Saturday, 31 December 2011


Well its review of the year time……
I thought I would make a mosaic of the things I’ve made, and compare it with my plans for this year.  Dangerous really as it shows that I did some of it but not all of it!

(Edit – My mosaic went walkabout!)

The main thing I wanted to achieve in 2011 and failed was a better understanding of pattern drafting. I’ve come to the conclusions that I need to use commercial patterns more first to get a better grounding in how patterns work etc. 
I also failed to make lots of clothes for myself with only 1 skirt, 1 dress and 1 top!  How rubbish is that?  I DID make a dress for my MIL and a couple of things for Miss M but an epic fail for me.  Miss C also didn’t get a look in this last year, something she is very aware of so that needs to be rectified in 2012!   I also made a few things for the home this year as well, especially Christmas. 
I have a plan, I’m still fed up of always being badly dressed and have come to the conclusions that maybe dresses are my saviour.  In the summer months I wear RTW dresses 90% of the time but in the colder months its just jeans and t-shirts and not very flattering ones at that.  So I need more dresses. And I’m setting myself a challenge.  I plan to make 1 dress each month.  12 dresses in 2012! 

12in12challengebadgeI’ve even made a badge!
Now I know compared to Mena this is nothing as she makes a dress every week or even a 7 dresses in 7 days but there's no way I can achieve that so I’m committing to more than I currently achieve but within reason.
  • New Look 6802  I already have this one lined up although I’m wondering how the gathering will work on my tummy but well see what a muslin looks like. 
  • Simplicity 2406 which came with Sew Magazine recently,  I was thinking of View C as a wintery version and View D as a summer version.
  • Burda #101 I want to make another version of this but with a circle skirt rather than a rectangle
  • Burda #104 which I want to use a a base for a basic well fitted bodice that I can then adapt (boat neck, v-neck etc) and ambitiously draft a sleeve to fit the bodice!  
After that, who knows.  I don’t mind making multiple versions of the same dress, it doesn’t have to be a unique pattern each month.  I would like to rub-off a version of a RTW dress I wear all summer and there are loads of other patterns I’ve got stored in BurdaStyle favourites such as Coffee Date Dress or Danielle.

What about you, do you have 2012 sewing plans, will you give yourself a challenge like me?  Stevie has called them  Re-sewlutions which I think is a great name, do you have re-sewlutions?  What are you going to do better this year or what new skill are you going to pick up?
P.S. Its 2 years since I started this blog!  Can’t believe its gone so quickly and I can’t believe how rubbish I am at updating!  Next year will be different I promise!!!!!

Friday, 23 December 2011

Frantic Christmas Crafting

Well the big day is nearly upon us, if I haven’t bought it we will do without, if I haven’t made it, well its too late now!  We’re all looking forward to a lovely family Christmas here with 7 of us this year, originally it was going to a quiet 5 and then a change of plans by my brother (was going to be Australia for Xmas and then decided he missed us too much and came back early!) and then Matts sister meant that we are up to 7, not as bad as the 10 we had last year!  So as its a ‘quieter’ Christmas I’ve been making….. again.  After making my Tree Quilt I decided that I NEEDED to make a felt gingerbread house I first saw 2 years ago! Never let it be said I’m one for procrastination!  In my defence its taken me ages to find thick (4mm) felt in the end I got it from Blooming Felt LAST December but it was a bit too late to do it then what with the 10 guests and all.  Anyway the girls made a cardboard gingerbread house the other day and it reminded me that I have everything I need so I got to work. 


Ta Dah!


Its cute isn’t it?  The gingerbread is maybe a little overcooked but it was the only brown available last year but I think it looks great.  The kids love it and Miss C helped to decide where to position everything.  I might go back and sew windows frames onto the side windows just to finish it off. 

The other thing I’ve been periodically working on is the Cross Stitch kit I bought back in February.


and here's the finished article framed.


Looks pretty good to me. 

With all these Christmas crafty things I’ve made and all the decorations I’ve been buying our house is looking a bit like Santa's Grotto.  I think we’re going to have to get  yet another box to store the stuff in the attic and Matt will be banning me from buying anything else soon!  So there ‘might’ not be any Christmas Craft stuff next year although I’m not promising anything.  I’ve made the couple of things that have been preying on my imagination  the last couple of years and nothing has caught my eye this year except maybe crochet snowflakes so hopefully there won’t be too much to do next year as invariably its late in the day when I get these urges and add into that both my girls have their birthdays in December and have full blown creative parties you can see why I’m kinda glad I’ve cleared my Christmas To-Do list.  I’ll post something about their parties in the New Year as I just don’t have time right now. 

OK presents wrapped check, turkey ordered check, Next Sale completed check (gotta love VIP online sales!), family en-route check, bring it on!


Have a great and safe Christmas and I’ll see you on the flipside!

Monday, 12 December 2011

My First Ever quilt

Last Christmas (I gave you my heart…) I decided that the Christmas Tree needed a bit of jazzing up.  We have always used a large piece of green felt under the tree which looked ok when the presents were on there but afterwards looked a bit boring and makeshift (which it was!).  Due to Miss M’s late December birthday we don’t put any presents under the tree until a few days before Christmas so they are never there for very long and so the boring green felt was always there.  About Boxing Day last year I decided I would make a Tree Skirt and as there was bound to be Christmas fabric for on sale after Christmas I would get a head start on it in the New Year and not be making Christmas things in late November/December as I was last year.  Yeah right!  So fast forward to November 2011….  I’d been looking at tree skirts but realised where we put our tree and arrange the presents I didn’t want a skirt, more a rectangle so I decided to make a quilt!  I’ve always been scared of starting this as my main experience has been in dressmaking although I do read lots of quilty blogs.  I spent ages looking around at different ideas, I like the quilts usually classified as ‘Modern’ (even though I couldn’t define what that means) and eventually found this Moda quilt and used that as my inspiration.


The biggest problem I found was working out the dimensions I needed, maths not being my strong point I had to try to explain to my husband how seam allowances work  and between us we kinda worked out the dimensions…. except we didn’t think about the footprint of our artificial tree!  I’d cut all the pieces, sewn the strips and pinned them together before we got the tree out and realised it was too narrow.  Therefore I had to extend the strips and after a lot of debate whether to match the strips or not I decided not to. 


I cut the coloured pieces 3.5” wide and 11” long, the  white totalled 15” and so was cut into 10/5, 6/9, 7/8 inch lengths.  I made sure these lengths stayed together and then put the coloured sections in between using the ubiquitous 1/4” seam allowance.  This resulted in a width of 35” and a length of 60”.

The backing was plain white with the traditional patterned insert, which I had to do as there wasn’t quite enough white!


Excuse the camera strap in shot!

The wadding was 100% cotton wadding and the only one my local quilting shop sells so I’m not sure if it was the best wadding or not.  As you can probably see I quilted it using the stitch-in-the-ditch method which sometimes was in the ditch and sometimes not!


I bound it with 2.5” continuous binding which I sewed 1/4” from the quilt top and then hand sewed it using a ladder stitch which took forever.  I thought I would sit down and catch up with a TV drama so I put on the second series of The Killing having watched the American version of the first series unfortunately I forgot that this was the Danish version and had subtitles which makes stitching small ladder stitches AND reading a bit challenging and therefore slow progress.  Nevertheless I succeeded in sewing the binding and enjoying the TV programme!


I added a label (which I’ve blanked my surname out) just so Miss M and Miss C can’t pass it off as their work in the future, Miss M has already said it will be a heirloom and passed through the family!

My thoughts on quilting: apart from the whole maths aspect, which is a bit mind blowing for me as this is most defiantly not my strength I found the whole process very therapeutic.  There's a beauty in repetitive tasks involved in quilting compared to dress making where every seam seems to be different and I have to keep referring to the instructions and have at many times sat there scratching  my head turning pattern pieces round in my hands trying to work out what the hell the instructions are trying to convey.  Whereas with quilting, as least with this one, the process was simple and repetitive, first sew the pieces to make strips, press the seams, sew the strips, press the seams, layer the quilt, pin the quilt, quilt the quilt, bind the quilt.  I quite enjoyed the process and not quite sure what I was so scared of beforehand so its given me the confidence to make one for myself.  Miss C is also eyeing one up as she kept using it as a blanket!


Here's an action shot!