Tuesday, 28 January 2014


I just claimed my blog on Bloglovin. Not entirely sure what that means but it sounded like a good idea.

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Colour Palette

After reading everyone's brilliant round up's from 2013 has really got me thinking about what I would like to sew this year. I have also signed up to participate in Colette Patterns Wardrobe Architect. So far we have been thinking about how our lifestyle, community, history etc. has affected our personal style as well as how our clothes/style makes us feel.

The Wardrobe Architect

It has only been running for two weeks but it has already made me realise that my wardrobe is awash of black and navy with only the odd red and lilac cardigans to add any colour. So I started looking for a way to plan for a more colourful 2014. Crafting a Rainbow's post on creating your own personal colour palette was exactly what I was looking for. My palette (not quite as professional looking) is a bit of a random mix of colours that I already have i.e. navy and grey, and some that I would like to introduce such as forest green, burgundy and turquoise. 

Some of the palette I already have fabric and patterns in mind but others I will just wait for some inspiration. I am also planning to print a copy of my palette and keep it in my note book so I can refer to it when I go shopping.  

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Christmas Toy - Dressmakers Model

This is one of my favorite Christmas presents! My amazing grandparents bought me an adjustable dressmakers model. I'm so excited!!

My Granddad (who definitely does not sew) loves hearing about the things that I have made and so this for Christmas he decided to buy something that would help me make more. After putting two wanted adds in the local newspaper he was contacted by someone selling this beauty! The other add was for a sewing machine, my gran used to have one back in the day and she would make things super quick on it. Fortunately he didn't have and response to that add, I am only in a small flat and I think a knitting machine might have been a bit of a squeeze.

As for my new model, I have spent a fair bit of time getting her set up and I think she is just about at the perfect measurements now. I don't really know anything about her and except for a "Deluxe Dressmaking Model" label on the front there is no other indication as to make or where she is from. She is adjustable in four areas hips, waist, bust and neck with the movement of 13 separate wheels. She also has a handy little pin cushion at the top (I think  it looks a bit sinister but I am sure I will get over it)

At the moment she is located in my living room. So she does not freak out visitors with her nakedness I have pined this tube of red knit fabric round her. It also happens to compliment my new fur collar quite nicely. Once I have used her a little I will probably think about making a more permanent cover at very least to keep her clean ad dust free.

Now she just needs a name...

Monday, 20 January 2014

Tilly's Fake Fur Collar

This was a super quick and fun make courtesy of Tilly from Tilly and the Buttons. Tilly has very kindly developed this free pattern for her (fake) Fur Collar.

I chose to make mine in a very deep chocolate brown almost verging on black. I picked it up at my local fabric :-)store which had 20% off all fun fur. I also used some very thin, animal print, fleecy fabric that I pulled out of a scraps bin in Mandors, Glasgow this time last year (I have just been waiting for the right project to use it). With the fur and the fleece I think it will be quite toasty to wear. It wasn't wide enough for the whole collar so I just cut two pieces and run a seam up the middle. Don't think it makes and difference as when you are wearing it you cant see that side anyway.

 I decided to add some ribbon (which I also already had in my stash) instead of the hook and eye. I think it gives it a bit of a dressy night out sort of feel. 

Nice, easy and super quick make. I can see a lot of potential for other fabric choices too, I'm thinking velvet or cotton maybe. Big thanks to Tilly 

Friday, 17 January 2014

Living Room Lampshade

Back in November I had a long weekend in Birmingham for the Cake International show at the NEC. The show was absolutely amazing. I have honestly never seen anything like it in my life. The decorations that some of the competitors had created out of sugar paste, fondant and butter cream were mind blowing. I took so many photos that I have not had enough time to sort through them yet.

Whilst I was down in Birmingham I really couldn't pass up he chance to go to Guthrie and Ghani in Mosley. After being inspired by Lauren's success on the Great British Sewing Bee the chance to visit her shop was one not to be missed. I was like a kid in a sweetie shop (frankly it was embarrassing).

Along with many other things that I'm sure I will write about later, I purchased a lampshade making kit. After the success of the first one I made at the start of the year, I knew I wanted to make the shades for my new flat too. This kit was exactly what I was looking for. It came with with everything that was needed for the construction except for the material. The photo below shows the contents of the kit after I had covered the stick PVC with my fabric.

Lampshade Kit

I also purchased the material for the shade at Guthrie and Ghani. It is by Emma Hardicker a printmaker and designer who produces vibrant artwork and upholstery fabrics. I was really sold on the minimal travel this material had done. Emma designs and silkscreen prints at her studio based in the old Bird's Custard Factory in Birmingham. The thought of supporting a local artist whose product are being handmade locally too definitely made me want it more.

This is an extract from the Guthrie and Ghani website describing Emma's work-

"Local Artist, printmaker and Designer Emma has now created her first fabric collection. Her fabrics have a beautiful fresh and contemporary look, in a selection of understated tones. Perfect for curtains, blinds and light upholstery. There are two classic designs to choose from ‘Daffodils’ and ‘Spring’."

Emma Hardicker, Daffodils in Teal available at Guthrie and Ghani

At £48 per meter this is definitely the most expensive fabric I have ever bought but it was definitely worth it. Fortunately, Guthrie and Ghani sell by the 10cm in their shop so I didn't need to buy more than required. The kit only needed a 30cm strip for the shade so it made it a more reasonable £14.40. 

My new living room lampshade

Here is the finished product lighting up my living-room. It was a breeze to construct and I put it together in an evening whilst watching the telly. Although I knew what to do after making my last shade, the instructions were very clear and had loads of step by step photos. 

Same shade different angle.

I love the huge repeat on the fabric it means that every angle that you look at the shade the pattern is always different.

On a side note the double sided sellotape is VERY sticky! I mislaid my tape half way through making my shade. I spent ages looking high and low for it, I literally checked everywhere even the fridge and the bin! . In the end I decided that some freak accident had made it vanish. I finally gave up after 40 mins or so, only to discover that at some point I must have lent on it and role had been stuck to the sleeve of my jumper all along.  Thankfully no one was there to laugh at me! 

My first lampshade

A little flash back to my first lampshade. As I was renting my previous flat I had to leave my bedside lamp behind when I moved. Therefore in my new flat I have had to buy myself a lamp. So here is my little lampshade in its new home. The lamp that it is on now is a lot lighter than the one it was on previously but I think it looks great if not better than the old one. Until I find a bedside table that I like it is living on a small second hand side table that I found at the weekend for a bargain price of £7. Although I like it I think the table is definitely destined for a makeover in the next few months before I move it through to the living room too! 

You might also recognise the two books o the table. I got Stitch 'n Bitch from my friend Pin for my birthday (which was last week). I'm really looking forward to reading it, the couple of pages that I've looked at were really funny. The second I treated myself to for the start of new year. Colette Sewing Handbook I have read so much about this book and when one of my friends from work bought it I managed to get a quick flick through. From then I knew I wanted one too. It only arrived a couple of days ago but I am positive that I am going to get loads of use from it.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Advent Calendar

My last make of 2013 was a very festive one in mid December. 

If there was ever a make that should be completed by a fixed date it has to be an advent calender! Of course by the time I finished mine it was well into December.
This advent calender is from Hobbycraft. It was a really simple make as it was basically a pre-printed sheet of fabric which just needed the pockets cut out and then stitched on to the main face of the calender. 

I really enjoyed sewing in the evening next to my tree with a nice hot chocolate.

The worst part of making this was all of the ironing that was involved in a nice fold in the seam allowance for the little pockets.
Some of the pockets came in strips like the one in the bottom of this picture. These were folded into box pleats and then top stitched into place.
The remaining pockets were just top stitched to match up with the corresponding square on the main fabric. I used gold thread for all of the top stitching as it matched the border of all the pockets.
To give the calendar some body when it is hanging I quilted it. Despite how simple this sounds I manage to make one really stupid mistake (I blame the mulled wine). I sandwiched my batting in between the front and back and then stitched it together. Obviously this was completely wrong and I had to unpick it.
Front then back (nice sides together) then batting... I will never forget!!!

Here is the finished product. I decided to stitch a wooden dowel into the top border so it doesn't sag when hanging. I am very pleased with the result. Hopefully it will last ages and I can look forward to filling it with chocs of my choosing for many more Christmases to come.