Saturday, 25 October 2014

A Snuggly Giselle

It is Frocktober this month on The Monthly Stitch, and as it is well and truly Autumn up here in the northern hemisphere I thought I'd make a Snuggly Giselle.  This is also a bargain basement Giselle, as I have had the paisley fabric for so long I don't actually remember buying it (I'm thinking sometime in the 1980's) and the turquoise fabric I got at the local AgeUK shop for the pricely sum of £1.

Here is a close up of the contrast midriff.  I love the shaping of the midriff, it makes me look like I actually have a waist.  I cut a straight size L, this the only change I made being adding 2cm to the back bodice and the same to the bottom of the upper bodice.

I wanted my contrast fabric to be on show on more than just the midriff and sleeve cuffs, so I attached the bias binding at the neckline on the outside rather than inside.

This dress is very twirly

The fabric I used is maybe a little heavy for the pattern, it gives a bit too much bulk at the gathers.  Having said that I already have plans for a babycord and brushed cotton version, which I may try pleats, rather than gathers at the waist.  I wanted to wear the dress out on Thursday evening, so I haven't put the elastic at the back waist yet and looking at the pictures I took of the bow I think it needs the elastic.  As a design feature I do like the back ties and it does cinch in the waist, but having a knot at the middle of my back is not always comfortable.  I'm not sure what I could be to keep the look, but loose the knot.

I don't see the Maxi version in my future, it just isn't my thing.  But I can envisage many other lovely knee length Giselles to come.  A contract midriff is great for featuring a lovely fat quarter of fabric.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

The Unintentional Velma

Fluffrick's comment when I put this outfit on today, was that I looked like "Velma" from Scooby Doo.

And I see what he means, with the orange jumper and orange socks.  But I take being likened to Velma as a compliment, if it hadn't been for her, that group of "pesky kids" would have met there end long ago.

You can't see the orange in the skirt in these pictures, it was particularly gloomy up at the park this evening.  I can't remember exactly when I made this skirt, sometime in the late 90's I think.  It's a pattern from Burda Magazine, I have copies dating back from the mid 90's, back when the pattern sheets were even more incomprehensible.  If I was making this skirt now, I would definitely try to match the checks at the side seams, I have become far more picky about such things in my advancing years.  The orange Merino jumper can from a charity shop in Dronfield, it was the pricely sum of £1.  I think it had ended up on the sale rail for two reasons, 1 it claims to be a size XL, which it definitely is not and 2 it is meant to be dry cleaned, but a wool cycle in the washing machine worked just fine.

If I'd been able to fine my turquoise jumper this morning, as I had intended, the unintentional Velma would never have happened.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

One Week One Pattern - A Summery Summary

In hindsight picking a skirt for my participation in "One Week On Pattern" in September in Britain, could have been a huge mistake.  But the weather was most definitely on my side last week.  I have ten (count them TEN) different versions of this skirt in my wardrobe - New Look 6106, but there are a couple that I very rarely wear, and I need to do something about that.

We had a fairly quiet day on Saturday, just puttering about and taking the dogs for a walk.  The best accessory with all my outfits is definitely my dogs and they often influence what I wear.

Outfit details
skirt - purple chambray NL6106
t-shirt - GAP
hoody - Next (men's small)
shoes - Converse All Stars
dog - Bonnie

Sunday was another quiet day, dog waking, eating Moussaka (made with quorn) and watching Stage 1 of the Tour of Britain

Outfit Details
skirt - Green Linen/Cotton NL6106 with appliqué circles
t-shirt - Boden Hampton Tee
shoes - Superga (from TK Maxx)
dog - Bonnie

Monday was a work day, but fortunately our office is fairly casual (I can wear jeans to work, but it somehow feels wrong).  This version of the skirt I made last year from a Boden Men's shirt and a linen pillowcase that I got at a local charity shop.  It is the only time I have made the skirt with the contrast border at the bottom.  I love this skirt, well it is green and linen, but I don't seem to have many things that go with it; I wasn't even really sure about this t-shirt, but as it is a marl green, I thought it would be alright.

Outfit Details
skirt - Boden Refashion NL6106
t-shirt - John Lewis
shoes - Cooler (from TK Maxx)
dog - Hagrid

Tuesday was another work day and Fluffrick took the dogs to the park, hence the garden shots.

Outfit Details
skirt - Purple Chambray NL6106
t-shirt - Charity Shop
cardigan - Charity Shop
shoes - Matalan (men's)

Wednesday was work again.  This is the most recent version of NL6106 I made (for the recent Grande Depart of the Tour de France), it's very hard to see but the fabric isn't spotty, it's covered in little bicycles in various colours.  This is definitely the most summery version I have of this pattern.

Outfit Details
skirt - Tour de France NL6106
t-shirt - Matalan
cardigan - Charity Shop
shoes - Cooler (from TK Maxx)

Thursday was another work day.  At work I also wore a cream and navy striped cardigan (from TK Maxx) as it can be a bit cool in the office.  I don't normally wear sleeveless tops as I think my upper arms are a bit flabby (no guns here), but it was just too warm in the evening to wear the cardigan.
Outfit Details
skirt - Tour de France NL6106
t-shirt - Cotton Traders
shoes - Cooler (from TK Maxx)
dog - Bonnie

Friday, another work day and again Fluffrick had taken the dogs out, so these photos are in the glamorous laundry drying area of our back garden.  I literally finished this blouse on Thursday night, it is the Mimi blouse from Love at First Stitch.  This is a (very) wearable muslin, from Laura Ashley fabric I have had in my stash for probably close to 20 years.  The pattern is a little busy, which is probably why it has waited so long for me to use it.  I traced the pattern out as a 6 at the bust, a 5 at the waist and a 4 at the hips and this worked fine, but next time I want to take the sleeve head up half an inch and add a little to the length, but there will definitely be a next time. 

The skirt is from a piece of blue/brown shot linen (not too creased considering I had worn it all morning at work), that I had left over from my Cappuccino dress (yet to be blogged about).  I could possibly have done with lining the skirt, I just need to make sure I don't stand with the light behind me.

Outfit Details
skirt - Cappuccino Froth NL6106
blouse - Subtle Mimi blouse
shoes - can't remember
dogs - Bonnie & Hagrid

I really enjoyed participating in OWOP (except for having my photo taken, needless to say), especially seeing that my Me Made Made this year went completely undocumented due to the camera taking a holiday down the back of the sofa.  I already wear a lot of my self made clothes on a regular basis, but I do need to look at the things that I have made but hardly (if ever) wear and rectify that.

Thursday, 31 July 2014


So I've signed up to participate in One Week One Pattern, hosted by Jane of Handmade Jane. The idea is that between the 6th and 12th of September you only wear garments made from just one pattern.  It can be any pattern of your choice and possibly not unsurprisingly I have gone for New Look 6106 - I think I am obsessed with this pattern, do I need help?

I'm not very good at participating, I asked to be part of The Monthly Stitch back in October, but I have yet to actually post anything. Part of that is because our digital camera went OWAL for about 5 months, it had decided to take a holiday down the back of the sofa and I also need to get my head around using Wordpress.  I'm sure Fluffrick will help me.

I also pledged in Me Made May again, I think this was my forth year.  And I did live up to my pledge of wearing me made outfits every day of May, there is just know documentary evidence to prove it (I'm blaming the missing camera again).

Will I be any better participating in this, than in anything previously, who can say, but I'm going to give it a go.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Introducing EllaBella Mark 1&2

So I've noticed round the tinterwebs a lot of people naming their dresses.  So I decided to name mine - introducing EllaBella.

I really liked various versions of the Deer and Doe Belladone, but looking more closely at it I thought I might have some issues and also the pattern is £14 and it has to be said I'm cheap. So I looked through the many many patterns I already have, found Simplicity 2473 (now OOP I think) and new I could hack it to what I wanted.
The first problem I had with the original Belladone was, I didn't think I would get it over my head (yes, I have a big head).  The second issue was that it was sleeveless, I didn't have bingo wings as such, but I am happier if I have some sort of sleeve.  So I thought I should make a muslin (not a usual habit of mine) just to make sure the fit was right with my alterations.  So I used this fabric from Ikea that has been hanging around in my stash for several years, it was 1.9m for the princely sum of £3.98.  I added 4cm to the length of the bodice (as well as a big head, I also have a long back), I lowered the front neckline by 5cm, took a huge scoop out of the back and drafted a separate back neck piece, which is in two parts and fastened with a button.  The back aperture is probably a little too deep and a fraction too wide, but as long as I can manoeuvre by bra strap so that it doesn't show, I'm ok.  Here it is from the back:

I made some bias binding from some of the left over fabric to bind the bodice back and the sleeve hems.  I also added pockets to the side front of the skirt (I've got to have pockets).  I have also finally mastered the invisible zip.  It has been my bete noire for ages, but I recently undertook pattern testing for By My Goth Patterns (I hope to be able to blog about this soon, once the pattern is released) and Parnuuna's instructions for inserting an invisible zip were so good I have overcome my fear of the invisible zip.

This is who the EllaBella is named after, our beautiful girl Ella, who would have been 14 years old the day I made Mark 1 of this dress.  Sadly Ella died at the end of March, we now have another dog to keep Hagrid company, her nickname if Pocket Rocket and she will feature in this blog if we can get her to stand still long enough to be photographed.

So on to Mark 2: 

The dotty fabric I got at John Lewis (I do not need any more fabric and I really shouldn't go anywhere near the fabric department, but I never learn) it was a remnant 1.5m of 1.15 wide, half price because it has a very small flaw. I did just want to use the dotty fabric, but no pattern how I tried the pattern pieces I just did not have enough material.  So I then had to go out and find a coordinating fabric (easier said than done) and bought another half metre of fabric.  I then decide which pattern pieces I wanted to cut from each fabric.  I eventually decided to go with a contrasting waistband, sleeve and back neck facing.

I didn't have a coordinating invisible zip in my stash, so rather than spend any more money, I used a vintage metal zip I already had and a lovely big bright button at the neck.
Here is a close up of this very grown up fabric, I think it's called Hoppy Dot, who wouldn't love giant polka dots with bunny rabbits.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Tour de Yorkshire

So on a bright and sunny Sunday morning, Fluffrick and I set off to experience the largest annual sporting event, first hand. Surreal or what? Who would have thought that the "Tour de France" would have chosen to end a stage in this fair city of Sheffield - the Tour of Britain doesn't even come here.  We walked the dogs and left them in the safe care of their Gran, I packed a picnic (Orangina was a must), made sure we had sun tan lotion and an umbrella and headed out into the unknown. 

Spectator Hub at Don Valley Bowl

We arrived at the spectator hub about 10:45 am, the race hadn't even set off from York, so it was fairly quiet.  We were very please to find that deck chairs had been provided free of charge and plonked ourselves down to watch the coverage on the big screen.

There were a smattering of entertainers around the hub, some more French themed than others.  So we watched the race set off from York, head up the Cote de Blubberhouse (wonderful name) and make it's tortuous progression towards us. 

It was not intentional that there was a "Sky" advert on the big screen
Slowly but surely the spectator hub filled up, the street food stalls and beer tent were doing good business, I was aghast at the prices for merchandise, but they seemed to be doing a roaring trade.

I don't know why I have such a daft look on my face

Me in my Tour De Yorkshire outfit.  What does a sewer do to commemorate such an event, she sews a cycle skirt. I got the notion to make a skirt for the occasion on Friday morning and set out on a quest for bicycle related fabric and came home with this rather subtle print.

I made the skirt using the ubiquitous New Look 6106, I think this may now be the ninth time I have used this pattern,  I will do a blog post about all the different version eventually.  As it is quite a lightweight cotton, I decided to make it a little fuller, so added 16cm to the centre front and gathered in between the pockets,  I also lined the skirt using the remnants of a white sheet, to give the skirt a little extra body.  I love it, it's not too over the top that I can't wear it as an everyday skirt; but it will always remind me of the day I went to the "Tour".
Anyway back to the cycling.  We left the spectator hub just after 2 pm and headed down towards Brightside Lane, to see the race for real.  I'd wanted to see the promotional caravane, but I have to say I was quite underwhelmed with it, I wonder it they were saving their goodies for Jenkin Road?

So this is what we were waiting for and it was gone in a flash.  I think that blur in the white jersey is Peter Sagan, the blur in front of him might be Chris Froome, or it could be any of the other eight Sky riders.

Even the support vehicles went by in a blur,  There were an insane number of promotional, support, television and police vehicles.  I would say definitely more than one per rider.

The tail end of the peloton, going a little more sedately and slightly less blurry.

One of the IAM Cycling riders, we didn't know there had been a split in the peleton and that the yellow jersey group were about 15 minutes behind.
We then headed up towards the finish line, which we were not going to be able to get remotely close too, but we could hear the frenzy.  But we did get close to the riders, after the finish.

The IAM Cycling tour bus.  These guys after cycling 200 km, now have to warm down by peddling faster than most mere mortal could ever manage.  On the right is IAM Cycling's team leader Mathias Frank.

And Sky's Geiraint Thomas, for some reason being filmed next the Orica GreenEdge Bus, Chris Froome was probably being mobbed next to the Sky Bus.

And then we headed home to watch the end of the race on TV and found out who had won.  All in all it was a remarkable day and I think Yorkshire did the Tour proud, even if it didn't always show the most attractive side of Sheffield which really is a lovely city to live in.

Monday, 3 March 2014

The Great British Sewing Bee Challenge - Week Two

So we have had the second episode of "The Great British Sewing Bee" and this week patterned fabric was the focus.  I do love patterned fabric, I have a lot in my stash, but I tend to make far more solid colour items than patterned.  However, this week there was no escaping the problems of pattern.

I opted again to take the "Pattern Challenge" and above is the result. I didn't  time my effort this time, as with one thing or another I didn't have a free 3 hour window of time to dedicate to this project.  There are also several differences between my skirt and those the contestants had to make.  I opted for a yoked waistband, rather than straight, as I find it more comfortable and flattering, but also more time consuming.  There are also double the number of box pleats and that was because of the fabric I had to hand, see below.  This is a table runner I made from the same fabric, and I wanted to tone down the check.  This fabric is actually the remainder of the duvet cover, the other side was stripy and is now three blinds in the dining room. 

The other amendment I made was the addition of a pocket in the right side seam.  I have found that if I don't include pockets in the clothes I make, the I just don't wear them, so a pocket had to be added.
And below is the result of my very first hand picked zip and I have to say I may well be a convert. I didn't think that a hand sewn zip could possible feel as secure as one machine sewn, but even with my less than perfect hand sewing ability, this zips seems really secure and very neat,

So what challenge shall I undertake next week, week three seems to be all about stretch fabric (not my favourite type a fabric).  If I don't like any of next week's challenges then I already have two men's shirt really to be hacked to bits and transformed into something fabulous.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

The Great British Sewing Bee Challenge

So the Great British Sewing Bee returned to our screens last week, oh how I do love this show.  And it got me wondering, would I be able to do that?  There are eight episodes, whether I can keep up and manage eight challenges we will have to wait and see, but so far so good.

The first challenge they set to the combatants was to make a simple sleeveless top in just two and a half hours.  Now like most people I don't time my sewing, it is just something I do because I enjoy it,  I have sewn many things to a short deadline, but that usually means late nights and as many short-cuts as possible, no stop watches involved.  I did wonder whether or not to even attempt this challenge, not because I thought it would be beyond my capabilities, but because I rarely wear sleeveless tops.  Why make something, if you are not going to wear it?

 Anyway I did decide to go ahead and give this a try, I found a pattern for a simple sleeveless top in my stash, that looked like the one used in the show and I had a remnant of a purple sheet, that was not really big enough for anything else.  Now my lounge probably isn't as high pressured as the Sewing Bee Studio, I just had the company of the lovely Hagrid and an episode of "Poirot" on the DVR, but I did have a stop watch.

Two hours later (not two and a half) I had finished my top.  The only thing I didn't manage to do was the understitiching, it wasn't a step included in my pattern and I didn't realise it had to be done when the neck facing had been sewn, but before the arm facing.  Anyway I notched and pressed a facing and everything else it complete, hem, button, button loop.   And it even fits.

Week One - Challenge One - Complete

I really liked the refashion challenge, but as I don't currently have a woollen maxi skirt to hack to bits, that challenge will have to wait.  I am currently scouring charity shops for the necessary raw materials.
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