Monday, 25 April 2016

Pippa Turns Into My Grandma!

Sooo, today I would like to say a massive Happy Third Birthday to my cheeky honorary niece Pippa.  This is the little girl who my Pippa dresses are named after, the latest of which can be found in my shop here.   

Now, I think I have started a tradition of a new dress for her birthday each year, as this is this year's birthday present:

This is the Marjorie dress from Violette Field Threads, and I knew that I had to find a small child to make this dress for as soon as it was released, as my Grandma (the one who knows I'm busy, love, and is never cross at me, when she doesn't see me for a week or two due to said business) is a Marjorie, although she hates that name.  She is to be known as Grandma by anyone under the age of 40 (seriously, all our friends just refer to her as Grandma), or Madge to everyone else.  She hates the name Marjorie so much only family dare call her it, and my little sis has decided that should she ever have a little girl, she will call her Marjorie, because that's the kind of family we are and we show our love for each other by trying to annoy each other as much as possible . . . If I'm mean and sarcastic to you, it means I like you.  If I'm nice to you . . . worry!

the back
Anyway, I ummed and ahhhed about who I could make this dress for, and as Katie (honorary sister and mother of Pippa pointed out) Pippa would look so sweet in this dress, thereby belying her true personality of little terror, but I love her for that because I don't have to deal with her as a parent and I find it hilarious (rather than embarrassing) that she describes 'apricot' as 'achey cock'.  Oh, we could write a book on the things that girl says.  Then we could write another book on the antics of her brother, who is just as bad! His birthday is next week and I will have another post on his present then.

Right, so, back to the dress instead of the antics of my niece and nephew.  I decided to not go too girly for the fabric and went for some turquoise roses cotton, which was in my stash to make a dress, but has been there for over a year, so the dress was looking very unlikely.  And then I spent aaaages thinking what would go with it for the collar and belt.  I raided my large scraps stash and found some yellow gingham, which I decided would be perfect.  I don't know why, I just love this combination of colours.  Anyway, mind set on the gingham, I discovered I was about 10cm too short.  Not really a problem, as I just tootled myself down to the shop at the end of my street and bought some more (it's not like half a metre of gingham will break the bank!).  Then I started looking for some buttons to go avec.  I couldn't find any in my stash, none in the shop at the end of the road, then I had a brainwave . . . I had a quick search on eBay and found some yellow gingham buttons.  They came in a large pack with some yellow flower buttons, but I decided they were perfect, and you can never have too many buttons anyway as far as I'm concerned.  

While I was waiting for those to arrive, I got a cutting-out and making up the main body fo the dress.  The pattern was a PDF so I had to print and stick that together, then I traced off a size 3.  I know I could have just cut it out and then cut and stuck again for another size, but that to me is the worst part of PDF patterns.  I much prefer those that come with a copy shop version and I get that printed near work, but if I am going to have to cut and stick, I will only do it once.

I did this one Saturday evening whilst catching up on some televisual, and then I cut out the fabric.  I used the blue roses for the dress main, some blue cotton from my stash to line the bodice and then the gingham for the collar, belt, bow and belt loops.

Then I set about sewing.  I started with the bodice, carefully following the instructions, which are very clear and detailed, with lots of pics.  This turned out to be pretty easy.  The instructions would have you do a lot of topstitching once seams are sewn, but I decided I don't really like the look of that, so I have skipped it on this particular dress.  I have other versions planned that I may do the topstitching on - I shall see.

Anyway, bodice was pretty straight forward.  The collar seemed massive, until I realise that it folds down.  I can be a proper blonde sometimes, although as the eldest niece points out, now that I am letting the bleach grow out, the top of my hair is brown - I keep telling her it is dark blonde, and then refusing to speak to her until she agrees, like a proper grown up!

The skirt, however, which you would think would be the easiest bit, caused me a bit of a headache.  Its the pleats.  i still haven't got them right, but decided that they were right enough for me!  When I used the pleat guides as I thought correct, the skirt was then too long for the bodice and there were gaps between the pleats, so I re-did them with no gaps between the pleats and this made it too short for the bodice.  So I tried  once again, following the pleat guide, but in a slightly different way.  The skirt is now the correct length for the bodice, but there are only two box pleats in the front and two in the back.  Personally though, I think it looks good so I have left it that way.  My sister saw it hung up and approved it too, so I decided to go with it.

I then had to wait for the buttons to arrive, which they did a couple of days later, and I got on with the buttonholes and adding the buttons.  This is where I made a big boo-boo.  I did 6 buttonholes (two lots of three) as per the illustration in the instructions.  I now know with hindsight that, certainly on this smaller size, I should only have done 3 buttonholes, as there is not enough overlap on the bodice for the extra three buttonholes.  Anyway, I realised this too late (i.e. after I had cut the buttonholes) but I did have a solution.  I have simply sewn them back up and added a button over the top to make it look as though there are extra buttonholes.

The pattern instructions then have you add some sew-on snaps, which I hid under the pleats, and sew up part of the back seam, again, which I have hidden under a pleat.

Adding the belt loops was pretty straight forward, although I did them backwards to the instructions, as I thought it looked neater.  I have a plan for the next one to make them look even neater.

The belt and bow are also pretty straightforward.  The belt is once again fastened with sew on snaps, the stitching for which I decided to hide with some of the flower buttons that came with the gingham buttons, so I think that was a stroke of luck.  The bow is not tied, but simply folded through the loop to make it into a bow.

Anyway, I have great plans for further Marjorie dresses, and I might even put some in the HolzMolzPolz shop.  As always, I'll keep you posted.

In the meantime, I used the leftover roses fabric to cut out something for Pippa's brother's birthday present, which is next week, and a quick gathered skirt for myself.  I think I still have enough left over for a Pippa dress too . . .

Happy Crafting!


Sunday, 17 April 2016

I Made Trousers (Again!)

Soooooo, after my disastrous attempt at making trousers last summer, I finally recovered enough to try again.  This time I decided to go for a different silhouette and tried out the cigarette pants from Gertie's Vintage Casual book.  I decided I needed something suitable for summer when I can't be bothered to shave my legs . . . lazy Holly!

Now, I traced this pattern out last year, when I was a little chubbier and much more stressed.  I think I traced a 16 at the waist, grading to a 14 at the hips (I think!).  I had some cheap cotton that I thought I could make a wearable muslin from before cutting into some lovely stretch cotton I bought a few weeks ago at The Shuttle in Shipley, which was originally going to be a work dress, then these trousers, then a work dress, then these trousers  . . . you get the idea . . . and I'm still unsure.

Anyway, I cut these out in an evening, shortening the length, as I realised that I had traced them at full length and that is never going to wash with my little tree-stump legs, although somebody told me the other day that I had long legs - I told him to go get his glasses checked.  At 5 foot 4 with a 26 inch inside leg, long legs is definitely not something I have.  Wide legs, yes, long, no.

Anyway, construction of these pants, once cut was scarily easy.  the only real change I made was to move the back zipper to the side.   For some reason, I cannot get my head around a back zipper in pants.  I asked around amongst my friends, I looked in ready to wear (gran loved being dragged round Next looking at every pair of trousers I'm telling you!), and the conclusion was that trousers have side zippers.  Unless it is different in the US?  Anyway, moving the zip was no biggy, just insert in a side seam rather than the back seam.  I was tres impressed with my zip insertion - I'm getting good, if I do say so myself. 

I also had a little head scratching moment with the pockets but that was brief and remedied once I put the pattern piece the correct way up! (daft Holly) 

Ayvay, trousers construction complete, it was time to try on, and do you know what I discovered (other than I have lost weight since last Summer, which I already knew) - I have one leg fatter than the other.  I went back and check my sewing and cutting, and all was matching and in order - my right leg is genuinely fatter than the left.  I say fatter, when in actual fact it is more muscle I think.  Could this be a dominant leg thing?  I know that my right bicep is bigger than my left, and this is due to many years of pulling pints.   I'm not sure how my right thigh and calf got bugger - maybe I use them more when dancing and cycling, and the left leg is just lazier - who knows.  

Anyway, the right leg was a little tighter, but not uncomfortably so, but I decided to take the seam out a little anyway.  This is after I had taken both in as they were quite a bit bigger than I wanted them  to be.  I'm thinking these trousers are drafted to be a lot baggier than they look in the photos, but I am not looking for baggy pants, I want 50s chic cigarette pants.

So after taking in, I decided no more faffing.  The pants are still too big on the hip, but I think I can live with that.  I'm going to re-trace them as a size 14 grading to a size 12 at the hips and lower and make up another muslin, when I find some cheapish fabric I like.  I might have to go raid Leeds market soon for their £4.50/m cottons.  

My only other qualm about these was that they were too garish even for me, but after discussing with the little sis (who is in fact 28 and taller than me), we decided that they were just the right amount of garish for me - I am not known for my sober clothes, by anyone, in fact it was commented at work last week that they knew when it was something made by me because it was always that little bit "different" (read: weird).  I don't care if my clothes are strange though, at least I'm not going to have the same as someone else, and at least I'm not scared of showing my personality.  Small rant over.

So, I'm now hoping to make a plain black top to wear with these trousers.  I'm currently catching up on Indian Summers and loving Alice's wardrobe, so I'm thinking classic split collar button down blouse.  I have some black silky fabric in my stash which will be perfect.  I have even found a pattern (from the Gertie Vintage Chic book again) so I just need to trace and make my first muslin and see what happens.

Anyway, that is it, I'm off out on my bicycle for the first time this year this afternoon (I'm writing this in advance if the weather is iffy on the day you read it) and I'm excited as I've not been cycling all winter after losing my confidence, so the hubby has offered to go out with slow little me for an hour this afternoon so I can get used to being on the roads again.  You never know, some more of that weight might decide to go if I keep it up this summer, especially now I am back at dancing too.  Some exercise and fresh air might also finally shift this cold I've had for weeks too . . . here's hoping.

Anyway, over and out . . .

Happy Crafting!


Saturday, 9 April 2016

Kim Goes To Space (Invaders)

Sooo, a quick project to share with you today.

This wasn't quick because I rushed it . . . it was quick because it is another Kim dress, which I have now sewn 4 of (I think), so I could probably do it in my sleep.  The last version is here.  This particular version took me about 6 hours from start to finish, and that included re-tracing and fba-ing the bodice pattern as I have lost a little weight and gone down a pattern size on the waist.  The bazoomas, however, have remained, so that meant a bigger fba that previously required, which means even funnier-looking patterns.

But you don't need me to go into detail about FBAs and the pain of having large nunga-nungas - that is already well documented.  You just want to see pics of the dress don't you/

So here you go:

This was made using some cotton I got from The Shuttle in Shipley.  I always forget what a treasure trove that place is until I get there and realise I don't have a spare £500 to spend on fabric (one day Holly . . . one day . . .).  So on this particular trip I bought this awesome cotton, which immediately made me think of space invaders, so obviously I had to buy it, and at £6 a metre, quite the bargain.  It is lovely quality and has a super soft, slightly silky feel to it, as good quality cottons do.  I bought 3 metres, knowing that it was going to be a Kim.  There really was never any doubt.

Construction was pretty straight forward.  I lined the bodice with orange cotton, taking a colour from the print and going as bright as I could.  The skirt is a little less full as I cut it on-grain so it is a bit narrower than the pattern calls for, but it is just as full as I like them.  I did my best with the pattern matching on both the skirt and the princess seams, and there is really not much else to tell.  The invisible zipper went in almost perfect first time, although the colour of the zipper did cause some headaches.  I thought the fabric was a navy base, but when I put a navy zipper up against it, it was too light, so I tried a black one, thinking the fabric must be black . . . nope.  This is obviously a really really dark navy.  I mulled the zipper colour over for a while and then decided to go for a white one,. just because I could.  If I had had an orange one in the stash, then that would have been the obvious choice, but I only had 9inch orange zippers.

This dress has been made a few weeks now and has had a few outings, but the weather has been so hit and miss I gave up on trying to get photos of me in it, so I'm afraid you'll just have to make do with them on a hanger for now.

Anyway, that's about all I have to say on this dress.  I need to get on with some uni work now before I can allow myself any further sewing.  500 words and I think I'll allow myself an hours sewing.

Happy Crafting!



Sunday, 27 March 2016

Jump!!! For My Love .....

Soooo, Happy Easter everyone and I hope you aren't suffering too greatly from the hour less of sleep last night.

Just a quick post today to share with you the Easter present I made for the other niece:

This is the McCalls M7151 Jumpsuit, with modifications . . .

As you know from my previous post, I usually make the nieces pyjamas for Easter, but this year, the youngest (aged 8) asked for a jumpsuit.  I did spend some time trying to talk her out of this, but in the end I'm glad I failed on that one.

The pattern calls for a knit fabric, but I didn't have any in my stash and was a bit too cash and time poor to go shopping for some.  What I did have in my stash was some vintage stretch cotton (I think) which I bought from a vintage fair in Ilkley a while back.  I was going to use it for a shirt dress, but I think this use is waaay better.

I didn't quite have enough fabric to make the full-length trousers, so we went for knee-length.  I did this simply by shortening the pattern.  I toyed with the idea of a lace insert at the side, but in the end decided that nothing I had looked right, so I just left the side seams with a little split in.

Construction was pretty straight forward.  The only thing that really took me any time to figure out was how to attach the straps at the back.  I got there with it in the end . . . with a little help from hubby  to decipher the instructions.

The pattern does call for a bow made from the same fabric.  I did try to do this, but then got annoyed with it so added a little ribbon bow at the front of the elasticated waist.

I took it to Evie last week, and she insisted on wearing it there and then . . . well, the weather was quite nice that day.  We went to the park and it held up well to playing and she has asked for some more for her summer holidays.  I'm sure I can manage that and I keep looking out for some awesome jerseys.  I might also try out some wovens.  

I posted the pic on facebook and a friend has already asked me to make some for her girls.  If you want to see the playsuit in action, check out my Instagram @HolzMolzPolz, where you will also be able to see the niece's questionable styling choices.

In the meantime, I am waiting for another nice day to get some pics of my latest make for myself, and I am on with the most gorgeous dress for a 3-year old.

Happy Crafting!


Sunday, 20 March 2016

The Fantastic Miss Fox

Soooo, today I would like to share with you a bit of slow sewing I have been doing.

Usually, I am in the habit of rushing through my projects, but after the stress of panto costumes and having to rush through those, I thought I would take my time over this project.

These are the Carolyn Pyjamas from Closet Case Files, and this particular set are for the eldest niece for Easter. 

Let me explain why she isn't getting an Easter Egg (which would be waay easier and cheaper) . . . . Many moons ago, when she was about 5, she declared that she got enough eggs, so could I please buy her some pyjamas for Easter instead . . . not a problem said I (I didn't sew then, and I could easily go buy a pair) . . . fast forward a few years, and pyjamas for Easter are now a tradition for the nieces.  Some previous sets for le nieces can be found here and here.

Anyway, Georgia is now nearly a teenager, and hates pink and frills, but does have a thing for black and fox motifs at the moment, so when I saw this fabric I knew that it was going to be made into something for her.  I decided on the Carolyn pjyamas.  I had come across these when I was following the online sewing match thingy last year and liked them . . . I liked them muchly and lots, but were a pattern I had not got around to buying.  Making these for G remedied that.  I was going to buy the paper pattern, but was impatient so bought the PDF version and got the lovely guys at Hobbs in Leeds to print it off for me - they even delivered to my office,  to save my little legs, bless them.

G's measurements put her in a straight size 0 (oh, how I could hate her . . . but I don't as she is nearly as awesome as me!) so I spent an evening tracing onto tissue and then cutting out.

I then started construction. which took me two weeks, but as I said, I was not rushing these and I was catching an hour or two here and there and also doing another project inbetween, so in all, they probably took me about 10 hours total.

I chose View C (shorts and short sleeves) as it is supposed to be nearly summer, even if the weather is having issues remembering this at the moment.  I decided to add piping and bought some lovely satin rainbow piping from eBay.  I wasn't sure if I had enough to pipe everything that was piped on the illustration, so I decided to do the cuffs on the shorts and sleeves and the pocket cuff.  With hindsight, I certainly had enough to do the collar, and I could have done short pockets, which were not on the illustration but could have looked quite cool.  Also with hindsight, I think I should have done the topstitching in rainbow  too, rather than black, but we live and learn don't we.

I followed the instructions very carefully and found that construction was pretty straight forward.  I even pressed everything as I went . . . I was definitely taking my time over this.

Anyway, other than a blip with the button hole setting on my machine (human error), all went smoothly, and I finished the shirt with some buttons I found in Boyes.  I wanted to continue the rainbow theme and have each button a different colour, but that meant I had to have different shapes too, but I think it goes well with the overall theme of the PJs.

I will definitely be making these again . . .  I'm thinking flannel plaid for myself . . . .  The other niece doesn't want PJs this year . . . she wants a playsuit (of course!).  I have tried to talk her out of this, but to no avail, so I had best get on with that now. . . .

Happy Crafting!


Sunday, 13 March 2016

Doe A Deer . . .

 . . . a female deer . . . ray, a drop of golden suuuun . . .

Soooo, I have been singing Sound of Music songs ever since I went to see it at Leeds Grand with my fellow musicals geek, Lauren, back in July, and I think this is what might have finally decided to make me take the plunge and download the Deer & Doe Plantain Tee, which the blogosphere raves about.  I think Amanda at Bimble and Pimble may have originally brought the pattern to my attention, but now I see it everywhere.

So, I downloaded the pattern, and ........................ then did nothing with it.  I did, however, do some other projects, some of which can be found here here and here, and which also have some explanation as to why it has taken me so long to get started on this one.

Anyway, I was looking for a basic t-shirt pattern from which I could make some black lace stretch tops for Panto.  These were for the 'ratlings', the minions of the baddie, Queen Ratifa, and were to be played by some of the older girls in the chorus.  The director had requested something a bit glamorous, rather than a bog-standard rat costume, and I wanted to echo Ratifa's costume, which was red and black and contained lots of lace (and can be found here).

So, to start with the costume I decided to make some giant tulle skirts, which used up 200 metres of tulle.  I alternated black and red tulle and added sequins.  Simple enough, if a little time consuming.

Then, I ordered some black stretch lace from White Tree Fabrics and remembered that I had downloaded the plantain tee pattern.  Perhaps this pattern is not designed to be made up in stretch lace the first time you try it out, but I never did do things the easy way - baptism of fire is my usual method when it comes to sewing.

Anyway, I was not to worry - this is one of the easiest patterns I have sewn and I love it!

I cut the smallest size out, and although they are a teeny bit big, they looked good on (over some black vest tops of course!).  I was using my mum's machine at this point so I used a small zig zag stitch for the seams and then cut the seams down to as close to the stitching as I dare, as I didn't want giant seams showing through the lace.

I may have found this pattern so easy as, due to the lace, none of the edges needed finishing - no neck band of hemming the sleeves and bottom of the to.

This has to be one of my fave costumes, if one of the simplest, and I topped it off with some glitter mouse ears I found on ebay!

Anyway, the eldest niece (who seems to be turning into a goth) has requested a version of this top and I think I might make one for myself, and then some more versions in other colours and fabrics . . . 

In the meantime . . .

Happy Crafting!


Saturday, 5 March 2016

Four Skirts and a Kim

Soooo, today I would like to share with you some costumes from le Panto that seem to have been a bit more appreciated that some of the others I have shared with you so far:

I enjoyed making these ones as my friend's daughter had the part of Alice, and I enjoy creating for those I know.  It also made it easier for me to discuss ideas and what she would like with her as I see her and her mum on a fairly regular basis.

Anyway, first up and the first outfit she wore - this was for the London and shop scenes.  This was one of the first ones I designed and I think I put it on Instagram.  I designed it in red, but after speaking with Katie/Alice, her favourite colour is turquoise so we decided to go for that.

I toyed with the idea of making a proper dirndl, but quickly dismissed that idea - she was on stage so no-one was going to know any different and I really didn't have the mental strength for such escapades.  So this outfit is actually in two parts - the dress part is the By Hand London Kim Dress with the full skirt and square neck.  It was made with some lovely gingham from White Tree Fabrics, which was an absolute dream to cut and sew and when it was hanging on the hanger in my sewing studio I decided that I would quite like to sew one up for myself, but would that be just plain weird?  I decided not and I think I am going to make myself one in purple gingham.  I am also thinking of making some of these to sell in my HolzMolzPolz shop.

I think I can now make the Kim dress in my sleep so the sewing together was pretty straight forward.  In fact, I had my favourite Kim dress on when I was sewing this up and when I went to show Katie the dress.

Anyway, I digress as usual.  Instead of lining this Kim, as per the patter instructions, I decided to bind the edges of the armscyces and the neckline with some self-bias.  I then changed by mind and bought bias.  Et voila!  One dress.

Now, to make this look like my design, a blouse was needed.  Katie had specifically said when I showed her my design that she liked the puffy sleeves, so I had to find a pattern with puffy sleeves.  I decided to go down the peasant top route, as I thought that this could also be used for another scene and therefore save Katie too much changing of outfits.  I finally found McCalls M7163 and chose View A in a white polycotton from Boyes.  Apparently my predecessor sourced almost everything from Boyes - I think I  only sourced about half, but I do love a good online shopping spree.

Anyway, I thought this would be a quick and simple make, and I was half right.  It would have been very simple if I could follow instructions about sewing the neck casing, but I got there in the end.  My anticipated two hours sewing (the pattern said 'easy') turned into nearly two days sewing, but never mind.  I was flooded in at the time (not a road or train track in or out of Ilkley was open) so it didn't matter too much. 

To finish off the outfit for this scene I used the left over white cotton to make an apron, which I made up as I went along.  I might, might, do a tutorial for this  *if I get chance).  It was ridiculously simple.

So, moving on . . .

The next in El Panto was a boat scene, so I knew that I would be going along the lines of nautical red, white and blue for everyone in this scene - preferably a bit of all for each person.  I decided that Katie/Alice could use the same white blouse worn for the previous scene and have a blue circle skirt with a red sash tied around the middle.

To make the circle skirt I used some blue and white polka dot polycotton from my stash.  I think I originally bought this to make some curtains for the shed at our old house, but as I never did and now we don't have a shed it was surplus to requirements.  I was going to use the By Hand London circle skirt app to draft my own pattern, but then remembered that my lovely Ruby dress has a circle skirt (I was wearing a Ruby at the time) so I just stole the skirt pieces from that pattern. 

I decided against a waistband and instead used some blue bias binding from Le Statsh on the waist.  I was going to bind the hem, but then remembered just quite how long hems are on circle skirts and just turned it up instead.

I am definitely going to make up some more of these to sell in the HolzMolzPolz shop, as I also made two of these for one half of one of the comedy acts - Jilly, who was played by my friend, Maz.  Maz's skirts were made in some multi-coloured gingham I found in Boyes and a plain red polycotton.  I gave Maz my red pettiskirt to wear under her skirts and she loved swishing about in it,  I would like to point out that at this point that Maz is the mother of Katie.

Anyway, I digress as usual . . . The sash for Katie was a simple make - I didn't even do it - I got one of my helpers to do this (I did need 27 of the things so I wasn't doing them all myself).  These are made from some red satin cut into 150 x 30cm lengths then folded lengthways and sewn along all edges, leaving a gap for turning.  A good press et voila!  I had loads of red satin in my stash, but still had to go buy some more too - a total of 9 metres was needed for these sashes . . .

Moving onto the finale . . . I actually ended up buying Katie's dress for the finale due to the time constraints, so I won't go into detail on that, but I did make Maz's skirt, using McCalls M6706 View E, which I love so much I didn't claim the pennies back for it so I could keep the pattern and then I bought the pattern in my size too.

Anyway, the theme for the finale was (in the end) black and gold, so I used some of the black taffeta I had used for Dick's finale costume, along with some of the gold taffeta I had bought to make waistcoats for the finale, but didn't turn up on time.  The skirt was a fairly straight forward make, if a little time consuming because of all those stripes to sew, and then I didn't read the instructions right and ended up making the waistband waaaaaaay too long, but I decided to make this a design feature, so the skirt now has a bow at the side!

The only other alteration I made to this is to use an invisible rather than a lapped zip because a) that is what I had available to me at the time and b) I prefer invisible zips (I know I am strange in that respect).

So now I come to a problem - I forgot to take a photo of this skirt, and I loved it so much.  I will make more versions and share them . . .

Anyway, I think I have a couple more costumes to share with you, so I will do that soon, and then I might even share some none-panto makes (only might).

Happy Crafting!

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