Back to dressmaking!

I’ve been taking part in Make it Yourself March on Instagram this month by Wendy Ward and Emma Miles, which encourages you to post a sewing related photo every day in March based on a daily theme.

Within week one, I realised that I hadn’t made a dress in over a year.  To remedy this, my partner chose a pattern from my hoard – Simplicity 3833 – and suggested a fabric he found in my stash.  This is indeed a stashbusting project as it’s a remnant I picked up a year or so ago and I only just about had enough material to make it!

I really liked using this pattern.  The instructions were clear to follow in general.  I got a little bit confused on the zip directions, but then I tend to get confused when it comes to the zip stage whatever the project or pattern!

I chose the sleeve option.  I like sleeveless dresses and I think the sleeveless option would turn out great but I chose sleeves to practise them!  Considering this is my second attempt at sleeves, I’m quite chuffed!  I did forget to trace and tailor tack a couple of reference points on the sleeves template which didn’t help but I just gave it a go!

A new technique I learned with this pattern was understitching, which I had not heard of before but is great as it stops the interfacing rolling out on display on the neckline.  The pattern gave clear directions on this, but I checked online to ensure I understood it correctly.

This is the first time I’ve been able to use my tailor’s dummy for one of its main purposes – to assist with hemming!  It was invaluable.  I pinned where I wanted the length of the dress to finish and then used the pinned line as a guide to press and hem the length.

I would use this pattern again – perhaps using the sleeveless design or going for the longer sleeved version to vary it.

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Mother’s Day gift making – bath hats and bags

in progress

Taking over the lounge- there is a cutting mat underneath the template – honest!

It didn’t take long to come up with this year’s mother’s day gift – mainly because I knew she wanted a new bath hat!

I made her one years ago from the Cath Kidston “Sew!” book.  Unfortunately, the waterproof fabric I chose for inside the hat was quite thick and stiff.  Also, we have big heads so I think the pattern was designed for a smaller circumference head!

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Bath hat #2

I’d made my nan this green bath hat above using material I got online which I think is used for making tents.  It was much more versatile than the thick waterproof plastic for bath hat #1 anyway!  I made a much larger template for this hat and added a brim and bow!

finished result

Bath Hat and Toiletry set complete

As hat #2 was a much better fit, I went along with this design for mum’s.  However, I tried a new lining.  The fabric I used was a white showerproof material from Fabricland in Bristol.  I was apprehensive about using this, as I wasn’t sure how robust it was for using for practical and wearable items.  However, it seems to have turned out to be the cheapest and most shower hat like option of the three tried and tested!

Still chirpy from making a toiletry bag for my dad’s birthday, I felt that the hat required a matching toiletry bag.  As I wanted the bag and hat to match, I added a strip of the duck material to the top and appliquéd a duck on it too.  I couldn’t resist having another go at writing with the sewing machine, so I wrote “like a duck to water” on it.

I really enjoyed this gift set make.  It’s something I am considering to sell on my Etsy store in time for people preparing for their holidays!

snoopy wearing completed hat

Snoopy modelling the bath hat for demonstration purposes

Crafting with family – February

crafting at mum's angle better

Using the overlocker in my mum’s amazing sewing room!

Crafting with others is a great way to find inspiration and motivation.  Here is what we got up to when I stayed at my mum’s for a little craft retreat:

my doll editedWe discussed a possible focus the the meet up beforehand.  The main focus was dolls.  We have a few doll patterns in our stash, but I found a free magazine kit and decided to complete this instead (from Crafts Beautiful Magazine).  This was a fast make as all of the detail was printed onto the fabric and the limbs were not joined separately.

The bunny did come with a printed tail which protruded to one side but I opted for a button tail instead so it could go on the back.  Unfortunately the bunny is so small that I’ve misplaced it!

doll pattern cropped

The vintage doll pattern used

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Doll with temporary head – looking a bit like the box head in LMFAO music videos

My mum, on the other hand, decided to choose a vintage pattern she found in a charity shop.  As the head needed to be made with a kid’s nylon sock, she made the rest of the body first.

As with many charity shop pattern purchases, she was paranoid that there would be a piece missing, but we found them all secure in the packet!  What a find for 50p!

As I had chosen a quick doll pattern to make, I went on to my next challenge – recovering the pouffe.  This pouffe has gone round the family and ended up with me in the last year.  Despite it’s long time in the family, I could find only one photo where you can see its original cover!  Enthusiastic to recover it, I completely forgot to take the before shot.

We spent ages draping fabric over it and discussing the design (a reason why the doll remained headless at the time!)

I ended up using my mum’s stash instead of my own!  The top fabric is an old curtain she made about 20 years ago with material from Ikea.  The base is covered with  a corduroy remnant from a shop.  It’s a vast improvement but now I don’t want to put my feet on it!!

Making Individual Gifts – for Dad

For my dad’s birthday this year, I decided to use my new skills to make some different gifts to normal.

Cufflinks

cufflink showcase

Here is a photo of him wearing the cufflinks I made in glass.  I had no idea you could make cufflinks from fused glass (or didn’t think of it until it was pointed out to me)!

I’m quite limited in my glass fusing skills at the moment, particularly in cutting, so I used inclusions for the decoration (note: inclusions are when you include certain metals between the two layers of glass so that they become sealed into the piece).  The inclusions are feet.  I chose feet as he enjoys running, so it fits in with one of his hobbies.

The class pieces were fixed onto the cufflink backs with an amazing adhesive called Hang-your-glass, which creates a strong finished piece.

Toiletry Bag

bath toiletry bag lower res

Here is a photo of the toiletry bag I made.  I used free machine embroidery to decorate this item.  I made up the design from a family saying – “A bath is worth two hours’ sleep” which I believe he relies on to keep up with his busy schedule!

I really enjoyed making the personalised design on this bag.  The bath tub was appliquéd on with an old curtain swatch remnant.  I particularly enjoy writing with the machine, which is great because I no longer gaze longingly at impressive but expensive embroidery machines with preset lettering options.  Sure, a machine program for lettering is faster and accurate, but free machine embroidery comes out differently every time.

My college of handcraft

Hello!

Welcome to my blog.

The goal of this blog is to charter my journey through my own rather roughly laid out ‘craft school’!

Last year, faced with yet another temporary job coming to an end, I decided to apply for a part time position instead.  Sure, not the best option when you are renting, have no savings and your boyfriend is due to finish his PhD in the next year!

Okay, so this may turn out to be a financial mess in the end!  But on this occasion, I have decided to follow what I want to do and enjoy, rather than opt for financial security.

I write this blog for those who look back at their education and wish they had studied something else.  I enjoyed my education, but I’ve never learned to do any textiles or crafts- any of my hobbies- in an educational setting, and that is what I am focusing on now.

Since September, I have been going to some glass fusing and ceramics classes for fun.  Neither are my forte, but it’s fun to try something new and something I really couldn’t afford to do at home (or have the space for)!  I am very lucky to live nearby an adult education centre which puts on classes which are affordable and although it is a outgoing expense, it is a fraction of the cost of going back to college to study – and a lot closer to home.

From January, I have been extremely lucky to be a part of a free machine embroidery class.  It’s a technique I have always wanted to get round to but never have.  I’m hoping to follow these sessions with a creative textiles course after Easter if it runs.  The stitching class is a real boost to my inspiration at the moment.

I have a lot of extra space to fill in my ‘craft working week’ so this blog will charter the gaps between my official classes too.  This may include putting what I learn in short courses into practic or undertaking my own challenges.

Besides learning new techniques and setting up projects, I will be looking into the entrepreneurial side of hobbies as businesses (well, I believe the government likes all courses to have an enterprise module included!), so I will be tracking my endeavours with my recent little start-up: Clobber Creations.

In the next blog, I’ll be letting you know how I get on tackling some unique birthday gifts for my dad.  In the meantime, I am following/taking part in the #miymarch16 event by @thatwendyward and @dressmakerssocial which involves a themed photo on instagram a day!