31 December 2013

New Year, New Dresses!

This year I will be ringing in the New Year in my new hand sewn Velvet Prom Dress:


The dress is the prom dress pattern from the great British sewing bee book. This is the first time I ever bothered to make a toile before just hacking straight into my nice expensive fabric. I have to admit it was a good idea given that I have never inserted an invisible zip, or used my new invisible zipper sewing machine foot. The toile came out pretty well for a first attempt and I actually think the fit on this version came out better then the finished one. The material is some thick cotton I was given a whole roll of for free and has a black strip in it. Its pretty think and heavy with just a slight stretch to it held the shape of the dress really well. I actually think I need to hem this (and hide the white zipper!) as its not a horrible dress. I might even be more inclined to wear this one that the velvet one in the future :/


For the actual dress thought I purchased some gorgeous 4 way stretch velvet from the internet specifically to make a dress for New Years. Its the perfect time for velvet, its warm and luxurious, with just a hint of extravagance.I have read some horror stories about working with velvet fabric, but actually this wasn't too distressing at all. I have a walking foot for my machine and I think this helped a lot as i really didn't struggle. The only difficulty I came across was not being able to press the seams easily, but as the fabric is so soft it didn't matter too much. Also, as the hem is a circle, and i can't press it I decided to omit a hem seam. I know this isn't the most professional finish, but the fabric doesn't frey and acts a lot like jersey so I am going to get away with it. It is slightly on the large side, which I am going to blame on the stretch and the weight of the fabric. The fabric acts a lot differently to the stuff in the toile but I can chalk that down to experience for next time. Sorry about the pictures, its a really dull day, and the fabric is not the best for showing off the seams.



The pattern was really simple to follow. It is down as something for the more experienced sewer but I think as long as you have some common sense about it this one is really easy. The pieces fit together well and there are not too many of them. I have to admit that I omitted the interfacing (you can't iron it on to velvet, that and I didn't have any!). I also didn't include the boning because after cutting it up and tacking it on to the bodice i realised the fabric was not firm enough (too stretchy) to hold it and it just made the bodice an odd shape. I would definitely make this again, I even have some leopard cotton I might use. However I have to admit I would prefer straps rather than a halterneck (a bra is an important thing to me) and I would prefer a centre back zip to a side one. But I would recommend giving this pattern a go if you have the boo, its very versatile. I have visions of leopard bodices with black skirts, or sequined bodices with a black skirt. There are endless possibilities here to use different fabrics and colour combinations.

Thank you for checking out this post, and if you got this far, I want to wish you a very happy New Year xx


29 December 2013

The Craft of Christmas Past

Are you still in the festive spirit? I know I am.



We might be past the official event now, but with a lot of us, including the kids, still on holidays and the chimes of New Year in the not to distant future I thought we could have one more quick post before we start trying to make those resolutions. 

I made a couple of quick items of festive headwear just before the last day of work. A tiny tiny elf hat out of felt (above) which is attached to a hair clip to make it great for wearing at a a jaunty angle. I also made some reindeer antlers on a headband to match my Christmas jumper. The headband is just some fleece antlers stuck on to a headband. I did try to wrap the headband in felt and glue it down but this just didn't work well for me. Instead I decided to wrap it in wool to cover up the mess underneath. This technique would work well for other headband ideas.


I have officially scrapped the Sewing Bee tunic, the instructions in the book are stupid and I have done too much seam ripping to selvidge this now. Instead I am attempting to make myself a pretty new frock for New Years. Fingers crossed it all goes to plan. 

27 December 2013

Post Wedding Round Up: Mr Sprinkles

Check out Mr Sprinkles:


Isn't he awesome! This is our wedding cake. He has not been handmade by a anyone we know, but was created from the image in my head by the wonderful Melbourne Cake Company. Now I don't think it's everyday that a wedding cake maker meets a client who's only real stipulation is that their cake should have face.



It took me ages to decide on the wedding cake idea. I wanted it to be something representative and fun but had no idea what this meant. Then one day whilst we were a little bit drunk we were talking about making cuddly stuffed cakes, and I love to make plush food, but I remarked that the cake should have a face 'all cakes should have a face' and there it was. It was then that I decided that the wedding cake should be a perfect reflection of a monster magic cake. 


After a few Pinterest searches on cakes I eventually stumbled across this sprinkles cake made by Swirls Bakery and instantly fell in love. I nearly changed the whole idea for this cake, but then had a chat with the lovely cake lady and we came up with the design for Mr Sprinkles. She added the bow tie all by herself which is an excellent final touch.

He turned out great, he looks the part, and best of all tasted delicious.

Photos by Ed Godden Photography 

26 December 2013

A Crafty Christmas

It's all over :( but it's not time to wallow...

It's time to start thinking about the year ahead, the things you want to achieve, the people you want to see and what to enjoy. As well as this, for those of us that are still enjoying a break from the everyday grind it's time to spend some time enjoying those lovely gifts which our kind friends and families bestowed upon us.


I have been very lucky this year and so am writing this post to you from my brand new iPad (I really do have a far to kind husband) but I couldn't be happier. I really want it as a place to write the blog from, read other blogs, collect magazines (where they won't clutter up the house!), collect recipes as well as obviously the odd game and or movie. 


But this wasn't the only awesome gift I received, I got some beautiful jewellery as well as some craft items. I got some knit pro circular needles which I just adore. They are so useful as you can just untwist the needle from the string bit, that must have a proper name?, and add a new needle size. I have also started doing a lot of my straight knitting on. Circulars as they are much easier than having big long needle hitting you, or the cat, whilst you are knitting. I also got a new Kim Hargreaves knitting pattern book as I have a real hankering to make Longing so I can't wait to head out to my local yarn shop and get this cast on. Let's see if I can finish a jumper eh. 

I also really must sew up a nicer little case for these bad bouts, the plastic is a bit icky.

So put your feet up, relax, enjoy those gifts and think about the year to come. 

24 December 2013

Knitted Fingerless Gloves for Mummy

My mum put on her Christmas list that she would like a pair of knitted gloves for Christmas so I really want to knit them myself because it was the perfect stash buster idea, and so meant think could be an inexpensive 'extra' gift for her to open on Christmas morning.

I started off using my favourite go-to fingerless glove pattern: Cherry Red Handwarmers by Creative Yarn

I love this pattern, it can be made up in almost any wool and because they are open lacework (which is a really simple repeat) they are flattering, an easy fit, and very quick to make. However on this occasion I tried them on a friend with normal sized hands and she thought they were a little bit on the small side.


So I searched for another pattern using 3.25 double pointed needles (the only set I have) and Aran weight yarn to stash bust some Kid classic that I have. I found this pattern: Optimistic Mitt Pattern by For Makers Sake. They are a little longer than I wanted to so made a few alterations to the pattern. I knitted just 10 repeats of the bottom rib, and 6 for the top. I also added the stripe pattern and omitted the cuff button. I am really pleased with how these came out, and were my first attempt at a thumb hole and so I am very proud of myself. They do feel a little big on my hands, but not too uncomfortably, and I do have children's midget hands so hopefully they will have a good fit on a normal person.

I really hope she likes them! I am off to wrap them up ready for tomorrow, and the bonus, I get to keep the grey pair!

I am now going to chill out with Mr Fox, so I wish you all a wonderfully Merry Christmas.

22 December 2013

Christmas Pudding Decoration Tutorial

Today I am going to show you how to make your own awesome Christmas Pudding tree decoration.


I came up with this design for a little stuffed pudding a couple of years ago when making stuff for my Monster Magic stalls at Christmas. Its very quick and easy to make and looks lovely when all finished up on your tree. Its a great little project to make as its quick so you could have a whole ton of these made up in time for that special day.

You will need:

Brown Fabric (anything will do, I used Fleece)
White Felt
Sewing Machine and or Sewing Needle and thread
Stuffing
Pins
Paper
Skissors
Pen/Pencil
Small piece of ribbon
Green Felt
1 Button (preferable red, pink, orange or purple)
 
Step 1:


Using an upside down mug or glass draw round the edge on to a piece of paper, make two circles this way. Once you have your two circles draw a wiggly line across the center of one circle, as above (this is to look like icing/cream/brandy sauce yum!). Cut out the full circle and the top half of the wiggly line semi-circle.

Step 2:


Get yourself some brown fabric (I used fleece but you can use whatever fabric you have lying around) and some white felt. You can use brown felt for the main body, but I find that it doesn't have much give in it to make a nice plump pudding. Fold both fabrics in half, pin the full circle to the brown and cut round it. Pin the half circle on to the white felt and cut out. You should end up with two brown pieces and two white pieces.

Step 3:


Pin one of the white piece on to the right side of the brown fabric (good side of the fabric facing outwards) and top stitch along the wavy line. Do the same on the other piece of fabric.

Step 4:


Fold your small piece of ribbon in half and pin it onto the front of one of your circles, try to get it as central as possible. You want to try and have the raw ends poking a bit over the edge of the circle as above to be sure that you are going to catch with with the seam. Be careful where you place the pin as you are going to be sewing around it. 

You then want to put your two circles on top of each other, with right sides facing each other. Make sure that you line up the white sections as neatly as possible. 


Step 5:


Pin all the way around the circle, but you are going to need to make sure that you leave a gap for turning the seam the right way out. I like to mark this section with two pins so I know where to start and stop. You also need to make sure that the ribbon is not going to get caught in the seam. The best way to do this is by making sure it sits inbetween these two pins. You can see mine just poking out above.

Step 6:


Machine stitch (you can hand sew it) around the edge of the circle. It is a good idea to do some back stitching over the ribbon to make sure it is secure. Once you have done trim and snip along the seam so you get a nice circle.

Step 7:


Turn your pudding the right way out and stuff with soft toy stuffing. If you don't have any stuffing you can just use some old fabric scraps. 

Step 8:


Hand sew the opening closed using ladder stitch (here is a YouTube video) You should use matching thread but I was fighting sunset so I am using the wrong thread for speed!

Step 9:


Finally, cut two tiny holly shapes out of green felt and hand stitch these on to the top of your pudding along with a shiny red button. 

Voila! you have yourself an awesome looking Christmas pudding to hang on your tree. You could make these for your tree or as last minute stocking fillers for your friends. Its a great little project which is really quick, and you could have a go with your kids, either learning to use a sewing machine, or if they are a bit younger helping to pick out the buttons.

If you make one of these up I would love to see it.

Its my birthday tomorrow so I am not going to be wishing you Merry Christmas just yet. I have been baking my little socks off since finishing work for Christmas on Friday in preparation for some family and friends coming over. I made my first ever Christmas cake, many batches of mince pies (using my Aunties home made mincemeat! Yum!), and I have some dough rising for pitta's and bread sticks. I hope tomorrow brings me lots of lovely crafty things to share with you all.

20 December 2013

Post Wedding Round Up: The Bridesmaids Dresses

Its that time of week again, and this week I am showing off.... The Bridesmaids.


How gorgeous do they look! These girls they are the absolute perfect mix of absolutely wonderful, and a little but nutty! We have my sister on the left, my friend Stevie in the middle who gets far too excited about everything, and Yvonne on the right who is just the right amount of good and bad influence on me (probably tipped on the bad side, but that's ok right!). They really did make my day, and I couldn't have got married without them, so thank you ladies xx.

The dresses were handmade by the talented ladies of at Frock in Nottingham. Rather than explain how they work myself, here is how they put it:

'Frock was born from a love of beautiful vintage dresses. We have a passion for vintage sewing patterns and enjoy experimenting with original patterns, adapting them and making them  relevant to the women of today. Women who want something unique and an alternative to todays mass produced throw away fashion.

At Frock we make our dresses by hand in small runs, this means that we are free to customise our dresses to suit and to play with the design, mixing up fabrics and design elements at will.

Although our dresses are inspired by vintage, we are not restricted to one era and like to embrace the fun and flirty best of all decades and give it our own twist.'


I really wanted the dresses to be something which they might choose to wear again at another occasion. I also wanted to be able to make them similar enough in style, but also allow my bridesmaids some room for freedom. This is why Frock were perfect, because not only do they do a made to measure service (at a reasonable price) it is also fully customizable. So we went through the fabric swatches book, picked a fabric, and then my Bridesmaids picked the style of dress from their patterns that they liked the most. I think this worked out well and I hope they were more comfortable in their dresses as they picked the fit. Frock then made up all three dresses to our specifications and I couldn't be happier with the result.


So I hope you like the dresses as much as I did, enough that I had to go and buy my own Frock frock! I was really pleased, as you can see above, at how well everything came together, from the shoes to the dresses to the bouquets. Not bad to say I am pretty sure I winged all this design stuff!

I am planning an exciting Monster Magic style festive tutorial for you at the weekend (when I actually have some daylight to photograph it) so check back on Sunday to take a look.

18 December 2013

My Version of Tilly's Picnic Blanket Skirt

I really enjoyed the Christmas edition of The Great British Sewing Bee, it was great to see it back on our televisions and I really can't wait for next years series. Along with that I have been really getting in to reading the sewing blogs I have on my list lately and its really inspired me to get sewing again. I thought it was a perfect chance to re-post a blog post from my previous blog on here. What makes it even better timing is that 1: this skirt probably fits perfect now, and 2: in my attempt to get inspired and back on it I am going to attempt to finish the top at the bottom of the post which has been sat half finished for 6 months! What really inspires me about sewing bee though is trying out something which is outside of your comfort zone, so I hope it continues to help me grow, my tailoring skills do need a lot of work. So here you go:

I know most internet seamstresses have come across Tilly's fabulous blog, and her 'Picnic Blanket Skirt' tutorial. Well, I wasn't going to give this one a miss was I!DSCN2176I originally thought I might make this up in the out to sea fabric, so went to the local fabric shop for some cheap cotton to make a mock up and check I liked the design. Well, those that know me well will know I cant walk away from the leopard print once I have seen it! So what if I made a mock up with fabric I adore, at least I will get some wear out of it (I think the shoes might be a bit much!).
DSCN2174
This is the first time I have ever EVER sewn buttonholes and I am so proud of myself. I took the extra time to measure them, and did a couple of practice runs first. They came out so pretty and neat, and I love the little wooden buttons to match the brown.
DSCF5021
After also reading Tilly's post about sewing with cottons I decided to add a lining. Now this is not at all in the instructions for the pattern but it was so easy. I just used an old bit of black synthetic fabric which I had lying around, I have no idea what it is but it worked a treat. It added a nice amount of weight to the cotton without it getting too heavy, and I hate wearing a skirt without tights so it stops the cotton from sticking to them. All in all I am very happy with the way it turned out. It was a great little pattern, and was so simple to follow but very informative at the same time. I think I might have been a little bloated when I took my waist measurements as it is slightly too large now on the waist. I will either sew some belt loops on to the waist band or save this for my winter wardrobe when I will be carrying a few extra pounds!
DSCF5026So what is on my sewing table next? I am trying out the 'tunic' pattern from the sewing bee book as the pattern is included. I am aiming to conquer my fear of jersey knit armed with a walking foot and a super easy pattern which doesn't include any binding on the neckline! Still sewing every stitch with my fingers crossed and my eyes closed.

15 December 2013

I Joined the Christmas Jumper Parade

So its all gone a bit mad on the old Christmas Jumper front, and you can't turn round in the shops without seeing one either for sale, or one already on the shoulders of the person stood next to you. Now I am not saying this is a bad thing, I love a scandi jumper and wish I could knit one myself, however there are some truly tacky versions out there as well.


Anyway, being as Save the Children, Costa, as well as many other places have been naming 'Christmas Jumper Day', and work are almost insisting on it as a uniform as part of the last week of work, it only seemed polite to join in. Of course I was not just going to nip to primark for a cheap one was I, not when the opportunity to applique one presents itself.

So here we have my Christmas reindeer jumper styled on my own Christmas tree decoration design, complete with woolly pom pom nose. It is just machine sewn on to an old jumper using fleece fabric so anyone could give this a go.

Are you styling a Christmas jumper this year? If so, what have you gone for, traditional knitwear, large prints, or are you donning your own DIY version? I would love to know.

Quick Edit: How well timed was this post after Patrick's applique reindeer on GBSB! 

13 December 2013

Post Wedding Round Up: The Wedding Dress

Ok, so this is the one you have been waiting for right? Well I won't keep you in suspense any longer...


It is actually separates rather than a dress. The skirt is princess style and knee length and was made by my sister Rachel. It is made from 18 layers of soft tulle fabric, 8 pink underneath, 10 white on top, with a satin layer in between to keep my modesty. She painstakingly cut and stitched each layer. It is basically 19 circle skirts sewn together. She did a great job of this, the layers are perfect. 


The top is a baby pink silk satin corset which was handmade by my sister in law Alex. Alex has made a number of corsets in her life, and has always done a really professional job of it so I knew she was perfect for this task. It is laced up the back, and doesn't have a front fasten to keep a lovely clean line. I love the neckline.


I am so pleased with the final finish, they did such a good job of excellently turning  the image I had in my head into something real. I also wanted something which I could and would wear again. The corset is perfect for this, and my sister has given me the skirt pattern so I can use this as a petticoat for evening wear, perfect! 

A together I think the outfit really worked and was so very me. And who was I to resist finishing it off with Rock and Roll Bride for Crown and Glory cat ears. Mr Fox was completely not surprised with my unique take on wedding attire.

I love it! Thank you sisters xx

Photo's thanks again to the talented and 'award winning' Ed Godden Photography

11 December 2013

I Blinged My Jumper!


Yes that's right, look at the pretties! I thought it might feel a little more festive to have a sparkly jumper, and lets face it, this is much more fun than a plain old black one don't you think?

I originally wanted to pom pom it, but I couldn't make small enough pom poms which would be secure enough to go through the machine. That might be a job for another day if I purchase some multi coloured manufactured poms. I was also going to bling the whole jumper but decided after a small section that I really just liked the chevron pattern in it so left it there.

The jewels have a little hole in the top and bottom so they are sewn on rather than glued as I thought this would be more secure option. They key to this is to buy a cheap jumper, and mark out where you want to place the jewels before sewing them on. I used tailors chalk and a ruler and marked out a diagonal pattern before I started sewing and this made them pretty even.

I will try to get a picture of me in the jumper, but Mr Fox is not the best photographer and so it may take many attempts, especially as I won't see him in daylight now for another week.

8 December 2013

Fit for a Queen (or King) Crown


I love it when you get a little idea for something whimsical and it turns into such a great little successful project. This one was really quick and I am so pleased with the outcome. Isn't it a spectacular crown, I am sure any little future King or Queen would be happy to receive this. 

I have made this one for a friends daughter (hence the 'Queen') as a little Christmas gift, so I am really hoping she likes it. I can see me making more of these in my future.


These are made using two layers of felt fabric, with a layer of iron on interfacing in the middle. You could make it without, but it make it much sturdier. 

The pattern idea basically came from combining the following two tutorials:
Dress up Crown by The Long Thread
and Royal Felt Crown by Long Things

I hope you like my felt crown, and I urge you to have a go at one of these yourself for any young Kings and Queens (or in fact yourself) in your life. 

6 December 2013

Post Wedding Round Up: The Bouquets


I purposefully didn't want to purchase real flower bouquets for my wedding. The idea was to hand craft as much as possible. I started off, like I usually do, collecting images from the internet with ideas and popping them on (yep you guessed it) pinterest. There were actually tons of ways to DIY flowers out there I was surprised at the amount of different ideas I got from it.

So after a couple of evenings with my bridesmaids trying out different techniques, with some attempts more successful than others, we finally settled on these. It was actually something which I didn't find an image or tutorial for but just happened to cobble together from the collective ideas I got. I think it worked perfectly and the colours really complimented the dresses. I think the finishing touch of the ribbon which my mum did really helped as well.


I am not planning on writing up a tutorial on these as there is some vague twinkle in my eye about making them for sale. But should that not happen I will of course show you how to. In the meantime, check out the board (sorry it's on my old account) and hopefully find some fabulous ideas for yourself. It's actually really easy to make your own wedding bouquets and the best thing about them is that they will keep forever as a souvenir of that special day.

A little sneaky peak there at the dresses! but look at how well they work with the colour scheme.

I plan to run the wedding bits as a series of Friday posts, so watch out for next weeks installment!

Photos by Ed Godden

4 December 2013

Some Midweek Inspiration: DIY Craft Kits

Naturally, being a crafty person myself, I have a lot of friends who enjoy making things themselves in one form or another. There are knitters, sewers, professional jewellery makers to name a few. Because of this I always try to find gifts for them which are either handmade or kits for them to make things for themselves. I really like to do my bit to support UK hand crafters/artists, especially at this time of year.


There are so many good quality kits out there, and I had a wonderful time over the weekend scouring Folksy and Not on the High Street for Christmas gifts for them. Because of my obsession with Pinterest I obviously made a board of them so I could gather ideas and then go back to it later to make my purchasing decisions. 

Some of my favourites however can be found directly linked from here:

Home Sweet Home Knitting Kit on Folksy - knit your own tiny little house keyring
Screenprinted Fabric Pouch Kit on Folksy - sew a little bag with hand screen printed fabric
Leather Keyring Design Kit on Not on the High Street - sew your own little leather keyring (bird/cupcake)
Triangle hat knitting kit on Not on the High Street - hat knitting kit, the colour scheme on this is great
And Finally
Animal Hats on Amazon - I purchased this for a friend, and its so good its gone straight on my own Christmas list!

There are so many good kits to be found as you will see, these were just ones of my personal taste. I really would advise, if you are stuck for present ideas, to check out these two sites and support UK made craft because there really is some incredible talent out there. As mentioned above, there are a couple of these which made it on to my Christmas list, and some which I will probably purchase afterwards.

Please do feel free to share any craft kits you have found and fallen in love with, or ones which you sell yourself. I would love to see them.



Tilly and the Buttons Christmas Giveaway

Oh My Gosh! Have you seen the incredible Christmas giveaway that the very talented Tilly and the Buttons is doing over on her blog page? I couldn't resist coming on here and sharing it with you (not only because its amazing, but also because I get another entry!). I would just kill to win this, but also because it deserves a share. She is a very talented seamstress and I have been following her blog ever since the Great British Sewing Bee.

Check out the giveaway here: Stitcher's Dream Christmas Giveaway!

I have had a hankering to make Hawthorne from Colette for ages, I am just not sure that I have the confidence for it. However a chance to win not just the pattern but materials to make it with would be amazing.

2 December 2013

Christmas Gift DIY

I am full of festive cheer at the moment. Any excuse to put on a christmas tune and have a sing a long. So naturally we are all thinking about the decorations and the gifts. 

My mum has always had a fascination with wrapping anything and everything for under the tree, something which has rubbed off on the rest of us. So I wanted to hand make a couple of the stocking fillers this year. 

All my family are huge gardeners, from my grandad to my younger sister, so naturally all enjoy relaxing outdoors enjoying the fruits of their labour. So I decided to adapt my DIY ombré candle tutorial and make these cute little terracotta plant pot candles.

They are scented using citronella which it perfect for these as it is known to be an excellent insect repellant, so great for lighting outdoors in the evening. 

I also had an excellent brainwave for the wicks, instead of tying them around, if you pull them over and then tape them to the outside using duct tape then you get a much better wick placement. 

A word if note as well if you are thinking of starting the is to plug the hole with either a bit of duct tape or cover it with a penny. 
I hope you, and they, like them. I would love to know what wonderful/quirky Christmas traditions your family have passed down, or what DIY stocking fillers you are planning to make this year.