Monday, 14 August 2017

The Purple Jackie O Dress

I feel like every time I re read the pink suit I end up making something very Jackie O inspired! And its one of my favourite books so I re read it a lot [Rikki thinks this is bizarre by the way! He says why would you re read something you've already read because you know how it ends? In fact he doesn't even re watch films unless they happen to be on and theirs nothing else on!]  So yeah that's where the idea for this dress came from and it paired nicely with me actually needing some sensible grown up clothes in my wardrobe as well as novelty print dresses!

Isn't that purple bright? I literally don't think I have ever made anything this bright in a plain colour before! The fabric was from the lady at the carboot and well I'm not 100% what it is? Its definitely a type of knit but it has no stretch. Its not a woven, which I could tell from the fabric structure. It has a goods amount of "bounce" and it was very difficult to press in fact the whole thing had to be done on the lowest setting under a pressing cloth [LOL I don't have a pressing cloth I just use a clean hankie!] 

It also hated my machine, It kept getting jammed and I had to use my walking foot in the end!  

I only had about a metre and a half of fabric which is why I did the pencil skirt option rather than my favourite box pleat version.

The pattern is..... Do I even need to say it or have we seen it so many times its second nature? The whole thing is from the second GBSB book, But I added a waistband because the pattern is far more empire than it looks on the model [I'm still not sure how they managed this? The sample picture and the actual pattern are completely different!]

Related image

I've pretty much perfected the bodice on this now, but back in the day before I tweaked it I cut a size 12 and my measurements are 36" - 27" - 38". 

The waistband is about 3 inches fit and I just cut it to the same length as my bodice. 

The zip is a bit jacked up. I'm not sure if It needs an iron or if it just needs ripping out and the zip seam interfacing to give it more structure? Its just come through the wash so I think I'll try a good press first. The zip itself came out a £1 mixed bag from abakhans. It has a little "p" at the top which is weird? I;m not sure where it's from? I did ask Rikki to cut off the middle bit and make it an "f" but he said something about tools and structures and it not being possible so I guess the "p" will have to stand for "princess"!.

The waistband is lined and the neck and arms are faced. I line the waistband by cutting two waistbands and then constructing the dress normally including inserting the zip. Then I take the second waistband, turn down a 1.5cm seam allowance and press, then pink on top of the actual waistband and hand stitch into place all the way around. There is probably a better way of doing it but that's how I do it! 

Its not too bad I suppose, Its just a bit bubbly above my bum area.

Here's a cheeky shot of my label inside, I put it on the inside waistband which makes it difficult to show people but does mean it won't flip out. You can also see the slip stitched waistband lining. The only other finishing I did was pinking the princess seams which I always do because I think it makes the curve sit nicer. 

I also pinked the facings, I always have to cut them down loads! I'm not sure why the pattern has them drafted so wide? Maybe your suppose to do a double turned hem on them? But who has time for that?

All in all I kind of like it? Its a bit of a variation away from my usual style, although to be honest I'm not 100% what my style is? Sometimes I'm punky sometimes I'm prissy! And at thew ripe of age of 24 I am wondering if I should have an actual style? But then I think to myself the best part of getting dressed every day is DRESSING UP! So I'll probably just keep wearing a crazy mix of clothes until I;m sat in my nursing home teaching my grandchildren all the good curse words. Oh yes I plan on being that kind of Grandma!  

In other news! 

- I've still not been sewing much what with both Rikki and lil man being off but I have nearly finished my new winter scarf so hopefully I'll be blogging that soon. 

- And I have an idea for a crochet jumper that I am itching to get started on! 

- We've also been talking about when we might be able to next go camping, mainly were trying to work out if there is anything else we need [a chair for lil man and some wellies for me!] And how we can save room in the car i.e convince Marcus he doesn't need to take all TEN of his bedtime teddies and pack the contents of the picnic basket into another box! I also have plans to sew a lil windbreak for our stove, just something to keep the wind away from the flame and to keep lil man away from it!

Much Love




Friday, 11 August 2017

Simplicity K1418 - A Project Runway Pattern in Gingham!

There's a tent drying in my kitchen. Its currently strung across a clothes horse the ironing board and some is on the floor. We didn't think we'd put it away wet but after reading a few camping blogs it became apparent that it needed to go away bone dry! And I'm not sure I trust putting it on the washing line. My kitchen floor is now also covered in mud!

Anyway this make started with this pattern Simplicity K1418 which is a pattern that's inspired by project runway. Now I'll start by saying I am a HUGE project runway fan! And I ain't never seen them make anything this simple in all of the times I've watched it. 

This particular pattern was brought form our local carboot for £1 and although I'm pretty sure it was originally a freebie in a magazine that's still pretty reasonable for a sewing pattern. 

It comes with a few different views including some sort of lace up back thing. But I decided to go for the off the shoulder version which is view b. I measured as a size 14 but knowing that simplicity patterns come with a metric tonne of ease I decided to cut a size 12.

The fabric I used is a rose and hubble cotton gingham from Minerva fabrics. You can see their wide selection of ginghams here! I am a sucker for a gingham dress I think this one is number four maybe?  And I definitely want to make others! 

One change I did make was to sway the side zip for a center back zip. I hate side zips and it was a pretty easy change! I even think it looks a bit better? Or I could just think that because I like things to be symmetrical? Although the first zip I put in this was far too short and I got a bit *ahem* stuck, and this was being made when lil man was still at school and we were running dangerously close to school pickup time so things got a bit dicey to say the least. In the end I escaped by ripping out the back seam.

Construction wise the skirt is box pleated with a slight a-line so you get the flare but the whole thing doesn't blow up at every opportunity. 

The bodice is a princess seamed, with long waist darts in the back bodice. The little cap sleeves are set inbetween the bodice and the facing and have come concealed elastic to keep them up. [Although I think I may still need to reduce the length of mine by 1.5cm or so.

Here you can see the elastic in its casing, I had to slip stitch mine to the sleeves to get a clean finish [the pattern doesn't call for the slip stitching but I'm not sure how'd you'd make the sleeves look tidy without it?]. I really liked the facing method for keeping everything tidy on the inside.

Instruction wise things are a bit unclear. There's so many variations in one pattern that I got quite muddled at some points and wasn't sure what I should be doing! None of this was helped by my reluctance to read instructions anyway. 

I was pretty proud of this make so naturally I added a label! 

For the zip I did a lapped zip because that's my favourite method. The pattern calls for an invisible zip because its going into a side seam. 

Here you can see the check properly, its a really small gingham in sort of an apple green colourway? I don't normally do green but I don't think this looks too bad. And one of the mums at football said I looked really nice so that was cool.

There's a few changes I need to make to the pattern to make it perfect! 

-reduce the width of the cap sleeve
- take an inch out of the length of the bodice
- try and remove some excess from the front bodice where there is some gaping. I'm not sure if this is down to the straps though? it sits perfectly flat when I stand put if I lean forward it gapes?

Al in all I think its a really lovely summer dress, although it does need a strapless bra underneath which sort of limits its wearability [is that a word? I'm sure its a word?]

Much Love



Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Camping Catastrophes! and some fun too!

I've not posted for nearly a week! Have you missed me?

Well this is what my view looked like recently! Yep we ventured to Wales for a few days to take lil man on his first ever camping trip !  However it wasn't without its problems! In fact the whole trip seemed to be a bit cursed!

- the first time we tried to go Rikki was struck down with a migraine and spent the day in bed
- Then when we did decide to go we had to brake sharply [because the driver in front was a moron] and lil man got hit in the head by the wooden games compendium flying across the car!
- then when we had gotten to the campsite and pitched up we decided to take a walk along the beach and lo and behold my phone fell out of my handbag at some point and is now a the bottom of the deep blue! I hadn't even noticed it was missing! I had been thinking about how wonderful and relaxed I was feeling paddling my feet in the waves, and then lil man was bringing me shells and I thought ooh I might instagram this and oops wheres my phone? So I'm now phone less until I sort a replacement #prayforfrankie

But luckily the rest of the trip went really well until Rikki broke the bottle of milk on the doorstep when we got home [insert pun about crying over spilt milk here]

We visited Harlech Castle which was nice especially for lil man because its very similar to what it would have looked like back in the day! 

I wore my as yet unblogged days by the sea dress to visit the castle and for a walk on the beach! [i also realised I need to shorten the bodice by an inch!

An I even managed to finish our tent carpet just in the nick of time so we could use it!!

The stars and hexagons are english paper pieced and then appliqued on, and the loops are bias binding sewn down! The backing is some sort of lovely thick fleece back jersey stuff that my friend Helen gave me! I'm not sure how you would describe it but its lovely and thick for stepping on in the morning especially when its cold! 

Lil man even made up a game with the colours in the star! I'm not sure I quite understood the rules but he enjoyed himself so that's a win!

Here it is in situ in our very messy tent! 

Its held in place by four pieces of ribbon that tie onto the actual groundsheet! 

So yeah a fairly practical make that saved us about £40 on a tent carpet!

some other highlights include!

- lil man jumping over waves and just generally having the best time in the sea!
- Rikki trying to find me the best sea shells on the beach to take home!
- Ice creams!
- Fish and chips by the sea!
- Playing with my new camping stove kettle and toasting rack!
- Having the coolest camping neighbours! 1, they had a dog! 2. the man was doing a cross stitch! 3. they had a kid with them about lil mans age! and 4. The lady and her daughter did quilting!!!! which meant I got to talk about quilts! and SEWING!
- Seeing everyone bundled up under things I had made! We took 8 blankets with us! all made by me and it was so nice seeing the boys snuggled under them!

Much Love


P.S needless to say I cant wait to go again!!! 

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Cami Top from a Pillow Case

Sometimes the sewing works and sometimes it doesn't. Yes this is a nice enough cami top but for some bizarre reason it turned out HUGE! compared to the other times I've used this pattern.

The pattern is the cami top from the 3rd GBSB book, but without the ruffle because well putting a ruffle on my boobs would just be overkill.  

Its the back that seams big? maybe I should put a little box pleat in or something? In this picture I have the back of my bra pulled right the way down so you don't see it. So maybe that means the strapos are whats too long? [do you like my tan lines? I took these pictures the day after I got sunburnt which was ages ago! safe to say I'm now back to my milky white colouring]

That said if I don't alter it I'm sure I'll still use it for layering under tops and if all else fails I'll just wear it to bed.

Construction wise it took no time at all to cut out or sew. It was however sat on my chair for about a week after cut out waiting to be sewn because new shiny projects kept distracting me! 

The fabric is an old pillowcase and came from my Aunty Shelia and Uncle Gordon's house. There was only one otherwise I might have tried to make a little pj set. I love the delicate flowers and the lightweight fabric. I'm gonna guess that its vintage? 

It looks 100% better tucked in!

Their wasn't quite enough fabric to cut the facings as well so they have been done from a plain white fabric. 

All in all its a really nice make and its always nice to make some more practical items that will get lots of wear. Especially when the weather turns colder and I'm looking for an extra layer to keep me toasty. The only issue is its a little bit on the sheer side so I have to be careful how I wear it.

In other news, 

The summer holidays are going okay I'm not ready to kill lil man just yet......

We are still playing lots of games and trying to get outside whenever the weather lets us. We have high hopes for a big bike ride but I'm not sure how realistic that is!

Much Love



Tuesday, 1 August 2017

#ettaquiltproject - shoo fly block

Stick a fork in me I am done! Today I have cleaned the whole house, cleaned out the guinea pig and the gerbils and emptied our fish tank because our last fish has finally given up the ghost! This meant I had to empty the whole tank of water, then faff about with pebbles and cleaning the dammed thing! [which I had to carry upstairs and clean in the bath because its too big for our sink!] And trust me you want to make sure your tank is clean before you store it because those things go ripe fast! 

But I'm here today to share the latest block in my #ettaquiltproject , I've been sewing the blocks whenever I can in the hopes I can get a backlog together so I never a fortnight! [Here's a link to the previous block]

This is the "shoo fly" quilt block. Because its squares and triangles its super simple to stitch up! I used some fabric scraps given to me by friends! 

You can find the instructions for this block here.

History wise apparently back in the day this type of block was used to teach young girls the basics of quilt construction. And apparently this type of block identified a person as someone who could be trusted during the underground railway, these people would not only help the escape of the slaves but would also provide food, water and shelter if needed as well!

In other news the toe is definitely broken! 

Much Love

and good luck if your making these blocks yourself!



Sunday, 30 July 2017

French Navy - An Orla Affair

I am so late to the Orla party most people have gone home apart from the guy who's drunk in the corner! 

The Orla dress is a pattern by French Navy and get this guys its FREE! Yep as its her first PDF pattern the lovely Sarah has decided to give it out for free and well you guys know how I love a free PDF. Even if I do hate taping together all of those blooming sheets of paper! And as an added bonus me and my printer had a row again [Seriously considering couples counselling for me and that bloody thing] So it probably took me about an hour just to get the flaming thing to print!  


But less on me and my printers marital issues and onto the dress! The pattern comes in sizes xs, s, m, l, xl, which is a bit of a change from the standard numbered measurements. Now the pattern is drafted with a 1cm seam allowance which is clearly stated in the instructions. Typically I use a 1.5cm seam allowance and I was tempted to add on the extra 0.5cm but I'm lazy so instead I just decided to cut a bigger size. Now I measured as a 14 which is a L so that left me cutting a size XL, using a 1.5cm seam allowance and hoping for the best!  

It did not work! The bodice is meant to be quite loose fitting and well mine fits pretty darn snugly! So next time I'm going to stick with this size but use the 1cm seam allowance and see how that goes! Although part of me does wonder if some of the snugness is down to the fact I decided to over lock the whole dress and I had to cut off my side seams and re over lock them because I'm an idiot! Long story short I had already decided to set my sleeves in flat but sort of forgot....? because as I said idiot!    

I also didn't have a 40cm zip like the pattern says you need so instead I improvised and went for a keyhole back and shorter zip. The neckline closes with a small button and loop. Which is actually quite nice for using up odd buttons!

This one was a lil faux mother of pearl button. I have no idea where its from, probably one my mum found in a charity shop or a friend gave me.

I also didn't use bias binding for the neckline instead I just overlocked it and folded it over. It looks neat and it lays flat so it works for me! 

Here you can see the overlocked insides, which look all pretty and tidy! 

Bodice wise its got front and back waist darts but no bust darts. Its got cute lil cap sleeves and a gathered skirt. One thing I do really like is that the skirts not too full. Its enough to create a slimming silhouette but not enough that you need yards and yards of fabric, 

The fabric is the same drapey viscose that I used for my Blitz dress I think it works for this type of dress but I am a bit worried the the strain on the seams might mean it falls apart quite quickly!

So yeah all in all I love the dress and its a brilliant free pattern [which you can find here]

In other news!

The weather is messing up the TV signal and I'm half way through "a street cat named bob" Which I'm a bit too invested in to turn off but I'm not sure if I can cope with the jumping and stuttering.

Lil man has yet another cough and can't get to sleep bless him.

And I'm pretty sure I've broken my lil toe. Basically I stubbed it on the ironing board [which just goes to show that no good can come from ironing!!!!] and now it hurts like the dickens and is turning a lovely shade of purpley blackish blue. So yeah that's fun!

Anyways Much Love

Frankie x    

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Abakhans Brocade Separates

Shopping, tiddly winks, minion game, whot cards, strip jack naked, mouse trap, batman lego and connect four. That's pretty much how my day went, yerp lots of entertaining of a small child. And just to clarify "strip jack naked" is a card game, I wasn't just stood on the street requesting random men named Jack come into my house so I could undress them......... I only do that on the weekends!

Luckily I've already got a lil stack of projects waiting to be written up/photographed for the ole blog. Because god knows sewing is scarce at the moment!

This beauty was actually sewn up a few weeks ago! The brocade was sent to me by the lovely folks at Abakhans and as soon as I saw the the vibrant colours along with the little silver threads that are woven through it I was sold. Love at first sight is a strong word, but if this fabric was sat at the bar on a Friday night I would definitely buy it a drink and put "kiss from the rose" on the juke box. 

  That said it terrifies me for two reasons:

1. It frays like a mother. I mean seriously after two weeks I was still pulling bits of silver out of our dryers lint tray and we all have it on our socks! I would definitely consider sewing/overlocking the edges before pre washing!
2. It is very dressy! Which kind of terrifies me because aside from the school run and the odd wedding I don't get out much! Currently my idea of a meal out involves a big mac and a mcflurry.  

Which is why I opted for separates, because they are 100% more versatile! And as an added bonus they look like a dress when you wear them together! The pattern is from prima magazine [august 2014 ] but you could also use the sleeveless shell top and the box pleat skirt patterns from the GBSB books. Or if you are fancy and go out and stuff go the whole hog and make an awesome dress!

Size wise I measured as a 14 but I cut a size 12 because the prima patterns tend to have a bit too much ease built in for my liking. [My measurements are 36", 27", 38" BTW] I also omitted the waist darts because I wanted a slightly looser finish on the bottom. 

The fabric is fairly heavy weight so its best to opt for something with cleaner lines for example pleats in the skirt not gathers. 

I changed the back from a zip back to a button up back to make it feel it bit more dressy. It also meant I could use these silver buttons I had in my stash [similar here]. I lined the top in a black lining fabric from my stash. This is mainly to keep the insides looking neat and tidy but it also adds a level of comfort. The fabric isn't particularly scratchy but I wasn't prepared to rick any chaffing near my *ahem* nipple area, especially seen as the button back may require me to go braless. 

I like how the three buttons give a little bit of skin without going the full Julia Roberts pretty woman. The button loops were made by hand using thread [the technique for this can be found in the 3rd GBSB book] Originally the top had sleeves as well but it ended up looking a lil bit grandma so I ripped them out and ended up finishing the armholes by hand using a really tiny slip stitch. 

But the best part!!! LOOK HOW CUTE IT IS WITH JEANS! I think I've finally cottoned on to the jeans and a nice top trend all the kids are talking about! Lengthwise I tried it on before I hemmed it because I wanted to go for a classy cropped sort of style. Its the perfect length for wearing with my skinny jeans and the matching skirt as they are both high waisted. You see a lil bit of skin without me feeling like I've got my whole tummy out.

I even think this wouldn't be too OTT for a trip to the cinema or a drink in a nice pub. Lol I'm totally lying I'll definitely be wearing this on the school run because I have no concept of dress codes! 

The skirt is a simple pleated version which is very flattering. I didn't line this but did make sure to finish all of my seams properly. I did two rows of stitching and then pinked them, so far its been through the wash 3 times and it hasn't frayed yet. The main part of the skirt has an invisible zip [This fabric is pretty bulky when layered so a lapped zipper is a no go] and the waistband closes with two press studs. 

I hemmed the whole thing by hand which gives a slightly nicer finish than machine hemming would. It actually means there is no visible stitch lines on this make at all. No top stitching are anything, I tend to think so stitch lines work better on a fabric like this because other wise you can end up looking really over worked.

This is the second attempt of hemming the skirt, the first time I was going for a midi length skirt but then I tried it on and remembered by I don't wear midi length skirts with my short little legs!

Now sadly this fabric isn't currently on the website [it should be soon!] But it is in store as well as some other great brocades! Although for my next version I think I might use a scuba like this one? 

So yeah all in all I love it and I can't wait to wear it to a special occasion! Hopefully we'll be invited to some posh christening/wedding soon! Heck I'd take a birthday party!

Much Love


Disclaimer, Whilst Abakhan's sent me this fabric for free all thoughts and ideas are my own! As I always say honesty is the best policy!