Sunday, 24 January 2016

Twinkle Twinkle

Little staaaarrrrr

How I wonder what you are . . . .

And for a long time I was wondering what this dress was going to be.

blurry pic = best pic of my face

I've had the idea for this dress for ages, and it was actually one of my first doodlings in my croquis sketch book.

I had the fabric and I had the pattern, which weren't supposed to go together, but I had not used the fabric for it's intended purpose and one day whilst scrolling through my bloggy-blog inspiration struck . . . I could make another sea goddess dress, but this time learn from my previous problems, such as knowing now that there is no seam allowance included in Burda patterns, and realising that it is a petite pattern, which may be fine for my legs, but no good for my torso.  These meant that adjustments had to be made to the pattern. 

First off, I added a 5/8" seam allowance.  How did you do this I hear you ask?  I taped two pencils together and drew around the edge of the pattern twice.  this gives a 5/82 seam allowance almost perfectly.

I also extended the torso pattern pieces by about 2" and then used the slash and spread method to make some further fitting adjustments.

Once all this was done I made up a toile in some habatoi, which I was going to use for the lining.  I was so happy that the toile fit almost perfectly, or enought that I didn't feel the need to make any adjustments.  Doris then modelled the toile for about a month!!!  I'd done the muslin just before I went totally bat-sh*t nuts and didn't enter my sewing studio for two weeks.

sorry - these pics were taken on Phil's phone
while we were on holiday - the quality is
tres pantalons!

Then it came to cutting out the fabric, and aaaarrrrrgggghhhhhhhh . . . with the best creative cutting in the world, the fabric was about 4 inches too narrow, and I couldn't get any more.  I think I thought I had more fabric that I did indeed have if I am honest.   So, I went off and had a sulk for a while.

I did think about making the skirt shorter, but I had my heart set on a 'look at me I'm a beach goddess' flowing long skirt dress.  Plus I thought a long dress would cover up my white legs on the first days of my holiday.  Not sure what my plans are for my white legs the rest of the holiday, but at least one of the days is sorted.

Anyway, while I was stewing on it, the depression and anxiety I have been suffering came to a head.  I got signed off work and pretty much slept for two weeks - I had zero interest in doing anything, and that included sewing/thinking about sewing. 

I eventually got my head sorted a bit and slowly made it back into my sewing room.  Concentration still wasn't my strong point, but I did have a lightbulb moment.  I had some blue sparkly chiffon in my stash didn't I?  Would that do the trick.  Did I have enough.  I certainly wasn't ordering any more as this stuff came from Australia, but I had only used a tiny amount for my Santa's dress.  Had I had enough foresight to order two metres or did I only have one?  And if I only had one, was that going to be enough?

It turned out that I had two metres, which meant I had enough to do the top.  I was so happy and excited.  So, I cut this out one morning, draping Phil in the lovely glittery fabric, which I'm sure he really appreciated, even if his face told a different story.  He loves glitter - he just needs to realise this.

Anyway, once the top half was done I pinned it back onto Doris to see what the dress looked like.  At this point, I decided to drape the spotty fabric around the skirt bit to check it would look as awesome as I imagined it in my head. . . . Uh! Oh!  It did not work.  At. All.  What was a girl to do?!  To be honest, I didn't get too disheartened and annoyed by this.  Because I love the glittery chiffon so much, I decided it would be worth the postage to buy some more from Oz and have a sheath of midnight dress.  So, that's what I did.

I seem to be back to being able to concentrate a bit better now, so I can venture off making collars and Pippa dresses, which for a while had been the only things I could concentrate on making because they were relatively quick and I could probably do them in my sleep.  Maybe going straight into making myself a new coat is not the best idea (I should maybe build up to such a big project), which had been my idea, but my lovely godmother bought me a gorgeous new winter coat a few weeks ago and I lobe it so much and thank our Lord Sandra that I have such a good godmother, that I have decided to postpone that particular project until Spring.  At the time of writing, we've just had the horrible floods, so maybe I should make myself a cagoule (is that spelled correctly) and some waders?!

Instead, I have Panto costumes to make.  I would say I will blog about them, but I've not been too good at that recently and have a huuuge backlog to blog about.

Let's see how all that goes shall we?

In the meantime . . .

Happy Crafting!


Sunday, 10 January 2016

Nellie The Elephant

Sooooooo, following on from the Halloween Monster High Cheerleader costume, I am still cursing my youngest niece, who when asked what she wanted for her birthday declared that she wanted the ballerina elephant costume, which Paul made on series 3 of The Great British Sewing Bee.  Of course, she wanted an elephant costume!!!!  

Why can't I have normal nieces, who just want money for their birthdays?!  It would be a lot easier and probably be cheaper!

Anyway, being the most awesome wonderful and fabulous auntie that I am, I said "of course you can have an elephant outfit" then spent the next three months trying to change her mind.  Didn't she want a beeeauuutiful party dress instead?  Nope, she was not to be swayed dammit!  Although I'm sure if I wanted to make her a pretty party dress as well, that would not have been objected to.  Unlucky for her I didn't have the time to do that.

I put off making the costume for ages, because in my head, I just couldn't see how it worked.  I did grade up the pattern to fit her, but after that nothing for weeks.  THEN, I decided to look at the instructions.  It was at this point that I realised all the sections were actually separate - bottoms, top and hood avec trunk.

The fact that the pattern had called for corset boning had also confused ever so slightly a lot.  That took a lot of figuring out in my head, but I got there eventually.  In fact, that was the most difficult part of the construction.

The bottoms are effectively pyjama pants.  The top is basically a straight forward long-sleeved t-shirt with gathered net around the bottom to form the tutu part.  The tail, attached at the same time, is just three strands of grey fabric plaited and a ribbon tied on the bottom.

The construction of the hood was straight forward, if a little tricky to insert the ears, and I am still a little disappointed that the ears flop forward rather than sticking straight out to the sides.  This might just be my dodgy construction though.

Anyway, Evie seemed to like it, although I have yet to get a photo of her in it, but I will.  I don't think I will make another though.

In the meantime, I am now cracking on with the Panto costumes (getting there slowly) and trying to catch up with my blogging backlog.

Happy Crafting!


Friday, 1 January 2016

We're Gonna Party Like Its Y2K

Sooo, happy new year people.  I hope you are all now recovering from your hangover induced comas.  I prescribe bacon butties and lots of tea or coffee.

It may only be the first of the year, but I am already busy planning for the year ahead.  I have a lot going on.  I will finally finish my degree, I have plans to expand Holz Molz Polz and maybe even finally get around to launching Haberdasherholic.

I also have Addingham Panto in February and preparations and costume making is already well under way for that and so far I have managed to escape having to make an appearace on the stage - I'm definitely more of a backstage kindagal.

All that aside, I've decided to set myself some sewing goals this year, instead of just coasting along like I did last year.  In my defence though, 2015 was an odd one - the summer (and beyond) of panic attacks and anxiety did not facilitate creativity and trying out new things to make, and then I felt a bit overwhelmed with work load in my day job, trying to do my studying, fit in panto and make holiday clothes.  Maybe it is no surprise I broke.  BUT I never want to feel like that again, so I have learned to take it a bit more slowly and plan ahead. 

With all this in mind, I'm not setting myself too many goals, but there are a couple of things I would like to make, some of which I had planned to do last year but then never happened.  A few I have been thinking about for a while and think that now is the time to get on with it.  I'm thinking if I write it down I might actually do it.

So here goes, this is what I want to do in this year of two thousand and sixteen:

Ginger Jeans by
Closet Case Files
1.  Jeans

I am forever reading blogs about how amazing the Ginger Jeans are from Closet Case Files (see here here and here to name but a few), so I have decided I need a pair myself.   I don't often wear jeans, but that might be because I don't own a pair because I have not yet made myself a pair.  This all may change.  But, maybe I should try some simpler trousers first?!

2.  Coat

The Robson Coat
By Sewaholic
I scrapped my previous attempt at coat making.  I was proud of it at the time, but then it took me about two wears to see all the flaws and start to hate it.  So, I need to make myself a new lighter coat for when Spring starts to arrive.  I have my pattern - the Sewaholic Robson.  I have even graded up the pattern.  I even bought all the fabic and notions.  I did this all last September, but then came to a halt, and the weather changed so quickly from cardigan to full on winter coat that I didn't really notice the hole in my wardrobe that was a rain mac/light coat.

Maybe this is a good thing, but I have totally changed by vision of this coat now - colour, print, finish . . . pretty much everything!

3.  Phil

I would really like to foray into making men's clothing and make some things for my husband.  He is truly useless at buying clothes and in fact I do believe most of his wardrobe he owned when we became a couple nearly eight years ago.  So, I am going to consult with him and find out what style he would like and then make him some things like the good little wife that I am (yeah, right).  I'm thinking shirts, sweaters, cargo pants, jeans, board shorts . . . the kinds of things he wears now, but nicer.

THE Burda Dress
4.  This Burda Dress

I saw this dress a while  ago in Burda Magazine and wanted to make it then.  It's just one of those things that I have got round to doing, so I have added it to my list.  I'm thinking different shades of the same colour for a work dress or different coloured (but coordinating) dupions or taffetas for a going out dress.

5.  Overlocker

And last but not least, I really need to learn to use my overlocker.  

I bought this in June last year, and other than a cursory glance it has not been out of the box since.  I even cut out a dress to make it with back in September, but my head has just not felt in the right place, nor have I felt like I have had the time, to be able to make sense of it.  This is something I need to do this year.

Maybe I should also add to the list to get on with some blogging - I have such a backlog, but no motivation to write - it will come back (I hope).

Anyway, I may not get around to ALL of these, and I am not going to put any pressure on myself to do it, at least not until the panic attacks have subsided, but at least I have a plan and if I can tick off at least two of these thinks I will be happy.

I hope you all have an awesome 2016.

Happy Crafting!


Sunday, 22 November 2015

Sophia The First

Soooo, sorry I have been a bit absent recently.  I have had many projects on the go, but not actually managed to finish any.  This has been for a variety of reasons - waiting for things to finish, unable to get my head round an instruction, projects finished but turning out far from expectations, general not being bothered.

I did this morning manage to finish what should have been a fairly simple top, but has still taken me nearly a month to finish, due to nearly all of the above reasons, and to be honest, I'm still not sure about it at all.

This is the Sophia Top.  The pattern came free with last month's issue of Love Sewing mag, with a skirt pattern aussi, and I fell in love with both straight away.  However, the reality did not been the expectations in my head.

I ordered some lovely jade taffeta from Whitetree Fabrics for the skirt and hunted the internet for some sequin fabric for the top.  I eventually found some from Guthrie & Ghani, and ordered some silver.

Anyway, I made the skirt first, which was a simple and straight forward make, but I just didn't like the finished product on me.  It was just all wrong for my shape I think.  I am wondering whether to make it again, but go up a size and see if it then falls better.  I think I would also need to move the front pleats so that they sit in a more flattering position on me.  Anyway, I gave the skirt to my step-mother, who it fits perfectly and looks lovely on, but I haven't managed to get any pics of it.  She is on her holidays at the end of this week and I think she is taking it with her so I will ask her to get some pics.

I then moved onto the top.  I decided that as I was using sequin fabric, I should underline with silver satin.  I cut the satin out first and used it as a toile to check fit.  Following the toile, I decided to add some length, lower the neckline, add some bust darts, make the sleeves shorter and add some waist darts, so basically, it is nothing like the Sophia top now.

Following the decision to do these alterations, I then cut out the sequin fabric, and got sequins ALL OVER THE HOUSE.  Hubby was not impressed - he'd just vaccuumed.  Two weeks later, we are still picking up sequins, and we have vacced since.

Once constructed, the pattern calls for facings, but I decided against this and instead used some sequin binding from my stash.  I think it is left over from the Elsa dresses I made last year.  Anyway, I had enough to bind the hem and neckline, but not enough for the armholes.  Luckily though, Boyes still had some, so one more metre was bought and I was able to finish off the top.

I'm still not 100% sure of it - I just don't think it is my style and it doesn't fit as nice as I would have like it to, but I am not feeling particularly patient at the moment.  I wonder if part of why I am unsure of it is because I don't now know what I would wear with it, and I don't have time to make another skirt before I go on my holiday in two weeks.  I still have another of these Burda dresses on Doris to finish and a McCalls 6696 cut out ready to sew for holiday, and had a total panic this morning about how I am going to find time to get them finished, write an assignment (for which I still have the reading to finish) and finish of the tablecloth and napkins set I am making for my friend, Pam.  Oh, and I have a craft fair on 3rd December at work so still have some more little Pippa dresses and Peter Pan collars to make for that . . .


I suppose all this means I had best get off my backside and get sewing . . . 

Happy Crafting!


Saturday, 31 October 2015

Happy Halloween

Sooo, Happy All Hallows Eve people.

I'm posting today instead of tomorrow, as today I have my niece's Halloween costume to show you.  But first, a question:

When did Halloween get so complicated?!

When I was but a nipper, the costume ideas were pretty simple and limited:
  • witch
  • vampire
  • ghost
  • mummy (if it was dry and you didn't mind being covered in loo roll).
These days - no!  This year, my eldest niece is being Maleficent (I can see how that one works and her costume is pretty ingenious and she's done it herself) and the youngest, Evie, wants to be a Monster High cheerleader!  And this is the costume she wanted me to make:

Now, I for one I have never heard of this monster high shizzle - I keep confusing it with High School Musical - now THAT would be a Halloween costume.  Anyway, I had to google it and spend what felt like hours with Evie going through the pictures until we found the one she wanted me to copy.  This is after she had asked me to make her costume of course - she'd spent ages telling me what she was doing for her costume - I never twigged that she wanted me to make it . . . bad auntie (but still fabulous).

I would just like to say that I may not have watched Monster High, but I did watch Disney's Descendants the other day, and I loved it!  Total Disney Geek up in here!

So, anyway, after that, I knew what was expected, and I had an idea of what I was going to do.  A google of children's dresses of the shape required all seemed to be jersey - not a problem I thought, and at least it would me comfy for her.  My sister, however, had other ideas  "I've bought you 5 metres of some black fabric for Evie's costume - it was only £1 a metre."  Immediate alarm bells,  

An inspect of the fabric confirmed that, as suspected, it was not jersey.  In fact, I'm not entirely sure what it is, but you can definitely guess that it was £1 a metre,  If has the weight of heavy suiting, but feels scratchy as hell.  It is also the most horrible fabric ever to cut - give me heavyweight denim any day rather than this, which has pretty much blunted my otherwise nice sharp scissors.  Best find somewhere to get them sharpened.  Dear sister, if you are reading this, never fabric shop without me please - I may not buy £1 a metre fabric, but there is a very good reason for this.  Apparently she wants to me to make her a dress from what is left . . . I don't think my scissors can cope.

So the appearance of this apparently bargainous fabric meant back to the drawing board.  As the fabric is a woven, a jersey pattern was never going to work.  Eventually, I found Simplicity 1382, which had the skirt I wanted and the front bodice was pretty perfect for what we were doing.  I had seen this pattern a while ago and was going to buy to make Evie a party dress for her upcoming birthday, but she's decided she wants an elephant costume instead!!!  Even better, this pattern came in girls plus sizes.  Now, Evie is by no means fat, but she towers over the rest of her class, who all seem tiny and frail in comparison.  She is nearly as tall as her sister, who is 10, but built like a whippet - all skinny and gangly.  You couldn't get two sisters less alike in this respect.  Evie is also, like me, largest at her waist.  If I had bought the standard pattern, I would have had to make her an age 12.  With the girls plus pattern, I am making an 8 1/2, with a grading to 10 1/2 at the waist - much better.

So I traced the pattern off the main pattern sheets, thinking that I can use the pattern as she grows for further dresses if I don't cut into it.  Evie had decided to go for view A, with the heart cut out in the back.  I thought she would go for the other for this costume, but I have no objections to the heart cut out.  The pattern calls for facings from the same fabric, but as I don't like it, I decided to do  the facings with some pink  cotton I had bought to do the 'Monster High' motif on the front, but then realised I didn't actually need.  Maybe it was fate . . .

I don't think I did a bad job in the end:

This was a project done little and often.  One night cutting main fabric, another cutting the facings and interfacing them.  Another yet 'decorating' the front bodice piece.  Never has so much thought gone into how to attach some ribbon or where an M and a H should go.  A lot of measuring was involved.  I eventually got the motif central and then realised that the ribbon totally wasn't.  Luckily, nothing had been sewn down, so it was quite simple to rearrange the ribbon, which was actually from my stash, and the perfect colour.  I only had enough to do the neckline though.

I would just quickly like to share with you my ingenious way (or I think so anyway) of tracing the motif to the bondawebbed fabric - simply blu-tack the fabric to the laptop screen and trace.  Well, it worked so it is a method I will be sticking with.  Also meant that it was really easy to re-size before tracing, rather than printing out a gazillion versions.  The screen acts as a little light box  too.

I made the motif from white fabric from my stash and then appliqued around the edge with hot pink to get the desired look.

Once this was done, I could start on the actual construction . . .

Actual construction was pretty simple and straightforward and would have been even easier had the fabric been garment, or even quilting, weight fabric.  I finally figured out what the fabric my sister bought was - I do believe it is upholstery fabric of the type used to upholster office chairs.  I also discovered that when pressed, even though I was sensible and used a pressing cloth, it gives off a distinct, strange, sherbert smell.  Surely this can't be a good thing?!?

not a perfect zip insertion, but close
enough and there was no way I was
unpicking and doing it a second time!
It probably took me a couple of hours to do the main construction, but I did it in little bits here and there.  I substituted the lapped zipper of the pattern for an invisible zipper, as I find these easier - I know, I know, strange, but I just cannot get my head around lapped zipper insertion.  I'm sure it will click one day, but for now invisible zippers all the way for me.  Then it was time for Evie to try on the dress.

I love the back of  this dress
I already knew that the skirt was waaaay too long.  If I held the waistband up to my waist, the he of the skirt reached my knees.  Now, I know I am far from tall, but that was ridiculous.  After trying on, which in my amazement fit perfectly (check me and my pattern grading out), we agreed that the skirt needed about 6 inches taking off it, which I did.  As the fabric was so bulky I decided to hem using the bias binding technique.  I used self-made bias, for which I used a scrap of hot pink habatoi from my stash.  I made just enough, which was tres lucky - that skirt hem is longer than it looks!

Once the skirt was hemmed, it was simply a matter of stitching two pieces of ribbon - one white, one hot pink, along the hem to complete the look.  Et voila!  One costume for the niece.

Evie was extremely excited about her costume, and other than the icky fabric, I quite enjoyed making it.  I have plans to make her another in a simple cotton, which should be a lot easier to work with.  Then my mind started running away with itself and planned a sequin/glitter and duchess satin version - we'll see about that one . . .

In the meantime . . .

Happy Trick Or Treatin'


Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Casper The Friendly Ghost

Sooo, a quick Halloween-y share today, but not costumes, just a simple outfit for the day.

This is the Pippa dress, which I actually made for Pippa this time.  When I saw this fabric in the Little Fabric Bazaar Sunday Specials I just knew a dress for Pippa was going to happen.  There is just less than a metre, but the pattern only calls for 0.75m, even less if I don't use facings, but line in satin.

Not much to say - construction was straight forward, and I lined the dress with purple satin.  I nearly had a paddy at this as I knew I had some purple satin in my stash, but I hadn't actually looked to see how much recently, but when I was placing a big satin order I omitted to purchase purple, as I thought I had enough in the stash.

Then it came to cutting out the satin . . . duh duh duuuuuuh . . . not as much satin as I thought . . . ooops.  Luckily with a bit of creating cutting I managed to get enough lining for this dress.  The saving grace is that the lining can be shorter than the shell of the dress, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to do it.  Construction from there was straight forward.  I have made a few of these after all - see here here here here and here (with more still to be blogged about).

After cutting out the dress I had some of the Casper fabric left, but not enough to make another dress (I had held onto this hope but it just wasn't to be.  I considered putting the remnant on eBay, but then decided that another Bertie hat should be made, for Bertie of course, so that brother and sister could have another matching outfit.  I used some of the leftover black gaberdine from my new work skirt and lined the hat with the Casper fabric for a bit of subtelty.

I had been planning that if I had enough fabric left to make a matching collar for Katy, their mum, and maybe something for their dad, Mark, as he always seems to be left out, so they could be a matching family (they usually all have matching halloween costumes).

I had plenty of fabric to make the collar if I used the left over satin for the under collar, and even attempted some pattern matching, which was mostly successful.  Unfortunately, after then, there wasn't enough to make anything else.  One day Mark, you will get something.

So, that is that really - all things I have made before, but I wanted to share because I love the fabric, and it is nearly Halloween.

I will have another Halloween make for you on Saturday.

Happy Crafting!


Sunday, 25 October 2015

Black Lace

Soooooo, I was hunting on the White Tree Fabrics website for some fabric for a new rain mac (currently in production) when I got very very distracted by some beeeeee-autiful black lace with 3-d flowers.

OMG it is just stunning.

I had to have it.  I just knew that it would make the most awesome of party dresses.

I didn't have the pennies to buy enough to make myself a dress, so I bought myself a metre and decided to make a Pippa dress, of which I have already made a fair few if you do a quick search of the blog.

However, due to this gorgeous fabric, I would have to make some small changes to the dress.

edgy edgy
First up . . . how could I not use the gorgeous lace edge?  Now, the Pippa dress curves up at the sides, and if I did this with this fabric it would cut off half of the lace edge.  So, I decided to cut a straight edge on the pattern piece, which was simple enough - just extend the side seam down to the edge of the fabric . . . easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Second in the list of things that needed to be done . . . due to the lace nature of the fabric, it is see-through . . . not appropriate, so I decided to fully line the dress with some black satin.  I was going to originally do a standard underline, i.e. line each piece before making up the dress, and then add a standard facing.  However, I wanted the lace section to swing and sway away from the lining, and this would not happen if the side seams were attached.  So, basically I made two dresses - a lace one, and a lining one.  I then sewed the two together around the shoulders and then attached a standard facing.  I contemplated lining like I had my other dresses, but thought that as the lace was sheer, the raw edges would show through and I wanted to avoid this.

the photo doesn't show it brilliantly
bit the smaller flowers are 3-d and stand
proud of the main fabric
Thirdly - the 3-d flowers.  I didn't want any of these caught up in the seams when sewing.  To combat this, Those that would get caught no matter what were removed very carefully with my thread scissors.  Those that could avoid this fate were pinned back out of the way of the seams when sewing.  Good in theory, but I ended up stabbing myself a fair few times in the sewing process, but then again there is nothing new about that is there?  I'm sure I would make loads of money if I charged based on the number of pin and needle stabs I have received during construction!!!!

Anyway, all this was pretty simple and straight forward, other than me sewing when I was tired and doing a couple of things wrong and having to unpick, which I really wanted to avoid on this lovely lace, but it isn't a Holly-project unless at least one seam has had to be unpicked!

My biggest problem happened when it came to choosing the buttons for the fastening.  I searched Ilkley for some buttons for this dress, but I just couldn't find any I liked.  I did buy some, but I wasn't 100% sold on them for this dress, so I used them for something else. 

The breakthrough came when my Grandma gave me her mother's (my Great-Grandma, who I adored) button box.  I didn't even know this still existed.  I'm not sure how old the buttons in there are (my Great-Grandma passed away 19 years ago and wouldn't have sewn in her later years as she had bad arthritis in her fingers), but the actual box itself has to be at least 80 years old - there is a label in there as there is a little label in there with my Gran's maiden name and I remember her and my Grandad celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary.  The box is a treasure trove of buttons, and clearly I get my love of the colour blue from my Great-Grandma as there are more blue buttons that anything else in there.  Blue was not going to work on this dress though, but I did manage to find some silver art-deco style buttons, which I thought would do the job nicely.

I'm tempted to take the button box to the Antiques Roadshow, as my Grandma also let me raid her jewellery (the bits she doesn't wear), and I took pretty much all of her brooches.  I doubt any of them are actually worth much, but it would be nice to know the history behind some of them (one I found in the button box).  Also, some need restoring (missing stones etc.) so it could be worth finding out how much that is going to cost me.

So anyway, that is the dress, which is now in the Folsky shop.  It is a one-off.  As I had to cut the fabric out a certain way to get the lace edge for the hem, there is no way I am going to get another dress out of it.  I'm not sure what I will do with my leftovers yet - there isn't much edge left.  All ideas and suggestions welcome.

I will have some halloween makes to show you over the next week, so you will be spoiled with more than one post in a week!

Until then . . .

Happy Crafting!

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