Sunday, 19 February 2017

Tartan Toddlers

Soooo, today I would like  to share with you a customer request I got before Christmas, which I enjoyed making, and it seems my customer really liked:

The order was for 2 red tartan Pippa dresses and a matching waistcoat.

They are made from red polyviscose tartan and some gold buttons from Duttons for Buttons in Ilkley (which has quite possibly the most miserable sales assistants I have ever seen in a haberdashery, but I keep going back for the large (expensive) button selection), with some red satin lining and some gold ribbon to finish.

I paid some attention to pattern matching on the waistcoat, but other than that there really isn't much to say about construction of these that I haven't said in previous posts here and here, but I just really liked the finished result and the feedback I got from my customer was lovely:

"Absolutely beautiful dresses and waistcoat. The attention to detail was amazing: lined, gorgeous gold trim and beautiful buttons. I ordered these for a special Christmas train day and we received many compliments all day about how lovely the girls looked. Thank you so much!"

It really made my day to read that feedback. 

I think the only thing I did that was new/different was the slider for the waistcoat.  I couldn't find gold ones, which had been my preferred, so had to get silver ones, which did not go with the rest of the waistcoat AT ALL.  The solution - paint it red with nail varnish!  I think it worked a treat.  I did a couple of coats to make sure it looked its best, but definitely a tip for future coordination.

Sorry for the short post - we are now in the middle of Panto and my time is no longer my own - studying hasn't been done for weeks, sewing for myself is something I can't remember and I'm pretty sure I'm about to have  another nervous breakdown as a result of exhaustion, but it will all be over soon, and I can't wait!

I'll be back with some more makes then.

Happy Crafting!


Saturday, 11 February 2017

Halloween Hack

Soooo, as easy as the eldest niece's Halloween costume was, as I could basically do as I wished, the youngest niece's request was a lot more exact . . . 

When she said she wanted to be a ghost, I thought aha!  I can do this!  Easy peasy lemon squeezy.  I'll just cut two eye holes in a sheet and voila, we will have a ghost.

Oh, how naive I was . . .

One must remember that one's youngest niece, although generally quiet, is very exacting when she wants something.  In this case, it was a white lace one shoulder ghost dress.

clever auntie remembered to
attach some ribbon for hanging up

OooooooooooKay I said, as I couldn't really convince her on the sheet idea, and set about looking for a kids one shoulder dress pattern that would fit her.  She generally wears an age 12-13 and it is really very extremely difficult to find dresses in this age range, or a one-shoulder one anyway.  

I hunted for weeks.  In the end, I decided to go with an adult pattern and do an SBA.  I still struggled to find a pattern!!!  In the end, I decided to hack New Look 6262 which I had in my stash.  It already had a v-neck, so I figured it wouldn't be too difficult to just cut one shoulder off and have a one shoulder dress.  To do this, I traced the pattern piece in  the correct size and then flipped it over and traced again so that I had one complete bodice piece that would not need cutting on the fold as the original pattern had.  I then drew a line from the neck side of the shoulder seam to the top of the armscye on the other side of the bodice.  I did this for the front and back bodice pieces.

I used some pleated white lace I got on sale from White Tree Fabrics, and I underlined this with white polycotton from my stash.  I then treated as one layer.

Rather than add any shaping in the form of darts to the dress, I made an elastic channel at the waist seam by turning the seam up and stitching and inserted some elastic.  This gave the shape I was looking for.  I also inserted an invisible zip in one side seam, just in case the elastic didn't provide enough give to get it on and off.

As I had underlined the fabric, I didn't want to add a further lining or draft a facing, so instead I used some white satin bias  binding along the next line and armholes to hide the raw edges.

And that was my white lace one shouldered ghost dress finished.

The only alteration I had to make after trying on was to take it up a bit at the shoulder, which I did by hand while Evie had it on.  I figures that way it would be easy to take back down should she wish to wear it in future years.

She seemed to like it at least.

I'm now dreading next Halloween's order...

Happy Crafting!


the weido decided to
add horns for some reason . . . .
She also had a broken foot at this
 point, the boot is evident here

Saturday, 4 February 2017

The Socks of Doom

Soooo, by the time I finished these socks, I thought I had been knitting these forever.  In fact, I had been knitting them since I finished up my flamingo cushion way back in May.   I finally got them finished about 10 days before Christmas.

With one knitting project under my belt, I was feeling brave and foolhardy so decided that I would start knitting socks for one of my family members for xmas.  I wandered along to Eme in Ilkley one Saturday and purchased myself some double-pointed needles and some yarn.  I chose some Kintpro Symphonie needles, mostly because they were pretty, and some West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4-ply in Peacock.  The lovely lady at Eme gave me a couple of Kind Cole basic socks patterns for free and I set off all ready to start becoming sock-maker extraordinaire . . . .

About twenty attempts at starting socks later, I have five finished socks . . .  

My first 12 or so attempts were to make ones using the needles and yarn purchased from Eme.  I had decided that I was making socks for my gran, as she ALWAYS buys socks for me and the rest of the grandchildren for Christmas, so it was about time someone returned the favour.  So, using one the patterns I had been given, I cast on a sock for a medium lady.  I wasn't doing too bad really with this one.  I made a couple of mistakes, but soldiered on, as after I had made about five mistakes, I decided that this was going to be my test sock.  

I got really confused at the heel part and the turning of the heel and the gusset and then at the end of the toe, especially where it said to turn the sock inside out.  Surely that would then mean that I would then have the wrong side of the stocking stitch showing?!?!  Was it a mistake with the pattern I wondered?  Turned out that no, it is not a mistake with the pattern, I simple knit inside out when it comes to socks.  As I was teaching myself this particular technique, no one told me that you are supposed to knit on the outside of your needles - I knit on the inside of my needles, thereby knitting my sock inside out.  Now that I know this, I'm not changing my technique - it works for me and I just have to remember this little fact when I am knitting socks and it tells me to turn it inside out.

Anyway, I finished the sock, with about a gazillion holes in it (only my third project remember!).  I decided then that I didn't like the colour - it would be perfect for a boy sock, but not for my grandma.  So, I unravelled everything that I had done and started again.  This time, I decided that this particular colourway of sock would be for Pappa John, my step-dad,  to keep him warm when he is fishing.  I therefore cast on the largest version and carefully followed the pattern.  

Let me tell you - knitting men's socks takes FOREVER.  But I carefully noted down how many rows I had done for each section as I went along so I could make sure that the second sock was identical.  I think  this sock might have taken me about a month, if not longer to knit before I was ready to cast on the second sock.  I believe I started it three times, as I would go wrong a few rows in and not know how to correct it, but not far enough down the sock to be gung ho and ignore the mistake.

In the meantime, I had ordered some new, brighter, wool for grandma's socks (Rum Paradise Cocktails West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4-ply I believe). and some smaller double pointed needles, as the pattern called for 3mm needles and I had 3.5mm.  This wasn't bothering me for Pappa John's socks.  I just thought that they would knit up bigger, which was fine by me - the bigger the better.  All the better to keep him warm with.

The second sock I think took me about two weeks to knit up - I only had to restart a couple of  times and I was on a roll.  I was so proud when I had finished, until I looked at my first sock and realised that the colours at the toe were off.  I had been so careful to start my sock at exactly the same place in the wool colour pattern as the first one so that they would be identical.  I was soooo confused.  I checked that the heel was the same, that the rib section was the same, then I held it up against the first sock - this second one was shorter!!!!!!  Oh my days!  I had read the wrong line about the foot length - I had read the number I had written down for the heel!!!!!  Bah!  Cursing myself and paddying, I then calmed down and tried the sock on - it was perfect Holly size.  So I now had one Pappa John size sock and one Holly-size knee-length sock.

I must have subconsciously known that I was going to do this . . . I would normally have had to despair that I would never have enough wool left to make another Pappa John sock.  However, I had already ordered an extra ball of Peacock wool just in case I didn't have quite enough wool to finish the second sock.  I always over order because it is better to have too much than not enough.  So, this meant that I could cast on another sock, this time being VERY careful about following the correct number of rows for the correct sections.  I was so happy when I finished this one and everything matched up . . . but I forgot to take photos, so I only have photo of the one sock I put on instagram.

So now I had three socks, but none for my grandma, and time was running out.  So, I decided to go for a shorter sock from a different pattern.  Not much to say about these really, but I did enjoy knitting them more and they did come  together quicker, probably because these were small ladies' socks with a very short leg, unlike Pappa John's socks, plus they are bright and cheery.

I was happy with these when I had finished and remembered to take a photo or two:

And Grandma was wearing them when I saw her on boxing day, so they can't be all that bad.

I think that is about it.  I still haven't done my second Holly sock, but I do think I am slightly addicted to sock knitting, so I will get to it eventually.  Not bad for someone who hardly ever wears socks.  I shall just have to keep knitting them for everyone else. . . . La Famila . . . you have been warned!

Happy Crafting!


Saturday, 28 January 2017

Vampire Skirt

Soooo, I am slowing getting there with the makes of 2016.  Only a few left to go.  I might have to start posting two a week, rather than the one.  

Let's proceed with the sharing with this fab skirt I made for the eldest niece for halloween.  

I love this skirt and wish I had made it for myself (obvs about ten sizes bigger as she is a skinny wretch).  I love the bow at the front and the pleat detailing at the back is lovely.

As a bit of a goth, I knew that she would want black no matter what she asked for, but when we were discussing her costume (vampire) she did say that she would venture to a dark shade of another colour.  I saw this Cynthia Rowley pattern on instagram I think and sent it to the niece to see if she approved for her vampire skirt.  She did, so I set about making it for her.

beautiful bow - I wasn't supposed to
sew the top of the bow into the
waistband, but I think it looks
better on this particular version of
the skirt as the fabric is quite
Other than buying the new pattern, everything else in this skirt is from my stash, and I'm sure I will get use out of the pattern, so that should be money well spent I think.  I think Cynthia Rowley patterns are the perfect style for the eldest niece.  I have another trouser pattern for her that I plan to make up at some point.  Maybe when she's 18 the rate I get on with my plans (she's currently 11)

pretty pleats to the back and you can
see my brilliant zip insertion :-)
The wine-coloured under layer is a bit of taffeta I had left over from panto last year, and the lace, which is spider-web patterned, is some I bought to make capes for the nieces a couple of halloweens ago,  but which was never needed.

I quite enjoyed making this skirt, even if the cutting out stage did result in me knocking my phone off the table and smashing the screen to smithereens, resulting in an emergency trip for a new mobile.
how fab is this spider web lace??

I think I enjoyed it most because no seams needed finishing due to the non-fraying nature of the taffeta - I don't think I even hemmed it.  I do love a non-fraying fabric :-)

I effectively made two skirts - a tafetta one and a lace one.  For the bow and waistband, I basted the two layers together before sewing.  How the bow was formed did confuse me a little, but following the instructions carefully made it all clear and I had no trouble. 

It took me about one and a half hours to cut everything out and an afternoon to sew it up, so not too bad all in all.  The niece seemed to love it.  I think I will make her another, everyday one, in simple black, now, I just need to choose which shade of black she would prefer . . . .

Happy Crafting!


Saturday, 21 January 2017

Shifting Flowers

Sooo, the sharing of 2016 makes continues (totally out of order).

This is the first thing I made myself after my weight loss slowed down (I think).

This is New Look 6261 View D.  It came free with one of the many sewing magazines I buy.

I was desperate for some work clothes that didn't just hang off me (I still need more) but I think I had been putting off sewing because I wasn't feeling the having to redo all the adjustments on my tried and true patterns.  So, a new pattern it was.  My work uniform generally consists of simple shift dresses, but I am not one for boring black so a cool print was needed.

This fabric is cotton from Leeds Market.  I had originally gone promising myself that I wouldn't buy any blue, as my wardrobe is full of blue.  So, what did I do - buy blue of course.  I did also buy some red of this pattern, but that is still languishing in my stash waiting for me to be brave and make something not blue.  It may be waiting some time.

beee-autiful invisible
zip insertion if I do say
so myself
I lined the dress in white cotton.  I did originally line it in satin from my stash, but the satin did not like the double ended darts and frayed terribly on the first way, so I ripped that out and started the lining again.

That was the only real issue with this dress.  Other than the standard FBA for me (many inches), the only other change I made was to add a kick pleat to the back as it was a simple vent in the pattern and I prefer kick pleats - no reason, I just do.  Other than that, I sewed up a straight size 16.

And that is all I have to say on it.  Simple dress, suits my shape, lovely comments from colleagues.  I plan to make more.  I may use the red fabric in my stash to make view B, although I do love a v-neck.

More 2016 makes coming up soon.

Happy Crafting!


Saturday, 14 January 2017


Sooo, hello there.  

I continue on my mission to blog the things I made in 2016 but never blogged due to life/work/studying just getting in the way.  I feel that my ability to write was all used up writing assignments to finally get myself qualified as a legal executive.  That continues, but I seem to have found some inspiration to write blog posts, and I've set some of these up to post while I am on with panto costumes, which I'm not allowed to blog about/share on facebook/instagram until after panto finishes at the end of February #spoilsports. Hopefully I won't be so sick of them by then that I will still want to write some blog posts for y'all in March.  Maybes. . . . maybes not.

Anyway, this is the present I made my mother (actual) for Christmas.  I'm totally blogging out of order for which I apologise, but I write as I am inspired at the moment.

the view from the back
My mum likes the cape silhouette when it comes to her coats.  I think it is because you can retreat inside them snail/crab-like when it is too cold, so when I saw The Camden on the Colette Seamwork mag thingy well over a year ago, I knew that I was going to make it for my mum eventually.  This is the pattern which made me sign up to Seamwork, and while I don't like all the patterns, I have downloaded a few and I love that I can now use my credits for non-Seamwork Colette patterns, which I would like to take full advantage of this year (Moneta - I am coming for you!).

So, I downloaded this pattern and even got it printed by the local printshop before Christmas 2015, but then just ran out of time/lost my sewjo.

arm slits with a
peek of lining
Anyway, I resolved to make it for my mother for Christmas 2016 and started looking for some appropriate (affordable) fabrics in probably about March.  I found loads of lovely designer wools but they were all a bit out of my price range at the time.  Eventually I found some wool blend on the Minerva Crafts website.  I thought it was a turquoise-teal colour (as my mum's colour, like mine, is blue), but when it arrived it was more green (screen resolution is to blame I think!).  Anyway, I decided that I could still work with it and decided that a brown lining would look fabulous.   When I took the wool out of its plastic packaging to cut it, I discovered that I had been looking a the wrong side and the right side had a lovely tweedy/corduroy texture, which made the finished product look so much better. 

I finally got around to start making it at the beginning of December - I still needed lining and buttons though.  I went in search of both.  I couldn't quite find the shade of brown lining that I wanted - I was being super fussy - but as I was giving up hope, I found some fab animal print in Boyes of all places.  I suspected that mother would hate it but I loved it so decided to take the risk.

I love this lining, and in the end I
think it actually went quite well
I honestly never found any buttons I truly loved to go with it.  I considered toggles for a while, but again couldn't find the right shade, so I went with some wooden buttons, figuring I could change them if I ever found some I liked.  It was better to have it done that waiting forever for some buttons was my reasoning.

I remember that this was supposed to be a three-hour pattern when it was first released.  Colette have now revised this claim to be a make in a day.  It definitely took me longer than a day but I did it in stages.

There were more pieces than I thought, but all pieces seemed to be well thought out and the general construction was fairly simple.  The instructions were clear and well thought out and as my first attempt at making a coat of any form, I don't think I did too bad.  I did have to google how to sew bar tacks, but that is because I was seriously doubting myself about all the simple things that day - confidence and mental health wasn't too brilliant before xmas if I'm honest with you - too much stress I think.

There is a lot of pressing to so, and I tried to make sure that I did this well.  I used a LOT of steam and protected by main fabric by using a scrap of the wool fabric as a pressing cloth.  I wanted this to be as perfect as possible so that I received as little constructive criticism as possible.

the buttons I used in the
end.  I'm still not sure
that I like them and I
still make change them.
You can see the lovely
texture of the wool in
this photo
Here are my timings:

Tracing pattern - 45 mins
Cutting Fabric - 45 mins
Sewing Lining - 1 hour 35 mins
Sewing Main - 2 hour 15 mins
Handsewing - 1 hour 40 mins
Buttonholes - 1 hour 5 mins
TOTAL - 8 hours 5 mins

So maybe this was a day project, but I can't sew for eight hours straight and it is definitely not a three hour project.  I still enjoyed making it though and have considered a further version for another family member.

A point to note - I did wreck my scissors cutting the wool.  They are now as blunt as a blunt thing and no good for cutting anything.  Luckily I have spares and my lovely husband bought me some Ernest Wright scissors for Christmas, which I am too scared to use in case I wreck them.

Anyway, other than saying the buttons were tight through the holes, the constructive criticism has been minimal on this one.  

I might even make her something else for next Christmas - I have an idea, but I probably need to start it now.

Happy Crafting!


Saturday, 7 January 2017

My Little Quality Street

Soooo, back in November it was my youngest niece's 9th birthday.  This is my little mini me (looks like me, lives in own world like me) and I can't believe that she is nine already!  I feel so old.

You can just about see the matching
sparkly shoes I bought her to match
and the hair comb 

Anyway, when I asked her what she wanted for her birthday, I don't think there was any doubt that it would be something I made (as is tradition) and she asked for a pink dress.  She loves pink and she loves dresses, so I probably could have guessed this, but as last year's request was an elephant costume, you never really can tell with that girl!

Anyway, I had plan, and that plan involved pink taffeta, so off to eBay I went to order some.  I do get a lot of fabric from eBay when my usual online shops have not come up trumps for me, which they hadn't in this instance.

Although Evie is only nine, she is nearly as tall as me so I know that I can make her adult-sized clothes.  In fact, I had done this for her halloween costume, which I will share eventually.  So I was not going to go with her request for a dress, but instead I wanted to make her the Simple Sew Sophia skirt and Top set, which I had attempted for myself a while ago, but it didn't quite work out due to it just not being my style (bewbs being the issue) but I thought it would be perfect for Evie.  The plan was a pink skirt and a gold (possibly sequin) top.

Anyway, when my fabric arrived, it wasn't pink but purple!  Ahhhhhhhh.  Not a problem though, I could find a use for the purple and order some more pink from somewhere.  I told Evie that her fabric had arrived the wrong colour but would order some more, but she said that she was happy with purple because I had already made her a pink dress in the summer.

This suited me, and then I thought purple and gold would be too Christmassy, so decided to use some silver sequin fabric I had in my stash for the top part.  It wasn't until I had sewed everything together that I realised I had turned my niece into a Quality Street . . . but the best quality street an auntie could ask for (puke here!)
I remembered to add a little bias
binding tab in to show which was
the front and back of the top

Anyway, construction should have been fairly straight forward, but of course I like to make things difficult for myself don't I.  I decided to line the skirt so it didn't snag on Evie's tights (a pet hate of mine) and then I thought, as I was lining it, why didn't I add some some dress net too to make the skirt stand out.  Anyway, it wasn't too bad, just a lot of layers to deal with on my small sewing desk.  I also remembered to add pockets this time!  Can't beat pockets.
lined and netted.  I used by rolled hem
foot to do the hem on the lining
So proud that I finally mastered this -
it has taken a few years!

The top was also fairly straight forward.  Much easier than my last attempt, as I made no attempt whatsoever to line it at all.  I figured Evie could wear a vest top underneath if  the sequins bothered her.  Instead, I bound the edges with some satin bias binding.  I didn't have any silver in my stash and as I am impatient, I couldn't be bothered to wait for the shops to open to go buy some, so I looked to see what else I had, and would you know it, I had some purple satin binding in my stash.  The only decision I had to make was whether to have the binding on show or fold it in and just have it on the inside.  A few consultations with the hubby and sisters later we decided to have the binding on show.

And the outfit was done!

I think she liked it.  I gave her it a day early so she could wear it for her birthday party.

Anyway,  have already decided what I am making her for next year (or this year now), so she doesn't get a choice this year . . . mwahahahahahahaha (evil auntie!), although it does have some pink on it.

Happy Crafting!

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