Friday, 10 December 2010

Ribbon roses

I've made a few of these recently, they work great as hair accessories, broaches etc and are super easy and cheap to make!

What you need:
  • Scissors
  • Needle and matching thread
  • Ribbon approx 75cm (though you can use more/less for different size roses), you can use any width of ribbon, the thicker it is the bigger the flower. 
  • broach pin / hair slide etc
  • 15 minutes
1. Start by tying the thread to the end of the ribbon

2. Fold the verticle edge down to meet the horizonal edge, twist together and put a few stitches in place to keep it tight. This will form the center of your rose

Monday, 29 November 2010

Vintage tweaking

I went to this vintage fair back in October and picked up two fab dresses for an absolute bargain price of £15! (total, not each!) It's a rare day that I find a vintage dress to fit me, let alone two! (I'm a not-to-tiny 5'10")

One was a cute green 40s button down dress, unfortunately missing what I'm guessing would have been a covered belt, but 5mins £3 and a trip to primark fixed that! Oh and a string of pearls I had lying about!
The second dress was a funky printed 80s dress (though I am reluctant to call 80s clothing vintage. It's commonly accepted anything older than 20 years is a vintage piece, but I'm still not quite 100% on board with it). Anyway I loved the print, but not the style.

Shoulder pads and an unfortunate mid calf length left this dress feeling a little fancy dress party, than fabulous dresses party. But I knew it had the potential.  me, some scissors and my sewing machine and it was transformed to this!

For good measure here is an aweful shot of me in it on Saturday! Excuse the bad hair (didn't dry in time so had to put it in an up-do, also my fringe is in desperate need of a trim - to be fixed his week)

What you can see is that my fab shoe boots had cute gold studs all down the side, they just look a bit awkward from this angle. Never mind, I was still very pleased with the outcome, also DRESS POCKETS!!! I'm totally a fan of dresses with pockets, don't know why just love 'em!

Anyway that's all for today dear readers, a busy weekend of party on Saturday and costume ball on Sunday have left me rather on the sleepy side. But never fear I'll be back next week with a couple of cute broach/hair slide tutorials to jazz up your festive wear!

Monday, 22 November 2010

HowTo: French Seam

This week I've been working a lot with delicate, fray-prone fabrics including chiffon, These sort of fabrics require a lot more effort when it comes to sewing as sheer fabrics show every detail of your hems and seams, which is why I tend to use a technique called French Seaming when working with them. (It's also great on garment where the inside seams may show and there is no lining to hide them).

What is a French Seam you ask? Well is's basically where you enclose the seam in the fabric, but without using bias tape and taping the seams. It sounds complicated but it's really not, though it does take a little extra time, becuase you are in effect, sewing your seams twice.

How do I make on? One thing you need to remember before you start sewing it to allow a little extra seam allowance when cutting your fabric, if in doubt double what you would normally cut for seams.

Friday, 19 November 2010

fab new fabric

So I was in the wonderful Fabric Land Brighton at the weekend, picking up supplies for a Christmas themed fancy dress outfit (I'm going as a Christmas tree - queue bright green crushed velvet and sparkly pompoms!) when I came across the most gorgeous laquered cotton at just under £4 per meter.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Why I sew

So you read about what drive me nuts about sewing, well I though it was time to share with my lovely readers why I sew!
  1. Fit - Have you ever gone to a shop and tried on something fabulous only to find it doesn't quite fit right? This happens to me all the time, mostly due to my height, but I know people of all shapes and sizes that suffer too. And you know what? It's a really easy fix! If you love the garment and it's a reasonable price, then why not buy it an make some alterations at home? Many people hem trousers to the right length, so why no take the bust/waist in a little, or change the dull buttons for the cute set you have at home? Minor alterations are quick and easy to do, and can really take an OK item to an awesome one! Yuo never know readers, I may even do a post on alterations one day!
  2. Uniqueness - bored of looking like you just stepped out of the TopShop window? Well sewing is the answer! (well not the answer, but certainly one of them!) why no re-create a style you love with a more interesting pattern, or different hem line? little tweaks to current styles can really give your outfit that omgwheredidyougetthat factor!
  3. The Smug factor - Ever worn something you've made out and about, only to have someone ask where you bought it? That "I made it myself" statement is enough to make even your average man go wow! how did you do that! And readers, nothing beats that smug factor!
  4. Cost - OK so not all garments you make will be cheaper than the store bought options, especially when you take places like Primark into account. But there are many occasions where it will be much, much cheaper. For example wedding, black tie events, special occasions generally, where most people will be spending £60+ on a dress that you can make for less than £40 (of course that depends on fabrics, more luxurious fabrics will cost more to use, but would cost more in the shops, so it does balance out) Also you never end up at a party in the same dress as someone else.
  5. Because idle hands... Speak to any one of my friends and you will quickly discover I'm a busy lady. I don't like sitting around with nothing to do, even when I'm having a lazy Sunday watching old dvds, chances are I'll have some sewing in my hand. I personally find it theraputic to pick up a needle or switch on my sewing machine. But generally it's a great way to pass a rainy day!
Oh and possibly the most important reason, I LOVE IT!! I've been sewing properly since I got my first sewing machine mid way through uni, (so about 7 years ago) but was always a creative kid, and the more time that passes the more techniques I pick up and the more I want to sew, honestly readers, it's addictive!

    Thursday, 15 July 2010

    Top 10 things I hate about sewing

    So we all talk about the reasons why we love sewing (post on that to follow!) but we never really talk about the things that drive us nuts. So here it is, my top 10 pet peeves (in no particular order) under the cut.  Feel free to comment and add more suggestions!

    Friday, 2 July 2010

    vintage pattern shopping!

    On the way back from lunch a friend and I popped into Snoopers Paradise in the North Laines, and we did a little shopping. Katja picked up some lovely 30s buttons and some cute knitting patterns, I found two fab 60s dresses! the shirt dress really has an air of the 50s about it which I love! (Though I don't think I'll be making the hat any time soon!)
    Aren't they fab! :)

    OMG what?

    So I was looking for a pattern for my lovely bf Paul, (long suffering partner who has to put up with the loving room looking like Fabric Land threw up in it....) And wanted to make him a nice Spring/Autumn jacket as all he has are winter coats and hoodies.

    So off I trot to look for patterns. O...M...G. WTF??? Below is a quick piccie of all 11 (yes a whopping 11) styles that Simplcity do for men. What kind of 21st Century man wears this kind of stuff??

    Thursday, 1 July 2010

    pretty things!

    Oooh two posts in one day! :)

    I just thought I;d do a quick update on the lovely things I'm wearing today! A lovely new hairband I bought from New Look for a fiver (excuse the picture I'm at work and not having a great day..)

    And some lovely shoes I bought from Primark yesterday for a tenner! size 9 wide fit!!! OMG can you believe Primark have started stocking size 9s again! Seriously made my day!

    Aren't they beautiful! They are so comfy too, I had to pop some heel grips in as they are just a tad lose around the back (I'm technically an 8.5 not a 9 and that's UK sizing!) but no shame in adding some little grips! I love the nod to 40s fashion with these shoes, the little conical heels, and front detailing!

    Today they have been teamed up with some navy skinny jeans, a green rouched strapless top and a gray cardie, sounds odd but it actually works!

    Anyway, more posts coming soon, I swear I will do this more regularly, Honest!!

    Jargon Explained 002 - Blind hemming

    Blind hemming, we've all heard it mentioned, and if you're anything like me you only vaguely paid any attention until the day you realise you need to blind hem something. Which amused me as I only sort of knew what it was (mostly becuase my Sewing machine Aurora came with a blind hemming foot) but somehow knew I needed the stitch.

    What? - A blind hem is a type of stitch that is done so that it prevents the fabric from unraveling, but isn’t visible from the “right” side of the fabric. 

    Why? - Blind hems are often used when you don’t want to be able to see a row of stitching on the finished product. For example, window hangings, skirts, and dressed are often hemmed along the bottom with a blind hem.

    How? - Although I have used a blind hemming foot in this tutorial it is possible to do it without, it will just take longer and you will need to pay very close attention to where your needle is on the fabric. You also need a blind hem stitch on your machine, this looks like a few straight stitches followed by two zigzag stitches (one off to the side, one back to the line) using the powers of keyboards this is a rough representation _ _ _ /\ _ _ _ /\_ _ _ etc

    Step 1: - Fold and pin a standard double fold hem (fold once wrong sides together, then fold again to catch all loose ends)

    Tuesday, 29 June 2010

    gorgeous fabric!

    I was out at lunch having a look round the fabric stores for yellow tshirting jersey (not as easy as it sounds) for a costume project when I came across the most amazing remnant of fabric! Not sure what it is, it feels like a silky chiffon with gold thread detailing! My plan is to turn it into a simple A line skirt so all I need to pick up tomorrow (payday fabric shopping!) is some lightweight black fabric (as this is rather see-through), a little dress zip and some matching thin ribbon to tape the edges as a rather fraying type of fabric, Shouldn't take more than an hour or so to knock up though!

    It's not the biggest piece in the world, I'd say it's about 50x40 but big enough to make it just above the knee! No room for mistakes though! I also have some soft black jersey left over from a winter dress I made which I'll probably turn into a little blouse/t-shirt to go with it!

    Monday, 28 June 2010

    Help me name my dressform!

    OK so the time has come to name my dressform. My sewing machine is called Aurora for two reasons, A) I'm a big Disney geek, and B) for those not clued up on Disney princess names, Aurora is the princess from Sleeping Beauty, you know, the one with the spinning needle...
    Anyway you can sort of see my dressform under the progress of my Dino Dress

    All suggestions welcome, just leave a comment!

    Thursday, 17 June 2010

    Jargon Explained 001 - Stay Stitch

    Over the next few months of so as I work through my newly acquired sewing book bought for a whopping £2 at my local Oxfam book store (only 5 minutes from work and deadly for stealing my lunch breaks) I intend to explain in normal human language what patterns and books mean from jargon to simple English.

    Some of these JEs (Jargon Explained) will be really obvious to some of you, so apologies for that, but for the 5% that don't know, I'm hoping that next time you take a look at pattern instructions you will no longer break out in a panic sweat!

    Some of the topic I'm aiming to cover are:
    • Hand stitches
    • Zips, buttonholes and pockets
    • Collars
    • Pattern Jargon
    Many of these are simple to do and do well, but are often breezed over in pattern instructions, with little or no explanation on how to accomplish the tasks,  let alone why we should do them, and I don't know about you guys, but if I can't see a purpose to a stage I'm guilty of skipping it then wondering why it just doesn't look right!

    Anyway enough of me rambling, time for the first JE!

    Dino Dress is GO!

    So after cutting the pattern pieces out a few weeks ago I finally last night started cutting the pieces and have started putting in the darts and pleats!

    Front pieces on the dummy, back are still on the sofa with the sleeves! This dress also have little concealed pockets which is an awesome idea! I love having somewhere discrete to pop a tissue! I think I'm going to have to lower the neckline a little as it's not the most flattering on me, and possibly add some extra little darts from sleeve seam to bust, juts little ones, as even though this pattern is for larger curvy ladies it doesn't quite seem to curve over boobs very well, but nothing I can't adjust!

    Friday, 11 June 2010

    vintage fair

    On Sunday me and a friend ventured into the Frock Me vintage clothes fair, I think I was a very good girl, I only bought a 50s polkadot button fronted dress and an awesome pterodactyl pendant (well right now it's just a piece of metal which used to be attached to something, but give me a trip to the bead store for fixings and 5 mins with my soldering iron and it will be a necklace!)

    I've put a petticoat on the dummy too, though it's not the right size or colour it gives you a better idea anyway! I also recently bought some pretty demi heel mary janes which will go perfectly, all I need now is a white clutch and a small string of pearls and the outfit will be complete! Most likely going to wear this to a wedding I have in 2 1/2 months, but I'm sure it will be worn before that!

    Wednesday, 26 May 2010

    perfect pattern!

     While I was thinking where to start with my dino dress (due to start on Monday) I came across this pattern!

    it's got a great combination of skirts, bows, sleeves and necklines, perfect for my 50s inspired plan! All I need to do is pop to Fabric Land (sorry not the best website, but the Brighton store - my local - has got loads in it and the staff are really helpful!) Hopefully they will have it in stock so I can get started on Monday! :)

    Wednesday, 19 May 2010

    60s inspired range coming soon

    Over the next few months I will be working on my first range of 60s inspired mod clothes which will be going on sale in Brighton in time for the August bank holiday Mod rally (or maybe before if I get them done!) I'm starting off with a small range of three pieces which will be available in sizes 8-16, and one or two limited candy stripe tunic tops

    First up will be a blue gingham mini dress,
    Very similar to the above styles but with a white peter pan collar and no belts or pockets, just a nice simple summer dress, lined in my fav faux silk for extra lushness!

    Tuesday, 18 May 2010

    50s Dino Dress

    I've written up my first tutorial, now is time to fill you in on what I'm working on! As soon as I've completed my current costume for an event next weekend I'll be starting on something very exiting!

    I'm planning on taking some inspiration from the 50s pattern below only I plan to add some little sleeves (it's just to cold in the UK to not have sleeves in spring!) maybe make it a little lower cut and a less full skirt, as I doubt I could fit under my desk in a full 50s skirt! But never fear it will still retain the classic 50s feel and styling, only with a little geeky twist!

    Monday, 17 May 2010

    Stitching bias tape to difficult shapes

    Recently I've been working on a new costume and it's required some rather fiddly sections of bais stitching. Now I'm not being lazy and using bias tape, the costume is actually trimmed in a different colour so bias seemed the sensible option! Anyway I was asked how I got it so neat, especially round the tricky parts so I thought I'd knock up a quick tutorial.Now the pictures I've used are of a relatively simple curve, but you can use the technique for any shape! Also I'm sure there are plenty of other methods out there, but this is my current fave for tricky things.

    Step 1:First take the main piece and turn it over so the back of the fabric faces you. Then take the bias tape and unfold, pin the very edge of the tape to the material, so the right side of the tape faces the wrong side of the fabric, (see the pic below of that doesn't make sense)

    Some interesting links

    So I though I'd start off with a few interesting links:
    • Chic steals, who often have some great tutorials for modifying clothes and super cheap alternatives for fashion and beaut
    • And finally Crafty Crafty who have the most amazing collection of craft projects!
    Of course as I find more and more interesting and helpful sites I'll share them with you all!

    First post!

    Hi! I'm Louise and this is my sewing blog! Hopefully you'll enjoy reading about all the random things I'll be blogging about, and any projects I'm working on, from Cosplay to Vintage inspired commissions!