Saturday, 31 December 2016

You Can Never Have Too Many Unicorns in Your Wardrobe

Soooo, I have been quite absent recently from le blog, and for this I apologise.  Work and studying and general life just took over.  I haven't been sewing quite as much as I would like, and I haven't been sewing much for myself at all, but I did manage to make this fabulous dress a couple of months ago:

it looks loads better on that it does on the hanger
but I have been struggling to find decent daylight to get
some 'wearing' pics and the light in my house is less
than fantastic

This is my much loved Unicorn Dress, with pockets, and I wear it loads.  

There isn't really much to say about it, as it was a pretty simple make.

and the back
I attempted pattern
matching but didn't
put too much effort into it
This most Holly-style dress is made using the Simple Sew English Tea Dress, which I have had forever and have had many plans to make, but it took me a while.  I have a few lengths of fabric bought to make this dress, but it was the unicorns that finally made me do it.

Next time I think I will
add a small facing so they
are not so obvious
The fabric is from Riley Blake and I had to have it because UNICORNS (you should see the unicorn collection of presents I got for my birthday and Christmas last week) and I fully lined the dress with some polycotton from my stash.  I originally was going to do a hot pink lining, but I didn't have enough and couldn't be bothered to go buy any more so the turqouisey-blue it was.  

I also drafted some pockets from the lining fabric because POCKETS!  I love a dress with pockets.  Next time I will make my pockets bigger as I have to make my hands into fists to fit in the pockets, but we live and learn.

I did my usual FBA, but otherwise this is straight out of the packet and fits lovely.  I could maybe lower the waist a smidgen, but its not bothering me.  Construction was pretty straight forward too.  I glanced at the instructions, but I think I have made enough simple dresses now to not really need to.
Christmas day version - I love tartan

I loved this dress so much and the fit is so flattering that I used the pattern to make a Christmas version.  This time from red tartan.  I didn't quite have enough fabric for sleeves so my Christmas day dress is a sleeveless version.   

you can just about see my fab hearts
binding on this pic.  I used this for
the neckline, armholes and hem.
Now that I have the pattern altered for my fit it is a quick make.  I didn't line this, but finished the neckline and armsyces with some binding from my stash.  I also put a metal zip from my stash in this one.  Its not the neatest zip insertion, but I really do struggle with exposed zips and I don't mind as I love this dress so much.  In fact, everything from this dress is from my stash.  I am therefore considering that it cost me nothing to make.  

and the exposed metal zip at the back
I think it total this dress took me three evenings, so about 7-8 hours to make from cutting out to finishing.  There were a couple of nay sayers at work that doubted my ability to get this finished in time for Christmas day when I was cutting it out on the Tuesday before, but I showed them HA!  Never underestimate a determined dressmaker.  

Tartan matching was never going
to happen perfectly on this one with
the darts, but I don't think I did too
bad a job of it, and I found once
it was made and I was wearing it
that I didn't care.
So that's all I really have to say about this one.  I will no doubt be making more.  I think some simple light summer dresses are in order . . .

I have a few more bits to blog, mostly not for me, and I can't remember what order I made them in so they will be blogged out of order.

Now, I am on with panto costumes, so nothing I can share will be made for a couple of months, but fingers crossed I will be back sewing around March time (knitting continues when I get a seat to myself on the train), but I will be sharing some of my 2016 makes with you in the meantime.  My in laws bought me some lovely grey and pink tartan for my birthday so I can't wait to make something from that, and I really want to make a dent in my stash this year.

Happy Crafting!


Wednesday, 24 August 2016


Soooo . . . . Happy Bake Off Day!  If like me, you have been looking forward to Bake Off since the end of Sewing Bee . . . I'm not much of a baker myself, but I do like food, and I still think that I am going to adopt Mary Berry as my Grandma.  My current Grandma does look like her so I don't think I would notice the change too much, I'd maybe just get more baked goods . . . 

Anyway, today I am sharing with you my first Sew Over It project - the Rosie Dress.  I bought the pattern the day it was released, as I was on a bit of a downer that day and needed cheering up.  I also bought some Simple Sew patterns that day, but I have yet to sew up any of these.  

It was the skirt part of the Rosie pattern that actually drew me in, and I had just the fabric for it at home - a beautiful roses print cotton, so I downloaded the pattern straight away.  I usually wait for the paper patterns where they are available, especially when I can only print on A4 and then have to stick, but I really needed cheering up.  I then spent my Friday evening educating my husband in the fine art of sellotaping PDF patterns together.  I think he is suitably put off, but at least I now know that he has this skill should I require him to help in the future.

Let me just say - it is a BIG pattern sheet once printed off and stuck together - it took up pretty much the whole of my living room floor.

So, by the time I had stuck it all together, it was quite late, so I put it away for the evening and then picked it up again Saturday morning, tracing off my pattern pieces.  I decided that even though I was going to make the dress, I might as well trace off all my pattern pieces while I was at it, as I had some other fabric I could probably use at a later date for a dress.  After a quick discussing with the husband, I went for view B with the sweetheart neckline and the wider straps.  I measured at a size 16, with an FBA required (nothing new there), so that is the size I traced off.  I was a size 14 on the finished garment measurements, but I wanted a bit of ease room to allow me to eat, so I went with the 16 and did a two inch FBA.  Despite the fact that I always need to do an FBA, I still always doubt myself and look at the instructions.  I find the By Hand London Kim Dress Sew Along the best one for princess seamed patterns.

nearly perfect zip
insertion, and accidental
pattern matching
Anyway, I was glad that I had traced off all my pattern pieces, because after cutting out my skirt pieces I realised I had more than enough left to cut out the bodice pieces, so that is what I did.  I then cut all bodice pieces out again in white cotton to line the dress.  I also lined the skirt, but I waiting until I had pleated, gathered and sewn this before cutting out those pieces, using the sewn piece as a guide to reduce bulk at the waist seam.

So next up was the sewing, which was fairly straight forward.  I have sewn a fair few princess seam dresses up, as I like the fit and style of them, so all was pretty straight forward.  The newish thing to me was the adding of boning, but the instructions are very clear so this was much of a doddle.  I even managed to get a nearly perfect invisible zip insertion (I'm getting better).

Upon trying on before hemming, and this was about two weeks after the original cutting out as I worked on the dress half an hour here and there when I had chance, the dress seemed massive on me.  I had lost more weight in between cutting out and getting to the trying on stage.  I know I probably shouldn't get upset about losing weight, but it isn't something I am particularly trying to do, and it is causing me some sewing problems.  Hardly any of my clothes fit me now and my alter pile is growing, although I think some are beyond the altering stage.  I have a dress on today that fit me lovely about 3-4 weeks ago and is now too big.  Should I be worried?

Anyway, to fix the problem, as I didn't want to cut everything out again, I added a dart to the side of the bust and took in the seams near the waist a little.  The dress is still too big, but copeable now, and if I lose much more weight I will take off the bodice and make into a skirt, as per my original plan.  Skirts are much easier to alter than full dresses.

Despite my sizing problems, I really really like this dress, and I have more planned for my next holiday, which won't be until December 2017, but that gives me plenty of time non?  I'm thinking lots of tropical prints and sewing up view A with the little collar.
I had to share these shoes. . .
they are just so pretty :-)

Looking back at these photos I realise that:

a)  I have a very freckly back, which I never really realised before;
b)  I could probably do with shortening the bodice a little, but I will revisit that once I have the right size.

I had enough fabric left over to make myself a little matching clutch bag, which I lined with white satin and added a diamante button to.  I wore this to a christening a couple of weeks ago with some gorgeous new Ruby Shoo shoes.  Quite possibly my favourite brand as they are tres my style and slightly wider in the fitting, which I definitely need.

Anyway, off to prepare for Bake-Off now.  I've been up to lots of sewing, so will share some more projects soon.

Happy Crafting!


Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Lessons in Sewing

Sooooo,  today I would like to share with you a dress that has taught me a couple of lessons.

This is my second version of McCalls 6696, the first version of which can be found here.

This is made from a viscose print which I bought from Boyes last year, and then it sat in my stash box for a while while I figured out what I wanted to do with it.  Then, a couple of weeks before my holiday in December, when I was suffering insomnia, I decided one night that I would like to make it into a shirt dress for my holidays.  Sooo, I cut it out.  I wanted short sleeves, but I didn't have quite enough fabric so decided to do without.  In hindsight, I should have cut the narrow skirt and then I would have had the fabric for the sleeves, but we live and learn don't we.

Anyway, after cutting it out, I then ran out of time to actually sew the dress before my holidays, and as it was winter and cold when we got back, it stayed in my to sew pile for quite some time . . . . 

I did pick it up now and again.  I think in about March I interfaced the relevant areas, and then I got distracted again and it sat in the to sew pile again for a while.  I finally picked it up again a couple of weeks ago, after I had finished the girls' dresses (which can be found here and here), it being the first time in aaaaages  I had had the time to sew something for myself.

However, in the meantime (since cutting out to sewing) I had lost some weight - five inches around my waist, two off my basoomas and two off my hips - and obviously, the dress was now humongous.  

So, Lesson 1 - don't leave it so long between cutting and sewing, and if you do don't lose weight in that time - it causes problems.  I took the dress in at the armsyces but couldn't be bothered to do the same anywhere else, so it is quite loose fitting, but that is probably good on warm days.

And Lesson 2 - don't cut when you're tired.  You end up with wonky pattern pieces and no fabric left to re-cut.  In this instance I had to make the best of a bad job, and my waistband is certainly wonky.  Other seams may be too but I've decided not to look too closely.

Lesson 3 - bright ideas are not usually a good idea.  On this occasion, I decided that I had learned from my previous make of this dress and wasn't too happy with the large amount of hand sewing involved.  So, I decided this time to top stitch where hand sewing would usually have been involved and call it a design feature.  This did not work out as planned - My topstitching, as careful and neat as I was being, did not always catch the other side (this could be due to Lesson 2), so I still ended up hand stitch to secure these areas.

Lesson 4 - refer to previous blog posts.  Once again, I had issues with the collar band on this one.  I was putting this down to my dodgy cutting (See Lesson 2), but then I re-read my last post and realised I had the same problem then.  Must remember this for next time.

Not so much a lesson but worth a note is that when I was sewing the fabric, I noticed little tiny patches of pink.  Barely noticeable to someone who does not notice these things generally, but I figured I might have left the fabric next to some pink fabric for too long and the colour had leaked somehow.  Anyway, after a wash or too, when I was ironing the dress (and it does need ironing, much to my annoyance), I noticed more pink.  I have therefore concluded that the navy on the fabric has leaked a little and although looks blue, is made from a pinkish pigment (not unheard of).  To be fair, not much I could have done about this, as I pre-wash all my fabric, and it will just be one of those things, but worth considering on this type of fabric maybe?

Positives about this dress:
  1. despite all the negatives above, I still love it
  2. have you seen the colour match on those buttons . . . . inspired, particularly as I didn't have the fabric with me when I purchased the buttons.  I also seem to have twice the number of buttons I'm sure I paid for, so I have loads left they may be going towards a button down blouse.  I'm thinking plain white with the teal buttons for a pop of colour.  I think I have found the pattern I want to use, but all suggestions (and for the fabric too) greatly appreciated.
  3. it is a nice coolish dress on warm days.  I should maybe have put weights in the hem though, it has been so windy round here of late.
  4. tropical print . . . 'nuff said
  5. I may actually pay attention to the lessons outlined in this post now.
Looking back at these photos, I now realise that I could take a bit of length off the bodice.  It does seem to sit a lot lower than my waist, but it doesn't feel like that when I wear it.  Hmmm....

Anyway, I am now on with the new Sew Over It Rosie dress for a Christening and a Wedding I have coming up this month.  It is nearly finished, so I will (hopefully) share that with you next week.  I am also on with some knitting projects which I will share with you when finished, but they seem to take me loads more time that sewing does.

In the meantime . . . .

Happy Crafting!


Sunday, 31 July 2016

Princess Rose

Sooo, after making the ultimate prom dress for the eldest nieceling, I didn't want the youngest nieceling (age 8) feeling left out, so I decided to make her a dress too.  My idea was simple - make her a little sun dress for her holidays, as they were going abroad for the first time ever.  I also decided to make a dress I knew which I thought would make it easier and quicker.  I also thought I would have loads of time to get it done, and I was being uber prepared.

I chose Simplicity 1382, which I have in my stash in the half sizes, which are perfect for Evie, as she is not the dainty little 8-year old that all her friends are - she is nearly as tall as me and built like me, bless her, not that that ever stops her doing anything - she is the most active child I know.  She never stops moving.  She should be a lat like her sister, but the curse of looking like me is that even though she dances pretty much everywhere and is on the trampoline at every opportunity, she has to wear age 12 clothes.  I think its because she appears to have an allergy to walking anywhere - I used to be the same though.

Anyway, in my uber preparedness, I traced out the correct size.  I have made this dress for her before for Halloween (see here) but she has grown since then.  I then went and bought the fabric, which I had seen in Boyes ages ago and knew would be perfect for the nieceling as she is a girly girl and anything pink is fine with her.  Personally, I avoid pink really, but she luuuuurves it.  I'd even bought some sparkly heart buttons to go with it.

Then, I got on with Georgia's prom dress, which thanks to the 30 metres of organza than needed hemming with horsehair braid took me about a week longer than I thought it would, vesting cutting into my sewing time for Evie's dress, but I was determined to get it done.  So, once I had finished and delivered Georgia's dress, I started on Evie's straight away.  I remembered from last time that I didn't really like the facings for the bodice.  They just didn't seem right.  So I decided to fully line the bodice.  And then, in my infinite wisdomosity,  I decided if I was lining one bit, I might as well line the whole thing and decided to line the skirt too - well, it would sit better wouldn't it.  And then, my wisdomosity (or lack thereof) took over and I decided to add some puff to the skirt and put in a layer of netting.  Of course, I decided to do all this with only two and a half evenings of sewing available to me, as they were going on holiday on the Saturday so  I had to deliver on the Friday.

Luckily, I remembered that I really enjoyed making this dress, so it was no big deal to me to have to sit and sew really.

Construction was pretty straight forward - princess seams to the front with a waistband.  The back looks complicated, but really isn't.  It is sewn the same as any dress I would make for myself with a lining or all in one facing and then given a good press. 

I had to scratch my head a little to figure out the best way to put in the zip (which I am happy to say went in almost perfectly first time), but I figured it out in the end - zip first, then add netting and lining . . . and simples.

Then I delivered to the nieceling.  She didn't seem too bothered about it at first, but she wanted to know why I had arrived without her uncle Philip (my husband), and then when he did arrive, she was only bothered about him.  People think that she is ours because she looks so much like me and barely leaves his side . . . . I have to assure the people that I am not responsible for her.  I also put it down to the fact that she was excited for her holidays, and hungry as takeaway was taking forever to arrive.

Anyway, when I got home, I got a text from the sister with some photos of her in it, and apparently Evie thinks that she is now a princess as there is only one of that dress in the whole wide world.  And she is right, she will always be a princess, just as I am a princess, or now that the nieces are here, Queen Auntie Holly Fabulous, The Most Awesome (I gave myself a small promotion).

So there you go . . . This is now known as the Princess Evie dress.  I wonder if she'll want some more in different colours.  Or, just different pinks.

Anyway, I can now, finally, get on with some sewing for me!  Starting with some alterations and repairs.

Happy Crafting!


Sunday, 24 July 2016

Disney Descendants Prom

Soooo, as promised, this is the second prom dress I made this year, and this one is for my niece, who is 11.  I know, right, what 11 year old has a prom?!?!  When I told people I was making a prom dress for my niece, they all assumed that she was 16 or older, which I am offended by - do I look old enough to have a 16 year old niece?!?!  They're not to know that it is totally possible because my sister is 7 years older than me.  I am offended!!!!

Anywho, when I found out the eldest nieceling was having a prom, I assumed her tom-boy self would insist on wearing a suit, but when we were watching Disney's Descendants (it's a Disney Channel movie and I highly recommend it) one day, she decided that she would quite like a dress like the one Evie (daughter of the evil Queen from Snow White) wears for the coronation ceremony, which looks like this:

I tried to convince the nieceling that she wanted the purple one, but she wanted to the blue one.
The other nieceling might want the purple one.

After I got over my shock, we decided that this would be an awesome prom dress, and she agreed, providing she could wear it with some Converse.  The fact that she wanted to wear a) a dress and b) something not black astounded me and her mother so much that we agreed straight away.

twinkly organza
So, the hunt for the pattern began, and I finally came across McCalls M7124, which was nearly perfect, so I ordered that and then waited.  There was no point starting too early as she is currently wont to go through growth spurts on a weekly basis.  I did order the fabric though, which was some twinkle organza and crepe back satin from White Tree Fabrics, together with some horsehair braid from Minerva - 30 metres of the stuff.

Anyway, when measuring the nieceling, she confirmed that she did not want a full-length dress, but a knee-length version.  Not a problem my mouth said . . . . aaarrrrgggghhhh mayday! mayday! my brain said.  How was I going to shorten the flounces?  I had no idea.  I spent two weeks thinking about this, getting out the pattern pieces, folding  them, unfolding them, googling for help (none forthcoming).  I needed to chop about 19 inches off the things.

I eventually had a eureka moment, but I didn't write it down, so I couldn't now tell you exactly how I did it, but I shortened at the lengthen/shorten line as much as I could and then took some more off from somewhere else.

I could get on with the cutting out then.  This took me nearly a full day.  I kept getting bored and going to do something else.  I had  to cut out 6 flounces on the fold and then another 12 individual ones.

Once all the cutting out was done, construction was actually fairly straightforward, if very time consuming.  I've added it up, and sewing together the flounces and then hemming the things with horsehair braid took me over 16 hours in total - that is over two whole work days!!  The dress section was really simple - a princess seamed bodice (which I make all the time for myself) and a panelled skirt, although you have to baste the flounces to the skirt before sewing the panels together, and the instructions how to do this are confusing and the line drawings misleading, but I figured out I'd done it wring straight away, so I only did one wrong.

I decided to add the yoke from View A as I didn't want to have Georgia worrying about pulling her dress up all night, and I used french seams in the end on the shoulders.  I used some satin bias binding from my stash on the neckline, but only had enough for that, so the arms are turned under and sewn.

It took me a day to sew up the rest after I had done the flounces and I was tres happy with it.  It is very heavy though . . .

I walked into Ilkers and bought a very sparkly box to deliver it to the nieceling, and she seemed to like it.  Here she is in it with her Converse, which I can confirm are sparkly:

The nieceling says she is never getting rid of it and will save it for her nieces. . . .

So, once I had finished this, I started on a quick sun dress for the other nieceling for her holidays, which I will share with you soon.

In the meantime . . . 

Happy Crafting!




Sunday, 10 July 2016

Lady In Red

Soooo, sorry for my absence recently, but this is the reason why, or one of them, anyway:

This is the prom dress I have made for my friend, Katie, who had her sixth form prom to attend on 1st July.

She asked me to make this back in January/February when we were rehearsing for Panto (she played principal girl) but the only specifications were red and lace.  Katie is not a frou frou girl so I envisaged a slinky Jessica Rabbit-style number and initial signs were promising for this.  However, when it came to sitting down and deciding on the dress, Katie went for an entirely different dress.   I would have loved to have made that Jessica Rabbit number though.

The final decision was a fit and flare style dress with an open back.

No, I didn't make the boyfriend to go with the dress.
I'm not that good . . . . yet!

We spent some time going through my patterns and magazines (of which I have a lot) to find a pattern and in the end adapted New Look 6143 from my stash (which I believe had now been reissued as 6392 now and I now teach as a Haberdasherholic class). 

I kept the front as per the pattern pieces but hacked the back.  I've hacked the back previously for my favourite flamingo dress, but this was another level of hacking.

To hack the back, I basically left nothing there.  I cut the back as per my flamingo hack and then drew a diagonal from the centre back top and bottom to the seam line at the sides.  This gave me my basic pattern pieces.  I added a bit of overlap at the centre back as I wasn't entirely sure what I was doing with them, then it was time to cut, cut sew.

The front bodice and skirt were lined with red satin, so those pattern pieces needed to be cut out, then everything needed to be cut out in red lace, which I ordered from White Tree Fabrics.  There was no scalloped edge on the lace I chose so I could just cut away without having to think about that and then think what to do with the hem next time.

I've made this dress a few times now, so sewing up the bodice front and skirt was fairly straight forward.  I underlined the bodice front pieces with the satin and treated them as one piece, I then decided to fully line it too.  I treated the skirt lace and satin pieces separately, then joined them for pleating at the top and sewing to the bodice.  I also added a single layer of red tulle to the skirt to make it stand out a little and a little swooshy . . . I love a good swooshy skirt . . . I also like the word swooshy . .  .

Not too much to say about this process really.

I chose to go with a button and loop fastening at the back in the end, as well as a short invisible zip in the skirt portion.  I'd just been teaching some of my sewing students how to do a thread loop so I must have been feeling inspired.  The buttons are some cute hearts I found on eBay.

So, when Katie can  to trying the dress on, we were struggling a bit with the bottom of the back portion.  She has a bit of a sway back and I just couldn't figure out how to do that alteration on a dress with an open back like this, so we decided to do away with the bottom bit of the back altogether.

To finish, I spent hours searching for some red lace trim - do you know how difficult it is to find the correct shade of red?!!!  I couldn't find any lace at all.  In the end, I found some ribbon with a scalloped edge in Samuel Taylors in Leeds, but they only had 2.5m.   I was at desperation point by now so took it and hoped for the best.  Luckily, I had just enough to do the hem, phew, but not enough to do the lace edges, so they were turned under and sewn down.

And that is it.  

and the open back . . .

I think Katie liked her dress - it did stress me loads - but sewing for other people always does and I should learn this and either say no or charge a fortune for stress money - I do neither.

Now, I'm on with another prom dress - a Disney Descendants inspired number for the eldest niece.  I'll share that with you once I've finished it and got some pics.  I hope that it is going to be (in the words of the niece) Epic!!!

Happy Crafting!


Monday, 30 May 2016

Ursula & Ulysses

Soooo, today I would like to share with you my second knitting project, well second and third.  Please meet Ursula and Ulysses Unicorn:

These were made using a Stylecraft Pattern, which I ordered from Deramores and can be found here.  The pattern calls for using Stylecraft Wondersoft DK but I had one project under my belt and I was feeling reckless, so I ordered James C Brett's Baby Twinkle instead (also a DK yarn) because it sparkled, and unicorns should always sparkle as far as I'm concerned.  I decided that I wanted to make a boy and a girl, so I ordered some blue and pink as well as the white.  I ordered two balls of white, as the pattern called for one ball for the small unicorn. and a ball each of the pink and blue.

The pattern calls for 3.5mm needles, which I think must be the ONLY size I don't have in my needle collection, most of which the mother-in-law bought me for my birthday, so cue the hunt for some needles.  I was heading to Guiseley on the day I discovered I didn't have any needles, to see the Pops and Step-Mother (Non Wicked), so thought it would simply be a case of calling into Hobbycraft.  Oh, how very very wrong.  They did not have any.  It didn't matter how many times I walked up and down that aisle, no 3.5mm needles appeared.  I bit of research on Google and I discovered that in old money needles 3.5mm didn't exist, which might explain why they are difficult to find now.  I did find some on the internet, which I could have ordered, but I was feeling impatient, so when I got to the Olds' house, I thought I might as well as the Step-Mother (Non-Wicked) if she had any, not really expecting her to, but thought it worth a try before I went up to see the mother-in-law.  

As it happens, the Step-Mother (Non-Wicked) has a mahoosive stash of knitting needles.  Problem was, they were all a jumble and needed pairing up.  This kept my Pops busy for a good hour or so.  We couldn't find any needles clearly labelled 3.5mm, but we did find some that weren't labelled at all, so Pops had a measuring tool thingy in the garage (of course he did) so we could measure up these and lo and behold, we found a pair!!!!  Woooo-sodding-Hooo!  I could start my unicorns . . . .  I still think I will treat myself to a pair of 3.5mm needles from the internet, because they were a pretty colour and I can give the Step-Mother (Non-Wicked) hers back.

I started knitting up the white bits first, following the order of the pattern.   I would like to say all went well, but I must have cast the first head on a good 7 times, if not more.  I never seemed to get further than about row 5 without realising that I had already gone wrong somewhere, and as I'm still not very good at fixing my mistakes after the event, it was easier to go back and start again,  Plus, I really wanted to get these correct as I didn't know how much of a problem a mistake would be in the finished product.

Anyway, once I had finally got past the first five rows, I was away, with few problems on teh head, body and legs.  I have now learned how to start a new colour, and am very confident with this now.  Just as a side note, it took me a few attempts at the second head too, so maybe it is just that piece of these unicorns!!!

Once these main pieces were knitted, I sewed the seams using matress stitch and stuffed the pieces.  I then sewed them together.  I couldn't quite understand the instructions for attaching the head to the body, so made it up in the end.  the pattern calls for the arms and legs with buttons, so I used some sparkly ones in my stash, which were left over from the Bertie set, which I blogged about here.

Once this was done, I needed to knit up the extra bits - the ears, horn, tail and mane.  No real problems to report with the ears, tail and horn, but the mane was another matter altogether.  The main is knitted using loop stitch.  I know the principles behind loop stitch, but I could not for the life of me manage to understand the instructions and do it in practice.  I tried numerous Youtube tutorials, but nothing was working.  In the end, this tutorial from Jessica Biscoe finally clicked.  I'm still not perfect at this, and in fact cut the blue mane short when I lost about 5 of my stitches, but I couldn't get them back on the needles and I couldn't bear to start again, so I left it as it was.  

To finish, I just needed to do the faces.  The pattern calls for grey yarn, which I used at first for the blue unicorn, but it sat on my table while I made the pink unicorn and I liked it less and less, so in the end, I ripped it out and used black embroidery thread instead, which I like much better.

That is really all I have to say on these unicorns.  I am tempted to get some yellow yarn and make a yellow Ulrich too, but I am currently on with some other projects, so we shall see.

In the meantime . . . .

Happy Crafting!


Sunday, 22 May 2016

The Things My Friends Get Me To Make

Sooooo, I love my friends and family, I really do, but sometimes I have to question not only their sanity in the things they ask me to make, but also my own in so readily agreeing to these odd requests.

Enter stage right Lucy, actual sister of my honourary sister, Katie, mother of Bertie and Pippa: "Holly, I'm going to a wedding in Barbados on Thursday and would really like to take some Mr & Mrs beach  towels as a present, but I can't find any, can you make me some?"  I am paraphrasing a bit (lot) but that is the gist of it.

Of course, like the idiot I am I agreed, as you do for friends, on the proviso that Lucy provide the towels as I didn't have time to go shopping for some.  It was only afterwards that I realised I didn't have a free night between then and Thursday (teaching Monday and Tuesday, dancing Wednesday).  Not a problem - I am queen of doing things better when I have the time pressure (hello, dissertation!).

Now, I was expecting pretty white towels and had planned to used some gorgeous grey roses fabric I had in my stash from this dress (available here and here too), which I still love and still wear, having put a new zip in it.  Elegant, sophisticated though.

However, when Lucy turned up, she had blue and white stripe beach towels with a red border - the only she could get apparently.  This totally threw me . . . for days.  I rooted through my stash - all two draws and giant box of it to find a suitable fabric and was coming up with nothing. Finally, on Wednesday before I went dancing I remembered that I had some red pindot fabric somewhere left over from the last rainbow dress I made and hunted for it.  It was in an entirely different drawer, where i also found a half-made dress that will no longer fit Pippa if I finish it, so I will have to find another two year old to give it to.

Anyway, my idea was there.  I would applique a Mrs & Mrs using this fabric.  I bonded teh fabric  to some bondaweb before going out and then finished it off when I got back in from dancing.  I was on a bit of a high as I had finally managed to master a step that had been getting my feet in tangles for the preceding few weeks, and I managed  to tap my heels more than my ankles in a jump move for the first time ever . . . and when I am on a high things get done.

I find applique pretty simple these days.  I use an old buttonhole foot so that I can see what I'm doing and so it glides over the stitches easily.  In this instance I used red thread.  I toyed with white and blue but decided red was the way forward.  My only issue was teh twists and curves and trying to get the bulk of the rest of the towels through the little gap in my machine - this is where I should have a quilting machine with an extra long arm, but I doing have a spare few thousand and can't warrant it as I am mostly a garment sewer.

I did get to use my new silk organza pressing cloth, which I am very happy with.  And to make these I have ticked off one of my to-do things for this year from this list - I have used my overlocker!  It has only taken me nearly a year.  Anyway, I ordered a metre of silk organza from eBay and then waiting aaaages for it to come as I didn't realised I had ordered it from Asia.  Then, I cut it into four and overlocked the edges (it was a good starter project).  I then added a ribbon to one corner so I can hang them and a little button for prettiness and voila.  I have also made a start on the jean task - I have made trousers but I am trying to perfect the fitting.  And I keep thinking about the coat, but am unable to decide on pattern/fabric.  I will have to get on with it though as we have had a few days of sun here in Yorkshire so I'm guessing summer is now over.  I always have plans to sew for Phil but never quite get round to it, and I am totally rethinking that Burda dress.

Anyway,  to finish off the towels, I added a little red heart button on each towel from my stash.

I  think Lucy liked them and I hope the bride and groom like them.

I showed pictures at work the next day and got from my colleague, Sal "I'll bring Seth's stuff in and you can put his name on everything!.  Of course, I said OK.

Anyway, I'm on with a commission today and my head is in the right place to get on with it so I had better do that.  First, I'd better go collect the fabric from the Royal Mail sorting office.   I'll let you know how it goes . . . .

Happy Crafting!

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