5 February 2016

The skirt that didnt work - Pink Delphine


Check out my lovely version of the Delphine skirt, the 3rd make in Tilly Walnes Love at First Stitch book for beginner sewers. I am so pleased with the skirt its beautiful and a triumph, its just such a shame that I'm never going to wear it. Why? I'll get to that in a minute, lets start with the positives shall we.


The skirt is made from a lovely baby pink cotton chambray which I bought from eBay. I've never sewn using Chambray before but its a lovely woven to sew with. Its crisp and clean and glides through the machine. Definitely a good fabric for a starter. Chambray also comes in a few lovely colours (and patterns) now as well rather than just the usual pale blue denim effect. Now I am one of those people who has to wear tights with skirts and dresses pretty much all year round and woven's don't lend themselves well to this, they tend to stick and ride up as the day goes on so I lined it! Tilly has done a lovely little tutorial on her blog for lining this exact skirt, so I followed the pattern instructions and the ones on the blog and I have to say they were really clear and helpful and I didn't have any troubles whatsover. Yay! Its not very obvious to see the lining in the picture below but it is there. I used some of the lovely cheap shiny  'lining fabric' in a matching pink.


This section of the book had us learning how to insert an invisible zip. This wasn't my first time but I appreciated the crash course and am really pleased with this one, its sewn in beautifully and all the seams are level which is always the tricky bit with any zip. The other thing I am really pleased with is the hem on this skirt. Honestly I think its the best hem I have ever stitched, I'm so proud of it.

So why am I never going to wear it? Well, its all in the waistband. I made this to measure and the bottom of the band sits perfectly where it's meant too but the top sticks out A LOT and doesn't sit flat against my waist at all. I know its because I am one of those lucky people to have an actual hourglass figure but it means my waist isn't straight at the side. I think this could be quiet easily rectified by halving the height of the waistband so its a lot thinner and as a result sits on a smaller area of my waist. It's just a shame I can't really do anything about that now. I am a little sad about it, it does just make this whole thing look a little bit awkward. But one of the skirts further in the book has the same waistband so hopefully I can fix this issue for making that one. This is how you learn about tailoring to fit your body shape though right. Lets live and learn and move on :)


The next pattern in the series is the Megan dress which has a fitted bodice, flared skirt (not unlike this one) and some sleeves. This is going to be a fun one to tackle, I've never fitted a sleeve in before and I'm going to have to do a full bust adjustment on the bodice. So watch this space, lets see how we get on.

Have you ever made anything that you loved but for whatever reason just didn't work? poor fabric choice, fit issues or something entirely different. Share your faux pas with me, go on! 

29 January 2016

Too much pink? Cotton lawn Margot PJ's


It seems like every sewing book has a pattern for a pair of simple PJs but anyone actually ever make these? Well I did! Check these babies out. Actually, after doing a quick search on Pinterest it turns out a lot of you do enjoy making a comfy pair of pyjama bottoms and your all very good at it. For me they have always just been a bit uninspiring, if I am going to put the time and effort into some sewing I want to make sure everyone gets to see how amazing it is. Having said that though, having a little boy, being up at all hours, and lazy half asleep mornings I have found a new love for PJs so maybe I should start thinking about making a few more of these.


As I mentioned in my last post, whilst sewing my way through Tilly's Love at first stitch I want to try experimenting with new fabrics and techniques to make sure I get something new out of these makes. For the PJs I chose to use a cotton lawn. Two reasons; firstly I don't really have any warm weather night wear and secondly the last time I tried to use a cotton lawn it all got chewed up, I got very annoyed and the project basically just got thrown out in a sorry mess! This time I have decided it's time to wrangle that beast and I've taken on board Tilly's tips on using a finer sewing machine needle and this seems to have made a huge difference. It actually stitched up perfectly fine this time. What was I getting so stressed about? Hoorah. The only downside of these bottoms is that the lawn is pretty see through and so my pants are very visible through them (hence the reason you are not getting a shot of these from behind!). Definitely just something for slouching about in when only the husband and baby are going to be around. 

Great Tip: if you are making something like this with long straight lines a spotty print is amazing, it's so easy to line up and cut along the dots.


The pattern as usual was a doddle to follow and really clear with instructions and images. This section had us learning how too choose fabric, lay out the pattern and mark the instructions. The notches on the pattern were brilliant and lined up perfectly for me which is always a big help. The only issue I had was sewing the waistband. I could not get it to sit flat no matter how I folded or pinned it and so it's quiet puckered and generally not very well done. I'm assuming this was just one of those off sewing days we all have but I couldn't get rid of the ease. Though I figured the whole waistband gathers when you tie it so who's going to care? The other thing is I cut these in my actual size despite having a huge preference for baggy loungewear. I always buy a size bigger when buying pyjamas, why on earth didn't I do the same to this when I was cutting out the pattern? 

The next pattern in the book is the Delphine A line skirt, I'm excited to get on to some actual clothing makes. I'm a much bigger fan of the patterns further on in this book and the temptation to skip is huuuuge! But nope, on track one at a time, I might surprise myself with one of these patterns or learn something amazing, who knows! 

Have you ever made a pair of PJs? How did it go? and particularly, what fabric did you use? Tell me tell me!

22 January 2016

Love at first stitch Brigitte scarf


My sister very kindly bought me a copy of Tilly Walnes love at first stitch book for my birthday. I have had a look at this book before and have been following Tilly since the very first sewing bee but haven't actually gotten round to getting a copy of the book yet so this was a brilliant present (I haven't put it down in the last week and made 3 fabric orders within 2 days of getting it!). The book starts off with the basics but does contain some lovely skirt and dress patterns which I like the look of and wouldn't mind trying and I'm actually quiet keen to try a blouse pattern seeing as I've never tried sewing tops before. What I actually really like about this book is the way the projects are laid out to gradually ease a new seamstress into home sewing. So each project gives you new tips and techniques to try. A good few of these I will have done before but I really like the idea of starting at the beginning of the book and working through the projects one by one to perfect my technique and hopefully pick up a few tricks and new skills along the way. It is also my intention to either try a new fabric type or alteration (or both) with each project (collars/plackets/piping etc) so I can hopefully expand my sewing repertoire. 



The first pattern in the book is the Brigitte scarf which is a long thin head scarf tied in a knot/bow around your head. Not a complicated make in the slightest but as I said above I'm going to start at the beginning, follow the instructions from the beginning and concentrate on making it well and as instructed. I chose to use a skull print polycotton which I had in my stash for this scarf. The fabric was sadly not wide enough for the pattern piece so I cut two lengths of the fabric and sewed them together on the bias in the same way as you would if you were making bias binging and then cut to size. 


The pattern was very easy as expected but I did pick up a little trick to pull out your corners with a pin from the outside, normally I would do this by shoving a knitting needle from the inside so hey, I did learn something new :). The nice thing about this project was it was super fast so I get to move onto the next one really quickly! 


Now my chances of actually wearing this type of head scarf are slim to none, despite quiet liking the print. However the good thing about having to cut two lengths was I was left with a piece which is just long enough to fit round my tiny head so I made a wired headband following the same instructions but adding a piece of wire inside and tacking it in place. I'm not going to do a guide for this, the Internet is littered with them so if you want one just go do a quick search. I do much prefer this and might actually get a bit of wear out of this one in the summer months. 


So what's next? I am going to cheat a little and not make the other scarf pattern in the book as I won't wear that either so next it's on to a pair of pj bottoms which is something I have never done before. I plan on using a cotton lawn as I have a lot of winter pjs already. This will be interesting as the last time I used a lawn it went horribly wrong and ended up in the bin! Here's hoping I can get a few more tips and make it go right this time.

I'm still a little anxious about starting to sew for myself again as I am still a lot bigger than I would like to be at this time post pregnancy. However I start back at work in a week or so, have no clothes that fit me and am really missing doing it, so what the heck. Whats the worst that can happen?

15 January 2016

Boys Jersey Pants


How cute are these for cruising around the house in. Soft, warm, comfy and easy to move in. I love Jersey for kids clothes for all these reasons and having a little boy I much prefer him in a pair of joggers than jeans for his own comfort, especially as his comfort is my sanity!

I mentioned on my Jack skellington costume post about discovering the wonders of the Finnish magazine Ottobre which specialise in clothing patterns for kids. I love this magazine, I purchased a copy of issue 04/2015 and it has some lovely patterns in it. They are so good I am even contemplating getting into making and selling children's clothes (I think I need to sort time out first though). 


I used the Baggy Bottoms sweatpants pattern to make the pumpkins king costume and it was so good I decided to make another pair in sweat shirting fabric for master Foxs wardrobe. I bought the gorgeous star print from the Ottobre Etsy shop and the plain black from Kitschy Coo. I love the feel of sweat shirting its so soft on the inside I think I need much more of it in my life! I made a test version in the black first so as not to waste the expensive star print and they came out so nice I immediately started on the star print version but in the next size up to get a bit more wear out of them.


I have made a slight adjustment to the pattern which was to add the ankle cuffs as I much prefer the look of joggers with a cuff and also it helps to stop them riding up his leg as he's clambering about. I actually took the piece off another pattern but you can draft a cuff by loosely measuring the ankle, adding a seam allowance and then cutting it twice as high as you want the finished cuff.

What I have really enjoyed about making kids clothes lately is how much more improved I am getting on the over locker. I have learnt how to manage curves much better and the finish is really coming up great. I think that's what I'm most proud of with these pants is that the finished article is very professional and just as good quality as store bought. It does help that fit is less of an issue for kids clothes!!  

I hope you like them as much as I do I can't wait to make more pairs of these, and if you haven't checked out the Ottobre website yet you really should. I'm currently battling with my mind on whether to spend my Xmas money on a subscription or more fabric, the dilemmas . What would you choose?

8 January 2016

Sam's Monkey


Recently I got back into some plushie making and it felt really good to get back in the saddle, I really enjoyed this little project monkey. Sam's Monkey was made for a little boys first birthday present, and I really hope he gets lots of love and cuddles in his new home and I hope you all like him too.

Being a new parent, completely clueless and with only a small few supportive friends with babies, I took to a forum of babies with a birthday close to Master Fox's for advice, support and generally someone else to talk to. All new parents will understand the desire to share every new thing their baby does, but also the worries about 'is this normal', 'am I doing it right' and 'help, I don't know what to do'. This group of mummies have been absolutely amazing (and slightly mad) but I am so proud we have come through a whole year together and it has been amazing to watch all the babies grow and share in their milestones (as well as the MANY sleepless nights!).


We decided to do a secret santa type thing for their first birthdays (I can't believe they are all 1 already, where has the time gone?). As well as buying a gift I couldn't resist the temptation to make something for my chosen baby. Rather than making clothes which are grown out of/risk not fitting, I decided to make a little cuddly toy. This is where Sam's Monkey was born.

I do like him a lot, he is very cute, and I love the long flimsy limbs which are perfect for dragging around and giving a good chew when little one is teething. I also love his big monkey ears, they are very characteristic. In hindsight the fleece fabric is a little dark for the black eyes and they are lost a little bit, especially in the pictures. I think they would have been better on the lighter fabric but I don't think is too much of an issue.


I'm sure this won't be the last plushie I make, they are one of my favourite things still. I think I am just a big kid at heart! Have you make your little ones soft toys before, or made one as a gift? I would love to see them all. I love a good plushie. Also, is it just me or does everyone else get a small glow of delight when they finally come to life!
 

1 January 2016

Christmas dungarees


Its time to one up the Christmas Jumper with these incredibly festive baby Santa dungarees! We all know the joy of having a kid is so that you can dress them up and Christmas is going to be no exception to that. Little girls get all the love though with pretty festive dresses and tutu's where as boys only really seem to get the jumper. I therefore couldn't resist the temptation of making him a pair of festive dungarees to help him celebrate the season. Especially as his social calendar was far busier than mine this year!


The pattern was again from Puperita and is the Little Birds Romper pattern. The fabric was Riley Blake Santa Claus Express cotton and the lining is just some red cotton both from Ebay. I love the Santa fabric so much, those little smiling Santa's are so cute. I also tried for ages to find some buttons the size the pattern recommended, finally settled for some which didn't really go, then found out they were too big for my button holes anyway and ended up searching the house and finally finding some self cover buttons (which reminds me I need to get some more). I think these work loads better though, those buttons are adorable with the little smiley Santa face on.


This was another exceptionally good pattern from Puperita. It was really simple to follow and being a cotton it was a dream to sew and the finish is top quality. The fit is really nice on them as well, they sit really nicely on his shoulders but also have a good amount of room in the waist to allow him to move about in. I did have the benefit of being able to measure these in the leg exactly so that the leg cuffs sit perfectly. I will definitely be making more of these as he grows up because they fit and wear so well. I can imagine all sorts of versions: cute cotton prints, corduroy, denim, it lends itself so well to so many woven fabrics.

I would be lying if I tried to tell you that I didn't try to pattern match these, but as you can see it went a horribly wrong (how am I so bad at this?) It's not the end of the world and I'm not going to cry about it but I don't understand how I always fail at this. I'm sure I will get there in the end.


The only disappointing thing about these dungarees is that Christmas is now over and he will soon grow out of them :( Having said that though because you don't need much fabric for baby clothes I certainly didn't spend more on these than I would have buying him a Christmas outfit from the shops. However Master Fox had something totally unique that made him look so damn cute.

Have you ever made your kids festive outfits, or yourselves for that matter? I would LOVE to see them.

27 December 2015

Fused Glass Decorations


How beautiful are these? I have my very talented friend Stevie Davies to thank for letting me and my mum loose In her workshop and showing us how to create these. Stevie is a very talented fused glass artist in Derby and you can find out more about her work on her website here (and her work is much prettier than these samples made by myself and my mum). She also teaches workshops around the East Midlands and I would definitely recommend, she's a brilliant teacher.


My mum has always been drawn to fused glass Christmas decorations so for a long time I have been meaning to sort a time for us to go and do this as a surprise for her. I think she was pleased and I think her decorations are amazing. I'm not going to get technical and pretend I know what I'm talking about, I will leave that to the experts, but here is a brief description of what we made. The first image is a fused glass tree my mum made which is mounted onto a clear glass candle holder. The tree is made of two layers of clear glass with some thin green coloured glass in between the layers and the snow effect added To the top to give a 3D effect. Her second piece, the star, is made of 5 triangle pieces which have been overlapped when fired to create the shape. These are only one layer of glass and my mum has added tiny pieces of coloured glass to the top which has melted and fused together and created this lovely mottled star decoration. I think she has a natural flair for this don't you! 


I made three pieces, the first tree has had some small chunks of glass added in between layers to make the tree bauble effect and a small wire star on the top which has fused into the glass to make the hanging which I really like. The second tree was made using very thin rods of glass cut and layered into the tree shape on top of another piece of clear glass. I love the bumpy feeling of this one and the colours! Not very festive, but I absolutely love this colour combo. 

Finally I managed to make my own star which has small thin pieces of coloured glass on top to create the colours and graduates from purple through blue to white snowy tips. 


I really enjoyed doing this, it was really interesting to learn how the glass works with each other in order to create the different finishes and this is something completely different to what I make normally. If you have never tried doing fused glass I really recommend finding a workshop near you (or booking one with Stevie) as its loads of fun and really easy to make something truly beautiful. You don't have to just make decorations for Christmas but for all year round, they would look lovely hanging in a window where the light can really show them off. 

Do you have a favourite type of hand made decoration, or make any of your own? I'm always looking for new ideas to try and inspiration so let me know.