Monday, 28 February 2011

the kindness of strangers

Since I've been sewing I have met some really lovely people. On the community I have had so much support and encouragement. I have been given patterns, magazines and now, fabric. A lovely lady called Kate who lives in Boston gave me a bag of textiles via freecycle:

Alot of scraps, about 2 metres of lovely pink fleece and some quite large pieces that I have plans for:

Other news: I am on page 14 of the Colette Crepe dress pattern for the second time in 3 weeks - I have made good progress on the bodice and hope to finish the bodice tomorrow night.

I am doing the sweetheart neckline this time. 

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Steptoe and daughter

Hubby is currently in the kitchen working on this:

And I was very confused that it wasn't working because it did work (after a fashion) when I was given it, via a relative. Then I realised that that was in about 1985 and I haven't used it since... It has been in attics and our garage at Heart's Cottage for about 25 years altogether.

Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

It paint over till it's over

Having learnt that aprons are super easy to make, I am intending to make some for Mothers' Day on 3rd April, customised of course by Miss Mia. I have cut apron front out of cheap fabric and we are using fabric paint to print onto them. Here is the progress so far:

We did make some potato prints but Mia decided she had her own printing tools ready made. My mother, the ma-in-law and Aunty Peg will be getting these when they are finished.

I am also preparing for next week's sewweekly challenge. We already know what it is because we are making a Colette pattern and we were told early so we could buy a pattern if necessary. As I already have the Crepe dress pattern I am going for that one again, this time using some curtains I got at a jumble sale last year for £1, plus I will make a sash in a contrast colour (a valance sheet that I bought for £1 last weekend in a charity shop). Here are my fabrics:

I'm getting in the mood for spring!

If I don't have time to make the dress, there is an alternative, Colette has a pattern on their website that is free to download:

Hope I don't end up modelling my own pair of these!

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Run for the hills, run for your lives

My skirt is finished, plus an apron. This is what I was going for (more or less!):

So I copied an idea from sewweekly a few weeks ago, instructions here

and an apron from Amy Carol's book, Bend the Rules Sewing, and got this:

For the skirt I used 2.5 metres of cotton, about £15, plus a zip (39p in sale). For the apron I used an old single sheet I was given so that cost nothing!

I even made a mini outfit for Mia. We went to take the pictures this morning in the local playpark, the glamour of it, I expect the people who live around must have had a good laugh....

And this is us in the kitchen afterwards:

Tee hee!

Sunday, 20 February 2011

I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date

OK, so Valentine's day came and went with no dress. Wedsnesday I just felt downhearted and tired and didn't do a sewing thing. So no dress. Then, on Thursday, my final evening to finish the dress if I wanted to keep up with the sewweekly challenge, I had a message from a lovely lady who I've only met on my sewing forum  encouraging me. And so on Thursday evening at about 10pm I finished the dress! Here it is:

I wore the dress out last night for a meal at the Supreme Inn, which was delicious and well presented and not at all what I expected from a hotel next to an Esso garage. I had halibut on tarragon mash with prawn veloute, followed by Tia Maria espresso creme brulee. See what I mean? Alan Partridge was nowhere in sight, aha!

Anyway, I took the opportunity to accessorise, I used my cream silk hair rose as a broch, it was my stepfather's mother's, it's handmade and dates from about 1930. I took along my black handbag, from late 1930s, an ebay snag. Et volia:

I was extremely happy and smug to be going out in one of my creations.

So thank you Judy for your kind words. Just at the right time.

This week at we are sewing items inspired by films that have won, or been nominated for, Best Costume Design at the Oscars.

I'm going for a 1965 nominee, here's a clue:

Monday, 14 February 2011

Say it with flowers

My Valentine's dress is a work in progress, the romance of it - tonight I have been to a Parish Council meeting and sewn for an hour. Better spend some quality (street) time with hubbie eating the Valentine's spoils. Until the dress is ready, here's a peek at the pattern:

The pictures I like.... hope I can mange something close. Fingers crossed.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Love is in the air

I'm trying to do the sewweekly challenge for the third week in the row. This week: St Valentine's day, make something red, or pink, or with flowers.... so I am going for a Colette pattern wrap dress. I don't have any red material so I am going for flowers, I have spent 3 hours tonight making a copy of the pattern and cutting out material, it would have been longer but I had a helper: the mother-in-law is here for the weekend ....

That's the reverse of the material... I needed 5 metres, yes five! I got this for £4 a metre so I am happy, it's quite 50s looking, I am going for a sexy fifties Italian look, I will probably get an Italian granny in her fifties look, check back later in the week to see!

Thursday, 10 February 2011

She scrubs up well

As Gordon Ramsay might say: blouse, done!

Here it is:

It has taken far too long but it fits and does up and everything. And I have no shame again, no make-up, I had to wait for Carl to get home at 9pm to take the photo.... dead chuffed though. Bring on the next challenge sewweekly!

Sunday, 6 February 2011

In it for the win

So I got the email for this week's challenge - and we are encouraged to try new things so here I go!

1. My first pattern from Marjorie's stash
2. My first FBA
3. My first Muslin
4. My first blouse

I have chosen this pattern (note the words "quick n easy" on the bottom left):

I am doing view A as it has sleeves (it's still cold here!) and no collar so looks the easiest....

As it is for someone with a 32 inch bust and mine is 42 inches (!), I have had to size up the pattern. This is called grading a pattern apparently and I downloaded instructions from However after 2 minutes of impatient puzzlement I threw the instructions away and just used this "fashion ruler" (which used to belong to Marjorie's sister, another generous gift) to add 20mm all the way around the pattern.

I then used page 80 of my 1963 McCall's Sewing Book to find out how to do an FBA (Full Bust Adjustment).

So, as it was all a bit made up and slapdash I thought I'd better try to do a muslin, which I hadn't heard of until a couple of weeks ago but is basically making your garment with cheap material to see if it will fit before you go to the expense and effort of doing it properly. Obviously you don't waste time finishing it (or I didn't!), it's just a rough trial thing.

Look away now if you don't want to be scarred by seeing me with no make up in my pj bottoms wearing a blouse I just made out of old curtain lining and that is held together with a pin where the zip will go. You have been warned.

(Extra warning for the fainthearted: there is a shot which includes my pyjamaed bottom.)

I have no shame, I ventured downstairs for my hubbie to take these photos and we have a friend here as well, luckily a good friend, who has come over to watch the Super Bowl (Superbowl?). They are going to stay up until daft o'clock as it doesn't even start (kick off, whatever) until midnight or something. Weird.

Anyway, for this week's sewweekly challenge we are busting our stashes so I have found some material I had waiting for an opportunity like this, wish me luck ....

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Keep calm and carry on

What a day! Lovely Marjorie from freecycle emailed me to ask if I would like some old patterns "I found in my shed". She says she no longer sews and would be glad if Icould use them. I  am completely overwhelmed, this is what she has given me:

Anyway, not sure that's all of them (I am doing this on a tiny weeny netbook, plus after a glass of vino, not really sure what day it is) but you get the idea. Plus she gave me a dressmaker's ruler that had been her sister's.

The only problem now is I have no idea where to start! The patterns all date between 1952 (Coronation year, Marjorie says she went on holiday that year and had a dress from the earliest pattern for it.) and 1971, decimalisation. Actually looking at the styles most look 50s and 60s.

Plus alot of them would make clothes too small for me so need adjustment.... but the patterns are fab-u-lous!

I love it! x

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

I made a skirt!

I have actually finished something so I can hold my head high again. I have semi-abandoned the ghastly skirt I have been working on. I think my sewing machine hated it - threads kept breaking, skipping stiches etc etc even after I cleaned it and messed with the tension. The vibes were all wrong.

So I thought I'd try the challenge instead - Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery - make something inspired by something on sale at the moment. So I went straight to the Monsoon website and looked at the skirts, I always love them. I found this:
Which was £65. Hysterical laughter.

Anyway, I have made this:

I liked the two rows of ribbon down the Monsoon skirt and I was going to do the same but I didn't have enough of the ribbon. And I had to change the placement anyway to avoid the birds.

I'm really pleased with it though.

Pattern: Modern I'm afraid, Amy Butler's Barcelona (but I needed something easy because I really really had to finish something or stop pretending I could sew, even a little)
Material: a vintage 50s furnishing fabric, £15ish, ebay
Lining: the lining off one of a set of 6 curtains I bought at a jumble sale for £1, so about 10p worth
Ribbon: about 50p in the John Lewis sale
Zip: 10p in a Red Cross charity shop (vintage too!)

Total: less than £16. Time taken: 2.5 hours

I am thrilled!

And here is a terrible photo of me wearing it:

I would have asked Carl to take the photo but he is watching a gangster thing on a "new" channel called "Atlantic". I went down to show him the skirt and he did pause it to look so I should be pleased!