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Sunday, 28 June 2015

Oh, I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker With Flowers In My Hair . . . Or On My Top . . . Or Whatever . . .

Soooo, today I would like to share with you an usual project for me - a top!  I think I have only ever made one other top (which can be found here) - I am definitely a dresses person, but I am fed up of just wearing t-shirts and when I got the new Sewing Bee Fashion with Fabric book, I thought that the shell top would be perfect to practice my top making skills.  It is a simple pattern and with no waist darts, I thought it would be a good project to practice my FBAs on, if I needed one.

So, I present The Helmsley II (I possibly need a better name):

Please excuse resting bitch face -
I didn't know Phil was actually taking pics at this point.
Please excuse the state of my face - it has been a very stressful
week when we took these photos and that always shows on my skin :-(

I made this using some gorgeous fabric I got from Helmsley market on a recent visit - I swear I spend so much time in North Yorkshire these days I should move there.  Anyway, the fabric is a georgette-style beautifully drapey fabric.  I think it is synthetic (mostly due to the price) but I'm not 100% sure, as the selvedge has zero information on it.

Anyway, as it wasn't expensive fabric, I decided not to do an FBA (upon measuring the tissue pattern against myself, it was close enough that I thought I could wing it).  I also didn't make a toile, but just crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.

Less resting bitch face, but also less top and more blurry

I have to say, I got lucky - it fits pretty much perfectly!!!  I am so happy with this top.  I forgot to do my standard 1" bodice lengthening - my brain has been elsewhere generally recently, but as long as I either tuck the top in or wear it with high waisted shorts, it is fine.  I will remember to lengthen the bodice next time, and for my own comfort, rather than style, I will lengthen it 2 inches - my tummy is possibly the part of me I like least now that I have got over my fear of my legs.  

Does this more comfortableness with your body come with ageing?  For years my legs did not see daylight, and as a result they are now the colour of milk bottles.  I don't have the best legs - they are short and chunky, but one day I realised they are better than some legs out there, so I decided to stop being scared of them and now I barely cover them - I'm a definite skirts person now (sans tights with it being summer).  I just need to somehow get them tanned (Dove gradual tan works OK, but I could do with something better - like living in a warmer country) and I will be even happier with them.

Aaaand . . . the back

Anyway, I have done my usual going off on a tangent.

As I think I have said - I love this top - it is a simple sew and the fabric was lovely to sew with - a little slippy but not too much.  It took me a week to sew up, but that was doing in it 20-30 minutes bursts and not every day.  I think in total it probably took me about 2 hours to sew.  I will definitely be making some more.  I am tempted to try the hack in the book, with the button back.  I'll keep you updated on that.

Aaaand some back detai . . . sorry about the darkness - trying to get the
camera to focus in this fabric was very difficult.
You can just about see the clear button I used.

I decided against pattern matching on this one, mostly because it was a ditsy print and I didn't think there was a pattern to it as such - that is, until I tried it on and looked in the mirror - low and behold - there are slightly wider vertical gaps, which I wasn't in the slightest aware of.  I think I have got lucky and somehow managed to get these pretty central down . . . oops . . . note to self, double and triple check your fabric for direction and hidden patterns!!!
Aaaand, some shoulder detail

So, what do I love about this pattern:
1.  It's a simple sew
2.  No FBA needed
3.  Lovely fabric
4.  I love the shape - nearly perfect fit
5.  It's a quick sew.

What would I change next time:
1.  2" bodice lengthening
2.  Try the button-back hack.

In the meantime, I have another dress to start and some other projects I want to make, including some more from the Fashion With Fabric book - I have a request for the elephant costume for my niece's birthday for a start, but first my ickle sewing machine is going in for its annual service this week, so it may be quiet on the western front for a while . . . I do have some news for you though, which I may or may not share before my next project - I'll see how I feel.

Happy Crafting!

Holly
xx

Sunday, 21 June 2015

George Hamm


I reckon wikipedia is wrong, as I would like to introduce you to my ham . . . . George:


Georgie Porgie Pudding and Pie arrived at Holly's and stopped her cry(ing)
because it is just so damn good

This, of course is my new dressmaker's ham, ordered while sat in the pub one evening a couple of weeks ago.  I was moaning at the hubby that I wanted to make one, as I really needed one for when I make princess seamed dresses etc., but they were all boring colours, but I didn't think I could be bothered to make one.  He, quite sensibly for him, suggested that I buy one and just make a new cover - I liked his thinking so decided to treat myself.  Now that Georgie Porgie has arrived, I am tempted to keep his tartan plumage.  I'll decide eventually, or just get too lazy to change up his colouring.

Anyway, It took me ages to name George here (all my sewing tools now seem to be getting names - Doris being my first example).  I could have gone with the obvious, which was "pig", "porky" or even "babe" but that would have been too easy.  Instead, I needed something a bit out there.

I considered naming my lovely new ham after John Hamm of Mad Men (and Bridesmaids) fame, but I have a few Johns in my family, so that just seemed weird.  So, a quick text to the big sis for other famous piggies, as my brain was doing a blank.  She suggested "Peppa" and I can see her thinking there (you can tell she has kids!), but my little hammy hammster just did not seem to suit being a Peppa . . . then, inspiration struck, my new ham would be George! For those of you who have not been subject to CBeebies in your life, George is Peppa Pig's younger (and I think nicer) brother, so George it was.  Even better that I can tell my eldest niece (Georgia, known as George) that she inspired the name of my lovely new ham.  I don't think she will be too impressed with that.  Ha!

Little George in action
Anyway, I put my little George into action pretty much as soon as he arrived, in my second version of the By Hand London Kim Dress.  Now, I have made this lovely princess seamed bodice dress before in the square(ish) neck, wrap petal front version.  Now I wanted to try the other, sweetheart neckline, full skirt version, and I thought it would look absolutely cracking in some gingham that I have had in my stash since last summer.  It was actually bought with something else in mind, but then again, doesn't most of my fabric!

I did worry when I first pinned it onto Doris that it would be too much gingham, but as my friend, Lauren says "there is no such thing as too much gingham" - a girl after my own heart there - it must be the mutual love of musicals and country music that makes us like this.  And speaking of musicals and country - I'm going to see Calamity Jane with my very own Calamity this week - the (non-wicked) step-mother.  I am thinking this dress may just be the perfect outfit (weather permitting of course - this is England after all, and Yorkshire at that!).  Aaaand then, I'm off to see Priscilla, Queen of the Desert with the actual mother in October, and I am tres excited that it has just been announced that Duncan from Blue will in fact be playing Priscilla.  I've been singing Blue songs in my head ever since . . . "it's one for the money and the free ride . . . it's two for the lies that you denied . . ."

it was a chilly, drizzly day when we took these photos
so I had to 'style up' the dress with a black cardi

Anyway, after trying on my previous Kim incarnation and noting that it was a bit tight around my ample waist and buxom (its fits OK, but I don't think I would want to eat a big meal), I decided to cut a size larger, so I cut a 20 straight from the packet, especially as this is a more casual dress (I think) and to me casual is all about comfort.  I made up the bodice lining first to make sure it didn't swamp me, and all fittings seemed OK.  I figured the back might be a bit too big (as I struggle with), but I wouldn't really be able to tell that until the zip was in.  

I cut out and sewed up the bodice the day before George Ham arrived, so I decided to leave the pressing until he did arrive, and here I am using him for the very first time.  Oh! Em! Gee!  it is a revelation to press seams on my lovely George.  So much easier than a flat ironing board, or as I attempted last time, the edge of a cushion.  I love love love my ham!

So anyway, once the pressing (at the time of writing, I love pressing - I'm sure this will change), I simply had to make up the dress.  This was relatively straight forward, having sewn a Kim before I knew the process - sew the lining to the bodice shell, gather and attach skirt and then insert zip.
and I braved it without the cardi


I tried a slightly new technique with the gathering of the skirt - rather than do it all in one go, I gathered in sections.  This was so so so much easier - no threads broke, I didn't get ridiculously bored - winner all round.  I will definitely be gathering in sections from now on.  I also shortened the skirt by a good 4 inches - mostly because I have short legs, but aussi because I think that the gingham can pull off a shorter skirt.

When inserting the zip the waistband doesn't quite match up at either side, but I am so used to this happening that it doesn't bother me.  Then, the day after, By Hand London posted this tutorial on how to get the waistband lining up.  I will definitely be using this next time.  It is such common sense I don't know why it isn't known by all and why it isn't taught as part of the basic invisible zip tutorial, but hey hum pigs bum, I now know!

and the back - hubby didn't tell me my belt was all wrong

To finish the dress I did machine the hem, as I just couldn't face that much hand sewing, but I hand sewed down the lining.

So what do I like about this dress:
  1. it's Gingham and THAT can never be a bad thing
  2. it is a relatively simple sew and the more I sew the easier it gets

And what would I change next time:
  1. use the BHL tutorial for inserting an invisible zip right
  2. learn to do a princess seam FBA (any good tutorials out there?) - there is slight gaping at the armsyce, which could be remedied.
Overall, I love this dress, and I just need some sunshine in which to wear it rather than cold, wind and drizzle.

Happy Crafting!

Holly
xx


Sunday, 14 June 2015

Shake Ya Shimmy Shimmy

To the left to the right shake that thing with all your might . . . .

Soooooo, a quick post today to share with you my new shimmy (or chemise to the mere mortals of you out there).

Please excuse the bra peaking out - I couldn't be bothered to undress
Doris and leave her nunga-nungas exposed

This was a relatively quick make and used up some left over fabric from the Kimono I made the actual mother for mother's day (although I do still have some left - maybe enough for some PJ shorts of some knickers).

I thought a nice chemise would make a nice change from my usual PJ bottoms and vest top, and might in fact be a cooler alternative for when I am on my jolly holidays, where I hope it will be 30+ degrees during the day, so quite warm of an evening.  So, when I saw my new McCalls 6696 shirt dress pattern (dress in progress as I type) also had a slip pattern with it, I thought this was clearly fate.  

I knew I had a spare saturday afternoon coming up due to the fact that the weather was supposed to be rubbish and I didn't actually want to arrange anything (a free weekend is a rare thing for me), and I decided rather than try to get my head round one big project (because that just isn't happening at the moment), I would do some quick projects.  In the end I only did one project, which was this, and it wasn't as quick as I thought, but still done from start to finish in under two hours.  The rest of my Saturday was spent catching up on Anzac girls and eBaying my shizzle (craft clear out) - still loads there and more to be listed.  Everything can be found here.

Anyway. everything needs to be cut on the bias, which was not a problem, and there are only four pattern pieces that need to be cut - front, back and two straps, so that was pretty quick.

Due to the lovely fabric. I decided to french seam my side seams, and although a bit more time consuming this wasn't really a problem - I do like to use french seams whenever I am making something like this.

its a wibbly-wobbly-
timey-wimey neckline
The problem came when it came to hemming the top line.  This was so fiddly.  I followed the pattern instructions of turning under twice, but the shape of the top and the slipperiness of the fabric was not conducive to this going well.  I persevered, but the result is a bit of a wobbly hem.  Next time I think I will omit doing this and the straps, and instead use some bias strips to face the top line and create the straps.

Anyway, all that was left to do after that was hem the bottom and make and attach the spaghetti straps, which was relatively straight forward.

Upon the trying on, the back is a bit gapey, but as this is just something to be worn to sleep in I'm not going to bother with it too much.  Next time though, I will cut the back piece a size smaller than the front, or at least grade the down a size at the top,
its a strap!
so easy to turn through
with my loop turner

So that's it.  I like this pattern because:
  1. it is quick to make
  2. it is relatively simple
  3. it is a good stash buster
  4. you can never have too many nighties/things to sleep in
What I would change for next time:
  1. use bias strips to face the neckline and create the straps
  2. cut the back piece a size smaller or grade it down a size at the top.
Anyway, I have cut out the pattern tissue for the shirt dress and I have washed and pressed the fabric.  I just need to bite the bullet and get on with the making.  I think this could be a long project though, and I have a few quick projects I want to do, so I may do them first, I may not, we shall see.

In the meantime . . .

Happy Crafting!

Holly
xx

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Man's Best Friend & Some News

Soooo, first up today, I have a little bit of news . . .

I have decided to stop with the card making and papercrafting and concentrate on my sewing.  I barely make cards now (my sewing machine is pretty much permanently set up on my desk and my sewing bits and pieces are now taking over my craft room) and I no longer get paid from work to make them for clients, so other than the odd one or two a month for family birthdays I barely make them at all.  I have therefore decided to sell off all my stuff (and buy myself sewing stuff).  I'm slowly putting bits on eBay, which can be found here and will continue to do so throughout the week as I tidy up my craft room, but if there is anything not on there that you think you may like, please get in touch.  Off the top of my head, just some of the things I will be selling off are:


  1. Sizzix Big Shot
  2. various metal dies
  3. about 30 LOTV stamps
  4. LOTV art pads
  5. Stampin' Up Sets
  6. Distress Inks
  7. Memento Inks
  8. Indigo Blu stamps
  9. lots of other stamps
  10. Flitter Glu
  11. Embossing powders
  12. Embossing heat gun
  13. 50ish Promarkers
  14. Spectrum Noir pens
  15. Paper flowers
  16. various charms
  17. LOTV papers
  18. Dovecraft papers
and that's just the things that I can remember right at this very minute.  As I say, get in touch.  If I have mentioned it at any point on this blog, I probably still have it, so it will be getting sold.

Anyway, that is my news.

However, although I am no longer making any cards, I do still have 4 or 5 left to share with you, and this is the first of those.

This is a card I made with father's day in mind, but I left it sentiment free, just in case I changed my mind:

I made this card using an LOTV topper, to which I added some faux stitching.  

I then layered this onto an LOTV paper and then some plain blue card.  To finish, I added a blue button and some twine.

Simples . . . .

I would like to add this card to the following challenges:


Happy Crafting!

Holly
xx


More Flamingoes . . .

Sooo, following on from last week's post, I had some of the beee-you-tiful flamingo fabric left.  I was going to make some shorts with it (if I had enough), but then I saw a in Sew Mag.  Something just told me that the flamingos needed to be a skirt, so a skirt they were going to be!

I got the magazine on the Thursday and on the Thursday night cut out the skirt.  No pattern was required, just a bit of measuring (you just need your waist measurement), as the skirt is basically made from three rectangles - one for the back of the skirt, one for the front and one for the waistband.

As I didn't have too much fabric left, I wasn't too fussy about pattern matching, but I did cut out some sneaky in-seam pockets to add in of my own drafting, as I love a good pocket and always try to add them when I remember, which is not actually that often.

The instructions were easy to follow and the construction simple - a spot of interfacing is required on the waistband and down the front (the piece is cut in half to form cheaty button plackets).  The skirt is sewn at he side seams and then gathered to fit into the waistband, then buttons and buttonholes are added down the side.

my button choice may have been limited
but I think they go quite well

The instructions did say to stitch in the ditch to finish attaching the waistband, but I hate doing that and it is never as neat as I would like, so I added some top stitching on the waistband close to the seam instead.

Top stitching was also required along the front edges of the skirt and I top stitched the hem in place.

I used some mother-of-pearl type buttons from my stash (the only ones I had enough of), using four as per the pattern instructions, but on my first wear of the skirt I decided more were needed, so I added another three.  

This dress was so easy to make I sewed it up on the Friday morning so I could wear it that day when I ventured off the Helmsley for the afternoon to see my auntie and uncle and the doggies.  All in all, the skirt took me about three hours.  I don't think I had to unpick and re-stitch anything but the gathering seemed to take forever!

And that is it. 

I love my skirt (and not just because I only used things from my stash so it cost nothing to make!).  I am probably going to make more.  As always, I will keep you updated!

Happy Crafting!

Holly
xx

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Mingoes!

Soooo, I'm back with another of the New Look 6143 (previous incarnations of which can be found here), and I have managed to combine my love of flamingoes in this one . . . I just love flamingoes.  


This pattern seems to be my current go-to simple dress, and I think that as I have made it a few times now I have all the fitting issues sorted out, so this should be a quick post providing I stay on point and all that shizzle.

Just a quick talk about the fabric.  The flamingoes cotton is from eBay, which I had had my eye on for aaaaages, and finally purchased with my last pay.  The sparkly chiffon is from down under (also ordered from eBay).  Why can I not find sparkly chiffon in the UK?  If anyone knows of anywhere, please can you comment with the link.  Merci beaucoup.

my pattern hacking at the back
check out my button design element
So anyway, I decided to go with the same view as I had for the Santa dress, but this time I decided that I wanted the back to mirror the front.  In the Santa dress, the back of the bodice is all main fabric, but on this dress I wanted the back to also have some sparkle, so I started off with my first ever bit of pattern hacking.  

To do this, I folded the back bodice piece where I wanted the chiffon to start and traced off the two pieces either side of the fold.  I then added a 5/8 seam allowance on each where the pieces would join.  I also quickly drafted a back facing piece.

SPRAKLY CHIFFON!!!!!
I LUUURVE SPARKLY CHIFFON
It is much more sparkly in real life
than in these pictures - just ask my
desk and any papers that were on it
when I was finishing off the binding
by hand one lunch!
Other changes to the usual pattern included using a shorter (16") zip and having that end at the top of the flamingo fabric.  This meant that I would have a raw edge on the chiffon at the back, so I added a the teeniest tiniest hem I could sew with my machine (I could have got smaller if I had hand sewn, but I figured life was too short for that really - there would be enough hand sewing on this dress as it was.

I also cut a bias strip from the chiffon to bind the neckline, rather than from the main dress fabric as the pattern calls for.  In hindsight, this was a bugger to sew and maybe I should have gone with the cotton, as the chiffon is soooo tres slippy and took  more patience than I actually realised I had.  I also used both the cotton and the chiffon to bind the armholes.

Check out my awesome pattern
matching on the waist seam!
I tried to be really good with my pattern matching on this one.  I knew that due to the pleats it could never be perfect, but I am pleased to say that the centre front seam is barely visible.  Unfortunately, I was not so successful on the back, but I am happy with it, as pattern matching still isn't my strong point, and I'm not sure it ever will be - but I have nearly mastered the scourge of everyone else - the invisible zip.  Slightly out on this one at the waist seam, but it could have been much worse and it went in first time without giving me too much trouble really.

Obviously, due to my changing of the pattern, a closure would be a definite for the top of the bodice back now.  I decided to go with a button and thread loop closure.  I used some silver metallic thread for the loop (I was going to go buy some blue metallic thread, but honestly couldn't be bothered) and chose a selection of buttons which might have coordinated well.  As I was finishing this off at work and my colleague, Sal, was having a bit of a crappy day, I decided to let her choose the design element that was the button, and she went with the hot pink flower to coordinate with the flamingoes.

my not so brilliant pattern matching
on the back seam
but, hey hum pigs bum!
And that was that!  A hand stitched blind hem and my dress as finished.

my armhole binding
I don't think I explained it very well
in words, but maybe this pic
explains better, non?
I wore this last night for my Grandma's surprise 75th birthday party (do not awwww my Gran as other peeps do - it won't work - I'm not even sure she is 75!) with a hot pink pettiskirt, a hot pink bolero lent to me by the step-mother (non-wicked) and some shoes yet to be purchased at the time of writing but can you believe I didn't have any matching shoes - I am struggling to believe this!  Damn my ruthlessness when I have my clear out sessions.  Oh well, it just means that I get to buy more shoes, and that can never be a bad thing can it?!

Anyway, I had some of the flamingo fabric left over so made another new wardrobe item, which I have worn loads and will share with you shortly, so stay tuned!  I am also about to start some more projects, which I will, obviously keep you posted with.

In the meantime . . .

Happy Crafting!

Holly
xx

aaand . . . this is me looking fabulous in my dress
no amount of Dove summer self-tan moisturiser thingy
seems to be able to do anything about those milk bottle legs :-(

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

A Vintage Happy Birthday

Soooo, another quick card share tonight - I will get caught up on them eventually!!!


This was a fairly simple card made using some LOTV papers and my new(ish) Stampin' Up! stamps, together with some memento inks.

There's not much else to say on this one really.

I would like to enter this card into the following challenges:



Happy Crafting!

Holly
xx
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