Sunday, 28 September 2014

What Other Colour Would One Wear In The Giger Bar?

Our holiday to Switzerland was born of one idea - to visit the HR Giger Museum and Bar.
It was amazing, and luckily La Gruyere was a lovely medieval town to stay in also.

So we made more than one visit to the bar, but I asked for photos to be taken for bloggy purposes whilst wearing my all time favourite skirt. It looks like nothing special, because it isn't. A plain black circle skirt - magnificent! I love everything about it! I intend to make another a little bit longer as this is a bit short for those times when  you need to be a bit more respectable ;)

So these pictures of me aren't the best I know. I was tempted to crop my head off and say it was eaten by an alien creature but it would probably have made it worse.... However, they are taken in the frickin Giger bar which makes up for it entirely!

The skirt is made from plain black cotton fished out of the oddments bin of a local shop, it was nice to work with although a little bit crisp, which made the skirt very poofy until it had been through the wash. I just used maths to make it, and it has a little zip and button closure at the back. It is not one for wearing in the wind, I had a Marilyn Monroe moment when we were in Geneva heading back to the airport. Thankfully I was wearing VERY large pants!
The t-shirt is a me made one, pattern made from an old tee, it is a bit too big across the back, hence the bra straps showing. But it does the job. Would you believe me if I said I had caught the sun whilst there?!

Here is a picture of some of the seating, I cropped myself out of the other half of the pic, but it is a nice shot of the interior of the bar, which will probably be the coolest bar I ever visit. The museum is right opposite the bar, but sadly no photos were allowed in there.

Hard to imagine a Cath Kidston print in here isn't it!

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Of Course Culottes Count As Mountain Wear!

So I made some "Tania" style culottes... and wore them up a mountain!

I didn't climb the mountain though, I'm not that silly! We got to the summit of Le Moleson via funicular, then cable car.

The hem isn't as wonky as it looks I swear!
I self drafted the pattern, and aside from the fact these are made from a rayon blend something or other and crease like no-one's business, I love them very much. I am planning another pair for FESA in a heavier weight fabric, and will be lengthening them a little too.

To draft the pattern I used some funky maths, and traced off the crutch curve from simplicity 2700. The box pleat was right first time (I actually muslined this people!!) and for this pair I simply added an elasticated waistband because it is all about being comfy in the summer, and my weight is a bit here and there so I wanted to get more longevity out of them since I paid the princely sum of £6 a meter (don't laugh, I usually use bedsheets and curtains which are very cheap!) for the fabric. I should have written down what it was called really, but it is ever so soft and drapey.
It is dark grey in colour, which is my branching out from black. Grey is good, I can feel comfortable in it. I didn't do the wardrobe architect thing, but I feel pretty confident of my selection of neutrals - black, grey, and navy.
I wanted to get a shot of *the* secret crutch pose, but there were a fair few other people up there and I already looked odd enough without that!
I have been thinking about the ethics of copying an indie designers pattern, and have written a post about it which is coming soon.

It was very pretty up Le Moleson, even if it was cloudy.

But 2002m up is a bit scary for a girl from Norfolk ;)

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Sweetheart Leopard Print Dress

This is one of many of my unblogged makes, but since I got some good photos on holiday, I thought it was time to finally show everyone! I would like to point out that I will never be one of those bloggers who has half a dozen fabulous pictures with a post, but I hope you will agree this is an improvement! Do ignore the somewhat bleary face, I was horribly ill with a bad cold and trying my hardest to not give Rudolph a run for his money!

The dress in question was made from a mystery jersey, fairly heavy weight, not overly stretchy.
I think the pattern was one from Prima magazine, but I ended up changing it so much that you would hardly recognize it as being the same at all!
One of the biggest changes was to add the sweetheart neckline. I basically just gathered the neckline in at the sides as opposed to the more traditional method. This was because when I sewed it up, it wasn't right, and I had to play around with it to make it better. I'm pretty pleased with how it looks.

The fabric isn't graduated in colour, it's just the shadow - although how fabulous would it be to have ombre leopard print?!
I also added in a different sleeve, my preferred slightly puffed elbow length one that I drafted for a shirt dress a long time ago, and have used for everything ever since - well when you know what you want, you simply have to go with it!
This dress is a go-to in my wardrobe, so comfy, is winter proof with a pair of leggings and boots, and also frees me of the need to wear a cardi when it is too warm.

My OH spent half of our walk taking silly photos of me walking along to make a bad animation from - this amused him highly, but does mean you can see the back of the dress too. Simple and unfussy, the business is going on at the back, and the party stays at the front.
I suppose it may look a little on the short side but I am only 5'2" so it doesn't seem too short. down, only a hundred more "oh yeah I made this" posts to go.... 

Monday, 15 September 2014

Cat Lady Sewing Challenge

It is no secret at all that I am a crazy cat lady! I love all the kitties! Especially my own purring princess....

So it will come as no surprise to see I am joining in with the Cat Lady Sewing Challenge, a genius idea from the lovely Miss Crayola Creepy.

It is quite a timely challenge as I recently was eying up some children's wear from Sainsburys featuring cats, and also have pinned a few things in the past over on ye olde Pinterest.

So decisions decisions.... off the top of my head the contenders are as follows -

* a circle skirt with kitties on the hem

* a dress with cat print fabric (although the fabric I like is a quilting cotton from Japan and I am way too tight to pay out for it!)

* a leopard print jacket (allowed to use leopard print but does feel a little bit like cheating!)

Well I will update when I am decided on what to do!

Is any one else joining in this fun challenge?

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Age UK Big Knit - Free Crochet Pattern

Whilst I was away, I had some time to make a few little crochet hats for the Age UK Big Knit, which you have probably heard of or seen the little hats on bottles of Innocent Smoothies. Just incase you haven't heard of this, it raises money for Age UK, with 25p per bottle sold with a hat on donated to them. For all the details and more advanced patterns (mostly knit ones) check out their website HERE, and also the Age UK one HERE.

The pattern I am going to be sharing is for one of these simple little crochet hats :)

You will need -
6mm hook
Chunky yarn (not much, they're tiny!)

This is in UK crochet terms, substitute dc for sc if a US reader :)

Inc = Increase

I will write the details for the red/white striped ones, for a plain one just ignore the colour changes.

1) 5 dc in a magic ring   (5)
2) Inc round                  (10)
3) [dc, Inc] round          (15)  
Change colours here, I pull the last loop of the round through with the new colour
4) dc round                    (15)
5) dc round                    (15)
Change colours here
6) dc round                     (15)
7) dc round                     (15)
Change colours again
8) dc round                      (15)
Finish off - I usually do a slip stitch then a knot.
Cut off ends and weave tails in.

And you're done! I think I will add a few pom poms to mine, but they look cute without too.


Tuesday, 9 September 2014

FESA Plans

Bit late posting this up as I was away on holiday last week (Switzerland; It was fabulous!) but here are my initial plans for FESA 2014 with bad illustrations to make up for the tardiness ;)

I am starting off cautiously, as I can always do more if there is time, so I won't be listing items for all categories.

First up is - Fashionable Foundations for Frosty Weather

Right, once you're finished giggling over the pics (it would have taken me weeks to draw these on a computer so I did it the old fashioned way with a pen, paper, and scanner) they are trousers btw!! :)
They will both be made with Simplicity s2700, with the pair on the right modified from the original pattern. LHS will be made up in black corduroy (in stash ready and waiting) with the heavier fabric supporting the wider leg. I hope. The RHS will be made from a grey stretch gaberdine, made to be more tightly fitted around the butt/thigh area.

This picture is my only imagining of how to draw the "Tania culotte" style culottes. I have yet to blog about it but I made my own pattern up for these, and have a lightweight summer pair in the wardrobe already. I am thinking a nice tweed? Lined? All up in the air at the moment, but I have been ogling some nice wool blends on eBay, and tossing up the pros and cons of making a pair of silky bloomers to wear underneath slip style, or just lining them making them cold weather only. Any help/opinions greatly welcomed here!

Next is Chic Chemises for Cooler Climates

Well the top one is meant to be a Myrna cardi (By the fabulous Andi Satterlund). I have one on the needles already in a charcoal grey, and it is a really great pattern, especially for a less advanced knitter such as myself. I have yarn to try and make a second one in black before FESA is over, but no promises!

The middle is a long sleeved t-shirt, which I will make with my own pattern, and perhaps also have a go with one of the free patterns available that I am probably one of the last bloggers to try! I love a plain black tee, and a longer sleeved selection (3/4 probably) are in desperate need for the colder months. You have probably worked out, dear reader, that I did not colour in the pictures because most things are going to be black! It may be boring for some, but I love the simplicity and elegance (ha, not that I am elegant in any way!) of black. No fussing over colours clashing, or pattern mixing, or worrying it won't work with leopard print ;)

The bottom one is a maybe project. I have made a peplum blouse already in black (again, unblogged at present) and I like it a lot. So I thought I might make one in white as I have a few white bed sheets in the stash, all pretty crisp if you follow me. But I also have some black pin dot poly cotton that is in the stash too. Decisions, decisions! I will have to get back to you on that one.

Moving on to Underneath it all

Pants. Panties. Knickers. Whatever you call your undercrackers, they are essential for protecting one's bottom against the chill. I happen to need some new ones, so this is very timely. I have a self drafted pattern, but I might try out the Rosie Ladyshorts, or the Sew Vera Venus grannie pants. Or both. I have the elastics in my stash, and have some jersey floating about, so perhaps just treat myself to 1m of a patterned jersey to throw in with the black.

Those Cozy Nights

Much to the disappointment of the OH, this is a dressing gown not an outfit for reenacting Mortal Kombat. I will save myself many blushes when an early Saturday morning delivery man comes knocking at the door by making a nice cotton dressing gown. I have some sheets in my stash earmarked for this. I considered making one in fleece. I don't want to get in the habit of living in it though so maybe stick to a slightly less cozy one!

Last of all - Tender Tootsies

If I have time, I will start a pair of socks. They might not be finished, but I will at least try to start some! I have the stuff to make them all in the stash, and a pattern (a REALLY easy one!) so maybe this one will sneak in as a little bonus! Perhaps a lunch break project?

Well I guess that is all but 2 categories, but I think this is an achievable amount of items for the period of time...and if I go a little bit over - never mind!
It is the taking part that counts after all.

Is anyone else up and running with this yet?

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

FESA 2014

It's that time of year again when the weather is starting to take a turn for the worse, and thoughts of cozy knits and warm trousers begin to replace the summer dresses. We have had a spectacular summer here in the UK with lots of lovely sunny days, although as I write this it is raining (as it has been all day - booo!). Now it is coming up to September, it gets chillier, and I have a particularly dire wardrobe when it comes to the colder seasons. I spend a lot of time indoors, and I'm not afraid of central heating I never really put away my light dresses and t-shirts, I just add a cardi over the top. Only when I have to leave the house do I remember why people have winter wardrobes - I thus spend an hour staring at my clothes trying to figure out what I could possibly wear and avoid a soaking or getting frozen half to death. But no more! I am finally going to be sensible and sort it out, as you know, colder weather does make up approximately 8 months of the year here!

If you're unfamiliar with the FESA, it is hosted this year by Sarah over at The Creative Perfectionist and Lisette (formerly of What Would Nancy Drew Wear?) of That 70's Sew.

There are 7 categories -
1. Fashionable Foundations For Frosty Weather
2. Chic Chemises For Cool Climates
3. Fabulous Frocks
4. Underneath It All
5. Tender Tootsies
6. Those Cozy Nights
7. Baby It's Cold Outside

FESA runs from September 1st for 8 weeks, so plenty of time to get sewing and knitting!

I'm still trying to decide upon my plans and will post them up soon.

Is anyone else joining in this year?

Monday, 25 August 2014

Sew Nice To See You....

I can't apologise any more for the bad blogging, we're all friends here so I can say that it stands at a "If I do, then I do; If I don't, then I don't" situation!
I have been busy beavering away, and as per usual it is my terrible photography (or should I say reluctance to be photographed) that stands in the way of a finished item becoming a blog post. BUT I have just had a fancy hair cut, and am on a diet for like the billionth time, so maybe I will feel a bit more confident about having my photo taken.

In the mean time, I hope you will all appreciate the latest addition to my fridge ;) You can never have enough Ryan Gosling!

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Sew For Victory!

Well I thought I would have to miss out on this but as the lovely Rochelle kicked back the deadline by a week I had enough time to get my project photographed. I made it at the beginning of April so it is just laziness that meant it didn't get photographed before....oh well!

First up my inspiration. I pinned a few different patterns on Pinterest HERE.

If you know me well, you will know I am all about the shirt-dress! I L-O-V-E them! So it seemed at first that this would be a no brainer. But then I decided that it wouldn't be anything special to crank out a TNT pattern for a sew-along. As I am not a frivolous sewer, I had to make something I would wear, and preferably that I need. One of my pins answered that, I needed a blouse!

So my inspiration is this -

And from the four on here I went for a version of the bottom right hand one.

I didn't have a pattern, so I kind of maybe just bodged one....and by bodged, I mean really bodged!
However, it did work! I wanted to have some kind of bust dart for a bit of shaping, and some darts in the back of the blouse too. As I am a lazy SOB, I didn't want to change up my overlocker threads and french seamed it. Which was okay until I realised I could do with taking the sides in a bit (read as quite a bit). As a result my back darts are too deep but a belt/ my hair disguises this nicely ;)

I would also like to note that I do not have a suitable looking skirt so have opted to make this a contemporary look, Rochelle had mentioned about doing so and I think it is a good idea, especially for separates. It shows that a vintagey pattern is not a one trick pony, and allows you infinitely more choice when wearing it.

So eek! Here it is! I don't like pics of myself, they remind me about how fat I am that I try to forget ;)

Well I guess I should have ironed it! But never mind. White on white is hard to see in pictures but I decided to only have the frilly trim round the neckline, it would have been a bit much round the arms too I think. I trimmed either side of the button placket with lace and sewed a 3mm white ribbon on top to give it a little something extra. The buttons were in my stash having bought them for my doomed Mad Men Challenge dress (I'm not ready to talk about that yet haha!) and in true make do and mend style, the fabric used to be a flat bed sheet. It is unlikely to have been used much before it ended up in the charity shop, the fabric hasn't gone "old bed sheet soft"  yet and it is still very bright white.

Well, I'm glad to have joined in on Sew for Victory, big thanks to Rochelle for doing it again :)

Any one else joined in this time?

Thursday, 1 May 2014

The Seamless Pledge 1 Year On

Well, I can't believe it has been (ok... just over!)  a whole year since I made this statement -

I, Lucy Lovell, take the Seamless Pledge, and vow not to buy any new clothes (except bras) and stick to the rules laid out below, until I sort myself out and am wearing a UK size 12 clothes. Once I have dropped the 2 dress sizes necessary I will re-assess my pledge and set another target. I would like to be free from the tyranny of corporation and this pledge is one facet of a multi-sided endeavour to become self sufficient and stick it to the man.
Sounds a bit cringe worthy now!

So, I'm not a size twelve, but I would like to re-pledge now, and this time, it's FOR LIFE!!

If you know me, you might know that for the past year, I have made all my own clothes, apart from a coat from a charity shop, two new bras, and a three pack of tights. As I said in my original post HERE, I
don't buy a great deal of clothes anyway, but I was amazed at how few items I picked up in charity shops too! I am definitely not a shopper. My other half even laughed at me because not only was I not buying clothes, I was being super mindful of my fabric use too!

Off the top of my head I have made 2 shirt dresses, 1 kimono sleeved jersey dress, 1 mystery jersey fabric fitted dress, 1 pencil skirt with the remains of the mystery jersey, 1 cotton pj bottoms, 1 jersey pj top, 3 black tshirts, 1 pair of trousers, 1 smart skirt, 1 sew for victory blouse, and 1 unfinished pair of shorts. Oh and a few pairs of knickers :D I also upcycled a dress into a skirt. Seeing all this written down feels like a lot, but it makes up over half my wardrobe!

The tshirts are to replace 6 year old tshirts that all have holes in now (one is really shocking!) and the only other pair of trousers I have are in a state (chub rub thigh holes, so not classy!) and should be de-zipped and turned to rags.
I also used old curtains for one shirt dress, and old bed sheets for the pj bottoms and the blouse.

Looking at my previous pledge you can see I omitted bras, and I also was not considering shoes in this either. Bra making for hefty bosoms is something I am very cautious about as I don't want to suffer any back pain or lasting damage, so for now I will continue to purchase bras from M&S, but I will only do so when it is absolutely necessary. Not that I'm a frivolous bra buyer anyway!
As for shoes, well I hope to be able to save my pennies/beg father Christmas to be able to go on a shoe making workshop like Daniela from Ela Sews and Doesn't Sleep did a while ago. I will also make sure that I get maximum use out of my shoes by having them re-heeled when they wear out, and taking any other steps to prolong their lifespan.

I feel so strongly about not making a contribution to the evils of fast fashion and aiding (by consumption) in the poor quality of life that comes as standard for garment workers producing all the RTW out there. I missed out on the "who made it" event on the anniversary of the Rana Plaza tragedy, but I would have shouted loud and proud that it is ME!! who made my outfit. They might not be perfect, but I am happy to say I didn't exploit slave labour for cheap clothing. In a very sweet moment my other half told me that it was inspiring to him that I "go to all this effort", whilst I don't see it as effort, it did make me think that a) he is very lovely, and b) in "real life" I do not know anyone who sews all their own clothes, and even amongst the sewers there are none who regularly make things which is just crazy to me!

Any way, here are a couple of links I think are helpful and relevant here -
War on Want
Slow Fashion Forward
The Ethical Fashion Forum

I would love for you to tell me your thoughts on this issue.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Recycled Packaging

You know when you get a box from Amazon and it is filled with that brown paper in long strips?
Well hold onto it as it is a cute way to package things up!
I used it to wrap up some little packets of homemade gingerbread biscotti as you can see on the label.
Just wrap it round, thread a tag onto some ribbon and  tie it up - simple as that!

You don't even need to iron it flat if you don't want, crinkly adds to the charm - or at least that's what I'm going with....

Hope you are having a good day :)

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Completed Puppycat - With Free Pattern Alterations

At the beginning of the week I finally finished my giant Puppycat!
Isn't he a beaut?!

Well the cat is still suspicious...Or jealous....

As you can see from this bad picture taken when he was just finished, he was sitting a little bit taller, but over the past few days the weight of his head has caused him to sag and I don't think there is much I can do about that - although if anyone does have any anti-sagging tips I would love it if you could let me know! I plan to make more giant crochets in the future, they're so much fun!

As you can see I made a few alterations to Twinkie Chan's pattern, because he is so big, I decided to put his back legs into a different position to aid sitting, and I also stitched his tail to the body because I couldn't get it to bend correctly and thought this was a good alternative. It isn't obvious but I also added an extra increase into the body.
This was my inspiration moment -

So here are my pattern alterations, which can be used on a regular sized Puppycat too. The only difference between the two sizes is that  I used a 7.0 mm hook, and crocheted 3 strands of dk weight yarn all at the same time like a super size yarn.

**American terms used here to follow with Twinkie Chan's original pattern and avoid confusion**
Follow rounds 1-9 as per Twinkie's pattern for the head.

10) [Sc 8, inc] round   (70)
11) [Sc 9, inc] round   (77)
12 -16) Sc round         (77)
17) [Sc 9, dec] round  (70)
18-20) Sc round          (70)
21) [Sc 7, dec] round  (63)
22) Sc round               (63)
23) [Sc 7, dec] round  (56)
24-26) Sc round          (56)
27) [Sc 6, dec] round  (49)
28-29) Sc round          (49)
30) [Sc 5, dec] round  (42)
31) [Sc 4, dec] round  (35)

Finish off with a slip stitch and knot, I used the tail from the head to attach the head to the body so no need to leave a long tail here. Stuffing at the end is fine if you are making the large version, if making the regular one, I would stuff before the hole gets too small - use your own judgement on this one :)


These are made in two parts, the circular part that is lightly stuffed and sewn onto the sides, and the foot part which is stuffed halfway and attached underneath.

The circle bit, make 2 -

1) Sc 7 into a magic ring (7)
2) inc round                     (14)
3) [Sc, inc] round            (21)
4) [Sc 2, inc] round         (28)
5) [Sc 3, inc] round         (35)
6) [Sc 4, inc] round         (42)
7) Sc round in blo (back loops only) (42)

finish off as before, leave a long tail for sewing onto sides of body.

The foot bit, make 2 - 1) In brown Sc 4 in magic ring (4)
2) inc round                              (8)
3) [Sc, inc] round                     (12)
4) [Sc 2, inc] round                  (16)
5-6) Sc round                           (16)
7) In white Sc round                (16)
8) Sc round                              (16)
9) [Sc 2. dec] round                 (12)
10-13) Sc round                       (12)
14) [Sc, dec] round                  (8)
15-16) Sc round                       (8)

finish off, leaving a long tail. Again, if making the regular size, start stuffing the feet after round 13 whilst you can still jam it in is best.

BELL1) in goldish yellow Sc 6 in a magic ring (6)
2) inc round                                               (12)
3) [Sc, inc] round                                      (18)
4-5) Sc round                                            (18)
6) [Sc, dec] round                                     (12)
**Stuff bell here**
7) dec round                                              (6)

Finish off, Leave a long tail for sewing on, and thread it through the loops of the last 6 stitches to ensure it stays closed. Cut two slim strips and 4 small circles from black felt and stitch/glue on to make the ball look like a bell. Either attach to collar, or slip a couple of stitches into the body like I did to secure it firmly. I have a cat who could spot a loose looking bell at 100 paces and would proceed to steal it, hence the extra stitches!
As usual, if there are any queries, do not hesitate to ask in the comments :)
Obviously I do not own the rights to Puppycat and this pattern alteration is not to be made to sell either as a pattern or as a completed toy.

So, is anyone going to take on the giant crochet challenge?! The only problem is where to keep him, at the moment he is guardian of the front room book depository (every time we buy a new bookshelf it gets filled up immediately and an even bigger pile seems to amass on the floor...until we move there is no more room for bookshelves, not that it stops us buying more books!).

Monday, 17 March 2014

Handbag Porn...

Seriously guys check out these beauties I found on Pinterest!!

These are all by designer Judith Leiber, and I am loving the unusual bling-tastic designs!

I doubt I will be able to hand-make anything this fancy, but I sure will be keeping an eye out for an old clutch I can bling up!

Thursday, 13 March 2014

7 Things You can Learn From The Sewing Industry

Hello everyone! Today I thought I would share with you a few tips that I have picked up whilst sewing in an industrial setting. I am no true veteran, nor am I an expert, but these are a few things I have picked up along the way that you might find useful :)

1 - Don't use as many pins!
I know that setting in a sleeve is best done with careful pinning, but for the most part, us home sewers are used to pinning everything abundantly. At work I have 12 pins in my pincushion (four of them are being used to attach my secret T-Rex to the other side of my frilly pincushion ;) ), they get used very rarely and off the top of my head I can only think of 3 or 4 reasons I use them. Most of the time it is on knee pad pockets (I work with industrial workwear mostly), and second most often is to hold something out of the way that keeps flopping down into my sewing area. If you pin everything, I challenge you to have a go at doing some straight seams without pins, like the sides of a skirt, or a trouser leg. I made a pair of pj bottoms the other day and didn't pin them at all!

2 - Use a craft knife instead of a seam ripper.
It is scary to put a knife to fabric the first few times, and I urge you to exercise caution when you are getting used to it - I don't want the blame for sliced fingers or sliced garments! But when you are unpicking a whole hem, especially on heavier fabrics, a craft knife just glides straight through and makes small work of overlocking etc. (Maybe the Sewing Bee contestants could have done with this tip!) Just start off by gently "stroking" the stitching with the blade and gradually increase the pressure until you are comfortable with using a bit more gusto. Be careful, but give it a try! Saves so much time in the long run.

3 - Replacing a zip is not scary!
Seriously, don't throw away those favourite jeans, or that cute jacket because the zip has broken. Take your time and remove the broken one, look at how you are taking it apart, and put a new one in. Once you get the hang of it, it will be no more daunting that putting one in a garment made yourself.

4 - Likewise for taking in trousers!
If you want to extend the life span of a pair of trousers that are getting a little bit loose, or just improving the fit of a new pair, then taking them in is a must. The easiest way is to unpick the waistband 3-4 inches either side of the butt seam. Then taper from about 2 inches above the crotch seam all the way to the top of the waistband. Fold the excess waistband to the inside, sew a seam down it, and sew it back round the trousers, folding the flap of taken in fabric the opposite way to the excess waistband fabric to minimize bulk. If you are certain you won't be gaining a few pounds then by all means cut it off! This will only work to a maximum of 2 inches on the fold (4 inches out of the waistband) as it starts to look a bit weird after that.

5 - Mark your hems with chalk.
This goes along with the use less pins really, but when taking up sleeves or trouser legs, just mark the fold line with a few dashes of chalk. No stopping to take pins out, just fold over and go!

6 - Put your pedal to the metal...
If you ever get the chance to use an industrial machine then you will notice how much faster it is than a domestic. Scary, but once you're used to it, sewing at home just seems to go so slow! I would reccommend to anyone that they practise going a bit faster, even if it is just for straight lines, it will get your garment together so much quicker allowing you to be more productive in the long run.

7 - Have a ruler put on your sewing table.

If you're lucky enough to have a dedicated sewing space with a table not used to host dinner parties, I would recommend getting either a transfer of a tape measure put on the edge of your table, or have a meter ruler attached. It makes it so much easier to check inside leg measurements (I actually have mine sharpied onto my sewing table at home!), zipper lengths, button widths... you name it! It is a small thing that will make thing a bit easier in the long run. It also has the added advantage of not stretching out like a tape measure will after time.

Well that's all I can think of at the moment, I hope some of them are at least a little bit of use to somebody! Feel free to leave more suggestions in the comments :)

Monday, 10 March 2014

If you're crazy and you know it clap your hands....

*clap clap!*

I'm making a Puppycat.... a rather large Puppycat!
My own lack of foresight meant that a cat which is about 30cm in size in the original pattern made by the amazing Twinkie Chan, is now err bigger.... Who knows how big he will be in the end!

Sense told me to frog him and go smaller, insanity said (and i hate these silly phrases but it is the most appropriate thing here) F*** it - YOLO!
Stay tuned for the finished project (when I buy the whole of Lincoln out of white yarn!) and maybe I will make a little aubergine or Peon to go with him too!

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Ghostbusters Egon Amigurumi

This post has been sitting in my drafts for almost a year now, and I never expected the prompt for posting it would be the sad death of Harold Ramis :(
Egon is what my other half calls me when I wear my hair up in a rockabillly bouffant style, I forget normality sometimes and it can get a bit tall! Like smuggling kittens in it tall!

This was made in 2012 (yep, that long ago!) as a birthday gift.
He was easy to make, I just did a basic head, body and stumpy arms. The hair has a piece of foam inside to make it bouffant. To be honest the hair isn't very good but live and learn hey?!

From the back you can see I made the world's most basic proton pack, namely a rectangle with a little hose coming off it!

If there are requests I will dig out the pattern I made, but I think if you make ami's it is fairly self explanatory!

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Stripey Dress - Sweater Refashion

Thought I would share a refashion that I did a shamefully long time while ago, before I got my overlocker last summer (Okay, this is from 2012, I admit it!!). It started life as a sweater type thing, huge with long sleeves. I was going to take pictures for a tutorial but I obviously forgot!
All I did really was to get a vest top that fits well and draw around it with some chalk, not including the straps and extending the bottom to make it dress length... okay, short dress length!
I then cut another panel out, around 6" wide. I cut up the middle of the dress and sewed in the extra panel. This made it not quite so much like being in a sausage skin, super tight fitting dresses are only for the slim and alas, I am not one of those girls!

Here is a close up of the straps, I cut out four long rectangles from one of the sleeves, and then sewed each pair together with the right sides together. I shaped one end to be rounded, just freestyled it as total perfection was not necessary! I then turned them inside out and attached them to the dress. To ensure they were the right length I sewed on both straps at the back and then trundled off into my bedroom to try it on and pin the straps in place at the front, I just looked in the mirror to gauge how even they were. They then got sewn down and buttons sewn on for decoration only. As you can see the raw edges aren't finished, they won't fray though so it's ok.

I then added some pockets because I love skirts and dresses with pockets on. They are infinitely more useful that way and if it is just casual every day wear then practical is always good! I cut out the two pocket shapes (I think I may have actually made a paper template shock horror!) and then a rectangular piece to strengthen and neaten the open part - I just sandwiched the pocket in there.
I sewed the pockets on using the regular patch pocket method.

So it was as easy as that! Don't be scared to refashion old/ thrifted clothes, even if they get messed up you haven't lost anything except your time and maybe a couple of quid! You will have gained experience even with something that turns out wrong and that alone can be worth it :)
Be brave and have fun!

Friday, 21 February 2014


....It would seem that I am stuck in between having no time to blog but being unable to give it up!
I even started a Kollabora account, but after a couple of days messing around with it have found that deserted too!

The lovely Rochelle over at Lucky Lucille has just posted about being in a funk, a very timely post as I am in the funk to end all funks right now and am finding it so difficult to do much other than aimlessly waste time. So I am taking her advice, and pulling myself out of it, one step at a time. Fingers crossed!