Sunday, 30 December 2012

Christmas Birthday Dress

This is my Christmas Birthday dress.
Made with lilac and silver brocade which was given to me by my sister for my birthday back in July. I made it in time to wear to the family party on boxing day. When I saw the seamed dress in Burda 08/2012 I knew that it was the pattern to make. I omitted the centre front seam as I didn't want to disrupt the pattern too much. I used the reverse of the fabric for contrast on the shoulders. I also shortened the skirt by about 2 inches. However the tall size works really well as I have a long torso - Mental Note, lengthen all Burda standard sizes!
I have just enough fabric left to make a short bolero style jacket.

Well that was a busy year - what next?

This was my creative list for 2012.
  1. Avoid buying new clothes unless necessary - so that means self made, thrifted and refashioned.
  2. Make items from Pattern Magic.
  3. Make movie inspired outfits (see previous post).
  4. Make the bridesmaid dresses for my friends wedding.
  5. Make the wedding dress of another friend.
  6. Create more art - painting.
  7. Create clothing inspired by my art or wearable art.
  8. Get better at taking photos!
So did I achieve any of it? - yes but not all!

1. I really did cut down on buying new clothes - in fact since 31st Dec 2011 I have only bought a few items -  Underwear and a vest, well needed and I haven't got into making my own smalls yet; and I visited the sales yesterday. I'd been given vouchers for Christmas and when given a voucher it is quite reasonable to buy clothes with them, especially when they are for clothes shops. So I bought a blouse, cardigan and bracelets from Monsoon and a scarf from Whitestuff. I'll certainly be continuing with the handmade and thrifted clothing though. It's much more interesting that buying what everyone else is buying.

2. I attempted 2 pattern magic designs, they both worked, but weren't really suitable for my shape. I still have my eye on a couple of the bow tops to try.

3. I failed at this - only making 2 movie inspired outfits throughout the year.

4 & 5. I did three lots of wedding sewing. My friends 20's inspired dress, Bridesmaid dresses for another friend and bride and groom's outfits for a rather more unique wedding in September. I am now really interested in sewing bridal wear and would love to learn more about it.

6. I didn't do much art :(  I am in the process of sorting that. I have a lot of ideas and rather than making large scale paintings I'm going to work on smaller scale work and use my ideas for developing textiles based pieces, which brings me on to 7. I didn't do this either, but now I have an Idea and I'm going to try to develop it over this year - watch this space!

8. I am still rubbish at taking photos, but I do try to use a good camera when I can, then at least I can play a little on photoshop.

So what's new for next year?

  1. Quality time with my family, sharing hobbies having fun etc.
  2. Taking opportunities - whenever they present themselves.
  3. learning more about God and his plan for mine and my family's lives.
  4. Spend Saturdays relaxing with my family.
  5. Spend time with friends
  6. Go to China on a short term team with International China Concern.
  7. Sew a corset.
  8. Tailor a jacket.
  9. Sew for others (I have too many clothes - apart from Tops)
  10. Create bridal wear.
  11. Create clothing based on my art work.
  12. Try more pattern magic designs.
  13. Sort the house - it's desperate for a declutter and redecorate.
  14. Learn to quilt.
  15. Use my skills to serve others.

Blimey - that's a long list, we'll see how far we get shall we!

Friday, 28 December 2012

Christmas onesies

I've mentioned that i'd done a bit of sewing based Christmas pressies this year. I made a couple of fleece hats and some onesies for my sister, my sister in law and my friends two girls. they chose the fabric back in November and I took measurements and got to work!

They were all inspired by the one made for my daughter earlier in the year. I bought the fleece from Abakhan fabrics in the UK. The girls and my sister's were made from micro fleece my sister in law's was made from pink fluffy cuddle fleece. I think it's fair to say they went down well!

Pattern: selfdrafted
Fabric: fleece
Today's soundtrack: Ellie Goulding -  Halcyon (one of my Christmas pressies).

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Christmas and stuff

We've spent the day with the in-laws today. I've received some great sewing related pressies: A tracing wheel, French curves, metric pattern cutting for women and Gertie's book- which I've read from cover to cover. I can't wait to get started on some of those patterns. I also had amazon vouchers. Not sure what I'll spend those on yet. But I'm looking forward to hitting monsoon with the gift card from my mum :)

Tomorrow it's another family do. I'm going to wear a dress I made from fabric bought for me by my sister, made up using the seamed dress pattern from August's burdastyle magazine. Pictures to follow.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012


I got a project featured on Burdastyle. I'm in their best of November member projects :)

Also - has anyone had any success in dyeing shoes? I'd love to hear how to get a good finish as I have a pair of tan shoes that need a new lease of life.

Friday, 7 December 2012

I have't given up yet... and St Andrew's day (a week late)

It's been ages since I posted anything, I feel guilty that I'm not sharing stuff. I do have a dress to share with you, and I'm doing Christmas present sewing at the moment, so don't want to give away the goodies just yet.

I've also recently started a fashion and textiles group at School with some year 10 students. They were keen to draft their own clothes, so we started with a simple skirt. We are now onto cutting out fabric and hopefully I'll be able to share some of their creations with you over the next few weeks.

Last Friday we went to Glasgow. Art Department trip with GCSE and 6th form students. It was a super day and the kids were great. We started out at the William Burrell Collection, which holds a collection of paintings and an interesting range of artifacts from all over the world.

From these maces to stunning white work drawn thread embroidery.

Second stop was the Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery. A stunning building filled with artefacts from Scotland and the wider world, including samurai swords, masks, dinosaur bones and many more and Art from the Medieval to the present day. Well known pieces including Dali's Christ of Saint John of the Cross, alongside less well known pieces and contemporary art.

I loved this stunning piece of work by Alison Watt.

These expressive heads by Sophie Cave were amazing.

And that's only the tip of the iceberg!

Later we went to GOMA, Glasgow's modern art gallery. I had no idea what was on, but was pleasantly surprised to find works by Grayson Perry (one of my favourite artists) and a range of sculptures by Niki de Saint Phalle, who I also love. Great day of art!

After a delicious tea from Burger King (student choice!), we had about 50 minutes until our bus arrived. We spent this time at George Square. Where there was ice skating, A few fairground rides and live music to celebrate St Andrew's day. We heard a drum and pipe group called Clanadonia. it's safe to say the 6th formers were impressed!

Monday, 12 November 2012


I want to introduce a new blog to you. It's written by the very lovely Zoe; one stylish lady and baker extraordinaire. I used to work with Zoe and have always been amazed at the wonderous cakes and bakes that she makes.

Now, rather than posting her creations, she's started writing a blog to document all she does. Go take a peek and be prepared to be inspired and amazed.
Pop on over to Zobird's Cookability Kitchen

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Burdastyle Jacket Finally!

Wow - this took sooooooo much longer than planned. After I made the Abbey Coat a couple of weeks ago I thought this would be an easy make, and he construction was fine.

I adapted the pattern to add facings to the lining, at the neck and the hem. I also inserted a pleat in the lining at the back to allow for wearing ease. - all easy. However I made a stupid error, and one I must never again make, I did not make a muslin or even measure the pattern pieces. As I posted a few days ago. I'd made the jacket and then found it was too big. Trying to make adjustments with the jacket constructed and the lining in place is not easy!

However, adjust it I did - the fit was better, but the shoulders still seamed rather baggy, so I took some shoulder pads from an unwanted jacket and inserted them inside the jacket. much better! I also decided to go with coloured buttons to liven this work staple up a bit. I think it will look great with my bright pink dress! I made a dress of the same fabric, thinking they might work well together, but it's just too grey! I will make a pencil skirt with the remaining fabric and team it with a bright top, for an eyecatching suit.

Grey Suiting £2.50pm from South Shields market
Black Lining £1pm also from the market.
lining and shoulder pads from my stash.
Buttons 25p each from Marian's wool and haberdashery, Newbiggin

Would I make it again? - maybe, but as a casual jacket.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

This is taking sooooo much longer than I planned.

I started making this blazer from Burdastyle almost as soon as I'd finished my Abbey coat/ jacket.
I used a similar construction method, rather than making the lining in a contrast as I wanted a jacket for work. After the success of the coat, I'd become rather too confident and decided to go ahead without making a muslin. - what A fool I am!

All started well, I constructed the shell and the lining - all going well, I inserted the sleeves and attached the lining to the shell - still great. then I turned it and thought I'd have a quick try on before finishing the buttonholes. It's good job I did.  It looked awful, way to baggy through the upper back and the bust was ill shaped too, there was little definition of the waist and it looked like a sack. thankfully the fabric wasn't expensive!

I ummed and ahhhed for a bit about weather to write it off as a bad job or do something about it. As I only have one jacket for work i decided to sort it out. I measured my work jacket across the back, it was a good 2 inches narrower. So stitch ripper to the ready. I turned the jacket, determined to make the alterations without having to do a complete remake, and took the back seams in. 1/2 inch of each at the upper back increasing to 3/4 inch at the waist.

I kept the centre front pieces as they were, but reduced the fullness in the side front pieces by about 1/2 inch in each side. After checking the fit I pressed the seams open. Just need to make the same alterations to the lining now.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

The Abbey coat - finished

So it's taken me all week, but I've finished the small details like sewing on buttons. I even got to wear my coat this morning.

The temperature has plummeted here in the last couple of days and last night brought, sleet, snow, hail and thunder. This coat is very light - more like a jacket, which is what I wanted. but not the best for being out in the cold weather.
If I were making a thick coat I'd make the next size up to allow room for thicker layers under it. but I wanted something stylish to wear with dresses or  jeans but even be smart enough to wear for work. I think this works for that, and the pattern was easy to follow. no muslin was made and it fit great without any adjustments to the bodice.
I did alter the sleeves, but that was from a style point of view rather than fit.

Thanks to Handmade Jane for the pattern.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Abbey Coat WIP

Almost there
Well I finally got started on the Abbey coat this week. I cut out the fabric and fused the interfacing over a couple of nights and did the buttonholes on Friday evening. It's the first time I've actually used bound buttonholes and I was surprised how easy they were. I used a patch method and cut the patch on the bias. I also used a patch on the facing, but without the welt strips.

Adding buttonholes
My Red gaberdine looks great and the floral cotton lining is a nice alternative to the usual lining fabric. The gaberdine creases a little more easily than I'd like, but hey, you live and learn!

Pressing Lining/ facing seam
The pattern instructions were really easy to follow and I know I will use the construction method I learnt to make other jackets (next project = suit for work). I did alter the pattern slightly, I didn't want a 3/4 sleeve with a placket, it was not the style I was after, so I lengthened the sleeves and tapered them to a suitable wrist diameter.

I spent a couple of hours yesterday and this afternoon working on this and It's almost finished. I just need to catch the reverse of the buttonholes together and add buttons. and it needs a good press.

Back facing and lining

Top Stitching - collar

It needs a good press!

On the pressing note - I needed an new ironing board as mine was rather unstable and prone to falling apart, not to mention that fact that it wasn't high enough. Got a new one from IKEA which is a good height and only cost £9. Bargain!

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Abbey Coat here we come

I've been looking forward to making this Jamie Christina coat since I won the pattern in Jane's giveaway a while back. You can see her awesome version of this coat over on her blog. This was the first time I'd won anything on a giveaway and I'm so excited to try it out.

I've decided to go straight for it - no muslin! I did measure the pattern pieces carefully and I've cut an 8. I think this will give me enough ease as I want to wear this as a jacket rather than a heavy coat.
I've chosen a red gaberdine with a red floral cotton lining. And I'll be making View B - which doesn't have the flounce.

I've cut it out and am ready to start on the bound button holes. Photo's at the weekend - when I've dug the camera out - I'm resisting using my phone as I know the pics will be poor.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Art work in progress

I've done a little work on this. It will form the background of a painting. I'll subdue this image under layers of paint and ink.
It's drawn in biro on smooth board.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Arty textiles

We went to South Shields today. In the museum and gallery they had these fab textile versions of famous paintings. What do you think?

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Snuggle Onesie

A few years ago we bought my daughter a Onesie, affectionately known as her sleepy suit. she had worn this most nights for bed and loved it. However, as time goes by, children grow and items of well worn clothing get too small, battered and smelly.

I promised to make her a new one and got some spotty fleece from Abakhan Fabrics (from my runners up prize from the dress factor competition). As she had just gotten taller. I decided that all I needed to do was lengthen the pattern.

I took the original apart carefully, traced the pattern pieces and added extra length by slashing the pattern at mid sleeve, mid torso and mid leg. resulting in a pattern about 15cm longer than the original, enough to give her some growing room, but not too big.

It was quick to sew up, using my overlocker for most seams, taking about two hours to sew from start to finish. I only needed to buy a new zip so it was a cheap make too.

As soon as it was finished, she put it on and that was that!

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Green tomato chutney

My Tomato plants had provided loads of fruit this year, but with the weather turning it just wasn't going to ripen. so I decided to make some green tomato chutney.
This is a recipe from James Martin off Saturday Kitchen and is very easy to follow.
It has a bit of Chilli in to give a kick, but is also sweet and fruity. - it will be great with some cheese!

Saturday, 29 September 2012

today we walked

It was our International China Concern walk today. Just 10k, but it was a good walk, over hills and paths and mud and roads, with wind, rain, sun and good company.
We Started out at the Roman fort of Housesteads on Hadrian's wall, walked along the wall to Once Brewed, had lunch and then continued the walk, passing Vindolanda. Another settlement near this Roman wall.
The Walk is to raise money to help ICC continue to care for the disabled and abandoned children and young people in their projects in central China.
So thank you if you were able to join a walk or donate - and it's not to late if you'd still like to give.
Visit walk the wall to find out more.

Saturday, 22 September 2012


Today was the day of Keridwen & Rhydian's wedding. I took on the task of making both of their wedding outfits - and boy it was a task!

It started way back in March when I agreed to make Keri's dress, a little later Rhydian asked if I'd consider making his suit. It was not something I'd ever done before, I'd never even sewn a jacket for myself and had no idea about tailoring.
So, since the end of July I have been pretty much concentrating on getting this done for their wedding day today. I've loved doing it, but boy am I relieved that they're finished and look soooooo amazing.

I drafted the pattern for the coat and the dress myself and the trousers were based on some mens shorts from one of this year's Burda magazines.

Keri's dress was slightly medieval in style, princess seamed bodice with a basque waist and sweetheart neckline, flared sleeves, and an A line skirt, lengthening at the back. The back had an insert of bright purple silk taffeta, which was echoed in the details on Rhydian's coat.

The dress was made from Silk Dupion, interlined and lined with cotton. The neck and sleeve edge were trimmed with lace from her grandmother, and a celtic knotwork band accentuated the waist.
This type of trim is especially difficult to get ready made in the UK and was made to order by Lindsay Fleming It really sets of the dress's simple design.

Rhydian's coat was drafted using my very basic pattern drafting knowledge. Rhydian wanted a design that brought together several elements from different historical designs. It was the first time I had ever tackled a lined coat of any description. The back was longer than the double breasted front and had 3 inverted pleats in contrasting satin. The coat had a standing collar and Russia braid (stouache) trim.
The coat was drafted about 5 times in order to get the style and fit right, then made up in a dark green fulled wool. I'd never worked with this type of wool and found it very well behaved and surprisingly easy to work with - if a little thick at times (my machine had no problems coping with it - which had been one of my concerns).

The coat was lined in the same satin that provided the contrast on the back pleats and the same fabric was used for the facings and pockets in the trousers. The trousers were the easiest piece of the whole ensemble to make, the pattern needed lengthening and tapering on the legs, and I graded the pattern down a size as the smallest size printed would have been too big. I haven't made trousers for about 20 years, and was surprised how easy they were. I now plan to make myself some trousers.

Anyway they both looked amazing, The wedding was unique - Vikings on the door, a range of celtic music during the signing of the register, played by a couple of the bride and groom's friends. The Pearl of Africa Children's choir from Uganda also sang. They are doing a range of concerts in the area at the moment and had agreed to sing at the wedding.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Pushing Daisies

I finally got around to watching some of this series this week. Anna Friel's (Chuck) costumes are stunning.
If you haven't seen this then go take a look.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...