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Once you choose hope, anything is possible.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Sagrada Familia Stained Glass Windows

We recently took a trip to spain staying near Barcelona and travelling in a couple of times to the city.
One day we went to the Sagrada Familia, and we had a wonderful time again there. N likes the soaring nature of the columns whilst I am entranced by the modern stained glass windows.
You may remember my very talented Auntie Joy made this quilt for my wall based on a previous photos of the stained glass windows.
Since our visit in 2012work has continued at the Sagrada Familia and even more of the windows now contain equisite stained glass. We looked for ages and eventually managed to find 'my' window again.







And finally here's my window!
I bought a small book in the gift shop all about the stained glass.


Sunday, 25 September 2016

Rainbow thread drawers

I bought a second hand white melamine desk. It has some damage but is basically sound. It is slightly deeper, taller and wider than the previous small childs desk I had for extra machines in the sewing room. The previous desk has now moved down to the conservatory (my location for mismatched furniture, some of which then gets donated/given to friends). The drawers of the desk is my main storage area for thread. As I have a sewing machine, overlocker (serger) and coverhem all threaded up at once when sewing knits I like to have multiple spools of thread in the same colour.
So I took some time this afternoon to watch TV, assemble some 12 section storage dividers (bought on sale and never fitting any drawers until now) and move the thread across to the new drawers.
Bobbins, embroidery thread, shirring elastic and various odd spools are stored in a wooden tray which slots into the open section above the drawers (there are multiple layers here with items in specialist boxes or shallow cardboard trays. The drawers then hold the main threads which are mostly Moon or Empress Mills, broadly sorted by colour - 1 drawer is neutrals and top stitching thread, another blues/greens and the third is pinks/purples/red/orange.
There are a few stray spools elsewhere also, but I will now be able to put them away neatly, and should be able to easily find thread for the next project.
I've not included the larger spools of overlocker thread, and I must admit I often forget to use them, so will need to come up with some sort of approach for them, perhaps using the low shelves also on the 'new' desk.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Teal cardigan (from a throw)

There's something sold in home dec departments in the UK called a 'throw'. This is a small decorative blanket which can be artfully thrown across the sofa or bed. They are good for sunggling up when watching TV on cold winter nights.

I do have a taupe fleece and faux shearling blanket near my sofa for this purpose, however I also buy these on sale particularly when they are made from finished knit yardage and like to make cardigan jackets from them. Careful layout can utilise the ribbed edging for the finished garment and scraps can be cushions, hats, scarves and stuffing.

My latest throw was bought in the Sainsburys yesterday.
What is not too obvious from the tiny picture is that this has some silver threads running along the two ribbed edges and a smattering of tiny sequins throughout. After much debate and trying of layouts I decided to have the silver running up and down the fronts as the vertical line is more slimming than having this round the hem. This means the knitting is going round the body, though I am not finding that too upsetting.
I decided to cut the sleeves with the same detailing on the hem so the stretch is going round on the sleeves as I thought this would be more comfortable and give a nice wrist detail.
With a very loose knit fabric like this I try to keep the handling to a minimum, pin carefully on a large flat surface, then carefully gather and go to the sewing machine and immediately though the serger. Shoulder and back neckline are stabilised with ribbon.
I used a cardigan jacket pattern from the November 2010 issue of Prima magazine with the front flare reduced slightly and lengthened by about 12". Prima is a general women's magazine published in the UK, which if you subscribe comes with a free sewing pattern, often a very simple style, so good for things like this.
This has a front collar band which extends round and becomes the back neckline and collar and set in sleeves. I line up the bottom edge of the jacket with the throw edges, the front neckband with another edge and also use an edge for the sleeve hem. Then when sewn up this leaves no raw edges.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Button cuff links

Here are some simple button cuff links.
 Take a one inch ear wire (or length of jewellery wire) and bend into a figure of eight.
Add a shank button on each end and close up the loops, and voila, you have some cufflinks made from shank buttons.
These are the ones I have made so far. They will probably mostly go to the next craft fair (once I have taken any I like for myself)

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Missoni-esque fabric: T shirt style blouse

I bought the fabric for this little top on Monday at the local open air market.
Tony the usual market stall holder had brought some rolls from the corners of his storage location and this one caught my eye. It reminds me a little of Missoni patterns.
Its a polyester with a metallic stripe and a printed zip zag pattern made of small blocks in shades of brown, olive, turquoise, red, pink, gold and white.
It seemed to reflect of lot of my personal colouring all in a print and I thought would be great for travelling as would pack easily, wash and dry on the move and go with any plain bottoms.
I wouldn't normally wear much polyester so have made this into a very simple loose T style blouse - the hems and edges are simply turned and stitched.
This is based on the Kirsten Kimono Tee with different side seam shaping, slightly longer sleeves a narrower neck which is higher at the back and more scooped at the front and a curved hemline, but other than that it is like it!
I fits quite nicely now, and will just become looser as I lose a bit of weight. If it becomes crazily baggy I can always run the sides in a bit.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Simple Home Dec Sewing

I decided to replace the golden beige covers I used for cushion and bean cube quite a while ago - December 2011 Home Dec Sewing.
I have a different house and different sofa now but the bean cube is still in daily use as are two of the large 22" cushions.
They have now had a neutral makeover that works better in the new place. It is a little boring but I have various accent cushions I can use as well.
And it avoids too much competition with the wonderful Barcelona Stained Glass Window Quilt made for me by my lovely and talented Auntie Joy.
Apologies slightly strange angle I seem to have taken the photo. Gives the idea though.
The beancube cover is made from the same Ikea curtain panel as the cushions but is nearer the camera clash hence the lighter colour. The curtain panel is a neutral type colour with horizontal ribbed stripes.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Simple Burda Trousers

I'm wanting some simple trousers suitable for work. I had a look through the Burda back catalgue and struck lucky in 2009. I knew it was worth keeping the mags (and saying thanks when extra years were being donated by others).

In April 2009 there were these plus size designer ones with an elastic waist - super easy but probably better with a top over them.
And then on to July where there are some simple trousers with handy zipped side pockets (could be omitted) as part of a Plus size special occasion spread.
A third option could be from August 2010.
These could be made with two plain sides and no wrap.

I am planning on losing some of my excess weight but it'd be lovely to have some trousers to wear to work as I do that.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Gold and pearl beaded necklace and an alteration

Yes I've spent another evening beading, and I am hugely enjoying myself.
This one takes some pearl effect beads, some cream with gold detail and some antique gold tone beads and is a long strand. I also made some matching earrings and a little stretchy bracelet.
I liked the necklace also worn with a purchased faux pearl necklace for interest.
And I finished off a great evening by adding gold chains to a three strand necklace with a missing clasp. The beads are bright gold with a textured finish, pearlized antique gold and brown smooth resin all with gold findings. I'd wear very simple gold earrings with this so as not to compete with the necklace.
When I move the beads and can get back to the sewing machine I think lots of very plain tops are required!

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Another beaded necklace plus some alterations

Here I used dark blue, turquoise and green faux pearls in various sizes with some smaller irridescent beads for a long necklace on beading wire. I also made 2 pairs of earrings with sterling silver hooks.

I also added chain to two existing short necklaces which were not wearable. I am really pleased with the result.
I wore the right hand red one today with a red and navy outfit.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Necklace Alterations

I'm enjoying longer necklaces at the moment, so I took some chunky but fairly short necklaces and added components of chain, cord or bead strands from other necklaces or from my craft box to create new longer necklaces. All of these can be simply dropped over the head, with the slimmer portion passing round the neck but the chunkier bead sections adding interest at the front.
All with added chain of various types and lengths. A bit fiddly but only needs two pairs of jewellery pliers.

I shared these on Facebook with the group from Inside Out Style Blog and also asked Jill Chivers how she makes the necklaces which are in the videos, which I've edited to share here

In brief, the way I do it involves having quite a beading kit, which if you don't have or don't want to create, will probably mean finding another way.

So in my beading kit I have quality beading wire and crimping beads (found online, don't buy the stuff from Spotlight for those Aussie ladies) and a set of beading tools/pliars (including a professional crimping tool, which really helps). I also have quite a few beads in my kit from other projects, so often I don't have to buy any beads as I already have them.

I start by pulling my necklaces completely apart. I often place the free beads into glass bowls (kitchen mixing ones). Sometimes they sit like that for days, and when I walk past them I just look at them or give them a little swish. This is the mysterious creative incubation "black box" where ideas are swishing around but I haven't actually DONE anything. I don't mess too much with this process, I'm not sure what I'm doing, but I know *something* is happening!!

When I'm ready to start, I pretty much follow a straightforward beading process, with the clasp findings, crimp bead, starter bead, then off I go, bead after bead... You can find necklace making using bead tutorials online which give you some great How To.

I love this process, it's creative, relaxing and fun for me. But if it isn't for you, that's okay - we all have different things that float our boat. And you can find people who will rework your existing pieces for you, at a cost of course.


Monday, 8 August 2016

Oceans Jewellery Set

Necklace and earrings to wear with various items in the Oceans Collection.

Improved my technique a bit by watching a few online videos from bead shops.

Friday, 5 August 2016

Wearing the Japanese Style Top from GBSB From Stitch to Style

Here are a few photos of me wearing the GBSB From Stitch to Style Japanese Style Top.
I actually like this more in wear than I did when I first made it. I have not altered the batwing though it might be interesting getting a jacket on the top.
I'm wearing it with straight leg jeans, I think it needs as slim a bottom as you can manage as its so voluminous.

Wearing the Palazzo Pants from GBSB from Stitch to Style.

Here I am wearing the Palazzo Pants from GBSB From Stitch to Style.
These are a size 18 and I think the extra leg width has been overdone for this size.
I have worn them and they are fairly comfortable but feel too much fabric, what do you think?


I have some extra fabric so am thinking anout what I might sew next, or even if I need to do something else with these trousers as I am concerned they are too wide.

- carry on wearing them even though they are too wide as they are fairly comfortable.
- shorten them into culottes.
- turn them into a skirt
- recut them into a slightly slimmer leg trouser with a yoke or wider waistband
- cut new trousers from a burda pattern and cut skirt/jacket pieces from the old wide trousers
- throw them in a box and ignore them for several years.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Oceans Collection: Item One - Navy Pinstripe Palazzo Pants

Here's the first item from the Ocean's collection, it is a pair of pinstripe navy trousers using the GBSB From Stitch to Style Palazzo Pant pattern.
Following my measurements I cut a size 18, telling myself its only a number. I think given how loose they are a 16 would have been plenty.
I staystitched but still the top of the trousers would not fit onto the waistband. I added 6 additional 1/2" darts to get them to fit to the waistband.
I used a navy blue pinstripe suiting fabric with a little stretch.
The waistband is really narrow. I added a button and buttonhole as I did not have a trouser bar.
They are very long. I have used a 4" hem on these which feels luxurious but is overkill.
I did include the pocket from the culotte version. I stitched up the opening except for just enough to be able to get a hand in, this stopped it gaping.
I used 4 different feet on the ordinary sewing machine plus the overlocker on these. It was a lot of fun. The feet used were - standard foot, invisible zipper foot, buttonhole foot and blind hem foot.
I modified the instructions slightly so I could do almost everything by machine. I only sewed the button on by hand. The waistband is stitched in the ditch and the hem is done with the blind hemmer.
I might scoop the back crotch slightly, but I will test wear them tomorrow first.

GBSB From Stitch to Style: Japanese STyle Top Hemmed

I've now hemmed the Japanese Style Top with the coverhem.
It has a lot of volume and does not look good with wide leg trousers, so I will try it with jeans or slimmer leg trousers for a photo.
Its a cool top, I'm just not sure its cool on me.