Wednesday, 22 February 2017

CHSIstitches 2017

Stick a fork in me I am done! I spent Monday at the CHSI stitches show in Birmingham and boy was it a fun day ! A long one but a fun one! 

CHSI stitches is a trade show that held every year, a few months ago I signed up for some information and low and behold I had a ticket in my inbox the next day it was one of those pinch me please moments. Naturally as its a trade show you can't buy anything unless you have a shop but it was a great opportunity to talk to some traders about what new products they had and some of them were even kind enough to give me samples to try!

Which is why I caught a train at 6.50am to get their! #sleepyfrankie 

I also got to meet the lovely Jo from three stories high and have a cup of tea in the press room! Oh yeah I had a PRESS PASS guys! I actually did a little squeal when the lady printed it out for me so she clearly thinks I'm nuts!

Anyway there were some really great stands so here's a few pictures of some of my favourite inspirations from the show [I'm going to do separate posts on some of the samples I received!] I warn you this post is pretty picture heavy but its all so pretty!


These large scale building blocks from the west yorkshire spinners are just about the cutest things I've ever seen and they felt so soft!


This is a kit from Knitty Critters that you knit up and then put in your washer to felt! Its such a cool idea and gives a real heirloom feel to the bear! 


I got to see some real life samples on the vogue/Butterick/mcalls stand and boy are they well made! They also had catalogues off all of their patterns and I don't think I'd ever really thought about how extensive their range actually is! And the two ladies I spoke to just oozed class! Kind of reminded me of my Grandma!   


Toft Uk had these HUGE crochet project at their stand and now I'm starting to think I might actually need a six foot flamingo in me house! I darn't touch but I definitely spotted more than one person giving them a cuddle! 


The quilts guys! I saw so many beautiful quilts but this one might be my favourite, the colours were so vivid and the work was really intricate!


I loved the display on the Korbond stand and I had a really nice chat with Jenni Bob Taylor, and she was kind enough to show me a pre copy of her book! Its available to pre order now and looks like its going to be a good mesh of up cycling projects and sewing projects. Also shes just as nice as she appeared on the telly! 


These little felt monkeys stole my heat they are by Corinne Lappierre and can be brought here. Everything you need comes in the kit so I think they'd make a great gift for crafty kids!


I had a great chat with Elspeth Jackson of Ragged Life at her rag rugging stand. We also found that we were both taught crafts by our mums! And she had her mum with her! Shes also got a book out but the main thing that struck me was how great these would be for recycling fabric scraps! Oh and keeping cosy of course! 


This unicorn was made using quilling and they had hands down some of the coolest stuff I've ever seen done with quilling papers! All the designs were by Beca Russell and its a whole new take on quilling! 


I found this cheeky gnome on the Cygnet Yarns stand I have been reliably informed that he'll be a free pattern on the website too! 


I also spent a good amount of time hanging out at the Craft cotton company stand and It was so nice to put faces to the people I've been emailing over the past year! Plus they let me sit down and after so long on my feet I definitely needed that! 



This is a new product from EQS and its basically quilt by numbers its hands down the easiest way I have ever seen of quilting! I can't do it justice but you basically work all three layers of your quilt at the same time, whilst piecing and then you join them together. Its genius!  


I also got to meet the queen of sewing Tilly and the buttons and she was kind enough to try and answer some of my questions [She was being very cryptic!] But basically they have 4 more patterns coming out this year and shes also working of a BIG project! Which she couldn't say anymore about. She also said that whilst there's no plans for a TATB coat pattern at the moment she does have the idea for one in her head so if you want to see that harass her with tweets! 

She also called me the queen of Lilous which was pretty cool and made me really glad I chose to put on a lilou dress that morning! 

I also got to meet two of the directors from Abakhans with was really cool and I got to tell them about how awesome the staff is in Hanley! 


These Mannequins at the Caron cake stand made me want to make woollen wigs to match my knitted garments and they gave me an actual cake! They were promoting their Caron cakes which is going to be new to the uk. You can find it here on amazing but I'm not sure what the shipping fees will be like but guys believe me when I say the wool's were softer than a babies bottom. Its like a cross between a babies bum, a peach skin and a horses nose all wrapped up in a ball of self striping goodness!  


This stand is from Clara, A company that operates out of Cornwall and has some really cute craft kits from ages 8+. Its a mixture of 100% cotton fabrics and a wool mix fabric which is 100 times softer than any felt I have ever handled. Plus theirs some really cute designs and the lady who runs it was super nice! They also do party packs which contain four projects and are perfect from kids to do at parties, And ya know me when its my next birthday!


These Scissors from fiskars have flowers on and so do the rotary cutters so I'll just leave this cuteness right here! 



This stand was from Hoooked and they have a range of yarns and crochet kits! I especially liked these speech bubble which were made by crocheting over a plywood frame [Definitely giving these a go!] And I loved how passionately the man spoke about how being a sustainable company was important to them. They have a huge focus on recycling which is cool even down to the stuffing that's included in their kits! 

 And thats it guys! These are just a few of the things I saw and hopefully I'll be able to write up some more of it later.

As lovely as my day was It couldn't pass without some form of disaster! first of all I've got a mark on my shoulder from where was bag was rubbing me all day and secondly my train journey home was a nightmare!

My train was delayed, Its was packed and I ended up stood by the doors with 8 men. Then I missed my connection because of the train delay. Then I got on another train and low and behold its didn't stop where the man at the desk said it would. Their is nothing me soul destroying than being exhausted, having a sore shoulder, aching feet and watching your hometown flit past you. Luckily my mother in law was able to pick me up when to train finally stopped but I was still pretty miffed!

Anyway Much Love!!!

Frankie

xxx  

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Magazine: Sew Style Essentials Pattern Hacking

Yay I'm in this issue of sew style essentials magazine!


It's another pattern hacking feature and is produced by the same people from sew magazine.


My pattern was kwik sew 4111 which i decided to hack by making the neckline more draped [I used the slashing and spreading method] and by adding more pleats to the skirt and lengthening it.

Basically I used a day dress pattern to make an evening gown.


The fabric was from abkhans and whilst I don't normally "do" green I love this shade its sooo lush!

I also added some embellishment in the way of beads on the shoulders and on the belt.


You can buy it from whsmiths [LOL it was on the shelf next to the last one I was in and I had a moment of pride and told the little old man who was looking at fishing magazines!] or you can find it here! It comes with three paper patterns and templates for loads more projects!

So yeah I'm feeling pretty chuffed to bits with myself! I even went out and brought myself a length of fabric as a well done from me to me and Rikki got me a bottle of champers! 

In other news! Half term is upon us! Which is lovely because it means me and lil man can spend some quality time without having to do words or reading or other boring things!

Lil Man received a Valentines card! I know right it was hands down the most adorable thing in the world! And he also went to his first school disco! We had to wait outside and OMG the child where bouncing off the walls! I've been to clubs that were more low key and chilled out! 

I've started knitting a jumper and so far its coming together nicely I just have to hope I don't run out of wool! Im knitting it p in chunky so its coming together really quickly!

Much Love 

Frankie

xxx



Thursday, 16 February 2017

Valentines Day, GBSB Wrap Dress

I'm not sure if this is a success or not. Part of me likes it and the other part of me thinks this isn't quite the right velvet. Its a bit thin and I;m not sure it has the weight that this wrap dress needs.

Anyway from the top! The pattern is the gbsb wrap dress from the second book. I'd already made it in a stretch poly knit and immediately afterwards I wanted to make one in velvet. 


This velvet was from abakhans and cost £8.40. I had originally wanted something in a dark teal or more of a burgandy colour but couldn't find anything so I picked this up instead. Its more of a raspberry colour than the pictures show. 


I sewed up most of the seams on my overlocker only using my regular machine to stitch the sleeve hems and to hem the outer edge of the dress.

I used a twin needle for all the hems and even managed to find two spools of thread the right colour. But my god was it a pain in the bum! The threads kept twisting and snapping and jumping into one needle it was more trouble than it was worth and I cursed myself for not using a simple zigzag.


I also Made one small change from the instructions, instead of leaving a gap in the side seam for the ties I simply made a button hole. It seems to be a lot more secure and looks a lot neater.

The only other thing that sucks about this dress is that I cut it out the wrong way so the pile of the fabric is the wrong way up. So basically if you want to stroke the velvet you have to stroke down to up instead of stroking down! 


All in all I'd say I'm about 80% happy with it, I think it probably looks a bit nicer than in the pictures but I definitely want to make another velvet one hopefully using a slightly richer velvet. The construction is good and I still love this style.

I'm wore it for valentines day, we didn't do anything particularly special just exchanged gifts in the morning and then I cooked us a tea later on. Its a darn sight better than last year though where we didn't even celebrate because we were saving for the wedding!

Much Love

Frankie

xxx 

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Finished Crochet Blanket

Its finished!!! It was a labour of love but I finally managed to complete it and boy am I feeling pleased with myself! 

So here's the general gist :

1 x 20 row granny square
2 x 15 row squares
5 x 10 row granny squares
23 x two colour five row granny squares
2x multi coloured granny squares


I started it just after Christmas and I finished it on the first Sunday in February whilst lil man was feeling poorly. In fact he helped out by passing me various squares to be stitched together! Naturally now he's been telling everyone he made it........


I wish I had blocked the squares because its hanging funny on the washing line, but I guess you live you learn! Size wise Its a bit bigger than I thought it would be but its not huge! I'd say its lap quilt size. Lets put it this way it covers little man very nicely and it covers me if I;m curled up on the sofa after walking to school!


The initial colour pull came from my stash I chose greens, blues, greys, whites, blacks and purples. Towards the end I was starting to run  out though so the final influx of wool came from my lovely pen friend Jeanette [who also sent crochet hooks because she is a BABE! ] And Rikkis Nan who is now trying to learn crochet for herself!  Luckily granny squares only take a small amount of wool so she was able to clear out all of her odds and sods of wool!


I went for a patchwork style of blanket and worked according to a plan I had drawn up. I like the hippy vibe it has and I'm really glad I decided to mix things up because I think I would have been bored if I had just made granny squares of the same size. 

After all the squares were stitched together I decided to add two rows of crochet as a border, This was SOUL DESTROYING! the sides were huge and I felt like I was crocheting for hours! That said I think it really ties the whole thing together!


I am so chuffed with this project, after struggling for so long it felt lovely for the skill to finally click. And it was also nice to see how my granny squares improved over time and got neater. 

Now I just need to work out what my next crochet project is going to be!!!

Much Love

Frankie 

xxx

Sunday, 12 February 2017

90s style Tie Dye Dress

This dress felt like flogging a dead horse at times. I originally brought the fabric to make another simple sew kimono dress, but then I laid out the pattern pieces and tried to see it in my minds eye and it just didn't look right. So then I sketched myself a little deign for a halter neck dress with plaited straps and a bare back. I even draped it all on my mannequin and it did look really nice, and then I tried it on me and I remembered that unlike a mannequin my boobs do actually move, and the chances of me ever wearing something without a bra are slim, especially if the fabric is as unstructured as this. 


Luckily the skirt was salvaged and I had enough fabric left to create this slightly more simple dress. The top is from the third GBSB book and is a shortened version of the Cami top [I think I took about 4 inches off the bottom] and then the skirt is just a gathered rectangle.


It has no fastenings due to the loose fit of the bodice which made this is really quick make. In fact I re used some old bra straps for the top so I didn't even have the make straps. In fact I didn't even properly hem the edge I just overlocked the raw edges and left it. I think it adds a cool grungy vibe to it!


I did wonder if it was a bit short but I think its okay with black tights and I've been wearing it with a full slip on underneath anyway! I've also been wearing it belted, I do prefer how it looks with a nipped in waist but its nice to have the slightly looser option as well.


I think it looks pretty 90's personally which is why I've also been wearing it with a tshirt underneath. I think I remember my sister doing this with some of her strappy dress during the 90's and I think it looks pretty cute. And you know extra layers to keep me warm and stuff!

The fabric came from abakhans and is some form of drapey poly thing from one of the remnant bins. It cost £7.33 which seems pretty pricey for a dress but I would have had some left over for a cami top if I hadn't had to cut out the bodice twice. 

All in all I love it, I think it would be really cute for a night out with nude tights and thigh high boots [I have worn the absolute bejeezus out of my thigh high boots this winter. I literally had no idea how warm they would keep my legs and how much sass they would add to an outfit! FYI mine were £20 and came from shoe zone!]

So yeah now I just need an excuse for a night out on the tiles!!!

In other news I made this dress and then it started snowing a bit so I'm guessing that summer isn't quite ready for me yet.

I FINISHED my crochet blanket! a blog post will be coming soon.

Lil man started with a cough last week but seems to have beaten it off! Touch wood [touches all the wood]

I'm halfway through the first game of thrones book, I'm enjoying it but OMG ALL OF THOSE NAMES! 

I went to Lil mans school worship on Friday........ They do an open worship where parents can attend and I've been putting it off because I'm less religious and more of a spiritualist and the school is very religious But Lil man kept asking me to go sooooooooo. That said It was virtually painless and Lil mans smile as he spotted me sat there was worth it! I did however knock over an entire pile of chairs when it was finished and it was time to tidy up, needless to say I didn't stay for coffee.

Much Love 

Frankie






Thursday, 9 February 2017

Baby Gifts!

I finally got around to quilting my most recent baby blanket.


The front is really simple HST done in a variety of fabrics, I even dug into my precious stash and used some of my dashwood studio prints in there as well as some prints from the craft cotton company and abakhans. 


The couple don't know if they are having a boy or a girl so I went for a pretty neutral palette of yellows greys and teal. I think the whole thing looks really fresh and modern. 


It took me a while to find a fleece blanket to use on the back and in the interest of full disclosure Rikki chose this one from home and bargains. You'll have to take my word for it but it is SUPER soft!


Quilting wise I just quilted along each triangle using my walking foot, It took me barely any time at all. In fact hand stitching the binding down might have taken longer!


I added a handmade tag for a personal touch and naturally after I saw it all cute and folded up I just had to make a matching bunny and taggy blanket. These are made in exactly the same way as all of my other ones and feature a lot of the same prints!!!


This is my absolute favourite set I have ever made EVER!


It all just looks so adorable when its together and I can't wait to gift it when baby is born!


Much Love 

Frankie 

xxx

Monday, 6 February 2017

Suzy Magazine Review


I personally was pretty late hearing about Suzy Magazine. For example I missed the entire kick starter campaign and only really heard about it on Instagram. Anyway the magazine titles itself as for the "fashion forward sewist" Which did peek my interest. As someone who has spoken about how irritating I find some of the kitsch projects in the more well known sewing magazines the idea of having something that's "fashion forward" seemed brilliant.

 Which naturally meant some batting of eyelids was done in Rikkis direction and we agreed to get me one and then we saw the £10.00 price tag and started dithering a bit. And I decided that if I was going to spend £10 I was definitely going to need to have an idea of what was inside. So I kept searching for the #suzymagazine on Instagram but all that really kept coming up was flatlays of the magazine or selfies with the magazine, nothing about what was actually inside. And then I stumbled upon a post by the lovely stitchedupsam and not only was she kind enough to describe what was within but she also offered to send me her copy because she was finished with it. Sewing people are the absolute coolest!
Image of Suzy Magazine Issue One

Right so here's my review! As always I've been honest because I don't know how to be anything other!

Things I liked:
- The paper its printed on is really lovely quality.
- There's a small piece about an embroidery exhibition by Molly Goddard that I found interesting and that I wouldn't have known about otherwise.
- The gift guide section was nice and opened my eyes to some new products.
-The photography really is outstanding, The pictures are very beautiful throughout.
- There's a sewing base piece of typography on the back that's very pretty, its the sort of thing you could easily cut out and frame.

Image result for suzy magazine sewing

Things I disliked:
-The playlist, one page is dedicated to a sewing playlist. I tend to think that music is so subjective that this is a bit pointless. For example my sewing playlist would feature heavy metal not the spice girls. I'd have rather seen an interview with someone who sews listening to music and one who sews watching telly and see how their ideas and concentration compares.
- A whole page of illustrations. Whilst the illustrations are lovely I did find them a bit pointless? 
- Large blocks of text. It seemed to me whenever there was words there would be quite a small picture and then a HUGE chunk of text. I feel like things could have been spaced out more.
- No tutorials or patterns. Now stitchedupsam had already mentioned that it didn't include any patterns, but then it didn't have any tutorials or even any ideas? I mean there's a piece on getting the most out of your patterns and uses the Cleo dress as an example. But they just make it up in five different fabrics? And add a patch to one. I'd have much rather seen some pattern hacking ideas, i.e extending the length [for those who prefer modest fashion] or a one covered in patches or embroidery. 
- There's a colouring page, and not a detailed artsy sort of colouring page, its just outlines of pictures of sewing patterns?

Image result for suzy magazine sewing

So all in all I think its a lovely idea. Even though I make my own clothes I still pay attention to the latest fashion trends and buy fashion magazines so the ideas of a magazine for the fashion forward sewist really appeals to me. What I think it needs is a bit more content and substance. I'd like to see pattern hacking and things made up in really unusual fabrics. And ideas on how to customise things.

I really do think its a great idea and kudos to them for making it happen but personally I don't think I'll be putting it on my buy list until they've put a bit more in. And I still think the £10 price tag is VERY steep especially for what you get. For example you could buy the dressmaking technique bible for the same price and have change for donuts. Or you could just buy £10 worth of donuts [FYI if you buy tesco jam donuts its five for 50p so you could end up with 100 donuts in your hands, that's if I've done my maths right]

 So have you brought suzy magazine? and what did you think of it?

Much Love

Frankie

Disclaimer: I didn't pay for my copy of suzy magazine as it was sent to me by stitched up sam, and if I do ever have to pleasure of meeting her I will certainly give her some donuts, might even stretch to some krispy kremes!