Tuesday, December 02, 2014


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I've had a kind of pottering sort of few days. I've been playing with wet felt, and scraps of tweed; making roses and well just pottering really.
The scraps left over from my Delphine skirt were just too lovely to consign to the scrap bag, and for once I've kind of enjoyed fiddling about with little bits. I don't usually enjoy that kind of sewing if I'm honest.

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I had a couple of purse frames knocking about so thought I'd combine the scraps, the roses and the frames into a couple of little purses.

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The larger of the two is the least technically successful, but still pretty. I used some lovely quilting cotton to line both purses.

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The scraps from the lining also got used up for some scrappy rose brooches too.

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My little mindee likes to help me choose buttons to sew on these. He loves playing in the button box.

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This one even has a spare button from when I made his Mummy's wedding dress a little over five years ago.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Delphine in vintage tweed.

delphine 1

I am still enjoying my Wednesday evenings at college, not least because I get to chat with other fabric obsessed sewists, including our tutor who it seems has a massive fabric obsession. She was telling me the other week how she had bought boxes and boxes of vintage fabrics, and brought some in to show me. Oh My!! There were beautiful intricate laces that must've been from the early part of last century, rayons from the 1940's, gorgeous tweeds and most exciting of all some Utility fabrics, still with their Utility labels on. All Viyella and Dayella, and such good quality, the kind of fabric that just doesn't really show up in fabric shops these days. (Read more about Viyella and Dayella, and Utility marks here )

I fell in love with three of the fabrics particularly, (actually I had to stop looking because I LOVED everything! ) and asked if I could buy them. I bought 4 metres of black and white dogtooth check Dayella for a dress, 1.5 metres of gorgeous 1940's rayon for a blouse, and this beautiful wool tweed.


There was just a metre, but a metre of the best quality tweed I have ever come across. I knew I wanted a skirt in it. The tweed is rather bulky so I wanted a very simple skirt. Delphine by Tilly Walnes came to mind after India recently made one.
I had got Tilly's book free with a magazine subscription and given it to India. The book is great for absolute beginners with some nice patterns. India enjoyed sewing up her Delphine, and I liked the exaggerated A line. The skirt has no darts, and a wide shaped waistband.

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The tweed was a joy to sew. I lined the skirt in simple polyester lining, but faced the waistband with the tweed. I had to really consider any extra bulk around the waistband, and forgoe my usual waistband finish of slip stitch, instead finishing the raw edge of the facing and stitching in the ditch from the right side to hold it in place.
I also attached the zip to the lining and the tweed, so the skirt is half lined/interlined.
Initially I turned a fairly deep hem, but hated it, way too bulky, (you can just see it in the photo on the hanger above).This morning after the morning school run,I whipped off the skirt and re did the hem by using my overlock stitch on my sewing machine to neaten the raw edge of the tweed and lining together, then turning a narrow 1cm hem and machine stitching in place, which worked much better.
Lots of rule breaking, but I LOVE this skirt!

I've had Ernest at home all week with chickenpox, He likes to help me with my photos for the blog.....

 delphine 2

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Project New Overlocker

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After around 12 years of loyal, if sometimes temperamental service my Brother 1034D has finally called it a day. That machine certainly earned it's keep, sewing hundreds of cloth nappies back in the days I was running a cloth nappy business, (Good old Tiddlybums.), and stitching countless other items over the years. I only paid £150 for it back then, so that works out at a fraction of a penny per item. It went out with a bang and a crunch, and now nothing is working. Sadly it's barely worth repair costs, and so here I am in project , "fund new overlocker".
My faithful old overlocker will no doubt be making it to Ebay to sell for parts (wow! that sounds cruel doesn't it? ), and I've been stashbusting, running up skirts for my Etsy shop with dreams of a shiny new overlocker.

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I love a circle skirt for glamming up my everyday. On a rainy dull Manchester morning when I have one eager child running ahead to school and one dragging his heels behind, I take solace in the swish of fabric . When you've been mumming as long as I have a pretty skirt and a slick of lipstick can go a surprisingly long way to improving my day. Add a petticoat and I'm in heaven !

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Of course, I've kept one skirt for me too.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Pyjamas and Bargains.


Around this time of year I like to stock up on cosy pyjamas, the nights drawing in always make me want to put on my jammies, a snuggly dressing gown and big soft socks. I admit I tend to buy my pyjamas from cheap and cheerful high street stores. I don't normally want to spend precious time making pyjamas when they are so cheap to buy. This year though, something has changed; I just don't feel like buying many clothes anymore, not even pyjamas.


I have a stack of vintage sheets that make perfect pyjamas, so this weekend I fished out some of those sheets and a few vintage scraps and whipped up these pyjama bottoms.


The pattern is traced from an old pair of pyjama bottoms that I liked the fit of. The waist is simple elastic in a casing, and the hems are finished with some cuffs from my scrap box, as is the back pocket.

While running these up I also ran up a flannel pair using a metre of Anna Maria Horner fabric I had been saving for a few years. Stupidly I cut one leg with the pattern running in the wrong direction, but I'm not too upset, they are super snuggly and cosy. This time finished with a ribbon drawcord, basically because I ran out of waistband elastic!


I am going to need more pyjamas before winter truly sets in, and luckily I do still have lots of vintage sheets to use up, plus a gorgeous 1940's pyjama pattern that I want to try. Pyjama bottoms and t shirts are comfy and cosy, but I'm feeling the need for something pretty, and something a bit more sophisticated to lounge in.

And now for the bargains....

fabric find

I popped into my local charity shop yesterday for a quick browse before school pick up and propped up against the wall were these bolts of fabric. I quickly snapped them up for the bargain price of £8.48!
When I got them home, I could take a better look.

fabric find

The navy blue pin stripe is a "Blue Chip Terylene", and the grey pin stripe is "Blue Chip Superfine Worsted". I've googled the manufacturer, Radnor and Liston, who appear to have been a Manchester company that are no more. The company started in 1956, but I can't find any other information.
Each bolt holds about 3.5 metres of fabric, and I'm so excited to cut into it. I'm not certain what I will make with either of them yet, but they deserve to be stitched up that's for sure!

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Patience...I have none!

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I am an impatient seamstress as well as a lazy one! When I was a teenager I would hop on a bus to town, buy a few metres of fabric from the market and whip up an outfit to wear the same night. I barely ever used a pattern, and honestly I didn't care too much if the garment fell apart the next day so long as it stayed together for the night out. I don't do that anymore, but I do sometimes often abandon all my sensible stitching plans for a quick fashion/sewing hit.These days my standards are highrer and I expect even my quick and dirty projects to last longer than one evening, but it is a part of my nature I'm not terribly keen on.

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This dress is a perfect example, when I should've been working on something more sensible like filling the gaps in my wardrobe with seperates, or making myself some much needed pyjamas, I instead fished this fabric out of the ironing pile and started cutting into it.
The fabric was bought in Abakhan for a quite stupidly low price. I thought it looked vagueley corporate, and Woody said it looked kind of "air liner", so yay I thought, "retro air stewardess dress , here I come!"

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I used my self drafted bodice, a self drafted circle skirt, and the sleeves from my favourite Maudella dress. (I have yet to draft my own sleeve...something else I should've been getting on with!).
The fabric is a very loose weave. I pondered underlining the whole dress to give it some stability, but decided it was probably going to end up too bulky for that, so just lined the bodice. The wrong decision! Although the bodice works well with lining, the circle skirt with such a loose weave is less successful. I left the dress hanging for two days before hemming, then I trimed the hem even while on the dummy, and it still hung unevenly. Sadly the weight of the fabric combined with the loose weave means that where the skirt hangs on the bias it stretches out making the hem uneven. If I'd underlined the skirt I think I might've not had this problem? Or maybe this is simply a case of wrong shape for this fabric? Probably both.

Despite all that though. I do actually really love this dress! I adore my self drafted bodice, it feels amazing to wear something that actually fits, even if it does look odd on the hanger and my back waist darts seem like they should never work for anyone. (They are so large I have to press them towards the side seams so they don't overlap the centre back zip!)

Think my next make needs to be more considered, less impatient.....

How about you? Are you a careful considerered seamstress, or a quick and dirty fashion hit type? Or maybe a bit of both?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

All Change!

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With India away at University, She and Eden have swapped bedrooms. Actually the day India got her A level results Eden was in her (much bigger) room measuring up, had made a detailed floor plan and started a Pinterest board of new room ideas!
Eden moved into India's old room a couple of weeks ago and I was left the task of decorating Eden's old room; India's new room in time for her coming home this coming weekend.
Of course, as is usual the budget was non existent, in fact I spent only £12.50 on a new mattress topper, and £14 on a new rug which hasn't arrived yet. Everything else was shopped for from around the house.

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The bed is the very first bed we bought for India when she was a toddler, I've simply painted it with a half pot of cream emulsion left over from other projects. Three thick layers, that should knock about and get more interesting as time goes on...lazy shabby chic!

The duvet and pillow case is made from vintage sheets I had in my fabric stash, the welsh woollen blanket is a hand me down from Grandma Margaret, and the cushions are from India's old room.
Oh yes and the walls are painted with two different shades of grey paint left over from other projects, I just mixed them together, luckily there was just enough.

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The cross stitch was a 1st Birthday present from Aunty Clare.

India's new room

Curtains are made from a piece of heavyish cotton I'd been saving for a dress, the loom blanket box is a hand me down from Grandma Alyson, I repainted it with the same paint as the bed and used some vintage fabric from my stash to recover the top. The light shade has also been recovered with some lovely blue vintage fabric that was a gift from a friend, Caroline.

The mirror is from India's old room, the hoops are from my habby drawers and the fabric from my vintage scrap box. I will have to buy a few more hoops to complete this wall, I have plenty of scraps left to fill them though.

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There is also a large fabric covered noticeboard that I made for India a while ago. I've hung a few of India's trinkets on that already.

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I sent India these photos this morning and she said she loved it! I'm so glad. Thanks to Pinterest and our shared ideas board we managed to communicate at a distance, and I think it will be even better when India comes home and adds her personal touches.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Another tablecloth into a skirt.

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Another charity shop tablecloth that caught my eye recently, and was begging to be made into a skirt.Priced at only £2.99 it would have been rude not to buy it.

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Simply a full circle skirt, concealed zip, vintage button on the waistband. Therapy sewing with a satisfying result.

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skirt 3

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