Sunday, 22 February 2015

Sewing Instructions...

I'm not sure how genuine this is but it does make me smile. The second paragraph is clearly ridiculous on many levels but what about the first few sentences?

With such busy lives, trying to find time to do some sewing can be a challenge. It does get squeezed in whilst the kid's tea is cooking or before the next activity on our timetable must start. I wonder what more I would create, how I'd push myself to try more tricky things, if I had more time...

Saturday, 14 February 2015

A Bouquet Blouse

I don't speak any foreign languages - I just don't remember or 'get' the rules. However, I'm always up for a challenge and a donated french book of sewing patterns was just that.

I started with the 'la chemise col claudine Lussac les Chateaux' (Peter Pan Collar of Lussac les Chateaux - a small town in western France). The drawings were very clear and so it didn't matter I couldn't read the instructions!

I used a lovely small floral pattern. I think the final blouse has a Liberty feel about it. The simple pink buttons down the back finish it off perfectly.

I ended up making the age 4 size - French children must be small! And I lowered the front  of the neckline slightly.

Now the much more complicated shorts to attempt...

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Quilt Economics

I was forwarded a link to this interesting American article which looks into how much it costs to be a quilter. It's made me think about my hobby and the time and money spent on it.

Although I don't have a sewing machine worth tens of thousands of pounds, I did invest in my wonderful Pfaff that was £500. It has been worth the investment. The clothes, curtains, gifts and quilts I've made have been done so with ease thanks to this wonderful machine.

I also don't have thousands of pounds of fabric in my stash - honest. No, I really don't! I do have a stash and can usually conjure what I need without a dash to the local haberdashery.

But when asked to undertake a commission I rarely use a formula to work out the final cost. The article talks about materials + labour + profit, with labour at around £20 an hour and profit at about 10%. This sounds reasonable but when taking into account that I try to use the best quality materials and often hand finish my items the price sky rockets unrealistically.

The only quilt commission I've done was last year. I was flattered that someone I didn't know personally liked what I produced enough to take a punt on me. I asked for a brief and produced a couple of designs and pricing options. I didn't use a formula but guess-timated and luckily she went with the higher option for something more detailed and unique. Ultimately I produced a lovely quilt which she was pleased with but the fee did not match the time that went into making it. And for this reason, as those expressed in the article, I'll not be promoting myself for new commissions.

I will keep on making for my family and friends and take real pleasure in seeing them enjoy and appreciate my efforts.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Basket Case

I was told making rope baskets was easy - and it was!

This washing line rope was only a couple of pound. I chose green thread so the basket would link to the decor in either the kitchen or living room. I zigzagged a fold then starting steadily round and round.

Once I had enough for my base i started to lean the basket in towards the machine to build up the sides.

I needed to go over some areas where my stitches slipped and where my bobbin ran out - but i think this adds to the texture of the bowl.

Overall I'm really pleased - the rope was 15m long so I think I need several bits and join them together to make larger bowls.

Sophie really likes it too!

Sunday, 1 February 2015

DIY Kristoff Costume

So he's a bit of a fixer upper, but this we're certain of; you can fix this fixer upper up with a little bit of love!
―The Trolls to Anna about Kristoff

So what do you wear to a Frozen fancy dress party when you're a boy? Hans is the baddie, Olaf is not for big boys, the reindeer is not an option (for many reasons), so that just leaves the obvious - Kristoff!

 The costume was simple enough - a tunic with a sash. Even better - all the materials cost about £10!

I started by buying a pair of men's XXL jogging bottoms (from Primark for £5) and faux fur and ribbon from our local fabric shop. I folded one of Finn's tops in half length ways then drew round it - omitting the arms. I then extended the line another 20 cm slopping outwards. I made a simple sleeve pattern and a collar piece.

Using the jogger's leg seam, I placed the body pattern piece on the fold. The front and back were the same I just added a 'V' shape to the front. I sewed together the shoulder seams, then added the sleeves before sewing up the sides and sleeve lengths. Then I added the collar section (I needed to re-draw my pattern piece to make it fit properly), all seams were overlocked to neaten.

Next I added the ribbon. I first sewed the purple thinner ribbon onto the red. I started with the shoulders, tucking the raw edge under. Next I added the section around the collar and neck. 

Along the bottom I drew and trimmed the curved cut away section. I cut strips of faux fur approximately 8 cm wide, folded them in half and sewed these to the bottom edge, sleeve edges and neckline.

Finally I made a sash by folding a length of red fabric and adding ribbon. Worn with grey skinny jeans and a long sleeve top - I think it's turned out pretty good.