Sunday, July 27, 2014

Anemone Skirt again!


I love this pattern, I've made three skirts from the same pattern so far, and plan more! This one I made a few weeks ago on a whim using a vintage tablecloth. I stupidly made the same mistake I made when cutting out my first Anemone (also made from a vintage tablecloth), and cut the two back side panels the wrong way round, so the pattern doesn't work as I wanted it to.


Although I do think this skirt is really pretty I haven't worn it until today because I'm not sure so much white suits me, and I struggled to find a top that worked with the skirt.Sadly I don't think this one will get worn much.

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Friday, July 25, 2014

Myrtle by Colette Patterns

myrtle 11

I'm having a Colette week! I bought the PDF version of this new pattern from Colette earlier this week, and with a little help from Ernest spent the other afternoon piecing it together. I love being able to download patterns, but I hate the piecing together!

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I wasn't really convinced this style would suit me, but I fancied a change from my usual fitted bodice full skirt style dresses, telling myself it's good to venture out of my comfort zone. What really made my mind up for me was seeing that I could use a woven for this pattern.

I cut out a straight L (12-14), and figured I'd probably not need a FBA (full bust adjustment ) with such a loose and drapey bodice.

The bodice went together very easily. I used a contrasting satin bias to finish the back neck and back armholes.

myrtle 3

myrtle 5

I really like the way the front bodice has a self lining that encloses the shoulder and side seams.
Adding the skirt was straight forward, and then I realised I had run out of elastic! A quick call to Woody and he promised to nip into Abakhan on his way home to buy me some. (Love that man!) Unfortunately Abakhan were having issues with their tills and Woody not wanting to miss his train had to leave without the elastic. After a rummage through my habby stocks I found a piece of soft waistband elastic that was just the right size.

I had been trying the dress on throughout and was pleasantly surprised by the way it looked, so imagine my dissapointment when I tried on the completed dress and saw in the mirror what could only be described as "a sack of spuds tied in the middle!"

The elastic casing had pulled the waist too high, and the skirt way too short, plus it was bulky and ugly. I double checked the instructions and the excellent video tutorial on the Colette blog in case I'd mis understood, but no, I had been correct.
I think ideally I should have added some length to the bodice to account for the way my boobs pull up the front bodice, although that wouldn't have dealt with the bulk of the elastic waist.

I even tried the dress on India, thinking at least she could wear it, but it looked equally horrible on her, and she is significantly taller and slimmer than me...everything looks good on her!

After a pout and a moan, I began the unpicking. I took out the elastic and the casing, and decided to add regular thin elastic to the seam allowance using a stretch stitch. I measured the elastic, pinned it equally around the waist seam allowance, and stretching as I went stitched it in place. This gave me back enough length in the bodice and the skirt, and I think I'm left with a wearable dress.

myrtle 10

I am still not totally convinced it's me, or even particulary flattering, but it does feel lovely to wear. I used a lightweight viscose that once again my friend Mary picked out for me. (It's good to have a friend who works in a fabric shop and knows what I like!)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Modified Crepe by Colette Patterns


I last made a Crepe about two years ago, and despite a couple of silly mistakes I was pretty happy with that dress. I'm not really sure why I haven't made another since. Although I have made a couple of skirts using the same pattern.
My friend Mary picked out this fabulous fabric for me recently knowing I would love it, and of course I did! I couldn't decide between making a full circle skirt or a dress, of course it had to be a dress really.
I wanted to make a Crepe, but it soon became apparent that with such a large one way design there was no way I had enough fabric for the wrap skirt.I tried various lay outs, but nope, I couldn't squeeze the extra out no matter how I tried. About to give up, I had a thought that maybe I could keep the wrap back bodice, but stitch it into the skirt to become a kind of faux wrap. The wrap back would mean I could fit the dress over my head, and if I added an underarm invisible zip might just work?

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I added some vintage buttons, which I can just about fasten myself. And on the whole I think it's worked, for a dress I was improvising as I went along. I think if I were to make another I would cut the inner back bodice wrap differently to fit neatly into the waist of the skirt.

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I lined the entire dress, but treated the skirt lining as an underlining, mostly because the cotton lining was quite slippy and fine, it felt like it needed the stability of being attached.


I wasn't really happy with the sleeve/armhole, and since these photos were taken yesterday I have trimmed a bit off the sleeve/armhole edge and finished the raw edges with pink bias binding, they feel much more comfortable and less restricting now.

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A good dress for a walk in Florence's wood, for piggy backs, and picnics .

Tuesday, July 22, 2014



Flowers for a little girl who should be turning five today. We love you Florence. xxxxXx

Monday, July 07, 2014

Anemone Skirt in Linen

Anemone skirt

This was very much a last minute skirt. I was tidying up my shed, and there was a small piece of teal linen left over from my last upcycled dress. Just enough for a skirt, and I have been promising myself to make more seperates, and more solid coloured garments, so I put the piece of linen to one side to think about.
I had, last weekend made a start on another tablecloth upcycled Anemone, (more on that later!) this time minus the peplum, and it ocurred to me that the linen would make a lovely Anemone, especially with belt loops.

Anemone skirt in teal linen

I'm really very pleased with the results. I love the way this skirt goes together so easily. Of course I couldn't quite make something entirely in a solid colour, I had to use a pattern lining.

Anemone 3

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Upcycling the upcycled!


Almost a year ago, I upcycled a vintage cotton overall into a skirt. I was never completely happy with the skirt, it just didn't fit well and consequently never got worn. I love the fabric though and couldn't stand to part with it, so a couple of weeks ago I cut it into a dress bodice, using Simplicity 2444 (again!). I didn't have enough for sleeves which is a shame because I really don't like wearing anything sleeveless.


I was initially going to add the bodice to the mustard linen I used on my tablecloth dress, but the colours really didn't work, so I bobbed into Abakhan in Manchester and picked up this lovely teal linen blend.
I used the brilliant circle skirt app at By Hand London to draft the circle skirt, which I wish I had cut slightly longer, it feels a tiny bit too short. (Especially with my very white legs!)

The fit on this bodice is probably the best so far using the 2444, I think I have finally, maybe got it right..well nearly anyway!
I'm afraid I just wasn't brave enough to wear the dress without a cardigan today, so popped this short sleeved cardy on top.


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Ministry Of Craft


I love living in Greater Manchester, I've been in love with the North and Manchester particularly since I moved here in October 1989. Even the rain has never put me off, and honestly it doesn't always rain.
Woody works in the centre of Manchester and often I'll catch the train in, mooch around my favourite shops in the Northern Quarter and then meet him for lunch in one of the many great bars and cafes.
One of my favourite shops to visit is Fred Aldous, three floors of art and craft materials plus great quirky gifts and cards.
The basement of Fred Aldous is also home to Ministry Of Craft , where you can take workshops in a whole host of  craft disciplines, from absolute beginners getting to know their sewing machine, making a tailored skirt, stitching your own knickers, getting to grips with embroidery, making jewellery and so much more! They even run hen parties, which seem like a lot of fun.

One class recently added to the programme is my very own! I'm really excited to be joining the other fabulous tutors at The Ministry Of Craft to bring you an upcycling class.
As my long term readers know, I love a bit of upcycling, am often found elbow deep in a box of old linens in various charity shops.
I have designed a class for Advanced Beginners; Short and Sweet Pyjamas .

upcycled pj's 4

As any regular charity shopper knows, there are always plenty of mens shirts in stock in most of the charity shops, and even if not, mens shirts are easy to come by scrounged from the men in your life. Woe betide any man in my extended family throwing out shirts just because the collar is frayed!
These pyjamas are made using three mens shirts, keeping details and features of the shirts to add interest.

upcycled pj's 3

Trim is optional, but adds a cute little feminine detail.

upcycled pj's 5

There is an option to use pillowcases instead of shirts for the pyjama shorts. That is what I have done here.



Taking this class you will learn how to layout patterns on challenging fabric, how to make french seams, to use bias binding to finish a raw edge, to make casings and add trim. Once you have completed your first upcycled outfit, I promise you will never look at old clothes in the same way again, everything will have potential!

short pj's 3

short pj's 4

To book this class, head on over to Ministry Of Craft for more details. I can't wait to meet you!