The grumpy crafter

I’ve been in a right grump recently, for no particular reason and I can’t seem to shake it off. I could probably blame my husband, kids, the weather, the general election and many other things that sometimes irritate me, but I think it really is just me in a grump. In an attempt to cheer my self up I have tried to make a few bits in between making stuff for Sherwood Art Week, and I sort of think it’s working. 
I made a pair of Carrie Trousers from Sew Over It, I really like the style of these trousers, and thought they would be perfect for summer. I used some very cheap viscose polyester linen look stuff from the local market, which I’m glad only cost £1.50/m as these trousers nearly ended up in the bin! They are huge through the leg! I managed to adjust the waistband so they sit a bit lower on my waist which I think looks better, but then I chopped too much off the length of the leg- argh! They are okay though, and I think I can make some adjustments to the pattern for a future pair through the leg. 


I’m really very pleased and cheered up by a bag I’ve made using Rico Fashion Jersey. It’s lined with some quilting cotton from my stash, and I bought some handles, also by Rico, to stitch on. I’m so happy with it! The pattern is the Everyday Bag from Modern Crochet by Molla Mills. I’ve not used the type of yarn suggested in the pattern, but I didn’t think it would matter too much if the bag was a little bigger. I like the stitch definition this yarn gives, and it holds its shape well.


I lined it using some quilting cotton from my stash which I must say is a rather good match. Finding a zip was a bit tricky but I’m glad I persevered… I did threaten to have a zip related strop if I didn’t find the right one after I’d been in four shops with no success! Sewing the handles on was tricky but I’m pleased I used them as the finish is much nicer.

 I bought all the yarn and the bag handles at Knit Nottingham, which is a lovely independent yarn shop in town and I got some great advice from Eleanor about the yarn. She had made a bag with it and also used the same handles which really looked good. I used four and a half balls of the yarn, and one fat quarter of fabric to line the bag. I’m going to have crochet bags every where, they are rather addictive to make. 
I’ve decided to take part in the #sewingforsummer challenge on Instagram. This summer the challenge is to make a shirt dress, and I’m going to attempt the Megan Nielsen Darling Ranges shirt dress. I’ve made a toile for the bodice, and so far it’s not going that well. I think the shoulders of the pattern sleeve just do not fit me. I’m going to compare the pattern pieces of another pattern that does fit and maybe combine the two patterns in some kind of Frankenstein’s monster dress pattern. The shirt dress needs to be made by 21st June, so I have a while yet, and already have my fabric, this beautiful viscose from Stof and Stil. 

I’m not ready yet to share too much of the embroidery and crochet work I’ve been doing for Sherwood Art Week. I’ve put a few sneaky peeks on Instagram, all will be revealed soon! I like what I’ve done. I think I do anyway…. Which takes me right back to my grump! 
Teresa xx

More Adventures in Dressmaking: Clemence Skirt no.4 and a Velvet Jumper 

Spring is trying to spring all around us here in England as I write and I’m very happy about this as it means I can wear my spring and summer clothes without getting frozen!  I’ve been championing spring clothes for a couple of weeks now and have felt rather chilly!
Here is my fourth Clemence Skirt (from the Love at First Stitch book by Tilly Walnes). I’ve made this using the Fruit Drop print by Cotton and Steel, which I bought from Fabric Fox when they had a sale on. I LOVE this print! It’s quilting cotton which I’ve never actually used for dressmaking before, and it’s actually perfect for this style of skirt as it has a bit of body to give a lovely shape. I’ve got a couple of other pieces of quilting cotton in my stash waiting to become dresses and they might move up the queue rather quickly now! 


The waistband is a little loose, I think I stretched it before I sewed it so I might have to take it in a bit. I really like the longer length though, I prefer longer skirts for the summer.


Shoes from Boden a couple of years ago, can’t believe how perfectly they go with this skirt! 


Next up is a sort of self drafted sweatshirt, in velvet! I made this a few months ago, but have really struggled to take any decent photos of it. The fabric is a stretch velvet from Fabric Godmother, it’s in a lovely petrol blue colour and is beautifully soft. I used the neckline and sleeve heads from the Moneta Dress pattern by Colette, but altered the bodice shape and sleeve shape so it is a little looser and boxy. I also added a neckband which sticks up ever so slightly, but I don’t mind.  I was really careful when I cut it out to make sure all the velvet ‘strokes’ the same way, however this created the unforeseen problem that when I try to put a jacket or coat on over the top the sleeves stick and bunch up in an uncomfortable way to the jacket’s sleeves! So it’s not had as much wear as I thought it would but now it’s warmer weather (yay!) I’ll not be needing a jacket! 


I’ve chopped my head off in some photos as I had to edit the photos so much to try and accurately show the velvet colour, and I started to look like I was an alien. You’ll just have to trust me on the colour, it’s nicer than the pictures! I like it with my mustard scarf.

Have a lovely crafty week 
Teresa xx

Dressmaking in my spare time: the Betty Dress by Sew Over It

Today I’m sharing one of my favourite handmade pieces ever, the Betty Dress by Sew Over It.
I’ve always liked this dress pattern, and when I received an invite to a friends wedding to be held in February I thought it was the perfect chance to make it. I bought the ‘sleeve and scoop neck’ pack too, which is a PDF download pattern to add a sleeve, and a scoop or v-neck to to the bodice, which is normally sleeveless and has a boat neck at the front. The print at home pattern was very easy to put together and it’s a great extra option for the dress. I like that Sew Over It patterns also have plenty of notches for matching pattern pieces too, it just makes them a wee bit more accurate to sew up.


Late on last year, I bought the Sew Crafty  dressmaking journal. It’s a clever notebook which has space to make detailed notes and drawings of sewing projects, along with fabric swatches and photos (if I ever get round to printing them off). It was rather useful for the Betty dress as I had to make a quite a few adjustments to the bodice, and I used the mannequin outline pages in the journal to more accurately record my measurements. Making your own clothes can sometimes make you feel like you are a weird shape. I had to take out 10cm from the back of the dress, lower the bust darts by 4cm, widen the shoulders and alter the slope of them…. And I still think the neckline gapes a little! The journal was really handy for recording all the alterations which I did while making 2 toiles. I also used a book called Sew Many Dresses which has a very helpful section on adjustments, when you need to make them, and how! 


I’m really pleased with how the dress turned out. The fabric is also from Sew Over it, it’s a slightly heavier than normal viscose and I absolutely love it! It has all my favourite colours, beautiful drape and was a real treat to sew with. I bought a fluffy 50s style petticoat to wear underneath for some extra volume which really made the dress feel extra special. I also made a clutch bag using some Cygnet Seriously Chunky yarn, in Barley (from Mrs Snufflebean ). I adapted the purse pattern in Inside Crochet magazine (which is designed by my internet friend Rosina of Zeens and Roger blog). It’s lined with some left over fabric from my dress for extra matchy-matchiness. 


This is one of my favourite makes; it was perfect to wear for a wedding and I really loved the swishyness of the skirt. It did use a lot of fabric though as I wanted the skirt to be a little longer than the pattern, and as it is a full circle skirt that meant a lot of fabric indeed. With a little bit of jiggery pokery in the lay plan I managed to save enough fabric to make a top from the fabric too, and as I’m planning to make a plain black circle skirt I’m sure the top will get a lot of wear.  I need to get myself invited to another fancy do so I can wear this dress again!

Teresa  xx

Dressmaking in my spare time: Cleo Dungaree Dress

Cleo Dungaree Dress by Tilly and the Buttons 

Well it’s been aaaages since I shared a dressmaking project. Last summer I think! I’ve made quite a few items over the last few months, but I’ll share them one by one rather than blast you with lots of pictures of me in one go! 
One of my Christmas presents was the Cleo Pinafore/ Dungaree Dress pattern by Tilly and the Buttons. Another Christmas present was some thick black denim, which I chose from Stop and Stil. This wasn’t a coincidence- I had cleverly masterminded this to happen! 
So I made a dungaree dress! 
When this pattern first came out I wasn’t sure I would suit it. After seeing a lot of the different creations on Pinterest and Instagram I thought I would give it a go and decided a nice neutral black denim would be good. Grey t-shirts and striped t-shirts would look good, and tights or leggings! 
The pattern came together very easily, thanks to the lovely clear instructions that are a trademark of all Tilly and the Buttons patterns. I lengthened the skirt by 3″ which is the usual adjustment I make to the skirt part of TATB patterns as I’m quite tall. Turning the straps inside out left me with aching fingers and I think I wouldn’t do it the same way next time! I used bronze coloured buckles from my local haberdashery stall in the market, which were a bargain at £1.50 a pair.  

Anyway, here it is and I’m so pleased with how it came out! I’ve worn it loads. (I was a bit irritated by the denim when it was washed as it has distressed itself and I’m not entirely reassured by my five year old son’s statement that it looks like a lightning strike!) It’s also the perfect item of clothing for showing off my small collection of pin badges. 


I’m feeling very pleased by stepping slightly- only slightly- out of my dressmaking comfort zone and trying a new style and different fabric, yay me!
Teresa xx

‘Mightier’ pen pin badge by RockCakes, Helter SkelterPin badge by Lucky Dip Club

Mostly orange and mustard

Hello everyone, 
It feels like ages since I’ve stopped by in blogging world. I’ve had a few blog ideas but no ‘real’ time to write a post… Sadly the exciting plans I had for all my free time seems to have vanished in a puff of smoke. I honestly don’t know where the mornings go, and the evenings are eaten up by homework, reading, spelling practice and mild exhaustion! 

I’ve been busy making stuff though, trying to play around creatively, and also trying to learn a few new dressmaking skills. I have started trying to make clothes with jersey and knits, so I can make full use of my overlocker. I made this sweatshirt out of the gorgeous orange space dyed jersey I bought at the Handmade Fair from the Eternal Maker.  I made it using a free pattern from It’s Always Autumn, which I found via Pinterest. It was very easy to make, even for a jersey newbie like me. I added a little length to the sleeves and shortened the bodice. Raglan sleeves are great! However due to my square shoulders I did have to add a little dart on the shoulders, to take the fullness out, but I don’t think it’s too noticeable. It’s also cosy and warm and very orange!! I used a twin needle to finish the cuffs and hem off- that was another new skill! I’ve nearly made a dress out of jersey, but VERY annoyingly I broke my twin needle before it was finished. So I may have learned a new skill but I still forgot to take the pins out as I sewed…

Another new winter wardrobe item, I’ve sewn a cord skirt with a buttoned front fastening, using the instructions from Tilly and the Buttons Picnic Blanket Skirt. It sticks out a little bit, which I rather like, and it only used one and a half metres of fabric (from Guthrie and Ghani, sadly no longer in stock) and is going to be very cozy in winter too. Just not to be worn with the orange sweatshirt me thinks. 

I went to IKEA for breakfast the other day after the school drop off (£1.50!! You can’t go wrong!) with another mum. Obviously we had to have a look around afterwards and spotted this amazing cat fabric, which I made into an envelope cushion for her. It only took half an hour so was rather satisfying and quick. 


During a sort out I found a freebie paper-cutting gift that came with my Mollie Makes magazine a while ago, and I thoroughly enjoyed doing this piece. It’s a bit tough on the fingers, but very absorbing to do, I might have a go at designing one myself. One day! 


I’ve also started making a couple of Christmas gifts, which I can’t share here for obvious reasons; I think I’ve now got at least 20 projects on the go. I keep telling myself that I need to finish things off but then some lovely new yarn/fabric/ideas come along and I just have to start something new. I drive myself mad! 


Thinking of new fabric, look at this vintage barkcloth I bought from eBay! I love it! No idea what I’ll make, suggestions welcome, it’s only 1m in length but it’s just fabulous and I had to buy it! Look at what those couples are up to…
Have a lovely crafty weekend
Teresa xx

Not a failure… 

Hello,

I’m sharing a few recently finished projects today that haven’t gone exactly to plan, in the hope that once I’ve talked about them I will be able to move on and sort my mistakes out! 

First up is the Blouse Top from Megan Nielsen’s  Darling Ranges pattern. I saw this during MeMadeMay, and really liked the style of both top and dress. The pattern comes in sizes XS to L, and when I compared my measurements I was S at the bust and M at the waist. I duly altered the pattern, cut out and made the top. It stretches and pulls from the shoulders to the bust, which is really annoying me! The whole point of making my own clothes is that they should fit me! Argh! 

So I made another one. This was probably a pretty stupid idea, I should have spent some time working out what went wrong with the black top. This time I added a bit more ease through the shoulders, and the result is better but not perfect.  


I found a book in the library at the weekend which is called ‘Sewing Patterns, 200 questions answered’ which suggests the problem might be caused by the angle of the shoulder seams. My shoulders are definitely square, not sloping so I’m going to play around with it to see if that makes it better, and then begin the painstaking job of unpicking the neckline binding and re-sewing it! I’m definitely going to make a toile for the dress, I have some lovely indigo chambray that I really don’t want to mess up. 


Project number 2 is a lesson in checking and double checking. I ordered some lovely Drops 100% Alpaca Yarn, to make a shawl from Simply Crochet magazine No 40, and only half way through did I realise the yarn was 4ply not lace weight. The shawl is lovely but tiny. I should have started again when I realised my error and used a bigger hook, but that yarn is really hard to pull out! The fibres all stick together.  I haven’t taken many pictures yet as I’m still in a huff with it. 

I’m going to be using that library book again for the Carrie Trousers by Sew Over It that I’m making. I am intending them as a wearable toile, I really like the trouser style but these are not going well so far! Far too big in the thighs but I’m working on it and will share it all properly in a separate post. 

So there we go, I do feel a bit better that I’ve shared some of the tricky bits (I’m not saying failure yet!) and I’m going to get busy with my unpicker now.

Have a good week!

Teresa

PS my online shop will be back open again tomorrow! Hurray!

Me Made May 16- it’s over! 

Well, today is the last day of May which means it’s the last day of Me Made May too. I’ve really enjoyed it! Will I be diving into my shop bought clothes tomorrow? No, not really. I now know where the gaps are in my handmade wardrobe and I feel quite keen to fill them up. On sunny and warm days this month I’ve felt like I have a lot of choice with what to wear, however on colder days it felt harder. So I’d like to make some more cooler weather clothes, or things that are easier to layer up with cardis and jumpers. I’m naturally drawn to cheerful summery prints to sew with, however on dull days I don’t want to wear these clothes! With that in mind I’ve recently bought some lovely indigo chambray, a navy and olive silk and linen checked fabric and a heavy crepe in navy to make some dresses that can be worn all year round. Now I just need to decide on the dress patterns!So, over the last week this is what I wore:


New Look 7654 top in a light weight chambray. I really like the look of this top, however for some reason I decided to use self covered buttons at the back instead of a zip, and as a result the top is very difficult to get fastened without help, and makes leaning against the sofa very very uncomfortable! I think I need to sort this out as this puts me off wearing this top, and I do like it. 


On Tuesday my swishy skirt Bettine Dress made another appearance. I wore my Bettine Dress with an A line skirt on Wednesday but the tights were back on again! To make it a Bettine triple I wore my green Bettine on Thursday. I can’t actually remember what I wore on Friday… I didn’t make a note of it and really can’t think what it was. 


I did manage to finish my Emery Dress in Liberty Tana lawn in time to wear it on my birthday. We had a family day out to Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire and I really felt the birthday girl in my pretty frock. Pattern by Christine Haynes. 

I am really pleased with how this top has turned out- another Bettine Dress into a top, in a striped crepe from Minerva Crafts. It was my first time sewing with crepe and it behaved itself a lot better than I thought it would! I’m wearing it with my new tote bag from the Lucky Dip Club


Monday involved a child free trip to Manchester, and I wore my refashioned bridesmaid dress and enjoyed a cheeky cocktail!


And for the last day of Me Made May I wore my Suzie Top by Sew Over It- this time I took a (slightly odd) photo while wearing it. I like it better than the first time I wore it, but not I’m still not entirely sure. I think it needs to be worn with jeans or it can look too formal. Maybe I need a more modern or graphic print…

And that’s it! I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who has liked blog posts, Facebook posts and Instagram pics and said lovely things about my clothes. And also to Zoe at So Zo for organising Me Made May 2016. I can now pack up my tripod and forget how to use the auto timer on my camera, until next year!

Teresa x