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Sunday, 30 April 2017

Simple Crafts: beaded earrings and bracelets

Also for the charity craft stall (but great for gifts or just to make for yourself). I got my bead box out, took over the dining table and made these.

20 pairs of earrings, these still need putting into presentation packs. I cut card to size on the guillotine and cut two slits for the ear wires, then pop the whole thing inside a small plastic self seal bag. This is easier for people to rifle through on the stall.
And twelve bracelets with stretch elastic
you may be able to see that some of the bracelets and earrings use the same sets of beads.

When I have a few co-ordinating beads (but not really enough for a necklace), I see which ones I have two of and arrange pleasing combinations for pairs of earrings. Then I take the co-ordinating but odd beads and string them together in a bracelet. I've done this with the black and turquoise bracelet on the top row, using the spare beads from the earrings in the bottom row. The turquoise beads came from a mixed pack, but contained quite a few odd ones so mixing them in with the shiny black beads (where I had a lot all the same) seemed to work quite well.

It feels like whilst I do have enough earrings (There are another 16 pairs from a previous beading session), the bracelets are a bit low in volume. I would be happier with 20 or 24 rather than just the 12 above. I have plenty of beading elastic and the bead box is already out so maybe this afternoon once all the other prep is sorted.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Simple Sewn Crafts: Hair scrunchies

These are the most recent ones which are made from strips of jersey fabrics.
I have a basket full of all different colours and fabrics as people like to be able to choose.
I started making these when I had longer hair, now its cut too short to need them myself, but lots of girls and young women have long hair (the fashion these days) so hopefully a few will buy. 
The things I have been showing recently are just items sewn up in the last few weeks.
I sew and create on and off all year and have a few things from previous times as well.

So on the stall I have

Infinity scarves
Straight scarves
Draught excluders
Shopping bags
Drawstring bags
Leather book marks
Cufflinks (made from shank buttons and wire)
and Chilli Chutney which DBF and I made together.

I will try to take a photo of the stall this year, lets hope I make lots of money for the chairty.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Simple Sewn Crafts : Draught excluders and Shopping bags.

More goodies for the craft stall
Draught excluders
And shopping bags (I made 3 the same, but only one is pictured).

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Simple Sewn Crafts : Drawstring bags

These bags are great for gifts, travel or craft stalls. I make them in all sorts of sizes with one or two drawstrings depending on what I think would work best.
The main thing to remember is to leave a gap in the side seam when you sew it up as this allows the ribbon/cord to come through.
 One medium green and floral striped one with a jade green shoelace as the cord.
 Two large pink and floral striped ones with lilac ribbon. These would be great for laundry bags
Three smaller blue floral ones (again with lilac ribbon as I had a whole reel of it!). Great as shoe bags or to keep the delicates separate in a suitcase.
And one smallish medallion rose print with a green ribbon which matches the rose stems.

I make them to suit the sizes of the remnants I have available. I had sold out of all of the ones made previously so thought a new stock would be good.

I have some plainer blue ones cut out ready but requiring a change of thread colour on the machines before I can proceed. They may show up later in the week.

Simple Sewn Crafts : envelope back cushions

I make these for the charity craft stall but they are also great projects for anyone learning to sew or as gifts.
I take small remnants of attractive home dec fabric, like this heavy weight tulip print jaquard fabric, find a co-ordinating backing fabric which I use to make a simple envelope back. This one has a slightly deeper soft pink back.
Add a cushion insert (I used a standard 18" one here) and its a quick project.

These cushions are wider than they are high as I wanted to maximise the lovely fabric pieces. They have a plain off white back and custom cushion inserts made from a cheap IKEA duvet cover cut to the right size and stuffed with wadding. Making your own cushions to the size you want is really easy. I find buying cheap pillows and cutting them open is a great way of getting inexpensive wadding. If you make your own inserts you can have a cushion whatever shape and size you like which is great.

More projects tomorrow!

Monday, 24 April 2017

Wardrobe Oprhan 3 - Burgundy Jacket

This was originally a grey jacket, with black and white flecks. It was too cool on me so I overdyed it was dark red, the resulting jacket is a rich burgundy colour.
This is quite good for me, and in the winter I wear it with dark brown knee high boots and tights (and a brown or ivory top) and this sweater knit skirt
which is a great outfit for cold weather.
As is this brighter burgundy skirt.
I guess that means its not strictly an orphan, but its not getting much wear now, so I wanted a way to wear it in Spring as well.

I already own some burgundy leather brogues, burgundy chelsea boots and a bugundy handbag. I have many necklaces including some in dark red/burgundy type colours.

I do an image search for 'burgundy jacket outfit' and look at the pictures. I have a brief flash back to wearing a burgundy blazer with navy skirt, white shirt and striped tie to secondary school and shudder slightly.

A lot of the items are styled with jeans or black trousers, I sigh gently to myself as these are too casual or too cool for me. I save a few pictures and then go back and look at them again.

I notice that I particuarly like the outfits styled up with tan or cognac brown. I look in my wardrobe and discover I don't have much this colour. I have a look for burgundy with pink.

Perhaps I will go with coral pink (to warm it up and analagous with the burgundy) and black, navy or taupe trousers, plus the burgundy shoes or boots plus bag. Maybe a gold necklace for a bit of warmth.

Or I could make up this fabric as a top
or perhaps this one
Have to see if it does get worn.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Recovered dining chairs project

Back in November I started work recovering some old dining chars.

I painted the frames, made a template for the chair covers, covered the backs and cut out and overlocked the edges of the seat covers, then some time passed. Finally a few weeks ago my dad helped me finish off the project using my new electric staple gun.
Here's the result. Normally round the table in the conservatory, but can be stacked when not needed or alternatively used when the dining table is fully extended.
I'm fairly happy with them and they will get a few more years of use.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

New Fabric from the Monday Market man

Tony the Monday market man was off for 3 months recovering from a hernia operation. He was able to plan it for the cold winter months after Christmas, as he was not allowed to lift anything heavy, which as a sole trader meant he couldn't do his stall.
Here are the fabrics I bought, all knits. I wasn't quite sure what I planned so have 2 metres of each.

Left: Black, grey and ivory leaf print.  The ivory and gray soften this slightly so its not as stark as black and white. Leaves are my favourite print.

Centre: Charcoal and beige stripe. Again not too stark, and I do find a narrow stripe RTW top in similar colours is a useful piece. Stripes are another favourite print for me.

Right: Ivory, grey and brown animal print. This is a slightly more subtle animal print than some, and I like the fact that grey and brown are included as it gives more options. My brown hair has quite a few streaks of grey now (I stopped colouring about 18 months ago) so hopefully this will reflect elements of my personal colouring.

You may have noticed that I often reference my fabric purchases as being from the Monday Market Man. This is Tony, an old fashioned open air market stall holder, with no website.
He often only gets one roll of each fabric so if I like it I tend to buy it in case he doesn't have any more next time. 
If you'd like to see Tony's lovely fabrics he is available as follows:
Monday, Chesterfield, Derbyshire
Wednesday, Newark, Nottinghamshire
Friday, Lichfield, Staffordshire
on the open air market of each town from 7am - 5pm

Friday, 21 April 2017

Rosewood Red dyeing experiment

Dylon have changed their machine dyes to now include the salt in the dye packetso I found that Boyes were selling off the old ones half price. They only had a few colours left, so I picked up the ones I thought I would use.
I used two packets of the Rosewood Red colour, and some dishwasher salt (as I didn't have enough table salt in). I was a bit concerned but it worked really well.
 Orange fabric before dyeing
Pink jacket before dyeing (This had been a yellowy beige, which I overdyed pink last year but never wore)

I dyed some orange fabric one was too light, the other two bright, so I wanted them redder and deeper plus a pale pink jacket which was too cool, I wanted this redder and deeper too. I'm really pleased with the resulting colours.

 Fabric is now Red Orange, richer colour and more flattering for me.
The jacket is now a brick red (still with the beige topstiching and button).

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Making wardrobe Orphans work

Recently I suggested having some plainer items was a good way to wear the more unusual wardrobe orphans.
However another aspect occured to me and that's not having the right supporting pieces in particular underwear and footwear can mean you can't wear an item of clothing.

I think its a good idea to have your natural skintone (close in colour) some smooth bra and panties. These are good for wearing under light or slightly see through items.
Some outfits need strapless or convertable bras. I have a strapless one in skintone but find it very uncomfortable, I think this one is your call!

I'm talking here about jersey tops with straps. They are great for keeping things underwraps when a neckline is a bit low or loose. The ones with adjustable straps allow you to adjust to the right level for you but the adjuster can be bumpy and uncomfortable in the wrong place. You can always shorten the straps yourself if you want a particular length.

I also like the sleeveless t shirt style for a bit more coverage.
I have these in lots of colours, but ivory, skintone and black would be a good start for lots of outfits.

Footwear can be really tricky for many people especially if you have plantar fasciitis (like me) or other foot problems. My approach here has been practicality with an eye to style.
So for example it is useful to have:-
Flat leather boots in long or short leg length, either black or your hair colour, these can help make skirts more wearable without heels.

I like metallic brogues which I wear with trousers when I want a bit more fun.

And I also have some metallic sandals which are still comfortable but can be worn in summer with dresses and skirts.
Note: The pictures in this post are just random images I've pulled to demonstrate the types of items I find useful. I don't own these particular items (just something similar) however hopefully it would give you an idea when out shopping for yourself.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

More tricks for Wardrobe Orphans - scarves

Another trick for making outfits from disparate items is to use scarves.
I have a huge basket of scarves in the botton of my wardrobe which I bring out when inspiration is needed. I pulled out all the ones which contained purple somewhere and put them with the jcket, though several of them would also work well with the skirt (but not both together!)

1. Ivory scarf with lavender print

Here's the jacket with my recently made lavender print scarf. Just add an ivory knit top and black pants and that's another outfit.

2. Green, pink and purple scarf
This long scarf has a watercolour painted effect in soft shades of green, pink and purple. Its like an abstract garden. Imagaine this one with separates or a dress in soft sage green. Lovely.

3. Desigual Aqua Blue Scarf

This has soft purple shades in with the aqua blues and greens. This would be great with a toning blue/green top and maybe navy trousers.

4. Red Silk Scarf
This silk scarf was made by me in Dec 2013. The outfit would probably have a red knit top or blouse and black trousers.

5. Book of Kells Scarf
This scarf has purple and green on an ivory background and uses motifs from the Book of Kells. This could inspire an outfit with an ivory top or blouse and dark green trousers.

6. Adini stripe scarf
This scarf from Adini in red, pink, orange and purple, is more casual, so I'd probably wear this with jeans and a tee shirt.

Scarves 1, 3 and 6 would also work really well with the casual purple skirt, a tee and the denim jacket.

As well as the scarves I have multiple necklaces which include purple - purple with grey, purple with amber, purple with coral pink, purple with brown and purple with silver. Any of these can also inspire a colour scheme.

Friday, 14 April 2017

More thoughts on wardrobe orphans

Wardrobe orphans tend to exist because they are an unusual colour and/or print. If you really love print and texture you can end up with a lot of things which are individually quite nice but very hard to make into outfits. (I'm not going to include special occasion wear with sequins or whatever here as they are a separate problem, I keep my really dressy stuff down one end of the wardrobe and mostly don't include it in these adventures).

The answer for a lot of these more difficult items is to make sure you have some neutral garments which can be used with your more unusual item.
Things in this category for me would be
plain knit tops/plain blouse in white or ivory
plain trousers in black, navy or taupe
plain dark wash jeans
denim jacket
dark gry or taupe cardigan

These items on their own are fairly dull but they can be great with something more unusual.

Let's say you have fallen in love with some beautiful print fabric and made a lovely summer skirt. Add a simple top or tee in white, ivory or a colour from the print, plus a jacket in another neutral or a colour.
Use a search phrase like 'Floral Skirt Outfit' to get ideas.

Or let's say you've bought or sewn something in a new colour which you found exciting - for example Pantone greenery
And then realise you have no idea what you would wear it with.
Image search for 'Pantone Greenery Outfits' and see what comes up

For me another rich avenue is to go through my scarves, necklaces, print tops and print yardage and see what I have.
In my case I would find this top
And lots of green necklaces, maybe some scarves and be able to go from there.

I hope this gives you some ideas.