Friday, 23 October 2015

Friday I'm In Love

Hey Peeps!

How is everyone doing? During my blogging hiatus I kept myself busy and at least a little time every week has been spent drooling over gorgeous fabric on the interwebs. Now I don't need any new fabric, my stash has grown to gigantic proportions, but that has never stopped me looking for new pretties to adopt. For example....
White Orchids / Poppy Border
Garden Floral / Black Orchids
 .....these floral lovelies are just begging to be turned in to dresses, I don't care if summer is over I want all the flowers. I also want.....
Berries / Chocolates
 .....all the food related fabric it seems! Yesterday I posted a dress I've made with chocolate covered cherry fabric and there is also the Addiction dress with chocolate covered biscuits. I started off a little healthier with this gorgeous berries print but then I saw this chocolate and fruit combo and it was definitely love at first sight. Besides with these fabrics you are wearing the calories rather than ingesting them.........

I saw a lovely blogger (I can't remember who now!) who had made a gorgeous shirt dress out of the white/gold colour way of this beautiful Michael Miller border print and it took me no time at all to track it down and add it to my huge need wish list. Not only did I fall in love with the border print but I also added these metallic polka dots and chevrons to the list, I think all of them would make beautiful dresses which might be a little more Autumn/Winter appropriate than the florals above, what do you think?
Glitz Confetti / Glitz Polka Dot / Glitz Chevron
While I was in the metallic mood this gorgeous Michael Miller "Fairy Frost" fabric in this beautiful rich red and gold colour way jumped out at me. I have some of this fabric in a pale silver/white combo which got turned in to a dress last Christmas but I wasn't really in love with it (the dress that is not the fabric) thankfully I have enough fabric leftover to alter the bits I don't like but it's ended up on my mending pile where it's been languishing for months now as I hate alterations and repairs! I'd much rather make something new from scratch!
Fairy Frost in Hollyberry
 Last but definitely not least are these amazing fabrics......
Blood Spatter / Sailor Foxes
Lightening Sky 
......I've never minded what has become known as "Stunt Dressing" (I have dresses with half naked pin up girls and robots all over them) and I think all these fabrics would make awesome additions to my wardrobe. I particularly love the blood spatter one (not sure what this says about me) and I think it would make a fab dress to wear to a Halloween party if an all out costume wasn't required/your thing.

So there we go yet more fabric goodness that I wish I could buy but won't......who am I kidding.....at least one of these is going to end up in my stash......well maybe two three......but only three four. Someone stop me!

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Three Graces

 Hey Peeps!

So I made these dresses whilst I was out in Saudi visiting The Parental Units. I took loads of different sewing projects out with me....in fact I think I had more fabric in my suitcases than actual clothes! Given that it's roughly a million degrees and you have to wear a big black sheet everywhere you go out there my packing did mostly consist of bikinis and cover ups (true story: I went to lunch in a 5* hotel wearing a bikini under my abaya..... I felt very naughty) but still this bunch of fabric is very well travelled! 
I fell in love with all these fabrics on first sight, the pink roses I found it in a shop in Ventnor (Isle of Wight) and the other two were from Fabric.com. I got around to photographing these dresses once I was home from the desert in May and then I did nothing with them until now, whoops.

So you remember me telling you that I went blonde.....? Yup I went really blonde which was a whole bunch of fun from the bright red my hair had been. I think these photos show the blonde at it's best. I did like it but it didn't really feel like me, I missed the red. Anyway! The dresses.....

 .....I made these three out in Saudi and to date I've made eight......! It's a Kittenish Behaviour pattern which I've christened Grace (not overly sure why but I like it). It's a fitted sweetheart bodice with waistband and five panel circle skirt.
I initially designed this dress to be used with the beautiful laces I've brought back from around the world like this gorgeous specimen from Singapore....
.....shown here over the calico muslin. I decided that the bodice shape would work just as well without the overlay if I just raised the neckline a little bit so that's what I did.....
I think it's worked out quite well but it did mean that I needed to add twill tape to gather the neckline so that it didn't gape......
I also wanted a low back but I still wanted to be able to wear a normal bra so it hits just above the back band of my bra.....
 I really love these three cotton dresses and this pattern, so much so that I used it as my bridesmaid dress which I'll share in another post.

Before I go I thought you might like to see some outtakes....
 ....here I'm being dive bombed by a bumble bee (you can just about see him) and here I was trying failing to get twirly pictures....




Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Project Floral Bag

Hey Peeps!

Long time no see, how have you all been? I've had the most amazing summer I can't quite believe it's October already, how did that happen? I've been very busy.....so busy it seems that blogging kinda fell by the wayside. I've had birthdays, been on holiday, spent time with my fabulous friends and family, gone blonde.....and back to red, watched my Baby Bother get married (third times the charm LLB!) and generally been very busy making all the things! I've got a list of unblogged items that is nearly as long as my arm..... dressing gowns, dresses, coats, a WEDDING DRESS (yes I made my Sister In Law's aka Big Bird wedding dress..... so scary but also so amazing!), bags and last but not least photo albums.

Today I'm going to share my latest make.....Project Floral Bag......
 ......I finished this bag this evening and my first reaction was......"meh"......!!!! I think this meme explains my mindset though......
......I find I go through this process with nearly everything I make, sometimes it takes a while to progress past Stage 4 but I almost always do. Today and this bag was no exception. The "meh" lasted all of about forty minutes but they were a long forty minutes. I've had Project Floral Bag percolating in my head for a while now; about ten years ago I bought this bag....

.....from Accessorize. It was love at first sight, my inner Magpie was very happy indeed with all the sparkly bits and beautiful embroidery. As you can see it is now falling apart, not bad for ten years of hard use. I've never really been a bag person, I've owned one designer bag which was nice but I eventually sold it as I knew someone else would love it more and it was just a little bit too grown up for me. I like my bags shiny and impractical (c'mon that Accessorize bag is made of velvet and beaded!).

Project Floral Bag started out life in my head with me trying to recreate my Accessorize bag exactly, so I started out playing around with peacock motifs...
 .....which I liked but it dawned on me that I could rectify all the things about the Accessorize bag that had bugged me; a little too small for ALL the things I like to lug about with me, no zip and only one internal pocket. So I went back to the drawing board and drafted (ha! that sounds so fancy for what was in fact drawing out a very simple shape) a new and improved Hobo bag pattern with all the bells and whistles I wanted.

Once I had the basic shape of my bag decided on I drew it out on the brushed cotton twill I'd bought to give me a rough guide for the embroidery motifs.........oh the embroidery motifs!
Bloody Hell that was a labour of love. I'm not sure how the original peacock embroidery idea mutated into edge to edge floral motifs.....
......but five whole days (and some evenings) later I finally had a finished bag front and handle! There wasn't really a plan with the motifs I used.....there's  some fruit, a parrot and many many flowers in there and overall I think they work. If/when I do this again I think I'll work methodically from left to right instead of hooping one side then jumping to the other which meant I ended up kinda smooshing things into awkward gaps that were left in the middle. (It's Stage 4 of the creative process again there!) I used regular machine thread instead of embroidery thread for this project as that was all that I had available and I think it's worked out really well, a few of the motifs aren't quite right colour wise as I didn't have the hugest range of tonal colours to choose from but it looks beautiful all the same. (Embroidery thread is definitely on my Christmas wish list! I have so many more projects simmering away in my brain.....)

Next up was construction.....I did get the fear a bit when I thought about cutting into the embroidered fabric....what if I make a mistake??? All that work ruined! But I gave myself a stern talking to and just got on with it.....whats the worst that could happen??? Thankfully no huge errors were made and things went smoothly, I got the interior pockets I wanted.....
.....one zippered and one perfectly sized for my phone, I also added a key loop which I'd had in a previous bag and loved (this is a big bag to be fishing around in trying to find your keys!). Lining wise I fell in love with this shiny two tone lining fabric from Stone fabrics but decided that it was probably not a great idea to add pockets etc straight to that so I added a facing and lots of interfacing.....those pockets aren't going anywhere! The strap was interesting with a lot of trial and error (I've never made a bag before, there was definitely a learning curve.....) but I love how it's turned out. I'd originally thought of using an ivy leaf motif for the embroidery but it just wasn't on the right scale when I trialled it so I used these star/circles instead which I think are simple enough to not clash with the main body of the bag. 

All in all I'm very happy with my new bag and hopefully this one will last me the next ten years!