Friday, 26 September 2014

Exploring Embroidery

Something that I don't talk about very much on here are my other crafting adventures, probably because they are so slow! I always have one or two things on the go, from knitting, to crochet and embroidery, but not often do I have anything finished to show.

Recently I bought an embroidery sorting box... I doubt that's its real name.  I've had all of my embroidery threads in a little box all mixed up for quite a while, and they were starting to get knotted.

Ooh look at those lovely colours, I spent hours winding these on, it makes me very happy to see them all lined up in their rainbow. I used to spend hours sorting my felt tip pens like this, woe betide anyone who messed them up! Anyone out there have any idea how to use the pink windy thing in there? I think it's for winding on the threads, but it basically just fell off a lot or felt really loose.

When I went on holiday to Donegal, a couple of months ago now, I had an idea I would do some sort of craft, something small, and I love doing embroidery, so I took along all my bits and pieces. I came up with the below, it's still in construction, as with all embroideries these things take time.

Drawing this embroidery has really opened up something in me, I've been drawing on and off all summer, and have a few more ideas for embroideries in the pipeline. I'm also trying to develop my techniques so have started to collect new stitches, and ideas for new images on my pinterest board, take a look if you have an interest... Ha don't think I ever made the connection between interest and pinterest before.

I was hoping to knit a cardigan on that holiday, I've only ever attempted to knit something the size of a cardigan once, and I got bored halfway up a sleeve.... so wish me luck! I say 'was' and 'hoping', as the wool didn't arrive in time for the holiday, and it keeps being sent to the post office depot, and as I haven't been in home on the weekend for months I still haven't got the wool! I have finally now sent it to Mr.T's work so hopefully I'll finally get this summer cardie made... in time for winter ha ha. Sounds about right, have a great weekend!

Friday, 19 September 2014

Spotty Anna

The last time I made an Anna dress, I had to make a lot of adjustments to the fit to get it right. This time round I learnt my lesson, I used the finished garment measurements instead. To do this I used my Upper bust, bust and waist measurements.

There is usually only about 1-1/2 inch difference between my upper bust and bust, so I've never done a full bust adjustment, choosing to make any adjustments once the dress is made. Maybe if I find a dress that I find has a lot of issues I might do this in future.

However, I have found that it is useful for me to grade from the smaller size at my upper bust for the shoulders/ neckline to the full bust measurement. I did this on the Anna as below:

This means that I get a closer fit above the full bust line. This dress therefore now fits so much better than my previous version (before all the adjustments). It's so comfortable to wear, and I added my favourite skirt on as well New Look 6723 , this is basically just a trapeze shape which I add pleats to once the bodice is made. In order to do this I stitch the skirt sides together, and pin to the bodice (with pleats sewn in) at the side seams.

I then find the centre of the bodice and mark, and the centre of the skirt and mark. Pinning these two centre points together and then up to the point of the pleat like so:

I then create a pleat from this point by folding over the excess fabric to the inside. I then do exactly the same at the back, but instead of folding the fabric under itself, I create a box pleat by bringing the excess fabric from either side of the pleat into the middle.

Using this method, I can ensure that the pleats on the skirt and bodice match up perfectly. Using this skirt instead of the drafted Anna skirt means I can have a big lunch and not worry about the consequences ha ha. Once I got the bodice right on this dress, I managed to make it up in 2 1/2 hours! I've now made two for friends and two for myself, I'm becoming a bit of an Anna obsessive.

I got the inspiration for this dress from a Cath Kidston one I saw that was navy polka dot with ric rac on the bottom, I really liked the style, though it's probably more twee than I would normally go for. I bought the fabric from ebay though and it has already started to fade quite a bit, so I may need to replace it soon. I've found it so easy to wear to work, I think another couple in some 'sensible' fabrics may be on the cards.

It looks like the back is quite gappy in these pictures, and there is a little bit of ease here, but the dress is so comfortable I wouldn't want to make this any smaller. My other version is in a slightly thicker material, so may have needed to be brought in. But I'll tell ya all about that when I post it!

Do you like the shoes? Definitely not sensible, I decided this year was the year of the shoe. They are the perfect way to feel dressed up, and Ive only fallen in them a couple of times! (I always fall over... even in flat shoes, no real reason just that the ground likes me) I think I want to get some more fancy shoes. I figure I dont buy ready to wear very often these days, so I can splurge occasionally.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Christmas Party Pastille Dress

Crikey, this post has been a long while in the making!

I received the Colette sewing handbook last Christmas from my Grandma. It was an absolutely brilliant pressie as I learnt a lot reading through the pages, but the colour palette in the book, along with some of the rather fitted/ floaty sleeve-ness of the patterns made it a little difficult for me to visualise myself in any of them.

When I was thinking of making a dress for my works' Christmas party I thought it would be a good excuse to give these patterns a try, and the pastille on the front cover caught my eye. I liked the subtle sweetheart neckline (not the bow... too twee for me) and the sleeves which aren't a separate piece, something I hadn't done before. I knew such a fitted straight skirt would not be a good look on me, though I did swap out the skirt for a straight one in for my stars in their eyes dress. However, looking closely at the picture I could see that the skirt was a separate piece from the natural waist, so it would be an easy job attaching a skirt I liked.

I used the digital rose print fabric I picked up at the Birmingham blogger meet-up, and fully lined the bodice.

I decided to make a muslin of the bodice for safety, and found that something strange happened when I calculated the sizes. I had to cut out a size 6-8  shoulder/ bust but a 14 waist? I think I did a calculation wrong as when I tried this on it was all kinds of wrong, I then cut an 8 waist (in fact I trimmed it to a 12, then a 10 and then an 8!)

Even after I had done this the triangle darts did not work on my body (lucky this was a muslin!) I then pinned the darts closer to my body to fit as I wanted, and I ended up with a close fitting bodice, and half moon darts. Has anyone else ever ended up with rounded darts? Is this a thing?

I used the muslin as my lining, and made the following dress. I finally got round to taking pics of it last weekend! That's a whole 8 months ha ha ha.

I put on a bit of weight after Christmas , and the wedding, and holidays... so this dress became a little bit tight. You can still see in the back it could probably do with a teeny bit more ease, but I've lost most of this weight now so I'm not worrying about it.

I took these pics with my shiny new Pentax Q10, which is somewhere between an SLR and a standard digital. Having no knowledge of how to use the SLR (and no real inclination to learn) was infuriating, so Mr. T got my this for my birthday, it feels a lot more manageable. There are still a lot of settings, but I'm not feeling overfaced any more which is good.

I've taken another whole bunch of pics, so expect some more regular viewing for the next few weeks.


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