Monday 16 May 2016

Orange Wool Pinafore

Well! Five months is quite a while isn't it? I cite sleep deprivation and general exhaustion as the reasons. Evelyn had a few bad months of not sleeping as well recently so being Mum has taken all of my creative energy. I still managed a few bits and bobs of sewing here and there, and I've got a whole new batch of pics to show you so I should manage a few blogs in the next few weeks. I'm really looking forward to writing a bit again!

How honest should you be about a baby? I think the phrase 'not sleeping well' is a bit of a misnomer, when someone says they're not sleeping well I think the assumption is that it was a bit of a restless sleep right? Why would a baby having restless sleep affect your life? E's version of not sleeping well was waking three or four times a night, taking about 40 mins to go back to sleep each time. so you get your own sleep in two to three hour bursts probably adding up to about five or six hours. It's enough to feel like you can operate the shower, throw clothes on in the morning. But anything beyond that has been beyond me, so less seeing and going out etc. But she's done really well this week so I feel much better, fingers crossed it lasts a little longer!

I based this pinafore pattern on Style 1156, and made the first version last year from stretch denim. I was pregnant when I wore the pinny, but as it was made from stretch I've been able to wear it since the birth. The empire line, plus the easy access for breastfeeding has made it a workhorse. Though I have felt like I've worn denim way more than I ever have before which is quite plain for me, so I've been trying to build up my collection of tops to go with these denim things. 

My new life of sitting on the ground, and baby carrying/ pram pushing has been a big change in my wardrobe, which was all geared towards that five line if work and home appropriate. A lot of my clothes were dresses and what with the breastfeeding I haven't been able to wear them so I've been trying to find myself stylistically since. I'm now going back to work in a few weeks so now that I now feel like I'm getting a handle on my style, it will all change again! I'm looking forward to wearing non boob access clothing though!

It really needs a hook and eye at the top, this pinafore took over a month as I was making it in small increments. By the time I got to the zip, I just was done with making this ha ha. I also bought the fabric just as E was born, so it had been sat a while before I started making it. I love it, but I kind of missed the boat to wear it weather wise, it's nice to have a reason to look forward to winter though, especially as summer is only just beginning.

It has a full lining, cotton on the top, and anti-static for the skirt. I knew that I would be wearing this mostly in the winter so I needed to add this extra element to make it wearable. Unfortunately I under-stitched the outer fabric rather than the lining, so the lining pokes out. This is one of those things that you forget if you aren't sewing as often, the little things that are second nature have to be remembered and sometimes you forget something, no big deal. 

I feel like this is a good 'transition' piece of clothing, as in I'm hoping if I wear a smart shirt underneath I can wear it to work and feel smart. It's pretty seventies which was all the rage last winter, no idea if it will still be the case this year but, what do I care? Ha ha.

I've been participating in Me Made May this year and I've actually remembered to join in every day so far! Can you imagine?! I've found it really interesting in that I tend to have a few favourite items of clothing that I just wear over and over. It's like a mini capsule wardrobe, I'll fall out of love with one thing, replace it with another, and then keep those few items on rotation. I've got masses of clothes so it's interesting to see how little of them I wear on a day to day basis. I've also recently changed shape and am so now wearing jeans! I'll blog a bit more about this with a pic but it has been great to bring out some old me mades to rotate into the mini wardrobe. I'll articulate this better next time.

Also, sewing bee tonight!! So excited, all the fun, none of the jeopardy! 

Friday 4 December 2015

Quick get your craft on!

I am incredibly honoured to let you know that I have been chosen to judge the 12 Jumpers of Christmas competition.  This is a wonderful initiative to try and get people to craft their own christmas jumper, rather than going out to the stores and buying a new one every year.

The Facts:

According to new estimates from Love Your Clothes, UK consumers are likely to spend in excess of £300 million on Christmas jumpers this year. New research from the consumer campaign has revealed that over ten million people are likely to buy a Christmas jumper and 40% of Christmas jumper wearers plan on wearing them just once or twice this festive season. Love Your Clothes is launching a 12 Jumpers of Christmas competition to inspire people to upcycle a pre-loved jumper as an alternative to buying a new one.

So this Christmas jumper day, why not craft your own, and update a pre-loved jumper? Find something in a charity shop, or the back of the drawers and get crazy with the tinsel! This weekend is your last chance, as the deadline closes on Monday, but the weather is supposed to be shocking so get the christmas tunes on, grab a mulled wine and get crafting! 

The Rules:

To enter, people just need to either decorate a jumper or cardigan they already have, or a pre-loved one (e.g. from a charity shop), so it can be worn instead of purchasing a new Christmas jumper. It can be for adults or children and should feature a creative Christmas theme. It also needs to be washable and designed so the decorations can be easily removed after it has been worn so it can continue to be used after Christmas.  The designs will be judged by the Love Your Clothes team based on creativity, what inspired the design, how the design was made and what materials were used (extra points are available for incorporating re-used materials).

Competition entrants should submit a good quality colour photograph (at least 72 dpi resolution) of their jumper plus a description of what inspired the design, how the design was made and what materials were used by e-mail to: with the subject ‘12 Jumpers of Christmas Competition’ in the e-mail title by 10 am on Monday 7th December.

Monday 23 November 2015

Spotty Coco

Yo yo yo

How's it hanging guys? Sorry... this is my attempt to use the cool lingo... but this isn't the 90s and I'm not on the set of Clueless so sad as it may be time to shut it down.

So anyway, where was I? Oh yeah! I made a thing! Those of you with unfathomably long memories may rememebr I mentioned Mr T has given me the odd afternoon off to get a bit of sewing done. This was the first thing I made on one of these afternoons!

I wanted something satisfying to make, that was simple and pretty speedy for a bit of a quick fix. So I used my previously adapted Coco pattern, that has a more a-line shape at the bottom. I used the cuffs on this version though, rather than just turning under the seams.

I hadn't written on the instructions whether I had removed the seam allowance or not, so I sewed it together with the pattern pieces edge to edge, and unfortunately it came out a little big. I know for next time to remove the seam allowances on anywhere that their is a join. I can leave the hems as they are. 

Saying that, I absolutely love this jumper. It is comfy, cosy, and feels classy without being formal. It's nice to have something that makes you feel that way when it is so tempting to just wear pyjamas all the time. I don't really wear pjs in the day, but comfy clothes are definitely high on the agenda. 

E had her injections on Friday and in a fit of bad timing, I was working at the handmade fair. Mr T took her to the doctor for the injections which I believe was pretty harrowing. He brought her to the fair so I could give her a feed, and she seemed happy enough, but by the time my workshop was taking place she must have gotten a fever, and she was just inconsolable. I had to run out of the workshop and give her a five minute calming feed which worked, hoorah! 

The rest of the handmade fair was awesome, I got loads of Christmas shopping done, chatted to loads of makers, did a wreath-off with Lisa Comfort and Ellie Jarvis, (both draws, because crafters are fair that way) and made mini stockings with Ministry of Craft. 

I've come away from the weekend feeling like I want to knit, sew and embroider all day long, and it just re-iterated to me that crafters are the best, period.

So anyway, here's the back of the jumper... not so great. I think it's because I have added the extra room at the side seams rather than adding them to the centre of the pattern. So it's a bit tight on the old bum cheeks there, which creates that pooling at the back. I don't mind though, it's not like I spend long looking at my own bum. 

So yeah! Love this jumper, and still attempting to fit sewing time around the rest of life. I'm loving my days out teaching and demo-ing though. They provide me with my creative outlet as I await the free time to make things at home.

Sunday 1 November 2015

Birthday Xerea

Hallo, How are we all? I am doing well, tired but well. Little E went through a stage of sleeping for long periods of time recently. They call this sleeping through, it's not exactly a whole nights sleep but it's certainly better than nothing.

However, last night she was restless from about 2.30am so I'm pretty tired! However, I am very much enjoying baby time. We've been going to groups in the local area, I've met lots of lovely mums and am beginning to feel more like myself. I am however both an introvert and extrovert (I always come out exactly in the middle on those personality charts), and though I am getting lots of quiet time, it is not truly relaxing alone time. I'm not sewing or chilling, taking a bath or being calm. I am keeping active, trying to fill Baby E's day with interesting things which is its own kind of exhausting.

That's why when Mr T takes the little one out for an afternoon, it is the most relaxing time I can have. My shoulders relax and I feel like myself for a little while, and I get to sew! I've made a couple of things this way, and will have those to share with you in the future.

For today, I want to show you the last piece of sewing I did before Baby E was born. A birthday dress! At the time I was struggling with understanding what to make for breastfeeding, and had been making bigger and bigger maternity clothes. I was fed up of constantly making the same thing and was itching for a different silhouette. When I saw the new Pauline Alice Xerea pattern it answered my prayers, a completely different silhouette, but it looked like I could fit it over the big ol' bump.

I bought this fabric at the knit and stitch show that was on at the same time as the Sewing Bee, I walked around with Ryan and chatted with lots of enthusiastic people who commiserated with us, and told us all about their sewing lives. It's one of my favourite memories of that time, and now I have a dress that represents that time for me. 

Because I had such a big bump when I made this, the skirt seemed pretty short, so I added the gather panel at the bottom. To make this more of a feature I added lace along the edge. I'm not sure if it has now made it a bit long as I'm no longer bumpy, but I think I need to wear it a couple of times more before I decide. 

When I printed it, it was wrong by about 1cm off, so I tried to adjust it. I shaved 1cm off the pattern on all pattern pieces, but it wasn't the most accurate of adjustments, so I think the yokes at the top are a little too wide for my shoulders and neck. So I'll probably reprint the pattern for future makes just to make sure I get it right. 

Well, Baby E is making those... I'm not sure if I'm happy or sad noises so that's my cue. Hope you're having a lovely weekend guys, happy sewing!

Thursday 8 October 2015

Breatfeeding Dress DIY

Hello everyone! 

I’m here! I’ve made it back to the blog! Spud has fallen asleep on the sofa, and did not wake up when I moved away from her! It’s a miracle of epic proportions.

Life is very different here, I seem to be feeding almost constantly, did anyone else realise babies feed basically constantly?! I tend to do this lying down, I think I mentioned on instagram recently, this is mostly as I am lazy but also because it seems that Spud feeds better that way. Plus there is always the chance I can creep away from her if she's nodded off and quickly fill the dishwasher, start tea or put a wash on. These are my main life goals at the moment and I’m pretty happy with that. Mr T gave me some time to myself for the first time on Saturday and it was pretty brilliant, I made my adapted Coco pattern in 2 ½ hours! I surprised even myself.

I have decided to start something called #speedysew. This is my programme of sanity building whereby I'll work on my sewing in five minute dashes. This will necessarily mean leaving things out on the sides, but if I get five minutes in which to do anything, sew a single seam, or cut out one pattern piece I will still keep moving forward with my sewing, and watching my fabric pile whilst feeding won’t be quite so painful.

Today I'm going to show you my solution to the breastfeeding issue... how do I get at my boobs? I'm still figuring this out, it's difficult to find things that cover skin but give access to your boob. But when I went to Mamas and Papas to get a car seat for Spud, I found a super amazing black and white dress which had overlapping layers, and a top that folds down over it. Difficult to explain but take my word for it, it's the best. Inspired by this, I've made the following dress!

I decided to take some jersey tops that I no longer wear, and create some dresses with boob access. This is the first of this batch, the hem fabric is a piece that I bought in Abakhan when I used to work there, that's quite a while to stash some fabric! I never knew what to do with it, but having plain black fabric and piecing this together into a border print has made a beautiful fabric in itself. 

In order to do this yourself, I have taken some step by step photos for you. I (again) used the Washi pattern to identify the length of the top half. Apologies that the black doesn't really show up the cut lines that well.

This is the length that I cut it to, it should fall just under your chest.

Trying on the top, I pinned where the cuts will have to go, so that they fall right over your nipple

I then cut these as in the photo below, and then overlapped the two cut layers.

Stitch with a zig zag stitch two inches up from the bottom, and two inchess of the overlap from the top. 

I hope that makes some sense, here is a flash of bra to give you a better idea. Don't say I never treat ya.

I flipping love this dress, it's so comfortable and I feel really glam in it! I'm not having any excuses to be so glam at the mo... plus I look kind of tired in these photos... and my hair is all sorts of mess. 

But I kind of like that. I look how I feel, a bit tired, and not caring about my hair. I have other things going on! I want to be honest in this blog, I don't want people to think I'm breezing through this motherhood thing. I'm having a good time, but it's a tiring watching four hundred episodes of Stargate with a baby attached to you kind of good time.

In that vein, it has taken me three goes at writing this blog post, but I've done it! Niiiiiice. No promises about when I'll be back, but I hope it's soon.


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