Archive for January, 2015

Making for Someone Else

2014 was my year of selfish sewing. The year before I had been so busy making for others that I felt I didn’t get a really get a chance to try all the new sewing challenges and techniques I wanted. I felt I had become a little bit complacent about crafting in general. 2014 was a different year, I made selfish sewing a priority and crochet too for that matter. I even decided that Christmas I would give myself a break and not make everyone’s gifts. Having said all that I did make two Christmas gifts.

The first was for my sister. She had mentioned to me that she would love a crochet blanket, very bright, a real mixture of colours. Well challenge accepted! I have only ever made smaller crochet projects so this was going to be a big undertaking for me. I started it around Easter time and planned to work on it whenever I had some free time, a nice, relaxing, long term project, or so I thought.

IMG_5743v2

I underestimated how much time it would take and ended up frantically working on it every spare second I had towards the end! I used a simple granny square block but all the colour changing took a lot of time.

IMG_6675v2

I joined all the blocks with a cream colour which I think really lifts it and brings it all together.

IMG_6734v2

Confession time. I don’t have any good photos of it yet as it isn’t completely finished. I was a lazy muppet and didn’t finish the ends as I went so I had to give it to my sister unfinished and then take it back. I’m now still steadily working through all those ends. Worst. Job. Ever.

The only other handmade gift I made was a secret Santa pressie for the Sewing Club Christmas lunch. At sewing club this year we all agreed that the lead up to Christmas would be manic so it would be better for all of us to have a Christmas lunch in January. That way we would all have more time to make our secret Santa pressies and it would give us something to look forward to after all the Christmas excitement.

So a few weeks ago we all rocked up for lunch in our Christmas jumpers (well most of us anyway), my mum even bought us all crackers!

10428070_10155114999795596_4670813100934089365_nvV2

We all put our handmade gifts into a bag then each took a turn to take one out, lucky dip style. I made this embroidery hoop craft storage which Emmie picked out.

IMG_4880v2

This was a nice little make for the new year and great for stash busting too. I found some crafty themed fabric in my stash, layered them up to and stitched straight lines at different intervals to make the pockets. I added a simple crochet layer to the embroidery hoop so it matched the fabrics and also so the wooden frame didn’t catch on it. I stretched the fabric layers over the hoop and tightened to secure it in place.

IMG_4881v2

To make sure the back stayed tidy and didn’t move I overlocked the edges of the fabric layers before putting them in the frame. Once I was happy with the fabric placement and the hoop was tightened I used my glue gun to stick the excess fabric to the inside of the frame. Handy hanging storage finished.

I pulled this cute little pincushion jar made by Annie out of the secret Santa lucky dip. You can never have too many pin cushions!

photo 1v2

My very clever friend Becca made this insanely cute purse, which my mum got.

photo 2v2

Rachel got these handy pattern weights that my mum made. How useful, I really must make some.

photo 3v2

I didn’t get a chance to photograph everyone else’s gifts but they were all equally as awesome. We all enjoyed a lovely lunch catching up and chatting about all things crafty.

All Wrapped Up

Today I dashed outside before I missed the two minutes of sunshine and managed to photograph a few of my makes. It was bloody freezing out there so I had to work quick! I thought I’d show you my wrap dress I made in November (I think?). It’s taken me what feels like forever to finally get round to photographing this dress, between the crazy run up to Christmas and the bad weather I really struggled.

I love wrap dresses, I think they look beautiful, they can be so flattering, but only if you get the fit right. Now this is where I have a problem, I’ve come to realise that I’m quite short from shoulder to chest and have a large bust, because of this I find it hard to buy a wrap dress. I had a thought when shopping one day “I can make that!” So that’s what I did.

I chose the Sew Over It Ultimate Wrap Dress as a few sewing friends had made and recommended it. I’ve got to be honest and say I’m not sure I would buy a pattern from here again. The pattern shows two sleeve and skirt length options but these are not marked on the pattern, the instructions are straight forward but I would say on the minimalist side, it doesn’t give you any fabric recommendation other than “Jersey” so I was a little bit nervous as to whether the fabric I chose would be too stretchy. I think the pattern is better suited to people who have attended the associated class (run at the Sew Over It shops) or have more experience in dress making. The dress did come together quite quickly but I did struggle with the fit. The pattern explained that there was not much ease and would be quite fitted so I was half expecting the Size 12 that I was making not to fit. Boy was I wrong!

While I was making the dress I kept trying it on ( as you do) to check it was fitting ok and it all seemed fine. Once the dress was finished and I tried it on I realised it wasn’t wearable. I had excess fabric across the chest so even if I over wrapped the dress still gaped. I was so disappointed. After a pep talk from my mum I decided to take the dress along to our next sewing club meet up and see what the gang thought before taking my trusty seam ripper to it. I’m so glad I did as Rachel had the great idea of gathering at the shoulders to fix the problem. Amazing! It took me all of 2 minutes to do and the dress was saved.

IMG_4872v3

As you can see the dress is definitely wearable although I do still have to over wrap it a little and I have to wear a vest underneath too.

IMG_4871v3

I am pleased with the length of the dress but half wish I had made the sleeves 3 quarter length, I still might.

I guess overall this dress turned out ok but I’m not really sure how much I will wear it. It was a good lesson for me though. I now know just how much I hate facings, they really get on my nerves, I much prefer binding to finish. I also learnt that as longer as I fit the standard pattern measurements I am fine but still have A LOT to learn about fitting. I guess it will come, slowly, with experience, well I hope so anyway.

Now I know I said I wouldn’t buy another Sew Over It pattern but I am glad I bought this one. It has shown me a little more about my sewing style and what pattern brands fit me best. We have to realise that we are all different and like ready to wear clothes some patterns suit some body types better than others.

Happy New Year!!

Can you believe it, 2015. I don’t know about you but I feel like this year has just wizzed by. It has been a busy year for us as a family since leaving Kent and moving to our new home in Hampshire but I can honestly say it was one of the best decisions we have made. We’ve really settled in and both Sean and I can’t believe how well the monsters have adjusted, making lots of new friends and enjoying our new surroundings.

January 2014 I set my self a few challenges on my little blog, hoping that seeing it in black on white would keep me motivated and I’m quite proud of how much I managed to achieve.

Close my Etsy shop.
This was definitely a good idea. It gave me so much more free time to spend with my family and friends as well as getting plenty of selfish sewing done (which I love).

 

Teach Monster no1 to sew.
We didn’t manage to finish his pin wheel cushion, as he lost interest, but he did make a sea snake for a school project which was brilliant.

 

– Work through my crafty to do list.
Well this is quite obviously an on going challenge. I’m constantly adding new things to my list but I have managed to cross quite a few makes off along the way.

 

– Make my own clothes.
Last August I had a bit of a reality check and realised that I needed to lose some weight and get fit again. I started following a Paleo lifestyle and trying to exercise more, which is probably one of the best things I’ve done in a long time. I’ve managed to lose 2 1/2 stone and dropped 2 dress sizes, I’ve got so much more energy and feel better in myself. Anyway, now that I’m not a blimp and actually a size I want to stay at, I figure it’s time to start making myself some clothes. The added bonus being I’ll need less fabric now that I’m smaller 😉 . To be honest I’m a little scared of this plan as I don’t really have a clue about making clothes that actually fit properly but we all have to start somewhere and thankfully my lovely sewing club buddy Rachel Pinheiro as volunteered to help me, Phew!
Thank you so much Rachel for setting me this challenge, I’ve fallen in love with dressmaking and plan on growing my handmade wardrobe through 2015. I have a couple of garments from 2014 still to share with you but thanks to the grey weather here and a case of flu I haven’t managed to photograph them yet. Once the monsters are back to school I’ll get my camera out and share them with you.

 

– Exercise more.
Self explanatory really. The weight I’ve lost has been 90% diet so it’s time to get toning, if you’re a mum reading this you can imagine the amount of work I’ve got to do on my jelly belly lol. I’m just hoping I can crochet while on a bike at the gym, multitasking at its best right?
Another on going mission. Up until our summer holiday I was doing really well but thanks to Christmas over indulgence (stuffs another truffle in mouth) I can feel my muffin tops slowly re-emerging. On a more positive note I have joined a great Yoga class and the hubs is buying some new equipment for our home gym (garage), now all we have to do is use it!

 

– Blog at least once a week.
Erm, I tried my best, surely I can only continue to improve this year??

 

Well I don’t think I did too badly over the year do you? I’m not setting myself a list for 2015, although it has been nice to look back and see how much I’ve done. I just don’t feel like 2015 is a list kind of year. 2015 is the year to go with the flow, see what comes my way and go for anything that takes my fancy. On the sewing front I’m already signed up for a few swaps which I really enjoy, I have a dress waiting to be cut out and a mountain of Farmers Wife blocks to catch up on so for now that will keep me busy. There will be crochet, but as yet I don’t know what and I hope to try some new crafts too. Do you have any new crafts or projects planned or any to recommend?

Family wise Sean and I have both agree fitness is a high priority for us. I would like to climb a mountain this year but we both need serious training before we do it so as of Monday we’ll be hitting the gym and getting plenty of walks in. The monsters were telling us how much they want to go on more holidays and see new places so I’m sure we will cram as much travel as possible in to 2015 too. Monster no1 has become a little obsessed with Bear Grylls so at every opportunity he wants to go off on an adventure even if it is just going on his scooter to feed the ducks.

IMG_6836v2

I hope you all had a brilliant Christmas and New Year and hope that 2015 brings you all the excitement and happiness you deserve!