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Monday, 25 May 2015

Critter Love

Sooo, a quick share tonight while I am on the old laptop (it doesn't seem to happy often at the mo), and I would like to share with you a recent card:


This is one I made for the box at work.

I made this card using an LOTV image, which I layered onto some yellow card, which I then layered onto two LOTV papers.  I think that these are Country Gent papers but I can't actually remember, and I may have confused myself by using traditionally men's papers on a girl's card.

Anyway, moving on . . .

I added some faux stitching and some yellow spotty ribbon.

To finish, I added a yellow foam flower and some yellow gems.

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


Happy Crafting!

Holly
xx

Cars-a-go-go

Soooo, today I would like to share with you what turned out to be a fairly quick make, once I found the instructions and made up the pattern:

Outer side 1
This is the Portable Playmat from the Feb 2015 issue of Sew, which I have been meaning to make since I first read the February issue.  I even went and bought all the ingredients, but then life kind of took over.  However, now I am hoping that with my dissertation out of the way I might actually get on with some of my planned projects, and first up was this mat.

At the time of writing I have only made the one, but I intend to make some more - one for each of my colleague's son's and one for my friend's nephew - I think that makes 4 in total that I need to make, but as the first one was such a surprisingly quick make, I don't think they should take me too long, and I could do it kind of production-line-y - you know, do all the cutting out, then do one bit on all and so on and so forth.

Outer side 2

Anyway, as I said, I had had the vinyl needed for the outer for months, and I even went and bought fabric 'specially for the inside rather than use us scraps from my stash, which I would normally do.  It is only a cheapish polycotton, but I wanted them all to match then there could be no arguing amongst the mothers!!

I downloaded the template from the Sew Mag website a while ago, but as it was  to a really small scale, I decided to draw out the template to actual size - cue me sellotaping 4 sheets of A3 together to get something big enough, and then I did it wrong first time, but it is not a Holly-project unless at least three things need re-doing!

Inner when made up as bag
Anyway, once I had my template all ready to go, it was simply a case of cutting out and finding the instructions and I would be ready to start sewing.  I had stupidly thought that I would be able to find the instructions on the Sew Mag website, as I have done for previous projects but nope!!  They may well be there, and I was just looking in the wrong sections and/or searching the wrong key words, but I couldn't find them.  Soooo, I had to resort to rooting through my old magazines.  I eventually found them in  the February issue, so I could get on with the sewing.

I did the sewing in bits over a few days, but the bag was fairly easy to put together and probably, in total, took less than an hour.  It is really just a case of adding bias binding to the edges in the right order.  I think the hardest part was turning the handles the right way out.

Opened out as play mat
So, I had it all sewn together and just needed to add the KAM-snaps.  I think these are the reason I had put off doing these for so long - it is the first time I have used KAM-snaps and I was nervous about doing so.  I had no need to be nervous.  I had purchased a starter-kit from The Little Fabric Bazaar last summer and found a tutorial on YouTube to show me how to use them, and how easy they turned out to be.  I will definitely be using them for other things from now on!!!!  Other than adding five of them on the wrong way round to start with that is - they were fixed fine, but the bag wouldn't have closed the right way round . . . oops!  AND they take some getting off!  Removing the ones I had put on definitely took the longest time out of everything.  Anyway, once I had got the hang of it, the rest was easy.

I now just have three more to make, but I think I have enough fabric for plenty more - I just need more binding and KAM-snaps.

Back side of mat
I am also thinking in different fabrics, these would be great changing mat-bags.  What do you think?  With the recent speight of pregnancy announcements amongst peeps I know it might be a good idea.

Anyway, off now to go do some shopping with my mother - first time we have spent any time together in aaaaaaaggges, so it could be interesting.

I have more makes to share and will do that soon.

Happy Crafting!

Holly
xx

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Minnie!

Sooooo, yesterday I finally got to collect on my Christmas present from my big sis and go to see Disney On Ice, and I was so excited!!

I felt that as my nieces were going dressed up - Big G as Olaf (naturally) and Little E as Elsa in the dress I made her for her birthday - it was only right that I dressed up too, and as my friend, Candice, had kindly purchased some pink sparkly Minnie-ears for me, it was only right that I went as Minnie Mouse, but a pink version.

Cue me looking everywhere for a pattern to make up a dress to make that not only would look A.May.Zing as Minnie, but also something I could wear again, oh, and the fabric to make it in.  

I found the fabric first, from The Little Fabric Bazaar, and then started the arduous process of finding a pattern.  This is in fact a lie - I didn't put much effort into finding the pattern at all.  On a sort through my patterns I came across New Look 6143 and as it has a pink dress on the front (view A), my imagination did not need to do much work to imagine it as a Minnie dress.  The fact I had already made this pattern helped me decide to go with this one - fullish skirt, able to take a collar - that's all I was asking.

So, I set about cutting it out and making a half-hearted attempt at pattern matching as I did so.  I am pleased to say that although not perfect, the pattern matching could have been a lot worse.  

Anywhos, as I was cutting out, I remembered that I had had to make some alterations on my previous version of this dress (view E), so onto the t'interweb I went to look through my blog to see what I had said I needed to alter and by how much, and low and behold, I HADN'T BLOGGED MY PREVIOUS DRESS.  I was horrified with myself, but reasoned that I couldn't blog about it now as I had made it before Xmas and it was an Xmas dress.  So, a quick blog here for you:

Moi, at a Christmas Party in Helmsley, in my Santa Christmas Party Dress
View E of the New Look 6143

This is made using Michael Miller Hurry Down The Chimney fabric, which I ordered from the US via Etsy, and some sparkly navy chiffon, which I ordered from Australia.  Does anyone know where I can get sparkly chiffon in the UK?  TBH I don't mind ordering from Oz really - the postage is much more reasonably priced than the US, from where I have pretty much stopped ordering shizzle simply due to the ridiculous postage costs, and things seem to arrive pretty quickly.  I also follow a few Oz-sewer blogs and I am always very jealous that they seem to have such a good community (I am currently a community of one sewer that I know) and get the most gorgeous fabrics from Japan.

Anyway, I digress.  As I'd forgotten I had not even blogged this beauty, I can't remember what changes I made - I know that I added the red ribbon waist band detail and that I had had to alter the bust dart.  I also know that I didn't put in the waist darts, but I can't remember if this was a fit thing or a design thing because I didn't want to hide anymore of the lovely santas and elves than necessary.  I wore this dress for two xmas parties and had many compliments and a few stares when people realised that it was half-naked men, but I do like to make my clothes a talking point, and I certainly managed that with this one.  Now, to top it this year!!!!

So, back to the Minnie dress - As I had no reference point re the fit, it was back to square one, so it was pretty much like making a new dress again.

Note to self - for future dresses in this pattern I need to do the following:

1. Full Bust Adjustment - 2inch (which I forgot to do on this dress, but I know for nest time)
2. 1inch lengthening to bodice (which I didn't actually do on this dress, but will do in future)
3. Half the size of the waist darts and omit from back entirely (I just don't go in at the waist)
4. Alter the skirt to take into consideration no. 3
5. Learn to do a narrow shoulder alteration - I can live with not doing this, but it would be lovely to do a properly correctly fitting dress

I think that is it, and I have written these onto the pattern envelope so I remember these next time, which I think I will start and do on all my patterns, as they all really need altering in some way or another due to the fact that my shape is just all wrong - big boobs, narrow back, thick waist, narrow hips, total lack of backside, giant thighs, long body, short legs . . . just one thing in proportion to something else would be nice, but hey hum pig's bum, I am learning to work with what I have and I have a (very good) friend who is constantly telling my I dress well and always look glamorous - you can tell she hasn't seen me first thing on a morning looking like Bride of Frankenstein with no make up on, hair looking like I have been electrocuted and no ability to speak until I have cleaned my teeth!!!

Anyway, as usual, I am going off a a very large tangent.  What was I saying . . . . 

 . . . Oh, yes, other than the alterations above, this dress was pretty simple to sew up - the arms and neck are bound, which involves some hand stitching, but that keeps me quiet watching the telly and in my lunch breaks at work.  I was tempted to do some on the train, but the temptation to constantly prod the people who try to sit on my knee with my needle would just be too much.  Seriously though, I may be short, but I am otherwise big enough to see, and its not as if I dress to blend in - I am perfectly visible.  I have therefore concluded that going to back to the glamorous comments, I am just too goddamn gorgeous first thing on a morning when I haven't had my coffee and they WANT to sit on my knee.  I shall be employing the hula hoop of personal space shortly, and I think I shall attach spikes to it so peeps don't get too near.

Sorry, this is getting to be a long post isn't it, and I haven't even got to my collar yet.  I will do so now . . .

So anyway, I do believe that Minnie Mouse always has a collar on or about her dress, so I knew that my dress needed one.  I did toy with the idea that I could add one to the dress, but I also know that I am not really a collar person, so I would likely never wear the dress again if it did have a collar - a detachable collar was needed.  Enter the GatherKits Tallis collar (which coincidentally I shall be stocking in Haberdasherholic shortly).  

This is a great little collar with two style options - rounded and square, and comes in the most gorgeous packaging.

The pattern envelope includes the pattern on tres gut quality dressmakers paper (much better than the annoying crap you get in the Big 4 patterns), and a detailed instruction booklet with pictures that actually make sense.

Look at that sparkle!
Anyway, I decided (of course I did) that I wanted my collar to be sequinned.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to get white sequin fabric?  I can tell you - it is extremely hard!!!!  I may have faired better if I had been willing to travel further than Boyes (end of my road in Ilkers) and I probably would have done if an alternative solution had not presented itself whilst I was wandering the fabric section.  And this solution was I hear you say. . . . It was some (what I think is) crystal organza, underlined with white habatoi . . . ta dah!
Pretty ribbon

So I bought this all  ready to get my collar on, together with a million other things while I was there and some coordinating white satin narrow ribbon, which a sparkly edge.

However, it took me over a week to start making the collar because I was making the dress from hell (a few days later and I still don't think I like the dress!), and I hate to have more than one project on the go at once - I mean, it would requite me changing the thread in my machine and everything, and I am just simply too lazy to do such a thing.

Finished collar
This photo does the sparklyness of the organza or the ribbon no justice whatsoever.

Anyway, I finally started the collar on Tuesday evening while hubby was doing some DIY (and then he went out on his bicycle).  I love love love this project - from start to finish it took me less than two hours, and that included following the actual instructions, rather than just making it up as I went along, and cutting out the organza in one layer instead of two, and cutting out an extra layer of habatoi, so I could underline the organza.

The instructions included in the pattern are very clear and include some helpful tips.  I think this would be a great beginner pattern and I am thinking of running a workshop on it.

Check out my top-stitching on this collar
I would like to say that I followed the instructions to the letter, but I didn't - I didn't press the seams, as I didn't want to find out what would happen to the organza under an iron and I couldn't be bothered to dig out a pressing cloth.  Luckily, the organza was pretty stiff, so some pressing with my fingers did the trick to a certain extent.  I also added some topstitching as an extra interest and because I thought it would be a good enough alternative to slip stitching the opening closed and then pressing - I was right, it worked.  It looks pretty good too (except where I went a bit awry), as the organza just seems to absorb the stitches.

Dress and collar together
Tres Minnie non?


Anyway, I have the rest of my outfit sorted and I will definitely be making both of these items again - in fact, my next project is the dress again (this time a party dress with more sparkly chiffon - turquoise this time), with a bit of pattern hacking - my first attempt at pattern hacking, so fingers crossed it will all go well, if it does, it should look amazing!  And then I want to have a go at my first pair of trousers (or shorts, depending on my fabric choice).

In the meantime . . . 

Happy Crafting!

Holly
xx


No idea what I am doing with my right hand . . .
. . . but don't I make a good Minnie Mouse?!

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Pattern Matching Mayhem!!!!

Soooooo, today I have a new work dress to share with you:

What do you think?  I'm still not sure of it.  In fact, up until this morning I was considering (a) binning it or (b) donating to a sister.

I like the idea of the dress, and it is very much a me work-style, and I am desperate for new work clothes, which is probably why I persevered with it for 3 weeks, but the finished product I am just not sure of.  I can't help thinking that this could be because I really didn't enjoy making this dress AT ALL!


Let's go through it shall we:

In a fit of, what was clearly madness, after Christmas, I purchased five metres (yes FIVE - what was I thinking) of purple tartan.  I love tartan and I love purple, I even do like the fabric, but what was I going to make with five metres I ask?  So, anyway, it languished in one of my many fabric boxes for a while until I finally decided that enough was enough and getting through the work week with only four outfits was driving me nuts.  The solutions:  go part-time or make some more work clothes instead of pretty party and casual dresses.  

Obviously, my preferred would be to go part-time, as this would not only solve the not enough outfits to see me through the week problem, but would also give me extra time to sew up some extra outfits - hubby said no!  I could go part-time if I wished, but, as he pointed out to me, that would leave me with zero spending pennies for fabric etc after I have paid my bills, so the extra time would just mean that I had a super sparkly house due to boredom.  Anyway, I'm working on that sitch and will keep you updated.

I went with View D.
It looked the simplest.
Soooo, in a stroppy mood in general (and stroppy moods equals cleaning and sorting in Holly-world) I decided to have a massive clearout of all my patterns, as I had too many that I have never used, and they could go to a better home via eBay.  Upon my clear out I found New Look K6144 which I got free with a magazine - probably Sew Mag, which I hadn't used, but on looking at in, inspiration struck - the pattern seems pretty simple (and very Holly work-wear) and I could practice some pattern matching with the tartan due to the simple (or so I thought) shape.

So, I trundled off with my pattern and fabric to work one day, and after taking my measurements (I do know them, but I like  to hope that I may have lost an inch or so here or there - I hadn't), I disappeared into a meeting room at lunch (nice big tables) and cut out the corresponding size - in my case an 18 - in view D, which looked the simplest.  I was surprised myself that I didn't seem to need to grade between patterns or make any adjustments, other than to my narrow hips, but that is something I could sort later.  I was super careful about trying to get my pattern to match up and it took me the full lunch time in the end - not bad for something that really only has 4 pieces that need cutting out!  I cut everything separately to get the pattern matching going on, in in actual fact, I ended up cutting out 7 separate pieces.

I then left the fabric languishing for a week or so, as despite reading the instructions a gazillion-billion-trillion (I am not exaggerating) times, I could not figure out how to do the neck detail. It eventually clicked and I pinned it, but didn't sew it - that took me another two days!!!

After finally doing that, I tried to tackle the darts.  I know that I have a thick waist, so I never need the darts to be as big as they are on the pattern, but it is usually trial and error to get them right on a new pattern - I do have some patterns that I have sewn a few tines now that I just know how big the darts need to be and adjust the rest of the dress accordingly - but this was a new pattern.  With this in mind, I had painstakingly stitched in tailors tacks so I could get them lined up correctly at least first time - oh, how wrong I was in this assumption.

Maybe it is my dodgy stitching, but my two front darts were in no way parallel or symmetrical.   AND, because the fabric is a relatively loose weave, my tailor tacks kept pulling through and disappearing.  In the end, I unpicked the darts and resorted to using Doris, which I haven't had to do for a while - I suppose it made a nice change for her as she has been stood in the corner of my sewing room recently, pretty much in the nuddy pants (she always used to have a project on her, but I just haven't been sewing much recently, or have been sewing dresses I know the fit for).

Anyway, I got the darts right eventually.  I think they are still slightly off, but I was past caring at this point.  It was also at this point that I started to write my final assignment-dissertation thingy for this year's uni course - 'discuss the use of myth as a moral paradigm in the ancient world' - and I have been so annoyed trying to get this dress together, that I have found myself actually doing some uni work as a distraction - it is usually the other way round, but hey hum pigs bum (and I might even reward myself with writing another 00 or so words after I have finished this post!).

So, anywho, it was time  to start sewing up the seams, which in itself was actually easy enough, but then I tried to the dress on for size (sans sleeves, which made it a bit difficult, and sans zip for that matter) - the bleeding thing was too tight, and of all places, it was too right round my bum!!!  This is unheard of, my hips are actually the smallest part of my body - I have the oddest shape ever and I nearly always have to take things in on the hips and out on the nunga-nungas.  So, unpick seams it was and sew them at 1/2 inch seam allowance instead of 5/8inch.  O! M! G!  This was a nightmare - the stitches had disappeared into the fabric and were practically impossible to see to unpick.  I got there in the end (two nights later) but I think I took half of the fabric with me too.  During this process, I also realised that the fabric frays like billy-o.  NOT Happy.  My sewing room carpet is now purple from the frayings.  So, I sewed the seams up again and then in blind hope  to stop the fraying, I pinked the seams.  It hasn't worked as well as I would have liked, but it has stopped some of it.

Another try on revealed that it was still a little tight around my derriere, but I knew that I wasn't going to know properly how it fit until I got the raglan sleeves and the zip in.

Check out that sleeve!
Ignore my thumb.
I'm trying to show off
my pattern matching
on the seam
I admit, I did leave it for a few days before braving my first raglan sleeves.  I actually thought all was going well on these, until I realised I had sewn the front pieces together and the back pieces together - doh!  and I had already pinked the seams, thinking it was going so well.

Oh well, more unpicking, guessing at the seam allowance left and resewing.  At this point, every seam on this dress has been sewn at least twice - can you see why I was getting annoyed with it.

Zippity Zip!!
Just slightly off on
the pattern matching
but I refused to unpick
and re-do.
So, I resewed the sleeves on Sunday night and pinned them in to the dress ready to sew, which I did this morning.  In fairness, the finishing bits this morning went quite well  The sleeves were easy to sew in and I just had to tackle the zip.  I'm not entirely sure if the zip is supposed to be a lapped one, but the instructions in the pattern envelope certainly seem to suggest that, so a Holly-version of a lapped zip went it, and first time!  I hate unpicking zips, so even if it hadn't, I probably would have left it.

Then I just added the facings and machine stitched the hem (there was no way I was spending any time on any handsewing on this thing) - the joys of tartan - just use the lines as a hem guide rather than trying to guess/measure the hem turn up.

I am wondering if this morning's sewing went a little better thanks  to the ridiculous amount of sleep I had yesterday -  day off, but I had the docs at 8.10 (something needs to be done about my migraines), so I got up for that, but went back to bed when I got home and then slept until lunch time.  My B12 is getting low, I know that, but I didn't expect to sleep that much, and then I slept until gone 9 this morning too - even for a day off, this is unusual for me, as I usually get up and get on with shizzle and then have an afternoon nap when my B12 is getting low.  Roll on my injection on 29 May.

Anyway, dress is done, and I have sent a pic to the big sister for her opinion, as I am really not sure about it, but I do think that could be the fact that I have hated sewing the bugger and I am tired, which makes me grumpy and less likely to put up with anything substandard - in sewing or in life in general.  She has yet to get back to me, but unlike me this week, she is at work (mwahahahahaha!)

A bit of neckline detailing for y'all.
This would probably work better with a
more structure fabric.
I wish I had tried a dress like this from an Indy pattern company first, as the instructions are so clear and detailed usually - the Big 4 usually assume you know what you are doing a little bit, and if it is a new technique, I would like my hand holding sometimes, but never mind.  I have tackled both raglan sleeves and pattern matching on this, along with a less than standard neckline, and something akin to a lapped zip.

What do I like about the dress?  Phil said it looked OK when I tried it on to show him, but he always says that - anything for an easy life that one, plus he needs to be nice to me today as he is going to have his hair cut off today, and I'm not sure I trust him not to have his head shaved.  Phil has the most gorgeous curly hair that I would die for, and he wears it quite long, so it must be annoying and warm for him now that the weather is improving, and it is always in his eyes, but I just can't imagine him with short hair anymore (I've not seen him with short hair for 7 years! or clean shaven for that matter) and I am worried!
Check out that seam!
No, wait, you can
barely see it -
Check. Me. Out!

Anyway, I digress.  I am happy with my zip insertion.  I really am more of an invisible zip girl, but thought I had better follow the pattern instructions on this one.  And I like the neckline detailing, but also think that this could have been better with a crisper fabric.  I am also super impressed with my pattern matching skills - the only place it went a little awry really what the back of the sleeve, and I'm not sure I could have done anything about that anyway.
Awry pattern matching
on the back sleeve seam
I don't think I could
have got this right AND
the sleeve seam - one had
to be sacrificed.

Soooo, what would I do next time?  I think there will not be a next time, I think I am eBaying this sucker.  I will give the fabric another chance though with a tried and tested dress, and I will bind the seams - lesson learned with this fabric.  I don't seem to have a lot of luck with this style, no waist seam dress.  In fact, I have only made one successfully (the Tunisian and I think that was a fluke), and have had to bin any attempts since.

So, that's it for now (my, what a long post that was!).  While Phil is out getting his locks chopped, I am going to write some more dissertation.  I will have it finished this week while I am off work.  And then I have a little project I need to make before Saturday, which I go see Disney on Ice (S Club 7 next week aussi) and then I need to start on a new party dress, which will involve my first ever attempt at pattern hacking, but if all goes well, it will be EPIC!

Happy Crafting!

Holly
xx

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Tug 'O' War

Soooo, tonight I would quickly like to share with you another one of the cards I made at the weekend:


This was quite a quick make made using an LOTV Annabelle topper and took my colours from  that.

The spotty paper is from an LOTV paper pack and the yellow and red cards were from my stash.  

I added a blue bow made from blue satin ribbon  to echo the ribbons in Annabelle's hair and I added two tiny blue hearts in the top left-hand corner of the image.

Fairly simple, but I like it.

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


Happy Crafting!

Holly
xx

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Frozen 21st

Soooo, another quick share tonight. 


This is another card I made at the weekend, and the brief was 21st for a girl who loves Frozen.  I think I have managed that.

I started my stamping various snowflake shapes from a Stampin Up! Christmas set in broken china distress ink all over a blank card.  I then used some scraps from the gazillion (alright, three) Elsa dresses I made before Xmas to make a mini version of the Elsa dress and added this to the card.

I then added a silver 21 and 'Megan' in blue sparkly letters to coordinate.

To finish, I discovered some silver peel-off snowflakes in my stash, so added them.

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


Sorry for the quick post - my fingers are freezing and it hurts to type.  I promise to write a longer post about something else soon.

Happy Crafting!

Holly
xx

Hello . . . Sunshine

Sooo, today I would like to share with you another  card I made at the weekend.  In fact, I liked this card so much, I made two:


I had the idea for this card a while ago, but due to total lack of enthusiasm for making cards, it didn't get made until the weekend.

This was a relatively simple card.  I die cut a 'hello' from orange glitter card using my sissix dies and then die-cut a circle from yellow card.  From the scraps left over from this, I cut some triangles and used these to make the rays of my sun.

I arranged and glued these into a 5x5 card and then stamped 'sunshine' from a Stampin' Up! set in orange memento ink in the bottom right-hand corner.

Unfortunately, making these cards seems to have brought on the rain instead of encouraging the sunshine and warmth to stay.  Maybe I need to make some more for extra encouragement?!

Anyway, I would like to enter this card(s) into the following challenges:


Happy Crafting!

Holly
xx
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