Monday, 31 December 2012

Last Item of 2012 completed.

Ok, this is my very last post of 2012 and I want to share my latest picture that I have completed, the one on the left was my first and here is the second on the right so now to get them framed ready to be hung on the wall of the flat in London.

I loved making these and am even tempted to do another in the collection.


Here they are with the original painting.  I guess as a cavet against them not being a complete mirror image of the original painting, I can say they are "my interpretation" of them.

I thought you might be interested in a few close up shots of the thread work.  I only used two stitches, both with the feed dogs down and my embroidery foot on my sewing machine.  I used either a straight stitch or a zig-zag.  Everything was done on my sewing machine except for the gold wool, and I used my rather redundant embellishing machine to attach the wool to the picture.

All fabrics for the applique part have come from my stash - cream, blue and black fleece used to make fleece tops, the blue knit was used to make a long jacket, and you may recognise the blue around the gold, that came from my Linton Tweed Chanel style jacket and the red knit was a jersey I used to make a polo-neck top.

They may not be to everyone's taste, but I am so pleased with these and want to experiment more with this type of work, and after seeing the Wendy Butler Berns Craftsy class I want to try some of my photos.

Now to sit down, watch a bit of TV and prepare to brace myself to launch into 2013 full steam ahead.

Happy new year to you all again.

Catch you next year

2012 - End of Year Round up.

I can't believe how quickly this year has flown, it only seems like yesterday I was thinking about all the things I wanted to do this year and we have reached the end of the year.

There were 4 things in particular that I wanted to complete this year:-
  1. Make a Chanel Jacket - I actually made two and one of those was from a beautiful Linton Tweed.
  2. Make a Bra - Thanks to my lovely friend Sigrid I have made many bras now and love making them so doubt I will ever by a RTW bra now.
  3. Sew a pair of jeans - During our sewing weekend in Margate in October, some of my fabulous sewing friends helped me fit my jeans muslin resulting in two pairs of jeans which I absolutely love another RTW garment that will not be bought again.
  4. We can't forget the 10 shirts I made my D Mike during the year which won me two beautiful prizes, my designer handbag and a voucher from Vogue Fabrics which I still need to use.  There is more shirting fabric in the stash so I can continue making them for him.  I have also signed up for Pam's Craftsy class The Classic Tailored Shirt, to see if I can pick up any more useful tips.
In addition to the aforementioned, I have now added mens underpants to my repertoire having made 4 pairs now, so I will continue to make these for him together with the shirts, and fleeces.  Hmmmmm what next.  Well I confess to saving a pair of trousers from one of Mike's old work suits which I would like to unpick and use as a pattern to see if I can make a pair for him.  lets see, but it won't be this year.

I have met quite a few new sewing friends this year, which would never have been possible without the wonders of cyberland - Those of you I have met in person, or have placed regular comments on my blog have now become dear friends. You all give me inspiration and support for all the things I do be it  work, sewing, diets, grandchildren etc - you all know who you are and for that new friendship I thank you.

So what for 2013?  Well this is already going to be a very very busy year for me and here is a list of some of the things that I need to get done:-

  1. lose at least 14 pounds by end of February - I am getting Married on the 18th May and want to look my best for the big day.
  2. Make my wedding dress - it is no secret that I want to make an Art Deco inspired wedding dress - I have lots of ideas of what I want, but I need to see how my diet goes, try on a few RTW dresses in February (to make sure the style I like suits me) and then start working on my muslin.
  3. Make 6 bridesmaid dresses.
  4. Attend another quilting course - this has already been booked and its just before Easter!!!!! Yes I can already hear you saying "how on earth does she think she has time"? Well a friend really wanted to go on one and I agreed to go with her.
  5. Make a quilt for my daughter's baby which is due 2 days after the wedding.
  6. Make a bag - there are some wonderful versions out there.
  7. Sew up my sued purchased over a year ago into a jacket (no's 6 & 7 can prob wait until after the wedding).
  8. Consolidate my little cottage and Mike's property and get one larger property, large enough to accomodate our ever growing family (we will have 5 grandchildren by the time we get married) however some of original plans are harder to achieve than originally thought.
  9. Hopefully arrange another sewing get-together with all my friends we had such fun last time, and I think there are one or two others than would like to join us, so I think we will need a bigger house for the next one!
I don't think I should commit myself to anything else right now, tempting as it is.  This is going to be a huge year for me, and to say I am going to be a little bit busy, undoubtably flustered, and probably out of my depth too, is probably an understatement.  I haven't even mentioned that my boss has a new boss who is sure to have her own ideas on how she wants thing to be in my department, which is bound to include more work for me.

I want to give all my followers and those of you who have commented on my blog a HUGE THANK YOU - All your comments mean so much to me and I always look forward to reading them.

We are having a nice quiet New Years Eve in tonight (my idea of bliss) but whatever you are doing I wish you all a Happy New Year and let me raise a glass to many more hours of sewing in 2013.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Applique picture finished.

I have managed to finish my first Applique picture and I really really enjoyed doing this (except for when the cheap silk thread, and the metallic thread kept shredding and the two needles broke).

All the fabrics used for this picture are scraps left over from garments I have made, which is satisfying on two counts;  I get my picture and I sort of have a memory board of fabrics I have used to make garments.

I tried very hard to find the name of the artist of the original piece, however it was just classified as modern Art Deco piece being sold by a website.

If you look at the flat fabric pieces in the picture below just after I assembled the different pieces, you can see it screams out for texture and contrast and I did this by layering the different coloured threads.

I used my free motion embroidery foot and dropped the feed dogs on my sewing machine.  I initially sat the work in one of my larger machine embroidery hoops, but I found it easier to just do the work flat.  FYI this piece is A4 size or 297 x 210mm or 11.7 x 8.3".

It took a little while to get a rhythm to moving the work around to create my spirals, and texture and painting technique, but once I had done a few times, it got easier. 

I love my first picture, and there is another one in the collection that will sit perfectly with this one,  (I want to display them as a pair) and allow me to use most of the same fabrics, so that is probably my next project.  While future projects may lead me to using some of Wendy's techniques, for the next one, I will more or less follow what I did for the first picture so they look like a pair.

This picture is not perfect, and I am sure the experts will be able to list a number of faults, but I love it.  I found the thread painting very therapeutic, and am looking forward to starting the second piece. 

I have subscribed to Craftsy's Pictorial Quilting Techniques by Wendy Butler Berns and have been watching it as I create my little picture.  There are lots of useful tips that I can apply to future pictorial projects, but I think I have been bitten by another bug lol.

My D Mike has taken some wonderful photos of London which will lend themselves perfectly to being recreated as a piece of art, so subject to time, I would like to see what I can do.

I hope you are all enjoying your holiday - I am back at work on the 2nd January so am making the most of my time off.

Catch you later...........

Thursday, 27 December 2012

A little artwork for a change

One of those projects on my to-do list for this year was to make an applique picture for the flat and this is what I have done so far.

I saw this beautiful Art-Deco inspired picture on the internet and thought it was perfect for me to convert into an applique picture.

I  printed the picture and then made a template out of it and dug deep into my scraps stash to try and find fabrics in similar colours to those in the picture.

I have never done any applique before, so this work will be the sort where you just fly by the seat of your, in my case my pants, and see what happens, but I am sure I will get there.

I have used a long tacking stitch on my machine to hold the individual pieces in place and used a piece of black cotton from my quilting stash to mount everything on.

Now all the pieces are more or less where they need to be I intend using a combination of techniques to attach these to the backing fabric, including the use of my embellishing machine, some hand sewing and perhaps some fabric paints too.

We have only just got home after seeing the Hobbit at the cinema and its getting late, so I am not sure that I will get any more done today - but so far, it's starting to look the way it should, so I am reasonably happy.

Yesterday I did manage to complete another 3 pairs of underpants for my D Mike, however, for some reason, he just refuses to model them for me, so sadly there will be no photos of them.  If you haven't already made your man some underpants I urge you to try.  They are incredibly easy, and compared to the price of the famous brand ones, they are a great deal cheaper.  I have some nice black cotton for the next batch for him so hopefully they will get done before I have to go back to work.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.  I did get some sewing related gifts in the form of DVD's from Threads - I have added the "Insider Techniques", 3,4 & 5 to my collection, updated the Threads archives to include the 2012 issues and I also got a copy of Couture Sewing Techniques by Claire Shaeffer - so no excuses to get bored.

Catch you later.................

Monday, 24 December 2012

Happy Christmas everyone

The Christmas Tree is up, the turkey is bought, we have lost a whole bag of potatoes, and we have no idea where (thankfully we have just enough for dinner tomorrow).

Presents are wrapped, stockings filled and now we are just waiting for everyone to arrive tomorrow.

Sadly I haven't been able finish my D Mike's last present, but I have promised to do it after we get through Christmas day.

Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to comment on my blog and to wish me a Merry Christmas.

Whatever you are doing to celebrate this holiday period have a wonderful time, and let me take this opportunity of wishing you all a Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Catch you later....................

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Rush to finish for Xmas & new baby in the family

Last week was one of those weeks which finished with me feeling very sick and having to go to bed at 8:30.  Today has been a slow one - get up and do some jobs, lay down again.............what a dreadful time to feel ill.

One of the first things I have to announce is the birth of a new grandson - Oscar Wilfred born on 20th December 2012 at 01:28am weighing in at 6lbs 15oz.  Sadly I haven't seen him yet because I didn't want to pass on whatever sickness I have, but I have it on good authority that he is just beautiful.

I did manage to get the last of the christmas stockings embroidered  (11 in total) and the sides re-sewn again (I used some cheap shop bought ones) and each stuffed with their goodies.  I also got my little tree up and some lights hung from the beams in the lounge.

One of the jobs I have on my list was to make my D Mike a pair of underpants.  Don't be missled by the Calvin Klein elastic waistband it was recycled from the pair I used to make a template for the pattern.

I managed to unpick the waistband, but gave up on unpicking the rest of the garment because there was so much top-stitching it would have taken me ages to unpick them so I just traced around each of the pattern pieces.

My cover stitch doesn't entirely replicate the top-stitching used in the original pair, so I stitched the sem on my sewing machine and then used my cover-stitch over the top.

So as they say, the proof of the cooking is in the eating, or in this case did they fit???

Well I need to make one small adjustment and that is to give a little more room in the leg circumference, and the elastic I reused had stretched through wear, so ideally this could be a little smaller (I do have some new elastic to use).  I am pleased the way these turned out, and I will be adding his underpants to my portfolio of garments that I am making.

I have one more christmas present to make, and I just hope I can start feeling better so I can get on with it.  

We have been invited to Mike's sisters tomorrow so we will lose most of the day in terms of productivity - and it will be in the hands of the gods if I manage to get may last Christmas presents made.

I hope you are all far more organised than I.  Catch you later......................

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Countdown to Christmas

Phew we don't have enough days left before Christmas arrives.  Today I put my head down and managed to get this quilt finished for baby Oscar who is due to arrive around the 27th December grandchild No.3 and the first boy.  I was concerned that if I didn't finish it today, I wouldn't be able to work on it again until Thursday night.

As you can see I have used the fabulous Pooh and Tigger design which is just so pretty and colourful and I just hope little baby Oscar and mum and dad like it too.  I have one more thing to embroider and that is his name, date and time of birth, so needless to say that will be done at the last minute and stitched to the back of the quilt.

Each of the embroidered squares took approximately 1 hour each x 6.  Then I had to sew each of the different coloured strips around each square, 1 row of Tigger theme fabric, 1 row of black, 1 white and one yellow.  The whole quilt was bound with a black satin bias binding.

What else do I need to do?

Well we bought Alana a toy pram, so I want to make a little pram set for that, we have also bought her a toy cot too, but not sure where that is in the UK (floating around lost in the postal system), or what the size is, ideally it would be good if the quilt fitted both.

I have a couple of presents to sew for my D Mike and I probably need a whole day to do at least one of those.

Of course I haven't even considered, Christmas food shopping, stocking filler shopping or even getting the Christmas tree up, which will not happen until the weekend at the earliest (or even Christmas eve), and of course the presents that have been bought need to be wrapped.

This is the last week in the office, and it is always a manic time for my department so will keep us very busy I am sure.

I hope you are all a lot more organised than I am - I told Mike that we need to start in January next year.

Catch you later.................

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Blogger Award

I was delighted to receive the Very Inspiring Blogger award from my dear friend Dorcas from the fabulous Art Attack Blog.  Thank you that is so sweet of you.

  1. So we have to thank the person who nominated us - so a very big thank you to Dorcas,
  2. Add The One Lovely Blog Aware/The Very Inspiring Blogger Award to my post
  3. Share 7 things about myself
  4. Pass the award on to 10 nominees (or a few less if you are short on time)
  5. Include this set of rules
  6. Inform my nominees by posting a comment on their blog.

So 7 things about me that you would have no way of knowing:-

  1. I have a twin sister and we are nothing alike
  2. I used to compete in working dog trials with my German Shepherd and collie and really miss my dogs
  3. My Great Dane and my German Shepherd were in the film 101 Dalmatians (the one with Glen Close)
  4. I have a fobia of rats
  5. I love lounging around in my PJ's
  6. If I see something, I love to see if I can make it myself, and
  7. Have two left feet when it comes to dancing
And here is the difficult bit passing this on to some fellow bloggers:-

The first has to go to my friend Sigrid who is responsible for me spending lots of money on lace to feed my new bra making habit.

Next up is Carolyn's Hand Made by Carolyn blog.  Her wonderful photographs, amusing writing not to mention she is such talent and an inspiration to all that read her blog.

Shannon's Mushywear is another blog that not only posts wonderful photographs, but produces fantastic garments.

Margy's Fool for Fabric is another inspiring blog.  Margy manages to make everything she makes look wonderful, trendy and elegant, and I just hope that I look as dam good as she does when I retire.

Sew Ruth is another humorous blog that makes you smile every time you read it, but she is also talented too check out some of the tailored things she has made.

There are lots of other wonderful blogs out there, some of which where included in this award so I am keeping mine to just the ones mentioned above.

I have been babysitting again today, so no sewing other than hemming my son's trousers he bought so he can attend a christening tomorrow.

Catch you all later.................

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Cream lace bra completed + another square

I have managed to get another square finished today and completed my lace bra.  I am getting better at putting these bras together and really enjoy making them.  I made a few changes to my normal style.  On this one I used lace for the upper and lower cup and also used some of the scalloped edged lace and added it to the front part of the shoulder straps.  I found this sweet little key trinket to add to the centre front.  I have tried this on and it fits like a glove and they are just soooooooo comfortable to wear.  Next up a pair of matching panties.

I managed to get another square made tonight so I now have 4 another 2 to go and I can start putting the quilt together.

Above you can see some fabrics I ordered on the internet.  This isn't something I do very often because I like to see and feel the fabrics first.

The first one on the left is advertised as ex-Barbour brown quilted fabric, wind resistant and fleece lined - I like this one.  The ones on the right are nothing like the colour in the photo on the internet site, but I can live with them.  They are both waterproof and one has a gold colour on one side and a sort of dirty beige colour on the reverse.  The 2nd piece is a lightly sueded polyester anorak coat fabric.

I have 3 metres of each and will decide exactly what to make with them later - I will definitely make the McCalls 5525 trench coat from one of the waterproof fabrics.  I also purchased some black denim to make another pair of jeans, but I have been on a diet and lost around 7.5 lbs so may wait until I shift the next 7 and then make another pair of jeans (hopefully smaller than the last).

Ok thats it for tonight - catch you later..............

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

More embroidery and some lace

I have a large number of squares to embroider and the days are passing far too quickly so I thought I better get on with it.

I sewed these delightful squares tonight, both taking just over one hour each to do and I will need at least 6 of them for the baby's quilt.

I have some more Tigger fabric left over, and I am going to use my black, white and lemon colour combinations again because they are so pretty.

I was going to pop to my local market and purchase some white fabric, the same I have used for other quilts, however the weather here isn't too good, and I don't feel too well so couldn't face the trip, but then had an idea of purchasing a good quality king-sized flat sheet which will give me more than enough fabric to make several quilts.

While my embroidery machine was doing its magic, I made a start on a bra that I had cut out a couple of weeks ago.  This was some of the beautiful lace I purchased while in The Netherlands.  I hope to get the bra finished tomorrow evening.

Hope the cold weather hasn't hit you yet - its quite chilly here, and I don't like it.

Catch you later..............

Sunday, 9 December 2012

BurdaStyle 10/2012-122 & embroidery

I still consider myself a BurdaStyle novice, not so much because of my sewing ability, but due to the number of items I have traced off and made.

The first item I made was the the BurdaStyle geometric sheath dress - I made the blue version for my sister's wedding earlier this year in May and last week I made the same dress again, but this time using a black lycra mix fabric together with some black and gold panels from a kaftan bought for me as a gift from Dubai by my friend.

I am pleased to report that I wore the dress last night for my work Christmas party and the photo you see above is me booted and suited (so to speak) just before we left for the party.  The only photo that was taken at the event was one by the "official photographer" and I am not sure when I will see that.

So having made two dresses successfully, that I love, I thought I would get going on another pattern, this time from the October 2012 magazine.  This particular addition had several blouses that I absolutely loved, but to kick things off, I chose 10/2012-122, the folded yoke blouse.

Here are the details:-

Women’s blouse  Available in various sizes: 36,38,40,42,44

This blouse has simple details that give it big impact. Folded yoke pieces are simply caught in the shoulder and sleeve attachment seams. They turn an otherwise simple blouse with V-neckline into a unique garment.

I used a nice soft white 100% cotton that I had in my stash and cut a size 38 and did my normal FBA  and broad/sway back alterations.

The only thing I scratched my head about was the placement of the folded yoke - I don't think I noticed the placement lines for this folded yoke when tracing the pattern, so was stumped when trying to work out how it worked.  Once I did it was easy.  After sewing the darts, the yoke pieces are folded, wrong sides together, placed on the front with the curved part of the yoke following the curve of the armcye and then caught in place..

This was an extremely quick top to sew up.  I love its simplicity, but with that little extra feature of the yoke giving it just a little twist.  This is a top that can be worn with a pair of jeans or equally well for work/formal wear - I love it.

I have some ideas bouncing around in my head that I may put to good use if I make this again.

So having said all of the above, here is the finished article which unfortunately could only be photographed on Edna due to a lack of available photographer lol.  This top may get its first outing to the office tomorrow.

I did do a little multi-tasking while sewing my blouse, I set up my embroidery machine to start making squares ready to be turned into a quilt for the new baby due later this month.  I loved the last quilt I made and am using the same patterns again and here are the first 2 squares I have completed.  The Tigger and pooh one took around 1 hour to stitch out and the Pooh one slightly less.

Last but not least let me share a photo of my DGD helping to make cakes today.

Whatever you were doing this weekend, I hope you had a fab one.  Catch you later...................

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Back from Dubai

Hi everyone

I am now back from my business trip to Dubai - flew out Monday morning and arrived home to a rather chilly UK Thursday night.  Temperatures in Dubai averaged 24c and when I was in the car travelling back to my little cottage it was 1c brrrrrrrrrrrr I did feel cold.

Tuesday evening my work colleagues took me to dinner and we were able to sit out in the open to eat our meal - such a treat in December.

Tonight is my office Christmas party and I will get the chance to wear my black and gold dress (as requested I'll see if I can post some party photos tomorrow).   Thanks to all of you who commented on my dress, it is always lovely to get comments from my sewing friends.

I am off to the hairdressers later this morning and then hopefully I'll get a chance to do a little sewing before we head off to the party.

I hope you have all been productive.  I am starting to panic a little as I need to think about a few Christmas gifts that I need to make, a pram set for my DGD's toy pram we bought her, a couple of secret items for my D Mike and I still have to start the quilt for the next addition to our family due in late December,  and am fast running out of time lol.

Catch you later.........

Sunday, 2 December 2012

BurdaStyle Geometric Sheath dress for Xmas Party

Well I managed to finish my party dress for next week, so that will save me some time when I get back from my work trip.

Needless to say I need to wear some appropriate underwear with the dress (to remove my tummy bulge ), but here is the "no makeup", version of the look I hope to achieve next weekend for the party.

I took my black and gold inspiration from some photos I saw on the internet and a Burda magazine, so I think the black and gold are "on trend".

The dress was first published in the September 2011 issue of the magazine and I loved it.  For this version of the dress I made a few changes.  The black and gold fabric has no give in it at all, but the plain black has quick a bit of lycra in it so I was able to omit the back zipper.

My first version of this dress, I lined the whole dress, despite the pattern only requiring the bodice to be lined.  Because I left out the zipper I needed to work out a way of creating a facing that would stretch if necessary, so made my facings from the same fabric.  To create these, I just took the original back and front pattern pieces and drew a new back and front facing and attached it as shown in the top right-hand photo.

This dress has been made entirely from my stash, and an up-cycled kaftan that I would never have worn.  There are no notions other than thread.  Total cost is probably less than £4.00, not bad for a party dress.

I still have lots of the black and gold fabric left over and I am sure there might be an evening jacket lurking in there somewhere.

Catch you later..............