Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Lottie Blouse and a bit of a bargain!

This was a bargain make.  The pattern is the Lottie blouse which came free with Simple Sew magazine (this is a new mag which I am enjoying).   Sorry I did mean to blog about this blouse while the magazine was still available but I think it disappeared last week!

I liked the look of the blouse and then at the Minerva meet-up Lisa (the designer) was demonstrating making the blouse.  Lisa's red version was gorgeous and it looked really easy.

So I bought the fabric at the Minerva craft meet-up.  It is 100% viscose but it has a lovely drape for this blouse and feels really comfy.  At £5.95 a metre I needed 1.2 metres, so again a bargain (you can buy it on-line here) .  It definitely has a 60s vibe in the bright paisley pattern and the jade colour goes really well with other items in my wardrobe. I'm getting a bit fonder of 60s fashions (the problem is I was there for the first time - and I'm enjoying This Old Thing on a Wed evening which is looking at Vintage (mostly 60s) clothes.  I really like the finished blouse, not my usual style as it is not really fitted, but I do like a bow-neck!

The neck was the fiddly bit.  You have to cover the key hole shape with bias binding (I made my own; first time for this, and with this really soft fabric it was a bit difficult). 

So the bias round the neck was a bit tricky but otherwise construction was straightforward.  You fit the sleeves in flat and then just sew right from the cuff to the hem. 

We are having a lovely heatwave here in Cumbria and I'm enjoying the sunshine as well as lovely bunches of stocks and roses!  Thanks so much for your comments which I love reading.  Enjoy the rest of the wekk.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Butterick 6018 and happy July

Things got pretty much out of kilter in June.  It is the worst month of the year for me, Dan and Gemma moved out and I am getting reused to living alone, my hard drive packed up etc. etc., so that's why the posts have been few and far between.  However, things are getting back to normal.  A new 50s style dress is finished; Butterick 6018.

This has a definite 50s feel with its high, fitted bodice and wide skirt made from 8 panels.

There is a sweetheart neckline which was a little challenging to make it sit nicely, but I just about managed.   You can imagine how difficult it was to turn all that thickness of material into a neat little point.

The pattern had facings, but I decided to do a full lining (love the mint colour!).

The fabric was incredibly cheap, enough for two dresses and it only cost £15, and because of this it was a bit rough, it is a type of crepe but with a high synthetic content, and it was difficult to cut and sew, shifting everywhere, weighs a ton, but I just love this colour, duck egg blue is my absolute favourite.  I think this pattern would make a lovely evening dress, perhaps in a black silk, so I do hope to make it again. maybe a little more fitted around the waist.

I am working on lots of other projects; another dress, a slip, another dress cut out,  two sweaters to block and sew up and a new cardi on the go.  Actually I don't think I like having so many on the go, I really prefer having one sewing and one knitting project on the go until they are finished.  Why so many then?  Its the result of lots of sew and knit-alongs which I wanted to join in and then have found tricky to keep up with!  In future I won't do more than one at once.

The best part of June was an enjoyable day at the Minerva meet-up.  Starting with some bucks fizz it was heaving.  It was odd seeing people whose blogs I follow and feeling a bit like a stalker as you stared and thought that's "Scruffy Badger!"

I did pluck up the nerve to actually speak to Karen of "Did you Make That"  who gave a great talk.  I'm wearing my Cambie dress which could do with some adjustments since I've lost a bit of weight.  The rather oddly placed circles on my chest are where people were voting for my dress!  Very flattering, it was definitely the bright pink flamingos.

My favourite dress of the day was this one, doesn't she look lovely, it's the Betty dress, which I rather fancy in some caramel polkadot fabric.

So I had a great day, and of course didn't manage to leave without spending rather a lot of money!  As you can see there is a definitely duck egg and teal thing going on here.


Other good bits have been a working lunch at Lakeside Hotel!  How lovely is this, and how lucky am I to live in such a beautiful part of the world?

Last night I went to the annual village dance and I had a great time; danced for ages and did not feel my age at all ... I was back in the 70s and I won the raffle, a bottle of Glenfiddich.  The band included some amazing facial hair and a great guest appearance by a very young drummer.

... today was glorious and what a gorgeous sight this old railway signal covered with roses was.

Finally I leave you with this very cute pic of my lovely cats, being very sweet with each other, that's certainly not always the case.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Bookish meanderings and Vogue 8772 a bow blouse

One of my favourite blogs is Tales From A Happy House.  Gillian has a real knack for writing about things which relate to your own life and every blog takes me back to my own happy memories.  Last week she was writing about the books of her childhood and this set me off on a real journey.  I loved books preferring to cuddle them in bed rather than dolls! This is also tied up with happy memories of browsing in book shops with my dad.   My absolute early favourites were by Alison Uttly; tales of country animals with the main hero the Little Grey rabbit.  I so wanted a ball made of cowslips (you can see Fuzzypeg the hedgehog throwing it here).

My favourite picture was Winken, Blinken and Nodd from Verses for Children by Margaret W Tarrant.  I had a period of nightmares due to a bullying teacher at school, and I think this picture made me think of being safe at night and dreaming about good things.

 I progressed to Enid Blyton and read them all (memories of the local library and all books being fumigated because of a whooping cough epidemic - can't see that happening now), then Arthur Ransome.   Probably my two favourites were Ballet Shoes and The Little White Horse.  I still listen to the last one on audio books!

Some of my favourite memories with my boys are reading together, usually something with a rhyme and jokes.  Our favourite author is Colin McNaughton.  Books have been such a wonderful part of my life and I don't read enough of them now, I'm afraid reading blogs has reduced this (following about 150 blogs on Bloglovin does take time).  I definitely need to revisit this.  Sorry for this long trip down memory lane!  Now on to the sewing!

This is my second attempt at V8772 and finally a full on bow neck blouse (bit of an 80's vibe perhaps).

For my first attempt I didn't have enough fabric for the bow and so made a collar.  You may be able to see from the picture that it was rather tight around the bust and although I loved the fabric I never actually wore it because it was just too restrictive (Gemma is going to wear it for work).  The fit was good on the shoulders and waist though.  So enter a full bust adjustment.  Before you are too impressed I did this at my weekly sewing class with some help from Maddie, the teacher.   You can see from the photo of the pattern what we did. 

This also meant that I had to narrow the waist and the change the diamond shaped dart into a full dart which went down to the waist.  The final effect is a more comfortable fit.

.... and in case you missed it there is a bow!

The bow is cut on the bias and takes a lot of fabric.  So this took 3 metres.  Are you thinking isn't that Liberty Tana Lawn at £22 a metre?  Well yes it is Liberty but I went to the wonderful Standfast and Barracks in Lancaster who sells older prints of Liberty for only £5 per metre, so this is a £10 blouse.  Excellent!

You may have noticed that this is my first blog in 3 weeks.  I had a really high profile job interview and it took loads of time preparing, plus days of feeling every so slightly sick and spending a fortune on a dress (too posh to risk handmade!) and a pair of red patent high heels!  Didn't get it (none of the interviewees did) but didn't feel bad about it as I do like my current job.

There's been lots of rain but on sunny days it has been gorgeous, the meadow flowers are growing

The Hawthorn is glorious.

I do so love the sun and try as I might I just can't love the rain. 

Finally I'm hoping to go to the Minerva meet up this Saturday so if any of you are going do say hello!

Monday, 5 May 2014

Sew for Victory; a bit of a battle!

So I've been sewing a bit of fourties for Rochelle's Sew For Victory Sew-Along.


I started with ambitious ideas of a dress using Butterick 5951    but this is where the battle came in.  I used some really soft brushed rayon and the result was ..... horrible as you can see from these selfies (excuse the flesh but you really need to see the full bagginess here).  The material was just too soft and should have been saved for jammies, everything sagged.

... and goodness knows what was going in with the enormous puffed sleeve (one bigger than the other).

The decision was whether to try and save it, but even with a better fit I'm not sure when I would ever wear this, so I binned it and decided to make something simple which I would be able to wear for work.  Enter  Butterick 5391 a simple straight skirt which is really easy to make and a flattering fit and and a repro 40s pattern Butterick 6887 kimono sleeved blouse, another easy sew with a little tie neckline. 


I've made the skirt before successfully and this is my first GoTo pattern because I will make it again.  I cut a size 14, but did need to take it in a bit.  The fabric, though rather reminiscent of school uniform is lovely to wear with a little stretch (I've bought some black to make trousers too).  The blouse is made in three pieces with a side zip in liberty print.  Overall the combination is rather slimming.  Gemma and I had some fun going the whole hog and Gemma gave me some victory rolls, dark eyeliner and red lipstick.  Not a look I would wear for everyday, but good fun.
You can just about see the eyeliner seams she painted on my legs.


The skirt is a versatile shape and I can wear it with my Dior style jacket.


Tuesday, 22 April 2014

The happy birds dress! Sew Dolly Clackett

Hope you had a lovely Easter. I enjoyed some sewing.  Here is my latest finished project, may I present the happy birds dress. 

You may or not know Roisin's blog   Roisin is an incredibly talented, profilic and funny blogger who makes the most fantastic fun dresses.  You should visit her blog  She is getting married and Sarah at Rhinestones and telephones has run a competition to celebrate the wedding.  I thought I would make a dress in Roisin style, so a well fitted bodice (you'll have to take my word as I haven't got a photo of the fit yet) with some quirky fun fabric.  I used Christine Haynes Emery dress pattern, which I suppose you would describe as sixties (a la madmen perhaps) style.  The pattern is pretty straight forward.  Many of the reviews say the fit is perfect straight from the packet.  I cut a 12 bust grading to a 10 waist (although the waist is not so fitted and I could have gone for even snugger).  I made some small adjustments; a little off the shoulders and a sway back adjustment.

Believe it or not these are actually the first pockets I have made and pretty straightforward.

The skirt is gathered, and I forgot that you shouldn't gather to the end because it would get in the way of the zip, so I had to unpick the end and then trim a little of the skirt.  Worked out in the end.

The bodice is lined.

... and a neat edge to the invisible zip.

The zip went in well.  Although I struggle to know exactly where to begin the top of the zip, should it be a little lower so that it lies really flat, but you then need an hook and eye?  As you can see mine is a little crooked.

Except I was a little out at the waist.  I don't think it shows too much and I may well wear the dress with a belt.

I still like the dress, its comfortable and fun, what's not to like with clouds and birds (definitely not angry!)

The weather here has been lovely!  We had another visit to a national trust property Town End near Ambleside, which was an interesting cottage with parts from the 16th century.

... lots of carved furniture

... and we loved the stag pie (original recipe) , where the pastry was not intended to eat but as packaging to transport the pie around, broken into and the filling eaten.

A visit to my favourite cinema Fellinis in Ambleside, so civilized, really comfortable chairs and you are even allowed to take a pot of tea in on a tray!  We saw the Grand Budapest Hotel which we enjoyed, very quirky.

And some lovely woody walks filled with bluebells, wood anenomies, violets and primroses, bliss.  So a pretty good Easter though not enough chocolate, what did you get up to?