Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Top Tips For Sewing For Others

I don't typically sew for other people. Mainly because I'm selfish, I don't get the same amount of joy making something for someone else as I do making it for myself. 

Which is a bit awkward really especially when people are like 
"Oh I like your dress!!!"
"Why thank you I made it myself!"
"Oh that's great! Will you make me one?"
"I'll pay you? I'll buy the fabric?"

In fact the only person I sew from scratch for is my mum and I've only ever done it twice [I'm not counting the various knitting and embroidery things I've done this is strictly clothes sewing!]. As I said I don't really like doing it but she has this whole carrying me for 9 months and being cut open thing over me.....Plus I used one as a gift when I had no other ideas! 

So here's some top tips if your entering the black hole of sewing for others!

1 - Be Clear!

Explain your own personal limitations, let them know how long you've been sewing, if your not confident with buttonholes let them know! That way no one is disappointed!

2 - Talk about the Design!

Then talk about it some more, then draw a picture, then talk about it some more! Iron out every detail of the design from where the zips going to how the inside will be finished! Make detailed notes and discuss every future change!

3 - Measure Accurately!

I find it helps to talk to someone as you measure them, you can't breathe in it your chatting. Make sure you take all the measurements, Do the under bust and the full bust, measure the circumference of the tops of their arms and how long their waist is, AND don't forget to measure how long a skirt needs to be on them! They might be a lot taller than you!! It also helps if you can measure them whilst they have on underwear they are planning on wearing, remember a decent bra can add an extra inch to a bust [two if its one of those wonder ones!!!] and a pair of spanx can help you loose an inch!   

4 - Make a Toile and Fit It!

Possible the most boring part of any dressmaking process but sadly a necessary one! A toile can give you a rough idea of how a garment will look and help you change any big fit or detail issues! For example when making the goodwood dress it became apparent during the toile stage that gathers under the bust were a lot more flattering than darts on my mum!
And if your in any doubt make a second toile! 

5- Approve all Fabric and Trims!

In fact better yet go shopping with them to buy them! [and pick yourself up a lil summin summin!] Bear in mind they might not know sewing like you do so to them a "cotton" might mean the stuff their husbands work shirts are made of rather than some of the beautiful cotton lawns that are around!

6 - Discuss your time frame and what payment is being received!

Okay so you might not be receiving actual money, but it's always nice if someone says thank you or appreciates what you do! I'm very lucky my mum actually paid me to make  her the check shirt and the dress was a gift, but mainly I just like it when someone wears and appreciates the thing I slaved over! Also let them know how long its actually going to take you!

7 - Be neat!

Remember its not just you whose going to be seeing the inside so make sure you finish your seams nicely and cut every stray thread! 

8 - Give it a Final Press!

Remember a good press can hide a multitude of sins, but a bad one can highlight a lot more! 

So do you make clothes for other people?

Much Love



Saturday, 14 October 2017

1 Year Wedding Anniversary

Me and Rikki have been married for a whole year. ONE WHOLE YEAR! Where in hecks name did that go?

We've kept it pretty low key celebrations wise, we had a nice lie in this morning then we exchanged presents , I got Rikki some vintage video games and he got me a VIDEO CAMERA! Which you'll be pleased to know means I'll be getting myself back on youtube and doing some new videos!

On the downside I did manage to wake up with a pretty awful headache this morning so I;m having a lie down and watching bake off whilst the boys watch the football! 

But it did occur to me that whilst I did do a post wedding blog post  I never actually showed you some of our photos from our photographer the lovely Kim Shaw! 

So here's me applying my perfume after I'd been informed you should spray it "everywhere you want to be kissed", I sprayed it a few other places too!!!!!!

And here's me and Kal my gorgeous maid of honour doing patter cake moments before we left the house she did a fantastic job of keeping me calm through the whole day!

My gorgeous boys!!

Me and Kal trying to be seriousness but not quite managing.

After we tied the knot! I was shaking so much during the service! Never been so nervous in my life! 

Oh the fun things photographers make you do!!!! I nearly fell over, apparently walking is harder than I though!

Anything boys can do!

Girls can do better! Yeah we lifted him, its because we're awesome and stuff!

Me and squish! By this point we were both feeling pretty tired and getting chilly. Even though it didn't rain and we had sunshine we still had to deal with the cold!

I can't believe I only got to wear this dress once! How unfair is that?

Me getting excited over cake!

And being embarrassed by the best men!

All in all it was a wonderful day! And I'm having a great anniversary! Headaches aside! 

Much Love



Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Vogue 1790 - Calvin Klein Check Skirt

Well I think we can quite safely say that winter has arrived. I'm rocking a woolly hat on the school run and every day is an argument about whats a reasonable number to have the heating on [FYI its 22 at least!!! Not the poxy 18 Rikki keeps putting it on!]

Anyways I was given the fabric and the pattern for this skirt at the start of summer [By the awesome lady who also gave me the vogue coat stuff] I loved the pattern and the fabric but held off making it for ages because I knew that making a wool skirt in summer wouldn't be practical and that I'd be gutted if I loved it and couldn't wear it right away. Plus its always nice to save yourself a lil something to stitch up at the start of winter isn't it?

The pattern is Vogue 1790 which is a Calvin Klein pattern [you can find it here]. I love that the big designers released patterns via vogue back in the day. I think its a bit less common now and if there is a designer pattern it tends to be a bit more of an obscure shape! 

Anyway I opted for view A which is a classic shaped pencil skirt but with front pockets instead of darts. I'm not sure what its called but its the type of pocket you might find in your jeans at the front? I've never done this type before so I was a bit daunted! 

Eurgh my hair is terrible at the moment, it definitely needs a good cut! 

 I cut a size 12 from the pattern and the fit is pretty bang on. In fact the only adjustment I made was to shorten the whole thing by about a foot! No seriously I took 12 inches off. I do not have the body/legs/height for midi length. And after taking these picture I lobbed another inch off and re hemmed it again. 

Taking a foot off did mean that I lost the back vent. I'm not a huge fan of back vents to be honest because I'm always terrified that they weaken the back seam and that I'll end up splitting the skirt and showing the world my knickers! I can see the practicality in them though because walking in this is a small stride affair only! Much to Rikki's disgust that I can't keep up with his big man steps! It also means I walk like Marilyn Monroe with a wiggly bum but I;m not 100% that's a downside?! 

Pattern matching wise everything lines up pretty well apart from the back seam of the skirt, but the zips a mess anyway so chances are I'll redo that at some point anyway. The fabric is wool, I worked this out via a burn test and by how darn scratchy it is! The pattern actually calls for a lining but I have a few slips that I use instead of lining so I skipped it!

I did opt to overlock all the edges of my skirt pieces before sewing though just to make sure that the fabric wouldn't fray. Its not a particularly loose weave but I don't like to take any risks where my dignities concerned! 

How awesome are the shoes by the way? They were one of my £1 charity shop pairs and they are actually pretty comfy!

The pockets turned out better than I thought to say it was my first time doing this sort, I've got to say pressing worked wonders on getting them to look halfway decent. I had some trouble with the clipping and turning bit, so one of them is stitched closed until about half way across to keep it flat. But to be honest you can't really put anything in them anyway, 1. they are too shallow and 2. My stomach is not somewhere I like to add extra bulk! Even if its just my mobile phone! 

The waistband ended up being a bit bulky [I think that's what led to my zip issues] The waistband is cut on one piece that you fold over, as is the interfacing. So technically you get a double layer of interfacing and a double layer of wool. Which I didn't realise until I'd fused my thick interfacing to the waistband. Next time I'd hack the waistband so there was a waistband and a waistband lining and I'd just do one layer of interfacing. Plus that way I could use a cotton to line the waistband which would be a bit less scratchy on the old tum tum. 

All in all I really love it and I'm always pleased to have another wool skirt in the old wardrobe! I think my favourite detail is the front pockets and they also provide the shaping for the front of the skirt so no darts in the front just in the back!

In other news!

The winter boots are out!

I'm looking forward to my demo at Hanley Abakhans on sew Saturday! So if your in stoke on the 21st October pop down and say hello! I'll be there until about dinner time! 

Much Love 



Sunday, 8 October 2017

Top Tips For English Paper Piecing

I know I know. Really I should be blogging my next instalment of the #ettaquiltproject but I've been really off my game recently what with Rikki being off so much and the passing of my friend [I really want to write a whole post about him but 1. I can't start writing it without crying and 2. I'm not sure you guys would want to read it? Maybe I'll just write it for me when I'm ready and you guys can skip it if you want]

Anyhoo with the #ettaquiltproject I'm pretty sure the only person playing along is my big sis so I figured I'd slow down the pace a bit because she doesn't have a lot of time to sew! 

But here's some English paper piecing tips of you are looking to start or your finding it hard! 

1. Use Card [cereal packet / Xmas cards] as your templates instead of using paper. Its a lot more durable so you get more wear out of them and they are easier to fold fabric over accurately so you end up with neater corners etc.

2. Use bulldog clips. This is one I recently discovered, I used to use pins but I just kept stabbing myself as I tried to tack bulldog clips are a much easier and safer way!

3. Woven Fabrics. I'm not saying you need to go all out and buy expensive quilting cottons I mean after all these quilts were typically made out of scraps and old clothes. But using a woven fabric over a stretch fabric is definitely the way to go.

4. Use at least 1cm seam allowance. Believe it or not but too much seam allowance can actually make piecing more of a faff! a 1cm seam allowance gives you enough to work with without swamping you in fabric. 

5. Use different colored threads for tacking and sewing! Mainly this just makes it easier to remove your tacking stitches because you just remove all the ******* coloured threads!

6. Good lighting. Did anyone else Mum used to tell them off for doing things in the dark and tell them they'd go blind? Just mine? Okay.... But in all seriousness threading a needle in poor lighting is enough to have you reaching for the wine, threading it in good light is a more more pleasant experience but you'll probably still want the wine!

7. And speaking of needles! Keep them sharp! For both tacking and piecing, the whole process is just a lot quicker with a sharp needle!

8. Make a vague plan. Think about what sort of style you want? Will it be scrappy? Are you doing a pattern repeat? Do you want to use a colour story? A lil bit of planning in the short term can save a lot of aggro in the long term!

9. Buy extra fabric! Not because your going to mess up [although that might happen] But because your going to love and cherish your quilt and hopefully use it lots which means holes or stains may happen and its always useful to have some extra fabric for repair work! 

10. Try and use plastic template for making your card templates. Basically I make my templates I draw around 1 "master" shape. In theory this means that every single card template will be the same size, however if you use a card template as your master the repeated drawing can actually make the sides wear down and you end up with a smaller template! I tend to use either plastic templates or metal ones! 

11. Iron fabric before cutting out. Mainly this just helps you to be more accurate and to limit fabric waste. Its also a huge help if your using recycled clothes to make your quilt. And be sure to iron your finished blocks so they sit flat! 

Hope these help! Do you have any top EPP tips?

Much Love 



Friday, 6 October 2017

Refashioned Skirt From A Handmade Dress

There is nothing I hate more than when I spend time making something only for it to languish in the back of my wardrobe. It's bound to happen its not like you can try it on before you've made it is it? And we've all stood in a shop before trying to work out why the dress that seemed so perfect in theory actually looks like a potato sack.

Anyway I loved this dress when I first finished it but I just never wore it. The back is cut in a low v and due to a fit issue the straps fell down quite a lot exposing the old bosom, plus you have to go braless which is never a day to day wear pleaser. 

Anyway I did LOVE the fabric which I think is a Singapore printed cotton so I decided to try and fix it and make something more wearable. 

First of all I ripped out the zip then I just cut off the skirt part and threw the bodice away. This meant I got to keep the pockets!!! Although I had completely forgotten that this dress had pockets so ya know!

Next I cut a new waistband from some stash fabric and put it on with a zip and a hook and eye at the top.

And bish bash bosh done! I actually think I like it a lot more now and it should be easier to wear it day to day.


In other news!

- I'm freezing, seriously when did it get so cold? I'm absolutely dreading this winter I'm finding it hard to get out of bed as it is.

- I've just finished Gone Girl and boy what a book!!!! I literally couldn't put it down!

- I'm currently watching 'Allied' with Brad Pitt and I have high hopes that he'll take all his clothes off......... Filth Absolute filth

- I'm feeling a bit perkier this week, the hills aren't alive with the sound of music just yet but I think I'm heading to a good place emotionally. I've even had motivation to do stuff!

Much Love



Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Nannies Apron

My Nan turned 80 in September and naturally I couldn't let the occasion pass without giving her a lil bit of handmade!

I went for an apron because being that she was born 80 years ago I'd have to assume that she's part of the apron wearing generation. Plus they are just a bit useful really aren't they? I wear aprons all the time, for cooking for cleaning and sometimes just for fun I like to forget I'm wearing an apron and do the school run!

I put a big pocket on because shes got 5 grandchildren and 10 [god I hope that's right] great grandchildren so I thought she could keep illicit sweets in the pocket, you know the kind of sweets your Nan gives you after dinner even though you haven't finished all your food. 

I also made the ties long enough to tie at the front or the back. Please ignore those hanging threads I did snip them off but apparently not for these pictures! 

I'm not sure where the fabric came from I just found it in the fabric cupboard and thought its the sort of thing that might appeal to Nan. Its a well established fact that Nan's like flowers! 

In other news:

Rikki starts a new job this month and they sent him biscuits to welcome him to the family! I have never been so excited in my life, I MEAN BISCUITS PEOPLE BISCUITS!!!!!

So yeah I'm off to eat biscuits!

Much Love



Sunday, 1 October 2017

Vendula London Sewing Shop Handbag

Birthdays are the best! I mean boo to getting older but YAY for presents [I realise as an adult I;m suppose to be like "oh yeah I don't need presents, its just another day..." But no......]

This was my birthday present from my Mum and Dad! I'd actually mentioned wanting one a few weeks ago on here but I had no idea they were taking notes! [ I'D ALSO LIKE A PONY!]

Anyway I thought it might be nice to do a lil blog post looking at the bag after which I would naturally pop it back into its protective outer bag because well I don't want to ruin it now do I !? 

So the front closes with a twisty catch thing, I have no idea what this is called but it stops it popping open and your phone falling out , which yes has happened to me before. 

This is the box bag which is the second largest size they do and pretty much perfect for day to day use. Its got a zip pocket on the back and a zip pocket on the inside. Funny story, for years I thought the inside pocket on a handbag was officially called the tampon pocket because that's what my mum called it........ Bit embarrassing when I realised other people keep other things in it. The inside is also lined with a cute london print!

The bag is made from faux leather and some of the details on the front are sewn on by hand. The details on this bag are crazy guys, there's a sewing machine, a shop front sign that swings, rolls of fabric which are made from ACTUAL fabric and a little mannequin! 

I mean guys as far as handbags go this is pretty freaking adorable! I could look at it all day and still find something new! 

The back has a bicycle and a cat on because lets face it you can never have too much twee! 

It comes with a shoulder strap but I'd say you could use it as a clutch bad as well as the strap detaches. 

But I would definitely recommend taking a look at the whole website! I'm now lusting after the music shop bag, the diner and the bookshop as well as the whole of the cinema line!

Much Love