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!

17 June 2016

The very hungry caterpillar baby sleeping bag


Baby sleeping bags the best and would be my number 1 recommendation to any new parent. I don't know how new they are but our lives changed once we got Master Fox into his first sleeping bag. One of the biggest problems we had with him at night when he was tiny (especially as he's a winter baby) was that he would wake as soon as you tried to put him back in the cot as he missed the warm temperature of your body and didn't like the cold sheets. Sleeping bags eliminate this completely as they keep all their snuggly heat inside their snuggly little sacks.  


This sleeping bag is made using the Lua Sleep Sack pattern which I bought as a PDF download from Straight Grain patterns. Its a lovely pattern and I really wish I'd bought this when Master Fox was a lot smaller so I could have got more use out of it, but never mind, I am sure there will be more people in my life having babies so we know what they are getting as a gift. It was a really pleasant sew, and the instructions were really clear. I really like the piping detail (and the excuse to get more practice with my hated piping foot) but this detail can left out and there is the option to not have the contrasting top panel.


I think it's the fabric that makes this sleeping bag so amazing though. We all love The very hungry caterpillar, its been a part of all of ours, and our children's lives and its just so iconic. I also love how clear the print is its just so fresh and eye catching.


The fabric has officially licenced hungry caterpillars on and comes from Makower studio. There are 10! different patterns in this collection so even the spotty section at the top of the bag is from the matching set. I bought mine from Ebay as it was the easiest place to find the patterns I wanted listed together but it is also stocked in other online stores. The lining is just some plain green cotton which I bought from my local fabric shop in Beeston and I added self cover buttons as they just look so much nicer on hand made items like this.


As you can imagine the sleeping bag is quilted. I wanted this to be a lighter weight quilt for the summer months as Master Fox has grown out of the last one so I bought some 100% cotton batting from Cotton Patch. Its lovely and soft, its thin but also warm and being 100% cotton it shouldn't get too warm in the hotter weather. I haven't actually quilted the sleeping bag just stitched the edges so I will have to report back after its been through the wash but fingers crossed it will be fine, I did pre-wash it.


I hope you like it, I LOVE it! Mr Fox is to thank for the fabric choice, I was going to go for some dinosaurs so I am really glad he picked this one instead, The very hungry caterpillar is his favourite book to read to little Master Fox.


10 June 2016

Bettine wearable toile: AKA the Robin Hood dress


Sorry to start with such a posey photo but its quiet flattering so I'm rolling with it! This is my first version of Tilly and the Buttons Bettine Dress which I made as a wearable toile (something you are getting used to seeing me doing here!). Its actually a pretty good version and my god this dress is easy to wear! Its made from some green viscose that again I just bought off eBay.

I have been wanting to make a green dress for ages as green really suits my colouring but is not a colour I would normally be drawn to when clothes shopping. I really like this shade of green, its a sort of emerald colour and it goes really well with the pink (that pink belt is an awesome pairing though I'm not sure everyone would agree). However the first time I tried this on after making it Mr Fox turned round to me and said 'Oh hello Robin Hood, you look like your getting ready to star in a panto'! I don't really think that was a compliment but do you know what I know exactly what he means, it pretty much summed up what I was thinking as without the belt it does look a bit like that.


But anyway lets not let that deter from this actually being a dress I really quiet like. This is an amazing pattern, really simple, easy to follow (as always from Tilly) and really quick to make. I made it much harder by using french seams rather than the overlocker (something I probably wont bother with next time) but it still came together really fast. Tilly has said on a number of occasions this is the most comfortable dress you can wear and she is not joking! You just slip it over your head and head out the door. The top is drapey giving lots of room for movement, the elastic belt helps flatter your waist and the fitted skirt makes a lovely shape around your bottom half. I sewed a straight size 3 because there is lots of room in the top for me to not need a FBA.The sleeves are perhaps a little tighter than they should be and its a little snug in the seat but I don't think I will bother making any adjustments for the next version. Its summer after all I'll just finally try and get round to loosing that 3lb i've been meaning to get off for the last 2 months (as much as you can 'mean' to loose weight whilst eating chocolate!).



As mentioned above the fabric is a lovely drapey viscose. I chose viscose as the fabric I have for my proper version is a polyester crepe so I needed something which had a lovely drape and viscose does that. It does however have a tendency to fray so I used lovely french seams throughout. The other issue with viscose is it has a tendency to stretch when you sew it. I didn't use interfacing on the facing piece as suggested because I wanted to keep the bouncy nature of the fabric so I self faced it with another piece of viscose. This did mean my inside facing is not as neat as I would have liked but it was a lesson for making up my crepe version.


The other odd thing I thought about this dress as soon as I put it on was 'do you know what this dress really needs? Pockets'. I can totally see why the pattern comes with a pocket variation I would love to just sink my hands into a lovely deep pair of pockets on the front so I definitely need to plan making one of these vertions. I have some lovely Atelier Brunette fabric which I think would suit this pattern very well. I think this dress is something which definitely benefits from a print fabric.






So on that final note I am giving some serious thought into adding some kind of embellishment to this dress, its something I don't normally do (hand sewing urgh!) but I am not really sure what or where to start? So if you have any ideas of how I could embellish this dress to make it a bit less plain then PLEASE leave me a comment. I am possibly thinking of a sort of black floral trim around the neck with maybe some pink sequins/beads hand sewn on?

27 May 2016

Llama Llama dress!


How frickin' awesome is this dress! Seriously who doesn't need a dress with llama's on in their wardrobe?


Lets start with the fabric because lets face it that's all you really care about in this post. Its Michael Miller 'Packmates' 100% quilting cotton. How cute are their little llama faces! I struggled to find this fabric but I did manage to get a couple of meters from Ebay so hopefully you can find some too. I hope you can its totally amazing! I've talked before about pink and orange being my favourite colour combo so this is just awesome.


The dress pattern is By Hand London's Kim dress, now you can see why I needed to do a mock of this dress before cutting into this fabric. I made the straight neck version this time and its a lot better to wear, much less boobalicious, so I actually feel I can wear this in the day now. This dress is the ultimate summer dress. I made the hem a little longer than I usually do, because its cotton I wanted to be able to wear it without tights in the summer so I thought it best to air on the side of modest.

I actually think I have got the fit of this dress spot on now, especially at the back it fits like a glove.


I actually need to fess up though with this dress. Its a total copy of a dress by my new favourite source of inspiration which is Katie Makes a Dress in Australia who I found via Instagram. She basically made this exact same dress, but what with the cost of the dress, the shipping from Australia and the fact that I am not an 'out the packet' size I thought I would make my own version. Its obviously a different pattern but I love it all the same (sorry Katie). But if you want your own version of a dress like this and your not a wizz on the sewing machine totally go and buy one from her, they are so awesome and she manages to find the most amazing fabric prints.


I have always been a bit cautious about sewing with quilting cottons since making a couple of skirts which were just so full and just totally unflattering on me. But seeing Katie's amazing dresses and skirts pop up on Instagram all the time I thought I might as well give it a go. Also I have a couple of bought cotton dresses which I really like so I guess its more about finding the right pattern for it. This pattern works really well, I think the fitted bodice helps to flatter my shape with the fuller skirt. I want to do a search for a dress pattern  with more of a fitted pencil type skirt to make to try with cottons so if you know of any tried and tested patterns then shout up.