Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Foxy Cooper

This turned into quite the belated Christmas pressie but my 'Cooper' by Colette Patterns is finally finished! (It was in fact finished last month to take on our holiday to Italy, but somehow I totally forgot to take any pictures until now ...oops!)

I originally posted in February about having bought the fabrics and received all of the hardware, and for several months it sat cut out ready to go in my vast pile of unfinished projects. Naughty naughty.

It was made using a sturdy waxed cotton and cotton drill outer and has several external and internal pockets and features adjustable straps (It looks a slightly peculiar shape in the pictures as it contained A4 ringbinders at the time). I decided to opt for lobster clasp closures instead of magnets as I wanted it to be a little more secure.

I just LOVE the fox lining from the 'Wildwood' collection for UK 'Dashwood Studios'. It's subtle enough to be acceptable for a not-so-flashy man bag but adds a little handmade personality and fun.

The bag came together pretty easily -to be honest even as a bit of a rush job I'm still really pleased with the finish. Thankfully it must have gone down well as it's been in pretty much constant use for the last 6 weeks and seems to be holding up ok.

It's a great pattern so I thoroughly recommend taking a look -particularly as it's a '3-for-the-price-of-1' with a messenger and pannier option ...one for myself next perhaps?

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Kitschy Coo Lady Skater - Finished

Well I have to say this dress came together like a dream! We had a little sunshine this morning after the storms of the last few days so 'other half' and I took a little stroll around our local park. I thought I'd use the opportunity to take some pictures to share.

Feeling really quite unwell on the day that I made this, I wanted a project which I could dive into using the very least brain power possible so I opted to skip making a toile (muslin). Being 5'3" and having read that the pattern was drafted at knee length for 5'5" I simply shortened the bodice a fraction and trimmed the skirt by 1.5" so it sits just above the knee.

Construction wise I was concerned that there would be lot of fiddling with tensions / stitches but good ol' Bernie managed the jersey like a trooper -so much so that I decided to stick with my standard machine for seams, using my overlocker only for internal finishing (I don't yet have grey spools and the stitches are less taught meaning occasionally the thread shows from the right side).

Having played about with a few stitch options I settled upon a simple narrow zig-zag (3.75L x 0.8W) which worked like a charm, even for top stitching.

For the hem I turned in 1" and used a twin stretch needle at 2cm, leaving the excess on the inside rather than catching the raw edge between the stitches on the rear. When playing around with a scrap piece I found that this coupled with a longer stitch length and lower bobbin tension yielded a nice flat hem with no 'tunneling' between the straight stitches on the right side.

I do feel that I'd make one or two further adjustments were I to make another (namely eliminating a little of the excess around the shoulder area where I'm quite petite) but for a first attempt I'm super pleased with the outcome and I'm quite sure this will be an instant wardrobe staple! It's boring plain grey so can be worn with just about anything and is perfect for throwing on and running out the door!

Anyone else made one? Or tempted?

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Quilt Now

Now for the record I have actually finished my Lady Skater dress! Germ-y as I currently am I'm holding off on taking the pictures so thought you'd like to join me on the sofa where I'm hiding away in my PJ's for a peek at the first installment of the brand spanking new 'Quilt Now' magazine which arrived on my doorstep yesterday.

Thanks to Kerry (who happens to be featured) over at 'VeryKerryBerry' I made the most of the 'First 3 issues for £5' offer ahead of it's release and I'm glad I took the plunge.

Now I've not done that much in the way of quilting so far (a little EPP and some un-blogged rail fence blockwork) but I have a few big projects on the agenda and this seemed just the ticket for a little inspiration.

Along with the very first issue came a little introduction to quilting techniques (a tad basic for my needs but great if you're new to sewing) and a sweet little strawberry shaped pin cushion kit which I made up whilst curled up on the sofa watching 'Moonrise Kingdom'.

The layout and aesthetics of the magazine are really lovely. It has quite a fresh contemporary feel which I love plus It's full of great full page pictures.

Content wise there are a variety of smaller scale projects as well as the obvious quilts (in this issue cushions, bags,  place mats, storage boxes and a pencil case) with full sized templates as well as little introduction snippets on various industry names such as fabric / pattern designer April Rhodes and Pat Bravo of Art Gallery Fabrics.

I thoroughly enjoyed this first issue and definitely plan to make up a few of the projects, first up being the hexies pencil case (above) -looking forward to issue #2 (though my 'to-do' list is getting out of control!).

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Lady Skater Jersey Dress

Almost 4 months after purchasing the first 'Perfect Pattern Parcel' I've finally got around to printing and sticking my 'Lady Skater' PDF pattern by Kitschy Coo.

I had a few troubles with the printing side of this one, so would recommend not using your default PDF reader to print from (I downloaded Adobe Reader which solved the page sizing problem). If I'm honest I do find the cutting and sticking aspect to be a bit of a pain -but hey! I'm a fan of instant gratification plus as I've previously mentioned, the wastage is fairly minimal in comparison to shipping a printed copy.

There are some fantastic examples across the blogosphere, I'm going for something quite similar to Clare's over at Sew Dixie Lou (below) only slightly lighter in both shade and weight with the 3/4 sleeve option. For once I've decided to give myself a break as I'm feeling pretty unwell and just go with the pattern, making no modifications aside from fitting adjustments.

In order to skip the printing and cutting should I wish to re-use the master copy for another size I've taken the time to trace my pattern pieces using a tracing wheel and cut them from wallpaper lining (little tip for ya, it's cheap and strong enough to withstand multiple uses).

I've re-bought my stretch needles as I managed to lose the first lot and my grey jersey is pre-washed and ready to go -so I'm off for a nice leisurely dressmaking afternoon!

I'll let you know how I get on!

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Work Goings On.

I've been spending much more time at work (Make & Do) of late to fill in the gaps whilst our head honcho recovers (get well soon K x). I've therefore cast aside several of my planned projects and have been pretty slack with post writing but it occurred to me today that it might be fun to share a few snippets of things that we've been working on at the shop.

Three lovely delivery folk made my day by delivering this little load (always super exciting to receive the deliveries -like Christmas). Tomorrow I'll be finishing off some fat quarter bundles whilst pondering what to make with them all!

We're in the process of putting together the next window display at the moment so the ladies and I have all been playing around with themed projects... bet you can't guess what we're going for?!

My little project for today was a memo board with pockets and appliqué (a bit of a variation on our usual 'French' style with lovely ribbons). I built up the background pocket folds layer upon layer then added some little beach huts with bondaweb (our favourite!) and a tiny short zig-zag stitch.

To finish it off I added a little free motion quilting on the felt clouds and added a few buttons. Now it just needs a hanging loop and backing ready for the window! Once we have it all put together I'll share another picture or two (unfortunately the fluorescent lights aren't all too photo-friendly!). Can't wait to see how it all looks!

Thursday, 19 June 2014

The Trip

Time flies when you're having fun. Can't believe it's been so long, but boy! have I been busy!

I've got lots of things in the pipeline but I thought I'd first share a couple of snaps from our lovely hols in Italy. (I know, not really on point -the crafting will resume shortly!). I'm evidently not a natural blogger as I proved hopeless at remembering to take my camera with me, but here are a few of my favourite snaps.

So first off we flew from Bristol to Pisa. When booking the flights in advance it's really quite affordable. We took the short train ride to Pisa San Rossore to see the leaning tower. We almost decided to head straight on to Florence but though "We're not going to be in the vicinity again any time soon so heck, let's just make the effort whilst we're here". We were glad that we did as despite being really quite busy it was very impressive (and rather more 'leaning' than my picture would have you believe!).

We arrived in Florence and were greeted by Luciano, the apartment owners father. We asked him about all of the best spots for things like Gelato (La Carraia) and Pizza (Gusta Pizza) and then mentionned we were vegetarian and it just so transpired that he owns a veggie / vegan restaurant called 'Club la tertulia il barone di porta romana' -snappy! which we visited the very next night (delicious and highly recommended!).

We visited the beautiful Giardini di Boboli (and Giardino Bardini -no camera, oops!) and the Mercato Centrale whilst we were there which is quite an experience. The fruit smells amazing, the fish -less so! We bought the most delicious fresh spinach and ricotta ravioli from a stall where we watched the lady making fresh tagliatelle right in front of our eyes.

On our last day in Florence we did a serious amount of climbing. First up the hundreds of steps through winding passageways to the top of the cupola of Cathedrale di Santa Maria del fiore (the Duomo). The 360 views of the city were amazing, right back to the mountainous horizon.

Later that evening we climbed the steps from San Niccolo up to Piazzale Michelangelo just in time to see the sun set over the Arno. One reviewer remarked that it's 'spectacular, just a shame that 200 other tourists had the same idea'. This is a pretty accurate account. Obviously it's stunning and was quite the experience but the atmosphere was diminished significantly by the crowds (particularly the lady next to us complaining on her mobile for the duration...).

And on to Rome! There was a heatwave so it was much hotter than we anticipated for the duration of our stay. The 37 degree heat was made less tolerable in Rome than Florence by the lack of air conditioning in our apartment but we endeavoured to 'keep cool and carry on'.

If I'm honest I am less enamoured with Rome than I had hoped (though admittedly this could be put down to a fried brain from the heat!). We were particularly disappointed by the copious levels of scaffolding which obscured at least part of pretty much every monument we wanted to see.

There were highs (our little night time expedition) and lows (Vatican museum madness!!) to our stay in Rome but overall we had  fantastic trip! I would love to return to Italy, and am thinking that Venice may be top of the list -though perhaps low season.

So there we are. Holiday snaps taken care of -normal service will resume shortly!

Saturday, 31 May 2014

'Me Made May '14' Conclusion.

Gosh these past few weeks have been HECTIC fun, with an unexpectedly crazy work schedule and tonnes to do before I head off on holiday! ...So I've dropped the ball a little with the MMM'14 pictures (no huge surprises there!).

I have been very good though and have managed to wear a 'Me-made' item pretty much every day! Here's a little photographic evidence of my Tula Pink vest from last week's 'Grown-ups Craft Club' which I hosted.

We made felt mice... It was fun! Here's a little more 'Me-made' evidence -wasn't expecting to work a super hero cape into my outfit (they're for a child's birthday party) but as well as the cape / mask, my dress is handmade too!

I've once again really enjoyed my 'MMM' experience (though resigned myself to failing once again with the documentation!). I've worked several of my handmade garments into my usual 'go-to' rotation and have lots of plans for more. The prospect of becoming less and less reliant on store bought clothing is pretty great.

Unfortunately due to the aforementioned ridiculous schedule I've needed to put a few projects on the back burner (Wardrobe Architect included!) but fear not -I will definitely be getting stuck into finishing it off upon my return! I have a whole host of posts-in-progress that I'm looking forward to finishing off and sharing (including my newly bright yellow bed frame!). In the mean time I may even write a few from Italy! A gelato diary perhaps?

So 'Arrivederci' and see you on the other side! x