you can see above. David suggested that we paint over the pot with a watery acrylic paint to show off the cracks it has caused. We gave it a test on the bottom of the plate and it looked really nice so I applied it to the whole pot. I think its a really interesting effect.


I hope you like Mexico Kitty :) It just goes to show just how easy it is to make something amazing. I love this pot and as I said at the beginning this is the first one I made so it just goes to show what you can achieve when you give things a try. I have put David's flyer below for anyone who is local and fancies giving ceramics a go. 

Now I need to go and get on with trying to finish some of my sewing projects! Honestly, I have a pile so high of half done makes that I really need to tackle, they are in the way if nothing else!

http://www.davidwilliamsampson.com/Workshops.html


12 August 2016

Interview Dress: Atelier Brunette Bettine



This post is going to get a bit personal so please bear with me.

I have had this beautiful Atelier Brunette 'like a dandy' fabric for a while now. Its really lovely and light, it feels a bit like a really good shirting cotton. I had originally thought of making a 50s style dress but since decided it was too delicate for a structured bodice.

I then recently go offered a job interview, but I don't do interviews very often (I think its now 3 in 10 years!) I obviously didn't have anything to wear. I decided to team this fabric up with my recent obsession for sewing the Bettine dress. The lightness of the fabric works really well with the gathers but it's structured enough to look a bit more formal. 


I'm really pleased with how this came out especially as I made the pocket version. Those pockets! they really are a brilliant addition to this dress. Sadly now when I put the other versions on I wish they had the pockets as well! The fabric is amazing as well, I genuinely can't think of a fabric that I've enjoyed sewing with more it just behaved perfectly, I'd definitely recommend giving it a whirl, the extra little expense is totally worth it. 


So now your desperate to know and I'm sorry to say that I didn't get the job. I'm not going to lie about it, I'm thoroughly pissed about that. The job would have been a promotion in my area of work which I believe I thoroughly had worked hard towards but sadly wasn't meant to be. I'm trying to look on the bright side and move forwards but i am still a little bitter. I keep telling myself it will hopefully lead to something better but only time will tell.

(I want to add an extra line to this, I am editing this post a week after i wrote it and I am much less bitter, and feeling ok in where I am at the moment so its not all dome and gloom).


Thankfully this set back hasn't killed the dress, I have worn it twice since that dreaded day without that bitter feeling because it just makes the perfect summer work staple, it really is such an easy pattern to wear. 

So that's it for my little ramble, but before I go, I am sure you've already noticed but can we just take a moment to marvel in my pink and orange hair (excuse to angle!!). I'm torn between it being amazing and really badly executed, and sadly I had a massive allergic reaction to the orange, so its likely to not last long but we can enjoy it while it lasts xx

28 July 2016

Exciting Announcement: Magic Little Monsters


I am so excited to share this post with you as it's something I have been working on for a little while now and I have finally got to a point where I feel I can legitimately spill the beans.

As you know I've become a become a bit obsessed with clothes sewing, especially for Master Fox so I have been working on a self designed pair of baby/toddler trousers... Yes, you got it, Fox trousers!


These adorable little joggers are made from cotton sweat shirt fabric so are really comfy and warm. They are a lovely relaxed fit to make sure the nappy fits in there and there is a good ease of movement. Finally they are finished off with an elasticated waist so they are easy to get on an off that wriggly toddler (especially at bottom changing time!).


My favourite thing about these trousers though is that the fox face is on the back. This might seem weird when you look at these on a hanger but when those little ones start to crawl and roll around that little bottom in the air makes these the cutest item of clothing ever. Look at little Master Fox demonstrating this perfectly :)


The even more exciting news is that I have launched a new Etsy shop: Magic Little Monsters where you can get your very own pair of Foxy baby pants. The plan is that these will be made to order, but I will from time to time put listings up there for ready made items and hope to be able to launch exiting new designs in the future. I hope you go and check it out, and recommend it to all your friends!

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/Magiclittlemonsters

I really hope you love these trousers as much as I do, I can't wait to get started on drafting up my next design. Please feel free to leave me a lovely comment, and if you have any inspiring ideas from seeing this and want to leave a comment to make suggestions of what I can look to designing please do so.

xxx



22 July 2016

Hand built ceramic rose Jug



Those of you who follow me on Instagram will know that I have been attending some drop in ceramic classes lately (I say lately, I've been going since Xmas so its been a good 6 months!). The classes are run by David Sampson at the Art rooms in Long Eaton and you can find a link to the workshops here. What I really love about these classes is that they are drop in so you aren't tied to a class every week, this is perfect for people with unpredictable little monkeys like me!


This was a little pot that I started between other projects one evening when I had a bit of time at the end of a session and was just playing around. I think its turned out really nicely.

This is the first piece of work that I've been able to bring home since I started but this is because of  the time it takes for the work to dry out, the number of firings each piece of work has to have and obviously the availability of the kiln. As most of my other pieces need a final glaze fire they have been taking a little longer as they need extra firings.


This jug shaped pot was built using the coil method of hand building. I then added some cute little rolled roses onto the side and did a bit of sgraffito for the stems. The main pot has been coloured with oxides, the leaves have been painted on with a coloured slip (I think) and the roses have been done in a red glaze. 

 

To say this little pot was a bit of a by product I think its really cute. Sadly when it was fired it got a little crack in the bottom which means its kind of failing in its main function as a jug so I think it will just have to be some kinds of pen holder/trinket keeper instead. It is still lovely to look at though. I did make this pot with my mum in mind around mothers day (she sort of collects jugs) so I will definitely be gifting it to her this week, I hope that she likes it and can find a suitable use for it.


Davids workshops are hand building only (no throwing) and I have been really enjoying them. Its really nice to just play around with different techniques just to 'see what happens' and its nice to be able to learn some things along the way (even if they are through making mistakes). Ceramics is one of those things I have always wanted to have more of a go at as an adult but due to finds and availability hadn't managed to get round to it. I was very lucky in that Mr Fox organised paying for a few sessions for me as an anniversary present last year and spoke to David to get me to go on the class. I'm really glad he did, and its lovely to have a few hours on a Monday when I can just forget everything else and get lost in the clay.

So if your local and have been thinking about giving ceramics a go you could come and give the sessions a go, the first one is free and I have put the flyer below:

http://www.davidwilliamsampson.com/Workshops.html

15 July 2016

Why do I make stuff?


Why do I make stuff? Because its fun!

But really that's not just it, the enjoyment of the act of making is a big part of it but I think its more than that. There are two main reasons why I like to make stuff...


The first of these is that I think as human beings most of us strive to learn new skills; whether that be in the workplace, at a sport, or in the home there is a desire to develop ones self. Making handmade is a great way to teach yourself something new. There are so many things out there that you can try at home, or in a class to satisfy this need. For me it tends to be sewing but I have recently taken up some ceramic classes and often try my hands at something new. The great thing as well is that even when you have learnt a skill there are always ways to improve, develop and evolve these talents.


The second I think is inherently linked to the first, and that is the massive sense of achievement and self satisfaction you get from the finished something handmade. This isn't always the case, sometimes we can be too critical of our own, work but generally speaking I personally get a great sense of joy from the knowledge that I made that myself. My favourite thing has always been finishing the face on a cuddly toy, it just brings the whole thing to life and genuinely makes me happy.


So I suppose the main reason I make stuff is self gratification, and do you know what I don't think there is anything bad in that. As long as it makes you happy and is not to the detriment of anyone else have at it!


I was inspired to write this post by watching the final of the GBSB. I just love watching it, but thats because sewing is my main hobby of interest. Having said that at the end of every series I get a sense that if these people can do it then so can I. That life is too short to not do what you enjoy and that you should always seek out your aspirations.


I suppose the next question is why do I blog about it? Honestly its because I want you to like it too! Its not just that though, I get a great deal of my inspiration from the internet, from other bloggers and pinterest mainly. I just sort of hope that by making an online diary of the things I have made that hopefully one day I will inspire someone else as much as I have been inspired myself. 


So that's why I make stuff. I would love to hear why you make stuff, are your reasons much the same, or do you have completely different reasons for your handmade hobby? Please do share x.

8 July 2016

Pink Cherry Print Crepe Bettine


Its been an eventful month; Great Britain voted to leave the EU (the less said about that the better) and we have had the final of the GBSB (well done to Charlotte). So with all that going on, and a little bit of work behind the scenes on an exiting project has meant I haven't had chance to show off much this month but I am going to remedy that with this dress made from the most gorgeous fabric I think I have ever laid eyes on. Honestly, I tried to take the pictures for this blog 3 times and just none of them do it the justice it deserves.


So the fabric: Its some beautiful polyester crepe which I purchased from the Sew Over It online shop. Sadly I believe it has completely sold out, with no obvious sign of there being any more (sorry). However I don't feel too bad showing it off because I stalked instagram for 3 months trying to get hold of it and my patience finally paid off. Because this fabric was so hard to come by and so pretty I wanted to make sure I made something good with it. I didn't want to make a blouse as I just don't wear them and I really liked the idea of a dress. It was suggested by Lisa on her Vlog that she might use the Bettine pattern which is what made me buy it. It is a nice floaty drapey dress which works brilliants with the crepe fabric.


Just like the last one I cut a straight size 3 and it fits just about fine. I could do with doing some fit adjustments on this dress; not doing a bust adjustment means the neckline falls back on my shoulders, the arms are a big tight and the skirt maybe needs to be a tad wider in the hips. The fabric is a little sheer so I am wearing the dress with a full pink slip from M&S. This does make the dress sit a little differently as it slides up to my natural waist instead of clinging to my hip which has made this version sit a little differently to the green viscose version I last blogged about. I will see if I can be bothered to tackle these adjustment this next time I make it (probably not!).


I hope you think this is a fitting use of the fabric, thankfully I have enough left to make something else; I'm thinking some kind of floaty cami top would suit it very well. I just need to find a suitable pattern.

Have you sewn up your favourite fabric or is it still sitting in a drawer waiting for the perfect project? I know we are all guilty of hiding away our most coverted buys in fear of not doing it justice but go on, take the plunge!