Friday, 29 April 2011

Crescent Skirt Muslin

Happy Royal Wedding Day everyone! Did you watch it? Initially I didn't think that i was all that bothered about it to be honest, but i have found myself getting caught up in all the build up. And i do love a good wedding! My parents have gone away for the weekend to France, apparently deliberately to escape the Royal Wedding, but I'm not sure they will be successful as there seems to be pretty much global coverage from the sounds of it! Will and Kate seem a nice, well matched couple, and i wish them well. I thought Kate looked absolutely stunning, and I'm loving all the lace on her dress.

So, rather than take advantage of the fact that anyone called Katherine/Catherine (or William) gets in free to London Zoo this weekend (and i was tempted!!), i decided to use this bonus day off we have to catch up on some sewing!

This morning i finished my Crescent Skirt muslin!! I am very excited as this is the very first wearable item i have ever made. It came together pretty easily - the gathers were a little fiddly but they seem to look ok. I sewed around the seams of each fabric peice prior to sewing it together, as suggested by Tasia, and this flags up both my problems with sewing in straight lines, and also matching up fabric peices! Hopefully this will all get better with practice...and i think there was an improvement even while i was making the skirt, which can only be a good thing.

I'm pretty pleased with the result, as my muslin fits well and does not really require many changes. However, I am planning to make the following adjustments:

1) Add about 1/2 an inch to the waistband. I have quite a high natural waist, and prefer to wear skirts a little lower, so i am going to add a tiny bit to the waist to allow for this.

2) Lengthen skirt. I am planning to add about an inch to the isn't terribly short at the moment, but i think to wear it for work or without tights i would be happier if it was just a little longer.

This morning i washed the fabric for my real skirt - exciting! However it did make me realise i have bought enough to make about 3 skirts...opps! Better to be safe than sorry though....! I bought some thin cotton for the lining, but then i noticed that Tasia suggested something a bit "slippery" so that it doesn't ride up - does anyone have any thoughts on this? Do you think i could get away with the cotton? And if not, what fabric is best? Suggestions are well much appreciated! I can't wait to get started with my real skirt :)

I hope you are all enjoying the Bank Holiday weekend (those of you who are lucky enough to have one!). Right, I'm off to go and sit in a beer garden somewhere... (as long as the rain holds off!)

K xxx

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Beads Glorious Beads

Before Easter me and my friend Sirisha (one of the people responsible for my rediscovered love of all things crafty) went to a beading workshop at The Bead Shop in Nottingham. If you live in the East Midlands (or even if you don't, as they do a mail order service!) and have even a passing interest in beads and jewellery making, i would highly recommend a visit. The workshop was was a whole day job, and a lovely lady called Rachel taught us how to make a wide variety of items including earrings, bracelets and necklaces. See the selection below...all this was made in one day!

I had so much fun, it was really good to learn a new skill and we came away with lots of lovely jewellery and the skills to make more at home, which was really satisfying. They do all sorts of workshops so i think I'll definitely be going back for more.

I hope you all had a great Easter and enjoyed the sunshine (in the UK at least!) while it lasted! Now to get caught up with the Crescent Skirt Sew-Along....

K xx

Sunday, 17 April 2011

I Am All That!

Two posts in one weekend - look at that! The reason for this is that the lovely Marie over at A Sewing Odyssey has been kind enough to give me the I Am All That blog award! This is my very first blog award so i am very excited :) Marie is one of my few "real life" sewing friends, and it was she who introduced me to the wonderful world of blogging. So i would definitely recommend that you go and have a look at her blog and all the lovely makes, in particular her vintage aprons.

As a recipient of this award i need to answer five questions and pass the award on to five fellow bloggers, so here we go!

1. What size shoe do you wear? If you wear a size 7, can I borrow your shoes?
Well, you could, but they might be a bit bit for 5'8" i have size-appropriate size 8 feet. I often wish i had smaller feet, as a lot of shoes do not come in my size, and vintage shoes are always tiny as people seem to have had very small feet way back when....but if i had smaller feet i would probably fall over so it's all good :) 
2. 30s or 60s?
Hmmm. This is actually a tricky one for me. Recently, as i have learnt more about styles from the past century, i have come to realise that my heart lies with the 50s, with their full skirts and fitted bodices...

Beautiful! Also, since i have a slightly "fuller" figure but a relatively small waist, i think this is the style that suits my shape best.
However....this was not one of the options! I digress. So, 30s or 60s? Hmmm. As a child i was always of the opinion that i should have been born in the 60s, as i am a bit of a hippie at heart. And i do love some of the fashions, for example the mini dress, and then of course there are the Mad Men ladies...

So although i do love the structure of the 30s dresses, i think perhaps i would have to go with 60s...but defiantly the more shapely dresses as model nicely by the Mad Men ladies above, rather than the shapeless shift types. Those prints are just divine!
3. Have you ever kissed someone you shouldn't have?
Erm, yes i think so, way back when....not for a while though, i am much more sensible (or perhaps boring??) these days!
4. Have you ever been poisoned? Was it by the girlfriend of the person you kissed? That is awesomely "Knot's Landing".
Ok, so i confess i had to look up Knot's Landing. I don't think i have ever been poisoned by anyone else, although i may have given myself mild food poisoning on the odd occasion (particularly impressive as i tend not to eat meat) but this is much less exciting!
5. Who's on your "Celebrity Free Pass" list (top 5)?
Hmmmmm. Well, this changes a lot (with some constants!). I suppose currently it would be these five lovely gentlemen:

Johnny Depp

Paul Rudd

Hugh Laurie (Post Blackadder...definitely improving with age!)

Ed Westwick

Paul Bettany

So, there we go! Now for the five bloggers i would like to pass this award onto. Since i read a lot of the same blogs as Marie, i have deliberately chosen to hand this award on to different bloggers. The five i have chosen are made up of blogs i have followed for a while as well as those i have only recently discovered but they have one thing in common, they are all awesome and you should go have a read! In no particular order, i would like to pass the I Am All That award on to:
- Andrea at Invisible Flower
- Katie at What Katie Found
- Jane at Handmade Jane
I look forward to seeing your answers :)
K xx

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Be Prepared?

So recently i have found myself in a somewhat frustrating pattern. Despite having been a girl guide in my younger days, i find myself completely unprepared every time i start a new project. For example, i previously wrote about running out of muslin fabric. This is just one example. Yesterday i began to cut out for my Reversible Bucket Bag, only to find out that i had bought the wrong type of interfacing, failed to buy any fusible fleece, and also bought the wrong type of bias tape maker (i bought a 25mm one as i forgot to take the details so just blindly chose the biggest they had, but not, i need 50mm. Opps). This is such a catalogue of errors, all resulting from me being completely unprepared. I put it down to being eager to begin projects, but it is so incredibly frustrating to find out that i don't have everything i need, and my time would be much better spent checking what i actually need before i go shopping! Lesson learnt perhaps. It's like starting to make a cake without having any flour (something that has not happened to me....yet!).

The beginnings of my bucket bag
Another make i have found myself hopelessly unprepared for is the start of the Crescent Skirt Sew-Along which kicks off on Monday. I thought i was doing OK, as i bought most of the bits and bobs from Leicester market last weekend. However, i completely forgot one of the most important items: Muslin fabric! Opps. I also didn't buy any lining fabric. Sadly the lack of muslin fabric will hamper me starting the project so I'll have to hunt some down this weekend.

Whilst on the subject of muslins and linings, i was wondering, what fabrics does everyone use for these purposes? So far i have been using bedsheets for my muslins which seem to work out OK for me, however i am rapidly running out of sheets! I would love a source of cheap cotton to use for muslins, but i haven't found anything yet. Also, when it comes to linings, what are the best options? I was thinking of a light cotton fabric, but is there such this as special lining material, or does it not matter? Please enlighten me!

I hope you have been more organised with your sewing projects this week than i have!

K xx

Monday, 11 April 2011

Stocking up on Sewing Goodies!

This weekend i travelled southwards to the town where i grew up (and where my parents still live) for a Wedding and a Baby Shower (the same persons were not involved in both events, i would just like to add!). I had a great time catching up with people i hadn't seen for a while, and it all made me feel very growed up! I took today off (woop!) for travelling back to Leicester (official reason) and with the plan to head to Leicester market and stock up on some goodies for future makes! I was also very happy to note that this means no more five day working weeks for me until the middle of May, due to Easter and of course THE wedding (cheers Will and Kate!!).

Sooo, onto my goodies! Firstly i finally purchased my fabric for the Crescent Skirt Sew-Along, which kicks off next week! I had originally planned to use this fabric:

However, due to my terrible organisational skills i realised late last week that i did not have enough fabric. So i went back to my favourite fabric stall in Leicester market, only to find that the last cut had been sold on Saturday! Boo. After much umming and ahhing (i'm indecisive me!) i settled on this lovely cotton:

This time i am taking no chances so i bought 2 and a half metres fabric...more than enough!! I am really looking forward to the start of the sewalong. I was also VERY excited to discover that i am a size 12 according to this pattern....woop woop!!

From the same stall i also purchased another cotton which is destined to be a bag i am planning to make for myself. It is from Lisa Lam's Bag Making Bible which i can highly recommend, not just for the fabulous patterns but also the clear and easy to follow instructions for many basic techniques. Truly a bible methinks :) I am planning to make the "Reversible Bucket Bag" with these two fabrics:

I just love them together! I also bought several balls of wool at a very reasonable price...

These two are baby wools for future cardigans for potential baby girls....if i ever finish my first attempt! I was told this week that a friend of mine managed to finish a baby cardigan AND hat in under 3 months just by doing a maximum of 1 hour of knitting a night....considering i have been struggling on with mine since Christmas i was very envious, therefore my new endeavour is to complete at least 1 hour of knitting a day in an attempt to make progress with my cardigan. The babies i am knitting for are due in May and July, so i do have to get a wiggle on! I did take my cardigan-in-progress home to show my mum this weekend. She is a very speedy knitter and a fountain of knowledge. However, not impressed by the sight that i had dropped a stitch (i was planning to sew the hole shut and hope nobody would notice) and pretty much horrified by my slapdash solution of adding another stitch on the end to make up to numbers and hoping for the best (opps!) she proceeded to undo half my sleeve and correct my error. So no progress made overall!

I also bought some gorgeous pink wool, which is destined for a blanket. My mum recently unearthed a lovely babies blanket she knitted for my cousin many moons ago, but for some reason never got used. She suggested that we could add some squared around the edge, making it into a grown-up sized blanket for me. I love the idea of making with my mum, and this weekend we dug through my mum's wool stash and found a lovely dark green. I chose the pink to go with it, so the blanket will be green, pink and white. When i go home for Easter we will begin to knit or crochet squares (not sure which yet) to add to it. Here is the pink wool and a sample of the green...this is a shocking picture which does not do the colours justice, take my word they are gorgeous!

So lots of projects planned for the future! What do you think of my fabric choices? Is anyone else participating in the Crescent Skirt Sewalong? I can't wait to see what fabrics you have chosen!

K xx

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Sewing Calamities

Yesterday Laura in a Tangle asked whether anyone else has times when everything seems to go wrong. My answer to this is yes, oh yes! Although i feel i have had a relatively productive week sewing-wise, it has also been one of "those" weeks, yesterday in particular.

I started off with the aim to make myself a little bag to put my sewing bits and bobs in. I am notoriously untidy in a lot of ways, and my sewing room is a complete tip, meaning i can never find anything. Therefore i am endeavouring to be more organised! I decided to make another little zip up bag, which i have made before as a gift for a friend.  Since this was the second time i had made this pattern, i foolishly expected it to be simple. I altered the pattern slightly to make it large enough to accommodate my fabric scissors, chose some lovely fabric from my stash, and began to cut out. The problems started when i attempted to iron on the interfacing. For some reason it just would not lie flat and kept bunching up. I have never had this problem before, and have no idea what caused it. Eventually i managed to get it pretty much unwrinkled, but still not perfect.

Next i began sewing the bag together, and managed to completely fail to get the zip in straight. I then broke a needle on my sewing machine trying to sew over the plasticy bit at the end of the zip (opps!). Although i was cross at the time, in a strange way i kind of feel that breaking my first needle is almost a rite of passage. And i figured out how to change the needle without resorting to the manual, which i was secretly very proud of myself for!

Ultimately my little bag turned out ok, wonky zips aside. I think that if it had been a gift i would have unpicked the zip stitching and done it again, but i must admit that since it was for myself i just couldn't be bothered! The finished product is pretty enough....(even if the zip will possibly always offend me slightly!!)

I really like the fabric i used here...yet again i have used the beautiful "sewing themed" lining, which you can just about see peeping out. I love it!

This week i also began my first foray into dressmaking by cutting out my Butterick B5209 pattern. However, i was slightly overwhelmed by the task! I cannot believe how thin the pattern paper is. I must admit to taking a bit of a slap-dash approach....i have a big sheet i am using for the muslin, and i sort of looked at it and assumed it would be enough. After wrestling with the cutting instructions for a while (there are just too many options for laying out!) i decided to just get on with it. However about halfway through i realised that i did not have enough fabric. Opps. I am currently contemplating sewing some of the remaining fabric together to make enough, since it's only the muslin....has anyone ever done this before? Do you reckon i can get away with it??

In other news my New Look 6557 pattern has also arrived....exciting stuff! I hope you have all been having a more successful week than me :)

K x

Friday, 1 April 2011

Long Time No...Type?

So it's been a while since i posted on here, terrible i know. My only excuse is that i have been ridiculously busy...however, so far this weekend is looking relatively open (fingers crossed it stays this way!) so hopefully lots of time for sewing etc :)

Although i have been busy, my crafting has not been entirely neglected. Recently i have been working on knitting a baby cardigan. This is by far my most ambitious knitted project ever, having only completed a scarf before. So far progress is slow...since casting on in January, i have finished the back and one sleeve, and started another, so at the moment it looks a bit like this....

From the start this make has been a catalogue of errors....i have a couple of dropped stitches (hopefully retrievable), i used the wrong sized needles initially so the rib is too loose, and for some reason one of my sleeves is wider than the other, despite having the same number of stitches....i must have altered the tension somehow. I think perhaps this may be one to keep hold of....i did think that is could use this as a practice and knit another "real thing", but since my friends have babies due in May and July, timing is getting tight....!

In other news, i ordered my Crescent Skirt pattern from the wonderful so i am now fully committed to the sewalong! Now just to choose some fabric. I am thinking maybe a print. I am so excited for my first sewalong! Watch this space to see how i get on...!

I hope your crafting weeks have been much more productive than mine....

K x


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