Sunday, 21 May 2017

No Need To Get All Shirty

Soooo, hello.  Today I would like to share with you a present I made for my honorary nephew, Jake (and delivered only two weeks late too!!!)

To be honest, there isn't much to say about this - no massive disasters, nothing I hated about sewing this shirt.

This is my first foray into shirt sewing, if you don't count this shirtdress and this shirtdress, or these pyjamas, and I am feeling a bit more confident about sewing up some shirts for my hubby now - I have a pattern and the fabric, I just need to crack on (after some selfish sewing of course).

Anyway, this is Butterick 3475, which is a sweet little pattern and easy to put together.  Pattern piece wise, it is a back cut on the fold, two front pieces, with grown on facings, two sleeves and one collar pattern piece, cut twice.  There is a separate pattern piece for the facing interfacing, as the actual facing is grown on to the front shirt piece.  Someone on instagram has said this had confused her a bit, and I was prepared for the same confusion, but my head must have been in the right place at the right time as I just 'got' this with no problems first time.

The shirt came together relatively quickly - about three episodes of Ally McBeal I think - and the collar construction was really straight forward with clear instructions.  I think that the only issue I really had with this shirt is that I decided to make it from chevron fabric - pattern matching was a nightmare, but once I stopped caring, it was fine.  I also couldn't decide which buttons to use.  I had a choice of about 5 sets, but my instinct were these red ones and my husband agreed, so we went with the red.

I hope Jake likes his present.  He's 8 now, so I don't feel that I can make him the wacky presents I used to, because he will want to be all cool now.  I remember my oldest niece going through that stage - she seems to have come out of it now even weirder than she was before, which I love!!!!  Anyway, for the time being, I have to make Jake sensible presents I think, so no wacky prints, no cool hats like this one . . . sad times.

Anyway, this might be the last post for a month or so.  I have no more set up (this is a scheduled post) and I have exams mid-June, which I should probably concentrate on, so even if I fit a bit of sewing in (and I hope I do), I probably won't get it blogged until after the exams.  In fact, I'm supposed to be studying now, but getting too distracted with blogging . . . 

Wish me luck!

In the meantime . . . .

Happy Crafting!


Sunday, 14 May 2017

Bohemian Like You

Soooo, today I would like to share with you my latest creation for my little muse, Pippa:

This is her birthday present for this year, which of course is late, because if it wasn't, then it wouldn't be from auntie Holly fabulous would it?!  I believe in her four years on this earth she has got used to it.

Anyway, I ummed and ahhhed over Pippa's present this year.  My original plan was a pretty dress, and I downloaded the Elegance & Elephants new Mira dress, and considered various dresses from Violette Fields, whose patterns I have used before (see here), but then decided that Pippa would likely appreciate something she can do the most terrorising in, so the idea of summers shorts and a top was born.  

I decided on the Elegance & Elephants Bohemian Babydoll, which is available as a dress and a top, as I liked the ruffle sleeves, and once I had decided on flouncy sleeves, I couldn't undecide it.  

I ordered some beautiful white broiderie anglais from Minerva Crafts which was lovely to work with and I shall be ordering some more for a holly-size project, and spent about half an hour while watching MotoGP a couple of Sundays ago cutting out a size 3 (after checking with Mother of Pippa the correct size as Pippa will be 4 but is tiny (yet fierce)).

Construction of the pattern was pretty straight forward.  The bodice is self-lined, as are the ruffles.  The instructions are clear, with links to video tutorials for more complicated or usual parts of the instructions.  There is one for showing you how to do the burrito method for the bodice, but I found that after a very small amount of head scratching that I didn't need it.  It was nice to know that the tutorial was there if I struggled though.

The only bit I did struggle with was attaching the 'skirt' to the bodice, but this was me being tired and not really reading the instructions properly.  The lightbulb moment happened the following morning when I had had some sleep, but I had already done it my way by then so it didn't matter.  Next time though, I will have another go at the E&E way.

The only alteration I made was not to use facings for the hem.  Instead, I just overlocked and turned up for a teeny tiny hem.

I love that the instructions directed you to add a label before you started, if you wanted to use one.  This was so handy to someone who nearly always forgets her labels until the end.  No more, I said, after this revelation.  This lasted a grand total of no projects as I promptly forgot to attach the label on my next project (see below).

Anyway, I have decided that I need to make myself a version of this top, so am on the hunt for a pattern, or at least a pattern I can hack to which I can add ruffles.  My current thought is the Seamwork Gretta.  I think this would just be perfect for day trips or walking around Havana on my holidays later this year (I am sooo excited I could get very annoying, but I'm trying to reign it in, I promise).

To go with the top, I decided on the My Little Plumcake Spring Shorts, which I have previously made (here) and were in my pattern stash already.

Not much to say about these really.  Nice clear instructions (except reminding me to put a label on).  I omitted the leg bands this time - I just wasn't feeling them.  I did manage to put the waistband on wrong - twice!!!  I think I am just tired at the moment and in need of a weekend of sleep.  However, this would require my body making the decision to stay asleep of an evening.  Just to 7am would be nice.  I did have one day last weekend when I slept until 8 and thought I had cracked the insomnia, but nope, back awake at the crack of dawn the next day.  On the plus side, insomnia creates productivity and I am flying through anything I can do without waking the husband up, and as he usually sleeps through anything, I managed to make a unicorn pull-apart cake for my niece's birthday last weekend before the husband awoke.

belt ties
Anyway, I have diverted from the issue at hand.  The shorts were made from some left overs cotton from a dress I made myself for work.  I had ummed and ahhed for a while about what fabric to use, and then as this was to hand, and bright and spring-like I decided to go with it.  I had just enough left overs for these shorts, with an attempt to pattern matching - it wasn't a successful attempt, but the thought was there.  I love the little pleats and the pockets.  I think next time I will make the waistband a bit narrower - I'm not sure if it is just too much.  

pleat details
The little outfit is now all wrapped up for delivery to Pippa (and less than a month late - a record I believe), and I hope she likes it (and it fits!).  I think it will be a fun summer outfit for her.

the back
If you have any suggestions for a Holly-size pattern, please let me know, but I will be adding some of the tops to my shop for sale at some point in the future.  I have nearly finished my sewing for everyone else, and then I can do a bit of selfish sewing and sewing for the shop.

In the meantime . . . 

I'm off to watch MotoGP . . .

Happy Crafting!


Sunday, 7 May 2017

Dressing Ombre

Soooo, admittedly a few weeks late, today I would like to share with you this years Easter presents for the nieces.

As you probably are aware from previous posts, many years ago the nieces requested that I didn't buy them easter eggs as the got loads and 'could never possibly eat them all Auntie Holly', and asked that I buy them pyjamas instead.  This was before I realised my chocolate intolerance and offered to help them out with the eating, but they declined that offer and asked again for some pyjamas, and a tradition was born.  This was before I could sew, so for the first few years they were bought, but for the last couple of years I have made them something (posts here here and here).

This year I decided to deviate slightly - but still in the pyjama circle of influence - and make them some summer dressing gowns.

I had this idea months ago, but because I have been so busy, I left it all to the last minute - something I am trying not to do so much from now on and part of that plan is to stop being so busy.  We shall see how well this works out.

Anyway, as I left it to the last minute, I didn't have the time (or pennies) to order some fabric.  I had some in my stash that would be suitable for the eldest niece (who is 12 today - depressing!  I feel so old, so I've just text my sister to check how old she is feeling, Ha!  Happy Birthday my most fabulous Georgia!), but I didn't have any for the youngest niece.  

BUT I had a cunning plan.  I had just retired my fave Laura Ashley bedding from use as it had developed a hole in one corner, which I couldn't be bothered to fix.  The bedding is fairly old, but still felt so luxurious - the benefits of having a bit of money when I was younger and lived at home and was able to buy some good quality stuff - I am still fussy about my bedding now, and will happily pay for some luxurious duvet covers and pillows - all white of course.  

Anyway, I thought that between the front and back of the duvet cover I should have enough to make two dressing gowns.  I had hoped to maybe use the pillow cases as well for the sleeves, but they just weren't wide enough. So they have been put to one side awaiting another cunning plan - more on that if I ever get to it.  Anyway, I did have just enough fabric from the duvet cover, but a bit of creative cutting was required.  The duvet had some embroidery on it which I would have liked to make a feature of, but it didn't quite work out that way, so the embroidery is just on the belt, which was probably a good idea really as I didn't know how well those bits would take to the dye, as the plan was then to make an attempt at ombre dyeing the dressing gowns in the girls' favourite colours - pink and purple.  
Anyway, construction was pretty straight forward.  I used the same pattern as I did for the dressing gown I made for my mum a while back - this time making 2 smalls.  It really is a simple process.  My actual paper pattern is getting a bit battered now, so I think I might replace it with a non-free pattern for future.  I'm thinking Gather Kits Buchanan.  Does anyone have any thoughts on this.

Anyway, easy bit over, then it was time to start the dyeing process, which of course seemed like a good idea at the time I thought of it, even the ombre seemed like a good idea - until I managed to dye my bathroom and myself pink and purple.  

I decided to start with the pink, and I knew that I would be using the bathroom for ease of cleaning up.  I had considered using the airer we keep at the back of the living room, as a good means of moving the dressing gown down a bit every few minutes - I could just move it down a rung on the airer, but the airer wouldn't quite fit in the bathroom and I didn't really want dye anywhere near my living room carpet - we rent and I didn't want to have to explain that one to the landlord, who is otherwise lovely, but I wouldn't like to push my luck!!!

Anyway, to achieve the ombre, I knew that I would have to put only the bottom of the dressing gown in to the bucket of dye and then slowly add a little bit more.  So I hung the dressing gown on a clippy coat hanger and then every ten minutes or so moved the whole thing - dressing gown, bucket of dye, hanger, around the bathroom to get a level slightly lower than last time.  So, the dressing gown hung on my bathroom door handle, the edge of the sink, the shelves next to the sink and the shelves under the sink at various points in the dyeing process.  I was going to try and ombre the belt too, but after it fell in  to the dye on after about thirty seconds, I decided that that could just be the same colour as the bottom of the dressing gown.

Other than getting dye all up my arms and having to wipe up various spots from the (thankfully linoed) floor, this process actually went fairly smoothly.  My issue arose when it came to rinsing out the dye.  This has to be done in cold water and my hands were soooooo very cold.  I have crappy circulation as it is and always have cold hands, but this was awful.  In hindsight I should have invested in some rubber gloves, which might have eased it a little, and I will remember that if there is a next time, but as it was I could only do it in small bursts.  In between, I hung the dressing gown up on the shower screen to drip away.  My bath was a rainbow by the time I had finished.  

I then repeated the whole process with the purple.  When I had both up hanging, I had one of the shower head too, and it looked like a chinese laundry/a unicorn had been murdered in the bathroom.  I worried a little that I had dyed the bath, but luckily that was not the case.

Once I got bored of trying to rinse the dye out, I left the dressing gowns to dry in the bathroom overnight.  When I came to check them in the morning, they still weren't dry!!!  But they had stopped dripping, so I moved them to hang on the curtain pole over a radiator in the living room, but they dried a lot quicker then.

It was once they had dried that I realised I hadn't put any belt loops on the dressing gowns, but I decided to use ribbon for these, so no problem.  And they were done - just in time to take them to the girls on Easter Sunday.

Georgia liked hers, and I'm not sure about Evie, but she never really gets excited about anything, so the jury is out on that one.  I am quite proud of my achievement with this one and the step-mother has decided I have a new line for my shop, but I am not so sure.

I think I will stick to PJs next year, from purchased, already coloured, fabric, and I think I already have a plan in my head - I'm thinking Tilly's Fifi PJ set.  I want some of these for me too, so win win I think!

I'm now working on a couple of new to me little projects and I will share those with you soon hopefully.

Anyway, in the meantime . . . 

Happy Crafting!


Monday, 1 May 2017

Summer Flowers

Sooo, hello, today I would like to share with you a fairly recent make - the Sew Over It Kimono, which I bought as part of my PDF club membership.

I bought this knowing exactly what I was going to do with it, which is most unusual for me.  Usually, patterns have to lie languishing in the what fabric shall I make this in pile for a fair few months before I actually  get round to doing anything with them, but not this one.  This one was destined to be made for my big sister, Kay, using some fabric she bought about two years ago for me to do something with, but still hadn't done.  This is her own fault because she won't let me measure her in order to make something like a dress, or a skirt, or a top.  The kimono therefore presented the perfect solution - minimal fitting, and so long as it pretty much fit me, it would fit her.  Problem solved.

The fabric, I think, is a viscose, which we picked up at The Shuttle in Shipley about two summers ago.  The fabric I bought in the same shopping trip was made into my Space Invaders dress and a waistcoat but these beautiful flowers had been added to the stash until I figured out what to make for my sister without having to measure her.  I knew that the drapiness of the fabric would lend itself brilliantly to a light summer cover up.

I made Version 1, the shorter version, of the Kimono, not really knowing how much fabric I had and made absolutely no attempt to pattern match in the slightest.

The Kimono came together pretty easily - attach at the shoulders, attach the sleeves flat and sew up the sides - and the instructions are very clear, although I have to admit that I didn't actually follow them - I have had quite enough practice at kimonos etc. recently with panto and dressing gowns and the like, even some I haven't blogged about yet.  French seams were used throughout, although I had thought about using the overlocker.

I toyed with the idea of a contrast, black satin, band, but decided against this and used a self-fabric band.  The hems and attaching the back of this band was done by hand as the fabric was so slippery, even with pressing it wouldn't stay in one place to allow a straight line on the hem  to be stitched, but I have now been and bought some spray starch so hopefully that will resolve the problem next time, and there will be a next time.  I really enjoyed making this kimono and plan to make myself a longer version 2 as a cover up for my holidays.  I already have some fabric in the stash in mind for this.  I also think they make great gifts for those people who are difficult to buy for and you can't measure.  I gave this to my sister as part of her birthday present, along with a box of french fancies from Bettys :-)

Anyway, I have more to blog and more to sew, so I will set up some more posts, but in the meantime . . .

Happy Crafting!

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