Sunday, 20 April 2014

Sew Dolly Clackett - not bad for a duvet cover!

   When you start reading reading sewing blogs you can't help coming across Roisin's blog  Colourful fun and inspirational, she makes amazing beautiful dresses and produces at least one a week! These are some of my favourites.

She is getting married very soon and as a homage, an invitation has gone out in blog land to make a dress inspired by her. The details are here sew Dolly Clackett. This is my contribution. The fabric is from a duvet cover bought from a charity shop, lined with cotton muslin from a vintage fair. The bodice is Simplicity 2444, the skirt is from Christine Haynes Emery pattern, but with box pleats instead of gathers. Roisin has used these patterns  over and over again. 

I was good and made two muslins of the bodice but the neckline still gapes and could do with a little taken out. 

I tried a lapped zipper for the first time  using my zipper foot following some internet instructions. Not impressed with my efforts really, compared to my normal method, which is to baste the seam, baste the zip to it and sew on the right side with the regular sewing foot - I know that won't make sense, but I know what I mean! 
The problem with the lapped zipper is that sewing the second side, I had to guess the one centimetre distance rather than lining it up with the measuring guide on my sewing machine. I will have to do some more investigation into lapped zip insertion, to perfect it. 

I do like the dress, and making it made me think about pattern matching and lapped zips, always good to learn new things.  Many, many congratulations to Roisin and Nick. I hope they have a happy, long creative life together ! 

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Spotty Coco number 1!

 I have sewn two Cocos and have plans for more. I bought my fabric from Ditto Fabrics – I love wearing it, but it has lost a lot of the original colour, even being washed at 30 degrees, the navy has faded to more of a denim colour.  I suppose it gives a more nautical summer holiday feel. (wait until you see it with my new Brigitte scarf). 

I like sewing because you usually end up with a unique item – but not this time. I was really surprised to see one of my favourite bloggers Scruffy Badger talking about her most recent Coco!

I love that my inspiration for what I wear comes from real people.  I enjoy being excited by sewalongs, new patterns and lovely fabric. I love the fact that the blogs I follow are written by people who create beautiful wearable clothes, and share their experiences in the form of helpful tutorials.This is all a far cry from expensive fashion magazines, clothes that are designed for skinny 16 year olds or boring mass market clothes. So hurrah for making your own clothes and being creative. Even if I make the occasional item which isn't unique! 

Some stash busting

Despite signing up to the Facebook group for stash busting, I have done more buying than sewing in the first four months of the year.  But I have sewn a few items and here is some proof.  This is fabric I bought about a year ago.  It was lovely to sew with, soft and drapey but not slippery. I really like the pattern.

This is my third version of making this pattern, the only change was to lower the darts by an inch. I made view D, and cut out the collar from E, but decided to be collar free,  so the style was simple but showed off the fabric and the sleeves.  It reminds me a bit of the Colette Taffy blouse. 

And look the back too! 

Monday, 24 March 2014

Dina day!

I have been lucky enough to attend at least one day (some times three!) every year for the last four years, Dina Wakley's  art journalling courses held at Art from the heart.  This year was no exception.  I went to the 'colour wow' day. We learnt about analogous, complimentary and loads of other colour schemes. We got to play with her new vibrant gorgeous paints that aren't out until April and new stamps.  As always, Dina showed us a new technique, reduction stencilling, which  you can find on her demos from CHA 2014 on utube . A day with Dina is a delight, she is funny, encouraging and helps you push your own limitations and believe you are an artist. She was the one who introduced me to using acrylic paints, which I love.

Dina's example pages
I am really pleased with my attempts, Dina breaks everything down to easy to follow steps, that produce a result.

And a page from the lovely Sue with a message to us all! Sorry it's a bit blurred. It reads " You are enough, be kind to yourself".

If you can't get to a Dina day of your own -  her  on line courses are also excellent.  I will do the "Facing the facts" soon, to help me draw better faces.  So hope you can enjoy your own Dina time!

Saturday, 22 March 2014


I have been sewing and working and not blogging lately. I was stuck on downloading photos from my Ipad. I finally googled it and worked out how to do it! Yeay!

I am off to a Dina day tomorrow, which will rejuvenate my art journalling mojo, and hopefully I will take some pictures.

 I had a lovely day at Art from the Heart in February with Michelle who is ace at teaching and inspiring people to create beautiful mixed media art.  The focus of the day was to create a large canvas 16 inches by 24 inches. These are some photos of the process.

We covered the canvas with tissue and some music paper, then splodged some yellow paint on.

Blended the yellows 

Edged with brown. 

Added contrasting paint and some stamping. 

We cut out heart shapes from music paper. Michelle showed us how to create a shaded effect on the hearts. We added some stencilling and a quote.  Its now hanging in my kitchen, I love seeing it every day. I have already got a commission!  One for family, which I hope to do over the Easter holidays.

In sewing news I have been making a couple of versions of  the Coco pattern which have been really successful. I am working on my duvet dress, so some sewing blogging soon!

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

1970s teacher?

I had bought the Merchant and Mills factory dress pattern as I thought it would make  a dress with a relaxed casual feel. The pattern is made of really good quality tissue, and the dress sewed up beautifully. You just needed to be careful to grade the collar as there are a lot of layers of fabric. I am proud of my three pockets, as I haven't sewn any since I was at school!  But, I had hoped to feel that 1930's vibe, wearing this,  instead I feel like a 1970's teacher and not in a good way.  The  stretch cord fabric is too heavy for the pattern.  So much so, that him indoors thought I was sewing curtains when I was hand sewing the hem. Anyway some photos from my impatient photographer then lets move on.

I feel a bit disappointed that out of the last three items I have sewn only one of them will get worn. Also while we are on the subject - camel/beige is not a good colour for me.  These  projects demonstrate those sad facts - buying fabric online is hit and miss, and even if you buy fabric you shouldn't  sew it  unless you really love it! - give it to charidee instead!

There is a  silver lining! This navy tee shirt is my own modification of my ballet dress pattern - Go me!

I  printed off the free Deer and Doe plantain pattern, but the test square was the wrong size, and I couldn't be bothered to work out how to sort it. I know the ballet dress fits well, so I used a roll of lining paper and drew around the bodice, and extended it using the skirt part as a guide line.  Seeing this photo - I have also made up my mind to make another ballet tee - I do have enough for a dress, but will wear it more often as a teeshirt. I love wearing dresses but the jeans and a teeshirt combo is so comfy! Not sure about the rolling eyes though!

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Swirly Squiggle top

The last thing I made in January was this top, using the same pattern as my colour block tee shirt  New Look 6225,   the fabric was also used by the elegant Claire, one of the Minerva Craft Bloggers to make a shirt dress

I had hoped that I would produce something I could wear for work, but I think it more of a casual top as I'm not sure my colleagues could concentrate given all the swirliness!  I apologise for the pictures, but I can't get the hang of posing at all, and my photographer has a limited attention span! Comments - I think it is a good pattern for the fabric, I like the raglan sleeves, but  the neckline is a bit wide, which feels a bit chilly at the moment. I think I prefer the teeshirt version.

Well, I 'm going to get on with some more sewing now. Looking forward to the Great British Sewing Bee on tuesday!