Sunday, 8 November 2009

Step back in time...

Well of late, pretty much all of my spare seconds have been spent preparing for a 1940s murder mystery which happened last night. I have been waiting for an excuse for ages to wop out my home made rollers and make up a '40s outfit and I finally had a reason!

I duly slept in my rollers, with my super glamourous blue old-lady-hairnet on, in order to have a bevy of beautiful curls to brush out for the event. I sewed up a dress and got some smashing seamed tights! Although I didn't guess the murderer I had so much fun. Now I just need to find another opportunity to go retro again!

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Clickety Click!

I have been busy! Honest! Not just lazy!

I spent last weekend down in windy Dorset, jumping around on rocks and eating lots and lots of very nice cakes. I've been hankering for some new mittens for a while and now the weather is starting to turn chilly here, I thought a weekend away may be the perfect chance to start them off!

Unfortunately despite turning the house upside down I was unable to track down a set of 4 needles! Luckily the charity shops of Bridport came to the rescue! 4 sets of needles later (ranging in price from £1 to 10p a set!) I got a matching set the right size! Then it was just a case of making a test mitten before going for it with some lovely wool I picked up in Oxfam a couple of weeks back.

I thought 'how hard can it be? Its just the same but with extra needles!'. No. It is not. They are slippery and clunky and get in the way! Anyway, the knit one purl one wasn't going so well, and
so I am now attempting... a tube!!!

Currently its more of a ring... but it will grow! And once the tube is sufficiently tubular, hopefully I can move on to things with thumbs!!!

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

This week I have been mostly...


After another half move, I am now spliting my life between Hampshire and London, which means a fair amount of train travel and quite a lot of stressful limbo. To soothe my aches and stresses, I have taken to the bath.

I used to live in a house with a beautiful roll top bath and no shower (shock!). I thought it would be a massive inconvenience, but I actually quite enjoyed my nightly bath. It gave me quarter of an hour each day to just RELAX. It's quite amazing how much good it does my sanity to sit in some hot water for a half hour or so.

One day I hope to have a bathroom with contents as sweeeeet as this...

Sweeeet Bathroom

I already have the mirror... I'm on my way.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Working 9 till 5

I recently started a new job (after a year of student life between my last job and this) and so suddenly became in need of some super snappy office clothes. Sadly, new work doesn't pay immediately, so I needed something fast and cheap.

I trawled my BWOF (or Burdastyle as I believe it will soon be called) back copies and wrote down a list of about 2o pieces that would be suitable. I decided that my most pressing need was for skirts, and so I selected one that claimed to be only 1 and a half blobs of difficulty and was made up of only 3 pieces (speedy tracing and chopping... hurrah).

This was hastily followed by a quick hello to my local fabricland (fabric, lining and zip came to about £6 total... score!). A few muck ups (I didn't notice that the waistband measurements did not include seam allowance!) and pleats later, and tadaaah!

Burda Mag 04/09 113

It has plenty of give to allow for the copious amounts of office bending I do (OK that sounds dodgy - I mean I have to pick up lots of files from low shelves) and the ''kiss'' pleats make it a bit more interesting. I tried my hand at flat felled seams for the lining, and they worked a treat! I made no alterations to fit or style, and it was quick and easy to make.

All in all, pretty damn good!

Sunday, 2 August 2009

You shall go to the ball

After several long weeks there has, all of a sudden, come a rush of activity in work, home and sewing. My poor machine has been languishing in my lengthy absence, and together we're getting all revved up about some new projects on the horizon! More to follow soon, but in the mean time, I've finally managed to get some photos together of my graduation ball dress!

After the pallava of making the damn thing fit, I realised that the only thing missing, was a wopping great big bow. So I added one, and felt much better about the whole situation.

Just to recap the changes made from the original BWOF 12/08 pattern were :
- Cutting the skirt off at the knee
- Raising the waist by about an inch
- Adding waist darts
- Adding a bust dart on the shoulder strap side
- Raising the shoulder
- Adding a big bow

If I was making it again, I think I'd just use the lining pattern for the bodice and not bother with the shoulder pleats included in the original pattern. They can't really be seen on the photos because they came out pretty badly and had to be covered by the big bow. I think if I'd done them properly they would have looked good, but it really wasn't very clear at all, and some how I managed to ruck them all up. They looked fine when they were flat, but when I put it on they looked pretty bad.

Generally this pattern was not a good fit for me, but I think after all the tweaking the dress came out looking pretty good, so I was happy in the end and had an awesome time at the ball. And both the dress and I made it into the survivors photo!

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Good reads

I swung by the shops the other day and managed to pick up a bevvy of good reads! (Look how fantastic they look!!)

I only went in for a copy of Burda Mag and came out with the Chap as well (which technically was a prezzie for my dad, but I couldn't resist reading it a bit first). Then I came upon these 40s copies of Womans Weekly when looking for port glasses! One of them has an awesome pattern for some mittens (something I have been looking for for a while) and each copy has a lovely little insight into the meaning of a name!

I also picked up this dainty little dress pattern.

I loved the wopping pleats coming up from the sides (even if the 4 pattern ladies do have an air of Sex and the City about them!). However it is COMPLETELY the wrong size. Its way too big and petite!! But, I hope this will lead on to my first forray into pattern grading which is a little bit exciting!

Monday, 6 July 2009

The Graduate!

Again massive absenteeism. I really will try to get better, but my excuse is that I've been on holiday in Devon, and I couldn't even get phone signal there let alone internet!
It was a lovely holiday, the weather was hot and sunshiney and we ate so much delicious food that I think I'd probably brake the scales if I went anywhere near them!! I got a real treat though on the last day, when we went to a local market, and I picked up a nice haul of vintage buttons. There was a big box with lots of little bags of buttons in each labled 50p a bag, so after a good rummage I managed to get a few bags of gooduns. (Apologies for the poor photos - it has now started to throw it down and all the light has vanished!)

Along the purpley/navy colour theme were these. Despite some of them being 'the same', through fading, they are mostly slightly different colours, which I feel adds to their appeal. I think the fans are just lovely, and I managed to pick up a whole bag of those so I was very pleased.

I also couldn't help giggling at (and therefore purchasing) these little yellow phones. I know they are meant for children, but I see them cheering up a much more somber jumper or t-shirt. Probably something navy (as I am a navy addict).

There were tons of unusual shops in Devon. Lots of second hand and vintage shops as well, which is quite rare. Infact, in most places we went to it was much easier to get hold of second hand things than new! There was a wonderful vintage shop in Totnes, which was so crammed full that you could barely see what was in it. There was a little room at the back with lots of wedding dresses hung on the walls and a mirror in the centre, it was crazy but beautiful. Sadly as I am still without job, I was a bit low on funds to be buying the things I liked (which was plenty!), but I will return when wealthier!!

In other news, Graduation went off hitch free and there are posts to follow of Graduation Dresses 1&2, when I can get some decent pics together!

Monday, 22 June 2009

The dresses

I now have only two days to complete my graduation dresses. Dress 1 for the ceremony, and Dress 2 for the ball.

Dress 1: Looking on course to be fine. I just need to readjust the lining (too tight), complete the back edges (still haven't quite worked out how yet) and hem it (no probs - nobs). Hopefully I'll look smashing in the photo with the daft hat.

Dress 2: Ah how thee mocks me. Serves me right for not properly looking at the fit when I botched together the lining. On friday I popped it on, to see what tweaks needed to be made, looked in the mirror and realised that actually, it would have looked more flattering on a sack of potatoes. It was too big EVERYWHERE. The waist was in the wrong place, the neckline hung too low (very not good on a one shoulder dress), it didn't go in enough at the waist, and I'd miss read the instructions on the pleats. After much tweaking, the taking in of all seams, and the addition of some new darts, its looking a little better, although sadly not in one piece.

If I were a proper, responsible sewer, I would have made a muslin weeks ago, and wouldn't be having last minute issues such as these. But I'm not, I'm a botch sewer. I cut corners, and leave it too late. I only pre-washed the fabric because the blue started coming off on everything, including the tablecloth and my face. I hadn't noticed until my mum pointed out that my cheek was really quite blue.

Here is the outside sunshiney cutting out process which turned me blue

I fear I may not have time to make handbags. Sad times.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

The week that ran away

Ok a bit more than a week, but I’m sure I’ll be forgiven, as I have been moving house! Uni has finally finished and I’ve had to pack up and ship out of Guildford, back to the countryside.

Before the move, I spent a couple of days up in London for T’s birthday... which leads me nicely to my latest sewing completion! It's my first forray into menswear, and T’s birthday present. (Apologies, I forgot to get T to model it himself, so I had to take a few dashed pics after he’d toddled off to work)

I am immensely proud of it as I think it’s one of my best looking pieces yet. I used pattern 132 from BWOF 03/09, and the only change was to add a front bit where the buttons go. I topstitched all the seams, I put the little contrast stripe at the bottom of the side seams, everything!! And it took me flipping ages!!

Mostly my problems arose because of my rubbishness at sleeves. I re-sewed and topstitched them twice before I noticed they were on the wrong way around and had to take them off and swap them over. Also the fabric had a definite, but non-obvious-in-the-half-light right side, resulting in a few things being initially stitched with the wrong side out. Grr.

Anyway, he was presented with the finished project, and it fitted and looked lovely, so I’m pretty chuffed!

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Monday, 1 June 2009

Purple flower dress

What a lovely weekend that was! Very, very beautiful sunshine all weekend! I was a bit dead though. I was brimming with pride as I got the news about my degree score on Friday (a 2:1 as I’d hoped) and it was the end of term so there was much celebrating to be done. I didn’t get to bed until 7am and T came to visit me at 1 so there wasn’t a great deal of sleeping, but I was very happy (especially when I realised that I’d managed to wear something homemade to the last 3 nights at uni) and it was so beautiful and sunny I had to go out in it!!

Sunday was quite relaxed too, as we went down to the river to take some photos. However we were idiots and forgot to take cameras. So we just had a picnic, went for a row down the river and read our books before going to a friend’s for a barbeque.

Anyway, as we were lametastic with cameras at the weekend, here are the photos from my last completed dress.

It’s New Look 6864, and is made from some purplely auberginey mystery fabric from a remnants bin. It was easy to sew (only took slow old me a couple of days), and the only changes I made were to take the hem up by about 4 inches (as I do with most dresses) and add a bust dart on the armhole to avoid some major gape.

I even made the pretty flower accessory to go with it. They instructed me to sew it on, but I just sewed it to a safety pin to make it optional. It’s a perfect party dress, as the flower and other accessories make it a bit more versatile.

The photos were taken a bit hurriedly, several weeks ago, before we dashed out for my birthday meal. The dress was a bit tighter by the time I got home!!

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Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Aaaand breathe

The past few days have been pretty mental, lots of catching up with people before the end of term and we all go our separate ways. I’ve barely had time to pick up a needle, let alone construct an actual garment!

I have so much to sew and so little time! Graduation is looming and neither of my dresses (one for the ceremony and one for the ball) are even close finished, and I have several birthday sewing projects to get done as well. I really need to get cracking!! I managed to do a bit of pattern work today but that's about it!

I did pick up some pretty things on my trip to Woking yesterday though. The shoes are Clarks and sooper comfy (and in the sale) and the dress was a TK Maxx bargain (that shop is just like a great big jumble sale!).

I also managed to snag a very decorative jacket from a charity shop, but that needs new buttons before it can be worn. I don’t know if it’s the novelty of them (as I’ve never visited them before), but Woking’s charity shops seemed to have a bit more about them. I found tons of absolutely gorgeous crockery (if only I had a kitchen to put them in) and they just generally seemed less picked over. I’d like to go back again, but I don’t know if I’ll get the chance before I leave!
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Saturday, 23 May 2009


Last night, I tried out my newly made hair rollers (thanks to nuiwida23’s fab tutorial on Burdastyle). I carried out a test run last week and they seemed to do the trick brilliantly, so I moussed up and went for it. Even put my pretty new scarf on them to protect them!!

However, my excitement got the better of me. I so wanted pretty curls for the ‘cocktail party’ (much more dirty pint than sophisticated soiree) I was due to attend, but after a loooong day at Thorpe Park, I really didn’t leave enough time. My hair wasn’t sufficiently dry, and I hadn’t left enough time for any natural drying, so I took the rollers out and they just flopped. Very lame. Thankfully I whipped out my curling tongs and they saved the day. I will persevere though, as I think it was operator error rather than the fault of the rollers!!

I also wore my recently created purple dress, which I am very much in love with, but I’ll post more about that later!!

With respect to Thorpe Park, I totally recommend the new ‘SAW’ ride; even with a 2 hour queue in the sunshine (and the resulting sunburn) it was BRILLIANT!
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Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Lets start at the very beginning

Well I’ve finally managed to get my act together and create a blog. Hopefully I’ll now be able to remember all the ideas and inspirations that crop up, which I love and then instantly forget!

If you’ve stumbled across me, then feel free to say hello, and hopefully pick up some interesting tid-bits!

And because blogs are always more fun with pictures, here's a pic of me when I was a littlun. Don't I look darn cool?