Monday, 30 July 2012

Proud to be British...

With all the hype and media coverage, it can't have escaped anyone's notice that the Olympics have arrived.  Even if you're not mad keen on sport, it's hard to ignore and not watch.  There is such an amazing variety, there really is something for everyone, and if like me, I am amazed at the passion and just what these athletes are able to do.  I have my favourites I'm glued to such as the eventing, tennis and  gymnastics (I have no idea how the gymnasts make their bodies do those things!) but I have also found myself drawn into things like archery, swimming and diving.

Although there was a cynical part of me expecting some hiccups in true Brit style, I was amazed at the fantastic opening ceremony.  Danny Boyle has such vision and cinematic skills it was a triumph, also supported by a truly excellent British soundtrack.  Loved it!  I also found having a nearly 5 year old helps as their enthusiasm is infectious and makes you view life from a whole different (and simpler) perspective.

Even though it was a brief glimpse, it was great to see the Olympic flame as it travelled on its 8000 mile 70 day journey around the UK.  Although it probably cost an astronomical amount and did little in the way of reducing our global carbon footprint, it did whet the appetite for the upcoming games.

Today has also seen the arrival of Lady Godiva in our little town of Rugby as part of the Godiva Awakes project.  This is a piece of public art as part of the celebrations of the UK hosting the Olympic Games in 2012.  It is a six metre high puppet travelling by cycle power from Coventry to London and is amazingly beautiful in real life.  Despite my explanation, the face of my daughter was priceless as she gracefully moved round the corner of the building.
Here in this photo, the engineering of the huge puppet can be glimpsed as she playfully touched the top of the tree.  I loved the fact that the team of operators aboard the vehicle were wearing Biggles style flying helmets and full length coats...
I left the house with a little girl and came home with a Dalmation!!
I have very little to update on the crafting front.  Following our recent UK heatwave, I have lost my mojo a little - its hard to crochet when you fell like you're wearing a pair of vibrating oven gloves!!  M.S. is renowned for being aggravated by overheating so I made the most of enjoying week 1 of the school holidays and catching up with a spot of painting, baking, playing at the park and the garden.

How about you?...Hope the weather is being kind to you in your part of the world...

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Nelson the Elephant

For an imminent arrival of a family baby, I have made this unique soft toy, which has been temporarily named 'Nelson'.  (Inspired by the childrens programme 64 Zoo Lane.)

I used the pattern from one of my favourite books, 'Sew a Metre' . (Oh wow! on adding this link I have just made the fab discovery of a sequel!) If I can recommend one book for budding crafters it is this one.  As the name suggests, all the projects require one metre (or one yard as it is an American book) or usually less (great for stash busting too) and covers a wide variety of projects, from bags, skirts for kids, toys, home decor.  Instructions are clear and precise and although requiring some sewing knowledge, I think it is a great book for beginners as well as more experienced sewists.  As the projects are all fairly small scale, they are fairly quick and are a great way of practising techniques and skills.

This is baby elephant from the book and although a little fiddly, if you take your time the end result is superb.   I think he will look great in the nursery and will alsop be safe enough for young ones to play with.  With this is mind, I purposefully made French knots for the eys as opposed to buttons, purely for safety.  I am especially proud of the knots as previously have had no success with them - they both came out perfectly and I fully expected to have to turn him into a winking elephant!  I can't offer any advice as I simply don't know how I achieved them!!

I used some blue fabric from my stash (baby is a boy!) and chose to use a few scraps of elephant print cotton to make the linings for the ears - think this adds a quirky touch. 

Here's hoping that the new owner loves him...If you too want to send one to a loved one or eagerly awaited arrival, please email or inbox me on Facebook.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Handy wrist bag

You know what its like when you've just got to walk the dog, pop to the shop for some essentials, do the school run...and you're faced with the dilemma of how to juggle your money, phone, don't want to take your usual handbag and you don't want your pockets stuffed to bursting point...

...I think I may have the solution!

This cute, versatile bag is just perfect.  Hand made from quality fabrics, the bag is totally reversible so you can alter your bag to suit you.  Its the perfect size to hold those essentials and once packed, simply slip the longer handle through the short one and you're good to go.

Either hold it in your hand or slip your wrist through the handle and your hands are clutter-free...

Corduroy versions with coordinating lining

Available in a variety of designs, there is something for everyone - the possibilites are endless and the end result unique.  Perfect for treating yourself or a gift for friends and family, and just as good for girls (and even boys!) of all ages.  At £8.50, I'm sure you'll agree they are a snip.

Tempted?  ...can't see what you're looking for?  Then contact me by email, or message me via Facebook and I will happily create the perfect bag.  I can also see this as a perfect evening bag and will run up a few samples too.

Go on treat yourself...

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Holiday essentials

Now that July is here, everyone's thoughts are turning to planning and packing for holidays.  If you're escaping our monsoon weather and off to a sunnier climate then lucky you!!  But I'm sure us hardy Brits will make the most of our hard-earned holidays and we'll just let the rain run off our stiff upper lip...

Have a look at my range of gorgeous and practical jewellery  wraps.  Perfect for stowing your necklaces, bracelets, bauble and bling while you're travelling and just as good to have at home...

Handmade by myself from high quality soft cotton, you're valuables will be safe and protected in the two zipped compartments.  The ribbon allows you to tie bracelets or earrings on for additional storage.

Then simply roll the organiser and secure with the ribbon tie and then you're good to go!  The wrap can then be stored safely away in your luggage, guaranteeing to protect them and keep them all in one place.

From ditsy florals... sophisticated prints...
..there's something...

                                                           ...for everyone...

Can't see what you're looking for?...then I will gladly make something to suit you.

Find me on Facebook and view the photo gallery, inbox me or email me for orders and enquiries.  I will post items out to you or deliver locally and can take payment via PayPal or cash on delivery.

Have a browse, and may the sun shine....

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The end result

After my recent success with Simplicity 2927, I definitely am going to dive in with the dress version in this gorgeous cotton sateen.

Now I'm not sure if it's just me as a novice to sewing, or whether you experts too sometimes find it hard to visualise a fabric made into the garment.

I don't seem to have this trouble when it comes to yarn and a crochet pattern or beads for making jewellery.  I love putting colours together and playing with different combinations but fabric...argh!  I hope that this is one of those things that comes with experience and as long as I keep having more successes than failures, I've got too get better and more decisive, haven't I?

I do think all fabric shops should have a full length mirror and a dressmaking form so that you can drape the fabric to get a better visual effect.  Maybe I'll drop it in as a suggestion in my local fabric shop...

After a bit of a project finishing session, I have made a list of projects to get done and as soon as the very last stitch is in this Simplicity 2927 dress, I am going to crack straight on with the Colette Hazel dress in this gorgeous striped cotton....what do you think?

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Vintage Haul

Don't you just love it when you go out to find and buy something but come across something totally different instead?

After hunting for Roald Dahl books in my local charity shops - I'd rather buy second hand than new for so many reasons- I kept coming out empty handed.  I've been reliving my childhood by reading the genius Dahl books to my little girl at bedtime and fueling her imagination and desire to read.  I'd forgotten how good they are...

Anyway, my last stop where I felt sure I would succeed, drew a disappointing blank too.  However, I did unearth in one of the back rooms of this my favourite Aladdin's cave, a varity of 60s and 70s crochet patterns (the pre-decimalisation prices are a clue if the designs aren't enough!), an 80s Vogue sewing pattern for a batwing top, pleated and tapered trousers and a child's culotte, jacket and skirt pattern.  What a haul!

I have scoured the web for a culottes pattern for myself and these look super easy and I'm hoping it may be possible to size it up based on the shape to fit me.  Plus I have the option to make these for my little one as she already wears them for school.

Hmmm I think I will have to make a regular visit to this special place to see what other gems I can unearth....

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Just one more Sorbetto...

I love this pattern!!  It is just so simple and offers endless possibilities by making slight variations.  And even better still, this simple top is all over the high street but at least by making it yourself, or getting one made for you if you're not so crafty, you can have it in whatever colour you like.  I've opted here for a bright rainbow cotton shirting - well I needed a taste of summer and I think this is the only way I can see it happening in the UK...

I am loving Collette patterns and have two dresses that I aim to make, the first being Hazel (more on that a later date).  I follow a number of blogs and is one I check several times a week - it is an excellent source of tips, techniques, design ideas and also regularly features people's creations. 

Each time I've made this top, I make a slight variation - a little longer in the body, slightly less cutaway at the front of the armhole and this time was no exception.

I'm not a fan of bias tape - its tricky to use, time consuming to use to get the best result, varies enormously in quality.  So I wanted to make this top but without the bias tape.

I decided to use front and back facings to make the edges super neat clean and crisp and this also provides some lining to the bust.  I guess on a more sheer fabric you could simply do a full lining...

Rather than doing darts on the inner fabric (no reason why you couldn't though), I used the front template and cut the facing fabric at the same level as the darts.  I also folded the template so the front pleat was omitted, purely to save fabric.  I repeated the same process to get the back facing cut and also cut both the back facing and back piece as two separate pieces rather than cutting on the fold as directed.  After sewing the darts and the pleat, the shoulder seams on the main fabric and the facing were next.  Then with right sides together, I sewed the armholes and the neck and then pulled the back pieces through the gap at the shoulder seams.

the elephant print version - using bias binding

This has given me more ideas now as I can see this top with a feature button fastening at the top of the back seam - mainly for added decorative interest but would also help going over the head, especially if I were to make it a slightly closer fit.  

I told you the possibilities are endless...even adding the links in this post has given me two more ideas for future versions!! ...just a shame I can't spend endless hours sewing...