Back in January I signed up to take part in the Very Berry mini hoop swap, organised by Ali Burdon. I thought it would be good as it had been a while since I had done any embroidery and I felt like I needed something to kick start me back into it. The swap involved creating a piece of embroidery in a Dandelyne mini hoop 5.5cm wide. We were given the details of our swap partner and some of their likes and dislikes to get us started.
So here’s my hoop, a very very literal interpretation of my swap partner Julie’s likes- purple and flowers! I really enjoyed making this, and it really did reignite my love of embroidery. For those of you who are new followers, I studied Textile Design and specialised in embroidery at university. Crochet (and dressmaking) has kind of taken over in the last few years though. I’ve been feeling like I needed to combine these two techniques, somehow, and since the swap I’ve gone on to make these two little wall decorations for my Folksy shop.
I used some lovely hand dyed crewel wool from Paivatar Yarns, a fellow Folksy seller and I’m really happy with the effect. I think all the spring flowers popping up everywhere have inspired me!
I’m thinking of other embroidery designs I can finish with crocheted frames at the moment, as I’m taking part in an Art and Crafts week, in Sherwood, an area of Nottingham near where I live. I’m going to have my work on display in a shop window for a week in June! Sherwood Art Week is great, the whole area gets yarn bombed, there is a fabulous craft fair, and most of the shops in the area let artists and craftspeople use their shop windows for display, it’s one big art gallery! I’ve bought some lovely stuff from the craft fair before, and my kids love to go and look at the yarn bombing.
And before I forget, this is the hoop I received from Lucy Brennan of Charm About You for the swap. She’s used my favourite colours and her favourite fabrics, I love it!
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
Making an item of crochet clothing was one of my aims for this year, and I’ve done it! I wanted to go for something fairly straightforward and decided that the crochet top from Mollie Makes Magazine, issue 53, by Anna Wilkinson from the book Learn to Crochet, Love to Crochet, might be the one to start with. I couldn’t get hold of the yarn that was suggested in the pattern, but it does say any similar Aran wool superwash would do. I decided on King Cole Merino Blend Aran, in Raspberry, which apparently is anti tickle so I should be able to wear it next to my skin.
Making the top was really straight forward, as I had hoped. I made it in size 12, but the length for size 8 in the longer length version. The body has no shaping, it’s just at the arms and neck. I only did one round of trebles at the neck, the pattern says three, as it was a bit too high on my neck. The shoulders fit perfectly, although further down I’m getting used to the boxy fit. It’s a pretty substantial top, it’s nice and chunky and feels very warm on but it’s quite heavy too! Seeing as I’m a chilly sort of person- I can always feel a draught- I think a woolly t-shirt will suit me just fine. It’s the first time I’ve sewn up a crochet garment and doing the sleeves were a bit tricky, as you have to ease the body not the sleeves (which is the opposite of dressmaking!) but I managed it second time round! I’ll definitely make more crocheted clothes.
I’m also wearing a self drafted hand made circle skirt, which I love! It’s made with some poly/cotton/acrylic mix I bought from my local market for £1.50 a metre! Perfect for a fabric greedy skirt like this. I feel a bit like I could fit in at Hogwarts when I’m wearing it, I’m channeling my inner Professor Snape! I like the skirt with the top, it’s an outfit I feel rather happy in. Now I just need some warmer weather to wear it!
Yarn bought at Wool Warehouse, Scissor Necklace by n0meo
Firstly thank you so much for all the lovely comments on my Betty Dress (last post), I was very pleased everyone likes it as much as me! I’m also very pleased as a photo I put on Instagram of the dress has won me £20 to spend at Sew Over It, I’m the SOI show off winner for February! Yay me! ( Sew Over It pick their favourite make from one of their patterns from the hashtag #SOIshowoff every month, if you want to take part).
Other than my Betty Dress I don’t seem to have much to show for February. I did finish a crochet jumper but I haven’t taken photos yet and keeps raining so I won’t get them done today. I continued making my granny square coat. I also started making a scarfy shawl thing with some mohair acrylic mix that was on sale in Boyes. It’s a rather nice yarn. Does anyone shop in Boyes? I love the nearest one to me, it’s like going back in time to a shop in the late 80s, they have often have great craft supplies (as well as lightbulbs, batteries, cleaning products and some bizarre clothing!)
I did make a lovely bag when I did some pattern testing for Rosina of Zeens and Roger . It’s made using t-shirt yarn from Tiger and was a quick and satisfying project. The pattern is now available here. I’ve now popped some beads on the end of the tie fastener. I think it looks nice and summery, I’m looking forward to using it. I rather like t-shirt yarn, I’ve not used it much before but I’ve enjoyed playing around with it.
I hosted FolksyHour on Twitter on Tuesday night which was great fun. FolksyHour is a chance for Folksy shop owners like myself to get together and have a chat about all the aspects of running an online shop, and making your own products. I decided to create a desert island of craft and inspiration, taking inspiration from Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs. Everyone seemed to really enjoy the theme, we managed to pack lots of music, some art galleries, quite a lot of craft supplies and Tom Hardy’s leg! You can read all about it here…
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!
Well the end of January is nigh, and I thought I’d share a little crafty catch up with you all. I’ve been adding a few new handmade bits to my Folksy shop over the last week or so. One of the perks of this job is that I test out all my ideas – particularly jewellery- on myself and wear a test piece so I can see how well it works and if it needs any tweaks. After some ‘rigorous testing’ with a navy version I made a collection of these star necklaces in some juicy colours.
They are hand stitched to a felt backing for extra sturdiness, and are attached with jump rings to gold or silver plated chains. (Link to Shirley Rainbow shop here.)
While I was making these necklaces I got a bit distracted by the colours and made this necklace too, and after lots of lovely comments on Instagram I’ve decided to make this style of necklace for my shop too! It would be made to order, and I’m going to try out some different colour ways too, soon. (Shop link as above.)
I’ve been playing around with the crocheted picture frames I made a while back. I was really pleased with how these have turned out, and I’ll hopefully make a few more for my shop too. If you have any ideas for words to stitch please let me know!!
I’ve started a new crochet project for myself too. I had a mad session on Pinterest a few weeks back, where I was searching for crochet clothing. Well I found this picture:
Image from Kitsch Bitch via Pinterest here.
I love it!!!!! And so with some odd balls of Drops Karisma I’ve started to make a granny square coat. Eeeek! I’m stupidly excited by it.
And finally, I’ve nearly finished my first Betty Dress, by Sew Over It. I’m a bit in love with this fabric too. I might wear my granny square coat with it one day……..!
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!
‘Mightier’ pen pin badge by RockCakes, Helter SkelterPin badge by Lucky Dip Club