Inspiring Ideas I’ve Seen This Week

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Love Sewing Magazine: Issue 24 – Thelma blouseIMG_6484

I think I might burst with all the gorgeous projects I’ve seen recently! I’ve been reading lots of blogs from other sewers, of all ages and abilities, which is ace. I especially liked Ana Sofia’s blog (S is for Sewing) about the clothes she makes for her daughter – classic shapes and beautiful colours.

I don’t have children but I do have a number of nieces aged 1-10 years old. I’d love to make the Thelma blouse in this month’s Love Sewing magazine for my youngest niece – I just need to find the right fabric.

I was browsing Minerva Crafts website and came across this pattern (New Look 6020) on sale at under £3. I have a friend’s wedding to go to next year (June 2017) and I’ve vowed I’ll make myself a dress to wear to it. It’s in Wales so although it’ll be summer I’ll probably need a blazer or something so I want a short sleeved or sleeveless dress with a good full skirt for dancing! Pattern D (the turquoise polka dot one) looks like the dress for me, and I especially like the sweetheart neckline. 🙂 I’ve come across some beautiful fabrics online but it’s too early to decide yet.

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Below are the two free patterns with this month’s Love Sewing magazine. The jersey dress is exactly the type of dress I’d buy as it’s a V-neck, a skirt with lot of movement and the waist is accentuated. I’d like to make the dress and the top. The Threadcount wardrobe builder will be a good way to try making a blazer when I’m more experienced. In the meantime, I would probably tackle the skirt and the dress.

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I’ve had insomnia all week (my head is banging right now) so I’ve been toying with various crochet techniques in the wee small hours. Below is one such technique – really simple as it’s just a chain stitch in connected rows to create a spider web. I thought it might make a nice Peter Pan-like collar on a navy short sleeved top; one that has a bit of movement in it.

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Finally, I bought a new craft book from The Book People at work because my aim this year is to make handmade birthday gifts for everyone in my family. Not wanting to limit myself to crochet, sewing and cake making, I fancy having a go at soap and candle making, mini macaroons and some flavoured oils. The sewing and crochet projects are very simple so I don’t think I’ll be doing any of those but I know not the first thing about making soap or candles, etc. so for only £5 I think it’s a pretty good buy!

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Keyhole Blouse – Love Sewing Magazine

Well, I have a new make to share with you all. It combines a series of ‘firsts’:

a) The first top I’ve ever sewn

b) The first time I’ve made my own bias binding

c) The first successful fitting alterations I’ve done

d) The first Love Sewing Magazine pattern I’ve used 🙂

Here’s what it looks like on the pattern wallet:

 

I’m not a massive fan of keyhole features on clothes so you may ask why I decided to make this top. It was for the simple reason that I had the pattern and I like the pleated front. You can make it with a plain front and short or long sleeves but I knew I wanted the pleated front and three-quarter-length sleeves. I envisioned wearing it as casual wear with jeans or (in summer) shorts. I can wear jeans to work so I thought it might be a good top for there too as it’s comfortable. Also ideal if you want to cover up a food baby!! 😉 (Or a real baby bump – And no, I don’t mean me!)

As ever, the bunnies wanted to have their say in the pattern decisions – Millie here eventually approved and hopped away. 😛

   

I didn’t take any ‘in progress’ photos as those are only necessary in blogs whereby you’re trying to teach the audience something (and I’m the learner, not the teacher!) so we’ll jump straight to the ‘finished’ photos: 

 

  
  

  
I do apologise for the low quality of the photos – it wasn’t an easy top to self-photograph! As you can see, I used a grey cotton with a small white floral print as I didn’t want anything too fussy. Ironically I’m currently making a cushion in this fabric so soon I’ll match the furniture! I wanted something fairly structured but 100% cotton so it’s okay to wear in summer.

I made it in a size 12 because I knew the fabric wouldn’t have any stretch in it. I’d normally buy size 10 for my top half if material is stretchy but if it’s not it struggles to encase my 34 inch chest. And I hate seeing strained fabric – it’s not a good look. I found the shoulders and across the chest fitted well but there was too much fabric around the middle which made the back look particularly unflattering. I just dove in and adjusted the seams, hoping that would fix the problem and it did!

I cut the sleeves out to the three-quarter-length pattern but they were far too long; they almost reached my wrists. I shortened them and I think they are much better now. The left sleeve is slightly tighter then the right and I think if I were to make this pattern again I’d insert little slits on the outside of the sleeves to make bending your arms more comfy.

As I didn’t like the idea of a keyhole neckline, I didn’t put bias binding all the way around. Instead, I’ve gone for a deep ‘U’ shape (was meant to be a ‘V’ but who’s to know?!). I wear vest tops under everything so it’s not a problem that it’s low. For summer I might stick in a ‘modesty panel’ so it appears I have a vest on, like Shelia over at Sewchet suggested.

I was nervous about sewing sleeves and armholes, and collars because, well, I never have. But this pattern was so easy it’s given me a real thirst for it! I’d like to make this blouse again but in a lighter fabric (maybe in double gauze like this one at M is for Make’s website) and with a round neckline or a V-neck.

I’ve learnt a lot from this project – like the nun skirt, it taught me loads about the order in which to construct a top. Sounds simple but my unskilled mind always wants to do things in the wrong order which leads to problems further down the line. I think in future I will flatlock as I go because doing it all at the end was a bit tedious. Maybe I was meant to do it as I went along but the pattern didn’t mention anything about it so I just left it, which means the areas around the armpits are a bit untidy as I had to do them by hand.

Unlike the nun skirt, I wouldn’t be ashamed to wear this garment in public. 🙂

   
   
 

Baby’s Headband with Bow

My quick (ish) make of the week is an adaptation of the ‘pretty headbands’ pattern in my DK ‘Bumper Book of Crochet’. It was only meant to be an adaptation in terms of using a 3mm crochet hook instead of a 4mm, and using thinner yarn (Women’s Institute Soft and Silky in cream and coral). However, as ever I made some mistakes so I adapted it to my requirements! 😉

Obviously, using a smaller hook and thinner yarn meant it worked up smaller but that was okay with me as I was just faffing about with stitches and techniques rather than making a serious project. It would fit a baby with a head circumfrence of 38cms so it’s for a newborn to 3 months really.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any newborns cwtched up anywhere so Red the Ted had to stand in as a model! It rather suits her! 😛

  

 

Baking Update

I’ve been less present on here over the past week and a half as I went to Dublin for a couple of nights and then did a few other bits and pieces on my days off. 

I went to see my Grandma on Tuesday (she’s currently in hospital so please send her lots of good, get well soon thoughts!) at her house and I’d promised to take her some cake. She didn’t have any preference as to which as long as it wasn’t banana cake as she wasn’t too keen on it. Ironically, that’s one of my favourites! 

I settled on carrot cake eventually, and I decided to make a banoffee pie for me and Karl as he wont eat carrot cake. 

I should have known it wasn’t going to go well when I couldn’t get any mascarpone at the supermarket…

I followed Mary Betry’s recipes to a tee, which includes putting a banana in the carrot cake but none in the banoffee pie! (Although you can use ‘decorative slices of banana’ on the top according to her!) 

The result was the carrot cake tasted more like banana bread than carrots – the one thing my Grandma said she didn’t like the taste of! I couldn’t get any mascarpone in my corner shop either (it was a long shot) so even if it had turned out okay I wouldn’t have been able to ice it. 

The banoffee pie? Well, that was a disaster. A) The biscuit base spread incredibly thin and didn’t stretch to up the sides of the tin. B) The filling never set (I don’t think I cooked it long enough to let it thicken) and C) the cream just sat in blobs about it. D) The tin also started to leak even though it states to use a loose bottomed tin, so I imagine that was due to points a and b. Lastly E) it was waaaaaaaay too sweet!!! Karl and I have sweet tooths but even we couldn’t handle it! Most of it’s ended up in the bin. I didn’t even bother to photograph the finished product as it was just embarrassing. 

The carrot cake aka banana cake is edible and spongey but I still haven’t iced it (four days after baking it!). Might just leave it plain and put it with custard. 

Not wanting to disappoint my Grandma by turning up empty handed, I grabbed the ginger cake I’d frozen a couple of weeks back and presented that to her instead! 

I feel I need to make something I know will turn out okay now to get some confidence back so tomorrow I’ll make another lemon drizzle cake. 

Oh, and since I learnt to make scotch pancakes I haven’t stopped! I didn’t make them on Shrove Tuesday ironically but I did get up early on my day off to make some for Karl before he went to work. 🙂 

 

A sea of condensed milk – Failed banoffee pie

 
Carrot cake rising nicely
   

 

Still spongey on day 4… And still smelling of bananas!
  
You can see evidence of carrots inside, and walnuts
 

Knit Dress to Sweater Upcycle

I bought a gorgeous jersey knit dress in a plummy-maroon colour from Oasis a few years back. I think it was about £12 down from £35 in the sale. It was super comfy and so flattering. It has a chunky zip in the back as well. I wore it a lot and received a lot of compliments for it. 

Unfortunately, the skirt stretched after a wash this one time and this led to the back of the skirt being longer than the front. It started to look a bit tired. Because I love it so much and am a hoarder, I didn’t throw it away – I put it in an airtight bag with no knowledge of what I’d ever do with it. 

Last night I couldn’t sleep because it was thinking through a load of clothes alterations I want to do. First on the list was turning the dress into a sweater! 

It was super simple – I just snipped it 7 inches below the waistline and flat locked all the way around. That’s it. 

I love the outcome!

    
 
And it’s one less item of clothing going to landfill. 🙂