Wednesday, 28 November 2012


I've been taking Modern Jive dance classes for nearly a year now and thought it was about time I ditched the jeans that I usually wear for it, and started looking a bit more feminine.
With this in mind I've been rifling through my wardrobe and found this maxi dress


It's quite shapeless so I took it in at the sides and shortened it.
With the leftover fabric I cut a couple of eye-shaped pieces, and sewed them into the armholes to make floaty sleeves, and now it looks like this

Now, dear reader, I'm in need of a bit of help.
Do you remember this vintage Central Park fabric I got from the charity shop?
Well, I've been looking for a suitable dress pattern and I haven't had any luck.
Vintage Vixen suggested I make a maxi skirt from it, and that really would be ideal - and simple to make.  The thing is, I've got my heart set on a knee length dress!
The first thing to spring to mind is a 50s style, but in order not lose any of the pattern it would end up far too long.
My next option is a shift style.  When I hold the fabric up in front of me it just reaches from my knees to nearly my shoulders, so I would probably have to add a bit more of the plain bit as a yolk.  That would not be a problem even if the pattern didn't have a yolk.  
I've got a few shift style patterns but they have curved hemlines, and I need it straight so as not to spoil the pattern.

Has anyone seen a pattern that would work?

Friday, 16 November 2012

A year in the life of a tree

There's a tree that stands in the middle of a farmer's field that I like to photograph, so last year I decided to take a photo of it each month to show how it changes.
I don't know how to do a montage of them all together so here they are month by month starting from last December

December 2011

January 2012

February 2012

March 2012

April 2012

May 2012

June 2012

July 2012

August 2012

September 2012

October 2012

November 2012

Friday, 2 November 2012

Inspiration from my past

When I was growing up my Mum went to upholstery evening classes and made various things, from loose covers for the three piece suite, recovering lampshades and also some velvet cushions that had a basket weave effect on the fronts. 
I've been thinking about those cushions because I fancied having a go at the technique for the basket weave.  She used a bought pattern, and I thought I had it somewhere but I can't find it, so I've been trawling the internet for information.
I eventually found out that it was called Canadian smocking.  The basket weave design is actually called lattice (which is why it took me so long to find because I was looking for the wrong thing), and I discovered that there were other designs too.  
For my project I decided to use the 'arrow' design.  To do the smocking you draw a grid on the back of the fabric and basically just catch a corner of a square with a small stitch and pull it across to another corner in whatever direction the pattern says.  I did a practice piece first with 2cm squares but thought it was a bit big for what I wanted, so I used 1.5cm squares for the actual piece.
There was quite a difference in size as you can see here

This is what it looks like on the reverse

I used some old curtains of mine for the smocking and put it together with some Laura Ashley fabric I got from the charity shop and made this bag (I thought the apples and pears fabric looked quite Autumnal so I've photographed it on a pile of leaves)

I think the smocking looks nice against the patterned fabric but they're not really my colours, so I've put it in my Folksy shop and I'm going to make another one for myself when I come across something suitable in blues, greens or purples.

Canadian smocking is usually done with a plain fabric for the design to stand out, but when I was looking for the lattice design on the internet I came across a cushion which had been made with a subtle check fabric and it is absolutely gorgeous.  Take a look at this on Passion et Couture blog.  I just love the colours, and the extra details round the edge make it really different.