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Once you choose hope, anything is possible.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Merry Christmas

Here are the tees being worn! Me wearing mine.
 And my sweetheart seemed happy to wear his too.
We enjoyed ourselves today.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

DIY Christmas Tee shirts

Oh yes, you can take plain white tee shirts and decorate them with fleece Christmas tree shapes for Christmas.
 I'm not convinced its a good idea....
I enjoyed myself hugely and the jury is out until Thursday!

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Lurex striped green cardi

And I managed to get the cardigan sewed up as well.
That's going to be some twinset! Maybe I won't wear them together....

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Lurex striped green top

I bought a remnant of striped dark green and sparkly green thin knit in the local roll end shop.
I thought it would make a fun top and cardigan set for the Christmas period, and managed to cut them out on Thursday evening,start sewing up the top on Friday evening and then finished it off today.
I will work on the matching cardigan in the evenings next week and hopefully it'll be done in time for Christmas.

Coat into jacket upcycle

I had a purple double breasted boiled wool jacket I had thrifted.
In practice it wasn't very good as a coat being a bit small, and only a single layer of boiled wool so I didn't wear it much as a coat, even though I loved it.
I had been harbouring an idea for a long time to make it into a jacket and one afternoon I actually got round to it.
What I did was.
- remove the belt and belt loops
- cut the coat off just below the pockets and topstitch as per the original hem
- sew up any unused buttonholes from the double breasted version, remove and resew the original buttons
- use the old inside buttons on the cuffs which were previously loose)

The fabric I have cut off will make a fabric bag and some travel slippers for the craft sale box.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Baby Trousers

** disclaimer -  I did not knit the cute little cardigans **
Ok so the adorable little cardigans were knitted by the lady on the next stall to me at the church Christmas Craft Fair, and I bought them off her. I can't knit very well and don't particularly feel the inclination to learn so this was a win-win for both of us.
I did however want to add a little something of my own making to the gifts and decided that given the shortage of time before the goodies needed posting, it needed to be something very quick and simple. So after a quick saunter through the fabric and pattern stashes I decided to use the pants from Simplicity 7807 in size newborn for the smaller baby and in small for the next baby. I used white thread throughout and the hems are sewn on the coverhem.
The striped fabric is a linen jersey and the plain blue a cotton jersey, so both will hopefully be nice for the babies to wear. I have no idea on the sizes of actual babies and have not had the joy of meeting either of them in person, so I hope I have got it about right.

Singin' in the rain gift cards

DBF bought tickets to a performance of  "Singin' in the rain" as gifts for various family members, and I made some little cards with umbrellas on them as gift cards to contain the tickets.
They came out a bit crazy so I hope the recipients enjoy them. I used pretty much the same technique as on the Christmas cards, only did the handles in stitching. These took a bit longer as the shapes are slightly more complicated. It does show though that a simple shape works well for this style of card.

Gold 'paper-chain' style garland using slats from an old blind

When I moved into my new-to-me  little house, the previous people had left behind the blind in the bathroom. I realised pretty quickly that it was broken and unfixable, so I cut the strings to get more light into the bathroom. I've since removed the top bar as well and as its a frosted upstairs window facing onto the side of my neighbours garage its not an urgent need to replace.

Anyhow I noticed once I had taken it down, that what I had thought was a brown blind was actually just a very dirty sparkly gold blind. So at this point I fished it back out of the waste paper bin and chucked it in a corner waiting for future inspiration to strike.
As we got nearer to Christmas we had a Christmas tree festival at church decorated by local groups, and one had a paper chain decoration. 'Ah ha' I thought, 'I could cut the blind up into pieces, staple them together and make a gold garland.....
So I washed and dried the slats, cut each one into 5 pieces about the same length discarding the sections round the little holes for the cord, and made a chain using 2 staples in each piece to hold them together. Its pretty springy stuff so glue or sticky tape is no good.
In use it is nicer if you turn the stapled sections to the back so they don't show too much. In my case each blind slat makes 5 loops and even with two garlands the lengths in the picture I have lots still to make up. All that stapling gets a bit hard on the wrist though and I needed to wrap a few presents so I paused for a bit.
I used a few sections of the blind as tags in the pots of Hyacinth bulbs to indicate the recipients (no pictures of that but you can probably imagine how that works.).

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Sewn Christmas Cards

These went to my family and a few friends, I made 30 in all, and used the same design for all of them.
There were a few failed test items, but these worked so well I made the whole batch the same.

At some point I will make up the rest of the card sheets (I think it was a pack of 50), and have them ready for future craft fairs.
As you can see it is a very simple Christmas tree design, where the tree shape is cut from a dark green fabric already printed with stars which look like decorations on the tree (if you ignore the decorated trunk!).
I like to start at the top of the tree and stitch round in one go using thread which matches the card. I just snip the threads, as it seems daft to spend ages tying them off on what is basically a disposable item.
A few people have commented on them, so they seem to have gone down quite well.

Update

Hi, I've realised that I've not done a post in ages. It's been busy in the run up to Christmas and I'm working right though to the 24th so have to fit things in at the weekend or in lunch breaks.

I will try to do a little bit catching up sharing the things I have made, these were basically Christmas cards, themed gift cards and some jersey baby trousers. I've also mended some hems, taken a waistband in and turned a boiled wool coat into a jacket by cutting the bottom section off and moving buttons. Oh and made a paper-chain style garland out of the plastic slats from a broken gold venetian blind.

I will try and work through and do some posts showing what I have done. As they are pretty simple ideas they might be useful for others.

Oh btw I did buy the bookcase from Ikea. The shelves are not adjustable, however each is large enough for a magazine rack or A4 folder so very useful in a study. It is up, mostly filled and is helping make things work better in my study/guest room.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

60cm wide Ikea bookcase - finally

I have quite a few old Ikea Billy bookcases in a now discontinued colour called Beech. Two of these are also in the now discontinued width of 60cm and are very handy for those narrower spaces. I have never liked the 40cm wide Billy bookcases and have not bought any.
I have a couple of spaces in the new house which could use a 60cm wide bookcase. So was happy to see the new Ikea GERSBY which is 60cm wide, 24cm deep and 1.8m tall.

There is another Ikea bookcase in black or red the same size but called FINNBY.
Currently no light oak/beech type colours which would be nice and complement my furniture better but these look to be handy.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Burgundy Winter 6 PAC: Photos and mending

Here's the Burgundy collection with the added RTW plum trousers and ox blood coat.
I fixed the hem on some dark plum M&S Per Una trousers I've been wearing with my Burgundy 5 PAC. They look the same only don't have a bit of hem hanging down for your foot to get caught in when you try ot put them on, and then wobble and fall down. So its a health and safety thing.
As you can see compared to the burgundy cardigan the plum trousers are a bit darker, and blend very well with both tops and both jackets so I am really pleased.
I also found this old ox blood leather car coat in with some of the winter clothes I had packed before moving, which works well as an outerlayer with the whole collection.

I also fixed the hem on some black RTW trousers which are part of a very boring but useful M&S trouser suit. I noticed the hem was down on the morning train on the way to London a few months ago, and decided to just ignore it and hope no-one noticed. I work in IT with a load of blokes so as far as I can tell no-one did notice. Anyway it bugged me so I got round to fixing them which is great.

The next day after a deep breath, I started altering another pair of black trousers, this time some Debenhams designer ones I got in the January sale. They needed the waistband making smaller by quite a few inches. It was a lot of messing about but the fit is now quite good. They still look like black trousers, though nicer quality fabric than the M&S ones.

Really none of these is worth a picture. I have some grey suit trousers and a tan suit skirt which need something similar to happen, I'm going to leave them for a little bit so the trauma can die down a bit after the black ones. I hate doing alterations but I like wearing nicely fitting clothes.

In the spirit of fixing things I decided the burgundy skirt needs a little bit of elastic adding into the drooping areas, so I did that next, but hope you liked how the trousers and coat work with the sewn pieces.
 Thanks Ruthie

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Winter 6PAC summary so far

Here's the collection so far, looking quite good. (the skirt is from the same fabric as the top and cardigan so does match it just looks an odd colour in that photo).

I am a little torn now, the machines are threaded up with white, so I want to sew another striped top, this time in a fabric which is off white and taupe so would blend with a great many things. However I think the plan says I should sew another bottom.

I do have some darker toning trousers (purchased) which I've been wearing with the collection so maybe I am already covered. Thoughts?

Monday, 17 November 2014

Guest room curtain rail and curtains.

Batten and curtain rail put up by DBF in the study/guest room (with me trying to help), neither of us natural DIYers.
Curtains, made by me (before the move) in a very Ruthie leaf motif.
The fabric is a gold home dec woven with tiny leaves across and down and is backed with the light blocking rubbery background fabric. They may get hemmed a little shorter but for now they work.
The curtain pole is a silvery finish metal pole with twiddly ends.
I think I will try to stick to cream, gold and silver in here as a colour scheme as its a rather small room.
Currently there's only a single folding bed, but there will be a proper double in here for my guests at some future point.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Craft Fair

Today's stall at the craft fair.
I am wearing the striped top and burgundy cardigan I made recently.

Fabric Scrap Christmas Cards

Fabric Scrap Christmas cards, either to sell at the Craft Fair or to send to the people in my address book...
The shapes are sewn on by machine then the buttons are hand sewn on afterwards.
I think my favourite one is in the centre on the bottom row. I cut this out of the foliage part of a large print.

These all sold at the Christmas Fair.

I use card blanks (not paper) which I bought from Dunelm Mill a while back before they stopped carrying craft materials.

To avoid the card tearing make sure you don't stitch too close to the edge of  card.

Winter 6PAC: Striped top completed

This is the same pattern as the burgundy top, but here done in a woven stripe. The colours are bungundy, beige, grey and off-white.
The stripe matches across the centre back seam, on the side seams or the sleeve seams but only at one point on the front armhole.
Pattern: As mentioned before the body from New Look 6414 view C, altered for a forward head and high round back, the long sleeve from Butterick 3344 and a collar I drafted myself which is just a big rectangle the length of the original neckband and made a lot deeper.
In the Autumn and Winter I wear these tops a lot and they are my version of a turtleneck. Due to the forward head fitting problem I can't purchase turtlenecks so this is a great option for me.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Sewn 'New Home' card

I have new neighbours and so sewed up this simple housewarming card for them.
I hope they like it.
I am planning some Christmas cards in a similar style.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Wonderful crocheted poppy pin

My colleague L was selling these today, and I bought one immediately because its just wonderful.
I have an official paper poppy too (left), but its just so good!
The crochet version is likely to survive being worn by me a lot better.
I wonder if next year I could make some fabric ones?

Friday, 7 November 2014

Craft Fair: Shower Curtain Fabric Shopping Bags

I have a few cushions I made which can go along to the Craft Fair next Saturday but all the shopping bags had sold out at the last one, so I decided to make some out of shower curtain fabric. If you cut the area with the rings off you can get 6 shopping bags out of a standard curtain. 3 across by 2 down. I added toning turquoise webbing handles and plan to sell these for £2 each, which hopefully will be about right for the materials and effort that's gone into them.
Its taken part of three evenings to cut out and sew these up, so hopefully they will appeal to people and sell well.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Winter 6PAC: 2 layering pieces completed

First up, a cardigan based on New Look 6735, with the lower portion of the jacket replaced with a peplum with angled corners, this can be worn loose, pinned with a brooch at the waist or belted.
The second layering piece is a soft jacket made from New Look 6082. For this I used a quilted paisley fabric for the outer and a beautiful olive satin for the lining. It is fully bagged by machine and is lovely to wear. The quilted layer makes it very warm.
I am happy with both of these, especially once I give the quilted jacket a little press, as all that turning through the narrow sleeve opening has crumpled it a little.

If I can find a nice pattern (anything in recent Burdas?) then I would like to make the rest of the olive satin into a draped neck top.
The fabric would work very well with the cowled drapey style and be a stylish juxtaposition to the burgundy (I hope!).

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Winter PAC: Burgundy turtleneck cowl sweater

Here's the second item from the 6PAC, happily this picture has come out with the real colour, which is much darker than the skirt appeared in the previous post. You can see the skirt hanging up behind the top.
The necklace was also made by me and is tiny little faux pearls between oval shaped mother-of-pearl beads which have the shimmering blue green one side but a matt shell pink on the other.

I can't really tell you what this pattern is, though its based on the body from New Look 6414 view C, altered for a forward head and high round back, the long sleeve from Butterick 3344 and a collar I drafted myself which is just a big rectangle the length of the original neckband and made a lot deeper.
In the Autumn and Winter I wear these tops a lot and they are my version of a turtleneck. Due to the forward head fitting problem I can't purchase turtlenecks so this is a great option for me.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Winter 6PAC: Vogue 2989 Burgundy Skirt

Here's the completed Vogue 2989 skirt made up in the dark burgundy knit.
This was not as well behaved as the charcoal ponte I used for this pattern in April.
The pleat detail is on the opposite side due to me having trouble working out which was the right side of the fabric when cutting out under artifical light.
Here it is styled with the ivory top I made for SWAP and a necklace from my collection. A grey or navy jacket would finish things up nicely.
Sewing this skirt required me to get out the sewing machine, overlocker and coverhem and set them up in my tiny new sewing room. It is quite crowded in there, so I may move the shelving unit full of the fabric stash up into the loft once all the work on the boiler, bathroom and loft has been done.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Winter 6PAC - Burgundy and Navy separates for work

Having not sewn anything for 2 months, I have a partially unpacked sewing room, and the lovely Elizabeth has started up a wonderful new Winter 6PAC thread over on Stitchers Guild.

I am going to make some pieces in navy and burgundy. The current plan is

Navy boiled wool jacket - previously made
Navy pinstripe trousers - proper wool trousers with lining and etc.
Then being me, I am going to do some knit pieces
In burgundy/eggplant - Vogue 2989 skirt,
and my TNT cowl turtle necked top
Depending on how the fabric yardage works out I may be able to sneak a cardigan in as well, though we shall see on that one.

In navy ponte there will be a top and skirt, quite possibly the same patterns used again but I might want to do something different by then or find that I have to as the yardage doesn't permit. I haven't measured the navy fabric yet.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Cushions found whilst unpacking

These cushions were found whilst unpacking and will go to the Christmas Fairs one on Sat 15th Nov and another on Fri 28th Nov.
I think once the sewing stuff gets unpacked I will be making more bags whilst the webbing for handles lasts.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

New Home

All the paperwork got finally sorted for the four house chain whilst we were on holiday and less than one week after we came back I got the keys for my own little house. I had removal guys move the furniture and things I had managed to box up, and then have brought the other bits over by car (I've only moved round the corner and slightly down the hill as I like the area). I've spent what seems a lot of time back at the old place cleaning and sorting the garden out, and hopefully it will have been enough to ensure the return of the deposit when I have the exit inspection tomorrow as I had less than two weeks overlap in the end.

The basics are unpacked at the new place but its going to need some work on the bath/shower/boiler so waiting to see if I have to dismantle the shelving in my tiny new sewing room so part of the floor can come up for pipework or not. As such I don't really want to actually unpack any of the fabric until I know which way this is going.

In 4 weeks time I am sharing a stall at the local Christmas Market which raises funds for the village church. My fellow stall holder knits so we thought my sewn things would complement her knitted items well. It will also give us both a chance to wander round the other stalls  - I shall make a beeline for the homemade jam and cakes - and also take comfort breaks when required.

I'm not sure if I will have much time, space or unpacked resources to sew anything more for our stall, but happily I have some items I already made which I packed in with the books, so have put them into an Ikea zippy bag as I went through unpacking the boxes of books and can just produce them when required.
These include various cushions - floral hearts, union jacks and some other larger floral ones, one string of bunting, some bookmarks maybe an apron or two. The main area I can see being useful would be fabric bags. I have sold out of the stock twice now, so they are definitely worth making if only I can recall which 'Sewing' box has the webbing for handles in it.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Feira Dos Tecidos, Funchal, Madeira

We took a holiday in the Portuguese island of Madeira recently, and I was pleased to find the fabric shop Feira Dos Tecidos open (I had seen it in Lisbon at Easter but it was closed).
When the shop is open they pull large remant bins out onto the street to tempt shoppers. The remnants are sold by the piece or by weight. The store also has lots of rolls of fabric and a home dec section.
Whilst I had a good look at everything, I actually bought 3 pieces of printed sweater knit from the Euro 3.95 a piece remnant boxes.
This abstract print is black, dark brown, taupe, teal and ivory. 1.25m x 150cm wide.3.95E

This floral has black, dark grey, light grey, dark brown, rusty brown, camel and ivory. Also 1.25m x 150cm wide. 3.95E

This wonderful animal print has black, grey, brown, camel and ivory but is only 0.9m x 150cm. I loved it so much that I bought it anyway and will be creative when cutting out.

All 3 fabrics work well with existing pairs of purchased wool trousers - one camel, one dark brown. The second two also work with black basics and some wool mix charcoal trousers.
DBF was not impressed by how long I was gone (45 mins) as he couldn't imagine I could be in the shop all that time and was worried I'd got lost. He also didn't seem too wowed with brown based sweater knit fabric, so I have promised its Autumn/Winter wear for work!

Monday, 8 September 2014

Lovely tweed for an Autumn jacket

I bought the last 1.5metres of this beautiful fabric from the Monday Market Man at lunchtime today.
 I've been looking for something for a while to make a simple smart jacket to wear with these purchased tan wool trousers.
 This has exactly the right colour woven into the ivory and pale aqua background along with lots of other beautiful colours. Hopefully I will be able to tackle this project once I have moved to the new house.
I have absolutely no idea what the fabric content is, but it is so very pretty and quite an open weave. It was £4 a metre which is the upper end :-)
This Autumn I want to sew a very simple jacket in this beautiful fabric, which I will then wear with my existing purchased mint green classic pintucked blouse and tan wool lined trousers.
And in even happier news it also blends beautifully with my lovely (but hard to wear) silk scarf!
Yay!!!

Saturday, 6 September 2014

How to use scraps for other garments: some ideas

Here are some ideas of how you can use leftover fabric from one project to make another garment.