Sunday, 26 July 2015

In The Summertime . . .

 . . . when the weather is fine . . .

 . . . and that is all the lyrics I can remember of that particular song today.

Soooo, nothing says summer time to me like a pair of white linen trousers.  However, living in God's Own Country of Yorkshire, it is very rare that I will wear a pair.  In fact, up until now I didn't even own a pair of trousers, let along a pair of white linen ones, but when the lovely Claire at Eliza M Vintage sent me the Hop and Swing Pants to try out, I just knew they had to be a pair of white linen trousers.

Cue panic about actually sewing my first pair of trousers ever!!!!!! But I was assured they would be the easiest trousers I had even sewed up - not difficult really. as there is no competition there whatsoever.

Despite that, I still sat on the pattern for a couple of weeks (and by couple of weeks, I mean at least a month), and that was after the hubby had purchased the fabric for me . . . there's just something about making a pair of trousers that terrified me so much I did a million other projects in between (some still to be blogged). 

I also theorised that with the heatwave we were having in the UK, it was far too warm to sew . . . and then I sent my sewing machine for its service . . . eventually, I ran out of excuses and thought I'd better get on with it, despite the fact that the weather had definitely taken a turn for the worse - still warm(ish) but decidedly not summer-like.

Anyway, on one particularly miserable evening, with absolutely nothing else to distract me, I finally got round to cutting out my trousers, the photo for which was my second (yes, second!) post on Instagram, having been harrassed by my ten-year old niece into getting myself sorted on Instagram because "(Queen) Auntie Holly (Fabulous, The Most Awesome) why aren't you on Instagram?! . . . I can't believe you're not on Instagram!  . . . seriously, actually . . . I'll give you a lesson"  I finally caved in and was taught how to use a piece of technology by a ten year old . . . . oh how old I felt/feel.  Anyway, follow me @holzmolzpolz (I think I can be found here) - I plan on using it to show my work in progress, long before it gets written about on here.  The first pic is also a work in progress, on hold until the return of the niece herein referred to above to my abode, probably in a couple of weeks.

Anyway, as usual, I digress . . . the trousers.

So, anyway, I was too impatient to order some white linen from zee web (the fact it took me a further month to do anything after buying fabric does not negate my impatience) so bought some heavy-ish weight cotton instead, which has a linen look.  I also figured that this was cheaper than linen, so if I made a total balls-up of the trousers then it wouldn't matter too much.

I would like to blame my tardiness in cutting out zee trousers on the fact that they are white so:
   a.   I didn't want to cut them out on the tables in one of the meeting rooms at work, like I usually do, as this is running the risk of the fabric getting dirty;
   b.   I also didn't want to cut them out at home on anything other than a freshly vacuumed living room carpet, so had to wait for that to happen and then for me to be in the mood to do something immediately following that event.

I got there eventually!  And I now remember why I generally steer clear of white and haven't owned a pair of white linen trousers for a good few years.

So, cut out on the living room floor eventually happened (oh, how I need a cutting table).  I cut out a size 18 based on my measurements.  My hips actually came up at a 16 but I couldn't be bothered grading and figured I'd just have baggy trousers - perfectly cool for summer.  

I  then tailor-tacked in the darts, somehow managing to stab myself in the stomach while doing so - don't ask - my clumsiness is legendary.  I am currently blaming my best friend, Joanne Francis Elizabeth, yes I am looking at you! as she was texting me telling me she is going to look at a flat literally two minutes walk from my house.  In fact, if that stupid gym wasn't across the road from me, blocking my view of Ilkley Moor, I would be able to see said flat.  Well, the joke's on the gym, because despite the fact that I have had to look at it every day for the last year, I still haven't joined and I'm still fat!  If it thought it was going to make me feel guilty and want to get fitter, it thought very very wrong . . .

Anyway, I'm moving away from the point again aren't I?

So, after cutting them out and doing the tailor tacks they sat on my sewing table for a few days as my life is just busy busy busy at the moment, and when I'm not doing, I'm napping - I love a good nanna-nap.  I finally got round to sewing them up on Saturday afternoon.  I spent ages checking if there was a right and wrong side to the fabric, as at first glance it looks as though there isn't, but after checking in a few different lights and and varying degrees of caffeine inebriation, I decided that there is a very subtle difference between the sides.  After deciding which was the right and the wrong sides I got about sewing, and do you know, Claire was right - these are really easy to sew up - like sewing pyjamas but with an invisible zip in the back seam.  I was quietly confident that these were going well and mused that I would sew them up in many more colours in the linen-look cotton - perfect for summer days.

The problem with sewing trousers I have found is that you can't really check the fit until  you have pretty much finished them, and this is where I came a cropper - the damn things didn't fit, and they weren't just a little tight - there is a good 3 inch gap at the waist, and the zip wouldn't even go over my bottom.   Also, the legs are super super wide, even on me and I am well-known for my chunky legs.  All in all, these are just not me!

I double checked my measurements against those on the pattern, and I was still measuring up an 18 at the waist and a 16 at the hips.  I checked I had used the correct seam allowance - I had and then just thought sod it.  These have sewn up at more of a size 14, so unless any of my friends want them they are going on eBay.  Something to definitely bear in mind if I sew up some more Eliza M items.  However, this is unlikely, as this pattern's biggest size is an 18 and I am not adept at all at grading up patterns to my size - tbh its not something I usually have to do, and the thought of it terrifies me.

****Note to add - I gave these to the step-mother (non-wicked) and they fit her pretty much perfectly.  She is about a size 14 and very tall****

I am, however, not giving up on trousers altogether - I need shorts for my holiday for a start, and I am going to hopefully eventually make up a muslin of Gertie's Vintage Cigarette Pants, and if that goes well I am going to try her hack to make them into shorts (both high-waisted and normal waisted).  I have a few projects on the go and in the pipeline, but these are definitely in that list.  I think she also has a pair of wider-leg trousers that would be nice in linen for summer.  I can't remember if these are a separate pair or a hack from the cigarette pants - I shall have to consult the book.

Anyway, onwards and upwards with the next project . . .

Happy Crafting!


****The pattern was provided to me free of charge by Eliza M Vintage to review.  All opinions are my own****

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Hats Off To Larry . . . Or Bertie . . . or whatever

Soooo, today I bring you a smaller person's project:  The Fedora Hat.

This is a much belated birthday present for my friends' son, Bertie (not his real name) whose birthday was in actual fact back in May, but I was horrendously unorganised about it.

I saw the pattern for this hat from Elegance & Elephants probably back in March and just knew that it was going to be Bertie's present - I just then took 3 months to purchase the pattern, while thinking about a million other things I could make him.

Anyway, I finally got round to it when finally inspiration struck me about what I could use for the lining - I had decided what the outer would be from the off, but the lining was bugging me.  So, the outer is a blue cotton drill I had in my stash, left over from a recent(ish) work skirt I made, and I decided that the lining should be the striped cotton I had left over from making the car play mat, which I have since made a further two of.  I also thought that this would make a good band for the hat - my original thoughts had been ribbon.

inside - you will note I made zero attempt to pattern match
So I was good to go - nearly - I just needed some twill tape and some heavyweight interfacing (handily purchased for me by the hubby - thank you!).

Crown and brim - I was
so excited to have got to
this stage :-)
I did the cutting out and construction in bits - cutting out on the Saturday afternoon, then ironing on the interfacing on the Sunday morning, then doing the actual sewing on that Sunday after having gone back to bed with a terrible migraine and getting back up again.

The sewing part took me about two hours and the cutting out/ironing a further half an hour each tops, so all in all this is definitely a hat you could make in an afternoon - probably a couple of hours once you have done two or three.

check out my (slightly wonky)
The instructions were fairly simple to follow, with good photographs.  I don't think I sat and scratched my head once, which is unusual for me.  AND there was only two unpicking, which is even more unusual - one to fix a bit of puckering and the second to change the size of the band, as it did come up slightly small the first time, so I unpicked and did a slightly smaller seam.  

There were a couple of fiddly bits, such as avoiding any puckering when stitching the brim to the crown and the top of the crown to this sides, but I think this is more because it is a teeny tiny project, rather than the actual techniques and skills needed.

Overall,  am very tres happy and I made a hat!!!!!  
Sans band

At the time of writing, I have not yet seen Bertie to give him the hat, so I don't know whether it is approved of or not, but I like it . . . 

What do I like about this?
  1. I made a hat!!!
  2. Simple to construct and easy to follow instructions.  I think the nieces could make these with no problems.
  3. Good stash buster - I think I used less than a fat quarter of fabric each for the lining and outer - and that was for the largest size.

a band!
What would I change next time:
  1. Try out some different fabrics - maybe a denim next time?
  2. Use ribbon for the band rather than construct a band.
  3. Make it on my niece's smaller sewing machine, as things should just wrap around the arm rather then not quite fitting round the arm on my machine.

Anyway, I am on to bigger projects now, but I might find some time for some little people projects inbetween. Tempted to try some more of Elegance and Elephants' patterns.  As always, I will share.

Happy Crafting!


Sunday, 5 July 2015

News: Eliza M Vintage

Soooo, my poor little sewing machine (which, unusually for me, doesn't actually have a name - any suggestions?) has gone it for it's annual service, which is causing me great distress - what I am supposed to do in moments of boredom while I have no sewing machine?  Housework?  I think not baby puppy!  

This means that I don't have a project to share with you this week . . . . boooo!  hisssssss!  

BUT I do have some news for you . . .

I have been asked to blog for and review the patterns of Eliza M Vintage, and their sister company Simple Sew . . . how exciting is this?!?!?!?!?!?!

As you all know, I love the vintage style, so obvs I love the designs from Eliza M.  I'm just trying to pick my first pattern. which is a very difficult task, but I should have that with you soon.  Do I go for my usual dress pattern, or try something a little different, like trousers or one of the blouses/tops?  Oh, decisions decisions . . .

Anyway, I already love Simple Sew patterns.  They have been given away free with Love Sewing in recent months, so I do have a small collection, and I particularly love love love the Ruby Dress, incarnations of which can be found here and here.  I also have a couple of patterns in the stash just waiting for the right fabric to come along, but I am hopeful they will soon - I have ideas for these at least.

Both of these brands are patterns I am thinking of stocking in Haberdasherholic once I get that off the ground (I've had a fair few setbacks, but I'm trying to bounce back from them), so it is nice to at least be able to try these out first before I make a final decision.

Anyway, hopefully, normal service should resume next week (fingers crossed) and I should have a project or two for you.

Happy Crafting!


This is another Simple Sew Pattern but I never blogged about it - no idea why

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!


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!


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!


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!


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